Kelly as Sherlock, by Rocky

tweeps are the best peeps

Hutch continues to improve. He has two bandages on, cannot go for long walks (sadkins!), & is wearing The Cone of Shame. He also has no awareness of space with regards to that cone. I’ve been whacked with it so many times because he follows me everywhere because he loves me.

And below: from my friend Rocky, who is amazing. She asked what I liked and I told her, the hat Sherlock Holmes wears (and I like Sherlock Holmes, and almost anything remotely associated!). So this will be my new FUCKING AWESOME Twitter avatar for a while.

Kelly as Sherlock, by Rocky

roostercore & other friday fun

“Sometimes I’m Still That Little Girl” – a great Flickr collection.

A bit about Imposter Syndrome, something most people can at least relate to.

Cora’s Story – a mother shares about her experience with the most common birth defect, congenital heart defects (between 1 in 70 to 1 in 100 babies). A very intense story, but well worth the read.

25 YouTube Comments That Are Actually Funny at buzzfeed. These are giggle-inducing in an aggregate way. Favorites: the two after the dolphin video, then later the one with the musician and his beard.

Reshared by the late Erica Kennedy, shortly before her untimely death – one of her favorite pictures.

Another hero MamaKitty – but no one compares to Scarlett, who holds a special place in my heart, and in literature.

Nature teams up to bring us something very special, and incidentally this is the kind of thing that makes my brother and I talk about constructing a stainless-steel bunker home with hydroponic foods and a germ-laser-toilet.

Thinking Kink: Debunking BDSM Myths at bitch magazine.

& the newest music scene I’m into. Oh, internet. I love you so much:

different names for the same thing

Today sucked. First? I was up all night – at least up to something marginally entertaining, watching the television show “Justified” on instant video. It was instantly deeply entertaining (Timothy Olyphant FTW), besides being more or less standard very dudely television fare (kiss kiss bang bang, ladies leave the room cuz menfolks is talkin). I eventually fell asleep and had a dream I made out with a local lawyer, non-related to any television viewing or any desire to make out with anyone besides my own actual man, and while the dream itself wasn’t the most unsavory I’ve had, it still to this moment leaves an ick-factor I haven’t entirely brushed off.

After I (eventually) staggered out of bed and washed up and opened blinds and brushed my teeth and got some laundry started, I dragged myself to the computer, cup of coffee in hand, to continue my day in a positive way – but, sadly, I was immediately exposed to something awful on the internet. And you know what? It doesn’t matter much what it was. It involved people I knew (and people I love), and ugly, soul-sucking behaviors, and apologism for the kind of social constructs I find most personally abhorrent, reprehensible, and hurtful. And I don’t know why, reading and doing the work and activism I do, I could stand to say I feel any sense of surprise to see such regressive and destructive attitudes and behaviors and why I haven’t just “evolved” (my mom’s phrase) into where I find these sorts of human behavior just kind of, shake-my-head funny. Or maybe sometimes I can – but not this morning. No, I sure didn’t.

I felt like shit the rest of the day, or most of it anyway. Depressed, overwhelmed, deeply sad. The timbre of the day’s experience felt like the rainy-and-dark depression that can overwhelm me seasonally, which I’d noted had been lifting lately. I took the best remedy I know, which was to go outside – in this case, a walk, joined by my children and later a couple girlfriends (who delivered excellent conversation). This helped, a bit. When Ralph got home he knew I was feeling bad and he did his best to take care of me, including dinner out. It helped. A bit.

Days like today I cannot imagine my life without my family. Yes, living without Ralph and the kids would be entirely different, I know that, enough it is silly to speculate on anything much. But while I have much to be grateful for, and a shared life with many passionate and incredible people who are supportive and loving and inspirational, there is something restorative about family life – and specifically my children – more constant than just about anything else. Even my daily and regular efforts in caring for them bring me to a mindfulness and in-the-moment experience that feels more Me than anything else – yes, even more than my beloved writing and sewing and my social interactions (in fact these three often distract me from my children, my husband, and my practice of mindfulness).

