miteypen

Archive for September, 2008|Monthly archive page

Looking to the Future

In Politics on September 24, 2008 at 3:05 pm

i’ve written elsewhere about my politics, mainly in femagination.blogspot.com. I can hardly wait for the election to be behind us, not because I’m sick of the campaign ads–I haven’t really seen that many–but because of the suspense. I’m so afraid that McCain is going to win. I guess I just want to know the worst. I’m such a pessimist, I know, but I also have seen how things work in this country, and I do believe that there are plenty of people out there who will stick with the Republicans because of what they stand for: conservative, traditional values. I don’t know why so many people are so afraid of the liberal label. If anything, you’d think that they’d be embracing the prospect of new solutions, seeing as how the old ones haven’t worked out so well.

I’m afraid of a lot of things. I think we’re heading toward a severe recession, especially if McCain wins. I think we’re going to see a crackdown on reproductive rights. We may even see Roe v. Wade overturned. Pro-lifers are even going to be going after birth control. We may see a return of the draft. I’m so afraid for my grandson. He’s only nine, but it may take some time before the draft is instituted and then I don’t see it being lifted anytime soon. Because I think that the U.S. is only going to be sticking its nose in other countries’ business even more than it is now. And that will require military action.

i’ve been working on a science fiction story and found something interesting: when I tried to figure out what our society could be like in fifty years, it scared the hell out of me. Trends today may very well create nightmares tomorrow. Like, will lower income people ever be able to buy houses? Will the upper class continue to grow and control everything? Will the middle class exist just to serve the upper classes? Will lower income people ever have decent health care? Who will be able to afford to go to college? Will our democratic way of life vanish?

Some nightmares are already reality. The middle class is finding it harder and harder to support itself. The lower classes are finding it impossible. The upper classes don’t care as long as they get to keep what they earn and own. Values are getting more conservative. Everything is getting more expensive.

I wasn’t happy about it, but I wasn’t so concerned when the housing crisis first developed. I’ve already mortgaged my home to the hilt, but since I don’t need to sell any time soon, the crisis didn’t appear to affect me. But then my retirement account started to lose money. It’s lost almost 20% since last October. I’m having to face the reality that I’m not going to be able to retire–ever! I won’t have the means to support myself if I did. My new health care plan is twice as expensive as my old one was (I was forced to change plans.) And then there are the daily expenses like gas and food. Everytime I go to the grocery I feel physically sick over the rise in prices–in just a few short months. Soon our income, which has been adequate, isn’t going to cover our basic expenses. And we have no means of making more money in the near future.

I don’t know if Obama has the answers. But McCain’s are too much like Bush’s and we’ve seen where that’s gotten us.

Power Outage

In Family on September 17, 2008 at 12:55 pm

The big news around where I live is the horrendous wind storm we had on Sunday and the fact that over a million homes in Ohio ended up without power for at least two days.  At least a half a million are still without power as of last night when I saw the news. Toppled trees taking down power lines were the main culprits. They also killed four people at last count and caused all kinds of damage to cars and buildings. I haven’t heard a price tag yet, but it will be huge.

Miraculously, my house never lost power. But the homes of the three daughters that still live in Ohio did. The two that live in Columbus brought over their perishables to put in our refrigerator and freezer and one of them brought a crockpot full of lamb stew which they needed to cook up. I suggested that they come over and eat it at our house (thus effectively inviting myself to eat their food) and then I called my other daughter and her husband to come over as well.

I made salads to start out the meal and sliced up strawberries for dessert. The stew was delicious and there was plenty for six. We had a really nice time. I always enjoy being around my kids, listening to their stories and wondering what they’re laughing about. One of them commented that most families do this periodically for no reason, but we don’t do it unless there’s a power outage.

She had a good point, unfortunately. Maybe I ought to change that.

Politics

In Politics on September 10, 2008 at 3:20 pm

I’m not always interested in politics; it’s more of a seasonal thing.  This season is a biggie, of course. And I’m pretty nervous about it. My husband just keeps saying, “What will be, will be.” But that’s easy for him to say–he’s not a citizen and can’t vote. What I hate is voting and having the feeling that your vote doesn’t count. Because when my side loses, that’s exactly how I feel.

