Summertime is here.
Check out my new story, “Kite Nites,” published at Spillwords!
What do they say, you gotta kiss a lot of frogs? You have to wade through a lot of “declined” too.
Hang in there.
I’m sure it must be nice to be John Stewart. Presumably happy marriage, retired from successful career, buckets of money, can live wherever he’d like whenever he’d like.
But, I guess, it’s not enough.
I guess, periodically, he misses playing the old part, and shooting his mouth off in the old indignant way.
Don’t miscast me as a hater. I used to be a big fan.
And I don’t even think of him now, and I guess a lot of people don’t, and I guess, from time-to-time, that must sting a bit, being forgotten.
Maybe he thought he left them wanting more, and maybe they just slotted someone or something else into his spot, like his much more genuine buddy, Colbert. That guy I really think cares. Stewart? Not so sure now.
He came out recently on Colbert to treat the lab-leak version of the Covid origin as fact. He treated it like 100% if you’re not an idiot you know I’m right fact. How disappointing.
Disappointing because he doesn’t 100% know he’s right.
Disappointing because what is the point??
Is the USA going to kick down the doors of the Wuhan lab now? Will Biden punch Xi in the face and call his mother a name? Tell us, Stewart, what difference is your assertion going to make?
When a liberal guy throws around unproven conspiracy theories, is it any different than when a Republican does it?
If it is different, I don’t get it. Explain it to me like I am actually the idiot you seem to think I am.
In the meantime….
I am living in a part of the world where people are happy to pick on others due to their race, and I am raising a Chinese daughter.
If the lab leak theory is proven, well, I’l have to deal with that, then.
But, for now, do any Asian-Americans really need more fuel thrown on the fire?
Until you know for sure, shut-the-fuck-up John. The Asian-haters don’t need an assist from you.
First of all, a Washington Post subscription is so inexpensive. You really should have one. It’s good reporting, amazing recipes, and excellent editorials, like this one.
I live in a primarily rural community. It is building up like crazy, but it is still rural.
And there are always white guys driving pick-up trucks aggressively when I am driving around in my car. The pickup trucks I see every day are almost always riding the bumper of the car in front of them, tearing around into the oncoming traffic lane even when the road does not allow passing. Always, apparently, unable to manage their schedules properly so that they’re not running late for everything. I find their driving behavior threatening when I am in front of them driving in my car . On foot, is is downright scary. And I am not saying they want to rape and murder. I don’t think that about any of them. I think they’re just all impatient with the rest of us. But I do think they could accidentally hit a runner, a biker, or a kid waiting for the bus. Everything and everyone is in their way. It’s just not good driving.
I run in my community. It’s not gated, but it is a community. And, sometimes, pickup trucks drive through, slowly, really early in the morning, and I don’t know why, and when I see them, I go the other way as they crawl along the streets. When I first started running I ran around the perimeter of the community, but the speeding trucks pushed me back inside, and there are no speeding trucks inside, but sometimes there are the very slow ones. Now, thankfully, my husband runs with me.
The fact that some people think they have a right to do things to other people is madness.
I bought one of these for myself, my sister, my daughter, my friend.
They’re inexpensive, and they could be the shock you need to give you time to run.
And, IMHO, every woman should be able to run, for safety.
I’m glad I started running, not for status, weight loss, better abs, or competing, but for safety.
If you want to run, but think you can’t, just start off walking quickly, even for only a block, and try to increase your speed to a fast shuffle over a week or so, and slowly get to bringing your knees up and down over a few weeks.
If not running, then have a plan
for a situation where, no matter how powerfully feminist you may feel, a man is physically stronger than you, or two men are, or someone hits you with his truck, like in the article. (IMHO cities are much safer, so many people. If you’re not in a city, you need a plan. The men who feel angry, left behind, ignored, they’re not in the city. They’re in the rural areas, in their pickups.)
Don’t worry about hurting someone’s feelings.
Always trust your gut.
Always trust your fear.
Carry an alarm.
I’m putting the brakes on my overnight fast…. brakefast! Spell check keeps trying to fix it. LOL
Just for the curious, the red stuff is ajvar.
