Saturday, December 29, 2007

got some post-holiday cash? shop here: - Bras, Panties, Swimsuits, and Full Figure Lingerie

since i bought stuff for everyone else but me this year, i'm treating me to some new underwear.
they are having the most kick ass sale ever! the site carries high end and affordable brands - from Wacoal to Felina to Playtex - and i just bought three really cute bras for under $100!

but why should you really check them out?
because, unlike some other places (ahem), they actually carry sizes for women whose tits can't fit into a teacup.

Friday, December 21, 2007

toward the end of our last session, Dr. C- said, 'in order to address what triggers your resistance to intimacy we need to see you in a relationship. so you need to start dating.'


she recommended i go back online since the normal places people date each other (work, social circle, church, extra curricular activities) are, for me, completely estrogen-filled. but this was her caveat: 'you must be honest about what it is you want and try to avoid men who just want to fool around. you said you wanted companionship, so look for qualities that would make for a good companion.'

i complained, 'that means i won't get laid until well into 2008!'
she sighed. 'ding, if all you want to do is get laid, go out and get laid. but you said you don't want to do that.'
'i know.'
'that's why we're pretending B- has moved.'
'i know. you're right. companion. ok.'

so where am i going to find this companion?
i can forget about nerve; the only folks on there are erectile dysfunctional one night stands. i've done that, already, thank you very much. match was horrific; eharmony sent me youth pastors from lombard and sad, divorced dads living on the illinois-wisconsin border. where can i go next?

chemistry. i think it's supposed to be eharmony-lite. no 29 dimensions, but still a really long personality test (i'm a Director/Negotiator, heavy on the Director bit) and incremental communication steps. the good thing is that they send you matches right away; none of eharmony's esteem-killing, months-long waiting to see a profile. but, again, my honest needs are resulting in suburban divorced dads. i don't know what it is going on. is my inner self suburban? is there a Willow Creek, twin set housewife inside me, just waiting to wander out?

i shudder to think.

anyway, i'll keep all 5 of my readers posted.
on the B- front, i've been fairly successful in pretending he lives in another state. at this time of year, i'd usually be planning how i could convince him to spend a long weekend with me in my neighborhood. (such planning would meet with staunch resistance and i'd spend christmas seething silently about why he won't cross town on a bus to see me.) this year, i'm completely uninterested. i mailed him one very impersonal christmas card and, yesterday, when he dared to bait me by saying 'maybe if you got in shape you wouldn't need therapy' and you could think clearly' i politely ignored his rudeness and just said back to him 'i guess we all get in shape in different ways. my therapist is helping me see things a LOT more clearly, thanks.'

yes, i could have called him an asshat, but what would that accomplish?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

there's nothing going on here at the office so i'm online looking at smartphones.
i have a regular palm pilot but i don't get email on it; it means i'm juggling between my work laptop, palm and mobile phone. it's not like i'm some high-powered consultant, but it would be nice to have everything in one place.

(and, frankly, if i make my professional move in the next year or so to a bigger agency or a faster environment, then i'll need a phone/PDA option with more oomph.)

i kinda like the Treo 680 and i like the Centro (but the Centro looks a little light to handle some of my work stuff.) the Curve is gorgeous. so is the Pearl, but it looks a little cold to me. it's important to have a smartphone with some warmth.

slowly, i'm making my way into the digital age. i tiptoed over to look at an ipod the other day and looked at the cute little shuffle; i'm afraid that owning anything created after 2001 may break my laptop. is that irrational? it seems irrational. i even pondered getting a new laptop (but then what will i pay for italy with?) it would be great to be completely digitally upgraded.

i should go home, shouldn't i?
cash advance

dammit. i knew it was getting harder for me to string more than two complex thoughts together.

[thanks, Orange!]

merry merry!

i'm back at the office.

is there more to be said?
plans for the upcoming holiday break:
a slumber party for me and some girl friends at my place
volunteering at church
the carol service at church
a party
hanging out with a friend and his partner after a conference
greedily watching the 3rd season of Dr. Who all by myself
catching some movies (Juno, Margot at the Wedding, Sweeney Todd)
reading comic books

oh, and maybe adding another section to the Worst Romance Novel Ever.

that's a pretty cool holiday plan, if i say so myself.

Friday, December 14, 2007

when will i learn? never ever eat vegan. never. not even non-vegan fare served from a vegan kitchen.

i went to therapy today (rough) and went to a local cafe to decompress and read for a bit (it gets really lonely in the loft during the day). atomix. they're nice. the space is nice. the coffee is ok, i guess. (sort of gritty and burnt tasting but, whatever, it's coffee.) twice i'd been grossly disappointed with their muffins, which could be used for doorstops; so this time i went for the non-vegan peanut butter cookie.

grossly disappointed again! it was as big as a saucer, a half inch thick, and hard as a rock. i needed two hands to break that fucker into adamantine pieces so i could dip it into my coffee and gnaw on it. no flavor and utterly unappetizing as either a cookie or anything resembling a sweet snack. dude. i made better peanut butter cookies when i was in grade school.

i want to support indie cafes, i do. but only if their food doesn't translate into 'inedible snackage only a person with dead taste buds could love.'
as for therapy, issues covered today included: dead mom (the rough part), dad, hating the church of my childhood, dating, and finally moving on from, uh, B-. (the exact words Dr. C- used were "In order for you to grow, we have to pretend that B- has moved.")

Saturday, December 08, 2007

the good parts

I've been reading the 'good parts' since going to church, during the old pastor's sermons in my childhood. I wasn't allowed to sneak in my own books anymore ("You have to be an example, Ding.") so I'd take my mother's white leather bible and look for the good parts: the fornication, the adultery, the incest, the Song of Solomon. ("tee hee, he said breasts!")

My sister wasn't so into the good parts, but I was; it was like they had a secret to whisper to me. But at the time, all I ever learned was never bathe openly on a roof so the king can see you (David/Bathsheba), don't make cakes for your drunk brother (Absolom/Tamara), and don't get caught in a cave with your dad after a cataclysm (Lot/Daughters).

On the bus the other night, I thought briefly about my lifelong attraction to the 'good parts,' the erotic or the downright naughty bits of literature, or anything, really. It seems that was my childhood bent - to touch my nose to the faintly oderous drawers of Sin and then put them away for a while until I had to sniff again. Why did I think about this on the bus? Because it was dark and the snow was falling and my eyes kept going to a very young thing across the aisle from me. He was talking to a friend and every two stops or so, I'd find myself glancing at him. It got to a point I just contented myself with watching him avidly through the window's reflection.

For the past weeks, I've been weak, drawn, muffled and startled by pain as my guts knit themselves back together. But now, as the pain recedes, strength returns and so does a particular alertness. On the bus, as I took in this very young thing with my eyes, I finally understood the corny romance novel phrase he drank her in. I felt like an alcoholic finally allowed one glass of wine or a vampire guzzling the contents of a vein. (Actually, I also felt like a dirty old woman. Bah.) Then, when he was gone so was my itchy, uncomfortable thirst. I was able to eat dinner with friends and gave the short bus ride no other thought.

Until now. I'm looking out at the gray afternoon, watching the smoke rising from chimneys. Everything looks cozy and snug, like a Dickens scene. The cold outside creates a desire for warmth inside. I've been reading all day and there is something so pleasurable about spending the day bundled up with a book that other pleasures also come to mind.

How twisted is is when these thoughts all come together inside my head: church, bible, reading, lust, prohibition, discovery, restraint, pain, pleasure.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

i think i've watched all the tv i can reasonably bear.

so...i am going to venture forth today. the sky is grey but it's still sunny and i want to be outside. i'll get a cup of coffee. maybe i'll sit in a dark theater for hours. or maybe i'll slowly walk around a mall and shop for holiday cards. or maybe i'll buy a book and find a bar to sit in and read for a few hours.

then i'll come back home and (gasp) write. (maybe even something for Bitch.) yeah...write. i haven't written anything worthwhile in ages. well, at least it's a goal.

still haven't left the house. it took me 45 minutes to get ready, then i tried on a pair of cute new jeans i bought just before the surgery and guess what? the fuckers don't fit! after just one week!! i'm depressed. there is this roll of extra belly just above my scar and it won't fucking go away. so now i'm back up a dress size - when one week ago i was on my way to being down two!!

it's vain, i know, but i want to cry. fucking agatha.]

