Monday.

February 5th, 2018 | Posted by Mush in Life - (1 Comments)

In which I’ve rated the day.

Slept a lot. A LOT a lot. There were cuddles. Lovely.

I got a book I wanted very much in the mail. It was volume 1 of two-volume The Yoga Vasistha, a 70’s publication broken into daily readings. (It was supposed to be both volumes, but shit happens when you buy old books off of eBay.)

I also received a nifty plastic cover for my cloth Hobonichi Weeks day planner, along with a stencil and some stickers and booklets. It was a replacement order for the one the USPS lost and never delivered after it cleared customs, so I couldn’t bug the company for a refund and had to re-order it. I like it all very much.

I had a cup of tomato soup and a few Saltines for breakfast.

I made a couple of tacos on my work break, for lunch:

corn tortilla, refried beans, cheese, lettuce, tomato, avocado, Cholula #taco

A post shared by mush morgan (@goblinbox) on

He bought me a nice pizza for supper. I ate some nice pizza. It was thin crust, with white sauce and veggies. Delicious.

Did not do any chores (beyond making the bed, which I nearly always do).

Monday score: 10/10

On bad sex.

January 28th, 2018 | Posted by Mush in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

In which, well, why don’t we just stop having it?

Another angry hot-take about how bad sex is always the man’s fault:

On the Ansari/#metoo front, nobody seems to be willing to say that maybe, just maybe, women don’t typically enjoy meaningless sexual encounters.

It’s the elephant in the room. Because clearly, we don’t. We have millions of testimonials that prove that we just… don’t.

If #metoo tells us anything, it’s not that men are pigs. It’s that sexual encounters are distressing to women more often than not. Because the vast majority of these stories are not about legal harassment or assault or abuse, they’re stories about unfulfilling hookups, catcalls, and bad sex.

There’s an implication that (most straight) women want and enjoy sex on the same terms (most straight) men do, which is to say: sex that is contextless and meaningless. But clearly, we don’t.

I suspect this is what we really need to be talking about.

And yet, all we get are hot-takes about how men are creeps for taking the sex we’re deliberately giving them, because we’re victims of the patriarchy and have no agency.

It’s somehow not our fault when the sex we enter into willingly is bad and we don’t stop it. (And, per the article, this mysteriously has something to do with uncomfortable fashion, which we literally create and perpetuate ourselves, and endometriosis, which, as far as I know, men don’t actually cause.)

Nobody’s saying, ‘Oh, hey, look, women apparently aren’t liking random sexual encounters, maybe let’s talk about how to enable ourselves to stop having them, rather than blaming men.’

And I think someone should.

Maybe we should say, ‘You’re not frigid if you don’t want to have sex under conditions unfavorable to your needs.’ Maybe we should say, ‘Many men are capable of liking mediocre sex with no real emotional context and it’s okay if you don’t.’ Maybe we should say, ‘You can be a fully authentic woman without having context-free sexual encounters you don’t enjoy.’ Maybe we could say, ‘Fucking around isn’t feminism.’

Maybe we could say, ‘While gender may be a spectrum, there are actual verifiable differences between the sexes that inform motivation and behavior and even sexual enjoyment parameters, and acknowledging these facts can be done intelligently and in a celebratory fashion without resorting to blaming men for taking what you’re giving to them.’

(I can’t speak to the pain topic; I don’t find sex painful, beyond a few random experiences that I immediately halted. I do realize it’s a real issue for many, though.)

Deleted.

January 19th, 2018 | Posted by Mush in Admissions | Life | Soapbox - (2 Comments)

In which I posted this on Facebook on a friend’s long piece about the Ansari thing and consent and #metoo in which she’d specifically invited thoughtful response, but then somebody immediately (so immediately that I sincerely doubt they’d actually read it) responded with “Jesus.”, as if I were so profoundly wrong they just couldn’t even, and it made me feel anxious because I’m probably not sex-positive and feminist enough for some circles, so I deleted it and am posting it here where no one will read it.

I think we collectively have this weird belief that sex is:
A. GREAT
B. always fun and satisfying
C. super meaningful and important.

Personally, I think it’s ridiculous to expect that sex, alone of all human experiences, will always be great and fun and satisfying, or to believe that the quality matters much.

