1. This Unburnable Book – You’d have to have your head buried in the sand not to have heard about all the book banning going on around the U.S. It’s scary stuff and very reminiscent of what went on in Germany prior to and during WWII.
Margaret Atwood is bad ass in this video created to show-off the new FIREPROOF limited edition Handmaid’s Tale being auction off at Sotheby’s. It was aired at the PEN America Literary Gala and all proceeds from the sale will go to support PEN America’s work defending freedom of expression.
2. This History Today Article Written about Biographies of Tudor Women – In short, the author of the article discusses how distorted the life stories of women in the Tudor Period are because historians “see them chiefly through the eyes of men”.
Frankly, this could be said about more than just the women of the Tudor times. (She says specifically “early modern history” but I’d say pretty much all history.)
3. These Instructions Left for Airbnb Guests – A friend of mine has been doing some road tripping with her husband and they’ve stayed at a few quaint airbnbs. She sent this to me – I love people who don’t take themselves too seriously.
4. This Artist’s Work – Lainey Molnar’s Instagram is definitely worth following. Her cartoons cover what women (ALL women) deal with on a daily basis.
5. This Restaurant Owner in Texas – no words needed.
6. This History & Explanation of Menopause by Samantha Bee – I love Samantha Bee’s show but unfortunately none of the services I subscribe to have TBS. If you google “where can I stream Full Frontal with Samantha Bee” it says you can watch it on HBOMax. When I read this I was thrilled because I have HBOMax, but for some bizarre reason they only have the first three seasons even though there are SEVEN seasons. I don’t understand streaming services with their single seasons or partial libraries of a show or their getting rid of classic movies from their collection.
But I digress. This was excellent, not surprisingly.
And here is a second part, and interview with Dr. Jen Gunter, author of The Menopause Manifesto (highly recommend.)
7. This New Bird Watching Show on National Geographic – Remember Chris Cooper, the black bird-watcher who was the victim of a white woman who called the police on him because he told her to put the leash on her dog? (The woman compounded the horrifying situation by pretending she was being attacked and also treated her dog horribly.)
Any, Christian (he’s going by that on the show) Cooper got a new gig as the host for a bird-watching show on the National Geographic Channel. And for once karma actually works. (It doesn’t hurt that he’s clearly super intelligent AND good looking.)
This is for the kids who die, Black and white, For kids will die certainly. The old and rich will live on awhile, As always, Eating blood and gold, Letting kids die.
Kids will die in the swamps of Mississippi Organizing sharecroppers Kids will die in the streets of Chicago Organizing workers Kids will die in the orange groves of California Telling others to get together Whites and Filipinos, Negroes and Mexicans, All kinds of kids will die Who don’t believe in lies, and bribes, and contentment And a lousy peace.
Of course, the wise and the learned Who pen editorials in the papers, And the gentlemen with Dr. in front of their names White and black, Who make surveys and write books Will live on weaving words to smother the kids who die, And the sleazy courts, And the bribe-reaching police, And the blood-loving generals, And the money-loving preachers Will all raise their hands against the kids who die, Beating them with laws and clubs and bayonets and bullets To frighten the people— For the kids who die are like iron in the blood of the people— And the old and rich don’t want the people To taste the iron of the kids who die, Don’t want the people to get wise to their own power, To believe an Angelo Herndon, or even get together
Listen, kids who die— Maybe, now, there will be no monument for you Except in our hearts Maybe your bodies’ll be lost in a swamp Or a prison grave, or the potter’s field, Or the rivers where you’re drowned like Leibknecht
But the day will come— You are sure yourselves that it is coming— When the marching feet of the masses Will raise for you a living monument of love, And joy, and laughter, And black hands and white hands clasped as one, And a song that reaches the sky— The song of the life triumphant Through the kids who die.
Song of the Week
I love this entire album. Can we still say that? Album?
2. These Easter Bonnets – You know what they say, GO BIG OR GO HOME!
3. These Cookies – Too cute to eat! I-N-C-R-E-D-I-B-L-E! (But did she sterilize that date stamper?)
[Found by Ann L. – thanks Ann!]
4. This Lip Balm – I had been using the same lip balm (Sugar Advanced Therapy Treatment Lip Balm) for some time but found that whenever I carried it in places where it could get warm it got melty. Kiehl’s has a similar product that is better but I’m not sure they are making it anymore. I haven’t been able to find it for a while and their website shows it is out of stock in all colors (though they do have a “notify me” option on the page.)
They both lasted longer than most lip balms I had found but I still have to re-apply throughout the day. That is when I found this product. Well, technically I found this first, but it’s a bit pricey. So I looked for something similar that wasn’t going to break the bank AND that was an all natural product.
