Year: 2008

HNY

Posted by – December 31, 2008

A very happy New Year!

I still have very limited internet access here in snowy Wisconsin, but should be up & running at home by Saturday. Hopefully, fingers crossed. If you’re trying to get a hold of me, for whatever reason, please be patient.

Engineering Cats

Posted by – December 30, 2008

For your amusement, while we’re driving:

(h/t to Sandy for this one!)

and here’s one for the dog folks (h/t to Lena):

Kenosha Again

Posted by – December 29, 2008

Not only are we in Kenosha again, but we’re staying at the same hotel (which was planned) *and* in the exact same room (which was not planned). The boys have been fantastic, mostly sleeping for the trip. & I’m glad to say this is the last overnight before we end up in our home-for-six-months. Betty of course has been an amazing driver.

I, on the other hand, am sick as a dog. I got my flu shot, so I’m assuming it’s just a bad cold. I hope so, anyway. Drinking a lot of tea, sucking on Ricolas, sleeping on Nyquil. It’s not a real pleasure to travel like this but as someone who is allergic to everything I am way too used to being congested a lot. I’m sure it’ll be over in the next day or so. Hopefully. Classes start 1/5 so I have a little time to get well, at least.

& In the meantime, a very happy 10th anniversary to my sister and brother in law! 10 years ago I was newly married and in Vegas for their wedding, and if you’d told me then that in 10 years I’d be in a hotel room in Kenosha… okay, I might’ve believed you. I’d done enough inexplicable, unexpected things in my life by then that Wisconsin wouldn’t have been *that* surprising, but now I’m trying to think of what woudl have been.

Thanks all for your good wishes. We do the short drive (2+ hours) to Appleton tomorrow.

Leaving (Not on a Jet Plane)

Posted by – December 28, 2008

So how many of you will be humming that song the rest of the day now?

We’re leaving today for Appleton, Wisconsin, where I’ll be living for the next six months. It’s so odd that I have never lived anywhere other than the NYC area my entire life, only to end up living in Wisconsin for months at at time, to teach. It’s surprised me, in a good way.

We do an overnight near Akron, OH, & then another in Kenosha, WI.

I am really looking forward not just to teaching but to being back in Appleton. I really enjoyed my last stay there, & I really loved the area around Lawrence. What is weird is that I remember feeling sad when I left, but pleased to get back to Brooklyn, and now I’m doing all those feelings in reverse: feeling sad to be leaving my much-loved Brooklyn, but excited to be going back. I have decided that I have to figure out a way not to miss things so much, or to be as sad about leaving, and focus more on the going to than the coming from, but then I’ve always been a little bit this way: melancholy & maybe a little sentimental.

Either way, the boys are coming with me, and I’ll be incredibly busy, and that is an excellent combination for me.

By the time you’re reading this, we will have started the long Westward Ho that is the state of Pennsylvania. We’ll end the day just on the other side of Ohio’s state line.

Packing

Posted by – December 27, 2008

Okay, then.

I am packed for six months for me & the boys: six pieces of luggage, three boxes, two crates, two backpacks, and one laundry thingy. Plus Betty’s stuff, the cats in one carrier, & some other odds & ends (litterbox, cat food). Good thing we rented an SUV, no?

We also cleaned the apt for the catsitter.

The worst thing about being Helen Boyd just now is knowing I have to bring a ton of my books because no one else will have copies – like Esther Newton’s Camp & Rottnek’s Tomboys & Sissies. The books are one crate, and one of the boxes is photocopies of handouts of other chapters & essays on gender.

But other than that, I’m ready. Just have to pack the computer & the cats tomorrow. We leave at 10am.

Bumpit

Posted by – December 27, 2008

Here’s my nomination for weirdest product of the year, but the best part of the website isn’t the godawful promo videos, which are hilarioius, but the * on the Instructions page that actually says:

* Bumpits are not edible.

Yours?

Douglass

Posted by – December 26, 2008

One of the partners on our MHB boards mentioned recently that she’d never apply for an LGBT scholarship, because she doesn’t identify as LGBT, and it reminded me that I never told the story about me & the LGBT Blogger Initiative Conference I went to.

It seems I am perplexing to people, & I felt a little bit like an odd duck while I was there. It came up because at some point, someone announced that grants might become available for LGBT bloggers, and a few people told me that they hoped I would get one. But someone also mentioned that they could see others have an issue with the fact that I’m not LGB or T. My standard response these days is – “I’m the Q that gets left off a lot.”

But still it’s an issue that has come up, & may come up even moreso that I’m thinking about going back to grad school. Will I choose, like the partner above, not to apply for any LGBT scholarships? As a sort of liminal queer, probably I wouldn’t, except that then there’s the whole issue of what I do & what I’d want to study – which is all about the LGBT, and the T in particular.

The other question I was asked, which I’ve been asked before, is why? Why the trans community? & To be honest, I just don’t know. I was charmed by my very first meetings with trans people, & continue to have a deep love for the trans community & for trans people. Aside from my Debsian sense of social justice, that is.

Tim McFeeley did a wonderful “short history of the LGBT movement” (which I was pleased to note I knew cold!) as a workhop that Sunday morning, and he closed with a quote by Frederick Douglass:

When I ran away from slavery, it was for myself; when I advocated emancipation, it was for my people; but when I stood up for the rights of women, self was out of the question, and I found a little nobility in the act.

That’s my answer & I’m sticking to it.

Merry Christmas!

Posted by – December 25, 2008

A very Merry Christmas to all! (Not safe for work!)

To the Femmes

Posted by – December 24, 2008

As a little Christmas present to my lovely wife, and to all of you lovely femmes out there, I thought I’d post this lovely piece I found about a month ago & have been meaning to link to.

