Thursday, February 24, 2011

Cotton Candy

"It's so fluffy I'm gonna die!" (Despicable Me). That was possibly the cutest line ever. And it always makes me think of cotton candy.

So .... we're a military family. I know we've mentioned that before, but it does no harm to mention it again, especially since it pertains to my story. It's an Orclette story, though I won't get to her until the very end.

Damm's family was also military. My grandfather and grandmother on my mother's side were military, and on my dad's side my grandfather was involved in the Flemish black market during WWII. Not exactly military service, but he was a warrior in his own way. My parents, however, were not military, so I grew up not really thinking about our armed forces. When I did it was vague, "wow they are like mythical heroes!" type thoughts, because I grew up watching John Wayne totally change the course of history, and the persona he created is, in my opinion, somewhat mythical. When I got older this morphed into "wow, aren't they yummy-looking" thoughts, although this stopped when I met Damm. I do not think yummy thoughts about other men any more, except for Sean Connory. I'm sort of kidding. About Sean Connory, not about the other thing.

But the Orclette is having a very different upbringing. Her dad (who is Damm. That sentence feels awkward, so I felt the need to clarify, but oddly enough not to revise the original sentence) is military, and because she's well acquainted with the flesh and blood people behind the uniform she will never have those mythical thoughts her mother (which is me) had, though her grandfather is doing his best to get her to believe John Wayne is the best actor ever. She's also, incidentally, learning how to be an officer. You should see her order all of the cadets around. There is no hero-worship there. She speaks and she expects it to happen. I'm thinking this is why we have trouble at home with her obeying me.

It was made known to me recently, however, just how far that acquaintance and familiarity with the military has gone. My daughter, in her pink polka-dot dress, was using a computer program to paint. Her hair was slightly curvy, and she looked absolutely adorable. The cadets in the room got carried away with their conversation and ventured into territory they normally avoid when my innocent children are in the room. One of them loudly questioned another, saying "So are you three forming a threesome now?" If you are not familiar with the military, this sort of thing is tame. Lame, even. But of course, not appropriate for my children.

Cue my daughter, all pinkness and roses, turning around and bursting into laughter at the pronouncement.

I was horrified. Everyone else was lost in laughter.

Good news is that she doesn't understand what was funny, only that the cadets were being louder than usual. In fact, that's probably what she was laughing at. At least I'm hoping so.

So in a few years fully expect to see a picture of my daughter, dressed in camo, holding a pink bow and arrow. Or even the other way around. Her military upbringing will no doubt be obvious for everyone to see.

Brain overload!

Man, my brain hurts. I spent most of yesterday thinking about my last post, and most of this morning thinking about the comments on it and my responses to them. Worrying, too: "Did I think out my answers? Was I unemotional enough? etc." I tend to avoid discussing controversial issues. Really. I like to sit in the back of the room and listen to other people furiously converse about subjects, and leave when it gets too heated.

But do I not engage because I prefer to listen and learn, or because I'm too afraid? And if I'm afraid, what exactly am I afraid of? This is another issue that has consumed my brain this morning. I'm not kidding, last night I was freaked out by what I had written about, even though I felt it was important to say it. And if I felt it was important, it should be said.

But it's not as simple as that. In studying history, I have been made aware of the danger of elucidating ideas as facts. The facts as we know them are frequently subject to change, and are usually open to interpretation. Thus, when I open my mouth, I am barraged by mental needles reminding me to hedge my answers, make sure my audience knows my qualifications, don't commit to anything unless 100% certain. And even then, it's just a very likely hypothesis. If you haven't heard a historian speak on their subject, watch a documentary. I love how they almost never commit fully to an opinion.

