much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread

NOT THE BEESNOT THE BEES

One of my favorite things about my life these days is time with my kids as well as other children. Recently when I had a few extra in tow a friend I ran into in town said I must have a lot of patience. I thought about it and it is true, I’ve learned to relate well with children, not just “good kids” or kids from “good families” (wtf people mean by that, it’s a careless thing to say at best), but with the kids that have problems or bully or are deceitful or angry or passive aggressive or plain ol’ aggressive or whatever. I genuinely like kids, probably a teensy bit more than I like grownups, but I’m learning to like adults a lot too. I only wish I had a bigger car and more money and I’d have a lot of them, the kids, around as much as possible.

When I contemplate this it’s actually kind of incredible. I still believe children are kinda routinely squashed in home and schools and institutions, squashed in just about every way you can squash someone, and they usually have to move out from authoritarian paradigms when they come to our place. And it works out really really well actually because I can just address stuff head-on and kids are fucking smart. So even “bad kids” (whatever, I could write more on this but won’t for now), I haven’t so far often been at a loss.

But what’s more incredible still is to contemplate my own nature. I grew up first of all, not being classified as a Patient person. At all. I would never call myself Patient even today. I also grew up believing/being told that kids were kind of a drag, they were messy and annoying and uncouth and unsophisticated and stressful to be around and not perceptive nor moral et cetera (so of course, my job growing up was to shed these traits or at least hide them). Today I realize I believe none of these things about children at all, and I like nothing more than having kids and young people around.

I have this fantasy that’s grown within me recently that a friend or someone local would take their kids out of school and entrust the kids to my care while the parents worked. Of course the parents involved would have to be totally on board with the way we do things around here, I mean really a model of trust and non-coercion. And it’s late because we’ve been up working and playing hard, so I’ll just put it plainly: it’s not even like I think of this as a vocation or “labor” I should be paid for, it’s like many parent/carers wouldn’t be willing (or able) to put forth the money for the groceries and just goofing-off money or whatever for their kids to have the life we live daily – and perhaps more relevantly, really many parents aren’t able to trust the process of kids growing outside institutionalization. I know this is silly but I wish I could afford to feed and care for more of them. Then I think my kids are going to grow up and we won’t get the opportunity to share this kind of living on a regular basis. Phoenix and Nels don’t complain for a lack of friends or activities, it’s really just something I am starting to long for but feel I have no ability to enact – and am not really sure of my motives in any case.

But – tonight we had a bonfire and roasting marshmallows and music and goofing off and ringtone downloads and wrestling and a lot of joking around and teenagers over until way past curfew. It was fucking great.

In bits and pieces I get to have this tribe, and it’s always lovely when I do.

Coffee Shop, 3 Out Of 4

***

I forgot to mention, yesterday Phoenix became angry with me and slammed the door – unfortunately, catching her own finger and hurting it horribly. Even though we immediately iced the injury for quite some time, by morning her nailbed was black and the end of the finger was painfully swollen. She told me yesterday she didn’t need the Emergency Room (contemplating both the trouble of going at that particular time, and the cost to our family), but today we went to the doctors’ where I came to realize she had made a good choice in electing to do so. The injury was bad enough to require treatment – specifically, trephination with an electric cauterizing lance, and that is as bad as one might think it is. At her request I held and kissed her forehead as her tender finger’s-end was cleaned with iodine (which hurt badly enough, I could see), then her nail was lanced three times as the doctor tried to relieve the pressure and finally blood spurted out then was squeezed out for a few minutes by the physician. Phoenix cried hot tears and wailed softly but did not scream nor move or waver; it was quite horrid and beautiful at the same time to watch her cope. She elected not to take pain medicine after, but over the next hour I saw her relief and I saw her come back to her old self.

So now in the car heading home in the sunshine (Nels spent the visit in the waiting room, talking with younger babies and children and their carers) I tell my daughter, “Phoenix, at one point you said you couldn’t take the pain but you did take it. You elected that treatment and you coped all by yourself.” She tells me, “I didn’t cope by myself, I had you with me.” I say Yes but, it wasn’t me that had to go through the pain. She replies: But you had to watch your child in pain. That must be so hard. And she cries again, silent tears, but for me this time. Empathy.

I feed the children and bring them home and to their father and their friends. I am curiously drained by the past hours of my daughter’s pain and anxiety. She had also felt a fair bit of guilt over hurting herself and this troubles me as well – but I know this is her path, today, however much a part I have been instrumental in it. She holds my hand and I think to myself how glad I am for our closeness, how I wouldn’t want things any other way.

It’s like I awoke from a dream, parts of it quite desperate and lost, to realize that through all my mistakes and difficulties I held onto some shred of decency and did an okay job in mothering. So far. And I hope to still improve. I am amazed at these children I live with and what they are able to cope with, who they evidence themselves to be, and what they do and do not need from me. Today my daughter took the lead and she was wiser than I, but I also have cause to believe I helped her in the right way.

