Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Q and A

I've had several questions come in, over the last two days, and I hope to get to them all in the next two or three days. Some of the questions have been asked by several people, so I figureed that this was the best way to get to all of you in a timely fashion.
Bear with me, though. Despite the wonderful warm fuzzies and emotionally satisfying feelings that you've all been giving me,... physically, I've been in a great deal of pain and dealing with raging fevers. So...if this sounds disjointed, it's because I'm on narcotic medication for pain and fevers always make me a bit loopy.

Pmomma, while you are awaiting the installation of some kind of UV screening on your windows, have you checked into any of that UV blocking clothing (Solumbra, Coolibar) I had mentioned in an earlier post? It's pricey, but it might be a good stop-gap for the short term.

I have a few pieces of that Solumbra line (a floral SPT shirt and drawstring pants). The shirt is great. The pants are HOT. Oh my gosh. The price of these were prohibitive to my purchasing more, too. I think the cost for the pants was $80+ and the shirt was at least $55. They *do* seems to protect my skin, though. I've found a few companies out of Australia, but...jeez, the shipping is insane. I realize that my kids wear Gymbo (a fact that John R. harped on), GAP, and Polo, but that's because I'm a coupon/sale/clearance fiend. When it comes to myself, I'm just as frugal. Ok. Frugal is generous - I'm a cheapskate. But, in general, I have switched to wearing only long sleeves and long pants with my fishing hat. It's not terribly attractive, but it gets me to daylight appointments (since the van has UV protection already). Just last night, PDaddy found me fingerless gloves (*squeal*). I've been looking for them FOR. EVER. They're not as easy to obtain in California. Last night was the first night in a year that my hands were warm all night (I suffer from Reynauld's - a side effect of lupus).

What do you do with yourself? I'd go nuts if I had to stay in one room. Don't you get depressed?
Well, as one might be able to tell, I have my computer. Pdaddy has set me up with a recliner in the bat cave. I spend most of the day in the chair, chatting with you guys or surfing the net. I'm also a big reader. Usually, I go through four books a week. This has become a costly thing because the library rarely has the books I want to read...but, between the amazon marketplace and paperbackbookswap, I do okay. I also received six seasons of Gilmore Girls for Christmas, so that's keeping me entertained. :) As for depression - sometimes. There are days where I have trouble pulling it together and keeping my attitude positive, but... I have to say they're pretty far and few between. Despite everything, I do have a ton of things to be thankful for. I have my mind. I have my family. I have all my senses. I have the support of friends. And, though it's been a tight fix when we end up paying copays out the tush...it really could be much worse. MUCH worse. I'm under no impression that what I'm going through is the worst possible situation one could be in. Plus, I have four kids - I don't have the liberty of being depressed or wallowing in my limitations. It's amazing how a snuggle from a possum can pep me back up.

Do you have other needs? Services? And/Or - I can't help monetarily, but what other things might you need?
I want to be perfectly clear on this. What you guys have given me, through e-mails and posts and phone calls, is enough. Whatever else we receive is icing on a very delicious cake. I'm grateful for the relationships that are being built or have been built. So, I want no one to feel bad or feel obligated.
If you have ideas, then please present them. If you know of a product that would help, then don't hesitate to share it with me. :)

Jen R asked: I've been researching our local chapter of Unitarians, who seem to be atheist-friendly and non-judgemental (they even have a discussion series coming up exploring non-theistic humanism). It seems like it would give me some contact with a community, and the feeling of togetherness and bondedness that comes from church-going, without having to get the godly whatsits that generally seem to parasite along with such things.
So, my question of you or your readers is this: is it too good to be true? Will their touchy-feely "spirituality" be comforting, or eyeroll inducing? Any bad experiences?

If you're purely looking for fellowship and a community, then I think the UU's are a great group of people. I'm sure that there are good, bad, and everything in between, as far as the people who attend UU services. I'm sure that there are some who would try to convert. So, who knows. Maybe someone here can answer you more specifically.

Edited to add this question which has been e-mailed to me by three different people since I posted this:
"We want to help you. You're letting us show our atheist pride and humanity. What things would make your life easier? What things make you more comfortable?" (Paraphrased) - Christopherthinks, lookabear, and xx_frankenfurter_xx

What things would make my life easier/more comfortable?
A stool for the kitchen. Warm socks. Hats. Books. A maid (ha!).


holliwud517 said...

