Saturday, December 30, 2006
Today, it would appear, others have love on the brain as well. And the universe has conspired to share their thoughts with me. Now it's your turn.
First there was this fabulous story on NPR about putting Neruda's love poems to music. Take a moment and listen or read. It's well worth it. I don't usually like operatic singing, but Neruda's words in this woman's voice were fabulous. I am going to dig around and see if the 20 poems of love is one of the books I kept when I moved west.
Then there was this article on Trillin. I can't tell you what the point of the article must have been other than to convince you that unconditional love is possible though elusive. I don't like memoirs, but I am looking forward to reading this one when it hits the library.
Though both of these stories ended in death and separation of the lovers, the overriding sentiment was not of loss but of love.
If that love exists, and it would appear the universe believes it does, I want it.
Friday, December 29, 2006
I am happy to know that I am not the only one wondering why we think that executing Saddam Hussein should be celebrated as part of our "victory" in bringing democracy to Iraq.
It would appear that the insurgents are not the only Iraqis interested in serious blood-letting.
Toppling Saddam Hussein did not automatically create a new and better Iraq. Executing him won't either. From NYTimes Editorial today.The only thing I can imagine naturally flows from this execution is that the target on the backs of our soldiers has just grown three sizes larger.
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Then I got sucked in. I could blame it on the fact that I don't have cable, have watched all the shows on broadcast in regular season that I care to see, or just random boredom. But, it may not be that easy.
I suspect I am not the only person who enjoys watching someone being a total asshole (and RIGHT!) with abandon. It probably surprises no other person watching that we enjoy seeing someone get away with anti-social behavior in the name of doing his/her job. For an added perk, his actions seem justifiable because he is nearly always right. House exemplifies the ends justify the means, or does he?
Watching carefully, you see that he is abusive, caustic, entertaining, and self-destructive. Do I really want to be all of those things just so that I can say and do whatever I want in the name of indignant righteousness? Or righteous indignation, as the case may be?
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Yesterday, I drove much of the day with a cloudy head and stuffy nose, oh and fever and headache. Despite my slightly dazed state, I made it back to the Bay Area just fine. Today, I have spent most of the day in bed: dozing, surfing the web, and watching the eight hours of tv I taped while away.
The tv shows were ok, but the real gold mine today was the NY Times. I can't remember the last time there were more than 10 stories I desperately wanted to read. The Christmas themed stories caught my eye first: thieves who stole the parishoners' yule givings, cute remembrance of a night of terror for Bob Newhart and the many meanings of Christmas were but a few of the treasures I mined from the NY Times today.
One good thing about being under the weather, you have time to read.
You've heard it all your life. It's not the land of milk and honey that folks desire. It is SIMPLY the chance to work hard and be paid a living wage. We will quibble with what we think a living wage should be, but for those who are paid $3 a week for back breaking work, if they are lucky, making minimum wage is a king's ransom. I can't say that NO one who comes here is just looking for a handout. No doubt there are some who get here and realize that there are other ways to make money. However, the vast majority of people who come over the border are hard-working people who want their children to have food to eat, an education and the chance for a better life. These are American values; it turns out they are values not just for citizens of the United States (we call ourselves Americans as though there were no other Americans on these continents), but for all citizens of North and South America. So they come.
Women, children, and, yes, men, who want the dream we promise and threaten. Yes, we promise it. We promise it when we go to other countries and try to change their governments. We threaten it when we make "free" trade pacts with countries that ravage their common people while making some people's pockets on both sides of the borders fat. Mexico's government has long been guilty of treating its least as replaceable cogs in a wheel. But we have long been complicit in the forming of those governments. Read some history before you say that Mexico created this problem.
The dream/the hunters
Minutemen (and women) and other anti-immigrant groups lambast undocumented workers as felons; illegally living and working in this country is the subtext, "stealing" righteous Americans' dreams is the real crime. These words spoken by the poster boy for Minutemen encapsulate the sentiment:
“For your children, for our future, that’s why we need to stop them,” Mr. Barnett said. “If we don’t step in for your children, I don’t know who is expected to step in.”
Not to mention that all those folks who never became police but still like a little drama get to dress up and act like Texas Rangers, that is treat people poorly in the name of the law. These people are really dangerous with their guns and lack of sympathy, but I also blame the people like our governor and that police chief in Arizona who foment these groups to tactics that often lead to unethical, if not illegal, actions.
This NYTimes article describes rulings against descriminatory laws while pleading for federal action on immigration. While a laudable attempt to describe the inequities these kinds of laws propagate (and how they are unconsititutional), this op-ed fails to implicate the real problem that no federal laws will address: people in this country enjoy buying food and eating out for less than either of these are actually worth, not to mention clothing. We are unwilling to admit that our way of making and spending money is out of whack with reality. We buy more than we can afford and penny pinch on obvious but trivial items (food, clothing, menial labor) while not bothering to think about savings in real money or consumables (cars that don't burn as much fuel, more energy efficient appliances, etc). Essentially we think of our spending in price tags rather than in overall prices. We are also unwilling to critically examine our luxury buying -- and that includes eating out 5 or more nights a week to the tv in every room of our houses.
