Quarantine Blogging

Quarantine Blogging

This blog has fallen by the wayside over the years. Long story short is that life got busy, and I had to prioritize.  Blogging in general no longer held the appeal that it did and I decided that this blog’s short life was all that it would ever be so I was content to let it fade away.

Then life, as it is apt to do, changed.  Coronavirus (CoVID-19 or whatever you want to call it) happened. Life and plans were put on hold (at best) or just thrown out the window.

And yesterday, while I took apart my vacuum cleaner to clean it, I realized that maybe this is the time to revive my little blog. I have a handful of projects that would be fun to document.  I am struggling with a lot of issues that are exacerbated by the quarantine. And politically, geez, I have so many thoughts to sort through.
So, I’m back for now.  I’m adding blogging to my list of projects. I’ll be documenting my quarantine life for whomever out in the universe is curious to follow along.

Also, if you would like to join my little collective and do some of your own documentation, read our mission statement and if you are interested in joining, please send an email to thecommongentlewoman@gmail.com.



The Hardest Goodbye

The Hardest Goodbye

I sit here with my oldest companion, Jesse James.  He’s my 15 year old Boston Terrier.  He came to my family when I was 15 years old and finishing my sophomore year in High School.  When I moved off campus my third year of college, he moved in with me.  He was 5 years old when I met my (now) husband.

As I (attempt) to work, I am waiting on a call from our vet to schedule a time to put Jesse to sleep.  The last 6-8 months have been hard for us both.  His slow aging has picked up speed, and he’s declining at a faster rate.  He’s not going to get better, so the best we can hope for is that he doesn’t get worse – but he will.  That’s just reality.  Some days are better than others, but the good days are fewer in number and farther apart.

What makes this decision so hard is that he’s not physically suffering – at least not in a substantial way.  He has another bladder infection – one we’ve treated a number of times due to some bladder issues – and the antibiotics make him a little queasy.  Nothing major – just have to make sure he doesn’t eat too fast while he’s on them or else he won’t keep his food down.  In a couple weeks, he’ll be done and back to “normal” – which in our case means he has lost all control over his bladder and bowels, sleeps for ~20 hours a day, and spends his few waking hours mostly pacing around out of confusion before he wears himself out and goes back to sleep.

Truth is, I could put it off – he does have a few good days left.  But how many days of confusion, exhaustion, and any other anguish he may be under will he have to live through to see those few good days?  Too many, I think.  He’s had 15 years and 4 months of (mostly) good days.  He’s had more adventures than the average dog – he’s gone to college, and logged many a mile riding shotgun in my car on various trips and moves.  He’s saved me from myself during my darkest moments in life, and shared with me in the brightest.

To say he’s like my child is too trite to describe the reality.  Truth is, he is a part of me.  He didn’t just witness the monumental changes that one goes through between the ages of 15 and 30 – he help shape me in the midst of those changes.  When he goes, so will a part of myself.  I can’t say goodbye to him any more than I could to a limb that is about to be amputated.

I write this now because I am still in a state of numbness and denial.  I’ve shed some tears, no doubt, but not enough.  However, I know that once it is all over, and once he is truly gone, I won’t be able to write this for a long time.  So I’m doing it now, while I can.

I looked for quotes on death and loss that could describe what I want to say to him, but the only thing that even comes close is the the farewell speech given by the First Doctor to his granddaughter as she left the TARDIS and everything she’d known behind.

This is for you, Jess:

During all the years I’ve been taking care of you, you in return have been taking care of me. You are still my grandchild and always will be. But now, you’re a woman too. I want you to belong somewhere, to have roots of your own. With David you will be able to find those roots and live normally like any woman should do. Believe me, my dear, your future lies with David and not with a silly old buffer like me. One day, I shall come back. Yes, I shall come back. Until then, there must be no regrets, no tears, no anxieties. Just go forward in all your beliefs and prove to me that I am not mistaken in mine.  ~The First Doctor, Doctor Who

Looking for more Gentlewomen

Looking for more Gentlewomen

We are looking to expand our writing staff!

The purpose of this blog is to create a space where we can give insight into a group of diverse, but otherwise ordinary, women.  To be a place where women from all walks of life can come find stories that provide comfort, inspiration, entertainment or camaraderie.   This is not a place where we want to define what it means to “be a woman” so much as to show the varying experiences of women who are living each day the best they can.