In the final analysis there is nothing that can take the place of the meaning and joy I find in the most simple things, plating up a ham sandwich and apple slices, or brushing hair and washing faces, or cuddling on the couch or simply bundling up and stepping outside for a walk while talking, the kids’ observations, their questions (which I feel honored to be trusted so implicitly with), their worldviews, their laughter. It’s rather confusing because people tend to frame joyful experiences with regard to grand or extravagant events, not those little things we have in our day, every day. As I get older and the more time I have with the children I feel an increasing experience of gratitude. It isn’t just that I like them, and love them, and find them my favorite people on the planet. It’s that I wonder how much passion would have passed me by had I not them in my life, and I feel grateful not to miss out on that passion.

A multi-part healing prescription: sunshine, exercise, friends, family, dinner out with my best friend and husband, and a bit of writing. Yes, I am feeling much better now – after all.

remember this moment forever, from married to the sea

get your coffee, tea, or mad dog 20/20 & settle in for Friday’s linkage

We got some awesomeness here. But seriously.

1. Jill at I Blame The Patriarchy hits it out of the park with “Toronto activists take back the slut”. She asks: can a slur be re-appropriated? What, if anything, will that solve? Also: the Sexual Assault Prevention Checklist is priceless.

2. On slur reclamation (again), coupled with artistic license: “the slants vs. u.s. patent and trademark office” as posted by Angry Asian Man. “We deserve the right to protect our name,” [Simon] Tam[, the band’s manager and bass player,] says. “In the larger sense, minorities should have the right to label themselves.” More details here.

3. Mash-up! In 1990 I was as enamored as all mid-teen girls with Roxette’s ballad “Must Have Been Love” – you know, one of those songs you try to record off the radio onto a mixtape (yes, a real mixtape) and sing along with girlfriends from the back of mom’s 1981 Mercury Cougar while being driven to Denny’s after a YMCA dance. That said, I never liked the film Pretty Woman much (but I have been known to make a few “Big mistake. Big.” jokes, usually after my debit card bounces whilst buying tampons). Anyway: FunkyBeccaBecca’s trailer re-imagining seems far more apt for this creepy so-called Cinderella story.

4. Speaking of film: Tami Harris writes “Sucker punched by Sucker Punch– Girls and guns don’t equal female empowerment”. My caveats to some of these types of article are noted in the comments. As usual, a great piece by Tami, one of my favorite social justice and pop culture bloggers.

5. Female (super)(s)heros: musings on Wonder Woman, then and now, from a girlhood fan: “Here’s hoping for a superhero every girl can aspire to” by Morven Crumlish. Crumlish pens a warm tribute to WW and the real-life WWs we’ve known and still know today.

6. From NYRA: “Taking any random childhood incident and pretending it made you successful!” What’s yours? What would yours be? I’m thinking, “I fell off my tire swing and ended up in a successful engineering career!”

7. Jasie alerts me my brother’s lady J. got Tumblr’d (J. later posted an update with the source image, which IMO all blogs/Tumblogs/etc. should do in the first place!). [ Frankenstein voice:] SO PRETTY

8. Make: sewing 101: oilcloth storage bin. Remedial-sewing-skills, expensive/designer fabric? Product = lovely, of course.

9. Reader and friend M. writes some bathtime brilliance: “French Jellyfish Icicle Party, Anyone?” After reading her ingenuity, I’m thinking anyone disinterested in baths could be persuaded to becoming a fan.

10. Tuesday Idzie asks people to weigh in with questions: I respond via email, and Idzie posits and answers: “Why is Unschooling so Fringe?” Idzie’s thoughts are on point, but in particular I enjoyed reading comments: such as Cathy who writes, “What I have seen, even in the unschooling world, is that parents don’t really ‘trust’ their children. They are often all for following the lead of their children, as long as their children follow the appropriate, known path.” Wendy Prieznitz makes a few brilliant points about the larger cultural picture. You know, all that stuff you’ll find me bitching about on a regular basis.

