Here it is, what was formerly known as The Seven Beat Wonder. Complete, for the moment, and posted for your pleasure.
(for sticklers of formatting, the three lines that are not capitalized are supposed to be indented 5 spaces)
from No Normal Love
(A Sci-Fi Lesbian Pirate Bodice-Ripper)
Part the Fifty-Second: Wherein Things Rise Through
A craving for the dirt-dusted
For combing through with fingers and nails
Her face against the cruxes of bodies
Tasting of viscera, stamina – a cling of must and lemon
through an indrawn breath
Devouring overly things and the loving of the devouring
Smile as in the baring of teeth, the flashing of incisors
And she can tell you where fruit will ripen
She could go swinging swinging
through layers of leaves swinging
This is a (sorta) 3rd or 4th draft. Questions, comments, critiques are all welcome.
If you need the info, the heroine of this poem is the result of a rogue genetic experiment, and as such is 1/4 Spider Monkey (but looks truly human except for her ears and tail).
Ok, Estelle, you de-virginized me in terms of tagging. Here goes...
7 things I want to do before I die
- Go on a book tour (which would mean publishing a book, do you see how I'm cheating here?)
- Spend a season (or more) in Denmark
- Win a Pushcart (or, really, ANY kind of writing prize)
- Make a difference somehow, somewhere
- (too embarassed to admit this one)
- Support myself completely by writing and writing-related things
- Own a beach house (it doesn't have to be fancy)
7 Things I cannot do
- Eat a banana without puking.
- Stand up for myself in person or on the phone
- Refuse to see both sides of an argument
- Fight without crying
- Cry beautifully
- Drive in the car without singing
- Curl my tongue (or whistle, for that matter, they're related abilities)
7 things I'm attracted to
- Wacky sense of humor
- Skill with your hands (I'm looking for refined movements as well as strength-- hey, you asked!)
- Appreciation for my poetry (I am a self-absorbed poet, you know)
- A willingness to reevaluate one's place in the world
- An acceptance of mystery and magic and the breathtaking beauty of this world
- An ability to switch from silliness to aching seriousness and back almost instantly
7 things I say often
- Yeah yeah yeah
- Securities and Exchange Commission...
- I'd be happy to do that for you
- What do you think (sometimes serious and sometimes sarcastic)
7 Celebrity Crushes
- Jeri Ryan (but ONLY as Seven of Nine)
- Claudia Black (but ONLY as Aeryn Sun)
- Jennifer Aniston (I know, I know, what is WRONG with me. She has a cute nose)
- Katee Sackhof as Lt Kara Thrace
- Dar Williams
- Renee Zelwegger (its another Jennifer Aniston thing)
- Antje Duvekof (as if you couldn't see THAT coming)
I'm only tagging Wendy. Cause I know she'll do it. The rest of you I'm not sure about, and if I tagged you and you ignored me I would totally cry. Cry. Cry. Cry. And as you can see above, that would not be pretty.
Another incipient poem making me crazy.
And only 7 beats* apparent so far.
Maybe this won't take so many days this time.
Maybe it'll be one I can post.
*I would say lines, but I can't even tell at this point how they'll break, but I can hear the 7 beats. So that's good.
Yesterday, Julia had her immunizations. Poor baby. She was so wiped out by them. So wiped out, in fact, that come bedtime (for us) she let me put her in her crib.
I don't know if I've made this clear before, but Julia does not sleep unless someone is holding her. Oh, yeah, occasionally she will consent to rest in her swing. But this is not the norm, and we count on it at our peril. Because just as one is about to drift off to sleep with her in her swing, she will awaken, realize that she was cruelly tricked, and begin a vociferous complaint. If a mommie is holding a sleeping Julia, and that mommie would like to put Julia down in, say, her bassinette, or her crib, or her co-sleeper, that mommie has approximately 2 minutes to do whatever it was she needed to do (go to the bathroom, brush her teeth, balance her checkbook, check the dogs for ticks, re-grout the kitchen floor, whatever) before the betrayal is noticed. But we're working on it.
And last night, last night, she was so tired from being so darn ornery all day and she was so deeply asleep on my shoulder, I decided to put her in her crib and run back to bed. Kristin and I cuddled in bed together listening with the monitor to Julia's whistling booger (something that was bothering Kristin but to which I clung like a canary in a coal mine -- hey, at least we could tell she was still breathing) and kept saying, over and over:
Oh my god, she's sleeping in her crib.
I know, I know, she is totally sleeping in her crib.
Wow, can you believe that she is sleeping in her crib?
No, I so can't believe that she is sleeping in her crib.
Did you ever think that she would ever sleep in her crib all on her own without us crawling in there with her?
I mean, I dreamed about it, sure, but just like winning the lottery, I never thought it would really happen.
It's really happening, she is really sleeping in her crib.
We did this for 45 minutes. Then finally drifted off, still murmuring about the miracle of the crib, for a very refreshing 15 minutes, before Julia woke up to discover that she had been abandoned to the cold cruel world of her crib and began screaming.
And the screams came from everywhere because of the monitor. And she wouldn't close her eyes for more than a few seconds for the rest of the night. Everytime her little eyelids drifted closed, she would jerk them back open to look at me accusingly as if she could tell that I had been thinking right that very second about shirking my motherly duty and slipping her into her swing while she wasn't looking.
this weekend while leaving a pancake house after eating breakfast with 2 other gay couples with kids:
"There's another one...and another one. My, these gay families are just getting to be so popular these days."
My brother (a mechanic) used to like to tell this story:
He’s working at his shop, minding his own business, when he sees my mom’s car pull in. “Mom,” he says, “what are you doing here?”
