Saturday, November 29, 2008

A long Christmas post for a long Christmas season. Part 1

Christmas is starting early in our house this year, which goes against all my childhood traditions.   We not only decorated mini trees today, but we chose and chopped down our big tree.   And I am loving this extended season.

We are calling our tree "Mr. Crazy Man," as he is waving his extra-long arms wildly about, and he is a bit odd-looking.   Perfect.  He's also a strange and pretty lime green, which I was drawn to at the tree farm.   Now that we're home, I'm trying to convince myself that he is not dehydrated or sick.    My wise and sweet husband, who is an expert gardener, pronounced the tree to be perfectly healthy, and he's urged me to just enjoy the lovely tree we chose.   So I am.

Mr. Crazy Man tree is patiently awaiting lights and decorations, and by the end of the day today, our home will be decorated for Christmas.   I am almost as excited as the girls, who are bouncing more than normal, and constantly breaking into mangled Christmas songs.   

Still, it's taking a mental adjustment for me to get a tree in November, because when I was a little girl, we sometimes didn't get a tree until a few days before Christmas.   Just like any other kid, I was enamored with the whole magic of the season, and I longed for a house decked with evergreen swags and shiny baubles all December. But my mom and dad had other priorities.  Focused on running their small company, they were doing all they could to keep enough clients to stay in business.  What time could they have had for worrying about decorating?  
Never one to sit around just wishing for something, one year I decided to take Christmas decorating into my own hands.   It took some planning.  I was a latchkey kid, so finding a few minutes alone wasn't the problem.  But getting the stuff down and out was a challenge, since I was only eight years old.  

We stored all the decorations in the attic, a squat and freezing place accessible only by the ladder that we kept in the garage.  Of course, I couldn't manage getting the ladder by myself, so I improvised.   First, I made a ladder:  As a base, I used the storage chest my parents had for vinyl records.  Think benchseat meets Danish minimalism, c. 1962: cherry sides, padded leather top, and round aluminum casters.   I would love it now for its design.  That day I loved it for its height.

Somehow I ignored the obvious problem of building a tower on a rolling cart, and I managed to stack up a few of my thickest storybooks and some phonebooks, each thick enough to give height and be slippery at the same time.   These I topped with a wooden footstool so notorious for its instability that it had become a doll's table.  All said, this stack rose to a height of about four feet, which gave me just enough of a boost.  I stacked a makeshift "stair" of books next to the tower. I pushed the cart a few times to see how wobbly it actually was.  I leaned a broom against the cart.  And then I climbed.


I've got unnatural balance, I think.  Standing on top of the teetering stack, with the broom in one hand, and my other hand on the frame of the attic opening, I must have been something like the Cat in the Hat, and I remember feeling just as clever, and just as defiant.  Finding leverage from some burst of adrenaline, I jammed open the hatch with the broom handle and shoved it into the attic, where it fell with a disturbing crash.  Then, God knows how I did it, but I reached my hands into the frame of the opening and swung myself up and into the attic itself.   
I was a good little girl, and I did not even know how to swear then.  But if I did the equivalent sort of feat today, it would be peppered with some colorful, self-congratulatory language, marveling at my physical prowess, etc.   I would not be modest.  But then, there was no celebration.  I simply headed for the goods.

The attic was just as chaotic as the rest of my childhood home, and unlabeled towers of boxes crowded around me in the darkness.   Christmas magic had imprinted the shape, color, and feel of the ornament boxes in my memory, though, and it wasn't long before I had shoved my way through a few stacks to find the crucial few I needed.  

Tied in twine, top flaps warped from being tuck-folded, the Magical Christmas Boxes were the closest thing to treasure I knew.  It took a huge reserve of self-control to not rifle through the tissue right there in the attic.   Okay, perhaps it was less self-control, and the more the fact that it was freezing and dark up there, and that my parents would be home soon.   Regardless, my goal shifted from getting the boxes to getting out.   

I need to stop here to ask: have you seen how small an eight-year-old girl is?  Ada is only seven.  My heart beats faster just thinking about how tiny her little face would look peering over the edge of an attic hatch;  I think of her swinging her legs over the edge, and I am literally cowering in my chair with vicarious anxiety for her.  

