Weekly Open Thread with a Brown Pelican on Blue

This week’s extended* Open Thread features a member of the species Pelecanus occidentalis, which to antipodean eyes looks terribly exotic (our pelicans look very different). Please natter/chatter/vent/rant on anything you like (within reason and local custom*) over this weekend and throughout the week.

A Brown Pelican perched on weathered timber with a bright blue sky behind it at Redondo Pier - Southern California

Image shared by Ingrid Taylar on Flickr (CCL 2.0)

So, what have you been up to? What would you rather be up to? What’s been awesome/awful?
Reading? Watching? Making? Meeting?
What has [insert awesome inspiration/fave fansquee/guilty pleasure/dastardly ne’er-do-well/threat to all civilised life on the planet du jour] been up to?

* My headcold from hell progressed to laryngitis and is now heading into bronchitis territory (and I’m still sneezing like a super-sneezing thing). I don’t have the energy to hunt for a purty picture this week, so I’m letting this thread stand for a second week.

* Netiquette footnotes:
Commentors at Feministe are expected to know when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em look for an existing on-topic thread rather than dump stuff in the open thread, and to be #spillover-aware regarding any discussion that veers too far away from the social and supportive focus of our Open Threads.

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101 comments for “Weekly Open Thread with a Brown Pelican on Blue

  1. Hannah
    June 13, 2014 at 6:05 pm

    I got wrapped up in some family weirdness- cut my hair so it’s sort of butchy/androgynous and my parents, who never seemed like the type to give a shit, have been kind of bitchy about it. And this sort of resurges every time I take a step in a more androgynous direction.

    And I came out to my very Polish, very Catholic grandmother which went startlingly well but my family was kind of unimpressed that I did this, and couldn’t understand why it was important.

    And I know this is all little stuff but it kind of just built up so it’s made everything at home kind of strange

    • June 21, 2014 at 5:26 am

      Congrats on coming out maaan! xx

  2. pheenobarbidoll
    June 13, 2014 at 7:26 pm

    My senior wienie dog was put to sleep Wednesday and today my year old shepherd tested positive for parvo. So there goes 1300 in savings plus I may lose 2 dogs in the same week.

    • June 13, 2014 at 9:25 pm

      pheeno, that’s terrible. The first is bad enough, but two in one week is horrifying. So sorry to hear it.

      • pheenobarbidoll
        June 14, 2014 at 1:22 am

        I’m not prone to depression and I can generally plug along no matter how much stress I’m under, but the looming possibility of having no place to live soon then losing my Roscoe has taken a huge toll. And now Boo is hospitalized with parvo. Especially Roscoe. I had him since he was weaned at 5 weeks by his not very maternal mama. He was my second baby. I feel like an elephant is sitting on my heart, and I cry at the drop of a hat. That’s unusual for me, I’m pretty stoic when it comes to sadness. I feel it but it just doesn’t show outwardly. But now I just want to crawl in a hole and sleep. Hide and sleep.

      • Donna L
        June 14, 2014 at 3:09 am

        I’m so, so sorry pheeno.

    • June 14, 2014 at 6:01 am

      Oh, pheeno, that’s dreadful. Been there, it’s just … words fail.

      Hugs, if you want them.

    • Ledasmom
      June 14, 2014 at 3:45 pm

      I’m so sorry. That’s horrible.

    • pheenobarbidoll
      June 14, 2014 at 5:46 pm

      The vet said he’s perkier ( this morning) and hadn’t vomited since he came in. He still hasn’t had the horrible diarrhea that comes with parvo so I’m hopeful it hasn’t hit him as hard as it would a younger pup.

      • pheenobarbidoll
        June 15, 2014 at 4:25 pm

        I picked up roscoes ashes today, and then the vet called to let me know Boo now has the diarrhea parvo is known for. Today fucking sucks.

      • pheenobarbidoll
        June 16, 2014 at 9:34 am

        He’s over it! He comes home today!

      • June 16, 2014 at 9:55 am

        Hurrah! I’m so glad.

      • Donna L
        June 16, 2014 at 10:41 am

        That’s such great news!

      • Hrovitnir
        June 16, 2014 at 7:55 pm

        Wow! I’m so happy for you. Sorry for losing your wee one though.

