Thursday, October 05, 2006

“Opposition may become sweet to a man when he has christened it persecution” - George Elliott UPDATED

Apropos of absolutely nothing, I think those fluorescent paisley Vera Bradley bags everyone is carrying these days are hideous. They remind me of the stupid Bermuda bags everyone – well, everyone but ME because I was a dork - carried in high school, with the wooden handles and button-off cloth bag part. Similar just in their inexplicable popularity, not in looks or usefulness or anything.

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Yesterday morning I finally told H that I had bought a laptop. No, he would not have found it on the credit card statement as I used my own personal money. It had been almost two weeks since the tablet died and he’d taken it to work to have it “looked at.” Yesterday afternoon he brought home the tablet, complete with new motherboard. Hmmm. Coincidence? I think not.

I am still keeping the laptop.

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Much hooha lately over the arts integration – or distressing lack thereof – in the curriculum of my son’s arts-magnet grade school. Posts to the parental listserv, newsletters sent home from school, meetings with the principal. The spectre of moving to the suburbs for the schools once again looms large over my head. And I hate it. I hate the idea of moving to the suburbs. But I will do it if I have to.

Fucking sword of Damocles. (“I do not think this means what I think you think it means.” See note.)
Note: The Sword of Damocles is a frequently used allusion to this tale, epitomizing the imminent and ever-present peril faced by those in positions of power. But wait, there’s more, and slightly more relevant: More generally, it is used to denote a precarious situation and sense of foreboding thereof, especially one in which the onset of tragedy is restrained only by a delicate trigger or chance. Moreover, it can be seen as a lesson in the importance of understanding someone's experience.
(And yes, I used Wikipedia. So sue me. What are you gonna do, make me turn in my librarian license?)

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But if we move to the suburbs, then I really am not returning the laptop.

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I was happily reading Raffaella Barker’s Summertime when I started having this disconcerting sense of déjà vu. (Is it still déjà vu if you feel like you’ve *read* something before?) But the characters are the same as in the first book, so I thought it was just me being hyper-whatever – but then little bits started leaping out at me: Venetia’s foray into weird fashion design; the ruddy-faced, bluff neighbor who is romantically interested in her; the weirdo hippies setting up the brother’s wedding; mostly, the bit about the rabbits and the dogs at the end. I have either read this book before, and I have to say I am fairly certain I have not, that I have only read Hens Dancing and is it possible that the two books are the same? OR – there is another book out there very similar to this or Hens - there’s a Katie Fforde that could be the one, Wild Designs. I have to go get Hens out of the library again, and see whether it’s the one that’s so similar to Summertime or whether it’s another book/author,. And if it’s the Fforde or some other author, I am so going to call the plagiarism police. Um yeah. That’s EXACTLY what I am going to do. It could be bigger than James Frey and Kaavya Viswanathan rolled into one and topped with some Jayson Blair. Ok, not really, but still, it’s driving me MAD. I will keep you posted.

[UPDATE: Ok, the ONLY explanation for this is that I HAVE read both books, and simply do not remember reading the sequel right after I read Hens. That HAS to be what happened. Someone correct me if I am wrong, or if you also have read something that sounds like this but is not the Hens book. In the meantime, I will just sit here at my computer, quietly going mad. MAD, I tell you!-bb]

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So rather than continue reading a book that was driving me bonkers, I picked up Myrtle of Willendorf. I admit I had a moment of abject terror, that the book was awful, and then what would I say to Rebecca at after-school pick-up? Since I had to open my big mouth and tell her I was reading it, before I’d started it? But it’s fine – so far, it’s really well-written, and the main character is fun and quirky, and I have laughed out loud at least twice. (And I’m not just saying that because I know you’re reading this blog now, Rebecca!) (Yes, I outed myself with a school mom. But it will be ok. Deep breath.)

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And in other news, remember how I had that ginormous party LAST Sunday for The Baby? Well, THIS Sunday, what was going to be a minimal fuss over Terzo’s being baptized is turning into another ginormous gathering. But my little brother and his wife and their lovely son whom I have not seen in a year and am DYING to see will be here, so I’d be cooking up a storm anyway.

Which leads me to discuss with you, my sweet little Internetties, the trepidation with which I am approaching this whole baptism/christening thing.

Please keep in mind that I was raised as a fundamentalist Baptist, and we do not get baptized (full dunk, thanks so much) until we have reached the age of consent - at least around age 14 or so. So because when I was 14 my church was busy being rent in twain by infighting, I was never baptized. Well, that and the fact that I was not entirely sure I was SAVED. Consequently, I have NEVER – not once, not ever – taken Holy Communion. Although I have admired those little personal cups the Protestants use. I always wanted to steal one to use as a flower vase for my Barbies’ house. But man – stealing a Communion cup! The very thought! No wonder I thought I might not be saved.
Anyhoo – my husband is a baptized, confirmed, non-practicing Catholic-raised boy. I don’t think this Terzo-christening is nearly as big a deal for H as it is for me, that I am having one of my children baptized – not against his (the child's) will, per se, but clearly, CLEARLY, without his adult consent, since he’s only, oh, a year and change.

Am I selling out? Why am I so hesitant to be baptized myself, even though I like the church we attend, and I help out at Sunday school, and find my beliefs mostly in line with their theology? Why is the thought of baptizing my son making me nervous and feeling like I am using my child to achieve something I never have, and maybe never will? Would someone please tell me to chill? The rector explained that Episcopal baptism is like an initiation, a welcoming into the church, followed by an admonishment to learn and grow in the church. Well, yeah, the only initiations I know anything about are Greek, and plus, I have never been much of a joiner.

