a sociological study, of a sort

I’m looking for an image of a woman carrying a tray to use as a cutout for a feminist-inspired art piece I’m considering. It will portray a woman going through life, weaving her way through images of things that cause her to lose little slivers of herself — children staring at computer screens, bosses scolding , husbands staring at football games on television, domestic chores competing with individual and/or professional pursuits, etc. I’d tell you more but I don’t want to give away my idea.

So I search for images at bing (trying to avoid being tracked, although bing seems to be as bad as google these days).

Just do this:

Go to bing.com, click on images, and then search for “waitress.”

If that isn’t revealing enough (pun unintended, but appreciated for its irony at this point), now go back and search for “waiter.”

It’s hopeless.


I’d feel badly for myself, but if you live in any number of regions around the world (Syria, Gaza, West Africa, Ferguson, Missouri)* you’re likely to be a victim of persecution, violence, ebola, etc. etc. First world problems, mine, although the (mis)treatment, exploitation and unappreciation of women, extended backwards, can lead to some pretty horrifying acts. Beyond the obvious problems of rape, domestic violence, sexual harassment, one must include forced/child marriage, exploitative pornography, clitoral circumcision, requiring women to cover their hair or their bodies or their entire selves


This creeps me out. And makes me angry. Very, very angry.

or forbidding them from going out in public without a male relative as an escort. How about the right to raise a child without worrying about them being kidnapped or forced to become a child soldier or to die of some easily treatable disease? What about the right NOT to give birth to a child when so much of society seems bent on forcing you to, without helping with any of the things that come after.

Compare those things to fighting for equal pay for equal work? Equal opportunities for professional advancement? Equal distribution of household or child rearing chores? Who am I to complain?

But let’s go back to those images for a moment. Most of the women are in scanty “uniforms,” standing in provocative positions, gazing lasciviously at the camera. That’s funny, I thought I was searching for “waitress” — you know, someone who delivers food on a tray? I didn’t realize (duh) that “waitress” was a euphemism for seductress, slut, woman-who-exists-purely-for-the-pleasure-of-the-male-gaze.

Am I the only one who thinks this is a problem?

*We tell ourselves we’re made “in God’s image” to make ourselves feel better, but I just don’t see what could be further from the truth. As a species we ought to be ashamed of ourselves.


Even we* are getting it wrong

A friend, who is also a friend of mine on Facebook, struggles with many congenital health issues. She seems strong and fearless, and is clearly smart and funny and basically quite a happy person, despite what many would see as a myriad of “disabilities.”

Today on Facebook she posted a picture of herself in a beautiful dress with the statement “Feminists are ugly? Me thinks misogyny lies….”

The comments are about how pretty her dress is, where did she get it, she’s “rockin’ it,” etc.


Yesterday, Only Daughter came to me with yet another question about her appearance: does her hair look longer? should she get plastic surgery to create a crease in her eyelid? (NO!!!) does she have long legs? I told her, with more than a bit of exasperation in my voice, that I was putting a 6-hour moratorium on any statements, pronouncements, observations, or questions having anything to do with her appearance.


Last week Only Daughter was given a bit of a hard time for not being interested in a young man (?) despite the fact that he’s “so cute!!!!”


Am I the only one who thinks that THESE AREN’T THE THINGS THAT MATTER?!?!?!?!?!?

The other day I stumbled across something along the lines of “It’s not my job to have you find me beautiful.” Or something like that.

And I thought, “[word I can't say] yes!”

Feminism has nothing, abso@#$inglutely NOTHING to do with how we look.

Whether we are interested in another person romantically, or in terms of friendship, or trust, or respect, should have NOTHING to do with how THEY look.

We, ALL OF US, have to stop this.

Starting now.

*we meaning feminists; even us. Sigh.


fornicators and musicians



You have to wonder about the person who came up with this list. I mean really, vegetarians? What have they done to deserve such condemnation?



Self-Surveillance Anyone?


Forget about Big Brother watching us.

We’re doing it ourselves.

I’m not doing anything wrong but STOP WATCHING ME.


busybusybusybusybusybusybusybusy. . .

As I start this I remember recently reading an article about whether we are actually as busy as we think we are.* Whether maybe we know we’re not actually that busy but it seems important to society that we be busy, so we’re also not actually as busy as we say we are.

I googled “Are we really that busy?” and got article after article after article about how we’re NOT actually as busy, etc. etc. so it must be true.