      • pheenobarbidoll
        June 18, 2014 at 7:23 pm

        His appetite returned today. He’s playful and happy, clearly feeling much better. I’m so relieved.

      • khw
        June 19, 2014 at 10:57 am


        (it just goes to show how important it is to read threads thro’)

      • June 20, 2014 at 4:09 am

        pheeno, so glad to hear Boo’s okay!

    • khw
      June 19, 2014 at 10:55 am

      that is so horrible; my best wishes and hugs.

  3. June 13, 2014 at 8:43 pm

    [CN: self-loathing, anxiety attack]

    Today I was in a store with my sister when she started talking to my dad. For some reason I was horribly triggered by the thought of even talking to him, so I experienced a severe anxiety attack. I rushed to the bathroom almost hyperventilating and tried to calm myself down. Thankfully I didn’t start crying because that would have been difficult to hide. I texted my sister and told her I was having an anxiety attack and trying to calm myself down, and so my sister told my dad “Hey, I need to get off the phone and be with [birth name] because [she] isn’t feeling well.” Of course he didn’t give a shit. He has never given a shit about me, because I’m worthless and broken. It’s a wonder that some people in the world actually think I deserve love and acceptance. I’m a joke.

    Part of me wishes this pain could just disappear right away. I wish I was in some loving relationship with someone else, one in which we could both soothe any loneliness we have and assure each other that we’re not hopeless and pathetic. But it’s probably best for me to never be in a relationship because I’m so mentally unstable that I can’t even convince myself fully that some people might love me for who I am. I don’t know what to do with myself. Sorry if this comment sounds incoherent or whiny. I’m starting to feel better now but I’m still in a lot of pain.

    • June 13, 2014 at 9:29 pm

      t_c, I feel helpless because I have little useful advice for you, but I’m listening and wellwishing you in my atheist way. You are not worthless or broken. You are a thoughtful and generous-spirited person, and you are doing your best to cope with your pain and move forward. I have trust that you can do it in time. Be kind to yourself as you are to others.

      • June 14, 2014 at 11:50 am

        You are a thoughtful and generous-spirited person

        I don’t know how anyone could possibly see this in me, but thank you. I’m trying to make myself feel better today but I feel like I’m going to break apart at the same time.

      • June 14, 2014 at 6:07 pm

        I’m know I’m on the lurker end of the spectrum here, but when I’ve read your posts I’ve seen nothing but evidence of a kind and insightful person.

      • June 21, 2014 at 11:43 pm

        I don’t know how anyone could possibly see this in me, but thank you. I’m trying to make myself feel better today but I feel like I’m going to break apart at the same time.

        How could we not? You are one of, (if not the) most open, honest, and vulnerable (in a good way,) on these open threads, and your posts on the political threads show an enormous amount of sensitivity. Like tigtog, I can’t actually offer you any advice (or, I could but I wouldn’t be so presumptuous,) however, if you find yourself in NYC and need a helping hand, feel free to get in touch with me through the radio station (click on my name and the link will take you there.)

    • June 14, 2014 at 6:04 am

      “Of course he didn’t give a shit. He has never given a shit about me, because [he’s an abuser who wants to make me think] I’m worthless and broken. It’s a no wonder that some people in the world actually think I deserve love and acceptance, [because abusers live in bizarro world and try to brainwash their victims into believing their lies.] I’m a joke. He’s an oxygen thief.


      • June 14, 2014 at 11:04 am

        He may have been abusive but it’s all my fucking fault for being so weak and unable to resist his abuse. He doesn’t have to try to make me mentally collapse. You saw what I said – I had a severe anxiety attack just because I thought about talking to him. Him 1, me 0.

        I appreciate your words but I just don’t know what to do with myself anymore.

      • June 14, 2014 at 11:15 am

        I’m sorry, that was really harsh. I shouldn’t be blaming myself. I’m just really, really distressed right now. I want to cry.

      • EG
        June 14, 2014 at 12:22 pm

        What you’re going through and feeling is so common to people abused by their parents, T_C. It’s what kids do–it’s unbearable to a child’s psyche to think that the person they depend on for everything is fucked up and at fault, so all the blame is internalized on the self. You are not to blame for being harmed by abuse, and you’re also not to blame for blaming yourself. It’s OK to feel hurt and sad and angry. Try not to exacerbate it by blaming yourself for those feelings, but if you do–forgive yourself for it. It’s a normal human reaction to abuse. All you’re doing is being human.

