Otterday! And Open Thread

This cool character was grabbed by FreeSpirit5 on flickr.

Please feel free to use this thread to natter about anything your heart desires. Is there anything great happening in your life? Anything you want to get off your chest? Reading a great book? Anything in the news that you’d like to discuss? Commiserations, felicitations, temptations, contemplations, speculations?



Categories: arts & entertainment, fun & hobbies

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36 replies

  1. Otters are otterly lovely.

    That is all.

    As you were.

  2. xkcd fora recently got wind of the fact that somewhere out there, there is a woman breastfeeding an eight year old. Cue the claims that this will harm the child for life because “they’ll remember sucking on her tits!” and “they’ll never achieve emotional independence!” and “she even said she enjoys it! Fetch the smelling salts!” and “I knew a kid in junior high who was way too attached to his older brother!”
    Honestly, lauredhal, I’ve never had this conversation with anyone before, so I didn’t fully understand quite what got your ire so far up with the Salma Hayek thing. But heavens gracious, these people are ignorant.
    (link’s here)

  3. Oh, and, you know, hello everyone!

  4. So today I got up early, cleaned, got dressed and was about to head out to the markets to do xmas shopping. Until I realised it was stinking hot and I really don’t WANT to. For the first time in like FOREVER I am frittering my Saturday away! Chatting, cooking, eating and reading. Oh the delight. But not before the s.o had to stage the intervention as I was freaked out with the lack of direction post-study!
    fuckpoliteness’s last blog post..By christ

  5. Other than the mounting dread of spending X-mas with the in-laws it has been uneventful. Normally I drink my way through it but unfortunately due to new medication this is the first time in years I am going to spend time around them completely sober. I don’t know how I am going to do it.
    Renee’s last blog post..Gay Is The New Black

  6. Quixotess: do you have a link?
    Renee: I don’t suppose there is any way that you could just, well, say “No”?
    I reckon this is one of the next feminist frontiers: giving family the boot when they’re really, truly not worth it. We’re expect to do all of the emotional work, and that includes putting up with toxic people just because we (or someone we love) accidentally shares genes or history with them.
    I’m not saying it’s unfeminist not to do so – this isn’t criticism at all – but I’m wondering how many other people feel obliged to be with unpleasant or abusive people on Christmas, and what, if anything, we can do about it. Is this something people would like to talk about?

  7. Hmmm…. I’ve done that, Lauredhel. I spent years asking my husband to mediate the relationship between me and his mother, and he never did it. Late last year, in the stress of moving, she rang at 5pm at night (you know, rush hour) for the sole purpose of asking me to ask him to ring her, when she knew damned well that he wouldn’t be there at that time, but he would be there around 6.30pm. I held it all in, until when I said that I was feeling stressed, she replied with a fatuous “It will all be over soon.” I exploded, all over the place.
    This has had the happy consequence that I haven’t had to speak to her since.

  8. Lauredhal –
    The Youtube video. (It’s really quite sweet and wonderful and healthy-looking.)
    The thread.
    Is this something people would like to talk about?
    Yes.
    At the end of next week I’ll be heading home for the holidays, to spend time in the house of my mother, which I am positively dreading.
    I know a woman whose parents are paying her college tuition, and who is required to go home for Christmas, along with her older brother, who sexually abused her for several years. (Her parents have been told this, but, I believe, don’t think it’s a big deal.) All she’s been able to figure out to do is get a job for the three weeks she’s there, to get her out of the house some.
    I honestly can’t begin to think of solutions to situations with, as you said, requirements to be around toxic people. How does one just say no? How does one ask one’s family to pick sides?
    I don’t know, we have community carpools, right? Maybe we could have community Christmases.

  9. Long time lurker (love the site! hello hoydenizens!) delurking to vent about the (reported) attitude of the judge in the Gordon Wood/Caroline Byrne murder case (http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/woods-pain-lessens-sentence-judge/2008/12/04/1228257229344.html). In sentencing, he apparently considered the “mitigating circumstances” that the prosecution had not established beyond reasonable doubt that there was a financial motive for the murder, instead noting that it could be considered “in the context of a domestic relationship gone sour.” Er, so it’s OK(ish) to chuck your girlfriend off a cliff because you are cranky with her, but much more culpable if you did it because you thought she was going to dob you in for financial misdeeds?