And for us to be successful in this mission, it means we need to expand our pool of women as much as possible.  That means YOU, yes YOU!


Do I need to have previous writing experience?  

Absolutely not – we just want to hear about your life experiences!!


How often do I have to post?

There are no set deadlines or rules about how often you need to post!  You can post as little or as much as you’d like.  In fact, you can even share older posts from your personal blog if you’d like!


How do I become a Common Gentlewoman?

Just send us an email to thecommongentlewoman AT gmail DOT com saying you want to join us and we’ll go from there.


Can I help out even if I don’t want to write for CG?

Absolutely!  Share this post with all your friends and encourage them to spread the word with anyone they know that might be interested.  It just takes a few seconds!


If you have other questions, concerns, or suggestions, please just email us at thecommongentlewoman AT gmail DOT com

Social Anxiety and The Move

Social Anxiety and The Move

Mr. and Mrs. StellsBells are now (at least temporary) residents of Nashville.  We’ve been here a few months now, and I think I might have a few minutes to get my thoughts together and write about it.

The move was HARD, but not in the ways either of us expected – but that’s a whole other post.  This one is about me and my social anxiety disorder.

While I was officially diagnosed with SAD in college, it’s something that I’ve always known I had.  I can remember as a child being afraid of even extended family members I didn’t know well.   Not afraid in that way that people say kids have a “sixth sense” about people – it was a sheer terror of anyone I didn’t have a lot of interaction with.  Even if I saw them every day, if I didn’t have that constant interaction so that I felt I “knew” them, I was terrified.  I also knew, even as a very young kid, this was not normal.  I didn’t want to be so afraid – and I knew I had no reason to be afraid.  I just was.

When I was older, I can remember trying to sell various knickknacks to pay for school or church group trips – and by try I mean I would get a friend to sell mine with theirs or get my mom to do it.  Once I joined a group of friends to sell discount cards for a school trip outside the local Wal-Mart, and I spent the entire afternoon trying to avoid all contact with strangers.  I did food runs or organized the money-box – whatever it took to avoid asking a benign question of people getting groceries on a Saturday in our small town.

Since I had a keen sense of self-awareness that this wasn’t “normal”, I decided that I needed to learn to “get over it”.  Easier said than done, but I figured I had to at least try.  I went to college where I didn’t know a single person. Scary?  Absolutely.  I had a panic attack toward the end of orientation that resulted in me throwing a temper tantrum that would put most toddlers to shame.  Luckily, my mom is pretty awesome and although she was pretty ticked and embarrassed, she realized what was going on shortly after that and handled it like a champ.  My mom is pretty awesome, by the way.

The point is, I’ve always pushed outside of my comfort zone as much as possible – sometimes too far – to help overcome this issue.  I worked retail throughout college.  After I graduated, I worked as a agency recruiter for a pretty large staffing firm.  Stuff you would never expect someone with SAD would be able to do, but I did.  Not without stress and hardship, but I did it nonetheless.

I spent a good 7 years building my life in Dallas.  I made really close friends, joined volunteer groups, and even was in a book club.  Most people think that those of us with SAD are all introverted hermits who avoid all human contact as much as possible.  That isn’t necessarily the case – I mean I’m sure some of us are that way, but some of us are social creatures who crave human interaction just like any other person.  We just have a hard time letting that guard down around people we don’t know.  I loved my social life back home – it was busy and full of fun things with people who I knew I could be myself around.  That took 7 years to achieve, although some of that was me growing up.

Now I live here, where I know a total of three people in the entire city, and they were only “friends” in a social media sort of way before we moved.  A best friend’s best friend (and husband) and an old friend from high school I hadn’t seen, if I had to guess, in 7-10 years.   And I don’t want to complain too much – at least we know someone here.  There are cities where that wouldn’t have been the case.  But, these are people with lives of their own here, and therefore can’t be our only source of social interaction, no matter how much I’d like it.

I’m also lucky that I have Mr. StellsBells to hang out with.  And my dogs.  And I am working from home (thanks to an awesome employer) so I have human interaction through that.  I know a few (great and caring) people are “worried” about how I’ll adjust with the new situation.  I am too, but there is some freedom in this.  It’s the same freedom I found when I left my small town for college.

When no one (statistically) knows you, and there’s no chance I’ll run into someone from work, you can be whomever and whatever you want.  I can go to the grocery store without a shower because, who cares?  Who are these people to judge me?  I’m anonymous, at least for now.  In Dallas, there was a 50-75% chance we’d run into someone we knew at the grocery store on any given trip…not here.

