Yesterday, we pulled into the handicapped parking space at a local store.  Next to us was a big honking pickup truck, parked RIGHT ON THE LINE between the two spaces.  Now as those of you who read this know, I'm handicapped by RA and lupus.  I opened my door and apparently it hit his truck.  HE SCREAMED AT ME to watch my door.  I pointed out that he was right on the line and I am handicapped.  So he repeated his scream, adding an expletive before "door." You know the one that rhymes with "BIG HONKING TRUCK." 

I mention that the man was Hispanic only because, from where I sit, my observational data is that Hispanic men seem to have both (1) a higher predilection for verbally abusing women, and (2) an intense devotion to their rides.  I would hate to think they also have a higher rate of abusing the handicapped.  Only ONCE in my entire life has any Black man spoken to me the way this man did, and he was drunk and angry (See my page on Talking About Race).  NEVER has any Asian man of any nationality or ethnicity spoken like that, although some of the Near Eastern Asian men have talked down to me, like I was stupid, which I find equally off-putting in a different way.  As to white men, the only ones who ever yelled epithets were drunk, or, oddly enough, guys who made passes at me and were rebuffed, or construction workers who catcalled and I shot the bird. The latter two cases I assume were injured pride.  Nor do I think that Hispanic men, percentage wise, are any more sexist than other men of any color.  I think they are simply more open about expressing it. in such a manner as this man did.  However, this is not the point of my blog today.

Two things that bother me about this encounter are (1) failure to acknowledge that his own parking right on the dividing line between the two spaces contributed to the problem, and maturity alone should have dampened his enthusiasm for cursing out a handicapped person.  Since this man was probably in his late 40s or in his 50s, judging from the grey in his hair and his facial wrinkle, I would suggest that if he were concerned about his truck being dinged, he might have parked it farther out in the parking lot  where nobody was likely to ding it.  Second, while I understand that dings and scratches promote rusting of vehicle bodies (or did when they were metal rather than plastic or fiberglass), it's also a fact that one's vehicle is probably going to get dings, dents, scratches during it's lifetime.  Ours certainly does.  We fix them ourselves as a matter of routine maintenance.  Even when actually witnessed a couple allow their  metal shopping cart to escape and roll into our car, I accepted this as a normal part of life.  They were coping with two small children and had that on their mind.  Similarly, once I open the door, I engage in the task of getting myself out of the car.  This usually requires both hands because I often have to lift that stiff knee to get it out past the door.  Such was the case today.  I'm not sure whether the door hit his truck when I first opened it, or doing the process of climbing out of the car, and picking up my shopping bag from the floor of the vehicle.  I actually wasn't aware that it had until he started screaming at me.  That suggests to me that it didn't hit with much force, or the sound certainly would have drawn my attention.  My question is this?  What makes, to any rational adult, a dinged vehicle (and I did not see any damage when I looked)  important enough to verbally abuse another person, particularly a handicapped one?

I satisfied myself with not pointing out that he was parked right on the line and that I was handicapped, but firing off a string of insulting epithets in Spanish.  I was not going to stand there and take his abuse.  I hope it makes him think twice before repeating such behavior.  Next time I hope he parks his precious honking truck (ugly as it was) on the far margins of the lot.  Better yet, I hope he grows the heck up.
So you think women aren't focused on money?  Tell that to my mother who was widowed at 42 with 2 kids 10-13 and her widowed mother.  Tell that to women trapped in abusive marriages because they don't know how to feed their children otherwise.  Tell that to divorced women raising children on their own.  Because THESE women 
HAVE to focus on money in order TO focus on their children.

Then there are the childless women like myself.  I was NEVER focused on children.  Watching my mother struggle after my father died, picking pop bottles out of the ditches & washing them & carrying them to the store so I could buy dinner for the 4 of age 13, is precisely why getting a college degree and going to graduate school, including UW- Madison, was more important to me than getting married and having children.  Oh I always assumed I would do that too; it simply was NOT my priority.  Good thing too, as I ended up losing my long-awaited pregnancy with my husband to undiagnosed and untreated lupus. Then I could no longer have children.  So I'm glad children were never he focus of my life!

