A Rock Feels No Pain

In despero , obscurum ; In Diligo , Lux lucis. (In despair, darkness; In Love, Light). -Me

Bloggery thoughts

I found myself thinking of the past today, for a variety of reasons, but one of the areas that stuck in my head was blogging, and bloggers. I realized that the first incarnation of this blog, way back when, was almost exactly five years ago.

It was on blogger then, and it was called “Meandering Mind of Mine”- I started in October 2005, while I was visiting my Mom (which was supposed to be a weeks vacation to deliver an airplane, and visit, and turned into a three-week stay when her health plummeted, and she died on the 15th). Add in the extra week for funerals and such, and I was gone for a bit longer than planned, and wasn’t quite such a nice time as we’d hoped.
Anyway, I started blogging during that couple weeks I was there and basically, trying to think out feelings, etc, etc; after returning home, I posted a few little things here and there, but nothing regular until the spring of 2006.

During that time, though, as I learned that I wasn’t the only one that felt the need to connect with people by writing, I encountered blogs and bloggers that I enjoyed, and would revisit; eventually, I put up a blog roll, and began commenting, and responding to comments.
The blog morphed some, here and there, with two big jumps- one, when I yanked it down completely (and never replaced a huge chunk, as it wasn’t needed, in my mind), and one when I moved to wordpress- both of which I did for reasons that were valid then, and less-so now; but, I kept reading my regulars, making rounds where I had too, using a feedreader whenever possible.

What I was thinking about today, though, was how many of them have stopped, changed, or moved on; looking at my blog roll now (yes, I should update it, remove the dead or outdated links, but I’m lazy, so sue me!), I started wondering in a general way, “where’d they go?”

For instance:

LilBit- http://littlehmphf.blogspot.com/ – hasn’t posted since May

Buttafly: http://crazylove25.blogspot.com/ – hasn’t posted since February.

Bunny: http://crazylove25.blogspot.com/ – hasn’t posted since May

Wenchy: http://realityinpurple.wordpress.com/ – deleted her blog

Others have given it up, with a “goodbye” post, or whatnot- and others, are as prolific as ever- that’s not a complete list, of course- just noting. I wonder too, why some choose to remove completely, others leave them up for indefinite times, and still others just fade?

There are a couple of others that are actually new blogs, but the same blogger. New addresses, new focuses, have created completely new directions in her blogs, and the old are swept away- I wonder too, if some of the inactive ones aren’t in that state, but haven’t chosen to share the change, or at least not publicly, or to me.

Personally, I find that it’s kind of nice, even if there aren’t new things for a while, to have the old posts there; I like going back, now and then, to refer to something someone said, and not be left wondering “who was that, when?” (No, no, I promise- I don’t ONLY go back to peek at the HNT’s, I only read for the articles anyway!) (okay, mostly 😉 )

Anyway, this thinking led me to a question or two- do you like having your old friend’s old writings around, if you ever feel like a revisit? Or do you not care? If you personally decide to quit your blog, would you delete it? Say goodbye but leave it? Just curious…

Filed under: musings, , , ,

Mission: Dominican

Mission: Impossible

Mission: San Marcos

Well. It’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything, and longer still of any substance; and this one, too, is delayed, but I am still processing, still trying to think of all that went on, that I learned and felt and the times we shared.

So, practical things first. A couple of weeks ago, on the 28th of June, 21 people set out at the crack of dawn. Sixteen kids, from 14-18, and five adults, from some age to 47. We met at 0-dark’thirty, at the Church, and boarded a chartered school bus. We rode said bus, to the Newark, NJ, airport, and got off at terminal C. (It would have been silly to get off anywhere else, because that’s the terminal the flight was departing from, you see. I know you were worried about why we chose that terminal, and now you know).

Anyway, we herded and corralled, and counted heads a lot, and worked 21 people through security, immigration, boarding-pass checks, and onto the plane. A few (short!?!?!?) hours later, about 1230, we disembarked at Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, and began a great adventure in hard work, sharing, laughter, tears; in working, building, sweating, bleeding; in short, we started a week of mission work to the San Marco area of the Diocese of The Dominican Republic.

I can’t tell you, how proud of those kids, I am. Sixteen teenagers, working in dirt, shoveling, carrying concrete, heaving buckets of water (“Mas Agua! Mas Agua!”). We dug, we sweat, we panted; we sang, we laughed. We made friends, even across the language barriers. We learned that in this country, in our cozy little tiny-village lives (Yeah, small- the population of the “bigger” village, where our church is located, is estimated at 6663, as of 2007; the hamlet I live in, next to that village, is so tiny they don’t measure population separately from the surrounding areas), just how blessed we are, how fortunate.

