Saturday, December 18, 2010

Tense Facebook Drama regarding DADT!

Rachel: Good job Senate- way to screw over the military....this country completely disgusts me sometimes. Because we all REALLY need to know who people have sex with...yep, that makes sense, because we all know if you're gay then the entire world needs to know, or else they're just not happy.
 David: hmmm, should I get out? Over 9 years down the drain though
Jaime: Nobody should have to hide their sexual orientation to be able to serve their country. And they polled soldiers and the vast majority said they didn't care about other soldiers sexual orientation, but how good they were at protecting them. I don't really see how this in any way negatively affects the military.

David: That's probably because you aren't in the military. I personally don't want to take showers with, sleep next to, and be around a homosexual 24/7 for 8 months at a time for a deployment. I don't know where these 'polls' took place, but I haven't talked to a single UNIFORMED service member that is okay with this decision.

Jaime: If you are comfortable with your sexual orientation, it shouldn't be a problem.

David: So you think guys and girls should be able to shower together in the military too?

Jaime: You think just because they repealed this, you're going to have a bunch of guys trying to come onto you and have sex with you? I'm sure that is what homo-phobes think, but homosexual people are a lot more respectful of hetero people than you might think.

David: You didn't answer the question because the answer is no, it would create issues. Because I morally disagree with homosexuality, doesn't classify me as a 'homo-phobe' either

Steve: I served with gay Marines and it didn't bother me, because DADT WORKED! They and I had to remain professional. They couldn't talk about it, and I couldn't ask about it. So I didn't care. But now, the sexual vagaries of a distinct minority being foisted upon us in a manner that is inconsistent with good order and discipline. I don't need to know the manner in which a person becomes most sexually excited. If we say that what two consenting adults  do behind closed doors is none of anyone's business, then let's keep it as nobody's business. I don't have a bumper sticker on my car declaring the sexual activities I share with my wife, nor do I wrap my identity in the manner by which I achieve orgasm. To do so is to lack discretion, maturity and clarity of identity.  I don't expect someone outside of my faith to abide by it, but at least be tolerant enough not to shove your spite in the face of a majority belief. And what we believe is this: God has called us male and female and given us certain traits. Except through extraordinarily rare biological corruptions (congenital abnormalities which can be clarified through chromosomal testing and corrected through surgery and hormonal treatments), that identity is apparent to all. To deny one's assigned biological identity and pursue a contrary "self" is to call God a liar. In a subjective materialistic worldview this makes no sense; we're all just accidental matter, animals miraculously appearing from nowhere with an innate desire to feed, defecate and copulate, so who cares how you get off, whether in a reproductive tract or a excremental cavity, or a fencepost or a keyhole for that matter. But for those who believe in God, His word, and His promises, this "other" behavior places our wisdom above His, and elevates us to the level of the first sin invoked by Satan with the lie, "Did God REALLY, say,'...."

Nathanial: You guys think your upset about it, I'm hooked into the job on a completely different end. I've honestly set through a ton of classes about this and it ruins EVERYTHING, regardless of sexual orientation, in fact lets throw that out the wind...ow. 1st issue, benefits. The U.S. as a whole, doesn't recognize gay union, therefore does the military by allowing gays in the military recognize it and will the "partner" receive the same benefits and the wife who has sat by her husband through 3 deployments. 2nd issue, duty stations. If a gay military member is stationed in a hippie state that does drugs like mass. and wants everyone to be openly gay, is it then acceptable to station the majority of the openly gays in that one location, think of hiding the dumb kid in the closet. You laugh, or you think that's mean, but in reality your trying to make your business look it's best right?? 3rd issue, attrition. I've been told over the past two years that the MC is cutting it's forces. This year the Capt to Maj promotions only selected 67% of those "in zone", include that with the more than 500 2nd Lts the MC "asked" to go home last year, my statement is this. WHERE THE CRAP DO WE HAVE ROOM TO TAKE ON MORE PEOPLE'S PROBLEMS. If you want to argue for it, GREAT, MOVE AWAY, I here Canada's nice this time of year and if you don't like the way that sounds, Go Buy a HELMET cause the punches are going to get any lighter.

David: But Nate, they polled the military and 'we' agree with this

Nathanial: ‎"They" polled gay people that are serving the military and asked them how they felt about it.

David: ding ding ding

Steve: The fact that a person finds something morally unacceptable does not mean they live with a "phobia" of it. I find polygamy, bestiality and pedophilia to be morally incompatible with my religious beliefs, but I am not afraid of any of them. ...I do wonder what is up with all the "Christophobia" in our society. Why are people afraid to abdicate their will to that of a higher power? Probably because then they would no longer be able to do entirely as they please without utter disregard for any authority apart from their own pleasure centers. America in the 18th Century largely worshiped God. In the 19th Century we worshiped the pioneering spirit and an illusion of morality. In the 20th Century we worshiped National Power and technological improvements. Now we worship pleasure and the path of least resistance. As with all other empires, it will be our downfall.

Steve: I took the poll. It didn't ask about repeal. It asked the questions I answered in my first post: Have you served with a homosexual? Did it affect the mission? Will serving with one again affect the mission? Answer: NO. But it was asked the DADT frame of reference, NOT the F.O.R. or a post-repeal military. That is why everything they are saying about our responses is a LIE. But seriously, is anyone surprised that those at the highest echelons of our government are lying to us? I'm not. I just despise them for it. When we're ultimately overrun as our economy collapses, they will be the first ones the angry mob goes after. The American people know who led the way down this path. The shame of it all is that so many otherwise "good" people have stood quietly by and done nothing to stop the downward spiral in which we find ourselves, both morally and economically.

Rachel: ‎'Christophobia' so true Steve, and so well put

Jessica: Hell yeah: a same-sex partner who has been with her wife through three deployments should receive the SAME benefits as the ones received by a wife who has been with her husband or a husband who has been with his wife through three deploymen...ts. And it's utterly dehumanizing for you to put "partner" in quotes, as if it is a caricature of a human being/human relationship. You may find homosexual partners/relationships reprehensible or morally wrong, but they are still HUMAN beings/relationships. Well, I may just be a Christianophobe (NOT the same as a Christophobe). I fear Christians who dehumanize homosexuals in their political rhetoric.

Jessica: It is not about who you have SEX is about having the freedom to be able to live an honest, authentic existence. It is not about wanting to tell the world about your sex life, it is about having the freedom to gain the status of no...rmalcy that heterosexuals take for granted. It is about having the freedom to live without fear and repression. It is about having equal rights to either share or not share. Many heterosexuals may think they don't tell others about their personal (NOT SEX...stop, stop, stop equating a RELATIONSHIP with SEX) life, but they certainly don't censor themselves when talking about their FAMILIES AND KIDS. To homosexuals, partners and children are FAMILY. My wife and children are just as important to me as yours are to you, and I damn well deserve the freedom to talk about them without fear. It is not about sex. Whether or not my partner and I are having sex, we are still partners.

Nathanial: @ Jessica, 1st off sorry cause I don't know you, and I'm a generally good guy that just tired of hearing people like you poop out of their mouths, paint it gold and think it's a good idea. 2ndly, you don't know, your not in the military. I...f you were you would know. Sorry, you just don't know. Religion aside, you don't know, you've never been there. I've never delivered a baby, or had my time of the month, so who am I to tell you what will and will not affect your life when it comes to that. The defense rest, please in the future choose some other color of paint for your poop, as your golden eggs have now been cracked. Good Day..... I said, GOOD DAY.

Jessica: Nathanial, my wife was in the military (airforce) for some time. And, we're all shitting out of our mouths, to use the terms that you brought into this in order to dehumanize me and ignore my comments and try to make me feel small. I paint my shit in rainbows and you can paint yours however you well please. Neither of us knows the others experiences, that is fine. I am not sure how poop became eggs, though. And I just don't get the analogy...the cracking of the eggs that once was poop painted in gold. How have the eggs been cracked? Really, I am baffled.

Nathanial: Nevermind, my comments you guys must live in Mass. I understand now. Have a good evening, and Go Pats.

