Category Archives: Everything Else

Challenging the -isms

The -isms are never easy to talk about. They can be hurtful and embody so much history. Recently with the Ferguson event exposing continued racism in the region, St. Louis County issuing marriage licenses to all individuals, and attacks on women and feminism in various forms, Chris and I wanted to be sure to provide Kari with as much information as possible – and on an 8 year-old appropriate scale regarding feminism, heterosexism, and racism.

Over the past few months, feminism has been firmly on my mind with Senator McCaskill’s investigation into campus sexual assault (and frankly, every one could guess campuses were not honestly reporting incidents) and Gamergate.

More applicable to Kari right now is the topic of Gamergate. She loves video games, and has since a young age. She is certainly not going to ever give up games. She also loved going to PAX in 2013.

Will this change to more inclusive gaming continue, or will there be a divide? Is there a place for women in tech that will not have to be hard fought and never truly won?

Let’s start with a quote from Anita Sarkeesian:

One of the most radical things you can do is to actually believe women when they talk about their experiences.

Why is it when women report assault or harassment the first thought is skepticism?

Threats to women in tech are not new. Take the 2007 discussion prompted by the threats to Kathy Sierra. She is not the first and will not be the last woman to take a hiatus from the Internet and popular culture due to harassment and death threats. Why is this behavior ok? It’s not, but it is accepted. Why?

Going back to Gamergate, this disagreement about what gamers should be erupted into a division between those for women’s rights and those against. After nearly a month of heated debate, right after Kori was born in September, Chris stopped talking to his good friend of 15 years.  This hurt him terribly. No, not because of the loss so much, but because something so integral to him was ignored. Feminism is such an important part of who my husband is to disavow that part of him is to overlook so much of what makes him amazing. It’s part of his identity. Being married to such a strong, smart woman (uh-hum) and raising 2 daughters, women’s rights are very important to him. However, women’s rights would be equally as important to him if he were raising 2 sons as he would want to make sure they were just in the world.

On a sidenote: I am so proud he was on the list of users Gamergaters Twitter blacklisted. He’s just too equality and social justice for them. I think he’s rather proud of that too.

So many people in the industry are just like Chris. They are standing up for equal rights and uniting against the harassment of women. But there are the others too. There is no reason why anyone should be permitted to threaten another person or diminish their person.

This morning I made the comment that I am glad we are not going to PAX in the next couple years. Chris said he would love to go and challenge the issues. I guess I just think that part of my world is sacred. Video games are my immersive experience and I don’t want the neckbeards to pervade that too.

Interestingly enough, still many people do not think the issues of feminism are valid. Some comment that feminism was created by ugly, angry women and that women should enjoy sexually-charged attention. That particular individual was commenting on the video below.

Unfortunately, the “hello” in this video was not simply a chipper greeting. This is a challenge many women face on the daily: unsolicited sexual advances. Respond, you’re into them. Don’t respond, and you’re a bitch.

My favorite encounter to date (2003):
Guy: Girl, you got kids?
J: No.
Guy: You want some?
J: Not with you.
Guy: Damn, girl. Ain’t nobody gonna marry your bitch ass.

Where was this conversation? Frankly, it doesn’t matter. Another argument many have tried is that women are inviting these advances because of where they go, what they wear, or by not doing more to stop the advances – see comments here (I know, don’t ever read the comments, but what do I do? I read the comments.)

Women should not have to be mindful of their attire, career choice, opinions, etc. to avoid sexual harassment, death threats or other exploitation. Women should receive support and action when situations like these are reported.

I want my girls to feel more like a Samus than a Peach and be embraced by the world for being so.

I’ll leave you with Computer Engineer Barbie, which still has Kari laughing.

K: Hey mom, I still remember that story about that Barbie who needed help doing tech things.
J: Yeah?
K: It was pretty dumb. The guys needing to help her. (she laughs)
J: Yeah, you don’t need anyone to write your code for you, do you?
K: Nope.

 

She’s shady, that one.

Chris and I always knew parenting would bring its joys and challenges. What we didn’t count on was parenting something with Chris’ communication skills, my logic and stubborn squared.

We have met another challenge of parenting, and probably one many parents have dealt with at one time or another. Most recently, Kari has taken to lying and lying by omission.

