Thursday, June 30, 2011

Joint Brain Tenancy

Today is NotDonna's birthday!  This will be one of a very small handful of years when I don't actually get to see her the week of her birthday.  *pout*

      When we were very young, she'd have swimming parties at Baptist Lake.  Then we grew into camping parties at Newago State Park.  These parties have resulted in a number of embarassing, ridiculous, and all around odd lasting memories.  (Serial killer in the porta potty, Ladies?  How about the CLHMC?).

      I have known NotDonna for around 23 years.  That's a long time.  We became such close and inseperable friends that, to this day - an entire country apart -  we still appear to share a brain.  We get sick at the same times.  We get cranky at the same times.  I'll often call her and say, I don't know why, but I was in a really good mood all day today only to find out that she had gotten some sort of amazingly good news that day.  She literally lives 3000 miles away from me now, and we still think of the same random, crazy things at the same time.  She'll start telling me a story, and I know exactly what she was thinking about the whole time.

       In Jr high and high school, we spent hours upon hours on the phone.  There were years when we had every single class together, and still I couldn't wait to call her when I got home.  And we'd tie up the phone lines all night long.  We would either laugh hysterically or scare the crap out of each other - we were both super paranoid about axe murderers and such.  On Monday nights, we would watch Ally McBeal together on the phone.  We've both recently started watching it again on Netflix, so we get to have these wonderful "I forgot about that episode!" or "I forgot that character died!  I was so upset!" conversations.

      NotDonna is one of the sweetest women you'll ever meet, but her super sweet girl-next-door exterior hides a biting wit.  I don't think I've ever met anyone who doesn't like her, but it's hysterical to hear her indictments of those she doesn't so much enjoy.  She is caring, hyper considerate, and extremely loyal.  She's also one of the strongest women I know.  I couldn't even dream up a better friend.

       I could probably write an entire blog devoted to the adventures and misadventures we've had together over the last 20someodd years.  The life lessons, crazy characters, hilarity and unbelievable coincidences. 

      Happy Birthday, NotDonna!
(On or about NotDonna's birthday last year)

Want to Know Wednesdays: Always Late

I believe that forgetting waiting to post my We Want to Know Wednesday answers until Thursday just makes the posts stand out that much more. 

1. What was the last thing you searched for online?I looked up a particular cite from the United States Code regarding Federal ethics.  Exciting, right?  Before that, I searched for leafcutter ants . . .

2. If we visit your home state, what is one MUST we should do before leaving?First, I'd have to decide what I consider my "home state."  I was born in Ontario, and though I didn't live there long, I feel like that's where I come from.  However, I grew up in Michigan and would probably call that my home state.  That's where my parents and Boo live and it's where we always go on vacation.

Michigan has a lot to offer.  If you're into wine, I highly recommend Traverse City wine country - it is amazing.  All the quality of Napa with none of the pretentiousness.

Otherwise, by far the most entertaining thing to do in MI is to spend a week with my crazy family.  My friends from NY have taken a couple trips to camp in my mom's backyard and experience a real life little hick town.  No joke.  And lately they've been rummbling about how much they want to do it again.

Favorite passtimes on a MI "Redneck Immersion" trip include:
Catching Crayfish

Drinking and dining at the local bar - especially on all you can eat shrimp days. 
 And, of course, Fun with Guns

3. What do you think pharmaceutical companies should invent a pill for that isn't on the market yet?
Common sense!

Oh, and MiMi, I would also totally buy a lip plumping pill.  And what's sad is I'm sure it would be better marketed, better advertised, and more affordable than the actual medical pills you suggested.
4. When was your first kiss? Was it good or bad?
Ok, if we're talking real kisses here, not any of that 3rd grade by the water fountain nonesense then it depends on how you look at it.  How unusual for me, right?  Technically, my very first kiss was my first kiss goodbye*.  My first boyfriend was so unbelievably shy (and so was I) that we dated for a long time, held hands and talked and hung out tons, and never kissed.  I finally got one of my friends to dare him to kiss me, after which I promptly broke up with him.  Not spectacular.  Barely even memorable.  And because he actually fell down mid-kiss, I often consider my next kiss to be my real first kiss.
5. What is your guilty pleasure TV show that you can not miss?
I consider pretty much all the TV I get to watch to be a guilty pleasure.  My current can't miss, as if anyone doesn't already know it, is Bones.

Question 4 was given to us by Amber @ Amberly Adventures and by Nadine @ All Along The Hightower.

Question 5 was given to us by Vandy @ The Testosterone Three and Me.

*Why yes, I do give love a bad name . . .

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

General Assembly (GA) Weekend!

      We had an amazing weekend.  We got up at 3am Saturday morning to drive up to Charlotte, NC for the Unitarian Universalist General Assembly (GA), and it was sooooo worth it.  It was exciting, uplifting, fun, intellectually stimulating, heart-warming, and exhausting.

