Dear Dear Diary
The debate last night had a lot of stuff about Gay Marriage versus Civil Unions. I had a long argument about this subject when I was talking to a gay friend. When I told him I was in favor of civil unions, he objected strenuously. "That's Separate but Equal all over again. It didn't work for black education, and it should not work for marriage," he said. But I really do want to take it one step further. I think all current legal marriages in the eyes of the State should be converted to Civil Unions, and be given all legal rights currently given, including inheritance, hospital visitation rights, benefits, etc. Civil unions can be between anyone. I also don't have a problem with civil unions involving more than one person, but I know this is probably too far for the mainstream.
Marriage is a sacrament. Just like baptism, just like communion, just like the last rites. It's one of eight, according to the Catholic Church, that one may have in life. As a sacrament, it can only be defined by the Church blessing the sacrament. So if the Church of the Plastic Bible says marriage must be between a man and a woman- that's the right of the Church of the Plastic Bible. If the Church of the Elastic Fruitbat decides that marriage is only between a man and a cabbage, well then, that's the right of the Church of the Elastic Fruitbat.
What we need is true separation of Church and State in this matter. Civil Unions should provide civil rights. Marriage is just for the blessing of the church only, and for those who believe in such, should reflect on that only.
This is probably the first time I haven't seen a Harry Potter Movie opening day, first showing. But I'm okay with that. I'll get to take Danny this week, and what's better than seeing the movie with my dear nephew? (perhaps seeing it with my niece too, but I'll cope).
I did read book 7. I'm glad about the redemption of Snape. No other spoilers will appear here.
The spare room has been shoveled. (where do you think I hid everything while Jazz was cleaning the rest of the house?) And yes, I threw out bags of things too. I did not know I had enough jeans for two jean quilts. And I am reasonably certain I will never make a jeans quilt.
The fabulous ex-brother-in-law comes Wednesday, with Danny. I look forward to it.
I just wish I could sleep.
I don't know if you noticed, but there's a really cheap beer named "Keystone" that has been running an ad campaign, "Smooth, so you don't have to be." They show white men being total jerks and drinking Keystone. I wish they used more truthful advertising slogans like:
"Keystone: Because you're too white for Colt 45."
"Keystone: Because you're too cheap for Good Beer."
"Keystone: Because we spend too much on advertising to price it like Old Swill."
Growing up, every summer we went to camp. Except the summers we lived in Wyoming, which I was too small to remember well.
I remember the boat ride- dark, cramped, tucked in a life jacket and shoved on someone's lap, on a long ride, after hours and hours and forever in the car. It was more scenery I could only peer at over the edges from my seat, and more anxiety about where do we all fit, get it all packed, don't make noise, stay where we put you, and for gods sake don't fall in the lake.
Then we arrive. The first year, I slept on a couch. The first year I remember anyway. There are pictures of me being bathed in a sink years later I got to wash my hair in, leaning over backwards with my sister pumping the water. This was the Hodgson, a name I later learned was from the manufacturer. There was a seam the length of the cabin, and that was because it was a very early modular home. I later learned of its trip across the lake on the ice, and it being the second story of a boathouse in our little bay, with a balcony all around. There are french doors all around the front and sides that are boarded up and sealed, which ruin its picturesque quality that it must have had as a second story to a boathouse. Mrs. Summer lived there when it was in the bay and painted the view. She left her paintings behind. There was a painting of her son in the hall of the Main Camp, done in oil. I thought he was handsome, almost 20. He died not long after his painting was done- from a fish eating competition, of all things, when a bone got stuck in his throat. I don't know who paid to move the Hodgson from on top of the boathouse to its present location. But I am sure after he died, Mrs. Summer didn't want to paint any more. The oil heater made scary noises in the night, and my little brother slept soundly in his crib in the corner.
