Friday, May 30, 2008
Let me state for the record that I was not asked, paid or coerced to talk about my Kindle in any way, in fact no one outside of J even knows I have one until today. But let me be clear: I freaking love my new baby pretty pet Kindle.
My pretty pet Kindle is amazing. It will download a book in less than a minute and bam, it pops up on my screen. In fact, I just finished reading Metro Mama's post about a new book she loved so I pushed a couple buttons and bam, I've got that book in my Kindle. (take that, Canada!)
It's easy to use, it remembers the page you left off on even if you fall asleep while reading it and lets you make notes in the margins if you are a reader who does such things. There are a good amount of "books" you can purchase and so far I've been able to find just about every book I want to read in a Kindle version. It's small, and I cannot wait to load 10 books into it and toss it into my backpack, thus lightening my load by 7 pounds. God how i love my little baby pet Kindle. You can even buy new books through the Kindle itself, in this case those crafty marketers suit me perfectly, I'm on a long road trip and think hey I'd love to read that book and in seconds, dude. I'm reading that book. Manipulate me all you want clever marketers, but I love, love, love my new baby pet Kindle. It's a traveller's dream.
If there is a con and there always is, I might miss the feel and smell of books and occasionally I hit the wrong button and annoy myself and most importantly books are about $10 a download, which can add up if you go nuts but I still contest I'll be saving money and certainly trees and a ton of space. If you are a voracious reader and aren't always able to find the books you want or are planning to go live a long life in a jungle somewhere far away from bookstores, my baby pet pretty Kindle can change your life.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
I do not know why I am so assuredly assured of your strength, or why I know that without you it could not have been done. There's a certain camraderie in this, a feeling of Go Team and the somehow belief that if only you'd do it with me then we'd surely succeed. It makes everything simpler; I'd eat better and learn kundalini and climb that mountain if only if only if only you'd do it with me do you want to do it with me not because I am afraid or because I don't want to be alone but rather because I am not so sure of my staying power, I get confused and I don't always have the answers, I don't know how to get the truck out of the mud and I can never remember what poison oak looks like and I give up easy and all of that makes me dangerous.
Besides, you are the better writer better painter you take better pictures you read more books you know how to code you kick ass you are a strategic thinker nothing scares you and so instead I crave a strength in numbers that is most likely false and yet still something I will cleave to, choosing to solve this together but it's you, it's really you that cements the deal.
Monday, May 26, 2008
So because I have no tact it slipped out because while I know the woman I don't really know her husband, when I crossed the landing and took in the gigantic two story with leather couches and an island in the kitchen I said damn, K, you are such a freaking grown up and she laughed but her husband looked at me curiously, probably and safely noting to himself let's never go to that chick's house. ever.
Saturday, May 24, 2008
I told her I'd meet her there, if you have power to make decisions about allocating resources for my stuff I do all I can to get you there, you come perhaps reluctantly or with morbid curiousity or really you are just very lovely but no matter I practically insist and we walk, we walk and we walk and you see and you see and I watch your face, I watch you turn your eyes away but you are held hostage and I walk slower because it's a one way walk kind of like that cool furniture store and we are in the depths now and I hold on and hope you'll start to see it, the beautiful humanity amidst the desolation it always always shines through and then you do and I watch you slowly climb on the bandwagon, the face of this suffering is simply too much to ignore if you are standing right in the middle of it, I haven't met a person yet who can and yet still it's never quite enough.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
One night there were two of us on swing and we were hanging out in the staff office when this guy who'd been a problem for weeks came in. It was obvious he was high and he stormed into the office angry for a reason I can't recall. I remember feeling cornered, I was behind a desk against a wall and he was pacing and yelling in front of the only door. My co-worker stood up and came over next to me and just as he did the guy came around the desk and lunged. His fist came towards my head as my co-worker jumped in front of me. Immediately I was pushed aside and the two of them were on the floor. I called 911 while the the guy was still assaulting my teammate, fists were flying and a couple of other clients got into the mix trying to pull the guy away. This went on for a while and was actually quite scary when the cops came storming in, cops who immediately grabbed my friend and threw him up against the wall leaving the other guy heaving on the floor.
