shadesofmauve: (clarence)
One of the frequent make-nice statements between religionists-who-aren't-creationist-nuts and scientists-who'd-rather-work-than-argue is that science can handle the explicable, but religion is there for "The Big Questions." I'm totally for more accord and less name-calling, and I think agreeing to mind your own business is a damn fine way of getting work done, as long as the business you're ignoring isn't really nasty. But I have a deep-seated problem with the assertion that religion is there to handle "The Big Questions." For one, I always thought the whole issue of black holes and galaxies and all was pretty damn big. More importantly, I seem to have fundamental issues with "The Big Questions" themselves.

Not the answers. The questions.

When you ask "So, what ARE the big questions?" chances are the first is "Why are we here?" I have an answer for that one; it's the same as my answer to that other philosophical stumper, "What is art?" Ready?

I don't care.

That's the short answer. I'm far more interested in what we're going to do now than in why we're here, and saying that I don't care makes the point. There's another level of response though, which is that I don't really understand the question. That we are here is evident*. There doesn't HAVE to be a reason why. There's a how, there's an approximate when, but asking 'why' is baffling to me.

This all came up because I spent the weekend with my twin three-and-a-half-year-old cousins, who are well and truly into the 'why' phase. We were walking through the kitchen when one spied a box, stopped in total fascination, and asked "Sarah, Why is Baking Soda?"

The bafflement I felt then was just about the same as the bafflement I feel about "Why are we here?"



*You may disagree, but the only real disagreements are based on very tiresome sophomoric philosophy, and I've no time for them.
shadesofmauve: (Default)
It's been an eventful day.

My family and I met my grandparents, aunt'n'uncle, and 3-year-old twin cousins at NW Trek this morning. It was a beautiful day, and we saw a decent selection of critters (mostly snoozing in sunny spots). The twins were (unsurprisingly) more enamored of the tram ride than the animals we saw from it, and (surprisingly) incredibly excited about the interpretive signage.

Isa SIGN! Aun' Mary, isah 'NOTHER SIGN!

After they left we hung about for a bit taking a more leisurely look at the wolves and watching the otter frolic. On the way out, we heard a very peeved cry.

It came from the land-bound* bald eagle, who was screeching in protest at the herd of keepers re-landscaping his enclosure, and scurrying back and forth along the fence line in agitation like a giant, feathery rat. The keepers were planting salmon- and service- berries, and were happy to talk about native plants, which lead to the final collapse of my willpower and a stop at Gordon's Nursery in Yelm on the way back.

I rent. You should not buy shrubbery if you rent. But most of the hummingbird-friendly northwest berries apparently do fine in whiskey barrels, which is why there's a bare-root flowering currant in my back yard now.

Our last stop was for groceries, which would have been quick, except that we witnessed an accident in the parking lot on the way out. No-one was hurt, but at least two cars were totaled, and I am reminded why I'm in favor of periodic re-testing for driver's licenses. The poor old man driving the offending vehicle mistook gas for brake.

I hate auto accidents. They rattle me, and not because I'm afraid of crazy drivers someday harming me. I'm deeply afraid of *being* the crazy driver and having that on my conscience. This is another reason I only own a bike. I am more comfortable with the possibility of being a victim than the possibility of being a killer.

So, right, busy day. I'm going to go sit with my sweety and draw, now.
shadesofmauve: (Default)
I went down to the market at noon on Friday and didn't get home 'till 6 because all of My People came out of hibernation and into the sun, and I had to stop and chat with everybody. (I had a lovely talk with your mum, [livejournal.com profile] emony42!). Saturday was a demonstration of how I relate better to two-year-olds than older children, presumably because we share more interests (like getting beach mud between our toes and mo-mo-mo-MO stwawbewies*).

Now it is too chilly to work in my garden, and I'm going to plunk away at my website before caving and playing fallout, which [livejournal.com profile] madalchemist gave me for my birthday because he is an evil, evil, evil man my bestest friend ever.

*We diverge on the subject of bananas. I like bananas, but they don't particularly like me, so when it came to mo-mo-mo banananananananaa we simply couldn't agree.
shadesofmauve: (baby)
Brett and Lizzie of Full Circle Farmstead live in the Chehalis reiver valley and were hit by the flood - not near as badly as many, but enough to want some clean up help. There was a work party down there today, full of musicians and contradancers, and as I'm singularly ill-suited to tromping through uneven fields in the cold, I brought coffee and scones and pies from mum, and pulled inside duty. Which meant babysitting. No, I did not actually know this when I headed down.

