Sunday, May 31, 2009

a metaphor I'm playing with

In meditation class (the new introductory course is beginning June 10, I believe), Sister Ellie tells us to notice any thoughts we have, accept them without judgment, let go of them, and return to whichever support we using while meditating (like a rock or our breath).

At different times, I've had problems with different stages of this advice. At first I tried to ignore my thoughts until they just became too overwhelming that I had to yell "Ok! I notice you!" At those words they calm down. The other day I realized that I was having trouble accepting. I just wanted to get to the let go phase.

To help with this, and I could use some feedback on whether this sounds helpful, I used the image of a balloon. I imagined a balloon filled with all these thoughts/feelings/beliefs I have and I owned up to this balloon. I thought this balloon houses my thoughts. I accept my balloon. And then I imagined letting go of the balloon and I envisioned it flying all over the place. It seemed like freedom to me to say that I was and was not the balloon.

I've also been playing with balloon imagery in terms of love. I imagine love like blown-up balloons hanging all around us. This image doesn't really fit with the one above (although I wish I could force them to fit!). I picture love, like our breath, as just something we are immersed in and when we breath love out, it goes into a balloon. Sometimes those balloons are connected to specific people. But if those relationships end or change, you can't unblow the balloon. Instead, I just imagine it being set free to the universe. That way any type of love we have shared can never be a waste and it can never be undone; it goes on, untethered.

Also, this might sound so naive/simplistic as to be banal, but I realized such truth behind Walt Whitman's words (which I've quoted before):

And will never be any more perfection than there is now,
Nor any more heaven or hell than there is now.

I was thinking about love and thinking about the fear of being in a romantic relationship with a person you aren't supposed to be with (the fear being that someone who could love you better is currently running around writing love poems and growing incredible cute facial hair without you). I realized that love is and isn't dependent upon the person you are in a relationship with at the time. I realized that I want some kind of crazy big love and that I can't just sit around and wait for it to happen. Nor can I force it. So I've just been living it and have been having some good times with S, friends, and myself this weekend. Some kind of imaginary crazy big love can't just pop up out of nowhere--love, it seems to me, doesn't quite function like that. When we love and show love, it feels like an invitation to be who we truly are and, I think, it becomes an invitation to others. And when we're being ourselves, that's the crazy big love I'm talking about.

There really is "never any more perfection than there is now"!

Some Sadness

I just read this article, Kansas abortion physician killed. Dr. George Tiller, who had been performing abortions for 20 years, was shot and killed while he was at church today.

This is just so sad.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Morning Reflections (From the Futon)

The insane has happened and I've been awake since about 6:30. Ay. Em. So Argo and I went for our jog. I'm on week four of that plan I've been following (I've spent longer than a week on some stages, though), so that means I do a five minute walk, 3 minutes jog, 90 seconds walk, 5 minute jog, 2.5 minutes walk, 3 minutes jog, 90 seconds walk, and 5 minutes jog.

When I first did this on Thursday, I was so excited and proud of myself! My excitement helped make up for the fact that last week I measured my usually jogging route and it was just over 1.5 miles--I thought that was so lame. When I was jogging this morning, I was getting discouraged at a couple points because I told myself that I might be doing alright this week, but I'll never be able to step it up and do next week's plan. And then I amplified that and told myself that not only can I not do next week's stage, but I'll never be able to jog in a 5K, which is a goal I'm working towards.

I've had moments, in different situations, when I could really connect with my body and find refuge in it--moments when I could feel my own power as something that just existed, instead of forced.

I tried to find that on this morning's jog, and I just couldn't. When grasping, I'm not paying attention to what is actually happening. Reaching takes me out of the moment, and isn't it true that our only power is in this moment?

I got home and spent some time writing my morning pages, which I really find to be a valuable tool. I realized in that writing that I try to do everything at once, which probably explains why I get a little mopey in the morning, after I've been up for a bit. I usually wake up happy and then get grumpy--probably because I think of all the things I want to accomplish and then I feel overwhelmed and ineffective. I think, how can I be more productive today than yesterday? How can I do better?

