friday #w00t

First: a piece of mine, just published.

At bluemilk, the video for “Daddy Skills”. Which? Is awesome.

Some commentary on the different ways female vs. male bodies get treated, in the context of the Olympics.

One of the best interviews on public boners (or pseudo-boners) I’ve ever read.

On the ageism front: Hollywood & relating a bit to actual people’s actual problems. Yay!

The Radical Doula guide is out! Wow! I have a dream; raising enough to bring MZP to our community. Can you imagine?

Kristin Craig Lai tweeted me on an article on “invisible infirmities”. Very flattered; it’s a lovely piece.

Rare color photos from a little ways back.

Homemade graham crackers. I actually haven’t tried making these. But I’d like someone ELSE to bring me a batch.

Sylvia Plath’s drawings. Wonderful.

Someone sent this to me: Are you an emotional empath? Scary how many of the questions I answered Yes to (all but one and a half!).

riding atop a muscular steed, looking all awesome

Friday links! A little intense, a little child/social wellbeing oriented. But also, some great world leader beefcake!

Criminally Confident In Our Kids at Free Range Kids. Lenore writes succinctly about a problem that needs remedying – and that far too many parents risk having experience with.

Unschoolers / life learners! You can participate in Dr. Peter Gray’s survey study of unschooling families (which has been vetted by people I trust, so feel free as far as I’m concerned). You can download the survey from http://www.patfarenga.com/.

Laurie Couture uses strong language about school and teachers but she also has the experience and passion to back that up. If you have a long comment/rebuttal please comment at the source: her recent piece: “What Parents Really Want to Tell Teachers” – in response to a yucky article on CNN I won’t link to here (but you can find easily enough).

It’s Time To Reclaim The M-Word; so, I think I’m going to be reading the books this woman has written. From the article interview:

“There are books galore on how to “deal” with your children, how to control them, make them fit into a routine. There is even one, which has sold over half a million copies, that tells you how to physically punish your child. But understand them? Comfort them? Dirty words.”

Last Wednesday: the anniversary of John Holt’s death. Some great writings and teachings, there:

“…[John Holt believed that] unschooling and homeschooling are self-selecting and self-correcting activities that do not need central authorities to dictate content and standards… [John Holt’s] goal was not to create an insular education movement for children but rather ‘A life worth living and work worth doing—that is what I want for children (and all people), not just, or not even, something called ‘a better education.’” ~ Pat Farenga, Holt Associates

Make: My Magic Baby Mitts. I did! (pictures soon!)

I’ve had a run of people requesting my crumpets recipe, so here it is again in case you missed it.

A Day In The Life Of An Angry Transsexual at Tranarchism. If you’re unfamiliar witht he concept of Microagressions, here’s a good illustration.

Ladies (and, I guess, gentleman), prepare to get all hot and bothered for VLADIMIR PUTIN, ACTION MAN. Question, does Mr. Putin have a sexy bod, the answer is Yes, he’s sixty and looking great. But I am laughing my ass off at the photos like, he’s kind of just posed doing ALL THIS AWESOME SHIT with only slightly different expressions, adjusted slightly as if by claymation (I wish there was one of him DELIVERING THE HELL OUT OF A BABY!!1!). h/t to Marianne who made the comparison to Kim Jong-Il Looking At Things.

Wanda Wulz, cats / photography at All Things Amazing

Quote of the week: “Forgiveness isn’t something we do for others. We do it so we can get well and move on.”

Video of the week: our favorite MLP, Pinkie Pie, losing it juuuuuust a little:

you smell that

i’m realizing now i need a custom reamer

No links last Friday. So this week I’m serving up somethin’ CRISP:

First: The Poptart Cat. Of course. It’s weird how people somehow know what my dreams are like:

 
Then:

Let’s Help LeVar Burton Stage A ‘Reading Rainbow’ Flash Mob YES LET’S

My de-snarkification by Jo Paoletti (@joyomama on Twitter, and reader @kebyar’s mama). I like it.

America, the Scapegoat [Youth Correspondent Tryout] by Sonita Moss at Racialicious. Our American racism(s), pretty bad. But apparently lots of fun for some in other countries to point out en lugar de airing their own shit.

Make: 555 Footstool. This is the kind of stuff that gets my husband all fired up.

At xkcd: Google+ vs. … you-know-who

CRAFT linked to a Baby Shower Donut Tower. I have to be honest. This gives me THE SHIVERS (plus that’s not how I spell “doughnut”, but the same woman’s posted manicure truly works for me). I am passing this on for those who might find it inspiring. I am a good cook but not much for presentation.

Make: David Lebovitz & horchata; my version is here.

