If I were...

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(This is from Frog.)

If I were a month, I would be: September
If I were a day of the week, I would be: Friday
If I were a time of day, I would be: late afternoon
If I were a planet, I would be: Mars
If I were a sea animal, I would be: blue whale
If I were a direction, I would be: West
If I were a piece of furniture, I would be: futon
If I were a sin, I would be: gluttony
If I were a liquid, I would be: Pepsi
If I were a body of water, I would be: Pacific Ocean
If I were a stone, I would be: amber
If I were a tree, I would be: Douglas Fir
If I were a bird, I would be: crow
If I were a flower/plant, I would be: iris
If I were a kind of weather, I would be: summer rain
If I were a musical instrument, I would be: upright bass
If I were an animal, I would be: elephant
If I were a color, I would be: true red
If I were an emotion, I would be: anxiety
If I were a vegetable, I would be: peas
If I were a sound, I would be: a ticking clock
If I were an element, I would be: silver
If I were a car, I would be: Volvo station wagon
If I were a song, I would be: �Me and Bobby McGee�
If I were a movie, I would be directed by: Penny Marshall
If I were a book, I would be written by: Raymond Carver
If I were a food, I would be: popcorn
If I were a place, I would be: Oregon
If I were a material, I would be: cotton
If I were a taste, I would be: bittersweet
If I were a scent, I would be: grapefruit
If I were a word, I would be: candid
If I were an object, I would be: some sort of organizational contraption
If I were a body part, I would be: small of the back
If I were a facial expression, I would be: puzzled
If I were a subject in school, I would be: American History
If I were a dog, I would be: Rottweiler
If I were a cat, I would be: gray tabby
If I were a number, I would be: 18

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This is so cool

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Baby Name Wizard

The huge spike recently in the popularity of my name, however, is not that cool.

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What if no one's watching?

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In her comment on this post, Emma Goldman asked me a very good question. Two of them, actually. Her questions were:

Why do you want there to be a deity? What will happen if you don't find one?

The second question is not of much interest to me, because I don't think anything will happen if I don't find God. I'll be pretty much in the same place I am now--no proof of existance, no faith, but no proof of inexistance either. Unless for some reason my seach sours me so much it gets me all the way to Atheism, but honestly I just don't see that happening. The first question, though, is really at the heart of what is going on here.

There are quite a number of reasons I want there to be a deity, some kind of greater power. One of them is because I don't want to feel like I'm in this alone--I want there to be someone bigger than me watching out for me. Another one is that I can't stand the idea of never again seeing the people I love who have died, and in order to believe that I am going to see them again, I sort of need to believe in a God, some conception of Heaven, something. One of the biggest ones is that I want a community to be part of, and the kinds of communities people I know seem to find in their churches seem so great. I want to be part of that, and I think becoming part of it would be a lot easier if I actually shared beliefs with said community.

There are a more shallow set of reasons as well. I like church, especially ritualistic church. It makes me feel centered, safe. I like the rountine of it, the symbolism, the quiet, sacred space. I want to have a legitimate share in that space and not feel like an imposter in it. I want to a person who knows the words to the hymns and the proper responses, who knows when to say "and also with you" and "Amen."

The biggest reason, though, is simple curiousity. I want to know if there is a God or not, and I don't think factual evidence that I find believable is going to surface, or that it would be enough even if it did. I want to have some strong feeling about it, one way or the other. Agnosticism is fine when you don't care, but as I get older I do care, I want to have a theory of what is going to happen when I die that I actually believe and don't just find interesting. I want to be able to commit to a position of some sort, driven by something inside myself. I want to feel faith. I feel like I am missing out on some basic human experience by not having it in my life, and I am missing it.

I don't know if that's a sufficient answer, but it is what I have, for now. Thanks for asking.

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Notes from the search for God

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In today's episode of my search for God, I found myself in sitting at a Quaker meeting. For over a hour, I sat in a room with thirty or forty other people, quietly, concentrating. Two men got up and spoke, each for no more than a couple of minutes, and I listened closely to what each of them had to say, then pondered what they said, looking for a message in it, looking for shades of something that I needed to hear. Before anyone spoke, I concentrated hard, first on the list of people I had brought with me that I wanted to pray for, and then on myself, praying for faith.

Once again, faith didn't come. If God was present in that room, God did not make its presence known, at least not to me. I sat there, trying from the inside out to open my heart and make room for faith, but faith did not come. As I attempted to meditate on faith, I concentrated on the word--faith. I saw it in my mind like the screen saver on a computer screen, bright, swirling letters. And just as soon as I saw it, it turned from "faith" to "fake." As in, I am a fake for sitting here with my eyes closed, trying to pretend I am one of these people. These people feel God in this space. They feel community. I feel my ass against the chair, my feet on the floor. These people are somewhere inside themselves, pondering on the things that are important in their lives, talking to their gods. I am sneaking glances at the clock, looking around the room, counting the panes in the windows. God wants nothing to do with me.

So here I am. Again. Disappointed. Wondering if this search is worthwhile. Wondering if searching is even what I should be doing. After all, if God wanted to me to know it exists, why wouldn't it just TELL ME rather than sending me on this wild goose chase? What am I supposed to be learning here?

