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pumpkin lovewell i’m gonna tell you some things that you know and some things that you don’t. and yes, this is how i start my blog posts these days, with generalized assertions of nothingness. it is hot in vancouver lately and i gotta say, i stupid love it. it makes me miss the hot-thigh-sweatiness of humid summers in ottawa a little less. but it doesn’t make me miss the beer-soaked-afternoons-on-a patio-in-the-market any less, i must say. this means nothing to those of you who haven’t spent a canada day in an ottawa mob painted red. looking for your top.

anyhoo.

i am still in the thick of a summer of teaching and all i know – amidst piles of marking – is i love it. even when its too much. even when there is more to do than can seemingly be done. i also love camping – i know, wtf, eh? – and the new plants decorating my previously barren balcony. summer makes me happy. but it flies like nobody’s business.

i don’t want to get into an esoteric discussion about the brevity of time or life or joy because honestly, blogs aren’t really suppose to be all life-y and preachiness (according to me, the apparently judgey thoughtful spaz). but recent life events – illness in my family, the epiphany about teaching as key for me, and a milestone anniversary make me think about something a family member said to me in recent weeks about how life goes by so fast. i hadn’t seen this family member in roughly 9 nines, so it was an illustrative example of his point. last i’d seen him we were kids, poking the eyes out of fish and wrapping them up as presents for our mothers (sweet, i know). well, maybe not that long ago. but we were certainly awkward teens. and now we’re what are commonly referred to as adults replete with furry kids (cats all around), homes, and “real lives.” he was sharing sage advice from his father who’d said to him simply that it all goes by too fast. and it does. if we let it. we consistently forget as a people i think, that we can make our lives however we chose (that is, if we are privileged enough to make more than constrained choices in the world).

alls i’m saying folks, in an unoriginal sort of way, is that maybe, just maybe, all life is is texting love notes to t-bone with pumpkin scone icing fingers after class on a hot vancouver day.

gotmilkso thanks to work i used to do on public nudity i still know folks in the nudy petudy business. and that has meant, strangely, that my new year has been filled with well…boobies. and lots of ’em. lemmie ‘splain.

a sage and mentor of the naturist movement whom i know, and once had a clothed interview audience with, is a defiant advocate for the right to breastfeed in public. in particular, his most recent cause is for facebook to stop removing breastfeeding photos arbitrarily that someone in the faceless realm of facebook censorship – is it you mark zuckerburg? – considers “vaguely pornographic.” apparently facebook has a problem with nipples. who knew? well. maybe some of you did. you dirty beasts.

anyhoo.

so this leads me to the question – which is not what you are thinking and sorry P. that i might not be going in the intended direction – but when is a child too old to breastfeed? or wait. is that the question? the boob fire has been lit under me and now it just needs to be discussed dammit. call it jacks’ war on nipples. or nipplepalooza. or nipplefest. just make sure there are nipples.

i just watched a “newsmagazine” about this topic and they took this issue to heart showing four-year-olds and eight-year-olds nursing. of course this causes uproar. disgust. outrage. but why? why can’t women catch a break? which brings us to the gendered nature of tits (doesn’t it?). my next research project. (just kidding. well. maybe). but really, the women interviewed make the helpful and important distinction – which is the direction i believe P. is going in – which is a legitimate, feminist point about the right of women to bare their breasts in the “service” of feeding their children the “natural” way. but as always, this fight turns into something else. the right for women to connect with their bodies and their children in “natural” ways. which essentializes. and we don’t like that, do we dear bloggy friends?

my frustration is focused on the dichotomy which is inevitably created between the “naturalness” of the naked human body, especially women’s bodies (we are closer to nature, dontcha know? all godless-like and such. borf) and the seemingly un-naturalness of sexuality. or the apparent division between the two. i mean i get it. i studied naturists for long enough to know that the only way you make yourself legitimate as a naked person in public is by saying that it’s “natural” and not “sexual,”  thus creating the bind that these women find themselves in. the argument goes something like this: i should be able to post my booby my pics on facebook because i am doing a natural motherly thing feeding them (the age thing is still the wildcard here) and its not sexual because i am naturally made to feed kids. so it’s not sexual to show pics of my breasts when it is in the service of feeding my kids. k, all good. ‘cept for the fact that this argument requires you not only to make the relevant distinction between boobs for milk and boobs for sex (see above pic), but also requires women to turn themselves effectively into the “natural” baby-milking machine called mother. it requires a reliance on stereotypes of nurturing women and their proper role as caregiver. maybe this is just the eggnog talking, but it is a double-edged sword. not the nursing per se. but the lengths women go to legitimate the naturalness of boob-showing as a function of motherhood.