“Shame” by Rosa at class rage speaks. Good articulation of a pretty nasty cultural problem (stigmatizing those struggling).

Did you see Avatar? You know, Anglos Valiantly Aiding Tragic Awe-Inspiring Races? Well, you should (I mean the mashup, not the film with the same title). The mashup is supposed to be “funny” and I guess it is, but it’s pretty heavy too.

Manual Photography Cheat Sheet posted at buzzfeed – brilliant!

“Green Lantern: Like a Clump of Poo-Covered Hair Floating Through Space” by Lindy West at The Stranger. Yes, actually, this is pretty much a perfect style of movie review – and tells me everything I need to know.

I’m suddenly into my cars, as progress has been made recently, and I’ve been watching stuff like this, and this. Is it just me or are the dudes doing these tutorials adorable? Gee, and I thought the field of car fuckery was heavily populated by mansplaining blowhards (of all genders). Guess those who care enough to tutorial, aren’t so bad after all?

My Name is Mud at Medrie’s blog Our Rags of Light. Always lovely reading.

My brother’s lady J. just participated in the Hip Happening Craft Fair in Selwood (by the way, here’s her Etsy shop). As well you can check out her Flickr projects. Fun stuff!

you smell that

 
And finally: “I want them to be on a rainbow”. Say what you want, laugh, announce parody or sincerity, but SOME PEOPLE REALLY DO FEEL THIS WAY and SOME OF THEM LIVE IN MY HOUSE and I SHALL SAY NO MORE

haute cinema

The tide is high....
“The tide is high…” by Hoquiamite Mickey Thurman

Responding to a tweet last night for movies I would recommend, I now present a very hastily-thrown together list of films – imperfectly categorized – that I watched in 2010 and enjoyed very much:

Documentary
Protangonist, A Family Undertaking: POV, Not Quite Hollywood, “Addiction” (HBO), “When We Left Earth” (TV), The Celluloid Closet, Harlan County U.S.A., Stranded: I Come From a Plane That Crashed on The Mountains, The Business of Being Born, The Pervert’s Guide To Cinema, Man on Wire, The Thin Blue Line

Indie
La Mission, Revanche, Happy Accidents (LOVE IT… maybe one of the few romantic films I totally fell for), Chopper, Red (with Brian Cox), Dandelion

Thriller/Horror
Moon, Blue Velvet, Let the Right One In, Teeth, Slither, An American Werewolf in London

New & Old Classics
The Man from Snowy River, Night of the Creeps, Dial M For Murder (with Blue Velvet one of my fave movies ever), On The Waterfront, The Verdict, “Have Gun – Will Travel” (TV)

Action/Western
Appaloosa, Sexy Beast, Unforgiven, Lonesome Dove, Cutthroat Island (LADY AWESOMENESS!), Cop LandThe Edge

Introspective/Drama
After the Wedding, Gone Baby Gone, Hounddog (for Dakota, 100%), Letters from Iwo Jima, The Answer Man (best grownup/teacher conference EVAR), Sense & Sensibility, Bleak House, “John from Cincinnati” (TV), “Deadwood” (TV), “Prime Suspect” series (BBC TV), I’ve Loved You So Long (the film is well-done, but more to the point Kristin Scott Thomas is excellent and made me cry so hard I almost threw up)

Comedy
Fatal Instinct, The Other Guys, Elvira: Mistress of the Dark, Hot Fuzz, “Strangers With Candy” (TV), “Reno 911!” (TV), Fido, Hot Rod, Anchorman, Idiocracy

***

Cool Water
(Small Stone #15*)

I love washing and soaking beans!
Small sedate jewels
Nourishing my family’s bellies, for pennies,
Work by my hands

Hamilton
(Small Stone #16*)

The cat pads into the kitchen
With a pencil in her mouth.

Small stone project

salir a caminar

The rain let up today so I knew we were bound outside for an adventure, or at least a longish walk to who-knows-where, as yet undecided. After all, we have everything we need in-home right now and the days and nights just run together in what feels like oppressive darkness and seaside walks or wooded hikes are almost out of the question as we don’t have the gear unless you can find a day that isn’t rainy and cold and dark and near-miserable. You can imagine today with only a half-a-fuck!-level cold I planned to get out No Matter What even if we had nothing much to do.

As I was toasting homemade pumpernickel (d/l!) and peeling oranges and pouring milk for the tousled-kids’ breakfast, my mother called in and offered to bring us a hot dish for dinner. My evening meal responsibilities shelved, the kids and I brushed teeth and scrubbed faces and bundled up and took to the streets – fine, let’s take back library books and stop at our post office box.  Out the door –

where we were snooped by no fewer than five or six cats as we walked, starting with our own little Josie and continued by a relay-method of curious felines.

