Thursday, January 26, 2012

Evolution

(For Gigi De LaRosa)


interrupted

this is

the what


is. peace.

in 50 shades of vibrant

tones


and memories. best

left alone. I am

vibrating


something better than 32

flavors. or leap!

RPM’s away


from 32. I

am well

gone


into living love. this

you bring me

home.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

please & thank you. frees - Draft

1.

Gabby was off the record

like skilled musicians competing

with turntables. on the quiet

street. a bbq place


in a blue and white shack.

vinyl foot stools making

the grease easy to forgive.


symbolic or just love

offering. his motto:

"it is nice to be nice."


2.

yesterday, we could

not exit the cul-de-sac.

a FED EX truck was mired

in our private street snow.

and the strange stones

everyone uses

to mark territory trapped


all of us. needed to go.

after two hours finally we thought.

asked, "what's going on?"


how frustrating!

us in our warm home

him in his heated truck

waiting for a supervisor’s

bitching. given the scenario,


we offered him coffee

(our superior, hand-pressed expresso.)

lowered our eyes at

his Christmas morning face.

he accepted

expresso with cream and sugar.

just like us. after


he was liberated

by the tow truck.

he returned the cup.

all of us want

to reuse, recycle

and re-connect

to being nice.


3.


kindness costs

nothing. love

is free,


empathy

is a cup

of coffee


or something like ribs

to gnaw. succulent

meaty nourishing

spice. like good music

is prescience offering

Blessing The Hostile - draft

(for Marjorie Liese)


may your body bring you

blessings. may it show you

every lesson you have tried


to teach it.

may it be wiser

than you. all of your dreams


realized - regardless.

may you open to paradox.

and kindly greet


reality. may you wish

upon a star. suddenly

understand


it was the sparkling fog of your own breath

in the twilight.

may you breathe.


and again, take another breath.

let those around you sing,

chant, prepare. celebrate.


you are. now!

Transformation Breaks

"I feel as if I could heave for hours and never purge my broken heart with its crushed jagged edged pieces ripping my belly." ~ Chas Brack


your soul ~ the ocean

churns pieces


over and over.

moon manages.


demands polished

stone. a surprise


making someone gasp.

how smooth. how polished.


how perfect.

mine!


earth, moon, sun

the very trees themselves sing.


"look at the miracle

this is divine!" pain


turns sand

to glass. pressure


turns bones

to diamonds. loss


turns souls

to saints


stars...and round

again to human.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Teacher Should Make Should Make A Parent Cry

Those pesky, weird, awesome, troublesome joy tears. Welcome and awkward they are. They come at the strangest moments. They come at weddings, naming ceremonies, and birthdays. Uninvited, they arrive just to remind oneself, “in so much exaggerated and repetitive ugliness, beauty is a constant.” Beauty is a thing which deserves the shedding of your soul’s elixir.

As a reluctant unschooler, I fight myself constantly about trusting my child to learn. I mean, really, if I can raise my African-American son to the age of 21 without him being tasered, trussed, hand-cuffed, billy-clubbed, jailed or killed dead, then….I might just be an okay parent. (And none of these items listed mean that you are not an okay parent. Because we all know what world in which we are living.) If I can raise him to be connected to the world around him, take action, think independently, offer his ideas and instigate change, well then I would be a kick ass parent. Time will out.

But, I got lucky. I happened to find - through a friend - the most perfect music teacher in the entire world. I sincerely could not imagine that the quintessential unschooling music teacher would salsa into our life. And she did. And today, she made me cry. Again.

What kind of teacher has the audacity to encourage a 6 year old to compose? What kind of teacher says, “That was interesting (banging on the piano.) Where are you taking that idea?” What kind of teacher rewards a student by making them de-code their favorite (shitty, Disney, flip frap) songs so they can internalize chord progressions? And then, discover that they have a preference for A major chords? Lunacy!

Something is right here…. So why does it feel so wrong? Because we were hit with rulers and rosary beads. Most of us were never given an opportunity to experience joy and knowledge simultaneously. And so I have decided. It is the teacher's job to make a parent cry joy tears. And THAT is the only kind of testing we need.

