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promise of spring

Today is a holiday in many traditions. The United States celebrates it as Groundhog’s Day, a completely secular holiday with deeply pagan roots. Many Christians celebrate today as Candlemas or St. Brigid‘s day, or Lady Day, which is a festival in honor of Mary. Celtic pagans celebrate today as Imbolc, or ‘ewe’s milk’ day, which celebrates that lambing season has begun and spring is on its way.

Today is the midpoint between winter and spring. Spring isn’t here yet, but the promise of spring is. It is a good day for starting early seeds, plants that can be put out at first thaw, such as cabbages and lettuces and onions and broccoli. It is a good day for lighting a whole lot of candles and being grateful that the sun no longer sets (what feels like) a half second after it rises. It is a good day for sitting in front of a warm fire and planning out your year.

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Wonder Woman Underoos

Wonder Woman Underoos (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

For those of you who are too young to remember, Underoos were the most awesome underwear on the face of the planet. They were classically cut superhero underwear for boys and girls. Who wouldn’t want the face of a superhero surrounding their privates? (don’t answer that). Kids went wild for the stuff, back in the day. They were even neutral about the great war (DC vs. Marvel), having characters from both universes.

 

Imagine my surprise when I was walking through my local J.C. Penney about three months ago and ran across boy shorts for grown women printed in a Wonder Woman motif (which apparently are no longer available, at least not on their website).  Superhero underwear for me!

 

They looked kind of like these from Spencer’s Gifts, but more like briefs, and minus the garters.

 

superhero underwear

sexy Wonder Woman underwear from Spencer’s

 

Of course I bought a pair. I think they are the only underpants I have ever owned that I have had a (private) conversation about at work (with a trusted friend). They are so much fun to wear. I feel like I’m twelve again.

 

Target has some Wonder Women underwear. Mine are cooler, but theirs are pretty cool. (And they have Batman and Superman women’s undies too)

 

superhero underwear

Wonder Woman superhero underwear from Target

 

 

 

But, see, I am not neutral in the great war. I am a Marvel woman to my tippy toes. And Wonder Woman, as awesome as she is, is pure DC. So today I went looking for Marvel universe superhero underwear for grown women. And I found them. They were a little harder to find, a place I’d never heard of before, called WebUndies.com. And they only come in camisole and panty sets.

 

Here’s Spidergirl:

 

Superhero Underwear

Spidergirl cami and boxer set

 

and Black Widow:

 

Superhero underpants

 

But my all time favorite has got to be She-Hulk (this time from Spencer’s again, where it’s a little cheaper):

 

superhero underwear from

So what questions can I possibly come up with for a (very late) Today’s Dance today based on Underoos and/or superhero underwear in general? Here goes:

  • Do you have fond or painful memories of wearing Underoos or other superhero underwear as a kid? Both? Care to share them?
  • DC or Marvel? Something else? None of the above?
  • Are you tempted to buy a pair of superhero underpants for yourself or a loved one? Boy or girl variety?
  • Does this bring up cozy memories of childhood or naughty fantasies
  • Have you ever seen the scene of Cameron Diaz dancing around in a pair of Underoos in Charlies Angels? There’s some crossover between innocent and naughty there.
  • How does it feel to have ‘permission’ to wear undies (this question is for women only) that are not explicitly sexy. I really wish I had a pic of the ones I have, as they would make it abundantly clear what I mean.
  • If you had the start-up funds to make plain ol’ briefs and or boxer briefs (including both men’s and women’s styles) with licensed prints, what do you think would be awesome to add to the lineup?

As always, the conversation becomes more interesting if you share this post using the handy dandy buttons below. You never have to answer any questions you’re uncomfortable with, and

And here, for your pleasure (and as an apology for being late) is the aforementioned scene with Cameron Diaz in Underoos:

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Originally published at Am I the Only One Dancing?. Please leave any comments there.

Hermione might have been on to something.

Today’s Dance will be delayed because I have to be at work earlier than usual and I got home late last night and didn’t have anything in the can. If you guys feel like helping the creative process, now is your chance to propose topic ideas.

YouTube Preview Image

I’m Late…

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Highclere Castle

Highclere Castle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you have not already discovered Downton Abbey (and if not, why not?), it is a British period television show filmed at Highclere Castle in England that begins on the morning after the Titanic sinks and continues to follow the Earl and Lady Grantham (‘the Crawley family’) and their staff and the people of their estate through the next few decades.

The show examines class and wealth and privilege while providing an entertaining and intelligent human drama that is set firmly in place and time. The relationships are interesting and complicated, and for those of us who like pretty things, there is plenty of eye candy to be had.

Viewers who watch in Great Britain get to watch each season approximately six months ahead of those in America (except for those industrious enough to track down a British version of the show). As an American, I am (usually) patient enough to wait until it comes over the airwaves here, so currently I am on episode three of season three.

