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August 24, 2005

a word for every fear

yes, as expected, a few days of surfing has indeed improved overall health and well-being here at HadashiWorld, though there is plenty of whacking still going on.

and thanks to all those concerned; the manic perusal of craigslist & westside rents is over now; we have found a new residence and will begin repainting it almost immediately following my wedding shower this weekend. woo woo!

in other totally unrelated news, i learned a new word to describe a lingering "issue" i've had ever since small-personhood: coulrophobia. this is defined as "a persistent fear of clowns." my parents will tell you that when they took me to my first circus, the appearance of clowns caused me to shriek, go stiff, and then bury my cute little head deep in my father's shoulder for the entire awful red-nose-floppy-shoe segment. yes, i do indeed find clowns highly disturbing, and so it's somehow quite calming to discover that i am far from alone in this. apparently, coulrophobia is one of the top ten most-searched phobias on yahoo. there are whole websites devoted to the loathing of clowns, websites putting clown fear into "global perspective," and countless blog entries about this, of which i suppose this one will now join.

it's good to know that there is an impressive word to describe why, when visiting my adorable goddaughter recently, i had to resort to hiding her freaky clown-in-a-box toy so she couldn't play with it in front of me anymore.

Posted by hadashi at 11:39 PM | Comments (0)

August 19, 2005

two words

after a long day of work, i was driving to the farmer's market to buy some fresh vegetables & fruit. of course i was listening to NPR, and a commentary by a man named Ron Judd came on All Things Considered that caught me. in Bellingham, Washington, if you want to legally snip the ties that bind, you are required to appear as a couple in the courthouse on a Friday, and speak aloud the declaration that your marriage is "irretrievably broken."

as i pulled into a parking space, i was caught by the vulnerability and pain that Judd was still clearly experiencing as he spoke those profound two words. he said he felt that couples a few floors below who are applying for a marriage license should be required to sit through an hour or so of these divorce declarations -- a sort of un-marriage ceremony -- to understand how high the stakes are. he wondered how many people are truly prepared to "bear the weight of their own vows."

i sat there in my car, silent, transfixed. next week T.T. & i will be one of those bright-eyed couples applying for our marriage license. i think we do understand how high the stakes are, to some degree -- that's why we fought so hard to get to where we are now. but how can we really appreciate what marriage will demand of us until we have actually made those vows; already said those other two profound words: "i do?" in this last hectic month, will we see the solemnity of what we're doing through the haze of stress and excitement?

"marriage," he went on to say, "is only as forgiving as the frequency and depth to which you can swallow your own pride. it's only as lasting as your own ability to forgive. and it's only as permanent as the strength you bring to it every hour." some couples, he said, grasp this in time, but for him & his soon-to-be ex-wife, it was only when they were standing in that courtroom, far too late.

i was destroyed. maybe it was being exhausted & hungry anyway, but i had to stay in my parked car for awhile to pull myself together. as i bought my apples, tears were still escaping as i thought about what it might mean to replace "i do" with "irretrievably broken." squeezing peaches and sniffling, i wondered if perhaps since T.T. & i have already begun to live by these concepts of patience, forgiveness, teamwork, we already had a good start. by the time i got to the cucumbers, i knew that when we go to the courthouse next week, we'll do so without frivolity, but with a great deal of joy. we're a work-in-progress now. we'll always be.

sigh. here at HadashiWorld, we seem to be simply full of seriousness these days. perhaps after the weekend, and hopefully some surfing, we'll go back to things like posting photos of psychotic squirrels.

Posted by hadashi at 6:17 PM | Comments (6)

August 14, 2005

wedding whack-a-mole

sigh. after that stunning burst of bloggy prolificness for the BlogHer conference, i am back to my normal once-or-twice-a-week-if-you're-lucky output. i keep wanting to post pithy, articulate discourses on fascinating topics, but really -- all i'm coming up with are very whiny self-pity-parties. so consider yourself warned.

in addition to the ever-present spectre of Wedding Whack-a-Mole, there is also the task of Finding Our New Home, as mentioned in the previous post. we've checked out more than a few places already, and to be honest, i'm over it. we're not THAT picky, but it's incredible what people try to get away with when they say "move-in condition." one place actually featured a garage filled with the last tenant's junk and the remains of a ripped-out stove. charming.

a confession: i am not one of those girls who planned her wedding before she lost her first tooth, nor did i have all my colors and dress and whatnot picked out. i never sat around and daydreamed up my "big day," including music, food, flowers, and cake. women who did this always baffled me; actually, i was secretly intrigued by them: how did they do it? i can barely plan a real live actual dinner for four people without becoming a jittery heap. even when i was highly suspicious that i might become imminently engaged i couldn't envision my wedding; i got to "erm, outdoors would be nice..." and then i'd get really sleepy.
don't get me wrong; it's not that i downplay weddings, or don't like them. quite the opposite: i believe that having a wedding to begin a marriage matters deeply. and i'm really excited that we're both looking forward to this so much. however, i feel like i've always been somewhat behind with this bizarre eXtreem sport known as Wedding Planning.

