Friday, November 30, 2007

heading home (soon)

Two more hours of this meeting. . . Just two more hours.
If Joe is reading this, don't be fearful that I'll go all poetry on your ass for too long.
It's just the place that I'm in now.

heading home
para khubz

heading home
with gifts
for my girlchild:
hotel soap
an individual
box of cheerios,
my arms,
my voice,
my presence,
my self

heading home
para Scully

heading home
towards my
who held up
the sky &
held me
from so far
heading home
to hold her.

heading home
para me

heading home
back towards
i will rest
with my people
i will be close
& tired
& finally

A bit better

Well, I've been learning from some challenging people today. One woman in particular cannot say anything without me feeling like she has just vomited on me, shit on me and then set me on fire. It's not her fault, right? She clearly has some communication problems.

But things seem to be a bit better. We had dinner with a woman (employed by the above woman) who does not shit on us, vomit on us or set us on fire. She sometimes says things like, "oh, vomit? I didn't even notice the vomit. You know, I don't think that's vomit at all, do you?" but tonight she said some things like, "yeah, i think I've sometimes smelled something like vomit. I've never seen it, of course, but I accept your perspective that the acidic, partially digested bile all over you is, in fact, vomit."

BTW, Rivolta has won her challenge. It is impossible for me to go 15 posts without using my "graphic descriptions of bodily fluids basket" label. She said I failed some 10 posts ago when I was writing about flatulence. Who knew she was such a weenie? So here is my official concession: "Sally, you were right. I was wrong. My name is the FruitFemme. And I have a problem with inappropriate communication about bodily functions."

So back to the inappropriate shit/vomit/fire story. I do consider it progress that she at least acknowledged the smell of the vomit that we had been subjected to over the course of this meeting.

One more fucking day. One more.

On a lighter note, I had my first phone call with my daughter today! Scully put me on speaker phone and Khubz said "Hiya uma!" It was so clear that I thought Scully was imitating Khubz, just to get her to speak up. But it was Khubz! And she said it twice!!

I was thrilled. So I recited Dig, Ivan, Dig and then Little Quack and told her I loved her. And then she began to wail and sob. At first I thought, "oh, she misses me! I'm coming soon, habibeti!" but then Scully let me know that she's really okay and was pissed because there's no more avocado. Ah. Ahem. That's okay. I wasn't sweating it anyway.

So how is the weaning going? Well, there are hot rocks in my sports bra that I have fastened as tightly as possible around my ever hardening bosom. I have always had a thing for butches that bind their breasts but I have a newfound appreciation for how uncomfortable it must be. Other than that, I feel moderately sad. But the poem helped and all the lovely supportive comments really, really helped.

Actually, this whole blog/community thing has really, really helped. And I do feel a bit better.


Thursday, November 29, 2007

weaning in 5 acts

Some poems are written in ink or out loud.
Some poems you don't whisper to anyone or even copy off scratch paper.

This blog occupies a space between performance and privacy for me
So I'm posting this anyway. You can blame mango tribe if you like.

my breasts are humming
full of milk

i am my own metaphor

i am missing our ritual
where i nourish her
and she

she welcomed me
and i

warm milk for
a warm embrace

when we began
it was constant
every hour
half hour
every minute
every cry

and then each whim became
a ritual
a greeting
a way to share certain moments
morning, naptime
a before & after dinner snack
a way to get through
long tired nights

then came teeth
cows milk
tugging at my blouse
and she learned to nap instead
with backrubs
while patting my breasts

and now even the morning
and the evening
are faced without.
without my milk.
without me.

instead she has
her own self
her own body
in this new &
brave way

this is not our first separation
that was more dramatic

i pushed her out of my body

and i wept & i bled
gazing at her
with flooded feelings
of joy & fear

my pregnancy ended
my girlchild began

distance was required
to simply meet her

and now more distance

if motherhood is this process
of moving her into the world
i have just dilated to 2 centimeters.
there will be more
(like crowning)
but this is enough for now
frightening & uncomfortable & necessary
& not really the end of anything

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Really, I'm not making this up

Coming up on the door at the business center:

Two white women have been at the wrong door. A guy who works at hilton is showing them to the correct door. "Oh, thank you, thank you." they say "I can't believe we were at the wrong door. Thank you" they say.

"That's alright." He says, not with a st. louis accent. "I'll show you the way. See? I'm a black man but I'm nice to you. Just like a little teddy bear."

The white women twitter uncomfortably and go on through the door. I tilt my head with a question on my face and he turns to look at me.

"How ya doin, Sister?"

I smile my response.

What is going on here????

the word from st. louis: Baaaaa

There's quite a bit to catch up on. I am stuck in a hotel in St. Louis with shitty overpriced wireless access. This means I am in the business center with too many white men and I'm on a computer with a mandatory logoff in 25 minutes. Damn.

Today was my last day of nursing Khubz. Ever. Ever. As in. . . Ever. More on that later. Or not.

