Friday, December 27, 2013

Sometimes people don't know what words mean

The existence of the FCC and the libel and slander torts are examples of how freedom of speech isn't what many seem to think it means. Lately, many invoke the Constitution when the speech being "restricted" is speech they agree with, or at least they think they do.

There's been an uproar about free speech in the aftermath of a suspension of a reality TV star for saying some bigoted things. This became major news and brought people front and center to defend the guy. One such person was Sarah Palin. The woman, who claims to read "all of 'em" when it comes to print media, was getting her panties and pencil skirt in a bunch about free speech over words she admitted she didn't read or hear. I guess this means she really believes in the freedom to speak because she is defending this guy without knowing what he said. Kudos, Sarah Palin, kudos!

Now, where was all this defense of speech when other networks made decisions to suspend, terminate, or accept resignations from TV show hosts for things that were said on or off the air? Martin Bashir made some pretty hateful remarks about Palin that led to his resignation from MSNBC. There was no one from Palin's side of the aisle throwing down the free speech defense for him.

These TV personalities were free, ARE free to say all that they said. They have not been imprisoned. The networks that these people appeared on also have the freedom to decide what they will and will not support being said on their broadcasts. You can say what you want, but you can be fined, sued, or fired, too.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

When an exception should actually be the rule

I was raised to be a Roman Catholic. And I tried really hard. Looking back, it was probably around 2nd grade when I became a closeted atheist. As time passed, I became like many closeted people---denying my closeted beliefs and trying really hard to live outside. Obviously, since I'm writing this, I have come out of the proverbial closet.

As a liberal, there are many parts (some little known) of the Church's social teachings that really are amazingly powerful, caring, and loving. I've often thought them to be the Church's best kept secret, unfortunately.

Pope Francis has really taken off in popularity. He has been named "person of the year" for Time magazine and The Advocate. These are great things. I've even heard some say that he speaks to the modern world in a way that has not been heard or seen since John XXIII during the era of Vatican II.

Even as an atheist, I can appreciate Pope Francis' words and deeds. I hope it continues and, more importantly, I hope it brings a change to Church he leads.

However, in some ways, I am saddened by his popularity. You may think that a crazy thing to say about someone doing such good and bringing about hope in people. What bothers me is that when it comes to his predecessors in the role of Vicar of Christ, the Christ Head on Earth, his words and deeds are the exception not the norm. In the line of St. Peter, the Church's social teachings should not be a secret that Pope Francis is bringing out of the closet. The Church needed the Pope Francises throughout its history. His message, his actions, should really have been and continue to be the rule, not the exception.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

2013 = Suckiest suck that ever sucked

If we were in a world in which 2013 wasn't the suckiest suck that ever sucked, I would be wearing clever maternity t-shirts in the last stages of pregnancy. The holiday season would be filled with the anticipation of a new baby. Finishing touches would be added to the Lil' Cthulhu or other geek themed nursery. But, no such world exists.
In my 2013, there is no pregnancy and won't be any in the years to come. My husband and I will not have a child we make together. No Finnegan and/or Beatrice for me to feel growing inside me. I cannot do this thing, this thing that women are built to do.  In fact, all those parts women have for that purpose, I have to have removed. Where do I go from here? How do I stop wanting something that cannot be?

Some people (therapist included) have said that I have to mourn. Right now, I can't even comprehend how that would play out. When I think of mourning a loss, I think there was something and now there isn't. How do you mourn the idea of something? The want for something you never had? 

I have moments when I think about the amazing experiences we would share with our child. Like the wonder of the holiday season. We would see the Parade of Lights, Zoo Lights, and lights at The Butterfly Pavilion through the awe in the eyes of our child. I would smile as our little geek marvels at the world of Marvel (not DC) that Shawn would introduce to him/her.  Down the line, there would possibly be the rebellion that he/she might exercise through becoming a fan of DC instead of Marvel. We would possibly become grandparents and I would feel that I left a mark on this world. I could die knowing I contributed to the future; that my life meant something and left a legacy. Is listing my dreams of our life part of the mourning process? Will this help me let go of this horrible pain?

I have a hysterectomy to schedule at some point in 2014. Will that be when I mourn? During that process that seals the deal on my not being able to carry and birth a child? 

All I know, in response to these questions, is that I just don't know.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Oh my, I did this...YIKES

So, we've established my weird sing-to-myself & Jarvis habit.  Well, I can't believe I'm about to admit to AND post my latest creation which came to me this morning:

I've got the toe of the camel
And you're gonna see me pull

Sorry, Katy Perry...

