7 Signs of Bag-Lady Chic

Kathryn M. McCullough

Hello, my name is Kathy, and I am a bag lady.

You see, we visited the beach in Ecuador last week–our first trip to the coast since moving to Cuenca 11 months ago–an adventure in its own right, most would think.  However, I had a victory that involved more than sand and surf.

I did NOT purchase a purse.

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You see, “mi esposa” Sara says I’m a bag lady.  Though she hasn’t indicated it’s terminal, she insists it’s a sickness, maybe even a curse.  (I think, she exaggerates.)

I’ve written before about my advanced luggaging skills.  I’ve even composed  “A Beginner’s Guide to Becoming a Better Bag Lady.”  I’ve posted about over-packing–both in the contexts of  travel and moving.

Bottom line–I know bags.

However, I’ve only once before confessed the embarrassingly large number of purses and pouches I possess.  And in the context of last week’s triumph over temptation, I thought I’d share again images of those carry-ables.

So, today I…

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An Open Letter to My Boobs

Susie Lindau's Wild Ride

Dear Bionic Boobs,

I know you’ve been adjusting to your new digs since the reconstruction surgery seven months ago. I’ve protected you from wild elbows, supported you with a bra, and exercised you by smooshing you girls together. (Doctor’s orders.) You seem happy enough and pretty perky.

I do have some concerns.

One night, I looked down and you had wandered off to the sides of my chest. You left four inches between you two. I almost had a heart attack. I thought I’d torn something while vacuuming.  As you know, I’ve started wearing a sport’s bra to bed to corral you at night, so I don’t wake up and freak out.  I wish you girls would stick together.

Although you’re shaped like hamburger buns and aren’t huge by any means, you weigh more than my old boobs. In fact, you’re a little on the hefty side. The doctor suggested some…

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Eldercare: The Forgotten Feminist Issue

hoodfeminism

(This was written late last year; I pitched it a few places but received little interest. I’m posting it here because, well, it’s an important conversation.)

One of my favorite pictures of my mom. Mom, back in the day.

As I write this my mother is fast asleep in a nursing home, her third stint in 15 months. It is a heartbreaking thing, watching your parent slowly succumb to her mortality. You try to prepare yourself for the call you’ll get in the middle of the night from a nurse reluctant to give you the news you’ve been dreading for years. But no amount of preparation will ready you for that call. No amount of alcohol will lessen the pain. Even writing about it is hard because it forces you to deal with an absolute, inescapable truth. She is dying, and you are powerless to stop it.

The woman I now visit several times a week is not…

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On Gender and Beer: Do We Need Saving?

This Is Why I'm Drunk

superwoman-sheownsit.com

When I first began thinking months ago about my recent series of posts on gender and beer, I centered them around this question:

Can women save beer?

That theme was inherently flawed, not only because the onus shouldn’t be on only women, but also because it wasn’t entirely clear if “beer” as an industry needed saving in the first place. However, I feel it’s impossible to overlook at least some of the shortcomings when it relates to beer and gender, so while “saving” may be a strong way to put it, a shift in cultural expectations within beer would still be advantageous.

While I’ve given my twocents on the topic, it would make no sense to approach this without the input of beer-minded women. So as part of my effort, I reached out to a few women via email to gauge their thoughts on the topic.

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Me and Her

This and That Continued

Here’s a piece from my before translation Swedish column in the Goteborgs-Posten in the early spring.

It’s spring again. I know that because the frogs are furiously at it in the pond and the faintest of greens is appearing on the birch tree. There’s even a hint of sun after the Cambridge morning mist has passed. Why am I sunk in gloom, barely able to get out of bed? Certainly not before morning has almost passed into afternoon. Why am I dreading the passing of the week because it means there’s another one in store? Waking in the morning with a concrete block of dread inside my chest weighing me down? Looking forward only to the moment in the evening, much too early, when I turn off the light and that brief startling relief that I am in the dark and can let myself, with chemical assistance, fall asleep –…

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North India Sketchbook

Drawstring

Our summer holiday came early this year, the unconventional timing determined by the destination. India has been on our wish-list for a long time but unless you have a particular enthusiasm for apocalyptic monsoon rain, then two weeks in August – our usual escape slot – is out of the question.

The trip was another gem organised by tried and trusted adventure tour company Explore, who have yet to disappoint. The North India Explorer involved a very full-on 15-day itinerary starting in the capital Delhi and travelling to Udaipur, Pushkar, Jaipur, Agra, Varanasi and finally ending in Kolkata.

It was a lot to take in; we’ve been back almost a week and my head is still spinning somewhat from the experience. It’s a country like nowhere I’ve been before, throwing up a relentless succession of extreme and unfamiliar images, from the sublime to the downright surreal, with no pause to process…

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