Big cold sunless skies, tumbling down, down

Today I had one of those breakdowns… a good one. Hot tears that just came and flooded, no congestion or anger. Crying and crying but it was okay after the first surrender, I didn’t mind. Crying at first from confusion and despair and then of brokenness and then finally of healing, sitting in a living room and crying with people I knew to trust, who were there for me. Like a home I never had but would have been there for me had I found it earlier.

Yeah, today a few people saved my ass, and in a totally separate incident (or was it?) today I witnessed an act of anonymous generosity that was hard to believe but only to be experienced.

Today I live a different life than I used to. Life before seems a bit alien.

The kids played on a giant wooded hill and ran about with the hose to cool off; later they hit Grandma’s and harvested her carrots (she paid them). I came home late-ish and Ralph made Taiwanese spaghetti – delicious, if you’ve never tried it.

Oh, and as I’m typing and waiting for the kids to be ready for bed? I’m watching a live #twitterbirth. Fuck. Yes.

Life is incredible.

everybody’s working for the weekend

OK seriously, it’s 2 PM here PST and if you’re at a desk, it’s time to glaze your eyes surfing around at my assembled Friday links! The serious, introspective, serio-comic, and frivolous are all provided:

1. “Come On. Admit It!” Dial-a-Llama, or as one comment identifies: llamar una llama.

2. I’d previously seen images circulating of “The Perfect Body, As Illustrated By Olympic Athletes”; what an inspirational and informative photo-essay!

3. As a bisexual lady, I rather enjoyed this video primer: “The Bizarre World of the Bisexual” from MisterSharp.

4. Professor Kate Clancy pokes holes in evo psyche myopia in “Mate magnet madness: When the range of possible explanations exceeds your own hypothesis”; that last sentence in particular is a tangy zing! afterflavor following stellar sciencey radness.

5. This rant regarding Paper, Rock, Scissors reminds me of my brother, who I’ll bet has already thought about the logic (or lack therein) of the game.

6. Speaking of my brother, he sent me this “adorable cat image” (THE EYES).

7. For Cynthia and other fans: the Red Velvet Roundup via CRAFT. I currently have a triple-decker red velvet cooling on my counter. I’m told it’s not real Red Velvet Cake without the milk roux frosting. I’m just putting together cream cheese, butter, confectioner’s sugar, and vanilla though, and I’ll bet any purists wouldn’t mind.

8. I quite enjoyed these: “Surreal Photos of Subway Cars Being Thrown Into the Ocean [Slideshow]”.

9. If you already know what’s fun and exciting about the phrase Orange Mocha Frappucino! – well now you can make them up at home!

10. Ani DiFranco’s homebirth, in her own words. FUCKING CHILLS, because of teh awesomez.

11. “Equals” – making the rounds a lot this week, the IWD PSA featuring Daniel Craig & Dame Judi Dench.

12. The New York Times reports on an alleged gang-rape and rightfully gets taken to task for the horrific way it does so: here is commentary by The Stranger in Seattle; here from PostBourgie. I’m glad people are working and speaking out about this form of reporting; I feel sad and cynical and rather pessimistic that men and women will reframe our victim-blaming societal discourse. I’m also hoping this girl and her family have strong support.

13. Ouyang Dan provides some resources regarding the Japan quake and tsunami.

14. Face/Off in Hecklevision” priemered earlier in the week. Oh dear Lord how I would have loved to go. In a similar vein, Rifftrax is releasing Highlander any minute. w00t!

15. National Geographic created a real-life version of the Up house. Adorable!

16. The Secular Homeschooler is shutting itself down. I s’pose that means I didn’t get my subscription’s worth, but I don’t much mind – except I will miss the awesomeness of the magazine. Deborah did a wonderful job in this publication; she and it will be missed.

But my all-time favorite video, link, etc. this week comes from “That Mitchell and Webb Look” through friend and reader Paige:

Traffic Sign WIZARDRY

sunday-friday

I was all busy birthdaying things up and I didn’t throw out my Fridays. Awkward! Here they are now – and yes, I’ve tried to cut back a little from previous weeks:

Parenting
“Defending the Status Quo” by Jeff Sabo
Heck, I’ve probably posted this before. But I read it again and I can tell you – this post gives me the chills. I would like to have just ONE DAY where my choices and reality were status quo, instead of fringe or viewed as radical. ONE DAY where I wasn’t doing things differently than the mainstream. It would feel kind of incredible for other people to have to defend to me why they do the shit they do. Sure, it ain’t gonna happen. A girl can dream, can’t she?

I don’t know why, but I can’t be as frank as Jeff on some things. Even when I think he’s correct. Particularly:

“Instead of asking me to defend my decision to not spank my children, how about I ask you to defend the reason why you spank. Is spanking really the only way you can come up with to guide your children? Have you looked at other possibilities? Have you really considered what lies behind your need to have your children behave a certain way? Do you support hitting all people who behave contrary to your preference, or just the ones smaller and younger than you who have little or no standing in our justice system? How do you rationalize the difference between productive discipline and child abuse?” [emphasis mine]

And of course authoritative/authoritarian parenting doesn’t begin and end at spanking. But still. Yeah.