Of course, Ada is much more sensible than I was.  She is the kind of girl who cautions.  She can readily spot "a bad idea."   She is also the kind of girl who prepares, and if she were to climb into an attic like this, it would not be on a teetering stack of slippery things, it would not be without a flashlight or a coat, it would not be without a plan to return to the ground.    

Like I said, Ada is more sensible than I was.

Tomorrow.  Part 2

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tuesday Treasure: A Gift of a Poem

In keeping with my Tuesday treasure hunts, I'm going to show you another treasure I found this week.  But unlike most of my "hunts," I didn't look for this one.  Rather, it found me.  I've been walking on air all week because of it.

My friend Irene at wordloversunite gave me this poem on Sunday.   I literally swooned with delight at it.   It shimmers and glitters and thrills--a real treasure.   Allow me to hold it up for you to admire:  

Simplicity 8953
- for Kirie

The pattern promises to make a princess
so I gather together tulle, organza,
duchess satin and dupioni silk
to spin a girl’s dream: flouncy slip
beneath shimmering skirt, puffy sleeves,
bodice edged with beaded rosette trim.
I don’t warn her about the clock
or tell her how glass slippers sometimes shatter.
I stay up till dawn, add a tuck
so that it fits just right
and later as she prances and twirls
I vow to hold her close
should white steeds dissolve into skittering mice,
the royal coach to a rotting pumpkin,
the prince lost in moonlight, then
caught dancing with someone else.

- Irene Latham

You can read more of Irene's work on her blog,, and in her book, What Came Before .  I am so honored that she would be inspired to write something so lovely for me.   I treasure it.   Thank you, Irene!!

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Monday, November 24, 2008

Candy corn is still in season

Just in time for Thanksgiving:  a skirt I made for Ada.  

Here she is in her new candy corn skirt. Isn't she sweet?  

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Photo hunt Saturday: Reflection

I don't know the exact rules for the photo hunt over at tnchick, but I'm playing along this week because I loved the theme: Reflection.    Here is fairy Esme, admiring her year-old self as she tries out her wings.  I love how her hand trails dreamily along the glass...

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Friday, November 21, 2008

"I Love You This Much" Award--for me?

For me!  Awarded to me by my friend la belle Belette Rouge, this is the "I Love You This Much" award. 

What a sweet gesture. And I assure you the feelings are mutual, ma belle!  Thank you!!
If you haven't seen her blog, you should.  Aside from being a great writer and observer of life in general, she's got moxy and a sharp sense of humor--and an eye for fashion, too.  What's not to love?  

There are rules that come with awarding and receiving this. Here are they are:
Rules: Link to the person who started this award (That's GEnYZe).
Link to the person who "loves" you, in my case, it's La Belette Rouge.
Post the rules on your blog.
Tag 7 people at the end of your post and link to them.
Let each person know they have been "Loved" and leave a comment on their blog.

Okay, I like rules. Here are the blogs I tag:

  1. The Storialist   The poems on this blog are so consistently amazing that I am addicted to it.  I remain in awe.  Storialist, I understand if you are unable to respond, as the format of your blog doesn't really allow for it, but know your work is loved...
  2. BariJ.   This amazing girl is someone I am lucky enough to know in person.  We were childhood friends, and I can tell you she has always been a force of nature.   Her blog is worth watching.  So are her designs--from handbags to fabric to accessories.  I LOVE IT.   And you will too.   
  3. Wordlovers Unite.  I recently discovered Irene's site and her poetry, and I'm so glad to recognize her as a talent and someone I read regularly.  
  4. Mommycoddle.  Thoughtful and inspiring, this blog is honest and clear-eyed.  I enjoy every post.  Her art is beautiful, too.
  5. Six and a Half Stitches.  A lovely blog, with great perspectives in both photos and what she has to say about the world and the domesticated life.
  6. Posy Gets Cozy.  Alicia Paulson is a fine writer and artist, and her blog is one I love looking at.   She's so talented, and so sweet.  Her photos and ideas for the domestic life are wonderful.
  7. La Belette Rouge.  I don't know if it's in the rules or not, but I'm reawarding this back to her.  I read all her posts, and I am consistently inspired, entertained, and moved by her writing.   Spend a few minutes reading her, and you'll agree with me.  

