Wednesday, December 17, 2008

your moment(s) of zen.

i know this person.

okay, i can't say any more than "i know this person" because then it would violate their privacy and possibly embarrass them (although i think it's an awesome story) and i only do that to my children here at sillymortalmama. not actual live people who could kick my ass or just call me up, and you know, be really really mad at me.

so, i know this person. and one day we were talking and this person told me how much they wished they had their own custom choreographed dance to michael jackson's billie jean. then every time billie jean came on they could bust out with the smooth moves.

now THAT'S awesome! to have your own song with your own moves and every time it came on you just stopped and then busted out with the awesomeness? how cool is that! and billie jean is an AWESOME song.

the only problem would be that i would like to know exactly where one might get even a whiff of billie jean being played on any sort of regular basis. or, at all. because you'd have to hear the song to dance to the song. and i don't hear a lot of billie jean on the radio or you know, at all.

for it to really work you might have to resort to carrying a portable cd player with you. with big enough speakers so everyone around you could hear. then, then you'd probably have to carry like a piece of cardboard or linoleum or something like that to put down do that you could properly bust your move.

now THAT would be awesome. too bad no one ever thought of that.

but, i digress.

anyway, i thought how rad this would be. and considered a few songs for myself. what would i choose to be my signature choreographed just for me song?

but, then i gave up the wondering when i gave up dancing in public for good.

yes, the former dancing on the speakers at the clubs girl has given up public dancing. i know, sad but true.

BUT i'll tell you what's really sad. the day i found myself throwing my arms up and saying "whoo" a few too many times COUPLED WITH what i am sure is just a slight variation on the white man's overbite. now THAT'S sad, and THAT'S when i knew it was all over.

it was not pretty.

and so it shall never exist again.

BUT just because i don't dance in public doesn't mean i don't appreciate people who want to get their groove on. people who let the music take them and their body to boogie wonderland. just because i'm a narcissistic killjoy doesn't mean i don't appreciate those who aren't.

and so it is with that spirit in mind that i wish each of you much dancing in whatever form you feel comfortable with and present to you the following video. which you might be tempted to dismiss right off the bat, but please don't. it's so worth it.

(click on the link and when you get to the page click on the video arrow)

x.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

the duke.

the duke has a pair of converse and has needed better shoes for awhile. they really aren't winter shoes at all, and the holes starting in the sides didn't help.

anyhow, yesterday he went with the lord of the ring to big5 sporting goods because i saw they had a reasonable pair of winter boots on sale for 20 bucks. and i didn't tell him this, but 20 bucks was the best we could do right now so i was happy to find that sale.

they ended up coming home with a different pair and the duke was going on and on about how they were only 15 bucks! and weren't they cool and how warm his feet were and how comfortable they were and didn't they make him look taller.

and the thing that struck me is here's this kid, this "tween," and how the media portrays them and panders to them and how as parents we're supposed to just throw up our hands and say whattaya gonna do and give in to it. that it's developmentally appropriate for them to become voracious consumers and to go after the new the shiny the pretty and our job is to just supply the checkbook.

and here's the duke, wearing this pair of boots that aren't "cool" by any stretch of the imagination and aren't a brand anybody's even heard of and he's proud that he found them at the store and that they were even less than i thought they'd be.

and i was just so proud of him for not being that kid. the kid that has to have the big ticket item. he's the kid who is just happy with having the boots because now playing outside is going to be much more enjoyable AND "we won't have to buy me another pair of hiking boots for the spring."

i have a friend in a similar financial situation that we now find ourselves in. and regardless of finances she has ALWAYS shopped second hand. her kids have always looked adorable and have never minded. recently she was given a pair of nearly new $80 basket ball shoes in her 10 year old son's size. she thought he'd be thrilled because they were a popular brand, but he wasn't. he was disappointed and asking is there a way to get a new pair. he's getting into the thing of new and popular and brands. she is less than thrilled with this new development.

as parents we really do try and do our best. and sometimes it's really really hard. sometimes there's not enough time or energy or money or whatever and so our best can and does fall short of some perceived mark sometimes.

that in and of itself is hard enough WITHOUT the added pressure of a child's disappointment that our "best" doesn't even come close to their "acceptable."

i'm just glad that right now when everything is just a little harder than usual that i'm not dealing with disappointment on top of everything else.

i'm just glad that the duke can be and is happy with what he has, what we are able to provide for him.

because that's it right there. being happy with what you have, what you can afford to have.

because we are all blessed beyond belief, it's just remembering to remember that that we lose sight of.

happy tuesday.

x.


Friday, December 12, 2008

guadalupe.



today is the feast day celebrating the virgin of guadalupe.

she is the patron saint of the americas, and she embodies and encourages peace and unity for all men and women through the spirit of brotherhood and justice.

but i love her because she is love.

she has brought me many an hour of peace when most needed. mostly in the form of lighting her candle and sending up all the crap. and while i'm not prone to established prayers or scripture or anything like that, i do like the prayer on the back of the candle.

Dear Virgin of Guadalupe, Mother and help of all Christians since you appeared to Juan Diego in the mountains of Mexico, the problems that torment me I place in your blessed hands. Remember Oh Blessed Mother that never has it been known that anyone who sought your help was left unaided, with confidence, humble and repentant, full of Love and Hope, this favor I implore.

so tonight we will have a meal in honor of the virgin de guadalupe. i will light my candles and count my blessings.

but before all of that i will get to hang my brand spankin' new virgin de guadalupe automobile air freshener (in the "spring bouquet" scent) from the rearview mirror! su-weeeet.

be blessed.

x.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

your moment(s) of zen.

a lot of people don't know this about me but i am wacky for christmas music.

i love christmas carols like nobody's business. i distinctly remember being 11 or 12 and thinking silver bells was about the best song ever written. i thought it was classy.

and when i would sing the babyboybarians to sleep, if a few rounds of amazing grace didn't work (which it never did with the duke. only an hour and a half of walking and bouncing to bittersweet symphony by the verve would work. and mostly not even then) i would launch into christmas carols.

anyhow, the day after thanksgiving the cheesy radio station around these parts goes all christmas all the time. whoo hoo! and then i'm a goner.

now, i'm not sure why it is, but ave maria has become a "christmas song." maybe it's the whole jesus' (fake) birthday season and all that, who knows.

anyhow, there are a million different renditions and most of them suck, well, not suck. it's a beautiful song, after all. but if you're playing all christmas all the time you gather what you can for variety. even the "poorer" choices.

did you know that ave maria comes from an epic poem? sir walter scott's lady of the lake. i didn't know that, i assumed it came from the hail mary prayer. which some versions do.

there are several versionsof the song, of course, and each one takes liberties with the wording depending on the language, singer, etc. but the original is taken from the poem and the music is schubert.

a few days ago, maybe last week i was driving home from yoga. it was pouring outside and i was pouring inside. absorbed in my thoughts, mostly stressful and what-ifs and not of the positive nature. all of a sudden ave maria came on the radio. a particularly beautiful ave maria. i kinda recognized the voice, i thought.

but there was something in the quality of the music, the depth of the lyrics. i was mesmerized. i was so mesmerized in fact that i had to pull the car over and stop a minute. it was beautiful. and as i listened i was overcome with a sense of peace, a sense of being okay in the world. in this world. in my world.

it wasn't until the song was finished that i realized that i had been crying. there were tears running down my face. but they were tears of comfort, tears of joy.

