STICKY

PERHAPS WE LEARNED SOMETHING.....
…Perhaps we were only mildly entertained. Regardless, please enjoy these Reviews, Responses, Works of Fiction, and Retellings brought to you by one who hopes to someday join the ranks of those who have written something worth reading.
(Kaylia Metcalfe)


Also, don't forget to visit Kaylia's Official Website where you can get information about Kaylia's upcoming events, and learn more about her free lance writing and other publications.

My Daughter, Ella Marie Metcalfe-Armstrong

She has arrived! We are understandably tired, elated, stressed, and thunderstruck.




She weighed 9 pounds 3 oz at birth. she was 21.75 inches long.




And if you are so inclined, you can read about it here:






Car Seats and College Smarts



So.

I consider myself relatively intelligent  I’m not one of those super smart people, but when I apply myself, I can usually understand moderately complex ideas.

My Maifan-San, on the other hand, is all sorts of brainy bright. Between the two of us, I think we do rather well in the cognitive thinking parts of life. 

We both went to college, (he has a masters, I muddle along with my BA), we both value science and try to flex our critical thinking skills on a regular basis.  We read nonfiction for crying out loud… and we enjoy it.

Ok, stage is set.

I, as a representative for Gay Central Valley, was invited several months ago to be on the Fresno County Tobacco-Free Coalition. The goal of the coalition seems readily apparent, but what I found fascinating was the variety of organizations that were represented in the membership.

 Fresno Child Health Disability Prevention
Fresno Housing authority
Fresno HIV Prevention Program
Fresno Dept of Public Health
Performing Above The High
CA Health Collaborative Lock It Up Project
… and more than 5 tobacco / health related organizations as well.

The coalition does a lot of good work, but one thing stuck out in my mind.

At the end of the meeting, each representative is invited to share upcoming events that their organization is running or promoting. (So, for example, I always pitch the latest GCV events, etc).

At my first meeting, a man named Ahmad from the Fresno County Child Health Disability Prevention Program mentioned that a car seat inspection was coming up… a place and time where people could bring their cars and car seats in to get a free safety check.

Gentle readers, I must admit I inwardly scoffed at this idea.

Car seats: they come with instructions manuals. There are only so many belts and buckles back there. How hard can it be to get them in right?
 
So, I asked: “How many people do that wrong?”

Turns out, almost 90% of the people who bring their seats in, do it wrong.

This is a self selecting group of people who wondered if they did it right and then bothered to show up at an event to make sure.

90%.

(What about all the snotty people like myself who assume that a monkey could do it and never get it checked? What would our percentage be?)

Ok… so I started thinking, Why? Well, maybe you don’t speak the language of the instruction manual. Maybe your car sat is a hand me down and didn’t come with an instruction manual. Maybe you are one of the millions who doesn’t “get” written instructions anyways and has to ask the neighbor for help when it comes to putting together particle board bookshelves. Maybe there are other reasons too… how dare I judge?


A few months later, we got our own car seat for Baby Ella.

We installed it.  We were quite pleased with ourselves. 

But… we decided that it couldn’t hurt to have it double checked. I mean, it is our infant we are talking about. Well worth the time and hassle to double check, right? I was pretty confident we had done it right, but hey… I’m a responsible member of society, why not get it checked.



There weren't any events coming up that we could get to before she is scheduled to arrive… so we contacted the CHP (who also does the checks one day a week) and AAA, who –since we are members- does it any day and for free.

And… we had done it wrong.

Yep.

We are now part of the 90%.

Apparently, the instruction manuals can be misleading. Apparently we are not alone in making the mistake of using all the belts and buckles and hooks and what not. 

The AAA people were very nice about it, the whole process took less than 15 minutes, and they didn’t mock us. 

But I’m still embarrassed… Embarrassed that I judged so harshly, that I assumed that book smarts and a college education allowed me to have practical world knowledge that I lacked, embarrassed that even having been told “lots of people do it wrong” we did it wrong.

Embarrassed, but thankful.

Thankful that we were able to get it checked, thankful that we were able to fix it. Thankful that now we know we have made her car seat as safe as possible.

Hey... I might not be as smart as I thought I was... but I do tend to learn from my mistakes and missteps... and that should count for something, right?

Information about where you can get your car seat checked (and I highly recommend it), can be found here.

Interview by Edwina Crouch-Pears

I was recently interviewed for a new youtube series called "You're Doing what?"

Apparently being slightly unconventional has its perks!


Pregnancy joys.



Prepping for date night: Nice dress: Checkc. Nice undies: Check. Hair all nice (even with a sparkly head band thing): Check. Lipstick: Check. Perfume: Check. Fancy purse: Check. Sexy shoes: No... Cute shoes? No. Comfy shoes? Well, sort of... Flip flops it is. Oh well.

There are a lot of things they don't tell you about being pregnant.


Color of Preference


Have you ever suddenly realized that the way you saw yourself, the way you explained yourself and your actions to yourself… isn’t accurate anymore.

I don’t mean you look in the mirror and think “Wow, when did I get so old?” or eat cabbage for the first time since you were force fed it as a child and realize that you actually don’t mind it.

I mean you justify an action based on a personality trait only to have someone point out that you lack that particular personality trait.

Yeah, that.

I was looking at purses the other day with a friend and she pointed out a slightly colorful purse / backpack…. While I had migrated over to the plain brown purse / backpack.  “Nah,” I explained, “I always like my purse or whatever to be as unnoticeable as possible.”