Sexuality
“Oprah Learns That People Don’t Grow ‘Gayer'”

Oprah impressed me here. She admitted she was wrong, in what was likely a bit of an embarrassing scenario – especially if one positions oneself as being “gay friendly” and having “good intentions”. I notice it seems that even staff who don’t personally know her well feel comfortable at being frank and openly disagreeing with her. If only all discussions on controversial issues went down like this!

By the way, I see red flags when someone says, “But I preferenced it by saying, ‘I don’t mean to cause offense!'” Reminds me of “with all due respect”:



Health
“The Big Fat Announcement: I’m Live-Blogging My Homebirth!” from The Feminist Breeder
I can’t even get across how much of a good idea this is. We need people to have a concept of birth as it can be with good prenatal care and without medicalization – and without the “ew gross!” shaming typically attendant when discussing a body that is female. I’ll totally be tuning into this!

Film
What have I watched this week? Not much, but (as I mentioned,) I did see Inception. It was fine. I like talking to self-proclaimed fans of this film. Because they cite the work as brilliant, then I ask, “OK, then what did you think ____ meant when ____?” and they usually don’t have a clue. But you know what, it’s OK to just like a film, even if you don’t know what the fuck is going on.

Last night I watched this (when will I learn?):

It was shite. Yeah, I say that, and that’s given I’ve got a soft spot for Duane Johnson (I dunno, the guy seems classy and sweet). In the film he looks bigger than ever – at times he resembled a huge grease-soaked slab of dyspeptic gristle.

Make/Craft
Today in the mail I received The Art of Manipulating Fabric, sent by my lady Karen. This book? Is simply incredible. And intimidating if, like me, one hopes to attempt a technique. But it’s gonna happen!

Today I’m making a few Indian-inspired recipes, sourced from allrecipes.com. Of all the somewhat-elaborate spice blends etc. etc. the most rewarding bit for me is making paneer (droooool).

Quotable
“I love how I am at the point in my life where I know that I can and am accomplishing everything on my own and I am for once doing it for me & [my daughter] and nobody else. Proving that I don’t need anybody…but I’m still lonely.” – from Facebook

Isn’t this the truth. Accomplishment, career, accolades, attagirls… they can’t keep loneliness at bay long, especially the existential type. Even family and friends can’t fill up (what some call) the God-shaped hole. And booze can only do it for a short period of time (trust me on this).

Random
TYPESTACHES

& *snicker*
Traffic Sign WIZARDRY

cuddle goblin

Today I delivered this little scrappage and my own sweet ass to a Mother’s Blessing for friend and reader Kat:

Head-On

(And yes; Ralph and Phoenix named the bunting “Cuddle Goblin”, because all my one-of-a-kind baby things need names.)

Goblin

The bunting was made from a lot of scraps – cotton canvas, silk, and linen – and the shell was made by Essex linen/cotton, a fabric sent by Karen as a Thank You for pattern testing. It was lined in a soft off-white fleece. Given the math, I figure it would be fitting the baby in late late spring so I did not underline for additional warmth.

I am beginning to really like the Essex linen/cotton and may buy some (since I’m all out, finally). It is lovely to work with, although I am still getting used to the fact it shrinks and shrinks and shrinks upon washing. It seems very rugged and stain resistant (I’ve made my son pants from it and they still look fabulous after much rotation). A bolt from Dharma would be divine; I could dye it in batches – I love dyeing fabric – any color I want! (Yeah, yeah, get in line with all the other supplies I need; my WIZARD sewing machine is still in the shop as I don’t have the funds to bail it out.)

I’m still experimenting with applique…

EXTREME CLOSEUP

And employing both my stellar machine- and hand-sewing skillz (a bit of color on a hidden snap, plus PRICK STITCH and, for the lining, slip stitch):

Hand-sewn Snap

Zipper

(You can see more detail shots and read about how I made this in the Flickr tagset.)

The Mother’s Blessing was a very lovely experience; I’ve been to a handful of them (though not for a couple years) and they suit me more than the typical baby shower content and substance. I brought a date, my friend Jasmine. It was a super lady-positive evening. Here we are all tied together, just before snipping ourselves apart.

Mother's Blessing

I’ve a length of cotton string around my right wrist and over the next few days will be holding Kat and her family adventure in my mind and heart.

received via email yesterday:

“I wanted to tell you also that you don’t know but because of you I decided to have my baby at home instead of a hospital.

I’m really happy and proud that I did. I never saw you or got a chance to tell you that I read your birth story a few years ago and thought it was something I’d like to do when I had a kid. You’re one of the first people I’d ever known that had done that. After reading your story I looked into it further and found all I needed to know that I could do it too. I pushed that baby out right into my husband’s hands. It’s my proudest moment.

I hope this doesn’t seem weird that I’m just e-mailing you this out of nowhere. I thought maybe it would be nice to tell you that I admire a lot of what you do.”

This is perhaps some of the awesomest feedback I’ve ever had. I don’t need to say much more about it except, hooray!