It's that kind of thinking that used to be really helpful for me and it's still been helpful because it's allowed me this insight. But now it's just not that helpful anymore.

As another little example, I was thinking about my jog while I was showering, and thinking about how much happier I was when I thought I was jogging like 2-3 miles (instead of the mere 1.5, which, actually, has gone up a little this week. Not that it matters right now, though!). I thought of the phrase, "Ignorance is bliss!" Another way of saying that might be, "Delusion is gratifying!" And, sometimes it really is!

It reminded me of Brenda Anderson's weight-loss anecdote in Playing the Quantum Field. She recalls that one day she thought she had lost eleven pounds since she last weighed herself, so she took time to notice how loosely her clothes were fitting. She walked around with more confidence and she noticed people checking her out. Her job became easier to her, too. Then, when she went for an official weigh-in, she discovered she'd lost one pound, and not eleven.

She was so disheartened, but took from that story that you should envision what you want and then walk around and pretend like it's so. This is similar advice our college graduation speaker (whatever her name was) gave us: "Fake it 'til you make it."

I just think that's such a waste. Instead of feeling empowered in her body the way it was, Anderson could only feel empowered in the way she thought it was. We can imagine a lot of things about ourselves, but some things just aren't true. I think an eye towards the future is helpful, but happiness and contentment can only come now.

I read this blog this morning and found it to be really helpful: "Are You into 'Personal Growth?'"

I like having pictures on my blog, so I took some of my apartment as I sat down to write. Here's the view from the futon; the peace of it may not at all be conveyed, but that's what it feels like here! Love to you!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

An Overview of My Day

Not that anyone asked, but here's what I did today:

1. Woke up. Thought to myself, "It's probably super-late because I feel so well-rested. It's probably 1 pm. Well, I'll just need to accept that."

2. Looked at the clock--it was only 10:30! That's practically the crack of dawn!

3. I did other stuff that's boring to write about.

4. Went to the library and studied! And I actually love what I'm studying! And I had written this one scholar off, but I went back to her work and found some information on dissent and nation-building, which are some of my own interests! Moral: Courtney, quit acting like a know-it-all. In fact, just quit acting; it's a lot easier that way.

5. Read some of Dance of the Dissident Daughter, which Sassy gave me a few months ago. I like it a lot. (Thanks, m'dear!)

6. Ran some on-campus errands. I still need to register for classes, though, but Lorton is all blocked off; where is the grad school?

7. Studied some more.

8. Went to the grocery store and saw a man sporting a curly-ended mustache.

9. Ate half a bag of potato chips while watching Sarah Haskins videos.

10. Blogged while trying to build up umph to jog.

11. Evaluated umph. Guess I'll go jogging.

12. Win a medal for betting utterly awesome.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Declaration of Independence

So, I'm easing back into study-mode and reading American lit. I looked up the Declaration of Independence and just wanted to share it here (it's pretty inspiring).

A couple highlights:
"He [King George III] has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power."

Inner Voice (that bitch is a little creepy)

This morning as I was waking up and planning how I was going to spend my day, I was feeling pretty stressed. So many errands to run and things to take care of--not to mention ye olde studying, which I have endeavored to begin again.

As I was thinking about things and deciding to accept my circumstances and feelings, I heard my inner voice say, "I only want to help you!"

At first I thought, "great!" And then I though, "Who was that?" I haven't really had this experience before--this is weird. But damn if I'll say no to my own help, especially when I'm offering/insisting on helping.

Also, in the midst of me stressing out today, I was reminded of Brenda Anderson's words to "lighten up." It made me realize that I had spent all day without really smiling or laughing. What a waste!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Elders and Sotomayor

From a link in a NYT article (which was posted by a friend on Facebook) about Aung San Suu Kyi's trial, I came across this group called The Elders.

