Saturday, October 25, 2008

Sticking to the lighter side of politics, but still voting a big fat NO on Prop 8

Obama Pictures and McCain Pictures

Penance

How many Lolcats pictures do you think I have to put up before people forget about the nightmare I created in my last few posts?cat
more animals

Thursday, October 23, 2008

100 Times

I will not publish things written very late at night when my brain is not necessarily fully functional before I have edited them in the cold light of morning.
I will not publish things written very late at night when my brain is not necessarily fully functional before I have edited them in the cold light of morning.
I will not publish things written very late at night when my brain is not necessarily fully functional before I have edited them in the cold light of morning.
I will not...

Um, upon rereading, what seemed like a brilliantly hilarious and thought provokingly serious piece of work turns out to just be kinda weird. Sorry, I was being silly and then I went off on a tangent and I should have made that into two separate posts. I wasn't trying to trivialize the issue.

Speaking of which, does no one (besides Laura) have anything to say?? I guess I should be glad that I didn't start a flame war. I just kinda thought that maybe my readers were capable of honest discussion on a subject that inspires so much vitriol on both sides that very few people seem to actually think about the issue anymore. Cause youse guys are, y'know, special.

Real speshul.

Ok, fine, I was just desperately trolling for comments again. Whatever. Quick- I'm thinking of a number between one and ten, who can tell me what it is???

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Oh Hai, You Wuz Taking to Me?

Sorry, Google Reader readers, I swear, this is the last time I'm gong to publish this post. Honest!

I had this really great word that I invented and was going to wow you all with but I forgot it. Because I do that. Forget things, that is.

What was I saying?

So, back to the subject of dental hygiene. It's important to floss at least twice on each side. Once in the morning before loading the Turkish carpets onto the camels and once in the evening after you've mucked out the alpaca's stalls. Now I know what you're saying to yourself, reader. You're saying what about that time the snowmobile ran over the sled dog and the moose hunt had to be called off? I know, I know, these are all very valid questions and they deserve answers. Of course when treading in the waters of presidental hygiene on cannot be too cautious.

The point, not to change the subject, is that I was raised in a pentecostal church and I find the idea of a pentecostal moose hunter running the country somewhat frightening. I've been following the presidential race from a distance, often with my hands covering my face like a feral child at a screening of Metropolis. I catch the major points, but for the most part I'm blissfully unaware. My only exposure to current events besides Newsweek, is what trickles through the -non-political- blogs I read [obsessively].

But the other day I came across a subject that perplexes me and I thought I would solicit opinions from you, gentle readers, on the basis that you seem to be a dignified lot, unlikely to send me death threats like Dooce's readers. If I'm wrong, at least this will flush you out and expose you for the dangerous internet stalkers you really are (that's right, I'm talking to you, Lisa, with your wacky liberal views, and your obviously anti-American defection to Canada).

@@We interrupt this important message to inform you that Michael is currently being forced- not exactly against his will, but only because he doesn't know what he's getting into- to watch The Cutting Edge with me. Because of the six year gap in our ages, I feel keenly the responsibility of introducing The Boy to important teenage movies that he missed because he was 12 when they came out in theatres.*

*Or possibly because he's not a girl.@@

But back to the topic of the day: penguins! Or no.. wait...One more time.

Not to go into this too deeply, because you're probably already bored, but I was raised in a very conservative home where the very idea that abortion could be anything but the most heinous of cold-blooded crimes perpetrated, for the most part, by ruthless money-hungry doctors and loose women, was inconceivable. True story: When I was a teenager I could occasionally be found at home babysitting my younger siblings while my parents went out and picketed abortion clinics. On a really exciting night they would be arrested.

It's only through the personal stories of women on both sides of the abortion-rights issue that I've learned to look beyond the vitriol and rhetoric surrounding this issue to see that unborn babies are not the only human lives involved. And the reason that I've been hesitant to broach this topic before is the same one that makes me sympathetic to even the most vehement of haters on both sides. It's because I know what it's like to be taught that this is an unquestionable religious issue and that any dissenting opinion means that you are a bad person. Make no mistake, it's just as religious a doctrine on the pro-choice side, for every story like mine you can find one from a woman, having grown up in the culture of extreme feminism, who, in carrying her own much-wanted children, has had to face the reality that a pregnancy does not consist of a bundle of disposable cells.

