Thursday, December 8, 2016

Just doing what I'm told

This is their words, not mine.
100% true story.

The wise ones tell me to
Write. To use my voice.
The morning angels waken me with
"A buyer is coming!" (We are selling our house)
"Destroy the patriarchy!"
The coven says
"Predators hide in plain sight" but
"His eye is on the sparrow"
And "we're the right people for this time."
"Good will overcome darkness"
if we all shine.
(That last line was mine :)

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Life is Pain

If you don't understand why a person would be so upset about losing an election, please consider this one example. For many people I have talked to, Trump is a visceral reminder of their abuser, bully, unstable parent, or tyrant boss. That your fellow Americans seemed to either love or be indifferent to Trump's abusive and hateful words against any "loser" group feels like a personal attack.

I realize now that living without fear is a privilege and choice. As a white, heterosexual, educated, mother with a stable income; I am not at particular risk.  What keeps me up at night is the fear and pain of people specifically, directly attacked or threatened by President Elect Trump (and now his Cabinet). Worse, is the fired up, vocal and aggressive groups and individuals who are actual physical threats to minority groups.  If you think I am making up or exaggerating any of the above, I will send you direct quotes from Trump, his appointees, and his supporters for you to review. Ask yourself, "if someone said this about my mom or child, would I be OK with it?"

I had this going through my head a few days ago after viewing social media posts with the basic  "Libtard Crybaby Entitled Bitches" theme. YOU MOCK MY PAIN!

Then I had to find the full scene because clearly 2 seconds of Princess Bride will never do, and it was a revelation. The next line from the Dread Pirate Roberts is classic and timely. Liberals, LIFE IS PAIN!  

We did not hear the pain of people so desperate and angry that they would elect Trump. We mocked them. We white people did not hear the pain of people of color who have been telling us for years that in America not all lives matter, and the elites who benefit include Democrats. We dismissed them as "not me".

"I died that day!" insists Princess Buttercup. Please Trump voters, please understand that for many of us, who we thought America was did die that day.

To everyone trying to make it through holidays with relatives on the "other side", remember that anger is often fear is often pain. Ask questions and then listen. I am not asking you to change your mind. Just don't mock, just don't dismiss. Try to listen to understand. Not just to reply. Breathe and stuff your face with food (or whatever other coping mechanisms you have).

Monday, November 7, 2016

Whatever happens

Whatever tomorrow holds I will not live in fear.
I will continue to love my family and strangers who love a man I consider to be a master class teacher in privilege, bold face lying and denying, bragging, inflammatory language, degrading and undisciplined behavior, and showmanship over actual ideas. His supporters think I am voting for a cold hearted bitch that should be locked up, and that she has my vote because she is a woman. But I am voting for her because I generally agree with her policy positions. Also, I am a woman who will not tolerate a man who feels entitled to grab women's pussies because of his celebrity. At all. Call me old fashioned. What would he feel entitled to as president for heaven sake?!
Clearly, we see the world in completely different terms.
I will not be afraid of our difference or I am a hypocrite.

Whatever tomorrow holds I will not live in fear, but I no doubt feel it.
The weight of so much unleashed racism, misogyny, and erosion of our democracy is no joke. I refuse to let it ruin my joy or steal my optimism, because Fuck you, that's why. But seriously, I will not sit in angry or hateful or callous judgment of anyone.  That is a surrender I will not suffer.

No matter what happens tomorrow,  we need all the People for the planet to act as if we want to avoid the true and inescapable disaster of climate change.
I will not be afraid. To speak my mind and call out injustice or to be called out on my own ignorance and bullshit.
Bring it on! We got work to do.
I will never be afraid to be seen as a nasty woman. I will never be afraid to be free.
Fear got us to this place and only love and listening will get us out.
Tomorrow belongs to my children and I will not let fear shape their hearts.

Sunday, March 20, 2016


Children will wreck your life.
You will know instant karma.
And what do we know about karma?
It's going to get you.
By the short hairs.

Chest and ego pounding to
maintain dominance over
a situation under your responsibility but not
entirely (or at all) under your control.

An innocent child now mirroring
your bad habit
or attitude
or language.
or all three.

Children's hearts,
little baby hearts,
are complete and whole
in miniature perfection.
The development of the heart is not measured in size
but in openness and generosity.
Your child will have you beat in this.
Hands down winners.
You will be cracked open by the trust of this little person.

A brain, however,
is quite literally a work in progress until we die.
And we got time on our side,
which equals experience
which means
we don't utterly loose our minds over NOT THE GREEN PLATE!!!!!!!
and know the difference between Santa and the guy in the red suit and bell asking for money.
But you still don't win because children
literally don't know what you are talking about.
You will be humbled by the uselessness of your reasons and
how too little sleep and too much noise make you REALLY FREAK OUT!!!!!
and it might feel a bit like loosing your mind.

Children will wreck your life where you believed
you were a peaceful person by nature
(turns out you were rested and not provoked )
The life where your heart was yours to give away and take back

Now your heart has a beat in another
big heart, little brain person
surrounded by sharp objects
careless people and actual evil.

