I have developed a reputation in my office as an intimidating militant feminist. This development makes me laugh because when I read my favorite feminist blogs and see the various efforts many make on a daily basis the concept that I am anything approaching militant or intimidating is absurd. What was the capstone in my qualifying to this elite cadre of scary ladies? I made a stink about the fact that only women were invited to a recent baby shower in our office and did not confine said stink to merely carping quietly to my peers.

Having cemented the reputation is kind of freeing, you know? They ain’t seen nothing yet.

In response to this horror  of an op-ed, Melissa McEwan wrote this.   To which I say, Yes, Melissa, yes!

 I ran a lot as a young teen, ran the mile in junior high and briefly flirted with being on the cross-country team in high school; in any event, I ran.  During the schoolyear, I’d run in the morning.    I stopped running after my sophomore year in high school after a foggy morning experience that still leaves me shaking when I think about it.

We lived in a classic northern California subdivision, wide streets, two car garages, palm trees mixing with live oaks along the sidewalks, etc., etc.  I was running along the sidewalk along the street, probably around 6am.  It was barely light, and foggy.  The fog was brighter than the sky.  As I neared the end of my run, a  pickup truck was coming the other way towards me.  It began to slow.  Shortly after I ran past it stopped then pulled a U turn in the middle of the street and began to follow me slowly about 50 feet behind me.  I had begun hyperawareness after it had slowed, and when it turned around I went into hyperfreak mode, thinking, “shit, shit, shit, shit”.  I was still running at a jog trying to think fast as it continued to follow me.   I saw a turn off ahead, which I knew to be a cul de sac, Sleepy Hollow Court.  Aha, I thought, I’ll turn there and he’ll think I’m going home because it is only a half block long so no one out for a run would otherwise turn there, right?

 So I did, ran up the cul de sac and hid behind a pine tree, half afraid that I’d made “the wrong decision” because I would now be trapped in the cul de sac if followed.  In my hyperfreak mode I never once thought to bang on a door of the dozen houses I passed, it was too early, people were still asleep. I was alone.  Also, I was simultaneously worried about being labeled a hysteric.  Yes, I was completely terrified and yet at the same time worried about embarrassing myself.  I waited, breathing heavy, for over 15 minutes, terrified that if I left too soon, the truck would still be waiting out on the main drive through the subdivision.  Finally, I left, walking, figuring I’d save energy if I saw the truck again and needed to sprint for home.

 I was lucky, the truck was gone.  Who knows what the driver’s intent was, perhaps they were only lost.  I don’t care.

 I never ran alone in the morning again until I was in my 20s, living in Manhattan, and even then, vast portions of the year I would not run in the morning because it was dark out.  Ten fucking years of less exercise because of one scary event.  Ten fucking years of less FREEDOM because of one scary event.

 Do NOT fucking tell women where and when they can run.  We’ve already internalized it.  We’ve already endured the comments on the street, on the trail, wherever we walk or run by.  We’ve already limited our choices to our own comfort level based on experience and the ever present voice of “WARNING, WARNING you could be next.”  We’ve already turned down the ipods to make sure we can hear any footsteps behind us.  We’ve already

 DO NOT fucking victim blame.  Fuck Off Logan Jenkins.  You just have no FUCKING idea what you are talking about.

Should I take it as a comment on LB’s personality that his role inthe school play is a mule?

It would be accurate.

I sent my dad an email today objecting to a joke he’d sent me about President Obama.  I won’t repeat the joke because I’m sure its been around the interent 5 billion times already.  What does it say when people find funny the idea that even in their concept of heaven, that god would make non-christian/non-whites into personal servants? (The joke relies on the precept that Obama really is a secret muslim).  I’m so not getting it.

But then, I’m sure I’m over-reading.  I doubt my dad took the two minutes to analyze the “joke” and what it really says about him and his views of not just Obama but his own faith.  Which is a whole other problem in itself.  The last time I protested a forward he sent, based on a utterly sexist tagline/subject line for a perfectly adequate science article, he protested that he hadn’t written the subject line.  Um, okay, but you decided to send it “as is” to me and one of your female colleagues (I could see by her email address that they work for the same entity).  Acknowledge your own agency dad!

