Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Oh Suburbia [ The Neighbors On the Left ]

the cat cut a tooth today
along the wilding wall
that creeps along the condominiums
that sit each twenty feet tall

The neighbors to the left are quiet. They look at each other and not outward to the neighborhood, the neighbors. The father is six foot, strong and obviously used to working with his hands. His face is genial and he is quick to smile when spotted, waves hello, flashing white teeth in a bronzed, Latino face. He has a solid look in the set of his features and in his eyes,  a practical intelligence that says I can take care of whatever is in front of me. Maybe he is 46, 47. His wife is younger. She is short, pretty and slightly plump, with a distracted, slightly fearful air about her. Her hair is 80's poof, always done, her makeup always done, her outfits match even when casual: the dark blue Padres hat, the dark blue shirt. She is terrified of our dogs and when they bound out to pee on the perfect lawns, she runs with a small, girlish shriek that is clearly involuntary and embarrassing to her. On the weekends she is drunk with a clockwork regularity, and her drunken state is high familiarity, social ease; she drinks for the oldest reason in the books, to feel comfortable in her skin. When we walk by their back porch on a Friday or Saturday, fussing at the toddler for dawdling, dropping groceries, juggling bags and stray toys, they are barbecuing, and she leans comfortably over the railing, smiling in a big dimply tipsy, chatting up my husband. 

Their children are older teenagers who they had with other people before they met. The oldest daughter has a daughter, a toddler the same age as ours. Their kids play with the same internalized focus that their mother and father do, eyes to each other, ears tuning out any shouts, shrieks, questions from neighbors that would catch someone else's attention. They stay in a precisely ten foot radius of grass outside of their condo. The wife comes out front and adjusts her hanging plants, back to the rest of us. The dogs bark and she goes back inside. The kids are happy- not friendly but they seem very happy- they scream at each other in play, have big easy smiles, large twinkly eyes, there is rarely a scuffle; I've never heard any of them crying.

In the evening there is no shouting, screaming, cursing or arguing. The lights are out when I come back from my run at 8:30. Some weekends the group of them head out to their cars, and something about the dress and posture says ' We are going to the movies. ' 

A few weeks ago, someone's grandfather was over for the drunken barbecue. He stood outside on the porch, alone, with his hand held at an odd angle over his heart, like a broken bird wing. He looked at the ground, and was bending over slightly, holding himself up with his other hand on the balcony railing. The folds of skin on his cheeks quivered. Sir, I asked as I passed by, are you OK? He looked up at me and smiled uncomfortably. For a beat, he didn't answer. Yes, he said, yes I am. I went into my house and, very concerned, checked on him again through the blinds. There he stood, face quivering, hand over his heart, clearly almost crying, his entire family behind the glass sliding door, eating and laughing and waiting for him to come back in.

Monday, July 29, 2013

i've got a bike you can ride it if you like

an old poem: Lola Bloom

Lola you are too pure for your mother,
your radiance illuminates the dirt around my mouth.
i talk and the spittle is old.

the clean in your breath is astounding.
how can anyone smell so delicious,
not baked or risen in the oven, not perfumed
with essential oils?
my breath is sour and coffee.

in the morning you say,
'momma your breath is stinky'
when i kiss you.

this is how mothers can grow to envy their daughters,
i see it now, how it happens.
their breasts spring forth in acres of skin,
their minds flexible and unafraid.
their mistakes loom in the future, unsaid,
undone, unknown.

they stand near us, in our arms,
pressed against our aging breasts
and act as if they will never grow old.

Lola i will never fight for what you have,
never cling to your childhood to clean my skin.

Lola i will never covet your boyfriends,
your car rides, your first kiss, your bikini.

you can have the flowers, the fields,
every good and brilliant man who deserves you,
the long looks of admiration, every good
time and every good feeling, in abundance,
in bushels, in gifts of foxglove petals,
the ones we both adore.

in return for knowing you, for being privy
to your luminous beauty and ringing song,
your purity of spirit, your trust,
your raging temper and saucy disobedience,
your penchant for wiping buggers on the wall.
the way your mouth opens like a pink bloom
when you are waking.

Lola i am not a martyr 
but for you there is nothing i am afraid to hand over.
( ' Momma? If you had to choose between 
chopping off your hand and losing me, what would- '
' -Lola, I'd choose you.)

in a small trick magicked up by love,
your every happiness thrills me, 
as the ocean is still and deep and content
beneath the laughing tops of wave, catching the sun.

maggie may ethridge

Friday, July 26, 2013

People In Your Neighborhood

take a seat and read!