A few of these blogs have formats that don't really support badges or posts citing rules.  It matters not to me whether or not you link to the award or acknowledge it at all; what does matter is that I wanted to tell you how much I enjoy reading your blog.  Thank you for taking the time to share some of yourself online.  I know I'm not alone when I say I appreciate it!

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Facing Facebook

I did it.  After a year of putting it off, I finally joined facebook.  Clearly, I'm no spring chicken (as you can tell by my grannified expressions!). If I were in my twenties, I would have joined long ago without a second thought.  Of course, now lots of my own contemporaries (think late thirty-somethings) are getting active on facebook, and I predict that over the next few years, there will be many, many more people networking there.

And as enjoyable as it is, it's a bit weird, right? As you may have noticed, I have a tendency to overanalyze and dwell on things, so now I'm obsessing thinking about what I'm doing on facebook.

I have to say upfront that I like the networking aspect.  It's fun to catch up with people I knew long, long ago, and to see what friends far away are doing. But the "making of friends" is more puzzling. I have befriended people I only know from email, and I have sent requests to people who are more akin to acquaintances. I'm a word girl, and that word "friend" is so sticky.
I think I have a few categories of people I'm re-meeting on facebook:
  • People I love dearly, but are far away. 
  • People I loved in the past, but lost track of as life moved us from place to place.
  • People I knew in highschool (marginally, very well, or otherwise), and who I really enjoyed seeing again (or emailing again) at our 20th reunion.
  • People I just met recently, either through the blog or in person. 

Are all of these people friends? Well, as I'm writing this, I'm beginning to think they actually are friends... I do have connections to each of them, and so maybe "friends" isn't such a confusing term after all...

With all that said, however, I am catching myself regressing to high school insecurity once in a while. What if I "invite" a friend and they reject me? Don't remember me? Don't like me? Ugh. Why do I want to think like that? But I'll admit these thoughts have crossed my mind since I started playing around with facebook.

There must be some happy medium...

Maybe a facebook network is a like little neighborhood.  If you look out your window, you get a glimpse of what your neighbor is doing, from raking the leaves to having birthday party for their baby.   You might not be close with all of these people, but it's nice to be part of their community.  Some neighbors you invite in for coffee, while others you just wave to as you bring in your mail.   It's a connection, regardless of how intimate it is.

That's what facebook is, I think.   Even the most mundane updates of a friend ("so-and-so is getting ready to go to the big football game") is comforting in a way.  And keeping in touch is hard enough these days; it's nice to feel community with people who have surrounded you in various stages of your life.

I was just contacted on Facebook this week by my friend Kristen, a girl who falls into the "I loved dearly in the past" category. She moved away when I was in fifth grade, and I was devastated. Her mom had sage advice for me then, and I have recalled the lines many times since then. "Make new friends, but keep the old. Some are silver, others gold." Facebook is a way of keeping all those friends in one place--silver and gold alike.  Are you on yet?  Would you like to be friends?

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Into the vortex

My parents are visiting us for an "early Thanksgiving" this week, and I have slipped into the proverbial rabbithole.   With my dad's presence, I seem to be teetering somewhere between adolescence and adulthood.    That's a topic that begs for more explanation at some point.  Suffice it to say that for now, I am reminding myself of the sacrifices that all parents make, the ways we often don't really know the inner movements of the thoughts of our family members.  To that, a poem:  Those Winter Sundays, by Robert Hayden.  I am a swooner for last lines, and the ending lines of this poem are lately mantras for me this week.  

Those Winter Sundays

Sundays too my father got up early
And put his clothes on in the blueback cold,
then with cracked hands that ached
from labor in the weekday weather made
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.

I'd wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.
When the rooms were warm, he'd call,
and slowly I would rise and dress,
fearing the chronic angers of that house,

Speaking indifferently to him,
who had driven out the cold
and polished my good shoes as well.
What did I know, what did I know
of love's austere and lonely offices?

Robert Hayden, 1962

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Introducing Mr. Mouse

We have a mouse in our house, but he's the kind you want to keep.  His name is Mr. Mouse, and he has a long and storied history with us.   Someday I will tell you some of his background--it's rather strange, and it involves Martha Stewart.

