May 28, 2007

If something "goes without saying," why do people still say it?

The weekend was good. REALLY good. But damn, I'm exhausted..........

Garage Sale
My mom had her garage sale on Saturday. I took a few things and went to help her. I made a little money and left swearing I wouldn't do a garage sale for several more years. Keep in mind, we just had OUR neighborhood garage sale here the end of April, so the whole thing was pretty tiring. As I unloaded some of my stuff, I looked at it and thought "Ah, I should just put this back in the basement and save it for next year's sale. After all, it's already priced!". Then, I found myself pricing even more doo-dads I found laying around the house yesterday. Call me crazy, but I LOVE garage sales. Help me.


My brother graduated from high school this weekend and I can't begin to express how incredibly proud I am of him and all of his accomplishments. Everything has been a struggle for him. I don't talk about it much, because it's his story to tell, not mine. In short, he has a language-based pervasive developmental disorder that tested him really fucking close to the spectrum of autism. Regardless, he pushed forward in school, joined sports (even lettering in track and field!) and continuously entered activities despite his fears of failure. Facing your fears? To me, that is the very first step to success.

Anyway, the graduation was held at in Lawrence the University of Kansas Allen Fieldhouse because of the rain (normally, it would have been held at the stadium). It was hot as HELL, but isn't that a rite of passage for ALL graduation ceremonies? Afterwards, we all went to my dad and step-mom's house for a party, which was quite fun. I don't normally get to see my step-mom's side of the family and they are such cool, laid back folks. It was great to hang out with them for awhile and catch up. Arun had a blast and we hardly saw him - he was too busy running wild in the backyard.

A Thousand Splendid Suns? Splendid. Simply Splendid.
I cried a lot over the weekend. And for this, pregnancy hormones cannot be blamed. Nay, the finger is mostly certainly pointed in the direction of Khalid Hosseini for being the sort of writer who grabs you by page 7 and then you find yourself at page 150 before you know it. And then, you're shaking your head that it's already midnight. That's what A Thousand Splendid Suns did to me - made me sob in a few places, cry in some others and overall, lose some sleep. And it was worth every single page of it.

I've been to some of the places in Pakistan he describes - Peshawar, some of the galis in the NWFP and even Murree. His descriptions took me back - all the way to 1994. One of my good friends in college was a Pashtun, to say he was a friend is putting it mildly - our group was like family back then. I knew all of his siblings, his parents from their stays in the US and then did visit them myself while I was in Pakistan. Furthermore, one of our good friends in grad school was an Afghan refugee. Take it from me, Hosseini does an incredible job telling the stories of a complicated people and their tangled histories. If you have any interest at all in the Afghan experience and the highly diverse ethnic groups attempting to co-exist, I highly recommend reading both of his books. At a minimum, it will help you understand why Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan are ill-defined and underestimated by pretty, pretty lines on a map. Most of us White People don't get it, but maybe authors such as Hosseini will help.

Burn Baby, Burn
Speaking of books, I'm sure many of you have heard, this Kansas City bookseller is burning books to protest people's disinterest in the written word. Sigh. I wonder if it isn't more that people have a disinterest in his bookstore because I smell "promotional scam". Listen, I do frequent Border's and am unapologetic. It's a great place to browse, the prices are reasonable and it's kid-friendly. Sure, I've shopped at Prospero's over the years (both their old location and current location) and frankly, was never super-impressed. Even though they are closer to me, I save all my book trades and used book purchases for the Dusty Bookshelf when I'm in Lawrence - a far, far superior used bookstore. The Dusty Bookshelf is comfortable, cozy and the staff are unfailingly polite (Bonus: They have a store cat who is SO sweet and friendly!) Furthermore, the Dusty Bookshelf has a killer children's section and a hefty percentage of Arun's books have come from there. When hunting for a particular book, I usually try to get it at the Dusty Bookshelf and use Border's as a last resort or for new releases that I can't wait for the tradeback release (such as my recent Khalid Hosseini purchase that I am SO glad I didn't wait for!). Shame on Prospero's for burning perfectly good books. What a waste.

Actually, I'm Guessing that God Hates Hatred Itself
Around these here parts, we have a guy who calls himself a "man of god". I call him Fred Fucking Phelps (Google Juice THAT, Innernets). For those of you fortunate enough to never have heard of Fred Fucking Phelps, he is a so-called religious dude who thinks it's totally! cool! to protest funerals of gay people. Now, don't get me wrong. I love that America grants us the right to protest that which we find repulsive. But where does the line get crossed into harassment? I think it most certainly gets crossed when these God-enabled "geniuses" holding signs with such declarations as "God Hates Fags" and "Freestate Fags" decide that picketing a HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION is acceptable. All because my brother's high school:
1. had the graduation on KU's campus (KU is known to be a friend to the Gay Man) and
2. my brother's high school has the audacity to have a gay and lesbian student group promoting an alliance with the straight students. You know, to try and foster an environment of tolerance and understanding. Imagine THAT.