Monday, January 16, 2012

MLK 2011

lead them not into illusion,
but reality. fortify

their bones and souls
with vision and fact.

teach them magic
is science and science

is magic. invite
them to be color-blind

without putting the nuances
of spectrum in the garbage.

allow them to be human. invite
and encourage thought.

be kind.
and thank

you. costs nothing,
and nothing is open

so whomever
and whatever

can grant
this wish of mine.

the blessing
simply rebounds.

Catch!

(MLK B-day 2011)

Conversation

Conversing. It seems so easy and natural.

I am not a good conversationalist. I do respond well to questions, prompts, statements and other verbally presented facts and sentiments. Converse? No. I am totally inept.

Listen? I like that a lot. My husband likes this as well. But, so do many other people. Suddenly, my dinner party becomes a Quaker meeting. For The Fail!

I have many friends who are excellent and awesome conversationalists. I admire them. I often sit back and study them. But, lately, I have been really needing to …..something.

What I have learned so far is that good conversationalists ask questions. Like any weird or random question which crosses their mind also passes over their teeth, tongue and lips and blossoms in the air. And then they listen to the answers and ask another question.

This is a habit I could really strive to adopt. So, the theme of the month is toys, What the hell does that have to do with conversation? Well. Alot.

Stumbling around during the Christmas season, I came across one of those “gotta love people” items. So, I know my husband absolutely adores his Gryffindor necktie. But, the gift he looked cross-eyed at me about is the one which has been making a huge difference in our life right now. At least he had tom open The Family Dinner Game in front of his family!

But, the conversations! (And I pride myself on being a family who discusses interesting stuff!) But seriously, some of these questions are off the hook. For example, “Which historical figure would you like to meet?”

Son says Benjamin Franklin. WTF!!!! Since when have we done a unit on Benjamin Franklin? But, son is very clear. "He was an inventor, a freedom fighter and made this country." Okay. Where he learned any oft this I am unclear. But sounds like a fair assessment to me. Nice choice.

Husband steals *my* historical figure, Le Chevalier S Saint Georges …and the conversation dissolves into a demonstration of who had French and/or Latin and would actually be able to converse with Le Chevalier. Therefore, the study of different languages are vitally important. Next card.

"If your family had a motto, what would it be?"
Husband: “We three and no more,” Owen Springer, Grandfather in law.
Me: We would gladly feast upon those who would oppose us.
Son: Think also of the comforts and right of others.

What widely divergent ideas we all share. And yet, we agree that each idea is important, valid and relevant. And we laugh.

Finally, “where do your first and last name come from?”

Some things can be taught. I am happy someone took something obvious; put it in a little handy tin and helped me get even better at connecting with the people I love.

Gotta Love People

It is a mandate. It is a daily practice. It is a challenge. It is the most important behavior of all. Love. Act on love. Just gotta. Love people.

There are 50 thousand ways of doing this everyday. Just stopping and approaching your personal agenda sideways is fun. For example, put a little love wrench in the pseudo customer care training. You know the script. You know the drill,

“Hi. How are you today?”

[Stop everything. Realize this is a person who has been trained to “make lively customer care banter. “ Look at this human being who is putting energy into the food you will be feeding your family this week. Understand, s/he probably has a family…or wants one…or maybe not….doesn’t matter. Just stop and see this human being who is being paid very little money to serve your needs. Will s/he be you BFF forever? No. Very unlikely. Does this mean you shouldn’t invest a 1/2 ounce of positive energy in her? No. Every investment in remembering humanit is a good investment.]

So look up and directly into their eyes and say,

“I’m okay. Thank you so much for asking. How are you?”

And wait for their response. And listen when they give it.

“I’m alright.”

If they are alright, or okay or good, acknowledge that fact.

“I’m happy that you are okay. Maybe tomorrow you’ll be awesome. Maybe tomorrow I might be not so good. It’s great that we have okay right now.”

It is really that easy to reclaim meaningless exchanges and transform them into honest, sincere connection. Which reflects acting upon the mandate, “gotta love people.” Which brings me to toys. No seriously. Toys.

I went crazy for these silly toys this past December. Can you tell me how this toy is not perfect in every way? It
takes virtually no space in your purse;
engages the imagination;
can be used in airports, trains, restaurants or wherever you happen to be with a child who will act out on their boredom in unacceptable ways; and
And can be traded, modified and changed to suit the mood of the day.

