My mom told me tonight, "Sometimes you're such a hippie. You don't always have to be politically correct." I laughed and laughed at the idea. When I recovered, I told her, "Look, I have enough *things*. The things I want, nobody can really afford to get me for my birthday. You asked, so I'm answering."
"Fair enough," she replied. Gods, I feel so very lucky that on the heels of Valentine's Day, my mom, my best friend, and my wife have all asked me what I want for my birthday already! (March 11th.) Every year, I joke about the number of shopping days, but this year, I'm not really interested. I feel so egotistical posting this, but I'm going to anyway, in my Blogspot, LiveJournal, *and* MySpace so everyone who is even contemplating getting me something can see it. I know I've gotten many of y'all who will read this hooked on the National Zoo's PandaCam to watch that little cutie-pie Tai Shan grow and play. I know 'cause y'all have told me. So maybe I can get a few people to do this as well, even if it's not in my name.
Last year, when Tai Shan was born, my childhood love for pandas was reawakened. Every day, watching the National and San Diego Zoo's cams puts a smile on my face, and then there are Pandafix and Pandafans when the cams are down. Really, I would dearly love a much bigger yard somewhere green with lots of bamboo and space for a panda family, as well as all the cats I want. (As well as aquamarine every-damn-thing and a hybrid Land Rover. I don't care that hybrid Land Rovers haven't been made yet. They should be.) This is the next-best thing.
I knew pandas cost an ungodly amount of money to keep and that the leasing agreements (there's really no other word) with China were expensive, but a recent New York Times article showed me how expensive.
If you're contemplating getting me anything, a donation made to the National Zoo, the San Diego Zoo, Zoo Atlanta, or the Memphis Zoo in my name would be about perfect. I do not need an adoption (I'm already the adoptive mother of Tai Shan and Su Lin several times over) or a membership (I'm a Friend of the National Zoo, which is closest to me.) Just a donation. I'd rather see money donated to the zoos than to any Chinese governmental organization, even though their Wolong Panda Reserve produced those 16 gorgeous babies last year.
Should you not wish to enable my panda addiction, and I understand why you wouldn't, a donation to the Lambda Legal, which does most of the legal footwork for same-sex marriage, would do just fine.
(Now what you wanna bet that as much as my very conservative relatives love me, and some of them really really do, they'd rather give to the pandas? ;-)