12.31.2008

what a year its been

It has been a blessed year. I know I've mentioned this a few times in the past few weeks, but I really feel very lucky right now. Not that there aren't things in my life that I would change, or that I hope to work on... there are! BUT I'm very happy with where I am, where Trav & I are, and feel that we are very blessed indeed.


In no particular order, 2008 has contained the following:

  • Elected the first non-WASP president!
  • Walked 60 miles for Breast Cancer... and over 500 miles preparing for it.
  • Travel to NY, Chattanooga, Cape Cod, Las Vegas, and Cabo San Lucas!
  • Got a new tattoo, my biggest yet.
  • Saw the musical, Spring Awakening and heard the Dalai Lama speak.
  • Paid off our Home Equity line and my car.
  • Killed my phone walking in a tropical storm.
  • A broken leg and one trip to the emergency room for stitches ( = a total of 6 stitches, 9 staples, 4 screws and 1 plate)! Lived with Willy for a week.
  • Ro's Pregnant!! And its a girl!!
  • Two weddings and a baptism.
  • Hosted a baby shower. And a holiday meal.
  • Attended a football game and a hockey game.
  • We said goodbye to Heath Ledger, Paul Newman, Bernie Mac, Charles Heston, Estelle Getty, George Carlin, Isaac Hayes, Roy Scheider, Bettie Paige, Michael Crichton, Bo Diddley, Sydney Pollack, and Yves Saint Laurent. Two of my friends also lost their fathers.
  • Redid the guest bedroom and our front flower bed.
  • Saw Philadelphia win a sports championship for the first time in 25 years! Attended the celebratory parade.
  • The Eagles make the playoffs!!
  • Found out we are getting a puppy, Daisy, in January!

I absolutely can't wait to see what 2009 holds for us.
There is a puppy, at least one wedding, at least one birth, and more travels to look forward too.

Babs and I were talking when she was down. For her, 2008 was a year of trials... she had a nasty breakup, financial strain, the loss of a job, and the disappointment of another job falling through. But for her 2009 will be a year of transition... most likely moving to California for 5 months for a new endevour, then to Seattle for about 3 years to start a Master's. Hopefully, this means a much brighter year... and the paving of the way for her to have great years to come.
For us, I think 2008 was a year of preperation. We worked to improve our debt situation (we now have only good depts!!) and update/upgrade our house into a home (still a work in progress, but one big project done). I think 2009 will be a year of family growth, and continuing improvements. Wish us luck. I'm excited for all thats in store.


As for actual plans. We're playing it low-key this year... just the two of us, relaxing at home. I'll watch the ball drop on TV (Trav might, or he might fall asleep!), and we'll find ourselves in the new year. I'm not making any resolutions either. I'm just going to continue to do my best to be the best me that I can. Have fun, be safe!

12.30.2008

i got...

a purple peacoat! :-) I'm so psyched to get to wear it. Now I just need a day warm enough to do so!

12.29.2008

holiday wrap up (long)

Christmas Eve Eve:
Exchanged gifts with Trav. We spoiled each other this year (more on that below).

Christmas Eve:
Woke up to my Babwa calling at 6:30ish in the a.m. to ask me for some help. Turns out she left a friend's place in Philly (she's here visiting for the holidays) at 1am the night before... just in time to get stuck in the traffic from a HUGE accident (about 30 cars involved! including a jack-knifed tracker trailer and a greyhound bus). And when I say stuck, I mean she was just starting to move when she called me, 5 hours later. Stuck. Needless to say, it had been a long night and she was tired, and she needed some help getting home since while 76 was now letting one lane of traffic through, 476 was still closed. And not being familiar with Philly area, she didn't know how else to get home. So I gave her a suggestion... and thankfully around 9:20 a.m., she arrived at home, safe. A 2 hour drive in 8 hours.
As for me. It was an icy mess when I left in the morning... but amazingly the trains were running on time. I headed in, did my thing for a bit, then left work around noon to head home. On my way, I picked up the dinner ham from Honeybaked. Once Trav got home, we headed to Willy's, where we helped him get ready... then relaxed with his fam, including the adorable baby Aiden.






(Side note: These pictures were taken by Trav's cousin's daughter, Leah. I completely forgot my camera... and I don't think I used it more then once this whole damn long weekend. Good job, Megan.)
We really had a nice time seeing everyone... Willy, his Aunt, two cousins and one husband, and their (combined total) 6 kids. After a very yummy meal, and some gifting, we headed up to my parents where we hung our stockings, relaxed, and watch the end of a White Christmas and a few holiday episodes of Monk. I was ready for bed by then, but ended up getting sucked into Silence of the Lambs and staying up to watch the end of it even after everyone else went to bed. Rang in Christmas, and hit the hay at 2.

Christmas:
I wanted to sleep in a bit more... but with Lady poking her nose at me (slept on the couch), the sun filling the downstairs with light, and Trav awake bright and early... well it was a bit difficult. Everyone was probably up by 8ish... and we got to the presents. (Pictures to come later... I have to wait to get them from my mom.) A Christmas Story was on in the background of course. A quiche type dish for breakfast, then some treats including some honeycomb I got us for something different. My mom made a Christmas Pudding (which is actually a steamed cake of sorts)... which I had never had before, it was yummy. We hung out for a bit and did an early dinner around 3 (mmm, turkey!) before heading home. Once home we watched some more X-files and lulled in a food coma until bed.