My question to you is this: Leaving aside all of the myriad valid questions surrounding this issue and focusing on this one, how can anyone believe that a government (or anyone, for that matter) is justified in telling a woman that her unborn child's life must be preserved at any cost, including that of her own. I want to believe that it's simply ignorance because I know that the issue was certainly not represented honestly on the side of town I grew up on. Whenever a woman decided to risk death and carry her child to term against medical advice and everything went miraculously well, she became a poster child for the movement. However those were the only stories that were ever heard in the pro-life camp.

Read this and this tell me that you think.

Monday, October 20, 2008

How I spent my Summer Autumn Vacation

Amended to include some really important stuff I forgot. Most likely will be amended tomorrow with more stuff I forgot. Please to excuse- I cannot brain today, I have the dumb.

I went to the National Aquarium in Baltimore and saw some very cool fish, parrots, lots of really colorful frogs and a dolphin show.

I had a wonderful time catching up with Jen.

I left my purse at Chipotle (yes, it is ironic that I traveled from California to Maryland to eat at Chipotle).

I ran through the rain and found it again.

I had a fun laughing with Jen, Emily, Gwen, and Audrey.

I played Wii tennis, badly.

I rescued a fish.

I helped Gwyn out of a tree.

I bore witness to the wonders of Chik-fil-A.

I missed seeing Dale by mere hours. :(

I missed seeing his son by less than a day.

I promised myself I would have controlled my impulse to blurt out to the latter, "I used to change your diapers!!!!"

I rode the bus, in the dead of night, into the bad part of York, PA.

I survived, much to the amazement of all concerned.

I stayed up until the wee hours talking to Ann.

I made pancakes with 2-year-old Addy.

I resisted the urge to roll her up in a pancake and nom on her extreme cuteness.

I wowed all of the Wahlberg children with my space age ability to talk to Michael online via iChat.

I was mocked by 6-year-old Gabriel for having a boyfriend. "EEWwwwwwww!!!!" followed by a shocked, horrified and highly accusatory, "You're in luuuuuhve!!!!!"

I got shy hugs from Kailey and exuberant hugs from Blake.

I likewise refrained from informing them that I also changed their diapers, many moons ago.

I reflected on the fact that I seem to have babysat most of the population of RI at one time or another.

I sat by Aiden's tree.

I saw families struggling with the brokenness of the world.

I struggled with frustration at my inability to make everything right again.

I saw a light shining in the darkness, and the darkness failing to overcome it.

I was reminded that it's not my job to fix things, only to be obedient to the One who can.

I went to a playground with my sister and our two of our best friends from childhood (also sisters) and their collective 10 children.

I went to a harvest festival in Lancaster, PA and took a hayride (or 2).

I ate really good barbecued chicken.

I made fun of my dad's grumpiness.

I tried to convince my 9-month-old niece that I am not a scary monster.

I failed.

I was awoken by a bundle of little-boy cuteness jumping on my head.

I threw water balloons at a rock with Libby and Luke.

I was chased by a water-balloon-bearing almost-four-year-old.

I visited my brother Dan and cried over the reality of RI apartment rental prices as compared to those in the bay area.

I gave my brother Sean a noogie.

I argued with my sister Katie about which of us mom likes better (it's totally me).

I laughed with old friends about old times and looked at pictures of more old friends on Facebook.

I witnessed The B.I.L. drawn out of his poker-playing lair by an old friend who wouldn't take no for an answer.

I played SupaSmash Bwuvers with Luke on the wii.

I had coffee with my sister and a fellow blogger who sells her gorgeous photographs in an Etsy shop.

I bought a gorgeous photograph from her.

I reminisced about all things Rhode Islandish and rhapsodized about what a great resource the internet is for meeting cool people in seemingly-random ways.

I shared Luke's germs and started to cough.

I canceled the last leg of my trip to avoid infecting the McFelsenguires.

I came home and on the way sat next to a very nice young man who was flying from his army base in Texas to attend his grandmother's funeral in Sunnyvale and gave me peppermints for my cough.

