Let’s pretend it’s not six months later, ok?

So, my resolution to read 100 books in a year (Nov. 2009- Nov. 2010) failed crazy miserably. Awesome. Undaunted, I am embarking on the endeavor once more.  I have a good feeling about this year. Of course, that could be that I’ve already finished 12 books this month.

Among the list are the ever-present BSC and Mary Higgins Clark books. I know they’re not all that great, and yet. I am also counting two fanfiction sagas. Hold up, you may say.  What are the rules here? I have determined that if a fanfiction saga holds over 100,000 words, I’m counting it. One of the fanfiction pieces I read has over 4o0,000 words. Hells yeah. I even read one piece of nonfiction. So, if you’re really bored or curious, check the Books tab. It’s going to be updated fairly regularly.

A poem

I read Pablo Neruda’s book of poems Twenty Poems of Love and a Song of Despair yesterday at lunch. I love Neruda’s poetry. My favorite poem of his, one of his more famous, is Sonnet XVII (I do not love you). After reading his most famous collection of poetry yesterday, I felt like sharing one that really stood out to me. No analysis; just the poem itself.

So That You Will Hear Me

So that you will hear me
my words
sometimes grow thin
as the tracks of the gulls on the beaches.

Necklace, drunken bell
for your hands as smooth as grapes.

And I watch my words from a long way off.
They are more yours than mine.
They climb on my old suffering ivy.

It climbs the same way on damp walls.
You are to blame for this cruel sport.
They are fleeing from my dark lair.
You fill everything, you fill everything.

Before you, they are peopled in the solitude that you occupy,
and they are more used to my sadness than you are.

Now I want to make them say what I want to say to you
and to make you hear as I wasn’t you to hear me.

The winds of anguish still hauls on them as usual.
Sometimes hurricanes of dreams still knock them over.
You listen to other voices in my painful voice

Lament of old mouths, blood of old supplications.
Leave me, companion. Don’t forsake me. Follow me.
Follow me, companion, on this wave of anguish.

But my words become stained with your love.
You occupy everything, you occupy everything.

I am making them into an endless necklace
for your white hands, smooth as grapes.

Peeking In

So… it’s been two months, huh? I really do want to keep this blog up; I just suck at it. I haven’t really been up to a lot either. Well…we’ve been doing the yearly doctor visits, and the boys have had some dental work done. Caleb lost his two front teeth, and he looks ridiculously cute. Josh is being tested for ADD soon, so we have been a little busier than normal.

I updated my books and movies. I’m just now over 20 books read, and I am still working towards my goal of reading 100. Looking over my list a few minutes ago, I felt a TON of English major guilt. I’ve read predominantly “popcorn books,” books kind of like those popcorn action flicks of summers. Fortunately, I’ve decided that that shit is dumb–the guilt, that is. I’m actually reading somewhat again; if I start with books that don’t have a lot of intellectual/literary merit, at least it gets me back into the habit.  And I’ve at least looked at Lolita by Nabokov. I have it on my shelf. I think it’ll be on my reading plate very soon. I also am feeling the urge to read lots of adolescent and juvenile literature.

Following Haley’s leading, I’ve made a list of books I’d like to read this summer in addition to my popcorn novels.

1. Lolita
2. The Graveyard Book
3. Ella Enchanted
4. Wide Sargasso Sea
5.  Prague
6. Live From New York
7. Twenty Poems of Love and a Song of Despair
8. Laughable Loves

As for movies, I seem to do a better job of watching more thoughtful and artistics films amongst the fun, light-hearted movies. I’ve started watching more documentaries, and I surprised myself by really enjoying them. Anybody have any recommendations for books or films?

Getting political…kind of

I don’t normally do this. I don’t normally comment on politics publicly, though I’m interested and somewhat informed privately. I don’t comment on politics publicly because of where I live and who many of my friends are. I live in the South, in a very red state, and many of my friends are very vocal Republicans/Libertarians/Tea Party members. Frankly, I don’t feel comfortable voicing my opinions. I feel confident that I will be ganged up on. I have listened and said nothing while people I consider friends have characterized Democrats and liberals as baby-killing, freeloaders who hate America. I have been called socialist, a communist, akin to a Nazi for my political beliefs, which are informed by my religious beliefs, by the way. I read Facebook comments weekly, if not daily, about how awful social justice led by government is, sometimes written by people I know to be in favor of social justice as an idea.  In the last couple of days, I’ve read Facebook and internet comments that make clear the writers’ disapproval and hatred of any sort of social justice, their apparent belief that any people who would benefit from the health care exchange set for 2014 are “lazy and worthless.”

Worthless. That one word is EXACTLY why I’m breaking my silence. Too many Christians are tossing that word around. No doubt, there is fraud on our welfare system and Medicare. It’s wrong, but I would rather err on the side of giving someone grace than deny people help. If you are a believer and feel free to call God’s creation worthless without apology, then you are not compassionate or gracious or loving. I try not to make blanket statements like that often. This post is full of qualifying statements.  But I am sick of the people who claim Christianity disparaging their fellow men, whom God created and loves. You have differing views on the role of government? Fine. You think that social justice, charity, helping those in need of food and health care should be done by the private sector and by churches in particular? I disagree somewhat, but I don’t have to call you a murderous aristocrat. Although, let’s face it. It is NOT getting done by churches. It isn’t. Your church may be doing something, and that is awesome. I think that churches and the government should BOTH be working to help American citizens. As a whole, however? Churches ARE NOT taking care of the widows and the orphans, the sick and the poor. I’ve heard too many Christians state that exact fact to expect much of an opposition on that point. Too many kids and adults are sick and are going to DIE because they cannot get access to affordable health care, many through no fault of their own. 

