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

Things I’ve Done That You Probably Haven’t

I ran across this listing game at Hugo’s blog and have ever since tried to come up with a list that wouldn’t a) sully my pristine, unassailable reputation, and b) mess with my mother’s blood pressure.

This is a list of ten silly things I’ve done that you probably haven’t (all but one occurred before the age of eighteen):

1) Met Greg Louganis in the Atlanta airport where I asked him to take a picture of the two of us together – with his camera. (He was remarkably attractive even though he was easily several inches shorter than I – and I’m short.)

2) Got pulled over by the chief of police for riding double on a moped without helmets.

3) Took out a retaining wall at a Village Pantry with my car less than 20 yards from my home, breaking an axle, flattening two tires, and having to reassure the police that no, I had not been drinking, and yes, I’m completely sure I haven’t been drinking, yes, I’m just a bad driver.

4) Arrested at fourteen for indecent exposure when my pants fell down on a city bus. (Stupid baggy pants phase. And even though my family still doesn’t believe me on this one, I did not moon the bus driver.)

5) Stole a pink feather boa a la Tinkerbell from a Disneyworld store by putting it around my neck and walking out the door.

6) Fell off the second-story roof of my parents house after I got up there purely for curiosity’s sake. There was a balcony off my bedroom, and due to some reconstructive work being done, a ladder as well. I climbed up the ladder and onto the roof, looked around and decided it was boring, and tried to get down. The ladder fell, so I decided to jump back onto the balcony. Rather than landing safely on the balcony, I bounced off the balcony railing, landed on the pavement driveway, lay there for a few painful moments, then walked inside like nothing happened.

7) Two words: Poop Circles

8) Fell down an entire mountainside (some people call it “skiing”) and took out a crowd of five at the bottom of the summit.

9) Won two regional poetry contests in elementary school, one for a poem that was partially plagiarized. At least I wasn’t stupid enough to try and pass off a famous poem as my own, like that kid in junior high who “wrote” me a love poem titled “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings” with his name on top. Idiot. Nonetheless, having to read a plagiarized poem to an audience of hundreds was sweat- and guilt-inducing enough for me to never, ever plagiarize again.

10) Met Richard Dean Andersen at an uppity restaurant in Vail, CO. I didn’t know who he was until after I got his autograph.


My email account at Yahoo! keeps showing up in Spanish. I think this is karmatic punishment for abusing my mother’s ebay account.

I don’t even care that “karmatic” is not a word. It’s Spring Break.

Holy Shit, It’s Spring Break

I’m not doing anything remotely productive for the next nine days, unless you call knitting, blogging, playing with the boy, Nintendo, Pablo-lovin’, and eyeing the crocus peeking through the dirt in the backyard productive.

Mid-Terms, Schools, and Illnesses

It’s time for mid-terms, which means it is also time for the obligatory scholastic disillusionment post. Tonight I practice my ASL handshape story, a five minute story told through the use of body language and next to no actual signs, and study for the Shakespeare mid-term for which I am wholly unexcited. I can’t wait to have one full guilt-free week off.

I don’t care much at all anymore, and know I’m half-heartedly jumping through the required hoops. This does not a good student make.

After almost one full week with a fever Ethan went to the doctor and we found that he has, of all things, scarlet fever. It sounds so Old World Victorian (“My baby has the plague!”) but turns out to be a strain of strep throat with a body rash. All week long I asked Does your throat hurt? Nope. Do your ears hurt? Nope. Okay then. The fever must be the pink eye or Fifth Disease, certainly not the Black freakin’ Plague.

In other news I have begun to get phone calls for student teaching interviews.

Going to the high school and observing the classrooms has begun to move my internal view of myself from student to teacher. Today I passed out an initital survey to the students and found that everyone is both classes has a computer, only three don’t have internet access at home, and at least six have both a website and a blog. I hope to do my semester research on the connections, if any, between technological literacy and scholastic success, primarily based on case studies, interviews, and student work. The school I observe in is unusually outfitted with the latest ed tech and the teacher I observe with uses it to its maximum degree. This is quite rare in secondary Lit classrooms, so I want to explore what kinds of effects it has on the classroom environment as well.

