Friday, July 31, 2009

Contract of Marriage...

I wrote this bit for my MBA class. All week I have been watching my classmates talk about wether married couples should have seperate bank accounts or not. Then one of my classmates asserted that marriage is not a contract or a business deal - it is about oneness and unions and forming one, where there was once two. Um, well... news flash... marriage IS a social contract... it is treated as such under the law... I doubt couples who live together love each other less - maybe... but bottom line - when you get married you sign on the dotted line. You have to meet certain specifications in order to be legally allowed to sign on the dotted line, ergo, marriage is a social contract...

Marriage is in fact, where the law is concerned - a contract. A contract that entitles the parties to certain rights and privileges under the law. In fact about 150 to 200 years ago, all the women in this class, would have been prohibited from owning property in her own name as a married woman or would have to have had her husband's permission to do so, and largely at his discretion, the property she brought to the marriage largely would be - under the law considered her husbands. She had no political voice. In certain circumstances her signature on legal documents - would not have been enough for those document to be official. It was not until the 60s and 70s that women had much independence in the world of business...

That the law has evolved somewhat and women now have a political voice and can in fact own property in their own name, does not then change the fact that marriage is a social contract, with certain legal rights and privileges for those forming the contract. Certainly from a tax point of view there are advantages, insurance, right of property transfer on death... all rights governed and allowable based on having proof of a valid marriage contract. That is why no matter where the wedding happens, be it at sea, on the beach, in a legally recognized house of worship, or the court house - all marriages begin with a license... which is then ratified or validated by the officiant...mmm that is then a contract.

I was concerned vis a vi the Madoff mess, when the Feds seized Ruth's property - property held in her single name. If she was party to the scheme and the assets had been transferred to her name in an effort to illegally shield them, then fine - they should be seized as stolen property and returned to their rightful owners...those people Madoff swindled, BUT if those assets were Ruth's, brought to or earned thru legit business dealings during the marriage - while still marital property - I think a case can be made that she should be able to keep what was hers from the beginning. I think women should watch this case and these Federal maneuvers very carefully, because our rights to our own property, our own earnings, while married are tenuous at best. It was not long ago that in the eyes of the law - we were property at worst and at best quasi property.

I understand that we like to think of marriage as a "union" or "romantic love" but marriage is a social contract, one that has not always been fair and equitable, in the eyes of the law - should a party to contract decide they would like to void the contract...

The law is unconcerned with whether you love one another and pledge your eternal devotion to the counterpart in the marriage contract.

Love is about love, and property rights is about property rights, legal requirements are legal requirements - blending them together is dangerous fun...

I would not love H any less, had we forgone the contract 10 years ago...that contract gets us and the kiddos certain rights under the law... Love got's nothing to do with that...

Saturday, July 25, 2009


I wasn't going to do this, but it is rainy and I was folding a mountain of laundry and thought why not... All this proves is I have crazy eclectic musical taste... If you want to play along... go for it...

Once you've been tagged... (1) Turn on your Mp3 player (or Ipod in my case). (2) Go to SHUFFLE songs mode. (3) Write down the first 20 songs that come up--song title and artist--NO editing/cheating, please. (4) Choose 25 (or so) people to be tagged. It is generally considered to be in good taste to tag the person who tagged you.

If I tagged you, it's because I want to know more about your musical tastes, or at least a random sampling thereof.

(To do this, go to "NOTES" under tabs on your profile page, paste these instructions in the body of the note, enter your 20 Shuffle Songs, Click 'Preview' below to tag 25 people (in the right hand corner of the app) then click Publish, the little blue box at the bottom of your screen)

1.American Pie - Dance Remix - Madonna
2. Steam Engenius - Modest Mouse
3. Jenny - Killers
4. Little Miss Can't Be Wring - Spin Doctors
5. Naked in the City Again - Hot, Hot, Heat
6. Red Alert - Basement Jaxx
7. Wings Of Love - Remixed - XTM & Dj Chuck
8. Dashboard - Modest Mouse
9. Discovery Channel - Bloodhound Gang
10. Float On - Modest Mouse
11. Round & Round - Bodyrockers
12. So Far - Dire Straits
13. Because the Night - Natalie Merchant
14. Hab' dich Lieb - Herbert Gruenemeyer (german folk singer...)
15. All Around the World - ATC


I got tagged elsewhere, but thought there was no harm sharing it here also...