now, i don’t want anyone to get me wrong. i am an absolute, no question, fervent advocate of breastfeeding. in public. in private. in those cute little rooms in the mall that are made for moms that i wish i could go into without seeming creepy. but we women have enough to deal with without being the goddesses of milk. let’s advocate showing our tits for tits sake. let’s nipple it up. and someone pass the bottle.

epilogue: while i introduced the notion of older-age breastfeeding, i didn’t really address it. peruse the official petition to facebook about breastfeeding not being obscene and P.’s site for the banned facebook photos. tell me what you think about boobs. and eight-year-olds. cause this is important to the earth’s planetary rotation.

swears.

eggnog2it’s true. i should be doing ANYTHING else right now besides blogging. there is a tree to put up, an apartment to clean, publications to write, relatives to call, cats to pet. but goddamit, what about time for jacks? i just got back from a whirlwind trip around holland (and belgium) to visit family (i have an aunt who resembles zsa zsa  in more ways that one who celebrated her 95th birthday – said birthday was celebrated in.a.castle. yeah, that’s right. holland has castles. who knew? and more importantly, how awesome is it to go to a party and then sleep in a castle. oh, and then go to another castle the next day for my cousin’s wedding reception. yup. two castles. two days. two parties. two different parts of holland. i barely survived the jetlag. i tell you this not to brag – because do people really get jealous of jacks randomly sleeping in castles? i think not. but rather to share my incredulity with you. dutch castles. things that make you go hmmm). anyhoo – trip was fun – family heavy which was just what i wanted. i got to celebrate sinterklaas day there which is sorta like christmas here – presents for kids, etc. – while christmas – the 25th – is celebrated more like a religious holiday without gifts. if you are looking for a trippy holiday though – sinterklaas day is one to check out – particularly the part about zwarte (translated as black) pete (or piet in dutch). can anyone say unselfconscious blackface? yowza. but in other, only tangentially related news, it seems that i am in blogging arrears and dr. beth (whose blog currently has snow! yay!) has sent me another meme so i must get to it because it makes me feel important.

basically i have to do a bunch of fancy blog-related things that i am too lazy to figure out at the moment and i am distracted by t-bone filling up my eggnog bath (not really) so i will just write 6 random things about myself and ask you, dear readers to do the same in the comments. here goes:

  1. my nickname when i was six was popcorn head. i might have already talked about this and the way my mother cut and permed my hair like a geriatric’s, but who doesn’t want to revisit that pain over and over again? i know i do.
  2. i currently desperately want to write a short story. i thought i wanted to write a novel but now that just seems too ambitious what with the dissertation and all.
  3. i am currently sporting my natural haircolour which i haven’t seen since roughly 1995.
  4. i was born with three holes in my heart which were repaired by way of open-heart surgery when i was three. it didn’t strike me that i had actual holes in my heart until i was about 9 years old and my friend (susanne, if you read this blog, just know that i am outing out) asked me if i had any trouble with my feelings – you know, like love, because the carebears were advising us at that time in the late 1980s that without our hearts we were all just…i dunno mired in the land without feelings. fucking profound susie q. i must say.
  5. i got married when i was 25. i know! doesn’t that seem young? well i guess it does to me now that i am almost thirty. jeesh. such a little lamb back then before t-bone corrupted me with his love and proposals of marriage and such. aaaah.
  6. i love holland more than i think i would love the land of oz. however, there is no way of ever knowing that and i am aware of that.

yay! this is fun! i want to go on forever but i am afraid of how random this could get. for example i might spill about how i was a punk rocker for like my entire youth for halloween (badly approximating madonna in her like a virgin video (gawd – i STILL love that song!), or how i used to make boys i liked get down on their hands and knees so i could step on their backs getting onto the monkey bars at school (like, what was that about? can someone say control issues?). or how i love eating in random hole-in-the-wall chinese restaurants that smell suspiciously and taste deliciously. or how i love christmas far too much for someone approaching thirty. alright. i’m stopping. but i want to hear some random shit for all ya’ll and i will also be accepting ideas  for plots for my possible short story. perhaps i will blog some of it. or perhaps it will remain the untold story of a popcorn headed girl, dressed skankily like madonna, eating chinese food in the land without feelings.

um. whatevs.

so i poisoned myself with a bavarian smokie. so what? like you have never made bad food choices. sorry. i’m a little grouchy due to the preservative-coated poison that still seems to flow through my veins. i know i should know better. when you eat hotdogs because their due-date is the day you are contemplating eating them, you have made a bad decision. other bad decisions i have made lately: to have a food-eating contest with t-bone that involves his eating 50 hamburgers and my eating 20 wiener-related items (i see that that was a bad choice of words but i am too sickly weak to do anything about it). it seems as though i may have already lost. that bavarian smokie was to be #3 in favour of jacks). unless cheesey dogs count cause i can probably eat those the rest of the summer. gawd i’m gross.