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Look at those shifty eyes!

There’s been the generic lies about cleaning her room or doing chores. Those aren’t particularly offensive, but her crimes are advancing! Halloween night she lied about dropping the toilet paper in the toilet at her Aunt and Uncle’s house. She left it in the bathtub for a surprise instead of telling someone what happened.

When we see her drop, spill, or break something, we tell her to be more careful next time and to clean it up. She’s never in trouble for accidents as long as she tells someone if she needs help or can fix it on her own.

Unfortunately, she’s taken to avoiding responsibility this year because “it’s boring” or she “forgot”.

The latest infraction was about her hat. Last week at her gifted school, where she only attends one day per week, her hat got ripped. She came home and the first thing out of her mouth was a story about how this other student snatched the hat from her head, ripped it, tossed it back in her face and then the teacher watching recess did not reprimand the student because he said he didn’t do it. Kari also said this student frequently bullied other kids and compared him to an actual little monster at her home school.

I emailed the teacher and the assistant principal. They investigated further yesterday when the kids were back at the school. As it turns out, the student is a shy little guy who is terribly quiet.

What actually happened, you ask? The kids went down a slide, her hat came off, the hat ended up under the student, he pulled it out from under him and handed it back to Kari. It got ripped on the way down the slide or when he pulled it out from under himself – regardless, it was an accident that just happened.

I was so heartbroken when the assistant principal called me yesterday. I had to apologize for my daughter lying. I called Chris. He was mad. I was embarrassed. We both are disappointed.

Kari knows how we react to accidents. She tore her jacket recently on a trip to Lambert’s Cafe on a nail on a playset out front. Honestly, all I said was, “Oh no. Your jacket got ripped. Stay away from that piece of the playset with the nail. I’ll try to sew it when we get home.” That’s it.

All I can fathom is that she thinks she’ll get in trouble for accidents. Well, by lying about it, now she can guarantee she’ll be in trouble!

Frustratingly, she still hasn’t admitted to lying and it using her typically infallible logic for evil:

J: Kari, did you lie about what happened?
K: I think the other student’s story is what actually happened.
J: Did you lie?
K: We just saw what happened differently.
J: KARI!
K: Both stories contain truthful parts.
J: Like what?! Your hat got ripped, [student] was there, and he handed your hat back to you?!
K: And we were in the slide.
J: (insert Charlie Brown angry squiggle)

J:Kari, you know lying is bad, right?
K: Not really. Lying is just words. How can words be bad?

J: Did [student] rip your hat?
K: When he handed it back to me it was ripped.
J: Did he rip your hat?
K: Yes.
J: On purpose?
K: I’m not sure.

Later when Chris got home I told him the recap of all of this. He said she’ll make a great lawyer or politician.

C: (as if politician Kari in a scandal) “I didn’t smoke the cannabis, but the cannabis did enter my airway.”

In all of this, at least Chris and I found some humor. We are still trying to figure out how to handle our little mastermind though.

 

Kori Joy

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This is a post telling the story of Kori Joy.

A bit of background
Chris and I had a challenging experience with Kari, so we were hesitant to have another kiddo. This past year, we decided to go for it, especially with Kari coming up on 8.

For those who don’t know, I went into preterm labor at 28 weeks with Kari without any determinable cause. I was in the hospital for a week and only released because I begged. The next 12+ weeks in a ward with other pregnant ladies being only allowed 1 hour per day to sit up during “craft time” seemed miserable!

After I was sent home, I was then on bedrest for the rest of my pregnancy and took Procardia until 36 weeks. I was either in a recliner or in bed and only got up to pee or shower.

At 36 weeks, I discontinued the Procardia and bedrest. At 38 weeks Chris and I walked the mall, Target, Walmart, etc. because of 1 main thing: my muscles were atrophied. I was extremely sore from sitting the last 10 weeks and needed to get back in some sort of shape before having to take care of a newborn.

After all of this precaution and worry, I ended up having her on her “due date.”

Second Time’s the Charm
After the experience with Kari, even though everything turned out just great, I was cautious. Each and every twinge and feeling with Kori, I’d freak out.

