Sunday, December 28, 2008


So I'm not in labor. Ive been having contractions periodically but not with any pattern. I know this means my previous claim that they are "real" is untrue. Let me just say that any contractions that wrap around and result in serious back pain should count for something ! My next aptointment at the OB cafeteria is on Monday . The Bean has definitely dropped and I'm guessing that I'm dilated at least to one centimeter.

In other news, Khubz is doing great. she walks around grampa and grammas house like she owns the place. Scully has the house unpacked enough that she is finally willing to sit down and watch a movie. We had our first "family over for dinner" dinner. To be truthful, my mom brought the main course that mysister had made but I cut up some fresh veggies. Anyhoo, we are feeling more settled.

I am blogging from scullys iPhone so forgive the typos and brevity. I have just requested that we prioritize Internet service. It is onthe list for Monday .

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Two new things

I found my potato masher!!

And i was up last night for a couple hours with intermittant contractions!!!!! Real ones!!! I know that cld go on for weeks but it is still pretty exciting!


I am overcome by the amazing people we are surrounded by.

Do you have people like this?

Need someone to check in on your house? To pick up all the random things left at daycare? To clean and scrub your toddler's sticky handprints off the walls? To pack all the stuff in your house while you go out shopping on Mass street? To come with you shopping on Mass street and take your toddler to get icecream while you get your shopping done? Need someone to clean every inch of your new sublease including getting rid of someone else's dirt, dog hair and stale cigarette stench? Need someone to watch your toddler for three days straight so you can unpack and get set up? How about someone to stand in your living room while the movers move everything in during one of the worst icestorms ever? Even if you turn the heat off in the house because the door is standing open and you were raised by a maniacal father who constantly said "CLOSE the door!!" How about people who are willing to come by after all the stuff is gone and clean up the loose bits? Do you have someone that will feed you an incredible home cooked meal right so that your last memory of your town is cheesy, tomato-y, pasta-y goodness?

Do you know people like this???
I have people like this in my life and I am totally overcome by them.


Things here are going well. Scully got iced in to Missouri on the way up to Iowa. The movers made it with all of our stuff and unloaded when it was -9 degrees outside. We had our first night in our new (albeit temporary) home last night and it went great.

Khubz walked in and said "Casa? Wow--Santa Claus!!"

More on that later.
Also in the story line up: My cafeteria-style labor plan (would you like a side of pitocin with that?)
Complete loathing for the US insurance industry.
Total adoration for the Iowa kiddos who have been exhausting Khubz in all the best ways.

We don't have Internet access and won't for a while but I'll try to do some updates while here at Gramma y Grampas.

Okay, gotta run after the girlchild.

love you

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

It is a hard day.

Okay, I've started and deleted a sobbing post about how hard it is to leave Kansas. Even though I'm going to *iowa*. Even though all of these changes are good changes and things we have wished and dreamed for.

We have found an incredible community here with deeply beloved friends. Friends who catch us and have caught Khubz. They are our family and have stood by us through too much travel, pneumonia, comps, weaning, crazy woman juice, a second Bush term. . . You name it.

I have started and deleted this post so many times because I have way too much work to finish up today to be crying all day at my computer. So instead let me reaffirm that I am actually really good at holding on to people across distance, that no one will be escaping my continued kvetching and that you are my family and I am *serious* about family.

You all know who you are.
Know also that you are loved.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Needing some big-girl-friendly

How ya feeling today?


I have been this big before but it was all actually me. Me plus the Bean feels different, you know? It is also strange to say to someone, "I feel big." There's this awkward pause so I continue. "Well, I am big. I mean, I am. I, me I mean, myself, I am big. But this just feels bigger." Then they look away and I look away and then debate whether I should say something fat-affirming so they don't think I'm being all woman-hating. Pretty immediately the Bean shifts slightly to the right and I have to pee.

When I was quite pregnant with Khubz we went to a friend's birthday party. There were lots of folks there including a large group of 21-ish, white gay boys. One of whom looked at me and cried out, "YOU LOOK LIKE YOU'RE GOING TO DELIVER A TODDLER!!" I replied, "it is a good thing you are a dumb gay boy because no woman would ever fucking put up with you." Okay, this is what I replied some hours later when Scully was driving us home. In the moment I just looked at him and said, "well, I'm pregnant but I'm fat, too. I get to be both, actually." Then I started a conversation with a woman at the party about how strange it is, really, that gay men and lesbians are grouped together in the same category when sometimes it doesn't even seem like we breathe the same air.


I am feeling big today. I am big today. I am always big.
It is all no bad thing.

Hippos are big, all the time, but this pregnant girl still gets to look like she's feeling particularly big today, right? All without betraying her inherent, fat-loving, hippo-identity. her big girl self.

So thanks preggo-hippo.

Back atcha.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

morning romantacism

Up again at 2 am.

This time at least there were nicer thoughts bouncing through my head. Things like, oh, when I'm at home with Khubz y Bean we'll be able to have messy breakfast foods again.

Breakfast is often rushed. Khubz eating a bowl of cereal or cheese stick or apple while the mommies do her hair and shove shoes on her feet. All this before whisking her away to daycare in time for "second breakfast" at CLC.

Of course there will still be rushed mornings and running late to this or that etc. But there are just going to be a lot more mornings with oatmeal, cottage cheese, peanut butter, refried beans or yogurt. . . All food that feels good when massaged into the scalp and therefore not helpful when we're trying to rush out the door to daycare. It sounds so romantic from here. Messy breakfast--especially the oatmeal. It's cold here today.

In other news, I had my last OB apt with my beloved Dr. Harris. I am so sad that I won't be laboring with her as my doctor. She is kick ass. Completely.

I've lost 3 more pounds but my uterus is growing so I'm not actually worried about the baby. I've also had wicked nausea most of last week so I'm sure I'll make up the weight here. After all, the major stress eating has kicked in. The bean's heartbeat was strong, all other indicators are good. Dr. Harris told me to expect a totally normal, absolutely boring labor.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

good job, mommy. good job.

Hi folks,

It's four a.m. which is indicative of my heartburn tonight. Rather than spin in silence I decided to enlist ye innocent readers. I used to post stories here, you know? Now it seems like random and/or bizarre lists punctuated by anxiety. We'll get back to the narrative flow at some point, I promise.

On that note, I neglected to post anything about our adventures in potty training. Khubz usually stays dry at night, often tells us when she goes potty, likes to come in the bathroom with us when we go. . .It seemed like November might be the right time to try. . . Or. . .not. We, perhaps, got things off on the wrong foot when we set the kitchen timer to go off every 20 minutes. NO. NO POTTY. NO!! NOOOOO POTTY!!!!!!

Okay, wailing was not the association we were trying to create. Frequent calls to my mother got us the advice that we (Scully & I) were clearly not ready, even if Khubz was (and it didn't sound like she was.) We tried for several days. Elmo and Dora panties. Shrieking at daycare as well. Reports from Funk over at Growing a Pair that Khubz was crying on the potty. (Even though Funk did offer to hold her hand--sweet girl!) Khubz does have strong bladder control because she'd simply refuse to potty for the 9 hours she was at daycare.

At home, she'd come in the bathroom with me and I'd sit on the potty. "What do we think of?" "Agua." Khubz would report. And we'd talk about rivers and rain and suddenly we'd hear the sound of Mommy peeing!! And we'd both open our mouths in an excited wow!! And then it would be Khubz's turn on the potty and she'd sit and say "ssssss" to imitate the sound. Toilet paper frivolities. High ratio of hand soap to water for joyous, bubbly hand washing. And then she'd run out the bathroom and piss all over the living room. Immediately.