He is a bit spoiled.  Here he is waiting for tea to be served...

He also has a nicer bed than most regular mice.  
Ada made him a quilt
and I helped make him a futon.
 This is the only photo I could get before he got angry that I had disturbed his sleep. (He can be difficult!)

We think that lately Mr. Mouse has been lonely, so we are thinking perhaps he needs to meet a friend, or maybe even a wife.     

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Another poet to love

Looking through poetry sites recently, I came across this little gem, "Faucet Song", written by Sarah J. Sloat.   She is a poet worth following.   She keeps a blog, The Rain in My Purse, and there are links to her poems from there, too. 

Here is part of "Faucet Song":

The faucet is the saddest instrument,
its only song: de-plete, de-plete.

All night, its little fists ball up and fall.

Dud percussion makes 
a shudder of the sink,

makes the soap bar blink
from the milk film of its dish.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tuesday treasure

I've been on a treasure hunt lately, looking to find the treasures I already have, but don't use.   Our house, I'm discovering, is full of treasure, but not the stuff pirates vie for.  Rather, the stuff I'm finding are the sorts of things that I would love to find in a catalog, or a little shop.  And guess what? It's already here.  

So this is part of the cutting back, making use of what you have, preparing for tough times...but really it's more about following our family's second rule, which is "be where you are."   

Like so many other people, I get spun up about all the great things that are out there that we could see, or get, or do.  The reality of it is that there is not time or money or energy for doing everything.  That's no big revelation, I know, but regardless of what I may know, what I've been practicing is different.  I do often ooh and ahh over all the great things I could get.   Sometimes I even do get a thing I "love," and then put it away for safekeeping, for later, for the right time.

I'm treasure hunting because I am starting to realize that the right time is really now, and that I have lots of great things or experiences that I'm putting off.  No longer.   I'm seeing the world with new eyes, I'm revising my take on the daily things around me, just a little.   I'm going to post more treasure Tuesdays in the future--I'm eager to see what I'll find, and how I'll use it.

In keeping with that, I've found a treasure for today:  my notebooks.  Some have been well loved, but many of these beauties are waiting for me to decide that what I have to say is good enough for their pages.  Look at this one:   

I bought it for the tree design; the quote was an afterthought.  Pretty telling, hmm.  Even more so, I haven't used it!!   Until now.  This book is going to be filled with words--imperfect, shifting, indulgent, irrelevant--so what.  This little treasure is mine, and this time is mine too.   So I'm staking my claim.

What treasure do you already have that you're not using?

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Monday, November 10, 2008

A secret: celestial obsession

I'm going to let you in on a secret obsession of mine. Okay, the secret is not that I have obsessions--that's something that's immediately obvious to anyone who talks to me for more than a few minutes. The secret is my obsession with the sky and all the interesting things that happen up there. 
When I was little, my parents used to tell me to stop shuffling my feet and looking at the ground. I was always surprised by that because so often I was thinking about things in the sky. Not the woo-woo X-files kind of things, but rather the immensity of the sky, and the nothingness of it, the great formations the clouds made, the magic of the stars so far away and so constant. I loved the way the sky changed, too. With each hour of the day, the colors were different. And as the seasons passed, the light shifted across the treeline in such a specific way that, if you looked closely enough, you could almost tell what month it was.

In the spring and summer, like every other kid who grew up in suburbia of the 70s and 80s, I spent a lot of time running around outside until long after the sun had set. It was a delicious feeling to lie back in the grassy yard as the dusk settled in around me. I would stretch out and stare at the sky where it met the branches of the backyard trees until the contrast was so great it hurt my eyes. Once the darkness was thick enough to blot out the spaces between the leaves, I could sometimes believe I could feel the earth as it spun toward the next day.

So I am a sky-gazer. My love for all things celestial didn't fade as I got older; if anything, it intensified. Among some of my most treasured memories are times that I saw something amazing in the sky: a sundog, a huge rainbow over the bay, the northern lights, an eclipse, a spectacular meteor shower, a towering lightening storm as it charged off the Atlantic onto our island...
The beauty of all of these is that they made me stop, and stare, and appreciate how tiny I really am in the scheme of things. I have been so awed by some of these that I have sprinted inside for the phone (think back before cell phones) and literally begged family members to "run outside as fast as you can and LOOK UP!"