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

giving thanks for catering service

but i'm in no shape to cook a whole freaking dinner. my solution? get someone else to cook it for me.

i cannot say enough about not cooking. (isn't that what being a feminist means during the holidays? the expectation NOT to cook?) why get all hot and sweaty and tired (and smelling like stuffing) when you're about to have people over? i used to watch my mother ramp up into a fine resentful boil every thanksgiving afternoon so that, by the time guests arrived, she was completely off her rocker. it wasn't pretty so i decided early on to save myself all that hassle.

i love having friends over and feeding them - i just hate cooking. i hate the timing, the rush, the uncertainty, and the inability to snatch victory from the jaws of culinary defeat.

so i ordered a dinner for 6. the friends are bringing wine, dessert and side dishes, i'm 'doing' the rest.

thanks, fox & obel. you're the best.

(happy thanksgiving to everyone. don't pig out too hard.)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

When people describe Something (war, architecture or poverty) as a ‘scar across the landscape’, I don’t think they mean that Something (war, architecture or poverty) was black, scabby, bruised and held together with bloodstained strips of adhesive.

I’ve been looking at my scar, my wound, for the past three days. I take a little silver hand mirror and put it on the sink. Then I pull up my shirt, pull down my pants and, holding up my belly a little, I lightly touch the bruised skin above the scar. It looks like my skin has turned into a smashed plum. The scar slashes across the top of my pudenda; it’s about 3 or 4 inches long. The scar is the ugliest, grossest thing I’ve ever seen on my body.

A few days before the surgery, I thought of the virginal way I think about my body. By ‘virginal’ I mean that I hold my body aggressively to myself. Thinking of my body as ‘virgin’ has nothing to do with sex or chastity. I don’t know how to explain it; I just think of my body as mine. It is inviolate; it is whole; it is the same as it has always been; it has all its original parts; it is not shared by anyone or anything. No flag has been planted on it, by marriage or motherhood.

But this surgery, as minor as it was, has changed my body’s landscape.
Where there was previously nothing, now there waves a tiny white flag with a red cross on it.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

after the knife

it's day 3 in Room 1471 and i'm waiting to fart.
actually, i just did.

why this preoccupation with farting? because when you've had your guts cut into and rearranged, making sure your bowels are in working order is pretty damn important. so in addition to waking me up every two hours to check on my pain, they've also been asking me if i've farted, yet. and so, yes, i have. at 6.07 am, i have farted and my bowels are in good working order.

a word to the ladies of chicago: if you need work done, or need to have a baby, the new Prentice is the place to have it. i have a single room, a flat screen tv, access to my internet, a great view of the MCA and the lake and the nurses here are so super nice. the floors are hardwood, the walls are (wait, another fart) also wood and you'd think you were in a cute boutique hotel rather than a hospital.

being a patient is so alarming. the weakness is a surprise. realizing how vulnerable your body is - but also how resilient - is amazing. the day of my surgery, just 8 hours later, i could barely move my legs to the side of the bed. it took all my strength to lift my head from my pillow. but this morning, i've been up since 5, i've changed into my own gown and robe, washed up, peed (and farted!), walked around a bit, been examined and made my bed.

of course, the pain meds help, too. oh, the meds. i love you. you are my friend.

and i love my friends. they came en masse yesterday to visit and we had to close the door, we got a little loud. thank you, friends, and thank you to folks who've been emailing me their best wishes. they've been gratefully appreciated.

ok, i guess i should tell someone i've farted.

Monday, November 12, 2007

before the knife

i had a session with my therapist last friday.
how perfect, before entering the great beyond, to see that my current issues could all be set at the feet of my childhood church upbringing. it's good to get all this out in the open before potentially shuffling off this mortal coil.

Dr. C- asked me, 'why can't you make yourself vulnerable to your partners?'

i shrugged. 'well, i don't really see that they have their shit together; if they don't have their shit together, then how can they help me?'

she said, 'harsh.'

i said, 'true. but i didn't have any really good models of male competence when i was growing up.' i explained briefly about growing up in a very hierarchical environment. 'my dad's church was filled with men in positions of power who were so stupid, so incompetent i just felt...contemptuous of them. i thought that if i showed how extremely competent and talented i was, then their whole thinking about women's natural inferiority would be exposed as bogus. it made me hyper competitive against them. my thinking was - is - you don't make yourself vulnerable to an opponent.'

'interesting.' she wrote something down.

and so i told her the story of taking one of my dad's classes on hermeneutics when i was in college. i was the only woman and the rest of the students were seminary students or young ministers with churches already under their charge. halfway through the class, my father said the men in the class came to him and said my presence made them uncomfortable and could he tell me not to come to class anymore.

'how did that make you feel?'

'angry,' i said. 'they couldn't even tell me to my face; they had to go to my dad and have him deliver the message. fucking infuriated me.'

'and your father? how did you feel about his asking you to stop going to the class?'
'angry. i was his daughter. and he asked me to take a back seat to spare the feelings of men he knew were second rate.'
'he didn't defend you, take up for you.'
'no, he didn't.'

she wrote in her notebook again.

at the end of the session, Dr. C- gave me my instructions for the next session (after i am suitably mobile again.) apparently, it's all about examining messages i received about myself by the time i was 10, making myself open to accept help from friends (as practice) and inviting B- to thanksgiving dinner.

yeah. i might have to fail that assignment.
anyway, cross your fingers for me. i should be back home on the weekend and the next 5 weeks will be full of drug-addled reflections and new therapeutic revelations.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


Hail, the Conquered Hero - Dick Cavett - Opinion - New York Times Blog

i tried to come up with something snarky about this but i just can't.
dick cavett's sophisticated whiteness might be too much for me.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

there may be some residual hostility...

Roomie and I stood at our kitchen counter going through our morning vitamin/pill ritual.

"So," I said. "I had this dream last night."
She turned around. "I had *crazy* dreams last night, too! But - you first."

"So I'm living in New York - "
"Just you?"
"Just me."
"And was this after the cocktail party?" Roomie makes fun of me and my dreams because, in them, I am always at a party. I cannot help that my subconscious makes me out to be Holly Golightly.

"Yes," I said. "And then Al Pacino stopped by to say hello." Yes, celebrities often made an appearance in my dreams. "Anyway, I'm living in New York. My sister and her family are coming out for a visit. They are bringing with them a Filipino surfer guy and his sister. Who are these people? I have no idea. But, apparently, I have a big enough apartment for all of them.

"Anyway, they arrive and the Filipino surfer dude says to me, 'Hey, I think I know someone who knows you and he's going to be here in New York for a thing and it would be great to see him, so is it ok if he stops by so we can play XBox?'"

Roomie interrupts. "I love how the guys in your dreams all talk like girls."
"They do, don't they?"
"They're so chatty."
"So I like my guys girly. Anyway, I say to Filipino surfer guy 'I can't think of who I know that you know but ok. Whatever.'

"The guy comes by, I open the door and GUESS who it is? It's B-! I'm like, 'What the fuck?!' He's all like, 'What the fuck?!' and all I can think of is how totally random my life is, how it's filled with these crazy, weird coincidences that make me nuts.

"My sister and her family go sightseeing and I'm left in the apartment with Filipino surfer guy and B-. B-, of course, is quiet. I'm just hanging out at the back of the apartment wondering how the hell this just happened. Then, suddenly, a masked intruder breaks into the apartment and KILLS B-! He shoots him in the head! I'm all 'What the hell? They killed B-!' Filipino surfer guy is totally traumatized and he's like, 'That was totally unneccessary and harsh!'

"My sister and her husband get back from sightseeing and are absolutely horrified. All they can say is how glad they were the kids weren't home to see this. Filipino surfer guy and I are sitting on the curb, smoking cigarettes while we watch the crime scene team do their thing and roll out B-'s body under a sheet. Heh."

Roomie said, "And you laugh. You are so twisted. I shudder at the thought of whatever psychotic break you'll have when you're tanked up on pain meds after your surgery."

I ignored her. "Anyway, Filipino surfer guy is really broken up about it and he's like, 'But guys were a thing. How are you?' And I have to admit that there's shock that this crazy random crap keeps happening to me, but I'm not that broken up about it. And then it's like that skit at the Second City Show, where the guy tries to cry but can't? Yeah, I'm like that. I'm unh-unh, trying to cry and I got nothin'. And that's when I wake up."

Roomie just stared at me. I smiled.

Then she said, "This was my dream. I'm waiting to pick you you up at work. You come out and you have a dead body with you. What the fuck? You sort of roll it on the ground in front of Corner Bakery and you say, "You have to help me get rid of the body." And you're dressed in high heels and looking girly and I'm still, What the fuck? Who is he? You keep telling me he's just some guy from a meeting; all I can see is this shock of white hair. But you, of course, can't lift him into the trunk. And there are people all around! No one notices this! Some firemen come by and wanna know if you need assistance and you’re waving at them and saying ‘Hi!’ and just flirting with everyone, pissing me off, and so I just get grr! And lift the dead guy over my shoulder and dump him in the trunk. He flips over and GUESS who it is?”

