Tuesday, December 10, 2013

in the spirit of my own evolution


this year, my post-holiday ennui found me so depressed, I pulled my profile off of the main social media site many of us love to hate and started a new one, inviting all the friends who wanted to stay connected to come over with me.  I would say just over half of them made the jump, a few of them haven't figured out I'm gone yet, and the rest of them don't really care that much and chose to let me silently slip out of their lives unnoticed.  it was necessary for me to clean house, but I couldn't figure out how, so I left the decision up to the people who clicked the 'friend' button in the first place.  am I sad about losing some of the people who chose not to reconnect?  very much so, considering one of them is my child's other parent, but c'est la vie, non?  I found out exactly what I wanted to know - who wants to be included in my life from a social media standpoint, and who doesn'tI'm guessing those folks don't want to hear from me in real life, either, so - better to know the truth, in my opinion.  short of dragging everything I 'own' into the street, setting fire to it, and roaring out of town in a vehicle labelled 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow or Bust' (and causing great distress to my child), this was the closest I could come to a readjustment of my energetic field.  moving out of this horrendous apartment complex would help, too, but that will take time and planning, and I needed more immediate relief*while working on this post, it was brought to my attention that the neighbors have been making a concerted effort to get me kicked out of my apartment.  while their discriminatory attempts will not succeed, moving out suddenly seems like something to get done sooner, rather than later.

but believe it or not, I didn't come to the page to piss and moan about less-than-authentic friends, I came to the page to work on my mantra for the new year.  while I'm not someone who says mantras with any sort of regularity, or prays at all, or even remembers to express gratitude nearly as often as I do anger and resentment, I do generally strive to improve in the areas of my life that I find lacking, and hold myself to a certain standard of spiritual well-being and mental clarity.  as it's nowhere near as difficult for me to make up a writing exercise for myself than to attempt to do yoga and meditate everyday, I'm hoping, perhaps, that the one may lead to the other in the way 'faking it until you make it' helps our intentions come to fruition.  there is so much pent up stress and negativity contained in my body that doing yoga actually releases more internal anguish than I am able to cope with for any amount of time.  it feels as if there is a black sludge oozing out through my muscle and bone - an evil entity seeping into my brain, demanding in its insidious voice that I cease this activity immediately, or suffer harsh consequences - a feeling that causes me to hunger all the more for release.

so, in the spirit of said release, I am choosing to type out the ugly phrases and judgements that kick themselves around my head when I get low so I can negate them by making a mantra of their opposites.  are you ready?  if there are triggers for any of my readers on this list, I apologize - just skip right over them and move on to the positive.  here we go:

Negatives
  • my mommy hates me/never wanted me
  • my family has disowned me
  • I'm fat
  • I'm ugly
  • I'm stupid
  • nobody loves me
  • all my romantic relationships have failed
  • I'm useless/worthless
  • I'm a bad mom
  • I'll never be any good to anyone
  • no one would miss me if I weren't around
  • my life is a mess
  • no one wants to hire me for work
  • living in poverty limits my child's chances for success
  • my apartment is always a mess
  • I'm a lousy cook
  • no one wants to hang out with me
  • nowhere will ever feel like home
  • all my clothes are old/unstylish/worn out
  • I am the subject of hurtful gossip
some of these are rather subjective, such as 'my family has disowned me', or 'I am the subject of hurtful gossip', but I wanted to do this as a full-on purge, and include every little thing that gets me down.  the truth is, I moved away from my family many years ago due to differences in lifestyle and politics, but I never cut them out of my life and made it clear they were not welcome at my door ever again due to some arbitrary notion that there is only one way to live, and death to all who oppose.  do folks gossip about me?  maybe...probably.  can I be certain?  other than the times I've been told it's happening - not really.  but when I'm down, it's easy enough to believe, and I'm no stranger to human nature, or the things insecure individuals will do to stir up drama in their otherwise sad, little lives (such as the aforementioned nonsense in small type at the end of the first paragraph).  that said, let's move on to the: 