you may have played this game before, where little moles pop their heads up, and you whack them back into the hole. the problem is that no matter how many you whack down, more pop up. this is how it is with wedding planning. as soon as i think one task is done, several more things pop up. if it's not the cake appointment, it's the need to get flowers in order. if it's not the attire for the bride, it's the groom trying to find a jeweller to actually make the wedding bands he's designed. and i'm not even going to start with the Very Interesting Interpersonal Family Stuff that crops up...and you'll just have to guess what that means, since there will be no fingers pointed here. (or toes, since this IS HadashiWorld...) there's always another little mole head of drama suddenly appearing.

perhaps i'm just tired of being told that it's my day to be a "princess." i'm not wearing a traditional princess dress, which is apparently a sin that will send you straight to the Third Circle of the Bridal Inferno. whack! i'm tired of being told this is "my" day; it's also HIS day and more than that, it's a day that we are expending considerable energy and expense for to honor our family and friends. if it was "my" day, maybe i'd be bungee jumping. whack! i'm tired of being told this day is "magic," or that i need to order a thousand butterflies in crystal vases or have a $15-a-slice cake with a chocolate fountain that plays Moonlight Sonata or have lacy favours handmade by little babushkas in Estonia for only $20 a pop, or i will not be happy. whack! and the registry, dear Lord! those guides should be called "Cultivating Greed 101." do i really need to register for anything called Opal Innocence or Undulating Zoom? survey says no.

whack! yes, i suppose here i could also spell it "wack." it is, you know.

but then there's these great moments, like when the cake tasting turns into a happy reminiscing about how that bakery's pastries have been like relationship mile markers. or when RSVPs arrive from Germany accompanied by letters and notes of such excitement, it's contagious. best of all has been when our wonderful friends & family offer help and then follow through far beyond the call of duty. thank God, literally, for all of you who are organising us; what would we do without you?

whack! whack! whack!

Posted by hadashi at 11:10 PM | Comments (1)

August 9, 2005

he's not a shoe

we interrupt this normally scheduled frustrated searching of craigslist & westside rentals for a 2B1B duplex/house/etc. for T.T. & i to move to, for this wee puzzling anecdote:

so the other day at work, a field producer i'd never met before found out i am imminently about to be wedding-i-fied. she reacted with the appropriate blend of excitement, curiousity, and pity that i now expect from most people. she asked about my current stress level, and i made a comment that it'll be lower once T.T. & I find a place to live together.

"what?" says Ms. Producer. "wait, where do you live?"
i tell her.
"and where does he live?"
i tell her, a location which is a good 35-40 minutes away, if the Evil Traffic Imps aren't too busy playing Sig Alert.
her brow wrinkles in confusion. she is baffled.
"so you don't live together?"
i thought this would be self-evident, given that i have named two separate locations. "no," i say.
"you mean you don't live together?"
perhaps i whispered? "no," i repeat.
"you don't live together at all?"
at this point i am getting weirded out. "no," i say again, more emphatically.
"but...well...i mean, you like him, right?"
now i'm baffled. "well, i'm marrying him," i venture.
"are you going to live together when you get married?"
i admit i was tempted to simply say "no" again just to see her reaction.

while this story is possibly the extreme of the reactions i've gotten, it's illustrative of the usual response i've now learned to expect from people. a long time ago, T.T. & I simply made a decision, for us, that we weren't going to live together before we got married. that choice has never been implicit judgement on anyone else. why is it that most people who don't know us are so completely shocked by us not separating cohabitation from marriage? is it so abnormal now to go straight to Married, passing Live Together First entirely? i had another person once ask me, back in the Time of Dating -- how did i know if i'd enjoy living with a potential husband if i wasn't going to "just try him out?"
is he a shoe, i wondered, that i need to try on and walk around in to see if he pinches my toes or gives me blisters? i think not. it's a bit of a weird reversal, to be judged for NOT moving in with my boyfriend/fiance instead of the other way around. there are so many reasons, even apart from any moral considerations, why we've kept our seperate households until now (since this is not a soapbox, click the link only if you're interested in knowing some of them), and have been happy doing so. we've gained a lot from it: for example, he's built a great community for himself in his corner of the world, and i'm deeply thankful for an unexpectedly satisfying friendship with my roommate. leaving these things we love makes our transition into starting fresh together, at the same time, even more fulfilling.

huh. i'm somewhat re-motivated after that little puzzled rant. and now back to housing ads on craigslist...