Writing Advice from George Saunders and Cheryl Strayed 

The Problem With How We Treat Bipolar Disorder- this was a fascinating account of one woman's descent into severe bipolar, and her commentary on what is missing from modern treatment.

Powerful and unsettling, this essay left me with uncertainties and questions. You Are No Longer A Father To Me

This powerful study shows that poverty is more powerful than being born drug addicted in predicting the future of a child. This matters to me because I think it is vital we continue to support and expand programs to intercede on behalf of children living in poverty, for food, health (both physical and emotional) and education.

This article points to the ways that we fail and need to better intervene for children in difficult circumstance in school settings. The School To Prison Pipeline

Last and best! My friend Carrie Brown is an amazing single mother who has worked with autistic children for the last however many years. If you remember, I wrote a while back that she had shockingly been diagnosed with Stage 4 Ovarian Cancer.  She was only 42. She has been through hell and back, a few times over. I have heard and seen images of just the tip of what she's been through, and it is a testament to her spirit that she is still here, still mothering her son. She still also has occasional hospitalizations for painful and scary complications, and she still has bills bills bills. If you can help, at all, she is struggling mightily. Here is where to donate. Thank you.

Missing From San Francisco / San Diego: Crishtian Hughes

I don't remember how I learned about the disappearance of Crishtian Hughes, only that the fact that he is almost the same age as Dakota ( D is 19) and from San Diego struck me, as well as the desperation of his mother. Crishtian went to San Francisco from San Diego with some friends, and the night before he was to fly back home, he went missing. Here's a poster and this is what is written on his Facebook page:

On Thursday 2-7-2013, Crishtian Hughes vanished in San Francisco without a trace. He was last seen at 12:30 a.m. at the home of friends he was visiting, 962 Capitol Ave, San Francisco, CA.
When his friends woke up around 10:00 a.m., they said he was not there. Christian family filed a missing persons report with the San Francisco Police Department. It is SFPD policy to send all missing persons cases back to the city in which they are from. Leaving the family to search on their own.
In this case Crishtian Missing Person's file is now in San Diego CA. 500 miles away from where he is missing. It makes no sense.
It is unlike Christian to go missing on his own...Crishtian has a firm history of informing his family of his whereabouts—he has NEVER not informed his family of his location or his plans.
There has been no phone activity from his cell phone since 12:30 a.m. 2-7-2013, Along with his bank cards, as well as S.S. #

CRISHTIAN is 20 is 5'8" tall/ slender 130 lbs, and Caucasian descent. Brown hair and Brown eyes. Crishtian was last seen wearing a black long sleeve T-shirt and black jeans.
You do not have to talk to police if you have information about Christian, Contact the Christian Hughes tips hotline at (760) 539-7211. Calls may be kept anonymous

I've been sharing weekly on my FB page, Pinterest and Twitter, and his mother has organized search teams as well as keeping interest up by daily FB posts and posters.

I feel her despair keenly.

These other boys also have gone missing from San Francisco:

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Summer 2013: Ordinary People

in which we find that love is almost all that matters. in which we know if we are apart, we are not divided. in which we remember who we are. in which we break free of each other, body of oldest, and cleave tightly, body of youngest. the rhythms of life become the deepest comforts and if travels are thrilling it is because the sanctuary of love comes wherever we go. grandmothers teach toddlers to use cameras. fathers in law give beautiful bikes to their daughter in law, who rides fully sunblocked and glassed through the suburban streets with the wild nine year old of her past sitting on the handlebars. old friends who were children when we met have babies, and our children hold those babies. fathers kiss their daughter's necks until they squeal with delight. sons demolish our hearts with pride and daughter's demolish our hearts with pride and parents and children become best friends in the end. 

in which we find that nothing even close to the worst has happened, and all joy comes flying untrained, unrestrained and unnetted through that glass window
which one day will shatter
but for now!
for now.
there is the summer and there are the children and there is family and there are friends and the wet grass and running past horses and wide California skies with no clouds and ten books from the thrift store and ice cream from Thrifty's and piles of novels and biographies from the thrift store and cartoons in the morning and iced coffee and netflix and yoga in the evening and grasshoppers on the window screen and freckles and music and huge pillows and soft cotton sheets and bathing after swimming and eating after swimming and the pet store and pizza and and donating to dead teenage boys for their funeral * because they never had a chance to have any days filtered through this glass window,
the one that i see in the face of those i love, each one of them, breathing and crying and learning and failing and laughing and sleeping and waking and eating and moving and living.

in which we find that although one day is a day we all find on our calendar, we will always have now, if we will only stop and be here.