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

If you open it, they will come

When I look back on my childhood, I have many memories of the holiday season.  I can't tell you all the gifts I received each Christmas.  There are some things that seemed like a big deal, like my nerf mini-golf set.  Then there are the smaller gifts that were pretty much an annual thing, such as giant, newsprint papered, activity books and a set of markers.  Most of all, the memories are filled with experiences.

Our family delivered The Cleveland Plain Dealer.  On Thanksgiving, when the papers were all delivered, my siblings most likely went back to bed.  I would stay up and help my mom.  Usually, I was tearing the bread up to make the stuffing (yes, we are a stuffing, not dressing, family).  The soundtrack for the kitchen hustle and bustle was the local, morning news broadcast with the turkey bowling event.  It was compelling television in the way that only local news teams can deliver.  Part of the team was at a grocery store where people were using frozen turkeys to bowl down cans of cranberry sauce.  AWESOME-SAUCE (see what I did there?).  When that broadcast was over, it was time for the Macy's Parade!  Then my mom would get her traditional phone call from a friend of hers and I'd be on my own to do whatever needed to be done.

Some years, my mom would take in strays who didn't have Thanksgiving plans.  We were a crowd on our own with my parents, my four siblings, and me.  As the years went on, the numbers grew and grew. And, my mom always prepared enough of her amazing food for everyone and then some.  Even now, when I don't get to be there for Thanksgiving, I can smell and practically taste my mom's stuffing. She always had a smorgasbord of vegetables, too, so that there was bound to be some type that each person would like.  Then, there would be the annual sweet potato reference to Louie Anderson's Thanksgiving bit.

Anyway, I could go on with more experiences, more memory sharing, but I've gone on too long already.

What I really want to bring up here is the way Thanksgiving is becoming less and less of a holiday and more about getting that jump on Christmas shopping.  More and more stores are opening on Thanksgiving day.  Getting that super-amazing-discount-on-that-super-amazing-gift is so important that it certainly means that the store employees have no reason to have their own experiences, make their own memories with their families. And, to top it off, they can then be yelled at by the people who didn't get the deal before everyone else claimed it.

So, just because the stores may be open, it doesn't mean you have to go. After all, when your kid grows up and reflects on Holiday memories, she's probably not going to remember the great deal you got on that one present that one year you shopped on Thanksgiving.  She's more likely to remember that one year you weren't with the family on Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The order of things

Yesterday, Jarvis and I went for a walk.  We've been exploring the neighborhood; going down streets we've never been before.  While we were out and about, I looked down a street and saw a giant, inflatable turkey on the front lawn of a house (I wish we would have gone down that street for me to snap a picture, but, alas, we didn't).

As we continued on toward home, I got to thinking.  Yep, we know what that means! BLOG POST!  My first thought was to give the people at that house a shout-out.  Something like, "Way to go people-who-remember-that-after-Halloween-comes-Thanksgiving!  That is awesome that you are showing some love to Thanksgiving as it becomes more and more glossed over by Commercialmas!"

From there, I went on to think about the order of holidays.  My executive decision about the calendar is that Thanksgiving should be the holiday closest to New Year's.  The end of one year is the perfect time to recap and be grateful.  Get all the candy and gift giving stuff out of the way in October and November.  For those who aren't focused on the commercialism of Christmas, the date is rather arbitrary so moving it up isn't really screwing up the religious aspect of it.

Of course, this is all in my humble opinion.  

Saturday, November 16, 2013

It's not about keeping up with the Joneses

Back when I was first facing my depression, I was sitting in a room talking to a couple of people who were my leaders for a church organization.  The room had a crucifix on the wall.  They told me that I knew nothing of suffering and that I need to look at the cross to see what real suffering is.  This is a profound experience of bullshit.  I mean, REALLY?  If we are to look at our experiences compared to a crucifixion, a large number of people are whiny complainers about non-existent suffering, be it physical or mental.

I've since heard someone talk about how we shouldn't minimize our own struggles because others have it worse is the same as minimizing our own happiness because others have it better.

I still struggle with minimizing my experiences when compared to other.  My therapist called a relationship I told her about as abusive.  I then went into minimize it mode because abuse seemed like such a harsh term.  I wasn't burned with cigarettes, or beaten, or rape, etc.  But, there is more to the word than those extremes.  So, yeah, maybe it was an abusive relationship on a different level.

Recently, I watched a video that seemed to be a message for the LGBTQ community.  But, it goes deeper.  It speaks to all of us because we all have our own closets and our own struggles.  Here's the video & I hope it speaks to you, too.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

You, too?

