Saturday, September 29, 2018

Dear Trolls, Let's Look at the Facts and Believe Her

Today I am leaving you with a guest post written by my daughter-in-law, Dr. Smith. You can find her at Smith Happens. She responds with this post after my disclosure on Monday. I want to thank her for this thoughtfully researched piece. My greatest hope is that it won't fall on deaf ears.
Today, my beautiful, amazing, compassionate mother-in-law disclosed that she was sexually assaulted when she was a teenager. She did this in the context of the #metoo movement and the currently trending #BelieveHer discussion that is ongoing about Dr. Christine Blasey Ford accusing Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her in their teens. After writing her blog post, my MIL shared it on her Facebook page. Evidently, she knows some beautiful people and some trolls. 

Today, I’m writing to the trolls.

Before I go too far, I want to disclose a few things. I am a white, cis-gendered woman who holds a PhD in sociology with an emphasis on criminology. My research looks at how social institutions create the environment necessary for high crime rates in the United States. As a result, I know a great deal about why people do and do not report crime as well as the cultural structures that make crime possible. Given my possession of a vagina and higher education, I know that some of the readers of this are likely to question my credibility. 

In what follows, I first talk about how we know what we know about the reporting of rape and sexual assault, the myth of false accusations, and why these matter.

How We Know What We Know About Rape and Sexual Assault

There are two primary ways that crime is measured in the United States – the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) and the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS). You can read more about both of these measures here ( While the UCR only measures crimes known to the police, the NCVS measures both crimes known and unknown to police because respondents of the survey are directly asked if they reported their victimization. I’ll limit this discussion to reporting of rape and sexual assault victimizations.

Below is a table that shows the number of rape and sexual assault victimizations reported by the NCVS from 2012 to 2016. As you can see, most rape and sexual assault victimizations are not reported to the police. If you crunch the numbers, in 2016, only 22.9 percent of rape and sexual assault victimizations were reported. Over the five years, the average percentage of rape or sexual assault victimizations reported to police is 30.4. 

Rape/Sexual Assault 346,830300,165284,345431,837323,449
 Yes, reported to the police97,925104,55695,420140,33174,075
 No, did not report to the police246,751188,154182,391286,681249,373
 Do not know2,154 -- ---- --4,824 -- --

In comparison to other violent victimizations, rape and sexual assault are reported much less frequently. For example, in 2015, approximately 47 percent of violent victimizations (this includes rape and sexual assault) were reported to police. In contrast, only 32.5 percent of rape and sexual assault victimizations were reported that year ( Overall, most violent victimizations are NOT reported to the police and, in particular, rape and sexual assault victimizations are NOT reported to the police.
But why are these victimizations not reported? The NCVS can tell us a bit about that as well. Between 2006 and 2010 (the most recent report available – (, 65 percent of rape and sexual assault victimizations were not reported to the police. Twenty-eight percent of the NCVS respondents who were raped or sexually assaulted stated that they did not report the victimization to the police because of “fear of reprisal or getting the offender in trouble,” 20 percent did not report the victimization because they “dealt with it in another way or that it was a personal matter,” 13 percent did not report the victimization because the “police would not or could not help.”

So, we want to blame women for not reporting rape or sexual assault victimizations, yet we ignore the reality that for many the choice to not report is informed by what they know of our culture. They are unlikely to be believed (especially if the victimization does not conform to culturally held rape myths), reporting may actually lead to additional victimization (most rapists are known to their victims), and even if they do report the track record of the criminal justice system in handling cases of acquaintance rape (i.e., non-stranger rape) is abysmal (see: the bevy of news articles about Brock Turner’s case). 

But What about False Reporting?