That was 1970, when women made about 59¢ to a man's dollar. WOW! now we make 77¢., except in your state it's only  75¢.  FORTY-TWO YEARS to gain 16¢ on men!  No wonder we are still more likely to end our lives in poverty, as my mother did, and as I will.

I can tell you what THIS woman is focused on now:  making sure that ideological, sterotyper idiots like you & your governor are run out of office by WOMEN.
Comic book Avengers (1963) #1

Orig. Published: Sep 10, 1963

Key Event(s): Avengers assemble! Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Giant Man and the Wasp gather to combat those threats which no single hero can stand against. The origin of Earth's mightiest heroes starts here!


I heard Ann Romney speaking the other day.  I cannot quote her now, but she seemed to imply that "real" women cared about "real" issues, like jobs and the budget deficit., not contraception and women's health. Those, she suggested were "a political distraction."  Shades of spinning sophistry!  

Yes,Ann, REAL women do care about jobs and the budget deficit.  We also care about contraception and women's health.  Women who are working when their husbands are not are concerned about the impact of being the breadwinner on their marriage, their children, their health, and their family's future.  Since women, generally, still earn less than men, we are concerned not only about our husbands finding work, but about being paid equally for equal work and having access to the same promotional ladders

Real women know that an unplanned pregnancy can lead to the loss of their job, depending on what that job is.  If you were a widow with five sons in school and college, without your husband's wealth, you might be concerned if you found out you were pregnant a few weeks after your husband's death.  You might think about abortion, or you might just worry that you could die in childbirth, or be crippled, or that this sixth child might be handicapped and need resources far beyond your ability to provide them.  If you were a young woman, you might, even after marriage and before any children were born, look at the economic situation and desire birth control in order to have only as many children as you can provide for.  This might be true even if your husband had a good job.  You might even decide that zero children are what you can afford.

I am not assaulting your choice to have five children and be a stay-at-home mom.  It is your husband's political party which is assaulting the choices women with fewer financial resources are ALLOWED to make.   It is the Republican party which is talking about raising retirement age, reducing SS & Medicare benefits.  Real women, like my mother widowed at 41 with two children 10-13, are more likely to end up impoverished in old age than men.  My mother did, after working from 1963 until 1996.  Without Medicare, she would have died well before age 89.  In fact, she did die, of heart failure, and was revived in the operating room and went on to have triple bypass and heart valve replacement.  

I went to college because I was able to live on and attend the University of Texas on SS Survivor's benefits, small grants and loans.  It is your party which is talking about eliminating the grants and loans that put me through college.

I am delighted for you that your MS and cancer have been resolved.  At the same time, I am an uninsured SLE patient who is going without the proper medical care because there simply is not enough money.  My brother is graciously supporting my husband and myself, and paying for what medical care I do get.  The problem is that I now need a medication which costs around $2000-$3000 a month.  I am not asking for pity, or even sympathy.  It would be nice if you and your husband, and your political party could develop some empathy. Some true Christian compassion might also be nice.  For the record, I have been denied SSDI, SSI, and we could only get food stamps for about three months in Texas, since we have no children.  It's frankly not enough of a stipend to make it worth the humiliating application process.    Instead we are shopping sales, clipping coupons, going without, selling scrap metal, and growing many of our own vegetables and fruits.  We are also both looking for employment or ways to earn money.

Your own husband said "Government does not create jobs.  The private sector creates jobs."  Then he turned around and blamed Obama for the unemployment.  Mrs. Romney, if tax cuts created jobs, why didn't Bush's tax cuts create jobs?  Real women understand that our husbands' jobs were outsourced, that there is a wealth redistribution from our income brackets to yours, and that jobs are being held hostage until corporations get the tax breaks (0%) that they want.  

