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

We cannot control the evil tongues of others; but a good life enables us to disregard them

Outdoors

I am not as strong spiritually as others may think. Case in point, it is still alarming for me to hear adults’ negative opinions of our lifestyle through the commentary of these grownups’ children. This can’t be avoided, really, for a lot of reasons – one of which is our lifestyle and parenting philosophies are different than many families – and many people respond to perceived challenges with attitudes and positions of fear, judgment, or anger. Also, many families struggle with a variety of issues and doubtless lash out; they are truly in some sense miserable enough to do so. I can understand this on a cognitive level, but try telling my heart it’s all Okay.

For me, who I am today, the friend or “friend” who is unsupportive or speaks ill of my family is a painful party to consider. Given my weakness, I would rather they just ignore me than shit-talk, back-talk, or judge. And this is made all the more odd as I have little or nothing to hide and life is good in our home. It’s something about others harboring Hate, however tiny, directed at myself (or perceived as such), that makes me feel about a quarter-inch tall. As I told a couple friends earlier tonight, its’ not the subject matter itself at all. When it comes to living without compulsory schooling, even the familiar and repetitive questions by strangers (“But what about socialization?”*) seem at least direct and (usually but not always) put forth in good faith. It’s something else to consider a friend actively holding a resentment.

But the occasional times I receive a negative bit of gossip, or hear our life and our parenting drug through the muck, my response shows me I haven’t yet learned the lesson – you know, “What other people think of me is none of my business.” And I note as well I’m not sure what special privilege I seem to think I deserve that I should be immune to people’s Assery.

Daily I evaluate the life we live: myself, our family, my friendships, my role as a citizen and friend to the world. I do the best I can with what I have. Pondering the pain I feel today, I am glad for something recent in my life: see, a while back it became obvious to me I needed to stop speaking ill of people, even when “safe” or near someone who would not dispute nor challenge this sort of behavior (or even someone who themselves would feel relief in a few moments of gossip, that delectable dish). This life is lived not to be “good”/”nice” nor to try to bargain karma, or even to be a good friend (although it does make me a better person), but to quit making myself Sick, because Sick indeed I have been. Even with my husband I counsel him to be cautious what we say, for our own sakes’ as well as that of our children who stand to learn our attitudes. Even in the privacy of our own home.

For much of my life I have not lived this way. Months ago I would not have thought this was a possible way to conduct myself, nor even relevant. But today it’s a major cornerstone of my life.

“Never speak disparagingly of others, but praise without distinction… Pollute not your tongues by speaking evil of another.”

I do take this seriously, as hard as I find to live it sometimes. I thank my life’s experience and my Higher Power for the lesson.

* More awesomesauce here.

sewing curtains

so who doesn’t have a party to go to?

Well our party spirit is a little dampened. This morning we found out someone got ahold of Ralph’s account/credit info and cleaned us out. I mean CLEANED us out. So that was kind of fun! Ralph had to stop work early and make all these phone calls and stuff and I have no idea if we’ll get our monies back and get food and stuff! Wheee!

But nothing shall stop me from Friday’ing your ass up! Pull up a cup of joe and check the linkage!

***

Androcentrism: It’s Okay to Be a Boy, But Being a Girl… at SocImages makes valid points, plus I didn’t recognize who that was in drag at first. Pretty cool.

While we’re on the above-mentioned quote, please watch this Madonna video. MY FAVORITE PART of the video culminates at 02:49. P.S. So interesting this video got banned after the other violent shit male artists have pulled.

Tracy Morgan: If My Son Was Gay, I’d Stab Him To Death; HA HA HA that Tracy Morgan! So funny! Hm, there’s not an emoticon I can think of to type how I really feel about this. … Anyway, here’s Wanda Sykes response to Chris Rock’s defense of Morgan, via Racialicious. Thank you Ms. Sykes.

Okay, moving on. Look, I totally enjoy FYeahSeamstressTiger on a lot of levels (for instance, as I believe I’ve made my position clear long ago [#7]):

sewing curtains

 
But the aggregate effect of the occasional snooty I-can-sew-so-well-and-you-totally-don’t-get-it leaves me cold.

h/t friend Dawn for this Cute little flash animation about how we’re gonna fuck things up. IS it flash? I don’t know. I just call everything that has that look, flash.

