Raising feminist children

My new site idea is taking a lot longer to implement than I want, because of a lot of other junk going on, so I’m just gonna hop back in here and make a new post. Melaina over at Transatlantic Blonde has been nagging me to join her Feminist Friday. And I say nagging in the most loving way possible, because I know she knows that I actually do want to participate and actually do need some prodding to get around to doing it. 😉

Forgive me, as I’m using an app on my iPad to blog this, and I have never used it before, so I might not figure out how to add links and pretty stuff just yet, but here we go.

This week’s topic is on raising feminist children. I want to address something I’ve read many times that really bugs me. I’m talking about comments that go something like this, “I don’t want to stay home with my children because I don’t want them to think that women NEED to stay home.”

If you don’t want to or can’t stay home with your children, then fair enough. But if this is really your only reason for not doing it, I kinda have to WTF for a minute here. If you are a doctor, will your kids think women NEED to be doctors? Or that women NEED to work outside the home? OF COURSE NOT. Surely you do not honestly believe that your career choice (or non-career choice) is the deciding factor in what your children will believe is possible for women. Whether you stay home or not, there are many other things you’ll be doing to show your kids what is possible.

At the present time, I’m a SAHM. I don’t know how long that will last, due to many reasons, but anyway, it’s true now. But my girls see their aunts who have jobs, their grandmothers who are retired from jobs, their friends’ mothers, some of whom have jobs, had jobs, are looking for jobs…. We go out to museums, amusement parks, restaurants, doctors’ offices, supermarkets, and shops where women are visibly employed. I have to say, I do not stress at all that my girls will think they have no choice but to stay home with their children in the years to come.

Actually, I am more worried that if they WANT to stay home, it won’t be an option. But perhaps that’s a topic for another day.

(There is something I do find myself having to work at, though, and that’s keeping other bias out of my parenting. I mean little things like, when we were at a zoo, and my gut reaction was to say “ew!” at an ugly insect. But I realized I don’t want my daughter saying “ew!” just because I think it’s nasty. She might like insects, and that’s ok. So I try to remember to say “look at this!” instead. She can decide if it’s nasty for herself.)

the dress I had to buy twice, at once

browndress.jpgWhen I was pregnant with Dagmar, but still didn’t know if I was pregnant with Dagmar or with Ridley, I saw a little girls’ dress at H&M and fell in love. A part of me wanted to buy it, but then I thought I would feel foolish if it were a boy, so I kept walking.

In retrospect, I should have bought it. It’s not like I don’t know moms who would love a present. Someone would have loved that dress. But I kept walking, and I thought, we’ll find out the sex soon and I can come back. Only we didn’t find out soon, because we had the evil ultrasound tech. By the time we found out, H&M wasn’t carrying the dress anymore, and I was so sad. I didn’t lose sleep over it or anything, but I had been looking forward to buying the dress, and I couldn’t.

Then one day, when Dagmar was about a year old, I saw the dress. For sale. At my local H&M. There was a whole rack of them, but in the back of the store where I just happened upon them by accident. Angels started to sing and clouds parted to let down a magical, eerie whisp of light. (Yes, there are clouds in H&M. At least at the one here.)

I was not about to make the same mistake twice. I bought the dress twice, at once. That is, I bought it in two sizes, because I knew I’d be upset when she outgrew it. It might sound silly, but I am totally patting myself on the back now, because I still love this dress. I love it so, so much, and I love it even more now that Dagmar can point to all the things on it and name them in Dagmarish. Like the fie (flower), raf (giraffe), fun (elephant), twee (tree), and abe (monkey… and don’t laugh because it’s actually spot on pronunciation in Danish!).

Well, Dagmar had picked out the dress to wear herself (*beam*) and was running around being cute, when I realized something would make it even cuter. Pigtails. I knew it was a long shot, but if she could just keep them in for one little evening….

Well Iiiiii’ll beeee! She did it!

