Between the Two of Us, We Made a Couch Potato

Seth and I were playing "Everything, Everything, Everything" the other afternoon when we had a few minutes to kill before we caught the bus. It's like "Rock, Paper, Scissors" only you can say, well - everything. Anything. When we first started playing a few years ago, someone would usually choose something very destructive - nuclear bomb, etc. We've been playing for a while now, so it's become a more subtle and refined contest. If it's not immediately obvious who wins - like "steamroller vs. corn chip", you have to argue why your choice would win.

In one of the rounds, we had "ant vs. velociraptor", and Seth convincingly argued why the ant would be the victor - it's so small, it could just squeeze between the velociraptor's toes and drive him crazy. Wait - do velociraptors even have toes? Hmmm - I might have been duped, there.

It's really fun, too, to see the hand symbols we come up with for our chosen thing.

Anyway, our final round: fists poised, smacking into our open palms: "Everything, everything, everything, shoot!" I made a small rectangle with my middle fingers and thumbs, Seth pretended to eat.

"What's yours?"

"A very addictive TV show."

"How ironic. Mine is Cheetos."

We called it a draw.


I Always Wondered What Anchors Did During Breaks

This made my day.

More of the story here. Thanks to Josh for linking to it on his blog!

I gave up watching the news years ago, when it became less news and more panic and marketing. I stopped reading newspapers when the news about Abu Ghraib with those horrible pictures broke about 5 years ago - I had just separated from my husband, and it was hard enough to get through my days. I do miss the local paper at times, but it is not worth the negativity and distorted exaggeration to get to the worthwhile stuff. Steve Pavlina has a thought-provoking article about the news, and what he calls news addiction.

I've often wondered what news anchors thought about their jobs, especially the ones that have been around since before "infotainment". I really enjoyed watching these two, and I wonder if they see what they're doing as a way to disperse the stress of what they do. I also wonder if they're just shallow mouths, and don't think or care about what they're doing at all.

A really great source for online news? Good News Network. What a great way to start the day!


Snow Day! errrr... Snow Few Hours!!

9 am yesterday:

9 am today - which looks much like 3 pm yesterday, except for the angle of the sun:

The brevity makes it all that much more exciting. And for me, who hates to be wet and cold, it's an extra incentive to get out there and enjoy every minute with Seth. Hmmm... may be something to look at, there....

I tried to wake Evan, and he actually sat up in bed, with his eyes open, and said, "I'd rather sleep. I don't want to go out in the snow." Then, when he got up and saw that the snow was gone, cried, "Why didn't you wake me up?! I missed it!!" He completely didn't remember me waking him. I tucked that away, and I'll make sure to pull him out of bed in the event of snow next time.


These Powerful Days

Let us rise up tonight with a greater readiness.
Let us stand with a greater determination.
And let us move on in these powerful days,
these days of challenge to make America what it ought to be.
We have an opportunity to make America a better nation.

~ Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Yesterday our church service was a celebration/contemplation of both Martin Luther King, Jr. day and the upcoming inauguration. I've mentioned once or twice how much I love my church - and it was days like yesterday that bring it home again, and help me appreciate the open-minded, thoughtful, progressive community I have there. I got to drum! With four other drummers, we played traditional West African rhythms. After the sermon, which was rich with thought-provoking messages of acknowledging our history as a nation that did (and in some ways still does) keep human beings as slaves, we played a rhythm called Rhumba. I got all teary-eyed, holding and playing my drum that came from West Africa, thinking of where we as a nation have come from, and where we are going. Still much to do - but one thing Dr. King foresaw? Tomorrow, we are inaugurating a man into the presidency of this country who was elected, not because of the color of his skin, but because of the content of his character. I am moved beyond belief - and yet, I do believe! It is happening.

My minister read a poem written by Alicia Chambers, the daughter of a UU minister. It is the result of a poem-writing exercise called "On the Question of Race" which you can read about here. I absolutely love this poem, and I'm glad to be able to share it with you. Get someone to read it out loud to you:

On the Question of Race

They ask me to write down my race

And I think
And I think
Very seriously

And I consider
Writing down the truth
And have my answer read

I have a strong woman
Colored like coffee
Whispering the secrets of our past
Inside this body

I have a wise man
Dark as chocolate
Beating his drum, fighting for freedom
Inside this body

I have a brave woman
Pale as snow
Reminding that we are more
Than meets the eye
Her secret is safe
Inside this body

I have a lost man
Colored like me
He is weak
Stumbling from place to place
Trying to find his way home
Warning me of everything
I do not want to become

I have all this music inside this body
The rhythms guiding me
Songs of freedom and hope
A name that can’t begin to
Where I’ve been or where I plan to go
Inside this body

They ask me to write down my race

And I think
And I think
Very seriously

And I consider
Writing down the truth
And have my answer read

I have the heart of my great-
The strength of mi abuelita
The spirit of my grandfather
And my mother’s understanding
Inside this body

I have jacks
Dr. Seuss
Lullaby and Good-night
And marbles
Inside this body

I have Ray Charles
James Taylor
Bob Marley
Sly and the Family Stone
And We Five
Inside this body

I have a brother whose appearance
Does not reveal his culture

I have all our past
And so much future
Inside this body

But I stop and simply write down


Chip is Famous. Seth is Proud!

The kitten we got Seth for Christmas fell asleep on top of my copy of Steve Pavlina's Personal Development for Smart People a few weeks ago, and I snapped a picture. Someone had started a thread on the Steve Pavlina forum about other uses for PDSP, and I posted it there: a kitty pillow!