My 5 year old nephew was bewildered and frankly, my sister was a lot nicer than I would have been. I will freely tell my kids the ignorance of such folks who think two HUMANS loving each other is despicable. Of course, all of this leads me to wonder - is my own intolerance of intolerance hypocritical?

I Fear for His Linguistic Future
As long as folks think that pulling out in front of me while I am on a major highway going the stated speed limit (70 mph) which then forces me to not only slam on my brakes, but also to veer wildly onto the shoulder, then it is probable that the words "fucking" and "asshole" will be a part of my kid's vocabulary. My kid will also learn some sign language that requires the utilization of his middle finger. As it is, my baby girl will probably end up a total adrenaline junkie unless folks in this area learn how to FUCKING DRIVE. Furthermore, let it be known that the Ridiculous Car and all of its lovely, lovely features shall no longer be mocked. I am thoroughly humbled before the Safety Feature known as "Vehicle Stability Assist".

Wet n' Waddle
Nothing makes a pregnant chick's waddle more pronounced than a full bladder. Nothing.

Snappy Snappage
To make amends for my Ranty Pants and liberal use of expletives, I'm throwing out some Simian Snaps.

The Edge of Reason
Arun had a blast throwing rocks in my dad's horsetank. Yes, you read that correctly. HORSETANK. In a suburban BACKYARD where there are no livestock of any kind. As my younger sister put it "Hey, it was a happening place in its day". Yeah, when she was in THIRD grade. And yes, we totally give my dad crap about it.

Just Wait
Actually, he can get the key in the ignition. God help us.


Rozanne said...

OK. You've convinced me; I'm putting A Thousand Splendid Suns in my library queue. I have a feeling I'll be waiting a while, but that's OK. I should probably put The Kite Runner in there, too. Been wanting to read that.

I agree w. you that it sounds like that bookseller is trying to get some free PR burning books. What a shame.

flybunny said...

I loved The Kite Runner and can't wait to read the new one even more so now. I will have to use that to fill the time between now and HP 7 and I so agree about the Prospero guy - I read about that in the paper and was thouroughly disgusted.

My kids were making fun of my waddle just this weekend and I was not amused, well maybe a little...

As for Fred Fucking Phelps, the man seriously needs to go away, way far away. Hubby was in Topeka today and had to restrain himself from yelling at them which would only had fuel to their fire.

Too cute pictures, Abby once read me the riot act when she was about 5 complaining that it wasn't fair that she had to wait until she was 16 to drive....

Monkey McWearingChaps said...

What is a horsetank??

Monkey McWearingChaps said...

oh, and congrats to your brother!!

Modern Day Hermit said...

Congrats to your brother, what an awesome achievement for him!

Burning books! I am far from being a religious woman, but *that* is blasphemous.

I used to wonder if my intolerance of intolerance was hypocritical as well, but I then decided I really don't give a shit because you can't tolerate everything. This asshat's actions are heinous. People who do such things literally make me want to puke.

Haha, yeah, my boy has a vocabulary peppered with swears and the little guy always wants to copy me! Me! Why me! His new one? Turd. Nice.

Hey, our neighbors had a huge horsetank in their yard while I was growing up, they used it for swimming (for the kids).

Cagey said...

I know you don't read a lot of fiction, but I think Hosseini is worth it. A lesser author would make it all seem too melodramatic and worthy of a soap-opera.

I have never actually seen the Phelps' Groupies before. I was so furious I was shaking.

Oh, you little City Girl, you. You've never seen a horsetank? It's a big round or oblong metal tank about 2-3 feet high that you fill with water. Presumably for LIVESTOCK not CHILDREN.

I need to watch my mouth, seriously. Although, I am not really that picky about what my kid says as long as he is POLITE to people. Does that make sense? You can still learn the vocabulary, but it doesn't mean you have to use it.

Modern Day Hermit said...

Makes perfect sense to me! I always say, "Hmm, well, Alex is a little bit of a pain some times, but at least he'll say Thank you and You're Welcome when he's doing it." haha

I need to watch my mouth, too, Richard has gotten pretty good about word replacement but I still need some schoolin' in that area. Luckily his mutterings haven't become a permanent fixture in his vocabulary. He's just repeated me a couple of times, but I'm sure they are laying in there, just waiting until I'm at a social function where he can showcase his stored skill set.

Of course, Richard does a lot of gloating. :-|

Katie said...

Delurking to say AMEN about Kansas City drivers! I visited there for the first time this weekend and was blown away by how insane some of them were. It was pouring rain and they were blowing by me at 90 mph, cutting in front of me, and so on. I know bad driving isn't the sole provenance of Kansas City, but I saw a higher concentration there than anywhere else I've driven. Except Hawaii. Hawaii drivers are the worst ever.

meno said...

Congratulations to your brother. I admire him for getting to where he is. And i hate Fred Phelps too. Jerk.

Jane said...

When my niece was about five, she was riding in the car with me and wanted to know I would let her drive. Um, no.

I told her that her dad (a police officer) would arrest us both if I let her. Her indignant response, "Why would he do a thing like that?!?"


Blondie said...

OMG. I'm seriously floored that a bookseller is burning books. WTF????

And congrats to your brother--that is a wonderful accomplishment.