Monday, October 16, 2017

Week 37


Hands-on parenting? An inbound reality at 273 Amoretti Street... any day now for the next five weeks. Such a bizarre concept for us to wrap our heads around.

I can't breath much, eat much, or move much, but it seems like the baby and I are right on schedule in that regard.

Thank heavens for all the support and guidance we've received. I have a whole new level of appreciation for the concept "it takes a village"-- so many books, so much gear, so many words of wisdom.

Here are some go-to parenting phrases that came across my radar recently (parenthood being a world that, let us remember, is wholly theoretical for me at this point):

"I am sorry you're upset. At the same time, I can't let you hurt your cousin." rather than "I am sorry, but I can't let you do that pitifully misguided thing."

"I need you to get dressed, please." rather than "Let's get you dressed before hell freezes over."

"I see two children who want the same toy." rather than "If you stole that toy, you are your father's child."

"Tell me about your drawing." rather than "What an incomprehensible, yet oddly compelling picture."

"I love listening to you play piano." rather than "Nice job on that abstract piano piece."

"What do you think you could do to make your friend feel better?" rather than "Go apologize, punk."

"How can I help you understand this homework?" rather than "I can explain that to you, my poor lamb."

"What I know is there were three cookies on this plate before I went to the bathroom." rather than "Not true, you guilty little monkey."

"Help me understand what happened." rather than "How in god's name did poop get all the way up there?"

"I'm sorry I lost my temper." rather than "Let's agree that the last five minutes never happened."

"Thank you for cooking dinner." rather than "The chicken is a little dry."

"I love you, kiddo." rather than "I rue the day I met you, sweet child o' mine."


Seems pretty straightforward.

Friday, October 6, 2017

I Don't Even Know



This fucking administration.


I just... [words fail].


Friday, September 15, 2017

Llama Llama



God love Ludacris. Father of three on a tear. May his next album be pure board book lyrics.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Epiphany



Shower gel, conditioner, and shampoo are to a spa as bread and bathroom are to a restaurant: the real test. 

Friday, August 25, 2017

Game On


Winter is coming.

After this Sunday, it's roughly another million years before we get our next fix of Game of Thrones. 

So many feelings... 



All the feelings...



Et tu, Night King? 

At least we're in this together, GoT fans.

Monday, August 21, 2017

The Path Of Totality



I was wary of the solar eclipse. The human spectacle was far outweighing the natural phenomenon for me as the event approached. 

Then I heard Dr. Jill Tarter speak and she put the eclipse in cosmic perspective. Then totality itself blew my mind.

As the moon's shadow barreled towards us at nearly 2,000 miles per hour, the temperature dropped around 22°F. Darkness fell and we saw solar flares reflected on the surface of the water. Moments later, "dawn" broke and fog formed over the rushes as swallows came out in force to hunt insects.

Not nearly as impressive, but worthy of note nonetheless were the sheet cakes available at Mr. D's to honor the occasion...


and the coloring contest to win a shrink-wrapped gift basket full of eclipse beer, tootsie rolls, markers, and a coloring book.


Just as quickly as the eclipse came and went, the predicted apocalypse passed us by.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

A Mother's Prayer




May our child be curious, kind and courageous. 

Inshallah.

May our child have a gift for connection and a cellular knowledge of love.

Inshallah.

May our child be resilient and creative.

Inshallah.


May our child have a deep capacity for joy and wonder. 

Inshallah.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Our Rat-Bastard President



Wow. Just wow.

As Brené Brown commented, "Our collective story in the United States is a story of white supremacy. We have not owned it, so it owns and defines us. Because we have not had the courage to say this is true and this is where we come from, we are trapped in the pain and discomfort of living out that story without the power to rewrite its ending. If we don't acknowledge our privilege, our unearned access and authority, we don't acknowledge the pain of others. We all see the world through a lens that is soldered to our faces, but if we are white we are told repeatedly that our view is the accurate view of the world. Empathy is believing someone when they tell you the story of their experience, even if it is different from your own. Power is the ability to affect change. It is infinite. Power over, however, is finite. It disempowers others and is always threatened with extinction. We cannot afford to opt out of this conversation about white supremacy in the United States and continue dehumanizing one another. It is terribly dangerous to let our shame, discomfort, and imperfection keep us from engaging in braver conversations. We must hold ourselves and others accountable. We need to listen to each other and stop being so hurtful when people are trying. And as we fight for ownership of our nation's story, we must fortify ourselves with care by tending to needs such as belonging, sleep and joy." 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Memoirs


Lives shaped by trauma and the poetry of language...

 
Both raw in their truth.