As for the federal deficit, I propose that should your husband achieve the office of the President, he accept only an annual salary of $1, and urge the millionaires in Congress to do the same.  I make the same suggestion about Obama, so this is a non-partisan suggestion.

Above, Mrs. Romney, your recent remarks on what women think about and focus on came across as a rather condescending implication that women cannot think for themselves and need to be told what to think.  Women are 51% of the population of the USA, in case you haven't noticed.  Perhaps you need to get out among us real women a bit more if you want to help your husband's campaign.  You're an attractive woman, but, frankly, my dear, you connect with most of us about as well as Sarah Palin did. 

 So here's my offer, bring your camera crews and come to Houston for a week.  Spend the week in a cheap motel.  I'd invite you to my house, but frankly it's not in any condition for company.  I'll take you to school on what living on less than $30,000 (as I have all my life) is like.  You can go shopping with me, spend hours doing comparison shopping online for every purchase, help me in the garden.  I can teach you about the quality of healthcare in our county hospital system, about trying to get insurance with SLE or my husband's high blood pressure.  you can watch as I take food to the food bank for those less fortunate than I (and they do exist), deliver school supplies to the public schools which provided me with an excellent education,.  Do you know that there is not a single item of clothing in my wardrobe which cost over $20? and most of them cost $10 or less.  After a week, you may have something to tell real women about what their concerns are.  If you're interested, there's a place to submit contact information on this website.  I'm going to assume you're intelligent enough to find it. ::nodding my head in the stereotypical female communication mannerism you use to obtain agreement from one's audience::
IKEA is teaming up with Trees for Houston to plant trees at Spring Woods HS April 16th, 9am - 1 pm.  We cannot volunteer because we do not have the physical health/energy to do our own yard and do this.  I'm hoping lots of other people can make it.  I went to HS here for the first 2 of 4 years, I bought replacement trees from IKEA's Trees for Houston sale last fall (proceeds of which fund this planting and other Trees for Houston projects).  If you have an augur or can rent one, they could sure use your help!
This is the tale of two households.  Both have suffered the loss of their mother within the last couple of years.   Both consist of two people.  There the similarities pretty much stop.

Household A:  A man & wife.  She is disabled and he is "long-term unemployed."  Both are under 60.  They drive a car (low end) bought, owned and insured by her brother.  Their brother provides them with in-kind goods: food, clothing, utilities, home maintenance (the part the husband cannot do himself, and he's pretty talented at it)., auto maintenance, gasoline, etc.  Technically, they qualify for food stamps, which his $250K republican mother suggested they apply for (instead of offering help to her son in the form of a check) because "I help my workers (farm) get them all the time."  NOTE:  the husband is pretty sure these are mostly illegal migrant workers.  They have not bothered to apply, however, because in Texas, a married couple with no resident children, on the average, receives food stamps for three months only, and the check is pretty small.  The maximum they could receive them, from their understanding, is sic months anyway.  Not worth the time and effort put into the application process.  When I say "pretty small" I mean around $100 a month.  Instead, they grow fruits and vegetables (organically), herbs, shop sales, using coupons.  The dryer broke; the husband fixed it.  He mows the grass, despite having high blood pressure and living in Houston, where it already 80+ every day. They bought grass plugs and re-sodded the lawn after the recent drought themselves.  Yes, I mean they went outside, dug up the hard packed clay, put in sand and manure and planted the plugs.  six they did manually.  Then they found a tiller on sale for $129.99 + shipping, the brother paid for it, and the rest they used the tiller to plant.  Mind you, they aren't re-sodding from lawn edge to lawn edge, just placing plugs in the worst spot about 6" apart,  expecting the plugs to grow and fill in the sod.  They do not have a working dishwasher.  They eat beans, soups, make their own stock from the chickens  & vegetables they cook, wear very inexpensive clothing (the most expensive thing in their wardrobe was a winter jacket at $29.99.  They have low energy light bulbs, conserve electricity (and going with very little air conditioning is not always pleasant), conserve water, collecting roof run off for their garden and lawn.  They have a "full charity" card at the county hospital/clinic system, but they do not use the services routinely.  They got it for an emergency situation only.  They have a small inheritance/saving account (originally less than $15,000 and now just under $3000.  No maid, no gardener, the only outside help with the housework being a friend of the wife's.  The wife engages in online activities to earn money, win prizes, sell used goods, and generate any income she can.  She gets free samples, haunts clearance racks and "as is" sections.  So far this year, she has scored $500 in a grocery gift card, two "free Big Macs for a year with the purchase of a value meal" cards, about $40 in free birthday food for the two of them, a $5 Walmart gift card, a $10 prepaid American Express gift card, and a lot of free food through the use of coupons combined with sales and store discounts.  They have also donated to Toys for Tots, the local food bank, disaster relief clothing drives, Salvation army clothing drives, and other charities through "click and we will donate" drives, the purchase of brands which donate part of the purchase price to charity.  They routinely pick up school supplies at little to no cost to donate to the local schools, take their newspaper and cardboard to the school for its paper drive, save and donate Box Tops for Education, Labels for Education, and other such programs.  They randomly give food, shelter,  rides, coupons, and such to the homeless, those with less than they have, family, friends, & neighbors. Expired coupons go to the American miliitary overseas.  They do not attend church.   They vote Democratic mostly, and consider themselves to be liberals.

