“Ours Not to Wonder…

…What were Fair in Life; but finding what may be – make it Fair up to our Means.” ~ Anne McCaffery

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/kansas-judge-man-who-provided-sperm-to-lesbian-couple-must-pay-child-support/

This made headlines recently and I figured I could use a good op-ed piece to get my muse kick-started again. So here goes…

First of all, I am completely supportive of same-sex couples adopting and/or having their own biological children together.  A loving home with good consistent co-parenting is a key factor in raising a healthy well-adjusted child. (I’m leaving single parenting out of my factoring in this case, although a loving strong and consistent single parent is just as effective in raising a healthy well-adjusted child – I think we all can agree that having two involved parents is the optimal situation for all concerned. Parenting is a tough gig.) That said, it is not the “right” of any couple to be able to have children simply because they want them.

If one or both of the partners is infertile then medical insurance can cover procedures to mitigate that, and/or provide Artificial Insemination or other options to assure pregnancy.  In the case of this lesbian couple – its safe to presume that at least the biological mother was fertile – in which case it was NOT incumbent upon her medical insurance (if she had any) to provide coverage for the AI procedure. Just as it is not incumbent upon a fertile heterosexual woman’s insurance to provide that coverage.  There’s no problem with the plumbing in either case.

No, I can’t say its fair that same-sex couples have to struggle on this level too, but in regard to this issue – that’s the way it is.  I’m going to use myself as an analogy here for a moment:  I had bariatric surgery several years ago.  I could use a few nip/tucks here and there post-weight loss.  However, I am not covered for it. Fair? Nope. But that’s the way it is. Life’s given me bat-wings so I better learn to fly with them! Anyway, however any of us may feel about same sex relationships, and related civil rights –  we cannot deny basic biology. Unless there is some help or scientific intervention there can be no fertile relationships between same sex partners.

So,  – the correct thing to do if AI is the way fertile females are choosing to conceive, is to SAVE THEIR MONEY in order to get the procedure done.  Mistake #1 in the case I am discussing here. Mistake #2:  The couple  advertised online (Craigslist???) for a sperm donor.  They must be OUT OF THEIR FREAKIN MINDS.  Mistake #3:  The man involved actually responded to an online advertisement to be said donor.  He was not a registered sperm donor.  HE must be OUT OF HIS FREAKIN MIND too.   The poor kid could’ve ended up with John Wayne Gacy or Delphine LaLaurie as parental material!  We all know what a wonderful, safe place the internet is, so let’s search it to find the perfect person to create a child with…….. OR NOT.

Mistake #4: AI is a medical procedure with inherent risk even when performed by a licensed physician.  Conception a la Turkey Baster at home is, how shall I say this – a “Bozo No-No”….. yeah that works…. The woman was fortunate in that her home performed procedure did not result in complications such as infection, peritonitis, sepsis, STD’s, or even death – and lead to a healthy baby.

I guess my bottom line here is that life isn’t fair.  We all have dreams that are unfulfilled; things we want to do that we cannot.  It is what it is, and we should try to make the best of it if we cannot change it.   The Kansas court rightly decided that the donor should be responsible for child support in that proper procedures were not followed by any of the adults involved regarding the insemination of the woman, or the subsequent support of the resulting child. The judge also quite correctly inferred that the child is the person who matters here.  Hopefully this will serve as a heads up to other couples deciding whether or not to have AI. If you want to be a sperm donor, please register and donate at a licensed medical facility. These steps protect you legally.  If your insurance doesn’t cover artificial insemination, save your pennies, consult a lawyer, draw up a binding contract that clearly spells out obligations and will be recognized in court, and use state approved and medically licensed facilities and personnel to perform the procedure.  Or alternatively – ADOPT. There are far too many children who need loving and supportive homes out there.  But that’s another story…..

Stream of Consciousness and Relationships

Greetings All!  I have been away for awhile here, attending to things at Hacienda Del Chaos. (aka My Life) July was insanely busy with amazing social events, including but not limited to 2 weddings and a family reunion. Then I also managed to get sick; which as my British friends might say, took the starch right out of my knickers.  The amount of tired I have been is unmeasurable.  We also have several extended family members who are quite ill at the moment.  Last summer was much worse in terms of stress and  family illness  – but I could certainly do with  less of that this year – and all the years to come. Sadly, I am also sure that will not prove to be the case…..