Steve: Jessica- homosexuals don't enjoy the freedom of normalcy that heterosexuals do because homosexuality is not normal. I have a good number of close friends who at one time or another lived with me. We shared everything in a loving devoted rel...ationship. But not sex. And we did not have sexual desires for one another. Thus it was not homosexuality. Inherent in homosexuality is sexuality. So it IS about sex. If it's merely about relationships, than any military service member can claim anyone they please as a dependent and reap the financial and social benefits, right? But it's not. The defining factor in the relationship is that there is a sexual attraction. That is what homosexuality is. I'm sorry if this hurts you. I mean that sincerely, but it is the truth. I have no intention of causing any sort of fear or repressing anyone's feelings, but calling something what it is not doesn't do anyone any justice other than to sooth their esteem. Homosexuality is sexual. And despite abnormalities in certain minuscule segments of the population of mankind in history, marriage is intrinsically linked to sexual fidelity and exclusivity. Despite all of those who have failed to keep their commitments and vows, the principles of marriage and its definition do not change simply because we want them to. If every word can mean whatever we want it to whenever we want it to, than nothing means anything. A man can call himself a poached egg all he wants, but it doesn't make it so. We can call committed relationships between two people of the same gender "marriage" or call their adopted, artificially implanted children a "family", but that's not really the case is it, unless we can gather a random amalgamation of folks from a shopping center place them in a house together and call that a "family". Maybe in a metaphorical sense, it is very much like a family in the love and concern for one another. But it is only a family if we begin to change definitions to suit our own purposes, again, making it so that anything can mean anything to anyone, which really means nothing.
When we deconstruct definitions of institutions, we deconstruct society. And that is what is happening to our military. Soon we will begin redefining terms like "respect" and "obedience"; we already are. I don't say any of this with any sort of malice or ill will, fear or anger at all. I hope you are able to discern that.

Nathanial: Well said Steve, well said.

Kelly: Steve, I learned more in your posts here (specifically about DADT & the way military members view this new change) than I have through any other media outlet in recent months. Ever think about going into politics??

David: Kelly, you know how many times I've asked him that, or said "Steve for president"? I'm going to start polling the military about it!

Jessica: First of all, sexual desire is certainly part of most homosexual/homoerotic/homoromantic relationships. Since I identify as homosexual, I think I can more accurately describe what it is like on a personal note than a heterosexual person. Ar...e we sitting her debating what heterosexuality is? Because is homosexuality is ALL about sex, than heterosexuality is also ALL about sex. Relationships between two people, whether the two people are homosexually oriented or heterosexually oriented are not always ALL about sex (although sex may be a big part of it). I see sex as something that brings two people close together. Sex is ONE way of being intimate with another individual. In my experience, sexual and erotic intimacies with/between women tend to be more gentle, loving and connected than the same between a woman and a man. That is not to say that there are not some gentle men out there who are not completely driven by their animalistic need to put their penile appendage in some hole in order to be satisfied. And that is separate from my general attraction to women. I AM sexually attracted to women, but my sexual attraction to women is equally matched if not outdone by my emotional attraction toward women. The point is that a homosexual relationship in which there are two committed people is no different (although often superior) than a heterosexual relationship of the same nature. My relationship with my partner is much healthier than most other heterosexual relationships that I have witnessed. And also more committed. While homosexuality may not be the norm (in the sense that is not the majority/average, perhaps), that does not mean it does not have the potential to be healthy and productive. My wife and I have many dimensions to our love for one another - the sexual dimension is just one part of that. We have a wonderful life with our children that is healthy and happy. I don't even know why I am sitting here trying to defend myself and my life to anyone. It sounds like the relationship you've described may have been homointimate, although not homosexual. All relationships are on a continuum or homo or hetero connectedness. Homolove is different than homosexuality, I suppose...but it is all along a continuum. Humans came up with the original definitions of concepts like "family" and "marriage," so they certainly can and do and will change them. Humans are constantly redefining things as they learn and become smarter.

David: Animalistic need? Really? Keep justifying your 'need' to sin, its almost humorous at this point. I already know your next post so don't feel overly urged to type about how you don't believe in God (this is another way homos justify their sin btw). Or wait, maybe you are a scientific miracle and you were born attracted to women???

Jessica: Steve, I do appreciate your approach. You are being respectful, at least, and not telling me I am pooping out of my mouth. Thank you.

David: ‎ type too fast

Jessica: Don't you think that an adoptive heterosexual parent of a child is family? If two heterosexual people adopt a child, is it not their child? A Christian couple who cannot have biological children and who instead adopt cannot really have a fa...mily? That is essentially what you are saying, right? My children are biologically mine and my wife adopted them so they are hers just as much as a child adopted by a father would be his. We are absolutely, absolutely family. We are more of a family than many biologically related people. And YES, we expand definitions as we become educated and more intelligent about human life...People are born with all sort of genetic differences...such as Down Syndrome...such as being born with four toes instead of five on one foot...such as being born with brown hair instead of black hair...there are many, many genetic differences among us. Alright, peace be with you all! I'm out.

Kari: im sorry, ive been staying out of stuff until now, but i cant stand down while someone states that a same sex relationship is deeper and more meaningful than a hetero relationship, or marriage for that matter. The reason some feel that way,... is because the sanctity of marriage has been thrown out the window with every other moral. (This statement is for SOME, NOT ALL). God created marriage to be the ultimate union, to be put higher than any other type of relationship, and to be treated with such significance and sacredness. I personally have a wonderful relationship with my husband, and its because we keep Christ in the center of our marriage, as well as the fact that we dont piss it away when things get difficult or u let your sins pull you to satisfy them. If you dont believe in God, then you cant believe in marriage, plain and simple.

Steve: This is the prevailing view in our society: "Humans came up with the original definitions of concepts like "family" and "marriage," so they certainly can and do and will change them. Humans are constantly redefining things as they learn and... become smarter." Except that it was God who created these institutions and who defines them in His Word. Humans are constantly redefining things because we don't want to be subservient to the One who created us; we want to be our own God. That's not necessarily becoming smarter. The early Hebrews thought polygamy would be fun, but it only created difficulties (see the story of Solomon- the wisest man, who ended up ruined because he took on 300 wives and 700 concubines. Or the problems Abraham had due to his multiple wives.) We are wisest when we adhere closest to the wisdom of God. Satan's lie is always, "Then you will be like God!" The only thing we were ever given authority to name and define was the taxonomy of the animal kingdom. To date, despite many studies showing that certain traits commonly found among homosexuals are "heritable", there has never been any discovery of a so-called "Gay gene". It's just not there. Even the most ardent voices for special recognition of LGBT Rights quietly acknowledge the absence of hard scientific evidence that homosexuality is genetic. There may be predispositions, but ultimately environment and free-will determine the psychology and behavior of a person. And for the non-scientists out there, "heritable" and "inherited" do not mean the same thing. Adoption is a non-sequitur for defining families. It stands outside the argument, until it is invoked (it sounds like semantics, but it's a rule in logic). Whether the cohabiting persons are a family is determined not by their biological link to one another, but by the roles into which they fall as defined by God. It is difficult and we may even say "unjust" that an adopted child from another country is not automatically imbued with the citizen status of his/her native parents. God instituted the ultimate model of adoption when He chose to bring us out of our self-worship into worship of Him, and to call us "Sons and Daughters". The offer was given on the basis not of our own achievement, but on His generosity; but the terms of the agreement are that we conform to His intentions and not our own. Whether a group of people is a family or not, is defined by their conforming to the roles assigned to them by God. I realize none of this makes sense to someone who believes they are their own moral law-maker or believes the Bible is fraudulent. But again, refusing to acknowledge the existence of God does not make His Word null. It just places us outside of the best life which He intends for us. Jessica- I'm sorry that it appears you only ever experienced or witnessed heterosexual lust. Heterosexual love involves much more than eros, but encompasses phileo, storge, and agape as well; a completely loyal and self-sacrificing commitment of friendship and romantic offering. The fact that so many folks get it wrong, doesn't mean the principles or institutions are invalid. It just means humans are especially good at corrupting God's good designs when they attempt to live apart from Him.


Saturday, November 20, 2010

A Whole Lotta Elephants in the Room : Breastfeeding Blues, in Public and in the Shadows

Hurry, hurry -- Thoughts, you are summoned to surface!

I am scared to even try to write one or two sentences on this thing right now, since I need sleep like a whale needs a blow hole. Wait a minute, that's not how it goes. Let's try this: I need sleep like a sleep-deprived breastfeeding mother needs sleep. Breastfeeding is one hell of a journey. It's freaking hard work. It's rewarding, ultimately, but it's not easy. It cannot be simulated, either. Sometimes we try to give kids a taste of what parenthood is like so they will run for the hills from it for a while (and use protection and be smart about sex). Sometimes we try to give those who aren't bearing a child an idea of what it is like by strapping a pillow around their middle for say 24-48 hours. See how heavy it is? How does your back feel? Now just imagine that for months on end. Add kicking and twisting and elbowing to that. Throw in possible 24/hour nausea, heartburn, acid reflux that you may or may not wake up choking on, sore breasts, tingling appendages, numbness, faintness, rapid heartbeats, nasty burps that taste like prenatal vitamins. Are you experiencing the suffering enough yet? Now just imagine after the baby opens your vagina with its head that you will have to endure fluctuating hormones and sleep deprivation. And that's not counting the challenges involved in each phase of your child's life.

