Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 Family Life Celebration

Dakota turned fourteen. he is passionate, intense, extremely intelligent, observant, emotionally and verbally past his years, sensitive, competitive, aggressive, loving, hilarious, giving, honorable and full of piss and vinegar. he has that kind of intelligent awareness that was there at birth. he got into the first 'real' trouble of his life and we worked through it, as a family. whatever our faults (and i think those are pretty clear to me) we expose them, struggle with them and understand them as a unit, as a family. Dakota is in MMA and seriously kicking ass. he's very good at it. he is ring sparring now. he's read the entire Harry Potter series in the last few months, the biography of Mohammad Ali and various other books. this makes me super happy. he has a relationship with his dog Bodie that resembles Lassie and his boy. Bodie sleeps on him every night. ON HIM. a 70 pound golden retriever so in love with the boy that he sits, head in paws, outside the bathroom when Dakota showers. Dakota always offers food to the immigrants that come to our door. he is kind and attentive to kids that other middle schoolers make life miserable for if he feels they are good kids, or maybe just hurting and confused, like the boy whose parents died in a car crash a few years ago. he's sarcastic and sweet and nothing would do without him.

Ian is twelve and much smarter than you might think because he is SO quiet. however if you are the observant kind, you will see the gleam of an aware mind in his eyes. very shy, reserved, observant, decent, hard working, sensitive and brusque at the same time as only little boys can seem to be. he is so smart they put him in 'seminar' which is the program above GATE. he got a 4.0 this semester and is in advanced algebra in 7th grade. he reads science fiction, war fiction, and thrillers. Ian struggles very much with social relations with kids his age. thank god he and Dakota have each other because they learn so much from their love and friendship. they have the kind of brotherhood you could only dream of for your kids. although they are 'stepbrothers' they are decidedly NOT. Dakota was there when Ian was born and has known him as a best friend until Mr. Curry and I married and they are now nothing less than brothers. 'step' never comes into it unless it's something like this, where we are explaining the setup of things to someone. Ian is the kind of boy who when you get him alone is very different. his defenses come down and he talks more and you realize what an exceptional mind this child has. right now he wants to be in the Special Forces and i forsee absolutely nothing holding him back. he's also the kind of child who God blessed with a fine mind AND an innate sense of discipline. he does his own homework, without being asked, all done beautifully. yeah. i CANNOT relate to that! :) but i so admire it. i love this sensitive, sharp little boy as my son, and life just wouldn't do without him.

Lola, oh Lola. our youngest child, our little girl. the White Stripes said there was 'death of the sweetheart' but they do not know this child. age six, she is shining with beauty. her eyes glow and sparkle- really- and you again see that awareness and intelligence in her face. her teachers tell us what a 'sweetheart' she is, how kind to all the other children, how sensitive. at home she is fiesty- two older brothers to compete and defend and keep up with. she loves to dance with me- we shake our booties, we often sleep together, we play Barbies, we crack jokes, we talk about her friends, we buggle on the couch, we hold hands. Mr. Curry and Lola wrestle, giggle, he sneak attacks her, she zerberts his belly, he smacks her booty, she asks him to hold her still. Lola has enough art supplies to supply a school- she collages, draws, watercolors, inks, tears, pastes. she loves music more than any of our children and walks around the house singing everything. Lola is very motherly toward her dolls and anyone sad. she is afraid of the dark. she believes that nothing can hurt her Dad. she tells me i am the most beautiful girl she's ever seen. she is reading now . we read her books every night in bed. she is hil.a.ri.ous. seriously. so funny, so funny. she makes us laugh- even her brothers!- all the time. Life just wouldn't do without our girl.

Our children are the heart of our lives, literal and metaphorical. We circle around them in our love affair, Mr. Curry and I, we make room for our privacy and our adult love- but those children are the heart. Friday night is family night. we all eat out or take out and go home, hit the bookstore, come home and play games (pictionary and UNO being favorites) and snuggle buggle while watching a movie. we eat dinner together at the table five out of seven nights on average. Saturdays are family outings- we hike, go to friends, run errands all together (we all love Home Depot). Sundays we clean, lounge, computer, movies, food, dogs, cats, home.

