Now that we can all breathe again….

Managed to not lose the sticker included with my absentee ballot. WINNING.

I used to write a fair amount about politics, back in the day.  Then, for a long time, I really did not care much.  I was way too preoccupied with anxiety and depression over not knowing whether we’d ever get to bring home a baby, and trying not to acknowledge even to myself that I WANTED to bring home a baby someday.  So it waxes and wanes, my political fervor, I suppose.  But I wanted to quickly touch on one aspect that ties into this blog – the title.  My blogger blog went through several different names, but nothing ever really seemed to click and feel just right.  So for a long while, it was titled simply ‘Undecided,’ and it stayed that way for what felt like an eternity, as I sunk deeper and deeper into apathy, not really caring about much other than making it back to my couch at the end of the day to stare at the TV and try to not think about the subject that was all I could ever really think about.  Then came the 2008 election season, and along with it, Ms. Sarah Palin.  I am about as liberal/libertarian as they come, I think, but I must circle back around and offer sincere gratitude to John McCain for choosing her as his running mate, because it PISSED ME OFF how pandering and condescending and frankly just ignorant the whole thing was.  It made me realize, OH!  I CAN HAZ FEELINGS!  ABOUT STUFF! IN THE WORLD!  And I began to care again, to be less stuck in my head, in the never-ending internal dialogue that I rarely dared to even voice aloud.  Granted, this was all after my very first miscarriage, and I had varying reactions after each subsequent one, but during that campaign I decided that ‘Undecided’ was the very last thing that my blog should be named.  Still lacking any creativity or willingness to commit to tying any one specific word or phrase to my own life’s chronicles (what can I say, I hate to be defined.  Too constricting.), I simply changed it to ‘Not Undecided.’  It stayed that way long enough that I eventually started seeing the phrase turn up in my keywords/search terms, so I figured it had better stay that way, so that anyone looking for it without a bookmark could find it again. And so here we are.

(I never did change the url to reflect the title, though.  I have often thought that it should be ‘hard to MAKE a human,’ rather than ‘hard to be human,’ but again, I kind of like the built-in history reflection, even if I’m the only one who can recognize it.)

So, while I am not Obama’s biggest fan (looooooong way to go on civil liberties, civil rights, drug policy, the whole not killing innocent people thing, etc., etc.), I am deeply, deeply relieved to not be entering a Mittens presidency, for I firmly believe that it would be a far scarier thing than what we have now, which I will continue to critique (though not always here, I’m sure).  Shudder.  I think that’s all I need to say about that.

(Except also, YAY for the huge advances made in the Senate and House races, as well as ballot initiatives for marriage equality and legalization.  YAAAAAAAAAAAY!!!)

What the hell, one for the road!

[also, I find it hilarious that these videos are apparently FUELED BY RAMEN this week or whatever.  Times really are tough all over.]

Very Mean Girls.

I’m in the business of misery let’s take it from the top
She’s gotta body like an hour glass that’s ticking like a clock
it’s just a matter of time before we all run out
but when I thought he was mine she caught him by the mouth

I waited eight long months she finally set him free
I told him I couldn’t lie he was the only one for me
two weeks and we had caught on fire
she’s got it out for me but i wear the biggest smile

No, I never meant to brag… but i got him where i want him now.
Oh it was never my intention to brag… to steal it all away from you now
But God does it feel so good cause I got him where I want him now
if you could then you know you would
cause God it just feels so…
It’s just feels so good.

Second chances they don’t ever matter, people never change
Once a whore you’re nothing more and you know that will never change
and about forgiveness, we’re both supposed to have exchanged.
sorry honey but i passed it up, now look this way

Well, there’s a million other girls that do it just like you
looking as innocent as possible to get to who they want and what they like
it’s easy if you do it right
well i refuse, i refuse, i refuse.

No, I never meant to brag… but i got him where i want him now.
Oh it was never my intention to brag… to steal it all away from you now
But God does it feel so good to take it all away from you now
if you could then you know you would
cause God it just feels so…
It’s just feels so good.

I watched his wildest dreams come true
Not one of them involving you
Just watch my wildest dreams come true
Not one of them involving…

(lyrics via)

Floored and Free

I may have never laughed so hard as when showing pictures from the cruise and the island to my friend’s four year old son and we came across this one (please excuse the blurry):

