Friday, September 25, 2009

The Whole Mackenzie Phillips Thing

You've probably already read about the MacKenzie Phillips memoir in which she reports experiencing incest with her father.  For ten years.
This component that "it started out as rape but became consensual" is something that I think is confusing people.  This is something that I have seen in rape victims as well as heard second-hand in similar published accounts.  One way to make sense of this is to remember that rape is one of those crimes of power, oppression, and possession. 
So is kidnapping, for example.  You probably already know about Stockholm Syndrome, which is basically a survival mechanism that enables victims to--well, survive--in an untenable situation. Similar processes can be seen in rape victims. It is not uncommon to see a woman dating someone who initially raped her.  She may or may not have recognized or labeled it as such, even to herself.  However, it is still damaging and traumatic--and continues to be damaging and traumatic.
In a culture that rape-ifies sex and romance, and glamorizes rape, I see this kind of acceptance of rape as a valid relationship basis as a variety of Stockholm Syndrome.  If we did not live in a rape culture, then women would be much more likely to immediately recognize that what was happening to them was unacceptable, but as it is--it can be hard to set limits when a person believes they aren't allowed to, or that things are supposed to happen this way.  Ms. Phillips' experience does not sound far-fetched to me at all.
The thing about "having a needle in her arm for 35 years" [paraphrased] does not reduce her credence for me, but rather increases it.  The more various dysfunctions exist in the family system, the more believable others seem. Who the heck wouldn't be using drugs and alcohol in order to deal with the weirdness of her situation?  These things don't exist in isolation.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Cast On, Cast Off

I knew when Limelet went to sleep at the early, early hour of 9:30 pm that he would awake after one sleep cycle, then be awake for 4 hours.   I was right.  But that was just too bad; we all had to get up two hours later regardless.  I had a pretty early appointment to get my cast off.
So I got the cast off, which was kind of scary, even though the guy showed me that the little saw didn't harm him even when he pressed it against his bare arm.  My  leg was definitely a zombie leg underneath. 
It still is, as I have just gotten home and have not yet had my anticipated three-hour shower yet.  Actually, it may still be baths for a while, but at least I can have both legs in the tub now, instead of propping the one awkwardly against the wall.  Anyway, I guess I pictured having the cast off and then being able to walk pretty normally, if not exactly like a spring lamb.  My leg was starting to feel more normal inside the cast. 
However, now that it's off, it turns out that it's not only a zombie leg, but a Jell-o leg.  A painful, Jell-o, zombie leg.  I was fitted with an "air cast," which is basically a brace that velcroes (velcros?) on.  So I can walk with it on, but quite slowly and with a severe limp.  (Thus I may not be standing in the shower any time soon, as I'd have to leave the brace on to stand up, which wouldn't do at all.) 
The doctor explained why my ligaments were fine--I was worried that they could be secretly unhealed and would snap in two like guitar strings when I tried to stand up or anything--but would take another several months to heal.  In fact, the soft tissues will take about a year to heal entirely, although the bone itself is now pretty much set and just has to solidify over the next couple months.
I wasn't as desperate to scratch as one might think.  Possibly because I had a scratching system in place while casted, so it didn't build up insanely.  I am still trying to decide whether I'll get in the bath first, or scratch the whole leg first while it's still dry.
After the doctor appointment, I had an evaluation at their associated physical  The PT lady told me that it will get worse before it gets better, as I am starting to use and stretch everything now, which will cause a lot of swelling and pain.  Great!  The ankle was swollen, which was sort of surprising to me, but apparently pretty normal.  My calf has shrunken to a size familiar from junior high, although the troll-like fur coat is different.  (Yes, I did think ahead and get new razors in anticipation.)
The PT lady also told me that I won't be able to go down stairs very well.  Yet, when I got home, I immediately forgot and tried to go down the stairs, which painfully shocked me into remembering that she did in fact warn me about that.  Yikes.  I'm supposed to ice and elevate daily; guess I should do this now that I wrenched the poor thing on the stairs.
All told, I am very happy to have the cast off, despite the continued lack of mobility, etc. It's certainly better.  Now, I just have to figure out a way to get down the stairs.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


One more night until I get this cast off.  I can't wait!  I'm going to clean everything we own.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Old School


Here's a view of my old elementary school (bottom right) and one of the places my mother and I lived while I was growing up (silvery roof, top left). This is in fact the last place we lived in Urbana, which I more or less consider my hometown.

