Tuesday, January 27, 2009

By any other name

The babe and I have fallen prey to the urge to merge. That’s right readers.

The babe and I are moving in together. Thursday. Into a lovely apartment that makes us swoon and makes our friends jealous.

In a few short days, the scouring for boxes and packing and cleaning will be over, and we’ll live in our new place as glorious…what? Girlfriends?

The babe’s mom made a comment recently suggesting that after the move, we would be “partners.” I think the comment made both of us catch our breath a little. We love each other tremendously, but partners? Aren’t partners people who are married? We’re just going to be girlfriends who live with each other.

We’ve talked about the terminology a little bit, not because it’s particularly important to us – more because we’re curious about the words people use to define their relationships. I pointed out to the babe this morning as we were talking about getting together with old friends that she used the word partners to talk about their…um…people. We laughed and then suggested significant others as the more appropriate terminology.

So I looked up some of the words in the good ol’ Merriam Webster. And there’s not a lot of help there.

Here’s the run down:

Partner - a person with whom one shares an intimate relationship; one member of a couple

Girlfriend - a frequent or regular female companion in a romantic or sexual relationship

Significant other - a person who is important to one’s well-being, especially a spouse or one in a similar relationship

Spouse - married person

The one point of clarity is clearly spouse. There’s no question about what that means.

But then what’s the phrasing for us gays? The babe suggested that maybe heterosexuals use the word partner to connote something pre-marriage. And if that’s the case, then is the gay community using it to connote the same thing? Or does it have more significance for us? At least those of us who don’t live somewhere where we can get married?

As for mine and the babe’s relationship, the definition of girlfriend seems a little weak. A female companion? I mean, I guess. But it’s more than that.

When my mom was dating her now-husband, we struggled with the terminology too. It felt weird to call him her boyfriend. It made it sound like they were 15. And then once they moved in together, it seemed even weirder. I felt like if I talked about my mom’s partner, people would think she was gay. (Which, of course there’s nothing wrong with, but is definitely not the case.) Mom suggested I call him her sweetheart. I suggested that I just ask people to puke.

So, what words do you use? And what do you think people mean when they use other words? Does it matter what we call these relationships?

The battle over Prop 8 and other battles like that one around the country seem to suggest that it does. But what do you think?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Things That Don't Make Your Note Get Finished

1. Facebook.
2. Online shopping. I know. I'm as shocked as you are. I looked at my note, and I was like - wait a second...there aren't any more words than there were an hour ago! What's going on here?!
3. Talking on the phone. Good for whining about your note, but not so much for getting it finished.
4. Posting things on craigslist. Unless it's a post for someone to come write your note for you. Obviously that's a very bad idea. But call me if you're interested.
5. Seething with hatred. Good for the soul; bad for the note. Or maybe just bad?
6. Facebook. Still.
7. Packing. It's important. How can you move if you're not packed? But the more important question is will you have space to save those boxes for the cardboard house you're going to have to build for yourself after you flunk out of lawschool and aren't able to pay back your copious debt? Good point.
8. Writing blogs. Wait what?


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Just in case you aren't already inspired

The New York Times has a section devoted to reader's pictures of Inauguration Day - from all over the country and all over the world.

Check it out.

I'll post my pictures later - if it turns out there are any good ones in there. But you can just imagine me in the pictures with millions of people. I'm one of those tiny little heads.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Vermont, Part III

Previously, in Vermont: (In)Sanity Gal learned to ski like a 3-year old.

So head to the big slope we did. I had heard rumors about a chairlift that let you off half-way up so that beginners could have a step up from the bunny slope. As we glided overhead, each passing stretch of slope filled me with a greater sense of doom. What the hell kind of beginners were they talking about?! As I slid off the chairlift (without falling - I saved that for later) and turned to survey the slope, I realized with terror that they certainly weren't talking about my type of beginner. No. Definitely not.

I was standing on the slope frantically hoping that I might suddenly become violently ill or have a heart attack (which seemed like a distinct possibility) or develop a temporary inability to move my legs - anything to keep from having to go down the giant swath of snow in front of me. It appeared to have no end. The babe was talking to me, I think - seriously, who can be expected to listen to instructions when they're about to die?

