Category Archives: boston vs. kansas

bumpwatch terror alert: week 27

this photo is actually a week old.

i have been pretty much incommunicado for a week & a half because of houseguests, baby showers, & traveling. but i did manage to carve out five minutes to snap a belly photo last weekend & make it look all goofy in photobucket.

my friend amanda, from philadelphia, visited last weekend for our kansas baby shower. jared took a temporary time-out from his research to fly home for it as well. it was a nice visit in some ways, & kind of depressing in others. jared seemed to be fighting off the flu & was really out of it all weekend. he didn’t want to get up in the morning because he was up half the night coughing. i actually got up & got him a glass of water one night at like 3am, even though i am in the third trimester now & getting to my feet is no easy task. it made me think about how easy it is to take care of someone when you really love them, & that made me feel hopeful that i won’t find taking care of the baby too onerous (although it will be much more demanding than just a boyfriend who is feeling under the weather).

it was great to see amanda. we hadn’t seen each other in over two years, since i spent the summer living in her south philly row home while jared was in new york city doing a hydrology fellowship. she talked a lot about how windy it was in kansas, & how it was exactly what she expected. it was indeed uncommonly windy on the first day of her visit, but i have lived here for over three years & a) it’s seriously almost never that windy here, & b) i have never heard this idea that kansas is an especially windy place. she also spent a lot of time answering texts, taking photos & sending them to her boyfriend, trying to connect to the internet to look up various things she wanted to tell us about, etc. it didn’t bother me too much at first, but by the end of the visit, i wanted to run her phone over with my car. i didn’t even check my e-mail the entire time she was here, because i didn’t want to waste friend time doing some dumb bullshit i can do any time. maybe i am a complete dinosaur, but i’m so sick of people fiddling with their phones when they are hanging out with me. are facebook & foursquare really more important than whoever you’re spending time with?

jared & i flew to boston together on sunday for our babymoon. in case you don’t know, a babymoon is kind of a couple’s last hurrah vacation thing before they have a baby. it’s kind of new-ish, trendy concept, & it’s a little silly, but i knew we couldn’t go back to boston for christmas this year because it’s too close to my due date, & i didn’t want my next trip to boston to be post-baby. jared had to go to the east coast to do dissertation research anyway, so we carved out a few days, booked a stay in a bed & breakfast, & decided to have a real vacation.

in a lot of ways, it was awesome. i got to do almost everything i wanted to do, which is to say i got to eat almost everywhere i wanted to eat. (the only thing i missed was ethiopian food, but jared surprised me one night by suggesting we go to trattoria di monica, the delicious italian restaurant he took me to for my birthday last year, so i was more than happy.) jared had access to a car, so we were able to drive around boston & window shop at all kinds of cute, expensive baby boutiques, the likes of which don’t really exist in lawrence, kansas. i only bought one thing: a stuffed calico cat toy. i’d been looking for one for months with no luck, so i was pleased to walk into an independent toy store & find one no problem. it’s a classic calico, not a tabico (tabby/calico mix), which is more charlotte’s coloring, but close enough. the baby won’t really be old enough to appreciate it for kind of a while, but that’s okay. it’s very soft & a dog outside the toy store thought it was real & went absolutely insane trying to attack it.

we did a lot of socializing in boston. we visited with jared’s brother & his girlfriend because we wanted to ask them to be the baby’s guardians if anything happens to jared & me. they also hosted a baby shower for us, & the following night, jared’s parents had us out to newton for dinner & to load us up with baby heirlooms. we looked at photo albums of jared & his brother when they were babies. jared seriously was such a cute baby, & it was so cool to see baby jared making the same faces adult jared makes. his mom gave us two little outfits jared wore when he was a baby, plus a stuffed bear & a bunch of blankets, & the peter rabbit-themed quilt a friend of hers made for baby jared. it’s really beautiful & we decided we’re going to hang it on the wall over the baby’s crib & maybe someday we’ll be able to pass it down to our first grandchild. she is also giving us jared’s garndfather’s silver cup from his babyhood exactly 100 years ago. our baby has family heirlooms! it’s so cool.