shit man, music just totally rocks! doesn't it? i mean my god if you could bottle that and sell it it would be illegal! or, i guess, you could just get an ipod. or, uh, play a cd, or turn on the radio.

anyhow, i wondered about the singer and after a bit of research i found the exact version online and i am somewhat amused to report it was celine dion. i know, i know. who knew?

i did a little further research on ave maria and was really fascinated by its origin and the different versions and all the opinions, etc.

so, i would like to present to you a particularly beautiful version of the song. and no! it's not celine dion, though i encourage you to listen to that one because it was beautiful, too.

and if you ever see me type that last sentence again then you'll know i've finally gunned the t-bird over the cliff.

but this ave maria is just gorgeous and it's all in german. there's a video montage accompanying it that could be construed as cheesy and silly, especially so coming from me. but, the music and particularly the singer's voice is not. and all together it's quite beautiful and quite moving.

there are a thousand ways to kiss the ground, rumi said.

and i think, in the grand scheme of things, watching a video of pictures of children in prayer or pulling the car over to cry in the rain while celine dion sings both. fit. right. in.

ave maria.

x.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

and joy.



in the past few days i have had the pleasure of opening e-mail only to find pictures of babies whom i love and never get to see.

my goddess son's 4th birthday (wearing what inexplicably has got to be a vintage run dmc shirt?) along with his nearly two year old sister who is a pistol and a half. i don't know where i this comes from, but i have the distinct vision that she is the kind of child you'd WANT to take on a foreign vacation to a strange land.

and a photo montage of a month in the life of a delightful little girl baby way over in india whom i probably will never see as a delightful little girl baby but rather will (if i am incredibly lucky) encounter as a sassy preschooler type.

they are precious and adorable and sorely missed by me.

there is something special about your nearest and dearest having babies after your babies have long been non-babies.

i imagine it's a lot like being a grandparent. the want to fawn and spoil and offer WAY too much crappy advice.

every child is a blessing.

every. single. one.

and it brings me joy to know that those babies are out there being raised by awesome women and their awesome partners. it brings hope and joy to an otherwise can be looked at as dismal world. but with babies in the world nothing can be that dismal.

anyhow, i would love to share these babies with you but instead you get the picture above.

now, i don't really know what's going on in this picture. i can surmise, but we are talking about the boybarians here, so i've learned that anything is possible. best just let the picture speak for itself.

i can say this is what happens when you let them use the camera "for five minutes, with the strap around your wrist only, and not a minute longer!", YOUR camera, that you NEVER let them use because the last one turned into THEIR camera and then got lost.

which is a shame because they had a ton of fun with that camera but there is no way your little pink camera is going the way of the other one so five minutes and that's it!

but, five minutes was obviously plenty to mess around with as you can see from the picture above.

which, if you look pretty closely, brings its own measure of joy.

x.

Monday, December 08, 2008

tidings of comfort.



these are the blankets we made to give to homeless teenagers.

i maintain that if your resources are slim and you feel like despairing over your circumstances the last thing you should do is contract. the last thing you should do is be stingy with what little resources you do have.

rather you should throw open your heart and your resources and share what you do have with those who have even less.

this was a nice project for us. and i hope these blankets bring a measure of comfort and warmth to whoever needs it.

give! give! give!

x.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

your moment(s) of zen.

once when i was in seventh or eighth grade a boy, who was a family friend and a year older than me and already on his way to being a drug addled mess, looked at me across the table and said matter of factly

"you know, if you shaved your head and dyed what was left orange you would look just like annie lennox. that would be cool."

and then i don't think he said another word to me for about the next 25 years or so until he showed up at a party at the bag lady in paris' house with a pock marked face and smelling like cat pee and all tweaky.

and then proceeded to get into his head this idea that i came "this close" to making out with him and that i was in love with him and would probably leave my husband and family for him if he just gave me the signal.

to this day i have it out in the friends and family circle that should he show up or call up or e-mail up or facebook up looking for my phone number, address, or e-mail, that they were to say they no longer have a relationship with me and therefore do not have any of that information.

anyhow, i digress.

i have always loved the eurythmics. especially so, annie lennox. and at the time i remembered being so impressed with myself that this boy, who was actually a certified genius and somewhat cool (at the time), thought that i in any way resembled or reminded him of annie lennox.

this was a watermark moment in my young life. a moment that suggested for the briefest of seconds that i, possibly the dorkiest person i had ever known, had something cool enough in me to inspire the blossoming community tweaker to pay me such a high compliment.

and may i interject right here that i am so glad i didn't take that too much to heart, and then as a result had to use it as the pinpoint gateway moment in a life of bad choices with worse men trying to recreate that one lunch table moment.

it's only by the grace of god that i am lucky enought to be far too anal and uptight and controlling for all that.

plus, i cannot STAND the smell of cat pee. it makes me angry. it would have never worked.

anyway, i digress.

annie lennox recently gave a performance and i implore you all to watch it.

if only to affirm that in this day and age of performers and bands who would be/are nothing without the aid of a computer and the ever lowering expectations of an american public, if only to affirm that there is and always has been true artistry in music. that the voice is still an authentic instrument and that there have been and continue to be people who know how to use it.

plus, also, because she kicks ass.

i give to you, annie lennox.

and ladies and gentlemen, if that's 53, then sign me up!

x.

Monday, November 24, 2008

forbearance.

on friday i went on a hike with the duke.

and as i hiked in second growth forest and then crossed into old growth forest i was thinking about life such as it is. what is going right, what could be a hell of a lot smoother.

did you know that an old growth forest is warmer than the second growth? bigger trees, denser canopy, more all around to trap in the warm air and keep out the cold. and then there is the magic of an old growth forest. a cosmic HA! to the blades and machine of history and consumption and progress.

soon instead of old and tired worries tossing about in my head i was only consumed the smell of the forest and the feeling of damp earth under my feet. the familiar and joyful feeling of my own two legs strong enough to propel me up the steep hill side and navigate mucky switchbacks, and it all reminded me that wherever i am, here i am.

that i've been "here" before. at any number of stages in my life there has been a forest, with steep hillsides and mucky switchbacks. and i've always made it up and i've always made it out.

and i was reminded once again that everything really is just a matter of attitude and time.

the tao teaches that forbearance is the idea that neither bad fortune or good fortune will alter who we are. that by remaining true to our inner selves and bearing all kinds of fortune with patience, that we will see the way.

Forbearance


Arctic breath coils the mountain,


Rattling the forests' bones.


Raindrops cling to branches:


Jewelled adornment flung to earth.

(from 365 Tao by Deng Ming-Dao; pictures from local old growth forest)

x.

Friday, November 21, 2008

perspective.

it's late friday and i could list a metric ass load of reasons why i am grumpy and headachy and bitchy and not in the mood to be kind.

just as i'm sure any of us could in this world that finds any number of us losing our jobs, our security, our minds.

i am sure there are those of you with children who see christmas coming and feel the pinch already. or those of you with mortgages who send in each monthly payment with a silent thanks to the universe for making it one more month.

or those of you in relationships that frankly SUCK, wondering how it happened, why you stay, what can you do, is it even worth it?

those with health insurance that's busting the budget, those with no insurance who worry every day.

those of you eating hot dogs/scrambled eggs/cereal for dinner more nights than you'd care to until the next pay check when you'd clearly rather be feeding yourself, your family, your children something better.

each of us has a reason we could find ourselves on this friday listing a metric ass load of reasons why we are grumpy or headachey or bitchy or not in the mood to be kind.

