samedi, janvier 05, 2013

On deciding...not to decide!

I grinned when I saw cats miming New Year's resolutions yesterday at the Daily Beast (though I did wonder if there were a bit of coercion going on).

I have noticed, in the past, a spike in romantic interest around New Years -- as though the date itself was a significant marker of progress in finding true love.  Or perhaps to take some steps towards gaining a hot bod,  a better position, or a less irritating Aunt Sally.

Good luck with that, by the way.

But for most of us, resolutions don't work.  For Christians, who believe that grace is crucial to growing in the spirit,  a "do it myself" mentality is particularly problematic.

What would St. Paul say?

It's time to become a little more modest.and perhaps a little more successful, in our aspirations.

In that vein, I offer my "unresolutions" for 2013:

vendredi, janvier 04, 2013

What the years do (to some) of us

"Does he drink a lot"? asked a friend.
That would explain the puffy eyes, she said.
I wouldn't know how to recognize the signs.
I've been thinking about the problems age seems to bring with it.
At least to some of us.
Perhaps, in some cases, it exarcebates, carves in marble, disfunction  that was there already.
If I hadn't had a profile posted online, I would not have recognized how great a variety of mental health issues exist among my cohort.
I ran into a lot of guys with serious challenges.
And I'm not talking about an extra twenty pounds or a bunch of old pictures (though I don't understand why people would post old snaps -- what about the same factor?)
I'm not speaking about depression, or other medical conditions. I assume that someone who is getting treated for these conditions has been grappling with them for a long time.
Even a spectacular "fail" in early life can be an occasion for self-reflection and growth.  Stuff happens, ya know?
It's not even the superficiality (post a different picture, and you'll get "hits" from guys who have already viewed your photos before, five times or more, and never actually contacted you.)
It was the married men who got to me. (Well, mostly).
It was when I had two of them contact me within a minute, with their wheedling emails, that I shut down my profile on that site.
"Pathetic" AND "annoying."
Maybe someday I'll go back to that site.
But for right now, I find it too difficult. 
Massage parlors...prisons.. men who lead secret lives as someone else that I can never imagine.
I have a lot of trouble believing that my friends, mostly married, are one thing on the outside and someone else completely on the inside.
Perhaps I'm vain.
But I see myself as more like my friends -- a woman who has struggled with real-life issues, and has real-life problems, but is generally healthy.
I wouldn't mind seeing a few of these men in therapy, once I get my counseling degree.
Maybe a few of them could be friends.
But I wouldn't want them in my life a romantic way.
That's not to say that all the men I found online were messed up. Not at all. But the percentage, I'm willing to guess, is a lot higher than our general population -- which is a disquieting thought.
What DO the years do to us?
My cat slumbers peacefully in my lap, looking up at me now and again, bronze eyes glinting.
How simple it must be to be a cat, I think -- not to be mentally affected by the passage of time.
Then he gets off my lap, and starts meowing, more loudly as I try to figure out what he wants.
Turns out it was a piece of sharp cheddar cheese.
I will never understand men -- or cats.

mardi, janvier 01, 2013

That morally superior planet

New York Times columnist David Brooks said, in a recent appearance on "Meet the Press" that President Obama governs as though he was a "visitor from a morally superior civilization."

Apparently many people took this as a criticism of the President. Frankly, I think it's a compliment.  Or perhaps, it's really a reflection of the stubborness, adolescent behavior, and navel-gazing of those who profess to represent us.

Namely, the men and women of United States Congress.

Everyone and their mother is complaining about the so-called "cliff deal" voted in by a coalition of Democrats and Republicans (not by most of them)  in the House of Representatives.   A lot of conservatives rightly point out that it does nothing to address spending cuts -- any ninny can see that spending cuts are a huge part of the answer in bringing down the deficit.

But the other piece of the equation is bringing in more revenue -- and liberals equally rightly point out that on this issue, Democrats caved.

What's so infuriating (or at least part of what's infuriating) is that we didn't have to arrive at this point. If Congress hadn't put the sequester in place (mostly because there are so few moderates left in the House), they would have been forced to come up with a compromise.

Instead, they continue to put off the tough choices, hoping that something will happen that gives them an edge. This latest "fix" merely put off the next emergency.

Sometimes the greater good lies in principled compromise instead of the reek of their idols, their false gods (can you say K street?), and the incessant din of their self-righteous cant.

Somewhere along the way, the House and the Senate stopped representing us, the people.

As someone pointed out this week on the radio,  a lot of Senators and Congresspeople don't live in D.C. anymore. They come in for a few days each week, and return to their districts.  They don't party together, or send their kids to the same schools. They stay in their bunkers.

I bet Steve LaTourette would be mortified if he ran into Mitch McConnell, Harry Reid, and Joe Biden and had to face them after making that crack about a deal made by "sleep-deprived octogenarians in the middle of the night."

Shame on you, Representative LaTourette.

They don't respect each other. Why should we believe that they respect the rest of us?

I don't always agree with our President -- there are things that he's done that I find disturbing, and other arenas in which I wish he would show some....intestinal fortitude.

Perhaps if he appears to hail from a morally superior civilization, it's because the bar in Congress has been set so low.

Maybe President Obama just treats the rest of us like we were fellow human beings worthy of his respect.

What a surprise that is.

When the House Speaker tells the Senate Majority Leader to go "f" himself (after said Majority Leader has accused him of running a dictatorship), our democracy is in sad shape - perhaps as sad as it has been since the Civil War or Reconstruction.

More sadly, we, the people, will probably sit back and watch as it falls apart, too stunned to vote out these scoundrels or revolt to change the system.

After all, they represent us, don't they?


dimanche, décembre 30, 2012


Tonight I was tired.

We'd been entertaining, which I don't do as often as I'd like to do, because it requires being organized, cleaning up, and cooking.

SLACKER, I can hear you whispering.

Fact is, none of these are my first gift. But it was a really nice party.  So it pays for me to bestir myself now and again.

Be that as it may, the couch, a book, and the pellet stove called me.  Thus I didn't protest too much when I watched my daughter entertain what Tennessee Williams might have termed a "gentleman caller" while texting friends on her iPhone.

Normally I'd say something sharp to her.  Tonight, I just called it to her attention.

He didn't seem to mind too much. But he might have expected something a little closer to civilized discourse.

At times like this, I hate technological innovations like cell phones. (Of course, there are many times when I use them promiscuously, but we're not talking about THOSE moments).

It bothers me when guys I've never met think I'm the cat's pajamas on the basis of a few well-chosen words -- or when dialogue with potential dates or friends is interrupted.

Someone is randomly pissed off.

Maybe they are just having a bad day.

One of us gets snarky, and bam...a relationship is imperiled.

I think it's because so much of the social pillars that once upheld relationships are either weakened or don't exist anymore.

The church social.

The ladies' sewing circle. (Though I'd have to sit outside the circle and watch).

Time spent side by side doing chores on the farm.

A dependable calendar of events shared by a community, ones in which people saw each other over and over again.

Of course, these all have their downsides.   If you didn't belong to the church, you weren't included.  Men sew, too.  Farm chores could be dangerous.  Most of us haven't lived agricultural lives for more than a century.

Maybe such a predictable social life was also bit tedious -- but it reinforced social norms that don't seem to exist as much anymore.

I watch my daughter struggle.

Wonder as potential dates fall by the wayside.

Hope and pray that something dumb I spouted online didn't wreck a friendship.

And I wonder how we can move forward in a way that builds communities and relationships, rather than putting them at risk.

To be so hidden -- and so exposed...isn't healthy.