JOSIE SNOOP

Phoenie was looking sharp in her new Jack Skellington hat as I continued to fail at phone-picture-taking.

Phoenie Under The Tree

And as always we found lots of little piles of refuse!

Pile Of Refuse

I am old school HQX as I can mess about with the phone while walking in the near dark (you can watch it fall during these pictures) and wetness and treacherous walkways. I need a tag just for the Hoquiam sidewalks because they are jagged and scary and mossy and slick and there are portions dug out entirely and without warning and tonight, a huge stretch along fifth street where the streetlights didn’t work and Nels fell into a cinderblock hole.

Little Ones

As we walked down M street darkness was falling… onto the creepy but cozy weirdness of my childhood home…

Chlidhood Home

Nels navigated the way with his new compass (ala his aunt Jules):

Checking His Compass

And some Christmas lights were still out (yay!).

Christmas Lights

I suspect my liittle mobile camera uploads will continue to improve – I’m new to this. But I figure if I can make my $100 point-and-click shoot pretty good shit for this journal, I can do it on the camera. App hunting is actually not too much fun for me, but a necessary business I suppose.

At the library we were (literally) hugged and kissed by one of our librarian friends and the kids played and chatted while I turned in books and picked up holds. Our library is awesome in that they are very kid-friendly and inclusive and we have a great regional system. It was dark as hell when we left but I turned on some music and the kids sang our way home through the chill.

You’re welcome, west-side Hoquiam.

it’s Friday so that means linkage

Actually that’s not true. I’ve never been one to do any kind of ritual on my online journal with any kind of regularity. But here’s some good stuff.

Trigger warning: the first section of these links discusses bullying and education.

American Culture:
“Why I Think Unschooling Is The Best Option… For Everyone” by Idzie

Today on Twitter Idzie wrote:

People are terrified of a lack of control. Utterly terrified. Of other people giving up control over them, of giving up control over others… Or at least that’s the way it seems to me, from the reactions you get at any suggestion of freedom! … It seems so many ppl have felt excluded & judged in unschooling circles or by other unschoolers… This makes me so sad every time I hear it. & also makes me really hope I haven’t contributed to it myself. I try to be welcoming to all ppl interested in/supportive about/considering unschooling, while still expressing my own opinions honestly & authentically, despite the fact they might upset some people.

I really relate to what she’s written here; and I know I myself I’ve likely caused offense while trying so hard to communicate my own reality as well as ideas and worldviews that have changed our lives in the most amazing fashion.

Yet it must be pointed out that many who react with anger and accusations are reacting to ideas that upset them, oftentimes for reasons they have not yet examined; many were hostile to these ideas from the second they were first exposed but have not taken the steps to unpack that hostility and fear. Given that environs when discussing consensual living, punitive-free parenting, and autodidactic education, I’d like to remind those of us writing (and talking and singing and living) it’s almost impossible for us to not elicit angry reactions.

Do people in life learning/unschooling/attachment parenting groups say exclusionary, insensitive, dogmatic, harmful, ignorant, or incorrect things*? Absolutely! Especially that latter group – at least in my experience. No group or ideology is above committing wrongs. However is is hard for me to engage at length with the words of those who are already hostile to my ideas and have dismissed my body of work and research without their own investigation. If they won’t give me the respect of entertaining my “expertise” (such as it is) they can learn little from me – although I don’t mind learning from them.

Aristotle said, “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” It is surprising to me how few people can even entertain my thoughts (which weren’t mine originally, usually), although conversations with those who can – and their individual interpretations, whether supportive or critical or additive – is one of the rich pleasures in my life.

***

“Opinion: Sometimes It’s OK To Let Your Kid Be Bullied” on parentdish
OK, first I’m not even going to get into dissecting the “THAT MOM” trope (overinvolved, controlling, elevating her child to sainthood – mostly just another strawlady), or the chills that ran down my spine at the stalwartly unreflective “we sometimes fight battles that would be better solved on the playground or by the people who are paid and trained to educate our children”, OR to weigh in to claim this parent (mom) did something wrong or went amiss in how she handled her daughter’s scenario.

The article starts to go wrong for me here: “Stepping in to micro-manage every aspect of your kid’s life is a mistake. It robs children of the ability to deal with conflict and rejection. It saps their independence. It labels them, in the eyes of their peers, teachers and administrators, as weak.”

