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Month: January 2018

Do We Want To Ban Bossy?

Do we want to ban “bossy”?

I don’t get it. What is wrong with being bossy?

Current events in state and national government indicate action stronger than “bossy” is going to be necessary to prevent women’s rights from eroding. Never has it been more important to encourage girls to think independently.

Would we have any semblance of equal rights if women had not been bossy?  If eliminating the word would help women achieve an equal place in the workplace isn’t it likely someone would have considered it long before now.

Rather than eliminate the word bossy, why not present it as a positive quality?

It’s difficult not to fuss over our beautiful daughters, dress them like dolls and focus on their appearance, but when we do doesn’t that send a message that external qualities are priorities? Why not focus on teaching them good eating habits and the importance of taking care of their bodies.

If we are to ban “bossy” why not ban “pretty”, “cute” and “sweet”?

Why not teach young girls to be strong but fair-minded. Teach girls they don’t have to be people pleasers. Tell them that others sometimes say untruthful or hurtful things about us and it will happen many times in their lives.

Give them the tools to develop self-confidence and not follow the pack. Exposing them to the joy of reading and discovering more words fuels their imaginations and promotes creativity.

Authoritarian, commanding, controlling, overbearing, imperious, iron-handed, pushy, overpowering, strict, tyrannical

These are other adjectives for “bossy,” all of which might be used as qualifying skills on a job description for a CEO, male of course. Some of them are unflattering, but I have witnessed their execution from the executive suite on more than one occasion.

Eons ago, in the land before time, my mentor told me “sweet” or “cute” are never compliments. It is what people say when they believe you have no brains. You never hear those adjectives when describing a CEO.

If “bossy” places more women in positions of power let’s think twice before we ban the word.


How to Get Rid of a Narcissistic Squirrel Who Refuses to Leave

Our resident narcissistic squirrel has monopolized the bird feeder for years.
narcissistic squirrel

He never sleeps.

Always places himself front and center; it’s all about him.

Befouls everything he touches with his low-class manners.

Has no interest in others and is reluctant to share.

Sends threats to other birds and engages in meaningless chatter.

He always appears when it is most advantageous for him.

Has an uncanny ability to hide when things get too dicey for him.

Our two resident blue jays attempted to level the playing field. Their combined efforts to dive bomb the squirrel and drive him from the feeder were unsuccessful. The cardinals formed a coalition with the blue jays and imposed sanctions that limited the squirrel’s ability to deplete the food supply.

The finches and house sparrows joined in the effort, but it became clear, they but needed some assistance from the governing body aka beloved spouse.

A wire dome placed over the feeder was the answer. There is enough open space for the birds to eat but too small for the squirrel to get more than his share.

We named the squirrel Ted Cruz, but on closer observation, he sounds a lot like Trump doesn’t he; ineffective at everything except chaos and hard to get rid of.

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New Uses for Wow and Okay

Recently,  when someone offered an over the top, unsolicited opinion, I found myself retort challenged. Gawking back in incredulous amazement had no effect on this know-it-all. 

I had depleted my list of snarky comebacks to those who make inappropriate statements, demands or ask questions I do not intend to answer.

The passive/aggressive southern “bless your heart”, publicized to the extent that even the newest Yankee knows you are calling him/her a dumbass, is a weak response to the over-the-top stupid.

The phrase is trite and there is a drawback to its usage. Those for whom the phrase is entirely appropriate can mistakenly believe you are sympathizing with them and blather on, leaving you with no quick means of escape.

I began my quest for effective responses to tyrants, malcontents, and buffoons.

My research uncovered some new uses for “Wow” and “Okay”

For instance, “wow” is the new no-fault response to rude comments. Reserve “okay” for the stupid ones.

The beauty of “wow” is it’s unexpected.

The surprise factor deprives a know-it-all of any opportunity to recover quickly. As they struggle to decode your response, you can escape.

“Wow” is an effective stall tactic when asked to accommodate a request you have no intention of granting. The person asking may come up with his or her own solution.

The use of “okay” as a response to stupid comments is a bit tricky and requires some navigation.

Speak “Okay” slowly—- “okaaaay” accompanied by a look of resolute nothingness.

The caveat for “okay” is to reserve its use as a non-offensive means to halt idiotic comments.

The downside of using this tactic is some may mistake “okay” as an indication you are in agreement, trapping you in the equivalent of verbal hell.

Should you find yourself in this situation, respond “Wow, okay, bless your heart”, and run.

Note: Originally published October 2013
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Little Pitchers Have Big Ears And A Big Workaround

“Little pitchers have big ears” was the caution in an era when adults quickly changed the subject if they suspected a non-adult was within hearing distance, especially if a salacious information exchange was imminent. I was doomed to grow up information deprived had I not taken matters into my own hands.

How irritating to be relegated to the category of a vessel.

Hot damn, how else were we going to learn stuff? At a very young age, I improvised a workaround – eavesdropping. The idiom for that questionable skill was “People who eavesdrop, never hear any good of themselves.” Probably true, but who wouldn’t want to know the two-faced traitor who didn’t have your back.