* here's Tyler's story and how to donate

Sunday, July 21, 2013

People In Your Neighborhood

take a bath and read!

I am a HUGE Game of Thrones fan- books and show, even though we don't have cable anymore and I can't watch it, sob- so I loved this tribute to all the dead characters. 

When we see someone is desperate, it is our moral obligation to help. Especially when it involves food. This is why I always give money to homeless people asking, or food, unless I have none to give. This mother killed herself and shot both her children in the county aid office after being refused food stamps. Now I am not saying that county aid is to fault for this. I am saying that no one should in the United States should be unable to feed their children.

The power of human touch.

Study shows racial prejudice greatly affects outcome of Stand Your Ground.

Study shows changing your gut bacteria affects brain function. Priobiotics are big in my house, as well as a diet of whole foods. Unless it was this weekend, in which case, awkward.

In The Sun, 'Some Thoughts On Mercy'

I thought this piece on Martha Stewart was really interesting.

I was fascinated with this video on fashion week in Tel Aviv.  The beginning bored me but after that,  I was very interested.

This photo essay put a lump in my throat and an overwhelming urge to hug everyone in my heart. Life....

Saturday, July 20, 2013

My Story Of Being Confronted And Accused of Racism

These black men are angry in part because they think their voices don't matter. I'm listening to what they are saying, and that's what they are saying. They think their voices don't matter because other black men, women, children and other color of folks who believe in civil rights have been fighting for equality in this civilized country, and not only do they not have true equality, they know that black people are three times more likely to be searched at a traffic stop than white motorists, ( ie 'driving while black' ) and four times as likely to experience force in an encounter with the police, and on and on the statistics go, while people in this country deny that racism still exists in the lives of many black people.

I watched this video with great sadness because you can hear the pain and suffering turned to rage. Every mother of men knows that young men, by and large, are full of the need for physical action in the face of intense emotion. It is a basic fact of human beings that being ignored or feeling unheard is one of the worst insults and wounds we can inflict on each other. It is the reason why in relationships, physical violence is most proceeded by a shutting out by the other person, instead of a confrontation.

I wonder how we can expect an entire community- the black community- to move forward if we do not accept that the place we begin exists?

The racism that still exists presents in so many ways, and there are many black people speaking out on their experiences with that racism if only we will listen. If you are not black, have you ever heard a black person recount a situation and believe it was racism, and you did not agree? This is not an intelligence test for you, or a measure of heart. How can that person's experience be held up to a light and examined and proven racist or not? Does common sense let you know if racism exists in a decision, or does your entire idea of common sense come from a completely different education?  Is it a completely different life experience, a life experience that for black people has day after day year after year let them know that in many ways, many people in this country still believe they are 'more' this or 'less' that than white people. If you grew up being reminded of that, in a variety of ways and experiences, do you think you'd still have the same idea of what was racist and what was not? 

When I was attending community college, I took politics in the evening. I loved the class and we often had robust debates on whatever issue was at hand. One night, we all gathered into self appointed groups for some assignment, and as my group circled round, a black woman approached who I had talked to a few times over the last week as our class met. She was friendly, funny and smart and I liked the little I knew of her. I was nervous in the group setting, as I always am, and so when she approached and asked if she could join, I joked ' we don't take your kind! ' and pulled out a chair for her to join us. It was probably one of the most insensitive, stupid jokes I've ever made in my life, but at the time it was completely innocent and born out of severe social anxiety. I wanted to be liked, I wanted to be irreverent and silly, and in my family we speak this way to each other now and again in jest.  I would have said it to anyone, any age, any color. But she didn't see it that way.

After class, I was walking away, backpack in hand, when I felt a tap. I turned around, and this young black woman laid into me. Her face was contorted in what might have appeared to be rage, but to me looked mostly like suffering.

' How dare you say that to me, white bitch! ' she cried out.

I was floored. Scared, too. She looked like she was going to beat the shit out of me, and she was in my face, hands raised. ' What are you talking about? ' I asked.

