I had to take these pictures a few weeks ago because the light reflecting off the snow was just so beautiful against the darkness of the winter night.
Counting down to the final hours of 2012, I recalled all the pipe dreams that I swore to fulfill only 365 days ago. I had planned to go out more and socialize. I know I had planned to lose 20 lbs. I probably had planned to spend more meaningful play time with my children and not shout at them so much. Perhaps I had also resolved to call my parents more, as we’re all getting older. I believe I was also going to cook something new every Sunday (what was I thinking??) God knows what else I promised myself.
I can honestly say that none of those resolutions stuck for very long.
This year, in 2013, I will make the same resolutions all over again.
Why is it that we make these promises to ourselves each year, only to break them by the first day of spring? I know if I go to the gym next week, I’ll be lining up to use the treadmill, but it’s safe to say that by April, the crowd will definitely have thinned out.
A new year gives us hope. It makes us feel that we get a do-over, another chance. Things didn’t work out so well in the previous year, so we think that if we just get a brand new year to try again, perhaps we’ll succeed this time. And being human we truly believe this, year after year.
A new year gives us something to strive for. We resolve to fix the problems of the past and prepare ourselves for what lies ahead. We are filled with a new purpose and earnestly declare our aspirations for the upcoming year. What could be more ambitious and optimistic than believing we can successfully improve our lives in a way that we may not have been able to just one year before?
So in 2013, I know I will lose those 20 lbs and I will most certainly call my parents more often and I will schedule some play time with my children. I have a few more resolutions to add to my list but I can say for certain that I will not be cooking something new and unusual every Sunday. I do have my limits.
Does anyone have any burning new resolutions that they need to fulfill?
Happy new year and new resolutions, everyone!
My 2012 seemed to have involved a lot of sports, in retrospect. As a Jamaican, I look forward to the track and field events at the Olympics every four years and this year did not disappoint. Our tiny island earned 4 gold, 4 silver, and 4 bronze medals and ranked 18th in the world in the medal standings. Not bad for a small Caribbean island.
This year also, my favorite English Premier League football team, Manchester City, emerged champions after the nail biting extra time in their match. Twenty teams started playing at the same time and until the Manchester City match ended, with 2 goals in extra time, no one could (or would) predict who would be crowned champions until the very end of that match. Whew! Can’t go through that a second time, please!
My family finally managed to properly visit Ottawa, Canada this past summer. We had passed through for one day a couple years ago, but this time we made a 3-day visit and had a wonderful time.
A few months ago I had my very first car accident in the US. Our vehicle got rear-ended by another motorist in bumper to bumper traffic who really just wasn’t paying attention. Sigh ~ and just one last exit on the highway before mine….oh well…
Finally, in 2012 I managed to start three different blogs. I plan to settle down and make proper weekly contributions so I can focus on my writing skills. Thanks to everyone for taking the time to actually read what I write.
Happy New Year, everyone! Bonne année et bonne santé!
I live in the northeast US and it’s just not a proper winter without snow. As much as I hate to drive in it, I cannot help but stop and enjoy the flakes as they descend. Here are a couple of my shots of the changing seasons.
At the moment, we’re experiencing a warm late fall. By next week, it will be winter and we are projected to have more days like the ones below.
On a day like this, schools are certain to be closed and then we all have a snow day! (which means I would be working from home….)
“Something that God Intended”
As the 2012 US General Elections have drawn to a close, we are left with the winners celebrating their achievement and the losers licking their wounds and wondering how it could have possibly gone so wrong.
As an immigrant to the US, I find some issues raised in these elections both fascinating and troubling. In a world where certain issues have been laid to rest by other first-world countries, topics like global warming, women’s reproductive rights, and evolution are still being hotly debated here. Personal opinions have invaded public policy, been elevated and promoted to the forefront, superceding macroeconomic issues that affect the population as a whole.
In particular, I find the intense interest that some male politicians have taken in a woman’s reproduction system and anatomy quite disconcerting. All in the name of religion, they have managed to conjure up physicians’ research reports and biological fabrications to back their own personal beliefs.
