This blog contains 1000 posts. Posting to Blogger with such a large archive has become unwieldy. Also, your blogista, who is sewing a kesa, is not writing much at present. She has ceased adding new posts. Still-active links are here.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Friends for Peace

A great idea! Get or make a sign and send your picture to the AFSC's (American Friends Service Committee) Friends for Peace website.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Spring cleaning

When I think of farming I think of fruit trees. So does Beloved, but much more of her thought includes a section called Animal Husbandry. We've been down to one chicken (a legally blind Banty hen) for some time, so I was not really surprised to come home, the other day, to find, on the freezer in the mudroom, a large carton with twelve cheeping Barred Rocks in it.

We can assume they'll grow like rockets, so that moves the long-forestalled Barn Projects to the front burner.

When we bought Stony Run, back in 1993, the place was even more run down than it is now, and Beloved wanted a barn but none came with the place. There was a stamping shed up at the other end, across the creek, right next to the neighbors' back yard, but that was too inconvenient to consider, so it slowly filled with all the trash from the place that couldn't be recycled in place or conveniently hauled to the county dump.

Much nearer to the house, and in a convenient location, there was a shed roof on posts and beams, in dreadful condition, which had contained much of the detritus that we moved up to the stamping shed. The neighbor had come to the fence to beg us to take it down, and we murmured something that might have sounded mollifying. But I had noticed that the beams in question were too massive to dismantle safely while working alone, and the more I looked at the mess the more I thought it could be made into the barn that was wanted.

A friend who works in landscaping after office hours connected me to the steady stream of fence boards that she was hauling away from various job sides. There were unbroken sash windows and sliding glass doors lying about the place. And I had a few squares of three-tab roofing asphalt left over from re-roofing the house.

So I did a remodel -- of sorts.

Beloved asked me the "style" of the result and I told her it was "Vernacular Architecture."

"A vernacular of one isn't vernacular," was her reply. "That's Idiosyncratic Architecture."


Two-thirds barn and one-third greenhouse-potting shed, the structure has met our needs over the last decade. Its very is that it never looked not saggy and so has forgiven us for those times -- which was nearly always -- that we deferred maintenance.

With new chickens a-growing in their box under a heat lamp, we went shopping for poultry netting and the like, and have been putzing about the barn in trousers and chore coats ever since.

When not working.

Weather permitting. It's been a very icy spring.

I've painted the barn -- our regulation colors are Red With Green Trim -- and made a few desultory repairs to the woodwork.

Among the things I got from my landscaper friend are heavy-duty iron t-posts that had all been pulled by a tractor, with the result that they are all bent out of shape.

These I've been straightening and repainting and hammering into the wet ground (something that could not be done -- by me, anyway -- in August). There will be a chicken run along the east and south sides of the barn, with netting all the way to the roofline (for raccoon prevention), and a sheep fence (replacing an older one that had seen better days), with a gate.

Once the netting is in place, I'll redo the leaky roof with 90-lb. roll roofing, then do the sheep fence. No sheep yet -- or ducks or geese. But I know the signs. They're probably already on their way.

risa b

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Rhodie roundup

Spent the weekend cleaning up the yard and orchard, throwing bagged grass clippings at the feet of apple trees or onto the garden, and planting rhododendrons.

Before Beloved left for her trip, we talked about how we would replace the torn-down fence with rhodies.

"Red rhodies," she said. "No white flowers."

What I remembered was "no white flowers." What she remembers is "red."

It makes a difference.

I went to Gray's and they had lots of red-blooming rhodies but only in the $29.99 size. I felt I was on a budget and picked out four nice-looking pinks for $9.99 each.

Took them home, dug their holes, watered them in, and pulled the grass-clipping blankets up around their little green chins.

Stood back and admired. Nice!

I picked Beloved up from the train station.

Among other news, I told about getting the rhodies.

"What color are they?"


We said red."


I burst into tears, and it took rather awhile for the conversation to proceed from there. It was true, red had been specifically mentioned. She's not as into pink as I am and it didn't help in this instance that at least I hadn't gotten anything with white blooms, which neither of us cares for.

Friends of our like to give us plants -- but invariably the giveaways bloom white, and we'd have overdosed on white even if we really liked it. In flowers.

At home, when I had recovered somewhat, we cautiously reopened the discussion and I went to the whiteboard and drew a grounds plan with the row of pink rhodies across the top, by the driveway and along the road.

"I can pull these two and put them here" -- drawing quickly -- "and here, and then get three red rhodies and put them here, here, and here."

"That would work," she said. "But you say there aren't any red ones?"

"Not in our size, not at Gray's right now. But somebody might have them."

She had other errands to run, so I went out and hit the nurseries. All red rhodies, such as Taurus or Vulcan, were in the $29.99 size. Until I got to Jerry's.

Jerry's Home Improvement is mostly about paint, tools, and lumber, but there is a fenced-in plant sales area in the parking lot, and here there were hundreds of white, pink, or purple rhodies in $9.99 pots -- and three red Vulcans in monster 4-gallon tubs for $19.99 each.

"I'll take them."

While I was putting these in, I noticed that men in pickup trucks wave to me these days. They didn't used to. But, then, in those days I didn't look the way I do now.

I do like it that they do that, even though I have feelings about equality that are maybe in conflict with that feeling.

But when all is said and done, I don't mind smiling and getting smiles, while putting a red rhody in among the pinks.