But it’s hard when all your really good friends are so far away.  Texts, phone dates and Facebook chats are great.  I mean I probably talk to some of my friends much more now that we don’t see each other very often, but it’s not the same.  I miss going to the bar to people watch and listen to terrible karaoke with MJ.  I miss walking around the pond with AP.  I miss happy hours and goofy dinners with ML and her husband.  I miss my book club, with its silly drama, and concerts with JH.  I miss the parties hosted/thrown by one really awesome wedding planner and her friends.  I miss my volunteer work.  I miss my Monday night yoga class.

That being said, I know I’ll be fine.  If I make friends here, great!  But if not, I know I have some good ones scattered across the country.  Let’s be honest, the few people mentioned above are only the ones who have lived (or do live) in Dallas.

I’ve decided that this is a time where I can take a break from being “StellsBells” and focus on myself.  I need to get in shape (I have lost a few pounds, but I’ve recently fallen off the workout wagon….so I need to get back on that).  I have a list of 30-40 books I want to read at the local library.  I have video games to catch up on and blogging to do.  Nashville will never be home, but it’s where I’ll be for at least the next year, so I might as well enjoy what I can.

A Box of Diapers and a Fork in the Road

A Box of Diapers and a Fork in the Road

I’m a mom. I love being a mom. And even though some days my life is barely controlled chaos (as life with three children under five tends to be), I love having my tribe of littles. My youngest (“Niblet”) is in that wonderful stage of babydom when everything is happiness and her personality is really starting to show itself. She is a cheerful and, for the most part, easy going baby girl. She’s pretty much the ideal type of baby, even if I do say so myself.

Recently Niblet finally outgrew her size 1 diapers, which left us with a box of size 1’s, completely unopened and ready to use, and a question. What do we do with this box? Every time before, if we had leftover diapers after one of the girls had outgrown a size, we just kept them because we knew we were planning on more kids. Diapers don’t expire, so we just stored them until we needed them again (though admittedly I don’t think we’ve ever had this many left over before). This time though, it’s not a sure thing. We have three great kids and the prospect of number four is not the certainty that numbers two and three were. I would be happy to add one more munchkin to the mix, but my husband isn’t so sure. At best, he’s still sort of ambivalent about the idea.

So what do we do with this box of diapers? For the moment, it’s sitting in our garage. I don’t want to get rid of it before we’ve come to a decision, since if we do have one more, we’ll most certainly use those diapers and diapers are expensive. Also, to me at least (and this very well may be some level of hormones talking), if I pass the diapers along to someone else it’s like saying, “Yeah, you know what, we are done,” and I don’t know that I’m there yet. Yes, I know that if we did end up with one more new baby it is easy to go out and buy a new box (and frankly, several new boxes) of diapers, but it’s the symbolism of the whole thing for me. The giving away of the box of diapers would be like an unspoken “The way is shut!” in my mind. Granted, we will probably need to make up our minds here relatively soon, since we want to be done with the whole business of making new babies by the time we’re 30, but for now it’s still up in the air. Do we have baby #4 or not?

So that’s where we’re at. There is a box of diapers sitting in our garage just waiting. Whether it’s waiting for one more of our babies or for some other baby entirely, has yet to be seen.

On Being 30

On Being 30

I’ve been doing a lot of soul-searching in the last few months because I’ve been a) sick and b) without a job. The without a job part isn’t entirely true because I’ve been waiting tables while figuring out my next career move after being laid off from a position where I was under appreciated and underpaid. While I was happy to leave, I wasn’t exactly jumping for joy at the fact I’d been laid off. I always wanted to leave on my own terms.

Maggie Seaver of Growing Pains, a master of balancing home and work life.

A common theme that arises amidst my soul-searching is the fact that life past 25 really hasn’t turned out how I’d expected, for better or for worse. I never imagined one day I’d grow up to live in Manhattan at 30 as a singleton and at crossroads in my career. No, when I was small and imagined what life would be like as an adult, I imagined I’d get married right out of college, have some kids while still being a very successful career woman (thanks 80s sitcoms), and retire around 45.