Sometimes we give teens a baby doll for a week that cries, pseudo-soils and needs burping to show them they are not prepared for the constant and unpredictable demands of a child. Sometimes we put middle schoolers in front of a television screen and show them a baby's head ripping through a woman's vagina to shock and gross them out of any hanky panky. These attempts are just small, small glimpses at reality. They are valuable to a point. But for the one who experienced it, sometimes simulations and words just don't adequately encapsulate or get to the root of the "situation." It's like watching documentaries about the various horrors of genocide. The simulated experience brings us closer, but it's so far from the actuality that it's a world away. What did you do after you watched a reenactment of a horror at Hiroshima? You went and grabbed a Big Mac and a Diet Coke, and you started to do something else. You moved on. It's what we do when we are not powerlessly struggling through some "situation (shituation)." I do this all the time. It's natural. It's a survival mechanism. After watching a show about some serial killer, like BTK or Jeffrey Dahmer, I get freaked out and feel sick and want to hide from the night; but by the morning I move out of my fearful state and into a much easier, more pleasant state. Most of the time, I forget all about the feelings of the night before...that is how I NEED to be in order to be a productive, functioning member of society.

Right now I am going through a shituation with BREASTfeeding. The shituation involves Elanah waking up throughout the night to suck on my boob. She wants to be soothed, over and over, by my boobifier. I am starting to hate lifting my shirt to feed her, not just in the night but sometimes during the day. And I don't always hate it, sometimes I enjoy it. But I am sleep-deprived, and sleep deprivation is very hard on moms who don't get a break...don't get a nap...have to just keep going, going, going until they hit the hay and fall asleep for the night. And then they sometimes have to wake up all throughout the night FOR MONTHS (and, for some, YEARS). It's insane. Why aren't mommas revolting - going out into the streets like the zombies they are and singing strange, strange songs?

The whole breastfeeding mini-rant was all to say that I don't have time to write what I'm writing. I don't have time to write about any of this. But, since I am already a wandering loon, I'll just tell you this. I'm so stressed and I am starting to think that my physical problems stem from psychological/emotional stress - at least to some extent. I think I better start paying more attention to my mind/body and trying to get the stress in check. Yoga, anyone? Back to the mat?

Yoga, yes, the place where people close their eyes, open their legs, and -sometimes- let 'em rip. Brace yourself (instead of letting 'em rip!). I am actually afraid to take yoga now that I have had two children. Air gets trapped in my vagina, sometimes in shockingly large amounts (especially if I bathe for some reason). The air that gets trapped just jets right out of me sometimes, and there is no stopping it. Technically, it is "vaginal flatulence" but it does not involve the expulsion of stinky (waste) gasses. It's just trapped air. It flies in and it sputters out. It's loud, though. And it runs its mouth like a motor. But I know I will not let my ego stop me from trying to spread out on the mat again someday. I should be damn proud of those sounds. I withstood two baby heads and bodies coming out of my vagina. I need something to say or chant when it happens, though. Like, "You go girl!" "My vagina is just venting about the birth trauma." "Oh, vagina. You had to suffer and now they laugh at you. Poor girl." "Everyone together now!" Anyway, no one talks about it. I never farted vaginally or anally during the yoga classes I was taking two years ago. But other people were farting. It's the smelly elephant in the room. I think yoga teachers should make the first session dedicated to yoga farting. Breathe in. Breathe out. We are in the present moment. Open. And release. Now hold your breath.

I'm not afraid of farting. I can fart in public and live to tell about it. It will happen someday, outside of my house. I am a human being, and sometimes I fart. (But, I gotta say, I really hate the word, "fart.") I am not a kid anymore, and I will not live in fear of the realities of my body. I am not afraid of picking my nose, either. I proudly pick and (even, sometimes, yes) flick. Now, if you do it differently, then that's fine. But I'm sick of THAT elephant in the room, too. Once, when I was a little girl, I was picking my nose in the back of my grandparents' station wagon. My Papa saw me in the mirror and abruptly said, "Jessy, QUIT picking your nose." Well, at least he said something and called it what it was...even if I was mortified that he caught me. If I knew better, I could have formed a more persuasive rebuttal. But I didn't, I just turned red, looked down and put my finger down on my knee. When I was little, I also bit my toenails off. I may just be the most disgusting gal ya ever did hear of...but I have a feeling there are others out there like me. It's funny that I am SO much more embarrassed about the things I have just written about than I am about biting my FINGER nails or being a Hell-bound lesbian. When I see a booger in Darah's nose, I often just try to swipe it out with my fingernail if I don't have a tissue and we are in a hurry. The other day, she scolded me in the funniest way: "Mom, sto-op picking my noooose." My kid is telling me not to pick HER nose. When Darah picks her nose, we don't want her to feel ashamed. It's just too flat-out ridiculous to feel ashamed for something so HUMAN. But we do want to let her know that it is not generally polite and that others may find it offensive. We, as McFadden humans, pick our noses in private. That's what I tell her when she picks in public. But, sometimes I have second guesses, when I think about how some people find it offensive that she has two moms but we don't cater to their wishes and discomforts. I guess we pick (!!!) and choose.

So, go be your human self with a little less shame about whatever it is that you're hiding tonight. I'm going to try to go curl up next to my beautifully human wife before Elanah emerges from her crib for the second time since she went to bed.

Since I wrote a blog post that includes breastfeeding, serial killers and human persuasions, let's also raise a bloody glass to Lady Macbeth (but please note that Elanah no longer has boneless gums nor do I fancy dashing brains out of anything):

I have given suck, and know(60)
How tender ’tis to love the babe that milks me:
I would, while it was smiling in my face,
Have pluck'd my nipple from his boneless gums,
And dash'd the brains out, had I so sworn as you
Have done to this.(65)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

MY Toddler's Thanksgiving Poem

D's First Thanksgiving Poem (Nov 2010, 2yrs)

Poh Poh Pee, The Turkey

A monkey in da world,
a monkey in da bed,
on da rockin' chair,
on Thanksgiving.

It's about eatin' food,
It's about (um, I don't know,
I'm sinkin'), it's about whipped tweam.
Dere's no muffins.
Dere's no pies.

A turkey.
You put it outside
to doh wide da horse.
We put it outside
and we say doodbye.

He says, "But I wanna doh
in ya house." And he dets out
of de outside.

And he comes in da house,
and says, "Yay, Dawah!"
He puts da massed bee-tatoes
in da oven. He sits
in his baby chair.

And then he goes in da darbage.
They say, "Okay, I'm gonna frow you
in the darbage, Turkey!" They say, "Oh, phew."
And they eat deir dinner.

It's a big turkey,
and it runned away.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Poetry News: Breadcrumb Scabs

Check out my latest publication, in Issue 22 of Breadcrumb Scabs:

The poem titles: "November Disguises" and "Fear of a Word like Polyamory, Or"

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Best is yet to Come, 26: 26th Birthday Midwestern Farm Adventure

I have to post this photo of Sandy and me. It was taken by the skilled and talented photographer, Erica Clark. If this speaks to you, please visit her website: It, in essence, sums up my 26th birthday. It also sums up the moment. It also sums up the part of the parenting and partnering journey that Sandy and I are on. It also sums up more. If I could give it a title, it would be "We're in this together." It reminds me of a photo of two elderly lesbians who are celebrating their 50th anniversary. But we're not elderly, and we haven't, technically, been together for fifty years. We have been together, however, for eight years - and that's a long time. About a third of my whole life span, actually.

My 26th birthday was fantastic. I didn't have many expectations, and that was the key to being able to ENJOY. Enjoy, I did. I enjoyed the photo shoot with Erica Clark in the morning. We walked around outside the Malpass Library. When we went to change clothes and enter the building, it was locked (closed until 1PM). Bummer. I didn't think to check hours ahead of time, and I was very much looking forward to taking the girls through the library for the first time (catching that experience through the lens of Erica Clark). We'll have to do that another time - and it may just have to be captured through the lens of Mummy J (two hundred mediocre photos that I will admire and everyone else will be too tired to look through).

Instead of the library and its greeneries and pages, we headed out to the Spring Lake Nature Preserve. That was a neat place to check out, even though it was getting hot - the temperature started reaching the 80s range, so I had to forget about all the cute autumn/winter clothing that I picked out (like the red and white striped leggings with the red jumper) and put on two summer dresses that I threw in the bag right before we headed out the door that morning ("just in case"). It all worked out very well. I remained calm and easy-going, and so did the girls. Elanah even managed to get a quick nap in on the ride over to Spring Lake. Darah's mood improved a bit when she got the heavy clothes off and the lightweight dress on - of course, she still remained her willful self (refusing to stand by us for most of the shoot). Erica is really great at capturing the moment and the personalities of the individuals. And that's important. We're a family AND we're each individuals. She captures both elements so well.

