In this year I had splurged and purchased a beautiful leather-bound journal. I wanted to fill it. Problem is, I tend to not stick with writing because I find it hard–it tires my hand out quickly and I can’t really say what I want to say. Writing is never linear for me, it’s a back and forth process. Here are excerpts from my journaling efforts this year. It’s not long after this that I officially adopted this online blogging habit.
4/11/14 – Morality
Where does morality come from? I used to think morality came from the pages of a bible. But as my belief in God has waned, I became aware that morality is something that is within us. It’s shaped by viewpoints of society and others around us. It’s a uniquely human thing. (they say chimps and dolphins are very intelligent and I suppose it wouldn’t surprise me if they also have some kind of moral code as well.)
One general rule that I do like from my religious background is “treat others how you would like to be treated” Keep your promises and harm no one. Another notion from the bible that I are the fruits of the spirit. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. There are good, basic attributes that I think anyone would like applied to themselves.
4/14/14 – Marriage
Thinking about the government’s role in marriage today. Same-sex marriage was legalized in MN just last year which indicated it’s an unpopular opinion to have that two men and two women can’t (or shouldn’t) marry. However, my opinion is even crazier and I haven’t told many people about it. I feel that the government should not be involved in marriage at all! Certainly NOT the federal government. I suppose one could say that state are within their right to make laws that their citizens ask for. But really, marriage–when broken down–is nothing more than a contract between two people. Contracts are signed all the time, and when people fail to follow through, then it’s time to get the courts involved to enforce or negotiate a way out. I should also add that contract are also signed by three people sometimes, but that’s another crazy, unpopular opinion regards to marriage. I guess I’m saying that if three people loved each other and they all though it was mutually beneficial to join forces, why shouldn’t they be allowed to? How is it any different from two companies merging–and down the road merging with another? There’s people assets, secession planning… all these things happen in a marriage too. Heh. Me and husband are “Emily + Husband Inc.” We’ve got an image to maintain, you know.
4/15/14 – God’s Relevance
Thought of the day, “From a legal standpoint, what is the difference between a merger and a marriage?”
I always try to be objective and the thought I put down are arrived at in a fair and logical manner, but even still, my ideas are still colored by perspective… the family I grew up in, the society around me and their strong influences. Who know if this book find itself in the hands of an ancestor, but I suppose you are terribly amused at how quaint and antiquated I am!
I think that religion has served a valid role in shaping the history of mankind. For a very long time it was probably a science of some kind, right? 6,000 years ago, people didn’t know what an atom was–nor did they know that those stars in the sky were as big as our sun, and many of them were much, much bigger. They didn’t understand the laws of our natural universe, so they made up their own explanations–the sun is Apollo riding across the sky in a chariot. Now that we know what the sun actually is, the real reason is so much better and fantastic. Can God be relevant to us anymore?
4/16/14 – Paganism
McDonalds was running a special on large coffees for 42¢ the last two weeks and now I miss it. See, it’s all part of the evil plan to get us all hooked on their coffee and then pull the rug out from under us. Very nefarious.
Today’s line of thought was around kids how they are such picky eaters. I got to thinking that it’s probably an evolutionary survival technique from the times when eating the wrong berry or root could kill you! Can the scientific method be applied to research the past or explaining human’s quirks?
It’s a fairly recent development, my failing belief in god. I’ve probably been kicking it around for a year or so. Around the holidays it’s kind of hard to decide how to observe them. Easter is coming up this weekend and for many Christians this is a time of remembrance, reflection, sacrifice, redemption and rebirth. I’ve been trying to decide on way to observe these holidays in a way that is meaningful to me. I tend to take “pages” out of the out of the pagan book and think of it as a time of relief from winter–promise of new life. Maybe I’ll think about the “heros” of society that have allowed for free thought and our wonderful quality of life. Engineers, doctors, scientists, and soldiers. Remember how far we’ve come from the “hunter gatherer days” and do what we can to celebrate and preserve advancement and knowledge.
