Thursday, February 24, 2011

Obligatory birthday-related posting

Well, we've had some festivities around the household, and the incremental aging of small persons! With balloons and presents and much bouncing in a Tigger-like way.

giggling Speck with tongue askew
Yes, this critter turned 3 years old.

lilypad cake with fondant frog and crayon candles
This was the lilypad + frog cake. Stencil a last-minute addition.

Speck applies fork to cake with great concentration!
This year, she ate the cake! CAKE!!
(chocolate by direct request)

I feel like the first three years have been very tangible to us, with all the sleeplessness and intensity of time-spending, and general infinitesimal subdivision of the day into tiny discoveries and battles. And yet I can feel that things are starting to speed up, that 4 will arrive at a stunning rate, that I will be amazed that time could ever resume its prior rush. This musing, looking backward from the huge distance of 6, made me cry a bunch.

Onward we go.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

What doth portend?

Holy crap! Obama Administration finally disavows Defense of Marriage Act, will no longer defend heterosexual privilege in court. w00t!

gender symbol mishmash
(via Atrios)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

From the department of The More Things Change...

This map of collective bargaining rights in the US includes states that require it for labor contracts, those that are neutral, and those that forbid it. And yet the boundarys correspond to divisions in so many other things... I hate to say it, but there are just places in this country that make it mighty hard to live!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Quote of the day

Take a moment from time to time to remember that you are alive. I know this sounds a trifle obvious, but it is amazing how little time we take to remark upon this singular and gratifying fact. By the most astounding stroke of luck an infinitesimal portion of all the matter in the universe came together to create you and for the tiniest moment in the great span of eternity you have the incomparable privilege to exist.
- Bill Bryson
(via whiskey river)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

In case you were wondering

GOP elephantThe Republicans make it pretty clear where they stand when it comes to the little guy. Let the buyer beware! I guess we'll all sink together...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Link dump, next: Parenting-related bits

Monday, February 14, 2011

What goes round...

This is a great parable about modern living, in a city or anywhere else. You can find neighborliness in the densest and dirtiest places, or you can fence out the world in a safe and luxurious area -- have met both kinds.

(via free range kids)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Your Friday dose of cuteness

tiny bunny picAt least, if you didn't see it on Cute Overload earlier this week. Just an overwhelming cuteness of bunnies in a row! Yay!! It's almost more cuteness than I can take in -- I want the one on the left!

Always a good time for a leer!

Stay Classy, TSA

Quote of the day

The Thing Is
to love life, to love it even
when you have no stomach for it
and everything you've held dear
crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,
your throat filled with the silt of it.
When grief sits with you, its tropical heat
thickening the air, heavy as water
more fit for gills than lungs;
when grief weights you like your own flesh
only more of it, an obesity of grief,
you think, how can a body withstand this?
Then you hold life like a face
between your palms, a plain face,
no charming smile, no violet eyes,
and you say, yes, I will take you
I will love you, again.
- Ellen Bass
(via whiskey river)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Power to the people!

Well, this is exciting! I haven't felt so invested in the self-transformation of a nation since we watched people walk for days and stand in long lines to vote in post-apartheid South Africa. Of course, any revolution can go sour, but there's such a feeling of empowerment, of hope for a fairer government and better times, that one prefers to set aside such trepidations and just join in the upswell of joy.
Egyption flag
Update: Yeah, well...
Update 2: Hey, it happened!!

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Four bits on women (and maybe on who defines/controls them)

  • How It Is Done: Working Mothers, Guilt and Childhood Obesity -- bad science used to beat up on working mothers, as though parenting weren't hard enough.
    But whatever the demerits of the study, that popularization really is utterly loathsome. Loathsome! Note that working fathers are not mentioned. Fathers are not mentioned. And the recommendations for women, or rather the scolding: Try not to work so much!

