metaphortunate: (Default)
Things I have been enjoying recently:

"The Beigeness", by Kate Tempest. I love the song. I am disturbed by the video, which is probably its goal. It's trying to say something about race and sex and genderplay and secrets and men and women and power, but I can't tell if it's getting there; and it's especially hard for me to read because Ms. Tempest is English and the racial fault lines are different there than where I'm from. It's…kind of fucked up, though, right? I think it's kind of fucked up. Great song, though.

"Moves Like Yaweh"(sic): [personal profile] jetpack_monkey's Festivid entry this year. Yes, it's a Prince of Egypt vid set to "Moves Like Jagger." Don't read the comments in advance: they'll spoil one of the best jokes. Leave the vidder one afterwards, though!

No Cities To Love: see "Bury Our Friends," by Sleater-Kinney. Don't call it a comeback, they've been here for years.

Unrepentant Geraldines by Tori Amos: see "Wedding Day." Now goddamn, this really is a comeback, after the past few years of unlistenable wankery.

Tape Deck Heart, by Frank Turner: see "Recovery", but also "Plain Sailing Weather" and "We Shall Not Overcome" and "Tattoos" and just the entire goddamn album. It is a joyfully musical work about being a self-pitying fuckup of a sad bastard with a completely unjustified superiority complex, and it speaks to my soul. I'm not going to embarrass anyone by claiming you as one of my people, but y'all: this one is for you. You know who you are.

All Hands, by Doomtree: see "Marathon". Okay, I'm not gonna lie. This is just to keep us going till Dessa puts out a new album. [personal profile] norah, I blame you for this addiction.

And on a totally different note, Nuxe Rêve de Miel lip balm. I know it's a stupid amount of money for a lip balm, but here's the thing: usually, when I buy a lip balm, I buy two, one to keep in my medicine cabinet, one to take with me and reapply all day and my lips are STILL chapped and cracked and bleeding. I bought one of these - and I don't need another. I don't need to put on lip balm during the day anymore. I put on a homeopathic amount in the morning and another at night and my lips feel fine. I don't know what they put in this shit but it's amazing.
metaphortunate: (Default)
Hordes of people are freaking out about Tempest's suggestion not to read any books by straight cis white men for a whole year.

So, like; none of them ever had a year where they didn't read a single book by a Latina lesbian, and a trans black woman, and a Malaysian man, and so on, did they? They read something by every single combination of ethnicity and sexuality every single year?

Wait, they didn't? There was a year they didn't read anything by a gay Latina? THEN WHY THE FUCK IS IT A BIG DEAL IF THERE IS A YEAR IN WHICH SOMEONE DOESN'T READ ANYTHING BY A WHITE MAN.

Incidentally, I did this. One year right after college, I decided I was going to only read books by women, for one whole year. I highly recommend it. I read books I wouldn't ordinarily have read, that didn't at first appeal to me, simply because I had arbitrarily placed more familiar books temporarily off limits. I picked up books by authors who were labeled by their marketing as not FOR me; same reason, and it was great.

But more importantly, it reprogrammed my brain. It took white men out of their Center Of The Universe, Authority, Source And Validator Of Information status in my internal map of the world in a way that they have never fully recovered from; though I should do a refresher year sometime. You really, really, really cannot tell what the water you are swimming in is like till you step onto dry land sometime. Yes, there are tons of great books by white guys. I read them now! But it did me no harm and great good to spend a year leaving them to one side.
metaphortunate: (Default)
I just signed up for [personal profile] kate_nepveu's Playlist Exchange.

I better go to bed before I make any more decisions that commit me to doing anything other than sleeping. Fun is for people with better time management skills...
metaphortunate: (Default)
Primogeniture never made any sense to me until we had two kids.

