The Arc of Feminism

I recently read The Arc by Tory Henwood Hoen. The book talks about a very involved matchmaking site- and we see the story of the two main characters Ursula and Rafael as they get matched up on the site, and their ensuing relationship.

As a Rom-Com, this book is somewhat light and reasonably enjoyable. The style of the matchmaking app gives the reader much to think about regarding dating in the 21st century, and relationships between two people.

However…

You knew there was going to be a however…

The book manages to mention feminism 16 times. 16 times in a book about dating, a book that features a woman who wants a partner so badly she goes to an expensive and completely over the top dating app. I’m not saying that a feminist can’t be married. I’m saying that during one of these waves of feminism, isn’t there at least one that says that a woman is complete without having a man?

Does a rom com need to prove how feminist it is?

Or

Is the author embarrassed that they wrote a rom com, and wants to make sure her feminism card isn’t revoked?

As my new thing is to give you quotes from books that I read, here’s the ways the author used feminist/feminism:

  1. White Carrara marble and rose gold dominated the palette at The Stake, the nouveau feminist wellness club where she and Issa convened as often as their schedules allowed- usually once or twice a month.(Hoen) Do we need to call a wellness club feminist? Is getting a massage and a mani bad, so we need to call it feminist to take the edge off that sometimes woman may want to treat their bodies because they might be stressed out, being a feminist and all?
  2. Some argued that rather than advancing the feminist cause, The Stake bastardized it. (Hoen) Ok- we can see here that quote 1 was not satire- the book is trying to make some sort of feminist statement. Wellness spas- friend of the feminist or foe?
  3. Right, like you get together at your feminist wellness club and drink green juice and complain about dating.” said Issa. Are we mocking feminism here?
  4. Orla’s engagement crumbled in the ensuing weeks once Chip realized that not only would there be no inheritance, but that Orla also had what he called a “latent feminist temperment” that he found troubling.” (Hoen)
  5. This was convenient, since her thirties coincided with the rise of fourth-wave feminism. (Hoen)
  6. Is he a real feminist or just a self-described ‘feminist‘ who actually wants to teach you how to do things you already know how to do? (Hoen) Is this how we judge men- trying to figure out which type of feminist the guy is?
  7. On my own, I am this well defined, strong, feminist, career-driven person.(Hoen) So -can we be a feminist and be in a relationship? Or is the implication that once I becomes we, we is no longer feminist?
  8. He has feminist values, but he doesn’t brag about being a feminist in that annoying way that some men do, when they’re just doing it to curry favor with women? (Hoen) Can men be feminists?
  9. It was a good investment on Mike’s part, although the irony was not lost on Ursula that all of the funding for this feminist-wellness empire came from middle-aged men hoping to profit from it. (Hoen) If this was the only time that feminism was mentioned in the book, I would be happy with it. This is a solid thought and observation, but it gets mired in the rest of the feminist bull.
  10. When I think about what it means to be a working woman and a feminist, you’re the person I think of. (Hoen) Can you be a working woman and not be a feminist? I mean, isn’t the whole bring home the bacon and fry it up in the pan cause I’m a woman W-O-M-A-N, I’ll say it again the theme that feminism was based on?
  11. “Our child will be too busy leading a post-capitalist feminist revolution to worry about things like racquet sports.” (Hoen) This one just annoys me. Talk about a man trying to curry favor with a woman…
  12. “You don’t have to singlehandedly solve for the ills of the capitalist system, and you don’t have to win Most Valuable Feminist every year,” said Rafael. (Hoen)
  13. “Isn’t feminism about freedom of choice, anyway?” he asked. (Hoen) I ask that very question
  14. “Aren’t feminists allowed to take breaks too?” (Hoen)
  15. “Your whole ‘woke feminist” schtick has gone a little far,” said Roger. (Hoen)
  16. “I think fourth-wave feminism has veered a little off course,” said Issa as they drank their moon water and stared into the flames. (Hoen)

Do you think books throw in certain topics so that they can seem weighty or relevant?

If we are reaching for a light/beach read, do we want to be listing the pros and cons of feminism in our heads?

Is the true meaning of feminism live and let live- do as you please with no judgement? Or do we use the veil of feminism to continue to judge other women?

What has had more waves: Covid or feminism?

Discuss:

Resizing the Nest

One of the biggest things I learned this past year was readjusting how I cook. I am no longer making meals for three- I am now making meals for two. This has forced me to take a deeper look into my cookware- what items I need, what items I can toss and what things I need to buy in a smaller size.

