To A New Year

A year ago, this was my post.  I was recovering from a Christmas Eve surgery that turned out well.  Well?  Our collective sighs of relief filled the valleys in which we walked.

It's fitting every year, once you are old enough to actually think back on your life, to think back on your life. These days, I am thinking back to why I started this blog and whether it still applies.  I am not sure who my audience is.  I had some notions in my head that aren't coming to be.  And yet.  I have met some amazing women who I am proud to call Friend.

As I look to the future, but think back on my life, I remember these words:

We in thought will join your throng,
Ye that pipe and ye that play,
Ye that through your hearts to-day
Feel the gladness of the May!
What though the radiance which was once so bright
Be now for ever taken from my sight,
Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind

And here, in its entirety, by William Wordsworth (1770–1850)

Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood

THERE was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
The earth, and every common sight,
To me did seem
Apparell'd in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream.
It is not now as it hath been of yore;—
Turn wheresoe'er I may,
By night or day,
The things which I have seen I now can see no more.

The rainbow comes and goes,
And lovely is the rose;
The moon doth with delight
Look round her when the heavens are bare;
Waters on a starry night
Are beautiful and fair;
The sunshine is a glorious birth;
But yet I know, where'er I go,
That there hath pass'd away a glory from the earth.

Now, while the birds thus sing a joyous song,
And while the young lambs bound
As to the tabor's sound,
To me alone there
came a thought of grief:
A timely utterance gave that thought relief,
And I again am strong:
The cataracts blow their trumpets from the steep;
No more shall grief of
mine the season wrong;
I hear the echoes through
the mountains throng,
The winds come to me from the fields of sleep,
And all the earth is gay;
Land and sea Give themselves up to jollity,
And with the heart of May
Doth every beast keep holiday;—
Thou Child of Joy,
Shout round me, let me hear thy shouts,
thou happy Shepherd-boy!

Ye blessèd creatures, I have heard the call
Ye to each other make; I see
The heavens laugh with you in your jubilee;
My heart is at your festival,
My head hath its coronal,
The fulness of your bliss, I feel—I feel it all.
O evil day! if I were sullen
While Earth herself is adorning,
This sweet May-morning,
And the children are culling

On every side,
In a thousand valleys far and wide,
Fresh flowers; while the sun shines warm,
And the babe leaps up on his mother's arm:—
I hear, I hear, with joy I hear!
—But there's a tree, of many, one,
A single field which I have look'd upon,
Both of them speak of something that is gone:
The pansy at my feet

Doth the same tale repeat:
Whither is fled the visionary gleam?
Where is it now, the glory and the dream?

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life's
Star, Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home:
Heaven lies about us in our infancy!
Shades of the prison-house begin to close
Upon the growing Boy,
But he beholds the light, and whence it flows,
He sees it in his joy;
The Youth, who daily farther from the east

Must travel, still is Nature's priest,
And by the vision splendid
Is on his way attended;
At length the Man perceives it die away,
And fade into the light of common day.

Earth fills her lap with pleasures of her own;
Yearnings she hath in her own natural kind,
And, even with something of a mother's mind,
And no unworthy aim,
The homely nurse doth all she can
To make her foster-child, her Inmate Man,
Forget the glories he hath known,
And that imperial palace whence he came.

Behold the Child among his new-born blisses,
A six years' darling of a pigmy size!
See, where 'mid work of his own hand he lies,
Fretted by sallies of his mother's kisses,
With light upon him from his father's eyes!
See, at his feet, some little plan or chart,
Some fragment from his dream of human life,
Shaped by himself with newly-learnèd art;
A wedding or a festival,
A mourning or a funeral;
And this hath now his heart,
And unto this he frames his song:
Then will he fit his tongue
To dialogues of business, love, or strife;
But it will not be long
Ere this be thrown aside,
And with new joy and pride
The little actor cons another part;
Filling from time to time his 'humorous stage'
With all the Persons, down to palsied Age,
That Life brings with her in her equipage;
As if his whole vocation

Were endless imitation.

Thou, whose exterior semblance doth belie
Thy soul's immensity;
Thou best philosopher, who yet dost keep
Thy heritage, thou eye among the blind,
That, deaf and silent,
read'st the eternal deep,
Haunted for ever by the eternal mind,—
Mighty prophet! Seer blest!
On whom those truths do rest,
Which we are toiling
all our lives to find,
In darkness lost, the darkness of the grave;
Thou, over whom thy Immortality
Broods like the Day, a master o'er a slave,
A presence which is not to be put by;
To whom the grave
Is but a lonely bed without the sense or sight
Of day or the warm light,
A place of thought where we in waiting lie;
Thou little Child, yet glorious in the might
Of heaven-born freedom on thy being's height,
Why with such earnest pains dost thou provoke
The years to bring the inevitable yoke,
Thus blindly with thy blessedness at strife?
Full soon thy soul shall
have her earthly freight,
And custom lie upon thee with a weight,
Heavy as frost, and deep almost as life!