Rules: Don't take too long to think about it. Fifteen books you've read that will always stick with you. First fifteen you can recall in no more than 15 minutes.


1. A Fan's Note - Fred Exeley, that he killed himself might refute my ascertain that he was not crazy, but rather I think this book sticks with me because it was proof that I was not crazy, other people had crazy ideas floating around their heads and it was more than ok - someone might help you share them, by publishing them...

2. Es geschah an der Mauer - Rainer Hildabrant, I bought this in Germany the Summer of 1990, it has haunted me since. I bought in the shop next to a place, in Berlin where Nazi's killed 12 resistance workers. They hung them with piano wire. I have never fully reconciled in my head, how the slaughter of so many went without notice... or protest.

3. Pleasure of My Own Company - Steve Martin. What a charming book. I loved it. I blogged about it recently.

4. The Time Travelers Wife - Audrey Niffenegger, maybe my favorite book of recent memory. People either love or hate it... Cleverly crafted and a wonderfully rich story.

5. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court - Mark Twain. I think this is Twain's best work. It is a tad preachy, but what a powerful novel about human nature.

6. Unaccustomed Earth - Jhumpa Lahiri, this collection of short stores is dramatic in its simplicity. The last three - which are a trilogy of sorts brought me to tears.

7. The Hindi Bindi Club - Monica Pradhan, this book proves that mother daughter issues are present in every culture.

8. The Kommandant's Girl - Pam Jenoff, I am a big fan of fiction that examines the gray area. I blogged about this one also. People making seemingly impossible choices...

9. Resistance - Anita Shreve, I am mixed on her work. Talk about someone who rehashes the theme, casting it in any number of settings. This is a short book, but intense. I am still not sure how I feel about this book, but in terms of a griping story. This is it.

10. Forever - Judy Blume, I read this in middle school. I somehow knew I was not supposed to like this book, but I did like it. I reread it a number of times.

11. Tiger Eyes - Judy Blume - somehow this is the Judy Blume novel that "good girls" read. I loved it. I read it a number of times also.

12. Wie kommt das Salz ins Meer - Brigitte Schwaiger, this is a great read, a contemporary feminist questioning of marriage and life of a young woman, unhappy, trapped at home.

13. Damage - Josephine Hart - this quote has stuck with me for years... I know it to be true - then and now... "Damaged people are dangerous. They know they can survive." ... her follow up novel Sin, is no less distributing.

14. The Hand Maiden's Tale - Margeret Atwood - I find all of her work disturbing, but in a profound way. Her last book, about the alien's in the trees - so disturbing I can hardly think about it.

15. Lucky Man - Michael J Fox - a living in the moment manifesto. Better live this moment.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

There is a line

I have wrestled with this and I am not on tv every day. What happened to Erin Andrew's is just wrong and whoever did this should have to not only go to jail, but pay. I am not sure what a proper punishment would be actually, but something public and equally has humiliating.

I think being a public figure puts you in the public eye, actors, actresses, TV personalities, all choose to give up or trade away some of their privacy. They will be photographed while out on the town, at public events and award shows. They will be asked to make appearances and their life will be up for some level of public scrutiny. That said, I believe there should be some limits. While I do not advocate censorship, I think journalists and new agencies should have the decency to at least ask themselves, is this germane to this person's life as a celebrity or am I cashing in, is this photo exploitive or am I invading their privacy and I crossing an ethical line. I think they should think about how they would like public details of their life splashed across the pages of their publication.

While I am neither famous nor notorious, I have given this much thought. How much of my life is mine and how much of it belongs to my family. I am living out loud, writing and publishing what I can, when I can. I enjoy having my words out there for public scrutiny. My words, not my entire life. There are things which I keep private. It is my right to draw that line. It is everyone's right to draw that line. Public officals, politicans and celebrities trade away some of that and have to move the line a bit, but at no point is their private life fair game. Their children deserve privacy. I remember Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman keeping their divorce private to protect their childrens' privacy. They are the celebrities, not their children.