“Son,” says she, “when I was pulling out of my driveway to run some errands I noticed the teeniest, tiniest drop of oil on the cement. I need you to stop what you’re doing and replace all my belts and hoses and gaskets. In fact, why don’t you replace the whole engine just to make sure we get the leak fixed.”
Just at that moment, I pull up in my car. My brother notices that smoke is billowing out from under the hood of my car.
“Sis! You shouldn’t have driven that car to me to fix, you should have just called 911!”
“What are you talking about? I’m just here to pick mom up.”
“Trista, your car is on fire! How long has your car been on fire?”
“Oh gee, I don’t know. It is? I mean, it’s been smoking when I drive it for a couple of weeks now, but as soon as I get on the freeway, the smoke all disappears. I figured it was just an idling problem.”
He exaggerates, but not as much as you’d like to think.
I am a terrible car owner, but I am a fabulous driver. I once drove all the way to Oregon (taking little scenic byways through the mountains) on 3 cylinders and 2 flat tires. I am amazing.
No, really, I am. I’ll prove it to you.
This one time my tire was flat. So, instead of calling my brother, I thought I’d prove how dykie I could be and put my donut on myself. So I find the jack (a feat in itself) AND the lug wrench (yet another miracle) and totally scuff my shoes up taking the icky, dirty flat tire off and putting the little donut on. Then I put the car down and washed my hands and felt so damn proud of myself. Now, I knew that all those wussies who stop at crosswalks for children and old ladies say that you shouldn’t drive over 40 MPH on a donut, and that really you should just drive immediately to get a new big tire. But I was in a rush to get to work, and besides, I had done such an amazing job that I was certain that nothing bad could happen to me. So I decided to take the freeway. And, I don’t take the freeway going the minimum speed limit. That’s just dangerous. No, I was doing a nice 80 mph. Had the music up, was singing along. Suddenly, my car started shaking. And making a terrible noise. So, I’m not an idiot, I took my foot off the accelerator. This was at a section of the freeway that was under some construction and the lane to the right of me was supposed to merge and there was this car that WOULD NOT get out of my blind spot. So my car’s shaking harder and now it’s starting to fishtail and that car in my right blind spot starts trying to merge into my lane and I’m trying to slow down and pull off the road without slamming on my breaks cause that would just make it worse when suddenly my car tips and thuds and gets a bit harder to control (but I kept it in control the whole time) and I see MY DONUT go racing down the freeway without me. Yup, I was slowing down and pulling over in a construction zone with only 3 wheels. I pulled the car to a stop in a nice parking job parallel to a cement barricade and stared at my hands for a few moments.
Then I called my brother.
And I promised I’d take better care of my cars from then on.
So this time when my car started acting funny I only waited a month or so before calling him up. And this time, all I needed was a transmission flush and my oil changed and all my spark plugs replaced (again, I was only driving on 3 cylinders) and 3 of my tires inflated. That’s pretty good, for me.
And I got to hear those words which when I don’t hear at least once a year I feel like I’ve lost my touch, “There is no fucking way you drove this car in here, I don’t even see how it could possibly run at all in this condition.”
Everyone should be thanking the heavens above that I am mostly using mass transit now.
I will now expound upon my views of the Isreali-Palestinian conflict while demonstrating the proper technique to skin kittens and puppies in order to make a lovely patchwork fur coverlet for my bed...
If the following sounds like I’m overwrought, you’re right. I am. I think it may be because I haven’t slept more than a few hours at a time since KENNEDY WAS ASSASSINATED. And that is a very long time.
If I had posted about a problem I was facing with homophobia being directed towards my daughter, and someone came to my blog and wrote that they were disturbed to find out that it was 2 women raising a child… I wouldn’t give that person the motherfucking time of day. So why should I when the issue is race rather than sexual orientation? Because I asked for it? Because I started the conversation? Because I was looking for outside opinions?
I don’t need to be told that people have a problem with white women raising a biracial child. I know that already. I have known it since before we began inseminating. There are people who have treated us like we have stolen/appropriated something. There are people who treat us the way people would treat a couple who raised their child speaking only Esperanto (ie people who let their ideals get in the way of raising a child that can communicate with and move confidently through the larger world). Some people might go so far as to try to take a child away from parents like that.
How do comments like this help? Are you telling me that we should have exhaustively detailed our donor selection process before even trying to start this conversation in order to let everyone know that we thought we had a fucking clue before we started? Or are you just telling me that we should have hung a sign on my partner’s body that stated “WHITES ONLY”? Are you telling me that we should have turned down the donor who matched every single one of the criteria we listed (intelligent, easy going, responsible, interested in being an uncle but no more, believes passionately in social responsibility, vegetarian, Unitarian/Universalist, kind to puppies butterflies and ornery old ladies, a great cook, holistic, GETS MY JOKES – the most important criterion) because he was black? Because when you criticize our choice of donor based only on our and his skin colors, or on your perception of our enlightenment prior to pregnancy, that’s what you’re telling me. Comments like that serve to shut the conversation down on my end. They sound a whole hell of a lot like, “Shut up white woman, you stole your black sperm and had your “cute” biracial baby. So now you have just to deal with the consequences.” Such comments divert attention to something that cannot be helped because it happened in the past and away from the matter at hand, which is what do we do now and how can we make this world a better place? How can we act proactively instead of defensively or aggressively?
And if I’m choosing to think about hair right now, it’s not because I want to make my “cute” biracial child’s “cute” hair even cuter. But because I happen to see this as ONE THING that is coming up on the horizon. One very complex issue involving many strands of fear and control and preconceived notions. But it’s true that that is only one thing (and not the greatest of those things) on my list of concerns. And it could be that one small thing is all I can deal with at the moment since my brain is leaking gray matter from sleep-deprivation-created holes in my head.