' Oh what am I talking about? ' she mocked my shaky voice. ' Your little comment back there in class, letting me know where you think I stood, you think that's OK? ' She got even closer, her face an inch from mine.

And then I got really, really pissed off. I had no clue what she was angry about, and in my mind, she had no right to be attacking me like this. I screamed ' Get out of my face! What the hell is wrong with you! I don't know WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT! '

' Oh yes you do! ' She wasn't backing down.

I moved forward and we were actually touching. I said in a furious, but now quiet voice ' No I don't. And you need to get out of my face. ' Suddenly, without warning, my eyes filled with tears. I went from being furious to being deeply hurt at being attacked in this way for something I knew I surely hadn't done.

She saw my tears, and her face changed from hurt and anger to confusion and doubt. ' Well back in said ' your kind...' she trailed off.

I was horrified. As soon as she said it, I knew what she was referring to and what she thought I meant, and it was as if my entire body was flooded with shame. I began crying. ' I would will you ever believe me...I would never talk to another human being like that...I am so sorry you took it that way, oh my God...'

She began crying. I put my arms around her and it was one of the most powerful hugs of my life, as we both cried, so few words had actually been said, and yet an entire history of hate and conflict and divide had been summoned and felt between the two of us. 

We hugged each other and sat at a nearby bench, and began to understand. She listened to me explain, and I listened to her. She told me that she lived near where I did, in the suburbs of a mostly middle tier middle class neighborhood with some areas of working poor. In the last year, her boys had begun school at a local elementary, and the brothers walked home together. 

Soon after, they came home crying. When she questioned them, they told her that a carful of kids had driven by and called them nigger.

' I had to have this conversation with my boys...' the pain on her face was terrible. As the mother of a son, I felt her agony at having her sons not only emotionally assaulted like this, but then to have to explain to them something she had never broached this directly before: racism in America.
' Since then, ' she told me, ' they have been called nigger a few times, once at school. They have been told by an adult man that they should try for sports because ' black kids do well with that. ' I .... the worst part is not the word, the worst part is having to make them understand that some people think they are less because they are black. ' She was crying again and gripped my hand. ' I can't make you understand that, you can't understand what that does to a person... '

I cannot. But I can try. I have a brain in my head and a heart- a mother's heart- and I can imagine what it would be like to have to personally hand over to your child the understanding of how negatively they are viewed by a percentage of the population because of the color of their skin. 

I told her I was sorry that happened to her boys, and I talked about my love for my own son, and my childhood experiences in Jackson Mississippi and again how sorry I was, and that I would never stand by and let anyone talk to any child that way, and as I spoke I saw her face soften and a tiny but significant relief move to her beautiful eyes. I just wanted her to know how deeply I cared, and that I was not part of that problem, nor would I stand by silently. When I went to Trayvon Martin's vigil, it was my way of not standing by silently. When I post here my experiences and thoughts, it is my way of not standing by silently. This is my side of the street. It is the side of the street where social justice and civil rights and compassion and communication occurs, and I'm proud to stand here. Not everyone can write a bill or save a child from a gun, not everyone can do something big and important, but everyone can listen, agitate, and speak up.

I don't agree or accept with the message in this rap- reminiscent of The Black Panthers- that pacifism and social justice protests and movements will not create change, that military arms and self defense is the only answer. Self defense is definitely a route I would take were I worried about my son's ability to walk down the street safely, but guns guns and more guns are clearly not the answer. Gangs have already tried that route and we know where the story ends, in slums and broken down neighborhoods with broken down peoples.  The Black Panthers exercised the same right that George Zimmerman's defense said made him not guilty: the right to carry arms and patrol the community in which one lives. The Black Panthers did not patrol to look out for criminals however, but to look out for cops who would take advantage of their power. Although their tactics failed in the long run- admitted by the leaders of the movement- the message of working class solidarity and empowerment, the message that all downtrodden peoples must come together to present a solid front for justice, remains true.

Rage at being told your reality does not exist IS something I can relate to. So when we- people who aren't black- listen and acknowledge, when we say ' you are right, that's not my experience and I don't really know what that is like ' when we say ' that is wrong ' when we say ' i'm sorry that happens to you ' when we 'acknowledge our privilege' as the politic speak currently says, there is some gathering together, some healing.

