Caring For Little Creations

Before my eldest child was born, I worked full-time in the personnel department of a Dallas insurance company. From the moment the pregnancy was confirmed, I knew I would quit working to stay home with our daughter.

Many of my work associates were envious, expressing their own wishes to do the same. Each was convinced her circumstances (usually financial) wouldn’t permit such a course redirection. [It’s worth mentioning:  not one male co-worker expressed his desire to be at home with his kids.] On the other hand, at least one heartbroken mom acknowledged her toddler had grown so fond of the sitter, he preferred to remain with the sitter rather than go home with Mama at day’s end!

Although this was 1974 (during the so-called second wave of feminist striving), I never experienced a moment’s ambivalence in deciding to stay at home. In fact, I recall my final months and weeks on the job, I felt relief knowing the end was near. Working the 9 to 5 gig — keeping us fed, sheltered and clothed while my husband completed grad school — had been a means to that end. Continue reading “Caring For Little Creations”

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No-Fault Divorce

My earlier post, No-Fault Marriage, offered my thoughts on societal attitudes toward marriage. Not long after writing that post, a friend of mine (in the 43rd year of her marriage) received word that the divorce [her husband sought] had been finalized.

This didn’t come as a complete surprise to my friend; still, it was stunning for her to realize this organism — of which she had been one half for nearly all her adult life — had officially been declared donekaputfini! Even though she’d been preparing herself mentally, the finality of it hit her hard.There were no custody issues, the division of property had been addressed somewhat rationally, and whatever details remained were being handled soberly. Voilà! Is this what cultural elites identify as the “amicable divorce”?

A brief aside:  why would anyone be amicable when the basis of the marital bond (till death do us part) calls down divine intervention to sever?!! Years ago, a women’s magazines (can’t remember which) ran a monthly column titled “Can This Marriage Be Saved?” At least at that time, saving marriages was recognized as a worthy goal! (So quaint and totally yesterday, right?)

So back to my friend. Even faced with the knowledge her husband cavorted with other women, her knee-jerk reaction wasn’t to retain a divorce lawyer. Her intent was to honor her marriage vows, despite what many folks saw as “just cause.” Continue reading “No-Fault Divorce”

No-Fault Marriage

When a columnist discusses marriage, the piece usually captures my attention, at least for a few paragraphs. John Hawkins’ recent essay — Why I’m Glad I Haven’t Gotten Married … Yet — provided an interesting perspective.

I don’t know Hawkins … his post indicates he’s a thoughtful man who acknowledges his hope to marry one day. He explains how his (un)employment and personal development necessarily have dictated (for the time being) a lower priority for matrimony.

Laudable. Reminds me of Dirty Harry (aka Clint Eastwood) in Magnum Force: “A man’s gotta know his limitations.” Hawkins reflects insight and the sagacity with which one should approach the prospect of marriage.

When Hawkins justifies his pause, he is well-advised. Alas, I am driven to nit-pick, especially because Hawkins cites “the ramifications of divorce up close … ” as a possible rationale for remaining single — and safe?

I don’t think Hawkins intended it, but follow the implicit logic:

  1. If people must be married in order to divorce,
  2. and some marriages end in divorce,
  3. therefore, marriage causes divorce. Continue reading “No-Fault Marriage”

When Happiness Is The Goal

Growing up in the 60s, I remember the rhetoric of the so-called Feminist Movement. It was clear to me these second-wave feminists indulged bitter grievances and disdain against what they perceived to be a monolithic, obdurate patriarchy (Public Enemy #1).

When Betty Friedan’s book, The Feminine Mystique, released in 1963, it showed up on the New York Times bestseller list (less than six weeks). I was still in junior high at the time, so Happiness Is a Warm Puppy by Charles M. Schulz (32 weeks on the NYT bestseller list) and Morris L. West’s The Shoes of the Fisherman (44 weeks on the NYT bestseller list) held greater interest for me — and likely for most of the people in my mid-western community.

By the late 60s, Friedan’s book had gained some traction in the Bible-belt mid-west and south. That’s not to say we bought the premise. (I thought it would have been more appropriately titled The FeMENine Mystique. In fact, I’d always intended to write that book, until I realized the title said it all:  discontented women blaming their unhappiness on men, while attempting to supplant and become the men they detest.) Continue reading “When Happiness Is The Goal”

Dystopian Ran(d)t

My reluctance to cede precious time to Ayn Rand’s writings (to which I alluded in my previous post) softened last year when I tackled her debut novel, We the Living (WTL).

A mere 450 pages, the book depicts the ongoing struggle of men and women in the days after the Russian revolution. Rand selects themes that are altogether too familiar today:  one’s seeming helplessness in the face of encroaching government, the rising tide of cynicism, unexpected betrayals. The main characters face typically human problems, but Rand’s dystopian vision was (for me) the memorable takeaway.

Though an interesting read, WTL is a window into Ayn Rand’s vision — I’ll summarize it with two words:  “no hope.” (Her worldview seems intent to reject the idea of hope — just a silly notion.) Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying only “happy endings” are acceptable to me. Fiction tells the human story — warts and all — meaning happy endings may be rare … but hopeful endings don’t have to be. Continue reading “Dystopian Ran(d)t”

The Journey Begins . . .