BUT

just because we all need it from time to time, and perhaps as a push to something beyond your own pain, i urge you to read the following.

perspective.

sometimes it's easy to forget we aren't the only ones in the world who suffer.

so on this late friday put all of that into perspective.

remember that you are not alone. in the world, in your suffering. you are not alone. and, more importantly, regardless of what you have or do not have or want or will never have, remember that every little bit counts. always.

in what we have, and in what we give. every little bit is really a lot. when you have perspective. when you allow yourself to believe it.

especially so when we feel we have little to nothing left to give. especially so when our reserves have left us bare and we couldn't think of lifting our mouth in a smile or our hand in a help up.

when it comes to what we have to give to others, whether it's kindness, love, faith, or donating our time our effort our money, every single little bit counts.

you have more than you know.

give freely and reap the rewards.

just remember to go easy on yourself.

(oh, and do go easy on the people around you, too. remember, we're all in this together)

x.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

#347 why you should never marry a writer.

i've been battling what is fast becoming a reoccurring sinus problem. the big ol' cavities deep inside my head. nothing can touch them.

pain pain pain all day, and then at night i wait for the clock to hit the right time then the sweet relief of nyquil.

so anyhow, as you can imagine, i've been a bit down for the count.

thursdays the boybarians have art class. and considering the last time anyone saw me last night i was on my way to an early bedtime, i guess the lord of the ring assumed i wouldn't be able to take them.

but, i knew that the lord of the ring was up until 2 am trying to devise a way to keep this big boat afloat in the choppy sea of the economy and was in no shape himself to take them.

so i went in the bathroom and made myself get fully ready. just because it made me feel a little better but mostly in case i ran into anyone i knew out in the great big world.

i was finished and only needed my shoes and my glasses.

so i walked into the back room and explained to the lord of the ring that i might not hang out and write at the coffee shop while i wait for the boybarians to finish and may not do errands either. which are the two things i do while they are in class. that i was feeling poorly enough to waste the gas and effort and come home and then go back later to get them.

"do you want me to take them?"

"no, you're still in your pajamas and besides, i took the time and i'm already all ready to go."

he takes a good look at me and says somewhat incredulously

"oh. you are?"

aannnnddd thank you for that, husband.

and what i'm sure he meant, giving him the benefit of the doubt, is that i didn't have shoes, glasses, or a jacket. that i wasn't fully ready.

but it sounds better in my muddled brain sinus cavity filled up with muck head the way i tell it.

and that folks is #347 why you should never marry a writer.

because they will never make you look better than you actually are.

ever.

unless you die then they'll get all weepy and poetic over you and make shit up and embellish the truth so everyone is all weepy and crying over you, too. but that's it! death! in life, while you are living here right in front of them all bets are off and they will never make you look better than you actually are.

because it's just not funny.

and neither is it funny not being able to move my head up or down or side to side without a burst of pain.

yeah, that's not funny either.

BUT

but, i have roughly 4 hours and 23 minutes, give or take a few, before i get to have my nyquil. and then none of this will matter for about 6 hours and 47 minutes until a cat a kid or a snoring husband disturbs my sleep.

but it's 6 hours and 47 minutes that i will be pain free.

modern "medicine." i don't care that they call it medicine and it's really just a symptom reliever. i don't care that they lie to me in the ads and commercials and on the bottle.

i just care that the little plastic cup gets filled with the gooey red liquid and the head pain goes away, not because it "actually" goes away, but because you "actually" just pass out.

you gotta love it.

x.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

buddha and his pal hank.



we have a small shelf with a small buddha.

there is nothing else on this shelf or around it. which is how i like it. it's amazing how one small clutter free spot can have so much good energy. which has a LOT to do with the buddha, of course, but also a LOT to do with the clutter free part of it.

but when i walked in the living room yesterday morning this is what i found.

i guess wingman found a place for hank to hang out. hank had previously been on wingman's bed but came down for school. then he got evicted from the favorite chair of a particular cat who does not like to share said chair.

i found him on the ground next to the chair and put him on the catch all pile in the dining room.

seems that wasn't good enough for wingman, and so by late morning i found hank with the buddha.

i don't know what hank is. but i do know that when i look at him i can't help but smile and feel a little more happy inside.

so i suppose it's only fitting he's hanging out with the buddha.

and they must be enjoying some kind of shared amusement because look, they both have the same smile on their faces.

x.

Friday, November 14, 2008

you can't fall off a mountain.



this was the view of the highway way way down below where we were hiking a few weeks ago. wingman was nervous at being so high.

"what if we fall off?"

i just told him to be smart and be careful and he would be fine. and then i heard myself saying

"don't worry wingman, you can't fall off a mountain."

it's from from my second favorite book in all the world, after siddhartha. the dharma bums, by jack kerouac. smith is climbing a mountain with japhy while morely rests below.

"Then suddenly everything was just like jazz: it happened in one insane second or so: I looked up and saw Japhy running down the mountain in huge twenty-foot leaps, running, leaping, landing with a great drive of his booted heels, bouncing five feet or so, running, then taking another long crazy yelling yodelaying sail down the sides of the world and in that flash I realized it's impossible to fall off mountains you fool and with a yodel of my own I suddenly got up and began running down the mountain after him doing exactly the same huge leaps, the same fantastic runs and jumps, and in the space of about five minutes I'd guess Japhy Ryder and I (in my sneakers, driving the heels of my sneakers right into sand, rock, boulders, I didn't care any more I was so anxious to get down out of there) came leaping and yelling like mountain goats or I'd say like Chinese lunatics of a thousand years ago, enough to raise the hair on the head of the meditating Morley by the lake, who said he looked up and saw us flying down and couldn't believe it. In fact with one of my greatest leaps and loudest screams of joy I came flying right down to the edge of the lake and dug my sneakered heels into the mud and just fell sitting there, glad. Japhy was already taking his shoes off and pouring sand and pebbles out. It was great. I took off my sneakers and poured out a couple of buckets of lava dust and said "Ah Japhy you taught me the final lesson of them all, you can't fall off a mountain."

"And that's what they mean by the saying, When you get to the top of a mountain keep climbing, Smith."

"Dammit that yodel of triumph of yours was the most beautiful thing I ever heard in my life. I wish I'd a had a tape recorder to take it down."

"Those things aren't made to be heard by the people below," says Japhy dead serious.

"By God you're right, all those sedentary bums sitting around on pillows hearing the cry of the triumphant mountain smasher, they don't deserve it. But when I looked up and saw you running down that mountain I suddenly understood everything."

"Ah a little satori for Smith today," says Morley.

"What were you doing down here?"

"Sleeping, mostly."

“Well dammit I didn't get to the top. Now I'm ashamed of myself because now that I know how to come down a mountain I know how to go up and that I can't fall off, but now it's too late."

indeed.

and that's what i want for my boys, for myself, for everyone. that each of us knows the beauty of being the triumphant mountain smasher even just once.

and definitely before it's too late.

x.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

couldn't have said it better myself.

this is a video of keith olbermann's comments on the defeat of NO on Prop8 in california.

there are a lot of commentaries on this defeat. celebrity and otherwise. there are protests in california and all across america.

i found olbermann's to be very clear and concise and heartfelt and really said all i was thinking much better that i could, and i thought i'd share it with you.

if you've got an extra 6 minutes give it a watch.

and if you can't access video links on your computer, the full text of it can be found here.

in other news, happy veterans day!! it's not just another day off of work, so if you know a veteran call them up and thank them for their service.

there's a new wine blog up also. sangiovese, mmmm.

x.