Positives
  • my mother did the best she could with what she had.  she fed and clothed me as long as I lived in her house, and drove me to the hospital when I was broken.  she even came to rescue me from a crazy date, once, when I called late at night for a safe ride home.  though I have tried to reconcile with her on many occasions and failed, the healthier choice for me is to recognize the good she did rather than the bad she does now, and let it go.  parenting is hard work, and whatever else it was she wanted out of her life other than raising us kids with our dad, I hope she has found it, now, and comes to know peace.  also, she stayed with me for two weeks when my son was born, and gave him his first bath because I was too scared to do it myself.
  • my body is an incredible gift, and it is (I am) strong and healthy.  all the parts do what they are supposed to, and are still intact after all the previously mentioned trips to the hospital.  I feel incredibly blessed to be alive, mostly sane, and whole. 
  • I'm beautiful.  sexy, even (to some).  my skin is smooth and supple.  my hair is full and lustrous.  I could go on, but I feel as if I'm being unfair to folks who may have body issues by enumerating all the things that society equates to attractiveness about myself.  double-edged sword, huh? 
  • I am intelligent and articulate.  I graduated from both a great high school and college, and I enjoy continuing my education through research and inquiry.  if I don't know something, I know how to find the information to learn about anything that interests me. 
  • many people love me.  I know this because they tell me so.  I love them, too. 
  • my romantic relationships of the past have been based mostly on animal attraction.  fun as that may be, I am at a place in my life where I require more than basic instinct, and I am willing to accept and wait for Mr. Right, while give Mr. Right Now a wink and a pass (and most of my exes still love me - bless their hearts, I love them, too). 
  • I make myself of use whenever and wherever possible, and am of great worth to certain individuals, including the one to which I gave birth. 
  • I have proven myself to be a kind and generous parent.  while most of us 'do the best with what we have', and I tend to favor a tough love approach, I have been there for my child 24/7/365 for an entire decade, now.  I do it all on my own, and my kid is thriving, so...yay me. 
  • I do good on a regular basis, for folks I know, and folks I don't. 
  • my child would miss me terribly if something happened to me, and possibly some of the people I tend to 'be there' for would as well. 
  • while my life may be less organized than it has been in the past, it still functions accordingly, and I continue to get things done on a regular basis. 
  • there are several people who avail themselves of my particular skill set on a regular basis, and often, they offer me goods, services, or money in exchange for my help. 
  • the only thing limiting my child's chances for success are the negative thought patterns that put up barriers to our own belief in the possibility of success.  the world is his oyster, even if he has to work a bit harder to get it open. 
  • while my apartment has certainly become more cluttered since having a child, it is still neat and tidy, and generally well-organized.  
  • I have managed to keep myself alive for many years, now, and the boy as well.  an Iron Chef I will never be, but a passable cook who can get a healthy meal on the table is within the realm of possibility.  and I keep at it, adding new dishes to the repertoire with regularity.
  • people do spend time with me.  they call and ask if I want to hang out, invite me to parties, stop and chat on the street, and sometimes even show up at my front door to surprise me on occasion.  and they let me in when I show up to visit them, as well. 
  • home is:  where the heart is, where I hang my hat, the open road, wherever my boy and I are together, an idea, wherever my chosen family is gathered in love. 
  • my clothes are what they are.  a pair of jeans and a t-shirt can get me through most situations; I'm pretty casual.  past that, I generally wing it and seem to do okay. 
  • let them talk.  it makes little difference to me, and says a great deal about the kind of people the gossips themselves prove to be.
      well, that is certainly too long to be a mantra, but in the spirit of a wise teacher who once told me that all I needed to get myself to my happy place was a 17 second statement of positivity, I will attempt to condense it further:
      I am healthy, attractive, intelligent, loved, useful, necessary, organized, socially active, and a great mom.  my child is well cared-for, and all our basic needs are met.  I have more than I need, so I share with those who have less.  our lives are love.
      yup, right on the money.  it even felt good to say it out loud, so I'll call the exercise a success, and move on to better things.  so much for letting the turkeys get me down; they're still out there being turkeys, but thanks to the bff who called to offer support (in his own unique way), and the friend who showed up at the door to whisk me away on a joyride (I love joyrides!), their cacophony is less discernible to me today.  what do You do, dear reader, to bring yourself up when life gets you down?  who or what do you turn to to help keep your head above water when you feel like you're drowning?  I suggest singing, dancing, drinking cocoa in front of a fire with friends (I live in the Northeast United States, and it's December), calling someone you can count on, taking a joyride (or going for a walk), and hugging your child (if you have one handy), a friend, or a stranger (could be interesting).

      or write out what's bugging you, and turn it around on the page like I did here.  I once employed this technique so effectively in the form of a short story, it caused an uproar in the small community in which I lived between the folks who agreed with my assertions, and those who didn't - so maybe don't have it published in a literary review.  although, in light of the phrase "there's no such thing as bad publicity", a bunch of people who didn't previously know my name certainly did by the end of that day.  succes de scandale is still success, in some circles, and I could be in worse company than the likes of Igor Stravinsky, Edouard Manet, Oscar Wilde, Richard Strauss, and Mae West.

      Saturday, November 2, 2013

      Dona Nobis Pacem - BlogBlast for Peace 2013


      blogging for peace.  what does that mean to me?  well, I'd like to be the sort of person who works towards peace every day, in every way, but I'm not.  I'd like it a lot if there were an end to all wars and suffering, but I don't do anything to help accomplish that goal.  in fact, I can't even get along with the people who live on the other side of the wall from me, or most of my immediate neighbors, for that matter.  other than the moments when there is complete quiet in my neighborhood (few and far between), I have had very little peace of late.  Samhain (Halloween) can sometimes be hard for me when I am forced to contend with people who think mocking my ethnicity is an appropriate costume, and I am one of those people who call others out on their hypocrisy, and get into arguments on social media sites with those who refuse to even look at what they are doing, or acknowledge how their actions may be hurtful.  I was born with an inherited rage, and called 'angry' or 'bitter', depending on your interpretation of my name.  my father used to joke (in his scolding way) that I liked to stir things up rather than let them settle, "like salt in a glass - leave it alone and it all sinks to the bottom,"  he would say, "then you come along like this:" and he'd stick a spoon in his water glass and stir furiously, "see?!  like that!  that's what you do!"  we laughed at the time, because of course he was right, and yet I still don't see a problem with it.  I shrug my shoulders and call myself a catalyst.  but for what, exactly?