My sister got to sleep in the Big House- the Main Camp- with Grandpa Burt and Meme. She was told to be quiet, and to stay in her room until they came to get her in the morning. The next year, and every year after, I also got to sleep over there. We had connecting doors, but never used them. I had one window outside and another window to the hall, across from the bathroom. The other non-master bedroom that my brother got had an actual door to the outside, but this was verboten to use- it was covered with deer hide on the outside and smelled. But I could hear them putter in the living room, central to all of the bedrooms and the hall, lighting the wood stove for warmth. We were invited to dress in the living room where it was warm, after Grandpa Burt was safely in the kitchen having his shave. Then we would all have breakfast to the smell of woodsmoke and Brylcream. And we were given two terribly dry gingersnap cookies to eat for dessert for breakfast. Even now, I salivate thinking of those cookies, even though they were terrible. I want to wash them down with prune juice like Burt. In the evening, the four adults would sit at the card table and play spades, Meme sticking her cards in the edge of the table to help her hold the cards. My sister, my brother and I would play cards too on the floor- go fish, then crazy 8s, then kings in a corner, and finally Pitch. Now, we draw cards for the priviledge. I play with Da when I can, and we kick ass.
The Dining room was used for special occasions. It was its own cabin at the other end of the breezeway. It smelled of moth balls, but many things did up there when the windows weren't open and the wind blowing through. The outside was still peeled bark nailed in place. The shelves had more birch bark peeled paneling. Above the shelves were the tracings of fish caught, the name, the date. Most of the states stopped in 1929, the earliest about 1911. Sunfish, and crappies, perch, and bass. There are a few new fish, from the 70s, 80s, and 90s, and I am sure when Riley realizes what the fish are, he'll want his fish up there too. When I was young, it was only used as a dining room when we could not fit in the Main Camp. The shelves held obscure decanters and fancy china. The bench seats held other things, mostly that I could not name. Now, it's been emptied. Legos and K'nexx cover the shelves. Riley uses it as a play house.
The other building off the breezeway was rarely spoken of or noticed. This is now my haven. The winter cabin is what we call it now. Once upon a time, it was the camp kitchen, where the cook had a bed in the back with a watercloset (literally a closet with a toilet in it and that's all that fits!), and a kitchen with a table under the large window. I saw it only a couple of times in my youth, stinking something awful like the Gods of Latex died therein, so crowded it made my spare room look sparse, with all of the waders invented dangling from the ceiling beams, so it looked like Jimmy Hoffa and friends were butchered in there. This was completely remodeled about 5 years ago, so it is a warm and light yellow kitchen with a small fridge and the only sink without a pump. The bed is large and leveled, but the ceiling slopes so much you still have to watch your head. There's a door to the outside in the bedroom too, which is conveniently where our bedroom door is. The first night we slept there, Jazz stumbled outside to find a place to pee instead of using the watercloset. He had forgotten where he was. Since then, we use a night light in the watercloset. But it's really nice to let the dog out in the morning. It's almost like living in a fishbowl with the windows though. I like it because I get to cook for myself.
But my favorite bedroom was the Attic of the Main Camp. The exterior stairs added charm. Stepping over the roof support beams to get to the bedroom in the back was fun. The bats and mice added spice. And I would burn a candle stump to read by, much to the disproval of my parents. I loved it best sleeping under a tin roof in the rain, listening to the waves crash on the floor, and the sudden hush of a mosquito with the flutter of a bat's wings. This was Romantic.
But the point itself was my special place. Just sit on the rock and watch the lake. I would dance around the fireplace and flagpole and make up silly songs. I never knew or cared that anyone could listen or see me. I still love sitting there in the evening, watching the mountains across the lake give birth to the moon- watching every star there ever was appear above me. Just breathing in the stillness and the life was comfort to the soul.
I learned later how the first building was the tool shed, which was used as a bunk house for builders at Bluff Point. Later, one of the lawyers for J.P. Morgan, Vanderbilt, etc., bought our camp. He built the Main Camp and added to it, brought the clawfooted tub for the only bathroom in the Main Camp, the Hodgson House onto its boathouse perch. Tried in his way to have a small elegant version of what was happening on Bluff Point, and Long Point, and North Point, and further Great Camps like Sagamore and Kildeer, and Uncas. We had bark on the outside of the Main Camp and Dining Room. Later, Grandpa Burt used asphalt shingles that looked vaguely like wood. Later still, Dad and Mom put up cedar shingling. But we still have the same panelling in the Living Room of the Main Camp that they have in the Wigwam at Sagamore. Mom used to complain it's too dark. She likes it fine now.
No matter what is to come for Camp, it's still there in my heart, and it will stay there.
