Thursday, 31 January 2013

No one, I think, is in my tree....

I just finished reading Cyndi Lauper's autobiography. I don't really feel like reviewing it. It was good, I enjoyed it. I love her music, her style, her dedication to her craft and cause. While this isn't one of "her" songs, I think she did a beautiful cover. It's hard to hear a Beatles' cover I like, let alone love. I love this.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013


I finished Naomi Wolf's Misconceptions: Truth, Lies, and the Unexpected on the Journey to Motherhood. I feel a bit mixed about the book on whole, and as it's the first book of her's I've read, I'm nervous that the other titles that she's written won't live up to my expectations. But I'll share my thoughts on this one, starting with the good first.

I enjoyed how this was such an exact journey of her path to motherhood, through pregnancy, labor & birth, and into discovering this new balance and sense of self that comes with being a mother. There are so many things about the entire process that women just do not share with each other. Because of judgement? Fear? Feeling that *this* feeling of joy/anger/resentment/exhaustion is somehow unique only to you, and to share that would be a risk. You don't want to scare the women who are thinking about motherhood, or pregnant, or even new. You don't want to risk being ostracized from whatever group you belong to (groups that are oddly, thrown together just because you are now a parent. People you would have never met or necessarily talked to before. Now you share this commonality, and are thrust into parallel lives that now mean FRIENDSHIP).

This particular quote I felt expressed similar feelings I had at the time:

"I was mourning, protesting a point of departure in the road that I could never retrace. An "I" would go forward, swept irrevocably on the by the tide of the natural order, and that "I" would sit on the sofa hour after hour and be someone's Lithium, someone's Lethe, someone's Popsicle- someone who would come to be a love of my life, but whom I did not yet know. And the "I" would reconfigure eventually around that need, and take joy in it, and spin a new identity. But it would never again be the "I" it had been before" (pg. 106).

...and honestly still have. Motherhood is both more complicated- and at the same time, simpler- than I could have imagined. The identity I had before is sometimes in conflict with who I am now. It's a strange journey for sure.

I also enjoyed Wolf's examination of both the medicalized and "natural" (I prefer the term unmedicated) approaches to childbirth in the United States; and the conflict she felt in what she wanted and idealized, and the one that she felt would make her feel safest. Unfortunately, the system failed her, like it fails hundreds of thousands of women every year. It is at this point, I struggle. I see so many women who go into have their baby with the mindset "I don't care what happens, I just want my baby to be fine and healthy", and sadly put both their physical and mental well-fair unknowingly in jeopardy. And instead of discussing this, it becomes par for the national standard dialogue of how we are expected to bring our babies into the world.

Without going into all the details about my birth experience, I have to say I felt like I was getting the best of both worlds. By all the research I had read, having my baby in the UK was already a plus in my favor in achieving the delivery that we had hoped for. Which is why when I see the UK system glorified, I cringe. The midwives in the UK are underpaid and overworked. I don't carry the blame (at myself, and the system) that I did for the first year or so and anger and disappointment in myself. But I do believe that their system is stressed. That said, I would go back and have another baby in the UK. I am still terrified of having one in the US, especially in light of the fact that the currently government is pushing to place all rights of the fetus above those of the mother. But I digress....

What I wish, and what Wolf points out so well, is that both communities need to be working together to provide the best opportunities for birthing mothers.

"...there are for the most part only two doors that most of us have access to. Each camp- the traditional high-tech hospital route and the natural childbirth approach- has great skills to share with the other. Each camp needs to be talking with the other in a relationship of equality and respect, collaborating with the other and creating a birth culture and real choices for women out of the best that each has to offer. Women would be best served if all birthing establishments were shaped by the insights of both camps." (pg. 202)

That quote. THAT QUOTE. I believe it so much.

So the things I didn't like about the book....
Well, in the afterward, Wolf addresses the criticisms I (and apparently a LOT of readers) came away with after reading it. The biggest being that this is a very singular look at these "Misconceptions". For the most part, it's about white upper middle class women coming to terms with motherhood. And it causes a big disconnect (at least it did for me). So I'm not going to harp on it. I also hated that she referred to the Le Leche League as "fascists" because I think the work that they do is important. Sometimes, whether intended or not, Wolf stirs the Mommy-Wars pot, which is always disappointing.

