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.