me, molly, and the moon

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


...was what my mom called me when I was a) having a candlelit ritual in the backyard, b) extolling the virtues of tofu and condemning the meat industry, c) telling her about my "girlfriend" in Pittsburgh, or d) being otherwise Not Of the Mainstream, at least for my itty bitty suburb in Appalachia.

She would accuse me, on occasion, of being a nonconformist because everyone else was doing it. The sexuality, the religion, the food choices- all for coolness, y'all. This infuriated by 19 year old belly pierced black dyed hair sportin' self very much. The piercings and the hair, sure. Superficial. But give a kid a little credit.

Exit mom, enter Bu. He tells me I'm non traditional for the sake of being non traditional. (Wasn't I supposed to marry my father not my mother?) He told me that when I planned to hyphenate my name. (Turns out it's an annoyingly long name, so no. I opted for his short & sweet surname, and took my maiden name as my middle name. Please don't tell my grandma. My middle name was her name.) He told me that during intense, long arguments with pregnant me about vegetarianism and circumcision. He also informed me yesterday that I am too old to dye my hair purple. (Just a few streaks? Very sophisticated purple hair it would be...)

While people I love are wondering why I'm so far out man, I'm wondering how/when I got so tame. Feeling very soccermom, having tattoo lust again. Is it motherhood? Thirty-ness? I just feel very um, restrained lately. Boring, actually. Like I'm not expressing myself at Full Heidi Strength. Possibly related in a convoluted way to my not producing (fine) art and missing school.

As an extension of this obsession with lack of hip, I think it's a huge tragedy that Molly has no cool clothes like the ones Drew is sporting. Why am I drowning in tiny pink things? So I was doing the online version of window shopping, and at Baby Wit I saw a T shirt that says "They're raising me gay." I told Bu if I were a single mom Molly'd totally have that shirt. He surprised me by laughing and saying that if we didn't have the Mormon grandies around she could have the shirt.

I don't know if I want my the Boue wearing something political, although this rocks, but I have got to get some funk up in her wardrobe for her birthday. I'm definitely earmarking some of the income tax return for her.

And this might be one of the most superficial posts I've written to date. Tomorrow I'll update you on the joy of discovering non-toxic nail polish at the health food store and how Honest Tea chai is not sweet enough. Just because I wanted organic doesn't mean I wanted you to skimp on the yum, peeps. Argh.

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Saturday, March 17, 2007

off to Grandma's

My lifestyle’s making me insane. Tag-team parenting is bullshit; I want full days with the three of us. I can handle being a working mom, but not a double working mom. It’s great we’ve had design work lately but working evenings and weekends and plopping Molly in front of videos is freaking me out. Also, my house is a pit of filth. I’m feeling so torn in half right now. Molly’s been on a half-assed nursing strike, so I’m spending as much time as I can skin-to-skin in bed with her to encourage her to nurse. The past couple days the only time she’ll nurse is going down for a nap, during the nap, and waking up. So we’ve had a couple of marathon feedings and then nothing in the afternoon and evening. There are also new and exciting Biting–Ouch-Unlatch-Wait-Relatch-Biting-Repeat rituals. I broke down in tears yesterday, worried I won’t figure this out and she’ll wean early. My dad called yesterday, and I told him she has four (almost) teeth and he said, “So breastfeeding’s over?” I said, “No it means mama has to be brave…hahaha.” I thought at the time, “Gods he doesn’t know me very well at all”- somewhat unfortunate but true. Now, however, I’m quickly gaining sympathy for all my friends who weaned when their babes grew teeth.

I have so much to do this weekend, so the Birdie’s been with the grandies for a while now. I don’t want to let go of her right now for a minute. She’s changing so fast, and she’s wanting cuddle time less and less. Every minute seems heartbreakingly precious, and I resent every one I can’t spend with her.

So when my aunt just called and told me that she needs me to take shift at Grandma’s, I was secretly thrilled*. (She has a sprained ankle and the other’s mending from a break. She has a wheelchair now, and needs someone there all the time since last weekend.) She goes to bed really early, and might be asleep when the baby and I get there. I can spend the evening watching actual cable TV and being unable to work- and therefore unable to feel guilty. We’ll make breakfast in the morning and then turn her over to my brother for Sunday afternoon.

We’re having a family meeting Friday to discuss how to get her into a care home. I’m so relieved that this is her idea. I do think she’ll be happy with a small community of her contemporaries, and I’ll feel so much better knowing she’ll have round the clock care. I really wish she could come live with me, but there are so many reason’s it’s not feasible. I think she’ll be happier soon, and I hope I’m not painting a pretty picture out of something that’s not what I think.