So far, I am still looking for takers to watch the sky when something amazing is happening--will you join me? Tonight there is supposed to be a fantastic meteor show(er) called the Taurids, visible in the Northern Hemisphere just before midnight. If you are so inclined, take a look into the eastern sky, and see if you can see some shooting stars with me.

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Sunday, November 9, 2008

Gotta Getta Yo-Gabba-Gabba

Whether or not you have kids, if you are a child of the 70s and 80s, you should take a peek at Nickelodeon's show, Yo Gabba Gabba.  

No, if you are a grownup, I'm not telling you to actually watch the show.  Instead you should listen for a minute. Created by members of the band Aquabat and the band Majestic, this show is a gem--with original music that isn't just catchy, but--good.  I mean, like (here's that 80s girl coming out again) GOOD.   

Get ready for a list to catch your interest: Think indie pop, showing strong influences from the music you may have loved in the 80s--think Depeche Mode, Massive Attack, New Order, Violent Femmes (cleaned up), Ebn Ozn, The The.  Now cross it with some more current electronic music like Winx or Bonobo, and some folksy music like the Decemberists, and Ida, and you've got what Yo Gabba Gabba is doing.  

Oh, almost--they are doing that with a DJ and some very strange looking pickle-type people. 
They dance and sing with kids on cardboard and felt sets, and it's got a home-made appeal.  Aesthetic aside (and I like the look, don't get me wrong), the themes for the shows are irony-free, and just plain innocent.   Songs like "Please/thankyou" and "Keep Trying, Don't Give Up" are earnest and likable.  

So I do not mind at all when this show is on--unlike Dora's repetitive ditties, these are songs I don't mind running through my thoughts during the day.  So it goes with the pickly-puffy characters.  Somehow I have been suckered into buying a few of the Gabba creatures already--and I have a "no character" rule for our home...hmmm.  Clever marketers.

Now they're featuring indie bands like the Postmarks in little clips.   I am, admittedly, on the wrong side of the demographic target for indie music marketing.  And I'm far from up-to-date on what's newest in music.   But I'm also old enough to recognize what is good in music.  The Postmarks get my vote.  And so they now are on my ipod, too.  Who says being a stay-at-home mom cuts you off from culture?  

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Saturday, November 8, 2008

Ghost in the machine--so no photos for this one.

I don't believe in ghosts. I do believe in machines. But something weird is happening around here lately because I have "experiencing technical difficulties" with lots of my favorite little gadgets. Here are the happenings in the last two days:

First, it's the light on the garage door opener. It stopped coming on when you open the door.
Then it's the door on the car, which gets stuck every time we've driven for the past two days.
The magnetic strip on the credit card is unreadable (okay, not a gadget, but you get the idea).
My ipod says "okay to disconnect," and that's all it does now.
The card on my camera is shot, and the excellent photos I took of the leaves this afternoon are gone.
The printer fights me with almost everything I send to it.

Is there a ghost in the machine? Probably not. But I'm counting my blessings that the heat works, our modem continues to function, and that our fridge seems to be running strong.

Sorry I couldn't share those great photos of the leaves--I'm chalking it up to an exercise in fleeting beauty.

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Thursday, November 6, 2008

Turkey Craft Roundup--you're invited!

Thanksgiving is only 3 weeks away. So I've got turkeys on my mind. I love turkeys. Turkey dinner, turkey art, turkey themes.  My tastes are wide-ranging, from simple hand-turkeys to Monets Les Dindons.

This year I'm starting a little flickr group called "Turkey Craft Roundup." I'd love it if you'd join! All you have to do is let the turkey-crafting mood strike you, take a picture of what you've made, and upload it to the turkey craft roundup group on flickr. Blog about your turkey, and use the Mr. Linky on this post to share what you've done.

Here are a few of the things I've made for past Thanksgivings:

Turkey placemats for the girls and for Ada's baby.  The feathers on these are actually pockets that hold a fork, knife, spoon, napkin, and a Thanksgiving note.  The girls really love eating off of these.

Turkey pom-poms, a la Martha Stewart.  Mine are a little cockeyed, but I think that's part of their turkey charm.

