Wednesday, February 27, 2008

To put it bluntly, I'm furious.

The more I think about it, the angrier I get. Honestly, I think it feels like I just got slapped in the face. The fact that it was the Chief of Police in one of the larger cities in my area said it, well... it just makes me even angrier. Now, some one who is not in Western New York may be wondering just what I'm talking about. Read this link. It's but one of many that detail this story.

Now, some one may wonder just why I'm angry over this. I'm not a resident of this city. I pay no taxes or have anything to do with the government of the city. My only real dealings with it is occasionally purchasing items there and driving thru on my way out of the area on the NYS Thruway to go visit friends. So, I really shouldn't be upset with this whole business, right?

You know, if I didn't give a damn about my rights as a citizen of the United States, I probably wouldn't bat an eyelash over this. You see, if you deprive one citizen of their rights under the color of law, you lay the groundwork for depriving all of us of them. I understand, Rochester has something of a crime problem. I recognize that a large percentage of the people who are caught up in that problem are of African-American descent. I also recognize there is a need to protect the members of the community, including the local government, from violence.

I, however, do not in any way, shape, or form feel that it is appropriate to deny citizens their right to assemble and demand redress of grievances. A statement from the Rochester Chief of Police that was quoted just minutes ago on the local news report made me see red. He states that the people who attended the meeting regarding the appointment of the new public defender had gone with the expressed purpose of disrupting the meeting. He implied, with this statement, that the people who attended the meeting did not have a right to be there!

This makes me livid. The right to assemble and demand redress of grievances is secured for us in the Consitution of the United States of America. It is part of that initial fundamental list of rights known as the Bill of Rights. Indeed, it is part of the First Amendment!
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
I italicized and bolded the portions of interest here. Please, let me rephrase this in an easier to read format.
Congress shall make no law abridging the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Now, the fact that this is true for Congress may encourage some people to state that the legislature of lower levels of government can engage in this. As has been seen in the past on other matters, the Supreme Court of the United States does not support that line of logic. Local, state, or federal government is not allowed to deprive us of our right to assemble and demand justice.

Tell me, how is it that the two bit Chief of Police can advocate such a thing, then? And explain to me how this can be done with out public outcry?

I really want answers on that one.

While you're at it, can somebody give me justification for why our right to be protected from illegal search and seizure is violated daily by the federal government?

It makes me sick to see such gross abuses of the citizens of this nation by the very people who are supposed to protect us. I am becoming increasingly convinced that this is not the republic that my ancestors fought and died for. I don't know what this is, but it's not that. That nation didn't ignore the rights of the people wholesale with out fear of reprisal.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Why I blog (and other musings).

Recently, my parents, husband, and I had an interesting conversation about blogging. First off, she hadn't heard of the term blog or blogging before. Secondly, she didn't comprehend why a person would:
  1. Post in a blog
  2. Read a blog
  3. Comment on another person's blog
To her, the whole thing smacked of gossip and was generally just disgusting to her. She felt horrified that I'd use a blog to rant about work frustrations. I haven't told her that this blog has grown to include my musings on my relationships with her and my life in general. She also thought that it was a sign of social decay, substituting contact via the internet with contact via the phone or verbal conversation. That somehow, this was going to make the other people you interact with less real.

She doesn't have a high opinion of message boards either, in case you were wondering.

It all made for a difficult conversation because her perspective was quite different from the one held by my husband and I. It was not simply her different perspective but also the fact that our perspective was so alien to her that she simply could not begin to attempt any form of viewing the topic from our angle. This made explaining why I blog and use message boards difficult, to say the least. It all got me thinking about the question: why do I blog?

I've got to be honest, I don't really think I have that many readers. I may be horribly wrong, and if I am, I apologize to anyone whom I just offended. This is not some attempt at free-lance journalism. If it was, I would not have it posted up for anyone to read for free. I would be trying to get paid for this work.

In some respects, it is a release for some of the emotional and social pressures I experience during the day. I'm rather homebound this time of year so the vast majority of my socialization is thru the internet right now. Wild winter weather and an infant child doesn't exactly mix that well, especially if you're planning to go and do something with out a second vehicle while your spouse is at work. It just doesn't do so great, trust me. I've tried and decided that when the temperature (or wind chill) is below 30, I'm not taking the baby outside. Sure, it may be robbing him of some precious outside time, but I'm not going to subject my boy to frost bite just so that I can get my socialization fix by gossiping with the ladies down at the post office, a quarter of a mile away. Sorry, but I have a little bit more of a conscience then that.