11. A fabulous interview regarding obesity, diet, health, and public cost: from 2009, “America’s Moral Panic Over Obesity” by Megan McArdle at The Atlantic and featuring an interview with author and statistician Paul Campos. I’m not sure how I missed it, but it’s golden.

“We’re in the midst of a moral panic over fat, which has transformed the heavier than average into folk devils, to whom all sorts of social ills are ascribed. […]

“[A]s Mary Douglas the anthropologist has pointed out, we focus on risks not on the basis of “rational” cost-benefit analysis, but because of the symbolic work focusing on those risks does – most particularly signalling disapproval of certain groups and behaviors. In this culture fatness is a metaphor for poverty, lack of self-control, and other stuff that freaks out the new Puritans all across the ideological spectrum, which is why the war on fat is so ferocious – it appeals very strongly to both the right and the left, for related if different reasons.”

You know, I kept copying and pasting quotations because it was just so good – so I finally just stuck with a couple pieces. The part about the upper West Side woman and social privilege and class… I got the chills. He owned it.

12. Natalie gives herself a zombie apocalypse manicure (using OPI Shatter which is somehow affiliated with Katy Perry but I don’t know much else because, guess what, I hardly give a fiddler’s fuck). And yeah, I got all up on eBay buying that stuff.

13. More consumerism, of a sort, via Angry Asian Man: The Morning Benders realease an EP with proceeds to Japan. This is a fabulous band and, since I “bought” the CD, I can confirm it’s a lovely listen.

14. Renee Martin posts a video; “tell us how you really feel”. Having a passionate, articulate, and strong-willed child of my own (with a retaliatory bent when things don’t go his way), I got quite a smile watching this.

15. So now “uterus” is a bad word. Fair points regarding deregulation and Republicans’ selective “big government” platform. But as for the author of this piece – I note liberals luuuurrrve to mock the GOP – in this case their “prudery”. Too bad misogyny is an American value that truly reaches across the aisle.

16. In the kitchen: Kung Pao Shrimp? HELL YES

17. Not Back To School Camp: WANT. For my daughter. No seriously, she wants to go to camp, but not the typical camps offered – specifically, an unschooling / life learning camp. I’m on the lookout. Any help or advice would be appreciated!

18. Ohmygoodness! How I love it when this happens. A reader tweeted me to say she enjoyed last week’s link to Anita Sarkeesian’s vlog “Tropes vs. Women: #1 The Manic Pixie Dream Girl”. She also wrote her own piece, “confessions of a recovering manic pixie dream girl”. Inspired, I dug up and (re-)published my piece on the Will Ferrell/Man-Boy movies: “film feministe: the cinematic man-child and his perpetual harem of willing, nubile females”. Good stuff!

19. Last week a young Egyptian cobra escaped the Bronx Zoo. I kept up on it thru Twitter. / She’s since been recaptured. / Or has she?

20. The Hogakidlets were featured as the Gratuitous Cute Kid Pic last week at Love Isn’t Enough. By the way, I’m dying to write for this blog again. Because of all the awesomeness (at the blog, not necessarily in my writing).

21. Appropos, as my husband did injure his back this last week. Unfortunately, we weren’t having a Montclair moment on the beach or otherwise at the time it happened.

remember this moment forever, from married to the sea

Have a lovely weekend!

Ralph, his Zappa, & kitty Harris

Team Mustache Dad

I make an effort to write even when I’m busy. And I have been busy! The candy-making date with Amore on Monday went wonderfully. It’s snowed a bunch then it rained all away. Car-less I attempt to get out, go running, do my shopping. I cook food and more food and it all vanishes.

I’m working on a sew-intensive project and I’ve been missing my kids and I don’t want to be back in my sewing room SO I asked Ralph to put my sewing table in the living room so I could put on some “television” (Netflix through the computer) while I did my thing.

