Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Just plain lucky

Occasionally I hear J tell M how lucky she is. And when I hear him saying that, I know he is speaking way more about himself and much less about her.

J's birthmom was an immigrant who was in the US temporarily. She got pregnant and gave him up at birth. J spent the first six months of his life in an orphanage/foster care system until he was adopted.

J's adoptive parents weren't in a position to adopt. His father was already engaged in an affair, his mom was young and angry and scared. We think they adopted J with the goal of some sort of reconciliation, but things went sideways almost immediately.

Soon after J was brought home his parents split up. J was shuffled between his now single mom, his dad, and grandparents. As he grew into kindergarten years, folks seemed to lose track of him. He'd spend an entire Saturday sitting on the curb outside his house waiting for a dad who never showed up. His house caught fire once - and his mom and grandparents escaped the burning building, and in the confusion had forgotten about him. He was left in that burning building until a firefighter found him and rescued him. He remembers the oh, that's right, we forgot J when he was carried out. An afterthought at best.

As J grew older he grew into himself - he travelled the world and moved around the country, from working in an Alaskan fish farm to jumping freight trains. He spent a year in India. He was always on the move.

When we met he carried still his wounds with him. He'd always felt motherless, and being the tender soul that he is, was deeply affected by that. After a while we engaged in a bit of a search, obtained his adoption file and learned more about his birth mom. We chased some dead ends and came to the conclusion that finding someone in South America was a task that we weren't up to. We might revisit that in the future, but for now we've put that on hold.

M was the first flesh and blood relative J has ever met. I remember vividly the moment she was born and he was able to gather her in his arms and utter the words "my daughter". I know and I do not know what that means to him. I know that when he sees her being loved unconditionally and passionately it makes up for the fact that he was not. I know that he feels deep and unabashed pride in the ability to grow and encourage her young life.

And I know it's no mistake that she looks exactly like him in every possible way.


Don't forget our second Just Post Roundtable is around the corner. If you have a post of yours or one you've appreciated that was written by someone else, please send them my way (to girlplustwo (at) yahoo(dot) com) by February 8th and I'll send you the button.

We'll link all posts and anyone who refers one (or more) in our Just Post Roundtable on the 10th. If this is new to you, please feel free to check it out here.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

survival of the Iddist

Chani asked me to further expand on the post I wrote last week - how I viewed the role of ego in our culture and in my own life.

I had to take a few days to think about it, because, well, ahem...... It Had To Be Good. Enough said about my own ego.

While I used the word ego in my earlier post to describe what we commonly think of as ego; I have always gravitated more to the concept of the Id, the Ego, and the Superego. Freud theorized that the Ego is the balance of the other two polar opposites, the one that is supposed to keep us in check while occasionally setting us free and yet still getting kicked in the head. While I can't say I subscribe to Freudian thought, I have always thought that this concept does a terrific job at characterizing our ongoing struggle for balance. And for me, visualizing it as three distinct yet intertwined (body, mind, spirit) beings with our choices and actions and motivators in play makes sense, Freudian theory or not.

Id is that carnal nasty dude, the one who jacks off all day and eats 4 pizzas in one sitting. He chainsmokes, Id, and swears like a truck driver. He needs a bath. And you don't want Id going out with your daughter.

Superego is another story. This cat is so tightly wound that he even pisses in a straight line. While holding a Bible in one hand and the other cast in a military salute. His room is clean. And you don't want him going out with your daughter, either. Unless you are a fundamentalist. But if that was the case you are probably not reading this, so let's move along.

And then there's our friend Ego. She is the sweet balance. She cleans up the pizza boxes and unclenches the fist. But she gets the most face time, and therefore is open to more criticism. When in reality, all she's doing is a mad dash between the basement (Id) and the loft (SE), barely pausing to catch her breath in between.

So when I ponder what role the ego plays in our culture, I am more aptly thinking of how our culture relentlessly pursues Id in the hopes of getting him really riled up and going hog wild. Consume. More. Now. Consequences be damned. And other parts of our culture really pander to the Superego, forcing their stick even further up his backside. You MUST live like this if you are to live a moral life. You must. This Way.

But who, if anyone, is really pursuing the ego? In my opinion, she's exhausted. Struggling to resist the temptations while simultaneously deflecting the guilt she feels for not being perfect. But the Id, well, that dude is the one we should worry about. He's bound to embarrass us - if the ego takes a rest the door is wide open and Id is always raring to go. To the next feel good thing. No matter if it steps on the backs of someone else. Power, greed, glory, gluttony. Id loves that shit. And don't get me wrong - Id's not all bad - he's a good time joe as well - some pleasure seeking is of course, merely that. Enough said.

To say that the Id is stimulated any more or less in this culture than others - I suppose I'd say yes, when it comes down to choice. To over consume rather than to simply survive. But that is another whole post in itself, as well as how organized religion feeds these concepts, both and all.

So, dear Chani, I don't think this is really answering what you asked me, but I am high on green tea and this is my late night .02.

I think, once again, it goes back to mindfulness. That our culture benefits from feeding our Id, and unchecked, Id will act like the lone male in a hot tub at the playboy mansion (not that there's anything wrong with that). And our Superego, well, left to his own devices, he'll have everyone subscribing to his own version of what is right, no ifs ands or buts. And no compassion, either.

But that's why our girl Ego is here. She's the one we need to make friends with. She's the one who helps us find the balance.

It's up to us to make sure she's not too exhausted to keep up.

*And please note - the obvious gender-izing of the concepts in question was just that. No offense to our brothers intended.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

it's supposed to be a temple anyways

A week ago (bet you didn't think I could keep this to myself) I started a cleanse. It's been six days now, and I've drank the toxin-getter-outer every day as well as ample amounts of green tea. I've eaten very little (J is still fasting but um, hello, no way in hell) and what I am putting in my system is all very good - mostly proteins and vegetables, a bit of whole grains.

And the thing is, I feel pretty good. Not fabulous, but better. More energy. Cleaner. Humming.

It's one of the things we've really gotten lazy with since M - convenience rather than mindfulness. Microwaving instead of cooking. And it shows. We've both rounded out a bit, gotten sluggish and lazy. And we've burned many a mental calorie just thinking about it.

And it's amazing how much one can rationalize. I'm still a size 8, 8's not bad. So what if I was a 6 last year.... And so on. But it's not about size or weight (ok it is, but it's also not)

It's about mindfulness. It's about making good choices instead of punishing yourself with bad ones, and not in terms of weight, but in terms of how it makes you feel.

And I feel pretty good this week. Clear headed. In control. Mindful. Each time I go to eat something, I think about what it is. What it's made of. Where it came from. And so on.

