Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The One Where I Say *Poof* too much

     Hi! I'm alive! I've even had the computer back on for quite a while, I just have been consumed by other projects lately. All good. I really knew all along that if I could live until the spring, that everything would be golden puppies, chocolate chips and multiple orgasms. It has. Really.

 First of all, I got this huge gigantic tax return. I don't understand how this government works, but they decided to send me enough money to buy a small country. I took the money, and started paying off debts, and buying dainty extras like canola oil and cream cheese, and shoes for the children, and then *poof* all of that glorious money was all gone before I even got a chance to roll around naked in a big pile of one dollar bills. Shame.

My husband bought me a dress. That was exciting.

I really believe in The Secret, lately, because I got this job taking complaint phone calls for a huge multinational corporation, and then I mourned and keened and wailed because I couldn't be creative or treehugging. Then, *poof* (there is that *poof* again) they gave me every opportunity they had to be creative and treehugging by  putting me on a committee of Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility. So, this committee and I got to do all of this great stuff- a big earth day party, a big salad buffet (bring your own bowl), flower boxes full of flowers inside the cubicle-y office, freecycling bulletin boards, walking clubs, and ridesharing programs. I got to make a huge earth day bulletin board that said Happy Earth Day out of garbage. It was a miracle. It was just like,You asked for it. You thought it was ridiculous to even ask for it because you didn't know how it could happen. You don't have to know how it is going to happen. It just does.*poof* Creativity and treehugging. There you go. Quit yer bellyaching.

In my mind, the voice of The Divine sounds a lot like Willy Nelson.

The girls are themselves so FULLY right now. I literally spent two days cleaning out their room, moving the furniture around and making it functional. Did you read that right? Two days. That is how long it took to go through all the books and be like,"Did you read this? Is it babyish or do you want it?" That is how long it took to match all of the little doll shoes to the correct doll. To test the markers and keep the ones that weren't dried out. To put all of the doll dishes on the doll table, clean the bunny cage, wash the windows and throw out many, many curiosities beyond description.

Tonight, after dinner, we took a walk together and the Elder taught us how to make a whistle out of the top of an acorn. Sweet Sunday! How did I live to be so old without learning this before!? We annoyed all of the neighbors heartily with acorn whistling and intellectual discussions about Jaime Oliver and The Food Revolution.

Here are some recent quotes-

What did Paul Revere say to the Orthodontist?
The Braces are coming! The Braces are coming!
Haha! Good one. Wait, do you know who Paul Revere was?
What did he really say?
The Redsox are coming! The Redsox are coming!
                                                                             -The Little One

I don't like being called a pedestrian. A pedestrian sounds to me like a big, ugly cockroach from Jamaica.
                                                                               -The Older One

Love and light
your friend,

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Live From Panera!!!!!

I'm sitting in Panera with all the pastry eating people in Allentown. I have to steal my internet connection right now because many things are shut off at home. I am a poor provider, and I have many people in my family who would help me, but my tax return is expected in a few days so I figured I'd spare myself the humiliation and just hold on tight for the big check.

Many good things happened yesterday. My husband quit the paper route and I am doing booty shaking dances in the driveway because I am SOOOOOOOO HAPPY!!!!! I want my man in bed at night with me, and the money that he earned did not begin to cover the tumult that the job caused. Honestly, trying to do the papers almost killed the guy. He is sick. He is miserable. He is tired all the time. Chrismas and Easter were Husband-less. It just sucked so bad. I would rather have the whole family living in the car than have him be like that. I'm glad he came to this decision. They were going to stop paying extra for sundays, and cut his route by 35 papers,because of some sort of corporate reorganization. The decision was easy to make.

His family is not happy. They see this as him throwing a perfectly good job away, and to this I say,"BWAHAHAHAH!" They have no idea. You know that cottonpicking gig you had in Alabama? The one with the overseer who whipped you from the back of a horse? Why did you throw that perfectly good job away?! Ha!

I went to sleep with my husband in bed with me, and I woke up and he was still there. That has only ever happened while we were on our honeymoon. I could explode in the decadence of it. I watched his chest rise and fall in rhythmic breath, and I felt like maybe this all might work out. I don't have any idea how, but now I have hope. Hope had been missing all winter.

Yesterday I rose early with the girls and went to the school to do volunteer at the work day. I love their school so much. They have a new sign made out of a gigantic gear mold that was abandoned in the building that now houses the school. It looks great. The teacher had a Gnarls Barkley CD in her cd player, and I cranked that. Perfect cleaning music! I swept the classrooms, and I wiped the board. I scrubbed marker off of the tables, and I straightened all the chairs. The little one's teacher has a mirror with affirmations taped to it..."I am kind." "I am a good friend." You could cry from the sweetness of it. My older daughter has newspapers taped up all over the walls at quite odd angles. When I asked her about it, she said testing is coming up next week and the teacher covered up all the charts on the walls with newspaper to hide the answers.

The kids came with me, and wander freely to whatever project they can find in progress. Sometimes they sweep. Sometimes they wander up and down the halls with friends. Sometimes they help other adults. My elder daughter found a pile of rocks and plywood behind the school, and she and some boys had built a clubhouse and were looking for coal in the rocks to collect to heat their imaginary home. I can't imagine another school where the kids are encouraged to play with rocks and plywood, but I think it is just as healthy as a plastic playset from walmart.

I feel so good about contributing what small amount I can to that school. When I think that things are really horrible, I remember that I helped, in a small way, it create it, and what a positive influence it is in the lives of my children.

