Wednesday, October 30, 2013

What comes after 29?

So this is an actual conversation that took place betwixt myself and my clearly very tired daughter (She is in bed. Her lights are out):

Lucy: What comes after 29?

(Now here, just let me insert that my child asks me questions to which there are often no right answers. We can go round and round all day long and I can never give a right answer. So when she asked this question, you see, I was very excited. Finally a question that has a concrete answer! I can't go wrong!
Or can I?

Lucy: What comes after 30?
Me: 30!
Lucy: No! I already counted 30.  What comes after 29?!
Me: Ummm.... 30?
Lucy: No! No! I already counted 30!
Me: Lucy, honey.  I don't know what to tell you.  30 comes after 29.
Lucy: It didn't yesterday!!
Me: It didn't?
Lucy: (silent head shake) I already counted 30.  So..what comes after 29?

(Holy balls.)

Me: Sweetheart.  30 comes after 29. Look. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30.  See?
Lucy: I already counted 30!
Me: Okay, well 31 32 33---
Lucy: NO! I already counted 30. I already counted 40!
Me: Well, why don't you start from 50?
Lucy: I counted 50, then I counted 60! What comes after 29?!!  (completely crying by this point. I am trying not to laugh.)
Me: Maybe I should go ask Daddy. He's good at math.

(I go downstairs just trying to buy some time. Actually I'm hoping she'll just fall asleep. Tad's in the bathroom and unavailable to tell me what else might, aside from 30, come after 29.  I go back upstairs.)

Me: Hi honey. I talked to Daddy. He said that 30 comes after 29.
Lucy: (Frustrated) Look!  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9  10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30.  Yesterday I didn't count 30!
Me: Well, could you start from 30?
Lucy: I already DID!  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9  10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32.... (I am trying to suppress a smile.  Obviously I brought this on myself by counting in the first place. Meanwhile, she is still counting very angrily and loudly)....45 46 47 48 49 50! (then she cries)
Me: Oh, honey, it's okay. Sometimes you get lost in counting.
Lucy: No you DON'T!!
Me:  Sweetie.  I think maybe we should stop talking about this.  Do you still want Daddy to come check on you?
Lucy: I want you to!
Me: Okay, I'll be happy to.  I'll come check on you in five minutes.
Lucy: Okay.  What do you count to for five minutes?

Oh boy.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Yep. Buying condoms is still embarrassing.

So, I have a sexuality education class to teach today.  In this particular session, the students get to put a condom on a penis model to make sure they are doing it correctly.  Because, when condoms are used correctly they are 99.9% effective. And average use (the kind of use that may or may not be correct, or done in a hurry) is only 87%. Still better than nothing, but you may as well learn how to do it right!

At any rate, I ran out of the condoms I had for my classes, that I got from Planned Parenthood as part of my sex ed instruction materials. It's a lot of fun to buy condoms and even penis models when you're obviously doing it for work.


My class it today and I don't have time to go to the health center, so I took a trip to the pharmacy.

The windows were all darkened at Walgreens so I headed next door to the grocery store.  I went in and checked the health aisle. Nothing. Then the feminine hygiene aisle. What the heck! Where are all the condoms?  I realized...I'd have to ask.


I wandered around and found two grocery store workers standing against the meat counter. How appropriate.  I wanted to say "I'm teaching sex ed!" But I figured, I'm teaching my kids to do this, I should be able to do it to.

"Hello." I said.
"Hello." The gentleman who worked there said. He was about sixty something, moustache. White hair.  I did not want to ask this man where the condoms were.  "Can I help you find something?"
"Yeah..." I said. "Do you guys sell condoms?"
"Behind the service desk." He said.
I walked away and made faces of gleeful embarrassment as I walked back down aisle nine.

No one was at the service counter.


A bakery staff walked by. "You need something from the service desk? It doesn't open until eight."
"Oh." I said, disappointed.
"You need cigarettes?" She said. "Lottery tickets?"
I was going to have to say it out loud again.
"Condoms actually."
"Oh!" Well, he can get them for you. Just get in line there." She said, pointing to the checkout area.

I was going to have to ask again.  I looked at the clerk. He was maybe my age, rather awkward looking.