I realized that I had left my cell phone at my parents' house.

I D'oh.

I realized my mom was right when she told me to double check for my phone and she hasn't even said, "I told you so."

Friday, October 10, 2008

Heroic Exploits of the Aquatic Variety

While visiting friends in Baltimore, a crisis arose which I, changer of all things diaperish and professional wiper of small noses (not to mention, erm lower extremities) immediately recognized as my long-awaited opportunity to put my unique personal skills to use.

The crisis consisted of a defenseless algae-slurping thingymafish- much maligned in the Swinburne household- who had somehow wedged himself, but good, in between two pieces of the fake underwater ruins in the aquarium and was consequentially, hopelessly stuck. Male members of the family being absent, female members pleaded gross and declined to endeavor to assist their imperiled pet.

Leaping to the rescue, I dared to reach an arm into the tank and attempted to free the poor fellow (we'll call him Suck, as that that seemed to be the closest thing he had to an official moniker). He looked at first glance to be resting comfortably, but further examination proved that his spiny skin had made it impossible for him to back out and he was just a hair too big to go forward. I ascertained that it was not possible to manually assist Suck in freeing himself without, um, breaking him. It was determined that the only way to save the hapless ichthyoid would be to remove the faux remnants and attempt to smash them. Preferably without fatally injuring the victim in the process.

My faithful deputy, E*, quickly procured a cup of water in which we could place the pathetic piscene after the hopeful event of his rescue, and we ran, dripping, out to the front porch, aquarium decor in hand. I slammed the acrylic ruins on the porch, barely denting them, but Stuck Suck came flying out and was quickly scooped up and returned to his watery home.

*although alone in my willingness to come into actual contact with fish parts, I was enthusiastically assisted in my endeavors by three lovely assistants.

At this point I was offered rule of the kingdom by the grateful aquarium inhabitants, but not wanting to spend the rest of my days living on top of a piano and eating fish food, I declined.

Minutes later I was called upon to rescue a child fallen out of a tree. Or, rather, into a tree. From a higher branch. It was complicated. But she was fine. Thanks to me, of course. Not sure what these good folks will do now that's I'm no longer hogging their wifi and taking up a spot on the couch, but one hopes that the fish will behave in my absense, preventing future catastrophe.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Fear Poop Mongers

Apparently there is a market for sketchy colon cleansing products. I don't know if there is such a thing as a non-sketchy colon cleansing product, but I'm going to assume that any company that sends out a brochure with actual descriptions and pictures of poo is not quite on the up and up.

So I was at my parents' house with my sister Lib today, and I noticed a flashy font on the top of the mail pile with questions in large print like:

Death Begins in the Colon!!


and

Years of Dried Poo living in your intestines!!


It was, as you can imagine, immediately necessary for me to pick up and read aloud the more interesting parts of this urgent announcement to my assembled family. They love that I keep them updated on medical breakthroughs like this.

In between gasps of laughter, we ascertained that not a single one of us has a healthy intestine, based on the fact that, according to the colonic people- there is only one right kind of poo.

I know you're asking yourself right now. What kind of poo is that, Jessica? But I can't tell you, because this is a family blog. I think. Also, I've probably already offended most of my loyal readers who have left in disgust. But the fact is that I've spent most of my adult life as a nanny dealing with other peoples' poo (pee, snot, vomit, etc), and I just feel that it's fair that some of you should also get to experience a world in which one can have an entire discussion about the contents of a diaper.

Enjoy.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Great Interview Experiment

Neil's Great Interview Experiment has arrived at my little corner of teh internetz. Susan, from Joy is Everywhere sent me these interview questions weeks ago and although I am a proslackinator I finally got around to answering them. Skip the first one if you read yesterday's post.

1) You talk about this obsession you have with books. What would you say is the one book (or five if you must) that you find yourself reading over and over?


Hmmm, I'd have to say that the books that have had the most impact on me are the ones I loved as a kid. These include Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia, The Dark is Rising sequence by Susan Cooper, Madeleine L'Engle's A Swiftly Tilting Planet, and to a lesser degree- Lloyd Alexander's Prydain Chronicles. I reread these constantly growing up and into adulthood.

