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

friday links

In the good news, we’re all doing very well thank you and enjoying health and harmony together. In the bad news, Ralph is working through our spending plan as I type and we might not get to have a Christmas (not really, but you probably know what I mean). In the good news, my husband is growing a beard. In the bad news, he’s so anxious about this money thing that ANY LITTLE COMMENT may cause him to shave. Please, if you see him, or Facebook him, say REALLY flattering things about his beard. We shall all reap the benefits as its full-throated red glory is bestowed upon us during our most dreary winter months…

Here’s more good news – for those who are unfortunate enough to be stuck in an office job today, hungover and dyspeptic from yesterday’s feast, or cowering in fear or disdain of Black Friday, or who’ve shopped until they’re wrecked – I bring you the Friday links you so desperately need to sink your teeth into.

Culture
“‘Privilege Denying Dude’ and the Fight for the Right to Snark” at ColorLines
“The Internet has carried over the ‘neutral’ we’ve always seen, meaning that if it’s online, it better appeal to straight white men before and above anyone else. A lot of us hate it. We find humor in other memes, but sometimes we see a misogynist or homophobic joke in the bunch… and we just scroll on past it. It’s disappointing how used to that we are.” [ emphasis mine, because: Oh Yes. ]

Anton Vowl wrote “Breeding hell” in response to Howard Flight’s remarks. Look familiar, USians? The UK terminology referring to the “underclass” may be different from ours but you and I recognize what the author is referencing: “a narrative in which the young and the poor can be dismissed as a mass of animals, as an underclass of scum. They are always set up against the ‘middle-classes’, aka the hardworking taxpaying middle classes, the people who do all the work and pay for all the doleites popping out kids and getting free houses on estates up and down the land […] It’s the dehumanising thing that seems so depressing – dehumanising a whole class of people. It’s the language of hatred. It’s the language of class war.”

“Today in Journalism: The Disabled” at FWD/Feminists with Disabilities
“This contributes to the de-humanization of disabled people. ‘The disabled’ aren’t people, they’re a big collective noun who can’t be reasoned with, can’t be talked to, can’t be considered – they’re just to be placated, and dealt with, and put out of our minds as quickly as possible in case they sue us.”

Family
“The Effects of Video Games: A guide for the science-based parent” at parentingscience.com
The concept that video games are “bad”, or at least anything more than a very occasional play with them is “bad”, is so culturally-supported many journalists will take one study and blow it up to epic conclusions. I often think those loudest about how “bad” video games inherently are, are those who either don’t particularly enjoy nor excel at them; or those who’ve lived a childhood of externally-imposed values/activities which reify this message.

“Jong Got It Wrong” from Wendy Priesnitz
Much of modern-day feminism has failed so many – those with disabilities, those non-white, poor, trans women, those marginalized, those without “careers”, babies and children, and anyone involved in what’s often named as “traditional women’s work” (hi!) but what would be more accurately described as necessary human work (much of it often still performed by women and underpaid, under-respected, etc). Today many modern feminists (along with the maintream) continue to throw children under the proverbial bus as well as those who are responsible for children’s care (usually, other women) and especially those who give a shit about how these things all go down. As usual, Wendy Priesnitz delivers a succinct and apt response to the recent Jong dust-up.

Feminism
“Pre-Photoshopped Playboy Models (Definitely NSFW)”
“…the message is clear: even after a genetic bounty, all-but-certain plastic surgery and dieting, good lighting, a pro-photographer, and dozens of shots, even the fantasy woman is not fantastic enough.” (You can follow links to the original Jezebel post if you want example after example of women’s bodies critiqued, objectified, and dissected).

Subway Flasher Gets More Than He Bargained For
This video deeply upset me. First I couldn’t believe what I was seeing – the courage of this woman. Then I felt sick for the times I’ve been in a similar position and felt too scared to do anything. On second watch I so admired this woman and wish I could find her to say, “Well done!”

Craft
“Rural Roads” by sillyboodilly. Beautiful work; check the rest of her postings as well!

Make
Mushroom tutorial by my friend Kit. Mushrooms are out like you wouldn’t believe! I have a wee parcel of wool felt heading my way to make up these cuties with the kiddos.

Live
“How To Read Articles About Health” by Dr. Alicia White

“18 Practical Habits for Living the Golden Rule” at Zen Habits

Quotable
“The master of the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which; he simply pursues his vision of excellence in whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he is always doing both.” – Buddha

Random
How did Alan Thicke land this sweet job, is what I want to know!

And finally:

My favorite tweet of the week.

The Bathroom!

from the bottom of my twisted, thorny heart

One of my current favorite things to say to my husband in public, when anything goes awry – like he mis-types the PIN number on our debit card, or fumbles the grocery bag – is, kind of loudly, “Maybe you should have thought about that before you sucked at being a man your whole life.”  It’s a relatively obscure movie quote,* but mostly, I love making people slightly uncomfortable, because it’s kind of this shrewish harpy-like thing to say, and I’m kind of a shrew harpy, and excepting times when I actually do hurt my husband’s feelings, I don’t feel bad about who I am at all, although I could always stand some improvements, but changing my twisted sense of humor isn’t in the mix for me just now.

