weird dream 01.19.09

January 19, 2009

last night a had a dream that george w bush was hanging out with me at my parents house. we sat on the couch. i told him all the times i thought he was a real asshole, what an idiot of a president he was. he listened and shared his regrets. he seemed genuinely sorry and i felt an enormous sense of compassion for him. after a while i felt like i wanted to make out with him and he started rubbing my back and….

did you really think i would make out with him in my dream??  i dont like the guy that much (not at all, even with our dream friendship)!  seriously, i started waking up at that point so i swear nothing happened. i swear!!!

i know it was just a dream, but i feel better that george and i could have that little tet-a-tet. makes it a little easier to forgive, move on, and celebrate tomorrow with sheer joy!  anyone else having any presidential-type dreams lately???

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I was reading some back articles of The Sun Magazine when I found an interview with this guy named Michael Shellenberger from about 4 years ago (I’m just going to refer to him as MS since his last name is so danged long).  MS is pretty young but has done a lot in the progressive /social justice movement over the last 10+ years.  The title of the interview is ‘why liberals need to abandon complaint-based activism.’  His premise is that most people, while they share many of the same values don’t always agree on the issues, and that is why there is so much fragmentation and lack of success in the progressive movement.

This idea is something that I have been thinking about for a long time (and to give credit where it’s due – I think my parents were the first to remind me of this after I got involved in social justice issues. After one of my long diatribes about everything I was now against, they asked me, “yes, but what are you for?”).  The question has always been how to do it – how to make the connection about what one is for in the midst of all the “problems.”  MS talks about “bridge values” – those things that, when it comes down to it, most of us can agree on (e.g., war is bad, hunger is bad, working together for the success of our communities is good –people might disagree on the best way to meet these goals, but our core values are still the same).

Part of the reasons progressive ideals have struggled is instead of approaching people on ‘values’ we’ve used scare-tactics or guilt to move people into action, which, MS says, is like a sugar rush type of response to issues – lots of activity in the beginning, and then a burn out.  (I think we’ve all been there right?)  MS suggests a new strategy where people’s core beliefs are used to inspire them.

(BTW, just while I’m thinking of it, I think this is something that helped Barack Obama to become so successful – he has a way of appealing to the values that people hold no matter where they stand on the issues. It is inspiring because we can connect with the shared values, which gives us hope.)

I think this example really elucidates his point: “Martin Luther King Jr’s “I have a dream” speech is famous because it put forward an inspiring positive vision that carried within it a critique of the current moment. Imagine how history would have turned out had King given an “I have a nightmare” speech instead.”

Instead of spending a lot of time trying to reword what MS has already said so well I just want to share some quotes. A lot of it is talking about politics, but I think it is something that many of us can think about at a more personal intimate level — in our conversations with people, in what we look for in our leaders, how we approach our work, etc. It has made me think a lot about my work with hunger and how I can better get people on board with ending hunger – connecting with their values and then getting as many as I can on board for at least the next 2 or 3 next steps toward making the dream come true – cuz I gotta believe this is a dream we can make a reality.

Michael Shellenberger:

“The rhetoric of the Right says that government is alien from the people, that it’s a foreign entity that is occupying us. That’s a dangerous disturbing idea, because it concentrates power in self interested private entities – namely corporations. As much corruption as there is with Halliburton and the rest, we still elect our government. We are our government; we do not live under a dictatorship. Our government is there to represent the public interest.”

“You need a bold, exciting vision to bring new people into the political process and create a governing majority.”

“Democrats frame their proposals around issues when they should be framing them around values. What really determines how people vote is their core believes, not what their position is on an issue like healthcare or abortion or the economy. If you can understand why people’s values are, you can figure out how to create a governing majority. Our theory is that even people who are fairly conservative on issues like guns and gay marriage hold a lot of progressive values, especially around economic questions, and the Left needs to identify and strengthen those “bridge values.”

“A value that is much more powerful is that of shared achievement. How do we do something great together? The United States is a culture of aspiration. Winning the gold at the Olympics, putting a man on the moon, freeing or country from dependence on foreign oil – they’re all more motivating that [some environmentalists’ message] “Let’s keep the planet the way it has been for thousands of years.”

“Let’s define what we like about being American. There’s a lot that I’m proud of.  I can get a business license from the Financial Services Dept and I don’t have to pay a bribe. I can ride my bike with my son to the library and, at least for now, my librarian won’t call the FBI on me. I don’t worry about going to jail for saying the things I’m saying to you right now. There are many things that I cherish about being an American, but progressives don’t talk much about these things because we are such a complaint based culture.”

“At some point in the 60s the Left bought into the big lie that its values were not American values. We actually believed people when they said that about us. I don’t know why it happened, but it did.”

There is so much l like about these ideas…  Tell me if you think this is interesting or inspiring? What do you think the “bridge values” are from your perspective?

christmas with my family!