Even pizza can’t stand up to those expectations! Sometimes you get a burnt one or they left off the olives you really wanted or you’re not in the damn mood for pizza. Nothing is *always* great and fun and satisfying.

Sex isn’t even that important. It’s like elimination: it’s a problem when you can’t do it, sure, but there’s no need to obsess about your bowel movements. That’s weird. Stop it. Nobody cares.

Successful sex is sex that results in conception. The subjective experience of it doesn’t matter, even if our species does have sex for thousands of reasons that are not about conceiving and are specifically focused on the subjective experience. But really, the drives that cause sex are “for” procreation, and there’s really no promise it will be physically or emotionally enjoyable, and especially not every single time.

It’s also true that because there are so many reasons for doing it, it’s likely that your reason and your partner’s reason may not line up.

Also, it’s fine and absolutely okay to not want to have sex, or to not always like it when you do. I’ve had a lot of sex I didn’t care much for because my own “should” [the OP had listed a series of “shoulds” that resulted in her own experiences of not saying no when she wanted to say no, like “you should be helpful, you should be pleasant, you should be enthusiastic”] was “you should be Very Very Afraid of being called frigid, because apparently that’s the worst thing a girl could ever be.”

I feel like half of #metoo is women being disgusted by men’s higher libidos and not even realizing that that’s what’s happening, because they seem to believe that they’re just as horny as men and that they should want and need and have lots of sex in order to be “normal” and “healthy.”

Some women have high libidos, of course, but most don’t. So they’re not that horny, and they’re not driven to take risks to get off, and they srsly don’t understand why anybody would enjoy fucking for its own sake without the context of commitment until they eventually go through a period of super high libido. Lol hormones!

Another quarter of #metoo is women blaming men for not being psychic. When you give 37 “yes, please proceed” signals and one “um, maybe not” and he misses it, it’s not assault. It’s on par with not being able to hear the ticket guy through that little grille in the booth: it’s frustrating and stupid.

The remaining 25% is a heart-breaking gamut of actual rape and assault and abuse, to stuff you’d need a judge and jury and video footage to ever really know for certain either way since sexual encounters, especially for non-dominant partners, is so highly subjective. But most of the hashtag is not proof of rampant sexual abuse: it’s proof of rampant lack of taking responsibility for one’s own choices and actions.

Paglia says it really well in some video I can’t be bothered to look for right now when she’s talking about being in college in the late 60’s in a women’s dorm with a curfew the men didn’t have. She talks about how feminists at that time were saying they wanted to be responsible for their own safety, they wanted the same rights AND RESPONSIBILITIES the men had, to go where they wanted when they wanted, and to accept the outcomes of their own choices. They wanted society to stop forcing protection on them so that they could protect themselves as they saw fit.

I feel that people today, particularly women, have this expectation that they will be safe at all times in all places. That’s just dumb. There likely isn’t a man on earth who thinks like that, because they know there’s a difference, in expectations of safety, that is absolutely dependent on circumstances.

A church is generally safer than a foxhole. A dark alley in a “bad” part of town is generally less safe than a public library during the day. People cannot have an expectation of perfect safety in all situations, and should prepare for different situations appropriately.

Which is to say, if you’re a girl at a frat party dressed like a whore, your expectations of sexual safety are going to be different than they would be if you were at home with your friends. (And clothing does matter. A business suit says something, a cassock says something, a gimp suit says something. Insisting that deliberately dressing in a sexually provocative way doesn’t have intrinsic meaning? Is ridiculous. It signals sexual availability. Period. Full stop.)

So we need to accept responsibility for our decisions and our actions. Yes, there are actual predators, and they’re absolute rat-fucking bastards, but they’re the exception and not the rule. Most of #metoo is people putting themselves in harm’s way and blaming the world for it. Most of the stories are stories about failing to self-protect on a variety of levels, from physical to emotional, being disappointed when there are bad results, and blaming “the patriarchy.”

My unpopular opinion is that having a disappointing or uncomfortable sexual experience is generally not harm, but believing that it is harm causes a great deal of unnecessary emotional suffering.

It’s like getting a burnt pizza. It doesn’t matter. It’s not a big deal. It’s not going to affect your psyche unless you decide to freak out about it. There are gradations of trauma, and a lame fuck is not going to give you PTSD unless you have a bizarre and unrealistic set of beliefs about the world owing you absolute safety and happiness at all times no matter what you do.

