Sunday, January 29, 2012

Strange Sex . . . or so my husband thinks!

So I made Andy take me out for Mexican once he finally woke up this evening and it was delicious by the way.  Yummy chile poblano!

Anyways when we got home from dinner, he turned on the television and Strange Sex was on.  My interest was immediately sparked, even though I was supposed to be baking a cake and some beer bread and oh yea studying Chemistry and A & P.  But I was intrigued.  The episode was about a very non-traditional polyamorous family.  The one husband/father had begun dating another woman and she commented that she had always been interested in a polyamorous lifestyle.  My husband decides to chime in at this point and very ignorantly claims "well that is because she is a slut".  As many of you can imagine, I just stood there glaring at him.  I would have shook my head and said he was unbeleivable but I know him better than that by now.  Shit like that comes out of his mouth all the time.

So I asked him if he really thought she was a slut, and of course the response I got was "well yea".  So then I accused him of being a sexist pig.  I, of course, tried to argue that it was a double standard and women should have the same sexual freedoms as men without the social stigma.  His response, as always, went back to science, natural selection and animal instincts.  He said we humans are pack animals like wolves and lions, where a typical pride is comprised of one male and many females.  This, allows for a greater success rate of propagating the species. The strongest male with the best genes will rule the pack spreading his seed to the next generation. 

My retort back involved a speech about how natural selection is no longer applicable in today society and how our species has grown in numbers so large there is no need for each of us to reproduce.  Plus I threw in the fact that I am infertile and can't reproduce in the first place. But he still refused to concede and still thinks that chick was a slut who just wants to sleep around. 

My usual sigh followed and then I swore at him under my breath.

Men. *shakes head*

For some reason I cannot post a reply to comments.  Frustrating!

So in response to Starshine's comment:

Oh it is!  He was saying it was alright for men to sleep with as many women as they want but women are sluts if they sleep with more than one man.  He believes polygyny is perfectly natural from a natural selection perspective but polyandry is not. The family on the show was comprised of one woman, two men and their son living together in a polyamorous relationship where no one was married but everyone was committed yet they could seek out additional partners if they so choose.  It was an interesting conversation.  You had the biologist and sociologist butting heads!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Blame it on the vodka . . .

So that last blog post was EPIC FAIL!

I had great inspiration at one point and had plans for this cleaver and witty post but had not had the time yet to write it.  So the other night I decided I needed to write something and I forced out a dry, uninteresting and a few too many paragraphs long post, that I am sure no one finished reading.

The original inspiration came with the help of vodka though, and unfortunately, I had not had anything while writing the other night.  That was my problem.  I needed to recreate the moment of genius and alas I failed!

So I contemplated rewriting it or even deleting it altogether but then thought better of it.

Not everything I write can be a master piece right?  Not everything has to be perfect or even funny.  

It is what it is.

And I should let it be.  At least that is what Andy is always trying to tell me.  I am just too much of a perfectionist and am often my hardest critic.

So I thought maybe I would post something I was proud of having written.  We decided for our wedding that Andy and I were going to write our own vows.  I spent many hours online researching and reading and trying to decide what I wanted to say.  Much thought and love and effort went into my en devour.  Andy on the other hand showed up and asked Randy to pull up some wedding vows on his iPhone in a last minute attempt at romance since he had not prepared anything despite my prenuptial reminders.  Not surprisingly, he failed at finding anything remotely appropriate and ended up winging it in all that Andy fashion.  I am sure you can picture my face at that point . . . shaking head, rolling eyes and all.

But here is what I said for those of you who were not in attendance:

I, Laura Branning, choose you, Andrew Smith, to be my husband, my friend, my lover and the father of my children.  I vow to respect you in your successes and in your failures, to care for you in sickness and in health, to nurture you and to grow with you throughout all the seasons of life.  From this day forward, you shall not walk alone.  My heart will be your shelter, and my arms will be your home.

I cannot take credit for originality though.  They are wedding vows.  I stole all kinds of shit from all over the place and put it all together. 

And with that I shall say goodnight.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Ellipse . . . The punctuation mark not the movie

While watching Contagion tonight one of the characters made the comment that, "Blogging is not writing.  It is just graffiti with punctuation."  (The movie sucked by the way.)

I am not sure if I want to take offense to that statement or not.  It shocked me a little and then made me giggle.  Regardless of whether it is "writing" or not according to the above statement it is still an art form.  And with that I begin my rant about punctuation, proper English and how much it irritates me some days to read Facebook statuses. 