It appeared that there was nothing to do but throw myself down this giant white death machine and hope that later the babe would write a beautiful story about my last days on Earth. I don't remember starting to ski. I think there was screaming and flailing of arms, and then I did what I can only imagine was a truly stunning somersault, landing squarely on my hip. Execution: 7. Creativity: 8.5!

Immediate tears. Who knew snow was so hard? Maybe if I don't try to get up, they'll just carry me down on a stretcher. But then the babe was there, looking all concerned and asking me if I was crying. No, of course not.... Ok fine. Yes. But I was clearly itching for that final star to finish out my membership application for Masochists of the World. So, with the babe's help, I got up. I know. I should've just gone for the stretcher. Pride is a terrible, terrible thing. My New Year's Resolution is to rid myself of it entirely.

Much to my dismay, I was standing up and about to start "skiing." Again. The babe was saying something about pizza, which I thought was weird since we had just had lunch. But whatever. And we're off! She's screaming behind me. "TURN LEFT....NOW!" "AND NOW RIGHT!" And I'm going - leeeeeeefffft, riiiiiiiiight, leeeeeefff-ayaaaaaaaa. Screaming. Flailing of arms. Small, agile infant children darting out of the way. Falling.

But wait.

Something isn't quite right here.

Am I in Heaven?

I've fallen and yet I'm flying. On my butt. Weird.

Holy lord. Yep, I fell on my ass, but my skis were still flat on the snow. I invented a new sport. Ass skiing. And I was amazing at it. Amazing in that really fast and unable to stop kind of way.


A tiny little sane voice inside told me to roll over. And I did. And I stopped. And no one died. Which, at this point, I was finding pretty shocking.

What's even more shocking is that I wasn't at the bottom of the slope yet. I KNOW! What the hell kind of sport is this?

The double shocker: Apparently I got up and did it again. I don't remember that part, but somehow we made it to the bottom. And we left the mountain.

And I swear to you that I was possessed by an Abominable Ski Demon when I said in the car on the way home, "I do really want to go again before we leave."

Stay tuned for Vermont, Part IV.

Friday, January 16, 2009

I'll be sorry about this later.

I have made a shocking waste of an entire day at school and appear to have blocked out of my mind the fact that I'm not writing this note on my own time table and for my own blissful edification, that it is, in fact, due next Friday. That between today and next Friday, I'm hanging out with the babe's friends who are coming into town, ushering in a new president (complete with an inauguration party and several hours of waiting in the freezing cold with hoards of other people), doing reading for all of my classes, going to said classes, showing prospective renters my apartment, and starting to pack for the move that will occur the next week.

I'm not sure what led me to believe that I could just procrastinate for an ENTIRE day.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Vermont, Part II

Some people don't know the definition of the word "beginner."

Thus it was that I found myself in an adult beginners ski lesson with people who had not yet "perfected their left turns," whereas I had never actually seen skis in real life. They're long. And unwielldy. It took my instructor a little bit of time to realize that I encompassed the true spirit of the word "beginner" as applied to skiing. I think he got clued in while I was frantically crawling on the ground trying to get out of the way of the next person on the rope tow. For the fourth time. He was a slow learner. After that, he stayed close by so that he could lift me up every 3-4 minutes since I was exceptional at falling but not so great at getting up again.

After the lesson, I felt very comfortable skiing down the bunny slope. And by skiing, I mean careening in an uncontrolled fashion down a hill of snow and falling onto the ground to avoid running into a small child. So that was good.

Lucky for me, I met a very nice man who, apparently concerned for my safety and wellbeing, gave me some tips.
1. Bend you knees.
2. Learn how to stop.

Learning how to stop made a big difference, as you might imagine. Somehow my instructor had forgotten to mention this amazing thing called pizza slice. (For the non-skiiers out there, that's when you put the front tips of your skis close together and spread the back tips out so that it looks like a wedge.) With my newfound knowledge, I ventured slowly down the hill, stopping every 5 seconds or so just to make sure that I could. The nice man waited at the bottom and cheered me on as I skiied down next to his 3-year old nephew. Sweet.

Lunch break!

After lunch, the babe came out on the bunny slope with me and taught me some more - like how to step away from the rope tow without falling, how to more effectively pizza slice, and how to pizza slice turn. It was like a new world! Pizza slice turn riiiiiight and pizza slice turn leeeeefft, and riiiiiight, and leeeeefft. I was owning that bunny slope! Owning it, I say.