After all, I haven’t slept since before I was born.
Got this from Estelle
Take the first letter of your first name..
- A=I'D LOVE TO LICK
- B=I ATE
- C=I DUMPED MY BOYFRIEND/GIRLFRIEND FOR
- D=I HAD A ONE NIGHT STAND WITH
- E=I MILKED
- F=I SAT ON
- G=I SAW
- H=I'M IN LOVE WITH
- I=IN MY ROOM I FOUND
- J=I PUSHED
- K=I GOT IN A FIGHT WITH
- L=I MURDERED
- M=I RAPED
- N=I DEEP-FRIED
- O=IN MY FREEZER, I FOUND
- P=I MOLESTED
- Q=I TALKED ON THE PHONE TO
- R=I CHEATED ON MY LOVER WITH
- S=I'M MOVING IN WITH
- T=I JUST KILLED
- U=I KICKED AND KILLED
- V=I SKINNED ALIVE
- W=I GAVE MY NUMBER TO
- X=I MARINATED
- Y=I BABYSAT
- Z=I TRADED MY MOM FOR
Now take the third letter of your last name..
- A=A HIPPOPOTAMUS
- B=A CURLY FRY
- C=A BLOCK OF CHEESE
- D=AN ERASER
- E=A GAY HOBO
- F=YOUR MOM
- G=AN EMPTY TACOBELL CUP
- H=A GREASY PAPER PLATE
- I=A SPORK
- J=A MELTED ORANGE CRAYON
- K=GEORGE WASHINGTON
- L=A PEICE OF CHEWED GUM
- M=A SEA URCHIN
- N=A PAIR OF GRANNY PANTIES
- O=ORANGE JUICE
- P=YOUR BRA
- Q=A BIRD
- R=A STOP SIGN
- S=A DUSTPAN
- T=A RANDOM GUY
- U=A RANDOM GIRL
- V=A YELLOW PAPERCLIP
- W=A PAIR OF SNEAKERS
- X=A TURKEY
- Y=A NAKED OLD LADY
- Z=A JELLYBEAN
Oh... I'm mean, mean, mean, mean. I just killed a sea urchin. The bastard. He deserved it. A sea urchin actually attacked me once. We had a salt water tank and we bought an urchin cause it was pretty and the guy at the store warned us that if it poked us it would be a trip to the hospital, and then one day I sticking my hand in the tank tormenting the anemone and the coral and the darned urchin charged at me waving its spines and (I'm sure) looking fire from out of its beady little eyes and it speared me! And I called Kristin at her job and cried out: "I'm gonna die, I'm gonna die, The Urchin just attacked me." And she was all: "What were you doing with your hand in the tank?" And I was all: "Never mind that right now. How can you think of something like that at a time like this? Now, how do I amputate a hand, cause I'm pretty sure that's the only way I'm going to live." And she told me not to amputate my hand just yet and she called poison control (If you're wondering why I just didn't go to the emergency room, well, its cause I didn't have health insurance) and the people at poison control were all: "She got attacked by what? A sea urchin? Is that some sort of sea animal? Is it like a blowfish? How did she get attacked by a sea animal in a land-locked state? Gosh, I don't know, we'll have to look that one up." And finally, after long moments where I reviewed my will, relived my life, and stared in horror at my reddening hand where the puffy death was creeping slowly toward my heart, they told Kristin to tell me to scrape the tip of the spine out of my hand, clean and ice the wound, and keep the extremity elevated and that I would be fine. The toxin of the species we had was very weak and was more likely to irritate than kill. And as soon as she told me that, the puffy death began to recede and the death by humiliation began.
But Kristin got to come home and tuck me into bed (she worked graveyards at the time).
And I never tried to torment the anemone again. The end.
Why is it that whenever I have a moment or morning of blissfull happiness I cannot hold onto it? Something comes and stomps it to pieces. Is it me or is it fate?
Things that contributed to my happiness yesterday:
- Emails from friends
- A flatteringly quick response back from Spork agreeing (because they like my work so much) to what I thought was an unreasonable request from me regarding the lay-out of my poems
- Finding some time to write creatively
- Having a woman in Great Britain call a piece of my writing "brilliant"
- My Antja CD
- Julia's bumbo seat arriving
Things that contributed to the squashing flat and grinding to dust my happiness yesterday:
- Having our daughter gone for 15 hours -- 2.5 hours longer than we had thought she'd be gone
- My partner's grief at having to go back to work early and thus necessitating Julia's extended foray away from home
- My own grief at not being able to provide for our family alone so that my partner wouldn't have to go back to work early
- Being told that my Grandma was having a fatal heartattack -- no, no, now it's that her lungs are collapsing -- no, no, now it's just that they're filling with fluids for no reason -- no, no, now it's that...
My Grandma was stabilized last night, for which I am beyond thankful. My mood today, however, feels anything but stable. I am working hard, though, to recapture the happiness. Took a walk today and that was lovely. This really is a pretty city.
Sorry to burden y'all with my mood swings. But I couldn't stand to leave the happy post as the one most current and I am very against deletion...
Just a quick note to say I am happy happy happy today.
This is unusual because normally I walk around a slightly purplish shade of gray.
- Could my medications finally have kicked in?
- Could I have lost so much sleep that I've finally gone a bit wacky?
- Could I be channelling some spirit that died insanely happy and is now spending the afterlife wafting around trying to give people a glimpse of the joy that kills?
- Could this be incipient hysteria bubbling up and I'm just misreading the signs?
Only the shadow knows for sure...
