Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Q is for ...

Q is for... the Queen.

It was going to be Quilting, since my friend LB has recently taken up the craft, but I couldn't think of anything to say about it and then I found these awesome Queen memes that were cracking me the hell up, so here you go.

And a genuinely cool one:

Monday, November 19, 2012

P is for...

Only known documented image of Penny.
P is for Penny.

Not Gary Rith's adorable dog or the claymation chick on Pee Wee's Playhouse.
Not Penny from Big Bang Theory or Penny Marshall or Penny Lane.

Penny is my alter ego. She is also sometimes simply known as "Her."

Penny is sort of my Inner Hulk. Penny does the opposite of what people think "Kerry" would do. Penny will only talk to annoying people at parties through a hand puppet named Atomicat. Penny is so good at Wii Boxing that it makes Brett afraid (more than a little channeling Mike Tyson there). Penny can give you the evil eye with the best of them. Penny will call you out on your bullshit and make you feel like you were just scolded by the most vicious Catholic school nun you've ever met.

Penny also sort of talks like the Hulk: "Penny not know where you go with this joke, but if say "bitches" one more time, Her smash you face."

Penny is a lot like Evelyn Couch's TOWANDA in Fried Green Tomatoes. "Righter of Wrongs, Queen Beyond Compare!" Having an alter ego that subverts people's expectations of you is quite enjoyable. Often, Penny is more the real me than what people see. If you're usually pretty quiet, people get surprised when you do things like lose your temper loudly, punch, and get tattoos. I think the part I liked most about getting my first tattoo was how damned surprised everyone was that I had done something like that.

I keep Penny in reserve, however. Both because she's frankly exhausting, and also because I don't want to lose the element of surprise. Penny is a weapon that must be handled with prudence and caution. It is however, the name I always use when I'm ordering at ShortStop. (Because you never ever use your real name at ShortStop. Never.)

But I've had other names as well. When I was little, I also for a short time went by the name "Kenny." This was, however, solely an issue of practicality, as I couldn't seem to make my "r"s not bend all the way over into "n"s and it just seemed easier to me to change my name than to work on my penmanship. Eventually I got the hang of the letter N and didn't need Kenny anymore, although the name still amuses me.

In high school, my best friend and I called each other "Mrs. Schmenkman" for reasons I can no longer recall.

And as you've read in the header, my dad calls me "Hamchuck."

But sometimes, nothing else will do but "Penny."

Saturday, November 17, 2012

O is for... part two

O is for ... Otters.

I know. How could I do a post about the letter O and not have it be about otters?
For those of you who don't know, I have a huge fascination with otters. I want one. I could spend hours watching them. I love them because they are smart, kind, good swimmers, use tools, and are playful. And then there's this:

While I think all otters are wonderful, I prefer the river otters. They aren't as fluffy and overly cute. They're sharper and maybe a little more mischievous. After all, they are related to weasels, badgers, wolverines and polecats.

An otter's den is called a holt or couch. A male otter is a dog, a female is a bitch, and a baby is a whelp, kit, or pup. The words for a group of otters are bevy, family, lodge or romp or, when in water, raft. A bevy of otters. Yes.

They can live up to 16 years, which is also awesome.

And then of course, there's Emmet Otter.

Otters are literary animals, too, being featured in Brian Jaques' Redwall series, Ring of Bright Water, and remember that Hermione Granger's patronus in the Harry Potter books was an otter.

Yeah, this post was pretty much just a chance for me to look at pictures of otters.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

O is for ...

I had to wait until today to do this post because O was either going to be for "Obama!" or "Oh hell no!"

If you read this blog or my Facebook page, you know where I stand and that my guy won the race. I make no bones about being a left-leaning liberal and I don't think that that "L word" is a dirty word or an epithet. These are simply the things I believe in, the way my experiences have shaped me and the conclusions I've come to over the course of my life.

And I think it's our inclination as humans to seek out others who share our beliefs and feelings. Therefore, obviously, the vast majority of my close friends and the people I keep company with share the same idealogies as me.

So when I was reading Facebook friends' and former classmates' posts this morning about their sorrow over Romney losing the election, I was again puzzled. Especially the women. For me, it made complete sense for women NOT to support someone who has opposed the Violence Against Women Act, for example. I was curious about these other women's beliefs that made them think Romney was the better candidate and would serve them better.

I put a call out on my Facebook page this morning asking them to share with me why. Hopefully, it came across as respectfully as it was meant, and hopefully, if they are friends with me, even if it's just "Facebook" friends, they would understand I wouldn't be rude or disparaging to them after they had shared with me.