i kind of had a meltdown that night though. our friend bart was in town & wanted to hang out before he caught his plane to chicago. but it was 11pm & everything was closed except for bars. if there’s one thing that just doesn’t sound fun to a pregnant lady in the third trimester, it’s sitting around a bar with her boyfriend & his best friend, unable to drink while her feet are swelling & she has just had to justify to her baby’s grandparents why she isn’t marrying their son anytime soon. the three of us went back to the bed & breakfast & hung out in the lobby, but i really wasn’t having fun. i was wishing that jared & i had taken our babymoon in some city where we don’t know anyone, where we could just be alone together, because alone together couple time is going to be in short supply in about three months. i told jared, “i can’t wait until you come home again & everything goes back–” & then i burst into hysterical sobs because i was going to say, “goes back to normal,” but i realized that we’re having a baby & there is no normal anymore. we are changing our lives & it’s exciting, sure, but let’s face it. it’s also completely terrifying. & the days where i can just fall asleep on jared’s lap or hide out in his arms & shut out the rest of the world are about to come to a screeching halt. sorry if that sounds weird, i know i don’t usually write so bluntly about the more romantic/personal side of jared’s & my relationship. but we are about to become jointly beholden to a brand new little life & yeah, sometimes i worry about how that will affect “us”.

i must say, though, after my little crying jag, i slept the best sleep i have slept all pregnancy. i guess i just really needed to get that stuff out in the open.

bumpwatch terror alert: week 26

how have i not toppled over yet?

only fourteen weeks until my due date! that’s only 98 days! i’ve broken into the double digits. i’ve said it before, but this pregnancy is flying by. i can’t believe how little time is left before we finally meet the baby…& how much is going to be packed into those few months. & damn, i am getting huge. i had to see my primary care physician yesterday for a foot issue i was having, & she weighed me, as per protocol. i had gained four pounds just in the two weeks since i last saw my obstetrician. i’ve gained almost thirty pounds altogether so far. i wonder what the final tally will be? the baby still has a good six or so pounds to gain to reach a decent full-term birth weight, so i can undoubtedly count on gaining at least ten more.

i keep telling people that i’m having a really easy pregnancy so far, but i am starting to realize that that’s not completely true. my baby has been head down pretty much from the start, which is great in some ways, because it’s not compressing my lungs so much & it means baby is in a good position for birth. but it causes a lot of uncomfortable pelvic pressure, which is alleviated to some degree by a maternity belt, but not completely. there’s a condition called symphysis pubis dysfunction in which pregnancy causes the pelvis to separate. i’d heard horror stories about women dislocating their hips & being confined to wheelchairs until delivery because they literally couldn’t walk with this problem, so i assumed i didn’t have it. i mean, my pain isn’t THAT bad. but i am starting to realize that it’s pretty damn bad & would probably be a whole lot worse if i couldn’t just sit down & put my feet up whenever i want.

plus i have some swelling in my hands, which is pressing on the nerves & making them numb all the time. i haven’t had full feeling in my right hand in weeks. the swelling isn’t severe–there’s no edema. but it’s enough. the extra fluid is also putting a lot of pressure on my already arthritic finger joints & making my hands really stiff & sore all the time.

when people talk about pregnancy symptoms & discomfort, you think of morning sickness, fatigue, maybe a sore back & swollen ankles. i was totally unprepared for this whole pelvic dislocation thing & the numb hands. why didn’t any of my mom friends warn me? it’s manageable, but i’m realizing that these symptoms are not terribly common & kind of undermine my claims of “an easy pregnancy”.

anyway. jared will be back in kansas in just a few days! i can’t wait to see him. every time he goes out of town, something weird happens with his phone, & this trip was no exception. his phone just stopped working one morning. i have the same model, purchased on the same day, & mine still works fine. it took him a few days, but he managed to replace it with a crappier model (or at least, a model with a crappier camera). so i am relieved that i am able to get in touch with him again in the event of some weird emergency. he’s going to a baby shower today for a friend of his that is pregnant with twins. better her than me, that’s for damn sure! (ps–i bet no parent of multiples has ever heard that hoary old chestnut before.) it made me realize that i have never actually been to a baby shower before. my first baby shower experience will be my own next weekend.

