Cool Fiz

All the cool blog names were taken, so my cats, Cooler and Fizler, lent their names. This blog is about our third or fourth mega-trip that Will and I have taken to Vermont every September since the year before Hurricane Katrina.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


I am so glad that Mississippians did not vote in the "personhood amendment", which would define human life as beginning at fertilization. It heartens me to know that not everyone in the South is blinded or cowed to vote a certain way.

Besides the fact that there is no way to tell exactly when fertilization happened, once it has, and the obvious implications for all women in Mississippi, and the cavalcade of lawsuits that would result, and the trickle of states that would follow suit...beside all that, I just think it's a bad idea to make black and white decisions on gray matters.

I would never have an abortion. I would counsel any of my loved ones who were considering it to think long and hard and lean against it, and depending on the circumstances I would probably be heartbroken if it would have been a child related to me.

But I would also totally support her decision, whatever it was. Without the ability to choose, our whole society is screwed.

I'm not a man hater. If anything, I understand the male point of view just a little better than a lot of women, having only brothers, only sons, and now only grandsons. The fact that it is mostly males in power telling us that embryos' and zygotes' rights are more important than the actual living woman standing before them is a woman-hating position. It broadcasts in living color that many males do not understand the woman's point of view.

Most people don't actually research an issue before the state an opinion. I'm okay with that, so long as they admit they're not widely read. I have to say that I am widely-read on this subject. I have had an interest in it for decades. I used to listen to sermons in church about it, and I have read many a feminist blog, and moderate websites. I have also aged. With age you get experience, whether you want it or not. While I've always said I would never have an abortion, I didn't always believe that other women should have the choice--even though my position was always kind of wobbly. Now, it's not wobbly at all.

I am completely pro-life...for me.

I am completely pro-choice...for you.

The lack of reproductive choice for all women is a scourge on society. I don't think Michelle Duggar is wise for trying for a 20th child, but would I bar her from doing so? Absolutely not. She would definitely prevent me from having an abortion if she could, though. I think that's a hostile and untenable position.

By being pro-choice, I am not pro-abortion. I am pro-life. I'm pro the life of the living, sentient being who is faced with a incomprehensible choice.

Just posting about this on my blog could get my tires slashed in this town. I don't think anyone would actually burn down my house. Okay, maybe they'd just defriend me on Facebook, but whatever.

It is important to my sanity that I "come out" on this issue.

Legal, safe, and rare.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Today Michelle Duggar announced, on the Today Show, that she was pregnant with their 20th child. Never mind what happened with their last one (preeclampsia led to Josie's birth at 25 weeks, barely viable). Never mind her baby-bearing equipment is nearing the end of its natural life. Never mind the high risk of chromosomal abnormalities in babies born to mothers over 40 and she's 45.

It's just crazy to bear 20 kids.

The Duggars are "neighbors" of mine. They live in the next town over. I have seen them on occasion. I was behind Michelle in her van at the Wendy's drive-thru once. I was behind Josh, Anna and one of the bigger Duggar boys, driving Josh's Hummer, in the drive-thru at the Tontitown McDonald's just a few months ago. They've been in the same Wal-Mart* as me; they were doing a book signing.

Michelle allows herself to be dominated, subjugated and subsumed by pregnancy, birth and nursing because of a couple little verses in the Bible, something about arrows and quivers, and spilled seed. Although the Duggars claim to not be a part of any "movement", they are the very definition of Quiverfull, so I find it odd that they deny any relation.

There are some pretty nasty critics of the Duggars. Some of the arguments are about over-population, how the older kids are basically the parents of the younger kids, and how they put a happy face on what is basically a woman participating in her own oppression. The girls in the family are also not allowed to go to college, nor date, nor work outside the home, so they're oppressing their daughters, too.

One thing I can't really fault the Duggars for is their thorough indoctrination in Southern Christian Culture, which they showcase on TV every week. If you live in the South for any length of time, you will encounter it and become enculturated in its vagaries, and you will not be able to escape it. Even if you're not a Christian, it is just the way it is done here. It will become a part of you. After 40 years in the South, it has become a part of me.

Some of the tenets of SCC are downright dangerous. Like always respect your elders, no matter what. One time when I was 11, I was hanging out at the little store in my tiny town. A man came up to the store, and he started talking--flirting--with me. I didn't like his vibe, at all. At one point he grabbed me and tickled me, and I struggled away. It was a public place, so he left me alone. Later, I was playing softball on the team my Aunt Linda organized, and the place we had to play was next to this man's house. He had a couple of daughters my age, so he was out there on the field with us. The vibe was strong with this one. I briefly became friends with his daughters at school, and I almost spent the night with them once. I shudder to think what might have happened if he had tried to get me alone. I can still remember how I felt when he grabbed me and tickled me, right out in public. It has been 39 years. Would the SCC tenet to respect your elders have overruled my natural instincts? I don't know. I'd like to think not, especially since at that time I had only been a part of the SCC for a little while. No doubt it does for some.

