Category Archives: education

Got spoons?

Many of y’all have asked me before, “What the hell are you talking about when you say you’re running out of spoons?” This article should help explain things for you in ways I can’t.

I have an undiagnosed autoimmune disease & fibromyalgia. Everyday is like this.

Here’s a PDF download of “The Spoon Theory.”



Rebuttal, of sorts

There have been a lot sentiments that baffle me beyond belief, and I’m confounded further by those who own the sentiments. Like those saying about the most recent school shooting:

  1. This would’ve been prevented if people noticed the warning signs sooner & reported them.
    Saying that if people had only reported this guy would have saved the children from being murdered only spreads survivor’s guilt. There’s enough of that to go around already. Also, there aren’t enough resources or recourse for those who do need help, and would benefit by it.
  2. This is the reason we need to arm all teachers & school staff.
    How can we arm all the teachers & school staff if we aren’t even willing to standardize their working conditions, or pay them a living wage? Are we to expect our teachers to be more like first responders now too?
  3. If only we’d do away with all gun restrictions.
    Yes, doing away with all gun restrictions is clearly the solution. Make them even easier to get than mental health care. That’s fucking logical. Your right to bear arms isn’t worth the price of the lives of these children, is it? What a price to pay. Let’s start throwing virgins into volcanoes again, while we’re at it.
  4. This is why public schools aren’t to be trusted. 
    It’s the fault of public schools? Adam Lanza was homeschooled. Education and indoctrination in all matters starts first with the parents. What was Nancy Lanza teaching him? Should she be held accountable for brainwashing him? Does this idea piss off you other homeschoolers? Good.
  5. The media made him do it.
    And the Twinkies. Don’t forget the Twinkies.
  6. The shooter needed more drugs, or less. 
    Let’s not forget that it’s easier to get guns than it is to get mental health care.
  7. This is what happens when you remove god/church/etc. from school/government/whatever.
    Right. Because invoking your god in school would have made those children bulletproof. The separation of church and state must stand.
  8. God made this happen as punishment for legalizing gay marriage.
    If this is the same god that you want to idolize in schools, no thanks. I don’t want my children exposed to such a hateful deity, or its faithful. Keep your stupid to yourself.
  9. It’s Obama’s fault.
    The radical right doesn’t know how, yet, but it must be Obama’s fault, right? Puh-lease.
  10. Any combination of the above, or whatever else I’ve heard and blocked out.
    I’ve heard a lot of bullshit. I just want to focus less on his motivations than on celebrating the lost children. If we can celebrate their short lives and be a comfort to their families, that will be a good start. Preventing this kind of massacre from happening again is necessary, but I don’t have enough faith in our national conscience to accomplish something so grand.

    I want my children to grow up safely, attend school safely, learn, laugh, and love safely.

What’s your major?

I’m going back to school. It’s been 50,000 years since I took a class. I’m not sure what mommy-brain has done to my ability to write essays and take exams. I’m a little scared.

Since I’m a full-time stay-at-home mommy of three young attention-grabbers, I’m going to start out light. I’ll probably only take one distance course in the spring semester. UAF is processing my admission deferment now, and I have an appointment with an academic advisor in a little over two weeks.

I majored in petroleum engineering once upon a time, 15 years ago, for about five minutes. At UAA, I was an English major, minoring in philosophy, and considering psychology as a secondary major. Then all manner of things happened, and my school days were over. The visions I had for myself then are vastly different than they are today. I have to take this into account when I look at the disciplinary concentrations offered by UAF, as I wonder what on earth I want to declare as my major.

I’m still completely drawn in by the idea of a dual degree in English and psychology. I’d love to have that as my foundation for the writing career of which I fantasize so often. The advent of ebooks combined with the decline in print media makes me question whether writing could ever be a profitable venture for me. So I ask myself, what else do I like to do?

I’ve looked at computer science/web design. I love anthropology, and as a child daydreamed of being an archaeologist on digs in exotic places, but that hardly seems like me now. I wanted to be a math major once, but even then didn’t know what I’d do with a math degree besides teach, which is something I have no interest in doing. Don’t get me wrong; I love teachers. I value the teachers I had so immensely, and consider many of them my friends today. I just know that teaching is not something I could do well, nor would I enjoy it.

How did you decide what to study?

