Monday, December 31, 2007

with 25% less fear!

I stopped making resolutions years ago - something about never keeping them started to feel like a real downer. So instead I use the time to reflect on the past year and renew my intentions in a more general way for how I hope to evolve next. So aside from our upcoming baby shower I've decided 2008 is the year of fearlessness. To say yes more often, with more courage, standing up and embracing the unknown and the known and the next right thing. Falling down will be okay too.

And I can't wait. Happy New Year, village. I can't wait to see what mountains we move next.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

warmth

I thought sharing some vacation warmth might be nice right about now, especially with all the snow falling everywhere on so many of you. Because no matter how great snow is, nothing is better than the warm sun.

I mean, who needs snow when you can swim in this?
Or gaze at this?
Or eat dinner on the beach watching the sun slip behind the Caribbean?
Or curling up reading here? Without a jacket? Or shoes?

Friday, December 28, 2007

eight years old

Eight years ago this month I helped deliver a baby, the first birthing I'd ever been a part of. The mom was living where I was working with her two children and one on the way. She was an amazing woman, she'd left a very difficult situation and was navigating life on her own with her kids, in poverty and alone and yet with extraordinary grace. She'd asked me to be present at the birth because there was no one else and I said yes because she asked and because there was no one else.

We never spent any time preparing for the birth, and in my ignorance I hadn't thought to ask what sort of help she wanted because to be honest she'd asked for nothing other than my presence. Now that I know what I know I'd have handled it differently but that was then and this is now and if I could go back in time I certainly would. She went into labor in the middle of the night and I went to be with her and 10 or so hours later she gave birth and I was there for all of it and I swore off ever having a baby and was completely humbled all at the same time. I remember going home from the hospital and sobbing for hours, great buckets of tears from exhaustion and marvel and admiration and fear. She soon moved out with her beautiful children into her own home and a new life. She stayed in touch for awhile, a bond had formed between us during the birth, something sacred and quiet that we never much discussed.

She called me on Xmas Eve, a few years have passed since we'd spoke and no news is good news, being forgotten is a good thing in the work I'm in. But she was in trouble for the first time in a long time, her housing had fallen apart and she was in a bad spot, she and her kids were in a motel. Time was of the essence because nothing sucks up your money faster than a nightly motel and I could hear it in her voice I know it's been awhile but I hope you remember me, you helped deliver my baby eight years ago and I need your help one more time. On Xmas I connected her with a colleague who I knew could help and that good soul came through yesterday and my old friend can move her children into her new home today. So I sat up late last night remembering for the first time in a long time the gift she gave me way back when as she showed me a new kind of courage, bravely birthing her child with love and with grace, alone with no visitors or flowers in a cold hospital room and not much more than a stranger beside her holding her hand as she pushed.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

yet another reason i love it here

Thank you all so much for your insight into my recent parenting dilemma. Even as I hit publish I knew instinctively what I wanted to do and your wealth of comments from all angles helped drive it home. Chani's thoughts came the closest to what I already felt but was trying to talk myself out of and yet hearing it from her caused something to click. It's all too easy for me to sometimes get caught up in what I think I should be doing versus what simply feels right, and so often right is influenced very heavily by western ideals and practices and it's important to remind myself there are many, many different ways to raise a family. So for now, it feels right to let M find her way, and if that means she winds up in our bed then we've decided to roll with it because in the end I think her feelings are right on - it makes less sense for her to be holed up in there alone sometimes. And as Den put it so succinctly, we are pack animals anyways.

So last night when she was getting ready for bed she proclaimed I not staying in my bed tonight mommy so I asked her to give it a try and if she wakes up and can't sleep later she knows where to find me. And then she slept in her bed the entire night. So I can't help but remember that having a choice means you can choose a lot of different things. It's the forever balance of treating your children like adults while remembering they are children and basically at the end of the day we need to do what feels right for all of us together. And how fabulous that I get to keep making mistakes and learning from it and then try something else and then succeed or fail and then do it all over again. It's one of the coolest things about being a parent, the continual evolution of thought and love and boundaries and most of all, letting go.

So thank you for your wisdom and community. You make a fine village.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

jen asks for advice

Alright internets, I need your counsel. And rather than consulting the many cross conflicting parenting books I am instead turning to the village.

