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Open Thread for Personal Stuff, December 2014 Cat Tree Edition

At We Hunted the Mammoth headquarters, the tree is already up.
At We Hunted the Mammoth headquarters, the tree is already up.

An open thread for personal stuff, continuing from here.

As usual for these threads: no trolls, no MRAs, no I’m-not-really-an-MRA-buts, don’t be mean.

 

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idledillettante
6 years ago

I’m getting into this personal stuff thread late, but that’s cause I didn’t want to hog too much of the spotlight.

My relationship with Daniel had been going better, since I found one of those leftist Orthodox synagogues like a few members of the commentariat told me about last time I wrote about my problems with Judaism here.

It still has a mechitza, a literal partition drawn in the space, and women do have to sit on their side of it. But the way it’s designed splits the room into equal halves. Here’s a picture so you can sort of get an idea.

http://www.hir.org/images_homepage/HIR_Interior.jpg

here’s another with people in it:

http://i.ytimg.com/vi/YLNtPLvZ87I/0.jpg

For me it makes a big difference that the bema’s accessible to women. They also have a woman in their clergy, whose title is “Rabba”. Her name is Sara Hurwitz, and I read that the chief rabbi of this community got himself into trouble ordaining her. He promised not to ordain any more women, so the shul is still Orthodox.

I hope that it’s Orthodox enough. Daniel seems happy with it, and I’m happy with it. I went there last Friday and it was definitely an improvement over the other shul I’d been attending. I could hear the women davening, for one; their voices mixing with the men’s in the space of the shul was a powerful experience. I started weeping when they sang Psalm 99, about how God loves justice and invented fairness. I can see equality being able to exist in a shul like the one I’ve found, whereas before I thought it would be impossible so long as a mechitza existed.

The one they have there is about four feet tall, so that one’s line of sight isn’t broken if you stand. It meant a lot to not have my line of sight broken by a mechitza, not having to stand on tiptoe to see over it, not hearing what the rabbi is saying b/c you’re too far away. And the ark and bema are accessible from both sides, which says something to me.

I won’t pretend this is ideal. Rav Avi’s only ordained the one Rabba, Sara, and the other women he ordains get this BS title “Maharat” now, because I think the Rabbincal Council of America would shun him if he ordains another female rabbi. And although the bema’s accessible, I’ve yet to see a woman sing at it. That said the place is still Orthodox in name, which Daniel finds important; and I finally feel excited about becoming Jewish again, as opposed to frightened and miserable with the choices which I’d been presented. This place I’m going to now is exceptional in the sense that there are plenty of Orthodox shuls which basically don’t care that their rules marginalize women.

Thanks everyone on WHTM for listening and giving me your advice before. I also want to share with you an article I wrote a few weeks ago about Misogyny in Orthodox Judaism. It concerns a recent news event about a rabbi peeping in his mikveh, and I thought it was a telling symptom of what’s wrong in most shuls. Here’s the link for that.

https://idleconvert.wordpress.com/2014/11/09/misogyny-in-orthodox-judaism/

grumpyoldnurse
6 years ago

@ idledillettante – I really hope that this works out for you. You sound so happy! 🙂

Puddleglum
6 years ago

@Dawn, I hope it gets better. When my depression rears up, if I can make myself do it, I take a B-complex vitamin. It really helps (eventually). And I go and read the Bloggess, who has some really amazing posts about depression.

@idledillettante – congrats! Fingers crossed it keeps working out.

@kittehserf – how was the reading overall? I’ve had good and bad experiences, but I’m frequently very skeptical (despite being a pagan, lol) so that often affects my experience.

kittehserf
6 years ago

Puddleglum – I was very pleased with the reading. I’ve had good and bad too, and was really hoping this would be a good one. I tend to be more apprehensive about other characters butting in (one did this time, but I told him out loud yeah, thanks, I’m not here to talk to strangers even if they are guides or whatever, butt out, I want to hear from my husband) or the medium having some stupid notions. This one was very good, though; she described what Louis was wearing, talked about the shit he had going on in his earthly life, both in terms of health, his character – a dry wit, an outdoor person, a worker and a fighter – and terms of the massive expectations on him (she didn’t know who he was or when his time was), to establish his credentials, and hers, I guess! He had tons to say, none of it what I expected; he was talking about my health and general situation with being out of work and stuff. He also cracked a very Louis joke about “Yes, but you so miss being in retail at Christmas!” Oh, and she asked if I’ve a tattoo of him on my arm (I had long sleeves on) ‘cos he was making hers itch like mad.