I know this sounds like a post about dieting. But it's really a post about paying attention. And I am sharing this with you now because I want to make myself further accountable. I want to crawl out from under the mental rock I've been living under in regards to my own wellness. And I know from the places I visit many of you are wrestling with a lot of the same thoughts, and they manifest themselves in different ways - how we eat, how we write, how we parent, and how we show up in the world.

This is a post to remind all of us we have a choice. Let's choose to honor ourselves, in no matter what form that takes.

Namaste, friends.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

keep the change

Note: There is an edit/addition at the end of this post.

J and M were sitting on our bed reading last night while I was otherwise occupied with laundry and other exciting Friday night activities. When I came back in the room, I noticed they were perusing TIME magazine.

J said she's really taken with a picture in here - she can't stop looking at it. When I asked M what picture she liked she flipped to an advertisement for children with cleft palates. She held it up and pointed to one boy in particular (Ahem, a lovely young man from Africa, no less) and said, look mommee, look. mouthowwie. So I said, yes baby, these babies have owwies (I have no idea how to spell that so forgive me) and they need a doctor, but they have no money.

And then, I swear to freaking god, my child said my piggy bank mommee.

J and I looked at each other, mentally telepathing something between holy shit, really? and overwhelming joy. (Months ago we started the piggybank deal, giving her spare change sometimes and letting her put it inside, talking about how that was her money and she could save it for when she wanted something special.)

So I said, do you want to give this boy your money so he can see a doctor? Yesmommee.

We went to her room and took her piggy bank off the shelf and I said, M, if we open this and take out all the money, that means it will be empty and we'll have to start savihg all over again. Are you sure?

Yesmommee.

So we sat on the floor and opened her bank and she shook all the coins out. I went and got a plastic bag and she carefully put all the coins inside and then took the bag and sat it on the boy's face and handed me the magazine. I asked her again if she was sure, and she said yes.

So we took her money and put it away and simultaneously went online and made a donation. A donation that was made rather reservedly, because they did have a full page ad in TIME. But they do claim that all donations go 100% to programming and not to advertising or overheard, so I'll roll with it because my kid asked me to.

After we were done we put the empty piggybank back on the shelf and we hugged and kissed her and talked about how absolutely wonderful her idea was.

I have no idea what all of that meant in a two year old's head, but damn if it didn't feel like we're heading in the right direction.

Edited to note: One of the things about this that was particularly curious to me was that she conceptualized money. When we started her piggy bank, I thought it was cute, a place for spare change, etc, but I didn't realize that she equated it as money as I see it. And then she equated that money as a means to help. For a 2.4 year old to make that connection, it rather astounded me (and no, this isn't a rant about my kid being smart), it's more speaking to what BubandPie said in the comments, about how much they probably really do know and understand and it comes down to how we allow them to express it. Just my post post .02.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

when i dream

I mentioned awhile back that change was in order. It's been brewing.

When I dream, I dream of this:

I want to move into international work. I am growing weary of domestic poverty and community development and it's time to push the envelope. J will follow me anywhere. He's said it. He means it. We want to do this before we settle in Belize. Before it's too late.

Thing is: I can't get a second look because I have no prior international experience. The decade of domestic counts for zip, nada, nothing. But I just need a foot in the door.

Universe. I am calling out to you. I might not present with the necessary international experience at a first glance, but I am scrappy as hell. I can do this.

Africa, Asia, India. I hear you calling. We are ready.

on the other side of things

Sorry, friends - J wasn't feeling me posting before and after pictures. That's just the way he rolls, keeping things under the radar. He's hot like that.

On other fronts - I've managed to tackle the ER Discharge Planner Situation - got the results of the investigation yesterday, where they tried suggesting he was medically stable yet crashed and burned when pressed and admitted that they really didn't know what the hell to do with the guy. She was sheepish, almost. I stood my ground though, and while I think I was being vaguely patronized I went with it anyways and tossed out big words like inhumane medical treatment and unethical behavior and respite care legislation.

So they have agreed to meet and discuss lines of communication about who we can manage and who we can't. Baby steps.

And the unhappy ending - a client of ours died in his sleep yesterday. He was found in his bed by his best friend, another old timer rounding out his last days in a shelter. He was favored among the staff, a dignified and kind gentleman. It was suggested that I call the next of kin, and there was concern for how she'd react, as they were close.

But not close enough to not allow your relative not to die alone in a homeless shelter. Perhaps it was the wrong decision, but I declined in favor of having the police going over in person - because if you can't make that call wholeheartedly, then it's not yours to make.

Am I an asshole for that? Perhaps. I don't know her story and there are usually many layers to this sort of thing. It just didn't seem right. May he rest in peace.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

touch of grey

J mentioned last week that he was considering cutting off his dreadlocks. I was taken rather aback, given how long they had grown and how much energy he'd put into maintaining them over the years. We talked briefly about it and then he let it go, so I was surprised when I walked in the door last night and he said he was ready to cut them all off.

Me: Whoa. Are you sure?
Him: I think so
Me: What are the pros?
Him: I want a fresh start. It's time. I am fasting as well, it's a whole new energy shift.
Me: Alright. What are the cons?
Him: I guess it just freaks me out. I've had them for so long.
Me: At least no one will offer you drugs any more. (He, whether on the road or in the city, gets offered drugs all the time. It's always framed with 'white rasta' and then a quiet push for dope.)
Him: That's true......Is that a pro or a con?
Me: I don't really know. Getting accosted by dealers has it's pros, they always have good directions and where the best food was. Maybe you should wait till our trip is over? It's like a gateway into a whole other thing, that hair. I got the best falafel in my life because that one dude showed us where to go.
Him: No. That sort of makes me want to do it now even more.

So after M goes to bed we put on some music and the cutting begins. The whole time I am worried that his hair is going to be a freaky disaster, full of uneven lengths and bald spots. But once I am done it's adorable - spiky and cute. It's like having a whole new man in the house.

He doesn't get hung up on much, but cutting off his locks was hard for him - I offered to take a magic marker to one of his t-shirts and write "Dude. I KNOW." on it so when everyone says the obvious "You cut your hair!" today he can point to the words.

I'd totally wear that shirt, but I don't think he'll go for it.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

the long and the short of it

The writer would like to acknowledge that a) this post is entirely about her and not really about the kids below, kids she fully realizes are only two years old no matter how she adultifies them, and b) is seriously considering psychiatric assistance.

M has had a long standing fascination with one particular kid at school. It's been going on for months, and it's been a strange evolution for her mother. At first, her preoccupation was absurd, she would scream I love N over and over. She'd repeat his name all the time. And then we'd arrive and she'd run up to him and he'd turn and walk off. Just like that. And she'd glance sheepishly over her shoulder at me with a sort of what now glance.

