My Exponentblog column for today. Enjoy!
My Exponentblog column for today. Enjoy!
–turning in grades yesterday. whew. another quarter of school all done. ate 2 do-si-dos and did some high-fives with the kiddoes to celebrate.
–a blank page on my calendar today. still lots of stuff to do, but no classes, no appts, no meetings. woohoo!
–crocheting. about 10 years ago my friend Mindy taught me how to crochet and since then I’ve made many crocheted items, but I’ve never learned how to read & follow a pattern. Thanks to the Happy Hooker I’m about halfway through my first follow-a-pattern project.
–the sun is shining today, small birds are twittering on my front porch, I’m sipping hot tea w/milk, and the day stretches ahead of me with all of the joy and promise of a grassy field filled with wildflowers.
1) Gotta clean the bathroom floor–the workers who snaked the tub drain on Tuesday left some messy places in the corners.
2) [while gazing at shower curtain map] Colombia–why does it have such a drug problem? Is it geography-related? And why is Chile such a freaky-long skinny country?
3) Thinking about recent netflix, Maria Full of Grace. Trying not to feel quilty for buying cut roses even through the Colombian rose plantations exploit workers and tempt them into drug-running.
4) Must grow my own roses, then. Must go the garden soon…where are those garden catalogs?
5) Remember that workers who snaked tub drain didn’t return basket of mags to bathroom. Must finish putting bathroom in order again. But really should clean the floor first.
On Saturday John and I attended a concert, “The Feminine Voice in Music: Past Meets Present.” It was an evening of music by female composers. All of the singers and instrument-payers were also women. We drove quite a ways to attend this concert–two hours up to Ventura thru LA traffic.
–a poem written by Julian of Norwich (1342-c.1416). It began, “As truly as God is our Father, so just as truly is he our Mother.” and in the middle of the singing switched to a solo where a lovely older woman gave voice to the divine feminine, “It is I, the wisdom of Motherhood, It is I, the light and grace of holy love…It is I who teach you to love. It is I, who teach you to desire. It is I who am the reward of all true desiring. And all shall be well.”
In this woman’s eyes I saw my Mother–the Heavenly Mother that Mormons believe in and revere.
–An original composition called “Mama” that is part of a requiem written by Naomi Stephan about her mother. The song had only one word, “Mama,” but was incredibly complex. Sometimes sung with joy, sometimes with reverence, sometimes with pain and fear. All of the choir members at once giving voive to that same word, repeatedly, in cacophony and harmony. It made my heart ache. I thought of the many times that I was in so much pain that the only thing I could say was “Mommy…Mommy…Mommy” over and over again like a mantra. I thought of the times when my kids both yelling “MAAHHHMMMEEE!!” at the same time was so wearying that I wanted to lock myself away to some private place where I could no longer hear their cries. I recalled the joy at hearning “mamamamama” for the first time from each child–speaking the words to my breasts as I fed them. Such a sweet and powerful word!! Naomi created magic with that song–to evoke such complex emotions with just one word…
–Another poem set to music–this one a delight for its imagery:
“And maybe I shall go with you, my glimmering girl
To the land of Glyn, to the land of Myrrh
Where cats wear gleaming fine faces and purple fur
And the daisies bend down singing lowly: murr, murr.”
This poem made me think of my daughter. She is (and always will be) my ‘glimmering girl.’ :)
All-in-all, it was such a delight to hear from these women. Almost all of the singers and composers were crones–not the women that our society usually values or reveres. But their music was so moving. And they women themselves were quite dynamic. Their bodies were of all sizes and proportions, their hair many shades of color from a bottle or a variety of natural grays. They were all so beautiful to me.
Five good things to absorb while you’re still young:
1. a lot of hippies are selfish, unpleasant, and not particularly funny
2. people who argue well aren’t necessarily right
3. cars are kind of a weird thing to spend a lot of money on
4. people will do things for you if you ask them as a favor
5. angry waiters totally do things to your food
E&C went camping with Suz&Chris this weekend. They had a great time playing with fire, eating marshmallows, and piling up rocks.