      GA is the annual get-together of all (or most) of the UU congregations in the US, and some international congregations join in as well.  There are classes and workshops and talks and a wonderful Exhibit hall where you can hook up with all sorts of UU groups (like the UU Animal Ministries - ie, UU Vegegetarians, Vegans, and Animal Activists!! How excited am I about discovering that group?!?).  I can't even begin to list all the awesome groups that were there: human rights groups, GLBTQ rights groups, UU Jews, UU Christians, UU Buddhists, UU Humanists, UU PAGANS, prison ministries, numerous ecological and environmental groups, fair trade/equal exchange groups - and so very, very many more.  It was amazing.  We could have spent two days in the exhibit hall alone. 
      Plus there was UU jewelry.  MacGyver, Punky, and I each got a Chalice pendant.  Punky's is a little one just like the one pictured.  MacGyver and I got larger pendants that had more of a "rough hewn" look to the pewter.  There is a different one that MacGyver fell in love with, but it was too expensive, and I have designed my own that I can't WAIT to have made, but for now these are great!

      One thing I think really captures the type of gathering this was: the trash cans.  There were cans marked "Landfill," "Glass," "Mixed Recyclables," and my personal favorite, "Compost."  Yes!  There were compost bins all over the building!  Plus displays showing what could go into each bin (Compost those Starbucks cups, folks!).  You could add a carbon offset to the price of your admission based on how far you traveled to get there and they handed out pamphlets about the healthiest (vegetarian and vegan friendly) places to eat in the area.  Could this BE more my kind of place?!?

      Our congregation was honored as a "Breakthrough" congregation for very rapid growth over the last few years, and we listened to some wonderful speeches and presentations.  I particularly enjoyed the annual report of the UU United Nations Office (the UU-UNO).  I didn't even know the UU-UNO existed, let alone how many AMAZING things they have been setting in motion!  Seriously unbelievable and truely heartening.  For instance:

         The UU-UNO proudly maintains the only faith-based sexual orientation/gender identity
advocacy program at the United Nations...a sad commentary on the deafening silence of
other denominations on this critical issue.
        UU-UNO leadership resulted in 23 countries changing their vote at the UN General
Assembly in December 2010 to include sexual orientation into the UN resolution against
extra-judicial killing.
        The UU-UNO hosted a ground-breaking conference to empower women and promote the
UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women,
which was launched increased UU-UNO advocacy for women’s rights.

      And that is barely the beginning.  If you're interested, you should totally check out the annual report

      Saturday evening, we went to a wonderful Solstice Ritual led by Phaedra Bonewits, a very well known Pagan Priestess who has even been featured in some well known comics.  The ritual was short and simple, but powerful and I was thrilled to be a part of it.  From there, we went to the CUUPs annual meeting and banquet where there was lively discussion, an outstanding sermon on the spirituality of compost, and where MacGyver was chosen as the East Coast representative for the CUUPs Nominating Committee.  He will be helping choose next year's national CUUPs leaders.  I came away with a long list of very exciting ideas for the future of our local chapter.

      We didn't come away with many pictures, and the ones we did get I haven't uploaded yet.  But I do feel like this one picture, taken with my phone, captures how we all felt after GA:

      We came away revitalized and inspired with mountains of information and lists upon lists of new ideas.  MacGyver wants to start a Backyard Chickens organization in our area - among 100 other, more ambitious, plans.  I am going to be starting a group that gets a post all it's own.  I have a feeling our CUUPs chapter is going to take off after this based on everything my friend WiccaMan and I picked up, and I'm excited to get in touch with a congregation that has an Animal Ministries group only an hour away.

      And now I'm back at work, staring down ever growing mountains of work, but I'm in a good mood and have been receiving really flattering compliments left and right.

      Happy Week, All! 

Friday, June 24, 2011

Rambling on a Friday Afternoon

Cutest.  Baby.  Ever.
But you already knew that.
Still; it bears repeating.

He just had his 9 month check up.  At 20lbs, 10 ozs and 28 inches, he's at the 50th percentile for weight, 60th for height, and 65th for head size.  Yep, that's my brainy little man.

I know I just did an update about him a few days ago, but he changes so much every day!  He took two steps today.  For a long time he's been able to take one, then he would get so excited that he's laugh and wave his arms around and fall over.  He's also been babbling a whole lot of new syllables, and he makes the MOST adorable face when he goes "buh buh buh."  He sticks his lips out and scrunches his brow together like he's saying something very serious.  I doubt I will ever be able to capture a picture of it.

He is hilarious when he gets excited.  His whole body spazes with happiness when he squeals and giggles.

We've made great progress on the sleeping front.  After a couple weeks of work, he will now pull off the breast himself and roll over and go to sleep.  Last night, MacGvyer was able to put him down in under 10 minutes, and with almost no fuss.  MacGyver has wanted this all along, but I've been having a hard time handing over bedtime even though I know it will ultimately be a good thing.  So we've taken that step and the sleeping is looking good.

MacGyver and Flintstone cuddling with my pajamas.  Doesn't Flintstone look HUGE in this picture?

I walked into find Flinstsone praying in his sleep the other day.  Does it get much cuter than this?

 He hung out in my office a lot while MacGyver and Punky were in VA.  We had a grand time.  I brought tons of baby toys with me.  He enjoyed chewing on my sword belt (pictured), case files, sticky tabs, and post it notes.  There is another adorable picture of him after eating my sticky tabs on the Cheap Wine and Cookies Facebook page.  Which is why you should totally LIKE Cheap Wine and Cookies on FB.