Dawn Incognito
Dawn Incognito
6 years ago

@mildlymagnificant

OK. How’s your vit D level? Wouldn’t normally occur to me but my last week’s blood test came back with such a low level they were ringing me madly to get me onto a super dose. I didn’t feel depressed, but a lot of people do when their level gets too low.

@Puddleglum

When my depression rears up, if I can make myself do it, I take a B-complex vitamin. It really helps (eventually). And I go and read the Bloggess, who has some really amazing posts about depression.

Vitamins! I’m making sure to have a B-heavy breakfast with a vitamin. Haven’t had my D level checked in awhile. I will ask my doctor about that once I find a new GP. Silly bodies and all their silly chemicals!

Puddleglum, thanks for the Bloggess req. I’ve never been to her site, but I’ll check it out.

@Glorious Leader David

Depression is a shitty, shitty thing (I’ve been there) but it does get better, even if while you’re in the midst of it it’s hard to imagine how.

Oh, it gets better. Then it gets worse again. Then better, then worse, rinse and repeat for 25 years now. It’s exhausting every time the valleys come ’round again, especially since from the valley you can’t see the peaks. I endure. Things will improve.

Thanks all for the hugs and well wishes. *snuggles*

Dawn Incognito
Dawn Incognito
6 years ago

I have (re)discovered Boggle the Owl and it is just what I needed today. Bless you, little owl.

http://41.media.tumblr.com/c7f73ae2703ba5f792f07074a502ff81/tumblr_msmo0zJYa31rr4zq1o2_1280.jpg

Falconer
6 years ago

Hugs for everyone! I’m sorry to hear about your grandfather, Katherine.

I hope your storm clears for you soon, Dawn.

@contrapangloss: You will be tempted to grow attached to Fives, Echo, and Tup. Try not to.

Falconer
6 years ago

Also, the guy doing Yoda (and the narration at the beginning of each episode) did Professor Yutonium (and the narration) on Power Puff Girls, which just blows my mind.

Puddleglum
6 years ago

@kittehserf, sorry to take so long to respond, I let my sick kidlet use my pc last night, lol. I’m glad the reading went so well! Sounds like she gave you a lot to think about, hopefully most of it good?

kittehserf
6 years ago

Puddleglum, I hope your kidlet’s getting better today!

She did, or rather I’d say he did since she was passing on Louis’s advice and encouragement – which is what it was about, mostly: him prodding me! I felt almost teary-vulnerable going away because it took me a bit by surprise that he was focussed on serious stuff (though why wouldn’t he be? Duh) but later it was WHOOT! because it’s been a long while since I’ve had confirmation like that, and having him at the front of my mind is always good. Even if he is prodding me to do stuff. 🙂

Puddleglum
6 years ago

Confirmation that your loved ones love you is always good!

contrapangloss
6 years ago

Falconer, why?!

(In other words, too late.)

I knew I shouldn’t have succumbed to curiosity… Can I just pretend you didn’t imply that they’re going to die horrific deaths, and stop watching now so I never have it confirmed? And Anakin never turned, and Ahsoka never has to worry about Skyguy going all darkside and “I’m Totally in Love hence Broody, Possessive Scariness”, and Palpatine started wearing a neon sign of “Dark Lord of Sithiness: Never trust me!” and there were hugs and puppies all around?

Kittehs, that sounds sweet. 🙂

Katherine, more hugs if desired!

kittehserf
6 years ago

Puddleglum, contrapangloss, thanks! It is indeed. 🙂

kittehserf
6 years ago

I love it! The NiceEmployee(TM)!

kittehserf
6 years ago

So, all the cat-owned here know how kitties do Cute, rolling on their backs, little paws tucked up, big kitty eyes …

Well, tonight we’re on the couch watching telly and suddenly Mr K, who’s been stretched out with his arm propped on my leg rolls over and does Cute, even batting his lashes at me.

