| Friday, December 27, 2013
Sara Bareilles Did This First

What did she do first? She had one of the first "strong woman" inspiring hits in 2013. Some other female artists released some powerful songs as well, but I am referring mainly to Sara, who released the single "Brave" and to Katy Perry, who released the single "Roar." The latter has garnered more attention, but if you listen to both songs, you will also see that Katy also directly samples Sara's beat in her song. It's a clear copy! Yet, her song is more popular, some of us might argue because Katy tends to accentuate her sexual charms, while Sara exudes random, regular person to me. If you haven't heard "Brave" then I really think you should give it a listen, with lyrics like:

"Say what you WANNA say and let the words fall out!
...Honestly, I wanna see you be brave!"

She has two versions of the song: the "riot grrrl power version," as I call it, that has the lyrics and some girls playing instruments.

She also made the music video with her and a bunch of people busting out dancing around different spots all over Los Angeles. I wish Sara would put me in one of her videos! I once started busted out dancing unknowingly at the bus stop...a guy asked if I was part of a dance troupe. I said to him that I just like dancing randomly, which made him smile, so at least I made someone happy with my random dancing! But yeah, she made awesome videos for an awesome song, and she's dressed like a normal person! I also think she's beautiful as is.  Here's the video I'm talking about:

You can listen to both songs for yourself. I'm not going to link to Katy's song, but it's easy to find. I've actually seen Sara in concert and can say that she's amazingly cool and down to earth! She performed with Ingrid Michaelson, and they are both nice people. Well, I hope you'll check out some stuff by Sara, if you aren't familiar with her already. I'll get back to Zoë, who's currently enthralled with her Fisher Price Jungle Gym. 

Take care and happy new year!

Zoë's Birth Story (long time coming)!

| Sunday, December 22, 2013
Looooong time no see! It doesn't help that I couldn't remember my login for my blog. I never believed in the term "mommy brain," but there may be some credence to it, especially since I can't seem to focus on much else other than on cute baby stuff. Let me catch you up!

It's been over 5 months that my life changed forever and I became mommy to my dear little Zoë. I'd like to share her birth story here because it was a wonderful experience, and I'd like to write the experience and share it somewhere! I figure here is as good a place as any. Maybe it'll help someone, or something, but I really just want to get it down.

First of all, I would like to thank our Bradley Instructor, Rebecca Urban, because she is awesome and full of information that helped me in my journey to a natural unmedicated childbirth. I was seen for most of my prenatal care at the Cambridge Birth Center in Cambridge. They are simply awesome, and I must say that the cost for giving birth at a birth center is MUCH less than giving birth in a hospital. There's a lot more, but I'll get to the story now.

Zoë's Birth Story 

July 19, 2013 was the hottest day of 2013, and it was just about one week shy of my estimated due date of July 27, 2013. It started off as a normal day. I went to work, but I left early because I had my now weekly appointment at the Cambridge Birth Center with my midwife, Joyce. It was funny because my coworkers kept semi-joking with me that they may not see me the following week, but that was to be expected since I was approaching 40 weeks. Yet, I was sticking to my guns and thinking back on what I had learned in the Bradley classes that most first-time moms gestate until about 41 weeks and 1 day, so I was trying to hang in until early August. I went to my appointment that day, and everything was normal, but my midwife did point out that Zoë had actually dropped an inch since last time. Otherwise, all was fine and I joked with her that I "might see you this weekend," since she was the midwife on call. We laughed and parted ways. It was seriously hot!
It felt like 102 outside for sure!  But summer is all too short not to take advantage of it. So, I got home and Attila and I decided to go for a walk on the beach and hang out for our Friday night. We were talking about getting our Nikon camera, which we had been talking about for the longest time, and we actually bought it from eBay. The irony! It was around 8pm, and we were sitting down on the bench down by the beach when I started to feel a bit of a backache. I ignored it but told Attila that my back was slightly hurting and attributed it to being 9 months pregnant. He let the pregnant woman gripe a little. So, I ignored it until around 9pm, when we started walking back home. That was when the pain became a bit more noticeable. I had to stop in my tracks at one point, for a few seconds so that the pain would subside. I was blaming this activity on the spasms I had been having due to my ligaments stretching. This was something that had been bothering me for the past week or two.

