Monthly Archives: August 2007

Memorializing Violence

This post is a preface to our next He Said/She Said regarding the topic of memorializing violence. Comments are turned off for this post but will be allowed on the following post.

On August 1, 1966 a lone gunman positioned himself in the Texas Tower on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin and began shooting. He killed sixteen people and wounded 31 others before Austin police shot and killed him. Forty years later, “university officials added a bronze plaque to a garden near the tower as a memorial ‘to those who died, to those who were wounded, and to the countless other victims who were immeasurably affected by the tragedy,’ according to an inscription on the plaque”*.

On April 16, 2007 a lone gunman entered two different buildings on the campus of Virginia Tech, killed 32 people, wounded several others and then turned his gun on himself committing suicide. Less than two months later, an “intermediate” memorial was designed and the dedication for that memorial was held on August 19th. Plans for a final, permanent memorial are underway.

Do you wonder what the difference is between these two events and how they have been and are being memorialized? Does the difference have to do with what happened on September 11, 2001? Is Virginia Tech setting itself up to be most famously remembered for having the worst act of violence (to date) occur on a college campus?

Consider the responses of these other schools that saw violence and death on their campuses. A memorial for the victims of the Columbine High School shootings, which happened in 1999, is under construction but has not yet been completed. The memorial is not located on the school’s campus but at a nearby park. Westside Middle School, in Jonesboro, AR, has a memorial garden on the campus. It is located away from the actual location of the shootings that occurred there in 1998 and was placed there more than two years after the fact by a community group.

In the book, Rampage: The Social Roots of School Shootings by Katherine S. Newman, the author starts a section titled “Remembrance” with this thought, “If mental health is not an exact science then ritual observance is even less so.” Our natural tendency as humans is to memorialize loss. Many feel that memorials are an appropriate way to grieve and a comfort to those who will mourn for their entire lives. Anniversary services and remembrances mark the passage of time and ensure that loved ones who were taken from us are not forgotten. Yet it seems that there is no formula for remembering and memorializing, we only know that it will happen in some form or fashion.

But what else do we inadvertently memorialize? Does it not etch into permanent, collective memory acts of violence so devastating, so horrific that an entire nation and even much of the world was riveted to their television sets in utter despair and confusion over unimaginable tragedy? Do memorials not make the troubled, disturbed and lonesome souls that committed these heinous acts somehow immortal?

*Citation

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Filed under He Said/She Said, Virginia Tech

I know I said I was going to have a better attitude…

Malia picture…but seriously, if you want any further reason why I loathe the SSA so much. Go here.

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Filed under by Malia, Rant

Waterproof

Malia pictureSo I read somewhere in a magazine awhile back that taking a shower can help stir your creative juices. Something about the warm water raining down on you, relaxing your mind, expanding your thoughts, yadda yadda yadda. I was not terribly surprised by this revelation because it happens to me all the time.

I’ve spun the most brilliant blog posts while showering. My words are witty, my points are well reasoned, my stories are captivating and of course I’ve managed to solve all the worlds problems in the duration of one shower. There’s only one problem. At some point, I have to leave the shower. And the moment those inspirational jets of steaming water cease to caress my skin, my muse dies. I step out of the shower, towel off and completely forget what it was I was going to write about.

I could be a millionaire if I could only create a product that could be used by those of us whose minds are brilliant while wet but soggy after we’ve dried off. Sounds to me like it’s time for another shower…

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Filed under by Malia, musings

If The Divine Comedy Were Written Today…

Malia picture…I’m sure Dante would have included Wal-Mart in one of the nine circles of Hell or the seven terraces of Purgatory. I just can’t decide if it would be better placed in the fourth circle or the fifth terrace. Maybe both.

I really have a love/hate relationship with that place. I do like the lower prices, I mean who wouldn’t? I do like that if I need to get milk and toothpaste and shin guards, there is a place that can accommodate that so that I don’t have to make two or possibly three stops. The thing is, everyone else likes this about Wal-Mart too. So when we headed out to the brand-spanking new Super Wally World, that’s like a mile from our house (and that so far, I have avoided), to get a few last school supplies and more SSA approved clothing*, we did so with the rest of south Davidson County needing a few last school supplies and more SSA approved clothing. The entire store was virtually empty except for two areas, you guessed it, school supplies and kids clothing. And they had a lot of everything…that we didn’t need.

Want to know what we came home with?

Construction paper.

Today the quest will continue at the only other place that can rival Wal-Mart’s status in Hell or Purgatory.

The mall.

Wish us luck.

*Have I mentioned that if it were not for SSA, I wouldn’t have had to buy any clothing to get JBelle started for school? No? Well, it’s true. (mutters under her breath, “trying not to be bitter, must have better attitude…”)

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Filed under by Malia, life as a domestic goddess

First Day of 2nd Grade

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Here’s JBelle all ready for her first day of school, decked out in her SSA* approved clothing. (aargh!) We actually had an unpleasant surprise this morning when she started getting dressed. The shorts she went to put on are too big. I’m a bit baffled by this. When we were getting these clothes for her, she tried on the size I believed would fit her but in fact turned out to be a bit too small. There was a 1/2 or “+” size available in that size so I assumed (rather incorrectly it seems) that the 1/2 or “+” size would fit since the regular size did not. Turns out the 1/2 size is entirely too big! And I don’t think I have my receipt. (I hoping it’s around here…somewhere!) Here I was thinking we were all set for starting school and now I have to do more clothes shopping. Grrrr! Thankfully this skort fit and she has and jumper and another skirt as well.