Yesterday Kristin and Julia and I attended our very first Gay and Lesbian Parents of Utah activity. Julia was adorable as a jack 'o lantern. I wore a green shirt and went as a vine, but I don't think anyone got my costume. Oh well. That's not important. What's important is that Kristin and I met some wonderful Gay and Lesbian parents and their kids. And even MORE important than that, Kristin and I met another lesbian couple with an AI infant. Ok, so he's about 16 months. But they're starting AI again this month so hopefully will have another little one within the next year.
Anyway, you should have seen the non-bio mom (I'll call her S) in that couple and I claw at each other in our joy finally to know in person another non-psycho non-bio mom. We just talked and talked and talked. Nothing unsuitable for mixed company, but I'm afraid that we weren't very sociable with the other guests after beginning our conversation. Kristin and the other bio mom seemed to hit it off as well. Still, who cares about them, right? Cause it's all about me me me. And I finally found an in-person friend! I gave her our phone number and stressed how excited I was for her to call (I had nothing to write her numbers down with) and then Kristin and I left, and I thought, "Gee, that was really nice to meet them. They probably think I am a total freak and will never call us and will, moreover, completely ignore us at the next event, and they might even spread around that I am more than a little clingy and then other people will start avoiding us as well..." But about 15 minutes after we got home, S called! In fact, she had already lost our number and had called back to the event to see if anyone there had it and luckily someone had and so she decided to call just to make sure that it was the right number. So I guess she liked us (for us read: me me me!)
No disrespect meant to bio-moms everywhere: I love you all and am so thrilled for you and your partners (and I'm very flattered that you're reading my little blog). But it is so necessary for non-bio moms to talk and support each other. There are stresses and fears and worries that I'm pretty sure only non-bio moms feel (just as there are stresses and fears and worries that only bio moms feel) that our partners can't fully experience or understand. They can sympathize but they can't know. Further, there is so little support out there for the lesbian parner of a pregnant woman that we can feel very lost and overwhelmed and unsure of our roles and responsibilities. Finally, there are many times when we do not want to burden our partners with all these issues. I know that during our very difficult pregnancy, I tried to be as emotionally present as I could for Kristin: we discussed a lot of very difficult things. But there were times when I had things I needed to get off my chest that it would have been very inappropriate to burden her with. Maybe others aren't like that, maybe others can share every little trouble. But I happen to believe that there are some things best left unsaid between a couple. Like when you have given and given and given to your partner and still she needs more and there is a very small part of you that wants to say something mean, that wants to withdraw, even when the larger portion of you knows that you're being irrational and hormonal, that this behavior from her is unusual, will not last forever, and that she truly needs this extra support and effort right now. That very small part can have a very big mouth. And that huge mouth can do a great deal of damage to a vulnerable partner if there's no one else for that mouth to speak to.
So what I'm trying to say here is this: If you're a non-bio mom or mom-to-be, email me. Let's talk. I don't have answers, but I want very much for connection and I will listen to you extensively and without judgment.
Just as long as you listen to me back. Cause, remember, it's all about me me me!
Kwynne left a long and very thoughtful (and though provoking) comment on my post Making Space for Race, that I thought I would respond to here, rather than in the comments section. Hopefully this will interest everyone, if not, well, then, just think about cheese.
Kwynne, thanks for commenting. I was really wondering what you had to say on this subject.
Yes, I am saturated with white privilege. I am uncomfortably aware of this just as I have very little practical knowledge of how to step away from it, how to dismantle it. But I realize that the very fact that Kristin and I were upset that someone would dare to racialize our child is based on the fact that whites have the luxury of not expecting that their children will be racialized.
We did talk about what birthing and raising a biracial child would mean. From the time our donor offered (yes, he offered, we didn’t know him well at the time, so we never would have asked) to the time we actually conceived, Kristin and I (and our donor) had countless discussions about how we would raise our child, how we would feel about parenting a biracial child, how we would present him/her to the world until he/she could present herself. We were aware that we were in a unique situation since most biracial children are either adopted (not the bio kid of either parent) or are being raised by a biracial couple. We wondered if we were capable of being good parents to our child. Before we accepted his offer we talked with each other, with our friends, with therapists, with the (potential) donor. And we decided that in terms of expectations, availability, temperament, and medical/ sexual history he was the perfect donor. And though we heard the arguments against bringing a biracial child (particularly a biracial child of lesbians) into the world, they sounded very much like the reasons against queers having children at all: how could you willingly bring a child into the world knowing that people will have a hard time accepting it, that people will treat it differently because of who it is and who it’s parents are? We don’t buy that argument, and finally we decided that to turn a perfect donor down because of skin color would be racist and hypocritical. And, further, we felt that even having the discussion in the first place was racist and hypocritical. So we drew up donor contracts and sealed the deal.
After we began inseminating we read articles and websites and books like “Does Anyone Look Like Me?” and we talked and we talked and we talked some more. And it felt academic. And it felt hypothetical. And still we felt prepared. And then we conceived and skin color and racial heritages seemed so much less important than simply getting this child healthily into the world. And after she was born, skin color still didn’t matter. I don’t look at my child and see a raced child. I see my beautiful daughter. When the comment on her face was made, Kristin and I had to get out the baby pictures of our Caucasian friends and hold them to Julia’s baby pictures to see that she does, indeed, look different. Blind, naive, yes, we are.
I hear what you say about Julia never being accepted as white. You are right about that. She won’t be. But I worry that she will never be accepted as black by the black community either. So Kristin’s and my task becomes two-fold -- trying to educate those (including ourselves) who will have a major influence on her life; and trying to give Julia the tools and the love to hold to her own and move through both worlds as gracefully as she can as well as to deal with racism – whether it comes from the outside world, or from her parents and family. Yes, I know that despite my best efforts she will encounter some residual, unconscious racism from me, and I know this will hurt her probably more than racism coming from outsiders. This is similar to the way I feel when I experience homophobia from my parents and family – despite their monumental efforts to understand and educate themselves. Such things seem impossible to eradicate completely. Though one must not stop the effort. And so the discussion continues.
