Friday, December 31, 2010

365 days.

[also posted at The Exponent]

365 days ago, I started a project where I did a drawing every day.

It is startling to look back and see how much just that little project has changed me over the course of this handful of days. I am a much more experienced artist now than I was 365 days ago.

Also this year I think I have put more miles on my legs than any other year of my life since high school.

These are just two little accomplishments that help me to gauge what I have done this year. I guess, being able to put a number to it helps me see the progress easier.

Even when there isn't an easy number one can use to assess progress, it is happening anyways. I've learned and grown in many ways this year, in areas where numerical statistics don't really apply.

What I am really trying to say here is that Time happens. Days pass.
What things sort of things did you do these past 365 days? What do you have planned for the next 365?

Sunday, December 26, 2010

if given the time.....

DH and offspring have gone on a road-trip to visit family. I, however, have several little obligations scattered through the week plus an art deadline fast-approaching so I opted to stay here at home. Alone. For almost the whole week.

This is my chance, my opportunity to see just how productive I can be when I have the house to myself for a duration of more than just a few hours. (Especially as I have no car and will be mostly home-bound except for what I can do on my bike. )

for starters:
~Art deadline: I have some serious work to do to get a comic submission finalized by the end of this week. Plus I gotta tighten up our Monsters and Mormons comic (that was just accepted!) AND I have inSitu illustrations to get to work on and 20spec illustrations to prep for. Etc. Plenty to keep my hands busy with.

~This week I start training for my first full length marathon.

~I am curious how much of a dent I can make in the stack of books by my bedside: That stack that has grown dusty waiting for me to free up enough time to open a book and read just for leisure. Yep.

~Yah, okay, I may also see how much of a dent I can make in my Netflix queue. But I really need to watch out... I could easily get myself totally caught up in Dr Who or something and emerge on the other side, the whole week gone, and none of that other stuff to show for it. (Yes I have done that before.)

So that's my plan.
(Meanwhile, safe journeys to my loved ones <3)

#AmDrawing!!!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

truth and story telling

the rest of the story...
the untold story...
their side of the story...
history is a story written by the winners...

I was raised in the LDS tradition, one that leaned heavily on the rhetoric of absolute truth (and the ability to know truth "with out a shadow of a doubt").

Now, I am mostly satisfied to accept ambiguity.
I accept that everyone frames events in their own way, telling the story from their angle, their own truth, how the world appears to them. We tell our stories to others and we tell our stories to ourselves.
And when the stories don't align...
well...

yah.

Joseph Smith may have been a womanizing fraud. Or he may have been a sincere but misguided charismatic leader. Or he have been a true mystic communicating with beings beyond the veil.

(It's a bit of a stretch but I find odd intersects between the cults of personality surrounding Joseph Smith and Julian Assange. Truth be told, I empathize more with Bradly Manning types. But I digress...)

What I really wanted to say is:
"Sometimes I crave truth but am not sure there's any such thing. I will settle for sincere honesty."

I actually DID say that, earlier today, on twitter and a friend responded:
"will insincere, but non-malicious, bordering on the truth, white lies, do in a pinch? :)"


That sure got me thinking. Because initially I wanted to insist upon the harshness of honesty, but, perhaps non-malicious bordering-on-the-truth white lies are the mortar of society. Thoughts?

Two random things:
1) Neil Gaiman's words about our masks/false faces/story telling.

2) Mike Kimera's words about writing lies to tell the truth (mildly nsfw).

----------------------

btw, here's the page in my sketchbook where I outlined some of these thoughts ->
drawing 324 of 365

Yes, I know, this is all very random and obscure.
Thanks for bearing with me.
<3

Monday, December 13, 2010

pushing past comfortable

Yesterday, a friend and I ran 13.1 miles.
(Which involved getting up at 3:30 am to drive to a drop point on the other side of town in order to be bused to the way-out-there start-lines, where we stood huddled in the cold and dark, clustered around heat lamps with all the other participants until it was finally time to start the race. /Whew!)

My plan/goal was just to finish. I was thinking of keeping a nice slow pace ("la-la-dee-dah") and breezing into the finish having accomplished merely running father than I previously have.

My friend, however, was in this to push hard and make a time goal.

So we found ourselves running at a nice stiff pace that I usually reserve for much shorter distances. I kept thinking we'd eventually slow down, but the miles flew past and we kept that pace like clockwork. The last two miles, pushing to the end of our limits I was SURE we'd slow down, but still we kept that pace. (It was NOT comfortable at this point.) And then finally the homestretch and a sprint to the finish, and zohMyGAWD that hurt SO MUCH!!... But we did it.

It made me realize how much I hold back, satisfied to stay in comfortable safe areas, when actually I have the capability to push farther/harder/faster. This, not just in running. In personal relationships and my professional life as well.

It's a fairly straightforward thing to pick up the running pace a bit. Not so simple to explain what that means in personal and professional aspects of my life, but it's something I am thinking about.

There is this: I would NOT have kept up that pace if I had not had my friend next to me, motivating me, encouraging me. (Thank you Katy.)

Meanwhile... My knees and my quads are ANGRY at me for keeping that less-comfortable pace. Ice packs and ibuprofen are helping.

[Here, here and here are the posts chronicling the building of my active life.]

Friday, December 10, 2010

another mashup: Safe Sex+Assange etc

Other people said things better than me and so I'm going to collect some of it here to pretend that I am worthy.

(prompted by the recent arrest of Wiki-leaks founder Julian Assange, arrested NOT for releasing secret international cables, but for having sex where a condom was agreed to be used but then wasn't.)

-------------------

BoingBoing succinctly recapped excellent articles by Kate Harding and Feministe with 'Whatever the Julian Assange arrest is about, it's NOT about how much women suck'.

RadicalBytes tweeted: "Lets not mistake government's cynical opportunistic misuse of sexual assault allegations for a conspiracy by the alleged victims themelves".

Carlin Ross wrote an interesting piece about this link between Sexuality and Classified Documents, and the use of scandal as a form of sexual repression.

Lessie Brown used the events as a jumping off point to discuss historic legal definitions of Rape and how they apply today. (All those blurry lines surrounding consent and human error vs human assholes.)

A friend showed me this article, an exceptional break down of the flaws in the rape apology rhetoric surrounding the Assange Case.

Finally, these have NOTHING to do with Julian Assange, but I absolutely MUST wrap it all up with->

~a Most Amazing Comic called Sex Talk (a very valuable look at communication and consent)
and
~this hilarious Sexual Consent Form spoof (thanks Lessie!)

(btw, as per actually address the subject of leaked secret cables: Here is an interesting article about the problems with DHS still trying to treat them as classified information, even though they are now effectively in the public domain.)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

keeping friends

I've had this reoccurring thought, a question, about how many people I keep in touch with as time passes.

The reality is I tend to move on from people.

It's frequently that as my circumstances change, so does who I hang out with. IE, empolyment, housing, school, etc.

And also...
There can be a certain appeal in moving on from those who know your flaws to those for whom you are a new and shiny mystery.

And I have a difficult time creating deep and lasting friendships.

So that reoccurring thought tickling the back of my mind, it's telling me to work harder at being a better friend.
That's all.