Bullying (30): How to stop parent bullying at ronitbaras.com. The “I need to think about it” technique? Kelly-Goddamned-Hogaboom needs to practice this one.

When Homeschooling is Blamed for Child Abuse by Laurie A. Couture. Sometimes I’ve wanted to write out what’s behind the many distinct eyerolls I experience when I hear child abuse blamed on homeschooling – because it’s just laughable. Ms. Couture’s article stands on it’s own merit, however. And the last bit:

“The vast majority of parents who allow their children to learn at home are passionate about their children, love them deeply and put them, their needs and their interests first. Child abuse is a tragedy that will continue as long as this culture supports power-over, punitive, subordinating ways of treating children. Unschooling and relaxed homeschooling are part of the solution!”

Yeah, that gives me the chills.

The Link between Substance Abuse and Eating Disorders by Kendra Sebelius (also known as @VoiceinRecovery on Twitter). Absolutely bleeding edge on progressive treatment for comorbidities more common than many people realize.

Yes, I put my name on the bone marrow donor registry but I kinda want to pee in fear thinking how awful it would be to donate. I’ve given plasma before so know the whole, suck the blood out and put it back in routine (COLD blood going back into one’s body, ugh!), but the needle in the pelvis bit sounds like the real picnic. ANYWAY, truly, if I can help in this way I hope to!

Make (or at least, read about the deliciousness): red currant jam from David Lebovitz’s blog. I am new to having him in my feed reader and I’m liking what I read. His points on complaining about red currant prices are pretty rad.

This week: I watched Norwegian indie film Troubled Water, and started Canadian television series “Due South” (spoilers in both links, obv). The former is elegantly-rendered grief porn, & I say give it a miss (despite a few merits). The latter is a lot of fun, altho’ it’s so unselfconsciously mid-nineties it actually might bog me down and I might not finish. But I can’t get enough Paul Gross, he’s like Cheez-It’s to me.

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

Tweet of the Week
Kevin Murphy, participating in a Twitter hashtag game that many others were rather vile with. But in this case – MUCH LULZ

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:

Episode One: We’re on the air!

Hello and welcome to Radio H*, our family’s broadcast! Our first show covers a lot of ground including an introduction to the broadcast, a discussion of education models, parenting methodologies, pop culture and very fresh news, as well as a few social justice topics from around the world. Also, I’ve included a few readings and a first-time interview for both my daughter and myself.

All music is licensed under Creative Commons.

Disclosure: this podcast contains one incident of mild language.

Listen Now
 
[podcast]https://kelly.hogaboom.org/radio/20110410.mp3[/podcast]  
Download as MP3 Subscribe in iTunes get the RSS

Links, more or less in chronological order:

Introduction
My blog: kelly.hogaboom.org
My social justice project, Underbellie
My husband’s work: Grays Harbor College in Aberdeen, Washington

Featured podcast from Idzie Desmarias, “Unschoolers Are Us”. Also, Idzie’s blog: “I’m Unschooled. Yes I Can Write.”

News / Twitterfeed
“Worst Bullying PSA Ever” by Rosalind Wiseman

“Couple plead guilty in fatal Paradise child beating” at ChicoER.com

Child Training resources, at Michael and Debi Pearl’s site

“Anti-Childhood Obesity PSA Shames Fat Children” at Sociological Images

“Australian Ad Compares Junk Food to Heroin Abuse”

The Discourse, Dr. Samantha Thomas, award-winning Health Sociologist in Australia

“Nicole Richie shoots down pregnancy rumors” at NicoleRichie.org

Personal
The Conch Shell Deli, our subscriber-service home-gourmet restaurant

Readings
A passage read from the chapter “A Long-Expected Party” from The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien, purchased from (Jackson St) Books on Seventh.

Unplugged Mom Radio (the cited Wendy Priesnitz quote was from an interview featured April 9th, 2011)

From Wendy Priesnitz’s blog: “Devaluing the Currency of Education” (December 29, 2008)

Dan Savage and fat phobia, a Google search

Ben Hecht, American screenwriter

Music
Intro: “Velvet-Browned Brilliant” from the freely downloadable album Lucky & Wild by Ben Seretan
Break: “Computer… Enhance” by Ralph Hogaboom
Outro: rough cut (not mixed) of “Carve Away”, recorded today by Ralph Hogaboom of Liights. Mighty Kitten Records for more info.