So, I’ve always had a thing for equinoxes and solstices (back to my “nod” to the pagan tradition). This radio show I listen to every day, Garage Logic, has a particularly thoughtful and charismatic host, Joe Soucheray. He has this “club” in the mythical town of Garage Logic called the “Royal Order of the 21sters” who believe that the first day of spring is on December 21st–the day when the sun begin to stay longer each day. He set up this club as kind of a “mind game” we can play with ourselves to get past the long, cold, bitter winters. While everyone else is griping about winter, we 21sters are enjoying a long ascent into spring. Now that it’s Easter, i was thinking about using this holiday to “observe” the spring equinox. It’s especially fitting because the Christians observer easter for a full 44 days! I could start my observance at about the same time as them and attribute meaning to each of the days and weeks. I’ll have to ponder more on this.
4/18/14 – Being Spiritual
You know, just because I don’t believe in God, doesn’t necessarily mean I’m not a spiritual person. I still have these moment of awe. a feeling of being overwhelmed, or having goosebumps on you neck. A few months ago it was when watching the winter Olympics. Seeing all the nations coming together under one roof, it makes you realize how far mankind has come. Sure, there’s still war and cultural misunderstandings, but for this event we can put all of that aside and compete as friends and colleagues. I also love seeing the talent and dedication of so many young people on display. Constantly putting the physical limits of humanity to the test and STILL managing to break records! Amazing! Then, just today Nina Simone song comes on, “Feeling Good” perfect songs like this always put my mind in a state of euphoria. It’s practically drug-like! These are the experiences that I want to find, and the only was I can is by being curious about the world.
4/19/14 – History of Easter?
Okay so I’ve looked into the history of Easter some. I had to laugh because all of the commercial attributes of Easter that we deemed “safe” and “generic” (i.e. no religious/Christian overtones) are actually pagan symbols! Eggs and rabbits, both symbols of fertility. I’ve mentioned before that I like to pull from old pagan traditions because I really do think they had the right idea. Celebration of Life. They observed the natural world around them and attributed meaning to the changing seasons that mirror our own human experience. Like springtime as a time for new life, the world wakes up after a long winter. Summer is like the hale, hearty years of our lives, autumn we grow older we harvest knowledge, winter–we die. And the cycle starts all over again.
I read an interesting Babylonian myth about Ishtar that very closely mirrors christian (mostly Catholic) easter traditions. I can’t quite remember all the names… Ishtar was immaculately conceived by the sun god, Ball. The conception is the first full moon after the spring equinox. The son is born December 21 (winter solstice). He grows to be a man and dies while hunting–shredded by a wild boar. His blood falls on the stump of an evergreen tree and overnight the tree grows to be a full tree. The date of his death is the dates of his conception. His mother greatly grieved mourns her son every year by commanding her people to abstain from eating mean for 40 days before her son’s death, and on the day of the death to eat a wile boar with a feast.
4/22/14 – The Afterlife
I looked a little deeper into the story, and it turns out that it might not actually be an ancient legend. The only sources I could find of the story were Christian crazies determined to convince their flock that they should abandon their pagan ways. Too bad! I thought it was a nice story.
You know, I think the thing that makes me most sad about the likely possibility that there is no god is no afterlife. I guess no one cans really know for sure that there is no afterlife, but I am going to live like there isn’t. I’ve got this ONE SHOT. I’m going to make it count. To whoever gets to read this after I’m gone, I’m jealous of you! It’d be cool to see what comes next. I like to think I live in a pretty exciting era full of promise, new ideas, freedom of knowledge, and amazing advancements in technology. But I’m sure there even more unfathomable things in the future. So, to come to terms with this being my on shot, I figure there’s a few things I can do: To borrow from the bible, “Treat my body like a temple“. What I mean is, to do anything in my power to protect and nourish my body in order to stave off an untimely death. I think I might even take up yoga. 2: Keep this journal; as I feel like it’s the only way to really project my consciousness after death. It’s also something that is easy to do and more or less cheap! 3: I would like to have at least one kid. As I write this I’m only 28 and still have a few years for this. I’ve been married for two years and we have a house and steady jobs. Many of the pieces are in place to take the responsibility of raising a kid, but Husband and I are working to pay off our debts first which frees up a lot of the financial liabilities. 4: Finally all I can do is make memories and have a lasting impact on the people around me. It’d be nice to have people remember me with stories.
