Tuesday, July 14, 2009

What's On Your Nightstand?

This is my first time participating in What's On Your Nightstand, and I'm pretty late (everyone else did theirs in June). But I'm here!

I'm reading 2 historical nonfictions right now, and am loving one and think the other is okay.

The first is The Devil In The White City by Erik Larson. This one is for book club with my neighbors. It's about the World's Fair in Chicago at the end of the 19th century, and about one of America's first serial killers, H.H. Holmes, who was operating in Chicago at the same time. The book is completely fascinating, and it is so well written! I'll be sad when this one is over.

The second book I'm reading right now is The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher by Kate Summerscale. The subject is so engrossing: it's about a murder mystery in mid-Victorian England, and is pretty much what all the subsequent mystery books about country-house murders are based from. The case was covered extensively at the time, so there is loads of historical details, which is great. And like I said, the subject is so interesting, but I'm finding the writing to be a little lackluster. I'll finish it, because I cannot wait to know how it all turns out, but it will be despite the writing, not because of it.

A fabulous book that I just finished, and MUST MUST recommend, is called The Name of The Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. It is by far one of the best fantasy novels that I've read in years. I was spellbound from the first chapter. I am *so sad* that the second book in the series isn't out yet! Also, the author is very, very cool. He's a sci-fi convention loving geek, he used to be an advisor to the feminist club at his local college, and he loves TV. I mean, seriously. How on Earth could I not love this guy??

So, what's on your nightstand??

Friday, July 10, 2009

Keep your gender roles to yourself, thanks.

Since L has been a wee little thing, we've tried very hard to not have "boy" things and "girl" things. It's incredibly hard to escape every bit of that, and we weren't trying super super hard or anything, but you know, the day to day things--bugs and trucks and blue clothes are just as prevalent, if not more so, than ruffles and pink and dolls around here. L loves her fancy huge pink unicorn, but she also loves catching bugs and toy rocketships and her jammies (from the boys' department, or course, god forbid someone make girls jammies that have spaceships on them) that have planes and trucks all over them. Which is exactly what I want for her: I want her to like what she likes, whatever that may be.

Recently, someone made a comment that she should be more "ladylike". (They are lucky the comment was made to my husband, and not me, because.....yeah, it wouldn't have been pretty). I don't even know where to begin with that statement. I honestly am not sure what it even means. Ladylike? She is a preschool aged child, and the last thing she needs to be is "ladylike". I mean, manners and etiquette are incredibly important, and we are making sure that she is well versed in how to behave politely, but to me, ladylike conveys something more....well, sneakily sinister, I guess, when applied to a young child. Because it makes me think, "here it begins; here it begins when she's told that she's too strong or too fast or too proudly smart and doesn't she just want to wear the nice ruffled pink dress instead, or take the ballet class instead of making a beautiful mess with art?" If she wants to wear the froufrou dress or take ballet, I would and will gladly accommodate that, but I don't want her to ever be told (or have it be implied) that she is wrong for wanting something different. And the simple utterance of "ladylike" sends chills down my spine, because that small word encompasses so much more than what it seems to at first glance.

And I mean, seriously. I thought we were well past 20th century notions of what being a "lady" means. Apparently not, and I'm somewhat glad to have this wake-up call, because now I know that attitude is still out there, lurking about, waiting to take my lovely perfect baby and make her feel less than. And god help the next person that makes the mistake of saying she needs to be more ladylike.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The sweet smell of wet hay

That's what my hair smells like today, and I *love* it! Lemme clarify....it's the smell of henna! Yup, I henna'd my hair yesterday, and I'm fairly sure that I am now addicted.

A week or so ago, some friends and I were talking about gray hair (I started sprouting a bunch at 29, ridiculous, right??) and dying hair and all that jazz. One friend mentioned henna and how much she liked using it on her hair, and that got me curious. I started looking into it, and became more and more intrigued the more I learned.

Henna is amazing for your hair--it cures dandruff, it leaves it shiny and beautiful, and best of all, it gives the most beautiful and unique color to your hair! And yep, each head of hair will be unique, because the part of the henna that binds to the keratin in your hair (Lawsone) is a translucent red-orange dye, so it combines with whatever your natural hair color is. Anywho, after reading all about it, I decided to go for it.

I picked up some Karishma Henna at an Indian grocery store, and had my mom apply it. It's quite a process--the henna has to soak overnight before application, and once applied you need to wrap your head in plastic wrap and leave on for 2-4 hours. But oh my god, it's so worth it. Like I said, my hair feels and looks amazing, and it's completely naturally done. Plus, there really is something very cool about recreating a process that women have being doing for thousands of years, unity and sisterhood and all that.

In conclusion, my hair smells like hay and I love it!