Category Archives: Cheese

Sprained

I am typing this from my bed, which I have hardly left all day, because I’m uncoordinated on crutches and my foot is in massive pain.* It feels abominably lazy, so I have to list off all the things I’ve done to comfort myself. I have nursed the baby, provided cooking advice to the children, prayed, and read a number of books to accommodating audiences. I am willing the cells in my foot to quickly mend all damaged tissue. By sheer force of will, this must be better quickly…we’ve got a Seder to go to at Fancypants University next week. Unfortunately, I sprained my foot.

The story is embarrassing. Husband volunteered to take all the children to buy groceries (and pick up a really sweet Craigslist deal to replace the rapidly deteriorating flooring in our kitchen) and I, in my giddiness at having an empty house all to myself, went into CLEANING BEAST MODE, with a plan to clean and write and clean and write until my house was immaculate at my novel was perfect.

So I was sprinting through the house, and with all the grace that nature has gifted me, I smacked my foot into a lovely pillar between the dining room and living room.

It only hurt slightly, but enough that I sat down and wrote for a while. Then went back to CLEANING BEAST MODE,  ignoring the pain. Until the pain became not-ignorable, about 8 o’clock that night. By 9, I couldn’t move my toes.

By 9:30, I feel like this:

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By 10, a nurse was telling me to go get it x rayed, and no, it couldn’t wait until tomorrow.

So I go to the ER at 11 pm, where my fellow hospital patients are an unconscious man bleeding from a bandaged head wound, and a barefooted, t-shirted, handcuffed man railing about police violence and hollering colorful epithets at the five security guards accompanying him on his hospital bed travels.

I’m feeling silly being here. There are so many more people who need so much more attention than I do.

But here I am, and when they look at my foot, they tell me I should be here. I still feel silly. Shoulda stayed home with ice.

Jane the Austen’s violin teacher also happens to be in the ER, accompanying a sick relative. She sees me (though I do not see her; did she catch me spying on the crazy people?) and sends me a text. We have a lovely text conversation in between paperwork and wheeling to and from X-Rays. (I don’t feel polite texting while people are doing stuff for me, even if they’re not talking to me). She offers me a ride home, which is lovely because husband is at home with our five sleeping babies.

Jane the Austen’s violin a lovely, lovely woman, one of those people that radiates goodness and puts one in a perpetual state of awe by the breadth and depth of her pedagogical  and humanitarian and artistic talents. She helps me up the steps to my house, and dear husband makes me eggs, because it is past midnight and I am hungry and he is compassionate.

In the morning, Jane the Austen and Jack the Stewart make crepes and bring them to my room, so we can have breakfast as a family:

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They sit on my bed and I read them stories. When Clive the Staples discovers my crutches, all bets for a tranquil morning are off:

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But that’s OK. I’ve always known that he had a destiny in the circus arts.

Somehow or other, the seven of us ended up having a lunch of peanut butter and apples in my room while Husband the Man read Alcatraz and the Evil Librarians to us all.

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Jane the Austen half-listened, half-penned the next great American Novel. Also, note Lucy the Maude’s fist photobombing. All my favorite people are right here.

Later, the children brought me a leaning tower of banana bread with cream cheese frosting. Because when the children are in charge of the food, they will make whatever they darn well please! (It was delicious.)

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We lay in my bed like a bunch of lazy fools, eating banana bread and watching enthusiastic homesteaders tell us about how to keep chickens. Why are we researching chickens? We’re homeschooling millennials. Chickens are our destiny.

It was a glorious afternoon. Husband the Man took Lucy the Maude and Mr. the Rogers home teaching, and Katherine the great fell asleep on me while we did our Chicken Youtube research.

When the rest of the family came home, husband piggybacked my sprained-foot self down the stairs and we curled up around the fireplace as we burned up the dried out Christmas tree.

Yes, the Christmas Tree. Yes, it’s March.

Our family seems so small when we’re all cuddled up together.

Conclusion: Having a sprained foot is not that bad when you have a family like mine.

Second conclusion: Seven in the family is not too large. Not by a long shot.

The End.

*Due to the fact that I write and schedule these things ahead of time, I’m hoping that by the time this posts, this injury will be a thing of the past.

 

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On Labels

In a recent text conversation (wherein I was ranting on gender inequality and women’s rights), a friend asked me if I considered myself a feminist. There was a time when I would have said yes without hesitation. After all, the simplest definition of feminism is one who desires gender equality, and what reasonable person doesn’t? It’s in everyone’s best interest.