Monday, November 29, 2010

private ritual

This Thanksgiving, after all the eating and football and more eating (etc) our family had a bonfire. (We do that. A lot.) Once the initial 20 ft conflagration (yep, we use gasoline) had turned into a nice glow, my mother surprised us all by pulling out the Black Belt.

This belt is a heirloom from her side of the family. I don't know how many generations it goes back, but it's sole purpose was the disciplining of children. A thick leather strap, folded over on one end for better grip with sufficient length left over for the whacking of bottoms. As the oldest child I remember getting whacked quite a bit.
(My folks had mellowed by the time the younger ones were getting into their trouble, not nearly so much whacking going on then.)

So my mom surprises us all, by pulling out the long unused Black Belt... and after a few words, throwing it on the fire.

This was her ritual for us, a gesture of reconciliation, of apology, asking forgiveness, and a hope for healing. It was very powerful.

I don't believe in magic, or gods, or fairies, or angels, or answers to prayers. But I DO believe in ritual. That in our animal brains, we respond to special acts done with intent.

This has been a very difficult week for me and I've been able to find some measure of comfort in my own private rituals. My primary form of worship/ritual involves making marks. It works for me.

I also believe in the ritual of sweat & strained muscles, of beating the hell out of an inanimate object, of writing things down, of creating something, of destroying something. Of Silence. Of reaching out.

What are your rituals?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

holiday season ($#%* again)

oh... yep... Seriously, I had such great plans, THIS holiday season would be BETTER!! I'd have so much MORE CLARITY! Be MORE PREPARED! blah blah blah...
yah.


(Here's the blog post I wrote last year around xmas time... I never got around to reading or meditating on ANY of those great books)


It's starting a bit early this year... tiny little conflicts and burdens and me in my studio working on non-holiday-season projects while family and friends are putting together their lists of gifts and assembling recipes... (and shit!! My Son's Birthday is coming up!!! GAH!!!)

I just hate with a passion everything having to do with Black Friday, I am going to practice BUY NOTHING DAY instead... but...um... I DO need to figure out what gifts we will give to people.

Handmade gifts (from recycled materials no less) are so cool!!... But I think I'll burn out if I try to go that route. (And I'll probably miss a few deadlines too.)

/sigh...

Can I just donate to a charity for everyone and call it good?

My real problem is: I'm a creature of habit, of routine. And Holidays TOTALLY mess up my routine.

anyhow... CHEERS! {/Groan}

Sunday, November 21, 2010

strong legs

My body is not put together in the most graceful fashion (according to our cultural standards). I used to spend a lot of energy in wishing I had a different shape (usually something long-limbed, willowy, etc) and occasionally I engaged in unhealthy habits trying to force my body to be different than it was.

Yesterday, I biked 109 miles. And I felt strong doing it. I'm not very fast. But there is some hardwiring down deep in my muscles for going the distance: At 50 miles, and then again at 90 miles I felt a second & third wind kick in, and I thoroughly enjoyed reeling in biker after biker on that last brutal stretch to the finish. (Here's the fb photo album w/ a few pics I took during the ride.)

Some years back, while making out with a boyfriend, he exclaimed in a moment of awe "You've got these Thunder Thighs!" He was clueless to the more negative connotation of the term, was merely trying to express admiration for my powerful legs :P (So cute. I married that boyfriend :)

Now I have exactly three weeks to transition these legs from being able to bike 109 miles, to being able to run 13.1. Then six months after that, to run 26.2. (Pretty sure this will be harder than biking the 109. We'll see.)

Anyhow, Yesterday, after the bike ride, I was fascinated by the biker's tan-line across my thighs, and tried to capture it photographically (then, discovered, after a bath, a good deal of that line was made up of dust and grime, RE: second photo).

So here you go. a few gratuitous photos of my strong legs. :P



Thursday, November 18, 2010

what more they could have done

From a conversation between the Head Of The Family and one of us who have left the The Family's religious tradition:

Head Of Family: "I should have done more to keep you from falling away."

One who Left: "....."

The sentiment expressed by Head Of Family seems to be a fairly common one for parents who's children "leave the fold"; this sense of guilt that there was some pivotal thing left undone that could have averted this tragedy.

First of all, I really really wish we could LOSE the language of tragedy when discussing someone changing their mind about something like religion. (Let's keep tragedy where it belongs: when something tragic happens)

Second of all; what more could you have done?! I am wracking my brain for an answer to that one and the only thing thing that comes to mind is "You could have locked us in the basement for life?" Really. Because here's a rundown of a few things that were done to try to forestall any deviation from The Path:

~Carefully censored all books and information that came into the house to make sure the content wouldn't challenge The Path.
~Home-schooled us to insure that Path Unapproved information wasn't disseminated via a teacher/fellow student.
~Made sure that the daily, weekly & monthly routines of our lives were completely immersed in Path Approved activities and people.
~Took EVERY opportunity to testify of the primacy of The Path.
~Took EVERY opportunity to warn of the dangers of leaving The Path.
~etc.

You did your best to instill your own beliefs and values in us.
You also gave a lot of love and support.
Even though those beliefs may not have stuck, the love and support did. You did all right, don't guilt yourself out over the little things like us being at variance over the nature of the soul, the priesthood linage, or details of eternity.

Two maybe/maybe not relevant things on my mind as I write this;

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Spouses and Voting

[updated version now posted at The Exponent]
I've been so busy lately, I was worried that I would forget today was election day so I put it into my calendar w/ alarms to go off and remind me throughout the day (yes, I have missed an election before. /facepalm!)

Turns out I didn't need alarms; I just returned from my local poll. But it did bring up a few thoughts.

Things being so busy lately, DH and I never got the chance to sit down and talk about any of the candidates or the propositions. No biggie. We tend to vote differently on many things so this is not a "making sure we're on the same page" process, it's just a way for us to talk about what's on the ballot.

And that's what was on my mind this morning, the fact that it is OKAY for husbands and wives to vote differently.

Perhaps you feel differently about this; it seems that a lot of couples I know say things like "well, I want to make sure our votes aren't canceling each other out." But.. maybe someone out there can explain to me what is so wrong with that? I mean... that is what VOTING is all about, right? What's wrong with husbands and wives having different opinions about political stuff?

My strong feelings on this are motivated in part because of a memory: One election day, years ago, I dropped by a loved one's house when she happened to be listening to her messages. One of the messages was from her husband; it was a detailed list of who and what she was to vote for when she went to the polls. I was aghast and my horror must have shown on my face because she explained: ".....He knows so much more about these things than I do... he is so much more informed and well read......"

That's probably my issue with the notion that couples have to "be on the same page" when voting. I am pretty sensitive to gendered relationships in marriages, who has the spoken (or unspoken) right to the last word, etc.

So anyhow... I'm curious, how does voting (and political stuff in general) work in your relationships?

Friday, October 22, 2010

a mash up: PackerHomosexualityPolygamyThingy

This one's just a quickie, mostly w/ links to stuff other people have said. But it has come together in my brain as deserving mention all in one place, so HERE YOU GO. All in One Place.