      • June 15, 2014 at 3:12 am

        Everything EG said, Ally.

        It’s never the abused person’s fault. You know that, you’re extremely aware of it intellectually: you’ve shown that many times. But you’ve been raised all your life by an abuser, so of course you’ve internalised the the message that it’s your fault, that you “made” him do that. It’s how abusers work. Of course it’s going to take a lot of time and help to get out of that mindset. It’s had so much direct reinforcement over the years – and societal victim-blaming reinforcement, too – that it’d be a bloody miracle if you or anyone could shake it off quickly.

        There’s nothing weak about you, or your reactions. You’ve demonstrated wit and compassion and extraordinary strength in an appalling situation. You’ve shown your strength not only in surviving but in planning and achieving escape, and working on getting help and therapy. Jerkbrain’s been well-trained by the abusive paretnal unit, and it’s responding in typical jerkbrain Pavlovian fashion, dribbling all over your thoughts. That’s what this is. It’s not a reflection of real events, or your personality. It’s just fuckshite father’s effects. There aren’t enough legos and dermestids in the world for that man.

  4. Xexyz
    June 14, 2014 at 3:40 am

    My maternal grandmother’s funeral was today. I feel kind of sad because as I’ve gotten older I’ve somewhat drifted away from that side of my family. They’ve never been anything but kind and accepting of me, but they’re just too Catholic for me to feel completely comfortable. Even though my paternal grandmother was Catholic, it always felt different; she was my grandma first and foremost. Her identity as Catholic seemed merely a function of her cultural upbringing (emigrating from Italy to the US with my father and uncle in 1954), whereas my Mom’s extended family seem to deliberately hold their Catholicism as a prime tenet of their identity, if that makes sense. Maybe it’s all in my head, but I feel like I could never really become closer to them unless I embraced Catholicism as well, which I could never do. And it makes me sad, because all of my cousins and aunts and uncles on my Mom’s side are wonderful people.

  5. Matthew
    June 14, 2014 at 11:59 am

    I was contemplating today how much I missed Jill’s articles in the Guardian. I know the Guardian is not a favourite of the commentariat – quite rightly because of the hideous transphobic articles it (or possibly its sister paper the Observer – I can’t remember) published last year, but it’s one of the few left-leaning papers in the UK (a fact which makes the above more miserable). Although it’s still publishing Julie Bindel, who wrote an article on anti-gay bigotry recently. Basically I wish they had asked anyone but Bindel to write something for the paper on this topic.

    Anyway, just to say I enjoyed the articles you did write Jill even if there were lots of irritating and misogynistic comments BTL.

  6. Matthew
    June 14, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    On an incredibly minor matter, I bought a science-fiction book recently – the first book in the Saga of Seven Suns by Kevin J Anderson, and I’m not sure whether it’s because I’m getting older, but I just couldn’t handle the degree to which ALL the characters were either in or hoping to be in a heterosexual relationship, and that all these different species and subsets of the human race, maintained their families ‘honour’ through the system of marriage.

    When I was younger I think I would be able to put up with the fact that in a seven volume series not one of the characters were gay/lesbian/queer, but I don’t want to/and will not anymore. I wondered if any other people feel like that with popular science-fiction/fantasy works. Anyway one writer I won’t be reading any more is Kevin J Anderson.

    • Li
      June 14, 2014 at 1:14 pm

      Kevin J Anderson

      Urghhhhh. Seriously, Google autocompletes “Kevin J Anderson is” with “a terrible writer”. One of his Star Wars Extended Universe short stories (in which the droid bounty hunter IG-88 uploads himself into the Death Star central computer) uses, word for word, the line “As you know” in a piece of plot explication dialogue.

      • Matthew
        June 14, 2014 at 2:18 pm

        It feels like I had a lucky save then ;-)

      • June 15, 2014 at 3:14 am

        uses, word for word, the line “As you know” in a piece of plot explication dialogue.


  7. June 15, 2014 at 11:24 am

    [CN: stalking, abuse]

    It’s Father’s Day today and instead of giving my father a hug and feeling safe around him like I should I am doing everything in my power to keep him from stalking me and my friends. Life is fucking great.