Ultimately, as  you may have guessed, I am quite in favor of the health care reform. In fact, I would have like it to have gone much farther. Personally, I am in favor of universal health care. This blog, however, is not about convincing you of my position. I probably won’t. (Side note: I do wish that more people were better informed, on both sides. Not everything that Glenn Beck or Fox News or Keith Olbermann or MSNBC claims is truth.)

What I want to do is proclaim that calling someone worthless is not loving. It seems outrageous that I even have to make that distinction. Trust me, if a husband called his wife worthless, the very same people who throw that adjective around would be outraged. You may find someone’s actions reprehensible, but calling someone worthless is actually a pretty serious statement. Your words mean something. God is not amused by your rants calling someone he loves worthless.

What I want to do is say that I can be a Christian and not a Republican. God does not belong to the Republicans, the Democrats, or the Libertarians. He is not a political party. Pastors, please stop telling me that my political views are sin simply because I identify with the Democratic party. You don’t know all of them, for one, and it is not sin to believe in a stronger national government. It simply is not. I don’t trust it for my salvation, therefore it is not a sin.

On that note, you can be a Democrat and be pro-life. Moreover, you can be anti-abortion and not be pro-life. There is a difference. Pro-life encompasses more than the abortion battle. For instance, it does not demonstrate high esteem of life to want every child to be born at the same time you battle against making sure they have health care and food. It is not reverent of life to expect a mother to keep her unborn child and leave her/want to leave her without resources, medically and otherwise. You cannot claim to be completely pro-life and stop caring (in terms of real action) for people after they are born, sometimes into terrible situations. That just makes you anti-abortion. I am not saying that every Christian Republican is like this, ; many people unfortunately are. I am also aware of the semantic war over the labels I’m using. Make no mistake, I believe abortion is wrong. I also believe valuing human life so little as to deny health care to everyone, particularly children, is just as wrong.

As you can see, another reason I don’t normally write about political issues is that I’m not good at it. I’m too passionate, I guess, and yet I must restrain myself, for I don’t believe that every Republican/Libertarian/No Party Alignment out there calling me and people like me idiots responsible for the end of civilization (melodramatic!) is a bad person. Personally, I think they are wrong (as they do me) and that perhaps some are misguided, but I would never want to lump all Republicans/opponents of the health care reform together. If you feel that I am doing that, I apologize. That was not my intent. My goal was to call attention to a specific group of Christian Republicans (or Independents, etc.) who are not displaying Christ in their words and attitudes. I expect that I might get a couple of comments, so please keep it civil, or I will moderate your comment.

Office Mood Board

I don’t have a home office…yet. I plan to one day, simply because it’s a good place to keep all those odds and ends that can make a home seem cluttered (in boxes that match, of course). I’ve scoured the Internet (or done some Google searches, whatever) and put together some pictures that inspire me. 

Parson's Desk from West Elm

This is the desk that I want. Of course, for $299 plus shipping, I might could love a similar shaped table painted this color as much. My vision for the whole room is as such. I want super white walls, yellow desk, black chair. Window coverings, if needed, would be white, yellow, and some complementary color. Blue? Green? Pink? I can’t decide. Since this is my ideal office, I want dark hardwood floors. Maybe even a black floor. Then, my color palette would be black, white, yellow, red. Like a school bus. And since I have a slight obsession with obtaining a toy school bus like the one from How I Met Your Mother, that might be neat. I could end up with something along the lines as this. 

From Hashai.com

Desk here is a different color, but I like the general feel. It’s a teen girl’s desk in her bedroom, but I feel that the idea can be extrapolated into a full room. I like the idea of using trays and glass jars as storage in addition to using the very popular storage boxes. 

From Real Simple.com

You can see an idea of what I’m going for with that thought here. Imagine red pencils instead of blue (I think I’ve determined my color palette). You know, home office stuff is usually quite boring. Why not create a cheery vibe? I think, for me, going a more traditional route, with heavy fabrics and desks, would make me sad or too uptight. If I must keep my papers in order, and apparently I must, I want to do it with style. Pretty folders make me want to use them! Pretty rooms will make me want to go in there and keep them pretty. 

Right now, I’m musing over getting rid of the tiny round table in our kitchen. It’s too small for the four of us to eat at, so all it is used for is holding a trifle bowl with various decorations. Actually, it is used as a catch-all, and I’m tired of removing the dog’s leash, army men, a DS, mail, and dirty dishes from its surface. I’m thinking of removing it not so we stop using it as a catch-all, but so we can reclaim this space that is largely not being used. 

From Real Simple.com

I’m thinking of putting a desk or two in there for the boys. Currently, they do homework either in the living room or their bedroom. Both have TVs and myriad other distractions in them, and the rooms aren’t really conducive to studying and homework. So, something like this, altered to fit the purposes of two elementary school boys, would work nicely. The combination of modern desk and bulletin board is a great one for what we need. The bulletin board can hold their newsletters and spelling words and such. Because they are boys and we already have a green kitchen, I’d use green accents. A silver desk would be wicked rad, but a white one would do just fine. 

From Internet World. Let me know if you know.

What do you think? Also, I just put this last picture in the post because I like it. It has the vibe I’m going for.

The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.

-Martin Luther King
 March 22, 1965

Dear People on Facebook,

America is not over. Regardless of your feelings about the health care bill, its passage does not result in the direct destruction of our country. That’s reactionary thinking.