Tuesday, January 29, 2008

My cousin, the teen mom with a 'tude who I have just recently forgiven for being a jackass even though I got a bootleg apology, is on my ass about religion now.

I shouldn't say that - she means well and it is just a conversation - but it is starting to piss me off. She has assumed that I am an atheist and is asking if it is because of certain life events I have been through. We are no longer close at all and I don't feel these are questions I should have to answer over MySpace. Finally I said, "I'm not an atheist, I'm agnostic, and I'd rather not talk about it."

What is it about religion? Other people can't just have it, they've got to push it on you too. It's like what Larry David said in that episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Larry: Why do Christians take everything so personally with Christ? You know? It's like, not only do you have to worship Him, you want everybody to. It's like, I like lobster. Do I go around pushing lobster on people? Do I say, "You must like lobster. Eat lobster! It's good, it's good." It's not only where you live. You go to Africa. You travel all over the world. "Eat lobster! Have some more lobster. It's good."

Cheryl: I don't really think it's...

Larry: "We want you to have lobster!"

She just sent me another message asking if Boyfriend and I live together. Good God, am I going to get a sex-before-marriage speech from teen mom??

What a day :)

Friday, January 25, 2008

Resolutions update

  • Stop biting nails

Still biting. I bought this bitter nail polish to put on but it's not working very well.

  • Stop drinking
I don't want to stop completely - I want the occasional glass of wine with dinner. But the last few martinis I have had have actually made me sick. The other night, I didn't even finish my one drink and I was totally sick. Seeing as it is no longer enjoyable to me I'm going to give it up. Bro, don't say anything annoying or stupid or you are sleeping out on the balcony when you arrive :)

  • Volunteer more
I signed up to work a "Family Fun Night" at a local elementary school, where they give free books to kids and try to get them interested in reading. I also signed up to work an event for battered women, though that is not until May.

  • Exercise more
I am exercising more though still not enough. Working on it.

  • Eliminate my usage and waste of plastic bags
I have not yet bought the reusable bags but I will. Every time I have fifty thousand plastic bags left over after a food shopping excursion, I feel guilty.

  • Be less lazy around the house
Um... will get back to you on that one.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Some Philosophy

Something has been on my mind lately, concerning human nature and evil in the world.

I know - heavy, right?

Anyway, I am a big Sufjan Stevens fan. He is amazing. I know that he is a Christian but his music is thoughtful and subtle enough so that it's not in-your-face obnoxious like other musicians. Non-Christians could easily listen to it and not get a single God reference if they aren't looking for one.

One of my favorite Sufjan songs is "John Wayne Gacy Jr." I never really got what it was about but it is beautiful. While reading last week, I came across a reference to Gacy, who was apparently a serial killer. I decided to look him up and found his story on Wikipedia.

After reading the story - which was pretty troubling - I listened to the song again and all of the lyrics became crystal clear. A song I once found calming started to sound eerie. I went searching for an interview with Sufjan to find out why he wrote the song. He talked about human nature and how he believes we are all capable of such evil. In fact, the lyrics go, "And in my best behavior / I am really just like him."

While I cannot judge his brand of Christianity or hold the whole religion up to a standard of one man's personal belief, he does have some basis for this in his faith. The Bible is clear that we are all sinful and wicked, and can only be redeemed by God's grace.

I have been thinking about it and I just cannot get myself to agree. While I know that most of us make mistakes, have evil thoughts, hurt others, etc. I cannot easily lump us in with people like Gacy or Hitler. I am capable of bad things - yes, I will admit it. But I highly doubt that I am capable of raping and killing children, then burying them in my basement, then joking about it at my trial. I mean, somewhere there is a line that is crossed, no??

I know that mental illness plays a factor but there has to be a distinction between crazy and evil. You can do crazy things without really harming people. Somewhere lurking underneath the surface of these kinds of criminals is a strong desire to hurt. I think this is what horrifies us more than the mental illness itself.

Besides, dissection of Gacy's brain did not show any physical abnormalities. This means that it was not physical - it was psychological or spiritual. I can't say exactly what it was that turned this man into a monster but it was something much more intangible than brain matter.

I remember C.S. Lewis talking about how every choice, every decision we make in life pushes us either towards heaven or hell. We don't go to heaven or hell for one action or the other, but in every action we are choosing what kind of souls to become. Once our souls become engrossed in either sin or holiness, they have no choice but to go to their appropriate place after death. So did a series of seemingly small choices lead individuals like this towards becoming maniacs?

