Saturday, October 15, 2011

Creating an issue

I am proud that our first transgender woman received a ticket to the Polish Parliament. I am not proud of the various reactions to that event. Actually, I am pretty much pissed. I've listened to a radio show, about all the "unnaturals" (there was also a gay activist who got elected) who will be in the parliament, and how God's laws are violated and all the typical BS.
Yesterday my Mom read me something from a right-wing rag, which not just commented on the issue, it was creating new ones. The "news" was about how the female PMs will be embarassed and deeply uncomfortable when they bump into the new PM in the parliament bathrooms, as just not so long time ago, she "used to be a husband and a father". First I thought they were quoting some non tolerant female PM who shared fears, but no, they created their own before the parliament even opened its doors to the new set of PMs. They assumed the women will be uncomfortable and will feel bad, not "might".

I hate when narrow minded people project their own narrow minded fears and spitful prejudices on others, assuming we all share them, just they are "brave" to speak about them.

Ignoring parents' food choices

The other day I was doing some shopping in a big construction store, Home Depot-style. By the cashier I was a witness to a very peculiar and, in my view, very telling situation. There was a couple after me with a baby in a stroller. The cashier asked them "Does your baby eat lollipops already?" After they said that no, (the baby was like 6mo old!) they went on saying how much her older brother loves lollipops, so they took one. What did in this situation rub me the wrong way? There was no question "Would you like a lollipop for your child?", no there was no will of a parent taken into consideration. It was assumed, that the children eat lollipops and only the age of a child was questioned. I am assuming if the child was a toddler the woman would pass on the candy straight into the child's hands, without asking the parents for permission. Parents who do not agree to give children candies, junk food and general sweets are weird, stuck up, full of themselves and generally ridiculous.

In a similar situation was my friend some time ago. She's a mother to a 4 yo and she tries to feed the child in a healthy way. When she was out with him one day, her adult neighbor started to share potato chips with him. My friend politely opposed and asked her neighbor to not give anything to her son. The response? "Oh, come on, don't be ridiculous".

There are many situations of that kind, where parents' food choices are trampled over and seen as overreacting. I've heard many times comments of that kind even when the parents said the child had an allergy. "Just a little bit won't harm anyone". Parents who "deny" children sweets (or snacks) are seen as over-zealous crazies, who should be made fun of. I know that often it's especially difficult when it's the grandparents who can't understand and/or respect their children' choices in raising up grandchildren.

The same friend told me also that once, when she was at a family wedding someone was feeding her son with sugar cubes. o_0. What adult in a more or less sane mind would do such a thing?
Food is a very delicate issue, I know that when I have a baby I will face it as well, as I am a believer in a palo-style of eating, so no sweets or processed foods whatsoever, not even "healthy" snacks, granola bars or juices.

I can't stand how people can't respect parents' well thought-out choices concerning their children. I wish they spend all the energy of sticking their noses where they don't belong into reacting and acting when a child is really in danger, in a toxic environment, being abused and hurt. But no... to this people are blind, but have no issue calling sweets-ban a child-abuse.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Hm... when will they begin asking if he/she kicks?

I am pretty sure we've all seen photos like these, either on some gossip site, on magazine stands or wherever, really:

First of all, I really dislike the term "baby bump", but then, this is another issue. Every time I see or hear this kind of speculations because a woman doesn't have a table flat belly, my blood boils. Because people should learn something about women's biology: only very, very thin women (or serious athletes) have very flat belly. And even in such situation there is a natural round line to the belly's shape. And even then a woman should have the right to breath, release abs muscles or be bloated. And now we can move on to the huge majority of women, when most of them could very well be in at least 3rd month. Heck, if I want I can look 5 month pregnant without bigger problems...

People got used that women have no bellies. We are taught all the time to "suck it in", and if you have some belly around it's commented that this person "looks pregnant". How about... natural?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The sponges that we are

Today I had quite an unusual experience. I had the chance to teach a big group (18-20) group of 4-5 year olds. It's quite a new thing for me and I must admit I was scared like hell. It went pretty ok, the preschool wants me to come back again, so I wasn't too bad. I have the professional experience of teaching teenagers, these tiny little creatures are all new species to me.

This new opportunity sent me for help. I've been researching the internet for songs, activities and general info on how to teach EFL to this age group. One of the most common advice is: songs. Now, I am not a singer, not even in the very amatour understanding... but as my best friend said (a great singer and a mother to a 4yo as well), the kids dont' care and singing is absolutely crucial.

I've realized I know no English children songs. "Old Macdonald's farm" is more or less known, but that's about it... thanks to the internet I have been listening to dozens of traditional nursery and children songs... Many of them I realized I kind of knew or heard somewhere (movies etc.). But funny thing happened... I started to actually listen to the words.
I can't even tell how many of those talk about the very traditional divisions of gender roles, marriage (heterosexual obviously) and social expectations. From the age of an infant we are filled with ready plan for life. We also learn that boys are made of adventure, dirt and snakes and girls of nice things. That it's bad to have fun at school (Mary had a little lamb), that girls want to marry soldiers, and so on.

