Today’s the Day

I have all the squares done. I just need to lay them out and stick them together.

I dreamed I traveled to LA on vacation and I got caught up in an orgy at the hotel and, oops, ended up pregnant with Tom Cruise’s babies. Twins. And my whole dream was about me lumbering around, pregnant with twins, while his dream-wife fixed up my house and turned the Butcher’s room into a nursery. Also, I had to sign a non-disclosure agreement like you wouldn’t believe.

I just think it’s funny in the wake of our emotional labor discussion from the other day, that my brain is like, “If you got in a jam, it would be nice to have Tom Cruise’s money and a woman come over to take care of you.”


Have I Complained About Making this Afghan Yet?

It’s just taking a long time and I’m not sure how I’m going to put it together when the time comes. I feel like, in order to make sure the colors don’t clump together, I need to lay it out and then tie it together in some way so that I can stitch it together. But I’m not sure.

And I’m still not done with all the squares. And it’s so big as to be unwieldy. If I ever do something like this again, I’m doing it with a three round granny, not four.


On the other hand, it’s so fucking gorgeous I can’t stand it. I got the pattern off Etsy and it’s well worth the $5, just for the proper counts of the squares and the scheme that shows you how to lay out the squares. But, again, if you were going to do this and you didn’t want a monster, the easiest fix is to just go down to three rounds in each square.

I did this as a stash-buster, but you could also make something gorgeous with more intentional color decisions. I’m hoping to get the squares finished tonight and get it “basted” (not exactly basted, but put it together in some temporary way until I figure out how to tackle it permanently) this weekend.

The Listener

The Professor’s kind of long-term academic interest is in the role of the listener in speech issues. I guess the common scholarly approach is to assume that the listening role is less interesting because you’re either listening or you’re not. And there might be some meat on the bone for why you’re not listening, but not that much.

The Professor’s interest has been in how listening is an activity, like speaking, where one has power and understanding the power(s) of the listener can help us better understand and then hopefully fix problems of injustice.

So, last night she sent me a paper about how there’s a growing, but loving, critique of objectification as the explanation for what’s going on when people do shitty things to each other. Like, it has been this incredibly useful concept, but now that it’s so ubiquitous, the ways it doesn’t always quite get at what’s wrong in a situation is becoming clearer.

In the paper, she talks about derivatization, which is this concept that is kind of catching on in scholarly circles, which she thinks is much more specific about what’s going on in certain situations. Basically, as you might have guessed from the word, it means viewing a person not as an autonomous being, but as a derivative of you.

So, if I’m understanding her correctly, I think it’s like, say I want to have sex with you. If I’m not derivatizing you, I might say “Hey, want to fuck?” and you might say “Nope.” and then I might be bummed, at least until you say, “But hey, I brought you this puppy to play with.” I respect and listen to your answer and, even if I’m disappointed, I’m operating under the assumption that you have your own reasons for doing things that I should respect since we are two equally valuable people in the world. Or three, I guess, depending on if you brought someone with you to help you wrangle the puppy.

But if I have a derivatizing mindset, then I am imagining you as a subordinate, derivative of me. In that case, I can only imagine your purpose is for me, not for yourself. So, you have a certain amount of freedom to do and act autonomously as long as that doesn’t challenge my view that I am the main point and you are the supporting argument that helps make the main point (whereas, when you objectify someone, you’re saying that you’re the subject, the one who can act, and the other person is the object to be acted upon. You can see how they’re similar ideas, but that derivatizing is trying to get at something a little more complicated where the person in the traditional “object” role is also acting.).

So, if I believe I should have sex with you and I derivatize you, then the cues I will recognize from you are the cues that indicate to me that you want to have sex with me–how you’re dressed, that you agreed to spend time with me, that you don’t physically stop me from having sex with you–while I don’t recognize the cues, because I don’t recognize you as someone with an agenda different than mine which needs to be considered, that say you don’t want to have sex with me, such as you saying “No.”