So I kind of wanted to whack him. I don't begrudge many two year olds, but don't diss my kid, kid. I'm watching you.

But you know, we play it free and easy at Casa Talia. So I hung in there for the next few months, as M chattered on and on about N, while daycaregivers would muse about the strangeness of the fascination, the duration, the amusement. And on it went.

And every so often, N would toss her a bone. I'd come in and see them playing together, and when she saw me her face lit up, saying momma, look, N! And I'd say yes baby, I see you and N are playing, looks like a lot of fun.

It's this that I keep discovering - finding the joy in the things that joy your child. And I want to be in that space with her, watching her discover it.

And then lately, N has started to come around. When we walk into the room (he is always there before we arrive and still there when I pick her up, a long day for our buddy N) he comes up and says hello. To me. (mama's still got it, baby). By the way, dude has vocab. He can practically recite poetry while M is all crazy like lookeemoommeeeegooohommeeee.

And then the other day we were trying to get out the door and in the car when M wandered into our bushes, intent on finding a leaf for N. And nothing was going to move her till she found it. So leaf hunting we go, finding the one or two she wants and carefully take them off the branch and tiny fingers grasp them all the way to school, saying leaf for N, leaf for N, over and over.

We arrive at daycare and M spots N. N, she exclaims. Leaf! And he wanders over and she thrusts the leaf at him in that mixed aggressive/sweet/duck and cover sort of way, and N picks up the leaf, and looks at it, and they wander off, heads bowed together.

I'd be lying if I didn't get a bit weepy. Whatever. Refer to disclaimer b.

And when I picked up her up that night, N walked up to me, as is becoming more common, and said very quietly can I have a hug? And with M watching, I leaned down and gave him one, while catching M in the corner of my eye, wearing a grin that could split a tree in half. As he let go of me she ran squealing saying hug, hug, hug, and pummeled N around the waist, and the two of them hugged goodbye. And M proceeded to talk about that moment all night long, to me, to her daddy, to me, to her daddy. All night long.

And that's where it gets yummy. That while a) and b) are still obviously valid, that it is about supporting and loving your kid while they test the waters in all sorts of situations, ones that will work out and ones that will not, and how much I want to make sure I celebrate her victories and process her defeats - and how I want to wildly scream and cheer and get down with her joyousness.

Which in fact, I did. As we drove home and she kept squealing and screeching N hug mommee, me hug N over and over and over, I, too, was laughing and giggling and wild with joy.

See, it's this: We are mother and daughter.

We are mother, and we are daughter. And we are figuring the whole thing out.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

katannuta and ego

Gratitude is an emotion which involves a feeling of emotional indebtedness towards another person; often accompanied by a desire to thank them, or to reciprocate in kind. (abbreviated from the wiki-people)

From a Buddhist point of view, the Pali word which we translate in English as gratitude is katannuta. The word katannuta consists of two parts: kata which means that which has been done, especially that which has been done to one, to oneself, and annuta which means knowing or recognising.

So katannuta means knowing or recognizing what has been done, that is to say knowing and recognising what has been done to one for one's benefit. Hence the connotation of the Pali word is rather different from its English equivalent. The connotation of the English gratitude is more emotional but the connotation of katannuta is rather more intellectual.

This suggests that gratitude involves an element of knowledge - knowledge of what has been done to us or for us. If we do not know that something has benefited us, we'll not feel gratitude. (More wiki-people)

So, then, is it the recognizing that allows us to be/feel gratitude? Or does the taking for granted the things we forget to notice allow us to miss the intellectual boat and therefore, forget to be grateful?

Because truly, it would seem, if we were cognizant of our good fortune, and anyone who has the luxury of blog reading falls into that category in varying degrees, then we'd exist in a perpetual state of gratitude - perhaps not to each other, but to divinity or mother earth.

I am rolling around the notions of intellectual versus emotional gratitude, and more importantly, how mindfulness of the above can not only affect my daily existence, but allow me to embrace a fuller potential. Because if you break it down, none of us are givers. Rather, we are all part of a giant cosmos that gives and takes, and sometimes our energies intersect with others, and good things happen. To consider oneself a giver supposes a connotation that we are indeed separate.

And honestly, sometimes there is a hell of a lot of ego in that. J mentioned the other day that my blog friends must have a one sided image of me - that I carry on about homeless this, and giving that, and it's all inherently bullshit because giving is not about me. I got rather pissed for a few minutes, and then realized he was right. It's true, I might hold my ideals in front of me as a way to fulfill ego. I also might want to share the things I care about. But I got too defensive not to admit there was truth in his words. And it made me wonder if I wasn't somehow needing to make it known, rather than done for the sake of doing. (Perhaps I am more of a Buddhist than I thought). Probably not. But I digress.

I am paraphrasing a piece from Kahlil Gibran as further food for thought:

You give but little when you give of your possessions.
It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.
For what are your possessions but things you keep and guard for fear you may need them tomorrow?
And what is fear of need but need itself?
There are those who give little of the much which they have - and they give it for recognition and their hidden desire makes their gifts unwholesome. And there are those who have little and give it all.
These are the believers in life and the bounty of life, and their coffer is never empty.
There are those who give with joy, and that joy is their reward.
And there are those who give with pain, and that pain is their baptism.
And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue;
Though the hands of such as these God speaks, and from behind their eyes He smiles upon the earth.
For in truth it is life that gives unto life - while you, who deem yourself a giver, are but a witness. And you receivers - and you are all receivers - assume no weight of gratitude, lest you lay a yoke upon yourself and upon him who gives. Rather rise together with the giver on his gifts as on wings; For to be overmindful of your debt, is to doubt his generosity who has the free-hearted earth for mother, and God for father.

I like this - a combination disavowing guilt trips AND pushing for interconnectedness and lack of ego. There's a reason he's called The Prophet, yo.

So I'll continue to mull. I think this goes back to the simple act of being mindful. And how we get to continually decide how we want to show up in this world. And how we might not want to show up after all.

still not quite done taking advantage

Enchanting z. recommended Pan's Labyrinth a while back and since I am in general awe of her and her assorted whimsies and intellect I knew I needed to check it out. I saw it last night and was enthralled. One of the best movies I've ever seen. Thanks, Z, you mad englishwoman, you.

How did I get to go to the movies, you ask? It appears that GrandparentGate is not quite over. We've had another branch of the institution out to spread much worship (and assorted choking hazards, thank you very much for not reading any labels prior to purchase) for the weekend.

Which means J and I get to head up to the City today and connect with some friends we haven't seen in ages in some dark, dank bar and (not) watch the Pats game.

Or better said; I get to drink beer unaccompanied on a Sunday afternoon.