For PT one day this week, we ran the Obstacle course.  I love the O-course.  It's one of my very favorite PT events.  I love climbing on things.  I loved it as a kid, and I never really grew up.

The only problem was that it has been over 100 degrees pretty much every day here for the last couple weeks (my poor garden has been getting cooked!).  We ran aout a mile and a half to the O-course in boots and utes.  Running in boots is NOT the same as running in running shoes.  It hurts quite a bit more.

We ran the O-Course twice, then I ran it again just for fun while we waited for a couple people who were struggling to finish.  Then we ran back.

Apparently, I pushed my body harder than it was prepared for.  I wasn't in much pain after doing the course or the run, but about 40 minutes after I got a retinal migraine followed by a debilitating painful migraine that lasted almost the entire day.  Suck.

But I'm all better now.

Notice how I don't have any very good pictures of Flintstone these days?  Yeah.  Ugh.  I have some on the camera, but he'll probably be at freaking NYU before I get around to uploading them.

Happy Weekend, All!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Want to Know Wednesdays: Musical Memories

Today is Thursday.  You'll deal.

{1} What is the best or worst pick up line you have ever been given?
I feel like I should have a great answer for this.  I have had some a lot of frigging hilarious dating fiascos, but I don
t really remember any particularly crazy pick up lines.  I have had my a$$ compared to that of a black woman in what I can only assume was meant to be a favorable manner.  Ive had a guy tell me after a very short conversation that I was the kind of girl he could see himself marrying (gag). Really?  Because youre the kind of guy I can see myself rejecting . . .  MacGyvers pick up like was pretty good.  He was changing the oil on my 1976 Mustang Cobra 302 and gave me a list of supplies I would need.  That last one on the list was Date, dinner and a movie.  I think I still have that list around somewhere . . .{2} What is your most and least favorite day of the week?
Obviously, it depends on the particular week, but generally Saturdays are the best.  The worst day is a tough call.  Maybe Tuesday.  I
m generally really productive and fine on Mondays.  Tuesday that energy is all used up but the weekend is still soooo far away.{3} How many hours of sleep do you require each night?
I REQUIRE 9 hours.  I usually get 4 – 5.  I was recently informed by one of my doctors who specialized in sleep that I am living at on an unsustainable sleep deficit.  Like that
s supposed to shock me.  Now if you could just convince my bosses that I need to come in to work 2 hours later every day, maybe we could remedy that.

{4} Is there a song that takes you back in time? What song is it; what's the memory attached?
Soooo many songs take me back in time.  Many Jimmy Buffett songs, a couple Meatloaf songs, and a couple Little Feat songs take me right back to childhood.  The Now and Then and Friends soundtracks instantly take me back to my early teen/adolescent years.  We Like to Party by the Venga Boys always reminds me of driving around with my boyfriend Sophomore year.  Man, I Feel Like a Woman by Shania Twain reminds me of dumping him (which, oddly enough is a very positive memory for me – most of my break-ups are, I
m an evil, cruel female).
Fishin in the Dark reminds me of Prom my Sophomore year.  Breathe by Faith Hill reminds me of Prom my Junior year (a prom to which I took 2 dates because Im a playa like that).
A few Nelly and Eminem songs bring me right back to the last couple years of high school.  User Friendly by Marilyn Manson and People are Still Having Sex by LaTour – among others – always remind me of cruising around in my yellow 73 VW Bug.
There are club songs that take me right back to college like Percolator and Booty Call.  And, of course, there are about 65 different songs that remind me of different points in MacGyver and my relationship.
And thats just off the top of my head.  I have a ton of music related memories.{5} What is your biggest guilty pleasure?
Probably this right here: playing on the internets.  That, and any junk food I happen to eat here or there.
But bear in mind that I have plenty of vices about which I bear no guilt . . .  ;-)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Longest Day

Happy Solstice All!

I doubt we'll be doing much for Midsummer today, mostly because I taught a class on Paganism Sunday that included a Solstice ritual.

The Summer Solstice is the longest day of the year and the shortest night.  It is a fire celebration, but one that also incorporates water.  We have typically celebrated with a BBQ near a lake or the ocean.  The Summer Solstice is a perfect holiday for growing up and letting things go.  Leading up to the Solstice, we place things on our alter that we are ready to part with or overcome:  a bad report card, a pacifier, a physical representation of a bad habit like a project that was procrastinated on or a pack of cigarettes (gag!  We DON'T smoke, ack, but it is a good example of something that could be overcome at Midsummer).

All of my goals this year are internal, but I unexpectedly found that I have outgrown something else just a couple days ago.

* * * Tangent Alert * * *

      I had some business in the Battalion office the other day, and as I was walking past the guard at the desk, I noticed the book he was reading, Dragons of Autumn Twilight.  It's the second in a trilogy that I loved when I was younger. 

      "That's a great book," I told the guard.
      "I'm not that far into it yet, but I like it so far Ma'am.  What was your favorite part?"
      "You know, I honestly couldn't say; it's been a number of years since I read it."

     And I continued on my way.  Then it hit me.  The "number of years" since I read it:  17 

      It has been 17 years since I read that Trilogy.  I find it hard to believe that I could read that long ago.  Ugh!  Even sadder is the fact that the kid who was reading the book probably couldn't read when I read it.  He was probably about 2 years old when I read that book. 