We were really blessed this holiday season. My parents got us a a DVD/VHS player/recorder... which is great since our VHS player just died recently, and our DVD player is on its last legs. They also got us a 6-month netflix subscription... which we are completely psyched for! We already have a queue of 40 movies!
Travis also got (from me): a big steel workbench, tickets to the flyers vs. penguins game in January, the Tales of Beetle the Bard (book), and a bunch of other odds and ends (including a chocolate bar with bacon!), (from everyone else): a home depot gift card, work pants, socks, a Wii Nun chuck, the original version of the Dawn of the Dead, some cash, and my brother gave us a trio of Monty Python dvds.
I got (from Trav): Season 2 of House, Seasons 4 & 5 of the X-files, Seasons 6 & 7 of Scrubs, the Charlie Brown holiday collection, a gift card to New York & Company, a new Wii game, (from everyone else): some new clothes, a bunch of books, Season 1 of Sex and the City, some cash, and Daisy's big water bowl.

We got for my family: (mom) some amethyst earrings and a lavender plant, (dad) Seasons 1 & 2 of Northern Exposure, and (Ethan) the full Monty Python's Flying Circus (16 dvds in all).

Friday was all laziness... and watching of the rest of Season 5 of the X-files. I need more already. ;-)

Saturday Trav set up his workbench... after two trips to Home Depot since the one I got him was missing a piece... and the one we exchanged that for was missing a piece AND all the screws!! But now that its actually together, he loves.
My Babs came that night. We shopped and I was able to use a holiday gift card to get a few fun tops. And I still have more gift cards to use up!!
We also watched the first of our netflix movies... The Dark Knight. Good movie... dark, sinister, action packed. Heath Ledger's Joker was amazing, sadistic, the perfect villan. We definitely enjoyed it. Next up... The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

Sunday we headed over to a town by Willy's to go to the Banana Republic. Trav and I both had a few items to exchange, and I found three more tops (one of which I'm wearing today). After that we headed to lunch, then back home to relax with Gracie (Babs' kittie) for a few hours before we drove her to the airport. It was so so nice to see my girl.
After that it was dinner with Ro & Pat. Where we exchanged gifts and got to see their newly set up nursery.

Now, its back to work. A quiet work though since half my office is out again. I'm really enjoying the quiet... it gives me time to ease back into the work week, and think about how wonderful the holidays turned out. I said it above, and I'll say it again... we really were blessed. Not just with "stuff" (though we were blessed thoroughly in that department as well), but with getting to be constantly surrounded by loving family and friends. With full bellies and warm comfortable beds. It was a great Christmas.

12.27.2008

yippee...

The Christmas fun continues... my lady Babwa is on her way to our house right now!!
In fact, I'm off to do some straightening before she gets here. But a real post on Monday with the full holiday wrap up. Hope your celebrations were great!

12.24.2008

have yourself a merry little christmas


Merry Christmas, y'all!

Here's to you and yours having the very best of holidays... full of all those things that matter: family & friends, love & feelings of charity for all. And food, lots of good food. :0)

Take a moment to remember those who are less fortunate, those without any of the above things... or those who are seperated from those they love (like our soliders overseas). Remembering those things always keeps me thankful for what I have.

I am truly blessed.
And this holiday, I hope you are too.



Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Let your heart be light
From now on,
our troubles will be out of sight

Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Make the Yule-tide gay,
From now on,
our troubles will be miles away.

Here we are as in olden days,
Happy golden days of yore.
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Gather near to us once more.

Through the years
We all will be together,
If the Fates allow
Hang a shining star upon the highest bough.
And have yourself A merry little Christmas now.

12.23.2008

meegs is watching you


Lol... sorry, that's all I've got for you today. Just wanted to let you know I'm here... and it is a good picture of my eye. ;-)

12.22.2008

half-hearted

With everything else on my mind this month, I feel like we've been very half-hearted about the babymaking. Just so much less time thinking about it then normal... its so far from my mind that I can't believe I'm at ovulation time already, but at the same time it feels like months since I've even thought about the mechanics of babymaking. I'm not sure how our timing is because while I got some pains last night that seem like they might have been ovulation pains, I've really had no other signs or symptoms. I'm just not sure (after a random two day stint of CM at the beginning of this cycle, i've ended up with less then usual). We've also had less sex this month then the past few. Not purposely, but that's just how its been. I'm not feeling very optimistic about this month... but I guess we'll see. ::crosses fingers::

oh the weather outside is frightful...

Happy Hanukkah!
Happy Winter (officially started yesterday you know)!

I can't believe Christmas is so close! Just three more days. :-) I was actually thinking last week that I wasn't sure if we would get a white Christmas this year or not. The weather has been so crazy... warm, then cold, snowing but it doesn't stick. Well, Saturday I drove up to my parent's place for a hair cut... and at first it was just the normal brown/gray landscape that you get this time of year. But then I saw this (ignore the crappy camera phone shots):

Which after a few more miles, turned into this:
Once I got up to Schnecksville, I realized that while maybe Philly won't have a white Christmas... we'll certainly get one up there!! Yay! :-)
When I got home, Trav had gone grocery shopping... and picked up a bag of cranberries. We'd never cooked with them before, but I guess he was inspired after watching the Iron Chef cranberry battle the night before! So he cooked a great london broil with a cranberry reduction on top:

What a great flavor combo!! The bite of the cranberry holds up nicely with the heavy meat.
And we drank champagne with a splash of cranberry juice and some whole cranberries:

And I ground up some whole cranberries with a ton of sugar, spread that inside and on top of some crescent rolls, which we then baked like normal:

Delish! It was sweet, and tart, and buttery (from the rolls themselves). A great, light treat... even Trav was wishing for more.