      the first time I participated in the blogblast for peace was in 2010, and all I did was add a few words to one of the downloadable templates from the website, post it, and call it a day.  in 2011, I got a bit more philosophical - spent hours looking up, copying, and pasting peace quotes, wrote about personal and national events, and attempted to make some sense of it to myself.  2012 saw me looking to add my energy to those doing the real work, even if only from inside my own heart, and remembering to keep my trivial nuisances from destroying my own inner peace in the face of the work our sisters are doing on the front lines of true activism.  this year, I am on a borrowed computer, so I can't add anything to the template I downloaded, and I'm feeling too beat down by those same trivial nuisances I spoke of last year to be worth much of anything to anyone, including myself.  had I the relevant technology at my fingertips, what would I want to print in the box this year?




      grant us peace...from government shutdowns, food stamp reductions, health care disputes, all the continuous wars, rape cover-ups by small-town athletic departments, the gutting of women's/gay/children's/trans*/indigenous/basic human rights, natural gas pipelines and fracking, antiziganism, all forms of abuse, racism, bigotry, profiling, government spying, school bullies, the militarization of the United States, drone strikes, secret grand jury investigations reminiscent of McCarthyism, forced evictions of Roma in the European Union, famine, disease, school shootings, road rage, human trafficking, dirty politics, nuclear meltdowns and the irradiation of the ocean and marine life, melting polar ice caps and global warming, deforestation and all forms of environmental genocide, colony collapse disorder, poachers, terrorism, school-to-prison pipelines, the incarceration of non-white America for profit...this list could keep on growing, but it's giving me a headache, and I want to figure out how to turn it around for a positive conclusion to the post, but I'm not sure if I can.

      there is good in the world.  we know that.  there is boundless glory and beauty, and abundance, and I just haven't yet figured out how to get my hands on some of it so I can share freely.  I know it starts in my own heart - even though I don't get along with most people on a personal level, I do still pray (in my way) for ALL of us, as a whole.  even though I am no longer naive enough to believe that what I want and need is what everybody wants and needs, I know enough people want peace on our planet to make it a feasible goal, or an ideal to move towards.  we are imperfect creatures, and as conflict is part of our nature, I can't believe in Utopia, but I can most definitely see us doing better than we are right now.  in fact, due to the incredible strength and determination of people like the young lady below, I know that we can.





      please feel free to add your voice to the chorus at:  http://blogblastforpeace.com/  with tremendous thanks and appreciation to Mimi Lennox.

      Saturday, October 26, 2013

      Surprise! a Guest Blogger! (very exciting!)


      today's post is written by Wolf Pup - the small, intrepid human who chooses to subject himself to my rearing, which, if you hadn't guessed already, is rather questionable.  moving forward with that assumption, we borrowed from the library a wonderful little book entitled Mini Weapons of Mass Destruction, which leads to our guest post today:

      "My favorite weapon that I made during this unit is the Z-gun (figure 1) because I modified the design for the materials I had.  I liked building the #2 crossbow (figure 2) because I felt like I was a blacksmith building a real crossbow.  The coin shooter (figure 3) fired the farthest because the balloon was very strong.  the #2 catapult (figure 4) didn't do as well as the others because it didn't have as much firing power with the nut I used for ammunition, but with a cotton ball it was fine.  I like all of my mini weapons of mass destruction because they are awesome!  But the bean shooter (figure 5) is highly dangerous and always wear safety glasses!  During a zombie attack my Z-gun might come in handy, if I remember to bring lots of ammo."

      Z-gun (figure 1)

      #2 crossbow (figure 2)

      coin shooter (figure 3)

      #2 catapult (figure 4)

      bean shooter (figure 5)

      clothespin catapult

      simple crossbow

      this is a chart I made showing how far each weapon fired.  red is the lowest, yellow is the middle, and blue is the farthest.  some of the weapons would have fired farther, but the target was at the 6' mark.  the only shots that went farther than 6' are ones that missed the target.

      yay, fun!



      so, there you have it.  a successful unit study on projectiles based on the twisted imagination of one Macgyver-type dude, John Austin.  some of the little weapons fired better than others, and some were harder to construct than others (some breaking repeatedly due to excessive rubber band stress), but they were all made with items we had around the house.  after these seven weapons were completed, we went outside on a beautiful sunny day to set up our zombie target and tape measure for 'ranged-weapons testing', which was a great deal of fun.  now we're saving up cardboard to build a castle to besiege with hickory nuts.  I'm so buying this book for Hannukah!

      Saturday, October 5, 2013

      The Camera Mart

      I started this post back in March, the day before I moved, I suppose.  I'm not sure why, but it was an interesting thread for me to follow, so here it is:


      why did I search it?  I was thinking about films and credits...watched Rude Awakening...because I wanted to see the part...because I wanted to see...what?


       
       Rude Awakening - 1989. Hilarious movie about two hippies (Fred and Jesus) who flee to 'Managuador' to escape being jailed by the CIA. They return to 'civilization' to thwart an American war plot.
      In this scene, ex-girlfriend Petra - stoned out of her mind - tries to open a tub of frozen yogurt while telling Fred all the things he's missed over the last twenty years.


      ...something to prove that what I remember was real, that my experiences were shared by others, and therefore somehow valid.  so I watched the movie all the way through the credits, and right there at the very end, before the screen fades to black, I see it:  Stages...The Camera Mart, N.Y..  Camera Mart was the name of the sales, rental, and service company my family ran while I was growing up, that shut down many years ago, after I had moved away.  so I did a search, to see if the internet could help me validate my life to myself, and puzzle out if I actually exist.  here's what I found:


      Camera Mart—10th Ave & 456 W55th St.- August 1999. Ad circa 1960s.