    • June 16, 2014 at 12:05 am

      He’s no father. He’s just the progenitor.

  8. Donna L
    June 15, 2014 at 1:07 pm

    I’m feeling sad about Father’s Day. I still have trouble believing he died. I keep suddenly thinking oh, it’s Father’s Day, I need to make sure to call my father. On the other hand, the the other day I was walking along and saw something about Father’s Day in a store window and started crying, right there in the street. It’s hard.

    I’ve also been thinking about how his passing also means the loss of one of my very last living connections to my mother. Someone who also remembered her, even though we rarely spoke of her. Coincidentally, her yahrzeit is in another four days.

    Did I ever say anything about the public memorial for my father? It was really very rewarding — it made me feel good that so many people (maybe 200?) liked and admired and respected him enough to come, and that so many people asked to speak at the service, and that so many came up and spoke to me. Among those who did speak, besides me and my father’s wife, were three current judges, an assemblyman, the man who until recently had been the New York City Corporation Counsel for many years, and a Congresswoman who spoke by video feed from Washington, D.C. All of them had known my father for many years, most of them for decades. It made me proud that six of the 11 people who spoke were women, that two were African-Americans, and that so many mentioned his commitment, since back in the 1960’s, to trying to increase gender and racial diversity among the Manhattan judiciary and political office-holders, while trying to eliminate political patronage in the judicial selection process. I remember him telling me, when he was over 90, how happy it made him that so many of the New York County judges are women now, and even bringing up how many of them are out as gay and lesbian.

    With so many speakers, and only a few minutes to speak, and given the audience, I limited myself to talking a little about the family background that helped shape his political views, and telling the story of his first Presidential campaign, when he spent the summer of 1928, when he was 8 years old, bicycling around the mostly-Republican town where he grew up with a home-made Al Smith sign hanging from his bicycle, because “somebody had to show the flag” for the Democrats. People seemed to appreciate it.

    Listening to all the people praise him, I admit that I did feel a little ashamed for having accomplished so little in my life compared to him. His wife says he was proud of me, and I hope she’s telling the truth, because it isn’t as if he ever said so.

    • BBBShrewHarpy
      June 16, 2014 at 7:06 pm

      Your dad sounds like a fascinating man. Have you considered writing any of this for a wider readership? Your writing style as I know it from feministe is very engaging and your writing voice empathetic.

  9. Donna L
    June 15, 2014 at 1:14 pm

    Meanwhile, I’ve still been going back to the office for a few hours each day, going through about 90 boxes of files I had managed to accumulate over the years (19 there plus 16 before that at another firm), trying to decide what I might want to keep (in the remote event I ever practice law again), and what can be thrown out, and what the firm needs to keep, although almost everything I have, beyond my personal stuff like diplomas and some books and photos, is duplicative of files the firm already has. So far, I’ve filled about 15 boxes I want to keep, plus there’s my desk chair which actually belongs to me.

    It’s really stressful to be there — even apart from the fact that I’m not getting paid for any of this! — so I’m happy that one more day should take care of it. Then I can rest for a while.

    Except that now I have to figure out, very quickly, what to do with the stuff I’m keeping. I have no room for 15 boxes in my one-bedroom apartment — if I stacked them in the living room it would be impossible to open the sofa bed my son sleeps on when he stays with me. And it’s a nice leather chair, but I estimate that my cat Ziggy would completely destroy it within about two weeks, which is how long it took him to destroy the leather sofa and chairs I bought 4 years ago when I moved into this apartment! I wonder how much it would cost to store it all, and how I would get it to a storage place. (I no longer have a car, and stupidly let my driver’s license expire in February.)

  10. thinksnake
    June 15, 2014 at 11:34 pm

    Seeing my psychiatrist this afternoon. Am hoping I’ll have the ability to tell him that I’m looking at transitioning, and at least starting the conversation about hormones.
    I’ve never spoken to him about gender stuff at all, and really have no idea what positions he holds if any. So this could go really really well, or really really poorly. Hence my not even being sure if I’ll be able to talk to him about it at all.

    • thinksnake
      June 16, 2014 at 3:03 am

      Managed to work up the courage, and he was really supportive. However, he doesn’t feel that he has enough specialist knowledge to oversee me transitioning himself, so I’m going to need to look for other specialists to work things out.