When I heard about this horrible breech of Erin Andrew's privacy I shuttered, literally shuttered. No one deserves to have their privacy invaded and certainly not in this manner. No one. As a society we should not condone stealing someone's email, reading their mail, snapping photos of them sunbathing pool side, at their home via helicopter. We should not condone hidden cams and certainly not filming them via their hotel room peep hole.

We have a some serious issues culturally and while I am not advocating censorship, I think sensational "journalism" has fueled a cult of celebrate so fierce and so demanding that as a society we have forgotten about things like decency and decorum and good old fashion common sense.

And a word to those people who rushed to view the stolen pictures of Erin on the internet, shame on you, shame on you. You are now a party, in my opinion, to the crime which was committed. I hope you remember what you did, next time you check into a hotel room. I wonder who might be watching you? You would not allow your neighbor to peek into your windows - that is a crime and you would call this person all sorts of names. Hidden cams and footage on the internet is no different, the only difference instead of one sicko get his/her rocks off, millions had access.

There is a line and it was crossed.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Courageous Lioness...

I am deeply moved with how brave L has been, she handled Friday with no crying and no fussing. She bravely marched into the surgery center, let me change her clothes and asked questions of the doctors. She understands she will feel better now, once the tonsils are gone.

When she was in recovery, she threw up, but did not cry, just let me clean her up and then insisted when we got home, she was having a bath, with a LUSH bath bomb. She got agitated at one point, right after they gave her something to calm her tummy, and informed me, that having her tonsils out had been a bad idea and she WAS not going to do it ever again. Then she fell asleep and woke up her normal perky and happy self.

Yesterday she was tired and not eating much, but has been very cheerful and helpful, she helped me fold laundry, and I did not ask her, she just volunteered.

So much fierceness and courage in that 6 year old.

Last night she visited with my mom and ate a fair number of BBQ Kettle Chips and some cookies and drank a huge amount of water and juice.

This morning she tried cereal and ate half and went with me to Kroger. She and I are going to bake and watch tv. Maybe a trip to the library this afternoon. She is staying close and has slept with me the past two nights.

But she has tackled this procedure like everything, head on and with determination and no complaints. She is a lioness...

Monday, July 6, 2009

Grandma and Grandpa

My maternal grandparents passed away about 18 months apart. My grandfather while I was in Germany the summer of 1990 and my grandmother, the fall of my freshman year of college, October 1991.

They were known and respected in the community and I remember there being a fair number of people at the calling hours as well as friends of my aunt and my mother. Lots of flowers. My grandparents gardened and everyone knew they liked flowers.

Some people gave planters for both funerals.

To say my mother has a black thumb is to be very generous. She tries, but I have seen more poor plants at her house. After the funerals she had an influx of plants. Some of them slowly went back to school with me.

So that is how I ended up with the palms, which H and I have dubbed "Grandma" and "Grandpa." I have nurtured these plant until they are taller than H, mind you they were small table top plants when we got them.

I had them in my apartment in college. My roommate/BFF and I dressed one up for Hanuka one year (our very own Hanuka bush.) I lent one to H, when he first moved to Columbus, while we were dating, so that he could green up his apartment.

While this is a story in and of itself, the real story is, well they are sprouting... seriously. I noticed it the other morning while I was enjoying my tea on the back porch. (It is important to note, that Grandma and Grandpa spend the summer on the deck and the winter in the basement by a sunny winter, because they are too tall for any other room, beside my attic office and well H is a strapping lad, but there is an extent to just how far he can carry these trees.)

At first I thought it was an insect on the trunk, and then I thought maybe the bark was peeling, the bump was curious. Then I noticed, something was growing out of the bump and sure enough, both Grandma and Grandpa had bumps and they are both sprouting, a branch. Actually Grandma is sprouting in more than one place.

My plants have been steadily growing, each year getting taller and now they are getting wider and taking on a new direction. It is exciting. Just like life takes a new direction from time, so our my plants. Sometimes we all go out on a limb, and apparently my trees of remembrance are also going out on a limb - or rather are growing a limb.