i think i know what my weakness as a parent are, although who knows, time may reveal more :)
and i'm not happy with them. i AM happy that they are what they are, and not weakness that undermine our children's ability to believe in us, themselves or the possibilites of joy. our children, above all else, know that they are LOVED. and this is not because they get whatever they want when they want it. according to Dakota, we are the strictest parents in town,and when i see the rules his age group have, i tend to agree. however, Dakota's music is respected in this house. we don't mock each other unless it won't hurt. Ian's career choice (army) is respected, even admired, even though Mr. Curry and I are liberals and Democrats and for the large degree, pacifists. Lola's love of singing constantly, my penchant for constantly making things into a rap or an opera and my time spent blogging, Mr. Curry's constant irritation at driving and traffic- all of what makes us who we are, these things are not made to feel like glaring faults. we let our children know they are loved by not expecting them to be minature versions of us. by talking, not just 'when something happens' but most of the time, ongoing. by believing that quality time is NOT the most important thing . how we spend our time indicates our priorities, Mr. Curry and I believe, and our children are our priorities, as well as our marriage. so we have Date Night. we kiss, we snuggle, we say sweet nothings, and the boys groan but i see they are proud of us.
i see they are learning about a joyful marriage based on communication and trust and hard work, and i am proud of that.

and when our children fail- as they will, they WILL- we do NOT, will not, make them feel like failures. it is our job to always see the best in our children, to always believe in the best of them, and when they have made mistakes, even large, painful ones, how to work through that- and that, meanwhile, even if we are disappointed or angry, we are still There and we are never giving up and we love them. we are a wall of love with a door to life always open.

we talk about doing the right thing and why that matters, what love really is, how to do something that is hard to do but right, sex, drinking, mistakes, how to deal with anger, politics, the election, bigotry, life. we talk a LOT, all the time. sometimes we make room for silences. sometimes we need a break from each other. we laugh A LOT. this was something we never did in my family of origin. laughter was often 'rude' or 'too loud' or 'not appropriate' but it was rarely spontaneous, welcomed, relished or embraced. in our family, laughter is not only for celebrating but for pain as well. sometimes when things are grim a laugh can break the wall to crying. we cultivate a willingness to laugh at ourselves alongside a deep respect for our personhood- our humanity.

the kids make jokes other parents wouldn't let their children make- but on the other hand, they believe in gay rights, they think prejudice is ignorance, they don't make fun of others for their apperance, they honor the common dignity of human beings. so if they say the occasional 'shit' or make off color jokes then so be it. fine by us. i think the finest thing we have done as parents is to think about What Really Matters, to us, and then to focus on that daily, and let the rest be a little. our children have breathing room but they walk with solid steps.

Thank you, Universe, for my family. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Blogging Art: Laura Lines

All Art by LaureLines

Finding new beautiful artwork is one of the delights of the internet and blogging. Laura's pen and brush strokes delight me. I think the expressions of her work are delightful, fresh,charming, beautiful and true.
She records life around her, whether that is a dying
friend, the birth of her grandchild, or a beautiul fall

Monday, December 29, 2008

Tougher Than The Rest- Mr. Curry, I Love You

'yeah the road is dark / and it's a thin thin line / but you know i'd walk it for you anytime '
This one's for you, honey

Well its saturday night youre all dressed up in blue
I been watching you awhile maybe you been watching me too
So somebody ran out left somebodys heart in a mess
Well if youre looking for love honey Im tougher than the rest

Some girls they want a handsome dan or some good-lookin joe
On their arms some girls like a sweet-talkin romeo
Well round here baby I learned you get what you can get
So if youre rough enough for love honey Im tougher than the rest

The road is dark and its a thin thin line
But I want you to know Ill walk it for you anytime
Maybe your other boyfriends couldnt pass the test
Well if youre rough and ready for love honey Im tougher than the rest

Well it aint no secret Ive been around a time or two
Well I dont know baby maybe youve been around too
Well theres another dance all you gotta do is say yes
And if youre rough and ready for love honey Im tougher than the rest
If youre rough enough for love baby Im tougher than the rest

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Julius and Ethel Rosenberg- Spies After All This Time