Work has gotten much better, too. I knew in my heart of hearts if I could just hold out til spring, things would get better. I have been given the opportunity to occasionally sit at the front desk as a receptionist, which is pleasantly dull. I am working on projects for the "fun committee" and also have been working on some sustainability and corporate social responsibility stuff. The monotony and negativity has shifted a bit, and every time there is a chance for creativity they seem to be giving me a shot at it. Not that there is A LOT of opportunity for creativity, but what there is, they are throwing to me. So, yay. Grateful for that. I got a six cent raise. You know they love you when they give you six cents. My father told me that was $120 a year, enough to buy a truck battery. So, there is that.

I also have been using my various health insurances, including dental. I have to have TWO wisdom teeth out. I think maybe when they are out, all of my sinus/ear/throat troubles may be improved. After insurance, it will cost me about $120, so maybe I can use my six cent raise for THAT. Oh, see how it all works out, Polly Anna?

It smells like burned bagels in here.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

On Owning Hips

This is a china cabinet at my parents' house. I thought that maybe no one had ever taken a picture of the china cabinet, and that it was dashingly elegant, so I snapped it. My life seems devoid of elegance. I see a puerto rican guy covered in tattoos, some obviously from prison, and I know that I can have a conversation with him about tattoos, about motorcycles, about what is wrong with my car, about my trip to Puerto Rico, and about what he did with his kids over Easter. I will feel at ease until I realize that he is trying to hit on me and I have to remind him that I am married. He would never in a million years imagine that I grew up in a house with built in china cabinets. I miss the time before sexuality. I miss the time when anyone on the playground was a potential friend.

I grew up next to twin boys just a year older than me. As soon as I could cross the street and walk through an empty lot, I found another little boy to join our gang, and we four were a dynamic force until middle school happened and I grew boobs. I was mostly raised by my father. He took me seriously and tossed a ball with me often, despite his many flaws. I grew up to like men. I like how they talk while doing other things...watching football, or staring into the engine block. I like how their minds move from only one topic to only one other topic, even though my mind doesn't work that way at all. I like being judged for my usefulness, even if my usefulness includes my usefully large tits, rather than the endless stream of subjective political measurements used by women.

It was devastating to me when I matured, because even at 11 I knew that it would never be the same. Even if we were just friends, we would always be taunted,"there goes Mountain and her BOY-friend!" I would never just be his friend. He would always wonder if I liked him. I would always wonder if he liked me.

Still, I forget myself. I forget my hips and I forget my laugh. I say "Hi, whatcha doin?" just the same way I would have at age 8. "Are you making a lego space station? That looks cool! I've got some red ones you could use at my house because it looks like you don't have enough."

Eventually they want to know my age, and I know when they want to know my age they are wondering if they could sleep with me. This always surprises me because I don't look anything like an attractive woman is supposed to look. I blush, because I have to think of something deflecting but not deflating to say. I feel embarrassed.

Now I am grown. I've owned a womanly body for decades. I am well versed in the societal restrictions not only on sex, but also race and social class. I can't play with the boys like I used to. It's a shame.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Sunday Sermon

I found the joy that I have been looking for, keening for really, on the back of my father's harley on Easter Sunday. I have ridden those roads a thousand times. They are all grey now, in this season. Grey grass, grey bare tree limbs, grey houses, grey birds, grey squirrels, yet this time of year has a special gift to be discovered. Looking through the tree branches, without leaves, allows one to dive completely into the sky. The view is expansive only in this time of year. I held onto my father's thin ribcage as he accellerated to 70 miles an hour.  I could speak into his ear, and he could turn his head against the wind and give me short replies.

I told him how angry I am about everything. I see injustice and brokeness piling up higher and higher around me. In everything I see unfairness and suffering in others. I am not blind to the suffering of others. Instead, I am deluged by it. Injustice has become a crashing, directorless symphony, banging on cymballs and sawing on cellos.  In observing the ant I see the suffering of carrying a weight ten times greater than the small ants whole body. I see unfair in the road, in my shoes, in the passing cars...injustice, robbery, pain, rape. Why is the universe like this? Why have I lost my ability to ignore it enough to breathe and laugh and discover joy?

We climb higher up the mountain, and we have to slow down because the road reveals gravelly curves. More dangerous. The houses, like anything else on the planet, fall away and are being reabsorbed by nature. We pass herds of goats in front yards. We pass cows. I hurt for the cows.  Who ever gave a passing thought to cows while speeding by on a motorcycle? Who on earth hurts for the cows on a sunny Easter sunday?

Maybe my ache is a bad habit I cannot break. I was taught at one point that one must focus on the positive, not the negative. Maybe I have felt negative so much that even on a lovely day I am attracting negative static like a magnetic human radio tower. Maybe I just need to quit, like biting nails or smoking cigarettes.

Under leaveless branches, we climb until a spectacular vista unfolds before us. I can see into the next state. I can see more than one mountain range. I can see tiny houses with tiny solar panels. I can see that I am trying to control something that is not mine to control. I am trying to steer a ship that is too large for me even to conceptualize, yet alone steer. I am trying to fix what is not mine to correct.

It is not my job to right all of the wrong, to feel all of the pain, to stop all of the injustice. It is my job to extend compassion to my own capacity. Stop. Take that in another time. It is my job to extend compassion to my own capacity. That is all.

I relax into the next curve. The sky is strong and securely above me. The spring is coming without any help at all from me. The sun and wind are exhilerating and nature is in full celebration of the new season's arrival. My father is driving, and I trust in him to keep me safe. That is enough. Yes, all the suffering is still there, but so too is the hooray of the tiny flowers my father calls,"Spring Beauties." On the back of a motorcycle, on Easter, I rediscover faith.