I think it was in HS French class that I learned that in other places breakfast food isn’t a thing, meaning they eat all kinds of food for breakfast that white Americans like myself would not typically consider breakfast food. I noticed, the times I was lucky enough to be in Europe, that breakfast was more of an on-the-go meal, something quick, a pastry and coffee while walking to work, a quick yogurt, something designed to power-up a person, not really something to linger over, like dinner.
When I lived in Los Angels and went to the actual Vietnamese pho shops for breakfast, I noticed that the Vietnamese patrons ate their pho in seconds… compared to my pace. It was steaming hot; they added hot sauce, and they slurped it down and were out… leaving all the broth behind.
I perceive the USA as not being the most morning-achiever place. I think we tend to go slow in the morning and stay up late. But maybe you vision us differently. What do you think?
I see us lingering over loaded plates of eggs and meat and bread or pancakes…. carbs and fat, carbs and fat.
I like to be up early.
And I like unusual (for Americans) breakfasts.
And though I like to linger over coffee, I like to get my work in early in the day.
But that didn’t happen until post-motherhood. LOL. My kid was a morning person, so I am too!
Does your breakfast slow you down, or get you going? Though I love oatmeal, if I eat it in the morning, I need a huge carb-nap. When I was a kid my whole family loved oatmeal, and we ate it for dinner instead of breakfast. Cheap and easy way to feed a lot of people, and it was great. Tired me out then too, but it was bedtime anyway.
What’s on your breakfast plate today?
Taught my very first Outschool class today, and many thanks to the lovely young woman who chose to take it.
This is an ongoing class, so she may be back next week….
Only one student signed up, and classes are supposed to be 4 or more I believe, so many teachers will cancel (and have cancelled on Sophie!), but I think it always better to start small, and even if it stays small, it can be okay.
The class I taught today had to do with creative writing, and the young woman who took it had some amazing ideas, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
And this is, actually, the most beautiful part of teaching… you interact with someone on something that you know a lot about that he or she wants to learn about, and you share between you your ideas. Great fun, and no grades. Yay!
Yesterday I spent a very enjoyable and productive day with a co-worker developing a performance piece for body-positivity month at one of the colleges where I teach.
Being an adjunct I am usually not asked to participate in many campus events, and this is both considerate (for a 3-credit class, I am paid 3 hours a week, and those 3 hours should be spent on my feet teaching, so any grading, tutoring, meetings with students are on my own/unpaid time), and also alienating as without that participation it’s hard to feel a true part of the organization.
My coworker is a full-time employee, so she has all the cachet an adjunct doesn’t, including knowing what resources are available, and who to ask to get them into place for the event. I’m going to do some of the writing of the performance piece, and try to both collect student writing that students will perform, and use my writing to link the disparate pieces together. It’s cool, and I’m excited about it.
And I came home, cooked dinner, fed people, and took my daughter to her drawing class. She did amazingly well there too, and it is a class for older kids that she is holding her own in. She is really a very talented artist, but not just talented, skilled too, and I feel lucky that I am her mom.
And then I got the newsletter in my email from the local writing association I belong to. And though they asked me for any updates from Devil’s Party Press, and I gave them many, they chose not to include anything from us in the association newsletter. And they hope I understand that they used logic to make this decision.
Oh I understand.
Women business owners, do you hear me? Do you feel me?
Yesterday was a day of me working on unpaid jobs.
Being a mom and a wife and cooking dinner for the family: unpaid jobs. I love my family; I’m happy to cook, for anyone honestly, and I don’t consider them a “job” in any way, and driving a kid to lessons, cooking, is work someone has to do, and it’s unpaid. So, unpaid jobs.
Working on a project for one of the colleges where I teach that will not be covered under my 3-credit hours, unpaid job.
Trying to get a small business off the ground, huge and unpaid job.
Being supported by associations in your field, when you are trying to get a small business going, is so important, and so helpful, and it makes you feel like you’re not a nutjob for considering this dumb idea to begin with.