Your whole life exploded
by your love
by your failures
by your surrender
by your gratitude for this tiny human
that perfectly wrecked your life.
By making you
by making you

Friday, November 13, 2015

Why I am decidedly agnostic

Yesterday, I found this picture in a letter addressed to my grandparents among some photos from their house. It was from the pastor's wife, Mrs. Rev. Garrison, who had found it cleaning out a drawer years later and sent it to my grandparents.

I must have drawn it sitting in the pews, as it is on the back of a hymn printout. I was 10, but if I had to draw it again today- I think it would look the same except for the bubble dots over the "i"'s.

The good reverend's sermon was likely titled "what kind of man is this?.   I had already developed a deep ambivalence towards religion, so it doesn't surprise me this captured my attention.

I shopped around at that age, eagerly going to my friends' churches. Realizing that they all equally believed themselves to be getting it "right". None of them addressing a deep need I still have for genuine, meaningful gatherings and communion. It was all sit and listen, stand and kneel. Facing forward never looking at each other until handshakes and hugging at the appointed times. Only the men talked, unless it was announcements or Sunday school. Ladies got to make announcements. This neatly explains why I will never go to Church.

Last week, my dad told me that when I was about 5 and sick with a cold, I asked him if God wanted me to be sick. He told me, "I don't think so, honey". I left him, only to return a little while later to ask "Then why am I sick?".  I feel like this sums up why I can't get my head around a God as omniscient and omnipotent and omnipresent, but only pure good.

I have been following the pain and confusion over the new LDS Church policy of excluding children of parents in same sex relationships from church rituals, blessings, and privileges. I can think of no better time to ask "What kind of man is this" that creates policies about children's relationship to God and their family? This appears to me to be a matter of social control masked as divine inspiration. This is so prevalent in religions that I don't teach my kids that any one religion is correct.

The fact that it was in a "policy handbook" is all the more repellent to me. The devil is most definitely in the details of implementation. I have never trusted the Christian religion, because it really isn't just "believe in the Lord and thou shall be saved". It is do that and then accept a hundred other rules, fables, myths, and guidelines for living a biblical life.

As I type, the horror of the attacks in Paris are unfolding. The reports say the murderers were yelling "God is great!" Clearly, these are men using religion to justify their terror and righteousness, a scenario as old as religion itself.

I do not believe in Lennon's call to "imagine there is no religion".  Religion is a fundamental freedom. What we should be able to expect is religion without violence. This is the one of the few things that keeps me thinking about finding a faith community, because only a believer in religion could make this truly happen.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Woman with Options

A woman with options

Is not about some Rosy 
Yes We Can pep talk
Because she will, she must
She will manifesto presto
Out of her own thin air.
She is not on anyone's B String.

She seeks to know the contours and shape of her power.
Did you know the so called Venus figurines
were carved by a woman looking down upon her breasts and round belly and cut off feet
not a distorted ornament or object, but a self-portrait.

A woman with options is not a greeting card "Goddess"
She is skilled in the somewhat darker arts of
the delicate application of brutal logic, willful disregard for and the calling out of bullshit, 
and the weeding of potentially fertile ground for her preferred outcome. 
She is not on a pedestal doing this work, she is ready to look you right in the eye . 

A woman with options is dead fucking serious
and entertains all manner of ridiculousness
Until she doesn't.

She knows that a virtuous life 
is not a golden ticket or
karmic ride
lined with good fortune
but rather
a weaving of soft places to land. 
So she tries to be kind.

The nightmares she will tell you about are of
passports lost
timing all off
missing pieces of clothing needed for the celebration
Time runs out while she looks for the right dress or a lost shoe.

Yes she CAN for sure, as a general rule she is known for this
But she knows the devil is in the details
The dominoes fall or don't fall into eternity in all directions.

She is never alone
She gives birth to ideas with the midwives of 
ambition and doubt.  
She weighs each one
like jewels in hand but sometimes
hooks in tender flesh

A woman with options knows that finding meaning
could be like deciding what clothes to wear for the day.
What ever suits you.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015


In response to "The Way It Is" by William Stafford and 3 days alone in Seattle.

The chain is broken

a door is left open
in the quiet
I can choose.
I can
I listen.

I can hear

Its a series of reactions
and counter-reactions
jibber- jabber
you this, me that.

How do I slow it
all down
to discern if this is a
chain that binds
or a thread
that might hold
it all together.

Friday, January 16, 2015


NOVA's Fabric of the Cosmos on PBS: What is Space?
But here are cliff notes;

Space is everywhere
Everywhere there is space
it gives relation to, respect to the something that is not space
And we know very little about it.
"Fish are not conscious of water either, they are in it all the time" - S. James Gates, Jr.
Einstein found that space and time work together to adjust, so that the speed of light is always the same.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Why I am Faithful and not just Agnostic

This is a video of my grandpa. He was the finest Christian I have ever known, and a really super grandpa.

He memorized the book of Ephesians and portions of Acts and Timothy to create a reenactment of Apostle Paul writing letters from jail. The video is from 1985, and begins with him singing two gospel songs. 