Now another question if y’all don’t mind:
When Kristin got pregnant, I started to join on-line groups and websites dedicated to the care of black hair. Silly, I know, but I barely know how to take care of my own super-straight, baby-fine, oily-if-you-look-at-it-twice hair, let alone something so delicate and beautiful and curly as African-American hair. And I learned something. Well, something was explained to me. See, when I taught pre-school, we would have these black girls, sometimes as young as 2, with these full heads of extensions. I used to feel so bad for the two year old who could barely hold her head up under the weight of braids and beads and she definitely looked uncomfortable trying to sleep. But on website after website I would read black women telling white women that they were seriously damaging their daughter’s emotional and social health by keeping their girl’s hair short, not putting extensions in their hair, and/or not keeping their hair braided/twisted/beaded. And I read on Daddy, Papa and me about their hair-related decisions, and I worried. As a white mother raising a biracial daughter I don’t want to do anything to alienate her from the black community. As a lesbian, I strongly object to forced gender conformity (one of the main reasons against cutting hair short is so the girl won’t look like/be called a boy) especially one that results in discomfort for appearance’s sake. As a lesbian in Utah, I am very much aware of the fact that very few people will see me as Julia’s legitimate parent and so I am sensitive to anything that remotely touches upon parental legitimacy and authority. Our donor doesn’t seem to think it’s a big deal what we do with Julia’s hair, to extend or not to extend doesn’t matter to him. I did finally find a site that focuses on natural hair (no extensions) and I plan to use that site as an educational tool. Still, I wonder what other people think of this. Not that Julia’s hair is long enough to worry about now, but I’d like to be a little pro-active here.
OK OK, Estelle is the one who most recently told me and apparently Jen also told me and I completely didn't listen to her. In fact I so didn't listen to her that I didn't hear her. But I believe her. If I have forgotten to acknowledge anyone else's warnings, please slap me on the wrist and tickle me with a feather.
Oh and whoever is reading my blog from Teasdale, Utah, will you PLEASE email me (you can find the address on the profile) and let me know that you are not my Aunt Lisa. Cause everytime I see that Teasdale IP (yes, I do check the IP's of readers) I totally freak out and have an anxiety attack wondering what my grandmother will say to me the next time I see her, cause you totally know that whatever Aunt Lisa reads will make it to my Grandmother before I can say, "what the fuck?"
And the mutant squash is dead. Dead I tell you. Kristin killed it with her bare hands in a fit of rage over the fact that our purple and black heirloom tomatoes will not ripen this year. All because of the mutant. The shape-changing pumpkin-like thingies we've been eating all summer were totally not worth losing the chance to make purple and black salsas. And now I yanked it cause that was the picture making everything screwy. Maybe it will come back for Halloween. Maybe not. Only the shadow knows for sure...
1) I fixed the coding problems with my sidebar. For heaven's sakes, folks, could you let a girl know when her coding is misbehaving? This has been going on for weeks and no one told me. I feel a bit like someone who walks out of the bathroom with toilet paper and her shoe, her skirt tucked into her nylons, and broccoli in her teeth only to be told that her hair is looking better...
2) I had misspelled Antje Duvekot's last name. That has been fixed as well. And now there's a link to her site. Go there. Many times. I'm hoping that she tracks stats and when she sees how much traffic I've sent her she will send me free cd's and tickets and offers to have my other love child and stuff...
3) I gave up waiting for her (for now) and just bought Boys, Flowers, Mileswith my precious spending money. I'll post a review as soon as it arrives and I absorb it into my psyche.
4) My new solution for the pokey nipple problem was right under my nose the entire time: disposable nursing pads. They're thin, they stay put, they disguise the true shape of my nipple unobtrusively, they're cheaper (and less ouchie) than breast petals, and (best of all for my over-active imagination's peace of mind) they will protect in case of spontaneous lactation for no reason at all. Let me know if you've tried this solution and how it worked for you before I go trying to make my fame with it. No need to embarrass myself further than I already have...
For the most part, Julia's like a beautiful little snuggly little squeaky little lump. I love her. But she's kinda lumpish. At least she was till about a week ago. Since she was born, in the rare moments when she was awake, not hungry, and not suffering from gas or laboring to poop, I've been working with her on sticking her tongue out. I would stick my tongue out at her and try to get her to reciprocate. This endeavor has met with mixed success.
But the other day, I was holding her and she was awake and aware and happy. She looked at me and I saw this expression cross her face. It was the look of someone who has just had a thought cross their mind. She gets this look, and then she sticks her tongue out at me! I got excited and stuck my tongue out at her and then she gets really excited and starts waving her hands around and kicking her feet and opens her eyes really big and sticks her tongue out again. (can you hear how excited I am through my italics?) Anyway, we did this a few more times and then Oscar barked and she looked at him and forgot about the whole thing. And I couldn't get her to do it again.
So, I was beginning to think I had dreamed the whole interactive thing. But then my mom came over to bring Julia's first Halloween costume (a pumpkin, look for pics later) and while she was holding Julia and cooing at her, Julia becan cooing back. They sat and cooed at each other for a few minutes and it was so cute I wanted to cry. Later, I tried it myself and Julia and I had a very deep conversation that lasted for several minutes. She has quite a unique perspective on our country's current Administration and its Supreme Court choices.
She is just growing up so fast. Before I know it she will be all independent, sleeping in her own crib, feeding herself, sitting upright all by herself...
At least for longer than the five seconds it took to take this picture.
besides exhaustion, I mean.