January 4, 2009

Hi Everyone,

they are so cute! my little chefs!

Here is my first holiday post. I also had christmas with Scott’s family but haven’t gone through those photos yet

Check out the pics and my highlights below:

Hightlights:

  • I made some amazing aprons and chef hats for my sister’s kids. They like to cook with her so I thought it would be fun. The younger boys got a play kitchen for christmas so it was perfect!
  • Hanging out with my mom and dad at the mall. Went to see Benjamin Button — pretty good movie
  • Visited my brother and his family. His kids are getting so big and cute! I need to get more pics of them!!
  • Took my niece out to lunch — she is growing into an amazing young lady. I am so proud of her!
  • Took two of my nephews to lunch at a chinese restaurant that we really like in Hermiston. Chase loved the sweet and sour chicken and carson refused to eat anything. ha!
  • Went out with my sister one night and had a nice time catching up with her. She is great!
  • Chase and Carons slept in our room with us one night. Carson passed out before he even got there, but Chase and I stayed up and talked. I love late night talks like that! 🙂
  • Making paper airplanes and this burning newspaper hindenburg thing with my nephews out of the “dangerous book for boys” that I got for Chase’s 7th birthday.
  • Snow ball fight and snow man building in the 12″+ of snow that my parents had! So fun!

Have fun viewing the pics! I’ll post more after I organize the Shigeno family pics!

we will crush you!

we will crush you!

Happy Birthday to us!

December 15, 2008

We just took Liz K out to dinner at for her birthday (we had indian food — excellent!).

Liz & Scott at dinner

Liz & Scott at dinner

Even though it was dinner for her birthday, she actually brought a gift for me — a belated gift for my birthday that she’s been working on. It was a collection of cards that she handmade for various occasions — birthdays, get well, miss you, etc. They are BEAUTIFUL and i LOVE them. If you have ever received a card from Liz then you know what I am talking about. This woman has a gift. Seriously. I LOVE my gift! She knows my heart… and it makes me happy.

me, liz and my belated-but-worth-the-wait prezzie

my birthday gift from liz
my birthday gift from liz

I only made her one measly card, although we did buy her dinner, but still. Her gift was so awesome. I can’t wait to use them, but then I almost don’t want to cuz they’re so awesome. If you’re reading this, Thanks friend!! 🙂

created by my ovaries

December 11, 2008

omg. when is my period going to start? seriously. too many hormones.

i was laying on the couch, reading a book, and my brain just switched over into hormone mode. because i know my mother reads this, i will not go into detail. but i sorta realized it was hormone mode, and then thought about all the other craziness hormone mode creates in me. and then i had this thought: i sort of get a thrill out of the rollercoaster of hormones. it’s like an exciting movie or a road trip: what’s around the next bend?!?! I mean, as far as my pms-y moods go, I feel like they’re not too extreme each month, but then, like, every three months or something, it gets really bad. i need specific things at specific times. and i wont put up with your crap. (case in point: today i went to this school for a work thing, and this lady wasn’t there that was supposed to be there. and i sighed and said “oh dolores” like she was an errant child that i didn’t know what to do with. she’s a 50 year old woman. i did this in front of the secretary, like some pretentious little snot. it was terrible.) the hormones are like a creature i have to keep in check. it’s a challenge. it’s exciting to see how far i can push it before i have a meltdown.

i feel really stressed about work, my personal life, and all the obligations i have — all things that i pretty much enjoy and look forward to, but it’s still stress — and so the hormones just turn all that regular stuff up to an 11.

i feel weird writing about this in a public way. but the hormones tell me YES. the hormones always want to say YES.

i have been thinking about the hormones more after downloading this book called “bonk: the curious coupling of science and sex,” which is completely fascinating and science-y and not pervy. really.
hormones do a lot, my friends. read or download the book from the san diego public library website and you shall know. we think we make our own choices but we are wrong. all those paranoid conspiracy-theorists have got one thing right: there are things beyond our control that have power over us.

but i think just being aware of that fact helps to us gain a little control. I mean, it’s nice to know i’m feeling this way, at least, to this spinal-tap intensity of 11, because of the hormones, so it’s not necessarily as “real” as it might feel. i just wish i could think of that before the meltdown, ya know?

new poem

December 3, 2008

i am still mulling this one over, but i like it. what do you call that feeling???

Piano
by Patrick Phillips

Touched by your goodness, I am like
that grand piano we found one night on Willoughby
that someone had smashed and somehow
heaved through an open window.

And you might think by this I mean I’m broken
or abandoned, or unloved. Truth is, I don’t
know exactly what I am, any more
than the wreckage in the alley knows
it’s a piano, filling with trash and yellow leaves.

Maybe I’m all that’s left of what I was.
But touching me, I know, you are the good
breeze blowing across its rusted strings.

What would you call that feeling when the wood,
even with its cracked harp, starts to sing?

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.
 
http://www.mormon.org/mormonorg/eng/
 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.