Senate Candidate Richard Mourdock (R-Indiana) publicly declared that even if a woman got pregnant after being raped, it was “something that God intended to happen.” He lost his senate race to Democrat Joe Donnelly, also known to be anti-abortion, and yet the state of Indiana voted for republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and elected a republican governor, Mike Pence. The winning formula? 52% of women voted for Donnelly and only 42% went for Mourdock. The votes among men were split evenly.
Rep. Todd Akin (R-Missouri) gained national fame in August with his now infamous statement that women who were vicitms of “legitimate rape” could not get pregnant as “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” He also lost his senate bid to Claire McCaskill, who, up until that time was lagging behind Akin in the polls. Missouri also chose Romney to be president and 6 of the 8 seats in the house up for election went to the republicans.
It shows that constituents can only support their political representative’s extreme views so far and no more. Personal or religious views have no place in public policy. But it’s more than just that. It’s the blatant disregard for women and anything that gives us control over our own bodies.
In addition to those two aforementioned, seven other politicians paid the price after airing their archaic views on female reproduction and their views on abortion.
Representative Joe Walsh (R-Illinois) lost his seat to democratic challenger Tammy Duckworth after informing us all that there is “no such exception as life of the mother, and as far as the health of the mother, same thing” in abortion cases.
Representative Roscoe Bartlett (R-Maryland), in recent times, has claimed to be anti-abortion, “except in cases of rape, incest, or the life of the mother.” In a news conference, however, he insisted that there were only a “tiny, tiny, tiny percentage of rapes (compared) to abortions each year”, in response to a statement that 20,000 pregnancies per year resulted from rape. I supposoe that for him those are acceptable losses.
Tom Smith, (R-Pennsylvania) tried hard to empathize with women who had been raped and undergoing the incredibly difficult decision of choosing to have an abortion by saying that he had undergone a “similar problem.” However, it was not he, nor was it a rape issue. It was a “family member” who had gotten pregnant out of wedlock and decided to keep the baby. When asked by the reporter if this was the same thing as rape, he responded, “No, no, no… but put yourself in the father’s position… it is similar…” (What the…???)
Representative Paul Ryan, (R-Wisconsin), Vice Presidential candidate, and Mitt Romney’s running mate also weighed in on the abortion issue. His faith prevents him from choosing abortion even if it involves rape or the life of the mother. “The method of conception does not change the definition of life,” he said, looking into the camera with his those big baby blue eyes. His state did not vote for Republican for president, but Ryan still maintains his seat in the house as he did not have to surrender it to run with Romney for office.
Rick Berg (R-N. Dakota) and John McGovern (R-Vermont) were both unsuccessful in their election campaigns as well, rounding out the well wishing republicans who care so much about the unborn, but care so little about the baby-carrier, i.e. the mom.
It is no wonder that all these Republican candidates lost their election bids. Women don’t really factor in their everyday gleanings. They don’t see our views as important or effective. To imagine a woman, having been sexually assaulted and then impregnated to have to be forced to live with the product of that rape is outrageous. She should have the RIGHT TO CHOOSE and not to be told that her body can “shut that whole thing down.” And quite frankly, IMHO, whatever her reason is to terminate or keep the pregnancy, should be her right to do so, and not the right of other uninterested parties.
I would not ever like to be faced with the decision of whether to abort a pregnancy or not, as I imagine it must be one of the most difficult and emotional decisions to make. However, I would still like to know that what happens to my uterus is between my ob/gyn and myself. Yes, I said it. So I rejoice that the conservatives are not in control of the White House. My uterus is safe once more.
There are many times when I wish I were still single and child-free, without the many responsibilities that accompany adulthood.
To erase the last 15 years of my life would signify returning to a period when I was reponsible for my actions alone, and not the precious lives of my two yet unborn children. I would have been able to travel freely, to involve myself in any career that I enjoyed, to live anywhere I chose, to be whomever I wanted to be. Sleeping late would be an option, not a dream.
If I were still child-free I would not have to worry about the futures of my children, whether they will find their someones to love them unconditionally, or choose the careers that’s best for them, or survive the emotional roller-coaster of life.
I would not need to concern myself with finding a home in a neighborhood with a “good” school system. It wouldn’t matter to me if my office were close to home in case of school closures and other child-related emergencies. Rent would be cheaper and I’d have more money. And snow days? Why would I care about that? Travel jobs, here I come!