After an extended (unexcused) absence, I return to word-smithery today, announcing my coming journey into the world of John Galt. This is a journey I’ve diligently eschewed for nearly 50 years, and I fix the blame squarely on the shoulders of my younger daughter and another dear friend, both of whom recently asked if I had ever read Atlas Shrugged.

Through the years, others have asked me that question. I’ve always been comfortable responding that the wordy tome (almost 1200 pages!) holds no interest for me. Of late, however, a contrary argument waged in my brain:  It’s not fair to comment when you haven’t read the book! So I succumbed at long last — plunking down cash at the Amazon portal. The book (weighing in at 4 pounds, per the shipping label) arrived on Tuesday.

No, I didn’t jump right in; I’m currently reading (usually at bedtime until I nod off) a Cordelia Gray mystery (author is P. D. James). Given my general lack of reading time, even this book — a veritable pygmy tipping the scales under 450 pages — seems a tad long, but that’s a complaint for another day. Continue reading “The Journey Begins . . .”

Kicking the Can Down the Road

Republicans wanted to extend Bush-era tax rates beyond December 31st. Democrats said only for families earning $250,000 (or less) per year. Dems focused instead on unemployment benefits (but wanted those added costs tacked onto the deficit). One news source noted, Democrats are “resigned to a deal” but “not eager to embrace one.”

Each party wants to portray its opposition as the scowling Mr. Potter from It’s a Wonderful Life.

Their posturing follows release of November jobless figures, a report that unemployment hit 9.8% — while some experts admit the actual number may be twice that.

With a Christmas recess weeks away, lawmakers from both parties hope to leave DC wearing their Santa smiles and toting a bag full of “goodies” (false promises) . Recession? Haven’t you heard? It’s over! Crushing deficits? Not to worry … it’s Christmas-time! Continue reading “Kicking the Can Down the Road”

Turn Out the Lights

From the time I married my soul-mate in December of 1969, I knew I’d either become a football fan or a miserable football “widow.” I chose the former. I learned the game, the players and whatever behind-the-scenes NFL scuttlebutt others talked about in my workplace coffee-break room.

In those early days, we lived in Dallas, and with Tom Landry at the helm of the Cowboys, we became enthusiastic fans. We identified with “America’s Team” before the rest of the world knew them by that name.

It was never simply a question of wins and losses nor my competitive drive desiring for “my” team to stay on top. Becoming a Cowboys fan also meant I became knowledgable about other NFL teams. When the Cowboys played the Redskins, I needed to know something about the history of that rivalry. If they played the Steelers, the Broncos or the 49ers, I learned the facts and lore that contributed to my enjoyment of each game. Continue reading “Turn Out the Lights”

TSA Redux

No one in my family traveled by airplane for the holidays, so I wasn’t privy to any firsthand reports of TSA gropings. (These outrages will continue to be reported; this excellent site chronicles the abuse from numerous sources.) … Or, get a load of the video below!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2XhnZlmLGK8]

This TSA video made my blood boil. Any mother who has breastfed a child knows the value of breast milk, and when a nursing mother (who simply requested not to have her breast milk irradiated) is subjected to such maltreatment by TSA mobsters, their behavior is inexcusable and unconscionable!

When I caught brief snatches on the weekend news about the National Opt-Out Day, I didn’t have a chance to check them right away. In general, the reports said the Opt-Out was a fizzle because few people actually opted out. (Based on these initial reports, I was disappointed, though I certainly understand folks being more concerned about getting to their destinations on time than making a statement about the TSA.)

Ah, but the real news appears to be that there was a major “opt-out” — and it was the TSA that was participating!! (I guess there’s no need for the public to Opt Out if TSA just turns off their machines, right? By many accounts, that’s exactly what happened at numerous US airports.)

Bravo! People concerned about their 4th Amendment rights have won the day. I don’t expect this to be the end of it, however. TSA has maneuvered (at least temporarily) away from the immediate backlash in this PR nightmare. Those costly machines may have been turned off last Wednesday, but the machines will be turned on again sooner or later. Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty!

Tribute to Lewis

I can’t remember my first exposure to the writings of C. S. Lewis. (It may have been an early reading of Till We Have Faces.) Before ever having read one volume of the Narnia series, I encountered this myth retold. Did I understand the story? Probably not; maybe I identified with Orual’s ugliness? Something about it captured my youthful imagination.

One hundred and two years ago (in far-off Belfast, Northern Ireland), Mr. and Mrs. Albert Lewis welcomed their younger son into this world. Today, I gratefully celebrate Lewis’ life and work. Though I never met him, I have a vivid personal memory of his passing.

I was in junior high school, a disappointed student returning home from school earlier than expected because the school party and dance scheduled for that Friday evening (November 22, 1963) had been canceled at the last minute. (Not a fan of JFK, I admit I was miffed. Why cancel a party in Missouri when Kennedy had died in Dallas?!)CS Lewis Time Coverj8cov1101470908p Continue reading “Tribute to Lewis”