In defense of the sanctimonious women's studies set || First feminist blog on the internet

That’s Just Great

Wonderful. Just great.

I agree to watching six children this afternoon — ages 13, 12, 11, 10, 5, and 9 months — and I don’t even get the option of screaming at them to get outside already, and shut that door! You lettin’ the flies in! You raised in a barn?!

I may actually have to entertain six kids all by my lonesome?

Someone bring mama some aspirin and tea. She’s having a spell.

UPDATE: I would just like to say that, other than the sweetest baby in the world, I am tired of watching other people’s children. Nannies, my hat off to you.

Rosey Grier’s Needlepoint for Men

Emily sent me this link forever ago, and it’s such a cute slideshow that I can’t believe I haven’t posted it yet.

For those of you who don’t know, Rosey Grier was a professional football player for the Giants and the Rams. Bonus points for having Pam Grier as a cousin. He was apparently well-known at the time for his hobbies of needlepoint and macrame, obviously notable for their lack of the expected athletic machismo. I have nothing else to say about this except that Rosey Grier is my hero for the day.

Queer it up, Mary.

Our Lady of Guadalupe

A well-known fact among my friends, I am obsessed with religious art. The gaudier the better. I am especially intrigued by gothic religious art that depicts gruesome acts, peculiar because I can’t stand gore. One of my favorite subsets of this subject is the wide variety of Our Lady of Guadalupe imagery that can be often found in what seems like odd and inappropriate places.

When Amanda posted pictures of her new religious bathroom art, I had to share my favorite gaudy find.

Guadalupe Mirror

This is my Guadalupe mirror, the light of my interior decorating life. Literally. A flip of a switch on the back of this thing makes it light up like a sign on the Vegas strip, flashing bright red dots at lightning speed. When I found this in a Chicago dollar store I had a hard time choosing between this and the matching Last Supper mirror. The cash flow only allowed for one or the other, and Guadalupe won.

For another example of bizarre artwork I have in the house, see my bedroom art featuring three big-eyed emo kids, two of which look like they’re on heroin.

I’m confident we could have a tacky interior decorating contest among bloggers. We’re so damned geeky you know that 90% of us collect bizarre stuff. If you have anything to share, post pictures and leave a link.

The Nanny Diaries

Or, why I don’t blog about my summer job.

The premise is this: a Park Slope nanny kept a personal weblog, which she showed to her employer. Her employer followed the blog “obsessively,” and was so offended by what she wrote that she eventually fired the nanny — and then wrote a piece for the New York Times calling the nanny a promiscuous pill-popping alcoholic who wants to do Tucker Carlson six ways to Sunday, has bisexual fantasies about girls in 19th century garb, and touches her breasts while reading. The last straw, apparently, was when the nanny wrote this: “I am having the type of workweek that makes me think being an evil corporate lawyer would be O.K. Seriously. Contemplated sterilizing myself yesterday.”

All right, look. Taking care of other peoples’ kids is hard work. And nannying is a whole different story than babysitting for a few hours — you’re with the kid(s) all day, almost every day. Some nannies live in-house, meaning that you always have to be “on.” Many people who employ nannies want them to be “part of the family,” and as a nanny, sometimes you feel like that’s exactly what you are — but the fact is, you’re not. You are an employee, but you’re doing a different kind of work — you’re being paid to provide intangibles, like care and love. You’re working. And just like actual parents, some days aren’t so great. I’m quite sure that there were times when I was a kid that my mom wanted to lock my in my room just to get some peace, and I’m sure there were days when she swore up and down that she would never reproduce again. I think all parents get frustrated from time to time. Well, so do nannies. Even if we love your kids — and most long-term nannies do, I think, really fall in love with the kids they’re watching — we aren’t Mary Poppins. We’re going to have bad days. Occassionally, your kids are going to be such brats that we’re going to think, “My God, I am never having children.” Other days, your kids are going to be so adorable that we’ll feel sad just knowing that the job is temporary.

What the woman who wrote the Times article was apparently so offended at — having too much “personal information” about her nanny and her nanny’s views posted online — is peanuts compared to what she did in return. The nanny leveled a few compaints on a personal blog that couldn’t have been read by more than a handful of people, and was fired. Her employer writes an article in the most widely-read newspaper in America, in which she basically says, “Ugh, my nanny is such a slut,” and presumably expects the reader to feel sorry for her.

Particularly interesting, though, is what she uses to paint her nanny as a “bad” (or at least questionable) person: She has sex with her boyfriend. She had an abortion. She made a comment about a girl being hot (which the employer translated into the idea that she was “determined she’d had more female sexual partners than her boyfriend”). She takes over-the-counter sleeping pills. She goes out for drinks with her friends. The employer mentions her irritation at the nanny for blogging at work (while the child was taking a nap — what else should she be doing? Scrubbing the floors?) and for having the nerve to get sick twice when the rest of the family only got sick once, but that doesn’t seem to be the reason that she fired her. Her sex life is, apparently, more problematic.

Get the nanny’s side of the story here.

What You Might Be Doing If You Only Blog About Cats

You probably haven’t been wondering what I’ve been up to since I haven’t been blogging of late, but I’m going to let you in anyway.

