Thursday, December 25, 2008

New Moon

25 December 2008, 1:07 PM
Since I first begain writing, the moon has always held a very specific meaning for me, and for reasons I can't really explain in a public forum, I have used it less and less over the last two years as a symbol in my poetry. Today, I redefined the moon.

No one would disparage the mutual influence,
subtle yet inexorable. The Sea is the Sea,
The Moon is the Moon, the two indivisibly
intertwingled, undiminished by his sway.
She has never been subdued by this drawing
and releasing. He gently pulls upon the tides,
makes her more, not less, than what she is.
As he pulls away, the tides pull back
to follow, woo him back again.


by Steven Curtis Chapman

One of us is crying as our hopes and dreams are led away in chains
and we're left on our own.
One of us is dying as our love is slowly lowered in the grave
and we're left all alone.
But for all of us who journey through the dark abyss of loneliness
there comes a great announcement: We are never alone.
The Maker of each heart that breaks,
the Giver of each breath we take, has come to earth
and given hope its birth.

Our God is with us, Emmanuel
He's come to save us, Emmanuel
And we will never face life alone
now that God has made himself known as Father and Friend
with us through the end--Emmanuel

He spoke in prophets' voices and He showed Himself in a cloud of fire
but no one had seen His face
until the One Most Holy revealed to us His perfect heart's desire
and left His rightful place
And in one glorious moment all Eternity was shaken
as God broke through the darkness that had kept us apart
And with love that conquers loneliness, and hope that fills all emptiness
He came to earth to show our worth

Our God is with us, Emmanuel
He's come to save us, Emmanuel
And we will never face life alone
now that God has made himself known as Father and Friend
with us through the end--Emmanuel

So Rejoice! O, rejoice!
Emmanuel has come

I love this song. On Chapman's Christmas album The Music of Christmas, it follows directly his rendition of O Come O Come Emmanuel, and the juxtaposition of the two, and of the phrases "Emmanuel shall come" and "Emmanuel *has* come" in the first and second songs, respectively, has always struck me as profound, if a bit obvious. Of course He has come! But I'm reminded all the time now what it means, and what messes can be redeemed by His human life.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Come, Lord Jesus

O come, O come Emmanuel
and ransom captive Israel
that mourns in lonely exile here,
until the son of God appear.

O come, thou Dayspring, come an cheer
our spirits by Thine advent here.
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
and Death's dark shadows put to flight.

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

Sung by Steven Curtis Chapman here. The video is tripe, but the song is wonderful.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Merry Christmas

I always take these posts by Ruth as an invitation to go and find out what kind of *fill in the blank* I am. This one's a little different from the others, but here it is.

You Can Say "Merry Christmas" in 10 Languages

You can say "Merry Christmas" in:











Wednesday, December 17, 2008

BAHA continued and, hopefully, concluded.

Well, that was relatively easy, though not exactly painless.

The lady at the doctor's office who handles pre-certs for surgeries called us back. It turns out that after receiving my husband's research and letter of appeal, the agent at Anthem BCBS realized that our policy is black and white on this issue. She agrees that the procedure is covered and she spent a good amount of time profusely apologizing for having been rude and sarcastic on the phone when she was rejecting our claim a week ago. Regardless of the outcome of the discussion, I think the snark was entirely unnecessary.

I would think insurance companies would require their agents to know the policies backward and forward. Regardless, the surgery is on, and by March of 2009, my Beloved will be able to hear the world in stereo again. I'm so excited.

It appears that folks are right--it is indeed the job of insurance agents to reject claims. My husband will be posting his appeal letter and his research on the subject of BAHA implants on his website in the not too distant future. When he does, I'll post a link here as well.

Please do the research if your claim is rejected. If you're paying insurance premiums, you have a right to coverage, but it's possible your agents may just be "doing their job" in hopes that you'll go away, and they won't *actually* have to do their job.

American Beauty

Ok, so maybe today is the day for irritated posts.

I don't have to read the caption for this picture. I know who all of these women are. And I remember quite clearly when Christy Brinkley was Jennifer Aniston's age. I remember when folks believed she didn't need air-brushing in order to be The Covergirl.

I know that if I were completely ignorant of those three faces, I would assume they were all about the same age. And that really disturbs me. It should disturb us all. There's no mystery as to where our eating disorders and penchants for plastic surgery and liposuction originate, and these women feel it, or will at some point feel it, keenly. They're America's sweethearts, and we all expect them to be thin, beautiful, unwrinkled, ungreyed, so that we know it's possible, and we have an icon toward which to strive.