I told my husband last night that too many voters take their lead from the media. Not diehard Republicans and Democrats, etc., but those on the fence. If the media is hyping someone, they swing that way. If they drop that person and start hyping someone else, they swing the other way. If a candidate could control the media, he (or she) would be a shoo-in. Kerry had a hard time getting any positive press once the media picked up on the Swift Boat story. He wasn’t popular with the media to begin with.  Neither was Gore in 2000. He’s not charismatic enough. Or at least he wasn’t considered so then. (That was before “An Inconvenient Truth and his appearances on TV shows.)

When McCain put down Obama for being a celebrity, he was aiming at the wrong target. He should have criticized the press for making him into one. But of course, you don’t want to criticize the press, on the off chance that they might decide to make you a celebrity someday. Palin is getting so much press–and mainly positive press–that I wouldn’t be surprised if she could win the presidency.

So whose fault is it that the press has so much influence? Ours, of course. We’re lazy. Instead of digging for the facts ourselves, we leave it up to the media (and that is increasingly including bloggers) to provide them. We never think that they might present the “facts” with a bias. Of course not.

We need to be more proactive in our politics. Don’t take anyone else’s opinon as your own, unless you have the facts to back it up. If the unexamined life is not worth living, neither is the unexamined democracy (or vote). Question everyone and everything. Look at the candidates from every perspective. Weigh the pros and cons of each of their potential presidencies. And for heaven’s sake, take what the media says with a grain of salt.

Our Cats

In Pets on September 9, 2008 at 6:52 pm

We now officially have two cats who lick the residue out of yogurt cups and get them stick on their heads. It’s hilarious to watch them back up thinking that they can extricate themselves from the situation. The first and oldest one, Buttons, has figured out how to use her paws to dislodge it. The younger one, Princess Mimi (or Mimi for short), who is actually Buttons’ daughter, has not. It’s fun to watch.

We got these two cats because of my third daughter’s rescue mentality. She already had two cats and a dog when she found a skinny but obviously pregnant cat wandering the streets around her neighborhood. She took her home, intending to keep her until she had her kittens. I ended up paying for all of their shots and once the kittens were weaned, Momma Kitty, as she was known then, came to live with us.

We had just lost our dog, Tipper, to liver cancer and didn’t think we were ready for another pet. But as soon as I saw Momma Kitty, I knew. She’s a calico and I’ve always been partial to these crazy cats. Because they do all seem to be crazy. I thought Momma Kitty was pretty laid-back and mild-mannered when we took her in, but that must have been only while playing Momma, because she soon started tearing around our house chasing ghosts or demons or something else we couldn’t see.

We ended up with Mimi because my oldest daughter, who had taken her at first, had to have her older cat put to sleep and couldn’t bear to have a reminder around the house. Besides, Mimi was the type of cat who needs companionship. Cat companionship. She still does. Whenever Buttons goes outside (we don’t allow Mimi to yet; she’s not fixed), Mimi meows constantly until her beloved friend and mother comes back inside again.

I don’t think they know that they’re mother and daughter, because when we first brought Mimi home, Buttons hissed and growled at her for days. But they gradually got used to each other’s company and now they lie next to each other when they sleep, wrestle each other when they’re feeling playful and lick each other’s heads whenever one of them has been in a yogurt cup.

The Washington Post’s “On Faith” Web Site

In Religion on September 9, 2008 at 5:09 pm

For interesting and thoughtful musings about faith in this crazy world, click here.

Depression

In Mood disorders on September 8, 2008 at 11:13 am

Yesterday I asked a lot of questions about my faith and religion in general. I still believe that this is something I need to deal with, but I can’t help but pose another question: how much of my inability to get where I want to go has to do with my chronic depression?

I’m reading a book right now titled The Beast: A Reckoning With Depression by Tracy Thompson. For the most part the text is a long tedious discussion of how she feels about her depression. But it does contain some valuable insights. One is that depression causes certain behaviors and then those behaviors in turn exacerbate the depression. I think another way to put it is that treating the depression is not enough; you also need to unlearn those adaptive behaviors. Or at least restructure them.

Thompson writes about her inability to connect with others intimately (she has plenty of friends). My problem might be that I connect too well intimately. I think I have used relationships in the past in two ways: one is that I hope the relationship will solve my problems and the other is that it distracts me from them, especially in the falling-in-love stage.