= and =

Does anyone else find it odd that Valkyrie comes out tomorrow? I mean, a movie about Hitler on the same day that all the Jewish folks go to the movies? Okay, it’s about killing Hitler, but still.

= and =

Merry Christmas Eve!

Story

Posted by – December 24, 2008

One of my Christmas presents to myself is the news that this journal picked up a piece of mine that will show up in their Spring issue. It’s called “Cat of Nine Tale” — and yes, it is about DO & Aurora.

Working on this piece was one of the very many things I was doing this fall that kept me busy.

Girl Reader

Posted by – December 23, 2008

From an article in the December 2008 Atlantic Monthly about why teen girls love vampires:

The salient fact of an adolescent girl’s existence is her need for a secret emotional life – one that she slips inot during her sulks and silences, during her endless hours alone in her room, or even just when she’s gazing out the classroom window while all of Modern European History, or the niceties of the passé composé, sluice pasat her. This means that she is a creature designed for reading in a way no boy or man, or even grown woman, could ever be so exactly designed, because she is a creature whose most elemental psychological needs – to be undisturbed while she works out the big quetions of her life, to be hidden from view while still in plain sight, to enter profoundly into the emotional lives of others – are met precisely by the act of reading.

I don’t agree with the gendered conclusion she comes to, but I thought it was a nice description of reading, especially of reading novels, especially when you’re a child or young teenager. At least it described me somewhat, right down to the passé composé (which I did manage to pick up, eventually).

I remember reading a theory once that young female readers figure out how to masturbate sooner than their peers, exactly because they’re used to & look forward to time alone.

Happy Chanukah

Posted by – December 22, 2008

Tonight is the first night of Chanukah: peace to all of my Jewish friends who will light that first meaningful candle tonight. Chanukah lasts 8 nights, which means this year it will last past the 12 days of Christmas, up until the 29th. (That’s for those of you who aren’t Jewish/don’t live in New York.)

Tune In

Posted by – December 22, 2008

Tune in tonight to TransFM for the special “12 Days of Christmas” greeting from us!

Nobody Says It Better

Posted by – December 21, 2008

Rachel Maddow on the Rick Warren decision:


Ready for WI

Posted by – December 19, 2008

So I’m crazy, apparently, full on. Today it snowed and sleeted and hailed in Brooklyn, but mostly it started as snow, & it was beautiful to wake up with our trees – out the front window & the back – outlined so beautifully with the stuff. I really do love the snow.

I had an appointment to get my haircut, which meant I had to go out in it, too, so I put on my new winter boots (and coat, and hat, and scarf, and gloves) and walked to my appointment about a half a mile (10 blocks) away. The one thing I noticed is that I’m not so gingerly on the icy snow anymore; I walked in it so much last winter, in WI, and I find it funny to see my fellow NYers moving along very, very slowly.

The boots held up well, & Betty says I look like Wheeler, now, so I’m ready to go. I really do love the snow and the cold, love it. It makes me feel alive in a way that’s pretty astounding.

Congrats to Diego Sanchez

Posted by – December 18, 2008

Congratulations to Diego Sanchez for his new appointment as Barney Frank’s senior policy advisor.

There are misgivings, of course, precisely because Sanchez has worked with HRC & crossed picket lines in SF to speak at an HRC dinner (when even the SF mayor wouldn’t).

(I’m going to agree with Courtney, who wondered aloud on the MHB forums, as to whether or not Frank will be comfortable sharing a bathroom with him.)

Party with MHB

Posted by – December 18, 2008

Some of the lovely folks at the MHB forums went out tonight for a little holiday gathering – dinner & conversation followed by drinks at a bar on 14th Street – and it was truly lovely.

Thank you all for coming. Because of Betty’s ongoing dental surgeries, and her broken foot, we haven’t been out in a long time, so it felt really great to be out & about, chatting with folks we knew & some we got to meet tonight.

Tomboys

Posted by – December 17, 2008

How exciting is this? A book called Tomboys: A Literary and Cultural History.

Random page quotes:

“The link between childhood tomboyism and adult homosexuality might seem to have eradicated this code of conduct from American literature and culture, but the late 1950s and the decade of the 1960s actually witness the release of a considerable number of tomboy-themed novels and films.”

I suppose this is what makes me a freak, but I’m going to devour this one. Yay! Tomboys!

Holiday Angst

Posted by – December 16, 2008

There is something about the Christmas season that makes you think about life in sad ways.

I had a friend visiting not too long ago who had just heard that a friend of hers had decided to have a baby despite the fact that she didn’t have a husband. She kept repeating how sorry she felt for her, not to have had a husband and father, and all I could think was that she did have her child, who was healthy, and she had a good job to be a single parent – she’s a teacher – and that life comes with a lot of goddamn compromises.

I think about my lovely set of friends from high school and so many have had unfortunate surprises in their lives: babies born with serious medical conditions, boyfriends in near-fatal accidents, people who wanted children & didn’t have them (yet), people who didn’t and who did. There are so many ways things can go a little awry, or a lot awry, but I found myself feeling a little angry at the pity my friend was expressing, maybe because I’ve felt that kind of pity directed at me, although not from her, because I married someone trans.

So I’ve been thinking this winter about how to make room in my life for other people’s decisions in a way that really is fair to them. I’m tired of feeling like everyone’s a control freak, as if we all know better than others about what they need or should have. I’m not sure what the answer is but as we all get ready to see old friends and family I thought it might be something to think about.

Life is not easy, but it’s definitely that much harder when you can feel someone’s judgement on the back of your head.

Please Donate

Posted by – December 15, 2008

If you like what we’re doing here & can help us keep doing it, please donate. Thank you so much.