I was agog. “Who? Bill Clinton?”
“It was B-!”

To say that I laughed my ass off would not convey just how hilarious I thought this was.

Monday, November 05, 2007

2007 Haiku Festival

clearly, china just isn't exciting enough for jp.
you can drop a haiku over at his 2007 Haiku Festival.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

all work and no play...

while coming home on the bus one night last week i realized that my surgery is next week and my Need to Get Laid Clock is ticking and no frolic is in sight.

i'm a lasagna of tension about the upcoming date. the first layer is, of course, the celibacy frustration. then there's the tiny, hard wire of anxiety when i allow myself to think about the procedure for more than a few minutes. and laid on top of all that is some work stress. if last week made me bleed from my eyes, this next week might just make my head explode. our legislative agenda and government relations strategy won't write itself and i need to wrap up my desk so it won't fall into chaos by the time i return after the New Year.

letting go of work for this long is hard for me; Dr. C- asked what i think of work and my place in it and i told her that i am my best self at work. i am intuitive, quick, focused, funny, strong, supportive, assertive and i hit my targets. in short, it's at the office where i know what the fuck i'm doing. it's outside of work that my footing is less sure. clearly, there will be plenty of time to think about that while i'm on medical leave.

(did my parents love their work? maybe. before the showdown with his associate pastor, i believe my father loved his work. my mom, well - ok, she hated her coworkers and her job gave her a stroke. my parents might not be good models.)

sometimes i think that women who love our work almost exist in shadows. stories about us on television or in print make us out to be angry, dour, dysfunctional, bitter, unnatural, mannish or weird - even if we're running for President. teachers, doctors, do-gooders and artists get to love their work; after all, they're shaping minds, helping people, and creating shit. the rest of us, if we talk about our work, no matter our work, our stories are required to have a begrudging or sheepish quality; we work, you know, because we have to. we're only working, you know, to pay for what we really wanna do. if we all won the lotto, we'd stop working in a heartbeat and spend the rest of our time helping people and traveling the world.

i just wish i could hear more about women who not only love working but really like what they do. with all these articles over the past five years about 'opting out,' 'off ramping' or 'dropping out', you'd think not a single woman likes her work. wouldn't it be great to hear about women who are excited about their work, who find their work energizing and thrilling? wouldn't it be a welcome change to read an article about a woman who baldly says, 'I freaking love what I do. I'm fucking great at it and it makes my nipples tingle.' or maybe that's just me.

you know, this post was supposed to be about how pissed i am that i haven't had sex since labor day, and probably won't until after january 2008, but it turned out to be about work. huh.

Friday, November 02, 2007

a note to non profits everywhere:

is it too much to ask that your staff have the teeniest amount of professionalism??
it's unfair, i know. non profits operate in a stressful environment of lack. but great big baby jesus.

have some basic phone skills!
when you're tracking attendence for a policy meeting, have the location and date already arranged!
don't ask me if i'm coming and then act all cagey about where and when the meeting is!
know who it is you're talking to! no, i'm NOT the united way, the red cross or the girl scouts!
don't talk so fast i have no idea who you are or where you're coming from!
you're giving me a headache and i will hang up on you!

i know your mission is in the right place but do your employees know what the hell they're doing?

it's rare that i miss working in a corporate envirionment. but this day got on my last frakking nerve, man.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

action alert: tell springfield to take action on public transit!

from the good folks at the Center for Tax & Budget Accountability:

If Springfield does not pass legislation to increase transit funding, CTA and Pace will implement substantial service cuts and fare increases on November 4th.

Call your legislator...Today. You can impact the negotiations in Springfield by calling your legislator right now.

The Illinois House reconvenes today in anticipation of calling a vote on the mass transit bill tomorrow, Friday, Nov 2. Originally brought to the Illinois House floor on September 4, the bill garnered 61 votes (5 Republicans voted with the bill), but lacked 10 votes for a supermajority to override an anticipated veto from the governor.

To see a full tally of the September 4 vote, go to

Key districts that stand to gain from the bill, but whose legislators were either not present or did not vote for the bill in September include, according to alphabetical order:

Patricia Bellock (R - Hinsdale)
Mark Beaubien (R - Barrington Hills)
Robert Biggins (R - Elmhurst)
Linda Chapa LaVia (D- Aurora)
Sandy Cole (R -Grayslake)
Jim Durkin (R - Western Springs)
Renee Kosel (R- New Lenox)
Carolyn Krause (R - Mount Prospect )
Patricia Lindner (R- Aurora )
Mike Fortner (R - West Chicago)

Karen May (D - Highland Park)
Michael McAuliffe (R - Chicago)
Kevin McCarthy (D - Orland Park)
James Meyer (R - Bollingbrook)
Ruth Munson (R-Elgin)
Joanne Osmond (R - Antioch )
Sandra Pihos (R - Glen Ellyn )
Robert Pritchard (R- Sycamore
Jim Sacia (R - Pecatonica)
Ed Sullivan (R - Mundelein)
Michael Tryon (R - Crystal Lake )

What you can do:
§ Call your State Representative TODAY to support SB572, House Amendment 10. To find your State Representative, go to the General Assembly website ( or go to

§ Thank her/him if s/he voted in September for the bill and encourage her/him to vote with the bill on Friday, Nov 2.

Without this bill:
1. Collar counties will not receive $116 million for road enhancements.

2. Pace will cut 46 weekday and 11 weekend routes and ALL Metra feeders, and raise fares by $.25; CTA will cut 36 routes raise fares by at least $.50 and $1 for peak rail services. Go to and for full information.

3. Cuts to ADA paratransit services (for seniors and individuals with disabilities) will match those listed above and fares will increase by at least $.50.

4. Additional fare increases and service cuts may occur in January 2008. At which point, it is expected that Metra will raise its fares by 5 or 10% in February 2008.

5. No new funds will be made available for transit systems outside of the Northeast region; and, 18 counties slated to receive transit funds for the first time will not.

6. Job Access Reverse Commute and New Freedom funds in the Northeast region may be jeopardized because CTA and Pace will not have available funds to meet match requirements.

How SB572 HAM 10 affect the Northeast region?
§ No fare increases.
§ For every $100 spent, twenty-five cents will be paid in sales tax in Chicago and fifty cents in the collar county.
§ In Chicago, for every $100,000 spent on real estate, $300 would go to the CTA.
Given that middle and low income individuals are much more likely to use mass transit, they will pay more under fare increases than tax increases. Take a look at the most recent Weekly Review

Will transit modernize or erode? All corners of the political spectrum unanimously support the bill. (See a list of endorsers: Both the Chicago Tribune and the Sun-Times have repeatedly voiced their support for the bill. Initially, brought to the floor for house vote on September 4, the bill received 61 votes in favor, including five Republicans. Without the full 71 votes needed to override an expected veto from the Governor, the bill was quickly set to postpone consideration. On Friday, November 2, the Illinois House will bring SB572 House Amendment 10 to the floor to determine the future of transit in Illinois.

So what's the hold up? While communities across Illinois will benefit from the bill's funding in the form of expanded resources for transit systems large and small, the governor and House Minority Leader have led the effort to develop a capital bill. The issue of a capital bill did not arise until the transit legislation was brought to the house floor on September 4. No one disagrees with the need for a capital bill for our roads, schools and transit system, particularly given that it has been seven years since our last state capital package. The real question is one of timing. By all accounts, there is currently not any real agreement about what should be in the capital bill and how it should be funded. Let's focus on transit today.

Support transit today. Call your legislator.
For further information, contact Dia Cirillo, policy director-workforce, at

Join a rally for mass transit on Monday, November 5th.

Go to or

rape *isn't* an inalienable right

Women incensed, disgusted by lack of sensitivity --

i will 'manfully' struggle through my outrage and disgust of this column (which reminds me of the Details mag article that asked if it was okay to 'demand' anal sex):

the questions cheryl lavin asks at the end of her column are so idiotic, it's no wonder our society responds to rape in really inappropriate ways.
when are we going to start shifting our attention away from the behavior of women and actually start holding men accountable for rape? (and for even thinking that buying a woman a drink or being invited into her room means blanket consent?)
is anyone else appalled that a woman who self-identifies as a rape counselor is actually telling victims to shoulder the burden of their own rape? (or maybe this is a part of rape counseling methodology, i don't know. someone clarify for me.)
when is the rhetorical use of the 'duke lacrosse case as example of the perfidy of lying non-raped women' going to die?

unfortunately, i am inarticulate in my upset. grrr.
(and if you read the comments, you will see that Ding got a little...pissed.)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

an expression of things desired

have i told all 8 of my readers that my coaching has officially turned into therapy?
(i'm going to assume there are more than 5 of you now, but i won't be as immodest to assume there are as many as 10.)

yes; Coach C- is now Dr. C- and she said, in no uncertain terms, that my intimacy issues needed immediate attention.

