Wednesday, September 24, 2008

What Month Is It?

Anybody else feel out of it? Sorry if that's too vague, but that's how I'm feeling this week. Maybe it has something to do with giving up coffee....again :( Maybe coffee is what gives one footing in the flowing eddies of time and consciousness. Maybe this limbo, this blah, is what non-coffee drinkers feel like ALL THE TIME! (((shudders)))

The weather is adding to the confusion. It's September (is it not?) so I got out all my long sleeve shirts and have started burning holiday scented candles around the house. And by lunch time the temperature is sweltering. And I have to change my clothes and blow out my candles and turn on the fans. This is making me angry.

Also disappointing...Fringe. It's no X-Files, it's no Lost, it's just badly written, poorly cast, gag inducing Fringe. What is Fall without something worth cuddling up on the couch to watch on tv???

Alright, this concludes the ranting for now. Wishing y'all have a wonderful and seasonally appropriate day.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


I finally broke down and bought a scale. It's part of my plan to do something, anything, about this weight. It's a month after the miscarriage and I'm still the heaviest I've ever been.

All of my adult life I've been one of those detestable girls who could eat anything, do anything (or nothing) and not gain weight. The owner of one very overactive thyroid, I would sometimes find the pounds were just disappearing for no apparent reason. Now the pendulum seems to be moving.

I thought I could add a little activity, cut some calories, and voila! I could put on my old jeans. Unfortunately, it hasn't been that simple. I've been walking, but the weight is unaffected. I've lost the ravenous pregnancy appetite, so I've stopped binging, but the fat is sticking.

I won't lie, vanity is part of the issue. Even with lots of hair on it my head is woefully small, and it's looking sillier and sillier the bigger I get! It's also irritating trying to figure out what to put on in the morning when nothing fits the way it's supposed to. But most importantly, I want to get pregnant again, and I want to be as healthy as I can be when it happens.


Well, it looks like we all survived the Great Rainy Day of '08. I'm so thankful for the sub pump in the basement! Today things have dried up enough that I can finally give the towels we were using for sand bag duty a much needed laudering. Next step - Lysol, lots and lots of Lysol.
The standing water in our back yard is gone but our neighbor's yard is still a mess. A pretty mess. I feel like I suddenly have waterfront property.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Why Feminists Hate Sarah Palin

by Cathy Young, Wall Street Journal (Link is in the title.)

Left-wing feminists have a hard time dealing with strong, successful conservative women in politics such as Margaret Thatcher. Sarah Palin seems to have truly unhinged more than a few, eliciting a stream of vicious, often misogynist invective.

On last week, Cintra Wilson branded her a "Christian Stepford Wife" and a "Republican blow-up doll." Wendy Doniger, religion professor at the University of Chicago Divinity School, added
on the Washington Post blog, "Her greatest hypocrisy is in her pretense that she is a woman."

You'd think that, whether or not they agree with her politics, feminists would at least applaud Mrs. Palin as a living example of one of their core principles: a woman's right to have a career and a family. Yet some feminists unabashedly suggest that her decision to seek the vice presidency makes her a bad and selfish mother. Others argue that she is bad for working mothers because she's just too good at having it all.

In the Boston Globe on Friday, columnist Ellen Goodman frets that Mrs. Palin is a "supermom" whose supporters "think a woman can have it all as long as she can do it all . . . by herself." In fact, Sarah Palin is doing it with the help of her husband Todd, who is currently on leave from his job as an oil worker. But Ms. Goodman's problem is that "she doesn't need anything from anyone outside the family. She isn't lobbying for, say, maternity leave, equal pay, or universal pre-K."

This also galls Katherine Marsh,
writing in the latest issue of The New Republic. Mrs. Palin admits to having "an incredible support system -- a husband with flexible jobs rather than a competing career . . . and a host of nearby grandparents, aunts, and uncles." Yet, Ms. Marsh charges, she does not endorse government policies to help less-advantaged working mothers -- for instance, by promoting day-care centers.

Mrs. Palin's marriage actually makes her a terrific role model. One of the best choices a woman can make if she wants a career and a family is to pick a partner who will be able to take on equal or primary responsibility for child-rearing. Our culture still harbors a lingering perception that such men are less than manly -- and who better to smash that stereotype than "First Dude" Todd Palin?

Nevertheless, when Sarah Palin offered a tribute to her husband in her Republican National Convention speech,
New York Times columnist Judith Warner read this as a message that she is "subordinate to a great man." Perhaps the message was a brilliant reversal of the old saw that behind every man is a great woman: Here, the great woman is out in front and the great man provides the support. Isn't that real feminism?

