Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Most Basic of Differing First Principles

Yesterday during a conversation with Chris's mother, I came to a most unexpected realization.

She rattled on about some reality show she watched that showed real ER doctors in real situations, and how disappointed she was that these doctors didn't "do" more.

Mel: "What do you mean?"
Jane: "All they do is hand off patients to other doctors in other areas."
Mel: "And? That's their job. Take care of emergencies and send patients to the specialists best able to deal with the problem."
Jane: "But I thought they were gods. I thought they could handle everything, and knew everything."
Mel: "That's impossible."
Jane: "But that's the way its supposed to be."
Mel: "No, that's the way you think it's supposed to be."
Jane: "But aren't they supposed to know everything?"
Mel: "No, they can't. It's something of a minor miracle that they know enough to help at all, and there's still huge gaps in scientific knowledge."

And that's when it hit me. She and I were coming from completely differing first principles. She wanted everything to be perfect, where sickness was "something wrong" and if only the doctors put their unlimited knowledge to the problem, they could fix it. I was coming from the first principle that shit happens, the world is chaotic, and when the doctors could do something, it was because of a combination of medical knowledge and medical progress made over thousands of years.

Then I realized Og was having the exact same problem in his anarchy discussions. In fact, Jane's position and Billy Beck's position could be summed up as

The world is perfect. People are perfect. If we could just keep from messing things up, everything would stay perfect.

If we could keep from getting sick, things would be perfect. If we just didn't mess with other people and kept our own boundaries, we wouldn't need government because everything would be perfect.

If only evil man would stop polluting the planet and save the polar bears, everything would be BACK to perfect.

This entire principle assumes that there is such a thing as "perfect".

My position, however, and Og's position could be summed up as

The world is chaotic and shit happens. Nothing is intrinsically perfect. Deal with it.

Humans are prone to sickness, and the only thing that keeps up from dying is concerted effort on our part, and the accumulation of medical progress as applied by those who have studied the work of those before them. People are flawed, and a very few people would make life hell for the vast majority without some sort of outside interference. The world is constantly changing, and adapting, and all life must change with it. All order in this world is a direct consequence of seeing what works (i.e. living and surviving), noticing what doesn't work (death) and diligently replicating what works (i.e. adaptation).

These are the most basic of first principles. One can either assume the world is perfect and everything wrong is due to destruction of the perfect, or can assume that the world is flawed to begin with everything good is due to hard work, observation, and diligence in the War Against Entropy.

Where do you stand?

Saturday, December 20, 2008


I am an exception. It's about time I got used to that fact.

I'm never going to be one of the crowd, I'm never going to be "normal", and stereotypes will never apply.

I am an oddity, and that's not a bad thing.

Unfortunately for most of my life I've thought of being exceptional (in the purely definitional sense) as a bad thing. In fact, for most of my life I've been so obsessed with being "normal" that I've effectively hidden who I am.

I've lost my ability to pretend I'm anything even approaching normal. Not only have I lost the ability, but I've realized I never really fooled anyone.

Thursday night was the school Advent program. I took daughter the younger with me to watch her sister perform.

If daughter the younger attended public school rather than the private Catholic school we have her enrolled in, she would quickly be diagnosed ADD and drugged. She's incredibly intelligent, incredibly spririted, strong-willed, and very easily becomes bored. She has the attention span of a nuclear physicist when she's engaged in something interesting to her, but otherwise getting her to sit still is a challenge. I spent the entire program with squirming 5 year old in my lap.

As I'm sitting there with little miss "oh look they're doing something in the back of the church" I'm looking all around me and realizing something.

I'm sitting alone. Other people are sitting alone. However, everywhere in the church there are identifiable adult "cliques" filling up entire pews.

Yes, adulthood is just like high school.

The cliques are filled with "the norm" of the school, i.e. the 90% of parents and grandparents who share the same social status, tax bracket, white collar jobs, and socialite tendencies.

The rest of us? Not so much. The older blue collar couple who decided to keep their modest house while sending their late-life, only child to the best school they could. The National Guardswoman with the IT husband and 3 kids. The mixed race family, parents recently divorced, with the firefighter dad. And me, quite possibly the youngest mom in the school, an exception myself, holding a lap full of exception.

I've tried to mix in with the normals, yet even in this situation where we at least have the kids and school in common, I'm still outside of the crowd.

