Friday, January 13, 2012

Random Mommy Bloggish Links Post

I'm afraid I'm out of time and out of notions for today's blog post. Thus, I hope that you will forgive me if I lapse into "mommy-blog" mode for just a bit; I'm sure it won't last (sadly). So, without further ado:

Random Mommy-Bloggish Links

1. We had some company this week, and I wanted to make homemade rolls to serve with dinner. Alas, my best homemade roll recipe is time-intensive with lost of on-the-clock, last minute stuff to do: so much time for prep, so much time for the first rise, so much time for the punching down and shaping of rolls, so much time for the second rise, and then so much for the baking. Fine for a day when I've got a slow-cooker soup going, but not so fine when I'm cooking other food for guests.

Enter: this awesome recipe. I agree with the commenters that you should probably decrease the water by 1/2 cup, because otherwise you end up adding some additional flour. But I've never used a refrigerated yeast roll dough recipe that ended up being so much like ordinary yeast rolls in terms of taste, texture, ease of shaping, etc. Best of all--once it starts rising in the fridge (and it needs at least eight hours) you have tons of time to deal with the roll shaping, second rise, and baking part.

2. I loved this Forbes article titled 9 Common Myths about Clearing Clutter. The "myth" I'm most susceptible to: number 3:
“I need to run out and buy some inventive storage containers.” See #1. I love cunning containers as much as anyone, but I’ve found that if I get rid of everything I don’t need, I often don’t need a container at all.
Yes, yes. I can't tell you how many times I've thought that the key to dealing with the clutter can be found at this place, instead of by being realistic about the stuff I don't use and don't need and just getting rid of it. What about you? Any of these nine myths your particular stumbling-block to a good clearing-out?

3. I have to admit to both a grin and a grimace as I read this piece. The author details ten types of moms that other moms should just avoid. I've got an 11th type: the mom of a fourteen-month-old who thinks she's already got all the other moms out there pegged. My advice: lighten up. Sure, there are truly toxic moms out there, but unless you know the substance-abuse mom, or the in-and-out-of-jail mom, or the will-drop-all-her-kids-at-your-house-at-the-slightest-encouragement mom, or the thinks-it's-cute-that-her-kids-are-destructive-bullies mom, you probably haven't got all that much to worry about.

4. January is the month where, everywhere you turn, you see weight-loss articles and tips. Which is why it was--interesting--to read that most models are now 23% slimmer than average women (compared to 8% slimmer twenty years ago) and that while plus-sized models used to wear sizes 12 to 18, today's plus-sized models wear sizes 6 to 14. Yes, all you skinny size-six ladies out there: you can dream of a plus-sized modeling career! I know that obesity in America is a serious problem, but I can't help but wonder, as someone who has struggled with yo-yo dieting and other unhealthy habits in my life, whether the fashion industry's constant refusal to accept that normal women do not look like skin-covered skeletons isn't a contributor to the problem. I mean, if size 6 is "plus-sized," why bother to try to be thin?

5. I think Pat Archbold deserves some thanks for his post about hating it when he's with men who are ogling the women around them. Even if I'm sort of late mentioning it.

I wonder, though, whether some men who would totally agree with Pat and who go out of their way to avoid objectifying women don't, sometimes, fall prey to a different sort of sexist (if you'll forgive the word) behavior?

When I first started commenting on blogs back in the dark ages when everything was DOS and computer games didn't have pictures (okay, okay, it wasn't that long ago), I timidly ventured forth into this strange wilderness and...chose a nice, non-gender-specific nickname because I wasn't crazy enough to dream of putting my real name and identity out on this newfangled World Wide Web business. Eventually, of course, I got more comfortable and started using my real name on my opinions--and something strange happened, in particular to the men I used to engage in discussion with the most on a handful of blogs. Some of them didn't treat me any differently; some of them no longer addressed me at all; and some of them who used to write things like, "That's a really good point, but I disagree with X," now would write things like, "Clearly you have no idea what you're talking about, and I'm not going to waste my time instructing you in the basic knowledge you'd have to have before any conversation with you could be profitable." There was a definite ghost of the phrase "silly woman" hovering over that last.

I've heard from other women who've had similar experiences: comment as "Interested" or "Packers Fan" or "XYZZY" and you'll be treated one way by the self-identified male commenters on some blogs and forums--but create a new identity as "Dolly" or "Mrs. Q" or "Felicia" and suddenly some of the men will treat you entirely differently. Not all, but some.