Earlier this month, the Mormon's had their semi-annual General Conference (a really big deal w/ sermons broadcast internationally) and the guy who is next in line to lead the church made some fairly backwards comments about homosexuality that set off a virtual firestorm amongst the Mormon blogging world (here's Joanna Brooks and Jana Riess on the subject for starters.) Later, that guy's sermon was cleaned up and softened a bit, modified before it was re-printed on the official Mormon website. But the damage was done, fights breaking out EVERYwhere. Especially on facebook which I am avoiding lately but still somehow managed to get involved in one of these throw-downs which happened to have A LOT of testimony-bearing involved (the "god-said-so-THERE-I-WIN" debate method.) Of course, polygamy was invoked (that link not specifically about the homosexuality comments, but a good read anyways) cuz yes, Mormon's shouldn't pretend that didn't happen (again, that link is not about the controversy, but fun article about polyandry and sex w/a subtle nod to mainstream Mormonism, as that particular FB throw-down involved someone trying to re-write polygamy.). Also there were questions about how the church has reversed it's positions on controversial social/political stances in the past and What Does That Mean Now?? People even just came out and asked "Exactly WHAT do you want the church to DO?" (that post got A LOT of comments.) Right about then I happened to be reading in Marriage: a History, concerning when US anti-miscegenation laws were starting to be repealed in the 1950's-1970's, and how this gem of an argument was used in support of said laws:
"The Almighty God created the races, white, black, yellow, malay, and red, and he placed them on separate continents... The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix"
Anyhoo... it really just got me thinking how much things can get messed up with folks try to start invoking The Almighty.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Kicking My Butt

So... in about 7 weeks, I'm signed up to ride a 109 mile bike race. Then, a few weeks after that, I'm signed up for a half marathon. It's about time I get serious and train for these.

Currently, I can bike about 50 miles, and run about 5 (not on the same day, of course). Building up the running mileage will be harder for me than the biking mileage so I have been perusing half marathon running schedules like Hal Higdon's, Jeff Galloway's, and various Runner's World plans, but to be honest... I suck at following plans. Maybe I should address that weakness and get better at following plans...

Anyhow, I AM pretty excited about BOTH of these events (both of them pushing my limits, but not TOO much. Er, well. We'll see.)

Meanwhile, I have also been thrilled to pick up quite a bit of illustration work. Oh, and we put our house up for sale... Plenty to keep me occupied and out of trouble. (Hm.. nope, still getting into trouble)

Anyhow.. that's what's up with me lately.

Now, to figure out... do I bike or run today? hmmm.....

Sunday, September 5, 2010

singing at family dinner

We went to family dinner this past Sunday. It's usually a fairly large affair; I come from a big family a good number of whom live close by, and a lot of tradition is embedded in this weekly meal . One of those traditions is singing a hymn as a prelude to the blessing of the food. We all stand in a circle around the table holding hands and sing. EVERYONE knows the hymns, all of us deeply steeped in our family's religious tradition from our earliest years, even if we choose to leave that tradition later on,.

I know these songs by heart. My husband knows these songs by heart.
My son, however, not being raised in the church, does not know these songs.

This Sunday, in particular, it caused a little hitch in my heart as I watched him try to play along during the singing... try to catch the tune and the lyrics that everyone else (including the other children his age) knew. Trying to fit in, to not let on that he was an outsider to this tradition... Yes, I may be over-analyzing it, or projecting my own fears and insecurities. But the fact does remain; my actions make an outsider of my son.

I thought of this again as I read Jessawhy's recent post about changing the words of the hymns. I used to do something very similar when my son was younger. I would change the words to A Child's Prayer and sing "Heavenly Mother, are you really there?..." as he was going to sleep. But even then, I had similar conflicting feelings about making my son an outsider; what would happen when, in primary, they sang that song, and he sang it "wrong"? (And wrong in a fairly provocative way, imho).

And so...

Well... We're figuring it out, bit by bit. Finding ways of being with family that doesn't accentuate the differences, participating in communities where religious traditions aren't part of being included, and strengthening our own little family unit (gonna head out in a few minutes for lunch together, just lover, son, and I).

Btw, random, but have you read this post about the Gay post-LDS guy who is trying to get along w/ his Devout LDS fam, and having it all blow up over a cup of coffee? It's a pretty good post.

Friday, August 27, 2010

spunky little sex worker

k, the thoughts in this post have been marinating for a while but are still pretty jumbled, bear with me...

I'm having conflict in my feminism. Between the kind of old-school feminism that dovetailed nicely with my prudish LDS upbringing: ie, cosmetic surgery is selling out, high-heels are tools of subjugation, and sex workers are to be pitied, verses a growing appreciation (fascination?) with the sex positive movement: ie, sex toys are fun, dressing up is fab, and strippers aren't bad people.

Um, yah, I'll have to come back to this later when I've collected a whole bunch of links, or at least can organize my thoughts better. But in the meantime, I have yet ANOTHER quote from Marriage, a History:

"The cult of female purity created a huge distinction in men's minds between good sex and 'good' women. Many men could not even think about a woman they respected in sexual terms... Many men found it unnatural if a woman enjoyed sex 'too much'. Frederick Ryman, who in the 1880's wrote frankly and joyfully about his encounters with prostitutes, was taken aback when any woman took the initiative during sex. He described one young prostitute as a 'little charmer' but commented, 'I usually prefer to have a woman lie perfectly quiet when I am enjoying a vigil. This 'playing up is not agreeable to me but she was truly one of the finest little armfulls of feminine voluptuousness I have ever yet laid on top of."
Okie dokie, Mr Ryman is disturbing... and life for that 'little charmer' of a young woman might have been a horrible life which she did not choose, and in which she had few options, and which ended too soon of disease or abuse....

But the idea of the woman (or person of any gender, for that matter) who enjoys sex and perhaps makes it as a career choice is one I support. And that lifestyle should be respected and taken seriously as well.

Well, actually I didn't intend for this to be a post about sex workers per se, but since it's wound up that way, here's a few links:
~from the University of Texas, an overview of 2 centuries of prostitution;
~from Societal Images, the disheartening collective support for the dehumanization of sex workers;
~an excerpt from Moriah Jovan's upcoming novel which features Cassie, unrepentant high-dollar prostitute.
~a sobering review of Kristof's book Half the Sky, about the forced prostitution of women in the world today being on par with genocide.
~SWOP tucson, the local outreach program trying to get better rights and recognition for people who identify as sex workers.
~an interesting article about Strippers who are protesting in front of a fundamentalist christian church.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

love and marriage

Yep, still reading Marriage, a History. (I started it 5 months ago!?)

In fact I just finished chapter 10 on the sentimentalization of Marriage in 19th century Europe and N.America. The chapter ends with this excerpt:

"In the late 18th century, conservatives had warned that unions based on love and desire for personal happiness were inherently unstable. If love was the most important reason to marry, how could society condemn people who stayed single rather than enter a loveless marriage? If love disappeared from a marriage, why shouldn't a couple be allowed to go their separate ways? If women and men were true soul mates, why should they not be equal partners in society?

At the beginning of the 19th century, the doctrine that men and women had innately different natures and occupied separate spheres of life seemed to answer these questions without unleashing the radical demands that had rocked society in the 1790's.

The doctrine of separate spheres held back the inherently individualistic nature of the 'pursuit of happiness' by making men and women dependent upon each other and insisting that each gender was incomplete without marriage. It justified women's confinement to the home without having to rely on patriarchal assertions about men's right to rule. Women would not aspire to public roles beyond the house because they could exercise their moral sway over their husbands and through them over society at large. Men were protecting women, not dominating them, by reserving political and economic roles for themselves."