In the end the rappers above call and repeat:

' Trayvon / for you / Trayvon / for you '

We know where Trayvon Martin is, and he can't speak for himself anymore. His parents and his brother speak for him. The least we can do is listen.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Summer 2013: The Pool

sunblock, green green grass with clumps of dog poop, sizzling hot pavement, the thump of the radio-
don't get it wet-
the camera- don't get it wet-
hats, floaties, pool shoes for Ever, towels, flip flops, more sunblock you missed a spot
the great bald eye of yellow and blue sky
bumble bees in twos and threes
save them from the pool
toys in the filter, laughter, shrieks, splash sigh
a sudden pulsing memory that makes me- almost- cry
i miss my sister, my husband, and the idea of my father
i miss my dead grandmother and grandfather
here the world and its abundant overflowing existence, here the world and its endless gifts
pressing into my face- mouth, eyes, nose, beyond to consciousness- like an enormous gathering
of wildflowers
tucked with bees, ants, traces of soil and rain,
my children cry out in joy and i 
am so comforted by it all, though i am not well enough to feel it:
i remember.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Vigil For Trayvon Martin, Balboa Park, San Diego CA

At 7:30 tonight myself and my two girls, Ever and Lola, were in Balboa Park by the fountain, holding candles and listening to speakers at a vigil for Trayvon Martin. There were maybe 200 give or take, a small gathering and a peaceful gathering, where the voices of the speakers, standing above us on the edge of the raised fountain, were alternatively furious and deeply sad, but always moving toward the cry for change. 

My own opinion of the George Zimmerman trial has already been said in this piece here: The Tragedy Of Trayvon Martin, said very succinctly. After the vigil, on the car ride home, Lola and I talked the entire drive home about Trayvon's murder, about the history of slavery and racism, about how it affects the decisions that people in power make- lawyers, judges, legislators- about gun control. And although I've heard black people say 'this case isn't about gun control, it's about racism', and I respect the obvious reasons they would say that, I also believe that changing the gun laws changes the power of that racism. The ability to legally carry a concealed weapon and then intimidate someone who is doing no wrong and start a confrontation in which you end up killing someone to save your own life is a tool for racism to insert itself into our society in its most vile form: murder. Look at these statistics from Stop Concealed Carry Illinois:

  • Crime has increased in states that allow people to carry concealed weapons.6
  • In the past five years in 32 states that allow people to carry concealed weapons, people who were legally permitted to carry weapons shot more than 508 people. Fourteen of the victims were law enforcement officers, and 109 were killed in 23 mass-shooting incidents.

When the line between what is legal and what is just is so clearly drawn, we must take action. While Trayvon's murder may have been legalized by the state of Florida, it is wrong. I ask anyone who believes that justice has been carried out to imagine their child- let's say white- their white child has been murdered, unarmed, by a much larger, older and armed man who followed your son through the darkness at night as your son made his way home with some Skittles in his pocket. Let's even take a step farther and say that your child was the first to start a physical confrontation with this man, and was shot to death. When I- and I have, so many times- put Dakota in Trayvon's place, I can easily imagine Dakota turning to a man who has been scaring the shit out of him by following him in the dark and attacking that man. In fact, I'd call it standing his ground. I can imagine Dakota, full of terror- cortisol, testosterone, racing heart out of control- attacking this man as if his life depended on it, because I can imagine Dakota thinking that his life did. Do you think George Zimmerman pulled out a badge and said: ' Halt, I am the head of my Neighborhood Watch! ' 

 My rage when I imagine my son shot through the heart because a fully grown man took it on himself to carry a gun and walk through the neighborhood and target my innocent son and scare him to the point where he attacks this man- my rage is huge. Not only does this scenario bring me, if I fully inhabit it, to tears, it fills me with fury. Of course this analogy falls apart here, because as a white person I don't have the cellular, historical experience of racism, and cannot truly understand what it's like to have my black son murdered and then a trial in which not a single juror is black. The final insult, to have no true legal recourse; because the state has legalized this man's behavior, this man who stalked and shot my terrified teenage kid. The only recourse I have is to sit through a trial that puts my son on trial more so than this man who shot him- my son, the kid who is like hundreds of thousands of other kids, and has smoked pot, bragged about fighting, gotten bad grades, my son who still had the entire future ahead of him to move into adulthood and one day look back and say half affectionately, half embarrassed, ' Man, I was such a dumb kid, ' a twinkle in his eye, because look at the man he is now. Trayvon will never have the chance to become more than seventeen years of life. 

