Monthly Archives: January 2006

The Wall

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I’ve hit a bit of a brick wall. It’s the same one I always hit when I’m writing, and while I’m not surprised, I am a bit disappointed. I had hoped that I would bypass whatever this is by blogging my novel, but the self doubt and all the other negative self-talk bullshit I put myself through is right here, front and center, staring me in the face.

My depression has reared its ugly head again also. I yelled at the kids all day, and was generally a bitch to anyone who was close by [which was just my family since I didn’t go anywhere] This could be partially hormonal. Also because I haven’t been doing my meditation regularly. Plus I just got over being sick, and we’ve had an incredibly stressful time of it financially the past month.

I guess I just need to wallow for a few hours Then I’ll rest, meditate, pray, and shower [water always makes me feel better]. I’ll maybe blog about all this when it’s over. For now, I’m done.

I’ll be better tomorrow. I REFUSE to do this again. I will not be defeated.

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Feeling Lazy Tonight

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Okay, I found a blog in a roundabout way through going to an athiest’s blog and watching Christians [and not the brightest Christians, I might add… why oh why do the smart ones hide and the dumb ones are just out there for the world to see. And point at. And laugh at. Ugh. Wears me out sometimes. And unfortunately, I’m not too bright either, so I fear I look just as ignorant as the others, but I digress… I was telling you about this blog I found!]

Where was I? Oh yes. I was watching [reading?] the Christians try to argue the athiest into believing [which never works, by the way] or at least I think that’s what they were trying to do. And the Athiest was eviscerating the Christians, because they couldn’t really come up with anything logical to say about why they believed what they believed, and why their religion was better than anyone else’s religion [yeah, if you’ve read my blog very long you know that I’ve been trying to figure out that very thing, so I’m no help whatsoever, and I’m just helplessly reading [and cringing] as the Christian finally gets angry and says, “Well, when the world ends, we’ll see who’s right, won’t we?” or some such thing.

And then, in walks this guy, who is Agnostic, and he proceeds to systematically answer every argument the athiest came up with, and counter it with an incredibly intelligent, well thought out answer. And I had to laugh when the Athiest, who had been giving all the believers a hard time for taking things personally and not really answering his points against belief, took the Agnostic’s arguments personally, and didn’t really answer his points for belief.

Religious arguments are pointless, because the very fact that they are arguments means that each person has built a wall around themselves to defend their own viewpoint, and isn’t really interested in hearing what the other side has to say [political arguments are just as pointless].
so naturally, the Athiest wasn’t convinced that there might be something out there. I also noticed that his main beef was with the Abrahamic Religions [Muslims, Christians, and Jews, who, apart from cults, seem to be the only religions that say if you don’t believe in their God, you can’t go to heaven. Jeez, that creeps me out.]

He had some major issues with Christians in particular [I believe he was raised with them], and I think he decided that if the god he grew up with was the real God, he’d rather believe in no god at all. I only know one athiest personally, and we’ve never talked about his athieism [or my Christianity, for that matter] so I don’t know what motivates most Athiests in their belief [or lack thereof]. But I didn’t come here to tell you this.

Sheesh. I can’t focus worth shit tonight.

Anyway, this guy I was telling you about. It turns out he has a blog of his own, and posts regularly. He lives in Japan, which I find absolutely fascinating [especially since I’ve never been out of the country]. So anyway, all that is to say, tonight I read a funny post, and you can read it here.

Okay, that’s all I really wanted to say. I had planned on giving you the link, and saying, “Here, go, read a funny blog, I got nuttin’ tonight.” and I go and write a whole post on other stuff [yeah, and I didn’t mention that I started this post at 11:41 pm, and it’s now 1:06 am, because I wandered over to Blue Gal’s place , and about fifteen other blogs while I was writing because I got to reading and got distracted.]

Oy! I’m more absent minded than usual. I think it’s because I’ve completely jacked up my sleep schedule again. I stayed in bed until way too late this morning, and wasted time all day until I went to “Artsy Fartsy Night” and drew an incredibly ugly picture of an old lady who I’ve never seen before [because she came out of my head, not from a picture.] Most of the other girls were scrap booking, but I hate that shit… no offense to those who like it, of course.