What We've Become
To be sure, immigration, legal and illegal, is a complicated and wrenching subject. On the one hand, except for the indigenous, no American would exist who did not have immigration in their family history. For most, if not all, there is no sense for whether their family "legally" entered the United States. Indeed, most people can't tell you how or why their families came to this country.
The tangled web of deception and acceptance is described quite vividly in this NYTimes article.
This saga continues, but my energy wanes. More later.
Sunday, December 24, 2006
Do the other senses become sharper?
Wander without a map, are you lost?
Or are you experience life without a net?
Months into my sabbatical, I sometimes feel like I should know more about what I want to do next.
I search and search inside and outside.
I have learned this:
I don't have to do any one thing for the rest of my life.
I am often afraid that there are things I can't do or can't prove I can do.
I am sure that I can do anything I want to do.
I still don't know what I want.
I have not, yet, learned to name what I want so that I can claim it.
I am fairly sure that once I name it, there are no logical reasons that I cannot have it.
It feels rudderless.
Control is a bad habit I need to overcome.
It feel like I am steering a boat with my eyes closed. I am pretty sure that I will not hit anything or anyone; it's not like steering a car with your eyes closed.
But, there is some danger that I will wander. Aimlessly? I won't be lost because wherever I am, I will definitely be there. Can I handle not knowing where I will land next?
Saturday, December 23, 2006
Actually, I just got to the point where I realized that reacting to the triggers was not useful.
Writing may not be any more useful than reacting, but venting is, at least, somewhat calming.
For the record, no one can take Christ out of Christmas because Christ was never there. No matter how much this FACT is explained to the zealots, however, they just persist on blaming other religious zealots for the problem. Problem, here, should really be in quotes. What exactly is the problem??
Guest columnist, Orlando Patterson, sums up quite succinctly the issues about which the various and sundry zealots are currently arguing. It is a thoroughly interesting piece both for its content as well as the fact that the NY Times has a feature that allows you to look up words and concepts! Love it...now you really can't get that from the print version, and your fingers won't turn black.
Professor Patterson asserts that it is a "Holiday for All of Us," could have been U.S.:
It is the perfect example of America's mainstream process, a national rite that dissolves the boundaries between sacred and secular, pagan and civilized, insiders and outsiders.But, the act of appropriating celebrations as a way of proselytizing is not just an American phenomenon. It would have been more appropriate to discuss the commercialization of the entire enterprise, start to finish...first creating the great big "Christian" spending debauchery and then breaking it down to "holidays" in order to include all faiths in the buying frenzy.
It amazes me to no end that "Christians" (yes, they need to be in quotes as they really have taken Christ out of Christian) are so willing to sling mud and feel threatened by calling the period "holidays" instead of Christmas. Does it not worry any of these so-called children of Christ that Christmas is about buying things??? Um...there is one issue about which I would be happily indigent as a Christian.
With all the things in the world about which to feel threatened, beangryy or indignant, whether or not we say Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays should be the last on anyone's list, no matter how devout they may feel themselves. Get over it...you are driving me crazy.
Friday, December 22, 2006
I am amazed, confused and disheartened by the fact that so many people who "know" me are so angry about my willingness to assert my opinions forcefully. If I don't stop them from expressing their opinions, why should they feel the need to try to stop me from asserting mine?
Is it that they don't feel they have the right to assert their opinions? I assure you, everyone, that I support all people saying how they feel.
I guess I have to stop worrying about how they are judging me.
What is it called when a parent hold his/her child so closely in the name of love and protection to the detriment of the future of the child?
Various detrimental situations arise in my mind... the most obvious: the child doesn't learn to fend for him/herself, she/he has a warped sense of the world and his/her place in it, he/she may develop an aversion to being his/her own person on the off chance she/he would lose favor with the parent.
I could go on, and I want to, but clearly, it is none of my business. I am just making myself stressed out thinking about the repercussions. It's none of my business. I feel the need to repeat a couple more times to see if it will sink in.
It's none of my business.
It's none of my business.
Nope, it's not really making me feel less stressed, yet. I guess I need to try some of the meditation I learned this summer... release, send love, send forgiveness.
No matter how much I wish it were not true, things are what they are.
It's unnerving how much of my life seems to need this refrain right now.
I wish you happiness but I cannot make your choices for you.
I will care for you but cannot keep you from suffering.
It's harder than it should be...mostly because it is easier to be angry and ill at ease because of the actions of others. I can only control my own reactions to the world. It doesn't seem like it, but I really did re-learn that this summer.