Aside: I wrote another post about a year later on this, Considering Mortality.
4/28/14 – Gardening, Green Thumbs
We’ve been receiving at least a little bit (if not a lot) of rain every day for about a week now, which is great because I’ve put grass seed down a few days ago. Free lawn watering! We moved into our first home almost exactly a year ago. The lawn at first was in a pretty sad state. Then it was in even worse state because I accidentally sprayed the whole yard with what I thought was only weed killer… but upon closer inspection the label reads: weed AND GRASS killer. Of course that promptly killed the whole thing. It’s just as well anyway–most of it was weeds anyway, and this year will not be much different. I did manage to start a crop of grass last fall so this spring it already looks pretty good if not very patchy. Then with the new seed I think it should look awesome by summer! (Still though, weeds are going to be a tough battle)
You know what I love most about this season? How much like Ireland in it. Leaden grey clouds, lots of rain that never seems to dry up off the ground leaving this smell of wet earth and on top of it all, the grey atmosphere seems to amplify the green that is coming through in the grass and bushes and trees. Such promise of life!
5/6/14 – Landscaping
I think it’s a good weekend for some home improvement. We’re going to do a little landscaping in the backyard. We have a small, urban, rectangular lot, and we’re just going to do a section at a time for budget reasons. There first section in the southeast corner. We’ll line a bed with bricks ad set them into the ground so it is flush with the grass. We don’t have anything picked out yet for bushes though. Home the weather holds out!
5/9/14 (Friday) – Garage Door Opener?
It’s a very special time of year for the fictional town of Garage Logic. Remember I mentioned the show a while back when talking about the Royal Order of the 21sters? They have a town holiday called the Official Garage Door Opener. The date changes every year, though. It’s dependent on temperature. The first Friday after the winter, between the hours of 1pm-3pm (this is when the radio show is broadcasting) that reaches 70˚. At which time the mayor declares the Garage Door is officially open! The whole town gather at the park to grill out and drink beer. The guy that owns a vintage firetruck drives it around the block with its horn blaring. Lots of fun and very festive! However, I say all that and I am not optimistic that today is the day. Next Friday, perhaps…
5/19/14 – Job Offer
No opener last Friday either. 😦 This Friday for sure though.
5/21/14 – Promotion
Offer extended! Big raise in less than 90 days! In other news, the ground here at work are some of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. Just as I’m driving in, there’s this massive hill that kind of shrouds the building a little. I serious want to climb to the top of it and log roll down the whole thing. On sunny mornings, the grass is covered with dew and as I drive past it the whole GLITTERS! It’s covered with the most perfect expanse of lush, deep green grass and not a single weed or dandelion in sight!
5/22/14 – Garage Door Opener!
I guess you’ll probably be tired of hearing about springtime and gardening, but too bad! So I noticed a new bloom in the garden today. I don’t know what the flower is called. The flowers are light purple, almost white. Tomorrow… Garage Door Opener!
5/27/14 – Memorial Day Weekend
I saw a fox run across the road in broad daylight! I’d never seen one so close and in such good light! I thought it was a dog or something until I drove a little closer. Mostly brown with red undertones and a pointy little snout! Urban jungle indeed.
