Thursday, July 20, 2006

Questions and answers

Sarah is doing a question/answer thing to stir up some blog conversation, so here are my answers to her questions (which were great!):

1) What does your notion of "god"/higher being/power/consciousness/etc. look like, if you even believe in such a thing?

I've always felt the presence of a higher being or higher power, but I don't have the words to describe this. As a result, when I say "God", I mean it very loosely. As a child, I bought into the whole "God as man/masculine" thing, but even then I never had a distinct vision of what "He" looked like. Also, "He" always seemed like a YOUNG man, not old.

Now, I'm more inclined to wilfully view the higher power as feminine, not because I truly believe there is any gender involved (or even humanity), but because I'm trying to break the "masculine" limitation of God in my own perception. For as long as I think of God as a male "father", I am not truly open to the true "living" God.

In summary, I think there's something out there & there's something to all this life thing, I just don't know what. It's not so precise as saying "everything happens for a reason" (referencing my original question). Just that there's something important and powerful that guides us which exists beyond our own individuality.

2) Under what circumstances would you have an abortion, if any?

Well, first of all, the timing is critical. I don't have any particular compunction about something like the morning after pill, which is not an "abortion pill", but presumably could allow a ferilized egg to die (b/c it would not have a place to implant). Of course, simply practicing the rythym method kills more fertilized eggs than condom use. (At the wrong time in a woman's cycle, the fertilized egg can't implant, but a condom would prevent the fertilization from happening in the first place).

Other than that, I think I would have an abortion if my life were in danger, or if a pregnancy would cause me severe and permanent health problems. In the case of rape, I probably *wouldn't*. I imagine that would be a very difficult thing to deal with though, and I doubt I would raise the child. Obviously, I hope that would never happen, regardless!

3) What do you think is the primary problem that stands in the way of social justice today?

This is a really hard one. But I think the problem that exists today has been a problem for a very long time in human history. It's that each person feels driven to see themselves as better than someone else, so there always needs to be someone at the bottom to beat up on. Unity among people sadly requires some group of "others" to unify against! Perhaps people are naturally inclined to do this. Lots of social animals have ranking and unfair distribution in their groups. It might not be possible to completely eliminate the tendency to rank ourselves. Even social justice organizations have problems with people jockeying for position. In feminist groups, there's racism. In anti-racism groups there's sexism. Then there's the whole "more progressive than thou" thing (ironic, but IMHO, this tendency is the PRIMARY reason why many people are turned off to social justice movements who might otherwise feel engaged with them.)

Anyway, I know that like everyone else, I'm prone to look for reasons I'm better than others, and it's not something I'm proud of. The solution to this problem is education. Children should be raised in a way that they are constantly encouraged to see all members of their family/classroom/etc. as important. I really like Quaker schools because they seem to promote the best kind of environment for this. In general, bullying should be properly regarded as a serious problem not just because kids might shoot up a school or commit suicide, but because it teaches *everyone* the wrong lesson about how we should treat others.

4) What's the story of you meeting your partner?

I've known Bill since I was 14. We moved in across the street from each other over the summer of 1989, but didn't really meet and talk until the second day of high school. On that day, we were walking home from the bus. It was a beautiful day with lots of puffy clouds that you could imagine were different objects. So that's just what we did - for a pretty long time too. At that time, he and I were the same height, and now he's 4 inches taller than me :o) Our parents invited each other over for dinner on occassion. I remember once we played with legos and he was really embarassed about it (because he thought it was so childish) and didn't want me to mention it to anyone at school. It's so funny now, because we *were* such children then! And now as adults we play with legos with no embarrassment whatsoever!

We were "just friends" in high school, and did a lot of fun nerdy things together like write each other notes in code, play 3-D tic tac toe, and write stories where one person wrote 1-2 pages and then the next person wrote 1-2 pages, etc. We also had lots and lots of goofy inside jokes between us. It was great.

Lots of kids teased us that we were dating. The truth was, I had successive crushes on lots of guys who were *not* Bill, most of which were quite one-sided, but one of which involved a date-type encounter and one a pseudo-relationship. Bill and I really did start dating a short time after high school ended. I'd be surprized if anyone in our grade knows we were "an item", let alone that we are now married. (All the friends I've kept in contact with were in different grades than me). So there's lots of potential for fun if we went to a high school reunion (especially since I never changed my name). Like, we could recruit some friends to pretend they're our "wife" and "husband", and then go to the reunion as separate "couples". Then he and I could "bump into each other" and proceed to have a torrid "love affair". That would be hilarious. Well, there's always the chance that someone will read this blog and my cover will be blown. :o) Actually, it will never happen because neither of us really wants to hang out with anyone from our high school, even for the sake of a really good practical joke. Bill especially feels this way.