Mainly I waver between amazement, guilt, and a burning, piercing hunger I've decided to call a new form of love (but which could also be related to the fact that I'm on a diet right now.)
But let's talk about guilt. I'm prone to guilt anyway. Let's just say I'm predisposed to feel guilty about anything and everything. War in the Middle East? I'm sure it was something I said. Famine and drought? Darn it, I knew I shouldn't have thrown that uneaten food away the same night I took an extra-long bath. Non-stop rain and flooding? My depression is calling the clouds. You heard it here first, folks: In terms of misery, I'm all powerful.
But since I've become a mother (really, since Kristin got pregnant) the guilt has increased. I'm beginning to understand why mothers load such guilt trips upon their children: they're so full of guilt themselves, there's nowhere else for it to go, it must overflow onto their children.
A short list of what I feel guilty about on a regular basis:
- Going to work
- Not wanting to go to work
- Not working enough
- Not holding her enough while she's so squeaky and snuggly
- Being happy that she's beginning to like to sit in her swing and thus does not need to be held 24/7
- Letting the poem that's been buzzing around my head for the last few days make me distracted and crazy.
- Taking the time to get the poem out of my head and into my computer
- Not being independently wealthy
- Not using cloth diapers
- Not really wanting to use cloth diapers
- Wishing she would sleep in her crib for at least 6 hours at night
- Not scrapbooking
There are uncounted other things which are eluding me at the moment (and, by the way, I feel guilty over the forgetting of which because I think that maybe I'm not paying close enough attention to every aspect of this amazingly fleeting time). It's enough to make one crazy.
Last night I was home alone with Julia, and she was sleeping in her swing and I was cooking dinner (Aloo Gobi only with eggplant instead of the gobi because though the gobi was fine in the fridge, the eggplant was about to turn bad and mushy and needed to be used right away) and I kept thinking that I was hearing her cry and every time I left the kitchen and cooking noises behind to listen, I couldn't hear anything. Then Kristin came home and the baby really had been crying, just coincidentally stopping her wails every time I tried to listen. I'm a bad mommy. Then, when I added the eggplant to the pan of sauteeing spices, the resulting cloud of spice vapor that even the opening of the windows refused to budge (in fact, the chill from the opened windows seemed to serve to make the vapors thicker) sent all three of us into a coughing and sneezing fit. For the next hour, every little cough and sneeze coming from the swing in the living room felt like an arrow to the gut nailing down my new resolution to begin to like my food bland. The arrows felt a bit like the piercing hunger-love, but the points have differently shaped barbs.
Had a poem buzzing around in my head for the last few days, driving me nuts because I didn't have the time to get it all down, and couldn't stop thinking about it and was afraid that I was going to lose it. Finally the anxiety and pressure to write it down got large enough to be disruptive and force me to gather all the pieces of paper that I had been scrawling lines of it on and retire to the computer.
This is the first new poem that I have written since the beginning of May, and the first poem that I thought was worth anything since the beginning of April. I was relieved that the gift/muse/curse hadn't left me at the same time that I was unpleasantly and forcibly reminded why I am a poet: because I have no choice. Because when a poem moves through me I must give it form and substance or else go mad. That sounds a bit dramatic, and I'll be the first to admit that I am a bit more than dramatic, but if you could have seen me (and been inside my head) the last few days while I was possessed by poesy, and more importantly if you could see the calm now, you would know how dead accurate I am being.
I feel another storm brewing.
Saw this on Maybe Expectant:
City I was Born In
City I Live In Now
My (Last) Name
My Grandmother's (Last) Name
(One of) My Favorite Food(s)
My Favorite Drink
My Favorite Song (Pretty Much)
My Favorite Smell (of course)
Saw this at Liza Was Here and decided to try it. I, personally, think it is hilarious. Cheap entertainment, all you have to do is google your name with the word 'need'.
1) Trista needs a family who would be willing to help her achieve her full potential.
2) Trista needs to stop with the baby talk.
3) Trista’s body does not produce the hormones she needs to grow.
3) Trista needs to pay more attention to her partner, and less to the audience.
5) Trista needs to get over herself she has had more than her 15 minutes of fame.
Well. 'Nuff said.
Ok, so I sent out this email (with attachments) to Spork waaaaaaaaaaaaay back in April.
So, a friend of mine happens to be friends with several of your recent contributors. I guess you could say that I'm friends with them too... at least I'm not going to stop you from saying it, although they might stop me from saying it. Anyway, this aforementioned friend (see how I'm not naming names since I noticed on your website that names seem to be a touchy subject with at least one of you) thought that I should send you some of my stuff, particularly the stuff I am convinced I should never send to any respectable, established, award-winning literary journal. So, since I've been to your site and confirmed that you haven't won any awards (though good luck with those dotted i's) and since I rather liked your last issue, I thought I would send you some sections from my epic poem "No Normal Love (A Sci-Fi Lesbian Pirate Bodice-Ripper)". If you've been glutted recently with pieces about pirates and monkeys and partially-virgin lesbian ingenues, or if you just don't care for epic poems, well then, ummm, sorry.
(who does occasionally write about things other than bestiality, incest, and heaving bosoms. Or, at least, she used to.)
Now what would you think if you had gotten something like this? Exactly. So would I.
They claim to be able to get back to people within 3 months and I had heard nothing. Worse, when I went to their site to check out the latest issue, I found a notice that they are not accepting any unsolicited manuscripts for the next year. I figured, hey, it had been a good ride, I had a lot of fun, no hard feelings, and even though they rejected me out of hand I still think their journal is one of the most exciting things in writing coming out of anywhere and I wish them luck and hope they have happy lives while I stay in my room, depressed about my crappy writing.