Comprised of Nelson Mandela, Graca Machel, Desmond Tut, Kofi Annan, Ela Bhatt, Lakhdar Brahimi, Gro Brundtland, Fernano Cardoso, Jimmy Carter, Mary Robinson, Muhammad Yunus, and Aung San Suu Kyi, The Elders work to promote peace around the world.

Just want to share!

And, also, hooray for Sonia Sotomayor's nomination!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

Both of my grandpas served in the military, and I've been thinking about them both, especially today. So I just want to honor them and share a little bit about them.

My dad's dad was in the navy. He met my grandma because she started writing to him while he was serving (I forget why she started writing to him in particular). When they were meeting for the first time, Grandma saw Grandpa walk up to the door and she said to her friends, "That's the man I'm going to marry."

Grandpa, after the navy, worked in a bakery in South Haven, Michigan. Bakery work meant he needed to be to work in the middle of the night, so he slept during the day. This left his son and daughter primarily under their mom's supervision; she did her best (I'm sure) to keep these two kids out of even more small town trouble.

Grandpa loves to garden and in South Haven the prize of his garden was his blueberry patch. He'd take us out to the backyard, which always seemed endless and expansive, and we'd cross a little bridge he'd made over the ravine and into the blueberries. We'd pick blueberries and then spend the rest of the day eating them.

Grandpa's green thumb extended to Arizona, where he and Grandma moved when they retired. He was always making things grow, despite harsh weather conditions.

Since Grandma's death nearly five years ago, Grandpa has made some choices that, I think, put him firmly in the category of "A Character." (These exploits we'll save for another day.)

My mom's dad served in the army during WWII, and he doesn't share a whole lot about the war. In fact, the only war story I remember him sharing is one that he told in the middle of a dinner I was having with him and my parents. Out of seemingly nowhere he tells us about a friend he had who snuck out at night to visit a hooker. When his friend returned, to avoid being caught by the patrolmen, (or on accident, I can't remember), fell into the latrines. I remember Grandpa telling the story as if he had no audience--it was just something that flashed in his brain. It's a hilarious story and it's even more endearing to me that one of the only war stories we have from Grandpa involves a prostitute.

Grandpa, while one of the crankiest people I know, is fiercely protective of his two daughters and thinks the world of my mom, in particular. His sense of how men should provide for their families, while old-fashioned and probably hypocritical (to some extent), colors his opinion of everyone he meets. Those who are good family men and who choose good family men are met with his approval; everyone else is met with either the cold shoulder or with some biting remark.

Grandpa has about five stock phrases to cover any occasion. One of my favorites was when we'd go to visit him and Grandma when I was a kid. Before my sisters and I crawled into bed Grandpa would say, "Don't let the bed bugs bite." One of my greatest moments of triumph was when I could say back to him the next line, which I had heard somewhere else, "And if they do, hit them with a shoe and say, 'I don't want to sleep with you.'" (Grandpa was not nearly as impressed with me as I was with myself.)

Whenever we'd visit him in Michigan, Grandpa would call us "Colorado hillbillies" and say that one of our legs was shorter than the other because we'd been walking around mountains. Now that he's lived with my parents for six years he still hates the mountains; "If you've seen one rock, you've seen 'em all." Grandpa was an avid fisherman and hunter and in Michigan he lived on a lake--his ideal place.

I have many fond stories of my Grandpa because I've the opportunity to get to know him as I've gotten older. To me, Grandpa is a great mesh of contradiction. He is viciously mean towards my dad, who helps support him, and has racist attitudes. Yet he would always bash George W. Bush with me and he adores my mom and is a good friend to the guys at the bar. He bitches about dog hair all day long, yet he gives treats to and cuddles the dogs. And, further, at 88 years old, he shows no sign of stopping.

