Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Black One?

The other day Big was riding his little rocket-scooter around the living room when he rode right into one of our cats.

Don't bump into the gray kitty! I said.

The black one? replied he.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

3xCars of the Mini Variety

This actually happened to me tonight. . .

Cousin and I signed up for this summer's St Paul Inline Marathon (the same one in which I beat her by 1 second last time) and, while signing out, I was asked to input this word to verify my account.

I just hope this isn't a harbinger for things to come in the race.

Monday, April 14, 2008

At the Macalester Honor's Reception

So tonight, at the honor's reception for soon-to-be Mac Econ grads, I got roasted.

One of my current Gender and Econ students is head of the Women in Economics group and prattled on a bit about trends of women in the profession and how Macalester is bucking the trend yadda yadda yadda.

She closes with "what I learned from Professor Blogauthor's class"

*grumble grumble grumble* from the audience. . . and then, the following:

1. Don't get married,
2. If you do get married, marry someone beneath your stature in intelligence and income*
3. Certainly don't have kids, and
4. Don't take even a minute off of work because every year you take off, you'll reduce your income by 10%.

SHIT!!! I thought.

I have them read EVERYTHING, as you know, in this class. From Linda Hirshman, to Nancy Folbre, to Lisa Belkin, and Echidne of the Snakes, and believe me, there are some extreme views out there. But folks, extreme or no extreme, the statistics aren't pretty for women out there. We earn 77% of the male dollar on average, we're more likely to be in poverty, less likely to get a graduate degree, more likely to do the vast majority of the housework, and are much more heavily penalized for taking time off of work (regardless of the reason). The wage gap has fallen, but not primarily due to gains for women, rather, due to wage losses for men. And yeah, the gap in household hours has fallen, but not because men are doing more (i.e. a more equal household) but because women are doing less.

Having said that, I do enjoy being a girl.

At the end the professors go around the room giving out their little pearls of wisdom.

Sara West got up and sang, quite eloquently, "don't worry... about a thing.... every little thing's... gonna be alright...."

I got up and, in my nervous banter, started by saying that my student was quite right. . . .

However, in order to live happily-ever-after, they should do what I DO not what I SAY.

As current federal law prohibits #1, I simply can only accomplish three of the four "things to avoid" on the list!

*I recently learned a term for doing the opposite of this: hypergamy!

Stuff White People Like for their Kids: This Just In from Cousin

Okay - so all of us can be as cool as her Cousin has let us in on two new secrets:

#10: The Mighty B: an upcoming Nickelodeon show created by Erik Wiese (previously a storyboard artist and writer on SpongeBob SquarePants), Cynthia True (previously a writer on The Fairly Oddparents) and Amy Poehler (of Saturday Night Live fame). The first episode will premiere on April 26, 2008.

#11: Bare Naked Ladies cd for kids "Snacktime!"

And from my friend Nicole in Chicago:
#12: The Elimination Conversation movement to get babies potty trained (it works!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Stuff White People Like for Their Kids # 9: A Kagillion Self-Indulgent Photos

As in, SHIT my 100 gig hard drive is filling up!!

Here's one for Cousin! Check out Blondie-Blonderton!

Stuff White People Like for their Kids

Okay, here's another spinoff to which all of you need to contribute.

Let me start by saying that I do think that there are various motivations for some of the Stuff White People Like For Their Kids, but my contributions will focus mainly on the level of bourgeois-ness of the item (Cousin, for example, claims to prefer They Might Be Giants not for the *cool-factor* because she hates Raffi. So be it. I will vouch for her that she's cool enough on her own to not need cool crap for her kids). My justification for the TMBG video podcasts is thatI personally can't stand when a bunch of old white guys dance around a video that purports to be for kids. For example, my imagination is definitely not moved watching these guys act like fools on a stage. And while Dan Zanes completely rocks the house, I could do without him in the videos. Let's face it, it just seems a bit self-indulgent (or worse!), to say the least, for anyone over the age of, say 15 to be IN a video for toddlers.

Let me also preface this by noting that it is in alignment with both the original Stuff People Like and (I think) the various spinoffs I've read in that it is quite self-deprecating.

Here's my Starter List for us:
1. Writing corny stories on blogs about the everyday minutia of their kids. Why not just write a diary? Why does it have to be public? If you say its for Grandma, I don't believe you. See, for example, the Irregular Monthly Newsletters on this blog when referring to your child in terms of 'months' past the magic number of 24 is simply preposterous.