Clarence died September 21, 2011 at the age of 83. He told me shortly before he died that he would love to perform this play one last time. I found this recording and put it on youtube to grant my grandpa his wish. 

My grandpa was known by everyone as a man of God, who loved the Lord. His memorization of the Word of God inspired many people. All of this is so clear to see in this video. Please share this with others!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Random Bullshit I tell myself...

I absolutely REFUSE to give in to my child's obstinate demands.

Behind her back, when she is not around, I have her all figured out.

If you don't meet people where they are, how the hell are you going to get them where you think they should go?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Queen Dream

I am running and playing some sort of paintball...but in a carnival setting. I am running and then scheming and then directing the victory.

It gets serious.

I know I must enter the stadium and it is filled with my enemies. Somehow this is both a fun game and deadly serious...plans are made and I enter the stadium down an aisle created by my soldiers. They have created a path for me through the crowd. I go up onto a high stage and have won the game.

I am now magic and when I blow air through my lips, the crowd bends and sways like grass in a windstorm. I know I have shown all of my power. I turn to someone next to me and say "someone will want to kill me now". 

It now gets silly.
I decide I need to lighten the mood and start dancing. A fools dance. I think I am trying to get a party started and the doors of the stadium are opened. Some stay but most leave.

I realize I have lost their respect. I try the blowing trick, but people are still leaving.

I woke up at this point and then tried to go back to sleep. I wanted to return to the point I decided to dance. I couldn't.... instead I ended up in a dream that Shania Twain had arrived to stay at my (tiny and messy) house. Talk about a demotion!

If I ever get the chance to repeat the dream, I would still dance. Not a fools dance, but one of intensity, power, and freedom.

Friday, May 20, 2011

My boys shine

Oliver is a talker. He collects new words and likes to show them off. Here are a few of his latest additions:

Writing this list, I realize it describes Oliver. My boy shines! Here is just one example:

Jack is like your cool, drunk uncle. Kinda distant and then busts out hilarious observations or fantasies.
He prefers sweatpants for daily attire, which he calls "easy pants".

And he has infuriating accidents. Tonight, he managed to get to the toilet, take off his pants and underwear, but pooped right next to the toilet. The sequence of events that occurred to lead to this outcome is a mystery to me. My best guess is that he became absorbed in some tactile or visual entertainment, and actually forgot to get on the toilet.

I managed to stay calm, and was cleaning up the mess. Jack says to me "when you are a baby and you poop in pants, I'd buy you diapers, and toys that look dumb, and junk cereal". This is verbatim quote- I wrote it down right after I realized this was a compliment...sort of?These are all things he wants but doesn't get.

A slice of Jack's fantastical worlds:
Saturday at the park, "I am a bounty hunter!My name is Zelda and I hunt with my boomerang (a twig). I hunt for meat! Deer meet!" . Tuesday he was a cat, purring and meowing all over the house. Thursday I come home to a unicorn.

My boys make me laugh every day. Here is a taste: Jack is playing a zither with a ping pong ball and Oliver is setting up a "scene" for his movie.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Edge

On the soles
hard earth presses.
Rocks sharp corners push
in tenderfoot.
We take our toes
over the edge.
Tongues wagging
with destruction.
We breathe heavy.
We breathe hard.
Towers fall.
Cities drown.
Earth gobbles earth.
And we gasp.
Suck in air through our teeth.
Empty still.
Rivers rage.
Sky splinters and takes
it all a part.
Our hearts bleed.
our hearts break.
Empty still of
any intention of returning
foot to earth.
Dreaming of flight
we trade substance for air.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

This is NOT a bucket list

Action Items: 
Clean closet, which has become a multilayer universe of utter neglect, general ignoring, and crazed trashing.

My jewelry box has become a graveyard of pieces I can't bear to get rid of,  yet lack the skills and materials to reconstruct. So, we will add learn jewelry making  to the list. 

Baby books completed for Jack and Oliver. I did start them, but that is about it. I believe I was depleted of interest in doing anything more for my precious, wonderful boys. They need me a little bit less in that raw physical way now, so there feels like more space for things like scrapbooks. 

Write poems.

Study myself with the same energy I used for writing a papers. The basic outline will be a slow build up, a lapse of attention, and then an intense few weekends of focus and devotion. I am as least as interesting as the application of the Three Streams framework to understand the creation of  AmeriCorps. Right?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

My boys are hilarious

Jack wants me to talk to the bee. Jack says we are in the bumblebee world and I need to talk to him to ask if we can pass. So, I try and say "what's buzzin?" but Jack is not satisfied. "no, mama, talk to him!". I try a few more times (all while sorting and putting away laundry), but fail to complete Jack's vision, which frustrates us both.
Then I stop and say, "Jack, the bee told me you needed to put these toys back in your room". "OK!" he immediately obliges. Hee, hee.

