Birds are like little people

if it’s friday, you should mess around on the inter-netz instead of working

Culture
“The Facebook Double (D) Standard on Obscenity”
This is just sort of amazing to ponder. What is really happening when we ban images of breastfeeding but promote any degree of (usually young, usually sexualized) cleavage? Breastfeeding is a recognized and protected “right” in many states – but not all! Breastfeeding it is under fire continually and, most importantly, people demonstrate an ignorance and vitriol toward women and their bodies that is staggering and sobering to behold. Women are still wrongfully arrested for breastfeeding, told they can’t breastfeed here or there or must cover up – even when the law does not support this (this in Washington State today, recognized as one of the more breastfeeding-friendly of our fifty – and by the way this conduct demonstrated by the Long Beach Head Start facility clearly violates Washington Law Against Discrimination), and maybe most tellingly everywhere the subject comes up we see viscous, untenable and shameful rhetoric heaped on the personhood of breastfeeding families – targeting the breastfeeding woman, of course (and on this, I refuse to link to the hate). My breastfeeding days are over but I feel deeply, deeply sad at how poorly our country and cultural framing is on what is a very pro-family, pro-baby, and pro-woman practice that should be regarded not as an enforced standard for every individual bio mom but as a protected and supported reproductive right.

“Grrl Vlog #4: Celebrity Weight Loss” by Reel Girls. Very good watching – take four minutes and DO IT. “OK I’m skinny now, but I’m also, like, nice, and sweet, and pretty, and refined.”

“When ‘Both Sides’ Aren’t Enough: Reporting on Weaver’s Blackface Pic” at Soc Images
I’ve often thought this before; the “obsession with [false] parity” (which often leads to “innocently neutral” articles that ignore historical context lived by those marginalized, thereby keeping privilege and oppression invisible). If anyone is in any doubt as to why blackface (and along the same vein and with some similarities, redface and yellowface…) is offensive, one can start the education at the excellent Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorablilia – particularly the “Caricature” treatments, Dr. Pilgrim’s many writings, and Question of the Month essays.

“When Teachers Highlight Gender, Kids Pick up Stereotypes” from Pennsylvania State University, and reported (of all places) at FoxNews.com. Main point: in a classroom setting, teachers don’t need to be actively spouting gender stereotypes to effectually promote them. I like the idea of using “child” and “friend” language over “boys and girls” language – very much.

If you run over a fat person and kill them, you won’t go to jail. I mean c’mon, they were going to keel over any minute now anyway since their veins pump gravy and stuff.

Twisty goes on sabbatical (boo hoo!), also links to Privilege-Denying Dude (yay!)

Domestic Industry
The grilled moussaka I made yesterday was delicious according to Ralph and (sort of) the kids, but I thought it was a total miss. So anyone who’s got a fail-proof moussaka recipe, lay it on me. By the way, who is this reviewer complaining moussaka is too “heavy” of a dish? Guess what, “heavy” food gives us the energy to survive, not to mention the zest for life and a will to live!

Shallots in Red Wine at Craft. I’m making Italian fare for Thanksgiving; I’m going to make this dish with whole garlic.

Thanksgiving books; these are with a vegetarian bent (if you won’t be doing the turkey thing) and also several by Native / First Nations authors. I put some on hold at our library to read while we’re at the Lake.

Help
They’re dying of cholera in Haiti; other places in the world lack soap to prevent diseases. 5 million die a day, mostly small children. Go to http://www.cleantheworld.org/ to help (more on “How to help Haiti” at the Chicago Tribune).

“Eight Great Ways to Help Others on Thanksgiving”; yesterday I donated several pounds of veggies and some pantry business to a local family. It felt good to help; it also felt very good not to waste food, something that sends me into a tiny panic. Our cats and chickens help us not waste food either; scraps go to both sets of animals (our chickens are vegetarians but our cats are not).

Consumerism
It’s Christmas time, or rather, it’s time for Ralph and I to stop spending money on utilities and buy and create those extravagances that are so lovely to experience. Ralph and I make most our Christmas presents, but we buy a few as well. I’m currently plaguing Ralph to buy some Samsonite for the kids (their current luggage is falling apart); last night I got the perfect safety pins for a Phoenix project.

Random
I HAVE NO WORDS

One thing’s for sure: Nobody ever sees the pool shark coming.

Birds are like little people.

comic from toothpaste for dinner

“science ponders about it, and all men are curious – but no one knows”

This Island Earth. “They’re pulling us up!” NO RLY?

Have I told you how much I want to make a big montage of Mansplainy moments in B-film? OH GOOD LORD would it be sweet. Ralph and I laugh and laugh when we see it (and our daughter does too). Like Dr. Frank C. Baxter!

P.S. they still do it in movies today. Also, same effect accomplished by: barely having any women in heroic and action film unless they’re a love (or lust) interest. BORRRRR-ring.

postscript

I forgot to mention, I’m having a rough day today.  I guess I’ve been having a few of these lately (it feels like a mild depression) and I worry writing about it makes it some big Thing that will be Boring to everyone, but then again I have to be honest for my own sake. Today very little reached my belly and made me laugh and I am ashamed to say I did not eat food except once today although I knew I should eat more and eat better for my health. I don’t need anyone to weigh in on this as the guilt (internally-supplied) is extremely unhelpful.