      Videography Magazine - November 1980

      these were posted on Fading Ad Blog, photographed by Frank H. Jump.  the big orange ad really hit me with a punch of nostalgia to the gut...we all used to have orange t-shirts with those same words and graphics on them.  see that 'CMTV' logo in the bottom right corner?  in high school, I redesigned it in my advertising design class for my father's business cards.  growing up, I knew some of the history of the company and the buildings - mostly I knew that the brothers Sam and Irving Browning, along with Irving's wife, Hester, had started a film company, and that my grandfather went to work for them at the 'old place', somewhere near Columbus Circle, in Manhattan.  * my uncle wrote an article about Mr. Browning in American Heritage, Vol. 43, No.7, in November 1992, titled "The Lost City", and put up a show of his collection of Mr. Browning's photographs of New York City, dating from 1918-1938.  the Camera Mart I came to know and love stood between 9th and 10th Avenues, on 55th Street.  with a parking lot for our cars across 9th (we drove in from the suburbs), and an Italian diner for fettuccine alfredo on 11th, my tiny slice of Hell's Kitchen looked a bit more like heaven, surrounded as it was in the miasma of movie magic, Society of Motion Picture Engineers conventions, and celebrity-attended cocktail parties.

      my grandfather and his partner took the place over from the Brownings, and they ran the company when I was kid, with my uncle and father working as technicians alongside a core group of people, including my brother and I who would work during the summers, learning the ropes.  after several years, my dad took over a management position in his department, and ended up as executive vice-president of the company.  when the film industry began to abandon NYC for North Carolina in the 80's, due to the prohibitive rise in the cost of locations, it hit us hard, and we went down.  our mostly family-run business didn't have the business savvy, or educational edge, to compete with the rapid-paced, technological advances in the industry.  my dad handed the keys to the complex over to Sony Music in 1993:  From Newsreels to Records:  A New Home for Sony Music.

      during the many years of my happily entitled childhood, many wonderful scenes unfolded before me on and around the stages and studios, including the knowledge that somewhere beneath our feet lay the fabled pool built there by the previous occupants of the space, Fox Movietone, for filming underwater scenes, some of which reportedly starred the recently deceased queen of synchronized swimming, Esther Williams.




      there are even two brief IMDb listings (internet movie database) of a few of the many films/shows in which we were credited, including the famous 1969 Woodstock concert, Kramer vs. Kramer, and Big:  #1 & #2.  I remember the conversations around the dinner table during several of these various projects - how the police were called when some of the guys playing SS officers in Sophie's Choice took a smoke break outside in costume and terrified half the neighborhood, what the Rolling Stone guy 'with the lips' was like to work with, Bill Cosby's strict requirements from his crew, and how the guys used to cover everything that was going to be used for Saturday Night Live skits with 'CMTV' stickers, and then laughing my ass off when we'd see it on-screen at home in our living room.

      there are several reference to Camera Mart in the book Chronicle of a Camera:  The Arriflex 35 in North America, 1945-1972 that discusses the company's role in that camera's cinematic history. I found an article titled "Arriflex Technical Presentation Spurs Turnout of New York Cinematographers" from American Cinematographer magazine, in July of 1974, which took place our stages.  the Mel Wong Dance Company also performed their piece "Peaks" there in 1979.  my search also brought up the name of prolific camera operator and cinematographer Daniel L. Turrett, who seems to have been interviewed about his career path by some career guide website that wrote, "...he landed a job at The Camera Mart, one of the largest motion picture camera and equipment rental companies in New York at that time.  Working as a technician, Turrett learned about the equipment while preparing it for production companies to rent."

      perhaps most surprisingly, there was a setlist from a Ramones concert, on September 3, 1977 that took place on the stages - which led me to two videos of the performance!  the recordings taken from this show were included in the DVD It's Alive 1974-1996, released by Rhino Records in 2007 (hey, they're not even plugged in...).





      and this little tidbit was just too random to leave out - in 1985, they filmed on the stages what appears to have been a martial arts 'musical' (sounds perfectly dreadful to me), called The Last Dragon, which "was a critical disappointment but a financial success, and is now considered a cult classic" according to the wiki entry.  the part I found interesting about it is that the entry states "Peter Larkin's spectacular Seventh heaven club video set was built on Camera Mart stages at 54th and 10th Avenue, a set so impressive that Diana Ross, visiting one day, promptly asked if she could buy it for her next tour."  cool...look, I found the video for that, too:




      in 2007, it seems Sony hit on hard times, too, and sold the buildings once more, as told in the article 'Sony to Shutter Historic Studios', which talks a little about some of the great films that had been shot there, as well as some of the folks who recorded in the studios under the Sony label.  no one seemed to know what was going to happen to this small piece of New York City's movie-making history, but only a handful of people seemed to care.  then finally, I ran across the fantastic blog post Saying Goodbye to a Mythical Pool from the building's neighbors, Avatar Studios, where someone (bless them) had enough sense to recognize that it was a "building with a long and interesting history", relating in 2008 that, "The studio closed at the end of August 2007 and was just recently demolished to make way for another condominium."  having heard tell of the buried pool, they were present on the day of the demolition when "the pool reappeared again for one brief moment in the sun" to witness it, and to take a few pictures before it was gone forever.

      so that's it.  the building was there, for a brief time we occupied it and became a part of its history, and now it's gone.  but I'm not the only one to have seen it or appreciated it, and somehow, knowing that perfect strangers cared about it too makes me feel like it wasn't all a dream, and that I really did live all those great experiences with some wonderfully talented and creative people.  thanks for taking the journey to visit my past with me - I hope you found something interesting along the way.