I hate flying southwest airline.

My niece broke her arm right at the end of thanksgiving weekend.

I ate a crappy, overpriced dinner at the hotel restaurant while having a difficult conversation with a woman whose adult daughter was nearly killed by a batterer. There was shitty response from law enforcement, legal aid, DV advocates, mental health. . .everyone. She is telling me about a particularly shitty response from law enforcement and asks me if I'm shocked. "I think that is absolutely horrific and also not unusual." So we talk about that, how uneducated people are, how unhelpful, how they don't recognize the safety issues for the woman, how they blame her, how they operate with so much bullshit, shame and misogyny that many battered women won't even try to talk to someone about what's going on. Then this woman talks about her frustration with how her daughter has responded to the batterer and more recently, her frustrations that her daughter has started dating someone else. "Oh. . . And what else?! This one's also black--so you know that just ups my anxiety!"

Hmm. "What does that mean to you?" I ask. She immediately tells me that she's not racist, of course. A friend at the table tries to smooth things over, "It just means that she has to worry about her daughter facing racism as well." Ah. Sure. The woman goes on to say that her daughter has such low self esteem she won't even try for a white man. She doesn't even think she's worth that. Ah. Sure.

My one sister and my other sister have some stuff going on. It hurts my heart.

A different sister altogether also has quite a bit going on. Ditto above sentiment.

I cooked like a mad woman yesterday and this morning. When questioned by my loving partner I replied that I wanted this week to go easier for her and for Khubz. ( I get back home late late on Friday.) She reminded me that she was 29 when we got together which meant she had plenty of years of cooking for herself and she promised not to let the wee one starve if only I would sit down with her and watch A Christmas Story. "I know. . .I know. . .It's just going to be such a crazy week for you and I think having dinner ready to go each night will be one less thing for you to worry about." Nice. Altruistic. Caring. Nurturing. Bullshit.

Because reading this required me to reexamine the above statement with a bit more truth. What is up with Two Shews anyway? Even while medicated and recovering from pretty major surgery she is making me reflect more honestly on my own crap.

Okay, let's try again. "Actually, honey, I know you're totally capable of taking care of things. I think I'm cooking like a fucking mad woman because I can't stand the idea that our household can function perfectly without me. Or even worse that things can not function so perfectly, perhaps everything might even go to hell, and there's still nothing that I can do about it. So I have to create some sort of mechanism that will facilitate more denial so I don't go completely fucking nuts while I'm gone."

Every single person who assisted us getting from point A to point B today was Muslim. The shuttle driver, the guy taking bags at the airport, the woman who checked us in to the hotel, the maintenance guy who brought me keys that actually open my hotel door, the cab driver. Salaam. It's weird. I sort of feel like we're family. With all the familiarity and distance that word carries. But, really, salaam.

I called while our good friends were babysitting Khubz. She was having a great time, delighting on her second piece of Rudy's pizza. Scully is going to call me when Khubz finally goes down for the great sleep. We're not sure when that might be, because, you see, Khubz took a four hour nap at daycare today. Great. Thanks. Thanks for that.

Overheard in the business center, "The critical thinking is just not there. . .I mean, people just don't. . . " "I know, I know, I know." "They just don't even think about what they're thinking." "Really, I know, I do. It's amazing to me." "They just don't have any critical thinking, no original thoughts of their own." "Uhhuh. It's shocking." "They're just sheep." "I know, sheep."

I am going to be on the receiving end of their training. If not tomorrow, then the next day. I promise to never, ever again say "they just don't know how to think." because actually (being on the receiving end of such a statement) I have complete clarity that it is a wholly unhelpful thing to say.


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

this is so totally right

But then, you already knew that.

What Muppet are you?
You are Kermit the Frog.You are reliable, responsible and caring. And you have a habit of waving your arms about maniacally.FAVORITE EXPRESSIONS:"Hi ho!" "Yaaay!" and "Sheesh!" FAVORITE MOVIE:"How Green Was My Mother" LAST BOOK READ:"Surfin' the Webfoot: A Frog's Guide to the Internet" HOBBIES:Sitting in the swamp playing banjo. QUOTE:"Hmm, my banjo is wet."

Khubz makes her first joke

Everything is a dog.

Bears, cats, moose, raccoons, skunks. . . Almost any animal that shows up in a board book can be greeted with a "woof!"

As we walk home from daycare we pass homes where dogs bark. Khubz replies, "woof!! woof!" The train roars by and we hear the whistle. Khubz replies "woof!"
In our living room, Scully chases Khubz around on her hands and knees. Scully roars as she rambles after Khubz. Khubz stands her ground with a firm, "woof!"

Between her love of dogs and my love of children's books that are not insipid, we do a lot of reading of Dig, Ivan, Dig! It is one of our favorites. So we open the book up yet again and I ask, "Que dice un perro?"