But it’s not that simple. (It never is).

Labels are powerful things. They lump us into groups of people who may or may not represent what we believe, and do things that we don’t like.

Calling oneself a Christian, for example, can tie you to the Westboro Baptist Church, the crusades, the inquisition.

Calling oneself an American can tie you to McCarthyism, witch burning, slavery. Or, by golly, Donald Trump.

Calling oneself a feminist can tie you to a group of angry naked baby Jesus thieves. I never know whether to laugh or cry when articles pop up about this group.

The trick is to decide whether the benefits outweigh the association.

I call myself a Christian, because although there are terrible associations with that label, my choice is reflective of my covenants with God, and the fact that I promise every week to take His name upon me. It’s about Him and me, not Westboro.

I call myself an American because that’s what I am by birth and law. It’s about my lineage and legal status, not Trump.

But feminism? Not anyore. Perhaps it’s out of stubbornness on my part, but I’ve been thoroughly put off by the glorification of this nebulous and ever changing epithet, due in part to emotionally abusive recruiting approaches, such as:

I’d like every man who doesn’t call himself a feminist to explain to the women in his life why he doesn’t believe in equality for women. -Louise Bradley

Precious gems like this are more than just “bold,” or “confrontational,” they’re semantic bullying. Feminism has been defined a million ways, but unless you jump on the bandwagon and slap the label on yourself because of how I define it, you don’t respect half the human race!

No. No. No.

The narrative of emotional abuse says, “do what I say, give me what I want, when I want, how I want it. If you don’t, you’re a bad person. You hate me. You want to hurt me. You don’t believe in equality for me.”

Not going to participate in that, not even to the extent of accepting the label.

Surely feminism, which advances the truth women can do traditionally “male” things and still be women, which abhors those who would pressure and abuse and bully, can stretch intellectually and imaginatively enough to accept the notion that some people believe in gender parity and do NOT identify as feminist? Why must we be co-opted into the club to be considered decent people?

I love the basic tenets of feminism, including advancement of human dignity, gender parity, free choice, and empowerment of women, minorities, and all people. I love the celebration of speaking one’s own mind and choosing one’s own life. I love the rhetoric of inclusion (and wish it were more thoroughly practiced.)

But alas, as shown in the exclusion of pro-life feminists, so many practical applications of this title and movement, fall short of, or even countermand, the stated purpose and philosophy.

Once, my love of feminist ideas would have outweighed not wanting association with its representative who misrepresent what I believe. And I would have called myself a feminist.

I admire many who do call themselves feminists, but I am not among them.

So here lies the true test of feminism and they who call themselves feminists: if the movement is truly about acceptance and inclusion and empowering women (and men) to choose their own lives and beliefs, can feminism’s acolytes include and empower those who do not adopt their label, who do not join their club?

I certainly hope so.

As for me at this time, the labels are, for now, as few and utilitarian as possible. And feminist is not among them.

The End

Because you’re special

Let’s face it. You’re really, really special. No one else has ever been you, and no one else possibly could become you. So you are stuck with your special privilege, and your special difficulties.

Whether our particular circumstances, natures, and abilities are assets or liabilities entirely depends on how we inhabit our own special specialness. So, without further ado, here is a brief guide on:

How Being Special Can Make or Break Us:

SPECIAL YAY: You can use your particular talents to enrich and lift your family and community. Right on!

SPECIAL NAY: You can use your particular gifts and talents to feel superior or misunderstood by your family and community. You poor, tortured genius.

SPECIAL YAY: You can use your difficult circumstances to develop empathy for others.

SPECIAL NAY: You can use your difficult circumstances to shut people down and dismiss their ideas, because they can’t possibly understand.

SPECIAL YAY: You can use your special privilege to stand up for others.

SPECIAL NAY: You can use your special privilege to assume others are just lazy or undeserving.

SPECIAL YAY: You can look at your personal or family history and draw strength from seeing trial overcome. Did that happen? Yeah. Was it awful? Are things better now, despite the probability that they aren’t 100% better?? Whoa, look at us, we’re overcomers!

SPECIAL NAY: You can look and your personal or family history as one unforgivable catastrophe after another, that cannot be healed from, because victim=super super special.

