Thursday, December 27, 2012

Henry's First Christmas

Hi everybody! Our internet has been out of service for the past few days. Hope you had a very merry Xmas (or whatever you chose to celebrate).

It was so much fun watching Henry open and play with his presents. He's really been enjoying all the new mental and tactile stimulation they provide. You can see him working things out as he plays. Such a little smartie pants :)

Day 259 of 365 Days with Henry 

Related posts:
Deck the Halls!
Baby's First Xmas (Sort of)
What To Watch for the Holidays

Friday, December 21, 2012

Comments on the Connecticut Shooting

Okay, I've put it off long enough. I'm even posting a day late, geez. I couldn't bring myself to talk about death when the Joker shooting happened, or in September when World Suicide Prevention Day rolled around. Thinking about it made me fall apart emotionally because of the grief, anger, sadness and pain I've been experiencing since my Grandpa died suddenly the day after my uncle committed suicide.

But this most recent killing in Connecticut. I feel like I have to say something. I keep thinking that I, as someone who's been grieving nearly all year, must surely have some sort of perspective to offer.... Yet what can I say?

That anger and tears are natural and that sometimes you just have to cry and rage?

That feeling helpless and miserable is natural in the face of circumstances one can't change?

That once the feelings have passed through you, you'll still have to get up and face the day?

That you can still choose to make each day brighter for those whose lives you touch?

That we're all in this together?

I don't know. All I know is, that at the end of the day, we're all responsible for our own actions. Everything else we just have to accept and learn from or let fester and let it turn us bitter.

I am grateful now, more than ever, for each precious moment I spend with Matt and Henry.

My love goes out to all those affected by the killings.

Related posts:
Arizona Shooting Tragic, But Telling
May Deals With Death
The House That Grandpa Built

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

NASA Gangnam Style

I don't feel like blogging today, so here's NASA, Gangnam Style (via i09):
  (Click here to see embedded video)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Shaming the Poor - What Does It Cost Us?

I've talked before about growing up dirt poor, and how that affected me and my family. I'm not sure I've ever lived above the poverty line, actually. Poverty is a very real problem around the world as well as in our country. I appreciated this article by Jeff Nall of Truthout because it makes some very valid points about how poverty is treated in our society, and how and why that treatment should change.

Scholarly communities generally agree that it is wrong to disallow a fellow scholar's participation in a conference due to their race, sexuality, nationality or citizenship, or gender. There is not, however, an equal objection to excluding people on the basis of their economic standing. As a poor scholar tasked with supporting a family, I have been embarrassed to have had to apologetically cancel participation in conferences because of economic limitations that made me unable to pay for registration fees and travel costs. In the realm of health care, poverty has meant choosing tooth extraction over tooth repair because I didn't have insurance and couldn't afford the procedure. My missing tooth is a constant reminder that the poor are routinely denied basic human dignity in our society, even when they are recipients of racial, gender, and/or sexual privilege. If this is true of white, male, heterosexual, educated American poor people, then it is likely worse for those who are additionally "othered" due to race or ethnicity, sexual orientation, nationality or citizenship status, and/or education.

Some people who are poor often try to "pass" as middle class. They simply keep silent about their economic conditions, quiet on the healthcare they need but can't afford, quiet that the reason they can't attend an event or outing with friends, family or coworkers is because they don't have the money. 

Perhaps most gravely, poor people hide their status by being silent when others speak about the poor. Since being poor is associated with vice, the last thing many poor people want to do is both be poor and be identified with other poor people. 

Click through to read the entire article. What are your thoughts on the subject?

Related posts:
Poverty and Hunger (Blog Action Day)
Women Bear the Brunt of Hunger
We Need a New System of Economics

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A Step Forward for Trans Persons' Equality

I was extremely pleased to hear that rights for transgendered persons took another step forward recently. The American Psychiatric Association has removed transgendered persons from its list of the mentally ill. It's been nearly 40 years since homosexuality was removed from the list, which just goes to show how much more stigma has been attached to transgendered persons than any other in the LGBTQA community.

Dana Beyer, Executive Director of Gender Rights Maryland, wrote a wonderful article for Huffington Post about what this means for the trans community:

Don't underestimate the significance of this evolution. That we no longer have to take such talk seriously in the legislatures and courts and can roll our eyes as we do when fundamentalists chatter on about gay men showering with straight ones is a hugely positive change. That we now have the gender identity consultation staff at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine speaking out forcefully for comprehensive civil rights protections when not long ago we lived with the reality that Hopkins, with the infamous Emeritus Professor Paul McHugh as its spokesperson, was in the vanguard of denying trans women their humanity is remarkable progress. This is part of the cultural change that influences courts and legislatures, which, in turn, dialectically influence the culture. 

You can read the rest here.

Related posts:
Trans Persons Encounter "Injustice at Every Turn"
OUT HERE NOW 2012 Gay and Lesbian Film Festival
Asperger's and Insanity

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Show and Tell: Vintage Children's Books

So I totally didn't intend to post 2 days late, but time got away from me somehow... ON WITH THE BLOG!