***

Thank you so much to all the artisans, authors, blog writers, and social network contacts and friends who have been such a rich source of growth, challenge, and joy for me. Special thanks to my children and partner, who daily inspire me to live life to the fullest I know how. And finally: Ralph, sa my audio engineer, web master, techie, and coffee-brewer, you’re at least half this effort.

***

* Tentative title

supermoon and sundays

KidArt

“I’m so bored,” I tell Ralph. “It’s so boring in this town. I can’t stand it. Anymore.”

My husband waggles his eyebrows: “There’s lovemaking.”*

“Yeah. Right. I can do that when I get home. After doing the other cool stuff.”

Here’s the thing, we’re at a school carnival on a Friday night. It’s 7:30 and the thing is packing up and people are yawning and stuff. Yes, 7:30 PM, not AM. Friday night. This is what I’m talking about. Is it any wonder I feel an intense resentment toward shops that leave their OPEN signs lit past hours? Every time, every damn time, I drive by and my heart leaps, maybe everyone isn’t asleep already and I’m the only one awake, maybe someone wants to party**. I mean I’ve felt that hopeful flutter when I see the erroneous neon even in a paint store, only to have it ritualistically smashed flat in the land of dashed hopes and dreams that is Aberdeen and surrounding area, WA.

Here at early-thirty the gala is fun enough for our kids: a series of impressively inane games designed to A. file parents past the book fair wares about fourteen times and B. encourage the kids to fill in letter-clues to a corporately-sponsored word-puzzle instructing them THEY SHOULD READ MORE. (For realz! The games are managed by high school students serving out community service time; in one room such a lass dumps a pile of things on the floor and the “game” is, return the things one at a time to a garbage bin. Don’t worry, all contestants “win”. “Win” a letter-stamp on the dictatorial reading word-puzzle.) Lest you think I’m being snotty let me point out our kids are having a lovely time and I’m enjoying talking with my husband (and yes, we bought a couple books to support the kids and teachers).

I’m also putting to the test my resolve since moving here in 2007: say “hi” to every person I recognize from my schooling years (there are a surprising lot of them), even if I don’t remember their names (there are a surprising lot of those, too – more about how my brain don’t work too good in a minute). In fact I chat up a perfectly cute dad (first-name A.) and talk to his young son then a heart-skipping beat later realize wait, did I have a one-night-stand with same here in west side in ’95? No, just another feller named A. who pretty much looked exactly like him. Harborite boys (now men): close-cropped hair, henleys and/or flannels, fairly-grabbable asses in Carhartt’s, cleanshaven (my husband on the other hand breaks all these conventions, especially in that his corduroy-clad ass is not merely grabbable but excellent).

I’m also in a bit of a panic because I just committed to having Ralph pack up every bit of my sewing accoutrement and put it into storage. I figure, given our “restaurant” enterprise, I’m not going to be sewing much in the near-near future. Secondly and more relevantly, we’ve decided to make good on my longstanding and relatively intense desire to have a proper studio, a place with enough room I can start projects; maybe even a facility where I can set up a few machines for people to make use on. This is sort of my current version of wildest-dreams (yeah that’s right, aim high sister!) and I’m not sure we’re going to be able to make it happen (in which case we will be moving my gear back home). It’s a scenario that has me a bit on edge; as does the lurching in my gut now as Nels races down the school hallway after his sister and I observe he’s due for a few new pairs of homesewn trousers and I realize my gear is (for now) unattainable! Horrors.

On our way out of the carnival the kids pick up second-corporation-sponsor coupons and we head out into the night. It’s beautiful out: wet but warm, spring thawing the darkness. We’re on foot and as we walk Phoenix falls silent; cracks into her latest Diary of a Wimpy Kid book to read in the gloaming. I put my hand in Ralph’s and we make our way through the near-full-moonlight to home and a late dinner cooked from scratch.

***

Casa Mia

With the kids, preparing and eating food and we’re trying to come up with a menu item, and I ask, What’s a kind of food that begins with ‘v’?  And I struggle a bit and a beat later just as I semi-trumphantly stammer out “vegetable” Nels smiles and says, “victuals”. Then it’s a word for “tasty” that begins with an “S”. Again, I got nothing. “Scrumptious”, says my daughter calmly.