I wish that women could for-go the judgement and present a united front when it comes to motherhood; parenthood. It's hard. And it's harder when you feel like you're having to defend and justify yourself at every turn.

So that's my review. The end.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Muppet Baby

I love fingerless gloves. I wear them all the time. So it's not crazy that Oz would eventually want a pair for himself. So I made him a pair up...for him to refuse to wear. Seriously. Would not even entertain the notion of putting them on. But he brought me Kermit, who obviously, needed to wear them. And I think he makes  a pretty cute model. I hope Oz changes his mind eventually tho. 

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

"Make a wish..."

"It already came true"


Thursday, 3 January 2013


Quote from Roseanne Barr (like there's any another Roseanne out there):

"I resolve (and think you should too) to quit talking about losing weight in 2013. There are two things you can actually do: lose weight or not lose weight. But it's time to stop talking about it. I once said in my stand up act, 'Half the world is starving; the other half is trying to lose weight,' and it's the sad truth. Blabbing about weight loss is disrespectful to hungry people. Hell, it's disrespectful to fat people Do what you're happy doing- gain weight, lose weight, stay the same weight- but can we stop talking about it to death? Enough already with the jabbering about how much you want to lose, or are going to lose, or whatever, and let your actions and your body speak for themselves. Let's forget skinny, fat, and all of that , and switch to a new mode: healthy and beautiful."

I'm sure by "talking" about this quote I'm breaking the message of it that has resonated with me since I read it. 

I am tired of talking about weight. I am tired of hearing other women talk about weight and being completely controlled by it. 

I am tired of feeling like I should be apologetic for being 30 years old and having the body of a woman, rather than the girl I was at 21. I've had a baby for fuck's sake. I'm not *supposed* to look like I did when I was 21 and I honestly don't care that I don't. I see so many smart women completely crippled by the number on the scale and how that correlates to their beauty and self-worth. 

I am a fat person, but I'm also a very healthy one and basically, fuck anyone who thinks otherwise. I am done with this system this year. DONE. Please, just be healthy this year. Throw the scales away.

2013 Resolutions

Well, when I think about it, my list of resolutions come down to this. I need to find what makes me happy again. I need to do things that make me happy. What seems like common sense can get completely ignored and forgotten.

So the list is as follows:

1. Make time to read.

2. Camping

3. Cycle more

4. Watch *new* movies (not released new, just new to me)

5. Start working towards my Library Assistant certificate

6. New Tattoo

7. Start playing the Uke again.

Most of these should cost us little to no money. I want to try sells some of my knits, and all knits money will go to my tattoo fund. The biggest is the certificate. I was originally going to go for my Masters, but I think the certificate will help me decide if libraries is really where I want to be. So far from my time volunteering at the library....I think yes. Baby steps.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

2012 Book List

Hands down, this was my worst year of reading that I can recall. It was nearly impossible for me to hold my focus on anything enough to finish. I think I have 4 or 5 books I'm halfway through at the moment. The year before I completed 50 read books/graphic novels. So this year I set a goal of 55. I came in with 24 of 55 read,  11 of which were graphic novels. Not good, people. So this year, reading is going to become a top priority for me again. It's something that is so tied to who I am and how I identify myself...I feel so disappointed in myself (which I think is probably something only a book worm could identify with).

My GIANT HUGE EXCEPTION to all of this though, is that I haven't included children's books. I read to Oz a lot. He gets 3-5 books at bedtime every night and we like to rotate out loads, and we buy him books all. the. time. The kid loves books and we are really encouraging a love of reading. So what I've lacked in myself, I feel I've more than made up for as a parent. I really should start reviewing our favorite children's books, because there are so many fantastic ones out there. Oz's favorite of all time is Dinosaur Roar, which while he doesn't speak very clearly, he can "read" the entire book to YOU. Amazing.

