same love

In News and Politics, Relationships, Religion on May 23, 2015 at 5:32 pm

If you’ve read more than three posts on this blog, I’d first like to congratulate you on being part of such an exclusive group. Secondly, you may have noticed that a lot of post titles are music-related. It didn’t start out as a conscious decision, and it’s still not a rule so much as a tendency. But this title does refer to a specific song: Same Love by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis featuring Mary Lambert. It’s essentially a song in support of the GLBTQ community. When I first heard it, it was Mary Lambert’s sweet lilting chorus that hooked me (pun acknowledged, considered, and kept but not necessarily intended).

And I can’t change
Even if I tried
Even if I wanted to
And I can’t change
Even if I tried
Even if I wanted to
My love
My love
My love
She keeps me warm
She keeps me warm
She keeps me warm
She keeps me warm

It’s a melodic expression of an age-old sentiment: the heart wants what the heart wants. Everyone who has known love knows the irrationality of it. I know far too many people (myself included) who spent a stupid amount of time and energy on a relationship weaker than the first little pig’s straw house. The frailty might be obvious and insurmountable – the straw house had no chance against the wolf’s inexplicably strong lungs – or it might never be realized – like water eroding the earth until the Grand Canyon reaches depths that far exceed its relatively mild epithet would imply.

The beautiful thing about love is that, like faith, it regularly overcomes the cyclopean odds against it and endures the wind and fire and hangry wolves determined to destroy it. We have as much control over whether we love the same or opposite sex as we do whether we love some asshole who tries to get you fired (you know who you are).

I recently became a Catholic. The why and how and whatnot are for another day. For the purposes of this post, most people are aware of the Catholic church’s stance on marriage equality (they are not in favor). What you might not know is that this judgment on marriage validity is not limited to the Adam and Steves of the world. There are some very specific reasons why the church’s stance on gay marriage is what it is – and they are mostly related to the inability to produce biological progeny. I won’t go into them here because you can look it up yourself on this thing called Google (or Bing, if you prefer your search results identical but further apart).

What interested me as I learned the premises on which the case for which marriage inequality was based, I realized my own (extremely hypothetical) marriage would not be recognized as valid by the Catholic church – and many priests would refuse to perform my ceremony.

Why? Because I do not want to have biological children. I will not be having biological children. There was a time in my life when I planned on a Brangelina-style brood of biological and adopted children who represented at least 5 continents. Life, being the great teacher it is, gave many practical arguments in favor of keeping the doors of my egg store closed, not the least of which is serious mental illness (in fact, it’s probably the most). The interaction of medication and hormones and the physical, mental, and emotional stress of pregnancy made it an easy decision – for ME. Please note, people prone to hysteria, that I am not making a statement on whether women with mental illness should have biological children. As always, I do not give a shit what other people think or do, in the same way I don’t give a shit what other people think about what I think or do.

Because of the motley logic leading to my unused uterus, the Catholic church would not consider my marriage valid – or “real,” as one would say in non-Catholic terminology. My imaginary husband could divorce me and get what is essentially a “get out of marriage free” card from the church – an annulment would be a no-brainer. The reason you get married is to have children. Yeah, it’s also to unify with another human being who you will love and honor through sickness and health, wealth and poverty, good times and bad, but the baby-making is still required. It’s not an either/or proposition.

Is it difficult to belong to a religion that can (and would) refuse to acknowledge a lifelong commitment I made to a man who probably will fart under the covers and leave the toilet seat up and forget to buy bourbon when we run out? Sure. There are other tenets of the Catholic church with which I don’t agree, but just like any relationship, I make compromises and I know the commitment I made on April 4, 2015 will be tested like any other eternal promise. I grant the church something that it is sometimes slow to grant to others – flexibility. My faith, like love, will face the obstacles life presents, and against all probability it will prevail.

But here’s the catch – I can still get married legally. I am free to receive all the benefits of marriage – not just the dutch ovens and empty bourbon bottles, but insurance, estate protection, hospital visitation – all the fun, sexy stuff that comes with a government-issued document. This is where my religion breaks my heart – crossing the line between church and state to intervene in what is legally none of its business, but moreover, it opposes the highest and most central of Catholic tenets – human equality, dignity, and love. Losing sight of Catholicism’s strongest belief – love – has resulted in the promotion of well… not love. And that, unlike love, can change. If it could, and if it would, it can change.