Friday, January 19, 2007

the one where jenny talia kicks a little ass

I finally got ahold of the head of the Hospital in question (post titled cut and run for those of you just joining). Not only did they admit it was their patient, but volunteered to launch an investigation into what happened. I asked for a meeting to review general discharge protocols; as well as allow for an opportunity to set a standard for what level of care we can offer, and what level of care YOU WILL NEVER EVER DISCHARGE TO US IN A CAB.

I threw in the media part, which brought much ass kissing all around. Nice to be on the other side, just for once.

Oh, and more importantly - the weather is heating up. And the coroner has reported no freeze related homeless deaths in the past seven days. Not a single one.

Rock on.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

practical empathy

Empathy in greek means to suffer with. I think there are many ways one can suffer along with another - whether by being moved on the basis of story or situation, by verbally sharing and connecting with another's plight in a person to person form, or by taking a more proactive stance and doing something practical that alleviates another's suffering.

As I reflect over the past week, I wonder which form of empathy has the greatest effect not only the individual in question, but in the world. I know that at times people need physical help. A place to sleep. Food. Mosquito netting. I like to think of that as tactical empathy. Sometimes we need a shoulder to cry on. One person connecting with another in a way that says: I feel you, and I care, and this too shall pass. Other times we hear a story so powerful, so gut wrenching, that we are transfixed and transformed by the plight of another person or community; Darfur, Katrina, James Kim. All of those fall into that category, as do a thousand other social tragedies.

And sometimes, all the empathy in the world doesn't mean there is a solution. Sometimes feeling another person's pain doesn't move us to do anything tangible about it. Sometimes we simply feel and let that feeling ride; hoping the empathy of others will make up for our own inertia.

And then I think of personal empathy; and what shape and form I allow myself to walk in another's shoes. Or allow them to walk in mine. And how responsible we are for allowing others to care for us, to share our sorrow, to lift us up.

I know when I think of someone empathizing with me I feel understood. That someone saw my struggle and did something beyond simply recognizing it. The "I notice you are struggling because you haven't slept in 3 days" becomes "You haven't slept in three days, so please let me get up with the baby so you can rest". I most value the empathy that comes without me having to ask. For example "I am so tired so can you please get up with the baby" even if responded to positively, means so much less than if I didn't have to ask.

Somehow I equate asking for help with weakness, and having to ask with resentment. This is a personal statement, one I do not equate at all to someone else asking for help. This one is reserved for me alone.

This belief system has caused me a lot of pain; and it invalidates those around me who care and would truly do anything I asked. But yet, that means I must run full circle back to the asking itself.

It's a funnybugger, this one.

And so it makes me wonder what we are all really asking for. Are we simply asking to be understood, or is it something deeper? Are we asking for the voice on the phone to simply understand, or are we secretly wishing the voice on the phone would do something more?

I think the answer to that depends on the situation we are facing. Sometimes a voice on the phone (or a comment on my blog) is exactly and all I need. Your empathy this week buoyed me, lifted me, it mattered. (thank you)

I remember when we first had M J worked nights. I was up all night long for days and was starting to lose my mind. I remember talking to a friend, crying, who told me that she was on her way over. And when she got here she took M, sent me to bed, and stayed up all night long with M so I could sleep. She sat awake in my living room for 6 hours and allowed me to rest.

It was the single best baby gift I have ever received, that one night, where I thought I might not make it another day. I never would have asked, but it was exactly what I needed.

I've needed more this week, and as a result of my not asking, I've not gotten it. I've needed J to pull more of the load; our usually very equitable load; because I've been pushed and pulled and have had many late nights. And J, if I ask, will do what I need, and he'll do it willingly and without question. But it goes back to the asking.

And so my thoughts return to empathy. I think, for me, various forms feed me in various situations. but sometimes the practical kind; while requiring more of another, means the most to the person in need.

Empathy, in greek, means to suffer with. And sometimes suffering with means getting your hands dirty. I mentioned in an earlier post that I'd re-awakened something - and I think this something has to do with practical empathy. To suffer alongside another - sitting cold on a curb, sharing your food, carrying someone's belongings or helping them walk.

All we can do is remain aware, and allow ourselves to bend into uncomfortable positions in an effort to allow someone else a bit more comfort. While simultaneously allowing others to be make you more comfortable too.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

dreamy

Your responses to yesterday's post were fantastic. I felt emboldened all day. I called the head of the ER discharge person's hospital (thank you, google) and left him a message about what happened and said I'd prefer to speak verbally before lodging a formal complaint. Flies with honey, sugars, flies with honey. But honey runs out tomorrow.

I swung by one of the shelters after picking up M. In her words to help people no home go sleepytime (which, by the way, made me prouder than any other single thing this child has ever done in her life) and by chance, a reporter was there, so without naming names I gave him the particulars, and he is interested (any chance to slam someone) in learning more. Out of respect for the person in charge, I'll give it a day to see if he is willing to work with me.

The poor old man in question ended up choking on his own saliva in the middle of the night and had to be rushed by ambulance back to the hospital. I didn't learn about that till after I'd already posted yesterday - I wonder how he's doing, and if we'll see him again.

This feels like a bland and boring post - I think because I am feeling bland and boring. I've worked a lot of extra hours this week and I am so freaking tired. I've been on 24 hour call for 6 days now. And yet there is no real time to catch up between the rest of my job and the nonstoppery of my love child.

I crave a room to myself, with a soft bed and a good book.

A girl can dream. It may not be as important as other dreams, but we all have them, big and small, coming and going. This is my coming and going dream today.

Tell me yours.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

cut and run

An open letter to the ER Discharge Person:

I'd really like you to explain to me why the hell you think it is OK to cab a non-ambulatory, non-coherent, unable to sit upright unassisted and unable to feed himself old man to a shelter? And to make matters worse, not even to a shelter who can accommodate him, oh no, just the NEAREST shelter, you cheap cab fare paying jerk?

And while you are looking into this, please let me know what steps you took to evaluate the choice of shelter in order to determine the best level of respite care possible...was it the fact that we are NOT open 24/7? The total lack of any medical personnel? Or perhaps it was the whole sleeping on the FLOOR that made us seem perfect for you?

I am sure he won't mind if we just ROLL HIM TO THE CURB in the morning when we close down. I am sure he'll be there when we open again 1o hours later. We'll cover him with a blanket or something. I mean, that's triage, right? No problem, ER Discharge Person.

I mean, WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU?

You messed with the wrong person, ER Discharge Person. Because I know where he came from. And I've got media contacts. And this sort of thing makes a really good story when it's FREEZING outside.

You should be ashamed of yourself.

Hospitals cut and run all the time. All the time. I (don't but what's the point) get it. Whatever. But this crossed the line. Cutting and running at other facilities is one thing -we still can't manage but at least we don't close in the morning. You know this. How dare you treat someone this way.