O joy! that in our embers

Is something that doth live,
That nature yet remembers
What was so fugitive!
The thought of our past years in me doth breed
Perpetual benediction: not indeed
For that which is most worthy to be blest—
Delight and liberty, the simple creed
Of childhood, whether busy or at rest,
With new-fledged hope still fluttering in his breast:—
Not for these I raise
The song of thanks and praise;
But for those obstinate questionings
Of sense and outward things,
Fallings from us, vanishings;
Blank misgivings of a Creature
Moving about in worlds not realized,
High instincts before which our mortal Nature
Did tremble like a guilty thing surprised:
But for those first affections,
Those shadowy recollections,
Which, be they what they may,
Are yet the fountain-light of all our day,
Are yet a master-light of all our seeing;
Uphold us, cherish, and have power to make
Our noisy years seem moments in the being
Of the eternal Silence: truths that wake,
To perish never:
Which neither listlessness, nor mad endeavour,
Nor Man nor Boy,
Nor all that is at enmity with joy,
Can utterly abolish or destroy!
Hence in a season of calm weather
Though inland far we be,
Our souls have sight of that immortal sea
Which brought us hither,
Can in a moment travel thither,
And see the children sport upon the shore,
And hear the mighty waters rolling evermore.

Then sing, ye birds,
sing, sing a joyous song!
And let the young lambs bound
As to the tabor's sound!
We in thought will join your throng,
Ye that pipe and ye that play,
Ye that through your hearts to-day
Feel the gladness of the May!
What though the radiance which was once so bright
Be now for ever taken from my sight,
Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass,

of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind;
In the primal sympathy
Which having been must ever be;
In the soothing thoughts that spring
Out of human suffering;
In the faith that looks through death,
In years that bring the philosophic mind.

And O ye Fountains, Meadows, Hills, and Groves,
Forebode not any severing of our loves!
Yet in my heart of hearts I feel your might;
I only have relinquish'd one delight
To live beneath your more habitual sway.
I love the brooks which down their channels fret,
Even more than when I tripp'd lightly as they;
The innocent brightness of a new-born Day
Is lovely yet;
The clouds that gather round the setting sun
Do take a sober colouring from an eye
That hath kept watch o'er man's mortality;
Another race hath been, and other palms are won.
Thanks to the human heart by which we live,
Thanks to its tenderness, its joys, and fears,
To me the meanest flower that blows can give
Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears


Starving Artist

Boo is the creative type.  Loves music.  Draws like a fiend.  A free thinker.  A slob.

But I digress.

He got a Christmas card from an uncle.  It was one of those musical things.  Open it up, and it tinkles a Christmas hymn.  A big check falls out and floats to the floor.  He told me to keep the check and ran off with the singing card.


Why the Bad Feelings?

I was speaking with a young friend recently who came upon some commentary about the bad relations between Korea and Japan.  He wondered what it was about. 

Japan forcibly occupied, colonized Korea for 35 years.  Did Nazi-type concentration camp experiments on Koreans.  Kidnapped young women and made them prostitutes for their soldiers.  Japan's attitude toward Koreans is pretty much like the Nazi view of Jews.

They've officially "apologized."  But they're not really sorry.  You ever notice that people who aren't really sorry "apologize," or are "regretful?"

And they certainly don't act sorry: here's a little glimpse.



December 28, my mother would have been 77.  I had been so clogged harmed scalded mauled and stirred that it is only now, that I say:


I miss you.




is where I'll be.  I have a lot of posts brewing in my head but it'll have to be on "warm" until I get back.  Have a wonderful break everyone!

Praise God from Whom All blessings flow!
The lamb of God!
The Son of man come to save us!


My Grace

But He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.
~2 Corinthians 12:9



I don't know why I have to be so defensive when I talk about this.  Well, I know why.  Because if everyone that doesn't see it my way sees the way I see things, I'm afraid I'll be judged as a religious maniac, judgmental and hateful.  Closed-minded.  Stupid and unwilling to look out at the world. I don't really understand.  This post is really about what is age-appropriate, but it's impossible not to address what is Appropriate and Right.

Actually, none of those things are true.  If you knew me.  If you knew me.  Cuz I do understand. 

I just braved the snowstorm to take my 7-year old son and his 9-year old friend to see a local production of a play.  The play is billed as "recommended ages 4 to adult."  So this play.  One too many scenes of the cast end faced to the audience shakin it.  A lascivious female character  making like Marilyn.  A tomcat and a shecat flicking their tongues at each other.  A gender crunching queen careening and cavorting about.  There were some cute puns.  Puns, I love. Puns, I can do.  I can't do the sexual innuendos that were riddled through the play.

This is considered appropriate for all ages.

Don't give me the "they have to learn some time" thing.  Some time. Not at 7 and 9.  I am busy building a firm foundation.  A firm foundation of love and order and certainty and a world that is safe.  You can't build a healthy child whose mind says things are always akilter.  Because when they find the world IS akilter?  the foundation may crack.  Does a 7- and 9-year old need to know about all the things in this world?  or do we, as parents, have the right and responsibility to judge when the times are right?  I know people who don't see it that way.  They want to "normalize" everything for their children.  Sex.  Divorce.  Abuse.  A building's foundation shouldn't be filled with hail and mud and rodents because that's what the building will face.  No. You interlace the foundation with rods of steel so it will be as sturdy and sure as possible to withstand the storms and rats.

