Sunday, November 19, 2006

Exploring the final frontier

I'm a huge Star Trek fan. I never tire of watching reruns of the original Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation. I absolutely loved Deep Space 9, but it appears that I'm going to have to buy the DVDs if I want to watch those episodes because I can't DS9 on TV.

It's funny that I would grow to be a "trekkie". My first exposure to the original series was in college. My roommate lived for Star Trek! That's all she ever watched on TV, and it was my TV! She bought the log books so that she could memorize the dialogue. So it was not unusual for my friend to mouth the words as we watched an episode. My friend drove me nuts with this, but I put up with it because she was my friend. After college, she convinced her new husband to honeymoon at a Star Trek convention, and he didn't even watch the series! I hated Star Trek - probably because I was saturated with it when I lived with my roommate.

Years after college, I started watching reruns of The Next Generation (TNG). I took to the series immediately. I fell in love with Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart). He appealed to my intellect. He was cultured. And, darn, was he sexy! I never felt that way about Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner, star of the original series), but I was crazy about Mr. Spock, the Vulcan. On TNG I also had a thing for a certain Klingon, Lieutenant Worf. My friends teased me because I had a "thing" for two characters that 1) weren't considered to be conventionally attractive, and 2) didn't display much warmth. We won't explore the psychological implications of my crushes!

My fascination with space and science fiction goes back to my years as a young girl, when I read voraciously about planets and drew pictures of planets and radar systems - at least the way they appeared in my imagination. I think space has always been my escape from the real world. It still is to this day.

When Star Trek: Deep Space Nine came on the scene, I was instantly hooked. It was gritty. It had lots of odd-looking characters, many of whom were social outcasts. The Ferengis, for instance, would do virtually anything for money. But there was something about the most ambitious and annoying Ferengi, Quark, that made him redeemable. As for Captain Sisko (Avery Brooks), he was definitely a babe! Like Jean-Luc, he was smart and skilled in diplomacy.

My college roommate thinks it's hilarious that I'm a trekkie now. My children used to watch the shows with me when they were small. But one day I guess I took my love for aliens too far.

I went to the neighborhood video store and rented five tapes. I came back home to the kids, who excitedly looked through the videos to see what they wanted to watch first. All five videos were Star Trek tapes.

"That's all you got??" they moaned. I gave the kids a sheepish grin.

They mumbled, then went out to play. I put my feet up and quietly escaped for a few hours to the "final frontier."

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Sunday, November 05, 2006

Too much estrogen?

I may get in trouble for writing this post, but sometimes I have to get away from women. Let me explain.

Right now we still don't have our own home yet. So my daughter continues to live with friends. The woman with whom she lives has two daughters. She is also the guardian for four foster daughters. The husband is the only male in the house, unless you count the little toddlers his wife keeps in her home daycare.

My daughter and I are grateful for friends who would allow her to stay there. They treat her as if she's part of the family. But sometimes my daughter gets frustrated - like now. With so many females in the house, she has plenty of people getting into her "business" and making comments about virtually everything she says and does. I've witnessed it, so I know.

I visit my daughter and grandson as often as I can. I am fortunate because I am treated as "family," too. While I love our extended family dearly, sometimes I have to leave because there simply is too much "estrogen" in that house for me. Too much attitude!! My daughter finally told me yesterday that sometimes it gets to be too much for her.

My daughter, the youngest of three children, almost has been raised as an only child because there is a big difference in ages between my sons and her. Even after the baby was born, it was just the three of us - my daughter, the baby and me. (My oldest son is dead, and my other son lives in his own apartment.) So imagine the adjustment my daughter has had to make living in a house where, if you count the daycare kids, there may be 10 or more people in the house at the same time.

My daughter's comments about her frustration didn't come as a surprise to me. I have suggested two things to her:

1. To go into another room and shut the door when she feels she needs some time alone

2. To call me if I'm not working so that I can pick her up and get her out of the house

I am also going to talk to the mom in the house about being understanding if my daughter seeks some time alone. The mom says she considers my daughter to be one of hers. Sometimes I think she takes it a little too far, though, even though I know she means well. That's the challenge of living in someone else's house. That's why should everyone should have his/her own home.

It's my responsibility to provide housing for my daughter and grandson, and I take that seriously. In order to make it possible for us to get a new home, I am job-searching again. I have a job I like, but the pay is very low. No one gets rich working in public education, especially the position I have. I really don't like the job-hopping, and I hate to leave a job where I feel I have a "calling," but I have to take care of family.

I am proud of my daughter. Her grades are wonderful, and she's a fabulous mom. She's been very strong despite a very turbulent year.

Back to the topic: "Too much estrogen?"

I love my women friends, but sometimes I honestly can't deal with a lot of women at once. My daughter is like me in that regard. Both of us grew up as the only girl in a family that is overwhelmingly male. So we both have always had lots of male friends, and we get along well with males. I don't remember either of us ever complaining about being around too many guys.

One of the biggest challenges I ever had was working a job where 95% of the employees were female. They were, for the most part, wonderful women, but I never adjusted to the "attitude" and catty remarks heard throughout the office on any given day.

Do my daughter and I prefer "testosterone" over "estrogen"? I'd like to think we have a great appreciation for sisterhood - that I simply need to get us a permanent home. What do YOU think?

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