Oliver is going the bathroom and says "I wish I had a...what's it called, mom?..I have penis and you have...a china?
Vagina, I say.
Oliver says, "I wish I had penis and a china. And another butt. Then I could poop and pee in all directions at the same time."
This was only the beginning of this particular train of thought. I would have mostly ignored it, but each time he would say "china" instead of vagina and I could not stop laughing.

Better still, I now have a running joke of "your China" with friends. China is very powerful. China has population concerns. China is vast and mysterious. Her china is only brought out for special occasions...

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Silk Shirts

Someone’s finger is
In it.
Somewhere she
Listens in.
She does not
Take a peak.
She peers.
She finds a
Sweet spot.
She leans
She bears.
Careens into
Your crazy town
Running down
Steep hills and
Stealing silk shirts.

Monday, May 31, 2010

How I plan to stop beating myself bloody

I do not live with bombshells or blowouts.
I do not have a violent home.I am not in immediate danger.
But I do see a gun at my head
with every misstep.
Because it could really matter.
Everything is connected and I am imperfect.
And I see you, too. More imperfection.

How can I stop being so goddamn disappointed?
And I am not hung up on "my socks need to all line up, matched in my drawer" perfection.
My house is a mess.
I am talking about defects in character, integrity, honesty. Failure.

The Christian says we are all fallen sinners from birth to resurrection.
The Buddhist says no perfection, no imperfection. You are at birth.

Compassion is the antidote for suffering.
The warmth and acceptance of what is
slides right over the disappointment
sometimes like water, sometimes like flame.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

As this life
first slow,
second fast
Dreams big
then cowers.
I contract
I expand
in moments of
In night visions
brutal and free.
This life breaks.
This life
this life born.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

A few thoughts on parenting after a rough week.

There is too much, it is never done. I am never enough.
It does not suit my personality to work hard at something, and not feel like an "A" student. I am not a bad parent, but I am not great.
I feel terribly alone and desperate for my self. My fantasy day right now is not getting out of bed, all day all night.
No parent is ever enough for their child. No parent ever gets is just right.
I feel myself being broken, just ever so slightly. Like at work when I hit my head with the same bureaucratic baloney brick. Eventually you will break, you will bend. The brick does not.
My eldest has an exceptional memory. This concerns me- does he have to remember my temper tantrum and hypocrisy?
I have very little room to criticize any parent. Moral high ground is rare real estate.
How they can want even more of me?!!!!! Why are they complaining, again?!! whhhiiiiiiiiiiinng sucks!
So loud. SO LOUD! SHHHHHHHHH!! I am screaming "shush", what the hell is wrong with me?
Please please please let this get easier.
Is it this hard for everyone? Am I being a big goddamn baby?
Sometimes feel as if I am walking uphill endlessly. Oh- I think I am whining. Damn, am I to blame for that to? Wanna understand karma? Have kids. Instant mirror of your worst behaviors. Awesome.
To the kids it must appear as if I just suddenly blow up or break down. To me it is a container bursting, a knife's pressure that finally breaks through skin. Too much of this, not enough of that until there is no more. No buffer, no patience, no bend. Just break.

I feel obligated here to reassure you that I love my children and I am not in need of an intervention. Although, I would be lying if I told you I hadn't considered medication.

PS- today has been a good day or wouldn't have even been able to complete this online whine.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

What do I think I am doing?

I know that most people working in non-profits are wonderful, hardworking, passionate folks with the best of intentions. Of late, however, I have started to question non-profits as a sector, as a professional route, and as a social institution. Sitting at a conference, I started to wonder why there was so much (decent paying) work for "us" to do for "them". Couldn't we just give them the money and go home? How do I get flown to conferences and there are hungry children? How does this make any sense?

BIG money and effort goes into non-profit/charitable organizations:
  • In 2004, public charities reported nearly $1.1 trillion in total revenues and just over $1.0 trillion in total expenses. (Source: The Urban Institute, National Center for Charitable Statistics, Core Files 2004)
  • Public charities reported $1.9 trillion in total assets in 2004. (Source: The Urban Institute, National Center for Charitable Statistics, Core Files 2004)
  • Charitable contributions by individuals, foundations and corporations reached $248.52 billion in 2004, an increase of 2.3 percent from 2003 after adjusting for inflation. (Source: Giving USA 2005

If we invested this kind of money in excellent education, community safety nets, and public health--- how much work would we still have left to do? How much of the work that we do is a band-aid for a greater social problem that could be either prevented or changed with a shift in consciousness and resources? Some of these band-aids might be complicit in keeping a problem at arms length. We can give out money and not have to change how we live. But can a giant social problem truly die from a thousand tiny cuts? Can't we do it better? Smarter?

For example, how much money is spent by non-profits meeting the needs of people who are homeless? (I tried to find this, but couldn't with a decent google search). I know that these organizations work with dedication and passion on shoe-sting budgets that rarely meet demand. However, what if their collective efforts are not greater than the sum of their parts? Turns out they aren't!!