And clearly, this play had an attitude of normalizing certain aspects of society.  Part of the attitude is that being sexualized and homosexual is "normal."  And did you notice?  I'm as offended by the sexualization no matter what "brand."

I have spent my life.  I have spent MY LIFE.  Incalculable hours, energy being open-minded.  I went to a liberal, elitist East-coast college.  Further beyond, I read, explored, saw.  SAW.  I am not what you'd ever consider squeamish.  Spiders and worms?  Yes.  Alternative lifestyles and world views?  No.  I've spent too much energy making fun of people who blush at nudes in the museum.  Or picketed Mapplethorpe.  I've thought about many difficult issues and how they relate to my Christian world-view.  And I'm not afraid to do a face-to-face.  At a bar.  A den of inequity.

Now as I close in on 50, I think I'm allowed to have some ideas about what I believe.  I've had and have friends who are homosexual.  I understand the biology of it.  I don't believe it's a right way to behave.  Behave.  I didn't say be.  You can be, doesn't mean you have to behave.  I don't think it's a Right.  And don't even compare it to Civil Rights.  Don't even go there.  Racism is about someone standing there, not having done a thing and being negatively attributed.  Yea, negated, even.

Does that make everything I do correct and righteous?  No.
Am I threatened by it?  No.
Do I think it threatens my marriage?  No.
Do I think a homosexual is going to corrupt my son?  No.
I'm not that frail and neither is my marriage.  I just don't believe in living that out.

And I have a right to believe that.  It's America.  The United States.

Hey, you, you local production of an award-winning play, you may think normalizing sexuality and homosexuality is Good.  I don't.  So stop trying to convert me.  I hate it when people tell me what I should think.


A Long Time

I'll never stop loving you.

From my little boy.  It took a long time to get here.  Along the painful journey to love, I have learned so much.  Healed so much.  Through the pain of this child, God healed me.

If he hadn't been sent away, he wouldn't have suffered.  If the sending country had a better social service system.  If they weren't sexist.  If they weren't biased.  If.  If.  If.  Some even think the whole idea of adoption is evil.  So many evils in the world.  What we do with them?  There are some that insist that I believe certain things, fight for certain rights, join certain organizations.  Maybe I will.  Someday.

Today?  I am still reveling in a little boy, laying in bed, blanket tossled and twisted around his legs, his arms around his oma,who can say,

I'll never stop loving you.


Armor All

The world is a sad, scary place.

In the weeks before Thanksgiving, I was inundated with the sadnesses of people I love: a mental ill child, families struggling with finances, a pastor overburdened with hurting people, a young woman who lost her husband, and then two weeks later lost her mother.  My aching body.  A large lump on my back.  A friend's dying father. 

I spend much too much time on here.  I stare at this:

The map inspires me.  I'm the kind of person that reads National Geographics cover to cover.  And Smithsonian.  It takes me places. The map makes me wonder where I can wander.  Like David running from Saul.  Bora Bora.  Come with me . . .

 Halfway between Baja and Australia.

...a part of French Polynesia.


But alas, Satan dwells there, too. I would only be like David running to the Philistines.  And I remember that I must armor myself against the evils of the world.

And I remember, I have only the Lord: He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.  And thank Him I don't have to pay $900 a night.


Everything You Always Wanted To Know About How We Celebrate Christmas **

** but didn't care enough to ask

For the actual FUNNY, original version, go visit Missy!

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Oh Egg Nog.  I take little sips of it, roll it around my tongue, squish it through my teeth, then feel it gliiiiide down my throat while my eyes roll in the back of my head.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? Who's he?

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? The little white kind.  On the tree.  But lately?  I've wanted to put up those big fat multi-color ones that can set your house on fire.  No lights on the house.  Noooooooooooooooo.

4. Do you hang mistletoe? No. No frou frou.

5. When do you put your decorations up? Never. See #4. Unless you make me.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish? Anything that someone else makes.

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child? My mom and brother sitting there changing all the big fat multi-color light bulbs and replacing with all blue.  We were the only classy-looking house of our neighborhood in 1970.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? I was already too old by the time I came to the U.S.  And my parents would never have gone for anything like that

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? No.  Umm . . . why?

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? Whatever inspires me at the thrift stores.  Last year and this year I'm doing red and pink.  Yeah that's right.  I know you think that clashes.  It depends how it's done.

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it? Love.  Love love.  Want to take the Boo Kidlet skiing this year.  Yeah!

12. Can you ice skate?  I can remain semi-vertical without holding onto the sides.  Is that a yes?

13. Do you remember your favorite gift?  Money.  Cash.  Mullah.  Donn.

14. What's the most important thing about the Holidays for you? Shamelessly stealing from Missy: "Oh, I guess if I were really pressed, I would have to say THE BIRTH OF JESUS CHRIST

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? see #6

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Not really having one.  I like that Christmas isn't about tradition for us.  I know that can be all warm and fuzzy and I don't blame anyone else.  It's just that I like to try to remember only what He was annointed to be.