It’s all an unknown right now… I miss my mom so bad I can’t stand it right now. My grandma is my link with her, and my aunt and brother. That small family is so important to me. We aren’t spending enough time together- another stress point.

So I’m going to pack up the Boue and head to Grandma’s. Just talked to her and she’s up- yay:)

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*ETA: Secretly thrilled? Why secretly thrilled? It's not like Grandma's a chore. We had a good time, except for the part where I cried and cried lying in the bedroom where Mom's hospital bed used to be. Grandma got to see Molly steps:)

Thursday, March 15, 2007

meet sophie

I decided that anything sharing this intimate a relationship with my nipples should have a name. So, meet Sophie B.

She is my breast pump. She's a Medela Pump-in-Style double electric. She was handed down, with freshly boiled tubing, from Bu's cousin. She comes to work with me, usually. She also was my constant companion after the Great Anemia Debacle of post-partum milklessness. She did her thang, and Molly took over until I came back to work at the clinic. You go, Sophie. You brought it, girl. (The milk.)
Sophie B(reast pump) is named, bein sur, for Sophie B. Hawkins, who is killer sexy, and posed for this incredible David LaChappelle photo. I saw this years ago, when the Souster was my mental health nurse & I were roommates. Souster had this book, and I drooled on it a lot. In the book, you can see the texture of her very soft, fine leg hair under the poured milk, and it's so beautiful. Very mammal photo:) Very pretty.
I can't wait to bid my Sophie B farewell. I was counting the days until the Mollybird can drink cow or soy milk and I could stop pumping, and just nurse when I'm home. Now that I know she's gaining weight so slowly I don't have the heart to risk a supply drop. We'll add in (organic if we can afford it) whole milk in a couple months, but I definitely want to keep her full of real milk as much as possible. So, Sophie B and I have two standing dates per work day for the foreseeable future.
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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

first steps

Despite two weeks of crying after my short, unpaid maternity leave about just such an event, I survived missing Molly's first steps while I was at the clinic. Bu witnessed, so that made it totally alright. There were about 4 total. Two this morning from Bu to Papaw in our living room, then one more for cousin Boo 1.0, then one more from Bu to Mama this evening.
Squee. O squee!
In other adorableness, she "sang" along with Jiminy Cricket when we watched Pinnochio tonight.

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court = scary + boring

Today was my court date for the unruly dogs. (Who have now been licensed and have current rabies shots, as well as shiny new collars for their tags.) Bu went with me for moral support. I was nervous a little, and was teased incessantly at work and home. As we drove there, Bu regaled me with predictable BDSM jokes about handcuffs. The story:

Bu’s Dad’s old partner’s working the door, and had told Bu’s Dad that (a.k.a. Papaw) that he’d try to get the ticket thrown out. I meet H, the partner, who tells us to wait around until he can talk to us. There’s a hall with a stairwell occupied by lounging young women and one man, all in prisoner-orange ensembles complete with matching orange handcuffs. I didn’t know these come in colors. I try not to look/act as uncomfortable as I feel, and I feel like a big dorky princess snotty person because I am weirded out by casually-hanging-out handcuffed people. One of the girls, who’s sitting between Pretty-Vaguely-Angelina-Looking-Girl and Skinny-Thin-Hair-Tall-Guy is bumming a cigarette from a young woman who came in behind us. She says “Yeh, I know all about smoking while pregnant” and I can’t tell if she means it was hard to quit or what. Then H gives Ciggy Pregnant Girl, Angelina and Tall a cigarette apiece from the woman and another cop escorts them outside. Bu and I distract ourselves by reading the docket, whereupon my name appears four times, two counts for each dog. I think how taking Bu’s last name was a brilliant upgrade from R. to E. and am glad I’ll get out sooner than those unfortunate R-Z initial peeps.

We see many people filing in, including She’s-Gotta-Be-a-Lawyer, who’s in a great suit, He-Seems-Like-A-Stoner-Frat-Guy, Ew-I-Hate-Her-Eighties-Outfit-and-Scrunchy, and GQ-Dude-With-Goofy-Nose-Who-Is-a-Hottie. I feel like an ass for being judgy. I am there too, right? Maybe all these guys are sweetpeas who were too broke to license their dogs and have a big yard so they are careless about letting them roam free. Or they are potheads and I like potheads and think it should be legal, so stop being an uppity bitch. I have to pee. I see a sign that explains in great detail, like 6 steps, how to get to the restroom. I decide to hold it. I’m bored, and I cross my arms across my chest. Because of baby elephant arm’s shortness, this means they sit on top of my boobs. I remember this makes them leak, so I quickly drop my arms.

