Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Mean Girls

So, I am all annoyed and feminista on the asses of girls who call their friends "whores" or "dressing promiscuously," or maybe they are just really "asking for it?" I mean really. I must be getting old, because I'm really starting to identify with those women who get pissed at my generation for not being feminist enough. Raising teenage daughters has me convinced, OK? Women are still getting the short end of the stick - but too often, from each other.

What is up with girls participating in this crazymaking behavior? Why are women of any age, who are comfortable with their sexuality, a threat? Why does it make other women crazy? Why do men feel they have to stomp out this behavior (unless it benefits them?) OK, I know I'm making some generalizations here. I apologize. But it seems to me as if society is moving awfully slowly in treating women as equals, and as more than their body parts, or their assumed sexuality, or sexual behavior (often incorrectly assumed, btw).

And why is it that women are uncomfortable confronting this behavior?

Yes, I have become a raging feminist. Sue me.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Spring cleaning

The semester is over. I'm on reduced hours at internship till mid-June. The kids have two more weeks of classes, and then things will really ease up. Today was the first day I was home in weeks, really. I had hoped to enlist all 4 kids to help with massive spring cleaning, but it was raining and cold, and the oldest two came down with a stomach bug last night, poor chooks.

So, I decided to dig in without them and started in my room. No laundry got put away or washed today, but my carpet is ripped out, furniture moved, walls washed down, floors vacuumed, my bathroom clean and baseboards scrubbed...some minor vacuuming and cleaning in the dining room and kitchen, but much more to come. I am so in love with my new-ish Kenmore canister vac!

I have also been cleansing my palate from classes. I got an A- in my Christian History class, and a Pass in Congregational Studies (I am assuming ). I started doing some reading for July's Religious Ed class, which I'm really enjoying, but have been so busy with kid stuff at the end of the "school" year that I have barely had time to breathe! I would really like to spend a week vegging out to some TV episodes I've missed, but I'm anxious to get my house in order again - getting out warm weather clothes, giving away what's outgrown, and cleaning every last corner. 

I've been thinking a lot about my dad and my brother. I was so overwhelmed when he died, with my dad's service, the cat getting hit and dying, and the basement flooding (and the truck dying...and issues with my ex)...that I am just now spring cleaning my heart. I didn't even send flowers to the funeral, I was so befuddled. Totally unlike me. I owe my SIL a call soon. I have been thinking about how losing my brother was in many ways like losing one of the few links I have left to my father. It was hard for me to bury my dad's ashes. I found some comfort in having them in my house. I have a small urn, but it's not the same. I still have his clothes  and things to unpack this summer; Jude in particular is looking for a green and white polo shirt of my dad's that he wants and remembers.

All of these steps are ways to simplify the process of loss. I let go a little more each time I am able to grieve and cry. Each time I give away some clothing, or find a photo and enjoy it. And because my father had dementia, I feel that he is more present for me now, than he was in his last year. I am finding it harder to find ways to grieve my brother. I didn't know him as well as I might have liked, and really just started connecting with him the last 18 months. He was clearly a kind man, who seemed to really love children. He was extremely kind to my kids when we had lunch after my dad's service. I feel such sorrow for his teens, who must miss him dreadfully. I wish I knew them better too, so that we could more easily lean on one another in this time. And stupidly, I miss the damn cat. He was a big, fat, bossy thing, but I miss him plopping down on me, putting the pug in her place, and waiting in the sink for me to turn on the faucet.

All of these griefs have forgiveness in common. My father was human and left hurts behind him. My brother and I never resolved many things we wanted to talk about. The person who hit our cat leaves behind outrage. So, I was so grateful to be able to attend the Coming of Age/Wellspring service at my internship congregation yesterday, and to hear how members of my group had been touched by the work we did on Forgiveness. It was a moment of grace that I know I needed in my life. I have learned so much from the wise people in Wellspring this year. I can't wait to see what the future holds for all of us.

Monday, May 2, 2011

An Eye for An Eye

I awoke this morning to the news that Osama Bin Laden had been killed and buried at sea. I was disheartened to hear that President Obama had ordered that he be killed and not captured. I was also extremely disappointed to see Americans celebrating his death. So much for due process - that is what we stand for, and regardless of bin Laden's crimes, we stand on a Constitution that supports that due process. Look at the mess we still have with Guantanomo.

Americans were horrified at reaction to 9/11. How are we doing any better? This is not great behavior, regardless of one's nationality or religion.

I was also disappointed to hear NPR correspondent Margot Adler joining in the whoops of joy in her broadcast from Times Square this morning. Totally unprofessional for a journalist, and not, IMO, a very good representation of Pagan/UU ethics. I can't find the link right now, but will post it later.

Do I understand people's joy at his death, after so many of our own and others around the world have been murdered by his terrorism? Of course I empathize with it. But I don't think that assassination is something we really want to condone as a nation. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that singing the National Anthem and chanting USA! USA! is probably not a good representation of ourselves as a country, given the situation in the Middle East, and our involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, which is often viewed as imperialistic and imposing westernization on the world. We are viewed as a Christian nation by many in the US, as well as outside our borders. It is concerning to me that this reinforces the negative view of Christianity and of our government to those who are fundamentalist Muslims, such as Al Quaeda, and to those who have suffered at the hands of our soldiers over the last 10 years (intentionally or collaterally).