-- Back in the house, later, I found a heart drawn on the landscape plan, and in it, the words "Thank You!"

--risa b


Types of Gender-Related Intervention

F2M (Female-to-Male)
  • Testosterone therapy
  • Breast Reduction Surgery
  • Metoidioplasty
  • Phalloplasty
M2F (Male-to-Female)
  • Estrogen Therapy
  • Anti-Androgen Therapy
  • Facial Feminization Surgery
  • Dental reconstruction
  • Tracheal Shave
  • Electrolysis
  • Laser Peel
  • Breast Implants
  • Hair Implantation
  • Orchiectomy
  • Vaginoplasty
  • Labiaplasty
Sounds awful, huh? But wait! Everybody does it! You've seen Extreme Makeover, right? So:

Types of Sex-Related Intervention

F2F (Female-to-Female)
  • Estrogen Therapy
  • Breast Reduction Surgery
  • Plastic Surgery
  • Dental Reconstruction
  • Electrolysis
  • Laser Peel
  • Breast Implants
  • Hair Implantation
M2M (Male-to-Male)
  • Circumcision
  • Testosterone or other Steroid Therapy
  • Plastic Surgery
  • Hair Implantation
  • Viagra (lots and lots of Viagra)
I have a handout of this that I use, with images of famous transpersons in the first category and celebrities in the second. It always produces a chuckle.

But, seriously, what's going on here?

Why are we (transpeople) bad for doing these things (and must have two psychiatrist's signature for some of them), and celebrities are -- well --celebrated?

Because there's a deep-rooted taboo. You may enhance what you were born with, or get what you weren't born with, so long as it's same-sex. But stay away from the other sex's characteristics. Even though some people are born with both.

Who says so, and why?

The easy answer is religion, but there are many welcoming congregations, Christian, Jewish, and Buddhist. Willingness to allow transpeople an unharrassed and unthreatened existence has been sharply decreasing in Hinduism, increasing in some branches of Islam.

There is significant correlation between anti-transsexual activity and anti-gay activity, which is one reason why transpeople have sought to ally themselves with traditional gay and lesbian organizations to work together in education, advocacy and support -- though some gays and lesbians have been unhappy with the idea.

A less often noted correlation is between anti-trans activity and anti-choice activity: the same people who are into discrimination against transpeople are into refusing women right of access to prevention and termination of pregnancy.

Hmmm ... aha!

It's not about faith, it's about patriarchy, my dears.

Testosterone-driven heterosexual males, in other words.

Girls are supposed to be cheerleaders for the decisions of the boys. Don't question him ("I'm not lost. I don't need to ask the gas station attendant where we are"). Don't try to work around him ("What do you need those pills for?"). And don't go falling for other girls, because that limits boys' access to --umm -- something they feel they have a right of maximum access to. Or, worse tying to become a boy. Gotta be able to cause pregnancies, y'see. So, just ... obey.

And boys must be loyal to the culture of the boys. Don't fall for a guy, because guys gotta have solidarity in this dominate-the-females thing. And as for becoming a girl -- or arguing that you were one all along -- those in power have always reserved their worst invective -- and punishments -- for defectors.


Why I'm thinking about this right now is that members of Oregon's house of representatives are being inundated by calls, letters and visits from people who want them to vote against Senate Bill 2, which passed the senate 21-7 a couple of weeks ago. The great objection to it seems to be that it will allow transpeople to go rape women in ladies' restrooms.

Interestingly, all the bill does is make it illegal to fire you for sexual orientation, or deny you housing or access to public accommodations for sexual orientation.

But in the fine print, the bill includes gender identity or expression in sexual orientation. Hence the hoopla. Hysteria, really.

Dear readers, now would be a good time to write or call your representative in support of the bill -- they outnumber us in calls and letter right now 2 to 1.

Here are your talking points:

1. It is not illegal in Oregon for either sex to go into the others' restroom. Women have often made use of this legality to get to a stall in time when the ladies' room is out of order or too crowded to use in time.

2. Many people who are (illegally) denied access to restrooms are masculine looking born women or feminine looking men who are trying to go to the very restroom they were "born" to.

3. Some people who are denied access to one restroom or the other, or both, were born with primary or secondary sexual characteristics of both sexes -- intersexed. [The intersexed could be said to be God's answer to mass religious hysteria about gender!]

4. Some disabled people have attendants who are not the same sex, and who must attend them into whatever restroom is usable.

5. Male predators tend to fall into several distinct, recognizable categories. Men who prey on women don't cross-dress; they are expressing power and dress accordingly. Men who prey on children don't cross-dress; they are expressing power and dress accordingly. Men who prey on men don't cross-dress; they are expressing power and dress accordingly.

6. Cross-dressers and transvestites mostly keep to home or to gender-bending gatherings or, when "out," such as shopping, try to be discreet. There are almost no recorded cases anywhere of a true crossdresser seeking access to restrooms for predatory purposes.

7. The few instances of predators in dresses that have been recorded had nothing to do with anti-discrimination laws. It's always been illegal to assault people and always will be. Like the libertarians say, "all crimes are hate crimes."

Some of us MTFs have had full reassignment surgery. What are we doing in the ladies' room? Duh -- gotta go somewhere. And if you think I'm going in that one over there -- with its dirt, its grime, and its large, testosterone-laced, unpredictable animals -- unh-unh.

risa b


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