Women Who Stand by Their Men

My daughter said my list of the things I hate was too short. Since I find I’m still steaming, here’s another one that just boiled over.

I hate women who stand by their men. Who stoically pose on some public platform and share his shame. Pretending to believe his apology when everyone knows he’d still be doing what it often is, if he’d never been found out. He’s just sorry he got caught.

Maybe with some wives it’s self-preservation, so they can maintain the lifestyle to which they’ve become accustomed. Now take Kobe Bryant’s wife (remember the nineteen-year-old maid eight years ago who claimed it wasn’t consensual, in other words that it was rape?—which he denied but later admitted to what he called a consensual act?).

Well, there you have it. Eight years later, hmmmm. I wonder what the eight years did to her self-esteem. Every time she walked down the street, somebody pointing and saying “There’s the woman who stood by her man…..” while laughing hysterically.

So, naturally, the next thing I hate is that song Tammy Wynette likes to sing “Stand by Your Man”. What drivel!

“Sometimes it’s hard to be a woman” So? We knew that from the day Eve was tempted by the snake. And of course Adam told God it was all Eve’s fault. He was one of those kinds of men.

Eve was not only the first woman, she was also the first feminist. She passed down those good genes not only to any woman with self-respect but also to some good men who respect their wives.

Andy Adams – Kentucky Coal


The above video of an interview with my brother Andy Adams of Hazard, Kentucky in Appalachia took place twenty-seven years ago when he was fifty years old, and had achieved the American Dream.

His photo on the cover of my family book Stories of a Kentucky Mountain Family was taken when he was just sixteen, with our youngest brother Hale, who was six. When our dad died, leaving eight children, Andy quit school and went to work in the coal mines of eastern Kentucky to support his mother and siblings.

Later, after being injured at the mines during a dynamite blast, he forged a birth certificate to prove he was eighteen and drove semi-trailers across the country. He also worked in the factories in Detroit, and when he came home he paid our debt at the general store.

Andy was my hero. Hale and I, the two youngest, often watched for him to come home. Memories still linger in my mind of him coming up the path on crutches after the blast at the mines, smiling at us through his pain as we waited on the front porch, and later, watching him swing down from the giant cab of a truck as he came home to check on us.

In the video he tells you himself that he achieved the American Dream, a man who only finished the eighth grade and was self-educated. He was also self-directed, with a can-do, positive attitude towards life and work that he passed along to all of us.

When he passed away on March 14 2001, I was with him. A few hours before, he had pointed over my shoulders and said “Your brothers.” I turned automatically towards the wall and said “Where?” He had a disappointed look on his face, realizing I hadn’t seen them. It was the only time I remember disappointing him. But I knew at that moment that the three brothers who had already passed on were waiting to greet him.

Andy was a hero for our times. A young man of sixteen who became a substitute father to his siblings. He set an example for all of us. I hope he knows how much he was loved.

Thought for the Day: November 12, 2008

Love is never wrong. If professed love does harm, it is something else.

For All the Women Who Feel Trodden On

If a woman makes herself a worm she must not complain when she is trodden on. — Immanuel Kant, German Philosopher 

Of course I changed the gender. Kant may have been one of the foremost thinkers of the Enlightenment but since he spoke during the Eighteenth Century I’m not sure he meant to include women.

As for myself, I gave up worm-hood a number of years ago. I started working on it when I realized one day that, in order to be walked on, I had to acquiesce by lying down. If you’re standing tall, they have to knock you down first (so you should also learn self-defense).

After lying prone for so many years (I exaggerate, of course) I found it took awhile to get back up. But I finally made it because I had to be a role model for my daughters and granddaughters, and even for my son and grandsons, because I wanted them to respect me and thus, to respect women.

So I was delighted recently by my granddaughter Emily’s reaction after her motorcycle accident (which of course I was not delighted about as she had a broken leg). After Emily’s surgery I asked Cathy how she was doing and her Mom replied “She’s really p-ssed!”  “That’s my girl!” I said. “When life hands you a lemon, don’t make lemonade, spit it out!”

Now that may not be the way a grandmother should respond but I had asked the question solicitously as I was concerned about Emily’s low spirits. So I was pleased to hear that, instead of moping, she was mad. Emily definitely does not embrace worm-hood. Although in this instance she may have come close. She had just gotten her motorcycle operating license and was feeling pressured, by the line of cars waiting behind her, to pull out into heavy traffic. Thus she hugged the curb too closely and hit it. (You’re learning, Emily, but next time let’em wait).

I agree with Kant that I can’t complain about my days of worm-hood, especially since it was my own self who let the trodders trod on me. But no more! So this is for all the women out there who feel trodden on. It’s time to stand upright! Shock the heck out of the trodders. They will really flip!