I sure hope someone comments. The game is called Think-ets. http://www.amazon.com/Think-a-Lot-Toys-THK-20-Purple-Think-Ets/dp/B003ETXJP2/ref=pd_sim_t_2.

So why is this toy filed under ‘gotta love people?” Because anyone can put 10 to 12 assorted trinkets in a lovely colored mesh bag. Anyone can provide five different game play scenarios. But, not everyone can bless themselves with honoring and acting upon viewing themselves as a being a person of vision. Not everyone can say, “wow this cool thing I’m doing with my kid can become such a successful toy that we have to develop a Teacher’s Edition.” Not everyone can just step back and love themselves and others.

And so this gets filed under “gotta love people” because I could totally hate on this concept and hate on the creator for doing something obvious or hate myself for not bringing the same idea to market first. Or I can totally love on this person for making our lives so much fun. I choose the latter.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Fat. Zen. Clothing Lessons

A friend of mine has lost as much weight as I have this year. (For very different reasons.) But, every time she mentions it, I realize that fat women have something like our own culture.

It is hard to no longer be eligible to be part of a vibrant and dynamic culture simply because of what my body is doing. It is sort of like being a lesbian and falling in love with a man. All of a sudden, you are on the outside looking in at friends who now suddenly think you are a stranger. Or like being Amish and sent off on your walkabout only to choose something different and therefore, accept being shunned. Weird!

I never knew that fat women have our own rituals and rhythms until I wasn’t perceived as fat anymore. (And yes I still identify as a fat woman and will continue to do so until I am a size 4. Just joking!) Recently, my friend mentioned going to her favorite big girl clothing shop. Now, she can’t even wear the smallest size. And she was sad. I understood. That happened to me. I mourned. Not being able to shop at the fat girls shop has a massive meaning. It means you are no longer able to support a business which helped you defy society.

Not shopping at the fat girls frock shop puts you in the status quo. No longer can I support a business which told runway models to eat a cheeseburger. No longer can I walk home looking gorgeous and feeling like some fashion designer out there knows and understands not only me…but…my body too. No longer am I a visual representation of the fact that, no matter what package my good gorgeous soul comes in, it is that soul you love. Love the soul, not the box or wrapping paper it comes in. But, I do dress up nicely.

I didn’t give in easily. When my clothes were literally falling off of me, my husband said, "Baby, you gotta go shopping." And I didn't know what to do. Where do I go shopping? What size am I? It is all very confusing. When your whole way of being (regarding being polite and covering yourself so as not to offend anybody) is taken away. That is how it feels suddenly being a big woman in a small body. It feels as if nothing anywhere fits anymore.

But shopping I went. I quickly understood that what size I am is irrelevant. Some designers try to satisfy fat girls…cough… normal, healthy women. And some are trying to reach the anorexic market. It was so confusing! One pair of trousers that fit perfectly was a size 8. But the dress which fit like a skin tight glove was a 2X. And the gorgeous cashmere sweater was a size 12. What are these people doing to my head? When I went to the fat girl frock shop, I knew what size I was. It all fit perfectly. It all made me look stunning.

Now, I’m in this maze of diversion from important and reasonable activities. I can’t just go grab a sweater because I am cold. I have to spend two of my precious hours trying on sweaters. How do “thin” women do this? Why do “thin” women do this? Why do women want to wiggle out of their clothes, then wriggle into new clothes, then see how unflattering it is and repeat until something is right? I would rather sit naked in front of my computer and write a poem. But, society says this is unacceptable. So….wriggling it was. Until I had enough clothing that wasn’t falling off of my body.

Time suck. Not only did I have to navigate the maze which is the fashion industry’s method to imprison you in a store for two hours…when I got home, I had to clear out my closet just to fit the new things into it. Salt in the wound. Yes.

I mean - it is one thing to be fat. It an entirely other thing to be slovenly. I was the former, never the latter. Each garment in my closet was a hard won treasure. Imagine looking at all the cute and wonderful fashions that never come in your size. Then imagine having to go to the ends of the Earth to get even a minor facsimile thereof. Big doesn’t mean sweat pants and XXXL t-shirts. Big can wear a classic black dress and pearls if it wants to. Big is very beautiful. (But only if big sees itself that way.)

