samedi, janvier 28, 2012

That Mormon-Evangelical thing they do

I have to admit that I've found writing about Mormon theology, and how it is viewed by some Protestant evangelicals, one of the toughest assignments I've had as a writer.

I wrote a colleague and told him that I was lost in the maze. I was happy to hear that it was tough for him, too.

If I have problems sorting out the complexities, I have no one to blame but me -- after all, who CHOSE to do the series?

Who? I need to have a chat with that woman.

vendredi, janvier 27, 2012

To a father

Dear Dad --

There's so much I want to tell you.

So much that I wish you'd known before you left.

I am sure of something -- a fact.

You were unabashedly proud of your grandchildren. They were above reproach. Any critical comment I made, whether it be about behavior or homework, was excused on the general basis that your grands could do no wrong.

It used to tick me off. Now I miss your total vote of confidence in them.

More to the point, I think that they could really use it now.

It's been a bear of a six months, Dad. Things have changed in our family. I'm not sure exactly what's happening, but we're losing something important.

I think it's probably gone forever.

Anyhow, Dad, I wanted to give you an update on the kids.

The DQ -- well, she's like Mom. She's lovely, Dad. But you knew that. She bids fair to be like her grandmother -- creative, disorganized and funny.

We're thinking of hocking the silver so she can go abroad to a study program this summer -- to be honest, it's kind of an intervention to see if being in a foreign country in a German program (she's got your gift for learning languages) would help her mature.

And Mr. C? Dad, as he was going out the kitchen door yesterday, he told me that coats were for "losers" and "sissies." Then he said that he was going to wear one anyway.

You know why?

William Henry Harrison, our President back in the day (if your day was 1840) didn't wear a coat to his inauguration. A month later, he died of pneumonia.

As a friend said to me last night, no other child in America probably wore his or her coat yesterday for that particular reason - oh, dad, do you suppose he could be your grandson?

I spy on him on Facebook (yeah, I'd have to explain Facebook to you) and watch him being a goof, and I'm thrilled.

I'm their mom, so I know how imperfect they are. But so am I, as you know.

I don't think you'd have any reason to revise your grandfatherly bias, though.

I'm crying, Dad. I'm going to sign off and mop up.

But I wanted you to know -- and somehow, someway, I want to believe that you do already.

Tell Mom and Jonathan, please.

And love to all of you.

Love always.

Your daughter...

jeudi, janvier 26, 2012


Lacking cane

Or balance

Most of all


A sense I no longer use.

Instead, I wander through my days

Like a bat

Set loose in daylight

Seeking I

Run up against obstacles

That only exist

When cold glass

Resists headlong rush

And I fall


To the ground

Eyes cast earthward


It matters not.

Remembering when I reached for you

Thinking your existence possible.

Blind then

No one more self-deceived than

A deluded creature who

Believes she sees.

mercredi, janvier 25, 2012

Goodbye to"love"

Yesterday I shut down my online dating profile.

I hope that I have the inner strength to keep it shut.

You see, I made a simple calculation.

I tried to figure out how much pleasure being potentially available for dates, and the hope of a relationship down the road, had brought me.

A few friends (you know who you are and I'm very glad I met you).

Then I balanced it against the pain I had experienced (yes, much of it self-inflicted).

The endless parade of men who wanted nothing but a "physical relationship" (quite the oxymoron, that).

Harley dudes whose feelings were hurt when I turned them down.

Email conversations that got hostile, because darn it, email is a rotten substitute for longterm communication.

Guys who thought fighting in virtual time was stimulating.

Men in need I felt that I ought to comfort. Yeah, I told you some of the pain was self-inflicted.

A quasi-relationship which ended in a way that left me feeling incredibly dumb and humiliated.

Email chats that lapsed into silence.

Guys who never seemed to want to risk the word "meet."

Men who lie about their age because they "feel" younger.

Indirect exposure to women who seem to live in a parallel universe I've never visited except back in the day of the soap opera.

And, oh yes, an education (purely academic) in various forms of kink that were only names to me when I began.

Gentle reader, what would you do if you were me?