My friend see, he was black and the guy who was trying to kill us was white.
You've got the wrong guy, it's him you want I remember saying and they threw him against the wall too. After a few minutes of me freaking out they eased up on my friend while he, the one who probably saved my life that night was silent, he's facing the wall and he's not saying a damn word. The cops spend a few more minutes sorting it out and talking to witnesses and they let my friend go and arrest the other guy and drag him off.
My friend is bleeding but he's one of those tough guys who won't let you make a fuss. I got some ice for his face and we call our supervisor and report what happened, she tells us to send him home and even though he protests we all know this was too much for one night and he needs some space. So as we wait for another teammate to come in we process what happened, I tell him what he knows, that if he wouldn't have been there that dude could have killed me and then I say it out loud I can't believe those cops, they went for the black guy automatically and he was silent for a minute before saying no matter how much people act like times are changing it's still the same and we sit silent for a minute, lost in a world I could never really understand and he could not escape.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Holy shit. So we talk some more and because I've got my own rules to follow I tell her I'll try and if I do I'll pass along her number but I can't give her any more information than that. But inside I'm freaking out. I have to find this dude. Before we hang up she asks me why we have so many homeless people where I live and I ask her what state she's in and I tell her a whole lot of folks without homes live there too. She tries to wrap her head around this, it's become personal now and she's read it in black and white.
So I strike out in the first logical places, he's been gone for months. So I do some deeper digging, I contact public entities and some private, I beg and I tell them about the call. I say I know it's unusual but what if it's true. 20 years is a long time. Folks concede. They go one extra mile. Eight hours later I hit paydirt. Someone knows him and will get him to call me. The underground community moves a mountain.
10 minutes later my phone rings. I am all of a sudden awkward, is this welcome news or not and I don't know so I just say it. A woman, she called me and said she's your daughter and she's been looking for you for 20 years. Yes, he says. Yes. Quiet. He's gruff and I can't read him, not even close. Is this ok I ask and he says I've been looking for her too. Nothing else. I tell him I have her number and he fumbles for a pen, I can hear it now, he's nervous, he can't find a pen and he's nervous.
Take your time, man. I am leaning back in my chair with an enormous grin. I've been looking for you all day so I'm cool, just take your time. Thank you he says. I want more but I don't get it and as we hang up I know it's none of my business but for 8 hours I've owned this, I've single point focused on finding this man.
I happen to be heading off to meet some workmates for dinner, I arrive at the noisy bar late and grinning, I say you won't believe this fucking story and they listen and applaud and we drink a toast. As we are waiting for the table my phone rings and I look down, it's the guy calling me back.
I grab my phone and run outside. I answer it and he says I had to call you back and thank you and tell you I just called her. We just spoke after all this time and I was so nervous and I'm just calming down now. She doesn't remember that we met when she was a baby, she doesn't think we ever met but we have.
Well, I said, I'm crying a little bit now, she said it's been twenty years.
It's been twenty four years two months and nine days. I've counted every single day since I've seen her last but she doesn't know that. I have grandkids. I can't believe it, I can't believe this is happening. Thank you. And he goes on to tell me how this happened, the sad and painful journey and the terrible mistakes he's made and all of it together and we talk of second chances, of hope, of what can be done now and perhaps how we can help and we hang up with a promise to connect again in a few days. And then I turn and look at all the people going in and out of the restaurant, the glamour girls and the kids, the older couple on a date in their fancy car running the valet in the heat and I lean back and smile because today was a really, really good day.
