Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Genital Integrity Awareness Week

Tomorrow, in case you didn't know, marks the end of Genital Integrity Awareness Week.   I know.  It seems like every week has a 'cause' these days, but this one is near and dear to me so I'm going to hop up on a soapbox temporarily. So if circumcision is a touchy subject for you, please move along for the time being.  You won't hurt my feelings.


Waaaaaaaaay back when I was pregnant with the Little O, I posted a bit about my views on circumcision.   Now, almost 3 years later, I am SO happy to report that we are 100% glad we left our son intact.  Of course I realize that this subject is really sensitive and different people feel differently because of culture, religion, or tradition and I am in no way trying to make you feel bad about circ-ing or not circ-ing or what have you.

These are my opinions. 

BUT.  (And its a Big BUT.)

Be educated.  Get the facts before you perform what is widely considered needless cosmetic surgery on a helpless newborn.  (Hi!  Welcome to the world!  We're going to cut part of your penis off!  Don't you just LOVE it here!?!?)

O's grandad, sweet man that he is, brought up the "but isn't it supposed to be healthier to be circumcised?" argument with me recently when Otto was taking a bath at their house.  My answer?  NO.  It is not healthier.  In fact, the list of possible risks of circumcision goes on and on and can include infection, mutilation, loss of sexual pleasure, disfigurement and the complete loss of your baby's trust right from the beginning.  And circumcision does not prevent STD's....CONDOMS do.   Sure, the foreskin can become infected or ill- just like ANY OTHER BODY PART.  Would you cut off your little girl's breast because one day she might get breast cancer? Or your ears just to ward of ear infections?  The foreskin HAS A PURPOSE just like every other body part. 

I'm also happy to report that we have already met several local little boys, even here in the conservative mid- west, who are also intact, so Little O will hardly be the only one in school, etc.  And he will know that the reason he looks the way he does is because we did not want to hurt him, because we loved and love him JUST the way he was made. 


I have friends who circ'd their boys and now regret it.  I also have friends who absolutely do not understand why you wouldn't circ a boy.  To each their own, I suppose.  But it really angers me when parents condone a painful medical procedure on a helpless newborn (how can a baby give consent?)  because "its what you do."


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

My Favorite Things: Definitely NOT a Clustercuss

Readers of this blog may know that I have a little tiny, itsy bitsy crush on all things Wes Anderson. When I try to pinpoint exactly what it is about his films that attracts me so much its hard to zoom in on any one thing...I just love them. The tone, the stories, the visual aesthetic, the music...I love it all.

The characters are dry...but funny...but serious...but real...all at once.  The tiny details in each set fascinate me and I think that's one of the reasons I can watch his films over and over again- I'm always noticing something I've missed in past viewings;  the writing on a document in the background, a funny sign or a wardrobe piece that says something about a character.

We recently procured his latest, the stop-motion animated, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and none of us can really get enough of it.  As silly as this may sound, I love that an artist like Wes Anderson exists and I'm glad he made something appropriate for me to watch with my kid.  ("Are you cussin' with me?"  Haha!)  His movies inspire me to be creative, to read books I wouldn't normally read, and in some ways help validate the way I see the world.  I'm not saying I could be one of his characters, but I definitely identify with many of them.

Plus, have I mentioned how rockin' the soundtracks are?  Rolling Stones and The Kinks are some of his (and my) faves.


Thursday, March 25, 2010


Current Otto things I want to remember:

"Mama! Mama! Buzz Lightyear says 'WHOOSH...AND BEYOND!!'"

"Holy Mokes!"

"Mama, I super love you."

"NO! I do it!!"

"I see you after yunch (lunch) !! Love you!!"

(Singing) "Spiderman, spiderman/ your neighborhood Spiderman/ in the the scene of the crime/ SPIDERMAN!!!"

(Singing) "Butterfly, butterfly/ flap your pret-ty wings!" (Moves hand like a butterfly.)

(When done eating a meal:) "I ate it all gone! Now can I have de-shirt (dessert)??"

I super love you, Otto-bahn.

Monday, March 22, 2010

In Blog we Trust.

First, this is a piggy back post inspired by Jasie's vlog so if you want to go watch that for context, I'll wait.

