“The room’s spinning. ’cause of all the Friday.”

It’s Friday again! Who gets to have a bona-fide weekend? What are you looking forward to?

To get you started on your fun/relaxation/debauchery, here are some stellar links:

First: Ralph, our friend Jeanne, and I are proud to unveil the website for the Fiber and Textile show we’re curating! And I never thought I’d say this, but if you’re on Facebook, please “Like” us. It will help us get some wine sponsors, for one thing. Listen: I am so very excited about this project. If you know any artist, non-local or local, who may be interested in submitting a piece (please check out our About thesis statement) send them our way. Thank you!

Radical Homemaking: It’s Not a Competition by Shannon Hayes, as sent to me by my friend Cynthia. This is a wonderful piece about following one’s passion, taking up friends and mentors – and the experience of envy, which we would do well to recognize, acknowledge, and unpack.

How to blog and comment on race, feminism, and equality at What Tami Said. For any readers taking an interest in my social justice interests, this particular piece spoke so strongly to me. I can’t say enough good things about Tami’s work, and this piece is the kind of work I’ve come to expect from her, and enjoy so much. I hope her pieces continue to be shared the internet over.

“When I Became Pregnant” at My Feminine Mind. This was written by a Christian-identified mama in first person and I thought it was a touching piece (trigger warning for discussion of self-harm).

Make the World’s Smallest Photo Postcard at photojojo. This is exactly the kind of adorable, relatively useless shit we Hogabooms fritter our time on instead of keeping our lawn tidy.

Another cute manicure at Design Fetish. Don’t be thinking I regularly do this sort of thing. I have weeks-old dusty blue stuff flaking all the way off and am likely not going to get to that anytime soon.

Foodie: Grilled Asparagus (as if anyone needed a reminder); also, a homemade Snicker’s bar? Fuck yes. And finally: How to slice a cheesecake! Seriously. I had to figure this out on Wednesday for the Conch.

When loathing feels normal, don’t buy it, fresh from Elizabeth at My Milk Spilt. No one needs to weigh in on why they may find women’s magazines defensible, fun, or a guilty pleasure. I am not the Lady Magazine police, and I recognize these publications are popular. But if anyone would like to weigh in on reasons they chose to stop reading or subscribing, I encourage you to do so – either here, or at the source article (and speaking of, here’s a great post by Snarky’s Machine on the topic). I’ll post my own comments soon.

In the must-see category: Wednesday night Ralph and I watched Bigger, Stronger, Faster (2008) (on Netflix Instant) and I found it so incredibly wonderful. I read a lot about body image and self esteem regarding issues most particular to women; this film in essential in understanding more of the picture, specifically with regards to male role models in America. Just: an incredible documentary.

Indian Country Responds to Geronimo, bin Laden Connection. Read and drink deeply – a thoughtful and measured response, one we likely won’t see getting as much credence or civil discussion in the MSM.

And finally: in the Best Youtube I’ve Seen This Week category – I give you these two awesome ladies… discussing the magical and phoney-ass hymen.

lizard hell valley

day late and a dollar short

Oops, Friday links!

Best parenting culture article I’ve read in a long time: Alfie Kohn “Spoiled Rotten: A Timeless Complaint”

“Scholars have no idea how many parents these days are permissive, or punitive, or responsive to their children’s needs without being permissive or punitive. (The tendency to overlook that third possibility is a troubling and enduring trend in its own right.) … [N]either logic nor evidence seems to support the widely accepted charge that we’re too easy on our children.  Yet that assumption continues to find favor across the political spectrum.  It seems, then, that we’ve finally found something to bring the left and the right together:  an unsubstantiated critique of parents, an unflattering view of kids, and a dubious belief that the two are connected.”

“Unjob Yourself! A New Paradigm for Work and Life” by Wendy Priesnitz

women and girls in mainstream media (video)

My Son is Not a Poodle Hey, are you a white lady? (probably, if you’re reading here) Are you a white lady walking around THIS close to totally misbehaving? Read this.

I’m more like my kids than I’m like adults at the Enjoy Unschooling Project (I relate – having met exactly zero non-schoolers around these parts)

“How to Tour in a Band or Whatever” by Thor Harris; a polemic of nuance and relevancy for our times

“Unlimited Sweets Project” at tranquilparent

“An Immodest Proposal” at Scarleteen
“By all means, not a one of us can somehow erase or alter all of the barriers we have right now when it comes to real sexual agency for all women. But there are no barriers beyond the limitations of our own imagination when it comes to rewriting the scripts of our sexual ideals, our individual sexual lives, and what we present to ourselves, our sisters and our daughters.” Yeah. I hope my daughter (and son) have far better “first times” than I did – and lots more awesome times beyond.

