Friday, August 31, 2012

John Green Is Most Certainly Not an Asshole

John Green is my hero.

I've been watching his amazing Crash Course World History channel on YouTube from its inception.  I had never been much of a history buff, but Green makes it fun and incredibly interesting.  Will gets home from work late and it's all I can do not to sneak a peek without him when the latest show is uploaded on Thursday evenings.  But I wait for Will to come home.  The pressure mounts.  I shift in my seat.  Finally the dogs begin to bark.  No, not Will.  (The dogs bark at everything.)

Then I hear the front door open and Will's feet running down the stairs.

"Has it been uploaded yet?"  He asks before making it over to give me a kiss hello.

"Yep.  It's ready."

We sit in our comfy chairs and get off on our mutual geekiness.  Some couples watch porn.  Will and I watch John Green.

I didn't intend on this post being about marital foreplay, although what a fun path that was to go down on.  Uh, hum.  This post is about John Green and why he is most certainly not an asshole.

Here's one reason:  What he said today on his Tumblr page in response to Mitt Romney's recent stump speech:

"You know why there aren’t a lot of small online media companies emerging from Somalia these days? Because they don’t have a freaking government. They don’t have bookstores where I could sell books, or roads I could use to get t-shirts to your house. My businesses—like all American businesses—exist because we live in a successful and stable country, which is only successful and stable because for generations, we’ve paid taxes that have allowed us to build an infrastructure and make investments in innovation that allow for increased economic productivity and efficiency."


"Over the years, I’ve encountered a few successful people who believe they did it all themselves and achieved success because they are just better than their fellow human beings. Some were bankers; some were writers; some were lawyers. Some male, some female. Some rich, some not. Some were born into privilege, some weren’t. I guess they’re a pretty diverse crowd. They only have one thing in common, really: They’re all assholes."  -- John Green, American Hero


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Katie's Plastic Sister

"Happy Birthday, Bacca" by Katie Carleton, August 2012

Katie has a doll she calls Bacca.  As Katie constantly corrects me when I ask if she's remembered her baby as we're leaving our destination, Bacca is not Katie's baby.  She's Katie's little sister.  Despite the fact that I do not recall nine months of pregnancy nor any amount of labor with the doll, Katie insists I am the mother to her plastic sister.  The doll's got my hair at least.  It's frizzy and tangled and has more than one bald patch.

Katie celebrated her sister Bacca's birthday last weekend.  She drew the picture above to honor the celebration.  Bacca is a lucky girl to have Katie for a big sister.  I wish I could give her a living little sister.

The other morning Katie woke me up before the alarm went off.  I kept my eyes shut, trying to milk out the last few moments before I had to haul my half-asleep body out of bed.  She told me about her dream.  She told me she was hungry.  She told me some other things I don't remember because I was trying to sleep, but then she said something that woke me right up.

"I feel sad for my children when I'm a grown up because they won't have any aunts and uncles because I don't have any brothers or sisters."  She said it all in one breath, one long stream of consciousness.

"Yeah," I said, opening my eyes.  "I wish I could give you a brother or a sister, but my body doesn't seem to be able to make any more babies.  And we have to wait a few more years to adopt an older child like we've planned.  So for now you don't have any brothers or sisters but you might some day."  I swept a strand of hair from in front of her eyes and tucked it behind her ears.  Katie's ears stick straight out the sides of her head, kind of like Snow White's friend Dopey.  I love her ears.  They nicely off-set her eerily beautiful face.  I wonder if my body takes one look at Katie and says to itself, "I'm done.  Why bother?  Look at this child.  I feel sorry for any child having to live up to Katie as a big sister."  At least that's the fantasy I allow myself to believe so I don't dwell on how sad my subfertility is.

"Yeah."  Katie sighed and slung her arm around my side.  I'm lucky to have been able to give birth to this one.  Don't I know it.

"And anyway, hon.  Even if you have brothers or sisters, it doesn't mean they're going to live close to you when you grow up, so you might not see them as much as you see your friends, and anyone can have friends.  Friends can be close like sisters.  Like Cindy.  She's not really my sister, but she's like an aunt to you.  She gets to babysit you because she lives close to us and your real aunts don't because they live far away."

Katie wrapped her warm, soft arms around my neck and gave me a squeeze.  "Did you know Bacca had a very happy birthday, Mama?"  She asked as she pressed her nose against mine.

"I'm not surprised, Sweetie," I smiled and pressed my nose against my sweet little cyclops'.

My Most Prized Creation

Reason 102,204 I love my husband:  He respects my need to write.

The other night I holed up in the basement to catch up on writing.  Will had worked a full shift lifting fifty pound bags and pouring their contents into the tops of his bulk bins, arising at 5:30 so he could be at work by 6:30.  Even so, while downstairs I wrote, upstairs he was not just loading the dishwasher but hand washing the rest of the two days' caked-on contents of the kitchen sink.  And while his hands were submerged in suds, one of Will's experiments, a chicken, tomato, zucchini, Parmesan cheese concoction baked in the oven.  I love this man for many reasons, but the main reason Will is so good for me is that he's good at putting love into action.  Every day Will says to me, "I love you."  And how wonderful that is.  But his meaning is even clearer when he shows me how much he supports me doing something for myself.  He takes care of our family so that I can take care of myself so that I can take better care of our family.  I hope he feels well cared for in return.

Sunflower grown from seed by Will and Katie Carleton, summer 2012

And then there's that Katie Bug of ours.  Such a sweet, sweet girl.  When I was done writing for the evening, I ascended the stairs to the living room.  The smell of Will's casserole made my stomach growl.  Our big dog Earl was over in the corner of the room, drooling.  Katie was arranging several different boxes I'd used to carry our Costco goods home.  While we were at the store that afternoon, after I'd picked her up from school, Katie asked if we could look at the toys and I obliged.  It warmed my heart as I came upstairs from writing to see my sweet girl, the one who a couple hours earlier very quietly and mannerly looked at the toys but never once asked for one, using the free Costco boxes she'd asked if she could have as soon as Will and I unloaded their contents, to see her using them for her doll's beds.

Doll bed made from an empty Costco box and a pillow by Katie Carleton, August 2012

"Dinner's almost ready," Will called from the kitchen.

"Good.  I'm hungry."  I said, smiling at Katie.

"Mommy?"  Katie asked, looking up from tucking in her doll Bacca.

"What?"  I replied.

Katie sat for a quiet minute and smiled.  Then she said, "I love you."

I immediately responded by saying the same thing.  "I love you."

"Mommy, whenever I don't know what to say I say 'I love you.'"