As I completed this post, the shuffled playlist on my iPod played “I Will Wait” by Mumford & Sons. Not as prophetic as if “Same Love” had come on, but it still seems appropriate.



If you’re wondering if I wrote about gay marriage before, I have, although even I don’t remember writing it. The best thing about a horrible memory is re-reading things like it’s the first time… even when you wrote them. I also remembered my previous blog, which if I was the ambitious sort, I would import into this one or however computers and websites work.

the least snarkler post ever

In Home on February 14, 2015 at 1:22 pm

This has nothing to do with anything I ever write about. But a friend asked for advice about buying used, I mean pre-owned, I mean vintage furniture. Once I wrote it all out, I thought maybe it was helpful to other people. Enjoy:

Craigslist is nice because you can see stuff from home and they usually provide the dimensions so you can measure to see if it will fit before buying. You can also usually barter on the price. Downside: sometimes the seller is far away, and you have to be prepared right then to pick it up in whatever vehicle you can wrangle. Also, with furniture, people usually want you to come to their house rather than load it up themselves to meet you, so be careful and bring someone with you, meet in a public, well-lit place (grocery store parking lots during the day are a good option). Lastly, items on craigslist tend to be overpriced. People’s emotional attachment and skewed sense of their own frugality means they often price things unrealistically (I’ve seen people price IKEA stuff OVER the price of IKEA because “they put it together for you”). However, there are still great deals to be had, even from dealers. PS – some sellers will offer delivery.
Vintage stores tend to be the most expensive – since it’s their specialty, they know the value of items. BUT they will usually price good-quality items that have been made over super-ugly at a good price because their customers tend to not have the imagination to see what could be done with a piece beyond the current ugly. There are also some smaller stores that have to keep their prices competitive with bigger shops, and there’s the possibility of bartering with them.
Goodwill/Salvation Army/St. Vincent de Paul are usually the cheapest options. They don’t have an emotional attachment, and they are non-profits. There are days where everything is half-off… I got that blue chest of drawers for $12.50 because it was half-price day. If you pay at the time, you can usually pick it up within 24 hours so you have time to get help with transport. You can also trust to buy upholstered items from these stores because as non-profits, there are federal guidelines, including the professional cleaning and guarantee of items being free from bedbugs/fleas/etc. However, the selection is limited and varies from store to store. There is a Salvation Army furniture store in Norwood and I can give you some specific locations that are good to go for furniture. In addition, they are less likely to have quality items. There are some gems, but there’s a lot of particle board.
The ReStore stores, which are run by Habitat for Humanity. Around Cincinnati, there are locations in Bond Hill, Hamilton, Cheviot, and Florence. You can see some of their stuff online (and on craigslist) and it’s generally more commercial stuff but there are some really good deals. I got a bathroom cabinet for $20. They are also good for “character” salvage parts that you can add to other plain furniture for interest.
Trader’s World/flea markets: I got an amazing horizontal bookcase for $24 at Trader’s World and if I had the money, I would have gotten a spectacular steamer trunk for $60. You have to wait for spring for these because most of the furniture vendors stay outside.
Side of the road: I have gotten some of my best stuff as roadside pickups, including a chair that is a vintage model by a famous designer – a furniture company recently released a line of reproductions of it and they sell for about $1000. Finding out what day trash day is and doing drive arounds is the easiest window shopping you can do. Cincinnati-wise, Avondale, Clifton, Northside, and Walnut Hills are particularly good for curb pick-ups. Some curb items are also listed on craigslist. Be prepared to get in the car right away, because if they are advertised, they go quickly.
Yard Sales: Again, seasonal, but often advertised on craigslist with some pics of the furniture. They have some of the best deals you’re going to encounter.
The best advice is to be open to what comes to you and let people know what you’re looking for. Some things were gifts from friends (or trades); some were something I found out about from a friend, so let people know you’re looking if they know of someone who has something you need (or if they themselves do). You never know unless you ask!