Here's the deal: M has been a champion sleeper for the past 2 1/2 years. About two months ago she started waking in the night and refusing to go back to sleep in her own bed. Often I'd just wake up in the morning and find her next to me, J relegated to the couch. We've talked to her about it a lot and she claims to simply not like sleeping in her bed anymore. Nothing has happened, no nightmares, nothing scary, that we can ascertain (other than turning three). So night after night we are suffering with broken sleep and toddler feet in our faces and to be honest, we've let her manipulate us because she seems so entirely sincere in her pleading that she really needs to do this right now. And she's really adorable about it but then it's not so cute at 1am. We always make her go to bed in her room at bedtime (which is also a consistent ritual thank you very much) no matter how she pleads but she'll wake up and eventually find her way out. Have we shot the whole self-soothing mechanism to pieces?

I am left in a conundrum. Tow the parenting line and listen to her weep in her bed? Allow her this time to sort out whatever she is going through (and hope to freaking god she's not still in bed with us when she's twelve)? I've always strived to find the balance in listening to her needs and trying to meet them while maintaining a sense of order and consistency but this one has thrown us - mostly because I simply want to do the right thing and my heart says she needs this and my head says I am being worked over like an old car in one of those crushing machines at a junkyard, screeching metal and all.

So I am turning to you. Has this happened to you and if so, how did you resolve it? Does it resolve naturally? Do the little people sometimes simply need this closeness or are they cunning little wizards who dive into the weak spots? Where's the line? And where's the love? Give it to me straight.

Monday, December 24, 2007

so this is christmas

As with most holidays this one has snuck up on me, shocking me with it's imminent arrival. By design I keep things mellow, no big travels, no huge festivities. It ensures I dance around the holiday without ever fully succumbing to it, an art form I've long appreciated over the years.

But M shakes things up with her joyous exuberance over lights and friends stopping by with packages. She squeals over cookies and snowmen in windows. It's infectious, this simple joy. We spent almost two hours in a line of cars last night waiting to drive through a park that's been outfitted with holiday cheer, a wait we hadn't realized until it was much too late. But buoyed by her enthusiasm (and fearing her wrath if we bailed out) we sat and inched forward in the dark singing makeshift carols and groaning periodically about the wait. We finally got inside the park and M was out of her seat and in our laps pointing and screaming while the rest of us smiled at each other in awe of her wonder. When we finally came home she sat down at her table and proclaimed with a grin Mommy, that was the greatest adventure of my life.

And all I could think as my eyes glazed over with tears was how every single day she's the greatest adventure of my life and how honored I am that I get to share it with her.

Happy Holidays, friends. I'll be thinking of you and feeling immensely blessed by the riches your words and friendship have offered me all year long and I'll be looking forward to seeing what trouble we can get into as we continue to move forward together kicking life in the ass and using all of our superpowers for good.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

we'll see

There were four of them spaced somewhat evenly around the grocery store entrance this morning as I went in to buy a few things for a party I am already fairly sure we will not end up attending. Guys, I say. Hey. You staying at the _________. (It's winter, it's cold, and they are in the same city as the temporary winter program and I know they know about it because at least one of them looks familiar). Speaken Dutch? or something similar, one guy replies. Are you messing with me, dude? Cause if you are I'll keep walking. Wait a minute he says, english perfect and if I'm not mistaken a bit of a southern twang, so I smile and say It's going to be cold tonight, really cold. I work with the people over there and like it or not, you can all stay there if you want to. Think about it and I'll stop by on my way out. One of them tells me they need $150 for a place but it's in a city I am not sure how to help with, so I need a few minutes to think.

M spent the night puking, sometimes all over me. I'm exhausted and sort of annoyed, my too small house has extra family in it right now, everyone wants to help, bless them, but I just want to be left alone. Ho, Ho, Ho, to me. So I finish my shopping and grab some deli sandwiches for the guys (and one woman) outside.

I've racked my brain, I can't help with the $150. If it was in another city, I'd know of a place who could help. It's alright, thank you for at least thinking about it, the guy sitting with the fake Dutch guy replied. I'm still not too keen on the fake Dutch guy but I also know it doesn't really matter in the end. The woman tells me they've stayed at the program and they can stay there again, it's a bit of a walk but they'll probably end up doing just that. They ask if they can have a bed for certain and I tell them yes because I know it's true. When it's this cold we'll pack them in if we have to. I hand them the sandwiches because even if some of them are hustling there's no free meals till dinner on a Saturday. Now we are all friends, me and these guys who've moved a bit closer while everyone entering the store gives us wide berth. I wonder what those folks think, me and a group of guys shooting the shit, the Please Help, I'm homeless and hungry sign at our feet.