"Hi." I said when it was my turn. "Can you get me something from behind the service counter?"
"Oh. I don't think we have those back there."
"The man by the meat area *smirk* told me they were."
He went to check.  Digging around the cupboards, he didn't' appear to be having any luck. Then another clerk walked out. A young twenty-something woman.  His ears turned instantly red while he explained what he was looking for.
She looked over at me. "We can check the health aisle."
"Oh, that's okay." I said. "I already did."
The original clerk held up a box.  "This is all we have."  His whole face was red now, and I suspect mine might have been becoming so too.
The box read
"Oh, it's fine. There's not enough in there.  I need like twenty. Thanks for checking." I said. And got out of there as fast as I could.

Whooo.  Buying condoms is still embarrassing. I can't wait to tell my students about this experience.

Walgreens was open by the time that I left the grocery store.

Friday, October 25, 2013


Sometimes I think about how we're all just walking around with these universes inside us, just rotating around and floating there, free for the jumping in...and I'm blown away.

I just had a walk with a friend (to say friend sounds so simple, she's human being who I feel connected with completely...)  And we were talking about just the search for someone else who has a universe that they want to share.

Some people are so alive and I am just looking for those people to have in my life to connect to and be kindred and alive with.....

It's like we recognize each other, people who are alive or awake or open in the same way as we are.  We walk around in the world full of millions and millions and then there's a burst of technicolor, an exchanged smile in which you are saying, with your eyes: Hello. I know you. I recognize you. I see your universe and it is beautiful.

What a wonderful thing that is.

At work we have two women visiting from Argentina.  And yesterday I had lunch with them and just for the few hours we were together, the first time we've ever spoken...I felt so at home with them.  Because they wanted to jump in with me and be alive and talk about life and how lovely and difficult and strange it is...  We recognized each other.  Just think.  That was just a chance meeting... how many other people are there across the world that I could connect with the same way.  Wow.

I walk around all the time, just looking people right in the eye and smiling... And for all the people who think I'm just weird or odd or crazy....  for the few that look back at me and we recognize each other...we really SEE each other.... that's completely worth it.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


I love fall for the leaf piles and the gorgeous sunrises that I get to see. I love fall for Halloween and crisp weather. I love fall for the melancholy it somehow brings every year over times past.  I love fall for zucchini and squash and pumpkins, soup and apple cider. 

But.  Fall is also when I get migraines.  Fall is when we have to pull out coats, find they're too small and make plans to buy new ones.  Fall is when my kids get used to having hats and mittens again in the morning and come home having lost them. 

The fun-filled hayrides are balanced by the battle over whether to turn the heat on before November.

The jack-o-lanterns are offset by the putting up of storm windows.

The caramel apples are balanced by the sudden search for tights and socks and the putting away of sandals.

It's a veritable teeter totter of a season.

This morning I sat at a red light and felt the teeter-totter within me.  The sunrise was gorgeous and I was listening to a sad Remy Zero song.  I started to miss my friend Harald who died almost a year and half ago and I thought of the box of letters I have from him that I should read again.  And feeling sad feels so good sometimes because it fills you up.  Feeling bone-deep sad sometimes makes me feel so wide awake.  I like that.  It's fall and part of the world is going to sleep for the winter and it makes me want to try a little harder to be alive.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

It's probably for the best

I just returned from a tremendously wonderful trip to San Francisco during which I ate at an open air food vendor park, a farmers market and a really good Italian restaurant, and saw four of my Peace Corps friends, and laughed so hard my stomach hurt and rode a bike across the Golden Gate Bridge.

My friend Rebecca, who travelled with me, had her apartment broken into this month and they took everything she had of value which wasn't all that much and it was very sad for her.  But she had a sense of humor about it and told us that her mom said, of the situation, "It's probably for the best."

No to be fair to her mom, my friend had said that first because she figured at least without her computer she'd watch less TV at night and her mom must have heard second-hand that she'd said that, but still!

So over the weekend we were all together, "It's probably for the best" became a catch phrase for everything.
Crap! I spilled my coffee everywhere!
It's probably for the best.

Oh, man, they're all out of squash.
It's probably for the best.

We saw a guy fall off his bike onto the trolley tracks!
It's probably for the best.

And we laughed about that all weekend.  As a group, we are so interested in silliness and amusement and just poking fun at everything so that on Ryan's birthday, he said, "For my birthday I just want to tell you guys something without being interrupted, made fun of or mocked!" 
"Good f#cking luck!" said Rebecca and we all doubled over laughing.
No. But we gave him five minutes actually.  And we mocked the person in the story he was telling, by not Ryan.  I think we did a good job.

As always, it was wonderful to laugh so hard and talk so much and be together.  It was hard to have to say goodbye again for another year or so.
It's probably for the best.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Energy fields.