      Coincidentally, I found out that they made these books into movies a couple years ago, and figured they would be fun to watch.

      I was wrong.  The movie - what I watched of it - was horrible.  It was drivel.  I had to turn it off, which I rarely do with movies even when they're bad.  And it wasn't because the movie was a poor adaptation of the book.  It was because, not at all astonishingly, my tastes have changed that drastically since I was in 6th grade.

      I don't know why I found this so surprising.  In my early teen years, I loved fantasy novels, particularly those featuring dragons.  And I still do, to a degree.  I still love the Lord of the Rings, at least.  But picking this book back up made me feel like I had stepped back into some sort of awkward, formulaic adolescent daydream.  It just seemed vapid and shallow to me. 

      I was actually disturbed by it.  I one of those very strong "how the hell could I have liked this?" moments.  Obviously, I liked it because I was 12.  I liked the genre because I was an adolescent.  It's just wierd how superficial and irrelevant I find it now.

      Then again, personality wise, I am hell and gone from where I was as an adolescant.  It just feels odd to recognize that I was at one time this wholly different person.

      What's most disturbing about it, though, is how quickly Punky is closing in on that age.  Heaven help me if she ever when she becomes obsessed with all that overly formulaic, self indulgent, shallow crap.  The Twighlight books spring immediately to mind.  I KNOW a number of you love them, and I haven't read them, but I have one "friend" who is obsessed with them, and knowing her and having to hear her talk about the books puts them soundly and permanantly in the ego-materbatory adolescent drivel catogory in my head.

      I'm sure the reason this adolescent crap annoys me so much is because I have changed so very much since I was that age.  I cringe at my adolescent behaviour.  Hence, adolescents annoy me. 

      I am so in for it.

* * * End Tangent * * *

Midsummer is also about Fathers (shocking, right?).  It is no coincidence that Father's Day falls where it does in the year.  Just another example of Paganism hiding in plain sight.

Father's Day weekend was GREAT.  Among other things, we went to a Drive In Movie, went to a Water Park, and went to a Buffet.  Maybe one day, I'll get around to uploading some pictures ;-)  They would likely look something like this:

 This isn't posed.  I handed him the book ,and he read it.  He is SO my child ;-D

Those are from our weekend outing a couple weeks ago since it may be a heck of a long time before I get around to uploading the Father's Day pics - which are almost entirely pictures of Flintstone anyway because Punky was off on the water slides the whole time.

* * * Tangent Revisited * * *
      While I can't stand that teenage fantasy drivel, I love Campy Fantasy (Xena, etc.).  Hypocritical?  Maybe a little.  But I love Camp because it refuses to take itself too seriously (much like me ;-)).  I think that's a big difference.  Anyone out there have any skill in literary analysis want to hazard a guess as to why I can't stand adolescent D&D type crud but I love friggin Xena?  Though I don't know if I could ever stand to read Xena in book form . . .

      We got rid of our TV months ago, but we still have a wonderful big projector screen in the living room.  99% of the time, we only allow it to be used on weekends.  Most weekend nights, if we're home, we will eat dinner in the livingroom and watch something on the big projector screen (on weekdays, we always sit down together and eat as a family - NO TV, we've done that for years).  For quite a while now, MacGyver and Punky have favored Merlin and The Legend of the SeekerMerlin has enough camp to it that I typically enjoy watching it.  The Seeker I just find freaking hilarious because it is SO formulaic and trite.  I mean, seriously.  It could have been written by any 13 year old fantasy nerd. 

      You have the bared chest hero who weilds the Magical Sword (hello phalic), accompanied by the caring, fatherly wizard and two beautiful women - a brunette dressed in flowing, virginal white (who he can't sleep with because her powers would destroy him) and the other a blonde dressed in burgundy leather from head to toe ie, dressed as a dominatrix - oh, and she has a magic weapon for torturing people.  (Can we say the madonna and the whore?).  Oh, and his enemy is secretly his brother.

      Is it just me, or is that so damn much trite symbolism that you can't help but laugh?  Punky thought I was nuts because I would crack up constantly at the ridiculous, melodramatic lines and scenes.  Shockingly, the show was cancelled.  We've replaced it's spot in the rotation with The Jeff Corwin Experience.  I LOVE Jeff Corwin.  LOVE.

* * * End Tangent Again * * *

Well, this post is nothing at all like I thought it was going to be.  This is shaping up to be a really odd week anyway, why should my blogging be any different?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Better To Say Nothing

I could post one of the 654 half-written posts that are lingering on my desktop.  I could post a few more Flintstone milestones/updates (like how he's now 100% over his hatred of the car seat).  I could relates ome humorous observations from my conversation with NotDonna last night or some of the silliness that has taken place at work today.

I could produce a moderately worthwile post using any of those methods.  This is, I could if I could wrestle my mind out of the salacious gutter in which it has been lounging all day.

MacGyver has been out of town for 9 days.  Or is it 10 now?  Whatever, he's been gone a long freakin time.  He's on his way home as I write this.

And I can't wait until he gets home.

He will be tired and grumpy, dishevelled and in need of a shower.  He'll probably have a whole lot of beard growth going on. 