(This excerpt ends with a big "But...." and leads us into the next chapter entitled "A Heaving Volcano: Beneath the surface of Victorian Marriage")

Anyhow, I found it fascinating because this view of marriage and gender roles was the one I raised with almost 200 years after it first became a trend.

Oh! Also interesting was chapter 9 on the invention of the Male breadwinner ideal including how women's labor suddenly became radically undervalued in the world of cash transactions, significantly increasing wives financial dependence on husbands. And how the sentimentalization of the wife-as-homemaker made it a status symbol, a working class aspiration.

(Here's all my status updates on this book if you're interested.)

Not feeling up to expounding a whole lot on this... Just thought I'd make a note of it. Quite enjoying this book.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Last pages

(posted at The Exponent)
I only have four pages left in my current journal.
(I really don't like the term 'journal' but neither 'sketchbook' nor 'scrapbook' really fit either. The book is almost as full of taped in mementos, sketches, and the words of other people as it is of my thoughts and experiences. I think I'll just start calling it my 'book'. Yeah.)

Four pages left is an awkward transitional time for me, coming to the end one book but not quite ready to let go of it, not ready to start the next one (all those blank pages, pristine and unfamiliar). I bond with these books to a very high degree but the bonding process usually takes a while; this current book took almost a year before I really felt comfortable with it. (I know that, because there's an entry documenting it). (Btw, Here's the post I wrote as I was transitioning from my previous book to this current one)

It's fascinating (and sometimes scary) to flip back through the pages and years and see the change. So many changes. All these tiny little instances equaling over two years of change. That may contribute to why the jump from one book to the next is so awkward for me~ it represents the passage of time in a more dramatic way than merely turning a page. I don't deal so well with change. Perhaps that's a part of why I do this little ritual of documentation; trying holding on to moments, to freeze little instances: a defense against the inevitable progress of time.... I'm not sure. But it IS for my sanity, that's for certain; a place to store the dangerous stuff, a way to bleed out the toxins.

The next book is all ready for me to begin, a lovely moleskin journal with blank pages (I've never had a moleskin before, curious to see what all the fuss is about). But I am still holding on to this current book, making those last four pages stretch. And also, I've been cheating: going back in time, finding gaps in the preceding pages where I can scribble in a quote or a drawing: A page from 'o7 may also contain content added in '08, '09 and '10! (all duly recorded w/ date and location, because that's my MO).
Eventually, however, these last pages will be done, the book full. Time to move on.
New pages.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

gender, age, power (plus the white-washing of The Last Airbender)

[a couple random thoughts, bear with me]

So I just finished reading Survival of the Prettiest which was a fascinating read that left me feeling a bit old and ugly. Therefore it was all the more interesting listening to Amy Goodman interview prof Charles Ogeltree about Elena Kagan's supreme court nomination. Toward the end of the interview prof Ogeltree made this statement:
"...she will be smart, she’ll be independent, she’ll fit right in and know the law... She’s going to be a superb Supreme Court Justice. And she’s 50 years old. She will be there probably longer than anyone currently on the court. She is a long time to define what her ideology is going to be." (emphasis mine)
That statement made a real impact on me because he was basically saying "she's ONLY 50... she has so much left to learn/grow/etc" which was a shocking reversal of the "women expire after age 35" implied by Survival of the Prettiest. That reversal had a pretty powerful effect for me.

In other news, as as family we've been thoroughly enjoying the cartoon series Avatar: the Last Airbender (admission: I have a crush on Zuko) and now have plans to go see M. Night Shyamalan's movie version with some friends. But I am a bit disheartened, NOT by the fact that it has gotten poor reviews but by the apparent white-washing the casting process went through. And to be honest... I didn't notice it. Until it was pointed out by a friend. Also, I believe that the movie had to eliminate (for reasons of simplification) my favorite female characters: Toph, Azula, Mai, Ty Lee, and Suki. I LOVED that some of the most powerful warriors in the show were female. It will be fun to see the movie, but, also will enjoy going back to the cartoon after all is said and done.

anyhoo... just what was on my mind this morning. There you go. thanks for listening.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

pain

On Tuesday I had a great idea for a Post.
High off the endorphins of an intense workout, my mind began to string together all the various discomforts we willingly inflict on ourselves and for what purposes. I was going to deftly draw lines of profound similarity between exercise, dieting, body piercing/tattooing, pursuing higher education, cosmetic surgery, and the Mormon penchant for monthly ritual caloric deprivation, to name a few.

Then Wednesday I discovered I had strained a few choice muscles in that workout. And I accidentally got a bad sunburn (sunscreen fail!) And I stayed up late several nights in a row working against a deadline (can no longer do that like I once did). And my body was starting to hate me and I was not be so excited about writing a post about pain.

Then Thursday, while stretching my arms over my head, something horribly wrong wrenched/tweeked/pinched/popped in that little area between the right shoulder blade and spine... so I currently have the range of motion of a plank of wood, with lovely rivulets of dull (and sometimes not-so-dull) pain radiating out from that shoulder-blade area.

Anyhoo... today doesn't hurt as bad as yesterday. And maybe by tomorrow, or Sunday, I'll be able to actually turn my head (Ice packs, heat pads, ibuprofen...). Maybe then I'll try to revisit that original post idea about pain.

(or, maybe not)

btw... here's a sketch I did last year when dealing with a very similar pain.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

we are not our faces

While thumbing through this book, I ran across this essay about fantasy writers by Neil Gaiman.

An excerpt:
"...Frozen in black and silver for you now, these are simply masks. We who lie for a living are wearing our liar-faces, false-faces made to deceive the unwary. We must be- for, if you believe these photographs, we look just like everyone else....
Read [our] books: sometimes you can catch sight of us in there. We look like gods...
Read [our] books. That's when you see us properly: naked priestesses and priests of forgotten religions...
[Our] words describe [our] real faces: the ones[we] wear underneath. This is why people who encounter writers of fantasy are rarely satisfied by the wholly inferior person that they meet..."
It's a fascinating statement on many levels. (Gaiman is just pure fascinating in general.)

a few of my random thoughts:
~Wow, aren't writers an audacious bunch: "we're not like other people."

~Actually, yeah, writers (and artist, creatives, scientists, etc) AREN'T like everyone else. That's true.

~Really, humans in general are an audacious bunch, inclined to feel "not like other people", what with our cliques and religions and social/political groupings (not to mention geography, race, gender, sexual orientation, etc etc etc...)

~Gaiman's statement was oddly reminiscent to me of blogger Stephanie Nielson's statement "I am not my body" after being badly disfigured in an accident. (minus the Monster God aspect.)

~Gaiman's statement touches upon one of my more cherished beliefs as a Mormon; that we are more than what we look like, that underneath the ordinary looking skin mask, we are God.

~It was a painful/hard/difficult time when that audacious sense of I Am God dissipated. When I realized that, in actuality, I might be nothing more than meat. (Neil Gaiman is meat too.)

~I am meat that likes to think of its self as "not like other meat."

sensitivity, insecurity, thick/thin skinned...

Today Sean wrote a bit about insecurity, being thin skinned, and avoiding rejection. (Random coincidence, so did Wendy.)
He basically just took the words out of my mouth.