After the photo shoot, Sandy drove me around town while we decided what to do next. As we were driving around trying to decide, I noticed that my thumb felt numb and was swollen. We looked for a bite mark, but couldn't find one easily (although we did note a red area near the knuckle). I must have either been bitten by some creature at the Nature Preserve OR had an allergic reaction. I did recall that the palms of my hands were itching earlier (and I was sneezing). The swelling lasted about 40 hours (and the numbness turned to itching and went away). But, despite a big thumb, we ended up driving to Donnellson, Iowa to visit Kathy's Pumpkin Patch. The place was great. They may not have had all of the things I miss about Pumpkinville (one of my favorite places, period...located near Ellicottville, NY...where you can get pumpkin ice cream and pumpkin donuts and so, so, so much more), but they had other things. The main attraction for me (and the whole family) was the corn pool. They had a pool filled with large corn kernels and a big, wooden box filled with corn kernels. It was amazing. Genius idea. I don't know why there aren't more corn boxes around. Forget sand boxes (too messy).

The future is in corn boxes! Darah had a blast. She enjoyed sending rubber duckies down a water shoot using an old fashioned pump. She also enjoyed the play houses, until two older girls tried to play in the same house as she was playing in. She basically said, "No, no. Don't pway wis dose." She took every piece of fake food that they picked up out of their hands and scolded them. They were probably at least five years older than her but I don't think they knew she was only two and a half. Darah has no problem sharing, if she is in the mood. She also has no problem being bossy and ruling the roost. She rips plastic pears out of the hands of eight year olds and then scolds them, saying, "No, dats not fair. Dats mean." We're still working on her sense of fairness. It's rather strong, but it's evolving.

The drive there and back was somewhat scenic. Our GPS basically told us to drive off the side of a bridge, twice (we're pretty sure she wants us dead). When we got home, Sandy and Darah baked a cake for me while I took a bath in the jacuzzi tub (Elanah played in the crib...and by play, I mean stood at the side looking for me). Sandy made clam sauce for me (yummy, one of my favorite meals). Darah and Sandy sang happy birthday to me, and then we all ate buttery yellow cake with chocolate butter cream frosting and orange sprinkles). Sandy also cleaned the whole kitchen afterward (as she often does). It was a wonderful day with so many precious moments, and the best part was that Sandy didn't work at all. She didn't even show any signs of stress in regard to not working, as far as I noticed. Lovely.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

In Regard to Being (a mother) and Being (a child): An Enneagram Excerpt

I found this excerpt from Sandra Maitri's The Spiritual Dimension of the Enneagram to be extremely poignant. Pages 27-29.

I feel that these ideas, if or even if not adopted, could, potentially, transform parenting and the way in which we exist. I read this and cried, because I could understand so much about Being and Life through such a short paragraph. I don't expect to wake up tomorrow and do things differently, but perhaps I will FEEL differently about the things I do. I have struggled with daily stress (in relation or not in relation to my life with the kids...and I do realize everytime I refer to myself and MY life I'm stuck in my ego). I have struggled - perhaps because of Ego, perhaps because of hormones and chemicals in my body, perhaps because of the ebb and flow, perhaps because of lots of noise and stress. But as I read this, I think of how I label my kids based on things that have nothing to do with their Beings and Beingness. I label them based on my ego and my constructions and my narratives. And by labeling them and their behaviors, I am forming the confining egos that they may live with the rest of their lives.

Elanah's reaction to the loss of holding has always been very strong. It is not her essence that has been reacting. I wish she never has to react to the loss of holding. I want to help her. I cannot even articulate what I wish to say...however I feel things inside that, I hope, will come through in my actions. She and I are the same - we are Being and Beingness. Maybe, together, we can let go of the ego. Maybe not. But I want to do whatever I can to be at one with her (and Darah) in Beingness. That darn ego makes it hard every day, though. I'll go get into bed and get caught up in my ego and my narrative. She'll start fussing shortly thereafter because she is not being held. I'll jump out of bed, surely wishing she could be content in the loss of holding, and bring her into bed with us for milk and holding. She'll return to the holding and the state of Being. I'll fall back into sleep. She'll fall back into sleep. We'll sleep. We'll be united in Beingness. I regret the times in the past when I have said (and the times in the future when I will say): "Oh Elanah, you're so difficult. Elanah, my God, you are one fussy little girl. Elanah is one tough baby, isn't she Darah?" Is there a struggle? Is there not a struggle? Is there a there? Is there an is? I just am. Or I just am not. Ah. Beingness.

(The excerpt below:)

"This cycle of reaction and relaxation repeats again and again, depending upon the environment. If there is abuse or other forms of severe impingement, the reactivity will become more or less constant. Even in the absence of extreme trauma, the environment registers as more or less inconsistently supportive for all normal neurotics, and we therefore grow up more or less disconnected from our essential nature. Almaas describes below how the loss of continuous attunement and responsiveness—holding, in psychological terminology2 —leads to distrust in the environment, which in turn leads to the reactivity at the core of ego development:

By having to react to the loss of holding, the child is no longer simply being, and the spontaneous and natural unfoldment of the soul has been disrupted. If this reactivity becomes predominant, the child’s development will be based on that reactivity rather than on the continuity of Beingness. If her development is based on reactivity to an unsafe environment, the child will develop in disconnection from Being and therefore, her ego will be what becomes most developed. If her development unfolds out of the continuity of Being, the child's consciousness will remain centered in her essential nature and her development will be the maturation and expression of that nature.

The less holding there is in the environment, the more the child's development will be based on this reactivity, which is essentially an attempt to deal with an undependable environment. The child will develop mechanisms to deal with an environment that is not trustworthy, and these mechanisms form the basis of the developing sense of self, or ego. This development of the child's consciousness is then founded on distrust, and so distrust is part of the basis of ego development. The child's consciousness—her soul—internalizes the environment it is growing up in and then projects that environment onto the world.

Implicit, then, in the ego is a fundamental distrust of reality. The failure of the holding environment leads to the absence of basic trust, which then becomes disconnection from Being, which leads to reactivity, which is ego activity.

The disconnection from our original undifferentiated state creates a division or duality between ourselves and Essence, which, along with identifying ourselves with our body, gives rise to the belief in our inherent separateness. This is the genesis of the illusion of duality, the spiritual issue par excellence in which we experience ourselves and Being as two distinct things.
The third factor contributing to losing contact with Being is parental lack of attunement to our depths. The fact that we were raised by parents who themselves believed that they were ultimately discrete entities (unless we were born to totally enlightened parents) profoundly shapes our consciousness. Because of their own lack of attunement to their essential nature, our parents could not perceive, value, or mirror back to us our true depths. Since our consciousness during the first few months of life is merged with that of our mother, what she experiences of us becomes what we experience of ourselves. As Margaret Mahler has said, “Mutual cueing during the symbiotic phase creates that indelibly imprinted configuration—that complex pattern—that becomes the leitmotif for ‘the infant’s becoming the child of his particular mother,’” 4 meaning that we become what our mother perceives us to be. Not only are society and culture passed on to us by our parents, but also the entire worldview that they rest upon is imparted to us. This worldview that we absorb with our mother’s milk is that of the personality, in which the physical is experienced as the only dimension of reality that is real. Because the deeper dimension of reality—that of our essential nature—is not held and mirrored back to us, we gradually begin to lose contact with it ourselves."

To See the work of D. W. Winnicott and Almaas’ Facets of Unity: The Enneagram of Holy Ideas (Berkeley: Diamond Books, 1999) for more detailed information on the concept of the holding environment.
3Ibid., p. 43-44.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Kids are All Right, but I'm on Edge: A Review of Lisa Cholodenko's Latest Lesbian Project

Wednesday night was a big night for me. I left the girls home with a babysitter for two and a half hours while Sandy and I went to see a movie with our friend, Amy. It was a big night on three accounts, actually - because I have only been away from Elanah one or two other times for an hour or so, because Sandy and I haven't been out to a movie in three years (since before Darah was born), and because we went to see a movie about a two-mom family. We were lucky enough to have a team of babysitters. Adam and Elisa (our close family-friends, one of whom happens to also be our very own sperm donor extraordinaire and the other who is, by day, a professional childcare provider and, by day and night, a caretaker for several others of the human and non-human varieties). Darah was thrilled to have them over for a nighttime visit; she had a mental list of activities planned, including a movie in the basement, dress-up, a visit to the Rock Palace (the space beneath our neighbor, Rosemary's, deck), fun with play dough, and tortellinis and cream for dinner. Sounds like a two-year old's dream, right?

Elanah, on the other hand, had neither anticipation of pleasure nor any desire for some fun time away from Mummy. Elanah is anxiously attached to me, and she has been since she was two months old. That's an unofficial diagnosis. And so is this: she's what William Sears calls a "high-needs child." She's just recently begun playing for periods of time on her own, with me in the room or nearby. Sandy and I (and poor Dar) had a go of it for a while there - and, by that, I mean TOUGH TIMES. She wasn't necessarily colicky, but she could scream and shriek with the best of them if I was unable to hold her at almost all time. She still has wondrous shrieking abilities, as I am sure Elisa and Adam can verify after their visit with her. When we visited Buffalo in July, my grandmother was so full of piss and vinegar (alcohol) that she could barely open her eyes and be conscious enough to say hello to my sweet daughter, Darah; however, she managed to get up later and tell me, royally, that Elanah was spoiled rotten. I managed to keep my cool when she looked at the round face of my crying child and shouted, "What a spoiled brat!" After all, Elanah might well be a spoiled brat. Or, at least, spoiled.