Of course, I recognize the latter idea of adulthood is very naive and unrealistic, but that’s what happens when you’re five and you imagine what life will be like as a grownup. My only frame of reference for adulthood was my older babysitter from the local college whom I thought was a full-blown adult. She had her own car, her own apartment, and made the best mixed tapes, things I’d only dreamed of. As far as I was concerned, being in college was the same as being married and having children. I had no idea college would turn out to be a weird purgatory between my youth and whatever I decided to do next. I also didn’t realize it would be the source of so many great lifelong friendships.

Me, graduating college.
Me, graduating college.

When I graduated from college at the age of 21, I thought I had arrived. I had my bachelors degree, I was in a “serious relationship”–this was it! Hello, adulthood! We’d stay together forever, I’d land a teaching job as I’d always dreamed, and we’d all live happily ever after. As I soon found out, that wasn’t going to happen. Instead, I moved out onto my own to the east coast and embraced my 20s as a time to try on many different hats.

Now that I’m 30, I still don’t have the answers. I’ll admit, it was hard for me to turn 30. (I may or may not have even shed a few tears.) Not because I felt old, but because 30 sounded much older than I felt inside. 30 year-olds are supposed to have retirement plans and masters degrees and should be well into their careers and maybe even married, or something. These are all things I don’t have and am not. Yet, anyway. 

30 and learning to ride!
30 and learning to ride!

As I approach my 31st birthday, I realize that none of these notions are true. 30 year-olds aren’t supposed to be anything. Neither are 25 year-olds or 65 year-olds. This generation has redefined adulthood and there are no benchmarks for what any of us is supposed to do at any time. I think of my mom who got a PhD in her 50s and my grandma who started writing a newspaper column in her 80s. Really, you can do anything at any time. What works for one person at one time might not work for another.

I’m also realizing that it’s my attitude towards being a thirty-something that needs to change. I’m not old and I haven’t missed the boat on any life-altering opportunities. But I might if I keep up this defeatist attitude.

People still almost fall out of their seats when I tell them I’m 30. “You can’t be older than 24,” most people say. I’m flattered, but I think I look young because I’ve been blessed with good skin and I smile more than your average New Yorker. It’s flattering to be carded when out drinking with friends, but all-in-all I’m happy to be 30 and not 21. I’m embracing this new notion of what it means to be an adult and I’m sure it will be a lifelong journey.

How I Earned the Nickname “MacGyver”

How I Earned the Nickname “MacGyver”

Well, the StellsBells family is officially living in Nashville – and now I have a whole host of material to blog about as time goes on.

In the interim, I thought I would tell you an amusing story from my past.  It’s my favorite icebreaker story, and one that always reminds me that NOTHING is as hopeless as it seems.


How I Earned the Nickname “MacGuyver”


My sophomore year in college, I decided that I needed some adventure.  At the behest of a good friend, I applied to an internship program at our university that would allow a small group of students to live in Washington DC for an entire semester while working full-time internships in our nation’s capitol.  I honestly did not think I would get accepted – and I cried with joy the day I received the letter saying I did.

A week after I celebrated my 20th birthday, I flew out of Houston with my best friend – both of us filled with equal parts excitement and complete fear of the unknown.  We settled into a fully furnished two bedroom / two bath apartment with two other female students, and thus began one  of the best 4 months of my life.

I worked 40 hours a week at a private woman’s political club in DC in Dupont Circle.  I rode the metro to and from work, and we spent our weekends exploring the city.  Luckily for us, most of the attractions were free, since most of us were not getting paid for our work (but we were getting class credit, which seemed fair at the time).

Thanksgiving fell less than 4 weeks before the end of our program, and I was the only one in my apartment who did not travel to see family over the break.  Two of my roommates flew back to Texas for several much needed days at home (we were all homesick for good Tex-Mex and our family & friends by then) and the other roommate had extended family in Virginia, where she was spending a couple of days before returning for the weekend.

I, on the other hand, had barely been able to afford my plane ticket home, and as a result I was spending my Thanksgiving alone in our apartment.  I decided to make the most of my alone time by cooking my favorite Thanksgiving dish (Cornbread dressing) and spending the day pigging out while watching Reality TV marathons on Bravo and VH1.  It was glorious.  Late that afternoon, a gust of wind blew the balcony door open, and as I walked to the door to close it, I realized how beautiful the view was.  We were on the 17th story of a high-rise in Bethesda, and our balcony faced north, so there was that East Coast fall foliage as far as the eye could see.   I decided that it was the perfect place to sit and call my friends and family to wish them a Happy Thanksgiving.

