Musings and Mirth

Help a Family Clinic, which provides abortions, rebuild

Susan Cahill’s clinic in Montana has been helping families since the 1970s. Some crazy dude with the unfortunate last name of Klundt hammered every inch of her clinic, destroying the ultrasound machine, etc. Behind this movement, btw, is white supremacy. These people do not care about the amount of “brown” babies being born into this country every year but rather the white babies who aren’t.

From Democracy Now:

Montana Abortion Provider Whose Clinic Was Destroyed by Vandal: “We’re Disappearing”

A healthcare office that provided abortions in Kalispell, Montana, has been forced to close after it was effectively destroyed by a vandal. All Families Healthcare is one of just four facilities that provided abortion in the state. Its closure means area residents must now travel more than two hours to Missoula for an abortion. Owner Susan Cahill said the vandal stabbed holes in the walls, smashed medical equipment and computers, broke every glass object, destroyed the plumbing and heating systems, ripped plants up from their roots, and smashed framed photos of her family members before stabbing holes in their faces. Cahill wrote in a letter to the local paper, “This person took meticulous time destroying EVERYTHING that was important to me.” She spoke to Democracy Now! by phone on Thursday.

Susan Cahill: “People really need to understand how very important this issue is, because it strikes at the core of human rights, in general. And I think maybe part of the problem is that most of the people who still are providing abortion services are people who grew up when it was illegal and understand, and there’s almost like, ‘Oh, well, it’s legal,’ and so they almost accept it as a given. It’s not a given, and it’s going to be taken away if we don’t do something. And those of us who provide can’t keep doing it on our own, by ourselves. We can’t. We’re disappearing.”

Susan Cahill said abortions make up only about 10 percent of the services she provided at her family practice. A suspect has been arrested and charged with felony burglary in the attack. He is a 24-year-old man whose mother serves on the board of an anti-choice crisis pregnancy center. More than 6,000 acts of violence against U.S. abortion providers have been reported in recent decades, including the firebombing of a clinic where Susan Cahill previously worked in the 1990s.

You can contribute to the fund to help Cahill rebuild here on Indiegogo.

Women We Love – Gloria Steinem


I really hate Esquire’s Women we Love feature. I also hate their Sexiest Woman Alive feature. Yes it’s probably true that they (them) speak for the larger swath of male human but it’s just so … small. But okay fine. Indeed, from my perspective one of the greatest women ever has to be Gloria Steinem, not just for who she was but for who she IS and what she’ll leave behind. Sure, it seems like a no-brainer that a feminist would choose a feminist to admire – okay, one of THE feminists — but to call Steinem merely a feminist is to miss so much about her.

Recently she turned 80. She had a few ruminations worth noting on her 80th year and one was that she felt finally free of the libido. Because of that she was able to really get some things done. Who can’t relate to that? The desperate reach is so annoying, isn’t it? Love and lust, those two awful things. What else could take their place? Imagine it. This, of course, probably only applies to women like Steinem (and me) who are unsettled in the matters of the heart and body. It feels like a quest of sorts. What is the end goal to that? Both of us, and many like us, prefer our freedom over all other things. I know I need a lot of time alone to just think about things. As I almost turn 50 I know this about myself. That makes me mostly unsocial a lot of the time. On the other hand, we need other people or we’ll go insane. I mean, even more than usual.

Steinem has given so much back to the world. She has taken very little. That is, to me, the ideal life.

Here are my top ten most admired – you have to imagine it in 12 year-old girl scrawl, optimistically written in my journal at one point. It never was. I never did. I was too busy admiring Olivia Newton John back then to notice.

Jane Goodall
Gloria Steinem
Oprah Winfrey
Susan Sarandon
Diane Keaton
Maya Angelou
Emily Dickinson
Georgia O’Keefe
Hillary Clinton
Jane Campion

That many of these women are tortured in love makes me feel a little better about the sorry state of events in my personal life. There are probably many more women to admire who ARE in stable marriages. They didn’t immediately leap to mind but I’m sure they’re there.



I was Slut Shamed at 49

For my 49th birthday I thought it would be fun to post a sexy photo of myself to remind anyone who might care, including myself, that I was still a sexy, vital woman who has left behind the 20s, the 30s and the 40s. Somehow you grow up thinking that these aren’t so precious — they they’ll always be in front of you, not permanently behind you. Women particularly begin to disappear the older they get. Why – because they are no longer fresh meat. It’s understandable from an evolutionary standpoint – young women, young ovaries, young eggs, better the chance for abundant offspring. There isn’t anything I don’t get about that. But try living in a narcissistic culture that demands we are “all here for a reason” and that we all get a fair share of attention, that we matter, etc. Or as Rust Cohle would say “I I I I I…” I personally don’t believe that “I” matters much. If you can’t fix things, make the world a better place, contribute greatly to the betterment of mankind there isn’t much point to you being here. You exist the same as every other living thing on this gorgeous rolling planet of ours.

But back to the slut-shaming. So I posted a photo that I thought was pretty. Yes, it’s in the style of the pin-up, which happens to be a favorite indulgence of mine. I have a pin-up type body so why not indulge in those fashions? I’ve taken many pictures and by those standards, the one I posted on Facebook was nowhere near as provocative. Once posted, many people “liked” it, many did not. A few men wrote me privately, thinking I was looking for sex. That’s to be expected. If I didn’t want them to think that I would not have posted the photo – meaning, I would never be insulted if any did think that. Their biology is working, that’s all that says.

My mother, on the other hand, had a fit. She called all of my siblings in a panic that I’d done something off the charts crazy – that I was about to ruin my image completely – that people would think me, a 49 year-old, a slut. REALLY?

She emailed me and offered to take photos of me that I could use instead. She said that this was way over the line and that I should be embarrassed of the photo. Well, okay fine. But embarrassed why exactly? Big breasts? Low cut dress? Flirty pose? Sexy look? It seems to me that a woman, ANY WOMAN, has a right to express herself sexually. Men have a right to respond to that sexuality, too, of course. It seems silly that women would think they could turn that light on and not expect people to look and notice. Our culture is especially keyed into this idea of the sexualized female. Our puritanism has heightened our response to sexual imagery probably more than in other comparable countries – but I have no way of knowing this.

I did end up feeling bad enough to take the picture down and suddenly I understood what “slut shaming” was all about. I posted the picture of my own free will. I didn’t mind men making comments (although I did remove one I thought was particularly vulgar) and I was prepared to own what kind of image it was. But I wasn’t prepared to have a war with my own mother over it. It wasn’t worth keeping the photo up to have that kind of icky feeling lingering. So I deleted it. But I’m posting it here on account of my rebellious/exhibitionist streak.


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About Me

I spend way too much thinking about me. This is the blank space where that paragraph should be.