Feb 6th, 2007 by Sonja

In an attempt to keep up with LightGirl I got a MySpace account. Well … that’s not quite true. I got one before she did because I wanted to test the parental controls and the privacy controls. She found out I have a MySpace. Well … I told her. She thinks it’s wonderful. Here is a conversation we have recently had between our two MySpace accounts:

—————– Original Message —————–
From: LightGirl
Date: Feb 5, 2007 9:16 AM

Mom you need help pimping up your myspace!!!

—————– Original Message —————–
From: Lady oF Light
Date: Feb 5, 2007 10:14 AM

Why … yes, I believe I do. Do you know anyone who might be of assistance in said “pimping up?”

Silly girl!

Love you …
—————– Original Message —————–
From: LightGirl
Date: Feb 6, 2007 9:09 AM

yes I will help you!!! Dumdada DDUUUUMMMMM!! YAY!!! so if your sooo bored I will help you pimp up your myspce!!

On the days when I’m not completely frustrated by having a teenager, I absolutely love it. She is hilarious. I love watching her try on new pieces of life.

Once my MySpace is adequately “pimped” I may even share it with others 😉

It Begins Now …
Feb 6th, 2007 by Sonja

About a week ago I received an e-mail from my sister-in-law regarding global warming. This is not unusual. My nuclear and extended family has been attuned to environmental issues for as long as I can remember. When I was 12 my parents joined a group called Co-FEC. I don’t remember exactly what that stood for, but the upshot was that it was Citizens for a More Effective Electric Cooperative. Or something. Our electricity came to us via a co-op and that co-op needed an overhaul … needed to be more responsive to the people it served and needed to be more environmentally friendly.

We participated in Green Up Day every single year. This is the first Saturday in May (so it was my birthday on several occasions) and citizens fan out across the state of Vermont to clean up the roadsides of all the winter litter that fell out of the snow.

I don’t know if we were active in the campaign to bring back bottle returns ($.05 per bottle) but I’m certain my parents wanted to be. We certainly recycle everything possible. And always have. We recycled as a family before there were recycling centers. We used things until they wore out and then tried to use them for something else. Until there was nothing left but shreds. Plastic toboggans which were no longer useful for sliding became carriers for wood for our woodstoves, until there was nothing left of the bottoms. It pains me to throw so much stuff away.

Soooo … back to the e-mail. She challenged us, her family, to be thinking about ways we can live more gently on this earth. Here is the text of the e-mail (it’s dated Jan. 30):

This Friday a large report on global warming will be made public. Watch the news. The report is issued by scientists from around the world from what I know. The lowdown is that global warming is not just for future generations to deal with…..serious effects, while already being felt, will escalate in the next 10 years.
We, as a family, plan to make changes in our lifestyle. What those are we don’t not yet know if full. If any of you have thoughts on this topic, I would love to hear about it.

I’ve been thinking about that quite a bit. Coming on the tail of the great pantry challenge, I’ve been caught by it. How will we change? What can we do?

My assumptions have always been that if everyone were to change a little bit. And then a little bit more. If we all committed to doing one little thing each quarter and holding to it. It doesn’t have to be the same thing, just one thing that commits us to living more gently on the earth, it will make a great difference. That we all separately are small drips, but together we can form a great flood.

My mother responded with some tips from the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) and a website called Go Carbon Neutral. The tips from the CBC are below:

1. Don’t idle your car or leave it running.
2. Turn down the heat.
3. Recycle, recycle, recycle.
4. Use compact flourescent light bulbs as much as possible.
5. Reduce air travel.
6. Buy renewable energy.
7. Buy less and buy local.
8. Trade up to Energy Star rated appliances.
9. Drive less.
10. Retrofit your home.

… and the LightMother noted that this will “… take a massive amount of reorienting our lives to meet this challenge – not unlike the changes during WWII when there was rationing and meatless Mondays so the troops had enough meat. Or WWI when there were heatless Thursdays (and businesses closed) so there was enough coal for the ships taking goods and men to Europe.”

So … what will you do? Become part of the flood, before the “flood.”

