random thoughts

Saturday Chores

Today marks the very first time my husband and I have ventured into a gym together. Usually I get my exercise from walking the dog, but given the terrible weather lately that hasn’t been an option. So twenty minutes on the exercise bike it was! If only upright bikes had wider seats; I had to go recumbent, which is not very comfortable either, given the whole legs-constantly-bumping-into-bump thing. The baby was vaguely concerned about the jostling but mostly slept through it, at least.

And now my husband is washing our dog. I love listening to him do this. I love the whole process of bathing the dog, which generally goes like this:

1) Mommybird gathers up Ladybird’s bedding and beloved blue blanket and throws them into the washing machine, thus designating that Sometime Today, the Dog Will Be Clean.
2) Daddybird forgets he is supposed to wash the dog.
3) Mommybird reminds him.
4) Daddybird says, “Laaaaaaaaadybird, do you want to take a bath?” in the most excited tones possible.
5) The dog retreats to her corner of the couch.
6) Daddybird repeats his not-quite-an-invitation.
7) The dog’s ears go back; her tail tucks underneath her; she attempts to disappear into the couch.
8) Daddybird gathers the dog into his arms, still extolling the virtues of bathtime.
9) The dog attempts to escape Daddybird’s arms. Sometimes she is successful, and steps 4-8 repeat themselves.
10) The dog looks longingly at Mommybird, who stalwartly ignores her.
11) Daddybird carries the dog off to the bathroom.
12) Mommybird sits at the computer or in her chair with her book or basically doing anything that isn’t bathing the dog.
13) Mommybird hears, wafting from the guest bathroom, a tireless and sometimes tuneless song about Ladybird being given a bath, and how she is a good girl NO NO NO NO oh what a good girl she is she is such a good girl NO NO NOT YET oh what a pretty girl she is.
14) The faucet is turned off and Mommybird is treated to an encore performance of “what a good girl she is.”
15) Daddybird announces, “Crazy dog!” and a split second behind the announcement the dog comes careening through the house, heedlessly bouncing off furniture and walls, trying to find a safe place amidst the cruel, cruel sight of her pack alphas.

She’s outside now to dry, which she is less than pleased about, but on the other hand it’s sunny and she loves the sun. I’m sure she’s only clawing at the door because she thinks it sounds cool.

Bathtime with the baby is going to be so much fun.

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Motherhood (Impending)

I stopped updating this blog, and I stopped updating because in September I came down with something called “the first trimester of pregnancy,” which affects women in various ways and me in particular by giving me a severe case of “incapable of leaving the couch.”

It was, in a word, pathetic. And by that I clearly mean “full of pathos,” because what is more moving than the sight of a woman furiously in the throes of setting up her internal baby-growing infrastructure? What could inspire a greater sense of the commonality of the human race than witnessing a woman as she participates in its propagation?
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Categories: family, marriage, random thoughts, theology | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

I was thinking…about objective truth

I know when you go on hiatus you’re supposed to announce it, but I didn’t quite realize it was happening until I was knee-deep in the middle of it and couldn’t muster the power to mention it here. Apologies!

If it makes you feel better, I have at least three posts half-begun sitting in my draft folder. They are all turning out long, however, so I figured I would start with something shorter (ha, ha).

  • I believe in objective Truth. Even putting aside that to me Truth is also a Person Who Loves (that Truth is Love is Goodness, that these three things are inseparable), my understanding of the world includes this concept that there exists a Truth and that if we put our minds to it we can discern facts about it. Kind of like scientific laws, Truth is one of those underpinnings in the cosmos.
  • Since there’s objective Truth, that means there are things that are True and things that are False. Alongside this, there are things that are Right and that are Wrong. Period.
  • Since Truth is something to be studied and understood, like science, it is okay or at least understandable if we don’t have a perfect understanding of it. It’s a life-long process.
  • Our misunderstandings, however, don’t change truth. I can think leaves change color because they get tired of being green and want to show off, but that’s not why it happens. (It’s very pretty and poetic though and I’m going to use that somewhere else some day. You saw it here first!)
  • Obviously we, as human beings with limited understanding, occasionally (or regularly) get Truth wrong. Or, more likely, we are going to ignore the nigglings of Truth and do what we want because in our short-sightedness What We Want sounds way better than some objective standard we’d rather not think about. (Scientifically speaking, alcohol will destroy my liver, but man binge-drinking is so much fun!)
  • We’re also fully capable of twisting Truth around to our own ends, or picking and choosing bits of Truth in order to create the picture we want. (Okay, so scientifically speaking alcohol will destroy my liver, BUT scientifically speaking drinking lots of water and taking aspirin in the morning will help me avoid a hangover, so I’ll keep binge-drinking and just make sure I have pain meds on my nightstand, and my liver will probably be fine because I don’t feel so hungover so probably I’m fine.)
  • Again, our cherry-picking doesn’t change the whole seamless objective Truth that is still out there.

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Categories: philosophy, random thoughts | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Perambulation

That Mr. Shaw keeps a lifted head and a contemptuous face before the colossal panorama of empires and civilizations, this does not in itself convince one that he sees things as they are. I should be most effectively convinced that he did if I found him staring with religious astonishment at his own feet. “What are those two beautiful and industrious beings,” I can imagine him murmuring to himself, “whom I see everywhere, serving me I know not why? What fairy godmother bade them come trotting out of elfland when I was born? What god of the borderland, what barbaric god of legs, must I propitiate with fire and wine, lest they run away with me?”

–G.K. Chesterton, “Mr. Bernard Shaw,” Heretics.