About then, I figured out I would always be outside of the norm, with exceptional circumstances, exceptional kids, and exceptional husband, and an exceptional life.

That's not a bad thing. That's just how it is.

After the performance I ran into the National Guardswoman as we went to pick up our daughters from their shared classroom. She was thrilled to see me, and wanted to know how we were doing. She knows Chris used to serve, and that she can talk about her work without me shrinking away in terror at the fact that she really wanted to go to Iraq. I know that I can talk to her about what's really going on, without worrying that I will be rejected for the weirdness of my life.

About then I realized the reason I know the stories of the other exceptions is because exceptions, no matter how different they may be from each other, attract other exceptions. Others may talk about tolerance, but we have to practice the tolerance we preach, otherwise we would be quite alone. Exceptions are so used to be outside of the crowd that whenever we find each other we tend to make almost unbreakable bonds.

It's not so bad being an exception. Now I know I wouldn't have it any other way.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Sometimes life gets in the way.

In my case I've been going through so many internal and life changes that keeping up has been just a little difficult. It's either write a whole lot or practically none at all.

I need to write more, that's for sure.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

What the MSM and the Leftroots...

don't understand is how they can drag out so much "dirt" about Gov. Palin and we can still love her so much.

Aren't we conservative? Don't teen pregnancy and drunk driving bother us?

Sure, it bothers us. So why don't we hate her? And as importantly, how can we love her so much but hate Bill Clinton, John Edwards, and William Jefferson so much? Aren't all "scandals" alike?

No, not really.

Here's the deal. I think honestly the reason we like Gov. Palin so much is because she's so much LIKE US.

Think of your immediate family, aunts, uncles, and cousins. I can almost guarantee you that somewhere in that group of relations there is at least one
A.) teen pregnancy and/or marriage,
B.) DUI,
C.) blue collar worker,
D.) special needs child and
E.) mother who works.

In my case I have 4 of option A, countless of option B (not me of course), at least 50% of my family fits C, there's a couple of option D, and almost all of us mothers are option E.

However, no where in my family line (and I'm guessing this applies to most other people as well) do I have
A.) a man who got a blowjob in public office on public property and then lied about it in open court,
B.) a man who cheated on his terminally ill wife, and
C.) a man who filled his freezer with bribes accepted while in public office.

We hate the Democrats who did these things because honestly, besides being absolutely sleazy, every single one of those actions was an egregious violation of trust, either the trust of the public or the trust of their families (or both).

The thing the MSM doesn't understand about Palin's scandals is that they're everyone's scandals. Who doesn't have a bit of that family drama going around? Who doesn't have someone in their family who, every time someone speaks of them the first comment is ," what did they do this time?" We all have at least one embarrassment in our family line somewhere, and if that's all it takes to disqualify us from public office, how would anyone get elected without large amounts of money and a huge cleanup crew?

But that's really the point isn't it?

Somehow limiting ourselves to the option of the extremely moral and self-sacrificing candidate or the rich elitist with enough money to shut everyone up doesn't fill me with warm fuzzies.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

It's Official

I'm a gun nut.

Not the wife of a gun nut. Not the involved wife of a gun nut who has her own collection and attends all the shooting events with the guys.


I'm sitting here waiting for The Other Boleyn Girl to download, and what am I watching on the TiVo?


Oh yeah, I'm a gun nut.

So Chris is off at a concert...

and I'm home alone with the kids.

And I love it.

I don't get to spend nights alone very often. Chris and I have one of those rare, "I can handle you 24-7" relationships and both of us spend 99% of our prime-time hours at home or out together. When we rarely go out separately, usually its because he's attending a sports event / heavy metal concert / other event I have no interest in or because I'm out attending some kind of women's night out.

So when one of those rare nights alone comes to pass, I seize the moment.

Chick flick? Check.

Food Chris can't stand? Check.

Chocolate? Check.

I should be good for another 6 months or so.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Stereotypes and Assumptions

I hate stereotypes. I hate them with a blinding passion.

Why? Because I don't fit them at ALL.

This is a common problem within the people I hang out with, just because we're all a little... odd.

I'm a stay-at-home mom. Does this make me Suzy Homemaker? Anyone who's been to our house knows better.

I don't work. Does that mean I couldn't make a decent income? Not at all.

I live in Scottsdale and my husband earns all the money. Do I wear designer clothes and spend all day at the spa gossiping? No, I have better things to do and considering that I spent yesterday elbow-deep in the smoker designer clothes would be stupid.

