October 24th, 2006

Appleton WI

So we went to Appleton WI to visit Lawrence University, Lucas and I. We stayed at the cheapest hotel Orbitz had, and it was freaking awesome in so many ways:

1. Nothing says 'swank' like cigarette burns in the bedspread.
2. There were signs that said there was an indoor pool. Apparently, a complete lie -- we walked all around, and no pool.
3. Night clerk -- very nice lady with literally, one tooth that stuck waaay out. Now it's not nice to make fun of people for their personal appearance -- Lord knows I'm no John Cameron Swayze -- but this woman could have been Cletus the Slack-Jawed Yokel's sister.
4. This curious decoration out front.

Seriously worth clicking through to the bigger image just to get the full impact. What you're looking at is a dusty fountain of some sort with cherubs, surrounded by bare dirt, in which there is a square trench. In the square trench there are

a) Artificial flowers planted in the dirt
b) clumps of dead grass or possibly straw
c) cigarette butts

Collapse )

Madonna and Child

Mostly for elkay.

The first thoughtful article I've seen about Madge's Malawi adoption. (On Salon, so you have to watch an ad)

"You don't have to explain yourself when you plan your biological family; you shouldn't have to justify your decision to adopt, and certainly not to strangers, no matter what tangles you encounter."

Adoption is just like any other sort of parenting -- probably 1/3 of the time it turns out great, 1/3 it's a mixed blessing, and 1/3 it's a total fucking disaster. Which, if you think about it, is about the same proportions as you encounter with biological families. But I love my cousins, and I love my friends who were adopted from overseas -- they're proof that good can come of it.

The biological component of parenting is in my opinion really overrated. Anyone fertile can make a zygote. Getting up in the middle of night to clean up a bedful of puke -- or worse -- and spending hours rocking a sick child when you have to get up for work, that makes you a parent. Among many other things.

And I know it matters deeply to some people, who really feel anguished if they can't bear their own children. I don't judge them; I don't know what I'd feel like if I was in their situation. But there are many children who need homes, desperately, everywhere. In a just world, they'd be first in line for loving parents, ahead of all the hypothetical babies people might have. Hey, first come, first served.