Yeah, I know. Kelly Hogaboom = “Jeremy’s…  iron”. To be fair, I’ve been severely limiting my brain with the use of alcohol as a coping mechanism for the work and stress I’ve experienced in raising and caring for children. So yeah, they might look come off rather well on paper, but let’s remember who got them there and at what price.

* using sexiful voice

** “party”, meaning drink coffee and talk directly out one’s ass while sitting on a couch somewhere

Herpetology

It’s finally Friday, I’m free again

The More You Know
Homographs, homophones, heteronyms, polysemes, and capitonyms – do you know the difference?

Debbie Drake’s Easy Way to a Perfect Figure and Glowing Health (Drake, 1961). You know. Before I do my scissor kicks, I fix the hell out of my hair and makeup, then put on my perkiest bullet bra.

“OTL: Dark History” at ESPN.go. A very brief glimpse into the Santa Anita racetrack and our human capacity for cruelty.

A Clinical, Searing Memoir Of Abuse in Tiger, Tiger at NPR. Library hold, placed.

“Male-Centric Plots and the Oscars” at SocImages (and then, “There Are More Sites Of Oppression Than Gender”, Womanist Musing’s response)

Amelia Earhart’s plane found? (Answer: no)

I got into Noisettes this week. It’s only a matter of time before Ralph does. Oh, and I totally know which album he’ll like.

“Talking to Your Daughter About Beauty” at The Good Men Project. Not so much a fathering article as one anyone identifying as male should consider. This is a good 101 article; sadly, there is a dearth of them, and more in-depth stuff is nary to be found. I’d love to hear a male author weigh in on this topic; men are usually so silent at speaking out against beauty performance, instead of being powerful allies.

At NPN, photos of natural birth. How fucking awesome is this? Including the following sentence: “Acknowledging that many parents cannot or choose not to have this kind of birth, next week’s photos will show other birthing experiences.”. NPN, that is rock-tastic.

Society
“Dear Brian McFadden: I was damaged after being taken advantage of”. Brian McFadden’s song “Just as you are (Drunk at the Bar”) – and every pro-date rape song out there – suuuucks. This piece illustrates why, rather well. Particularly good is Nina Funnell’s answer to “Anonymous”. Kind of stunningly good.

“Ensuring the Male Gaze” at PostBourgie. Someone wrote something pretty damn smart on the potrayal of “reverse sexism”.

“Suicide” by Jeff Sabo. This piece and the commentariat is so far an incredibly illustrative discussion of youth depression and suicide (given it is written by a non-youth). The “It Gets Better” campaign irritates me for a few reasons, one of which the tone often seems to be: don’t kill yourself, your life hasn’t even started, just wait to grow up, we won’t help you NOW.

Parenting
“Taming the Tiger Mother” by Naomi Aldort at Life Learning Magazine. Nuanced article about the balance of control vs. neglect.

“So You Want to Unschool Your Child or Teen? Yes, you CAN do it!” by Laurie Couture. What can I say, today’s all about some 101!

Make/Craft
Salted Caramels & Homemade Cadbury Eggs, both from Instructables. My friend Sophiea and I made these caramels Monday and they were delicious!

“Building Cookies is Not SEW Easy!” at Sweet Sugar Belle

“Celebrate Women’s History Month by Picking Up a Needle and Thread” at CRAFT

The Incredible Edible Abacus at The Hokey Pokey Kitchen

“Home”, a French knot masterpiece.

Hilarity
Cat vs. Internet, a comic

“Open-Minded Man Grimly Realizes How Much Life He’s Wasted Listening To Bullshit” at The Onion

Herpetology, close to our hearts:
Herpetology

fridays are not pants optional

Health

I live in Washington state and it’s totally not like this! There are high fevers all the time! & hardly anyone ever does handclaps in music!!!

“Access to Affordable and Nutritious Food: Measuring and Understanding Food Deserts and Their Consequences”; a report from the USDA (pdf). According to this report my family qualifies as a “food desert” family, one we join an estimated two percent of all American families in. Ralph and I have made the deliberate choices to have a fulltime at-home parent (which means reduced income); we also spend about two and a half times the American average income percentage on (what we believe to be) nutritious, from-scratch food. This report (amongst other observations) confirms my experience this can be difficult work! (Bonus points for anyone who reads the entire report!)