My husband doesn’t suck at being a man.  What is “being a man” anyway and who gets to decide who qualifies?  Like, the guy sired babies, and he works all day enough to feed us, and he can lift really heavy stuff and grow a great beard (but it must be said, only a pathetic mustache).  He sucks at being a man in all these other ways maybe: like he doesn’t look at a woman and think it’s okay to think, “boobies!” about her, and he doesn’t make rape jokes or think being gay is funny in and of itself, and he doesn’t follow sports although he’s a natural athlete but for stuff like Pickleball and Badminton.  And when I go a little crazy and tell him how goddamned pissed I am about something he has never, ever suggested it’s my time of the month or that I’m all irrational because I have ladyjunk. Probably because I’d break my foot off in his ass at those sorts of suggestions but I’d like to think also because he’s a decent human being.

I like my husband more than anyone else.  Still, to this day, and for years and years and years now.  Yeah, I like my kids a heck of a lot, too, and I know you want me to compare my Kid Love to my Husband Love, because of all these sick little magazine articles that tell already beleaguered young mothers that if their marriage isn’t a perfect example of romanticalness and good conflict skills (you know, tend to this, ladies, whilst juggling work and kiddo care and Every Other Goddamned Thing) then they’re really screwing everything up because you have to put the Marriage First, whatever that means because dude! It’s hard.  Those kids don’t grow themselves up, you know.  Anyway, when pressed, I still think Ralph wins this little fake Love-contest you’re demanding of me because even though I crazy-love the kids so, so much, always in some deep part of me I will want to grab them by the scruff of their necks and shake them, not because they can aggravate me more than my spouse can (he has some awesome tricks up his sleeve in this regard!) but rather I feel responsible for the kids in a way not echoed by my partner and no matter how much “work” I do these responsible feelings will never cease causing me deep anxiety.  So anyway, I’m particularly grateful that he’s the kind of guy he is: that is, intelligent and earnest in being a good person, not giving himself some kind of special treatment because he was born with a penis and a pair of majesticals, committed to doing right for the kids and I, committed, I hope, to himself, and perhaps that last one is the hardest of all for him.

I’m so glad I have him to share my life with, because sheesh, here on the heels of the Superbowl – which by the way, I didn’t watch – and I’m thinking I could have partnered with some inferiority-complexed fella who lets an impersonalized automotive behemoth tell him why he should mend his boo-hoo life by buying a big ol’ truck** (the parody of this is too good to miss; although a bit too ouch! here and there).  And it’s just: I don’t mind if people have their imperfections and their prejudices and their immature behavior or sexist ideologies, but the idea that White Dudes in America are So Put Upon is one that I honestly couldn’t really respect very much and I might have a hard time earnestly wanting (i.e. fucking or romanticalling) the person who believed that kind of thing, unless it was part of the larger belief system I share, in that so many of us are Put Upon in so many ways, but a few of us have it a lot easier than others, Hello.

But it’s not just that my husband believes along the lines that I do about stuff I think is important; there has to be more to love than that.  Like the song says, “What is Love? Baby don’t hurt me, / Baby don’t hurt me.” Or actually, not like that song at all: I love my husband because I fell in love with him, years ago, and despite having been through some pristine types of Hell together there is something elemental between us which, from my perspective, hasn’t changed.  Sometimes I think he is really, really bored with me, although he’s never said so.  You know, I’m not that boring, but we have been together twelve years and…  I’m probably not that exciting.  And I don’t know what I’d do about that – you know, if he’s bored – in any case, that is without some suggestions and the possibility of Failure because I am who I am.  Oh and here’s a little piece of information: I’ve never once been bored with him.

Today I cooked for the family – a big breakfast and then, after a bike ride in the (rare!) sunshine, a Valentine’s dinner for my husband where I fried some stuff in the shape of a ball, and cut up lots of vegetables for side dishes because he loves vegetables and would rather eat my cooking than go out (aw… how sweet! and, kind of annoying) and I gave him a tomato-red hooded sweatshirt I’d sewn him up, (thanks for taking a picture where it looks like I made the arms too short! Because I totally didn’t) because some of my favorite ways, but not my only routes, of showing someone how much I care for them is to cook and clothe them, a desire within me that came from Who Knows Where but is still rather strong.

And now I’m off to do more of that love-stuff.  If you’re fortunate enough to have someone you love in your life – spouse, friend, mother, father, partner, cat, dog, hamster or Vietnamese cannibalistic centipede – Godspeed and Happy Valentine’s Day.

* Prize goes to whoever can guess which one!

** I tried to go to the Dodge site to find a price quote for this dick-on-wheels but they wanted my zip code and my email address to give me a hint, No Fanks.