It would be weird if I didn't mention the Bible here, since my faith is definitely something that defines me, but unsurprisingly, I thought it was the most boring book in the world when I was a kid and resented being forced to read & study it all the time (Christian school). Except for the exciting stories (Noah!), and the occasional turn of phrase that made my head spin (..the whole creation groans...in childbirth...together until now..), I generally related much more closely to the mystery* I found in places like Narnia and Cooper's Wales. It wasn't until years later that I recovered from my high school education that I was able to find all of that mystery in the Bible, although I had always equated it with God.

p.s. I still think some parts are boring but I'm convinced it's just me.

*Mystery's the best label I have, though it falls short of describing what I'm talking about. This gets close: "The German language has a word for this joyward longing that Lewis describes: sehnsucht. This is the haunting longing that touched Lewis throughout his life, that full, heavy, enveloping nostalgia for a fulfillment that awaited him—in something, somewhere."

2) You and your family seem very close, which is a trait that I love! Please state and elaborate briefly on one thing that you admire in your immediate family members.

Crap, do you realize how big my family is?? That's a whole post in itself! Okay, here we go:

My Mom is incredibly creative. She'd be designing costumes or sets on Broadway if she hadn't spent so many years of her life gestating whiny ungrateful children like me. She used to make us the best playthings. One classic was the dress-up trunk- an old steamer trunk that she filled with thrift shop finds- from ball gowns and sparkly high-heeled shoes to feather boas and elaborate hats.

When she's not making Halloween costumes for the grandchildren, she enjoys running the blender while the rest of the family is trying to watch a movie.

My Dad is Grumpy. No really, all of his grandchildren know him as "Grumpy." That's no accident either. ;) He is the hardest worker I've ever known. He never went to college, instead he taught himself engineering and raised a family of seven on one income. How many people can say that? He's a perfect example of a burnt marshmallow -crusty on the outside but soft in the middle (but don't tell anyone, it might ruin his reputation).

My sister Lib is a great mom and a pretty cool chick. She is one of my closest friends. Also, she's performed the dainty dingo* at least twice. I'm so proud.

*A kind of interpretive dance known only to my family

My sister Julie is adventurous and committed to forming her own opinion instead of following the party line (that would be The Republican Party, in my family of origin). I respect her for that. Also? She could totally have gone to medical school.

My brother Daniel is a great dad and husband and he's matured impressively under circumstances that might have defeated a weaker man. He's only slightly less pesky that he was as a child (that's not an insult, Dan prides himself greatly on his ability to annoy).

My brother Zach already possesses wisdom and courage in spades, and he's only 22. Zach is my California sibling, he lives so close to me that I can walk to his house, which makes me very happy.

My brother Sean is the only redhead in the family. He is creative and funny. He might be the next sibling to migrate westward.

My sister Katie is a lovely smart ass girl. I am proud to be her "clone from the future."

As a whole, my family is pretty hilarious and a blast to hang out with.

3) Why did you start blogging? Do you find it harder to keep up with your blog, the longer you have been doing it?

I started blogging almost as soon as I found out about this whole "blogging" thing. I've always been compelled to write and this seemed like the perfect outlet for me. I can be as goofy as I want to be and if people don't like it, they just go away!

I do get discouraged frequently. I'd like to have a more focused space but I'm usually shooting off in 5 different directions at ones and-Oh look! A chicken! Yeah, ADD* much? Someday I want to have my own website and have different pages for different topics. I have a domain name, but I haven't gotten as far as learning web design yet and I keep telling myself that I won't pay for a site if I'm going to go on long nada streaks like I do here. Myself always replies: "But I was just about to write that post on-Oh Look! A Chicken!!!!!!

*This may be the reason that I hardly ever find myself reading one book at a time. I've almost always got between two and five going at once. It helps if they're different genres, otherwise I do occasionally get confused.

4) You write occasionally about being depressed. How has this affected your ability to cope with day to day things? Do you feel writing about it helps?

I feel like I should be a better (or more willing, or more able to "use" the sadness or something) writer when I'm depressed but honestly, my creative side is the first to go when depression hits. I'm at my most creative when I'm at the other end of the spectrum.