That man’s spent entirely too much time around kitties!

emilygoddess - MOD
emilygoddess - MOD
6 years ago

It’s a little old at this point, but if there are any Pratchett fans (particularly Aussie ones) who haven’t seen it, I present a short and silly Discworld fan film: Run, Rincewind, Run!

Pterry himself makes an appearance, if that sweetens the pot.

emilygoddess - MOD
emilygoddess - MOD
6 years ago

Link borked. Trying again.

gilshalos
6 years ago

OK, my timesense is seriously borked due to naps at rabndom times.
Woke up thinking it was 1600 and found out when I turned on my computer it was 0900.

kittehserf
6 years ago

Remember that beautiful embroidered silk doublet I posted in the last thread? Well, I wanted to make a picture of it being worn, and now I have … the band and cuffs and ribbons are all photos of other surviving clothing of the time. The frame is part of an original. The model, well, no prizes for guessing! He’s a lot older than he would have been when this style was in fashion, but I don’t make pictures of him as a 20-something. I’m pretty sure this pic’s going to be way big on the page, but I’m not reducing it, I’m not …

~~~

~~~

~~~

http://i.imgur.com/BGqkGm6.png

Skye
Skye
6 years ago

Adding my contribution to the various barrels of hugs and cuddly animals. I’m sorry so many of you are going such awful stuff and hope things get better soon.

Congrats to those who are doing well.

Things are ok on my end. I accidentally killed my phone, so I’ve been absent a while (& still haven’t read all the longer threads in the last 3 weeks). The worst part was losing all the pictures I had on my phone that I intended to put on my PC, but never got around to it.

Question (especially for parents/grandparents/caretakers/those w/childhood education background:
Firstborn was playing with a truck and fell on the tile. He was ok, but he seemed to be angry about crying a little. When I asked him about it, he said his teacher (@ daycare) said “big boys don’t cry.” Further questioning revealed this was said in the context of him having a fit after being told not to throw toys. I tried to explain that crying when he is sad or hurt is ok, but throwing a fit when he is asked to be good is not. Does anyone have ideas/suggestions for how to handle this better if it happens again? I don’t want to stunt him emotionally and feel that not being allowed to cry is very toxic to men and boys (& he’s not even 3 yet), but I do want a distinction made between legitimate sorrow/hurt/etc vs “I can’t do everything I want.” I don’t want him to be an entitled jerk when he grows up.

Sorry for the long post

Skye
Skye
6 years ago

Nice pic, kittehs

Buttercup Q. Skullpants
Buttercup Q. Skullpants
6 years ago

Beautiful, kittehs! You really do have a talent for portaiture. How lucky that you’ve got such an eager model! 🙂

Hi Skye – I’ve been struggling with this issue as well, with my two boys. I’m terrified that in spite of my best efforts, my boys will grow up to be like the repellant specimens who frequent the PUA and MRA board. So much media depicts harmful views of masculinity, even at this early age (for example, that emotions are gendered – anger for boys, tears for girls).

I’ve been trying to work with them on acceptable ways to express anger, and to know when anger is appropriate. For instance, lately Twin #2 has been getting mad at me whenever I lecture him about his misbehavior (pouring orange juice on the floor, grabbing the candy at the grocery store). He flings my own words back in my face: “That’s rude, Mommy, that hurts my feelings, you made me angry!” It’s hard not to read that as gaslighting and emotional manipulation…but you have to remember, it’s abusers that speak the language of three year olds, not vice versa. The goal is to keep them maturing beyond age three.

A few things I’ve been working on are:

1. Empathy. It’s been helpful to constantly point out whenever they’ve hurt someone, and when someone else is hurt (their brother, a friend, a character in a book or movie). I ask them to help “make it better” by giving a hug or saying sorry or getting ice and bandaids. They’re slowly starting to learn that their actions have effects on other people. I’m trying to help them be more emotionally aware by checking in with how they’re feeling, talking about what facial expressions mean, asking them what made them sad and what made them happy today, and so forth.

