Silent Film Party

30 Aug

Mad Question Asking is very pleased to announce that we will be hosting Not-So-Silent Cinema on Monday, September 23, 2013 at 7 pm.

Check out the Not-So-Silent Cinema website:  www.notsosilentcinema.com

Not-So-Silent Cinema is the project of Boston composer Brendan Cooney. Cooney pulls together different groups for each of his film projects, creating diverse mash-ups of musical personalities from different music scenes to create lively new platforms for interaction and creativity.

MQA is excited to have the opportunity to share Cooney’s tightly composed scores and bring live music and classic silent films into the living room.

Not-So-Silent Cinema will show us a program of Buster Keaton Shorts and the New River Ensemble will be the band for this performance.

Check out The New River Ensemble website: www.newriverensemble.com

Good food and drinks will be served. We are asking for a suggested donation of $5 to $25 for the event. If you’d like to attend, please RSVP ingrid@madquestionasking.com. See you soon!

© Mad Question Asking – 2013 All Rights Reserved

Sand & Stain

20 Aug

A few weekends back when my kids were going to their dad’s house and I had two glorious, super sunny days wide open in front of me, I decided that I would sand and stain my deck.

I am terribly house-proud and like taking care of this big, old, white thing I feel lucky to own. Having had a wild, sometimes unstable, start in life gave me the desire to have a stable adulthood, and I for one find responsibility very sexy.

Just like I do my dreams of being the kind of girl who, after repairing and then painting black & brown chevron stripes on that 100-year-old boat sitting behind my mom’s house, starts working on that outdoor pizza oven in my backyard. I then start that bitchin’ dream shed I can picture crystal clear in my mind. I double the size of my garden before next spring and I start working on that grape arbor to go over the slate patio, planting peach-colored climbing roses on all four of its posts. I then finish off all of these dream projects with the purchase and tender care of some real fancy chickens, like gold-laced Orpingtons, in the coolest backyard east of Philadelphia.

So I was happy I was going to stain my deck, truly looking forward to the chore. I found the half-gallon of leftover, coffee-colored, oil-based stain in my basement and went to the store to have it shaken up. I also purchased an extra gallon. I planned to get on my hands and knees—in a bikini bottom and old t-shirt of course—and lightly sand those 15 x 30 feet of deck, all by hand, all the while working on my tan and listening to Edgar Allen Poe audio books and dirty, dirty rap.

I woke up on Saturday feeling like crap with a sinus/ cold number I couldn’t shake. It continued and worsened by Sunday, ending a week later with a script for Amoxicillin. My wholesome, hard-working plans were shot to bits.

Curses!

Why, Universe, why?? All I wanted was to fix up my deck real nice! I didn’t want to get high on coke, drunk and stoned off my ass, sleep with nameless men, and lose my car and three grand at a casino! I didn’t want to lay around eating bon-bons, drinking white wine with a cupcake or Marilyn Monroe on the label, watching endless amounts of shitty, mindless TV all weekend, intermittently calling friends and family to bitch about my ex-husband! I never even ever bitch about my ex-husband, to any one! Why couldn’t you have let me have made good on my plans to spruce up the damn backyard?

I ridiculously blame the Universe for this sort of thing. While trying to maintain perspective (I am not missing any limbs, do not have herpes, am not locked in a basement being tortured by some freak of nature, nor did I grow up in a refugee camp) I just can’t wrap my head around why it is that, if you try to be a good girl, try to be productive, the Universe still sticks its foot in front of you, tripping up so much good intention.

There are a boat load of metaphors and quotes about good intentions, I am sure. Blaming the timing of a sinus infection on the Universe does seem silly in retrospect, terribly immature on my part. But the Universe and that bitch called timing, and even all of the dreams that rattle around in my mind, can seem very much like powers beyond my control. It can feel like all I get left with is a very mortal life, one where only average expectations get met and accomplished.

Accepting and coming to terms with what is in my control and what isn’t, with learning to sincerely count my blessings, are all parts of aging that intrigue the girl in me; the girl who craves stability, not cheap wine and complaining.