But I don't care.

I will refrain from details, but I will admit one thing:

I am having impure thoughts.

Not even thoughts.  I have been having an impure stream of consciousness all day.

I am SO ready for my husband to be home.

So forgive me for the lack of a post here.  Forgive me for lack of substance or for failing to post something fun and entertaining to make up for yesterday's rant.  But the inside of my head today resembles that of a pent up teenager.  And I'm trying to spare you.

But let's face it,

Nine days is too damn long.

I hope you all enjoy Father's Day and your weekend.  I know I sure as heck will.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Political Opinions

I rarely comment on politics.  Both US and international politics are extremely intricate and complicated issues and I have neither the time nor the inclination to put enough effort into gathering all the facts and researching as I feel is necessary to form a cohesive opinion.
I vote, of course.  And I do so based on research.  I look into candidates’ stances and voting behavior on a small group of issues that I care about and that I feel represent a general barometer to a candidate’s overall political tendencies.  Those issues include mainly Reproductive Rights, Animal Rights, Health, Education Spending, and International Policy.  I also like to look at a politician’s advisors to see a nice array of backgrounds and opinions.  I won’t name anyone in particular but there was a recent high up government official who I COULD NOT STAND.  He depended on Yes Man advisors who represented the most narrow-minded viewpoints I can imagine.  And there was all that lying and underhanded bastard crap.  But that’s neither here nor there.  Suffice to say, when it comes to politics I research before I vote, but I don’t believe I’m knowledgeable enough to be a commentator.
But I’m getting fed up.  There are a couple of blogs I read/Twitter feeds I follow of people who are lovely, normally rational people until they start spouting political malarkey.  You want to throw your political opinions in my face?  Fine,  but you damn well better research them first.  I have HAD IT with people who just regurgitate all the asinine propaganda they are fed by vapid spinmeisters like Rush Limbaugh and Neal Boortz (who called the victims of Katrina “human debris”).  Yes, I point out right wingers.  I’m sure there are left wing spin meisters, too.  But the right wingers piss me off more because they tend to advocate violence and are unapologetic when they are proven completely wrong or caught in a lie.  And, obviously because I’m pro Sex Ed, Pro-Choice, Pro Animal Rights, and Pro Education.
But, hey watch this:  I’m going to own up to the fact that I’m biased.  I am biased.  I’m a woman who grew up poor and I’m a vegetarian.  So I fall pretty soundly on the left side of things.  I’m biased.  I am not sitting here trying to convert you or making broad, sweeping comments blaming all our current problems on one person.  Lest we forget the way economics works, no single person brings down the economy.  But if one person could . . .
Then there are those people I really don’t understand like my friend’s wife, Ms Backward (though I’m sure she’d prefer I call her MRS Backward).  She’s a WOMAN of COLOR.  She’s not Christian.  They are far from wealthy.  And the other day she said, “Oh, I would vote for anyone else before I’d vote for a democrat.”  W.T.F!?  You know it’s called the “religious right” for a reason, don’t you?  And I KNOW you use birth control.  And you claim to be in favor of sex ed and education.  I don’t get it.  And I’ll bet you ten to one that if I asked her to explain it, all I’d get is skewed propaganda in response.
I don’t always vote party lines.  I research.  I can’t say “I’ll never vote for a republican” and by saying you’ll vote for anyone but a democrat, you’re just outing yourself as an apathetic, extremist, uneducated voter.
But that’s just my opinion . . .
So go ahead and spout your political opinions all over the place, but know this:  If you don’t actually research what you’re saying, and especially if you’re just spewing propaganda fed to you by Fox News, I'm just going to think you're an idiot - and weak willed one at that.
And, for the most part, I’ll refrain from comment because, unless I’m researching an election, I openly admit that my favorite source for political news is:

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

9 Months and Old Habits

Yesterday was Flintstone's 9 month birthday.  9 Months.  (That said 9 Moths until I proofread it).  And man is he one adorable little piglet.

I could wax poetic about how time flies and how amazing it is to watch my baby grow and develop.  It has been amazing, and time does fly, but we all know that, and that post has been done to death by every blogger with a baby.  I will however, give a quick Flintstone update:
- He crawls - fast
- He stands with no trouble at all and can do things while he's standing.
- He tries to walk.  It doesn't typically work out for him, which is fine with me.
- He hates to be contained.
- His favorite food is celery, though given the choice, he'd rather eat paper any day.  (Seriously, I work so hard to feed him local, organic food and veggies from our garden, to use bio-friendly unchemically cleaning supplies and keep him away from harmful toxins and the kid shoves every wayward peice of bleached, dyed, printed on paper he can find in his mouth - and cries when I fish it out!)
- He says Dada all. the. time.  He makes other sounds, too, but mostly it's Dada.  I say "Mama," he grins and yells "Dada!"
- He does a few signs - milk, up, give me, and he's made up his own signal for "change me" even though he is on a desperate mission to escape the second the diaper comes off.  And he waves goodbye.
- He gives kisses (98% of the time he'll only do it for me), and it's freaking adorable.  Lethal adorable.
- He does the pincers grasp
- He loves owls.  We have an owl calendar in the kitchen.  ANY time I walk near it with him, he giggles hysterically.  One day I will catch it on video.  I can't even express how cute it is.  He lights up when he sees that calendar.