But she's a baby, and I'd rather spoil her than deny her. It is quite something to see when Elanah goes from hellish shrieks to sweet silence within seconds of being scooped into my arms. And I can only imagine that my grandmother had her share of hardships (like rubber hoses breaking her skin) during childhood. Whole lot of good it did her to have her baby needs and desires denied. So, I have a little baby whose spoiled rotten or highly needy or anxiously attached or obsessed with her momma. I can't change her. I can only gradually and as compassionately as possible help her to do her best to live in the world productively and happily. If I had a child with developmental delays, would I be spoiling her by adjusting my approach to better fit her needs? I don't think so. I'm doing my best to fulfill her needs, and I am just assuming she needs a little extra comfort as she gets accustomed to the world. I never said it was easy, but it's getting easier as she becomes more independent and capable. My right arm is now disproportionately strong in comparison with the rest of my frail body. I hold Elanah in it rather than putting her in a carrier because she does not like being confined by a carrier...she prefers my arm. Soon, though, she will walk. And the heavens will open. And I will trade my carrier arm in for a holding hand.

Until then, I am right there with both my children whenever they want or need me. I choose this, so pity is not necessary. I do worry for the mental health of others who have to endure Elanah's unwavering upset when I am out of reach. On film night, I left her for two and half hours. I did not have to witness her wrath or self-pity. I did not have to hear her loudness. I did not have to watch anyone else feel astonished or exhausted or annoyed or helpless in response to her wails. It was hard, still. It was hard to leave the house. I had a sick feeling in my chest. But I left her. Rationally, I had no reason to be concerned. She was well-fed and in good, loving hands. Emotionally, I just wanted to make us both feel less anxious by holding her. I have a lot of compassion for her anxiety because I deal with mild-moderate anxiety caused by the chemicals in my body and the signals they send to my brain. Of all of the personal defects I could have, I'm not too, too pissed that this one is mine. This is all to say, one of my kids is part screamingbansheecrazybaby and I am part nervousnellienailbitingspoilermomma and somehow we managed to get some time away from each other. I ran out of the car when we got home from the movie, and hurried down the stairs to relieve everyone (mainly me) of Elanah's cries. As soon as she saw me, she started screaming even louder in anger. "Ahhhhh. Ahhhhhhhhhhh-hhhhhh-hhhhhh." As if she was saying, "Whyyyyy? Whyyyy did you leave me? How could you?" As a matter of fact, her Baby Speak was much like my grandmother's Mel Speak. Toddlers and grown-ups have a lot in common. Even the very mature grown-ups have their toddler moments. We can learn so much from toddlers.

The other BIG element of last Wednesday night was that we saw "The Kids are All Right," a film by Lisa Cholodenko ("High Art," "Laurel Canyon"). I rented "High Art" when I was in high school, and I was staying home at night, watching lesbian films from Blockbuster in the hopes of pleasuring myself psychologically by juxtaposing The One I Loved and me into any romantic or erotic scenario. I didn't even finish "High Art" back then, but maybe I wasn't smart enough for at the time - I probably wanted something simple and romantic. Like "If These Walls Could Talk 2." I loved watching that. I tried to watch it once with a friend in high school, but we stopped it at the beginning. He didn't relate to it. But I finished watching it later, alone in my room, because I did. The pain of losing the one you love on top of the pain of not being recognized as the spouse of your loved one at their death is awful. Then having the family come into your home and take your loved one's things (as if you do not exist, your relationship never existed, and as if they have ownership over the things you shared) is heart-breaking. The first segment of ITWCT2 is about dehumanization as well as loss. But I guess that didn't appeal to a high school guy at the time.

I definitely had a bit of a guard up about "The Kids are All Right," because I had read a synopsis ahead of time as well as some lesbian feminist reviews. My skepticism was balanced out by my love of the actresses playing the lead role (particularly Annette Bening). It was also balanced out by my idealistic desire for a mainstream queer-themed film to be great. I think Lisa Cholodenko (or the film, itself) was probably under a lot of pressure to "be" something for its lesbian audience. The time was right for a mainstream award-winning lesbian film to take center stage and be a huge hit with both heterosexual and alternative communities. While this is pure speculation, perhaps this pressure had an effect on the film, mainstreaming it to the point of alienating parts of the lesbian community. I have no doubt that "The Kids are All Right" was not meant to be some cookie-cutter portrayal of lesbian life. The point was, in my opinion, that shit can happen in any family. It has nothing to do with the sexuality of the parents or the make-up of the family, and kids usually survive the shit regardless of that extra alternative element. I think the comedic elements were geared toward a heterosexual frame of mind. Although I cannot say for certain, I assume that the majority of the audience in the local theater we visited identified as heterosexual. There may have been some members of the LGBTQIAetc community in the theater with us, but we were probably the only lesbian parents who conceived with a sperm donor. Because we have a few external elements in common with the film (i.e. lesbian moms, middle class, two kids, sperm donor, one working and one stay-at-home mom), we came into it with heavier hearts. We also came in with a more serious desire to connect with the film because of the experiences we've had and our individual personalities. We're kind of sick of and depressed with the story that repeats itself over and over in so many films lately: people transitioning through phases in relationships and in life, and as a result hurting one another by having sexual affairs outside of the relationship. I think we're more interested in films that look in depth at monogamy; or that explore in depth the painful process of the deconstruction of a monogamous relationship AND follow that deconstruction up by exploring in depth the aftermath of sexual and emotional infidelities. Because what matters is this: WHAT ARE WE LEARNING from the repetitious pattern of failed monogamy? WHAT ARE WE LEARNING about ourselves as humans? We want an intellectual critique of monogamy (its attributes, successes, failures), not just another superficial glance into the construct of lesbian monogamy. In fact, I do not think "The Kids are All Right" taught us anything new about monogamy; nor did it teach us much of anything different an unique about lesbian relationships. Perhaps that was not the creative contributors intention. But intention matters, so I would be very interested in knowing what intentions were behind the film.

So we came into the film wanting to learn something, but we did not feel we learned anything that we didn't already know. I guess we were, in our own ways, bent on hope and change - and one film (or person) can only do its (her or his) part. Emotional expectations got in our way. The television ads made it look like a feel good movie. The heterosexual audience seemed to feel good, but we felt disappointed and frustrated. Sandy and I did not laugh at most of the major comedic moments. And it really pissed us off whenever the heterosexist audience was laughing during a moment that we found troubling, disappointing or even painful. Why were they laughing at the painful mistakes of others? If they related to the characters and their confusions and pains, I doubt they would have been laughing; which makes me think the audience truly felt they were watching a foreign film. I might even go so far as to suggest that the heterosexual laughter exoticized and dehumanized the characters (and, therefore, the lesbian community). Seriously. People in the audience laughed when Jules jumped at Paul to kiss him (and then jumped at him to do the heterosexual deed). I was pissed. Is it funny for someone to betray their family members? That's messed up. The decision to make a comedy out of a painful transition in the life of this family is interesting. On the one hand, we, as humans, often look back on painful memories with humor. On the other hand, we usually find humor when we are at a good distance from the moment and when the moment was not extremely life-altering. Like when I think about my high school years, I have a nice laugh over some of the crazy things I did but I don't laugh when I talk about the parts that hurt me to the core. So there needs to be a balance. And I think the creators of TKAAR tried to create the balance of the tragic-comedic element in the comedy, but I don't think it was entirely successful. I think the tragic elements were not captured in their fullness, and so the balance of the other elements was disturbed. The humor was accurately portrayed in detail; however, the painfulness of the transition for each individual family member took a lot of the joy in the humor away and made it feel cruel and insensitive. It didn't gel. There was a disconnect.

