Sunday, April 28, 2013


I'm very stressed. I am trying to choose the appropriate activities for my child. According to Phillip and other hippies, I should just wait until the child gets older and let the child decide for herself what activities she would like to try. But children, left to their own devices, will only choose to play video games and chat on Facebook. You can't just hope that your child happens to have innate genius along with the self motivation to work and work and bring that genius to fruition. NO. To make a gifted child, you must MAKE it gifted. You have to give it activities and force it to practice at those activities. You have to teach it responsibility and focus and determination.


Here are my ideas.

1) Violin
I like the idea of violin. Not only is it a beautiful instrument, a child can start learning it as early as age 3, giving the child the opportunity to become a virtuoso by the time she's in high school.

2) Viola
See above

3) Gymnastics
I loved gymnastics when I was a kid. If my child is "blessed" with my short, stocky stature and natural flexibility, it would be a shame to waste that "blessing". I was pretty good at gymnastics, but I never went very far with it. Now I can live vicariously through my child.

4) Mandarin
China is a big deal, and all indicators predict that they will be an even bigger world player by the time my child is an adult. It only makes sense to force my child to learn Mandarin. What if she wants to go into international business? What if she just wants to live in China for a while? How will that work if she doesn't speak Chinese? It's necessary.

5) Fencing
It's really cool.

6) Piano
I'm told that this is the best instrument to start a child on, because it provides the best musical foundation, and from there a child will be able to learn any instrument easily.

7) Martial Arts
Specifically Krav Maga. Our kid is going to be small. Let's be realistic. Being small is hard. It's unsettling to know that pretty much any one can kick your ass any time they want to. My child will never know that fear, because she will know 27 ways to kill a man with her pinky.

8) Ballet
There is a shortage of male ballet dancers. So if you have a son who is good at ballet, he will basically get free college, from the scholarships and whatnot. So if I have a son, I want to make him do ballet.

Actually, I want my girl to do ballet too.

9) Art
I suck at art and so does Phil. I never learned to do things like paint and sculpt and do crafts. I can barely draw stars. What if my child wants to be an artist? How will that happen if I don't make sure she gets art instruction from an early age? I can't rely on the schools to do it - after all, I went to school and the art projects they gave us didn't teach any real art skills - it was all pasting bits of tissue paper onto cardboard in the shape of a turkey. If my child is to be the next Frida Kahlo, I need to make sure she gets the finest art instruction.

10) Cello
It's my favorite instrument. I want my home to be filled with beautiful cello music.

11) Harp
I love the harp. Also, it's an uncommon instrument. If my child masters the harp, there will be less competition if she decides to be a professional musician. Less competition = better chance of success.

Those are my ideas for now. Ideally, I would have my child participate in ALL of these activities, but realistically speaking, we don't have the money or time.

Sigh. Decisions decisions.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Mother Shaming

About 8 of my friends have posted this on Facebook and it makes me feel angry. It's a "letter" written to a woman who dares to check her phone while watching her kids in the park. I'm going to stick up for mothers here, but before I do, here is the post that has irked me. Above the text is a picture of a woman standing 5 feet from her kids as they play, while she checks her phone. Here is the text.

"Dear Mom On the iPhone,

I see you over there on the bench, messing on your iPhone. It feels good to relax a little while your kids have fun in the sunshine, doesn’t it? You are doing a great job with your kids, you work hard, you teach them manners, have them do their chores.

But Mom, let me tell you what you don’t see right now…..

Your little girl is spinning round and round, making her dress twirl. She is such a little beauty queen already, the sun shining behind her long hair. She keeps glancing your way to see if you are watching her.

You aren’t.

Your little boy keeps shouting, “Mom, MOM watch this!” I see you acknowledge him, barely glancing his way.

He sees that too. His shoulders slump, but only for a moment, as he finds the next cool thing to do.

Now you are pushing your baby in the swing. She loves it! Cooing and smiling with every push. You don’t see her though, do you? Your head is bent, your eyes on your phone as you absently push her swing.

