Saturday, May 02, 2009

A dirty little secret from a feminist mommy

When I was pregnant with the Kid, I wanted a boy. Not because of family names or because boys are inherently better than girls. I was a bit terrified of what kind of mother I'd be to a girl. In my family, boys are so coddled and loved that we might as well be Chinese or Indian, and girls suffer. That's how it is. And at 19 years old, I didn't know if I had the skills to break that family tradition. I didn't want to do to my daughter what had been done to me, or to my mother and aunts. Having a boy meant that I could skip all the reprogramming my brain would need. A boy I could just love, a girl would require much more serious therapy.

I've always been a feminist, from the time I was a little girl. It was always glaringly obvious to me how unfair it was that I was the one who got blamed for a messy house or who had to put their needs aside in favor of my brother. My mom showed up to every one of my brother's baseball games (which he hated playing) but never went to single one of my volleyball or softball games, never came to watch me cheer a football or basketball game, and only showed up to state cheering competition when I begged. By the time I was the Kid's age, my mom was doing everything she could to push me out of the house including moving into homes where everyone had a bedroom but me(and my anger at the whole situation made me happy to leave). Girls in my family are supposed to work their asses off, all the time. Boys get pats on the head just for trying.

It wasn't until I cut off contact with my mother that I started examining the minutia of feminism, the things beyond access to work and reproductive rights. By that time, the Kid was 8. If he had been a girl, that poor child would have had 8 years of a life with a horrible parent. I've made some mistakes with the kid, but overall I've been a good mom to him. If he had been a girl, I don't know that would have been true until a few years ago.

Please understand, this isn't because girls are more difficult children. They aren't. I cringe whenever someone says things like " be thankful he's a teenage boy and not a girl, then you'd be in real trouble". The only thing that makes girl babies harder to raise is that society hates them so fiercely, and that parents are part of society. If the kid was a girl, right now I would be dealing with creepy middle aged men (and teenage ones too) who think growing boobs means a girl is asking to be sexually harassed. I would be walking a fine line between trying to keep her safe from rape without making her feel that not being raped is her responsibility. I would be trying to teach her that she is beautiful but that is not all she is when every message she gets from the world says that she must fix her physical flaws or no one will love her. The Kid is chubby, but if he was a chubby girl (highly likely given our genes) I'd be struggling with keeping him healthy and keeping him from an eating disorder (or an exercise disorder with a mild case of orthorexia- which is what I had). The biggest struggle I have with a chubby boy is finding pants that fit, and now that he wears grown up clothes it's much easier.

Everytime I make the kid do the dishes is an act of feminist rebellion. The rule of the house is either you do the cooking or you do the clean up. But if he was a girl, I would just be reinforcing the idea that the house is the responsibility of the woman. My brother, at 32 years old, hasn't washed a dish in forever. And I know cause he used to pay me to wash his dishes and do his laundry and clean his bathroom. The Kid knows how to scrub a toilet and used to help me with paid cleaning gigs.

Until a few years ago, I wouldn't have even recognized most of these things as issues. I might have blindly gone into things in the exact same way my mother did. And at 19, I knew that there were all these tiny issues that needed to be dealt with, but I didn't know what they were. So when the ultra-sound revealed that he was a boy, I felt relieved. This I could do. I could be a good mom to him.

Now 15 years later, I could be a good mom to a girl. Now there wouldn't be an 8 year lag between me figuring my shit out and becoming a better parent. Now, most of the baggage from my horrid childhood wouldn't be passed on to a girl child.

So when I read this, I took a deep breath and made a wish for this woman's daughter.

Friday, May 01, 2009

RQ cooks- half assed Spanish rice

It's the half of the month where dinner becomes "interesting" because we are scraping the bottom of the fridge and the wallet. Last weekend the awesome produce stand down the street had roma tomatoes on sale for 39 cents a pound, so I made a bucket of pico de gallo and we had tacos (2x) and tortilla soup (half assed again cause we had no actual meat to put in it) and casadillas with cheese and avocados.

Last night I was soooo tired of anything Mexican flavored that I bought a cheap pack of pork ribs and we had that and half assed rice pilaf for dinner with a pile of lettuce for something green. Anyways, this recipe comes from the leftover rice (basically white rice made with chicken stock instead of water).

In a large skillet, heat up some oil. Add in finely diced onions and cook till a little blackened. Add half a diced bell pepper and then the leftover chicken rice. Add some minced garlic and turn heat to medium.

Now spices. Generously add some chili powder, paprika, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes. Add a wee bit of cumin if you like (cumin goes a long way). At this point the rice is probably getting a bit crispy. You need to add some liquid.

You can use chicken stock or water, but my creative ass drained the liquid out of the remaining pico and poured that in. Once it was almost all dried out I added the remains of the pico (at this point about half a cup) and cooked till the liquid was gone.

Now I am typing and happily stuffing my gullet with yummy goodness. And pico de gallo week is officially over. Maybe next week will be 18 ways to eat pesto or potatoes.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

head desk moments in public school

About a month ago, the Kid had a nasty flu bug. Not swine flu (I think) but just your general sore throat, fever, snot nosed flu bug. I kept him home from school while he had a fever (cause I've always been told that a fever is a good sign that it's still contagious) which meant 3 days of the monkey face lounging on the couch.