I'm not saying all my conversations are that careful. They aren't; I can talk nonsense with the best of them. But when I'm putting thoughts onto paper or explaining my position to someone who doesn't know me that well and hasn't seen my charming demeanor in person? You bet I'm being careful. And I try to be gracious when my errors are pointed out to me. Bah, I sound like a girl scout. All sugary and sweet. I have to throw myself up now:)

So if I'm careful in conversing, and aware that I need to be careful when throwing facts and opinions around, why does it freak me out to go public with an opinion? Of course, the answer to that is simple. I don't want to be laughed at. I don't want a conversation to degenerate into name-calling, which has happened to me before, although never through this blog. I don't want people to assume I won't like them or be friends with them, because I have previously stated that I hold this or that opinion. That has also happened. I apparently have quite the reputation back at one of my old churches. I voiced my opinions loud and clear, because I was among friends and they knew I loved them. Right? Ha ha.

So I am left with this fear. What do I do with it? Never voice opinions? Always sit in the back of the room? I don't think so. I used to have a voice. I was too opinionated, that much is true, and I offered advice a little too freely, but shutting down my voice entirely because I've previously made an ass of myself is not the way to go. So I shall be thinking on this fear.

And are you done with reading my introspections? Good. I am too. It's good to dive deep every once in a while, but frankly I'm exhausted by these latest dives. My next post will be all that is frivolous, pink, and cotton candy.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Thoughts. Controversial ones. You might not want to read them.

Warning: I'm about to embark on a post that reveals personal beliefs and thoughts on religious and political issues. I don't frequently do this, and in fact I'm not sure it was wise, but for some reason I'm doing it tonight. You have been warned, read on at your own risk.

The Obama Administration has instructed the Justice Department to stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act. I read that, and it distressed me. And I'm still trying to figure out why, which is why I'm writing it all down.

And before I go on, just know that I don't expect you to agree with me, but I do request that my right to have a differing opinion be upheld. I actually don't know if it's a right, per se, but I feel like it is one. And most people usually get upset if they aren't allowed to voice their own opinion in things, and there is the First Amendment and freedom of speech, so perhaps it is a "right". Anyway.

My thought process is thus: I've read the Bible, many times in different translations, and it says that homosexuality is a sin. I agree with that. I will hasten to add that in no way does believing that give me any right to heap abuse, mental or physical, on anyone, no matter their beliefs. The Bible is pretty clear that I don't have the right to judge anyone (matters within the Church being somewhat different, since there are instructions on how to deal with believers who are erring). I also have noted that Jesus only got angry at those who were robbing his people blind (the money-lenders! in His temple!) and that he truly loved all people. So, everyone clear? I do not agree with the Christians who shower hate instead of love. I sound like a hippie. But it was important to let you know my personal beliefs so that you understand the whole thought process.

The thought process moved on from that basic position to this: I've known several homosexuals. One of them was a good friend who helped me through an incredibly rough time. My uncle has been with the same man for longer than I've been born. This makes it impossible for me to hate, if Jesus' example wasn't enough. Doesn't change my beliefs, but they haven't been formed in ignorance. If that makes sense.

From there to here: why does the legalization of gay marriage bother me? As a Christian, this ain't my home port. Earth is not the final destination. It isn't my home. It's temporary. Why do I care? It isn't necessary for any government to uphold Christianity. It'll do just fine on its own. In fact, we were told to honor our governments and pray for our leaders, without any qualifications. "Give to Caesar's what is Caesar's", etc. What does it matter what my government does?

But before I answer that-What is marriage anyway? Was it invented by the Bible? Well yes, it was, and it said that a man would leave his family and cleave to his wife, who was a woman. And I think that's what bothers me: marriage, as defined by the Bible,which is among the oldest books written still in existence (which is well-documented, in case you're interested), is between a man and a woman.

Well ok, that's fine and dandy you say, but America is no longer a "Christian" nation. I'm not sure about that-many of our mores, from what I can tell, are Christian, and the men who founded our nation were influenced by Christianity, whether or not they themselves were Christian. But fine, let's say America isn't a Christian nation. What's wrong with letting anyone marry whom they please? Again, I'm brought back to what was the original definition of marriage (if you know of an earlier source, feel free to let me know): man and woman. And I think my issue is this: if this definition of marriage is broken, then what is the point? Why not let people marry multiple partners? What is wrong with that, if they're all consenting adults who love each other? It loses its original meaning, and therefore its original potency.

