Sunday, January 4, 2009
Not so today, nothing like a little Every Man for Himself Syndrome to get me all fired up and ready to say something about it. I've had two not so rewarding conversations today, one with a do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do parent who believes very strongly in accountability as it applies to other people's children, but, eh, not so much as it applies to his own offspring. The other conversation (as fate would always have it) with our most popular Mr. A, who is always a delightful conversationalist as long as pretty much everything is going his way.
After my disappointment had worn off over the complete and utter waste of the 30 minutes of futility that I wasted on Mr. Crappy-but-oh-so-well-meaning parent, I get a small breather and (like a lamb to the slaughter)forge right into another dissatisfying verbal exercise but with a sprinkling of paranoid delusion as a chaser.
The first guy, father of one of my daughter's friends, believes that somehow his daughter's current possession of Dominique's $300 coat adequately makes up for the fact that his daughter has failed to retrieve her own $80 coat from friends of the two girls, who still probably wear her coat to this day. The fact that Dominique does not have his daughter's coat, nor has she had it at any time in the past 9 months, and that his princess has seen it on another girl's body multiple times and failed to retrieve it means nothing to him. All he knows (or is capable of processing at this time) is that Dom had it at one time and that his daughter doesn't currently have it. All attempts at reasoning with him, or even bringing him up to a common level of communication, were exercises in complete and utter futility. I could have shucked my eyeballs with an oyster spoon and felt more successful. I did offer to pay for half of the replacement value of his daughter's coat and he so graciously offered to 'divide the baby' (biblically speaking of course) and give me back half of Dom's coat. (thank goodness he offered while I had only HALFWAY shucked my eyeballs)
Anyway, *sigh*, on to number two. My attempt at making sure that my line of communication regarding visitation was still reasonably open. I call Mr. A; say hey Mr. A, I just want to make sure that we are on the same page here, I've gone over December's calendar and it looks like we are on track for you for this coming weekend, does this sound right? ...*grumble grumble grumble*... I am in bed, *grumble, grumble*.... (did I mention it is 5 pm?) I say, well can you go look at a calendar? NO... *grumble, grumble*... at this point some rude and unnecessary things are said to me about my fears of messing up my weekends with my boyfriend, now his weekends are all messed up, blah, blah, blah, I say, no - I just want to make sure we are on the same page.... Anyway, long story short he calls back in 20 seconds (after checking his calendar) and very sweetly says, yes, you are right, this coming weekend is mine. I say, wow, were all of those rude things that you said really necessary? (why do I have to open my mouth? I should have just accepted the gift of acquiescence at face value and left it alone) He goes off on a 'what-are-you-talking-about-rude-are-you-recording-this' tirade and then *click*. End of conversation.
And so I am left asking myself, as I do more and more lately, what ever happened to the 'do the right thing' principle? Seriously, it seems that the world is increasingly filled with people who've just thrown integrity out the window and adopted the motto of do the right thing, but only if there is something to be gained from it. I've tried to hold myself to the golden rule standard as much as possible throughout my adult life, and I suffer from a very healthy sense of guilt when I do not. (I know Mandy can relate to this because she can't even sleep if she has an unpaid fine at the library) I admit that I am not always successful, but I refuse to adopt the screw or be screwed attitude that is growing all around us at an alarming rate.
I am a strong believer in both Karma and a higher power and I am resolved to continue to try to teach my children that the best course of action is to choose according to your conscience, even when you have nothing to gain or even something to lose. Especially when some of their closest role models chose otherwise. At times, especially now, I feel like I am fighting an uphill battle in a blizzard with an picnic knife instead of a sword, but that is what we are required to do when we sign on as parents, right? As hard as it is to deal with the drivel of those who are small-minded, paranoid, and probably have to delude themselves at the ultimate cost of eventually losing who they are to their unnatural crusades for personal gain, I will not compromise my integrity for my own personal gain. I won't. I won't. I won't.
(I know, that was a rant)
Life is so damn good and so damn rewarding and so damn fulfilling when you just DO THE RIGHT THING.
OK, time for some tea.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Well, I'll start.
I have officially graduated college. After starting 6 years ago at a small community college in a suburb of San Diego, I have finally earned my degree at a major university in Seattle. I have a habit of downplaying my accomplishments because I know there's always someone who has overcome more and gone farther. I tend to make my big milestones into small pebbles.
I've promised not to do that this time.
Returning to college as an adult is very difficult. I had to relearn how to study and re-prioritize my life. I also had to try to overcome my fear of failure (I never actually managed this). I was married when I started school, but went through a divorce, two major interstate moves, unemployment woes, and holding several jobs while attending classes. My grades dropped dramatically during the divorce and this fractured my confidence. I came close to dropping out of school despite my student loan debt load and time I had already put in. I collapsed. Completely.