'really?' i said.
'Ding, how long has it been since you've spoken with B-?'

(let's stop here. i know i've been keeping my summertime dallying with B- a secret. but things weren't actually that bad and i was actually looking forward to maybe making things a bit more normal and - i just thought that if it turned into something, perhaps it wasn't a good idea to write about it all over the place. but, clearly, things didn't turn out the way i wanted so he's back on the blog.)

i replied, 'um...since labor day?'
'Ding! it's practically november! how are you going to make progress if you won't make the effort!'
'i was really busy! there were some personal things, moving, work, some medical issues...i had to re-prioritize!'
'normally, where does B- fall on your list of priorities?'

'on a list of 10 things, he is about a 6 right now,' i said. then i thought a bit more. 'actually, in all my years of knowing him, he hasn't really moved up past 3.'
'how long have you been with him?'
'on and off, 7 years.' i shrugged and threw up my hands.
'Ding! that's really bad!' she lost her grip on her professional demeanor a little and laughed.
'i know! that's why i'm here! how can i not do this anymore?'

she sighed. 'i think we have to get a little bit more...aggressive. if you're reading and crying over wedding announcements in the times and you're coming here, it's clear you are interested in having a partner, but your inability to foster intimacy is so entrenched, you will never get one. (ouch, i thought.) i think coaching is too passive. one month between appointments is too long. behavioral intervention is going to be necessary.'

'jesus. there's not just a list of things to do that will help me? you know...write some journals, make notes about my bad habits?'

she shook her head. 'we're past that.'

so...this is me in therapy. at least she said i wasn't depressed.

Patricia Miller and Alfred Zollar - New York Times

Monday, October 29, 2007

civic-minded monday

found a fascinating site: AlderTrack

west town is where i live but you can search by your community area (not necessarily n'hood name) to see what issues in your community have appeared on the city council agenda. there are no more excuses for not participating in your community's politics.

another good source? civic footprint. you can search by your address (sorry, it's chicago specific) and not only see who your alderman is, but local reps/senators, county commissioners, police precincts and committeemen. so handy for sending scathing letters of complaint.

and if you're wondering what the hell is going on down in springfield and what you can do to make people listen to you, well, you can go here and talk to some local (gulp) republican women legislators. for some reason, they've formed a small group of suburban legislators who want to hear about issues affecting women. so, take them at their word and tell them at

(they say it's a bipartisan group but only a few republican women have joined. weird.)

Friday, October 26, 2007

WKYN: We Kid You Not
hmm. i have to check this out. but not right now because i'm late for drinks!

BSG: April??? April?? Frak!

so...The Watcher in the Trib this morning, announces that sci-fi channel announced the new (and final) season of Battlestar Galactica won't even frakking air until frakking APRIL!


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

hear ye, hear ye

in a turn of events that was totally stunning and made me feel like a groupie who'd spent a night with her idol, i am now a new permanent co-blogger over at Bitch Ph.D.!


i can now spread my tedium to the outer reaches of the b'sphere.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Conscience of a Values Voter

To pander: to act as go-between or liaison in sexual intrigues; to cater to the lower tastes and desires of others or exploit their weakness; to pimp.

Dear Mr./Ms. Candidate,

Thank you for coming to my church service/summit/breakfast meeting/conference this weekend. It was a pleasure to host you and hear your views on my views. It's so reassuring to know we're on the same page.
But I must admit that I have been feeling a bit ... oogie about your visit, of late. Some questions have been cropping up with an alarming regularity. I honestly don't know where these questions are coming from - this doubt. It can't be from your speech; your words were fiery, inspirational and resonated so deeply within my own bosom it was like you peered into my heart and wrote my words with your own pen.
I can't help wondering, however, what your visit meant.
What happened there? I mean, I guess your visit and our welcome of you was a signal that we were for you - or, that I am for you. But what is it that I am getting? Do I get everything I want from you? Are you promise-bound to do what I want? Does this mean you, Mr./Ms. Candidate, are my own personal genie?
What will I have to bring you in return? What is this bargain we've made? Or have we even made a bargain?
I hear the media and pundits call your visit 'pandering to the base.' What does that mean? If I may be so bold as to use the language of pandering - am I the john, or are you? Who's the prostitute? Is this you? I would prefer you be the prostitute, but then this makes me your client, and this is what makes me feel ... oogie. I don't know what kind of transaction this is or who benefits.
Back to my fears: if I'm the john, then all I get is a quick fuck and possibly a disease that will make me ooze from an orifice (please excuse my language. The political world is so new to me.) If you're the whore, all you get is a quick bang; if you're the pimp, however, you get all the cash. Is this what happened? Are you the pimp? But if I'm the You can understand how confusing this all is for me. I think I'm having an identity crisis here - and you prompted it!
Or maybe we all take turns being the pimp and john and whore. Like a giant game of dress-up. Or a political orgy. Or a weird threesome where no one knows who's tupping who.
Of course, those scenarios do nothing to allay my fears that I have participated in something...unseemly. If I really had to ask what Jesus would do, I believe he would refuse to be the whore, john and pimp.
So you see the quandary I'm in.
Anyway, thank you for your time. Enclosed please find a check to your campaign. I gave your autograph to my sister and she's thrilled I had a chance to meet you at our church service/summit/breakfast meeting/conference this weekend.
Perhaps this time, next year, I may have the honor of calling you Mr./Madam President.
The Values Voter

my obsession: weddings in the times

Deneta Howland and Bryan Sells - New York Times

if i was premenstrual, i'd be in tears right now.
it has all the things that get me: earnestness, long distance, interracial couple, yearning, deflection, and dogged pursuit.

i'm obssessed with these stories.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

some burning questions...

is it horribly wrong - when someone you've hooked up with in the past (and with whom you hoped to continue a casual liaison) appears to have taken advantage of an improved mental state and moved on - to feel sort of put out by it?

was watching the unbearable 'tell me you love me' with Roomie the other night; is it true that married women are really stunned that their husbands look at porn? i mean, really. who is stunned that men look at porn?? for that matter, isn't it understood by now that women also look at porn? (or is this a generational thing?)

speaking of TMYLM, how can i scrub the image of jane alexander, naked and fucking on a chair, off my inner eyeballs?

can we please have movies about neurotic people of color now? i mean, i'm getting sort of bored by all the representations of quirky/conflicted white folks in popular culture now. and i don't think the tyler perry movies count.

i guess what i'm asking is: who's the Wes Anderson for brown people? (great critique of wes anderson's work here.)

why is the #66 chicago bus the most crowded motherfrakker ever? hm? and why don't the folks who ride the #66 understand the Move to the Back rule ?

with a little under one month of unfettered carnal carnivale left to me before The Procedure, will i find a frolic partner in time?

Friday, October 19, 2007

oooh, the biting, the biting!

30 Days of Night is out.
it will be awesome and i must see it.
i don't care if it terrifies the pants off me.

once more, with feeling: bush appoints another weirdo

this time, it's a woman. dr. susan orr used to work for the Family Research Council, a conservative organization known for its anti-birth control stances, and is now going to be in charge of family planning for low-income people.

what does dr. orr think? she thinks contraception isn't a medical necessity because 'fertility isn't a disease.' well, no shit. contraception is just something we women need to have because, otherwise, we'd be pregnant all the fucking time.

i'm truly puzzled at this administration and the folks who don't see what's completely wrong with this picture. birth control is good. it allows a family to control its fertility; it allows a woman to determine when and if she is going to get pregnant; and when access is wide, paired with education about contraception, abortion numbers go down.

but you know what it is: birth control = sex.
it's a marker that sex is in the makin' and unless you're in a proper heterosexual, monogamous marriage then having sex makes you a slut. (and if you're a dude, having sex just makes you a dude.)

so...birth control = sex = slut.

so basically, orr's appointment is just another step in the social conservative's movement to shame/punish women who have sex.

of course, planned parenthood has sent out an alert to oppose orr's appointment.
you know what you have to do.

The Associated Press: Family-Planning Appointment Denounced

Thursday, October 18, 2007

post event horniness

geez. i've finished with our Huge Fundraiser and it was so good, we did such a good job and i'm so exhausted all i want to do is have sex.
like, nasty monkey sex.

i've text messaged someone but if he doesn't get to me in time, then i'm totally going home to take a long 'shower.'

or think naughty thoughts while pondering my lesbian boss' suddenly single appeal.
one or the other.