There’s not much more I’d want to report, really.

Present

Babies thrive on real meat!

“why is partying and having a good time bad?”

Friday links! Short and sweet.

I set up my next blood donation appointment online (here in Hoquiam/Aberdeen there’s one at Walmart on August 11th). All types are needed. Red Cross has been assclowny in a few ways in the past, but their online setup is pretty good.

“Amy Winehouse: Death and Addiction” by Kendra Sebelius (who is also @VoiceinRecovery on Twitter and writes on eating disorders; she does great work).

“Addiction is a serious issue, one that requires serious discussions. I feel people still have the tone of “well, she had a choice to stop.” Choice is such a hard word to even address in this whole thing. […] Rehab didn’t keep me sober, any more than it does for many people. […] This doesn’t mean a person is bad or a failure or unwilling to get better. It means it is hard to not only get sober, but to stay sober. I had to change my environment, ask for help, and find a new way of doing things. Rehab is just a starting point. You don’t go to rehab and automatically get better.”

Further on Winehouse: apparently a HuffPo article was needed because so many don’t understand alcohol withdrawal. This is kind of rattling to me.

OK, onto lighter matters: Special Report: Star Trek The Next Generation: A XXX Parody; even from giggly curiosity I can’t bring myself to watch something like this. But the review? GOLDEN.

Common rumors about lesbians I would like to dispel

The Just-So Stories complete text poster. Pretty fabulous. I’ve acquired this book and a few other Kipling tomes for my kids; they love them.

From M’s blog: “Mistakes”; a wonderful post about a child’s ever-broadening assessment of the world around him.

Make: Cucumber Lime Mint Agua Fresca at Simply Recipes

And – guess what? Babies thrive on real meat! From vintage-ads on Livejournal:

Babies thrive on real meat!

Babies, on behalf of parents everywhere, I’m really sorry if anyone offered this to you.

 

Did that go the way you thought it was gonna go? Nope.

Short(-ish) linkage for this Friday!

An interview of Willow Smith, from a half year ago. She’s a real treat to watch. The grownups involved in talking with her (more AT her) make me laugh while they flip their shit about how AMAZING she is (I also notice they’re giving her tons of advice – does she look like she needs it? Sheesh). She really is a great kid and I’ll bet we’ll see some wonderful things from her – most likely because her parents are taking good care of her. Incidentally the condescension and hate in the YouTube comments on the source vid reveal a lot about our adultist culture.

Make: thread sketching. I’ve been doing this (as you may or may not know). Not from this tutorial or anything, but I’m passing it along because it’s fun.

Bridesmaids: Death to the Chick Flick at the Stranger (h/t Paige for sending this on). Another good review, making some salient points such as:

“[A]m I really expected to swallow the phrase “These are smart, funny women”? Really? As though that’s a sentence worth writing down, let alone reproducing in poster form. Can you imagine a poster proclaiming “Movies with men in them don’t have to suck!” or a critic writing the phrase “These are smart, funny men!” No. Because that WOULDN’T MAKE ANY SENSE, BECAUSE PEOPLE TAKE MEN SERIOUSLY BY DEFAULT.”

“You Might Be Making a Mistake While Considering Homeschooling If…” at Parent at the Helm. Nice to have a reminder of some of the reflexive stereotypes – and the easy smack-down regarding all of them. I sometimes forget. This was a witty and laid-back piece.

“Parents keep child’s gender secret” at Parent Central. I had many people send or tweet me this. I’m sorry, but the whole thing seems pretty damned simple to me, which is, good for those parents (in all the brouhaha it’s interesting those who cry foul haven’t addressed the fact that many intersex people are born and exist and would report all kinds of damage as a result of others imposing sex and gender upon them). I will address these two sentences of the rather lengthy article, briefly:

“Friends said they were imposing their political and ideological values on a newborn. Most of all, people said they were setting their kids up for a life of bullying in a world that can be cruel to outsiders.”

Right. FIRST, who exactly imposes political and ideological ideals on newborns (and babies, and children) – specifically with regard to gender? Oh, like LOTS OF PEOPLE (and in some rather horrid ways). Second, parents/carers who support their children instead of supporting bully and bully culture, are super rad in my book.

Third, do people really and truly think there is any evidence that random internetty strangers, Faux News fools, and talky-faced “experts” care more about Storm than Storm’s parents and siblings do? Um. LULZ.

And, on the same subject, another excellent piece from a blog I think is rock-solid: Your Baby’s Gender is a Secret Too.

Two places you might consider donating:

Deb and her boy to LiG Conference. Yes, the conference is happening NOW, but you should totes throw her some cash anyway. Trips are expensive, and the cause is lovely.

and:

fund this: matthew shepard was my friend via Angry Asian Man

Quote of the day: Every society honors its live conformists, and its dead troublemakers. ~ Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic’s Notebook, 1960

And this – well, you’ve probably seen it, but it’s pretty much a SOLID GOLD BABY:

you wanna be in the show / c’mon let it go!