"That's an excellent idea."  I said.

The three of us sat at the dining table and ate our dinner together.  Delicious.  My writing projects, normally tugging away at my anxiety, were tucked away in the basement for now.  It was my time to spend with my most prized creation: my family.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Back To School Night

I enjoy waking up in the morning, walking Katie to school, and returning home to write until it's time to go to work at the library.  I generally sit at my laptop with a cup of coffee, scanning the news headlines to see what's going on in the world before it's time to tune it out and enter the inner recesses of my brain.  Some days the news distracts me from my writing projects.  Some days it gets me fired up and ready to rant on my blog.  Today is one of those days.

Stories like this one about the Republican National Convention attendees who pelted a CNN camerawoman with nuts and made a sick joke about feeding the animals ruin my good mood from last night.

I'd had such a wonderful time at Katie's back to school night.  Seeing my Midwestern suburban community turn into a diverse and more cosmopolitan town excites me.  As I looked around at Katie's classmates' moms and dads, I noticed we all represent a full spectrum of shades and hair textures.  And there's not just racial diversity but other subcultures are more thoroughly represented by parents today than when I went to school.  Harley Davidson Dad and Biker Bitch Mom, Metalhead Dad and Smartly Dressed Black Yuppie Mom, Mom Who Still Wears Mall Bangs and Mom In The NASCAR Shirt And Mickey Mouse Socks, Biracial Brown Skinned Mom Who Showed Up Looking Like She'd Just Walked Here From a Phish Show In Her Twirly Skirt.  Sadly, I did not wear my twirly skirt.  I had worked at the library that day so I showed up wearing my grey slacks, navy polo shirt, and brown Keen sandals.  Will represented our family's underground side better by letting his freak flag fly, his beautiful, long, dark-blond hair, normally worn tucked up in his hat, hanging down below his shoulder blades.  And also by his wearing a wrinkled, faded Edward Scissorhands tshirt with cargo shorts and his Reef flip flops.  Katie favored both our styles by wearing a business casual brown jacket atop a long, pink rose covered boho skirt and her black high heeled boots, all hand-me-downs.  Her hair was messy like mine, yet shiny and flattering like her Dad's.

Despite the varying senses of style, I noticed too that there were way more dads at Katie's back to school night than when I went to school.  And with marriage rates way down, I bet many of the couples who showed up for their kids that night did so in separate vehicles, carrying around mutual grievances that were shoved to the back of their trunks for the night for the sake of their kids.  Good for them.

I had all-around good feelings about this bunch of parents.  It helped when Katie's teacher ended her speech about the expectations and organization of the school year with this statement:

"Before you leave, I just want you to know how much, already in our short time together, I'm really enjoying all of your kids.  They each have such great personalities and I'm really looking forward to working with them this year."

It's nice to hear our children are objectively likable, that our fond feelings for them are not clouded by our blood relationships.

I like her teacher.  But I'm also impressed with what's happened to the school district.  When I went to school in this same district thirty years ago, if my parents had bothered to go to back to school night, which they often didn't, as many of my friends' parents did not, they would not have noticed the same things.  I was the first kid to show up at my junior high with blue hair.  My cosmetic statement was not warmly received in the conservative, mid-Eighties, suburban Midwest.  But decades have changed the hood.  Needless to say, there were no moms in my class on back to school night sporting pink streaks in their black Betty Page bangs like the mom in Katie's class last night did.

Parents didn't just look more traditional when I was a kid.  They held more traditional views of parenting.  Many social conservatives today speak fondly of traditional family values, but they don't mention those of us who grew up in traditional homes and are subsequently doing what we can to encourage more enlightened forms of parenting.  When I think of traditional family values, I picture Mom doing the dishes, me doing my homework, and Dad watching TV.

My mom might have come to back to school night but Dad emphatically refused.  Once, when I was in seventh grade and we had just moved, yet again, to a new school district, the one Katie is in now, I asked my parents if they wanted to come to back to school night.  We were at the dinner table.  My father didn't bother to finish chewing before he answered, bits of soggy cornbread spewing from his mouth as he assured me that the only thing he intended on doing after dinner was sitting in his chair and watching TV.

"I'm too damn old to be your father," Dad said, ending with a snortty sort of laugh.  As if punctuating such meanness with that sound coming from his mouth would subtract a few points from his asshole scorecard I kept in my back pocket until I finally got kicked out of the house when I was eighteen.

The parents at Katie's back to school night, of varying degrees of wrinkles and baldness indicating some are even older than I, and some of them so fresh cheeked looking I could easily be their mother, all seemed glad to be there.  The room was full.  I didn't even catch anyone checking their phone during the teacher's talk.  Do we have some sort of special community, or do these types of stories just not elicit the same sensationalistic response as reports of racism at big fancy political brouhahas do and therefore they do not attract the same amount of attention?

When I read news stories like the one about the racist, ignorant people booted out of the RNC, I worry about the state of humanity.  Why have the progressive values so many activists have been fighting for over  forty years--my lifetime--been ignored by so many people?  When I read the news I sometimes feel like going back to bed.  Why bother working for peace and social justice if people will continue hating each other and fearing more integration?

But not at Katie's school.  I'm here to report it.

Are my glasses just too rose colored for me to see clashes in my own community?  Do I just want to live in a peaceful community so much I make it so?  As Gandhi said, "Be the change you want to see in the world".  Am I being the change or just daydreaming the change?  

As Katie showed us around her classroom, I couldn't help but smile.  I love looking at all the kids' art projects.  They took plain white paper plates and wrote their names on one side.  On the other side they colored faces of various shades and cut and pasted paper strands of hair, from yellow to brown to black, onto the edges of the plates to create these masterpieces of self-portraiture.  These heads were then hole-punched and hung in front of the window, the setting sun softly shining upon them.

The children in Katie's class are evidently not just learning about themselves but bovine culture as well.  On one wall was pasted a bunch of decorated cows, again, each with a child's name printed on it.  Katie lead us to hers.  Will and I looked at it, looked at the other cows, looked at each other, and smiled.

"Why does yours have a heart on it?" I asked Katie while still smiling at Will.

"Because I drawed it on there."  Katie explained, like "duh".

"But why did you draw a heart on the cow's chest?"  I prodded my calf.

"Because that's where the cow's heart would be, Mommy."


It's easy to not worry about humanity's future at Back to School Night.  We should invite those people kicked out of the RNC to Katie's school for some education in the awesomeness of loving all living beings.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Righteous Nun of the Day: Sister Joan Chittister

I've often thought it would be fun to be a nun.  Well, all but the no sex and no having children part.  The best present I ever got someone was a punching nun puppet for my brother Jay.  And a Nunzilla.  Nuns are so cool.  