Yes, there are definitely problems in the sexual sphere, obviously, that society should be — and is — conversing about, but I feel that we really need women in particular to accept that with freedom comes responsibility.

I mean, you can’t drink a bottle of wine and blame society because you’re drunk, and you can’t blame society when you find out that fucking isn’t love and you feel icky walk-of-shaming home in your little black dress the next morning with your 4″ heels in your purse.

You put yourself in that situation, you made those choices, you ended up with the so-frequently unfulfilling and disappointing results. It’s not society’s fault that you made a string of choices that didn’t produce the results you wanted, it’s not the patriarchy, it’s not sexism: YOU did that because you’re free to do so, nobody stopped you, there’s no chaperone, there’s no taboo, there’s no longer any shame in the walk of shame.

Random casual sex is normalized, and maybe, just maybe you just don’t actually happen to like it, and that’s all there is to it. Maybe he’s not a creep, maybe you’re not a victim, maybe you just don’t happen to like it. And maybe that’s just absolutely fine and okay.

“Healthy” chili bean chimichanga

January 7th, 2018 | Posted by Mush in Food - (Comments Off on “Healthy” chili bean chimichanga)

In which there’s a picture of a food I ate!

I read a lot of recipes online, because they’re free and ubiquitous and frequently useful, if not just as written but for ideas, but they drive me nuts more often than not.

Calling a recipe delicious or easy or quick or inexpensive is fine, but there’s an army of chicks out there posting recipes they claim are “healthy” without defining what that means.

I just scanned half a dozen chimichanga recipes, and the two that claim to be “healthy” do so because they’re baked instead of fried… except one’s flash-fried before baking, and the other’s painted with butter then baked.

So, how does this differ—calorically or in fat content—from just, you know, fucking frying the things? I’d be willing to bet it doesn’t!

Chili bean chimichanga!

Now, this beauty here is a flour tortilla wrapped around chili beans, diced onions, and American cheese, fried in vegetable oil, and then smothered in enchilada sauce, grated cheddar, sour cream, and olives.

It’s pretty cheap, since I made the beans and gravy from scratch, but I’m not going to insinuate that it’s healthy simply because I didn’t use canned beans or sauce. Well, it’s got some fiber, sure, it’s vegetarian, and it’s happy-making because it’s delicious, but I’m not going to tell you it’s health food!

Ringing out the old

December 31st, 2017 | Posted by Mush in Finance | Soapbox - (Comments Off on Ringing out the old)

In which we ring in the new!

In 2017, I discovered that a lot of people are racists and honestly don’t know it. They’ll say they’re not racist, and in the next breath explain that marginalized non-white communities are that way because, well, you see, that’s how “those people” are; they deserve it, it’s inherent.

And also classist: They’ll say, “the American dream lives and anyone can make it!” But show them a single fucked-up white community and they’ll dismiss them all as ignorant, low-class trash, rather than the victims of poverty and societal abandonment.

I learned that a lot of Americans who enjoy/ed luck and privilege never learned how to think about it. They believe they have what they do because of their own hard work and initiative, and never do they credit the fully-functioning society—schools, vaccines, food, healthcare, roads—that actually launched them.

If we’re lacking anything in spades, it’s compassion and humility — and the fully-functioning society created by these qualities. Nobody makes it alone, ever: everyone who succeeds does so from a platform of outside assistance. Nobody ever made it in America without using public roads, public education, public resources, entitlements paid for by ALL. But when we close libraries and national parks, and refuse to pay K-12 teachers a living wage for so long that every state in the nation is suffering a critical shortage of teachers, well, society is no longer functioning well at all.

Nobody ever makes it without knowing somebody, or knowing someone who knows somebody, who helps them. With an interview, a tip, guidance. We’re all in this together, even “them.” Because “them” are us, and pretending they’re other makes you an asshole.

You may think you’ve made it due to your hard work and initiative, but YOU HAD THE CHANCE TO WORK HARD HANDED TO YOU ON A PLATE. There are millions who work harder than you ever did, but they present at inner city ERs with late stage cancer because they couldn’t stop working and go in when it was Stage 1. Sure, maybe you studied hard, but there are millions of Americans (and billions of human beings) who would love the chance to merely study hard. Oh, to only have to worry about studying hard, and not calories, disease, war, and shelter!