I don't have any answers. I just needed to get some of this crap out of my brain.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

I went to the doctor this morning and it turns out I have lost 6-16 pounds (I fluctuate within ten pounds on their scale every time I go). That's pretty good news. I don't see the results as much as I would like but it was encouraging enough to push me off into a better week than last. I didn't exercise much last week because I kept feeling dizzy and not knowing why.

It is still rainy and grey in Austin. It's not cold or anything but boy, is it miserable.

I did not have the opportunity to watch the SC Democratic debate last night, but I heard clips on NPR this morning. Political squabbling is really starting to embarrass me. It's like Jerry Springer out there.

And yes, I am starting to get boring, but it is just so darn grey.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Give Me a Shot of Stok!

It's a dark rainy day in Austin, which mirrors the latest news about the economy. I have never been all that informed before but for some reason now I am interested in everything. I listened to NPR on the way in to work today, I read the NY Times more often, I watch news and political programs and I am seriously considering my vote in the primary in March. Who have I become? I guess I am hoping that some of the problems in this country will eventually get better. Or maybe I'd just like to be informed of everything as we go down.

In other news, I discovered a new caffeine product in the office yesterday. Apparently they are now throwing shots of espresso into creamer-sized containers for you to add to your coffee if coffee by itself is not enough. You can't have more than two a day because you will lose all your hair or something, but it is supposed to really supercharge you. Tried one last night so I could stay up and study. Really did not work. Oh well.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Retro Girl Talk

I was a child of the '80s and like most girls, "Girl Talk" was my favorite game. I would play with my little sister or bring it down the street to my best friend's house. We played all the time.

Recently, I was reminiscing about how much I loved the game and how I wish they still made it so I could give it to my younger sisters. But that line of thought led me to remember that the game was actually full of gender stereotypes. A quick online search brought me to this site:

...which made me realize that it was even worse than I remember! Some choice marketing phrases for the product include:

"A Game of Truth or Dare." The dares include:

* Name a boy you'd like to date
* Describe the perfect prom dress

I don't think young boys were encouraged to consider what girls they would date or what they were going to wear to their prom.

Failure to attempt a dare results in the player wearing a Zit Sticker for the rest of the game [...]

Oh my gosh, I forgot about zit stickers.

Successful completion of the dare results in points and ultimately in fortune cards in four categories:

  • Career - "An interest and a flair for modeling will lead to cover layouts in five major fashion magazines"
  • Marriage - "The boy who is last, alphabetically, on the roll call list at school will become your future husband"
  • Children - "The total of odd numbers in your phone number indicates how many children you will have"
  • Special Moments - "You will decorate your future home using your school colors"

Decorating your future home? A career in modeling? Your future husband and children? Holy crap!

My favorite childhood game aimed to breed a new generation of housewives, super models and interior decorators. I feel so violated.

*Cross-posted at the Feminist Pulse.

"My goals are becoming manifest"

According to the North American Realm website, the Keresan Spider Woman created everything there is by thinking, dreaming, or naming.

Anita at Goddess.com.au says that in her aspect as Creator and Mother, Spider Woman affirms that women are essential and central to the life process. [...] As a sustainer, Spider Woman is always urging us to reconnect to our own spiritual source of higher power. She tells us that our natural role is to live in peace and harmony, with reverence toward the earth and its beings. She imparts her sacred wisdom to people as they sleep, connecting them to her spiritual wisdom through a filament spun from her body and attached to her crown.

She empowers women to keep the dream of life alive and encourages them to continue weaving their dreams, even in times of despair and unknowing.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me

I have so much to write :) Firstly, better eating and exercise is apparently working. Boyfriend said he could see difference in the way one of my shirts now fits me. Yay! I have really kept at it this time, I swear.

Friday evening I went out for my birthday girls' night out. Most people cancelled - some were sick, some had work conflicts, etc. It wound up just being me, CL Friend, and new Writer Friend (have I mentioned her?). Both ladies are awesome and even though they had never met, we all got along well and had an amazing time.

First we went to a Tapas bar with a fantastic happy hour. We ate rosemary lamb, potatoes, cheese and fruit, and other lovely concoctions, which were really cheap when paired with our wine and mixed drinks. Afterwards, we went to a jazz club, but only briefly. It was so dark that we couldn't see each other, and the musician had just finished his set. The next one was due to come out in an hour, but we didn't wait. We headed out to another place which was kind of ritzy. We spent our time in their outside courtyard, in a white tent with lights strung up, right behind the band.

At this place, we reclined on chaise longues and had fancy schmancy drinks. (I had a pomegranate cosmopolitan and felt like I was on Sex and the City.) Those two requested Beatles' "Birthday" from the band, who did not play it, but they did demand that I reveal myself to the crowd so they could all sing "Happy Birthday." It was embarrassing.