  10. Yeah, wow the family stuff is complex. I have felt for most of my life like loosening my family’s grip is impossible, but it seems to have happened over the last few years, but the terror that each step in this process has taken has been extraordinary.
    Hi Jennifer V…wow, that’s both extraordinarily depressing, and after years of reading law, unsurprising. 😦
    At the moment I’m a bit anxious…my blog seems to have jumped in numbers and I seem to have accidentally started off a tense exchange over women in porn…and I feel out of my depth trying to act as a moderator. Particularly when I’m not all that sure of my views in any final sense. Either on porn or on what my role is as moderator. Eek. Live and learn eh?

  11. I agree with the whole mking your own decisions about family thing being the next frontier. So many levels of guilt. Ask me about my paternal side…oh dear.
    fp, I saw that post and was thinking to myself, ‘that could very well explode, and I don’t have a set opinion, so I will just tiptoe off’. {blush} I suppose the best thing to remember as a mod is to make sure everyone’s opinions are respected and not to go removing comments indiscriminately–decide what you will tolerate in your blog, state it publicly, and stick to it.
    As for me, it’s snowing here again for the fifth time this winter (usually by early December there might have been one or two, max), which, if anything, proves that yes, climate change is real. Tonight is the company holiday do, so that should be interesting, and I have to go to a wedding of old people my mother knows. Ah well. It’s a first marriage for the woman, so the joy there should make up for any stodgy.

  12. @Lauredhel
    I skipped out last year but I know if we don’t show up this year we’ll never hear the end of it. It actually makes me so sad because last year when it was just the unhusband and the kids it was the perfect day. In fact it was the best Christmas I’ve had in years.
    I know that I am not the only person in this situation. It just kind of ruins my holidays. I would blog about it but I fear they occasionally read my blog and the fallout would be tremendous. I love being with immediate family it is the out laws I cannot stand.
    Also on a side not I would like to point out that today is the 19th anniversary of the Montreal Massacre in which 14 women were killed for being feminists. It is the largest single murder of this type in Canadian history. As I made my blog rounds today I was so disappointed to see that barely any blogs bothered to mention it. I know that feminism tends to be so US geared but an event like this should not go as unnoticed as it has.

  13. fp, re moderation: don’t feel apologetic about sticking up for yourself and for your readers. Your blog is your salon, and if a commentor is making you and/or your guests uncomfortable, you can kick them out. Nobody is obliged to listen to anyone who is being a jerk.
    Vociferous but genuine dissent is more problematic, of course. I find that the rule here against too frequent/too long comments that dominate a thread and shut out other voices tends to minimise the escalation of antagonism.

  14. I’ve always said, there’s nothing like putting half a planet between you and your family for improving your relationships.
    Deus Ex Macintosh’s last blog post..Unwarranted Intrusion

  15. “I honestly can’t begin to think of solutions to situations with, as you said, requirements to be around toxic people. How does one just say no? How does one ask one’s family to pick sides?”
    You could try going somewhere else entirely, a long way away from toxic relatives. That’s what we’re doing (although my family is not actually at all toxic, it’s just there are too many of them to cope with at once, and I don’t like it). Off to Port Douglas in 14 days (who’s counting). This will be the second Christmas Mr H and I have missed entirely – neither of us cope well with a group of more than five or six people, so Christmas is not happy with a ton of family.

  16. I have a close working relationship with the local police domestic violence liaison officer. He tells me that Christmas is without doubt their busiest time.

    I’ve done that, Lauredhel. I spent years asking my husband to mediate the relationship between me and his mother, and he never did it.

    When my wife and I started seeing each other years ago, my mother decided she was going to be as snide and unpleasant as possible – “Oh, I always pictured you with someone much nicer”. I had to nip it in the bud early on and make it clear that if she continued down this path, she wouldn’t be seeing either of us. Things improved and now we all get on great 20 years later.

