Just got an email from BYU saying that they couldn't help but notice that my student evaluations have been getting better and better and would I mind telling them what I've been doing to make such a marked improvement so that they can use the information to help other professors?
I don't know if I should be 1) flattered that they think I might know a thing or two about teaching. OR 2) disturbed that my ratings used to be so bad that they were all alarmed at how much I've improved.
So, I'm sure most of you are familiar with these uber-huge, like three-stories tall play places at McDonald's. Right? Well, yesterday morning, we were eating breakfast at McDonald's. Sam was running around and playing, and Lily was climbing up and down these little stairs and hanging out in a little slide. But then I turned my back for like three seconds and Lily was gone. I was trying to find her (not really panicked yet, because I would have seen her if she'd left the play area), calling her name and such. Then this voice comes from the sky: "Hi Mama!"
I look up, totally confused. But there was Lily. She had climbed UP the slide and then made her way to the TOP of the three-story play thing. I started laughing because she OBVIOUSLY doesn't know that she's a BABY. (Remind you of anything, Mom?)
After awhile, she decided she'd had enough of her sky-perch and she walked herself over to the HUGE twisty slide and slid those three stories down to the ground. Then she jumped off the slide as if this was the sort of thing that 15-month olds do ALL the time.
This is a picture of Sam and Lily (in the background) in the bird perch at the top, top, top of the play place.
I went on a walk this morning down by the river. I rounded the side of this hill thing, when suddenly staring at me was a herd of cows (somewhere between seven and ten of them). Now, this is a public walkway. There should not be cows. But nevertheless, they were there, chewing trees. (In the distance I could see a field with a broken fence; the cows would have had to jump/walk across the river to get where we were.) I told myself that it was OK because cows eat roughage, not people. But they were snorting at me and some of them started jumping around. So I thought to myself, "Do I really want to test that 'they-don't-eat-people' hypothesis?" And the answer was no. So I just turned around and started walking back. Really, really fast. Checking behind myself so often that I finally just decided to walk backwards. They stared at me. A lot. But I got away.
As I was walking back some dude in a bike sped toward the cows before I had a chance to warn him. About five minutes later (as long as it would have taken him to find them), he came racing back pedaling his bike really, really fast and looking behind himself.
We were at Boondocks for a company party and Sam and I were in the bumper boats. They have these water gun things that you can shoot people with. Sam started totally blasting this one guy, who was sort of girl-screeching. Sam laughed and yelled out, "HAHA! I GOTCHA OLD MAN!!!!"
One of my students wrote a paper on NCMO, or if you're unfamiliar with BYU lingo, "Non-Commital-Make-Out." Her paper included a reference to http://www.ncmo.org/ ; a "full dating service" where you can hook up with other people who just want a "no strings" physical relationship.
I like the idea of Motherself. Namely, I like the idea that the Hero Cycle, as we know it from our friends Campbell, Jung, etc., is primarily a story of the *male* psyche. I like this idea because I 1) happen to believe it and 2) have become rather obsessed with uncovering the female counterpart to the Hero Cycle so I can write books that sell MILLIONS. Thus, when Kathryn Allen Rabuzzi, henceforth called “Dear Kathy,” or “DK,” asserts that “The Way of the Mother” is the female “counterpart of the familiar quest of the hero” (21), I’m willing to go with it.
The problem is, I wasn’t fully satisfied with her conclusions.
Firstly, she sets up the patriarchy as the ultimate enemy. And, yanno, whatever. Down with the patriarchy and all that. BUT, even as out of one side of her mouth she’s saying that women should embrace their female rites (like birth, breastfeeding, etc.) as sacred, the model she’s providing is the model of the hero. Each of her chapter headings corresponds to a phase of the MALE HERO CYCLE. And, yeah, she’s arguing that the whole process of giving birth is HEROIC. But she’s not breaking away from the traditional MALE CYCLE to do it. Thus, her entire argument basically boils down to, “See, women, you’re just as good as a man!” And since the form she uses to prove this is the male hero cycle, she’s basically saying that “The best way to be is LIKE A MAN!!!”