There are so many virtues which are more worthy of our attention, and there is so much more to our persons than our shape, our hair color, or the firmness of our biceps.

A really interesting article, which I picked up on bloglines from my sister-in-law's post today, can be found here. We--perhaps I should be honest and say "I", because I don't know many people who struggle more with body image than I do--have got to find the proper context and importance of physical beauty.


My husband lost his hearing 25 years ago, when he had a cholesteatoma removed from his ear canal. The tumor had grown around his ear drum, so after the surgery, he was suddenly and quite completely deaf on his left side. The doctor who did the surgery was a pioneer in his field, and during the procedure, my husband received what was, at the time, an experimental bone-conduction hearing implant. It took the form of a screw placed in his skull and under the skin of the scalp. There was an amplifier which was carried in his breast pocket and attached to the screw via a magnet at the end of a long wire running from the unit. The screw in his skull acted as a surrogate eardrum, conducting sound through the bone to his inner ear. It wasn't ideal, but at least he could hear.

Alas, that hearing aid stopped working about 5 years ago, before I'd even met him, and he's struggled with single sided deafness, and no options, ever since.

A few months ago, we began investigating the possibility of a new kind of implant--a BAHA (Bone Anchored Hearing Appliance), since the old implant is now completely obsolete. My husband went through all the preliminary steps, saw the doctor, got on the January schedule for the surgery, and cleared up his perpetual ear infection. The doctor's office contacted our insurance company (Anthen BCBS) and it seemed all systems were go. We were excited. The kids were excited (no more, "I'm sorry, sweetheart, but what happens when you whipser in my left ear?" "Nothing, daddy.") We were going to meet our entire deductible for the calendar year, but it was worth it.

Last week, the doctor's office called and said our insurance company had denied payment for the surgery. Hearing aids aren't covered, they said. Immediately, we traded hope for disappointment and anger.

Then we started our research again, because we were told by several people that the job of health insurance agents is to reject claims. We discovered that while there is an exclusion explicitly stated in our insurance coverage, there is also an exception listed within the exclusion: "Hearing aids are not covered, unless otherwise specified within this policy." It took only a little more work to discover that there are at least two places in the policy pamphlet where the BAHA and like appliances are covered.

We spoke with the bulldog at the doctor's office, a very kind but tenacious woman who is, fortunately, very much on our side in this. She is now embroiled in a lively discussion with our insurance company, armed with my husband's research and the appeal letter he wrote yesterday.

He has a pre-surgery appointment today, and we have no way of knowing yet whether or not the insurance company will cover it. It's just maddening, that the folks whom we pay hundreds and thousands of dollars every year, these folks that we'd like to believe are working for us and not against us, are actively working against my husband's needs. I'm aware it's not personal. For them. But for us, it's very personal. I don't know what it's like to go through a single day, let alone 25 years, with single-sided deafness. But I know it keeps my husband in chains, and I know Anthem has the power to remove those chains. Isn't this one of the reasons why we have health insurance?

Friday, December 12, 2008


12 December 2008
chimera: noun: a thing that is hoped or wished for but in fact is illusory or impossible to achieve.
inspired by The Weekend Wordsmith

This House is...
should have been built on Sanity,

but even a foothold is rare purchase.
At least the Cornerstone sits solidly
upon rock-hard, sound rationality--
he does not wander. The Little Ones go,
return again, find the House
in need of repair, but standing,
safe and warm, sheltering,
in her right mind.


12 December 2008
inspired by The Weekend Wordsmith

That face is almost visible
still, after all these years. Time
claims not the victory. and when he does,
I’ll still remember. Some things are etched
on firmer mettle than stone.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Blogging military brats

I love this website, though browsing it is not for the dull of mind or, at times, the weak of stomach. One post in particular was amusing to me, being a military brat:

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Cynicism vs. naivete

The experience I described in my thumbring post has left me with some very uneasy feelings. I tend to be a bit reactionary in matters pertaining to affronted sexuality. Chauvinism of any kind absolutely gets my hackles up, even on the occasions when it slips past my filters and I am the offender.

Sometimes, though, an offense has long been committed before we even become aware of it, or like yesterday we become aware of it once it's in progress, and we may already have participated in creating what seems to be an awkward and demeaning situation. In such circumstances, I'm not sure if I should assume the worst and feel bad when folks prove me wrong, or assume the best and feel naive and stupid when they live up to the nastiness of which all humans, both male and female, are capable.