As an interesting joiner to that revelation; I'm meeting with an old friend tonight; he is convinced that if we do a brainstorming session on the subject, I will come away from it knowing how I can make at least as much off of my art, as I could off some run-of-the-mill day job (a prospect I am considering as money gets increasingly tight for us.)

I agreed to this brainstorming session with outward enthusiasm, but feel I should confess a good deal of... nervousness? Just how to I explain to this enthusiastic friend all of my insecurities, my fears, my lack of experience and knowledge and my low self-esteem, my inadequacy... Already pinging around in the back of my head are all the usual excuses I feed myself about lack of time, means, business savvy... Plus the usual line that I may be better off doing this 'thing' I do on the sidelines as a 'hobby' (hate hate hate that word)...

I've written about my insecurities on this topic before.

Nevertheless, I am curious about what we will come up with during this brainstorming session.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

god and sex

The following are excerpts from a post entitled We Believe There is an Actual living God Who Exist in 3-D Reality- Monitoring our Genitals" over at Betty Dodson/Carlin Ross's blog, which is a very sex positive blog and very NSFW so consider yourself warned. The author had some very provocative thoughts on God; those excerpts I shared here. Also, the author alludes to religious shame regarding sex/genitals and while I didn't share those portions here it is, nevertheless, interestingly congruent as Mormon Matters just did a post on Sexual difficulty between spouses, and Feminist Mormon Housewives recently had a lively discussion about genitals and orgasms.
Therefore, without further ado...


"So many people argue about the existence of God. To me, this is a complete waste of time. Clearly God exists. There are images, texts, statues, paintings, buildings, cities and countries, and entire world religions devoted to God. God exists.

The problem is this: God is a symbol. Symbols exist. God exists as a symbol. However, because our brains lack the most basic ability to distinguish reality from symbols and sensations in our head, we believe that there is an actual living god who exists in 3-D reality who cares about our genitals.

This is incorrect.

There is no actual, living, 3D reality god - much less one who cares about our genitals. There is only an infinite amount of ever expanding symbols for god - created by us sexual mammals. We love god like we love sex because they both flow from the same place in our head.

A symbolic place....

....The only thing we can say with certainty is that we are symbolic mammals who have lots of sex and believe in gods. We believe in the symbols we create, and we are willing to live and die by our beliefs in these symbols. Remarkably, the symbols in our heads can even mess up our own ability to experience sexual pleasure.

In reality, sex and god are one in the same. "




Monday, June 14, 2010

random books and stuff about beauty

This fascinating article led me to put Deborah Rhode's book The Beauty Bias on my reading list. Interesting quote from the article's review:
"In the most troubling chapter in her book, Rhode explores the feminist movement’s complicated relationship to eternal youth. The truth is that women feel good about competing in beauty pageants. They love six-inch heels. They feel beautiful after cosmetic surgery. You can’t succeed in public life if you look old in America. Of the 16 women in the U.S. Senate between ages 46 and 74, not one has gray hair. Rhode cites one feminist icon after another who changed her mind about the evils of cosmetic surgery, hair color, and Botox the instant the sagging, graying, and wrinkling set in."


Then, a friend recommended Survival of The Prettiest: The Science of Beauty by Nancy Etcoff, which, according to the amazon review,
"argues persuasively that looking good has survival value, and that sensitivity to beauty is a biological adaptation governed by brain circuits shaped by natural selection..." and "Rather than denigrate one source of women's power, it would seem far more useful for feminists to attempt to elevate all sources of women's power." (Plus, Publishers Weekly promises that with "Topics as wide-ranging as penis- or breast-enlargement surgery and the basics of haute couture [treated with wit and insight]... Etcoff's arguments are certain to initiate a great deal of discussion.")
I'm sure I'll have all manner of conflicting ideas and cognative dissonance about beauty after reading these two books. (HA! As if I didn't already.)

So anyhow, random bit of personal anecdote; today I didn't have to ride my bike to work. So, on a whim, I dressed up: A skirt, heels, (a corset too), a little extra make-up. Just because, woohoo! And I admit, I felt hawt.

Then DH refused to kiss me: "ew, you're wearing MAKE-UP..."

/shrugging

So go figure.

(BTW... was SO relieved to finally take off those heels/corset/skirt at the end of the day and hang out the rest of the evening in t-shirt, shorts, and bare feet. Yep.)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

bonding over sweat

(I wrote this last year but kept it in the slush pile.. however, as I just finished my third triathlon and am participating in the weekly local aquathlon, I thought I'd go ahead and publish it.)

I think I may have found my thing, my niche, my community. Maybe. We'll see.

After visiting multiple church groups, political discussions, feminist book clubs, artist cooperatives, etc, looking for a community to fill the gap left by removing myself from heavy activity in the church, I think I finally hit pay dirt.

When attending all those aforementioned activities, I find myself sitting back, silently listening in awed and slightly intimidated shyness.


But yesterday I did a triathlon (update, this week I did my third triathlon). And I had no less than 6 lively conversations with various individuals. (A rather unusual occurrence for me.) Some were with people I had met in previous races or at the gym, some were just complete strangers and we bonded over our sweat and our aches and our tired muscles. I'll probably see some of these folk at the next race. Strike up conversations with a few more as well.

Perhaps it's because it is a community removed from the more controversial/divisive elements of politics and religion that I feel more at my ease (yep, got a lot of scar-tissue from previous involvement in politics/religion). Perhaps it's just the endorphins.

Don't get me wrong, my tendency is STILL to observe silently from the background; life of the party, I am NOT. I'm also a pretty pathetic athlete.

But still.
We'll see.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

age is just a number

That number could be $3 million (an estimate at what Demi Moore has spent on cosmetic surgery, tho she doesn't like to talk about it)
Or perhaps that number is £6 (what madonna spent to create her own gym) [which leads to another number: 3-6 hours she spends working out every day]
The number might also be the $288 it would take to buy this anti-aging skin care set.
As last resort, $39.99 looks cheap for this anti-aging make-up kit.

Those are the numbers I thought of the other day when I looked through this Fit and Fabulous over 40 gallery.

(OH! the other thing I though about looking at that gallery of beauties: PHOTOSHOP! Hello, here's what Faith Hill has to go through to be RedBook cover ready. Check out more Photoshop horrors.)

These "You-can-still-look-like-you're-20-even-when-you-are-40" spreads that the glossies like to put out make me feel like shit. What's that? They are SUPPOSED to make me feel like shit? So that I will pay them back by buying all the anti-aging shit they sell advertising space for?? (BTW, I love Sarah Haskins and her brilliant dissections of advertising targeting woman.)

Yeah, I'm afraid of aging. I bemoan the wrinkles that are appearing around my eyes and mouth. I DO have a cheap-end stash of anti-aging shit that I pay homage too and one of the reasons I work-out and eat healthy is to try to stay young/cute. I'm not dismissing efforts towards being healthy and taking care of one's self (I ♡ good hygiene) (plus I really dig make-up) (and muscles), I'm merely trying to hack my own insecurities here. Bear with me.