All those square bald patches in the grass used to be houses when we lived there.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Now I Remember..

I used to write funny stuff back when I just thought I was worn out.  As in the romance for engineers post.  It took me a few reads to even remember that it was, in fact, me who wrote this.  I often have that sensation when reading things I've written, but usually notice it when reading my professional work.  Huh.  Well, I guess that means in thrity years when I can't recognize my own writing, it won't be anything new.  It'll just be my usual writing dissociation.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Four Days

Wednesday morning I get this monstrosity off my leg.  True, the ankle does hurt somewhat at times, but I'll be extremely happy to not be hobbled in the same way.
Four days!
Normally I'd have taken photos of the whole process and posted them, but the cast reminds me of how I broke the leg in the first place, and it's not a nice reminder.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Impatience, and the Scots Romance Question

My right foot (the one attached to the broken leg) has started peeling in a very unattractive way; in fact it's pretty much a zombie foot at this point. Eckh. It has truly already been eating my brain. I am very excited to be able to have a real shower next week, in addition to all the other things I haven't been able to do since July. July! Of course, I'll have a lot to live up to once it's off, as it's been my "reason" for everything I haven't done.

I am (for some reason) still reading the Outlander series. I'm on the third one, although they are about 900 pages each. I think mainly this is because* I can't stand not knowing what happens at the end of any story**, or I just dislike not finishing what I start reading (especially when it's something ridiculously easy). I finally realized (duh) why the first two books were satisfying (from a narrative standpoint, at any rate), the second was very unsatisfying, and the third is again satisfying. More or less.

The first two really were proper "romances," in that there was the unanswered question of "Will they get/be/stay together?" (I'm not even going to consider the label "science fiction" [read in snarky tone] as some would have it, as time-travel by henge seems a lot more like "convenient magic" or "deus ex machina" to me, and there's no other element that could even be considered sci-fi.) But in the third one, hey, yeah, now they're together. Question answered. After that it was basically sort of boringly episodic and had little overall narrative drive (the brothel! the murder! the fire! the smugglers! the journey!, whatever.)

It would actually have been a more interesting book if the heroine had had to search throughout the world to be reunited with the hero, rather than their journey being together. That's just "boring married life" (my husband's words, not mine!) Their search for his kidnapped nephew seems manufactured and weak. The fourth book, however, is interesting again, because the characters are in America and there is actually an overall question of how/whether they will make it in the "New World." So the series began as a historical romance series, then lost its way entirely, and at this point turns into regular historical fiction (with a few sex scenes). Interesting trajectory.

I don't know how this whole Scots romance-novel thing got started, but apparently it's very popular these days***. TheLimey came home from the grocery store and reported (in somewhat a state of distress) that he saw an entire rack of novels featuring the standard flowing-haired, large-breasted guys, but in this case they were all flashing some thigh--from kilts. I noted that there doesn't seem to be a similar theme of exoticizing Englishmen in romance novels, however. Perhaps that's because in Western society they're still considered the "standard," thus the very antithesis of exotic (also, no kilts. Maybe Roman centurions can be the next thing...or has that been done? Probably. It's not my field.) Anyway, there are certainly no books that I have seen where the Redcoat is the hero, especially the romantic hero. Although I did see a sociological analysis regarding this question in which Redcoat romance heroes are said to occasionally pop up, but only insofar as they are rebel-sympathetic.

But anyway, my overall Just rambling, really. I guess if you're a Scottish man****, this is your year. Carpe diem!