Really?! This is what you’re concerned about. Well, let’s dive into what we (as criminologists – the people who study these issues) know. The current research shows us that approximately 2-10 percent of reported rape cases are unfounded. Let’s turn this on its head: 90 to 98% of rape cases reported to police ARE credible! (You can read more here: Moreover, those who do falsely report DO NOT name a suspect and their stories conform to most rape myths (e.g., stranger rape, quick reporting, lack of alcohol/drug use, etc.). That being said, with the percentage of rape and sexual assaults reported to police as low as it is – for all of the reasons previously stated – it would behoove the police to treat and investigate all allegations as credible. 

Bringing It Back Around…

Now that we have covered what we know about the nature of rape and sexual assault victimization, lack of reporting to the police and the reasons for not reporting, and dispensed with the nonsense of false reporting, it is appalling that people are up in arms about the allegations against Kavanaugh. Dr. Ford has repeatedly asked for an investigation into her accusations. She has not wanted to try this case in the court of public opinion. In fact, she reported the accusations anonymously at first because she thought it was her duty to inform those in charge of ensuring the sanctity and credibility of the U.S. Supreme Court of possible concerns with the potential newest member. 

Are Dr. Ford’s (and the other women’s) accusations credible? Yes! Should they be investigated? Yes!

Lastly, the vitriol that I have seen thrown at Dr. Ford in the Facebook comments on my MIL’s post is atrocious. Let’s remember the following: She is a person. While she is a woman, stating “that woman” in reference to her is repugnant because it assumes that she is somehow less credible due to her possession of a vagina. Further, Dr. Ford is a tenured professor of psychology. She has spent decades learning, teaching, and researching her subject matter. She is an expert in her field. Referring to her as “Ms. Ford” is an insult that again attacks her credibility. She knew the risks of reporting her accusations and going public but decided that the consequences of not reporting would be greater.


Wednesday, September 26, 2018

I Believe Her

If you haven't heard of the controversy this last 10 days over Christine Blasey Ford's claim that she was sexually assaulted by Judge Brett Kavanaugh, you probably aren't even reading this blog. It's big news.
Guess what? What she is claiming happened to me in high school. I never told another soul about it until this week when I told the hubs about it. I believe Christine Blasey Ford. I believe her.
I am writing this today because I can.  I am far removed from that place and time where it took place. I do not wish to harm anyone by the disclosure. As a matter of fact, I don't even feel harmed by it. But Christine Blasey Ford feels harmed. It clearly affected her enough that she went to therapy over it. That is not my experience.
I blame myself for being in a position to be harmed. Much like her claim, I had been drinking. I ended up in a vehicle with him, down the road away from people, and I was assaulted. It was sobering. I never talked about it to anyone but you can bet your life savings I never again put myself alone in the same place with that person. That doesn't mean I wasn't assault again ... just not by that person. I have forgotten a lot of things in my nearly 60 years but the memory of that experience is crystal clear. I'll save you from the details.
Back in the day, we didn't talk about sexual assault. It was not part of  conversation any of us ever had. Ever. Never ever. The fact that it is at the front and center of everything now is not a bad thing. I'm sure there are lots of men squirming in their seats right now, waiting to be outed. I don't relish that idea. I am a firm believer that when we know better, we do better. We can do better.
We can do better. We can keep this conversation going. But, please spare me the victim blaming.
love, susan

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Sunday Drive: Nothing But Blue Skies and Sunshine

Got this at Love's Truck Stop
The coffee was terrible.
 We took our Sunday Drive with one destination in mind and ended up in a totally different place. That's how we roll. Because we're going to meet up with our daughter for next weekend's drive, we tried to not go that direction but did anyway. This time of year, it's hard to stay away from the river. The different shades of blue are hard to resist. So, our plan was to drive to Condon, Oregon but we ended up turning off to get gas and the hubs wanted to drive down a road he has always been curious about. There is a coal fired electric plant that he had wanted to work on back in the day but never did. Can you say boring? I should have been a good wife and taken a photo for him but it was gray and ugly. We had to turn around because there were scary signs that made us feel unwelcomed. We decided that we'd drive to Walla Walla, the long way along the river. We stopped at a historic site and climbed a little hill to eat the picnic lunch I brought along. We never made it to Walla Walla and I'm glad because I needed to come home and take a nap. I've been under the weather this last week and everything seems to wear me out. Next weekend, we're driving to The Dalles, Oregon to meet up with our peeps at a favorite Thai restaurant. I love having things to look forward to. How about you? Did you take a Sunday drive today? love, susan

This is at rest stop. Moo.