I also got to open another early Christmas gift... Season 5 of the X-files. We didn't watch the whole thing this weekend, but we definitely put a dent in it! :-)

Sunday I woke up with the intent of going walking with Ro. But instead we decided to hold off since some of that white, wintery look had come down our way in the form of freezing rain (winter certainly made its presence known)! Be careful what you with for... right?!
I did end up walking with Ro later... slowly and carefully!!

That might look like snow, but its not... just a layer of ice over everything!


Ro looks adorably like she's smuggling a basketball under her sweater:

The rest of the night was spent relaxing, watching football (boo Steelers, boo Eagles) and X-files, and eating some sugar cookies that Trav was baking when I got home. Not too shabby.

Now its back to work. My boss and his wife are away until the new year, on a big trip in Europe (a little jealous!)... so its quiet here. But I should get to it.

On more thing to leave you with before I go: Year in Pictures. I absolutely love when these come out... the pictures are amazing. Some are beautiful, some are devastating/sad, but all are incredible pictures. Check it out.

Okay, off I go!

12.19.2008

in the sun

So beautiful, I had to share:


Joseph Arthur - In The Sun Lyrics

I picture you in the sun wondering what went wrong
And falling down on your knees asking for sympathy
And being caught in between all you wish for and all you seen
And trying to find anything you can feel that you can believe in

May God's love be with you
Always
May God's love be with you

I know i would apologize if i could see your eyes
'Cause when you showed me myself i became someone else
But i was caught in between all you wish for and all you need
I picture you fast asleep
A nightmare comes
You can't keep awake

May God's love be with you
Always
May God's love be with you

'Cause if i find
If i find my own way
How much will i find
If i find
If i find my own way
How much will i find
You

I don't know anymore
What it's for
I'm not even sure
If there is anyone who is in the sun
Will you help me to understand
'Cause i been caught in between all I wish for and all I need
Maybe you're not even sure what it's for
Any more than me

May God's love be with you
Always
May God's love be with you

maru and charlie haper

This kills me:



Love it.
Apparently the cat's name is Maru... which I adore. If I ever got a cat, Maru would be a top name contender (along with Chairman Meow)... it would be top of the list even if we got another dog. Such a great name.

So its friday! I'm glad... its been a long week, full of long days. The holiday party/lunch was nice and broke up the day & week well (definitely something to be said for eating a great meal, with a nice glass of shiraz, and following it up with some vanilla cake and a piece of good chocolate... all in the middle of the work day!)... but I'm ready for some sleeping in and relaxing.

Travis treated me last night and let me open one of my Christmas presents (which I think had something to do with the fact that earlier that night he had teased me with a gift). I got some cozy new socks (which I needed) and a gift card for NY&Co. Yay! I'm eyeing up a pea coat... but am going to wait until post holiday, as I do have to follow my own rule about no buying stuff for yourself for at least a month before Christmas. Thanks love!!

I also got a sweet little somethingsomething from our office manager, whom I help out a lot. I've been thinking about something different to use that on. Specifically I've been looking at Charley Harper prints. I really like his stuff (all of it really!), this in particular:
I thought it would make a neat addition to the guest bedroom (though I think it might just be his book cover and not a print in and of itself... still, I'm not opposed to framing it!). I'll let you know what I find.

Now... back to work! Have a great weekend.

12.17.2008

seasons greetings

Today is our office holiday party. So in that spirit... today's post is about all things Christmas (right, how is that different from so many other posts lately?). First off, I was so very holiday productive yesterday (despite the AGAIN hour late train), with trips to two different shops I had $10 cards for, receiving and subsequent wrapping of the last two outstanding Christmas gifts*, and mailing of my contribution to a Ornament Secret Santa I'm participating in this year. I got a sweet gift from my work mommy, which I'm going to use towards items for Daisy (post-Christmas, lest I buy something that was already purchased). And now I'm going to share two things with you (the second thing is at the bottom)! First, our Christmas card this year (which hopefully everyone received by now):


It says: "Wishing you the happiest of holidays, all the joy of the season, and a bright new year! Lots of love, Travis & Megan"

I thought they turned out cute. Its fun to think that by this time next year we'll have a sweet puppy to put on that card... and maybe even a baby. Who knows!

Something else holiday on my mind (before I share something else with you). Christmas trees. I LOVE real trees. The smell, the family time spend picking out the perfect one... its all so great, and what memories! I would love to do a real tree with our kids. But, first well we need kids. And really, they need to be old enough to enjoy it. I doubt I can convince Trav to do all that work just for us in the meantime... so I was thinking a fake tree! There are some nice ones. Like this one (love the berries):

Ones with lights already on! Like this one:


What do you think? Do you think it would be worth it to get the fake tree now... use it for a few years, then pack it away, get real trees for a while, then when the kids are older (and maybe don't want to do the family tree picking thing) switch back to the fake? Of course, all this may be a non-issue if Daisy decides she wants to eat our live tree (like Kelly used to do). Plus there is the current space issue... as in, we don't have much. Ideas?

One last thing to share... this year I got the gift of one day of carbon neutrality!

Thanks to my being part of the 350 Challenge, I got this neat gift. AND I get to pass that gift on to 25 of you! Clicky, clicky... first come, first serve.

One Day from Brighter Planet

No better gift for the "greenie" in your life! :-) Nothing wrong with being a little crunchie during the holidays. Lol.

