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Yesterday, we all got home quite early, and the wee one was raring to go, so we headed down to the park before dinner. Seesaw, swing, slide (oh, the staticky hilarity that is my child's hair with that slide), sand pit, check, check, check, check, and then the kiddo just took off. Chortling, he half-ran down to the parking lot, then held our hands across the lot and the street, then half-ran all the way down the trail to the pond and all the way across. It was epic! Towards the end he was huffing a bit between the giggles and no wonder: it was a good third of a mile he walked/ran all by himself!

As I was herding him into a corner on the pond walkway so that I could pick him up ("noooooooo!"), I looked out at the pond and my jaw dropped. I'm not 100% certain what it was that I saw cresting briefly out of the water, but I think it must have been the beaver that we've heard other walkers claim to have seen in there. An otter wouldn't make a lot of sense, but then again, we've always been skeptical at the beaver claims given no other sign of beavers. But it was definite a dark brown mammal head. Jeff and I were quite excited, but when it resurfaced at the far edge of the pond, it was too far to make out. We need to get some binoculars.

All of this is context for why it took us a moment to notice that Dom was saying something as I held him and stared out into the water.

[indistinct]ice, [indistinct]ice!

I felt a slight tugging at my ear, and turned to my child, amazed.

Simultaneously, Jeff and I both erupted:

Are you saying "DICE"?!?

High fives all around for the family. Kiddo was playing with my d20 earrings and saying "dice, dice!" because awww, yeah, that's our son, FO SHO. We're not sure when we've talked about dice around him, but maybe it's just in the genes.



Well, this is it. Or, not really it, but another step on the way to it. Brace yourself, I'mma mention boobs.

I stopped pumping when I returned to work in the first week of January. We stopped nursing after naps a month or two back. Most nights these days, the kiddo doesn't wake between bedtime and morning (putting aside that his definition of morning occasionally being 6:15am is highly problematical). The weaning process has definitely been ramping up. What's left, on a regular basis at least, is nursing in the morning and before bed.

From an emotional perspective, I'd like to nuke the morning one and keep the evening one. I'm barely awake in the morning most of the time (Jeff brings the kiddo up into bed if he wakes before 7) and trying to doze while making sure a baby doesn't roll off the bed is not particularly restful. On the other hand, bedtime nursing is all adorable cuddles and snuggles and often involves him falling asleep sweetly hugging my arm.

From a practicality perspective, however, evening nurse is gonna get the boot. I just don't have the willpower to start getting up at 6:15 until it's the absolute last resort. And the last week or two, the wee one has been so tuckered at bedtime that he, honestly, will probably be well served by getting into bed 10-15 minutes earlier.

Starting Monday, or earlier if he pulls something like tonight and tries to fall asleep while getting his jammies on, we'll officially cut out bedtime noms.


In other news, I've been reading The Martian the last couple commutes, and I would like to say I think it's hilarious. FUCK YEAH, SCIENCE.

Also, now that I've had my capslock key at work mapped for a week to be either CTRL or ESC depending on whether it's being used as a combo or solo, I may have to do the same thing everywhere. Man, do I keep wanting to hit it. Amazing. I'd thought my years of training in not striking that key wouldn't have fallen in just 7 days, but the evidence is irrefutable.



Most years we've periodically had satsumas in the house, but our consumption ramped up last year when I was home on ravenous maternity leave, and this year, with a kid who consumes fruit at every meal, we've graduated to near-constant fruit level orange. I'm not tired of them yet (unlike pepperjack, which I seem to have gotten slightly less fond of through the lens of my kiddo's voracious appetite for it), and I'm startled to find myself, in my old age, picking up new jacket-orange knowledge. For instance:

It's not uncommon that we'll peel an orange, cut several segments in half, and then leave those segments out on the counter for the morning either for drive-by snacking or just because we get distracted. The outer membranes dry out, but the insides are still juicy as normal. They feel a little weird when you pick them up, but biting through that stiff outer shell to get an explosion of sweet juice in your mouth is totally addicting. It's like they spontaneously convert to candy out on the counter.

It's not quite to the point that I'll intentionally leave peeled orange bits out... but it's close.



While driving to an appointment on Wednesday morning, I saw a large billboard on Lake City Way, something about extra patrols for drunk driving being in effect. My eyes swung back to the road to see a meter maid vehicle coming down the hill.