But there were a few episodes I wanted to write down because they were genuinely Good.

This afternoon my mother came over and picked up Phoenix to take her to the bank and cash her check from the painting she (Phoenix) sold. When they came back they’d brought me the most amazing array of fresh gladiolus. These are sitting on our little table and giving our living room a life of its own. My mom and I shared some tea and had a wonderful talk about a homebirth article I’d read that morning. She also thanked me for the chocolate and hardtack I’d brought her and my grandfather. When she drove home a little later she found, upon arriving at her house, my kitty Mable had snuck a ride. So Mable got to hang out at my mom’s for a few hours until she brought the little creature back. This made all of us smile. Cats are like children for me, a real blessing as even in a day with the doldrums they can give me cheer. I take comfort in caring for them and knowing at least I can do that much.

This afternoon Phoenix went ahead to the soccer field and attendant playground to roughhouse. I took Nels out for a lunch. Nels was overly-hungry (by his admission) and he was very sad as we were getting ready. I felt dizzy and horrid but I was gentle to the children, a kind of survival-level daze which is always accompanied by my deep respect and awareness at those who are chronically or more devastatingly ill and still have dependents to care for. I was counting down the moments until I’d have food for my Boy and he’d feel better.

As soon as we parted ways – my daughter on her bike off on her own adventure, my son behind me on the bike – Nels became very loving and clingy and pet me and told me in so many expressive ways how much he loved me. Our tenderness and closeness lasted through the next hour and a half until it was he playing on the playground and I sat with my husband and mother and watched soccer practice.

The one thing that made me laugh out loud and spontaneously today: when Nels and I arrived on the playground Phoenix was deep in play with two girls. The younger of the two aparently announced, “That boy in the red shirt with the long blonde hair? He’s hot.” Phoenix related this to me and we laughed. Nels didn’t understand what “hot” meant; when Phoenix and I told him the girl meant attractive he got a very knowing look and laughed. Just a precursor, some precocious and misplaced adult behavior on the part of the girl (I mean “hot”, really?) but still, as others may relate to, children grow up so fast and sooner than I’m really ready my children really will have little paramours.

just to sear you in the eyeball

I seriously, seriously dare you to watch the entirety of this video:

Look, I enjoy both Jamie Lee Curtis and John Travolta as performers, but sometimes people we like very much do some very wrong things in tiny and upsetting shorts. I am completely distressed I watched the first few frames* and that I then I dared myself to watch until the end, which came seemingly ages later, and by then I was a changed person, my eyes flat and despairing and my soul sucked from my body, I mean just how long did whoever that director was think we wanted to watch sweaty man-batch bouncing around in the most graphic fashion while attached to an eerily smiling perpetrator, let alone the delight this seemed to afford his yelling aerobics instructor – and yes no matter how lovely Ms. Curtis is I would rather not watch anyone in a leotard thong “presenting” to the beat of tepid Jackson has-been pop while leading a large cult of 80s fitness-Hell minions who are seemingly oblivious to all the creepy eye contact… good Lord, even typing this is sucking me back to the Darkness again…

Tonight while handsewing – painfully, my arm hurts, and the end result of 1.5 hours of my time looks too shitty to use anyway – I watched the 2008 film Defiance. Daniel Craig is total eye candy whether classed-up as Bond or super-smudgy and thyphoid-infested as in this film but he is also (as far as I can tell) a rather impressive actor as well; the film itself was devastatingly rough – not quite what I was looking for while stitching, but good nonetheless. Besides all that, Ralph’s afternoon nap was incidentally tortured by phantasms including shooting, explosions, screaming, and violently-shouted Russian (as well as an Actual Real Kitten who batted at his hair and face while he slumbered).

* How/why did I run across such a clip? Why from the rather charming video here: “Dancing at the movies” and just because you’ll probably never trust me again let me offer full disclosure: the “Dancing” video is a mixed bag: super-annoying Loggins music-action but very fun movie clips.

“completely rid me of my perishing thirst”

A day like today, even with a lack-of-sleep hangover and no car and a mild feeling of cabin fever and all that, the sun was shining and my son heckled me mercilessly to accompany him out on the bikes and so we did. And I’m not complaining about my day when I get to bike in the sun.

I had a skit running through my mind all morning and I’ve been laughing and laughing about it:


(I actually love it when something silly plays over and over in my head), AND THEN when Sophie and I biked to get our groceries, outside the shop there was a rather scruffy looking middle-aged fellow drinking a huge silver can of beer, so I was just super-pleased to see that. Before we went inside we browsed the posted flyers and the man shuffled over and offered to pay for a ride on the red quarter airplane (a mildly dilapitated kiddie ride). I thanked him but Sophie wasn’t interested.  So then he asked if when I was a kid I’d gone on the same airplane kiddie ride and I said Yes and smiled and he cackled and actually slapped at his thigh and took another pull on the beer. So that whole business was great because usually most all the time I love talking to strangers.  I always have.