It's hard to say exactly how depression affects me on a day to day basis because it's frequently so wrapped up with physical exhaustion. Without knowing exactly what causes either, and knowing full well that each can lead to the other, I can't always tell whether I'm tired because I'm depressed or depressed because I have no energy and can't do all the things I want to do.

At my lowest points it definitely affected my ability to cope. I'm still dealing with the aftermath of some of that un-cope-ability. It's all a learning experience though, so no regrets.

5) If you could have any job and pay was no concern (as in you could make up to and including no dollars), what would you do and why?

Ah, if making money was not an issue, I don't think I would want a "job" doing the same thing all the time. There are so many things that interest me that I would be perfectly happy spending my life going from one to another and learning new stuff all the time. Some things I would definitely do: Write, of course. Make art and give it to people. I love making things with my hands- cards, books, paper; and I'd love to really learn how to draw and sculpt- but the idea of making a living off of it just depresses me when I start thinking about the money-making details. I don't want to figure out how much I can charge someone for something I've made. I'd rather just make purty things and give them to people who need some happy. I'd also love to learn to sew well and I could happily spend years gardening and learning more about growing things.

6) What have you enjoyed the most about your experiences as a nanny?

I have all of these amazing experiences and memories from the years I've spent being a caregiver to kids I've loved as my own. Even if I never have children myself I've still had more joy through "my kids" than many people ever know. I also love the relationships I have with the families I've worked for.

Also, it's fun (well, not all of the time, but frequently). And I hear some pretty funny stuff, for example: Will at age 3, "..Grownups like bedtime. But little boys don't.... an they fight at their moms. But their moms like bedtime!"

7) If you were to enter a talent show and you could do anything you wanted (play the flute, pluck a chicken, whatever) what would you do?

Hmm, tough choice. As my talent, I think I'd like to be able to scowl so menacingly that the audience would shriek, wet their pants, and run away in terror. Or jump on a trampoline in a velcro suit and stick to the velcro-covered ceiling.

Thanks, Sus!!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

The Great Interview Experiment (sort-of)

I'm participating in the Great Interview Experiment but I've been severely delinquent in finishing my interview and posting it. I'm being interviewed by the fabulous Susan, from Joy Is Everywhere and it's funny that we ended up next to each other on the list since I think we might share a (warped) brain.

Just for kicks, I'm going to post the first question & answer tonight. The rest to follow later in the week.

Susan Spransy: You talk about this obsession you have with books. What would you say is the one book (or five if you must)* that you find yourself reading over and over?

Moi: Hmmm, I'd have to say that the books that have had the most impact on me are the ones I loved as a kid. These include Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia, The Dark is Rising sequence by Susan Cooper, Madeleine L'Engle's A Swiftly Tilting Planet, and to a lesser degree- Lloyd Alexander's Prydain Chronicles. I reread these constantly growing up and into adulthood.

It would be weird if I didn't mention the Bible here, since my faith is definitely something that defines me, but unsurprisingly, I thought it was the most boring book in the world when I was a kid and resented being forced to read & study it all the time (Christian school). Except for the exciting stories (Noah!), and the occasional turn of phrase that made my head spin (..the whole creation groans together in childbirth until now..), I generally related much more closely to the mystery** I found in places like Narnia and Cooper's Wales. It wasn't until years later that I recovered from my high school education that I was able to find all of that mystery in the Bible, although I had always equated it with God. p.s. I still think some parts are boring.

*She said five books, but I'm pretty sure she meant twenty.

**Mystery's the best label I have, though it falls short of describing what I'm talking about. This gets closer: "The German language has a word for this joyward longing that Lewis describes: sehnsucht. This is the haunting longing that touched Lewis throughout his life, that full, heavy, enveloping nostalgia for a fulfillment that awaited him—in something, somewhere."


Also, I need prayer. Tomorrow I will spend 7 hours trapped in a car with several people closely related to me.

It is an election year.

I refuse to talk about politics, but it doesn't always do any good.

Since my camera's still broken, let me share with you a brief moment from the last time I was on this sort of road trip. This is what I look like when I'm forced to listen to Rush Limbaugh on the car radio loud enough to drown out my ipod:

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