It was memorial day weekend last week and I went down to visit the parents and grandparents. My grandparents are in an assisted living situation and they’re doing about as well as one can expect when you’re in the upper 80’s. I’m taking mental notes and hopefully will remember them when I get to be that age too. What it must be like to give you your home of 50+ years, move to a new city, have all your kids make decisions for you, take your car away, nursing staff in and out of your apartment… yuck! I mean no wonder grandma seems lost. She’s lost all purpose and to boot, her short term memory is deteriorating with her alzheimer’s, so learning new things is difficult. Grandpa complains about his water pill he has to take for his congestive hear failure. It’s a diuretic that prevent fluid buildup, but also makes you have to pee a lot! But still ,they’re troopers. They always have been. I want to be a trooper too when the going gets tough! Grandpa hasn’t lost his sense of humor. He was messing with me by trying to “smash” my toes with the end of his cane. Even with his bad eyesight, he could still see the fluorescent nail polish on my toes! Heh. He use to do that kind of thing with his diabetic needle too. Brandish it while we were in grandma’s kitchen and declare that he was “gonna stick ya” with it; which to a 7-10 year old kid is a pretty terrifying notion. You get older and then you realize it was all a ruse.
6/9/14 – Went to a Wedding
My Chinese friend got married last weekend. Great wedding. Her husband Erik comes from a very musical family and the ceremony had very good music throughout.
6/15/14 – Family Reunion
Grandpa turned 90 on June 4 and this weekend we had the whole extended family over to celebrate the birthday (and besides, it’s father’s day). Also was the weekend we had all of Grandma and Grandpa’s things out for us to take home. I have a few useful things for the house–yard tool, and tools for home improvement. I should mention that they recently moved to my hometown from their home of 52 years (currently on the market for $99,000!) so they’ve had to downsize and remdel the home. Lots of new life in our family and more on the horizon. My brother and his wife are expecting their first in November. My cousins Chuck and Andrea are also expecting their third in November. Finally, my cousins Paige and Brian, in addition to having one of their own, are also about to close in on an adoption from China. All very exciting! I saw my aunt Karen and her two kids for the first time in 10 years. It was good to have so much quality time to sit and chat with people.
6/16/14 – Mixed Families
Editors note. I have about four pages of journaling that I will not publish. In brief, I will just say that I married a man who was married before he met me, and had three children from that union. It has been extremely tricky territory to navigate these relationships. I write in my journal that ultimately it’s not really my business, and so–it’s not really yours either. Hindsight being 20/20, I am re-writing this about three years later, and our patience has paid off. Things are much better now than they used to be.
7/23/14 – Camping Trip
Two weekends ago we went camping in Lanesboro. It’s a really pretty areas, though kind of a long drive to get there–it’s worth it. We met my cousin Whitney and her boyfriend. We were rained out! At least it didn’t rain when we were trying to cook though, that was convenient.
8/10/14 – Class Reunion
10 year class reunion last friday. Good to see so many familiar faces. I didn’t remember anyone’s name! Also in town at the same times as the County Fair. Ate way too much food.
I’ve been to the doctor and I’ve been given a clean bill of health… so next steps–baby? We’ll play it relaxed for a while.
10/8/14 – We’re Expecting!
Wow, you know, a lot can change in two months. I’m seven weeks pregnant and yesterday I saw a heartbeat! It’s early yet to call this baby a sure thing but of course, I hope it is. All the “fun” stuff comes with; morning sickness (more like “all day” sickness!)–at least I haven’t thrown up anything yet–and sensitivity to smells. Went into the liquor store the other day to buy beer for guests and just about lost it with the smell of stale beer. Ack! It’s shocking how quickly conception can happen… so word to the future reader–be careful with “that stuff” don’t let your body come in contact with it unless you really mean it! When I first saw the little guy on the ultrasound I laughed! It’s so hard to keep a straight face, but you have to or else they have to keep finding it again. It’s only the size of a blueberry. Just kind of a little blob of tissue, but you can see a head, little hands, feet-like things and a spine!! It’s much more clear in-person. So there you have it! Baby’s first picture!
