24 August, 2014  |   1 Comment

The Gods

djh-lego3

Where are the Gods?
screamed Dottie,
at 3:20 am,
when the beds rolled.

She meant Guards,
Being four,
it sounded like Gods.

Where are the Guards?
screamed Dottie,
at 3:20 am,
when the beds rolled.

I held her,
We were sleeping, I said.
I’m so sorry, we were sleeping.

Where are the Gods?
I whispered,
after they chopped his head off.
after they shot him, six times.
after my complicit neglect
buried us.

Where are the Guards?
I whispered.

I looked around.
I saw that they are us.

We were sleeping, I said.
I’m so sorry, we were sleeping.

We wake up now,
the burden of our care revealed,

We wake up now,
there is so much to be done.

11 August, 2014  |   1 Comment

Conquering our inner hobbits

Nora Lea kept climbing out on some rocks,
further than our comfort,
over seaweed slick boulders,
up steep hillsides.

Discovering new lands.

From the beach, we hollered
parental inanities like,
“WE HAVE TO SEE YOU WITH OUR EYES!”
as she continued to sneak away.

Come with me to the grotto.

This disappearing made me grumpy.
Grump trumped discomfort,
so I climbed out on those boulders,
braving nature’s oogy glory.

Can you believe it?

There, an alcove,
three feet wide and 7 feet deep,
tiny waterfalls,
the perfect water princess lair,
Ariel’s grotto.

Ariel's Grotto.

The older we get, the deeper those ruts of our routine become.
The tighter I cling to perceived safety.

All of it’s safe, none of it is.

The last few months have shown our family a little turmoil.
Employment, health, life, family,
it’s all shaking up, changing in a way that feels unsafe.

Profoundly uncomfortable.

But that discomfort is the way to growth, right?
It’s that stretching that gets us where we need to go.
Right?

If it were up to James and me,
we would wake in our hobbit hole
to do the same thing, every day,
the way we did it before.

They tell me that we need to mix it up.
They tell me I need an efficient routine.
An ironclad routine.

4 August, 2014  |   Comment

On The Sads

The Gift of Tears
1. The Gift of Tears is on my friend Margit’s brilliant site TueNight. (It’s like we’re blogging in 2002, but with an editor this time.)

2. Read this brilliant post on ZenArchery: Everyone I know is brokenhearted.
Put your babies in Black Flag onesies, but make sure their stroller is more high tech than anything mankind ever took to the Moon, because that wolf is always at the door.

3. Quantum physics gives me hope (there’s another reality somewhere better AND worse than this one and that distinction is meaningless!).

4. My friend told me their conspiracy theory regarding the rise in apocalyptic fiction. They said it can be traced to a government wanting us to feel that fighting back is useless. Since the totalitarian regime is around the corner anyway, we might as well give up any expectations of privacy and mercy. This popular culture reflects our collective disillusionment with the future.

5. I see these fires of It’s Not Fair and It Never Will Be stoked in the comments section of everywhere. We compete – how much we work, how hard we have it, how our real life is realer than theirs.

They have it hard. Their real life is no realer than mine.

5. This isn’t to say, I’m not hopeful.

I start a new project today,
surrounded by friends,
thriving children,
enough water for us to drink,
sadness is seasonal.

6. We hope, we gather, we share some food. We remember that our egos can take vacations too. We get mad. Oh, it’s time to get mad.

 

24 July, 2014  |   4 Comments

The Cherry Cordial Revolution

Probably thinking about Grandma Yeager's candy drawer.At 96, my Grandma Clara Yeager (far right) was pissed. A tough Irish broad who raised all 5 of her children during the Depression, she had broken her third hip and could no longer stay at home alone.

Dad and his siblings sent her to live at Woodbridge Nursing Home.

We visited her once a week. My sister and I sat on the end of Grandma’s twin bed watching Star Search while Grandma groused at Dad for putting her there in the first place.

She had a legendary sweet tooth. Fifty years of grandchildren still talk about that candy drawer in her house.

So, when Grandma established a Woodbridge candy drawer, we assumed she had come to terms with staying at the nursing home and the grousing would stop.