When I was bringing down Henry's books to move into his bedroom, I finally took a look at a couple old books my mom had given me, also from when she was a kid. I hadn't noticed that they were made by the same company who made the My Book House series. What a surprise! I finally cracked them open and was excited to see the same kind of story/poem mixture in them both. Henry's going to love having these around when he's older. :)

Check out this awesomeness:

Related post:
Show and Tell: My Book House

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Henry Has a Room

I'm all tired from putting Henry's room together. We had it painted blue yesterday (not a gender thing, just my preferred soothing color) and this morning I started carrying all his furniture down from our bedroom. Except for his crib. That was in the basement. I pulled it out through the garage and was pulling it up the front yard hill, when a really nice road crew member (they're pulling up part of the street for... something) told me to "Hold on!" and helped me carry it inside. I still need to get curtains and to paint the dresser. (I have the paint, I just didn't have the energy to apply it today). But, it's mostly done and Henry LOVES having his own room. He was very happily rolling around and playing. The cutest! ^__^

 Yup, he's sitting up all by himself!

My little sister who lives in China gave us the elephant lamp,
and my Grandma Peggy (who died when I was 11) painted the bear.

My sister-in-law made this for Henry!

My mom gave me the giraffe. It's got a measuring tape sewn into the side to measure his height.
She says it's from when we were kids, but I don't remember it...

I made this while I was preggers.

That dresser will look so much better when it is green!

My mother-in-law donated this. It used to hang in her office (she's a pediatric nurse).

Related posts:
Henry & Autumn - Two of My Favorite Things!
Our Lady of Perpetual Beginnings at the Slap-N-Tickle
Henry's Busy Weekend

Thursday, November 29, 2012


When I was young and forced to go to Baptist church twice a week, my favorite part of the services, which otherwise lacked aesthetic beauty, was the music. The congregation would sing, there was an orchestra, as well as special performances of singing or instrument-playing, and when I was old enough, I joined the choir. The music was the only thing that was pure enjoyment for me. Some of my favorite songs were the Christmas-themed ones, as many of them have particularly beautiful arrangements, and the songs are universally cheerful, unlike many of the other doom-and-gloom hymns we'd sometimes sing.

Another one of my musical likes is a cappella music - from Gregorian chants to the contemporary group Pentatonix, who, I was giddy to discover, sang arrangements of some of my all time favorite Christmas carols. Enjoy!

(Click here to see embedded video)

(Click here to see embedded video)
(Click here to see embedded video)
(Click here to see embedded video)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Deck the Halls!

I put up the Christmas tree Sunday, and all the other Christmas decor including... Mother-In-Law's collection of Nativity scenes...

This one is actually mine. You can tell by the cats ;) (On the left there is a vintage angel from my parents)

...the wreaths I made last year...

...and the small-but-growing collection of cat-themed Xmas items people keep gifting me.

Henry is entranced by the shiny tree. It's so cute to watch him stare at it!

Related posts:
Baby's First Xmas (Sort Of)
What To Watch For the Holidays

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving's tomorrow so I'm letting myself be lazy and just post once this week.

I had good intentions of participating in NaNoWriMo this year in order to push myself to finish the novel I started during NaNoWriMo a couple years ago, but that didn't so much happen. I wrote some, but definitely not as much as I'd hoped. But it WILL happen at some point!

Meanwhile I'm just sitting here being grateful for all of the wonderful things that have happened this year: getting married, Henry's birth, cuteness, sweetness and silliness; the many many great art shows, performances, festivals and other events I've been part of; experiencing the magic of the continued awesomeness of being Matt's partner; getting Reiki I and II attunements; getting to see my little sister for a month when she was visiting from China; figuring out that gluten intolerance was causing the stupid rash and sinus headache I  had for 6 and a half months (finally knowing how to treat it was a huge relief) being able to introduce my son to my grandfather and uncle before they passed; going to several family reunions and learning new things about my family history; moving in with my Mother-in-Law who has been a huge help with Henry; and working on a series that is totally my best work so far (you'll see 'em eventually, but not today, my friends).

Tomorrow we'll celebrate with my parents, my sole remaining blood-related grandparent, two of my brothers, Matt and Henry. I'm looking forward to a chill day with people I love. Hope your day is lovely.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Henry & Autumn - Two of my Favorite Things!

Autumn is by far my favorite season. Getting to share it with Henry is just gravy! We've been going on walks around the neighborhood and in the woods, going outside to play with leaves on nicer days, and staying snuggly warm together inside on cold, rainy days. What fun! Can you believe he's already 7 months old?!

"………a wind has blown the rain

away and the leaves and the sky and the
trees stand:
the trees stand. The trees,
suddenly wait against the moon’s face."
-e.e. cummings (Source)

As always, you can see more pictures of Henry in 365 Days with Henry.

Related posts:
My Baby Babbles
Yours, Mine, and Ours
Henry's Busy Weekend
Henry James Evans-Barchers is Born!