Sunday, July 30, 2017

Christian Friends

I wrote the email below to a Christian friend who is facing some personal struggles right now.  I thought that it might clarify for others a little of where I stand.  As I finished in the email, there's WAY more to say, but the email wasn't for debates or explanations, it was just to say, "I'm here for you." 

I was thinking about some of your struggles, and realized that trying to mix me in with your religious life might be one of them.  So, I'm writing to explicitly say that I'm open and supportive of whatever you want to share about your faith and how it's helping you through your treatment.  You might not know much about Unitarian Universalism (http://www.uua.org/beliefs), my faith community, but it's all about people finding their own spiritual path, so a basic foundation is openness and welcoming others and their beliefs.  Although we're mostly humanists, there are Christian UUs (and Jewish, Buddhist, pagan, and atheist UUs; probably Muslim, too, but I've never met a UU Muslim...). 

I can imagine that my uber-progressive activism and opinions might make it seem like I can't or won't see the benefits of Christianity (or conservatism, for that matter), but I know that there are different kinds of congregations and different types of Christians.  And I want you to know that my social or political beliefs aren't relevant in your recovery journey; I want to support your beliefs and how your faith helps you.

But really, my point is that you don't have to silence yourself about your faith, especially how it is helping you or how you are trying to leverage it to help you now.  I'm completely supportive of any belief or community that helps you. 

There's so much more to say, but that's the basics, I think.  I might've been able to say things better, but I hope that the feelings come across.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Doctor Strange

I had been avoiding this movie because of the whitewashing of the Asian characters, and because I just didn't see how magic would work in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but as I'm catching up on S4 of Agents of SHIELD, I'm seeing a more super-natural bent (Ghostrider, mostly). 
As I began watching it, I rolled my eyes and said, "Oh, another white asshole that must learn empathy or compassion or sacrifice or something to truly become powerful.  Great.  It's not like I haven't seen this a couple of times already (Tony Stark, Thor, etc.)." 
I did like that there was some racial diversity, although not enough Asians for a movie set mostly in Hong Kong.  It was a little awkward, though, that 's character was very, very similar to his character in Serenity. 
It totally didn't pass the Bechdel Test, of course.  At least the love interest had skills! 

Basically, if this wasn't a Marvel movie, I wouldn't have watched it.  I'm totally not a Cumberbatch fan, either.  I mean, I was mostly "meh" until Star Trek: Into Darkness.  Then I HATED him. 

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Survivor

They've been coming for African Americans and American Indians since conquering this land and did you speak up - because you weren't Black or Native?
They then came for the Muslims and did you speak up- because you weren't Muslim?
They then came for the sexual minorities and did you speak up- because you weren't gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender?
They then came for women and did you speak up- because you were a man, or a woman with  another privileged status (White, middle or upper class)?
Then they will come for you- and by that time no one will be left to speak up.



Monday, June 12, 2017

Since I didn't buy a house, I'm going to Rome.

About 8 or 9 months ago, there was a house in the neighborhood that I rent from near my job that was going to auction.  I decided, "What the hell?  Why not start the process to bid on it?"  So I did.  I signed up with a mortgage company, got an agent, and started the process.
Well, it didn't go well.  The house never went on auction.  It was in the process with another buyer.  I got to look inside, and it was beautiful and big and had a pool and jacuzzi.  Although the pool was all fool of scum so I couldn't really tell if the pump worked or anything.  Then the bank dropped the other potential buy, but asked for $50k or more than what my agent thought that it was worth.  So I made a low offer, was declined, and let it go. 
Then, about 4 months ago my agent called me out of the blue and said that the house had been appraised for about what we offered for it.  I said "Cool, let's offer what it was appraised for!"  And we did.  And it was accepted!  Great!  Scary!!  Gary inspected it (with no water or power on), and found a couple problems, but said it was mostly good.  We still didn't know if the pool worked.

I had planned to visit a friend in New York city this spring, but put it off because I needed all of my savings for a down payment!

