relax, don’t do it – it’s friday!

Friday links, and I’m giving you a small portion of nice, soft, digestible pudding-like fare. This week’s prescription: take ‘er easy.

First, from the annals (eh) of unintentional comedy and American overconsumption:

Or, as Lizz Winstead says, “YOU: I like to poop, but would enjoy it more if it was more complicated. ME: No problem.”

Then: Wave At The Bus – 170 days of dadly awesomeness. Truly.

Fascinating: A Worldwide Day’s Worth of Food: “In their new book, What I Eat, photographer Peter Menzel and writer Faith D’Aluisio present thought-provoking portraits of individuals around the globe and the food that fuels them over the course of a single day.” P.S. “calories for this day” – SUCH a victory over typical conversations!

Children have not always dressed, or been dressed, differently than adults. Here’s just one example. Quite relevant to a submission we have for our upcoming Fiber & Textile show.

h/t Flo for posting this on FB:

You know the only thing funnier than this seven-odd minutes is the fact that as I watched I realized: I don’t think I’ve ever used, nor heard someone use, that phrase IRL. But then –

You probably just don’t get it. Do you.*

(What movies did we see here? Check out the curator’s blog post.)

And finally: thanks, Jasmine. This is kick-ass:

* I should note: besides being a great montage, at about 0:56 we’re seeing KARATE KID III which was riffed most excellently by Mike, Bill, & Kevin.

Am I hard enough? Am I rough enough? Am I rich enough?

Today it was suddenly quite hot and I was so grateful to my friend K.; she just sent me a box of clothes she’d sized out of including a simple, light, short-sleeved black cotton dress. I would have wilted without it, truly; I was hardly ready for the heat wave and the footwork I had to make – the dress was so much nicer than jeans. The garment also showcased more cleavage than I’ve ever bared publicly; I got a lot of thank yous for this. I sunscreened properly, no worries.

Earlier in the day I sold some things for taco money (I’m serious), bought my husband lunch and horchata. We wrangled a bit of additional cash to keep us in groceries.* And I brought my working friend an ice-cold Mexican sugar Coke, and I grabbed up some free and luscious yarn for another friend (through Freecycle).

Later in the day: now, I admit I’ll be a bit blue until I have my own working car, but driving back from Aberdeen in my mom’s truck with the windows down, benefitting from sunglasses (my husbands’ that he’d generously loaned me) and big swinging earrings and listening to the Rolling Stones (a guilty pleasure because I find many of their lyrics objectionable) and there was finally a breeze, and I felt pretty good just then, going home to family. Then sitting with friends while they had burger and fries and ice cream and my children ran around on the waterfront, then I followed Ralph and the kids home. I was driving the truck, they were on Ralph’s bike. I got to see how joyful and mobile they are on the bike (I usually can’t see because they’re behind me, natch). And that was just something else.

It was the first day of Summer, far as I’m concerned.

The kids were outside most the day, including a lot of time in the big plastic pool we bought last summer – I’m so glad we stored it and kept it mold-free. I’m not kidding, those kidlets were marathoning it out there. Ralph made homemade pizza and roasted broccoli and cauliflower while they played; they barely ate before zooming out again. By the end of a very rowdy and many-child jamboree, one neighbor kid called another a “fatty” so I gotta talk to them about that tomorrow (we had a great discussion with our kids about this).

Currently, I’m putting my feet up and my face in a book – and Ralph’s pulling homemade bread out of the oven and soaking black beans for tomorrow.

Life is good.

*

Take me out, baby / I want to go sail tonight :: Friday links!

Thursday I had one of the most energetic and lovely days, but now it’s 2 AM on Friday morning and I’d better get my links up!

1. Spousal unit Ralph updated his design website, favoring pink. I think it looks great!

2. From ricedaddies: “Who Loves More: Parents or Children?” This piece includes an analysis of a childhood book – a pretty funny analysis I think- and then delves into even more thoughtful territory.

3. Mexican Pointy Boots. This was seriously nine minutes of my life well-spent:

 

4. Katie Makkai – “Pretty”:

(Also, do read Tami Harris’ thoughts and the comments, at “Not a pretty girl.”)

5. From friend and reader Kat: “What Happened When I Chased Down the A**hole Who Slapped My Butt on the Street” at alternet. Good for her.

6. “A Black Woman’s Plea for ‘Justified’ – The Red State Western You Should be Watching” at Racialicious. This is super-smart commentary on American television and the typical (and atypical) treatment of race relations (specifically black/white race relations).

7. “AED Guidelines for Childhood Obestity Prevention Programs” from the Academy of Eating Disorders. This? is stunning. D’you think our First Lady will take note? I sure hope parents, teachers, and other adults do.

8. So, I’m not going to link to the deplorable article by LZ Granderson entitled, “Parents, don’t dress your girls like tramps”. I don’t want to contribute to even one blog hit, although by all means go read if you can stomach it. Ostensibly about the sexual exploitation and objectification of young girls and young women, it was also a hot mess of oppositional sexism, patriarchal attitudes, adultism, slut-shaming, sexism, victim-blaming, and misogyny (so: nothing we haven’t heard before). Yes, this was aired on CNN. A few good things came out of the piece: namely, on-point rebuttals. Here are four:

From PostBourgie: “Sexism, What About the Children?! Edition”. At Shakesville: “This is so the worst thing you’re going to read all day.” From Pigtail Pals: “Did You Just Call My Daughter A Prostitute?” And from Amy Bradstreet, a friend and reader and supporter and awesome-lady: “Shame And Blame Where It Belongs Regarding The Objectification Of Children”.