You know how, when you buy a car, you start to notice that car model everywhere?  Or if you buy a car in a color you never had before, you start to see every car in that color?  You feel this sense of sibling-hood with those drivers.  You might feel like you should give a little nod to the other person to acknowledge your common bond.  The thing is, not everyone went out and got the same model or same color car when you did.  You're just more aware of it because it is now personally connected to you. Well, okay, this has gotten a bit silly, but I hope you know what I mean.

Over the last few years, and, more so in the last year and a half, my husband and I have been dealing with infertility.  We came to the end of our road after going through an unsuccessful round of in vitro fertilization (IVF).  It seems to be that my eggs suck and when combined with my endometriosis, getting pregnant isn't something I can do. Finances also come in to play. We took out a loan, but that didn't cover it all.  When all was said and done, we're talking about $20K with no baby to make it worth it. And, to just add to the awesomeness of it all, I get to have a hysterectomy.  Yep, my insides are such a mess of scar tissue that it's all gotta go.

What does all of this have to do with the car stuff that started off this entry?  Well, I watch a lot of TV and movies (needing to find a job gives me lots of time). I feel like I can't watch anything that doesn't have someone dealing with infertility or a hysterectomy.  Sometimes it hits me and I cry while watching.  I find myself wondering if I'm going through the car scenario.  Were these story lines prevalent before, or am I just more aware of them based on my personal experience?

Sunday, November 10, 2013

At the dog park

Before I get started, yes, I do "sing" dog park in my head to the tune of "Car Wash."

Anyway, the real reason for this post is to express some thoughts about dog parks.  I like to tire out our almost 9 month old puppy, Jarvis, by taking him to the dog park.  He is FULL of energy, as one would expect of a puppy.  The dog park is a great way for him to burn energy and it is good for him to be around other dogs.  It's nice to see him play...and...honestly, nice to not be his soul source of play (it can be exhausting for this puppy mama).

I've become confused about the purpose of dog parks.  I thought of it kind of like the equivalent of taking kids to a playground.  It's a place for dogs to play and learn to be around other dogs. Jarvis can't wait to get out of the car when we pull up!  He just wants to get in there.  I can't open the gate and get his leash off fast enough.  Then, the butt sniffing and slobbering begin.

However, some of our experiences show that not everyone there is on the same page.  If you want to play fetch with your dog and not interact with others, I feel like some dog parks may not be for you. The one we go to the most is not very large.  It is split in two with a smaller area and larger area which is nice for smaller or timid dogs.  Often, the smaller (which is just more narrow, but still a lot of space) one isn't used.  If you just want to play fetch, maybe heading over to the unoccupied side would be best. I worry about Jarvis with other dogs and rough play, but I know it is good for him to be with other dogs.  If it gets to be too much, I'll take him away.  If I didn't want him to be with anyone but me, I wouldn't take him to the park. So, if those other folks take their toys and go home, Jarvis and I are better off.

Maybe I'm just crazy.
Why wouldn't you want your dog to play with Jarvis?

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Tolerate intolerance?

The sticker that really gets me mad.
Some new neighbors moved in recently.  I haven't met them.  Based on their bumper stickers, I'm not sure I should.

Perhaps I'm making an incorrect assumption about its meaning. Each time I see it, all I think is that it must be a response to the popular equality sticker from the Human Rights Campaign.  The unequal sticker appears on their car which also has a giant "GOD" decal on the rear window promoting some kind of mission organization.  This combination of stickers was another reason for my assumption that this is a symbol of support for DOMA; support of no marriage rights for gays.

So, here I am.  I'm making assumptions about neighbors I never even met based on stickers on their car. Their sticker makes me upset because I think it shows intolerance and hate.  Does my judgment of them make me any different than them (or, my perception of them, I should say)?

Who knows?  Maybe the symbol is a statement about Pepsi being unequal to Coke.  If that's it, then we could get along and go for a Coke because Pepsi doesn't come close to equaling Coke.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

What in the Sam Hill?!?

For whatever reasons, certain ages are allotted certain legal rights.  At 16 you can get a drivers' license.  Age 18 allows you to smoke, to vote and to join the military.  Alcohol consumption is legal at 21.  These things are big deals and have with them pretty big responsibilities.

So, how is it that before I reached any of these ages, I was entrusted with the lives of people's children?  When I was about 10 years old or so, I started baby sitting.  SERIOUSLY???  What were people thinking???  Nothing against my 10 year old niece, but I can't imagine her night...alone...with small children.  HOLY CRAP!!!  I can't imagine how I EVER did this!!!