Her eyes move from side to side as if she's surveying her audience to see if they're ready. Khubz smiles, slowly. Like she's really enjoying this moment, the moment when she knows what I want hear & she just wants to hear me ask again, nicely.

"ya Khubz, what does a dog say? Que dice?"

Smile gets bigger.


That's it

Forget it. Instead, enjoy this picture.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Well hell I don't know

What's going on around here? Does it suck? I can't tell anymore.

Keep your hardhat on.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Caution! Construction Zone

I don't want to hear it.

I am a bit bored with the dark dots and there is no reason to feel stodgy when shaking it up only requires patience and a bit of html code.

So hang in there with me. It'll get better. And worse. But hopefully better again.

Really, A Mack, if you're worried, just blame it on "Those Who Know Best" and bring me some more gum.

What would you do?

So I get this email from a dear beloved person in my life. If I told you who she was, she would only have to kill you also. I'm already risking all in posting this. I feel compelled (I can't help it!) because it is just too fucking funny, so absolutely funny that to not post it would only be inviting the universe to give me such an experience all because something like this simply must exist in the blog of record that operates as my prosthetic memory.
Just for the record, however, this is not from Scully. I think that's pretty obvious from the voice of the email but I think she'd like me to state that just to ensure everyone knows: THIS IS NOT SCULLY.

"Oh my gosh, Jannie, I am so embarrassed I want to die! Call me when you get home because you know when you have those moments when you are so entirely humiliated? Like say, FARTING not once but TWICE when you are talking to the Princess??? Oh my God. I didn’t know what to do! It just came out! LOL. Twice! And she tried not to smile and I kept talking but oh my god, she is typing it outto the others in her clique right now and seriously, all I want to do is say, I quit. No actually, I want to kill her so she doesn’t tell anybody!! Isnt’ that sad??! Like, why didn’t I just say, oh my god, I just farted! Instead I kept talking like it didn’t happen!! And then it happened again!!! Like, where is this coming from??? LOL. I am laughing right now because I don’t know what else to do. Seriously. I was talking to the CM that goes by “Princess.”

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A Checkered Evening

We keep a pretty busy pace around here at the Fruit Basket so sometimes we have to take care of chores when we have to take care of them. We cannot always take care of chores when we want to take care of them. Sometimes we have to take care of chores we may never want to take care of. Other times we have to take care of chores we might otherwise actually enjoy except that the timing of it all makes it a bit of an, um, chore.

There is a good example of the last such type occurring right now: baby in the bath. Khubz usually adores bathtime. She gets to play with her patitios (rubber duckies), her dinosaurio (you can figure that one out) and she even gets to pee in the tub with immunity since I'm rarely in the tub with her anymore. But right now she is shrieking as Mama scrubs her clean. Why? Let's consider the evening in light of the opening paragraph.

I pick Khubz up from daycare about 5:30. She's had a great day, they report. Only one thing. . . She didn't take an afternoon nap. Oh. Remember that Khubz has a great need for sleep. She is the child who slept for 15 hours straight as an 11 month old when she was not sick & not medicated & the dr. simply chocked it up to her "growing." So Khubz missing a nap requires some sort of intervention. But no time for that now. We had to take care of a chore: getting some groceries for the week.

It is about 10 minutes across town in which time, Khubz falls asleep. This is really, really bad! A micro-nap for Khubz may as well be what listerine is to an alcoholic. You know you have a really, really bad problem but the listerine isn't going to help one bit. It's not going to give you what you want, it only demonstrates the depth of your problem to everyone you encounter.

So it is that child that unwillingly settles into a cart. With no seat belt. So I trade out carts once we're at the store and she refuses. Arching the back! Arms flailing! Legs kicking! Alert! Alert! Danger Will Robinson! Danger! She is screaming and not one person gives me the "oh, haven't we all been there" smile. Anyone who turns to smile or scowl is greeted with one-working-nostril flared as Khubz screams. The other nostril has been sealed shut with mucus. But, I forgot, I can't use that tag anymore. . .

Okay. You win. (always a good mommy strategy, right?) So I'm carrying her around while bitching in a nicey-nicey tone of voice. "This could take us 15 minutes but since I'm carrying you I guess we'll need to be here all evening." "We could zip right through the store, you know, Khubz?" And we walk in to the produce section where it dawns on me.

I am an idiot.

Khubz looks out upon piles and piles of apples, bananas, cucumbers, grapes and a lot more food she can't even recognize and signs "EAT." "EAT PLEASE." "PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, EAT, EAT, EAT!" Her facial expression is not demanding. It is blatantly desperate.

What did I expect? This is the girlchild who is the first one at the table and the last to leave. The child who likes to have a pre-snack snack. The child who asks to eat before I kick my shoes off once we're home from daycare. I have brought her to the land of milk & honey and I am saying, "sorry, sweetie, we don't have any food."