Talk to her. Tell her about the clouds, Mommy. The Creator who made them. Tickle her tummy when she comes near you and enjoy that baby belly laugh that leaves far too quickly.

Put your eyes back on your prize…Your kids.

Show them that they are the priority. Wherever you are, be ALL there. I am not saying it’s not ok to check in on your phone, but it’s a time-sucker: User Beware!

Play time at the park will be over before you know it.

The childhood of your children will be gone before you know it.

They won’t always want to come to the park with you, Mommy. They won’t always spin and twirl to make their new dress swish, they won’t always call out, “WATCH ME!”

There will come a point when they stop trying, stop calling your name, stop bothering to interrupt your phone time.

Because they know…

You’ve shown them, during all of these moments, that the phone is more important than they are. They see you looking at it at while waiting to pick up brother from school, during playtime, at the dinner table, at bedtime…..

I know that’s not true, Mommy.

I know your heart says differently.

But your kids can’t hear your words, Mommy. Your actions are screaming way too loudly.

May our eyes rest upon those we love, first and foremost, and may everything else fall away in the wonderful, noisy, sticky-fingered glory of it all. ♥"

Now I'm going to tear into this shit.

1) I get sick of people judging mothers for every little freaking thing. Are the kids neglected? Are they being abused? Then shut up and stop judging her. She's doing fine, and you have no business criticizing her so harshly.

2) If it were a father checking his phone as he watched his kids in the park, women would be gaga, thinking it was the sweetest thing in the world. If he checks his phone, it's probably because of something important and work related. After all, he has to provide for those kids.

But it's a woman on the phone. So she's probably just doing something "selfish" like shopping for shoes. Whore.

3) Who is writing this garbage? Maybe she should step down off her high horse for a minute and join us in the real world. Because in reality, you CANNOT devote EVERY SECOND to paying attention to your kids. It is not physically possible. And contrary to what idiots would have you believe, not every moment of childhood is precious. A lot of those moments are boring drudgery. I remember childhood. Not every moment of it needed to be recorded, savored and cherished.

This isn't the only example of Mother Shaming I've seen, it's just the most recent.

The worst thing about it is that the hyper-judgment comes from women, not men! These mothers - who should be sticking together and supporting each other - spend huge amounts of time and effort trying to tear down other mothers. I don't know why. Maybe noticing flaws in other mothering styles makes them feel better about their own parenting skills. Maybe they're just mean people.

(I know that not all mothers behave this way. I'm just talking about the ones who do.)

Look, being a mother is an important job. We all get that. But maybe take the holier-than-thou crap down a notch. The kids are gonna be fine.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

My Pregnancy FAQ

Q: So, you're pregnant?
A: Yes.

Q: Are you sure? We all remember December's fiasco.
A: Yes, I'm sure. In December I had what is known as a "chemical pregnancy". That means I had a fertilized egg and tested positive for pregnancy, but the egg did not implant. It's kind of a "miscarriage light". This time I have made it to 11 weeks, and I had an ultrasound which confirmed that there was a living baby in me, with a heartbeat and body parts.

Q: Will you be posting your ultrasound pictures online so we know you're not lying?
A: No. Ew. I personally think posting ultrasound pictures online is tacky and gross, and I won't do it for the same reason I didn't post pictures of the results of my endoscopy. My insides are my own business. And the baby isn't cute yet. I don't want you to get the wrong idea and think I'm gestating a monster.

Q: It looked like a monster? What is wrong with you?
A: Well, to be more accurate, it looks like a grainy, misshapen teddy bear.

Q: It's just hit me that this child will have both the DNA of Dana AND Phillip. A child with Phillip's math skills, kindness and lustrous beard-growing capabilities - COMBINED with Dana's decisiveness, creativity and radiant skin? When will this glorious miracle child be born, that we might worship it?
A: Early to mid November.

Q: But more importantly, when can we expect this child to take over the planet, ruling with an iron fist, righting the wrongs of society and stamping out evil with her fiery sword of justice?
A: Probably not for at least 10 to 15 years, if she is especially precocious. More likely, it will be two decades.