Monday, May 19, 2008
Our hike this weekend was fantastic. We swirled down and around a creek and saw a million lizards and brought enough water and M complained 50% less than usual. Things are coming to a head, we are getting ready for some enormous changes and it's almost scary how well things are falling into place. After our hike we were all busy, M wrecking havoc J cleaning out a closet and me making some food when I saw J staring out a window. I asked him what he was thinking and he looked at me smiling and said I just can't believe how lucky we are and I nodded and smiled because I've got some trouble believing it too That doesn't mean everything is perfect as it hardly ever is but it does mean that our hard work is starting to pay off in fits and starts.
I've got a review up at my other spot about some sweet little girl barrettes. Stop by before you go because I'm raffling a couple of them off and you know you want in on the action.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Me: Well, you can't have a baby in your tummy right now but you can when you get older
Me: You need to be older because your body needs to change a little bit and then you have to decide you want a baby in your tummy and then you make one (dammit i can't believe i said that wait for it now count with me people you all know what's coming 3, 2, 1.....)
M: How do I make a baby?
Me: Dude, you are three. I'm just not prepared to get into this right now. (Whatever, call me a chickenshit, at least I was honest and didn't use the phrase twinkle in my eye)
M: Ok. Orange is my favorite color.
Me: Me too, baby. Me too.
Friday, May 16, 2008
I hear this and pause. Search and rescue crosses my mind, the notion of a St. Bernard with little barrel flask around his neck, I think of snow for some reason which makes no sense. One of us, one of our tribe who never says no he goes and he goes cheerfully. Let me just check it out and see what's what, he says. And he goes to that park.
A few hours later there's an update. This man in the park. No shit, he's been outside a very long time. But for some reason today is our lucky day. He comes with my friend and he goes inside. He's eating, my friend says. He sure is hungry. I've got him settled and he'll stay here for the weekend and then we'll go from there. But you know, it's crazy. He's a vet and he says he's been outside for 20 years.
And for some reason I feel like crying.
This was a week ago and yesterday I meet this man from the park, my co-worker brought him to meet me and with a look he tells me silently it's the guy, the guy from the park. He's bronze, so bronze he's leather, his eyes are kind and his teeth are shattered. I shake his hand and tell him I'm so happy he's with us and he shakes mine back and agrees. The three of us talk for a few minutes and I like this guy, I like him a lot. There's a sense you get and your first instinct usually sticks, because there are no pretenses unless there are and you spot those a mile away and it's fine but then it's different and there were no pretenses here. As he leaves he surprises me and leans over and hugs me and so I hug him back this bronze man from the park and I have to ask why did you finally come inside after all this time? And he looks at me and says well you know because he asked me to. And I can't help but wonder if that meant in all that time no one else had.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Why do we think we are entitled to cheap gas? America pays less for a gallon of gas than many other countries around the world and yet we are still batshit over it. But we are complaining about the wrong thing. We should be complaining that we are not developing strategies to replace oil consumption fast enough. We should complain that car manufacturers are not producing affordable hybrids. We should complain that public transportation is not sufficient in many parts of our nation which forces the highways to be clogged with individual drivers. We should complain that our politicians treat us like infants, tossing spare change at us to shut us up. Time and time again we are watching these bad decisions being made, ideas designed to bandaid a severed leg. The days of low gas prices and clean air are over. It's time to buckle down and find comprehensive solutions for lowering emissions, reducing oil dependency, and lowering our carbon footprint. I know you know this already and it's one of the many reasons we are blog-kin but I'm ranting just the same.
And for the record, we have two cars. But like many others we are changing how we use them. We walk whenever possible. We carpool. It's not enough, and we are working towards a longer term solution that involves only one car and even less driving, but we won't be able to do that for a few more months. Living (and having to leave your house to go to work) in this society generally means you have to transport yourself somehow. I see how we've gotten ourselves into this, but this sort of pandering only adds insult to injury. So I'll pay the gas prices and I'll do so without complaint because I am complicit in this. I am a part of the problem as an oil consumer and I am complicit in this. And I would gladly pay more in taxes instead of less if it meant it was going into a fund to reduce oil consumption nationwide. Now that would be a holiday I could get behind.
