We Interrupt Our Regularly Scheduled Drumming History...

... to tell you this:

I went to walk the dog last night, and I was looking for a plastic grocery bag I could use to scoop his poop. I have several of those, and I also have some official, professional, poopy bags I got from the park down the street. They have two stands with dispensers of these bags, so folks can take care of their doggies' messes. These are something! You can put it on like a mitten, and the bottom of it has several layers. Quite the to-do. About doo-doo. I usually grab one when I walk the dog there, because he's usually used the grocery bag by the time we've walked all that way. I mean *I* have, it's not like Jack asks for the bag or anything. And is there any feeling more forlorn than standing at your neighbor's yard, watching your dog go poo, and you don't have a bag or way to scoop? I always imagine they're at their windows, going - "She's just going to *leave* it there! I can't believe her, and her giant dog!" So I try to be prepared.

So, anyway, last night: Going to walk the dog, looking for a plastic bag, and I see one of those park bags under the sink. And my first thought? I can't use that: It's the good poopy bag.

Huh, wha?

Good poopy bag?! What the? Oh, my mind, my mind. Like I'd be saving it for company or something. No, no, this is just a regular day, we have to use a plain poopy bag. Crazy.

So I grabbed the "good" bag and we had our walk. It made his poop special. Woo-hoo!


Drumming at the Edge of Chaos (part 1)

Among the other facets of my life - unschooling mom, employee at a non-profit helping folks find affordable housing, reiki master, cat servant - I facilitate drum circles, and I have taught West African drumming. The first time I picked up a drum... which, OK, was also the first time I dropped acid on a mountain with a bunch of hippies... I felt connected. The hallucinogens have fallen away, but drumming has stayed with me. I first heard drum circles at Grateful Dead shows, and sometimes, the drum circle was the highlight of the show for me. I mean, the rest of the show was always great, always transportive (is that a word? It is now!)... but the drum circle? Magic! I loved how the rhythm would weave in and out of itself, changing, changing again, then sometimes returning to the first rhythm, and somehow everyone in the circle was right there with it, following along. I would sit in the center of the circles, and until I dropped acid on that misty mountaintop during a magical night, I never dared strike one. What if I did it wrong? What if I made a goofy sound? What if... what if I didn't fit in? And there I'd be, banging a drum, with everyone looking at me like I was an alien. But the acid allowed me to bypass all those (false!) voices, and when my hand finally struck that skin, I felt part of my soul come alive.

You should try it if you haven't. Really! Drumming, I mean. You don't really need the acid, I've found.

So, fast forward a few years. More than a few... I hadn't even seen drums in that time. Didn't seek them out - I didn't think I could *do* it, then I just forgot. When Evan was young, I belonged to La Leche League, and a playgroup that sprang up from that. A couple of the moms in the playgroup had drums, and would play them every so often. I never dared to hit them! I remember one retreat, where they talked me into it... I tentatively hit the drum, then BAM! A big noise. And I handed the drum right back! I'm an introvert! I can't have all that attention on me!

Fast forward a few more years... A friend invited me to a women's drum circle, that took place at the UU Church. There weren't *quite* enough instruments for everyone, which was fine with me. I was OK with listening... until the leader said, You're a part of the circle. We need to hear your voice! And I was coaxed into playing a drum, a frame drum that you hit with a soft mallet. And I did it! And no one laughed. And I was again transformed, woken up.

But because there was, of course, still a voice telling me I couldn't do it; I wouldn't do it right; I might mess up, I didn't seek out a drum for myself. I didn't follow that prompting.

I talked about the drum circle at a support group I went to... about a year later, my husband, who had been at that meeting before he was my husband, bought a drum for me, a djembe, which is what I had played on the mountain, and had seen at Dead shows. A drum you hit with your hand. He *heard* me, saw how it moved me, and remembered. I haven't looked back. I sought out a drum circle. The woman that had led that women's drum circle wasn't doing those any more, but she was learning West African drumming, and it was a group that was open to anyone. I went to that group, and my heart was opened. They were very supportive of new folks, very understanding, and I learned. And learned. And grew.

I had drummed with them for about six years when my heart was opened even further, and my soul was again set on fire. It happened at a drumming class. My life hasn't been the same since. And I can't wait to tell you about it... in my next entry.

(Sorry - I want to go to church today. I need to shower, walk the dog, worship feed the kitties. Must... walk away... from computer.... )


So, My Dog Apparently Had a Nightmare

This morning, about 4:30 or so, I could hear Jack kinda growling & whimpering in his sleep. He does that every so often, but this went on and on, until I nudged him a bit. He immediately woke up, and was making this weird growling/whining noise as he waited at the bedroom door. I thought maybe he needed to go to the bathroom...

We went to the back door, which he raced to, still making that odd noise. He ran outside, and instead of going to the bathroom, he ran around the perimeter of the back yard, barking and barking. I'm sure my neighbors just loved it. He was growling, too. He came running back in, and immediately went to the front door, and waited, like he wanted to be taken for a walk. Uh, sorry, doggie, but it's Four. Thirty. In the morning. He just sighed, and went back to bed where he immediately went back to sleep.

So odd.


Look What Seth Did! And My Control Didn't.

Wednesday afternoon, Seth said he was in the mood to make something; he wanted to *bake* something yummy. When I mentioned the frozen pie crust we still had in the freezer, he said, "PIE! PIE!" OK - Apple? No... Peach? No. Custard? Mmmaybe.... Chocolate cream pie? YES! That was it! That was *just* what he was in the mood to make. So, I found a recipe, using what we had on hand (cocoa, not chocolate bars), and we set to work.