And I have gotten wonderful and free support from IBPA and CLMP. And I have gotten invaluable amazing support from SCORE, but specifically the Chicago branch. I had to go to Chicago to find a publishing professional, but I found a great one, and she is mentoring the hell out of me.
And where support has been completely absent is through my state and my local writing association.
And here’s what I’m going to do about that:
I’m going to open my hands.
I am going to focus on my productive and enervating meeting with my co-worker who treated me like a full partner though I’m only a lowly.
I am going to focus on the fact that I made a tasty dinner in 15 minutes when I got home, and that everyone liked it and ate it and that I was able to get back out the door again with my daughter in time for her class.
I am going to focus on the fact that my daughter killed it at her class, in which she is the youngest kid, and the only girl. Grrrrrl power!
I am going to focus on the fact that as my business evolves I learn more and more every day about what I should be doing, and shouldn’t. And that my business model and practice improves almost weekly.
I am going to focus on one of my current summer students, a guy who has schizophrenia and is terrified of Zoom, who took my advice, and went to the school yesterday, and took the PDF of the article I gave him, and met with the wonderful woman who runs the tutoring center, and that she and a fellow tutor helped him figure out what he is doing without a camera being involved, and that he emailed me to say it went well, and that he is communicating with me, and that there may be one more successful college student who has survived the pandemic-learning shift.
I find that when I drop my arms down, and I open my hands, my head naturally lifts up, and my spine straightens.
All small companies face death a thousand times over. And there will always be people in your circle who don’t care when they should, or who simply would prefer you not succeed for reasons only they understand.
What really knocks my knees out from me is not those groups who actively work to not support me.
What knocks my knees out is me, when I give those groups too much of my focus.
No one can make you open a business, so why assume that anyone can make you close it?
And, yes, there will be people and etc. beyond your control who are not supportive, who want you to fail and close, who are bothered by your business existing.
And there are two ways to turn your back on something you don’t want to know about.
You can curl up in a ball and put your hands over your ears and basically fetal it.
Or you can drop your arms, straighten your spine, lift up your head, turn away from the noise, and open your hands and release all the poison. If someone gives you the gift of poison, do the logical thing, drop it.
Simply open your hands.
If you follow my blog at all you know that I teach at a few colleges, basically essay writing, and creative writing.
My daughter has been taking classes at Outschool for the last year, and she has so enjoyed them that I have decided to throw my hat into the ring.
I am going to begin by offering a creative writing course about beating writer’s block, and a freshman comp course, because colleges use that course to hold students back, and I really think kids need a little help to figure it out. I have my tricks, tips, and template that I give to all my students that can help kids who are going off to school, especially if writing isn’t their thing.
Please, dear colleges that I work for, do not make the personal essay part of the curriculum.
When you make the personal essay part of the curriculum, I am forced to read things I don’t want to read.
I am forced to know things, about actual strangers, that I don’t want to know.
And, in the midst of the personal essay that I may be reading about getting sexually abused while in jail for weed possession I am supposed to critique commas and verb tense.
Or while I am reading about an “adult” student who was denied food by her foster family, I am supposed to talk about dangling modifiers with her.
The personal essay, in a college-essay-writing course, is irrelevant, unhelpful, and a whole freaking can of privacy and boundary worms.
It forces me, the lowly adjunct, to send out emails like this:
SO, I AM BEGGING YOU, English department chairs the world over and then some, stop the madness. DUMP the personal essay. Or, at the very least, make the math teachers grade it.
Mother’s Day! Mother’s Day! It’s finally here!
Mother’s Day! Mother’s Day! The worst day of the year.
But, I exaggerate.
And yet, my relationship with the day has been a bit… fraught.
One of the first Mother’s Days I remember is me, in my parents’ small, blue-collar-brick twin, upstairs, leaning against the wall between the bathroom and my parents’ room, holding a macaroni card or some such child-made card, and crying. Next to me was my father, knocking on the door to my parents’ bedroom, holding a box that had, as I remember it, a pearl necklace in it, and asking my mother to be reasonable and come out. Inside their room my mother was crying and yelling, and very very angry.