  17. I will be home alone after a brief hello visit to my mother. Relatives think I’m awful because she’s ill and probably wont have another Christmas but they’re not with her all the time. She doesn’t eat Christmas dinner and sleeps most of the day and I would be sitting alone in the lounge and I rather do that at home.
    I remember the Christmas days with in-laws and parents that would end in near massacre so if I want to be alone I will be. In fact, my mother’s funeral is going to be the last time I will ever be somewhere I don’t want to be and if the relatives give me a bad time I wont go to that either.
    Sorry for the rant, I’ve just spent the day with her.

  18. Rant away, Jahteh, and have a good Christmas. I get on pretty well with my brothers and sister and will see them just after Christmas, after they have been to see my mother. Whatever preserves your sanity is good and none of the rellos business. Unless they care to come and do your job for a while.

  19. JahTeh, I hear you on the ‘last time’ thing. Dad’s side of the family…oh jeez. I could write a book, but I’d be accused of creating caricatures rather than believable characters. But they are real! And after the last family funeral I doubt I’ll ever see any of them again. And while I felt for them at that funeral I cannot say it’s without relief that I type that I won’t see them again!
    I also had to cut the ex-mother-in-law off…I’m not suggesting ppl SHOULD or it was easy, but I just could not take being hijacked anymore and the things she’d say. In the end I wrote a long letter, I told her we could be in contact if she’d back off of certain things, but she made her choice and we don’t speak, and OH MY WORD the joy!!!!!!!!!! Peace at freaking last!
    fuckpoliteness’s last blog post..On second thoughts – it’s an aSS competition!

  20. FP, the most enjoyable thing about her funeral is the fact my ex will be doing the service (professional celebrant) and I’m going to put words in his mouth that will choke him.

  21. Haha! I love your honesty about this stuff, it’s really refreshing, and I think, admirable.
    fuckpoliteness’s last blog post..The Grinch (A.S.S) who stole our xmas competition!

  22. @ FP If I can suggest that you be firm. THis is your online home. You would not allow someone to walk into your home and behave badly so don’t allow it on your blog.

  23. Yes, it takes a bit of getting used to. I was really uncertain as to how to deal with the arguing…and it’s a contentious topic. But then there was the Great Psychoanalysis Debacle, and well I let that through so as to allow criticism…and then to really have some fun with. But now he’s not playing. No fair! 😦
    fuckpoliteness’s last blog post..Scots Principal Blames South Park, dad blames Forrest Gump

  24. heh. What a tool. I think the analogy between feminism and extremist Islam in the last bit of guff I read on SS’s blog kind of outed his real purpose.
    My laptop has died I think, so I’ll say happy Saturnalia/Yule to everyone now in case I don’t get another chance.

  25. Hi Su…
    Yeah I was totally bummed that my xmas competition on writing pisstakes of aSS’s *deconstruction* logic (cough…yeah “logic”) was ruined. But I agree that that feminism/extreme Islam one was a corker.
    Happy xmas/Saturnalia/Yule/time off work!
    fuckpoliteness’s last blog post..Scots Principal Blames South Park, dad blames Forrest Gump

  26. Oops news of the demise were premature though not really all that exaggerated – I’ve been advised to get me a portable harddrive and backup stat. *sigh* Here I was intending to spend my stimulatory funds on bills +camera+artworks.

  27. Excuse my being utterly random, but does anyone have recipes for fresh bloody marys? I had one once with fresh tomatoes and I think coriander…YUM

  28. Can I suggest Nina Simone for a Friday Hoyden at some point? I heard a story about her mother and sister being asked to give up their seats for a white couple when Nina was about to perform as a child. She refused to play.
    Her lyrics have sass and attitude, and are very very cheeky for their time. She had sass, and spunk. The world tried to break her and she still managed to keep going somehow. But she’ll break your heart when she sings sad songs, make you laugh with surprise when she’s sassy, make you weep with her voice. She wrote over 350 songs.

  29. FP – Nina Simone is AWESOME! Having only heard the Rednex version, I was gob-smacked to hear her Cotton Eye Joe. My teenage son was so impressed, that after some internet research he did Mississippi Goddam for an English project on racism. I was so proud!