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How to make a siggy

It comes up often enough, I thought it was high time I made something I could link people to, so I don’t have to repeat myself. 😉

If you use the message boards on The Knot, The Nest, or The Bump, this is how to make a signature, or siggy for short. Most of the directions will be useful for any message board that has HTML signatures, but I’ll be specifically talking about and taking screenshots of The Nest when it’s site-specific. And my other screenshots will be on a Mac computer using a Chrome browser, but it will work fine on any computer, so ignore any subtle differences. K? K.

  1. Find a picture. You need a digital picture (ending in .jpg or .jpeg or .gif or .png) somewhere on your computer. It can be scanned in or fresh off your digital camera, or it can be something you edited beyond recognition. It doesn’t matter. It just needs to end in one of those extensions and you need to know where it is on your computer.
    Screen shot 2011-03-02 at 12.42.28.png
    Personally, I like to mess with my pics. I’ll teach you that later in another lesson maybe. 😉 Anyway, here is my pic in Finder (Explorer, in Windows-ese).
  2. Get it online. There are several sites out there that will let you do this, but let’s use tinypic. Go there, and fill in the form like so:
    Screen shot 2011-03-02 at 12.45.07.png
    You want to make sure you set the “resize” option so you don’t get a crazy big siggy. Hit “Upload now!” and prove you’re a human.
  3. Copy the HTML. Click on that very first box under “HTML for Websites” and copy it.
    Screen shot 2011-03-02 at 12.49.04.png
  4. Paste it into your siggy. Go to your profile.
    Screen shot 2011-03-02 at 12.50.27.png
    Sometimes it makes you log in again for some reason.
    Screen shot 2011-03-02 at 12.50.56.png
    Click to edit your avatar & sig.
    Screen shot 2011-03-02 at 12.51.16.png
    Go down a bit to your forum signature and paste it in.
    Screen shot 2011-03-02 at 12.52.40.png
    Then hit save below that box and you’re done! Enjoy!
  5. Extra stuff! This is optional stuff you can add to your siggy now that you have a picture in there.

    • Want some text too? No problem! If you want it above your picture, start typing it before that code you just pasted in. If you want it below your picture, start typing it below that code. There’s a catch, though! You’ll want to put a line break between the picture and your text. The way to do that in HTML is by typing <br />. Observe:
      Screen shot 2011-03-02 at 14.59.50.png
    • How about a link? Tinypic puts a link around your picture for you, so you can kinda copy what they did to make your own. See that “<a href=” stuff? That’s the link. Here’s an example where I make the text above my pic link to my blog. You need <a href=” WEB ADDY!! “> before what you want the link to be, and </a> after.
      Screen shot 2011-03-02 at 15.04.28.png

ESC 101: Intro to Eurovision

(If you’re already familiar with Eurovision, feel free to submit your fave ESC moments in a comment!)

North Americans are totally missing out. No one over there knows anything about Eurovision. If you are new to Europe, or haven’t made it over here yet, you need to be educated! Good thing I am here to help you. You’ll get a vey brief rundown of the history and excitement of the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) in enough time for you to get excited about it before this year’s airs in May.

a song that became successful after ESC

In the early days, there were few counties and it was all about the songs, but as time has gone on, the number of participating countries climbs, as does the use of wind machines, interpretive dance, and sequins. Each country submits a performance, and there’s a big vote off to determine the winner. Despite the name “Eurovision” having “Euro” right in it, being European is not a requirement. The participating counties must be active members of the European Broadcasting Union, which includes some decidedly non-Euro countries like Israel, Georgia, and Azerbaijan. Furthermore, each country can send whatever performance they want, whether the performer(s) are from that county, sing in (or even know) that country’s language, or have any relation at all to the country, or not. Indeed, Celine Dion brought Switzerland a victory in the 80s, despite being Canadian instead of Swiss. Then again, sometimes the songs are really laughably stereotypical of whatever country they’re from. It’s a good mix!

another famous ESC moment

Also despite the words “Song Contest,” many people feel it has less to do with songs and more to do with politics, stage performance, sex appeal, etc. It’s a popularity contest. Anything involving voting is going to be subject to human beings voting for whatever stupid reasons they want. Some people find this irritating, but I choose to find it wacky and exciting. I’m horrible at guessing what people will like, it seems. I’m always surprised by the results. Some songs are soon forgotten and others achieve some level of success. Notably, Sweden’s 1974 entry was the start of considerable success, but usually it’s not quite that much.

can you believe this didn’t win it all in ’82?!