I don't have much more to say, I'm still tired and still annoyed. I tell them again how cold it's going to be and that I hope they take care and take me up on my offer. I mention I have a sick kid and two of them wish her well. How old is she, the woman asks and I tell her. It's hard on the little ones she says. I hope you have a Merry Christmas. I am always touched by moments like this, blessings from the poor that are hard to accept and still feel okay about walking away.

Friday, December 21, 2007

eight is the magic number

I've recently started getting to know Nengaku (he's a semi-hermit type, and that's just one of the many reasons I love the blogosphere because I am fairly sure we'd never have met otherwise and he's a cool cat). Anyways, he tagged me with this big ass meme with lists of eight things (but I am not one for taking very good directions) so I abbreviated it (a lot).

Without further rambling, I give you My List Of Eight Things I Want To Do Before I Die.

1. Walk on the beach in Madagascar
2. Live in Laos in a small rented flat
3. Ride in a rickshaw in Calcutta
4. Eat warm bread from a bakery in Morocco
5. Plant flowers in South Africa
6. Go back to Cambodia and revisit the farthest reaching temples at Angkor, the ones that take hours to find and that still have the landmine warnings
7. Drink a beer in Bolivia
8. Volunteer in Nepal

Sigh. I can't wait. Now leave me one or two or eight of your own.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

sliding doors

I was at the grocery store last night and noticed a woman sitting outside panhandling. She asked me for some change so I stopped to talk to her and to give her a few bucks. She didn't have a place to sleep and was obviously struggling with some mental health issues. I asked her if she knew about our program and she did but didn't think she could stay there because she'd lost her ID. I assured her that wouldn't be a problem but she persisted, a long rambling dialogue about district attorneys and some other things I didn't really understand.

I asked her if she would be willing to go if I promised she'd get a bed and she said yes so I pulled out a card and wrote please give N__ a bed tonight on it and handed it to her. I realized that a better thing to have done would have been to drive her there myself but I didn't offer that, because I felt nervous for what was probably no good reason. While I was sitting on the curb with her a man stopped and handed me a couple of bucks. This isn't the first time I've been mistaken for a homeless person and yet I felt the urge to say Hey dude, I'm not homeless but instead I thanked him and handed her the money because it felt insulting to define myself so separately from her. She thanked me for passing on the cash and I got up and left her there sitting in the cold.

I felt like an asshole the whole way home for leaving her there and when I came in the house I told J about it and he said what do you want me to do, drive back and pick her up and take her to the shelter? Well yes, actually. I replied. But he wasn't going for it and I couldn't blame him because I wasn't comfortable doing it either. Sometimes the fear keeps me silent, keeps me from doing what is right. I think of M in those moments and my ultimate responsibility to her but it doesn't really assuage the fact that a woman was still out in the cold, her destination several miles from where I left her.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Just Posts: We're having a baby

It's been a year since the Social Justice Wedding that started the Just Posts, a year of much love, happiness and fulfillment. Yet like any couple we've taken some time recently to evaluate our relationship to make sure we are still giving it all we've got, making it the most it can be. We consulted our sister Just Post hosts Hel and Su, listened to friends and our Maid of Honor and it was there we realized what comes next for the Just Posts.

A Baby. Mad and I have decided to have a baby. But it's really a Just Post baby and it will belong to all of us. And we need your help.

Having a baby is often the next step in a relationship born of truth and love. Our wedding birthed a community, and now we are asking our community to birth a movement. A movement into action.

The Just Posts will continue and we'll continue to host all of the terrific writings for social justice in all shapes and sizes. But we are adding a baby and her name is Volunteerism. It's time to put all of our words into action. Collectively, separately. We are committing to writing and doing in whatever form that means for each of us.

And this is where all of you come in. A baby deserves a baby shower, and your gifts are your writings about what it will mean to give of your time, what extra steps you will take to give back to your community and to our world, and what commitments we can all hold each other accountable to and how we can cheer each other on as we go.

I'll go first. My baby gift to all of you is my pledge to volunteer 2 hours a month for a cause other than my work. By the time the Roundtable rolls around I'll have it sorted out and will give it to you proper. With bows. And earnest intent.

There were so many gifts at our wedding last year, and I realize we are asking you for more now, the precious gift of your time. But we can't have this baby without you. The baby needs her village, and our village is you. So share your gift with us before the 10th of January we'll add it to the registry at the Just Post Roundtable Anniversary Edition: The Baby Shower!

Let's put our time where our mouths are this year. Who's in? And who's going to plan the party games? And the food? And rub the belly? So much to do. So much to write. Join us.