Then, we got home and tried to relax a bit. Gee, my backache felt like it was getting stronger, but it was nothing terrible. We watched some TV and some Tour de France and decided to go to bed around 11pm. At that point, my back was bothering me, so I had a hard time getting to sleep. Then, within the hour I was up because I really had to go to the bathroom. Seriously, I must have gone to the bathroom about 20 times from 11 to about 4 am! I was pretty much just sitting on the toilet and clearing out my bowels, so that was definitely a tip off that something was up. I remembered back to class, and hearing that the bowels are usually emptied shortly before or while in labor. Shoot!

I was really sleepy, and I woke Attila to say that I might be in labor but that I wasn't 100% sure, so I told him to go back to sleep. I called the birth center at 3am and spoke to the midwife  that was there at that point, and she said it sounded like I may be in labor and said I could come in to get checked or wait a bit longer. I decided to wait a bit longer because I did not want to go just to be sent home, and I was still in denial. Well, at about 4:20am I lost my mucous plug and had bloody show. Okay, I'm a bit more certain that I'm in labor. Let's see! About 5 minutes later, I was lying down on the sofa when I felt a gush of water. My water had broken...Well, now there's not much doubt that I'm in labor. Then, I threw up. I called at 4:28am and the midwife said to head in soon. I told her I would and hung up.

At that point, my back pain was much worse, but Attila insisted I should eat something before going in, to be able to keep my strength up! Thanks Bradley classes. He made me a lovely egg omelette with spinach and cheese. I finished packing (albeit slowly) because I'm a slacker and hadn't finished packing my bag until I was this far into labor. So, we headed to the birth center and being that it was around 530am on Saturday morning, the traffic was really light. We got there in 15 minutes, with me acting as the guide between back contractions. When we got there, the midwife insisted on checking me, but I zoomed past her and apparently said I was "ready." I have no recollection of that part, but I believe it. At this point, I was really sleepy, so I was sleeping in between contractions. We had been doing counter pressure and using the birth ball, which had helped until right before we had left and I threw up the whole omelette. I apologized to Attila about that.

Finally, I allowed the midwife to check me after 15 minutes at the center, and she found that I was already 9 inches dilated. Good thing we came in when we did! So, I labored in the tub for a while, but I got really overheated, considering that we had just had the hottest day of the whole year, and this day wasn't looking much cooler. I ended up sleeping as much as I could through the contractions. Finally, after what seemed a while, my own midwife walked in to help me out. She helped move a bit of my cervix that wasn't completely dilated and blocking Zoë's passage. Once that happened, I pretty much moved on to pushing, which I did for about an hour. Then, at 9:32am my little Zoë came out screaming and scored a 9 on her initial APGAR test. Yup, she's been an active, lively, and quite noisy little tyke since then. The midwife and nurse said that I was the epitome of of hypnobirth, even if I never did listen to the tapes or take a class. It's just that I was so tired that I kept going into a trance-like state and all I remembered was to BREATHE during the contractions. Time was definitely distorted and I had no concept of it, other than realizing that the sun HAD come up. When it was done, I was just so happy to have Zoë on my chest, and I was renewed with vigor. She weighed in at 6 pounds 4 ounces and was 19 inches long. Luckily, I ended up with no serious damage, just a little laceration that my midwife was able to handily fix. I also found out that the reason I had back labor was because Zoë's elbow was positioned along my spine, but I had no real front contractions either. Everyone is different! Here are some pictures from her grand day!