Random on a Tuesday

  • My youngest sister, Melinda, died at 25 on January 14, 2011.
  • We drove to Anchorage for a small memorial service for her, held on Friday, January 21, 2011.
  • It’s got me mourning my mother all over again.
  • The kids got to play with Grandpa, cousins Faith, Caleb, and Vicky, Aunts Jessie, Tasha, & Sandee, and Uncle Darrell.
  • We took family photos at my parents’ house, courtesy of Sandee Rice Photography.
  • Back at the hotel, we took the kids down to the swimming pool.  They had a blast.
  • The chlorine in the pool did crazy tightening things to the dreads forming at the back of my head.
  • Bouncing Bears is the coolest place to get kids worn out before a long road trip.
  • The living room floor is the greatest place to roll around after many long hours cooped up in car seats.
  • The wolf and the orca share the same animal spirit in Yup’ik lore.  These are the two animals I debated between in trying to identify the animal essence of my youngest child River.  JR is a polar bear.  Camilla is a lynx/mountain lion/fox.
  • I’ve spun 4 oz of a pinkish-purplish wool/alpaca batt by Bohoknitterchic Spins into 400+ yards of a fingering weight single.  Melinda loved pink.  I’m going to knit a shawl out of this yarn.
  • I’m knee-deep in laundry that needs to be done before we leave Thursday night on vacation.
  • I get a kitten after we get back.  It will go nicely with the litter box and cat food I got from John for Christmas.
  • I’m planning on getting tattooed in San Antonio and Chicago during the next couple of weeks.
  • I’ll be starting a Little Acorn Learning curriculum for JR and Camilla after our trip.  I’m excited.
  • I definitely need to get back to daily workouts.  They’ve fallen by the wayside with a marked increase in fibro pain.
  • I nearly forgot how comfortable Vans are until I bought a new pair the other day.
  • I am very clearly doing anything possible to avoid laundry and packing.
  • I have to start all that now, before Thursday gets here.


Awesome & Win

The nurse-in last Friday was made of awesome and win.  Thank you all.

I was so proud of the turnout — a photographer from the local newspaper pegged us at over 20+ mamas strong, not including daddies and babies and other supporters.  KUAC-FM mentioned us during the 12 pm newshour before the event.  CBS News 13 interviewed me before the nurse-in, and we were featured in the 6 pm and 11 pm news that night.  Two photos from the event were featured on the front page of the Fairbanks Newsminer the next day.

The energy from the participants was amazing, and the sentiments from passersby seemed largely positive despite a couple of unfortunate encounters.  The media was initially kicked out of the store, but were later invited back in.  John and I guessed that they didn’t want any more bad publicity.

We were there for about an hour inside the store, nursing, visiting with other parents, reveling in the positivity, enjoying the moment.  We had sort of descended on Starbucks en masse, and they were so patient even though I’m sure they were a bit overwhelmed.  The clerk nearest to us was very pleasant and polite.  Management stood by, looking rather nervous or insecure, possibly both.

I’m still so excited that it all went so well.  Overall it was such a wonderful experience.

Click images to enlarge

I’m so proud of the nurse-in, and of all of you out there who came out to support us, or sent your support from wherever you are.

I had mentioned to a few people how I’ve been wanting to expand my social circle, to meet like-minded people to hang out with and have playdates with, and one fabulous mama put it in an  awesome, empowering way:  I manifested a community around me, I manifested friends.  I guess I truly do have powerful magic.  I know I’m blessed to have had the support that I did, that I do.

What a great time it was.  I’m so hopeful that I’ve helped spread the message that there is nothing indecent about breastfeeding, and even more hopeful that at least one more mama will feel comfortable feeding her baby whenever and wherever he’s hungry.

At the nurse-in. Photo by Georganne Hampton, cropped by me.

Call for a nurse-in and a boycott!

You read my blog, presumably because you like (most of) what I have to say.  I don’t always address you directly, but that’s because I treat this blog more like an online diary.  I know you’re out there, and I appreciate your readership.

Now I’m going to ask you to help me out.

You all (should) know that I breastfeed my children.  My boys are uncircumcised.  All the kids wear cloth diapers, many handmade by me.  They have all slept in our bed with us.  We eat organic & free range wherever we can.  We support local ventures whenever possible.  I fight the fights worth fighting (and some that aren’t, but I’m not afraid of confrontation), and this is a fight worth fighting.

I want you to join me (or just come and support me) in a nurse-in at Safeway grocery store here in Fairbanks, Alaska, located at Airport Way & University Drive.  It’ll be Friday, August 6th, 2010, at a time yet to be determined.  I want it to be at a time convenient for enough people to show up.  Here’s why.