Because we didn't. Where are the cheerios? The cheerios we never, ever leave without? They're gone. The blame game doesn't even matter now. They're gone. Gone forever. And we're all going to have to move on & pick up the pieces.

The crisis quickly escalates. We'll just get what we need for tonight and tomorrow! It'll be okay!

We grab some cheese, some tostada shells and race to the check-out. Where everyone else in the world is waiting with us. She sees the cheese in the cart and begins to panic. Mommy's cruelty knows no bounds. "PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE" points at the cheese. points, points, points.

I worked at Wal-Mart for 7 years, ya'll. Did you know that? 7 years. We had words to describe the people who didn't even wait to pay before opening up packages of food. And yes, those words were disproportionately used in reference to very fat women with crying children who only had the proper use of one nostril.

I love my daughter. But I will not be that woman.

Once we're in the car, however, it is a different story altogether. She endured the torture of being buckled into her carseat and let loose the ear piercing SHRIEK!!!! once we're in the car. It was quite a site: me driving out of the grocery store parking lot while throwing fistfulls of shredded cheese into the carseat behind me. She'd quiet down for a moment and I'd think, okay. We're okay. I'm not going to throw any more cheese back there. She's okay and I'm the mommy. SHRIEK!!!!! Cheese! Cheese! Cheese! A flurry of cheese thrown blindly behind me as I drive down the street.

Because I'm the mommy. I exude authority and calm. Authority. And calm. And shredded cheese.

Thank god Mama got home sooner than expected. I'm heading back out now.

Wish me luck. I've got a lot of cheese to clean out of the car.

Monday, November 12, 2007

poop central

You asked for it, Rivolta.

If you only click on one of these links: please, please, please let it be the first.

A Braden A Day: It All Went Terribly Wrong

Mama Bear: The Mommy Hat or Too Much Poop Talk?

Crazy Beatties: Where Did The Poop Go Mommy?

Poop or Chocolate? : The Mommy Dilemma

Jess & Chuck: Poop Stories

Tiny Farm Blog: Manure Spreading Action!

Caroline Jou Armitage: Real New Mommy Fashions

Skt Baker: Poop Talk

Moore Dorks: Another Poop Post

Mystic Wicks

Don't be sad. . . Only 15 posts to go before I can use the "Graphic Descriptions of Bodily Fluids Basket" tag. Stay tuned!!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The Big Eight

You can all blame Veronica for my participation in this meme. Enjoy!

8 Things I am Passionate About

  • My family: Scully, Khubz, my Iowa family, my Texas family, Missouri & Colorado family and family in a few more places besides
  • Anti-racist parenting: Seeing all these ISMs play out in Khubz's world makes me think about people who challenge power all the while knowing that their children will be punnished for their transgressions at the same time knowing that their children's lives and possible lives depend on such transgressions.

  • Being conscious of how we spend our money: Money is your values laid out in numbers, right? And sometimes this speaks well of the decisions we make and sometimes this speaks to the difficult options/practical realities we all face (are we back to talking about daycare again??)

  • Encouraging broad & fluid ideas of gender: Yesterday Khubz went to daycare in overalls with a button down flannel shirt. "It's dress like a dyke day at daycare!" I proclaimed. "Wouldn't that be everyday?" Scully counters. Some folks misunderstand butch/femme as rigid roles but that's not what the dynamic is between me & Scully at all. Even though some things fall down that way (I do most of the cooking, she does most of the home-repair) lots of other things don't fit in those boxes at all (she does all of the cleaning/laundry and I forget important anniversaries.) I hope she learns there are a million way to be a woman or a man or both or something entirely different.

  • Ending violence against women: This doesn't show up so much in my posts but it is definitely more than my day job. You'll just have to trust me on this one.

  • Sharing food to build community: This has looked a lot different since Khubz has come along. In my pre-Khubz days I was known for doing "drive by fruitings" or spontaneous deliveries of fruit to friends' homes. Now it's much easier to have people come by but I try to always have something to share.

8 Things I Want To Do Before I Die

  • Have more kids. Four would be nice but I'm not sure my fairly infertile body will support this goal. Stay tuned.

  • Stay at home with Khubz and anyone else who comes to us and my sisters kids (all of this would be happening in Iowa, to complete the fantasy.)

  • Learn Spanish. This better happen long, long before the "when I die" stage.

  • Take Scully and the kid/s to some Araby country. I used to want to go to Algeria but I think Kuwait might be as close as I could get to showing them what I remember.

  • Learn to make my own cheese. And yogurt. And pasta.

  • Own property in the country that operates as a retreat site. It would be fully accessible (like wheelchair access on the playground, menus for people with diabetes or celliac diseas or low carbers, multilingual signage, all of that!) It would be affordable for everyone (low cost access for women raising kids & living in poverty or for non-profits--at least the ones that aren't shitty & oppressive.) And it would be sustainable for us & the world (local, organic and homegrown food; recycled building materials, slow growth to make the project low debt.) Tall order, but this is a wishlist (sort of) right??