I've been reading about Steve and his wife's choice to become polyamorous - a choice which deeply resonates with me. It just makes sense - to me. (It doesn't have to make sense or resonate deeply for you.) I hadn't read his blog post on Jealousy until today - I've been reading on the forums a lot, it's interesting to see everyone's reactions. So, what did I see when I read the Jealousy post?

A link to our picture of Seth's sweet kitty. Aren't you jealous? Ha.

Hold your applause, please.


An Arduous Joy

I. have been. a mess. lately.

It started a few weeks ago, when I looked at some photos on Gillian & Craig's blog. Here's a sample:

One moment, I was looking at the pictures and smiling, and the next, I was heaving, huge sobs. Things were going through my mind, like, "You just don't know what's going to happen. They all love each other SO MUCH, but no one lives forever." I know - I know - this is a driving force for a lot of unschoolers, the preciousness of life and our brief time spent together. Why not make it joyful? Why stress about nothing? Do the work to make your time together mean something.

So they weren't new thoughts, but for some reason, they completely floored me that day. And it didn't help that a couple weeks later, it was Craig's birthday, and Gillian posted this:

Wah, wah, wah, all over again, for the amount of love and caring and vulnerability and human-ness wrapped up in one person. A human being! Who will, one day, not be with us, because that's the nature of humans. Oh, what a terrible, horrible thought! How can I even say that? It was really with me, the poignancy and sacredness of our ephemeral lives.

I was crying at commercials. Crying when Guy Fieri talked to a guy who'd been working at the Beacon Drive-In for 50 years. Crying when Booth skipped going out with Cam to be with Tempe. Not every day, not all the time, but man, I've been... emoting. Easily.

I fell apart in the Aldi parking lot, because I was stressed due to low funds, and someone passed their cart off to me and didn't want the quarter for it. (That one has some history. Aldi is an awesome discount grocery chain where you "rent" the cart for a quarter. I didn't know that the first time I went, didn't have a quarter, but I found a cart where someone had left their quarter in. It's a favor I've returned as often as I can. Which has been pretty often - I mean, it's a quarter!) That day, I had a quarter, but just that moment of kindness slayed me - slayed. me. - and I sobbed in the parking lot.

I've learned to be in acceptance with my feelings, not judge - most of the time - but this was... weird. It felt OK, it felt right - I mean how cool is it, really, that someone would donate their quarter to someone they don't know? It's pretty freakin' awesome, that's how cool it is. Those intersections where one human life touches another, it's miraculous and tender and incredible. And it IS temporary. It is.

Just this morning, another reminder. I was awakened around 3:30 by an argument. At first, I thought it was just loud people, talking, then I realized they were arguing. I went on alert - when I hear arguing outside, I listen for children. If there are children, I'll go see if I can help. I just realized that this morning: I'll be there, tense, listening for little voices. These weren't little voices. A man, shouting: then. A gunshot. WHAT?!! Crap! Reach for the phone, dial 911. Tell her what I heard, hang up. I still hear arguing - that's good, that means no one's been hurt, I think. I peek out my blinds - then reach back to my nightstand, grab my glasses, peek out again. If needed, I want to get details to tell the police. Loud voice, "Get out of my car! Get the f**k out of my car!!" Then. Another gunshot. The same voice, "Oh, no. Oh, God. No!" I see a man running, I notice where. Should I call the police again? No, here they come. Two cars, lights flashing. Were there sirens? I don't even remember. Shouting: "Get on the ground! Get! Down! On the ground!" "You need to call an ambulance, man, the gun's on the ground. Please call an ambulance. My friend needs help." I see them shining lights on some bushes, yelling, "Put your phone down! Drop! The phone!" They bring the same man I saw running to the police car. By that time, there are 5 police cars. Then 6. Then 7. Then a firetruck, and an ambulance. And another ambulance. More police cars. Another ambulance.

I was shaking, shaking, shaking. I went out on my screened porch to better see. Why? I'm still not sure. Part of it - I wanted to see if the person was OK, the person that was shot. I could see the back of the ambulance, I was waiting to see if they walked there, if they were wheeled there... or if they were wheeled there with their face covered. I was scared, not for me, but just... guns, man. They're loud. And metal. And so, so quick. As I was standing there, it started raining. Drizzle at first, then pouring down rain. I knew the person had died.

I was oddly comforted by the number of emergency vehicles that showed up.

A police officer walked up to the porch, and asked if I'd heard anything. "Yes, I called 911." On his radio, "We've found the third party, the plaintiff. Yes. Ms. Knox." Third party?! Me? He asked if I'd come out and make a statement, or if someone could come in. I told him my dog would go crazy if someone came in, and I'd rather go out. Put on my shoes and heavy coat. Thank goodness the boys were with their Dads this weekend. He led me to a police car, where I sat in the front seat. He said the homicide investigator would come talk to me shortly. Oh. Homicide. I guess they did die. I could see someone taking pictures, I didn't know if they were with the police or a news agency. I guess news agency.

I ended up being driven to the police station to give a statement. It was about 5 in the morning then, and I didn't get home 'til after 6:30. Before I left, I went out with my dog, Jack, to the back yard, and it was storming. Lightning and thunder. In January. I have been incredibly, incredibly sad all day. Not weepy and emotive, just sad. It sounded like the person who shot the other didn't mean to. It sounded like an argument gone horribly wrong. And that person? In the car? Here one minute, arguing, gone the next. Just. like. that. Another miraculous intersection of humans.

I don't know if this post has a point, or if it needs one. It all seems connected, somehow, the love and ephemerality and poignancy and bang. Over in an instant.

Be in love with your life. ~ Jack Kerouac