17. What tops your tree? A cocoa-skinned, dark-haired beauty of an angel.

18. Which do you prefer giving or Receiving? Giving. My tastes are too quirky to pin.

19. What is your favorite Christmas Song? Hands down: "Mary Did You Know" by Kathy Mattea.

20. Candy Canes: Yuck or Yum? Tonsil-stabbers.

21 Favorite Christmas Show? Hate em all.  Hate sappy.

22. Saddest Christmas Song? See #19.



If I could, I'd sing. I'd stand on that stage, belt out a song.  Without a frizzled nerve.  If I could sing like this:


or this: (Sorry for the visuals. This is the only one of this song I could embed.)

Kathy Mattea

or this:

Linda Ronstadt

If I could sing, that is.

My Name is Asher Lev

I am having trouble sleeping.  I see figures in my dream.  Large, looming figures that invade my privacy.

I am reading My Name is Asher Lev, by Chaim Potok.  It amazes me, pleases me and tortures me all at once.  How can one man say so much in so few pages?  How can so much tension be revealed in ordinary words?  indicate such caring in just the pouring of orange juice?

And.  And it tortures me because it immerses me in issues and questions I have about humanity.  Empathy.  Clarity.  Incisiveness.  Blindness.  Mutability.

I think it is a fabulous book, but perhaps because I am fascinated by different cultures and have a vested interest in art.  It is about a Hasiddic boy, Asher Lev, growing up in a Hassidic community in Brooklyn.  His parents are pious and committed to important work.  The father travels.  The mother worries.  He is compelled to travel, to do this work.  He is sullen and unfulfilled when he must stay home.  The mother too, ends up getting involved with his work.  It seems to me, they work and neglect their son.

It becomes evident pretty early on that Asher Lev is an art prodigy.  The visual arts are not appreciated or condoned  in his community.  Most of all, it is not appreciated or condoned by his father.  His father has advanced degrees in political science, but he cannot understand the concepts of art that his teenage son is trying to explain to him.  He also will not accept this, what he believes is from the Dark Side.  It threatens everything he knows about life, a life consumed by tradition and the dicatates of the Rebbe, their leader.

Asher's mentor talks about the aesthetically blind and includes Asher's father.  I understand that some people just cannot understand.  I can see in my son the inability to comprehend some things, not just moral complexity beyond his years, but even something age-appropriate due to his innate make-up.  It gives me an over-view of what it might be like.  I certainly don't understand certain things.  The stock market for example.  In the most rudimentary way, yes.  But start talking about trading loans, breaking packages apart and selling them off based on risks and it's all Monopoly to me.  Which I don't like to play, by the way.  So.  I understand that some people can't understand.

Then there are those that won't understand.  Asher's father falls into both camps.  He shows that despite his intellectual prowess, he is incapable of understanding things like - expressing feelings and emotions with color, form and line.  Expressing tension and progression.  The interplay of the 2-dimensional canvas with the 3-dimensional world with the multi-dimensional mind.  But Asher's father is also unwilling to accept Asher's gift or even see the positive aspects - that his son is talented and happy.  Even such a man driven by his desire to travel, at the expense of his wife, at the expense of his only child, will not accept the compulsion his son has to draw draw draw.  It threatens everything he knows.  To him, art is wrong.  And God of Abraham!  Nudity is wrong.  Not just wrong.  Wicked.  He holds on to this despite the Rebbe's approval of Asher's gift.

I'm not saying a father should abandon his moral structure for his child's peculiarities.  In fact, that is abhorrent to me.  I remember some people I knew who were extremely conservative politically, socially and religiously.  They found a religion that fit their world order.  Until their daughter got divorced.  She was an attorney, he was a draftsman.  There was no cheating on either side.  All of a sudden, this same religion became to themclosed-minded, insensitive and judgmental because it would not condone the daughter's divorce.  It never would have.  It had very clear, strict guidelines for divorce.  Hello!?  Needless to say, they left that congregation.

I wonder though, in both fathers' cases, if the forces of the world and not Heaven were influencing them.  Is it cowardice that keeps them from incisively reviewing the situation and finding a place of reason in their world order?  Is it impossible to see any light?  He will not accept Asher's gift, a substantial gift, even though the Rebbe approves.  So it seems, it has nothing to do with his religion and all to do with his box.  The proverbial round peg.  And perhaps his own dream of travelling with his son. Doing this important work together.

Cannot or will not.
Impassive.  Indifferent.  Callous.
A compulsive man could not, would not empathize with a compulsive son.

Is it any wonder we do not have peace in the world?


Pat Me

I don't do frou-frou.  No lace.  Nothing scratchy.  Nothing fluffy.  I hate cashmere.  Yes, Clinton.  Yes Stacey.  I. Hate. Cashmere.  When I was looking for a wedding dress, I gave the clerks minor pulmonary infarctions because
1.  my wedding date was less than one year away
2.  I didn't want ANY lace.  Of any kind.

So we're doing 2nd grade homework.  You know, the stuff I've been struggling with so much?  There was a vocabulary word and Boo looked up at me and said,

What's "lace?"

I'm a goooooood mama!

