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Archive for April 2012

Really really

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While weeding out the undesirables from my Facebook page today, I ran across one “About Me” that really stood out to me.

Under political views, this individual had written “apathetic.” Under religious views, however: “It’s all about the REALtionship!”

Hm.

Let’s point out the obvious first here:

1. You can’t spell for shit, meaning that you’ve failed the cardinal rule of being my friend on Facebook. DELETED.

2. You are not in a relationship with anyone if God doesn’t exist. You may be certain that s/he does exist; others are certain that s/he does not. No one has any serious proof to back up their beliefs on this subject, but the atheist who chooses to deny the possibility of the existence of God because of a lack of compelling evidence comes off looking a lot better than the person who believes themselves to be in a loving relationship with a deity who values Tebow above Sara Kruzan, based on conversations they’ve had with a voice in their head.

3. Do you know what people accomplish through politics? We passed the Violence Against Women Act. We fight against bribery and corruption. We fight to end human trafficking. Or alternatively, we fight to redefine miscarriage as murder so that we can lock women up for life for failing to produce healthy babies.

I hear a lot of talk from the religious right about war, the battle being waged between the forces of good and evil, and it all sounds very epic and I bet Peter Jackson could do something marvelous with it but you people are missing it completely. You are not fighting against Satan and his hoards of demons when you do flannel graph stories for the preschoolers at your church on Sunday. You are not accomplishing anything significant when you put your money into the building fund. There’s real fighting going on with clear, definite good guys and bad guys, but you’re too busy being nice and keeping the Christ in Christmas to know what’s going on.

Do not take that as a compliment.

Written by GRSeim

April 27, 2012 at 12:01 am

Dreary days

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I hear about people who get depressed and insecure and they start starving themselves. They stay home. They wither and fade and eventually commit suicide.

I, on the other hand, eat. I march myself outside and snap at rude high school boys and give scuzzy old drunk men the eye. I get bigger and ballsier and tougher until I start to believe that the bad stuff is behind me and that I’ve won, I’ve beat depression on my own through sheer determination mixed with a generous helping of chutzpah. I AM THE CHAMPION.

In reality, though, I never really win. I have good days and bad days, but the bad days have been the norm for me since 1998 and it doesn’t seem like that’s likely to change. And if I am ever going to accomplish anything beyond just not killing myself, I am going to need to turn that around. And I know that I can’t do it on my own…but who does one turn to for help?

Written by GRSeim

April 26, 2012 at 9:59 pm

I hope I remember this day when I’m old and gray

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This was one of those perfect days when everything just went right. Even the weather was perfect.

Jon spent most of the day at a case competition where he and his team won second place. We’ve been giddily discussing what to do with the $500 prize.

While Jon was off making us proud, I took the kids downtown via public transit to celebrate the Space Needle’s 50th birthday. What a blast!

I decided to try to beat the crowds and had us all downtown at 7:30 AM on a Saturday morning. It worked out fantastically well, because it was really just us and the street sweepers for the first hour. We played on the escalators at Pacific Place, chased pigeons around Westlake and had Pike’s Place almost entirely to ourselves. It reminded me of when Corduroy the bear got to explore the shopping mall at night. Pure magic.

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The Blue Trees at Westlake Park at 7:30 AM

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The Market Piggy Bank

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The giant orange sculpture in front of the science center disappoints another generation of Seattle children by not being an enormous slide. Believe me, son, I share your pain.

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D’s first real experience of the mesmerizing International Fountain.

And as if all that wasn’t enough, we came home to this:

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That’s right, the best (or second best, depending on who you ask) pizza place in the city gave us dinner for free today! It just doesn’t get better than this, really, life couldn’t be any better than it is today.

Happy birthday, Space Needle!

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Written by GRSeim

April 22, 2012 at 2:43 am

Tumbling head-first down memory lane

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The woman was dressed in white from head to toe, her black curls matted and damp with sweat. She had smudges of oil shimmering on her face from a previous anointing with holy oil, and she was screaming, arms outstretched and face turned upwards as she lost her voice to the empty blue sky.

I was only five years old, and I was worried about my Sunday school teacher.

“Leave your granola bar in the car,” my mother instructed me. “Mrs. D has been fasting for ten days now. It wouldn’t be very nice to eat in front of her when she’s hungry.”

Mrs. D noticed our arrival and collected herself.

“R family,” she sang out in a strange sort of chant, her gaze distant and glazed, “Praise the Lord that you were able to join us! And bless us and your precious, blessed children! May the Lord JESUS bless them! And keep them in His merciful arms forever! Amen!”

Her hands were on my head now. I started to squirm away in fear, but my father held me still.

“Mrs. D is blessing you!” he growled in my ear. “Hold still!”

“It’s fine!” Mrs. D shrieked, raising her arms in the air above her head and twirling away from us suddenly. I had never seen my typically-demure teacher behave this way before. “It is all for the joy of the Lord and His Son, the pure sacrificial lamb! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Oh, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!”

She began to wander away, and we followed. She lead us through the maze of the gravel parking lot and across a field to a shining white tent, where our pastor and several of the elders were standing around a water cooler.

“Well, R family!” our pastor boomed. “You made it!”

“I was in prayer when they arrived,” my Sunday School teacher cooed. “I think I need to go meditate on the Scriptures for awhile now, alone.”

She left us, and the pastor showed us around the tent.

“It’s a perfect reconstruction of the biblical tabernacle!” he boasted. “We even have an Ark of Covenant. We didn’t put anything inside it, though. We decided to wait for the Lord to communicate His unique covenant with us, here on our newly-consecrated church property!”