Salt in the wound. Clearing out the closet. Pain. So much so, that I couldn't even conceive of sending the clothes to Goodwill. Each and every garment was a fiercely fought for treasure. Just give it up? That’s kind of like making a will which says: “the balances in all my bank accounts should be turned into cash and then thrown from the rooftop of corporate headquarter’s building at noon on a Wednesday.” No. That doesn’t quite work.

But I posted about it on FB and lo and behold two of my tribe members took me up on my nostalgia. So I shipped the clothes to them. And if they wanted to throw the balance off of corporate headquarters at noon on a Wednesday, well so be it. Peace. I am absolved.

Anyway, the seasons went and turned on me. I had to shop again. So, I dutifully wasted my time in order to be warm. (Once the winter sets in clothing is no longer a means to not offend anyone, it actually becomes a necessity. Sigh.) So, I submitted to the fashion designers size roulette wheel. And came out okay.

But, it took me all the way to Thanksgiving to start buying the right size. I was with a college buddy and we were hanging out....and shopping. I discovered that I was still buying one size up…just in case. (You know, preventing the need for any future shopping. Preventing the need to ship clothing which is 10 years old - yet classic and timeless. Planning to not accept this body.)

So, I tried something on and my friend said, "That's too big." She went and found a smaller size. I put it on. It was still too big. "It fits!" I said, " Sort of...but...if I get fat again...I can still wear it." She scowled and then went back to get me a smaller size. (Which actually fit quite nicely.) She proclaimed, "Just wear what really fits you. Stop living in some strange in between place. Just do what is right now. You put this dress on. It fits. Wear it and enjoy it. Just for right now.”

So, I did. And I am. It is strange how something so stupid as covering oneself with cloth can take on such huge significance.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Lament Of The Blessed One

Well, I pity my son. HA! But, yes I do. Pity the boy.

Imagine. Just imagine! How awful can it be to grow up with a mother who not only believes in home education…but loves toys. I mean, really! A mother who unreasonably, obsessively, unbearably loves educational toys.

You say, “What could be wrong with that?

I know. Imagine! Every holiday, my son thinks, “Oh Divine Universe, it is the holidays again. I know what I’m getting ~ sigh, deep, heavy laborious sigh ~ I’m getting school supplies.

And as he grows older, I know he thinks, “But, I just want….want… want… something I do not have. My mother is a toy geek. I have everything I could ever want. But, please Universe…there must be something…more? And thank you! ?”

The prayers begin anew. “Dear Universe, thank you for giving me a Daddy who is a tech-head. Thank you for giving me a Daddy who has given me - not only a roof over my head, food in my belly, heat and lights to see at night - every game system and every game worth playing within my age bracket.

But still…the media says I am missing something.” Pity the boy.
Pity the boy agonizing over war. Pity the boy
struggling to understand famine. Pity
the boy who googles fairies and gets this result and doesn’t understand
what is even so funny about it ...
other than how people react.
(Yes, he typed fairies and he was given this result http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=52VbWz4BjC4 Yay!!!!! Hmmmmmm.) Regardless, imagine the joy of the mother.

Still.
pity the boy confused about his powerlessness
in spite of having power.
So, this past

holiday, we scaled waaaay back. And strangely enough, he didn’t seem to notice or care. We actually had one day of Christmas and seven days of Kwanzaa. We are still trying to get to some of the presents.

"If it is a good toy, one will play with it until one is done," thinks the foolish mother. There is a reason the fool was the most powerful people in the medieval courts.

This year, we made a very solemn choice to only buy from local businesses. (Who they deal with is their own business. But, if they are local and independent, we support them.) I’m hoping to look at a few more of these gifts over the next few days. I know you can find them at some somewhere local. Google!

Into the present! The toys and games I hope to present are just toys and/or games. Frivolity! I am not trying to be judgmental. Every family does the best the can in the moment!s they experience I just want to offer ideas about play and it’s cognitive resonance. I am not one of these eagerly sought after “visual therapists.”. I’m a Mama who also happens to be a toy geek.

