Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Patriotic Musings

Just some totally unedited random thoughts on this 242nd birthday of The USA

I was born on April, 19, 1974, the 201st anniversary of the start
of the American Revolution. When I found out, sometime in 3rd
or 4th grade, that the American Revolution started with the
Battle of Lexington, exactly 201 years before I was born, I was
hooked, I was a lover of American history.  Being schooled in the
70’s and 80’s I, of course, was handed a whitewashed
version of the early days of our country. I watched
Gone With the Wind in 7th grade and immediately fell in
love with the gallantry of the late 1800’s.
 I watched Young Guns in the late 1980’s and fell in love with
the toughness and self-reliance of the old west.  I read My Brother
Sam is Dead in 7th grade and cried at the horrors of the Civil War.  
Again, in 7th grade, I read The Slave Dancer, and marvelled
at the inhumanity of man.  But these books and movies were written
by white people, for white people, and nothing in them
could actually make a young white girl living in the suburbs
understand that this stain was something that
couldn’t be erased.  

In high school history classes there were brief chapters of The Trail
of Tears, Reconstruction and Civil Rights, but looking back, there
were no in-depth discussions going on in my mostly white high
school.  No discussions
of poverty and how it is used so adeptly to keep people powerless.
Not until junior year in high school did I really get some of the
feelings of injustice in the world reading The Grapes of Wrath,
and that was a telling of white
people in poverty.  Okay, I could connect with that.

I think this country is magnificent.  It has some of the most beautiful
natural formations.  My favorite place on this earth is Zion
National Park. The beauty of it.  And when I go there and
meditate and think about
the humans living there thousands of years ago, living and dying,
hunting and creating culture, I am so
grateful that it has been set aside as a place where anyone can go and
commune with nature.  But of course, the nag is always in the back of
my head that it is stolen land.

I was born here.  There are no other countries that would have me,
a 44 year old American, and I don’t want to leave.  But I want it to
be better. I cry at the immigrants being mistreated to the point of
torture. Would a republican think I want open borders?  Perhaps
they would. I don’t. We must have laws, of course, to keep this
civilization going, but how can we do that humanely?
People who flee their countries are doing it for a reason.  There may
be a few here and there that are doing it for nefarious purposes,
but for the most part, people are trying to come here because
life at home has become unlivable. Why are you going to
transport your family across a country, to an unknown land, a
treacherous journey, unless things
are so hopeless where you came from?  
This country is big. It has a big heart that right now is trapped behind
a cold wall of fear.

What if that fear was melted?  If we had a country without fear,
without people calling the cops on their neighbors before
trying to suss out what is really going
on, what kind of country could we be?
 If we had a country that didn’t cling to the past, but instead
imagined a beautiful future, what would
that look like? If we opened the door and expected a friend,
how much richer would our lives be?

Friday, August 04, 2017

WTF Emotions

When Lucas was born, I was totally unprepared.  I thought I was prepared.  I had planned for months for the hypnobirth, listened to the tapes, read about baby's first year of life, breast-feeding, went to all the pre-natal visits.  I would bring a boy baby into the world, he would be tiny, he would cry - a lot - I would be sleep and shower deprived and eventually I would go back to work and Phil and I would take on the task of raising an awesome human being.  How hard could it be?  My mom did it 7 times!  She didn't have any special warnings or give any advice for what to do if things didn't go as planned.
Things did not go as planned.  My baby didn't want to enter the world easily.  I ended up with an unintended c-section that I was badgered into by a doctor who needed to leave for his holiday vacation because the baby was not moving into position after my water broke.  Fine, c-section had not event been on my radar, but fine.  Except, not fine, because I hadn't planned on it, so hadn't read up on any drugs they might try to give me after birth, which might make breastfeeding difficult and which might make my mind very foggy.  I just took what they gave me.
He was (is) a beautiful boy.  But soon after bringing him home, he was crying all the time.  I do not exaggerate.. it was pretty much most of the time.  He could not latch on and I did not get it until much later that the reason was because I was so engorged.  So we went to some formula to supplement.  He never did well with that and was pretty much unhappy for for a year.  I can happily report that he remembers none of this and is now a very happy teenager and the most "chill" kid.  He goes with the flow and will strike up a conversation with just about anyone.  Love him forever!!

Cut to 2nd child, I knew I might end up with a 2nd c-section but hoped for natural birth.  But my daughter also didn't want to move into position many hours after my water broke and I had gone into labor.  But this time I had a card up my sleeve.  I politely declined all pain medication, save regular tylenol, from the nurses.  I was not going to be in a fog when my baby was near.  I was going to read all of her cues and all the cues from my own body.  I ended up with a healthy girl who cried a lot, but not more than a normal infant, who nursed easily and was a very happy baby.