That’s right! It’s Friday (the 13th; & also Stevie Wonder’s birthday), and I have a fresh steamed batch of link awesomeness. Pour your favorite beverage and let’s get going!

Ethics and health: Factory farms the only way to ‘feed the world’? Not so, argues Science paper by Tom Philpot

Teen Moms Look for Support, But Find Only Shame by the wonderful Miriam Zoila Pérez at Colorlines:

“Advocates like Bayetti Flores think that focusing narrowly on [teen] preventing pregnancy doesn’t address the root cause of these disparities, many of which exist among communities of similar socioeconomic status regardless of age of parenting. Instead, she argues, it turns a societal issue into an individual problem, where the blame for negative outcomes gets transferred onto the individual girls themselves—most frequently girls of color. Despite the fact that there are more white teen parents than teen parents of color overall, Latinas and African Americans are often the target of prevention programs because of the higher incidence of teen pregnancy and parenting within the communities.”

“That data can be picked apart pretty easily,” says [Verónica Bayetti Flores of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health]. “If you look at those negative outcomes in terms of socioeconomic indicators, I think you’d see similar trends. It’s trying to place the blame on something that is more a symptom than a cause.”

And from a year ago: author Hilary Mantel ruffles feathers regarding the same subject (thanks, reader Amy for sending this link on).

And listen: I’m a fair-minded and judicious moderator, methinks. But I was a pregnant teen, and I’ve been thinking about this a lot, and going over bone-deep hurts, and I’d encourage people to read the articles and really consider what kind of statement they want to make – if they make one at all (it’s really okay not to, you know).

Why do Girls Feel More Depressed after First Time Sex? from Rachel Rabbit White. Well one reason is, we usually have some pretty inept lovers and have been entirely too pressured about the whole business. This is a great, thoughtful piece, and I encourage anyone to read it if you plan on further interacting with the human race.

In both the No-Shit-Really? and also the I-Want-To-Cry-Because-The-Status-Quo-Sucks category (in other words, people are now shying away from “dieting” and calling the same behaviors, “lifestyle choices” etc.), we have: Dieting Linked To Eating Disorders at Medical Health News. Thanks reader Jeanne for sharing this through Google Reader.

“Constant dieting in a bid to improve appearance and reach what is perceived as a ‘socially acceptable’ low weight can cause an obsession with weight and an increased likelihood of developing an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia. ”

*ahem*

Film: How to Die in Oregon. I will definitely be seeing this. Even watching the brief promo vid brought up a lot of emotions regarding the hospice and dying care of my father, which I was so intimately involved with.

Lovable Local Cop Tells Other Cops How to Be More Lovable at The Stranger (also shared by Jeanne). “It doesn’t matter which population we’re dealing with, it takes multiple contacts to build trust,” Gracy explains. “But every positive encounter helps build our good reputation.”

“Women bare real pregnant and post-pregnancy bellies to show hypocrisy of glossy media images”. No photoshop, surgery, smoke and mirrors, “flattering” lighting, etc. I seriously want to give each of these women a high-five, or a fist-bump, or buy ’em a coffee or tea or margarita. Great project (related: thisisawoman.com).

Local: Child Luring Incident Reported in Aberdeen. Sounds like those two girls handled things well.

Malls Across America; a great slideshow from 1989. Be sure to read the artist’s commentary, too!

Crafters: you can knit “The Dude”, inspired by a new-classic film I can’t get enough of! (and not just because of how many “fuck” words are in it).

Make: I was complimented on my rhubarb pie this week (and ’tis the season!). I followed this recipe.

And finally – this? Is so, incredibly, simply, beautiful.

Everybody’s workin’ for the weekend: Friday links

Today’s Friday links are shorter than usual; I took a media break halfway through the week (this meant, among other things, I would click over to my Google Reader, scan briefly for any of my friends’ blogposts to read – then close my eyes and click “Mark as Read” ON EVERYTHING ELSE while crying). OF COURSE I still got some great stuff for you all – never fear.

At What Tami Said: “Sexism and Saturday Night Live”. “When faced with hard discussions about sexism or racism or homophobia, etc., people are often quick to a) minimize the past and b) celebrate just how “post-ism” we are today.” Yup, you said it.

School: I mentioned this in last weeks’ broadcast: “The Worst Bullying PSA Ever”, a critique by author Rosalind Wiseman. The critique is great, of course, but what I didn’t mention last week and what I wanted to mention this week is an alternative work she cited: “School Bullying: What You Haven’t Heard”.

Regarding school – and was pretty upsetting (but not surprising) to read – from Voice In Recovery “BMI, Education & Extra Credit for Weight Loss”. The phrase “bad idea” cannot be overstated.