2. Responsibility. Take advantage of their natural willingness to imitate grownups and help out around the house. At this age they love to set the table, “wash” windows with spray bottles of water, sweep, weed, bake, swish dishes in soapy water, etc. I don’t make any distinctions between “men’s work” and “women’s work”. It gives them a sense of responsibility and helps them see that running a house takes teamwork; it’s not all up to one person to cater to them while they sit on the couch eating chips.

3. Acceptable and unacceptable ways of expressing anger. Still a work in progress, but I’m gradually getting them to use words as their go-to way of expressing anger, instead of physically lashing out.

4. I’m trying not to get into the whole “X is for girls, Y is for boys” thing. I get that gender identity is still fluid for preschoolers (until around age 6, a lot of them think they can change from being a boy to a girl at will) and that they gravitate to rigidly stereotyped toys, clothes, etc. as a way of helping themselves define their identity, but we as parents don’t need to feed into that.

5. Basic manners. Good manners are all about making others feel comfortable around you, whether it’s table manners, introductions, or being a gracious party host and ensuring that guests have a good time. Most MRAs seem not to have mastered that skill and regard manners as wimpy mangina rules imoosed on them by feminists, but they’re crucial to getting along in the working world and in life.

Good luck – civilizing kids is a long, long process!

grumpyoldnurse
6 years ago

@ Skye – I think you’ve hit the nail on the head! That is, reinforce the idea that it’s OK to cry if you’re legitimately scared or hurt, but we don’t use our emotions to hurt or manipulate others. It’s too bad that your daycare provider wasn’t a little more clear in the distinction (extending benefit of the doubt, here, to assume the teacher meant this, but wasn’t clear when dealing with a fit throwing pre-schooler).

@ Buttercup – I share your fear that my boy will grow up to be a manoshperian! Gah! Horrors! Just as bad, what do I do if my girl falls for one of these douchenozzels? (actually, I might cop out there, and let her daddy handle things. mwhahahaha!)

@ kittehserf – gorgeous pic!

Skye
Skye
6 years ago

Thank you, Buttercup Q Skullpants and Grumpyoldnurse. I have the same fear. Whatever they become, I want them to be caring, kind and empathetic people. I would be devastated if they became like the horrible folks we read about here.

Firstborn is actually pretty empathetic already, which is good. I’m trying to strengthen that. Second born is only about 10 weeks, so he’s still working on learning physical things like better head control. 🙂

As to the daycare, it’s generally an accepting place w/o strict gender roles, so I think it was a comment made in the heat of a toddler meltdown and the hope that Firstborn’s strong desire to be seen as a big boy (as opposed to his brother the baby) would help him calm down. Unfortunately, toddlers have no concept of nuance and the more rigid ‘boys don’t cry’ is so pervasive in our culture

ryeash
6 years ago

Soooo…I’ve gone to all the irl supports I can with this and have mostly been told I’m being overly sensitive because of my prior abuse. Had a regular at the coffee shop I’m working at come in today. Really friendly Marine vet, usually comes in with his girlfriend. I was on lunch, and they saw me through the window and waved. He comes in and makes a beeline for me, grabs my arm and yanks me half off my stool to kiss me on the cheek. Okay, fine, kind of thrown off by that seeing as I’m a newer barista there, but whatever.

I go to ask a co-worker for a cigarette after I finished my lunch because I locked my keys in my car with my cigarettes on my previous smoke break. The guy’s standing there waiting for his drink. He reaches out and touches the ruffles on my skirt–which are on my thigh–and makes a comment about how ruffles used to be handmade and a sign of a good seamstress. I kind of flinch back because that’s just what the fuck I do when people touch me unexpectedly. Directly after that reaction, he reaches out and touches a button on my coat that happens to be located on my left breast and makes a comment about it being loose (which it is, but what the actual fucking shit).

Am I far off in thinking that was completely inappropriate? And it’s great, because I can’t even say anything at work. He comes in all the time, and everyone loves him, and I’ve been there all of two months. Plus that can all be totally passed off as “over-friendliness” and/or over-sensitivity on my part. It’s great. Everything is fantastic. Excuse me while I go kill some pixels and brain cells.