Different Gifts

I've been so worried about Boo.  He's not doing well in 2nd grade.  Despite the fact that I believe teacher is unnecessarily difficult, I am still concerned about his abilities.  Well, Boo has an adorable little classmate named Z.  We are friends with her parents and have socialized on occasion.  Z's mother sent me a note and mentioned this at the end:

"Oh, btw, Z told me last night that "all the girls in my class want to marry (Boo.)"
Awwww...what a little loverboy. Girls, stay away, he's ours!"

I'll take it!


These Are a Few

I thought I'd steal my friend's idea of a random list about myself:

I like:
When I wear black
Pretty tissue boxes
The Good Wife
The Epistle of Paul to the Romans
Klimt landscapes
Doodling during the sermon
White space
Cool autumn and spring breezes
Watching waves from the beach
The Northeast
Strong women
Sensitive men
Listening to a foreign language.  Any.
Retro fabric
Melon popsicles

I don't like:
Toilet paper rolled the wrong way
Crushed tissue boxes
Whenever someone says "ewwww" about food
Noisy battery-operated toys
Two at the same time (talking, music)
Whiny kids
Being hot
Clingy people
Watching waves from in the ocean
Too many utensils at a setting
prissy girls and women
sexed up girls
Women who use their sexuality to get things

The word "girls" unless it's about someone under 18
Yappy dogs
Bad graphics
Big pick-up trucks
Sheets and multiple blankets



This is a comment I made on someone else's blog awhile ago.  Looking back on it, it was totally the wrong place to share this. (hang my head in shame)  BUT.  I did think it was well written!  ha!  (pat myself on the back)  I've written about this in several ways in the past but I thought I'd share a serendipitously well-written comment:

I want to insert an idea that I have never seen. I’m pretty new to the bloggy thing so I may not be going to the right places. I apologize ahead of time to incorrect or innappropriate uses of terms. . . please just read my heart.

As an adoptive parent (internationally,) I have lived through the trauma that my child went through, and I believe, many children go through when transferred from first mom to foster mom to foster mom to adoptive mom.

I believe some of the pain that the adopted feel can be explained neurologically. I believe, as many therapists and AP do, that the children, yes, even infants, are traumatized by the separation from their (in their mind) moms, over and over again. The bond of birth is torn, then the bond of trust that the infant develops with the next carer is broken, then broken again. Depending on the child’s internal temperament, this trauma can cause neurological damage. This was true of my son. I hope none of you find this hard to believe, because anybody who has lived through trauma can become altered neurologically (PTSD, depression, anxiety, etc.)

There is a special kind of horror at seeing an infant screaming in terror and horror after being taken from his carer. That pumping of “bad” chemicals into his sytem for months…years…can wreak havoc emotionally, mentally and physically. Had I not been made aware of this phenomenon and sought the right therapies and parental methods, I cannot imagine how he would be today. And, what kind of adult he would become, thinking that the world was a dangerous, unpredictable, uncaring place, where the safety-ness (safety nest) can disappear at any time.

Adoption is rife with the complexities that you all are blogging and commenting about – and I cannot remove the fact that his first mom, for whatever reasons and forces, “gave him away.” I cannot erase my unborn dead baby, her relinquished baby, or his lost parents. But I can give him a level playing field of being as neurotypical as possible, retraining his brain to rewire disrupted development.

Adoption has been going on since forever.  (highly accurate terminology) I talk about the trauma aspect.  But do you know about coercions?  profiteering? selling babies?  buying babies?  false documents?  outright lies to your face?  Innapropriate.  (understatement)


Come out and Play

It started with t-shirts.  Or was it bumper stickers?  When we felt the need to tell everyone what we thought.  Or what we thought was funny.  Same thing, I guess.

I remember when they first started showing up.  (Well, I think stickers have been around - remember the suitcases covered with travel destinations?  That was before me.)  When the first opinions were posted across chests and breasts.  Hey look at me


Did you know Narcissism is a disease??  Did you know it's in the American Psychological Association DSM-IV?  You thought it was just an annoying boyfriend or selfish mom?  No, it's a serious neurological disorder that can make life a living hell for everyone around them. 
Ask anybody who has to deal with the personality disorder.

Some people are calling it an epidemic.  The article succinctly describes why it's on the rise.  Go read it.   It's a serious neurological issue.  But on a societal, every day feeding frenzy level, are you helping to stoke the fire?  Are you a teacher who must give everyone a prize?  Do you tell your kid everything they do is wonderful even when it stinks?  Or...do you recognize yourself in the article?  I do.  I'm writing this blog.  I take multiple pictures of myself  so I can get a flattering sig pic.


Take Out

We have a favorite Chinese take-out.  The mom and dad are awesome cooks.  The son?  Not so much.  Tonight, we had the misfortune of getting the son to make our food.  Hubs and I were commenting how it just didn't have the usual zip.

Of course Boo had questions about this.  Why?  How come?  Why can't he cook?

I was explaining that some people are good are different things and some are not.  Some are good at drawings or math, and others are not.  So, some are not good at cooking...

"Oh!  like daddy!"



Condensed Milk

My very earliest memory is of being left.