I got off (pun intended) on the wrong foot at the start of the film, when each of the characters was absorbed in some issue with sex and sexuality. The teenage daughter was facing peer pressure from her sex-obsessed friend, the teenage son was having issues with his moms suspecting he and his ass-hole friend (the kind who pisses on homeless dogs) were having sex, the sperm donor was fucking around, and the lesbian mothers were having sexual issues. I was really annoyed that the film starts out with the Jules giving Nic oral sex while Nic watched gay male porn and treats her insensitively by yanking the sheets off of Jules. Who does this? Do other lesbians treat their partners like this while having sex? It was as if the writers were trying to set it up so that we would have more sympathy for Jules when she abruptly started fucking Paul. I actually felt a lot of empathy for Nic, and I fel tit was out of character for her to be that way in bed. We didn't get to SEE the lesbians having sex, either. Jules was under the covers. We got to SEE heterosexual sex, but not lesbian sex. The first sex we see between the women is bad sex that involves images of men. I am getting annoyed just remembering it. Then, just when you start to think you will see a tender love-making scene between the couple; Nic gets caught up in her job and doesn't follow through. That was such a set up and a cop out. First off, she is being a good doctor by taking an emergency call to help an expecting mom. Are we supposed to feel sorry for Jules because Nic doesn't come back upstairs and follow-through? Maybe. I could see how a pattern of that behavior would cause problems. But. BUT, secondly, problems in the relationship don't justify suddenly jumping on a man like a dog in heat. I did not buy into the idea that Paul made Jules feel appreciated. I guess her self-esteem was pretty low if all he had to do was watch her with his horny man eyes and compliment her fruit pie to get her to jump at him with a kiss and then, subsequently, jump on him like she had been having heterosexual sex her whole life. For a person to have been in a long-term monogamous relationship for almost twenty years, I would think it would take A LOT to cause you to jump into infidelity and unknown terrain (WITH YOUR SPERM DONOR...A GUY YOU JUST MET...WHEN YOU'VE IDENTIFIED AS A LESBIAN FOR SUCH A LONG TIME). But it seemed so easy for Jules to develop and give in to her heterosexual desires for Paul. On top of my anger of the ridiculousness of her actions, to think that she would not stop to consider the immense effect her choice would have on her children is even more outrageous. But I guess people DO do outrageous, selfish, reckless things in real life, so why the hell not make a movie about lesbians doing it? We do not get to see ONE image of lesbian loving/sex/love-making throughout the whole film, although we do get to see lots of hard, violent heterosexual sex. Why are we shown Jules having sex with Paul but not with Nic? It makes me angry because I feel the characters and their relationship deserve more than that.

Sandy and I were also disappointed in the way in which the aftermath of the affair was handled by the creators. The most real moment in the film, for me, was when Nic was at dinner at Paul's and she discovered Jules' hair in the drain. Time froze, and her pain was immense. It came through so well in the silence (and in Annette Bening's brilliant acting). I could so intensely relate to the feelings she was experiencing: being outside of herself, being outside of her world, being an outsider, being thrown in a moment into a reality that changes your trust in everything and everyone forever. That moment was brilliant, but then the rest of the film felt like it was in a hurry to tie up all the loose ends and make things - ahem - all right. The pain that the whole family was thrown into seemed to only last a night, and then it was on the mend. Now I realize that there is only so much you can do in a two hour time slot, but it just did not do justice to the intense level of pain and family betrayal that the characters were thrown into. The process of shock-denial-anger-grief-forgiveness was far too slighted by the creators.

So, the kids are probably all right (even though they've had their trust broken and seen their world nearly fall apart because of a man...but, hey, I've been through some crazy crap in my own life and I'm more than all right). Everyone is probably all right. Life goes on, we survive until we're dead. Are Nic and Jules like every other middle age heterosexual couple? Maybe. Should they be? Maybe. Maybe not. They are what they are. They're two and a half hours worth of human. If the movie is about family being family regardless of sexuality, then that's fine - it's just not saying much for the institution of family. Family seems pretty tough. But, in many ways, it is tough. Life is tough. Making healthy decision is tough. I guess that's one redeemable aspect of the film. It captures one of my favorite sentiments: humans are crazy. We're so contradictory. We're crazy when we think we know the answers, and we're crazy when we're not convinced of any of the answers. We're just crazy. That's my line, and I'm sticking to it.

"The Kids are All Right." Translation: "The Kids are Crazy. The Parents are Crazy. The Family is crazy. The Humans are Crazy."

I guess our reactions to the film say a lot about us, more than anything else. Sandy and I take our connection, our relationship, our monogamy, and our family very seriously. Not that we can't have a good laugh over the trials that we face, but the discombobulation and combination of storyline elements didn't sit well with us during our first viewing. Maybe we'll feel differently twenty years down the road, when the kids are headed to college and we're looking back and thinking, "Hey, they're all right." But I hope not.

(We had a nice chat with a friend to and from the film. Our kids were all right while we were gone.)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Next Installment of J-Updates!

Jessica MM: Darah informed me tonight, on the ride home from Aurelio's, that she saw me eating dog poop when Missy and my mom were visiting. Later, she described how I cut the skin off of the dog poop before Sandy and I ate it. I'm not sure what she was thinking was dog poop...but she seems pretty convinced that that was what I was eating...hmmm.

‎ : Dar complains when I try to brush her long hair with anything other than the soft, useless baby brush. "Don't use dat mean bwush. Use dis nice bwush!"

: has an idea for an art project: a mosque made of women's naked bodies or a mosque on a naked woman's body (both live art). If you like my idea, take it and bring it to life...subversive and meaningful and...

: Dar, upon seeing Elanah try to brush Mummy's hair: "You warm my tacos, Ehnanah (you warm my cockles, Elanah).Then, seeing Mum typing, she comes to the computer and says: "Hi! Gwad to meet you."

: is amazed watching Elanah hitting milestones this way and many little things that seem so BIG!

‎ : OMG, I can't believe this. Miss USA and Miss TEEN USA want ME. ME, people!!! Oh wait, I have to be single AND have to never have given birth to a child. Oh, poop - do ya think they'll notice something's fishy when my deflated basketball of a stomach rolls over the bikini?Naw, they'll never notice THAT. But they may take a second look at the hair around my bikini line. They better not discriminate against me for my Italian heritage (Italian heritage = thick, dark hair growing out of unspeakable places). No, they love Italians. They'll love me and my hairy legs. They'll love me, they'll really love me. Oh crap, I just discovered the fine print: "There is NO talent competition." I might be in trouble...

: This morning I am Mommy Giraffe and Darah is Baby Giraffe...

: allergies/sinus issues = ridiculous form of torture...
(watery snot dripping out of my nose into Elanah's ear while I'm breastfeeding if I tilt my head down, yes...)

‎: Why do the allergies arrive when the cool weather arrives? I don't get it! (<-- aching="" and="" br="" dripping="" eye="" eyes="" nose="" one="" open="" says="" with="">
‎: Dar did it, she decided to give her Zucky (pacifier) to Elanah and be a "big girl." She slept without it last night, and expects to go to the store as soon as possible to pick out a big girl prize!

‎: Dar, looking through a photo album, "Dis is my woohk. I'm at woohk (work). My woohk was date (great). I dotta tell Mommy. Mommy, my woohk was date (great). It was funny. Facebook. I dot (got) Facebook. It says 'Owd (Old) bando (banjo).' And heah (here) I'm on da twain and da twain and da twain (the train). (Points to... photos of herself on the train at the Buffalo Zoo.) I dotta wead dat. I dotta wead about PJ's (invisible friend based on Barney character, BJ). Mommy, I dotta wite (write) PJ (BJ) on time. Mommy, may I pwease wite on Facebook to PJ?" ‎"I'm tind (kind) of mad dat you woohk evey (every) day, PJ. You woohk eveeeeyyy dayyy."

: Dar decided that for her Zucky Give-up Reward, she wants TORTELLINIS!!!

: just woke up
from a weird dream and beckons all Expert Dream Interpreters to put on
their reading glasses. AHEM!

‎: Dar woke up in the middle of the night two nights ago, and said in a distressed voice, "I don't want a monkey in my bed." Then she got in bed with us, and felt much better! Once, when I was preg, I woke up from a dream that a small monkey was hanging over me from the ceiling. I think I actually jumped out of bed and scared Sandy.

‎: Elan took her first couple of steps on her own last night!! Go Lan Lan!

‎: Dar just gave me some GOOD advice. "Mommy, I don't want you to hurt your finger wis your teef. You shouldn't hurt yo-seawf. Don't huuht yo-seawf, Mom, or you'w det a Bandaid."

: has to just let people be who they are even if I think they are different than they think they are, but I'm a know-it-all and I don't wanna! ;)

: remembers when her sister, Melissa Sue, would tell her "Olivia and Gregory" stories (Olivia and Gregory = fictional couple on soap opera) before bed at night...I was fifteen years old! She was a very good storyteller. ‎(It sounded JUST like Darah. "Mommy, teow me one moh stowee and den sweep time.") I had to tell her ONE more...I know how it feels to want to hear another story!

: will be a lesbian tonight and tomorrow morning. Ya wish you could say the same fer yerselves, ya heteroscallywagles!

: wants the healthy stuff to be as cheap as the crappy stuff - and tonight I am talking about nailpolish!

: gave one of her kids the "bowl" cut yesterday (without an actual bowl...just cause cutting hair is hard and I kept going shorter and shorter).

: is celebrating my mom's birthday, listening to Darah sing sweet renditions of "Hahppy Biersday tew yew...hahppy biersday tew dahmma sue..." It makes the pain in my lower back bearable!