This is from an article "Cutting The Cost Of Homelessness In U.S." on from 2006 ---
There are approximately 3 million homeless people in the United States at any one time. Of these, some 150,000-300,000, or 5% to 10%, are "chronically homeless." ...who account for the vast majority of shelter space and bulk of the health costs. The 150,000 chronically homeless people in the United States cost $10.95 billion per year in public funds. If these individuals were all permanently housed, the expense would be expected to fall to $7.88 billion.

This makes me want to pack up and go home. I could make a cozy little career in the non-profit sector or higher education out of my experience and education.Working in non-profits and service learning has given me direction and purpose for about10 years. When the weight of the world of troubles and oppression sent me into a fetal-position (literally), it was the only thing that brought me out. But I have this growing feeling that it is not enough anymore.
Or maybe I am just tired, and this is a phase, and maybe I just need to readjust my own attitude and get back to work. We'll see...

Saturday, January 31, 2009

I want to be a social entrepreneur when I grow up!

I am researching non-profit related items for my class, and I have decided to use my blog to keep track of my internet adventures and findings. My goal has been to use my class assignments for my MPA classes to help me figure out this "green cemetery" concept that just won't leave me alone. It was not until I was tagged for a "25 random things about me" on Facebook that I connected it to my other longstanding dream of a off the grid cooperative housing unit that has both private space and common space, with shared major appliances, etc...

I have been considering that a green burial site could be a source of income for a conservation, environmental non-profit, and wondered if that could even work. I struggled to term search on google for what I was looking for. My starting point was to follow up on an article I read somewhere, some years ago about a non-profit that escaped the trap of grants by producing a commodity that funded their operations. (The article stuck with me because I have experienced the time and mission sucking effects of grants.) I did find a reference to the trend of " nonprofits being more businesslike and for-profits doing a lot of corporate social responsibility" at Stanford Social Innovation Review, but it wasn't very revealing. This is an area I will need to explore more later.

I did find some interesting financial resources of information and networking for non-profits...

- National Council of Nonprofits
- The Chronicle of Philanthropy
- Idaho Nonprofit Center
- National Center for Charitable Statistics

I finally stumbled upon "social entrepreneurship" and it was a revelation.
"Social entrepreneurship is the work of a social entrepreneur. A social entrepreneur is someone who recognizes a social problem and uses entrepreneurial principles to organize, create, and manage a venture to make social change. "
I felt like a lost sheep that had found its flock. Then of course, I found my flock's online home, Changemakers, which in their own words is
"... building the world's first global online "open source" community that competes to surface the best social solutions, and then collaborates to refine, enrich, and implement those solutions. Changemakers begins by providing an overarching intellectual framework for collaborative competitions that bring together individual social change initiatives into a more powerful whole".
Open source, collaborative, competition to fix things that are broken in our world. Yes! Sign me up! So I did.

I am not sure where this all will take me, but I feel as if I have the wind at my back.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Expanding SCHIP

I stumbled upon some news of SCHIP expanding on the federal level. Providing kids with health insurance just seems like the best thing to do, but there are some finer points and complications that I had not considered. What do you think?
SCHIP Expansion Underway
US House Votes To Expand,Enlarge SCHIP Through FY13

SCHIP: For The Big Hospitals, Not The Children?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Life According to Oliver

Favorite bon mots from Oli for the week....

~~Our laptop broke yesterday. I told Oliver about it when he asked me if he could play a computer game. "That's terrible!" Oliver replied in full sincerity and concern.
I told him that his dad was going to try to fix it. He said, "I can fix it!" (This was incidentally the first sentence he spoke around age 2). I explained that it would probably not be a good idea for him to fix the computer.
"I know how to fix the computer!" he insisted. I asked him how he would do it.
"Well, the first thing you have to do is screw it up. You screw it up with your screwdriver. And then you just fix it!"

~~"Jack is a pooper stinky poop pants! Poop!! Poop and fart and poop!!! (Oli's older boy cousins are all great vocab sources for him.)

~~"Mom, look! That is a little man!" (Man is sitting about 6 ft from us). "He is a man with little head!". Both were true and not knowing what to say, I told Oliver to eat a carrot.

Friday, September 12, 2008

My babies are special

I think this will be a straight up mommy blog about the cute things my two babies do.

Jack is starting to talk. He said "night- night" for the first time last night. I swear he said "apple" in the store today. Jack loves sounds and music. He is keen on anything that makes a good noise. He meows like a kitty- it is awesome. He has the most ridiculoulsy cute curls, is a good eater, and loves to cuddle; all paricularly endearing qualities.

Last week, he was going through something and just would not let us put him down. This is tedious enough -particularly for me since he is big fella- but even worse, it triggers jealous fits of attention getting behavior in Oliver. In case you are not clear on the math...
1 clingy, cranky, crying 35lb toddler + 1 crazy jealous attention fiend 3 year old = HELL or a creepy level of surreal surrender that feels almost zen.

Oliver does not stop talking. There is no ignoring him. He will demand you reply to every precious thing he says, or he will say it over. and over. and over. and over. and over.
He will ask "why"5 times in a row to a simple statement . Or better- he will disagree with my answer.
(reading a book together) Oliver asks, "what's that?" I say "headphones". He asks, "whose headphones are those?" I say "Dizzy's headphones". He says "no, those aren't' Dizzy's headphones". I say, "yes, it says write here in the book, right here.. see?" He says "no" .....(repeat a few times). To move him along, I say "well if you want to be wrong, you can believe that." He'll usually agree to that.