I am finally in a healthy relationship and one way I can tell is that I’m still uniquely me, even down to my problems. My husband doesn’t alleviate my anxieties and depression as much as provide a stable atmosphere so that I can attend to them myself. I have a safety net, but I’m still the one doing the live wire act above it. Without a man in my life who expects and even demands that I act in a certain way, I’m free to examine who I really am. I never thought of it in quite that way before.

That doesn’t mean that it’s easy. I’m 56 years old and there’s something to the belief that the older you get the more set in your ways you become. I can’t imagine becoming a different sort of person, one who isn’t so serious and even pessimistic about myself. I have a monkey on my back and it is me. I practice all sorts of self-defeating behaviors, not the least of which is my tendency to sit in the house and do nothing but write all day. I am a writer, so that’s not so weird in itself, but I don’t balance my life with other activities. I have very few friends, I belong to no organizations, and I only work part-time.

I know these things about myself, but I still I find it difficult to change. But I can’t help but ask: what is so bad about being who I am? Some people are introverted and solitary. I’ve always been this way. But then I’ve always been depressed and anxious. So how do I know how I’d really be if I weren’t?

My Religion, Continued

In Religion on September 7, 2008 at 2:09 pm

I feel stuck at a crossroads, as if I can’t get where I want to go because I keep putting off choosing a direction. I know that I don’t want to go down the path to unbelief. I can’t. Because I do believe. But I have a lot of questions and doubts, too. And I have my pride. I couldn’t go to someone like Martha and ask her to pray for me that I would choose the right path. I want to find my own way. I want to pray my own prayers. Is that wrong of me?

It does sound kind of prideful. It’s a matter of surrender, I think. I don’t want these “other” Christians to feel superior to me, and I know that they do. Just because they cling to their church and their prescribed set of beliefs whereas I’m willing to go out in the world and take what comes. And I want to think for myself. Can’t you do that and have the mind of Christ as well? Where in the Bible does it say that you have to stop thinking for yourself?

But I have to ask myself: is one reason I don’t have passion in my life because I’ve given up on that passion for Christ that I once had? Would I have avoided the mistakes that I’ve made if I’d stayed in the church and faithful to my beliefs? And am I having trouble changing myself because I’m not allowing Christ to do it for me?

I do feel like I did in the days before I accepted Christ as my savior and God as personal. Like I’m refusing to surrender, but I know that inevitably I have will have to. But what am I surrendering to? Or who? I’ve already become a Christian. Aren’t I still? Isn’t what in your heart what really matters? Or do you have to make a big deal of being Christian? Would I impress people if I went to church? And what about my desire to become Catholic? Is that just a bunch of hooey? An avoidance technique?

My Religion

In Friends, Religion on September 7, 2008 at 1:26 pm

Yesterday I couldn’t help but think about the state of my religious beliefs. I was at the open house where all the people there except for me go to the same church. It is a large, evangelical church in Worthington, Ohio. I don’t know if it is non-denominational or a member of the Churches of Christ. It’s so large it has welcome desks at each entrance according to its website at www.worthingtoncc.org. It was founded in 1975. I think I remember it from the days when I was first married to Bob.

Anyway, I was the white elephant in the room. Not that everyone wasn’t perfectly nice to me, but I thought it was interesting that no one asked me where I went to church. Maybe they assumed that I didn’t attend one (and they’d be right). But if they had asked me if I was a Christian, if I believed in Jesus as my personal savior, I would have said yes. And what would they have done with that? Because i obviously don’t fit the stereotype: I’m pro-choice, for one thing, have been divorced three times and married four, am not married to a “believer,” don’t attend church, only one of my four children is Christian (and I don’t know if she has accepted Jesus as her savior), and none of my kids went to Christian schools or colleges. Not only that but they were raised in the Methodist church, not exactly a hot-bed of evangelicalism.

I still believe that I’m an orthodox Christian, however. I may have not had the most exemplary life, but doesn’t God forgive us our trespasses (as long as we forgive those who trespass against us)? God knows that I have always tried to do the right thing, but that I often haven’t. I’ve made plenty of ill-advised decisions in my life, but I’ve made them all in my quest for a more authentic life. I refuse to live a lie. God would know if I was anyway.