2. They Might Be Giants Friday Family Video Podcast

3. Caring about every morsel that goes into our kids' mouths until they head off to school where we freak out and lose control entirely.

4. White People's Worries About Their Kids #1: Is Chocolate Milk the Devil?

5. White People's Worries About Their Kids #2: How much (if any) television?

And from Reader Moira:
6.Robeez My favorite about this Website is that it claims the shoes are the "absolute best shoes for healthy foot development."

7. Baby Style . No need to discuss.

8. Organic Cotton. Note the side benefit here is that the products made from organic cotton will not only be safe for our kids' ingestion (?) but that the cotton is also sustainable! A double whammy!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Irregular Monthly Newsletter: 28 Months

Okay Big, you're 28 Months today!

I still feel a bit strange referring to you in months. It's not like I do that regularly, or in front of mixed company, but I guess in a monthly newsletter, it remains appropriate, somehow.

This month, well, this past weekend has convinced me yet again of the significance of biology in that old nature-nurture saw.

Friday was the first nice day here. What that means in Minnesota in the spring, is that it was the first day that wasn't below 38 degrees since October, but that's another story. Anyway, on such days in early spring, people pour out of their houses on to the sidewalks like honey from a full bottle. It is truly a remarkable thing unlike, I suspect areas like San Diego where people can take nice weather for granted. We were no different than the rest of our neighbors whom we hadn't seen for months, and you were trying out the array of vehicles we've collected for you over the past couple of years. Eight had her bike out and was circling the block and you, unsatisfied with your three-wheeled scooter and no-pedaled bike, borrowed other kids' 'real' scooters and begged to sit on bikes much too large for your little body.

You seemed to have already grown out of the tricycle that you had ridden to the coffee shop that morning with me and your friend Sophia. "Grown out of" implies that you had any ability to ride it in the first place. It is still a bit big for you and as of Friday morning, you were unable to comprehend the art of pedaling, so you would sit on the edge of the seat awkwardly while frantically walking on either side of the middle bar Fred Flinstone-style to put the trike in motion. This for the entire four blocks to the coffee shop, you back made me exhausted just watching (and practically running alongside of you).

At one point on Friday night I went down to our musty garage and dug out Eight's (two-wheeled) scooter and your little bike with training wheels bequeathed to you from Three-of-Four last summer.

This is literally the smallest bike I've ever seen. We never even purchased such a small bike for Eight as she had no interest until she was a bit older. Her entry-bike was a size up.

You flipped for this bike. By bed time, BioMom had spent about 40 minutes talking with you about how pedaling works, and how to use your leg muscles to get the pedals around.

We had a bit of time on Saturday morning, and the weather was still quite nice, so when I asked if you wanted to go ride your bike, it was all I could do to get your diaper on before you were out the door (you now know how to open the doors and even unlock them if necessary, which has truly changed the game around here for us as you ALWAYS want to be outside, but are still unawares of the rules of the road vis a vis cars.).

After an hour or so you were starting to get pedaling down and could actually get the bike to move for two or three lengths of sidewalk blocks (about 12 feet).

Sunday it poured. You kept asking to go outside to ride your bike, but I emphasized the rain and diverted your attention. After your nap, however, you wouldn't take 'No' for an answer and since Eight was interested in riding (I encourage her to do anything physical and would allow her to ride her bike in weather that would frighten a mail carrier if she showed a sliver of interest) we all headed out, rain gear and helmets in tow. By this time (literally 48 hours after your first tentative pushes on the pedal) you had it down. You pedaled that little bike around the entire block. . . TWICE! Beeping your little horn and pushing your way up the minuscule hills in the sidewalks.

By Tuesday, you had me chasing after you (you still don't have the breaking part down, nor are you aware of where the sidewalk ends) and I am quite positive that you traveled the equivalent of an entire mile. I'm thinking of signing up for a marathon this fall as I'll be inadvertently training for one by chasing after you all summer.

Other reports from the past month:
*Recently you've begun to refer to yourself as "Ponce" which none of us know from where this moniker came or what it means.
*When BioMom asks you for 'hugs and kisses' you'll often refuse, go on about your business, and then turn around and say 'Okay. . . I'll give you some hugs and kisses.'
*One recent phrase of yours: "That's the coolest truck I've ever seen!"
*You are incredibly social (much more of an extrovert than I) and always want to know :"him name?"
*You are still a devoted vegetarian.