But there's more to nuns than fun.  Nuns do some of the best social justice work in our country.  I'm not saying all nuns, and I'm not saying only nuns.  But come on, Sister Helen Prejean anyone?  I bawl my eyes out every time I watch "Dead Man Walking."  It's one of my all-time favorite movies.  And not just because Susan Sarandon is totally hot sans makeup.  Even while playing a nun.

.


I've recently discovered another righteous nun: Sister Joan Chittister, a Benedictine nun, had this to say on Bill Moyers' Journal in November of 2004:


"I do not believe that just because you're opposed to abortion, that that makes you pro-life. In fact, I think in many cases, your morality is deeply lacking if all you want is a child born but not a child fed, not a child educated, not a child housed. And why would I think that you don't? Because you don't want any tax money to go there. That's not pro-life. That's pro-birth. We need a much broader conversation on what the morality of pro-life is."

Amen, Sister!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Phish Video: "Suzy Greenberg" Live



This is not from the recent show I saw, but it reminds me of it.  As a newly born-again Phish fan, I feel silly already claiming a favorite song, but I do declare I can't get "Suzy Greenberg" out of my mind.

This Ambiguous Abortion

am·big·u·ous\am-ˈbi-gyə-wəs\
capable of being understood in two or more possible senses or ways 

abor·tion: \ə-ˈbȯr-shən\ 
the termination of a pregnancy after, accompanied by, resulting in, or closely followed by the death of the embryo or fetus: as

a : spontaneous expulsion of a human fetus during the first 12 weeks of gestation — compare miscarriageb : induced expulsion of a human fetusc : expulsion of a fetus by a domestic animal often due to infection at any time before completion of pregnancy 


There are few things more ambiguous in this life than abortion.  And yet so many Americans want to make it a black and white issue.   Are you pro-choice or pro-life?  I'm both.  Do you believe women should have complete control over their own bodies, or do you think society has some say in what happens to an unborn child?  Um, yes.


These are incredibly difficult questions with no easy answers.  That's why abortion is such a polarizing issue in our country.  Just as we like our wheatberries ground down, stripped of nutrients and fiber and texture and taste to make bread that fits a certain mold of what we've come to expect of something that holds our sandwich together, we like our philosophical truths to be easily digested.  But abortion is not white bread.  Unless you're willing to lift a handful of wheatberries, raw, to your mouth, gnashing them with your omnivorous teeth, your opinion about abortion is weak.  When arguing over the legal and moral issues surrounding abortion, let's eliminate the overly processed thoughts heard on the campaign trail among politicians and constituents alike and do some critical thinking on our own. 


The two toughest questions we are challenged with trying to answer are these:


When does life begin?


and


Does the government have a right to control what an individual does with her own body?


The first question about when life begins is scientifically unanswerable.  No one knows.  Because I love words, let's start with the dictionary definition:  


life: \ˈlīf\
1   a : the quality that distinguishes a vital and functional being from a dead body
b : a principle or force that is considered to underlie the distinctive quality of animate beingsc : an organismic state characterized by capacity for metabolism, growth, reaction to stimuli, and reproduction
2
a : the sequence of physical and mental experiences that make up the existence of an individual

Wow, that's heavy.  So we still don't know when life begins.

The second question about whether or not a government controls an individual's body or if an individual controls her own body is at least debatable because the answer is yes and yes and no and no.


I am pro-choice and pro-life.  I am not pro-abortion, but I think abortion should be legal.  Lets find ways to teach people how to protect themselves from unwanted pregnancies.  Let's show our sons and daughters that we are confident about our own bodies so they learn to be confident about their bodies, so they are less inclined to experiment with sex when they are not physically, emotionally, and spiritually ready for it.  Let's teach our sons and daughters about reproduction so that when they are ready to share their bodies with another they fully understand the consequences, physical, emotional, and spiritual that come from having sex.  Lets find ways to treat people to overcome their violent sexual compulsions so that, contrary to what some people running for public office believe, pregnancies resulting from rape actually are reduced to zero instead of about five percent.


But understand that sometimes, no matter how much education a person has or how much therapy a potential rapist has, sometimes there is a glitch in the system.  And that's why no matter how hard we try to stop unwanted pregnancies from happening, they will continue to happen.  Whether we make abortion legal or not.


Just because I think politicians and bureaucrats are ill-equipped to force their laws on an individual's body does not mean I am pro-abortion.  I am all for working to stop as many abortions from happening as possible.  Not by criminalizing it.  Before Roe vs. Wade abortions were still occurring, just not always on clean hospital sheets.  Our government prohibiting alcohol did not make people stop drinking the stuff, just not always in clean bottles distilled in clean bathtubs.  


People are always going to do things we find morally reprehensible.  If we want to change people's minds and help them find healthier alternatives to the complex, morally ambiguous problems they face, is the best way to help them to criminalize them or to hold out our hands to them?  


Christians who say they think abortion should be illegal because of their religious faith are being ethically lazy.  What would Jesus do if he happened upon a terrified, crying woman along a road and she confided in him that she was pregnant but she could not have the baby?  Would he lash out at her, accuse her of murderous thoughts, and threaten her with a jail cell?  Or would he hold out his hand to her and say something like he always did, so beautiful and simple and kind, something like, "Follow me child.  I will help you.  I will make sure you get medical attention (God, wouldn't Jesus be the best doula ever?) and when the child is born I will help you feed and clothe and care for it or find someone else who can care for it.  Do not be afraid.  We are here to love each other and I intend to love you through this difficult time."  Or would Jesus' reaction resemble that of many modern day so-called Christians who do not want to pay for social services and education to prevent unwanted pregnancies before they occur, and who also don't want to pay to ensure the child has access to medical care, food, housing, and education after the child is born?  


What would Jesus do?  I think he would remind us, once again, so simply, that the answer to all life's questions, complex and ambiguous and horrifying, is this: love.


So, as a Christian who is commanded to love others, how do you best love a woman who finds herself with an unwanted pregnancy?  Show her alternative ways out of a bad situation, or chastise and criminalize her?  Even Christian politicians who are also physicians have unclear answers about when and if abortion should be allowed to take place.  Here in this video clip, Dr. Ron Paul states that he believes life begins at conception, and yet if a rape victim showed up early enough into the pregnancy in his office he'd give her a shot of estrogen, thus ending a potential life.  And yet he thinks it's OK for states to decide if abortion should be illegal and not the woman and her doctor.  Well isn't administering a shot of estrogen to a woman shortly after she had intercourse a form of abortion if it means ending a product of conception? 