I like my guns. Am I a far-right nutcase? No. But I DO love putting holes in paper and making things explode.

I listen to country music, run a bbq, fry chicken, and make cornbread. Does this make me a Southern redneck? No, I listen to what I identify with (country is the only music still written for adults after all) and I love to cook comfort food. I also make a mean creme brulee.

We send the kids to a private Catholic school. Are we elitist snobs or ultra keep-all-things-secular-away religious? No.

If you knew only ONE of these aspects of my life, what would you think of me and expect of me? What would you assume based on one little detail?

I'm lucky that I grew up in AZ, where there's relatively little real racism. When I see people I only make assumptions based upon how they present themselves. But I'm still guilty of making assumptions. And, let's face it, stereotypes exist for a reason. In most of our interactions with strangers we don't have the time to get to know the other person. Add in the old media and their portrayals of certain groups, and its hard to avoid making a few assumptions.

But just because I may be singing along with "Boondocks" at the top of my lungs in my Expedition doesn't mean that's not a Brighton Collectibles purse next to me, or that I'm not headed to pick up my fresh-roasted single-source coffee beans in Tempe. Or that I won't be stopping at BevMo on the way home for a couple of microbrews for Chris, or headed to the school to pick up the kids from their private school like all the other stay-at-home moms PV, Arcadia, and Scottsdale.

On the other side, just because I may be chatting on my iPhone in Scottsdale Fashion Square while shopping for a nice pair of heels doesn't mean that when I get home I won't get into my scrungy clothes and give our Rottweiler/Pit Bull puppy a bath or head to range for some shooty goodness.

Assumptions are occasionally useful. Just don't be afraid to throw them all away.

Thursday, May 8, 2008


Food has gotten expensive.

Thus far we've been pretty well insulated from the rising food prices. We buy almost everything from Costco where the prices have been relatively stable everywhere but the meat section. However, I avoid buying bread, milk, and popscicles at Costco because of the size of the packages and the fact that we will NOT make our way through the dairy or baked goods before they go bad.

So this morning I made my weekly visit to Safeway for the items that we either buy in smaller quantities or go bad fairly quickly.

This week Safeway is having a massive meat sale, including the household favorite, NY strip steak (boneless of course). At just under $6/lb, that's over $3 less than COSTCO is charging at the moment. So I pick up a family pack of strip steak and a family pack of round steak ($2/lb right now) and added the meat to the usual order.

The usual order ends up being $40. This time I paid $90. $40 of that excess belonged to the beef.

That's only 5 meals worth of beef. WTF?

On top of the beef increase, the price of milk has risen 50%, ice cream 25%, and chicken and pork 25%, and soda 50%. What do all of these items have in common?


Whose bright idea was it to turn a food crop into a fuel crop? Who thought increasing the market for corn would NOT have an effect on the price?

Oh, and as a bonus since more farmers are cashing in on corn, less wheat is being planted, so now WHEAT is more expensive as well. Bread prices have risen 50% around here.

So how is ethanol going to save all of us again? By making food prices so high that no one can afford to eat?

Why can't we develop alternative fuels from sources we don't need in order to live? Why can't we make ethanol from sugar, or from grass clippings? Why can't we choose an alternative fuel base that won't transfer the high cost of gas to a high cost of food ( not that the price of gas is exactly falling due to ethanol either)? We have the smartest scientists in the world and this is what we come up with?

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


Tonight is testosterone night, aka Wednesday.

Wednesday night is the traditional night chosen for the express purpose of getting all of the friends together for dinner and whatever, usually Smash Lab, Mythbusters, and Master Blasters. The food is male, the entertainment is male, and the participants are male. Well, all except me.

I feel the distinct need to grab some mommy friends and head to Applebees for some margaritas.

It's not that I don't like Wednesdays, I do. But for the past few months the need for something more... feminine has been pressing upon me.

So I'm in the bedroom watching the A&E Romance Collection, specifically Victoria and Albert.

I'm tired. I'm tired of being one of the guys, of living in t-shirts in jeans, of following mostly male pursuits. I need to feel like a woman every now and then.

Next week I will make better arrangements.


Why start a new, markedly open blog?

Because much of what occupies my thoughts doesn't play as well to the audience at the other blog. I want to write about life, domesticity, motherhood, and the trillion details which make up that existence.