But when the Junebug was a baby, Mr. E painstakingly handmade him nutritionally balanced homemade baby food, and we have spent hours and hours drilling manners into his head and rules and so on. With the result that he is a great kid. And now that Rocket is almost 18 months old, he's still occasionally eating those shelf-stable vacuum-packed bags of baby mush, and mostly as long as he's not actually screaming at the top of his lungs or shitting on his brother we just sort of let him do what he's gonna do as we try to get other shit done. (Falling is good for them! It teaches them appropriate risk assessment!) And if god forbid we had a third one, I'm pretty sure we would duct tape it to the wall and occasionally fling it scoopfuls of Purina Tot Chow.

So yeah. If we had to pick a king or something, I would have to vote for that first one.

therapy

Mar. 5th, 2015 06:00 am
metaphortunate: (fooled you again brain)
Today I plan to talk to my therapist about happiness.

My kids often make me happy. My husband often makes me happy. My problem is that I have realized that I love it when my kids or my husband make me happy; but whenever anything else makes me happy - and there are a shitload of things in the world that could make me happy: gardening, seeing friends, reading books quietly by myself, opera, masturbation, new clothes, massage, rock concerts, a haircut, taking the time to write a post like this: I feel guilty. Because I am taking time and/or energy and/or money that should be spent either on the kids or on Mr. E or on sleep or exercise so that I can be more physically and emotionally able to be a good partner and mother. Seriously: being happy feels like stealing.

And then I wonder WHY I'M NOT HAPPY VERY MUCH.

I am looking forward to hearing what she has to say. [personal profile] hradzka, you would love the shit out of my therapist. Couple weeks ago I brought up some money stress that I've been having: there's this, but then there's that, here's how Mr. E and I are doing stuff, but I might want to change because this other thing, blah blah blah.

She listened carefully to everything I said, then said, "Sounds like you guys need to set up a new bank account. Because then this thing, and this other thing."

I said, "Yeah, that would solve this problem…but ehhh, we haven't done it because awkward, and these feelings, and I have these other feelings."

And she was like "Okay, but your feelings are dumb and boring. What would fix the problem is if you addressed it, like by setting up a new bank account."

And the thing is, because I have been crazy for so long, my feelings ARE dumb and boring! Even I am sick of dealing with them! Of course she did not actually say anything so hurtful. But she was clearly uninterested in noodling around in my ~feelings~ for ages and instead was very clear about the benefits of addressing the problem with an idea for a solution.

Which I did not want to do, because money is hard to talk about. But the great thing about a therapist, as opposed to a self-help book or something like that, is that I could not face going back to her and admitting that yeah, you and I talked about a solution, but I could not bring it up and prefer to remain stressed out about money. Couldn't do it. Instead I sucked it up and talk to Mr. E and we have come up with a solution that we like for now: it is not the same one that my therapist came up with, it is one that works for us better, but we would not have done it if she hadn't given me the kick in the butt.

And I feel better.
metaphortunate: (Default)
As you probably know, the 50 Shades of Grey movie came out recently.

Delightful: the explosion of men impotently railing "This isn't sexy! Why would anyone think this was sexy! It's awful! It's terrible! Stop finding it sexy!"

I will fucking increase the fucking thing
(drawn by floccinaucinihilipilificationa; thanks, [personal profile] kate_nepveu!)

Incidentally, have you noticed? Sometimes things that are just not that well written become hugely popular among men, or majority men. Star Wars, for example. Then there is an enormous collective effort to figure out what's appealing about it: explosions, special effects, the Hero's Journey, etc. And sometimes things that are just not that well written become hugely popular among women. Then there is an enormous collective effort to explain what's wrong with women for liking it.

Irritating as all fuck: all the earnest BDSMers finger-wagging about how dangerous it is that this story has fallen into the hands of women who Know Not The Truth About BDSM.

Y'all. It is a fantasy. Fan. Ta. Sy. I've got a copy of The Topping Book and Dossie Easton cheerfully writes about helping a guy figure out how to play out his fantasy of literally skinning his lover. You've read Doc and Fluff - you know, groundbreaking BDSM classic? About healthy safe and sane relationships, is it? Fuck's sake, stop freaking out because women are doing some homosocial bonding over fantasizing about a hot toppy billionaire.