So, I sat in one of the camping chairs that our smoker roommate had purchased for our balcony, shut the door, and made a few calls.

After an hour or so of gabbing, laughing, and “I love you”s, I got up  to go back inside and finish my dressing and TV shows.

And that is when I realized that the door that blew open was locked.  Apparently, the smoker had locked the door behind her before she left that morning, but the door didn’t latch. (PS – who locks the balcony door on the 17th story, anyway?).  When the wind blew the door open, I just assumed it was unlocked, and when I shut the door, it latched.  I was locked out, on Thanksgiving Day, on my 17th story balcony.  All I had on me was my cell phone and the clothes I was wearing (t-shirt, jeans, and underwear…I was completely barefoot, and the temperature was in the low 50s and dropping).

The sun was going down, and because I had watched too many “Hunting Safety” videos in middle school, I knew that sleeping on the balcony in my current state would probably end up with my getting hypothermia (or at least I was convinced that was the case).  I tried calling my roommates to get the pager number of the local grad student who was on emergency “RA” duty for the program, but no one had saved it in their phones (instead it was “conveniently” placed on our fridge inside the apartment).

I tried opening the windows that lead to our roommate’s bedroom, but they were locked too.  After another hour or so of frenzied attempts of getting back into the apartment, the sun was officially setting, and I was starting to get really cold.  I sat down, pulled my arms and legs inside the thin T-shirt I was wearing, and weighed my options.

I had two choices – I could use one of the chairs to break the glass on the balcony door.  This option also meant I would have to pay for said damage, and I knew I couldn’t afford that.  Option two involved calling 911.  While this seemed a somewhat sensible solution – my anxiety riddled brain had decided that this was not an option.  I figured that since Thanksgiving is usually a slow news day, that the 20-year-old who had to have the fire department come rescue her off her own balcony would be just the kind of story some bored local newsroom would want to report on – and I was NOT going to be that helpless girl on the news who had to be rescued like some kitten stuck in a tree.

So, I shivered, and pondered.  I looked at the door, again.  Weighing the cost of breaking the glass versus the cost of sleeping on the balcony.  My roommate in Virginia was returning the next day after lunch, so if I could last less than 24 hours, she would be able to free me.  That’s when I noticed the keyhole.

See, I was just assuming that because the door was an exterior door, the keyhole would look like this:

And my keys to the apartment were inside, of course.

I finally realized, though, that the door knob was that of an interior door – so the key hole looked like this:

All the sudden my childhood ability to unlock my sibling’s bedroom doors with a wire hanger might come in handy!

Now this was a lock I could pick!  I was so excited that it took me a few minutes to realize that I didn’t have anything with which I could pick the lock.  There was no wire hanger or paper clip lying around outside, and despite a through search, I did not have a bobby pin hiding in my pockets or hair.

I sat back down and began my best Winnie the Pooh impression (“Think, think, think…”).

Now, one of those little moments in life that I love the most are the lightbulb moments.  Those times when a great idea hits you like a ton of bricks, and you’re immediately able to solve whatever problem is in front of you.  I love those moments.  And the lightbulb moment that followed is one of my all time favorites.

As I riddled my brain with everything around me to find something that was thin enough, strong enough, and long enough to fit in that key hole (THAT’s WHAT SHE SAID!), I started to inventory everything around me.  EVERYTHING.  And then it hit me, I had the perfect lock picking device.  I was wearing an underwire bra.

So, I proceeded to remove my bra, chew through the fabric, and remove the underwire – which I used to easily pick the lock and let myself back inside before the sun officially fell behind the horizon.

I was chilled to the bone, and I had destroyed my favorite bra – but I made it back inside.

I proceeded to call all of my roommates to let them know that I was safe and sound…which meant I had to tell them the story of how I picked the lock and made it back  inside.

Once everyone returned on Monday, my story had spread among the other students in our group, and that’s when I was given the nickname MacGuyver.

From this point on I’ve always checked to see if the door is locked before I close it, and I’ve always made sure I was wearing a bra that had an underwire.  Just in case.


Getting Out of My Comfort Zone

Getting Out of My Comfort Zone

The StellsBells household is going through a MAJOR change, hence the absence in posting!

About 4 weeks ago, my husband accepted a job in Nashville, TN.  We’re both very excited at this opportunity.  He’ll finally transition into investment banking, and it’s for a firm that has some fantastic people working there.  He’s thrilled to both be getting the experience necessary to start his dream career, but also to be doing it for a company that has a great culture and work/life balance.