      Friday, May 3, 2013

      it's like a need, in the night...

      do you ever have so much to communicate that you get completely jammed up and unable to relate any of it?  a million thoughts a minute, and no way to get them all down, because you're off again, to the next Thing that has to happen, and your day becomes this weird race to get all the mundane tasks done so you can get to what's Real, but then realize you're missing everything in pursuit of nothing?  do you ever feel that?  the spaces between have gotten so lost for me as Babylon has asserted it's dominion, and I'm so fed up with feeding into all the nothingness that I Must break free...


      fly, little beach ball, break free!


      our move went relatively smoothly, and I am incredibly thankful for that, as well as for those who made it so.  there have been a few adjustments, such as this being a new apartment (yaay!), so everything gives off that 'new' odor, or what's known as off-gassing (boo).  there are these new Smart Meters here that emit a frequency I find annoying (there's documented proof of them being both a health hazard, and bursting into flame), and the fluorescent light in the kitchen makes me less than happy...but beggars can't be choosers, my mom always used to say.  geez, what a terrible accusation to have grown up with - that I was a beggar in my mother's house, and made to feel guilty for asking for...what?  anything?  I am grateful for the good of this place - the affordability, the location, a hand in creating my own community, the network of resources - and I am wary of what could potentially pose an issue.  for instance; before I moved in, I discovered a blog dedicated to the prevention of having these apartments built at all, the author of which went out of her way to cause trouble for the developers, even going so far as to register their corporate name as her own, effectively forcing them to change their entire investment strategy...or some such, it got really tedious and petty.  read it yourself - even though she made a few relevant points, on the whole, it made me sad.

      it's a much more urban environment than I'm used to - even though we're considered to be 'out in the country' by many, we're not.  at least not to me, who lived in Vermont for more than a decade.  there are streetlights on all night, and I have 100 neighbors as opposed to 20, or 5, or none closer than 3 miles.  there are some issues with the units, and some issues with tenants, but we're all new here, and I don't even know if the complex is full, yet.  it's an interesting place to be living, for sure, we'll see what comes of it.  one of the things that came were some new issues at school for my child.  he's in the same school, and he didn't even miss a day because we only moved a few miles up the street, but he's on a new bus, and with that came the escalation of a poor dynamic he's been experiencing with another student since last year.

      I was happy to move to this school district because it was better than the one my son was in for kindergarten, and first grade was a great experience for him.  second grade, on the other hand, saw him in class with a known abuser of a teacher, and we struggled to get him through it emotionally.  it blew my mind that the school would employ such an individual, and entrust her with the minds and spirits of our most precious resources, and allow her to diminish them in ways that were well known to the community.  I had several discussions with both her and the principal that year in regards to the untoward ways in which I felt she was treating my son, and she just so happened to take an early retirement at the end of the school year.  this was also when the trouble with the other student began - the old, "give me your lunch or I won't be your friend" routine in the cafeteria.  I called that student's mother, and she tried to play it off like my kid was being so kind and sharing with her kid, because she hadn't packed him enough food.  when I told her how it really was, she said, 'it better not have been that way...'




      to be honest, I saw there was tension between these two boys, and I tried to trump it by getting them to be friends.  I played nice with the other kid's mom, even though we're not really the types to bond, offered and suggested playdates, laid out my offerings.  I was rebuffed.  she held herself apart from me as though I were untrustworthy, cited her own insecurities, and attempted to bow out courteously.  sadly, she got dragged into a separate drama with another mama who took a quick dislike to me last year, as well.  that mama got all huffy with me over my friendship with a burlesque performer, whom I posted a picture of my son posing with to facebook, at our college graduation dinner.  that mama can bite me.  anyway, the other boy starts with these little threats, like 'stop tapping your pencil or I'll kick you in the wiener'.  then he drops his recorder in the hallway, and with the sharp shards, scratches my kid across the back twice, and says it was an accident.  now, since we moved to the new apartments, and these two boys who have been having issues for quite some time are on the same bus, my kid is 'dirty and smelly because he's poor'.  and not just that one kid is saying it - all the kids he invited to his birthday party are saying it.  like a big, group, bully-session.

      now, my son has been saying how he doesn't much feel like going to school anymore, and who could blame him?  but whenever I threaten to pull him out and homeschool him, he balks and chooses to go back and just deal out a few snappy comebacks I helped him prepare.  his grades are good, and he's a great kid by all accounts (no, really...), so it's not like the work is giving him trouble, it's the people who feel they have some right to hold him to an antiquated system of what education used to look like, and expect him to want something other than an escape.  that, and a few entitled little elitist white kids who spew their parents' garbage without hardly knowing what it means, who it may hurt, or why.  and no one is going to tell them, because that's just the way the program runs, isn't it?  yeah, well, I'm not one for imposed programming, so I'm choosing to flip the script.