SPECIAL YAY: You can use your experience with specialness to appreciate that everyone around you also has unique skills, talents, and perspective. That perhaps everyone is as special as you, even if they’re not special like you. You can find unity in the “as,” not the “like.”

SPECIAL NAY: You can be so alone in your super specialness that the only thing for it is to leave all these sheep who don’t understand you and find refuge in a community of people who are all super super special, just like you.

Whatever our privilege or difficulty, whatever our talent or struggle, how we leverage our circumstances determines whether we grow in love and connection and truth, or shrink in pettiness, isolation, insecurity, and vanity.

May we forever choose Special Yay.

 

 

 

Fair Warning

I began in Germany in 1988.

Because of this, it would appear that I cannot donate blood. You know, in the off chance that I contracted Mad Cow disease as an infant.*

This is a tragedy, since I believe strongly in blood donation. It saves lives.

We’re all about life around here, most specifically the honoring, caring for, and keeping of life.**

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Jane the Austen, homeschooling with power tools.

Husband and I are the fortunate caretakers of five lovely offspring:

Jane the Austin, born in the Mountain West, is a violinist, avid knitter, and prolific reader. She  aspires to be a violinist-astronaut-Mom, and return to her ancestral home of Northern Alaska to teach elementary school, not unlike Miss Agnes.

Clive the Staples, born in the South, is also somewhat musical, but prefers playing chess and running around with swords to reading. He has a very deeply rooted sense of justice. He aspires to serve a mission and be a Dad.

Mr. the Rogers, also born in the South, loves swordfighting with Clive Staples, reading with Jane Austin, warring (and occasionally peace-ing, or conspiring) with Katherine the Great, and eating pickled herring.  He aspires to be a firefighter.

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Clive the Staples. And Easter eggs.

Katherine the Great, born in the Pacific Northwest, sings better than the rest of the tribe, but does little in the way of speaking. She manages to get her points across anyway. She is affectionately referred to by her older siblings as the Miniature Dictator. She aspires to eat all the cheese.***

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Mr. the Rogers, photo cred: child. Most of the photos on this blog will probably be from the offspring.

 

 

Lucy the Maude (or, The Nursling), is our first New England born child. She loves to nurse, sleep, poop, and make faces and grunting noises that delight the rest of us. She is growing accustomed to our antics. She aspires to live in my arms all her waking and sleeping hours, but fortunately will also tolerate Husband, Jane Austin, and Clive Staples when nature calls.****

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Katherine the Great, in her natural habitat (read: chaos). She may or may not have something to do with my comforting of Clive Staples.

Besides our adventures with offspring, we’ve also fostered cats (for days on end), and neighborhood children (for days to years on end, depending on the child.).

At the commencement of this blog, we find ourselves in the urban wilds of New England, where we have adventures in cultural exchange with immigrant and refugee friends, play music with music friends, attend church with church friends, do fancypants stuff with university friends, and haunt the auspicious halls of Fancypants University***** (where Husband aspires to become a physicist).

We educate the offspring at home, which means despite having siblings, church friends, international friends, music friends, fancypants university friends, and neighborhood friends, my children’s social and emotional development is highly suspect, and must come under the most austere scrutiny and judgement you can muster.******

We generally cause mayhem by virtue of our fecundity and appalling lack of skinny jeans. We are not the millennials you read about in the Washington Post, despite husband’s HAWT black rimmed glasses and my sordid history of growing organic kale.

I aspire to write things, from grocery lists to blogs to novels.

Consider yourself warned.

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Husband and Offspring feed me in bed on occasion, most especially around Mother’s Day and my birthday. And yesterday. They’re good and kind and wise like that. They also make excellent greeting cards.

 

 

 

*Just ask my children when we’re on a bad day. The jury is definitely out on this one.

**Intentional and unintentional. I’m looking at you, moldy leftovers.

***This is actually characteristic of all the offpspring, but most especially so for K the G.

**** There may be bathroom humor in this blog. I am going to blame it all on Clive Staples’ influence, and/or the approximate 12,000+ diapers Husband and I have changed in the last decade.

*****FU for short. Is that too much? Maybe it’s too much.

******Because, you know, it’s IMPOSSIBLE to become a well balanced human being unless you spend the first 12 years of life raising your hand to ask permission to pee and voting for which of your peers most deserves to wear a crown and be applauded for…crown wearing. However, I digress.