Not to Ms. Marsh, who insists that feminism must demand support for women from the government. In this worldview, advocating more federal subsidies for institutional day care is pro-woman; advocating tax breaks or regulatory reform that would help home-based care providers -- preferred by most working parents -- is not. Trying to legislate away the gender gap in earnings (which no self-respecting economist today blames primarily on discrimination) is feminist. Expanding opportunities for part-time and flexible jobs is "the Republican Party line."

I disagree with Sarah Palin on a number of issues, including abortion rights. But when the feminist establishment treats not only pro-life feminism but small-government, individualist feminism as heresy, it writes off multitudes of women.

Of course, being a feminist role model is not part of the vice president's job description, and there are legitimate questions about Mrs. Palin's qualifications. And yet, like millions of American women -- and men -- I find her can-do feminism infinitely more liberated than the what-can-the-government-do-for-me brand espoused by the sisterhood.

Ms. Young, a contributing editor at Reason magazine, is author of "Ceasefire!: Why Women and Men Must Join Forces To Achieve True Equality" (Free Press, 1999).

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Mally vs Steph on XBox

I get a kick out of this picture. How often to you see Steph with a game controller in her hands?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Thoreau on the New Facebook Layout

It is wise to...try many themes, that so you may find the right and inspiring one... Improve the suggestion of each object however humble, however slight and transient the provocation. What else is there to be improved? Who knows what opportunities he may neglect? It is not in vain that the mind turns aside this way or that; follow its leading; apply it whither it inclines to go. Probe the universe in a myriad of points. Be avaricious of these impulses. You must try a thousand themes before you find the right one, as nature makes a thousand acorns to get one oak. -September 4, 1851

The layout certainly fits the description of a new theme with slight and transient provocation, but I think it's pretty clear that this isn't the acorn that begets the oak.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Thoreau on Blogging

This morning I thought, gosh, I'm overdue for a blog post. But there isn't anything I really want to write about this morning. So I thought I'd flip through Thoreau because we could all use a little more Thoreau, and lo and behold, he speaks to the blogger's dilemma!

Do nothing merely out of good resolutions. Discipline yourself only to yield to love; suffer yourself to be attracted. It is in vain to write on chosen themes. We must wait till they have kindled a flame in our minds. There must be the copulating and generating force of love behind every effort destined to be successful. The cold resolve gives birth to, begets, nothing. The theme seeks me, not I it.

January 30th, 1852

So there you have it. I'm off the hook, and I got to type the word copulating. Rrreoww.

Friday, September 05, 2008

The Dining Room, WIP

The entire house is a work in progress, but here is an update on the dining room. The first picture is from our second visit to the house before we bought it. The dining room seems to have been being used as a bedroom. It, like every other room in the house, was painted peach and it had weird medical equipment screwed to the wall, an air conditioner decaying in the window and a truly ugly, gold colored ceiling fan.
Here is the house after we moved in our stuff. The Bodes helped us dislodge the whale sized air conditioner and I yanked the medical equipment off the wall but the bar is hiding the cables. We hung the drapes Mom made for Ross's old apartment so there is about a foot and a half of fabric hanging on the ground.

Here is the room as it looked yesterday morning. That's the new ceiling fan we bought over the weekend. I've removed the cables and patched up the walls. The trim has been painted white and I'm getting reading to put up our new wall colors. Our plan is to install a chair rail so I've taped off the room in two parts, upper and lower.

Here's the lower color, Garden Wall.

And here it is with the upper color, Sandstone Cove.

Next up; chair rail, rehang the drapes, hang some art, and then it will be the kitchen's turn!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

John Ortberg on Religion and Politics

Ross and I watched the RNC last night and at times it was as exciting as watching Michael Phelps smashing records. That makes me nervous. So here is a little balance and perspective from the wise and wonderful John Ortberg, excerpted from Christianity Today (the link is in the title.)

...As soon as human beings (including church leaders) start assuming they are in a position to pronounce God's political leanings, things get a little dicey.

In Abraham Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address, which remains the high water mark in presidential theological reflection, he notes that "Both (the North and the South) read the same Bible, and pray to the same God; and each invokes His aid against the other." So maybe a way to place politics in its proper context is with a little thought experiment.

Imagine that we elected all the right people to all the right offices. President, Congress, governors, right down to the school board, city council members, and dog catcher (which, by the way, does anyone still get to vote for?) Let's imagine that all of these ideal office holders instituted all the right policies. Every piece of legislation—from zoning laws, to tax codes, to immigration policy, to crime bills—is just exactly the way you know it ought to be.

Would that usher in perfection?

Would the hearts of the parents be turned toward their children? Would all marriages be models of faithful love? Would greed and pride be legislated out of existence? Would assistant pastors find senior pastors to be models of harmony and delight? Would human beings now at last be able to master our impulses around sexuality, and anger, and narcissism? Would you finally become the woman or man you know you ought to be?