Once I started to think about my babysitting days, I then thought about the end of the night.  Most of the time, the dad drove me home while the mom stayed and checked on her babies.  Let's take a minute to ponder that.  Let it sink in...really, really sink in.  I was always so uncomfortable on the ride to and from the babysitting job.  When I think about it, I can't believe no one thought it was kind of awkward to put a young girl alone in a car with a grown man who, more often than not, had had a couple of drinks.

I'm not saying that anything ever happened.  I think there were only a couple of dads that really creeped me out.  Not that they ever did anything, I just, for some reason got a weird vibe.  In my experience, the most dangerous thing about the drive home was probably the sobriety level of the dad.  Not to make light of that, but I just want to be clear that I never worried that something sexual was going to happen.

I'm not much in the loop about babysitting these days.  I know my siblings have mostly had family and close friends watch their kids.  Their kids either go to the house of the sitter or the sitter drives him/herself over to their house.

Maybe it's just me, but I look back and can't believe I was in charge of babies, toddlers, and young children when I was still such a child.  I also look back and think about the rides home and what a risk it was for me, and, for the dad.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Sing, sing a song

I know some of you have been graced with the sound of my singing.  It is angelic, no, demonic.  Well, I'm no recording artist.

Anyway, I have a tendency to make up songs.  I'll sing to our dog, Jarvis, about what we're doing.  "We are going to go for a walk and you are going to pee and poop and behave yourself then we'll come home and you can have a treat and some water and a nap or we'll play or maybe a bath..."

But wait, sometimes the songs aren't just me getting my sing-song creations on.  There are times when I change the words to known songs.  These can be even BETTER!!! Here are a couple I've come up with:

"I know you have a little ketchup in you yet.  I know you have a tablespoon left." Which I sing to the tune of Kate Bush's "This Woman's Work."  I know, I know, I should be ashamed of myself.

Here's another GREAT one:

"Acrobat Reader" in place of "Paperback Writer" by The Beatles

I haven't done anything full-length.  You're letting out a great, big sigh of relief, I'm sure.  It's all in fun and part of embracing my inner-goofball.  I learned it from a song on "Sesame Street."

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Hold your tongue and say, "Apple"

When I was a kid, my siblings, friends, and I thought we were bad ass.  We would stick out our tongues, hold them in our thumb and forefinger and then say, "Apple"  ("Pirate ship" was another favorite, but it doesn't fit this post).  In our minds, it was hilarious and, of course, no adult would ever figure out our little trick to cussing.

Okay, maybe none of that has to do with this post, but it mentions "apples" and that's good enough for me.

It's fall (unless you happen to be a southern hemisphere reader) and with that comes all things apple and pumpkin.  My Facebook feed has transitioned into fall with posts about football, pumpkin patches, corn mazes, and, of course, apples.  I've seen families on outings to orchards and fruit farms.  Apple fritters, cider, and caramel apples abound.

You are probably saying, "Who cares?"  Well, no one, probably, except me.  But, it's my blog, and I can write about apples as much as I want, so there (see, in someways, I'm still that little kid from above)!

All of this apple stuff reminded me of something I haven't thought about in years.  Now, when thinking about it, I can't believe I ever forgot.  When I was a kid, my family would drive out to my grandparents' house.  It seemed like such a long drive and kind of in the "country."  On the road was this tiny, country store.  I'm not sure what the name was because we just called it, "The Apple Lady's."  (Picture a scaled back, de-cheese-ified Cracker Barrel "store.")  It was fascinating!  She sold old fashioned stick candy (I was always partial to the root beer flavored) and fruit leather.  I thought fruit leather sounded gross, but it was delicious.  It's what fruit roll-ups would like to be, but just can't seem to get it right.  Obviously, it wouldn't be right to stop at The Apple Lady's without getting apples.  A purchase of apples could mean my mom would be making homemade applesauce!  Store bought applesauce can never compare to fresh, warm, homemade.  I can practically smell and taste it right now!

So, thank you Heather for sharing on Facebook about your dad wanting to take your kids to get apples for making homemade applesauce.  Now, I'm off to make an apple pie.

Friday, October 11, 2013

The icky, cream-filled ones

I was trying to come up with a name and description for this blog.  I was thinking about the whole "Life is like a box of chocolates" yadda yadda.  Yeah, it's trite.  My husband guessed the "you never know what you're gonna get" angle and thought it was a bit outdated.  I get that.  Another reason to pass on the idea is that I'm pretty sure what you'll end up getting, more often than not, is the opened-box-with-half-eaten-smashed-icky-cream-filled-ones.  I hope that, occasionally, you'll be lucky enough to get the sticky, caramel-filled ones.