Back to snark and sparklers next post.

it’s not delivery, it’s decisions

In Health and Wellness on December 15, 2014 at 8:22 pm

“I think knowing what you cannot do is more important than knowing what you can.” – Lucille Ball

There are a lot of quotes about knowing your limits that posit the notion that those limits are then a new baseline for the inevitable growth that comes with self-awareness. It’s the more appealing option, of course. Thinking you’re only going to get better in the future is the basis of business for self-help books, diet plans, and gyms. There are no seminars on just staying where you are. You can change; you can surpass limits.

Except that’s not what limits means. It means the end. No matter how increasingly nebulous the edge of the universe becomes, there is still an edge. I know my limits. I know what I can and can’t do. And while I think there is always room for self help, it’s also important to know what you should just let go.

I had back surgery in 2012 and at about 4:00 AM, the nurse said I had to empty my bladder before the doctor saw me in a few hours. I said, great, unhook me from these excellent drugs and I’ll pop in the loo. With the carefree nature of someone who got to pee in toilets, the nurse laughed. She handed me the bedpan. I said, “I won’t be able to go in this.”

She’s heard that before. (Probably) no one really enjoys going in a bedpan. She said that everyone says that until the catheter’s brought out (a straight catheter, because I had not planned on staying the night and therefore forgot to bring my own).

I tried. I tried for 45 minutes. I tried leaning forward. I tried leaning back. I tried thinking of waterfalls. The nurse ran water in the sink. I tried to do whatever it is I imagine women having babies do. The only thing that bedpan did was make an semi-permanent butt tattoo. When she brought the bedpan, I already knew what was waiting for me. A straight catheter from me to an almost-not-big-enough bowl for an entire SportsCenter Top 10. I can’t make myself pee in the woods, so when I say I can’t pee in a bedpan, I’m not lying. My peeing limit? A port-a-potty.

Similarly, I knew riding the bus by myself had the potential for disaster. My first day of first grade, I got on the wrong bus and ended up riding the entire way until the bus driver turned around and found a tiny girl with a Lionel Richie poodle mullet realizing she had made a huge mistake. Fortunately, even though this was before the time of cell phones or pagers or even caller ID or call waiting, I was reunited with my mom back at the school, where my mom asked me how I could possibly stay on the bus the entire time without saying anything to the driver. I don’t know. It never occurred to me.

That lesson stayed with me when I decided to take my first solo ride as an adult, a New Year’s Eve where I lamed out early and decided the best solution to the variety of issues complicating this decision (no car, only person leaving, lameness, etc) was to take the bus. The story of that bus trip and the rest of my journey home is a story for another day, but trust that I missed my stop and accidentally rode to the end of the route and ended up walking 3 miles home through Mt. Airy Forest. My bus riding limit is obviously the last stop.

Everyone loves getting pizza delivered. No one likes ordering pizza. I hate ordering pizza. I hate that I have to call to order my favorite pizza instead of ordering it online. I hate ordering pizza for more than two people because it involves endless choices of crust/sauce/toppings and doing math and compromising, which is all time better spent eating pizza. I have never ordered pizza for more than four people. When I go to a #Pizzanati outing (two pizza lovers on a quest for Cincinnati’s best plain pizza who let me tag along), I often order my own pizza just so I don’t have to participate in the nightmare of a 10-person order.

It should come as no surprise that my recent experience of ordering pizza for 30 people crashed and wood-fired burned into the ground – a disaster of near-Hindenburg proportions. I won’t go into details but the absurdity of how much pizza I ordered will now be in my personnel file, which I understand is the grown-up version of a permanent record. My pizza-ordering limit? Four people.

I learn from these life experiences, slowly. Sometimes, I learn that what I thought was my limit was porous – I now ride the bus alone to work and back. (Maybe someday I’ll set a new limit is riding the bus alone to anywhere else.) Often, I learn that some limits are just that: limits. Why push limits that are inevitable when I can concentrate on building upon what has no ceiling? I generally know where my time and energy is best spent. There’s nothing wrong with acquiescing to a limit of little consequence (although in my case, the matters of little consequence usually find their way to chaos) in favor of reaching for the nebulae of life.

And for the last piece of my own pizza.


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