So I took my girls to this vigil, and we listened to the speeches, and we lit our candles, and bowed our heads and blew the candles out. Ever immediately sourced out the closest two year old child, and they played easily and happily together while the leaders spoke. That is the image I wish to hold onto, as I- we- move to create change.

Of note: National Sheriff's Association released this statement on Florida Neighborhood Watch

Friday, July 12, 2013

People In Your Neighborhood

take a seat and read!

What happened when a man on Twitter asked for photos of the best moments in people's lives.

Are ultrasounds causing autism? My mother long ago warned me against getting unecessary ultrasounds, because, as she put it, just because we don't know any harm they do yet doesn't mean they don't do any. Unfortunately with Ever, I had to have more than just one or two, because she kept flipping up and down. 

How ketamine works to relieve depression- sometimes when nothing else would.

Katydid writes a blog about having cancer, going through treatment, being cancer free, and now, having breast cancer recur. That post is incredible to read. The other post she wrote was as important to read, in my opinion, because it's about the pill and its possible connection to breast cancer. Here is what Katy says about it, and here is what a website about breast cancer says about it.

Speaking of cancer- How Asprin Might Stem Cancer

Nurses Explain Obamacare in 90 Seconds

Have you heard about this?- how Harper Lee got cheated out of her own copyright?

' in towns where breasts are oasis of life '

This woman wrote something fantastic. She should be proud of this for the rest of her life.

take that and rewind it back

weeks are tumbling by in a chlorine haze of swimming, hiking by the creek, playing on the slip and slide, clusters of neighborhood kids on our porch and in our house, movies in dusk, hot days and warm evenings and a cold cold beer after the littlest is asleep. Lola spent three days at her Curry grandparents house with her cousins Reef and Jake, about an hour away, and Ever was happy but definitely, obviously missed her. that picture of Ever laying sprawled on the floor with her toys, and the telephone in her doll house? that was part of a half hour phone conversation she had with Lola while Lola while gone. she put the phone in the doll house and every time the phone fell over, she's scold in a concerned voice ' Lola I told you not to hurt yourself!!' and pick the phone back up. She also put the phone in a buckle belt to eat, and in her toy car and pushed the car saying "Lola now you go to Starbucks." Lola said she could her the wheels of the car rolling. That last picture of the doll picnic is the girls at my mom's house. Ever is really growing fiercely fond of Grandma M. now that she is older, and spending more time with her. Whenever someone comes to the door she shrieks GAMMA MIMI!!! and throws the door open, rudely looking entirely crestfallen at the person at the door who is not her Gamma Mimi. life is going by so slow and so fast that sometimes i have the perception that there are actually two time continuums, and although we only acknowledge one, we experience both in our bodies and soul. One is the river of physical time, the other our brain processing. For me, when I am very sad deep inside this way, time is like a river. On top of the river, I am burbling along, cleaning constantly, writing, working, lugging the kids all over, swimming, feeding, all of it- but underneath, my heart is thick, slow, sluggish, and time runs haltingly, afraid of what it will run into in the eventual. i give my utmost concentration to being in the moment, because it takes all of my juice to do so. i will never forget the way this time feels, the smell of Ever's neck, the glint of her two colored eyes reflecting sunlight in the pool, putting sunblock on Lola's brown back, listening to the neighborhood kids shriek in laughter, wet towels on our porch, laundry endless, dishes endless, the pages of old books turning at night, the clack of flip flops on the hot concrete, the rocky burble of water in the creek as I warn Ever against falling in. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The True Life Story of 10 Love Songs

My heart is flagellated by music- elevated, crushed, beheaded, bedazzled, illuminated, whatever- All. Listening to Journey's Faithfully in my car, wind in my hair, tears down my face, I stopped- what, what was this? These tears for a song, for thinking that I have less than, when in real life, the marriage Faithfully was crafted from ended in divorce in 1987.

Music is a fickle master, pulling your hair and hardening your nipples one minute, ( Def Tones, Digital Bath ) spiraling into teenage nostalgia the next,  ( Guns and Roses, Sweet Child of Mine ) mourning for what is, (  Bruce Hornsby, The Way It Is ) what was, ( The Cure, Pictures of You ) what could be,
( 2Pac, Changes ) rejoicing for life itself, ( Irene Cara, What A Feeling ) --- ' all alone / i have cried / silent tears / full of pride / in a world / made of steel / made of stone / but i hear the music / close my eyes / feel the rhythm / wrap around / take ahold of my heart  ' MUSIC.