Okay back to work so that I can get all my stuff done before our holiday lunch!




PS. Need last minute gift items or stocking stuffers? Or just a big fan of Avon? A good friend of mine, Sebrina, has started selling to try and make a little bit of extra cash to help ends meet during this rough financial period. Hit up her shop for great Christmas sales!


* And now I just need to stop going online because I already bought two more little, stocking-stuffer type gifts today. Not to mention already starting a list of things I want for my birthday and things I'm totally going to buy Trav for his birthday (in case you forgot, those are 9 months and 6 months away, respectively). There is too much cool stuff out there, so I just need to stop looking. And thanks so much to those of you who have "holiday suggestions" posts. Really.

12.15.2008

weekend part two

See two posts below if you missed the first part of the weekend... including Trav and I looking fabu, thankyouverymuch. ;-)

Today I had a late start... with my train running 40 minutes late. I wasn't too worried about it though, I just cranked the music up in my car and spent the extra time singing along. Thank G*d for nice thick windows! Lol.
But anyway, I am here now! And I definitely want to share a few more pictures from the weekend. So I already wrote about Trav's Christmas party, and told you we were heading to the Flyers vs. Penguins game on Saturday. We ate so much free food. Between us we ate four hot dogs, three orders of nachos, a box of popcorn, two ice creams, and five sodas. ::pauses to clutch stomach:: I do have just two pictures to share, though they aren't of food...

(Like my new hat? Its a panda hat and was made by Lauren at Gigglepotamus, wife of Bill at PoopandBoogies... who has her own etsy shop... which is full of adorable things! Check her out! Stat!)

(Malkin is Trav's favorite player.)
I, of course, was happy since the Flyers kicked some ass. But we both had a great time since it was a good game. And we had a ton of free food.

Sunday was lazy! Though we did put up our outdoor Christmas lights. This isn't the best picture, but you at least get the idea:

We also headed over to see Ro & Pat for dinner... which was nice since we haven't see them in about two weeks. We are just too damn busy this time of year.

Here's Ro at 33 weeks. She's getting close. We were hanging out and talking... and GG was rolling around, kicking and moving like a champ. Ro let me feel her, which is still so crazy! I love it, although I like to tease her that its like something from one of the Alien movies!

Now its on to a new week... and I definitely have to get to work since I still have plenty to do, but less time to do it in. Ciao bambinos!

12.13.2008

all niced up

Sooo... the holiday party. Three of Trav's favorite people weren't there, which was a bummer. It was fine, but nothing super exciting. I have one little story about the evening:

I had to use the bathroom... I normally always hit the first stall (did you know the middle stall is normally most used, therefore dirtiest?), so in I go. I give the seat a quick wipe with toilet paper, pull down my pretty black undies, and back my ass up. Once I'm comfortably seated and peeing, I look to my right and rip off some toilet paper for when I'm done, look to my left and HOLY CRAP there is a big old gap between the wall and the end of the metal stall wall... directly in line with my body, sitting on the pot. If someone were washing their hands at the moment, we probably would have had an awkward eye contact moment because this was no small gap. Not to mention, they would have had a front seat view of my unmentionables! I have never peed faster in my life.

And that folks, was just about the most exciting part of the evening. Well, that and winning a door prize.

We did get gussied up though, and I think we looked damn good.



What do you think?

Today is the hockey game... and as I have a million pictures of hockey games, I probably won't really take any today (unless something big/exciting/different happens). But I might just take a dozen pictures of all the free food we'll be consuming! Trav got some kind of special ticket where you get to eat free. Watch out food stand guy, here I come.

12.12.2008

Daisy

So... uh, apparently there was a little brotherly miscommunication... because we just got pictures of Daisy, and she is very not yellow:

But she is damn cute!! Lol. So we now have a Black Lab named Daisy. :-)

Here she is with her brothers and sisters (held by my BIL's stepkids):

He says that she is the sweetest of the bunch, and we are even more excited to meet her now. Approximately 50 days to go!

Otherwise, not much to report. The boss is out today, so it will be a quiet day at work. Then tonight is Trav's work holiday party, which I'm a little nervous about since I'm having one of those very self conscious times and am not excited about getting gussied up. I know it will be fun once we're there though. Tomorrow is the hockey game. Go Flyers! :-) Sunday we'll see Ro & Pat for dinner. I can't wait to see how she's grown, since we didn't see them last weekend.

Now, back to work!

12.11.2008

that time of year

Yesterday I realized that its definitely that time of year again... no, not the holiday time, but the time when I start to hate my job. I was feeling very overwhelmed, and unappreciated. Yet another project came up, where it wasn't realized until after we were committed how much extra effort would be required, and guess who got it dumped in their lap? Yup. So I was feeling very put-upon and like I was floundering.

But instead of freaking out... I decided to make the best of it. I stayed at work until about 7pm last night - finished two projects that had been dragging along, completely emptied my email, and set up everything I would need for the new project so that when all the stuff starts coming in for it (probably next week) I would be as ready as possible. I'm feeling much more positive about it all today. Still a bit annoyed with the situation in general, but most of the job-loathing has disappated. (Not to say that if we came into some money I wouldn't be out of here so fast as to make they're heads spin, or that I wouldn't be all over the opportunity to go back to school if I could, but...)

As an aside... I think I could change my hours from 9-5 to 3-7, and get just as much work done. I'm so much more productive in the later hours, and specifically in those hours after most everyone else has gone home. I guess I just need the quiet, alone time to really get going. Somehow I don't think that will fly though!