“Micro-manage every aspect of your kid’s life”. In my experience observing parents/carers this is far more rare than pop-psych anecdotal “truthy” pieces would have you believe (this fable usually exists parallel to much pearl-clutching and table-pounding about “helicopter parents” and “useless” “kids today”). Interestingly Life – that “real world” people are always talking about? – is FULL of adversity and hurdles and stumbling blocks. Parenting compassionately means we usually get to watch with joy how our children handle these episodes, knowing we have their trust and they have their self-trust – because we have their back. I can know my children’s lives will be filled with difficulties and limitations, I don’t have to make more of them nor artificially create them (Example, my daughter wants a pony, guess why we can’t get one? No need whatsoever for me to furnish false “natural consequences”, see also some pieces on “sheltering” and “adversity” in numbers #15 – #17 on this list). Helping our children when they’re being fucked-over is not the same at all as “micro-managing” NOR is it done (in my case) based out of a trembling Mama-Bear “hysteria” so many like to snark about (in fact, from reading this author’s self-stated feelings regarding her children’s sufferings, I am in comparison entirely unflappable to my child being “hurt” – because I know she can handle it until she can’t, and gee, how do I know this? Because I know she knows she can get help from me if she needs it).

I could write pages on this, and maybe I will soon.

I recently heard a local parent talking about how there’s a natural “pecking order” on the playground and we adults should stay out of it. I don’t have room or energy to write the many ways I think that sounds like a terrible idea (new reasons occur to me daily in fact). Incidentally this man’s own son – who is often at my house, this summer spending more time with me than his own parents – used to often try to bully my own children (unsuccessfully), occasionally attempts to extort money from them, tells falsehoods when confronted and won’t make eye contact (lying is not so much an inevitable child behavior as could be better described as one most parent/teaching regimes wholly facilitate by their oppressive tactics). He’s reformed quite a bit in our household since he’s realized I’m not about to “punish” him or ream him out, although I can’t allow him at our house if he keeps breaking our chicken eggs purposefully – for example. Outside my kitchen window, when he thinks no adult can hear him, I hear him shouting at other smaller children they are “retards” and they need to “get off [his] property… or [he’s] calling the cops.”

I know many children who behave one way around adults and other ways when they think they are unobserved. It isn’t the children who’ve initiated this regrettable state of affairs, either.

And both for this author and the local parent; really? This “pecking order” is OK or a “natural” and relatively harmless part of social life? I completely disagree. Sadly, this story was just posted regarding a 16 year old boy’s bullycide – a semi-local school, where with sickening familiarity I read: “The school says it never received any complaints about bullying from the boy or his parents.”

Right. Let’s continue to let “kids be kids” on this bullying thing.

***

Two great articles from Australia (but relevant, IMO, to similar discussions in the US) on health, fat, obesity, dieting, and body image: “Talking Fat” by Elizabeth at mymilkspilt and “Health Hysteria: Helpful or Harmful?” by Dr. Samantha Thomas at The Discourse. Great posts and analyses I can add nothing to.

Mamapoekie’s brief post on stalking deserves more than just my comment. The topic is in my thoughts right now – for reasons I can’t divulge in this space, sadly.

Inspiring:
My sister says some of these were so beautiful they made her cry. I feel the same way.

I’m currently reading: Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity by Julia Serrano. This is a pretty amazing book. I’m sad it’s likely under-read as many cisgendered people don’t understand it’s hardly a “fringe” topic or treatment at all, but at the heart of human right questions entirely salient for us today.

“the dangerous spiral of criticism & how to claw your way back out” at Scoutie Girl: “Instead of reaching for big, bigger, biggest, we reach for safe & allowable. Self-consciousness refuses to let you create art. It only allows for ‘nice.’ Ew.”

Shop:
Support an awesome homeschooling mama with some uncertain financial “adventures” ahead of her. Also: handsewn, so you can’t go wrong there!

I want to buy this for Phoenix, so bad. She loves creepy 50s horror comics times ONE MILLION.

Who wants a sexy little rockabilly dress homesewn? Fuck, who doesn’t?

Fun:
Twisted Vintage
Lovely images and weirdness (Ah… this image from The Postman Always Rings Twice, some real sexiful there!), some altered and some as they were; lots of great Halloween content! Um, don’t read the comments. At least the one comment thread I clicked on was full of misogyny, including comments by the post author, and a bit of homophobia, etc. Gross.

Please provide a caption for this picture.

Craftzine is having a Halloween contest. You got the chops for it?

***

* Recent example: an unschooling group brought me an email wherein a member called another person’s daughter an “illiterate, foul-mouthed slut.” This went unchecked by the moderator (as have a few other problematic incidents); I may not stick around this community much longer.