Monday, November 10, 2008

the glory that is wingman.



isn't that the cutest little snake you've ever seen? wingman took this picture the last time we were at the zoo.

anyway, living with wingman, as you might imagine, is quite an adventure. not only is he fully wingman on his own, he has the tendency to memorize things and pull them out at the best possbile moment. with material from others he's even more.....wingmanish.

he's got comedic timing, for sure. but i can also tell when he's od'ing on certain things.

like, for instance, when we were doing history the other day we were learning about the islamic calendar. did you know that their calendar starts in the year that muhammad made his journey from mecca to medina? the hegira, it's called. thus, their calendar is whatever the year is A.H., or After Hegira.

so we are learning this and i say by way of example,

"you know a.h.? like we have b.c. do you remember what b.c. stands for?"

"before comedy!"

too much spongebob i'm guessing.

or just this morning i remarked to the lord of the ring that circuit city is going bankrupt.

to which he replied absentmindedly

"not enough people are spending enough money"

to which wingman replied in a terribly snarky tone

"that's un-AMERICAN!"

too much rachael maddow and keith olberman i'm guessing.

or my favorite from the other night. i was tucking him into bed when he said

"i wish i was a regular kid"

and immmmmmmeeeeeeedddddiately, like any good mother, i started listing off in my head all the horrible wrongs i had foisted on him to cause him to say this. things that i thought would better his person, but really lessened his chance at normalcy, or being a "regular kid."

i looked at the prayer flags that ran the length of his ceiling, the ABC poster that shows, among other items, the word lesbian for the letter L, the stuffed animals tucked in around his shared with his brother room, the fact that i don't force him to cut his hair, that his favorite jammy shirt has a baby in utero inside the sun on it.

that papa and i are always around, that i make him chew omega3 capsules, that we don't shop at wal-mart on principle and he's DYING TO, that he's home schooled, that i nursed him until he was 3, that he didn't talk until 3 1/2, that he co-slept FOREVER and took to tagging the furniture the minute he could write his name.

what did i do!!!!?????!!!!! that made him wish he was a regular kid!!!!!????!!!

"um, what do you mean? what's a 'regular' kid?"

"you know, not brainy. i wish i wasn't so brainy"

um. okay. whaaaat?

"brainy? what do you mean by brainy?"

"duh! like i wish i wasn't so SMART. you know, brainy. i'm brainy"

and then a big old world weary sigh.


oh. indeed.

too much encyclopedia brown i'm guessing (he likes the word "brainy")

and there you have it. really, i must mine this while i can. because i have recently decided that by the age of 12 i will stop writing so much about, and in so much detail about each of my boys. at some point they have to have a reprive from me and my blog and i suppose adolescence is as good a time as any to give them that.

it's funny how at some point your children stop being "your children" and start being actual human beings with ideas and thoughts and desires of their own.

not to mention they stop being "yours" and become "themselves" and gain certain rights to privacy. which sucks because adolescence is probably going to be pretty interesting and i won't get to share it with you or make snarky comments about their behavior!!! what WILL we talk about!!!???

and AND we've only got like 6 more months of the duke so i'm sure hoping wingman can pick up the slack when the time comes!

x.

Friday, November 07, 2008

dear mr. president-elect.



dear barack obama,

this is what i woke up to the day after your historic win. it was hanging under our Early Warning Signs of Facism (which is basically just a timeline of the bush administration) and next to the poem/quote from pastor martin niemoller. you know the one,

First they came for the Communists,
and I didn’t speak up,
because I wasn’t a Communist.

Then they came for the Social Democrats,

and I didn’t speak up,

because I wasn’t a Social Democrat.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists,
and I didn’t speak up,
because I wasn’t a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up,
because I wasn't a Jew,
Then they came for me,
and by that time there was no one
left to speak up for me.

and there it was. wingman's handmade poster celebrating your win.

by the way, congratulations!

i really appreciated your acceptance speech tuesday night. instead of some self congratulatory, we did it!, whip the crowd into a frenzy speech, i think you set the right tone for the slog ahead. and i think you let us all know that we're in this together. that this momentum is just that, momentum. you reminded us that this is still a journey and we're not there yet.

you understand your position. and for that, i am thankful and even more assured that you will do the very best job that you can.

the thing is, i don't write this to you for me. i write this to you for my children.

while i am the one who voted, they are your true constituents.

and while i am so ecstatic, and more importantly pop the champagne hopeful about your win, AND have been waiting all my voting life for someone like you, i can afford to be let down.

that must seem pessimistic, but hey! i'm a life long democrat! it's my default.

but my boys have something in you that i, and so many others in my generation, never did growing up. they have someone truly awe inspiring to look up to. a political hero, if you will. they have been shown the audacity to hope in action and they are transformed.

and that's what i don't want taken away.

i know you aren't perfect and i know you can't fix everything. but you have the faith of millions and millions of americans, and millions and millions in the rest of the world, and more importantly, in this house, the faith of two little boys that you will at least try.

and that's all i ask.

good luck and god speed.

x.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

today.



today i am washing and folding and packing all the clothes the boybarians wore at about 4-5 years old. the jeans that are still in great condition, endless t-shirts that aren't faded or worn, hanna striped jammies worn every christmas, a land's end jacket that looks nearly new after two boys have been through it already.

i do this about once a year for my goddess son, le petit prince. i started with the baby stuff, moved up to 18-24 mos., 2T, 3T, and now the 4Ts. i've got bags in the closet ready to go as he grows.

as i fold each little t-shirt and shake out each pair of jeans i am reminded of my boys when they were small. well, smaller. they are still small. aren't they?

well, maybe not. but i suppose they will always be small to me.

also today i am researching all that i will need to homeschool the duke (and then wingman) through high school to ensure him the best possible chance at getting into the college of his choice, should he choose college after high school, while also ensuring that he's eligible for scholarships.

it seems early, but it isn't. it's never too early to plan ahead when it's your head that has to navigate them through.

a special challenge is his desire to take part in a state program wherein the last two years of high school he can take college classes for both high school AND college credit.

so i wash and fold and pack away part of his youth as i navigate how to best see him successfully to young adulthood. at least academically wise. i haven't even begun to figure out how i'm going to actually parent a teenager, let alone two teenagers, let alone successfully.

you always think when they are still sleeping with you or peeing their pants or forgetting their jackets at preschool that it will be "easier" as they get older. that "less" will be required of you.

but folding those clothes today the feeling i had was not unlike folding those clothes and diapers getting ready for them to be born.

and i'll you in on a little secret, it wasn't any "easier."

and i suspect it won't get any "easier." and i suspect that so much more than i could ever imagine will be required of me.

and now because we all need it, and because i'm on a video roll (oh, yeah, it's a video with sound.)

yes we carve.

x.

Monday, October 20, 2008

free form friday. (yeah, i know it's monday)



while not completely random, we took another walk on friday and encountered this wonderful mushroom pictured above. cool, huh?

wingman was pretty enthralled with ALL the mushrooms we found, but at each one sniffed

"oh, but it's not a shaggy mane"

??

which only confirms my suspicions he does indeed have some secret life.