5) What artistic abilities do you possess?

I can sing, at times really well (those times being when I'm not nervous and when my singing taps into my emotions). If I'm nervous, then I sing acceptably. I've written some decent poetry (also some really crappy poetry, but no point in dwelling on that). I've written a lot of funny things (stories, fake multiple choice tests, responses to insipid chain emails, etc). I can also cook, which is an art form, IMHO. I could be a really good cake decorator/food artist if I only had a chance to learn. (I'm obsessed with that show "Food Network Challenge".) I like to draw, but the world has told me too many times in too many different ways that I'm not good at it . Not sure how that counts. Overall, I'm more inclined toward music and written things than to anything visual or spatial. I try to avoid dancing in public. ;o)


Blogger A Pregnant Mind said...

I'd like to... Respectfully educate you in response to your comment under number 2.

I teach a scientifically based version of what I think you are referring to as "rhythm". (Website:

The idea of the body not receiving a fertilized egg during a certain time of your cycle is erroneous.

The short version is that the female body is "trying" to get pregnant every cycle, but only has about 24-hours to do it in. That's the (high-estimate) life-span of her egg.

FAM/NFP (the modern version(s) of rhythm) is based on recognizing the signs of approaching ovulation and making sexual choices based on that knowledge.

If the body on its own is unable to receive a fertilized egg, it is a fertility/health issue and not the result of choices in timing.

Thanks for letting me clarify,
--Amy from

3:46 PM, August 27, 2006  
Blogger Barbara Preuninger said...

Hi Amy,

Thank you for your response.
Sorry I did not reply earlier. I haven't checked here in a while.

In response to your point, I will say simply that I'm taking my claim from the Journal of Medical Ethics (vol 32, p 355), which says that fertilized egg death occurs much more frequently with the use of the rythym method than from condom use. Now, it's quite possible that I'm misinterpreting something. What is your understanding of this article?

10:31 AM, August 29, 2006  
Blogger Barbara Preuninger said...

You may like a link...

Journal Article

10:33 AM, August 29, 2006  
Blogger A Pregnant Mind said...

Hello again-- I just checked back in today. Thank you for linking that article. I hadn't seen it yet.
I'll read it and come back here to comment some more. This is an interesting find.


2:07 PM, September 05, 2006  
Blogger A Pregnant Mind said...

Hello again.

I read the article, and took a look at what was written to him (her?) in response.

Most of those responses contained elements of what I would say, about intentionality, and the author's seeming mis-understanding about effective natural methods.

I was disappointed that a "researcher" showed less knowledge and surety in his subject than I (as a non-medical/lay-person) could suggest.

He has three assumptions (that are definitely *assumptions*), and does raise an interesting debate (If we knew that our [poor] timing was part of the high success rate, would we stop?) but that kind of is like a question my friend's husband asked me once: "If dying your hair pink was part of being a Christian would you do it?

I answered that it isn't, so the issue is moot, and refused to answer. Ask me why I'm not doing what I *should* be doing. That will certainly be more useful.

It really ticked him. We bug each other.

If this fellow's "assumptions" were more... widely supported (he said in his own defense that the assumptions were extrapolations from research, not necessarily proven by it; e.g. the 50% death-rate) this would be a more legitimate debate, and I'd do more talk about intentionality (of which there was a good sprinkling of in the discussion/letters), b/c I feel I shouldn't be preggers now, and have to use something.

But really, to give you an idea how rarely the "worn-out" sex-cells possibility could apply (this being what he bases most of his theory on), consider this. The longest that sperm-cells can live (according to a number of texts I've read) is 5 days. And this only in a particular environment. The normal life-span is maxed at hours. The ovum (egg) is "allowed" 24 hours in the literature, though observation has set it lower in a range of 6-16 hours. This of course would explain why it's so hard for some women to get pregnant even when they're ovulating regularly.

Practitioners of my method wait for 3 days after indication of ovulation before beginning "unprotected" intercourse again. Far beyond the generous lifespan calculated for the ovum (I can explain the reasoning if you want ;o).

Method failure pretty much never comes from I/C too soon after, b/c too soon after isn't following the method at all, and that negates half of
"assumption 3" anyway.

I don't know if this offers you more clarity or not, but I've read quite a bit of literature on this (Catholic and not), and reading Bovens's stuff, while logical in its own context, just reenforced my latent frustration of the many medical personnel who do not have the basics of human fertility internalized.

5:38 PM, September 06, 2006  

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