We love you Sweetpea!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Stuff Lesbians Like #6: Blogs about Stuff Lesbians Like

Or maybe not.

It looks like I may have ruffled a few bloggers over at the original Stuff Lesbians Like blog.

My apologies.

The copy-cat site (from Stuff White People Like) was too attractive to me to ignore as I so enjoy making fun of my own and I didn't do a Google search for other sites before my first post. Alas.

To all those readers out there (all 5 of you!) know that I defer to Grace on the Spot as the Purveyor of Knowledge of All Things Lesbian and that my contributions here are simply in the spirit of having fun.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Stuff Lesbians Like #5: Keens

Then there's that joke about only wearing comfortable shoes. . . . Keens offer comfort AND style and are a necessary element of any good lesbian's wardrobe.

My own story about wearing comfortable shoes is from a colleague and friend of mine. At the interview for my current job I practically harassed an African man in the group of interviewers about how he perceived life in the small Midwest town in which the university was located. I guess I was just trying to get a feel for how a minority dealt with the life that the city offered. The (now) colleague/friend of mine told me later that he recognized immediately what I was doing and brought this up to the department later during their discussion of the candidates. He worried that I wouldn't want to live in the small town as a lesbian. The rest of the department was appalled that he would make such an assumption. He replied something to the effect that he was certain of my sexuality/sexual-orientation because of my 'comfortable shoes' in the interview!

By the way, they were not, in fact, Keens.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Part Time Professor

And full-time friend.
The monkey OFF my back is my latest trend....

So they approved of my part-time proposal (one semester per year) (continguent of course on some funding)!

Stuff Lesbians Like #4: Shopping for Sperm Online

Ever heard that saying "women need men like fish need bicycles"?

Well, now you're just a click away from having sperm delivered to your door (or your clinic's door), no mess, no fuss, no wetspots.

Despite the fact that national surveys like the General Social Survey (GSS) report that GLBT people are just as likely to have children as their heterosexual counterparts (mainly through dissolved marriages), the phenomenon coined the "Lesbian Baby Boom" is relatively new, perhaps only 15 or 20 years old(Arnup 1998, and later expanded upon by Tulchinsky, 1999 and Patterson, 1995).

As an aside the National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study is the only national data of which I am aware that covers children of lesbian parents over a period of time.

Lesbian couples who wish to get pregnant and have a baby (i.e. not through adoption or a previous marriage) acquire sperm through various sources. These breakdown into two main categories: known and unknown donors. Some couples know the male donor and establish an arrangement (legal or otherwise) with him regarding both procurement as well as the potential offspring (for a great story turn to LesbianDad and her post on the "turkey baster"). Other couples who do not have access to a willing donor, or who do not want to use a known donor, can go to what is colloquially known as a "sperm bank" to purchase sperm (note that sperm banks are also frequented by heterosexual couples who have trouble conceiving).

We've come a long way from the turkey baster! With the advent of the Information Age, sperm banks have moved to Internet portals from which interested individuals can sort and select donors from a wide variety of ethnic and racial backgrounds. Furthermore, in addition to (some) physical details, information is provided about adult interests of the donor, family medical history, blood type, etc.

Arnup, K. 1999 "Does the word LESBIAN mean anything to you?" Lesbians raising daughters. In S. Abbey & A. O'Reilly (Eds.), Redefining Motherhood: Changing identities and patterns (pp. 59-68). Toronto: Second Story Press.

Patterson, C. J. 1995. Lesbian Mothers, gay fathers, and their children. In A. R. D'Augelli & C. J. Patterson (Eds.), Lesbian, gay, and bisexual identities over the lifespan (pp. 262-292). New York: Oxford University Press.

Tulchinsky, K. X. (1999, May 8). Two moms, better than one? Staking claim to Mother's Day: Once we decided which one of us would bear the child, our little family adventure was underway. Vancouver Sun, pp. E5.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Stuff Lesbians Like #3: The Michigan Womyns Music Festival

As in "See you in August!"

Each year in August somewhere between 3 to 10 THOUSAND women gather on (what some consider holy or sacred) 650 acres of woodland near Hart Michigan known as "The Land" for a week of festivities including workshops and lots and lots of music. There is not a moment that the beat of a drum does not register on one's eardrums while in attendance.

According to Wikipedia
, the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival (MWMF) was created in 1976 by members of the We Want the Music Collective (Lisa Vogel, her sister Kristie and Mary Kindig).