Open your heart. See and acknowledge and feel suffering. Sure, beggars at intersections can be grifters, but maybe, just maybe, that sign is true? Half of America doesn’t have $400 for an emergency. That’s how we end up on the streets. FEEL THAT.

And, oh, happy New Year!

Low-quality jobs are increasingly the norm out there.

December 30th, 2017 | Posted by Mush in Soapbox - (Comments Off on Low-quality jobs are increasingly the norm out there.)

In which I wrong a Facebook response so long I didn’t bother to post it.

“Uber pays out $200mm per month to drivers.” And? To how many drivers and for how many hours of work? The grand total is irrelevant, it merely indicates the size of the racket.

I don’t use Uber because their model is utter rot. I don’t use DoorDash, and now I don’t use Instacart, either. These jobs are awful and these companies should die, because their aim and goal is to put billions in the pockets of a few app bros and some shareholders/investors by effectively stealing it — primarily from their own employees, but also from the communities they operate in by ignoring and circumventing licensing and regulatory requirements with douchy legalese.

Uber, for example, is not a free market solution to a real market pain point — we already had licensed and regulated cabs and taxis — it’s theft. Calling an employee an independent contractor to avoid paying them for their work is illegal, and it’s why all of these gig economy companies have been repeatedly sued.

“Not happy that your employer is illegally not paying you? Well, go improve yourself and get a better job” is crap advice when better jobs increasingly do not exist.

One, more people go to college than ever before, so much of the workforce is already degreed, and going back to school does little to increase hireability and just increases debt (unless you happen to trade in your lit degree for a specialized, high-demand engineering degree, not easy when you’re a mature adult). Two, decade upon decade of automation and international outsourcing mean vastly fewer decent jobs overall. Three, the jobs that do exist pay what they did 30 years ago, because wage growth has been stagnant that long.

For example, being a warehouse worker was once a decent so-called unskilled job; you could work an honest day and support a family modestly. Today warehouse work is likely to be for Nike or Amazon or Walmart and part-time, temporary, and terrifically stressful, paying less than a living wage.

When economists talk about the number of jobs added every term it seems like net growth, but the majority of these jobs are low-quality, temporary, part-time or gig economy jobs, lacking security, bennies, or even reasonable scheduling.

If you haven’t worked a random schedule, week after week, in a shitty or dangerous or high-stress environment, for years on end, you are probably incapable of modeling how exhausting and stressful and inhumane it is.

Try working every single holiday for five years straight like the support technician you spoke with on the phone who solved your internet issues. Try closing at night and then being forced to open the next morning several times a month for several years straight like the home improvement store associate who solved your DIY plumbing problem or the young mom who made your latte.

Hell, try making $15 an hour working required 24-hour shifts like the EMT who stabilized your uncle after his heart attack. Try working 60 hour weeks for decades like the nurses who tended you at the hospital.

Telling people in those circumstances to try harder is pure asshattery. For a lot of the middle-sliding-rapidly-into-lower class workforce, there simply isn’t better work. The jobs are gone. There’s other, different shitty work, but millions barely have time to even look for other, different shitty work anyway, because scheduling is so terrible for everyone who isn’t fortunate enough to have a job with banker’s hours… which is the overwhelming majority of the workforce, skilled or unskilled, these days.

I realize that many white men still have good jobs, and believe they have them due to merit and skill and self-effort (rather than privilege and luck, which is actually the case), but even despite these beliefs they’re not inherently better than everyone else.

Stating that there are plenty of great jobs out there if only people would try harder is untrue, no matter how much they believe it. The facts are the facts: wage stagnation, automation and technology, outsourcing everything from manufacturing to call center jobs, the death of unions, the gutting of worker protections: low-quality jobs are increasingly the norm out there.

And suggesting that people up sticks and move to where the good jobs are is more elitist bullshit, considering half the nation doesn’t even have $400 on hand for an emergency. Moving is expensive and presupposes a financial buffer that just isn’t there anymore.

So I repeat myself: people don’t take shitty jobs because they’re idiots. They take them because they have to earn and, increasingly, that’s all there is.