Here's to these men, my family, who have served in the US military. It's my hope that soon we won't need a military.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Dog Days

So, like I mentioned in the previous post, I've been working on acceptance. This weekend that has meant accepting the notion that I just want to watch the tv show "Weeds" from my bed.

Since S is out of town, I'm watching Argo, who happens to be one of the cutest dogs ever. The cats are starting to accept him (which means that they just threaten to swat him, instead of actually swatting him). The beasts alternately snuggle with me and each other on the bed as I watch tv. Just as I try to get pictures, though, they move. [Super Sad Face.]

So, here's a picture of cute Argo:

Here's what happened when I asked Argo how he felt without his dad around. I feel similarly. Utter despondence:

The power of acceptance

I don't have confidence that this post will convey what I'm really trying to say. But, I'll try writing anyway; let's see where it takes us, ok?

I had a suspicion a couple weeks ago that I wasn't really seeing things clearly at all, so I asked for some help in trying to break through delusion and see things for the way they really are. This feels dumb to write because I haven't always been invested in truth (something I usually view as amorphous and relational). But, I did have a sense that I tend to explain things away, and even though I generally trust my sense of intuition and my readings of people, I realized that my explanations aren't always the full truth.

And not only aren't they the full truth, but they often prohibit me from genuinely connecting with the people around me. Too often I get a sense of what someone is feeling/thinking, and then I try to make them feel better or do what I can to help them without really taking them on their own terms or engaging with them in what they are experiencing.

I tend to want to fix, which is a form of nonacceptance. So I've been trying to accept things without the expectation of feeling good or better. I've realized that I place a high value on feeling good--I get attached to it. So when I don't feel good, I think there's a problem. Well, there are no problems--just things to work on/pay attention to.

Here's some quotes (some of which I've shared before) that have been influencing my thinking lately:
"You do not have to be good / . . . / You only have to let the soft animal of your body / love what it loves" ("Wild Geese," Mary Oliver)

"As everyone can find from their own experience, we learn in the stillness and silence to accept ourselves as we are. This sounds very strange to modern ears . . . [to those] who have been brought up to practice so much anxious striving: 'Shouldn't I be ambitious? What if I'm a bad person, shouldn't I desire to be better?'" (The Way of Unknowing, John Main)

"If you've been struggling with fat for years, here's another safe bet: You spend far more time feeling anxious tension than total relaxation. To get and stay thin, you must reverse that balance. . . . You cannot force this brain state into being. Doggedly thinking 'loving thoughts' while beholding your own cellulite creates a rebound effect that will have you drinking chocolate syrup right from the bottle. . . . It's ["observ[ing] your self-loathing thoughts"] like hiring Cesar Millan to train your inner schnauzer: Peaceful presence triggers the calm brain state that allows permanent weight loss." ("The Easier Way to Diet," Martha Beck)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A Quote

"If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep on walking." (A Buddhist saying?)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


For an upcoming book club meeting, we're reading What Would You Do If You Had No Fear?. If you're interested in reading it, too, then do it and join in the book club discussion! We aren't meeting until September.

The title of this book alone is reason to be intrigued. Unless you happen to be more pragmatic, like S, who responded, "You'd be dead by the time you were eight." Um, thanks, dear. ;)

I have a general sense (which is to say a long, handwritten list) of things I want to do and I can see how fear holds me back. Yesterday, though, I noticed the little ways in which fear holds me back. So, a little example:

I've always enjoyed running, even though I've always been slow and awful at it. And by "enjoy" I also mean "hate with a passion." Every few years or so I decide I should take up running. The past few weeks I've been walking/jogging and have been feeling a lot more freedom to just enjoy myself and let this time be my own. A time to get out of my head or get wrapped up in my thoughts--a time to just be myself and notice or ignore whatever I want to notice or ignore. It feels easier for me to do this while jogging because I already know that I'm an imperfect jogger; it's easier for me to let things be when I already know I'm making mistakes.