In other news, I was grooving to an amazing Tom Jones clip tonight when I suddenly blinked.

Was that lyric what I thought it was?


Shake it like a bowl of soup


Inquiring minds want to know why on earth anyone was shaking their bowl of soup, ever.



As the sole female member of my book club, it often falls to me to bring up or opine upon issues related to feminism, portrayal of women, female mindset, growing up as a girl, etc. This role is difficult for me to play on occasion, as I'm pretty far from the "normal girl" end of most spectrums. Still, I have some strong feelings, relevant experience, and everyone else is certainly even less personally qualified, so I don't begrudge it.

I remember the general disbelief in the internal characterization of Katniss in the The Hunger Games, and the looks on their faces as I insisted that, sad to say, it had rung 100% true to me as a pretty accurate representation of the mental voice and thought processes of a 17 year old girl.

"That's... awful," said someone, absolutely horrified.

True words, my friend, true fucking words.

The discussions just as often go the other way, too, with me asking my male compatriots to explain something from their point of view / through the lens of their experience. Of particular memorable note, for example, was when we read Man Plus (which I should note really none of us particularly liked, for a great many reasons). On a deep, fundamental level, I just did not get the castration sequence. The character's reaction just seemed so over the top, weird, and hokey. But with the exception of my brother, who felt that the character losing his eyes earlier far overshadowed all the later body horror, the consensus was immediate: something about that part deeply resonated with with all of them as a powerful symbol of the character overwhelmingly and finally losing his integral self. I still don't empathize with that segment at all, but its inclusion certainly makes a lot more sense to me after that discussion.

I spent a lot of time that night ranting about how one of the many reasons I so disliked that book was its atrocious treatment of women. I'm not even going to go into the details, because I'll just get angry again! Finally, though, I backed down a bit, acknowledging that it was a product of its time, and agreed to cut it some slack. This Pink Raygun quote is pretty representative of what we all ended up saying:

Keep in mind that Man Plus was published in 1976. Consider it a sociological artifact of a time when being an autonomous female was considered alien and detrimental to the fabric of society. Have a drink and be thankful that we’re no longer there.

This last month, we read Roadside Picnic, which was written in 1971 in Soviet Russia. It's definitely dated considering a strict time-since-then metric, not to mention suffering additional cultural lag given the context the writers were coming from. A particularly egregious passage could be read as a "You get your bitch-ass back in the kitchen, and make me some PIE" moment.

When Brandon complained about his perception of the main character as being completely without redeeming value, Red's attitude towards his wife was one of his points. I started to reference the "bring us supper" bit, and Dave laughed. "I knew that part was going to come up at book club the moment I read it!" he chortled.

No, no, I demurred, my intent was actually in a different direction than he was probably thinking. Yes, their relationship was written in a dated—by now, crazily so— fashion, of which the passage in question was quite the example. Despite that, though, my perception of Red was that he genuinely did care about his wife and family, taken within his cultural context and personality. He wasn't going to show it in a way I find acceptable for here and today, but I could totally see it throughout the book, along with several other redeeming (or at least not damning) qualities.

Which really makes me go back and think about my attitude towards Man Plus and how, in contrast, it made me just want to punch all the characters in the face, and light the narrator on fire. At the time we discussed it, I retreated, and conceded that how vile it felt was just a cultural difference given the time and place it was written. But now, comparing it to Roadside Picnic, I'm coming back to not wanting to let Man Plus off the hook.

I think it comes down to: I can be okay with being absent, ignored, or sidelined, as a gender in fiction, particularly that which was written in wayback times. That stuff isn't going to be my favorite part, but I'm willing to overlook it. Even the pragmatic anti-feminism of Lucifer's Hammer didn't enrage me as much as make me roll my eyes and laugh.

When it's constant, straight-out, misogyny, fully across the board, however?

No. I don't think that's excusable. All slack is revoked from Man Plus. It's a shitty book written by someone who was wearing an asshole hat at the time, and I don't care if being that kind of asshole was socially acceptable at the time.



Operation family-dinner-out-at-a-restaurant-biweekly had its second successful iteration today. We're 2 for 2 and karma is probably going to come due at some point, but for now we're enjoying what is clearly—clearly!—the result of our excellent parenting skills.