I've looked for God on my own in more ways and on more occasions than I can count. I've done rituals, I've prayed in song, in speech, in writing. I've looking for God in nature, in the faces of my friends and family, at the graves of those I have lost. And I haven't been able to find God alone. Thinking maybe that I just needed help, or structure, I've looked for God in a Lutheran church, a Universalist Unitarian church, and now at a Quaker meeting. And I've seen no inclination of God in any of those places either. What now? Should I try Episcopalian? Should I stop picking churches based on their social values and service work and just force myself to sit through services at the Baptist church down the street? What if God has been hiding there all along, only a few blocks away?

Lord, I Have Made You a Place in My Heart

Oh Lord, I have made you a place in my heart
among the rags and the bones and the dirt.
There's piles of lies,
the love gone from her eyes,
and old moving boxes full of hurt.
Pull up a chair by the trouble and care.
I got whiskey, you're welcome to some.
Oh Lord, I have made you a place in my heart,
but I don't reckon you're gonna come.

I've tried to fix up the place,
I know it's a disgrace,
you get used to it after a while -
with the flood and the drought and old pals hanging out
with their IOU's and their smiles.
Bare naked women keep coming in
and they dance like you wouldn't believe.
Oh Lord, I have made you a place in my heart,
so take a good look - and then leave.

Oh Lord, why does the Fall get colder each year?
Lord, why can't I learn to love?
Lord, if you made me, it's easy to see
that you all make mistakes up above.
But if I open the door, you will know I'm poor
and my secrets are all that I own.
Oh Lord, I have made you a place in my heart
and I hope that you leave it alone.

-Greg Brown

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Mary Magdalene

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I am trying to write every day for Lent. Can't think of anything to say at the moment, though, so here's what I am listening to/thinking about:

"The Ballad of Mary Magdalene"
by Richard Shindell

My name is Mary Magdalene
I come from Palestine
Please excuse these rags I'm in
I've fallen on hard times
But long ago I had my work
When I was in my prime
But I gave it up
And all for love
It was his career or mine

Jesus loved me
This I know
Why on earth did I ever let him go
He was always faithful
He was always kind
But he walked off with this heart of mine

A love like this comes but once
This I do believe
And I'll not see his like again
As I live and breathe
And I'm sorry if I might offend
But I will never see
How the tenderness I shared with him
Became a heresy

Jesus loved me, this I know
Why on earth did I ever let him go
He was always faithful
He was always kind
But he walked off with this heart of mine

And I remember nights we spent
Whispering our creed
Our rituals, our sacrament
The stars our canopy
And there beneath an olive tree
We'd offer up our plea
God's creation, innocent
His arms surrounding me

Jesus loved me, this I know
Why on earth did he ever have to go
He was always faithful
He was always kind
But he walked off with this heart of mine

He was always faithful
He was always kind
But he walked off with this heart of mine

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Blame it on the Sims

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All weekend I meant to blog, but I was distracted. You see, 5 years after the rest of the world, I finally got The Sims (for $5 at the Goodwill, no less). And I am an instant addict. It's not even funny. They had me at hello.

It was a busy weekend otherwise, as well. Mark is sick and had to be babied, I went to see Ani, I looked at a bunch of houses, and I watched the Puppy Bowl. Oh, and I attempted to make gingerbread from Laura Ingalls Wilder's recipe (did you know today is her birthday?). I don't suggest you try it. Either the recipe is bad, or one of the spices I used was too old, or something, because the shit isn't even edible.

Ani was amazing. Inspiring. Better than I have seen her in years. She played better, she played longer, she seemed relaxed and upbeat--like the old Ani. I was really really happy I forked out the $40 and went, and if you are of the Ani persuasion, I suggest you do the same--even if you haven't been impressed with her in the last handful of years. It's just her and an good, understated (cute) upright bass player named Todd. Then when you go, tell me what you think about Andrew Bird, who is opening for her on this tour. I am honestly perplexed as to what I think, except to say that the man has a mean whistle.

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What he meant to say

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You and I serve our country in a time of great consequence, and my service comes with great consequences. During this session of Congress, we have the duty to disintegrate domestic programs vital to our country, screwing as many poor people as possible; we have the opportunity to save millions of lives abroad from a terrible disease, imperialism, but instead, spread it we will! We will work for a prosperity that is broadly shared by all the rich white men of this country, and we will answer every danger and every enemy that threatens the American people, as long as they are threatening those very same rich white men.

To read the real State of the Union Address, go here. While a barf bucket will still probably be necessary, reading it isn't quite as bad as watching him talk.

This is my favorite part:

And tonight I have a message for the brave and oppressed people of Iraq: Your enemy is not surrounding your country -- your enemy is ruling your country. And the day he and his regime are removed from power will be the day of your liberation.

Indeed.

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Strangest search of the week

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To the person who found my blog by searching for "ways a teenage girl can have sex without her parents knowing"--good luck, my dear. And please, please, if the sex you are trying to secretly have is heterosexual, use a condom. Even if you have to buy it, unwrap it, and apply it, use a condom.

-This message brought to you the Coaltion of Texas Women Doing Their Part to Fight Abstinence Only Education.

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Identity theft by the numbers

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Number of phone calls made: 14

Number of phone calls made only to be directed to call someone else: 3

Number of dollars stolen: $2,300

Number of additional dollars attempted to steal: $1,900

Number of days the bank estimates until they get back to me for a PRELIMINARY phone call: 3

Number of accounts closed: 2, so far

Number of direct deposits or withdrawls cancelled: 5

Number of curse words uttered: approximately 25,000

Number of days for which my credit file is flagged: 90

Number of years for which my credit file will be flagged if this does not get resolved within 90 days: 7

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