So in the name of love, and women crying in cars everywhere, lets look at the true life story of love songs.

1. Maps, by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs
    Karen O wrote this for her boyfriend, Angus O, who was so late- hours- to the filming of the
    video that Karen despaired him to show up and was in a state of upset by the time he finally
    arrived. They broke up. MAPS= Make Angus Please Stay

2. Love Will Tear Us Apart, by Joy Division 
    Ian Curtis wrote this famous ( to certain generations of my own and after ) song for his wife,
    Deborah. And in the end, the song was right- The saying rests on his headstone in the U.K.
    He killed himself at 24.

3. There She Goes, by Sixpence None The Richer
    The song that sounds so innocent and so sweet ' there she goes / there she goes again / and i just can't
    contain / the feelin that remains '- it's about heroin. Not love.

4. Ring of Fire, by Johnny Cash
    She said/She said- Johnny Cash's second ( famous ) wife, June, claimed to have co-written
    this song with Johnny Cash, about falling in love. Johnny's first wife, Vivian, claimed that June
    had nothing to do with the song- that Johnny wrote it when he was high and drunk, and that instead
    of being about love, it was about a certain private female part. Wow.

5. Silver Springs, by Fleetwood Mac
    Oh Stevie, badass magic woman of our collective musical hearts. She wrote this song for Lindsay
    Buckingham, and sings it to him on stage with fire in her voice and ferocity in her eye. The song
    was supposed to be on the album Rumors, but was cut- without her knowledge- at the last minute,
    crushing Nicks. She gives back tenfold.

6. Up To The Mountain, by Patty Griffin
    Oh this song. One of my favorites, and not about devoted love of a personal kind, but more of all
    humanity ( although honestly I can't hear it any other way ). The song was written about Martin
    Luther King Jr. and his inspired, America changing speech on civil rights.

7. Against All Odds, by Phil Collins
   " Do you like Phil Collins? "
   " I've got two ears and a heart, don't I? " ( 30 Rock )
   Phil Collins wrote this song for the soundtrack of the 1981 movie with the same name ( I remember
   seeing this movie in the theatre as a kid- loved it ) about his wife who left him. ( Movie has Jeff
   Bridges, sigh... )  It's one of my favorite songs, power ballad or otherwise.

8. Emptiness, by Rohan Rathore
   A devastating love song by a young man madly in love with a girl who does not love him back.
   The young man writes song for girl, releases it, and it goes viral. Yay! But the young man has
   cancer, and dies just days after the release. Boo. Or not! It was a very successful marketing ploy!

9. The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, by Roberta Flack

    This hauntingly beautiful song was written by Ewan MacCol. He was a singer/songwriter and in
    love with Peggy Seeger- who was married to someone else. They eventually married. I remember
    being a little girl and hearing this song in the car and tears coming to my eyes.

10. Tunnel of Love, by Bruce Springsteen
      This awesome song ( The Boss is one of my top ten artists ) was written by Springsteen after
      the breakup of his marriage to then wife Julienne Phillips. ( Side note: I would watch Bruce
      walk moodily by water in his leather jacket any day of the week. )

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Grocery Shopping For Health on A Budget Post: Part 2

I took all your advice and that on Facebook as well, and I triumphed!

I managed to get my main grocery budget down to $110 a week. This does not include toiletries or dog food, but MAN! I'm so happy.

I budgeted a week of food at Trader Joe's vs. what I had been doing, Albertson's for basics and Sprout's for my organics, and Trader Joe's was definitely the winner. I still get things at Wal-Mart occasionally because the prices! for certain things like Asian noodles and cereal are so low. 

Here's an idea of what I might buy at Trader Joe's:

organic strawberries
organic grapes
organic spinach in packaging ( i use this in blender with kefir and organic frozen fruits )
organic kale
cheese sticks
two packages of Trader Joe's natural chicken wings ( so cheap, like less than $3 each )
pico de gallo
two bags of snack foods, such as veggie sticks and peanut butter pretzels
bag of mixed nuts with dark chocolate
orange juice
gluten free chocolate chip cookies
gluten free noodles
spaghetti sauce
peanut butter
two bags of frozen mixed veggies

This isn't everything we NEED, but we are usually still in stock with things so I don't have to buy everything we need. For instance, some weeks I don't have to buy more bread, peanut butter, eggs, olive oil, etc. 

As I mentioned, I also buy cereals, black beans, popsicles and other things at Wal-Mart.

