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December 2007
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January 2008

Re-Evaluating

We had our book club on The Faith Club last night and our conference call with the authors. It was so wonderful speaking with them. Unfortunately Suzanne disappeared early on, we're not sure what happened to her and Ranya could only speak with us for about fifteen minutes. But they were both enlightening to speak with. Priscilla talked with us for an hour and we had a great discussion. She rocks. They are continuing their work of spreading the importance of inter-faith discussion and have been touring the country speaking with groups and doing talk shows. We discussed how frustrating it can be to deal with people who cannot accept the diversity of religion, that believe only their view is the right one and everyone else is wrong. I can only imagine. I avoid such people like the plague.

I've already written a couple posts about my experience reading the book. I've also had quite a few discussions about religion over the past few months. My view on faith, religion and God are really not that much different from Priscilla's, who defines God in loose terms. I've found that there are many people who do. As one person said to me, she doesn't believe in "God the guy". I guess I'm still very uncomfortable with the word God. I've always thought that not believing in God, not going to church or taking communion, not following the tenets of a particular religion was the definition of an atheist. But it seems that a lot of people would disagree with me. I'm not sure what to do with that. Bookgirl asked me why I don't consider myself agnostic, and my immediate answer was that I'm not confused about my beliefs, I don't question them. But I have been thinking about whether my answer was a viable one. I looked up the definition on Wikipedia and while I certainly agree that knowledge of God or gods is unknowable, I don't believe. That is, unless you use a much broader definition of God, but then I'm still not comfortable with the term. But in reading through the information, perhaps a better classification of me is an Agnostic Atheist - the view of those who do not know of the existence or nonexistence of God or gods, and do not believe in them.

I love this poem that Priscilla included at the end of the book, she heard it read at a funeral. And while we may disagree on the existence of God, religious beliefs, which church to go to or whether to go at all, the existence of an after life, there are those aspects of life and death that we should all be able to agree on. I really wish we could focus on that. Priscilla mentioned to us during our call, that with all the loud, angry, prejudice religious voices out there, what we need is a passionate middle. The problem is that moderates often don't take the time or make the effort to be heard. She is so right.

Epitaph
by Merritt Malloy

When I die
Give what's left of me away
To children
And old men that want to die.
And if you need to cry,
Cry for your brother
Walking the street beside you.
And when you need me,
Put your arms
Around anyone
And give them
What you need to give to me.

I want to leave you something,
Something better
Than words
Or sounds.

Look for me
In the people I've known
Or loved,
And if you cannot give me away,
At least let me live on in your eyes
And not on your mind.

You can love me most
By letting
Hands touch hands,
By letting
Bodies touch bodies
And by letting go
Of children
That need to be free.

Love doesn't die,
People do.
So, when all that's left of me
Is love,
Give me away.

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Search Me

Every once in a while I check to see what people are searching to get to my blog, you'd be surprised how many people are looking for the Tooth Fairy's phone number. I hope those aren't kids. If you can google for that, you're kind of old to be losing your teeth, right?

Well, today gave me a laugh. Someone searched on, "spells to get you out of trouble at school." I don't think I was much help. And someone else was looking for, "fresh meat pH". I don't think they found what they were looking for either. I am neither a witch, nor a butcher last time I checked.

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Dancin' Fools

I may have mentioned once or twice that I don't tend to do things the way other people would do them. I wonder about this trait sometimes. Do I just enjoy being obstinate? Maybe. Mostly, I try to do what makes sense to me, whether or not it's what anyone else would do. We just enrolled our boys in dance classes. We've been taking ballroom, so they're totally into the idea. They just started two weeks ago and they love it. They're taking a class that starts out with a bunch of traditional kid-type dances - The Chicken Dance, Hokey Pokey, The Twist. Then some dance that's not quite hula, but something like it. And then they tap. Trouble loves tap. Then they take an acrobatics/tumbling class. Two hours on Saturday mornings and now we're going to start doing an hour on Monday night before cub scouts.