Coolness of the week!

(be advised, this is a news video link with sound. totally safe for work or kids, though)

click here.

if you can't access it, it's a story on how the pope just gave india their first female saint.

Random political bits for the week.

colin powell endorses obama, blasts own party.

palin HAS to go on SNL and sit for the roasting to try and gain points. sad and shameful.

poor joe the @#&$^%! plumber.

Food love of the week; Coke.

while coke is in NO WAY random, quite the opposite, it's my food love of the week and i'll tell you why.

i don't drink soda so i always forget this, BUT, when you've got that headache coming on and there's no coffee around and no pain reliever to be found, drink a coke. coke is always around. in vending machines, corner stores, gas stations, etc. even at the top of one of your area's highest peaks.

if coca cola needs to be bailed out by government then we really know the world has gone to shit.

i had a migraine on saturday, but recovered enough to go hiking on sunday. well, until one adds in a 90 minute car ride, not enough breakfast, and 5000+ feet up in oxygen thin country. by the time we got ready to go on the hike my head was pounding pretty good. no coffee, no advil, no amenities at the visitor's center.

but, they had a vending machine and that vending machine had coke.

the real miracle is that i actually had money in my wallet (which i NEVER do) AND the machine actually took my dollar without spitting it back out at me.

there are miracles afoot everywhere, people.

x.

Friday, October 17, 2008

touche.

i hope to have a free form friday for you later. in the meantime enjoy the conversation heard from the backseat yesterday.

wingman "i wish everybody in the world was bullet proof then john lennon would still be alive."

the duke "but then lots of ruthless leaders would still be alive, too."

w "but then abraham lincoln would never have been shot."

d "but then we'd never have the joke 'other than that, mrs. lincoln, how was the play?' "

x.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

we took a walk yesterday.


we saw a waterfall.


isn't this tree amazing?


now, this is a bit fuzzy, but look at the "trunk" of that/those tree(s). doesn't it look like a sculpture? i see a female form towards the bottom wrapped around another taller human form towards the top. very isadora duncan.




we also saw some big ass leaves! very jurassic.




it's nice to see flowers blooming in the dark of the forest in october, isn't it?


there was a japanese garden.


and a zen garden.


and a reflecting garden. do you see that red dot at the far end? that's wingman. hi, wingman!


this handsome fellow was enjoying the attention. did you know that trumpeter swans mate for life?


and this was at the end. very merchant and ivory.

and that's the end of our walk. it was quiet and amazing and beautiful. a delightful way to spend the last of the perfect fall days.

speaking of delightful, new wine blog tonight and this time we're headed to australia. ACE!

x.

Friday, October 10, 2008

free form friday.



this was the bathroom in the hotel the lord of the ring and i stayed in in san francisco in 2006.

how random is that?

which is the perfect introduction to "free form friday."

a collection of randomness.

so this bathroom was mirrored all around. you see the television and phone? you could live in here! the weekend we stayed there i took two extra long baths complete with wine and cheesy television. it was heaven.

y'all be happy to know i did not use the phone. and considering it's placement, eeeww.

ring! ring!

"hello?"

"hi! what are you up to?"

"um....."

a book i read and LOVED this week;

The Year of Fog by Michelle Richmond

from amazon
In this spare page-turner, Richmond (Dream of the Blue Room) draws complex tensions from the set setup of a child gone missing. Photographer Abby Mason stops on San Francisco's Ocean Beach with her fiancĂ© Jake's six-year-old daughter, Emma, to photograph a seal pup; by the time Abby looks up, Emma has disappeared. Abby delves into the bereft missing children subculture and into the vagaries of memory. The book is beautifully paced—one feels Abby's clarity of purpose from the first page. The sure-handed denouement reflects the focus and restraint that Richmond brings to bear throughout.

music i listened to and LOVED this week;

Rust Never Sleeps by Neil Young & Crazy Horse

on vinyl. yeah, baby. nothing gets the laundry folded faster. well, except paying your youngest boybarian to do it.

something i ate and LOVED this week;

Larrupin's Swedish Mustard Dill Sauce.

mmmmm. this comes from way way northern california and is good on so many things. i had it during our yom kippur breakfast for dinner fest last night on a bagel with cream cheese, sliced tomatoes, red onions, lox, with the mustard sauce on top. it really is so good.

happy friday!

x.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

i should have put in an extra 50 cents to try for the patron saint of lost objects.



the following conversation took place this morning.

me: i did the dumbest thing i've ever done in my life today.

him: oh, i hardly think that's possible.

indeed.

there's always room for fucking up somewhere, right?

i think what he meant to say was supposed to be reassuring, like "oh, of course you didn't."

but it came out sounding different. and it's funnier to skew it this way anyway.

(note to all you singles out there. never go out with/date/partner/marry a writer. trust me)

anyway, at yoga i took my rings off. i wear two rings. my wedding ring and a ring that was a joint gift from the goddess mother and my sister after the duke was born. oh look. there it is above us. it's a carved face set in silver. it's beautiful. everyone who sees it loves it. i love it.

so my rings have been looser lately...okay. can i just stop here and repeat that. in bold. and caps.

MY RINGS HAVE BEEN LOOSER LATELY!

i'd like to believe all this yoga is finally paying off. while i am doing it for health and peace of mind, there are some other pieces of me i'd like to see affected by it as well. the pieces that are more used to being affected by wine and cheeseburgers.

anyway, so i took my rings off because they bug me during yoga. and i always put them in the front part of my purse...okay. can i just stop right here a say i do not at all care for the word purse. when i think of myself i DO NOT think of myself as someone who would carry a purse. i don't know why. it just seems so girlie and moommyish.

not that i think of myself as the burly truck driver type, just something about the word purse.

anyway, so i took my rings off and put them in my purse. in one of the front flat pockets of my purse where i always put them.

then i had some sort of leave of senses, a fit of the idiotics if you will. i took them from my purse and had the brilliant idea to put them in my sweatshirt pocket with my keys. a small pocket. a pocket that's shallower than...okay can i just stop right here i so do not have time for a metaphor, just trust me when i say the pocket is shallow.

so of course after class i gather my things and put my sweatshirt on and head to my car. as i get to the car i pull out my keys and get in the front seat.

and right then, somewhere in the back of some conscious part of my brain i register a small sound. not a ping or a thud, just a sound. i'm aware and not aware of it at the same time. but i don't become aware of this at all until a minute or so later. make sense? no? read on, you'll see what i mean.

i start the car and i'm going to put it in reverse and then i remember my rings. i go to my purse to the pocket where i put them and they aren't there. i dig deeper and they aren't there. i check the other pocket and they aren't there.

panic. you all know panic. real abject fear. that one split second when you know you are not dreaming and it's only one split second more when you'll find the child, the wallet, the wedding ring or you won't. and everything after that one split second more will be cool or absolutely fucked up beyond all repair.

and in the next split second my rings weren't there. totally FUBAR.

my sweatshirt pocket! of course! now i remember!

i checked and they weren't there.

i get out of the car and look underneath and around and they aren't there. i get back in.

and then i remember the small sound. only right then do i become aware that i was aware and i remember that i registered some small sound. so i open the door and right there, right where i just looked, right there is my wedding ring. lying on the pavement. my beautiful ring that symbolizes so much, that means so much to me. just lying there.