We spent that week working, on a building site that will eventually become a Church, School and shelter for single- moms. Our little band turned out to be the first group in. The Padre we worked with had never had a mission group to work with before, and indeed, we were the ground breakers for the entire project.

Not to minimize the physical, for the kids did an incredible job, considering- 250′ of trench for a foundation, 18” deep and wide; concreted mixed, barrowed and poured that length, and cinderblock wall to about 4′, for most of that length, using hand tools like hoes, shovels and picks; some of our young ladies are almost five feet tall, and might weigh 100 lbs, and they worked without a serious complaint, for a week, in temperatures that approached 100, with 90% plus humidity. Not a single one of us were seriously hurt; as the designated first-aide guy, I had to flush two kid’s eyes, one for a bit of rock chip, and one for sunscreen dripping, but other than that my primary concern was blisters, hydration, and sunblock. (After all, I had to bring ’em back in the same shape I took ’em from moms and dads, right?).

So, the upshot, was a lot of hard physical labor.

But-

The most wonderful parts, had nothing to do with that. As great as they were at work, the gang of kids were even better, at mission and outreach, at connecting and friendships. Each one, in their own way, joined hands with neighbors and friends that we hadn’t met yet. Smiles, laughter, little ditties in Spanish, little ditties in English, clapping to the beat of songs we didn’t know, couldn’t recognize, set the stage for a deeper relationship. (I wish I could remember some of the little movements and words, to a little thing we learned from a 14 year-old gal, that first night; we have video, but I don’t have it here, but oh Lordy, we laughed!).

Some of the things that stand out, with crystal clarity-

  • The Dominican workers refusing lunch until we, the “guests”, had eaten; and, on the last day, when they realized they’d not purchased enough food for the entire week- watching them eat ketchup sandwiches; some of which, were cut in half, so each would get something.
  • The grandmother of one of the little girls opening her home, humble as it was, so we could use her bathroom- and, although clearly impoverished, offering me a cup of cafe, as if she had gallons to spare. (I know she didn’t, because 1. I could see her supply of coffee, and it wasn’t much, and 2. All water had to come from bottles, you’d no more brew gallons of coffee than you’d water plants with your drinking water).
  • The look on a couple of our teenager’s faces, when they realized, in horror, that one of the workers was barefoot not by choice, but because he didn’t own a pair of shoes. The look on those same faces, as well as the worker’s, as they took him to the little peddler’s cart and bought him a pair of shoes.
  • Later, the gratitude on Joan’s (Pronounced jo-ahn, and it’s a male name- we kept wanting to call him Yohann, lol) face, too, when he received a pair of shoes from the feet of one of the boys. (Does it count that I did bring some of ’em home shoe-less, albeit healthy?)
  • The gentle kindness of the Padre, as he bent to speak to the little girls that flocked around us, after we started our days with a prayer service in the teeny shed that acted as the church, for now, explaining why they couldn’t wheel the wheel barrows full of sacks of concrete up the street for us.

There’s so much more, so many little things that I can’t recount, I can’t express some of it yet, I’m still processing the whole trip, the whole community we formed to go, and expanded while we were there; the welcome we were given to join that far-off group, the love we all held, and showed.

Why, today, am I writing this? Well, cuz we had a follow-up meeting with the ‘gang’, today, after Church. We managed, it seems, to raise a substantial amount more than we needed, and the kids decided it would be appropriate to give it back to our parish, who had contributed so much to the trip; but, they also decided, on their own, that they needed to continue this connection, and all we heard for an hour, was how they could do more for the people of San Marcos.

Yeah.

It costs $300.00 (US), per year, to send a child to school, up through high-school. That includes tuition, uniform, books, etc. So our gang, today? They figure that if each of the twenty of us did just a little bit, per month, that we probably wouldn’t even miss, well; “Pauloa, Joan, Roberto… they could go to school!”

Yeah

Proud, I am, so proud of that gang.

And I love ’em all, each one.

Filed under: blessings, friends, friendship, God, musings, spirituality, , , , , , ,

Late-night thoughts

I can’t sleep, and I got tired of lying there with the sheets doing the evil “conspiracy to wrinkle and wrap and slide the blankets off”, as they so love to do when I’m tired but awake, so I’ve been sitting down here the last couple hours. Sometimes, I wish I could go back to when I could stay up all night, and sleep all day as a norm. I love the quiet, the dark. I can dream, I can talk to myself, I can read and write without interruption.

