Thursday, March 31, 2011

As people who have hearts that long for perfect love, we have to forgive one another for not being able to give or receive that perfect love in our everyday lives. Our many needs constantly interfere with our desire to be there for the other unconditionally. Our love is always limited by spoken or unspoken conditions. What needs to be forgiven? We need to forgive one another for not being God! - Henri Nouwen

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Every Sperm is Sacred {Monty Python's Meaning of Life}

I have this vice, which I believe I've confessed to before, but it's this: I stalk Quiverfull Websites. I reckon it's akin to chasing ambulances for the thrill of seeing a car-wreck (though that's not my particular thrill, I'm just guessing that it's a similar thing).

So these Quiverfull Families say they leave their fertility in God's hands - in other words, no birth regulation of any kind. If you're really hard-core, it's no regulation of any kind, even if Mama's life is endangered. Because God won't give you more than you can handle, eh?

This morning I was reading through the comments on a post, and came across this theological humdinger:

"The way I see it, how can we push aside the blessings of God, which is what children are, and yet still expect God to bless us in other areas, such as a nice big house or a new car?"

A heckuva benefits package, don't you think? Nice to see God's Mysterious Ways explained so succinctly for the denser among us.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


Recently someone was telling me about the local elementary school system, and how there's a reading program in place. The children are filed into the library, given "age-appropriate" books, told to read them, and then are sat down at a computer to do a comprehension test on the book they just read.

I was aghast. "Why?!" I asked.

"Well, so we can make sure they understand what they read," answered my partner in conversation.

"But why does it matter?"

She looked at me very strangely. "So we can tell what reading level they're at."

"But why does it matter what reading level they're at? Why does it matter if they understand what they're reading? Aren't they supposed to be reading for pleasure? What would you think if someone came and gave you a comprehension test on everything you read?" I was trying to be polite in the midst of my horror, but even the basic questions are considered rather vulgar, like you're questioning the good intentions of professional educators towards their charges. Which, of course, is exactly what I'm doing. This sounds like a program right out of 1984.

I couldn't stop. "If someone tested me on every book I read, you can believe it that I wouldn't pass their exam. When I'm reading for pleasure, it's just pleasure. I let the book wash over me, take two or three points of interest away with me, and I'm done with it. This program seems designed to cure kids of ever wanting to read again."

"But how would we give them marks, if we don't have any way to test what they know?" She looked completely bewildered at this point. She works in a school - I don't suppose this sort of conversation is welcomed in the staff room.

"Who needs their test results?" I asked in return. "We've got a whole society of people who don't know who they are without a piece of paper to rate their abilities and tell them what they're fit for. I hate testing kids. I think it's a lie."

She looked off, and down. "Yeah, I hate testing too. But how do you get around it?"

From there the discussion veered into homeschooling, unschooling, and the parents of schooled children refusing to participate in PATs. And eventually we found ourselves at:

"But if you don't have a degree, how do you ever get ahead in life?"

I smiled. "I guess that depends on what you mean by 'get ahead'," I answered.

She laughed. "You never have a straight answer for anything, do you? It's always more questions!"

Amen. Always more questions!

If you want a degree so you can get ahead, you need to be asking yourself what 'get ahead' means, and whether that degree is really a means to get there. Or if, in fact, it's a huge debt to buy you some shaky academic credibility or a temporary ego boost. Or if you're just doing it because it's the thing to do, and you never questioned that assumption. But for goodness' sake, ask questions! Ask questions about everything! Question yourself and your motives, question your society and its motives, question everything! These are the 'examinations' that matter.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Pratchett on Friday

"The wind howled. Lightning stabbed at the earth erratically, like an inefficient assassin. Thunder rolled back and forth across the dark, rain-lashed hills....The storm was really giving it everything it had. This was its big chance. It had spent years hanging around the provinces, putting in some useful work as a squall, building up experience, making contacts, occasionally leaping out on unsuspecting shepherds or blasting quite small oak trees. Now an opening in the weather had given it an opportunity to strut its hour, and it was building up its role in the hope of being spotted by one of the big climates.

It was a good storm. There was quite effective projection and passion there, and critics agreed that if it would only learn to control its thunder it would be, in years to come, a storm to watch."

-Terry Pratchett, Wyrd Sisters

Thursday, March 17, 2011

St. Patrick's Day 2011

We're feeling that St. Patrick is perhaps not pulling his weight in the weather department. It's his Big Day, and we're barely inching up to 0C during the day, considerably colder than that at night. Here's Patch, tending the Lucky Shamrock Fire, with which we beseech the Blessed Green Man for some greenery. Even dandelion greens would do. Ahem.

I have chlorophyll envy. I trawl the netblogs, drooling over other people's quackgrass. So sad.

On the home front... well, what's not on the home front? I work and study at home, as well as all the standard home-stuff. There are small things, you know? Like a nicely folded stack of tea-towels. I don't know why this does what it does for me, but I love to see them like that, folded RIGHT (not WRONG, like some people fold them), especially when they're stacked on my pantry shelf waiting for me. In the midst of the general chaos of this place, it soothes my rumpled heart to see a small corner of order.

The physiology continues apace. A slow pace. My clients keep asking me when I'll be an acupuncturist, and I keep telling them what a very long story this will be. It's a three-year, full-time program, so at the rate I'm going, we're looking at another four years, for sure. Maybe five. But every single clinic day I'm chomping at that bit. People need it! It helps to heal injuries new and old, lets people sleep at night, modulates blood sugar and hot flashes, and... and... and... So I keep referring them out, and wishing I could provide it myself. Someday.

I'm terribly conflicted about where I'll set up my practice. Some days I know I need to stay here, and some days I know I need to be in the city. I like small communities, but I'm terribly lonely for opportunities to learn and be challenged. How do I meet both needs? I want it all!

Miss Mut (rhymes with "foot"). Puss. Pussle-sprouts. My totem cat. Torties have rather, erm, forceful personalities, and the Dear Children are constantly pointing out the similarities. Oh those Dear Children. Why do I let them sleep indoors?

Limes. It's St. Patrick's Day, and I wanted to celebrate a bit, so I found some limes at the Co-Op, and a lime-pie recipe on the internet. Just in case anyone doesn't know, lime pie isn't green. At all. (I was hoping it would at least be greenish, but sadly it was not to be.) But the taste is - ooooooh! Very green! But not in an Irish-y sort of way. More a Carribean green, a lovely, tart, drooly, Carribean green.

Forget supper - let's go straight for dessert!

And sweet little Maggie, perturbed. "What?" she says, "Do I look like blog-fodder?" Yup. Green eyes. Fair game today!