But anyway. I’ve been really really busy lately. Usually this time of year I have lots of time to sit in the adirondack chair on my deck with a gin+lemoncino+tonic (a “lemony snicket” apparently) and a good book. Not so much this year.

We were very busy in April and May turning this:

Our backyard in early April.

Our backyard in early April.

into this:

Our backyard now. (The perspective is the opposite, but they're the best panoramic I have of each)

Our backyard now. (The perspective is the opposite, but they’re the best panoramic I have of each)

Of course it helps that the world also turned green during that time span, but there it is.

We leveled 500 square feet of dirt, and then spread and leveled (with a carefully calculated 1/2″ per 8′ slope) 500 square feet 4″ deep in gravel, and then laid 5 tons of flagstone one piece at a time; and Husband built the pizza oven.

Lots of work. My back is still pretty pissed off at me, but there it is.

We also had to deal with the fact that Second Son’s car (my old Honda Odyssey) finally gave up the ghost after 13 years of service and 240,000 miles. We drove it, gently (the transmission was going, so there were to be no sudden moves), to the Honda dealer and basically gave it to them in trade for a 2004 Corolla with 96,000 miles on it (a significant improvement, nonetheless). After cleaning out bags of papers and food wrappers and water bottles, and, mysteriously, the steak knife that has been missing from our set for ~ 3 years (our driveway is “dark and creepy” at night, apparently the steak knife was to offer protection; thinking if someone were on the attack it would have been either useless or turned on him, but I guess it made him feel better, so whatchagonna do, especially since I didn’t know about it at the time?), Second Son stood in the parking lot and said his good-byes. I found myself “harkening” back as well — it was purchased in the week or two before Only Daughter (now 13+) came to us from her birth home (South Korea), and has seen us through a lot of life’s changes. More of my life looks different now than the same — divorced, bought a house and moved, remarried, children grown and graduated, different jobs, opportunities, friends. That van was a pretty significant material connector really to what I would call my “former” life. Maybe I should have stood next to Secondo and said a more formal goodbye as well.

He rescued his lego Ninja from the dashboard, we drove away.

Dante? Is that you?

Dante? Is that you?


This past week I completed my apprenticeship (hopefully) to become a member of the Royal Conservatory (of Toronto) Board of Examiners. This Wednesday I leave for a 12-day trip to the British Isles to perform with a choir for whom I play. Husband’s unable to come, so I’m traveling with the group and he’s holding down the fort, such as it is.

I find myself with new chamber groups to work with, new performance opportunities, job openings that I may or may not apply for, so the transitions continue.

Have you heard the expression:  “You throw your anchor into the future you want for yourself and then pull yourself along by the chain”? The thing is, (or shall I say the things are):

  • Do you really know what you want from the future? So often it doesn’t turn out the way we had expected.
  • Have you ever found yourself dutifully pulling yourself along by the chain, and The Whole Entire Time nothing in your surroundings seems to indicate that you’re pulling on the right one? Like, “Now just wait one cotton-pickin’ minute. Whose chain is this? Am I pulling on the right one? Is that yours? Where was it this was going again? Who moved my cheese?“)

marine anchor chain


It seems that we can spend months and years if not longer chasing things, trying to form our futures into that Future; you know? The Future We Want? And then all of a sudden all of this stuff happens, seemingly out of the blue.

Now I realize that it’s not “all of a sudden,” that all of the things I’ve done and connections I’ve made and hours I’ve spent practicing and trying to be a good teacher and good collaborator have paid into these opportunities.  But it still seems kind of random, and quite unexpected. Good, but unexpected.

Anyway, I’ve been really really busy moving rocks and practicing and pulling on those damn chains. I have a zillion ideas of things I want to write about, but it seems that my hands have been pretty full.

Thanks for sticking around.

I’ll  post some pictures of really old castles and Stonehenge and this drink I’m supposed to try in Scotland (a crabby green something?) as soon as I can.



*Being me, I have absolutely no recollection of the source of this article; hence I am unable to link to it. My apologies.


Joseph E. Stiglitz: Rule Breakers and How They’re Sickening our Politics

Joseph E. Stiglitz: The People Who Break the Rules Have Raked in Huge Profits and Wealth and Its Sickening Our Politics | Perspectives.

And it’s time we do something about it.



Not One More

Read this.


Then watch this:


Then sign this.

And then give them some money.


And if you can suggest other things we can do, please comment below.


Let’s make “Not One More” the truth. There is no better time.



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