I'm sure there are a million things more, but that seems like a pretty decent catch up.

In other news, you may have noticed that the blogs are getting a little fewer and farther between.  That's not likely to change any time soon.  I'm busy, and, sadly, this isn't my highest priority.

MacGyver and Punky have been out of town for a week.  They went to put new cabinets in our house before handing it over to new renters.  MacGvyer figured it would take two days.  I knew better, but I didn't say anything.  When it comes to projects, MacGyver functions on what I call "man time."  I've also referred to it as "football minutes."  You know how the last 30 minutes of a football game acutally take, like 4 hours?  Yeah, those are football minutes.  But since MacGyver's not all that into sports, I've generalized it to Man Time.

Usually, when MacGyver leaves, my heart is instantly broken.  This time was so strange because I was feeding Flintstone when he left, so there was no nostalgic gazing after this receding tail lights.  I kissed him goodbye, but his absence didn't even sink in for an hour or so after he left.

And I kept so busy the first couple days that they were gone that it wasn't bad at all.  It was actually - dare I say it - kind of nice.  I got SO MUCH done.  I'm good at getting stuff done with Flintstone in tow, but not so much with MacGyver and Punky milling about. 

It was relaxing.  The house was so quiet.  I just did what I wanted, when I wanted.  I didn't have to cook any big meals.  Don't get me wrong, I love cooking for my family and I take great pride in the variety of very healthy meals I make (as evidenced by my FB and Twitter feeds).  But because of my dedication to serving healthy meals, most nights when MacGyver and Punky are home are completely eaten up by chopping, cooking, eating, and cleaning up after.  When it's just Flintstone and me,  I just eat leftovers or a big bowl of veggies and puree up some veggies for Flintstone.

The first couple days were lovely and relaxing.  But it has been a week now.  I'm done with being relaxed, and I've had enough getting stuff done.  It was a nice throwback to being single, and now I'm ready to be married and busy and harried again.  Man time can end any minute now.  I like talking to Flintstone and the chickens when I get home, but I'd rather talk to MacGyver (live and in person).  Not to mention other activities I'm really starting to miss . . .

In the mornings, though, I still don't miss them.  I don't usually interact with them much in the mornings anyway.  MacGyver wakes up shortly before I leave for work, and Punky shortly after.  So when they're home I spend the mornings sneaking around in the dimly lit house getting things ready and tending to the dogs.  With MacGyver and Punky out of town, it's been amazing how quickly I reverted back to my Law School routine. 

I get up a half an hour earlier than I need to and spend that time just sitting with a cup of tea and enjoying an episode of Bones or a documentary.  I can turn on lights (some lights, I still try not to wake Flintstone up till it's time to leave).  The mornings are really lovely this week.

And I can get up that extra half hour earlier because without Punky's bedtime and the alluded to activities, I get to bed a LOT earlier, even with 2 -3 hours of getting stuff done after I put Flintstone down for the night.

Some old habits never really go away, they just go into hibernation.

Even so.  I am SO ready for them to come home.  And SO ready to see pictures of the newly renovated kitchen!  Even though I may never get to use it.  Sigh . . .

Want to Know Wednesdays: Few and Far Between

I know I've been cruddy at posting lately.  I expect that might become the norm for a while with work and summer and all.  But I so love Want to Know Wednesdays!

Brought to you this week by Mamarazzi.  

{1} You have been asked to give a 10 minute speech to teenage girls. What is it about?
Birth control/Safer Sex.  Did I ever mention I used to be the president of Voices for Planned Parenthood at my University.  At one point (when MacGyver and I started dating, no less) I had 4,000 condoms in my closet.

{2} Do you have a pet? Tell us about them. No pets? Why?

2 Dogs, Siruis Black and Tonks, 1 cat, Kingsley Shacklebolt, 5 Chickens – Blanche, Dorothy, Rose, Elvira, and Fire (they came pre-named except Fire, who Punky renamed, even so I LOVE the Golden Girls homage), and approximately 20 fish in two tanks.
Sirius and Tonks are like Yin and Yang (we even call them the Yin Yang pups).  Tonks had a traumatic childhood and is terrified of everything – people who aren’t family members, trucks, wagons, PLASTIC BAGS, everything – except other animals.  I have to admit, though, she has improved IMMENSLEY since we got her a couple years ago.  Sirius (the black one) is a whore lover.  She will French kiss anyone given half a chance.  She is the ultimate master of the pathetic look.
Kingsley is quite put upon.  He doesn't even get a picture because I don't have one handy.  He came into our lives shortly before the baby and has the sad condition of being the middle child.  He has the fluffiest tale I’ve ever seen on a cat and he loves to dive bomb Tonks as she’s walking by.  I love watching my pets play.
The chickens lay eggs, for which I love them.  They cluck hello and flock to greet me at the door to their pen every night when I go out to say hi and thank them for the eggs.
The fish are fish.  They are MacGyver’s thing.  They’re pretty and Flintstone LOVES to watch them.
Both dogs and the cat are fixed rescues.  Fix your pets and support the Humane Society and ASPCA!!!