They came home smelling like hot dogs and dirt, with only a few ember holes in their clothes.
Click on the picture above to see more photos of their camping adventures.
Yah, a long week at our house. It’s finals week at UCI and we’ve had papers to grade and deadlines to meet and busy kids Oh, and I must tell you E was crowned with the title of ‘Master Artist’ this week by our elementary school district. Her duties will include a presentation before the school board and the city council. And she says it’s okay if her class didn’t kowtow to her (as we did when we learned of her new title), instead they clapped…
But back to this morning. I was busily getting dressed in our bedroom and John was headed into the shower. He was completely naked and singing along with the “Jesus Christ Superstar” songs that were playing over the speakers under our bed. He was gently swinging his hips, eyes half-closed as he sang the refrain from Simon the Zealot’s song:
Jesus I am with you.
Touch me, touch me, Jesus.
Jesus I am on your side.
Kiss me, kiss me, Jesus.
It was both touching and hilariously funny and even a little ridiculous. It was so John–all vulnerable and yet totally living in the moment, surrendering to the music. Totally un-selfconscious. Lovely….
Reading this on philobiblion today really made me think. Though we’ve refused to have any contact w/guns in our family (not even of the water-squirting variety), I think I need to be doing more to get the word out about gun control. Here’s a beginning:
A child is killed by a gun every three hours in America. According to the latest statistics, nearly 1,000 children under 19 are shot dead every year. Another 800 use guns to commit suicide, and more than 160 die in firearm accidents.
Forty per cent of American households own guns, but those guns are 22 times more likely to be involved in an accidental shooting, or 11 times more likely to be used in a suicide, than in self-defence. On average, more than 80 Americans are killed by gunfire every day.
This post is inspired by runlulurun and by my Mom, whose favorite color is beige….
When I first married I wanted an all-white house. White couches, white carpet, white duvets and fluffy white feather pillows. Prior to my wedding I hand-quilted an all-white ‘whole cloth’ quilt with intricate designs of overlapping rings and leaves. Staring into the lines of that quilt I saw the beauty and possibilities of the future. It was as if my life was a blank, white slate and I only needed to weave my life’s pattern among the whirls and circles of the future as it lay wide open in front of me.
When I turned 30 I changed 180 degrees and started wearing black most of the time. Perhaps it was the awareness of getting older, perhaps it was the cumulative depression of too many years at home as the full-time caregiver of my kids. Perhaps it was the 10 pounds that sat on my hips and belly that didn’t show quite so much when I wore all-black. Oh, sure, I occasionally wore a white blouse or a grey skirt. But the bottom line was that I almost always wore black. Black jeans, black jumper, black t-shirt, black shoes, black socks…
Well, lately the most amazing thing has happened. As if I woke up one morning and discovered that there was color. A few months ago I bought a bright orange wool coat–not a timid burnt-orange, mind you, but _bright_ orange. I acquired T-shirts in apple green and peacock and peach and salmon and slate. I bought a skirt with a white background and a whimsical flowered pattern w/not one black line to be seen. My favorite jackets are navy, tan, and baby blue. I’m wearing a chartreuse cardigan when it’s chilly in the house instead of a black one.
Now, not only am I wearing brights, but I am wearing them willy-nilly–mixed and matched, all at the same time. Orange and pink and watermelon all in the same outfit. Peacock and baby blue layered over each other. A button-down maroon shirt with a pale pink tank top underneath. A brown skirt with any of the above colors. I still wear black sometimes–especially my favorite pair of black dress pants, and my long black tiered skirt with layers of frothy chiffon ruffles. But I love that the black section of my closet is quickly being overpowered by layers and layers of COLOR.
A part of me wants to analyze this and figure out why I am changing. But another part of me doesn’t want to. Instead I want to don a multicolored scarf, my latest rainbow outfit and head out the door. For I am certain that adventure lies ahead.
“When Toby becomes old and fat someday, I hope she becomes a lap kitty.”
As I said this Toby walked by where I was sitting and stretched–a long lean cat stretch that only this petite little not-even-5-pound kitty can do. She reaches out her front legs and elongates her trunk until you are sure she’s going to snap in two because there’s only a skinny little ribcage w/about a 3″ circumference pulled between front and back paws.