how did i overlook it before? how did i not see this? maybe it wasn't there or maybe it was.

all i know is i picked it up and put it on and gave a sigh. of. relief. an upwards glance of thanks.

but my other ring? nowhere to be found. i searched again in and out and around the car. i went back in the building and got help looking and retraced my steps and it was nowhere. to. be. found.

and it's just a thing but the sense of loss was so profound. they are just things, sure, we can all tell ourselves this. just things, but they really can come to mean so much. even more when they are gone.

isn't that funny. how something means more when it's not right in front of us. now THAT is a sick cosmic joke. and a really really REALLY good lesson.

don't they usually go hand in hand? the sick comic jokes and the lessons learned?

where was i? oh, yeah. so i got back into the car, put the key in the ignition, and i'm about ready to go when right then, for some reason unbeknownst to me, right then i am compelled to look in my purse, in the main part, not the front pockets, and right there was my ring. staring up at me. right there.

now, like i said before, at yoga i never put my rings in the main part. just in the front flat pockets (when i'm not hit by a fit of the idiotics that is) and even though i had the flap up to look in the front pockets initially, so sure the main part was exposed, remember i ended up putting the rings in my pocket. not anywhere in my purse.

and yet, it there it was. right there on top. staring right up at me.

and there you have it. divine intervention on a random thursday in october.

and i'm sure there's a lot more to say about that but i think i'm good for now.

x.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

in a pickle.



okay. this is a BAD picture. but if you look closely you will see that this is a gumball machine. only it's filled with little plastic figures. homies or saints.

well, i don't think i have to tell you i nearly peed my pants when i came upon this, right? we were on a road trip early in the summer and we stopped in this small town i hadn't much ever noticed in all the years driving by the exit on the freeway. i am SO glad we did!

you put your 50 cents in a give it a ride. and it gives you a homie or a saint. pretty cut and dried.

and therein lies the pickle.

do i keep dropping quarters in, ANY amount of quarters, in hopes of getting the saints i want and risk getting the homie with the roses kneeling by the gravestone, a tear falling under his sunglassed eyes AGAIN? (it turns out i got a lot of this guy)

or do i set a limit on my money and get what i get and that's it?

because this gumball machine was roughly 1000 miles, give or take a few, from my house. two states away. i'd never seen another like it. and i wanted those saints! do i risk what will easily amount to more than a few dollars to get them?

hmmm.

the duke is in a pickle, too. when he was at camp this summer he won the "fun" award. you may remember a few years ago he won the "honesty" award?

yes and then he went up on stage to accept it not a few weeks after he got in trouble for lying to me? a pickle indeed.

anyhow, they give the awards at camp during the summer, and then have a big ceremony in the city across the pond later in the fall.

if you're a camper it's a big deal.

so, the duke just got his invitation in the mail for the big awards ceremony and of course it's on the same day at the same time as his very last soccer game of the season.

of course.

he is loyal to his camp and says the "fun" award is a pretty big deal. they announce it last and make a lot of winning it.

he is also a loyal teammate. being there for his team is important to him. and it's the last game.

what to do?

a pickle indeed.

i told him to think about it a day or two and let me know. i'll respect any decision he makes.

sounds like iceland is in a pickle. on the verge of bankruptcy. you're ice-freakin'-land? how do you bounce back from THAT!?!

speaking of pickles, last night wingman asked me

"mama, do you think the soul looks like a pickle?"

and if there's anything more to say about that i just don't know what it is.

so what did i do about the homies and the saints machine? well, on the trip down when we stopped at the machine i only had a few quarters and i got what i got.

on the trip back up when we stopped at the machine (yes, we got off the freeway and drove into the town just to stop at the machine) i set a limit for myself.

PLUS, i had people in mind. so when i let the 50 cents ride each time, it was with someone particuluar in mind. and the last few 50 cents were for me. and i told myself even if the saint i wanted came out on another person's 50 cents i would honor it and give them the saint.

that seemed like a good way to eliminate the pickle and feel not so weird about dumping cold hard cash into a machine filled with cheap and badly painted mostly likely lead ridden plastic figures made by three year olds in china.

so i let all those quarters ride and GUESS WHAT!?!

i didn't get one freakin' saint i wanted. sigh.

i was bummed for sure. for awhile. much later i was so grateful and felt like the whole thing had a touch of the divine. if just a small touch.

because while i didn't get the saints i so desperately wanted, i did get the saints i needed. only i didn't know it at the time. isn't that how it usually works?

i got the saints who watched over travel, and children and animals, and who preached pure love.

and when we got home from that long and mostly at freeway speeds road trip we were all in one piece (i am thankful making it back from the store in one piece), the cat who had been missing the whole time we were gone came back, and i am finally all these months later really truly understanding what it means to give "pure love."

cue the rolling stones.

x.

p.s. there's a new wine blog up. mmmm, malbec.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

regret.



the jewish high holy days of rosh hashanah and yom kippur are a time of reflection on regret and atonement. during the 10 day period starting with rosh hashanah, jews think about what they've done, who they've hurt, etc. and reflect on this and how they can do better in the next year. on yom kippur they ask for forgiveness.

so i was thinking about the concept of regret last week. mainly in regards to having to explain the concept to the boybarians in relation to the holiday.

so i was thinking about regret, driving along, and it hit me like a ton of bricks. it was so astonishing i nearly pulled over.

of all the things i've ever done, all the lines i've crossed and the boundaries i've squished or moved or obliterated, of all the people who might have one (or sadly, more) achey spot in their hearts with my name on it, i simply cannot regret any one thing i've ever done.

this is what nearly pulled me over. out of the blue. just like that.

whoa! this is new.

i can't. and it was as simple as that. and all those nights when i couldn't sleep, and of course that's when the dark thoughts come calling, all those nights i lay awake thinking about what a fucker i was to this person or how awful it was i did this thing, etc. all those nights and now i don't have to do it again. all those times i got that queasy feeling when a memory came up and squashed it because i didn't want to think about what an ass i had been or how stupidly i behaved, gone.

the thing is, to regret is to assume that what you did had no merit. that it was done with complete disregard to anything or anyone else and in total spite of what you know and who you are. which seems like a reasonable assumption to make, right? that you are 100% disregarding and 100% in spite of "knowing better." right?

but wait. to regret is to assume that at the time of the action you are working with 100% knowledge, firing on all cylinders, and that you were, in fact, at the time or at any time a whole and complete and perfect being with nothing left to learn, nothing left to know, nothing left to fail at.

while we all "should know better" sometimes we don't. sometimes we know but there's something else at work. for some reason there's room left to fail. and sometimes it's not clear until later. and sometimes we're just slow learners. A LOT OF THE TIMES we're just slow learners.

even if we're "smart" people. sometimes ESPECIALLY if we're "smart" people.

sometimes we have to go running over the same old ground what have we found the same old fears and shitty behaviors.

until we don't.

and isn't there merit in the finally getting it?

because how do we learn? how does a baby learn his first word? take her first step? that hot is pain? that biting is hurtful to someone else?

it's modeled, we practice till we don't fall, we hurt ourselves till we learn how to not, we hurt others until we learn what it means to actually hurt another person and then we stop.

it's no different as adults. young, middle aged, or otherwise.