Who is that guy?  Is that…Grimace?  He looks kind of…scary.  Is he scary?  –  Yes, buddy, he’s pretty scary. Don’t worry, though.  He can’t get to you.
(Disclaimer – I’m not 100% sure he said Grimace, as apparently I was still too high on blue skies, sunshine, warmth, and little-kid-cuteness to retain that now somewhat critical detail.  Anyway, whoever he thought it was was so far from Jesus it wasn’t even funny was hilarious.  I guess you had to be there.  In fact, I wish you had been there so you could have remembered the crucial part of this little anecdote for me.  Oh well, let’s go with it.)
I took pictures of all kinds of silliness in the seemingly never-ending booths in the straw markets.  
And again with the blurry:
Who buys this stuff?  Let’s see, I need something really PINK.  Should I get…Hello Kitty…or the Holy Bible?
I’ll admit to being tickled that my little buddy had no recognition of Jesus.  Even though I’ve never known her to have any religion to speak of (other than a general affirmation of belief if pressed), my friend has said for years, oh, I should really find a church and start taking the kids…but it’s never happened.  I wouldn’t encourage it, for one because I remember going to church being the cause of plenty of stomped feet and whiny voices when I was a kid (and what parent needs more of that?), and also because her kids question everything and I love that so much.  Most kids do.  Until they sometimes learn to not, because nobody else is questioning it and people don’t like it, so I’d better just play along.  That’s pretty much how I remember it.  Looking around during Mass thinking…really?  All of you people believe all of this stuff?  Really?  Umm…okay.  So I tried.  For a long time I tried pretty hard to believe.  At times I probably did really believe, at other times I was close to believing, but most of the time it seems I was just trying to convince myself I believed.  Fortunately social conditioning kept me from standing up and yelling ARE YOU ALL CRAZY?  THIS MAKES NO SENSE!!!  Though apparently one Sunday when I was really little my parents had gotten seats in a front pew and in a quiet period during the Mass I did shout MOMMY LOOK!  THAT MAN HAS NO HAIR!! referring to the bald priest.  So that had to be kind of funny.
Ahem.  But this is supposed to be serious.  I’ve started to write about this so many times, though until now it’s always ended with me not even bothering to save the draft, because I freeze…I can’t write about this.  But of course I can, and I don’t have to think very hard or google very much to find a myriad of reasons why I should.  I don’t even need to retrace the ancient abuses of power by the Catholic church (but see this for an excellent perspective on the religious side, via the always thought-provoking suntzusays on the secular side), there have been so, so many very recently, in my own lifetime.  Even if I were a believer, why would I want to associate with any of that?  I’m not and I don’t, though that’s never been something I’ve gone out of my way to share with those in my life that might be somehow offended or put off by that.  However, I’m lucky enough to have at least one of those kind of friends to whom you can say just about anything.  The kind of friend who will also in turn tell me what I need to hear, even if it means saying things that might not be well received or are not necessarily nice things to say, and I of course try to do the same for her.  You don’t stay friends for fifteen-plus years with people that only constantly blow smoke up your ass, right?  So at some point during the conversations we had in the three or more hours it took to drive down to get on the cruise ship last week, I came out, if you will, as an atheist to my best friend.  I was shocked that she was shocked.  It was funny and awesome and I really don’t know why I never just came out and said it to her sooner.  It seems to be the kind of thing that needs just the right set up, so if you’ve ever had anything even tangentially to do with religion, you can’t very well just out of nowhere say, hey, so…yeah….I’m an atheist, right.  Cool? to most people, anyway, and expect them to have a reserved reaction or not require some type of explanation for what they perceive as a rather extreme change.  But somehow she or we had set it up just perfectly…I can’t for the life of me recall what we were really talking about, most likely commenting upon the hypocrisy of some side of some issue (maybe abortion…the Tim Tebow Superbowl ad thing, I bet!) and she must have said something to the effect of “Even if you believe in God…” as a hypothetical from the devil’s-advocate side, allowing me to just throw out “Um, by the way, I don’t anymore.”  Too easy, how could I not?  I still find it funny that she was so surprised by this, but she of course didn’t challenge me on it or try to convince me to change my mind.  (And to be fair, I always refrain from telling her how much country music sucks and how she should really not ever listen to damn near all of it.)  She kept saying she was floored, and she was curious, so I talked about it some.  In fact, I couldn’t quite shut up about it for a little while.  In the middle of this we stopped to run into a drugstore for beverages but I didn’t stop rambling on – the cashier definitely looked at me a little oddly; that was fun.  I was on a roll, as she’s the first friend I’ve said this to who really knew me well even way back when I was a guilty-kind-of-recovering-Catholic-ish girl.
For me, it wasn’t a painful process, even though I thought it might be very hard to walk away from faith, or my nearly lifelong attempts at feeling like I had faith.  Turns out it wasn’t difficult at all.  I just had to give myself permission to acknowledge as perfectly valid the natural doubt and skepticism I’ve also had my whole life.  Agnosticism, I guess.  Then I went through a phase in which I truly just didn’t care at all one way or the other about it.  When I finally got back around to thinking about it again, I realized I’d crossed the line and probably wouldn’t be crossing back.  I just don’t need it, whatever you want to call it, be it faith, belief, religion, etc.  It’s not that I choose not to believe in your God, it’s that I don’t believe there is a god.  So simple and reasonable, yet strangely so hard to say, or to write.  To a certain extent, I can sincerely appreciate that it brings joy and peace and comfort to many people’s lives, and I’d never want to take that part away from them individually.  But looking at the big picture, and the overall balance of the good things the church may have done for people versus the horrible, awful, unimaginable things that have been done in the name of religion…I want to imagine no religion, too.  It would be better if there weren’t so many people in the world whose lives are lived in such awful circumstances that it really logically does sort of make sense that they’d better hope for a better life to be waiting for them after this one, otherwise what is the point of all their suffering, but that is of course not the case.  I have no answer for that question, I just know I’m incredibly fortunate to have my basic needs thoroughly met in order to even have the time and resources to consider the kind of questions that led me to atheism.  For me, there is more peace in just being free of it altogether.  I bet a lot more people could come the same conclusion too if they would just let themselves try to be free of it.  This will be mostly preaching to the choir (ha), but you should try it.  It’ll make you feeeeeel gooood.  