We stayed at the birth center for six hours, as per the requirements, but we declined any shots, Vitamin K, eye drops, or anything else other than the hearing screen. Thankfully, I was also GBS negative, so no antibiotics either. Her newborn screen was done at home a couple of days later. First thing Zoë did was breastfeed, and I must say that she loves to eat! I will have to write another post solely on the breastfeeding part because you would think something so natural should be easy, but that's not always the case. Since those early days, Zoë and I have become pros at it, and we enjoy co-sleeping because of the convenience. I find that it helps me be a better-rested person overall. I also found out that she was born during a trine of the planets Jupiter, Neptune, and Saturn. I hope it will be a good thing for her.

Well, that was her birth story. I'm so thankful I got to have my wish of a natural, unmedicated childbirth.  Please let me know if you read the story or enjoyed the story.

So, I think I will be posting a lot more about Zoë, now that she's become such a huge part of my life. Perhaps I'll write a little about my cloth diaper obsession as well. I will leave you with this cute image of Zoë in her cloud cloth diaper:


The Punk Singer - The Kathleen Hanna Documentary

| Tuesday, October 11, 2011
I just wanted to make this a quick post before I post my next review. I'm really excited for The Punk Singer, by Sini Anderson, to come out. But I also wanted to share the fact that the film is still open for funding, even after having met its goal. It's great to support things we believe in. If you could, check out KickStarter where you can donate 5$ and up toward funding the film. The more you donate, the cooler goodies you get. Plus, the stuff you get will be signed by Kathleen Hanna. If you donate 50$ and up you'll get your names on the film credits. How awesome!

I know a lot of us don't have that kind of cash hanging around, but 5$ isn't too much. It's for a good cause and it means you go down in history as being a backer of a film chronicling Kathleen Hanna! That's a very special title. That's all for me...tons of schoolwork yet to do, but I'll be back with a review by week's end.

Finally moved to Boston!

| Saturday, October 8, 2011
Hey all,
It's been a while, but it's been a wild ride since June for me. I found a new job in the Boston area, so I I went through a whole process of cleaning out the AZ family home. That took quite a while! But once that was done, I made the road trip cross-country and made it those 2,700 odd miles to Boston. I still need to make friends here...anyone in the area wanna hang out sometime? Either way, I'm getting back into the groove and will be posting reviews and other randomness soon enough. This will also be my last semester in school. Woot!

Lots going on. How are you? Hope all is well. If you've been following the Occupy ___ movement...please send me what you've been doing. I'd like to follow what my fellow riot grrrls and feminists have been doing.

Peace everyone.

Kaia Wilson and Kathleen Hanna Revivals

| Thursday, June 9, 2011
It's not necessarily anything new that both Kathleen Hanna and Kaia Wilson are having their own revivals, but it's something I thought I would share for anyone not in the know. Kaia Wilson, formerly of Team Dresch, The Butchies, Adickdid, has been performing a few gigs in promotion of her album that came out in 2008, titled Finally a Dyke Album for the Whole Family.

Kaia Wilson
Her album has good songs on it and that nice acoustic-y feel. I feel relaxed for the most part when listening to the album and definitely recommend it for any of her fans. She just performed at Yellow Feather Coffee in Denver, but I couldn't find any other gigs coming up. I'm hoping those will be listed soon cause it would totally rock to go to her show. Either way, I'd like to share an excellent interview that she did for Westword Blog yesterday.

In other news, Kathleen Hanna has now had an interview with Spinner and with CNN in the last couple of days.
Kathleen Hanna
I love reading interviews with her. But I do think that Riot Grrrl can happen in this decade; the internet just brings a whole different coloring to it. We have also go to get more women of color in on the movement. I'm proud to be of Mexican heritage and to be a Riot Grrrl. Yes, it's a grave contrast to the culture, but I don't want to fit into that mold. And with that, I do think that the Riot Grrrl movement of this decade is different but the spirit is there! We have blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and all kinds of social media at our disposal that can connect us all together in a more cohesive manner (if we wish). I also think her critiques of female artists like Katy Perry and Kesha are right on.
What I find sad are the comments on the articles that K is a man-hater, misogynistic, a misandrist, bitter, etc. Do you find her to be any of those things? For that matter, I don't find myself to be any of those things, even though I'm in line with the same values. I quite enjoy a good bit of estrogen and testosterone in my life and for everyone to be treated equally--unless they like popped collars--that is just inexcusable! :P Check out the articles! I'm so excited to see "Who Took the Bomp," the documentary of Le Tigre on tour. It just came out and should be a good watch. So much good stuff is coming out.
Anyone wanna throw some more good suggestions out for everyone?