(The famous tampon scene? The "ewww, why would anyone want to read that?" scene? Yes. In a world where girls don't want to let guys go down on them because they think they're "gross", let us wonder what on earth women might find appealing about a book with a scene in which a man is so comfortable with and completely not grossed out at all by a woman's normal bodily functions that it doesn't kill the mood for him to take out her tampon. It may remain forever a mystery.)
metaphortunate: (Junebug)
I know this is one of those things. Everyone who lets their kids take more risks than mine is negligent. Everyone who makes their kids take fewer risks is smothering and overprotective.

Nonetheless. It breaks my heart to see all the little girls who see the Junebug doing a slightly adventurous thing, and copy him, only to bring their parents swooping down all "No, no, honey! We don't do that! That's dangerous!" Then they sadly watch the Junebug climb or swing or jump and I sadly watch them learning that adventure is for boys. They start binding our spirits so early.
metaphortunate: (Default)
Well, I feel the answer to the question of whether I told the Junebug the right thing has been swiftly answered, inasmuch as he hit another kid with a shovel today.

It's really great when the action-feedback loop is so immediate. Yes. That emotion I'm feeling is probably gratitude.

Anyway.

[livejournal.com profile] nihilistic_kid had a great suggestion, which was to kick the kick, not the kid. Which is really what I should have been getting at in the first place. It's okay to stop someone else from hurting you. It's not okay to hurt them in revenge: that just takes you down a path you don't want to go.

(I mean, iterated prisoner's dilemma is a thing, but he's too young for that.)

I also found it very interesting that there was a sharp divide between most people from California saying that tattling is absolutely the way to go, and people from everywhere else saying that no, you gotta fight back. This morning I asked my coworker with the older kids about it. She's from California. She said tattling all the way.

So! You have to know your local social norms. I will start emphasizing telling the teacher. We'll do some physical blocking practice. And we'll see how that goes.

-----

By the way, he's not being bullied, as far as I can tell. This is all...kids being physical, the way they do. Today one kid bit a teacher. These things happen.

It's hard because they're all learning with each other. When I was learning to pass clubs, I practiced with some other beginning jugglers, and I practiced with some expert jugglers. It was SO MUCH EASIER to pass with the expert jugglers! They throw clubs that are easy to catch! They caught all my garbage throws! All the kids are beginner human beings trying to learn how to human with other beginners. It's hard. This morning the Junebug mentioned his temporary tattoo that he got this summer. It lasted like a week, he loved that thing. But this morning he sadly asked me why all the other kids kept touching it when he didn't want them to.

"How many times have I told you to quit poking people on the bus?"

"SO MANY." Aggrieved expression. This clearly weighs on him.

"That's because you're still learning how to respect other people's boundaries. So are all the other kids! You have to be patient."
metaphortunate: (Junebug)
Did I do right?

The Junebug came home from daycare the other day with the story of how his friend* Prince** had kicked him when they were lining up to go out to outdoor play. He said it had hurt. That he hadn't seen it coming, that it had come by surprise. That the teachers hadn't noticed or hadn't interfered. Which seems legit, because the teachers tell us about incidents of fighting, and no one told me about that one.

At his daycare they teach the kids to say "No!" and block the other kids with their hands if they try to push or hit or bite. He said that he said "No!" but that Prince kicked him anyway.

I asked what he did. He said he had cried. He said he thought he'd cry till I came.

(That small dry snapping sound you just heard was my heart breaking in half.)

(I should note for the record that when I actually did come to pick him up he was laughing and running around outside, totally non-traumatized, and that he told me the story without seeming to suffer any emotional pain in the retelling.)

I said that Prince should not kick him. People shouldn't hurt each other.

I pointed out that if Prince keeps hurting him (and Prince did bite him the next day, hard enough to leave a mark; and also pinched him, according to the Junebug; and the teachers did tell me about that one) then he should think about whether he wants to play with him anymore, or whether it would be better to play with other kids.

(Note for the record that the Junebug had grabbed Prince's puzzle pieces right before Prince bit him. We talked about how that's not the right way to play with someone else too.)