As of now, I haven’t yet tossed anything- but I do wonder how much cookware I actually need. And bakeware- I have only recently begun baking- yet I seem to have every sort of pan needed to bake things…

But you know what the problem with baking really is? You have to do something full size. When it comes to cooking, it’s very easy to adjust a recipe dependent on how many people are eating…But baking? A nine inch layer cake is a nine inch layer cake and I don’t have the chops to figure out how to half the recipe… I can’t quite seem to master what half an egg is…

So I’ve been trying to come up with ways to try and bake delicious concoctions, but doing them in small sizes so that I don’t have dessert for days…

I’ve found that cookie dough is pretty easy to adjust- well- sort of adjust. I now freeze half of the dough, either as a log that can be sliced, or as individual cookies separated by parchment. This way I can bake just a few cookies at a time.

Pudding recipes are easy to reduce- it’s not exactly baking, so the measurements don’t have to be exact. I made a killer faux chocolate mousse that was easy to adjust for just two portions.

I have considered freezing half of a cake, unadorned, and then defrosting and frosting it as needed- just wondering how the texture will hold up.

I’m lousy at pie crust, so I don’t even want to begin to play with that recipe- I can’t even make a regular one…Mini? Forget about it…

So my questions for you are:

  1. Do you mini bake? If so, what do you think the easiest things to microsize are?
  2. Do you just bake something you feel like eating and then give away the unused portions?
  3. What are your favorite baked goods?
  4. Do you prefer homemade or bakery desserts?

Gratitude and Mindfulness

One of my friends had a tough week. There’s very little that’s worse than someone you care about having troubles, and there being nothing you can do to ease their pain, whether it be mental, physical or emotional. It’s hard to be grateful when you know someone is hurting.

But I am grateful for my friends, and that we can talk to one another. I’m grateful to know that there are ears willing to listen to me when I am down, and that others trust me enough to talk to me.


My mindfulness/journaling word for the week is Authenticity.

It’s used in the books I’m reading in the following sentences:

  1. Polly had given Laura a ride to the store, but rater than wait for SnaggleBuggle to extricate himself from an argument with Clare about brand authenticity, Laura had decided to walk home. Abbi Waxman
  2. That’s all right: boredom is an authentic emotion just like any other, and you’re allowed to feel it. Kate Peers
  3. In a world where language is too often used to manipulate, poems can help us find our authentic voice. Caroline Kennedy
  4. Memory is a fickle thing, but other than names and certain identifying details- which I have changed out of respect for others’ privacy- I have endeavored to document my family’s undocumented years as authentically and intimately as possible. Qian Julie Wang
  5. Make sure to carve out some time and space so you can tap into your deepest, most authentic desires. Shira Gill

How I’m going to think about authenticity this week:

  1. Do we have trouble being authentic?
  2. Do we want to be authentic, or is this a word we throw around because we are struggling to find out who we are?
  3. What does authentic really mean in our day to day lives?
  4. Has authenticity become a marketing term? When we think authentic do we think brand?
  5. Am I authentic?
  6. Are we afraid to be authentic?
  7. Quote 3- is poetry more authentic than prose?
  8. The word authentic was used the most times in a home organization book- in our homes do we try to show who we want to be instead of who we are?
The Smaller Orchid by Amy Clampitt

Love is a climate
small things find safe
to grow in- not
(though I once supposed so)
the demanding cattleya
du cote de chez Swann,
glamour among the faubourgs,
hothouse overpowerings, blisses
and cruelties at teatime, but this
next-to-unidentifiable wildling,
hardly more than a
sprout, I’ve found
flourishing in the hollows
of a granite seashore —
a cheerful tousle, little,
white, down-to-earth orchid
declaring its authenticity,
if you hug the ground
close enough, in a powerful
outdoorsy-domestic
whiff of vanilla.

Poem Attribution © Amy Clampitt, The Smaller Orchid





Anything Can Happen Friday: Butter Knives- The Conclusion

Last week I brought up the great butter knife debate: Do I really need them? I asked the group and here’s what I learned about butter knives, how others use them, and how I use them:

Most people stated that they could not spread butter or frankly spread anything with a steak knife. It was at that moment I realized I don’t have as many spreading needs as others do. Want to hear our families dirty secret? We don’t own a toaster- If we want something toasty, we either put it on broil in the oven, or we fry it in a pan, and toss in the butter in the pan so it melts into whatever we are toasting. But we just don’t toast things on a regular basis. And if for whatever reason we are having a baguette with dinner, we use the little butter spreader that came with our set.