We luvs picnic lunches together.

I was here last weekend with my photo buddy. Beautiful spot.

Not a very attractive selfie.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

September Grocery Challenge: Total Spent to Date $255.35

One more week of the grocery challenge ... and I'm feeling okay about it. I am over my $200 budget but I'm okay with that. I've learned a few things this month that will help me going into next month. I am hoping my daughter-in-law will stick with me for another month of this challenge.  CANNED GOODS Last week, I pulled all my canned goods out of the cupboards and I left them on the counter. It helped a lot to have the cans there staring at me, looking for inspiration. There are now fewer cans remaining because I made a big slow cooker of chicken tortilla soup Monday morning. I dumped several cans of stewed tomatoes along with two cans of different beans (white beans and black beans). I added the half-bag of frozen chicken breasts left over from when our visitors were hear earlier in the month. A couple tablespoons of taco seasoning, chili powder, and cumin made for lovely lunches/dinners for us this week. It tasted extra good knowing I had used all things I already had on hand. I'm a vegetarian but my husband is not so it worked for both of us. I also used up one large can of pineapple by chopping up 2 slices to put in our morning oatmeal power bowls. The 2nd can of pineapple is opened and in a container which will get me thru the weekend of using up that huge container of 2% cottage cheese I bought two weeks ago. I'm almost done with it, thank goodness. I won't be buying that again.  STAR OF THE SHOW The things that made the angels sing this morning at the store were the Bartlett pears. I love this time of year for the change in produce. I'd truly rather have a pear than a candy bar. These lovelies were .40 each. Please don't tell me it costs more to eat well. I will prove you wrong. Grapes are a GREAT deal right now at $1.68/lb. I have them in my basket every week at this price. As much as I love grapes, I will not pay $2.98/lb. when the season passes. Can't do it. Which brings me to thee photo I snapped of the beautiful mangos at $1.48 each. I do love mangos but on a real budget they are not a reality for me. I have a bag of substandard frozen ones in the freezer that will have to do. I also spotted pomegranates but forgot to snap a photo. They are always priced outrageously and it brought back memories of childhood. Mom would buy us one pomegranate as a treat during the season. OMG, it truly was a treat. They are just not a good bargain, that's all.  POTATOES ARE MY JAM As I write this, I have oven fried potatoes in the oven. These are from a 5 lb. bag I bought last week. I've discovered we can get 3 breakfasts from that bag. Dude, that bag was $1.28! We're going to enjoy 2 eggs and salsa with these today.  PUMPKIN TIME! So, I asked my daughter-in-law to help me figure out what to do with the two cans of pumpkin I pulled out of the cupboard. She sent me a recipe that calls for almond nut butter and oats. Although it calls for very expensive almond butter, I'm going to replace that with the fresh ground peanut butter I bought today and also substitute the quinoa flakes with some flax seed. The hubs loves what I call power balls. Great way to use the pumpkin and these are also something I can give to the dogs for treats as well. WASTE NOT WANT NOT THIS WEEK I'm going to open up that can of kidney beans and add those to the top of my salads. I am not a fan of kidney beans but I want to use what I have and I'll get past my pickiness. Waste not want not. WANNA JOIN US? How are your budgeting skills? Can you give me any tips on how I can do this better? Leave me a comment. I love hearing from you. love, susan
 from the internet:
The expression waste not, want not means that if you do not use too much of something now you will have some left later when you need it.
...a nation that prides itself on its 'waste not, want not' thrift.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

