parasitegirl: (Default)

 

I’m at the end of a nasty tussle with a cold/allergies. My voice is slowly coming back. I feel some disbelief, because I can’t remember the last cold that ended without my bronchial tubes getting involved and more serious complications emerging. This is how normal people have colds. I am not used to it.

I did get to see long-time Japan-friend, Kazu, this weekend…but other than that my weekend was quiet. Still, I find myself wanting to write. Twice I’ve found myself remembering Aaron M. this weekend and that seems as good a prompt as any.

 

It was at his house that I wore my first yarmulke )

parasitegirl: (Default)

This post is inspired by a Bhuz thread on internalized racism and BD spurned by this site and video:

http://imperfect-black.blogspot.com/2009/09/who-taught-you-to-hate-yourself-via.html
 

Which I cannot watch at work, however from the discussion I know that the studies done about how black and white children rate the relative attractiveness of black and white dolls is part of it. It’s a study I first came across in my extensive Barbie related readings (in particular those done on the ways Barbie has been transformed, and yet not transformed, for different ethnic markets and the reactions).

 

But to post this recollection on the thread, as it has gotten away from the doll topic, would come off as “Weeeeee, look at me. I’m a good white girl with an open mind and I can prove it by talking about the ONE black doll I had as a child!” It spurned a memory for me, but that memory doesn’t make me without my own explored and unexplored racial hang-ups.

 

My Premie.

 

My mother and I talked a little bit about this when I was in California and our family was looking through pictures remembering my grandmother Christine and her legacy. The pictures included many shots of me and my two cousins at various ages.

 

One photo included me and Hope and our Cabbage Patch dolls. Hope's was homemade. I wonder if Hope underwent any teasing for not having store bought ones. I remembered getting teased because kids said my first Barbie (one I worked hard to break my mother into buying) had short hair and thus wasn’t a real Barbie. I know that cousin Michael did something disrespectful or mocking of our Cabbage Patch dolls and it disturbed us deeply...



Grandpa Bob, Hope, Me (Hope and I both got those eelskin purses with the magnetic snap from Grandma) and Grandma Christine.

 

I had a store bought “Premie Cabbage Patch Doll” the version where the dolls were slightly younger and thus only had a tuft of hair or none at all. I think my mother and other adult/parents were slightly disgusted by the name and the way it seemed to glamourized premature birth, which is a stressful, worrisome and sometimes crippling /fatal in real life.

 

I can’t remember if I earned it somehow by saving up money. I wasn’t old enough to baby sit, perhaps some of it was dog-walking cash. More likely it was by not spending my allowance on Archies and candy at Mallot’s every weekend and probably seemed like a very big task. The Cabbage Patch craze was still large, but it wasn’t the first wave of it where people were getting trampled and injured, but they were still hot enough that a free Cabbage Patch Doll was often used as an inscentive to buy major appliances and TVs from local pitchman (and bait & switch artist) Crazy TV Lenny.

 

I knew what I wanted. I wanted a black Premie. To this day I don’t know why. My elementary school was overwhelmingly white. A black student would come, usually one at a time, and then be gone the next year. I remember one, Zakiya Calloway, and that I slept over at her place once, her parents had a beautiful home, more swanker than ours and I coveted her tap shoes. The most regular diversity I remember was Sarayu Rao who was my classmate from 1st to 12th grade. I was in awe of her mother’s saris.

 

Trips to work with my mother exposed me to some ethnic diversity through the staff and students (and two bi-racial kids my age I’d play with) but, ultimately, I was a white girl growing up on the west side of Madison where “cultural diversity” was encouraged but not really existing.

 

Nothing explained my desire for a black premie. There was no other reason I wanted one except I thought black premies were cute. To my knowledge my mother didn’t actively encourage me to pick a color or asked me why. I wanted it, that was enough.

