Bionic Mamas

you're not losing a vagina, you're gaining a son


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On The Habits of Breeding Lesbians of South Brooklyn

For all your lesbian ornithological parody needs, click through to this piece I wrote for Rebecca O. Johnson’s erstwhile respectable blog, Urban Ecology.

It goes a little something like this:

1. The South Brooklyn Lesbian: Species or Race?
Much controversy surrounds the taxonomic status of Brooklyn Lesbians: should the Lesbians of North and South Brooklyn, concentrated respectively in Williamsburg/Greenpoint/Bushwick and Park Slope/Prospect Heights/Clinton Hill/Bed-Stuy and adjacent neighborhoods, be considered separate races of a single species, like the Yellow- and Red-shafted Flickers of species Colaptes auratus? Or are they more properly defined as two separate species, like Baltimore and Bullock’s Orioles, once thought types of Northern Oriole?

It is the position of this author that the Northern and Southern Brooklyn Lesbians must properly be separately named species of the genus Sappho. The two display marked distinctions in plumage and diet, with the Northern species preferring H&M ‘80’s nostalgia synthetics and Pabst Blue Ribbon and the Southern natural fibers, Dansko clogs, and whiskey-based cocktails.

More…

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In our natural habitat, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Note: salt water sandals are a common summer plumage variation, always reverting to clogs in the winter months. Think fall and spring warblers.


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Weekend: A Picture Book

Hey there buckaroos and buckerettes. Hope you’re having a nice weekend. We sure are. Here’s what we’ve been up to (post-sitting-around-in-towels):

Saturday:

We started off at the community garden, composting, planting in the tree well, and generally, erm, soaking it all in. Not pictured: the squirrel Sugar found in one of the cisterns, soaking it all in for the last time.

Spirea

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The spirea is blooming. I like to call it bridal wreath.

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And the columbines are starting.

From there, the train to Chinatown (Manhattan version), for lunch, art supplies, and textile madness.

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We did not eat in this very picturesque place.

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Instead, we had Tasty Hand-Pulled Noodles, which sound dirty and taste amazing.

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We bought drawing pens and an eraser shield at Pearl Paint, aka, EAR PAIN. Eraser shields kick ass.

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And ate glittery sandwich cookies at Purl Soho’s new-location party.

Chinatown Loot
Loot! That’s a lotus root, by the way. They’re crunchy.

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Presents! Purl gave us a gift bag. (We bought the thread.)

Home again, home again, lickety split. The Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, where we saw flowers, bees, and the Family O.

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More bumble bees around this bush than you can shake a stick at.

Sunday:

A rainy day at home with WWOZ’s broadcast of Jazzfest and some crafty action.

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Sugar made crepes!

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And bread!

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And turned Bionic’s students’ old papers into a dress pattern.

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While Bionic sewed and embroidered and took pictures of her blue jeans, just for Calliope.

Wishing you a peaceful, happy Sunday.


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Doing My Bit

One of the undeniable perks of big city living (and wretched, two-hour commutes) is the bottomless well of anecdotes that is public transit. Have I told you about the old Chinese lady screaming a heavily accented version of “Ehhhhh-xiiiiiihhhhht Laaaaaaaaaahhhh-fe” at 10 in the morning? How about the very cracked out individual who kept screaming at the dark-skinned lady across from her that she was, “nothing but WHITE TRASH!” much to her intended target’s confusion. (“I’m not WHITE,” she clarified after the ranter had departed.)

There are visitations of loveliness, like the mariachi band (complete with hats!) and the middle aged black men who sing gospel — they are a favorite not just because they sing so beautifully (and they DO) but because they seem such an unlikely group to be friends. One wears a very dad sweatshirt and a fishing hat and is round and smiley; one favors Cosby sweaters. The third? Looks and dresses and glowers like Snoop Dog. Starhillgirl has already written about another favorite blessing here. (The true magic that one enacts is transforming a crowded, evening rush hour 4 train of people who Do Not Have Time For This into a bunch of smiling gigglers. And he does it in just one stop.)

There are clever people, like the tumbling boys. They fly through the air while the train rocks and rumbles, surely in danger of sudden death. The littlest ones — 9 or 10 years old — do the wildest tricks, and while the scene is Dickensian and should arouse my indignation, I admit that I thrill to their flips and springs. The time I heard one hit his head — HARD — on the ceiling, I felt especially guilty for my idle, irresponsible enjoyment, and I gave more money than usual. Later I learned that this is a bit of prestidigitation of its own: apparently the older boys in charge of the boom box have found that tips go up enormously when a difficult flip is accompanied by a sharp kick to the door or the edge of a seat. I could have sworn that kid hit his head, but I’m glad he didn’t (and understand better now why he seemed so unruffled and the blank look in his eye as I hoped he was okay).