{3} What is the biggest inconvenience about the place you’re currently living?
Distance from just about everything.  The area we live in is absolutely beautiful, but it’s a pretty small town (just under 200k people – MUCH larger than where I grew up, but also much farther away from everything than where I grew up).  The city is an hour away.  The nearest “real” city is 2 hours away.  The nearest Starbucks is 45 miles away.  *pout*

{4} What do you think is the single best decision you have made in your life so far?
I’d like to think I haven’t made it yet.  And Man, this is a hard question.  I’m really glad I went to Law School, but I feel like my best decision should be something more Earth shattering than that – or at least something deeper . . .
(BTW, getting married was more MacGyver’s decision than mine ;-))

{5} What are the THREE "nevers" of your life? (things you would never do or have never done)
As a note, I really do try not to say “never” to anything, but I’ll give this a shot:
Support a Factory Farm;
Step over a person who has just fallen down or a homeless person.  I may not be able to give anything to the homeless person at that moment, but I will at least acknowledge that they exist;
Commit Adultery – unless MacGyver’s in a coma for 10 years, but we have an agreement on that ;-)
Q2 is brought to us by McKenzie
Q3 is brought to us by DateGirl

Thursday, June 9, 2011

We Want to Know Wednesdays: Astrology, Family, and Stuff

It's We Want to Know Wednesday Time hosted by:

Impulsive Addict, Janette, Mamarazzi and Seriously Shawn


This week's questions are from Janette.

1)  Everyone seems to have a quirky family situation-- what is something unique about your family dynamic?
My goodness what isn't unique about my crazy family.  I could go on and on and on.  For instance a few months ago my brother Boo (who's picture you have to see in my About page above if you haven't yet), and his boyfriend moved into my mom's basement, bringing Boo's whacked out dog with them.  Weeks later, Boo had a job opportunity in a town 50 miles away and moved in with a friend to pursue that opportunity.  Leaving his boyfriend living with my mom.  That same week, my Dad split up with his gf and started sleepingon my mom's couch (with his dog).  So it was my mom, my dad - who she has NOT been married to for years, and my brother's boyfriend all living together - with their dogs.  You can't get much more comically dysfunctional than that.
 This is actually how Boo and Bubbles sleep.

 2.)  What is the most stressful aspect to blogging (aside from the network going down)?
Finding time to do it!  And my ever growing backlog of started posts that have yet to be finished.  That, and mystery stalkers and not being able to post certain things because some of my followers like to say bad things about me and don't realize that I have ways of finding out about it.

3.)  We all end up on a blog at some point in our day, but name your top 3 favorite websites you flock to daily (non blog)!
Facebook (all 3 - my personal FB, Blog FB, and Pseudonym FB that goes with the blog FB), Gmail (personal and blog accounts), and The Animal Rescue Site - which is my home page on all my computers (work, home, MacGyver's).  It is an amazing site that donates money to wonderful charities and all you have to do is click!  You MUST check it out if you never had.  Plus, they have a great store with the BEST products - which also help charity!

4.)  What’s your sign?  Believe in it or not, does any part ring true to you?
I am a Scorpio, and while I don't really "believe" in Astrology, I love it because I think it gives a person a new way to look at themselves, new things to consider.  That, and I am so, so  Scorpio:
I actually have this magnet on my fridge.  NotDonna (cancer) and I got them for each other many, many years ago.

According to the first in my favorite series of Astrology books, Born on a Rotten Day, says of Scorpio:
- Argue with one, and suffer a verbal beating that makes you wish they had slugged you instead.
- There is nothing superficial about a Scorpio female. 
- She fears nothing, questions everything, and will go to the ends of the earth for a friend or lover.  She could read the Bible to the Devil and make him listen.
- All Scorpio women instinctively know that the fastest way to a man's heart is through his ribcage (I've had that quote on my Facebook for YEARS before finding it here)
- Known for vicious verbal barbs
- Scorpio is the sign of the prosecuting attorney, psychopath, Mafia negotiator, and evil surgeon.
And from random Astrology websites:
- Scorpio sexuality is so strong that is has made Scorpios famous for being the best lovers out of all the different zodiac signs.
- Scorpio is the sexiest sign, the mysterious partner, the vengeful destroyer, but Scorpio is also the redeemer, the protector, the monk, nun, and aesthetic. The Scorpio is powerful and in control, and he or she can channel and sublimate their enormous sex drive into their career, art, or even their religion (thus, the Scorpio monks and nuns).
- Passion is the keyword for this sign--they are passionate about everything that is important to them. There is a duality about Scorpio which affects every area of his or her life; you will find yin and yang, God and Lucifer, Heaven and Earth all wrapped up in a condensed package known as the Scorpionic Soul. Is it any wonder that quite a few Scorpios are bi-sexual?

That's probably more Scorpio crud than anyone was interested in reading (unless you're a Scorpio yourself).  Especially in light of the fact that one of the aforementioned unfinished posts is about MacGyver and my zodiac wheels - moon signs, risings, the whole 9.

