Royal Wedding Goodness

Well, the happy young couple has just retreated to sign the register on E!’s encore showing of the royal wedding, and my friend has just dashed off to get ready for the rehearsal this evening for a wedding in her family, so am left to my own devises…

Mostly eating the left over pineapple and scones from our breakfast tea party.

I know.

We’re nerds.

Yes, but happy nerds, and I think that’s all that really counts. The tea party was lovely. I provided the tea (PG tips, of c), pineapple and strawberries, and Wedgewood/Spode service. Xtina brought the most amazing almond/cinnamon scones (glazed!), and we sat down to faux English loveliness in our pajamas.

Which is really the marriage of all that is wonderful about England and the United States, yes? So much marriage. So much loveliness.

Carl stopped by for a cup of tea and a scone before work, wearing a tie, which I think marks the first time in two years he’s sported the old noose and tail. He and his two friends in the art department are dressing up for the royal wedding…  a friendly, ironic dig at the ridiculousness of wedding fever. And perhaps their WAGs.

One grins. That’s all.

Hard to say exactly why, but the wedding really was touching. (And here they are, coming back down the aisle. Sigh). I suppose because they’re sort of our age, because it’s refreshing to hear the media talk about somebody who’s famous for something besides reality television, because when else in life does a third of the globe acknowledge the same event at the same time? And because the service was so beautifully expressive of the Anglican faith and traditions. Who knows what the couple actually believes, but the service and homily were so simple, truthful, and lovely.

I’m a fan.

Right. More pineapple and a little more coverage, and maybe eventually a shower and some work. Work would probably be a good idea at some point today.

Happy Friday, friends.

Today

Today I am opening the windows and letting the breeze ruffle through our belongings and around all the heavy, solid things in our lives that haven’t moved all winter.

It feels—and smells—delicious.

I always miss the feel of moving air in the winter, the sound of it getting tangled up in the venetian blinds. The impulse to open a window comes I think from the same, half-conscious prompting to reach across and hold your partner’s hand as you walk along together, just a way of saying I’m here with you, I enjoy being with you.

I enjoy being with the earth.

Even in our very much suburban neighborhood. We still have grass and trees, and I feel a friendly sort of shared silence with the windows open, a connection that requires no tending while I wash dishes and fold laundry and edit a short story.

I like things that require no effort.

Especially coming off such a long, creatively & emotionally dry winter.

Today feels good.

Scraps & Snaps

Well, it finally came. Two weeks of hacking coughs and long hours are over, and Easter is gone, leaving a scattering of jelly beans and chocolate in its wake. “I’m starting to hate religious holidays,” I told Jon last week on the phone. “You must be a cleric,” he said easily. “Or married to one.”

Yes. I think that’s about it.

I don’t always hate holidays, and I certainly didn’t mean to hate Easter this year. It just sort of happens. I think you have to have a plan to enjoy them, and I forgot this time around, that’s all.

Better luck next time, I guess.

Well and on the brighter side it looks like we may get 3 or 4 days off this coming weekend to make up for all the overtime, so my feelings about Easter may be significantly softened by this time next week. We’ll see.

In unrelated news, I read Sue Monk Kidd’s spiritual memoir Dance of the Dissident Daughter in enormous chunks over the last two days, and if my bloggish comings and goings are sketchy for the next while, I think I’m going to blame that. Lots of fragments breaking loose in my mental space, lots of ideas to explore. I suspect it’s one of those books that would be incredibly difficult to discuss in an open forum because it would be so easy to strawmanize, but it’s giving me things to think about and opening new avenues of thought and that, I think, is generally a good thing.

Anyway.

Must dash. Mel’s here for lunch and then I’ve got a couple mountains that want moving.

Field Work

Carl sent me this photo from work last week. There are definite perks to working in his line—something that’s good to remember when holidays strike and the hours get crazy. Still, the light is visible at the end of the tunnel. Hopefully today is his last big day.

And hopefully I don’t catch whatever vile thing is inhabiting his lungs. Am swirling a vitamin cocktail right now and trying to think positive thoughts.

May your day be full of whatever helps you cope—Batmobiles or vitamins, ETC. Hope it’s a good one for you.

Warning: Disconnected Rant Follows

I rarely watch TV during the day. If I’m going to watch something—say while scrapbooking or doing stationary household chores like folding the laundry and ironing—I usually just watch something we own or can get through Netflix.

Yesterday, when clicking the TV over to our home system I saw the programming guide… and noticed that the Tyra show was all about kids who feel social pressure to be promiscuous.

I know. The topic is so overdone, right? Apparently we’re a society obsessed. They got me anyway. I clicked over and watched all of 8 minutes before I had to abandon.

I actually didn’t have any problem with the programming. I wasn’t expecting it to perfectly align with my particular set of beliefs and preferences, but I liked the basic values. When she was interviewed, one mother said she wanted to teach her daughters to value themselves and value their bodies, only sharing themselves sexually with men who love them and are committed to being with them for life.