Are they the same men who ogle women and otherwise dehumanize them? Or is this more subtle sexism more widespread, affecting some men who are chivalrous and honorable in their ordinary dealings with women? I can't help but wonder.

That's it for today! I'll resume my usual cantankerous church-and-state-and-culture-centric blogging on Monday, Good Lord willing!

UPDATE: I clicked away from writing this post and found another good mommy-bloggish thing to share! Here's why your home will never look like one featured on TV or in a magazine. Good to know!


Rebecca in ID said...

Out of all those wonderful things you talked about, I only have a comment on the rolls: The fridge method is fantastic, but oh my gosh why shortening instead of butter??? Anyway, for a great whole book on how to make all kinds of artisan breads using the easy fridge-to-oven technique, I highly recommend "Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a Day" by Hertzberg and Francois. Go to Amazon (can't figure out how to link here) and take a look at the cover: I made dough three days ago, last night took a chunk out of the bowl, made a ball and threw it in the oven, and we ate that loaf you see there on the cover for dinner with our beans. You can make a big old batch, just try to use it within 2 weeks, and the longer it sits in there, the more it develops that wonderful sourdough-ish artisan flavor. You never have to knead the bread. Anyway, they also have some nice plain rolls and things.

Red Cardigan said...

Well, Rebecca, I did use butter instead of shortening, and the recipe worked just fine, so...


That book sounds terrific! Before I order it, though, I'd better check Thad's bread shelf. My husband loves to make bread and has even made his own recipes a time or two. I'm not there...probably never will be...

Rebecca in ID said...

Well I had a lot of great bread books, and I actually really liked making bread, but hardly ever did it because of how you have to plan and time things. I even made sourdough from scratch, as in using the yeast and bacteria from the air, the super-old-fashioned way. But now I actually make bread regularly because of this heavenly book.

I'm so glad you used butter. :)

Anonymous said...

Interesting 'mommy post' not.

Recently have been purchasing bread dough mixes on sale to make by hand because my son's bread machine no longer does what it's supposed to do. After several batches of 'home-made' bread (my husband does the punching and the kneading), we've almost reached the stage where we bake bread from 'scratch' (yeast, flour, sugar or honey, etc.) instead of using the mix on sale for the day.

'Do NOT get organized' as the first step is wonderfully illuminating point and starts the ball rolling on seeing some results fast! One of my sons suggested three garbage bags: one for important stuff to keep, one to throw away (paper to recycle), and one for donation, and I remember now how it fits in the scheme of quickly sorting out stuff as a first step in dealing with clutter!

Then, the issue of pseudonyms on the web. As a novice first, then consideration of my sex, family members, 'race' identified with marriage and sons' lives, I have long developed monikers that elude detection. It only took one or two brief encounters with the www. I will never forget the response as my persona of 'Cinnamon' by the male blog host as a "slut name". In posts attacking certain ethnic groups especially during WWII, I could never use my real name because people wouldn't be honest in their opinions if I were to attempt to strike a note of rationality outside of irrational prejudices. In posts about my home state of Alaska, I've felt I had to defend the fact that I was born in the state before it was a state, and had nothing at all to do with Sarah Palin, except perhaps that her father and mine worked together many years ago (a fact that I was not aware of until long after she was no longer associated with vice presidential aspirations). In other general blogs, I've felt the need to emphasize my French ancestry over other genealogy. Remarkably, in occasional postings at sites where regularly contribute points of view related to working career, I feel the need to sign with my maiden name and lower 'echelon' credentials so as not to seem a member of the 'elite' in my career class.

It's hilarious to think how easily I've become someone with seemingly 'multiple' personalities. I guess I do it because of the nature of blogosphere; making a credible impression to others in order to persuade the veracity of my written opinion. Blog posts only allow one dimension of learned expression for somewhat calculated response for someone that depends a lot on body language and tone of voice. I try to provide a gut reaction, but it is evident that I censor myself sometimes. Other times it's more studied and less honest.


Sal said...

My time-tested rules for de-cluttering, most of which I got from FlyLady, with a nod to Don Aslett.

1) You are not your stuff.