It may take me just as long to stop ridiculously cursing the Universe as it does to accomplish all of my backyard dreams. But I must admit, the coolest part of growing up is being able to sand, stain and repair some of the ideas and impatience which are what set me back, the stuff that really needs my wholesome, hard work and attention.

© Mad Question Asking – 2013 All Rights Reserved

Magic

18 Aug photo-110

There are many reasons I like to hike. For one, I like being reminded that just when I think I have reached the end of the trail or the top of the mountain, I have not. I have to keep going to reach that summit. And that feels a lot like all of life. A lesson in patience there.

Another great thing about hiking is the surprise in finding mushrooms along the way. In Maine they seem to make their appearance in August. Some are so tiny, so wet and delicate, they are half the size of a dime. Some are hanging off a rock that is hanging off a mountain’s cliffside.

While mushroom hunting this morning with my kids I got to remind them to just look. To leave things alone and let them be. This lesson in respect, in not needing to touch and own everything that delights us, was well-taught with something as magical, strange, and beautiful as a mountain path’s wild mushrooms.

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© Mad Question Asking – 2013 All Rights Reserved

Less Is More

15 Aug

My sister Cecilia and I were talking about food and kids a few weeks back and she said something that I thought was so great I have to share it.

She said when people are surprised to see her children eating very healthy food, and add that their children would never eat that, she always replies with, “Well do you eat that?”

She is so right! We teach our children best by example and if you don’t eat healthy, why would your kids? Now that is a great question to ask yourself, isn’t it?

I am always stunned when people talk about how expensive organic dairy, meat and produce is, how they can’t afford it, yet I bet that they fill half their shopping cart with boxed snacks. That’s not food. It offers nothing of value to your children. Nothing. Bars, chips, cookies, gummy things; those things are like feeding your kids junk mailers. But I guess if it comes in a package inside another package then it proved it has a value to your wallet.

I take food seriously but I would never call myself a foodie. I am no glutard. I am not militant, annoying or neurotic about food. I don’t even really like to cook. But what I like are simple meals I can make easily, that are drenched in health benefits. What I want from food is value, nutrition, and this I try to teach my kids. My kids like to snack on things like basil leaves, olives, blue cheese, cashews, salmon jerky, cherries and black berries, to name a few. Those are some of the snacks I keep in the house, which I don’t let mingle or compete with flashy crap like Trix blue yogurt.

A simple, average dinner in my house is a starch like soba noodles, brown or white rice, a cut of good quality beef, or fish, like salmon or cod, and a dark green veggie, like kale, collard greens or swiss chard. (I never have to fight my kids to eat dark green veggies, ever.) I like to cover the fish and veggies in the four greatest flavors on earth: olive oil, garlic, salt, and lemon. The smell of crushed garlic on my palm makes me very happy, I can’t get enough of it.

I really don’t believe eating well is more expensive. It just means you have to eat less, buy less of what your body doesn’t need and put your food store dollars in the outside aisles only. It takes an adjustment to your habits. There was a 6-month period, about five years back, where I was lured into Pathmark with coupons and became obsessed with the discount at the bottom of my receipt, calling my then husband, bragging about how much I saved. I started to morph into a very unattractive, dull version of myself, eating all that boxed crap. Thankfully this casino-ish food-shopping-trickery lasted briefly; I escaped alive and went back to my regular grocery store. But having had that experience made me observe that many people eat way too much food, high calorie, no-value boxed food. I know this because almost everywhere I look I see really, really fat people. And fat people are sick people.

I see all of these hospital, medical and out-patient buildings pop up all around me, here in South Jersey. I think people must want to be sick, they must want to be blind to the fact that the extra weight they carry is an expensive habit, a burden to themselves and society. I would guess it’s the same as, if not worse than, smoking.

It is certainly not popular for me to use the word “fat” to describe, well, a fat person, but I do. I was in the liquor store with my kids recently and my daughter said she was hungry and picked up a giant bag of sour cream and onion chips. I was about 10 feet away and told her loudly that, “If you keep eating that shit, you are going to get fat.” The time was 5:30 pm. The register lines were filled with tired, uninspired, quiet drunks who just got out of work. Each of them slowly turned their heads in shock that I’d talk to my little girl this way. Well, I did not apologize. Because it is true. She should know that. When I was growing up, if someone was fat, people pointed it out and called that person things like “lard-ass.” And back then people were much, much smaller than today and there were not nearly as many hospital shops on every corner.