      this is a blessing, do you know why?  because I've been increasingly disappointed with my son's education, and as time passes, I become more and more concerned at the quality of his knowledge.  for all he knows, he doesn't seem to own much of it, and may even be losing a bit of that natural curiosity that children are born with, that spark that can lead to life-long passions, if you show them how to think rather than what to think.  so since I have a few friends with advanced degrees in education whose opinions I value, and they tend to advocate for certain types of education, and through them, I've felt like I have some great resources should I ever want to give it a go...so I decided that it was time to give it a go.  that's right - I'm jumping, and knowing the net will appear.  I went to a college that is based on self-directed learning and personal process evaluations - I know this routine, we can do this.  we aren't stepping away from public school because of the unhealthy forced socialization of a group of unrelated children that can have life-long negative associations, we're leaving behind an overemphasis on standardized tests (which we opted out of, anyway) and lack of pretty much anything else, because I know there are better ways for my son to learn to be in the world, and I intend to give him the opportunity to choose his own path, rather than let it be chosen for him, by forces outside of  - and quite possibly hostile to - himself.


      on your mark...get set...


      ah, Beltane...to me, the halfway point between the vernal equinox (Spring), and the summer solstice.  a great time to burst forth in the spirit of new beginnings!  our seeds are sprouting like crazy, our new home is slowly getting organized, flirtations are in the air, and the weather is beckoning us all outdoors to glory in the sunshine while it's here to bless us. I feel hopeful, like I finally did something right and am afraid to celebrate for fear of jinxing it, or because I just think I made a right decision, and am waiting to be proven wrong...  either way, in This 'now', the moment in which I'm typing these words together, it feels like it could be what I dared to dream about not long ago, as a good next chapter to begin in this book I keep writing - the one titled 'Me'.  because when it comes right down to it, the only thing I really know is my own mind, and even that is admittedly changeable. 


      ...grow!


      Monday, March 11, 2013

      annual moving entry...


      Friday:

      changed the name of my etsy shop (took longer than I would have thought), designed and posted a new banner (and have this great new business card idea),


                                                                                        checked out a few avenues to sell photos on the internet and began that process, found this great eco-dish-scrubby online, designed a flyer inviting people to my first sacred photo session, outlined the 8-week workshop, compiled an equipment list, began to catalog the prints I'm going to offer for sale, and started packing my house to move.  finally got the cat fixed,


      opened a new bank account because my bank of 15 years left town, started the process of getting my direct deposit switched over, shipped an Etsy order for my kid's chapbook (^_^),


                                                                                           and kept my household running smoothly.

      Saturday:

      packed boxes, took the kid to play practice, visited with a friend, did laundry, picked the kid up and went to the 1st - 3rd grade's art opening at a local gallery with his buddies from the play, then went back to one of their houses to hang out and visit.

      Sunday:

      packed boxes.  planned food/clothing/bathing needs for the next few days so the transition is as smooth as possible.  39 hours 'til the lease-signing, just want to be there already.  sure, who wouldn't want to avoid the heavy lifting, sweaty, grunting, knocking about part, but my constant moving is probably the only real exercise I get.  my annual cardio and weight-training regime - moving all my furniture and ephemera from one place to another.  there's so much to do over the next couple of days, and I'll probably have to be dis-connected during at least some portion of it.  how will I survive?!  well, see you all in the new place, I guess ~

      Wednesday, March 6, 2013

      mytho-poet-ography


      this is my box of 'photo stuff'.  it lives in the closet.



      in this box can be found notes/references/resources, some Kodak Polycontrast III RC black & white paper, a box of Arista classic VC fiber paper, the remnants of a past group show, the portfolio I put together sometime in the '90's, a study from a solo show, three binders full of negatives and prints, developing tank, lupe, a couple of boxes of Arista 400 medium format film, a few of said negatives, and a half-finished photo-book.


      in looking at my next project, it feels quite like my last project - Nexus of Ecstasy - where I finally condensed my earlier scribblings and sketches into one book (the loose ends of which are still waiting to be ritually burned).  the project that is growing from Nexus requires me to create images, and in order to do that I need to re-engage with my photography, so...I thought I'd open the box (insert Pandora reference here). since I got such lovely and positive feedback on that old 'snow tires' photo of mine on here, I thought I'd share the journey in...

        
      as Julie Andrews sings, "Let's start at the very beginning...a very good place..to start," in my head, the first question I asked myself was whether or not I thought I needed to use watermarks, and decided that I did not.  excellent.  problem handled, moving on. now I need to figure out how to give people the option to purchase an image and/or book of mine, if they like.  of course, people should always feel free to just mail me money, too, that always works.


      so I think I'm just going to post the photos as they happened, and see what kind of feedback I get while I work out how best to market them.  suggestions, support, and love are always welcome.  cheers!

      Sunday, March 3, 2013

      wordle 98


      98


      hello again...haven't been by the wordle in a while, but remembered it was Sunday, so I stopped in to see.  since the words were lifted from Sherman Alexie, who is one of my favorite writers, I figured it was a moment I should embrace.


      first instant snare ride gasps dust slap blue unbalance deserves wings blessed


      the vibration   increases   in intensity

      snared   in that first instant

      when the dust from the ride envelopes you   in a cloud of haze

      that has you

                          gasping

                til you're blue

      entering   unbalanced and giddy

      this blessed gathering

      reminding me   how we deserve   our wings



      just a short little nothing to dip my toes back in, get some momentum going.  hope everyone out in wordle-land is fine and fabulous, and I look forward to reading your pieces!