 

I just know that when we went to buy it, when I had it in my hands pre-sale “helpful” people pointed out to us where the white ones were. The demand was still great enough that stores often sold out. Staff, or maybe strangers, went out of their way to reassure us that the white ones hadn’t sold out yet, assuming the only reason a little white girl and her white mom would want a black premie was due to the desire not to go home empty handed and to content themselves with whatever was left over. I think later on I got the second Premie, the white one.

 

I don’t know if other adults ask…um…questions..or expressed..um…surprise…to my mother when they later saw me and my premie.

 

To the best of my knowledge, my white friends and Sarayu all had white Cabbage patch dolls and yet had no questions for why I had my black one…much like a few years later when my friend Meghan got a black Barbie doll. I didn’t have to ask why. It wasn’t a statement. Her doll was pretty and looked even dramatic in the white dress it wore.

 

As I look back I don’t wonder much about it. It was cute. I wanted it.

 

I do wonder why I wanted a Koosa though. Those things were ungodly gene-spliced horrors worthy of bad science fiction films.


(I just started watching the video and am reminded of how odd it is, due to my early memories of going to work with my mother to Shabazz high school and the Malcom Shabazz shirts I saw on a regular basis, that my first reaction to seeing Malcom X is always a wave of nostalgia)

 

parasitegirl: (ozmakiss)
It would be fair to say that the Oz books and the Alice books were highly influencial in my childhood and in my desire to illustrate (I entered art school wanting to illustrate childrens' books...insane ones).

And Tim Burton is making an Alice movie...I mean there are many reasons why not to make Alice at all...because it is a story that wanders here and there with no real direction...but you probably feel like I do, if anyone can do the eye candy of my brain as a child reading those books some justice it might be Mr. Burton.

By now everyone has seen the character pictures of the Tim Burton Alice in Wonderland project...and only one bothers me.
Are you a-dressing me? )
parasitegirl: (monkey)
"WOW - you have a mind like a trap. I assume you're going to write a book someday?? You have a way with words... you could sell a book about shit to a farmer! He'd read it just for fun!" -Keith Harris

I rarely have to do a spit take in the morning when I check my blogs and such, but this morning I nearly spewed omelet everywhere as I read the above line. I had to keep my hand over my mouth. If I do write a book...I have a blurb!

Another voice from the Oklahoma Past has resurfaced via Facebook. Last time it was Amanda P, who came to me via the Dark Clan. Now we have her co-star, Keith Harris. Yaaaaaaaayyy! He was always such a sweetie. He once came to my house to help me on my Buick LeSaber when I'd fucked something up futzing under the hood...and I still have memories of the one ride I took in his sweeeeet light teal 60's Corvair with the fuzzy dice.

Keith, like Amanda, is living off his voice. This isn't surprising. What's surprising is how much godamned talent and brains my high school had. For those of you who were deprived in high school, I'm sorry we couldn't bus some to you.

Keith is now an opera singer. Check out audio clips and such on his web page:
http://www.keithharris.net/

Only one warning on the webpage, it plays a video inetrveiw as soon as you access the page...the end of that video has a song about a dragon that I quite enjoyed.


parasitegirl: (Evil)
My 5th and 2nd grade pictures, can you find me?





parasitegirl: (evil2)
News flash:
Blogging fosters self-centered tendencies!
 
These days that sentiment is about as “duh” causing as “Smoking, not as good for you as once advertized” or “The Lysol Douche, not a bright part of American history!”
 
If you’re reading me, or still reading me, or even skimming me, you know that I blog about me…and some other stuff (Japan, Bellydance, Bling) comes along for the ride.
 
Today I get to blog about people blogging about me in hopes of creating an infinite loop of blog. It’s like M.C Esher, only underated instead of overrated.
 
My elementary school friend, Kate, has a blog. I know this because this morning she sent me a link to her blog via Facebook. I have added her blog to my blogfeed. She hadn’t mentioned a blog previously, but she ‘fessed up because she’d blogged about me…somewhat in response to the memories brought up by me blogging about her! Blogloop!
 