Golden Age of the Moustache, another excellent Flickr group (and YEAH, I’m a member)

"Heeellllllll naw!"

In this moment: we had a few dinner guests tonight and two of them are staying late with their new video game system (a Wii, if you must know). The game played now is loud and intense and highly active and imaginative. I’ve never been very good at video games and the noise-intensity of the game and the fervent self-competition my children are evidencing is a bit off-putting. Quick blog-post them I’m going back to the living room to see if I can learn something new.

on which it somehow did not take a turn for the Awkward

It’s a common enough belief among people that when you have kids you give them little talks to fill them in on your particular family values. Yet I tend to believe as Mahatma Gandhi once said: “My life is my message.” Children pick up family values from the life lived in the family – and yes, this is for good or ill (kids also pick up values outside the family; you cannot force your children into your own worldviews). The need to be conscious about my life-as-lived is is why, in general, I don’t tend to give my kids lectures about this or that. But every now and then I initiate a direct conversation – I just try to avoid any ‘splaining about the whole business. When I choose these discussions I’ve often found asking my children how they feel and what they believe works better than telling them what they should feel or believe.

So here’s word for word what happened in the truck the other day as Sophie and I drove to pick up groceries.

Me: “Sophie, what age do you think it would be okay for you to have sex?”

Sophie: “After I get a boyfriend.”

Me: “When is that?”

Sophie: “Maybe… thirteen or fifteen.” She thinks another beat then says, “Maybe I’d wait a little longer.”

Me: “Oh so you mean, you’d start dating as a teenager, but wait to have sex?”

Sophie: “Yeah.”

Me: “You know, that’s what I did. I mean I had boyfriends and girlfriends for a while before I started having sex with any of them.”

Sophie: “Girlfriends? You’re kidding!” She looks at me in surprise.

Me: “Yes, I mean a few. I kissed them and had sex with some of them and all that. But you know, first I dated for a while before that kind of thing.”

Sophie: “Oh!” The light in her eyes and voice is just priceless. Something “fits” for her, although I’m not sure what it is.

We pull into the parking lot. My daughter unbuckles her seatbelt, leans over and puts her arms around me, strokes my hair. “Thanks for always telling us the truth, Mama,” she says softly, and kisses me so gently.

So really, there’s that.

two wives, three kids, and a bun in the oven

So starts the first morning of a new partnership. For a week it will be Jodi and I corralling our three little ones and she’s knocked up to boot. Things are going well so far. The two girls are ecstatic to have a playmate their own age and are still high off the fun of a new friendship. Sophie is alternately bossy and helpful to the littler girl, much more scattered than usual and less of a help to Mama. Cyan is a willing accomplice.

The Man leaves for work a few minutes late at quarter to eight, toothbrush poking out of his mouth. Then it’s on to Jodi and I to get ready for the day. Changing diapers. Helping with the potty. Putting hair up. Dressing three kids. I get my brood ready and Jodi and her girl are at the table for breakfast #2. Michelle arrives to help with housework while we’re out, so I let her have care of my children for my 15 minutes to myself. I step into the shower and experience a few wonderful minutes of washing my face, scrubbing my scalp. The hiss and splash of the water obfuscates whatever the hell is going on out in the living room. By the time I am dressed and my hair dry Paige is here too. It’s time to go. The ratio of four adults to three kids allows us to get carseats, kids, diaperbags, etc all loaded up in the car in a timely fashion.

Stop at the husband’s work to pick up some cash. Drive through for coffee. Head to playschool. Kids run around; parents steal an hour for “class” in the next room. Normal chit-chat: how to get our kids to eat, unfairness along gender lines of parenting, sex (or lack thereof). There are two husbands there and they valiantly stick up for “their side” of the whole mess. Three of the women at the table are pregnant. All of us are looking for a safe place and strength in numbers. We head back to the kids’ room and sing, pack everyone up, head home.

Groceries and then home for lunch: sandwiches, pickles, carrot sticks, tomato soup, milk. Kids are winding down; lunch is cleaned up; children are changed, nursed, soothed, read to.

I figure Jodi and I have twenty minutes to talk with no distractions before it’s time to get back to work – wash diapers, do laundry, figure out dinner, do dishes, and get our kids to the grocery store again before heading home to cook. Foreseeing this brief respite we have stocked up on good coffee and some bistro cookies (carefully hidden from the kids).

Time to enjoy a break.