BUSY!

I originally typed the title as BUSTY! which is also true, but not what I wanted to talk about today.

Today is just a brief update. So much has happened in the last couple of months. I missed the last two letters to Alvie. He is still about, being crazy. He’s made some great life plans. “I’m going to be three and grow a beard. I’m going to be four and go in a plane to visit Papa Howard and Barbara. I’m going to be five and drink a beer in a glass because I will be big.”  Yesterday he added that at ten, he will start drinking coffee. So glad that beer comes first.

He looks very goal oriented, doesn't he?

He looks very goal oriented, doesn’t he?

I bought a new bike. I have named him Millennium Falcon because (a) I am a gigantic dork, (b) my car is Serenity and I like the theme of having my wheeled conveyances be spaceships, (c) he is going to be fast enough to do the Kessel Spice run in under 12 parsecs, and (d) I can abbreviate it to MF and call him a sexy MF.

2014-12-06-13.19.42

I got a new tattoo! I do not have a picture of it, and because I am wearing tights and am at work, I am not going to take a picture of it right now. However, here is the drawing of the tattoo before it was on my body.

FullSizeRender

I won NaNoWriMo for the 2nd year in a row. And have done virtually no writing since the end of November. But that’s okay. I’ll get back to it soon. I love writing, and I have big, big goals for the next couple of years.

WINNER!

WINNER!

I’ve been working my ass off the last month, which is unfortunate because I didn’t have much to begin with. Which is why I declare (I am stealing this from my PSM Cat) 2015 the year of the ass. I am going to yoga until I get a booty and then I will name that booty. (I wanted to name her Brigid, but that’s too close to the name Cat chose for hers, and I don’t want it to seem like I’m SWF-ing her, so Imma gonna go with something else. I haven’t decided yet.) I declared 2014 the Year of the Lady Pirate (reading, rumming, and running) and Cat made that happen with our awesomesauciest reading group in the land.

Next week I’m going to do my best books (that I’ve read) of 2014. As soon as I read the December book club pick (it’s Margaret Atwood, and I’m pretty sure it’s going to make the list). There will have to be several categories.

Anyway – it’s almost the most wonderful day of the year. (Solstice, in case you were wondering. BRING BACK MY SUN, BITCHES!)

Still miss you…

Happy birthday, Dad. Today you would’ve been 65. So old. Ha!

I finished NaNoWriMo again this year. The website still lists you as one of my writing buddies. You always will be.

I got a new tattoo over Thanksgiving. I know you’d be thrilled.

I’m planning on shopping the first book in my series in a few months. I have all your books on marketing yourself. I don’t know how you did it as you’re even more anti-social than I am.

Most of the time, I’m okay, but every once in a while, it still hits me like a freight train (Alvie loves trains, by the way…although between you and his daddy, he didn’t have much of a chance). We have a book that I got from one of my cousins called “Tickle Monster” and there’s a picture of you pasted inside the front cover with a note saying that he (my cousin) will always remember you as the tickle monster. Whenever Alvie and I read that book we always look at Grandpa Tickle’s picture, and that chokes me up, because you’ll never tickle him.

I’m a little mad, you know. Still. Just a little. Mostly I’m grateful for the time I had with you and the support you ALWAYS gave me.

Love,

Your Favorite Eldest Daughter

A rare winter trip back - dad's sixtieth birthday

A rare winter trip back – dad’s sixtieth birthday

 

Accidental Cleavage

There’s been a lot of chatter on the news about dress codes lately. Much of the dress codes seem disproportionately directed at young women and girls. I’m willing to admit that what makes the news and what exists might be on two different planes of existence, but a school in North Dakota did admit to having the girls watch Pretty Woman as some kind of…educational piece on what not to wear.

Much of the dialog around dress codes seems to center on what not to show. Too much leg, too much abdomen, too much chest. You can’t have yoga pants or leggings (too tight, you can tell that there are legs!) or too short of shorts or skirts (you can actually SEE the legs that were previously only theoretical!) or midriff baring tops (too much abdomen!) or visible bra straps (oooh! foundational undergarments are a thing!) and you definitely, definitely can’t have cleavage.