I spent my walk this morning thinking about how this concept would be useful to me in understanding these bombings. And it is really helpful. This is, after all, what White Nashville wanted–for Black Nashville to accept the agenda of White Nashville and the view White Nashville had of Black Nashville as its own. And when you look at the history of racist violence against black people in Nashville, it’s happening at moments when White Nashville is forced to see that Black Nashville doesn’t see itself only as a supporting argument for life revolving around White Nashville.

It also helps me think about what’s going on in abusive situations–that the violence is directly working to replace the agenda of the victim with the agenda of the abuser in the victim’s head.

So, in other words, the purpose of violence–or at least a purpose–is to break down the victim psychologically in order to replace the victim’s self-agenda with the perpetrator’s agenda.

It’s really brilliant and I may not be explaining it one hundred percent clearly here, since, unlike The Professor who read a bunch of stuff and then wrote a paper, I just read a paper and wrote a blog post. But I love how much it’s given me to think about.

A Loose Woman

Yesterday, I had an interaction with a man who was upset about something I wrote over at Pith in which I was enraged at Hulk-like levels. The thing that pissed me off is that, after criticizing my writing–not the grammar of it, but the approach I was taking–he demanded that I appease him, make him feel better about me or what I wrote.

I’m not even a pretty woman and I am tired, so tired, of people expecting me to be pleasing to them and being angry when I’m not. I can’t imagine what it would be like to have an appearance (beyond just that of generally female) that men felt was for them and thus compelled that woman to have to give a shit about maintaining the pleasant feelings of those men.

And I still go back to my suspicion that (some) men think that, if you’ve done something–intentionally or not–to get their attention, you have taken something from them and thus you owe them. Whereas, I believe that where you put your attention is your own business and your responsibility to manage. And the feelings you have about where you put your attention are also on you to manage.

The other thing I resent is that, as a woman, I’ve been brought up to believe that being a whore is one of the worst things you can be. But what is a whore? A woman who does intimate things whether or not she feels the emotion behind those intimate things for pay. I give you a blow job because I love you or at least find you desirable. A whore gives you a blowjob for fifty bucks. She may like you or find you desirable. She may not.

I, as a woman, am constantly policed (often by other women) for whether I am too whore-ish while at the same time, men constantly demand I do intimate emotional work for them regardless of how I feel about them in exchange for them not hurting me.

In other words, women are under constant pressure to not be whores at the same time we’re pressured to be whores.

There is no virgin/whore dichotomy. There’s just whether you’re a whore who’s bossed around by others or a whore who’s her own boss.

We denigrate sex workers and other “loose” women in order to fool women into thinking that there is a “good girl” category you can get into, but there’s really not.

I mean, even look at that term, “loose women.” I know, when I’ve heard it, I’ve thought it meant they had big, over-used vaginas (ha ha, talk about internalized misogyny) or that they were too free with their bodies, but really, it just means they’re running loose. Like a loose horse or loose cattle or a dog that’s gotten loose–it’s not clear who, if anyone, bosses her around.

And I guess, for the most part, I’m a loose woman and I resent the fuck out of anyone who comes along and demands I work for him.

But I also resent that I’m supposed to understand “whore” as a bad thing while at the same time being pressured to do intimate work for others as if that’s my purpose. If whores are bad, stop demanding women be whores for you all the fucking time. And if whores aren’t bad, stop using the term to hurt women.

Weekend of Not Doing Chores

Sorry I didn’t post anything here yesterday, I was scrambling to write stuff for paid gigs because I spent Sunday lollygagging around and hanging out with friends. It was marvelous.

I now see why the dog loves to gallivant (though spare a thought for him today as he is suffering from the confusion of having to have his leash put on in the house and walked a whole walk with no ability to run around the neighborhood like a yahoo).

At one stop, I was talking to an acquaintance about her awesome project which I love and she reached out with both hands and touched my belly. It was weird, but she did it in such a way that I’m not even one hundred percent sure she realized she was doing it. And she seemed not at all malicious.

It reminded me of the way that old ladies like to squeeze me. Which I also find weird but not entirely unpleasant. I guess the thing I find weird about it is that I’ve been told–as all women have, I’m sure–that fat bodies are gross and disgusting and, sure, maybe some people will seem not to mind, but they’re just being extra super good by being willing to overlook your massive flaw.