      I’ll still be seeing him for my mental health stuff, and it’s quite gratifying that he doesn’t see being trans itself as a mental health issue, or something that will interfere with the treatment I’m already getting.

      Overall I think this was positive? Managed to get it off my chest, and had a good reaction. And it is always good, albeit somewhat frustrating, to see a medical person admit that they aren’t the right person.

      • PrettyAmiable
        June 16, 2014 at 12:12 pm

        Yay! This is great to hear. I also love when doctors are honest when they aren’t equipped to give you the best care you can get. Sounds like your doc is a keeper :)

  11. Clytemnestra's Sister
    June 16, 2014 at 12:21 am

    Tigtog, don’t know if you know this, but in that photo you’re looking at an adult brown pelican in “Hey Baby” plumage.

    Outside of breeding season, the adults’ heads aren’t quite so snowy white. Juveniles have a brownish-grey head.

    • June 16, 2014 at 2:01 am

      I didn’t know that, thanks for telling me. Our Australian pelicans don’t seem to look much different in breeding season than other times of the year.

  12. Echo Zen
    June 16, 2014 at 2:33 am

    Our vlogging gear’s being transferred to a building that’s less hot, dusty and noisy (long story). We’d been on pause for a couple weeks for that reason, but we’ll be back in action in a few days.

    I don’t particularly like complaining around here, since pretty much everyone posting here has bigger problems than I do. But I feel a little discouraged by some numbers we’ve analysed lately. After summer, we’re switching from vlogging about sex positivity to doing a YouTube series on… guns (again, long story). And there’s good reason to believe that series might net over 10 times as many views as what the vlog (which Feministe kindly hosts at the moment) ordinarily does. I don’t hate guns, but I’d obviously prefer doing videos on feminism.

    I guess sometimes you have to cut distasteful deals to stay in the black — because despite what folks say about YouTube, it’s not cheap, and just because Jezebel has made feminism as mainstream as cat videos doesn’t ensure an automatic audience.

    Then again, I’m perfectly willing to concede the vlog’s not as popular as gun videos because the vlog just isn’t that interesting, given all the limitations imposed by our university. Sigh…

  13. June 16, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    I’m in Santa Cruz now. This morning, I was going to travel up to my dad’s place and bring gifts for everyone and say hi to my little sisters – who I haven’t seen in nearly 4 months. But it turns out that my dad has banned me from his house until I move out of my friend’s place. I’m really hurt by this. I try to do something nice for them in order to maintain good family relations and in return my dad bans me from even seeing them.

    • Echo Zen
      June 16, 2014 at 2:00 pm

      Ugh… I have to agree with kittehserf’s opinion of your father earlier. :-(

      • June 18, 2014 at 2:47 am

        And that was me being nice about Ally’s parental unit.

    • Hrovitnir
      June 16, 2014 at 8:03 pm

      This is an example of how you are a lovely person! I think it was probably better you not see him – and once again, he proves he’s awful. You really need space.

      I am glad you’re living with your friend though. Try and focus looking after yourself for a while, if you can.

  14. June 20, 2014 at 7:36 pm

    My headcold from hell progressed to laryngitis and is now heading into bronchitis territory (and I’m still sneezing like a super-sneezing thing). I don’t have the energy to hunt for a purty picture this week, so I’m letting this thread stand for a second week.

    • Echo Zen
      June 20, 2014 at 8:43 pm

      No! Hope you feel better (soon). Next time you should crowdsource us for your next kitty picture!

    • June 20, 2014 at 9:00 pm

      Oh geez. :( I had bronchitis when I was 15, and it was awful. Please take care.

    • June 21, 2014 at 3:02 am

      Shit, bronchitis is foul. Take care, tigtog.

    • Donna L
      June 21, 2014 at 3:28 am

      Feel better soon, tigtog.

    • June 22, 2014 at 6:48 pm

      Update on my dreaded lurgy:

      Bronchitis – receding. Rhinitis – receding. Laryngitis – holding.

      Two out of three ain’t bad. Thank you, broad spectrum antibiotics.

      • TomSims
        June 25, 2014 at 5:24 pm

        Hope you feel better soon tigtog.

  15. June 20, 2014 at 9:07 pm

    Guess who is going to start hormones next week from a clinic that provides hormones for free for trans youth (especially poor trans youth)? This girl.