I’m going to break the question set in two, one for those who have never seen the series, and one for those who have. Please, no season 3 spoilers in the comments, as I know there are fans from all over the world who read the posts here.

If you have never seen Downton Abbey:

  • From what you have heard of the series, what appeals to you? What doesn’t appeal to you?
  • Are you thinking of watching it at some point, or are you just sick of listening to us enthusiastic fans?
  • Do you like period pieces in general or is that one of the reasons you haven’t watched the show?
  • Are there access problems keeping you from watching the show? Is it not available locally to you or are there financial issues?
  • Is it on your ‘to watch’ list?
  • Do you like to wait to watch some series so that you can watch them ‘all at once’?
  • What would it take for someone to convince you to watch it right now, today?

If you watch Downton Abbey:

  • Who is your favorite character? Why?
  • What storyline do you find most believable? Least believable?
  • How well do you think the series handles the class issues it attempts to portray? What does it do well? What could it do better?
  • If you were a new character in Downton Abbey, who would you be and how would you be introduced?
  • Imagining yourself in the life of one of the staff members, how would that compare to a working or middle class job today? Easier or harder? In what ways?
  • Imagine yourself one of the nobility of that time. Do you think that Downton Abbey ‘soft pedals’ the attitude of the aristocracy to the people of their estates and to their servants?
  • In what ways are the women in the series more alike than different despite class?
  • In what ways are the men in the series more alike than different despite class?
  • How different is the world of Downton Abbey from today’s world? How is it similar?
  • What do you find funny in the show? Tragic? Heartwarming? (remember, no season 3 spoilers)

As with every other Today’s Dance, feel free to ponder your responses silently, leave them below, and share them with friends using the buttons at the bottom of the post.

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Two apple trees, coated in ice following an ic...

Two apple trees, coated in ice following an ice storm, with the sun shining bright in the afternoon sky. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As I write this, the weather forecast is predicting we will get 1-4 inches of snow on top of a day’s worth of rain that will turn in to a sheet of ice when the temperature plummets in about an hour. I have lived in climates where it snows from around October through April, and climates that never see snow at all.

Where I live now, we get ice storms nearly as much as we get snow storms, and believe me, ice storms are worse. And during those snow storms and ice storms, I used to sit comfy and warm at home, an unexpected day off school, and read, and scrawl in my journal, and look out the windows at the snow covered beauty of the day, made all the more beautiful because I didn’t have to go anywhere through it.

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The Dispossessed: A Novel (Perennial Classics)When I was a little girl in the 1970s, I discovered science fiction through fantasy. I started with the Hobbit, and then found a few dusty paperbacks to stretch my wings on: Battle for the Planet of the Apes by Pierre Boulin, Andre Norton‘s Breed to Come, and then worked my way through the Heinlein juveniles and the Robot series by Asimov. I discovered Madeline L’Engle and Ursula LeGuin and discovered that women wrote science fiction too (I had no idea Andre Norton was a woman).

I watched every Star Trek rerun I could get my hands on, all of the Twilight Zones, the original Battlestar Galactica, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, and even Lost in Space and Land of the Lost when I needed a fix. I watched both the Star Trek animated series and the Planet of the Apes animated series, both on old black and white TVs over the air with help from a rabbit-ear antenna.

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a matter of some urgencyThis week’s giveaway is a little different. There is no raffle, no contest. This is just a thank you from me to you for hanging out over here and reading my scribbles.

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self harm

Caution: Possible triggers for self harm. No disturbing images.

on self harm:

It won’t surprise anyone who knows me that self-harm is often on my mind. No, by conventional definitions I do not self harm. I do occasionally indulge in emotional overeating, but that’s pretty much the extent of it. I do, however, have both clinical training and life experience with the effects of self harm and a deep sympathy for those who feel the need.

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Today's Dance

Introducing Today’s Dance

Today’s Dance is a new feature on Am I the Only One Dancing? Using current news, pop culture, geek culture, or miscellaneous interesting things in the world, I will create a question set to spark a discussion among readers. It will be posted each morning and you are encouraged to join in and share your experiences and opinions.

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Writing

Writing (Photo credit: jjpacres)

Virginia Wolfe had it right with regard to the difficulty of writing with multiple competing obligations and the lack of a personal space to write in. She used the illustration of Jane Austin, who had the great good fortune of a good income and a supportive family to help her bring her amazing pieces of fine literature to fruition.

I am not the only writer to fall prey to this dilemma. Over the course of my adult life, I have found times when I could be extremely productive, and others when I have gone weeks or even months without writing anything of note. Talking to my many friends who write, they report similar issues.

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This is icon for social networking website. Th...