As surely as New Yorkers must grit their teeth over the gaggles of tourists herded and shushed by the harried relatives they’re visiting, knowing that our parents and aunts and cousins will visit one day, too, and that they, too, will talk too loudly and block the doors and dither in front of the staircases, we all share a civic responsibility to at times be the entertainers. Subway craziness is a co-op situation, like so many parts of city life. We must from time to time be the one who shifts a heavy bag at exactly the wrong time and falls half the length of the car. We must be the one who discovers her slipper (just one) on the floor at rush hour. (I STILL have no idea how that happened.) We must sometimes cry openly because we can’t wait for privacy.

**Pro tip: DO NOT argue theology with subway preachers. Not because they’re necessarily any better at it, but they are more shameless. And you’ll never win. And six-a.m. screaming matches are best reserved for family and close friends. (And if the crowd takes there side, you will feel like dog shit. On the other hand, you will also get plenty of room to sit down, even at rush hour. Thanks, contagious gayness.)**

Yesterday, I made my contribution on a crowded Metro North commuter train, surrounded by men in grey and navy and pinstripes and wingtips. I was as discreet as I could manage, but anyone halfway clever could have cooked up a nice story with the words I couldn’t avoid:

Vial
Donor
Andrology
Valium

You’re welcome, Mount Kisco.

…which is to say, IUI today. I’m having a lot of trouble feeling optimistic about my chances, but then, I know exactly what my chances are without it. (And anyway, starhillgirl promised she’d think excited thoughts so I don’t have to.)


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Civic Duties

Hey, y’all. How in the world are you?

Sorry to be so out of touch in the past couple weeks — I spent the week of the GI/Endo/Black Eye reading everybody’s blog like crazy but too worn out to type comments, and then something went haywire in my brain and I spent this week too depressed to even read.

So…hi. I’m back. I’ve diagnosed myself with a critical chocolate deficiency, and the treatment seems to be helping. That, and I can feel my body getting closer to ovulating, which, while increasingly a time of emotional complexity, is generally the happiest time of the month for me. (We’ll save my rant about how little I like the idea that body chemistry is in charge of my worldview for another day, shall we?) I’m also pleased to report that for the first time since its date with the bookcase, my right eye is as sharp as my left, which has improved my worldview in a very literal sense.

BUT. That is not what I logged on to say. Rather:

Perhaps you have heard about wonderful Weebles Weblog’s Limerick Chick Contest, for which folks have been writing witty verse about other blogs. I had hoped to enter for myself, but, well, see above.

BUT!

It has come to my attention that Kym — Kym, who has only lately organized the sensational Sock It To Me exchange (to say nothing of convincing poor, long-suffering Frank to trade his dignity for donations to the Parenthood For Me benefit) WHILE AT THE SAME TIME kicking infertility’s ass for not just herself but now others (others! I can hardly stand the thought of doing this for myself!) as a surrogate — that Kym, the Kym we’re in awe of, has written a limerick about Our Own Little Blog.

Well. It’s enough to force a girl not to be depressed, that’s what.

So please, head over to Weeble’s and vote for Kym’s poem. Here’s why you should vote for Kym (besides your devotion to her and your bemused interest in your humble servant, of course):


1. Kym’s poem is a real limerick.

I don’t mean to be more of a snob than usual, but it’s a LIMERICK contest. We all love couplets and quatrains and even free verse, but these are not limericks. A limerick, to quote from Roy Blount Jr.’s Alphabet Juice, maybe my favorite book about the English language (and this is saying something for a nerd like me I am) is:

“…two lines of trimeter (three feet) followed by two of dimeter (two feet) with a different rhyme, and one more of trimeter returning to the first rhyme. Generally the intended effect is spicy. For example:

There once was a lady named Dot
Who said as we found a nice spot,
“I never undress
at a picnic unless
It’s warm, and it is, so why not?”

THAT, my friends, is a limerick. Yes, it’s a bit fussy, following the rules like that, but following rules is hot. See: BDSM.

