Tuesday, November 26, 2002

Another blog about feminism, Catholicism, and womanhood.
I was Catholic before I was a feminist, but I hold both of those identities closely. I have been plagued by apparent conflicts between the two and have had difficulty resolving them. One of many issue that seems to conflict is the two ideologies' respective stands on abortion. The litmus test for feminism has become one's stand on that particular issue--not capital punishment, the environment, female genital mutilation, shaved armpits or life partners. Abortion.
I felt like I was betraying part of myself with trying to be both a good Catholic and a good feminist. I "compromised" for a while, telling myself I was pro-choice but I knew it was the wrong choice for me. I felt like I was sitting on the fence. I've since realized that while it's my body that has the uterus, it is someone else's body growing in that uterus from the moment of conception. That individual and I do not share the same DNA, circulatory system, or even necessarily eye color. Madeleine taught me that. The fact that I am now carrying a son drives it home even more clearly.
I read somewhere a writer saying that the feminist movement has been hijacked, though I don't remember by whom to where. Whether it was Betty Freidan, Gloria Steinem, Camille Paglia or Andrea Dworkin, I agree with the sentiment. I know I wasn't there when the movement started back in the 1800's and the conference at Seneca Falls, but I don't think one of the planks in the platform was a "right to abortion." I believe the concerns were more toward the idea of recognizing the importance of women, that we are equally as important as men. A native American (I think) proverb is "Women hold up half the sky." We do.
Which brings me to another issue where the feminism and Catholicism seem to collide, the ordination of women. Let me say first that I realize that women cannot be priests for reasons akin to why men can't be wet nurses. The biology just isn't there.
Oh, yes, I know that sounds kind of weak to some; women can't be priests because Jesus was a man. How lame. The priest is acting in persona Christi and Jesus was a man. While God is both/neither (actually, beyond all of that gender stuff, right?), Jesus had to be one or the other to become God Incarnate. If He had been both somehow, He would have been some kind of freak of nature and ostracized. If He had come as a woman, He wouldn't have been crucified; He would have been ignored.
So I'm a Catholic. How quaint and patriarchal; women can't be ordained, etc. Okay. Do Muslims have religious sisters? Wrong choice; Santa's list is shorter than that of the violations Islamic extremists make with respect to women. Are there Buddhist nuns? I think so. Do they have as many jobs and as much recognition as Catholic religious? I know of nuns who are teachers, nurses, counselors, therapists, and administrators, to name a few. I know a multitude of Protestant churches have female ministers, such as the Anglicans, but with paragons of Christian discipleship as Bishop Spong, I question whether some of them have more than a nodding acquaintance with what Jesus did and said.
That was a cheap shot; I'm sorry in advance.
Back to my point. I think the feminist movement originated to fight for the rights of women and for them to receive equal respect in society for whatever choices they make, not to make women the same as men. Just equally important. One of my dearest prayers is that when my son is born, I can finally stay home and be a full-time mother. My worth as a person should not change; the value of my opinion, the importance of my contribution to family and society as a whole should not diminish.
That is what feminism should fight for. Maintaining the value of womanhood whether the woman is in the board room or the living room, administrating or nursing, writing legal briefs or changing poopy diapers.

Monday, November 25, 2002

I don't know which bothers me more, when she's upset or when she's not.
Usually, Dale drops her off at her aunt Misty's house for the day. I believe it's no less painful for him to say good-bye there than it is for me, but he spares me the anguish each morning. Except on rare occasions, like when he's hunting or has to be somewhere two hours away by 8 AM. Like today.
So, I get the precious one to her aunt's house with minor trauma (the car took some convincing to start). She had fallen asleep on the 10-minute car ride--par for the course since she'd been up since 5:15. I could barely get her coat off before she was racing around, pointing out the TV, going into the toy room, greeting her adoring subjects. I was lucky enough to be along the route to get a kiss good-bye.
A few months ago, I had the duty of dropping her off and she wouldn't let go of my jacket, wailing like she was being abandoned to the care of wolves.
Both times I was a little choked up walking out to the car.