In other news, Husband and I have started this new program called Airbnb. It’s a way to turn your house into a bed and breakfast if you have an extra room. It’s great for us since we’ve been casually trying to rent it out for a while with no luck. Already with Airbnb, we’ve hosted 11 stays, and all of them have been great. Some are from the US looking to relocate or are visiting on business. Others are tourists from abroad–so far we’ve had London, Sweden, India + Russia. It’s a great way to earn a little extra cash. Similar to Airbnb, is Lyft, which is a ride-sharing model. Brett has been doing a little bit of driving, and it’s a good hobby that gets him out of the house to have fun–and of course make a little extra on the side too. That pretty much brings you up to speed on the big things. 🙂 Let’s try to stay in touch better, huh?
10/13/14 – Painting
Helped a friend of mine paint their new darling little house on Saturday. She is one of my dearest friends, who also plays harp. She and I have lessons together–she’ll coach me on music, and I coach her on marketing. Sometimes we just goof off and watch movies or something.
10/19/14 – Elvish
Editor’s note. I have a short entry here written in an elvish cipher I made up in junior high to write notes to my friends in class. It’s essentially the start of this blog post: The Temple of Conciousness.
10/24/14 – Morning Sickness
Nothing new to report on the baby yet, but there’s an appointment set for next Tuesday to see the doctor. Some days are better than other for morning sickness. I’ve noticed that some clothes don’t fit anymore and that my abdomen feels kind of sort like I’ve dont a bunch of sit ups or something. Much be growing pains!
11/3/14 – See the baby!
Visited the doctor for a 10-week checkup. Still pregnant and everything seems to be progressing according to plan. 🙂 I feel much better these days. Still a little passing nausea, but I’m less picky about foods and also able to get through the day without needing a nap. Part of my sleepiness probably had a lot to do with quitting coffee cold-turkey and now I’m getting over withdrawal from that. It was just not appetizing, the thought of drinking and smelling all that coffee, yuck. Husband got to see the baby for the first time, which was really fun for him. He was grinning ear to ear for the rest of the day, and feeling very affectionate (more than usual, I mean!)It’s feeling much more real and secure now that I’m almost into the second trimester. I reel like I can worry less about a miscarriage. Crazy how quick this all happened for us. We told Husband’s kids about it yesterday, which was well received with excitement and a torrent of possible names. Who knew kids were so adept at coming up with names? Daughter 1 suggested Katelyn which I like. Son 1 said if it’s a boy, Logan. Which is a cool name 🙂
Editor’s note. There was quite a long entry here regarding my heartaches over mixed-family parenting. I don’t really feel that this is an appropriate place to air all that out since it involves many people who would probably prefer to keep their affairs private. Ultimately, I’m just a bystander.
11/5/14 – Election Day
Yesterday was election day. We had good news and bad news. The bad news is that unfortunately dad didn’t win in his district. The good news is that the Republicans have taken back the MN State house and the national Senate. That means we’re in for two years of grid-lock! Dad’s disappointed, but it’s nice to have the good news to go with it. At least now he has all kinds of free time to work on the house and go sailing!
11/30/14 – Bump is Growing
My brother and his wife had their baby last Monday. She was 10 days overdue and still had to be induced. It was as good a delivery as they could hope for, taking just over 24 hours. Their first son was born at 10:07, 9 lbs. Hard to believe that we will be having our own in just a few months. On that note, we got to hear the heartbeat on our last visit to the doctor. I’m feeling almost completely normal except that my pants don’t fit, and there’s definitely a little bump appearing now.
Editor’s note. Left out more mixed-family musings. I do say at the end of this entry “Blended family stuff is HARD… but then again, life IS hard. Good luck to you, reader, in your future.”
That was the final entry for 2014! Click on “next post” to read about 2015!
Image source: Pacheco