Well,as of 8:17p.m. tonight, I have one response! Yay! And I'm happy to say it's thoughtful and serious and I greatly appreciate this woman sharing her thoughts with me. I think she explained her reasons very well:

The main reason I voted for the Romney/Ryan ticket was our national debt and spending issues. Many people seemed to dislike Mitt Romney simply because he was rich and successful and to me I would never begrudge anyone for being rich and successful- if you work hard and earn it- then great for you!!! I voted for him because I felt that he did a great job as a Governor and had a great business mind and could better fix the issues with our economy. Obama bailed out Wall Street and the auto makers- but what about everyone else? While I am all for helping out someone who is down on their luck I feel that there are way too many people that make a lifestyle off entitlements and benefits that were never meant to be permanent. I worry about the future of our country and what my Daughter will have to struggle with as an adult. 

I am also not a believer in ObamaCare. I have already seen the negative aspects of it with companies not hiring full time employees so they do not have to offer health care to them. I certainly do not want a panel of 15 people telling me what I can or can not have for my health care. With that being said I do like that it covers the pre-existing conditions and children until age 26. 

One area where I did not agree with Romney was with some of the social issues. I am pro choice and do not believe government has any right to tell any woman what she can or can not do in regards to her own body. I voted for Romney because I felt he was the choice where most of my values were in line with his. 

Hope this helps and I think it is great that you want to know why others have the opinions they do. I just had a nice conversation with a co-worker yesterday on why her choice would be for Obama and I found it interesting. I would never try to sway someone to vote another way- I am just glad to hear they are going to exercise their right to vote. That is the important thing.

I have to say, for lack of a better phrase, having this conversation is STINKING AWESOME. How much better a country would we be, how much kinder a country would we be, how much SMARTER a country would we be if we all tried to figure out where the people with disagree with are coming from instead of just calling them names?

It seems like there is a great deal of horrified backlash to the viciousness that came out of our post-election hangover and I think that's a good thing. I think it signals that we're sick of this constant fighting and belittling and general atmosphere of mean-spiritedness toward anyone who thinks differently than we do. I hope other people are motivated to work to tear down the fences between "us" and "them" and at the very least, provide a good example for our elected representatives on how to get along and work together.

Enough preaching. It was exciting to be so involved in an election and to see others FINALLY motivated to vote as well. I've always been fascinated by the Presidency. My feminist awakening happened because of the Presidency. However it came to be, as a very small child, I was obsessed by the US Presidents. I think it may have come from a set of ancient illustrated children's encyclopedias my parents had found at a yard sale. I think, honestly, most of my education came from poring over these books. (I would say that about 90% of my knowledge of 20th century history came from Life Magazine's 50th anniversary issue. Seriously.) I read every single volume (although we were missing one or two) and I was absolutely captivated by the highest office in our country.

A relative, knowing of my interest, brought me a ruler with all the US presidents and their dates of office on it as a gift when they were visiting. I remember going up to my dad and whispering to him, "They gave me the wrong one." He looked at the ruler and then back at me, puzzled. "I want the one with the girl presidents. These are all the boy presidents."

So the poor man had to explain to me that there had never been a female president of the United States, and had to deal with the fallout from the tantrum (maybe better described as a hissy fit) I threw upon learning this fact. He tried to soothe me by saying, "Maybe you could be the first! If you work really hard and use the talents you have, maybe you could be the first girl president and then there would be more after you."

So for many many years, until I was well into my teens and had a better idea of what the job entailed, when I was asked, "What do you want to be when you grow up, little girl?" my response was not the expected 'a ballerina,' 'a mommy,' or 'a nurse,' but "the first woman President of the United States of America." I have such affection for Amy Poehler's character Leslie Knope on Parks & Recreation because I think Leslie and I were basically the same child.

(I also became a feminist at an early age when I found out 'girls play softball, boys play baseball.' It did not seem fair in the least that I would be forced to play with a "soft ball" just because I was a girl. I wanted to be a NY Yankee, dammit, not play with a "soft ball" which would probably be pink to boot.)

So, in closing, I'd like to offer some wisdom about how we all need to work together and overcome our differences for the good of our country, but frankly, other people have said it better, I'm drained from being up so late last night, and I need a good margarita. It's been a helluva ride.

PS- My brother Kevin is a HUGE Obama fan and he had some choice words for my sister about Mitt Romney after he voted. It's funny as all hell, but I hesitate to put it here on my blog because people who don't know Kevin and his unique way with words might misunderstand, so email me at hatgirl at mac dot com if you're interested and I'll tell you what he said. (For reference, see my Kevinisms post.)