Heh, and to prove that I drew a picture, behold:

Okay, I’m done rambling now.

Ah, Hell

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Okay, so I’m reading around the ‘net at some of my Democrat friends’ blogs, and I’m reading about Sam Alito’s views on Executive [the president’s] power.

One article is here [specifically this paragraph: “A close reading of Alito’s answers raises concerns that he might indeed be an advocate of broad and unchecked presidential power. If Alito fulfills these fears on the Court, he could support those who insist that the president’s power in the war on terrorism is essentially unconstrained. And unconstrained power can lead to abuses–such as torture, illegal surveillance, or detention without charge–that undermine the core values of American society.“]*

*Emphasis mine, to remind us all that these very things have been happening to people of Middle Eastern descent in our very own country, and in Iraq. This scares the bejeebers out of me, people! You can’t do that to your fellow humans, for any reason!!

Another article is here. That one was written last month before the hearings began, and it focuses mostly on what worries me about Alito: Executive Power.

The conservatives are focusing solely on Alito’s views on abortion, and have completely glossed over the fact that he thinks the pres. Should be allowed to do pretty much what he wants. It’s called “Unitary Executive Theory” click the link for the whole article, but below is a quote about the Bush Administration. I’m gonna edit it a little because it’s really long, but you can go read the whole article in Wikipedia [that’s the link;-)]

“The Bush administration

This administration seems to interpret the theory [of unitary executive power]more extremely than the previous ones. As for what specific constitutional limitations on the judicial power President Bush may have in mind, there is heavy speculation that it relates to Professor John Yoo‘s position that the use of military force is, like presidential vetoes and pardons, an unreviewable matter.

President George W. Bush has applied the theory of the “unitary executive” in many of his decisions, most significantly in relation to its substantive element. Per the Presentment Clause, the President must sign any bill having passed Congress before that bill becomes law; the Bush Administration has often issued Signing statements to legislation signed by the President, detailing how the executive branch will construe the law.

For instance, in his statement announcing his signing H.R. 1646, the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Year 2003, President Bush wrote:

‘The executive branch shall construe as advisory the provisions of the Act, including sections 408, 616, 621, 633, and 1343(b), that purport to direct or burden the conduct of negotiations by the executive branch with foreign governments, international organizations, or other entities abroad or which purport to direct executive branch officials to use the U.S. voice and vote in international organizations to achieve specified foreign policy objectives. Such provisions, if construed as mandatory rather than advisory, would impermissibly interfere with the President’s constitutional authorities to conduct the Nation’s foreign affairs, participate in international negotiations, and supervise the unitary executive branch.[1]

In effect, Bush stated that when it comes to administering the executive branch, any Congressional requirements are merely advisory. It is not
unusual for a president to release such a signing statement when he has concern as to how a bill he is signing into law will be interpreted in later court cases. Skeptics point out that he in effect uses them as line item veto although the Supreme Court already held the line item vetoes as unconstitutional in Clinton v. City of New York.[2]

One of the signing statements which has attracted most controversy is the signing of the McCain Detainee Amendment, prohibiting cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of detainees in U.S. custody:

“The Executive Branch shall construe [the torture ban] in a manner consistent with the constitutional authority of the President to supervise the unitary Executive Branch and as Commander in Chief and consistent with the constitutional limitations on the judicial power.”

Since, under the “Unitary Executive” theory, the Commander-in-Chief
has broad authority to use his discretion in interpreting and applying the law,
the President has with that statement reserved the right to waive the
torture ban
.[4]

The most recent example, in which the premise that any law limiting the
Presidents power is unconstitutional is advanced by the Bush administration
and its supporters, is the FISA controversy.[5] In the words of former Vice President Al Gore:

‘A president who breaks the law is a threat to the very structure of our government. Our Founding Fathers were adamant that they had established a government of laws and not men. Indeed, they recognized that the structure of government they had enshrined in our Constitution – our system of checks and balances – was designed with a central purpose of ensuring that it would govern through the rule of law. As John Adams said: “The executive shall never exercise the legislative and
judicial powers, or either of them, to the end that it may be a government of
laws and not of men.”