My mom and brothers were going on a picnic.  I would guess it was a trek with the larger family, to a cool spring that bubbled between large rocks. We wore what we had - underwear, a t-shirt, bloomers.  Some of us had bathing suits because we had some money.

She left me.  I was sick so I couldn't go.  She left me with our housekeeper, who cooked and cleaned. I suppose childcare and whatever else was asked of her came with the territory.  Run to the store.  Pick me up from school.  Watch a sick child.  Housekeepers were often illiterate or undereducated young women from the country side.  The countryside back then of rice paddies and thatched roofed houses on dirt roads.  Shacks, really.  You can romanticize thatch but in real life bugs and rodents found refuge there.  Dirt alleys.  Even Seoul had dirt alleys. The main roads were paved, but iIn the country, which was pretty much all of Korea except Seoul, it was dirt.  Dirt ditches.  Kids playing in the dirt.  Washed by the creek bed.  They came up to the city to find work as a domestic.  Stoking the stove with coal.  The heat from the stove lithe, snaking under the floor of the house.  The first radiant heat system.  She'd have to go to the soot-covered storage hovel behind the kitchen, use a 5-prong grip to pick up the large, round lozenges of coal.

My mom asked me what I wanted - a bribe.  I can still hear the impatience in her tone.  Commanding a brother to run and get me one.  She was clearly desperate to go.  Maybe because the other 3 children deserved it and couldn't cancel a trip because of 1?  I asked for condensed milk.  The creamy, sticky stuff that comes in a can.  I still love it.  And I still remember that moment, standing on the threshold of our courtyard house, watching my mom, my 3 brothers, dressed, waiting to make their exit.  It must have been expensive. The milk, I mean. I remember standing there, sucking on the can, crying, watching her leave me.

Checked the picture.  Nope.  I'm not there.  This must have been the trip.

I know I wasn't in Kindergarten yet, so I was pretty little.  If Boo were what? 4? If my child was too sick to be out of the house, would I leave him at home?  With the cook?  Would it matter if there were 3 others to care for?  All I knew was she left me.




Everyone has opinions about them. Aristotle. Your Aunt Bess.

I read somewhere, confirmed by a very smart friend of mine, that a personbrain doesn't finish growing until the LATE TWENTIES. Did you read that?? 27 or so if you're female and 29 or so if you're male. (That's why you can't be President until you're 35!)

So I guess when you're 7 and you don't get the world, it's cute. We call it Innocence. Your mom says No but you are filled with trust and accept. Eventually. But the trust leaks out over the years and a bitter root leeches in the heart. It shrivels and closes the heart which cannot see the greater good. As a teen, you cannot understand, will not understand. The Injustice. HOW could she say No to me? HOW could she DO that to ME?

Ha. Doesn't it sound JUST. LIKE. US? I mean Us grown-ups. We grown-ups?? Wee grown-ups. Don't we rail at God? When bad things happen to good people. When good things happen to bad people. Do we really know Good and Bad? Do we see the perspective of the Universe? Can we see an Eternal perspective?  Do we rail at God for saying the conceptual "no?"

Might God have made adolescents so we can see how we don't see? and that we have to trust our Father?


Le Savon Free

Originally posted on 5/14/08, sort of. With a few changes.

I'm going to teach you how to get really soft hands. For free. I mean, I'm going to teach you for free, and you can do it for free. I've had many, many years of manicures, pedicures and product testing at the mall.

So, go to the kitchen. Yes, the kitchen. Get yourself the following:
  • Olive oil

  • Sugar

  • A spoon

  • Lotion soap

  • Hand lotion

  • This is NOT an exact science. It's going to work by loosely following these directions.

  • Stand over the sink.

  • Pour about a tablespoon of olive oil onto your palms. Rub. Rub. Rub. Everywhere, up to your elbows if you want!

  • Dump a spoonful of sugar onto your palms. Rub. Rub. Rub. Everywhere, your cuticles, your knuckles.

  • Pump some lotion soap onto your palms. Rub. Rub. Rub. Are you getting the hang of this?!

  • Now, turn the water on and let it get warm. Rinse.

  • Put on hand lotion.

  • I'm telling you - Baby's butt.

    Song of Innocence

    On Another's Sorrow:

    Can I see another's woe,
    And not be in sorrow too!
    Can I see another's grief,
    And not seek for kind relief!

    Can I see a falling tear,
    And not feel my sorrow's share?
    Can a father see his child
    'Weep, nor be with sorrow fill'd!

    Can a mother sit and hear
    An infant groan, an infant fear?
    No, no! never can it be!
    Never, never can it be!

    And can he who smiles on all
    Hear the wren with sorrows small,
    Hear the small bird's grief & care,
    Hear the woes that infants bear,

    And not sit beside the nest,
    Pouring pity in their breast;
    And not sit the cradle near,
    Weeping tear on infant's tear;

    And not sit both night & day,
    Wiping all our tears away?
    O! no, never can it be!
    Never, never can it be!

    He doth give his joy to all;
    He becomes an infant small;
    He becomes a man of woe;
    He doth feel the sorrow too.