Both raw in their power.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

A Literal Bow Drop




Sunday, July 30, 2017

Peace



This meditative piece on the value of sleep and silence struck a spiritual chord for me.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Obituaries For The Ladies



I laughed out loud at these imagined obituaries for a daughter living on the Left Coast and teenaged girls in general.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Guidelines


In approaching parenting, Evan and I are trying for a light touch: aiming to honor the maxim "rules are for fools" while developing some reference points for ourselves as we navigate this new terrain. 

Here is what we've come up with so far...

no fetal alcohol syndrome

The idea is to listen to my body and side step our culture's should/should not stress around pregnancy while using common sense to avoid big consequences. Eat healthy more often than not. Exercise more often than not. Those two seem reasonable. The hardest part for me thus far has been staying hydrated.

no parent left behind

Neither of us want to make a go of this adventure alone. So I will try not to die in childbirth and pay more attention behind the wheel while Evan applies newly conservative risk management in the wilds, walking rapids he might otherwise have run. 

parent like it's 40,000 BC

What were the basics back then? Raise kids outside and in community. Be active and rest. Give children a functional role in the tribe. Over the span of human history, most parents got by without Baby Bjorn and Sophie the Giraffe so we probably can too.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Pick Me Ups


Thank you, Lander, for pulling me out of my self-absorbed, stressed-out funk and reminding me of the magic afoot in this world...


This photo, taken by a friend, captures the beauty of the 4th here. So much to be grateful for. 

The Indian relay at the rodeo was a neck-and-neck race with no injuries. Pink tassels flew as my favorite rider vaulted off his horse. Manes and tails streamed down the straight aways. 

Biking through the acrid haze of explosives into the Deep North. Arriving to a giddy recital of the evening's highlight reel: a bottle rocket-powered skateboard ride, hitting a cop car with a screamer by accident. A nimbus of spent firecracker debris around the wooden stump serving as launch pad.

Teresa decked out in red, as she always is, selling raffle tickets. Others in jorts and face paint. Water arching high overhead on Main Street.   


The youth panel at the fourth annual Pride Picnic awed me with their courage, eloquence, and candor. The unprompted shout-outs to our local librarians for creating safe space? These beautiful leaders make my heart glad.


I have never been able to capture Lander's Yard Sale Tree properly in a photo. Throughout the dog days of summer these cardboard boxes guide dedicated trawlers on their rounds. A simple and effective system whereby nothing lasts long on the curb. The robust network of hand-me-downs for kiddos and resources for parents is a marvel as well. Reuse at its finest, giving and supporting new life.


It's all about the universal power of creative endeavor and connection to lift the human spirit. Outlander episodes in the Rumpus Room.  

How lucky are we? 

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Respecting Boundaries



I really appreciate these thoughts on how to teach a child about consent.

The recent #MeToo movement is a response to allegations of sexual predation leveled at men in positions of power across America.

Two of my loved ones have inspired me with their leadership in this conversation:

#MeToo
I'm slow to jump on this train - it's taken me a week to formulate what I want to say. I fear repercussion.
I was raped, sexually harassed, felt up and unwantedly kissed by a number of young men before I turned 18. The boys who did this to me are men in their 40's now. As Facebook floods with stories of sexual assault survivors, I'm thinking about you, the men who harmed me when you were teenagers. How do you feel seeing the #MeToo posts explode on social media?
I imagine some of you might have kids now. Maybe you have daughters you desperately want to protect. Who of you is brave enough to say, “I raped before I knew what consent was”? Who will create the hashtag #isexuallyassaultedandi'msorry?
Similar to the global discussion sparked a couple years ago when two Canadian journalists created the hashtag #beenrapedneverreported, the #MeToo phenomenon means women have to go back into our archives. We are reliving shame and pain and being brave on social media.
But sexual assault and rape can not change without you men. Your conversation about the shameful things you did when you were boys (or yesterday or last year) is what changes things. I will never report you, I don't even remember most of your names. But I want you to talk to each other about what you did.
Instead of women digging into the layers of shame to expose ourselves, what if you men got brave? Could you come forward and say “I stuck my fingers in a girl’s crotch when I was thirteen; She was asleep and I am ashamed”? I somehow can't believe that of the men who hurt me, no one is capable of this.
It has taken generations for white folks to risk saying "I hold racist beliefs" or "I have caused harm to people of color through my words and actions." White culture is slowly grappling with our responsibility for racist systems and our racist conditioning. We are nowhere close to done in this work. The times I have opened myself to the shame of my racist actions towards people of color and named it, however queasy it makes me feel, moves me forward. As white folk we can't afford not to do this.
As far as I can tell, for men, the dialogue is clear. Good men don’t rape, and they speak out against the men that do. The men who harmed can’t talk about what they might have done. My story is common. There are just as many men with shameful stories as women sharing #MeToo. Until men recognize their own subtle, shameful acts, and remove the silence of their shame, rape culture will not go away.
This is not an attack on you men who were once curious boys experimenting with sex and causing harm. No one taught you how to be a man who does not hurt women, sexually assault or rape. You have a chance to be that teacher now. Tell your sons “I raped, and I didn’t know what I was doing was rape.” Talk to other men about your memories of sticking your hands down the pants of a drunk girl passed out at a party. The damage you did to me also harmed you. Don’t wait for me, or another woman to name you. Come forward now. Share your shame with us. Lead the movement to teach your sons and brothers about sexual violence. I don’t hold a grudge against you, but I do ask you for this one thing. I recognize it's not easy what I ask.
I'm raising a son. He's a baby now but as he grows I want him to hear from you. I want men to tell him about how men can harm women (and other men and boys). I want men to show him how men heal from their harm.
Which brave man will start this conversation? Who of you can say #i’m sorry?