(Kidding, kidding. And we know troll baby is just waiting for us to have a particularly smug evening... then he shall strike!!!!)

We went out to Rositas for outing number two; we'd actually taken the kiddo there for his first restaurant outing ever, back when he was maybe 7 months old, but hadn't made it back yet. That tragedy was a delight to rectify. He made much less of a mess this time, demolished a fresh buttered tortilla and a big chunk of quesadilla, tried many bites of other things, and generally comported himself with utmost baby dignity. Also, much staring at strangers, which is always amusing.

We learned sometime in the last couple weeks that, after an initial negative reaction, my son is truly my son and will happily just eat sour cream off a spoon. It grosses his father out, but that's because he doesn't know from awesome. And Rositas' sour cream is particularly om nom nom, so the wee one and I were pretty happy tonight. Jeff told him that once he's old enough to ask for it, he can order a side of sour cream and just eat it out of the bowl, just like I did when I was a kid at the same restaurant. Awww.

For the record, I no longer eat sour cream by the bowl.

Not saying I don't want to sometimes, though.

Om nom nom nom nom!



Over the weekend, I ran into a music conundrum. I'm a huge fan of B. Reith's Old School, you see. When I first heard it via Pandora in a geek hip-hop set sometime last year, I immediately looked him up only to find that he's specifically a Christian rapper.

— needle scratch —

In retrospect, some of Old School could be parsed in that direciton, but I'd not have guessed without the research. Hmm.

Now, in general, my music tastes range far and wide. I often claim that most people will find at least one song they love in my collection; I have yet to have my challenge to "name a genre you don't think I have at least one song from" not come out in my favor. And it's not as if there's not already religious, even specifically Christian, music in my catalog (mostly Christmas songs, but some gospel, hymns, and Gregorian chant as well). What made this case any different?

At the time I didn't really think about it; I just nope'd right away. But every time Old School comes on, I find myself bopping my head and wanting to hear more in that vein. This weekend I decided to see if Pandora could take it as a seed and bring me similar tunes, melodically speaking. Not one song in, I started getting irritated. I was committed to giving it a chance while I did chores, but it was clearly going to just serve me "Jesus music," and I fumed as I worked on advance-prepping dinner in my sunny kitchen.

I also occasionally bopped my head. And then I'd get mad at myself for bopping my head. About the 3rd song of this happening, I stopped and thought to myself, "what the eff, lady?"

I mean, I don't have to go out of my way to like every genre of music or anything, but this consistent apathy to Christian pop / hiphop / dance / rock is just weird. I grew up nominally Christian, and generally have positive feelings about the faith (at least the hippie flavor I was indoctrinated with) despite having gone agnostic as an early teen, so seriously, what the heck? Why this strongly negative emotional reaction to contemporary Christian music?

I pondered as I peeled vegetables, and cast my mind back to being in 6th grade. It was only my second year in public school, and I was kind of desperate to fit in. I don't remember how music came up in a group conversation, but I definitely remember being relentlessly mocked for being a fan of DC Talk. I was mortified. It was bad enough that I was a complete geek and socially awkward, without also getting saddled with the "religious weirdo" label! It took me what felt like forever to work my way out of getting lumped in with the "Christian nerd herd."

I suspect that part of that process involved convincing everyone, including myself, that of course I knew that Christian music was lame and embarrassing. No, no, of course I never actually liked it, because that would be stupid. Aren't people who like that stuff dumb! Yeah, that's the ticket... And all the while, I don't think I ever really got over the shame and humiliation I felt at being "exposed" as liking something so "uncool."

It's never fun to examine one's prejudices closely. Bleh. Nothing like unpacking baggage you've been unconsciously carrying for decades!

I'm unlikely to try to actively overcome the contemporary Christian music gap in my collection, as I'm pretty disinterested in getting preached to in any form, music or otherwise. However, I think I will try to work on not having ridiculous shivers of irrational disgust fight with enjoyment when I run across an example that I do like. I'm not 13, give zero shits about what anyone thinks about my taste in music, and if I can unselfconsciously appreciate songs about everything from '64 Impalas and fucking the police to cups of tea and playing video games, in every musical style from country to J-pop to rock to hip-hop, I think I should be able to appreciate one here and there that talks about God. Sheesh.