Finally, H. comes over with GQ hottie and they explain they can’t throw out the charges but the judge probably will. If not, I’m to plea not-guilty and H can talk to the human officer later to “fix” it. We go in to the courtroom. It’s crazy full, but we find a place to sit together. The clerk calls the role and people are responding “Here” like in school. It seems silly. I would rather say “Yes.” She calls my name and I say “Here” like everyone else. They go through the people with jailable offenses, and it’s all very slow. I start counting time since I pumped and am convinced I’ll have to face the judge with milk spots on my shirt. Bu leans in, tells me my top button’s undone. It is on purpose, to show off my necklace. I decide the judge, being up high and all, could see cleavage and that is not good, so I button it, very sneakily. I tell Bu, “I’m totally blogging this.” I daydream about Matrix-type technology so I could blog in my head while I’m bored in court.

At last, I get called up, show Judge the licenses and rabies records. He smiles, asks me how a German Shepherd puts up with a Lab. I smile back and tell him they are good girls and get along well. He smiles again- very smiley this guy, but in a genuine way. He dismisses the unlicensed charges but not the unrestrained beastie charges. I plea not guilty, feeling like a perjurer, but that’s what the prosecutor said to do. He gives me papers to sign. I’m nervous, and literally forget my name for a second, floundering with maiden vs. married. Take a deep breathe, and I’m done. I have another court date next month, which might go away if H can make it so.

So we meet H outside, and he leaves us while he copies my ticket. We are approached by Bluetooth-Thingy-Wearing-Missing-Teeth-Guy. He says how he can’t believe how high the fines could have been for unleashed dogs. “Yeah, man, crazy.” Then he says, “Yeh, Fucking cops. The cops up in Michigan came and got on me for keepin’ my dog under my trailer. That’s why I’d like to fuckin’ kill me some cops. I hate goddamn cops. My uncle was a cop and I wouldn’t fuckin’ talk to him when he was in uniform.”

So, I pissed myself.

Not really, but holy shit.

Dude leaves, then H comes back, just in time to not hear Bluetooth rattle on about poppin’ caps in pigs. I resume normal breathing. We leave, avoiding eye contact with all bystanders.

And, finally, I get to pee.

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visual DNA

Ridin' the meme train:

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Sunday, March 11, 2007


This is an ode to my Bu. Bu who drags me away from my computer when I am ready to explode with stress and makes me go hike up the hill across from our property. Bu who holds me when I'm sobbing for the most inane reasons and doesn't ask why. Bu who used to live in a tent near the New River and guide whitewater rafting trips and who is like a masculine version of a water nymph, and who will snort at me for writing that.

It was an amazing day, and we went to the woods and he told me about playing there when he was little, and the dogs played. Mollybird was at church with the grandies and it was the first "date" we've had in ages. I found a little stone to take home to help ground me when the work stressed me out too much. Looking for the perfect stone was fun and silly and I was delighted like a little kid on a treasure hunt when I found the right one.
I had little anxiety relapses afterward, but Bu still helped immensely. He's an amazing force of calm and centeredness when my energy's scattered and crazy. He steered me through the hardest time in my life, and I'm so amazed at the way he manages to do this without patronizing me or letting me sink. Just perfect balance and support.

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Saturday, March 10, 2007

handwritten #2: study in run-on sentence-ery

And since I just scan mine in Photoshop instead of whatever awesome geekification Jase uses, I'll just link here, and you imagine it's in my written text even though it's not. Hmmm... wonder if i could do an imagemap in Dreamweaver & embed it in a post? Surely I could. May try, when I don't feel like a lump of dog pooh.

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I feel so overwhelmed and anxious right now. Grandma fell (she still has a cast on her broken ankle from last time she fell. This a.m. wasn't a bad fall I guess) this morning, so my brother E & I were talking

to cheer myseelf up:
Mamaloo of Momcast tells me that fenugreek works by sweetening the milk, and she says that they put in on old dry hay to make it yummier for the horses. The sweetness in mama's milk makes it attractive to nurse, so the baby raises the supply by demanding more. I had no idea that's why it works and I think it's the most darling piece of trivia I've ever heard.

this afternoon about what will happen... . E was with her shortly after. She wants to move to a nursing home, and we both have the feeling that our aunt is very reluctant to do that.

Then E called this evening and told me she fell again. She's at the hospital right now getting X-rayed. She might have broken the other ankle, and has a huge bump on the back of her head. E says the aunt may be realizing now that supervised care is necessary, but they didn't really talk in depth.