If the abortion issue is too sticky for politicians who actually understand reproduction, like Ron Paul, then it's certainly too unclear for politicians like Todd Akin and Mitt Romney who have shown they understand reproduction far less than Ron Paul.  I say keep the bureaucrats and politicians out of the abortion debate.  They are not the best leaders in the fight to make this world the happiest, healthiest place for all living beings.  I am.  You are.  With the help of spiritual guides and family and friends, not people whose job seems to be to raise campaign contributions more than it is to govern our nation effectively.  


Abortion is a moral issue, not a legal one.  Individuals already have control over their moral actions.  Individuals should have legal control over their own bodies as well.







Thursday, August 23, 2012

Becca? Just Be

Ever since Katie's new teacher wrote "Katherine" on her name tag, Katie wants to go by that.  It's her legal name.  It's on her birth certificate for when its time to prove she's eligible to run for president.

We started out calling her "Kate," because Will and I both love the nickname and Katherine seems like too much of a name for a little baby.  But when she was about four and started writing her own name, she asked if we would call her Katie instead of Kate.

"Why?"  I tried not to act too disappointed.  It's her name, not mine.  But I'd always thought Katie sounds too "goody-goody" and Kate sounds bright and beautiful.  Like Becky Vs. Becca.

"Because it's me," Katie, I mean Katherine, said.  This is going to take some getting used to.

I always wanted to be called Becca.  In second grade I asked the teacher and my classmates if they could call me that instead of Rebecca or Becky like most of them did.  Becca never stuck.  People already knew me as Rebecca or Becky.  Like me, now, trying to call my daughter Katherine, a name I have not been calling her the entire six years I've known her.  Except when she's in trouble.  That's parenting 101.

Most people in my family of origin call me Beck or Becky.  Will calls me Becky.  My friends and co-workers call me Becky, at least when I'm being nice.  I like "Beck" but it sounds too incomplete.  Becca is both cool and beautiful.  She can assemble a tent by herself in ten minutes. She's always prepared with dried fruit and nuts in her bag.  She gives away all her money and doesn't worry about what tomorrow will bring.  Becca knows that life is short and that we should cease the daily drudgery and live and love with less concern for rules and more concern for doing the right thing.

I am not Becca.  I aspire to be her, but I am not.  I am Becky, like it or not.  I'm kinda cutesy and kinda fusty and kind of bitchy.  I'm your grandma who once worked for Greenpeace but who now fidgets in the car until we get to the parking lot of the Phish show and see that your grandpa Will was right after all: you can bring your own beer and drink it in the parking lot before the show.  As it turns out we are not going to get busted by the cops and thrown in jail, so my shrieking, "I'm a forty-one year old mother, Will!  I have responsibilities to my daughter" when he gently informed me he had packed a cooler of my favorite beer in the trunk was for naught.  But I say I'm sorry for my naughty bout of crankiness and smile in Becky's cutesy way, and so I'm forgiven yet again.

Even so, Rebecca is the least likable of the Becky/Becca/Rebecca name.  Rebecca is reserved and unknowable.  The name I always went by at first when starting a new school.  Rebecca should have been the name of Ally Sheedy's character in "The Breakfast Club".  Rebecca is how I feel before you get to know me.  After we know each other, I feel like Becky.

Becky, like Becca, is cool and sometimes beautiful, but also dorky and disheveled.  Becky cannot assemble a tent solo.  In fact, I'm not good at even "helping" someone else put up a tent.  It's best if I step away so the poles don't get bent or the waterproof cover doesn't get torn when I trip over my own Keens and fall into the tent construction site.

Becky is never prepared with anything.  Some days I'm so distracted by writing and caring for Katie and endless lists of things to do that I get to work and realize I haven't had a chance to eat all day.  And in all that time at home did I remember to pack a lunch?  Of course not.  Becca would have remembered.

I, like Becca, give all my money away but not in a charitable way.  More like in a debtors' way.  And despite how much I claim to despise money, I worry about not having enough of it to pay the bills.  Too much of my time is spent worrying over it.  I know life is short, but I forget that fact when I'm overcome with emotion about whatever trivial thing I get all worked up about.  I usually know the right thing to do only after the occasion to use such knowledge has passed and I'm running the scene over and over in my head.

I'm just not at-ease enough to be a Becca.

Yet.  But maybe...

Becca is the kind of woman who likes to dance and she doesn't give a flying fig what you think of her while she's moving her body.  I moved a step closer to calling myself Becca last night while I danced for four hours at the Phish show.

I've complained before about my ex-girlfriend Kristin, the one who made fun of the way I danced.  And the way I decorated my apartment.  And the way I cut my hair.  And the clothes I wore.  Ok, now I see that perhaps her pattern of trying to change me into someone else was a sign I should have noticed so I could have broken up with her even sooner.  Live and learn.  Write and see.

Much in my life changed when I finally booted Kristin out and started living my own life again.  I'm happily married to a laid back guy who loves me the way I am.  I'm free to decorate our house with odd objects and art.  My favorite thing now is the carved wooden head my brother Pat pulled out of someone's trash and I got at a Christmas gift exchange.  Kristin would not approve.

The thing Kristin would disapprove of that I'm most proud of reclaiming is dancing.  Last night on the way to the show Will was excited to finally get to take me to see one of his favorite live bands.  We arrived at the parking lot, saw that the police were cool, cracked open our beers (Modus Hoperandi, niiiiiice), and strolled around Shakedown Street for an hour or two before the show started.  I felt completely comfortable and welcome.

Once inside we found our seats.  We were not in them long.  The band played for four hours, with one intermission.  Will and I and everyone around us danced the whole time.  It was amazing.  Freeing.  Goofy.  Happy.  Fun.

I totally GET Phish now.  The energy of the crowd.  The live and let live attitudes all around.  I have never seen so many smiling faces in my life.  I felt like I could just be me.  Rebecca, Becky, Beck, Becca.  It doesn't really matter when you learn to just be.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Legislative Rape

Scott Brown.  Mitt Romney.  Paul Ryan.  These three Republican candidates can't even agree on the abortion issue:

"Brown supports abortion rights, while Romney and Ryan oppose them. Romney would make an exception for rape and incest, but Ryan would do so only when the health of a mother would be jeopardized by a continued pregnancy."  

Abortion is such a divisive issue even self-identified conservatives can't agree what should be legal.  If these back-slapping Old Boy Republicans can't come to a consensus, I doubt we'll have much luck on my blog either.  But let's give it a try.  Please leave your questions and comments below.