Our only "success" came when she was butt naked, squatted down to poop and I carried her, pooping all the way, from her room to the bathroom. I just felt like we needed to declare some kind of victory, you know? Success in the form of picking up a trail of poops from one room to the next is actually a pretty hollow victory.

Well, fuck this, we said. Who needs the stress? We've got plenty ourselves. So a temporary goodbye to the Elmo and Dora panties. Welcome back diapers! The lasting impact that potty training has had on Khubz? When I potty Khubz will come up to me afterwards, pat my shoulder and say, "good job, mommy. good job."

I'll take it.

Okay, that story actually helped.
And you all do know that I've already polished the kitchen cabinets, right?

In other news, we got in to the townhouse in iowa today and it is all going to be okay. I think the space will work better than I had imagined, we should be able to get most of our stuff into storage in the basement there. Khubz had a great time running absolutely wild around the empty house with her cousins. Most fabulously, we dropped off cleaning supplies and my family are taking shifts over the next week or so to get the place ready for us. (i love them. i love love them.)

Scully has just arrived back in Kansas and Khubz & I head there tomorrow. That means I should really take a couple tums to knock out the rest of the heartburn and sort out my head/list/anxiety tomorrow when there are trained professionals (aka the family) available to help me.

Okay. Good night.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Evidence Based Research

A few things I'm learning along the way

Those who have been proven to be hardcore bitches in the past and who have no connection to their humanity shall remain bitches in the present and foreseeable future.

Lists do help prevent me from spinning out of control.

Polishing the kitchen cabinets only brings into sharp relief the other woodwork in the house that is gasping for attention.

If you clean the door of the fridge too early you will only have to clean it again.

And finally,

It's Scully's Birthday! Yay Scully!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

New Improved To Do List

I was going to start by bragging that I did, in fact, polish the kitchen cabinets but it seems I've already said that. But I did. Polish the cabinets, I mean. For real.

Here's the list floating through my head right now (in no order whatsoever.)

  • Gestate
  • Get emails out to non-bloggy friends
  • Call moving men and get them scheduled
  • Clean up the kitchen (this shows up on every list, every day)
  • Stretch my perineum
  • Sort my clothes with bitter honesty about what I will or will not ever wear again
  • Pack up the chachkas in the basement
  • Pack up the pantry
  • Pack up the linen closet
  • Email the new landlord and set an apt for our walk through
  • Pack for our thanksgiving trip to Tx
  • Get over this cold
  • Sort through my dry goods
  • Pack up the chachkas in our bedroom and the living room
  • Pack up the medicine cabinets
  • Clean sweep & pack up the extra coats/jackets/etc in the front closet

In other news I had my OB appointment yesterday. Scully & I got to hear the heartbeat (135) my blood sugar, blood pressure were all fine. I've lost about 5 lbs in the last two weeks so I got to do an ultrasound this morning.

The Bean is doing fine--4 1/2 lbs. By size I'm due on Jan. 10th=perfect. Plenty of amniotic fluid. Everything is looking good. Al-Hamdilallah.

And we saw the Bean's face so clearly that I now touch my belly and feel like I'm stroking the Bean's face.

So everything on the list will happen. We have many beloved friends and will definitely be taking them up on their offers to help to get through our to-do lists (with the exception of that perineum stretching. I have to draw the line somewhere.) And it will all be okay.

So keep growing, Beany.

We can't wait to meet you!

Monday, November 24, 2008


So a few things have been happening around the fruit basket.

We had an october that we are likely to never see again.

Scully took & passed her comps. She interviewed for a new job. She took & passed her orals. We all voted for Obama and will have the first ever African American president of the us. She got the new job.

In Iowa.

We are moving to Iowa. In four short weeks. OMFG.

And not just to Iowa. To the new not-to-be-named town where, actually, the vast majority of my family lives. Khubz is going to grow up with MajPaj and the rest of the tribe. The Bean is going to come into the world and straight into Grandma's arms.

Scully is going to positively kick ass in this job--pretty damn near her dream job, in my dream location. She is ABD and will be able to work on her dissertation remotely. She is going to be insanely busy but I will have the support of the tribe as we all adjust to a new schedule, a new home and a new baby.

Completing this perfect opportunity? The university has partner benefits. So I will get to stay home with Khubz & the Bean and even keep up with MajPaj once we've adjusted. This will be our chance to get well adjusted. It is also my opportunity to either decide I should be staying at home with the kiddos or to stop bitching about daycare. One or the other will happen.

Yes, it is a bit scary to move when you are ridiculously pregnant and quit your job when the entire world is nestling in for an economic depression. And it is also scary to be having another kiddo at the same time you adjust to being a one-income family. And it is a pretty hideous time to try and sell your house. And it is scary and also feels sad to be leaving our community of beloved friends here in Kansas. And I do truly suck with change. And there is a to-do list that is positively overwhelming.

On that note, I have made some progress on my previous list. The office is still a hole and a complete hole and it really, really, really has to get cleaned up today & tomorrow. For real. But I polished the kitchen cabinets. And I've cleaned out the door of the refrigerator. The rest of the fridge needs to get actually cleaned but I've at least cleaned it out.

And I've decided that I need to add "gestate" to any to-do list that I'm working on. It just feels more honest, you know?

Anyway, there's the news.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Because when you're cool

The sun shines on you 24 hours a day

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Cheater post

There is so much going on.
This is just not the time to write about it.

Instead how about some pics?

It has been a very good month for us.

Possibilities seem endless.

She may become a
Gardner or Archaeologist?

Puppy Dog or Furry?

Politician or Human Weather Vane?

Farmer or Corn Pool Olympian?

We'll all have to wait and see. . .

Friday, November 7, 2008

These two

Watching these two cry is making me cry all over again!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

For Sure

There are some things I know for sure.

Barak Obama is not jesus. And I don't need him to be.

The "everything has changed" is not poised on anything that he may/not do next: policy decisions, leadership of his administration, whatever. I did not have faith in the people of this country to stand with a man of color, someone who refuses to give up nuance and complexity when talking about the world, someone who ran on more than bumperstickers. I did not have any faith or hope in the people of this country.

And, again, I do not feel magically like people everywhere have now demonstrated that they have risen above our collective legacies of racism.

But (and I know this sounds strange) I do feel, for the first time, like I have some sort of citizenship. And hope. It is a fragile sort of feeling.

But it is truly not about Barak Obama needing to be Jesus--he is not. He is and will be thoroughly human.

A few other things I know for sure:

Morning snuggles are fabulous. The girl joined me in bed about 4. . . The bean had already woken me up for our spring training at 3:30. Scully is in Tulsa. So Khubz walked up the little step ladder and burrowed in for a cuddle. Heaven.

I really, really can't slack on my to-do list. I did mop yesterday. . . sort of. Maybe "spot-cleaning" is a more apt phrase.

I am not worrying about Christmas cards this year. Because COME ON.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

and then the world changed FOR REAL!!!!!

I am stunned. Completely stunned.

Scully and I sat there last night sobbing on the couch.

People in this country are celebrating this bi-cultural/multi-ethnic/international/american Black man. People are celebrating him for his leadership, his vision and for what his identity means to us.

This does change things.

It does not magically fix anything

But it changes the world that my daughter will move through.

It makes things possible for her that I did not believe would be.

It really does change everything.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

and then the world changed

Just got this from my good friend. She keeps me hopeful even in spite of Bush's second term.

Keep the Faith, my Friends! Today will be a remarkable day for America and the world.