Q: Aren't you supposed to wait to announce your pregnancy until after the genetic screenings are done, in case you choose to abort a baby that has Down's Syndrome or whatever?
A: Sigh. You had to take it there, didn't you. Please try to be more positive.

Q: You told us to be positive in the first blog, and then that baby died. Do you learn nothing from your mistakes?
A: Look, that baby was weak and couldn't hang. This new baby is strong - I heard it's heartbeat myself and it was fierce and fast and insistent. It was like "Fuck you prior baby. You were too weak to stick around, but I, your sibling, can, because I'm not a total wuss. See how strong I am! Totally alive. I will take your place and come into the Earth and drink greedily from the cup of life, guzzling like a frat boy doing a keg stand."

Q: So, how are you feeling?
A: Awful. Being pregnant is freaking awful. I'm sick all the time. All I want to do is sleep and eat and vomit. The only thing that seems to make me feel better is eating crappy food. As a result I have already gained 6 pounds, and look totally disgusting. My breasts hurt. I keep getting zits, which Never happens to me. I hate my fat body. I want some wine. I want for someone to just give me heavy duty sedatives and wake me in November when I can just have this baby and put this whole nightmarish experience behind me forever. Whoever said pregnancy is a beautiful, special time in a woman's life is a fucking liar. The other day I cried because they didn't have any nectarines in the grocery store. I sobbed like a mental patient. Over a lack of nectarines. Teaching yoga is the last thing I want to do, but I have to do it because it's my job. I have to call in sick sometimes because of the vomit, which makes me look flaky and irresponsible. I can't work out because I'm too tired and sick. I hate being pregnant. I hate it!

Thank you for asking.

Q: You sound whiny and awful.
A: That's not a question, and so I will not dignify it with an answer.

Q: But won't it all be worth it when you have your beautiful baby in your arms?
A: It freaking well better be.

Q: How many children are you planning to have after this?
A: Zero. There is no way I am doing this again. People keep telling me "You'll feel differently after you have the baby. You'll want another one." Yeah, I don't think I will. I'll have this blog to commemorate the amount of misery I'm feeling, and it will remind me if I get some kind of bizarrely specific pregnancy amnesia. Phillip wants more. I told him he is welcome to purchase a baby if he wants another one, but this is my last pregnancy.

Q: You know you're not supposed to have gained any weight yet, right? Since you're only in the first trimester? Yeah, you need to make sure you're eating only healthy food, and exercising every day.
A; FUCK. YOU. Come to my house and say that to my face. I promise, you will regret it.

Q: Have you thought of names yet?
A: Yes! For a boy, Malcolm Vaughn Hammer. For a girl, Nadia Kate Hammer.

Q: How is Phillip handling all of this?
A: Quite well. He is the master of fetching me cans of sprite. He refrains from making gagging, vomiting sounds when looking at my fat body. He has been wonderful, really. As always.

Q: Do you want a girl or a boy?
A: Meh.

Honey Boo Boo's Mother

I'm tired of hearing people call Honey Boo Boo's mother a bad mother. Here's why.

(Note. I haven't actually watched the show. I'm basing this entirely on Facebook posts and Internet headlines I've read. If the woman is actually abusing her child, please disregard this blog. But judging from what I've read, she's not a child abuser. She's just a redneck.))

Fat + Redneck does not = bad mother. It just doesn't.

Yeah, the pageants and TV show might be questionable parenting choices, but is that really enough that we can label her a "bad mother"? I reject that notion.

Most of the judgment I've heard revolves around the fact that she allows her kid to drink soda, specifically Red Bull, which she calls "go go juice".

Look. I'm sure your mothers fed you nothing but organic kale which you grew and harvested yourselves in your backyard, and which taught you a lot about nutrition and sustainable gardening practices. Great. But here's a secret for you. Most parents let their kids eat junk food. Is it good for them? No. But if you're going to get all pissy about it, you might as well just accept that you're going to be pissy for the rest of your lives. Cause it happens. All the time.

