Friday, November 23, 2007

heat is for wusses

day two of no furnace. last week i finally got around to calling someone to light the piloy light only to discover the furnace is old and the heat exchanger is cracked and unsafe to run. and because of the holiday weekend, we probably wont get the new one installed until next week. it's a whopping 38 degrees outside. but inside im sure it's no colder than what my parents house is usually set at. honestly i should have my midwestern's card taken from me for thinking a high of 50 is freezing. of all the days to really need to go shopping. we are currently borrowing a space heater from the in-laws.

so instead im making fruit leather. ive been waiting for it to be cold enough to run my stove for 5+ hours. and here it is. and the review actually suggests keep the stove door open!!

fred spent last night and this night with the grandparents so i have my first 24+ hours without him. in the three years he's been born, ive never had a full day without him. so atleast i only have to worry about george in this cold. i was going to spend the day keepng warm by doing some aerobic cleaning but i think id rather spend it in bundled under the blankets in bed reading, knitting or interwebbing.

and i was right. there are cats squatting in our crawlspace. there have been a couple times ive gone out to the back yard and seen them run away - theres a black and white one, a tabby with white markings and a long haired one i havent seen in a while. im pretty sure they are feral. and i would go outside and the board covering the crawl space would be knocked over. our bedroom window is right over it and last night there was one fighting or something. i went to check this afternoon and it appears the only "fight" was with the plywood and metal folding chair used to cover the opening to the crawlspace. they were both knocked over. considering the noise, that cat was PISSSED. it was yhoaling and doing that "MMMRRRGGG" noise cats do when they are really angry. ive freecycled for some live traps or i might just get some. there is a dallas-based feral cat group and one up in denton. i need to call to see if there is something out this way. i think this is going to be my pet (harhar) project. there are way too many animals running around and i dont have a problem with feral cats. i have a problem with feral cat colonies not being managed. and im all for natural birth but i dont want my crawlspace being used as a birth centre.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

childbirth education of a feminist

ive been meaning to post this for about a week now but have been busy. so the day after i post "birth of a feminist" i read this article in mothers movement online e-letter:

What Women Aren't Told About Childbirth

(and here comes the pertinent part - well actually the whole article is damn good - and by good i mean scary - for anyone interested in women's reproductive health and/or women currently or considering becoming pregnant)

Popular media outlets and advertisers would have women believe that labor and delivery happen in only one context: hospitals. When television shows, health magazines and films depict birth as a highly medicalized phenomenon that involves lots of screaming, a command to push and a baby before the next commercial break, it is no wonder that so few women in labor think to ask for more information when they are offered medical interventions. Or that so few are educated about natural childbirth.

back in college i wrote a paper about how crappy the medical establishment was surrounding menstruation. i briefly touched upon pregnancy and birth. i consider myself a relatively smart woman, knew i wanted a natural, hippy, midwive-assisted, keep your patriarchal medical establishment ass away from my vagina, -type birth experience. but still was confused about when my water was supposed to break. you mean i'm not just going to magickally explode and labour will be off and running? and whats this about the baby turning? i didnt really know what that meant but i think it was in a movie and it sounded good.

so much of what we know about pregnancy and birth (and life in general) is what we see in the images bouncing around us. fuck, if every birth played out like they do on ER, the human species would be screwed. childbirth and breastfeeding are a state of mind as much as they are a physical process. when every one around you questions your abilities to birth and feed your children, when movies and tv shows only show worst case "weneedthatbabyoutnoworyouwillbothDIE!!!!!!" scenarios, you get sent formula in the mail the second you pee on a stick, how do we NOT expect women's self-esteem to be affected.

so, yes, we owe it to ourseves to be educated and informed - and inform the hell out of everyone around us. but we also deserve some honesty and respect from the image makers.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

woohoo! im live-bloggin' it

having wifi in the house and a laptop means i can look up recipes from recipezaar without having to print them off or run back and forth from the computer room to the kitchen.

so for your enjoyment, here's my live-blog of southern fried tofu and chicken-fried steak, mash potatos and collard greens.

ok im not exactly sure how one live-blogs (take a drink everytime i say it). so im just making this shit up everytime i put my knife down.

boromir and faramir are so emo. boromir likes the 'fall out boys' songs they play on the radio so i got infinity on high for him. and he loves it - it's hilarious to hear him sing 'thanks for memris.' and the other day faramir was kicking his legs in time to the music when we were listening in the car.

ok. this isnt working. time to extricate children from the dishwasher.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

the birth of a feminist

it bares repeating several times that mothers can be feminists.

reproductive choice doesnt end in birth control and abortion.

judgement of women's bodies isn't ok because you think breastfeeding is icky.

all too many times pregnancy, birth and mothering issues are simply practices in rhetoric on internet feminists communities or devolve into some pissing contest between childfree and childed posters.

as miriam pérez has written, there is a disconnect between pro-choice activists and birth activists even though the two are closer than one would think. actually, i personally dont think it's that much of a stretch, but some feminists need to unlearn thoughts about pregnancy and birth. mothering isnt rhetoric, it's my life. it's women's lives. birth is a feminist issue.

the same society that says women arent smart enough to determine whether to give birth is the same society that says women arent smart enough to determine when, where, with whom and how to give birth. the same society that preys on women's fears of not being pretty, skinny, etc. enough, is the same society that preys on womens insecurities about their ability to birth and feed their babies. it's not feminist to say "i dont want to be/am not a mother, so mothering isn't a feminist issue." that blatant dismissal would not fly if it were exchanged with race or gender identity, body type. this is not to say women of colour or trans-women have not just as equally and oftenly - dont think thats a word - felt the sting of closemindedness and safespace violation. but just as we learned the first day in feminism 101 - all this shit is interrelated. i hate having to reiterate this in my feminist communities. i hate having to align with people who want to destroy a woman's right to choose whether to give birth because i support a woman's right to give birth the way she wants.

as such, if feminists are going to demand less stereotypes of women, less degrading, more diverse images in media, accurate and empowering images of birth and breastfeeding are also necessary. its about creating a woman-positive culture via that culture's images. and just for shits and giggles, can a woman get an abortion on tv with being a victim of murder or the episode turning into some "the more you know" hallmark after school special?

there is a saying in natural birth/women centred birth circles that "We have a secret in our culture, and it's not that birth is painful. It's that women are strong." birth has the potential to be a very empowering event in women's lives. seeing nothing but medicalised images of birth are just as damaging to women's self-confidence as seeing only white women or skinny women plastered everywhere.