[much later: none of that happened. i went home and read a book in bed. i lead an exciting life.]

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Advocacy Alert: Tell the CW No Never Means Yes!

from the ywca metropolitan chicago:

Tell the Media that No Never Means Yes!

In August, when the CW network announced Kevin Federline was going to guest star in a few episodes as a front man of a band called ‘No Means Yes,’ we asked the producers of the popular show One Tree Hill to change the name of the band before the season began. We thought the band name winked at sexual assault – an all too common reality for their target demographic. YWCA USA CEO Lorraine Cole, YWCA associations from Illinois and Greater Los Angeles agreed. The name of the band had to change!

But the CW is silent. Maybe they didn’t hear us. Maybe they don’t take sexual assault seriously.

For the YWCA’s Week Without Violence, send another message to the CW and tell them that No Never Means Yes!

Go to their Advocacy Action Center to send an email.
Spread the word!

[and, yes, i am not exactly a disinterested party here.]

but the flowers are so pretty: taxes and hizzoner

i love the Clout City blog in the Reader. it gives you the inside scoop on the inner workings of our city council and mayor's office and i have the admit the muckraking attitude just makes me giggle.

i note that every time someone says that at least Chicago is better than Detroit or Cleveland, i cringe a little bit. to me, that's code for 'ghetto' which is code for 'town where the black folk run wild.' hm.

Monday, October 15, 2007

some folks need to read 'the bluest eye'

Maghag: Where Are All The Black Models? Let's Start By Asking Anna Wintour - Jezebel

this article by the times, paired with the jezebel post, is sort of interesting. it's something i thought about, too, while i was walking through Around the Coyote this weekend. the entire festival was a feast of images of middle class white angst. how many self portraits of waify, doe-eyed, depressed looking white hipsters was i going to have to endure? or, if i wanted to see some representations of brown-ness, was i going to settle for photographs of hurricane katrina victims and mardi gras? yuck.

more and more, i see artistic representation turning inward; we are only willing to represent what reflects ourselves. i think this is what's happening in fashion - the agents, bookers, designers, editors are not able to tear their gazes away from their mirrors. i don't care about whether models get work (girl, this is why college is a good idea) but i care about the representation of reality - or, if 'reality' isn't quite the word to use, then the representation of experience.

what does it mean when experience is only filtered through a homogenized lens?
when the only images we see are white, i think that's a problem.
when you aren't visibly represented in popular culture you might as well be invisible to everyone's naked eye.

in other words, we are training our eye to be blind to difference.

however, i believe that if this situation is ever to change, then the means of production has to change hands. know what i mean? at every stage of fashion production, the person in charge is white - the designers are white, the agents are white, the publicists are white, the editors are white, the publishers are white, the CEOs of the fashion houses are white, the buyers are white. it's a proverbial parade of whiteness.

until these things change, there's not much hope of seeing more diversity on the runway.

Friday, October 12, 2007

CTA: totally FUBAR

holy crap.

have you seen what the CTA is proposing to cut in November and January if they don't get funding??
say goodbye to the following bus lines:

65 Grand!
50 Damen!
56 Milwaukee!
70 Division!
143, 144, 145, 146, 147, 148 - hey, North Siders! how ya gettin' to work??
156 LaSalle! (dude!)

so...if these bus lines go, can you imagine how completely unridable the trains are going to be, heading downtown?

i might have to get a bike, dude.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

our new neighbors

Roomie and I went to our first condo association meeting last night. It was an eye-opener.

We’re the first to arrive (slightly mortifying) and the much older-than-I-thought Board Vice President/Husband greets us graciously and we take a seat on the very mod beige sofa in the living room. His Board President/Wife comes downstairs; they’ve both met Roomie before and soon they’re both looking at me a little quizzically.

Roomie says, ‘This is my roommate.’
I smile, ‘Hi. I’m Ding.’
Everyone shakes hands.

The Wife takes a seat on her very mod moss velvet chaise and she’s still staring at me with slightly narrowed eyes. Whatever, lady. I’m just taking in the stunning art work and trying to read the books on the shelf over the fireplace.

Another gray-haired condo person comes in; introductions are made again.

When she looks at me, Roomie and I say, ‘We’re roommates.’
Condo person nods but still looks confused. She sits.

Wife suddenly says to me, ‘How long have you been here?’
I say, ‘As long as Roomie has. We’re roommates.’
Roomie says, ‘Yeah, we’ve been roommates for a few years now.’
The gray-haired condo owner says, ‘See? They’re doing that nowadays.’

Thankfully, other 30-ish condo people arrive, including our across the hall neighbor, who greets us enthusiastically. ‘How’s the construction going?’ he says.
We say it’s almost over, just waiting for the door to the second bedroom and some glass panels; we make a joke about me sleeping al fresco, and the Wife looks even more confused.

She says, ‘So, Ding, do you work?’
What a fucking odd question.
‘Yes,’ I say. ‘I’m in government relations at National Non Profit.’
Other condo people have arrived to hear this last exchange and with an almost unseemly enthusiasm they say, ‘Wow! That’s great! How interesting! What a cool job!’

‘Uh, yeah,’ I say. ‘It’s a great job. I love it.’
Husband says, ‘I love the song.’
Wife says, ‘That’s the other National Non Profit, dear.’
And she’s still looking at me. She seems to be looking at me a lot the entire meeting.

Meanwhile, Roomie is experiencing some passive aggression from the gray-haired condo owner on the first floor who thinks one of our contractors dripped some gunk through her ceiling but has yet to say anything directly to Roomie; she’d rather stage-whisper about it right in front of Roomie to another Board member. As soon as the meeting ends, we hightail it out of there.

Standing in front of our own door, I say, ‘They SO think we’re gay.’
Roomie says, ‘What the fuck was that? Do you work? What the fuck??’
‘Fucking baby boomers,’ I say.

Monday, October 08, 2007

my girly parts: an update

fair warning: look away if you don't want to read about what's happening with my girly parts.

this is my girly part cocktail: daily seasonique with a monthly dose of lupron.

i'm down to the little yellow pills in my Seasonique pack (which cost an unholy $140!! what the fuck is that??) these are the first birth control pills i've taken since i was 18 (i was prescribed for heavy, continuous bleeding) and it's not so bad. but august through september i bled almost every freaking day and i actually just stopped bleeding last week. (though there is currently a faint 'leak' of some girly fluid. what is it? i have no idea. it's just like an overflow of moisture or something. i know. TMI.) in august this bleeding was a strange dark, almost black color then it gradually became more 'blood'-like but the bleeding was extrememly heavy and the clots were unbelievable. i suffered no cramps, no bloating, but now i think i've gained a few pounds. clothes aren't noticeably tighter but my belly is certainly a little pudgier, like i look a little pregnant. granted, i hate exercise but this seems rather extreme, thank you very much.

other side effects: i have excruciating headaches, am sensitive to light and sound, i get really hot at night and there's some joint stiffness that just popped up out of nowhere.

anyway, just thought i'd share what's going on in my pants since the world is dying to know...

Skipping Your Period: Seasonique - The Well-Timed Period

movie tanks? blame a woman!

Warner Bros is crazy.

let's see if this makes sense:
the majority of those with 'greenlight' capabilities in hollywood are men.
the majority of producers are men.
the majority of screenwriters who get their movies made are men.
the majority of directors are men.

but if a whole slew of your movies fail at the box office, blame your female lead.
'cause that's totally logical.

just for fun, let's take a look at warner bros. 2007 sour grapes:

The Bucket List (2007) utter crap. an aging baby boomer movie about dying guys who have a list of stuff they want to do before they die? no one is going to see this movie.
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007) actually, this looks awesome. but come on - how many people in america are really into a goth screen version of a serial killer musical? not big box office.
P.S., I Love You (2007) a sappy movie written by two men about messages a dead husband leaves his wife, played by hilary swank. gag.
I Am Legend (2007) um, i can't wait to see this but only because the source material is fantastic.
Beowulf (2007) computer generated epic poem only die hard english majors remember. whatever.
Fred Claus (2007) crap.
August Rush (2007) orphaned musical prodigy uses his gift to find his parents. kill me.
Return to House on Haunted Hill (2007) crap. sequel to a really really bad remake and the reason why people stop going to movies.
The Brave One (2007) depressing or not depressing enough? hm.
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007) beautiful yet...boring. snooze.
In the Valley of Elah (2007) political downer.
Michael Clayton (2007) this actually looks good, but a corporate evil downer.
The Invasion (2007) bad, boring remake of a remake. oh, and written/directed by a bunch of guys!
No Reservations (2007) bad, soulless, american remake of a really sweet german film.
thanks for ruining 'Mostly Martha' for me, talentless hacks.
License to Wed (2007) crap. but i think robin williams will work again.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007) awesome. built in franchise success because of great female-authored source material.
Nancy Drew (2007) nothing will be as good as the books.
Believers (2007) totally crappy religious cult movie.
Ocean's Thirteen (2007) feh. just ... ok. think george clooney is in fear for his career?
Lucky You (2007) craptacular. you could see the craptacularity from the trailers. but, again, i think eric bana will live to make other movies.
The Reaping (2007) crappy biblical plague movie - again, with hilary swank. (hmm...)
TMNT (2007) 80s nostalgia kid movie. again, built in success.
Zodiac (2007/I) good, but long.
Music and Lyrics (2007) craptacular to the nth degree. oh, and written/directed by a
Rest Stop 2 (2007) yeah, this is art.

not really a great year for warner bros. but is that really an actress' fault or should they chalk it up to their own industry's mediocrity and barely concealed contempt for the audience?