I can’t put on anything too good while I’m sewing or I get distracted; however if it’s no fun, what’s the point? So this time around I’ve been doing some serious camp!

Ralph and I are both huge Elvira fans. Sex-positive, quick-witted, corny, goofy – and some awesome one-liner double entendres, all in addition to her other obvious attributes. What’s not to like?

And then:

Not the funniest Mel Brooks comedy but one entirely adorable and served well by the straight-man slapstick of Leslie Nielsen. Speaking of which, I have yet to watch Forbidden Planet (1956) and given the recent demise of both Francis and Nielsen a memorial viewing seems entirely appropriate.

In other news, Ralph decided to shave the beard. OK, fine. I get it. He didn’t like its itchiness and maintenance and thought it made him look dirty. Now I thought he looked really handsome and mysterious and rugged but, OK. I even told him (truthfully) that the full beard gave him a less-bald appearance, the hair on jaw and chin compensating for thinning up above; I hoped his self-consciousness about his hairline might cast a more friendly light on the muttonchops. But he never liked the beard much and it was clear from the outset this ferocious display of hirsute manliness would be a short-lived, fleeting winter wonder.

So first he shaved down to a Zappa ala Phoenix’s request:

Ralph, his Zappa, & kitty Harris

(Ha, I love how PISSED Harris looks. AS PER USUAL. Angry and obese, what a great cat.)

Nice enough, eh? Sinister but sexy.

But then. THEN. He went too far.

Ralph's Filthy 'Stache

Yes. Really.

And finally – after 24 hours of the above abomination, tonight’s foulness – the meager and failed attempt at an iconic actor and persona.

The Non-Vincent Price

And after he did this of course he wanted a kiss. GROSS.

I throw up my hands.

And – I’ve been writing in my One Line A Day Five Year Memory Book. And I’ve been writing my small stones. I have some saved for you.

Melted Snow
(Small Stone #10*)

Melted snow in my husband’s beard
Diamonds, icy cold
As he just steps back inside

Hush
(Small Stone #11*)

Low light
and very late night,
up until dawn sometimes.
You and me and you.
Our own world,
Quiet and new.

Repairs Needed
(Small Stone #12*)

We’ve lived without water pressure in our kitchen for a year and a half.
I miss the bold rush of hot water.

Small stone project

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

friday link-up!

Culture
“Accounting for What Matters” by Wendy Priesnitz:

“Aside from allowing academic and personal freedom, life learning is about living more mindfully – acting altruistically (instead of earning gold stars or the approval of authority figures), respecting individuals for who they are rather than how much money they make or how many degrees they have, overturning discrimination, working cooperatively, and learning about and improving the world by living in and acting on it. The kids who are growing up in that way should be able to solve many problems.”

“The false and harmful rhetoric of family life vs. work life” by yours truly

Cute Overload on the U.S. elections

Craft
How-To: Linoleum Print Cards & Invites at Craft

budgeting for your creative habit” at Scoutie Girl. I have to squint real hard on this one… For one thing, the “budget” and notes thing isn’t how I roll (It’s how Ralph rolls though, and it appears to work okay). Also, those mentioned “cash-eating demons” for some people I know are things like rent and utility bills. And maybe this is why I’ve started thinking a lot more about gifting and donating some of my work – I want to create opportunity for other people to feed their souls. I do, however, wholeheartedly agree wtih this: “When your expenditures don’t line up with your values, you get that icky I-ate-too-much-ice-cream feel in your stomach. And it’s hard to shake.”

calaveras, dia de los muertos – beautifully-done in polymer clay with hand-painted detail.

Viewing/Reading/Listening
New on Masterpiece Theatre – “Sherlock” (can watch online)

Good documentaries (links go to the titles on Netflix instant): Awful Normal, Man On Wire, and I Have Never Forgotten You

Cat Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook (but I will be getting my copy through Jackson Street Books)

“One Kiss Can Lead To Another” – a great mini-anthology!

