Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Holidays are swiftly upon us

I remember being told as a child that Christmas wasn't only about gift-giving. As an adult not engaged in organized religion I would like to say I still agree with that, but not because I believe it's about Jesus' birthday (I will not, at this time, venture down the historical path of the co-opting of pagan holidays to Christian to make them more attractive to the "heathens"). I object on the grounds that materialism is bad for individual and communal spirit. I know our democratic (ha!, sorry still bitter over the last two elections), capitalistic society thrives on competition and consumer consumption, but looking at all the people buying the goods and buying into the myth, I don't think it's working. People are spending money and they aren't happy. People are getting presents and they're not happy, either. People are very stressed out, about buying other people presents. Buying presents people might not even want. Did you hear about the fights over discounted items on Black Friday? We're spreading democracy? Our people fight over shoes, for God's sake! What the hell? Ok, I'm stepping off my soapbox now, but also telling you to check our buynothingChristmas.org - a group of Canadian Mennonites have started a campaign. I'm all about less shopping.

The kids were taking turns reading poems from Shel Silverstein's book Where the Sidewalk Ends last night. He was so great. Not only were his books banned (by the way: read banned books) but he also penned Johnny Cash's hit "A Boy Named Sue." Anyway, after reading Someone Ate the Baby, Dirty Dan, and Captain Hook I was inspired by my attitude-driven daughter to write a poem of my own. Here it is:

My daughter is bein' bossy to me
And I really cannot shake it.
I'm thinking of takin' her attitude
And maybe tryin' to break it.
She stomps and she shouts,
She whines and she pouts,
She acts incredibly put out
and this mama's not made to take it.

My only daughter, Chicky, informed me she wanted to take gymnastics, tap, and dance lessons. I said I would look into it. She said, "Right now? I really want you to do it now." I told her I would think about it, and that perhaps she should pick one of the three to start. Two minutes later she comes back into the room, "Have you done it yet?" she asks in an exasperated tone. "Done what?" I ask. "UGH! Signed me up for dance class, that's what!"

Where, oh where, has my sweet Chicky gone?
Oh where, oh where, can she be?
With her attitude short,
And her mild demeanor gone,
Oh where, oh where can she be?

Sunday, November 20, 2005

This and that...

It's been a long time since I've posted. During that time I have finished Chicky's cool socks, started two other pair of socks, am working on top secret Christmas presents, almost finished a sweater (that I had a limited amount of yarn of, and now I am afraid, it will be too small for me to wear), had surgery, had a kidney stone, had my parents here to help with the children and I during the planned surgery and surprise kidney stone, and am now working on life returning to "normal". So, it's not like I've been slacking off, really.

I've been reading quite a bit. My recent favorite is Our Endangered Values by Jimmy Carter. It is very reassuring to me that I am not the only one horrified by the neocons in politics. I am floored by how incongruent it seems the religious right is, exerting power in ways that go against the teaching of Jesus Christ (e.g., no to abortion, but yes to the death penalty). It has bothered me for a long time and I was relieved that Jimmy presents it so clearly and even quotes scripture and points out that Jesus preached directly against divorce and adultery and never once mentioned homosexuality (although it is addressed in the New Testament by Paul), but that divorce among Christian groups is very accepted (with Baptists ranking highest in divorce rates of religious groups - 29%). Why is divorce so accepted? Is it because social norms have changed over the last couple decades? Probably. Have social norms changed in regards to homosexuality as well? Yes. Why is the legalized union of gay couples a big deal for the religious right when divorce (also known as fornication and adultery in the Bible) is not? Aren't divorced people remarrying making a mockery of the sanctified union of man and woman as outlined by God? Hmmmm, bet the ultraconservative don't want to think about that one too much.

Musically I am absorbed by Bob Dylan these days. Also in rotation are prairie Wind by Neil Young, Soul Journey by Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, The Basement Tapes by The Band and Bob Dylan, and three CDs of the Andrew Sisters, courtesy of my dad. Never a dull moment over here, my friends.