“Diet for a baby” by Hathor the Cowgoddess. Yes. Baby diets are real and receiving notice and promotion. And yes. I am terrified.

And on that note – “Sunday Surf” at Authentic Parenting. Some great breastfeeding links; mamapoekie also answers some of my concerns regarding the subject.

Social
“‘No Touching’ at High School? A Student Protests!” at FreeRangeKids. This is a truly sad and nauseating measure; I am inspired (but not surprised) students have launched a petition against it.

“Hugs, Twisty: Pornsick dudes give blamer the screamin’ mimis”; A reader confesses confusion and sadness at anti-women pervasiveness in the media; commenters respond with support.

“Rejecting the notion of ‘Black People Twitter'” at What Tami Said. Whites may be unfamiliar with endemic pressure to be “a credit to their race” (a phrase that will likely always remind me of Hattie McDaniel)… and what does that say?

The other day while being served Chinese-American food by a Korean-American proprietress I remembered these two oldie but goodie entries on stuffwhitepeopledo: “Seek Authenticity” and “Carelessly Exoticize and ‘Other’ Food”. The phrase “authentic” when referring to food makes me laugh pretty hard. If you find yourself looking for “authentic” food or tourist locales, you may want to check yourself for Special Snowflake Syndrome. The story of in the second link of the The Urban Vegan’s recipe for or “Blue Mosque Ayran” reminded me of a recipe site I found when searching for an Eithiopian recipe – apparently if you eat anywhere in Eithiopia you are guaranteed to be served by Iman (yes, I know she is Somali-American).

Parenting
“The Words We Use: Living As If School Doesn’t Exist” by Wendy Priesnitz
“The generic term is “homeschooling.” For the first decade or so of the modern homeschooling movement, that word worked fine, since the few thousand of us living that way shared a general understanding that we were experimenting with something that was as far away from the school model as possible. However, as the movement has grown, the number of approaches used by families has grown too. And now, the word “homeschooling” has come to be identified with the parent-driven, school-at-home end of the spectrum. It no longer accurately describes a curiosity-based, learner-driven, self-managing style of education, which uses life and the world as its resources, and that doesn’t look at all like school. […]

“We are now seeing the next step toward a world without school. Web-based information and the devices to access it have become widely available, allowing learners to bypass schools altogether, even if they don’t consider themselves to be “unschoolers” or “homeschoolers” or have never even heard the terms before. Nevertheless, the concepts of learning and schooling are still synonymous for most people. Most have yet to leave behind the belief that one “gets” (or is given) an education through attendance at school, and that “unschooled” therefore means “uneducated.”

Of every post I submit today, this is the one I most strongly identify with – enough to cite a heavy dose of it – and I endorse every letter on the page.

“Minimalist Parenting” at Authentic Parenting. This post is very sweet but it made me think of the many “minimalist-porn” media images saturating the mainstream. I personally believe these “minimalist” lifestyles we read about in blogs and see in magazines are ones bolstered by a lot of privilege. Nothing wrong with that; I wish more eco-, ethical-, and enviro-minded bloggers and authors would own up to this privilege.

“Motherhood: Electric Boogaloo***” from Navalgazing Bajan
This is a great review, a thought-provoking read, and a wonderful guest-blogging opportunity!

“So you wanna ride in Oregon with your children??? Well…you may want to think twice…” at bikecommuters.com
My observances on “heavily debated topic[s]” that involve kids and carers is the debate is predicated on the shoulders of the following: 1. children don’t deserve the same rights as grownups, full stop; 2. a sarcastic and vitriolic response when people object to measures that make life harder for parents/carers – because “you should have thought of this before you had kids”, and 3. a total and endemic avoidance of the inherent operational and oppressive sexism that results anytime you restrict the movements of kids. Being this is a bike issue in America, this particular piece of legislation also holds that cars are mysterious elven wraiths that have nothing to do with the injuries to and death of cyclists (hey, car worshippers and rape apologists could probably appreciate one another!).

“Two Conversations” by Jeff Sabo (now blogging at Daddy 365)

Pop Culture
“Donkey Kong High-Score Belongs To Hank Chien Again!” at The Retroist

Art
“Beefranck’s Emporium – The Be Nice Project”

I think it’s obvious this Ghostbuster Wedding Cake is ART and food – simultaneously.