An executive who arrogates to himself the power to ignore the legitimate legislative directives of the Congress or to act free of the check of the judiciary becomes the central threat that the Founders sought to nullify in the Constitution – an all-powerful executive too reminiscent of the King from whom they had broken free. In
the words of James Madison, “the accumulation of all powers, legislative,
executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and
whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the
very definition of tyranny.”[6]

At present, the position taken by adherents of the “unitary executive”
theory, and promoted by John Yoo in particular, holds that a U.S. President in the exercise of his Constitutional war powers can not be restrained by any law, national or international.[7] Opponents note that such a stance, resembling the Führerprinzip,[8] is not unlike the one seen in police states.[9] Supporters reply that it is exactly the same war power that Abraham Lincoln used to issue the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, in the face of Copperheads who called him a
dictator and sought his assassinatiSkepticstics are not convinced, since the Supreme
Court
in Ex Parte Milligan had already determined that the suspension of Habeas corpus was unconstitutional.”

Conservative Christians see a man who claims Christ as Savior and takes his faith seriously. They have been blinded to the truth that this man really wants to be “King George”. Near as I can tell, Judge Alito is right behind the Pres. on this one [which renders useless the whole “Checks and Balances” thing.]

These men may be against abortion, and I know that’s important to Conservative Christians, but they are not “Pro-Life.” They want to be able to suppress our God-given rights [like freedom of privacy, freedom from false imprisonment, and freedom from torture, to name just a few] to forward their own agendas, and make it look like it’s for ‘our own good.’

My main concern here is that we [by ‘we’ I mean Conservative Christians] have been fooled into believing that all our dreams are coming true with these ‘men of faith’ coming into office. Bush & Co. have come in with their trumpets blaring about banning abortion, not allowing same-sex marriage, etc. in the hopes that we won’t notice [or care] that they are slowly trying to give tprivilegeddged few’ more power, while taking away the voice of anyone who disagrees with them.

This is exactly the kind of crap that Hitler did to the Germans while scheming ways to exterminate the Jews. We can see the horrid propaganda that Hitler released about how Jewish people were the root of everything bad in the world. He got them all worked up about it, and proceeded to take over the world, one country at a time.

Is there anything different in what Bush is doing? Yes, he’s liberated Iraq from a horrible leader who needed to be gotten rid of, but he’s also made sure that his personal choice for a replacement got voted in during the elections. Is it possible that Bush has called it ‘Democracy,’ when really he’s just taken over a country by force, and is now ruling it by proxy?

I don’t know it for sure, but that is what my gut is telling me. He doesn’t seem to have a target for hatred like Hitler did with the Jews [some might disagree with that, though]. I don’t think he’s necessarily trying to exterminate an entire group of people because of their race. I think there is evidence that he’s trying to muscle out anyone who disagrees with his tactics, though.

I think W. picked the conservative Christian party-line because he knew there were so many of us, and also because we were all so disgusted with Bill Clinton’s inability to control himself in the Oval office. He knew there would be a backlash, and that’s how he squeaked by in the first election. The country wanted someone who had integrity in his personal life, and was a professing Christian [notice how a lot of Protestants don’t consider Catholics Christians? It’s not something we talk about in public, but it’s fairly common in private.]

So in swoops W. who, instead of being unsure about his faith, stamps it on his forehead for all the world to see. We even liked it when he said God told him to, because that’s the kind of language we like to hear [I’m not talking about all Christians here, I’m just using some general terms.] We instinctively trust some one who agrees with us on the Big Issues, so we trusted W.

Before my foray into post-modern Christianity, and hanging out with and listening to more ‘Liberal’ people on the web, I agreed with all this stuff. I trusted W. with the best of ’em. And yes, I voted for him.

Both times.

I really believed that sincere Christians could be trusted. I foolishly thought that I could believe what they told me without looking it up for myself [most pastors will tell you to check up on them with scriptures and through prayer, and that, for some reason encourages us to take their word for it and not do those very things. Imagine my surprise when I did my own research and realized that I disagreed with most of what I had previously believed].