I have to wonder if maybe name-calling, out-loud shaming, should make a return to society to point out what seems to be grossly accepted, that it appears to be ok to walk around carrying an excess of 75 plus pounds that will no doubt kill you one way or another. I think that 75 pounds is going to hurt you more than being called fat will “hurt your feelings”, being reminded that it is not ok.

The keys to eating well and its beautiful consequence of being healthy are so simple. It goes like this: you really are what you eat. Eat less food, but good, high quality food, real food.

© Mad Question Asking – 2013 All Rights Reserved

Pine Trees and Porcupines

13 Aug bigsky

Last summer, after driving the almost 600 miles to my mom’s house in Maine, I happily stretched my legs and walked into town that night to see what was going on. I took the old road, the one nobody drives or walks on anymore. Just as I rounded a corner something caught my eye and I slowed down, making very little noise as I came up to it.

It was a porcupine. A cute, pudgy, prickly thing, that once it turned to see me, decided to hide. It quickly shoved its head inside an old, rotten, half hallow, fallen pine that was right in front of it. Leaving three-quarters of its body exposed.

I kept my distance out of respect and awareness of the mighty quills, but I did laugh and spoke softly to the cutest thing I might have ever laid eyes on. “You know, I can still see you. You hide exactly like a three-year-old playing hide-and-go-seek.”

Growing up playing outdoors and doing things like building forts with my brother, or collecting buckets of acorns in solitude when he started school were the best parts of my childhood. Nobody was worried about me. No one helicoptered me. It was a different time I guess. The benefit from it, is that for me, nothing—no store-bought thing, no fancy dinner, no book or film, no amazing concert I ever saw—nothing, compares to just being in the woods.

Being in the woods is simple. I don’t buy things at REI or L.L. Bean to prepare. I just drink a big glass of water, put on my 20-year-old hiking boots and go. And I never know what I will find.

This summer, my friend Bob and I came across two beautiful owls, one adult, one young. The next day, we sat and watched four wild turkeys act like knuckleheads, chest bumping and chasing each other in a goofy circle. We watched them for maybe five minutes. But that ridiculous sight and sharing it with a good friend is one I will treasure long into life. It isn’t a memory easily forgotten.

Prize Find

Prize Find

A few summers back, I was walking through the woods and a coyote ran past me a couple of times. I honestly got a little scared and called my mom asking what to do. She, being the toughest lady I know, advised me well, “Just pick up a rock, and throw it if it gets too close. You have thumbs, animals don’t. Remember that.”

Good advice. I used it once when a male turkey, with his tail feathers spread wide, would not let me walk past him on the old road. He was courting some broad in the woods nearby. Every time I tried to pass he would make that horrible, guttural turkey sound and come at me. After trying to explain to him that, “Dude, I am not interested in her! Let me by!” I just picked up a rock and threw it towards his direction, obviously with no intention of hitting him. He scooted into the woods and I was on my way. That same walk produced the biggest buck horn I ever found. I was beaming for days at my prize.

Being in Maine for much of this summer has made me really happy, really peaceful. I have plans yet, to hike up three new mountains, each in my old hiking boots, with just water and a map I trust. My cares, worries and the reality of modern life—a reality that never feels real at all, compared to just being in the woods—all get left behind.

No one is helicoptering me here, in the woods I am free.

© Mad Question Asking – 2013 All Rights Reserved

Check Yo Self

8 Aug

I can be naughty. This is a life-long fact. I was born a trouble-maker, albeit mostly good-natured. With the wisdom of aging I learned it is much better to be good than bad, and to always try and take the high road. But… bad girls are never completely reformed and we can need some help along the way. I am blessed with a best friend who is the quiet watchtower of ethics and character. Meet Brooke.