So quit insulting us already. We already feel bad enough as it is for falling for all of this bullshit in the first place.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
China, Oh China. Entire families buried alive. We are small.
Monday, May 12, 2008
Folks were giving him a wide berth, nothing unusual there but it always hurts me a little to see it. So when I get close he turns to me excuse me miss but do you have any spare change and I give the woman who was right in front of me ignoring him a raised and hairy eyebrow and said sure I do. So I stop and pull out my wallet and $5 falls out and so I hand him that and his eyes go big. Thank you miss, thank you. And Happy Mother's Day. Seeing as I'm childless at the moment I smile how did you know I'm a mom? And he smiled, he had a lovely smile and kind eyes you are beautiful, you must be a mom and with my dirty clothes and just back from hiking hair I laugh and pull out one of my cards if you want to try something different than this, give me a call. I might be able to help and he takes it and reads my name out loud and looks me in the eye maybe I will. Maybe I just will.
While I was paying for the damn ginger I thought of something else I wanted to tell him but when I went out he was already gone, either he'd gotten the cash he needed already or someone had shooed him away and I felt a tiny sting, I will never fully grow accustomed to how folks slip away and you never hear from them again except for those occasional times you do.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
This Mother's Day many of us will celebrate who we are, what we've done, how we've mothered. This holiday, while also and sadly commercially manufactured into another avenue for production and consumption is also a good time for reflection in the past and also for how we want to embrace our mothering in the future.
I am the mother who advocates for affordable housing. Of all the gifts I can give my daughter, besides love and affection and safety and fun and adventure the greatest gift I can give her is awareness. Awareness that not everyone has the same life as she does and that there are things we can do to fix it.
My child has the opportunity to spend a lot of time at shelters and housing programs. She's played with children who sleep in the streets or in abandoned buildings or on the floor. She's shared meals with children who haven't eaten regularly in days or weeks or sometimes months. And every time without fail, she will ask me why. Why doesn't she have a place to live? How long can she live with you? How does she sleep in such a big room? How does he get new toys? And from that place, she begins to think of solutions. Maybe I can give him my blankets. Maybe we should give our food to them. Maybe they can find a home today. Her awareness is soaring but it's a sad sort of flight, one that means she'll witness the suffering without knowing how to truly reconcile it.
When thirteen million children (1 in 6 kids) live in poverty in America and child poverty on the rise since 2000, this is reality she will have to face. When 1 million of these children are without a home in a given year and homeless families are the fastest growing segment of homelessness in the US today and it is mainly attributed to the lack of affordable housing and the fact that rents continue to skyrocket while wages do not all leads me to believe this crisis is not going to be resolved anytime soon.
But it doesn't have to be this way. It is unacceptable that we have not prioritized raising minimum wages and creating affordable housing. John Edwards had a plan to end poverty nationally within 30 years but since he's left the race we've lost our advocate and without committed leadership at the highest levels of office we will never be able to end one of the most horrible social ills in our generation. Without addressing these basic needs our communities will not be able to thrive and that ultimately affects all of us.
So on Mother's Day and on every day I promise to keep dreaming about a country where every child has a safe place to sleep and food in their bellies. Because this is the future I wish for my child, the one where all of her friends can know the same basic rights as she does.
Crossposted at MOMocrats where we are dreaming about many, many important things today.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
We are hoping to hear about:
Your dreams as a mother for your own kids;
Dreams your mother had for you, and how you fared;
Dreams of another mother you know who is fighting to make the world a better place.
Or whatever you choose, it's up to you. Join us.
PS. If you type the word Mother enough times you will start to think you've spelled it wrong. Trust me on this.