"Obama's roots, his past and his multiple cultural identities stand in stark contrast to the profiles of George W Bush or John McCain. His understanding of, and relations with, the countries of the world--particularly of the global South--and with American society itself point to a different outcome. Taken together, his life and experience make hope for a new understanding of domestic and international issues possible.

On the most fundamental level, Colin Powell has laid out the terms of reference: Barack Obama is not a Muslim; he is black and Christian. But, in the final analysis, what if he were a Muslim? What is wrong with being ''African-American'' or ''Muslim'' in today's America? While it now appears that the US can live with the election of a black American, indications are that a new, virulent anti-Muslim racism has arisen in the wake of the events of September 2001.

Given such fears, and the hardening of religious and ethnic divisions, Obama's past and origins should make it possible for him to emerge as ''everybody's president.'' In rejecting manufactured divisions, cultural biases and the ''religionisation'' of social issues, Obama could well become the symbol of a new United States simply by wielding his stature as president to promote domestic policies that favour justice and equality, empowering citizens of all origins. The first black president's greatest achievement would be to cause people to forget his colour." Tariq Ramadan The International News

Artist Shepard Fairey created the picture.

We Did It!

We voted today!

This really is the most excited I've ever been about a national election. We all went together this morning because we wanted to be in the thick of it. We never go to rock concerts or wait for hours to get basketball tickets. This was our day to wait in a throng of people full of anticipation, crushed together like all the leaves on the ground.

It was awesome.

We got there right as the polls opened and waited in line about 15ish minutes. There were lots of kids there--all excitedly instructing their mothers to remember that its OBAMA they want. One 7 year old girl had her Mom's cell phone and was going through calling various family members to remind them, "Grandpa, don't forget today. Who are you voting for? That's right: OBAMA."

Scully took Khubz in first and then handed her off to me. We stepped behind the curtain and the girl asks, "Hiding?" Well, sort of. The lovely poll worker gave Khubz a sticker in exchange for his pen back. We were dropping her off at daycare at 7:30--not bad at all!

We have lots of people to thank: not the least of whom is Hubs 'o Dawn and the whole Pair Clan. Missed family time, stress & long hours are a very high price to pay--so thank your county clerk AND remember to thank their family's as well!

But that is a reminder of the many, many women and men who have been fighting these battles for a long time. It is not all long & far away. These are clearly contemporary battles. But we also have a legacy of liberation movements. I vote in gratitude for those movements. Even when the voting options suck--even though both major parties agree there should be an endless, unified american blow job for israel--to not vote at all is a slap in the face to my father who cannot vote, to the men & women who died so that I could participate in this process. And frankly, given how the u.s. has been terrorizing the rest of the world in the last 8 years--to not vote is a betrayal to all of humanity.

So yes, challenge election irregularities, agitate for third party participation in debates, protest and take political action way beyond voting. . . But for fuck's sake. VOTE ALREADY.

Remember, all the hatemongers will come out to vote. Don't let them outnumber us!

Monday, November 3, 2008

She did it!

Scully passed her orals!!!!

She is officially ABD (all but dissertation!)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

10 Week Countdown

Scully and I got to hear the Bean's heartbeat yesterday. Everything is looking good, hamdillah, and we've got 10 weeks left to go.

I've already got $20 bucks riding on Jan. 7th, though, instead of the 14th.

But one way or the other we've got about 10 weeks to go. This demands some list making.

Goal for week 30 (next week)

  • Clean my hole of an office. And for anyone I work with: I will not appreciate the humor in any cynical "when hell freezes over" comments
  • Get my hair cut. Trimmed at least.
  • Polish the kitchen cabinets. It is a small kitchen and I always complain that there's not enough cabinet space so this should be a snap!

Goal for week 31

  • Back up the photos from our computer onto a flash drive.
  • Clean out the door of the fridge. The fridge will be a more complicated cleaning project than my office so we best divide this up over a couple weeks.
  • Purchase a new top that I can breastfeed in and wear comfortably in front of my father.

Goal for week 32

  • Reevaluate the logic of publicly listing tasks like this that I am most likely to never, ever complete.
  • Connect with other women about the value of getting through the day over the value of a completed to-do list.
  • Go downstairs to back up the photos and spend the whole time shopping online for (but never purchasing) a top I can breastfeed in.

Goal for week 33

  • Clean out the fridge for godssake. Just clean it out!!
  • Decide that is enough for the week

Goal for week 34

  • Sort through infant/newborn clothes
  • Decide that this is enough for the week

Goal for week 35

  • Resist the urge to go back in the blog and delete this post.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Send everything you've got!

Calling all good vibes.

Please send them this way. Slightly north of here, actually. For the family as a whole.

We are not in crisis. Everything will be fine. Khubz is amazing (hamdillah) We've got the bean (hamdillah again), Scully passed comps (hamdillah, again & again.) No matter what happens next we're having an incredible journey.

But if you've got extra vibes please send them this way.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Even more better femme fruit

You may recognize mi chiquita.

don't tell her i posted her pic, eh?

I unbelievably love her.

how was your weekend?

Khubz has strep throat. Poor girl. She also takes after Scully in her demeanor when ill. She is needy. And it is difficult to figure out where she may, in fact, be milking the situation. Everything was "Mommy holdyou?" with her arms up and tears streaming down her face. What kinds of infractions led her to such desperation?

  • The seam of her sock had bunched up
  • The Mommies were withholding "outside" just because it was cold and/or rainy
  • Every single swallow hurts. Every single sip of juice, bite of banana or swallow of her own saliva

Strep throat does hurt. Even once the fever is gone and antibiotics are in full swing. I tried very, very hard to remember how much strep throat hurts.

Last night was better. Our good friends the Pairs came over and brought a great book, a great game and a fabulous good mood (all was good until the vomiting--not my story to tell.) Khubz was all tuckered out from playing with Funk & Noise. She went down in her own bed and slept solidly until about 11. I patted her down and put her back in her bed.

Sometime later Scully had joined me and we both woke up hearing Khubz cry next door. Scully gets her, gets the ibuprofin and gets back in to bed. Khubz fell right to sleep, sandwiched as she prefers, between the two mommies.

I'm anticipating a bit of an adjustment back to our regular sleeping arrangements once she's not sick. As Scully brought the girl to bed Friday night she looked pleadingly at me, "she asked to come to the mommies' bed so politely, I had to say yes!" And the girl is sick. And snuggles help when feeling so needy.

It wasn't all hard this weekend.

Scully & Khubz made collages with horse pictures. We had streaming video of elmo and bob construe. Ice cream was in continual supply. We did go outside a bit. Khubz and I "cooked." The girl stomped around in a frog costume most of the weekend. We put squirrel food out on the deck and got regular "AAAARDIA!!!" announcements whenever one approached.

Tonight we will low-key it with play doh and leftovers. Probably in that order.

femme fruit

Originally uploaded by Mellagi
I got a hit from someone searching for femme fruits. That deserves its own post, right?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

On Strategy

Apologies for another ((sigh)) post. Anyway, here goes.

I saw a very good friend on Monday. She was living far away but is only 2 hours away now. I still haven't seen her much, largely because I suck & am curmudgeonly. But I was out there Monday and got to have coffee with her & really realized how much I miss her.

I told her this story I'd heard about a place we used to work together.

Our mutual sisterfriend (let's call her Fauzia Faidi, or FF for short) asked the receptionist to make some hotel arrangements at a hotel. The woman did and sent an email saying, "let me know if you get there & its unacceptable. If there's anything wrong with the place just call & I'll get you in someplace better!"