Monday, June 26, 2017

So This Is Awesome



This new show on Netflix looks like my first round draft pick for summer binging. Eighties lady wrestling? Yes please.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Week 21



Baby Boom

Drum tight
Base beat
Slo-mo
Kick repeat

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Week 20


Having cleared genetic testing and the big ultrasound check for physical deformities with a healthy baby, it seems time to change our child's name from Maybe to For Reals. 

Two kidneys? Got 'em. Four chambered heart? Check. Spinal Bifida? Nope. Y Chromosome? Yup. Bones galore? Definitely (a small skeleton in motion). 

We were braced for tough decisions and loss, so being able to say this is both a surprise and a relief. 

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Susurrus


A new word for me and one I enjoy. Gleaned from this wonderful trilogy:



Sunday, May 14, 2017

Happy Mother's Day



Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Lessons From Wadi Do'an


Yemen has been disintegrating in the past decades due in large part to water shortages. Bin Laden was born in Yemen, in Wadi Do'an, and that seems relevant to me given the country's water story. 



This desert nation was likely the first to build skyscrapers, back in the 1400s, and famously exported coffee from the port town of Mocha. 



Now it may be the harbinger of what's to come for the rest of the world if we don't start acting on our knowledge that life begins and ends with water (and air and food and love, yes).




The podcast, Reveal, did an excellent piece earlier this year looking at current forecasts regarding humanity's relationship with water. 



I am reminded of the difference water makes as I enjoy landscapes made possible by deep wells and pumps in Taroudant-- gardens that host the handsomest of peacocks, pools for refreshing dips, and orchards heavy with fruit. 



My grandmother will always be linked in my mind with luxuries such as these. I marvel at how quickly we pass from one age to another. Between us lies the dawning consciousness of the Anthropocene. Poolside in Morocco, it looks doubtful that these findings and their warnings will dictate a change in our behavior. We can certainly hope, but more relevant is whether or not we can apply lessons learned.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Boss


True musicians at work (and play)...



Goes to show it pays to risk failure. 

Even when you suck. Maybe even especially when you suck (sometimes painful for the audience).

Incidentally, Springsteen and his band do not suck. 

They rock.

Always have. Always will. 

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Maroc


I arrived on a Dutch plane full of children, including four sets of twins-- improbable, but true. I sat between an elderly Berber couple who offered to share every bit of food they brought with me. They paid in coins for milky coffee, smelling of dust and sweat. As the plane landed, a herd of camels veered off into an argan grove. Bedraggled cypress stood at attention in rows, acting as wind screens for crops of oranges along the highway.


I arrived at the garden outside of Taroudant under a sliver of moon. Bread was baking in the heat of a clay oven's fire. Candlelight flickered over the faces of the French team on assignment from Cosmopolitan as we dined on poached pears and samosas. The Atlas Mountains stood in profile above the garden walls.


I awoke to the sounds of birds chirping, donkeys braying, and roosters crowing-- stray dogs barking a notable absence in the cacophony. The air smelled of pollen, smoke and sunlight. A tortoise stood in the shelter of a fig tree surrounded by purple jacaranda blossoms. Green toads leapt away from my shadow and dove under lily pads. Bees buzzed in the canopy of yellow flowers over my hammock. I swam lazily back and forth beside a profusion of cacti.


Soft music and a nearby call to prayer (which sounds more like a declared state of emergency or the blowing of a shofar to my unaccustomed ears) mix in the courtyard, buried deep in the heart of town. The dar is well insulated-- far from the concrete houses dotting the desert beyond the adobe walls of the fortress, empty structures that testify to supply outstripping demand. The riad's nondescript exterior yields to an interior world of climbing vines, lanterns, and the textures of wood, clay, wool and stone. Outside is a slurry of Arabic, Berber and French spoken by men on bicycles. Women glide by swathed in loose folds of cloth. Carts drawn by emaciated horses, motorcycles, and donkeys race to market piled high with red onions and herbs.