I am caught upon the horns of a dilemma.
Except I am not, because 1) he’s getting baptized at this point, come hell or high water. Haha. Because my little bro and his wife are the godparents and we don’t see them very often, so we have to do it this weekend. And 2) I have always wanted to use that phrase and now I have, regardless of how germane it is to this discussion.

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Oy vey.

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On the more serious side of things – how do you discuss with your five-year-old what to do if some crazy person comes into their school and starts shooting or taking hostages? How do you bring that up? Do I even need to? I feel like, in this day and age, and in the shadow of the school shootings in Colorado and Pennsylvania, that I should. I don’t want him to be wholly unprepared. As one of the readers of this Salon article on school security said, I don’t want something to happen and him think, “Why didn’t anyone tell me what I should do?”

And on THAT happy note, I leave you tonight.
And again I say, Oy vey.

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I am hoping to post my show-and-tell photos tomorrow, but as I told Blackbird, just the thought of photographing all the gazillion musical instruments in my house exhausts me.
So maybe I’ll show you one.
One eensy weensy one.
A small one, like a maraca or something.
We’ll see.
I’ll see.

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Have I said Oy vey! too many times yet?

13 comments:

Suse said...

Which was the phrase you were itching to use? 'Caught upon the horns of dilemma' or 'getting baptised, come hell or high water'? Because they are both astoundingly good.

I think all Behind the Stove readers should make it their mission to incorporate 'caught upon the horns of a dilemma' into their conversation today.

Sarah Louise said...

Caught on the horns of a dilemna...I'll have to put that one in the cooker.

The thing I like about baby christenings (at least in the Presbyterian church) is that the congregation has to stand and say that they will help the family raise the child up in a Christian manner. (Oh, you mean it takes a village?)

Miz S said...

I would strongly advise against talking to Primo about what to do if a crazy asshole comes in to school and starts shooting. I think it would scare him unnecessarily. Despite the big news stories, the odds are overwhelmingly in your favor on this. Primo will probably never see anything more exciting than a shoving match between kids. He's safe at school. Don't let him think otherwise.

Rebecca said...

Oh, please don't move to the suburbs! It really *does* take a village. Don't go! We need you here.

And thank you for the kind words about Myrtle of Willendorf. That made my day.

Gina said...

I don't like those bags either--they remind me of make-up bags, for some reason.

I wasn't sure about getting the boy baptized, but I figured it couldn't hurt, so I went ahead. Will Primo wonder why he *isn't* baptized? Is it going to be an issue?

Sarah Louise said...

I'm with Mis S on this one.

And I do like some of the VB bags, but I'm not a paisley fan.

Don't move--I'd miss you!

Amy A. said...

That school safety issue is a biggy, isn't it. And who knows if the suburbs are really that much safer, even if they do offer art.

ps. I just fed the fish. Cute.

delta said...

Baptism is a ritual. It has the meaning that you give it. Clearly, to Baptists you need to be old enough to say you are "committed." In other denominations, it is more like an initiation or a welcoming into the church community, where, yes, it does take a village and the parents, the godparents, and the congregation are all saying, dear wee one, we are here for you to guide you and love you and nurture you so that you may make wise decisions when you are old enough to do so.

Plus, baptism is painless. It won't hurt anyone. It's not like, say... circumcision.

"May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you. May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace."

Welcome to this world, Terzo. Welcome to our family, our community. We love you, and we say...come on down!

Poppy Buxom said...

What Delta said about Baptism.

And I think you should get baptised yourself, missy. (Come on in--the water's fine!)

For two reasons. 1. Episcopalians (and Roman Catholics) believe in one baptism for the remission of sins. So when you get baptized, you'll be carrying your "Get Out of Jail Free" card until you rack up some more sins. 2. If you don't get baptised, Terzo will feel insufferably smug. "Neener, neener, I'm baptised and you're not!"

weirdbunny said...

Don't tell the lille one about nasty men with gun's in school !! Instead check out the schools sercurity. You know the sort of thing, does any-one entering the school have to be buzzed in. Do all visitors have to wear labels saying who they are, so if they haven't got a label it's clear to the teaching staff as an intruder.

Onto the batisim thing. It clearly means different things to fifferent denominations. Some thing it's a free ticket to heaven for life. I don't believe it is, however I beleive the bible say's all children will go to heaven whatever, full stop, period.

In our church babies have a dedication service in which we thank God for them, and the congregation states they will look after his spiritual life etc.. and love and care for him. When they get saved they are then the full submerssion in water.

If your saved honey then go get baptised for the simple reason God tells us too.

I grew up in a different church than I go to noe. As a baby I was chrisend then as a teenager I had to wear a hideous white veil and white dress and I was confirmed, they was nothing more embarrassing than this. This was also at a time of my life, yip I'm a slow catcher on, that I thought pontios pilot was a real pilot as in planes!!

Anyway have a fab time and enjoy the party and celebrations - love Juliax

weirdbunny said...

Sorry I had to do the above link in other, as I'd typed it all aout but hadn't signed into blogger beta for the linkt to work. sorry.

Sarah Louise said...

Well, for me, the main thing about infant baptism is twofold:

the village and the church say, even though you are a crying squirming person that can't talk, we take you in. You don't have to behave to belong.

Two, the village says, we will watch out for you (and your family) to ensure we do the most to allow you to explore where God wants you to go.

The service was beautiful. The day, weatherwise, was perfect. The waffles, they were delicious.

I want to break out into Louis Armstrong and sing "What a wonderful World."

Velma said...

I was quite conflicted about the baptism thing. We did it at 6 weeks with our daughter, but at 11 months with our son, and I was con-flict-ed. Still am, but I freely admit we did it for the family and not for us, and as someone else mentioned, it's not like we cut off a piece of him without his consent...oh, wait. We *did* do that one, so in retrospect, baptism seems relatively benign.