This definitely violates the dress code. And probably a health code.

This definitely violates the dress code. And probably a health code. Or five.

Of course, there are likely dress code strictures against male-specific clothing (like visible undergarments), but I’m sure most people would agree that the above mentioned items are mostly directed at girls. There may be boys who wear short shorts and low cut body suits to school, but they are likely few and far between.

Those shorts are too short and that body suit is too 90s.

Those shorts are too short and that body suit is too 90s.

So, what’s the problem? Dressing like that is distracting in the classroom, according to a teacher I know (and greatly respect as a fellow human being).

On the surface, I agree. There’s no real reason to show up to school with skin showing all over the place. Dress codes prepare you for the professional world, where there are often dress codes (there’s certainly one where I work – I believe I’m not supposed to show my shoulders at work, although I’d have to double check). This is not new, and although it seems to be more in the news lately, it’s possible that it’s just getting more attention.

However, when I think more about the implications and the language used, I do start to have a problem. It’s the distraction wording. The implication (and sometimes direct statement) that the way girls dress, the amount of skin they’re showing, the fact that other people can see the curves (or not) of their bodies, is too much of a distraction for others (male classmates and occasionally teachers) is the real problem.

Maybe we should just all follow a Doctor Who themed dress code

Maybe we should just all follow a Doctor Who themed dress code

In life, there are lots of distractions. A sunny day, music, the office mate who constantly hums off key. You deal with it and get shit done. If you cannot deal with it and get shit done, then you are not going to last long in a professional world. There are other jobs that have an even higher distraction probability. Firefighting, military, police work, EMTs, probably teaching, for the love of the Taco Pope.

Learning to deal with and ignore distractions is a valuable life skill.

There are some cases in which the distractor can be blamed and dealt with (see above loud, off-key humming office mate, who is definitely not fertilizing any non-nondescript tracts of land), but there are others that cannot (just about any distraction encountered while EMT-ing, I’m guessing).

So, not only are we teaching that distractions are something that need to be shut down, we are making assumptions about our boys: (a) they cannot learn if they can see that the girls in their classrooms have girl parts and (b) that they are unable to imagine the girl parts of said girls and aren’t already doing that almost constantly.

The Doctor definitely gives the best fashion advice

The Doctor definitely gives the best fashion advice

We are creating a culture that allows boys to not take responsibility for their own thoughts and actions. I don’t care if a teenage boy looks at a teenage girl and thinks, “Damn. She is hot. I would like to get me some of that.”

I do have a problem if he thinks that and then at any point the conclusion is reached that he is entitled of get some of that. If we let boys believe that the way a girl dresses is a legitimate distraction that they should be protected from (by sending girls home and creating dress codes that don’t allow girls to show their shoulders or stomachs or thighs), then we are planting the seeds that the way a girl dresses means something about her as a person – or even worse – as an object.

He is beyond fully clothed, but still the most distracting thing I've seen today.

He is beyond fully clothed, but still the most distracting thing I’ve seen today.

Now, let’s move on to what we’re teaching our girls. By sending a girl home or telling her to cover herself because she’s showing too much cleavage, we’re reducing her to her appearance. There seems to be more emphasis placed on covering up the curves. As someone who grew up with larger than average (at least where I went to school) breasts, I can tell you what that’s like. I was, for a period of time, called Dolly Parton the Second in Junior High. I was groped on the bus. My knockers were not safe, and this was more than twenty years ago.

I have terrible posture, and a lot of that is from more than 20 years of trying to minimize the appearance of my melons.

I have a great deal of discomfort when it comes to my fun bags, because I was given – either directly or indirectly while growing up – the message that cleavage = hussy.

Now, when even a tiny hint of cleavage shows, I have anxiety. And you know what? Even now, even at almost 40, I still accidentally show my cleavage sometimes. A few weeks ago I was at work, in a meeting, wearing a new shirt. New shirt looked great when I tried it on at the store, but at work, with moving around, and walking, and leaning, apparently it wasn’t as high necked as I thought. I glanced down at my notes and saw that I was showing a lot of cleavage. A lot.