Quotes
This one comes via Mamapoekie:

When we adults think of children, there is a simple truth which we ignore: childhood is not preparation for life; childhood is life. A child isn’t getting ready to live; a child is living. The child is constantly confronted with the nagging question, “What are you going to be?” Courageous would be the youngster who, looking the adult squarely in the face, would say, “I’m not going to be anything; I already am.” We adults would be shocked by such an insolent remark, for we have forgotten, if indeed we ever knew, that a child is an active participating and contributing member of society from the time he is born. Childhood isn’t a time when he is molded into a human who will then live life; he is a human who is living life. No child will miss the zest and joy of living unless these are denied him by adults who have convinced themselves that childhood is a period of preparation. How much heartache we would save ourselves if we would recognize the child as a partner with adults in the process of living, rather than always viewing him as an apprentice. How much we would teach each other… adults with the experience and children with the freshness. How full both our lives could be. A little child may not lead us, but at least we ought to discuss the trip with him, for after all, life is his and her journey too. – Professor T. Ripaldi

correspondance, commerce, & creeps

This morning after meeting a friend at Pure Clothing here in HQX (I love the owner J. and think we are so lucky to have such a great shop; today I found a pair of hot-ass Silver jeans in my size as well as a pair of my tried-and-true Levi 501s – have I mentioned how much I love jeans yet hate stretch jeans, which are almost all you find if you’re over about a US size 10, and remind me sometime to tell you my friend Jasmine’s dire and graphic warnings on such stretchy-fare) I stopped at Jackson Street Books and chatted with the owner Tammy (who really. REALLY. knows her books). While talking my eye fell on about ten books I wanted for myself or as gifts. I finally settled on two for Phoenix: Bunnicula by James Howe and The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan (the second book in the very popular Percy Jackson and the Olympians series; she simply devoured the first one about half a year ago). I thought both were excellent Halloween choices. When I got home I surprised Phoenix with the books and she smiled bigger than you can imagine and put aside the “younger” (and shorter) Bunnicula to dive into the YA/General fare of Percy. I felt a bit sad as it seems her babyhood vanished far before I could treasure it; however I know she will pick up the story of the vampiric lupine (a favorite of mine as a kid) – at some point.

So I spent my grocery money on jeans and books but we made due with pantry provisions for dinner and I really think the purchases, especially the books for my girl, entirely worth it.

Today a friend asked me if I’d sew her up a dress (based on the striped hooded version recently modeled by Phoenix) to which I said Yes. I am ready and willing to take on full-grown ladies (and gentlemen), especially plus-size women as they are so underserved in the fashion industry. All of this has to be done within my own work schedule of course (I am currently two pair of monster booties behind) – which I’m trying desperately not to get backed up on as:

the gag order has been lifted and I am now able to publicly blog I am testing for an upcoming book project of Karen and Shelly’s (of Patterns by Figgys) as published by Wiley. While I’m not able to post pictures of the garments I’m testing (yet), I can say they are all fabulous and fun to sew and scratch my technical-writing nrrd-skills.  I’m saving up pictures in Flickr (as private) and hoping to make them public some day. There are a lot of things I really love about these two ladies, their designs, and their ethos (including generous voluntary copyright clauses for cottage-industry or home sewists). It is pure joy to be able to help such an enterprise.

And:

I recently received a Thank You email (very specific and edifying and including details of my reader’s life – which I love!) and a Paypal donation by reader E.; the day after a handwritten letter arrived, penned from New Zealand blogger Elly – and full of NZ and AU currency and some history/geography to boot! As far as feedback and commentary from readers it’s been a great week. Well actually it seems to get better all the time, although to be clear IMs and DMs and tweets and email and snailmail has never been much more than a steady trickle (I am no Celebrity). For this I am grateful as I sometimes fear I let correspondance slip through the cracks. Frowny-face.

In other news, sketchy Flickrite Alejandro seems to like the ladies. And the little girls. Like my 8 year old daughter. (Just not anyone over 22 or so, or fat or “ugly” – ew!) But don’t worry, I’m sure the fellow’s legit. See how he has no profile information and has posted no photo except one of a Siamese cat.

