Have some controversy

A few people are posting on FB about abortion, since today is the anniversary of Roe vs Wade. It got me thinking about my own views on abortion, which are... complex.

I told my husband awhile ago that I am anti-abortion. He looked at me with surprise, and I elaborated, "But that is not the same as the political movement Pro Life."

Basically, I think it's a terrible idea, and I don't want one. I would discourage any friends from doing it to the best of my ability, but if I could not convince them, I would sadly support them. They are still my friends. Finally, I don't think it's any of the government's business. I suppose this officially makes me Pro Choice, but I don't feel pro-choice-with-capital letters. Pro choice feels dirty, and way too cavalier.

I like the bumper stickers that say "Choose Life." I think the debate should go away from legality and instead focus on what we can do to help these women who are at such desperate times in their lives. Provide them with as many viable options as possible, with abortion being available if nothing else is possible. We should also focus much more on preventing them from getting there in the first place (birth control).

Really what it comes down to is an agonizing wrench in my gut when I hear about an abortion, when there are so many people out there who long for children and cannot have them. I see people ranting on FB about "why force them to raise unwanted babies," and all I want to say is, "We're not, just give the baby to one of the many many couples out there who are desperate to adopt a baby, who want nothing more than to lavish it with love, sports equipment, music lessons, and good meals."

The issue breaks my heart. I wish there was some way to reallocate, and put all these unwanted babies into homes which want them. Or better still, but the unborn fetuses into bellies that want them. Wouldn't it be nice if it could be that easy?

Roses and Weather

2014 began with a Rose Bowl win, which was very exciting for M and his friends. I, as a Spartan-in-law, was pleased, but not quite as ecstatic as my sweetie was. The joy of having something good happen to somebody you love, not actual joy in the game - if that makes sense. On the other hand, M bought 26 long-stemmed red roses for our Rose-Bowl-watching party. His friends canoodled him into it. He accidentally invited people over on New Year's Day without asking me first, that's why. So one friend said he should buy roses as penitence, since it's the Rose Bowl. Somebody else suggested a dozen would be a good number, then somebody else noted that it has been 26 years since the Spartans had last played in the Rose Bowl, so 26 would be a good number.

I enjoyed having 26 beautiful roses in the house - and they looked good in the victory photos!

After the new year, the winter made its presence known, and the temperature plummeted. It began with some beautiful snow though, and M and I went for a wonderful walk in the snow. There is nothing nicer than a walk through active weather, when you don't have anywhere in particular you have to be. (I was lucky in that I was able to work from home the following morning, rather than having to brave the weather and the nasty roads that Monday morning.)

After the weather came incredibly cold temperatures. I never saw less than -6 in my car, although it was colder than that at night, but with wind chill that was crazy cold. I made a video of a cup of hot water turning immediately into steam/snow when I threw it into the air.

It was so cold that it killed M's battery while it was parked outside his office. What would normally be a few-hour inconvenience turned into a three-day ordeal, because all of the tow trucks and service shops were swamped with more serious cases. Fortunately some coworkers were able to give him a few rides, so I only had to make the trip to Ann Arbor once to pick him up. Three days after it died, he was finally able to buy his car a new battery, and he was able to drive it home again. Sheesh!

"In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer."
--Albert Camus

2013 Review

I thought I'd do one of those list posts I've seen floating around. I deleted questions I didn't feel like answering though... Happy 2014 world!

1. What did you do in 2013 that you'd never done before?
I did a Warrior Dash! I've been wanting to do one for a few years. M tried to talk me out of it, because he was afraid I could hurt my knee (more). I was certain I would be okay though, as long as I approached it as a fun challenge, not a race. I took my time with each obstacle and made sure I was doing them safely. I completed every single one, and had a blast doing so. I was so proud of myself when I finished!!

I also completed my Master's degree, but that was way back in the beginning of the year. 11 months ago! I'm amused to note that it was the Warrior Dash that first popped into my head while writing this, and I only remembered the Master's degree when I scrolled through my FB to remind me of the year's highlights.

