Odds and Ends

1.  The Chicago Now Blog is shifting from Movable Type to Word Press.  I have been practicing, but I am not the most techno-wise.  So you will see a change in the appearance of this space in the next few weeks, and if I do my homework, the shift should be seamless.  I am a deadline kind of student, so I have not perfected the subtleties.  Steve's tech guru promised he would help me if I need it, so I have a backstop.  

2.  Two weeks and counting from the due date of my Grandson.

  Of course, Pat was 10 days late, so calendars are not being bronzed.  The baby can be a pearl or a ruby.  Both are lovely, though not manly.  The question is, which would Rachel rather have? Two of my boys were kind enough to be born in April.  Oh- Steve did not get me diamonds...but he DID get me a heart with their names and birthdates on them.  Actually, he gave me one for Pat, announcing I would only be having one child.  The next September, without ideas for my birthday, and tired of hearing me whine about wanting a daughter, he gave me a second heart, and "permission" to plan for #2.  That would be Michael- not a daughter, but still a dream come true.  Matt came without a plan or "permission"- he is willful.  
 Thank you to all who made suggestions regarding the necessities a good G-ma needs to have.  So far, I bought a crib (noted for its ease of assembly and Amazon Prime shipping) , a bouncy seat with a battery to vibrate Baby Pat* (placeholder name), a changing pad, diapers for burping cloths, a few onesies, baby sleepers,diapers, wipes, A & D, vaseline, and crib bedding that I hope will look awesome after I starch and iron it.  It is early for toys and books, but I know that I will have a child-safe repository for play things my grandkids.  I never left the house without bringing a book home- Pat was chewing on Golden Books long before he could read.  He is still a ravenous reader.  
I bid on the poetry and fairy tale editions of Childcraft, circa the 1950's out of a giant wave of nostalgia.  My parents were pretty poor when I was little, yet they bought these volumes on the installment plan.  I spent hours listening to Mom read the poems and fables.  When we were older, we read to the younger kids- Marie would beg for "How Does it Feel to Go Up in a Swing" until we were able to recite it backwards.  I was not a successful bidder.  Perhaps I will return to this time waster.  Am I the only one who remembers those orange volumes?  Ours ended up a little tattered from inter-family fighting.  AS I grew older, I found this poem and the illustrations haunting. I am only including the page that made me so concerned about the Highwayman's fate.  My first brush with death....
Anyway- when I get my bed set up, I will send a picture.  I am shocked at all the companies that sell REALLY expensive baby bedding.  I would go etsy.com if I felt like custom linens, because you can pick the fabrics, get customization and not spend a fortune.  But I am in a hurry.  So I went for something that will be looking ready by the weekend.  I know- this is symbolic, because babies do not start in the crib.  But I want to telegraph how excited I am to welcome this continuation of the blessing of family.  Woo hoo.
3.  Went to the 25th anniversary of the ordination of Fr. Terry Keehan, a wonderful friend and priest on Saturday. 
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 It was hosted by the wonderful people of Holy Family Parish in Inverness, with beautiful music, great food, and the warmth and love that community can bring.  Terry is relatively new there, and replaced the beloved pastor who had built their school.  It is hard to follow an icon, but Terry seems to have been embraced, and he clearly embraces his vocation there.  He was ordained by Cardinal Bernadin, a touchstone of faith for me.  I miss his ecumenical spirit and his kindness. 
The new Cardinal, Francis George makes it clear that his mission is to tighten up discipline in the diocese.  His message is that you are all in or all out.  That puts me in a sad spot.  I miss the community of faith that I grew up with, but there are some irreconcilable differences between us.  That is grounds for divorce in the current Catholic climate.  All the happiest and saddest days in my life have been fortified and enriched by my faith.  But it is hard to try to belong when you are not respected or desired as a part of a religion.  I am going to work on this, because I actually wept during Terry's Mass.  
4.  Slut Walk:  The idea is primal:  No means No.  Of Course. 
I am an apostle of the spoken word, and using the shock value of "slut walk" does little to advance this basic truth.
Sure, a cop may have dismissed the charges of a sexual assault before thinking when he said women should stop dressing like sluts if they wish to be left alone.  That is a ridiculous re-victimization of someone who is forced to defend herself. 
I believe, however, there is no "get" from prancing around  en masse in scanty costumes.  It gets attention, but does not advance a meaningful consideration or dialogue.  
I have read many studies lately about how males interpret sexual imagery differently than women.  It is not a sign of deficit morality, evil intent or anything derelict.  
It is wiring.  
Men are visual.  Women are more emotionally connected to sex.  Touch and safety are concerns.  Men have a physical and sexual response to what they see.  That is why 90% of all porn is purchased by males. Men control their reaction, or redirect it to appropriate activities.  This control civilizes the world.  The man who uses a visual message to excuse aggression is a criminal.  
But the woman who denies that there is a stimulus-response connection to provocative clothing and attention is in denial.  In some settings, this oversight can have horrific consequences. The cop may have meant this, but he was insensitive and inaccurate.  He painted with a roller- not even a broad brush.  
As women, we need to respect ourselves enough to not respond in blunt, crude fashion to a 
foolish overstatement.  Traipsing en masse in various states of undress is provocative, but perhaps not evocative of dialogue.  
And really:  even if you felt comfortable in a corset when accompanied by your friends, I have to think that most thinking women would not get on the el and tempt the fates dressed in such a manner.  SO most thinking women have internalized the message that the cop clumsily expressed:  be smart.  On the flip side, I hope most men have long since absorbed the notion that No means NO.  They did not need the Slut Walk parade. (scary when I agree with the New York Post- reclaiming the word slut??? Child, please! )
OK-  I will be rambling in this manner for awhile, in honor of the Word Press changeover.  I intend that this blog will replace my Facebook postings, since the new format allows video, photo and text postings.  Get ready to be bored by the incidentals in my life...and grand-fetus updates.  
  Tomorrow- book club.....

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  • Janet, I have been enjoying your blog for a long time now, having been a fan of Steve since his coming to Chicago. It always amazed me how your life and mine ran a parallel course - at least as far as motherhood, and now grandmotherhood. My 2 sons were born shortly after Pat and Mike, and it was fun to hear about their lives (and Matt too) on Steve's show. Now, my older son and his wife are expecting their first child (my first grandchild!) and found out yesterday during their 20 week ultrasound, that it's a boy! I will look forward to hearing you write about your experience of becoming a grandmother. I appreciate the mention of must-have items for Grandma's house; I definitely have some shopping to do! One question - how do you resist the temptation to buy just about everything you see, baby-wise? Best of luck and good wishes to Pat and Rachel when the big day arrives!

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