Cute cat.

it’s Friday so that means linkage

Actually that’s not true. I’ve never been one to do any kind of ritual on my online journal with any kind of regularity. But here’s some good stuff.

Trigger warning: the first section of these links discusses bullying and education.

American Culture:
“Why I Think Unschooling Is The Best Option… For Everyone” by Idzie

Today on Twitter Idzie wrote:

People are terrified of a lack of control. Utterly terrified. Of other people giving up control over them, of giving up control over others… Or at least that’s the way it seems to me, from the reactions you get at any suggestion of freedom! … It seems so many ppl have felt excluded & judged in unschooling circles or by other unschoolers… This makes me so sad every time I hear it. & also makes me really hope I haven’t contributed to it myself. I try to be welcoming to all ppl interested in/supportive about/considering unschooling, while still expressing my own opinions honestly & authentically, despite the fact they might upset some people.

I really relate to what she’s written here; and I know I myself I’ve likely caused offense while trying so hard to communicate my own reality as well as ideas and worldviews that have changed our lives in the most amazing fashion.

Yet it must be pointed out that many who react with anger and accusations are reacting to ideas that upset them, oftentimes for reasons they have not yet examined; many were hostile to these ideas from the second they were first exposed but have not taken the steps to unpack that hostility and fear. Given that environs when discussing consensual living, punitive-free parenting, and autodidactic education, I’d like to remind those of us writing (and talking and singing and living) it’s almost impossible for us to not elicit angry reactions.

Do people in life learning/unschooling/attachment parenting groups say exclusionary, insensitive, dogmatic, harmful, ignorant, or incorrect things*? Absolutely! Especially that latter group – at least in my experience. No group or ideology is above committing wrongs. However is is hard for me to engage at length with the words of those who are already hostile to my ideas and have dismissed my body of work and research without their own investigation. If they won’t give me the respect of entertaining my “expertise” (such as it is) they can learn little from me – although I don’t mind learning from them.

Aristotle said, “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” It is surprising to me how few people can even entertain my thoughts (which weren’t mine originally, usually), although conversations with those who can – and their individual interpretations, whether supportive or critical or additive – is one of the rich pleasures in my life.

***

“Opinion: Sometimes It’s OK To Let Your Kid Be Bullied” on parentdish
OK, first I’m not even going to get into dissecting the “THAT MOM” trope (overinvolved, controlling, elevating her child to sainthood – mostly just another strawlady), or the chills that ran down my spine at the stalwartly unreflective “we sometimes fight battles that would be better solved on the playground or by the people who are paid and trained to educate our children”, OR to weigh in to claim this parent (mom) did something wrong or went amiss in how she handled her daughter’s scenario.

The article starts to go wrong for me here: “Stepping in to micro-manage every aspect of your kid’s life is a mistake. It robs children of the ability to deal with conflict and rejection. It saps their independence. It labels them, in the eyes of their peers, teachers and administrators, as weak.”

“Micro-manage every aspect of your kid’s life”. In my experience observing parents/carers this is far more rare than pop-psych anecdotal “truthy” pieces would have you believe (this fable usually exists parallel to much pearl-clutching and table-pounding about “helicopter parents” and “useless” “kids today”). Interestingly Life – that “real world” people are always talking about? – is FULL of adversity and hurdles and stumbling blocks. Parenting compassionately means we usually get to watch with joy how our children handle these episodes, knowing we have their trust and they have their self-trust – because we have their back. I can know my children’s lives will be filled with difficulties and limitations, I don’t have to make more of them nor artificially create them (Example, my daughter wants a pony, guess why we can’t get one? No need whatsoever for me to furnish false “natural consequences”, see also some pieces on “sheltering” and “adversity” in numbers #15 – #17 on this list). Helping our children when they’re being fucked-over is not the same at all as “micro-managing” NOR is it done (in my case) based out of a trembling Mama-Bear “hysteria” so many like to snark about (in fact, from reading this author’s self-stated feelings regarding her children’s sufferings, I am in comparison entirely unflappable to my child being “hurt” – because I know she can handle it until she can’t, and gee, how do I know this? Because I know she knows she can get help from me if she needs it).