You're back? Ok. I've written sparingly about my own feelings on religion/spirituality but Jasie's vlog post brought more thoughts up to the surface.

As you probably remember, I consider myself a recovering Catholic. I was raised in the church, attended Catholic school and my father (more than once) told people he hoped I'd become a nun. In front of me. As we all know, Catholicism was never the right fit for me and when it came time for Confirmation I realized that I didn't believe ANY of it and refused to participate. It was the first time I'd ever seen my dad cry. But now, nearly 20 years later, I stand by that decision.

I also live in a part of the country where religious ideas blend with political views almost seamlessly. To many people, being Republican or Conservative or whatever you want to call it is a direct result of their (usually fundamentalist Christian) beliefs. And while many of them profess a "live and let live" philosophy, they are often shocked or visibly disgusted when they hear about alternative belief systems and I've heard the words "atheist", "muslim" or "buddhist" spoken with disdain and disgust many times, sometimes almost as if they are insults.

As a young adult, I farted around and read extensively about other belief systems...Wicca primarily, Buddhism later on but neither stuck. Wicca was too weird and hippy dippy and pretend-y feeling for me, and Buddhism has some awesome philosophy but wasn't the right fit either. I felt lost with my pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, pro-separation of church and state, pro-evolutionary theory views.

And then, sometime around age 26 I had the realization that I had 2 main issues that were preventing me from any sort of religious or spiritual practice: 1. Organized religion, especially in this country is a HUGE turn-off for me because of the things people do in the name of it and what I see as the blatant disregard for some of the basic tenets of the bible and 2. (the biggest obstacle) I really don't believe in divinity. At all.

So at this point in my life, I'm comfortable knowing who I am spiritually: I am a person who does not believe in God. I believe Jesus, Buddha, and other religious icons were probably very charismatic people who had some big ideas a long time ago and/or were possibly delusional. And that's it.

I find more solace in the turning of the seasons, the rising and setting of the sun and scientific principles than I do in any sort of religious text or church service. I believe in evolution. I believe that what's right is right, what's wrong is wrong and in treating the planet and other living things compassionately- Not because there is any God up there policing us or any book out there that told me to do it- but because its morally and ethically RIGHT.

I believe that we are all only given one life to live and it is up to us to live it in the way that helps us attain joy and peace in our own lives. I believe in the separation of church and state. I believe in religious freedom- even for those who I vehemently disagree with. As long as you don't try to shove your beliefs onto me, we're golden. You're right to swing your fist ends when it connects with my nose and all that.

I believe that a woman has control over her own body. I believe that two people who love each other should be able to live together and create a family if they want to.


As a parent to a small child I go back and forth on how I want to handle the subject of religion with my son. On one hand I want him to be educated: I want him to recognize biblical references in art and literature and to know what people are referring to when they speak of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and other world religions. And I want him to be educated enough to make his own decisions about this stuff.

The only problem is that I worry that if I try to do some sort of "Religions of the World" education with him, I'll find it very difficult to keep my own strong feelings and prejudices out of the conversation. I'm pretty outspoken and VERY opinionated and I just know it will be hard for me to let go and allow him to form his own opinions on things. Like right now, the idea of him being taken to a Catholic mass with his grandparents turns my blood cold. (Which is bad! I know!! He needs to make his own decisions! But....argh! I just feel so scarred by that part of my childhood...)

One idea I had was attending the Unitarian church...I have heard that they do a very balanced youth religious education program, introducing each major world religion. (Does anyone know more about this?) Or I can suck it up and tackle it myself and just decide that maybe its ok if my son knows how his mother feels about stuff- if I make it clear that he doesn't have to feel the same way, that he is free to form his own beliefs.

Its a tough one. Feel free to berate me in the comments if I'm being ridiculous about this or missing some key point. But haters and zealots will be deleted. Just FYI.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Top O' the whatever to ya

My mom is here visiting this week from Missouri, which is wonderful because she's saving us a week's worth of daycare costs. (Our daycare charges by the day, so if you're sick or absent a day you don't have to pay for it.) Of course, its also wonderful because she's my mom and I hardly ever get to see her because she lives so freaking FAR AWAY. And she does the dishes. And Otto loves her with a burning hot fire that is fourth only to his love of Buzz Lightyear and Spiderman and cookies (in that order.)

