Wednesday, September 30, 2009


I have been loving reading the books of Anne Fadiman. Ex Libris was amazing and I'm happily slogging through the dense, but fascinating The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down.

I love the way she writes, because it keeps me on my toes. Like for the last 20 pages, all I can think is "...why does she keep using the phrase polygyny instead of polygamy? I need to look up the difference."

As I suspected, Polygyny is the act of having more than one wife and Polygamy is the act of having more than one spouse.

I am certain that Anne Fadiman choose the word Polygyny simply for it's clarity. The Hmong people that she is studying do not have more than one spouse, the men often take more than one wife. I am certain that linguistic clarity is an admirable trait. Something that I am sure she strives for. Much like not ending sentences with prepositions, something that I pledge to work on.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Everything Old is New Again.

The way in which I got married was not exactly the stuff of Hollywood. There was no scoreboard at halftime, no rose petals in my apartment, no fancy dinner full of tears and endless descriptions of the love we had found.

There was me. There was him. And that was enough.

There were discussions for over a year. There was exactly one decision made during all those discussions: we loved each other and we wanted to be together.

So whether you count the 6am whisper into my sleeping ear of "we should really get married" or the Xanax-induced decision of a feasible plan as the real moment of our engagement, one thing is true of both moments: there was no ring.

And honestly, I didn't want one.

I hated the idea of us using money we didn't have. I hated the idea of someone potentially suffering for days and months while mining the stone for said ring. I didn't need something to prove what we have. I live it. I love it. I trust it.


And it's a big butt. I mean a big BUT.

This month, we had another ring made, from some small diamonds that I had in a necklace and ring from my maternal grandmother. And I LOVE it. It's not flashy, but it does feel more substantial. AND I LOVE IT.

Instead of sitting around in a safe deposit box, those tiny sparklers are now going to be worn. After nearly 30 years of waiting for their chance to shine, I have found a way for them to be useful again!

When I look at it, I think of my grandmother and my sweet husband. A lady who wanted me to have beautiful things and a man who wants me to be happy. And I can assure the world that I am both: a woman who owns beautiful things and one who is extremely happy.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Last night, I stepped out of my car and my flip flop broke.

My bronze Reefs... my favorites. The ones that they don't make anymore. The ones I wear almost everyday from April to October.

I smell sabotage. Or something equally foul.

I know two friends that will be happy to read this: one that hates feet in general and would like them to be covered, and one that hates that women wear flip flops to work.

I know it's time to upgrade. I know I need to move to a more seasonally appropriate shoe, and I even know that those flops probably contributed significantly to my plantar fasciitis two years ago, but I'm still upset, still sad.

Very, very sad. RIP dear flops. RIP.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

I want my MTV.

I know that I wasn't the only person over the age of 30 watching the VMAs, since Madonna and Janet Jackson were both there, but I bet the number of us watching was about 12, so I'll give you a little recap.

First, Kanye West interrupted Taylor Swift's acceptance speech to say that Beyonce should have won. He is on drugs.

Second, Pink's performance was amazing. If you've ever heard of YouTube, go there and watch it.

Third, Beyonce won "best video" at the end of the night and handed over her time to Taylor Swift, proving that you can rise above those that you associate with and save face for everyone.

Fourth, Jay Z and Alicia Keys also had a WONDERFUL performance, but why did Lil' Mama jump on stage at the end? I was listening carefully, and at no time did the song mention lip gloss, so why did she feel the need to act like she had some part in it? She is on drugs.

Finally, here is my admission of being too old to watch the VMAs: who the hell is Russell Brand? Why is he famous? And was it my imagination or did he imply that Katy Perry is a ho?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A Place for Us.

One of the pleasant surprises of my courtship with my husband was finding out how religious he is. He was an altar boy, a friend to many visiting priests, and the dutiful son to a woman who was most often photographed holding her Bible. While for many people, finding a man with a healthy religious appetite might be a problem - a deterrent, for me I felt relieved. Especially relieved when I realized that he still believed that people need to live their lives, take care of themselves and their families, and not hold so tightly to religious dogma that they end up hurting people even more.

"Finally!" I thought. "Someone that might understand me and might not be totally overwhelmed by my parents."

So I still get excited when he wanders in on Sunday morning to my still slumbering lump-of-a-body and asks if I want to go to church. I'm usually up in an instant and we're out the door and on our way!