One of my greatest difficulties this semester has been establishing a teacherly persona. I am in the schools for two class periods. The first is overall well-behaved and engaged in the lessons at hand, while the second period is essentially run by a group of rowdy boys who insist on having the last word and making the class into a comedy venue. Truthfully they’re quite funny. This is a problem. Once I start laughing I can’t stop.

Further, they are obsessed with my presence in the classroom where the first period observed doesn’t care one way or another. Every day I get a barrage of questions ranging from What did you do this weekend? to Where do you live?, What is your first name?, What’s your screen name? Can we chat? and I’ll bet you go to frat parties, don’t you? I switch between giving smartass answers and none at all.

When I finally picked a lesson plan to teach (after abandoning the idea of Sandra Cisneros, we settled on Eliot’s Prufrock, thanks for asking), the teacher informed me that she isn’t even going to ask me to teach the second period. She said she felt like it would be throwing meat to the wolves, and frankly, I feel like fresh meat. Relief.

Perhaps the most telling experience indicating my need to better develop a teacherly persona happened last Friday. After listening to a long conversation between students on the finer points of punk rock, including the aural importance of Kurt Cobain and Nirvana, how the size of piercing gauges correspond to numbers, what constitutes a cool tattoo, and other fine examples of high school inexperience, I found myself tempted to join in on a more-punk-than-you game that I thought I had long abandoned. In the interest of prudence, I shouldn’t divulge the stories I wanted to tell, but I guarantee that anything I could put on a list like this would be scandalous enough to blacklist me from any future teaching job and require an instant revocation of my laminated feminist card.

The overwhelming urge to bring in my CD collection and school these kids in the fineries of pre-1990’s pop culture has yet to pass.

Nirvana. Jesus. When did the 90’s become old school?

[For more on my observational experiences at this school, you can see my class blog: Miss Education.]


Not feeling like blogging this weekend.

I finally got a monitor and have procrastinated on setting it up, in part because that means moving the last gargantuan thing out of the office and my foot still hurts after the torn ligament/basement stairs incident. And in part because I’ve been busy knitting a shirt/sweater that ended up way too short despite following all the directions and matching gauge. I ripped back successfully for the first time ever and am starting over from the waist increase. Man, did that piss me off.

Ethan still isn’t better. After yet another call to the doctor we’ve decided that E either has the viral version of conjunctivitis (i.e. nasty, nasty pink eye) or Fifth Disease, which has no treatment other than suffering through a fever. He looks miserable. A cold bath and a jug of water later and he still looks miserable.

I attended a wedding today. One of my oldest friends (in fact, my first boyfriend ever) got married to another long time friend on very short notice. It was a sweet wedding, very simple. Inbetween laughing at the noisy crew of children and holding back the requisite wedding tears, I was struck by the culture gap between friends and family. All the family members appeared very conservative, traditional wear, etc. There was ink and hair galore in the friend crowd. A large group of friends left immediately after the afternoon service to go to a bar and get drunk even before the cake was cut. I found this rather rude. Nonetheless, I couldn’t expect much more. This town gets smaller by the day and I find myself increasingly disappointed with the vast majority of my peers. Apparently I’m getting old.

Afterward, my mother and I had a long conversation about marriage and travel and the future, in which I told her I don’t imagine myself getting married anytime soon. If ever, really. Despite my romantic inclinations, I just don’t see it happening. Even as I bumble through life, I don’t see myself bumbling through it with a life partner. I now value my independence enough that I don’t know I want to give it up.

Also, I watched “Lost In Translation” last night and don’t get why everyone is mooning over Scarlett Johansson. I think we give way too much credit to the young’uns before they have a chance to show us what they’ve really got. Bill Murray, though. He was good.

Tonight’s plans: watch movies I don’t like, reknit the damn shirt, gaze guiltily at the dishes and laundry, brush the cat, and wake up Ethan for another round of medicine. Thrills galore.