On the lighter side: h/t to friend and reader Jasmine, for a Monty Python classic, “Argument Clinic”…

as well as another classic: “Phonetic Punctuation”, by Victor Borge:

But here’s the video I’m hoping many people will watch. Regarding film, television, and media and the critique, analysis, and projects associated: “Geena Davis on the Effects of Gender Inequality on TV and in Movies” at Rice Daddies, featuring a 15 minutes of FANTASTIC as follows:

In the food department: on FB my lady Flo posted a recipe for Bacon Egg Pancake Cups. Let me tell you, I hate breakfast foods Times One Hundred, but the rest of the family loves them. Oh also: I will rock these the very first time I make ’em.

Ending on a transcendent note: friend and reader Medrie wrote “Fear Not”. I’ve mentioned her work many times; she is the blog I read that always has my heart in my throat. I can imagine many mothers and erstwhile children could relate to this piece.

Newborn Nels

Happy Birthday, Nels

As longstanding readers know: a tradition. Yes, I post every year. And I read every year. And I cry every year. It is just that awesome.

Nels David Hogaboom
a birth story

Born at home to mom Kelly, dad Ralph, and sister Sophia (now Phoenix)
1:20 AM Wednesday April 7, 2004
8 pounds 7 ounces
21 inches long

April 6th, 9 AM – is it or isntt it?

A couple hours after I wake up on Tuesday I’m having mild contractions that are only a tiny bit more intense than the Braxton Hicks contractions I’d had throughout the last half of my pregnancy. These contractions are only slightly painful and certainly not too intense. Nevertheless, they are somewhat distracting and never truly subside, coming anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes apart. Ralph senses things are going to go into motion and comes home at noon, starting his two weeks off of work. He calls my mom at about 3 PM and tells her to head up to see us (she leaves about 5 PM). At this point I am hopeful of labor but also feeling somewhat silly at the thought I might be treating everyone to a false alarm. My mom arrives at about 9 PM time and she and Ralph start writing down my contractions, calling midwives, and cleaning the house up a bit.

April 6th, 10 PM – the real thing

My mom and I are watching a movie together and my contractions are still coming about 10 minutes apart. I still claim I am unsure if labor is going someplace. But everyone is noticing I pause the movie during each contraction so I can concentrate on getting though it. I’m undecided if I should walk around to get things moving or lie down and rest in between contractions. I’m afraid of another long labor like I had with my first child. Suddenly at about 10:30 PM I hop up from the bed and turn off the movie, since contractions have sped up to about 4 minutes apart. Naturally my mom and Ralph are very excited and go about making phone calls and preparations while I pace the floor and cope with each contraction. It is going quite well but I keep telling myself these are the “easy” contractions and I try not to worry about what’t to come.

Around 10:30 my midwives and my doula start arriving and I am focusing inward in the classic “Laborland” manner. I notice peripherally how efficient and friendly everyone is, setting up the bed, laying out blankets and birth supplies and getting snacks. Everyone is wonderful to me and provides me with water and encouragement between contractions, respectful silence and privacy during. I feel very protected and honored and so it is easy not to be fearful. My doula Elizabeth arrives and strokes my back and speaks softly to me. She puts me nearly to sleep in between contractions. I am feeling so grateful for the love and encouragement I am getting. I know I am coping very well and in fact since I am doing so well I don’t think I am very far along.

April 7th, Midnight – silliest labor quote

Things are intense but I don’t want a check to see how far I’ve dilated. I am somewhat afraid to discover all the work I am doing hasn’t gotten me anywhere. Laura (one of the midwives) suggests I get into the tub. I’d always thought of the tub as what you use as a last resort toward the end of labor so I tell her I can wait. After a few more contractions I decide to get in, hoping for some pain relief. I spend about 40 minutes in the tub with contractions edging up their intensity. Everyone is around me encouraging me and vocalizing though my contractions. Elizabeth holds my hands and breathes with me through the contractions, then puts a cold cloth on my head and neck in between. Everyone helps keep me calm and focused, as does the knowledge I have to take each contraction one at a time. Close to 1 AM I feel the urge to have Ralph hold and kiss me while I rest, and help talk me through contractions (he’s repeating something I read from Birthing From Within: “Labor is hard work, it hurts, and you can do it”). I don’t realize at the time but I am going through transition. After a few contractions I start to feel a little of that, well – grunting urge. Thanks to my study of natural birth, I know it is perfectly okay to vocalize and push a little to help with the pain and I instinctively do so. The midwives clue into what I am doing and are back in the room. Laura says, “Gee Kelly, it sounds like you’re pushing!” and I reply (idiotically) “I’m not really pushing, it just feels good to bear down a little bit”. These contractions are pretty rough but everyone is helping me so much it is still very manageable.

