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NPN!

3 Dec

Just a little note to say that I have a guest post up at the Natural Parents Network. Head over there and check it out!

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bookends

10 Jul

Yesterday evening was fun and relatively easy in a way that interactions with people I don’t know very well seldom are. I wasn’t stressed out. I wasn’t irritated. I was enjoying the weather and the company and the atmosphere. While I would’ve undoubtedly been happy with my baby’s temperament in any case, I am consistently pleased that George is so sweet, good natured, easy-going. A nice friend to have.

Helpful, as he’s making friends.

My friend Sheri was so sweet (hi, Sheri!) in commenting that I seem to love motherhood (I do). She said she’d always choose her sons’ company over other offers. And so would I choose mine; he’s the best companion, co-conspirator, wingman I’ve ever had. He’s my perfect foil: a squealing, smiling little fatty that draws attention where I’d rather blend in. Who wants to go outside. Talk to dogs. Grab at things. Who expresses his dissatisfaction so clearly and succinctly that it is unmistakable (it helps to think of crying this way).
No matter how much I enjoy his company, his devotion, however, I know it’s fleeting. And it’s comforting to see the seeds of his socialization starting to sprout and peek out into the sun. These babies might not grow into his nearest and dearest, or even stay in his life as anything but a funny picture, but it’s nice to see them roll around together, gnawing on each others’ hands and toys with the abandon of old friends.

RIP

3 Jul


Michael Blankhartz was a newlywed himself when he married me young. I decided he’d perform the ceremony as we stood on the bridge over Whatcom Falls, built by the WPA, 1939.
He said he was slick, he knew (I remember his phrasing). His options were few and most would leave him feeling shameful. He said he could see himself as a successful used car salesman. But instead of that, a joke of a career that would bring him more money, he fast-talked homeless kids and convinced them to come to just one meeting. Stay just one night. Maybe one more. Until they were no longer homeless.
The responsibility of facilitating a marriage was one he took seriously, almost comically so. He asked for advice on what to wear. Above, he is twenty one, and standing in a renovated cemetery, the location of my wedding (park space is hard to come by in San Diego, in December).
He was God-fearing, though that came later. He fathered three daughters. They are all beautiful. I sent his sister a note to say that I know how it feels to lose a brother.
If you’re of a mind to donate to his surviving family of four — three of whose life will be defined at least in part by their father’s early death — please do.
Catch you on the flip side, Mike.

o pioneers

23 Jun

This is potentially going to be a really passive-aggressive post. Just thought you should be fore-warned. How passive aggressive it actually turns out to be remains to be seen, as the post-Ladyfest hashing-shit-out meeting is tonight.
Without further ado, here is my favorite moment from Ladyfest Bellingham 2010:

In case you can’t make out what is happening, a mama deer and her two babies appeared and trotted across Holly Street. I ran across the parking lot to take thier photo. That’s right; my favorite moment had nothing to do with Ladyfest. Kimya’s performance was a close second; as I described, it was awesome. But that was because of Kimya, not Ladyfest.
I had really high hopes for this festival. I LOVE Ladyfest — the Olympia one — and I love feminism. I love groups of women doing things together. I love influencing change, or trying my damnedest. But this was not any of those things unless you use the most liberal definitions. Yes, women were together in various spaces. They may have been individually feminist. But what I so hoped would happen: the enfranchisement of DIFFERENT women, discussion of the dire, dire, omg life-and-death issues that affect women (especially in our community, which is seeing the highest and most terrifying domestic violence statistics of all time), help for those of us who need it, celebration of the EXPERT, not the casual hobbyist or recent convert…none, or very little, of it happened.
I did my best to bring other types of women to this festival. I’m proud that I was able to work in a frank discussion of childbirth with birth professionals, though so few people came. I’m also disappointed in myself, despite my own baby-related time and schedule limitations, that I didn’t push for more involvement and change. So, Ladyfest ladies, if you read this: I blame myself as much, if not more, than I blame you.
My hope for next year (because I am hereby swearing to do next year what I didn’t this year) is that we will focus more on real, live ladies. The ones that need our help. The ones that don’t feel cool enough to come to punk shows, the ones who don’t have babysitters. The ones that are REALLY REALLY good at something, who have tried to make themselves a living, however meager or plentiful (because wealth is not a disqualifier), and could use our free support. My hope is that next year, we won’t shoot ourselves in the feet so many times with (yes) bad jokes and frivolity. That we won’t lob the local, strangely anti-Ladyfest press so. Many. Softballs.
I don’t want to despair at the state of young feminism in this country. I don’t think I need to, rather I should probably just despair at the state of youth in general. But these ladies have so much spark and smarts and potential that I’d hate to see waste away in Bellingham’s myriad dive bars. May they stay long enough to grow into their intelligence and help this town out of its rut. I’ll be here to do my part.

wherein i love lou and george, or: friendship, the perfect blendship

14 Jun

My first re-introduction to the way kids make friends was at the hands of this amazing little creature, my favorite little girl in all the world:

From the time she could communicate easily, I would watch her sidle up to other kids and make friends with them. I heard her unabashedly refer to others she had met moments before as her friends. There was no agreement made; nobody asked permission. Just an assumption that they were now friends. This isn’t unique to her, I know. Most extroverted kids do it but that doesn’t make it any less cool.
Now I have one of my own, who makes friends everywhere he goes. People love babies — this is not news. Especially round, smiling, toothy babies that goo and ba at the slightest encouragement. We take George with us when we eat out, when we go for walks, when we see bands. I see no reason to sequester a child away from normal entertainment in favor of a rigid schedule of staring at primary colored plastic and sleeping. Besides, he won’t even humor the idea of bedtime before 11pm.
This is him making friends with the waiter at the Horseshoe while I was trying to get a nice photo of him and papa (“you take your baby to the horseshoe?” yes.).

I sometimes have to stifle the urge — HARD — to deter him from interacting with people I deem… undesirable. Old, kinda filthy hippie guy outside of the Grand who kept calling George “a treasure”: sweet and well-intentioned. George loved him; chill out, mama. Cross between Jimmy Buffett and Santa Clause drinking mead at the Honeymoon: wanted to hold George, did so like a pro; George was thrilled and gazed adoringly at the guy for the remainder of the evening. It makes me wonder how often my own prejudices or hang-ups have gotten in the way of making new acquaintances.
Today, at our usual Sunday breakfast place, the sweet girl whose glasses we’ve admired, who wears red lipstick so adeptly and takes our drink orders, asked if I was on facebook. She was nervous-seeming, and I told her that on the walk home last week, Nathan and I had talked about how to ask her to be our friend, and if it was even appropriate. I hadn’t yet mustered the nerve — for what reason, who knows — but I’m glad she did. Thinking about how silly and chicken I was, I was reminded of the ease with which we used to interact before rejection dulled our collective confidence. And I am so grateful for these two, for their guilelessness.

really?

9 Jun

Three independent requests for George’s birth story. I guess it’s a mommy blog requisite, huh?