Sunday, February 27, 2011

Spelling Clean-Up on Aisle Three

I saw this sign today at Thrifty's and had to take a picture because I am a huge geek. I showed it to GP and we both agreed that mixing up effect/affect is a huge pet peeve. I won't hold it against you if you don't know the difference. Yet another reason for someone to hire me: I can keep you from looking like a fool to people like me. Everyone needs a hobby, mine just happens to be looking for spelling and grammar errors anywhere and at all times.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Addendum?

To yesterday's post. I've been thinking about it more and reading the comments that people keep posting on SAHG's post and, for the most part, they seem to be of two camps: the anti-feminist antagonists and the people who say they're feminists but really don't seem to be aware of what feminism entails. If both of these camps saw feminism the way I see it we'd all be better off and EVERYONE would be a feminist because it benefits everyone. Because all people quite literally biologically come from women it's important to realize that equality of the sexes is not just an issue for women.

It is important, for example, to allow access to safe abortions because women who do not want to carry their child to term will find ways to get an abortion any way they can. Women need strong health and social support systems so that if they do choose to have children in the future, those children will grow up to be responsible and compassionate people. Our upbringing and, ultimately, our outlook as adults is directly related to the care, respect and support our mothers receive before and while they raise us.

I know I'm reading really far into it, but I think it helps to see the stay-at-home-girlfriend as a post-feminist dare to critique the current state of our gender equality (or lack thereof). It's not hard to see that we still don't live in an equal society. Every time I turn on the TV I see gender stereotypes in ads. People seem to forget there is still a large wage gap between men and women doing the same work in some industries. For example, I realize the data is a bit old now, but the Centre for Gender Studies at Radford University ranks Canadian women 27th in the world in economic opportunity (defined on their website). That's behind China, Slovenia, and Russia.

We are NOT in a post-feminist society. It's time to remind ourselves what feminism is about: caring for each other equally. It's not about refusing to ever cook for your boyfriend even if you love cooking, or about laying down and letting him fuck you whenever he feels like it. It's about finding the middle ground where you're each giving and taking equally. Where women and men treat themselves and each other with respect and love. I hope we will ever be post- that.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Deploy the Unemployed

I make a lot of jokes about my current employment status: Un-. Mostly I do this because if I didn't laugh about it I'd be crying, so this is really the best option available. When I read crap like this, however, I get quite another emotional response: anger.

Ignoring the very slight possibility that it could be satire, there are two reasons this type of Cosmo trash gets me angry. The first is that it reinforces the gender roles feminists have fought so hard to break down since my dad and my grandpa sat at the dinner table in the '50s while my grandma plonked down dish after dish of amazing food for them, watched them eat it, and then cleaned up after them.

The second reason is that the situation the "article" (we don't have a word for "piece of crap that passes for writing these days but really belongs on toilet paper", otherwise I'd use it) talks about hits so close to home for me. I don't have a job and I live with my boyfriend. I am currently looking for a job and I do many of the chores around the house, although we are a lot more balanced than the couple in the article. GP does the dishes after dinner and the laundry on weekends. I do a lot of other stuff, but that's because I also have a lot more free time than him.

The insinuation that you should be up for sex any time you're not on your rag really got me. Someone who thinks "there is nothing more important in a relationship than that special time between the sheets" should not be in a relationship. Intimacy is one component of a relationship, but it is not the most important. There should be balance in a healthy relationship, and that means that no one component is more important than another; they all have a part in the pie. Besides, you can have intimacy and closeness without sex. "Cook and clean and still look hot"?! What a load of shit.

I actually agreed with most of the points in the article, but for quite different reasons. It could have been written so much better without the ridiculous gendered slant. I see no reason, given my plentiful free time, not to re-write the article here:

How to Survive as an ADULT (adult doing unemployed lofty things)

Don’t sleep in
I totally agree with this one. It's hard not to sleep in, knowing that I certainly can if I want. Recently I've made a resolution not to do that, and I get so much more done. I have more energy to apply for jobs, get a workout in, etc. I don't do that, however, for the reason the SAHG does. She wakes up to make her boyfriend breakfast and so that he doesn't think she sleeps in. I, however, couldn't care less what GP thinks of my sleeping habits. He has more important things to do than to keep tabs on how late I sleep.

Keep the place clean
Ok, getting into murky waters here. I do think it's important to live in a clean house, for the simple reason that it makes you feel good. When my house is messy, I feel messy; I feel disorganized and anxious. I like living in a clean house because it makes me feel good. GP works all day, so cleaning house usually falls to me. Yes, we both share the costs of our house, so some might argue I should only have to do half of all the chores, and in theory I agree. In practice, however, it's a lot more feasible for me to do more cleaning so that our weekends aren't spent with our faces in the toilet. GP still does laundry and dishes, and he doesn't behave like a slob, so I don't feel like I'm walking around after him cleaning up all his messes.

Cook or order dinner every night
Really? That's insane. I love cooking, but sometimes I get tired of it and just don't feel like making dinner. SAHG says "My boyfriend loves it. He’s always grateful for any and all of the little things I do." Yeah, so is GP, but he realizes I'm not Superwoman. To have a healthy relationship, you can't put up a Happy Housewife front and tell your S.O. when you just don't have the energy to make dinner. You have to share stuff. Remember, Betty Draper isn't as happy as she looks. Quite aside from that, how is an unemployed person supposed to have enough money to order take away every night?