April 7th, 1:10 AM – OUCH, OUCH, OUCH!

Kathy convinces me to let her check me and informs me not only am I completely dilated, but that the baby’s head has descended quite a bit. I am completely amazed at this (despite knowing I am feeling the urge to push) and even accuse everyone of just saying that to make me feel better! (I feel a little silly about this later). During each contraction I am feeling the pain in my hips, all the way to the bone, which my midwives tell me is a sign the baby is moving. Kathy tells me later I comment that it is like a crowbar prying my pelvis apart. Despite the pain I am coping well and in between the contractions I am still calm. I comment that I am not feeling any pressure in my bottom yet and I think to myself this means I have a ways to go. Oops, I speak too soon – with the next contraction I feel the baby AT THE DOOR, so to speak. This takes me by surprise and my labor sounds change from low and powerful to very alarmed and a little screechy. Everyone is talking to me and trying to help me calm down and focus. I am amazed at the pain and pressure and overcome with an almost frantic need to push. I am pushing, pushing, pushing, before I can tune into my midwives telling me to ease off. I do the best I can and manage to ease off a bit and direct my energies more constructively. Despite the pain I am overjoyed to know I am so close and my baby will be here any minute. “I know I will feel so good when I see my baby”, I tell myself and this helps me. Kathy tells me to reach down and feel the head and after an initial hesitation I do, surprised again at how soft and smooth it is. I can feel each part of his head I deliver. It hurts! But I know I am close. The head is out and then I am surprised by the fullness and difficulty of the shoulders, which I do not remember from my first birth.

April 7th, 1:20 AM – Nels is born

With one final push I feel my baby being delivered and I am surprised it is already over. I have been kneeling in the tub and so immediately turn around and Ralph tells me later I am saying, “Give me my baby! I want to hold my baby!” to the midwives who are doing their thing. I have a vision of his long, smooth body floating in the water, the room lit by candlelight in a soft glow. Within seconds he is in my arms and I am crying and Ralph is crying and the whole room is full of a collective soft and surprised murmur. I am holding him to my chest and saying, “I can’t believe it, I can’t believe it!” over and over, feeling so filled with surprise and happiness. He is perfect and so soft and I feel wonderful. I realize I have done it, I have given birth to a healthy baby in my own home, with my own power.

April 7th, early morning – getting to know you

I stay in the water crying and holding my baby for several minutes before anyone thinks to discover the baby’s sex. I hold my child away from my chest and in between squirming legs and the umbilical cord I see we have a boy! Of course, this is perfect. Everything feels perfect! After a few more minutes I am ready to get out of the water and get cleaned up, but I know we have to wait for the placenta. I feel like this takes forever but it probably is only a fifteen minute wait. Another surprising feeling of fullness and then the placenta is delivered. Kathy has to pull the cord a bit and gently massage my tummy to get the whole thing in one piece. My mom is on the phone with my dad and has to pass the phone around so she can cut the cord. I am ready to get out and dry off and nurse my second child.

I am helped out of the tub and into some dry clothes. I am so happy to have so much loving help. I prop myself up on the bed and hold my son to my breast. He latches almost immediately like a pro. I keep asking my husband, “Is this really happening?” because it has gone like a dream and I am so happy. After some time of nursing the midwife eventually takes my son to the foot of the bed to weigh him and check his limbs and reflexes. Elizabeth brings me food – cheese, bread, apples and oranges. My pulse is checked and found to be high (100) so I am encouraged to drink a huge glass of water (this happened with Sophie too). My afterpains are intense, more so than with Sophie, but I know this to be normal. I breathe through them. Sophie wakes up and is brought into the room, looking cranky and confused. I kiss her and introduce her to her brother (she is unimpressed) and Ralph takes her back to the bedroom to settle her back to sleep. Kathy checks my bottom out and finds only two tiny tears, no need for sutures. The energy of the house is settling, people are packing things, Elizabeth says goodbye. Laura leaves too and I take a shower with Kathy’s help. She stays long enough to give postpartum instructions and asks me to page her when I can pee. I am a little anxious about this myself, for vague fear of a catheter. Kathy leaves about 3:20 and as her car is pulling out I am able to pee, feeling now finally that everything is alright.

My husband is looking dead tired. I am wired and unable to sleep. We send my mom off to bed. I hold my son who is still awake! He is drowsy though and wants to snuggle. At about 4:30 AM I finally fall asleep on the bed, Ralph on the couch, holding his son. We are awakened just before 7 AM to the joyful sounds of our firstborn running through the house talking excitedly to Grandma. Grandma looks like she really needs a cup of coffee.