So FF goes up to get the paperwork and to inquire. "So, is there anything that's making you worry about the place? Like, did they say, yes I'm sure the exterminators will have lifted the quarantine by Monday night?"

And the woman says, "Well, I don't think of myself as racist or anything but some hotels are not well maintained."

Let's go with puzzled. It is more effective than pissed, right? The ff replies, "I think I'm confused. What does that have to do with race?"

"Oh, well, you know, its just that there's a certain group of people from a certain place" she looked around to avoid eye contact, "and they tend to buy up a lot of hotels and don't take care of them."

"Huh. Well, I've stayed in some really crappy hotels in Dodge that were all run by white people. Is that what you mean?"

"What? Er, oh, of course. It's just that on the phone, it was just, they sounded. . .i don't know"

"Is this about someone on a phone having an accent?"

"yes. yes. i'm so sorry! i don't know these things and i'm really not like that and its just that you hear people talking about these hotels and i don't know anything and you know so much and. . .and. . .and. . ."

So this whole conversation was low-level impact. No one was denied services, housing or healthcare. Our friend the FF was not worried about loss of her job, custody of her daughter blah blah blah. It was tiring, something to address & sigh about. The woman felt terrible and expressed every hour on the hour afterwards how terrible she felt. This only made the FF more tired.

So my good friend and I were parsing through this story.

"OMFG. You are making that up!" (I have been known to exaggerate, on occassion)

"In fact, I'm not."

"I just wish people would keep to the strategic racism. At least you don't have to deal with all their apologies afterwards."

Not the same thing at all.

There is something to be said for exposure and that some folks have simply not had much exposure to good information. There is something to being able to say "wow. that logic actually doesn't even make sense." Why waste energy on being surprised, shocked and outraged by what is logical consequence of the whiteness all around us? Respond, of course, but don't lose sleep over it.

And then I think about our last national election.
Fear and hatred of queers and arabs meant that more people voted for a hate-mongering, war-mongerer fuck than voted against him.

And then I think about where the above woman gets her information, who feeds it to her, who ensures it is the dominant cultural discourse, who maintains whiteness as we know it.

It's all strategy, isn't it?

Monday, October 13, 2008

on fabulousness & then on whiteness

Oh there is a lot going on in the world. A couple updates on our end:

scully passed comps!!! This is such wonderful news. I am totally, totally proud of her. Of course, she is on to the next thing: preparing for the oral exams. The order goes like this: coursework, comprehensive written exams (comps), an oral exam, dissertation proposal, research for dissertation, writing, writing, writing, writing, writing. . .

She is amazing.

We had an incredible date on Saturday where we decided to ditch the play and simply talk to each other for 4 hours. It was an unspeakable luxury. I don't think our friend Michelle had a similarly wondrous evening. She was treated to a Khubz who is thoroughly TWO and that starts with T and that stands for traviesa (mischief)

Though there was pizza and Bob-the-Builder there was also jumping on the couch and a time-out and a screaming protest of bed time. All this was happening while Scully was sipping her Mint Mojito and I was surveying the endless cheesecake options. We had such a good time.

Michelle claims not to have been scared off and has promised to come for dinner this week. Good thing. Khubz woke up happy as a lark the day after our date and reported the evening had been a success. Pizza. Bob the Builder. And what was the best part? Khubz grinned as she answered: "Michelle holdyou"

On a decidedly different note, it seems we need another electoral speech on race.

From McCain gets boos at GOP rally for defending Obama

"Increasingly angry, supporters of McCain and running mate Sarah Palin have responded at rallies with loud cries of "terrorist" and "traitor."
At one such rally earlier this week in New Mexico, McCain visibly winced when his mention of Obama's name was greeted by the shout of "terrorist," but the candidate said nothing about it and went on with his speech.
Supporters at the Minnesota town hall meeting pressed McCain to get even tougher on Obama.
But when one man said he was scared to raise his unborn child in a country that might be led by a President Obama, McCain disagreed.
"I have to tell you, he is a decent person and a person that you do not have to be scared of as president of the United States," McCain said to boos and groans from his supporters.
"If you want a fight, we will fight," McCain said. "But we will be respectful. I admire Senator Obama and his accomplishments. . . . I don't mean that has to reduce your ferocity, I just mean to say you have to be respectful."

Later, another supporter told McCain, "I don't trust Obama.... He's an Arab."
McCain stood shaking his head as she spoke, then quickly took the microphone from her. "No, ma'am," he said. "He's a decent, family man, a citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with."


Okay, really? No, he's not an Arab. He's a decent, family man. I know this is no different than the "he's not muslim--look how much he loves his daughters" bullshit. I know none of this is new. But if McCain feels alarmed by the racism in his political base maybe it is time for him to host a speech on race in america.

Of course addressing race is Obama's job alone, right? He's the one who is "bringing" race & ethnicity into electoral politics, right? Because 200 years of white men were just a blank, neutral slate when it comes to race, RIGHT?

I am not saying anything new, I know. But does McCain/GOP have anything to say about race? Do white politicians have any responsibility for talking about race or more importantly, talking about whiteness??

" I don't trust Obama, he's an Arab." Attacking a Christian African-American politician by accusing him of being an Arab largely because of the Muslim roots to his name (and because you're supposed to cover up attacks at someone for "simply" being Black). . . This is not about definitions of Obama, or Arabs, or Muslims or Blacks. This is solidly about whiteness.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Allah made me live in Kansas

There's lots of buzz about Allah Made Me Funny.
I'd love to see it but Allah made me live in Kansas--surprisingly not one of the sites of the movie release. That's okay. I'm sure I'll catch it on video at the library in about 7 years.

A couple vids:

The first three minutes of this one about made me pee myself.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Caption Contest!

Scully has turned in a major, MASSIVE, life-changing project. Understandably, this means there's been some stress in the house. She turned it in yesterday with two minutes to spare. (I may have had something to do with this. She finished up her paper and asked me to email it to a friend for printing while she showered. I *may* have emailed an old draft accidentally. This was discovered when the friend, WHO SAVED OUR LIVES, called to report that the emailed copy had yellow highlighting all over it. We raced back to the house to resend. All this because there hadn't been enough drama, right?)

We both came home and broke into HOWLING SOBS.

All this is to say that I have nothing to contribute to the blogosphere except a caption contest. Another friend works at a religious hospital and gets emails with inspirational photos like this below. Um. . . Super Creepy, she says to me in an email. We can do better than that!

Got captions?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Eid Mubarak

I've started and deleted this post many times.

So Eid Mubarak.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

A small, small glimmer of clarity

This interview on Fresh Air helped me out a bit. Especially coupled with the giant pool of money episode on TAL.

Moments of clarity include:

  • Rather than investing in a basketball team, this is betting on whether the team will win or not
  • Purposeful creation of a shadow market
  • Phil Graham writing legislation around derivatives as "not insurance" so states cannot regulate them
  • These were bets & someone has made money from these bets. Yes, there are winners in this. Should we have an economy based on whether people make good or bad bets? Or should it be based on sound investments and productivity. This economy is based on people sitting at their computers and making bets all day long.
  • The undoing of depression-era legislation that protected people's savings accounts from risky investments by investment bank/depository institutions
  • Ultimate irony: The more you argue for deregulation, the more you end up with government owned entities.
  • Eliminate the ability for banks & lenders to make money even if the loan fails. It removes financial discipline from the market.

Also making me feel like this was helpful? It was recorded in April and foreshadows some of what's going on now. In plain language & he speaks slowly too, which I appreciate given the topic.

Some additional glimmers:

Feeling better about the rejection of the bailout bill on DN!

