Monday, November 28, 2011

Following a chat about a coworker's Thanksgiving family time gratefulness is restored that, though my family is not perfect, they are quite good compared to some other sad situations.  Wow.  People have overcome a lot.  I wish people didn't have such high mountains to climb.


So, Thanksgiving happened...  It was good.  A good tornado. 

It felt sort of like coming into our own as a household, or even as adults, to host this holiday in our house.  All the work to get a new tablecloth, and then a tablecloth pad, and then votive candles, and then make flower arrangements -- it was all worth it.  The table looked awesome.

My husband sat at the head of the table, expressed his thanks, and said a brief prayer.  I sat to his left and was proud of him, of both of us.  And since I can read my mother's thoughts, I can say that she was thrilled and surprised that he did a prayer. 

It's weird to be in these traditional roles, since I don't think of myself as a traditional woman.  I mean, why didn't I sit at the head of the table?  Why didn't he obsess over the table centerpiece?  I don't know, I just know it sort of fell into place this way and seemed to go okay.

Well it went okay except I walked in on a conversation in which a loved one was bragging about something being a good thing, while in fact I know it to be a very bad thing not worthy of bragging.  So that kept me up late into the night as my mind turned it over and over.  If I were a good blogger I'd tell you all the details, but for now, this is all I'll say.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Those Scandinavians do it again

Living in Minnesota for five years while not being from there or Lutheran or Scandinavian or blue-eyed, I eventually grew a little huffy about the Scandi-worship.  If you want to see quiet, reserved Minnesotans get excited, start a conversation about progressive Scandinavian policies in contrast to the US of A.  But sometimes you've just got to hand it to them.  IKEA crap is cheap yet attractive, and their policies are just ... smarter.

Like this article from TIME magazine, "What We Can Learn From The Dutch About Teen Sex."  I wish I could go back in time and somehow secretly place a copy of this article in my parents' hands in 1994.  My whole adolescence could have been different.

The reporter interviews Amy Schalet, author of a new book, Not Under My Roof: Parents, Teens and the Culture of Sex.  Schalet suggests that if a society only associates teen sexuality with danger, then sex becomes decoupled from love.  American society doesn't believe teens are capable of love, and doesn't trust them to use judgement, but Dutch society does, according to Schalet.  We talk to teens about dating violence and abusive relationships, but not about what it feels like to be in love.

Schalet characterizes American views on teen sex and drugs as pessimistic and punitive -- we think that if drugs are legal everyone will run out and become a heroin addict, or if teen sex is destigmatized, teens will go crazy.

Here's a nice quote:
U.S. parents fear that sex is everywhere and they want to protect kids from it. I argue that you want to have a positive vision that you can lay out there, not a vision of keeping sex away from you. Because then, you have two options: either a very sensationalized unrealistic scoring type of mentality or no sex until marriage. Those are not two good alternatives.
She introduces a concept of individualism very different from America's obsession with lone cowboy sort of individualism.  She says one of the tasks of adolescence is to develop autonomy and self-knowledge, which will inform one's abilities for self-regulation and planning -- two attributes important in preparing for safe, meaningful sex and love.

On disparities, such as the dramatically lower rate of Dutch teen pregnancy compared to the U.S.:
I try to emphasize that sexual health problems are very much correlated with lack of resources and lack of good education and lack of access to health care. One of the reasons that the Netherlands has done so much better is that the poverty rate is a lot lower. The Dutch have scored highest on equity in access to health care, and they do lot better in providing social services. If we want to promote adolescent sex health, we need to provide society with level resources.
I love how she ties in so many things here: culture, parenting, public policies, public health, religion, love.  I was raised with so much shame and judgement about teen sexuality.  I've given this a lot of thought and, even though my parents were doing the best they could and excelled in every other area of parenting, it really ultimately created a lot more bad than good.  I want to do things differently when I have kids, but have few models of how and what.  Reading this article, I felt a glimmer of hope.  Maybe my generation can raise kids with less of an atmosphere of shame, and more discussions about healthy relationships and how to make good judgement calls.  

Not meant to be

Back when I was wedding planning and losing my shit on a regular basis, I thought I had found the perfect wedding officiant.  We had a long phone conversation and it felt so right.  As I was being flooded with relief, she checked my wedding date and realized she would be out of town and totally couldn't do it.  We found someone else to do it who was okay, but not "the one," you know?  Not that "YES" feeling.

I had kept her in the back of my mind - if I ever have kids, I could have her do a naming ceremony as an alternative to a baptism.  Today I was emailing about this with a friend and decided to track her down online.

Turns out she moved to Arizona.  Just another signal to let things go - don't try to hold on to what could have been.  The current of life, it just keeps flowing...

Preparing for holiday with The Endo

It's my first time hosting Thanksgiving, and there are many preparations that need to take place.  Friday I emailed myself a list to accomplish over the weekend, and I hoped to see a band Sunday night, and a friend as well.  So many of these things just did not get done, as once again hours were devoted to just coping with the pain from endometriosis.  (For those of you who aren't familiar, it's like menstrual cramps but worse, and for more days.)  I hope I'll get more done tonight, but logic tells me the pain will actually be worse tonight. 

It's weird how sometimes I'll need to let fatigue take over and just rest, and other times, like when I raked leaves this weekend, I can move through and with the pain.  It is still there, I just can do things through it. 

I felt rather old-fashioned last night as I methodically ironed the largest tablecloth I've ever purchased while wondering if my gravy boat is large enough -- what century is this?  I also have a new deviled-egg platter I bought on Ebay.  I hope this all goes OK.  There is so, so much cat hair that needs to be sucked into the vacuum in the next few days.

Friday, November 18, 2011

My app verus Siri

Some random thoughts:

I have a knack for locating things my husband is looking for.  We've been calling this my Uterus GPS, but last night, holding his beloved iPhone, he said, "No!  It's like your app!  That's your app!"  I'm having trouble competing with this new "Siri" character, the personal assistant who lives in his phone.  He actually says "please" to her when making requests.  It's hilarious.  I've been reminding him of the many things I do that Siri could never ever do for him.  Heh.

I researched Hungarian Matyo embroidery today.  I think I should start a project.  By the way, I am half Hungarian, and I'm a little obsessed with embroidery.  I'll try uploading a Matyo pic.  I'm still learning etiquette on posting pics from other sites, so here is the full link where I got the pic from:

I'd love some advice from other bloggers - where do you get your images from, and how do you provide the source for them when they are taken from elsewhere on the web?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Signing On

Greetings, internetties! Here we have my third or fourth try at starting a blog. I suspect I am getting bolder, so I may have enough guts + things to say to stick with this one.

After months of contemplating a professional blog oriented to an online business I may start, I realized that the only type of blog I am passionate about is an embarassingly personal mish mash of stories and opinions and sharing. And I want a way to extend the amazing community on my favorite blog, A Practical Wedding, by leaving a link with my frequent comments (welcome APW readers!).

Let the storytelling commence!