Anyhoo...
What helps me get over feeling shitty about aging: Women (of any age) who accomplish awesome things (other than staying wrinkle free). Like women athletes who kick the behinds of women half their age in sports. Women astronauts (of which there are 4 in space right now!). Women comedians (margaret cho ya'll! She's awesome. And raunchy~ consider yourself warned). Women comic book writers and illustrators. Women artists. Women in math and science and medicine, women in politics, women writers, women chefs, women musicians, etc etc etc (sorry... got tired finding links)

You get the idea. The idea being: there is a lot of cool stuff to dedicate time and energy to besides merely trying to stay young and cute. It's a good thing for me to keep in mind as my numbers go up with every fast-passing year. Oh, do you know Kate over at Eat The Damn Cake? she wrote this awesome piece about the flat tummy police and goals for aging.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

creating gods

(this post also at Feminist Mormon Housewives)

So that's me, at the back of the church, hiding out in the last pew. The atheist mommy with a sketchbook.

Lisa, Moriah and I got talking about the act of creating, of making art, and how it related to our religious beliefs. It was interesting, our different approaches. Me: I'm the naval gazer: having thought and read my way out of all belief in any literal Gods, I still find myself as an artist, obsessed with the symbols and icons and language of religion (in particular, my native religion: Mormon). God has been pivotal to my art for years: here's a piece I did a while back as I worked thought my issues/concerns/etc about approaching God.

Nowadays, I find myself obsessed with taking the stories and re-working them, twisting them, turning them, doing a bit of re-arranging (for example, I am currently hard at work re-telling the story of Eve). In my mind what I am doing is scraping away the white-washing; trying to get down to the raw, messy stuff that is at the root of all of our belief systems. My tools are pretty simple: pencil, pen, paint, a bit of ink and other odds and ends. With them I go sifting through all the shards of my broken belief.

Art is my therapy.
Art is also one of the only forms of worship that I practice at the moment. I guess you could say it is my homage to the reasons we humans make our Gods (see here and here) and also, to the way we make our monsters. (Sometimes I think those are the same thing.)


(In case you are wondering, one of the reasons I hide way at the back during church is because, quite frequently, what comes out of my pen while listening to the talks/lessons is either quite disturbing, or rather blasphemous. WARNING. Those links are disturbing and blasphemous.)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

conditioned to love the monster god

[now posted over at The Exponent also]
Here is a half-baked thought that has been marinating in the back of my head for a while:

Sermons and lessons in the LDS church have elements in them that condition us to accept a Monster God.

(Probably not LDS alone, but that is the majority of my church going experience so it is where I have seen it the most.)

What I am thinking of here is the numerous talks, lessons, etc that use as their object lessons examples of extreme human suffering to teach about God. Two in particular stand out in memory (and I'm too tired to hunt down more):

1)From elder Monson's conference talk from last year (ironically entitled "Be Of Good Cheer") in which he talked about the German Mother in war-torn Prussia and how she had to bury her children one by one, having only a spoon to dig their graves with, until the very last child died, and at that point, she had even lost her spoon and so used her bare fingers against frozen ground to bury her baby.

2) From a local Stake Conference a few years back; the Stake President, as part of his talk described in great detail, how at a family cookout, the young toddler pulled the charcoal grill full of red-hot briquettes over on top of himself. The Stake President went on in great detail about the extent of the irreparable damage done to the toddler's body. I don't remember exactly what the SP's point was (probably prayer, or faith, or something) because I had to leave the meeting (leave my toddler sitting in the pew with his father) so I could go throw up.

I'm thinking that these gospel teaching elements are included as a coping mechanism, a way to preemptively curtail questions about the atrocities that occur and how an All powerful All loving God fits into this world of carnage. Perhaps, they are included to be intentionally numbing? (activism is frequently downplayed to make place for faith/acceptance.)

We are taught to Pray to the Monster God for protection (for he is mighty to save) while simultaneously being taught to accept that, at His humanly incomprehensible whim, He may chose not to save you. In spite of unwavering devotion, you and your loved ones may in die in a multitude of agonizing ways. Or live in a multitude of agonizing ways. And lesson after lesson in church is constructed to condition you to that fact.
So pray for patience.
For faith.
For understanding.
Or at least for acceptance.

It is storytelling.
Turning tragedy into faith promoting stories.

My own thought is that reality isn't very faith-promoting.

As an interesting segue: after the Earthquakes in Haiti earlier this year, JohnR wrote this post about suffering, and storytelling, and how we can cope with tragedy without trying to piece an all Powerful all Loving God into the story.

To end with, a little sacrilege.
Have you seen the painting "One Nation Under God" by Jon McNaughton?
In thinking about The Monster God, it occurred to me that the anonymous artist who did this parody of it might have been on to something.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

wrong turns

It has happened several times now in the past week: While driving, my mind wanders (there's a lot for it to wander around in right now). Thinking through circumstances, wondering about actions made and decisions coming up...
When suddenly...
I realize I've taken a wrong turn. I'm on a street or highway I hadn't planned on being on (and am not sure how I got there.)

******
I used to be the sort of suspicious individual who would see all sorts of signs and messages from the universe in this sort of thing.

Now a days, I just think I need to start paying more attention while I'm driving. Leave off pondering for when I am not behind the wheel.

very dirty windshield.jpg

Thursday, April 8, 2010

anti-aging ads suck

Why yes Avon, I DO remember when my eyes looked younger. Thank you for asking.
anti-aging

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

$$$ (or, career-fail insecurity)

one cause of significant insecurity and occasional bouts of panic/frustration/sense-of-failure: i attach huge emotional value to the dollar worth of 'what I do'.

and 'what I do' has no practical dollar value (ie, brings no money to our coffers).

i feel it like a chain, my little creative 'hobbies' that i, as a pampered housewife, indulge in. (god that almost made me sick to write it. but that is how it feels sometimes)

for added weight of guilt/failure; the fact that other people, DO get practical dollar value for those same indulgent creative 'hobbies'.

(NOT GOOD ENOUGH NOT GOOD ENOUGH NOT GOOD ENOUGH NOT GOOD ENOUGH NOT GOOD ENOUGH NOT GOOD ENOUGH.)

as a related segue... i sabotage all opportunities to get practical dollar value for my creative hobbies.

does this even make sense?
(pay this post no mind, it has merely been a bad day, requiring a rant and an outlet)
(i will most likely delete this. it's pretty humiliating.)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

the Tree House

[a few thoughts while spending time at an extended family gathering during Gen Conf weekend (Sunday's 2nd session playing in the background right now)]

Let's say there's this Tree House. All the cool kids go to this tree house. There they have special games that are played only in that Tree House, plus you get special green and yellow socks that you are always supposed to wear after you have gone to the Tree House. Oh, and Brussels sprouts are forbidden, anyone who plays at the Tree House must NOT EAT Brussels sprouts. Lots of stories surround the Tree House: how important it is, that if you do not continue to play in the Tree House and live the Tree House rules your hair will fall out and your pets will get sick and bullies will always be stealing your allowance. That in order to be a Really Important Person you must be part of the Tree House club. Also, stories about how COOL you will be if you get other people to come play in the Tree House, to be part of the Tree House club.

Sometimes, a member of the Tree House club may wonder if all of those stories are true; about the hair falling out and pets getting sick and being a Really Important Person (etc). Sometimes, that person may stop believing those stories (and may have issues with the manipulative nature of the stories).

Then they must make some decisions.

They could keep living the Tree House rules so that no one will know better and things can continue they way they were.

