Saturday, December 23, 2006

a trusting kind of squid

This morning Derek brought in the paper and we happened upon an article about a giant squid caught off the coast of Japan. You know when you read something wrong and then re-read it and realize you misread it? There was a huge picture of the squid above the article and it mentioned that the squid was one of the only ones ever caught, and that this research group had been after these squid forever.

I misread a sentence in the article to say "She was a trusting kind of squid..." and Derek and I laughed and laughed about that. We envisioned a scientist saying, "Hi squid! We're doing this research and I was wondering if you'd mind coming with me." And the squid saying, "Oh, sure, no problem." And the scientists heh-heh-heh evilly and say "That's a trusting kind of squid!" And then they spear it. (It did actually die, sadly.)

In other news on the same page, the last freshwater dolphin died in the Yangtze River in China.

We also read about the crappy job of private contractors in Iraq and the general quagmire that is the US occupation there.

Also- the baby is getting cuter daily. It's amazing.

AND- if you have a clip of the Grunka Lunka song from Futurama from years ago, tell me where it is! I checked YouTube and it's only in Italian there.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Individual responsibility and moms in the workplace

Amen to this:

"You know its very curious to me that the same American people who have stood by silently and watched the rule of law become subsumed to fear and bullying, (the Patriot Act, the Military Commissions Act, NSA spying etc) are in effect saying they trust their leaders to prosecute criminals without trial, without a lawyer, and without a hope of justice.

Yet these same Americans are now saying they do not trust their neighbor's integrity in raising their own children. They are so anxious that mothers with children might be getting away with something, anything, but their leaders are given carte blanche to lock up whoever they want on any pretext they want?This is illogical and idiotic."

This is a comment in response to Joan Blades' post on The Huffington Post blogspace in which she defended an earlier post on why the fight for mothers' rights is needed in this country.

So many people derided that post as a call for "special rights" for "breeders." The comment I posted above (not written by me) nicely challenges that. Those who argue so passionately against things like equal pay for men and women, paid family and sick leave, and health care for all children are arguing about pennies, in essence, compared to the dollars taken out of our paychecks to support the war in Iraq, which costs millions every single day and drives this country ever deeper into debt.

This quote from Sen. Obama was just used in the last MomsRising e-outreach: "Despite all the rhetoric about being family-friendly, we have structured a society that is decidedly unfriendly... What's missing now is a movement. What's missing now is an organization. That's why MomsRising is so important."

This efficiently and effectively articulates why we need an organized movement for families. I'm not talking about some extreme right-wing organization that exists to protect the interests of white conservative Christians (who don't seem to embody much Christian love). This country purports to be family friendly, but when it comes to actually putting policies in place that would in fact help families be stronger, the powers that be are silent.

We're asking them to step up, to put their money where their mouths are, or to quit calling themselves "family friendly."

When people say things like "can't feed 'em, don't breed 'em," they're coming from a place of extraordinary privilege where they can't even begin to imagine why poor and middle class people should or would want to have children. All this posturing about individual responsibility is par for the course in American culture, but it shouldn't put us on the defensive (eg "sometimes people make bad choices but we should still help them").

We shouldn't let them define the argument that way 1. because that's not the strongest position we could take, and 2. more importantly, those who make those comments can't really claim superior "individual responsibility" by not having kids.

MY TAKE HOME MESSAGE: Working to take care of the kids you have *is* being responsible, a responsible parent. Working to change the system that only pays lip service to family values is being a responsible citizen. And figuring out how to shift corporate culture to support the realities of being part of a family is being a responsible worker.

Furthermore, those making that argument generally don't appreciate that the workplace culture is designed to increase profits, period. As the BusinessWeek Best Buy article shows, the whole notion of face-time is out of step with the techno-uber-connected way of doing business in the 21st century. Workplace culture is not tailored to fit the realities of employees' lives. This is bad for business (eg Best Buy and that small business featured in the film show) and bad for employees. The subtlety in the argument is that we're not trying to get the same pay for less work or get "special rights." We're trying to get the American corporate work culture to realize that as part of (even, perhaps, as a pillar of) a society that claims to "care about the children" and to be "family friendly," they are at the center of the current problem and the key to the solution.