So here's what I read in 2012:
1. Fresh Milk: The Secret Life of Breast

2. A Year Without 'Made In China': One Family's True Life Adventure in the Global Economy by Sara Bongiorni

3. Batman: Haunted Knight by Jeph Loeb

4. I am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced by Nujood Ali

5. Walking Dead #9 Here We Remain

6. Walking Dead #10 What We Became

7. Harley Quinn: Preludes and Knock-Knock Jokes by Karl Kesel

8. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

9. This Books is Overdue!: How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All by Marilyn Johnson

10. The Addams Family: An Evilution by Charles Addams

11. French Milk by Lucy Knisley

12. The Birth House by Ami McKay (possibly my favorite of the year)

13. Little Earthquakes by Jennifer Weiner

14. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mandy Kaling

15. Then Again by Diane Keaton

16. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

17. Batman: Knightfall Vol. 1. Broken Bat by Doug Moench

18. The Visable Man by Chuck Klosterman

19. Walking Dead #11 Fear the Hunters

20. Night by Elie Wiesel

21. Batman: Knightfall Vol. 2 Who Rules the Night by Doug Moench

22. Walking Dead #12 Life Among Them

23. Death Makes a Holiday: A Cultural Holiday of Halloween by David Skal

24. Walking Dead #13 Too Far Gone

We also got some great use out of the library this year, so that's always a plus. Reading this list and sharing it, I want to comment on so many of them. So I will try and make an effort to comment on them on goodreads and share here.

And while I should be saving this for the Resolutions blog, I will go ahead and share the big challenge Griff and I have set for ourselves this year.

This year we aren't going to be buying books. If we've discovered anything this year it's that we have been hoarding books and it's slightly ridiculous. We could probably go 2+ years and read something "new" to us and still have some leftover. Seriously. It's ridiculous. So we need to read what we have and save some money (although everything we buy is used anyways). Of course, the exception is Oz's books. Oz gets books. And while I think trading in for store credit should be fair game, Griff disagrees. So we'll see. AND Salem's Lot. If I find a new one, that goes towards the collection.

So here's hoping 2013 is THE YEAR OF THE BOOK.

2012 in review

2012 sucked for a lot of reasons. But first, let me share how I did with last year's resolutions:

1. I did not learn to sew. mother.fucker. I keep saying "I'm gonna do it, I'm gonna do it" and I never fucking do it. What the hell, Ashley? I really want to make some skirts, aprons, blankets, and pillows.

2. I did do a fair bit of knitting for me. Not loads, but more than I've done before. I also refused to be afraid of knitting. So many projects I've turned down thinking "No, I don't know how", but not this year. I am really proud of how far my knitting has come. And I've also made the switch to nice yarn. I'm sure I'll always keep some blends and acrylics in my stash because they are *great* for kidswear, but for me, personally, I'm going to try and add more good stuff.

3. I did not scrapbook the road trip. Not even a little bit close. UG.

4. Be healthy. Not even a little bit. In fact, my health, both physical and mental, are probably at the lowest they've been in a long, long time. My stress eating has been off the charts.

5. I don't know if we got Oz outside more. During the summer he played outside loads and went swimming a lot. I think the winter has been hard for me to get outside and find things for us to do. I really hate not having a yard for him to play in.

6. Virtually no camping. But the one travel/camping trip we *did* have, it felt like the road trip again and we just felt like "US" again. It was lovely. We definitely need more of it.

7. I did something huge out of my comfort zone. With the help of many others we raised over $800 for St. Baldrick's and I shaved my head. If that's not out of the comfort zone I don't know what is. 

8. Listen to more music. Hm...Yes and no. I have downloaded a few new artists, and some old favorites. I have thoroughly enjoyed Amanda Palmer's new album. 

9. Slambook the magazines.... Well, I've made a small dent in the magazines. But there's a hell of a lot. I need to find a system to organize my clippings.

10. I gave up red meat for about 6 months. But I missed pork....sausage biscuits, biscuits & gravy, pepperoni pizza, BBQ. It's pretty clear now that I can't eat beef anymore, not unless I'm happy to be quite ill for the rest of the day. But BBQ is one of the few things I like about where I live, so why would I deny something that makes me happy? 

11. We have seriously de-cluttered. 2 moves in 3 months will do that. We have gotten rid of a load of books, DVDs, knicknacks, clothes... Don't get me wrong, we're not living the minimalist life, and probably never will. It's not our style. But we don't feel the need to hoard like we once did. 

12. Thoughful Buying...yes and no. It comes in stages and phases. I've been on a HUGE tshirt buying binge this year. Do I need them? Nope. Do I love them? Yep. And sadly, when I'm stressed I tend to binge buy. It's really not a good combo. But we're definitely not buying as much crap as we used to just to buy it. 

....So that was 2012. It was also the worst year I've had for reading ever. That's for another post tho. Tomorrow will be posting for a New Year. Come on, 2013.