Archive | October, 2013

Four things on my mind

10 Oct

1. Sleep (what else?). I have become absorbed in the rhythm of working and family life. While my days are full and rewarding, I spend a good deal of time just trying to get through the daily grind. On a  good night I get about seven hours of sleep, thankfully minus major insomnia lately, because Caitlyn has been so wonderful about taking over the bulk of the night-time parenting.

I try to jump out of bed before 6:30, so I can get a shower and a cup of coffee into me before the baby wakes up. I get her changed, feed her the majority of her breakfast and then trade off with Cait, so I can get out the door before 8 am. She takes Daphne to daycare (or we do it together) and I pick her up just before five. I juggle dinner-making with baby-playing until Cait gets home around 5:45. Lately this is more challenging as the kiddo wants to be in arms ALL THE TIME. Just as she’s learning how to walk, she wants to be held. Guess she’s still our baby. Sniff …

We eat together around six, and one of us tackles the disaster in the kitchen, while the other plays with our increasingly willful and adventurous baby. We give her a bath around 7pm, and she’s usually asleep between 7:30 and 8:30. That gives me exactly one hour to either watch TV or read (while simultaneously doing laundry), if I want to stand a chance of being in bed by 10 pm. Which means I haven’t been going to the gym as much. I just can’t sacrifice my one hour of downtime in the evening. It’s too precious and I’m too tired. I joined the community centre gym which is right beside my office, in addition to our family membership at the Y. It’s dirt cheap, and it’s allowed me to fit in a few more mid-day workouts. But another daycare cold knocked me out for a week, so I am going to have to get back on the horse again.

The good news is that when she is not in extreme pain due to teething (which happens sporadically), Daphne is down to only one or two short wake-ups at night and is almost completely weaned off of overnight milk. This is great, but unpredictable. And baby sleep isn’t linear. So I hesitate to rely on her new schedule, because it is always subject to change.

2. Orange is the New Black. This show is juicy and addictive and amazing and problematic all at the same time. Caitlyn and I watched it together and I have spent weeks thinking about it. I also just finished reading the memoir by Piper Kerman that inspired the book.

I purposely avoided a lot of the excellent criticism of the show until  I was finished watching it (didn’t want to be exposed to spoilers). Now, I can’t get enough of the conversation. I don’t have any easy answers when it comes to this show. I think it’s a brilliant piece of comedy/social commentary that absolutely nails some aspects of queer/trans representation. It shines a light on some of the egregious elements of the Prison Industrial Complex while still hooking viewers into accessible story lines. And the actors are all brilliant and almost all women. The show is also a total “white girl goes to prison” story and that narrative that appropriates the experiences of women of colour. Here are a few good articles to read and consider. My friends seem to be split down the middle on this one. They either adore the show or absolutely despise it.

Still, I maintain that the show is subversive and that the characters are more complex than they first appear to be. And this interview with Jenji Kohan really confirmed it for me:

“In a lot of ways Piper was my Trojan Horse. You’re not going to go into a network and sell a show on really fascinating tales of black women, and Latina women, and old women and criminals. But if you take this white girl, this sort of fish out of water, and you follow her in, you can then expand your world and tell all of those other stories. But it’s a hard sell to just go in and try to sell those stories initially. The girl next door, the cool blonde, is a very easy access point, and it’s relatable for a lot of audiences and a lot of networks looking for a certain demographic. It’s useful.”

Anyway, the show is not perfect. And I recognize that my white privilege allows me to enjoy the show and may be at the root of my defensiveness about it. I am still thinking about all of this. And that is a very good thing.

3. Queers in Russia. I hate feeling powerless in the face of oppression. The latest revelation that the Russian government is about to debate legislation that would take children away from their LGBT parents has me feeling ill. I cannot imagine anything worse. Canada did this to Aboriginal children for generations. Now it’s happening again. The thought of separating kids from their loving homes and jailing their parents for spreading “homosexual propaganda” sounds far too much like Nazi Germany. It’s a long, expensive and arduous process to sponsor a refugee family, but we need to start stepping up. These families are going to want to flee and we need to figure out how to welcome them. This article from a recent issue of Xtra has a few suggestions of where we may begin.

4. Tarek and John. Like many in Canadian queer / social justice communities, I have been glued to the story of Tarek Loubani and John Greyson, who were imprisoned in Egypt for 50 days without charges. The story has been all over the media, but needless to say, they were imprisoned unjustly and I am so glad that they finally appear to be on their way home. I guess I connected strongly with this story because I was touched by Greyson’s films and by Loubani’s humanitarian work. But really, no one should ever have to endure this kind of treatment and many do. At last count, the Egyptian government is still holding 600 people without charges for participating in a political protest. I hope they get to reunite with their families soon.

And in honour of Thanksgiving, here is a photo of our orange-haired, walking, babbling little pumpkin:

Our pumpkin