10 Things I Would Do If I Didn't Blankity Blank Blank Work

Thank you for Mama's Losin' It for the prompt this week. This is a topic that is on my mind every single day of my work life and has been for awhile since I am now in the countdown phase to retirement. So much so that I've become obsessed and a bit irritable about it. Oh, Mama, you have unleashed me with this writing prompt.  Let me tell you what I'll do when I'm not blankity blank blank working, complete with photos!
PULL THE BLANKITY BLANK BLANK WEEDS  See these weeds? I walk past them every single day and think I should pull those weeds. But who got time for that when you are already behind and you're gonna have to break laws to get to work on time. "Officer, I had to pull weeds and it made me late."
WASH MY BLANKITY  BLANK BLANK CAR  My son gave me this beautiful car last year. He and his lovely wife drove it all the way from Michigan and it was sparkling clean inside and out. Full disclosure:  I have yet to take a vacuum to the inside since it arrive. I do give it a bath as often as time allows but if I wasn't working, no bug would lay dead on it for more than overnight. I'll even wash the inside windows. It will be spotless.
My poor dogs that I saved from a life in the shelter are barely better off at my house. I do play with them some on the weekends but I feel guilty on a regular basis for not having more time to spend with them. I am retiring in about 8 months and they will benefit from it greatly. They just need to hang in there a little longer. The two big ones are getting up there in age. That little one sitting next to me cannot be worn down so she may be a full time job without pay. I can hardly wait! Bonus: They'll get brushed on a regular basis.
I got this new phone a couple months ago and I can't tell you how many times I've taken selfies accidentally. I'm not a selfie kind of girl. There are so many apps people tell me about and I just want to spend a whole day exploring how to do things without the constraint of time.
How blankity blank blank hard can it be to heat up broth and throw noodles in with a few veggies? I love this popular dish and would like to make in the comfort of my own home. I'll Google it!
SIT IN A COFFEE SHOP FOR HOURS AND READ THE NEWSPAPER The few times I have been able to sit in my favorite local coffee spot, I am so blankity blank blank envious of the people who seem to have nothing else on their life agenda but to sit casually, sipping on their go juice and surfing the net or talking smack about some thing or another. I wanna sit in the nice cushy corner chair, sip my coffee and maybe ask for a refill and surf the internet on my barely used tablet. I want my barista to know my name. Oh, hey Susan, how ya doing?
TAKE A PICNIC TO THE PARK I want to take my hubs to the park with a picnic lunch to sit and watch squirrels play for however long it takes to get tired of it. No time limits. If I want to sit there all day and read a book, I'll do it.
COLOR ALL BLANKITY BLANK BLANK DAY IF I WANT TO I love my adult coloring book and dream of the days that I can color a whole page without the constant impending feeling that I can only do for 15 minutes before I move on the next "timed" event in my life. I am so tired of being on the clock. I have been working since I was a teenager and my time has never been my own. I have a feeling I have some adjusting to do. I have thought a lot about it in the last year. Bonus: I'll write more hand-written letters to friends!
WALK UP & DOWN THE BLANKITY BLANK  AISLES WITH WRECKLESS ABANDON When I'm not working, I want to take the time to look at everything at the grocery store. Right now, my goal is to get it and get out as quickly as possible. I hate shopping. It's something I have to squeeze in on the precious time I have off. I want to slow down and really see what's there. Someone at work told me about a product the other day that I've never seen at the store because I'm so focused on a quick escape.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Sunday Drives: New Ideas

Yesterday was a Sunday drive kind of day. I started early with a photo walking friend at 7am.  She and I drove out to Hermiston and shot some images along the way. Then, the hubs and I drove back out to Hermiston, Oregon, which is a 35 mile drive, in late afternoon to do a little shopping at Goodwill and eat at our favorite Thai place. The weather is perfect for Sunday drives in September/October. You can expect more about those drives in the coming weeks. I feel a creative spurt coming on ... new ideas ... old ideas with a new twist ... you know ... change.
love, susan
This seemed to be the favorite pic from my series yesterday. The Snake River.
I loved this painting on the wall at Thai place.