And yet, my experience is that a lot of people like it. And they like it like little kids reaching for candy in a bin in the store–where they know they shouldn’t touch, but the compulsion to touch is so great that their impulses outweigh their conscious brain.

And I feel like I should be clear that, in general, you should not touch people without permission and truly not touch fat people on their fat just out of the blue. Also, please never come up behind me and touch me for old PTSD reasons. But general rules and guidelines aside, in these very rare circumstances, which I still find very weird, it teaches me something I can’t quite put into words that I appreciate knowing.

Seen or Invisible?

I spent yesterday with my nephew or preparing to arrange my life so I could get up to my nephew.

Friday, though, I went to the therapist.

I wanted her to help me figure out how to take compliments without deflecting or downplaying or being an awkward mess.

We talked about it for a while and she asked me if I wanted to be seen or invisible. I said that my first instinct is to say “invisible,” but I keep doing things that make me very seen.

And she pointed out that I don’t have any problem being seen by crowds, even when those crowds are full of people I know. I have problems being seen, really seen, by individuals.

She said I have to come to accept that I have bad qualities I may not be able to hide, bad qualities I may not even notice, and that people can still like me. Even knowing those things.

I’m still mulling that over, let me tell you.

How It Went

First of all, I SLEPT THROUGH MY ALARM!!! You want to know panic? Panic is waking up the morning you have to testify before a legislative committee and realizing you slept through your alarm.

But I got there mostly on-time and I got to see the inside of one of the big lawfirms in town which was beautiful. It’s one of those buildings where the elevator in the lobby doesn’t drop you off until the 16th floor. Like, I don’t know what’s happening on 2-15, but the elevator does not go there. And I was amazed at how quickly it takes you up to the 16th floor. Like only slightly longer than it takes the elevator at work to take me up one floor.

Anyway, so the testimony. I went last. They had an FBI agent and a judge and then a bunch of family members of victims of racial terrorism speak. I was really nervous beforehand, but I felt calm and collected saying my stuff.

I was trying to understand why, when I’m speaking in public, (and knock on wood this continues) I don’t feel nervous or fraudulent or whatever. All the stuff that makes it hard for me to function in my everyday life, when I sit down in the chair, in front of the microphone, or take that last step in front of the crowd, I know it will be fine. It all falls away.

And I don’t really have a good answer for it. I think it’s that, by the point where the thing is happening, it’s too late to do anything but that thing. It’s too late to be prettier or more prepared or whatever.

And it also helps that I’m not there to be me. I’m there to deliver information or read a story or introduce someone else or whatever. So whether or not I’m perfect, the task is the task and I know what the task is and that I can do it.

I need that calm confidence in the rest of my life!


Tomorrow I’m going to testify before the Unsolved Civil Rights Crimes Special Committee of the Tennessee State Legislature to tell what I know about the Looby bombing because there isn’t anyone else to do it.

I am both very excited and scared.

I also feel a kind of mix of pride and sorrow that I can say what I know and that I know things probably no one else in the state knows. It’s a strange thing to be sitting underneath the only brain who knows a big, important thing.

It’s also such bullshit. Why did it take 60 years for anyone to look into this? Why should I be alone in knowing this stuff? It’s not right.

Someone tried to kill that man, that hero, and then no one gave a shit. And he had to live in this community knowing that no one gave a shit enough to solve his assassination attempt. That sucks.

Anyway, I’m not the best person to do this, but Fate has made me the only person who can and so I will try my best and try to tell Looby’s story in a way that maybe will spur someone to give him some measure of justice.

Can You Fistfight a Dog? Should You?

This morning… okay, first, what you need to know is that, unless you check and make sure it has latched, there’s a 50/50 chance the kitchen door is not latched. It’s just shut. Since I walk the dog at the buttcrack of dawn and I’m not always 100% completely awake, sometimes, it’s not latched. I try hard, but I am also mostly asleep.