I have been too busy or worn out to feed my muse lately and she has begun screaming at me so I think it past time to unlock her from the padded cell again,  😉  I do feel better – connected and grounded somehow, when I write or work on my photography.  So this  post is going to be about whatever pops into my head – just so I can get back into the swing of things.    The girls have been busy this summer spending less time at home and giving us a dress rehearsal for the empty nest looming on the horizon.  Not sure I’m liking this, but it definitely serves as a prod for me to develop and nurture my hobbies and interests. Hello!  I will need something to do when they move, right?   I may be entering some photography contests or local exhibitions during fair season this fall – not sure yet.

Back side of the Sunset August 2013

Back side of the Sunset August 2013

So what keeps us going when life gets so busy?  I find myself more and more just moving through my daily routine without much active thought. My goal is getting through the day so I can collapse on my couch or in my bed at the end of it – thankful to have a place to lay my head down.  If I have to guess in a word, I would say the answer is “Relationships”  That connection to others.  And relationships are hard work.  Like gardening, we need to water and feed – develop, maintain, and enhance. Sometimes, we also weed and prune; reassess , re-categorize, or just move on.

Most always, the process of staying connected takes relatively little time –  a shout out text or email; a quick note or phone call;  a sit down dinner, a sofa or pillow conversation is  generally all that’s needed to maintain the status quo.  ‘Whats up with you? Hows it going?’ and then listening. Generally, the person on the receiving end of your communique will be delighted that you thought of them and glad to hear from you. I do try to stay connected to my friends and family regularly.  Most often, this involves a phone call, but texts and emails  work as well.  My immediate family ( The Viking and The Girls – we are all pretty good with the communication dept for the most part) So what happens when things break?  When you send those texts/emails and make phone calls/leave voicemails and hear nothing back for weeks at at time (if ever)? This is especially hurtful if you value that relationship considerably.  Or, you drift so far away from someone you don’t know how to  reconnect – or even if you should?

Let me tell you a true story.  I had a dear friend at one point a few years ago.  A long time friend.  The type of friend you speak with every morning before work, and generally chatted with several other times during the week as well. The kind of friend you were matron of honour for at her wedding. Whose daughter is your goddaughter and who was flower girl at your own wedding. We had our arguments, but patched things up fairly quickly all in all.  Her dad got sick with that long slow journey into darkness (the dreaded A- word) and she moved in with him to take care of him. I had issues with my family, including the death of my father in 2007 as well. She and her husband came to the wake.  Our daily conversations became weekly, then sporadic, then practically non-existent.  I’d periodically think  “I really have to call her and catch up”, but something always came up that needed my attention immediately, and by the time I thought about it again it was well past an acceptable time to pick up the phone. At the time, mornings with a high schooler and a middle schooler were (and probably still are) not conducive to telephone conversations  – so our former pattern was not an option.   Then, I ran into her daughter and granddaughter at the Christmas Tree Lighting at the Town Square a few years back. I asked her how her mom was, and how her grandfather was doing.  She looked at me funny, and then told me Pop had died the previous year.  I was dumbfounded. No one had told me, and I don’t get the paper or read obituaries online.  Of course, karma being what she is , I turn around after mumbling some very embarrassed and extremely belated condolences, and my friend was standing right behind me…. I offered my condolences again, saying I’d no idea he’d passed away. They were accepted quite frostily – and that, as they say,  was that. Can’t say I blame her on that one.  I run into her daughter occasionally and we chat.  I do miss my friend, but I have absolutely no idea how to fix this one – or at this point if it is beyond a fix and I should just continue moving on….  The whole situation saddens me immensely.

In other relationships, for example – the actions of my toxic monster in law; and the sister in law I’ve never met in the 29 years I’ve been with my husband; have made the choice to stay away from them  super easy- breezy.  I guess there’s always at least a few in every family. And conversely – in every family I’m sure there are members we would love to stay in closer touch with – but for whatever reason(s) we are not.   I would be interested to see how you all address these issues, particularly with a view to reestablishing and reaffirming broken connections with valued others. So please feel free to comment, and take my poll!