Here’s my next problem. The explanations she tries to use to make the process of giving birth “fit” the male hero cycle are often a bit of a stretch. (Probably because a woman’s story is DIFFERENT!!) The one that bothered me the most was her chapter on Apotheosis. Apotheosis is the stage in the Hero Cycle where the hero transcends his mortal trappings and takes on God-like characteristics. In all my grappling with trying to figure out what a female story cycle looked like, this stage was one I KNEW also existed in the female story cycle. Because what woman who has given birth can’t say that she acted in partnership with God? Women, as co-creators with God, should be the very model of Apotheosis. (And just to be clear to all you anti-patriarchy folks out there, when I say “God” I am assuming a divine character that includes both the male AND the female.) But Dear Kathy has a different idea. She says that Apotheosis is “to be avoided by the mother . . . the concept . . . possibly to be destroyed” (157). And, thus, instead of embracing the God-like qualities of the mother, this whole stage DK tries to reduce to a “Down with the Patriarchy!” orgy of destruction, where, instead of becoming Gods, women should learn to “de-create” patriarchal structures.
Sure, she does go on in a later chapter to say that instead of reconciling with the Mother Goddess, a woman should realize she IS a goddess. But that chapter happens to be weighed down with hilarious anachronisms. Like, that we pretend that lesbianism doesn’t exist because we see it as revolting. There are actually a few hilarious anachronisms, actually, not just in that chapter, but in others. Like that the emerging possibility of “in-vitro fertilization” is a direct assault on women because it will lead to either men getting pregnant or the complete labratorization of pregnancy. (?!) (Having gone through IVF, I can say that I still feel pretty motherly, thank you.) Or that a few men had a sex change operation, but in the 1970’s society wisely decided that this is something that just should. Not. Be. Done. And it hasn’t been done since. (Sorry, DK, society changed its mind here.)
To sum up: I liked the idea of this book. I was unsatisfied with the conclusions. I felt like Dear Kathy was trying to please her academic peeps instead of consulting with her deepest sense of story pattern. I can’t blame her for this, really. She is an academic and it’s not like she was pretending to be a storyteller. It’s just that, as a storyteller myself, I wasn’t that interested in the academics of it all. Just in how the heck I’m going to write a story that resonates deeply in the hearts of women.
Now it’s your turn. I’m guessing Karie is the only other person out there who read the book. But maybe I’m wrong. (Zina, you read this book like ten years ago, didn’t you?) Everyone who read it (and I mean everyone) should post a comment. Tell me what you thought chiquitas!
Sam woke up screaming this morning. He was clutching his belly, saying that it hurt so bad. His belly was totally distended and hard as a rock. He was saying, "Take me to the doctor, Mommy. Take me to the doctor!" And crying a lot.
He's been pretty &^%%R sick lately, so I was throwing my clothes on, gonna take him to the urgent care.
But then, just as I got my pants on, he came back in the room, all happy. "I'm better now," he said, laughing. "Feel my belly!" It was soft. Not distended anymore.
I asked Steve WTH?
Steve said, "I made him sit on the potty. He peed like half a gallon. Guess he just didn't know what a full bladder felt like."
was just reduced to a sobbing heap of psycho on the couch.
cause: unable to remove his spiderman costume in time, Sam had diarrhea all over the floor. As he was sobbing cause it was stinging him and I was rushing to get him into the bathtub before the acid burns made it through his skin, Lily ran in and started ice skating through it. Flies started swarming around. And then Lily started running. Through the entire house. Brown liquid footprints covering every surface as she sprinted. If I'd had about seven arms I might have been able to staunch the damage.
Sam's got the stomach flu now. Both ends. All very sad. Last night he had a bout of diarrhea in his sleep. The smell was so bad it woke me up. Poor buddy.
Well, while I was giving him a bath, he had another bout in the bathtub and I started draining the tub and Sam was mad. He kept trying to plug the tub because he said, "Mom, I just want to sit here."
So, I started explaining about germs. About how you can't see them, but hovering unseen in that fecal matter live these little monster type creatures that can make you sick.
He gave me this incredulous look, like, "you believe that nonsense?" And suddenly, I was all weirded out because why *did* I believe it? Just because someone told me to? I mean, seriously. Tiny, unseen little monsters that make you sick and you should be afraid of?
We get all high and mighty about people who used to believe that people were sick because they thought they were possessed by demons and oh how silly and superstitious and how could they believe that just because someone told them to?
But look at that conversation with Sam. Replace "germs" with "demons."
"I must reveal to you that I am not one of the Divine who march into the desert and return gravid with wisdom. I've traveled many cookfires and spread angel bait round every sleeping place. But more often than the getting of wisdom, I've gotten indelicate episodes of Girardiasis, E. coli, and amebic dysentery. Ai! Such is the fate of a midle-class mystic with delicate intestines."
From Women Who Run with The Wolves, by Clarissa Pinkola Estes