Keep yourself up
Here is the reason I "keep myself up": I feel confident about my body when I'm healthy, I am happier, and I don't get sick. I would do that regardless of whether or not I have a job, so I'm really not sure why that's on this list. I do, however, like her tip for getting her clothes to last longer: wear your sweats if you're not leaving the house, that way you don't get undue wear and tear on the nice stuff.
Look how flexible I am!

Pamper him

Ha! Why is this on the list? I love my boyfriend dearly, but I fail to see how "pampering him" helps me survive. I like doing things for him because I love him and I want to make him happy, just like he does things for me for the same reasons. I would do nice things for my boyfriend whether or not I had a job. Pampering your partner is not realistic. Your significant other needs to know the way you really live. I am all for treats once in a while, but coming home to a hot rum toddy every day, nice as it may be, is not sustainable or realistic.
Yummy, yummy breakfast in bed!

Sexy time
SAHG has this to say about sex:
Everyone knows there is nothing more important in a relationship than that special time between the sheets. I have eight to nine hours everyday to send out my resum├ęs and clean and make dinner, by the time he comes home from work I am well rested. Frankly, there’s no real reason (time of the month aside) why I shouldn’t be ready and willing when he is. I try very hard to keep my boyfriend happy and this is a key part of doing so.
Lord above. Where do I start? What twisted planet is this woman from?! My boyfriend is happy when I am happy, and vice versa. There IS a real reason (time of the month aside) why I shouldn't be ready and willing when he is and it is this: I don't bloody well feel like it. Sometimes that's just how the cookie crumbles. What, may I ask, isn't a real reason?! I won't say more, because GP's mum reads this sometimes.

Leave the house
Yes. Totally agreed. And get a cat. Seriously. Having a pet to take care of is such a welcome responsibility when you have none. And it's nice to have someone to talk to all day.

My other advice? Volunteer, take a course, and/or reintroduce yourself to the hobbies you neglected when you were in school or employed. You will feel more confident when you can fulfill a need in your community, learn a new skill, and/or meet new people. I've started volunteering at the SPCA, enrolled in the Canadian Securities Course, and gotten back to reading and knitting.
Bread-making: a tasty skill I've almost mastered. Yes the braid and hot-cross buns above are both my own.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

All You Need is Love

We also need food. That is why yesterday, on Valentine's Day (and also the Prophet's birthday, Allahu Akbar!) I made a bunch of food for the people I love: me and GP.

When I woke up yesterday I had totally forgotten it was February the fourteenth. I wished GP the usual nice things I wish him for his day, "Hope it's good, work hard, have fun, love you lots, etc." and then promptly went back to sleep for another half-hour, as unemployed people do. When I finally dragged my sweatpant-clad ass downstairs I was delighted to see the gorgeous bouquet of flowers GP had gotten me the night before with a sweet note in them. Immediately I felt guilty for forgetting what day it was. So I decided a simple three-course meal was the only way I could redeem myself.

We started with a terrine of beets and herbed goat cheese served with cucumbers and greens:
It was SO GOOD. Much better than the crappy photo would lead you to believe. I wish I could find the battery for my good camera. This blog should be called the Use-Your-Imagination blog because the photos are so untrue to real life. Anyhow, moving along...

Our entree was a sockeye fillet baked with wholegrain mustard, spring onions and thyme on top of smoky sauteed peas and beet greens with shallots.
Doesn't look like much, but I can assure you it was very yummy. The smokiness came from smoked paprika; no pigs were killed for this particular meal. I was originally going to do two whole trout stuffed with various herbs and spices and grilled, but there were none at the store. Besides, it was raining cats and dogs, so I'm kind of glad I had to change plans.

For dessert we were bad. Really REALLY bad. Tony Horton would not be pleased.
The above picture is of oranges caramelized in a cardamom-infused sugar syrup with Greek yogurt and it was every bit as good as it sounds. Actually, it was even better than it sounds. It was not, however, very light. I mean, the oranges were, as fruit should be, but the yogurt, well... That yogurt is like eating sweet butter, not that I'm complaining. We were kind of miserable after that, in the best way possible.

I hope your Valentine's Day was as tasty as ours and that the only kind of baby you made was a food baby. Unless, you know, you're in the market for a real one... I guess it would be okay then.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

One Piece of Paper

I graduated from high school in 2005. I finished my degree in December. After five and a half years of post secondary, I now have a piece of paper that certifies I am more specialized knowledge than someone without a double major in Linguistics and English. I am sure this will help me somewhere down the road (like when I give up with the real world and decide to get another degree), but it doesn't help right now when the only thing the jobs that I'm applying for seem to want experience.

In any case, here's my temporary piece of paper. I am too technologically illiterate to know how to rotate it:


Also, I made hot chocolate the other day and the bubbles and foam made a smiley face completely by accident. If that's not worthy of a blog post I don't know what is. These are the kinds of things that are becoming very important to me as an unemployed person.