I'm waiting to hear more, and worrying. I'm scared we're all going to disagree about how to care for her. We have few options. E works midnights, our aunt works evenings, and I work days all the fucking time and have the baby of course. Bu needs the car evenings for work... my head's spinning.

Meanwhile, I'm racing against time to get design work done by Monday, so Molly's plan ted in front of the goddamn TV again with Baby Einstein for the 6,789th time today, and she's going to spend most of tomorrow with the grandies and I feel like shit. The house is like an angry box yelling at me about how much mortgage we owe and how many loads of dirty dishes and laundry I we need to do.

Hormones are not my friend in this mental state. My period's starting again. Seems to come when I neglect to pump or nurse for longer than I should. That's stressing me too. I know better than to go out for the evening and not pump, or to forget it when I go to work. I'm worrying about my supply, and being paranoid about Molly being too skinny. I'm going to get some fenugreek capsules tomorrow.

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well, hi? how are ya? i totally missed you yesterday...

Our internet service was down all day yesterday. I had a lot of offline work to do, so it wasn't a loss. I spent way too much time turning this:

into this:
It's the background of a cover for a client's huge-to-me 5o-something page catalog which I can't think too much about or I get a little embryo of an anxiety attack in my gut. It's a bigger project than I've ever done, and I'm still wobbly on my InDesign feet, and it the dealine iscomingthisfastohmygods.

Meanwhile, in Molly Tooth Watch 2007, we have one still in the just-broken-through stage on the bottom, and a matching top one, as well as one you can see pretty well on the top, if you catch the 1/778678332 of a second glimpse you're allowed before she rebels. The nursing-biting has abated for now, so I no longer flinch every time she latches on.

In the land of me-separate-from-Molly, I keep getting compliments on my baby elephant post from people in real life, who I totally forgot read my blog. It's disorienting and yet very cool. The comments on the post were so encouraging and awesome. Thanks:)

Oh, I meant to post this on Thor's journal, but due to previously mentioned ISP tragedy, I didn't. And now I'm lazy, natch, so I'll postie here:
Happy Belated, L'il Bit:) Many awesome parties this spring. The Souster's "Irish twins*" will be 5 and 6 (holy shit!) in March/April, and Molly'll be a year (holy holy shit!) in May.

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*Did I just use a racial slur? Am I allowed if I have a stray ancesetor or two from Ireland somewhere in the mix? What if I named my daughter Molly Shayne**? Does that help?

**Shayne is actually Hebrew (or Yiddish?) for "beautiful." See footer on blog. I was reading Prodigal Summer one very pregnant day, when I read an allusion to the poem, and I convinced Bu, aka Shane, that we had a new spelling (not Shane) for the Birdie's middle name. If we ever have a boy his middle name will be Heidi; it's only fair***.

***and now I stop being silly, and wishing I knew how to do actual footnotes to a blog entry, and get my ass back to work.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

part two: the G word

Or, "In Which Heidi Rants Aimlessly about Embracing the Real Feminine."

Gender, girls, girliness. Pink shit, prissy princesses, Disney hyperfeminization, Barbie & Bratz, dolls & dresses, Gardisil & sex education. I've been swirling my thoughts about gender around in my brain for a couple of days in preperation for Blog for Gender Liberation Day.

I'm coming up with more questions than answers. My initial thought was about the paradox in my own beliefs... Wicca is so gendered, all about Mr. High Priest does this, Mz. High Priestess does that, perfect balance, blah blah blah. I reject and buy into it all at once. The dual nature of the universe is so evident. Gender is everywhere in nature. The thing is, it can be so obviously oppressive. There's an overlapping that traditional thought leaves little room to explore. Things transition, they sway, they defy categorization sometimes. A little expansion in our approach to gender would be such a positive thing.

Then I daydreamed about my superfical femininity in the shower. I am very girly compared to some. I adore long skirts, cute hair, getting flowers, and I am a silly, flirty personality most of the time. I revel in my body hair, though, and I only wear make-up twice or three times a year. I have series of artwork about how awesome my period and the moon are. I think of myself as celebrating a human/mammal femaleness. Soft round bloody milky hairy womanness. When I write that I'm so aware some people will be put off. Why?

The bulk of my musings are about being a woman, raising a daughter, in this time and place. Murky waters there, let me tell you. I want so much to allow her to find her own expression of girl-ness. At the same time, I find it exhausting to think about policing her environment. I have stacks of princess movies, that I loved as a kid, and of course I want to share them with her. I think dolls are mostly OK, but scantlity clad sexed up things will be banished.