Don't let the market freak you out about the economy from Beat the Press

Where did the money go? from Planet Money

It is still pretty dark in here though. Send a glowstick, eh?

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

a taste of my romantic life

From: fruitfemme
Sent: Tuesday, September 30, 2008 9:49 AM
To: Scully

Subject: a-mazing

I love you.

I cleaned my ears out today and nastiness came forth. Though I love to have clean inner ear canals it means that my ears have water in them the rest of the day. This was not a good idea with my already congested head. It means I hear every swallow AND every sniffle and especially every snort. It is amazing.

And I thought you’d want to know.
Love you sweetie!

A Missed Opportunity for Applied Physics

I woke up this morning at 4:30. When I was expecting Khubz I used to wake up every morning about 3 am. Sometimes I could get back to sleep, sometimes I couldn't. This morning I decided to give up trying and go downstairs.

The air is chilly. Scully was sleeping in her flannel pants. It is baking weather.

So I whip up some banana wheat germ muffins. A pan of regular muffins and a pan of mini-muffins. Mini muffins went in first. Use of applied physics would have spared me what followed. Burned muffins. Burned, burned, burned.

Goodbye lovely scent of baking banana bread. Hello stench of burned wheat germ. Hello crusted, burned out mini muffin pan that now has to soak and will require a delicate recovery period. Hello wasted morning. I should have just showered and gone downstairs to blog.

Mini muffins, of course, take less time to bake than regular muffins. This has something to do with surface area perhaps? Big sigh. On to the regular muffins. Which also burn. Not as badly--just enough that I shaved off the bottoms and will serve them with a side of sheepish apologies (but serve them anyway.)

As for the mini muffins? I scooped up what could be salvaged and served Khubz a bowl of "muffin guts." Why grimace? She ate them.


Ciruela ñamñam
Originally uploaded by vomitando conejitos
It is almost October

And my mouth is watering

Is yours?

Friday, September 26, 2008

Picture Catch-Up

Our Ceiling
The upstairs leaky toilet has been fixed
But the evidence

Gender: It is what you make it!

A little mix & match

Mama's tennis shoe

and Mommy's cherished Oprah Bra

How exactly do you put this thing on?

Ramadhan Kareem!

Beloved friends bring beloved

fruity offerings

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Check it Out: Edward Said Rememberance

Remembering Edward Said Five Years On
By Stephen Lendman

22 September, 2008

Born in West Jerusalem in 1935. Exiled in December 1947. Said was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia in 1991, a malignant cancer of the bone marrow and blood. At 6:45AM on September 25, 2003, he succumbed (at age 67) after a painful courageous 12 year struggle. Tributes followed and resumed a year later. In a testimony to his teacher, Professor Moustafa Bayoumi called him "indefatigable, incorruptible, a humanist and devastatingly charming....leav(ing behind) legions of followers and fans in every corner of the world. I am lost without him....I miss him so."

Chomsky called his death an "incalculable loss." A year later, Ilan Pappe said "his absence seems to me still incomprehensible. What would have happened if we still had Edward with us in this last year....another terrible (one) for the values (he) represented and causes he defended." Tariq Ali referred to his "indomitable spirit as a fighter, his will to live, (my) long-standing friend and comrade," and described his ordeal:

"Over the last eleven years one had become so used to his illness - the regular hospital stays, the willingness to undergo trials with the latest drugs, the refusal to accept defeat - that (we thought) him indestructible." Leukemia kills, and in response to Ali's questions, his doctor said there was "no medical explanation for (his) survival." No doubt Dr. Kanti Rai made a difference. Said spoke of him reverentially - of his "redoubtable medical expertise and remarkable humanity" that kept him going during his darkest times, and there were many. He later described months in and out of the hospital, "painful treatments, blood transfusions, endless tests, hours and hours of unproductive time spent staring at the ceiling, draining fatigue and infection, inability to do normal work, and thinking, thinking, thinking."

Yet, as Ali recounted, in the end the "monster (overpowered him), devouring his insides (but when) the cursed cancer finally took him the shock was intense." Palestinians had lost their "most articulate (and powerful) voice....(he's) irreplaceable."

Veteran Palestinian-American journalist Ramzy Baroud agrees. He called 2003 a bad time for Palestinians to lose one their iconic best and described him like many others: He "stood for everything that is virtuous. His moral stance was even more powerful than (his) essays, books and music (as critic, scholar and consummate artist)....He was an extraordinary intellectual, thoughtful....inimitable" and never silent or compromising in his beliefs or virtue. No "wonder he....was adored by (his) people (and) detested by the" forces he opposed.

Phyllis Bennis called him "one of the great internationalist intellectuals of our time....a hero of the Palestinian people (and) the global peace and justice movement as well....(my) great mentor, a challenging collaborator, a remarkable friend....his passion, vision, wit (and fury against injustice) will be terribly missed."

Daniel Barenboim called him a "fighter and a compassionate defender. A man of logic and passion. An artist and a critic....a visionary (who) fought for Palestinian rights while understanding Jewish suffering." In 1999, they jointly founded the West-East Divan - an orchestra for young Arabs and Jews who collaboratively "understood that before Beethoven we all stand as equals....Palestinians have lost a formidable defender, the Israelis a no less formidable adversary, and I a soulmate."

Rashid Khalidi is the Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies at Columbia where Said taught for nearly 40 years as a Professor of English and Comparative Literature. He called him "a man of vast erudition and learning, of extraordinary versatility and remarkable (interdisciplinary) expertise." We've lost "one of the most profound, original and influential thinkers of the past half-century (and) a fearless independent voice speaking truth to the entrenched powers that dominate the Middle East ."

On September 30, 2003, Columbia University paid tribute as well. It mourned the passing of its "beloved and esteemed university professor." Called him one of the world's most influential scholars, and said "the world has lost a brilliant and beautiful mind, a big heart, and a courageous fighter."

When he learned of his illness and its seriousness, Said decided to write (from memory) a biographical account of his childhood, upbringing and early years in Palestine , Lebanon and Egypt . Titled "Out of Place, A Memoir," he called it "a record of an essentially lost or forgotten world....a subjective account of (his life) in the Arab world" of his birth and formative years. Then in America where he attended boarding school, Princeton for his bachelor's and master's degrees, and Harvard for his doctorate.

He began "Out of Place" in 1994 while recovering from three early rounds of chemotherapy and continued to completion with the help and "unstinting kindness and patience" of the "superb nurses" who spent months caring for him as well as his family and friends whose support helped him finish.

He recounted a young man's coming of age. Of coming to terms with being displaced. An American. A Christian. A Palestinian. An outsider, and ultimately the genesis of an intellectual giant. An uncompromising opponent of imperialism and oppression, and an advocate for his peoples' struggle for justice and self-determination. No one made the case more powerfully or with greater clarity than he did - in his books, articles, opinion pieces, and wherever he spoke around the world. He made hundreds of appearances and became a target of pro-Israeli extremists. They threatened him and his family. Once burned his Columbia University office, but never silenced him or ever could. Nor did the FBI in spite of over 30 years of surveillance the way it monitors all prominent outspoken activists and intellectuals and many of lesser stature.

Said's great writings include Orientalism (1978) in which he explained a pattern of western misinterpretation of the East, particularly the Middle East . In Culture and Imperialism (1993), he broadened Orientalism's core argument to show the complex relationships between East and West. Colonizers and the colonized, "the familiar ( Europe , West, us) and the strange (the Orient, East, them)."