UPDATE:  I love Vermonters and what they do when they come to Washington.  James Jeffords, who recently retired from the US Senate, first came to DC as a Congressional Representative in the 1970’s during the oil embargo and resulting gas crisis.  His response … install a woodstove in his DC office to reduce the need for petroleum.  Similar leadership is now needed and Vermonters are among the first to provide it in Congress.  Read this article from the Houston Chronicle … what I found astonishing was that the amount of money needed to offset the annual travel by a Representative and his staff was only $672 to for his whole office to become carbon neutral.  His money quote follows here:

“That ads up,” Welch said. “So thousands of small actions are going to add up to a different way of doing business that can be good for the environment.”

Be part of the flood …

Feb 5th, 2007 by Sonja

There’s no checking in girl’s ice hockey ….

Wham gets some air!

… there is, however, some jumping and leaning!

You can see more photos of LightGirl’s game on Saturday here … she is number 94.  They won (by the way) and it was the goalie’s second game playing in the net.  She’s only 10 years old and did a fabulous job.  I love girl’s hockey.  I really love how it’s teaching my daughter to own herself.

We’re the only team in the league to have a woman coach.  I’m happy with that.  I hope she returns next year.  I think it’s important for our daughters to have strong role models like that.  I like her style of coaching and what she’s teaching the girls about how to play and how to be a team together.  I think it’s planting good roots for them.  This has been a hard year for all of them, but they will be better players and better people for it and I am glad.

Feb 5th, 2007 by Sonja

I’ve been reconnecting with old friends recently. People from our CLB and friends I’ve had for years but fell out of communication with. I spent two hours on the phone with one last night. I’ve known her since LightGirl was 6 months old. Until recently, our children grew up together. Now, hers are in public school and mine are homeschooled. So it’s a little more difficult. We’ve been through all sorts of hard times together, like when she almost died because of a tumor, but a miracle pregnancy saved her life. I’m one of the few adults who really know her oldest daughter. GoldenSmiles is not smiling these days. She’s having a tough time with adolesence. She’s experimenting with drugs and run away. I tried to drop a few words of grace into the situation, hoping that MerryLaughs will give her daughter some space. The last three or four years have been very hard on their family and GoldenSmiles has always stood in the gap emotionally … I think she’s just worn out.

Another friend reconnected with me recently. She had some old quilting things that she no longer needed and was giving them to the guild. We had a lovely chat. Her oldest daughter left home for college in the fall. Her son (who was the oldest) died when he was 12 of complications from cystic fibrosis … so he would be 20 now. Having her daughter go to college is an enormous victory for her. She was able to let go gradually and gracefully and their family, while never the same, is healthy. I was so very happy for her. But she kept saying that her daughter was, “… one of the Godliest young women I know.” This was something that made her happy and proud, so I nodded and smiled. There was a time when I thought I knew what that meant, but now I’m not so sure.

Then, I read this article (ht to Will Samson) about fathers and daughters so concerned with the daughters “purity” that they attended a Purity Ball. Maybe this is some of what my friend was talking about. I know that in other conversations I’ve recently had with old friends about this and that, I’ve realized how prevalent is the notion that husbands are in charge. We have friends who’s daughter is LightGirl’s age and I have no doubt that she and her father will attend a Purity Ball.

I have mixed feelings about this. I understand the notion behind it. The idea that fathers have a great deal more impact on the health and well being of their children than has been previously understood. I also understand the notion that there is a desire for the daughters to enter marriage as healthy and whole young women. I just can’t shake the idea that this route in some way further objectifies women and turns them into life-size beautiful Cabbage Patch dolls. If women are responsible adults, who are responsible for their behavior in other areas of their life, then they must also be responsible for this. The only path to responsibility lies in embracing who they are and how they came to be this way. Denial and giving the responsibility to someone else is no replacement for knowing and owning yourself and standing before God with the only covering that anyone needs: the mantle provided by Jesus.

Comestible Consumption Competition – Day 16
Feb 2nd, 2007 by Sonja

…. in which I believe we finally see the end of the line.

