kattahj gave me attachment parenting, emergency management, park slope, public transportation, winnipeg, lesbian parenting and beading.
Attachment Parenting (ap) is a philosophy or style of parenting that is based on the belief that meeting babies' and small children's needs for attachment leads to greater emotional health. The tools of attachment most often used are: extended breastfeeding, baby wearing, minimal separation of infants from parents, non-violent and non-shaming discipline, and cosleeping. I'd never heard the term until I joined an online breastfeeding community in 1995 - my first online community. I'm not completely sold on the concept but I think all of those are good things to do regardless of theory and philosophy. I've met lots of people I like and admire through ap circles and learned how to handle a lot of sticky parenting situations. My ap cred is not complete :-) but I breastfed for about 8 years (pretty good, considering I only gave birth to two of my kids), wore babies pretty constantly when not at work, use gentle and loving methods of discipline, and coslept on and off for a long time.
Emergency Management/Emergency Preparedness is what I do for a living. I work in the IT section of my city's health department. I run a web-based information system that gives doctors and other medical providers information about urgent and emergent public health issues. We can send out alerts from anywhere and at any time. I also represent IT in our Incident Command System planning and drills. It's a fun job and very interesting, with exposure to a huge variety of public health issues. I also recognize it's kind of a weird job. As one of my daughters said to me recently, "Mom, you know not everybody talks about bioterrorism over dinner."
Park Slope is my neighborhood and I love it and wish I could live here forever. New York City seems like a monolithic urban mass to people who have never been here, but it's a really an amalgamation of neighborhoods, each with its own character and traditions. This is absolutely the best place for me. It's a physically beautiful place - lots of park land (including Olmstead and Vaux's masterpiece, Prospect Park), great nineteenth century housing stock. It's a lesbian neighborhood (also known as Dyke Slope) and my first experience of living in a queer mecca. It's a very family friendly neighborhood, with lots of services and businesses for people with small children. It has the shul that is perfect for me, Park Slope Jewish Center, a wonderful place to buy food , a lot of politically progressive people (my brother refers to it as "the People's Republic of Park Slope"), entertainment opportunities and a really friendly, neighborly feeling. It's an easy commute to lower Manhattan. Unfortunately, all of that makes it attractive to lots of people and the housing prices have risen steadily since I moved here in 1992. Which wouldn't matter, if not for the fact that my ex is sitting on our home and I haven't been able to realize any of the equity, as covered elsewhere. So I'm hanging on, just barely, in an expensive and tiny rental apartment. But I do love the Slope.
Public Transportation has always been an interest of mine. I love the NYC Subway system, but I love other city transportation systems, too: from the London Tube and the double decker buses to the Paris Metro to the cable cars in San Francisco. I hate a car-based culture for the inefficiency, the environmental impact, the isolation. I also just think trains and buses and cable cars are cool. My sister says I'm really a two-and-a-half year old boy and don't know it.
I was born in Winnipeg, although I never lived there. It's where both of my parents grew up and where much of my extended family remains. I was last there in 2005, for a mini-family reunion. We stayed for a long weekend at our family's beach house in Winnipeg Beach and spent the rest of the week in the city. I wish I could get there more often. I refer to it as my Ancestral Home Town.
Lesbian Parenting has been an interest of mine for a long time. It's been an active occupation for the last 19 years, and trying to achieve it for years of infertility kept me pretty occupied before that. I have three kids, all conceived by donor insemination within a lesbian relationship that lasted over a quarter of a century. When my eldest was born the gay-by boom hadn't started booming yet, so we had to be pioneers in some respects, educating those around us about lesbian parenting. I was a founder of the largest gay and lesbian parenting organization in the US and have done a lot of writing and speaking on the topic. It's something I always want to learn more about.
I make Beaded Jewelry in my spare time. I mostly use semi-precious stones and silver, mostly make earrings and necklaces. It's a fun hobby and good for gifts. My youngest does it, too. Sometimes we sit and bead together. I started doing it when I had a job that required that I spend a lot of time on conference calls with colleagues in London and Dublin (in my pre-public health days I worked in banking). I'd sit in my office and have the call on speaker and my mind and voice and ears would be fairly occupied but except for the occasional note I took I didn't need to do anything with my hands, so I thought I'd take up a hobby that kept my hands busy. I also had to travel a fair amount on business and liked to bead during the flights. Of course, that was pre-9/11 when you could bring beading tools on a plane...
That was fun to do. I hope it's not too boring to read. Comment and I'll ask you about your interests.