I wondered what the cut-off date for “little pitchers” was; decided whatever it was it was way too far in the future and devised workarounds that would have astounded Nancy Drew.

Placing a glass against the wall while one ear was plastered against the bottom of the glass yielded nuggets of information that amazed me. This worked especially well when nosey, opinionated relatives visited. In fact, often they forgot the little pitcher theory and I could discard the glass entirely.

photo by Geralt

Information was never better than the two hookers conversations overheard on the party line. Sneaking the phone into my bedroom, closing the door and lifting the receiver to listen in required the stealth of a Navy Seal. Returning the phone to its resting place, and racing back to my room as soon as I heard approaching footsteps was worthy of a triathlon.

I perfected the keyhole caper in my ability to read lips through a door’s keyhole.

Southerners speak slowly most of the time, so it was easy to decode the lip readings. The one exception was the aunt who generated five syllables from a two syllable word. Deciphering her words evolved into an advanced skill set that proved helpful in the workplace; spiffed up and re-defined as the of powers of observation.

Upper-level executives cocooned in glass-enclosed offices didn’t know about this unusual talent, and no one from the “little pitcher” era ever chose to inform them.

Kids will always find a workaround. I have no doubt that parental controls on electronics will prove to be just as unsuccessful on this  generation of “little pitchers.”

One can only imagine the skill set they will achieve.

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Mary Margaret, Blue Jeans and the Vanishing Male Butt

After a day of shopping with her husband, Mary Margaret’s late-night email was an alcohol-fueled vent. Her unedited revelation follows:

I know for certain that God is a man. Only a man would cause the aging male butt to vanish and increase a woman’s the size of an SUV.

My husband brought me his ancient blue jeans and wanted to know if I could alter them so they would fit. Forget cosmetic surgery. Those jeans require burial.  The waist sags and there are two yards of extra fabric covering a formerly cute butt. In addition to a disappearing hiney, he must be going blind how can he fail to notice his six-pack morphed into a full keg that dangles over his knees. There is no way any type of acceptable resolution can come from this situation. There is not enough vodka in the world to prepare me for telling him his is butt is history.

If I survive explaining  testosterone-be-gone,  there remains the delicate task of explaining costs. We have to make concessions to overcome Father Nature’s cruel tricks and solutions apparel solutions, as every woman knows, can be pricey.

In the land before time Years ago he wore slim cut, off the rack jeans. The man has no clue that sizes are a toss up these days. A thirty-three waist may be too big or too small, especially if one is dumb enough chooses to shop for apparel at Big Lots.

I devoted an entire afternoon to fetching and retrieving jeans while he screamed from the dressing room, “they don’t fit”. It isn’t my fault his body is in this shape. The tailors in Bangladesh have yet to experience creating a pattern for a non-existent butt. He’s too cheap frugal cost conscious to consider buying jeans that look nice but require a bit of tailoring to adapt them to fit his warped self-image. Noooo, he’d rather run me ragged.

I have run a marathon from the jeans racks then back to the men’s dressing room. I consider leaving him stranded in the dressing room and making a run for the parking lot. Surely the security staff would find him when they lock the building for the night.

There is no reciprocity in this situation. He hides like a rat when I shop; there is no way that man would run back and forth getting fifty pairs of jeans for me. Where is he when I am shopping for swimsuits?

I am done. He can adapt and wear geezer pleated polyester khaki slacks from Walmart. If he wants to look as hot as he did twenty years ago he would consider having an ass plasty gluteal sculpting. By my calculations, the procedure would pay for itself in tailored jeans and Xanax/Vodka in two years.

sketch copyright©by Krandel Lee Newton artist





Note: Originally published January 2014


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How Personal Responsibility Is The Key To A Better Neighborhood

A recent letter to the editor grabbed my attention.

The writer put forth the solution that ending poverty is based on personal responsibility and not government intervention.

He cited a number of behaviors that lead to prosperity rather than poverty.

•    Stay in school; get an education.
•    Don’t have children before marriage or before you have the money to support them
•    Don’t do drugs
•    Get a job and work hard

At first read, there is not much to argue against is there?

He lost me when he stated, “those who adhere to these behaviors will be positioned to live in a neighborhood with other smart and successful people.”  (Fist bump to forehead accompanied by major eye-roll.)

I’ll bet there are those who follow this man’s advice but are forced to live in “poverty plagued housing.” People with modest means often have no other choice. Gentrification of working-class neighborhoods has eliminated affordable housing for many.

Today many working-class families are one misfortune away from requiring assistance. They have jobs, work hard and don’t use drugs. Medical emergencies, illness, or death of a wage earner can wipe out the resources of people who are barely scraping by.

He summarized, “Subsidize anything and you get more of it. Poverty is the best example.”

The person who penned the letter regarding personal responsibility obviously enjoys the rarified air and sense of privilege that permits him to live in a neighborhood with other smart and successful people.

Exactly what does he consider subsidies? I can almost guarantee it depends on your neighborhood.