I fell into an emotional and mental pit that was deep and dark and lonely. I had to call on friends to keep me alive........literally. I locked myself in my room on more than one occasion because I was making plans to have the cats taken care of because I didn't plan to stick around in this life. It was scary. It was real.
Now, I'm the most strong and confident woman I've ever been. I crawled out of that place in my life, applied myself, regained my confidence, fought with myself........I made it. :-) My GPA isn't what it should be but I'm learning to live with that. I finished with great grades in my major, though. I can take comfort in that. I have done something no one else in my family has done and what I didn't think I could do for a while. I have learned a lot about myself and what I'm passionate about. My major was difficult and my life was difficult.............and it was all for the best.
It's been over six years. Six years that I wouldn't trade for anything...........okay, parts of it I would trade. *wink*
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Olbermann: Gay marriage is a question of love
Finally tonight as promised, a Special Comment on the passage, last week, of Proposition Eight in California, which rescinded the right of same-sex couples to marry, and tilted the balance on this issue, from coast to coast.
Some parameters, as preface. This isn't about yelling, and this isn't about politics, and this isn't really just about Prop-8. And I don't have a personal investment in this: I'm not gay, I had to strain to think of one member of even my very extended family who is, I have no personal stories of close friends or colleagues fighting the prejudice that still pervades their lives.
And yet to me this vote is horrible. Horrible. Because this isn't about yelling, and this isn't about politics. This is about the human heart, and if that sounds corny, so be it.
If you voted for this Proposition or support those who did or the sentiment they expressed, I have some questions, because, truly, I do not understand. Why does this matter to you? What is it to you? In a time of impermanence and fly-by-night relationships, these people over here want the same chance at permanence and happiness that is your option. They don't want to deny you yours. They don't want to take anything away from you. They want what you want—a chance to be a little less alone in the world.
Only now you are saying to them—no. You can't have it on these terms. Maybe something similar. If they behave. If they don't cause too much trouble. You'll even give them all the same legal rights—even as you're taking away the legal right, which they already had. A world around them, still anchored in love and marriage, and you are saying, no, you can't marry. What if somebody passed a law that said you couldn't marry?
I keep hearing this term "re-defining" marriage. If this country hadn't re-defined marriage, black people still couldn't marry white people. Sixteen states had laws on the books which made that illegal in 1967. 1967.
The parents of the President-Elect of the United States couldn't have married in nearly one third of the states of the country their son grew up to lead. But it's worse than that. If this country had not "re-defined" marriage, some black people still couldn't marry black people. It is one of the most overlooked and cruelest parts of our sad story of slavery. Marriages were not legally recognized, if the people were slaves. Since slaves were property, they could not legally be husband and wife, or mother and child. Their marriage vows were different: not "Until Death, Do You Part," but "Until Death or Distance, Do You Part." Marriages among slaves were not legally recognized.
You know, just like marriages today in California are not legally recognized, if the people are gay.
And uncountable in our history are the number of men and women, forced by society into marrying the opposite sex, in sham marriages, or marriages of convenience, or just marriages of not knowing, centuries of men and women who have lived their lives in shame and unhappiness, and who have, through a lie to themselves or others, broken countless other lives, of spouses and children, all because we said a man couldn't marry another man, or a woman couldn't marry another woman. The sanctity of marriage.
How many marriages like that have there been and how on earth do they increase the "sanctity" of marriage rather than render the term, meaningless?
What is this, to you? Nobody is asking you to embrace their expression of love. But don't you, as human beings, have to embrace... that love? The world is barren enough.
It is stacked against love, and against hope, and against those very few and precious emotions that enable us to go forward. Your marriage only stands a 50-50 chance of lasting, no matter how much you feel and how hard you work.
And here are people overjoyed at the prospect of just that chance, and that work, just for the hope of having that feeling. With so much hate in the world, with so much meaningless division, and people pitted against people for no good reason, this is what your religion tells you to do? With your experience of life and this world and all its sadnesses, this is what your conscience tells you to do?
With your knowledge that life, with endless vigor, seems to tilt the playing field on which we all live, in favor of unhappiness and hate... this is what your heart tells you to do? You want to sanctify marriage? You want to honor your God and the universal love you believe he represents? Then Spread happiness—this tiny, symbolic, semantical grain of happiness—share it with all those who seek it. Quote me anything from your religious leader or book of choice telling you to stand against this. And then tell me how you can believe both that statement and another statement, another one which reads only "do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
You are asked now, by your country, and perhaps by your creator, to stand on one side or another. You are asked now to stand, not on a question of politics, not on a question of religion, not on a question of gay or straight. You are asked now to stand, on a question of love. All you need do is stand, and let the tiny ember of love meet its own fate.