Okay, back to it for me... still plenty to work on. I'm so glad tomorrow is Friday.

12.10.2008

good things

Things that make me make completely inappropriate happy noises at my desk at work:

- big hunks of mozzarella smothered in pesto.

- chocolate covered candy oranges from the new (amazing) chocolate shop.



Things that otherwise make me happy:

- 60* days in December!

- Mandarin Orange Green Tea

- having all of my Christmas shopping done (minus a few odds and ends for Trav's stocking)

12.09.2008

what i'm doing different

I have been drinking green tea everyday this cycle, and I'm going to try and keep that up until my suspected 'O'... that's supposed to help increase cervical mucus (ew), the lovely stuff which gets the spermies where they are supposed to go.

A few days after I 'O' I'm going to try and get some fresh pineapple for a week-ish... which is supposed to help with implantation.

Of course I'm still taking my multivitamin, plus folic acid supplement, plus B6 supplement.

Not that this will be the thing that "does it". If we do or don't get pregnant this month it doesn't mean that this did or didn't have an effect... I just figure, why not? If these little things - natural things - may help, why not do that little bit extra.

I'm almost done with my period, so about 10 days and I'll start obsessing over 'O' signs. Wish me luck.

good

My boy is good. My boy and I are good. And after developing quite the headache yesterday afternoon/evening, I'm feeling good today. I had the strangest dream last night... with Edward Cullen (from Twilight), my ex-boyfriend Jason, Scully (from the X-files), and my dad. There was all sorts of funny/odd imagery... and frankly, it was weird!

Now its on to another day.

I have an article I want to share... its long, but I think its really well written and a great read. Not to mention, right on!

Our Mutual Joy
Opponents of gay marriage often cite Scripture. But what the Bible teaches about love argues for the other side.

Lisa Miller
NEWSWEEK
From the magazine issue dated Dec 15, 2008

Let's try for a minute to take the religious conservatives at their word and define marriage as the Bible does. Shall we look to Abraham, the great patriarch, who slept with his servant when he discovered his beloved wife Sarah was infertile? Or to Jacob, who fathered children with four different women (two sisters and their servants)? Abraham, Jacob, David, Solomon and the kings of Judah and Israel—all these fathers and heroes were polygamists. The New Testament model of marriage is hardly better. Jesus himself was single and preached an indifference to earthly attachments—especially family. The apostle Paul (also single) regarded marriage as an act of last resort for those unable to contain their animal lust. "It is better to marry than to burn with passion," says the apostle, in one of the most lukewarm endorsements of a treasured institution ever uttered. Would any contemporary heterosexual married couple—who likely woke up on their wedding day harboring some optimistic and newfangled ideas about gender equality and romantic love—turn to the Bible as a how-to script?

Of course not, yet the religious opponents of gay marriage would have it be so.

The battle over gay marriage has been waged for more than a decade, but within the last six months—since California legalized gay marriage and then, with a ballot initiative in November, amended its Constitution to prohibit it—the debate has grown into a full-scale war, with religious-rhetoric slinging to match. Not since 1860, when the country's pulpits were full of preachers pronouncing on slavery, pro and con, has one of our basic social (and economic) institutions been so subject to biblical scrutiny. But whereas in the Civil War the traditionalists had their James Henley Thornwell—and the advocates for change, their Henry Ward Beecher—this time the sides are unevenly matched. All the religious rhetoric, it seems, has been on the side of the gay-marriage opponents, who use Scripture as the foundation for their objections.

The argument goes something like this statement, which the Rev. Richard A. Hunter, a United Methodist minister, gave to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in June: "The Bible and Jesus define marriage as between one man and one woman. The church cannot condone or bless same-sex marriages because this stands in opposition to Scripture and our tradition."

To which there are two obvious responses: First, while the Bible and Jesus say many important things about love and family, neither explicitly defines marriage as between one man and one woman. And second, as the examples above illustrate, no sensible modern person wants marriage—theirs or anyone else's —to look in its particulars anything like what the Bible describes. "Marriage" in America refers to two separate things, a religious institution and a civil one, though it is most often enacted as a messy conflation of the two. As a civil institution, marriage offers practical benefits to both partners: contractual rights having to do with taxes; insurance; the care and custody of children; visitation rights; and inheritance. As a religious institution, marriage offers something else: a commitment of both partners before God to love, honor and cherish each other—in sickness and in health, for richer and poorer—in accordance with God's will. In a religious marriage, two people promise to take care of each other, profoundly, the way they believe God cares for them. Biblical literalists will disagree, but the Bible is a living document, powerful for more than 2,000 years because its truths speak to us even as we change through history. In that light, Scripture gives us no good reason why gays and lesbians should not be (civilly and religiously) married—and a number of excellent reasons why they should.

In the Old Testament, the concept of family is fundamental, but examples of what social conservatives would call "the traditional family" are scarcely to be found. Marriage was critical to the passing along of tradition and history, as well as to maintaining the Jews' precious and fragile monotheism. But as the Barnard University Bible scholar Alan Segal puts it, the arrangement was between "one man and as many women as he could pay for." Social conservatives point to Adam and Eve as evidence for their one man, one woman argument—in particular, this verse from Genesis: "Therefore shall a man leave his mother and father, and shall cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh." But as Segal says, if you believe that the Bible was written by men and not handed down in its leather bindings by God, then that verse was written by people for whom polygamy was the way of the world. (The fact that homosexual couples cannot procreate has also been raised as a biblical objection, for didn't God say, "Be fruitful and multiply"? But the Bible authors could never have imagined the brave new world of international adoption and assisted reproductive technology—and besides, heterosexuals who are infertile or past the age of reproducing get married all the time.)

