slightly awry

I’m driving my mother to a medical procedure this morning. It’s suddenly become cold – so icy out that I am delayed. The car heater does not work, so defrosting the windshield takes overlong. I end up driving with my windows down so I can see and within moments I am deeply, stunningly cold.

There is nothing like the discomfort of extreme elements to sharply bring one to the moment.

My mother is anxious. The preparation for her procedure has been unpleasant; she is hungry, and did not sleep last night. Her face is pinched and anxious; she is small and angry like a dried apple doll. She doesn’t know where to check in, so we ride elevators up and down. I try to stay off my phone as much as possible. Radiate calm. Despite the hundred and four things not quite going my way – I think my brake linings are going out! – I know it’s not the time to talk about any of that.

Leaving my mother in the hands of physicians for an hour, I am home to rustle up my children and take the eldest to class. Both children are unhappy: my daughter dreads an assignment today – my son wants to sleep. Then there’s work: my job is my job: low pay, twice as much work as I’d have time to do, but constantly being asked to cut my hours.

My daughter has a bowl of cereal and bundles up; she is tough. Her face, maturing into womanhood, still has some of that babyish look – the full cheeks, the slanted eyes. Her short haircut emphasizes today’s resemblance to her toddlerhood, and I feel a pang of loss.

My son, I placate with a hot Egg McMuffin.

And it’s wonderful to be doing for the family, to be with just the kids. I had so many years with them, that it feels like the normal thing.

Later: I pull on a new hat I’ve sewn, a slouchy beany. Then a hoodie. Down to the basement studio to work on a Christmas present. The kids clean the kitchen and start the dishwasher: a comforting sound.

The temperature hovers around freezing; melting, then re-solidifying the ice. No one has a fall. Darkness descends and I put my sewing away; upstairs and a fire in the fireplace.

Another day. <3 <3 <3 

cinemagraph

friday links: “But I’m a test pilot and you’re just a lady!”

Despite being ill and all, I had to get you some Friday links. Here’s hoping you kick back and waste some time!

Are You There, God? It’s Me: Period Stories by Tami at Clutch Magazine. (slight spoilers for the TV show “Mad Men”).

An illustration and discussion of “The Real Drinking World” at HuffPo. As a high-bottom functional, or “almost-alcoholic” (I just prefer the term – alcoholic), I think this is excellent, excellent reading. I’m grateful I had a doctor point out my [“almost-“] alcoholism, but I also support the dignity of those who’ve reached full-on alcoholic dependence in the ways, you know, the movies like to portray. Just heard a story the other day about a man who ended up in his bathroom on the toilet with constant diarrhea, and who made up a bed in his bathtub and stayed in there and drank. You don’t have to end up there to get help, and I’m glad articles like this are popping up here and there.

Sexist media: in media reports on women’s issues like abortion & birth control, men are quoted 5 times more than women.

“Behind the scenes at James Bond auditions”, a photo slide retrospective. I was raised on Bond films and despite all the things you could rightfully claim (sexist, racist, homophobic, campy, et cetera) I have a special place in my heart for that cheesiness (and yay Pussy Galore!). This little series was fun and cute, and gave me a newfound appreciation for Lazenby, whom I’d previously pish-poshed.

Cinemagraphs! A cute concept. We’ll be seeing them everywhere soon. Unless you already are, because I’m usually behind the times. Here’s a question. What movie, and what actor, and why do I like him?

cinemagraph

A little bit of animated fun: if you thought movie trailers cheapened Carmina Burana O Fortuna, check this out.

A million shades of grey; or, “Would you rather be right, or would you rather be happy?”, or – and this is my favorite – “Ken Wilber said, ‘Sometimes you need to allow things to hurt you more, but bother you less.'”. by Ingrid Mathieu.

Open Thread: Erykah Badu & The Flaming Lips Team Up for a NSFW Vid – Are You Feeling It? at Clutch Magazine.
I have my thoughts about this video. I’ll share them. I think this is a beautiful song. Audio-wise, I like the cover. I like the video, too. I think it’s pretty neat. However I’m a li’l tired of the same naked bodies being used in the same ways. Call me when we see a nude dude – not being portrayed as silly – and yeah, full cock-n-balls, for one. Update: apparently the whole thing is a big mess between the artists. I have some thoughts on that too, but I’m sick, so I’m done.

and not pieces of gold and silver

So, health problems. I am so fortunate to have friends and family who care and who ask and who offer to help me. I am determined to learn how to graciously accept these offers, when appropriate. That is one thing I may stand to learn from this process, as well as a few other potential lessons.

I am frightened at the possible prognosis for my health difficulties. The couple people who knew a few details after the ER visit tell other people some stuff, to my somewhat-dismay, but I’ve only divulged to my brother every bit I know so far, including the details from yesterday’s appointment with the specialist/surgeon. For the time being I’m not super-interested in sharing. You know there was a time not too recent I’d feel I owed it to anyone who asked, to tell them everything. Not so, any more.