Everything went perfectly until about 23 weeks when I started having some contractions. I went to the hospital just to be checked and was sent home after being told there was nothing they could really do as  a baby born at this point wouldn’t be viable. My doctor wanted me to do Makena (P-17) injections starting that Monday.

The injections were no joke. Minutes after the shot I was a zombie – tired, nauseated, etc. The doctor wanted me to have these injections weekly until the end of my pregnancy.

During this same timeframe, Chris and I were scheduling our hospital tour. While searching on Mercy’s site to sign up for the tour, I found out about the Birthing Center.

With Kari, I wanted to go natural, but things went south after I was threatened with a c-section if I failed to progress soon (mind you, I delivered Kari within 12 hours of labor starting, so that’s awesome for any first time mom). I was given Pitocin and after an hour of that stuff, I caved and went with an epidural. While I left the hospital with a healthy baby, I also left feeling like I was treated like a body and not a person. I felt like I would have preferred more involvement in my birthing of my child.

I scheduled a meeting with Diana Buckwalter, midwife and the director of the new Birthing Center at Mercy. We chatted about my previous pregnancy and what was going on with this one. After her talking to me and hearing me, I decided this was the way to go.

My New Philosophy
At my first appointment with Diana, she suggested I not do the Makena injections. I had only done 2 at this point and she said some women just have contractions all the way through. Most women do have contractions, but it’s just if you feel them or not. Contractions are only concerning if they are making your body progress toward delivery. My doctor never told me that. It was always that everything was concerning.

I felt so positive and happy after switching to the Birthing Center. Not only were the facilities amazing, but the midwives, nurses and staff were the incredible attraction. They were always supportive. They are very patient, kind and truly care about you as a person. I felt very well informed about my pregnancy and excited about the progress. I am so very appreciative for this experience and thank the midwives, Diana Buckwalter and Elizabeth Cook, for moving to St. Louis to help change women’s healthcare for us here and maybe in the whole Mercy system.

The Finale
In the end, I ended up having Kori the morning after her “due date.” No complications. No medications. No Makena injections. No bedrest.

It’s quite the funny story actually. Both Chris and Diana “had a feeling” about me – they both thought I would wait until the last minute – and I said they were silly. Funny enough, they were right. I had no idea I was in labor until about 2:15, arrived at the Birthing Center at 3:30 then had Kori at 4:25. Chris is still recovering, however – it wasn’t very funny to him. We joked later Kori’s name was almost 270 (as in the highway we take to get to Mercy).

Kori was the fifth baby to be born in the Birthing Center. We were discharged 12 hours after she was born. I loved that because with Kari, I disliked the hospital stay. I was ready to go home and take care of my baby. I’m sure if I needed to be there, it would have been fine, but I would have much preferred to eat my own food, sleep in my own bed, and care for my baby on her schedule, not the hospital’s (since Kari’s birth, babies now room in with mom, which wasn’t the practice back then). It truly was great to go home that same day with Kori.

We had the best care with both midwives, Diana and Elizabeth, and the nurse that taught our class, Heather, attending and fellow MTS employee and nurse, Marie, caring for us until discharge. If anyone is considering a hospital birth and has a low risk pregnancy, I’d recommend the Birthing Center at Mercy. It’s a supportive environment and if anything does happen to need intervention, you’re just an elevator ride away from those interventions.

Thirty-Two

Funny enough, today I found my unpublished draft of Thirty-One. Today it’s 3 days past my thirty-second birthday.

Even more than usual, my wish came true. This last year was a good one. Not only did I do well in school, but I got to present on my research at ACPA. Kari received slightly more support in school and is doing slightly better – the gifted battle is ongoing but there is hope. And, most exciting to us all, we added Kori to our family!

While specifically I do hope next May brings my graduation, I just hope the next year is another good one!

The Potty Party

If you know me, you know a pet peeve of mine is people who bring their phone conversation into the restroom. It’s not only awkward for the other people in the restroom, but I’m sure the person on the other end of the line.

Chris texted me this morning about someone on a conference call in the restroom. This might be a sign of people being too busy, or perhaps simply poor planning. I venture to say both.

This new addition to busy people actions is concerning. Adding to the constant distraction and multitasking of our society (texting while, well, anything, for example) this might be a symptom of something in society to yet come to a head.