“Why?” she asked.

“Well,” and before thinking I launched into an explanation that was so ingrained it took no thought, “Riding the bus, being out in public, I am just more comfortable with not being flashy, with trying to just coast a bit under the radar.”

This is true. When I pick out my clothes, when I pick out my accessories, I do tend to go for the simple tones, the not too noticeable colors, the solids, the muted or at the very least the unimaginative.  Unless, of course I want to be noticed… buying a dress to raise eyebrows is one thing, but most of my clothes, shoes, bags, etc fall more into the “nothing special to see here, move along, look at someone else” category. 

And it has been that way for as long as I can remember.

Partly because I know that people tend to remember me, especially once I open my mouth, no matter what I am wearing. 

... or I get on the microphone...

Partly because I did used to ride the bus, take the train, walk alone in neighborhoods not known for their safety… and blending into the background is an important skill. I have been mugged, several times, and I have been hassled, hit on, bothered, followed, and yes, even stalked. And yes, I have written controversial essays, letters, articles, etc. I have protested and been on the news and on the radio, and on the microphone in front of cameras being loud, being proud, being counter-culture. Yes, the ability to climb down from the stage, pull on a hoodie and simple fade into the masses and not get recognized as the girl who was throwing paint or outrunning the cops is a useful skill.

So, my desire to blend into the background unless I chose to open my big mouth and get noticed is partly a survival technique and partly a way to deal with being shy.

Because, yes, I am, I can be, very shy. I get very nervous in some social situations.. not all, but if there are new people, or even people I don’t know well, or even the chance for people I don’t know to be anywhere nearby, I wrestle with anxiety. 

And part of how I deal with this sometimes crippling, fear is by controlling my outfit… controlling the persona I will be presenting. I strive to find an outfit that won’t really be noticed (it can’t be mocked if it isn’t noticed), that won’t draw attention.

My Maifan-San can tell how nervous I am before a social event based on how many times I change my clothes, trying to find that perfect outfit that says “I’m a nice person, but ignore me until I talk to you.”

(Of course, to be fair, like a lot of other shy people, I often overcompensate for my shyness by being overly talkative and loud…. Alcohol helps, but that is a whole other blog post.)

Anyway. So yes, I prefer to blend in, to not catch anyone’s eye and I figured the conversation in the purse department was over.

But.

But my dear friend is a skeptic (that’s actually how we met, at a Skeptics Brunch) and she pushed me: “How much blending in do you do with that rainbow bracelet on your wrist?”

Oh.

“I…. uhh…”

Because she’s right. I proudly wear my rainbow bracelet (from the Rainbow Delegation) to show my support for the LGBT+ community. I get asked about it a lot and I have no qualms explaining to people, even crazy scary bigoted people, what it means and why I wear it.

It is a bit of a rainbow target on my arm, it has gotten me yelled at, drenched in water, glared at, and lectured to. But I insist on wearing it…. Because it is important for me to face that anxiety and deal with it.

Because my liberal guilt doesn’t let me pass as “normal” or “straight” or “uninvolved” if I can help it.

And, let’s be honest… I hardly ride the bus anymore, I am not out in public alone all that often, and I don’t walk in dangerous neighborhoods. My lifestyle has changed… and with it a few of my fashion and accessory choices as well.  

Which means I could probably pull off carrying a multi colored purse or backpack. Or wearing flip flops with a  bit of sparkle to them. Or buying shirts that are slightly bright and not all mostly black or dark blue. Or wearing that hand me down maternity dress that has the bright floral print on it.

But … but… I don’t want to.
There's a little bit of color in there....

And if my reason for not wanting to wear bright colors and interesting clothes started from a place of safety and a desire to not be noticed, it has now become such a part of me that despite my safety not being as much of an issue, (I do still get hate mail) I still prefer boring muted colors and solids.

So, the personality trait might not be the same one I thought it was, but the results are.

Ultimately I had to shrug at my friend, raise my rainbow bracelet and admit that I just didn’t like the colorful bag as much as the plain brown one.

And you know what? I think that’s ok. I think it’s ok to prefer boring clothes and accessories. I don’t think I need to trot out the whole safety thing… I can just prefer black over bright and call it a day.

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter why my wardrobe suffers from what my sister calls “a sever lack of color, style, or attitude” or what a college friend termed “the irony of an interesting person dressing in the most uninterestingly way possible.”

The why doesn’t matter, I don’t have to justify it. I can just acknowledge my preferences and enjoy my blandness.

Bland... but powerful!


Quick Note


It’s September

The to-do list is getting done, which is a bit of a relief, however there is just always more… sometimes I feel like one of those hamsters on those little wheels.

Anyway, the pregnancy is progressing nicely. I’m huge and I feel like I get bigger every day. My maternity clothes are starting to not fit, oh, who am I kidding. They stopped fitting last week. Huzzah for being frumpy at home alone!

I felt my first BH contraction the other night… it ws sort of a relief to have felt it since statiscally women can start to feel them as early as 34 weeks and here I am almost 38 with nothing. But then, during the Batman movie date, I felt a cramp that stayed, my tummy got hard as a rock, and I thought “Oh! Yay!”

That thought was followed almost immediately by “And now I have to go pee… again….”

Oh the delights of pregnancy!  Still though, I have a feeling I am going to miss it.