As you might have gathered, babysitting is not my favorite chore. Mentally, I would far rather be out in the barn mucking out, but my fingers go numb and my ankle twists and it's just very impractical. Besides, Brett is the guy who does my shoes, and he knows these boots are new. :)

It was a pretty productive day, and by dark we'd been able to bring all the animals down from the various neighboring high-ground farms where they'd been taken (Brett and Lizzie didn't loose a single animal, which is really rare - some lost hundreds). I went out to help with the goats (Goats! Goats are cute. Goats go MAAAaaaa. I like goats).

We ended the evening playing a bunch of old timey tunes in the living room, and it was really nice to see the community come together to help out. Really, everyone in Lewis county has been great, but I'm particularly touched by seeing *my* community, the musicians and dancers.

This is my church.
shadesofmauve: (WTF)
One quibble with Harry Potter, and one quibble with the people reviewing it.

1. I have never liked prophecy as a plot device, so it should be no surprise that I nitpick over prophecy. Did it strike anyone else as strange that the HP prophecy "Neither can survive while the other lives" is patently untrue, as there are several years when both Harry and Voldemort are alive? Like, say, the entire span of time covered in the books?

2. A major facet of most 'reputable' reviews of HP7 has been the discussion of adult vs. children's literature. Reviewers are merciless with their criticism and then back off, accusing themselves of applying adult standards to children's literature. Others jump in to argue that such comments underestimate children's literature. Will someone please point out that the discusions almost universally underestimate children? Children are not actually simplified, primary colored adults. They can and do handle a lot more than we wish they'd have to. I stand firmly in the camp that claims that a good kids book MUST also be a good adults' book, not because it has to contain stories on two entirely different levels, but because kids can handle it. Shit happens. People are complex. Kids are capable of dealing with this stuff, and shielding them from it does not make them better aduults.
shadesofmauve: (Default)
I didn't ask to be a child-magnet. I've never really wanted kids*. I do succumb, when faced with an offspring still in the infink stage, to the desire to cuddle and coo, and occasionally sing them to sleep. Holding a sleeping baby is really scarily nice. But babies are even worse than puppies. They grow into dogs kids and then teenagers and then adults. Kids and teenagers and, unfortunatley, many adults, are a LOT of work. Work sucks.

Still, I enjoy other-people's children, for short amounts of time. I don't know if they pick up on that, or pick up on the fact that I don't want kids, like cats who love my mother. I have a theory that the sure-fire way to stop being unreasonably attractive to random children is to have some of my own, and testing that theory is really, really not worth it.

A bunch of people were over at the new neighbors, among them a seven and an eight year old, cousins. I had both doors open and was weeding, potting new plants, and generally remembering that I have a back door and there are plants and things outside it. These two girls snuck over to see the plants, and I showed them how you can pet thyme and smell lemon-balm. They played on Jordan's workout-thing in the backyard. No one died. I was declared the new friend ("You know, you're my new friend!"). They made me a bouquet,** which is now in a glass of water, because that's what one does with bouquets. I now know that Alexei is moving to Hawaii but isn't very excited, that Anna had 11 gold fish and one blue one before her aunt put one in the freezer (?), and that Alexei's real dad wasn't particularly nice. I played fiddle for them and they danced about. Eventually someone's parent came 'round when one ran through my house, which was nice of him, because I hadn't figured out how to extricate myself yet.

I closed the back door behind the girls, walked to the front door to close it, and...there stands Reilly (5), one of the neighbors on the OTHER side, waiting at my front door to say hello. He's much more assertive than he was in the fall (I don't see them in winter - they're in their coccons house). So we chatted for a bit, and then he and his brothers wrestled and Stacy and I chatted.

It was rather nice, even if it's baffling. I spent much of today with the feeling that the world in general thought I was a jackass and general waste of time, but apparently that doesn't matter to people under age 10.

*Note to everyone who would leap on that phrase, slaverying at the scent of misguided prey, and tell me that I will feel differently when I'm older: I don't say that I will never want kids. I don't want kids at present. Not just that at the present moment it would be awkward/unpleasant for me to have kids, but at the present moment I envision no future with children. I do recognise that this, like almost all facets of life, is subject to change.

**Dandelions and those purple-and-green things that grow all over where the blackberries were. The latter was pulled by the roots.
shadesofmauve: (Default)
So, I can reasonably expect to spend some quality time tomorrow night insisting to my bosses four-year old that yes, I do regularly eat dinner plates. I can expect this because I started teasing him about it at the company christmas lunch today, and he is a very, very, persistent four-year-old. Luckily, I have lots of practice. And a special plate eating tooth!

The chris barnes design staff lunch was really fun. The beaujoulais is now fighting the caffeine in my head, and I think it's winning. Almost the first thing I did was spill wine on the white tablecloth at the fancy restraunt. Then Finn (four) spilled his water. Then his mom lost an olive (at speed). So at least I'm not the only one.