It's rather difficult to be in a position where your social life is limited to your spouse, child, and phone calls to family. Having the internet makes it alot easier to deal with being in this position, I don't feel quite so caged in. Sure, I get restless (who wouldn't if they're indoors 24 hours a day most days?) but I don't feel quite so trapped. I think that's a good thing for a person who is coping with postpartum depression and is prone to having problems with depression to begin with.

The other reason why I blog is because it is a writing exercise that helps keep me mentally sharp. I've abandoned several of my other pursuits from when I was younger. Partly because I don't have the time to teach myself linear algebra and higher levels of calculus to finally develop my theories and partly because I just don't have the patience for that level of frustration right now. I still love theoretical physics. I think it is just one of the coolest things out there, but I simply don't have the time to play with that right now. Perhaps when my son is older and at school, I don't know.

My writing, however, I have hung on to with a rather dogged determination. Writing is a part of my identity. I recognize that it is the tool by which I cope with my anxieties and can progress down the path of healing from the various psychological traumas that I have experienced in my nearly 30 years on this earth. Writing is also something that I find a deep sense of satisfaction in. It is something that has been a part of my life since I was a small child and able to put together a sentence on paper. It is an inheritance from my beloved Great-Grandmother Hazel (whom has been a powerful influence in my life even today, some 20 years after her death) and also something that is uniquely mine.

If it were possible, I think that I would probably publish my writing for profit. Right now, however, I'm trying to work past a guilt complex over using my talents to earn money. I'm still a bit edgy on the matter of plying my skills in divination for profit. As I become comfortable in this (probably in a few more months), I will begin (again) to try to make money with my writing. It helps, I suppose, to have many, many supportive friends and readers. I have lost count the number of people who have given me constructive feedback and pats on the back to encourage me. That kind of support is valuable beyond any measure or words that I can say.

So, in all of this rambling, I return back to the question of : why do I blog?

I suppose I can summarize it all in this:

I blog because I am a writer. The exercise of writing in a blog that is available to the general public to read serves to make me more comfortable in writing for myself. It also helps to express the various feelings and thoughts that I have off line. Blogging is a tool by which I learn more about myself and the world around, as such, I will become a better writer.

It's not like I do so because it's easy. Goodness knows, if it was easy, I'd probably not be doing it. I have a habit of doing just about everything the hard way. It is, however, rewarding.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Well, what do you say about *that* ?

I suppose it is true. You really can find anything on the internet. Now, for those of you who are of weak stomachs or easily disgusted, I highly advise you leave off reading at this point and simply accept what I just stated as fact. Those of the more morbid persuasion, or feeling bold, read on.

I wasn't horribly surprised when I found pornography of every variety on the internet (including zombies, that one made me want to wash my eyes out with bleach). It was actually fairly amusing, as 95% of my finds were a result of searches that had nothing to do with sex. That 5% were research for some of the fiction I write or research into infertility. I wasn't terribly surprised by the pictures of virtually everything from the gratuitously obscene to the most innocuous and down right boring.

Some of these pictures were interesting, despite the blatant attempt to disgust, shock, or otherwise offend the viewer's sensibilities. Quite frankly, I found the images of the autopsy to be most fascinating. It was reassuring, in an odd way, to see that the internal organs did look as I expect them to. For some reason, I couldn't handle the idea of watching as my cesarean section was done to deliver my son, but yet I can look at images of a full autopsy with fascination. I still am a bit baffled by that myself. So, please, don't ask me to explain why that is the case, because I don't understand it myself. Perhaps it is the difference between looking at my own internal organs and looking at another's, that's the closest guess that I can make to any understanding of it.

And then, then there are the videos that range from the absurd to the sweet. And there are some which are truly works of art and others which are just pointless wastes of time and their only redeeming value is that I learned not to click on that link every again in my wretched existence, even if I am dying of boredom. It was, however, entirely unexpected (yes, I know, rather naive of me) to find a video of self mutilation to this extent. No, I will not make a link to it. You must search for it yourself if you wish to view it.

There was a video of a person cutting off their genitals with a hatchet. Why was this done? Because they wanted to prove how tough they were. Perhaps it is just me, but who on earth benefits from engaging in self mutilation to this extent? I suppose in the abstract sense, it is possible to say that the rest of the species has, for this fool may not reproduce. But I'm really not of the opinion that stupidity is genetic. One may have a predisposition towards it, but it really is not a nature thing but rather nurture. I should know, because I've seen witness to both ends of that spectrum in my own family and in the families of various people I have known over the years.