Ok.  Not really, here, that is.   But I’m working on it. 

Updates:

1) BB may have finally, finally, beaten a long-standing medical issue (minor, but with annoying and embarrassing side effects).  Keep your fingers crossed for us! And he placed third in his age group in his last climbing competition – huzzah!

2) LB’s agression/impulse issues are improving – huzzah!

3) The paperwork from dealing with mr. jolt’s mom’s estate may be nearing an end – huzzah!

BB has become a pretty good reader.  He’s primarily interested in non-fiction, particularly science stuff. That’s cool.  His teacher, who I really respect, says that some kids love stories and some kids love the non-fiction.  That said, I’ve been a little disappointed that he really hasn’t been interested in reading classic stories, even if mr. jolt or I am doing the reading.  I do most of my story reading with LB, and my bedtime reading with BB consists of factual recitations of the planets or some such.

So when BB showed interest in the old cartoon collections mr. jolt and I had, I was happy – stories in another form!  That said, it’s clear that Bloom County is over his head because he doesn’t have the 80s political info that gives a lot of that series its bite.  But, Calvin and Hobbes was pretty appealing to him and while I think Calvin has a bad attitude about school (understandably given that most of the lessons that happen in the background appear to be seriously uninteresting), BB loves school enough that it doesn’t worry me.  And I try to point out to both BB, and now LB, who has also picked up the C&H habit, that some of Calvin’s actions are, um, a tad insensitive.  Which may make me humorless mommy, but so be it.  You take your teaching moments as you find them.

So perhaps I shouldn’t have found it surprising that BB found a C&H strip about Calvin singing/manipulating his parents into stopping at a burger joint, for the umpteenth time, on a long road trip.  The song? 99 bottles of beer on the wall.  Only Calvin starts with 10,000 bottles of beer.  No surprise the strip ends with a stop at a burger joint.  BB was avid to hear me sing the tune so he could learn the melody.  I obliged.  And so, tonight at betime, BB and I sang it together, starting at 30 bottles of beer. 

I fear I have given him the weapons for my own future capitulation.

**So, welcome to 2010, my friends.  It’s been a slow start for me – it always is because LB’s birthday is right after the new year and so all that NEW YEAR energy gets waylaid by birthday party planning.  So I tend to treat the MLK Jr. holiday as the real kickstart to getting my act together.   And they always have parent-teacher conferences the day after so we get the scoop on how the kids are doing so we know what goals to work on.  So it all fits in, even if all my personal and family goals are minute and mundane compared to what MLK, Jr. achieved.  It’s all teaspoons, though, right?

We had a lovely, lovely holiday in late December.  We gathered with my mom’s side of the family in the Caribbean – can we say divine, oh, yes, I think we can.   I don’t think I’ve ever done so little reading on a vacation and yet had a lovely time just playing with the boys.

The excuse for gathering there was to scatter my stepdad’s ashes on a nearby island- he died in 1989 and my mom was never sure where to scatter them, and decided that this was the place he had been happiest (we lived there in the late 70s, early 80s).   I’m not saying which island for fear my mom might google it or something and stumble across this place – I’m not ready to share this blog.

It wasn’t Haiti.  But to have gone to visit a place that I still love, love in the twisted way of a sibling or a parent that never understood me or I understand it, yet with a fierceness that brings a lump to the throat and tears to the eyes, I simply cannot imagine what the Haitians and those who know and love it must be feeling.  The island I love has had its own natural disasters since we lived there and it’s heartbreaking to see such devastation and how it has changed so many lives, even without the massive loss of life that Haiti has suffered.   I used to think about showing mr. jolt the island, where I went to school, where we lived.  So much of it has gone, obliterated by the forces of nature.    Anyway, my heart goes out to the Haitians and to the other islanders.   Give, if you can. 

Anyway, its late and I’m rambling.  More soon.

**Addendum: On re-reading this I realize I may have inadvertently trivialized the work of MLK, Jr. and/or the situation in Haiti.  It was not my intention to do either.  Lesson learned on blogging after 11pm and several glasses of wine.