He, having drawn a higher point tile, went first, with a seven-letter word gaining him a fifty-point bonus; I, with seven vowels in my hand, played aerie (a very good word, though not a high scoring one), for five points; and then he had his second turn, with a word using a second group of seven tiles to yield a second fifty-point bonus. And thus, after three moves, the score was 171 to 5.
I never quite caught up. In the end, the score was 388 to 196. It really was magnificently played Scrabble.
I do not feel remotely bad about losing so spectacularly. Rather, it is just such a pleasure to see a cleverly-played word, or a word carefully inserted among crowded letters, or a lengthy word discerned among the jumble of letters. I love to see words in action, and a master of words at work with them.
The smartphone has succumbed to a ridiculous hardware error -- suddenly, unexpectedly, completely. ARGH.
When I returned to the store from whence I purchased it, I was told that the only option under the warranty was replacement, and that they would order the replacement right away, and I could come in and get it as soon as it was delivered. It might be delivered the following day, or the day after that.
(Side note: the following conversation ensued:
Me: How will you let me know when the replacement phone is ready to be picked up?
Technician: We will send you a text.
Me: ::: blankstare :::)
I received an email yesterday: "We're processing your order!"
I received an email today: "Your order is on back order! We will let you know when it is shipped!"
I looked. No indication of back order time frame.
The Googles tells me that this hardware problem is common in the smartphone model, and that the replacement phones are back ordered nationwide.
I CANNOT DO WITHOUT A PHONE.
What if someone is trying to call me?
The other option is to purchase a different phone.
“Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.”
“Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything." “These events [assaults on various women] never, ever happened, and the people that said them, meekly, fully understand. You take a look at these people, you study these people, and you’ll understand also.”
"Such a nasty woman."
-- Donald Trump
I have tried, valiantly, to avoid any political discussion here. Politics are fraught with strong opinions, and my setting forth my thoughts on matters will not change the mind of anyone whose feelings are in opposition to mine. I will not debate the merits of Donald Trump vs. Hillary Clinton as President and Commander-in-chief; I am compelled, however, to say a few words about the type of person Donald Trump seems to be. The thoughts have festered and raged inside my head for weeks and weeks now, growing ever sharper.
Donald Trump is the embodiment of every woman's Nightmare Man.
A man who feels his position of power entitles him to a woman's body.
A man who disparages those who have come forward to speak of his assaulting them, by insinuating that they are too ugly for him to make physical advances on them.
A man who interrupts.
A man who name-calls.
A Terrible Nightmare Man.
And women, watching these things unfold, are reminded of all of the men (and boys) who have behaved in this manner. I have been quite fortunate -- my stories are not nearly as terrible or as numerous as those of other women. Let me tell you about just a few of these moments: a glimpse into what it is to be a woman.
The sweaty, drunken middle-aged man who leers across several rows of the bleachers at a baseball game, at me as a fifteen-year-old: NICE SWEATSHIRT, SWEETHEART. (I have mentioned this story before, here.)I am suddenly self-conscious -- my baggy mauve shirt does not disguise my recently-developed breasts. I don't feel comfortable wearing the sweatshirt in public any more, even though it is my favorite color. I put it away.
The tween boy who makes a show to his friends of deliberately turning away from tween me at a summer camp dance. I am being rejected without knowing why -- and publicly so, as he turns away and his friends cackle at me each time I walk by. A blush of humiliation creeps into my hair.
The older boy, a few years later at another summer camp dance, who urges me to take a walk on the beach and then suddenly, unexpectedly, grabs my breast and my crotch. I remove his hands and walk back up to the main cabin alone, thinking about how the walk on the beach was not a romantic suggestion, but merely an opportunity to make sure he can gloat to his friends that he got all the way to Third Base. I do not tell anyone, because, I think, surely I have no one else to blame but myself -- I did, after all, agree to go for a stroll. I have never told anyone of this, until now.
The stranger who inserts himself between me and the apples in the grocery store, impeding my shopping, while he grins too-widely at me and tells me to smile.
The self-important high school senior who takes my hand and places it on the fly of his jeans as we sit in his car in my driveway. "You do know what to do?" he inquires commandingly. I shake my head, and quickly excuse myself. He goes home, and a few days later breaks up with me because I won't put out. (I have mentioned part of this story before, here.) I first feel inadequate and embarrassed, before I realize that I should be angry. I stay angry for a very long time.
The list can go on. This is enough, for now.
All these small happenings -- these incursions into space, these takings of what is not offered -- are Dangerous Moments, and we as women learn to navigate them and avoid them if we can. Most alarmingly of all, our first instinct so often is to blame ourselves for their occurrence. We are not safe from Men, and yet somehow it is our fault -- we should have dressed differently, behaved differently, just smiled, just done whatever was needed to avoid confrontation or escalation.
We can find some safety in motherhood, for having several small children surrounding oneself (as well as the extra pounds and fatigue that accompany young motherhood) serve as a kind of shield against Men of the world. Sometimes, though, even that is not enough.