My question for Ryan about his exception for the mother's health is, what about her mental health?  Is mental health, health?  Some Republicans running for office think rape is not always rape.  Maybe there are differing degrees of health and mental health is not "legitimate health"?  If a woman has been raped and becomes pregnant, what should she do if she is too mentally unstable to go through with a pregnancy?  Trust me, post-traumatic stress disorder makes pregnancy and childbirth challenging with its whole loss of control of your body all over again feeling.  And I was giving birth to the love of my life's baby.  I can't even imagine giving birth to my rapist's baby.  Which has happened to millions of women on our planet.  According to people who deal with facts, that is.


Other people think it's rare.  Like GOP Senate candidate Todd Akin.  Like a bad joke teller, I'm a bad paraphraser, so allow me show you his exact quote:

"First of all, from what I understand from doctors, that's really rare.  If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."

  
That kind of ignorance would be laughable if it weren't so scary.  News flash:  When not using birth control, women (and, sadly, girls) can get pregnant by having sperm enter their vaginas whether the little swimmers were invited or not.  Even I know that and my job is not to decide the exact moment life begins.  Neither is it a politician's job even though so many of them make it one.  Biologists don't really even know.  I think Deepak Chopra has the best explanation of life:


We are "luminous stardust beams with self awareness" and "the universe looking at itself".  Aaaaaah, I love Deepak.  Oprah should not have turned down his marriage proposal. 


But when do we become that?  When do we end?  If energy can not be created nor destroyed, perhaps we always have been and always will be in some form or another.  And if so, should we scream and shout until people stay out of each other's bodies by learning that we are all interconnected?  Or should we take Deepak Chopra's advice to just be and let them figure it out through our example.  Bring back the Human Be-In! 

But seriously, for the first time in my life today I did not laugh once while reading a post from The Onion.  It's just too sad to be funny.  And what's even scarier than a Senate candidate from Missouri being so disappointingly ignorant about the basic facts of human reproduction is that one of the men running for president in November is pretty ignorant about lady parts too.  Remember this post?


Ignorance about reproduction brings unwanted children into this world.  As a person who has been attempting unsuccessfully to conceive another child with my husband for nearly six years, the fact that so many people have unwanted children each year really pisses me off.  And we're not even talking about children born from rape, but children born from ignorance of how babies are made and how we can stop it from happening when we're not ready.  Taking control of our own bodies.   


So now the GOP is proposing a Human Life Amendment that would "endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children.”  But who gets to decide when my clump of cells becomes an unborn child?  At six weeks when you can hear its heart beat?  When the sperm and egg have merged and the blastocyst has implanted into my uterus?  Or before that?  When the sperm and egg have combined to form a clump of cells that has yet to be implanted into my uterus?  You know, some people argue that birth control pills are forms of at-home abortion.


I don't think so.  I disagree with the "life begins at conception" crowd not because I'm a fan of abortion.  Ending a pregnancy is a horrifying thing.  I don't believe that life begins at conception because I believe life never ends.  It transforms.  People die.  Animals die.  Plants die.  Cells die.  But life doesn't end.  It's just transformed into something else, a decomposed body, soil, energy for other living things. 

In my case, being subfertile, I most likely have conceived lots of clumps of cells but they have failed to attach to my womb. Doctors say my hormones are out of whack. Spiritual guides say I don't pray enough. But either way, although I feel sad that I can't seem to have another baby, I don't feel guilty that my uterus isn't a good hostess to Will's and my clump of cells. I don't feel like I'm preventing a life from beginning. I'm just preventing a life from transforming inside me. It will transform elsewhere without me.

That clump of cells is life, whether or not it implants in my uterus or gets flushed down the toilet at the end of the month. It's disappointing to think about the lost chance of spending time with that clump of cellular
 life that doesn't stick around, but I don't feel like a death occurred.  Life just changed form. A clump of cells got flushed down the toilet where it most likely got digested by some detritivores who then transformed it into something else, water, gas, dirt, fish food whatever. And we eat the fish and poop it out and it starts all over again.

My point is not to show you how if you think about it we eat our own children. I'm interested in, and comforted by, the cycle of life. A leaf falls from a tree. Detritivores digest it and transform it into soil which then the tree absorbs energy from to produce another leaf which will eventually fall to the ground on and on and on. It's really beautiful, life. In all forms.   


Biology is the study of life.  I'm sorry, but I don't want lawmakers who don't even understand basic human biology to decide when my clump of cells becomes my child.  No one is allowed inside my body without my permission.  If they are, that's legitimate rape.  If they're wielding political power, that's l
egislative rape.

If we truly want to stop as many abortions from happening as possible, instead of allowing politicians to determine when life begins and forcing laws upon women's bodies, let's work to eliminate the ignorance about human reproduction that leads to unwanted pregnancies in the first place.

Monday, August 20, 2012

News Alert: Fast Food Menu Boards May Induce Panic in Certain Individuals Sensitive to Bullshit Advertising

My husband showed me this video clip from the show "Portlandia" for some reason.




It might have something to do with the way I order my food.  Only I could have a panic attack while ordering a sandwich.

During a recent road trip I discovered I have MDTPTSD, Menu Dyslexia Triggered Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  Twice, in a panic, I ordered the wrong thing.  First at Subway.  Then at McDonalds.  I don't eat fast food much anymore so every time I step inside one of these places I feel like I'm entering a casino.  I'm not one of those people who wants to take away your junk food or your gambling.  It's just those things give me a headache so I avoid them personally.  Since when did the human race decide life is better with more TV screens and digital signs flashing a constant barrage of ads at our collective cornea?  Greasy chemical laden sugar goo information overload is what it feels like to me.  Belch.

It didn't help that I was hungover from too much wine the night before at our friends' reception and even more later in the hotel room with friends.  That fog wasn't helping my brain function at optimum speed.  I stood in front of the Subway menu.  Staring at it, baffled, unable to comprehend it.  These workers keep asking me questions and I don't see the list of my options on the menu.  I just see advertisements - high def photos of glistening sandwiches and chips and drinks.  What kind of bread do I want?  I don't know.  What are my options?  Where's the list?

Here's my Andy Rooney moment: I remember when I was a kid you had to have literary skills to order at a restaurant.  I was so thrilled when I could read "cheeseburger" and "french fries" and "coke" off the menu.  Even if it's the same thing I ordered every time and should have had it memorized.  I enjoyed reading down the list, "tenderloin," "breaded fried chicken sandwich," and, "Tab" before picking what I wanted.