So, this morning, Señor Asshole bounds off as usual into the neighbor’s yard. And then, because it’s dark, he promptly vanishes, even though I talked to him again today about the importance of being a good boy.

Off I tromp through neighbors’ yards, looking through their garbage for him. No fucking sign.

I decide my only hope is to go to where we normally start our walks, out by the creek, and see if he shows up. I turn around to head back that way and who comes bounding from behind me? And then who trips over something in the neighbor’s yard and does a full front roll?

Yes, Señor Asshole.

But where has that motherfucker been? I’ve been in everyone’s back yards. I saw no sign of him.

So, we go for our walk. We get back. The orange cat is outside, which is… not where he was when we went for our walk. We get into the garage. There’s the kitchen door standing wide open.

So, I think that asshole came back to the house. INTO THE HOUSE. And left me wandering around the neighborhood for fifteen minutes, calling for him.

I’m going to have to start leashing him up before I even open the door, which I hate, because back when he behaved, the moments where he was in my back yard, near the door, doing his first pee of the day, gave me a chance to get the elderly orange cat situated with breakfast without the dog or the other cat bullying him out of it.

Still, it must be done. This is the third neighborhood gallivant of the week and it’s only Wednesday. That’s one day gallivant-free and I need like 95% gallivant-free walks.


So, this thing has a name–viral sinus infection. There isn’t much to do for it other than what I’ve been doing. Just suffer and drink lots of liquids.

Now I want to talk about something hard and weird. Since I last went to the doctor, I’ve lost twenty pounds. Before that, I lost twelve. So, since the Butcher moved out, but also since I’ve got my meds straight, I’ve lost thirty two pounds.

My whole life I have tried so hard to lose weight. I have starved myself. I have exercised like a fiend. I have tried this crazy thing and that crazy thing. I have been called a liar by doctors. I have had symptoms of serious conditions ignored because the “obvious” solution was that I needed to lose weight.

I have loathed my body. I have felt utterly unlovable and unworthy of love because this is my body. I have felt crazy because all the “just”s people say–just eat less, just exercise more, it’s just physics, etc.–never worked for me. And when I said they didn’t work for me, the fault was mine. I was doing something wrong or lying.

I wouldn’t say I’ve ever had an eating disorder, but I’ve had very disordered eating over the course of my life. And it was only when I was like “okay, fuck it. I just can’t hate myself any more. I can’t punish myself all the time. I just don’t have the energy for it.” that I started eating in less fucked-up ways and finding doctors who would, even as they nagged about the weight, would also take my symptoms seriously.

Here’s the thing. I’m not doing anything. I’m not trying to lose weight. I don’t walk Sonnyboy more or farther than I walked Mrs. Wigglebottom. I eat a little differently than I did when the Butcher lived here, but I eat what I want–cookies regularly included.

Okay, here’s the thing that concerns me. Last night, before dinner, I had the thought, “Well, if I’ve done this well without trying, what would happen if I skipped dinner?”

And I hate every part of that. I haven’t “done” anything. “Well” is a shitty word there, like being thinner is intrinsically better than being fatter. And, obviously, “what would happen if I skipped dinner?” is not healthy.

Thankfully, I’m on drugs, so my brain forms destructive thoughts more slowly which gives me an opportunity to head them off at the pass.

But my body is just doing a new weird thing that, frankly, goes with all the old weird things it’s done in the past. I’m not causing this. I’m going to try very hard to not put a lot of faith in it, because it seems to me very unlikely that I’m going to continue to lose weight or not find myself back at my normal weight in the future.

And I feel weird about it because I don’t have some great success story. I haven’t done anything. My body is just doing a thing.

The thing that concerns me is how easily I am ready to accept suffering if I think it will work.

Also, just as a last stupid thing, while we’re playing True Confessions on the Internet, I’m still really fucking fat. My clothes all fit the same. I still look exactly the same. All this vanity and self-undermining bullshit literally over a number.

I hate it.


I’m still sick, but still going to the doctor and going to work. Last night, I went to bed at 8:30 and got up at my normal time and feel rested, so maybe that will just be part of the strategy until I’m completely well.