      Tuesday, February 19, 2013

      a long way from wordle 91


      just over a month ago (January 13th), I came to this page to write from the Sunday Whirl prompt for the week, and found I was too depressed from the death of a woman very near and dear to me to do so.  I've been pretty stalled ever since.  there's so much change happening all around me that I've had a bit of a hard time keeping up, it having been the dark time of the year, when I generally need to withdraw and hide out alone.  but we've past my birthday, now, when I get my annual resurgence of solar energy and 'snap out of it' a bit - waking like a bear, or Spring.  slowly, and with a grumbling...

      anyway, I want to share what I had written on that day (January 13th), and a bit that came a few weeks after, rounded out with this final edit finished near the end of February (quite the process piece?).  the Whirl words for the week of January 13th were taken from the poem Get Drunk by Charles Baudelaire, reprinted below.  what follows are my edited musings ravings from that day, and a few days after:

      "You have to be always drunk. That's all there is to it—it's the only way. So as not to feel the horrible burden of time that breaks your back and bends you to the earth, you have to be continually drunk.
      But on what? Wine, poetry or virtue, as you wish. But be drunk.
      And if sometimes, on the steps of a palace or the green grass of a ditch, in the mournful solitude of your room, you wake again, drunkenness already diminishing or gone, ask the wind, the wave, the star, the bird, the clock, everything that is flying, everything that is groaning, everything that is rolling, everything that is singing, everything that is speaking. . .ask what time it is and wind, wave, star, bird, clock will answer you: "It is time to be drunk! So as not to be the martyred slaves of time, be drunk, be continually drunk! On wine, on poetry or on virtue as you wish." -- Charles Baudelaire (tr. Louis Simpson)

      so I read a brief synopsis of Baudelaire after reading the above poem, because his is one of the names I've heard, but never looked into.  in learning the poet was an 1860's French trustafarian (rich kid living on family money), I thought, 'I wonder where this guy was in relation to Rimbaud', whose poetry I have read, and who I found by way of Jim Morrison and The Doors.  turns out Rimbaud "claimed him as a predecessor", according the the linked summary on poets.org.  this oddly disappointing piece of information led me on a brief search to attempt to discover the people who inspired the writers who inspired me, starting (for whatever reason) with Hunter S. Thompson.  about an hour of that activity left me feeling flat and none the wiser, so I ditched it and tried to come back to the page to scratch out whatever was kicking me in the head.

      and what was it I saw?  the American experience through the immigrant's eyes, the crumbling of the American dream.  a leather jacket rock and roll poodle skirt chrome and muscle arrogance, that got beat down by the chess club after school.  no, that's not it, but it had something to do with thinking of a way to talk about Audre Lorde, Alison Bechdel, Adrienne Rich, Gloria Anzaldua, and Cherrie Moraga without having to justify to myself and others that I'm not a lesbian when I do...why should it matter?  why does anyone care?  but I guess their experiences taught me a great deal about the world that I hadn't seen, and explained so much that I didn't understand.

      ...anyway, I haven't even looked at the words, yet, I found out first thing this morning that Ayala died, and it's pretty much all I've been thinking about since then.  I want to talk about her, but I'm not sure how - maybe through the words of the wordle ~

      ditch drunk virtue room bends breaks steps palace burden wish poetry diminishing

      I.

      my heart breaks   eternally
      diminishing slowly    like an old drunk on the steps of a palace
      growing ever thinner until he
      disappears
      one day and no one notices
      until

      is it the burden of poetry
      to bend me over these words
      wishing against my own virtue
      for the days when all I could wish for
      was to be drunk

      in a ditch
      with poetry
      never rooms   never virtue
      never rooms and virtue

      II.

      oh   as my heart breaks   eternally
      and I rage against the diminishing with
      poems of drink and ditches
      from my room of virtue
      my heart bends   strains against the breaking
      of a burden
      so like a palace
      with old drunks on the steps

      the knowing
      that this is what it comes to
      making it none the easier
      to see



      A Season in Hell kind of day - oh, those drunken French aristocrats...nope nothing about Ayala in there, either.  just summat about the rainy day grief and despair I'm feeling in general, the 'end of the January thaw ennui' as we head back into brutal winter.  needing to work in earnest, punch my way out of that bag, already, it's so old...but I am stalled today by yet another emotional hit, and I feel like...I feel like I want my Algerian mom.  she'd know what cream to put on my face, which muscles to rub, what tea to make while fixing the food she knew would help.  I think of Sherman Alexie's grandmother, with "hands that smelled deep roots buried in the earth".  I think about how all the elders are gone from my life, now, all the 'foreigners' from the old country, and I'm left with a handful of distant white cousins I barely know but for our shared experience - and that crazybitch mother I could do without. I'm feeling really lost and alone.