We ended the night with a petticab ride by Writer Friend's girlfriend, who is in such incredible shape that she pulled the three of us around downtown. CL Friend returned to the apartment with me, where we shot the shit with Boyfriend for an hour or so until she went home. Kick ass night! Boyfriend suggested we do girls' night once a month, and I am inclined to agree ;)

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

I forgot to mention that my birthday the other day was also my 2.5 year anniversary with Boyfriend.

The relationship I have with him is unlike anything I have ever experienced before. Love is a very confusing emotion - it can make you deliriously happy, anxious or even furious (with jealousy, for example). It regulates our emotions unlike anything else. It governs our lives much of the time. Our love for people, for hobbies, for work, for parts of ourselves, all indicate the direction our lives will take.

Because I am a young woman and this experience is new to me, I am often confused by it. For example, I am constantly looking for things to give to and do for Boyfriend. Not just for birthdays or anniversaries, but all the time. I'm always trying to figure out what I can buy, what I can write, what I can create, what I can cook, what I can say to make him happy. I am so driven towards this that it surprises me. He certainly does not demand it, but I try for as much as I can and even when I achieve it, I still believe that it is an inadequate expression of what I feel. I feel like in a lifetime I will never even begin to approach what I want to say to him, what I want him to know.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Perhaps I should not be making a cup of hot chocolate that says "Good Night Kisses" or hugs or whatever it's called, while I'm at work and trying to be alert :)

Oh well.

Yesterday the Bollywood workout arrived. It was okay - not bad. I didn't feel quite as sexy as I do with belly dancing. In truth, I felt a little ridiculous. They want you to "SMILE!" while you're doing these crazy positions and it's like, I know they may smile a lot in Bollywood films but I'm not happy right now. The woman actually says in the introduction that it is so much fun you will not be able to stop yourself from giggling.

Now, I would make fun of this if not for the fact that a Tae Bo video I've been doing recently has made me giggle. It's totally random... I'm punching and kicking the air and then I break into a fit of laughter. Must be that some point in the video releases such a burst of endorphins that happiness floods over me, I don't know.

But that didn't happen in old Bollywood. I hope that if I continue to work at it (I was not in good enough shape to do the whole 50 minutes) it will get better.

Monday, January 07, 2008

I had the best birthday weekend ever. I relaxed and wrote a lot because I was still feeling under the weather and because I have an important deadline this month. In addition, Boyfriend and I went bowling and had dinner at the fondue restaurant I mentioned - it was to die for. The first course was a cheese blend of Fontina and Gruyere, shallots, white wine, garlic, and some other stuff. We dipped bread and apples and veggies in there... Then we cooked our own meats, pasta and shrimp in the fondue pot at our table. For dessert, they melted chocolate, marshmallow and Oreo cookies into the fondue and we dipped brownies, bananas, strawberries, cheesecake, marshmallows, etc. into it. They also brought us complimentary champagne because it was my birthday. By the end of the meal I was clinging to the table's edge for dear life, moaning to Boyfriend about my new pregnancy (it was chocolate twins).

Friday, January 04, 2008

I had a whole "Girls' Night Out" planned for tonight in honor of my birthday, but had to postpone it until next week since I am still under the weather. Normally I would be disappointed but I am relieved because I don't want to do anything tonight but go home and sleep.

The only birthday plans I've got for this weekend is dinner with Boyfriend at The Melting Pot, a restaurant I have been dying to go to. I mean, look at the menu. Just look at it. It's beautiful.

I'm so glad it's Friday!!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Home At Last

I am in such a great mood though I probably shouldn't be. My flight was delayed yesterday and I got home in the middle of the night, much sicker than when I boarded the plane in the first place. I am still pretty sick today, though back at work, but I don't care - I'm happy!

I'm happy because I had an excellent trip with no regrets, and I'm happy to be home with Boyfriend. Now I can relax and settle in and get back to my life - work, school, etc. Not to mention New Year resolutions.

Yes, I have the old "get healthy" resolution once again, but - how cliche is this? - this time I mean it. Boyfriend and I are going to go hard-core with the gym and all. Wish us luck. Since it is the first week of January I am psyched. Next week I will probably be miserable, but I am enjoying my optimism right now. I even ordered the Bollywood workout DVD - oh yes.

In addition, Boyfriend got me like 10 books for my birthday, all of which were waiting for me when we arrived.

Does it get any better?

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Things I Have Learned

  1. My family loves me more than I realized.

  2. My friends love me more than I realized.
  3. My boyfriend loves me more than I realized.

  4. I am very, VERY fortunate.