The whole audience cheered.

That seems like an extremely healthy message to me—especially in light of the many kids who feel they have to have sexual experiences in order to “fit in” or be part of the club. Seems like it’s usually a safe bet to encourage kids to AVOID doing things that make them uncomfortable, or things they’re only doing to please someone else.

Right.

Well, then a teenaged couple that had been dating for a while were interviewed—she a virgin, he not. The guy started to choke up as he shared how much he loved his girlfriend, how much he hoped to marry her and spend the rest of his life with her… how scared he was sometimes that she would meet another virgin and have a connection with him, something he couldn’t give her. And that she would eventually leave him. Because he was tainted.

When faced with the crossroads of being sort of heartbroken or sort of infuriated, I generally go for infuriation. It’s easier for me to be mad than sad.

When did “being a virgin” become an identity?

I have more in common with people who like pugs than people who were virgins before marriage. I’ve never noticed a secret virgin connection, and I’ve definitely never struck up a conversation with virginity as a common ground. I don’t get it.

Well, let me rephrase that—I don’t like it. I do get it. I can imagine (barely) being in highschool and feeling a lot of sexual pressure and not belonging to the club and feeling like I need to form my own club of virgin power in order to exclude others as I have been excluded.

I guess.

But when was that ever cool? More specifically, what genius thought that had anything to do with the values of common courtesy and grace?

I found it kind of heartbreaking to listen to that guy. Not because I thought his girlfriend was bad for remaining a virgin—good for her for choosing to live out her values—but because nobody bothered to explain to him that there is no secret virgin club. And having sexual experiences in your past doesn’t automatically determine your future.

I get so tired of all the conservative crap about sexuality. And I’m a conservative Christian. Conservative in this respect at least, because I do believe that if you’re going to be a Christian, say, the issue’s not really up for debate—for the Christian person, sex is for marriage. That being said, I’ve never been able to figure out why we continue to come up with scary sounding lies in order to back up our beliefs.

No, you don’t lose a little piece of your soul every time you have sex before marriage.

No, you won’t be tainted for life.

No, it won’t be an insurmountable factor in your future relationships. As somebody who dated both guys who were and weren’t virgins, let me just tell you the secret’s out: there is no difference. People are people. All of us have made mistakes. Some of them might even be sexual. The history of one’s genitals has almost zero correlation with one’s character, temperament, or personality.

The truth is that it’s just a tiny piece of the puzzle.

As a Christian, I wanted to honor my beliefs about sex in marriage. That was my choice—and my good fortune in dating people who respected me. But I didn’t get a gold star. God doesn’t love me more than anybody else. The general stability and happiness of my marriage has almost nothing to do with choices we made in our past—it has to do with choices we make in our present.

And it’s okay to choose things just because we choose them. We don’t have to put others down. We don’t have to justify our choices with statistics or scare stories. It’s okay to be who you are.

That’s all.

That’s my rant of the day.

Another Good Year

 I do love these books. Finished the 2010 edition this morning in bed, drinking coffee and listening to the birds. Bliss.

That probably sounds suspiciously indulgent, and do you ever notice how much subconscious severity we tend to use against ourselves to “balance out” our indulgences? For example, I was writing yesterday and realized—dimly, at first, because these kinds of self-denials are deep and automatic—that I needed to go to the bathroom and was beginning to be uncomfortable, but I wasn’t going to let myself leave the desk until I had finished some arbitrary number of words and felt that I deserved the break. (Until I realized, of course, what I was doing and immediately trotted off to the bathroom in a show of rare good sense). In the same vein, it would have been easy for me this morning to say, “well, I am going to finish this book because I only have 5 more pages, but I WILL NOT BE COMFORTABLE WHILE DOING IT, SO HELP ME. I’M NOT A WASTREL.”

Fortunately for humanity, there are moments in time when we all realize the general foolishness of our psychological makeup.

I read my five pages in bed. It was deliciously comfy.

Which has nothing to do with the book unfortunately, and I sort of meant to be plugging the book. I’ve been reading the Best American Essay collections for five years or so, and I do think this is one of the better ones. Although, I always love the chance to sample so many good writers. The topics usually aren’t bad either, although they got a little predictably political toward the end of the Bush administration. This one, however, is full of morally deviant lions, fascinating dead people, travel, Einstein and Jewish American politics, eyeballs, Van Gogh, and what it’s like to pronounce people dead in hospitals.

Fantastic, right?

I do a happy dance over the fresh edition every year, and so far I don’t know anyone who’s picked up the book on my recommendation, but it doesn’t even matter really. It’s nice to like what you like. And it’s nice to know what your friends like. And—if we’re recapping the whole post—it’s nice to be nice to yourself.

Happy Friday, everybody. An assortment of brothers are visiting us this weekend, so I need to clean the abode and bang out my verbage for the day.

Cheers.