Newborn Nels

 

 

Traffic Sign WIZARDRY

sunday-friday

I was all busy birthdaying things up and I didn’t throw out my Fridays. Awkward! Here they are now – and yes, I’ve tried to cut back a little from previous weeks:

Parenting
“Defending the Status Quo” by Jeff Sabo
Heck, I’ve probably posted this before. But I read it again and I can tell you – this post gives me the chills. I would like to have just ONE DAY where my choices and reality were status quo, instead of fringe or viewed as radical. ONE DAY where I wasn’t doing things differently than the mainstream. It would feel kind of incredible for other people to have to defend to me why they do the shit they do. Sure, it ain’t gonna happen. A girl can dream, can’t she?

I don’t know why, but I can’t be as frank as Jeff on some things. Even when I think he’s correct. Particularly:

“Instead of asking me to defend my decision to not spank my children, how about I ask you to defend the reason why you spank. Is spanking really the only way you can come up with to guide your children? Have you looked at other possibilities? Have you really considered what lies behind your need to have your children behave a certain way? Do you support hitting all people who behave contrary to your preference, or just the ones smaller and younger than you who have little or no standing in our justice system? How do you rationalize the difference between productive discipline and child abuse?” [emphasis mine]

And of course authoritative/authoritarian parenting doesn’t begin and end at spanking. But still. Yeah.

Sexuality
“Oprah Learns That People Don’t Grow ‘Gayer'”

Oprah impressed me here. She admitted she was wrong, in what was likely a bit of an embarrassing scenario – especially if one positions oneself as being “gay friendly” and having “good intentions”. I notice it seems that even staff who don’t personally know her well feel comfortable at being frank and openly disagreeing with her. If only all discussions on controversial issues went down like this!

By the way, I see red flags when someone says, “But I preferenced it by saying, ‘I don’t mean to cause offense!'” Reminds me of “with all due respect”:



Health
“The Big Fat Announcement: I’m Live-Blogging My Homebirth!” from The Feminist Breeder
I can’t even get across how much of a good idea this is. We need people to have a concept of birth as it can be with good prenatal care and without medicalization – and without the “ew gross!” shaming typically attendant when discussing a body that is female. I’ll totally be tuning into this!

Film
What have I watched this week? Not much, but (as I mentioned,) I did see Inception. It was fine. I like talking to self-proclaimed fans of this film. Because they cite the work as brilliant, then I ask, “OK, then what did you think ____ meant when ____?” and they usually don’t have a clue. But you know what, it’s OK to just like a film, even if you don’t know what the fuck is going on.

Last night I watched this (when will I learn?):

It was shite. Yeah, I say that, and that’s given I’ve got a soft spot for Duane Johnson (I dunno, the guy seems classy and sweet). In the film he looks bigger than ever – at times he resembled a huge grease-soaked slab of dyspeptic gristle.

Make/Craft
Today in the mail I received The Art of Manipulating Fabric, sent by my lady Karen. This book? Is simply incredible. And intimidating if, like me, one hopes to attempt a technique. But it’s gonna happen!

Today I’m making a few Indian-inspired recipes, sourced from allrecipes.com. Of all the somewhat-elaborate spice blends etc. etc. the most rewarding bit for me is making paneer (droooool).

Quotable
“I love how I am at the point in my life where I know that I can and am accomplishing everything on my own and I am for once doing it for me & [my daughter] and nobody else. Proving that I don’t need anybody…but I’m still lonely.” – from Facebook

Isn’t this the truth. Accomplishment, career, accolades, attagirls… they can’t keep loneliness at bay long, especially the existential type. Even family and friends can’t fill up (what some call) the God-shaped hole. And booze can only do it for a short period of time (trust me on this).

Random
TYPESTACHES

& *snicker*
Traffic Sign WIZARDRY

friday lynx

Hey, I just realized I completely and totally used to have far fewer featured items, and more of my chit-chat, in my Friday Links. Welp, not sure what I should do about that, if anything. There’s just TOO MUCH AWESOME SHIT on the internet, you know?

History
“Of Spaces Familiar and Not-So Familiar” at TNC of The Atlantic’s blog. We just had the anniversary of the Challenger disaster. I remember watching this – live – as a third grader. I also remember studying the o-ring failure in some fancy-ass chemistry class at UW.

Tech
“Game Written by a 14-Year-Old Passes ‘Angry Birds’ as Top Free iPhone App” at School-Survival.net

Health
“Dear Self Magazine & Her Campus” from Voice in Recovery. ViR is becoming a much-beloved blog.

“Walmart Plans to Sell Anti-Aging Makeup to Tweens” at Womanist Musings. Yes, this is for real. There’s nothing I need to add to what Renee has said.

“Medical Diagnosis in Pregnancy”. “Obstetric care for pregnant women is indeed focused on seeking out deviant results in an otherwise symptom-free patient. That’s why ‘regular’ care in pregnancy includes this huge battery of tests (well, that and the fact that these tests mean big business for hospitals). This is quite different from any other medical speciality. Generally doctors don’t seek out illnesses, unless they manifest.”