Household B:  Two sisters, one of whom is mentally challenged and autistic.  They own & live in a house on a piece of property worth over a million dollars,   One is almost 65, works as a substitute teacher and is applying for full-time jobs.  She is bipolar.  The other receives SSI and is applying for food stamps, and has a small job working at Ellington Field one Saturday and one Sunday a month (the costs to get her there and back uses up a lot of her earnings).  There is a trust fund for them.  They have cards to the county hospital/clinic system, although not at "full charity," but the next step up (instead of $4 per dr visit, they pay something like $8.  They use the services routinely. including the pharmacy where their prescriptions are $8 (instead of $30 at WalMart like household A's, which the brother pays).  They have someone to cut the grass.  If their dryer goes out, they call a serviceman.  Recently, the one who drives had a wreck, totaling her Toyota Camry Hybrid, which she replaced with a brand new Toyota Camry hybrid.  Guess who picked her up at the accident scene, took her home to call the insurance company, out to the dealership to get a loaner, and to the hospital to be checked out?  She did give them $5 for parking, which was $10, and also treated them to a lecture about "taking the money out of the mouths of a retarded woman and her unemployed sister."  Note that earlier this year, she was hospitalized and they drove her sister out to visit her, ferried her cell phone (a Verizon plan with a monthly fee instead of the prepaid rarely used cells Household A uses), drove the younger sister to visit their (then still living) mother in the hospital, to work, to the grocery store, picked the older sister up from the hospital, took her to get her car from the shop, followed her home to make sure she was safe -- never asking for a penny, never being offered one.  For this they get a lecture?  Twice they have had to pick the sister up from the house and house her overnight  because the two of them got into a fight, once they were called by the police to do so.  This at a cost to of about $200 (which the brother paid).   Twice now they have driven the mentally challenged woman to her job and picked her up (both days she worked).  These sisters don't use coupons, discounts, store loyalty points for gas -- nothing.  It's "too much trouble."  Constantly the older sister moans about their impoverishment to household A.  The mentally challenged sister uses the Metro-lift service, except when she needs to travel outside its service hours. They have "scholarships" to the local Y and work out regularly.  They grow nothing, and the younger sister does all the housework.  They eat frozen dinners, go to church across town, sing in the choir, and do what they want to do.  the older sister says an Internet connection is too expensive, while she wears her late mother's diamond rings easily worth $10,000 and wears designer clothing.  Only one votes, but she votes Republican always and talks down about "people on welfare."  Hellooooo?  

I give up.  The system is crazy.  Can anyone explain it to me?