25 December 2011

Our Regular Programming Will Likely Resume After the Break

Merry Christmas, world.

I hope you've had a beautiful day.


I heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

I thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along th'unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head:
'There is no peace on earth,' I said
'For hate is strong, and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.'

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
'God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men.'

Till ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime,
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  
XO
Love always,
Ashley

22 December 2011

Not Even a Real Post...

I found this quote saved on my computer today. 'Tis pretty awesome.

"So avoid using the word 'very' because it is lazy. A man is not very tired, he is exhausted. Don't use very sad, use morose. Language was invented for one reason, boys--to woo women--and, in that endeavor, laziness will not do. It also won't do in your essays."

--John Keating, Dead Poet's Society

Love always,
Ashley

14 December 2011

Music Wednesday and a Funny Story

Funny story first. Yay!

On Monday afternoon, I was at the store. Once I was thoroughly tired of being at the store, I went to the check-out lane to make my purchases--four skeins of yarn, and a bottle of prenatal vitamins.

I chose the bottle of prenatal vitamins after spending a good half-hour in the vitamin aisle comparing all the different types of vitamins and the levels of everything they contained. For my price range, the prenatal ones had the most ideal levels of the things I was looking for. Besides, the pharmacy people were starting to give me funny looks, and I thought it would be best to leave before they came and asked me what I wanted.

Anyway, so I set it all down on the conveyor belt thingy, and waited patiently for my turn to hand over my precious money to corporate america.

The checker was a lady who was probably about fifty-five or so. She scanned all my yarn, scanned the vitamins, and then looked me up and down, paying particular attention to my conspicuously wedding ring-less left hand, and made a *tsk, tsk* noise. She put the vitamins in the bag, sighing, then looked at me and shook her head. "Congratulations," she said, sounding as though she would much rather be saying the opposite.

Maybe I should have said, "Oh, I'm not pregnant. I'm just buying those for the iron and B12 content." But being judged makes me snarky.

I smiled. "Thank you," I said, as genuinely as I could. "We couldn't be happier. We're hoping for a boy." And then I took my bag and walked out of the store, with my head held high.

Yeah, that's not incredibly snarky. I know. But it was the best I could come up with on the fly. I felt like saying "Just a minute" and going back and picking up a pregnancy test and condoms, to buy with my vitamins and yarn, but I didn't. Because, really, what would I do with a pregnancy test and condoms? Nothing. And condoms are expensive, and I don't have any extra money to go spending on things I won't use.

I wanted to be all, "Where do you get off, making comments about what you assume my life to be by the vitamins I buy? Even if I was unmarried and knocked up, I don't need you to get on your moral high horse and lecture me about it. And not all married women wear rings, anyway. Blah!" But I didn't say anything like that, either.

Stupid cashier. Anyway, the whole experience totally made my day. I was extremely amused for a long time.

And, the bottle of prenatal vitamins says they are for women "before, during, and after pregnancy". That's me, solidly in the before-pregnancy slot. I need folic acid and zinc too, thank you.

~

On a side note, at my local drugstore, the condoms, pregnancy tests, baby diapers, and Tylenol are all on the same aisle. That is one-stop shopping.

~

Now for music!

Ray LaMontagne - 'Hannah'





Oasis - 'Wonderwall'


I have no idea what a 'wonderwall' is, or how someone can be one, but I like this song.


Majandra Defino - 'Hell and Bliss'




Middle Class Rut - 'New Low'







Marie Digby - 'Love Hurts'


I have always loved this song, and it has a shocking lack of cover versions. This one comes close to doing it justice, but nothing tops the original.



The Cranberries - 'Zombie'


* Sigh * I cannot express to you how much fun this song is. It would be even better if I could sing along, but, alas, I cannot make my voice do that. * Sigh *



VAST - 'Turquoise'


~

I need to go home now and study for my last final.

Love always,
Ashley

11 December 2011

Huh?


So... Proctor and Gamble sent me a 'birthday present' for my eighteenth a few weeks ago. To my parents' house. One of these:


Yes, that's right. A men's razor.

I have a number of questions--

  1. What?
  2. Do they think I am a male?
  3. If so, does turning eighteen suddenly make me eligible to shave? Were I male, I hopefully would have been shaving long before now.
  4. How did they get my name?
  5. How did they get my parents' address? I haven't put their address down on anything with my name for at least six months.
  6. How did they know when my birthday was? And finally,
  7. How am I possibly their target demographic? Though it looks mighty fine and razory, really, I have no reason to favor a man's razor over the 600 disposable women's razors I have somehow mysteriously acquired from various sources over the past year or so (Seriously, I have a five-year supply of disposable razors. Anybody want a few?). At barely eighteen, I'm not even married to their target demographic. I don't understand.
Addressing a man's razor to a "Ashley Schaffer" seems counterintuitive. Nearly all Ashleys have been female for, like, thirty+ years.

Ha. Whatever.

I discovered it last night, when I came back to the house for the first time in a few weeks, and gave it to Tall One as an early Christmas Present--hoping against hope that he would show immediate interest in using it (as if the 'you need to shave' comments from nearly everyone he comes across, the razors my grandmother bought him the other day, and mine and Dad's constant picking on him wasn't hint enough). No such luck, yet.

:)

Love always,
Ashley

P.S. - I did give him a haircut though, so now he looks (almost) human.

08 December 2011

A Manifesto

-->
Cat Power - 'Satisfaction'


Can it really be considered 'coming out' when everybody already knows?

I don't care.

I am a feminist.

People know. My family knows, my friends know, random strangers can tell. One once told me that I “wear lipstick with the irony that only a feminist can.” Whatever that was supposed to mean.