Gah I don't know. Doubtless my reasoning is faulty. What I do know is this: I feel that if our definition of marriage is changed at a national level, the repercussions will be severe. What those repercussions will be I don't know. Doom and gloom and all that. But our nation (and this is why it matters what the government does, because it represents all of us) will have taken a drastic turn.

And if you read through all of that, thanks. Both sides are pretty virulent when someone disagrees with them. I have no wish to be virulent. Neither do I have issues with civil unions. That is outside the purview of any church. And neither do I wish to be hateful. And neither would I be surprised if our readership, which is already tiny, became tinier.

Adventures in Laundering

I was 18 before I washed my first load of laundry. I was working a summer camp, and since all my clothes were dirty I was standing in front of a washing machine, no detergent (is that what you call it?), and an extreme reluctance to confess I didn't know how to work it. But sometimes hard things just have to be conquered, and I asked for help. I think I was the highlight of that person's day.

When I relate that story to other people, they always respond "Lucky! My mom made me start doing my own laundry when I was three!" (Of course, I am being facetious). What can I say? My mom didn't mind doing laundry, and as long as I folded and put away my laundry she was quite content to wash it. There were several areas in which she never allowed us to help, the prime example being the yard. No one touched her yard. And she kept it beautiful.

So now we have established that I am ignorant in laundry matters. I do try and keep light and dark colors separate, but there are many occasions that I just don't care. And recently I decided to wash my new, bright green kitchen rugs with my white bathroom rugs. There was a tiny voice in my head whispering that this was a bad idea, I should wash them separately. Did I listen? No! I have more important things to do!

So when I opened my washer I discovered that I had died everything green. I do mean everything. My once-white bathroom rugs? An uneven sea green.

So I decided that I was going to rectify the situation. My white bathroom rugs were almost a lovely sea-green color-I could just wash them and those bright green rugs together again! Brilliant! This time I was careful to not include anything that I preferred being white.

So I waited, rather impatiently, for my washer-dying to finish the cycle, pulled out my former white bathroom rugs, and behold! A gorgeous, uniform, sea-green color. I am a genius.

Just don't ever ask me to do your laundry. You may not recognize the clothes that make it out.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Update on Orc happenings

Update time! Ok, here goes: it's still February, I think. We're in the midst of midterms. Goodbye the end.

Not really. The real update:

We're trudging along, keeping up with schoolwork, occasionally having a social life. I got a cold last Thursday in five minutes flat. I'm not kidding. I was driving to get Damm and went from feeling perfectly fine to having a drain for a head and pain. Massive amounts of pain (if you get that reference we can be friends). I'm over the worst of it, but had to take DayQuil this morning. I'm also freaking out about the work I absolutely had to do over the weekend: it was all done in a DayQuil-induced fog.

The Orclette and Miniorc are learning to play together. The Orclette is learning how to share, and the Miniorc is learning how to take advantage of her new skill to hoard up on toys. They are full-steam ahead from morn' til night, but of course that be the way of kids.

Damm? I don't really know. If you see him can you ask him how he's doing? Currently we converse in clipped, rapid-fire conversations on the way to and from school. When we are at home we're doing homework, and any attempt on his part to converse is usually shot down by me because all my assignments revolve around thoughts and writing them down and he always stops by just when I had my breakthrough thought. And when I try to converse with him I am similarly interrupting a math-induced brain vacuum. It's fun.

So there you have it: "Finish school before you have kids: a Cautionary Tale"***.

***We love our kids and would do it again (well, Damm would. I have to think hard about it and be staring at their faces to agree:). Anyway, that's not a dig against kids. Just clarifying.