Ozzie and Harriet are nowhere in the New Testament either. The biblical Jesus was—in spite of recent efforts of novelists to paint him otherwise—emphatically unmarried. He preached a radical kind of family, a caring community of believers, whose bond in God superseded all blood ties. Leave your families and follow me, Jesus says in the gospels. There will be no marriage in heaven, he says in Matthew. Jesus never mentions homosexuality, but he roundly condemns divorce (leaving a loophole in some cases for the husbands of unfaithful women).

The apostle Paul echoed the Christian Lord's lack of interest in matters of the flesh. For him, celibacy was the Christian ideal, but family stability was the best alternative. Marry if you must, he told his audiences, but do not get divorced. "To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): a wife must not separate from her husband." It probably goes without saying that the phrase "gay marriage" does not appear in the Bible at all.

If the bible doesn't give abundant examples of traditional marriage, then what are the gay-marriage opponents really exercised about? Well, homosexuality, of course—specifically sex between men. Sex between women has never, even in biblical times, raised as much ire. In its entry on "Homosexual Practices," the Anchor Bible Dictionary notes that nowhere in the Bible do its authors refer to sex between women, "possibly because it did not result in true physical 'union' (by male entry)." The Bible does condemn gay male sex in a handful of passages. Twice Leviticus refers to sex between men as "an abomination" (King James version), but these are throwaway lines in a peculiar text given over to codes for living in the ancient Jewish world, a text that devotes verse after verse to treatments for leprosy, cleanliness rituals for menstruating women and the correct way to sacrifice a goat—or a lamb or a turtle dove. Most of us no longer heed Leviticus on haircuts or blood sacrifices; our modern understanding of the world has surpassed its prescriptions. Why would we regard its condemnation of homosexuality with more seriousness than we regard its advice, which is far lengthier, on the best price to pay for a slave?

Paul was tough on homosexuality, though recently progressive scholars have argued that his condemnation of men who "were inflamed with lust for one another" (which he calls "a perversion") is really a critique of the worst kind of wickedness: self-delusion, violence, promiscuity and debauchery. In his book "The Arrogance of Nations," the scholar Neil Elliott argues that Paul is referring in this famous passage to the depravity of the Roman emperors, the craven habits of Nero and Caligula, a reference his audience would have grasped instantly. "Paul is not talking about what we call homosexuality at all," Elliott says. "He's talking about a certain group of people who have done everything in this list. We're not dealing with anything like gay love or gay marriage. We're talking about really, really violent people who meet their end and are judged by God." In any case, one might add, Paul argued more strenuously against divorce—and at least half of the Christians in America disregard that teaching.

Religious objections to gay marriage are rooted not in the Bible at all, then, but in custom and tradition (and, to talk turkey for a minute, a personal discomfort with gay sex that transcends theological argument). Common prayers and rituals reflect our common practice: the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer describes the participants in a marriage as "the man and the woman." But common practice changes—and for the better, as the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. said, "The arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice." The Bible endorses slavery, a practice that Americans now universally consider shameful and barbaric. It recommends the death penalty for adulterers (and in Leviticus, for men who have sex with men, for that matter). It provides conceptual shelter for anti-Semites. A mature view of scriptural authority requires us, as we have in the past, to move beyond literalism. The Bible was written for a world so unlike our own, it's impossible to apply its rules, at face value, to ours.

Marriage, specifically, has evolved so as to be unrecognizable to the wives of Abraham and Jacob. Monogamy became the norm in the Christian world in the sixth century; husbands' frequent enjoyment of mistresses and prostitutes became taboo by the beginning of the 20th. (In the NEWSWEEK POLL, 55 percent of respondents said that married heterosexuals who have sex with someone other than their spouses are more morally objectionable than a gay couple in a committed sexual relationship.) By the mid-19th century, U.S. courts were siding with wives who were the victims of domestic violence, and by the 1970s most states had gotten rid of their "head and master" laws, which gave husbands the right to decide where a family would live and whether a wife would be able to take a job. Today's vision of marriage as a union of equal partners, joined in a relationship both romantic and pragmatic, is, by very recent standards, radical, says Stephanie Coontz, author of "Marriage, a History."

Religious wedding ceremonies have already changed to reflect new conceptions of marriage. Remember when we used to say "man and wife" instead of "husband and wife"? Remember when we stopped using the word "obey"? Even Miss Manners, the voice of tradition and reason, approved in 1997 of that change. "It seems," she wrote, "that dropping 'obey' was a sensible editing of a service that made assumptions about marriage that the society no longer holds."

We cannot look to the Bible as a marriage manual, but we can read it for universal truths as we struggle toward a more just future. The Bible offers inspiration and warning on the subjects of love, marriage, family and community. It speaks eloquently of the crucial role of families in a fair society and the risks we incur to ourselves and our children should we cease trying to bind ourselves together in loving pairs. Gay men like to point to the story of passionate King David and his friend Jonathan, with whom he was "one spirit" and whom he "loved as he loved himself." Conservatives say this is a story about a platonic friendship, but it is also a story about two men who stand up for each other in turbulent times, through violent war and the disapproval of a powerful parent. David rends his clothes at Jonathan's death and, in grieving, writes a song:

I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother;
You were very dear to me.
Your love for me was wonderful,
More wonderful than that of women.