He is so freaking funny! He will ask "do you want to see my moves?" and proceed to truly bust moves- the robot, the breakdance, the spin, the running from one end of the house to the other super super fast, the Spiderman, hanging from the clothes bar in the closet and climbing up the wall with his feet. He can sommersault and hop on one foot. My little Oli-bear is a natural athlete and a championship talker.

I told Tom's mom yesterday that I had a lover and a fighter. I don't want a label to keep me from truly seeing my kids, but it is perfect for who they are now. I can't believe we are just getting started with them! I try to imagine them as teens or men and it just blows my mind. I don't want this time to be just a blur, so I am going to have to make a real effort to write more down.

It is precious, after all.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Where is my cup?

I love this poem from our new Poet Laureate, Kay Allen-

How can
you tell
at the start
what you
can give away
and what
you must hold
to your heart.
What is
the well
and what is
a cup. Some
people get
drunk up.

("The Well or the Cup" from “The Niagara River,” 2005.)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The best boss ever!

Icelandic skipper kills shark with bare hands ( October 23, 2003)

An Icelandic fishing captain, known as "the Iceman" for his tough character, grabbed a 300 kg shark with his bare hands as it swam in shallow water towards his crew, a witness said today.

The skipper of the trawler "Erik the Red" was on a beach in Kuummiit, east Greenland, watching his crew processing a catch when he saw the shark swimming towards the fish blood and guts - and his men.

Captain Sigurdur Petursson, known to locals as "the Iceman", ran into the shallow water and grabbed the shark by its tail. He dragged it off to dry land and killed it with his knife.

"He caught it just with his hands. There was a lot of blood in the sea and the shark came in and he thought it was dangerous," Frede Kilime, a hunter and fisherman who watched from the beach, told Reuters by phone from Greenland.

Icelandic author and journalist Reynir Traustason, who knows the trawler captain, said the act was typical of the man.

"He's called 'the Iceman' because he isn't scared of anything," he said. "I know the people in that part of the world. They are really tough."

Thursday, July 17, 2008

My Pomegranate Life is Juicy and Delicious

Last month I got my first tattoo. A big, blooming and ripe pomegranate. It is an illustration from Anna Maria Sibylla Merian (minus the butterfly tranformations). She was ahead of her time,a German woman traveling in Africa in the 1600's to study and make paintings of plants and insects. Her detailed observations and documentation of the metamorphosis of the butterfly make her a significant, albeit not well known, contributor to entomology.

A few things about the pomegranate that inspire me(totally clipped from wikipedia):

Jewish tradition teaches that the pomegranate is a symbol for righteousness, because it is said to have 613 seeds which corresponds with the
613 mitzvot or commandments of the Torah. However, the actual number of seeds varies with individual fruits. For this reason and others, many Jews eat pomegranates on Rosh Hashanah. It is also a symbol of fruitfulness. Some Jewish scholars believe that it was the pomegranate, not the apple, that was the forbidden fruit of the Garden of Eden.

Pomegranates are a motif found in
Christian religious decoration. The fruit, broken or bursting open, is a symbol of the fullness of his suffering and resurrection.[34] In the Eastern Orthodox Church, pomegranate seeds may be used in kolyva, a dish prepared for memorial services, as a symbol of the sweetness of the heavenly kingdom

According to the Qur'an, pomegranates grow in the gardens of paradise (55:068). According to Islamic tradition, every seed of a pomegranate must be eaten, because one can't be sure which aril came from paradise. The Prophet Mohammed is said to have encouraged his followers to eat pomegranates to ward off envy and hatred.[34] The Qur'an also mentions (6:99, 6:141) pomegranates twice as examples of good things God creates.

The myth of Persephone, the chthonic goddess of the Underworld, also prominently features the pomegranate.

A Fellow Faithful Agnostic

I think I've found a spokesperson! Check out A.J. Jacobs: My year of living biblically .

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Salad Anyone?

What does it mean when someone says "those were the salad days"? I honestly don't know, but I imagine it means poor, but happy. Simple, but satisfied. Let's do a quick wiki look, shall we...

"Salad days" is an idiomatic expression, referring to a youthful time, accompanied by the inexperience, enthusiasm, idealism, innocence, or indiscretion that one associates with a young person. More modern use, especially in the United States, refers to a person's heyday when somebody was at the peak of his/her abilities—not necessarily in that person's youth.

The phrase was coined in Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra in 1606. In the speech at the end of Act One in which Cleopatra is regretting her youthful dalliances with Julius Caesar she says:

"...My salad days, / When I was green in judgment, cold in blood..."

Okay, not exactly what I had in mind. I'm not feeling particularly "green" anymore. I would opt more for "ripe". Although I can imagine in 10 years I will laugh my head off at that.