They told me to stop nursing my baby and leave.  I’m sure y’all know I didn’t comply with this “request.”

Here’s the story:  My newborn son started crying at approximately 7:25 pm on August 1, 2010. I figured that he was in need of a diaper & sent my husband to the truck to get one.  While my husband was outside, I remained inside with our 3-year-old son, our 16-month-old daughter, and our newborn.  My newborn started his hungry cry, so I sat down at a stool next to the Starbucks coffee stand and began nursing him while our other two children sat in the kiddie car portion of a grocery cart in front of me.  My husband returned from the truck, ordered a coffee, and came back to stand next to us.  It was at that point that the shift manager approached me and said while pointing at my chest, “You can’t be doing that.  You’ll have to leave.” I said, “I won’t do any such thing.  I’m protected by Alaska state law.”  Some woman I couldn’t see said, “Yeah right, like it’s protected for you to just be indecent in public.”  My husband said, “If you want, you can call the state troopers.”  The unidentified woman said she would.  This was about 7:30 pm.  No such call appears to have been made as I continued to sit there nursing for another ten minutes and the Alaska state troopers never came in.  When my son finished nursing, we left the store without making any further purchases.  [An employee in the parking lot collecting grocery carts told me he believes the shift manager’s name to be Josh.  “Josh” is in his late 20s to mid 30s, is Caucasian, has dark hair, wears glasses, stands roughly 5’8 to 6′, and is heavy-set.]

There is nothing indecent about breastfeeding. My body grew a tiny, perfect human being (three times, at that).  Now that my child lives outside of me, my body continues to provide him with sustenance.  Without my body, he has no nourishment or comfort.  My body has done amazing and beautiful things.  My body is useful for so much more than sex.  My body feeds my baby (and occasionally a thirsty or upset toddler).  Breastmilk gives my children so many more benefits than formula-feeding.  Learning their cues also means that I am more in tune with their needs and personalities, in turn letting me become a better parent.  I will not let my child cry it out when I have the ability to calm him and meet his needs by breastfeeding.  I will not let some ignorant jackass stop my child from eating, wherever the fuck I am.  If I am breastfeeding, I am protected by Alaska state law, anywhere I go that I’m allowed to be.  I should be protected anywhere I ever go in any state, but some places haven’t caught up with what should be yet.  You can help raise breastfeeding rights awareness.

Alaska is among 44 states, the District of Columbia, and the Virgin Islands, in that it has laws with language specifically allowing women to breastfeed in any public or private location.

Alaska is among 28 states, the District of Columbia, and the Virgin Islands, in that breastfeeding is exempt from public indecency laws.

AS 29.25.080. Breast-Feeding.

A municipality may not enact an ordinance that prohibits or restricts a woman breast-feeding a child in a public or private location where the woman and child are otherwise authorized to be. In a municipal ordinance, “lewd conduct,” “lewd touching,” “immoral conduct,” “indecent conduct,” and similar terms do not include the act of a woman breast-feeding a child in a public or private location where the woman and child are otherwise authorized to be. Nothing in this section may be construed to authorize an act that is an offense under a municipal ordinance that establishes an offense with elements substantially equivalent to the elements of an offense under AS 11.61.123 (indecent viewing & photography). This section is applicable to home rule and general law municipalities.

AS 01.10.060. Definitions.

(b) In the laws of the state, “lewd conduct,” “lewd touching,” “immoral conduct,” “indecent conduct,” and similar terms do not include the act of a woman breast-feeding a child in a public or private location where the woman and child are otherwise authorized to be. Nothing in this subsection may be construed to authorize an act that is an offense under AS 11.61.123 (indecent viewing & photography) .

So here’s what I ask of you —

NURSE-IN:  Join me in Safeway at University & Airport this Friday, August 6th, 2010, to nurse your baby in public.  Leave a comment below or email me at and tell me what time is best for you.  I want to set this up so that as many people as possible can participate.  Get the word out!  Also,

BOYCOTT:  After the nurse-in, let your voice be heard with your dollars!  Boycott Safeway!  Get the word out!

Please, pass this along.

What a way to ring in World Breastfeeding Week.

Preschool Activities for Everyone!

This sweet, amazing woman blogs about activities for you and your preschooler! She always has great, fun-filled learning activities that I’ve certainly enjoyed doing with my son. Her name is Allie, and her blog is No Time for Flash Cards. Check her out, and have some fun with your kidlets!

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