PS. We arranged to transport him to another one of our locations but it took hours to arrange the ride (I refuse to cab such a sick individual without proper medical transport, you jackass, because let's see, oh yeah, because he's a HUMAN BEING) and with every phone call I got a bit more pissed. Luckily though, I've gotten to know some bureaucrats this week, and it was time to call in a favor. Now I know some really pissed off at you bureaucrats. I like them more and more.

I'll be seeing you, ER discharge person.

Monday, January 15, 2007

random thoughts and birthday wishes

While (poorly) evaluating someone's risk of suicide:

Him: You know...wanting to kill yourself is like robbing a bank. You know what I mean, when you are sitting in front of the bank, you have a gun, and you have it staked out? You know where you are going, which guards are weak, and what time of day? That's how I think about killing myself...and right now, I am only sitting outside the bank. I don't have a gun. In the past I had it all planned out. For me, it's just like when you want to rob a bank. Know what I'm saying?

Me: Well, yes, but without the whole bank part.

Him: Yeah, ok. But I mean, haven't you ever thought about robbing a bank?

Me: Well...not so much.

Him: Really?

Me: Dude, I couldn't pull that off.

Him: You're probably right.

And to the magnificient Dr. Martin Luther King: We haven't made as much progress as we should have. Please know we are still trying to get to a place of fairness and justice for all. We haven't given up on your dream.

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. - Dr. King

We remember you.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

a reunion of sorts

I brought M with me when I went over to the shelter last night - and when we got there it was time to set up the room - basically lining the floor with rows and rows of narrow mats with about a foot in between. M immediately jumped in, dragging mats around and making the old guys who were trying to set up laugh. As they went along, another guy came and started helping, and it struck me there was something familiar about him, but he had a lot of tattoo ink on his face and that wasn't something you'd easily forget, so I didn't really make much of it.

A bit later he came up and commented on M, saying, man, she's cute. I haven't seen my own son in six years. He went on to say that he was happy because he had a guy storing his stuff for him and when he went and picked it up today his prized possession was still there - the only picture he has of he and his son.

At this point I say, you look really familiar to me. He said yeah, I was thinking that too but I've been in prison for the last six years so it's hard to say. And then he went on to ask me if I wanted to see the picture. Of course, I said. And so he dug it out and started to unwrap it.
He handed it to me and it was like a freaky bolt of lightning. Not only did I know this cat, but I am fairly sure I am the one who took the picture he is holding. He's sitting in front of an old family shelter I used to work at, and I was this dude's case worker.

I said, whoa, is your name _____ ? And he said, uh, well, shit... no one's called me that in six years. I go by Blue now. And I said Hey man, this might sound weird but I think I took this picture.....And we sat there for a minute dumbfounded and realized, yep, I did. We both remember it exactly the same way.

I mean, plainly put, what a fucking trip.

I remember when he went to jail. He was already on parole and stole a package of lunchmeat to feed he and his wife, got caught, and got six years. Six years for lunchmeat. I remember how outraged we felt back then. (And please know, I realize he did other really bad things or he wouldn't have been on parole. But they were non-violent charges, at least. But still, I know. But still. Lunchmeat.)

After a while I decided to run M home and then I came back and we ended up spending an hour or so catching up. He's different than I remember - cagey and a bit defensive, urgent to prove he's not a bad guy. A hell of a lot of ink on his face, symbols and sayings and god knows what else. I can only imagine what six years in prison does to a man.

He saved all of the certificates he earned and wanted me to take a look at them. I was surprised to see they had a hell of a lot of programs. I am not sure what job will look at Certification of Completion at the XXX State Penitentiary in a kindly fashion, but I'd imagine having a resume of some sort after six long years means a lot to him.

The last few days has re-opened my eyes to some things I've been missing. Some things I want to do differently. It's been good, despite my whining. I see more possibilities now. Or I've found a new energy. I've allowed for some missed opportunities out of laziness this year. It's been good, these last few days. I needed a whack in the head.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

cold and bright

Firstly, I apologize for not being around so much in the last few days. I've been pulled into a bit of a crisis, and have had to pull several long nights.

It's uncommonly cold in the Bay Area this week (yes, yes, yes, we are total sissies) but the problem is approximately 3,000 people are unhoused on any given night and when the temperatures drop below freezing, people who usually sleep outside will die.

Our goal is always to house any person in need - but occupancy limits and bureaucracy can cramp our style - so we were able to get some of those restrictions lifted and by creative use of blankets and floor space have been able to allow for an increased number of beds.

Problem, though - is that everyone starts paying attention. Homeless in cold weather = bad. Homeless rest of the year = look the other direction. And I really, really struggle with bureaucracy. I. really. struggle. Hours spent in roundtable meetings with state and local officials debating messaging and trying to wrap their arms around (messaging) a problem for five days that OCCURS ALL YEAR ROUND makes me a bit batty. Let's just say I've mastered a poker face over the years.

So I've spent a few nights at our various shelters this week and had an opportunity to see some old friends; guys who have been in and out and around, which makes me happy and sad at the same time.

While I was hanging around last night, I got to witness some extremely touching moments. Homelessness is far from glamorous, but if you look between the cracks and take a moment to listen, the bright lights shine through.

I watched a very tough and streetwise staff member bring a plate of food to an extremely mentally ill woman who'd been rolling in and out of our system for years. She always takes the same position - sitting in the corner doubled over holding a doll. I've seen her in that position on street corners and shelter floors more often than I can count. So this lovely man walks over with her plate of food, sits down next to her, and puts her food next to her. Without lifting her head she mumbled something and handed him her doll. I about lost it when I watched him take that doll in his arms as if it were a baby, cuddle it against his chest, and told her that he'd be happy to hold her baby while she ate her dinner. And he did, the entire time.

Bright spots, indeed.

So I may not be around too much this weekend - I am on call and spending more time at the shelters tonight...but I promise to be back soon. In the meantime, wish me luck. I am weary and cranky and could certainly use it.

Friday, January 12, 2007

sin-ner

Sin tagged me for a meme, but I have trouble following directions so I asked her if I could answer this instead. She's good like that.

1. Do you like the look and the contents of your blog? I like the look, but the credit goes to Denguy. He's genius. Contents? I struggle with that. I love some of what I am trying to do, and struggle with other parts of it. I want it to matter.

2-Does your family know about your blog? Hell, no.

3-Can you tell your friends about your blog? I probably could, but I don't. The only person who knows I have a blog is my tsunami friend (and she doesn't have the URL) and J. That may change, but it's intensely personal to me.

4-Do you just read the blogs of those who comment on your blog? Nope. I read several blogs regularly that I never comment on, and who have no idea I exist. I comment on some blogs and I don't think they've ever been my way. And I read the blogs of the folks who comment too. The latter is more personal, but I like it all.