: The festival is completely built, staffed, and run by women; indeed, women build all of the stages, run the light and sound systems, make the trash collection rounds, serve as electricians, mechanics, security, medical and psychological support, cook meals for 4,000 over open fire pits, provide childcare, and facilitate workshops covering various topics of interest to the attendees, who are referred to as "festies".

The Land provides "healing space" for various communities; Womyn of Color, girls and teens, women who have been sexually assaulted, etc. It also provides separate space for non-vegetarians and those engaging in 'alternative' sexual activities.

No males over the age of four are allowed on the land, although a satellite boys camp exists for boys through age 11. The official policy of the festival is that only "women-born-women" are allowed onto The Land.

This policy led to a controversy about the inclusion of transsexual and transgendered people's admittance into the festival and onto The Land.

Again, according to Wikipedia
In 1991 Nancy Burkholder, who had attended the festival the year before without incident, was expelled from MWMF when she disclosed her transsexual status to festival workers who, in turn, informed the festival office. Burkholder was asked to leave the festival and received a full refund of her ticket. Festival organizers continued to advocate their support of the women-born-women policy even as criticism from some segments of the queer community mounted in response to Burkholder's departure.

The festival has stated that it does not and will not perform "panty checks." Rather, it states that women must "self-monitor", and attend only if they can honestly state that they were born as a girl, lived as a girl, and presently identify as a woman.

The last time that I attended the festival, a small group stood outside the gates protesting the 'women-born-women only' policy. One sign said something to the effect of "Honk if you support transsexuals!"

We honked away!

Stuff Lesbians Like: #2 Getting Into Serious Relationships

The joke goes like this:
Q: What do lesbians bring on a second date?

A: A U-Haul.

According to the Wikipedia Entry:
In North American lesbian popular culture, the term U-Haul (named after the brand of rental "move yourself" trucks and equipment) is gay slang for a relationship that progresses very quickly, for example moving in together after only a short period of time -- a pattern stereotypically attributed to relationships between two women. The reference to a "U-Haul" in the gay community has been considered one of the touchstones of sexual identity. The expression may have originated in the early 1980s by comic Lea DeLaria [...] The joke has been repeated numerous times, mostly within the lesbian community, and is considered a staple in lesbian humor.

BioMom and I got serious fast, but we did wait to move in together for about a year and a half. I suppose we didn't want to screw up Eight (at the time 18 months) along the drama rollercoaster of a lesbian relationship.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Stuff Lesbians Like: #1: The L Word

The blog, Stuff White People Like has been promoted in various venues lately and because a) the venues are themselves Stuff that White People Like and because b) the blog basically describes me, I noticed it.

It is actually very funny and self-depricating. . . And has motivated me to start a new thread: Stuff Lesbians Like!

And, please let me welcome others to join in on the thread with their own missives about typical (read: STEREOtypical, Lesbian Life).

There is quite a bit of overlap between Stuff White People Like and Stuff Lesbians Like, however, I suspect that the things that the two groups both enjoy (to the extent that the two groups are in fact distinct), are enjoyed for different reasons.

For example, check out #88 Having Gay Friends or, #91: San Francisco

In this Thread, I'll focus on either distinct categories of Stuff Lesbians Like and/or the overlap between Stuff White People Like and Stuff Lesbians Like but for different reasons.

This entry focuses on #1: The L-Word.

Lesbos can't get enough of this Showtime drama, which just completed its fifth season.

The drama, created and produced by Ilene Chaiken (another thing Lesbians Like), is set in Los Angeles starring a gorgeous cast of mostly straight actors playing mainly wealthy femme characters (with a few notable exceptions including one very sexy, quite masculine-looking woman who is currently transitioning from "Moira" to "Max") with high-powered careers, and smokin' hot sex lives. Big-name cameos on the show (who have gone on to larger characters) have included Cybill Shepherd, Rosanna Arquette, and Marlee Matlin.

The irony about the popularity of this show is that it is, ultimately, not very good and the characters are fairly one-dimensional caricatures of somewhat self-destructive lesbians we've all known (and loved), if not been at one time, ourselves. I literally don't know a lesbian that doesn't wait with bated breath for a season to either a) start or b) come out on Netflix. And, alternatively, I don't know a straight person who has watched all five seasons.

The phenomenon of the L-Word may just be a function of not having enough television or movie options with lesbian themes from which to choose.

As a measure of how much lesbians like the L Word, check out its Wikipedia Page, the official Fan Site, a Fan Blog,