Posted by hadashi at 4:53 PM | Comments (5)

August 4, 2005

the Raging Grannies

i am seriously impressed with these ladies.
while it is the Tucson branch that is currently making headlines, there are Raging Granny Gaggles (that’s what they call themselves!) all over the world. their motto: “Off Our Rockers And Into Trouble!”. they have a wicked sense of humour.

yet another reason, i say, to have no fear of growing old. you go, Grannies!

Posted by hadashi at 10:25 AM | Comments (0)

August 1, 2005

notes from BlogHer IV

so i walked into BlogHer wondering about my validity as a blogger, and now i’m leaving wondering about the validity of blogging in general.

now, before the scream fits start...

...let me qualify that. i don’t doubt for a minute that blogging is an absolute juggernaut that is literally changing, post by post, the way people communicate, build community, find identity, and change the world. in this age of instant technology, in an informational democracy, the blog is a medium that has come of age so fast that many still aren’t sure what the heck is going on, or who let it leave the house looking like that. i’m sure traditional journalism would like it to cover up & get back inside, but there’s no going back. blogging allows previously marginalised or suppressed voices to now be heard in a broader context than they’d ever dreamed (and on a range of subjects one could only dream up after eating way too much garlic for dinner). and of course, like any other overwhelming force of cultural change, it’s created its own subculture, complete with social hierarchies and rules.
it’s the validity of that hierarchy i'm really questioning: i didn’t expect people to take themselves so darn freakin' seriously. my gosh. at times i felt like i was working a press junket, where every journalist tries to impress on everyone else how Important His/Her Publication Is And Did I Mention I'm On A First Name Basis With Lots of Movie Stars? really, people, calm yo-selves down and drink another cup of tea. make sure it's decaf, for heaven's sake.

and then there was the VentFest. i used to do a lot of diversity training seminars in universities. whenever we’d kick off a conference, or i’d start a workshop, the first bits always involved people venting about however they’d been victimised, or oppressed, or whatever. only then could things get productive. it was the same at BlogHer. although there was a lovely sort of the Girl Bloggers Unite! Vibe, there was still lots of interesting undercurrents of competition and annoyance floating around. the so-called mommybloggers felt somewhat ghettoized, the political bloggers seemed to recoil at the word “pundit,” and the amorphously-labeled “identity bloggers” had this compulsive desire to be on the aforementioned Technorati 100 yet also wanted to be Very Individual. the vent-fests were ironic: for example, in the forum about flaming and how bad it is, Six Apart, makers of Movable Type (the platform this blog uses) itself got flamed. the few men who were brave enough to show up were then accused of “dominating conversations, like men do.” and then oooh! the women’s bathroom conversations! so snarktastic!

don’t get me wrong – let me emphasize this was Merely An Undercurrent. overall, the cooperation, interest, and genuine excitement that characterizes the meetings of the open-hearted/minded was the dominant feature of BlogHer. you see, i think the validity of blogging is not who makes what A-List or how important you think words at a certain URL are or how gloriously witty and thrilling your writing may be. oh no. it's what it teaches you about yourself, and the access it gives to others to your voice.
we spend a lot of time -- some would say not enough -- teaching schoolkids that their thoughts are important, their voice is needed, their ideas are valuable. in Real Adult World, we're rarely told this, unless of course said thoughts/voice/ideas are making money. blogging changes that balance of power, giving validity and value to anyone who chooses to put her/himself out there. sure, this can be dangerous, but so is waking up and getting out of bed.

BlogHer was full of people who have taken these chances. i can’t tell you how many times i left a conversation thinking, “wow, i’m so glad i met her. i’m so glad i can continue my contact with her via her blog, continue to see inside her head, hear voices that are so different from my own.” i learned a lot about people who were nothing like me, and i’m better for it. i heard the opinions and laughter and compliments of people who, before this day, were virtual print friends but actual visual strangers. i gained a good deal of practical insight, felt a renewed interest in my own blog, and did i mention that the food was surprisingly good? those cookie bars! the tomato bisque! woops, sorry, my favourite digression...

seriously, i felt like i was in an extraordinarily fertile social-and-mental-garden, where everywhere you looked a new something-or-other was springing up. that was what was so splendid about BlogHer. it felt much like a very friendly university, where i was amongst an enormous group of people with such rich and different viewpoints, lives, voices, opinions, stories -- and they ALL wanted to talk about them. rarely in Real Adult Life do you get the opportunity to be around such a heterogenous group. and the feeling there’s a potential new friend in every conversation was quite refreshing, especially for a city girl who’s used to a certain level of anonymity. it was interesting, stimulating, hilarious, challenging, and really, really entertaining.

thanks, BlogHers, for a great time. it was a privilege & a pleasure to meet all of you.

Posted by hadashi at 1:44 PM | Comments (9)