Brooke is never going to lie or kiss your ass. She is the real deal. A great example is when she meets a newborn; she is not interested in kids or babies at all so when you gush about your baby, she says, “You must really love your baby!” That’s how clever she is. She doesn’t lie and say what she doesn’t think, like “Baby Johnny is so cute!”, just to be polite. She turns that shit around and you don’t even notice! Brooke is THE best person I have ever met. She doesn’t bullshit or ramble on like a loud-mouth like me, but when she does say something, it is always worth hearing. Her wisdom is simple, and always kind and true. In 20 years I have never seen her do the wrong thing. Not once.

Yin to my yang

Yin to my yang

I had my feelings hurt (well, obliterated really) by someone who I could only describe in the end as the type of person that would coyly wag a treat in a dog’s good-natured face, teasing the poor animal to come hither; and when the dog finally went for it, opened its mouth and reached for the treat, this person would kick the sweet dog as hard as he could in the face.

I recovered from the hit. I learned my lesson. I held my chin high while I healed. But the hurt, bad girl in me wanted revenge. All the hot-headed Italian blood running through my veins wanted it. I fought those feelings hard, feelings that thankfully only lasted for a few days. But in the end what really helped me was Brooke.

I sent her a text.
“Why is revenge wrong again?”
Her double reply:
“Because it just is.”
“Check yo self.”

Check yo self. Now those are some strong words to live by. I am being honest here, revealing an ugliness, veiled in clever metaphor, that I had to fight; I ultimately didn’t like how it made me feel. We all get feelings that we must fight, feelings that we know are petty, small, ugly, useless, unattractive…just wrong. And now, if in the future I find myself twisting away from the behaviors of grace and goodness I sincerely aspire to reach, I can always fall back on three little words.

Check yo self.

© Mad Question Asking – 2013 All Rights Reserved

Thank You

8 Jun

Last night my friend Donal and I drove down to Atlantic City to visit Karen. We brought with us two sofas, a bookcase, and a filing cabinet, all items that had been donated to her from our friends. We have been helping Karen repair her home since November, when her row home was devastated by Hurricane Sandy.

Neither of us had seen the floors that were installed weeks ago, paid for with money donated by our friends and family. The floors looked great! When we placed the sofa where Karen wanted it, she and her son, Cy, sat down in their living room for the first time since before the storm. Eight months. It was very heartwarming to see their smiles, a light at the end of a long tunnel. This is Cy’s senior year of high school. He certainly hasn’t had an easy year to prepare for college and his future.

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We would have never been able to accomplish this goal without the help of the following people, and the priceless support and kind words from all of our friends and family. It means the world to me, and to Donal, to know that if we ask for help, we get it and that friends can come together to make things happen and get the job done!

Thank you to: Brooke, Maria, Matt, Natalie and Dave, Aidan, James, Joel, Kirk, Bethann, Tippy, Jakki and family, Jimmy, Dorothy and family, Barb, Barbara, Chris and Chris, Grace, Erin, Patty, Lisa and Albert, Anjali and Bob, Cecilia, Florinda, Mag, Tara, Kathy, Susie, Brian, Donna, Mundi, Gayle and Joe, Jeff, Dan, Mike and Jules, Jim, Jude, and The Parenti Family

© Mad Question Asking – 2013 All Rights Reserved

Last Friday Night

5 Jun IMG_6210

I really never know what to expect when I plan an MQA party; I simply do what needs to be done and just wait-and-see.

Planning Friday’s soirée, in celebration of Walt Whitman’s 194th birthday, required more from me than parties past; stringing 120 feet of lights to eight-foot bamboo stakes, with only a hammer as my assistant, hours before 50 guests arrived, was far from easy. At one point, I became terribly frustrated with a spot of hard ground that would not accept a stake deeper than 4 inches. I knelt to the ground in exhaustion and asked myself the question that is maybe the most human, honest and self-reflecting one of all time: “Why am I doing this?”

Kneeling in the 90 degree heat, my head buried in my hands, the thirsty grass digging a zig-zag pattern on my dehydrated knees, I let myself be a baby for five solid minutes. My thoughts drifted to my friends, 30 of whom agreed to come that evening, the friends who show up when I have sea captains talk in my living room about pollution and when I have parties for dead poets.