And what I'm discovering is, there's no half-way when it comes to dance classes. They take the classes to prepare for the show, there's the costumes and shoes. Now, I knew all this from dance classes when I was younger, but I rather thought we'd just try a class and see how it went. It doesn't really seem to be possible, and I suppose it doesn't really matter because Trouble loves it and LT sort of loves it, but would never stand for his brother going and him NOT going. So we have now plunged into the dance world with all feet blazing and our wallet open and spilling money everywhere. There are two or three other little boys that we've run into in the classes, but for the most part they're dancing with all girls, because let's face it, not too many parents enroll their little boys in dance classes. And chances are, if you don't do it while they're really young, it's not going to be long before they wouldn't be willing to step foot in a dance class because they learn very quickly that dancing is for girls. But my boys don't know that yet, and hopefully will learn better and will not be brainwashed by society.

I get the whole sexist part of it, but I don't know why more little boys don't take dance. We do cub scouts, swim and little league, not all at once. But I want them exposed to as many activities as possible so they can eventually decide for themselves what they really enjoy. And dance is so great for flexibility, strength, endurance, timing, agility. Even if they don't stick with it, it could still be a huge benefit for them in many other athletic activities. And hopefully they won't suffer that dread of dancing most adolescent boys do when faced with their first high school dance.

The woman who owns the dance studio knows me and Blackstone because she teaches our ballroom class. She's commented on how different Trouble and LT look. Today she was asking me why my last name was different from the boys. Then she asked me why I didn't hyphenate my name. Then she asked me if the boys were both Blackstone's. I do like this woman and I get she's from a different generation and all, but I was a bit taken aback. Most people don't come right out and ask like that, even if I can tell they're thinking it. The woman's got spunk. That or no tact what-so-ever.

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Ringing in the New Year

I've come to realize, I'm not all that fond of New Year's. It's almost torture to have another holiday so soon after Christmas. We rang in this New Year at a friend's house and I had the good fortune to do it with a sinus infection and sick kid. We should have stayed home. I'm thinking next year we will.

It makes me reflect on all the memorable New Year's Eves I've spent in the past. I've rung in the New Year vomiting or caring for someone vomiting due to excessive drinking. I'm glad we're getting a little old for that. I've also spent it sick with salmonella poisoning, practically wishing I was dead. I've spent it standing out in the cold waiting for fireworks. I've also spent it standing in Times Square, which was a total blast, right up until we tried to board the train home. The tracks closed down for repairs and we, along with hundreds of other drunk revelers, spent the night on the floor of Penn Station. I'll never forget the dirty woman, eating chicken in the bathroom, showing people to stalls for tips. The trip was fun, though. We saw a couple married on top of the Empire State building at dusk, met people from all over the world, took pictures of us in front of the World Trade Towers, and witnessed more confetti than I'll probably see again in my life time. But I wouldn't do it again. I've spent some great New Year's in the clubs, but the time for that has sort of passed. It's not terribly easy to find a babysitter for New Year's, so the options are rather limited now-a-days.

New Year's day I spent on the couch, suffering until the next morning when the doctor's office would finally open and I could get some antibiotics. I also spent the next two days feeling like my head would explode in-spite of the drugs, humidifiers, air filter and nasal spray. Way to ring in 2008. There are many ways it could've been worse I realize, but it leaves vast room for improvement as the year progresses.

I also don't do New Year's resolutions. Though, January always means it's time to take off the weight I've piled on since Thanksgiving, and this year's no different. Even with the braces, I had no problem eating gnocchi or cheesecake, and certainly I had no problem drinking. So now it's time for salads and protein shakes to counter those heavy meals of roast and pasta, not to mention the appetizers and desserts. Oh the cookies, cinnamon rolls, chocolate cheesecake, and wine. Yes, the jeans are tight these days. Nothing like stepping on the scale at the doctor's office on January 2nd for a rude awakening. And we didn't even manage to make it to New Year's dinner at the in-laws. Probably for the best.

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