That's about it for me because I'm strapped for time but would like to keep active on here! However, I'll leave you with this video from J.D. Samson's, of Le Tigre and now Men, new video "Off Our Backs." It's definitely danceable and just plain awesome. Take a watch!


The Kathleen Hanna Project

| Friday, June 3, 2011
I've been in squealing, girly mode ever since hearing about the Fales Library and Special Collection Riot Grrrl Exhibit, but that's just between us. Now, Sini Anderson has been in the process of producing The Kathleen Hanna Project, in case you didn't know that--but you probably did! Hopefully, you're not saying "Who the heck is Kathleen Hanna?" If that's the case, Google her name or check Amazon for some great books. She's one of the reasons my blog is here today.

I just wanted to spread the word that a call for video submissions has been issued on the site and that's where we come in. It's supposed be about what Kathleen Hanna means to you, but you can also make a video about why you don't like Kathleen Hanna. I can't imagine why one would want to do that but am sure it happens. I'd actually love to hear one of those videos. I'll be working on my video ASAP because the deadline is July 1.

The Kathleen Hanna Project Call for Video Submissions

Wouldn't it be awesome to be featured in the documentary? Although I really just want to spread the word of Kathleen Hanna and think you all should too. Maybe another fundraising event for the documentary will be in order? I'd like to see some more Coco Moore! I've only seen pics, but I hear her rendition of Rebel Girl with her band She Murders was awesome! If anyone has a link to that performance, please send it my way! Ms. Hanna forever influenced my musical taste and was key in my pursuit of women's studies as a major and so much more. So, get your tapes in and let's help this project be successful.


Rihanna's New Video - Yay or Nay?

| Thursday, June 2, 2011
So, Rihanna causes quite a stir every time she releases a video, but do people make too much of a big deal out of it? Many times the feminist community is split amongst itself over questions of sexuality and depictions of women doing violent acts. Let's just push that aside and look at the issue at hand. The Parents Television Council is up in arms over Rihanna's latest "Man Down" single because of the video, and this is just shortly after "S&M" stirred up controversy because of the portrayal of what many would term 'sexual deviance,' rather than 'normal sexuality.'

What's wrong with "Man Down"? Well, it starts with Rihanna shooting a guy in the head. We later find out that he sexually assaulted her outside after Rihanna leaves the club where the two of them danced. Many think it went too far because she is condoning that sexual assault/domestic violence survivors use violence as a means of attaining justice.

Well, it's really just a fictitious story, and the message can be taken the wrong way, but I will play devil's advocate and say that I like the message in some ways. 1) It's not saying that THIS IS what survivors should do; it's just what she did in the video. 2)Shock value - 'nuff said! Think Eminem's "Kim" 3)It just shows that both men and women are capable of incredibly violent acts toward each other. 4)The truth is that women are often looked at more harshly for doing such an act. 5)Rihanna took her power back in the most animalistic way possible, instead of just taking it.

Let's not make so many moralistic judgments on the woman for this video. In the end, any of us could be put in that situation and one never knows what will happen. I would even venture to say that people see this portrayal in an even worse light because this was done by a woman of color. No one can deny that race plays a role in the way violent crimes (any crimes) are treated!

I say Yay to this video! And just for an aside, I mostly always like her hair. Please feel free to comment about what you think, but no flaming!