Had lunch Friday with vertigo66, gblvr, perkypaduan and another LOTR fic writer; had Thai food outdoors on a gorgeous spring day, and lots of fun despite the sunlight that made us all wish we'd brought better sunglasses. I'm trying to decide whether to go up with some of these lovely women to Connexions, which I can't really afford to attend, just to try to hook up with people (ann_tara, amedia, you'll be there won't you?). We discussed S&H fic, why certain incestuous pairings make us squick but others don't, and the secret existence of Simon and Garfunkel RPS. I will admit that the mere mention of the latter gave me illicit yet undeniable thrills.
Friday evening I finished articles for work -- Shatner on The Practice spinoff, Grand Slam coverage which I gacked for my Louise Fletcher page -- chatted with ashinae (whose birthday smut is absolutely refusing to let me write it), and toyed a bit with my theatrical_muse entries for the week. I am reaching a point where I am dying to know who is writing legate_damar and at the same time I don't want to know, because since I don't know it is possible very nearly to think of the character as "the real Damar" in some very screwy sense that I know would go away if I knew the writer. On the other hand, I think Kira has real feelings for Damar -- I thought this during the final episodes of DS9, long before I was writing her, as Kai Winn had my attention utterly at the time -- and I'd be curious to talk independently to the writer about where that could end up going or not going. This one might be fun simply to play out blind.
This morning we had the model seder with the younger son at the Hebrew school for most of the morning while the older son was playing at a friend's house. Two of the four rabbis were there but it was a madhouse anyway; this is one of those times when I always feel like the Hebrew school and the congregation itself are much too big for me, though at the same time there are always people there I feel comfortable with because the crowd is so big and diverse. "Model seder" means that only the essential foods are there -- matzah, bitter herb, parsley, charoset, egg -- no gefilte fish, no soup, no meal, though there were chocolate macaroons. Our son was very annoyed that he didn't find the afikoman, though with 100 kids in the room and only four prizes this was really to be expected, particularly since he did not go dance around on "Dayenu" and thus get an opportunity to scope the room like those who did dance.
When we went to pick our older son up, I thanked the friend's mother for having him while we were busy at Hebrew school and got into a really interesting conversation with her about religious education and kids. She and her husband are from Bangladesh, nominally Muslim, non-practicing; she described herself as agnostic, and does not appear to be at all traditional -- they eat pepperoni pizza and were worried we might have issues with our son eating it, but we don't follow Jewish dietary tradition either. They've lived in this country since before their children were born and apparently had gotten out of the habit of telling people that they were Muslim but she said that in recent months she's been doing so and proudly -- her husband travels a lot for business and is really tired of always being the one person pulled out by airport security for a thorough search and interrogation. She was reflecting aloud on the subject of whether she should be giving her kids a basic education, which by definition would probably expose them to beliefs that she and her husband don't share.
My gut reaction was that I wouldn't want to feel obligated to raise my kids in a tradition that I didn't personally share -- I've been quite irked when my mother has suggested that I should do more Jewish stuff with my kids, particularly since we didn't do those things when I was younger (my mother had a religious revival when I married the son of a Lutheran pastor) and since we do things that my parents never did with me, like going to the Skirball Museum in L.A. But because my Jewish education was so non-traditional and so non-focused on religion per se, I had a very strong albeit unconventional sense of my own beliefs by high school, when I was first exposed to proselytizing Christians; and if I'd been exposed to that kind of Campus Crusade outreach without that strong sense of being Jewish, I have no idea how susceptible I would have been to it. And I resent the fuck out of Campus Crusade, coming in like a cult and targeting vulnerable kids who haven't had a chance to form their own sense of who they are, spiritually. I'm wondering whether I don't think that basic education in one's own religious traditions mustn't be a good thing even if the parents don't believe some or even most of its tenets. I've certainly told my kids that I don't believe in a God who would flood the world to near-extinction, nor in a God who would kill the firstborn of an entire nation to prove a point to that nation's leader.
Anyway...after we got home from the seder my in-laws arrived, my husband made pancakes and eggs for everyone for lunch, I did the dishes, we discussed religion and politics as we always do (in case I have failed to make this clear, I absolutely love my in-laws), we talked about Aunt Jean's plan for a family reunion in Washington next year and to my delight I discovered that I wasn't going to have any argument here, as my husband's parents are both annoyed that she picked a place within driving distance for both her kids and their families but which would require my husband's parents, two sons, their spouses and five children total to fly in. I suspect that if the reunion happens, it will be in Seattle rather than a lodge by Mount St. Helens, which means that we can see other friends in Seattle and avoid a three hour drive after a flight in.
The sociopolitical discussion of the day was about Karen Armstrong's books on religion and Middle Eastern and American politics, our mutual support for civil gay marriage -- man but I wish my father in law was a Lutheran bishop and not just a retired pastor -- the conditions of women's lives in just about any theocracy, be it Jewish, Christian or Muslim, whether it would be a bad idea for my mother to be my son's Hebrew school teacher next year when she is clearly the best Hebrew school teacher for third graders, and assorted topics like that. Did I mention I love my in-laws? All the more so because I only talk to them about once a week, whereas I talk to my parents often enough to hear more of their schtick than I really want.