Here, the Bible praises enduring love between men. What Jonathan and David did or did not do in privacy is perhaps best left to history and our own imaginations.

In addition to its praise of friendship and its condemnation of divorce, the Bible gives many examples of marriages that defy convention yet benefit the greater community. The Torah discouraged the ancient Hebrews from marrying outside the tribe, yet Moses himself is married to a foreigner, Zipporah. Queen Esther is married to a non-Jew and, according to legend, saves the Jewish people. Rabbi Arthur Waskow, of the Shalom Center in Philadelphia, believes that Judaism thrives through diversity and inclusion. "I don't think Judaism should or ought to want to leave any portion of the human population outside the religious process," he says. "We should not want to leave [homosexuals] outside the sacred tent." The marriage of Joseph and Mary is also unorthodox (to say the least), a case of an unconventional arrangement accepted by society for the common good. The boy needed two human parents, after all.

In the Christian story, the message of acceptance for all is codified. Jesus reaches out to everyone, especially those on the margins, and brings the whole Christian community into his embrace. The Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest and author, cites the story of Jesus revealing himself to the woman at the well— no matter that she had five former husbands and a current boyfriend—as evidence of Christ's all-encompassing love. The great Bible scholar Walter Brueggemann, emeritus professor at Columbia Theological Seminary, quotes the apostle Paul when he looks for biblical support of gay marriage: "There is neither Greek nor Jew, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Jesus Christ." The religious argument for gay marriage, he adds, "is not generally made with reference to particular texts, but with the general conviction that the Bible is bent toward inclusiveness."

The practice of inclusion, even in defiance of social convention, the reaching out to outcasts, the emphasis on togetherness and community over and against chaos, depravity, indifference—all these biblical values argue for gay marriage. If one is for racial equality and the common nature of humanity, then the values of stability, monogamy and family necessarily follow. Terry Davis is the pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Hartford, Conn., and has been presiding over "holy unions" since 1992. "I'm against promiscuity—love ought to be expressed in committed relationships, not through casual sex, and I think the church should recognize the validity of committed same-sex relationships," he says.

Still, very few Jewish or Christian denominations do officially endorse gay marriage, even in the states where it is legal. The practice varies by region, by church or synagogue, even by cleric. More progressive denominations—the United Church of Christ, for example—have agreed to support gay marriage. Other denominations and dioceses will do "holy union" or "blessing" ceremonies, but shy away from the word "marriage" because it is politically explosive. So the frustrating, semantic question remains: should gay people be married in the same, sacramental sense that straight people are? I would argue that they should. If we are all God's children, made in his likeness and image, then to deny access to any sacrament based on sexuality is exactly the same thing as denying it based on skin color—and no serious (or even semiserious) person would argue that. People get married "for their mutual joy," explains the Rev. Chloe Breyer, executive director of the Interfaith Center in New York, quoting the Episcopal marriage ceremony. That's what religious people do: care for each other in spite of difficulty, she adds. In marriage, couples grow closer to God: "Being with one another in community is how you love God. That's what marriage is about."

More basic than theology, though, is human need. We want, as Abraham did, to grow old surrounded by friends and family and to be buried at last peacefully among them. We want, as Jesus taught, to love one another for our own good—and, not to be too grandiose about it, for the good of the world. We want our children to grow up in stable homes. What happens in the bedroom, really, has nothing to do with any of this. My friend the priest James Martin says his favorite Scripture relating to the question of homosexuality is Psalm 139, a song that praises the beauty and imperfection in all of us and that glorifies God's knowledge of our most secret selves: "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made." And then he adds that in his heart he believes that if Jesus were alive today, he would reach out especially to the gays and lesbians among us, for "Jesus does not want people to be lonely and sad." Let the priest's prayer be our own.

With Sarah Ball and Anne Underwood


Okay, off to work for me! Have a good one!

12.08.2008

its beginning to look a lot like christmas

This weekend was all about the holiday season.
Friday I made the perfect holiday brownies... Peppermint Cloud Brownies.

[Picture was here, but disappeared... I'll add it again later.]
So freakin good. You whip up some brownies (feel free to use boxed... I did!). Pop them in the oven and bake until about 8 minutes before they are supposed to be done. Pull them out and top with marshmallows (I suggest the mini ones, for better coverage... but we only had the big ones at the moment). Pop back in the oven until brownies are done and marshmallows are gooey. Pull out and sprinkle with crushed peppermints. Let cool and enjoy.

They are so damn good... and Friday night I was happy to enjoy mine with a glass of nice wine.


Saturday we headed up to my hometown area to watch my brother play Scrooge in the High School's telling of A Christmas Carol.

These aren't the best pictures since I couldn't use flash, and was just holding the camera (no tripod). Plus sometimes they used red lighting... but you can at least get the idea!







We went to the matinee (though originally we were going to attend the closing night performance), since my grandparents were coming to the matinee.

They're so cute and it was good to see them.

My bro was a great Scrooge... I was very proud.

And I had to put this one in too... my papita in his holiday apparel.


I also have one video to share. From when Marley comes to warn Scrooge. Marley was played by my brother's good friend Corey.

video


On our way home it started snowing... not too heavy so that it was bad to drive in... just these little tiny flakes that made everything look a little misty. It stuck just enough to make this pretty powdered sugar coating on everything but the roads (though it was pretty much all gone the next day). We stopped at the Pearl on our way home for a nice dinner.

Sunday we pulled out our decorations...