I have been turning that salad phrase (or dare I say tossing it) around in my head, because I can only see my life getting more complicated, rich and chaotic from here. Right now there is a simplicity in having small children with small problems and needs, an entry level career, a 2 bedroom home and little money to spare. My marriage is strong, my kids healthy, and we just planted our first garden. Life is good. Salad is good. Now I am sorta itching to add a bit of sauce....

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother of a Morning

Third Mother's Day and I am looking forward to cute, handmade cards instead of being peed on in the middle of the night. Really.

My almost 3 year old is mostly potty trained; the nighttime is the final battlefront. Peeing in his own bed, thereby summoning me out of sleep to do clean up on Aisle Oli, is for any ol' night. To make it special for Mother's Day, he went the extra mile and got in my bed and peed on me and my bed, as well.

I was wearing my new pj's , a gift from my mom for Mother's Day. I think I was too stunned to react much, but my ever steady husband almost lost it. Repeat: clean up, console, return to bed. Sleep…one....two...three......WAKE UP! It's 6:15 am and Oli is on a roll!

My ever thoughtful husband, who came home from work at 12:30am with beautiful roses for me, meant to get up. But he was in the coma stage of sleep, so it was down to me.

I did not handle this with grace or style. More like anger and desperation. Oli asked for food he then wouldn't eat and demanded to hear Daft Punk "faster stronger". Jack was screeching because he realized his arm was trapped inside his sleeve. He managed to pull his arm out of the sleeve, towards his body and then was furious that his arm was caught in his shirt. Repeat after several rescues from mom. More screeching.

Mercifully, I was relieved of duty around 8 and slept like a stone till almost 11. That kind of sleep is great re-set button (smart husband) and it has been a nice, relaxing day after-all.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Sucking on Bisphenol A

Below is my letter to the National Toxicology Program concerning its draft brief on Bisphenol A.
Just another petro-chemical leaking into our body, but this time it is in my baby's bottle. I have known about this for a few days, from an email I get from urging action, but I couldn't open it right away because I knew how sickened and enraged I would become. Please sign this petition to CEOs of the leading manufacturers of baby bottles to stop the use of the toxic chemical bisphenol A (BPA) in our baby bottles and other children’s products.


To NTP experts,

I appreciate that the board is investigating this issue. I am once again dismayed that the FDA, EPA and the NIH are not able to protect the consumer from dangerous products. Lead in the toys, poison in pet food, and estrogen-mimicking chemicals in a baby’s bottle. I have to say as a mother and a voter; I have had enough and demand that my tax money be used to care for public health and well-being rather than war and all its weapons. It is painfully clear that our technology and science has outpaced our capacity to regulate and even understand the potential harm of lab created substances.

Please, take the greatest care possible in deciding on your levels of concern for BPA. We all know the song and dance surrounding issues of causality, but it is a losing perspective that puts the chance of profit above the chance of cancer. It is time for the US to become leaders in safe, green products. Our economy is ready to be revived by a real commitment to technologies and science that increase our chance of health as a planet and a people. BPA certainly isn’t the worst thing in the world, but it feels like the last straw to me as a stare at the baby bottle I have used to feed my son for the last year. I am outraged.

Thank you for your consideration of my concerns


Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Holy Crap... This could change my life

The Kazdin Method: How to Parent a Defiant Child.
This works. Oh my good mother of god and baby Jesus. We are only through Ch. 2 and on day 5, and it has changed my son's behavior remarkably. It has stopped the yelling. Oliver still yells sometimes (naturally) and he behaves (mostly, naturally). We do not yell hardly at all with the goal being never. Yelling does not work, but heaven help me, it gets to a point where I don't know what to do. This technique offers an alternative based on solid research instead of tired opinions of some righteous doctor, celebrity, or plucky do it all mom.

Never would I imagine myself to be a yelling, red faced mother. I knew that once angry, I tend towards the white hot, head exploding kind of anger. But I can be quite patient and calm, I thought I had learned. I did not know how thin my little Oli would wear my last thread of dignified control over my anger. Nothing had prepared me for the solar flare, the block of steel, the raging ego of wanting everything and heeding nothing that is my Oliver. Bless his perfect, golden spun hair covered little head. He is quite possibly brilliant, but most definitely defiant.

I sense a bit of push back from folks who think I am exaggerating Oli's behavior and really "he is just two". But trust me, this is no "phase" for my son. It is his personality from the moment he had one to be strong willed, intense, and demanding. He is very high energy, extremely smart and articulate, and wildly particular about how things are done. I love these things about him, but had not a skill in my pocket to parent this child.

This is what I learned doesn't work to get Oli to do something not on his agenda or to his liking:
  • making it a game
  • repetition
  • reasoning
  • explaining
  • punishing
  • yelling
  • warning
  • time-outs
  • time-ins
  • naughty chairs...worked for a while and then didn't anymore.
  • taking away toys
  • more yelling
  • spanking....really not proud of that one.
Praising like a drunk cheerleader (loud, touchy, and often) with points for everything he does "good" and mostly ignoring the "bad" does work.

