one of the main things i miss about living in basileia is the problem solving capacity of a group of awesome somewhat like-minded yet totally different people. It is such an encouragement to not face problems alone. One can bring a problem to the group, have them help break it down to find a solution, and then breakdown that solution to manageable steps and help make it happen. I am thankful I had that and I wish I still did, especially right now:

Most of you know my friend Sarah Mark and her 6 kids.  I just found out the other day that in at least one of the kids’ rooms they have BED BUGS.  I don’t know much about bed bugs except that once they are in your furniture you basically have to throw it out (unless you have a giant deep freeze to kill them), and they can be really difficult to fully eliminate.

Sarah has no money (her 5 year limit for welfare is up — thank you bill clinton and the republican congress of the 90s), and she has had a really hard time finding a job (due to the current economic crisis — thank you george bush and the current republican congress).

Part of me wants to just not get involved at all:  it’s an overwhelming problem, it will cost money (i don’t have much to spare either), it is scary (what if WE get bed bugs?!?!), and it will take some time to figure out and deal with…   But not getting involved isn’t really an option: her poor sweet kids have bite marks all over their arms and legs.

So I guess this is where I’m hoping my new blog community will help me out — any ideas on the bed bug problem? Know of anyone who is getting rid of a new or gently used twin sized mattress (at least 3 of them are needed)? Wanna volunteer to help me and Sarah tackle the bed bug problems once we come up with a plan? If nothing else, just send me some encouragement!! 🙂

UPDATE: Just talked to Sarah and it sounds like she might have found something to get rid of them — without having to buy new mattresses. I also did some research and found a few other solutions in case they make a come back. Whew! At the very least, being able to share this helped motivate me a little (I had to be able to give a positive update to this post!). 🙂


the lanyard

November 15, 2008

Tiana likes it when i explain what i like about a poem that i foward so here it is: 
i like the irony of this one and how we all do this on some level:  the small ugly gifts we gave as children (and sometimes still give) expecting them to be received with all sorts of gratitude; soaking in our own largess…  and how totally short the gifts fall, but they are accepted with joy nonetheless.  It’s kinda funny.  How much do we owe people, and how much are we owed, which can never be repaid, but somehow it all works out…
and thinking about it that way gives one so much gratitude, ya know?  it’s my favorite thing: grace…

ps — thanks mom & dad! 🙂


The Lanyard
by billy collins

The other day I was ricocheting slowly
off the blue walls of this room,
moving as if underwater from typewriter to piano,
from bookshelf to an envelope lying on the floor,
when I found myself in the L section of the dictionary
where my eyes fell upon the word lanyard.

No cookie nibbled by a French novelist
could send one into the past more suddenly —
a past where I sat at a workbench at a camp
by a deep Adirondack lake
learning how to braid long thin plastic strips
into a lanyard, a gift for my mother.

I had never seen anyone use a lanyard
or wear one, if that’s what you did with them,
but that did not keep me from crossing
strand over strand again and again
until I had made a boxy
red and white lanyard for my mother.

She gave me life and milk from her breasts,
and I gave her a lanyard.
She nursed me in many a sick room,
lifted spoons of medicine to my lips,
laid cold face-cloths on my forehead,
and then led me out into the airy light

and taught me to walk and swim,
and I, in turn, presented her with a lanyard.
Here are thousands of meals, she said,
and here is clothing and a good education.
And here is your lanyard, I replied,
which I made with a little help from a counselor.

Here is a breathing body and a beating heart,
strong legs, bones and teeth,
and two clear eyes to read the world, she whispered,
and here, I said, is the lanyard I made at camp.
And here, I wish to say to her now,
is a smaller gift – not the worn truth

that you can never repay your mother,
but the rueful admission that when she took
the two-tone lanyard from my hand,
I was as sure as a boy could be
that this useless, worthless thing I wove
out of boredom would be enough to make us even.

my mormon experience

November 8, 2008

i just had a couple of missionarys from the church of jesus christ of latter-day saints on my living room couch…  (and I don’t mean “had” in the book of mormon sense!) ha ha ha.

let me take you back a few days…

In this most recent election a very slim majority of California voters decide to pass Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.  The mormon church contributed over $22 million to take away peoples’ rights. 

A friend forwarded an email to me:

Let’s ask the Mormon church for some of their money.  Go to their website below and request a free book or dvd from them.  This has to cost them at least $5 each.  Let’s get a few hundred thousand people to order a book or 2 from the “church” who brought you passage of Prop 8 in California, the State Constitutional Amendment that was passed banning gay marriage.
 You might even have it delivered by a pair of their starched shirt and tie missionaries.  If you are so inclined, you could gently explain to them how offensive you find their support of Prop 8, but wait until they give you the book.  We want to consume as much of their freely offered time and material as they will freely give.

I wasn’t sure, at first, if this a was ‘vengeful’ or petty way to go about voicing my frustration.  But I considered it and decided the only way to connect with folks is person to person. Even if I can only share with one or two people how this law has affected me and the people I love, maybe that will make a difference.  So I orded the book of mormon and lo and behold, on a Saturday evening, the missionaries appeared!!

I wish I could say I was better at making that personal connection, but I really wasn’t expecting them to be so prompt (maybe the missionarying has taken a hit along with the stock market and they didn’t have much else to do?) and so I was a little unprepared.  I did my best to be very respectful and hospitable (I even gave them something to drink). They asked how I heard about their website and I realized I couldn’t keep up the charade of being interested in the church for very long. 

I just let them know that the reason I had requested the information was to share with them how frustrated I am with their church’s support of bigotry.  The kind young men listened to my concerns, and I appreciated that.  I asked them to really think about what their church is representing to people when they force their religious views on other people and take away rights. In the end I let them know that if their church ever decides to start loving people for who they are and not force their beliefs on others, I would be more than happy to consider signing myself up.  I think my favorite part was when I asked what their church was about:  Elder Simmons started to say “love” but then decided to say “Jesus Christ” instead.  Ironic, huh? 

After they left I realized I was very very sweaty.

So I guess I gotta tie it all in to my theme, huh…
I am thankful that the “elders” (age: approximately 19 years old) were gracious and kind in listening to my concerns.  I am thankful that they didn’t get all righteous on my ass. And I am thankful that there will soon be a day when everyone, no matter their sexual orientation, can share in the rights and responsibilities of marriage.  Yes we can!!!

my first blog post ever

November 8, 2008

I remember seeing a quote that went something like this, “blogs are like peeing: anyone can do it, but no one really wants to see the results.” 

I like this quote partly because it mentions a body function, and partly because I kinda feel the same way: who wants to read about me? Seriously.  And I know you don’t wanna see my pee right? But I love reading my other friends’ blogs, and the narcissist in me has been jonesin’ to bust into this technological format.

The other piece of this idea is that I’ll try to use this blog as a place for two things: gratitude and bragging.  There really aren’t enough opportunities to be thankful sometimes — or we don’t always seize on them, ya know?  Plus, I think the people in my life are pretty awesome and I wanted a place to brag on them in “public”, as it were…

last thing for now:

isthmus isth·mus (ĭs’məs)
n. pl. isth·mus·es or isth·mi (-mī’): A narrow strip of land that connects two larger bodies of land and has water on both sides.    

I like this idea of a small thing connecting two bigger things — like all the little things that connect us to each other — ideas, loves, dislikes, experiences, dna, needs, desires, etc…   So may this be a blog of connection, where we find the things that bring us together and keep us from drowning in those bodies of water on both sides.