So this may seem weird but I have a favorite punctuation mark.  I am sure the average person does not consider punctuation as fondly, but for some reason I do.  Perhaps it is because I know how to use it, unlike many of my peers.  As the title of this blog suggests, the ellipse is my favorite punctuation mark.  It is certainly not the comma.  While I know the rules for comma use, I just hate editing to make sure they are all there.  I have a tendency to miss them while writing since my thoughts are often flowing fast than I can get them on screen.  But I do love ellipses.  Looking back at blogs I wrote in college I can see I overused the punctuation mark to the point of obnoxiousness.  So my goal this time around is to not achieve that same level of obnoxious.  So why my fascination with the ellipse you ask? Well I think it has to do with its mystery, intrigue and anticipatory nature.  It says this woman has something very profound and intersting to say and is going to keep us on the edge of our seats just a moment longer.  The problem is that while I think what I have to say is interesting and exciting, I doubt my audience would agree.  So I must limit my use of ellipses.  But what I found myself doing then is using exclamation points instead.  The exclamation point  comes in a close second to the ellipse on my scale of favorite punctuation.  But not everything I say is in need of that much enthusiasm and those I must force myself to default to the boring old period. 

If you are still reading and have not closed this window due to boredom then I will tell you that it drives me utterly insane when I read "friends" Facebook statuses that lack any and all concern for proper English.  I have no qualms against occasional use of slang.  I often use slang when writing Tweets, FB posts or blogs.  But at the same time I show a clear understanding of complete sentence structure, correct punctuation usage and spelling.  I cannot stand to read statuses from peers that attended the same school as I did, and yet, cannot spell correctly or use proper grammar on FB.  In fact, I have the urge to delete them so that I do not have to look at the travesties they post all over their walls.  Maybe this pet peeve of mine started in college.  I did spend two years living with an English major!  But who knows.

Proper sentence structure and grammar usage was even a requirement for me when dating.  I did a lot of online dating over the years, before I met my husband. (Yes, I know I said a lot.  Insert whatever gratuitous comment you would like there.)  One of the most basic requirements when I was looking at dating profiles, was if they typed complete sentences.  I could tell after just a few conversations if I was going to be able to stand a guy in person just based on whether or not he knew proper English.  My husband clearly has a strong grasp on the subject and we can carry on intelligent conversations.  I do often correct his grammar though much to his dismay.  One thing Andy does do though that drives me up the wall is text talk.  I understand and encourage the need to shorten sentences while texting.  That is not a practice I take offense to.  I do take offense when my husband feels the need to say things like IKR or STFU instead of the actual words.  At first he did it out of a bad habit he picked up from playing WoW, but now he does it just because he knows it irritates the shit out of me. 

Well if I haven't bored you to death by now, I am done ranting about the English language.  

Sunday, January 15, 2012

So which me is me exactly?

You can tell my new semester has begun . . . I have not posted in a week!  And I have been too busy this weekend reading, relaxing, shoveling snow and doing homework to post until now.  But I have had a few things on my mind recently that I have wanted to explore and I think I will now so here it goes:

I have been struggling with identity for some time now.  I find myself wondering exactly who I am, what I want and what I am doing about it.  I feel like a teenager again, sometimes struggling with what Erik Erickson would call the identity vs. identity confusion stage of development.  I should have this shit figured out by now right?  I haven't been an adolescent in a very long time yet I still find myself struggling with who I am, what I believe and what I want out of life.  At my very core, I am a woman.  I like to think of myself as a strong, independent woman, who has a hard time asking for help.  But at the same time, sometimes I feel so weak and damaged that I just want to curl up in a ball in the corner and sob.  I know that I have to be strong and responsible though.  I have a house and a family and I can't go quitting my job or running away whenever the urge arises.  There are expectations and responsibilities . . . I have bills to pay and people who depend on me.  Sometimes it is almost too much to bear though.  Have you ever just thought about running away from it all?  But alas I remain.  Perhaps I remain because I am a wife.  This is a new role for me.  An exciting and scarey roll.  I made a commitment to a man that I love. A very scarey sometimes commitment.  Do not mistake that statement for regret though.  I do not regret decisions I make.  I learn from them.  Not that I am saying marriage is a mistake by any means.  It is just big, huge in fact.  I never really realized how huge until after a few months of being married.  You rearrange your whole life because there is now someone just as important as you in it.  You make concessions and compromises and you do it for love.  Being a wife has certain expectations.  Am I to clean the house and cook dinner each night?  My husband and I are more or less on the same page when it comes to expectations and we don't necessarily subscribe to traditional roles and stereotypes.  But that doesn't mean there aren't times when we disagree.  I am a sexual being as all humans are.  As a wife, there are expectations there as well.  But what happens when my needs and desires and wants don't exactly match up with my husbands?  What do I do then?