It's interesting to have people know. I'm the go-to for questions, as if I were a member of some sort of exotic club that people are sort of curious about, sort of scared of, but are still convinced that it's weird and wrong and... well... crazy.

Basically, being a feminist is a lot like being a homeschooler,
or a Mormon,
or a home birth advocate,
except that even fewer people like you.

There are a lot of negative connotations involved with feminism.
-We hate men.
-We hate children, especially babies. In fact, we hate babies so much that we go out of our way to kill them when we get the chance.
-We hate families. And everything else wholesome, probably.
-We all secretly wish we were Hillary Clinton.
-We don't like religion, or God. Not only do we not believe in God, but we probably hate Him, too. 'Cause we're haters.

Yes, there are some women out there like that. All of that. They sound scary to me, too.

But dig around a little and actually meet some of us. We're nice people, for the most part. Friendly. Accepting. Big on tolerance and respect for human dignity.

The bra-burning thing mostly stayed in the '70s. Mostly.

We don't all believe in the same things, but here are the basics of what I believe:
-No one, ever, should feel that being female is less than being male. Or vice versa.
-No one should be considered the property of another.
-All thought and action should be evaluated on merit, and not on gender.
-No one should be harmed or be taken advantage of because they are weaker than someone else, or different from someone else.
-Submission is not a gender role.

That's only skimming the surface, but it's enough for now. It's enough for a start.

People get hung-up on the term feminist. I did too, for years. But I like it, and I see no reason to drop it in the near future. It creates a frame of reference, and provides a slight sense of community.

And when almost everyone disagrees with you, you take a community anywhere you can find one.

~

Sadness.
Pain.
Disappointment.
Anger.
Rage.
Despair.

I know what all of these feel like. I feel them every day.

And sometimes, like today, I just feel tired.

I'm tired of always walking uphill, without an end in sight.

I'm tired of the verbal (or literal) pats on the head. Patronizing me will not make me go away. (“Now Dearie, I know you're upset, but...”)

I'm tired of my emotions and opinions beings ascribed to PMS. (“Everyone knows women are irrational; they can't help it—it's all those *hormones*.”)

I'm tired of constantly having to defend my position, even from the people I love. Especially from the people I love.

I'm tired of my questions being answered with “We don't know; that's just the way God wants it to be.” Seriously? Seriously? Yeah, that's why I left before, why it took so long to come back. No God I can believe in would roll His eyes at me and elbow me in the side to shut me up. Do we not believe in the admonition to “ask in faith” anymore? Funny, I thought the reason we were all here was because someone was brave enough to question the way things were. But, you know, I could be wrong. Maybe they took that part out of the book when I wasn't looking.

I'm tired of being told that it's all in my head. That's what we tell schizophrenics. Do I look mentally ill to you?

I don't need you to agree with me. It would be nice if you did, sure; but you don't have to. All I need is for you to concede that just because you disagree doesn't mean I'm completely wrong. I know I'm not absolutely right. But I'm as close as I know how to be.

I refuse to ask for forgiveness, to apologize. I refuse to feel shame for following my conscience to the best of my ability and interpretation.

This is not something you're indulging me in, a phase I'll grow out of eventually. This is my response to a broken system, a broken culture, a broken world.

It's one thing to look forward to Zion, to contemplate and prepare for the Millennial rule and structure and joy. But in the meantime, we live here. Now. And here and now, there are major problems. And until it's time to Kumbayah with Jesus, I refuse to stand down. I refuse to sit and wait meekly in a corner while everything goes to hell in a hand-basket around me.

We're at war with the world, are we not? And in a war different soldiers have different responsibilities, based on their specialties and abilities. This is mine.

Because in God's army, women are allowed in combat zones.

Without hope, where would any of us be?

Love always,
Ashley

07 December 2011

Things I Have Learned in the Past Five Days

...More specifically, in the past forty-eight hours or so.

1) Try as I might, I cannot manage to gnaw a hole through my bottom lip. Barely.

When I was little, I would chew on things when I was stressed. Pencils, mostly. I would also grind my teeth. Thankfully, I broke both those habits years ago. But last night I came to the realization that the reason my lip was sore and slightly swollen was because I'd been chewing on it for 12+ hours (give or take).  Ow.

2) It is indeed possible to read three obscurely philosophic articles and crank out seven double-spaced pages of meaningful text about them in two hours. *Sigh*. If only creating original thoughts were that easy; I could have finished my term paper weeks ago.

3) When you ingest caffeine in the middle of the night and then go to bed at 3:30 only to have to get up again at 6:00, you will be beyond jittery in the morning. Maybe it's just me. I'm better now, I think. *Twitch*

4) The correlation between insomnia and several philosophies I seriously considered a year ago has been solidified in my mind. Nihilism makes perfect sense to me when I'm sleep-deprived. Ug. I need a nap.

5) I get snarky, even to myself, when I'm fed up with something. To write my term paper for my political parties class I read about six hundred (slight approximation, but whatever) long scholarly articles on the subject. In the beginning my notes summarizing each article were constructive: "Emergence of Evangelical Christians shifting toward the GOP; Lincoln quote on p. 346." By the last few articles... "Nifty quotes, but no real point," and "I don't know what the hell this one says."

Thankfully, the rushed portion of finals is over. Half of one tomorrow, two and a small paper next week. I can handle that. I can totally handle that. Provided I get some sleep.

The End.

Love always,
Ashley

P.S. - Here is a song. Happy day. Joy-inducing background riff. If you turn the volume up a little on your earphones, your skull will vibrate. Cool.


Muse - 'Supermassive Black Hole'