After deciding that my budget could just barely manage the payments, a lot of thought, and a pro-con list, I decided not to buy the house.  I loved it, but it wasn't the right time for Gary and I.  If I had bought the house, I couldn't pay rent where we live now, and he'd basically be homeless.  Not a good situation.

But from then on, I was pretty free with my money.  I kept saying, "Since I didn't buy a house, I can afford this!"  I bought $100 boots and $100 pants just because I liked them.  I bought plane tickets for 5 people and didn't have them pay me back.  I bought expensive cheese, went to the movies, paid for all of our dinners out.  

It was a great few months!  Then, my niece's best friend for 16 years (starting when they were toddlers) said that she was going to nanny in Rome for a month this summer.  This sounds like a great excuse to go to Rome with one of my favorite people!  I checked package costs, and ended up buying a package from Orbitz for 7 days in Rome this July!


The only downside is that I can't say, "Since I didn't buy a house, I can afford this!" because now my extra savings is taking my niece and I to Rome!

If I do end up buying a house in the next couple of years, I hope my nephews are okay with a slightly less epic trip...  May be stay with family in Finland?  Hawaii?  Latin America?  But I have a few years to save for those trips, and a house.

I worked hard for my degree and avoided having children, which is what allows me to have some money now.  But I know that my family's support through most of my education and being White also has helped me get as far as I have.
How far is that?  Rome with the one who made me an aunt!


Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Deadpool

For all of it's R-rated fanfare, Deadpool was pretty much any action movie from a couple decades ago.  It was a bit more raunchy than Kill Bill (either volume), and just as violent.  What makes it even less watchable is that the one woman character was so stereotypical. 

I don't even remember her name.

But she started out a badass, protecting herself at a rough bar.  But she immediately refers to herself as "merchandise," objectifying herself.  And the love story that we see?  Is them having sex.  She was a badass for, like, a minute, and then just a willing sex toy.  The movie is just all male fantasy all the time. 

And during the sex montage?  Why is International Women's Day celebrated by painful anal intercourse?  What are you saying about women if you celebrate us that way?!  

When we finally get back to her, she's a dancer or waitress or something in a strip club.  WTF was she doing in a mercenary bar, and protecting herself well, if she's merely a waitress?!  It all makes no sense. 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Legal Marriage =/= Wedding

After a discussion with a colleague around an assignment on marriage equality in my Human Sexuality class, I've come to realize that not everyone recognizes the important difference between a wedding and legal marriage.  So I wrote this up for my class:
A wedding is a religious ceremony and celebration.  Marriage, on the other hand, is a legal contract recognized by the government.  
Gay couples have been able to have weddings in certain faith communities for a several decades (shout out to UU's!!). Vermont was the first state to recognize civil unions, and Massachusetts was the first state to recognize marriage between two people of the same sex (this info is based off of my memory of living through the years, so I may be wrong...).  
If it helps you to recognize the difference between weddings and marriage, think about the positions of U.S. slaves.  They could not get legally married because they were not considered legal people in their own right.  However, couples often held a ceremony or ritual with their family and community to demonstrate their love and commitment (Google "jumping the broom" FMI).  Obviously, the slave owners and the government didn't recognize this ceremony in any way.  The slave owner could still sell one of the committed partners and not the other, or sell both to different people.  
I hope that helps.  I didn't realize that people who aren't associated with some of these minorities didn't see the difference between legal marriage and a wedding. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Every Driver Needs Jumper Cables

Dr. O. to the rescue!

As I was walking back to my office tonight, someone from my class said her friend's car had died and asked if I had jumper cables.  I said yes, but since Prius's have THREE batteries, I don't jump cars from my own.  I got my car keys, and then the student whose car was dead said that she didn't know who to jump her car from.  And she was almost crying, poor dear!  Or was trying to stop crying.  Anyway, there was a guy sitting in a running car near mine, so we asked him.  Guys love to help women!  So I got my cables and he drove to the dead car.  He quickly jumped her car, and off we all went!

The morale of this story is:  every driver needs their own set of jumper cables.  This is not the first time that I've loaned mine out to be used on two other cars.