Censoring Love

Someone about whom I care very, very deeply has a partner who, for reasons I have yet to fully understand, strongly objects to our friendship.  As a consequence, the contact I’ve had with this friend has been exclusively limited to online communication for the past several years, and while I’m pretty good at maintaining electronic friendships, I had really loved the fact that, at least once or twice a year, I got to actually put my arms around my friend and enjoy some sustained one-on-one time with him.

When that stopped a few years ago, I made up for that discontinued contact with little love notes texted to his phone, or to comments on facebook that expressed my affinity for my friend and the place he still holds in my life.  I found out today that those comments have been causing him trouble at home, though, and so I’m going to stop.

Because I love my friend, I do not want for him to suffer any kind of inconvenience or tension in general, and I really don’t want to be the cause of that trouble.  I’m trying to contrive a way that I can continue to ping him every once in a while to let him know that I’m thinking kindly of him and that the thought of him brightens my life, but to do so in a way that won’t bring him grief at home.  Maybe I’ll text him flower pictures or something, because while I don’t want my expressions to be trouble for him, I’m not willing to just give up on him and walk away, either.

Sometimes, love is hard.

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Welcome, Kes!

The Chili family is welcoming a new member today!

A few weeks ago, Mr. Chili and I dropped off our application to foster a pregnant mama cat from our local shelter (with the tacit understanding that it’s likely to be a “failed foster” and that the shelter won’t be taking either mama or babies back from us.  Not surprisingly, everyone at the shelter was perfectly okay with that).  Kes was brought in as a stray today, and about an hour after I got the phone call that they’d got her, I was bringing her home.

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She’s a lovely tortoise-shell calico kitty.  Since she was a stray, we don’t really know how old she is, though I’m betting she’s barely a year (if that).  We also don’t know how far along in her pregnancy she’s progressed, but I’m guessing she’s about halfway through, so we’ll start watching for signs of approaching kittens sometime next month.

She’s a bit too skinny for my liking, and she’s missing quite a bit of hair (that one doesn’t notice unless one looks closely; the shading of her skin indicates the color of her hair) so our job over the next few weeks is to fatten her up and get her completely healthy again.  I feel we’re more than up to the challenge.

She’s settled in quite nicely so far, and I expect that we’ll all be head over heels in love before the end of the week.

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Quick Hit; SEVENTEEN

Punk turns 17 today.  SEVENTEEN, People!  Yikes!

My baby-who’s-not-a-baby-anymore is all kinds of wonderful.  She’s quirky and funny as hell, stunningly beautiful, deeply compassionate, and very smart.  I am honored and proud to be her mother, and I’m looking forward to another year with her in it.Scan 111520000

(That’s Baby Punk, 17 years ago tomorrow, with Auntie.)

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Quick Hit: Proud Momma

Bean has a tumblr page.

I don’t stalk her, though I’m thinking that I might start; every time I visit, she has a bunch of things on there that makes me proud that she’s my kid.  Today, it was this:

 

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Quick Hit: Dexter

I’ve been watching Dexter while I’m on the elliptical lately, and the current season has me literally enthralled.  In it, Dexter is working through some questions about faith and belief and big questions, and the information and advice he’s getting from his friends is really, really interesting.  Observe:

Then go here (I can’t embed the video).

As Dexter makes his way through these questions, I can’t help but think about his answer to Brother Sam in the linked clip; when something happened that was more than he could handle, he looked to his father for help (later, in that same episode, his long-dead father comments that religion shouldn’t be that big a stretch for Dexter, as he’s already talking to ‘imaginary father figures”).  Earlier in that same episode, Brother Sam asks Dexter if he believes in something greater than himself, to which Dexter answers that he doesn’t really know.  When Brother Sam talks about the sun rising and setting, and the tide going in and out, Dexter answers that those things are explainable; that the sun rises and sets because of the Earth’s rotation on its axis, and the tide goes in and out because of the moon.  Brother Sam responds with, “Science.  See?  You DO believe in something bigger than yourself.”

I’m kind of loving the way that Brother Sam is ministering to Dexter.  He’s asking questions and  – this is the important part – he’s letting Dexter find his own answers.  His response when Dexter doesn’t come to Brother Sam’s conclusions is “that’s cool,” then he says something about everyone finding their own way.  I’m really, really eager to see what conclusions Dexter comes to as the season progresses.

 

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Ten Things Tuesday

No matter how many times I go to DC, I always find that I’m never there long enough.  Here are ten things we did on our trip this time:

1.  Starting with the last bit first, we ended our trip at the National Portrait Gallery.

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I had never been – I KNOW; I can’t believe it, either! – and I’m SO glad we went.  There was a lot to take in, but my favorite bit was rounding the corner to see this guy;

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Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you my favorite Revolutionary War badass, Henry Knox.

Mr. Knox was a Chief Artillery Officer in George Washington’s Continental Army.  After the Continentals took Fort Ticonderoga in upstate New York, Knox suggested to his friend Washington that the fort’s cannon might be useful in breaking the Siege of Boston, so Washington sent Knox to retrieve the arms.  Knox and his crew reached the fort on December 5th, 1775 and commenced to haul some  60 tons of cannon and other armaments by boat, horse and ox-drawn sledges over a 300 mile trek through some pretty rugged terrain (let’s recall we’re talking 1775 here, People; no interstates – or even real roads – to speak of, AND in the middle of the opening of shitty weather season in this part of the world).  Knox arrived in Cambridge on January 27th, 1776, and the armaments he provided helped to free Boston from British occupation.  The Noble Train of Artillery, as Knox’s amazing logistical feat came to be known, is still considered one of the Continental Army’s great successes, and it is one of my FAVORITE Revolutionary War stories.