That being said, we are both Texans to our core.  I know people outside of our state don’t get the pride and attachment we have to Texas, and honestly I don’t know if I could fully explain it.  It’s like the old Texas tourism commercials used to say back in the 90s – “we’re a whole other country”.

The husband (let’s call him G), was born and raised here in Dallas.  He moved to the other side of the DFW Metroplex for college, but that’s as far as he has ever lived.

I am a fifth generation Texan.  Four generations before me were born and bred here.  I’ve lived all over the state throughout my life, and even lived outside of it once, but Texas is always home.  In fact, moving to DC is what solidified that for me.  I loved living in Washington, but home is and will always be Texas.

Now, we have traveled, quite a bit, so it’s not like we don’t know about life outside of our great state, and there are a list of cities that we’d be happy to move to if the opportunity arose.   Nashville wasn’t on that list, but only because we hadn’t been there.  Well, not before G interviewed there anyway.

Nashville seems pretty great, even if it is much smaller than what we are accustomed to.  Dallas is a major city, and despite its shallow reputation, has a fantastic cultural and urban scene (if you know where to look).  And while our new home has no shortage of mysteries to discover, we will lose some of our creature comforts in the move.  The biggest being our gym and our bank (apparently, 24 Fitness and Chase do not operate in Tennessee).

Also, we both have our immediate families here in TX.  I’ve lived away from my family before (and hated it), but G never has (although it will actually be a good thing in his case).  Luckily, my parents are just a 3-4 hour plane ride away (and Dallas is just a couple of hours!).

Overall, we’re excited about the adventure ahead, even if the short time frame means it’s been stressful and a little crazy.  While this post focused on the transition in geography, there are many other transitions that will coincide with the move, and I promise to blog about all of it!


PS – One of those transitions is not, NOT, a pregnancy – I know that, for many of you, it was the first thing you thought about when you read that sentence, so let’s just get the record straight now.

Finding Humor in our Embarrassing Moments (formerly titled: Being Cut out of a Pair of Pants)

Finding Humor in our Embarrassing Moments (formerly titled: Being Cut out of a Pair of Pants)

This happened to me the other day.  I was embarrassed, horrified, and very, very sad.  Then I realized two things:

  1. This is SUCH a first world problem
  2. It might have embarrassed me, but maybe someone else can get a laugh out of it. 

I’m a new mom.  My adorable daughter will be 8 months old.  Since I’ve had the baby, I had no problem losing the weight.  However, the weight came off in different places than it had in the past and lately I’ve felt like one big Picasso painting – everything is in the wrong place (and more squishy than I remember it).  My Sunday afternoons of “errands” had turned into me aimlessly wandering into stores, trying on things that used to look good, realizing they don’t fit the same way anymore, and then going home and eating chocolate because I hear that cures traumatic experiences.   Getting the magic back has been tough.


I also have more shoes than I remember, because Picasso syndrome has not yet extended to my feet.


They say that insanity consists of doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.  So there I was, an insane person last Sunday afternoon, at a popular store trying on another black pair of pants.


I noticed as I was trying on these side zip black pants – the zipper caught a little bit going down.  I persisted with the zipper because hey, I’m an engineer, I solve problems.  The zipper came down and I climbed into the pants.


I pulled the zipper up.  The pants fit, with a little room to spare in my desired size.  Maybe I was coming out of the desert, into the promised land.  Maybe my Picasso syndrome was subsiding.  My adorable saleswoman the Cougar thought they were PERFECT, and I bet she works on a commission. 


After giving myself the once over in every mirror in the store, I thought I’d give the pants some consideration.  Time to take them off and put on some jeans and hope a fashion epiphany strikes.


I pull down the zipper of the pants.  It catches in the same spot as before.  Except this time, no amount of my finagling can move that zipper.


Enough time passes that Cougar’s back!  And how did I like those pants?  And guess what?  She’s brought me more pants!  I think I will have a nightmare about this.


I finagle with zipper some more.


Cougar’s back!  And I am ready to concede defeat. I tell her that the zipper on these pants won’t come down enough for me to get out of them.  She looks at me like I have told her she will be murdered by hyenas in her sleep.  I show her that the zipper is stuck and it is NOT BECAUSE I AM SQUISHY AND TOO FAT.  She concedes the point that the pants fit.  She might be scared of me now.  She’s thinking a little more about those hyenas.