apparently jared’s mom & brother got together & decided to throw us another shower while we’re in boston at the end of the month. i have recused myself from all involvement planning for it. i’ve been a little more involved in the shower here, ordering the invitations & handling the RSVPs & such forth. but i am getting into the third trimester now & am starting to run low on energy again. most days, i consider it a victory if i manage to change out of pajamas & run a comb through my hair. but it will be cool to see how the boston shower goes. most of the invitees are members of jared’s extended family. kind of nerve-wracking for me. i have so little relationship with my own extended family, rubbing shoulders with other people’s makes me really anxious.

on the topic of family, check out the onesie my sister made for the baby:

it’s charlotte!

& speaking of charlotte, she has some weird bumps on the skin of her back. they look kind of like lumpy warts or something. the fur around them is coarse & greasy. they don’t seem to bother her–she had no reaction when i touched them. i did some research & it seems like they could be anything from cat acne to a fungal infection to simple dermatitis to skin cancer. i had a little phone consult with a vet who said they didn’t sound like an emergency, but that it was worth bringing her in. but she’s so vicious, i can’t get her into her carrier by myself. well, i probably could (& have in the past), but it would be an endeavor. i tried yesterday, just to see how willing she would be. she didn’t yowl & scratch like she has in the past, but she did wiggle & whine & puff up her tail. so i let her go. she seemed sad that i’d subjected her even to that small indignity. i’m going to wait until jared is back in town to help me.

man, i made the mistake of mentioning to a group of pregnant women that i was born five weeks late & now they won’t stop talking about how dangerous it is to allow your pregnancy to progress past 42 weeks. there was even talk of how one woman knows someone whose baby died at 41 & a half weeks. of course. because no matter what you do during pregnancy, there’s someone who knows someone who did that same thing & their baby died. the fact that i sit here as a reasonably healthy & definitely 100% alive former 45-week baby means nothing. i also never said i was planning to allow my pregnancy to go significantly past term. i was just making conversation. it’s so weird that people flip out about that but they have no problem scheduling cesareans for 36 weeks, even though there is evidence that a 36-week-old fetus’s lungs are not fully developed yet. but do i comment on that? no, i do not. except i guess i just did.

i don’t want any town that would have me as a resident

i am trying to catch up on my mail. i was just wrapping up a response to a letter i received back in august (!!!) when i ran out of typewriter ribbon. i thought i had a few in reserve, but i guess not. or maybe they have been stashed somewhere & forgotten. & i’m sorry but i just can’t handwrite letters. i handwrite my journal & my daily log & that’s it. just doing that makes my arthritis flare up. so now i have to wait until i have new typewriter ribbon in hand, & of course there’s nowhere to buy it in lawrence. i asked at the little independent office supply store downtown & they were really uncomfortable. they were like, “um, no one really uses typewriters anymore…” well, i do! all the time! they said they could order ribbon for me, but i can order it for myself. the point of going to a store is to buy something that is already in stock.

this is just one more reason (of a gazillion billion) to be homesick for boston. i used to buy all my typewriter ribbon at bob slate stationers, an independent office supply store in harvard square. that’s also where i bought my notebooks (moleskines for journal, a five-year diary with a lock for my daily log, tiny little flip notebooks for to-do lists), envelopes, pens (black fine tip stylists), markers, stamp pads, colored pencils, scissors, rubber cement, staplers, staple removers, wite-out, etc etc etc. i stopped into that place on a near-daily basis. now i have to special order my pens & typewriter ribbon because i can’t find them in lawrence, & i pretty much just make do with what i already have for everything else. i buy envelopes at the kind of shitty/creepy indie office supply place here.

i started crying the other night & told jared that i hate living in lawrence. maybe i was just having a bad day, maybe i really do hate it here. there’s not really anything wrong with this town. it just doesn’t feel like home. i’ve lived here for two & a half years but i still don’t really feel like i live here. i know that doesn’t make much sense.