5-Did your blog positively affect your mind? Yes. I had no idea all of you existed and I can't tell you what that has done for me.

6-What does the number of visitors to your blog mean? Sometimes I think it means people like what I have to say. Sometimes I think it's random. I blogged for a few months without a meter and had no idea who was there. Sometimes too much information can be a bad thing, and can compromise what you are trying to do for yourself. Sometimes it helps in figuring out where you want to go next. Suffice to say I don't know what it means.

7-Do you imagine what other bloggers look like? Totally. When I get to see glimpses of your yumminess I eat it up.

8-Do you think blogging has any real benefit? I think it can. I think it has a lot of personal benefit. I think it provides community. I think it makes me think. And I have a place to go to learn. Yes, I do.

9-Do you think that the blogosphere is a stand alone community separated from the real world? For me it is, for now, as I've kept it seperate. But I think there is a lot of overlap. We discuss real world issues all the time, so in that sense, no way.

10-Do some political blogs scare you? I enjoy them. If scared means being totally floored by other peoples' ability to speak articulately and succinctly about political issues, then yep.

11-Do you think that criticizing your blog is useful? I think if you are afraid to cause a negative reaction you might not be expressing your whole self. You have to be willing to get your game on if you want to go all the way. I am still working with that.

12-Have you ever thought about what would happen to your blog in case you died? I have, and because no one knows about it except J, and he doesn't have the password (and would presumably be so grief stricken he'll never recover anyways) I wonder if it would just fade away and some of you would say "what ever happened to that one plus two chick"...

13-Which blogger had the greatest impression on you? Deb over at i obsess was one of my first reads and motivated me to start blogging myself. But there are many others who move me in unspeakable ways. I am humbled all the time by the honesty and humor and passion.

14-Which blogger do you think is the most similar to you? I'd love to answer this, but it's a bit egotistical of me and a bit unfair to the women I'd be stalking by answering. Let's just say I'd prefer to emulate a few of you lovelies.

15-Name a song you want to listen to? I have been so turned on by Leonard Cohen's Tower of Song lately. I mean, floored and grooved and in love. Lyrics, sound, all of it. That cat can groove. Plus U2 sings backup. In fact, you should go have a listen. You'll thank me.

I tag KC and Chani mostly because I am so curious to your answers to these questions. If it's not your thing, I know you know I am cool with that too.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

the one with the psychic

I had a friend years ago who was big on telephone psychics. She had one or two she swore by and after hearing about the readings my curiosity was finally peaked into motion. After some persuasion she convinced me to call and set up an appointment.

I was straddling the fence between cynicism and plain old crock of shitishness. Since I was raised in a strict christian home (otherwise known as Religious Persecution Disorder - which should be in the DSM in my opinion) so I was also somewhat convinced in some deep and lurking in my mind that I'd be opening my soul to the devil.

But curiosity won out. Devil one, me, zero. Or more accurately, Devil 14,952, me, zero. So I paid my $60 bucks and made an arrangement to call Joy (what the hell kind of fake psychic name is that) and at the established date and time, gave her a call.

At first it was the blah blahs...you are successful in your job (yawn) and you are a strong willed person (boring) and then she went over into you will meet a man (ears perking up a bit) and went on to describe him. Brown hair, red gold flecks in his beard.

She mentioned a shift in passion and focus in my work, and to be honest, over the years, she's turned out to be right, but at the time, again, yawn, whatever, I dig my gig, Psychic Joy, so am blah blah blahing you some more.

But then she The Thing. She said that a little spirit was waiting to be born. That she (yes, SHE) had tried to come into my world once already and I wasn't ready and didn't allow for it. And that she'd try again when I still might not feel ready, but that she was going to be more powerful the next time around. And that she's waiting, and watching, and she knows exactly when she's going to manifest herself. And that when she did, she would be mine. That obviously, I'd be sharing her with her father, but that her destiny this time around was to be my child. And that we had great things to teach each other.

I shuddered and coughed and my 29 year old single self was clearly, um, thanks, oh, and No Way, Because I Am Never Having Babies. Thank You Very Much. And then I forgot all about it and went back to martinis, dating, repeat. It was a few years before I met J. Brown hair, red gold flecks in his beard.

Five years later I got pregnant when I was on the pill. I wasn't ready. I didn't even know if I wanted to be a mom. But when it happened, I vaguely remembered this conversation and I dug out the tape recording she'd sent me of our session and listened to it.

And then I knew. This Was The Thing.

And Psychic Joy was right, this girl is mine. She and her dad have a glorious relationship, but she and I, we are mother and daughter. She is the lining of my heart. And she chose me. I'll believe that whether it's a crock of shitishness or not, because I like it and Psychic Joy said so.

I've never spoken to another psychic. I have intuitive friends, I've explored tarot, ruins, and some other mediums - numerology is next, as a matter of fact, due to the kindness of a friend.
But I'll never call a psychic again.

Because if it's not broken....play it as it lays, girl. Play it as it lays.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

December Just Posts

justpostdec2006

Welcome to the Just Post Roundtable Pt. 1. One enormous list of posts, some old, some new, that all speak to the same thing - the lifting up of our planet and all that inhabit it.

What tremendous company we keep.

And before you dig in, let me honor the pledge I made and bend your ear a moment about Annika. As you may or may not know from reading about it at Andrea's spot, Annika is in need of a liver. And unbelievably, when transplants are needed parents are often asked to shoulder the costs. Luckily, Annika is connected through COTA who is committed to assisting in raising the costs needed to help Annika get the transplant she needs, but at last report, they still need to raise over $72,000. There are a variety of ways we can get involved, and the link above will help you learn more.

Affordable and adequate health care is a crisis throughout the world, but in countries like the US it is less about a lack of resources and much more about business. It doesn't have to be this way. If you want to learn more about our health care crisis, and the 46 million people (9 million of those are children) who not have adequate coverage, you can go here. I wish I had a solution - but we can continue to write letters, advocate for legislature that promotes accessible healthcare, and vote.

I often feel overwhelmed by such a gigantic systemic problem. So if you have thoughts or solutions or referrals to folks advocating for change please share it. I want to hear about it.