Just having a little trip down memory lane

December 29th, 2017 | Posted by Mush in Admissions | Life | Miscarriage | Soapbox | Whining - (Comments Off on Just having a little trip down memory lane)

In which there’s The Past.

Here’s me, 16 years ago, standing in my kitchen.

2001

See how rough and unfinished that shit was? The whole place looked like that. It never got better, just worse. It was barely a step above living in a car. (Well, a very large car, with a bug-infested shower, but still, roughly the comfort and insulation of living in a car. Or maybe a super ghetto mobile home.)

That secretary desk, on the left? Was really cool. Wish there’d been some way I could have kept that. It was old and in shitty shape, but it had cubbies and a hinged desk and I adored it.

I feel that way about a remarkably small number of the things that I had in that house and lost. My grandfather’s table. A couple of leather coats that molded. And I did rather like that samovar. My hard drives, the ones he left in a filthy, shitty, open-to-the-elements “room.” But that was later; I digress.

leak

That house was a piece of shit. We never should have bought it. I never would have, except my husband was a professional fucking contractor and said it was a good idea, it was fine, he could handle it, no problem. And, idiot I was, I chose to believe him. I thought he had expertise!

We bought it on contract, and, like fucking morons, we used the same lawyer the sellers used. I don’t think we even had it inspected, because I was home when an inspector showed up after we’d bought it and moved in, and he told us the electrical was nowhere near code and that we’d be fined if we didn’t correct it. (Husband’s solution was to just destroy the entire mud room/porch, rather than correct the issue. Huzzah.)

We hadn’t even been there a month when the roof leaked and a bunch of ceiling fell in. Oh, and then the well-head pole fell over while I was in a hot shower in a literally freezing house.

The kitchen was in the basement and you could see dirt through the cracked concrete slabs of the floor. Cobwebs in the unfinished ceiling. Main bathroom had a countertop on a raw 2×4 frame, cement floors, and unfinished brick walls with no cupboards. Kitchen “cupboards” were the same: just unfinished, open 2×4 shelving with salvaged countertops stuck on by hippies. There had been cloth curtains on the front when they showed us the house; when we moved in, just raw shelves.

Then he tore the already shitty disaster up even more. Refused to fix the decent bathroom on the second floor, the one with walls and a bathtub and ceilings. Destroyed the only decent or useful spaces in the house — the finished attic, the mud porch, the greenhouse.

Oh, the greenhouse, where it was sun-warm in the winter and one could have grown herbs and sat to read!

He covered most of the basement windows with a massive porch he never finished*, so the main living space became not just dirty and unfinished, but lightless as well, and we had an unusable porch!

I mean, he did re-roof the house, which was actually necessary and good, and a lot of incredibly hard work, certainly, but even that was embarrassing as fuck because I later saw him refuse to honor the markers he’d traded for his friends’ hard work on it, because he was honorless and lazy.

It’s not like he didn’t do shit; he did a lot of shit. I realized later that he just did shit he wanted to do. He was good at getting firewood, for example, but he’d spend inordinate amounts of time on it — cutting down whole trees, hauling them, cutting them, splitting them, renting machinery to do so — rather than just fucking buying it and working on the house. He made it so much more complicated and involved and time-consuming than it needed to be; we could have just worked on the furnace, and maybe, I don’t know, installed some fucking insulation?, and bought more propane. But no, he’d spend months of weekends “getting us firewood to heat the house.”

Firewood I had to haul from the barn, in a wheelbarrow, through the snow, half a city block. Yeah.

He did do a lot of work, sure, but he never did what we needed or finished anything. He’d do shit like spend tons of time building a really cool but ultimately unnecessary trailer for the riding lawnmower, or sawing holes in the roof to frame in dormers he never actually completed (covering shit in plastic sheeting for a year is not completing something), or putting in external doors that didn’t actually go anywhere yet and wouldn’t for years.

And then those fucking hippies had the balls to threaten to sue us! They sold us a total piece of shit of a house [caveat emptor], then forced us (well, not us, because I’d bailed just before then, and not him — because he had no money, per the usual — but J., who paid it off for reasons I will probably never understand) to honor the entire mortgage over a decade early!

What a fucking shit show!