emilygoddess - MOD
emilygoddess - MOD
6 years ago

Ryeash, first of all, you have every right to be uncomfortable even if someone’s intentions are innocent. Second, you should trust your instincts. Odds are this guy knows exactly what he’s doing, and has been “accidentally” pushing women’s boundaries for ages and getting away with it by being, as you said, friendly and beloved. It’s not uncommon for abusers to cultivate a charming and likeable exterior – all the better to make sure their victims aren’t believed because “he’s such a nice guy”.

I wish I had some advice for you. Would you feel safe saying something like “I’m really uncomfortable with being touched” and playing it off like it’s a hangup of yours rather than anything he’s doing wrong? That’s worked for me before. Of course, he might get angry or pushy, but then at least you’ll know for sure it’s not an innocent mistake…

If you’ve not read The Gift of Fear, I recommend it. The tl;dr version is that your instincts are usually right.

ryeash
6 years ago

I was kind of thinking of going with that when I speak to my GM about it. I really just don’t want that to happen again. I’m not there for touching, especially like that.

kittehserf
6 years ago

Skye, Buttercup, grumpyoldnurse, thank you!

kittehserf
6 years ago

ryeash, yes, that’s totally inappropriate. He has no business touching you whatever his intentions. NONE.

thebewilderness
6 years ago

That d00d is totally testing your boundaries to see how much you will tolerate. I personally make the sign of the cross with my fingers and say “no touching” when people reach for me. That way they can laugh it off while getting the message loud and clear. If a scene gets made they are the ones making it.

Skye
Skye
6 years ago

Ryeash, I’m sorry you suffered abuse. Whatever happened was not ok and I want to make that abundantly clear.

I do want to say that this guy has no right to touch you w/o your permission and you have every right to feel uncomfortable with what he’s done. This statement would be true even if you had never suffered abuse.

I like Emilygoddess’s framing of things when talking to him or to your GM or someone who could stop this. Hopefully that works. I’m sorry you have to deal with this.

Skye
Skye
6 years ago

Also, I hate that women (& often kids) get pushback seemingly all the time for setting their own boundaries. People have no right to say so-and-so is “just overly friendly” and you are “too sensitive” when you want to limit how much and in what ways someone else can touch you. That is pure BS

kittehserf
6 years ago

Whoa yeah about the pushback. Creepy BiL of a friend once planted his hand on my back and when I told him to keep his hands to himself he went and whined to my friend about how no woman had spoken to him like that since his ex-wife. Yeah, well power to her for being your ex, slimefest.

Skye
Skye
6 years ago

Kittehserf, what a charmer. I hope your friend took your side in that

kittehserf
6 years ago

Skye, would you believe she was asking me to apologise for upsetting him! She didn’t even like the PoS and she knew he was a handsy creep. I presume she was getting shit from him or her sister.

No, I didn’t apologise; in fact I think I managed never to set eyes on him again.

Skye
Skye
6 years ago

Ugh. This part is good though; “No, I didn’t apologise; in fact I think I managed never to set eyes on him again.”

Policy of Madness
Policy of Madness
6 years ago

I know I’m late but I want to chime in to agree with everyone else: ryeash, it’s not okay for this guy to be putting his hands on you. In fact, I’m a believer that it is NEVER okay for one person to touch another person without permission in the absence of some kind of emergency. This no-touch policy extends to anything that is in direct contact with my body, such as my clothes or my jewelry.

I agree with everyone who said that his intentions are probably not innocent, but his intentions are irrelevant in this situation. His actions are not okay regardless of his intentions.

It’s okay to do whatever you need to do to set a boundary with this guy, and with anyone else who might feel overly entitled to handle your clothes and body. I hope your managers have your back on this one. You’re not being oversensitive and any history of abuse you may have is not relevant; you’d have the same right to set boundaries if you’d never been abused. Your IRL “supports” who are telling you otherwise are not actually being supportive. They’re being dismissive. That’s not okay of them.