And now allow Mad and I to share the December Just Posts:

Andrea at Quietfish: Time to get my piggy back
Anne at Crazymumma: Ho Ho freakin' Ho Ho Ho
Michelle at la vie en rose: a sweet life: Me, Liz, Nancy Pelosi, and You...It's All Connected
Jen at One Plus Two: Growing Orchids in the Desert
Mad Hatter at Under the Mad Hat: The Courtship Posts: 1, 2, 3, 4
Sandra at Mommy Blogs Toronto: The Gift of Giving
Kristen and the rest of the folks over at Her Bad Auction
Canucks at Large: pardon-me-while-i-step-on-my-soapbox and soapbox-revisited

The Wedding Posts (revisited)

Acumamakiki at Sticking to the Point: The Wedding Present
Andrea of a Garden of Nna Mmoy: A Long History of Everything and A Toast
Bub and Pie: Wedding Gift
Carrie at Third Time's A Charm
Chani at Thailand Gal: Three Deaths and Universal Health Care and Bread and Roses
Cinnamon Gurl of Write About Here: Christmas in a Handbasket
CrazyMumma: Taking Rosie home to lunch
De Aufiero at Sober Briquette: Wedding Song
Deezee of Confessional Highway has offered up the Wedding Toast
Em at Three Countries, Three Kids: When the Lights Go Out
Jenny at Mama Drama: Always a Bridesmaid
Jill at Not So Sage Wisdom: Harm Reduction
Jo at Insane Mom...formerly known as...ME: National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women
Juli at Fresh and Sassy with Let's Be Real
Julie at the Ravin' Picture Maven: Day of Reconciliation
KC at Where's My Cape: Colorless
Lori at Momish: Week in rewind: The Hardcore Activist
Mamaloves: Someone's getting married and Strong enough for a man
Meno with a late wedding present
Mommy off the Record: Food for Thought
Mother-Woman: Kim Family
Mouse at the Mouse's Nest: Sneaking into the Back
Nancy of Mom, Ma'am, Me: The Gift of Health
Oh the Joys: Weddings, Justice and More Poo
QT at Can We Kick the Bar Here?: Wedding Bells
Sandra at Sunshine Scribe: December 6th
Susanne at Diapers and Music withwedding plans
Swamp Witch at Anecdotes, Antidotes and Anodes: A Wedding Gift for Jen
Tabba of Stretched to the Limit: Wedding Gift

Folks who contributed by nominating a post (or two):

Andrea at A Garden of Nna Mmay
De at Sober Briquette
Hel at Truth Cycles
Jessica at Oh the Joys
BubandPie at Bub and Pie
Lori at Momish

Thank you to everyone who participated in our first Just Post Roundtable. The button is yours for the taking - and if you need help, email me and I'll send it to you.

I look forward to seeing what the blog world will write about in January, and am committed to exploring ways to keep the energy and awareness alive as we move throughout 2007. Keep writing. And when you see a post that smacks of Justness send it our way so we can keep shining light in those dark corners.

pure money

Have you read this post? KC blogs with a mixture of wry and intelligent humor, and one of my favorite things about her writing style is how she reveals her innermost thoughts and humor in little bitty words. And when I see those little bitty words, I know I am in for something extra juicy.

Bravo, sister, for making us laugh out loud. And for being a supportive, creative, fantastic woman - while I've only gotten to know you through this forum, I have no doubt that if we were neighbors, we'd spend a lot of time together. And then I'd get to have the best MD in the nation.
And of course, thank you to the two women who've created ROFL which allow this and the rest of the monthly hilarity to multiply all throughout the blog world.

PS
Don't forget to swing by again tomorrow when we roll out our first Just Post Roundtable. It's like honey for the soul.


Sunday, January 07, 2007

cold blue water

One of the most obvious (and best) things about California is the weather. It means we can do all sorts of things that aren't possible in other parts of the western world. Like taking M to the beach in January.

She's had very little exposure to the ocean, and I, of course, am the mother who sets her back a decade. We walked down to the surf and I plopped her down in the sand so we could watch the waves up close when all of a sudden, wham....a wave smackdown. One might have thought I'd have seen it coming, but sadly, it somehow snuck up on me.

We were both soaked from the waist down, shoes and all.

M was rather put out. She started crying and yelling waterstopnostopwaterstop at the ocean, which responded by curling and foaming and laughing at us. J stood a bit farther up on the shore shaking his head. I decided since I was already wet, I might as well get wetter.

Because nothing says freedom like standing fully clothed in the ocean on a Sunday in January.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Just REVISED Post

The Just Post Headquarters have just finished with a rather long G2 summit meeting. The agenda was simple:

1. How to ensure that the Just Post nods are inclusionary vs. exclusionary. I brought the wine, Mad brought some beer. We met over long emails and crackly phone connections.

To us, the answer was simple. Allow for self-nominations. And ensure that the self-nominations are indistinguishable from the ones nominated by others. We want to remove the contest-award-popularity element because it detracts from our mission.

Simply put, we envision a roundtable. Everyone who shares a post will be included, and every post, whether self-shared or shared by another will be included. And of course, for the Just Post December Roundtable, all the wedding posts will be re-listed again. (so no need to send those back over).

We've spent time debating with ourselves and others about what exactly we are trying to do with the Just Post idea. We realized that the idea of collecting by nominations can lead to exclusion, hurt feelings, and general feelings of left-out-ed-ness. Since the spirit of the Just Post has everything to do with community building, social justice, and the raising of awareness, we realized that by only asking for posts that were read and recognized by others, then we'd be missing the whole point.

For those of you who saw this coming a mile away, all I can say in our defense is neither one of us has ever been very popular or was ever nominated for homecoming queen, best smile on campus, or anything else, so forgive us, we had little experience to draw upon.

So, please allow us to share our Just Post, Pt 2., the Roundtable Edition. We are sincere in our mission to raise our collective awareness to the good going on in the world. And this minor yet major change allows for even more juicy reading, an even greater exchange of thoughts and ideas, and even more ways to effectively show up in our own communities and our planet and stand together on the side of good. And everyone can join. No need to wait on others. Hey, now there are no excuses, either. Let's get it on. Let your voices carry (oh, and yeah, but by the 8th).

It's Just that simple.

And the button is available to whoever wants it. If you haven't already gotten it, or aren't savvy enough to copy it from our sites (I have no idea how to do it but Mad does), let me know.

Friday, January 05, 2007

the maternal evolution (on the road)

In a little over a month we'll be leaving for our annual trek into a new country. Travel is a priority for us, and we crave exploring new places without itineraries or reservations - just us, backpacks and the lonely planet.

Since M has joined us, travel has been a bit more difficult. She's still too young to take to some of the places we want to go, and leaving her (although in incredibly capable and loving grandparental hands) is getting tougher and tougher for me.

We've chosen El Salvador and perhaps a short foray into Nicaragua for this trip. And we're leaving M behind - and it's eating at me. I know she'll be fine - she adores her grandparents and they will spoil her and keep her safe. But I also know she'll miss us, and I hate the thought of causing her any sort of sadness, even if it's sadness she'll forget. And a part of it feels selfish - when I hear of moms who have never left their child for a single night I think what the hell am I am doing? Is THIS the primal wound (we are big on primal wounding around here) that she'll carry with her? I am pretty sure that isn't the case. But perhaps it sheds some light into the amazing ever churning guilt complex I drag around behind me everywhere I go.

