the Mammal Chronicles: December 2006

when it comes right down to it, ya lactate or ya don't.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Oh Come All Ye Momentarily Faithful

Despite the fact that I'm not really Christian, I love nativities and the Christmas story. I say "not really" because when I'm looking at a nativity, I find myself momentarily Christian. I can believe anything, wholeheartedly, for about five minutes. I also, disturbingly I'm sure to those who are actually Christian, assign the story more pagan symbolism in my head (return of the sun and such).

In any case, as a result, I've been keeping my eyes open for some time for a nativity set. Some I've liked include handpainted tin ones from mexico, but I've nixed those because of cost (since I usually spy them in pricey gift shops rather than in the country of origin) and sharp edges -- the latter not the best choice with a toddler in the house. Another I like, that I also ruled out because of cost, and besides resist because it is so wildly popular with people whose taste I normally question (folks that also like precious moments figurines and never got over their love for hello kitty), is the Willow Tree set:

Someone gave me a statuette from this line (of a mother with child, though not THE mother with child) and I really like it, and can wave away my concerns about its popularity, and the fact that I suspect years from now it will look like a pet rock on my shelf, because it was a gift.

Another nativity that tickles me no end and is cheap to boot, but that I do not want because it does not give me the warm fuzzies that my momentary religiosity demands, is the S'mores Nativity (yes, you heard correctly, a nativity made of faux marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers):

I suppose my momentary flashes of faith speaks to a real longing: even before motherhood but especially after, I've longed to belong to a community of faith. I think in terms of religious symbolism, I relate best to paganism, but there are downfalls to that: it's hard finding a tight community that isn't a considerable drive and, an even bigger concern, so many pagans are, well, flakes. It's a beautiful faith, but it can attract a pretty unstable bunch. And, while length of commute shouldn't really factor into choice of religious practice, part of the very longing is the desire to be a part of a real community centered around where I live. I've been tempted to check out the churches locally, but I don't think I could give up my essentially inclusive beliefs and I haven't heard of many Christian churches that welcome that. I think a Unitarian church might be the ideal solution, but there isn't one of those in my neighborhood either.

So I continue to look for the right nativity, hope that my inclusiveness won't confuse my daughter, and hope that as she grows we will find community and ways to speak to speak to any inner longings each of us may have.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

A sleepless morning

For some reason, I only seem to find the time to post or even read blogs when I can't sleep. This time it's morning. Granted, it's not that I lack sleep: I went to bed last night at 7:30. But somehow waking up at 5:30 (wow, ten hours of sleep!) seems too early. It does, however, seem like a good excuse for why my blog entries aren't as fluid or entertaining as those of my friends. Mine are bad hair and a bathrobe entries, both literally and figuratively.

So here's the general update, with news both good and bad:

  • I didn't get the NEH grant I applied for. Bleh. And while they encourage rejected applicants (I like to call them rejecticants) to apply again, they didn't indicate why I didn't rank sufficiently high, so I have no idea how to revise my application.
  • But on the upside, the day before I found out about not getting the NEH grant, I found out that my equity increase petition had been approved. What does this mean? It means I no longer make less than the people in my department hired three years after me! In fact, I make just a smidgen more! This news effectively tempered the blehness of the NEH news.

There's other stuff, but those are the major updates. The rest is just generally being distracted and busy with a million little things. And now, back to bed. Yes, I got ten hours of sleep, but it is Sunday and I'm allowed to get a little more.