I took on the role of aunt last year as well.  And a proud aunt I am.  I have a beautiful niece and a precious nephew that I love greatly.  I am so happy for both my sister-in-laws.  They are great mothers.  But then I feel that nagging emptiness that is often associated with infertility.  I wanted so desperately to be a mother myself but have not successfully been able to conceive.  I wonder if I will ever.  At the same time though, I feel relief.  I have seen so many of my friends lives change drastically after having children. Not that children are in any way shape or form a bad thing, but they are life changers.  I appreciate my freedom.  My fur babies, whom I love greatly, require minimal effort on my part if I so desire.  I can sit and read for hours on end.  I can sleep in.  I go where I want, when I want and not have to worry.  I can lock them in cages.  I am not sure if I want to give that up.  I have been wondering if I want children at all.  Is my want for motherhood just a primitive instinctual desire?  There are plenty of babies out there.  The human race does not depend on my reproducing.  So why should I?  Maybe I won't and maybe I don't get to have actual control over that. 

For the last six years or so I have worked in banking.  So does that make me a banker?  I have a hard time identifying myself as a banker though.  It is not really a role I desire to fill.  It was a job I took because I didn't want to leave after graduation.  Didn't leave because of a man . . . no a boy . . . a childish, selfish boy who left me broken, confused and weak.  My husband was there to pick up the pieces though.  And I am thankful for that. And it is a job that I have stayed at because it was easy.  I am good at what I do.  But I have always been good at whatever it is I chose to do.  It pays the bills.  But it does not challenge me.  It does not stimulate me.  Some days are uneventful while others leave me mentally and emotionally drained.  So what do I do?  I go back to school again.  I become a student again. Take on another role.  Another me.  Student is a role I enjoy though.  The learning environment is stimulating and engaging.  It plays well into my Gemini traits.  I changed gears though.  Decided to study something that was practical not like Sociology or Philosophy.  So I am going to be a nurse one day soon, I hope.  Another role to fill.

Then I think about other labels I could adopt.  Political or religious or social roles.  And it all seems so overwhelming.  Am I a republican or democrat . . . or more likely I subscribe to neither party so what does that make me then a libertarian?  Maybe, maybe not?  I have always identified myself as a Christian but what do I truly believe?  I am not sure any more.  I wonder what is true, what is real?

So how many of these are me?  Or are they all me?  I struggle as I try to sort through all the labels and roles I could take on and attempt to decide which I want to take on and deal with those I don't have any control over.  The weight of it all is oppressive at times.

Well that is enough of my random musings and rantings for tonight.  I just keep leaving myself with unanswered and unanswerable questions.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Why does moral relativity have to be such a dirty word?

This question is not new to me.  I spent the greater part of my four years at Hillsdale College wondering this exact same thing considering I majored in Sociology and then picked up a minor in Philosophy.  These sorts of questions do not come up much in the banking world.  But I have recently had occasion to ponder it again . . . see what I get for reading other people's blog posts!  In fact I have been obsessing over it for the last two days, and decided it would be best to turn my, only slightly bitter thoughts, into a blog post.  I will disclaim though that my intention is not to 1. over simplify morality 2. reinforce stereotypes or 3. pass judgement. So here it goes:

Moral relativism is often slung at writers/philosophers/anthropologists/sociologist as a criticism for questioning or denying moral absolutes.  Very few people are proud to stand up and say, "I am a moral relativist.  Hear me roar!"  Yet, it is empirical fact that across varying cultures there are huge discrepancies as to what is thought of as moral, right or proper.  Different cultures and essentially differing subcultures place value on different attitudes, beliefs and actions.  This is observable and indisputable (in my eyes, because I am sure someone will try to dispute it).  The real question with relativity is then, do moral absolutes truly exist?  Traditionally, especially within western thought, that answer is yes.  When I think of moral absolutes the image that instantly pops into my head are of the ten commandments.  Thou shalt have no other gods before me.  Thou shalt not worship idols.  Thou shalt not take the lords name in vein.  Remember the sabbath and keep it holy.  Honor they mother and father.  Thou shalt not kill.  Thou shalt not commit adultery.  Thou shalt not steal.  Thou shalt not bear false witness. Thou shalt not covet.  If these aren't supposed to be moral absolutes then I don't know what are.  But I can't help but think of situations where breaking one, more or all of these commandments would not only be justified but, in my eyes, would be the moral choice to make. One of the most used examples from college was Nazi Germany.  Would you hide Ann Frank in your attic and then lie to the soldiers about it?  I probably would.  I would not only feel justified in doing so but would think I was right. I would also probably bludgeon a Nazi to death given the opportunity though.  Our society worships idols everyday.  It is not only tolerated and excepted but it has become the standard.  They are called movie stars, rock stars and sports stars.  Where do you think the term "star" came from?  We used to worship them . . . bright and shining in the heavens. 