While Nels visited with his Gram it was good to have a handful of minutes with my daughter, even if all we did was pick up groceries and go to the new local pizza eatery (a nice enough place with very sweet owners, huddled in a rather depressing stretch of highway and dilapidated neighborhood buildings and sidewalks).  When my daughter and I are alone sometimes we barely even talk to each other, but we do touch a lot and I hold her and she puts her hand on mine and her head on my shoulder.  When we got home today the schoolkids were walking along the sidewalk and she caught up with some friends, her smile wide and her freckles popping and her legs pedaling furiously.  She brought Little P over and helped train him in drawing dragons (Sophie is super-accomplished on this account) and then the kids played Legos for hours.  Nels came in and out, digging a hole in the sideyard to explore under the house, his lean little body wrapped in his father’s hoodie to keep spiders away.  After this adventure concluded he planted new seeds and took a bag of fertilizer out to apply in the garden (he tells me his pea shoots are already coming up) and chased the chickens.  Ralph and Nels are the gardeners in the family; I guess come summer I’ll see just what they’ve been up to but I hope pumpkins are involved at least.

We moved the chicks out to the garage as part of the “hardening” process.  I kind of miss their peeping and scratching and the occasional and inexplicable MASSIVE POULTRY THROWDOW bash-about.  I’m also looking forward to putting them out in the back – when they’re ready – for the two-flock action (think: West Side Story fruity and deadly dance-fighting).

Spring, it’s good times.

click-through for public nudity

MY BOOBS ARE SO IMPORTANT AND SPECIAL AND IN NO WAY CAN YOU SEE EVEN A TINY BIT OF THEM AND I WILL SEW SOME MASSIVE BRIGHT CAPE SO YOU KNOW YOU AREN’T ALLOWED TO SEE THEM

Because, you know, it’s pretty damned exhibitionist to nurse a baby without something like this (I should have warned you PHOTO EXTREMELY NSFW!!!).

I was trying to find a picture of myself nursing my babies today; instead I ended up doing a random Flickr photo upload of the family. Enjoy.

squeaky-squeaky demonstrations of love

Today I sit at a table with my kids at our best local eatery; we’ve just ordered our food (Nels and I have a tradition of splitting a salad with bleu cheese, olives, and mozzerella cheese) and I’m sipping some fresh coffee.  I always feel a bit on display around these parts: I have notably school-aged children who accompany me on various efforts and endeavors during times in the day when you see no children, anywhere. Also, believe it or not, my green hair gets a lot of stares around here (yes, I experience my life as a bit provincial) and the kids are often dressed a bit oddly -Sophie has donned her Halloween vampiress cape for the day.

I lean forward to tell our kids some bad or at least not-fun news: our “newest” (as in, most recent to us) car has just been diagnosed with a plethoric and varied list of automotive problems we will need to repair at astronomical prices (hint: four digits).  Ralph and I haven’t decided what we’re going to fix, and in what order, or even how we’re going to come up with the funds for this (goodbye, once again, house downpayment!).  But I enjoy talking to the kids because they are at an age they not only understand some aspects of money but sometimes have impressive ideas about how to manage it.

Just as we’re winding down the discussion I realize we’re being listened to by a man one table over who is waiting for his order.  Wordlessly he brings a bag up from the floor and begins pulling balloons and a pump out and fiddling with them.  Without engaging or looking at my children he begins to blow up the balloons and twist them into scrotal shapes in preparation for some creature or another.  The kids catch on to this quite soon and immediately halt every single thing except watching this man make balloon animals.  The balloon artist creates, in succession, a parrot, teddy bear, poodle (this is for me), and a flower with a bee hovering about it (complete with yellow body and black stinger formed from the same two-toned balloon).  The man himself is shy and soft-spoken but my kids – after their initial awe-struck silence – are not: after they receive the parrot they start in with their own suggestions. “Make a sword,” they suggest.  Then discuss amongst themselves a bit and:  “Make a chicken!” they challenge, as if this were some apex of natural existence.  It’s kind of funny because every other customer in the restaurant is ignoring all this.  But the fellow’s lunch is ready now, and he stands and looks right at us and says, “Have a nice day,” and takes his lunch and his balloons and leaves us with a brightly-colored menegerie and a very sweet episode in my kids’ everyday-extraordinary lives.

We pay for our meal and head into Aberdeen where I need to visit the yarn shop.  Alas as it turns out the shop has changed their hours and I will now have to wait until Thursday to discover if I need to buy a different yarn and / or size up or down for needles – as well as, by the way, how the f*ck to knit gloves, a prospect that terrifies me!  Returning to the car and the kids start crying; they’d fooled around with their parrot and teddy bear and now a talon was missing, a leg had become untwisted from it’s shape into an awkwardly-bent, freakish appendage.  The kids ask me to fix it; “I can’t, I don’t know how,” I tell them.  “A clown knows how to do it,” Nels (the Idea Man) says: soon the kids are asking me to take them to see a clown.

You know.  Because they’re just regular professionals, working in our community.