The plan I'm following sets times/distances to jog and then walk. Yesterday the goal was to jog for three minutes a couple of times. During my last three minute span, I noticed I was going a lot slower even though I wasn't very tired. I realized then that I was afraid that I'd be too tired by the end of the three minutes if I didn't start slowly. Fear prevented me from pushing and trusting my body--fascinating! Once I noticed this, I still jogged slowly (in part because I got cranky and tired of fucking jogging (who does this?) and in part because I was jogging up a hill, a fucking hill, I tell you). But tomorrow I want to take a little action to jog faster and see what happens.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Control and Awe

I realized (yet again) how insidious my belief in my own control is--I think I can control everything that I hold most dear. Learning to give up the illusion of control is opening me up to a sense of awe and joy. I say to myself: Look at all these things that exist that I had nothing to do with! Look at how complexly everything and everyone relates to each other! Pulling at a thread here makes you think you have control, but you just don't know what else that thread is connected to (even when you think you do, my dear).

So speaking of awe, I'm posting another picture from the hike M and I took the other day. I tried to get this spider's web; this isn't the best picture, but it's a reminder of the web of things. (Mission to end with a cheesy metaphor: Accomplished.)

Monday, May 18, 2009

After a weekend of (mild to moderate) crankiness, some insight

Due in no small part to rejuvenating conversations I had with Sassafras, M, and my littlest sister yesterday, in conjunction with S's insight on eating, I have some important realizations today!

I was perceiving other men's anger this weekend and I was trying not to fix it (a new step for me) and I was trying to stay with myself. Meanwhile, though, I was getting angry at their anger; I was judging it as immature. I was trying to not act angry or act out of anger, but my anger was still present, stifled just below the surface.

I realized this anger was connected to fear. I was afraid that these people, with their anger, didn't care about me or my feelings. I started to wonder if I had any outlets; I was afraid that I would never be able to express how I truly felt without escalating the anger, offending the other person, or making the other person feel defensive.

I realized today that my needs are actually pretty simple and minimal. They start to feel giant when I feel afraid. It's pretty simple to take a moment for myself and recognize how I feel and then keep going. Feelings, like Sister Ellie says, are impermanent and they don't necessarily mean anything. In Anger, Thich Naht Hanh writes that in any situation you encounter, any number of people would respond in different ways. That is, the way I respond in a situation isn't necessarily the way someone else would respond.

Remembering this the other day jolted me out of a feeling of righteousness. Or, well, it jolted me into recognizing my feeling of righteousness. When I feel anger, I tend to believe I'm entitled to it, and that's when I seek for someone to justify these feelings. Otherwise I feel abandoned, I suppose. And when I'm angry, but try not to show it, I feel even more justified, and like a martyr. And then I especially seek out approval and validation!

I feel a big twinge of shame as I write this! It feels good to acknowledge what's happening, but I regret that I have behaved this way over the course of many years and relationships!

What is helping me is to notice how much better it feels to help others once I have the knowledge that I am taken care of.

This connects to eating, for me, because it helps me notice when I feel full. S is trying to stop eating when he's full, and I am trying that, too. (Which is probably another reason why I've been cranky this weekend--I'm trying to change some ingrained eating habits.) I notice that I just don't need to eat as much during each meal as I think I do.

When I can stop eating when I'm full (instead of viewing extra food as a reward or a comfort), I trust myself just a little more. And when I can trust myself, I can let go and trust others. It also helps me pay attention to myself. And then I notice that just a little bit of my own attention can go a long way; this opens up some time to add my energy to what's actually around me.

(I must say that I'm pretty proud of myself for noticing this--it feels like a big deal!)

Sri Lankan Civil War Declared Over

The NYT just announced that the civil war in Sri Lanka has ended.

The article, and readers' comments, mentions how the situation in Sri Lanka is still volatile. Also, apparently the Sri Lankan government does not allow independent reporters in the country.

Nancy Pelosi

What's up with her? When did she know what about waterboarding?

