I'm not cut tagging because I don't think it'd hurt for even people who've been around a while to read this; you'll probably find something out. Also, I'm not big on cut-tagging; I mainly do it for images.
First, the expectations.
I am a deliberately nice person. I expect the people I associate with to be nice as well. One can be honest without being unkind. I'm not a saint, and I don't expect other people to be, but I do expect people to do their best. You will note a distinct lack of hostility in my LJ and in the comments. I prefer a highly judicious use of sarcasm as well; too much of sarcasm is meanness or hostility disguised as humor, imo.
I like a good discussion, but generally find debate stressful and unpleasant. The distinction I make between them is that discussion is about sharing information and maybe hoping to come to a mutual understanding. Debate is about arguing your point of view with the goal of "winning". I don't back down from taking a stand when something is important to me (and respect the right of others to do so as well), but I prefer to avoid conflict. Life is too short.
I work hard to be positive, without ignoring reality. I appreciate that in other people. Consistent negativity about Everything without redeeming features is pretty much guaranteed to make me stop reading. I don't like Drama and keep it out of my life. I was once something of a drama queen, the kind of person that always had something Wrong because it was the way I got attention. I'm not that way anymore, and I firmly avoid those who are, for my own sanity. (And I can tell the difference between someone who actually does have things wrong and tries to overcome them and an energy vampire.)
I read everyone on my list, and I read almost everything they write. (I occasionally skim memes and I gave up reading popefelix's GRB reports. (Sorry, Kit. It wasn't like I ever had anything useful to say anyway...) It should show something that I can actually think of only one specific thing I skip. Edit, 4/2/09: I'm a little more prone to skimming memes and such nowadays, with two children to manage!) I do not have a ton of time, so I keep my reading list low. The people who stay are people I genuinely like or love. Priority is strongly given to people who interact with me, ideally frequently. Some people stay because they so rarely post that there wouldn't be much point in removing them, but that's a tiny minority. Edit: I'm getting stricter about who I keep on my list, even if they don't post much. If I feel like you aren't reading my LJ, I'll probably stop reading yours. If I feel like we have serious differences that would make it extremely difficult to have a long term friendship, I am likely to stop reading you. How strict I am about this does vary with how much time I have; I expect that after the baby arrives, a serious pruning will be in order. But we'll see. Edit: I prune my list fairly regularly and try to keep it down to people I just plain can't bring myself to remove.
All of this is not intended to chase you away; you may well become one of my dearest friends. On the other hand, sometimes even people who strongly seem like they should be friends don't become so for some ineffable reason. Time will tell. I am not a hasty decision maker as a rule and the circle of people who are the closest to me is, in fact, quite small, so there's room. Edit, 3/5/07: I am actually starting to run out of room for more people, but exceptions will always be made for really good matches. Edit, 1/10/13: As my life faces a major transition, I'm looking for more connection.
My LJ is my social circle. It is one of the primary ways I interact with most of the people who are important to me. It is also the place I look at/study my life and myself and where I record that which I find important as well as my life in general. If you read my journal consistently, you will know me very well. There is only one aspect of my life that I keep semi-private on LJ, and it's not really anyone's business unless they're my lover, anyway. (As we get to know each other better and develop some trust, feel free to email and ask about this if you are curious, keeping in mind that I may not be ready to share and will say so.) My main privacy method consists of simply not giving out my last name to just anyone. Off the internet, I'm more reserved till I get to know someone well enough to trust them. Then they know everything someone who reads my LJ knows. My parents, sister, and friends-I-knew-before-the-internet all read my LJ.
That last one was more background information than anything, so I guess it's time for that:
Tom (tom_vroom) is my spouse and partner. We are ridiculously happy together. He is my best friend, I'm his, and we're pretty much a package deal. He doesn't have a lot of time to post to his LJ, but he does from time to time.
Edit 11/13/05: Will, as mentioned below, is my son, born 7/7/05. He's a sweet, funny, extremely good-natured infant, and I hope and expect will carry those qualities into childhood. :) 3/4/07 - So far, so good. :) 1/10/13: Will has ADHD. He was officially diagnosed at the beginning of first grade. He is successfully treated with Focalin and I am very, very, very relieved. As with many difficult and traumatic things, I only appreciate now that things are better how ugly they once were. That said, I have always loved my son and I always will. He is so much like his father that it's sometimes weird!