    My transition is just around the corner.

    • June 20, 2014 at 10:05 pm

      That’s excellent news!

    • Echo Zen
      June 20, 2014 at 11:35 pm

      Finally, it’s good to hear some good news from your corner after so much bad!

    • Donna L
      June 21, 2014 at 3:27 am

      That’s so wonderful! Congratulations! I remember how much I looked forward to that, for so long.

    • Ledasmom
      June 21, 2014 at 7:10 am

      Good news! Yay!

    • trees
      June 21, 2014 at 9:41 am


    • Matthew
      June 21, 2014 at 3:02 pm


    • Denise Winters
      June 21, 2014 at 3:23 pm

      That’s wonderful!

    • June 24, 2014 at 6:09 pm

      :: high five ::

  16. Donna L
    June 21, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    Today is my mother’s yahrzeit. It’s been a long time now — I was only 20 years old when she died at the age of 52, six weeks after we were in a car accident while she was driving me home from college at the end of the school year — but sometimes it feels like it all just happened. Especially now, given my father’s death a few weeks ago, also under terrible circumstances.

    I will be lighting a candle and saying kaddish for my mother later today. She did not have an easy life by any definition, beginning when she was a 10-year old child in Berlin and Hitler came to power; she left Germany by herself at age 15, three weeks after Kristallnacht, to go to England as a child refugee, and lost 11 members of her immediate family. But she was a wonderful, brilliant woman who accomplished a great deal under difficult circumstances; she was one of four women in her class at Columbia Law School, going through both college and law school in a total of less than five years after she arrived in this country in 1943. And she was a completely loving mother. (She wished more than almost anything to be a grandmother, and I know she would have been equally loving had she lived to know my son.) She has always been my role model as both a person and a parent, and I have always tried to emulate her. Since my transition, I have also always hoped, and wanted to believe, that she would have accepted me had she known the truth about me. (Although judging from some of the things she said to me when I was young, I’m pretty sure she kind of knew.)

    Now that my father is gone, there are very few people left who remember her. But if anyone could spare a kind thought for her today, I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks for listening.


    • trees
      June 21, 2014 at 5:48 pm

      But if anyone could spare a kind thought for her today, I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks for listening.

      Will do. And wishing you support in getting through the day.

    • June 21, 2014 at 8:20 pm

      She sounds like a wonderful woman, Donna.

    • Donna L
      June 22, 2014 at 12:17 am

      Thanks so much, trees and andie.

    • June 22, 2014 at 12:38 am

      Kind thoughts for her indeed, Donna. She sounds like a wonderful person.

    • pheenobarbidoll
      June 22, 2014 at 11:49 am

      Her kindness and strength are evident in you. Both of your parents shine through you, and I know they are proud of you.

    • June 22, 2014 at 6:14 pm

      I really like the idea of a special word for the anniversary of a death, and an associated ritual. I certainly observed the first anniversary of my mum’s death a few months ago, but I didn’t have a word to explain simply to others what the day meant to me, nor a ritual to focus the mind on processing my emotions. I probably need to create a small ritual with my siblings since our culture hasn’t provided us one to adapt.

      Your mother sounds very strongminded as well as loving. I see that in you too, Donna. Blessings on her memory.

      • June 22, 2014 at 7:57 pm

        I really like the idea of a special word for the anniversary of a death, and an associated ritual. I certainly observed the first anniversary of my mum’s death a few months ago, but I didn’t have a word to explain simply to others what the day meant to me, nor a ritual to focus the mind on processing my emotions. I probably need to create a small ritual with my siblings since our culture hasn’t provided us one to adapt.

        As a third generation ‘non-believer,’ I also have been having some issues regarding this matter. As I say, none of my grandparents were religious, however, they all had (extremely liberal/reform) Jewish funerals (in fact I led the service at my grandfathers funeral, not because I’m religious, but because I was a good public speaker and good at mimicking languages so was able to learn the few hebrew prayers very easily.)

        I know for a fact my father just wants to be cremated, but I wasn’t sure what my Mom wanted, as though she is not a ‘believer’, she is (I suspect, like Donna,) a bit of a traditionalist, and I knew that my sister and Dad would have no idea how to do anything religious. So I just called her the other day to ask if she wants us to sit Shiva or anything like that (she didn’t- her only request was that we have enough food for everyone who comes to the memorial service.)