You don't have to help it, you don't have it applaud it, you don't have to fight for it. Just don't put it out. Just don't extinguish it. Because while it may at first look like that love is between two people you don't know and you don't understand and maybe you don't even want to know. It is, in fact, the ember of your love, for your fellow person just because this is the only world we have. And the other guy counts, too.
This is the second time in ten days I find myself concluding by turning to, of all things, the closing plea for mercy by Clarence Darrow in a murder trial.
But what he said, fits what is really at the heart of this:"I was reading last night of the aspiration of the old Persian poet, Omar-Khayyam," he told the judge. It appealed to me as the highest that I can vision. I wish it was in my heart, and I wish it was in the hearts of all: So I be written in the Book of Love; I do not care about that Book above. Erase my name, or write it as you will, So I be written in the Book of Love."
Thursday, November 6, 2008
I'm an addict.
I'm addicted to the high I get from ingesting news coverage from around the world.
News about our elections and President Elect Obama.
It has been so long since the world has said to us "Welcome America. Have a seat."
It has been so long since I could look at one of the leaders of this country and smile.
It has been so long since good news has graced our media.
It has been so long since progress was made (granted we still have a long way to go.......Prop 8 passed and needs to be overturned for starters)
It has been so long since America has had a leader of any kind who stirred passion and action out of our collective apathy.
It has been so long since the people of this country have risen up and joined forces to effect change.
It has been so long since the American people dared to hope for something better.
This wave of cheers and smiles and pride has been a drug to me. One that I don't want to give up. I am bathing in the fix I get and wake up in the morning jonesing for more.............I'm printing speeches, saving video, hunting for pictures, emailing articles.........desperately trying to preserve this moment so I have record of the day when it all turned around. I want to have solid, tangible displays to show in 50 years when a random schoolchild asks me "Where were you when.........."
Young man, I was beaming and crying tears of joy. Let me show you why................
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
I'm more than willing to go to the brink again and again, as long as it comes in the end. That is all I care about.
Come change, come.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
I'm actually bursting with pride right now.
It's been a while since I felt this way about my country of birth. The actions of the past 8 years have left me very disillusioned with the U.S and I couldn't remember a time when I had some national pride.
Well, tonight the memories are starting to come back. As I watch history unfold I can't help but smile. Not just because the candidate I voted for and supported is on his way to the White House as the first African American president.............but because there is a rare unity in this country at this very moment. Black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, young, old, men, women.....all actually coming together for a common cause. Now, there are those who are in the other camp. You can see them in the McCain shots.......white, cowboy hats, angry, lip full of chew.....maybe I exaggerate, but the Reps are overwhelmingly white. :-) I'm envious of those at the Obama celebration in Chicago. Just, wow!
We are sitting on the lip of history. We are kissing it. We are loving and caressing it. We are enjoying it. We are America! Breathe it in. Let it spread throughout you. Let yourself smile. Let that heart flutter. Give hope reign. Believe again.
Be.................love, hope, peace, unity
Saturday, November 1, 2008
One thing I've never liked is how stressed out and maxed out people make themselves over gift-giving. It's gone WAY beyond "thoughtful" to "keeping up with the Joneses". Who can give the most and most expensive. Time with family and friends has taken a back burner to shopping, arguing for higher credit limits, waiting in line for the newest gadget from China, and knocking people over to get the last talking stuffed animal on the shelf.
My ex-husband was a pro at all of this. My married Christmases were obscene. The money spent on all the useless crap could have fed a country. Most of it ends up stored away, broken, neglected, or given away. It made me extremely uncomfortable, but he'd throw a fit when I mentioned it and accused me of trying to take the fun out of his holidays. Whatev.
Since my divorce I've been on a crusade for "stuff-free" holidays. No more stuff. Let's take back the warm fuzzies!!!!!! I've been able to spend more time making jams, baking yummies, being crafty, going out for drinks and appetizers with friends........no mall time. No waiting in lines. No credit card debt build up.
Some may say "that just means you're lazy and don't care enough to shop for the perfect gift". Wrong. I can personalize my gifts. I can spend time with people. I can make them smile or go "yummmmm". Conversely I don't want stuff from others. I just want their love. It's harder than hell to get this through my parents' heads. LOL I guess if I lived closer to them and could do dinners and game nights, they would be easier to sway. I really, really do miss the family.
Anyway, I can't wait for classes to be over with so I can start the merriment. Spiced apple cider in the slow cooker. Cookies, fudge, and candies just waiting to adorn baskets. Jams setting. "Christmas Vacation" in the DVD player. Bing Crosby crooning from the radio.
Man, I love this time of year. :-)