So if I, a woman who’s been anatomically gifted for 25 years now, occasionally have accidental cleavage, how on earth can anyone believe that it doesn’t happen to girls who are just starting to undergo physical changes?

And more importantly, if we’re telling those girls that their snuggle pups are something that needs to be hidden are you being honest about why?

Is it because modesty? Everyone has different standards, why is yours correct?

Is it because the boys can’t concentrate? You’re doing the boys a disservice.

Is it because you can’t concentrate? Then you know what? You’re the problem. Not the curve of a young girl’s leg.

I’d just like us all to agree that clothes don’t make the woman (or man) and that although as an adult professional, I believe there are times and places to wear certain items, I have the experience and wisdom to make those decisions. Teens are still finding their ways, and unless they’re showing up to school nude (which would be chilly and uncomfortable, as well as unsanitary), the education is more important that the possibly too-visible-for-your-comfort T&A.

Sharp dressers but not very nice folk.

Sharp dressers but not very nice folk.

 

This kind of attitude is related to the “what was she wearing?” question that so often gets asked of sexual assault victims. (Hint: it doesn’t matter! People in all sorts of clothing get assaulted!)

So, can we stop shaming people (girls? women?) for what they’re wearing? Can we stop judging them for things they often have no control over? It takes a long time to learn to wrangle a large set of mammaries, so let’s give girls a little slack and a lot of education instead!

 

Even Captain Kirk agrees. Although probably not because he's a raging feminist.

Even Captain Kirk agrees. Although probably not because he’s a raging feminist.

ETA: This is how the BEST captain feels about your casual denigration of women.

Picard...sigh

Picard…sigh

November 2014 – The Write Goals

I have one.

Write 50,000 words on the third novel in my series. Last November, I wrote the bulk of book #1. In the spring and summer, I finished book #2. And now it’s time for the third.

NaNoWriMo started today, and I banged out 1869 words this morning, so I’m well on my way to winning again. (I have to win – I already bought myself a winner’s shirt!)

(That is not me. I am much bustier.)

At some point, of course, I need to finish the first edit (and subsequent second draft) of the first book so I can send out to my brave volunteer first reader. Editing sucks, though. I much prefer the writing process.

Fortunately for me, I am free to not worry overmuch about editing for the next 29 days as I pound away on my book.

My local writing group (BATS!) is participating (all three of us) as is my PSM and first reader Cat.

I love November. I love getting up in the dark and writing with my cups of coffee every morning. I love being the only one in the house that’s awake – even the cats think I get up too early when I’m writing.

I love losing track of conversations in progress or having to rewind (or whatever you call it when it’s digital) my audiobook because my mind is caught up in my imaginary world.

I am not one who would say that I hate writing but love having written (as much as I love Dorothy Parker). I love the process and the ritual – because it is ritual for me.

Last year, I did it for my dad. This year it’s for me.

Happy November!

Run Like Hell 2014 Race Report

I haven’t written a race report in lo! these many years (since January of 2013 in fact).

I’d gotten to the point where the thought of doing an official race with actual people would cause panic. And panic is no bueno. But, now I’m on some drugs which seem to be helping regulate the anxiety (between my lack o’ panic about doing an official race AND my easy-going attitude about flying last week, I feel that something has changed).

So. I did a race. A race in costume, even!

Fucking Valkyrie Ice Queen

I attempted to do packet pick-up the day before, but misread the website (or misremembered what I’d read) and thought it lasted until 4. I showed up at 3:05 and found out that it actually ended at 3 pm. They gave me my race bib, but not my swag.

Saturday night was my work’s holiday party (yeah, Autumn Social – I guess we’re frugal? Or really into Autumn) and I had a couple or three glasses of wine. There was almost nothing I was able to eat at the party, due to a medication-induced chocolate issue and the fact that most items appeared to be fungus-adjacent (I have weird food allergies), so when the architect and I got home, I ate Alvie’s leftover pizza.

I’d laid out my racing gear.

Chainmail Mitmunk running tights (which I’ve owned for months, due to the awesome), and my Fucking Valkyrie Ice Queen outfit that I’d cobbled together from a few very, very cheap costume sets. VERY cheap.