Breakfast – waffles.  In an attempt to appease the natives (LightChildren) I made waffles for breakfast.  This, however, put me into a post-breakfast coma despite the addition of 2 soft boiled eggs.  I can only eat waffles/pancakes on very limited occasions for breakfast … a weekday is not one.

Lunch – (so picture Evita here singing “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina”) I’m singing “Don’t Bake For Me Frozen Crap”  I will never eat it again … I shake my fist at you frozen crap in my freezer.  I will not eat you in a boat.  I will not eat you with a goat.  I will not eat you on a lake.  I will not eat you with a rake.  No no no no no.  But … I did.  Chicken nugget creatures with some leftover curried rice salad.

Snack with coffee – I baked up some frozen mini-cinnamon rolls.  Only they had gotten freezer burned.  Or something.  YUCK.  Throw them away before they contaminate someone.

Dinner – Subway on our way to hockey practice.  Grinder was good.  Doritos …. first 3 were tasty.  next 3 not so much.  Threw away the rest of the bag.  LightChildren gagged at smell of snackfood bags open in car.  Interesting.  Sugar cookie … HORRIBLE.  Two bites that I still tasted this morning.

This morning LightHusband and I decided to wave the white flag.  We’re done.  Steve Jr. … we’re giving in gracefully.  Two days ago the LightChildren were complaining that there was no soda, now they are pining after juice.  We have one chicken (freezer date unknown???), assorted frozen appetizers, 4 bags of dried lentils, 2 containers of sour cream, 3 jars of maraschino cherries and assorted other oddities left.  Nothing to make meals out of anymore.

It is time to go to the grocery store in a very planned and cautious fashion.  With a list.  And a menu plan.   More later … it’s time to take the LightChildren rollerskating.

Politics As Usual
Feb 2nd, 2007 by Sonja

I saw this editorial cartoon by my former highschool english teacher:

Clinton vs. Barack

I’m not entirely certain about what Jeff’s particular commentary is at the moment.  Because I know his background, I can make some guesses.  They are close to what I see is wrong with our political system.

I love that we get to choose our leader every four years … or do we?  Is it truly a free choice?  Or are we choosing among those who are the best fund raisers?  Are good fund raisers necessarily the best leaders?  How do we measure a good leader?  Who is asking the questions?  Are those the proper questions?  Politics is being bought and sold fairly openly.  Will we do anything different in this election cycle?

Feb 1st, 2007 by Sonja

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about integrity. I looked the word up recently on several websites … it means complete or pure or whole. It comes from a Latin word which is also the root word for integer or one. The synonyms for integrity are honesty, unity, and sincerity among others.

I’ve often thought that integrity is something that one can never have taken away from you. One may indeed give it away through acts of commission or ommission. But no one may ever have it taken away from them by others. I’ve been realizing lately that is not true. Others can take your integrity from you and your credibility as well. Once someone makes up their mind to believe a certain thing about you, there is nothing you can say or do to make them change their mind. Sometimes even evidence to the contrary is dismissed out of hand. It can be frustrating and terrifying. And once gone, there is nothing that can be done to retrieve it.

This has caused me to reflect on my grandfather. He was a Teamster. Specifically, he helped organize the union in Springfield, Massaschusetts. In an attempt to break the union up, he, as the union treasurer, was framed in 1939 or 1940. He spent a year in prison for embezzling funds. His integrity was shot.  Gone.  Taken from him by unscrupulous corporate snakes.  I don’t know all of the details and likely never will.  I do know that after approximately a year in prison, the governor of Massachusetts pardoned him.  I believe it was even better than that … I believe his case was withdrawn and thrown out.  As if it never happened.  All because evidence was found exonerating my grandpa.  He returned to his post, his name, integrity and credibility restored.

I’ve been wondering, though, what happens if or when that evidence is not found?  Or the evidence is not believed?  How does one live and work and play with people who do not trust the core of who you are?  Can you?  What if you woke up one morning and found out that some of your dearest friends didn’t really know you or want to know you at all?  Then what would you do?

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