we are all here for a reason. with our own path and our own timetable. if we miss a step or screw up the cosmic schedule, it's gonna come around again for another shot. the same step, the same moments. over and over and over until we. get. it.

a system that is at once totally awesome with the potential to be totally heartbreaking and shitty, too. at least until you. get. it.

and while others can be hurt by our cosmic schedules and missteps, they cannot dictate where we "should" be. they cannot hurry us along or shame us into "getting it." everyone gets there when they get there.

shit, it's a wonder anyone can "stay together" or have lifelong friendships or even come to like and continue to like a group of people (family) they never chose in the first place!

regret means the lesson hasn't been learned. regret functions simply to keep us down. you did this you are bad and now you must regret.

bullshit.

that's not how i taught my babies and that's not how i'll nurture my own self.

everyone makes mistakes. and mistakes are only mistakes until you correct them. then they are learning experiences.

regret impedes the learning.

now, that being said, i do not for one moment believe that i am exonerated completely for things i have done, people i have hurt, etc. that's not how it works. and that's not what this is about. because i don't beat myself up with regret doesn't mean the past is erased, and it doesn't automatically soothe the achey spot in someone's heart with my name on it.

that's a whole 'nother ball game that must be played in its own way.

as far as just the personal regret, when we keep ourselves from the lesson, from the getting it and moving forward, there is no way we can be "better" friends, partners, family. and by better i mean someone who got the lesson and knows enough to not squash the boundaries, to not cross the lines, to not bite.

so to all of you silly mortals out there, go easy on yourselves.

life was never meant to be lived in a day. because no matter what, there's always another day, one more chance to learn, and to get it, and to move on.

shanah tova!

x.

p.s. the tree up there is stainless steel. i don't know what that crow knows or doesn't know about that "tree", but he seemed pretty happy perched up there.

Monday, October 06, 2008

this is me giving the bird to your GOP MiG.

dear sarah palin,

i watched your debate on thursday.

i suppose you are pretty pleased with yourself.

that's the way to keep shattering that glass ceiling. by keeping the expectations so low you'll have no place to go but up. you go girl! you show your girls how it is DONE!

which just proves you are indeed a product of the american education system. you should be on a stamp.

during the debate, among the other noise emitted from your yap, i heard you talking about john mccain and what he knows and especially what he's learned. you said that a lot in prefacing your glowing remarks about him. what he's learned.

what have you learned, sarah palin? because you seem just as dumb as the box of hammers you were as dumb as five weeks ago. in five weeks of being coached and coddled and exaulted on high, what have you learned?

how to strap on the highest heels possible and be bitchy with a smile?

because where i come from that's called jr. high.

and one might have thought you'd be a bit farther along by now.

but, maybe like your pregnancies, it just takes longer for you to show than everyone else?

regardless, i think you are one of the worst things to happen to american politics.

and i lived through dan quayle and karl rove. and cheney more than once.

oh, yes, and let's not forget george w. bush. remember him? current sitting president? yeah, i keep forgetting about him, too.

and i actually miss old ronald regan.

/shudder.

i will never forgive you for forcing me to type that sentence above. never.

but what i will mostly never forgive you for, you and your little old man, is for RUINING the word maverick. for essentially making maverick a four letter word. because i loved the real maverick. loved him. and goose and iceman, too. i even loved jester.

hey, did you know tim robbins was in that movie? i know, weird, right? he played merlin. i always forget that. of course he wasn't the big star he is today.

oh, and he's a HUGE democrat so i just betcha he doesn't like you either.

i loved them all and even named my second born wingman because i love them so much. but especially maverick. loved him. and since you made maverick a dirty word he just seems, well, icky. and unlovable anymore.

(to be fair, it wasn't a far fall. what with the couch jumping, and the antics, and the overall i went off my meds but nobody can tell, tee hee! tee hee! behavior, it wasn't a far fall indeed.)

you are a smart girl, sarah, i'll give you that. a very smart girl indeed.

because you've somehow made your way into the very fabric of american culture AND on perez hilton *without* taking your clothes off or having to go on a reality show.

and i just betcha you could even be a guest host on regis and kelly now! or the view!

well played, sarah, well played.

x.

Friday, October 03, 2008

eagle, 1971.



so yesterday we went on a field trip to the outdoor sculpture park across the pond. i had arranged this trip awhile ago, and wouldn't you know it it was the first rain after weeks of beautiful weather?

the thing about the outdoor sculpture park is that it's so beautiful. you're there, you can see it from the street, but it's not until you get in there that you realize you haven't seen a thing. its hidden pockets of art, beautiful landscaping, thoughtful placement of pieces. it's really beautiful.

even in the rain. and the artwork is so inviting. looking at it from a distance is one thing. but actually getting up close with it right there and towering over you is incredible.

and you. can't. touch. a. thing.

even though it's outside and in the elements 24/7 you can't touch it. ever.

sooo, with a bunch of kids i was a little wary, but they did really really well. we walked through the towering serra, and paused in front of the intriguing pepper, and marveled at the "interesting" di suvero.

then we got to the calder that you see above you.

now, this kind of abstract art is not my thing. from afar it's interesting, i suppose. i could really take it or leave it.

but as we got closer and closer i got more interested in it. as it became more near than far, it took on a different look. less "abstract" more inviting. and when we got right to it the docent gathered all the kids underneath and was asking them their impressions and ideas about the sculpture.

do you see that it's an eagle?

yeah, me either. but that's abstract for you. like stacked fusion cuisine. or creepy pretentious cocktails in fussy glasses. not my thing.

anyway, so the parents are hanging back and kids are all excited to say what they think it looks like. then the docent starts to explain about the piece. that it's steel. that it's painted steel with a patented color. that this "red" (i think it looked orangeish up close, but what do i know?) can't be found anywhere else.

she went on about alexander calder, and this work in particular, and she mentioned that he sculpted this piece the year i was born. we are the same age, i thought. she went on and talked about how this piece represented calder's idea about the combination of pragmatism and poetry. she could be describing me, i thought.

and as i looked closer, and felt what it was really like being that close up to so much paint and steel, it reminded me of the golden gate bridge. the color similar, well, similar enough, and the idea that paint and steel, such ordinary and "pragmatic" things can be combined into something beautiful. "poetic" if you will.

and i remembered that day i walked across the golden gate bridge so long ago, and the feeling of awe and interest, of enormity, how i was scared and thrilled at the same time. how the drizzly windy day when i walked across that bridge was not unlike this day. how two separate experiences, a lifetime apart, had such a strong connection. and had made that connection known right inside of me. right here. right now.

and i was thinking about these things as i stood under this great sculpture.

and then i saw one rain drop running down the side. i watched it travel down this painted steel of the patented color and it seemed soft. not the raindrop, the steel. the whole sculpture felt big and strong and enormous, yet it felt like if you touched it it would be soft and yeilding.

pragmatic and poetic.

and before i knew it i reached out and touched that raindrop and began to trace it down the side.