His writings showed the breath of his scholarship, interests and activism - on comparative literature, literary criticism, culture, music and his many works on Israeli-Palestinian history and conflict - combining scholarship, passion and advocacy for his people in contrast to the West's one-sided view of Arabs and Islam. He championed equity and justice. Denounced imperialism, and believed Israel has a right to exist but not exclusively for Jews at the expense of indigenous Palestinians.

The 1967 war and illegal occupation changed everything for him. It radicalized him. Set the course of his intellectual career and activism, and made him the Palestinians' leading spokesperson for the next 37 years until his death. He advocated a one-state solution and wrote in 1999: "The beginning is to develop something entirely missing from both Israeli and Palestinian realities today: the idea and practice of citizenship, not of ethnic or racial community, as the main vehicle of coexistence."

In a lengthy January 1999 New York Times op-ed he elaborated: "Palestinian self-determination in a separate state is unworkable (after years earlier believing otherwise). The question (now isn't separation) but to see whether it is possible for (Jews and Palestinians) to live together (in the same land) as fairly and peacefully as possible. What exists now is a disheartening...bloody impasse. There is no way for Israel to get rid of Palestinians or for Palestinians to wish Israelis away....I see no other way than to begin now to speak about sharing the land that has thrust us together, sharing it in a truly democratic way, with equal rights for each citizen."

This diminishes life and aspirations for neither side. It affirms self-determination for them both together in the same land where they once lived peacefully. But it doesn't mean "special status for one people at the expense of the other." For millennia, Palestine was the homeland for many peoples, predating the Ottomans and Romans. It's "multicultural, multiethnic, multireligious." There's no "historical justification for homogeneity" or for "notions of national or ethnic and religious purity....The alternatives (today) are unpleasantly simple: either the war continues (with its unacceptable costs)" or an equitable way out is found, obstacles notwithstanding.

Oslo wasn't the answer, and Said denounced it in its run-up and weeks later in a London Review of Books piece titled "The Morning After." In stinging language, he referred to "the fashion-show vulgarities of the White House ceremony, the degrading spectacle of Yasser Arafat thanking everyone for the suspension of most of his people's rights, and the fatuous solemnity of Bill Clinton's performance, like a 20th century Roman emperor shepherding two vassal kings through rituals of reconciliation and obeisance (and) the truly astonishing proportions of the Palestinian capitulation."

For him, Oslo was plainly and simply "an instrument of Palestinian surrender, a Palestinian Versailles," and worst of all is that a better deal could have been had without so many "unilateral concessions to Israel ." The same goes for the 1978 Camp David Accords and every "peace" negotiation to the present except the "permanent status" 2000 Camp David "generous" and "unprecedented" offer that Arafat turned down and was unfairly pilloried for spurning peace for conflict.

Said was on top of everything to the end as reflected in "The Last Interview" - a documentary film less than a year before his death. After a decade of illness, he agreed to a final film interview at a time he was drained, weakened and dying, yet found it "very difficult to turn (himself) off." It was a casual conversation between himself and journalist Charles Glass reflecting on his childhood, upbringing, writing, scholarship, involvement with Yasser Arafat, and strong opinions and activism on Palestinian issues.

It was in all his writings and outspokenness - so powerful, passionate, virtuous and a testimony to his uncompromising principles. He described "Sharonian evil." His blind destructiveness. His terrorism in ordering the massacring of children, then congratulating one pilot for his great success. The patently dishonest media. Its one-sided support for Israel . Its suppressing other views. Its turning a blind eye to the grossest crimes against humanity, day after day after day. Of relegating public discourse to repetitive official propaganda. Of subverting truth in support of power and privilege.

Of turning Palestine into an isolated prison. Suffocating an entire people of their existence. Of impoverishing, starving and slaughtering them. Of attacking defenseless civilians with tanks and F-16s. Of blaming victims for their own terror. Of creating a vast wasteland of destruction and human misery. Of sanctioning torture and targeted assassinations as official policy. Of committing every imaginable human indignity and degradation against people whose only crime is their faith, ethnicity, and presence. Whose only defense is their will and redoubtable spirit. Of enlisting world support for the most unspeakable, unrelenting campaign of terror and genocide.

Of pursuing an endless "cycle of violence" and consigning Palestinians to a "slow death" in defense of imperial interests and the national security state. Of pursuing peace as a scheme for "pacification." Of placing the onus for it "squarely on Palestinian shoulders." Of "putting an end to the (Palestinian) problem." Of placing huge demands on Palestinians and making no concessions in return. Of calling resistance "terrorism" while ignoring oppressive occupation as the fundamental problem. Of seeing Palestinians endure and survive in spite of every imaginable assault, affront and indignity. Of piling on even more and seeing an even greater will to survive and prevail.

Said was passionate on all this and more. He was uncompromisingly anti-war and denounced America 's "war on terror." The country "hijacked by a small cabal of individuals....unelected and unresponsive to public pressure." The Democrats supporting them "in a gutless display of false patriotism." The entire power structure characterizing Muslims as enemies. Passing repressive laws. Creating the obscenity of Guantanamo and other prisons like it.

Their self-righteous sophistry of so-called "just wars" and evil of Islam. The near omnipotence of the Zionist Lobby, Christian fascists, and military-industrial complex. Their hostility to Arabs and claim to be "on the side of the angels." Their inexorable pursuit of war and power. The media in lockstep supporting "hypocritical lies" masquerading as "absolute truth." The silencing of dissent. Of mocking and betraying democracy. Of making a total sham of decency, humanity and justice. Of letting a few extremists create their own "fantasy world" to run the country for their own corrupted self-interest.

Said said it all, and ended one opinion piece as follows: "Jonathan Swift, thou shouldst be living at this hour." But even he might have blanched in disbelief considering the current state and potential horror of its consequences. Said understood. He's sorely missed when we need him most.

Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization. He lives in Chicago and can be reached at

Also visit his blog site at

Do you understand this???

Against my will I have a crush on Adam Davidson. I appreciate his plain spoken way & all the folks at Planet Money but I simply don't get it. I cannot wrap my head around this financial crisis. And I've tried. Do you get it? I try to sample broadly but I justjustjust don't get it!

How the hell much is 700 Billion Dollars anyway???

Really, if you have some guidance or insight (that does NOT include loosening restrictions on mark-to-market accounting) please send it my way. These good people have been trying but I just still don't get it!

Planet Money

Naomi Klein on Democracy Now!

Conflicts of Interest on Fresh Air

Beat the Press

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Khubz version 2.0

Well you know that she is two now. Two. As in two years old.

She sings everything. ABC is still a favorite but so is Bob the Builder: " Bob Construe! ¿Podemos hacerlo? Bob Construe! ¡Sí, podemos!" (scully, feel free to weigh in with spelling corrections)
She surprises us with words we haven't practiced like "Crap!" but also "Ramadhan!" or "WatchTV?"
She likes to sit on the potty and makes a sound like "ssssssss" while saying "Khubz pee? pee?"
Bedtime is usually easy going.
The last few nights have been hard because we got out of our routine. I am hopeful tonight will be back on track. It usually goes like this: "Khubz? We're going to ______ (color one more picture, finish one more puzzle etc.) one more time and then head up to bed." and she usually responds with "no." brief, punctuated and lilting. no.

But we ____ one last time anyway and I say, "okay, Mommy's going upstairs." I take the babygate down and she rushes after me. She will pick up whatever is on the bottom step (where things live to remind us to take them upstairs.) She'll grab my bra or Scully's shoes or newly purchased deodorant or whatever. Very. v e r y s l o w l y she'll head up the steps. Once we're at the top of the steps she'll rush down the hall into our room.