As always for complex or socially-heated subjects showcased by rather long pieces, feel free to add your comments to source articles and let me know – I will happily link back through here.

9. A Derrick Jensen quote, which I take as a refutation of “well, that’s human nature” / “it’s natural for people to act that way” of those I consider pro-status quo apologists, as posted by Idzie.

10. “Being acceptable in the eyes of society”: people would do well to read what it’s like to be a mother and/or mother-identified.

11. Make: sent to me by my brother’s lady J.: Herb Stenciled Easter Eggs. Beautiful!

11. “green snake”, a photo anthology (a tiny bit NSFW). I keep wanting to try absinthe, but I’ve thus far been too lazy to try to get ahold of some.

12. And finally: the best ballon dance I’ve seen, and that’s saying something:

"Clothes are never a frivolity: they always mean something."

Last night I told my husband I was so hurt about something I simply didn’t want to discuss it anymore. Somehow our roles had become reversed: he wanted to talk, talk, talk it out, and I didn’t. This wasn’t because I didn’t have the verbiage to offer. In fact I felt like we’d discussed the subject much over the last year – at least. I was done. I didn’t know what I was going to do, and I didn’t know what he was going to do. But I’d said my piece, I’d heard his, and I simply needed a break.

The issue? Clothing. My clothing. Currently, at this juncture in my life, my largest frustration. For weeks as this chewed on me more and more I’d felt shallow for my little obsession. But a few days ago I came to the realization: food, shelter, clothing. Basic needs. I think even the cavemen with their depleted frontal lobes had that shit down tight.

Now my family, we have food. We have shelter. My husband hustles at his job in large part pursuing these things; food and housing are our largest expenses as a one-income family of four (39.5% of our take-home pay). Our clothing allowance in our spending plan is currently at 0%, modeled to come out of an “everything else” fund (that would include road trips, fundraising efforts for our childrens preschool, technology for the house, late-night runs for cough syrup or flea medicine, gifts for friends and family, you name it).

I am responsible for the acquisition of, laundering, care for, and inventory of my family’s clothing. At any given point I can tell you how many pair of shoes the members of my family have, what I’ve set aside for consignment earnings, what items are going to the Salvation Army for donation. I mend, I grift, I sew (when I’m not cleaning, cooking, or writing). I have begged and borrowed to supply my children with good winter coats and shoes. I spend a significant portion of my daily chores laying out the wool socks by the fire and folding every t-shirt of my husband’s to its proper place and making sure my kids don’t leave their coats out in the wild.

You can predict where this is going, right? Because as it turns out the lack of formal acknowledgment of the fiscal burden of clothing coupled with the de facto assignation to myself of the practical elements has left me: dead last out of four, wearing holey jeans, my husband’s socks, and (this is the worst, the absolute most demeaning) broken, cheap bras that work so ill my breasts actually ache.

This month it started raining in earnest.

And then a few days ago my husband, beneficiary of a small financial windfall, tells me he is going to buy himself a guitar.

Now, I want to be very careful here. My husband has the right to his guitar. First of all, this is his money. Secondly, he is a songwriter, a good one. His artistic endeavors are as important as, well I don’t know as clothing, but they’re damned important. It isn’t that he’s buying a guitar, or the rain is setting in, or that when it comes to clothes (and clothes alone) at this point I carry a huge crazy-person backlog and a skewed perception of poverty. It’s my fault, entirely, for letting the backlog reach this point. But the guitar: that point where the codependent machinations of intimate relationships threaten to overcome my more logical, Buddhist spiritual mindset. I find myself at first reeling in the grips of the former: the fact he could even think to buy a guitar when I don’t own a coat without holes! I am wearing shoes I bought when last pregnant – approximately one hundred thousand million years ago! A mental picture: I’m outside, kicking the hell out of my car’s passenger-side radial, and shouting, “F*cking, stupid, asinine, selfish a*%hole!”

But, I am incorrect. And I don’t allow myself more than a few tortured mental moments imagining my husband as this monster. And I don’t kid myself: the situation is, in large part, my own fault (he is left on his own to figure out his responsibility). And if he’s reading this and decides not to buy the guitar, after what we’ve discussed since on the subject, I will punch him directly in the nuts.

I typically don’t find the need to justify our financial sacrifices for the life we want to live. And I am not a clothing princess (as I type this I’m ill-attired in my husband’s pants, a pair of panties from Ross’ bargain bin, and a free t-shirt). The point is, my values are not being expressed in my clothing. This trap is entirely of my own making. I can speak of the tell-tale numbers of our financial plan all I like, but the truth is up until now I myself have been out of alignment.

What, then, is my proposed plan? After our conversation resumed last night (and this morning), my husband and I have a plan to recommit financial resources to the family’s clothes. I feel defeated by the lag of what I need (raingear, for instance, for bike-riding the kids about in the rainforest in which we live. I still feel stung at my husband’s lack of practical support coupled with what has felt like an expectation of impossible frugality. And most baffling I feel – and this is the laughable part – I will betray my own self and find myself, months or years hence, as starved, frustrated, out of sync.

Ask me in a couple months when I have a modicum of waterproofing, at least one sweater, and a pair of shoes that don’t leak. Perhaps my perspective will have cleared and the real and true will have emerged, leaving the parts of the martyr (a role I do not play well) left behind.

Our clothes are too much a part of us for most of us to ever be entirely indifferent to their condition: it is as though the fabric were indeed a natural extension of the body, or even of the soul. – Quentin Bell