I've written before about the transition for me about getting used to the subtle differences between Episcopal services and Catholic services, but boy do I have a story to tell from Sunday.

First, the homily was about the late Senator Ted Kennedy, a controversial figure, sure, but one that championed equality, civil rights, and a more level playing ground for all - economically, socially - in health care, in schools, and in society in general. Perhaps he was not someone that I would raise to the level of a "hero" but certainly he did good things for people throughout his career, and I admire him for that.

Back to the homily. So the priest suggested that the Catholic church made a major misstep by not highlighting the fact that Senator Kennedy was pro-abortion during the funeral. I was offended. First, by the terminology: Pro-choice does not mean Pro-abortion. Second, how rude to speak ill, and potentially slander, the recently deceased, and third, the priest admitted that he did not even watch all the coverage of the event.

Blood boiling... must calm down and not shout down the good Father.

Then, to add insult to injury, during the sign of Peace - the part of the service where the congregation greets one another and says "Peace be with you" - perhaps my favorite action in all of Christian liturgy, the man next to me would not shake my hand. He crossed his arms and shook his head. If he had not been greeting the other ushers earlier in the service, then I might think he had a cold or something, but no... he made no mention of any sickness, went up for communion and drank from the chalice like everyone else.

So then why was I rebuffed?

Well, Charles happens to be the only non-white person in the congregation. He says he doesn't even try to shake people's hands anymore. Sad. Sad. Sad.

I'm glad that I openly kissed him and held his hand during the service. I love having a partner who shares my faith. From now on though, I will be trying to convince him to switch to another church - one that perhaps is more diverse.

One thing I know for sure. Later in the day, we were watching West Side Story and when the song Somewhere came on, I could not keep from tearing up. Excuse me while I launch this post firmly into the realm of melodrama by reposting the lyrics:

There's a place for us,
Somewhere a place for us.
Peace and quiet and open air
Wait for us

There's a time for us,
Some day a time for us,
Time together with time spare,
Time to learn, time to care,
Some day!

We'll find a new way of living,
We'll find a way of forgiving
Somewhere . . .

There's a place for us,
A time and place for us.
Hold my hand and we're halfway there.
Hold my hand and I'll take you there
Some day,

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Sometimes crazy is closer to evil.

This morning on the train, a disabled man that often rides the train had his daughter with him. A sweet-looking young girl of about 10 or 11, who is also in a wheelchair.

My usual spot is right where the man normally sits, so I offered to move. The man cheerfully said "I only worry about your toes if you don't!" So I happily scooted to the seat right behind them.

Because the designated area is woefully inadequate on the outdated SEPTA trains, the man's daughter partially blocked the aisle. There were still about 3 feet to pass her though.

Most passengers just scooted by, like I did, took their seats and were fine. One evil woman audibly "hrmph"ed as she passed and made a nasty face at the girl and her father.

I must say, in a city where accessibility is sub-par already. Where disabled people are excluded from most restaurants because of stairs or high curbs, most accessible entrances to cultural institutions are through the parking garages, and until recently not even the sidewalks could be counted on to have the appropriate ramps, I am shocked that there is ALSO this lack of patience for disabled folks!

My God woman, all you had to do was TURN YOUR BODY - that was the extent of the inconvenience - not even a second added to your day.

While the disabled populations still struggle to gain accessibility to common everyday businesses and institutions. (Even the office that deals with disabled students at a local college has three flights of stairs as a barrier between them and the students they serve. Instead, they meet students in the lobby or in the courtyard.)

C'mon people, we can do better than this. Especially when over 50 million people in the US have some sort of disability - and over 10% of the population has a severe disability. But apparently we don't care about minorities of any kind in this country - WE SIMPLY CANNOT keep this attitude, it's as if we are saying: don't have health care, too bad for you, can't get to work because your office is not accessible, your problem not mine, your children are not successful in school because the school is underfunded and sub par, maybe you should have sent them to private school.

Well, I don't agree. I make less than nearly everyone reading this, I promise you. But I still say: Tax the hell out of me, if it means that disabled people can work and live full and interesting lives, poor people have the chance to live and be healthy, and children of all races, economic levels, and geographic areas have the access to education.

And if I see that lady who "hrumph"ed... she better watch out. I'm feeling feisty!

*PS... yesterday I saw an actual sign that said "Caution: Handicapped in area" - couldn't we be a little more PC in our sign-printing while we're at it.