in with the in crowd

so apparently the politics of fear is a popular means of governance these days. i guess in some parts of the world, it always has been (the former soviet union, the current post-soviet states, china, cuba, the middle east…) but now…we have it in ukraine…again.

apparently, american politics of fear could be worse…at least our leader hasn’t taken complete control of the military in the name of national security.

yet.

beer bubbles, two mommies and no more books

so i was in borders tonight perusing the headlines of the n&o and on the front page (near the bottom left) was an article about beer bubbles. it seems that a mathematician and a scientist got together and worked out the formula for why beer bubbles change size. really? that’s how we are spending our time and energy? that’s where all the creative talent is going? what’s it going to take to really channel that into, oh, i don’t know, renewable energy sources? alternative fuel sources? a viable plan for healthcare? a viable plan for immigration? come on!

and i was at work today and a mom dropped her 2 children off at the beginning of the day. well, one of her children caught sight of another woman and said “that’s my mommy.” at the end of the day, mommy #1 came over and, as the children were saying good-bye to me, she introduced their “other” mommy. my first thought went to the whole surrogate, everyone has 5 “mommies” line of thinking. you know…there’s mom and then there are the other women in our lives who serve somewhat of a maternal function. it hit me about 30 seconds later…this other woman really is the other mommy. wow. i’m not really sure what to do with all of that…still in a little bit of shock at how nonchalant the whole thing was. i know that happens…i know it does…and i’m really not terribly uncomfortable with it…well, maybe a little…just because i haven’t really been around that aspect of homosexuality as much. it was just an interesting moment in my life.

and now for the biggie…

i made a decree tonight that i was not going to buy books for myself until i finished my ph.d. (the caveat of course being the books i need for school and the like…professional reading, so to speak). i figure that i have enough on my shelves to read to keep me busy while i’m in school…and then there’s always the library. i’m just trying not to think of this as a 5-year lent experience. it may serve as a powerful motivator…

so.

incidentally, just because i’m not buying books for myself doesn’t mean you all can’t…the amazon wish list is still in existence.

brains and guts

i was part of a conversation last week about men, women, gender roles and stereotypes and the discussion went to the fact that men tend to stay in the intellect and women tend to stay in the gut (it is the truer seat of emotion, folks) and never the twain shall meet, either internally or externally. it’s simply not ok to do so. ironically enough, the convergence of the two is where each of us becomes wholly one.

it hit me (as the undertow often does) that i (and yes i am still a woman) have spent much of the last three years in my intellect way more than my gut. those who don’t know me well are surprised to find out that i am a feeler on the MBTI. anyway. it occurred to me that probably the reason for that is this: it’s what helps me get through the day. honestly, if i stayed in my gut, i’d be an emotional pool on the floor more often than not. and while i am much more willing to be the weepy chick (thanks tm), i’m pretty tired of feeling the pain.

waiting on the world to change

so gas prices are at an all time high…the highest ever, including adjusting for inflation. we close refineries (note the plural there) to do routine maintenance and they can’t produce enough gas for the rest of us. and the gas companies are making money hand over fist. how convenient. how clever. how stupid.

and of course they have us over a barrel (no pun intend…who am i kidding? yes it was). we have to put gas in our cars so we can drive to work to make the money to drive to the malls to spend the money to boost our semi-circular economy (which doesn’t really boost anything) and to go back to the pumps to spend our money to put gas in our car to drive to work to make the money to buy the things and go back to the pump…

does anyone else feel like a caged rodent on a shiny metal wheel?

when will it matter? when will we really pay attention to the world around us and all that is within it and see the need to make a difference? i can’t do that…the problems are too big…the problems are too scary…i just can’t. well, we better start. global warming is no joke. war is no joke. poverty, hunger, genocide are no laughing matters. immigration really does exist. quality, affordable health care is not a punch line. yet here we are sitting in a place that has the resources and the people power and the brains to do something about all of the above.
unfortunately, as i write this, the aforementioned slumber. we don’t have imagination because no one calls for it…because we are too caught up in the rodent wheel…because we are too blissfully ignorant to want to pay attention. it’s easier this way.

but it’s not.

it’s going to take imagination on a grand scale for us to get out of this mess. and the scary part is, as i look around, i’m more afraid that we are going to have to keep on waiting for the world to change and wait for the day when “our generation is going to rule the population” and maybe then we’ll make some strides. i just hope we can do it before it’s too late.

my abbey greensboro

two weeks ago, i attended a dinner for a friend who is leaving his current place of ministry to embark on something completely new and different. as i listened to him talk about his next stretch of ministry, i couldn’t help but feel jealous of those who would be an integral part of it. the very thing for which he has been searching in regards (and response) to institutional ministry is the very think in which i seek. it is also a bold and courageous move, leaving the stability of a full-time job with a full-time paycheck that supports not only him, but also his wife and 2 children. at the same time, he is an example of someone being true to his self, to who he really is deep down. it’s that act of being true to himself that made him say to his wife one day (about a year ago) “i can’t do this anymore.”

(truth be told, some days i am waiting to hear the same thing from my own husband)

it was a wonderful dinner and chance to catch up with him as well as some other people whom i had not seen for months or years.

the next day, i drove to greensboro for the express purpose of having lunch with another dear friend (which i think was a pleasant surprise for him). we caught up on our lives and families and our conversation turned to my work at the hospital last year…how that was the hardest thing i’d ever done and yet the most transformational. and we talked about my grief and his wife’s grief and how that plays out as we adjust to the “new normal.”

i did take advantage of the locale to stop by my favorite coffee shop and get a cup of coffee, hoping to see some old friends there, too, but settled for the solitude of my glorious fair trade certified cup of decaf, the jazz that floated on the air and the eclectic groupings of art that hung on the walls.

and then, just as quickly as i’d gone there, i left. i regretted not having more time to be there, to really soak it all in and recharge–for every time i go i feel a little more grounded…part of it is nostalgia and the longing for a much simpler time. part of it is getting in touch with who i really am, as i started to become there. it is my place, where i embarked on the life that i built for myself, even if it was only for a few short years. it was, and i think still is, everything i need it to be.

ban mother’s day from church

ok, so it’s a week after mother’s day and this probably should have been posted earlier. at the same time, it will be another 51 weeks before it comes back around and that’s plenty of time for church-goers to take note: for a LARGE number of people, mother’s day SUCKS. you have women who long to be mothers and are incapable of conceiving a child. you have women who are mothers but they have lost a child. you have women who don’t have a good relationship with their mothers. daughters without mothers, grandmothers who are widows and go home alone, women struggling to find a maternal presence or role and are left lacking. but will the oldest and youngest mothers among you please stand up? and please present your babies for dedication or your children for baptism.

for those of us who fall into any of those categories, please don’t make us suffer anymore than we already do. mother’s day takes an inordinate amount of energy on our part (should we choose to actually go to church or any neighborhood hallmark starting around april fool’s day) to try to be happy and cheery and yay mother’s day. even more so when no one even acknowledges how hard that day is for so many people.

granted, there are many women who delight in mother’s day. there are many special things done for that occasion, and, if you have a wonderful mother you should find ways to honor her. but it’s like valentine’s day. do we really need to set a day apart to honor mom? shouldn’t we be doing that everyday, multiple times a day? assuming, once again, that you have a mom you’d like to honor. (we do that a lot in church…assume…and put on the happy, cheery, yay face.)

incidentally, the same can be said for father’s day, veteran’s day, memorial day, and most holidays and special occasions. if we are going to acknowledge those occasions (and i’m not saying it’s inherently bad that we do so), we need to acknowledge those for whom it’s not a good day as well.