I put the gate up and start the bath. She informs me she does not want a bath. Or that she wants a bath but her stuffed animal (most recently puppy or cow) has to come with her. Then she scrambles into the bathroom to feel the bathwater and inform me that it is too hot or that we need to add some bubbles.

I take her suggestions under advisement and scoop her up for "NAKD TIME?"
This is one of the highlights of the day. Not only does she thoroughly enjoy naked time but I love swatting at her completely adorable naked bottom.
Jammies and a fresh diaper get laid out on the mommies bed for after bath. I put her in the bath. We usually playfully laugh through scrubbing of toes and we usually woefully weep through rinsing shampoo from her head. Once done we towel off and lay down in the mommies bed for the official end to naked time: Diaper time.
Diaper goes on. Khubz crawls away. I grab her feet and pull her back. She squeals (in delight or in protest) and we repeat until the jammies go on. She immediately gets down from our bed and runs into her room.
Her goal is always to beat me to the chair in her room. I don't know why this is a constant goal because I've never, ever said "Oh. Khubz is already in the seat. I guess I'll sit on the floor." I just scoop her up and then return her to my lap. But before this happens I stick my head in her room and ask if it is time to brush teeth.

Clammer to the bathroom. She gets up on her stool, grabs her toothbrush and turns on the sink. She loves this power. I brush my teeth, she brushes hers and then once she's done I help. She turns the sink and rinses off her toothbrush. I turn it off and encourage her to put the toothbrush back in the holder. She turns the water on and rinses off my toothbrush. I turn it off and put my toothbrush away. She turns the water back on to fill up the cup to rinse. I turn it off and pour half the water back out of the cup. She turns the water back on for round two. Off. Back on to wash hands. Back off. Really. Reaching the faucet=untold powers. Trust me.

We sit down together in her room. We read one or two or three or four books based on how the mommy feels and how late it is.

"If you give a pig a party" is in hot rotation.

And what happens if you do give a pig a party? "She's going to ask for some balalalloons."

She also loves to point at the picture of the pig standing on a stack of party hats and say, "On bottom, piggie. Listen to Mommy. On bottom."
I take this as proof that she does hear what i say when I tell her to sit on her bottom and her refusal to do so is willful defiance rather than a lack of understanding.

Also in hot rotation is "We all Sing with the Same Voice."
This book is awesome not only because it looks like our family but also because it doesn't dwell on it. It is about being normal in all the ways people say we're not normal. It is also awesome because it comes with a CD and although I can't sing the whole book we sing the chorus which appears throughout the book. Khubz calls it the "ahmony" book for the last line "And we sing in harmony."

It also makes a great segue to singing songs. We always do at least one song and usually two.
Then we'll lean over the railing for a goodnight blessing from Mama. We kiss the Goddess (there's a Guadalupe plaque in her room) and Khubz turns off the light. Mommy gets one more kiss and she snuggles into her bed. Then we have to go through the checklist.
"Okay, ya Khubz, you got puppy?"
"Toby?" (another puppy.)
"Neffie?" (yet another puppy.)
"_____" (insert wildcard here: cow, sheep, bunny etc.)
"Okay, want mommy to put your blanket over you?"
"Ready? Set?"
I lay the blanket on top of her and close the door.
The whole routine can go as fast as 20 minutes or as long as an hour. This does not make me crazy because I am usually the person elongating the evening more than Khubz. All this does route me back to our problems with consistency and sticking to routine. As my mother says, "You are the solution, fruitfemme." (only, she's never actually called me fruitfemme.)
It really is nice though. Most of the time.
This will all surely look different in January.
For now though it is hard to say no to one more story.

Monday, September 22, 2008

happy equinox

My favorite quote off a cover of an indigo girls album

"May this equinox find us more honest about the darkness, more perceptive of the light."

I do believe in magic but not in a "Jesus will save the polar bears even if all the ice has melted" kind of way. But I do believe that rituals can give me greater control over my own feelings, perspective and power. Magic is the the ability for me to effect change within myself and then to see that same transformation in my world. Of course, this isn't my bright idea. It is everywhere in the world.

Its the whole She Changes Everything She Touches And Everything She Touches Changes thing. This is the best way I have to understand what mothering Khubz has meant to me. Serious magic, that girl has. Serious.

So Equinox magic, Mabon Magic, Autumn and Ramadhan magic. Today is a very special day.

Don't believe the myth that this is harvest-only. There is fertility in every season. Think about planting deep in the earth with an eye towards spring because some of us need a long winter cuddle before heading out into the world.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Taking Back the Night

This is where I will stand in a circle with a group of women and yell "No."

Come on, folks, funny take back the night humor is hard to come by and that line is funny.

p.s. if you *did* think that was funny then I should say h/t to my dearest SJP-friend.

Our Walloping Mango

The bean is now the size of a mango.
Hopping up and down, up and down.

This morning we were rolling around* and Scully felt the bean KICK.

"Wow! Feels like a flicker in your belly!"

Flicker? Try WALLOP!

*late edit: rolling around as in sleeping in too late and still refusing to get out of bed. Rolling around includes having a toddler cover you in puppies, blankets and kisses. Nothing other than that so get your mind out of the gutter.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Q & A

Q: How long can you wait to pee with a growing bean bouncing up & down on your bladder?

A: As long as you need to.

good news. . . bad news

Okay, it is Sept. 11th which has lots & lots of painful reverberations, so many people lost their lives on this day and still are losing their lives from the bullshit war that continues, previously well-integrated arabs and naive muslims everywhere looked around and said "wow. . . you really hate us. . . "

i can't talk articulately about any of that so instead let me speak on a completely trivial & unrelated note:

Good news: The plumber that is here to fix our leaky toilet is nice, not creepy, respectful & explains things and has not made me feel afraid to be alone in the house with him.

The bad news: "Well. . . I think I've found another plumbing problem for you. . ."

Really? Because I thought the upstairs toilet leaking through my dining room ceiling sort of met my quota for plumbing problems. Apparently not. (sigh)

Good thing this doesn't really matter. Good thing we have an emergency fund for just such emergencies. Good thing we have really excellent friends like "Rainbow" who (when she thought she'd be coming for a fabulous Ramadhan spread) was greeted by a stressed out ff, a screaming Khubz, no dinner and a tirade about not being able to get behind the toilet because the bean wouldn't get out of the way to let me reach back there. (Honesty asterisk: I am a big girl but the just-me-bigness is at least flexible and I can smoosh my belly out of the way when necessary. The bean is not so accommodating.)

Whew. In truth this is not so bad. Could be much worse. And leaky toilets, plumbing problems. . . Well. It happens.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The best of public radio

Have you read this?

"The "fruit" is actually an inverted flower with a collection of unopened blooms lining the inner wall of the delicate sack. Some fig varieties are self-pollinating" (wink, wink)

I think this is my new best answer, btw, for assholes who question where Khubz "came from." I will just start telling people that I am self-pollinating.

But really, back to this article

"A tender, ripe fig is heavy with its own syrupy liqueur, which tends to drizzle out of its base if you wait too long to eat it."

Really, I am cancelling my subscription to On Our Backs and sending that money to NPR.

This is waaaay better. . .

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

spin or spinning?

We had a very good staff meeting today that included an exercise where we developed a continuum. . . "least harmful to women" to "most harmful to women." Our facilitator asked us about a specific action (like getting a woman drunk to "loosen her up") and we had to discuss where to put it on the spectrum.