6. This Banned Book – Which resulted in a non-fiction graphic book about its banning to be published in fall of 2023.
Jarrett Dapier was a library science graduate student in 2013 when he filed a Freedom of Information Act request that resulted in his uncovering a Chicago school district’s attempt to remove Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi without following the formal book challenge process. Once the information became public there was an outcry from both students and parents.
The book, called Wake Now In The Fire, is written by Dapier and illustrated by AJ Dungo, and tells the story of a group of high school students who are trying to push back against censorship at their own school.
Next, the City of Lakes, sometimes also called the White City (because of all the white marble palaces.)
I have always wanted to go to Udaipur for YEARS because there are many, MANY movies and miniseries which have been filmed here. I’m planning on making a list of my favorite films shot/about in India when I get home, but for now a few are Heat and Dust (1983), The Jewel in the Crown (1984), and the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011.
Our guide, Rohit, lives in Udaipur so we had a special treat. He had been invited to a wedding on the first evening we arrived and arranged for us to attend with him. My first Indian wedding – so exciting!
And it turns out, as I mentioned previously, February is a very popular month to get married, and the 10th, the day we arrived, was an extremely auspicious date apparently (we think because it was a full moon) because we saw a LOT of wedding activity and at least two other weddings that we counted in addition to the one that we were attending.
Then we had to stop for a bit on a bridge because there was a wedding party passing. I shot a video as best as I could. Fabulous!
We arrived at our hotel when it was dark. Still, you could see how gorgeous it was. I took a ton of photos but I won’t post all of them. Even the key was a work of art.
This photo (the one right above) is the view out my WINDOW! If you look at the photo before that you can see the benches in front of the window – this is the view they look out onto. The only bad thing is that the windows were a bit low for me. If I had sat on that bench I would have needed a fork lift to get back up. And I am also a tallish person, so I had to hunch over a bit to look out. Still, at night I pulled the chair over from the desk and gazed out for a bit before drawing the curtains.
The only other thing that was not great about the room is that I had to go up three steps to get to the bathroom, and as usual there was no railing. Thankfully I didn’t have to make any middle of the night dash to the loo (I was worried I might break my neck!)
The wedding was S-P-E-C-T-A-C-U-L-A-R! It was everything you would expect. So colorful, lots of food. Everyone was extremely friendly and welcoming.
I’ve been trying to stick to water and masala chai on this trip since Indian food already has so many spices that are anti-inflammatory. For a person who is on blood thinners you want to make sure you don’t come over here and eat a bunch of Indian food AND drink a bunch of alcohol. Or, if you are going to do that, eat a lot of cooked spinach.
We stayed later than originally planned. We had thought we would only stay an hour but stayed well over two. I think we left around 11:00? And the Bride & Groom hadn’t even arrived yet! Rohit stayed until right before midnight and I think either they had just arrived or they were just about to arrive. Those Indians really know how to party!
The next day I stayed at the hotel for a few hours in the morning with Regine (our American guide) while the rest of the group went to tour the Fort. There have been a few places along the way where I have stayed behind because Regine felt it would be too difficult for me either because it had tons of stairs or might be too cramped or narrow, that sort of thing. Since I am here for three-and-a-half weeks I certainly don’t want to overdo it, so I am okay with staying back.
Regine and I took a TukTuk to meet up with the rest of the group for lunch. We dined at the Royal Repast.
The Royal Repast is a lovely restaurant which has been by the Bedla family, in their ancestral home, for over 85 years. They have had the honor of serving many famous people there including Queen Elizabeth, Jacqueline Kennedy, the Shah of Iran, Indira Gandhi, and Jawarlal Nehru.
After lunch we took another TukTuk to the City Palace where we were able to take a boat tour of the lake. If I understood Rohit correctly, there used to be tours from all over – in fact our hotel had a dock, but now there are only two places (I think it was only two) where people are allowed to launch boats. It’s a bummer, because it would have been so convenient to go from our hotel, but I’m sure that it must have been madness to have boats going from everywhere.
We didn’t have a dinner planned with the group so I scheduled a massage and an oil-drip for when I returned to the hotel. They had an authentic Ayurvedic spa and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.
I chose a one-hour massage and a one-hour oil drip. I really didn’t know what to expect.
I have weekly massages back home, have been having them for years, decades really, but the truth is, I have never had a massage from a man. And I didn’t actually think that my first one would be in India of all places.
I had brought a robe with me because I’ve been in enough spas in my lifetime where they haven’t had a robe that fit me. Turns out I didn’t need one because guess what, they don’t use them. Oh no, they don’t, just a towel. And a standard sized towel. NO SHEET! So not only was I worrying about side boob, but I was worrying about side thigh and side stomach and side everything!