She writes about my childhood wit. You should give it a read, she’s a better writer than she gives herself credit for. She’s got a childhood memory of me making a joke about dentures that stemmed from a conversation about her braces (comedy gold! I’m here all week!) I don’t remember this moment, but I do remember her orthodontia work. We both had braces, of course. I don’t think she had the top-pallete breaking device that I had, but Kate did suffer from the least flattering headgear an orthodontist can order you to wear…and she was condemned to wear it during daylight hours. It was the kind that the straps across your head like a hideous hat or horse’s bridal. Think Joan Cusak’s bit part in 16 Candles. Kate didn’t want to wear it. I don’t blame her. She had many fights with her parents about it, and her sporatic wearing of it caused her to have to wear it for far longer than compliance would have. I had headgear as well but mine just went around my neck to my mouth, and only needed to be worn at night. My fear of getting something like Kate had made me a very dedicated headgear wearer.
 
Kate ends her blog about me with this:
 
That was Kayt: funnier and wittier and brighter than I. She had a self-confidence I admire to this day.
parasitegirl: (freak2)
In blogging about the past and dredging up my days in my high school drama department I knew that I was running a very real risk. Last night, and today, I am suffering the consequences. Oklahoma, Oklahoma, Oklahoma I typed and the ear worms burrowed.
 
I fucking hate having songs from Oklahoma stuck in my head. While I remember the process of being the assistant director to our school's production of it, I have successfully blocked most of the actual show, scenes, and songs.
 
I don't care if the farmer and the cowboy can be friends, if they get stuck in my head then they can both go fuck themselves. Farmer/Cowboy slash....mmmm...I'll give credit where it is due, Rebecca J, our director, was good at casting hot sporty boys.
 
So, this blog is brought to you by the letter Ooooooooooooooooooooklahoma.
 
At my school, the big musical was held first semester and the big play was second semester. Being asked to be the assistant director (based on my work students directing peers in some one-act plays my Junior/3rd year of HS) of the big musical meant that I was in a one-student independent study class with Rebecca J the first semester of my Senior (4th and final) year. Independent study with Rebecca was rather unstructured and what needed to be done depended on the schedule of show prep and performances. We also talked a lot about theories behind how to direct and guide actors, I don't remember much of it. The start of the semester was slow and our final exam was spent going out for morning buns at Ovens of Brittany bakery/cafe.
 
Independent study had some serious perks. I had my own desk in the drama department. Department is a fancy word for the room next to the drama room, a room that also had misc costumes, a few couches, a TV and a video collection. It had a bedazzler. I still regret not stealing that bedazzler. I had my own phone with which to place random calls to my then boyfriend...who wasn't in high school. Rebecca had given me a pile of hall passes, all pre-signed, to use at my discretion.I had my own copy code for the faculty copy machine. Rebecca was an overweight woman with a bad knee, and the drama area was in a side tower of the school up a few flights of stairs, so I was the copy-girl.
 
These odd perks may have been why a few younger students and some student teachers, believed me to be a student teacher assigned to the drama department.
 
I used those hall passes to escape study halls and the business class I had signed up for and would sleep on the drama couch. I used the phone to see if I should head over to my boyfriend's place after school, or to leave him amusing messages (his company had downsized and he was job hunting while enjoying the severance pay) And I used my copy code to...well...make copies.
 
Oklahoma was a behemoth of musical. I've mentioned that I never appeared in a major school production, which is true. WHo knows if the fact that I was never in a school play was due to a dearth of talent on my part, the glut of talent in the school, or politics. I can only speculate...but there was no mystery to me not being in a musical.
 