Eurovision songs range from folky to comical to heavy metal to blues, but they’re rarely ever boring, even if not your style and even if not very good. Sometimes you’re wondering how that could have possibly been the best the whole country had to offer. Sometimes you’re left speechless. Sometimes the comedy is unintentional, and sometimes it’s not.

such a well-deserved #2 spot in 2007

Each country can pick their entry pretty much however they want. In Denmark, there’s a mini song contest called the Dansk Melodi Grand Prix. For 2011, Denmark is sending A Friend in London with their song, “New Tomorrow.” I didn’t vote for it. I think it’s the worst of the ten songs from this year’s contest. I think it’s kinda funny that some guys with funky hair and animal skin vests make such airy fairy music, but that’s about all it’s got going for it. Even though my three votes didn’t end up pushing this crappy song out of the winning slot, I am still glad I paid a few kroner to show my disapproval. I did my part. I’m not even going to link you to it. You can see it live in May! Yes, even if you’re stuck in some non-Eurovision country, you can watch it streaming online from the Eurovision website. So put it in your calendars for May 10, 12 and 14. It’ll make you wish you grew up with this stuff!

Bonus: Eurovision was also the inspiration for the best episode of Father Ted ever.

Hedgehogs

Hedgehogs are found all over Europe, Asia, and Africa, and are an introduced species in New Zealand. There are no native hedgehogs in North America, so the readers from my homeland probably know vey little about them other than they look kinda like tiny porcupines, and there was a video game featuring a blue one that rolled around a lot.

They’re very common in Denmark, so I’m told. They are nocturnal, though, so I don’t stumble across them all the time or anything, and have never actually seen one in person in this country. I know they’re vey cute, but aren’t particularly exciting pets. Some people care quite a bit about animals, even ones that don’t make good pets.

Kirstin Fournais is one such person. After a successful career designing jewelry for the famous Danish designer, Georg Jensen, she retired to devote her life to animals full-time. She runs Pindsvinevennerne (Friends of Hedgehogs). The site is in Danish, but if you can’t read it, it’s still worth clicking “Galleri” and checking out the cute pics and video. They really are quite cute. She has 92 hedgehogs in her home. Yes, really. And another couple hundred people working for her also caring for more hedgehogs in need. She has learned enough about hedgehogs through her rescue efforts that she can educate her own vet on how to care for them. In addition to her many hedgehogs, she’ll also take in other animals who need some extra TLC, or even who just need a new home.

Such as my Lidja. As luck would have it, she had recently told her vet she had space for an elderly cat if anyone came in looking to put one down. A friend of hers, who found out about Lidja via my email plea to LINK members, approached her asking if she knew anyone who would take an older cat. Not only did she know someone, but she was that someone! Tomorrow, Lidja will be moved to her new home with a kind, loving woman who lives for animals. I can’t imagine a better place for her.

My Danish readers can support Pindsvinevennerne by becoming a member for only 80 DKK a year. There is also a nice selection of postcards with cute pictures, should any of you be of the Postcrossing persuasion. I will definitely be lending my support to the woman who is taking on the cat who has been such a good friend and companion to me for these past nearly 10 years.

Enjoy your new life, Lidja Fach-Pedersen!

Crying over spilled milk

Thomas wanted to replace our keyboard with a US keyboard when we were next in the States. We’re going to be in the States in a couple of months. Our keyboard is now very close to unusable, thanks to one too many spilled milks. (In Dagmar’s world, “27-inch iMac” and “‘Curious George’ viewing machine” are interchangeable.) I don’t really want to buy a keyboard for two months, and I don’t want to pay international shipping for something we can get in two months.

But then I also don’t want to have to screen share from my laptop every time I want to use the iMac.