I have been very fortunate in that in the professional world, I have never been -- as far as I am aware -- sneered at or belittled solely for being a woman. Perhaps I didn't notice, because I didn't expect it. It is quite easy, though, to find stories among my peers of belittlement, contradiction, unprofessional conduct by male colleagues. We do not want to believe -- almost cannot believe -- the recountings, because it is so difficult to understand exactly why being a woman makes a person somehow less in a man's eyes. It can't possibly be that way, can it?
Yes, it can.
And with all of this as the world in which women live: Donald Trump rises.
We look at him and listen to him and we hear those voices, we recall those unwanted hands, we remember the disparagement and the negating of our opinions and our feelings. The undermining of our careers. The overstepping of boundaries, the belittlement. The Horror.
We shudder. We want to protect ourselves. We want to be free of always having to be wary, to tiptoe and to mollify and to silence ourselves lest we become a target again. We are afraid that our professional advancement, and personal successes, will again and again be impeded, purely by the fact that we are women. We feel powerless once more.
So. I stepped on the scale the other day. And the scale shouted at me: You Are Fat.
This is not a surprise, necessarily -- I have a mirror -- but the actual number of pounds was an unpleasant surprise. Why did I stand on the scale in the first place? Because I did look in the mirror, and I knew it was time to Do Better. I needed to know what I was up against. And now I know.
When I look in that mirror, I see Age. And even more, I see Weight. Despite the tremendous 'Body Acceptance' movement in the media these days, I cannot come to terms with how I look now. And so I am trying, again, to Do Better. Eat Better. Exercise Better. Treat this body better. And shed some Weight.
The hardest part of it all is the self-loathing, the self-criticism. Lamentable lack of willpower. Lazy. Weak. Ugly. Unattractive. Pathetic.
I try not to listen to those voices.
I will take one day at a time. Work at it one day at a time.I can do it. It will take far, far more time than I would like, though. Alas.
I turn 50 next year. I can be either 50, or Fat, but not both. One is inevitable. The other is optional. We shall see how I do.
The text from Offspring the First came in a little bit before 10 AM:
There is a possible sighted shooter at [place near her employment] and I am hiding in the back room of [employer] with my employees! They have a million cops roaming around so I don't think this will escalate but I am giving you a heads up!! I love you!!
I thought about the Orlando club shooting, and the text messages that were made public from it - "Mommy I love you. In club they shooting". What does one text back in that situation? What if, God forbid, those words are the last they hear from you?
I love you too sweetie. Keep safe, you mean the world to us.
Mercifully, about 40 minutes later she texted again that they had been given the all clear.
And this incident -- bullet casings, reports of a shooter, but no one identified or arrested -- will disappear, never having made it beyond a brief article in the local news. Just a day at work for my daughter.
The time has come for us to get rid of our family camper-trailer.
We have outgrown it; even more, though, the Offspring are nearly grown, and there is not enough time, and too much distance between them, to make a family RV trip a possibility any more.
It served us well. We went many places, and did many things. And even though the trailer is an inanimate object, I feel very sad for it, as if it is a horse put out to pasture.
Beloved Husband and I went this weekend to empty it of our possessions, so that it can be sold. And as I washed all of the blankets we'd stored there for use on trips, the scent of the trailer wafted out of the washing machine and hung quietly in the air. Aaaah.
It is so strange, the way a scent is tied to memories.
You might find me with my face pressed to the blankets, inhaling the scent, every now and then.
You may have noted the flashback pictures for the past couple of days - my parents mailed me a box, stuffed to the brim with old photographs. While many were of the Offspring in their younger years, a few of them were of me in my younger years. Egads. Those are fun pictures (except for the seventh grade picture, which is A Horror -- how glad I am that I did not realize at the time how Very Unattractive. Yikes.).
Below is a picture of some other early Christmas. Note my striped bathrobe. Note, too, the striped shirt on the Winnie-the-Pooh nearby. My grandmother -- magnificent seamstress that she was -- made the robe, the shirt, and Winnie-the-Pooh himself, for me.
I still have Pooh, stored away. I shall have to get him out and visit him.
I have begun to include strolling down all of the dead-end roads into my constitutionals, for variety -- and it is well worth the extra steps, because sometimes I come across an interesting sight. For example, I spotted these early one recent morning. So cute. It has been a very long time since I had a wee child playing in the front yard.
Oh, to be young and to enjoy the simple pleasures of tiny trucks.
The one luxury I allow myself: spending money to have my hair done. I may not be happy with the rest of my appearance, but I am fond of my hair. I like how it feels, and it is always soothing to run my fingers through it. And the marvelous Hair Guy always gets the color just right. We changed it up a little bit today -- a deeper copper color for wintertime. It is a lovely color, especially in the sunlight.
For the small pleasure of being happy with my hair, I am extraordinarily grateful.
NinjaHead resides with a muffin-baking woman known herein as Herself. Herself has a Beloved Husband, with whom she shares three nearly-grown Offspring. When she is not writing Things, Herself nurtures a visceral fondness for small furry creatures. The household menagerie, which has varied in size and composition over the years, presently contains solely a minuscule middle aged chihuahua and a lovely red fish named Ruth Betta Finsburg. Someday, there will be more critters, for she loves them tremendously.