But, I digress. Seriously, how is it a proof of manhood, strength, or courage to cut off your genitals? I am at nothing but a loss in the face of this sheer idiocy. Let's take a moment to look at the effects of doing such a thing to yourself for a moment. The genitalia have many blood vessels and nerves. These are organs that are highly sensitive and we're innately encouraged to protect on the basis of instinct. Deliver a swift kick to anyone's groin region and you'll watch them curl into the fetal position with their hands covering that area, partly in an effort to lessen the pain and partly in a powerful urge to protect this region. Generally, witnessing another receive a blow to that part of the body will evoke a twitch of some nature in a sympathetic response to protect one's own reproductive organs (even in women) unless one is inured to such displays.

(As I have brothers, I think I became inured to that fairly early on. But, I digress again.)

Now, in the light of these very basic facts, one has to ask, what is going on in the mind of someone who willingly injures such a sensitive organ for the sake of egoism?

I can understand penile subscision. There's a degree of eroticism to it that the practitioners and the supporters of this find to be quite excellent and thus engage in it. I think that it is a highly risky thing to do and makes one prone to various long term problems, but it is their body and such. I can understand genital mutilation on the basis of religious grounds. In ancient times, men who were in the cult of Attis and in the cult of Diana would practice genital mutilation as part of their worship practices and as an outward expression of their devotion to this goddess. It is part of their rites of worship, thus it makes sense. Even the genital mutilation that is done on the basis of cultural expectations makes some degree of sense.

As some one who does not support circumcision for non-medical purposes, I don't agree with the cultural practice here in the United States, but it does make sense. After all, the circumcision of infant males, in our culture, is a practice that is part of the identification with the culture. It is a practice that my husband and I reject as barbaric, and thus did not subject our son to it. But, it does make sense. And, when our son is old enough to make such decisions about his body for himself, he can choose to enter into that practice himself or not. Genital mutilation for the sake of social norms, however, is against our religious beliefs. Especially the genital mutilation of children, when they are incapable of consenting to the mutilation of this most delicate and sensitive part of their anatomy. I would go into a bit of a rant about this, but that would be an even greater digression.

Who, honestly, in their right mind would cut off their genitals for the sake of relieving boredom? Who would do this as part of some odd effort to prove that they are some how more tough then anyone else? I couldn't tell if the person in the video was sober or not. I'm fairly certain, however, that no amount of alcohol consume can make doing grievous bodily injury a good idea. It really makes no sense to me at all.

This makes me fear for the good of our society for one simple reason. There seems to be a proliferation of such ridiculous antics broadcasted on the internet. It appears that a large number, if not the vast majority, of them are perpetrated by people from the United State who are in my age group and younger. What degree of decadence and social decay must be reached for these things to become acceptable entertainment?

Monday, February 11, 2008

What a long, long week.

I think it was last Monday when I posted in here before. I'm honestly not sure, because it has been a very long week. On Saturday, Feb. 2nd, my husband's paternal Grandmother was found dead in her bedroom. It was determined that she had died in her sleep. My husband and I were initially surprised to hear she had died, for we were not aware of any illness. The woman was 89 years old. My husband's uncle had started the process of planning a big party for her 90th birthday just last month, with her birthday being in July.

Friday, there was the viewing at the funeral home. Against my husband's better judgment and at the unspoken request of my mother-in-law, we brought the baby with us. As I had suspected, having our little boy with us did a great deal to cheer everyone's spirits. My husband was concerned that the little monster was going to start screaming at the absolutely wrong time. This, however, did not prove the case. Actually, the little man did a great job and I'm quite proud of him. Last Friday was a very full day for him, for in the morning and early afternoon we had gone to visit my brother's wife and children.

Saturday, all of us were up early. It is an hour's drive to my sister-in-law's place, and she was going to watch our boy while we went to the funeral mass. It was a beautiful service. All of the hymns that my husband's grandmother loved were sung as part of the mass. There wasn't a dry eye in the house, however, at the end when her sons and the rest of her family sang 'When Irish Eyes Are Smiling'. I just couldn't sing, because the shock of her death finally hit me.

I couldn't find my voice to sing 'Amazing Grace' either. I think, for me, the most painful moment was watching the men load her casket into the hearse. It just was so... final. I've seen loved ones pass on and I've gone to many funerals. I believe, however, that this was probably one of the two most painful one's that I've had to attend. The other was the one for my great-grandmother Hazel, when I was a girl. I didn't realize just how deeply I cared for my husband's grandmother until the shock of her death wore off and the painful reality slapped me in the face.

In all of this, I strove to be the warm, loving presence that provided as much comfort to the family as I possibly could, just as I had done with the death of my husband's maternal grandfather a little over ten years ago. I am not sure how successful I was, but I will say this- I managed to provide a little bit of comfort to my husband's younger cousin and to my father-in-law by acting in the manner that his grandmother would have in that moment.