I could write pages on this, and maybe I will soon.

I recently heard a local parent talking about how there’s a natural “pecking order” on the playground and we adults should stay out of it. I don’t have room or energy to write the many ways I think that sounds like a terrible idea (new reasons occur to me daily in fact). Incidentally this man’s own son – who is often at my house, this summer spending more time with me than his own parents – used to often try to bully my own children (unsuccessfully), occasionally attempts to extort money from them, tells falsehoods when confronted and won’t make eye contact (lying is not so much an inevitable child behavior as could be better described as one most parent/teaching regimes wholly facilitate by their oppressive tactics). He’s reformed quite a bit in our household since he’s realized I’m not about to “punish” him or ream him out, although I can’t allow him at our house if he keeps breaking our chicken eggs purposefully – for example. Outside my kitchen window, when he thinks no adult can hear him, I hear him shouting at other smaller children they are “retards” and they need to “get off [his] property… or [he’s] calling the cops.”

I know many children who behave one way around adults and other ways when they think they are unobserved. It isn’t the children who’ve initiated this regrettable state of affairs, either.

And both for this author and the local parent; really? This “pecking order” is OK or a “natural” and relatively harmless part of social life? I completely disagree. Sadly, this story was just posted regarding a 16 year old boy’s bullycide – a semi-local school, where with sickening familiarity I read: “The school says it never received any complaints about bullying from the boy or his parents.”

Right. Let’s continue to let “kids be kids” on this bullying thing.

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Two great articles from Australia (but relevant, IMO, to similar discussions in the US) on health, fat, obesity, dieting, and body image: “Talking Fat” by Elizabeth at mymilkspilt and “Health Hysteria: Helpful or Harmful?” by Dr. Samantha Thomas at The Discourse. Great posts and analyses I can add nothing to.

Mamapoekie’s brief post on stalking deserves more than just my comment. The topic is in my thoughts right now – for reasons I can’t divulge in this space, sadly.

Inspiring:
My sister says some of these were so beautiful they made her cry. I feel the same way.

I’m currently reading: Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity by Julia Serrano. This is a pretty amazing book. I’m sad it’s likely under-read as many cisgendered people don’t understand it’s hardly a “fringe” topic or treatment at all, but at the heart of human right questions entirely salient for us today.

“the dangerous spiral of criticism & how to claw your way back out” at Scoutie Girl: “Instead of reaching for big, bigger, biggest, we reach for safe & allowable. Self-consciousness refuses to let you create art. It only allows for ‘nice.’ Ew.”

Shop:
Support an awesome homeschooling mama with some uncertain financial “adventures” ahead of her. Also: handsewn, so you can’t go wrong there!

I want to buy this for Phoenix, so bad. She loves creepy 50s horror comics times ONE MILLION.

Who wants a sexy little rockabilly dress homesewn? Fuck, who doesn’t?

Fun:
Twisted Vintage
Lovely images and weirdness (Ah… this image from The Postman Always Rings Twice, some real sexiful there!), some altered and some as they were; lots of great Halloween content! Um, don’t read the comments. At least the one comment thread I clicked on was full of misogyny, including comments by the post author, and a bit of homophobia, etc. Gross.

Please provide a caption for this picture.

Craftzine is having a Halloween contest. You got the chops for it?

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* Recent example: an unschooling group brought me an email wherein a member called another person’s daughter an “illiterate, foul-mouthed slut.” This went unchecked by the moderator (as have a few other problematic incidents); I may not stick around this community much longer.

Comments: For any new readers today: I don’t want to hear word-one about “controlling” parents (moms), go anywhere else on the internet and discuss it, you’ll find entirely receptive audiences.