2) Other people are not their stuff, either. Just 'cause you loved someone, you don't have to hang on to what they owned.

3) You can't keep anything that has bad memories attached. If it doesn't make you smile, out it goes.

4) Bless someone with your extra stuff today, and you'll get what you need later on.

5) Minimize. Keep four of your favorite thimbles, not thirty. Or take a photo, then release the item.

6) If you can't toss something yourself, enlist a friend. That's what I did with the crumbling straw Moses basket my first three slept in.

To me, decluttering gives me a feeling similar to having been to confession.
For realistic goals, constant cheerleading and encouraging peer examples, I can't recommend the Flylady enough.

Charlotte (Waltzing Matilda) said...

That book sounds terrific! Before I order it, though, I'd better check Thad's bread shelf.

Or you could borrow your SIL's copy! :)

Karen said...

I wanted to thank you for your post on how unhealthily thin fashion models have become. I have noticed that the higher-stores have begun to follow suit by carrying ridiculously small sizes as well. I love J. Crew, but why in the world do their stores carry 00's but no 14's? Most women in North America are, I believe, size 14 or 16, and I was a really thin kid but never wore any adult size smaller than a 6. In fact, I don't think any adult clothing came in sizes smaller than a 6 back in the 70's. I realize that I shared my childhood with mastodons, but really, what adult can wear a 00? Is there that much of a market for $100 cashmere sweaters for 5th graders? How do clothing retailers survive if they only sell to a tiny fraction of the market?

Barbara C. said...

Karen, did you actually try any of the clothes, because a lot of stores/brands are really into "vanity sizing". When I was at Kohl's I ended up a buying Chaps pants and a skirt in as size 4. I am skinny as a rail most of the time, but even I haven't worn a size 4 since junior high (especially since childbirth 4 times has expanded my hip bones quite a bit).

Geoff G. said...

On the topic of sexism and ogling, I'm a guy and I won't apologize for noticing things (Matt. 5:28 notwithstanding). On the other hand, the combination of my upbringing and my own peculiar circumstances won't permit me to take any overt action or make any comments to others about what I've noticed. Much as people like to bemoan the decline in social mores in our modern world, from what I've heard this is something that's improved considerably in recent decades.

I can offer even more confirmation of Red's observations in the differences between how men and women are treated however, although it comes from an unusual quarter. On another forum I read, there was a recent post from someone who's quite the techie. Builds their own computers, for themselves and for friends, that sort of thing.

The twist? This particular person was a male-to-female transsexual. And she'd noticed that, since changing gender, her male friends, who were otherwise supportive, no longer seemed to come to her for advice. The treatment she received at the computer stores changed radically, from bantering with the staff about the latest technology to fairly blatant condescension.

The point being, if you think there are unspoken and even subconscious expectations that attach to your gender, you're (a) absolutely right and (b) probably aren't going to get very far with changing them because even when we know a person's skill-set well, we still treat them as we expect people of that gender to act.

Elizabeth said...

Comparing models' dress sizes now to decades ago is made more difficult by the fact that clothing sizes in ready-made were "re-normed" several decades ago, so we don't feel so bad about the size we're buying. (It's the same psychology behind the Plus sizes now being 00-4, instead of just continuing up the size chain into the 20s and 30s.)

A friend of mine who is a fabulous tailor explained this to me over 20 years ago. Her ready-made clothing sizes fell, but her pattern sizes stayed the same. I discovered she was right when I lost 65 pounds 12 years ago. The same frame and weight that had been a 10 or 12 (depending on brand) in college is now an 8!

Find and old photo of Twiggy, the fashion model whose thinness shocked us in the 60s. She doesn't appear thin to us anymore!

There was recently a show on PBS about the history of the bikini. When it became popular, women just put one on and said "this is me." Apparently we have Princess Leia to blame for part of the fitness craze. She was so pared down and buff in the bikini scenes in last The Return of the Jedi that women started heading to the gym in larger numbers, thinking they had to be perfect to wear one.


Siarlys Jenkins said...

Some years ago there was a fill-in-the-blank personality assessment circulating by email. I only remember two of my answers:

At what store would you max out a credit card? (I never max out a credit card.)

What is the most boring topic of conversation you know? (Men talking about women).

Sort of on topic. If she means enough to me to pay attention to, she means enough not to talk about. And othewise, what's to talk about?