I told my dad, last evening, about my hospital visit; I hadn’t before, because he was on a ski trip and I didn’t have a phone number for him. I’ll tell my brothers and sisters soon too, I suppose, but I’m not sweating that as much; they’ll respond with ‘let us know if we can do anything’, and send their love. Honestly, I’ll take the love, but don’t need the other. One of the things people keep saying is just that: “What can I do?” Nothing. It’s in my head, so really, there’s nothing that needs to be done in the way it might if I were physically indisposed. I go to work, I get to church, we finished painting my daughters room, Lynn and I have sex, it’s all just carrying on.

Thinking of sex (you weren’t? I am, often these days, far more so than when I was younger. Perhaps I’m having a second childhood?), the sex around here has been freakishly wonderful lately. Something in the water, or hormones, or just the explorations we’ve been doing (most likely!) but holy wow. I honestly don’t think we’ve ever had as much sex as regularly as in the last month, and with the experience we have with one another, it’s better than it’s ever been. Yummmmmm. I’m hoping this is a phase that doesn’t pass anytime soon!

I wish it’d warm up properly, or snow. I hate and loath the time of year when it’s too cold to do anything outside, and no snow to ski. It’s all browns and grays and muddy yuk around here right now, and the temperature keeps bouncing from the twenties to the forties. Blech. Give me winter, or give me real spring, when the sun is warm and everything starts greening.

That’s enough for me tonight, I’m going to try to sleep again for a few hours before work.

Filed under: babbling, meanderings, musings, night thoughts

Two Stores and a New Toy

We bought ourselves a new toy the other day, after dancing class. We’d had a giggly silly close and warm time, stopping for coffee afterward, and on the way home we pass the “fun toy store”. So, I randomly asked, “Do we need another toy?”

“Sure, if you’d like,” so I pulled into the lot and we went inside.

This place is definitely not Babeland. No, Babelandis clean, and well lit, and the displays are organized, it’s very open and airy, and you get the feeling from the moment you walk in that you’re in a place where sex and sexuality are something to celebrate and enjoy, there’s nothing to be ashamed of, that we’re all here for fun and games and being silly and enjoying ourselves.

No, this place is reminiscent of the descriptions I’ve read of the seedy, run-down bordellos and the euphemistically named “massage parlors” of the old novels; this place speaks directly to the fundamentalist, puritan view that sex is bad, we should be ashamed, hang your head and hide your license plate from view. Dark, smoky, (even though New York prohibits smoking in any place of employment), the stunted man behind the counter in his dark glasses looks as furtive as the few other customers.

Browsing, the toys and shelves and DVD’s are much cheaper, both in cost and quality. Plastic imports from China and other labor-inexpensive places, the entrance to the viewing booths ($2.50 for 10 minutes, I wonder if they provide someplace to put all the jizz, or is it ‘clean your own’?).

We laugh a bit, giggling at the monstrous sizes of the dildos, dongs, plastic penises that are ranked like soldiers on the wall. Is there some rhyme or reason to the placement? A vast assortment of colors, materials, vibrating and not, silicone, latex and jelly, firm and squishy, butt plugs and whips, butterflys and nipple clamps. Latex costumes reside next to superman outfits, thigh-highs in various colors and fishnet stockings too.

I watch a couple of the other customers browsing, seeing their obvious discomfort, as they sneak glances around, as clearly as if they speak the hope that no one that they know walks in.

What would they say, should the next door neighbor wander in too? I mean, it’s pretty apparent what draws people to these shops, so why wouldn’t it be universal? Why the difference in knowledge that the neighbor with two kids is going to, oh my goodness, they’re going to have sex!!!! As if you’re not?

Contrary to Babeland, where the feeling is the polar opposite. There were other couples there, for one thing, holding hands, and instead of secretive silence, the customers would overhear one another, and make little jokes- “Wonder what this is?… Here’s a big one!” I overheard, from total strangers to one another.

The sales staff are women, and the stores themselves are owned and run by women, and I think that alone accounts for a great deal of the difference. The atmosphere, the lightness, the much more tidy and tastefully arranged stores; there are books, proclaiming that even literate people can have an exciting and playful sex life.

Overall, I guess, I much prefer the open and accepting attitude of the women of Babeland, and it certainly suits our new-found joy in sex and exploring better. Although, late on a Thursday night, when passing the local toy store, it’s nice to have it around; ‘specially since they had a nicely shaped vibrating butt-plug, suitable for beginners. (Said so, right there on the box).

Yes, we had fun!

*Smiles*

Filed under: musings, sex

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Ancient History