OR, they may decide to STOP wearing the special green and yellow socks (they like blue socks better) and decide to EAT Brussels sprouts (they really do like the flavor) but they only do these things in secret so that none of the other Tree House club members will know.

OR, on the weekend in which all their Tree House family and friends get together to tell more stories about the Tree House and it's rules, they decide on THAT weekend to wear shoes that reveal BLUE socks. And they pull out some Brussels sprouts during snack time.

They are not sure what will happen.
But what they are hoping for is that they can all still be friends without having to hide the color of their socks and hide the food they like

We shall see.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

keeping a record.

[also posted at The Exponent]
I am an obsessive journal-keeper. Always have been. For most of my life, the record I kept was pretty banal: the minutia of daily life turned into faith promoting stories. There came a point several years ago when my journaling changed, I was working out serious life questions and no longer had what it took to write out nice safe faith promoting endings. It all became very raw. There were no answers (definitely none of the expected, prescribed answers one was supposed to find when 'searching'). At a certain point, I realized my journals were... dangerous? Meaning, I was no longer safe if anyone happened to pick one one and snoop. Well, I never would have been too thrilled to know someone had snooped in my journal, but now it was full of deep dark secret questions that I felt I really wasn't supposed to be asking. That I didn't want anyone to know I was asking. Dangerous.

The typical Sunday School line about journal keeping is that it is for posterity's sake, we are to keep records like Nephi kept records; faith, testimony, guidance for future generations blah blah blah...

I keep a journal as the last line of defense against insanity. I cringe at the thought of others reading these raw, misspelled, grammatically incorrect ravings of a mad woman, utterly un-prep-ed for public consumption.

Also I journal much more during my low times, therefore my book has very few of the puppies and unicorns and rainbows type entries. Mostly gloom and pain. Reminds me of a quote from The Hobbit:
".. but things that are good to have and days that are good to spend are soon told about, and not much listened to; while things that are uncomfortable palpitating, and even gruesome, may make a good tale and take a good deal of telling anyways."


I joke about having these dark dangerous ramblings all burned when I die. But truth be told, I love these books so much, I don't think I'd have the heart to. It's all part of the weird narcissism that urges me to record these things in the first place. Which reminds me of another quote, one by Simone DeBeauvoir that I have inscribed on the first page of my journal as a sort of warning/reality check to myself:
"Her Memories become fixed, her behavior stereotyped; she reiterates words, she repeats histrionics that have gradually lost all context, hence, the poverty of many diaries and autobiographies written by women; wholly occupied in burning incense to herself."


Anyhoo.... that's me. Do you keep a journal? What purpose does it serve in your life?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

owning the womb

The first 29 pgs of Stephanie Coontz's Marriage, a History has been a refreshing reminder that once you look outside the box of Judeo-Christian History, there's a good collection of culturally acceptable couplings that are NOT about controlling female sexuality (with the incumbent taboos for feminine virginity/fidelity etc).

Hope to write more about the book later, but wanted to share this segment:

"When Jesuit missionaries from France first encountered the North American Montagnais-Naskapi Inidans in the early seventeenth century, they were shocked by the native women's sexual freedom. One missionary warned a Naskapi man that if he did not impose tighter controls on his wife, he would never know for sure which of the children she bore belonged to him. The Indian was equally shocked that this mattered to the Europeans. 'You French people,' he replied, 'love only your own children; but we love all the children of our tribe.' " (pg 28)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

women who are not married by 30, and are lawyers.

At one of those big Young Women meetings we had when I was a 14 yr old Mia Maid, there was a speaker who talked about finding herself 30 and unmarried. She also talked about her career as a lawyer.
It was a great talk (obviously still memorable years and years later).
Maybe it was made memorable by the conversation with my father after the meeting.

The conversation probably had a lot more words than this, but these are the ones I remember:

me: [something about the women woman speaker who was unmarried into her 30's]

dad: "What?! 30 and NOT married?? What was WRONG with her?"

me: [something about the woman's decision to pursue Law]

dad: "A LAWYER?! Oh, well that explains why she's not married!"

Monday, March 22, 2010

fear


One of my biggest fears is that I will turn up pregnant.

I have an IUD which has been faithfully turning the tide of semen for 5 years and mostly it goes about it's work with me even forgetting it's there. But occassionaly, I'll feel different, a slight weight change, a change in my eating patterns, something... and I'll panic.
OMG I'm pregnant, am I pregnant? What will I do.........??
(My sister-in-law got pregnant while using the same IUD I am using. It's not a 100% guarantee.)
Therefore, I keep a stash of pregnancy tests so I can discover that no, I am not pregnant and I breath easy again.

My IUD expires this month. When we switched insurance plans the saleman assured us that BC costs for an IUD would be nothing more than the copay for an office visit. He was wrong. We are looking at a charge 15 times the amount we thought it would be. And so, we are also looking at other options.

The health care bill passed yesterday and that gives me a tremendous sense of hope for the nation.
But I don't feel any personal relief from the worry clawing at the back of my head about birth control decisions that we must make right now, immediately.

And, god, feeling so silly for the worry. We are in a position to be able to absorb the hit, it is a very inconvenient surprise, but not a financial disaster. For many people, this might be a financial disaster.

For us, for me, it's just a little scratching worry and fear, and the unexpected need to look at all the options. (Of which, we have many.)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

bad women...

Part 2 of today's Creative Group Experiment. (Here's part 1.)

Bad Women.

I took a trip when I was first married (pregnant, in fact, with my son).
I stayed in a youth hostel.
(To save money. Also, because I had always wanted to.)
I found myself fascinated with my roommates, mostly young women (some American, some not) just out of school and taking time to travel the world a bit. We talked till late into the night. Well, they talked, and I mostly listened, enthralled by their courage, their experience, their independence, etc...

After returning home, I was talking about my trip with family and mentioned the world-traveling women I had met. The Patriarch of the family got a look on his face (still have a hard time explaining that look~ sort of like deer-in-the-headlights, but not quite). Then He made his pronouncement:
"Those women do NOT want to be mothers!"

[bad... unnatural... evil...]

And then the topic was closed.

getting out

This is my submission for the Mind On Fire Group Creative Experiment. The card for today is The Devil. Yesterday, Sean posted a short fiction as his submission and it brought up some stuff for me; being uncomfortably close to some of my own realities. The following is an excerpt from a journal entry during a particularly dark time:

Her eyes opened and she was disoriented by the light. What time was it? Mid-morning. Oh yes, now she remembered crawling back into bed earlier to escape his need. A noise from the next room, the TV was on, some kids show. That was what had woken her. Also, the sounds of things being moved around. He was probably hungry, looking for something to eat. (In a corner of her mind she tries to think of what was in the cupboard that a 4 yr old could access.)

She pulls the blankets higher, close around her head to shut out the light, the sounds from the next room.
The dog tries to snuggle close to her, tries to stick it's wet nose in her face. Rage flares and she grabs the dog's muzzle, hard enough to make it whimper. Go Away.
The dog slinks to the other side of the enormous bed and curls up in a miserable ball.

There is a thud in the next room and in a panic of guilt she springs up out of the bed, running to check...
He was choking,
He had fallen,
He had eaten something toxic...
But it was none of that. Just some item accidentally shoved off the filthy cluttered table. However, now he saw her, she was there and he latched on with excitement. So many things he needed from her.
A softness brushed her calf; the dog slinking along next to her, keeping close (in an unobtrusive way).

