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Thursday, November 6, 2014

To Zen, Or Not To Zen

Yesterday I was trying to make an appointment with my new acupuncturist for after work, and he asked me what was the earliest I could make it without hurrying.  And I realized, I am never not hurrying.  Hurry is my default mode.  I'm either hurrying or I'm asleep (or trying to get to sleep).

My first reaction to this realization was, holy crap, I'm always hurrying, I really ought to do something about that.  Find more zen in my life.  But then I thought, hold it, do I really have to be more zen?  Hurrying seems to work for me.  Maybe the healthier thing to do would be to embrace that truth and not feel bad that I'm not more zen?  When did zen become the default goal we should all strive for?

I do wonder.


Monday, November 25, 2013

Guns

Here's what I don't understand.  I don't understand why our national discussion around guns and gun owners' rights and gun safety don't acknowledge the simple truth that the easy availability of guns in our culture leads to more deaths.  Isn't it really just that simple?  The solution to that is FAR from simple, but cannot we all agree that the presence of guns = more deaths?

My life has been touched by gun violence three times in the last 18 months.  In one instance, the family member of a dear friend died at the end of a gun following a domestic dispute.  In another, a relative of mine defended himself against a perceived threat and unintentionally killed one of his peers.  And in another, the child of another dear friend was killed in a mass shooting by a very disturbed individual.

In each of these cases, the guns were legally obtained and easily available.  In each of these cases, death was the direct result of the easy accessibility of the guns in question.  Why aren't we asking, as a nation, how outcomes would be different if guns were not so easily accessible?  What might have been different if, in the heat of the moment, the person who ended up pulling the trigger did not have access to such an efficient killing tool?

Here's a frightening thought: over 40% of guns purchases in the US last year are not subjected to background checks.  They are purchased through loopholes, at gun shows and over the internet.

Here's another chilling fact: gun manufacturers gave over $50,000,000 to the NRA lobby last year.  (Just in case you were wondering how legislation supported by 90% of the voters was defeated in the Senate earlier this year.)

Yale University spent this gorgeous fall day in lock down while FBI and SWAT teams conducted a building-to-building search for a reported armed gunman.  How is this okay?  How are we not discussing how to limit access to guns?

There are a lot of issues at play in the US when it comes to gun violence, none of which have easy solutions.  But surely we can agree that there is no sense requiring background checks for some gun purchases, but not all.  Surely we can agree that more resources are needed to treat mental health issues.  Surely we can agree that there is too much money from gun interests polluting our political system. 

Surely we can agree that the more guns there are, the more deaths there will be.

We need to start somewhere.  We must keep this conversation going.  We must make our voices heard in Washington, and in our state capitols.  The cost of doing nothing is too great.



Friday, November 22, 2013

Bah Humbug

I've been a little slow to get into the holiday spirit this year, so the other night when I was browsing Netflix for a few hours' diversion, "Love Actually" seemed like a good choice -- something light and heart-warming and holiday-themed.  I remembered the movie as being essentially good-hearted and reasonably entertaining.

I must be getting cynical (or old, or both), because upon repeat viewing, it has left me incredibly crabby.  The two "successful" romantic relationships at the end of the movie are ones that began with the women in servile positions to the men (the Hugh Grant/whatshername and Colin Firth/otherwhatshername relationships) and the two independent, fully-realized adult female characters are left either in limbo or in sad solitude (Emma Thompson and Laura Linney). 

Is this the message we really want to be internalizing?  That in order to have a happy ending with an successful man who adores you, a woman must bring him lots of cups of tea, anticipate his desire for chocolate biscuits, and jump in a freezing cold lake to retrieve the pages of his manuscript that he was stupid enough to be working on outside on a windy day?  Whereas if you are a woman who is good at her job or a dedicated mother, you will either loose your husband's attention to the first young tart (arg, such a cliche) that bats her eyes at him or you will live out your life as the lonely, sad, slightly frumpy caretaker of your mentally ill brother. 

Don't even get me started on the male fantasy-fulfillment nonsense of the guy who travels to America to get laid and finds himself immediately in a threesome.

I dunno, folks.  Is it me, or is the message of this movie actually quite depressing? 

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Kvell

In this, my year of not-blogging, I have let a lot of milestones pass by unremarked: Garrick's entry into high school, Quinlan's driving permit, Garrick's first featured performance on stage, Quinlan's first prom (with a date!), Garrick's first shave, Quinlan's two-week participation in Brown University's pre-college program.... It's been a busy time full of prime Bloggable Moments, is what I'm saying, and I've blogged none of it.  No poignant reveries about How Big They're Getting, How Time Flies, How Happy/Melancholy/Impressed/Proud I am as a parent, Sunrise/Sunset, and so forth.  For whatever reason and reasons, I have felt no impulse at all to document these moments.  Which is probably a post unto itself which will also likely remain unblogged, at least for now.

HOWEVER.

I realized yesterday that the Milestone to End All Milestones recently occurred, and that I'd want to be able to look back on this one, captured here in my digital memory book, to remember fondly as one of my proudest moments as a mother.

A few months ago, I convinced the boys to let their father haul two 50-gallon tubs of Bionicle pieces to the attic.

*mic drop*