Dammit! I hate being lied to more than anything, and not only was I lied to by others, but I lied to myself. I wanted it to be easy, cut and dried, black and white. It’s easier to believe what others tell you than to form your own opinions. It’s way easier to sleep through this life than to wake up and find you were wrong, and then have to choose whether to stand up and scream it from the rooftops, risking becoming a pariah to the people you love most, or to roll over and go back to sleep.

Jeez, you see the kind of stuff I come up with when I’m gone for a couple of days?

I need a nap.

Woo hoo!

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Scene seven is up at NIP IT IN THE BUTT. I got 1,111 words in just over an hour, so YAY me!

I’m not gonna be able to get 50,000 words in a month like I’d hoped [I signed up for NaNoWriMo in November, but gave it up for blogging. By next year, I’ll be so prolific I won’t need to join! Positive thinking is GOOD, I tell you!!!]

But the fact that I got over a thousand words in an hour is pretty good, don’t you think?

I bought Lynn Viehl’s [aka Paperback Writer] Way of the Cheetah [which you can find by clicking on the one add I have on my blogs over to the left… Hint hint!] Is it possible that just reading it increased my productivity in one afternoon? I dunno, but I feel a bit like a cheetah tonight.

I also bought Holly Lisle’s Create A Character Clinic when it first came out, and her ideas sparked an antagonist [bad guy] who, if I can get him down right, will be three dimensional. I’m hoping that you will be able to see that any one of us could end up doing the same kinds of things if put in the right circumstances. He’s dealt with a tragedy in the only way he knew how. He’s trying to make the world a safer place, but the means he’s using is horrible. We’ll see if it translates to the page [but not for a while yet, I’m still working on getting my supporting characters {good guys} put into place.]

I’m really excited about what’s coming in the story. I don’t know if it’ll be done in 50,000 or not. I kinda just pulled that number out of the sky [probably from NaNo]. And I’m not sure it’s going to be young a adult book anymore. I still don’t know how dark this thing is going to get. I love humor in books, and I don’t know if it’s gonna be funny, either. The scene tonight with the vomit spray was funny when I pictured it, but who knows if anyone else will think it’s funny?

Okay, I’m done with the angst-ing [I’m sure there’s a wonderful Yiddish word for that, but I’m too lazy to look it up. Thanks to Doug for that link a while back!]

Anyway, speaking of lazy, it’s after one in the morning and I have to go to church in the morning [I’m not missing Sunday School again, so I have to be there at nine]. I have less than seven hours to sleep!! Egads! [whine, whine]

And speaking of seven…here’s scene seven if you’re interested. Standard disclaimer applies, but if you think it doesn’t suck for a first draft, comments are welcome.

G’Night.

Hey It’s Good To Be Back Home Again*

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Welcome back!

We went to “The Farm” [my parents’ house] for a couple of days, hence my silence in the great blog-o-sphere. I’ve missed this dreadfully! My mom is on dialup, and anytime there was a chance to be on the computer [i.e. when the kids and my crazy grandma were in bed] Mom was in there, working feverishly, trying to finish up some stuff that she can’t get done when my grandma is awake.

Grandma has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease, so she’s a real trip to be around. She has to be the center of attention at all times, so when mom tries to get anything done in a different room [or do anything that isn’t watching TV in the living room with Grandma] she goes into a tizzy and basically throws a temper tantrum. It’s exhausting for mom [she doesn’t believe me when I say I have the same problems with my kids. Anytime I’m in here on the computer, they have seven thousand things they need help with, but if I’m in the living room watching something on TV that they want to watch, they all go to their rooms to play quietly. There has to be a name for that!]

Anyway, Mom’s working herself into an ulcer over this stuff, and that is a Bad Thing. There is a lot of not-so-good history between them, and it’s hard for mom not to take Grandma’s behavior personally. I don’t know how to help, and since I’m three and a half hours away, there’s not much I can do to give mom a break now and then. In a similar situation, I don’t know if I could have held out this long [it’s been several months since Grandma moved in]. I don’t know what the best course of action is, but I know that she can’t go on like she has been. It’s too stressful for her to deal with the constant verbal attacks, constant repetition of questions and statements, and complete lack of consideration for my mom’s needs by my Grandma.