One day, a nurse took Dad out of the room for a private chat. My sister wasn’t there that day, and Grandma took the occasion to make a request.

“Listen,” she said, grabbing my hand tightly. “Next time you come, bring me a box of Brach’s Cherry Cordials. Here’s 3 dollars. For some goddamned reason, they won’t let me have them. Put the cherries in my sweater drawer at the bottom, the drawer above my candy drawer.”

Grandma rarely talked to me, much less made a direct request so I didn’t ask why. Soon my dad returned to the room and it was clear this was secret.

A few days later, I bought the cherry cordials at the drugstore across from my middle school.

That night, from the computer, I overheard a conversation between my parents

“…leaving the cherries all over the nursing home.”

“What?”

“She’s sucking the chocolate off the cordial and spitting the cherry out. She leaves them all over the nursing home. The nurse said Mother refuses to comply. The home has offered napkins, containers, special times of day but still, she leaves the sucked on cherries on windowsills, in drawers, in the art room, on the piano, on the table in the cafeteria.”

“So no more chocolate cherries,” said my mom.

Cherry Cordial RevolutionNow I knew Grandma was unhappy with the nursing home, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to be complicit in this… sabotage.

NOW it made sense, why she wanted me to put the chocolate covered cherries in her sweater drawer.

Revolt.

Do I help Grandma? Or do I follow the (eavesdropped) rules and refuse to buy Grandma her cherries?

At the time of Woodbridge, I was twelve, I wore thick glasses and headgear. HEADGEAR.

I preferred writing computer programs to interacting with humans and I was growing hair between my eyebrows.

My body was changing and I didn’t like it. I felt trapped. I had no control over the changes happening to me — and I had less control over my living situation.  I felt like I couldn’t make my own decisions. I wanted my own space, I couldn’t have my own space.

I totally got it.
I decided to help.

It wasn’t her fault her body was changing and everyone told her what to do all the time. That was the worst. I knew from experience.

The next Thursday, I snuck the box into the bottom of her sweater drawer. I did this every Thursday for the next 2 months until she died. They never knew where she got the cherries.

Last fall, I toured Woodbridge Nursing Home with my mom. She’s moving into a nursing home this year under far different conditions (willingly! cheerfully!).

I couldn’t help but look in all the corners, on all the windowsills and shelves to see if they missed one – that maybe, just maybe, I’d see one quivering red cherry, sucked free from its chocolate cover.

Cherry cordial, candy of the revolution.

22 July, 2014  |   Comment

Celebrating the Earnest at Y&YY

It was unscheduled, and positive and supportive. I’ve never been to an event like that.

Y&YY was 3 days in Palm Springs at the Ace Hotel and you are already rolling your eyes at this because it sounds so earnest.

It was earnest.
We could use a dash of earnest.

A Palm Springs Sunset

Good people gathered about 300 humans from their community to share what they knew. The sharing was powerful, but not for the “alternative to SXSW” reasons I’d thought.

The sharing was powerful because I discovered my hunger, our hunger for human connection. These lighted boxes are no substitute for hugging, touching, eye-connecting late nights in person. The sharing was powerful because I met people passionate about this internet that has lately reflected the worst in people instead of the best.

Blogging conference evolve, tech conferences evolve and I really hope the spirit of this event affects other educational/networking events.
My roommate was the foxiest. Also the mom-my-est.

Yes, there was a decidedly hippy vibe, supported by their rules for engagement. Yes, I ate up the respect and positivity.

I also ate up a lot of this kale salad.
Earnest kale.
Apparently I’m one step away from shag carpets and encountering sessions.
(Don’t judge.)

I have been on the RVIP since their first year. Apparently, this is something of which I shall now boast.

But if I hadn’t attended that watercoloring mandalas session with Shelia Campbell I wouldn’t have learned about my new favorite way to unwind with my girls.

I am earnest AND I wear a wig. Oh to be 39 in the year 2014.

Put a variety of chill people in a chill place.
Encourage them to share their expertise,
magic will happen.

And even though I didn’t return with a list of action-items, I came back with perspective that people can be great, that events can be rewarding and fun and that there’s hope for this great internet of ours yet.

This internet needs some hope.

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