But I can’t press an “undo” button and erase my past decisions. My life is what I have thoughtfully and carefully designed. Nothing here happened by accident.
In fact, I cannot imagine life without any of them. Believe me, I’ve tried. I expect my first grader to jump in our bed and wake us up every Sunday morning. I expect to be shouting at my middle school kid to “hurry up and brush your teeth” every school morning. I expect that every single evening when I get in from work that there will be a race to the front door, each child almost stumbling over the other, to hug and kiss me good evening and to ask me how was my day at work that day.
I take the good with the bad. The majority of people in this world do not have a perfect life. So even though I do wish sometimes that my life had taken a different turn, there’s no way I’d trade it in now for the single life I used to have.
They had first met one verdant Spring afternoon at a mutual friend’s garden party. He was a bit unrefined and green, and not very experienced in the social graces. She was young, green, and a bit trusting, but unlike him, was well acquainted with the subtleties of flirting and dating. So it happened that their first date would be at his 10th year high school reunion a week later.
The affair was being held at the Village Common, a newly renovated park, with its luxurious green lawns, at contrast with the apple blossoms, freesias, and gardenias already in full bloom. In the middle of the garden was a beautiful white pergola complete with a canopy of green foliage and cascading ivy down the latticework.
He caught sight of her as soon as she arrived. She strode purposefully towards him, wearing a chartreuse-coloured dress, as promised, as it accentuated her particular shade of green eyes.
Everyone there turned to look at her as she walked over to him and kissed him on the lips. “Him?” went the whispers. He could sense them all, green with envy - all the women wanted to be her, and all the men wanted to be with her.
He took her hand in his and they walked off down the garden path, immersed in each other and savoring the newness of their green, fledgeling relationship.
To some this is a regular event, but I am an atheist. My husband is an atheist. My children have never been exposed to church teachings.
Today, we all piled into the minivan and attended the local Unitarian Universalist church service. My six year old has never even attended a church service before and never had a christening. My 12 year old would not have remembered the few weddings that she would had attended as an infant.
What got us here in the first place was perhaps a bit of curiosity and a feeling (on my part) of trying to better involve ourselves with our community. We have lived in this neighborhood for 9 years and never really integrated ourselves, other than with school events. Both my husband and I have driven past or nearby this church almost everyday and wondered what this denomination meant, but never bothered to find out.
Last year, however, my interest was piqued when I discovered two anomalities (to me) at this location:
- It was this congregation that hosted the annual Hallowe’en haunted house event in the town
- There was a rainbow flag flying high at the front of the building
I realized then that perhaps this was not the normal, everyday, run of the mill type of congregation.
I did a bit or research on the website and found that all were welcome here: atheists, agnostics, people of any faith, or people of no faith. I read that this church was one of acceptance and inclusion, unlike the ones I had been raised in which seemed to want to send my damning soul to Satan for every misdemeanor.
Maybe this wasn’t a bad place, after all.
I was raised in the church but I’ll be honest, I’ve never felt like I belonged there. I’ve visited various denominations and witnessed their various ways of following church teachings. None of them have ever attracted me nor made me actually want to return for more. I’ve never felt filled with anything after leaving a sermon.
Sunday was very different from any other church I had ever visited. The sermon encouraged inclusiveness, acceptance of others, tolerance, and liberalism. Very little mention of God or Jesus, and no mention of hellfire. Candles were lit by members who wanted to share their sorrows, their joys, or their good news. The choir sang beautifully in Hebrew, in German, and in English.
Now my friends in other churches would say (and have said) that this is no church at all. That this is not even Christian. But I beg to differ. Here were people coming together to celebrate each other in peace, in love, and in unity. They discourage violence or intolerance of any kind. They provide assistance for those in need in the community. Isn’t this what being Christian was supposed to be all about?
As I have been out of the church going mood for quite some time, it’s unlikely that this will be a weekly event for us. But I do know that if I ever feel the need to surround myself with people of tolerance in a spiritual setting or if my children would like to have more of a religious experience, it’s good to know that there is somewhere I would be comfortable recommending to them.