by the time i’d been in boston for two & a half years, here are some of the things that had happened:
* moved out of my first collective house & started a new one from scratch
* got divorced
* became an aunt
* attended the birth of my best friend’s first son
* started the boston skillshare
* started my zine distro
* got on disability
* dealt with my dad’s totally unexpected sudden death
* joined the boston radical cheerleaders
* tried (& failed) to start a feminist art collective
* joined a reproductive health collective

here’s some of the stuff that has happened since moving to lawrence:
* finally found a nice house after a series of craptacular apartments
* decided to start trying to get pregnant
* closed the zine distro
* had an epic falling out with someone that has impacted all of my other non-school-related relationships in the area
* got involved with the feminist book club
* observed while hollaback lawrence crashed & burned
* spent a summer living in philadelphia
* spent a summer completely alone
* started going to bingo & water aerobics

i mean, i guess it’s not all bad, but it just doesn’t feel as satisfying as my flawed memory remembers my time in boston feeling. i’m sure i was completely miserable in boston & i probably have the old journals to back this up. i’m sure i am romanticizing how great things were because i am nostalgic for being young & idealistic & relatively energetic. i know that a lot of this stuff fucking sucked. the girls in the reproductive health collective pulled some shenanigans that made me feel beyond shitty. the skillshare was always a huge bundle of stress, & my involvement with that project culminated in some seriously fucked up betrayal. my tight friendship with my friend who had the baby was over by the time that baby was a year old. the boston radical cheerleaders fizzled within a couple of months of my joining the squad, & had never been that active to begin with. & i did a ton of other stuff in boston over the next five years before i left (volunteering for the lucy parsons center & the zine library, learning to play the accordion, living in other collective houses, etc). sometimes those experiences were amazing, sometimes they fucking sucked. mostly, by the end, they fucking sucked & i was miserable, which is why i was so fucking stoked to move away when the opportunity arose.

it’s just hard to marshal the necessary energy & excitement to start over in a new place. especially after almost ten years making your mark someplace else. especially when you’re in your thirties & you just want to start relaxing & living life at a slower pace, with a lot less drama & bullshit. especially when you’re coming from a city, where you became accustomed to a certain degree of anonymity even if you’re walking around with hot pink hair & knuckle tattoos, & you’re moving to a small college town.

i still haven’t gotten used to the idea that i am not completely anonymous in lawrence. i went to the local coffeeshop last week to pick up a bag of coffee. while the barista was grinding it for me, i realized i’d left my pocketbook at home. i explained the situation & was going to offer to run home & grab it–i live just three blocks away. but he waved me off & said, “just take it. you’ll be back. you’re a regular. you come in every week for a pound of espresso. pay me next time.” i took the coffee (& returned the next day with cash in hand), but…i’m a regular? what if i don’t want to be a regular? i’d almost rather start buying tins of bustelo from the grocery store than be, you know, that lady. who comes in every week. with the yellow pocketbook & knuckle tattoos. & asks for a pound of espresso, ground for espresso. ugh.

watching people fall down is free!

it’s another beautiful day in lawrence, kansas! the tulips are in full bloom, jared is wearing seersucker, & the weather is perfect for kicking back on the porch with a handle of rum & “don’t fear the reaper” on repeat. all those suckers that haven’t visited us yet because they think we live in a grass hut with goats on the roof a la little house on the prairie are really missing out. there hasn’t been a plague of grasshoppers in days!

it’s so warm today that i decided it was time to bust out the capris. & then i immediately busted out of them. they served me faithfully for three long summers, but my fertility meds are making me bloat up like a corpse in the sun. i think it’s karmic retribution for all the hours i have spent stationed in front of the plate glass exhibition windows at fancy gyms, praying to jeebus that someone wipes out on the treadmill on my watch. my apologies to all who work at maintaining their fitness. (i still hope you fall down. while i’m watching. a leopard can’t change its spots, okay?)