(In his section on meter, Blount exhorts the writer lost in the drudgery of writing to ask, “WWJMD? What would John Milton do?” I think it’s pretty obvious that John Milton would forsake the dreariness of vanilla metric-less freedom for the enlivening strictures of poetic submission. Ahem.)

2. Kym’s poem uses slant rhyme

I am not an un-reserved fan of slant rhyme, which can be only laziness on the poet’s part. However, when slant rhyme serves to emphasize the almost-rhyming word and that emphasis adds meaning or interest to the poem, I’m all for it.

The almost-rhyming word in Kym’s poem is “vaginas.”

3. Kym’s poem has more vaginas than any other poem.

Not just than any other poem in the contest; I think it may have more vaginas than any other poem I’ve ever read. (And I’ve read some truly regrettable stuff, with lots of ocean/cave/shell metaphors and unnecessary goddess references.)

And that’s before the poem even gets around to suggesting a threesome.

Roy Blount, again:

“The intended effect is spicy”

I can’t think why you’d need another reason to vote for her; go to it.


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Thinking of England

Inspired by Twangy Pearl, Sugar presents an artist’s rendition of last Tuesday’s inspermination:


Note, please:

– Funny Socks
– Good Luck Thumb Ring on left hand
– Comfort Items Worthy Of A First-Rate Nerd: a hardback, high-ish brow, dystopian novel (quite excellent, by the way — and while it is grim, I was at least reading the chapter titled “Pollination,” which seemed apt), cell phone, and trusty journal. With pen. You never know.

Your wonderful well-wishings were folded up and tucked in the book. I got them out at the word “tenaculum.”

But wait, you say. Didn’t you need those buoying comments precisely because Sugar wasn’t able to accompany you? How does she know what it looked like?

Well, because on this snowy evening, I have just now been re-enacting the scene on our living room couch*. Yes, I put the socks back on and everything. The Society for Creative Anachronism‘s got nothin’ on us.

Next time someone asks what exactly it is lesbians do, perhaps I will tell them about this.

Happy Snow Day, everybody. Check out what the other kids are up to on Mel’s Show and Tell.

*NB: our couch does not have stirrups. Fear not. Also, full disclosure: I was really wearing a zip-up cardigan, like the nerd professor I am.


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What We’re Weeping Over, Sunday Edition

Have you already watched this? I’d seen it pop up on friends’ Facebook pages, but hadn’t taken the 4 minutes to watch it for myself until today. It’s from testimony in Maine concerning marriage equality.

“What do you think our boys fought for at Omaha Beach?”

For me? You fought for me? Oh, man, I’m tearing up all over again.

The old folks are all right.


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Book Fair Betrayal

If you’re as nerdy as I am, perhaps you remember with a similar fondness the Scholastic Book Fair. Ours was around this time of year, as I recall. Parent volunteers would set up table after table after table of books in the GYM — double-bonus, since that usually meant no dodgeball for at least one day. My mother could usually be convinced to take me to the fair after school (massive understatement — apples don’t fall far from trees, and the woman is OBSESSED with books), but even if your parents weren’t the sort who understood why you HAD TO HAVE that shiny copy of The Boxcar Children or Sideways Stories from Wayside School or Harriet the Spy — a new copy, of your very own, a perfect rectangle that you would be the first to peel open — the school would lean on them to send you with a little spending money for the day your class went to the fair. (Triple-bonus: book fair, no gym, and less time in class.)

Scholastic makes money hand over fist at these things (and gives less back to the host school than they used to), as one would expect with a captive and coerced audience, but it’s hard to begrudge them a little profit for something as all-around good as the book fair.

Which is why it made me so sad to read this:

You have to wonder why an organization dedicated to getting students to read would decide to make censorship such an important part of their work. You also have to wonder why one of the leading organizations dedicated to helping students learn would decide to wallop a giant blow of discrimination toward gay and lesbian families and children of same-sex parents.

But that’s what Scholastic Books is doing by banning a book from its book fairs simply for the fact that the book contains a girl character who has two lesbian moms. The book in question is Lauren Myracle’s book Luv Ya Bunches, a new book that wittingly covers the trials, tribulations and friendships that a group of young girls go through in school.

Teh Gay Agenda?

And yes, the book is definitely, no question about it, being censored because it dares to suggest that not all children grow up in heterosexual households. Scholastic is up front about that:

The company sent a letter to Myracle’s editor asking the author to omit certain words such as “geez,” “crap,” “sucks,” and “God” (as in, “oh my God”) and to alter its plotline to include a heterosexual couple. Myracle agreed to get rid of the offensive language “with the goal—as always—of making the book as available to as many readers as possible,” but the deal breaker was changing Milla’s two moms.