Now when I pass the threshold of any fast food joint, I long for the simpler menu days of yore.  Lists, not advertisements.  I don't care how you ad wizards want me to feel about a sandwich.  I want to critically assess the list of options and conclude for myself what I desire.  No suggestions.  Just facts, thank you.

Yet another area where my control freakishness gets extra freaky.

For such an opinionated broad I'm completely indecisive, decisively indecisive, when it comes to the most trivial matters.  What kind of bread do I want?  My brain shuts down with a question like that.  It's like when I see a footlong Facebook comment from radically conservative political friends who don't know how to type in paragraph and give their audience's eyes a break.

I deserve a break.  Just list the items you offer.  Then, I can choose from them in a calm, mannerly way.  Trust me, you'll satisfy more customers with me moving the line along than you do now, with your indecipherable menu board that renders me basically mute, mouth hanging open like an idiot, unless I somehow find a way to ask the all important question of whether or not you have only iceberg lettuce and whether or not it's locally grown.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Pussy Riot: WWJD?

My country does some stupid shit.  And we're free to talk about it.

We continue to bomb innocent brown children in foreign lands long after we killed our killer Osama bin Laden.  We enthusiastically vote for TV celebrities more than we vote for our elected officials.  We drive gas guzzling SUVs to drop off our glass recycling.  We organize Appreciation Days and Kiss-Ins at fried chicken joints to either support or protest freedom of speech or freedom to love or to donate business funds to organizations that promote traditional family values or organizations that promote death to homosexuals, however you look at it.  

And not just now.  Our enlightened founders wrote documents honoring the idea that all men are created equal at the same time their wives and slaves were not granted the same rights they were.  We're a walking, flag flying, contradiction, We The People.



Imperfect though we are, I'm still proud to be an American.  I'm not big on nationalism or geopolitical pride, but my heart sings Lee Greenwood songs on days like today, reading about the guilty verdict for the ever so quaint sounding "hooliganism" the Russian government handed down to the members of the feminist punk band Pussy Riot.  I'm a Christian and I find what they did - danced and sang in Moscow's main cathedral about the wrongful nepotism in the Russian Orthodox Church's support of another Putin term - praiseworthy, not blasphemous.  They weren't saying "Fuck You, Christians!"  or even "Fuck You, God!"  It seems to me they were simply questioning the ethics behind the church-state union.

Since when did the formerly Godless communists get so bent out of shape over mere words criticizing religious leaders from some outspoken citizens?  Didn't Jesus criticize religious leaders during his time?  It seems to me these Pussy Riot chicks are more WWJD than Putin and his church minions are.

Separation of church and state:  It's a beautiful thing Americans should not take for granted.



If I ever offend you--which trust me I will because I'm a sweet and tender hooligan--don't jail me.  Why don't we try having a conversation first?  Like we do here in the free world.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Dayum That's a Tasty Five Guys Review

I think hamburgers are disgusting, but this video makes even me want a Five Guys burger.  Dayum!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Obama: Four More Beers!


This post makes me laugh - and it's from NPR, not The Onion or anything:

"As The Washington Post reports, the "beer vote" is crucial — especially when going after independent voters:

"According to a survey conducted by Scarborough Research, 47 percent of independent voters drank a beer in the past 30 days, while just 40 percent of Republicans and 39 percent of Democrats did."
If you found out one of the candidates drinks your favorite beer would it sway your decision?  Does any particular beverage sway your vote one way or the other?  

And what's with all the beer guzzling independents?  Does critical thinking drive people to drink?

Mark Lowry Quotes

I was led to these two Mark Lowry quotes.  I like them both.

"Love the sinner, hate the sin? How about: Love the sinner, hate your own sin! I don't have time to hate your sin. There are too many of you! Hating my sin is a full-time job. How about you hate your sin, I'll hate my sin and let's just love each other!" 


and 


"We don't help people by showing them our trophies.  We help them by showing them our scars." 


I hope my blog is scar-filled just enough to help you and not turn you off.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Xmasfreud

Just before I met Will, I was in a doomed relationship with a woman named Kristin.  We had started dating two months after I turned thirty, although we had known each other since I was twenty-two, when she replaced me as girlfriend to my ex Cindy.

Cindy and I were together for three and a half years.  I don't know why I bother putting that "half" in there, but I always do.  We had grown apart and weren't even physically touching each other the last six months of our relationship, but until we officially broke up we continued living together as partners even though the romance had devolved into depression and mental instability on both our parts long before we decided it was time to do something about it.

I can't remember who broke up with whom, but it was amicable.  Instead of tears, which seemed to be a constant presence in our relationship, I recall feeling relief that we both felt the same way.  We loved each other, but it was time to move on.
   
Cindy moved on faster than I did.  She and Kristin started dating almost immediately after Cindy and I broke up.  Naturally, I disliked Kristin at first.  I scoffed at the idea that she could replace me, that she could somehow make Cindy happy when I had tried so hard for so long to do this exact impossible thing.  I considered asking Kristin if she would like to have my boulder or if she planned on finding one more suited to the unique aspects of her relationship with Cindy.  She might have had better moves on the dance floor, but Kristin was not as well read as I, so the Sisyphean joke would only cause her face to conjure that expression usually reserved for when she witnessed me attempting to dance at our local gay bar.  A mix of confusion and pity.

Kristin and Cindy rolled their boulder all the way to Houston, where they lived for several years.  In the meantime, I dated a few people, both men and women, but I mostly lived alone and celibate during my twenties.  It was good for me.  I learned that I needed to tend to my own needs before I could ever have a healthy relationship with another person.  I formed nonsexual bonds with friends that strengthened my trust in my fellow humans, realizing for the first time since I was sexually abused as a young girl that not everyone wants to use me for sex.  It was a healthy time for me.  I was in a good place.

For the most part.  But I was lonely, too.  I wanted to get married and have children.  I never thought of myself as a confirmed bachelorette.  I had decided when I was ten years old that I'd grow up, get married, and have ten kids.  By the time I was thirty, I understood the difference between fantasy and reality, but I knew if I was going to achieve even a small family of my own, I needed to start paying attention the the tick tock going off inside my uterus.

Kristin and Cindy had long ago broken up and moved back to Kansas City.  Cindy and I, long over our past drama, had become good friends.  The three of us went to see Billy Idol at the Uptown Theater.  Cindy and I drove together, planning on meeting Kristin inside.  As we approached the venue, I saw all the people standing in line and commented to Cindy,  "Dude, look at all the old people.  What are they doing here?"