Thursday, November 21, 2002

My 8th grade French class is taking a test right now. I overheard this conversation as I was passing them out.
"Joe, were you just praying?" said Scott.
"Yes, I was," said Joe defensively. It must have been a quick one as I hadn't noticed.
I interjected, "I saw a bumper sticker once that said, 'As long as there are tests, there will be prayer in schools.'" Joe smiled at that. I did also tell him that I can think of a lot worse things to do right before a test.

I think I might call home this afternoon, with a compliment for Mom.

Monday, November 18, 2002

I get all kinds of things running around in my head to blog when I'm driving, but it goes *poof* when I have the time to sit down. At least it keeps me from too many tangential threads.
I've started saying a rosary every morning on my way in to work. It started last month (coincidentally, the Month of the Rosary) with all of the Washington sniper coverage. I feel for those folks living in terror; unfortunately, there wasn't much I could do about it. I decided instead to say a rosary and I felt much better and now it's a habit. I've read recently that 2003 is going to be the Year of the Rosary, so I'm ahead of the game.
For those of you reading the other blog as well, Dale's hunting streak continues. I'll let him tell about his brother's experience this year. I'll give away this much--his streak continues, too.
My mother-in-law is visiting us. Her primary reason is to see her granddaughter, something I can entirely understand. What it means to me is, Maddie doesn't need to be dressed and bundled out to the car in the morning. I don't have to worry about getting her picked up by a certain time (not that Misty is that fussy, but I don't want to take advantage). Dinner is going to be prepared by someone else and dollars to doughnuts the dishes that were sitting near the sink will have been washed when I get home.
I love my mother-in-law.
Oh, as of last check I've gotten a couple of emails of advice on what to do when/if the kids ask about our observance (or lack thereof) of our faith before they came around. Sincere thanks to you. I'm reminded of a friend of mine from college whose birthday is in mid-February. His parents' anniversary is in late June the year earlier--you count it out. He was around 19 when he asked his mom, "When were you going to tell me?"
His mother said, "Bill, we kind of assumed you would figure it out."
Let the record show he is the oldest of six or seven (don't recall which).
Anyway. I'm caffeinated this morning (only one cup--even that is rare) so the mind is going rapidly around in circles. I hope it straightens out and calms down by bedtime.

Monday, November 11, 2002

Heather: Score one for Daddy.

As our regular readership knows, Maddie was diagnosed with an ear infection on Halloween. At about 3 AM. We were dutifully administering her amoxicillin, twice daily as prescribed. She HATES it. Last week Misty emailed me to let me know Maddie's temp was up to 101.7, she'd given her some of the stuff we had in the diaper bag, and I might want to get there as soon as possible. As it was after 3 when she told me, I was already on my way out and this just provided extra impetus.
Anyway, she had been still acting funny, too. Not sleeping terribly well, Friday night notwithstanding. Insisting on falling asleep on her stomach and waking when rolled to her side or back so I could lay her in the crib. Not pulling on her ears, though, and generally being her happy self when awake.
It was this inconsistent sleeping pattern that made me unsure, but Dale had little doubt. "I don't think the amoxicillin is working like it's supposed to. I'll make an appointment and take her in Monday, when I'm off," he stated. Ah, those federal holidays.
He was right. The PA at the doc's office this afternoon just took a look in those little shell-like ears and said, "Yep, it's the left one." I knew enough to announce, "You were right." I like it best when one of us is right and the other doesn't have to be wrong, like this example.
No matter how little she seems to want him sometimes, or to prefer Mommy or even a can of creamed corn, I hope he realizes that he still knows his daughter. Parenting is the least appreciated job in the universe by those who benefit the most from it: the kids. Not just motherhood, but fatherhood too. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Dale is a wonderful, caring, involved, attentive father.

We went from the doc's to the Sears portrait studio where we got Christmas pictures taken.