The dog’s day of being a good boy was followed by two days of him running around being a yahoo not listening.

The Butcher did come over and get my TV working again, which I appreciate. I listened to a lot of podcasts while I was sick, but I could have used a Law & Order marathon or two.

I’m just very grumpy. I wish I felt better. I mean, I do feel better than I did, but I wish I felt better than I do.

I fell in love with this pattern I saw on Etsy for a sawtooth star quilt pattern afghan and I decided to make one for my friends who just got married. So, I’ve been learning a new way to do granny squares. I’m a little concerned about how to piece it together in the end. I think I’m going to have to lay it out, get the color distribution how I want, and then… I don’t know. Tie it together? That’s my plan at the moment–tie it together and then put it together normally. Otherwise, it just feels like the chances of getting squares turned the wrong way is just to great.


Also, I made a couple of other baby blankets:

Poor Dog

My two goals for today are to go outside and to take a shower. I took the dog for a brief walk. You’d have thought he’d been freed from prison. He ran everywhere. He ran to the end of the driveway. He ran over to the neighbor’s. He ran to the peonies. He ran the whole length of the back yard. He ran across the bridge. He ran back to me to get his leash on.

I told him before we went that I still wasn’t feeling great and I needed him to be a good boy, and I swear to God, he tried so hard to be a good boy. He sat when I put his harness on him. He came when I called him. He came right over to me so I could easily put his leash on. He made sure I got over the log okay.

It was so sweet! And he remembered the whole walk that I needed him to be a good boy.

Now, I know he has a whole repertoire of behaviors he thinks are “good boy” behaviors. Now, I know he’s put his brain to it and come up with his own list of things that make him a good boy. Which I also think makes him a very smart boy.

Literally my second favorite thing about him after “has a giant heart,” is watching him figure out how to be smart, how to know things. And he never was a stupid dog. He was a dog with an untreated medical issue who didn’t have enough stimulation. Get him on thyroid medication and give him some shit to learn and by god, he will teach himself how to learn to do it.

I now really want a shower, but I’m recovering from all this good-boy-ness.

Grave Mistake

I should not have gotten up and gone into work, even briefly, yesterday. Today I feel like utter crap. I slept twelve hours and I’m still tired.

Jessi Zazu died. That’s so fucked up. In my head, I figured she would, but it just seemed so unfair that my heart held out hope the Universe would have something in its pocket for her.


I had to walk the dog this morning, since two days without a walk is the far end of his tolerance. After that, he starts pooping in the house. And I knew, since he hadn’t had any exercise in two days, that he was going to run all over tarnation.

I have no voice. Not even a squeak. So, I’m glad that I’m an animated person, because I realized, every thing I say to the dog has some visual component.

“Good boy,” is usually paired with me lowering my hands and wiggling my fingers in a scratching motion, no matter how far he is from me.

“Come here,” usually comes with snaps or claps.

So, there I was, doing all my things in silence. He didn’t seem to mind.

I’m not feeling much better and the lose of voice sucks, but I still think I’m on a slight up-hill trajectory. So I’m going to try to take a shower and go into work for a little bit.


I will take a vacation day from work with no problem. Not even feel the least bit bad about it. Those are my days. I’ve earned them. See you when it’s over.

But man, I hate taking sick days. Even though I can’t really talk and I need a nap all the time. I still feel so guilty about not going in.

I have my story mostly done–the first draft, I mean. I just need for my protagonist to have a revelation. I need him to go from “Ha ha, suckers, I’m free!” to “Oh, shit, no, this is worse than where I was” but I haven’t yet decided what that revelation is.

I’ve been trying to put my brain on it while I’m doing other things, but my brain is all “snot, snot, snot, snot.”


I think it’s time to admit that I am genuinely, for real, sick. Not just allergies, but a genuine cold.

I’m working on a story! I don’t know if it’s very good, but I am happy to be writing fiction again.

I need a nap.