: is loyal, first and foremost, to her sense of truth and fairness...the dominos fall from there.

‎: Woo-hoo, Friday Night. Soooo. How do you get lots of little, uniform lumps in your cream of wheat???

‎: Sandy and I have new names: Moka Mita and Momma Mina. Dar came up with it while waiting for a "poopie to tome" on her potty!

: Ugh, weekend of torture: END, please! Sandy and the girls are sick with awful colds/fevers and I am having terrible seasonal allergies that could make any psychologically healthy individual go bonkers. Let the madness stop. So much for the weather we've been waiting all summer for...on the upside, though, we did manage... to have yummy buttermilk pancakes from scratch (thanks to Sandy and Darah) this morning.

‎: Dar announced to Sandy, proudly, "I sweeped yesternight (I sleeped yesterday = I took a nap today)." After dinner, I chased after Darah, as my monstermummy persona and told her, "I'm gonna eat you!" She became very upset, and said "No, you're my mommy. I want you to be mommy now!"

: loves the way that Dar says "mother" ("muh-ver") and "balloons" ("be-woons")...

: wishes she could get Dar to try new foods...and I'm not even talking vegetables, I'm just talking something other than pasta! She has her staples, and she refuses to try anything else...she won't even try pudding!

‎: the watermelon was supposed to be seedless. In other words, I've never seen so many tiny seeds!

: has yet to find the right caesar salad dressing...the bottles on the shelves are never quite like the ones I have enjoyed at restaurants. Newman's Own oil-based caesar comes closest, but not as good. Why? Some of the ones we've tried are just downright nasty.

‎: Dear Hormones, Behave yourselves. Unfortunately Yours, Jessica

: had fun last night at the balloon flight, even though the only balloon that flew was the size of my head. It was great to watch Dar and friends dancing while the band played on.

‎: Dar fell out of bed last night. Well, rolled to the floor. She said, nervously, "Oops. I Fawd" and ran over to my open arms. She spent the rest of the night in Big Bed.

‎: Why did we let Dar put food coloring in her cereal milk? Now she won't eat cereal without it. OOPS!

‎: Dar went to her first dance class without me with her - and she was just fine without me!!! :)

: is mentally prepping herself for tonight: our first night out, leaving a
babysitter (two, actually - Elisa and Adam, Goddess love 'em) with the
girls for a couple of hours while we see "The Kids are Alright" with
Amy C. Wish me luck. Now wish them luck (with Elanah, the
Professional Shrieker).

‎: Dar just went poop on the potty but must have had a piece stuck to her butt...she came out of the room and somehow poop got on the dining room chair and the carpet and her sock. While I cleaned it up, she followed me around telling me, "Baby doll did it." Then when I picked up the piece on the floor, she said, "Oh, a...nimal poop." Now she's talking to her doll about it. "Ut oh, Baby, you did dat. You pooped on dere."

: is celebrating the wonderful gift, SANDY - this weekend. It's her birthday weekend. To kick it off, Dar and I made carrot-zucchini muffins. Onward to some jazz, lots of renditions of "Happy Birthday," and a coupla foot rubs if I can manage it! I love that jean-wearing woman, I have much to celebrate.

: had a really fun morning with the fam. LOVED watching Dar dance with the leaves to jazz. DIDN'T love seeing a sweet boy be belittled by his caregiver for having spent time in the children's lib and for being a "baby" and for playing with toys instead of books. Um, caregiver (who droppedhimoffandpickedhimup), where were... you? Don't you know how sweet that kid was to my 11 month old daughter? Poor child. He built a robot out of legos and showed us, and we told him it was really cool. He played sweetly with Elanah. Then she came in and just berated him about playing with baby toys. I saw her still berating him in front of the car before they left. This was in public, imagine what she is like at home. It's hard to know what to do - should you say something or not? The lines are blurry.

: had four sips of the cranberry wine and feels hot and be stickin' with tea, even on Sandy's birthday ♥

: thinks Elanah's pre first words might just be "hi there" but it isn't official yet ("hah dahr")

: is havin' a great morning...the house smells like my mom's house (banana bread with applesauce instead of oil is baking), Dar is dancing around to a Bette Midler album, and Elanah is putting underwear on her head while I finish folding the laundry. Ah, domestic life...

: tried to release the fly, but it just won't leave the house...on top of that, it keeps following me around and landing on my food...and I suck at killing flies!

Tampon Swamp Dreams: : I have the Weirdest Dreams, and I Remember them

Jessica Mason McFadden just woke up
from a weird dream and beckons all Expert Dream Interpreters to put on
their reading glasses. AHEM!

JMM: I just had a weird dream in which a bunch of people were trying to get me to go gliding down a long rope into a green, mucky body of shallow water filled with hundreds of tiny and medium size dolphins. Sandy, my wife, was the one to initially encourage me to glide and jump. Then, later, when I was starting to think I might face my fear of having my body engulfed in dark waters filled with fish; Ellen DeGeneres and Janine C were the ring (glide?) leaders! Ultimately, I glided into the shallow area of water with Heather C, Brette K and Christy S. I was wearing a very juvenile life jacket. They waded through the shallow water with me, while I spun around in a circle of small dolphins. It felt surprisingly good, and they were happy, sweet little dolphins. When we returned to the main region of the water, a huge birthday party was happening for me - many of my friends were there. On the way out of the water, Brette wanted to tell me something about how the event changed my tampon string; but I asked her to wait until after the event. Ellen and Janine were leading everyone in singing happy birthday and congratulations. I thanked everyone. I knew they were hoping I would take the plunge into the deep, dark region of dolphin-water, but I just couldn't take that step. They all clapped for me, and I joked about how I was just not ready to dive head first into the water just yet...
Jessica MM: Okay, now that I remember all the details and I fed Elanah and blew my allergic nose, I can go back to bed!
Jaime D: Have you ever felt like the three of them might not agree with your choices in life? Or maybe some sort of rift or disconnect that you were unhappy with? Maybe you desire guidance and approval of others more than you realize? This is just what I'm getting. I like to take a stab at dreams once in awhile.
Amy P: I love having odd dreams! Gives me something to ponder for a while.
Joan L-W I don't remember dreams. I did a discipline once that did get me remembering. I found out the dreams that feel all meaningful tend to be about running away and hiding, like I didn't already know that. I don't fly or swim with dolphins and I don't shop or see people I miss. That would be nice.
Heather C: I don't agree that it would have to do with my not agreeing with jess' choices in life, since i prefer to live by the practice of not pressing judgements on people that i wouldn't want imposed on myself, but if you think about the timing, w...e were all really good friends at the same time so we would all be a common thread if your mind wandered to later HS years. I would say that the taking the "glide" into the initially shallow water could represent overcoming something, whether consciously or sub-consciously but not being quite ready to take that next step (i.e. the deeper body of water). i've been having some really weird dreams lately, but a few of them have been about people trying to bust in on me in a bathroom stall and i'm really scared, but when i wake up i REALLY have to pee!!!
Jessica MM: I was mostly emotionally stirred by the fear that I had before I got into the murky waters. I did NOT want to go in there. In real life, I am afraid of water that I cannot see through...soooo, hmmm. I was also very concerned about what Brette had to tell me about the tampon string. She was happy that I decided to go in the water, she thought it changed the tampon string/tampon experience for the better - she approved. I dunno. Ha ha.
Brette K: Well, I'm not too sure what my role was in your dream. Like Heather, I try not to impose my views, though if asked my opinion I'm honest. It isn't my place to judge others. I will be honest, however, discussing tampon strings would make me extremely uncomfortable. If you're aware that discussing certain private things is uncomfortable to me, maybe that would help point you in a direction...
Jessica MM: Yeah, I try to enjoy my dreams for their quirkiness and strangeness. I think it's fun hearing other people's interpretations (like Jaime's - ♥) but I don't really believe firmly that our dreams are "interpretable" (and certainly not linear!...). Since I have had some freakfreakfreakydeaky dreams, I prefer to use the "take it or leave it" approach - I'll take the ones that make me feel good, and I'll repress the ones that disturb me too much. Or I'll turn it into a piece of creative writing. Or I'll post it on Facebook.
Jessica MM: I did get the sense, in my dream, that you were a little disturbed about the original state of the tampon string, but I won't go into further detail about it, Brette, since it will make you uncomfortable. I'm quite surprised that such a conversation would make you uncomfortable, though, since my memories of you in high school were different (ahem recalling trip to Europe...). But people change over time. I know I certainly have (for the better and smarter!). I'll try not to have any more tampon string dreams involving you from now on. Ha ha. :)See More
Jessica MM: And Jaime, I do think you are right they I do desire approval from others more than I'd like to admit. Darn it, I don't want to care what anyone else thinks. Still working on that one. :)
Jessica MM: Ha ha, Heather. Every once in a while I have a dream about being naked in public - like in middle school. The funny thing is that my adult self would not care that much if I was naked in public, but my child self WOULD care. So in dreams, we're our child and adult selves???
Brette K: Hahaha, ahhh the Europe incident. I'd hope I've matured since then.
Heather C: ahhhh hahaha, the europe incident is a favorite memory of mine...