SCC also fosters sneakiness and dishonesty in relationships. I didn't know my grandmother as well as my cousins did when I first moved to Arkansas with my family. I was 11. On those long hot Arkansas Saturdays, when my dad and his brother were home from work, and working around the house, there seemed to be nothing to them having a nice cold beer out in the shed. It was a total shock to me, having lived my life thus far in Illinois, when my grandmother comes walking up and I hear my dad say, "Here comes Maw! Hide your beer!" They also put out their cigarettes and threw them away. When I was 11, my dad was 39.

So here I am, living still in the South, smacking right up against Southern Christian Culture in a way that is very painful for me.
When we purposed to move to a small town with an evangelical Christian college in its midst, I had confidence that I would be able to seek and find my "tribe" here. Seven years later, and I'm still looking. Most of my tribe lives in other states. I wouldn't even know that without the internet. I don't know how long I can take this. Especially now that my youngest child is 18 and will soon fly the nest, I don't have the distraction of being the mom at home.

I guess that won't be an issue for Michelle Duggar. By the time her last one is 18 (if she stops now), she'll already be 63.

My life isn't looking so bad after all.

*No comments about my shopping and eating habits, please!

Monday, November 7, 2011

This day was pretty much a total waste.

I didn't pick up a single Lego.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

An Aside

I know the whole point of NaBloPoMo is to get better at writing and blogging. I'm not using it for that. I'm using it to get in the habit of thinking about what I would say if I had my own forum, and then going on to say it.

This is why there were five comments that were awaiting moderation because I forgot that I even had comments on moderation. I apologize, y'all.

One of my problems with blogging is I come up with my best ideas when I'm driving. There's never any way to remember or remind myself what I was so passionate about while I was looking through the windshield. When I'm driving my big-ass truck, I keep a pen and pad in the convenient little area on the dash. What I write there is often subject to interpretation, because I'm usually hauling the oven, and bouncing all over the road. It is usually confined to things I forgot to bring to an event, like onions or change--both very critical in the pizza business. So, a pad is not really the best solution. I can talk to my phone, but it's a sad fact that I have plenty of notes in my phone naming books, articles or websites that I heard about on the radio...none of which I've ever read.

Another problem is I need large amounts of uninterrupted time to write like I used to do when I was younger. There are so many factors that contribute to not having those blocks of time. I make my own schedule, so I could do it. But I have to be in the right state of mind to write well, and focus on a subject the way I would l like to. So it's not like I can suddenly notice my afternoon is free and pump out a mind-blowing essay. I have to be in the mood. That's usually when I'm driving, or before bed.

But there's hope, Bored Friends. After today, no more boring blog posts. Now that the babies have gone home, I get to reboot everything, refocus my intentions, and start over. After I pick up the Legos. Tomorrow.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Amazin' 'Maters

The little boys and I got out in the yard today. Spencer wanted to dig for worms, so I handed him the spade and pointed to the garden. He couldn't find any. It's in the 60s today, and the ground is still pretty dry, so I'm sure they're hiding down where the conditions are worm friendly and beyond the reach of the average 6-year-old.

While we were out there, I noticed there were still hundreds of green and red tomatoes on this tomato plant that I completely ignored after I tried to nurse it through the drought and finally got too busy. The boys helped me pick some. Fin was the only one brave enough to eat one with me.

From Cool Fiz
Jack liked to find the flawed ones.

From Cool Fiz

Spencer liked pulling them off by the handful.

From Cool Fiz

Fin really didn't like his 'mater, but at least he gave it a try!

Friday, November 4, 2011


The grandchildren are visiting for the weekend, along with their parents. It has already been an exciting evening, wherein the youngest got himself stuck in the dark in a back bedroom and couldn't find the door, the middle puked all over his bed, and the oldest smacked me right between the eyes with a hard piece of metal.

They've only been here 2 hours.

I love these little guys. I've been looking forward to seeing them all week long. It has been a lot of months since they were here. We measured their height on the door last time and I can already tell Spencer is 1/4" taller. Jack has more words, and Fin is the most lively 13-month-old I've ever seen. It's Boys Town around here!

Of course, I'm thrilled to see Jake and Mandy, too. I'm proud of both of them.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


A list of things that have flitted or wended their way through my mind lately:

*Should I trade in my oven for a fully enclosed model?

*In two days I won't have any "children" at home. Everyone in my house will be legal adults.

*Next year, I'll have been a parent for 30 years.

*I feel really cozy and safe when I sleep in the Element.

*30 years is a long time.

*Really hate coffee shops who don't know what real tea is.

*Mystic Chai from Sam's is not good enough for a coffee shop that proudly displays "Barista" Certificates of Training.

*I think I should write a letter about it.

*I think I could really get into the flea market business.

*My grandfather used to take me to Maxwell Street in Chicago.

*People are friendly if you're friendly first, and give them an opportunity to help.

*It's really, really dry in Texas. Even though it rained on me while I was there.

*I wish we had Texas speed limits in Arkansas.

*It's pretty stupid to drive a Texas speed limit on some Arkansas roads.

*That's probably why we don't have Texas speed limits.

*I didn't know there were race riots in Tulsa in 1921. Apparently it was pretty hush-hush for a long time.

*That squeak in the dash of the Element is extremely annoying. Wonder how much that's going to cost to get fixed?

*I forgot Heather's birthday. She understands.

*I wonder how long it would take to get all the bike stuff ready to take to the flea market?

*Most boring blog post ever.

*Could make some of them interesting, though.