May I be undisturbed by the coming and going of events.
Good thing I took notes otherwise, I might have had to start over with my studies.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
I can't remember now who accused me, for I do remember it being said in an accusatory tone, of liking depressing movies. I imagine it was my mother.
I am not the only one. Aimless browsing on blogger led me to this.
Sunday, December 17, 2006
I grant all you parents who live it all day, everyday that I am not a parent. However, having taught students ranging from grades K-12 for over 8 years, I do feel somewhat qualified to know and understand the minds of young children.
Evenly applied, as much as possible, discipline is not cause to invoke anger in your progeny. Kids, of all ages, like structure. The younger they are the more they crave it, actually. Older kids need to be weened from it because they like it so much. Standing your ground, keeping your word, and following through are all sure fire ways to get your kids to love you, not hate you. Kids push because they want you to push back. If you don't when will they learn that there are limits to all things?
That's not giving you free reign to be a control freak or so strict that there is no room for fun or play. Letting your kids run you ragged is not going to ensure they love you. Sooner or later, everything they are or are not will be your fault. Learn to deal with that now so you won't have to feel hurt later.
Tonight, for instance, my parents and I attended my cousin's latest show. I love her work, not just because it is whimsical and fun, but because it demonstrates so clearly the value of being able to see more than is readily apparent.To my cousin, Tesi, a piece of rusted metal is an intricate piece of a new puzzle she is about to solve.
I haven't wished for a job, an income, so much as I did that evening. I would have loved to have bought just one piece, any piece. I have to admit that the chickens are my favorite. Though, the piece in the show that stole my heart was a snake with a WWII war helmet called, War Bites.
Take a look at her art gallery online, if you get a chance, though, it is best viewed in person.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
She said something about wanting to trust a person and marry him. I heard an accusation about not having trusted. Why is it our ears don't work when it comes to touchy subjects? She thought we would naturally belittle her desire to be involved in such an old-fashioned convention. This, no doubt, belies the cynicism and anger she has heard us express more than once.
I have been puzzling over my reaction to her words for the past few days. Trusting and knowing when to trust are issues I have been grappling with for the past few years, but I never understood the extent to which the issue had infiltrated my daily life. Clearly, some words have taken on new and twisted meanings to me. I don't consider myself anti-marriage, though I must admit I do cringe at the thought of giving yourself over whole-heartedly to someone else.
No one gets married imagining that their spouse is going to be a cheater. I am fairly sure that the cheaters are not thinking about how their destructive effect their cheating will have on your ability to trust other people or yourself again. I want to write a long and ranting piece on how dastardly and unfair those cheaters are, but my rational mind keeps reminding me that people mostly don't act with the consequences of their actions in their minds. It would almost be easier to deal with if it were some nefarious plot to keep people from believing in fairy tales. We'll reel them in and as soon as they let their defenses down, we'll cheat on them. I can see their grinch-like eyebrows arching as they imagine the intricacies of the plan.
No, unfortunately, like everything else in life, it is just not that easy.
There are always some seemingly rational reasons on their part to point at why they are behaving in this way. These reasons are never truly rational and they generally have nothing to do with the person being wronged. If you veer off on the path of trying to understand this behavior, you just get tangled in the "why couldn't I fix him" (I am sure it could just as easily be HER, but it's just not my experience) or "if I were a better person" or, the worst: "what did I do to provoke this?" You can also meander down the path of self-righteous revenge or even worse, the "I'll get show the next one before he has a chance."
In the end you only realize that regardless of how or why, the result is a lack of trust. Maybe you even feel like you will never be able to trust again. Sometimes this looks like its evil twin: actually afraid that you might be suckered again, you just close yourself off from any reason to trust. For those of us already suffering from various fears of abandonment, this is an easy excuse to construct the really high walls that are topped with broken glass or barbed wire.
This is what it feels like to me: angry and cynical on the outside, scared and alienated on the inside. Everyone sees the anger and cynicism and generally enjoy having an excuse to dump on you or just not like you. A few people see the fear and alienation.
I don't know where it all ends up. I don't know how to work it out of my system. Perhaps it has started to work itself out, maybe I am sweating it out slowly. Maybe I should spit more.
All I know is that the intense desire to run up to all couples and shake the women until they see that men can't be trusted has subsided. I am still too vulnerable to all relationship issues. I feel the glances, the sharp looks, the hurt feelings like burning on my skin. I still don't want to talk to women who are getting married for fear I will say very many mean things.
But, I do imagine love again. I am still not sure exactly what it looks like, but he will like everything about me even the parts that make him want to scream.
Sunday, December 10, 2006
From where does this new found need for science come?? Well, I need to find a job now. I have enjoyed my unemployment, perhaps a little too much, but it is time to bite the bullet and find a job. I look through job postings sites, friends send me great opportunites; there are so many jobs available. I download job descriptions by the dozen.