People who live in smart and successful neighborhoods call it a “subsidy” or “entitlement.” When it benefits the wealthy it’s called “reform.”

Far-flung generalities and  Dickensian observations regarding poverty are proof that troglodytes survived and live among us.

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Texas Women Silent

Where are all of our strong Texas women?

The era of feminine activist surely can’t be over or, are we so stricken by the sheer audacity of good old boys in the Texas Legislature that we are numb with horror.

I am currently reading “The Red Queen” by Philippa Gregory. Set in 1485 during the Henry VI reign in England, women were subjected to all kinds of physical and financial persecution during this era.

This wasn’t unusual at this time in history and I am thankful I did not live during this time. The recent legislation passed in the Texas legislature caused me to wonder if we are easing dangerously close to mimicking this type of mentality.

The sonogram bill that recently passed and Gov Bubba has promised to sign, is a red flag that women should be vigilant.

Dynamic objection from elected women legislators has been absent in this session of the Texas Legislature.

Governor Perry plods on, sidestepping his arrogance and proudly announces he has sent letters to corporations in California to relocate to Texas for our great business climate.

I wonder if most of the gray matter taking up real estate between his ears is required to maintain his hair.

Can he possibly be so naive as to believe women everywhere are not aware of the mentality of Texas elected officials? I’ll bet his letters didn’t mention there has not been a modicum of government action to ensure Texas has an educated workforce to support business.

Texas women should unite to make sure Governor Good Hair and the boys have the opportunity to consider alternative career paths come election time.

Note: First published May, 2011
2016: With the election of Donald J Trump as President, women are no longer silent.
Rick Perry now heads the Department of Energy, the agency Perry wanted to abolish 
but infamously forgot to name during a 2011 presidential debate.
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The Latest Trend For Southern Women In Winter

I’ve seen more ugly the past four days than I would have believed is possible; most of it from my own reflection. I try to avoid mirrors as much as possible, but when winter weather strikes I cover them until spring.

This winter I was prepared.

No longer would I look like a salvation army reject as I put on my knee length white cable knit sweater, fleece lined leggings and knock off Uggs. Confident in my selection I prepared to leave the house until my spouse commented the garb made me look heavy.

I’m not skinny so no surprise there. After a quick look in the mirror, I was horrified. I looked like an overdressed fire-plug that had vomited fleece. It was awful and I hadn’t even put on my knit cap. On the best day I ever had, I am not hat/cap worthy. Frozen ears be damned.

It requires a special confidence to carry off bulky cable knit sweaters, leggings, and Sherpa-lined boots.  I am panache challenged. After all that effort, I decided to move forward. With sunglasses and a big scarf, I would be invisible under all that fleece.

A trip to the mall, confirmed others share this affliction; southern women turn tacky when the temperature hits below 30 degrees.  Most of us do not have freezing weather staples as part of our wardrobe, so we improvise.

The Devil does wear Prada in Dallas but not at the stores I frequent. (I did spot one fashionista wearing ankle-length mink.)

Originality was the order of the day. One creative woman wore combat boots with red Christmas elf socks peeking over the top. Her brown coat struck just below her knees revealing green sweatpants. A blue scarf rounded her neck up to her nostrils. The piece de resistance was a gold turban held in place by pink earmuffs.

She wielded her shopping cart through the supermarket with a take no prisoners attitude.

I hope I won’t have to wear my emergency winter garb again anytime soon, but if I do, I will be sure to add a big dose of attitude.

It makes all the difference if you resemble a fireplug.

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New Years Self Improvement Plan

On January 1st, the media begin their self-improvement propaganda.

They bombard us with suggestions on how to get healthy; how to have the life we deserve and how to organize and improve our lives.

Dr. Oz will trot out icky stuff that hangs around our inactive arteries and innards accompanied by dire warnings about what will happen to us if we don’t rid ourselves of this yuck. Totally grossed out, I proceed to take note of my exterior self.

Science has yet to invent equipment sufficient to lift my eyelids. I have not located a Dr. that is willing to part with enough collagen to fill out my lips. My butt prefers its current location of occupying space adjacent to my knees.

My closet looks like an unclaimed unit on storage wars. You know, the one that no one will bid on. Our cat refuses to hide there even in a thunderstorm. On January 1st, am I supposed to reach an epiphany that will cause me to organize the contents?

Fashion magazines remind me it is time to update my style. My non-compliant body refuses to smoosh itself into jeggings and riding boots. The freakishly spikey hairdo for “women of a certain age” is a tad too perky.

Letting go of past grudges is a recurrent suggestion. My grudges are longstanding and well deserved. Deepak Chopra does not know the people with whom I have issues. I require more powerful mantras than he offers to deal with the loonies I encounter.

The calendar turning another page is not reason enough to motivate me to change my wicked ways. We need a month to do nothing. Why not wait until spring to start harping on self-improvement?

On the positive side, I did uncover a fabulous suggestion to eliminate stress and guilt. All of the January improvement magazines are residing in the recycle bin.

NOTE: First published December 2011