Cindy took her eyes off the road long enough to stare at me in disbelief before I realized it was no longer 1984 and we were probably the same age as most of those people in line.  It's funny, now that I'm forty-one and much more satisfied with my life, I don't think I'm old at all, but when I was thirty I was worried I hadn't done enough with my life and it made me feel old.

Once inside we met up with Kristin, who began flirting with me outrageously from the start.  I had a headache from rolling my eyes at her comments by the end of the night, but during a midnight breakfast after the show, when she first mentioned how much she longed to have children and start a family, my rational brain functions shut down and I began thinking solely with my uterus.  Perhaps I wouldn't have to resort to Plan B, resigned to somehow becoming a single mother.  We'd have to adopt or one of us would have to have artificial insemination, but I could have a partner after all.

We moved in together almost immediately.  At first, things were fine since Kristin was in the upswing of her mood cycles.  That and she had a job.  Soon, though, I'd come home from work to find her lying in the same spot on the couch as when I'd left her that morning, her boss' voice on the answering machine wondering why she didn't show up to work that day.  It's ok, honey, I understand how you feel.  I get depressed sometimes too.  No, really, it's fine.  I make enough money for both of us.

At least I thought I did.  What I hadn't factored into my plan of supporting Kristin was that she is not me.  I am frugal to a fault.  I will hem and haw for months before I make up my mind to purchase something.  I don't like to shop.  I don't like to spend money on unnecessary things.  And no, I don't care that most of my furniture has been handed down to me from my siblings or retrieved from the dumpster of my apartment complex.  I don't care that my so-called hippie furniture is out of fashion.  I like rattan.

But Kristin, depressed and lying on the couch, spent her days watching HGTV and getting whimsical ideas for how we could redecorate our home.  I was still in the thinking-with-my-uterus stage of our relationship, so I handed over my credit cards to her, telling myself she was preparing a happy home for us so that we could sometime soon bring a child into it.  I don't know why an infant would need a DVD player, a new car, or a PC, but buying things was the only thing that brought a smile to Kristin's face when I couldn't stand the sight of her frown.

After she bought the PC, she signed us up for AOL.  My Luddite parents never owned a computer, and I'd moved out of their house before we became familiar with the term "online."  I was too cheap to pay for it myself, so I had never lived in a home with online access until Kristin gave me a shove.

What animosity I felt toward Kristin has faded with time, replaced by indifference and little time to spend on memories of her.  But I am thankful for two things Kristin did for me.  It is because of Kristin that I am a born-again dog lover, Dog Is My Co-Pilot believer.  She is the one who encouraged me to go to the pound and pick out my big beloved dog Goodboy Earl, whom Kristin named after the Dixie Chicks song "Goodbye Earl."  When we broke up Kristin took the two dogs she had brought into our relationship with her and let me keep Earl.  I am most grateful, as he is paws down the best dog on the planet.

Kristin also is the person who got me online.  After she put the AOL CD into the drive and signed us up for internet service, she asked me what I wanted my username to be.

"My userwhat?"

"Your userNAME.  What you're going to go by online."  She said, clearly annoyed with my stupidity when it comes to anything outside my own head.

"Like my handle?"

She nodded, "It has to be something no one else is going to want to use, which shouldn't be too hard for you to come up with."  She was speaking to me loud and slow, like I should be in a nursing home.

"Oh.  Ok.  Christmas Freud."  I said, happy with my quick thinking.


"Christmas Freud?  That's weird."  Kristin said as she typed it into the username field.

"It's the name of a hilarious essay I just read in this book by David Rakoff I'm reading," I explained.  When she didn't even bother looking up to acknowledge I had said anything, I thought:

"No it's not weird.  If you would stop watching TV long enough to read a book once in a while, maybe you'd get it."  But I didn't say these things until she had bankrupted me and moved back to Houston, something I wasn't anticipating at the time, with the tick tocking in my uterus.

"It's too long.  It won't take that many characters," Kristin said, looking up at me, on the brink of a ferocious eye roll.

I was standing above her as she sat in the chair she'd bought to match the PC.  I wondered why we couldn't just use a chair from the new dining room set she'd recently bought, but I was so disinterested in the topic of decorating, or in communicating with anyone on AOL for that matter--I was in a hurry to get back to my book, the hilarious one by this new writer named Rakoff who I'd heard on NPR--that instead of arguing my point, which I couldn't in front of Kristin or she'd make fun of me for being such a dork, I stood there for a silent moment before I blurted out, "Xmasfreud.  With an X.  Try that."

It worked.  From then on out, my username, whether or not I understood its function, was Xmasfreud.  When I ordered pizzas online, I didn't have to use my real name.  I could maintain my privacy so no one would judge me for requesting extra cheese.

I had email at work, but I was by no means what you would call a computer guru.  After Kristin bankrupted me and I booted her out of my life, I cancelled my AOL account.  I didn't see the point.

But the username stuck with me when I used the internet at the public library and later, when I lucked out, met Will, moved him in with me, and got back online so he could play his MMORPG.  One way I can tell I love Will more than I was ever capable of loving Kristin is that I tolerate his jargon much better than I did hers.  If you ask me at the right moment, I might even be able to tell you what the hell MMORPG means.

I'm still not much of a computer guru, but I do ok for myself.  I've got this blog.  I'm on Facebook.  I have an account on YouTube.  I keep my mom informed of Katie's goings on pretty regularly considering the three-hour distance between us if either of us were inclined to get into the car, which neither of us is too often, and so we're lucky to have the online connection we do.

I owe that to Kristin, I realize now.  But it took Rakoff, the creator of my username, to point it out to me.

Since he died the other day, I've been re-reading his book Half Empty.  The last essay, "Another Shoe," written after he discovers he has cancer makes me happy to be alive.  I wish it didn't take the death of someone to remind us mere mortals how good we've got it.  How much we should take the time to appreciate each other.  Rakoff writes:

"A friend asks if I've 'picked out' my prosthetic yet, as though I'd have my choice of titanium-plated cyborgiana at my disposal, like some amputee Second Life World of Warcraft character.  Another friend, upon hearing my news, utters an unedited, 'Oh my God, that's so depressing!'  Over supper, I am asked by another, 'So if it goes to the lungs, is it all over?'  Regrettably very possibly, I reply, and when I go on to mention as how they no longer give much radiation for Hodgkin's, he says, 'Well, you got twenty-five years out of it,' as if the radiation was a defenseless washing machine I was maligning, and what did I expect, really?  But here's the point I want to make about the stuff people say.  Unless someone looks you in the eye and hisses, 'You fucking asshole, I can't wait until you die of this,' people are really trying their best.  Just like being happy and sad, you will find yourself on both sides of the equation many times over your lifetime, either saying or hearing the wrong thing.  Let's all give each other a pass, shall we?"