In other news I tried my hand at a new printer recently - you can read the review here.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

it's coming on christmas

Winters are hard when you have no place to live. It's colder and harder to sleep outside, you need to carry more belongings so you have more warmth available at night. And when you are sick it makes it so much worse. I've been noticing a lot of really sick people staggering in and lying down immediately. The fall asleep amidst the noise and the hustle, mouths open, arms clenched around a bag or two, so still in the middle of so much movement you stop and watch for a minute just to make sure they are actually still breathing.

But the Holidays bring out the community. Folks drop by with donations of blankets and old clothes, meals and good cheer. It's always an awkward balance, folks who come to visit are not always sure where to look because suffering is all around them when they walk in the door. They try not to notice the woman in the corner who is rocking and singing or the muttering guy huddled over his mashed potatoes. But someone is always there to welcome them and lend a hand to lift the parcels from their arms and hopefully thank them for their time.

A couple showed up the night before we knew the little girl's family had a place to go. They walked in laden with duffel bags filled with clothes and toys and towels and sheets. All new that they must have purchased that very same day. We brought you all of this they said to the mom so earnestly and kindly, if you don't mind we'd like to give it to you. The mom looks at me and pauses, she doesn't know what to say because it's so kind and yet she can't accept it, she's on foot with three kids and they can't carry another thing. Wow, I say that is so fantastic that you would do this. The problem is they can't carry it with them and have nowhere to go. But we are working on that so if you all agree I can hold onto it for them until it's sorted out.

The couple realizes their mistake in that instant, the thought of transporting the new stuff probably hadn't crossed their minds. Of course, the woman says, how silly of us. You need a home first. Yes, says the mother, but thank you so much.

No worries, I say and hand them my card. I promise I'll get it to them once they are settled. And we did just that, delivering these lovely new items along with the family when we dropped them off in their new temporary home. Items that will no doubt come in handy as the mom settles in and creates their new space.

As much as I fight it the holiday cheer seeps in, the goodness of strangers who make a point of reaching beyond themselves to help someone else, a feeling I want to bottle and then dole out all year long.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

two little girls, pt 2

Because I know her story now belongs to all of you:

I woke up cold yesterday thinking of her so I spent several hours researching options and phoning in favors. The kids are on the floor, it's cold. But this close to Christmas the rooms at the inns are already so full. No one's fault really, there are hundreds of little girls just like her already holding tight to the little some of us can provide. But after a couple of hours of scheming and negotiations I struck pay dirt, a room that can hold all of them in a program two towns over. A room they can move into tomorrow.

Unable to reach the family until we open the site back up in the evening I accept this program on their behalf, knowing all the while that it's their decision and all I can do is present them the option and let them decide. But feeling victorious, we tackle how to get them there at the appointed time if the answer is yes. So we arrange for the ride still knowing all the while it's not up to us.

I am waiting for them when they walk in the door. The kids aren't doing so well today, the cold is wearing them down, one is crying, M's friend is half asleep and her nose is running. Mom looks so tired. I might have been grinning when I saw them but if you ask me about it later I'll lie and tell you I was simply doing my job.

We sit down together at a table and I carefully share the news prefaced with the understanding that they are in no way obligated to accept and with apologies for not being able to include them in the process. They listened quietly, mom starting to cry. I shared all that I knew: a well reputed program, a private room, they can all stay together, it's free and they can stay up to three months, it's out of the cold, it's for families and it's better than here. I told them I'd let them discuss it as a family and I stand up to give them some space but the mom blurts out we'll take it, and the dad nods his head. Yes. But celebrations are mixed since the kids are sick. I watched M's friend have a meltdown, her little body exhausted from endless bus rides and drafty cold rooms, long walks in the cold and a lack of nutritious food. Her mom gently laid her down on her mat with a blanket folded up to make a pillow, the noise and the lights unwavering still. She looked so much like M in that moment, three year old girls are the same everwhere I suppose.

So today is a good day and a scary day, this family who will be placing their faith in strangers who will drop them off at a strange place with people they do not know. And these people will welcome them in and give them food and blankets and clothes and toys and they will work with them to find jobs and increase their income, to get the older daughter in school and to allow them some time to heal. And if the stars align it will stick and it will be the edge they need and they'll move from there into their own home and they'll never see the inside of one of these places again, but that's sometimes the stuff of fairy tales and we won't know till we know. But for now there's a happy ending, and we'll take what we can.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

two little girls

Every year we open our winter programs which provide a few hundred additional beds for folks who need a place to escape the cold. I breathe a sigh of relief every year because I know how desperately those beds are needed for folks who manage to survive in the elements the rest of the year. I make a point of bringing M to the site regularly during the winter. She loves to go to mommy's work and help put the mats on the floor and I love it because she gets to see my passion and expand her mind.