Well, maybe Dad had cheated on her, again. Maybe he was trying not just to wish her a happy Mother’s Day, but to also get back in her good graces, again. Maybe the pearl necklace was from a guy named Snookie and Dad bought it from Snookie who got it after it had fallen off the back of a truck, and Ma was angry because the thing was most likely stolen. Though Ma wasn’t, in general, too concerned about money-saving deals that were nefarious, I do have a memory of hearing Snookie’s name thrown out at us through the wooden door, but that could be a conflation with another day we stood, and I cried outside that wooden door. Or the necklace could have been a cheap fake, ’cause Snoookie sold those too, and he could always talk my dad into thinking it was more special than it was, and my mom could tell the difference, and it made her feel like trash when he bought her trash.
I remember being small, that day. So, four or younger. I remember leaning into the wall for support, literally unable to hold myself up, and in my left hand, in my fingertips, the card I so desperately did not want to smudge or crinkle. I think I had made it at Sunday school, with great joy and anticipation, and it had all come to naught, and there was naught I could fucking do about it. I remember feeling a great hopelessness wash over me. I remember seeing, for the first time, that a card was a useless thing, really, against the problems we throw them at, and wondering why they had told me differently at church. It was my first break with religion.
There were times, in the ensuing years, where there was a day with my Grandmom, and pretty clothes on us, and things were more or less okay, if boring. I don’t remember ever holding anything in my hand that my mother was pleased to receive. I think my father, the Lothario, was much better at making me feel like he desired my presents and my presence. He was looking for women who were crazy about him, and he always found one of those on my face.
Later, as an adult, it became largely about going through the motions, finding a card to express to my mom how freaking amazing she was, which, truth be told I often did feel, and, truth be told, I often didn’t feel too. Choosing the card at the mall, or, as a grownup, the drugstore, could take an hour or more of a hard-target search for one she would find appealing, and I could find palatable, believable. I usually chose funny, and she usually wanted sappy.
Later, as I worried I’d never marry, and then after I got married as an older bride, Mother’s Day became the poke in the eye to tell me I wasn’t pregnant. And there was another year gone. Oh my god those damn eggs were so freaking old! Hurry, Baby, hurry! Get those eggs in the pan before it is too late! But it was too late. And when I started trying, with hubby in tow, to jump start the damn things with medical help, my mother kept remarking to me, “Well, I don’t know why you’re working at this so hard, wasting money. You never said you wanted kids before. Just let it go.” And though the brick twin was long gone at that point, and my parents’ marriage too, I could feel myself leaning into that wall again, next to the little bathroom with the water bugs in it, feeling as if whatever I had in my fingers, pregnancy test, hormone pills, injectables, was a thing I did not want to crinkle, and as if it was also a useless desperate thing that would never work on the problems I threw it against. And I was right.
This body, my body, so much of my experience of it has come from outside of me, from the comments of others over whether it was pretty enough, or tall enough, or thin enough, or properly coiffed, or busty enough, whether I had too much in the thigh area, whether my hair was the right color, whether my eggs were too old, whether my cramps were real, or my headaches severe, or my pregnancy false, or if my miscarriage was done enough to count, or how my uterus was growing the wrong things, creating an errant fruit salad with one fibroid like a cantaloupe, and one like an orange, and one like a strawberry, and a couple like grapes.
And so, onward and upward, to adoption. To waiting and waiting to become a knight of the motherhood. When, when would I get chosen? And a year passed, and another, and I wasn’t worried about the eggs aging anymore, but I was worried about the rest of me passing its expiration date. And watching those other mothers with their kids on the computer screen, in the park, on TV, was like cake crumbs sucked down the wrong pipe. We were always supposed to be celebrating, but this celebration was choking me.
And then, the prize. I got the prize! The day came that another womb’s perfect little creation was given over to me, and finally I was a mother, and no one could say any different.