mildlymagnificent
6 years ago

OK. Nthing everyone else who’d commented on this, ryeash.

You are the one who sets your boundaries for yourself. Doesn’t matter whether you, or someone else, or the whole bloody world thinks your boundaries are a reflection of abuse. The first response here is, so bloody what! Most women who’ve experienced no abuse at all would set exactly the same boundaries. And so would those who’ve experienced less than/more than you have. It’s perfectly ordinary for people not to want touching at work (or in most places).

I do think using the “ward off the evil eye” crossed fingers as an easy way to insist on that boundary could be useful if you’re up for it. Usually I use it when I’m crook with a cold and I ward off others getting close enough to catch it – but I’ve seen lots of people use it at various times.

Policy of Madness
Policy of Madness
6 years ago

I also want to say something that I meant to say the first time but I see that I didn’t: even if you were being oversensitive due to past abuse, your overly-sensitive boundaries would be okay! “Don’t touch my boob, near-perfect stranger” is a reasonable boundary regardless of the source of your discomfort! What if it is making you uncomfortable only because of past abuse? Why would that make it no okay for you to set reasonable boundaries?

What I’m trying to say is that your history of abuse does not delegitimize your boundaries. Having boundaries because: past abuse is a legit reason to have boundaries.

grumpyoldnurse
6 years ago

@ ryeash – Take what I’m about to say with a BIG grain of salt! What you’ve just described put the hairs at the back of my neck up. Seriously.

Warning! This is another gon TMI moment! I have a patient at work that was doing similar minor boundary pushing with me for months (I work in an outpatient setting where people come in for treatment repeatedly). I brushed it off, because ‘oversensitive abuse survivor’ is a thing I totally understand. Then, one day, dude assaults me, and I find out I’m not the only one. My manager was super awesome about it, and has instituted measures to protect the other nurses, but I’m still kind of messed up from it. I wish I had listened to my little warning voice and kept my distance from creepy d00d!

TL;DR – your safety is paramount. Please listen to your instincts. You have developed them to insure your own safety.

weirwoodtreehugger
6 years ago

Well wishes for any Aussie Mammotheers who might be effected by the scary hostage situation in Sydney.

Predictably, the American gun fellator crowd are going on about how this might have been prevented if Australia didn’t have such gun control, leaving the victims unable to defend themselves. Never mind that they have one of the lower rates of gun homicide. Far lower than the US.

grumpyoldnurse
6 years ago

Seconding WWTH’s well wishes!

emilygoddess - MOD
emilygoddess - MOD
6 years ago

I hope our Sydney Mammotheers are doing alright. And a big tip of the hat to Sydney and everyone else for the #illridewithyou campaign – it says a lot about Australia as a country that you’re being so proactive against what’s sure to be a big wave of anti-Muslim sentiment.

Falconer
6 years ago

@contrapangloss:

Yep. La la la, they all lived happily ever after.

http://38.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m7blp6zWoS1r5rlago1_500.png

maistrechat
6 years ago

Weird cat-parenting question:

one of our cats has started scratching at the door to our condo every night. We’ve ended up building a series of increasingly elaborate fortifications to prevent this, but after a night or two he figures out how to dismantle them and goes back to scratching at the door. Any ideas on how to stop this behavior?

I supposed it’s better than his old habit of opening the kitchen cabinets and throwing the contents on the floor, or his slightly more recent habit of repeatedly opening the cabinet doors and banging them shut but he’s still making it impossible to sleep and it’s starting to damage the door.

weirwoodtreehugger
6 years ago

Is your cat related to mine? Darrow does this stuff all the time and I have yet to figure out how to deter him.

kittehserf
6 years ago

I just read that the Sydney siege ended in a shootout – the scumbag criminal (yes, he was known to police) and two hostages are dead.

weirwoodtreehugger
6 years ago

Darrow disapproves of me using the computer instead of feeding himcomment image:large

kittehserf
6 years ago

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! The Laser Eyes of Doom!