MomsRising is on the cusp of what I believe to be a total shift in the work paradigm, which in this country is equal to a total shift in the culture. People who cavalierly say "can't feed 'em" are missing the boat. Again, this is not about people wanting to "slack off" at work. This is in fact all about finding innovative ways to be productive (so American!) and to raise a family (so apple pie!). We believe it's possible, and we've identified ways to make it work (the MOTHER points). Those on board (like Obama, like anyone who has or is a parent) will find themselves in good company. MomsRising is how we can speak up together and effectively produce change.

Here's my Third Wave-y feminist take on the issue: success in the workplace has, for so long, been defined by white men. But when women make up such a significant portion of the work force, and when so many of those women have kids, it's way, way past time for the tired old "can't feed 'em" nonsense. Success must be redefined by everything a multitasking woman does in her life. Corporations that embrace this are much more likely to have a stable workforce with high morale.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Bitch PhD! and My Awesome Friends

For my many readers (at least one) who would be interested in a blog called "Bitch PhD," I give you Bitch PhD! Enjoy!

Also for my many readers (at least one) who expressed love for a certain picture of P, I give you this photo.

My Awesome Friends

Recently in the SF Chron and on Salon, someone named Elisa Gonzalez Clark wrote an open letter to a former friend of hers who became a mom and thereafter became boring to Ms. Clark. The new mom didn't wear her miniskirts to bars anymore, didn't attract big celebrities anymore, and apparently talked about her new baby a lot. Ms. Clark ended the friendship publicly and with a lot of disdain.

Who the hell is Ms. Clark and why the hell are the Chron and Salon publishing her (immature) sentiments? She seems to be unable to grasp the concept of MOVE ON. She wants to keep partying like it's the 80's. She can't understand that her friend has gone on to a new project in her life.

She refuses to celebrate with her friend during the good times. She refuses to support her friend during the tough times. (When her friend recalls her life before the baby, Clark kind of takes a you-made-your-bed-now-lie-in-it attitude instead of just being there and listening, the way a real friend would.)

Anyhoo. To all D's and my friends who have been nothing but supportive generous and happy with us: thank you! Each of you is an incredible person and you mean so much to us.

It doesn't matter that most of our friends don't have children. They don't need to have had kids to know how to be fabulous to us, how to be friends with us. And we actually remember how to be friends with them, how to relate to those sans kids. It's not really that amazing, but I guess if one has sucky friends (or is a sucky friend, like Ms. Clark), one cannot grasp that concept.

We're really lucky to have a circle of true friends. And we're really lucky not to have encountered the bitterness expressed in Ms. Clark's letter. How sad for her to not know how to be a friend.

I'm so grateful for good family and good friends! More and more I can see what a blessing these are.

end of the baby-cation!

I can't believe it's been a month since I've posted. I'm sure you can't believe it either, dear loyal blog readers, all two of you. At the end of the last post, I wrote how I was a little nervous about D going back to work. So far, it's going pretty well. I'm figuring out how to shower, feed myself, and get errands and work done while taking care of the baby. There are definitely challenges (like being on a conference call with P screaming, or dealing with poopsplosions). But not insurmountable.

Anyhoo-- baby rearing has been an amazing experience. D and I learn new things about Paloma every day. And she learns something new about herself and the world every second.

She's just six weeks old, and in the past week she's learned that she can bat around her toys to make them rattle, swing, etc. And she's got great head control! Check out the photo.

Can you imagine sleeping 18 hours a day, but in two and three hour chunks? (Yikes- I hate the word "chunks." Why did I say "chunks?" Ick.) Yeah, I can't either, because I'm sleeping for two three hour blocks a night, or thereabouts, and not at all during the day.

I know, I know- sleep when the baby sleeps. But who can really do that *and* get stuff done? But fortunately somehow there's some hormone or chemical that kicks in and helps me not feel totally exhausted. And when I'm facing the toughest feeding (interestingly, not 3:30 am but 7:00 am), I look at P's face and feel so lucky to be able to nurse her and to parent her.

Nursing is going pretty well. Some days are more sore than others, but I think we're getting it nicely on the whole. Speaking of nursing-- in the incredibly sad story about James Kim getting lost in the snow, did anyone else find it inspiring/comforting that Kati Kim was able to keep both her 4 year old and 7 month old alive by nursing them? I was in awe of what mamas can do and what she did do.

Have you checked out MOMSRISING yet? It's growing by leaps and bounds- an incredibly well-organized, motivated grassroots organization whose time has come (given the new Democratic leadership).

Baby's about to wake up from her nap-- parenthood makes me do things in nap-speed!