Thursday, October 04, 2007

it's not over: Harassment in Aurora |

i almost did something bad today.

a coworker showed me a mailer she got in the post sponsored by the folks at Pro-Life Action League. it was chock full of ridiculous inflammatory misinformation about Planned Parenthood ("they encourage sex before marriage! they think babies are smelly!") and it made me so angry that i did something that was a little nuts:

i looked up the home address of eric scheidler, the communications director for Pro-Life Action League and son of joe scheidler who's the patriarch leading the local charge against the folks at Planned Parenthood.

i copied the address. i thought about posting it here and telling pro-choicers to use it and send the scheidlers a little taste of their own harrassment.

but i had an icky feeling. i felt shame at taking a political fight to the doorstep of a family of 10 (they have 8 kids) to scream at them for hating people like me, for thinking that their grip on righteousness allows them to harrass and violate the privacy of women like me.

why don't the pro-lifers feel that shame?

Real Time: Harassment in Aurora

(p.s. pro life folk say Planned Parenthood slandered joe scheidler with one of their ads. this interview with eric zorn says otherwise.)

spoiler alert: top chef!

i think dale was robbed.
ok, his lobster dish made chef tom recoil like it was gangrene. but at least he went for it, right??
but now hung can go forward, making his precise, classic, technically superior dishes that lack acid.
The Top Chef Finale: Of Bad Lobster and Tame Cake - Diner’s Journal - Dining & Wine - New York Times Blog#more-306

if only...

Exploring Ways to Shorten the Ascent to a Ph.D. - New York Times

if my life had gone another way, you'd be calling me dr. ding right now.
alas, the call of big city life, drugs, sex and spending derailed my academic career. ah, me!

but if i was a grad student now (and i totally may go back for a different degree, not frakking english) i'd have a coach. did you know there are now dissertation coaches and grad student coaches? my coach/therapist offers these services and i was stunned. perhaps if i'd had a coach back in grad school, i woulda finished those final two chapters!


anyway, good luck with making the ph.D less traumatic.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

what the military needs: more porn!

i can get the snark tone coming from archpundit. what's porn compared to a frakked up politically motivated war? i get it. it such a bad idea to protest more porn in the military? i mean, considering the military's already frakked up record with sexual violence against women (both within their ranks and outside of them), is this really a bad idea? i don't think we should pooh pooh it.

of course, there's the question of whether porn contributes to an environment of misogyny and sexual violence? well, it doesn't necessarily encourage the porneur (my word: porneur - one who reads or watches porn) to see women in ways other than a wet pink hole in the service of masculine power and sexuality, so i'd say yes - porn contributes to misogyny and sexual violence. in interviews, prostitutes reveal how often johns come in with pictures of what they want, or they describe what they've seen in porn; they also tell of pimps using porn to 'train' the prostitute's expectations - what they're expected to perform.

and, of course, one needs to ask if porn, misogyny and sexual violence is less important than war?

well, if you're a woman in the military, already keeping your head down from all the sexual harrassment and covered up rapes going on, and you're surrounded by all these guys reading hard core porn - or if you're an iraqi girl just minding your own 14-year old business surrounded by a bunch of drunk, angry soldiers reading porn that strongly suggests there's nothing better to solidify male bonding than a gang bang of a barely legal hot chick - then i'd say that you would find the situation pretty damn important.

historically, where soldiers are so exists rape, porn and/or a sex industry where women's individual or collective empowerment has never been the object. in the crimean war and as the british empire spread and british soldiers were stationed in far off 'exotic' colonies, so proliferated the creation, sale and dissemination of pornographic postcards, pamphlets, stories and pictures that reinforced the notion of british masculine hegemony and the racially marked 'whoredom' on the part of those colonized which offered an excuse to the occupying military for raping 'native' women; the existence of forced prostitution and camp bordellos for german officers, soldiers and collaborators during world war 2; japan's use of 'comfort women' and the enslavement of asian women for forced prostitution, also during world war 2; and during the vietnam war it was estimated that 400,000 prostituted women in thailand were procured for american soldiers on leave, as well as the now confirmed stories of american soldiers raping civilian women. more recently, the stories of soldiers raping civilian women during the serbian/croatian conflict, the ensuing trafficking from that conflict or even the current events in darfur as woman are raped by rebel soldiers.

what's porn compared to war? for women caught in the cross hairs of a heterosexual male fantasy of control via sexual power over a woman's body, porn is war.

(and sometimes i wish snarky male political bloggers would take a fucking step back sometimes to really examine the shit they're saying.)

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

blue cross, you suck.

so i'm having a michael moore moment. my first glitch in the healthcare environment has ocurred and it's making me mad.

here's my story:

there once was a girl who kept bleeding and bleeding and bleeding.
one day, her doctor said, 'hm. did you know you have a fibroid?"
so they looked at the fibroid, clinging stubbornly to the side of the girl's uterus and the doctor said, 'hm. that really should come out.'

the girl said, 'ok.'
so they talked about removing the fibroid and set a date to do it.

but then they discovered that the girl had a blood level of 6.8. the doctor was alarmed.
'that's too low! you're dangerously anemic! we can't do this until your iron levels are higher!'
the girl said, 'huh. so that's why i'm short of breath all the time.'

so the doctor gave the girl birth control (to stop the bleeding) and iron (to get rid of the anemia.) and another date was set for surgery.

but it didn't work. the girl kept bleeding and the bleeding got heavier. she ate double the birth control. still she bled, even heavier than before.

alarmed even further, the doctor had a final solution. 'we have to shut everything down. we'll give you one shot of Lupron for free. but you need two. we'll see if your insurance will cover the second shot.'

weeks passed. the lupron seemed to work and the bleeding eventually stopped. (today it stopped.) the girl was happy! but the insurance company said, 'NO! thou shalt not have Lupron because it doesn't meet the medical criteria policy of blue cross blue shielf of illinois!'

panicked, the girl contacts her doctor.
the doctor says, 'that means they think you're not on birth control.'
'but i am! it's all in my medical history!'
'yes it is. they're idiots. don't worry. we'll think of something.'

to be continued...

what a bunch of assholes. even an idiot can trace the line of causality:
heavy bleeding/cramping leads to diagnosis of fibroid
fibroid diagnosis leads to planned surgical procedure to remove it
surgical procedure pre-op testing leads to diagnosis of anemia
anemia diagnosis leads to prescription of birth control/iron pills to stop bleeding and boost iron
birth control fails to stop bleeding
failure of birth control leads to prespription of Lupron.


are we outraged, yet?

Report Says Firm Sought to Cover Up Iraq Shootings - New York Times

Monday, October 01, 2007

bow to thee, sharon jones

She’s Not Anybody’s Backup Act - New York Times

true story:
new year's eve 2006, park west, chicago.

i'd bought two tickets to see sharon jones at the park west and since B- was in a snit (which can be read in the archives), i called up my friend E - in milwaukee. he was ecstatic, packed some vintage soul threads, and got on a bus to chicago. i met him at the station and we headed to lincoln park.

we're sort of hungry and there's plenty of time before the show so we duck into the tiny sushi restaurant next door to the park west and who do we find? sharon jones and the dap kings. and who does E- know? sharon jones and the dap kings.

they put on a great show and sharon jones kicks ass. the band is tight. (and are they hot? in that soul/funk/vintage/'we don't care about you hipsters' way, yes.)

i was on my feet all night and danced until they bled. afterward, they all signed an LP for me and we walked home in the frigid wind.

