School Days

Monday is Ethan’s first day in kindergarten. I’m so worried for him that I can’t sleep.

There have been many times where I’ve had to release my son to the world in hopes that the world would receive and care for him well. This time feels different. His old school was much smaller, more intimate. Even with the troubles I’ve had there, troubles that will be alleviated with the size and nature of entering the public schools, I’m going to miss the comfort of recognizing every soul in the school.

Ethan’s father and I accompanied him to the open house on Sunday afternoon. Ethan was at first excited to finally be on the inside of the building, but once we got into the classroom and the newness of it all hit him, E became a shrinking flower. Continue reading

Posted in Education | Tagged , | 18 Comments

Sex Ed in NYC Public Schools

Even in the most progressive areas, the anti-sex head-in-the-sand crowd seems to be taking over. New York City is introducing new sexual health education curriculum, and it’s a mixed bag. Some of it is good:

High schoolers will learn the difference between sexual harassment and flirting, how to set a sexual limit, and sexual refusal skills. Middle schoolers will learn about reproductive anatomy and the benefits of sexual abstinence.

But, not surprisingly, some of it isn’t so good:

The new curriculum doesn’t teach middle schoolers about birth control, for instance, or address sexual orientation except in the context of AIDS.

Even the good seems to be coming a little late — shouldn’t kids be learning the difference between sexual harassment and flirting well before high school? And shouldn’t they learn about reproductive anatomy before middle school? When 1 in 10 New York City public school students report having sex before the age of 13 — that’s right, 13 — it doesn’t make much sense to avoid teaching them about the naughty bits until they’re in 7th grade, and to not mention contraception until 9th.

The absense of discussion on sexual orientation is also disturbing — especially when it’s only mentioned in the context of AIDS. As Miriam Yeung, of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center, says, “When you don’t see info about your life, or your behaviors or your feelings, then you don’t practice any health-promoting behaviors.” And as the article points out, the majority of parents (79%) want their children to learn about sexual orientation in their health classes.

The new curriculum also prohibits condom demonstrations in classrooms, which is just plain dumb. Condoms are most effective when used correctly, so it would make sense that we teach people how to use them correctly. What’s troubling is that if this is happening in New York City — which is pretty overwhelmingly liberal — just imagine what kids in rural Texas are being taught.

Posted in Education, Reproductive Rights, Sex | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments

To Tip or Not to Tip

I always tip in restaurants, even if the service is crappy. Why? Because I know that service jobs really suck, that the waitperson is probably making less than minimum wage, and that they’re on their feet all day probably dealing with rude and difficult customers. But tipping is also awkward. What if you do get really, really bad service — as in, a waiter who is purposely rude? And how much do you tip for things like beauty treatments? If I get a haircut or my eyebrows waxed, is 15-20 percent still standard? What if it’s a more unpleasant treatment, like a bikini wax or a pedicure? Do you tip more for those?

Now, one person is advocating a European-style service charge instead of a tip — at least when it comes to the restaurant world. I’ve gotta say, I think it’s a good idea for customers and waitstaff alike. And is anyone else disgusted that waiters get paid as low as $1.59 per hour in Kansas and $3.85 per hour in New York City?

Side question: what is an appropriate tip for things like cab rides, haircuts, and beauty treatments? Does anyone know for sure? Any beauticians or cab drivers wanna give your two cents?

One cocktail waitress weighs in. At this point, does anyone not know the dollar-a-drink rule?

Posted in Business | 33 Comments

Voices of Choice

Physicians who provided abortions before Roe v. Wade: A Multimedia Project.

Worth a view.

Posted in Reproductive Rights | Tagged , | Comments Off on Voices of Choice

Good Freaking Lord, The Peppers

One of the things I grew in my very first ever garden was a slew of peppers, primarily bells, jalapenos, and these little wonders called cherry bombs.

Tonight I made garbage soup for us to eat through the rest of the week and decided to throw in one solitary cherry bomb pepper the heighth and width of a quarter. I diced it up, threw it in, and went off to finish knitting a sweater.
Continue reading

Posted in Domesticity | Tagged | 15 Comments

College Life: One Big Sex Carnival

Apparently we should return to single-sex dorms and bathrooms (which colleges have mixed-sex bathrooms?), promote marriage, and have parent-led “inspector committees” to track student sexual behavior. Because it’s not like college students are legal adults or anything. And according to the Washington Times article, “date rape” is such a silly term that we should put it in quotations — unlike, say, STDs and alcohol abuse.

This would all help to tame “the sex carnival that is college life today.”

Why do I feel totally left out of the party?

Posted in Education, Sex | Tagged , , | 31 Comments

I Refuse To Accept The Label…

…but when looking at this, the boyfriend and I have just about everything covered.

*Sigh* again.

Tagged | 15 Comments

Dr. B’s 4th Blogiversary

It’s thanks to her that I still keep this blog (and haven’t gone underground to start all over) and quit with the anonymity bag I insisted on carrying for so long. Also, it’s completely her influence that has me aiming toward grad school. When I need advice, I bribe her with tomatoes.

Dr. B, my academic and blogging mentor of sorts, is celebrating her fourth blogiversary! Go give her some love.

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Someone Tell The President The War Is Over

Read this editorial by Frank Rich. Go now.

Posted in War | 2 Comments

Christopher Walken To Run For President

Actor Christopher Walken has announced his candidacy for 2008:

Our great country is in a terrible downward spiral. We’re outsourcing jobs, bankrupting social security, and losing lives at war. We need to focus on what’s important– paying attention to our children, our citizens, our future. We need to think about improving our failing educational system, making better use of our resources, and helping to promote a stable, safe, and tolerant global society. It’s time to be smart about our politics. It’s time to get America back on track.

In other news, Walken also dreams of being a zombie. President, zombie — with the five week Presidential vacation this isn’t such a stretch.

I don’t know if this is a hoax or not, but it gave me pause. Ten bucks on hoax.

Posted in Politics | Tagged | 15 Comments

‘Nuff Said

Amanda goes off on Democratic naysayers:

Despite the fact that Digby learned everyone on the reality of the Democrats actually treating their base’s interests like they matter more than the interests of people who will never, ever vote for a fucking Democrat even if their balls were in a vise, I have discovered in a quick perusal of the blogosphere that the urge to explain to women that our job is to follow and accept what crumbs may be thrown our way and then get on our knees and start sucking in lavish gratitude has overruled common sense. Granted, I may be overstating the case. No one actually said, “We may reciprocate after endless amounts of support with no end in sight, but don’t count on it and be grateful we at least pretend to give a shit.” But I’m pretty good at reading between the lines. Depressing indeed…

Moral of the story: Red America is not impressed by Democrats who say, “We hate women’s rights, too!” Some red Americans hate women. Most don’t. So this “move to the right”, aka, away from justice, on women’s rights is a meaningless gesture that will not win votes but will result in women losing their rights. So, now that we know reality, I am forced to believe that anyone who wants to “move to the right” on women’s rights maybe, just maybe, has their own reasons for doing it. Translation–if you’re against women’s rights, just come out and say it and quit telling women that you promise you’re selling out groups like NARAL for our own good.

Thank you.

Posted in Reproductive Rights | Tagged | Comments Off on ‘Nuff Said

Redesign

Out of boredom and blogging uninspiration, I brought back one of my old favorite images. Here’s to the new redesign. If you notice any quirks, let me know.

Also, because I’m selfish and now have a decent internet connection, I brought back category and date archives along with my Flickr badge. Now if I can only convince Jill to get one…

Posted in Blogging | Tagged | 22 Comments