... and wrapped presents. Our little tree actually has lights on it now, and a pile of presents underneath. And I did all this while watching the first four of the Harry Potters! :-) Good times. Christmas cards are going out today. Babs and Ethan's gifts are bought (just my grandparents left). We just have to put up our porch lights over the garland which is already up (it was way too damn cold to do it yesterday, but maybe tomorrow night... its supposed to be warmer then), and we'll be good to go! I really do love this time of year.

I'm wearing my biggest, snuggliest sweater today because baby its cold outside! I probably look like the freakin marshmallow man (it really is big on me)... but its totally worth it, because it keeps me cozy. I'm feeling off this morning. It was a great weekend, but last night ended on a morose note. I have two good friends from high school who are both having a hard time right now with money, jobs, family, living arrangements, etc. They just can't seem to catch a break and it makes me so sad for them, and I just wish I could do something since they both deserve so much more. Also my boy had an interesting evening last night, which on top of feeling bummed for my ladies, well it just left me feeling blah. This morning is a lot better... my boy sent me an email, we're going to talk tonight, and hopefully we'll get somewhere because he has been off lately which really gets to me.

Anyway, this post has turned into a bit of a bummer... which I didn't want because the weekend really was good, and I really do love this time of year. But where else do I get it out if not here?

Okay, I'm off to make some spagetti-Os for brunch, and get a ton of work done. Ta-ta.

12.05.2008

feeling better

I'm feeling so much better today. Rested, no headache, and hell yes... its friday.

Its been a long week for a number of reasons. At the beginning it was mostly because of coming back to work after a week off... actually having to get up at 7am again, plus playing catch up. By the end of the week it had morphed into something different... something I'm not really talking about at the moment, but which I wrote a whole other post about, that will be published... well, later.

I know, that whole paragraph was a bit useless... could I say more without saying anything at all?

Really all I'm getting at is that I'm so glad its almost the weekend. I need a weekend. And this should be a good one. Tonight I'm going to start it off right with a batch of brownies... probably topped with marshmallows and, if I remember to pick them up, crushed peppermints. Mmm... perfect holiday treat. Tomorrow is Ethan's play. And Sunday maybe we'll do some holiday decorating! I'm excited just thinking about it all. Hope your weekend relaxing!

its weird

TTC is a funny beast. It can become very consuming. You're thinking about your body all the time and what its doing... to determine ovulation timing, to look for those elusive pregnancy symptoms, to wait for your period. It drags you up and down, elates you and tires you out all the same. And the worst bit, catching up with friends and not knowing what to say because the very thing that occupies your thoughts for about 12 out of the 24 hours in a day, is the very thing that you're not really talking about. Who wants the extra pressure of everyone knowing? Plus you'd basically be talking about your and your husbands sex life.


So you don't talk about it... and I end up saying things like, "Yeah... life is good! We just finished redoing a room, and work takes up our time. ::pause to think about ttc:: And uh, we've been watching a lot of movies." Riviting (and by riviting, I mean completely lame).


But how would I even talk about it if I did decide to share. How do you discuss something that is so consuming, but where still - really - your biggest news is that you aren't knocked up. Funny, funny beast.


I just can't wait until I am pregnant... and then I still won't be able to talk about it for three months, but during those three months I'll have a living thing inside me! I can already see myself struggling not to explode! :-)

12.04.2008

cycle 3

Hopefully 3rd time will be the charm for us.

I had a bit of a rough morning (see my other post), but I'm lucky to have the sweetest, most caring husband. He sent me this email:



Hey,

Just so you know. I have been thinking about our decision* lately and have been getting more & more excited.

We knew when we started that sometimes it can take some time so just hang in there…


Love You!!!
Hubbie

XOXOXOXO


What a great guy!


I was trying not to be too upset about it anyway... and really, I had let go of hope when I got the bfn a few days ago... but it was a rough morning of just not feeling well physically, which just makes everything worse emotionally too. Its good that I have someone who can make me smile no matter what.


I am a lucky girl. And I'm ready to approach cycle 3 with a fresh face and postive attitude.




* "our decision" is obviously to TTC... being careful, since he was writing from his work address

ugh.

I had a very odd dream about Ro's baby last night. More specifically, about her birth. It was weird with Ro & Pat, myself, my mom, Dr. House (from TV, not a real doctor), and Holland Taylor there as a midwife. We were all in a huge birthing tub together... one the size of a pool. Then we all just left Ro alone to go play a song (everyone played a different instrument). When I went to check on Ro, she was laying on a bed, delivering the baby herself. GG was adorable with a full head of thick, dark hair. Odd dream.
Then I woke up this morning with my period and a raging headache. What a way to start the day. Ugh. At least if I get a headache in the evening, I know that I can head to bed and wake up feeling better... but to wake up with one, its just a crappy way to start the day (hey, in 12 hours I get to go to sleep.). And my period, well that's just never fun!! At least tomorrow is friday. I'm so ready for this weekend.

Anyway, to distract myself this morning I whipped up a cute birthday ticker for Daisy!


:-) It's the little things, right? I'm so looking forward to our Christmas card from Trav's brother as he promised us pictures! Can't wait.

Okay, back to work time... I have to go help my coworker rearrange our mail/copier room as we are getting two new copiers today. It's fun being the work "muscle". ::sigh::



Edited to add: And now, i'm sneezing. A lot. Because everything we moved was coated in a fine layer of dust. Yuck.

12.03.2008

festive


My office building is festive...
(crappy phone camera shot, sorry)