Except that there are those people out there, who have been adopted by assholes who erased their culture or treated them mean, or those people who were adopted by okay or even great people, but, dammit, it was all done without their consent, and they did not, as adults, give retroactive consent. And it was and is just a fucked-up system. When I was waiting to adopt, those angry adoptees, those empty-armed birth mothers, they were not there, but after, they were everywhere, and I was a colonizing imperialist. There was a hierarchy, the baby, the birth mother, and me, the fake thing. And the focus is on pleasing first the baby, then the birth mother, and never the fake thing. And the fake thing must make things as wonderful as she can, and be ready to apologize for her parenting desires and imperialism, and acknowledge how she is not allowed in on the conversation, and she should be on standby, forever, waiting if needed to supply something to the other two, but never needing anything herself, parasite. And, of course, as an adoptive parent, if you thought about this all day you’d never have the freaking stamina to change a diaper, and since neither the adoptee or the birth mother is going to change the diaper, that diaper does need to be changed. Which is not to say that the birth mother didn’t want to change the diaper. And is not to say that she wouldn’t have changed the diaper if all the forces in the world that exist to disenfranchise women hadn’t disenfranchised her the fuck out of her baby. But, and this is also a fair point, you did not engage in that, know about that, or foster that, and, even if you did know about it then, or you do know about it now, there is not an action you can take to remedy it, and there is a person, small and vulnerable, who now is in a soiled diaper with no one to change it. And so you suck up all the vitriol for what you have done, for the mother lust that sent you to seek out someone else’s darling to parent, and you hide your joy, your unseemly unhallowed and unwanted love and glee, and you put your head down and cautiously, gently, blow a raspberry against a bare tummy, and change that poopy diaper.
And finally, I am a mother and no one can say any different.
Except that we don’t look even remotely related, her Asian features against my British ones.
And everyone would ask me if I was her aunt, her babysitter, her grandmother. Everyone who I don’t know, who happens to shop at Target or Food Lion needs to know; they need to know all about me, and I had better answer or they will follow and even yell questions, and it is all so obvious, but not in that glowing, “Aren’t you the perfect mom” way I’d always hoped for.
And it’s Mother’s Day.
And the other husbands are laying rose petals on the floor; you know those guys. You know who those bastards are who arrange for flower delivery, or private massages, or photo sessions in weirdly matching clothes, or sips of champagne. I’ll tell you who those bastards are; they are the bastards most of us aren’t married to. Most of us are married to working stiffs who don’t know what we should eat for dinner, who think “A nice card, yeah, a nice card and maybe the kid can make something.” And really what’s wrong with that, except that the bitches who have their own cooking shows or remodeling shows or “I’m rich, so watch me live my life on YouTube” shows push it in our faces that on this day their bastardy over-achieving husbands have come through again with “Champagne wishes and caviar dreams” for their sexy Madonna-mother-of-my-child wives. And so the nice card, and the macaroni picture from the kid, and the wilted dandelion from the yard, and you cook your own dinner, and you feel like it’s the same old day, and, mostly, it is all a bad play you’re forced to perform in, again.
And Father’s Day is so much easier. Dad’s have no expectations. They don’t really know what it is all about or why we are doing it. And though on Father’s Day the TV-Madonna-success wives put on a show of pomp and circumstance for us to marvel at as they dramatically worship their seed-depositing men, our men aren’t watching those shows, so they don’t know that is happening, and if they did watch them it would all seem ridiculous to them.
And today, Mother’s Day, is about keeping my mother from exploding. Finding something to do that the three of us can stomach that makes my mother (Hubby’s mom is mercifully dead) feel that attention has been paid in an appropriate enough way that she can report it to her friends.
So, Happy Mother’s Day, glorious mothers of all types and everywhere, can we finally stop doing this now?
UPDATE: My wonderful daughter and hubby gave me a great present this morning, a succulent garden in an old tin that they made themselves, fingers full of cactus needles, and a huge coffee holder for our road trip later with my mother, and a whole fun conversation with my daughter where we debated the spelling of one of our favorite expressions, mother-fucker, and is it that way, or muther-fucker, or mutha-fucka, and hubby feigned mock horror, which we needed so that we could play off of it, and there was coffee and bacon too! I love them. I love our little unit of three. I love our lives on lockdown too.