There are board games and there are “bored” games. (So says my son.) I enjoy watching my son be confidant, strategic, and proficient. (Yay, home education! Ooops, yay, active, mindful parenting!) But, one day, he is going to meet an actual shark (who is not merciless Daddy.) On that day, son will have to call upon the eclipse I gave him in utero and step up. Hence, the toy geek's first recommendation.. Dun dun duuuuunnnnnn.

This to post is in response to a new trend of "visual therapy:" Get this before you get referred to that!

The game is called "SPOT IT!" Wow! Under ten dollars..or at least at my local shop.. I got a cute little round tin which fits easily in my purse. Inside is a ton of fun which reinforces pattern recognition. memorization, and multiple methods of play...vis a vis negotiation skills.

Each player must evaluate and assess their own strategy? Okay. Thank you. That is good life long learning.

http://www.amazon.com/Blue-Orange-410-Spot-It/dp/B0039S7NO6/ref=sr_1_1?s=toys-and-games&ie=UTF8&qid=1326602464&sr=1-1

Happy New Year!

(Oh and resolving to remedy - at least - my FB addiction.)

Wow! It is good to be back. Some of may you have followed along whilst I indulged myself in a Facebook delirium. It was good. Very convenient! And I hit rock bottom - which is what every addict ever does. Sometimes, the drug insures that the addict conforms. Sometimes, the drug acts like a porter carrying your luggage to the ticket counter or cab. Invariably, the addiction kills the addict.

Literally - all you have to do is fart (type) an idea out of your brain (ass). For doing so, you are rewarded with instant feedback from 10% of all 300 to 1,000 of your friends. Every moment of your life “liked” by 10% of your friends. Each valuing the moment it took you to make utterances such as , “I made corn today from my own garden!” And make it sound exciting {with pictures.}

Think about what Facebook does. Belching and farting ~ albeit thoughts ~ has become the norm. What makes it better is the time warp component. This is the feature which allows your “see you at the organic grocery store, stay groovy” friends to interact with your “I am a rabid Republican 1% friend from high school, but, I always loved you because you were not only Black, but, different, so de facto, I belong in this post-racial America because I am not racist for being your friend. Thanks and smooches!”

Facebook is kind of like being at your own funeral everyday. But, instead of being chunks in a jar, you get to interact, discuss, moderate, and debate! Now, that’s cool!

(Except when the bare bones of text fail to deliver nuance. Suddenly, everyone moves rapidly from discourse and dialog into cyber-slapping and demanding apologies from the slapped for provoking the need to cyber-slap somebody by the slapper. Imagine an IRL (in real life) cocktail party or pot luck at which this occurred. Now, tell me where your eyebrows are on your face? You, dear reader, are welcome to your own opinions. Maybe a good slap is necessary. {Really?} Personally, I have never, ever, ever condoned any one person slapping another. So ~ in my opinion ~ if your eyebrows are not trying to meet your hairline,, I wish you the best of all growth opportunities.)

So, I journeyed all the way to the low place. Yes. I did feed the troll. (In fact, after discussions with my husband, I have been unwittingly feeding this specific troll for over 6 years.) Shock and amazement! Wow! And so, at this point, I just have to giggle. When you make yourself the fool ~ well ~ you giggle. And reflect.

This is part of the addiction. Ephemeral, profound thoughts and ideas jump over the mountain and rufflle your hair. The immediacy of having someone - anyone - acknowledge that you breathe, receive ideas, exist and share - is exhilarating.
Excluded from this deal are the daily people who want breakfast, clean clothes, clean house, clean bodies, accountability, a product, bills paid, mortgage paid, and dinner. Suddenly, 10 % of the 300 to 1,000 others who only want seven words on a newsfeed that they can click “like” becomes an elixir easier to ingest than the daily hard work demanded by those live-in flesh petitioners that circle each day.

But, they circle each day. Because I want them. I need them. I can touch them at any moment. They can look across a room at my face, stand, cross and enfold me in their arms. Because they are witness to this one second which changed my face from serene to concerned. And they are there in that second which is faster than any computer can ever be.

Next Up: I totally admit that I am a toy geek. And in light of all manner of new trendy weird therapy for “learning disabled children,” I just want to offer up a few ideas. Especially about the ways we “learn.” But, yeah, it is winter so it is all about toys. Hopefully come summer, I’ll go on about rocks, logs and Nerf swords.