Friday, May 09, 2008
I was asked to be a panelist in a townhall meeting recently where folks had the chance to air their concerns about how the foreclosure crisis is affecting them and their neighborhoods and to seek help if they need it. Feeling a bit out of my element I approached this carefully, I am more comfortable in the belly of the beast and these folks while close were still standing near the edge, some closer than others but not yet swallowed whole.
As I gazed around the room I saw it was filled almost entirely with people of color, grandmothers and little babies and everyone in between. They all sat anxiously and with flashes of humor, this portion of the city was clearly it's own community and for better or for worse they came together as one. The questions were expected, ranging from what we could do to help them (and there are some things) to what to do about the abandoned homes popping up all around them, the vandalism and trespassing and concerns for their streets. And while the folks there to help were helpful indeed I was more struck by their faces, the earnestness of these hard working families, the immigrants and the working poor and the folks who've lived in this neighborhood forever and call this their home and how this is happening all over our nation, good people are scared and the belly widens, hungry for more.
The April Just Posts
Alejna with NYC Goddam
Alpha Dogma with Yearning for Lyin'
Babyslime with Shampoo free
Beck with Get out Yer Cheque books
Brenda Dayne with You and me, baby.
Chani with Mad dogs and mean girls
Gina with For shame, 40 years and we still have so far to go and For children
Gwen with Feeling Ranty
Jen with Flags of our brothers
Kyla with The speech
Mad with Kick at the darkness 'til it bleeds daylight
Mir Kamin on blogher with Earth Day Every Day: Raising Eco-Conscious Kids
MOMocrats with MOMocrats exclusive: Obama answers readers questions and And now for something completely different: John McCain unveils his plan for healthcare
Painted Maypole with taking stock on Earth Day
Sage with At Least the Issue is Getting Some Press and My Real Problem
Sin with Benediction
Sober Briquette with Three Month Check-up
Suzanne Reisman on blogher with Which Paper Towel Would You Buy, or Why are Household Products Commercials Stuck in 1961?, How Do You Feel About Diet Foods?: Some Feminist Navel-Gazing, Keep Your Open Source Away from My Tits, Or I'll Open Source You, Buddy! and US Companies and Politicians: Paying Women Less for the Same Work is A-OK as Long as It is Kept Secret
No Caption Needed with Have we no decency?
One Swell Foop with Her heart beats in me
Thor with A Reform is a correction of abuses...
Lia with Fair Pay
The Reluctant Housewife with It's not all about bra burning and man hating
Thank you for another lovely Just Post Roundtable. We are here every month featuring posts about social issues and social justice and we welcome anyone who wants to join us. All you have to do is write or read and send me what you find. And don't forget to stop by Mad's and Su's before you go to see what they are talking about this month. Lastly, I want to dedicate this month's Roundtable to the lovely Hel who was our fourth leg of the table for a good long while and has graciously bowed out in order to care for the many beautiful and important things she's tackling in real life.
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
Him: I've seen you around, up at that other place.
Me: Yep, I get around.
Him: Where's that kid of yours, the one who runs all over the place.
Me: Ah. Well, she's at school. Can't get much done with her here. But I'm smiling, I love that she's a part of this somehow, that she sees it and it sees her.
Him: I'll say.
Me: So, where you off to?
Him: Same as usual, go try and find a place to rest till you let me back in.
Me: It's awful, isn't it. I wish you didn't have to stay here at all.
Him: I had a place once, a really great place.
Me: Tell me about it (I stop and sit, my day can start a few minutes late or better stated this is a good way to start the day)
Him: It was great, out in the middle of the woods. Me and my old lady, we had some goats and chickens, I built a lot of it by hand. We loved that place.
Me: Did you have a garden? I bet you had a garden. What happened?
Him: We did have a garden. We grew all kinds of stuff. There was an accident. My wife was killed. I was hurt. Eventually I lost the house. I lost everything that ever mattered.
Me: And now you are here.