Tonight started off the same, running into some old timers and old friends. One of the staff came up and said I am glad you're here. We've had more children the last few nights. It's no secret to anyone that children in these places damn near kills me and they know it and I know it too. Just as she finished speaking a family walked in with three kids, the youngest looks the same age as M. M noticed her immediately and ran up to her and the little girl reached out her hands and M took them and as it is with little ones, friendship was instant. Poverty is irrelevant, social class and all the rest. Children are always so much smarter than the rest of us.

Her mom approached and we started talking. Her story is similar to the thousands I've heard over the years and no less heartbreaking and once again this is no place for children. It may be relatively safe but her kids are on the floor in a warehouse amidst a hundred adults, a seething, exhausted place where the lights never go out and the concrete never gets warm. They have no car, no phone, no money. They spend their days at the library and their nights here with us. She's afraid to bathe them properly because there are no private shower stalls. Her children are beautiful and well behaved. Everyone smiles at the kids, the sadness and the joy of it, the old timers and the punks. Everyone smiles at the kids.

I cannot bear that this is the best we can do for these kids two weeks before Christmas so after obtaining her permission I start calling in favors and pulling some rank. There are kids here tonight, I say several times to several people whose cell phones I call after hours and yet they pick up we need to find them a place to live. After a bit some of the best case workers I know agree to come down and see what they can do. It's this spirit that never fails to move me. We move into action together and each person will bring something; money for the deposit, the friendly landlord, an open unit in their system. We bring these things and pool them and sort them out and see which one sticks this time around.

While this is happening M and her daughter are racing around up and down between the huddled masses. There is no fear to M, the burly, filthy, bearded men step around them in amusement and probably some annoyance as they sing and hold hands and dance their way around the room. They are both three and in this moment it would be easy to forget how different their lives are, how this little girl will sleep cold huddled on the floor after M and I go home. I see M flop down on the little girl's mat, laughing, she kicks her shoes off. This is fun for her, I know she can't understand and yet it feels wrong for her to do this. In this moment the unfairness rages inside of me. But they are two little girls having fun.

It's finally time to leave; all that can be done tonight is done and I promise her I'll return tomorrow with some warm clothes of M's and a case worker or two. She walks us outside and to our car and leans over and hugs me. This is so hard, she says. I squeeze her tightly and hold on. You are so brave, I reply. It might not feel like it but you are so very brave. We can do better than this. We will do better than this. And I know I am promising this to both of us.

On the way home M is chattering about how much fun she had. She asked if she could go to her new friend's house sometime and I turned around and looked at her. Baby, she doesn't have a house. She sleeps in that big room on the floor at mommy's work. Oh, she says. Oh. But we have a house, mommy. Can't she get a house too?

And we drive home to the warmth, the unfairness of it still rages on.

And ironically given how I am feeling tonight, I have a new review up about a toy M played with recently up at my other gig. If you want something a bit lighter and certainly more fun, clickety click.

Monday, December 10, 2007

November Just Posts

justpostnov2007

Edited to add two fabulous posts that were mistakenly left off:

The ever fab Biodtl with what does need look like? and lovely Devra (we had her previous link wrong so here's the right one) with What about the other 9 months.

I often struggle with how to make a difference in the world. There are so many issues that need our attention: homelessness, poverty, education, the environment, health care, disease. So many things that it's easy to feel overwhelmed to the point of stagnation. Turning away is sometimes easier than rolling up our sleeves. Because at the end of the day, how much difference can one individual make?

And then sometimes it's simple. When you hear how our brothers and sisters are still struggling post Katrina, that after all this time there is still so much to be done. And easier still when you learn that there are kids there who need books. That we can each help to build a library. A library that will become the gateway for these children to learn about a world beyond their backyard, where they can become inspired, where they can learn, and where they can dream.

Jess recently travelled to the Gulf Coast and came back with a plea for all of us to stand with her to help build a library. After buying several books I realized that in the midst of so many sad stories it means so much to be a small part of a story of hope. The hope of allowing young minds who've already seen so much suffering locally to expand their minds around the world.