Dork that I am, I didn’t even need to read the accompanying information card to know who this is and what he did, and I caught other museum visitors listening in as I gleefully recounted Knox’s adventures to my daughters (again).

 

2.  The MLK Memorial.

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We drove in the first day we were there, though in hindsight, that may have been a poor decision on our part (we took the Metro for the rest of the week).  The parking spot we found was on the far side of the MLK memorial, so we walked through on our way to our destination, which was…

 

3.  Ford’s Theatre.  Mr. Chili and I had gone to Ford’s Theatre many, many years ago, but the girls had never been, so that was our first official stop.

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The museum part of the building wasn’t opening until later than we wanted to stay, so we got tickets for the play that they put on a few times a day and called it a win.  The play was very well done; it was a meditation/imagining of what the actors in the playhouse were thinking and feeling in the days immediately after Lincoln’s assassination, and was by turns moving and rueful; there was a lot of “what if” in the play, and I felt the actors did a good job of conveying the frustration, anger, and grief that the people they were portraying must have felt.

 

4.  The Udvar-Hazy Center

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We spent the whole afternoon of our first day here.  It’s an annex of the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum and even for someone like me (who’s not especially enamored of machinery), it’s a really cool place.  They have the Enola Gay, a Concorde, and the space shuttle Discovery in the exhibits, and even though visitors can’t go in the aircraft, we can get close enough to see the rivets in the skins.  Mr. Chili adores the place, and since it really is kind of cool, we girls don’t mind spending time there.

 

5.  The American History Museum.

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It seems that I always end up here.  I’ve seen the First Ladies’ dresses exhibit a number of times, but I never get tired of it.  There are a lot of great things in this museum that I never get around to (I’ve only seen the Ruby Slippers once), but I always feel like I’ve missed something if I don’t go through the dress exhibit.

 

6.  National Gallery of Art.

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I learned something on this trip.  I had always assumed that the National Gallery of Art was a Smithsonian outfit, but it’s not.  I learned this because I bought a membership to the Smithsonian while I was at the Udvar-Hazy Center on Tuesday, and I tried to use my sparkly new membership card to get a discount at the National Gallery gift shop, where they politely informed me that the were NOT a Smithsonian museum.  Huh.  Who knew?  Not I.

Anyway, we had lunch here after the American History Museum (we often have lunch here; I’m not sure why) and then we made our way to my favorite exhibit; the Massachusetts 54th Memorial:

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The bronze of this is across the street from the State House at the top of the Commons in Boston, and whenever I’m in the neighborhood, I go and have another look at it.  I love the complexity of the piece, and I have a particular place in my heart for the story and the people it commemorates.

 

 

7.  The National Air and Space Museum

After getting our fill of fine art, we trekked across the Mall and into the Air and Space Museum.  Mr. Chili went off to look at all the space flight stuff (because, you know, that’s what he does) and the girls and I ducked into a movie in the planetarium (narrated by Neil deGrasse Tyson!).

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The chairs are reclined (to get a better view of the domed screen, of course) which made it difficult not to fall asleep.  I discovered that afternoon that Mr. Tyson’s voice is very soothing…

 

8.  The National Zoo.

I have a love/hate relationship with zoos.

I love them because they offer me a chance to see critters that I would never, ever see in the course of my life.  Let’s be honest, the most exotic thing I’m likely to spy is a moose, really, so being able to see real live zebras and elephants and lions (and pandas!) is kind of a big deal.

10246306_10152378167014885_7116807540601207167_n(Yeah; it’s a stone lion from the entry gates.  Sue me; this was the best picture I got on my phone and Mr. Chili hasn’t uploaded his camera pictures yet)

That being said, the “hate” comes from the knowledge that these beautiful, wild creatures live in pens that are far too small (no matter how big they are) and in climates for which they are ill suited.

I have yet to come to terms with my warring feelings about zoos, but this one was lovely.  It was clean, the animals seemed well cared for, and there’s some significant research and outreach happening in association with the National Zoo.  I suppose, if we’re going to keep wild things in zoos, we should keep them as the Smithsonian does.

 

9.  The World War II Memorial

I love this memorial precisely because there are outfits whose sole purpose is to bus veterans in to visit the site every day.  As we walked by on our way to Ford’s Theatre on our first full day in the city, we saw literally dozens of veterans being helped into the memorial and, knowing that we’re fast losing this generation to old age, it was gratifying to see them.

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We also passed a British school trip (all the kids looked so cute in their matching uniforms!).  As we were walking by, one of the teachers asked the kids about what e pluribus unum meant.  One little boy practically dislocated his shoulder raising his hand, and as he blurted out the English translation of the motto, Bean observed under her breath that we’re kind of doing a shitty job with the whole “out of many, one” thing lately.  God, I love that kid.

 

10.  Everything from home to DC and back again.

The Chili family has figured out that we’re pretty good at car trips.  My husband is a great trip planner; before we get in the car, he’s printed out maps, (note with circles and directions to where we’re going to stop for lunch and gas along the way) so we’ve got a good idea of what to expect.  Observe:

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I load up the car with snacks, the girls bring books and games, we set Pandora to a station we can all agree on, and away we go.  It is my custom on this trip (which we’ve taken several times now) to snap a picture of the Tappan Zee Bridge on our way through.  This is the homeward-bound side.  We’re still a long way from home here – I feel like we’re finally close to home when the road signs start mentioning Boston -  but the bridge feels like a ceremonial halfway point.1558523_10152382337599885_7925827047650325341_n

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Anchors Away!

The Chili family is hoisting figurative sail for Washington DC this morning.  The maps are printed, the car is packed, and everyone has gone to pee.  Away we go!

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