I learned a lot from my first pregnancy and from Lucas' first few years.  I was able to take that knowledge and use it to help with the arrival of Amanda.  I have often heard that first children are the guinea pigs... we parents don't really know what the fuck we are doing the first time around.  But the second time... we've got it.  Sucks to be the first kid.

Why am I writing all this... my children are tweens/teens?  Phil and I had a rush of emotions this evening when talking about Phil's mom, Jeme.
Jeme was a  beautiful woman who deserves her own post devoted to all the cool things she was, but this post has to do with what Phil and I were lacking when she became sick.

I have been racked with guilt ever since she died.  If I had known this, if I had done that, if Phil and his brother and father had done such and such... I have laid awake many nights in anguish, never sharing my thoughts with Phil.  Tonight I did.

Jeme is the first of our parents to die.  She should not have died.  And if she had been the 2nd of our parents to become sick, she wouldn't have died (at least not yet, we will all get there eventually).  She was our guinea pig and I don't know if I can forgive myself for not knowing what I should have known.
When she was diagnosed with cancer, we listened to what she said the doctors said.  We went along with her choice of treatments. Phil and I visited every few weeks and noticed her weakness and chalked it up to the Chemo.  We sent care packages to make her more comfortable.  The grandkids called.  But what we didn't do was go to a doctor's appointment with her.  What we didn't do was question her choice of treatment.  What we didn't do was be there more.  We knew Jeme didn't like to impose, that she didn't like to push.  She wouldn't have asked us for help if she needed it.  We should have insisted.  We should have questioned chemo for a 77 year old woman who was not the most virile of people.  She was strong in mind, but not in body.  We went with the flow, not wanting to rock the boat, just like Jeme.

Her death was totally unnecessary and avoidable.  Yes, she had colon cancer, but she could have lived with it for years without treatment.  Happy years to sing in the church, be with her husband and watch her children and grandchildren.  But she died too soon because we didn't push and she didn't push.

Phil and I have knowledge now about what we will do different next time.  But that is fucked up!  Next time won't save Jeme.  Next time is shit. And it kills me and I think it kills Phil too.

I miss Jeme most when I look into my son's eyes.  I remember the first time she cradled and rocked him and kissed his sweet head.

Friday, January 01, 2016


One of my goals for 2016 is to write something in this space almost every day.  More and more I find that I am not working on the book project because at the end of the day there is not one creative morsel to be found... so I write nothing.  This is not good.  If I can peck out just a few sentences on any topic, I think I will be better off than going to bed angry at myself for not writing a single word.  I had a similar goal last year and sought out a domain name -- something along the lines of 500wordsaday -- but found that none were available.  So I didn't write.  
I decided that I don't need a fancy domain name at the top of my online journal -- I can just use this off-the-grid blog to write a few thoughts, just as I did when I started the Crousehaus blog.

Today was a calm day, and I was feeling subdued and a bit depressed from the time I woke up.  We made it through one year without Jeme.  I think that's about all I want to write right now.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

My Beautiful Mother

He called her first, she, who is no longer his.  He has many who do belong to him and he didn't call them, he called her.  She picked up the phone and listened as he told her his fears.  She hung up, got her sweater and rushed off to the hospital to make sure that he was looked after.  Their past is icky and plagued with betrayal and disrespect, but still she went without comment.  She is beautifully human in a world that is less so each and every day.  God, how I love my mother!

Sunday, February 08, 2015

February Rain

April rain came down in February.  That soft southern California mist that lightly softens the soil for spring planting.  It's the kind that you can sit out in.  It doesn't do more than dampen your clothes, and you feel better, more alive, like the wetness is getting you ready for the season of heat.
The dry months are in front of you, but you can imagine, you pray, you hope that there is enough time for your roots to grow deep, deep down into the newly softened earth and grab hold of something that will keep you from withering under the scorching sun.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Let them have it

I'm so tired of all the shit talk, of the blame game and gridlock.  Can they do it better?  Let them have the reigns.  Do it, fellow dems, give it to the republicans.  Give them EVERYTHING!  The house, the senate, the presidency.  Give it to them and let them run with it.  They have a plan for everyone?  They will help the poor and working class move up?  Let's give them a chance.  Will they say they can't do much because of their predecessors?  No, you can't play the blame game.   Let them repeal ACA, let them reduce SNAP and give tax breaks to corporations.  Let's see if it trickles down.  If their plans work out for our country, I will be in Line congratulating them.  But if not, watch out, the revolution will be at hand!
Give them a chance to fail.  We need the proof because a good portion of America doesn't see it yet.  They need to be convinced.  Let's give McConnell a chance to show them what he can do for them.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Haiku break...

Funky summer day
Wacky dog licking my feet
Spray from hose comes down