Saturday, November 09, 2002


Last night was peaceful. Neither of us felt like cooking, so I went to the local pizzeria/other food place and picked up their cod dinner for two. We still have plenty of fish for today, too. I also rented two DVDs: "A Beautiful Mind" and "The Tao of Steve." I've been avoiding the first because of the factual controversy surrounding the adaptation, but figured it was probably worth seeing as a story, regardless of the liberties taken. Plus, I've been deterred by the fact I'm still ticked that it knocked off "Lord of the Rings" for Best Picture. The second one is an indie romantic comedy starring a chubby philosopher-type who imitates the cool of Steve McQueen and is somehow popular with the ladies. Having been this type of guy (without that whole "popular with the ladies" thing), it has to be more fantasy than romantic comedy. As is frequently the case, we didn't watch either, of course--too tired, and we wanted to get some actual sleep. We were down by 10pm. Fortunately, both are due back Wednesday, so we should be able watch one or both by then.

Off to a good start this morning. Maddie slept from just around 9pm to 5am, and after a couple minutes, went back to sleep until after 6:30. This meant that everybody got enough sleep last night. Maddie woke up like she always does, vaguely irritated, then chirpily happy. She lurched over toward me, and I tried to explain to her the concept and importance of personal space. She found this very amusing, making a noise that could easily have passed for "Really?" and got closer, so much so that my entire field of vision consisted of a six-toothed grinning toddler head.

Maddie's vocabulary is improving. She can now name the least useless of our two cats, slap-petting "Mah-ee," straining the very frayed, but still quietly-suffering, patience of the cat. I expect Molly to relocate to the top of the bookshelves permanently within the month. Won't that make dusting the shelves a much more disturbing proposition. Maddie can also consistently identify "bay" (bear) and "bahb" (SpongeBob). She also knows how to give kisses now, and retrieves identified objects consistently. Every day something different, and it's amazing to watch.

We have a day filled with important, but mostly optional chores, which has Heather in a good mood. Christmas shopping, a haircut, dropping the AC unit off at my brother in law's. Then there's the stop for confession, but that's more my chore. Then, hopefully, the Wolverines will end the pretensions of the Golden Gophers this evening. Match this with a sunny fall day in the 60s, and it ought to be a good one (he says, painting a bullseye on his torso).

Tuesday, November 05, 2002

This is kind of a personal edition, here, and I'm looking for advice.
Regular readers know that for a number of years I had a nodding acquaintance with my faith. I knew the Church's stand on things (abortion, contraception, etc.) but didn't really live by it. I was considering finding another faith there for a while though I didn't know where, really, to go. I suppose this lack of leadership by anyone else left me where I was, so I could find my way back.
Anyway. During those years I did some things... Nothing that I THINK would get me excommunicated, and I have been to confession since; for the record, this is my second pregnancy ever and the result of the first is toddling around seemingly learning new words every day. Yesterday it was "dog" and "shirt."
I'm wondering how to explain this to my children in the future. I'm afraid they'll ask, "Was Daddy your first? Did you wait until you were married? How old were you, if not?" and not having answers I want to give them. I'm afraid to tell them the truth, in other words. I also want to avoid the, "Do as I say, not as I did" line.
Any help would be much appreciated. Even if it's "I was there and survived."

Sunday, November 03, 2002

"I think we're gonna need a bigger boat."

Dale: Repeat after me: a one hundred...pound...carp. That's a whole lotta bottom feeder...

Please note that this is from the Detroit News, a non-tabloid paper.

"Mammoth species...leaps out of water, smacks boaters."

Saturday, November 02, 2002

Great football weekend here!

Dale: No matter what my Lions do.

First, there's Bwa-hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! The Spartans could have had another month added to the clock this year and it wouldn't have helped. Exactly what I was hoping for from U of M: not merely a victory, but the Wolverines playing jumprope with Sparty's entrails. [Ed.: Ewwwww!] My dad and I haven't been this happy for a good year. A mediocre Michigan campaign suddenly got much, much better.

And the Maraschino cherry for my ice cream saturday: the luck of the Irish finally ran out. My conscience is quite clean--Boston College is a Catholic school. And, given that this is the second time in the last ten years that BC has ruined Irish title hopes, it is now my favorite Catholic school. Going to have to get some Eagle gear...
Dale: Never, ever, feed a toddler prunes.

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