Okay, getting a woman drunk so it is easier to rape her goes right under "most harmful." That "most harmful" category got pretty full, actually.
But there were some things that we had a lot more discussion about.
  • Referring to your partner as "my bitch"
  • Reading maxim magazine
  • Telling blond jokes
Lots of these depend on the context. Is it a group of women's studies students reading maxim to deconstruct ideas about gender? Well. . . it could be. . .

So it was actually a good meeting with lots of good discussion. Then the final action discussed was "Talking to a group of your friends about your sex life, in detail, and what your partner did."
I sunk down in my chair.

The discussion started with images of men bragging and sharing ideas to coerce a woman in to doing something she didn't want to do. "Yeah? Well I got my bitch to give me a. . ." and I do understand that image and it does creep me out. But this was the image in my head:

Picture the ff and a handful of sisterfriends in a coffee shop. "Guess what we did?! And it was awesome! And I never would have ever, ever thought dangling off a hammock suspended over a fire pit while eating a persimmon would be erotic but it really was!!" (or insert what you will--in the sentence I mean)

And then the amigas would reply with their adventures in hammock suspension, what worked or didn't, whether they were scared the hammock would rip out the drywall, what music was playing, figs or persimmons or pomegranates. . . And there would be much laughing as we revisited adventures driving along an interstate and accidentally throwing the car into neutral. Or maybe someone has a story about getting it on in a wooded grove until they were interrupted by some Britteny spaniels and a mortified dog owner. I know you all have your own hammock stories. . .
So what makes that different than a group of guys bragging or being creepy?

Well, my intent is not to humiliate my partner. And the impact is different. . . My sisters would never take the information I share and use it against Scully or against other women or against their own partners. Scully is not endangered by anything that I share. She will not be exposed to other people coming up to her and expecting that she engage in hammock suspension acts with them.

But there's this boundary violation piece that is not as easy to dismiss.

In truth this info sharing is sometimes imperfect. Scully is often embarrassed at the idea that the sisters really do know intimate details about our lives. And she is sometimes uncomfortable and will punctuate discussions and/or tra-la-las with an edict that "this is not to be discussed at sistercoffee!" And she has shared that it sometimes feels like our intimate lives and even (or especially) our arguments are all acted out on a stage filled by an audience of my sisters. And she has asked for a bit more privacy from sistercoffee or from sisterfriend emails or from the blog. . . Especially with October coming, if you know what I mean.
So it all really leaves me with this sense that I am tangled up on that continuum in some problematic ways. I'm not convinced, actually, that Maxim is much different than other media I take in. I like to think I have an "informed lens" for how I view media from the Democratic National Convention to fruit compote recipes (or "porn" as some call it) but, truthfully everyone thinks they can see the spin. They just don't feel themselves spinning, right?

But there is no self-flagellation in this post. Just some reflection and a thanks for being able to engage in a thoughtful conversation.

October will be here soon. I'd hate to mess that up.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday

Sweet, sweet baby

Friday, September 5, 2008

No worries, right?

By the way, that "hold it together, man!" was said in my best Captain Kirk immitation. I realize this morning that you can't actually *hear* the tone so I thought I'd reassure that all is okay & that last bit was actually meant to be *funny.*

Yet here's a spot

How to quell anxiety at this late hour?

I have already gone to the grocery store to get supplies for the influx of the tribe this weekend. Accomplishing that task only makes me keenly aware of how much else is on my to-do list. None of this is the root of my anxiety, in truth. But this is not the time, nor the place.

I am just going to go upstairs, put on an episode of Foyle's War and cut out "Dig, Ivan, Dig!" pictures until I am overcome by sleep.

(deep breath) Sphere of influence. . . Sphere of control. . . Sphere of influence. . .

Hold it together, man!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Out, Out Damned Anxiety!

First off, apologies to Mrs. Macbeth (as my dad always called her) for taking liberties with the title of the post.

I am feeling pretty anxious tonight. Things in iowa are rough--some in the family are struggling a lot. I worry about everyone's resiliancy especially since some things (like, say, oh a mental health disability or aging or the breakdown of the bicultural mind) aren't going to go away. Ever. I'm feeling a bit far away even though I was there three days ago and even though many in the family will be here in two days.
Things in Texas are also rough. Scully lost an uncle last weekend and her parents are in Mexico now. They made it just in time for the funeral but I cannot imagine how far away they must be feeling as well.
It is too late in the evening to be feeling this anxious or I'll never get to sleep. Khubz went to sleep promptly at 7:30. Scully followed her at 8:30 (she's not feeling well.)

I am left with one device to quell my anxiety. Here you go:

Khubz + chocolate icecream

(at least it's not poop--yet!)

Post-bath Magic!

Wouldn't you want to smell those clean hands?

A year ago this was Khubz & her comrade, MajPaj

They would never put up with that now.
Instead, they are out to investigate the world on their own (well, together, really.)

And one more piece of randomness. Have you seen the two ponies?

All grown up.

She's turning two on Monday. My girlchild will be two years old. Scully and I will celebrate our second anniversary of becoming Mommies. I know I should be over the weepiness and the "she changed everything in my life" and the stunned sanctity of it all by now. I'm not. There are certainly plenty of glad-she-goes-to-daycare moments or "go! go see mama!" moments or "Ouch! Stop pinching me! That hurts Mommy! Khubz! Ya Khubz! We do NOT pinch Mommy! Mommy is a real person with feelings and it hurts when you pinch!" moments. Sure. But this moment, right now, is not one of those moments.

It is instead one of these moments:

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


I often catch myself doing things that I never did pre-Khubz. Duh. But I keep doing them even when I am at work or otherwise away from the girlchild. Do you do this? These mommy-specific habits are not that strange when done for and with a child. Away from the child they seem strange or odd or just weird.

Driving: Any bump or curve or dip in the road is now highlighted by "Wooowwww!" or "Hold on!" or "Wahooo!" Passing trucks on the highway are punctuated with "Camiooooon! Vrooom!" My carpool buddy has a limited tolerance for this. She has let me know.

Handwashing: Khubz enjoys washing her hands but she's not necessarily thorough when she does it. We've tried to reinforce the hygenic aspect over the recreational aspect by scrubbing with soap, washing it off and then smelling our freshly washed hands. Five minutes ago I walked out of the bathroom, held my hands up to my nose and let out a "clean!" This happened at work. Sans Khubz. Yeah.

Communication: Inevitably in conversation, adults will use certain words that Khubz happens to use. Think about it. "No." "Now." "Eat." "Bird." And I have developed a nervous tick with certain words. I must repeat them with a Khubz-like tone. If the adult I'm talking to does not know I have a child and clearly does not care, I catch myself silently mouthing the words with Khubz's voice ringing in my head. "birrdd." I try to mouth discreetly (not very successfully.) This is super-not impressive at staff meeting. Luckily, Khubz has not learned the term "battering" yet because this would be a tricky one to sneak past in a lyric, toddler-y tone.

There's other stuff but I'm still being held hostage by a fracking grant report--so back to that.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Ramadhan Mubarak

Originally uploaded by George Kaplan
I can't fast this year but I have to do something. I thought I'd start the month out by giving this tender present to the basket.

Ramadhan is all about wanting & waiting, holding out with a community until the moment you all take a bite. It is a slow down in the year because time always moves slower when you're waiting for the sun to go down. And it is also the excitement of seeing people, people you always want to see but don't get a chance to, at the most delicious and anticipated time each day.

The preparations are elaborate because if you can't eat, you at least want to be planning food, washing fruit, slicing cheese, watching bread rise in the bowl. All these preparations promise that the sun will go down. When it does you can slice up the fig, give one half to your lover or sister or friend and collectively enjoy the most perfect satisfaction of breaking your fast.