The fact is, of course, that you aren't.

We all make different choices.

Many of you would have had much less tolerance for conversations that were obviously going nowhere.

Some of you would have made certain compromises, whether they be in the realm of physical attraction or emotional intelligence.

Some of you might simply yell "might as well JUMP" and figure out later if you are in roses or in a bed of thorns.

I'm a mother of two teenagers who has chosen to live in a semi-rural area. Mostly I work from home, meaning opportunities for social interaction are fewer than I'd like.

When push comes to shove, right now I have an evening and a full day in which to broaden my social horizons.

Online dating seemed like the solution.

In fact, it is often, though not always, the problem.

Perhaps I'm not going to have a guy in my life.

Perhaps I'm never going to experience the ups and downs of a love relationship.

Perhaps I'll learn, in time, to be o.k. with it.

I don't know yet.

Maybe I'll be back. Perhaps I'll lower my expectations.

Follow the breadcrumb trail here, and I'll let you know when I find out.

mardi, janvier 24, 2012

The painful task of closing the door on friendship

Maybe a psychologist could explain.

Perhaps an evolutionary biologist (bonds mean survival) would hypothesize.

A faculty member in a sociology department might argue that I have a need to bond with others.

But whatever the reason, I rarely give up on friendships.

Until and unless I know that they are dead, I keep looking for a pulse.

The end of this one (if it is over) began with some major life stress.

The house under renovation -- a child running away from renovation. The children's dad facing and fighting cancer.

Last fall I was in the pits, a voyager through a few of the outer rings of hell -- or at least purgatory.

And I am not (hear this, God, please) a good candidate for purgatory. I like to know where I am -- to feel either the fire or clouds under my feet.

Long story short -- I was hurt by a friend's apparent lack of concern. I let her know, perhaps peevishly, via email.

A big mistake.

She took offense, and let me know, in words that stung.

I asked to hear her point of view. I confessed that I easily could have misinterpreted her behavior.

Again and again, I've reached out, reiterating my fondness for her and my hope that we can put this behind us.


The kind of silence that makes you wonder what existed to begin with -- and where you might have compromised for the sake of a peace that never perhaps existed.

But don't friends do that for each other?

Unsettling questions, these.

After more than twelve years of friendship, she remains just out of sight, leaving only enigma.

There's been no alcohol abuse at a party.

No husband-stealing.

No unbearable narcissism.

Just a stupid disagreement between two people who considered one another close friends.

I haven't given up hope.

In the meantime, I suppose that I have a lot of material to work on --beginning with myself.

lundi, janvier 23, 2012

SOAP and SOPA: why are learning disability jokes considered "funny"?

Why is it o.k. to mock folks with dyslexia and other learning disabilities?

Last week, as most of you know, portions of the Internet went dark, and many other sites lit up with outrage over the projected (now probably dead) Stop Online Piracy Act.

No sooner did this happen, but folks began to post SOPA "humor."

For some reason (I can speculate, but I won't, at least not here) that included a raft of dyslexia jokes.

These are probably people (I don't know them, but I'd guess), who probably trend politically correct otherwise, and would never dream of making jokes about blacks, Jews or Catholics.

Why does this stuff seem funny to thousands of readers out in Internet land?

I'll admit my bias right up front. My family is riddled with learning disabilities. And as a left-handed, near-sighted, math-challenged nerd, I've got some myself.

But I also watched my brother struggle for years with his disabilities.

I'm observing my daughter try to work with a large working memory deficit now.

And it doesn't seem funny to me, somehow. It's painful. So perhaps I'm more sensitive to not offending people with this kind of challenge.

I have my own prejudices, and I'm not proud. One is that I think that there are a lot of dumb people out there -- but I suspect, that if I get to know some of them, they might not seem as stupid as I think they are.

I'm an elitist -- a sometimes ashamed elitist.

I have a great group of FB friends -- by and large, they almost never post anything remotely offensive.

But if you know of other people might unknowingly be causing pain by passing along an email, or posting Internet snark -- please consider asking them to exercise a little compassion.


After all, empathy is only a word until you use it.