Make/Craft
“French Fridays, Uhm, Sunday, with Dorie: Gnocchi a la Parisienne” shared by reader and friend Jeanne
I put the source book on my library holds. I can’t wait to make these although the one time I tried Béchamel sauce my results sucked.

“How to supreme an orange” at freshcatering. If you’re buying oranges here in the PNW, navels and bloods are the way to go.

Plush Mollusk Anatomy at WunderKammer

“DIY Sriracha”: Why would you need to? I dunno, maybe to see if there are additional layers of DELICIOUSNESS to plumb!

Tweet of the Week
Linked to this. Cool beans.

Quotable
“Hatred will not cease by hatred, but by love alone. This is the ancient law.” – Buddha (posted by mamapoekie)

Random Awesomeness
“This is groovy”, from The Stranger and as shared by reader and friend Jeanne

Even my curmudgeony ass-heart got pretty soft for this. A very cool viewing of a very personal yet public event.

needing decompression

Ralph, Phoenix and I have just returned from attending “Erase the Hate”, a community discussion project curated by the Matthew Shepard Foundation. The event was less of a discussion than I’d thought it would be, but was nevertheless a great presentation and talk delivered by Thomas B. Howard, Jr., Ed.M.

During the introductory video I cried silently and rather fluidly.

Howard’s subsequent speech and presentation kept me on the edge of my seat (not so much for Phoenix, who after two hours flagged a bit). I was also very pleasantly surprised to see how intersectionalist the Foundation’s work is – the stated missions as expressed on their site’s FAQ are rock solid and were borne out tonight.

Dr. Howard made it clear his personal eschewal for the “kids will be kids” excuse in response to bullying activity and resultant harm and suicide in our nation’s youth population; he emphatically stated, “Kids will be the kids we teach them to be.” Yes, yes, a hundred times yes. I found myself fervently wishing for more strong, compassionate and proactive leaders of Howard’s ilk in the lives of our young people.

He also expressed his opinion the “athletic white male” and white males in general have incredible privilege they can leverage to make things better for marginalized and abused populations. Yes, again. Another strong point in a very strong presentation.

But there was deep sadness for me in this event, too.

I knew schools were oppressive for marginalized groups but I didn’t realize how much. Near tonight’s conclusion one young white man stood up and after thanking Howard profusely announced his intention to start a GSA at his own high school – Hoquiam. He also said he was the only out gay male in the school. This bothered me quite a bit. I went to this same school and graduated sixteen years ago; at that time we had one “out” male student (who was mistreated horribly). Sixteen years and youth still aren’t safe?

A handful of other young people stood up and told part of their stories. It was clear that although the college campus is generally experienced as a bit more inclusive, the problems in our public schools are quite severe. In support of my impressions Howard said today’s conversation at Hoquiam High School had been a good one but Aberdeen was “the worst school he’d been to.” He said he was not so upset at the disrespect of the students but because the adults in power did nothing to stop it. This is very grievous indeed, but is substantiated by other experiences I’ve read about regarding this school (see: “ALCU Files Lawsuit on Behalf of Harassed Student” ; you can read the school district’s response here, where sadly and predictably they deny they did anything wrong or have any responsibility for Russell’s experience.)

It seemed like everyone left smiling and relaxed – in one attendant’s view, “empowered”. I felt quite disturbed and sad. First, I would expect most attendants tonight to be those who already supported many aims of the Foundation – and it was hardly a full house. If this small populace does not take their inspiration tonight and continue to meet the rest of the world with strength and compassion and an improved listening ability, I worry change will continue at a glacial pace. Secondly, I feel anger and sadness about the larger community that does not task themselves to do better. And I was and am rattled to hear the testimonies from within school.

I did take some comfort: it appeared many of the young students there (Phoenix was the youngest but there were students from age thirteen and up) took a lot of strength from what they saw. This is a good thing, probably even an essential one. At the end of all this, for me, I simply have to believe people who said they found the work helpful. I can’t let myself get cynical or apathetic.

And on that note, today I stumbled across “Born This Way” and read through a few entries. Not quite enough, not yet, to feel better. But a good start.