this reminds me of a laurie notaro story. i am generally not a big fan of her humor essays, as they tend to belabor the joke & end up about as funny as a gilbert gottfried routine. but she had this one about the time she visited a friend in san francisco & they decided to spend a day at the japanese garden. laurie ducked into the bathroom to put on her favorite corduroy pants, which she had owned for many years & through many weight fluctuations. she loved them because she felt that they grew & shrank along with her body & always maintained a perfect fit. she put on her magic pants & then did a couple of lunges in order to marvel at their elasticity. & that’s when the pants exploded into a cloud of dust with an audible BOOM, finally pushed beyond their limits. her friend rushed into the bathroom to make sure no one was dead & discovered laurie standing dazed with nothing but a waistband remaining. every time i think about this story, i laugh. & it actually continues from there: laurie & her friend went to the garden, which features several winding riverways filled with koi, crisscrossed with elegant handrail-free wooden bridges. her friend managed to actually walk right off the edge of one of the bridges & land on a big pile of koi. & best of all, she had worn a long wool skirt, which became comically waterlogged & heavy. boy, do i ever love it when people fall down.

anyway, guess who’s still not pregnant!

yeah. me.

i took another pregnancy test on monday, twenty days post-ovulation, & once again, it was negative. i called my doctor & openly begged for a blood test. she finally consented & i rushed off to the lab at 10am. i was then on pins & needles for the rest of the day, awaiting the results. i tried to distract myself by curling up with a 600-page biography of catherine the great, inventively entitled catherine the great. finally the nurse called me at 4:30pm & asked, “has your period come yet?” i know what that means. negative.

so i stopped the progesterone (after i wrote my fierce manifesto about how it was just an exercise in throwing money away, i talked to jared & he prevailed upon me to continue it “just in case,” & i guess he has some say in this process too, so i stuck with it through the weekend) & now we move on to cycle nine.

i’m feeling okay about it. this is the first time i didn’t spend all day crying upon getting a negative result. i think i’m getting used to the disappointment. at this point, whenever i do finally manage to get pregnant, i’m going to immediately lose my mind & be all, “oh my god! what have i done? how can i have a baby? i still think it’s the apex of entertainment to sneak up on charlotte & push her over!”

to cheer myself up, i made a trying to conceive advent calendar. every day of this process, i’m going to do one fun/positive/supportive/relaxing thing for myself. yesterday i went out a bought myself a new hoodie (see above about how i’m turning into a big fat glowworm so none of my clothes fit properly anymore–thanks, artificial hormones!). today i think i’ll lay around & read harry potter & the sorceror’s stone again. for literally probably the 78th time. i have library books that are due back in a matter of days, but harry potter sounds a lot more appealing than some dumb french novel right now.

making this calendar has been a challenge because usually when i think of treating myself, it involves going out to dinner or buying a ridiculous new hat i’ll only wear like ten times a year or ordering a stack of new zines from a distro or something else that costs money. it’s not so easy to think up exciting treats that are free. especially because the other requirement is that they have to be things i can do by myself. i don’t want my daily treat to hinge on the reliability of another person, as other people tend to be pretty flaky. my one exception to this rule is that jared offered to make me breakfast in bed once a month. all i have to do is ask…presumably on a day when he has time to whip up some oatmeal & bacon.

but i’m pumped about this idea because the hands down worst part of trying for so long to get pregnant is the fact that i feel i have put my life on hold, waiting for a baby to finally make its triumphant debut. i’ve been reluctant to commit to stuff or put effort into projects & friendships because i keep thinking, “well, my life is going to be really different once i get pregnant/have a kid, & i really don’t want to make promises i can’t keep.” but that means that i’m just slogging through the days, pinning all my hopes on this big thing that could conceivably never happen. at the risk of sounding like a hippie, i really need to be nicer to myself because this constant waiting is not sustainable.

little purple house for you & me

photo challenge, day #5: a photo of your home. this is going to be heavy on the photos because i am infatuated with my house.