Regardless of which way I fall, cynicism or naivete, there's always room for vigilance and guarding of my person so that I would be less likely to find myself in situations where my judgment or the integrity or character of another person are compromised. This sort of caution doesn't have to be the function of cynicism at the one extreme or naivete at the other. It's just plain good sense.

Was it foolish for me to accept a cup of coffee and friendly conversation yesterday from a seemingly benign local business owner? I wasn't looking for trouble, and I assumed he wasn't either. So I did accept the cup of coffee. I guess in doing so I erred on the side of trust. After all, it is *possible* he was simply warning me, in a fatherly way, of the possibility of mis-communicating to other men who might be less kind. Perhaps the trustworthiness I assumed was not ill-placed. At this point, I really have no idea what to think about him. I'm just trying to sort out how I got as far into the situation as I did without realizing that maybe I shouldn't have been there at all.

Unfortunately, because I wasn't suspicious of him nor particularly on guard for myself, I can't remember how things unfolded well enough to judge if I practiced good boundaries or not. If I didn't, I guess next time there must be a better way to carry myself. If I did, then maybe I can stop fretting and be glad that whether or not the man's intentions were honorable, I left with my honor intact. While it would be nice to be able to trust other people always to treat me with the respect every person deserves, there's just no substitute for personal propriety.

Batik, a poem

3 December 2008

These days, my hands are dirty
often, alternately orange, raging red
or indigo, depending on which image
I’m liberating. I imagine there’s someone
within my spheres of influence
who would be ill-disposed to appear
in public with dark half-moons
of dye in the beds of her fingernails,
the intricate swirl-tracings
on each fingertip, these signs of what I do,
who I am. When they fade,
the time has come to find another
medium by which Reality may find
the light, Shadows may be put to flight.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008


inspired by The Weekend Wordsmith

It’s a precarious thing,
floating un-buoyed on perceptions
of a man’s integrity, character
which might change course
at any moment. Yet the constant,
the one thing unchanging, is you.

While the tent-poles of manhood fall,
all around, all around,
you remain. You may yet fall,
and you can fall,

but not here, Beloved.

Here of all places I need you
to stand-- take up the Center-pole,
give me space to stand, not to fall.
Give me space to learn to trust
your mettle after all.


30 November 2008, 6:35 PM
inspired by The Weekend Wordsmith

Some days everything feels
big, insatiable, unkind. I think
mostly Perspective is to blame--
tonight, all things feel
surmountable, and a pint is more than
enough to satisfy my appetite.

Batik 2

Another go at batik. I plan to take both of these and apply other colors, but I ran out of dye today.


A new medium for me. I found the dragon image online and tweaked it a little. Batik is not as complicated as I tried to make it once I realized it wasn't as simple as I thought it was... a rather confounded way of saying that it was both harder and easier than I'd expected. It takes patience and a steady hand, but the results are quite rewarding. The one thing I need to do is crinkle it better, so that the crackled effect of the dye comes through more. All in all, though, I'm very happy with this.

Sometimes a ring is just a ring...

I like jewelry. I'm particularly fond of rings. Earrings, toe rings, finger rings, thumb rings, etc.

I had the interesting and extremely uncomfortable experience today of having a complete stranger, a man old enough to be my father, misinterpret my wearing of my husband's class ring on my thumb. Apparently in some circles, a thumb ring is a signal that one is open to elicit activities. I wish someone had warned me ahead of time. I left the situation feeling violated and quite naive, because while I assumed the best and thought the man was being kind, it became apparent to me after an extended conversation that there was an expectation I was not fulfilling. It wasn't even on my radar until he made it explicit.

I'm left in a bit of a conundrum. I wear a lot of jewelry. I almost never leave the house without earrings, a necklace, at least two rings and maybe 4 or 5, etc. I've never had an experience like I had today related to symbolism in subcultures of which I am largely unaware. Do I stop wearing what I now understand to be suggestive jewelry, at least among some obscure subset of my culture, even if it holds powerful symbolism to me personally that has nothing to do with the expectations of predatory men?


George MacDonald

"Home is ever so far away in the palm of your hand, and how to get there it is of no use to tell you. But you will get there; you must get there; you have to get there. Everybody who is not at home, has to go home."

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