BY THE WAY, the visit with the specialist/surgeon was a discrete joy in what has been a slightly out-of-body experience. He was like someone drew a really Handsome & Distinguished Doctor, then made a cartoon about him, then adapted a live-action movie of the cartoon. We had a consultation in his largeish office which included “many leather-bound books”, and etched-glass awards for being amazing in his field, and he was at a big desk listening to some smooth-ish jazz and typing away on the laptop and airily but I assure you professionally dismissing some of the questions I asked, the ones where my nails were digging into the chair arms.  He had a direct gaze, firm handshake, knew his arena of expertise (far as I could tell), and carried an impeccably-polished mien. Later in an exam room he joshed with his assistant while trying to casually put hands all up in my business, unfortunately I couldn’t hear their conversation because everything turns to white noise when I’m subjected to this kind of thing, necessary though it may occasionally be.

I step out into the fall weather with the kids, or today on my way downtown on my own. I’m grateful for the solace of meditation and walking, two activities that are very helpful to me, especially now. I’m grateful too for my family who is very strong and very loving. For the friends I saw today and the friend who’s coming to dinner tomorrow and for the sister who visits. For the chocolate ganache I made up in the kitchen and the “extra” children we had in our home. For the warmth of new boots and a car to drive and the way my body, most of my body anyway, feels alive. I am grateful for time in the pool today with friend and my own children, enjoying an afternoon swim and the feel of the water hugging my body and the experience of hot and cold and shower tile and back into jeans and my favorite hoodie. I am grateful for juice my husband buys just for me, and for my son’s loving and open nature as he asks if he can take a flower from the bouquet he bought me, and bring one to a neighbor girl, and then later tonight when he brings me a bowl of fruit, and then a glass of water.

I am grateful for knowledge to be patient with myself as I learn how to live. What a gift life is to me, not to be spent but to breathe in, “As it is,” and breathe out: “As it is”.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*ahem*

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

different outlooks different hopes

friday, friday, so good to me

Taking a break from my latest Netflix obsession (don’t worry, my obsessive-television watching is usually in short-lived bouts) I bring you: FRIDAY LINKAGE.

Film
Bollywood for Beginners Index at Filmi Girl

“Worst Movie of the ’00s?” at PostBourgie. Great piece and excellent comments.

There are no words for the excellence:

(thanks, Steev!)

Society
“Smiling Indians and Edward S. Curtis” by @NativeApprops. Definately check out the galleries, & the video.

“Guest Post: Reactions to the Case of Lara Logan” by Matt Cornell; also, Bill Maher makes LOUD NOISES about how U.S. is just SO MUCH BETTER TO WOMEN THAN MUSLIMS: “Bill Maher Pronounces Sexism in The Middle East, Worse Than In America” from womanist-musings. Finally, a succinct summation of some of those others who stand to lose with these narratives: Laura with “On Feminism, Religion, Superiority, Kyriarchy and Women’s Rights”.

“CNN buys into homeschooling stereotypes in child abduction case, blames victims”. Just add another nugget to the pile of deplorable turdburger that “Nancy Grace” (the show, not the person).

“Covering Up is a Feminist Issue” via PhD in Parenting, fertilefeminism; great video and a good 101!

“Class warfare” at globalsociology

“Just a Parent” by Ouyang Dan on Random Babble

Health
Planned Parenthood at PostBourgie

“Dear Michele Bachmann, et. al: Please Shut Up and Sit Down” at parenting.com

Gym Class by Michelle Allison. If there was a BINGO card about lots of awesome shit Kelly cares about (abolishing adultist thoughts, freeing children from forced institutionalism and segregation, HAES/FA etc.) I’d be shouting “LOTERIA!”

Parenting
“The best parenting book you will ever read.” – some thoughts on a fictional hero of mine – and many others’ (note: spoilers, link concerns the book To Kill A Mockingbird).

“Five Questions for Laurie A. Couture by E. Christopher Clark of Geek Force Five”. Ms. Couture is becoming one of the items in my feed reader I look forward to most. Her thoughts on the third question – C. – I’ve found most relevant as she’s discussing teens, and I’ve had the opportunity to spend more time around teens lately and I’m loving it!

Make/Craft
Awesome Godzilla Quilt, courtesy of the East Bay Heritage Quilters

“Coke Bottle Watering “Globes” at RadMegan

Hand-painted  B-movie purses? I had to write this lady a stalky email because. Come on. How awesome!

How to cook perfect rice – in a frying pan at Just Bento

Quotable
‎”Free children are not easily influenced; the absence of fear accounts for this phenomenon. Indeed, the absence of fear is the finest thing that can happen to a child.” ~ A. S. Neil

Random Awesomeness
Promtacular – ZOMG, who’s ready to dig up prom pictures? 100 to YES.

“Mad, Mod & Macabre – The Ronald Stein Collection” – I. Want. This.

different outlooks different hopes