After the Storm Comes the Sunshine - and the Rainbows

After the Storm Comes the Sunshine – and the Rainbows

A Beautiful Dawn in the New Year

My mother called very early yesterday morning. I expected it on January 9th because it was Mayhem’s birthday and Mom always calls first thing in the morning to wish her grandchildren a Happy Birthday.  I was not expecting an early call a few days later; so when I saw the caller ID I admit to panicking a bit.  Last year was not a good year health- wise for either my Mom or my step-Dad… sooo yeah.  Fortunately, she was just calling to alert me to the dawn.  She also calls for “rainbow alerts”, and gorgeous sunsets, and unusual bird sightings – outside of our usual conversations.  I will miss that when she passes, which won’t be for awhile yet if I have anything to say about it (which I don’t, but still…).

I threw on a jacket, grabbed my camera, and headed outside in my slippers to the back yard. Our property abuts the dike along the Westfield River, facing southwest(ish) if you’re looking directly out my kitchen door – so the sun actually rises in the winter just outside of left frame in the first three pictures, and well outside of left frame in the fourth. Behind the dike is a cornfield, then the treeline along the river. The next 4 pictures you see are a sort of  “pan” from left to right.  The sky was just beautiful yesterday morning.  By the time I got to work it had clouded over completely and later there was a freezing rain to drive home in. But the lovely start more than made up for it.  I hope you enjoy the pictures.

January Dawn watermarkedJanuary Dawn 2 watermarked and croppedJanuary Dawn 4 watermarkedJanuary Dawn 3 watermarked

Help! Advice Needed.

Awhile ago I talked about creating a coffee table book of my photographs to sell, and donate the profit to charity.  With folks on the eastern seaboard homeless and still shivering in the dark because of Hurricane Sandy, and also my wish to raise funds for breast cancer treatment and research – I think now is the time to do so. I knit and crochet, can sing in the shower, but other than my photos, really don’t have much to offer in the way of marketable talent that would be of benefit to others.  Hence my “big idea”…

However, other than to create the book online using one of the many lovely sites that do this sort of thing, I am completely clueless how I should set things up so that people can view and place orders for the book, and send payment. I am willing to donate 10 dollars  from every book sold to either the Red Cross or Susan G Komen ( buyer to let me know their preference). I will add the ten dollars to (the cost of the book, plus tax, shipping etc – and will not charge anything for my time whatsoever – so the total cost would include the donation).  I assume I will have to set up an online payment service like paypal. I will create a page on the blog to feature the book, and link to a payment service.  ( I think that would be the way to do it, not sure) I would also be willing to sell my photographs individually if there is enough interest, and donate the profit to the aforementioned organizations.

If anyone:

1) has done something like this before – let me know what else I need to be doing
2)  would like to be part of this and contribute a photo or two
3)  thinks this is a stupid idea for whatever reason
4)  knows how to set up online payment services
5)  can recommend a good photo site to make the book

LET ME KNOW.  I’m kinda in the dark right now – not being a business person I am,as I said before, clueless.  You folks have seen my photography and I also hope will be honest enough to let me know whether or not this would be a complete waste of time from an artistic standpoint. (is my stuff good enough to generate enough interest?) Looking forward to hearing from you! Thanks!

 

I Waste So Much Time – but Maybe Not

I waste so much time.  Not really, but yeah… Tonight is one of those nights. My patience has been tried this evening.   Oh, nothing horrendous mind you. Just feeling intruded upon a tad bit.  So, my remedy this evening has been to sit out here on the computer, update my iPad, mess around with iTunes, blog, and drink – tonight my adult beverage of choice is Sailor Jerry – 92 proof rum,  and coke – in case anyone is interested.  I’ve had 2 so far – in a ball mason jar. 😉