Public libraries are one of the best inventions of modern civilization. Libraries are places everyone can go for free to learn about anything they choose. But it's not a library without books. So if your finances permit it go to the Singleton/Hands On Library Wish List and help be a part of building a place for kids to go to open their minds and their hearts to what's possible in this world after already seeing so much of what is not.

The Just Post Writers
aimee with Where does your Candidate stand on Healthcare
azahar with Thought for the day
Beck with Welcome to The Macho World
BipolarLawyerCook with Your own best advocate
bon with Other Pictures
Chani with Blog Blast for Peace: If not now, when? Passing through the Gates, Horse Manure, and Gays in the Military
The Cool Mom Picks' Safe Toy Guide
Denguy with Bad Plastic, Bad Bad and 'Tis the Season
Erin with It's That Time Again
I am the master evil genius with What does need look like?
Jangari with Toilet culture, Exodus, and Four Corners on the Intervention
JCK at Motherscribe with We are all connected, we cannot be ourselves without community
jen with Power to the people who need it most, Tradition, Choosing and doing and going
jen at MOMocrats with Power to the People (who need it most)
jessi with Donorschooseorg--helping teachers across the country
Julie at Using My Words with Blog blast for Peace, Does the abstinence message for drug use work?, Let's Get it On: Abstinence only sex education is risky and ineffective, Does putting the arts at risk put kids at risk too? and Inconvenient Truth: A Transcript of my testimony to the EPA at the NESHAP Public Hearing
Kayleigh at Another Working Mom with I'm Dreaming of a... and Holidaze
Kevin at Life has Taught Us with Your signature does make a difference
Kyla with Healthcare is a bitch
Laura with A more important PSA
lori with Thoughts for the day
Mad with SOS? You can't be serious
Mad Organica with Tell Your Girls to Call for the Ball
Madame M. with Plan: Freezing butts, Stargazing and Retail (couples) therapy
Mary G with Charity begins at home
Mel from Actual Unretouched Photo with The Homeless
Pundit Mom with Do Republican Candidates Care About Women Voters?, You Know This Would All Be Different if Men Could Breastfeed and A Promise to American Women
Roy with Intersection of racisim, sexism and commerce
Sin with Seasonal Angst Disorder, Part 1
Suzanne Reisman on blogher with For a Good Time, Call a Feminist (Not that You'd Know This From the Media), No Smart Woman Left Behind and What's Bugging Women?
Thordora with Murders are Not Monsters; they're men
TIV with Post-traumatic stress disorder and ripples of trauma
Wayfarer Scientista with The Spilling of Oil

some of the many readers
Alejna
Crazy
Jen
Kiki
Lawyer Mama
Liv
Mad
Pundit Mom
Sin
Steph
Susanne

The Just Posts turned one this month. Last year today so many of us were madly celebrating a wedding born of yearning and justice and we haven't stopped since. And a year later, my lovely social justice bride has never looked lovelier. Make sure to stop by and see what she, Hel and Su are up to today as well and stay further turned as we gear up for the big Just Post anniversary bash next month too.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

mouthing off

Reported during the handing off of M at the end of our vacation:

Look Grandma, there's an Indian statue. The White Man took the Indians' land a long long time ago and that was really not very nice. Bad White Men, Grandma. Bad.

I've never been more proud.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

arrival

Ah, yes. It's me, it's this. I sit quietly in front of my laptop grinning in anticipation of what I'll find and what you've been up to. And yet a part of me is reluctant. I'm indoors now. The first time besides sleeping in the past 10 days that I've been in an enclosed space. The routine, my routine, it's back in a flash and here I sit.

It's easy to forget how much time I spend inside until I don't and then I do again.

The trip was really lovely. Lot's of quiet times and long walks, minor adventures and the hot sun. And I am glad to be home.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

uno momento en el sol

The Yucatan is by far the most touristed place we´ve visited on holiday. Something about the crowds sullies things, if vacation isolation can be any sort of prize. But crowds means infrastructure and it´s been an incredibly easy journey, no reservations anywhere and yet we´ve moved across the peninsula with the ease of wild dogs foraging for food and shelter each day with success.

We were visiting some magnificent ruins yesterday and after being commandeered by dozens of touts I finally said no compro nada in poor spanish and probably poorer manners and the man stopped and smiled and sat down next to me but i really want your money, see and as he spoke the truth the divide closed a bit and I said I know, and this entire thing really is unfair. But that´s life, he replied and for a few brief moments we sat together in the same patchy sun.

My mind is shifting back north, the knowledge of home just around the corner now. And that means I´ll get to see what you´ve all been up to while I´ve been away, too.