They needed to get out, out into the bright desert sunlight. Out of the staring walls of the house (she hated those walls, wanted to punch holes in them, scribble black marks all over them).

Yes, out.
A trip to the store (always an errand that needed running). And lunch, at that fast food restaurant with the child's play area (to make up for leaving him to scavenge his own breakfast).

Grabbing keys and purse, and summoning faith in the power of "getting out" she loads him in the car.
Hoping it will be enough to draw back the internal tides of thick black waves, enough to ease the scratching of those thousand little claws...

also from the pages of my journals:

dark days

monsters in the journal

(this creative experiment has a second part: before the child was born, a lesson about bad women.)

Monday, February 15, 2010

dirty sex

[Warning, this post contains disturbing content. Read at your discretion.]

"if God was a city planner he would NOT
put a playground next to a sewage system!!"


Perhaps you've heard about how NH State Rep. Nancy Elliott went off in graphic and explicit detail about homosexual sex? "We're talking about taking the penis of one man and putting it in the rectum of another man and wriggling it around in excrement." And wow.

Maybe she was revealing a closet coprophilia fetish? Maybe she just has no tact.

Or maybe she's never had sex, because, as a friend of mine pointed out; "
Straight vaginal sex is about taking the penis of one man, the organ he urinates with and sticking it into the vagina of a woman and "wriggling" it around in mucous, menstrual blood, and vaginal discharge."
(ewwwww......)

Possibly mrs Elliot has some sort of idea that good "clean" monogamous heterosexual between-husband-and-wife sex is like exchanging love notes but while wearing pj's? (Thinking here of countless blushing virginal brides shocked to find themselves lying in pools of bloody semen after having their cherry popped.) (Also thinking about our seven yr old neighbor kid who insisted he wanted to know how babies got inside mommies. His dad answered the question with tact and efficiency. Son's response: "...........EEEWWWWWWW!!!!! You've DONE that??!!! GROOSSSSSSSS!!!!")

It is kinda gross, huh?
Our BODIES are kinda gross, huh? All of our various body cavities and body fluids and ins and outs, and what goes in and what comes out....

Get a clue, Nancy Elliot.

Anyhooo... for you entertainment (be warned, these are not for the faint-of heart or R-rated averse individual):
A Dark and disturbing horror story about shit, love, and divinity
Another mind-boggling Sci-fi story about human + alien sex. (Yah.)
Finally, the hilarious butt-sex-misunderstanding scene in the 40 yr old Virgin (what would YOU think if someone said they was gonna put their bike in your trunk?) (And cuz homosexuals aren't the only ones who have anal sex. Duh.)

Well, that's all for now.
Happy [late] valentines day :)

(oh, and btw... I ♡ sex. Woohooo for makin' whoopee!!! Gay, Straight, or Whatever!)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Our Dysfunctional Heavenly Family...

Jessawhy just put up a great post at The Exponent (thoughts about an absentee Mother in Heaven) and it got me thinking about our concept of a Heavenly Family, the one with all powerful, all loving divine Heavenly Parents.

(the following is expanded from my comments on that thread, which I probably should not have made there anyways.)


I realized, that if you took out the All Powerful and/or All Loving parts then the Divine Parentage analogy makes more sense (taken in the context of the horrific human wreckage that occurs every day on this earth).

One actually could view this world as the offspring of a couple of abusive, inconsistent, conditionally-loving, favoritism-playing parents.

Or even just normal run-of-the-mill-good-intentioned-but-fallible parents. Parents who are like us. Who make mistakes and don’t always have the answers and some days just don’t have the energy or the patience. Who maybe do things with the best of intentions only to find that what they did has horribly tragic consequences. And sometimes horrible things happen for no reason at all and they are unable to do anything about it, helpless to help, helpless to save, only able to weep in anguish at it all. (Or perhaps shutting their eyes so they don't have to witness the damage.)

Maybe we don’t hear about Heavenly Mom because she LEFT Heavenly Dad. Maybe they had a nasty divorce with a really bad custody battle and right now we’re on Dad’s weekend visit. That would make much more sense to me regarding the silence about Heavenly Mother:

Us: “Dad, tell us about Mom

Dad: [on a good day] “Mom is… doing something important… somewhere else… don't worry about it…” [or on a bad day] “Shut up kid

Maybe things just got outta hand, more kids seemed like a good idea at the time but now they realize that they just don't have a handle on things, stuff is out of their control, falling between the cracks (they are probably doing a good bit of arguing about it to each other behind the scenes, blame enough to go around with left-overs)

...Yah... like you are going to hear THIS preached over the pulpit anywhere.

The thing is, this explanation/analogy of a Parent God certainly might shed some light on the current state of the planet. BUT, there is nothing in this view to inspire any sort of devotion or adoration or emulation etc etc etc. Even going to that bit about well-meaning but helpless divine parents, who sincerely love their children, whose hearts break for all the grief down here... It is an image that inspires pity, but not devotion. (Would you offer up pleading prayers to a loving but helpless god?)

That's about the conclusion I came to a while back. The next inevitable phase was to realize I just didn't believe in God.

Back on that exponent thread, m&m expressed a bit of horror at my view, which is understandable. This is a pretty bleak picture I just painted of our Heavenly Family. But even laying aside all that bleakness, I frequently hear sentiments of sadness and horror about the belief that there is no god, that there is no hope or consolation or meaning to life without God, about being unable to process all the sadness without God. I am actually working on a post (have been for a while) about finding meaning, finding purpose, finding joy in a Godless world.

Eventually I'll get it finished and posted.

Eventually. :)

(Once again, sorry Jessawhy, for threadjacking your post. Thanks for being you.)

Friday, February 5, 2010

Ogling


I think I ogled today.
At Subway, getting a six inch veggie on wheat, there was a problem with the cash register and the manager had to be called up to the front to fix it... and I kid you not, "call in the big guns" was furreals. I hope I wasn't obvious. I'm quiet and non-obtrusive by nature, but found I was having a hard time focusing on the transaction, instead just trying to fathom the diameter of those biceps.

And then feeling slightly ashamed about the snarky way I have rolled my eyes at male counterparts caught "looking" at some superb specimen of female physique.
(Actually, I find I ogle superb specimen's of female physique too.)

Muscle bound is not my type.
But it was interesting to find myself in a situation where I was disinclined to look away from some guys' arms.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

332 days left (and trying not to be a bitch about it)

I'm on edge lately.
It started out as ambition; a challenging set of goals for this new year. Things to accomplish, things that stretch me. But I'm only on day 33 and mostly I just feel sharp and tense towards my husband and son, and distant from my friends as I try to squeeze it all in.

Perhaps I just haven't found the grove yet (the right balance, the right schedule).
Perhaps it's just a phase (even without ambitious goals I can be sharp and distant).

I keep thinking of 50's era advice to housewives
Also about that article that showed that women are more powerful but less happy than they once were.

But whatever.
I just had to write this down, get it off my mind. Don't have the energy to ponder deeply and come up with something profound.
Time to hit the books again (because for one of my goals I'm taking a few online courses in computer programing. Working through pseudocode and flowcharts right now.)