Him: And now I am here. But I'm still alive. You all let me stay here and that makes it easier too. But I miss it. Her. All of it. But I'm still alive. I touch his shoulder. I don't know what to say because of course. Of course.
And with that we parted ways, his bag a bit more secure now, he heads out to the sun.
Monday, May 05, 2008
We had a picnic by the creek, sitting on the rocks and it's there M finds her first banana slug and in quick succession 2-7, her exclaimations triumphant and resounding each time, only a toddler can find the same energy for the same thing over and over and yet she reminds me in those moments of what matters most. I pause on the rocks and dip my fingers in the cold water and I think of the water of my youth and of where I am going and for a brief moment it all feels crisp and clear and perfect too.
The mole was not so lucky, we found him belly up. Moles are extraordinarily cute, aren't they all puffy and grey and little fat flipper feet. We spent the rest of the hike with M needing to figure out how it died, how it died in a way that wasn't that bad. Maybe he was old mama, maybe that was it or maybe he fell out of the tree. I really don't think anyone hurt him mama do you? We debated these harsh realities until suddenly it was forgotten, the mist rising over the mountains and the promise of a snack at the end of the trail proved too alluring even for the mole.
And you'll all be proud to hear that for the first time since we've begun this hiking journey we did not run out of water. Finally and for the love of all things holy it's about time we are finding our groove.
Before you go hop over to my review blog and read about an eco-friendly game for the little ones. Because if we must consume, at least we can do it with kindness and less plastic. And lastly, oh people my people, send me your Just Posts to girlplustwoATyahooDOTcom, our April Roundtable is coming up soon.
Saturday, May 03, 2008
I said yes to all of this and yet it's a pressure, to keep the balls flying here and in the rest of my life where the balls weigh even more. I do this somehow unconsciously and I see it and somehow I choose to let it ride. So then this is my refuge, a place to sit and knock on some doors and see how you are, sometimes doing a good job and sometimes not so much. And it's part of who I am, this running and yet very soon we'll be changing our whole lives and the stillness or the better said differentness will confront me and I will wonder, I do wonder what that will then mean in terms of who I think I am.
Friday, May 02, 2008
I sometimes wonder how much words can truly matter, but in a week where Kyla's words turned into advocacy I don't have to wonder too much. It matters when we speak our minds. It matters when we find an audience. And together we must keep up the fight, for all the causes that matter to us. Because if not us, who? If not now, when?
Brava, Kyla. Brava, Julie. Brava, us.
Speaking of, our Just Post Roundtable is coming up on the 10th. If you have a post you'd like included, written by yourself or another please email it to me at girlplustwoATyahooDOTcom. If this is new to you check out the purple buttons to your right.
Thursday, May 01, 2008
Little girls can be mean, hurting little girls even more so. Nearly every day M will tell me her latest heartache, ______ was mean to me today, the next day _______ spit on me (note to little girl, you do not spit on my kid.) I know this little girl is in pain, the sorrow hangs heavily on her face but she's learning, she's learning so soon the art of cruelty, the masterful way words can punish and wound. It's not her fault and yet she wounds my girl all the time and no matter how many times M and I have gone round and round, from the trying to remember not everyone feels the same way to sometimes we all have bad days to M, my baby girl, you simply do not deserve to be treated like this and there will come a point where you simply will have to stop trying and I'll be right here when you do.
And it wounds. It wounds because she's not yet four. It wounds because every day I leave her to defend herself and she can't quite figure out how to do that, how to let the nice girls matter as much as the one whose attention she wants the most. I've talked to the teachers, I've even talked to the little girl but words are small, they are little scraps of paper blowing around the windy playground sticking to the fence. They blow and swirl around my girl and yet every day she tries again, her wide open heart runs straight up to her and waits to see if she'll be turned away. She catches my eye in those moments, the ones I'm there to catch and I see her face fall. Today I went to her and gathered her in my arms, the other little girl watching us and while part of my wanted to gather them both my arms are not quite built for two.