Reading Rakoff reminds me it's time to give Kristin a pass.

Listening to him read his fantastic essays on This American Life makes Xmasfreud of This Ambiguous Life swing to the happy side of life.  I thank Kristin for introducing me to the internet, where Rakoff's words can live after his body has left us.  Check out Act III of "Christmas and Commerce" to hear Rakoff read his excellent essay, my usernamesake, "Christmas Freud":
     


Monday, August 13, 2012

First Day of School: I Knewed Everything Would Be Good



Me, holding Katie's hand on the walk to school this morning: "Well, how do you feel about your first day of first grade so far?"

Katie: "Oh, I'm excited.  You know why?"

Me: "No, why?"

Katie, whispering out of the side of her mouth even though we're the only ones on the sidewalk, "Because they have Legos."



Me: "What?  No way."

Katie: "Yes they do.  I saw them in my class."

Me: "When we went to the ice cream social?"

Katie: "Yes.  I saw them and I knewed everything would be good."


"Singing On My First Day of First Grade" by Katie Carleton

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Righteous Indignation on My Facebook Timeline


My Facebook timeline has become a Dantesque circle of hell.  Thanks for the vigorous discussion, friends.

Don't worry.  I’m not going to delete anyone’s comments.  You’re all welcome to say what you need to say on my wall.  Sticks and stones may break my bones but Facebook fights make me think.  And thinking is good.  Even though sometimes it hurts.  So thank you.

I can understand why Michael is so upset with Richard’s question equating pedophilia with homosexuality.  I can also understand why Richard might think Michael is behaving immaturely by not answering his question.  But then, I can also understand why Michael might be sick and tired of people equating pedophilia (someone in power, an adult, coercing someone not in power, a child, to have sex with them) with homosexuality (two consenting adults engaging in a mutually gratifying sexual experience).  Grownups who like to have sex with kids, whether they are heterosexual or homosexual, are pedophiles.  Grownups who like to have sex with other grownups, whether they are heterosexual or homosexual, are um, what’s the opposite of a pedophile?  It’s Greek to me.  Perhaps enilikaphile? 

Also, swear words don’t bother me, so don’t sweat it.  I think it’s healthy to express emotions, even negative ones, and swearing is a really effective way to vent some steam when you’re really pissed off.  What are words anyway?  Abstract concepts with meanings we assign.  Definitions of words evolve over time and they mutate as they are used in different cultural settings.  So I don’t care if you swear on my Facebook page, as long as you really mean it.  I love words, all words.  They are one of the best ways humans have figured out to communicate with each other.  You can call each other all the names you want.  I don’t like to watch my friends sling insults at each other any more than I like to watch my friends throw punches at each other, but if that’s the way you want your voice to be heard, I can at least understand feeling fed up with silence. 

I don’t think insults are terribly effective, though.  I used to feel temporarily better when I’d call my dad an asshole during my teenage years when we were always fighting, but I think I’d feel better overall and for extended periods of time if I had figured out a way to calmly talk to him about how his calling me a stupid pinko commie made me feel unloved. 

But I never did figure out how to not fight back when someone is attacking me.  I wish I could follow Jesus’ advice to turn the other cheek since I’m a Christian and all, but I never said I was a very good Christian.  Maybe I’m just not good with rules. 

I know I’m not good with groups.  I’ve never been much of a joiner because when you join a club you’re stepping into a circle that excludes the non-members, and that just feels icky to me.  I really enjoyed the last twenty years of not calling myself a Christian even though when I’m feeling desperate I feel better when I talk to Jesus, pray, call it what you will.  And I dig His message of loving our enemies and His awesome audacity to call himself the Son of God in a time when most of his fellow humans didn’t see the divinity within them.  So, really, deep down, I feel like a Christian.  And now that I’m getting old and spunky, I feel like reclaiming the name.  I see other people who call themselves Christians not treating others in a loving way, and, I admit, it pisses me off.  And don’t preach to me about how anger is a sin.  Jesus himself seems pretty righteously indignant when he’s whipping the money lenders out of the temple. 

So because I want to spread the love as I feel Jesus instructed me to do, I’ve decided that even though to call myself a Christian lumps me into a group with lots of people I’d prefer not to associate with (Fred Phelps, other people who spew hate and love power more than people), it’s the right thing to do.  If for no other reason than to be an example to others that not all Christians are homophobic hatemongers.   

And that’s the problem with lumping people into groups.  I am a Christian, just as many of you who are reading this are.  But what does that mean?  It means as many things as there are people who claim the label.  I think the word Christian means someone who tries to follow Jesus’s teachings of love.  But, you know, that’s just me.  Someone else might think the word Christian means someone who focuses on avoiding abhorrent sin.  Others will hold both views, intertwined.

Another group of which I’m a bad member is the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bi, trans) group.  Again, another group of people who are as different as they are similar.  I happen to call myself a lesbian, since Sappho, the woman we get the term “lesbian” from, was most likely married to a man and had female lovers.  I am also married to a man, and although I am as equally attracted to many women as I am to many men, I have no other lovers, because, again, that just feels icky to me.  So technically I’m a monogamous bisexual lesbian.  See?  Groups are fun, but they make life confusing.  I don’t like how groups turn our neighbors who are not members of the group into “others”.

The one group I know we’re all members of is this one: humans.  If you can read this, you are a human.  And I love you.  Even when you piss me off.  Well, I try.  I commit lots of acts of asshattery on my quest for living a life full of love.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Cute Katie Quotes: Lego Friends

Lego Friends Cafe and Beauty Shop

I moved a table into Katie's room so she'd have a proper place to obsess over her new favorite toy: Lego Friends.  Her cousins gave her the Cafe and the Beauty Shop for her birthday and they gleefully helped as Will instructed them how to put it all together the first time.  

Note to The Three Little Pigs: Lego is not adequate building material if you want your house to always stay upright.  Katie has spent most of her waking days reassembling the pieces I keep accidentally breaking off as I move them from the kitchen table before dinner.

So today as I set up a table in her room just for Lego play, Katie stood aside, jumping up and down, clapping her hands.

When it was time to move the Lego Cafe from its temporary position on top of her bed to its new home on top of the table, I apologized up front, "Sorry if I break anything.  At least it won't have to move so much now with its own table."  

Katie patted my arm and said, with a self-assured sigh, "It's OK if you break it.  I rememberized it by now."