“A child having same-sex parents is not offensive, in my mind, and shouldn’t be ‘cleaned up.'” says Myracle, adding that the book fair subsequently decided not to take on Luv Ya Bunches because they wanted to avoid letters of complaint from parents. “I find that appalling. I understand why they would want to avoid complaint letters—no one likes getting hated on—but shouldn’t they be willing to evaluate the quality of the complaint? What, exactly, are children being protected against here?”

And here’s where I get all misty (am I pregnant or just PMSing???) and fall in love with Myracle a little bit:

“Over 200,000 kids in America are raised by same-sex parents, just like Milla. It’s not an issue to clean up or hide away,” says Myracle. “In my opinion, it’s not an ‘issue’ at all. The issue, as I see it, is that kids benefit hugely from seeing themselves reflected positively in the books they read. It’s an extremely empowering and validating experience.”

So here’s what we need to do:

1. Sign this petition at Change.org

2. Especially if you’re a parent whose kids will have a book fair (or who just love Scholastic Books), let Scholastic know why appeasing a few testy weirdos who hate everyone who isn’t just like them is a bad business decision.

Investor Relations
Strategic Development
(212) 343-6741
investor_relations@scholastic.com

(Thanks to Mombian, Change.org, and The School Library Journal for writing most of this post.)

(Also: If, like me, you’re wondering whether or not I have been knocked up, I feel I should let you know that I’m up at 5am on a Sunday not to begin walking across the fields to church but because I’ve been throwing up much of the night. Gross. I sure as hell better be pregnant.)


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Waiting

Hello, internet. I’m feeling a bit blue today. No good reason, except that summer is winding down and the writing projects I’ve been supposed to finish remain undone. By the same token, I’m blue because summer is not done yet, and I’m impatient to start TTC in September. I’ve made the big decision, so how come I’m not pregnant yet? Baby, get in my belly! (I’m going to be a real picnic during that 2WW business, no doubt.)

Ages ago, the very marvelous Musings of A Fat Chick was kind enough to tag me for a wee meme, Six Silly Things. At the time, I was feeling too blue to think of anything, but I’m going to make an effort to pull myself up by my boob-straps and cheer the heck up. It’s a beautiful day, I have a cookie sheet of perfect biscuits cooling on the stove, and Sugar and I are going to have a picnic in the park. There is no call for gloom!

Without further ado, here are the rules:

* Mention and link to the person who tagged you
* List Six Silly Things That Make You Happy
* Tag six of your favorite bloggers to play along

1. My very serious cat:

What?

2. Making inanimate objects talk, puppet-style. I enjoy it more if the object in question is resolutely un-puppet-like, say, a salt shaker or a coat hanger. (This is why we have a house full of junk. Every time Sugar tries to throw something out, I make it talk to her. I am going to be so good at mother-guilt!)

3. Sneaking up to and petting the night toads that hang out near the beach on Fire Island.

Night Toad of Pine Walk

4. Nicknames. I rarely get them, maybe in part because my real name is uncommon in my generation, and I cherish the ones I do have. I also LOVE making up new ones for Sugar, but I’m sure she’ll do me grievous injury if I share the best ones here. Most aren’t…conventionally complimentary, though they aren’t conventionally insulting, either. Maybe she’ll tell you one if you ask nicely…but I doubt it.

5. Clothing that seems “circus-y” to me. Or piratical. Or both. Big stripes, big dots, overblown fishnets, black and white, bright red, fancy shoes and mismatched parasols. Japanese silk haori bound with an obi, tiered skirt, t-strap high heels, hair bound up in ribboned braids like Frida Kahlo. That kind of thing.

6. The soulful stuffed animals Sugar makes when she’s feeling crafty

Sweater Bird and Monocle Pod Are Friends

7. Breaking the rules.

Speaking of breaking the rules, I’m not nearly bold enough today to tag individual bloggers, who could ignore my tag (entirely unlike how I’ve been ignoring Musing’s) and prove my worst ideas about the world and my place in it all too true. So how about this: if you’re reading this, and you have a blog, be tagged. If you put a link in the comments, I’ll come check it out and love up on you for doing it. I can put you in my blogroll, if you want, too.

xoxo,
Bionic