Yesterday, I spent all afternoon holding my nephew while he slept. Well, he didn’t only sleep. He opened his eyes and looked around a little bit and he did an enormous pooping. And my mom absconded with him for a while.

But mostly he and I sat on the couch and he dozed on and off and I felt at peace.

The thing about a baby is that I want him to feel comfortable and safe and cozy. And the thing I realized is that I’m set up to make a baby feel comfortable and safe and cozy. Softness might not be coded “sexy” in our society, but children like it.

A thing that kept passing through my mind on the way home is what’s a body for? Like, in terms of our society. And the message we women get from the time we’re very little is that our bodies are for pleasing men. And this is achieved by being young and thin and every troll on the internet will insist this is because of evolutionary biology–men are looking for healthy women to reproduce with.

But if reproduction is the ultimate goal, then the female bodies most pleasing to babies, the ones that allow them to thrive, would be most highly prized.

(And let me be clear: I don’t think a body is “for” anything, except the things the person who is that body wants to use it for.)

It got me thinking that part of the role of objectifying women is to socialize men into prizing women who give the appearance of being for nothing but whatever a man decides. And part of the clusterfuck of it is that it’s not even what an individual, particular man decides, but the things that will give him the most status–so what the generic group decides.

It’s fucked up for everyone.

But anyway, it was wild to sit there and realize that my body was doing something it could do really well, something it seemed almost custom designed for. Like, for once, I felt comradery with tall people or strong people. She shall reach the things on the high shelf! He shall open all jars. I shall keep the nephews warm and cozy while they sleep.

And Rose Came to Visit!

We spent the afternoon hanging out in the hospital with the baby. I let Rose take some pictures, and it’s fun to see what a three-year-old thinks you need pictures of.

She also took one of the Butcher’s wife’s ankle which tickled me.

And here’s one I took of the baby, sucking his thumb.


When you’re a baby these days, they make you wear mittens on your hands so you don’t scratch yourself. It also makes it harder to suck your thumb.

On his second day, he decided he didn’t like being wrapped like a burrito and he sometimes prefers to be put up on your shoulder. He was opening his eyes a little bit, but he always looked like he wasn’t sure said eye-opening was a good thing.

He both seems so impossibly tiny and like there’s something really screwy about nature’s idea that something that size should come out of your vagina.

He’s Here!


He’s under the heat lamp here, which is why he appears to be so red and I appear to be covered in a fine layer of dirt. But in real life, he’s not part tomato. I just noticed that my toes made it in the picture, too.

He has the Butcher’s ears and he looks like my dad when he scowls. He kind of generally looks like his mom in a way that, when you see them together, they obviously fit, but is hard to articulate. So far, as far as I observed, his likes are being held–especially by his mom and dad, being wrapped up like a burrito, and putting his tongue out. His dislikes are poopy diapers and the whole process of being born.

I sang to him. That was his first song. I saw him make his first sneeze. I saw his first poop. There will just be so many firsts these coming days.

The Butcher let everyone hold him, but once the baby came back to him, he cuddled up with him and that was that. He held him for the rest of the time I was there.


Harvey Here

I should have left work about a half an hour earlier, but I was an idiot. The drive home was brutal. Everywhere you looked was just a wall of water. It wasn’t flooding yet, but we had to crawl because you just literally couldn’t see anyone until you were within maybe twenty feet of them. Driving over the bridge, I had a tiny panic attack because you couldn’t see the other half of the bridge for all the rain. I had to fight the urge to turn around because I was convinced the rest of the bridge had washed away and people were just driving off into the river.

Luckily, thanks to the medication, it couldn’t resolve itself into a massive anxiety attack. I was able to recognize that it was not true and keep going.

I got home okay and the dog was able to get out and pee. But after that, the yard started flooding. The creek alongside the house was roaring. It was so loud I could hear it everyplace in the house. And the low spot in the yard where the creek should be also was a creek.

And before dinner, the front yard was full of water.

But even after dinner, even though it was still raining, the water in the front yard was down quite a bit. I would bet this is when Whites Creek started flooding.

And this morning, the yard is clear. I’m going to be able to get up to the hospital.