Hand turkey shrinky dinks, which I made into charms for the grandparents. This was a big hit.

Next up:
A skirt inspired by turkeys. Here are the fabrics I'm using.  

This project is more abstractly turkey, but I'm really loving the colors and the idea of "feathers." One night of insomnia, and this baby should be done...

What turkeys are you making?

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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Election reflection--

I did say a few days ago that I'm not a pundit or politico, but I do follow politics.   And this election was particularly exciting for me.    

I love that I can measure out periods of my life with elections.  Regardless of who is in office, four years is a long time, actually.   A person's life can change a great deal in the space of a Presidency, and these election cycles make me reflective of what has changed in my life since I started becoming politically aware. 

The first election that really charged up me was in 1992.   I was torn between Perot's against-the-grain, fix-it attitude, and Clinton's progressive message.  After the convention, I finally decided to get swept up in the wave of support for Clinton.   The night he won, I was so hopeful. I was 23 years old, discovering who I was myself, and now that I look back on it, I believe that a great deal of my excitement about election was also tied into the great changes I was about to make in my own life.   
The night Clinton won, my dad and I had champagne and oysters and crowed about Clinton's victory to my mom, who had voted for Bush that year (sorry for gloating mom!).   That night, woozie after the many toasts, I fell asleep with my walkman on, listening to the NPR coverage of the night.  An idealist as ever, I dreamed about how happy the Clintons and the Gores were, dancing on the stage to Fleetwood Mac's "Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow."   
That rosy feeling manifested itself in the weather itself the next morning--as I drove into Chicago early that post-election day, the eastern sky was flushed with the most amazing sunrise.  Stuck in traffic, I crept along the southbound Kennedy, and I felt as glowing as the glassy skyline that was drenched in pinks and golds.  

I was going downtown that day to "audition" for a model UN class, the class in which I would meet my future husband.   Retrospect is tricky, and memory is wily.  Perhaps my memories of that election are all the more poignant because of what happened immediately following it.   What I do know is this:  because of my own enthusiasm, something did change in me, and for the first time in years, I started to see real Possibility--in the world, and in my life personally.  

If a soothsayer had been in the car with me that morning, and if he had whispered to me his predictions, I would have been able to suspend my skepticism and believe. -- Yes, you will meet your perfect mate.  Yes, you will share your world with him.  And one day, in 16 years, huddled together in your darkened bed at 2am, you will celebrate the returns for an even greater election as they roll in on a tiny computer called an iphone.  

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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A poem for America today

It is a good morning. Here is a poem by Langston Hughes to celebrate the tomorrow that has now arrived.

I, too, sing America

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

I'll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody'll dare
Say to me,
"Eat in the kitchen,"

They'll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed--

I, too, am America.

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Monday, November 3, 2008

Celebrating election time--no punditry here

Are you tired of hearing about the election? Sick of thinking about whom to vote for? Are you ready for the coverage of our national election to end?

Lucky you. In 48 hours, the "endless" campaign will be over. 

Before then, allow me a moment to enter my little voice into the fray of opinions on the political process.

I'll say upfront that I am no pundit or politico, and my feet are firmly planted outside of any political party. True to my against-the-grain self, I am an independent. My vote has swung back and forth a few times over this election, and I'm not out to convince anyone to vote for either party or candidate.

I would however, like to tell you about why I am giddy with gratitude and excitement at electiontime. I may not wear my politics on my sleeve, but I do wear my heart there, and will tell you unabashedly that I love this country. I love that I have the opportunity to vote, to run for office, to make my positions known without fear of legal reprisal.

I so appreciate my right to vote, and the ease with which I do so. I do not have to prove that I own property, or can read, or can write. I do not have to sign an oath, or prove my racial heritage, or pretend I am not a woman. I do not have to stand in line for days. I am guaranteed my ballot is secret, entirely up to me, and I can vote for whomever I choose without fear that that vote will endanger my family's safety. I have not been paid to vote for anyone in particular, and, in fact, I can abstain from voting for whatever reason I choose (including laziness). And if I believe that my right to vote has been endangered in some way, I have recourse.