Why does the mother get all the blame? She has two parents. It's misogynistic and stupid to talk about how awful her mother is, when her father is equally responsible for all of these decisions. I get tired of "mother blaming" when there is a father in the picture too.

I think most of the harsh judgment I hear comes from people raised in upper middle class homes in blue stares. I don't think they're trying to be mean, but I think they are disassociated from the way lower class Americans actually live. They don't understand it, and so they judge it to be "bad". I wish they would try to temper their judgment with a little kindness and understanding.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Please Stop Using Christianity as an Excuse to Oppose Gay Marriage

Recently I have been barraged with comments from "Christians" who are using their supposed Christianity as an excuse to oppose gay marriage. This is upsetting to me for a variety of reasons, but especially because I myself am a Christian and I unreservedly support the rights of gay people to marry. Here's why using Christianity as an excuse to oppose gay marriage is stoopid, and why I am smart.

First of all, the Bible does, in fact, have passages that oppose homosexuality. I am in no way contesting that. But the Bible says a lot of stuff, and some of that stuff is pretty wacky. We all know about the passages condemning the mixing of fabrics, the eating of shellfish, etc. There are passages advocating smashing babies' skulls against stone walls in order to kill them. There are passages that advocate slavery. Most of the Old Testament advocates polygamy.

I can hear people protesting now - "But that stuff is all in the Old Testament! The New Testament is what counts to Christians, because the coming of Jesus got rid of all those old rules".

Well, the New Testament says some crazy stuff too. The New Testament has rules stating that it's wrong for a man to have long hair (umm....has anyone looked at at statue of Jesus recently?), rules against women speaking in church, rules against women uncovering their heads in church, and rules against women being teachers or "holding authority over men". Last I checked, there are plenty of female teachers in the world, many of them Christians, and women speak (and sing) in church all the time. Are female managers evil sluts who have been led astray by Satan? I say, of course not! And most Christians would agree with me.

But here's the thing. In order for Christians to say "Yes, it's acceptable for a female to be a teacher" or "No, we don't support slavery", Christians first had to deviate from following the Bible literally. It didn't happen all at once, it happened slowly. But eventually, Christians were able to change their minds about slavery, etc., because A RELIGION THAT DOES NOT PROGRESS WITH ITS PEOPLE WILL BECOME EXTINCT.

If you are a Christian, as I am, or a Hegelian, as I am, you know that humanity is constantly progressing, moving towards an ultimate goal. We are forever being tempered in the crucible that is Earth, changing and growing, becoming what God wants us to be. This is evidenced by The New Covenant, offered to us by Christ. The New Covenant frees us from the need to make animal sacrifices and follow strict and tedious and numerous laws, because by the time Christ came, humanity had progressed to the point that we no longer needed those kind of intense restrictions. The New Covenant gives us the ability to use our discernment to tell us what is right and wrong behavior. As humanity increases in compassion and intelligence, we are better and better able to make moral decisions on our own, from our innate goodness.

And we have done just that, in many cases. When compassion increased to the point where society found slavery intolerable, slavery was abolished EVEN THOUGH THE BIBLE SAYS SLAVERY IS OK. When women's rights began to be advocated, we we allowed women to speak in public, to be teachers, and to be managers in business, EVEN THOUGH THE BIBLE SAYS WOMEN SHOULD NOT DO THOSE THINGS. And that is as it should be.

And next, homosexuals will be allowed to marry, EVEN THOUGH THE BIBLE SAYS HOMOSEXUALITY IS A SIN. And that is as it should be.

It's going to happen. It IS happening - many gay couples are already legally married - and yet the sky has not fallen and society has not collapsed. The fact of the matter is, as compassion grows and grows, and as provincialism and backwardness diminish, the world will continue to change for the better. AND THAT IS AS IT SHOULD BE.

Bottom line, we pick and choose which parts of the Bible we are going to obey all the time. We have to! It would be impossible to follow everything the Bible says - it would be impractical in today's society, and a lot of the Bible contradicts itself because it was written by different authors in different times. AND THAT IS AS IT SHOULD BE. We are able to pick and choose which parts of the Bible we will follow because of the New Covenant, which gives us the discernment to make our own moral choices.