the view from the alley between connecticut st. & rhode island st.
the view from 8th st. ignore the old dude strolling along. i didn't see him when i was snapping the photo. but i saw him after & he side-eyed me like i had intentionally been taking a picture of him.
the view if you are walking up the alley. please note the adorable wooden garbage can holder. it is trellised with roses on the back so we can look out the window & see roses instead of trash cans.
snake wall! in the walking tour brochures for east lawrence, this wall, which is in our backyard, dividing the yard from the alley, is described as "a classic example of folk art from the 1920s".
the backyard--or part of it, anyway. it's mostly just a big garden. as you can imagine, it's a lot more exciting to look at in the summertime.
the mosaic detail on the back porch steps. there's even more of this in the yard, including a big plaza area designed to look like a frog.
my office-y corner.
the high-traffic hang-out zone.
the more infrequently used half of the living room. it features built-in bookshelves (filled to near-capacity) on every wall except one.
jared laying in bed, reading. the bedroom gets the most gorgeous light in the winter, it's hard to stay away. jared says, "we make the bed, like adults."
bathroom. i won't inflict a toilet shot on you (even though it, like the rest of our house, is always pretty clean).
pantry! the jar on the windowsill is full of water from the atlantic ocean. the buoy hanging above it from revere beach. so we have a little bit of the east coast even in kansas.
kitchen table & fridge. jared is making bread.
another view of the kitchen. chicken is defrosting so we can have chicken kiev for dinner tonight.

i love this house. after living in a series of horrific crapholes both before & after moving to lawrence, i sometimes think that we finally earned our right to live someplace so wonderful. you can’t tell from these photos, but another perk of living here is that it’s only a block & a half from downtown lawrence. we can walk to the indie movie theatre or our favorite coffeeshop or the public library or the best indian restaurant in kansas in under five minutes, literally. i’ve timed it. our rent is dirt cheap, & even though it’s a historic bungalow & you’d kind of expect those sorts of places to be drafty, it really doesn’t require that much energy to keep it warm in the winter & cool in the summer. we pay less than a third to heat this entire house than we did for the last apartment we had in boston.

given the choice, of course i’d prefer to move back to boston (or someplace else on the east coast). but the real dream would be to load the house on to a truck & take it with us whenever we leave lawrence. too bad our landlady would never allow it. she lives next door (she’s the one who maintains the yard) & she says it’s her dream to eventually live in this house herself. i’m not sure what’s stopping her, considering that she lives in her current house all by herself & it’s like twice the size of ours. it seems like she could live just as comfortably in our place (if we weren’t in it) & she could rent out her place for twice what we’re paying. not that i want that to happen. i want to stay in this house for as long as we are living in lawrence. so linda, if somehow you have stumbled across my blog, please don’t let what i’ve written give you any ideas! let us live here for another couple of years & then it’s all yours!

goodbye boston, hello spinster summer

i have been all incommunicado because i spent the last week vacationing in boston. as much as one can really vacation in a city they called home for eight years. spinster summer 2011 has officially commenced. jared & i flew out to boston together last tuesday, & i flew home alone this past tuesday. jared will be in boston for the next two months, working in the massachusetts historical archives, cobbling together research that will hopefully form the backbone for his dissertation.

boston was weird. i love boston, i miss it, i often wish i still lived there, but when i go back to visit, i kind of like to pretend that i do just live there. which means hanging out with people in casual ways, maybe wandering around a little through various neighborhoods, & not going bananas walking the freedom trail or going to art museums. jared & i were in really different mental spaces, because he was thinking a lot about his archive work & i was just into hanging out & relaxing. so it was kind of hard.

on my last full day in town, we got tickets to see the red sox play at fenway park. i was a little bit anxious, because i knew the game wouldn’t end until around 11pm, & i had to turn around & get up at 5am to catch my flight back to kansas. i knew i wouldn’t get much sleep on the plane because i was flying southwest & it’s practically impossible to get a window seat on that airline unless you pay extra for a boarding upgrade. & once i arrived in kansas city, i had to drive myself home from the airport on the highway, which i have never done before. i had only driven alone like four times before. i wasn’t excited to do an especially lengthy, high speed trip on very little sleep.