The recipe called for three egg yolks. I separated one egg, then he wanted to do the other two. Now - where was my head that this is what made me get all nervous and wanting-to-be controlling? My kids have cooked eggs since they could stand on a stand at the stove. When they were really little, it was a great way to explore the egginess of eggs - break a bunch, feel how slimy they feel, watch how the yolk could 'break'. I could breeze right through that, no problems. Eggy mess? We'll just wipe it up, no big deal. But Wednesday, Wednesday for some reason, there I was, eagle-eying the whole egg-separating process, having to STOP myself from saying, "Wait! You have to *be careful*!" Or... what? You might break a yolk and we'll have to open another egg? Uhhh.... so? But I was SO... jumpy! So, finally, I stepped back, and asked myself, "Self? What is going on with these eggs?" Turns out, because money's been tight lately, there was that voice in my head, the one that goes, "Mustn't waste! Mustn't waste!" Guess what, voice? It's not waste if we're learning, enjoying being together - without stress - just BEing with each other. It's not waste. We might break an egg. And I know myself enough to know that I wouldn't save the broken egg to use or cook later, I just wouldn't. But - will we starve if we go through an egg or two? Or six? No. We won't starve. We might want eggs later in the week, and they won't be there. Then again, if we really wanted eggs, I'm sure my neighbors would share theirs. Or, I could call a friend to see if she could buy me some eggs. We might be able to scrape up change around the house, enough to buy some eggs. But I bet we'll be OK without. Got that, voice? No starvation, no need to panic. No need to take out YOUR stuff on this amazing child. So. Step back. Breathe. Reassess. Stress averted! In less than the time it took Seth to separate all the eggs we needed. Peace is found, heart is opened.

And the pie? Oh, my. The pie.

Look how proud! That's worth a few dozen million eggs, at least.


Yay! for Mondays!

New Adventures of Old Christine

Yay for shows that make us laugh!

Big Bang Theory

Yay for the writer's strike being over!

All these shows are on CBS on Monday night

Yay for our "tradition" of eating pasta in front of the TV on Mondays! Who says TV ruins togetherness?


Man, I Didn't Even See That Train Comin'!

And yet, here I am, knocked down in this hole. Grief that hit me... well, like a freight train, I guess, like being hit by not just a train, but a trainload of bricks, as well.

At least it's comfy in here. Not ready to come out, I've got my blankets, ipod, really good book - which, OK, that particular choice isn't helping so much with the grief part. But, damn, it's a good book, one I couldn't put down, not even in here.

The boys are being kind and understanding and helpful and cranky and needy... we're working it out. Lots of reading being done, both aloud and alone. One day soon, I'll be ready for sunlight again.


We're Just Carryin' On an Old Family Tradition...

William Doherty, Director of the Marriage and Family Therapy Program at the University of Minnesota, believes that family traditions provide families with four important things: predictability, connection, identity and a way to enact family values.

My sister and I are laughing wildly, and dancing in the living room. The radio is on, and instead of singing the actual lyrics - "So take a letter, Maria. Address it to my wife. Say I won't be comin' home, gotta start a new life" we're singing "So take a letter diarrhea. Address it to my wife. Say I won't be comin' home, gotta start a new life (on the commo-o-ode)". Every time we say the word diarrhea, it cracks us up even more, until we can barely stand. We are laughing, and it feels dangerous and daring - if my mom heard, we would, no doubt, get a mouthful of soap.
I can still taste the Ivory* now - bleh.

So, the other day in the car, a song came on - and both boys belted out "Something's getting in the way, something's just about to break. I will try to find my place, in diarrhea paa-a-a-ain." Loudly, in harmony. Then cracked up laughing. (actual lyrics are 'try to find my place in the diary of Jane') I guess some things have changed in our family traditions - 'cause I was cracking up too, right along with them, no Ivory in sight or mind.

* Did you know if you microwave a bar of Ivory it will puff up like a cloud? Takes about 2 minutes, and is very, very cool. And your whole house will smell like Ivory!


Tributes to Lisa

Fire, Roxanne, Lisa, and Larry

A friend set up a site to collect tributes to Lisa Heyman, my unschooling friend who passed away last Monday.

I keep writing articles in my head, trying to figure out how to say - Love your kids, today! Life is too short for bullshit! And I'm sure I'll somehow put those words together. OK, not sure - I frequently write and think many things in my head that somehow never make it to the physically manifested state. The time for the ideas to percolate and the time to sit and craft at the computer isn't always a priority. But I was thinking many things along those lines before Lisa passed, it felt like a big bubble of thoughts - oh, for the hand of the muses to pat me gently, until I burp those thoughts out! - and now, since her crossing over, it's even more urgent.

But words aren't coming; it's even more important now for me to BE - here - now, without having to analyze and think and come up with just the right phrase. But others' words are coming, at this lovely, moving site - go there. Go there, and think about how you want to live your life - really, truly LIVE your life. And: really, truly LOVE your life. What would it take to get there? Then go do that. 'Cause life is short, people, even when it seems long. Every moment - every moment - is precious.

A quote from Lisa: Life is just too much damn interesting and fun to waste time in school.

I'd add to that - if you don't think it is, make it so! Live your life so school is an absurdity. If school isn't part of your life now, think about what that would mean to you. Go! Now! Get a move on! And give a wink to Lisa when you do.