Here is the argument some people are going to make: "But according to your logic, Dana, a person could do whatever the heck she wants and justify it by saying she was just following her own moral code."

No. Because as Christians, we are still obligated to follow the teachings of Christ. Christ taught us to love our neighbors as ourselves and to treat others as we would like to be treated. So a person cannot run around murdering and raping and stealing, because those types of actions are harmful to others. As followers of Christ, we are bound to do no harm to others.

Being gay does not hurt others. Jesus never talked about homosexuality at all, of which we are aware, but I'm inclined to believe that Jesus would have been compassionate toward gay people, as he was toward all people.

Part 2

Now, for the sake of argument, let's say that everything I've just said is complete and utter bullshit. Let's say that Jesus hates gayness and he totally opposes gay marriage. Lets say that being gay is a sin, for sure, and I'm totally in the wrong.



In the United States, we have freedom of religion. "Freedom of religion" means that we cannot force our religious beliefs on others, no matter how strongly we may believe them. So if you are a Christian who opposes gay marriage, fine. Don't have a gay marriage, and you're in the clear. But you have to acknowledge that not everyone in this country is a Christian, and not everyone who gets married is a Christian. Why should a non-Christian have to abide by the Christian definition of marriage? After all, a non-Christian will not be celebrating Christmas like a Christian, or going to church like a Christian or praying like a Christian. Why should their marriages be based on a Christian tenets when nothing else in their lives is? That's not the way it works in a free society.


i have outlined why Christianity is not a good excuse for opposing gay marriage. We have the ability to use our compassion and discernment to allow gay people to be joined together in marriage, just as we were able to use our compassion and discernment to allow interracial couples to marry, just as we were able to abolish slavery, and just as we were able to allow women to have jobs outside the home, irrespective of what the Bible says. As a people, humans are always evolving and changing, progressing toward an ultimate goal. towards compassion, kindness and goodness.
But even if I'm wrong about all that, Christianity is still not a good reason to oppose gay marriage, because marriage is not the province of Christians alone. In the United States, marriage is a legal institution, not a religious one, though of course, many people infuse their marriages with their religion of choice. It is irrational and against the American principle of freedom of religion to force atheists, Shintoists, Buddhists, etc. to abide by Christian edicts. If their religion (or lack thereof) allows for gay people to marry, why should they be prohibited from doing so based on Christian values? They aren't Christians.

But let's get real here.

People who oppose gay marriage know all this. They don't REALLY believe that allowing gay people to marry will in some way diminish their own marriages. They don't really believe that homosexuality is harmful to society - no rational person COULD believe such a stupid thing. They KNOW that interpretations of the Bible change all the time. They KNOW that Christianity has been wrong about things in the past, and that it has changed its views on many subjects, and that it will do so again, as humanity evolves.
So why do they oppose gay marriage so strongly?

Because they think it's icky.

That's it. That's all. They think homosexuality is deviant and gross, and it bothers them. They are provincial and close minded, and probably don't have a lot of gay friends. They probably haven't even read the entire Bible, much less taken any college level philosophy courses, or studied the Bible in a rigorous, scholarly manner. They just believe whatever their parents told them about the gays, and don't bother to question it. All of this combines to make for an intolerant person who will be on the wrong side of history.

And so I say to you who oppose gay marriage - You know that friend you have with the creepy grandpa who thinks it's hilarious to call him "Arnold Schwartzenigger"? You know how he uses words like "jewess"and "octoroon?" You know how he embarrasses the entire family with his backward provincialism and his hate? If you don't change your mind soon about gay marriage, you will be that creepy grandpa, who no one wants to visit. The time is coming when it will no longer be acceptable to discriminate against gay people. And that time is coming soon.

Please change your mind in time. Come to the good side - we're nice people over here, and you will be welcomed with open arms. Like Jesus would have wanted.