One of my Facebook friends, one who was actually in the background cast for Oklahoma, remembers a fine performance as a saloon girl I turned in in Guys and Dolls. He wrote on my Facebook wall about it. I had to break the news to him that his memory was going, I was in no musicals, ever...but that, yes, I was the girl who broke him of the habit of calling the females dancers "hootchie-cootchi la-la-las"
 
It's not that I can't sing. My singing was probably passable, but I couldn't audition to save my life. Over the years I've come to understand what my singing range is and that I can be an entertaining singer in my range. In high school I not only thought that I should be singing songs 1-2 octaves above what is realistic for me (I am firmly in the Liza Minelli/Cabaret range and seemed to think I should be singing little boy songs from Oliver) I also suffered from stage fright. Song-specific stage fright. I would get on stage, the pianist would start, and my mouth would open, only to emit a high pitched noise only certain mammals can hear. Once I got past that point, I tweaked and freaked and squeaked and poor Oliver's song sounded like the wee lad was hitting puberty and that puberty was hitting him back.
 
The choreography portion of the audition, or the monologue, not an issue! It didn't bloody matter by then. Week and freak...that does it. And my high school was filthy with good voices.
 
The auditions for Oklahoma lasted two days. We cast 67 kids, two had to drop out. We had a professional choreographer from the local theater scene (who also danced as the male lead in the ballet scene, because our female dancer was worlds more pro/talented than any male we could cast) and a set designer from the local scene.
 
Our public school took art very seriously. Every year we had a fine arts week to exhibit the whole range of art: gallery shows, demonstrations, one act plays, music and dance recitals, bands, pottery auctions...
 
Our male lead, Keith, had been competing in international barbershop quartet competitions since age 4. Our female lead was an innocent and soft (dare I say virginal?) Amanda P...who some of my friends list have worked with professionally....it was that sort of school. And Rebecca was also good about colorblind casting.
 
The spurned Jacob was also in the cast, as Jud. And I'd like to state for the record that the fact that my father and stepfamily erupted in mad giggles during his solo had nothing to do with who he was to me...they couldn't help it and apologized to me later. There is a reason that that Jud's song is usually omitted...and no amount of holding his arms away from his body at odd angles was going to make Jacob's 2% body-fat build look bulky and imposing.
 
Oklahoma was not a small affair. We would be performing on the school stage two weekends in a row (3 shows a weekend?) and then dismantling the set and moving the cast/crew/orchestra (120 students total) to a nearby city to be the one high school presenting a full-production at a statewide high school drama thingy in La Crosse (the other full plays being presented by local theaters, and the other schools restricted to one-act plays).
 
The first thing we did with the cast, once assembled, was a night of watching the goddamned Oklahoma movie so that we could discuss what would and would not be the same in our rendition. Rebecca made me the chaperone of this event and fled the scene. Coward.
 
There was drama and there was drama.
 
 
 
 
parasitegirl: (regrets)
 Kate  L. remembers my full-leg cast from first grade. I had two casts, sequentially. Playing on the jungle gym in my backyard after greasing a pizza pan I had lost my grip and somehow flung myself forward, my leg jamming between two rungs of the jungle gym. In mad pain I made it back to the house and screamed "Ruuuttth" alerting Dean Mommy to the accident. She was a half block away from the house, having just set out on her nightly jog. She turned back and ran to the house.
 
The x-rays showed that I had spiral cracks in both lower leg bones in one leg (tibia and fibula?) I would need a full leg cast because bending my knee or ankle would pull at the cracks. It was upon hearing the news that I would be less mobile that I started to cry.
 
The cast slowed me down, but not by much. I ran around on the cast at recess and after school, terrorizing young boys while we all played Cops and Robbers or Boys Chase the Girls. The impact of a cast swung at you probably hurts a great deal. I wonder if they remember, maybe I should friend them on Facebook and ask. I wore through the shoe that had been made for my cast. Dean Mommy glued the left-over tread from the shoe directly to the bottom of the cast...but I started to wear through that as well. I was given a second cast.
 
I broke that second cast on the jungle gym at school. My father was, understandably, pissed. At this point the doctor decided that I was close enough to the cast removal date that they would just wrap up my ankle and let me limp...and for that time I was slowed down.
 
