Mar 22, 2013 Iris commented on This Morning a Man Told Me to Smile....
The rage that I and many women feel when a man tells us to "Smile!" has nothing to do with Seattle. I lived in sunny California in my 20's, and I had the "Smile" thing happen to me a number of times. I was kind of shy, so my usual reaction was merely to glare, and then wish I'd been brave enough to say, "Fuck off!"

And I'm the kind of person who does smile at strangers on the street pretty often. But being told to by a man is a whole other thing; it's like he thinks he owns you.

Being free of that bullshit is one perk of middle age.
Apr 21, 2012 Iris commented on Beekeeping 101.
I'm a beekeeper in western WA. I don't use any chemical treatments on my hives at all, and so far they're just fine. My greatest sources of education and support have been this forum:
and this website:

Feb 5, 2012 Iris commented on Re: Bad Dog.
Diet undoubtedly plays a part, but in general the problem is pet owners forgetting that their pets are, in fact, living animals. Animals require real, honest-to-god exercise. The fact that it's dangerous (for cats) or prohibited (for dogs) to run around loose outdoors does not automatically cause confinement to be healthy.

You can't even qualify to adopt a cat from a shelter unless you swear you'll never let it outside. The cynical part of me thinks that, while vets will have to stitch up fewer lacerations and set fewer bones as a result of this edict, they'll make lots more money with diabetes medication or with managing other chronic ailments. And dogs... what in god's name makes people believe that a twice-daily 10-minute walk around the park can satisfy the physiological needs of a muscular animal?

Would you raise a child like that? On second thought, maybe parents shouldn't answer that... given this era of screen addiction and childhood obesity.
Jan 9, 2012 Iris commented on 520 Bridge Cheapskates Ruin My Morning.
I've been where you are, commute-wise -- different details, but same outcome. Hours on the road because the particular school matters, and because this is our version of doing whatever it takes to give the kid the best start in life. It might be slim comfort during a commute that feels endless, but those high school years go by in a heartbeat. Hang in there.
Dec 31, 2011 Iris commented on All Right, What the Hell Are YOU Doing Tonight?.
Hiking half a mile by flashlight down to a friend's place, where there will be candle-light, potluck food, wine, music, and a bonfire out on the frigid beach (if these winter high tides recede enough for there to BE a beach, that is.)
Dec 24, 2011 Iris commented on Ivies Attract Top Athletes as Public Universities Squeeze Middle Class.
My daughter (in her mid-twenties) is also at an ivy league college; she's one of the few lucky ones to get that golden ticket. I'm a low-income single parent; her father died years ago; she's been entirely self-supporting for five years and now she's got a totally free ride which includes living expenses.

If it hadn't been for that option, I doubt she would have even attended college... she and many of her friends have a sense that society is changing fast, and that remaining debt-free is probably more empowering than having a diploma. They see their future as being something they'll make from scratch, and the value of a formal education is uncertain.
Oct 3, 2011 Iris commented on SL Letter of the Day: Time to Choose.
Lena, it's such a good thing that you're studying for your GED even while working a minimum-wage job and caring for three children. In the face of intense difficulty, you're moving forward with your life. In order to even have gotten this far, you must have a lot of strength. So here's a situation where you're called on to use that same strength in a different way, to protect your future and your three children's futures.

A guy of 32 who says his reproductive time is running out has some weird agenda for manipulating you, and should NOT be listened to. If he really wanted to be there for you and the potential baby, he'd marry you and use his money to give you and your existing three children a home and support you so that you could quit your low-wage job, spend time with your kids, and continue your education.

It's true that having an abortion can feel like a very drastic, overwhelming thing to do. For many women, it's a huge and difficult choice to make, especially when you've already experienced pregnancy and birth. But it may still be the BEST choice for you to make, as a good mother to your three children.

If you go to Planned Parenthood, you can talk to a counselor who will explain the abortion procedure and help you feel more confident and clear about how it's done. You can have a girlfriend keep you company and give you support. You can draw on the courage you already know you have.

You can do this; you can still keep control over your life and your future. You don't have to lapse into a sense of life just happening to you. Hold onto the future that you're beginning to put together, and don't let this biological accident override your ability to steer your life!
Jul 27, 2011 Iris commented on USPS to Close Almost 4,000 Post Offices?.
@29: Except when there aren't any local businesses to outsource to, as in our case. We're all a bit on edge here because the postal service is such a lifeline, but hopefully we can talk them into not closing this office down.
Jul 27, 2011 Iris commented on USPS to Close Almost 4,000 Post Offices?.
@10 and @17: Closing post offices DOES mean ending mail delivery in areas like mine where we all have to come to the Post Office to collect our mail. That's what "General Delivery" means. We live in the woods in an isolated area where there is no other access to postal services without hours of expensive travel.

@6: Yes, exactly right. Our postal mail carrier (who brings mail out here three days a week) also has a contract to bring UPS. Because they sure as hell aren't going to deliver anything themselves.

@14: Do you have some kind of magic computer that opens a hatch and spits out the stuff you order online? Because when I shop online I don't know any way of getting the stuff besides having it come in the mail. (Or UPS delivered by the postal carrier, as I mentioned above.)
May 12, 2011 Iris commented on SL Letter of the Day: You Better Sit Down.
I get the sense that death is so unthinkable to some commenters it wipes every other consideration completely off the board. ( "He's going to die.... and you're worried about WHAT exactly???") We're all going to die, people. Some sooner, some later. While we're alive, we do what we can for each other, but the fact that you're nearer to death than I am doesn't mean you can pull out your death as the ultimate trump card. The caregiving spouse is a live human being with her own complex pain, not a sexual "Make a Wish" Foundation.