After 2 days I got a call from the school. When I explained that Kid was sick, I got some nasty feedback about how he "needs to be in class" and a super snotty "Well! Are you going to send him tomorrow!" phrased less like a question and more like the exasperated flouncing of a southern belle who just found out the slaves were freed and wants to know who is going to wash her pantaloons.

I said he's got a fever, he's leaking snot from everywhere, and he might even have strep. Do you really want him sharing that with all his classmates? He'll be back when he's better."

(Ruth wants to know what I have done to inspire the ire of the public school system that every dealing with a school person is chock full of condescending asshatery. It's simple, I'm a poor single mom who fights back when they are shitheads. That's all it takes).

Moving on. We now have one case of swine flu at a local middle school. That middle school is closed down even though the parent of the sick kid did just what they were supposed to do and kept the kid home. There are supposed to be more school closures announced tonight, at least 3. I gotta wonder if the school district's policy of berating parents for keeping sick kids home helps or hurts the efforts to stop the spreading of disease. Certainly in the Kid's case they would have been happy to have his feverish self coughing lovely influenza saturated phlegm all over their classrooms.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The patriarchy hurts men too

So there is this student, very young, very sweet, kinda typical 19 year old every dude. He has a wee bit of a crush on me (he's too young, they have to be old enough to buy vodka) but he's not obnoxious about his little crush. He's just mostly sweet and dumb in the way that 19 year olds are.

So yesterday he was in my lab and just had to show me this fabulous comic he just saw. It was of an older woman in a bikini who had been catching some rays and because her gross droopy old boobies were sagging she had a stupid tan line. Yeah, I can hear you all laughing at that one. Hahahahahaha. Old women should know that if they aren't hot sex bots they should cover up and stay home. Sooooooooooo funny and completely original. Nobody ever makes fun of women for not being super fuckable all the time.

I didn't laugh. I didn't do that thing we do when we're stuck in uncomfortable situations with douchebags where we fake laugh kinda just to get out of the situation. I just said "that's incredibly sexist" and went back to work. I could see that what was about to come out of his mouth was "come on, it's just a joke" but I think he stopped himself at "co".

So thanks patriarchy, you just took a perfectly sweet dude and turned him into a douchebag.

(Not exactly off topic- but has anyone seen the video for Eminem's We Made You? I know it's like shooting fish in a barrel to point out his rampant woman hate- but EVERY SINGLE PERSON he picks on in that video is a woman except for Brett Michaels. For a dude so full of anxious masculinity, I find it totally cowardly and unoriginal that he doesn't go after fellow rappers or anyone who could actually kick his ass, but he goes after the already brutalized. Wow tough guy, way to prove your street cred)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Remember all those times

I told you peeps that "libertarian is shorthand for douchebag" or maybe asshat, I can't remember now.

Two stories of Libertarian asshatery today, both involving Facebook scumbag Peter Thiel. First, Libertarians want their own private island kingdoms (close enough to home so that they don't have to deal with expensive things like military protection but still able to get out of paying taxes). I say good riddance, but will happily become a pirate queen and rob all you non-taxpayers blind. You think the Coast Guard is going to come to your rescue when you've committed treason? Hardly.

Next, Thiel thinks girls are the downfall of society.
Since 1920, the vast increase in welfare beneficiaries and the extension of the franchise to women — two constituencies that are notoriously tough for libertarians — have rendered the notion of “capitalist democracy” into an oxymoron.

Ah yes, women who vote and participate in society bring it down. Funny how science proves him wrong. countries that have more freedom and equality for women actually have stronger economies and higher standards of living. But Libertarian asshats rarely let the facts get in their way of plotting world domination.

(I am now fully convinced that Facebook is the root of all evil- especially since it has become a tool for ex-boyfriends, including Kid's stalker daddy, to track me down and pester me long after I sent them packing)

(Also- does Thiel seem like the absolute archetype for the evil "genius" in kid's cartoons. I can totally see him rubbing his hands together and trying to invent a magic laser that disappears all the females in the world cause "girls have cooties")

Monday, April 27, 2009

Oh holy fucking crap I'm officially pre-pregnant

After months migraines (sometimes 3 or 4 a week) and no relief from the usual suspects of drugs, I went to the doc on Friday.

He prescribed some more stuff (stuff I know will not work, stuff that may work but my insurance will be an asshat about) did some blood work and referred me to a neurologist for an MRI.

Doc's office calls today to tell me that 1) my neurologist referral has been approved and to schedule an appointment. 2) they are doing the hoop jumping that the insurance company requires for the might work drug and 3) that my blood work is fine except that my folic acid levels are a bit low and I should start on a pre-natal vitamin RIGHT NOW.

I am not now, nor do I ever plan to be (again) pregnant. But in case I have forgotten that I am nothing more than a baby making machine, my doctor is more than happy to get me a pre-natal vitamin prescription.

Can I just say that menopause will be sweet sweet relief. I only have 15 or 20 more years to go.