The total amount I spend on groceries, including Wal-Mart, is about $110 or at most, $120 a week.

One week of dinners might look like this:

black bean tacos ( avocados, pico, beans, corn tortillas, cheese )

gluten free spaghetti with frozen brocolli

bbq chicken with potato salad and corn on cob Mr. Curry picked up at Vons 

bbq fish with kale in olive oil and quinoa

Fridays everyone usually eats these really cheap frozen pizzas from the grocery store, and I have that or more often a salad or rolled tacos.

Saturday and Sunday are up in the air- it's been so hot that no one has a raving appetite in general anyway, and some nights no one cares about dinner or wants a full 'dinner'. 

Thank you all!

Sunday, July 7, 2013


weight with the tree
leaves slap thighs wet and green.
ovulation in rainfall
a summer orgasm.

i am numb. 

tired of writing fanciful speculation when reality procures no angle of repose. nowhere to rest also
no one to appreciate the youth left in me, just a hungry toddler on my tit. she does not care for the shape and weight and heft or the beauty of the skin and pink- only for her milk and suck. am i middle aged?
i feel a hundred. this is directly related to dreams not coming true, and heart break becoming ill, cancerous, tumor ridden, cavernous faced, nothing to write a pop song nothing to photograph. the Kardashians appear and their hair screams for a hard yank, thick and black and glossy, but everyone knows their father had throat cancer and died. 

at the thrift store with Ever. she piles orange pillows onto a credenza and i collect and buy these:

Impulse by Frederick Ramsey

My Life by Golda Meir

The Human Factor by Graham Greene

The Brooklyn Follies by Paul Auster

i will read them late at night and it will not be perfect. the terrible numb pulses like a wound against the corner of my consciousness and eats away at every typewritten word. nothing can be avoided. the mother has no where to hide. i am not allowed my deep fault lines yet they exist. hang underneath my children and i as i walk with each stuffed underneath my arms the most precious the most precious my precious. i am a gollum. i will follow to ends of earth for my precious. my children throw fits and laugh and eat and fart and snore and have no idea there mother walks over cavernous gaps in the earth with their golden headed innocence gabbing in the baby bjorn. i lift them and remind ' i am strong. ' the terrible thing happens to me: a cliche. i am tired of being strong, i think, i am so tired of being strong. i will do everything. i will do everything but make my dreams come true. when i must hit send i will hit delete. i have done this many times. i have let myself get pregnant, delayed responses, missed deadlines and gone mute in order to silence myself. the writer! what a lie. i write words around myself and in the end am as silent as if i were still gagged and bound in my room, year fifteen of my life, still with the hairs of my father's mustache scattered across my jeans.

nothing happens to me that i do not create. everything happens to me that i create. i write my own storyline to punish myself. what did i do wrong, i do not know, but i will not let myself move. where this came from i do not know, but there is a horrible pain in my right side that just began, and the body never lies. the body never lies. although right now i could point and be correct, that i am not directly causing this pain, if i showed you the wiring, pulled it from the seams so it popped out clear and delineated, you would see that the wires led back to me. you would find my little blonde body in the closet, wrapped in wires, staring up at you with pug nose freckles blue eyes from the dark, like some kind of nightmare you like to see movies about but never want to meet in real life.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

LAW- 1st Interview with Jacob in OC Weekly

L to R- Dakota, Nick, Jacob = LAW

Dakota, as readers of Flux know, is our oldest son and plays in a band called LAW, and they just had their 1st show in Long Beach.

The band just had it's first official press too, with lead singer Jacob doing an interview with OC Weekly. 

People In Your Neighborhood

take a seat and read!!!

You so crazy, Costa Rica.: Costa Rica Accidentally Legalizes Gay Marriage- I really needed the laugh this title provided. 

Adrienne Jones' post on the end of her marriage blew me away. This is the second mind blowing post on marriage I"ve read on a blog recently and I'm so proud of my lady bloggers. The writing is crystalline. 

And the third mind blowing post on the end of a marriage by a blogger I hadn't read before: The Tea Party, from the blog I'm Gonna Kill Him. Made me cry.

The poet and multi-talented artist Rich Ferguson's video: Human Condition

A funny slice of life from the blog Mama Knows, Honeychild

This got my guts all knotted up. A man took a polaroid (almost) every day for 18 years until he died of a brain tumor. Then his friends put it all together and made a blog and an art exhibit out of them. 

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