We decided a real slope was the obvious next step...

Stay tuned for Vermont, Part III :)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Nom nom nom....yummy souffle

Bear with me folks. Law school is eating me for lunch. And an afternoon snack.

I'll be back. I hope.

Pray for me.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

From 0 to 60 in less than 3 seconds...but not as hot as a porsche


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Maybe I'm Mistaken

But I appear to be doing this again. This, of course, being law school.

I don't think I wasted enough time over the break.

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Second Half, Day One

I'm half-way through law school, which is actually sort of amazing when I really think about it.

I've said goodbye to the internship, so this semester it's just school for me, and I'm pretty excited about my classes. Constitutional Law II with a professor I love, Criminal Procedure with another professor I love, Environmental Law (which, according to reviews, is probably going to suck - but it's the gateway to all the other environmental courses so take it I must), and Trade and Sustainable Development.

And there's a new study plan - breaks for the interwebs.
No, I wasn't staying off the interwebs before - I was on it all the time - like maybe every 5 minutes while I was studying. Now (with some inspiration and motivation from the babe), I'm going to do study segments, like an hour, after which I can be on the interwebs for a set period of time. So far it's going well. I've done an hour. ;)


Saturday, January 3, 2009

Vermont, Part I

I grew up going to church every Sunday. The church was small - not the building itself - but the membership. During its peak (the one while I was alive at least), an average Sunday saw something around 75 members.

My whole family was very involved. My dad was the assistant pastor, which basically meant that he led some prayers and preached a few sermons every year. He helped with the youth and vacation bible school and led the adult sunday school class. Both of my parents were in the choir, and my mom and aunt often did special music on holidays. I went to sunday school and then to youth group (I think there were 3 of us), and when I was 12 or so I joined the choir (since there weren't enough young people for a youth choir). My sister ran around with the other young kids. A lot of women had apparently decided to have children at the same time because there were a bunch of kids her age.

We had potlucks about once a month. There were annual church retreats which involved camping, hiking, and singing songs around a fire. There were friendships and families. I knew everyone. I loved church and all of the people there. It was like seeing all of your best friends, including multiple sets of grandparents, every Sunday.

I felt very spiritual, very close to God.

We moved away - out of the city. We started off driving back in on Thursday nights for choir practice and then on Sundays for church, but it got to be too much. Slowly we quit going, and we started going to the big Methodist church with lots and lots of members and a youth program and a youth choir and several childrens choirs and more than one service every Sunday. There was lots to do for all of us. We made friends and found our niche in the giant membership. It wasn't the same.

Our old church began losing members. Some of it had begun before we left - people moving out of the city and into the suburbs or small towns, like us. Some people died. It wasn't the same when we went back to visit. It felt somehow like we didn't fit anymore. We were simply visitors.

I went to college and quit going to church. I was angry with the conservative sermons at the big church in our small town and couldn't seem to care enough to get up to go while I was at school. I missed it, but nothing else felt right. And then I came out and didn't know whether church had anything to offer me anymore.

Once I moved up to DC for graduate school, I started going to a Unitarian church and thought I'd found a home. I made friends and got to know some folks. But still, it didn't fit.

I've spent a lot of time trying to figure out what it was about that beautiful church I grew up in that felt so amazing - what was I actually looking for? Was it something that only existed for me because I was a child? Because I hadn't really seen the world?

This year on New Years Day I sat in a rocking chair in front of a fire in a beautiful house in Burlington. There were about 15 of us singing - Indigo Girls, Simon & Garfunkel, Dar Williams, children's songs, campfire songs, some religious, some not. The guitar was being passed around, and one girl was playing the fiddle. One guy sang a gorgeous song that he wrote as all of us melted from the beauty of it. I remembered sitting on those hard pews during a sing-a-long at my home church next to all of the people who meant so much to me - watching my mom and dad lead us in song - dad playing the guitar, mom singing. My favorite was Fill My Cup - "Oh fill my cup. Fill my cup, let it overflow. Oh fill my cup. Fill my cup, let it overflow. Oh fill my cup. Fill my cup, let it overflow. Let it overflow with love."

Sitting in the rocking chair in Burlington, tears streaming down my face, I was overflowing in this space that seemed to pulse with warm energy, with the presence of a loving community.

A loving community.
Which, to me, feels like basking in the presence of God.

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