My husband's cousin hit the point of near inconsolable weeping as we were exiting the church after the casket. It broke my heart to see this young man so shattered. I took him in my arms and held him as he wept, giving him the handkerchief I had with me. We didn't say anything for a moment. I then told him that everything was going to be alright. He nodded and manfully faced the rest of the day with a courage that was beyond his years.

In the case of my father-in-law, I didn't really think much before the words came out of my mouth. I did, however, restrain the urge to swat him across the back of the head as I said it. He had the nerve to apologize for the tears and grief that everyone was showing. He then thanked me for coming, as though I didn't have to do so. I couldn't help the irritated tone and I did catch some of my husband's uncles smiling at this. I snapped at him: "You just lost your mother. Don't you dare apologize for crying. You're supposed to. And I'm family, I'm supposed to be here."

He blinked at me and sighed, having the grace to look a little embarrassed for it. I found out later that this is exactly what my husband's grandmother would have done and said, most likely word for word as well, in that situation. I've actually learned more about my husband's grandmother over the last several days then I did when we had our chats. I'm a lot more like her then I realized. I also now understand why she was so amused with me when I asked her if she had any advice she wanted to impart to me before I had my son. She just smiled and said, "Oh, you know what to do. You'll be fine." I suppose I would have said the exact same thing to some one who reminded me of myself when I was younger and in a situation that was the same as what I had been in at that age.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Hey, here's a chuckle for you, Stargazer!

You are The High Priestess

Science, Wisdom, Knowledge, Education.

The High Priestess is the card of knowledge, instinctual, supernatural, secret knowledge. She holds scrolls of arcane information that she might, or might not reveal to you. The moon crown on her head as well as the crescent by her foot indicates her willingness to illuminate what you otherwise might not see, reveal the secrets you need to know. The High Priestess is also associated with the moon however and can also indicate change or fluxuation, particularily when it comes to your moods.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

Anxiety versus recollection.

I'm sitting here feeling that vague anxiety that's been plaguing me for the last several days. So, I decided, for some reason, to look back at some of my older posts in here. As I do so, I realized something: looking at old sources of anxiety does not do much to help make the present ones seem less intimidating.

While my doctor has told me that I can boost my dosage of the anti-anxiety medication slightly, this doesn't sound to me as a good solution. More medication just doesn't seem like the way to solve this. I just wish I knew what the cause of this, that would make it easier for me to cope with this. Well, maybe. I may be a bit too proud and have a little bit of a chip on my shoulder with respect to the matter of taking medication for my psychological problems. I admit this. I am rarely tolerant enough with myself, so feeling that I've some how become weak by my need for the medication is something of an outgrowth of this. (A similar feeling of anger with myself and intolerance with myself was present when I was taking glucophage to control my problems with insulin resistance to help me conceive my son.)

I've been exercising. I have myself on a schedule (when insomnia and the baby don't conspire to shoot that plan down). Generally, I've been doing the things that I need to to help myself cope with this anxiety. I'm even writing about it (as evidenced by this blog entry and the number of pages I'm filling in my off-line journal). It doesn't seem to help and I am at a loss for what else I can do. I have been putting off doing my needlepoint and embroidery because I don't want to accidentally leave some of it around. Visions of disaster happening to my little boy if he accidentally gets his hands on it just keep coming to mind.

I'm just not sure what to do. I don't think adding in my needlepoint or other hand crafts is going to resolve this. If meditation isn't helping then I'm not sure what else will. I really don't want to boost my medication. It's just not a good thing, I was able to handle this with out the drugs at one point, I don't want to have to depend on it later.

Heh, sleep. Yeah, a nice memory! (again)

Teething infants do not equal sleep. Please, all people out there in the world considering children, be advised: this statement is true! Oddly enough, during the day, my little man is usually fairly happy. He's just recently turned into a real chatterbox, even. He's been cooing and laughing, generally making a good deal of noise. I'm just amazed by how talkative he's become over the last two days.

At night, however, he sleeps until 3 or 4 am. He then wakes up screaming bloody murder. This has been for the last few days, roughly. I hope this means that at least one of his teeth is almost in, but I'm not sure. He does seem to be drooling more, to a point where I'm questioning if I should even bother putting a bib on him. :P

Between this spate of him waking late at night and my recent bouts of insomnia, I've taken to lying down with him for naps. It's exhausting and I'm looking forward to having my days back! It's not like I can do things such as vacume the living room floor at 3 in the morning.