I generalized from that that if we hurt our friends, then they won't want to be our friends anymore; so he should not hurt other kids.

I told him that if Prince tries to hurt him again, he shouldn't just say "No!"; he should yell it as loud as he can. That way the teachers won't be able to ignore it. I told him that was the one time it was okay to use his outside voice inside. We practiced yelling "No!" as loud as we could, outside. He's, uh. He's naturally gifted in that area. He can produce a very loud "No!" We'll practice some more.

I told him that he must never kick anyone smaller than him, or who can't defend themself. Like, he must never kick babies; he must never kick Rocket.

I told him that he must never kick anyone first. (Visions of Han Solo dancing in my head.)

And then I told him that if someone kicks him again, and he screams "No!" and they don't stop, and the teachers don't help…to kick them back.

Did I do right?

I feel like you should never tell your kids to hurt another kid! It seems wrong! But I could not think of what else to tell him. Kids are gonna fight. Kids are gonna attack each other. I know my parents told me never to hurt anyone else. It seems like the right thing to say. But in reality I remember that I just took that to mean that my parents were completely out of touch with anything like my reality and there was no point in asking them for advice. "Just ignore them," my ass. "Just walk away," yeah sure I'm going to teach people that they can kick me out of any space by lifting a finger. That'll give me a peaceful time in the future, no doubt. My. Ass.

And there is no way in hell I'm going to tell him to tell a teacher. Yeah yeah, in an ideal world that's the way it would work; if there were people in charge of enforcing the social contract in a space, you could report violations to them and they would take care of it. Back to childhood reality: it's social suicide among the kids AND the teachers. Nobody, not even the supposed social contract enforcers, likes, or listens to, a tattletale.

So….what do you tell them? I'm serious. I'm officially asking for advice. If you have a solution that's worked for you, I want to hear it.

I think I did wrong. But I don't know how to do better.

------------------------------

*Yes, friend; one of the two kids he plays with all the time.

**Not his real name.

40

Feb. 1st, 2015 03:40 pm
metaphortunate: (Default)
So now I'm forty.

And I got this unexpected nice thing out of it. See, I'm not twenty anymore. And I don't look twenty. And in recent years I would see myself in the mirror, or in a window unexpectedly, or in a photograph, and recoil. Are those my eye bags? Is that really my double chin? My smile lines? My potbelly? Fuck, this can't be. This mirror is lying. And I would try to, I don't know, straighten my shoulders or whatever…change the angle of my head so I couldn't see a wrinkle, and pretend that this made me look okay. But Christ. I looked terrible all the time. It made me sad.

And for some reason, when I turned forty, some switch flipped in my head. I look in the mirror now and I don't feel the need to pretend that I don't see what I see. Cause I'm not seeing a decayed twenty-year-old. I'm just seeing a perfectly normal forty-year-old. And that's perfectly fine.

I think I've stopped bemoaning how old I am for a young person, and am enjoying how young I am for an old person.

hi guys

Jan. 29th, 2015 09:43 pm
metaphortunate: (Default)
I'm sorry if I owe you a phone call or an email - or three - it's because I'm so behind that I can't cope, and I swear I will be getting back to you sometime around the 4th of July.

No sooner do I find a new pair of work pants - than one of my old ones develops a hole. Aargh! And pants are really hard to shop for online. And these days finding time to go to a store in person is a sort of invasion strategy development that involves careful timing and personnel deployment. I might get to try around the end of February.

We need to get in an exterminator because we have so many freaking silverfish. I know they are harmless but they are getting so numerous that I am having nightmares all night about them.

I see people online sneering at vegans because they claim their food is cruelty-free and yet their food is actually picked and produced by brutally exploited migrant workers. Guys: is there a non-brutal-exploitation food production option that I am currently unaware of? Is the idea that working in a slaughterhouse is a much better job? Or is it just sneering at an attempt to do something for not doing everything?

