How about a TBT post

I’ve decided to revisit a short little post for TBT that, over the last four years, has gotten a surprising number of views which I attribute to the title, not the content.  The ironic thing about this post from June 2010 is that it was actually a transfer post from my original Blogspot blog started well before 2010. The post is simplistic and I feel confident in saying, not my best work.

Currently my dilemma is the decision to either just post the piece and leave it up to you to make of it what you will, or to attempt, based on my current views and convictions, to perhaps perform some sort of moralistic justification for the post. I did, at the time of writing the post, give a cryptic nod to the fact that what I did at fourteen in 1975 would not be what I would advocate, or personally do if I was fourteen today. I simply feel rather hypocritical though, because there I was, with my BFF at the time, no longer the geeky, awkward, oddly proportioned girl that I had been throughout elementary and junior high school.

I had blossomed, as they say, although who exactly says that is a mystery to me. My braces were off, my body was taking on the image portrayed in all those health class textbooks, you know what I mean, the body that a fourteen, almost fifteen year old girl is supposed to have by social standards, and my confidence level was climbing. What I wanted more than anything, at that point in my life, was to be noticed by people with penises. I had no intention of doing anything with those people, or those penises at that time, I just wanted to be noticed as finally being something more than the odd, unattractive, nerdy Debbie. The hypocritical part, if you haven’t guessed, lies in the fact that, after describing that summer vacation in the original post, I should have gone off on a feminist tangent regarding a behavior that was clearly driven by social pressure to be the acceptable and socially normative feminine. I should have written in large, bold letters something like:

Even though I just shared this outlandish memory with you, please know that I am a feminist and I do not condone this display of gendered behavior, even though it was 1975 and being “hot’ was probably the greatest thing that I could be at the time.

In other words, I should have owned my feminism four years ago, but just as the word atheist took a disjointed route out of my person, so did the word feminist. I knew what I was, but I didn’t know why really, or how to bring voice to that person.

One of the great things that I have learned as a feminist is that we bring to, and draw from, all the experiences we have lived prior to taking up a feminist flag. Everything shapes us, and that’s obviously true for everyone, not just feminists so please don’t get pissed that I’m making an observation specific to one group and leaving others out. I think personal experience can easily be generalized as important to everyone and their evolution in the social process of gendered relations.

So now that I have taken the time to explain myself after all, here is my TBT post, along with a picture not included in the original posting.

1975, Hot Babes, and an RV Road Trip

Without question my favorite summer memory has to be a road trip taken with my family and best friend at the time, Karen. This trip was between freshman and sophomore year of high school.

My parents rented a motor home and we set out on an odyssey across Washington, Idaho, Wyoming and Montana. I had no siblings my age and Karen and I had struck up a friendship during junior high school. In a way, this was a last hurrah of sorts: she and I would be going to different high schools in the fall.

I remember very little about the sites that passed by out our coach windows. What I do remember is two boy crazy girls in short cut off jeans and halter tops who thought they were probably the cutest things to cross the border of any of those states in over one hundred years. I mean, we thought we were HOT. And these ideas were reinforced in scenes such as this:

After parking and setting up “camp” in an RV park in one of those states mentioned earlier Karen and I decided we would venture down the highway to have pizza at a local restaurant. Our hotness was totally reinforced as we received numerous…well maybe two…very defined and nicely drawn out honks from passing cars filled with local teen guys.

Our other favorite pastime involved bikinis and the back window of the RV. Use your imagination on that one.

I am now almost 51 years old and have a much different perspective on these events. But hey, it was 1975, we were young, we were hot and this was the best summer I have ever had!



Some academic musing

Today, at noon, the youngest daughter (this is the one who graduated from college just days after me) will be taking the Graduate Record Exam (GRE).

Had she been given a choice she would not be taking this exam today, but she spent her collegiate years focused on both social and geological sciences. If you’ve been around IATIW for any time then you have heard the story of Running Start, anthropology/archaeology, 6 weeks in the Oregon desert, double majors, and passions for rocks, sediments, and stratified hillsides.

Geology will be her focus in graduate school, and graduate school geology programs require the GRE. She has been studying for months, and for months, she has been hovering between quiet acceptance and downright indignation over this exam. I have seen what is involved in this exam, which by the way, is only the general exam and not a discipline specific version. I would not pass this exam, at least not the math portion.

When this day is over the next big step is to finish up all the applications, double-check on all the recommendations, edit and finalize a CV and personal statement, send everything off by January and then sit back, definitely on pins and needles, and wait.

She has chosen four universities, with two in reserve for the future if all goes afoul this time around. One is in our state of Washington, one in Oregon, then Colorado and Arizona. She believes each program is promising, and would let her focus on a specialization area that suits her. I don’t think that she has a favorite from that group. I know she just wants to get accepted, somewhere. Plus, research funding and graduate teaching offers would be greatly appreciated and willingly accepted, and actually necessary.

I think you can imagine that stress is an understatement in describing her position right now.

So dear readers, what has been your own experience with graduate school exams like the GRE or equivalent? Any words of advice regarding grad school in general?


Media Monday: One man and a dog-and another dog.

Warning: Do not start to read this post or the links included without a large box of tissues nearby. Animal lover or not, I think you will be deeply and emotionally touched by this story.

A Facebook friend who lives in Portland Oregon owns a miniature schnauzer named Harvey. This individual has long followed the Facebook page of Tom Ryan, a journalist who owns Atticus M Finch, another miniature schnauzer. The story of Tom and Atticus, along with their great adventures, has been compiled into a book written by Tom and entitled Following Atticus.

On occasion, my Facebook pal has shared posts from Tom’s page. They would catch my attention at times, and I began to notice that they were typically centered on Tom’s second miniature schnauzer named Will. Tom never planned to become William Lloyd Garrison’s owner. He details quite clearly in his blog what led up to his taking Will into his home.** Be warned here-the blog posts you will encounter initially not only explain some of Will and Tom’s background, but also make it quite clear that Will has reached the end of his life as Tom posts about plans for the last few days with Will.

This past Friday marked Will’s goodbye. Friends of Tom and Atticus and Will took over many of the updates and posts at Following Atticus in the last days and weeks. Tom has also shared some of his own emotions, along with pictures and videos of Will.

This story is heart-wrenching, yet just as heart-warming and triumphant. I have had to stop at least four times since beginning this post to breathe and fight back tears. I have not been able to read much of what has been posted, nor can I watch the videos of Will in his last days. Tom’s words are profound and filled with love for an animal that was once a throw away.

I will let you read as much or as little as you are able, and discover for yourself the story of Tom and Atticus and Will. It will be a story that I think you won’t forget.

After posting of his last moments with Will, Tom shared that he has begun a campaign, working in conjunction with his local animal shelter, to honor Will by seeking donations for the shelter. While not a unique idea by any means, it seems a wonderful tribute to a good friend.

Tom also shared in one of his updates that he has long had the desire to own some land, and begin a shelter for abused and unwanted animals.

The name Tom has chosen for his new farm/rescue home: Sweet William Farm.