Grandma may not be capable of thinking about anyone but herself anymore, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t hurt my mom’s feelings when Grandma criticizes her.

Jeez, what an impossible situation. If you pray, would you pray for my mom? She would appreciate it, and so would I, more than you will ever know.

Thanks friends, it really is good to be back home again.

*I grew up listening to Country music, and one of my mom’s faves was John Denver. Lyrics for Back Home Again are here. Every time I hear a song by John Denver, I think of summertime at my mom and dad’s house before I started school [so it was before 1979]. I remember my brother smacking me in the head with his ‘head wand’ [He has Cerebral Palsy and is a quadriplegic with no control over his body except his head. Somebody, {can’t remember who} worked up a helmet-like apparatus with a metal wand sticking out of it so he could push buttons on a typewriter, play with cars, and smack his little sister in the head when she got lippy.]

I think of those times and remember that I wasn’t always timid, didn’t always doubt my own worth, wasn’t always afraid of my own shadow, didn’t always struggle with major depression. I remember being carefree [except for the whacks with the head wand] I remember believing that I could do anything I wanted, and planned to as soon as I ‘learned some stuff,’ like how to read and write. I wanted to find a cure for CP, even at age three or four.

“Back Home Again” came out in 1974, which is the year I was born. My dad has played the guitar and sung since he was a teenager, and my mom made him learn this song. He never would sing it, because he was a Hank Senior man, but he’d play it and my mom would sing [slightly off-key, but who cares, right?]

She never could get the bridge right [“And oh, the time that I can lay this tired old body down/ and feel your fingers feather soft up-on me/ the kisses that I live for, the love that lights my way/ the happiness that livin’ with you brings me.”] She always missed the notes on ‘fingers.’

One of my favorite memories is of being an older kid [I may have been married, so I was at least 21, which would make me an adult kid, I guess] and singing that part of the song with her, and doing it right! Not because I thought I was better than she was, but because of how proud she and my dad were that I could carry a tune! I hadn’t sung a note in front of either one of them since I was five or so and my mom told me I was singing off-key, so they had never heard me sing until that moment.

Strange what a simple song brings to mind, isn’t it?

Blogger Support for the Release of Jill Carroll

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This is one of those times when I don’t have words to do it justice. Jill Carroll is the reporter who was kidnapped a couple of weeks ago. I found out about blogging our support for her release through Balls and Walnuts, who got it from Blue Gal.

If you pray, please pray for her safe release.

One thing that is pretty impressive, and probably under-reported is the amount of Muslim support for her release. Jill has written numerous articles about the effect of the war on Iraqi citizens. They give a picture of the humanity of the Iraqi people that is all to easy to forget.

Updates on Jill Carroll are here.

Please, please take the time to follow these links. My heart breaks to see someone’s child in danger, even adult children. I wish I could do more. A few words on a blog and prayers for her safe return feel so insignificant, but it’s all I have to offer.

I hope that God is giving Jill and her family a sense of peace, and some knowledge of the outcry for her release.

Bring her back to us unharmed, Father.

Back on the Writerly Trail

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Finally worked on NIP tonight. Yay, me. I got 1298 words, which is okay, but it took me two hours to get them. I think skipping a couple of days lost my rhythm, and I’m gonna have to work a bit to get it back. Also, I went back and finished scene 4, so it’s a little out of order in posting now, and that made it kind of hard to get my mind around where I’m going.

I’m not sure I like the direction it’s going right now, either. I had a scene in mind to write tonight, and a different one ended up in its place. I’ll probably have to go back and fix it. I may go ahead and write the scene I had in mind tomorrow, and work it in during the edits. That will make it harder to read it on the blog, but I’ll put some links in at the end of the posts or something.

We’re all still sick here. Hubby’s been coughing the whole time I’ve been writing, which makes for a peaceful writing session since the computer’s in our bedroom. The two year old had a ten minute long coughing fit, too, but thankfully it didn’t wake her up.

No, she only wakes up when I’m on the verge of falling asleep myself. I swear, every night she wakes up and cries just as I get into that wonderful limbo stage between awake and asleep. Almost makes me believe she’s psychic.

Anyway, there’s sleep around here somewhere, and I need to find some, so g’night.