Edit 4/2/09: And now there are two. Finian Xavier was born 7/26/08. He's an old soul, made of cuteness, wildly expressive, and very happy, and I greatly look forward to seeing him grow, as I have enjoyed watching Will, who is almost 4 now! :) 1.10.13: Finn is a bit of a drama queen, who needs a LOT of attention, and we're currently working on getting him to understand how to get positive rather than negative attention. He is still very funny, very cute, and very loving, if a tad on the temperamental side. (He is completely my child and I accept full responsibility.)
Rick and Kathy (rhklein and agitatedbaby) - Rick is my oldest friend; we met in the 4th grade. Kathy is Rick's wife and also a friend in her own right. I sometimes refer to another Kathy, who I also met in 4th grade and who was my best friend for a long time till she ended the friendship. I usually make the distinction pretty clear. Edit 3/5/07:
Kate/Katie (katiedid2) is my sister. Her ex-husband (their divorce process began in August, 2012) is Justin and Kaeli and Brenna are my nieces. Brenna's father's name is Dante, but he is unstable and not in the picture.
Everyone else is pretty self-explanatory, or you'll learn pretty easily in a short time. :)
Edit: Oops! Left out the animals!
I am the mama to three cats, a dog and a turtle. The cats are (in order of arrival into our home) Muchly (black), Grover (orange), and Doctor Teeth aka Doc (grey and white). The turtle (red-eared slider) is Kermit. :) Our dog, large and shaggy, is Mokey.
Edit: Maxwell Shmoo (aka Max) (tuxedo cat) died on Dec.6, 2009, at approximately 12 years of age, of natural causes. Magic, aka Maggie, was euthanized in 2011 due to failing health. Macho (grey) was euthanized due to failing health in 2012.
I have a number of health problems (I occasionally refer to myself as the Amazing Medical Specimen), but the ones that get mentioned most often are my gastric reflux and chronic nausea, pulsatile tinnitus (aka (the) whooshing), and my bad joints (thanks to "global ligamentous laxity" which is the fancy way of saying "loose ligaments all over"). Edit, 4/2/09: I haven't gotten an official diagnosis, but I now consider myself to suffer from Benign Joint Hypermobility Syndrome...basically a newer term for the loose ligament thing.
I'm finally well on my way to giving birth to our first child, a boy who is already named William Emerson. This is after many years of infertility and two miscarriages. I am actually glad that getting pregnant wasn't easy for us; I think we're both going to be much better parents now. I will be a stay-at-home Mom, assuming we can continue to manage to feed, clothe and shelter ourselves on Tom's income.
At the moment, I work as a substitute aide in my local school district. I value the flexibility of the position; if I don't want to work, I don't have to. I work with different kids all the time (although sometimes I work with the same kids or in the same classrooms repeatedly; this most often is true of the pre-K classes, which are pretty much my favorite to work in.) The vast majority of the time, I am an individual aide for a challenged kid. I love, love, love my job. I hope to go back to doing it someday. But I've always and ever wanted to be a Mom, so I'm just now starting my real career. :)
Edit 3/5/07: Since Will was born, there have been two more miscarriages. We are hoping to get lucky one more time and then we'll be done. So far, we're managing to keep me at home. Edit, 4/2/09: We did! We had our Finn, and we feel very complete, although I have this feeling I'll have a daughter (probably by adoption) someday as well. 1/10/13: We're totally done having children. I am currently planning to enroll in Meadville Lombard UU seminary to become a Unitarian Universalist minister. I also do readings and wisdom/magic as Wren Starling, see wrenstarling.com for details. 1/21/2015: Have decided NOT to become a minister. Still don't know what I'm going to do when the kids grow up!
I am a firmly established liberal. I generally consider myself a Democrat, in USA terms. My mother once observed that I'm as determined to see the world in shades of grey as others are to see it in black and white. That's probably true. That said, I do have a bunch of strongly held opinions, about which you can read more here.
Edit 3/5/07: Immigrating:
Tom and I decided to immigrate to Canada, which is a heck of a lot closer than the USA to our idea of a country we want to be part of. We've just started filling out the paperwork, and are looking at two years before we (hopefully) make it. Edit, 4/2/09: Life kept delaying us and now Canada has tightened its immigration policies, so we are considering a move to the northeastern US as Plan B. We still hope to eventually make it to Canada, but are not expecting to get in for at least 5 years, maybe more. 1/10/13: We're planning to stay where we are for the foreseeable future.
Any questions? Anything I've left out? Welcome to my world.