Aussie dust-up re: fat acceptance and health. Try: â€œUgh. Look at how fat that kid is.” by Dr. Samantha Thomas at The Discourse (the comments are good, but Kath’s kills me a little inside), “Let’s Get One Thing Straight”, posted by Elizabeth, and “Introducing Dastardly Donut” by Natalie. Hm, given all this, should I write a UB piece about “The Biggest Loser”, given one of my kids’ friends (who with her mother watches the show regularly) two days ago repeatedly snuck chocolate out of my cupboard (I would have said Yes if she’d just asked), then twice queried my Phoenix about her weight, then when I said, “Well, people’s bodies come in all shapes and sizes, right?” said, “Yeah”, and when I asked, “So is it OK to be fat?” responded, “Yeah. Because then you have to get skinny.” YIKES

Parenting
“House Rules” by Anna Brown. They don’t really work. A piece from consensual living, reminded to me by reader Annie.

“The Magic Word” by Jeff Sabo:

“Traditional parenting often focuses on foundations like church, school, team sports, perseverance, and a host of other ideals that, they hope, will prepare their children to succeed in the real world. These parents believe that they can see the future and build a person who will succeed within it. It’s almost like a 20 year engineering project – meticulously planned, brilliantly executed, but perhaps without either passion or the ability to morph as the future becomes more clear, like building the perfect desktop computer in a world of iPads […] [W]e try control a variety of things – TV, food, sleep times, educational choices, friends and lovers – with generally positive intent, but often negative results.”

Hard to pick, but this (also by Jeff, who took a writing break but is thankfully back) is probably my favorite link this week: “The Beauty of HALO”

“People?” at Every Moment is Right. “[W]hen do we start treating children as people? When they start walking? Talking? Go to school? Leave the house? When we need their help?”

Culture & Pop Culture
“Asian Americans Still Largely Missing From Hollywood” at Colorlines

“Last Meals on Death Row” at howtobearetronaut

Debbie Gibson and Tiffany Singing “Don’t Stop Believin” Together from TheRetroist. Less “rock”, more (dino)CROC, ladies!

Guess what’s guaranteed awesome? Weird Al’s children’s book.

Race and Class
“Where is the Kenyan Crocodile Hunter?” at What Tami Said. OK seriously, points for the first person who names a popular USian nature show with a host who isn’t a white male. I’m racking my brain, but then again my brain isn’t so hot sometimes.

“Let’s Talk About Pendleton” at Native Appropriations. I was just thinking about Pendleton in terms of appropriation the other day. The article is good; the comments are as well.

Make/Craft
“Monster Valentine’s Cards for the Classroom” at makeandtakes; these won’t be as awesome as our Valentines, but they’re still pretty dern good.

Chinese New Year recipes; vegetarian steamed dumpling? 100 to yes.

Updates and News from DIY Life Zine – I highly recommend anything Idzie is working up. (& expect a zine announcement from yours truly soon as well)

Laffs
“17 Images That Will Ruin Your Childhood” from Cracked

The New Terror Alert from TeamCoco. How I fervently WISH this were the case.

Today in 1983: Overdrawn at the Memory Bank premiered on television. Trigger warning for anti-anteater propaganda.

O_o

How Decaf Is Produced

friday’s child

Health
“The International Breastfeeding Symbol in Use” at mothering.com. This gave me the shivers, imagining an America that was breastfeeding-supportive. Lovely images.

“How Do You Feel About Aging? Secrets From Ladies In Their 60s”. This article gave me mixed feelings. On one hand I think Ari does a great job highlighting, interviewing, and respecting our older population (mostly privileged ones, which goes unrecognized in the blog as far as I can tell). This is important work, as ageism decrees that older citizens are often not taken seriously by the mainstream, thrown on a rubbish heap and thought of as “less than”. So in that respect, it was lovely to hear these women’s voices and their thoughts. On the other hand, we see just how attached to the performance of beauty these women are. In the same troubling vein, Ari’s expressed thought these women are “just beginning to think about how aging affects their attitude and appearance” seems incredibly naive. Many if not most American women spend cradle-to-grave experiencing constant referendums on their appearance and we’ve internalized – oh yes – the idea that being old or showing wrinkles is about the most pathetic and catastrophic experience awaiting us all. There is no “just beginning” to it… but often times there’s no end. (P.S. I love the phrase “crone-friendly”). I sent this article and some of my thoughts to my mother, and await her response.

“What Is Gluten and Why is Gluten Free Important?” sent to my email inbox this morning by Top Food & Drug. Pretty comprehensive 101!

“Really, IRS?” at MomsRising.org
“According to an article in the New York Times, the Internal Revenue Service has determined that breastfeeding “does not have enough health benefits to qualify as a form of medical care.” Therefore, women cannot count expenses for breastfeeding supplies in their tax-sheltered healthcare spending accounts. In doing so, the IRS has ignored the guidance of experts at the Department of Health & Human Services and World Health Organization who are actively promoting breastfeeding because of its significant health benefits for mothers and children.”