Comments: For any new readers today: I don’t want to hear word-one about “controlling” parents (moms), go anywhere else on the internet and discuss it, you’ll find entirely receptive audiences.

CHOPPY

Last night I had one of those not-really nightmares, more like a nuisance-dream, where I couldn’t get the neighbor boy and his brother to leave my house. This dream was not likely that important or relevant but I think there are some anxieties I’ve been feeling about the care of this neighborhood child. The older brother hardly ever steps into my house except to order the younger one home; but the younger one is at my house nearly every minute his parents are gone and/or he is not required to be with family or in school.

So today when he came at his customary time I told him I wasn’t ready for company in the home. To my surprise I later realized he was merely sitting in my backyard (after having asked permission to be there) and waiting, preferring this over his television and many video games at home.  He did not as in days before knock on my door every five minutes (I am not kidding about this frequency). I like to think he has listened to my petition that he please not do this – and hopefully he trusts me I relay to my children immediately upon their waking that he wants to play with them (which I do). Today Phoenix played in and outside and while she was in this neighbor boy merely waited patiently for her to re-emerge. His loneliness and desire for meaningful connection is palpable.

It was a big day for Choppy – yes, you heard – CHOPPY, the (very horrid) grasshopper Phoenix had been trying to rehab. Choppy is/was quite large and my daughter requested I pet him/her goodbye. Look at the maniacal, angry eyes:

Incredibly, Phoenix knew this was a locust – a bit more specific than the descriptor grasshopper. I’m thinking (after doing a bit of research in Insects of the Pacific Northwest by Peter Haggard and Judy Haggard) Choppy is of species dissosteira carolinus aka Road Duster or the mourning cloak grasshopper.

Ralph had a long day in conference up in Tacoma. We went to pick him up and when he got in the car to the tearful hugs of our son (who was crying because he’d mispronounced the word “office” repeatedly while leaving Ralph’s work phone a voicemail) I asked if we could try one of the few new restaurants in the area. Downtown Aberdeen was hosting a Clint Black concert at the D&R Theater so our original choice restaurant had a rather large waiting list. In lieu of this Phoenix asked for Teri’s Steakhouse, a repurposed building that used to be a rather unappealing bar. And I could tell our daughter was worried we’d say No since we are not super steak-y.

So... I Don't Get It

Here’s something I love about me, or something I did today I’m happy about. They had modestly-priced Kid Menu items, just a couple. But Phoenix loves steak and was disappointed this wasn’t in the “kid” options like Nels’ choice of chicken nuggets. Our daughter thought this meant she couldn’t have steak. I told her of course she could, just to order off the adult menu (she looked for the smallest-size steak, ever mindful of Appropriateness). And of course she could have chocolate milk. And would she like soup or salad?  Ralph and I split a cheaper entree rather instinctively because hey, steak dinner, expensive right? And I knew I’d have so much pleasure in watching her eat exactly what she wanted. She was quite serious about critiquing the soup – a navy bean and ham. “Spicy, but quite good!” she said  – and ate every bit.

Navy Bean & Ham Pt. 1

Navy Bean & Ham Pt. 2

Navy Bean & Ham Pt. 3

Ralph and I were hungry and we’d ordered short-shrift so after demolishing our little salad we tried to control our still-ravenous appetites and act polite. When Phoenix was finished with her food we poked around and ate tomato slices and bits of New York steak and fries. It was rather efficiently done. The restaurant gave us complimentary cake at the end. A cream cheese frosting drizzled with caramel. Rather lovely, all of it.

Photography by Phoenix:

Ralph & Nels, Photography By Phoenix

Teri's Steak House, Photography By Phoenix

You know, I don’t mind living here much, maybe because the little stuff like trying some new restaurant out and watching how happy it makes the kids, and it’s lovely outside and all.

(Edited to add re: Choppy):

Little Fish

little fish, little fish

Sophie, my beautiful firstborn.

Sophie, my beautiful firstborn.

I don’t want to write too much because I think this photo speaks for itself.  It was taken yesterday at our YMCA by my friend and photographing maven; you can find more of her work at her website or Flickrstream.

Sophie is an enthusiastic and capable swimmer – especially her backstroke.  She has been a water-lover since she was very tiny (three months old) and has proceeded at her own pace.  She never misses a practice unless we miss it for her – that is, family events conspire to keep her away.  Tonight after practice she signed up for three events in Saturday’s swim meet: the 100 Individual Medley, 25 Backstroke, and 50 Breaststroke.  She will likely also participate in a relay or two.

I hope my children continue to grow in the things they love: feeling not pressure but unconditional support from their father and I; not relying on our praise or cajolement or bargaining or prizes or bribes to continue in the things they love doing.