5.)  IceCream!! ICECREAM!! We all scream for icecream! Name your favorite flavor/brand! (Its hot here, can't help it)
98% of the time, we only eat frozen yogurt or sorbet these days.  It's hard for me to pin down a favorite because my favorite thing is variety.  BUT lately I've had a killer craving for a big scoop of vanilla bean (for some reason I detest french vanilla) frozen yogurt on top of a warm spinach brownie topped with gobs of hot fudge and crushed nuts.  How's that for an unhealthy craving?  Ha.  Hot fudge is my eating healthy nemisis.

BONUS QUESTIONS if you dare..
            A.  Name the blog you credit for linking up with us today?
Honestly, I have no idea.  Most likely Impulsive Addict or MiMi.

            B.  Suggest a question you want to see in future WWTK’s!
Hmmmmm . . .  That's a tough one, and for some reason the only questions that are popping into my head right now are rather risque.  Must be all that Scorpio talk. . .

Lastly, if you have any thoughts on Buddhism, please weigh in on my previous post.  Thanks!

Thoughts on Buddhism

The long title of this post is Thoughts on Buddhism from an unqualified Unitarian Universalist Pagan.

MacGyver has been contemplating changing religions. He has a sort of love-hate relationship with Unitarian Universalism.  He loves the searching, exploring, accepting aspects of it, but he also has a craving for a "deeper" spirituality, if you will.  He believes in the 7 Principles, but he desires something more.  In truth, Unitarian Universalism can sometimes become a little lacking on the spiritual side.  It very much depends on the congregation, and the one we belong to now leans heavily to the Humanist.

Many UUs "supplement" their UU faith with other faiths they are believers of.  I am a UU Pagan.  MacGyver has been exploring a similar path.

He decided to explore other religions to see what spoke to him, starting with Hindu and Buddhism.  We were unable to find any books on Hindu here (annoying), so he started with Buddhism.  He bought two books.  Then he promptly got busy with school, work, PTO, soccer, the repairs to the house/fighting with the insurance company, and the mountain of other things he tackles on a day to day basis, and the books have only been sporadically touched.

By MacGyver, at least.  I can't keep my hands off of books - even when I don't "technically" have time to read them.  So I've been reading a page or two a day of Buddhism: A Breif Insight

At first, I was totally on board.  I thought, "Man, this book is converting me.  I'm going to have to become a UU Pagan Buddhist."  I believe in reincarnation; I have for years.  The idea of Kharma really speaks to me.  I am moved by any religion that focuses on doing right by the world as a means to improve one's self and the world at the same time.  Obviously, the focus on refraining from cruelty is one I can really, really get behind (many, many Buddhists are vegetarians).

I also loved that (according to this book), Buddism does not hold that this is the only civiliazation and the only time.  Buddhism posits - much like physics and astronomy might posit - that worlds rise and fall, all over space, time, and dimensions - if you will.  I love this great step outside the rigid bounds of "God made this, and this is it."  (please don't anyone get offended by that simplization, it was only meant to be demonstrative of the preceding point not judgemental of any religion).  I love that view.

The first of the "Four Noble Truths" of Buddhism is the truth of suffering.  That life, by it's very nature, is suffering.  Life on Earth cannot exist with out it.  This is true.  I believe this.

But as I delved further into the Noble Truths, it started to lose me.  Not intellectually.  I still understand what it's saying, but it certainly doesn't speak to me.

At this point in the book (and I'm not through with it, so in a week I may have to post a retraction ;-)), the discussion turns to freeing oneself from the cycle of rebirth by freeing giving up desire.  That I can buy into, a life of minimal desire is usually good for the soul and for those around you.  By giving up desire, one is able to free themself from the cycle of rebirth, to free themself from suffering.  And that is where the wheels start to fall off for me. 

I realize that I don't want to be freed from suffering.  It is for all my suffering that I can appreciate all the wonderful things in my life.  For every ounce of pain and unhappiness I have experienced, moments of joy and pleasure have been that much sweeter.

This book claims that Buddhism does not have a concept of a soul, so to speak.  I haven't 100% wrapped my brain around what it means by this, but is seems to indicate that the bundle of desires and Kharma that passes from life to life does not carry with it any essence of personality.

I don't like that, either.  If anything carries forward from life to life, I would expect it to be the core of who I am.  I would like to believe that I will encounter the same loved ones again and again, though we may never know it in life.  I believe in cycling up.  I believe in building up a morality and that morality carrying forward and effecting where we come out in the future.

But I cannot strive to achieve oblivion.  I know that any educated Buddhist could explain to me that Nirvana is not oblivion.  Other sources cast is as a state of permanant happiness and knowlege.  That doesn't sound bad at all.  But it still implies being severed from concern for the state of other beings.  Because that would be a desire.  And concern for others in the form of desire causes suffering.  So to attain the utlimate enlightenment would - in my mind - sever that connection.

And that I can't fathom as a desireable state.

Perhaps my soul is just not mature enough.  I am certainly not about to acheive enlightenment in this life, with these beliefs.

And maybe my take on Buddhism is so far skewed.  As I said, I haven't finished the book yet.  At this point, though, I'm not there.  I want to believe in Kharma and reincarnation.  I believe in meditation and the release of desire.  I am continually striving to remove as much cruelty as possible from my life.

But if there is an ultimate truth, to me, it's a place where my soul can exist with the souls of those I love, wherever that may be - Heaven, Nirvana, Svargam, or a freaking castle on Mars.

Blessed Be,


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