Q: What do about 10 trillion ticks have in common?

A: My body. GROSS!

Michael and I went hiking on Friday--hooray! We completed twelve miles (yeah, we're hardcore). Here are some images (but none of my bug-bitten body; I'm still so itchy!):

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Pakistan and torture and anger and peace and activism and John Lennon and such

Here's an article on the drone attacks in Pakistan that I have yet to read; I put it here because I've been trying to keep an eye out for more information on the attacks in Pakistan.

This morning Argo and I were watching CSPAN coverage of a Senate committee hearing on torture. I was dismayed and outraged when Sen. Lindsey Gram was saying that there was reason waterboarding survived the centuries . . . because it worked.

He wasn't advocating waterboarding, yet he was against trying those who committed these acts of torture as criminals. Meanwhile, some punk from Texas (can't remember his name, and I'm too lazy to look it up right now) was saying that waterboarding wasn't torture.

Um, what?

The hearing closed with the head of the committee quoting a military interrogator as saying that torture doesn't work. Instead, relationship-building does. Well, yeah. Torturing someone is still having a relationship them--it's just not a healthy, beneficial relationship.

I've kinda been in a funk this weekend (when not sleeping, that is). I have felt others' anger and haven't known what to do about it and my own anger that has arisen. So my mind spins and I guess I'm just trying to not do anything about it--how foreign! Just writing that gives me a big knot in my stomach, and it also makes me smile!

I mention my own funk because it seems to related to these questions of torture. I have an idealized way of the way things should be (we shouldn't torture, people shouldn't be angry, I shouldn't be angry), but that's just not how things are. And then, like Sen. Gram, I spin and spin and try to figure out why things are happening.

So I'm reminded of just trying to get out of the whole cycle. Of just accepting and just being.

Last week S and I watched "The U.S. Vs. John Lennon" and I was reminded of ways in which activism can just feed into the cycle of anger. I adore John Lennon, but I couldn't help but think that his own anger is what fueled his dissent. And anger is part of the problem.

I notice this from the movie because I notice my own anger here with this blog. And how much of my anger propels me to write? I feel so frustrated right now, actually! How do we notice awful things without getting caught up in them with anger?! How to drop expectations? (Expectations that our government officials won't torture other humans on down to smaller expectations.)

Practice, I suppose.

Returning to a place of non-judgement, I suppose.

(This post was written with the help of LZ, who is at once my baby boy and a complete bully. Is nothing pure?!)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Tallgrass Prairie: Revisited!

This video isn't very clear, but look--it contains a baby bison running! Too cute!


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Wanda Sykes

Michael brought this to my attention yesterday--much thanks! For anyone who hasn't seen it already, you must watch Wanda Sykes at the White House Correspondent's dinner. She's SO FUNNY!

Mirror Meditation

Tonight's meditation class was great; Sister Ellie asked us to look in a mirror for about a minute and a half and use our image as a support (instead of a rock or our breath, etc.). It was so fascinating! I'm not a meditation teacher by any means, but try looking at yourself in the mirror without getting caught up in the various judgments that arise--it's really difficult.

I found a whole lotta delusion while looking at my reflection. It's taking time for me to see what actually exists and to pay attention to what is actually in front of me. It's a lot easier for me to halfway acknowledge what's happening and then to paint a rosy picture over what I don't like. And then to explain and analyze what is going on.

Where is the silence? The assessing? The observing?

It's so difficult for me to not do anything. It's my gut instinct to delve into difficulties and to find difficulties when they don't even exist. For whatever reasons difficulty has felt comfortable to me. So, here's to stepping back and acting out of what Brenda Anderson in Playing the Quantum Field calls a neutral space.

Women and Politics

I found this blog entry, "On Elizabeth Edwards," by Melissa Harris-Lacewell to be pretty damn great.

Something I Learned From My Dad

\\// /

(Live long and prosper. Hee hee, Dad!)