I got up, picked the grass off my knees and finished stringing the lights. Later, when my guests complimented my yard, saying sweet things like it was enchanting, I smiled proudly, rubbing the sore part of my right hand that was bruised from the hammer.

Rocky Wilson is a poet. He is well-known in these parts for talking to people via his stuffed puppet, Bongo. He can be seen having tea parties with Bongo and his other stuffed animals in the park across the street from his house, a house he bought in Camden from a vagabond priest for $1 over 30 years ago. Rocky has that attribute that my generation rarely has: he is convincing, authentic in his unconventional ways.

Rocky

Rocky

The first time I met Rocky he had an Emily Dickinson book and three of his puppets with him. Those four, plus Walt Whitman and Camden’s internationally renowned haiku poet, Nick Virgilio, appear to be Rocky’s constant heros. I had never seen him read any of his or Walt’s poetry before, but the many RSVP emails from his fans and friends, filled with gracious enthusiasm, made me eager to see him deliver.

The crowd gathered with their chairs and blankets on the well-lit lawn, drinks and food in hand, all facing Rocky. A chorus of birds sang in the woods behind him. I sat down on a blanket, the heat and frustration melting away from me as he began. Rocky was incredible. He was alive, robust, in his reading. His own poems, with which he began, and Walt’s, with which he ended, were beautiful. His depth and sincerity brought the words to life, leaving us, the listeners, with a feeling of perfect duality, placid and playful.

Life, the seasons, the frustrations and the most human of questions all seemed free from expectation that night. We all drank and ate and talked and laughed until 2 a.m., all the while the birds singing behind us.

© Mad Question Asking – 2013 All Rights Reserved

Party Animal

4 Jun

MQA Home Movie Six: Party Animal

 

 

© Mad Question Asking – 2013 All Rights Reserved

Walt Whitman Party

30 May

Hello friends!

I’ve been getting a great many emails with the question, “What can I bring?” for tomorrow’s party.

Please bring yourself and a friend if you’d like. Beer, wine & snacks are nice, always appreciated. And lastly, please do not forget a blanket or chair for the lawn.

See you at 7:00 pm!

Love,

Ingrid

Spring Eternal

28 May peony

Spring in New Jersey is gorgeous. We are covered in a blanket of green, speckled by the colors of daffodils, tulips, forsythias, camellias, tulip magnolias, dogwoods, cherry trees, lilacs, irises and of course, rhododendrons and azaleas, each surprising me with their punctuality and loveliness. Driving down common suburban streets, past bright fuchsia azaleas—that are almost blindingly neon—I have to grin. I have to wonder how something so grand goes unnoticed all year, disguised as an ordinary shrub. Here the white azaleas grow the largest, reminding me of wedding cakes, huge, decadent.

I savor the gifts that spring sets down in my home state, for when the mosquitos come on with the heat, I leave NJ for Maine. Like most people who enjoy two very distinct locations, I cheat on one for the best of the other, getting enough distance from each place to never feel complacent or bored with my surroundings.

I have been up to my elbows in springtime adventures these past weeks, packing it all in before I exit north. In the past month I have put in no less than 80 hours working on my yard. I even used a chainsaw for the first time. That went ok, but as usual my left-handedness made the tool feel awkward in my hands, much like right-handed scissors. I made do though. In my yard the first peony bloomed last week, giving me the only type of cut flowers I truly enjoy, the ones I grow myself.

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Sugar

I met a horse named Sugar this spring. Sugar is beautiful, all white and ethereal; even the way the breeze moved through her mane seemed unearthly. She stared out her window as I watched her; the stoic longing of this horse to use her body and run and be free haunted me for days after. Her wealthy young owner does not ride her often from what I was told. Sugar seemed like a dreamer in a dream, a classic fairytale. This horse’s beauty and the power of her magnificent body wasted, enjoyed by no one. In contrast, watching a painted turtle—with all of its wild freedom—slowly cross my mother’s driveway a week later seemed unfair.