    Think not thou canst sigh a sigh,
    And thy maker is not by;
    Think not thou canst weep a tear,
    And thy maker is not near.

    O! he gives to us his joy
    That our grief he may destroy;
    Till our grief is fled & gone
    He doth sit by us and moan.

    ~ William Blake



    This is not for the faint of heart.
    What can you say about a 25-year old man who hangs himself?

    A sensitive young man, who graduated from college and worked with the MR community? Who was loved by everyone in that program for his hard work and sweet disposition?

    Who was especially loved by his 25-year old wife?

    Why did you wait until you two had bought your first house? Was it too much for you? Was growing up too hard?

    Why did you make your wife cut you down? Your wife, whose mother is dying of Stage IV? Your wife, who always lived with the fear that her own mom might do the same? Your wife, who in your early years of marriage must have enveloped you with her softness? With whom you were joined and cleaved? Did you want to kill her too, by what you did? Because you did, in a way.

    I didn't know you. But I have learned some things about the heart from years of sticking it out. And living. What did you learn? Did you learn that your brain was still not fully developed? Did you learn that what you did would affect others more than you?

    I know you were ill. But I learned somewhere through the years that what you did? it is the ultimate selfish act. The ultimate tantrum.

    Someone (who was there) told me when your parent saw you? Their reaction? Anger. Anger! Their first reaction to seeing their baby lying on the floor with lacerations around the neck.

    And I wonder, all those years, your sensitive soul couldn't handle the anger. Couldn't understand it. Couldn't take it on. But internalize? Yes, it seems, yes, you internalized it.

    What were you saying? That you escaped? That you found someone who loves you for who you are and never yells! Who is loving and kind and patient? Who worked with orphans in the streets of Acapulco?
    And see, ma? We even bought a house together. I left you. Now I'm leaving you and your ways. Forever. I hate you.
    Stephen. What were you saying, really? I don't know your parents. But they didn't look grief-stricken like your in-laws and your wife. I don't know them and I don't want to judge too harshly. But I swear. I swear your dad looked embarrassed. Couldn't Didn't look me in the eyes. And in his eyes? I saw no sadness. Not the glazed I'm in a stupor look or I'm holding back my tears looks.

    Stephen. You believed in Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord. Oh. This sin. Can you be forgiven? You can't confess and ask for forgiveness, can you? What happens?

    Guess what? When He died on that cross? He took on your sins. Past Present Future. He said It is done. Dear Stephen, you don't have to confess, because He already forgave you. If we had to know about every single sin we committed? None of us could do it. In a way? it's a farce that we need to go confess because our sinfulness is so deep and wide and subtle and overt. Over and around and under.

    I know you loved Him. And you will rise to live in one of the rooms up there.

    See ya later.


    Bloggy Mojo

    I hope to have a post that's titled how Blackbelt Got her Mojo Back.

    I looked in my Draft box and I have 35 posts I'm working on. Thirty-five. 35. A three in the tens column, a five in the ones column. (Oh that second grade homework!)

    Too Much

    Is there such a thing as too much of a good thing? Flippantly, we'd all say a hearty "NO WAY!" But as I made my way through the aisles of exquisite finery on Friday, I was thinking . . . you know I'm always thinking . . .What does "good thing" mean? Really, doesn't it mean nothing of what we consider good and decent, but everything about excesses and our greedy hearts? What happens when everything is exquisite? when you can get everything you want?

    I'm picturing a celebrity who drives, no is driven in, the best car, carrying a Bottega Veneta purse, wearing the latest Manolo Blahnik, having eaten the most exquisitely prepared fine food, walks into her Pacific Ocean-view home, where she crashes onto her 1,000-count sheets on her Hypnos bed.

    What happens to your head? Can you stay level and sane? What if you're a teenager and your lithe young body and swivels earn you millions? I read that a woman's brain isn't fully developed until she is 27. Twenty seven! Can you see why some young women go insane?? What would happen to you? Does the 1,000-count sheet feel like sandpaper if not perfectly washed and dried? Would that justify firing the housekeeper? Does a mere Coach bag seem cheap and stiff?

    . . . or would you get bored and long for a swing on your grandma's back porch?

    When God created the Heavens and the earth, He said it was "good." Can we take a lesson from the Lord Almighty? He might know something. Has that word been a victim of grade deflation? Did "good" come to mean adequate, when really, it means "just right" and "Fitting?"

    You know I'm no camper. I joke that I'd be glad to camp at any Hilton. You think this is a non-sequitur, but hang on. When I'm by the ocean, when I watch the sun set, when I'm seeing a mountain range, or the infinite color range of the Grand Canyon, I don't get sucked dry. I feel filled. OK, a few minutes looking into the Grand Canyon is fine by me. I have no compulsion to climb down it or anything. But being near such exquisite beauty, I feel a part of something infinte. I can look and look and never see the end; I feel enlarged and filled.

    After Friday's foray into a world of exquisite madness, I was exhausted. I was enlightened, inspired and awed, yes, but also wrung out. Is it just me? What is it about material goods that seem to suck me dry? What about human endeavor that seems to be . . . limited? It makes me want, but doesn't satisfy.

    I'm thinking, maybe you can have too much of a good thing. Depending what you mean by "good."