        So tigtog’s comments really have got me thinking about how these rituals are not perhaps about ‘belief’ or ‘faith’ but more about closure and respect.

      • June 22, 2014 at 8:13 pm

        got me thinking about how these rituals are not perhaps about ‘belief’ or ‘faith’ but more about closure and respect

        It’s also that many of these rituals provide an occasion for a gathering so that the emotions can be shared, whether it’s a wedding or a baby-naming or a funeral. The rituals provide a framework for the group to share the occasion, and the occasion is a social marker of significant life-changes, and gives a label for others outside the gathering to understand the significance so that accommodations (where necessary) can be made.

        Then there are the personal rituals that help one process emotions that one doesn’t want a gathering to share, but which it’s important to acknowledge for one’s own wellbeing, and for which having a label means one can give a brief explanation for what one is planning/feeling that day without having to go into any details (at least to others sharing that cultural tradition). That’s why I like the idea of yahrzeit, and it’s also why I like the idea of Yom Kippur.

        For instance, I really appreciated that the funeral home sent me a card to note the day of Mum’s death, and to invite me to their annual Mother’s Day commemoration where they offer a secular memorial service for all missed mothers (they also have a Father’s Day commemoration). I didn’t go, but the thought was comforting.

      • June 22, 2014 at 10:49 pm

        That’s why I like the idea of yahrzeit, and it’s also why I like the idea of Yom Kippur.

        It’s interesting that you mention Yom Kippur. I may have mentioned this here before but my Mom always fasts on Yom Kippur despite never going to services or praying or anything religious. When I asked why she does it, she said it was to be show solidarity with all the people in the world who were starving.

        However, she mentioned nothing about atonement or thinking about the bad stuff you’ve done or regrets you’ve had over the year.

        I’m curious if you think the way she does or you actually like the idea of the day of ‘atonement,’ in a secular sense, a day in which you think about mistakes you’ve made over the year?

      • June 22, 2014 at 11:07 pm

        It’s in that more secular sense that I like the idea of Yom Kippur, to set aside a day thinking about mistakes one has made and apologies/reaching-out that may be overdue. Strikes me as very helpful both in a self-knowledge way and in a (possible) rebuilding of relationships way.

  17. June 21, 2014 at 8:27 pm

    Who knew refinishing a coffee table set would be such a pain? I’ve had this set for about three years… When my friend moved to the Dominican Republic to do her phd work a few years ago, they had a going away party and, as they were going to end up in the dumpster anyway, the party goers took to the coffee table set and couch with a set of markers. Halfway through the evening, I came to the conclusion that it was a really nice set of tables and could I take them instead of throwing them out?

    So for the last three years this table set has lived in my shed and then my basement and is known as The Penis Table, because drunks and Sharpies = penises on every available surface.

    I’m finally getting around to refinishing it, but it’s paint on top of varnish and this has been very trial and error. Yesterday I used a paint thinner and I think I had a reaction to the rubber gloves I was wearing because 20 minutes in my hands got really hot and stiff feeling, so I got the gloves off in a hurry and somehow managed to clean everything up. I think I got a few minor chemical burns from the occasional splatter as well.

    Today I borrowed a heat gun, which seemed to work a lot better… Once I figured out there was more than one heat setting.

    • pheenobarbidoll
      June 22, 2014 at 11:51 am

      What about using an electric sander?

      • June 24, 2014 at 8:27 am

        That’s another possible plan of attack. I’m a little worried about possible screwing it up with an electric sander, however, and the logistics of getting into some of the more difficult crevices,

      • pheenobarbidoll
        June 24, 2014 at 1:33 pm

        They’re pretty easy to use. The crevices will probably require hand sanding, but electric sanders are awesome. Practice on something first if you’re worried. Then you’ll know how much pressure to use and how much you’re sanding off.

  18. June 21, 2014 at 11:47 pm

    I took this panorama picture and was gonna put it on the stations tumblr, but I’m wondering if someone saw it that was in it would be bothered by it…

    I’m thinking they’re unrecognizable but would love some other opinions: https://www.dropbox.com/s/9prgc3hg76wwqnb/Untitled-1.jpg

    • June 22, 2014 at 12:40 am

      It’s a lovely photo, Fat Steve. Would it work to pixelate the faces a little, just in case?