So this time, when we are booking airfare and emptying out backpacks and finding passports I am finding she is what I am thinking about. The wanderlust is now tempered by the mothering.
I don't think I expected it to go this way. And I don't think I expected I'd feel as okay about it as I do. I've surrendered this year - surrendered to mother. And I am learning I really love it here. I didn't enter easily into this, so the simple knowing of this truth means quite a bit to me. That doesn't mean I don't still miss some things, but I notice I miss them less.

This will probably be one of the last trips we take without her. When she's a bit older I will feel better about expecting her to spend 6 hours on a public bus through the middle of Cambodia. Or 4 hours in the back of a taxi in Guatemala. She'll better be able to understand it, and will even perhaps start growing her own wanderlust. We've started a savings account for her, and we've both agreed that if she wants to use it to travel around the world one day, we'd be thrilled. If she wants it for college, that'll be terrific too. But the open road has so much to teach.

So for this trip, her dad and I will play it free and loose...beers at the bus station and nights in cantinas. Long days on the beach and hikes up mountains. And I'll know I'll look at the stars at night, and I will miss her. And I will see her face in the faces of children, and I will miss her. And it will remind me yet again how lucky I am to be a mother.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

where the park gets a bit dodgy

Sometimes I ponder my own courageousness. I babble on and on about social issues and how we all need to remember the humanity of it all and on and on and so forth and repeat.

And then I am at the park yesterday, M and I are kicking it, doing slide tricks and squirrel chasing and other mack-daddy park stuff, and we'd (I'd) had enough and were heading back through the non-playground park area when a man whom I will assume is homeless by his carrying of his belongings and his rather tattery clothing (if you were just a dude on the way to the laundry mat, apologies) all of a sudden lunged at M and started yelling. Aggressive, the dingo ate my baby sort of yelling. Norman's mother in the shower yelling.

I am about 5 or so feet away from M at the time, who is now frozen in her wee tracks, and I grab her, and decide I am seriously freaked out. And my mind is colliding with thoughts: 1. stay calm, dude is ill, it's ok, just stay calm. 2. get the fuck away from my kid 3. just plain scared.

So instead of using my power voice I mumbled something like she's a baby, man, please, and took off. Scared get us out of here taking off. And as I did he said something about fucking off uptight white bitch.

Oh, the indignity. Part of me wanted to go back and say lookee here dingo baby eater, I am not an uptight white bitch, in fact, bastard fuck, I could probably HELP you, but you scared my kid, you shithead, and you scared me, and so I can't. I can't, and I AM NOT .

And I've been bothered since. Bothered because I deal with this sort of stuff from time to time at work and I am almost never afraid. But with M, I was fearful and protective, and yes, rightfully so. But on some level I suppose I thought I am still the person I am at work outside of work. And perhaps if M wasn't there I might have reacted differently, but perhaps I would have been just as scared. Perhaps it was just a scary thing. But then I wonder why I am still feeling bad about it.

And a little bothered (how wildly irrational is this?) by the label he gave me, the label representing, maybe, people who walk around and avoid him. But I wouldn't have done that if he wouldn't have scared us.

Or at least I sincerely hope that to be true. All I know is I want to model courage for M. She sees in me what I show her, and I showed her fear and disdain and a lack of compassion, even if he was a scary baby eating dingo. Because maybe he was just having a terrible, horrible, no good very bad day instead.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

this just in

have you seen ECR's latest post? Not only is it complete with her usual excellent writing and wit, but the comments are hilarious. I find myself returning again and again to see who else has added their .02.

Funny stuff, sister, funny stuff.

something in the way she moves

A Perfect Post - December
Sometimes a woman is so alluring, so brilliant, so perfectly lovely that she stops you in your tracks, and you find yourself coyly turning your head to catch just one more glimpse. The woman of my affection is Mad of Under the Mad Hat and her (in some circles famous) social justice wedding post which made me laugh, made me cry, and also made the world feel a bit smaller and a lot more hopeful. The real beauty of her post is that it launched the ongoing gift of the Just Post awards, a brainchild/wedding present of Mad's which will allow all of us to keep our planet in the forefront of our consciousness all year long.

Hat's off, Mad...not only for a Perfect Post but for the start of something incredibly powerful. And the best part is her gift is open to everyone - so if this is new to you click on over to the Just Post link and check it out (and join us).

And if I may crowd the spotlight for a brief moment, the ever-generous and lovely Michelle over at scribbit was kind enough to give my mangoes-roasting post a perfect post nod, which was surprising and wonderful and I thank you very much for thinking of me.

And of course, many thanks to the two phenomenal women who allow all of us to discover and share each others' excellent writing all year long. Bravo, both of you. Talk about turning heads...you two do it each and every month.

Monday, January 01, 2007

running for the shelter of her non-mother's little helpers

My 800' house is slowing sinking into it's foundation. My parents left 3 days ago, incidentally the SAME DAY as J's mother flew in to town for 8 days. That's almost three weeks of in-laws. And J's mom is nuts (Go on, I'll wait. It's worth the click).

I am not complaining, I love M's time with her grandparents and since none of them live nearby it's a rare occurrence. But I am often left perplexed. Like how it's cute and fun to take M out for junk food even when we have made it clear that is something we do not want them to do. Or how Nana taught M to yell I am a famous movie star whenever she walks into the room. Or when I walk into the room and catch M trying to hide cookie contraband while they both laugh in conspiracy as M yells "Mama, NO. Back. Kitchen. GO!" The kitchen part was an especially nice touch, kid. At least you know my place.

So my overly indulged and sugar dosed child is feeling mighty full of herself lately. All her whims are responded to and captured on film. Every desire of her wee heart is met with eager anticipation. The universe has aligned itself to revolve around her single glowing star. Back talking? No problem, it must mean she's a genius. Time outs? Unheard of, no way, uh uh.

You people are setting me way back. Way back. At least we've taken liberal advantage of the free babysitting and have seen 4 movies plus spent a night in a hotel.

I had the chance to spend a moment or two alone with my child tonight and while she kicked and said "Nana do, Nana do" as I tried to change her diaper, I seized the moment and leaned down and said dude, you are SO screwed on Friday. The world according to M comes to a screeching halt when Nana gets on that plane. Then it's back to mommy and daddy. And we're on to you, buddy.

To which she jumped up, cackled, and ran back into the overzealous and boundary-less arms of her Nana, and as she wrapped her arms around her neck, she coyly looked over at me and said mefamuusmoveestarrrrrr!!

Game on, kid.

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