Torture and Teabagging

Fist, a note on the idiocy of our House Republican Leader. I am ashamed that this man represents our state: (via Prose Before Hos via Pharyngula)

Der indeed.

Okay, teabagging. Besides conjuring up the image of one dude resting his hairy balls on the forehead of another (wow, that’s really quite an appropriate image, in context), how fucking ridiculous is that shit? The socially conservative movement is just…dying a slow death, I guess. I suppose if we have the patience, we can just listen for the death rattle. I see very little possibility of a young, fresh-faced, reasonable, relatable human being stepping up to move the ideology forward in a way that might let it actually continue past the forseeable future. Seriously. Rush Limpbaugh and Dickhead Cheney? Not going to help. Who wants to be represented by those two schmucks? Even if you consider yourself a Republican, or a social conservative…do those two men make you proud of anything? Anything at all? I feel dirty just typing their names.

Okay, now torture. Hat tip again to suntzuays. I second that vote. First, to abolish the vice presidency and designate the Secretary of State to take over in the event of an emergency, followed by another general election in the event of the death of a President. Second, and most vehemently, for Dickface Cheney to STFU already. Your five minutes (eight fucking years. puke) is OVER. Crawl back in your spiderhole and monitor your surveillance equipment. I would rather have you spy on me than speak publicly ever again.

I have never been so proud to like the label ‘liberal.’ In the words of JFK:

What do our opponents mean when they apply to us the label “Liberal?” If by “Liberal” they mean, as they want people to believe, someone who is soft in his policies abroad, who is against local government, and who is unconcerned with the taxpayer’s dollar, then … we are not that kind of “Liberal.” But if by a “Liberal” they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people — their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their civil liberties — someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a “Liberal,” then I’m proud to say I’m a “Liberal.” [September 14, 1960]

For Shame

It’s a damned crying shame that we’ve allowed our political leadership to pick and choose its military priorities based upon economic interests rather than humanitarian ones.

We don’t need to respect the guidance or authority of the UN to invade Iraq, but this still hardly hits the radar screens:

UN Faults Sudanese Government

I just don’t understand where the human rights activism and global economy meet. Are all the Jewish people who live with scars of the Holocaust so busy hating Palestinians to notice that there’s another rather large genocide occurring? We really are just so worried about oil prices and nearing a recession and stock market blips that this, this is just background noise.

200,000 villagers dead and 2.5 million people homeless. Even if these numbers are somehow grossly exaggerated, which I personally doubt, those are still huge fucking numbers. But as long as my gasoline stays under $3 a gallon, it’s all good. WTflyingF?

I am proud to be American, mostly. The only thing I dislike – well, the thing I dislike the most – is that they call that fast-food nuclear-orange-yellow-colored-American-pasteurized-process-cheese-food ‘cheese.’ That is not cheese. That, and, oh, our President. Seems that things like Sudan (may as well be a thing, it’s not on GWB’s map as a place, let alone a place with PEOPLE) will stay side issues until we find some Al-Qaeda operatives plotting terrorist schemes in the refugee camps. Maybe then we’ll see the ‘global economy’ as actually inclusive of places with less wealth, health, and happiness than our idealized, democratized West and Middle East.

What we have here…

I do not understand my husband. Does that make me a horrible wife? Ugh. Most of the time, from my point of view, our sharply contrasting personalities overlap well. We balance each other out. He’s a right-angle kind of guy. I’m a slob. He plans. I like to live on the fly. When we have patience with each other, it’s great. Between the two of us, we think of everything, it seems. When we both refuse to try to see the other’s perspective, it’s ugly. For me, everything is ugly before 9 AM or so. To him, that is when the whole world is right, he can set his whole day up at perfect right angles. I refuse to acknowlege anything but a shower and coffee when I wake up. I don’t really want to change him. I don’t think he really wants to change me. Neither of us would succeed anyways.

I’m not writing this to make him sound like a bad guy. I don’t have any truly valid complaints here. Simply attempting to take a step back and look at annoyances from a semi-objective place puts mountains back on the scale of molehills. Which is the correct scale. I’m always astounded how minor disagreements can escalate into what feel like major battles, at the time. It’s silly. As anti-war as I am, I suppose I can see how wars start. Dedication to a righteous ideal without the ability to appreciate the opposition’s opinion is downright dangerous. Knowing how to push the other’s buttons is a deadly weapon.

I’m again reminded of the way my grandparents used to argue. Raised volume, each sure the other was wrong. Yet, they never actually sounded angry to me. As fiery and bitchy as they both could be, their marriage was an excellent example for me. Let all your fights be fought with love.