the sox game was pretty awesome. they played the san diego padres, & beat them 14-5. the seventh inning lasted for like an hour because the red sox loaded the bases & then every batter either got hit by a pitch (automatic walk, which means the guy on third automatically scores a run) or scored a nice hit that got them on base (again sending the guy on third home). the padres fans sitting behind us became somewhat despondent. but i didn’t feel bad for them because they all thought they were professor baseball. they had some friends with them who apparently decided to shell out $30 or more for tickets to a red sox game at fenway park despite not being red sox fans or even knowing the first thing about baseball. i won’t begrudge someone for a lack of knowledge about baseball, but i will wonder why such a person would attend a baseball game. one of the baseball newbies was all, “why does the batter keep hitting pitches & not running to base? what’s going on?” professor baseball said, “he’s fouling off the ball. after the first two fouls, they don’t count as strikes. so he can just keep fouling until he gets a really good pitch that might get him on to base. they can just keep making contact with the ball over & over because they are such elite players.” um…yeah. they’re professional baseball players. is it necessary to point out that they are probably reasonably competent at making contact with the ball? in the middle of the third inning, baseball newbie said, “okay, you can’t make fun of me for asking this, but…the red sox are the ones in the white uniforms, right?” she was right, but again, why was she there?

jared always says that baseball is wasted on children. baseball is also wasted on people who seem to think it’s a cute affectation to not know anything about baseball. though i guess we all have to learn somehow. i remember a day within the last ten years or so when i didn’t understand the concept of a foul ball either.

so the game ended, we went back to bart’s house, & jared & bart proceeded to party it up with some homebrew bart had made. i didn’t get to bed until 2am. i slept for three hours & then went to the airport. i did not manage to sleep on the airplane, but i did drink a bucket of caffeine & then allow the adrenaline that accompanies doing something potentially deadly to take over. aside from a brief moment when i was cruising down an exit ramp & consulting my directions, which caused me to almost drive right off the exit ramp at fifty miles an hour, the drive went great! & yesterday after water aerobics class, jaimie & i drove to north lawrence so i could pick up a package at the UPS depot, & i actually found myself saying, “wheee!” as i cruised along. jaimie commented that i am an excellent driver with a healthy confidence level.

it’s kind of weird & kind of awesome to be diving into spinster summer. i felt kind of bad yesterday about enjoying my aloneness so much, but then i decided that it’s probably a good thing that i’m not curled up in bed, crying my eyes out over missing jared. i did just see him two days ago. the separation will inevitably become more difficult as we proceed, so there’s no point in artificially hastening my suffering.

since i got home, i have worn cute dresses & glittery shoes, battled my nemeses the pool noodles at water aerobics, found a lightning bug in my hair, danced around drunk at a blondie brunetti/lovers show, got told i was a hipster, got told i’m “totally punk,” watched a lot of “roseanne”, realized that internet-based social justice activism is literally the worst thing ever (a post for another day) (& i really don’t feel i am employing the word “literally” in a hyperbolic sense here), & tonight i’m going to eat potato salad & watch a riot grrrl documentary at feminist book club.

you can leave your tinfoil hat on

one weird difference between boston & lawrence, kansas is that folks in boston generally have the good sense to feel at least little bit of shame about adhering to a libertarian political platform. libertarians in lawrence just let it all hang out. i’m sure there are out & proud libertarians in boston, but i managed to live there for eight years without having any run-ins with them. boston is a pretty comfortable place to live if you are a lunatic fringe lefty like myself. every now & again, a republican would be elected governor, but beacon hill was always solidly democrat & they passed a lot of social safety net legislation that was nice to have. a person can call herself an anarchist & enjoy all the perks of volunteering for an anarchist bookstore & getting invited to parties with the best music. a person can call herself a socialist & shill newspapers outside the library & be lovingly mocked by the anarchists. a person can call herself a communist…if she’s cool with everyone assuming she’s either under the age of 17 or over the age of 55. something for everyone. but if she wants to fly her libertarian freak flag, her best bet is probably to just move to one of the small towns along the pike, get a hound dog, & spend all day polishing her rifle on the front porch. live the libertarian dream!