You really should try tofu in your Thai dishes just once.

I love a good cup of hot, steaming green tea but
I especially love it when it comes in a cute cup. And,
I totally dig that tea pot!
Clementine has been the best thing that's happened to me since I sold my motorcycle.

Sunrise on the canal in Finley, Washington

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Food Budget Challenge: Mid Month Calculations Not Looking Good

If you are following my Food Budget Challenge, thank you! If not, I won't blame you if you just keep moving on by. This post may be the most boring material you've ever read. For me, it has been eye opening and created a lot of thought about what I'm buying for groceries. It has also forced me to get creative.
With today's trip to the store and my hubby's surprise trip yesterday (he didn't know I was doing this challenge), we are near going over budget this month and we're only halfway there. This doesn't mean I'm not going to keep trying to keep my spending down. It means I will be doing another round in October, armed with knowledge about myself and my spending habits.
POWER UP WITH PROTIEN: Today, I took photos of the nut butter choices at my local store. I wanted to compare the value of Almond Butter vs. Peanut Butter. You should know I chose to buy the peanut butter based solely on the cost. The fresh ground nut butter is something I've learned to really love in my morning oatmeal. I feel like after looking at the nutritional value of each nut butter, the peanut butter is a great buy! The amount I purchased for .53 cents will be enough breakfast protein to last our entire work week if I use it that way.
GOOD BUYS: Next, I decided to snap a pic of the bell pepper choices. I love me some colorful peppers but when I'm eating one a day, .30 cents difference is something I pay attention to, especially if I am on a budget. However, I also look at quality when I'm buying peppers. Sometimes the store schleps off old, wimpy peppers and I won't go for that. Today I found some nice red ones for the win. Additionally, I bought a 5 lb. bag of potatoes for $1.28.
WHAT KILLED IT: My hubs killed the budget this week. He bought two bricks of Tillamook cheese which I will admit is a very good buy at 5.98 each. We just didn't need two. We don't even need one. We're both better off medically if we keep cheese off our plate but I suspect he went to the store hungry. He also purchased a package of pork loin chops that he'll be eating by himself for $6.45. That's okay. The man has to eat and I'm not the vegetarian police.
THE BOTTOM LINE: So, I'm at $190.56 and it's only mid-month. EEEKS!
MY SCHPEEL:  We have a neighbor who often comes over and borrows $20 near the end of the month because he can't quite stretch his money/food stamps to the end of the month. In the summer, he doesn't borrow money because he mows our lawn in exchange for the $20 but in the winter it is always a perpetual borrow. He always pays it back at the beginning of the month when he gets his disability check. Really a sweet guy. 
When I was a young, newly married person, we lived paycheck to paycheck. I haven't had to live that way in a long time but a lot of people do. This challenge has really brought that home to me. It's not easy making a buck stretch. I don't feel the burn from it because I know I don't have to do this. I can't begin to imagine what it's like to squeeze blood out of a turnip for a lot of people who are on fixed incomes.
Well, there you have it.  Do you have a grocery budget? Do you think about what you are putting in your basket? What would happen if you spent all your budget and you had no money left for groceries ... would you have enough in your cupboards to make it to the end of the month? Leave me a comment. I'd love to hear from you!
love, susan