Kate has suggested that perhaps the insurance company said something to the effect of "look at what this 6 year old girl is costing us! Just wrap her up and get her out of here."
 
I was a clumsy child, and preteen, and teen, and adult, but I was also compact and strong in ways that mirror Dean Mommy. By the time I was well into middle school I could tumble down the wooden basement stairs and land hard on the concrete floor and it would elicit a mildly concerned, but not running to the scene to survey the damage, "you ok?" from the Dean. In high school, my accidents often involved quick trips to the emergency room, but only when 100% needed...like when I embedded a jewelers saw deep into my thumb and would need shots.
 
But the accident I was well known for involved no hospitals. In middle school, our shared childhood images of the evils that lurked in ponds and lakes were highly informed by the leach scene from Stand By Me. By high school I had replaced those leaches in my friends' imaginations.
parasitegirl: (Evil)
I have barely any work to do and I don't even want to do that. My thoughts return to elementary school and the other Kate.
 
In our Brownie troop graduation picture there are four girls who are not wearing the same light blue 100% Brownies t-shirt that was our uniform: Denise, who doesn't seem bothered at all that she is wearing a turtleneck and corduroys. Denise was more of a freak than the rest of us (and this is saying a lot, as I used talent show days to lip sync "Look at me I'm Sandra Dee" in a blonde wig, and to give a similar, orange hair-sprayed and dressed-up rendition to "Girls Just Want to Have Fun"). I remember Denise angry and a little unclean, but she is the most timeless and hip looking kid in the photo now. Claire, who seems downright pissed not to be wearing the same shirt, despite her cute little dress. Elena, who is wearing a very cute frock and seems to be posing .Last I heard, Elena had fled the country. She went to Italy. I heard this from her father who I used to work with. I didn't connect him to Elena for over a year despite the same last name and his prideful talk about his daughter Elena, because the Elena's dad of my childhood wasn't out-of-the-closet. I hesitated about mentioning this, but he is out now and that's certainly one of the places times takes some parents. The last Brownie without a T-shirt was Doralynn.
 
Doralynn, unlike the rest of us, was wearing a full brown and tan Brownie uniform. Doralynn sold hundreds of cookies each year and probably earned badges. Freak! I remember not liking Doralynn and being envious of this uniform, not because I aspired to be a better Brownie than I was, but because my love of costumes was pronounced at an early age and never went away. I sometimes dressed up for school on non-costume days. I know I wore a baby-blue graduation gown, apropos of nothing, to elementary school once in my 4th year.
 
Kate recalls herself to have been the anti-Doralynn, because she didn't earn a single badge, and those that she had were the ones given to her but earned by the work of other people, like Sarah's mom, who sewed her Junior Scouts vest for her. I recall the same lack of badges earned on my part, but I think Elena's mom was the seamstress involved in making my vest...because I know my mother wasn't sewing. Kate was a bad brownie, like me, and it is a wonder that we ever went to scout camp together...of which I remember nothing but a wooden-based tent and rain... I even have vague memories of having a troupe meeting where the troupe mothers addressed the fact that we were earning so few badges that we might be discredited as a troupe, I think they figured out a badge we could fudge our experiences on and get.
 
Our troupe mothers forgot to bring the keys to the Girl Scout Cabin and had to break into it. We learned, by watching, to check all windows and doors, even on the second floor...but we didn't get a badge for it.
 
Softball! )
 

1st Grade

Aug. 12th, 2008 11:35 am
parasitegirl: (evil2)
Oh, Facebook, just when I was treating you like you were only good for me to post hotty-mc-hotty pictures of myself for all the world (ok, High School Alum) to see…you go and get me back in touch with my elementary school days.
 
One of the girls I went to Henry David Thoreau elementary school (and onward into middle and high school) has been posting pictures of us from back in the day. One is a picture of what seems to be a 1st grade “come dress as your favorite book character” which we first took to be “frontier day” because of the number of girls in bonnets…but frontier day (indeed, frontier month, roleplay, and diary writing with Mrs. McClure) was in 5th grade and Steven Colby, my first crush, is clearly dressed as a cat. Discussion has determined that the bonnets were a result of too many girls loving Charlotte’s Web.
 