The Cedar Rapids Flood and Winston the Pooh-Chon

Having recently noticed that someone else has named their blog Walking Winston for their pug, I decided to change the name of my blog to glorify my own Winston’s mixed breed.  He is half poodle, half bichon and known to my grandchildren as Winnie the Pooh-Chon. He weighs nineteen pounds, which is seven pounds more than the breeder said he was supposed to grow to but I love every ounce of him.

When I ask for a kiss he gives me a quick smack as though to appease me but also letting me know he’s not easy. He’s a little Scorpio, born on the same day as one of my granddaughters and both are strong, independent and brave, except Winston is afraid of the vacumn sweeper, from which he runs and hides under the bed.

He will walk on his hind legs for a treat but will only come when he’s called after slow deliberation.  If he’s in his hidey hole under the bed a treat is not enough to bring him out. Say the word “walk” a few times and he runs out with a big grin, tail wagging, looking for his leash. 

When we arrived at my daughter Teresa’s house on June 11th ahead of the flood that later entered my house Winston was ecstatic, but as time moved on he began giving me that questioning look, like “I like to visit but this is ridiculous, when do we go home?”  How do I tell him that his favorite resting place on the back of the sofa by the window, from which he viewed the old neighborhood, now rests at the city dump?

Since the flood Winston and I have been welcomed into my daughter’s guest room, where I have my own microwave, a small coffee pot and my computer.  When Robert’s parents came for an overnight his dad also brought his power washer and a generator so he and Robert could go to Cedar Rapids to clean mud out of my house. While they thus labored, Robert’s mother and I caught up on woman talk.

It’s great to have caring, sympathetic in-laws along with family. They didn’t even mind that my Squatter’s Rights meant they had to sleep on the sofa-bed.

Winston and I are both blessed.

 

After the Flood: Grateful in Cedar Rapids

I recently experienced the one thing that would make me forget–and care even less about–the latest political claptrap. In fact, I haven’t watched Fox News or CNN for at least ten days. My focus has been captured by our local news in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

My new focus began the morning of June 11th when my sister-in-law called from Detroit to see if I was okay. “I’m fine,” I said, surprised. I had awakened that morning without the enticing smell of coffee wafting through the house since I was fasting until after the routine drawing of blood for “my numbers.” So my doctor could tell me if, in fact, I’d been behaving as I ought to — starving to death and walking Winston every day for the past three months (for my own exercise, of course).

Pauline had seen on the national news that downtown Cedar Rapids was flooded. Oh no, I said, they must’ve been talking about Cedar Falls, which was recently flooded. Of course sandbagging had been going on locally but that happens when it rains a lot, just as a precaution. I had listened to the news with only one ear — it’s like that siren that goes off periodically where they say don’t be alarmed, it is only a test.

I blame my inattention that morning on the lack of coffee as it takes at least two cups to get my brain working, but within a few hours after Pauline’s call I was headed for Teresa’s home in Coralville. It was my day to spend time with my darling grandchildren. I also took along a couple of changes of clothes, just in case the flooding river reached a street I had to cross on the way home and I had to stay a couple of days.

But I forgot to wear my hearing aids.

I still didn’t think the water would reach my house because I live in the 500 year flood zone. Doesn’t that mean a flood only happens in that area once every 500 years? My insurance agent told me they don’t even suggest flood insurance for people there. Why should I worry?

Within a couple of days my street, near Czech Village, came under mandatory evacuation.  My wonderful, amazing granddaughter Jessie, and a friend, broke into my house (her Mom couldn’t find her key) to retrieve my hearing aids. And that thoughtful young woman also retrieved my computer for me! My computer would’ve been a terrrible loss; it holds so many family pictures I scanned in, along with other irreplaceable records.

The only furniture saved on the first floor was, miraculously, my glass curio cabinet (six feet tall) containing treasures my children have given me over the years.  On the other side of the same wall my fridge had fallen against the kitchen stove. Yet,  when my daughter Cathy took the mud-encased cabinet home and washed it and the contents up, not one of the glass shelves or other treasured items were broken.  They were also able to save the framed family portraits and other sentimental treasures on my walls, including a mother’s day card they had made for me when they were small. The water (which reached a level about two inches above my kitchen countertops) had stopped before it reached them. I am eternally grateful.

Many people had it worse than I did, losing everything, whereas my second floor was spared any damage, so I still have my bedroom furniture and most of my clothes and linens. Although many things were lost that I valued and I will have to replace the furnace, stove, refrigerator, washer, dryer, television set, living room and dining room furniture, my desk and bookcases (although I now have only a few books to fill them) these are only utilitarian things.

My children and their mates and even my grown grandchildren pitched in to clean up as soon as they could get into the house, hopefully before the mold could set in.  They tore out the wet stuff: walls, sodden carpeting, ruined furniture, as well as the furnace, water heater and appliances–the rudiments of living. A huge heap of trash waits in front of the house for the truck to take it to the dump.