Still, I feel a powerful pull to churches like Worthington Christian. I felt perfectly comfortable yesterday when one of the guests led us in prayer for Jenny. We all held hands and stood in a circle. I may have surprised the others by my willingness to do so and they may have doubted my sincerity, but God knows my heart and that’s all that matters to me (most of the time–obviously other people’s opinons matter or I wouldn’t have written the above!).

One thing I found interesting was a brief discussion about Catholicism. Martha asked if there was such a thing as “fulfilled Catholics,” like Messianic Jews. One person answered that she thought Catholics could be true believers but that there was a whole lot of stuff added to their religion that shouldn’t have been there. That was her implication anyway. I see what she means; I struggle with some of that stuff myself. But surely evangelical/fundamentalist Christians find a lot of common ground with Catholics? As much as with any other Christian denomination? There are non-believers and wrong believers in any church, just as there are evangelicals and fundamentalists. It’s all a matter of interpretation.

All in all, I’m glad I went. I was wonderful to see Martha and an honor to be there to share in her daughter’s big adventure. I just hope I didn’t make anyone uncomfortable. And it did give me a lot to think about.

Old Friends

In Friends, Religion on September 6, 2008 at 3:11 pm

I’m going to Martha’s daughter’s open house today and I’m really excited. I haven’t seen Martha in three years and we’ve only spoken on the phone once in all that time. I didn’t even get a Christmas letter from her this past year and it made me worry. I was afraid that her breast cancer had come back and she was too sick to write one. I always look forward to her cards and letters. For the longest time we had no other way of staying in each other’s lives.

Now we live five minutes from one another. I’d love to see her more, but it seems that she’s pretty busy and I’m not great for getting out of the house. I also can’t help but wonder if her husband discourages her from having much to do with me. I’m probably a back-slidden Christian in his eyes (maybe in hers, too). What with my four marriages. I feel like the woman at the well. Or Mary Magdelene.

That’s one thing that I hate about fundamentalist Christians: they won’t have anything to do with those who are not, even if those people are self-professed Christians. Sometimes I feel like they’re judging me and I come up wanting. I hope I don’t feel that way today. I’m sensitive enough about my religion, or lack of it. What would they think if they knew that I was thinking about becoming Catholic?

Sometimes I’m surprised that we’re still friends. I can still remember–I might even still have–some of the letters that she wrote me over the years that seemed almost preachy. Okay, they definitely were preachy. She was always writing about how much the Lord had done in her life. I felt that the Lord had done a lot in mine, too. Our lives just looked very different.

Maybe they’re not so different now. The last time I talked to her, she seemed less happy in her marriage, somewhat dissatisfied with her life, and tumbled about by worries about her children. Maybe she’s just suffereing from the empty nest syndrome. Maybe she’s not so smug about her Christianity. I would like to think that she is more open to me and hearing about my life now. I guess we’ll see.

Introduction

In Introduction, Writers, Writing on September 5, 2008 at 4:49 pm

I have several other blogs on the Internet, the others at blogger.com, but I don’t have one blog that is just for me, to make comments, to share my life, to be more personal. So this is going to be that kind of blog. I use the name “miteypen” because I’m a writer. I’ve used it since 1996, when I first got on the World Wide Web (notice how we don’t call it that anymore?). My first web page looked like this: “Miteypen’s Word Playground.” I’ve since made many, many more, but as far as I know they’ve been lost somewhere on the Internet. RIght now I have the following blogs: ADD Women, Femagination, German(e) and Human(e), Miteypen, and Urbia.

And now to get more personal:

I am 56 years old, a writer, a mother of four, a grandmother of one, a wife, a feminist, a Christian, an urban dweller, a person who battles depression and anxiety, and a woman with ADD.  I work part-time in an office and the rest of the time I spend trying to write. I’ve been published in Ladies’ Home Journal, Horizons, three anthologies, and a union newsletter. Not as much as I’d like, but I’m still working at it. I have four grown daughters, a nine-year-old grandson and a husband who is a German citizen. I’ve been a feminist since 1971 and a Christian (by personal choice) since 1973. I’ve battled depression and anxiety all of my life and was diagnosed with ADD eight years ago. Oh, and I’m also a registered Democrat, something that is on my mind a lot these days!

I intend to use this blog as a kind of journal: daily happenings and scattered thoughts. My other blogs are more focused and are made up primarily of mini-essays. This isn’t going to be that organized! I look forward to working with Word Press and I’m anxious to see what I can do with it.