Thursday, September 27, 2007


Let’s just cut through the chaff and the chatter and the bull. It’s scary to be a woman. It’s not any scarier than being anything else, but it’s still scary as hell. When you’re a woman, you’re told from the start that you are born with something that will make other people want to harm you or chase you or put you in their car or trap you in a room or put their bodies inside you when you don’t want them to. You’re told that this thing you are, whatever this is you have, means you have to be super careful. You can’t bring the wrong kind of attention to yourself so you can’t be too loud, too friendly, too smart, too dumb, too happy, too sad, too pretty, too ugly, too fat, too hot, too … anything. The desire to act against you begins outside of you but somehow you’re in charge of deflecting it.

Being a woman is scary because you begin as a girl who knows that she’s prey.

Today in the lunchroom, a coworker said that they’d found Nailah Franklin’s body in the forest preserve in Calumet. A lump formed in my throat and my coworker’s eyes teared up. The lunchroom was silent while we thought about that beautiful woman’s last moments being at the hands of some fucking violent nutbag. Someone hunted her down and then killed her.

It’s a puzzle why this case should affect me when other missing woman cases haven’t quite. Maybe because it’s a Chicago woman; maybe because she’s black like me. Or was it that, by the black community’s standard of middle class success, she did everything right and I identified with her? Or that her family and friends seemed tight and loving and worried; or that Nailah looked like I could have worked with her or been to school with her or she could have been a friend. Whatever the reason, I felt this sad discovery keener than most.

I felt it because the discovery of this nude female’s body became an emblem of all the other nude female bodies found dumped in dense forest preserves across this country. Right now I’m feeling resigned sort of anger. Resigned because violence against women is a stamp of our DNA; it’s a sad recognition that, across all cultures, ideologies or nationalities, even if men stop making war against one another, they’ll always find time to kill or rape a woman.

Anger because my lizard brain wants to make some guy pay.

How can I explain what it’s like to live with the threat of violence against you?

· It’s like thinking, when you’ve had a particularly bad, nasty, bitter fight with your lover, you should be careful for the next few days just in case he shows up at your office and tries to throw gasoline on you and set you on fire.
· It’s like going on a date and deliberately writing down the guy’s name, phone number, address (which you’ve Googled) and his email address for your friends, just in case you disappear for a few days.
· It’s like being in the middle of making out and randomly thinking, if he tries anything I’ll smash his larynx. And then wondering if you really could.
· It’s like a reflex: when you get home, you turn completely around before opening your building’s door just to make sure a guy isn’t going to bash your head in and rape you in your foyer because all you can do is remember the Chicago woman who was raped and beaten 9 years ago exactly the same way, coming home from work in the middle of the afternoon in Wrigleyville.
· It’s like looking at my 7 year old niece and imagining everything that everyone is going to try and put on her narrow, innocent shoulders; how boys who think she’s pretty might get mad if she rejects them, how older boys and men might just look at her in ways that a grown man shouldn’t be looking at a girl and want to 'break her in', how she’ll be 'fresh meat' on a college campus, and wondering what the hell you can do, short of turning her into a ninja, that can prevent any of that from happening.
· It’s like looking at almost every guy and, though unfairly, expecting someone whose first recourse upon rejection will be to fuck. you. up.

It’s like turning into a soldier stationed in a hostile desert town seeing insurgents everywhere and feeling fucking pissed off because all you want is to fucking go home and not feel so beseiged like this anymore.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


in offices across the country, around holiday time, a ritual grinds into motion - that of pulling names from a hat and buying gifts that don't exceed $20 for people you sit with for 8 hours a day. Secret Santa.

well, today i started a new office tradition: ManSanta. with the idea that it's easier to pick a guy for someone else than for ourselves, we picked names out of a hat and vowed that we would, by christmas, find a guy for our person to have a holiday cocktail with.

the rules?
take it seriously, be thoughtful and really try to find a guy for the person you picked out of a hat.

let the ManSanta games begin.
try it in your office and let me know how it goes.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

i wrote the letter to my high school self today.
(nothing like doing your homework at the last minute.)

it went something like this:
pluck your eyebrows; boys are dumb (just kidding); accept you're a dork; stop listening to dad.

see? all better.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

father, may i?

it's no secret that i have an 'issue' with authority: dads, pastors, cops, bosses, presidents, boyfriends, bus drivers. it's all one thing: Authority. seeing the world divided into sheep and masters, i guess i'd rather not be a willing sheep.
some people think differently. some people think being a sheep is really great.

amanda marcotte has a link to a post by some waay fundamentalist sisters about the dangers of sending your christian daughters to college. her fisking is sharp and funny.

then i read from those two sisters about maturity and the role of an adult daughter still living with her parents and i had to fight down bile:

The sign of maturity isn’t that we simply “obey” our parents’ commands, but that we understand deeply what our parents’ hearts and goals are, and can anticipate and even exceed what they expect of us. A mature, adult daughter who deserves her parents’ trust most certainly isn’t the one who says, “I’m not a child anymore, Dad! I’m an adult! I’m old enough to decide for myself when to get up, and it’s not something you have authority over anymore!” (Literally, “I’m mature enough to demand my own way, and throw a tantrum and threaten to run away if I don’t get it!”) But she also isn’t the one who says, “Ok, ok, Dad, I’ll get up when you tell me to.” The mature daughter is the one that takes the initiative and says, “Dad, what time would you like me to get up? I know that spending time with your family before you leave for work is important to you, and I love that about you… so how can I help make it happen?” This is one thing that makes us different from mindless automatons with no wills of our own (which some girls seem mortally afraid of becoming.)

why does this make me spew?

because this is exactly what makes a great executive assistant (which i was for a while before i came to my senses and got the hell out.) to be the ideal assistant you have to completely evacuate your own identity; your ways, needs, sensibilities and wants are completely replaced by the routines, habits, desires and enmities of your Executive. the line separating the two of you, if the relationship works out to the Executive's advantage, begins to disappear.

your day begins by asking yourself, 'what will upset Executive this morning and what can i do to make sure that it doesn't? what will make Executive happy and what can i do to facilitate more of that happiness? who is Executive going to fire today and how can i make sure that person isn't me?'

your day is filled with wondering what Executive will want for lunch, if Executive knows how to get to the airport, if Executive can find his/her way to baggage claim without step by step directions and whether Executive will have to stand in line longer than necessary once Executive gets to the hotel. you even ponder the possibility of traveling with Executive just to make sure everything gets done the way Executive wants it.

you will be consumed with wondering if Executive noticed how long your lunch break was, if Executive will buy you a birthday gift and if Executive will notice that you supported the whole team and made that presentation happen at 10 pm while the rest of the team went home and Executive went home to Executive's spouse. the idea of taking a day off scares you; what will happen to Executive if you're home or on vacation? how will Executive accomplish anything?

you will know details of the Executive's life only a partner or family member would know and you would order the world of the Executive to cater to those details: favorite foods, allergies, likes/dislikes, anniversary dates, birthdays, number of children, second home location, social security number, credit cards, taxes, personal finances. as ideal Assistant it's your job to care for these things just like they're your own.

while the Executive is proud of the fact that 'his Susan' or 'his Ali' or 'her Cathy' runs the Executive's life for them, they are also unaware of the seething resentment and anger that will slowly build in their assistant until it's bribed away. at least, if Susan, Ali or Cathy had any sense of self-preservation, they'd be filled with resentment and anger. if they know no better they will acquiesce and sink into a gray little nothing who doesn't exist unless they have an Executive to serve.

those of us who quit being an assistant did so because we hated every single frakking minute of it; being subservient was foreign to our sense of identity and purpose. whenever we interviewed with other firms we were forced to say, honestly, 'i don't do deference very well.'

the sisters have an odd way of defining 'independence.' though they say that the virtuous daughter asks her Executive - uh, Father - what his wishes would be for her, the end result is that she obeys. the virtuous daughter's will is entirely subject to that of her patriarch. in history, we'd call that kind of social organization a fiefdom.

and that's what these two sisters are advocating: deference. service. servility. servant.

who would groom another human being to glory in that kind of personal abnegation?
and why would you say that it's what God wants?