I read what you wrote about the gloves...trust me...in Colorado, I'm in the land of gloves and mittens right now. I have a pair of the fingerless gloves and a few pairs of the kind that have the little mitten that folds over. If you want, let me know the style/color/fabric that you want and I will send them to you. Hugs. :)

Atheist in a mini van. said...

Hey Beyotch!!*
I didn't even think that you were in glove central. Thanks for the offer. I'm looking for thin cotton or polyester (fingerless) gloves in any color or pattern. It's not like I leave the house and need to coordinate an ensem. I just get really cold hands and that makes them hurt when I'm trying to do stuff. I have no idea about size. But, we're the same age and similar build, so whatever fits you would work. Just drop me an e-mail and tell me how much I owe you.

OH! And, totally off topic, my dad is retiring on the 12th of Feb. Can you believe it? Think my mom will survive? Your mom's Christmas letter came back "return to sender". Did I inadvertantly piss mamasan off?

*Robin and I have been friends since freshman year of high school. We were using the phrase "Beyotch" before it was cool. I'm not being rude or offensive.

holliwud517 said...

Holy me! You're dad's going to be home all the time driving your mom crazy! No more smoking and wrapping the butt in foil, I tell ya! Or did she quit smoking already? I'm on a glove mission now...let me know if there's any other warm type clothing you need...want some footie jammies? I can make sure they have a trap door. LMAO! Take care.

Atheist in a mini van. said...

Holy me! You're dad's going to be home all the time driving your mom crazy!
Yep! It should be entertaining. I think it'll be a toss-up regarding who-drives-who crazy most often. I have this mental image of my mom sighing really loud as she vacuums circles around my dad. LOL He did buy a truck and is looking for a trailer, so I guess if it gets too bad, he can go camping.

She actually JUST quit smoking! For the first time in her life, it seems to be working and not just a half-hearted effort. I, personally, haven't seen her light one in a few weeks. So, here's hoping she's done for good. Her breathing was getting really bad...

No more smoking and wrapping the butt in foil, I tell ya!
I know. I think the foil people are going to think she died.

I'm on a glove mission now...let me know if there's any other warm type clothing you need...want some footie jammies? I can make sure they have a trap door. LMAO!
ROFLOL - oh yeah. Then I can look like Owen. :) I would imagine those things would be awfully hot (as an adult). But...I do have my trusty Tatung.

BTW - Jake got a SNL dvd for Christmas and it has the hyper-hypo. :)

Poodles said...

No more smoking and wrapping the butt in foil, I tell ya!

It took me a minute to realize you were talking about the cigarette butt... I had a strange visual at first. Something about her keeping the South Park aliens from giving her an "antenna butt".

Sorry. :(

Tracey R. said...

I'm a UU, and have been active in 2 different churches (1 in *gasp* Texas) :) and both congregations were incredibly welcoming to atheists. I can't imagine someone trying to "convert" an atheist (although I'm sure it could happen, I'm just saying I've never been an anti-atheist UU). I think UU is a great community for an atheist.

Tracey R. said...

Whoops, that was supposed to say I've never "met" an anti-atheist UU.

I've also never BEEN an anti-atheist UU, but that wasn't what I meant. :)

kstorm said...

Regarding the UU church - if they are like the UU's around here then no they will never try and "convert" you. My mother belongs to the local one and they have atheist, agnostic, jewish, catholic and wiccan members (to name just a few). I checked the UU website and they say that “At last count, 19% of Unitarian Universalists said that they did not believe in any type of god.”

Of course it depends upon the group and I will say that when she first joined it was a very non-spiritual group. They have had a recent influx of new members in the past couple of years and they got a new minister, all with more "spiritual" leanings. Still, though they do not proselytize - these are all people who either left another church or were looking for that sense of community without the pressure.

They are a nice group as are the other UU congregations around here. Each one has a slightly different “flavor” depending on the congregation. I go once in a while mostly when one particular person is speaking because I love her messages. (They don’t have a full-time minister and share the one they have with another congregation). I was sorry that I missed one of the atheists giving a talk a couple of weeks ago - but I admit catching up on sleep on the weekend often wins over other ideas.