2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I didn't make any, at least that I can recall. This year I would like to use this journal more. I miss writing. That seems like a reasonable goal. By my count I only wrote a paltry 81 entries in the past 2 years. My goal for 2014 is to write more than 81 entries.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Not really. Well, a friend of mine had twins recently, but we aren't close enough that I've met them yet. I will fairly soon though.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
I attended 4 funerals. Both of M's uncles died, and 2 of my friends. Uncle Bob, in particular, was a hard loss. He was like a second father to M, plus he was the priest who married us. My friends were Melissa and Gary. Neither of them were close friends, but they were both good people whose company I enjoyed when we saw one another at cons and parties. Also my kitty died, Robin Hood.

5. What countries did you visit?
Spain and Canada. Spain was for our fabulous 12 day vacation in October. M and I have both been to Europe several times, but we'd never been there together. We decided that, for our first trip across the ocean together, we would go to a country that neither of us had ever been to before. That way we could discover it together. It was wonderful. Canada was for The Incredible Shrinking Librarian's wedding/Halloween party!

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?
A child... if God and biology are willing.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
We sold M's house and bought our Dream House together.

9. What was your biggest failure?
I applied for a couple of jobs in my current company and didn't get them. I'm not sure that I really wanted them though, so it wasn't a big deal.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
I'd say it was this house, this is a great house for parties and for hanging out with M!

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My amazing husband has continued to be my rock throughout a very roller-coaster-y year.

14. Where did most of your money go?
I think the combination of selling M's house, buying this house, and moving in general.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Hmm, good memories from 2013:
Completed my master's thesis and graduated from Regis University with a CS MS degree
Bought a house
Mardigras wedding anniversary
Skiing up north and renting a cabin (with a hot tub) with our pals
Reunion at synchro nationals
Biking in Boston with Sis, Mike's Pastries
Dining outside on our own deck, looking at our woods
Celebrating 16 years of Robbie
Swimming in D's pool
Ice cream at Gurnsey
Karoke and kayaking with Cousin R, Lake Huron
Warrior Dash
Painting sunflowers with girlfriends
Canoeing on Rifle River
tricycle at work
My whole family all visiting our new house at once
K's wedding
Parades in Northville
Housewarming/birthday party, July 4th party, holiday party, Rose Bowl party
decorating the house with blue lights
buying a christmas tree that was too big
teaching computer science to 1st and 4th graders

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Writing. Biking.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?

20. How did you spend Christmas?
In Chicago. Christmas Eve was with the whole W family, including my niece and nephew. Christmas morning started out with just me and M in our hotel room, then walking to my mom's for waffles. More presents, and a nice walk going to visit Lake Michigan and the site of our proposal 4 years prior.

21. How did you spend New Year's?
Having dinner at Deadwood Grill, then going to D&B's to see friends. We tried to get home before the ball dropped, but didn't quite make it due to weather. We wished each other happy new year in the car, on 275, then exchanged proper kisses and toasts (with Polish wine, in our wedding toasting flutes) 10 minutes later.

24. What was the best book you read?
I didn't read very much. I'd like to read more this year.

28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 29(ish). Also known as 42. It was on a sunday, and it was a mellow but very nice day. My sweetie made me dinner. I had a great party/housewarming the following saturday.

29. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Less loss. However I will say that all-in-all, 2013 was full of wonderful things.

Conversation With My Sweetie

(paraphrased from memory, so I might have gotten some of it wrong)

Me: Do you have any idea what a "Duck Dynasty" is?
Him: It's a television show, it's about this hick family, only they're all really rich because the guy invented this special duck call, and he patented it.
Me: Oh. Is it imaginary, or reality television?
Him: I think it's real.
Me: Okay, kind of like, um, what's that show about the singer? He's like a heavy metal singer, only he has a show with his family?
Him: Ozzie Osbourne?
Me: Yeah, that's it, the Osbournes. Kind of like that?
Him: I haven't actually seen the show, but sure, kind of like that.
Me: So a duck whistle, huh? Why are they all over my FaceBook?
Him: Well the guy was interviewed in a magazine, and he said something anti-gay.
Me: Ohh, I see. So the duck doesn't like gay people?
Him: Something like that. And also, I think whoever runs their show canceled them or something, because of this.
Me: That makes more sense, I can see why there is a lot of kerfuffle. It's not just a duck whistle.
Him: No, some people are claiming his first amendment right were violated, some people are angry at him, some people are angry at the tv people, it's a big mess.
Me: Seems like it. It didn't look interesting enough to click on. I just I keep seeing these pictures scroll by, these people that look like, like, what's that band, the one with the beards?
Him: You mean ZZ Top?
Me: Yes! ZZ Top, the pictures look like ZZ Top.
Him: Sometimes it astounds me how little you know about popular culture.
Me: Well I get most of my news from FaceBook and social media. I figure if it's important, it will show up there.
Him: Maybe you should consider clicking on every now and then.
Me: Can't you just tell me if there is something I need to know?
Him: I'll try....