Friday, September 14, 2007

agatha has returned: again, i share too much

technically, my fibroid has never gone away. i just liked the idea of ignoring it while pretending my low hemoglobin levels made everything a-ok. i also liked taking these neat birth control pills that would only allow me to ovulate 4 times a year. i had visions of uninterrupted sexual discourse. silly goose.

doctor's office called and now my entire holiday season (aka, the sexiest season of the year) will be a nightmare of stitches, cramps, pain medication and, uh, limited naked social interaction.

mark it, people. november 13. extraction day.

doctor's office also determined that whatever weird, thick, gloopy, bright red viscous-y period i'm on now is dangerous to my health and must be stopped, RIGHT NOW, like an Al-Qaeda operative on the lam. so they're going to give me something that will make my entire reproductive system shut down completely.

i wouldn't be so icked out if i didn't suspect that the forthcoming 'menopausal side effects' are going to make me completely insane:

hot flashes and night sweats
emotional changes such as mood swings or a change in sexual interest
sleep disturbances (insomnia)
drier skin and hair
increased growth of facial and body hair
aches and pains in the joints
palpitations (rapid, irregular heart beats)
generalised itching
vaginal changes – dryness, pain during intercourse, increased risk of infections
urinary symptoms – inability to control urination (incontinence), increased frequency of urinary infections
i'm basically going to transform into my dead, crazy mother, circa 1992, for the next two months. frakking fuck!

the west virginia attack: more commentary on the blogs

Black Woman Attacked, Sexually Assaulted, and Held Captive in West Virginia : Rachel’s Tavern

i'm going to keep an eye on this story because it is so very gross and heinous and i think it's a bizarre mark of something happening in our country.

i mentioned this story to a bunch of coworkers (and we're all progressive and feminist) and played up the whole Deliverance thing to make it a little more palatable for after-work drinks, but i think there is more to this than simple disgust with the South's Otherness.

i'll try to write more about this over the weekend, when i'm not at work.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

is this man supposed to look like an oompa loompa?

yes, i've hit the proverbial 'work wall.'
am brain dead and must go home.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

bitch talks shame and i share too much

Bitch Ph.D. had a fascinating thread about shame last week.
what things are Other People telling us to be ashamed of?
folks wrote about their abortions, their class conflicts, their secret envies, their bad habits, secret dreams, their lack of ambition, their overweening ambition. it was like eavesdropping on confessions.

so here's mine, in all their tawdry, shallowness - (some) things i really feel/want yet am ashamed to feel/want on some level because i think that I Oughtn't.

i should be ashamed of...

1. wanting to be hot. like super, duper, jennifer lopez HOT. (what feminist wants to be hot? i do.)
2. not being nurturing enough toward...others. (okay, everyone.)
3. being totally indifferent toward the welfare of children - like, when people say 'think of the children' i really really don't give a shit. not in some hipster ironic way. i really don't give a shit about kids.
4. not wanting to get an affordable condo in the southside of chicago because i know i would hate every second of living down there (and not really wanting my broke down aunt to know where i live.)
5. having no debt but still not being able to pass a credit check for an apartment.
6. being hyper competitive at work and wanting to WIN all the time.
7. REALLY wanting to be hot. like, make men drop in their tracks hot. if i had a fairy godmother, i'd ask to make me hot.
8. having a cleaning lady i write instructions to in spanish.
9. obsessing over things like Real Simple, Domino, Blueprint and Lucky mags and trolling for cute clothes online. i should be ashamed i'm a capitalist piglet!
10. secretly thinking of ways to be a progressive terrorist. (really. my mind goes there. 'if it was my personal mission to rid the world of anti-choicers, racists and misogynists how would i do it? hmmm.' you think i'm kidding but i'm not.)

i should tell my life coach about this exercise.

what the FRAK is this??

Woman tortured for at least a week, officials say -

stereotypes about the south aside (did you see the photos of the people arrested?), what the hell - ??!!

between the Jena 6 thing and this craziness, i'd say the south is experiencing a serious timewarp.

Update: a little more on the story here. it seems the folks who held her prisoner had more than one brush with the law. serious banjo-picking craziness, here.

and shakesville has a rather ranty post about it over here and someone wants to know why 'hate crime' and not 'act of terrorism'? (there's also a fleshed out baltimore article that you can find on shakesville, too.)

alas, a blog has a post on it here, too.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

so the coaching thing is in its third month. our last session was less than emotionally satisfying. in fact, if i had to put a word on it 'excruciating' would be exactly right.
revisiting the past is not good for me; not because there's Trauma, but because it's just...unproductive. who cares that i was a self-conscious dork in high school who hit the books hard rather than cultivate a spirit of openness and popularity? who cares that my emotional development seems to have hit the skids at about the same time that U2 played a concert on the roof of a building downtown?

(sidenote: my roommate and i have been avoiding more packing by watching season one of Dexter. more than once, she has whispered, 'if you turn out to be a serial killer, i will be really pissed off.' she has also taken to calling me Empty Vessel.

i'm not empty, i just react to things at a much lower frequency than other people...)

but my coach thinks it's something, so my homework assignment is to write a letter to my high school self. gack. just ... gack.

about not looking back to high school - there's nothing wrong with avoiding that period of one's life. unless you were at the top of the food chain, high school was fraught with fraughtness. every day was a social test: working in groups, lunch socializing, dances, school spirit days, presentations, performances. the only thing i liked doing was hanging out with my few friends, hanging out in the journalism room and listening to Monsy tell us about being a dyke in east la. (ok, and i liked to secretly compete with josh g. boys were either unrequited crushes or academic competition. they still are.) i liked going to class and being the dark horse that eventually skewed the curve; i liked being alone.

hm. no, i guess it's more accurate to say i accepted being alone.

anyway, my point is that i RESENT having to revisit a version of myself i've deliberately erased.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

aurora becoming new battlefield for reproductive health access

Groups join growing protest of Aurora Planned Parenthood clinic --

400 folks who like fetuses more than they like women to maybe 36 pro-choicers.
what's wrong with this picture?

why are there always more of them than there are of us?
is it because we don't have as much leisure time to cross state and county lines to hold a picket sign?
is it because we all have day jobs?


throw Planned Parenthood some support.
they need all the help they can get.

the bitch has spoken: how the hell do people do this??

Bitch Ph.D.

the lovely Bitch verbalizes my every fear. the frak am i going to pull my Generation X bullshit together when everything is SO very out of my reach?

my only hope is for a flaming meteorite to land on my father and pray that he hasn't signed everything over to his church ministry.

but thank you to Bitch for letting me know that i'm not the only one.

(oh, and the housing market on the west coast is outrageous. when my sister and bro in law decided to move from their duplex condo into a house, they spent over $650k for a tiny, post-war bungalow in mar vista, right under the flight path of the santa monica airport. it's a cute little house but my kitchen, my chicago apartment kitchen, is 3 times the size of theirs; they have two bedrooms and two kids; and for what they paid, they could have bought a penthouse condo in the middle of the city with enough left over to send one kid to peyton prep. or at least a very cute prairie style bungalow in oak park.)

but, really, how do people do this?

there's a couple in my office and they've been mooning about this fabulous condo they've seen. they're both in their early 20s and both of them are probably going to ask their parents for the downpayment. lucky them and their very liquid parents.

(yeah, i'm a little bitter.)

frak, man. the time to ask my parents for a downpayment loan was when dad was still working for the lapd and about to get a big promotion - back when i was in junior high, dude.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

work vent

a certain foundation for women in town has decided to take on economic empowerment...after other direct service (or more knowledgeable) organizations have been pretty much saying the same thing for years now.

(who knows this landscape better?: heartland alliance, united way, my organization, the eleanor foundation who at least did original research to earn their street cred, the urban league, women employed, the wbdc...what are these organizations? chopped liver??)

ok, it's a little bit of a peeve. but i can't help it!
last year they launched a $2 million dollar PR campaign about what it will take to stop violence against women (a project with doubtful impact since it just seemed to be about hosting kickass events but whatever) but now they're jumping on the economic empowerment issue - like they're the ones who discovered the issue! it so makes me mad.

this is what burns me up about them. they clearly have great media outreach (and i would be lying if i wasn't envious of that for the sake of my own organization) but they also come off like plantation mistresses. (yeah, i said it.)

they want to be known as THE advocate for women's issues - all of them. but they sort of just stand on the shoulders of the small, store-front organizations in communities of need (usually staffed by overworked and underpaid women of color) that actually do the WORK. they want the credit for being an advocate for women's issues but all they do, really, is hand out money and get great PR. let's not confuse that with getting the work done.

they're like that mad tv sketch about the 'nice white lady'. (thanks, feministing!)

but what's even worse about this foundation for women is they're the advocacy version of a big cock block; the attention that should be going to the organizations who do the work gets sucked up by the foundation that has nothing to do with the work other than the fact they want to co-opt it. as a result, smaller and needier women's organization have to fight for the crumbs the foundation deigns to brush off the table.

clearly, i'm not a fan. i don't care how many appearances a certain foundation makes on Chicago Tonight.