But then I got an email from them this morning. I almost didn't open it. So glad I did. Bear with me while I reproduce it's brilliance.
Hello there Trista. Trista...
We love the pirates the poems the monkey. We want it. And maybe we want more sections, if you want to give us more sections. Would you give us more sections?
Our next issue's got isself a guest editor, so we're accepting for the one following that. It'll be like next year sometime, not too terribly far away, but future nonetheless.
So welcome, thanks, etc, and send some more pirates!
s p o r k
(I recreated the exact punctuation used, so don't think that I added that exclamation point)
Ok, I know that a million things could go wrong and it's not like I have a contract or anything, but these are poems that I never in a million years thought anyone would want to have anything to do with and I agreed with my friend that if they were going to find a home anywhere outside of being buried deep in my posthumously published "Complete Works" it would be with Spork, so I am so pleased to be right! Do go visit their website, they're doing really great work. (and not just because they like me, but the fact that they like me has got to say something good about them don't you think?)
So I know you all want to know what happened when I went in for my follow-up fitting.
I proudly marched myself downstairs with freshly-shaved (and deodorized) under-arm areas and in my third-newest bra (the one that gives me three breasts)arrived for my fitting precisely on time. I didn't even look longingly at all the pretty bras that I will never, never fit . No, I only had eyes for my fit specialist. I knew who she was by her charming smile and her perky (perfectly fitted) breasts under a pink shirt, and the way her measuring tape seemed to glow as she lassoed it around people and they began speaking only the truth:
No, I never use a lingerie bag to launder my bras!
I wear the same bra every day without washing it!
Yes, you're right, I do (sniff) I do throw my bras in the dryer! (sob sob sob)
From the deceptive safely of my fitting room I listed as the woman before me confessed her dislike of her "flat breasts". "Oh, you're breasts are not flat." The Pink 'n Perky Wonder exclaimed, "You've just been wearing the wrong bra. You see, with the right bra you're breast tissue gets re-directed...." It was then I knew I was in competent hands.
And I was definitely in her hands. She did have to touch my breasts in order to help get me fitted. Wow. She is the first woman besides Kristin to touch my breasts in a very long time. I wonder if I should buy Kristin flowers? I wonder if I should buy The Pink 'n Perky Wonder flowers? I wonder if it was as good for her as it was for me? Maybe I should buy myself flowers? No, I can't buy anyone flowers because I just bought 2 bras. And let me tell you, these bras better not give me any trouble, or I will just give up and buy ace bandages and call myself Pat. (Ummm, if anyone reading this is called Pat, then I'm very sorry.)
Ok, so here you go. The dirt on my size. I bought 1 wacoal slimline minimizer in 42 G and 1 wacoal t-shirt bra in 44DDD. I have the greatest hopes in these babies. Of course, since I just spent too much money on a custom-fitted piece of clothing that will make me look great, I am now guaranteed to lose weight.
Or it could be that I joined Weight Watchers last night. But more on that another time.
First of all, thanks to all of you who have commented so far on my race dilemma. You've given me more to think about and that's a good thing. One specific comment to answer Estelle's question. We chose our donor because he was the perfect donor for us in terms of personality, expectation, and (this is going to sound bad) teeth. I had to have major orthodontics as a child so when I asked him how many years he spent in braces to get such beautiful teeth and he said none, the deal was sealed for me. You can read more about how we chose our donor and Julia's conception here and here.
If you're interested in more discussion on race, this is a post from Peter's Cross Station that was recently brought to my attention again. I found it thought-provoking when I first read it, and now that I look at it again, I think it definitely resonates with what I'm concerned about.
(The following is a private note to Laurie R. posted for everyone to see)
For heaven's sake, when I teased you about stalking me, I certainly didn't mean for you to stop! And would it kill you to leave a comment occasionally? I mean, sheesh!
Finally, for those of you who read The Speckled Frog: I will be taking the link to that blog off my profile. It's not that I don't want people to read the blog, it's just that I want to put a little space between it and this one. So, if you go to the blog via your own bookmark or just because you have the url memorized, this won't affect you. If you've been using my profile to get there, you have until this afternoon. You can always email me for the url if you don't have it by the time I cut the cord, as long as you don't seem freakish I'll give it to you. One suggestion: when asking me for the url, don't mention your Julia shrine or anything else that might suggest baby-snatchin' behavior.
(a post which contains, among other things, an attempt to summarize Utah's complex web of race relations in a pithy paragraph but which ends up being a complete mess and makes me look like an idiot and possibly a racist myself (which I'm sure that on some level I am, in the same way that I still find homophobia within myself) so please don't hate me after you've read this, I just need to get it out, and I'm willing to listen to others' thoughts on the matter)
Our baby is only 6 weeks old, and already we're having race-relations problems.
A pre-shooler informed Kristin that our baby has a black face. "That baby's face is black" she went on to elaborate. Her mother quickly replied, "Oh no, her face isn't black, it's just her skin's darker than yours."
What's wrong with this exchange?
Let me just sketch some context here. We live in Salt Lake City. In the heart of Utah. A state which is characterized by most people who don't live here (and, to be honest, quite few people that do) as one of the whitest places in the US. This is not true. We have a very diverse population. We all just stay hidden in our little ghettos. Some examples: Utah is currently taking in thousands of refugees from all over the world, but for the most part citizens don't see or interact with them, heck, most Utahns don't even know about them; per capita we have the 3rd largest queer population in the country, yet we have some of the most draconian anti-gay laws on the books which were placed there recently not because Utah admits to having a large gay population that needs to be punished/controlled/put-in-their-place but to "send a message to the rest of the country" (italics mine); and we have large areas in all our major cities (ok, two out of the three) where English and White faces are rare. The numbers of our non-wasp population may be small compared with other regions in the country, but per capita the numbers are significant, and significant in the fact of their virtual erasure in the public sphere. However, we don't have large numbers of Blacks. Well, we have an increasing number of Africans, but not a large number of African Americans. (One other point I'll just make here: on the Wasatch Front -- our metropolitan area that contains all our important cities except Park City -- Mormons are actually in the minority. The problem is that they're the largest minority and they're solidly united, while the other population segments tend to be fractious).