My evening playlist whilst I imbibe has included but is not limited to: Billy Joel: A Matter of Trust;  Alan Jackson: Remember When, 1910 Fruitgum Co: 123 Red Light, The Archies: Sugar, Sugar,  Bay City Rollers: SATURDAY Night;  Apocalyptica: The Unforgiven, Dolly Parton and Vince Gill: I Will Always Love You. The Penguins: Earth Angel, Richie Valens: Donna 😉 , Rammstein: Du Hast,  The Ramones: I Wanna Be Sedated, Susan Sarandon and Barry Bostwick : Dammit Janet , Rihanna: Disturbia, The Partridge Family: I Think I Love You, The Everly Brothers: Devoted to You, The Bee Gees: You Should Be Dancing, How Can You Mend a Broken Heart?; KC &The Sunshine Band: Boogie Shoes;  Santo and Johnny: Sleepwalk; Sinatra: Summer Wind and Something Stupid,  Aerosmith: Crazy, Carl Orff: O Fortuna, Red Hot Chili Peppers: Snow (Hey Oh), Lesley Gore: You Don’t Own Me, Fleetwood Mac: Landslide (thinking of you Kathi!), King Pee Wee and his Golden West Cowboys: Slowpoke; Simon & Garfunkel: Homeward Bound, Old Friends (Love You C!), Feelin Groovy, and Hazy Shade of Winter. Betcha didn’t know The Bangles actually covered that one and its an S&G original.  And, I forgot to mention that I’m singingAs loudly as possible – with the porch door closed in deference to those that are sleeping. Its been a very long time since I have wasted time in this fashion and it feels GREAT!

Oh yeah – the soundtrack for “Mamma Mia” is on now – and I’m getting verklempt singing along to “Slipping Through My Fingers”    but I’m not changing the music.

” I try to capture every minute.”… “Sometimes I wish that I could freeze the picture, and save it from the funny tricks of time.”   ‘Slipping Through My Fingers

I get in these moods occasionally.  I have to admit its been quite awhile since I’ve sat out here and belted out a few tunes and had a few drinks to go along with my solo jam session.  My oldest is out with her friends, my baby (see above)  – gone to bed,  and the Viking went night night several hours back because he has to work early tomorrow (going in for 5 am).  I’ve got iTunes on Shuffle and just letting it do its thing while I write. Having some fun now my friends!

And just to paint a picture for you – I’m also dancing in my seat where appropriate. And, when is it appropriate not to? Its my party and I’ll dance if I want to…. LOL. John Lennon once said  “Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted.”  I’m  having a blast so I guess my time isn’t being wasted.  I choose to look at it as recharging ye olde batteries. My musical taste is quite eclectic as you can tell from the playlist I mentioned.  But what is it about music that is so emotional?  Songs take me right back to the place in time -which leaves me melancholy, yes – but also quite happy in a strange way. If cotton is the fabric of our lives, Music is the thread, connecting it all.  How many times has your day been made by hearing a song you haven’t heard in AGES and remembering the lyrics instantly?

Hearing Sinatra singing Summer Wind brings me to the last dance I ever had with my Dad.  It was literally almost 2 years after he passed away before I could listen to anything by Sinatra at all. The Bee Gees, KC and The Sunshine Band take me straight back to high school, The Partridge Family, The Archies, Simon and Garfunkel bounce me into my tweens. Slowpoke brings me to my childhood with my Gramma Emma singing it to me while I sat in her lap.  And anything by The Everly Brothers or Paul Anka brings me right to my kitchen in Blandford – singing harmony with my Mom.

This has been good for my soul – although I will likely pay for it with a big headache in the morning (I’m on drink #4 now)  But yeah, I’m having one helluva time – wasting time… I highly recommend it.

Johann Pachelbel – Variations on the Kanon

Aaron Lewis – Massachusetts

Green Day – Good Riddance [Time Of Your Life]

James Blunt – Goodbye My Lover

Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwo‘ole – Over The Rainbow/What A Wonderful World

Deep Peaceful Summer Reflections

 

We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass – grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls.  ~ Mother Teresa

Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished. ~  Lao Tzu

Come to the woods, for here is rest. There is no repose like that of the green deep woods. ~ John Muir

Now he walks in quiet solitude the forest and the streams
Seeking grace in every step he takes . . .   ~ John Denver 

In the viridian depths of the forest we find solace.  In the quiet reflection of  jade-dark, slow-moving streams there is peaceful contentment. The jewel tones of the plants and flowers are mirrored  – jade, beryl, ruby, amethyst, emerald, and pearl – colorful little surprises. There is no sense of past or future – only the Dream Time; only the Now.  The rain patters softly on the surface of the water, or the sun dazzles and dances across it.  Clouds create depth and shadow.  The water and the forest watch.  They are ours to rejoice in.  Tomorrow, all will change.  The beauty will remain for us to see. The serenity inside,  for us to feel.  We take it with us when we go.  ~ Donna Erickson