Reddit (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

(Thank you, Sam)

About two years ago I discovered reddit with one purpose: to advertise my blog. Guess how long it took for me to be ‘shadow banned’. Go ahead, guess.

(The answer is, I don’t know either, but I know I only had it lifted this weekend when I asked).

I know reddit has been in the news this years for two separate reasons: The notoriety of a redditer who was posting suggestive pictures of minors without their or their parents’ consent, and the tragic suicide of Aaron Swartz, who had a great deal to do with the rise of reddit.

Honestly, these aren’t the reasons that I went back. In fact, that skeevy redditer was a reason for me to avoid the service. And then a Facebook friend a generation younger than I am posted on her timeline how much fun she was having wandering around reddit…

Which led me to want to advertise on it. (Still not getting it)…

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Senate Passes Insurance Industry Aid Bill

(Photo credit: Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com)

The CEO of Whole Food, John Mackey, has gotten a lot of the left blogosphere up in arms after stating in an interview earlier this week that “Obamacare is a form of fascism”. Want to unpack that statement and examine it?

First, let’s set some ground rules. Fascism is not identical to Nazism, and it is not necessary to be a proponent of Nazi ideology to be fascist. There were various fascist dictatorships in the 20th century, and not all were Nazi. So let’s get Godwin’s Rule out of the way. However, to give credit where credit is due, I suspect John Mackey was misusing the term ‘fascism’ to mean ‘corporatism’ and not ‘Nazism’.

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Cover of "Swords Of Haven: Hawk and Fisher

Simon R. Green writes tight, fast paced, carefully plotted fiction that treats both its readers and characters as three dimensional human beings. The Adventures of Hawk and Fisher as written in Guards of Haven and Swords of Haven are actually a total of six wonderful novella length noirs set in a fantasy universe.

Each story starts with a detailed account of how miserable a city Haven is, especially the Northend, where Captains Hawk and Fisher of the city Guard patrol. Green carefully describes each character, with Hawk a tall, wiry man in his early thirties beginning to ‘build a belly’, and Fisher a tall, handsome woman in her late twenties with a long braid weighted by a ball hanging to her waist. He points out that they are husband and wife. And then he turns them loose on a situation that is never what it appears to be.

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Originally published at Am I the Only One Dancing?. Please leave any comments there.

websiteI have made my thought process on the development of my website pretty transparent since I launched.

  • It has an overriding theme instead of a subject, and I have a goal of writing at least one ‘content’ post per day.
  • It is a commercial site with the eventual goal of supporting my family.
  • It has as its main idea ‘Personal happiness is valuable, achievable and extendable to the world.’
  • It honors a sense of fun without meanness.
  • Each article comes from a place of compassion even in anger.
  • Personal life affects professional life affects political life affects personal life.
  • Shopping is fun and providing ways to find deals on line is a service I enjoy providing.
  • Giving away stuff is also fun and something I enjoy doing for my readers.
  • Alerting people to situations where their help can make a difference is important.
  • Every post should add value to readers’ lives.
  • I want a community to form around this website that shares these ideals.

So, to put it mildly, I have some ambitious goals around this website, which run into two primary barriers: available time and organization of ideas. And of course, limits on talent, but I do what I can with what I have.

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crazy people and guns

Gun Wall (Photo credit: Mike Saechang)

Whoa, Nelly.

I’m no foe to moderate, reasonable limits on gun ownership… but I swear if I read one more comment about how if ‘crazy people’ couldn’t get guns, we wouldn’t need any other measures.. I will, uh, write a blog post about how many ways that statement is wrong.

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dandilionI work in a high burnout field. I work in a VERY high burnout field. About every two years or so I hit a wall, and I hit it hard. And yet, I love doing therapy. Even more, I love doing case management and working with people to help them get their basic needs met and improve their lives.

I love blogging, and doing internet activism, and coming up with ways to help people improve their lives and publishing them, and seeing comments when I’ve touched someone’s life in a positive way.

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glovesI haven’t done as much knitting lately as I would like to… life and arthritic hands getting in the way. Since November, though, I have been working on a pair of gloves for my father based on the World War II pattern provided by the American Red Cross for knitters to provide gloves for soldiers serving ‘over there’.

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English: Tibetan endless knot Nederlands: Tibe...

English: Tibetan endless knot Nederlands: Tibetaanse Oneindige knoop (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The need for redemption comes from the knowing or thoughtless harm of others, particular harm to those who we gave reason to trust us. It is a human need, a need for forgiveness and more, to feel that we are better than we once were, and deserving of something new.

I have listened, many times, as men (and women) who have done terrible things over the years cry at the price those things have exacted, in family, employment, freedom. They are crying to me because I am there to help, to get the monkey off their backs.

Forty years old, and the child they sired at twenty is now grown, a memory and a faded photograph in the wallet. The dream of music, or art, or craft has long since been subsumed under the daily effort of survival. The accumulated guilt over day to day choices that never thought of the future almost too heavy to bear now.