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The cows came a couple of weeks back. One came named Sandy, after the storm in which she was born. The cows live under the windmill next to the pond where I spent most of my early childhood playing alone. Weeks back, I tested out a 100-year-old canoe on that pond, and remembered the freedom and the lessons of solitude it gave me, how it shaped me, a wet shelter for all of the angst, curiosity and sadness I carried as a child, most of which I still haven’t shaken off. Distant thoughts of the eels I was so frightened by, frogs and their lily pads that I imagined as neighborhoods, the hundreds of imperfect figure-eights I practiced in the winter on my sister’s old skates while she was in school…all of those memories came flooding back when my brother pushed me out onto that pond in a leaky ancient canoe, he confidently handing me a hard rake to push myself around.

Spring tells me that I must never grow up. Never avoid and never question rain or tears; each brings growth, sometimes even flowers. Something that stagnant complacency never does.

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© Mad Question Asking – 2013 All Rights Reserved

Sell Out

22 May

My seven-year-old daughter was sent home from her weekly basic skills class with a homework assignment: to read a 95 word story in one minute. I was asked to return it with my signature the following week.

We read it together a few times, over a few days. I then started timing it on my phone, for 60 seconds each time. My daughter became progressively stressed out and, by the sixth time, was speed reading, apologizing and feeling like a failure for only being able to read 83 words in one minute. I told her to stop.

I told her speed reading was stupid, that she would never learn or understand anything by rushing.

Her eyes grew wide and she asked if she could tell her teacher that, that it was stupid. I said to go ahead, as I signed the paper, drew a large arrow indicating to turn the paper over and left the following note on the back.

“Training Lila to read ‘fast’ is not something I am impressed by. Slow readers tend to ingest what they read. This exercise, that you made me sign, makes me feel like my child is a dog that I am forcing to learn a trick, a trick in education that will help her to achieve your ‘teach to the test’ $$$ goals but not make her want to read or have a desire to learn at all. This is a disgrace. You should be ashamed of yourself, to be rushing a seven-year-old to read 95 words in a minute.”

I may just be a tiger mom, but in an alternative way.

I do not think drowning my children in drills to pass tests for funding is education. Nor am I going to keep quiet about it. Neither should teachers. Teachers should feel some weight, some responsibility to speak up themselves, stop the madness, look in the mirror and ask themselves if they are actual educators or just test pushers, afraid to lose their jobs, all the while pimping out whole generations to get their funding, their paychecks.

We have a big, complicated, multi-layered problem with education in this country. I worry about the actions of teachers—their hands apparently tied—and lazy parents alike, all of whom sign off on these practices that inhibit actual learning.

Reading is really one of the most magical things we learn to do. It should be treated as such. My daughter has been reading for less than a year of her very precious life. She will not be rushed into factory habits that make her perform tricks for administrators in cheap suits so she can grow up and get an equally lousy, unfulfilling job.

The note went back to school with my daughter yesterday morning. My phone rang one hour later. I picked up, expecting an unpleasant tone. I was shocked to instead hear Lila’s Basic Skills teacher being very friendly and kind; she said she was happy when parents got involved, even if they were upset, that it showed they were engaged. We spoke for 10 minutes, I explaining my displeasure with the assignment and the very idea that my seven-year-old has to meet any expectations. She explained that this practice is for proficiency not “teaching to the test.” I still disagreed, proficiency being a buzzword linked to all that I stand against. However, I chose not to throw any more dirt. In the end, which comes as no surprise, the heart of my message was still ignored.

I see I have a long road ahead of me, as my babies have only just begun their schooling. My proud, unconventional family will have to dance and balance, with one foot settled in our wacky American society and its messy, insecure public schools, and the other foot rooted deeply in a fierce, uncompromising passion to want to actually learn; and never let anyone, especially a teacher, sell us out.

© Mad Question Asking – 2013 All Rights Reserved

Austin Psych Fest

8 May

These are a collection of photos taken at the Austin Psych Fest I attended two weekends ago. My friend Kimia took most of these photos, all the really good ones. We had a fab time in Texas.