I am not in the book/costume photo because I was in the other 1st grade homeroom, although I have vague memories of being Polychrome from an Oz book…go figure.
 
Her photo of our brownie graduation ceremony shot is memorable for capturing our “Our mommies aren’t the sewing or uniform loving kind of mommies so we have t-shirts that simply read ‘100% Brownie’ as our uniforms” general mood. There is also one girl who is wearing a bona-fide Brownie uniform in the shot. I remember her as being the overachiever who kicked our ass every year in cookie sales, and the only brownie who went out of her way to actually earn a badge, the rest of us were in it for the social life Brownies provided. That photo also captures that perm that I LIED to my step-mother about having permission for. How I thought that was going to work, I don’t know. I think I figured that when Dean Mommy saw my lovely new hair she’d admit that she was wrong…which…didn’t so much happen. A long talk about trust is what happened. You who were grounded may not appreciate the impact of Long Talks About Trust.
 
This classmate also posted some great pictures of birthday parties involving cabbage patch dolls. The other girls have remarked on how they packed more items for their dolls than for themselves. I was not in this picture, but the Cabbage Patch era was pretty close to the time when my sleep over party involved drafting a petition against our art teacher.
 
Prior to these pictures being posted I had been bonding with my closest elementary school buddy, Kate. We had 3 Kathryn’s in our grade (well, they had different spellings) and it was that Kate L, Katie T, and Kate R overload and the desire to not eternally be “Kate with…the…bad handwriting” in a classroom situations that caused me to use my Y and re-draft myself Kayt in Middle school.
 
Kate and I were the K&K Detective Agency…and newspaper...in our time together. We didn’t solve any crimes, but I think we convinced ourselves that a nearby house was TOTALLY haunted.
 
Kate and I had been joking back and forth a little about our two years competing, poorly, in the Madison Dairy Carton Regatta…an event where teams and pairs attempt to race boats made of milk cartons in the nasty duck-poopity water of Vilas Lagoon. Like being a Brownie, it was something that we were into, but not actually into investing time and effort into achieving anything. We were idea girls, very hip to our team name “The Dairy Devils” but not so good at collecting cartons and designing and building a boat. Our races were more about pushing a semi-floating object through duck-poopity waters than actually riding on anything. In retrospect, the fact that both of us were only children and that I do not drink milk did put us at a disadvantage as to how many milk cartoons we could have horded.
 
The pictures of the 1st grade costume day has also brought us together. The photo is of Mrs. Morgenson’s class. We were part of Mrs. Conwell’s class. When I remarked that the students who had Mrs. Morgenson as a teacher were the recipients of my envy, because Mrs. Conwell was a horrid face-pinching front-tooth-always-stained-by-lipstick witch of a teacher..and I had not yet reached the point of drafting petitions against teachers when I was a 1st grader. One of the Morgenson’s girls recalled that Mrs. Conwell was “sort of nasty” which didn’t cover it.
 
parasitegirl: (moody)

xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" / 

A few weeks ago, around lunch time, a man attempted to rob the nearby post office at knife-point. After getting some cash he made off on his bike, still holding the knife. I don’t have TV access and this isn’t national news, I knew this because a general safety announcement about it was made at our school prior to the students going home for the day. The teachers seemed pretty shaken up about it all, which I can’t really mock because xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /Japan does have recent problems with the occasional knife attack on elementary students. I had to explain to them why I wasn’t very afraid of biking home, what with knowing there’s a man with a knife and a bike out there, so I mimed the frozen surprise that comes with people looking into my eyes and getting the Gaijin Shock! I also mime the same thing when the lunch co-workers talk about being afraid of opening the door to sales people lest they be crazed robber bandits.

 

 the knife and the suspicious person )



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