We don’t make that many sandwiches in our house. I don’t often spread condiments on bread- I think I make a sandwich once a month- more likely every other month. Occasionally my husband will make tuna (you might remember the tuna v tuna salad debate in our household) but he uses a spoon to add the mayo and a spoon to spread it on the bread.

If I am having people over for dinner, I don’t serve bread. I figure there is always enough of the other stuff so bread is just not needed-

I don’t have children coming over to dinner- my ten year old niece is as close as it comes, but as she lives across the country, children using these things are not a concern.

I also own service for ten of “good” silverware- I have utensils for pretty much every eating need if need be- In fact- it would probably be in my best interest to use my “good” stuff every day.

I don’t have a tremendous amount of storage space- I have two drawers and they hold not only eating utensils, but all things that I need to cook and bake. I tried putting the steak knives with my cooking knives in the knife block, but then it becomes too hard to get the proper knives I need when doing meal prep- which leads me to get very frustrated. I want to store the steak knives in the drawer, but steak + butter is just too much.

Conclusion

Here’s what I have decided to do:

I am going to put five butter knives in a box where I keep my dishes, and keep one butter knife with my prep knives. If I need the extra butter knives within the next three months I’ll keep them. If I have no need for them, I’m donating them.

The Truth

A few months back I wrote a post https://wakinguponthewrongsideof50.com/2022/02/10/contextually-speaking/. The comments from this post made me think of the following:

Is there such a thing as “truth” or are there only statements that can proven or disproven? Does truth really exist?

I went to our friends at merriam-webster.com for their definition of truth:

  1. the body of real things, events, and facts
  2. the state of being the case
  3. a transcendent fundamental or spiritual reality
  4. the property of being in accord with fact or reality
  5. fidelity to an original or to a standard
  6. sincerity in action, character, and utterance

What do you think of when you hear the word truth? Is there always going to be another side to the story, no matter what the story is? Does each individual own their own truth?

I had a conversation with someone the other day-

Person A- But you need to tell B that they are wrong

Me- I don’t tell adults what to think

Person A- But you should tell them statement 33

Me- I don’t tell adults what to think

Person A- did you tell them statement 35?

(this went on for a few minutes with different statement numbers entering the argument)

Me- Back in 1999, when you were stockpiling supplies and food and hiding money in the house because Y2K was going to be the end of the civilized world (no joke- Person A just finished those supplies like two years ago) did you listen to anyone who said you were crazy?

Person A- well, ahhh, ummm,

If someone believes something strong enough, does it become their truth? Will someone find their own facts and proof in order to back up how they think about something? Does truth exist?

Here are some talking points for today:

  1. How do you define truth?
  2. Is there something you believe in even though others do not?
  3. Do you think truth is individual or universal?
  4. Is there such a thing as truth?

Value v Time

I ride public transit. In order to ride, I need to pay. Though we’ve recently adopted the OMNY system, which allows us to swipe a credit card or an Apple Pay tap, until very recently we had to rely on Metrocards- fare cards that needed to be refilled at the station.

When you need to refill your Metrocard, you go to a machine, insert your card, and you’re given two options:

  1. Add Value
  2. Add Time

Add value or add time.

I had never really thought about the impact of those words until recently, when I read the book Smile The Story of a Face by Sarah Ruhl. The author became afflicted with Bell’s Palsy after giving birth to twins, and the book is her memoir about dealing with the effects of BP. There is a section where Ruhl talks about refilling her metrocard and facing the options of adding value or adding time…

I have always been confused by these two options, which never fail to glimmer with existential meaning: Do I prefer Value or Time? But isn’t time value? Could I not have them both? A subway car often came by while I contemplated this question: value or time, time or value… Sarah Ruhl

When I read this section, my first thought was: How have I never overthought that as I refilled my metrocard. Maybe I have to turn in my “Biggest Overthinker in the World” badge, because for twenty years, I never had an existential crisis at the machine while opting between value and time… I just always added value and scurried off to the turnstyles…

I never considered adding time- it was always value for me…

I guess I can overthink that statement for a bit…

In my life I guess I do attempt to lead a full life. I guess I would rather have five great years than ten average ones… I mean, I’d probably prefer ten great years…but what if that’s not an option?

What if it’s either/or? What if it’s value or time but not both?

I think I’m always choosing value…

What would you choose: add value or add time?