The doll thing... I think dolls are wonderful. I can't think of anything more positive than nurturing to teach any child. I used to think I'd shy away from letting my daughter have dolls. I didn't want her to learn that her only worth as a woman is her potential to be a mother. Now that I am a mom in practice and not theory, I can't think of a more important set of skills to have. Learning to nurture and empathize and comfort are so important. It's not that girls need to be exposed to this less, it's that boys need it more.

I feel like I've written poorly organized essays instead of blogposts all day. Indulgent and weird? Back to the usual mommy blog tomorrow. Er.

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part one: the F word

Blog Against Sexism Day

The past several years I’ve had roughly 1,572 encounters with women, usually younger than I am, who have said/written/expressed, “I’m not a feminist.” After I hear that, my blood pressure shoots up and my voice gets screechy and I get dizzy and have to deep breathing because I am so mad I want/need to scream. I can’t decide if I want to scream at this girl/woman or at the rest of the world. I can’t figure out how a person comes to that conclusion. Not too long ago I read a reference to feminists defined as women who hate p0rnography. What? Every time I hear a girl say that I think of Tinkerbell (clap your hands. Say you do believe in fairies feminists)and some hopeful piece of me wants to die in a tiny way.

When my senses return and I find a zen, reflective place and listen to these young women, it seems that we have a youth culture who have bought the “feminazi” paradigm hook, line, and sinker. It is not cool or sexy or normal to be feminist. Feminists hate men. They hate other women too if they are wearing too little clothing, or do not share in the angry orgy of man hating. I am a na├»ve thing, because I really thought no one bought that backlash bullshit- least of all girls brought up in this generation. I thought each daughter would be a stronger and more powerful woman than her mother. I thought our moms and dads worked way too hard for us to be where we are now. I am really angry on their behalf that girls are so ungrateful and unwilling to keep fighting/writing/loving/screaming/blogging for our own power. We should be dancin' and hollerin’ with joy that we have the luxury of taking feminism for granted.

The root of the issue, and arguably every conflict I can think of, is binary oppositional thinking. We have got, as a culture, to embrace holistic and inclusive thought. Feminism is a fluid, living ideal. The whole point was to eradicate strictures about women’s roles but so many people are buying into new ones. Feminists can be angry and joyful, beautiful and strong, sexy and intelligent, gay and straight and bi and transgendered, and I could keep going but listen: a feminist is a girl, woman, boy, man, human thinking being who does not believe that any gender is inferior to any other gender or that one’s sex at birth or by choice can determine the path of her/his life.

Arguing over semantics is ridiculous and divisive. Feminism is, by its essential nature, not a single-definition thing. And why should it be? Celebrate your own feminist spirit today. Delight in the anima and do something that makes you feel beautiful, or grab a marker and make an activist T-shirt. Write a letter to your Congressperson or refuse to do the dishes unless your brother/dad/husband does the ironing. Do some little thing. My feminism today is gratitude for a free and expansive outlet for my thoughts, and the promise of a warm, quiet bath with my nursling daughter.

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Thordora's giving away an intriguing book about genetic mutations to a random reader who blogs about her/his own oddity. The post came a few days after a photoshoot with Bu when I noticed that I was always turning my arm away from the camera. I have had a tension between embracing the strangeness that is my body and wanting desperately to fade into the background. I've never made art about my birth defect, and it seemed like a perfect chance to explore it a little.
The photo Bu took is really beautiful I think, and it's weird how that surprises me. The digital collage is filled with personally empowering symbols... text from the Malleus Malleficarum, the book used by medieval witchfinders alludes to my neverending gothgirl delight that in more ignorant times my arm might have been called a "devil's mark." The Hindu god Ganesha is the patron Lord of the deformed and they served as priestesses in His temples. The mirror, a stormy sky, just moody layers. An atique ticket to a circus, because I love the idea of being freaky today. I'm showing you the simple file beneath, too- because I didn't want to hide under a Photoshop veil.

As far as genetics, there's never been a real answer. It kind of looks like Amniotic Band Syndrome, but I had some organ deformities too which can't be explained that way. I had a wall separating my uterus and vagina in two which had to be operated on. The scarring is a huge reason Molly's birth was complicated... I also have three kidneys. I remember waking in the night early in pregnancy in a cold terror that Molly would have my birth defects, and being so confused and confounded by feeling so scared. It seemed like that worry undermined my own sense of comfort with my body. When the nurse told me she saw one hand in her mouth and one by her side, then counted tiny shadowy fingers with me the relief was amazing.
When I was little, I thought my arm looked like a baby elephant, and it became a nickname, and later, another reason to love Ganesha.

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