My plan while here is simple: Study, Eat, Walk, Swim, Walk, Study, Eat, Repeat.


As I walk, I wonder about the economics of latitude. There is a familiar dissonance between the wealthy and the rest here that reminds me of other deserts I have visited north of the equator. Encounters with material privilege and deprivation in Taroudant are giving me déjà vu.



Sunday, April 16, 2017

On Retreat




Soothing The Child

Sweetness, Sweetness.
You know nothing
and yet you know.
So it is. So it is.


Passthrough Moment

Now is no podunk station.  

Surrender --yes-- 
to this precious present.

It is everything, our all. 


Fear Falls Away


This is the time of day 
when the spider is still.

This is the time of day 
when the lizards compete.

This is the time of day 
when the caterpillars are on the move. 

This is the time of day 
when the flies show off.


Neither Separate Nor Equal

Funny how one thing
can sound like another.

You mistake whitewater
for wind brushing over the landscape.

A frog makes you think for a moment
that a bird has taken flight.

Funny how one thing
can look like another.

You take a patch of grass
for a desert watering hole.

Oxidized rock resembles scrap metal
a desiccated carcass.


Substantial

Tethered by gravity
to the core of the earth.

Relaxed. In repose.

Yet --all the while--
spinning, whirling, revolving.


Born In San Francisco During The Age Of Foghorns

If I lived in a lush, pastoral place,
I would be the type to walk byways
stealing blooms that reached out 
over fences and through gates.

If I lived on a battered coastline,
I would be the type to close my eyes
and inhale the salt air until 
it clung to the roof of my mouth.

If I lived in an urban jungle,
I would be the type to read graffiti
in the bathroom stall and lay my forehead 
against the cool glass of a bus window.

Yet I live on a high desert flanked by peaks,
so I am the type to feel a sense of abandon
crossing vast spaces, dwarfed 
by expanses of subtle light and color.


Détente

The plane's unanticipated 
swoops and dives elicit
exclamations and inhalations.
An "Oh!" escapes unbidden.
  
Fever plays like a breeze 
over my forehead. 
A startled stewardess 
careens down the aisle.

Memo pad narration seems 
called for, chicken scratch for later. 
It occurs to me that I opted out 
of choosing an emergency contact.

We jutter to a landing. 
Contrails of fear and anticipation
stretch out behind me. And
already they begin to evaporate.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Week 9


Our first glimpse of Maybe came via ultrasound in a room filled with laughter:

video

Having weathered many an ultrasound search for Blammo, Evan and I were completely shocked and unprepared for how large and obvious Maybe was on the big screen. We were like, "That's what they were looking for?! Yeah. Blammo was definitely M.I.A." 

Because there was Maybe, replete with arms and legs, literally bouncing off the walls. The kid wouldn't hold still long enough for the technician to get a heart rate. The three of us watched, delighted by the show, until she eventually had me hold my breath to slow him down. Stillness didn't come, however, until Evan made moves to capture all the action on film. 

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Chiaroscuro II



We are gods, all of us, for someone
[at best, ourselves].

The wonder when love propels us
beyond the margins of explanation.

What alchemy did you perform
to make possibilities so expansive?

For whom have you been unshackled
in your splendor?


Saturday, April 1, 2017

Fat And Happy


A post shared by National Geographic (@natgeo) on

Just out of hibernation in Yellowstone, Wyoming.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Chiaroscuro I



We are monsters, all of us, for someone
[at worst, ourselves].

The horror when we track the beast 
back to our own feet.

Whom have you breathed smoke upon
to pilfer their honey?

In whose imagination have you stalked,
drooling, down inroads of fear? 


Thursday, March 23, 2017

A Speech Worth Listening To



Van Jones just spoke beautifully as part of the 2017 African American Speaking Series.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Just Sayin'



Give the woman the mic.


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The First Stage Of Grief


Yale just released some interesting data on public opinion as it relates to climate change in the United States...



So that's good news (although: Wyoming, really?). But then there's this...

 
And the coup de grâce...





Denial ain't just a river in Egypt. 



Meanwhile, in India...



Villagers are knitting jumpers for elephants to protect them from the unusually cold conditions forecasted for the region.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Droolworthy



Oh my...


This self-taught baker/photographer in Sweden serves up delectable beauty.


Friday, March 17, 2017

Beginnings



The smell of wet leaves and loam,
decomposition and promise.
Keep still, breath carefully, be watchful
lest you startle the souls
determining where and whether to alight.
Listen as the past percolates through the future,
giving birth to this moment. 
Your skin is alive with premonition.
Your blood tastes of iron.