    I write about these kinds of crappy studies because they are worms which drill through the skins of women and fester deep inside us. We are not worthy! We are responsible! Nobody else is to blame! We must walk on our hands through life and not fall! I don't write about them because I somehow think that women are perfect, for example, but to show how this thing is done. It is non-stop, really.
  • Feminists Make Better Lovers -- doesn't apply to women exclusively, but reveals biases about many things, including what kinds of studies do and don't get popularized. [Hint: the ones that do are the ones that confirm the cultural narrative!]

  • Take Your Legislation Off Me -- some grim legislation being discussed right now, the discussion again revealing all kinds of underlying assumptions, including that men should get to make all the decisions in matters affecting women.

  • On Labor -- a personal story that serves as a reminder that women carry disproportionate risks in creating our next generation.
    Every day women choose to do the hard labor of a difficult pregnancy. Its courageous work, which inspires in me a degree of admiration exceeded only by my horror at the notion of the state turning that courage, that hard labor, into a mandate. Women die performing that labor in smaller numbers as we advance, but they die all the same. Men do not. That is a privilege.

A good seed

Holy crap! This video made me cry, right at my desk. He's right that anybody should be proud to have him as a son, just like he's right that families are about commitments to one another, not any external characteristics. Wow.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

A little knowledge...

It's true that we hear about Americans' budgetary ignorance on a regular cycle, but that doesn't make it any less frustrating. Why have the Democrats become so cowed by the national security folks that they're not willing to point out the bloatedness of our military budget, or the fact that almost no dent can be made in our money woes without looking there? Why don't we counter the foreign aid debates with a couple of key visuals? Heck, one big pie chart with a tiny green stripe for foreign aid and a huge half-pie for Defense might make for an interesting TV sound-bite -- "why are we debating how much to cut this little sliver while completely ignoring the elephant that is our outings in Iraq and Afghanistan?" (A similar pie chart could help us get back to thinking about further health reforms, or at least not gutting the recent ones, but I fear that chat is done for the time being...)

Monday, February 07, 2011

Monday cat-blogging

Yes, you heard that right -- we still have cats! Amazingly, they're on the long side of 5 years old, but still spotty and mewpy, still generally entertaining, although their lives are a bit constrained by the unpredictable whims of a toddler...

two bengals on a furry bench
Yes, they even have back their beloved cat tree,
which reclaimed the spot from some large kid toy. So happy!!

bengal cat dangles her front legs straight down on a cat tree
I love this dangle that Pixel does, as though her arms sort of don't belong to her.
A previous version can be seen here (at 6 months).

Friday, February 04, 2011

Great visual!

The new Starbucks "Trente" size is big enough to hold an entire bottle of wine with room to spare. No straw for me, please!

(Don't recommend the video because (a) most of it is him opening the bottle, and (b) he doesn't even rinse out the cup before putting in a perfectly good bottle of red wine!! ack!)

Quote of the day

The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one's own, or real life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one's real life -- the life God is sending one day by day; what one calls one's real life is a phantom of one's own imagination. This at least is what I see at moments of insight: but it's hard to remember it all the time.
- C. S. Lewis
(via whiskey river)

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Just what the doctor ordered

sketch of a computer with the word YOU on the screenDo a lot of tech support for your parents? Google has put together a little selection of step-by-step videos for some commonly tricky tasks that you can send as an email care package to help empower the struggling user. Brilliant.

(via FreeRangeKids)

That makes sense

I had wondered why violence didn't really erupt in Egypt until after Mubarak promised to step down -- sour grapes? an attempt to get a do-over? TPM offers the likely explanation that this is about positioning for the aftermath. Probably if we knew a bit more about the players, we'd know who was benefitting from the conflict, politically or tactically or whatever...

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Link dump II: Cheerful and/or interesting

all sorts of thoughtsAnd hey! I had more of these than of the grumpy kind!

Look out! Link dump!

Just too many tabs, languishing at the top of the screen forgotten. Just barely feeding this blog these days, as with so much else in my life... First installment is from the Grumpy files: latest outrages, ongoing woes, etc.