If you’ve never had an Ayurvedic massage, they are a little more intense than a normal massage. I certainly wouldn’t want to have them on a regular basis but I just kept telling myself – this is good for me. As I heard my masseuse becoming quite winded while he kneaded away – this is good for you, this is good for you, this is good for you.
When he reached under the towel and started doing my stomach I realized I was truly in a different world and my anxiety level shot through the ceiling. I’m not sure how people are supposed to relax when getting a massage like this – maybe they aren’t supposed to.
I think there may actually have been a shift change about three-quarters of the way through my massage because all of a sudden the man said he had to go and the owner came in and finished. He was very nice, told me I needed to stop using Stevia (he warned me, even if it says it is pure Stevia, it isn’t.) There was a woman who kept coming in to check on me and every time she would see me she’d say in the most lovely, sing-songy voice, “Good morning!” (Even though it was after 7 in the evening.) She was very sweet.
After I finished with my massage they covered me up with a bunch of towels (where were these towels earlier?!?) and they removed a part of the top section of the massage table. There was a hole cut into the table where a bowl could be placed. And then there was a hole cut into the bottom of the bowl. That is where the oil ran out into a container on the floor. I placed my head over the bowl and then they set up this contraption over my head where they could pour a bunch of oil into a device that allowed them to release the oil in various streams. The oil was warm and it felt good but it was a very long hour. I thought it was going to be more steady and not so much at one time.
When I left they told me not to shower that night so the oil could soak in. I had several Indian friends in college, women with long, beautiful, thick hair. I know that they put oil on it at night so I thought I should try it. They also told me to only take a hot shower the next day and not to use soap. I followed that advice.
Next time I would not do the oil drip. It took me about three days of showering to get my hair to look normal again. I would definitely get another Ayurvedic massage but would want it done by a woman.
A few weeks ago I read several articles about how the FDA has proposed new warnings for breast implants including a “black box” warning on the packaging, which is considered their most serious warning.
Washington Post – FDA calls for new warnings for breast implants: After being criticized for years for not taking more aggressive action, the agency proposes manufacturers use a boxed warning to spell out risks by Laurie McGinley.
These articles brought several disconnected thoughts to my brain as I read them –
First as foremost: Women, you don’t need to mutilate your bodies to conform to society’s idea of what is beautiful (which in reality has been created by beauty magazines & marketing firms.)
A black box warning? Really? How many women getting breast implants are going to see the packaging for their new girls? We all know that those babies are going to be sitting on a metal tray in the operating room already unpackaged and the person doing the unpackaging ain’t going to be the patient. And let’s say the doctors are required to share the information with the patients. Do you think that doctors who are willing to do breast implants* despite these warnings are going to be very diligent about doing so?
I’m super skeptical that anything further is going to happen with this. It’s clear that these warnings are simply a proposal. The FDA is in dire need of a boost of good PR. They have been pretty lame for years, but since the Trump Administration, they have become borderline criminal about doing their job. They don’t protect the citizens of the United States. Nope, they do whatever lobbyists and wealthy donors who give to powerful politicians want them to do. Which is why I think that this won’t happen. Somewhere down the line the companies that manufacture breast implants will spend enough money to get this quashed. And we won’t even know. Because who follows up on this? Who is going to check weeks or months from now to see if this was implemented. And even if there are watchdogs that do, and even if they call them out on it, who will do anything about it?
Full disclosure, I actually had a breast REDUCTION. Some people might say, well, aren’t you a hypocrite! But there is a big difference between breast implants and breast reduction. Yes, both are surgical procedures, but breast reductions are generally necessary – women get them for medical reasons such as backaches or other discomforts.
In my case, I had lost a tremendous amount of weight over a ten month period of time (140 pounds) and I had a lot of excess and sagging skin. Did my boobs hang low? You betcha? Did they wobble to and fro’? Definitely. In fact, I really could tie them in a knot and tie them in a bow AND I could even throw them o’er my shoulder like a continental soldier. It was a NECESSARY procedure. And there was some serious chaffing. Sadly though, my insurance company didn’t see it that way, they still saw it as cosmetic.
And to be fair, their were also psychological reasons for my having the procedures. But if that alone was the reason, if I didn’t have the physical issues combined with wanting to look better, hell, I would never have gone through my surgeries (I also had an adominectomy). Because really, who wants to be cut open from hip to hip and, well, you don’t even want to know what they do with a breast reduction, trust me. Suffice it to say, they were both EXTREMELY painful.
With all the new information coming out about the dangers of having breast implants, I will say this again – YOUR GIRLS ARE PERFECT the way they are. Unless they are causing you physical discomfort, there is no reason to have any sort of “cosmetic” surgery. Seriously. We all need to start recognizing that we aren’t the ones that have to do the changing, it’s the people who think the rest of the world isn’t beautiful enough.