Decisions, decisions.

P.S. If anyone knows about a waterproof keyboard cover for Apple keyboards that cannot be removed by toddlers, let me know.

P.P.S. I took a really nice picture of the keyboard for this post, but… if anyone knows of a card reader that can’t be stolen and hidden by toddlers, let me know. Found it.

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302.50 DKK

I think, despite creating the idea myself, I’ve had more exceptions in my Money Mondays than I’ve had rule-following ones. This was not what I was planning on blogging about today, but well, sometimes life takes your plans and takes a leak all over them.

We spent 302.50 DKK today, and it didn’t make me happy, but it needed to be done.

Let’s start at the beginning. Lidja is my first cat. I never had one growing up, and a lot of apartments near colleges don’t allow them, so I was in grad school before I could get a cat, and Lidja was it. She was about 10 months old when I got her in 2002. The entire time I’ve had her, if there was ever a pile of clothes or towels on the floor, she would pee on them. She was cleared by a vet, so it wasn’t a medical problem. It’s just something she’s always done. I’ve always joked that she makes sure I keep things clean, so it’s a good thing.

That excuse worked pretty well for a while, but it’s extremely hard to keep clean with a family of four in a very small flat. I found that with a toddler and a newborn to take care of, there was just no way to get all the laundry put away immediately. And in a tiny one-bedroom flat, there are only so many places you can put it. It was getting peed on, and my stress levels were rising steadily. Mind you, it wasn’t just the peeing, but the peeing certainly didn’t help… we came to the decision of rehoming the cats, at least temporarily. There just isn’t space for four humans and two cats here. It’s too much.

We thought we had found a temporary home for them, but that didn’t work out. Then we thought we found a permanent home for them, but that didn’t work out. Every day just seemed more stressful than the last. At over 10 years old, Lidja seems not to be adoptable in Denmark. Everyone wants kittens. Even Tycho, almost 7… too old. None of the shelters take cats over 5… except we found one with no age limit. They still strongly recommended against giving up cats over 5, because they aren’t adoptable. After some discussion, we decided to give up Tycho to the shelter anyway. Despite being over 5, his boisterous personality and energy might make him seem younger and more fun to a potential adopter, we thought.

Then yesterday, right in front of us, Tycho peed on a shirt on the floor. Tycho.

It had never occurred to me before that it could be Tycho peeing on the laundry. Lidja has always been a pee-on-the-laundry cat! When I see pee on laundry, I know it’s her! But… it wasn’t. If it’s Tycho, it could be a medical problem!

Today was fully booked for both of us, so we couldn’t get him to a vet right away. Thomas went to work and I lugged the girls off into the cold Scandinavian air for a LINK committee meeting. When we came home from the meeting, both girls were cranky. I asked Dagmar to nap, and a fell into a chair to nurse Maggie. About an hour later, Thomas came home. Dagmar was still sleeping, and Maggie was still resisting a much-needed nap. I was still exhausted from dealing with that.

Thomas wanted to put a sweater on over his T-shirt, but when he found the sweater he wanted on the bed, it had been peed on. “There’s more pee on the bed,” he said, “but Tycho’s sleeping on it.”

Well, that’s odd. Cats don’t usually sleep in their own pee. After a moment…

“Um, Tycho’s dead.”

I looked up from Maggie, who was still letting me know she was not down with this napping thing. “Wait, what?”

I don’t know how to describe how I felt. Shocked that it happened so suddenly. Relieved that we wouldn’t have to rehome him. Sad, because even though he was the hugest pain in the butt from the moment I got him, and he wasn’t a great cat at all, he was a great cat. Upset that my negligence could have led to this. Confused about what to do next.

Apparently what you do next is call the vet and tell them you’re coming in with a pet in need of cremation. And it costs 302.50 DKK. About half an hour later, Thomas walked out the door with Tycho in his carrier. It was the only time he neither resisted going in, nor fought to get out.

RIP Tycho Brahe Fach-Pedersen

1 April 2004 – 21 February 2011