Sunday, January 27, 2008

Who is Gloria Steinem?

I heard Gloria Steinem muse about Hilary Clinton on CBC radio last week, and I was thinking about how many of my peers don't know who she is. Then I read a Globe and Mail editorial called "It's official: Feminism is out of style" by Karen von Hahn on Saturday. Here is a snippet that struck a chord:

The revelation that I should be stuffed and put on display in some sort of museum of women's liberation came to me while playing a board game over the holidays with my 26-year-old niece and 18-year-old daughter. The game is called Hoopla: You pick a card and act out the person, place or thing named on it for the group to guess. After drawing her card, my hip and literate niece asked whether she could choose another. "I don't have any idea who this is," she said, passing the card to my daughter. "Me neither," shrugged my well-informed Sophie. They passed it to me. The woman on the card was Gloria Steinem.

A couple of years ago I found Gloria Steinem's book Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions (1983) in a free book pile at the UVic library. I knew her name because I'm an avid fan of Bust Magazine, so I grabbed the book and read most of it before passing it onto my sister. It was so good that it made me sad. I wish I had read it sooner! I wish it was required reading in high school! I was especially struck by her thoughts on women changing their last names when they marry (because this is a debate that I constantly bring up with anyone who will engage me) and of course, there's her once famous article that exposes the experience of Playboy Bunnies (it's only ok to aspire to this occupation if you are Stephin Merrit of Magnetic Fields).

Gloria Steinem is a feminist icon and founder of Ms. Magazine, but one of the things that I like best about her is that she is comfortable changing her mind; after denouncing marriage for years, she married David Bale - Christian Bale's father - in 2000.

Even if you don't identify with second wave feminism like I do, I hope that you agree that Gloria Steinem is an important name to remember.

I tried to find a clip from last week's CBC interview to include with this post, but I found a crazy video clip instead. Watch it for the cantaloupe shot alone. It's from 1968 interview with CBC, and you can see the whole interview here. Tell me what you think!

Update: I just watched the whole interview. It's really strange in quite a few ways. What's up with the ironing? And the comments about her looks? Not a hateful looker? Really? I do like what she says about what she wants to be when she grows up: "free and old and a little mean."

Friday, January 18, 2008

Grow your own snow

The irony is that instead of blogging, I'm supposed to be doing research for my directed reading course on blogging right now.

The following series of pictures documents the outcome of a birthday present that Shannon gave Michael last fall. It was a mysterious made-in-China gift that we threw away pretty quickly because what is it? Some kind of creepy mold?

Michael followed the instructions, pouring the mystery gel into the plastic base. The trees were thirsty. So was the mountain:
After a couple of hours we saw the first "blooms" on the "grass:"Then the trees turned pink. This is when we began to wonder what was in the mystery gel, exactly:

This is just before we put on face masks and threw the freak show away:

Thanks for the entertainment Shannon!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Celebrating anniversaries

Michael and I celebrated our anniversary on Friday. It's been 11 years since we met at Angie's 18th birthday party in Rosetown. Sure, we're not married, but you'd think the sheer length of time would give us some sort of official status in his grandma's eyes. Nope. Only married couples can sleep together in her house. I can't figure out if that is a reason to protest marriage or a reason to just get married already.

We celebrated the anniversary by going to Zambri's for dinner. Our meal was unbelievable and I'd like to go back soon, especially because it's in my neighbourhood. First, the fried mozzarella appetizer is one of the best things we've ever eaten. It was served on top of minty orange pieces and with four types of compotes for dipping: cherry, chili, fig and date. Second, there was some luxurious type of bacon in my pasta. Third, the lemony aperitif that we drank before the meal was delicious and strong, making for some wonderful dinner-time conversation. All of those things made our anniversary great (if you didn't catch them the first time, those things were cheese, bacon and booze).

But do you know what's more impressive than 11 years?

35 years!

My parents celebrated their coral wedding anniversary on Nov. 25, 2007, and since I never wrote about it then, I'm doing it now. Mom and Dad, your relationship has provided me with a pretty good example of relationship longevity. Keep up with the good example!

I didn't buy my folks a coral present. Instead, I gave them one of my favorite books ever: Learning To Love You More by Miranda July and Harrell Fletcher. It's a very touching coffee table book about shared human experiences and creativity. The book features selections from a website that challenged people to complete and submit assignments in order to explore the value of creative constraints. The assignments were usually silly and/or simple, but they had emotional results. I never knew about the website, which is no longer posting new assignments, until Sarah Mundy told me about it in a comment on this blog.

After musing about how I should do something more to acknowledge their momentous occasion, I realized that the answer was staring me in the face. The cover of the book features a photo of a couple kissing, which was captured for Assignment #39: take a picture of your parents kissing (or at least hugging). Do not send us an older picture of your parents, we are looking for a new picture taken specifically for this assignment.

I realized that I had to complete the assignment, and I convinced my parents to help me out. After some shyness and a few awkward angles, I got the picture I wanted:

This photo was taken in the Saskatoon Airport on January 4, 2008. My parents were dropping Michael and I off for our trip back to Victoria. Then I took a picture of them. Kissing.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Holiday realities

I went to Saskatchewan for two weeks over the Christmas break. I imagined myself skiing and napping by the fireplace everyday. Instead, I spent a lot of time coordinating dates with various people. Shannon and Chris: they were only home for a week; Michael: he left for SK a week earlier than me and we spent Christmas apart, so I missed him; Imti and Raissa: it's not often that our good buddies are home at the same time as us; Baba: special time has to be set aside because Baba is best one-on-one; Michael's family: I wanted to spend more time with the Bowens because there wasn't a lot of quality time at the extended family Christmas events; Mom and Dad: these two are especially tough because they are never satisfied. Am I right Mom and Dad? Lesson learned: Christmas is not about spending time by yourself.

The good news: on our way home from a night in Prince Albert, my parents and I managed to fit in a little skiing:

I think I curled up by the fireplace when I got home.