S and I saw the Star Trek movie the other night. Not that I'm a fan of Star Trek, but I liked the movie. The experience of watching the movie and being in a largely male audience (and talking about masculinity and sexuality with S) made me think of biological differences between genders.

For some reason biology is just kind of blowing me away. How much does testosterone make people like big explosions and such? I submit, a lot. And then I wonder how much testosterone makes people value being grandiose and the best? When it comes to movies, for example, whose idea was it to create the Academy Awards? What really makes something the best? I always viewed this as competition, but now I just wonder if it's an off-shoot of testosterone. I know it's more complicated than biology, but whatever. That's just a thought I had.

So, testosteroney people, have your competitions and big explosions. I find them entertaining and fascinating at times, too. But they aren't the only thing out there.

\\// /,

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

I took these bison pictures for you, Mom. I love you!

P.S.: Here's that link I was telling you about on the phone. It's written by Sara!

Tallgrass Prairie and Gratitude!

S, Argo, and I went to the Tallgrass Prairie yesterday--it was fabulous! This was my third time to be there and I think it was the most beautiful because all the wildflowers were in bloom. I'm usually not one to take a lot of pictures, but Mom and Dad bought me a camera for my birthday. So yesterday was my first time using it, and look, now I have some pictures!

Sending you some prairie love!

Tadpoles! (Or, baby frogs!)

Friday, May 8, 2009

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates Can Lick My Balls

I'm not in the mood for this: for the first time the US is (finally) taking responsibility for civilian deaths during US air raids on Afghanistan. US Defense Secretary Robert Gates states, however:
“exploiting civilian casualties and often causing civilian casualties are a fundamental part” of the insurgents’ strategy.

(From this NYT article.)
Great strategy--the US will apologize for the deaths we caused, but then say that only terrorists care about these deaths.

Um, what?

War casualties are everyone's business, and we need to know about them so that they can be stopped and not merely apologized for or blamed on someone else.

Pity Party Friday

Last night I got bit by a dog--waah! It was dark outside and I was jogging/walking and a dog darted off a porch and bit the inside of my left knee. The bite pierced the skin and created a large bruise/welt. Oh the pain! ;) I'm going to go to the minor emergency center this afternoon; I could use some pity until then.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

War in Sri Lanka

I have to admit that I didn't know Sri Lanka was in the midst of a civil war. Here's a heartbreaking article on people fleeing and being stranded in the Indian Ocean for nine days. People died, but, as a ray of hope, an eight-month-old baby survived.


For reasons known and unknown, I'm feeling a little wonky. Yes, wonky. I thought I knew what was up with my personal boundaries, and now they all seem out-of-whack. Yes, out-of-whack. I have a whole list of things that "should" get done, and I was spinning my wheels (yes, spinning my wheels) thinking of ways to get it all done.

New motto that seems to allow me to take stock (yes, take stock) while also not be so hard on myself with all the shoulds: Is my house in order?

Well, this is less a motto and more a question. But, if the answer's no, then I can do whatever I want to get my house in order. That is, there's a goal instead of just behaviors that either link-up or not. And, too, I think this will help me notice my resistance and to stop analyzing everything. And to stop creating the illusion that something magical exists at the end of whatever to-do list I've created for myself.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Wants and Reality

I just ran this thought by some girlfriends, and I don't think I can articulate this in whole sentences again (not like I really did that in the first place, though). I'll try to make a point, here, though:

Feminism: has helped articulate that women haven't been encouraged to pursue their dreams

Patriarchy: describes a system that values men's work and ideas over women's work and ideas

Feminism: has helped show how patriarchy is just as harmful to men as women

Feminism: has helped women give voice to their desires and the fact that they even have desires

Patriarchy: has not always helped men follow their desires or to even name their desires

Patriarchy: has tended to convince men they should be stable, responsible, problem-solvers instead of pursuers of their own dreams

Women of a younger generation: tend to feel a little more open in pursuing their dreams than previous generations of women

Me: a woman of a younger generation

My previous partners: not women of a younger generation

I partner with: men of a younger generation

Men of a younger generation: can they name what they want?