“Well, it looks like a lot of fun!” my mother beamed politely. “What time is the groundbreaking ceremony scheduled to happen?”

“We’ll probably get on with the ceremony in an hour or so,” our pastor replied thoughtfully. “We should wait a bit to make sure we don’t leave anyone out. In the meantime, though, feel free to explore the tabernacle, and we have donation boxes placed all around the property. Anything you donate today will go directly to the building fund for our new building! Let’s fill up some seats for the Lord!”

I don’t remember much more about that day. It was summertime in Texas and the heat was intolerable, particularly dressed in our Sunday clothes.

That church building was never constructed, though. I don’t know what happened to the money donated to the building fund. The pastor left the church rather suddenly few months later when his long-term affair blew up in his face. His wife left him and took the kids, and we never heard from them again.

My Sunday School teacher was discovered murdered in her apartment a few years after that. People said that it was because she always wore jewelry when she participated in prison ministries. Looking back now as an adult, of course, I am appalled at the way this woman’s entire social group ignored her obvious drug addiction. They manipulated her into working for the church for free for nearly a decade, and blamed her Cookie Lee collection for her tragic death.

I was the only one who cried when she died.

Written by GRSeim

April 21, 2012 at 5:53 am

Survivor’s Manifesto

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I have the right to live. I have the right to eat, drink and enjoy my fair share of the good things in life. I have the right to search for happiness until I find it, on my own terms and by my own definition. I have the right to love and be loved.

Written by GRSeim

April 20, 2012 at 7:28 am

no words.

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She was twelve years old, did not speak English and had only been in United States for a week. She was brought here by her adoptive parents from Malaysia, and was the fifth Asian preteen girl they had adopted in ten years.

There was always something off about the girls in the family. The kept to themselves, didn’t mix with the rest of us. We assumed it was because of the language barrier and left them alone for the most part, although they seemed nice enough.

And then, one day, their adoptive father disappeared from our community without a trace. No one seemed to know what had happened to him. We grieved for those young women who found themselves once again fatherless.

My grieving came to a screeching halt a few months later when my boyfriend’s dad, the pastor of our church, let it slip that this man had been arrested and was now in prison. He had admitted to raping a child.

No one would say who he’d raped, if it had been an isolated incident, if his daughters were safe.

There was no need.

Today, my one remaining friend from my years in the cult contacted me to tell me that one of the longtime “core” families showed up for Sunday services last week with two little Ethiopian boys in tow. They have successfully adopted these children and intend to raise them within the context of my old church. In fact, she went on to tell me that the community itself raised the money to cover the adoption expenses. These children are going to be raised by the shittiest village ever. They have been given quintessential white names to go along with their new lives as the only persons of color to be part of the church since the adopted drug baby ran away from home to join the military ten years ago.

Maybe I’m being too judgmental, maybe I’m painting this group with too broad a brush.

Maybe those boys won’t be homeschooled.

Maybe they won’t be spanked repeatedly until their spirits are broken, although this is what the church leadership has told us God requires in every Christian home.

Maybe they won’t pass through childhood in complete isolation.

That is the worst of it, or it was for me, anyway. I can’t tell you how completely alone those kids are, in one of the worst subcultures the United States has to offer, not even speaking our language. Completely vulnerable, completely defenseless, with no one to turn to for help.

Just…don’t…talk to me.

Written by GRSeim

April 20, 2012 at 7:07 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Dawdling

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Springtime brings dramatically variable weather in Seattle; newcomers and visitors to the area are always astonished at how well the word “capricious” suits our weather patterns at this time of the year.

“This outfit was perfectly reasonable for the weather when I got dressed this morning!” they’ll protest. Rookies. Everyone knows that your springtime survival here depends on your ability to master the fine art of light layering. (And you thought Seattle folks didn’t care about their clothes…we do! We are huge fans of all the big names: REI, Patagonia, Columbia…)

Today was a very typical Spring day; it started out with a downpour, and my phone buzzed constantly with texts from my husband saying things like, “I look like i just got out of the shower,” and, “Dammit, I forgot to bring an extra pair of socks.”

My little neighborhood bird friends took cover on my patio and chirped pitifully at me while they shook the water off of their feathers. They were gone again before I could get myself together to clean the soggy birdseed out of the feeders, though, tempted away from their breakfast by the sparkle of warm sunshine. Fifteen minutes later a hearty wind kicked up and knocked my feeders over entirely; it brought a thick cloud cover along with it, which had burned off completely by the time we’d finished our breakfast and morning story time.

On days like this, those in the know head to Swanson’s Nursery. It is probably my favorite spot in the city, particularly the little cafe, which is nestled inside a greenhouse.

The kids and I enjoyed a light lunch of salad and sandwiches, perched at our table by the koi pond.

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Later, we wandered through row after row of native plants whose names and uses I learned from my own mother: bleeding heart and salal, kinnikkinnick and camas. I hope that I am able to give my children the experience of maintaining a real garden before they move out of my home. I’ve kept a modest container garden going ever since I’ve been married, but I get a bit lustful when I start pursuing the colorful array of plant life not entirely suited to patio gardening.

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Later, we made our way up to the North greenhouse to check in on the baby chicks the nursery raises each season. We happened to be around when they first arrived this season and D has become very attached to them. I have to say, they are awfully cute.

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The kids were both drowsy from the lulling warmth of the greenhouses by the end of the afternoon. I tucked them into the car with our lovely new garden additions and enjoyed one of the most luxurious experiences of modern motherhood: the peace of a car full of nappers. It was all I could do I keep my own eyes open.

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Written by GRSeim

April 19, 2012 at 4:54 am