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Lost & Found

Lost & Found

Elevation Amphitheatre, Carson Creek

Elevation Amphitheatre, Carson Creek

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Tinariwen

Tinariwen

Black Mountain

Black Mountain

Babes & unicorn pants

Babes & unicorn pants

Roky Erikson

Roky Erikson

Country Life

Country Life

The King Khan & BBQ Show

King Khan & BBQ Show

Linda of Golden Animals

Linda of Golden Animals

Kimia

Kimia

Sonia

Sonia

Black Mountain

Black Mountain

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I wanna write rap lyrics! (ATL)

When I grow up, I’m gonna write rap lyrics (ATL)

© Mad Question Asking – 2013 All Rights Reserved

So Gay

6 May

I took my little ladies to see my friend, Kimia, DJ on Friday night at Ortlieb’s in Philadelphia. It was early. We stayed for an hour and the girls were in bed by their nightly 8 o’clock bedtime; and while they did dance and party pretty hard at the DJ booth with their comp-ed Shirley Temples and $1 tacos, the scene wasn’t inappropriate. There was nothing young Drew Barrymore-ish about it at all.

Later that night, I posted on FB a really cool but dark photo – because it was taken inside an old Jazz club – of Kimia with my two girls. And then it happened. Some woman I don’t know decided to comment on the photo with this sarcastic ugliness, “Well, that’s not creepy at all.”

The photo was dark, no doubt, but creepy? No. The funny thing about this for me was that this woman had one of those jump-on-the-bandwagon-so-it-looks-like-I-have-an-identity-and-one-opinion stupid, gay rights, equal signs, with Bert and Ernie as her profile photo.

I found it puzzling, the idea of someone openly defending gay rights with cute images of Bert and Ernie (they were puppets, Ok? They never had sex or wanted to get married. Because they aren’t real.) Yet this woman felt ok to call a photo of two children and one really stunning woman creepy. Aren’t children just off-limits when it comes to jokes, especially from such a blatant, and supposedly sensitive, activist?

I think it is so condescending, this “I love my gays!” nonsense. If I was gay I would be horrified to be treated like a novelty. I personally have no activist interest in gay rights, and guess what: I know about half a dozen more gay men than you do. I find the masses (I mean mindless lambs) who love Siegfried and Roy, and dumb shows like Glee, with their patronizing interest in “Gays!” so offensive.

If I found myself constantly being rewarded or spit on due to my sexuality, while the rest of my character, my being and my personality are ignored in its shadow, I would want to scream. I’d want to bitch slap every idiot who thinks they support me through something as useless as a profile photo and by loving the novelty of the stereotypes I’d have to live up to for them, like a cute little circus monkey in a plaid vest asking for peanuts, or human rights.

I have no idea how hard it must be to have to grin and bare it, to lose dignity by having my sexuality turn into a FB profile picture, one that is trendy among the bandwagon-hopping activists, and one that will be as meaningless as that shallow Kony 2012 FB profile photo that also patronized an oppressed group of people: children.

© Mad Question Asking – 2013 All Rights Reserved

Dogwood Days

4 May Dogwood days

Every spring I spend hours each week walking through my favorite garden shops. Stopping to admire and sigh at the plants I so wish to buy, but cannot afford. Because one or two is simply not enough. I want to buy 10 or 20 of each plant I love. I can see in my mind how lovely they’d look if only I could buy the whole grand lot.

I console myself with project spots all around my yard, each year building towards the dream garden I want. I am up to 10 peonies, with the two I bought yesterday. Having a beautiful yard takes a great deal of patience, years of planning and very dirty hands.

My bare hands were dirty all day, pulling onion grass, planting this year’s additions and moving my six roses to a new location, one that I hope they like much better.

Spring really is the most wonderful time of the year. It is so hopeful and full of promise with green, green grass to daydream on.

Begonia Baby

Begonia Baby

Lazy Daisies

Lazy Daisies

The rare orange Azalea

The rare orange Azalea

In 3 weeks these will be cherry pies

In 3 weeks these will be cherry pies

Sweet Lilac

Sweet Lilac

Dogwood days

Dogwood days

My favorite, the stunning Coleus

One of my favorites, the stunning and strange Coleus

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