Me: paying attention to the world without always wanting to fix it

Men: tend to want to fix everything they hear about

Me: learning not to desensitize myself to the world

My partner: an owner of a tv and of movies and video games

My partner: a self-proclaimed escaper of reality

My partner: not an idiot

My partner: not wanting me to lump him into a group with apathetic people

My partner: feeling peeved when he perceives me as lumping him into a group of apathetic, thoughtless people

Me: asking if my partner is angry at me

My partner: no, he's not angry, he's peeved

My partner: trained, perhaps, to not give into his wants

My partner: trained, perhaps by patriarchy, to not want what he doesn't need

Me: learning that you can't ignore wants

Me: sometimes feeling unwanted

Me: knowing I look pretty good on paper

Me: sometimes feeling pretty unpretty in real life

Me: realizing why I sometimes feel like an accidental lover

Me: feeling more comfortable naming what I want

Me: partnering as a way to learn more about what I want

Me: encouraging my partners and previous partners to discover and pursue what they want

Me: sending love

Saturday, May 2, 2009

I hate scary movies . . .

. . . so I can't let that horrifying picture below be at the top of my blog. So here's something else I was thinking about yesterday.

To my utter non-surprise but deep embarrassment, I didn't know there was a Justice Souter; so, now that he's retiring, I've learned a little bit about him. A minor point to the whole debate about the Supreme Court, but I read this article and it bothers me that there is a connection between passion and bias:
"Obama's own record and rhetoric make clear that he will seek left-wing judicial activists who will indulge their passions, not justices who will make their rulings with dispassion," said Ed Whelan, president of the conservative Ethics and Public Policy Center.

How about this: passion and open-mindedness?

I'm starting to believe that we're doing everyone a disservice if we don't show our passions. Of course our passions may not line up, but if you deny that you even have interests, then I'm not going to trust you. And that's going to be a lot worse than if we can be open about our disagreements. I'm starting to think that those who are open about what they love, even if they love something completely and resolutely ridiculous (something that would be the opposite of, say, O, The Oprah Magazine), can be more open to other people's loves. How many times do you note to yourself or to other people that you love someone else's passion about something, even if you don't like that thing s/he is passionate about? All the time, right?!

Okay, hopefully this has been enough distraction from The Exorcist.

Jeni's Going Away Party, In Math Form

What does this:

plus this:


Only the best thing I have ever seen in my entire life--a drag rendition of Celion Dion's "It's All Coming Back to Me Now." YES! FOR REAL!

The Majestic had the Midwest Entertainer of the Year (or something like that) contest last night. So there were drag queens and pop divas aplenty--hooray! The woman who won spliced the Celion Dion song with snippets from The Exorcist. The performance began with two other people, a priest and the mother, lipsynching to dialogue from the movie. They walk to a bed that is on stage where the main performer has been hiding under the covers. She comes out, lipsynching to dialogue from the movie, with green paint running down her chin and on the front of her outfit. After some dialogue, there's a puff of smoke then the song starts! It was at first so confusing, but then the song continues as she acts out the exorcism--so inventive and fun!

Who knew gay men were so artsy and creative? ;)

Friday, May 1, 2009

Goddamn Insanity

Dear ones, out of all things crazy, listen to this: I am wearing a swimsuit to feel good about myself. In fact, I have a whole beach ensemble now (see below). (It's officially May--who's going to take me to the lake?! And when?!)

I mention the bathing suit business because I've had a few good conversations about parenting (parenting girls, in particular). Our poor mothers want so badly to spare their daughters from insecurity and emotional pain. Impossible! I propose that perhaps success is when a daughter can parade around with some sense of confidence in a bathing suit. And success is when our mothers can parade around with a sense of confidence in their own bathing suits.