Thank god for the internet. I grimly decided that it was time for the Junebug to learn to wipe his own butt. I… realized I had no idea how to teach a kid to wipe their butt.

To the internet-mobile! THE INTERNET DELIVERS.

(At breakfast, me: "Oh my god! This site totally explains how to teach a kid to wipe their butt!"
Mr. E: "How?"
Me: "You use peanut butter!"
Mr. E: "…

…you must be joking."
Me: "On a PLATE.")

It's brilliant! We're working on it.
metaphortunate: (Default)
Rocket has started walking!

…and about half an hour after he started taking his shaky little toddling steps, we got the email from the daycare saying that his cohort is moving up to the next class. He was the very last one to walk. I think they were waiting for him. *facepalm* I feel kind of bad, several kids in the group were clearly ready to move up to more advanced toys and more adventurous activities a while ago. But kids gonna do what kids gonna do, you can't rush them.

Speaking of which, the Junebug was very seriously told to "Be yourself." by one of the extremely friendly homeless guys on the bus this morning. Which I thought was pretty funny. Of course a three-year-old is going to be himself. There is absolutely no one else he can be. Also, however, I don't WANT him to be himself. I want him to be someone who understands that if you accidentally poop a little bit in your underwear you should tell someone right away.

The homeless guys also gave him a lollipop. I was extremely conflicted about this. He was having a great time talking to them - they wanted to show him their rap sheets, and he wanted to point out that there was a "Police! That says police!" badge at the top and tell them about how Curious George got in trouble one time. And I want him to feel okay about talking to people. I mean, he lives in a city, he'd better. And I didn't want to be all AAAH DON'T TOUCH STUFF FROM PEOPLE WHO ARE WEARING HOUSE SLIPPERS CAMPING AND CUTTING EACH OTHER'S HAIR ON THE FREAKING BUS. I certainly didn't want to insult them. And, I mean, a wrapped lollipop. What's the harm? And yet if he should happen to get sick at all I can just so clearly see myself in the pediatrician's office going "Gosh, do you think maybe I shouldn't have let him eat the lollipop from the homeless guy on the bus?"

He's been told he can have it at the weekend. Possibly I will dead goldfish it before then.

Have been doing way too much Cannibal Corpse voice at the Junebug recently. :/ Trying to cut back.
metaphortunate: (Default)
From [personal profile] oursin:
When you see this, make a post in your journal or in a community. It can be anything: a crosspost something you've posted on Tumblr, a few words about the last thing you read/watched, or just a "Hi, how is everyone?" Then go read your f-list and leave at least one comment.
On the theme of parents helping one socialize with other kids, I just remembered that I do recall one example of my mother helping me do that. I may have posted this before. I was at the pool with my cousin one time, I was maybe in my tweens, just starting to grow leg hair, and my (male) cousin pointed at my legs and said "Why don't you shave your legs?"

Well, I didn't know. Should I be shaving my legs? Later that day I asked my mom, "Hey, why don't I shave my legs?"
"What? Why?"
"Cousin --- asked me."
"Tell him to go shave his ass."

And I did! It worked great, too!
metaphortunate: (Default)
Question for those of you who were once children:

Did your parents or other appropriate caregivers, if any, give you any guidance on wading into the shark-infested waters of childhood socializing?

I can remember about 30 bajillion instances of my parents, mostly my long-suffering mother, hissing at me to say hello to the adults of the house when we showed up, thank you when we got food, goodbye when we left, excuse me when I ran right in front of their feet as kids do, sorry for spilling things all over the carpet, etc. x infinity; but I can't remember them talking much about how to be with other kids. Maybe I have a faint memory of being told to say "Thank you" for presents at a birthday party? When getting into my teens I definitely remember being told not to let anyone pressure me into anything, which was good advice. That's about it.