other things i have learned from eating a poison wiener:

  • the hours between 2am and 5am are terrible to experience. only because after two you know you are going to be exhausted the next day. because you are almost thirty. and that makes you old. also, once the birds start chirping and you are still suppressing the urge to vomit, you know you’re f*cked.
  • cats have the ability to be sympathetically sick with you. bianca, who pukes a lot as it is due to her half-himalayan-ness and the related masses of fur, puked repeatedly when i was feeling ill. this had the effect of making me much more nauseous as i cleaned up the warm half-digested cat food chunks. sweetass. (bianca then needed a lot of coddling which made me want to kill her because she likes to step all over me due the coddling process. poor me is basically my point).
  • i have a weak baby stomach. t-bone woke up about 3am and upon realizing my distress was like, “yeah, my stomach is a bit off too,” and then promptly fell back to sleep. i have been sick for what is going on two days. he’s completely fine. (if anyone knows where i can purchase a stomach of steel, i’d be forever grateful).
  • napping is underrated. i kinda dig it. that, and not showering all day.
  • i have seen the film peggy sue got married WAY too many times for how not a good movie it is.
  • seven years in tibet feels like seven years long. particularly due to brad pitt’s awful acting and awful austrian accent. the first time he said “shit” with that accent, i thought he was joking. like he was going to look at the camera and say, “sorry i’m such a douche in this movie. i can’t help myself.” or something like that.
  • hotdogs might be the devil. but it doesn’t mean i love them any less. we are just “on a break.”

on a related note, i think there is a force in the universe keeping me from my dissertation. it comes in many guises and it is quite powerful. i think i will respect it. a least until i stop having bavarian-flavoured indigestion. i know. i’m gross.

(note: the pic is me in vegas when hotdogs and i were still a pretty serious hot and heavy item. we’ll get there again. someday).


during this past week (and a bit) of procrasinate-y goodness, which was inflected with bouts of hardcore writing (my theory chapter of all things), and which resulted in my new nickname: jacks the vamp-paper slayer, i realize that i can multi-task. no. i kick ass at multi-tasking. what are these things i can do at once, you ask? i can watch food network food porn AND write academic papers.

impressive, no?

i have had a recent personal victory. after many, many months of trying to convince t-bone that we do in fact need more television, and not less, as he ridiculously suggests, i managed to score us classic cable. well, more specifically, i trapped t-bone with a cableman and basically forced the cableman to install classic cable while my poor dear love could only politely scowl from the corner. ah, passive aggression. keeps the love alive. there are two points that need clarification here: while t-bone likes television, he thinks it is perhaps mind numbing and that we should do talky/thinky activities instead (noble, but misguided); and classic cable is just one step up from basic cable. the main difference is that with basic cable there is no food network. and no food network means no food porn. you see my dilemma.

so while i have been diligently working away at my theory chapter, i have also been marking time if you will, with copious amounts of food network. i love the southern lady who can’t keep food out her mouth long enough to talk to the camera, let alone her many grown sons that she seemingly forces to cook with her. i love the skinny italian woman who makes the richest italian dishes but never seems to gain a pound. i think she’s magic. and i also love the really tall atlantic canadian dude who cooks off the top of his head in his own kitchen for his family. how do i get a gig like that? i mean he prolly writes off his kid he’s got such a sweetass deal. i once saw him at a winery in the niagara wine region in ontario and i want to talk to him so bad. but i could figure out what to say and knowing me it would have been something really lame like, “dude you are tall. like really tall. taller than you appear on t.v.” and then realizing that was stupid i would have gone on to ask him if his relative tallness interferes with his cooking. it would have been seriously humiliating. kind of like the time i was eating at the table next to brian orser and i couldn’t stop staring at him. poor dude was just trying to have brunch with his mom and his partner and all i could think about was how i wanted to tell him i wrote a speech about him in grade 5. that he was my hero. i was like 25 at the time. thankfully, t-bone and others saved me from that doomed interaction.

so basically, getting back to food porn, i realized that what your parents always told you is untrue. you can and should watch television while working. more employers need to get behind this idea. especially if it is something that significantly motivates. like yummy, yummy food. t-bone remains puzzled about why i watch hours and hours of the food channel and never cook anything i see on there. never write down a recipe. never reproduce the pornographic goodness that is the food network. i tell him that i am getting inspiration. but perhaps this inspiration is not only food-focused but reaches into the innermost corner of my psyche and makes me productive. i hope i didn’t write anything provocative for my supervisor to see. thank gawd my dissertation isn’t about food.

for interwebs porn for those of you without the food network (poor darlings) there is this great new blog – patent and the pantry. enjoy!