I got up at 5:30 this morning to go for a walk with a friend.

Now not too long ago, she was just a neighbor.  Just someone I saw walking around the block with her dog on a leash and her little girl in a front carrier...and I thought that she looked cool.  I wanted to be friends with her. 

But it was before we ever even exchanged a word.  It wasn't just because she looked cool...was it?  I mean, I've seen plenty of people who look cool and have no interest in being friends with them...  I've been around people who are completely aesthetically pleasing to me in the way they dress, wear their hair, concert t-shirts proudly proclaiming bands that I too like.  But there's no connection there, no kindred spirit.  But that's the thing, isn't it.  It's about connection.  And every person walking around, however they look or dress or present themselves...they have an energy about them. We all have this energy field around us and some energy fields are compatible with others and some are not.

And it's interesting to me...I mean, we caution teenagers and have to get to know someone over time before you know if they're truly a friend or someone you want to date.. but sometimes.. you just know.  Don't you?  When I met Tad for the first time...I didn't want to date him but I knew, I knew that he was a kindred spirit after just a 1/2 hour of talking.  In fact, every time I'd ever met someone new, I always sort of imagined myself inside my own head, on a ladder, looking out through a telescope.  Keeping a safe distance.  And then.  With Tad, it was like I got off the ladder, and came down to see him through my own two eyes.  It's like that with some people.  You can come down off the ladder and just look at them, eye to eye.

I just find it fascinating.  I see it play out with my kids too; I mean, there are kids on the playground whose parents I like and I want them to be friends with my kids...  But my kids choose their own friends based on their own energy field connections and when I watch them play together, it's like I can see it!  I can see their energies sort of dancing together and I think, yeah, that makes sense..they are connecting...  

I just think it's really cool.  And it's a good reminder that we are way beyond our hair and skin--our molecules and atoms.  We're way beyond the clothes we choose and our hair color and tattoos.  We're just force fields of energy walking around inside of bodies.  And finding each other in the places where we match.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Going to a party and staying for all of it

I know I've written a lot of introvert/extrovert in love posts....  So you probably know that when it comes to parties, Tad and I experience them our excitement levels to go them, in our desire to stay or leave and at what time...and our next-day feelings about it.

We went to a party on Saturday night. 

When I first received the invite to this party, I presented it to Tad.

"I really want to go to this party." I said. "And I want all of us to go, but more than anything I want to go the WHOLE thing. I don't want to be the first people to leave. I don't even want to be the second people to leave.  So we could all go, or I could just go with the kids.  It's up to you. But I want to go to the whole thing."

We all went.

And Tad made it clear that he was going to the party with me and that he understood I would most likely not want to leave. Ever.  Or until everyone was gone and we were being ushered towards the door. 

I had a lovely time and laughed and talked and ate chili and chocolate cake and squash and quinoa salad...  My kids all but disappeared with their friends. 

And about the time of night when I'm usually beginning to hide on Tad so he can't make eye contact with me and tell me its time to go, I found him on the porch happily engaged in conversation.

And we weren't the first to leave. Or even the second. In fact, we were among the last, all leaving together out into the cricket chirping, post-rain, almost ten o' clock, autumn night.

When the kids were buckled in and Tad shut his door, I reached over and grabbed his face and kissed him.  And said, "Thank you."

Going to a party and staying for all of it makes me very, very happy.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

It's complicated.

Last night I went to a meeting--a steering committee I'm on. And I was listening to everyone talk and throw out ideas for this conference we were planning.  I thought all the different stuff that goes on in cities and towns...  All the different non-profits doing similarly aligned things, all the different places serving youth, or people with disabilities, or elders or people of different racial and cultural and religious backgrounds... and it just hit me how very strange it is how most of us humans just want to be healthy and safe and want our friends and family to be healthy and safe...  But how we all disagree so much on how to do it...Or we're doing things working toward the same goals or missions yet not working together.  So many non-profits or government agencies are doing things that serve the same purpose but doing them in opposition to each other or in competition with each other and my sad that is.
And then on the way to work this morning, I listened to NPR and the news of the government shut-down and saw on Facebook how my friend Patti (and so many others are) now without work or pay and the people in the middle of needing government help at a standstill...until the shutdown shuts up.  And sometimes I'm just overwhelmed about how complicated it all is, all these SYSTEMS that have muddled and confused and mucked up just the very simple idea of humans (and animals, and our planet) being healthy and safe. 

I know it's all a lot more complicated than that...but we've made it so, haven't we?  I wonder what the answer is...