i made the acquaintance of a woman here in lawrence who has begun exploring libertarianism, which mainly takes the form of becoming obsessed with supporting ron paul’s presidential campaign. in a political movement that is inspiring me to perhaps buy stock in tinfoil hat manufacturers, ron paul may be the biggest wingnut of them all. the woman i know is an avowed feminist who supports your typical feminist causes, such as the right to choose abortion. i asked her how she felt about ron paul’s avowedly anti-choice politics, which have manifested in a strong voting record restricting access, defunding abortion providers, & attempting to tax women at a premium for buying health insurance that covers abortion. she said that she was uncomfortable with his stance, but she respected the fact that he’s not a hypocrite about the issue. “he’s opposed to all forms of violence, including war,” she said, implying that abortion is a form of violence.

i pointed out that it’s difficult to imagine too many things more violent than forcing women, as a matter of course, to carry pregnancies & give birth against their will. i’ve been pregnant. it’s not a picnic. i have not given birth, but i suspect that it’s not really a whole lot of fun. the big selling point for many women who do give birth is that they have a baby at the end & they’re pretty pumped about that. but for women who don’t want the baby? how is this not some science fiction dystopian nightmare come to fruition?

a week or so after this conversation, i bumped into her at lawrence’s first GLBT summit. i was joking with a friend & when i turned around, she was standing there. “hi ciara,” she said, “i really want to talk to you about ron paul.” i was strongly reminded of being accosted on the street by religious fundamentalists in prairie garb, trying to sell me on their church. before i could say anything, she jumped in & said, “don’t you think the federal reserve is illegal?”

“um, no,” i said. “if you have any better suggestions for a body that could regulate financial institutions in an effort to avoid the destructive boom & bust cycles that were constantly plunging thousands of americans into desperate poverty every five years for the first 125 years of the united states existing as a nation, i’m all ears.” i also pointed out that when you google “federal reserve illegal,” you are mainly directed to websites that sandwich their anti-fed screeds in between examinations of how 9/11 was an inside job & how the government is poisoning the american people with airplane contrails. i’m a big advocate of looking around at whatever wingnuts happen to agree with my pet theories every now & again, & the other crazy bullshit they believe in, & asking myself some difficult questions about whether i’m in a cohort that isn’t a fucking embarrassment.

one of my friends is working on a project with a dude who also espouses libertarian ideologies. he proudly stated not too long ago, “i’m so conservative, i’m practically a member of the tea party!” but the weird thing is that he is also a punk who seems to feel that his beliefs are a close cousin of anarchism. he’s not, like, someone’s uncle who has a big mustache & is always inviting you over for barbecues at which he gets drunk & starts ranting about immigration or something.

small government sounds nice in theory. until you look around at all the crap the government provides & start to wonder how we’d be getting along without it. when jared paid his state taxes a few months ago, he said, “i just paid my state taxes, without which this land would be uninhabitable.” i guess we could probably all live in yurts & forage for berries & wild rabbits or something, but i’m not actually all that interested in living in a real-life version of clan of the cave bear. i like paved roads & fire departments. i like housing codes & emissions standards. & call me a tree-hugging liberal, but i’m a pretty big fan of indoor plumbing.

here’s a link to the official libertarian platform. it all sounds pretty easy, breezy, & appealing until you start parsing out how some of this shit would play in real life. yeah! we should get rid of laws that impede a person’s ability to secure employment! oh, but…corporations are far more powerful than individuals, & labor activists fought long & hard for things like weekends, eight-hour days, & child labor restrictions. yeah! parents should have control over public education! oh…but that creates a government that is not bearing any of the responsibilities of creating an educated electorate. hmmmm. there are A LOT of things that sound a lot better in theory than in practice. like bacon mousse. i, for one, have little interest in living in some post-apocalytpic “mad max”-style nightmarescape founded on the maxims of “personal liberty” (not to mention the carcasses of all the people who were unable to save themselves from the machinations of the wingnut tyranny) until that day, hopefully very far in the future, when i wake up in a stephen king book & have to make my way to las vegas to found a new society predicated upon the religious visions of a toothless old woman.