I read a blog post from that era today (I was searching for something I’d written about pickling asparagus), in which I was fucking miserable because I lived in a disaster of a fucked up home I owed thousands on, with a person who didn’t like or respect me enough to compromise at all, ever, trying so transparently hard to assign depth and humanity to him rather than acknowledge the selfishness and laziness that was the actual situation.

He kept busy enough that I could pretend to agree that he was trying as hard as I was. It wasn’t until a decade later that I realized he did only what he felt like doing, and that I felt marginalized because he did that specifically so he could point to it and make me feel like a cunt for asking for him to just be kind to me.

There was work, so much work, that needed to be done on that farm; and beyond roofing the house, which was truly useful, he did little-to-none of it, really. He did random unnecessary shit, in spurts, like mowing acreage we didn’t need to use, then sat on the couch pulling bongs and playing video games.

Never did laundry, never cleaned a toilet, didn’t cook or shop, bitched me out for asking him to do simple errands like drop off a bill payment (or for accidentally scratching my own vehicle under his direction), refused to take his own pets to the vet, was infrequently but explosively abusive, complained endlessly about not getting laid enough (even though I suffered multiple miscarriages (one of which actually put me in the hospital), ha HA), forced me to give up my income and then failed to earn enough himself enough to support us.

He was, in short, a bastard.

I never said that then, because I was trying so hard to be fair and balanced and understanding. I made excuses for him constantly; it’s in every post I ever wrote while married.


The entire thing should never have happened.

But I was alone in Iowa, and at that age when all you want is to be married, and he asked.

Funny story: he asked in Walla Walla. My maternal grandfather was dying; my mom contacted me and said I needed to come home. She even bought a ticket for him, some random Midwestern boyfriend she’d never met and knew nothing about, and brought me — and him, a stranger — home for grandpa’s end.

We flew out on her dime. We slept in my ancestral home.

We saw my progenitor, dying, in his hospital bed. (Actually stood in line to see him, so revered was he.)

Grandpa asked my random Midwestern boyfriend, a contractor, to help his son, my uncle, with a bastard hip roof, on his remodel.

My random Midwestern boyfriend did. (Good on him… but yet, how could he refuse?)

Then grandpa died, and funeral preparations began.

AND THEN my random Midwestern boyfriend ran out of pot, to which he was deeply addicted, and forced me to leave without attending my grandfather’s funeral.

But he proposed, the morning after grandpa died, and I was so young and dumb I said yes, and we left.

I left, and did not attend my grandfather’s funeral!

What. The. Actual. Fuck. Michelle.


The day I got married to that train wreck, that incredible wrong, my mother put her arm around me, after the ceremony, after the signing, during the reception, and said, “He’ll make a good first husband.”

What the fuck, mom. You should have stopped me.

If only you’d had the power to stop me.


* while I lived there. It was finished this year, 2017. Eleven years after it was begun.

Note: I realized today it sounds like I’m obsessed with this relationship, but honestly I could write similarly for the majority of my past relationships; this one just cost a lot and required two name changes so it tends to take pride of place in my personal Hall of Bad Decisions. The last serious relationship before that one was nearly as shit, if I consider it. So maybe I’ll blog about that one some day.

Christmas is in nine days!

December 16th, 2017 | Posted by Mush in Holiday - (Comments Off on Christmas is in nine days!)

In which it’s nearly X-mas!

The tree’s up, there are lights around the windows.

I’ve done all my shopping, wrapping, and shipping for the year. Cards have been sent.

We’ve received a single Christmas card — it’s on the table. Thanks, Polt! — and a gift from my aunt, a cooler full of frozen Omaha Steaks food selections, most of which we’ve already eaten.

I’ve received my Bloggy Gift Exchange package.

Winter’s here and we have snow on the ground. I haven’t been outside since it arrived!

Two ways to die

November 19th, 2017 | Posted by Mush in Life - (Comments Off on Two ways to die)

In which this just popped into my head.

There are two ways to die: suddenly, or expectedly. There are two ways to die: right now, or later. There are two ways to die: consciously, or unconsciously.

Because you ARE old?

November 11th, 2017 | Posted by Mush in Admissions - (Comments Off on Because you ARE old?)

In which I can’t believe this nitwit is the president.

Misspelled?!

Zero chemistry with Putin?!

Russia can greatly help?!

The dangerous North Korea crisis?!

Trump is an imbecile.