I have long been fascinated with the story of
Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, the infamous
Jewish citizens of the United States who were
put to death by our government, accused of
being spies in the 1940's who released information about the atomic bomb to the Soviet Union.
Starting with my middle school absorption with
the story of Anne Frank, I read everything I
could get my hands on about Nazi Germany,
then Hitler, then Jewish immigrants to the US
during Nazi occupation, then Jewish people in
the United States, which lead to broader reading
on what it was like to be Jewish in the US ( one of my favorite novels of this ilk is Michael Chabon's book ' The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Klay' ) and the governmental and
societal response toward Jewish citizens ( another great way for insights to this time is to read
any of the biographies of Eleanor or FDR- I highly recommend the biography (there are three books to the set ) of Eleanor ).
Ethel and Julius were intellectuals, fascinating people with an intense politically active life at a
time when politics were highly combustible and the country was on tender hooks. Their granddaughter Ivy, who grew up to be a filmmaker, made a documentary film on the married couple that I highly recommend: Heir To An Execution, aired on HBO.
The Rosenberg's were admitted Communist and part of a small political organization that was
ultimately taken apart by the government and picked clean for information. Julius and Ethel
claimed innocence of all charges against them after their arrest in their small New York apartment, in the presence of their two adolescent sons. After a protracted legal battle, the Rosenberg's- amidst much controversy- were both executed in 1953. Their two children lived briefly with their grandmother until she claimed she could not care for them, and they were moved to foster care, living with Abel and Anne Meeropol in the Bronx. They took on their foster parent's surname until adulthood.
The Rosenberg boys began a campaign in the 1970's to prove their parent's innocence. They went to court against the US government to demand that all records of the Rosenberg's guilt and trial be made open to the public. In 2008, Morton Sobell, an old college and political colleague of Julius Rosenberg, came forward and admitted that he and Julius had engaged in espionage.
The NYT article, the confession of an old friend, was confirmation enough for the sons that their parents were guilty- but still not deserving, they say, of the electric chair. Of death.
Reading Sobell's confession was sad; I felt let down that the story I had followed all these years ends on a sour note. It is a human note, an honest note, though, that there wasn't 'good' and 'evil' so clearly in this case- nor simply the 'innocent' and the 'guilty'. The Rosenberg's made mistakes, and the government, in the eyes of many, made the irascable mistake of killing two people, two parents.
I look forward to reading more about these people and hopefully one day, one of the son's will put out a book telling the story through his eyes, his memories, his understanding. This is much more than simply the story of two people- it is a story about how our government functions in crisis, of how our media responds, how political organizations both small and large function, how Jewish people both felt and were viewed during this time period, and how history records our actions.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

This Ends Channel 34's Emergency Broadcast Procedures

Harry Potter got in a huge fight in the bramble bushes and now cannot use his front right foot.
We are going to have to take him to the vet. I don't know if it's broken. My face is puffy. I ate a lot of bread ( i'm gluten intolerant ) over the last week. I also found that all natural deodorant doesn't really last all day. Champagne is my favorite alcoholic drink, and I've possibly ( definitely ) drunk too much of it over the Holidays. I think my liver needs a vacation. Mr. Curry and I couldn't find eggnog anywhere late Christmas Day, so we went through Jack in the Box and I ordered an egg nog milkshake, later at home, poured brandy in it. We sat on the couch for five hours eating chocolate, drinking and watching episodes of Two and a Half Men and other sundries. Mr. Curry and I have been making so much whoopie lately that it's possible I'm having quatrouplets. I think one of the top five wonderful things about marriage is sex on demand. As in: Mr. Curry! Get in here! I don't care if you're scrambling eggs! No, now! :) Mr. Curry is a very good man.

Our children are very happy with their Christmas. That makes me happy. We did it on a weensy budget ( Lola made up the word weensy ) and made it work. One of Santa's presents to Lola was this beautiful porcelain doll with a French looking getup and necklace that was bought for $10 at the local thrift store. Shhhh.

We were saying prayers at dinner last night ( Mr. Curry barbecued chicken and I made boiled then pan toasted potatoes with pepper, basil and salt and green beans with olive oil and garlic )
and Lola said 'thank you God for Jewish people. ' Hey, don't ask me. I just live here.


Friday, December 26, 2008

misletoe and merriment

Mr Curry and I, Kristi and Carl
See that star garland over the fireplace? Lola Mr Curry and I made that out of cardboard and
tin foil! Cool.
Auntie Kristi, Jacob Yohan, Grandpa Ed, Uncle Carl and Reef, Grandma Trenna
Oh Mr. Curry. And you wonder why the neighbors don't stop by for a friendly hello....

Brothers and Sister
Ian, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Dakota, Bodie King of the Wild Frontier, and Grandma Mary
Grandma Mary gave Lola this already much loved baby doll, named Anna Mirabelle Chandelier
Lola and I made cupcakes like I had mentioned before. These ones got decorated by the littles
at our Xmas Eve gathering. Aren't they lovely!?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas, Blog Friends!

vintage christmas Pictures, Images and Photos

It's all about connection.
What's so funny about peace love and understanding?
Merry Christmas Sweeties!

Sunday, December 21, 2008


Please visit CaringBridge and say a prayer for her. You enter the name ashleyschutz in the search and it will take you to her page. Thank you, bless you, hold tight to your heart.