Much feminist writing has been done on the subject of hair, but I feel like talking about myself today, so we won’t be discussing that.

As a little girl I had fairly long hair. My mother convinced me to cut my hair when I was five and I agreed, not completely understanding that it wouldn’t immediately grow back. I ended up with a pageboy, a recurring cut through my adult life. The pageboy was dyed a billion colors as I got older, almost always settling for a lighter blonde than my natural blonde.

For a period of about a year, I bleached my hair twice monthly. This ended after an unfortunate incident in which I put some red on top of the yellow fry and it began to fall out. Clumps of hair fell out of my head. I told my mother who tried to salvage the mess but to no avail. We went to the salon and they cut it off one inch from the scalp, leaving me with an orange and white spotted helmet of hair. I was fifteen. My peers immediately assumed that my new haircut was a “coming out” statement and I was judged accordingly. In fact, I still answer questions about my sexuality every now and then when I run into old classmates.

And here is where I update the masses on the weirdness surrounding my current hairstyle.

The haircut I have now has brought the most confounding experiences, especially with older men. I once had plain, long blonde hair (natural, thank you) and about six months ago cut very short bangs. The reactions that I get to the bangs, which are now even shorter than in the picture, are absolutely astounding. Apparently short bangs communicate some sort of “sluttiness” or “easiness” that I never before encountered.

Before, with the plain blonde hair, I was almost always at first considered to fit the stereotypical “blonde” personality until I opened my mouth. I was often told I was high-maintenance and not well-liked by those who are keen on judging hypothetical books by their hypothetical covers. Now I’m seen as some sort of S/M sex symbol. Here is one such example of harassment. And here is another. Both are completely true. I couldn’t make this stuff up.

More recently, I had a younger man approach me and tell me “how great it is” to see “hot goth chicks” in town. You know, because I’m so freaking goth.

And just last night, a comedian at the comedy night I attend asked two of my friends about me and my haircut. He inquired to one of my friends before the show as to who I was, complimenting the bangs. In the middle of his set, I got a phone call and left the room out of courtesy. I took the phone call in the adjoining room, and in the meantime, he sat down at our front row table, held the microphone away from his mouth, and asked my tablemates where I had gone, complimenting the hair again. He kept saying that I looked like someone out of the 1940s, continuously complimenting the hair, but never approached me before or after the show. I’m absolutely floored that he stopped the show to remark on my hair.

I don’t know if I should be grateful he didn’t approach me or just grow out the bangs already.

Having done as much reading as I have on beauty culture and feminism, I always considered hair to be an offshoot of the more primary cultural norms like body shape and weight. I previously thought that there was inherently more weight placed on the cultural significance of hair in the African-American circles than in others (and still think this discourse is necessary), but am beginning to think I ignored the significance of hair in the overall culture of beauty, especially how it can remind of beauty cultures of different eras. Can hair be read as a text?

Frankly I still don’t know what to think. Maybe I’ll knit myself a hat.

Oh, My Foot

Yesterday I ran into the basement to grab some clothes from the laundry room, missed the last step and rolled my ankle. This makes the third injury on this foot and ankle in as many years.

The casualties: two torn ligaments, a severely wounded pride, and the erosion of my confident, upright walk into a one-legged bunny hop.

On the other hand, I received painkillers, many points and laughs from friends, a concerned kiss from Ethan, and a post-op velcro shoe.

The Birthday

For once, the birthday was great.

Bowling with E and E’s dad was pathetic especially since the two adults were within the same ten-point range as the five-year-old. With lane bumpers. The good news is that it was fun.

Then dinner: Chicken Fromage at the downtown bistro with a bottle of white wine. For dessert, Pot au Chocolate with real whipped cream and birthday well-wishers. Afterward: Martinis and live music with friends. Good stuff.

My mother came up with the best birthday present ever. Take notes! A transparent plastic box filled with envelopes, pens, pencils, and a roll of 100 stamps, hereby known as the bill-paying box. I came home immediately after Thursday’s dinner and happily paid all my monthly bills without even getting a headache. Dad remembered my request for a hand-cranked popcorn popper and apparently searched the town to find one. This is from a man who doesn’t know my actual birthdate (sometime in February) and can’t quite remember the age of any of his three daughters. I was touched that he remembered.