Anyway, once the UConn game ended, the grandparents volunteered to take our older son to his baseball practice, and my husband and I went to the movies -- he hadn't seen Starsky and Hutch yet, so we went to see that, and I think I enjoyed it even more this time around; Starsky is so gay, the urge to write fic may simply become irresistible. Seventies nostalgia just makes me prostrate; all anyone has to do is put on certain songs and I go all gooey. Even watching Virtuosity last week, with Russell Crowe playing an utter sadistic bastard, I melted during the scene where he walks through the mall while "Stayin' Alive" is blasting.
After the movie we went out to dinner and discussed how broke we will become if we do all the traveling we want and repair the deck and the things in our house that really have to be done. We have treated our townhouse as a temporary domicile -- it was understood when we bought it that we intended to sell it a few years down the road to buy a bigger house -- but at this point we'd have to move way out of the school district to afford anyplace we'd want to live, and I'd rather just stay in one place and save the money to travel, even though on days like this I urgently want my own room for my computer and my stuff (our dining room table is our common desk; we haven't used it for eating in at least three years).
Boy, I'm all over the place rambling tonight. PSA: hallucinateme has posted "The Republican Code of Ethics" which would have amused me greatly were it not so damn true. And since I'm babbling, I might as well provide: .
Where Were You:
When Mt. St. Helens blew (18/5/1980)
In junior high school, sitting in class; my English teacher told us that it had happened. We'd been anticipating it, as we'd been discussing the fact that it was expected to blow earlier in the week. (I learned that Reagan had been shot in front of that same building as we waited for the bus at 2:40, and I learned that John Lennon had died upon arriving at school early the morning after it happened, when a number boys who wouldn't normally have been caught dead crying in front of anyone were crying together in front of their lockers.)
I'm going to interject another one because I've never forgotten:
When Anwar Sadat was assassinated (6/10/1981)
I learned that Sadat had been assassinated in U.S. history class in tenth grade. We walked in, sat down, and our teacher said, "Sadat was assassinated this morning. How will this affect the Middle East?" We sat and discussed it for half an hour before he realized that we were all assuming that this was a hypothetical class assignment and not something that had, in fact, happened, and he put on the radio. There were a lot of very upset people after that.
When the space shuttle Challenger exploded (28/1/1986)
Working at the University of Pennsylvania newspaper, The Daily Pennsylvanian. The executive editor came out of his office to tell us; we thought at first that it was a sick joke on his part, then a sick joke on the part of someone working at the Associated Press. And then we left, since there was no television in the building, and went to a dorm to watch.
When the 7.1 earthquake hit San Francisco (7/10/1989)
Watching the World Series with my fiance (now my husband) and friends from the graduate English program at the University of Maryland. We saw it live on television when the network lost their feed.
When the Berlin Wall fell (7/11/1989)
I don't remember where I was when I first heard that it was happening; I remember, at some point later, standing in the kitchen of our apartment in Bethesda, Maryland listening to the TV in the other room and thinking about the fact that while I was growing up, I had truly expected there to be a nuclear war during my lifetime between NATO and the Soviet bloc, and the Soviet bloc was disappearing as we watched.
When the Gulf War began (16/1/1991)
I don't remember where I was when it began; what I remember is sitting in an evening English class at the University of Chicago fifteen minutes after the first reports came in that Iraq was bombing Israel, listening to an endless lecture on some Modernist poet and thinking that academia was utter bullshit. I ended up blowing out early to go watch the news; I couldn't stand sitting there.
When OJ Simpson was chased in his White Bronco (17/6/1994)
We were at my husband's family reunion in Eugene, Oregon. As people arrived, they convened in Aunt Jean's room, around the television. I couldn't really watch because I had a crawling baby to follow. It still seems very surreal.
When the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City was bombed (19/4/1995)
I'm not sure where I was when the actual bombing took place; I had been out someplace during the day, turned on the afternoon news and there it was.
When Princess Di was killed (31/8/1997)
We were watching a movie on video -- I can't remember which -- and when we turned it off, the news was reporting that Diana had been seriously injured in a car accident. We learned that she had died before we went to bed.
When the shootings at Columbine occured (25/05/1999)
Doing stuff with my kids; I didn't even hear about it until the evening news.
When Bush was first announced President (7/11/2000)
We stayed up till two a.m. with "Too Close To Call" flashing on the screen and then woke up a few hours later to the same image. My friend Veronica was in Washington from London and had stayed up much of the night in a bar in DC watching people watch the news; we met for lunch and discussed our certainty that one way or another Bush would manage to be handed the election. I honestly don't remember where I was when the announcement was made, because I'd been bracing myself for it and wasn't in the least surprised, just miserable.
When terrorists destroyed the World Trade Center (11/9/2001)
I've posted about this here.
When Columbia disintegrated during re-entry over Texas. (1/2/2003)
Sitting at this computer, reading my morning e-mail, which included the alert from The Washington Post with the news. I shrieked, "The space shuttle blew up!" and my husband thought I was having some kind of strange flashback to Challenger. I got up and turned on the TV, and there it was.
Spotted most recently via undonne. Turquoise gave me Pippin, so I tried being more vague and got:
And from beckyo:
Happy Birthday gotham_syren! That is all.