Did I mention I posted my first piece on Squat! Birth Journal‘s blog? Well, I did. “Supermodel mum told to ‘put ’em away’ – unless she’s showing them to straight grownup males, natch.” Anyone reading who is interested in supporting Squat!, they are looking for content; I love they actively promote an anti-oppression framework!

And since I’m on a breastfeeding kick, two more posts:

“Silly Remarks On Breastfeeding Older Children” from mamapoekie (and yes, I have literally heard them all!)

and

“Happy Weaning”, by yours truly

Culture
“Why Should Library Have To Do A Balancing Act On ‘Sicko’?” at courant.com. The more I read about librarians the more kick-ass I realize they are. h/t eoctrl on Twitter.

“#Hollaback and Fighting Street Harassement” at Womanist-Musings. In response to this piece, but not really in response if you want my opinion, Alexander Cohen wrote “”Street harassment” and ending silencing” and @asked me if I was interested in commenting. I’m not, so far, although I hasten to add it’s not as if I think the convo is worthless. Cohen’s piece demonstrates a profound lack of interest or credence granted to women’s lived realities. A conversation can’t happen until both parties are willing to listen and just for today, for now, I don’t have the energy for it, especially given how many conversations I’m invited to.

Back to the Hollaback piece; I read the transcript, and did not watch the video. I was deeply moved by May’s thoughts on what it’s like to live a life in fear and the cost to oneself and others: “I want to build a world in which good morning means nothing more than good morning and we can say it to people who do not look or think anything like us. I think that good morning has the power to change the world and the way people live in it. […] And I think as women, we will be able to wipe that tough girl look off of our faces because we will know that no matter what we wear, no matter what we wear, no matter what we wear, that the days of ‘she was asking for it’ will be over. “

Oh, the “tough girl” bit. I’ve lived it. I still live it, sometimes (I’m now remembering my days working in male-dominated pulp mills… apparently you can be “asking for it” when wearing Carhartt’s, no makeup, and steel toe boots). It fucking sucks.

“Ableist Word Profile: Idiot” from FWD.
“Many of the ableist words which reference ‘inferior intelligence’ are actually used in settings when people want to say that someone is being thoughtless, reckless, irresponsible, or rude. So, those are all good words to use as alternatives to ‘idiot.’ One of the things about exploring ableist language is that it forces us to think about the actual meaning of a sentence; when you find yourself wanting to refer to someone as an ‘idiot’ or something as ‘idiotic’, pause and think about the meaning of what you are trying to say.”

“Death by femininity, again” at IBTP
“a titillating squirt of micro-porn to whet the insatiable appetites of typical prog-liber-o-prurient HuffPo readers.” I haaaaate HuffPo for this kind of stuff, or more specifically, for self-defining as “progressive” but being just as misogynistic as just about everywhere else. More nip slips = more page views, whee!

“Irish Apes: Tactics of De-Humanization” at Sociological Images. The subject of dehumanizing language and images fascinates me.

Race & Class
“Get Ready For The Whitest Oscars In A Decade” at Colorlines. Good thing we’re so post-race issues!

“Another 9 Year Old Girl was Killted in Arizona” – but didn’t receive national coverage. Wonder why? (Hint: I don’t really wonder.)

“Are you better off buying $200 shoes?” at SocImages. Why yes, I totally am. Thanks for the tip, Desert Companion! Hey, can I have $200? Also some rent and grocery money? I really do need “decent footwear”. And food and stuff.

“Whole Foods and the HI-LO JP Controversy” by J. Valera. HI-LO sounds awesome and like nothing I’ve personally seen. Whole Foods? Yeah, seen it.

Parenting
“Honoring our Children’s Interests” at Life Learning Magazine‘s blog. “For most of us, trust and respect come easiest when our kids’ choices and decisions are in synch with our own. Not so simple to deal with are the times when a child expresses a desire to do something with which we don’t agree, which could be anything from playing violent video games to attending school.”

I agree with this. Many parents and grownups work to manage children’s lives such that compliance is the best option for the children in question. Our mettle and spiritual strength is tested when children express something that discomforts us. Sadly, grownups are in such a position of power children often have neither the knowledge or resources to object or defy. They grow and approach adulthood… and we see cultural narratives about sullen, depressed, oppositional, rebellious, adolescents where we call them silly or worse.

Hm, I’m thinking of opting out of all that. You?

Make/Craft
Pan de los Muertos at Epicurious. We made this last night – rich, eggy, and delicious!

Quote
“Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” ~ Carrie Fisher

“Write only if you cannot live without writing. Write only what you alone can write.” ~ Elie Wiesel

Random Awesomeness
How Decaf Is Produced