If we add to it the typical well-wishing aunties asking if we "have a fiance" already before we even reach the first grade, or the typical constant comments on what's proper for a girl or a boy, there is very little surprise in how strong these kind of stereotypes are in each of us. And how much strength it takes to see them... they are invisible for the most part unless you look at them from outside....

Monday, October 10, 2011

a touch of beauty for tonight's evening

An absolute perfection: of voice, esthetics, looks... Adele is so gorgeous and I could listen to her non stop. I don't care if it sounds cheesy, but she does touches some strings inside your heart.

"Boxing for men, robots for boys and Hugh Jackman for women"

Just in case it's not clear, this is a line from a Polish tv ad for a new movie, "Real Steel".

I am not even sure if it requires any comments... too tired to repeat truisms around.

This is such great news. Poland is changing!

Yesterday Poland hold election to the both chambers of Polish Parliament (Sejm and Senat). I am not particularly involved in the political life, especially that I don't really know that much having just returned from the US, but there are some interesting and exciting moments from this day. The first? Right here:

Born as a man, Ms Grodzka, now 57, completed her gender change last year with the help of the Trans-Fuzja organisation focused on gender change.
Topping the Palikot Movement party list in the devoutly Catholic southern city of Krakow - once home to the late Polish-born pope John Paul II - Ms Grodzka was thrilled by Sunday's strong showing at the polls.
"I'm not yet sure if I've been elected, but I'm very happy with the result scored by the Palikot movement," she said at a jubilant election night celebration at Palikot Movement headquarters in Warsaw.
"If I'll be elected in Krakow, I'll be Poland's first transgender woman, and the only transgender MP not only in Poland, but the entire world," she said. "In New Zealand, there was Georgina Beyer, but she is no longer an MP since 2007," Ms Grodzka added.
"Today, Poland is changing. I am the proof along with Robert Biedron, a homosexual and the head of an anti-homophobia campaign who ran for office in Gdynia," a city on Poland's Baltic coast.

Yep. We have a transgender woman and a big out there gay in the Parliament. In the addition to it, a few more unusual and quite out of the mainstream personas... Right in the faces of the tea party mentality PiS and other parties. Finally some anti-clerical, pro social change and openness politicians. We will see how well they do, but I am hopefull :)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

This is why I want less and less to do with organized religion. Or maybe with evil people dressed in a religion's cloak

After watching this short video I am just astonished with this young man, that he is still alive, and, I hope, in good health. What he had to go through in the name of religion, in the name of hatred, bigotry and false sense of righteousness is aggrevating. And where is law? How come no one reacted when a child was abused in such terrible way? Multiple times "fell of the stairs" and no one at the hospital informed the police or child services? A child kicked out from home and the parents are not forced to take care of him? Isn't there a requirement on parents to provide basic protection till the child is 18? All of it is so sickening... What mother will say to a gay child "change and I will love you again"???

I wish this boy all good, I hoped he found a place among some good, loving people, who respect and accept him just the way he is.

oh, that kind of lube... still funny :P

via Shakesville:

"The study of the Bible has many rewards. I'm not sure that God intended a lube discount to be among its many riches."—Dallas attorney Andy Siegel, who nonetheless notes that Plano, Texas business owner Charlie Whittington's offer of discounted oil changes in exchange for customers quoting a Bible verse, is legal.

This is NOT what Jewish life is about, even in Poland

I took my Mom to a concert tonight. It was called "Jewish Songs" and somehow I felt obligated to attend, support it... bad idea.

Where to even begin?

If only they just had chosen old, pre-war songs... that would have been sad enough. But no... many of these songs were made recently. A writer creating "klezmer-style" (inspired?) songs as if in the style of the pre-war klezmer writing. I should of course emphasize, that it was what the author thought was in the style of pre-war klezmer writings... The texts by Jacek Cygan (otherwise an ok song writer) were simply stupid. They were infantile, idiotic. It's not just some kind of glamourizing the poor life of pre-war Jewry... it's just so low. It was addressing today's people simplified images about pre-war Jews, filled with Shabes-goys, young maidens "given away" to guys chosen by the family, and other similar.
Should I add that in this mix there was also one "Holocaust" song?
oh, and one of the singer couldn't pronounce "chasiddim" properly and sometimes was singing about "kasiddim". geez...

And of course people loved it... this sentimental love for the memory of murdered Jews, not for the Jews themselves, but for this nostalgia in itself.

There was also so much of a cult (I am not exaggerating) of the "last klezmer of Poland" "maestro" Leopold Kozłowski, that it was almost sickenning. He is indeed the "last klezmer" in terms of the connection with pre-war Poland, as he was born in 1918. But is that such a great complement to be amazing and great if there is no one else to compare to? He is the last, that doesn't mean he's good. There are great, young people who play with the klezmer tradition, mix it with jazz and rock, and are really amazing in it. Why can't they take over and bring some modernity into this swamp? I was so disappointed and depressed. I think I prefer my Judaism on internet than this kind of connection to the Jewish world... I dont' know if there were any other Jewish people present, but I hope not, or at least that wouldn't be their only connection to their Yiddishkeit.