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Here’s JBelle sitting at her desk in her 2nd Grade room!! She looks so grown-up! (And so tan!) Her teacher seems very nice. She’s a bit younger than we expected but that’s ok. JBelle knows four students in her class already. Two from her class last year, one from church and one she rides the bus with.

So were off to a pretty good start. I was not weepy or emotional, just excited for her. The summer has flown so quickly but at least I know she’s in a good place with friends and teachers and administrators who really care about the students.

The GMan was quite distraught as we left the school building this morning. He kept saying, “I want JBelle! I want JBelle!” And he’s had some difficulty this morning at the house without her around. But Sesame Street just started so for at least an hour, he’s world will be normal!

It’s sinking in…we have a second grader!!

*Standard School Attire – personally, I’m not a fan but since JBelle hasn’t put up much of a fuss over it (yet, I think after a few weeks of wearing the same stuff she may want to rebel) I’m trying to have a better attitude about it!

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Filed under by Malia, JBelle, parenting

Let’s Not Talk About (s-e-x)

Malia pictureI haven’t done a marriage post in awhile, just haven’t been terribly inspired, until this morning. I read something on a blog that raised my marital strife hackles. I’m not going to link it because I don’t want to appear to be “dissin'” the writer, it’s just that what they wrote reminded me a little pet peeve of mine. This is kind of a “touchy” subject (pun intended), so I’ll start out by emphasizing again, it’s something that bothers me when I hear it and may not necessarily bother you. And if you engage in this behavior, I’m not condemning you or anything, I’m just talking here. So here goes…

It irritates me when married women make disparaging remarks about their sex lives with their husbands.

To me this is right up there with speaking badly about your spouse in public. Because alluding to a less-than-satisfying intimate relationship is outright criticism of your partner. Whether it’s because he wants it more than her or because she isn’t getting enough or anything else that doesn’t compliment that aspect of marriage. But what actually irritates me even more is when the remarks are made in such a way that assumes all women feel the way she does. As if every wife out there understands her “plight”.

Lately, it almost seems that if you do enjoy intimate relations with your husband, you’re in the minority and you best keep your mouth shut for fear of creating trouble. (Kind of like spilling the beans about how being a stay-at-home mother is really not that hard. And a position I heartily agree with.) I truly understand needing to commiserate about the situations we, as wives and mothers, find ourselves in. It’s our own brand of therapy, it bonds us and gives an outlet for frustrations and unique struggles. But I find it to be disturbing to make snide remarks and all-womanhood-encompassing statements regarding how you feel about sex.

So my “spilling the beans” statement goes something along the lines of…

Sex between married couples isn’t always terrible. In fact, it can be wonderful.

Shocking, huh? There are women who enjoy being with their husbands. There are husbands out there that are not “starved” for attention. It is possible to have good “marital relations” with your spouse. Married sex is not universally bad.

(I do understand and make exception for extraordinary circumstances. There certainly are spouses [men & women] out there who have suffered because of abuse and misinformation and have hurdles to overcome that many others do not.)

If the bedroom endeavors between you and your spouse are a problem for whatever reason, please seek help. Don’t try and make your personal feelings everyone else’s reality.

As always with these posts about marriage, I offer my Disclaimer for clarification purposes. And a gentle reminder that this is supposed to be a family-friendly blog, so let’s keep the comments clean folks! We will edit/delete if necessary.

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Filed under by Malia, love & marriage

Summer Days Are Gone Too Soon (Part 2)

Malia pictureI know that part of the reason I want to savor summer, too hold it a little closer and not wish it away has to do with school starting. My split personality is really warring over this. On the one hand, I’m glad school is starting up again. JBelle is an exhausting child! She thrives on structure and consistency and plans. But bless her heart she has a mother that just doesn’t know how to offer all of that! Everyday she asks (at least a dozen times!), “What are going to do today?” When we leave the pool in the afternoons she asks, “What are going to do when we get home?” At night when I’m putting her to bed she asks, “What are we going to do tomorrow?” And pretty much all I can answer her with is, “I’m sorry sweetie, I just don’t know.” On the other hand, there’s so much left of summer and so much we didn’t get around to doing. The GMan has really come to rely on his sisters’ presence this summer, he’ll be lost without her when it’s back to just me and him during the days. I’ve pretty much been on summer vacation, too. Sleeping in (as much as The GMan will let me!), lazy mornings, pool days, lots and lots of book reading, etc. I’ve not kept up well with “house stuff” and I’ve procrastinated on starting the mental list of house centered projects I want to accomplish.

Some things that I will savor from the Summer of 2007:

Pool days
Library days
Camp Manatawny trip
Fourth of July
More pool days
Trip to visit Granny & Pa in Florida
Wave Country
Go Go Jonah! (the play JBelle is participating in with the Children’s Ministry at church)
Having DB around the house so much since he’s currently working from home

One last thing, I want to record this “first” somewhere and share it, too. In the evenings, when we sit down together as a family for dinner, we always start with a prayer. DB, JBelle and myself rotate each meal with whose “turn” it is to say the prayer. Last night as we extended our hands towards each other and DB asked whose turn it was, The GMan said, “My turn!” So we all bowed our heads and he started, “Dear God, thank you for mumble, mumble, mumble, something about Daddy, something about Mommy, something about JBelle, mumble, mumble, mumble, mumble. Amen!” My baby’s first prayer! It was such a sweet & precious moment.

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Filed under by Malia, kids & family, life as a domestic goddess