  • Write more poetry that make good performance pieces

Things I say often

  • "Abre tu boca!" Usually when Khubz seizes upon a cheerio or pinto bean of unknown age or even better when she finds an all together unknown thing and stuffs it in her mouth.

  • Inshallah, Hamdillah & Mashallah. 'Nuff said.

  • "I love you." This has multiple meanings. Joyous: I love you! Thrilled: I LOVE YOU! Wrapping up a phone call: Okay, I love you.

  • FUCK. Way, waaay too many meanings to detail in this humble post.
  • "Donde esta tu lengua?" Khubz generally does a quick assessment to see how badly I want to impress the person before us. Anytime I seem too anxious to show her off she keeps her tongue firmly hidden behind her mouth, coyly kept closed.
  • "Before you sit down. . . " or "While you're up will you. . ."

  • "What is their fucking problem??" quickly followed by "Who the fuck do they think they are??"

  • "Next time, I'm going to. . ." I don't need to elaborate on that one, do I?

8 Books I Have Read Recently

  • The Memory Keeper's Daughter
  • Little Quack
  • The Hard Man by Penny Jordan (yes, yes, I am ashamed)
  • Baby Palabras
  • Conquest: Sexual Violence & American Indian Genocide
  • The World of the Forsythes
  • Good Woman: Poems by Lucille Clifton
  • Tightwad Gazette

8 Songs I Could Listen To Over & Over

  • Swan Dive by Ani Difranco
  • Henna by Cameron Cartio
  • Would You Harbor Me? by Sweet Honey in the Rock
  • 18 Wheels by Trout Fishing in America
  • Jig of Life by Kate Bush
  • Almost any Dresden Doll song (thanks alot Rivolta)
  • Prospero's Speech by Lorena McKennit
  • Remember the Tinman by Tracy Chapman

8 Things that Attract me to Good Friends

  • Kindness & a willingness to give me grace for all my imperfections/failures/bad days

  • A world view that the world works and looks differently for different people

  • Recognition that motherwork is real work (undervalued, joyous & crappy, life-changing, world-changing political work.)

  • Willingness to challenge yourself & me & others around the ISMs we have all been bombarded with all our lives

  • Love or at least respect for feminism while at the same time critiqing the white, middle-class lens that too much feminist theory suffers from.

  • Curiosity, sarcasm & wit (in equal parts)

  • Adoration of Khubz, of course!

  • Authenticity, not in representing your designated group identity, but in actually being who you actually are.

8 Ways to Shake Up a Meme

  • Take out the tagging of 8 other people--my track record on my last tags is not so good, you know what I mean?
  • 8 Poets Everyone Should Check Out: Lucille Clifton, Audre Lorde, Pat Parker, Cherie Moraga, Kate Rushin, Mango Tribe, Essex Hemphill and me!
  • 8 Things I Love About Blogging: It's gotten me writing again. I've met awesome people I never would have otherwise met. There are people I have met that I've gotten to know better and grown closer to through their blogs. I'd never actually keep up with a scrapbook on what Khubz is up to. It's given me something else to feel proud of. It is a public outlet for my fruit fetish. I don't have to feel guilty about not emailing out regular updates to family!
  • 8 Fun Words that Feel Lovely in One's Mouth: Ankh. Pumpkin. Zipper. Pantriculation. Sigh. Knead. Starfruit. Flame.
  • 8 Essential Items In Case of Emergency: Cell phone. Cheerios. Diaper. Wipes. Gel pen. Change for the soda machine. Keys. Kleenex.
  • 8 Numbers that come before the number 8: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
  • 8 Ways to screw with people who demand meme compliance: end your list of 8 things with a list of 7.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

In the Interim

While everyone slogs back through their archive of blog posts looking for pooh, please enjoy an animated representation of my daughter & thank that fabulous A Mack for sending me the link!

the poop scoop

Ah. . . I have been issued a challenge (several, actually)

First: Scully is taking in the cosmopolitan sights known as Little Rock, Arkansas and so Khubz & I are hanging out by our lonesome. Except, I've guilt-tripped all of our friends in to coming over this week and babysitting me. For real. Every night Scully is gone. Awesome friends. But the challenge--the challenge was Khubz drop-off at daycare. I have never dropped her off at this daycare and we all remember the challenges Scully faced in getting Khubz through the transition. So I was expecting something pretty bad as having me drop her off is a significant change in the routine. It was. . . okay. There was crying and a bit of clawing at my leg but no shrieking and I didn't even look back to see her banging on the door. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.

Second: I have been tagged with a fun but extensive meme . This challenge doesn't involve as much crying as the first challenge but it does involve some time. So please bear with me as I consider this MISSION STILL IN DRAFT FORM.

