Monday, October 14, 2013

What I teach my daughter about the "B" word

I'm not exactly what most people would call a feminist. You won't catch me protesting about glass ceilings or demanding my daughter have to sign up for selective service. I have never intentionally lit my undergarments on fire. I'm proud to be a stay-at-home mom, which was my dream job starting when I was very young. Having said all that, I do have my moments of fierce feminism.
Women were the last group of people to have their right to vote established by law in this country. People tend to brush that off without looking at the deeper meaning. It isn't just that we were viewed as weaker and without the intelligence to make informed voting choices. We were viewed as a possession. We were the property of our father until we married and then became a possession of our husband. Sometimes that meant being treasured beyond all riches, and sometimes that mean being treated no better than a stray dog.
It is that last part that I want to drive home. What do we call a stray female dog? It is the kind of dog that has been hurt by people so it cowers and growls and snaps at everyone. Some people respond by beating the dog down further. It is the most despised off all dogs. When you equate a woman to this animal you do more than insult her. You dehumanize her. You put her on the level of discarded property. When you look at it that way, does any man have the right to do that to a woman? Should any woman do that to another?
Just pointing all this out gets me called this word I despise. Why? Because I don't back down. I will not accept it. Words have meanings. Just because you don't think of that meaning when you use it, doesn't change that.
Today my daughter stopped a friend from calling another girl this name. The part that I'm most proud of is that Nix didn't even know the girl being talked about. She took a stand against the casual use of that word.
I have always taught my children that words like that are for people with small vocabularies. With that in mind, I made this handy word cloud of adjectives you can use in place of the "B" word.

Remember, when you resort to common name calling it means you have already lost the argument.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Minecraft Pumpkin

My son asked me back in September if you could buy a square pumpkin. It didn't take me long to figure out what my geekling was actually after. He wanted a Minecraft pumpkin for Halloween. I decided that this would be a fun project to obsess over and ignore chores for.
Step 1: Buy a medium sized square box, 4 different colors of orange, 2 browns and black craft paint. Get out a large ruler and a pencil. (I found the perfect size box at Walmart for less than a dollar.)

Step 2: Get over specific and search the internet for examples (none found? how is that possible?) and then move to pictures to be your guide.  Find this one and print it out.
Step 3: Make a numeric code for colors and plot out a grid like a detail obsessed dork.

Step 4: Draw out grid and numbers onto your box. Make sure you mark one side for the face.

Step 5: Use an exacto knife to carve out a face on one side.

Step 6: Paint until all your dishes are dirty and no one has clean underwear.

Step 7: Glue the top and bottom of the box shut and then paint the top remembering that this grid should contain the stem in the middle. 

Congratulations! You now have the coolest 8 bit cardboard pumpkin ever. 

The good things about this project are no pumpkin guts, it won't rot, and I can save it for next year.
The bad things are that the painting gets tedious if you don't space it out and you can't put a real candle in it (that one isn't too bad because the fake pumpkin lights are pretty cheap)
Learn from my mistakes. Think about what side you put the face on before you carve it. Mine ended up on a side where you see the edges of the top. It would look better if I had done it on a side where the fold was. And yes, I could have just changed which flap folded to the top, but two of the box flaps were printed with a large black UPC which would have been hard to paint over. 

Update: I realized after posting that I didn't have a picture of the top grid layout, which is very different from the sides. Here is the layout I used. 

In case you can't figure out my complicated code, 1-4 are the oranges with 1 being the lightest. B = black DB = dark brown, and LB = heliotrope ... or maybe that was light brown, I forget.

UPDATE: Check out the one I did for 2014

Saturday, October 05, 2013

A Personal Victory

I've got this running group of awesome women that let me come and walk behind them. At times, through no fault of theirs, I feel a bit like a sidekick. They talk of marathons and triathlons and I shake my head knowing I would never willingly do any of that. We've picked up a few more walkers recently to keep me company. It has been good for me. My appetite increases on those days and my old leg muscles are starting to appear again. 
I'm not sure what got into me, but I decided that I needed to do a 5K. I guess all the race talk in the group was contagious. Lucky for me, one of my favorite local charities, Whispering Hope, planned a 5K run or walk. It was going to be an evening race in October. Perfect! (I forgot I lived in Georgia. At 5 tonight it was still 85.)
I've had a infuriating amount of stomach trouble lately, so making it through this race was important to me. My goal was to take less than a full hour and to not be last. I met those goals in 45 minutes. I also managed to pass 7 people who were runners and sprint the home stretch. I finished before the woman carrying a baby in a sling and an elderly man who may or may not have been having a stroke. 
I might have finished behind a few senior citizens, several women running with strollers, and a dog, but I finished. My feet and legs feel like they are humming, but I finished. I got my first bib number and a race shirt and a new appreciation for runners. 
Oh, and by the way, I finished!