Today’s plans: Paint the front door, begin garden and flower seeds, trim the dead grape vines from the arbor, hand scrub the wooden floor, and finish a black scarf. I feel productive.

A Crappy Weekend, Literally

My review of the Jensen experience is forthcoming. It was disappointing, to say the very least, and one of those youthful experiences in which you slay your own idols with swords and flame.

My travelmates and I didn’t stay in Yellow Springs as originally planned. The town is the size of my toenail: an adorable town with a charming shopping district, but without a bar open past 11pm and no visible hotel accommodations. After the talk, we stopped for food and got back into the car. I was in an iffy mood when I got home, still fuming over the Jensen talk and wanting back out of the house so my Friday night wouldn’t be a total waste. When I walked in the door, I noticed that Pablo had thrown up.

This isn’t unusual. Pablo usually has his Saturday hairball. No matter the hairball formula foods I feed him, no matter the other hairball accommodations I have made, no matter the nightly brushing sessions, Pablo hacks something up every Saturday like clockwork. I figured he was early this time.

Since I got Pablo I have found that he has several very odd behaviors, the first being this hairball thing, and the second being his fear of dogs. When I got Pablo from the pound, they had no previous information on him. It was obvious he had been a housecat, well taken care of, and socialized properly. Unfortunately he was declawed in the front, had fleas, and apparently caught a parasite in the shelter. I did the expected and treated what I could and ever since have had a very healthy, lovable cat.

Nonetheless, I went back out Friday night after cleaning up P-Lo’s mess. I collapsed in bed when I got home, had a decent night of sleep, and woke up that morning to make myself some tea. And I stepped in cat puke. I grumbled to myself, went back to the bathroom and washed my foot, and headed back into the kitchen. On the way, I passed two more piles of puke. There was another in the kitchen and two more in the den. Pablo seemed as though he was in a good mood, so I filled his dish as usual, not thinking in my morning stupor. He ate a few bites and immediately threw up again. My first thought was that he had finally eaten the wrong plant or a bit of yarn. I called the emergency vet clinic and got us in there ASAP.

Pablo, like most cats, doesn’t much like the cat carrier. He lays in the carrier in the backseat mournfully lowing like a cow as though I’m taking his furry ass back to the pound. To make matters worse, there was a dog in the waiting room, a harmless geriatric spaniel in for glaucoma and a tumor.

The stress of a car ride, the cat carrier, and the unexpected presence of dogs in the waiting room got another kind of strange reaction from Pablo, one that should be written in Sharpie on the list above: when Pablo sees a dog he loses all control of his bowels.

After a long wait we got into the exam room. I took Pablo out of the carrier and the tech, the cat and I were immediately covered in cat shit. But Pablo hadn’t stopped. He continued to shit all over me and the tech. Everywhere. It smelled so bad that I had to step into the hallway to pace around in fresh air. Pablo lowed inside the examination room, insulted that I had left him and embarassed that he had crapped all over himself and the cat carrier.

If there was a good side to this story, kind of, it is finding out that the routine worming Pablo got didn’t do a thing. Not only does he have tapeworm, but the parasite that he had when I got him from the pound never went away. They are doing more blood work and poo work to find causes and solutions to this mess, and in the meantime, as soon as anything hits Pablo’s stomach he vomits. I can’t feed him until tomorrow afternoon.

He continues to behave as though he is in a good mood (at least after recovering from his bath) and is active, cheerful, and healthy-looking, which makes me think about the $90 I spent on P-Lo’s bill today, the potential of having to pay for an X-ray if he did ingest something, and how all my money saving efforts from this month were effectively flushed down the tubes.

Pablo had better be glad I love him so damn much. He has been awfully affectionate since his bath. He lay in my lap all evening and, in lieu of purring, snorted like a pig.

Of course it could be his raging, unfulfilled appetite.