And finally: I have been asked to prove my competence as an intelligent adult capable of blogging for 15 straight posts without using the "Graphic Descriptions of Bodily Fluids Basket" tag. Rivolta, I accept your challenge! To get it all out of my system, however, I thought I'd showcase some of the valuable, hilarious and downright intelligent kinds of posts we'll be missing out on here at the fruit basket (for 15 posts anyway.) My plea to all gentle readers is: SEND ME YOUR POOP! (not literally, please) and check out all the blogosphere has to offer relating to young children and the waste matter they excrete. Feel free to drop your links in the comment section. Rivolta, just for you, this MISSION IS IN PROGRESS. I'll do a poop round-up before undertaking my fast from "bodily fluids basket" posts. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

fresh perspective

A change of perspective always helps, doesn't it?

For example, if you've been working on two documents since, oh, say, JANUARY and someone comes in and tells you that they're crap and the reason the documents are crap is because you DON'T CARE ENOUGH ABOUT WOMEN. . . A change of perspective might help, right? Right.

So let's turn to the masters of new perspective--children. In this case, Khubz.

Food, for example.
Food can be understood as vegetables, legumes, protein, fats, fruits (of course) etc.
Khubz would say that food can be understood as

  • makes hair spike upwards (refried beans)
  • makes hair clump and start to smell sour (cottage cheese)
  • makes hair green (guacamole)
  • makes hair shorter (gum) --okay, i made that one up.

Poop, for example, can be categorized a number of ways.

Khubz helped me expand my perspective tonight when

  • she assumed a position like she was making a difficult shot in a croquet game
  • she didn't move a muscle so as not to interrupt her concentration
  • she grunted like she was imitating a wookie
  • I heard the velcro-y tab of her diaper begin to loosen
  • I picked her up and felt the heat radiating from the new deposit in her pants

I would have had none of these considerations on poop, were it not for her.

Although, on second thought, I might have had a better understanding of poop after my call with that above unmentionable person.

Monday, November 5, 2007

A few pics

Here's Khubz walking at the ranch with her grandmother and her Mama. Both Tita & Scully asked me to edit out their asses which is the only downside to getting such a cute "walking away" picture.

Here's the disasterous cake I made for the cake walk at Khubz's daycare (they had a carnival.) It was so horrible that I had to run to the store for rice crispies so I could try to redeem myself.
I think I did!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Look at that!

I've just been tagged with a meme. Luckily, Scully has taken Khubz out to the women's basketball game so Mommy time is officially at hand. . .

This meme has been described in a couple ways.
Check out Alex Year One for details.

Ten Literary Ladies & Trans Folks I Would Greet with a Bottle of Red Wine and possibly with a Mystery Package with a Return Address Marked "Open Enterprises"
  1. Jess from Stone Butch Blues by Leslie Feinberg. I know s/he wasn't totally ethical through the whole book but s/he was in the midst of seriously fucked up shit and I think things would be quite different now. I'd at least enjoy the cuddle.
  2. Idgie from Fried Green Tomatoes by Fannie Flagg. Come on. I know she made your list, too.
  3. Shug Avery from the Color Purple by Alice Walker. I hope she'd sing.
  4. Gilda from the Gilda Stories by Jewelle Gomez. I have always had a thing for vampires.
  5. Lilith from the Bible. Bad, bad woman. Good, good time.
  6. Geraldine Granger from the Vicar of Dibly. Really, I'd take Dawn French just about anyway she'd like to come.
  7. Lois of Dykes to Watch Out for by Alison Bechdel. Maybe Hillary, too. Definitely Jezzana.
  8. Medusa. What can I say? I love the very idea of a dangerous, angry woman who won't let men even look at her.
  9. Jack Sparrow in Pirates. He may not be a fag, but he is definitely a gender bender. And he'd make such a pretty girl.
  10. Nacha from Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel. She was the one who taught Tita the recipes & magic in the first place.
  11. Scully from X-files. Okay, I don't really have a thing for Gillian Anderson. There is another Scully, however, for whom I would definitely break out the red wine.
  12. (oh yeah and--late addition) Viola/Cessario from Twelfth Night. Here's my favorite part when Olivia asks what Viola would do if Olivia refused her: Make me a willow cabin at your gate, And call upon my soul within the house; Write loyal cantons of contemned love And sing them loud even in the dead of night; Halloo your name to the reverberate hills And make the babbling gossip of the air Cry out 'Olivia!' O, You should not rest Between the elements of air and earth, But you should pity me! For real, peoples, wouldn't you open a bottle of red wine on that one?

What fun! Thanks!

So let me tag The Fledgling Lesbian & Two Shews & Rivolta (who better list weirdo Mulder on her list.) And don't worry. You can list boys (if you must.)

Called By a Higher Power

I have been called to be on a jury pool. I'm supposed to call in the weekend before (it will be in December) to see if I'm needed. The timing isn't great (when would you have two weeks where nothing else needed to get done?) but I am excited about the very possibility of being on a jury. In true fruitfemme fashion, I am exactly who I think should be on a jury!