John sort of guffawed, as if to say “Yah, right. Toby’ll never trust anyone’s lap.”
Toby truly lives up to the name “scaredy-cat.” The first months of her life are a mystery, but we do know that our neighbors adopted her from the local shelter when she was about 4 months old. But she didn’t acclimate well to life with two small children and took to living in our garden instead of with her owners. Toby, smaller than most of the bunnies and rats who live in the garden, held her own against the coyotes and hawks until our friend Karen caught her for us. I had tried to catch her myself, but gave up after having my neck shredded a couple of times.
Karen, cat-handler-extraordinaire, bundled Toby in a sweatshirt and brought her to our house. Toby immediately decided that E was the only human she would even allow to come near her and promptly took up ownership of E’s bed.
Since that day 2 years ago Toby has made some strides in becoming more comfortable with our family, but she still rarely tolerates any sort of affection and DOES NOT LIKE BEING HELD. I say this in caps, because if you ever come to our house you’ll remember not to reach over and pick up Toby. It’s oh-so-tempting because she’s barely bigger than a gerbil and has the softest fur ever. But BEWARE THE CUTE KITTY. She’s got fangs (I mean, uh, claws) and she knows how to use them.
So…last Sunday you could’ve knocked me over w/a feather when I was sitting up to the table typing on my laptop and Toby, ever-so-matter-of-factly, stepped off from the table and onto my lap, purring as if she was a teakettle boiling dry, and curling up in a ball. She’s done it several times since then, even just now as I am typing on my laptop at the sewing table in my bedroom. I still can’t figure out if she thinks my lap is attached to me, or if it’s just some type of chair that happens to follow me around everywhere. I can hardly imagine that she’s actually trusting her body to come in close contact with a human, much less a human that isn’t E.
But what I really hope is that she heard my wish two weeks ago and decided that it was time to show me how much she loves it here, and to say thanks for the cozy bed to sleep in and the magic kibble bowl that’s never empty. :)
The other day my Mom handed some xeroxed pages to me, saying she’d been going through the boxes in the garage.
I looked down and saw two articles about cancer of the pancreas. Articles I’d found in my research in the Science Library at UCI. I was 8 months pregnant with C when Dad was diagnosed, and just 3 months away from graduating with a biology degree. Dad has asked me to do some research for him. To find the best treatment because his doctor hadn’t given him much hope.
I’d spent the day poring over medical books. I found one surgeon’s name that kept appearing over and over again. I told Dad I thought his best hope was with this “A.R. Moossa” that was doing a cutting-edge surgery with some promising survival rates. The articles I held in my hands were written by Dr. Moossa. It was a few days later that we learned that Dr. Moossa had recently taken a position in San Diego. And within a few days of that Dad was on his way down for a consultation.
I like the notes I wrote in the margins of the articles. My printing is strong and clear, nothing like the lopsided and illegible chickenscratching that I now produce.
I feel very encouraged that your hopes are high. I think that this surgery will be hard–it’s very involved, but it seems to me that it will give you a fighting chance.
I would really like to talk to you after you read these articles to see how you feel about the surgery. Also, I’ll be happy to answer any questions (if I can!). I am praying very hard that you can find the best surgeon or treatment.
No matter what the future holds, I will always be thankful to you for being such a great Dad & I feel peace in knowing that we have a forever family.
I love you Dad.
I never met Dr. Moossa. Because of my high-risk pregnancy, I didn’t dare travel far from Irvine. But Dad and Mom stopped by my place as they were driving down I-405 to SD. Dad had the surgery. He was still receovering on the night that I gave birth. I called him and he talked me through the contractions, sangs songs with me, and gave me a father’s blessing over the phone.
Two of my strongest memories: Dad holding C–his first grandchild–for the first time. A few weeks later, me holding C cradled in the crook of one arm, and grasping Dad’s hand with the other. Watching both of them breathing. C’s barely audible breath sweet against my cheek. Dad choking, gasping for air. During a long lonely night.