So far, we've had a lovely visit full of walks in the park, window-shopping and coffee outings, and of course lots of time pretending to "web" each other, jumping, coloring, and generally basking in the company of a sprightly little two year old.

I've taken some mornings off work this week to spend with Nana and Otto and its been lovely to sleep in, go for a long run and then hang out with my mom and my boy. The poor husband has been securely stuck in the daily grind, however, and I feel sorry for him. Sort of.

The weather has been cooperating as well, surprise of surprises, with 50 degree sunshiny days and now that we're getting used to the cursed daylight savings time, the extra light is sort of fantastic. I feel cheerier and less likely to swear under my breath at random strangers who do stupid shit while driving, crossing streets, etc.

So while I won't be out drinking green beer and making fun of people in stupid green plastic hats due to familial obligations, if that's your destination, have a sip for me will ya?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Its Friday, not Wednesday but.....

First: check out today's Tee at TeeFury. WANT. (Today's tee is a Flight of the Conchords shirt...If you check on any day other than today (Friday) you'll get whatever that day's tee is...)

Which leads me, naturally, here:

You're welcome.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Weird and the Wonderful

I feel like this weekend was all over the place, weather-wise and activity-wise.

It snowed all day Friday and we woke up to a shit-ton of white in our yard on Saturday. Lemons into lemonade kind of people that we are (heh), we piled snow into a huge mound in the front yard and then let Otto sled down it so many times I kind of wondered if he might get motion sick.

That afternoon, I had a baby shower to attend...and no offense to pregnant people or shower throwers, but I usually HATE those things with a burning, fiery passion. The little games, the forced conversations...blah. This one pleasantly surprised me, though. Instead of gifts, they had everyone pitch in for a new freezer for the family (this is their 2nd child) and then they had the shower in a church kitchen and had everyone help cook meals to fill the freezer up with. Genius, really! And it was so much easier to make small talk with strangers when we had a common goal and activity other than 'guess what candy bar is melted in the diaper'.

And then Sunday, low and behold, it was magically springtime. Warm and sunny, with snow hurriedly melting into gutters and potholes. Our sledding hill of the day before transformed into a weaksauce little bump in the yard.

After chores were done and kiddo and puppy were played with/walked, and the glorious sunshine had been soaked up, I found I needed some time to myself. So I went to see Alice in Wonderland. I am a huge Tim Burton fan and I wasn't disappointed: All the weird wonderfulness was there. There was one moment where the spell broke breifly for me, but other than that, it was 2 hours of lovely.

And finally, if you missed Zach Galifianakis hosting SNL this weekend, let me help you out:

Aaaaaand now its Monday again. Huzzah?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Puck It!

We took Monday and Tuesday off this week and went down south for an indulgent little mini family vacation. It included our first NHL hockey game, a night spent in a sweltering hotel room, dinner and breakfast out and the zoo. Whew!

The game was great and the little guy stayed up, happy, for about an hour and a half past his regular bedtime. With the help of lemonade and soft pretzels and cotton candy. Go sugar!! It was doubly fun because we were all wearing Detroit Red Wings jerseys. In Denver.

The Red Wings won, though, so SUCK IT, Avalanche!! Heh. Just kidding. I like the Avs too, just not when they're playing the Wings.

The next morning, we had breakfast at the Denver Diner which is amazing. I, of course had a Denver Omelet. Because I am nothing if not completely predictable? Anyway, I made it about half way through the 4-egg masterpiece before crying Uncle and waddling carefully away from the table.

I'm pretty sure that Otto is yelling at some passersby in this picture but I'm not totally sure.

After breakfast, we hit the Denver Zoo. A piece of advice: A Tuesday in March is an EXCELLENT time to hit the zoo. It was warm (to us, anyway- around 50 degrees), sunny, and delightfully uncrowded. No lines, no hoards of people trying to get a glimpse of the tiger or whatever. Just space and really active animals. We even road the carousel. I know! Dorks!

You don't need me to tell you that all good things come to an end and so did our little mini-vacation. This is what a late night and a day running ahead of your parents after loose peacocks at the zoo will do to you:

It was a good trip.