Cougar tries her hand at the zipper.  She’s not doing any better than I am.


Then I hear the dreaded “I’ll have to call my manager”


But then I realize the manager is the 23 year old blonde with perfect hair, skin, and body.  I see she has on a cute engagement ring, that sparkles like hope and unicorns.  I look at her with a smirk on my face saying “This shall be you one day, child.”  I believe the look on my face has instilled fear in her.


Hopeful, Blonde, and 23 tries my zipper.  No luck.  Thank goodness Hopeful, Blonde, and 23 sees the look on my face and pronounces the zipper ‘defective’.

Out come the scissors.  I took them back and cut myself out of the dreaded “I might actually buy these” pants.


And that’s how I had to be cut out of a pair of pants at a very popular store that I shall never go back to again.

I leave the store after some profuse apologies from Cougar and Hopeful, Blonde, and 23.  On my way out Cougar says:

“We’ll send you the bill for those pants” while she smiles.


I went down the street and bought another pair of shoes.

This Whole Amy Glass Brouhaha

This Whole Amy Glass Brouhaha

So in case you don’t regularly follow Mommy/”Feminist” flame wars, here’s the scoop: A woman named Amy Glass wrote a piece which appeared on Thought Catalog, entitled “I Look Down On Young Women With Husbands and Kids And I’m Not Sorry.” You can go read the whole thing here if you feel like raising your blood pressure. In a nutshell, she contends that a woman with a husband and children is limiting herself to the point that she will never be truly exceptional, and that she does the whole feminist/equality movement a disservice by claiming to be as important as a career woman without a family. Obviously, the sentiment she expressed did not go over well. She wrote a “clarification,” which, while less abrasive in its language, is still insulting.

So what do I think about it? I’ll be honest, my first reaction was to be highly offended. Her line, “Every time I hear someone say that feminism is about validating every choice a woman makes I have to fight back vomit,” is particularly grating. It is that kind of attitude from a minority of feminists which makes other women hesitant to label themselves feminists as well. Belittling women for following one path or another does no good. It only further divides women into even more “us vs. them” groupings. (As if there aren’t enough divisions already.) Also, by placing limited value on the work of a stay at home wife and mother, I contend she is part of the problem. Why don’t we value child care and the keeping of one’s home? Why are those jobs so lowly that any woman who chooses to pursue them is seen as lazy, lacking ambition, or deluded into thinking it’s the best use of her time and energy? As a stay at home mom and wife, I know I have value. I know that what I do is worthwhile. In fact, I would argue that at this point in time, my staying at home and fulfilling this role is more valuable to my family than if I were to pursue a career outside the home.  My kids know Mama is always there when they need her, my husband knows that things at home are handled even when he can’t be here. As a military family, my staying home provides a sense of stability in a chronically unstable life. To me, that’s important. More important than a six-figure paycheck, or being able to backpack across Asia on a whim.

I’ll concede that in her clarification piece I do agree with her on one point, that a woman should not give up on developing herself. Where we part ways is her belief that you cannot do so with the “distractions” of a family. I’m not always at liberty to think of myself first or to follow a particular fancy right then and there, but I don’t neglect myself. It’s all about priorities. I read, I try to keep up with current events, I explore new hobbies. I call that development.

In her clarification Glass also claims that she looks down on family women, because she views them as “weak.” She contends such women do not question their given social roles, making them weak and worthy of her scorn. Being in a traditional role does not make someone weak, and to imply that the women who do it only do so because they don’t have the gumption to try for something more is insulting. As a military wife, I am surrounded by stay at home moms and wives from various different backgrounds. They are exceptional women who for one reason or another are choosing to stay at home. Their strength is put into their families and their communities. You show me a military wife who is “weak,” and I’ll show you one who probably won’t be a military wife very long.

So yes, I take offense at Glass’ assertions. I think all she has done is flame the fires of division between all women. In the end though, I don’t feel as much insulted by her as I do sad for her. Her words conveyed such as sense of bitterness that I can not help but pity her. Bitterness is a poison. So much bitterness in one heart can only leave a person cold and empty. If these pieces were just the bitter rantings of a hurting woman, I hope she can let the bitterness out and move on. I’ll live my life in the manner I see fit and she will do the same. We are no more and no less than each other, only different.