"UH, NO! NO! remember, we can't touch the sculptures!"

and with a collective whip all eyes were on me. all the kids. all the moms. the docent. the docent with the pained smile.

and like coming out of a fog, i looked up and noticed i had my finger on the sculpture and pulled it down really fast.

i didn't look at the duke or wingman to see if they were completely mortified, i just mumbled an apology and the moment was over.

and that's it. i touched the calder. the 14 kids from 4 years old to 13 years old didn't touch the sculptures. but i did.

of course i did. sigh.

and i wasn't falsely accused like last time. and i have no excuse. no touching, and i touched.

and you know what?

it did feel soft and yielding. just like i thought it would.

x.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

bon jour!



i found this heart shaped rock on a hike we took a few weeks ago. you hike down down down through the forest and then it opens up onto a cove on the water. it was very pretty. and then when you are done you hike up up up. and then up some more.

to the boybarians' credit i didn't hear a peep of complaint!

the thing is though, see all those rocks? not the heart shaped one but all the rest of them? well, as we approached the cove a part of the trail was flooded over with a running stream. so we shucked our shoes and waded through. and the cove was just about there so we hiked over these rocks, barefoot until we got there instead of putting our shoes back on wet and muddy feet.

only wingman's little tootsies gave out on the rocks and he could go no further.

so what's a mother to do? i hauled him up on my hip, all 45+ pounds of him, dense and tightly packed pounds i might add, and carried him barefoot over those little sharp rocks the rest of the way.

good times.

anyhow, today is the first full day of rosh hashanah! happy new year!

i have more to say on that later in the week.

but for now we are busy busy and have a jam packed afternoon if we can get through the morning.

in the meantime, i wanted to let you know that the duke started french yesterday. and he got 100% on his pronunciation the first day! i know i know, it's the first day, but still!

he has a head set with a microphone and the computer analyzes the accent. he did say he missed one or two and the computer let him know, then on the repeat he nailed it! so the final score was 100%

hey, accent is half the battle! i took five years of french and i know so very little and my accent is whack! so i'm very proud of him and hope he keeps up with it.

and along those lines, A NEW WINE BLOG TONIGHT!!! and in honor of the duke's early (and hopefully continued) success with french i will be reviewing a wine from the south of france!

woo! hoo!

or oui! oui!

enjoy your tuesday.

x.

Friday, September 26, 2008

reason # 39476 why i shouldn't leave the house.



i'm supposed to be working.

i'm supposed to be chopping and mixing and arranging for a party i agreed to do the food for tomorrow night. a party of 150 at a rented venue. a big party.

but i'm not.

and now i will tell you a story.

the other day i was at the store to gather some of what i needed for cooking today and to price out items to purchase a few days later.

so i needed 8 heads of napa cabbage. for a salad i'm making much like the one you see above you. like that big red solo cup of beer at the edge of the picture? good times.

anyway, where was i? oh yeah, so the store had just a few heads from what it looked like, and ON SALE, so i asked the produce guy if they would be getting more in. he checked and then came back and told me

"there is not more napa cabbage coming in in the near future, but maybe we'll get some."

huh? what does that even mean? the state of education in this country. i swear.

so now i had a dilemma. do i buy up what they have now and find room in my fridge for days on end until i needed them, or do i risk coming back in two days to see if they still had some or got some in? drive around town looking for 8 heads of napa cabbage at the sure to be more expensive stores? i doubted my budget or my recipe could deal with the gamble.

i called the lord of the ring to ask his opinion on this particular situation and it's just because he's a gentleman AND because i nearly died giving birth to his children, TWICE, that he didn't hang up on me and pretend the call dropped.

so i was on my own with this, and i pondered and decided to just buy up what they had now. just in case. so i ended up cleaning them out and got 7 heads of napa cabbage.

so i'm pushing my cart around the store pricing out some other ingredients. i was looking at olives when i felt something behind me. like a "presence." something disturbing in the fabric of the universe, yet there was no sound.

i slowly turned around and there was a gaggle of elderly asian women circling my cart.

uh. oh.

i walked over and one of them asked me but without "asking"

"where did you get all this chinese cabbage!"

"um, in the produce section."

"there's none left!"

"um, yeah, i cleaned them out."

how come i was feeling so nervous. like everything i said in the next five minutes was going to be measured and weighed and i better not screw it up. i started to sweat. they started to press in closer. i couldn't tell how many, it was all beginning to blur.

i didn't trust the one in the back in the knitted cap who kept pawing at my cabbages, i moved protectively in front of my cart.

"we came down here to buy chinese cabbage and you got here before us!"

"yeah. sorry."

"why do you need all this chinese cabbage!"

i explained about the party and the food i was making. all the while keeping my hand on the cart handle and my eye on the one in the knitted cap.

after awhile they seemed to be satisfied with my answer but no less irritated and begrudgingly let me go.

it felt oddly like being released that time on the border.

i waited until i was around the corner then i sprinted to the check out counter and hightailed it out of there before they changed their minds.

and for two days i've had 7 heads of napa cabbage waiting for my knife in the fridge. i didn't even bother to find another head just in case i ran into the elderly asian chinese cabbage cartel on the hunt.

so i'm off to chop!

enjoy your weekend!

x.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

can i get a witness!



"My heart is singing for joy this morning. A miracle has happened! The light of understanding has shone upon my little pupil's mind, and behold, all things are changed." Anne Sullivan

we all like to think our children are smart, gifted, special.

and they all are.

but when you are their teacher and they are your student, well, it becomes a bit more dicey if they are "not."

and by "not", i mean just average. or heavens agast! below average.

which is NOT a bad thing. at. all. it is what it is.

except if you are the one responsible for their entire education.

get where i'm going with this?

i have never pushed my children academically. sure, we have a pretty stiff curriculum compared to some, and sure i don't allow slacking off of that just because we are home doing it, BUT i don't push.

they learn at their rate and to the best of their ability. and what they learn, well, it's their to own. i just provide the space and facilitate the process.

my kids aren't geniuses, nor do i want them to be.

and i am fully aware of the public vs. home school mystique regarding the myth of genius. i don't buy it. there are geniuses in public schools and average kids who are home schooled.

that being said, good lord when you look at your child and he's absorbed the very thing you've been attempting to teach him, THE VERY THING, well, it's a moment folks.

it's a treasured moment.

like when you let go of the bike seat and they don't notice and they don't topple. when they spend the whole night in a bed other than yours and continue to do so every night after.

and when they spend a whole night in said bed and wake up dry.

when they say mama, papa, or NO! and mean it for the first time.

the first time they laugh.

the first time you see them.

knowing that a concept is grasped, understood, and regurgitated in the necessary context, and that you. facilitated. this., well, it's a moment.

in other news i leave you with a quote from the duke on the mccain;

"boy, you can just hear him getting older every time he talks"

and just so you know, we've talked about age, ageism, and how people can be competent at ALL KINDS of ages, but why HE AT HIS AGE and with related issues (i.e. leaving us to be raised by palin like a bunch of red headed stepchild orphans from the wrong ass side of the brimstone) scares us so much.


he's a smart ass, that one. and i cannot for the life of me begin to imagine where he picked that up.

x.

Friday, September 12, 2008

just a little hello.



this little guy was at the butterfly house at the zoo. pretty, no?

and now a quote from wingman to carry you into your weekend.

"i LOVE group hugs! especially with other people!"

indeed.

and listen, as easy as it is, don't be afraid of what's happening in this country. don't lose sight of the goal by letting fear cloud your vision.

cognizant and aware, yes. afraid, no.

don't be scared. be productive.

get out the vote, and keep your chin up. find a way to take that fear and make it work for you, not against you.

it's easy to hold on, it's letting go that takes some doing.

let go of the fear and get to work. today.

the clock is ticking and it's that important.

x.