In the words of theologian Macaulay Culkin: "I don't think so." Because no human system has the ability to change the human heart. Not even democracy, or capitalism, or post-modern-emergent-ancient-future-missionalism. T.S. Elliot summed up our quandary brilliantly: "We want a system of order so perfect that we do not have to be good."
We ought to be engaged in the political process. We ought to vote, be educated, be involved. We should do it in a way that is civil and respectful and redemptive. (I saw a cartoon recently where a guy showed up at the pearly gates to hear St. Peter say: "You were a believer, yes. But you skipped the not-being-a-jerk-about-it part.") But we should also remember that the church is not called to be one more political interest group.

The human race needs an administration of another kind. There is one possibility. Someone needs to be in a position to say: "The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe the Good News." Scholars like N.T. Wright remind us that these words were politically loaded. They deliberately echo or parody the claims of Rome—that Caesar was Savior, that his kingdom was Good News.

The gospel of the early church was, among other things, a deliberate in-your-face to the empire. Pretty cheeky when you think that the church had a few thousand ragged cohorts and the Empire ruled sixty-five million hearts. It was pretty clear which horse to bet on. But here we are, two thousand years later, and we give our children names like Peter, Paul, and Mary; and we call our dogs Caesar and Nero.

These gospel words of the early church were deliberately politically loaded. But they were not to be co-opted. They are to stand above every human party and candidate and political platform. The church historically has not done well when it gets too closely associated with empires. The gospel words must transcend higher to go deeper.

My daughter got a CD for me recently from an old Broadway show called Camelot. Richard Burton is singing at the end about how the dream of Camelot is about to perish in a great battle. He sings/speaks in a tone of unbearable wistfulness:

"Don't let it be forgot, That once there was a spot, For one brief shining moment…"

I wondered why that was so evocative. Until I remembered—there is a longing. But it is not really about Camelot, or King Arthur, or Shangri-la, or Constantine, or whoever your favorite candidate is. It's for a carpenter-turned-rabbi, who once ran for Messiah, and got crucified.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Thinking About...

Politics. I hate politics. I hate how it takes real people and turns them into idols or devils. I hate the hype and the hysteria. I hate the division and the insults. But I believe in democracy and I believe we all have a responsibility to educate ourselves and vote our conscious.

I don't buy that an evangelical Christian is automatically a Republican. Personally, I consider myself an independent. In the past I have voted for both Democrats and Republicans. In this election year I am supporting the McCain/Palin ticket.

I am not patient enough to vote for someone with no chance of winning, so my choice was between Obama and McCain. McCain clearly has more of the military and foreign affairs experience required of a commander in chief, he has a tried and tested record, and I feel encouraged by his platform on abortion and the role of the courts.

I am not sure what to think about Palin yet. I think it was definitely not a safe or boring choice! I don't think that her daughter's pregnancy in any way calls into question her own integrity, and I appreciate her personal story of pro-life values in action.

I'll be watching the RNC with interest this week.

Sex Addiction. I read last week that David Duchovny had checked himself into rehab for a sexual addiction. I was sad for him and for his family. Then I scrolled down and read the comments people had posted on the article. Overwhelmingly these responses were dismissive and flippant. Some of the posters had never even heard of sex addiction and believed that it was a made up disorder! In this day and age of internet porn and To Catch a Predator it is unbelievable to me that so many would be ignorant to this problem. I pray that Duchovny will experience real healing in rehab and I hope that his public struggle will help shine a spot light on an issue that is crippling many people's souls and tearing families apart.

Here is a link to a link to a CNN article called "When Sex Becomes an Addiction." Excerpt:

It turns out sex addiction, also called compulsive sexual behavior, operates somewhat like a gambling compulsion or alcoholism: It's about devoting your free time to a behavior that you cannot stop, even if you damage relationships or prompt other negative consequences. Examples of addicting sex behaviors include extensively using pornography, having affairs, sleeping with prostitutes, and masturbating excessively, to the point where such behaviors get out of control.

If you think it's just about being horny, think again. For many addicts, sex becomes a way to numb out painful feelings, kill time or stop feeling lonely, said Kelly McDaniel, licensed professional counselor in San Antonio, Texas, and author of "Ready to Heal: Women Facing Love, Sex and Relationship Addiction."

"Most people I talk to get to the point where they don't even like sex," said McDaniel, who has no connection to David Duchovny and did not speculate about his specific situation.Sex addiction is estimated to affect 3 to 6 percent of adults in the U.S., according to the Mayo Clinic, but the American Psychiatric Association has not classified the condition in its diagnostic handbook.

The Internet, providing endless opportunities for porn-watching and cybersex, has fueled a surge in cases of sex addiction, experts say. "We're seeing it with epidemic proportions now, particularly with regards to cybersex," said Mark Schwartz, psychologist and former director of the Masters and Johnson Institute in St. Louis, Missouri. "There isn't a week that goes by where I don't get two calls" about sex addiction.