First I’ve been knitting like a madwoman. The alternating heat and rain have compelled me to sit around with a load of wool on my lap, ’cause you know wool, heat, and water go together real nice-like. This scarf was made up by yours truly and knitted with orange mohair and hand-dyed nylon, and the picture is the pre-blocked stage before any of the ends have been woven in on my brand new mannequin that I bought off of eBay.

Orange Scarf

Yes, the pattern is kind of elderly old lady but the boyfriend insists that I thought up this concoction especially for him. Considering the last unblocked scarf he forcibly took from me got him a $50 offer from a man on an elevator to take it off his neck on the spot , I just might do that.

Secondly, the garden calls. Last night’s thunderstorm took the tops off of most of my tomato plants and immature fruit was scattered all over the plot, but nonetheless I was able to gather two heads of cabbage and the first in a very long line of tomatoes. The heirlooms have come in before the altered varieties. The small toms are a yellow pear variety and the other are a large yellow heirloom, no clue what it is called. That single orange tomato is a fluke –it matured on a fruitless plant still in the flowering stages.

More Bounty

The garden has taken up most of my daylight time when I’m not competing in the weight room of the YWCA with sweet, blue-haired old ladies. Blog reading and knitting easily take up my evening hours. I only have a few weeks left before the school year begins again and I am determined to enjoy it.

My Own Private Hurricane

The hurricanes down south have been pushing thunderstorms our way. The last storm ravaged my garden and I spent all day today cleaning it up and clearing out the plants that were damaged beyond repair.

Tonight at the grocery store there was a bit of telltale lightning. We were there late after dining with the family and I tried to get out before it started raining. As we left the store the downpour began. We waited in the entrance for the storm to abate. It didn’t.

I got E into the car. While shuttling the groceries from the cart on the curb into the trunk, on cue as if in a bad movie, the handles on all my bags broke. I was soaked, picking up groceries from a deep puddle and shoving them into the car.

I’m sure the electricity will go out soon, if the current thunder and lightning that shake the house are any indicator, and I’m worried about all the groceries still waiting in the trunk. I bought ice cream and other frozen goodies to make a foodie-certified cherry ice cream pie for the family tomorrow. Will they last? We’ll see.

Much of the garden may not survive this storm. Worrisome.

UPDATE: My big boy and bloody butcher tomatoes are on the fritz, knocked over again.

The New Wife

Perhaps The Today Show needs a little help from Oxford Old English — they seem to be a bit confused about the definition of the word “new“:

It was the first report in the Today Show’s week-long series, “The Changing Marriage” — a look at “how kids, lack of time together, previous marriages, and taking your vows when you’re young affects your relationship.”

The question today was, “Who is the New Wife?” Who, indeed?

The report was built around the work of Susan Shapiro Barash, a gender studies professor at Marymount Manhattan College, and her 2004 book, The New Wife. Barash’s theory — and it’s hardly a new one; see, for instance, Lisa Belkin’s 2003 New York Times Magazine cover story — is that professional women today, unsatisfied by the demands and the stress of trying to “have it all,” are no longer trying. Rather, they are turning their attention to becoming the best head-of-household they can be.

Of course, these theories often work from the assumptions that a) women, ultimately, can never find complete satisfaction with a role in the public sphere; they are always yearning for a return to the domestic b) that all women’s families have the economic means to make the stay-at-home choice possible and c) men are either naturally unable to be equal caretakers of their children or that women would never want to relinquish part of that responsibility.

Read the whole thing at Ms. Musings. And thanks to Natalie for the heads up!

The Garden

I still have no tomatoes though two of the (twenty, no kidding) plants stand over six feet tall. I have a feeling that all of them will come in at once and I will be forced to learn how to can sauces and stews.

I cut down all of the beautiful broccoli, and blanched and froze it yesterday. Whether I will get additional offshoots is to be seen. None are currently growing.

Squash is coming in at an amazing rate, forcing me to make tons of casseroles and lasagnas to be eaten and frozen. Making squash casseroles with Great Harvest tomato-basil bread is fun and tasty. The roommate and I managed to eat a 9×13″ pan of casserole in a matter of two days.

I cut down all of the basil and began to make and freeze pestos. Unfortunately I waited too long and much of the basil is too bitter. I got more ingredients today and plan to doctor the hell out of it, while still maintaining the simplicity, and hope to concoct a better pesto. Ethan loves the stuff and we eat it all year long.

The green beans didn’t quite make it, the okra hasn’t put out a single pod, the cauliflower and cabbage are growing but look sad. The carrots are growing steadily but slowly. The peppers, though. Oh, the peppers.

After all the hard work and time I’ve put into the garden, I am thrilled with the output and experience. Next year I need more varieties of veggies, far fewer tomato plants, and a better garden layout. I may do a squared garden with more greens next year instead of rows. Maybe I’ll employ the completely organic Ruth Stout method. In addition, after finally figuring out how the compost bins are supposed to work, I’ll do a better job at utilizing the compost pile.

In the meantime, does anyone know how to save my pesto while using the bitter basil?