    On Friday, my best friend and I went to the Philadelphia Museum's Craft Show. We're not talking crocheted toaster covers or refrigerator magnets. We're talking $4,000 pieces of hand-woven and hand-dyed fabrics, biomorphic porcelain sculptures, hand made sterling silver cameras smaller than an Elf.
    But first we had to eat. We went to the Reading Terminal Market, which is one big tourist trap - in the best sense of the word! A historic place that lost its way but after some growing pains, came back around to be true to Philly. There were Amish rolling pretzels, Koreans filleting fish, Philitalians hauling meat. Three musicians in Brooks Brothers suits, having walked down the block from their office, adding steel brush drums and amped guitar twangs to the rumbling of voices and scraping of chairs. We pushed our way past the line at the pork sandwich shop. She said "Indian!" like a sailor on the SantaMaria, and I said "Land Ho!" We sat on round vinyl stools at the counter. Our coats were crumpled on our laps, our purse straps draped across our knees. We were jostled by people walking by, and those standing by to place their order. I ate chicken korma and vegetables over saffron rice, the ochre juices running over the styrofoam plate. She ate off my plate like only girlfriends do.

    We tried to make ourselves small, pressing between coats and made it back out to the street. We crossed over Arch into the Convention Center, my heels getting stuck in the sidewalk cracks. We walked down the runway-width hall to the main exhibition space, green - wearying and deadening. It glared and pressed us down. Six double rows of exquisiteness. The stalls were storage cubes, tied together like K'nex. Row after row. Homosote tables with a calculator and receipt pad, a stack of business cards, draped fabric and Zen pebbles for make-shift drama. Little cube worlds of their own compulsions. A bored artisan sits on a chair. Their 5th show this year, 2nd day, the 4th hour of a 10-hour day. A self-conscious artist sits alone on her chair, trying not to seem like a loser.

    Every stall had incredible wares. We were drawn to certain cubes like flying bugs. A whirling path, like the seemingly random path of a fly. Brenda and I'd buzz over to one, lose each, find each other. Bump. Every artisan had exquisite craftsmanship. Every stitch, every leaf, every weave, every surface was perfect. Many of them had to have some exquisite madness that compelled them to make stroke after stroke after stroke on their leathered clay form; to pick, dry, treat, wind and weave strands of grasses into watertight baskets of fine, consistent patterns; to melt and meld and form and sand and carve minute layers of gold around a pearl in just the right twist, just the right wave. Row after row. Cube after cube. Black ceiling glowing shots of green, sucking life out of us.

    Hyperventilating at so much beauty and perfection. My eyes burned. My heart tied. Throat scraped. My soul spent.

    Exhausted, I sat alone, over a bowl of hot soup, trying to remember the ground I had walked on just a few hours earlier, when I was a mere suburban mortal. I don't know what I am now, but I'm not what I was before.




    If you're scratching your head trying to figure out what to buy me for Christmas, well, here's a little hint:

    Me Too brand. In 7.5 please.


    Eight is Enough

    My husband and I are hitting a milestone birthday in early 2010. I'd like to have a big bash. I was blabbing on about it at dinner last night and HH was awfully quiet. When I finally took a breath, he said," I don't think I'm ready to turn 50."

    Then a little voice peeps up, "I'm not ready to turn 8."


    The Kitchen Sink


    Washed, wiped, shoved and scrubbed. Like all my posts.


    Victimless Crimes

    I live in a small town. You won't see a hooker hanging out on the street corner. At least not openly. Some think prostitution should be legal - a fair trade going on for millenia between two consenting adults. Perhaps even an example of Capitalism at work. A "working girl."

    Recently, a brothel in a nearby town was raided and was found to be part of an international sex slave ring. It was supplied by a Korean mob, owned by a Korean woman, managed by a Korean woman. The workers, of course, were Korean women from impoverished Korean towns, with little education and less hope. The neighboring woman-owned salon business knew all about it but didn't seem to have reported it. Nice. Love thy neighbor and all.

    A federal agent said he wanted to know why the men went to these places. One comment struck him in particular:
    He said he sees the women in the massage parlor as less than human because they do not look like his wife, or his sister, or his mother.
    As if it weren't horrible enough what these people have done to their own kind. Then to hear a man talk about these women - moms, daughters, sisters - as if they were just an animal. Or a warm vending machine.

    A victimless crime. Huh.



    I'm not sure why I'm doing this. Except that I haven't been able to squeeze out any of the octillion things I've had on my mind. (Octillion. It's Boo's favorite number right now.) And cuz Lora did it. And I copied. Except I'm not going to show you my whole kitchen. Dishes in the sink and pans on the counter and all.

    I love my kitchen phone. Original Trimline 80's vintage see-through phone. It actually has a little round bell and hammer that strikes it and makes a real bell noise, instead of a electronic recording of a bell. It lights up too, when a call comes in.

    My every day dishes. Mostly.

    My "friends coming over" dishes. Mostly.

    I used to collect vintage vases and such. I don't anymore but I like them because they remind me of me back then.

    My spices. A little bit of everything. But not too high up where I can't reach.