Sweet, sweet boy is to me returned and I to him. He hugs me more, tighter, and longer. He says to me "hey mama, you are soooo sweet! Come here and give me a hug."

Saturday, April 5, 2008


In this, my 30th year, I have made a commitment to be more fabulous.

If I do not, I worry I will be sucked down a spiral of boring, blah, and comfort that can only end in Mom Jeans and scuffed tennies. That is scarier than my very old fear of being too bold, too weird, to "look at me"! My feeling now is "I please me!" because I currently dance to the piper of children and a mortgage every other given moment.

My bossed dubbed my hair "parrot purple and pink". I love it. Love my boss even more for not firing me. I work with students, so I try to sell it as giving me "street cred".
Sometimes I realize a person is staring at me and I wonder why. Then I remember, right-- I have purple hair. But most folks seem to really like it. Not that I care too much... not that I would admit it if I did.

Also on my quest to being more fab: I am getting rid of all my clothes that do not fall into these two categories: It is fabulous and It fits. Why shouldn't I feel great in my clothes everyday?

Hopefully, a side benefit is to prepare me to embarrass my boys properly. Not as a MILF (a full discussion of how stupid that term is requires a separate post) but as the slightly nutty mom who sings and laughs too loud, is not sufficiently invisible in public, and makes some other parents a little nervous -- but always has cool music, good food, and excellent conversation to offer up in exchange.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Maternity leave--- it's the least you can do

Everyone contributes to society's bounty and everyone takes from it. We pour and we dip.

Is maternity leave (12 weeks paid minimum) too much to take?

Is it too much to ask parents to produce children who are well nourished, socialized, ready and willing to learn, compassionate, morally upright but not uptight, non-aggressive but assertive, compliant but not apathetic, height to weight proportionate, psychologically balanced with a healthy body image and self esteem, able to develop and sustain friendships and caring family relationships,properly groomed and suitably dressed, confident but not arrogant, self-reliant but not loners, I forgetting anything? Surely!

If you have any hopes for the environment, the national debt, or your social security, you can add ingenious and tenacious problem solvers, capable of global consciousness and forgiveness, and willing to take care of your old, broken ass to the list.

Friday, February 15, 2008

A blank book

I have a beautifully hand bound blank book given to me by a dear and old friend for my 30th birthday. I put it in my sock drawer on a pretty tray. But I haven't written in it. I might think of something clever, quick, or insightful and consider writing on that first page of thick many. But I don't. I am too scared of writing the wrong thing. The first page could determine everything, I assume. I don't want to ruin the book.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Mother Hood of Confessions

Some days, I just do not want to be bothered. At all.

I want to...
Sleep in, then QUIET breakfast with a slow cup of coffee and an uninterrupted crossword. A lazy bath and time with the hubby. A day without anybody needing or wanting something from me. And a night at a posh restaurant and then dancing and drinks.

I love my life. But some days I feel so chipped away. The house is not remotely clean, the baby's not satisfied, the toddler is a drunk monkey with a default, repeating vocab of "no" and "mine". And I just want to sit and eat my egg hot, for chrissakesssssssss.

THEY GET UP AT 5:58 am, 6:07 IF YOU ARE LUCKY. (after waking up at 2:30 and 4:30) and then they want things from you. All day long!!!

I am in the "this too shall pass" zone right now. Trying so so hard (but still not hard enough) not to loose my temper, my manners, or my mind.

I thought I was a nice, peaceful person. I think I was just trained well.
But these buttons found/created by my children are fresh and raw. Worn out. Worn thin.
I have noticed I am a better mom when other people are around. So there must be hope that I can remain a civilized person in the face of great tyranny. Just need to feel someone is watching. Maybe I'll get a nanny cam.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

trancy dancin'

I will be participating in a "trance dance" in a couple of weeks. Blindfolded, dancing mania to let the ego take a break and spirit step in.
This sounds even to me corny and "new age"- recognizable by the bunny ears for certain. But it is an experience, where something might actually happen! Oh, delightful deliverance from the monotony of scripted life. I am to have an intention for my dance to trance. So I decided I will be letting go of regrets for all the dances I might have missed because I was too scared.


You hold that memory
like candy
getting sticky
in your hand
You want to wait
You want to relish
Je mehr desto weniger
the more
the less
it seems

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

What I think I might know

1. Biblical Literalism is an awesome opportunity for comedy. Check out Why Can't I Own a Canadian for proof.

2. Moral Relativism, although sexy and freeing, makes me a bit nauseous-- like moocher hippy boys who really just want in your pants and a hit off the pipe. I like this overview of the problem from Wesley Owen
"What's the difference between a relativist and a person who admits she has no morality at all? There seems to be none. How does a relativist make a moral decision? He decides for himself whatever he thinks is best. How does someone with no morality know how to act? She decides for herself whatever she thinks is best. "

3. I have a "God-Shaped Hole" in my heart. I know it is irrational, but that doesn't bother me one bit.

4. I am not interested in debating atheism. People get very bent out of shape when defending their right to think they know it all. Check out my little video on youtube.