***

In additional news: today the Hogaboom kids announced their intentions to convert to vegetarianism (they haven’t quite grasped how near-impossible this is to do if eating out, ever, in Hoquiam and Aberdeen). I am not super-surprised as we’ve been watching the typical glut of nature films lately and both kids have been expressing a high degree of compassion and empathy for animal life; for quite some time they’ve also been aware of big agriculture processes (as opposed to our happier chickens, for instance). I am a good enough cook with regards to vegetarian fare but – three meals a day for four people! Yikes! Recipe sources that don’t suck and aren’t boring are highly appreciated!

Unschool Improv: Not-so-great Expectations

friday untidy

Must-Reads of the Week
“Regrets of the Dying”, as written by a hospice nurse. Being with someone who’s dying was a deep privilege for me, and this article – though more about life than death – reminded me of this experience. Read and learn.

Grown Unschooler Cheyenne La Vallee: “Everyone has it in themselves to be passionate and motivated.” at Idzie’s blog. Out of all the stuff I’ve read and seen on the internet this week, this was the most stunning on a personal level. Reading an interview like Cheyenne’s gives me hope for our world.

Culture
“Play Nice” by Simon Rich from The New Yorker
I don’t know what’s more disturbing to me – the fact grownups think chldren are less-than-people so don’t feel, think, or notice the same stuff grownups do; or the fact some grownups recognize the personhood of children on some level but think it is their RIGHT to tromp all over them anyway.

Pop Culture
I got a monster dedicated to me on Monday, at Twisted Vintage. Which led me to searching up a color version and finding a thread full of awesome B-movie monsters, which are one of my favorite things, ever.

Some great points collated at Soc Images: “Gender, Boobs, and Video Game Characters”. It’s pretty funny how readers (well… maybe that’s the wrong noun, as some of them clearly did not read the article) instantly jump in and say, “But-but-but male figures are idealized too! It totally goes both ways!” First of all, hint, no it doesn’t, but nice try. Secondly, the post is meticulously linked to many arguments which delineate physical idealization (which absolutely applies to both genders) vs. sexual availability via tortured postures and under a consumptive gaze. Or to put it articulately: dur! The cited redrawn examples of the poses of male vs. female characters is particularly awesome and leaves me shaking my head but really reading the text and looking at the images and boggling at how so NOT “both ways” it goes. The original work (Wizard’s How to Draw: Heroic Anatomy) is a depressing one to fathom but I fear very representative of comic culture. “It’s the subtleties of this piece that make it sexy.” LULZLULZ

Here’s some adorableness from TheRealNimoy’s twitpic feed (which is great if you at all are a fan of “Star Trek” or Nimoy). The original ST was one of only two television shows I remember in the very brief time in my childhood that I was exposed to television in my home (or, bus, as it were). So these two were like half-assed second fathers, talking to me from a 12″ old-school box balanced on a narrow counter by the fold-up couches.

Professer goes on a rant (this is sort of an unpleasant watch, warning):

People like to toss out the phrase, “acting like a baby” or compare grownups who react in anger, in a social setting, to tantrum-throwing toddlers. However, of course, toddler emotional displays are developmentally appropriate and it is not children who have such thoroughly entrenched and fragile ego structures as so elegantly demonstrated here (note how the professor repeatedly demands the other students rat out the yawner – tattling FTW!). Incidentally I went to college and got a degree through a competitive and difficult program. It was grueling. I feel sorry for these students as to get the piece of paper they need (or believe they need) they have to put up with this guy. And lots of guys like him. And lots other bullshit. And no sleep. And etc.

Make/Craft
Self-Portrait Ski Mask at CRAFT
I’ll probably never be able to see a balaclava without a little titter about the balaclava perv who found me on my Flickrstream. This balaclava however is head and shoulders (uh…) above any I’ve seen before. Very fun, if a bit creepy!

Mexican Chicken Soup by Ina Garten; I believe I posted a picture of this earlier in the week. It is truly and amazingly delicious and perfect for the fuck-fuck-fuck-COLD some of us are experiencing!

Homemade Marshmallows, a recipe from my blog, which may or may not be Martha’s (I truly do not know). Any locals want in on these (or non-locals), shoot me an email at kelly AT hogaboom DOT org. I’m making them up on the 10th.

Random Excellence
From reader R. (you may see him as Kidsync), one of his occasional-but-always-golden comics:

Unschool Improv: Not-so-great Expectations

And from the BBC “My Blackberry is not working!”: