Sunday, February 28, 2016

unbreak my heart: nope

I had a series of heart attacks in 1997-98. I did not know I was having heart attacks when I had them. I would feel great pressure in my chest, but not really pain. Then the pressure would go away when I vomited. Once I vomited, I felt perfectly fine.

In those days, I almost never saw doctors. I had insurance to cover doctor visits but I neglected my self care. In the case of those heart attacks, however, I truly had no idea the experience was serious. I thought it was indigestion.

Somehow, though, a doctor became aware of what had been going on and referred me to a cardiologist, who fitted me with a heart monitor for 30 days. At the end, my cardiologist said "Well, you definitely had some heart attacks but it's too late to know exactly what happened."

I was much more obese back then than I am now. I imagine my weight had something to do with those heart episodes.

I have had good heart health since. . . but. . . . as part of my ongoing health care, while doing a routine heart test for a routine annual check up, rumblings of those long ago heart attacks showed up on the test. So more elaborate tests were found.  I don't remember the name of any of these tests.

when I went to the more specific test to see if I had heart episodes, the technologist doing the test was helpful and friendly. She pointed to the lines on the machine that showed my heart beating, but pointed specifically to the kinky lines that indicated that at some time in the past, I had had some serious heart 'episodes'.

Emotional broken hearts seem similar to me. If there were an echogram or cardiogram or whatever to see if my heart has been emotionally broken, I'd want to take that test regularly, although what is the point? Such a test would show, just like my medical tests to look at any possible history of 'heart episodes, would show kinky lines of heart brokenness. And such tests would not show that such lines had healed.

I will never heal from the loss of my daughter.

And I will not recover, ever, from other forms of emotional broken heartedness.

My health, physically, is okay but my broken heart debilitates me. Not the heart attack brokenness. The emotional breaks.

I can be happy again, although I don't really expect I ever will be happy again.  I am thinking very seriously of ending my life. Between the darkness overtaking the world, like the Deatheaters of Harry Potter, the world does not seem to be a good place for someone as heart broken as me. All appears dark and hopeless to me.

I wish I could unbreak my heart. I wish I could just believe it were possible. But I do not.

many people asleep

I have often said that although men are awake, they actually sleep through the most important concerns in life. And I can give you the not very heartening assurance that anyone who goes through life with alert consciousness to-day finds numbers and numbers of human beings who are really asleep. They let events happen without taking the slightest interest in them, without troubling about them or associating themselves with these happenings in any way. Great world-events often pass men by just as something that is taking place in the city passes a sleeper by … although people are apparently awake.
Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 182 – The Work of the Angels In Man’s Astral Body – Zurich, 9th October, 1918
Translated by D. S. Osmond with the help of Owen Barfield

Saturday, February 27, 2016

the magic earrings live on

Long ago, when my now 33 year old daughter was four or five, my mom visited us. Like all good mom/grandmas with lots of money, she took us shopping.

I usually focussed on having my mom buy things for Rosie. Most single mothers, and I was a single mother for all but the first 18 months of Rosie's minority, have less cash than two-parent households. My mom was great understanding that I was always short.

I imagine mom would have bought me clothes on our shopping trips but I focussed on Rosie's needs.

Once, however, mom bought me a pair of Swaroski crystal teardrop earrings. The crystal is treated to reflect all the colors of the rainbow. Simple, relatively inexpensive for costume jewely. And maybe, just maybe, she bought them to facilitate Rosie giving me a gift.

My memory on why mom made the crystal tear drop earrings is fuzzy.

They are magic earrings. Many times I have lost one, sometimes for months at a stretch. And then the lost earring always reappears. 

Once, when I still lived in Mountain View, a swimming friend, Kay, and I went out to lunch together after swimming, showering, hair drying, dressing. Kay was interviewing a new, new to her, realtor. Kay was househunting, with a budget of up to one million dollars. In 2005, you could buy lots of very nice homes for a million bucks in Palo Alto, Los Altos and Mountain View, although, and this surprised both Kay and I, it was a lot harder to find bargain one million dollar homes in MV than in any surrounding suburbs.

Kay wanted to be able to go on swimming in the MV pool. She didn't like any of the houses we looked at, and I went with her on just about all her househunting shopping trips. She looked hard in Palo Alto becaduse for a long time, she was determined to only buy a new house. There are not many new houses on the Peninsula and the most, which was not all that many, were in Palo Ato.

Kay is from Thailand. She was deeply superstitious about buying a 'used' house. She said she could never know for sure if someone had died in a house and she did not want a dead person's energy in any house she lived in.

Eh. Kay ended up buying a used house in Palo Alto. She shopped more than anyone I have ever known. I eventually met her daughter, a Brown grad, US citizen because Kay came to USA to have her first child so that child could enchor the future citizenship quests of the whole family. Kay is now an American citizen, sponsored by her anchor baby. Once born in America, that daughter grew up in Thailand, where Kay and her ex husband became multimillionaires running a chain of lumberyards.  One kid went to Brown, one to London School of Economics and one to STanford.

Kay's baby went to STanford and she had followed her baby to the peninsula. On her first day headed to Stanford, she got off at the wrong freeway stop, not the one closest to Stanford and saw a model townhome for sale. Kay pulled in with her rental car and bought the model home, with the proviso that all the rented model home furniture come with it. After all, Kay had no furniture in America.

Her daughter worked for an investment bank, her fluency in Chinese being a powerful skill, plus her Brown degree. That daughter got a $350K bonus in 2008! So I guess she was doing all right. The daughter was living in Hong Kong when I swam with Kay but assumed she would eventually live in the US and decided she wanted to own a house for the mortgage income tax deduction.  That chick must have been making some very big bucks if, as an American living and working abroad, she wouldn't have had to pay incoe taxes on a fairly large chunk of foreign income. I guess a $350K bonus took her over the top and she needed a deduction.

Kay would buy a more expensive home, although the townhome was very, very nice. As she househunted interminably, and I had fun keeping her company because it was the only way I was ever going to see multiple expensive hoes in Palo Alto, Los Altos, etc. As she shopped, Kay decided lot size was more important than buying a used house. She ended up buying a very large lot with a decent sized house with 3 bedrooms on a corner in Los Altos. Then she did a gut rehab of most of the house, mostly to give it a state of the art and very expensive kitchen. The whole house revolved around that spectacular kitchen. And the back yard was huge, large enough to plop down a couple more houses. Such lots are very rare anywhere in N. Cali except in the most expensive places.

And, and this was huge to Kay, since Los Altos had no public pool, Los Altos had an agreement with MV that allowed Los Altos residents to use the MV pool at MV resident rates. As a senior, it cost very little to swim in MV and Kay may have been rich but she was cheap. She cheated on getting the senior rate a few eyars early because the young lifeguards selling the swim tickets didn't know how old she looked. Black don't crack. Maybe Asians don't show their age as much as whites. Or maybe one race doesn't recognize the signs of aging in other races. All the young lifeguards in MV were white and sold Kay the very cheap senior rate before she was old enough.

How I run on.

Kay and I had lunch with a new realtor. Kay had first used the son of her bank officer, the bank officer who had preapproved her for a million dollar mortgage, which meant Kay could make offers as she househunted with no delay for mortgage processing. Kay, unfamiliar with American culture, thought she had to use the loan officer's son to keep the mortgage guarantee and we had gone out with the kid once. Just once.

Five minutes into that outing and I was signaling to kay behind the kid's back that she could do better. If Kay bought a million dollar house, the kid was going to make a lot of money, at least fifty grand but he was clueless. And lazy. He seemed to think his commission was a sure thing, easy money. and maybe life works that way for some lucky white boys but this kid was dumb. And cheap. Kay trusted my judgment because of my law degree. Also, I once was a bona fide realtor. And once a mortgage banker. But mostly, I had her reject that kid after assuring her that now that she had the mortgage guarantee, she would not lose it if she didnt use the loan officer's son. Or nephew, whoever that dope was. The kid complained about spending gas to drive us around, when he had insisted on driving us. You don't brumble about spending ten or twenty bucks on gas when you have a sure-thing buyer with a preapproved mortgage. Heck, you buy her lunch along with the gas.

So Kay had asked around and we had lunch with a mature, forty-something, African American British realtor. She was well mannered, smart and clearly knew the real estate business. She'd been selling hosues on the Peninsula for twenty years and her husband was a contractor, who, I believe, got the job to gut rehab Kay's new home.

Long story short:  I had both my earrings on when we arrived for lunch with that realtor. Half way thorugh lunch, I realized one earring was missing. I stood up and shook to shake off the earrings. Kay and the realtor looked, even on their hands and knees on the floor.  I went through my swim bag microscopically. No earring.

then, about six months later, it turned up on a book shelf in my apartment.

A magic earring.

A couple weeks ago, and not for the first time since I moved to Berkeley, I lost one of my tear drop crystal earrings again. This time, I didn't even look for it, nor did I fret. I reminded myself it was one of my magic earrings and it would turn up.

And it did. Today.

Magic earrings. Lovely.

another 'I hate Catholic priests' tale

Around the year 2002, maybe 2003, my baby brother bought a house in Berwyn. Our mom had been living with him in his previous, much bigger house. When Dave and his longtime life partner broke up, they sold the house to split the equity, which was not entirely fair because my mom had bought that house, given them the downstroke, a huge downstroke. Tom, Dave's now departed ex who became his ex before he died, unfortunately (so after helping Tom build up his estate, Dave got zippity do dah and Tom's heirs got equity my mom's assets had built up for Tom.

Life is often unfair, eh?

So Dave downsizes and, of course, takes mom with him.

Mom was isolated. Dave worked all day. And Dave parties a lot. Mom had no friends in the new neighborhood, not that our mom was every much of a social butterfly. she usually had at least a couple friends. But when Dave moved her to Berwyn, just as memory issues set in and she lost a meaningful capacity to form bonds, she was suddenly living alone almost all the time. Between work and dating, because Dave vigorously enjoyed his new found freedom for unlimited zipless fucks, our mom spent virtually all her life alone in the house, sometimes venturing out into the yard.

The poor thing regularly locked herself out of the house, by mistake. Then she'd get the young housewife next door to shimmy into the basement through an unlocked window and let mom in. Thank goddess that neighbor let her in, eh? Otherwise mom would have been adrift all day, no phone, her memory to addlepated to remember she had two other sons, multiple grandchildren, friends, and, push comes to shove, police and firemen to help her. The neighbor's help helped a lot.

Two houses away from where Mom and Dave lived, there was a YMCA building that was used for a senior day care center. One did not have to be enrolled full time either. One could just drop in, like most senior centers. We tried, as hard as I could 'try' from California or my sister from Kuwait, to get mom to check out that senior center. When we visited her in person, we'd go over there with her.

The center was not quite a day care center. It was a senior center to give seniors a space for socializing, with various classes.

Dave knew, and so did I, that by the time he had moved her to Berwyn, mom's memory was pretty far gone. She couldn't find her two two doors down to that senior center, much less make friends.

That unhappy situation for my mother continued for several years. My sister, by then, had moved back to thet states (altho she now lives in Shanghai!) and settled into Urbana, IL to get her PhD, which she got a couple years ago and left the country. by then, our mother had died.

One day, sis told bro that she was taking mom down to Urbana for a weekend. Then sis dropped mom off at a nursing home in Urbana, asked them to evaluate mom and mom was found to have such serious memory issues that she could no longer be alone. Mom had to have one of her children take legal responsibility for mom or else the court would appoint a guardian ad litem. Sweet sis would not accept responsibility. I tried to explain to sis and another brother that being legally responsible did not put my sister at any risk financially. It was about making decisions. The court wouldn't accept Dave to be mom's power of attorney because he had not been giving her all of her multitude of prescribed meds. I actually supported the choice not to give her the shitload of meds she was prescribed. But I was in CA and my mom and siblings duked out how mom would spend her final years in an arena in which I had no voice. And I was grateful.

But it was wicked hard on Dave. One day he lived with his mother, as he had for fiffteen years ore more and one day she was gone. If she had been put in a nursing home near where Dave was, he would have visited her once a week for the rst of her life. He didn't own a car so he could not drive to Urbana.

Once our mom was in the nursing home system as a ward of the state with an attorney makig decisions, mom got shuffled around to several nursing homes, each one further from Chicagoland than the last. She died in a nursing home that was a four-hour drive each way for Dave to visit. Sometimes he could get a boyfriend to drive him, make a day of it. And every time Dave visited her, which, dear fellow, he doggedly did as often as he could which was not a lot but it was something, the nursing home always said Dave was the only visitor our mom ever had.

Now I lived in CA and did not have airfare to fly to Chicago to see a mother who could no longer recognize me. And I had my own tenderness about Chicago, which is where Rosie had settled after college, after doing the NYC tour many college grads do. Chicago used to feel like an endless wound that I had to avoid.

So bitch sissy moved mom downstate. Initially mom lived a few blocks from sissy and even then, sissy, her husband and grandchildren, never visited our mother once. Not once.

I think sissy had kidnapped mom under the mistaken belief mom had assets sis could use. Oh, sis would have fed and clothed mom but then, I believe, she was imagining a little boost in income. Sis' family had some tight years when she was in grad school and her "artist" French husband was unemployed.

Families. What got me started? Catholic priests.

Before the depth of mom's dementia had fully bloomed, I went to the Catholic Church just a block or two from Dave's house in Berwyn.  I went to a mass with my mom.

I scorn the Catholic Church but my mom remained a devout Catholic always. True, she did divorce and remarry, which is technically a sin but, geez, go into any Catholic church for any Sunday mass and throw a ball at the congragation and it will bounce on at least several divorced and remarried Catholics who did not, by the way, seek annulments from Rome.

So I had my wandering mom with me after going to one mass with her. She was happy to be in a Catholic Church. They almost all have the same vibe, ya know? She felt that vibe. Then I waited to talk to a priest. One bombastic blowhard priest saw me, saw I was waiting to talk to him and he deliberately kept me waiting, turning repeatedly to talk to others that came up to him after i had. I suppose they were parishioners so he knew them, but geez, don't churches welcome newcomers, new potential, um parishioners?

That priest was a dick before I said more than hello, father, I'd like to talk to you.

Then I explained that my mother was a lifelong devout Catholic, that I lived in CA and although mom lived with my brother, he worked on /sundays and did not have a car anyway. Could the parish find a parishioner/neighbor to take my mom to church?

Now this priest knew bupkiss about any memory loss issues with my mom. I had escorted her out to the car because standing for long stretches bothered her. In fact, I had finally interrupted that pompous gas bag and said "Father, I need to talk to you and my mom is elderly and waiting, I only need a minute." Finally, the twat talked. Well, listened. Then he told me the parish did not want to be liable for any possible harm to my mother.

"For real?" I exclaimed. "Are you seriously telling me, and I was raised Catholic, going to a Catholic school just like the one this parish has so I know how Catholic parishes work, I know you have an Alter Guild Society that does just the kind of thing I am asking for. You have absolutely no foundation for refusing my mom. You've never spoken to her."

He said to call the parish, maybe someone could help my mom get to Sunday mass, which would have meant a very great deal to my mom. She may have been slipping but she was not yet slipped out of reality. And she loved the Catholic Church and all of its tenets.

I never called the parish. That gasbag had reminded me that the Church had nothing to offer my mom. I suspected the priest didn't want to help my mom get to church because he, rightly, suspected that an old lady living with her son was not likely to put a lot of money into the collection basket.

That's the thing. My mom would have given that church money. Many's the time when we were growing up, when maybe dad had gambled his paycheck on the  ponies (which my dear old dad loved to do and his behavior caused much heartache for my mom), mom still paid into the Sunday offering. The parish I grew up in required every household to meet with a church staffer, disclose tax returns and settle on what each household would pay. My mom filled up the weekly offering envelopes, which were coded to each household, before she spent dime one on her family. So my mom might have had a hungry baby or two but the church got those filled envelopes (unless gamgling dad thought to steal those dollars for his beloved pass time, betting on horses).

Even if mom had never given dime one to that Berwyn parish, a real Church, a Church built on Christ's perfectly wonderful message to love, would have welcomed her. And found her a god damned ride.

I told that scummy priest that I was a lawyer and I saw no way the church would be liable if a parishioner, in their personal capacity, decided to make a Christ-like choice and be kind to an old lady.  He wasn't concerned about liability. He was just an asshole, as most priests in my childhood had been, although in my childhood, I worshipped all priests as above mere mortals like purely innocent little girls such as I had been.

his will unbroken: no fucking way would he give in


My mom pressured me into declaring myself to be dedicated to becoming a nun.  My luck turned, to my happy surprise, when my aunt the nun saved me. My mom moved on to my Irish Twin, my brother Joe, ten months younger than me.


Mom did more than pressure Joe. She enrolled him in a seminary boarding school for seventh grade, age 12, without consulting him Training to become a priest at age 12, just imagine.  Although ballsier than me, Joe also felt her pressure and agreed to spend half of his seventh grade – age 12 – at a residential seminary for future priests.

A priest brought Joe home, unannounced one Sunday afternoon, after several weeks  before the end of the semester and solemnly asked to speak to our parents.

Joe and I eavesdropped.

“You son does not have a vocation. He cannot return to our seminary.”

At that seminary, all the boys, twelve years olds and up, had to get up, knee and pray on their knees at 5 a.m. Knee and pray for an hour before breakfast. Joe would not do it. And when the priests yelled at him, my ballsy awesome brother joe would say “There is no fucking way I am going to get up at 5 a.m., hungry, and pray on my knees for an hour before breakfast. NO fucking way.”

The priests had tried many things to break Joe. They made him knee before the whole school all day, with a piece of wood running across his arms and shoulders, made him hold up that wood, like a piece of the cross. Sometimes he had to kneel while holding up that board. And he always endured his punishment in front of the school as everyone else ate breakfast. They actually would withhold breakfast from Joe. They made him do it every day for weeks and occasionally they would ask Joe is he was ready to knee and pray at 5 a.m.

His answer was always the same: no fucking way. Once, that priest, told our parents, Joe had said “I’ll fucking starve to death before I get up at five fucking o’clock in the morning and pray while hungry. No fucking way.”

Mom gave up on giving any of her children to god.  I still wish I had had joe’s balls when I was 12. 

And Joe proudly bragged about how he had stood up to those seminary priests, who were expert at breaking boys. My mom forbid him to tell anyone why he had left the seminary but, geez, if a bunch of tough priests had failed to break Joe, our mom was clueless if she thought she could order him to do anything. He was proud to be unbroken, unbowed. I was proud too.

Actually, the only way my mom could ever get Joe to do anything was to pay him. Joe loved money. He would painstakingly weed every single weed of our front lawn, which had more weeds than grass, if mom paid him a penny per weed.  He knelt for those pennies.

I love recalling his refusal to bend to those priests, who are all a bunch of cunts of one kind of another.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Thursday, February 25, 2016

your longings are lanterns on your path

I like this line:   your longings are lantern on your path.

"know thyself"
Do you know how beautiful you truly are? (No, I do not.)
Do you know how deep your courage runs? (Yes, this I know quite well.)
Do you know you are always loved, no matter what?(No.Intellectually I know,energically, not know)
Do your know your body is a sacred Temple of Wisdom? (The nuns taught me this! I believe it.)
Do you know your sexuality is wild and innocent? (I like this but do not know it)
Do you know your womb holds the power of all creation? (Yes I know)
Do you know your longings are magical lanterns on your path?
Do you know your fears and pains are places calling for love? (yes, this I know)
Do you know your precious heart opens in vulnerabililty?  (this I know quite well!)
Do you know you belong here on earth? (No, I am not sure I do, long to check out.)
Do you know everything can be healed, and is being healed?  (No, this I do not know, not for me.)
Do you know you are love? (Yes, I know.)

how does school board handle fecal matter?!

I was called today for a poll about a proposed ballot measure to renew and increase a certain property tax that will be used solely for Berkeley school district. I had just read about the measure so I knew all about it, although the survey was designed to inform me of the ballot measure.

I love to get polled.

There was a very funny moment in this polling call. The gal asked me what quality of management I thought the Berkeley school board had on fecal matters. I thought I had misheard her so I said "Say those lastl two words again, the word matters and the word before it."

She repeated the word fecal, even began to spell it out. As she spelled, she realized what she had said.  She stopped herself, said "oh my goodness" and I tried to imbue as much good cheer into my voice as possible as I said "Never mind. You'll never make that mistake again." then I paused and, unable to resist, I said "Actually fecal is kinda close to what I think of how the Berkeley school board manages the district's finances."  I was indirectly alluding to the word shitty or shit but did not say it. The gal on the phone got my indirect comment.

Fecal matter. Lol.

crunchy v. smooth nut butter

Like many American parents, I fed my daughter some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. My favorite peanut butter sandwich is peanut butter with banana slices. I don't remember if I ever served her that.  I don't recall, but my memory could be faulty, feeding her PB&J a lot but I always had peanut butter on hand.

I packed her lunch for her child care day the year before kindergarden, again in kindergarden. She did not like to get the school lunches when she still went to a public school with school lunches. 

Kids compared lunches. And many items a parent can tuck into their child's lunch have currency in the lunch swap business.  I used to often tuck in packaged strips of fruit leather, first the crappy kind with sugar but eventually our fruit strips were nothing but pure fruit. I knew Rosie bartered away most of those fruit strips because she told me so. She complained when I switched to the no-sugar, all fruit ones because they had lower value on the swap market.

I don't recall her telling me what she got in those trades. I would have just packed whatever it was she was hoping to get if she had asked. I don't think what she got mattered to her as much as having something that was desired by other kids. It was the act of swapping lunch treats that mattered, not the treats. Not so much.

As time passed, she and other children talked about lunch. And, apparently, the children preferred plain peanut butter to crunchy. If the preference, the popular choice, was plain, then a crunchy peanut butter sandwich had no value.

I was just fine with my daughter being unable to swap her crunchy peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on carefully chosen, whole grain, nutritious bread. I wanted her to eat the sandwich.

Again, and I could be wrong, I think the real concern was having things in her lunch box that other kids were willing to trade for.

One day, she asked me to stop giving her crunchy peanut butter. I explained that I had once read that one of the top sources for kid's choking on food was smooth peanut butter, which could get stuck in a child's throat and stop breathing briefly, sometimes long enough to harm or even cause the death of the child.

The article also said to slice hot dogs in half because the average hotdog bite could lodge in a child's throat. For a few years, I had sliced her hot dogs so she wouldn't choke, but then i coached her, extracting her promise that she would chew chew chew.

She brought up her preference for plain peanut butter a few times, with me always holding my ground. Until one day, when she was five or six, she started crying when, once again, I said I couldn't bring myself to buy plain peanut butter.

I don't think I told her, and this is my truth, that I prefer crunchy. She and I shared our household peanut butter. Maybe I should have just told her I like crunchy and don't I get to have some food in the house that matches my taste?

The last time, when I finally gave in and switched to plain, after I repeated yet again my anxiety about choking hazards from smooth nut butter, she was crying, unhappy and lamented "But mom, I am old enough to eat creamy peanut butter. I am old enough now."

To which I responded "I am not old enough, yet, honey, to buy plain peanut butter."

I may have never given her plain peanut butter. I really do prefer crunchy nut butters.

Nowadays, I eat no peanut butter. I eat almond butter. In Rainbow Foods earlier this week, I bought a jar of raw, organic almond butter. First I put the crunchy almond butter of my favorite brand into my shopping cart. As I began to walk away, however, I saw that the sixteen ounce jar of crunchy cost $19.95 and the smooth almond butte was only $13.35. So, for what I believe might be the first time in my whole sixty two years and counting, I bought the smooth.

So what does this price differential mean? It is not more expensive to make crunchy. Is crunchy more costly because it has greater demand or because it has less demand?

I quickly surveyed several brands of raw almond butter. There may have been three different brands. They all had the crunchy priced higher than the smooth.

Living with another one of life's mysteries. Why more for the crunch?

chocolate or sugar or just any old carbs

My body be craving something. My first thought, upon noticing I am craving something, was "chocolate" so that's probably the right thing.  It could be sugar, although I very, very rarely eat any form of sugar.

I did eat more carbs than usual yesterday so here I be, craving something.

Most humans have insufficient magnesium in their bodies. Chocolate is a great superfood and one of its many gifts is plenty of magnesium. Many believe people crave chocolate because they crave magnesium, instinctly feel a need to get some magnesium in their bodies.

Chocolate does not actually need sugar to be delicious.  I eat a lot of chocolate, as it happens.

Now that I never eat sugar, I taste food. I taste lots of sweetness that is naturally found in many foods. And I have learned how to use chocolate without sugar.

A cup of cocoa made with organic, raw cacoa powder and coconut milk is delicious. And I don't add any sweetener, not even stevia.

I was talking to a friend about how I eat chocolate and she said "but does it taste good without sugar?"

Chocolate is delicious on its own.

My mom often told her kids that the foods we didn't like were acquired tastes. If you only eat corporate food, which is usually deliberately seeded with sugar, salt and chemicals that are added to make you crave more, then you don't know what most foods, in their unatural, unprocessed state, taste like.

First, I suggest folks completely remove all sugar and sugar substitutes from their diet. It takes awhile to grow accustomed to eating without the taste of foods altered by additives like sugar.

Not only is sugar not good for you, sugar is actively bad for you. Sugar has to use healthy nutrients in your body to be digested by your body.  I did not put that well, let me do a do-over:  sugar depletes your body of healthy nutrients in order for your body to digest it.Sugar depletes your body. And it causes lots of problems, such as eating more of processed food than your body atually wants because the added sugar leads to cravings for more processed crap.

I'm going to have a protein shake using plain, organic protein powder, raw organic protein powder, raw organic cacao powder with cinnamon, ginger and tumeric. I will add a little coconut fat because tumeric needs to be eaten with a healthy fat in order to give your body the healing gifts in tumeric.

I have had people ask me how I can eat tumeric, since it is spicy. It doesn't taste spicy to me, not after eating some tumeric every day for well over two years.  I don't use large amounts of tumeric, just enough for the herb's benefits to kick in. And the coconut fat is so delicioius that the tumeric and the unsweetened chocolate go down as delicious. To me, anyway. And I am not along.

The more one eats well, the more you taste what natural food tastes like.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

You were alive during the Vietnam War?

When my daughter was in high school, in an American history class, she studied the Vietnam War. She talked to me, some, about what she was studying. By h.s. she didn't keep me way in the loop but I usually had a general understanding of what she was studying. She might have told me what she was studying inadvertently by simply recounting some social interactions in her day.

But she was interested in the Vietnam War and actually brought it up with me, reciting some facts she had just learned in school.

I responded by extemporaneously sharing with her some of my memories of the Vietnam War. I do not remember, now, what I told her, or what aspect of the Vietnam War I discussed. Not precisely. I think I talked to her about knowing college guys that had been to Vietnam or guys who had been drafted and only gone to college to avoid Nam. I described the night in my freshman year in college when all the guys my age were subject to a lottery. Guys with low numbers were going toi be drafted and being in school no longer spared them from war. This shift was just. It was unjust to let kids who could afford to go to college avoid serving and make only poor guys go.

She listened attentively. Her listening to me attentively slowly waned during her two years in high school. She left high school to start college, on a scholarship, at age sixteen. I don't think she ever appreciated what a huge sacrifice that was for me, realized that by letting her go to college away from home two years early, I was giving up two years with my only child. If I had known she was going to disown me, I would not have given up those two years. And, low, in the fourteen+ years since she left me, I have painfully reviewed the way I just gav away two years with my only child.

Anyway, when I said a few things about the Vietnam War, she said, rapt by whatever I said, "You mean you were alive during the Vietnam War?"

I was surprised she had not done the math, not fully realized I was, indeed, alive. Not onlyw as I alive, but I participated in anti-war marches, of course.

Then I told her about the fall of Saigon.

The fall of Saigon, in April 1975, came up today in my writers' group, triggering my memory of Rosie appreciating me for some moments in 1995 or 1996.

In 1974, virtually no students at my college had televisions in their dorms and ery few students at my university lived off campus.  When Richard Nixon resigned, in 1974, college kids packed into the student union to watch the one television in the union. There were also one television per dorm but those tv rooms were tiny. Most students wanted to be around others at such a solemn time. It seemed ominous to watch the president of the United States resign and it felt good to be surrounded by friends to watch it.

When the whole world was able to watch Saigon fall on television, the crowd in that student union was even greater. The students were all deeply silent and we all stood to watch, even though the student union had lots of sofas and chairs.  Now I am recalling some of the images, of people with their children crowding to get on planes and choppers to get airlifted outbefore Nam completely fell. We listened to tv announcers talk about how Vietnamese who had supported the US were the ones getting out, which, gulp, meant some didn't get out that wanted to.

And we all know that Kissinger set up the fall of that war so that Cambodia would fall into the hands of the brutal Khmer Rouge who slaughtered over three million Cambodians. I don't think I talked to Rosie about Cambodia.

I didn't impress her much by the time she was in high school. And it seems somewhat sad  that it was only the fact that I was alive during the Vietnam War that impressed her. But at least she paid attention to me, listened to me, placed some value on what I had to say.

She sure doesn't place any value in me now.








draft halloween blizzard, sled, 12 pack of diet soda

If I were going to get a book length manuscript published, I think my best, most prolicate, work is about me. So memoir. How to plot that out?

I have been thinking of doing something a little different. Publishing a bunch of memoir pieces but without a narrative thread. Is such a thing doable? All things are possible but, realistically, would any publisher publish a book that had my old man matha fucking, my "I am going to bring you down, Father" in the same book? Or 'I'll be good" and 'my pants fell down in a food store'.

favorite story:  after the 1992 Halloween blizzard in Minneapolis, when 36 inches of snow fell in one blizzard and kids trick or treated in that blizzard singing christmas carols, I was in between homes and Rosie and I were staying with Joni and Cary.  I shoveled a path from the street to their drive way so I could pull my car off the street for the snow plows. And then Rosie and I decided to walk the several blocks to a small cluster of shops nearby, mostly just to get out. We were all feeling cooped up and Joni and esp. Cary were not used to little girls all day long. And Rosie was not used to being cooped up.

I bought that sled, which thrilled Rosie. And I hauled her home in it, easy to do with all that snow. Walking to the shops had been arduous. Walking in large mounds of snow, because snow drifts a lot higher in places than the total snowfall measurement, had been exhausting. She thought I bought the sled to pull her home and give her a toy to use in the snow.

We had gone into the hardware store because we had trekked in and out of all the shops, for something to do. All shops were packed because everyone was getting out, waiting for the city to plow streets so folks could resume normal lives. NO one could drive for a couple days, which is unusual in Mpls. Usually one can get driving soon after a snow fall ends, the plows are out before the snow stops. But this wallop of a storm paralyzed even winter-adept Minneapolis for a couple days.

So we went through the hardware store single file. Virtually anything useful for winter was sold out so when we got to the back of that hardware store and I saw one, last purple sled, large eough for three children, I grabbed it. Rosie squealed in delight. And I was happy to pull her home.

But I bought that sled beause I was a diet soda junkie in those days and I wanted the sled to haul home a twelve pack of diet coke.

I also bought packages of frozen Byerly's wild rice soup, which is awesomely delicious. For reasons I no longer recall, I bought a package, one serving, of that wild rice soup for JOni, me and Rosie but I chose something else for Cary.  Maybe it was the ham in it. She was fussier than Joni.  Something about that soup lead me to believe JOni wouldn't like it.

I bought a few other things, all seemingly heavenly treats becaduse it had taken just about a whole day to get to those shops and return home. When I upacked the soup, with JOni, Rosie and Cary watching me pull out each treat, when I said I had not gotten wild rice for Cary, she was crestfallen. When I tried to offer her my wild rice soup, she wouldn't take it, wouldn't admit she was hurt but she was.  I wanted to understand my blunder but she wasn't talking.

I had been scheduled to move that Nov 1st into my next home, my things in storage. The moving company had called early in the day and informed me that I would be their very last move, and probably not for a few days. With my things being in storage, instead of an apartment underpressure to be empty so the next tenant could move in, my things could wait. Sounded reasonable.

The move delay was understandable but a stress on us all. Joni and Cary had been gracioius hosts. We had shared dinner most days, taking turn cooking and cleaning up, but we had worn out our welcome. It was me, but also a 9 year old child is a lot noisier than a house with two forty-somethig lesbians who have never had kids. It was harder on Cary than Joni who was, after all, a child psychologist.

are you equipped to handle the extraordinary?


gratefulness and reverence

"Gratitude is the vessel that we lift to the Gods that they may fill it with their wonder-gifts. If in all earnestness we foster the feeling of thankfulness, then gratitude, living devotion, must be there to the invisible spiritual givers of life; and it is the most beautiful way to be led from one's personality to the supersensible if this guidance goes through gratitude. Gratitude ultimately brings us to veneration and love of the life-bestowing spirit of man. It gives birth to love, and love makes the heart open for the spirit-powers pervading life. If after every meditation we arouse in ourselves the feeling of gratefulness and reverence--a feeling that we can call a mood of prayer--and be aware in what grace we are taking part, we shall realize that we are on the right path for spiritual worlds to approach us."

--Rudolf Steiner, Guidance in Esoteric Training

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

why do many people fail to vote?

I moved to CA ten years ago, first living in Mountain View. I came up to Berkeley soon after moving to hang out with a couple colleagues/friends. One of those friends had lived in Berkeley over 35 years (now he lives in El Sobrante with his sweetie, someone he was not with ten years ago). This guy gave up a full academic scholarship to Stanford and dropped out of UC Berkeley because he was on fire, in the early sixties, to change the world. He started out as an activist and his paid work morphed into consulting related to that activism, his work often about helping government organizations increase their meaningful collaboration with the citizenry.

So the three of did lunch, then went to this one guy's medical appointment and then we went to the Albany Bulb. We walked all around the Bulb, had a great, great time. I think the reason I remember that day so vividly is because as we all climbed back into the car, I said "I have already registered to vote in MV". I was proud that before I had unpacked, I had registered to vote. And this lifelong activist grunted and said "Oh, you mean you still vote? You still think it matters?"

I have voted in every election that I was eligible to vote for. Once, after moving from Whidbey Island to Seattle on a date that made it too late to register to vote in Seattle, I went to the caucus on Whidbey. I was fuzzy on whether that was right but clear I had a right to vote. If I have had many friends who don't vote, they have chosen to keep that to themselves.

I do have a brother, my baby brother, my favorite and best brother, who happens to be gay who doesn't vote. Once, years ago, visiting him and his then life partner, listening to the two of the griping about politics, I said, fully expecting them to say "Of course we vote" I aimlessly asked them if they vote. And I was shocked when they said they didn't. I said "How can two educated, intelligent gay men not vote? You guys have a lot at stake in what policies government sets? Please tell me you will register and start voting." They would not promise and I don't think they have ever voted. Well, that partner is now dead. My baby bro was just here visiting me. I talked some politics because I've got a fever, I'm feeling the Bern. Plus I never go anywhere without my Feel the Bern pin. I carry extras and occasionally give them away because lots of folks stop me to tell me they love it and ask how to get one. I get them at the Saturday farmers market where Bernie supporters always have pins and they give me a few each week because they know I am out there proselytizing for Bernie, giving away buttons.

I haven't been all that active in politics. My core belief if that human culture has to change and I don't think government is the way to change it, although government can be useful in regulating the resources that every human born on this planet has a share it: everything anyone has comes from our commons, from the Earth. I don't quite believe in communism, not the way it was done in Russia, but I do believe we all own this earth's bounty and government should manage how that bounty is distributed. No one human ever needs to be a billionaire. All humans need shelter, food, power, water, clothing, education, art, community. I could be just fine making accumulating wealth beyond a reaosnable level, i.e. forbid billionaires altogether, forbid owning multiple homes -- shared multiple homes like free hotels all humans could partake of with a just sharing system in place is my idea of multiple house justice.

I actually feel empathy for multi-billionaires that seem to invest a lot of their life force, not just their money, into controlling outcomes.  I feel empathy and compassion for their apparent belief that their wealth is not yet enough and that they have to go on rigging the system in their favor to make more and more and more.  I see not happy outcome in such a quest and they risk annihilating all of us in such a drive. They are in thrall, I believe, to evil. Greed is evil.

I just read one of those FB posts that catch my eye, my fancy. It said "if everyone voted, the tiny rich elite could not control the outcomes". I believe this is true, although if everyone voted, I might begin toi worry that the rich greedy billionaires trying to evilly control outcomes will just move on to other arenas to control and manipulate. People in thrall to evil don't let go of their evil drive easily. they are damaged.

In fact, I just remembered a book by Dr. M. Scott Peck, better known for his book, "The Road Less Traveled". An old friend of mine used to be the executive director of a mental health clinic in the Berkshires of Massachusetts. And Dr. Scott Peck worked at her clinic. She had the difficult task of firing him because he was an alcoholic and ignored opportunites to get into recovery. One can't allow an alcoholic psychiatristi to treat patients in their clinic. Maybe she helped him. He got sober some time after that firing, and wrote his books, became well known.

He wrote another book called "People of the Lie". He got a lot of flack for People of the Lie. This post too long. I'll write about People of the Lie in another post.

chrysalis


I wish I could emerge into my fuller, more real self. I love this image.

I am stuck.
Stuck stuck stuck.

embrace who you are, yeah, right


I agree with the thoughts expressed here but I find it easy to say "embrace who you are' than to actually do it.  I feel painted into a corner, with heavily oil-based paint that is never going to dry. In other words, I feel deeply isolated and cut off, unable to follow the pull I feel my life is calling me to. Everything costs money that I don't have.  It costs money to socialize. And after not being able to afford any new clothes for at least ten years, it is hard to show up appearing middle class. I look shabby and one's appearance limits one in social settings. Being unable to join friends for outings that include spending money is isolating. Not having money to take classes to build my skill set is isolating.

Embrace who I am, what, in an empty apartment with no one to see or know me?!

can you choke down a vote for Hillary?

Can you choke down a vote for Hillary? I cannot.

At some point, every individual has to decide when and where and how they will draw the line regarding the unfolding dystopia the oligarchs, which includes the Clintons, is doing their best to manifest, providing them with malnourished, often desparate wage slaves to maintain the elite's privilege.

I am sorry that some folks can't understand why some, including me, has drawn a line. I will not vote for a career liar, a woman who has dedicated her life to serving the oligarchy in exchange for power and money. Voting for her perpetuates the system.

Fortunately, we still have at least the illusion of freedom in this country and I remain free to vote my conscience, as painful as it would be to not vote Democratic. Perhaps the revolution needs the hell of a Trump presidency to wake up and actually show up in enough numbers at the polls.

a vote for the Green Party candidate or, maybe, Bloomberg if he runs, is a message. Does anyone seriously believe Hillary cares about the evaporating middle class, the usurpation of power by corportations through secretive trade agreements like the TPP, which she supports?

She can win without my vote or not at all.

reminded of time I lived in a battered women's shelter

This reminds me of the month I lived in a battered women's shelter while awaiting my temporary divorce hearing, at which the judge ordered my husband, who had changed the locks on our jointly owned home and refused to let me in to get baby clothes even. The residents had to take turns cooking meals for all the other residents, which was abused moms and children trying to figure out their next steps under the pressure of the limit of just one month in the shelter. I was lucky. I was upper middle class, only temporary cut off from my assets when my now-ex canceled all credit cards, closed our joint bank account with the bank going along with that illegal act, and his bro was our investment broker and when I tried to access some of MY money in that brokerage firm, he just wouldn't let me -- also illegal but 35 years ago, such discrimination against women was so routine that few people grokked that it was, um, illegal to deny a person their own legal assets.

Anyway, I cooked a lot, largely because as the oldest girl in a family of 8, I was used to cooking large quantities and most of the women either were not much as cooks or too stressed to plan meals.

The shelter would give the cook a list of what food was available for her assigned meal and then the cook could make whatever she wanted. One time, my food list included hamburger so I proposed having hamburgers. The person in charge of doling out food told me hamburgers were too expensive, they used up more hamburger per person than the shelter could afford.

The shelter had endless supply of flour and vegies so I made hamburger pizza. After that great pizza, all the women begged that I do all the cooking. I was happy to oblige. Every resident had to do a chore daily and I preferred cooking to cleaning toilets. Plus it was fun to do and fun to be praised. We had hamburger pizza once a week, each time hamburger popped up on our food list.

A couple years after I left the shelter as a resident, but had continued at its weekly aftercare support group for support during my custody hell, I somehow came into possession of a watch, a free male watch. Acting on instinct, on the evening of Christmas Eve, I went to the shelter, where alumni were always welcome to enter (the location was kept as secretive as possible), I knocked on the door, a woman who knew me for she was a social worker when I had lived there with my baby and thanked me profusely. She said a little boy had just come into the shelter, that they had small gifts for all the children but that boy and now the boy would receive that cheap watch. A little thing but anyone whose life path leads them to a battered women's shelter, much less on Christmas Eve, is traumatized.

I wonder, sometimes, if battered women shelters still exist. Back when I benefited from one, it was kinda new in this country for anyone to acknowledge spousal abuse was an actual thing.

our task, as part of a whole

A human being is part of a whole,
called by us the 'Universe',
a part limited in time and space.
He experiences himself, his thoughts
and feelings, as something separated
frm the rest - a kind of optical delusion
of his consciousness.
This delusion is a kind of prison for us,
restricting us to our personal desires and
to affection for a few persons nearest us.
Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison
by widening our circles of compassion
to embrace all living creatures
and the whole of nature in its beauty.
~~ Albert Einstein

my pants fell down in a food store

When my daughter was in the second grade, her class was asked to write in their writing notebooks daily. They would be given a prompt. The children had to write at least two complete sentences, which is a steep goal for a child who is still writing in block letters, not knowing how to spell many words.

Rosie never wrote more than two sentences but she also never failed to write two complete sentences.

My favorite memory of those writing assignments was when she was asked to write about her most embarassing moment, as of age 7.

She wrote "My most embarrassing moment was in a food store. My pants fell down."

All the kids tended to echo the writing prompt in their first sentence. The word prompt was written on the blackboard so they could all copy down big words like embarrassing.

Why do I love Rosie's two line story about her shame in a food store?

When she showed me her writing notebook, I remembered the moment her pants had fallen down when she was three or four, in the Byerly's in St. Louis Park. At least I think it was SLP. It was the biggest Byerly's at the time, a fancy new store. The main floor of the store was filled with straight aisles, up and down. All along the outer perimeter there were little turn outs that focussed on one kind of food. There was a dairy turn out, a wine turn out, a coffee and tea turn out.  These 'U' shaped bulb-outs from the main store had displays in the middle of the "U" and then all around the perimeter of each 'U'. In the back of the "U", if no other shoppers were present, no one could see any shopper in the "U".

Rosie had been in the back of the dairy "U" when her pants suddenly fell down around her ankles. I happened to see it and, just about as fast as the pants had fallen, I pulled them upt. No one saw her but me. She did not voice any embarrassment at the time.

When she wrote about that moment a few years later and I read it in her writing notebook, I remarked on it, telling her I had been unaware she was embarrassed. She must have felt her shame keenly if she remembered it years later.

When I brought up her two-line story about her pants falling down in a food store, she laughed and said "I had to write 'food store' because I couldn't remember how to spell grocery."

I love that very short story. I feel empathy for my very little girl feeling embarrassed in a moment when no one saw her vulnerable but me. And I love, so very much, her intelligence in writing 'food store' because she couldn't remember how to spell grocery.

I had known since she was an infant that she was very smart. Heck, a pediatrician had told me when she was only a year or so old that I had a genius on my hands and I should be prepared to send her to a school for gifted kids. But she, personally, demonstrated her intelligence when she wrote 'food store'.

I love her. I miss her.



















kim chi and a Korean orphan: draft

Long ago, in the year 1985, I lived in transitional housing for single moms and their kids.  When I had gotten permission from my divorce judge to remove my minor child from the jurisdiction of the state I had gotten divorced in, the judge said I had to show him my plan. Did I have a job?  It is hard to job hunt from two states away. How did I intend to live while job hunting in my new state, which was the state I had gone to law school in.  I was surprised when I got accepted into transitional housing with the St. Paul YWCA. That housing was a large apartment building of all one bedroom apartments.  I talked them into taking me because I had been an abused spouse and done time in a battered women's shelter.

I was the only middle class mom in that program. Most of the women were, at most, high school grads. A few were h.s. drop outs. Most had two kids to my one. With my education and just the one little angel, I was a kind of star. The program expected me to be their first success, expected me to get a living wage job, my own home and to do so quickly, which I did. I did it fast because my judge had said I had six months to find a job or I would have to skedaddle back to the conservative red state I had been trapped in by custody jurisdiction.

Six months out of that red state, and custody issues of my child transferred to my new home state.

I ramble.

In that transitional housing building, we were required to go to a weekly support group. We also had to meet with a social worker once a week, give updates on our progress. I used to long to ask here "what about your progress? did you have any progress living life this week? At least I took care of my two year old all week! That's progress." She wanted me to account for jobs applied for, interviews had. And she used that time to freelance criticize me, all under the guise of being helpful, as if she knew one damned thing about the challenges of getting a lawyer job after being at home with my kid and having stale professional connections.

That social worker was a good hearted nit wit. She was completely ineffectual but there she was, getting paid to do nothing but treat struggling moms with condescension.

That social worker was married to a former Catholic priest who had left the priesthood to marry her. She wanted to have a baby but could not conceive. She often spoke of her baby longing to me, which I am not sure was an entirely professional thing to do in an hour that was, ostensibly, about my life. She once remarked that she feared she could not conceive because her husband had sinned by leaving the priest hood.  I think, but don't remember precisely, that I offered her empathy and even some support, trying to persuade her to stop guilt tripping herself. She had had a wicked bad case of endometriosis, long before said priest left his vows behind, and that was why she could not conceive.

How that social worker challenged me. She was a nitwit, ineffectual but pulling down a salary, although likely not fat stacks, eh?

Few of the women that lived there had a car. I had a station wagon. In group, the women often complained about the cost of using a taxi to go grocery shopping. It is hard to haul home food for three people for a week on the bus so they would take the bus to the store and take a taxi home, eating up their tight dollars. So I invited anyone who wanted to to go grocery shopping with me. I said my car can handle five of us if we get someone to watch our kids. And all the groceries can go in the back.

Many took up my offer. Eagerly.

It was a nightmare for me. All the women would show up late, ignoring my declared departure time. And most of them requested that I stop so they could run other errands. I didn't mind doing any of it. I was happy to share the blessed resource of having a car, truly I was.  They had so many needs and I could not fill them off. One trip to the grocery store with two or three other moms in the building could turn out to be an all day adventure, with me burning gas and doing a slow burn of frustration.

I had offered to do grocery store runs, not 'everything you can possibly think of to do in a car' runs.

So, in order to establish a bit of order to my proffered grocery runs in my car, I asked the women to each give me a dollar.   A dollar was nothing compared to the five to eight dollars they spent on taxis. My request was not about the money. I asked for a dollar in hope that the women would both value my sharing and to show me a little respect.

Asking for a dollar had a surprising result.

No one, ever, went to the grocery store with me again.

One of those young mothers was a Korean-born young woman who had been adopted by a Christian Science family in the Boston area when she was three or four years old. Her adopted family was upper middle class, very wealthy and, apparently, not all that loving. The way she told it, her adoption was as much about the appearance of doing something charitable for a poor unfortunate Korean baby as it was about loving another child. Her adoptive parents had several children of their own.

When this Korean woman had been sixteen, she had gotten pregnant and had an abortion. Her adopted family had told her that if she had an abortion, they would never speak to her again. Scared, sixteen and not wanting to have a baby, she had the abortion. Her adopted family was as good as their bullying. They threw her out.

I don't know how she made her way to our Midwestern state but by the time I knew her, she had had a child, she was only about 20 when I knew her.

She shared a touching story involving kim chi.

Her adopted family had made no effort to keep her in connection to her Korean ancestry. In fact, they had all but streamed the Korean right out of her.

One day, while still living on the streets somewhere but not yet pregnant with the child I met in that transitional housing, she caught a whiff of food smell coming from a Korean restaurant. The smell transported her to her life in Korean, a life she had almost completely forgotten.  She went into the shop, asked what the smell was. She told the person at the register that she was an adopted Korean. That person said she was probably responding to the tangy smell of kim chi and gave her some.

With one bit, that young woman remembered her life before adoption. She had glimmers of speaking Korean.

After that first encounter with kim chi, she ate it all the time, as much as she could afford.

While my grocery runs were still free, so she came on the grocery runs, she would ask me to stop at an Asian grocery store to buy kim chee. I was happy to make that stop.  I felt very maternal about her.

Then, in the same building, I met a woman named Susie with two year old twins.  Her ex had initially obtained custody by accusing her of being unfit. Susie had gotten very lucky and got some free legal help. Back in the eighties, with the austerity that the Reagan years initiated and which is still unfurling viciously in this country and, it seems, all over the globe, legal clinics for people who couldn't afford lawyers were more common and legal help for the low income much easier to get. A legal aid lawyer had gotten Susie custody of her kids but she was supporting them on welfare, had no h.s. diploma and her ex was constantly threatening to take her kids away.

When she began to talk, in our weekly groups, about joining the Army, with its dangled promise of an education, we were all aghast. If she joined the Army, she would have to sign over custody of her babies to her ex. A single mom responsible for two kids could not enlist. We thought we had talked Susie out of the Army but one day she up and joined, asked me to drive her and her kids over to the ex's and drop them off.

Last time I saw Susie, she was in an Army uniform with a duffle bag, saying goodbye as she headed to basic training.

Privately, she told me that maybe she wasn't cut out to be a mom. Privately, I told her that being poor and uneducated was not her fault but a failure of our social system.

Privately, I withheld further comment. Truth told, I thought Susie had fought to get custody of her kids because she thought it was expected of her, of a good mom, of a woman. Privately, I thought she had joined the  Army, yes, as an economic escape from her bleak economic prospects but also, I don't think she liked being a mom. I think she had no faith in her. I think no one, ever, had had faith in Susie, so she had never developed faith in herself.

Her ex was not a bad guy. Not abusive. Just a male, a dominator who believed in patriarchy. Heck, Susie believed in patriarchy. she also thought her ex was better than her, not seeing that he had a job and apartment as much because he was a white male with no kids when he got that job to hold him down.

















Monday, February 22, 2016

bananas for 55¢ or $1.75? gee. . .

I trek to Rainbow Foods a few times a year to stock up on its bulk organic whey protein. I know of no other source in the Bay Area that sells it bulk. It is sold in containers but container whey always has chemicals added to it, and soy lecithin added to supposedly make it blend better. The plain organic whey blends just fine. 

It's fun to scope out the whole store because Rainbow sells so much interesting and new food products. Today, for example, I got to sample coconut milk yogurt. Dairy-free, gluten-free, sugar-free yogurt. It was okay but expensive.  The gal had four flavors on sample, offering me a second one after the first. I was surprised when my tastebuds recoiled at the thought of going from chocolate coconut-based yogurt to mango.

The bulk section at Rainbow is, by about three times, the largest bulk food department I have ever seen elsewhere. They have everything in bulk.

Today, on my ride to SF, for some reason, I decided that if they had some Strauss organic yogurt in pomegranate flavor, I'd buy some. One cup has 30 carbs, so 3 units of insulin, but hey, this is like candy and ice cream treats to me now. They didn't have pomegranate yogurt but they had blueberry pomegranate.  I had made a promise and I kept it.

They were also sampling kim chi. I get lazy about making homemade probiotic food, which is surprisngly easy to do.  Seven bucks for a pint of pickled vegies that I can pickle at home give me incentive to get back to eating my own homemade probiotics. And making the probiotics first, eh?! Some beets, carrots, spices and vinegar cost a lot less than seven bucks, ya feel me?  I did break down and buy a jar of the beets and carrots kim chi because it was both awesome and it had a fifty cent off coupon on top. I am a sucker for a bargain.

Rainbow Foods might be even higher priced, except for many bulk items, than Whole Paycheck, which is saying something. When I can buy bananas at Whole Foods for less than a dollar pound and Rainbow is selling non-organic bananas for $1.75, something is wrong. That's price gouging. What? Do the coworkers who own the co-op that is Rainbow Foods think it is okay to price gouge because so many rich folk live in SF?  I am amazed by most of their prices.

I was completely out of bananas. And I intend to make a Trader Joe's run tomorrow, where I usually buy bananas, because TJ's is a half mile walk from home. I pretty much only buy baanas and organic almond butter at TJ's but I am no fool.  I see that the bananas sold there get smaller and smaller for their one price for each banana. And by weight, they cost more than Whole Foods prices.

AND hauling bananas the long walk back to BART from Rainbow is a pian. I sling the banans in a canvas back over my back and always ended up badly bruising a couple.

Today, I got lucky. Walking from BART to Rainbow, I pasesd a small grocery store, the kind with lots of produce out in front. And they had bananas for 55¢!  I saw that and decided to buy some on the way back. It was half a block from BART so no long banana haul, no banana bruising.

Just a few blocks apart, it seems immoral to price gouge so blatantly, 55¢ versus $1.75 per pound for bananas!

This doesn't happen often but today I missed the era in my life when  could buy whatever I wanted in a food store. Rainbow sells so many cool, cutting-edge food products. Trendy stuff. Raw stuff. Gluten stuff. Sugar free. Coconut products. An endless choice of chocolate, oils, sauces. All price gouged but fascinating.

I settled for my whey powder and pomegranate organic yogurt. And the delicious kim chi.

I'm gonna miss Rainbow.

I have been hurt in ways that have changed me forever



I see a lot of feel-good quotes and messaging that claim positive thinking or love can overcome anything and everything. And then I berate myself, hurting myself needlessly, showing myself unkindness, because I have wounds that show no signs of healing, wounds from actions of other people. I know all about the abused concept of self responsibility, the new age-y claim that other people don't hurt us, that we hurt ourselves by how we interpret other's behavior. I hear, too much, that when someone hurts me, they are projecting their own damage onto me. Maybe. Maybe.

And maybe it's all bullshit.

Louis C.K. has a line in one of his comedy special in which he says "you don't get to be the one to say that if any of your action caused another person to suffer, that their suffering is the sufferer's responsibility" I extrapolate.  We don't get to say "it wasn't my fault if she wasn't tough enough for what I did to her."

I am not tough at all. I am a hot house flower. I am very vulnerable. I am broken, so broken.

Sometimes it is a relief to just let myself acknowledge how broken and unhappy I am, to let go ot pressuring myself to pick myself up, to do things, to act as if I am happy when I am not.

Fuck that shit.  I'm sad. I am hurt. I have many wounds, some of them of very longstanding and, goldarnit, I get to own my pain. Don't tell me any new age or Buddhist or spiritual crap. Just let me be.

The person who emotionally maimed me the most was my ex husband. When we got engaged, we agreed we both wanted to have several kids but that we'd wait two years to start trying for a baby to give us time to esablish our work lives and buy a house. I marked my menstrual cycle on the kitchen calendar, chattering every month when I had my period and when I was in fertile flow. I talked on, to my husband, about making the appointment with my obgyn to remove my IUD. Then I had the appointment, talking about it steadily. After seeing the doctor, who had advised us to wait another month to try to conceive so my womb could rest from the removal of the copper IUD, we used condoms for the first time ever since we first had sex. And finally, on October 9, 1981, I was in fertile flow. Through those two years, when I was in fertile flow, we always had lots of sex, joking about practice sex for when we would conceive our first child.

I knew I was pregnant almost immediately. I had hyperenemesis, vomiting and dry heaving throughout the pregnancy and I started feeling very sick within only a day or two of conception. My doc would not see me for my first pregnancy appointment until I had missed two periods so the pregnancy was not confirmed by a doc until Dec. A nurse friend, who worked for an obgyn had me come to her office and did a pregnancy test sooner than my doc would and confirmed I was pregnant but my hsuband said nothing until my doctor confirmed I, we, were pregnant.

Then my husband demanded I get an abortion, insisting that since I believed in a woman's right to have an abortion, I had to honor his imaginary right to have an aboration in my body. That is the biggest wound I have experienced. It has shaped my whole life since then.  I am broken deep in my being.

So silly.  I trust people easily, eagerly, but I couldn't trust myself or men after that. And that lead to a lifetime of damaged choices.

draft angry black woman while canvassing

I am reminded of a conversation I had with an elderly African American homeowner when I was canvassing in the fall of 2014 for an African American for my state assembly rep (he won! and he's a true progressive!! go Tony!). Out canvassing, it often seemed to me that elderly folks living alone seemed a little lonely for conversation; they often talked to me on and on and I would talk to them on and on even if they had already told me they were not supporting Tony. It was a small thing to do, a small kindness that was a much as kindness to myself as the lonely person at their front door.

But this elderly black woman stands out in my memory because she was on fire with anger. She did not have a strong shine for Tony or any politician. So, casting about to say something that might win her over, after already listing all his union endorsements and other politician endorsements, I brought up Congresswoman Barbara Lee, also African American.

Oh my gosh, that old lady blew up the most intensely when I allueded to Congresswoman Lee. "don't get me started on her!" the woman shouted, "She as crooked as the rest of them."Then she went into a long story that I probably had forgotten before I left her property line, about some convoluted injustice her son had endured and which Lee had been unable to help with. I knew nothing about Lee. All my talking points were focussed on Tony, but pretty much everyone I know, even politicians whose politics I don't like (such as our corrupt mayor and many corrupt councilmembers) like Lee. She is one of the most reliable progressive votes in the House of Representatives.

Until this woman screeched about Barbara Lee, I had never heard anyone say anything negative about her. And, I admit, hearing a black woman curse Barbara Lee surprised me.

I have never assumed all blacks in America support all blacks in America. Clarence Thomas is a painful reminder that there are conservative wingnuts in the African American community. And Ben Carson comes to mind, eh? What was the name of the last black conservative running for president for awhile in 2012? . . . . but, honest to goddess, I had never heard a bad word about Lee, from anyone.

Her anger towards Lee seemed incoherent to me, rooted in anger about some wrong the woman and her son had experienced. A Congresswoman can't right every wrong in the world, I thought, but did not say.

I decided to just listen to the woman rant against Lee as long as she wanted to. I don't think she supported my candidate. I think she teased me into thinking MAYBE she would support my guy. Even though she had a lawn sign for someone running for another office on her lawn, she did not agree to a Tony sign. Her house was just a few houses away from a BART station, meaning streams of commuters walk past her lawn daily. I had listened to her angry ranting for a long time because I hoped to score a lawn sign on that juicy block by BART.

In the end, she invited me in to sit and have a glass of water. We compared notes on eating tumeric inside her living room. It was wicked hot that day, rare for Berkeley hot.

draft on why voting might still matter

it is a stacked deck and most humans aren't morons. It can easily seem like there is no point in voting.

With all coroporatea media constantly hailing Hillary as the inevitable Dem nom, I can easily imagine many voters staying home, believing their votes don't matter. And I am not sure votes matter. I would like to see Bernie begin to address voter turn out in his campaign rallies and messaging, to surface this issue overtly. I posted about the 27,000 who showed up in LA recently to hear Bernie. Here in CA, one need not be licensed to register people to vote. People register themselves and anyone can hand out voter registration cards. I pray that LA rally had Bernie volunteers loaded with voter registration forms, handing them out. Heck, Bernie could take a few moments in his speeches, in states where voter registration forms can be handed out to anyone by anyone, and ask all who are not registered to fill them out as he talks and seal them for mailing them in as he talks. And, in doing so, remind all those already registered how important it is that they vote. Listen to me, Bernie!

When I first moved to CA, which is now ten years ago, I was hanging out with two then-new friends, two brilliant men who have devoted their lives too renewing democracy in this country. They mostly consult to governments who like to pretend, in CA and, I fear, everywhere, that they engage in public participation. No government agencies in CA that I have found, and I wasted some years trying to change the sham public theater that is presented as public participation, actually care what voters want. Elected politicians and government staffers all seem to dance to the tune of shadily obscured rich overlords and no politicos or public staffers give a crap about what the public actually wants.

One of the men I have alluded to actually dropped out of UC in the early sixties, having rejected a full free ride to STanford because Stanford was too staid for his fiercy passion to change the world. And he spent decades as a olitical activist before receding into earning a livelihood 'consulting' to governments. Mostly he and his biz partner design and facilitate large public meetings, like maybe a statewide meeting of the Water Board, but they don't really do anything to renew democracy. What the heck, they need a livelihood.

Anyway, as I hung out with these two good, caring men, I mentioned, proudly, that even though I had only been in CA a couple weeks, I had already registered to vote and the older friend grunted and said "You mean you still vote? You still think your vote matters?

I guess I don't think voting matters but it was dunned into me as a child to always vote, so I always have and always will. And one thing the Bernie-Hillary predicament is doing is WAKING PEOPLE UP to what has long been the truth, which is that what the people want has not mattered for a long time.

Of course I pray that the oligarchy is defeated by the power of people. And I can't help it, I vote. I am thrilled by the energy Bernie is inspiring and, of course, I hope he wins the presidency. But if he doesn't, I believe his campaign is awakening millennials.



What really happened, and I came to this conclusion long ago, in the eighties (for a few years my focus was my baby and I didn't pay attention to the outer world for awhile but as soon as I did, trying to enter the workforce, I realized the world i had grown up in no longer existed.) Jobs, good middle class jobs were fewer and farther between, realized the economy had changed dramatically. This was an era, begun probably, when Reagan fired all the air traffic controllers in that union, when there were massive job cut backs in all sectors of the economy but esp. union jobs.

I don't think boomers gave up on their dreams for greater justice in this society. I think the oligarchs were already making moves to keep most Americans (and it is worse in other parts of the world, for sure) so busy with low wage jobs and scrambling to survive that they couldn't foment the revolution. I couldn't be a revolutionary and tend my baby. I couldn't be a revolutionary and keep a roof over our head and food in our bellies.

I think the overlord class used propaganda all along, telling folks that the boomers both failed in the hippie revolution of flower power and then ruined the country for later generations, like that scene in Wizard of Oz when the wizard tells Dorothy to pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. Only in this dystopian society we live in but which not enough accept is already a dystopia, instead of a man behind a curtain, we have billionaires grooming generations of propagandists, billionaires investing heavily in lulling all but the very elite alseep. And they are smart oligarchs. Just as plantations had a house slave that lived better than the farming slaves, the oligarchy has created a privileged class in the establishment.

gosh.