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Before Foreplay

My Love (Photo credit: Jennuine Captures)

Seventeen years.

When we met, both Husband and I were skinny. Actually, I was slender. He was skinny. And we were dirt poor. And we had one kid, not two. And we had twice as much energy and half as many responsibilities as we do now.

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to mike

At my first wedding, waiting for Mike to walk to me, with my parents

Below is a very personal outpouring. I discovered my ex-husband was dying on Sunday night, and he died yesterday morning. My oldest son is his son, but my ex had cut himself off from everyone, including our son and his parents, for over fifteen years.

The marriage wasn’t a good one. I married very young and he was a much more dangerous person than I dreamed of when I married him. Still, he died alone, with no friends or family, after fifteen years away. This is the only eulogy he will be getting. It will have to do.

 To Mike:

I got a call from your mother Sunday night. She got a call from the hospital. There you are, dying, never to awaken again. The hospital wants my son. Our son. Your son. To make the decision to pull the plug.

There’s the, of course, ‘fuck you’ side of this. How dare you do this to him. You haven’t seen him since he was five. What kind of father does that to his son.

But I already know what kind. I married that kind, and then walked, and ran, away. Eaten up, so consumed by hatred and bitterness that you spread its poison to my heart too, where it lingered awhile. Determined not to be who your parents wanted you to be. You showed them. (I want you to know they both cried when they found out. Both of them.)

Turns out you’ve been dying for years, and no one knew. I only knew that you still haunt my dreams, the nightmares, the silent shaking, the ducking when Call of Duty is on the Playstation, because the gunfire. The gunfire. And yet.

In with ‘fuck you’, resting uncomfortably, is pity, raw and deep, and another anger. This me who I am now? It’s in response to you. My own ‘fuck you’. I’m going to be the better person. I’m going to be good, and generous, and compassionate, and its going to matter. That’s what I told myself, and it worked.

But never, ever, for you. And there it is. You were my first love, the one who first kissed me, the one whose phone calls made me dream for hours of our future together. Your chocolate eyes had me believing your lies for so many years. And so I mourn. You never grew, you never changed, you never learned.

You stayed stuck, and in an irony I didn’t believe until I got that call last night, you were homeless and alone all those years I was caring for the homeless. All those years I was caring for you, still. All those years I still wanted you to grow, to learn, even though it was too late for us.

I can’t let anyone see me cry over you. My son. OUR son – never knew you, save as a small boy that yes, you treated well, until you abandoned him. My husband, my husband now and always. The man I love now, who gave me everything my heart needed and wanted. I can’t hurt him with this love I still feel for you. I can’t because he knows its an echo, a shadow of something that died long ago, and he has the fresh, the alive me of today.

And you, unconscious. You still control everything. You still get your way, in the end. I have to think of you. I have to be a part of your death as I was part of your life. I hate you for that, as much, or more, as I ever loved you.

Your son will call the hospital. He will do what he needs to do. He will go to his grandparents and let them mourn with him. Through it all, he will feel very little, possibly nothing, of you. He doesn’t know you, the quicksilver grin, the rages, the anger, the jokes that were so, so cruel, and yet funny. He doesn’t know how you held my hair while I cried, while the worst depression of my life washed over me again and again, for years. He doesn’t know, really, how utterly terrified I was of you, even long after you were out of my life.

He doesn’t know, and he never will, and damn you, it’s all on you. I don’t want to mourn you. I don’t want to hope that you will be reborn again in a child with another chance at happiness, at love, at inner peace. But that is what I hope for you.

Thank you for the one truly good thing you produced in your life – your son. For him, much of the rest of your life can be forgiven.

Added later: (You died this morning, before anyone got there to say goodbye, before anyone had to make that hard, hard choice. I guess you got it after all).

Goodbye, Mike. May you reach out in the next life for the things you rejected in this one. Goodbye. May you and I both find peace, at last.

Me.

March 1965 – January 2013

Grief is a complicated thing. I’m finding myself unwillingly remembering the good in him, the things I saw in him when I married him, when I held on to the fear and hate and anger for years in order to survive.

It is time to let go of all of it. The irony of it all was that, in the end, he was another of my homeless guys. I had heard the rumors, but I didn’t believe them. Like a cat, he had always landed on his feet. I thought he was invincible. I was wrong.

He produced an amazingly wise and kind son who makes me proud every day of his life. That’s not too shabby an achievement, for all of that.

Thank you, gentle readers, for reading this. I hope it helps you when you go through your own grief at a loved one whose life course angered or disappointed you. Remember both halves, the good and the bad, and honor your feelings of grief as well as your feelings of anger, disappointment, shame, whatever you’re feeling. You’ll get through them much faster.

 

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