So the question is, if that is the case, that these moral absolutes cannot be applied universally, then wouldn't it follow (especially if we are followers of Immanuel Kant) that they cannot be moral absolutes.  The whole point of absolutism is that it is universal but if we study culture any we can see that moral judgements and justifications vary from culture to culture based on the traditions and practices of that culture.  Western thought, that is the Greco-Roman, Judeo-Christian traditions, dominate our culture.  It is difficult for many of us to look beyond those traditions and embrace the idea that we might not always be right.  That there are other ways of looking at the world, other perspectives to take and other courses of action that may also be right. Tolerance, acceptance and compassion are all values that Christ embodied in the Bible, yet too often I have seen Christians, and other faiths, fighting over the little details and they forget to step back and look at the big picture.  

I, for one, can appreciate a little moral ambiguity.  It keeps us on our toes.  It makes us question and perhaps reaffirm our beliefs and values. What is the point of believing something if you don't know why you believe it?  Just because someone told you to?  Is that the right reason to believe?  We have to ask ourselves these questions or we all become sheep blindly following a shepherd that may or may not be leading us to the slaughter.  This applies not only to morality and/or religion but also to politics! :)

With all that being said I make this last statement:  The complexity of humanity is often stifling.  There are no easy answers just like I do not think there are any absolutes.  We must stop thinking of the world in black and white and recognize it is all gray area where man is concerned.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

There was snow inside the porta potty . . .

Last night we celebrated a friends birthday by going out to dinner in Adrian, which is almost an hour drive from home.  I left my car at their house and we rode together to the restaurant.  We had a lovely dinner which involved way too much food and a few too many drinks, as usual.  Our friends wanted to stay and shop, so I rode back to their house with my husband.  I did not think to pee before we left the restaurant.  That was a mistake.  As soon as we arrived at their house and I stepped out into the frigid night air, I instantly had to pee.  The house was locked and the only place between there and my home 30 minutes away was a gas station porta potty.  Not even a gas station rest room, no a gas station porta potty.  Now, I am not finicky girly, girl as some of you probably already know.  While I am cautious of porta potties, I will do what I have to do when in need.  As I opened the door, I could see illuminated solely by moon light that the porta potty was full of snow.  So I pulled up my big girl panties, or more accurately pulled them down, took a deep breath and did my business as quickly as possible.  My poor cheeks were icy by the time I made it back to the car, but I had left it running with the heat blasting full power so that I could recover as quickly as possible.  Luckily, I had hand sanitizer on my key ring.  Lesson of the night:  Pee before you leave the restaurant especially during January in Michigan because you never know when a porta potty may be your only option.

Monday, January 2, 2012

And then the cops showed up . . .

I had expected to spend my New Year's Eve enjoying the company of friends and family safely in my home.  I love hosting parties and cooking for my loved ones.  So as I typically do, I put together a beautiful and extravagant spread of food and drink to share.  But when I invite people into my home, I expect them to treat it and me with respect.  Especially, when they are supposed to be family.  But I was not going to allow anyone to destroy my home or threaten my family.  I was not going to allow even someone I am supposed to call family to disrespect me.

I am sure it would have been comical to see me in a man's face twenty years older than I, on my tip toes, chest puffed out and finger pointing but I had complete control of my actions and emotions despite my state of inebriation until the moment he busted a bottle of lime green skittles vodka all over me, all over him and all over my dinning room floor.  I lost it.  In that moment, it was like a switch flipped and I went from trying to reason with him to screaming for him to get the fuck out of my house. 

Yes, I called the police on my own party.  I called the police not because I feared for my safety but because I was about to loose control and feared for his. 

Lucky for him I did not miss the ball drop.  He did however, scare several of my friends which I am not okay with. 

Great start to a new year huh?  The weekend's events further confirm my desire to move home . . . more and more I miss my family back in Canton every day.