Everything seems like something I could do, but will I do it without getting sucked into obsessing about it. That's what I want, by the way, a job I don't care about. I am so over caring so much about what I do, as if it really mattered. There is no job in the world that can replace a real life. So there I am with stacks of job descriptions and tangled webs of emotions that lead to that dreaded obsession. I keep looking and looking, and I know that it is not about what kind of job at all.
What I need to do is figure out how to make the job orbit around me instead of having it be the center of my universe. I believe it really is in my control to change that orbit. But, I am pretty sure it has something to do with magnets, and I have a bunch of those tiny mighty magnets.
Just kidding. Actually, I know that is in my control to change this orbit thing...and since it really is just a metaphor or whatever, I also know that it doesn't have anything to do with magnets, no matter how cute or dangerous for small children that they might be.
It's a personal challenge to put myself in the center. A constant battle, actually. I imagine somehow if I can make myself useful that I will then feel accomplished, but I end up only feeling put upon. When in doubt, spending the time exercising, reading a book, taking a walk, or just musing quietly to myself are always the better ways for me to feel accomplished and fulfilled.
Saturday, December 09, 2006
Well, I hope that the ACLU is triumphant in getting the right to sue Rumsfeld for torture. And as soon as Georgie is not president anymore, I hope they pursue similar actions against him. They got their chance to rule the world and they did a poor job of living up to the so-called democratic ideals they were pushing like bad crack to those poor folks in Iraq and Afghanistan while they were simultaneously trying to topple democratically elected governments in other countries. Donny and Georgie deserve all the lawsuits, recrimination and bad karma they can get. No need to point fingers at each other, you know what they say: point one at you and three back at yourself.
I almost have to admire the spunk that Donny exhibits, one last trip to Iraq to see the troops?? Really, there seems to be no limit to the cheek. Are Donny or Georgie the center of the universe?? Pissing contests will surely ensue.
Thursday, December 07, 2006
We welcome everyone in and give out every detail.
Prayer, thoughts, meditations.
We need them from all over the world, from every faith and belief.
When the worst happens, we want to mourn in private. Who could blame us? It makes perfect sense to circle the wagons, to have our real friends give us comfort.
But, what about our new friends? Where do we draw the line between voyeurism and care/interest?
Last night, one reporter could not control her emotions, her voice did not quaver, but the tears streamed down her face.
We didn't know you, but we cared about you. Certainly your family and friends now have a gaping hole in their lives. We lost a piece of our hearts as well.
Rest in peace Jim.
Monday, December 04, 2006
In my memory, they are small birds. Sparrows, maybe. In any case, it wasn't a close examination of the birds, but the image of them congregating on the wire, sitting so close together, sometimes talking to each other. Small birds don't mind being close together. They seem used to close quarters. Maybe they even prefer them.
Large birds tend to be more solitary. Crows like to hang out together and talk loudly to eachother, but you don't usually see hawks and vultures sitting together. When I think of hawks, I see them hunting: either sitting high on poles and scanning or soaring high in wide circles. I have seen vultures up close, near highways. Of course, I have seen them circling in groups.
Today, I saw them sitting on a stretch of fence. Of course, there weren't as many of the vultures as I have seen of the little birds all at once either sitting on a wire or flying in close formation. Still, I counted 28. Some of them sitting quite close together, others two or three bird lengths away.
The vultures are so big when they sit close to the road, you can see their heads, make out their beaks, etc. These vultures were looking away from the road. Some had their wings out, catching the air. Big birds don't seem as friendly or interested in each other. At least these didn't, so I didn't get the picture of a wedding. But, I wondered, "What are 28 vultures doing sitting by the side of the road?"
What do 28 vultures sitting on a fence mean??
Friday, December 01, 2006
Even better are happy babies. There is no denying the importance of love and attention for babies. So lacking in defenses, so open to new experiences, as stated before, EVERYTHING is new to them, only a caretakers' love can protect them from the world.
Watching my friend with her new little one was fascinating. She was attentive to his every move, sound, thought or feeling. She had obviously been watching him so closely for the past 10 weeks, she could almost anticipate his next move. He knew her too...following the sound of her voice, allowing her heartbeat to calm his pain and soothe his momentary anguish. Clearly, she could solve any problem for him. Mother's love in all of its mythical glory. The bond, the love, the interconnectedness of their emotion. It's somewhat overwhelming, but still awe inspiring. He was the center of her universe and she his sun. That all encompassing love seemed to inure them both from all the evils in the world.
I couldn't help but wonder as I watched them, what if all children had this kind of attention? What kind of world would this be if everyone had experienced this kind of comfort, love and protection from birth? What troubles might we avoid if we were all assured of unconditional love?