Monday, September 10, 2018

Currently: A Life List

Weather numbers this week are what most consider perfect: 80, 75, 74, 73, 73. I'm noticing the leaves changing when we are out driving along the highway. This is perhaps my favorite month of the year here in eastern Washington. Favorite Moments last week were many. We went to the Pooch Plunge yesterday and the photo here is one of many action shots I got. We didn't take any of our dogs and I'm glad for that. It was very chaotic but fun. We also went to a dance Saturday night. What's Right in the World I got my light box put up on my desk and fired it up this morning. A little journaling and a hand-written letter was accomplished today. I've suffered some break through depression all summer and decided to get that SAD light going early. What I'm Resisting Future tripping. What I'm Thinking I am feeling good about going into this week with my lunches already prepped and a good attitude about things. I just finished the audible I was listening to, Dopesick by Beth Macy, and will start listening to another one I bought recently. What the Future Holds I am going out to a fund raiser tonight that one of my dog friends headed up. It's for a little boy's family. I forget exactly why the fund raiser but really I just want to be outdoors for a bit tonight ... such nice weather. I don't think I have anything else on my calendar yet. If This is My Last Day on Earth please remember to feed my dogs and throw the ball a couple of times every day, will ya?  love, susan
I love summer at the park.

My work partner gifted me this pencil sharpener he got
when he was in England last month. It is my new
favorite "thing".

Sunday, September 9, 2018

September Grocery Challenge: $55.63

The entire month of September my daughter-in-law and I are completing a food budget challenge. I am trying to keep my grocery bill under $200 for the month. I believe I'll be able to accomplish this by being a smart shopper and being creative with what I already have in my cupboards. Some observations have been interesting to me. 
Last week, I went over budget as I had company for the weekend and I wanted to make sure to have plenty of fruit and a protein they would eat. This caused me to go over my $50 a week budget but I vowed to make up for the rest of this month.
Let's just say I was very frugal yesterday on my trip to the store. I bought exactly what we'd need to get through this week and with meal planning, we'll be fine. Last week, we had oatmeal every morning for breakfast with chopped up apples, banana, and the remainder of frozen blueberries. Full disclosure: sometimes I throw out the last of a bag of frozen fruit because I don't like the ice cycles that form but I used them instead. It felt good to not waste even a morsel last week. I also used up the scant 2 tablespoons of almond butter I had sitting on the counter that I had ignored.

Bottom line is that I feel like this challenge has made me really look at zero waste with a microscope. My dogs have benefited greatly. They'll eat anything so if something is a little questionable for my palate, I know they'll always help out.

A big aha moment yesterday was buying a large container of cottage cheese that was a great buy compared to the smaller containers I usually buy. I had to buy 2% instead of 4% to get the larger container but you know what? I need less fat on my plate.


We stopped at Grocery Outlet on Monday and picked up two 2-lb. bags of organic (off brand) coffee beans and a bag of brown rice. The coffee is a steal and I prefer to buy it that way but I am rarely near that store. This buy will keep me in coffee into mid-October.

Did you find any good buys at the store this week? Wanna join our challenge?

love, susan

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Currently: Back to Work Today

WEATHER numbers this week are 86, 88, 92, 90, 80. Perfect weather! READING ... I am back to reading Bright Line Eating once again. LISTENING to "Dopesick" on Audible. Fascinating accounting of the opioid epidemic in this country. I am glad I signed up for Audible, although I'm not sure how long I'll keep it. As long as I am listening to the books I buy, I feel it is a good expenditure. I've spent $14.95 in a lot worse ways. WATCHING a series called "The Client List" on Netflix and I am enjoying it very much.  GREAT MOMENTS last week included some straight talk with my step daughter and her cousin while on a hike. Playing fetch with my dogs rated in the Top 10 moments. And, capturing photos of friends with their newly adopted one month old baby. FUTURE plans include the first Thursday Art Walk in Kennewick this week. I love going this time of year as the weather cools down a bit. This area is really coming up in the art department. IF THIS WAS MY LAST DAY ON EARTH I'd die happy. Having the girls here for the weekend was a huge joy for us. They are both full of young energy. Life's difficult decisions don't seem to slow them down and they are much smarter about problem-solving than I was at their age. I caught myself smiling the entire weekend. FINAL THOUGHT I decided over the weekend I am going to try to get in the shower by 7:00am instead of waiting until the very last moment and then rushing out the door. So, I'm outa here.
love, susan

You Made My Day, Dude!

A couple weeks ago while I was driving back to Portland after spending the night on the Oregon coast, we came up on some road construction ...