So, as you can see, we have race (and other) problems. Our big (big big) race conflicts manifest themselves between Anglos and Latinos. We also have conflicts between Whites and Pacific Islanders, but since most of the Pacific Islanders immigrated under the aegis of the dominant religion, (and the Latinos are mostly Catholic) those problems are glossed over like a crazy relative hidden in the attic. Yet, most of the dialogue and materials on race relations and racism (at least those presented here) are based on Black/White tensions. So it's very easy for Utahns to "talk the talk" and think that racism isn't a big problem here because we are such dang nice, evolved people and we would never call a Black person a nigger or insinuate that by aborting all Black babies we would solve our crime problems. After all, "it's not Blacks that cause crime, it's the Mexicans". Racism as expressed towards Latinos is just "unfortunate but those illiterate, dirty Mexicans [if you speak Spanish you're Mexican whether or not you actually hailed from Mexico] bring it on themselves by coming where they're not wanted and taking our jobs and draining our resources and not even bothering to learn to speak our language." Oh yeah, and they're ungrateful and rude to us (for us read Anglos). Oh, we're evolved, all right.
So, back to the personal in this political moment. Our donor is Black. This in itself made it impossible for people to know that we used a known donor and not to know who it was since he's the only Black man in Kristin's and my friend circle. But more importantly (since we can't keep a secret so everyone was sure to know who our donor was anyway) this makes Julia biracial. And it makes her biracial in a unique situation: biracial children aren't unusual in Utah, but the races involved are Latino, Pacific Islander and White. Black/White biracial children are much rarer here. Whereas if Julia were half Latino or half Pacific Islander she would have resources to help her honor and hold to her non-white half. She would have a community both of people who identify as the race of her other half, and as biracial in the same way that she is. The way it stands now, the only access she has to more than just academic knowledge of Blackness is through her donor. This is tricky in itself because though we want him to play an important role in her life, we don't want him to play such an exclusively important role in her life. We don't want any judge for whatever reason to ever think that Julia would be better off in his (or his family's) custody. Yet to be seeking out role-models and "intentional family" members based on skin color also feels wrong. We don't want to make skin color a criterion for a relationship.
It is very important to both Kristin and I that Julia not be forced into a racial identity. We know that in very important ways everyone is forced into a racial identity, but we want her to be able to hold and honor and inhabit as much as possible both her racial heritages. This is why we found the tableau I started this post with so upsetting. In one moment Julia was both racialized as "other" (though the pre-schooler doesn't have a full grasp of the meaning of what she said, she definitely gets the "other" part of what she heard, the most upsetting thing is that she picked that language up from someone speaking in a racialized way about Julia either to her in front of her) and had her differences (e)rased. We do not want to force her into being White just because we are both White and most of our extended families are White any more than we want her to be forced into being Black because of the color of her skin. It may be crazy, but we want her to be able to be both, at least until she is old enough to choose for herself. Is this unrealistic? (I'm serious here, we're grasping in the dark, if you have thoughts please share them) Until Julia can choose which race she wants to identify with, or choose to try to hold her space between the two, Kristin and I want to hold that space open for her. Though we feel, in some respects, woefully inadequate for the task, we are giving it our best shot. We were taken by surprise in this instance, but the next time it happens, we're planning on trying to have a dialogue about making space for both of Julia's races.
If you have any thoughts at all, please comment. I'm sure my logic and thought processes are confused and flawed. Kristin and I are still trying to work out why we feel the way we feel and the best way to do what we want to accomplish. You'd think that we would've worked all this out during the ttc and pregnancy, but having a baby made it suddenly real and not merely an academic exercise. I've spent days working on this post and am a little afraid of posting it for fear that I sound like a horrible racist or terrible idealist or a completely incomptent mother. I may be all of these things, but I'm not completely sure, so if you want to point it out, please do so, but be gentle; I learn best when I'm dealt with tenderly.
So, I've decided that my breasts need to earn their keep. If I'm going to be buying $70 bras to keep them in style, they're going to have to be giving something in return. No more tolerating lazy lumps of flesh around here, nosireebob. Unfortunately, they have very few skills, and those that they do have are not in demand at the moment. So, it's time for them to acquire some new tricks. I've decided they can begin pulling their own (considerable) weight by helping with the baby.
So, for the last couple of nights, I have been breastfeeding Julia with the help of the SNS. The idea was to increase our bonding time, provide Kristin's hard-workers with a bit of a break, and help ease Julia's way into sleep without over-feeding her. I've been letting her suckle for a week or so now (without the SNS) to try to get us both used to the change, and because she's suddenly decided that though she wants to suck constantly, pacifiers are no longer good enough for her. Only nipples in her mouth, please. Though it's been difficult and an adjustment for me, it's poor Julia that nightly has had an epic struggle of mammalian proportions... though the satisfied look on her face when we finally achieve the far-fetched goal of latching on an obdurate nipple attached to something the size of a watermelon with the added difficulty of pokey tube that refuses to just lie against the nipple leads me to conclude that she thinks the whole endeavor is worth it.
Here is a picture of Julia scaling the mountain.
(this is an artist's rendering, NOT a photograph, for those of you that were confused by consummate skill in which such life-like detail was captured.)