Controversial Jibber Jabber: Islamic Center near Ground Zero Controversy

Jessica MM: finds it uplifting that in the face of the tragedy of Sept. 11th, an Islamic center might be built nearby...that's called progress.

Jessica: Muslims should not be carry the burden of reconciling or educating because of the terrible act committed by a group of individuals.
Megan H: But don't people know that ALL Muslims are responsible for 9/11?? geez. Gosh I hate ignorance. I can't believe it's causing such an uproar. Wasn't this country built upon freedom of religion?
Hayley C-L: They need to build something that is NOT based on religion on or nearby that tragic site.
Liz F: And they should absolutely move the date of the Eid so it does not occur on or near 9/11 as well <-- this was actually proposed by an actual politician. I cannot believe how ridiculous this is getting.
Jessica: ‎(Sigh.) I know, Liz!
Frank A: St. Nicholas Church was destroyed by the Islamic extremist terrorists near ground zero in the attacks on 9/11. It has yet to be rebuilt. It might have been nice for the president to weigh in on this. Rebuilding this greek orthodox church would be "uplifting" since, unlike mosques, women are always welcome, not treated as second class plus all denominations are welcomed by this faith. Try visiting the Islamic "holyland" of mecca /medina and see how warmly and hospitably you're treated. Unfortunately we infidels are not allowed. It's notable how many of the same people who are against prayer in school, or the mention of God in the Pledge of Allegiance, can't wait to get this mosque built. See More
Jessica: I can only speculate as to why Pres Obama weighed in on this issue and now on that one. I suspect he weighed in because he was under fire about it. I imagine he would be happy to weigh in on the St. Nicolas Church in need of re-building if it became an issue and was brought to his attention. But, again, that's speculation. As far as I know, the Islamic Center will be built on private property and Obama won't have anything to do with the actually building of it.
Jessica: I meant that the building of the Islamic Center would be uplifting in the sense that Islamic people, who have received discriminatory attitudes since 9/11 occurred, will have a place to worship freely nearby the site. The fact that an Islamic Center might be welcomed near Ground Zero implies that people are recognizing that not ALL Islamic People are terrorists - and, to me, that's progressive.
Jessica: I imagine rebuilding the Greek Orthodox church might also be uplifting, but in other ways.
Jessica: As far as women being treated as second class citizens in mosques...I would say that women are treated that way in many, many religious institutions (to different degrees and in different ways, of course). I haven't yet met a Catholic female priest, but you never know...maybe that is happening in some Catholic church in America. I imagine that most Islamic and Christian faiths might be in spiritual disagreement with my status as a lesbian woman.
Jessica: Also, I cannot say how women will be treated by this particular Islamic Center. Just as I cannot say how any particular Catholic church will treat women...some Catholic churches tend to be on the more traditional side while others are more progressive. I imagine it is the same within the Islamic religion.
Jessica: I am not defending the particulars of the Islamic faith in any way. I don't know the particulars. I'm just saying that the juxtaposition of an Islamic Center near Ground Zero is a nice sign that people are moving on from some wrongly placed hatred.
Jessica: I really don't have a desire to visit any "holyland." Perhaps I'd like to visit Ancient Greece - the land of the goddess. And I'm not against prayer in school, however I do think it should be as inclusive of multiple-faiths as possible. I, personally, might not choose to say the pledge of allegiance but I certainly don't mind if someone else wants to say it...
Jessica: Thanks for tossing around ideas with me, Uncle Frank! :)
Frank A: The families of those murdered by the islamic extremists whose actions were not widely condemned by Imams and other leaders of this faith, may have a different reaction to this construction especially given they have historically built mosques at other sites where they've claimed victory. This appears to be less about religion, and more about power and control as is evidenced with other aspects of their religion given their attitudes and actions toward women and non-muslims.
That withstanding, muslims have and will always be free to worship in this country even though all are not welcome. You will not meet a muslim female imam, but you will be welcomed by other religions including St Nicholas Church. The catholic faith has Sisters, several orders of Nuns, female religious teachers and Eucharistic Ministers including my mom and your grandma. Wouldn't be allowed in the muslim faith.
Kelly M: Jess, Thanks for posting this topic to be discussed! Living in NYC right now it is a hot topic and causing a lot of passion from both sides. I'm actually really happy it's being built because there still are a lot of people in America and the world that believe Islam as a whole believes in what the terrorist who were radicals believed. There have been plenty of Christian radicals in the world, but they do not reflect the religion as a whole. It was a tragedy for ALL American's and I don't think the Muslim community has any less of a right to pray where they want, because of it. See More
Frank A: Yes, and a perfect example of this radicalism is rev. Wright and the church where president obama worshiped for years. This type of hate speech or radicalism is spoken out against loudly and publicly by leaders within the majority of other ...religions including Christians/Catholics. Not the case within Islam. America was victimized by this ideology that is not contained within any border on 9/11. It is interesting how the victimizer of this is portrayed as the victim by some.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Legalize Prostitution! An Informal Conversation

Jessica Mason McFadden: legalize prostitution NOW!
Jaime D: You're in favor of making it easier for women to degrade themselves?
Jaime D: I would support a group called- get psychotherapy for prostitutes.
Hayley C-L: It's always going to exist, have it regulated.
Jessica Mason McFadden: I don't believe all women who are involved in the sex work industry are degrading themselves. It depends on the individual situation. Also, I do not believe the government should have control over what women do with their bodies. Making something illegal is not necessarily the best way to transform a situation (unless the illegal activity involves harming someone against their will...). Programs that aim to empower women are a separate thing, and I'm in full support. I think there are disempowered AND empowered women in the sex work industry. I think legalizing prostitution would actually help to empower women rather than punishing them for living within a crazy system that they have little control over. Uprooting the whole system would be one way, and perhaps the only way for creating a situation in which women are not subjugated regardless of whether or not they engage in prostitution or sex work. In fact, if the system was uprooted then prostitution may take on a different form or just be a thing of the past.
Hayley C-L: One can feel empowered sexually without selling it or buying it. To each their own, like I said, it'll always exist. I believe there should be some kind of control because of diseases associated with sexual acts.
Jessica Mason McFadden: Yeah, the diseases...erk, troublesome. I'd probably sell sex if I could do it with women and make money! I'd dress up like a monkey and pretend to masturbate for a hefty sum of money - should it be illegal for me to do that?
Jaime D: Do you think women should have to pay money to have sex with other women? Even the idea of men having to pay money to have sex seems's just plain lazy.
Jessica Mason McFadden: I'd also dress up like a kitten and actually try to masturbate for money. Peep show. Should I be allowed to make money doing that? Am I feeding into the the larger problem of a society that degrades women or am I a brave and kooky gal who is just trying to make some money because someone is willing to pay or am I helping to empower humans by freely expressing myself and playing with sex/gender/species roles?
Jessica Mason McFadden: No, no one should HAVE to pay money for sex with men or women. They should be able to exchange whatever they want, or exchange nothing.
Jessica Mason McFadden: We all make exchanges. Even love is an exchange. We're all bargaining and selling ourselves in everything we do, and that's usually just fine.
Hayley C-L: But prostitution in today's terms is about superficiality and exploitation, not just an "exchange."
Erica C: Jessica, you're doing such a great job, I don't feel the need or desire to step in here. :)
Hayley C-L: I'm for legalizing it, I'm just debating on what defines prostitution as opposed to empowerment.
Erica Clark Force is force. Consent is consent.
Jessica Mason McFadden: It's great that we're all sharing ideas...I love Facebook for that reason. Keep contributing your thoughts and ideas everyone! Love you I'll vacuum and think about snacks for tomorrow. :)
Syretta P: Getting paid to have sex with women? They wouldn't have to pay me.. It's fun!!! I'll pay them lol
Janine C: "Consent is consent" is not as simple as it sounds. Legal definitions of rape include sex with "consenting" underage girls and people who are under the influence of alcohol or other drugs who may appear to be consenting to sex but are, according to the law, unable to consent. According to "Real Guys Don't Buy Girls," 'The average age of entry into prostitution is 13 years or 14 years. Most of these 13 or 14 year old girls were recruited or coerced into prostitution. Others were "traditional wives" without job skills who escaped from or were abandoned by abusive husbands and went into prostitution to support themselves and their children." (I don't know anything about RGDBG or where they get their statistics, but from what I know from my work, this sounds pretty accurate.)
Erica C: Accepting payment I think, falls under "consent". What's "under age"? These terms are all very relative.
Jessica Mason McFadden: All very good's a complicated and difficult issue. I go back to the importance of the individual experience. I really enjoyed reading "Real Live Nude Girls."