And it's not because I was the suave little kid who didn't need any help. I was the kind of insufferable fat bespectacled nerdlette who would show up at your party toting a book called Facts About Whales. Seriously, that was my favorite book and for ages I carried it everywhere. Because I have always been committed to popularity. I am 40 years old and when I go home my parents' friends still laugh at me because I was the dork who always showed up at their house carrying some sort of nerdtacular book. And then would sit in the corner reading it while other kids played around me. And if my parents had somehow prevented me from bringing a book, I would FIND a book at the house we were at and read it while other kids played around me.

And yet, I don't remember my parents ever bugging me about it much. Maybe because reading was Officially Educational and they never stopped me doing anything Officially Educational? Maybe because, to do justice to my tiny nerdly social acumen, I had already worked out that nobody wanted to hear about any Facts About Whales, so at least it kept me quiet? I don't know, but I do know that they were totally right not to bug me: I made friends when I found people I actually liked, and I'm doing fine now. So, huh.

But I have no idea what I'll do if & when my kids struggle.
metaphortunate: (Default)
Back to work. Nine glorious, glorious societally sort of approved hours in which I won't be headbutted, clawed at, screamed at, bitten, elbowed in soft places, have my eyeballs poked at or my glasses ripped off, or need to wipe shit off anyone. If I had just remembered my Sudafed, I'd be a happy camper.

My mom's all "What a shame you have to go back for just the one day! How stupid!" I'm like, you have no idea.

Of course the daycare isn't open yet so all honor to Mr. E who gets more vacation than I do: so is home with the little monkeys. Every silver lining's got a cloud.
metaphortunate: (Default)
Okay, [personal profile] gabbysilang has got me concerned. Eyebrows? Of all the bits of my body that I have wasted my life fruitlessly wishing were smaller, higher, smoother, less painful, more functional, less hairy or stronger, eyebrows are like the one thing it never occurred to me to wish were otherwise than they were. They...uh, do their job, I guess? They sit on my forehead between my eyes and my hairline. I can raise the left one by itself, sort of! Is that not enough? Should I be demanding more of them? Is there a way to get them to pick up wifi?
metaphortunate: (Default)
I now live and work in such a way that I have little to no professional contact with men; I can go entire days without having to consider what a man — any man — thinks of my work.
See, that's what kills me about this The Toast/The Butter thing. Mallory Ortberg wrote that but it's not true. Nick Pavich is the guy running the money behind the site. She's hasn't escaped working for The Man.

That's why Roxane Gay has to post these humiliating tweets about how she's doing what she can.

Oh Mallory, you told us you were the Queen of Misandry but you were sitting on a throne of lies. ;___;

ETA: thanks [personal profile] kate_nepveu for pointing out that Ms. Ortberg is not working for Mr. Pavich: they are co-founders, with equal ownership in the company.

Still. When you're a business owner but you can't alter your contracts without a man's buy-in, it is not true that you've substantially escaped having to care about a man thinks of your work.
metaphortunate: (uncanny kubrick creamsicle)
Why I am going to hell:

The Junebug has a child's umbrella, and I have an adult umbrella, which is bigger when it's opened but folds twice so it's smaller when it's closed. Today the Junebug was crowing that his umbrella is the biggest, so I explained to him how my umbrella was a grower and his umbrella was a shower.
metaphortunate: (Default)
But tonight I'm not up with the baby! Tonight the baby's sleeping peacefully!

Tonight I'm up with a racking chest cough that's making it impossible to sleep! Isn't that funny? Isn't life funny? LAUGH YOU BASTARDS.

Ugh.

Hey, I've figured out what it is about Lana del Rey. She's like a goth, but just for heterosexuality!

You know how goths look at life and go "The thing about this is: death, decay, corruption, pain, despair, and also vampires. Let's have a bunch of songs called things like "This Corrosion" and "Bela Lugosi's Dead" and "Dead Stars" and "Stigmata Martyr" and "Now I'm Feeling Zombified". And we'll make them cool and fun and sexy!"?

Well, Lana del Rey looks at heterosexuality and goes, "The thing about this is: infidelity, exploitation, prostitution, domestic violence and statutory (maybe) rape! Let's have a bunch of songs about all of that! And I'll make them cool and fun and sexy!"

It kind of works, too.

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