On that note, let me retell my best "worst juror" story ever. I was with a woman in the courtroom and we were waiting for her hearing (she had been charged with assaulting an officer--she spat on him.) And this woman is in front of the judge (who shall not be named but who I think is heinous) we'll call her judge martin (wink, wink.)

So the woman before judge martin had been on a jury in judge martin's courtroom. The trial was 3 days along when the woman stood up and stomped out of the room, disgusted with the whole thing. Judge martin sent a bailiff after the woman. She took off, got in her car and went home. So they sent a sheriff deputy to her house to bring her back. And she HIT HIM. So now she was in front of this same judge for contempt and assaulting an officer.

At least I know not to try anything like that. I hope they pick me. (I hope I don't regret hoping they pick me.)

On another note: The Spanish Story Hour at the Library mentioned in a previous post.
So Khubz & I get there about 15 minutes early. There's one woman (her name is Berta) with her 5 month old who says something to me in Spanish. I freeze. All my spanish flees from my mind as suddenly, I am 5 years old and trying desperately to talk to my uncle in Arabic. She was saying things like, "My baby is 5 months old." I've said this sentence in Spanish when Khubz was 5 months old. Nothing, nothing, nothing--"uh, que?" So there was this nervous tension anyway, coupled with the strange energy anytime you interact with other adults as parent at these kinds of things.

So we get over that and her English waay outshines my Spanish and we exchange pleasantries about problems sleeping, joys of babbling and talking etc. etc. So at some point we trade names of the kiddos and hearing that my daughter's name is distinctly Mexican she asks, "are you teaching her Spanish?" this was said with some level of fear, surely, as she was currently experiencing my finesse with the language.

But it leads us to that moment. I'm not here with Scully. There's nothing obviously queer about me & Khubz here at the library. I'm clearly not ashamed of my family and yet it is hard, hard, hard to come out to Mexicans and I simply won't come out to Arabs. And it's not that homophobia is more present in one patriarchy than another. It's that I need something different from Arabs than other folks and this seems to have spilled over into Mexicans when it comes to Khubz.

So that's going on. This is also my opportunity to prove to Khubz that there's nothing wrong with her family. And frankly, this is my opportunity to practice so by the time she picks up more on nuance I'll be more smooth.

With that thought, I forged ahead. It was not smooth.

Me: Um, su mama es Mexicana, es de Tejas.
Her (deeply puzzled expression): Su mama?
Me (looking right at Khubz): si. Su mama.
Her: Su mama?
Me: Si. Es mi compaƱera.
Her: Tu compaƱera??
Me: Mi novia.
Her: Tu. Novia.
Me: Si.
Her (in Spanish & English): Oh, I thought, you're not her mama?
Me: Oh, si. Si. I'm her mommy.

Pause. (actually, there were lots of pauses all through.)

Me: Tiene dos mamas.

Stunned silence. A long moment later,
Her: She no have a dad?
Me: Nope. No dad. (sing-songy, looking only at Khubz.)

More silence.

Well, this is about over, isn't it? I think. When will the story time actually start? So it can end! Storytime starts with me, Khubz, this woman & her son and random kids who were already at the library. The facilitator does a great job reading the story in spanish and talking the story through in english.

Five minutes into the first story, Berta jumps up. She thrusts her son into my arms while quickly saying something "I've got to go! I've got to go!! You hold my son?!" Sure, I take her son all the while glad that I didn't have incontinence anywhere near that dramatic after giving birth. The facilitator tells us all that she had forgotten her cell phone on the bus on the way here. The bus is back so this is her only opportunity to get her phone. Okay.

So it was all good for about 2 minutes.
After that, her son (5 months old, remember) noticed that he didn't see his mom, he didn't see anyone he recognized, and this person (me) now clearly identified as a stranger was holding him. He begins to wail. WAIL. To the point that every librarian in the children's section comes over at one point or another to check on this clearly overwhelmed mom. Khubz, for her part, was not about to let me hold some newcomer while she was on the ground. We eventually found a compromise where I held the boy and she held my pinky. We walked back & forth, we looked out the window, we rocked--nothing.

5 minutes pass.

5 more minutes pass.

Is she coming back? I begin to wonder. Of course, as soon as that thought occurs to me I follow it out to it's il/logical conclusion. The frantic nonsensical musings included, "there's no WAY I'd turn this little boy over to the state!" and "what do you supposed Scully would say if I came home with a 5 month old?" and finally, "that's one way to get out of more fertility drugs"

This is all funny because, of course, she did come back. To her red faced boy gasping for air between wails. Pobracito. Poor little thing.

So we finished out the story hour and she thanked me again and said she hopes we come next time so it's not just her and her son.

Doing my best I try to tell her "see you later" which would have been 'hasta luego' but it comes out like this: "Hasta manana--ah, well, probably not tomorrow, but, you know, hopefully, next time."