Instead of my awesomesauce winged helmet, I wore a little plastic horned helmet that actually was held onto my head with an elastic band.

I drank coffee. I woke up my Bean. He was alarmed by my costume until I told him he’d get to ride the (MAX light rail) train. Then nothing else mattered.

We drove to the station and made the train with a minute to spare. Once we got to the race site, I grabbed my shirt and pint glass (which sadly does NOT have a giant purple octopus on it) and then got ready to run.

IMG_0242

Alvie wasn’t sure how he felt about all the costumed folk running about, but he was pretty sure that we should let him hold his own bumbrella (I love his mispronunciations) even if it wasn’t raining.

And then it was time. I lined up, and tried to get past all the people who looked like they might want to walk and everyone with strollers (although there was a stroller 10K land speed record set, so they’re not all slow) and then it was time.

It was the usual shuffle of hopeful jogging followed by slow walking to get everyone over the start line, but soon enough (thirty-nine seconds, according to the race site) we were off.

My A#1 goal was to run the whole thing and finish with a smile on my face. My secondary goals were to beat 35 minutes and break 30 minutes.

The first mile took us down to the waterfront and then along Naito to Couch (rhymes with hooch) where we hit mile 1.

Mile 1: 11:14

I knew at that point that a sub-30 5K was not in the cards. I hadn’t been terribly hopeful anyway. This was my third run in October. My first October run was 10/17. I ran once in September – right before the bronchitis set in. I think I ran 3 miles in August. None in July. My training was not top-notch, is what I’m saying.

I decided at that point to just enjoy myself and keep on running. It was right around mile 1.5 that I noticed I was feeling a bit…itchy. Every time a breeze came up, it was amazing. The cape and the costume were apparently too hot AND made out of some kind of awful irritant. I passed the first aid station, and didn’t stop, because there was another on the other side of the street, and I was positive that I’d be there soon.

Mile two really seemed to drag on. And on. And it was itchy. Finally, we started turning for the short loop that would get us headed back towards the finish and I hit mile 2.

Mile 2: 11:02

I got to the aid station and was so very, very thirsty now. I was a wee bit dehydrated apparently. I wouldn’t ordinarily stop for water on a 5K, but decided that it certainly wouldn’t hurt to do so now. I walked through the water station – my only walking in the race – and then trucked on again. The last mile seemed to go by pretty quickly. Before too long, I was turning onto Broadway, and then running by the 6 mile sign (for the 10K, obviously, I did not get lost).

I picked it up a bit again, and found I had a wee bit left in the tank as I hit the 3 mile marker.

Mile 3: 11:26 (water station + fatigue really slowed me down)

I kicked it across the finish line then, looking for my family. I didn’t see them (because they were further back), but I heard my name!

Mile 3.1: 0:50 (9:37 pace)

Total time: 34:30; official time: 34:29 (11:06 pace)

I grabbed some water and found my family. Alvie Bean was not a fan of the crowds, and was much more interested in getting back on the train than congratulating me for finishing my first official race in almost 2 years and only my 2nd since he was born. My first order of business was to get the costume off. The tights were AOK, since they were not made out of stinging nettles and poison ivy, but the rest had to go. I stripped down to my sports bra on the street and put on the conveniently acquired race shirt and my rain jacket. I was all rashy and itchy, but once the costume material (the labels on everything read: “do not wash, do not dry, do not dry clean”) was no longer in contact with my skin, I felt better.

Overall, this was my 7th official 5K, and my first in over 3 years. It fell smack dab in middle of my times.

Overall, I came in 505th of 1230 – well over the halfway mark. For my division, I was 63rd of 167 – top 40%. I’ll take it. It shouldn’t be too much work to bring my pace in under 11 minute miles (possibly being properly hydrated and fueled and uncostumed would be enough to get there), and I really believe I can get back to a race pace of under a 10 minute mile if I were to work at it. Whether or not I want to is a different question.

For now, though, I’m just happy that I did the race. And finished it. And had my family waiting at the end.

I might just have to register for something else. There’s a Thanksgiving 5K that looks pretty tempting…