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!


Monday, November 24, 2008


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.


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)


Friday, November 21, 2008


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.


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.


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)


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.


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, 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.


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.


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."


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.


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.


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!


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.


Tuesday, November 04, 2008