So the long & short of this (long) story is sometimes there's just an element of surprise, a need for an awkward moment to understand because the world doesn't teach people to expect an arab lesbian with really pitiful Spanish and her Saudi/Mexican/American daughter at the Spanish Story Hour in KANSAS. And, sometimes, once you get through that moment, that surprise you can carry on with the business of getting to know someone.

Stay tuned. We'll be back at storytime next week.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

New things today

  • I got Khubz to take a nap without nursing--for the first time ever! (she's napped before without nursing, just not with me.) And then we did it again in the afternoon.
  • Khubz took off her own diaper. Then I dressed her in overalls.
  • Khubz and I went to spanish storytime at the library. There is a whole, huge story about that.
  • Work (which has lately been moderately busy but never completely stressful) seems to have become extraordinarily stressful. And there's nothing to be done right now. Just wait. Grrrrreeat.
  • Khubz likes roasted acorn squash and feta cheese. no shit.
  • Scully has Khubz at the hardware store and so I've got a few minutes but the kitchen is a disaster again. . . We had quinoa & black beans most of which Khubz spilled on her lap and ultimately the floor.
  • There is three weeks worth of laundry here in the basement and one week's worth of clean but unfolded laundry upstairs. Okay, honestly, Khubz loves to pull things out of the basket and so the clean laundry is spread all over the living room.
  • And to be brutally honest, some of that clean laundry made it's way to the kitchen where it mingled with (or should I say "became intimate with") the mashed black beans and quinoa and will now have to go back downstairs to be washed AGAIN.
  • We had a really, really great day together actually.
  • I'm not kidding. One of the best days ever.

Friday, November 2, 2007

I am the man

Please note, I am not the man as in "I am the MAN".
I am the man as in "yes, yes it is true." (sigh) "I am the man."

Did I confess to you that on our anniversary we said to one another "no presents." And we both followed the rules and didn't get each other presents. But Scully painstakingly cut out pictures of Iowa wildflowers and pasted them on to a handmade card that read, "until I can go outside and pick these for you for real" It also had little drawings of our family and future family (inshallah.)

And what did I do for her? I smiled. I thanked her. I gave her a kiss. And I told everyone about the wonderful card she'd made for me.

And later that night she mentioned that she really likes getting cards. . . or at least something. Even a can of soda with a "happy anniversary!" would have been nice. And I apologized for being an oaf and promised to do better and she said not to worry. She'd happily accept a belated anniversary gift.

So I tuck this piece of information away, fantasizing about the "absolutely perfect" thing to do for a belated anniversary gift which (of course) never materializes.

Fast forward to a few days ago.
Scully is setting out our altar for day of the dead. As she is doing this she reminds me that Nov. 1st is All Saints Day.

All Saints Day is her saints day. I can't tell you why because that would reveal too much about her secret identity. Just take my word for it & don't go nosing around asking any Latinos.

And yesterday, another reminder: tomorrow is All Saints Day.

Please know that in the past (we have been together for 7 years) she has told me that all she wants is for me to acknowledge that it is her saint's day by saying "Happy Saints day, honey!"

And what do I do this morning? Shuffle, shuffle, shuffle. Shower. Get Khubz dressed. Complain about the mess in the kitchen from my kamikaze-style cooking the night before. Remind Scully that I will be unavailable in the afternoon if anything comes up for Khubz. Shuffle, shuffle, shuffle. Kiss Khubz and Scully good-bye. Leave for my meeting.

(it gets worse)

Half-way through the day I send a text message, "Just wanting to say hi!"

Not, "Just wanting to say happy saints day!" or even "Wow. . . I blew it this a.m. Happy St's Day!"

And worse, I sent a message 'just saying hi' so it was pretty clear that I had a moment of opportunity.

I wasn't too busy. I had even been reminded. I am, simply, a douche or a schmuck or "the man."

My phone quickly beeped back with a message: No one remembered my saints day. :(

To prove that I am "the man" in the relationship I responded to her text message (sent in response to my "just hi") by freaking the fuck out and immediately deciding the way to fix my asshole-ism was to purchase some, um, say, FLOWERS for her.

Because that's what women everywhere have always said. Sure, he might be a total schmoe, inconsiderate and self-centered but at least he brought me flowers and a lame apology!

It's true. In my defense, another motivator was that I knew she wanted flowers for the altar.

And I clearly offer this up as a public apology. The best demonstration of how contrite I am is to simply say (sigh): It is true that sometimes femmes are the man. (additional sigh) I wish I didn't prove this fact quite so often.

What a putz I am.

p.s. At least I've improved at her birthday. It's Dec. 2nd and I used to spend her birthday crying because I couldn't budget to save my life and therefore I never had a birthday present for her on her birthday because that was always the same paycheck period that rent was due. So for a good 4 years she spent her birthday consoling me and letting me know that she didn't care about getting her birthday present two weeks late if only I would stop CRYING so we could at least enjoy the day together.