Finn: M-m-MY spill was BIGGER!
Me: Well, MINE stains! So there!*

Chris and Holly are having a party at their house tomorrow night, and I'm so glad that it's gonna be full of kids. I don't want 'em myself, but other people's four-year olds are excellent ice breakers. If nothing else, when you find yourself the odd outsider at the party, the four year old will probably be happy to talk to you for hours.

We've been exchanging little gifts at TRL too. One of the other designers, who likes to point out my extreme youth, left me a brown-paper wrapped package labeled "For Sarah. Please Do not Eat."

It was fingerpaint.

How totally cool are the people I work with?

In other news, I've been writing at least 500 words/day on that story I said I'd stop.

Gabriel (6): Why do you have two different shoes?
Me: Because my legs are different sizes.
Me: Uh, that's true. Not like the plates.

*actual transcript of our business lunch
shadesofmauve: (Default)
Just in case I ever start even vaguely musing about the possibilities of reproduction, I have lovely little moments with the products of said process in their just post-waddling stages and decide that the whole deal is, as I first thought, a total mark's game.

Last night we had old-coworker's of dad's and their widgets over - two very adorable girls, four & six. Notice I say 'adorable' without sarcasm. I can understand this concept. They make for amusing stories to tell later, and were I safely on the other side of a cage, I would find them highly entertaining...for about half an hour.

Naturally, despite the fact that I constantly wanted to be doing something else, Katherine & Natalie's parents think I'm GREAT with kids and should apply at Mariah Art to teach them.

Katherine says "Well, I use just the tip of my brush, like this...no, you should use pink. That has to be pink. Sometimes I use the side, if I want to. YOu can do that." Thanks, kid.

Natalie says "That's not a dot! This is a dot! And that's not a kitty...it's a skunk. That's a kitty!"

Of course, the crowning remark of the evening was "No, you're too HEAVY to take a bath!", though "Big girls get wine" came close.

I didn't have fun, but I wasn't miserable either (Notice, my less careful readers, this is NOT a ringing endorsement of offspring!). Unlike watching William. His Dad wants him to be raised a sensitive child. Now, children are not naturally sensitive beings, but William is a naturally clever being, so he knows how to twist this sensitive crap around his little finger. More manipulative rug demon you've never met. When reading about the dog that offed a poor chicken, I said "See? They're in trouble 'cause their doggy killed the chicken." "You said the K word! We don't use the K word!" You don't? Then what do you think the damn dog did, invite it over for biscuits? Things die, little rat, and sometimes it's cause something else popped 'em! Of course, this SAME child takes great glee in explaining about HIS pet's cremation. Great Bast...

Anyway, there's a rather timely post from [livejournal.com profile] ursulav that pretty much hits the spot on explaining why I find them bothersome. The comments to the post cover all the attitudes of parents with children that are equally bothersome, like the way they hear my dislike and say "Oh, but you're YOUNG" in that understanding, knowing way that implies we'll both have a good chuckle at my childish ignorance in five years when my little jimmmy is puking on the rug.

Anyway, this was snipped from this entry

It's often said that some parrots have the abstract reasoning capacity of small children. ... However, what they fail to mention is that small children also share a number of traits with parrots--repeating inconvenient phrases, shrieking a great deal, seeming to be a terrible combination of destructive and fragile, and in some cases requiring large newspaper floored cages.

The repeating phrases thing trips me up every time. I am not comfortable with children. I bear them no ill will, but neither am I particularly enamored of them, for the same reasons I live in terror of aliens and religious zealots--they cannot be reasoned or debated with, they appear immune to logic, and I am rarely sure what they want.* So when one latches on to my leg, for example, I tend to say the first thing that pops into my head, without stopping to consider that my sister-in-law may not appreciate her daughter repeating the phrase "What's up, spawn?" every thirty seconds for the next year. Two days with my six-year-old brother Max added significantly to his repetoire, including such gems as "I'm not your trained monkey," which I apologized to Mom about fifty times for already. Oh, well.
- [livejournal.com profile] ursulav
shadesofmauve: (Default)
Different from recreation, which I know I prefer.

Random quote of the evening, from Trik:

"I think everyone has an alien fetus gnawing inside them at some point in their lives."

I was suprised this evening with how many of my friends (2/2, that's not bad!) disagreed with me when I said that if people ever thought I was pregnant an angry mob would hunt me down yelling 'Kill it, kill it before it breeds!"

Why all the sudden ickily baby oriented drama? Well, my parents just received a hospital bill. A $250 dollar hospital bill. For lab work. For me. On July 23rd, at St Peter's Hospital, Olympia.

Only...I don't go to St. Peters. And I was in Chester, England, on July 23rd. In fact, I hadn't been on the North American continent for a month, at that point.

Go figure.

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