Some music to view the holiday pics with

Christmas Jubilee, Baby

Hey, Ho, Let's Go: Uncle Pat and Aunt Vesna's Christmas Party and Gift Exchange 2008

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Beloved: Books that I've Loved

My favorite decorating magazine, Domino, came out with their
first book: Domino The Book of Decorating. At my surprise
birthday party (love you honey:) the gift de jour were gift certificates
to bookstores (my friends know me!) and I swooped up a few things
including this beautiful book, which now lays on my white coffee
table. I love love the pictures, and the layout of the book makes
sense: it starts with overall picture of decorating (lists, references,
websites) and goes from A (hallways, entries) to Z ( guest rooms, wall hangings). My only gripe about this book, whose pages are
so bright and beautiful, is that there isn't a little more 123 detail
on the how- to of decorating for us newbies.

This unusual memoir by George Colt has a delicate, intellectual observational tone that I truly cherished. It is the kind of book I'd like to read when when sick, dying or
otherwise blue; the narrator is so even toned, so endearingly
sentimental and so grounded in nature and human beings
that you can't help but feel comforted. Colt's family has owned a beach side house at Cape Cod for generations, and
the house is about to be sold. Holt returns with his family and takes us on a meandering journey through the story of his family, it's individual members and their shared gravitational pull around this house. His descriptions of the sea and it's surrounding creatures and life are magical.

I first read of this novel on Mcsweeney's Internet Tendencies, went
and looked for it, was interested enough to buy the 600 pages and
was hooked enough to read every night until it was finished. This
novel fascinated me because it took very fantastical elements- a
Noah's flood leaving only a children's hospital afloat, angels, devils,
evil, good- and brazenly discussed them in the matter of fact terms
of day to day life. Adrian writes with the lush detail that I enjoy endlessly when a novel is good, and this is very good. He combines
a seriousness of thought and viewpoint, seamless writing and an almost soap-opera like series of events into one long good hard read.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Health: Vitamin D

from Life Extension website

Vitamin D essential for whole body health

The August, 2008 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published an update by international vitamin D expert Anthony Norman of the University of California, Riverside, which concluded that the vitamin is necessary for the health of 36 of the body's organs.

Dr Norman includes bone marrow, breast, colon, intestine, kidney, lung, prostate, retina, skin, stomach and the uterus as organs for which vitamin D has been found to be essential. He notes that vitamin D, while well recognized as playing a role in bone health, has the potential to contribute in five areas in which researchers have documented new actions for the vitamin through its receptor: the adaptive and innate immune systems, the secretion and regulation of insulin by the pancreas, heart and blood pressure regulation, muscle strength, and brain activity. Additionally, having adequate vitamin D levels appears to reduce the risk of some cancers. "It is becoming increasingly clear to researchers in the field that vitamin D is strongly linked to several diseases," stated Dr Norman. "Its biological sphere of influence is much broader than we originally thought. The nutritional guidelines for vitamin D intake must be carefully reevaluated to determine the adequate intake, balancing sunlight exposure with dietary intake, to achieve good health by involving all 36 target organs."

Dr Norman recommends that all adults acquire 2000 international units (IU) per day: an amount that is higher than the recommended daily intake. "Ideally, to achieve the widest frequency of good health by population, we need to have 90 percent of the people with adequate amounts of vitamin D,” he stated. "There needs to be a sea change by various governmental agencies in terms of the advice they present to citizens about how much vitamin D should be taken.."

—D Dye

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The French Connection: Tiji, The Balloon

a French children's program, magic

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Julian, California

The cows low, the fog is thick and
we can only see 20 feet in front of
the car. It is 3pm and the air is
bitter and bright. The boys both
read and Lola stares out the

The roads are long and winding. Many car accidents.

Julian is covered in fog and rain and
a wind so fierce we are knocked off
balance when we get out of the car.

Everything is soaked and bone cold. The wind goes through the two layers I have over my legs like teeth through a peach.

We stop at the knife shop. The boys browse knives,
Lola walks with hand carved canes and I read the
autobiography of Kit Carson, leaned against the
glass. He and his men raid an Indian camp, kill
all the adults, and take the children captive. The
true details fill my mind with the wind and cold
and fog and I am transported back to a completely
wild and terrifying time where life was back breaking work and survival, as uncomfortable as
dry wind against twigs, as brutal as the bears attack
on the deer. I close the book with my stomach hurting, yet I am delighted to be moved.

Fires rage through Julian during the summer months. Some years are worse than others.

We wait for our table. Outside, as requested.

Hot apple cider, with whip cream, please.

Life is intense.
( two tents )
I'm intense.
( i'm a wigwam, i'm a teepee )

xo maggie may
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