*Other than being trapped in the house all summer, I mean.
**As you might imagine, this is maddening for someone whose life work is to hear pieces of real people's stories and then (usually) never hear from them again.
***I'm still not going to add this to my novel, however. Although this sort of thing makes me doubt myself.
****Scottish women, I'm afraid you're still on your own with this.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

One Week

We had a nice quasi-anniversary celebration on Labor Day.  Not on purpose; that's just how it felt.  We went to a coffee shop that was open and played on the internet and read books and laughed.  About other patrons.  Then we went home and watched a few episodes of Lost while having beer and (homemade) pizza.  It was really a perfect date, and it's about bloody time we had time to spend together.
One week until I get this stupid thing off my leg.  Well, of course I'd rather have it than not, and I'm quite grateful it's not the old plaster type of cast, but I'll be seriously glad when the bone healing is complete and I can start doing just normal household stuff. 
Next week is also Limelet's third birthday.  And his dental procedure was canceled for tomorrow, because he's sick.  Rescheduled for two weeks. I just want to be on an even keel for a little while!  Or for a long while, honestly.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009


Do me a favor and Google something...type in Jerrie Yehling and see what comes up first, because I've been getting conflicting reports.  Does Google give different results to different people?!

Thursday, September 03, 2009


Two more weeks (minus one day) until I get this blasted cast off.  I can't wait to see how skinny my leg has become.  (And hairy, and white.)  I'm bringing kneesocks to the uncasting, just so I don't have to display it to anyone.  Including myself.  I plan to get a loofah or similar for the first wonderful, wonderful shower I will wonderfully take in lieu of current awkward baths with leg hanging out of the tub, trying not to drip on the cast while getting out.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009


For no reason, the random book title generator:

Three-Liter Tweet

My favorite "new" bird--new to me, at least--is singing in the backyard again.  I believe it is a Carolina Wren, but I call it the Jurgabee, because that's a call it frequently makes.  Jurgabee, jurgabee, jurgabee!  However, this morning it's making one of its other calls:  three-liter, three-liter, tweet!  I like both.  I hope there will be more baby jurgabees under our back porch roof next spring.  Blue jays (or "pteradactyls" as a Nano Nine called them) have finally made an appearance in our yard.  I have missed them since we moved, and thought perhaps they were less common here.  Thank goodness. I missed that rusty hinge cry.
There are apparently two sources for Marmite here, which is good.  One of them is also a source for weird and delicious flavors of crisps, such as prawn cocktail, roast chicken, cheese and onion, and smoky bacon.  And the ingredients are entirely vegetarian, at least of the flavors I tried, so...there you go. Mmmm...veggie bacon crisps.  Also, supposedly the move to ban them is a Euromyth.
The imports store bloke told us...some number of English or British emigrants living here.  It seems like he said thousands, but I can't remember.  It was a while ago.  Anyway, not terribly surprising.  The city seal bears the motto "Lancastra Britannia ... Lancastra Pennsylvania".  No question about the cultural roots here, although there is a certain perception of Pennsylvania being more D[e]ut[s]ch.  The [Deutsch] Amish supposedly refer to all outsiders as "English" in a wholesale fashion.
It may be legal here to do a U-turn.  I'm not sure.  But everyone does them all the time, at least on residential streets, and there are no signs saying "no U-turns,' unlike Michigan.
It was ungodly difficult to find pickled onions here.  I have no idea why.  Finally found some after nearly a year of looking, after one grocery store redid their Italian foods section and began including them. Heaven knows Americans wouldn't eat something like that, right?  (!?!)
There is a baseball team here which must be sponsored by someone rich, because although they are not even minor-league, they have a great stadium and have a great fireworks display every home game, which we can clearly view from our upper windows.  This has sometimes been a problem, because the fireworks inevitably begin about 15 minutes after Limelet has gone to sleep.  In discussions with other parents we have learned that this is a universal complaint, and that things used to be much worse--longer fireworks, and the guy who did them evidently had a thing for cannons.  So, we turn on the little room air-conditioner as well as a white-noise machine, and it at least masks the sounds.  Usually.  Sometimes we've forgotten and Limelet has lept out of bed to watch the fireworks and cry when they're over.  I actually do like seeing them, now that we have a way to keep him asleep.  It's like 4th of July every weekend.