"When you come out of the storm you won't be the same person that walked in. That's what the storm is all about." -Haruki Murakami


So I haven't read much this year. I've only recently started again. However I might as well write down the few books I remember reading.

4. The Appeal, by John Grishim - his books are always quick and interesting reads. "Vacation reading", I consider them. I enjoyed it. I was displeased by the ending, but won't go into why in case anyone else reads it.

3. Angelopolis, by Danielle Trussoni - I had to force myself through this book. I read it becomes I enjoyed Angelology, and this was its sequel. This one never captivated my attention. Read Angelology instead.

2. The Ocean at the End of the Lane, by Neil Gaiman - this book was a sad, confusing, beautiful fairy tale.

1. Crystal Rain, by Tobias Buckell - science fiction. I enjoyed it.

There may have been more before this, but if so I don't remember them yet....

Warrior Dash

In July I did something I've wanted to do for years, but feared I couldn't. Something that people (my PPA, for example) thought would not be safe for knees like mine. But I did it, and best of all I had a blast doing it! I am a warrior!

Some people who compete in the warrior dash go charging through it, roaring like vikings. Some people run to be the fastest or the best. That's how they become warriors. Not me. I didn't even run; I walked the entire 5k. For me, becoming a warrior was just completing the course - proud and uninjured. I wore 2 knee braces, but I successfully achieved every obstacle. I climbed cargo nets, jumped over fire, crawled through mud, walked on beams over a water pit, swam, dragged myself out of the water, jumped over walls, and crawled under barbed wire.

It was fun! I'd totally do it again.

I even built an animated gif of my fire jump....

One cool thing I discovered at the Warrior Dash is that lots of people walk it. I thought I'd be left behind, but there were always people walking with/near me. Plus I was better on the obstacles than some of the walkers, so I passed a some folks there.

I took 787th place in my age range, out of 1053, and 7726 overall. Yay, 787th place medal!



S. M. L.

A lifetime ago. I thought of him many times while I was packing and moving this Spring, unearthing many memories from many years ago. Everyone deserves to be remembered.

Little girl screams

I miss Robin. It's funny how all kinds of random things will make me think of him. Even something as simple as when we were at Target last night: M came up to me and said, with a sad look in his eye, "I just saw Multi-Cat litter boxes." Yeah, me too. We are a single cat household now.

Anyway that's a sad note, so I will switch to a funny story to end on. I was at a pool party with a bunch of friends, some of whom had children. The kids were playing in the pool, and the one little girl let out this god-awful shriek!!!! Just in play, but it was horrifying!

My girlfriend said, "Now Renniekins isn't going to want to have kids, now that she's heard you make that noise."

"I know," I said laughing, "I didn't even know they were capable of such sounds!"

Another girlfriend chimed in, "That's enough to make you stop ovulating."

"Yeah, I can picture all my little eggies, trying to swim back into the ovaries, elbowing their way up, calling, "let us back in!!!"

My husband added, "And then all the little swimmers will be wandering around going, "It's awfully quiet in here, where is everybody??"

Good Evening, Mr. Hood

This evening we said goodbye to my lovingest kitty, Robin Hood. Also known as Robbie, Sir Robin, Mr. Hood, Mr. Obnoxious, and Monster.

Robbie was a good kitty, and he's been my friend since 1997 or so. That made him 16 or 17 on his passing today. Seventeen years is a good long life for a kitty - even though I find myself wishing for more. Robin was my friendly kitty. When the others would run and hide, and he stride up to any new guest in the house and greet them. If a person sat down, Robin would be right there on the person's lap, head-butting for scritches and attention. If a person walked near the kitchen, Robin would follow and loudly ask for treats.
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