      • June 22, 2014 at 7:07 pm

        I think I will do that, or rather darken, not blur the faces…because if I blur them, no doubt one of our annoying trolls will immediately point it out and start asking about it.

    • TomSims
      June 25, 2014 at 5:31 pm

      Very nice picture. I think you were far away enough that no one could be recognized. Also it is in a public space. I’m no lawyer but, I don’t think there are any laws against taking pictures in public spaces, especially wide angle ones.

  19. pheenobarbidoll
    June 23, 2014 at 6:59 pm

    It’s official. We’re screwed. There’s no way we can make a down payment. We have 3 paychecks before we have to move. After rent and bills, we won’t have enough. Honestly don’t know what we’re going to do.

    • June 23, 2014 at 7:42 pm

      It sucks that someone like you who wants do things the ‘right’ way gets screwed. I’ll be honest, I have no doubt, based how I’ve been in the past, that if I was in your position I would have done something illegal to acquire money by now, which obviously puts one at risk of being screwed even worse. It’s such a Catch-22.

    • Donna L
      June 23, 2014 at 9:37 pm

      Ugh. I’m so sorry.

    • EG
      June 23, 2014 at 9:58 pm

      That sucks so much. Is there any way you could skip out on the rent? God knows your former friend would deserve it.

      • pheenobarbidoll
        June 23, 2014 at 10:21 pm

        Won’t help.

    • trees
      June 24, 2014 at 10:23 pm

      Fuck, I’m so sorry pheeno. I’ll be thinking of you and your family.

  20. June 25, 2014 at 5:10 am
    • pheenobarbidoll
      June 25, 2014 at 4:13 pm

      Dear Non Natives,
      Thanks. And fuck you.

      • trees
        June 25, 2014 at 9:53 pm

        Yeah!! to the mention of Redhawk Native American Arts Council!

        And this is awesome.

        Dear Non Natives,
        Thanks. And fuck you.

        It’s like an obsession. I think they imagine that this is some sort of native universal; the context and geographic specificity seems totally lost on them.

        So over it.

      • June 25, 2014 at 10:53 pm

        They did a Real Housewives of Melbourne earlier this year and one of the HW bought a pair of designer “Native American headdresses” as a housewarming gift for another HW and husband. They did not use traditional American feathers or materials etc but were in fashion colours, and I don’t think anybody used the term “war bonnet” at all, because they probably have no idea of the significance of that style of headdress. I remember just boggling at how clueless they were, caring only about how beautiful they looked (which they do) but having no idea at all of any “context and geographic specificity” as trees puts it.

      • June 25, 2014 at 11:28 pm

        I saw a faux-war bonnet, made of what looked like chicken feathers (all white) in a shop in Melbourne recently. Totally skeeved me out.

      • Angel H.
        June 26, 2014 at 9:38 am

        I’m not surprised that I’m not surprised…smh

  21. Angel H.
    June 26, 2014 at 9:35 am

    So. . . . .
    . . .

    . . .

    . . .

    Has anyone tried selling their panties online? I’m seriously considering this as a way to make extra cash, and I’m just wondering if anyone has any experience in this area.

    • pheenobarbidoll
      June 26, 2014 at 1:30 pm



      I don’t, but let me know if it works.

    • gratuitous_violet
      June 26, 2014 at 7:27 pm

      No first hand experience, just a friend who did it in college.

      She made 50 bucks a pair and only really had one regular customer. Had to meet the dude in a public place like the McDonalds, go take them off, and hand them off to him in a bag, so he knew she had just been wearing them. She also said that many many guys on Craigslist wanted a picture of her before agreeing to buy them, so she always suspected that she wouldn’t have had such an, um, broad market if she weren’t skinny, white, and conventionally attractive.

      • Angel H.
        June 26, 2014 at 9:50 pm

        I had wondered about that last part. Then I read this article on SellPantiesForMoney.com that said there really was a market for BBW panties (the market for Black BBW panties is most likely smaller). But the article says to post masturbation videos. I wouldn’t mind posting a pic if myself from the waist down wearing the, er, product. But vids, meeting in public, even showing my face are dealbreakers for me.

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