I thought about this quote several times last week, which I spent helping take care of my paternal grandparents in little ol’ Thomasville, North Carolina. My grandma is still (much to her chagrin) recovering from a triple-whammy of triple bypass surgery, a heart attack, and stents, and she came down with pneumonia while I was there (much to her disgust). Grandpa has late-onset Parkinson’s (he’s been diagnosed for…gosh, three years now? maybe a couple more?), and his symptoms are the classic ones: constantly running nose, tremors/shakes, and overall motor difficulty.
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Upset is Not an Emotion

One of my best friends from college majored in psychology, and while in undergrad she worked in one of the professor’s labs studying the interaction between families and schools and education. You know, totally not depressing stuff at all. Anyway, she spent a lot of time “coding,” which I’m still not 100% sure is what it sounds likes, but senior year she also got to participate in family interviews. Before she did this, she had to practice, and since I was right across the hall I was one of the lucky few selected to pretend to be a six-year-old while she asked me questions about my family life.

I’m sure you’re all shocked to learn that I make an excellent squirmy six-year-old.
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urticaria existencial

I have all the links for a Friday Link Spam collected but not formatted, and a post about thunderstorms hastily scribbled across several pages of a notebook, but this week has been busy with entertaining so instead I leave you this Friday with my New Favorite Phrase:

“urticaria existencial”

or, en anglais,

“existential hives.”

It comes from our very own Papa Francesco, in a interview that I read part of here. The whole interview is here and no doubt says lots of interesting things but tragically I still don’t know Spanish well enough to read the whole thing.

Anyway, thanks to Google Translate/my smattering of French, il papa was here concerned with talking about contemporary portrayals of Pope Pius XII, who was pope during a little conflict called WWII and, as Pope Francis put it, “le han tirado encima de todo.” He went on to say, “También quiero decir que a veces me da un poco de urticaria existencial cuando veo que todos se la toman contra la Iglesia y Pío XII, y se olvidan de las grandes potencias” which, as far as I can tell, means, “Also I wanna say that I get a little bit of existential hives when I see everyone ganging up against the Church and Pius XII and ignoring the Allies,” i.e., ignoring that the Allies made mistakes too.

And OH what a glorious phrase il papa has given to us here. Who doesn’t know the feeling of sitting there while someone says something that’s, at best, technically correct in a very narrow sense sorta kinda but not really OH WILL YOU PLEASE STOP TALKING LET ME AT LEAST EXPAND YOUR HORIZONS ON THIS ISSUE COME ON? If you haven’t been there, probably you should take a moment to read the comments section on any blog (excepting mine). Come back when your fingers are just ITCHING to start typing, and we’ll talk about existential hives, okay?

Of course, as the linked comic implies, it is not always the best idea to scratch our existential hives. If we want to correct someone else for the sake of self-aggrandizement, if someone is proposing an alternative that would require change and effort on our parts, or if our correction veers too deeply towards the ad hominem approach, we ought to practice discipline. Look at the pope. His hives stem from attacks against his Mother Church and predecessor and usually come from people who are seeking to tear down both for the sake of their own historical agenda, rather than to build anything up. That’s worth some gentle correction. (Needless to say, all existential scratching should be gentle. Souls are fragile things, and scratching so hard you draw blood only offers the occasion for festering infections.) (SEE HOW GREAT THIS METAPHOR IS?)

People trying to convince you say that any of the The Hobbit movies are worth spending money on and they really enjoyed them–maybe internally you are screaming NO NO NO WRONG but since it’s subjective (oh and you wince at that because come on) you shouldn’t harsh on their joy EVEN WHEN THEY ARE REALLY, REALLY WRONG–let it go. (People insisting that Frozen is good cinema despite its uneven pacing, confused thematic elements, and subliminal messages that all the movies you loved as a child were stupid DESPITE RELYING ON THE SAME TACTICS–)

I spend a lot of my time suffering from these hives. I am better about not scratching mosquito bites. But now I have a phrase to describe my suffering! Thanks, Papa Francesco. Now, to work on that whole meek and humble thing you’ve got going…

Thanks to Fr. Jerabek for wondering what this phrase meant. Next time on Jo Interprets the Pope: “self-absorbed promethean neo-pelagianism.” It might be a few weeks, folks.

Categories: random thoughts | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments

I was thinking…

A new series where I jot down quick thoughts because I wrote a giant post yesterday and don’t have the time to do another one today.

 

  • There’s the whole “scare” about “over half the population being Spanish-speaking” or whatever, but I think it ignores that a) the language of the one percent is still English and is likely to remain that way and so if you want to become part of the one percent you’d better speak English and b) as far as I know other countries are still mandating their students learn English.
  • I did that thing where I remembered something I usually don’t think about, namely that Europe is really rather tiny compared to America, and so probably a large part of why they learn so many languages over there is because their neighbors four hours away speak something entirely different from them.  In America, unless you’re along the border with Mexico, four hours away people will still speak English.  We’d be better off trying to learn each others’ dialects.
  • Obviously that doesn’t work as well in a global economy, but think about the languages you had to learn in America.  Latin, if you were a boy, but that was over by the twentieth century; French, if you wanted to be cultured or a diplomat.  And think too about how so many immigrants quashed their native language in an attempt to assimilate and/or show their pride in their new country.  Then English becomes the new language of diplomacy and if everyone speaks it, well, it allows for laziness in foreign-language-learning.
  • We’re also “lucky” that of the two countries with the largest concentration of people, one of them was colonized by the Brits and so the population was more or less forced to learn English.  That’s handy!  /sob
  • Part of me really wishes I had seriously studied linguistics in college, or that I had at least been aware enough of it to take a few more classes on it.  A greater part of me wishes classes didn’t cost so much money.
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