      I've decided I'm really tired of academics again, which is helpful, because there's no way I can go back to school this semester, anyway, but I still want to work on my thesis.  I want to look at the question of removing a woman's breasts, and think about the graphic novel Transmetropolitan and Hunter S. Thompson - coming down off the mountain, that wild person, who's doing it?  for a minute, I thought it could be me again (can you tell I miss him?  he was in my dream the other night), but I'm not that sharp anymore, if I ever really was.  while searching for his influences, I found a list of people he said he'd look to as examples of who's good today, but nothing about his influences...must find out.

      coming into Aquarius while in mourning.  I am devoutly sad, though I managed to be playful with the kid on the bus stop this morning.  lost in fantasy to transmute my pain, swinging between really losing it and being my own life coach.  splitting in two, and sewing myself back together, endlessly.  my favorite astrologer and his talk about rewriting your own mythology - what I've been trying to do, why is it taking so long?  is it so hard to challenge the dominant paradigm?  that's another post that has been sitting unwritten...there's so much to dive into with that one, it may be more of a term paper than a blog post.

      oh, total non-sequitor, but with all the noise about guns lately (so sick of it, already), I figured out that my stance is that I can't see it on any other level than in absolutes, like a child, so I end up with simply "War is Bad", and in my way, I will flip that statement to reflect the positive, and turn it into "Peace Is Good".  and that applies to all human rights issues, I think, but I also know that I am hopelessly naive, no matter how much I engage with a subject in an attempt to learn it.  evolution for the better is long overdue.

      photo-documented timelines, like I always saw...pictures and stories.  the time is now.  can I throw myself the rope I've been tying slowly around my own neck?  and in telling the stories, I don't mean to forget the ugly ones, because there will always be those who will need them.

      ah, hell.  I'm just alone in my mourning and melancholy, and I want to fight the lightening of my mood because I don't feel like anyone has sufficiently acknowledged my pain!  but at the same time, I want to pull off an amazing transformation and immediately manifest all my life's dreams at once.  I want to be infused with the Spirit.  I don't want to wait for myself to appear, anymore, I want to curl up on the couch and tuck my toes in under the warmth of my Presence, and be content with it all.

      I want to join my ancestors for Turkish coffee - the kind the spoon stands upright in - though they will mock my choice to drink tea.  I never meant to be an elder, but...here we are.  as the wine-soaked ditches move into the realm of 'Remember When' and fade from memory, I wonder at the silence they will leave behind, and if I'm much more empty without them.  I am nostalgic for that golden time in my life when I had all the watchful eyes I could want or need, and sunlight was a promise on my young skin.  losing the older ways wounds me deeply - there was so much comfort in my connection to another time and place, and now I feel adrift in an unknown sea, though I've lived here my whole life.

      it's just the way of it, and I have to move on.  there's an end to us all, whether we shout or whisper, and we only will have mattered to those who choose to recognize our beauty.  goodnight my beautiful mother, thank you for the gift of your love ~

      Monday, January 7, 2013

      The Sunday Whirl #90



      tumult venture breath bitter awake practice clarity step fire giddy within listen

      Worst mom ever?  or just like the rest of you?

      remembering the day we ventured tentatively into the gym to watch the tumult of small children as they practiced their forms, I feel a bitter emptiness in the pit of my stomach tonight.  though I can't help but smile while thinking about my son's giddiness as he tied the white belt around his dobok that first time, one size too large, stiff and white, fresh and new.  four belts later and worn in nicely from repeated washings, it finally fits him just right.  I puff my breath out in defeat as the clarity of our collective disappointment dawns over his sweet face:  "Listen honey, I'm sorry, but...I simply can't afford to pay for your karate anymore.  I feel really awful about it, but I only have enough money to cover this month's rent, and nothing else - I really am sorry, and I feel like the worst mom ever."  this is just the next step in my downward spiral, as the car insurance, electricity, and phone will be the next to go, and in quick succession, as I lose the battle of trying to make my unemployment check stretch as far as my former paycheck (we've been rationing food, as well).  so I send the little light of my life off to bed with an empty belly, and a heart full of disappointment, but with a great big hug and reassurance that I love him more than all the grains of sand on all the beaches in all the world.  will it be enough?  it has to be enough...I hope it's enough.  it will never be enough...

      getting into my pajamas and slipping between the dirty sheets I can't afford to wash, I attempt to modulate my breath in that way that brings on sleep, but it's no use tonight.  I lie awake all night, wondering what I'm going to do to - the stress of not knowing how I'm going to keep us from drowning eating away at my confidence, burning me up inside like the fire that consumed my friend's house not two nights ago.  and that's what I tell myself in the dark - how lucky and blessed I am to be sleeping in my own bed (even if the sheets aren't as clean as I'd like), in my own apartment (that's hopefully mine for at least one more month, unless the rent check bounces, which I fear it will), worried about the kind of thing some people would consider an extravagant luxury.  heaving a last, defeated sigh for the night, I curl myself into the pillows and snuggle down in my blankets, while sending prayers out to my friends who will be displaced for many months to come.  my eyes close on a wish for a dream of My Utopia, a shining vision in my mind where everyone gets what they need without question, and sometimes, a few things they simply would like to have, as well.  like a martial arts mentor who would give freely of their knowledge and time, because self-discipline, focus, and self-defense are skills that a great many folks could benefit from - the least of which not being my son.



      sorry for the depressing post, but that's the situation I find myself in just now - and yes, this one is a true story.  far cry from the playful romp of fiction I dropped on you all last week, huh?