Teresa has been keeping a running reportage on their progress on her blog Flesh and Spirit if you want to see pictures of a flooded house and its aftermath. It’s not pretty and I cannot even imagine the shape I’d be in right now without their long hard labors  So my heart goes out to those who have suffered through this disaster, and especially if they don’t have family members with the dedication and energy, and time from their own needs, to help.

As you know I study Astrology and I also believe that everything happens for a reason. Not that I know what the reason is but perhaps more understanding still waits in my future. Was there a sign in my natal and progressed charts and the transits? Yes, but who would’ve known that it would manifest in this way? All I could tell was that a major change was coming involving my home. I thought of all kinds of possibilities, some of them much scarier than what manifested. So, I have to be honest and admit that I feel a sense of relief that it was only material things. My children and their families are all safe and have proven, once again, that they are, as they’ve always been, my Blessings from the Universe.

Let’s Accentuate the Positive

“It’s snowing still,” said Eeyore gloomily. “So it is,” “And freezing.” “Is it?” “Yes,” said Eeyore. “However,” he said, brightening up a little, “we haven’t had an earthquake lately.” — A. A. Milne

I once had a friend who called me every evening to complain about her boyfriend who had left her, her boss who had fired her, her other “friends”, her co-workers, her neighbors, her ex-boyfriend’s dog and Dr. Phil’s threats to drag someone off the sidelines and into the fray of life.

At first I was compassionate, kind, and understanding — we all go through bad times and she had sided with me through one of mine. I tried to cheer her up, get her to see the positive side of things. Thank goodness this horrible boyfriend was out of her life. Yes, her ex-boss was obviously dragging the company down and it would serve him right if the company went bankrupt without her. No, I didn’t think it was right for the boyfriend to let the dog sleep between them. I thought of Winston then, who sleeps with me. On the other side, perhaps, I said, but not in the middle. I didn’t want to be a hypocrite.

Not only did she call me every night but if I was online she IM-ed me, even if she had just talked to me for two hours. I finally blocked her so she couldn’t see when I was online. A mutual friend, who also received frequent calls from her suggested I do what she did, screen my phone calls. Don’t answer, she said, let it go to voicemail so you can see who it is. But sometimes people hung up without leaving a message and I would stew about it, wondering whose call I had missed. When another friend told me she had called earlier I said why didn’t you leave a message? It wasn’t that important, she said. Next time, I said, leave a message – please?

And, what if it was one of my children or a sibling who had called, needing help, but thought I wasn’t home? Not leaving a message for fear of worrying me. So I told them I was screening my calls–say something so I’ll know it ‘s you.

In the meantime I tried to cheer my friend up. Every time she said something negative, I said something positive. I refused to support her poor me act. I pointed out how gifted she was in so many ways but for some reason she didn’t want to hear that. She became very derisive towards me. Now I was the enemy with my stupid talks about taking a stupid walk in nature and smelling the stupid flowers, when she could buy them at the store and put them in vases in her apartment and smell them all day without doing all that stupid walking. I think her favorite word was stupid. By implication I was also stupid–well, she didn’t exactly say it but her tone of voice did.

One day I finally realized how toxic this person was to me. And also that I had been letting her bully me. After one harrowing conversation I sent her an email. Evidently, I said, the only thing the two of us have in common is we’re the same age. I really could think of nothing else to say, but she got the message and ended our communication.

Thank goodness! By that time I was all talked out, and drained of every compassionate feeling I’d ever had in my life.

But I have this stubborn belief that everything happens for a reason and that I was supposed to learn something from this experience. But what? I was reminded of a book I read years ago about games people play. One game mentioned in the book seemed familiar. In this “game” a person comes to you with a problem and you respond by trying to help him/her solve it. But everything you suggest is shot down by the other person as unworkable (stupid?) until you finally give up. Therefore, in this game, you are the loser, since the person who walks away still has the problem you were unable to solve.

Well, my friend had a plethora of problems, all resulting from a bad attitude, and perhaps like the foregoing she had made me an opponent in her game, but one thing I have learned from this experience is to protect my own boundaries, not allowing them to be encroached upon. I hadn’t realized before that this was a weakness of mine.

I’m reminded of the words of Carl Jung. The most intense conflicts, if overcome, leave behind a sense of security and calm that is not easily disturbed. It is just these intense conflicts and their conflagration which are needed to produce valuable and lasting results.

Once I understood what the lesson was, I knew what to do, so I worked first on shoring up my walls before I lowered my drawbridge. Perhaps my former friend will cultivate a more positive attitude towards life, and perhaps one day we will even meet again. If so, I hope that she will respect my boundaries, but if not, I will be certain to keep them intact.