Perpetual Beginner said...

Individual UU's vary highly - it seems to be the point of the UU's! I have a friend due to be ordained as a UU minister this spring (she just got green-lighted this last month). When she joined her current congregation, they had an atheist minister. Their current minister is a theist, though I'm not sure of what stripe, and Beth herself is also a theist, though decidedly not Christian.

The political leanings and theistic make-up of various UU churches can also vary highly (unsurprisingly), they don't enforce a "type" on their churches any more than they do on the individuals.

Pmomma - foot size, including width, please.

Bonnie said...

Pmomma - do you have an Amazon wishlist? I've really enjoyed reading your blog for the last few months (since I discovered it) and it's initiated some great discussions around our house. I'd love to send some books your way!

Thranil said...

I'm an atheist, and I currently attend a UU church here in Austin. I really enjoy this church and my wife and I are working on building up our community/support system with the people there especially with the last year being so hard on my family (fortunately it was not health related).

My experience with the two UU churches I have attended is that they are extremely open to people of any belief system. It's not that they accept it, I find that they just don't honestly care what you believe about god (or not). The minister at my current church likes to say "here, we don't care about what you believe about god, we just care about who you are and if we enjoy your company". Apparently they've had some real jerks come through, so he started adding that last part... :)

So personally, I recommend them, but I do know that each one can be very different. Another group that is very inclusive (and don't care what you believe) are non-evangelical Quakers, although they are much more contemplative/'spiritual' than UUers.

jen r said...


Re the non-spiritual turning into spiritual, that is something that seems to be happening in the chapter here, too. In fact, the non-theistic humanism discussion I mentioned will discuss that specifically: what impact it might have on the church that it's becoming more "spiritual," and how it will affect the atheist/agnostics of the group. The thought was one that gave me pause about joining...I will be interested to see how the discussion turns out.

Well, I guess I will test the waters for the next few Sundays, and join in on a few group activities. Thanks for all the advice, P-Momma and readers.

As a side note, my boyfriend nearly fainted when I first mentioned the possibility of going to church (he's so used to me being a so-called "angry atheist"). I'm sure he thought I'd been the recipient of an alien brain transplant. ;)

Tracey R. said...

Thranil - I'm in north Austin. We go to Live Oak UU. :)

Berlzebub said...

Re: The stool for the kitchen

Everyone hold off on this one. One of my coworkers has a contact that he may be able to get P-Momma a couple of them, for free. I should know pretty soon if it's going to work out. (That's why I asked for your address, P-Momma.)

PS. When the hair clips get here, I'll take pictures of Munchkin wearing them, and email them to you.

Thranil said...

Tracy: I went to live oak for a while but decided to try out FirstUU (and liked it) which is where I am now. Like oak is fine, but we found that there are more family-oriented activities at FirstUU... of course it also helped that the second time I attended, the minister was quoting Harris, Dawkins, and Dennett saying that he agreed with those guys :).

MorganCain said...

Warm socks - pish. So easy! But I note you want cotton fingerless gloves, not wooly ones, so what specs on the socks, please?

Eamon Knight said...

My agnostic parents joined a UU fellowship in their retirement (and even served on the Board). UU congregations vary all over the place -- my parents' was on the secular humanist end, but some would be indistinguishable from very liberal Christian churches. All the same, my Dad did sometimes get a bit irritated by the push to get more "spirituality" into the services, as he considered it a lot of vaguely-defined warm-fuzzy nonsense. However, he acknowledged that many people seem to find some significance in it, which they want or need. [shrug]It takes all types...

wineymomma said...

I had the same problem with wrapping her but in foil!!!


you have an amazing group of friends!


We should get together on the glove shopping if you're ever in Colorado Springs!:

Bananabethanna said...

I think this is her amazon.
The name and place are right.

Tanya said...

Hey P-momma,
I'm new here. Was actually referred by pharyngula. When I saw you were interested in fingerless gloves I thought of these:
They're not fashionable, but affordable and disposable. We use them at work. At least, I believe those are the ones. I can check the catalog number when I get to work, if you'd like.

I could also nab a pair and send you a pair if you want to see if they'd work for you.
Just drop me an email
tanyawalker79 @ gmail dot com