  30. She is isn’t she. Yes, her covers on traditional songs are beautiful. I only have a handful of songs she composed herself, but I’ve read there are so many! Her story (or the brief synopsis of it that I’ve read) is so moving.

  31. I reckon this is one of the next feminist frontiers: giving family the boot when they’re really, truly not worth it. We’re expect to do all of the emotional work, and that includes putting up with toxic people just because we (or someone we love) accidentally shares genes or history with them.
    Yes. In my immediate in-law family there are racists, antisemites and friends of theirs ditto, as well as people I have been f**ked over by in the past although our relationships are now relatively cordial. Also way too much alcoholism.
    I’m not saying it’s unfeminist not to do so – this isn’t criticism at all – but I’m wondering how many other people feel obliged to be with unpleasant or abusive people on Christmas, and what, if anything, we can do about it. Is this something people would like to talk about?
    I don’t write about these things on my blog because the family reads it sometimes- sometimes my keyboard fingers totally itch. 😉

  32. Oh, clicked Submit too soon – I used to send *all* the over seas Xmas cards, but now I just do my family’s. SO has to do his bloody own these days. It’s my pathetic little rebellion!

  33. Oh Helen, I just read your latest post. That’s so sad.

  34. Helen, good for you. I refused years ago to be the sole social secretary for the family, especially the Christmas stuff – he kept up his friendships and Christmas cards perfectly well for years before we met, why should it suddenly be my job?
    I wonder how many friends/family of newly coupled men think that the new woman is keeping him away from them when all it really is is that he’s decided to leave all the social planning to her without actually saying anything? Months go by with the woman organising gatherings with her friends/family and not organising anything with his because she figures that he will continue to do what he did before they got together and organise it himself, surely, as a grown-up. The next thing she knows all his mob think it’s all her fault because it couldn’t possibly be his unexamined and undiscussed gender assumptions that are to blame – no, it must be the woman’s fault.

  35. ” but I’m wondering how many other people feel obliged to be with unpleasant or abusive people on Christmas, and what, if anything, we can do about it.”
    This touched a nerve with me.
    Just speaking for myself, having young children and not wanting to “ruin” the day for them, had a lot to do with my reasons for putting up with shit from people.
    Post-divorce xmas days became an even bigger nightmare than ever and involved me spending a lot of time in the home of my ex-partner and his wife/her family/their friends, year after year. I always contributed as far as food/drink/preparations, and generously encouraged my ex’s new partner (who is actually quite nice really) to participate in the Santa ritual, which she loved doing, not having kids herself. I really went out of my way to make it a happy occasion and put my own feelings and wishes right at the bottom of the list of priorities.
    But I was exposed to so much otherisation and covert prejudice from their friends and family for being The Ex Wife, and also for the hideous crime of being an unpartnered woman in a very couple-centric environment, that some years I would hide in a quiet room of their house tearfully drinking beer alone while the real humans had a great ol’ time and the kids went off to play with new toys/other kids etc.
    I did this for about four years before I realised exactly what was going on. I wasn’t getting any props for my generosity of spirit or selflessness. I was getting crapped on and I was accepting it.
    I was also ignoring all my own atheist and anti-capitalist beliefs just for the sake of my kids having this special sacred day, which really isn’t so special anyway.
    Not only that, but little did I know that I was actually creating some bad associations in my kid’s minds and so not really doing them any favours at all as it turned out.
    Kids don’t like seeing mum being treated that way, and they DO notice it.
    These days we do not acknowledge xmas in any way.

  36. Tigtog, that’s quite similar to what happens in our house. I buy my parents their birthday/Christmas presents, and I refuse to do his shopping for his family. This often means that his mum doesn’t get a birthday card from us, but she always gets me something!!! (her birthday is the day before mine too…) I can always feel the ‘bad -daughter -not quite-in -law” vibes coming my way. (In a passive-aggressive kind of way.) I end up feeling very guilty, but I will not give in! My partner and I generally keep birthday stuff low key in our house, but she likes to make a huge fuss which I think adds to the problem.

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