For those who do pursue that recourse, they have a larger voice than ever. The debates about voting rights for DC residents, felons, late registrants, etc--these are loud and widely covered in the media, and I am hopeful that there will be progressive decisions made for all of these soon. It is good to know that we can spot the inequities more easily now. It is a good sign of progress towards liberty for all.

As Americans, I think we often take all this for granted. We take for granted so many of our other freedoms--the freedom to live in our towns peacefully, to ride buses without fear of them blowing up, to sit in outside cafes and discuss politics without fearing an official or a thug will drag us away because of our "wrong" beliefs.

At election time, I like to be grateful for the little freedoms that I usually forget about. Passing through our daily lives, we have the rarely-noticed freedom to be concerned about the little things--finding a parking spot far from the mall entrance, encountering a grumpy clerk at the grocery store, having to stand in line for the good machines at the gym, having the same lunch two days in a row, coffee that's too hot in our cups, and bad hair days meeting us in the mirror. May everyone's worst day be filled with such worries.

We truly live in liberty, with an embarrassment of riches regarding our choices, from our candidates to our life choices. I wish you a happy election week. Celebrate it, you lucky you.

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Sunday, November 2, 2008

Daily posting for National Blog Posting Month

I love my little blog.  I'm confessing it now.   It's a cheap (read:free) habit, it's a mini soapbox, and it's a great way to keep me motivated and on task with all the fun projects I take on.

So I'm committing to the daily posting contest called National Blog Posting Month, or nablopomo, for short.  Basically, I'm just going to post each day on this blog for a month.   It's a good way to keep me writing daily.  Who knows, maybe next year my ambition will lead me to join NaNoWriMo, the National Novel Writing Month, which is where you commit to write a novel--yes, a real novel of 50,000 words!--during the month of November.  I've wanted to do it for awhile, but it's too hard to eke out the time for now.

So, join me if you like, or just read along.  Ideas for posts?--I've got a few, but I'd like to hear yours, too.

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Saturday, November 1, 2008

Lines that haunt me, part 1 of a series

Halloween is over, but I've got hauntings on my mind. 

I'm not haunted by ghosts, though.  I'm haunted by words.   Coming from songs, poems, mentors, supporters, and the occasional enemy, certain phrases linger in my mind and visit me at unexpected times.  Sometimes they are malicious, but more often they are welcome friends.   Inciting me to action, rebuking my insecurities, reminding me of time's quick clock, these lines have a great influence on me.   If one were to look at all the lines that run on a loop through my thoughts, one might even be able to do a little head-shrinking on me.  

I was talking about this with a friend the other day, and she confessed to having a particular verse stuck in her head, too.  I imagine we all have sayings that rattle around in our minds, and I'm inviting you to share yours as well.   

Because I seem to have a little collection of these, I'm going to start a series of posts on this theme.  Here are a few of the lines currently coming to call on me lately.

"Rage, rage against the dying of the light."
from "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night." Dylan Thomas

"Because the  Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast, and ah! bright wings."
from "God's Grandeur," Gerard Manley Hopkins

"I hear the mermaids singing, each to each.
I do not think they will sing to me."
from "The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock," T.S. Eliot

"I would like to be the air
that inhabits you for a moment
only. I would like to be that unnoticed
and that necessary."
from "Variations on the Word Sleep," Margaret Atwood

"And as for the me that was then, well,
is lost at the bottom of the oily lake,
(for now)
for a tide."
from "Doppelganger" 

"It's so easy to laugh; it's so easy to hate.
It takes strength to be gentle and kind."
from "I Know It's Over," The Smiths

"We think by feeling. What is there to know?
I hear my being dance from ear to ear.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow."
from "The Waking," Theodore Roethke

"Keep going, Kirie.  Keep going."  Alan Friedman, a mentor, and author of Hermaphrodeity

"Here is little faith and the turn of the wheel.
Here is the promise to unmask mountains
and see woodlight and this tender portion
of hands gathering love and dreams."
from "Liberation," Dana Thu

"....And yet sometimes
The wheel turns of its own weight, the rusty
Pump pumps over your sweating face the clear
Water, cold so cold! you cup your hands
And gulp from them the dailiness of life."
from "Well Water," Randall Jarrell.

Okay, now it's your turn.  What lines haunt you?  

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