I did not fight with my sister. I am proud of this. I did not say, "You told me that you wanted to live for yourself first. What I hear about this guy and your relationship, it doesn't sound like at all like you are living for yourself. It sounds like you are living for him. And he likes the status quo. Don't marry him. Don't have his babies." I did discuss her having his baby, and she was noncomittital, but she said she probably would. I traded a look with my niece at that point. Suzi, Danny and I had a conversation about raising their half-sibling- that the burden of raising the kid would likely fall on their shoulders. I told Suzi to run. She shrugged. She said she would likely help out the kid, just because she felt sorry for the kid. It'll stiffle her dreams, and that bothers me.
My brother and I got along okay. But any attempt at getting to know Riley was met with his brick wall of obsession. I really do now think he is autistic, as he spent most of his time explaining things. Only he does recognize when you tune out- this makes him explain things louder, and doesn't help. Aidan is also borderline. Turn on a tv and you get instant zombie. Arianna, on the other hand, isn't like that. She changes moods and is interested in other things. She wants to be interactive, and yet they are giving a lot of negative interactions. I have the horrible feeling they are encouarging them to be autistic. Riley's early years in a cage did not help. (one room of the house was blocked off for his use alone, and he was left in there for long periods. It was not an actual cage, but may as well have been, as he was completely ignored therein).
Camp was beautiful as always. I took some nice pictures of a loon swimming within 30 feet of me. A bunny came within two feet of me. I saw several deer, and was surprised at how skinny they were, how close to the road, and how indifferent to people they were. And on my last full day, we saw an eagle.
I'm off to the bosom of my family. I will try not to say hurtful things to my sister, even though she needs cutting advice. I will try not to get too upset with my brother-just because he is an idiot doesn't mean I do not love him. And I will try to get to know Riley, because being 9 and bored is dangerous. I will try not to be righteous with my niece, because she's been getting enough helpful advice and I don't need to bring her down. And I look forward to seeing out Danny has changed. I will try not to think about how old my parents are getting. And I will try to have a good time.
Camp itself is mutable and unchanged. It will replenish me when I let it. I will soak in the history and beauty.
The local kitties I like helping (or at least, one of the shelters around here).
Tata, that's where I send your knits. :)
When I was little, my mom used to clean my room with garbage bags. She would go through and throw out everything that she felt I didn't need any more or was cluttering the place. Once, she threw out all of my stuffed animals at once, leaving a doll my grandmother made and a lion that she had made. Everything else was gone. She would purge my things every 3 months, when the urge to make me a better person in her eyes- i.e. a Sanitary person- struck, and she'd walk in with a trash bag and start working. The worst part was that if she was working this hard, we had to work hard too. She could not stand to see us just sitting there. But we could not help. We could not rescue our things. I say we, because this happened to my sister and my brother too, even though it was my room that she "cleaned" in this fashion most often. I felt paralyzed, because if I put things out of her reach, she got mad. If I cleaned something else, she got mad. If I did nothing, she would get mad. She would work herself to the point of exhaustion, and she would be angry, and I would be in tears, and it would be awful.
It's been, what ... 25 years or so since she last tried to clean my room, and thinking about this drives me to tears yet again. I have held onto anything and everything over the years, partly out of fear that some day she'll show up on my doorstep, garbage bag in hand.
This week, Jazz has taken the week off and is cleaning. The basement mostly, because he'd like to film there. He wants to paint while I run away to my annual family trip- paint the basement greenscreen green. This can't be done while I'm home, because I like breathing. But he is disappearing in the basement with garbage bags, and bags are piling high on the porch. I am trying very hard not to have hysterics, because I know that is pointless. There's a lot of shit down there (the basset didn't learn to ask us to be let out, and the Jack Terror went there often), in addition to decomposing boxes, strange moldy things, and disorganized wine racks that NEED cleaning. Honestly, I am grateful he is taking on this task. And I wish I could be more helpful. I did go to the laundramat with all of the cat/dog/couch blankets, and I am still tasting detergent. I do wish I could leave earlier so he could indulge in chemical warfare without my health worrying him. I know the house will be much nicer for all of this hard work- he's tackling the living room and entry way floor etc. while I am gone. But it's very hard for me to help.
I'm so neurotic at times. But at least we don't do this every three months. And I'm better now at letting go and paring down.