Oral Hygiene Queen

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Location: Midwest, United States

I floss daily, brush after every meal, and trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries.

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Monday, March 23, 2009

Five Words from Orange

Orange gave me five words she associates with me. The deal is that I write about those five things and then if you want blog fodder yourself, leave a comment asking me to give you five subjects/things I associate you with. Then post this in your blog and elaborate on the subjects given.

1. Literature - Love it. Live for it. Shapes my whole life. I liked studying it so much as a young 'un that I couldn't think of anything I'd rather do than get paid to read and talk about it with a captive audience. I've been teaching for eighteen years in all, from junior high to college and back to high school, and I've never tired of talking about books and poems with kids of various ages. My students are sometimes surprised to learn that I reread a novel every time I teach it. I couldn't do otherwise - I'd feel like a fraud. But I never get sick of reading the books I love again and again. I find something new every time I read, and then invariably I learn something new from my students. My Old Man is a literature fanatic and an English teacher, and we talk about books constantly, and when we're not talking about books we talk about TV shows or movies like they're books. One of the things I love about my Old Man is that he reads incessantly, and makes reading a priority in his life, more so even than I do.

2. Teeth- Obviously, oral hygiene is very important to me. But in addition to my strictly hygienic interest in teeth, I do like them aesthetically. I appreciate a nice set of straight, white teeth, but I can also appreciate quirkier smiles. I have a weakness for the diastema, which is the space between the two front teeth. Think Lauren Hutton, Madonna, David Letterman before he got his fixed (the idiot), and of course, Chaucer's Wife of Bath. And while I do appreciate white teeth, I find it very unsettling when someone has teeth that are unnaturally white. In fact, I sort of hate teeth whitening in general because, in addition to the fact that it's one emblem of our vapid appearance-obsessed culture, it kind of ruins real white teeth. When I meet someone who has really nice white teeth, I find myself wondering if they're really white or just whitened. Sad.

3. Musicians - I like music. Musicians can be a bit of a pain in the ass. But then again, some of my best friends are musicians. I always feel weird when someone calls me a musician, because for me that word conjures up classically trained people who play more than one instrument and read music like breathing air. I just play guitar. And sing some.

4. Teaching- Well, I sort of got into that with #1. And then there's my why I love teaching post. Go read that. (Really. It's a pretty damn good post, if I do say so myself.)

5. Fashion (anti-patriarchy-wise) - The "anti-patriarchy-wise" is Orange's, but I think I would've had to go there in any case because how can you not if you're a feminist and someone asks you about fashion? I like to think of myself as rational when it comes to fashion. Which means I don't go in for the extreme stuff, femininity-wise, but I still live in my culture and am influenced by it in some ways. I think high heels are a mean trick played on women, but I can see their appeal. (Kind of like cigarettes - I'd never smoke in a million years, but I understand why it seems cool.) Myself, I try not to wear shoes I can't run in, if push comes to shove. And though I do have some two-inch chunky-heeled shoes I like and wear when I'm a bit dressed up, I really prefer shoes that I can walk a mile in comfortably (especially since I tend to walk a mile or more quite often in my walkable little college town). I don't judge my friends who like heels, but I do sort of enjoy hearing Twisty rant about why high heels are stupid and essentially a tool of the patriarchy. I also don't wear clothes that I find uncomfortable, but I will admit that my style of dress has changed with the times. Back in the 90s, I wore guy's jeans and big shirts. Over the past decade, my clothes have gotten less androgynous and more close-fitting. Part of this is because my life has shifted from that of scruffy grad student to high school teacher, but I know that part of it is because fashion has changed and I've been influenced by it. I try to resist fashion trends I find stupid, which isn't hard, but there are always some changes in fashion that catch my eye and end up influencing me, sometimes without me even realizing it. (For example, I've gone from finding flared pants silly and retro to having a pants wardrobe that's 90% flared. How did it happen? I'm not even quite sure...) It kind of goes without saying, but high fashion is silly and often blatantly misogynistic, and I find the cult of the fashion model one of the most disastrous facets of modern culture for the interests of girls and women.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

New Directions in Family Rock, Part II

So, how to incorporate the baby into our rock-and-roll lifestyle? That's been the burning question ever since Roo was born.

At first, it wasn't such a pressing issue. She was a tiny infant and took up so much of my and my Old Man's time and energy, the question of rocking out in the basement was entirely moot. And O. was on his drum strike, so all our rock equipment began to gather dust. But then my Old Man starting picking up the drum sticks, and slowly O. was seduced back down into the basement by the lure of getting to play chaotic noise rock on his dad's electric guitar. Then O. got his own guitar, and then he finally got back on the drums.

Just as I abstained from sex for a spell after Roo was born, I abstained from rock, and for many of the same reasons. I was tired. My breasts were too big and swollen to want to be touched by man or guitar strap. I just didn't have the right hormonal kick to work up the urge. I was tired - did I mention that? But my rock libido took much longer to come back than my libido libido. I was playing a lot of acoustic guitar, playing for the baby at bedtime, playing for myself during her naps. Somehow the sweet mellow tone of my Yamaha hollow body was just what I wanted. I got my fingerpicking back up to speed. I revisited my folk and country roots.

Eventually, I felt inclined to head down the basement stairs and pay my Fender Jaguar a visit. The Old Man was getting good on drums, and fun as it was for him to create gnarly noise with O., he also wanted the challenge of keeping a beat with someone who actually knows more than two chords. So we started to play again, and I started to play with O. again. Roo was such a champion sleeper back in those days, we'd often play while she was asleep, setting up the baby monitor receiver in the basement and keeping an eye out for the telltale red lights.

What I really wanted, though, was to get Roo in on the family rock action. By the time she was a year old, she was fully inculcated into music fandom, frequently requesting that we turn on music by pointing fervently to the stereo and shouting "gyung!", her made-up word for anything that makes sound and entertains her. She liked to dance and was particular about which music she'd accept, nixing anything with an inadequate beat with a "nah nah!" and an adamant head shake. It seemed like it was time to take her down to the basement and see how she liked live music. This experiment would have the additional benefit of allowing the Old Man, O., and me to all play together for the first time in a long time.

There was only one problem: we were too responsible to expose her tender ear drums to the cacaphony of basement rock, but too busy and/or lazy to get on the ball and buy her a pair of baby-sized noise canceling earphones like all the rock stars' kids have. We kept saying "well, we could all go down there, if only Roo had something to protect her ears." But she didn't, so we couldn't.

Finally, as so often happens in our home, I rigged a stop-gap measure. We have plenty of ear plugs in our home, but the problem with them is 1. they're small and babies can choke on them, 2. Roo would undoubtedly rip them right out, and 3. I'm not convinced they would protect her young ear drums sufficiently. But, I decided that if she wore her earflappy winter hat over the ear plugs, as long as we kept the volume low on the amps and the drumming relatively soft, she could come down and watch. The hat would keep the plugs in her ears and out of her mouth, and would provide an extra layer of sound absorbency.

So this has been the look Roo's been rocking when she's down in the basement to partake in the rocking:

Ruby listening to the rock

And I actually did some research recently and found a pair of noise protection earphones for babies that cost $20 instead of $100 plus. They are ordered and on their way, so soon Roo will be rocking a look more along the lines of:

ear phone baby

Except I got her the light blue ones instead of the pink.