Simple and Meaningful

Everything we do as human beings is precious. If we are to find meaning in what we do, we must first become our own protagonist in the work. You have the leading role in your work. If you approach work with this attitude, all work becomes meaningful and invaluable. Shunmyo Masuno- The Art of Simple Living

Do you consider everything you do to be meaningful and valuable?

Are you the protagonist in your life?

I would like to think that I give my all no matter what I am doing, but I freely admit that I only give about 50% when it comes to cleaning my bathroom. I know that my bathroom needs to be clean, but I figure that “clean enough” is good enough for me- But for the most part, I do think that giving 100% on each task I perform, no matter how small, really does add to my overall enjoyment of life.

Effort matters.

If you go into something, I think you should give it your all. When my daughter was growing up, I would let her try out anything that appealed to her. The caveat was, once she signed up for something, she had to treat that activity as it were precious. She wanted to play T-ball: that meant she went to every game and every practice. No excuses. I told her that she was part of a team, and that members of a team rely on one another- that by signing up for t-ball she made a commitment to 14 other kids and 3 coaches that she would be physically and mentally present. She needed to listen to coaches and give her 100% every time she engaged in T-ball. She needed to make sure her uniform was ready, and she had to bring all the appropriate gear- she was responsible from the age of four for getting herself prepared. Her learning how important it was to take responsibility and give her all has served her well in life.

How you handle the big and small of you life matters.

Your mental attitude matters.

There is meaning in even the most trivial matters if we allow our minds to think that way.

For today:

Are you the protagonist in your own life?

Do you find the value in the things that you do?

Are there things that you think don’t matter?

Discuss:

The Martha Stewart Cake

I have never been much of a baker- I’m more of a cook. I can sort of follow a recipe for a meal, but I am known to spin or add or finagle things once I start cooking. Baking is an exact science- you need to be precise about how the ingredients are being mixed, and I’m just not a precision sort of gal.

This year I decided to give baking a spin- I figured why not see what the fuss is all about…

Ha ha ha…

So I decided, like every beginning baker should, to do a Martha Stewart recipe…

Yup….

Martha *&&%$^ Stewart…

Have you ever seen one of her cake recipes?

The one I chose to make had two different creams/frostings. They required double boilers and whisking to certain thicknesses, and chilling for hours…I was looking up terms and trying to figure out what the mixture was supposed to look like and trying to taste things without burning my tongue (unsuccessful was that). There was folding involved…and if you’ve ever watched Schitt’s Creek, you will understand just how funny this can be when you are trying to do it…

This cake took about six hours in total for me to make, and I don’t remember if that includes the chill this portion…

And in my infinite wisdom I chose to make the creams first, because they need to chill, and I forgot the cake has to completely cool before I could frost it-

I think I cursed this cake and Martha at least a dozen times…

I contemplated why exactly I thought baking would be a fun, relaxing hobby…when sitting on my bottom, reading a book and eating a store bought cake would be much more fun…

But finally the cake was cool, the creams were ready, the cake was dressed and adorned and put in a cake carrier to go up to our friends for dinner…

And you know what?

It was a ridiculously good cake.

It was better than most store bought cakes, and better than a lot of professional desserts that I’ve had. The chilling and the heating and the stirring and the folding were worth it…

Martha really does know what she is doing when it comes to baking a cake…

Is there a moral here? Hard work does pay off? The ends justify the means? I don’t quite know…

Would I ever spend six hours working on a cake again? Maybe

Will I ever make another Martha cake recipe? Yes- since this cake I’ve made two- both delicious and complicated

Will baking become my new hobby? Not a weekly thing, but perhaps a monthly thing

So here’s my questions for you:

  1. Are you a baker?
  2. Have you ever made a Martha Stewart recipe?
  3. Would you spend six hours baking a cake
  4. Is there a hobby you’ve been wanting to try? If so what, and what is stopping you from trying?

What Inspired Me: 5/15/22

  • I love a Bacon, egg and cheese sandwich and Blank Slate does an exceptional one!!
  • Chicken Rice at Veranda was delicious, but the real star of this restaurant is the greenhouse dining room and the Kaws statue on the terrace
  • Dutch Baby pancake at Sona, which is actually an Indian restaurant, so the dutch baby was spiced with cardamom, served with pineapple jam and coconut cream
  • Spent my birthday at American Bar. For dessert, they present to you a sundae toppings menu so that you can make you own sundae. Yum!!
move out successfully completed without crushing one another