Friday, February 24, 2012

One is the Loneliest Number

The last frog of its kind lives out the rest of his life in a terrarium in Atlanta.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Sound Energy: Silent Library = Sleeping Baby

Can't remember where I was when I saw this show, Silent Library. It is a teen-age hi-jinks Japanese-style game. Contestants are groups of teen-age boys (were there girls too?) that have to perform silly/loud/disgusting acts as quietly as possible.

I think of this show when I am tip-toeing around the house while Ana sleeps. I have the luxury of being alone with Ana. I can be as quiet as I want! I realize that in order to be cat-burglar quiet I have to listen to all of the noises I make and reduce them. I find that going slowly reduces the amount of noise I make dramatically. I have to find the "middle way" between the sound-producing objects. It is a meditative task.

Ana hears everything. Not just when she is taking her nap. She hears things that I take for granted, like a chair scraping on the kitchen floor, or a screw dropping on the concrete workshop floor. Her language can imitate the sounds, almost parrot-like. I have thought more than once how fascinating it would be to have a baby parrot that is developing language raised with a baby human that is developing language. I am realizing how much of her language development is for me to listen to. I imitate her, not she from me. Then we develop our own language. She has scolded me for trying to interject words for a sound she is making! I am learning to hear again!

Also Micah helped me realize that we don't hold onto her, she holds onto us and we support her. We have been talking a lot about "trapping" recently. What does it mean to "trap someone." Do we sometimes feel trapped? We support each other instead of trapping each other.

I am realizing that we cannot teach children patience. Children help us to learn patience. They teach us how to be patient. They teach us to stop yelling. If the sound of yelling in my ears hurts my mind, then I must stop yelling, no matter what. I can handle it when someone yells in my ears. I choose not to yell back, because that hurts my mind too. I choose not to do things that hurt myself.

Having a moment of silence every day helps in ways beyond knowing. If I can have just a moment, a breath, without any noise, it grounds me. If I can listen to a whole song on Pandora, then I feel energized. I snatch the moments when I can. The luxury to write a blog entry is keenly felt and realized. Alone time is spent in delicious silence whenever possible. As Frances says, "I think I need some me-myself-alone time."

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Confessions of an Atheist: Letting Go of Blessings

Even though I've been a solid atheist since my moment of awakening in 2002, I have continued to talk about blessings. "My life is blessed." "You are so blessed." "What a blessing!" Benign banter with believers.

I am deciding that the only blessings I want to talk about are those given from person to person. "You are blessing me!" (with some gift of time or object) "He/she is blessing him/her/them!" (in response to some uplifting story).

I am still attached to the idea of luck and being lucky though. Not sure how that fits in. Is luck a useful concept?

I couldn't help it!

Just now Micah quoted a line from No David that struck true.

"I couldn't help it!"

We say this line in the book as gently as we can because it's true! Sometimes a person just can't help themselves and that's ok! Because everyone does it sometimes!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Hermit Phase

Hermit phase is full-on here. I had been resisting it for a while, but now I am embracing it. My personality spectrum falls into hermit phase for part of the year, inevitably. Micah does not talk about going to the park and I avoid the topic. He watches something on repeat (currently this) and I clean, cook, launder, and paperwork. This time of year is common because every day I think about the taxes, while I am doing everything else.

Hermit phase is deliciously repetitive. Helps me hone my skills. Examine the details of daily rhythms. Make discoveries, such as, pudding is porridge and porridge is a little bit of grain cooked in a lot of milk very slowly. Or other liquid. Milk is especially delicious.

I am having a love affair with milk. I envision my goat here at the house some day. She hasn't been born yet, but I am envisioning her coming earthside. Or maybe a miniature cow, because cows are such loverly motherly animals.

Before we can get the milk-giver we have to build up the gardens in the back yard. They have to cover every available spot in the back yard with food plants. That way there will be extra food for the animal.

Speaking of backyard animals giving milk and eggs, I told Micah that when I have my period I am giving birth to an egg. So now whenever I go to the bathroom he runs in to see if I "made the egg". And he looks in the toilet and tells me he sees the egg. I told him that it is too tiny to see it, but he was sure that he saw it.

I was telling Micah the other night that all girl animals have eggs, even Ana-Bees. Erik winced about all the egg and vagina talk. Eggs and vaginas (or cloacas) have a lot of emotions wrapped up in them! ^_^

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

As human beings we also pace our cages, it's just that our circles are wider and more convoluted.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

100 Best Novels

Modern Library has two side-by-side lists of the 100 greatest novels of all time. One is put together by the editors and one is put together by the readers.

I put together in chronological order the editors list. And well over half appear to be drunk perverts slogging through life completely self-absorbed. A daunting task to read so many such books. The editors list starts chronologically with Joseph Conrad in 1899.

I started ordering chronologically the readers list and was halted by the fact the top 10 novels included three--one of those three being a nine-book-series--by L. Ron Hubbard and four by Ayn Rand! The other three were Lord of the Rings, To Kill A Mockingbird, and Nineteen Eighty-Four. Very weird sampling of people to make up the readers of Modern library!

But back to the editors list. I get the impression that reading about suffering seems to be the way to understand literature! Perhaps it's the way that the author presents it that is the jewel. That voice. Those idioms.

So after I finish reading all of the novels in Nabokov's "Lectures on Literature" I will begin reading the editors' list in chronological order. Starting with Joseph Conrad. But then I'll have to do some preliminary Joseph Conrad reading--follow his thread of influence back and start with that. Then go from there. I wonder if I'll make it to the decade of the 1970's... 1960s? I might have to skip some of the books in the first half of the century. The 1930s seem to be especially profuse!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Scooby-Doo and the Yowee-Yahoo Vampire

The repetition of motherhood allows easy access to the zen-like tranquility of repetition. I will pick up every little crumb, every stick, every torn paper, every cereal ring, every shoe, every backpack. I will pick up every piece of clean laundry that has been scattered around the house. I will vacuum and sweep every bit of broken glass and broken ceramic. I will do it without hesitation-- most of the time.

I will help Micah watch this Scooby-Doo movie a hundred more times and find something new in it every time, like he does. This cultural tendril that forms a root in his thoughts. How does he do it? If I pay attention to the movie there are new aspects every time. I try to focus in on the music only, or just the sound effects. Or actually follow the storyline.

Laundry is an especially indulgent pleasure of motherhood. It begs to be simplified every time. Let go, let go, let go. And folding is such a naturally contemplative time that it allows you to occupy the moment. Also hanging out the laundry in the most effecient way is a mental treat.

Today as I withdrew the laundry from the clothesline I overheard my parrot-voiced neighbor cawing her usual routine with her squealing toddler grandson/charge, when the tone changed to more threatening on the part of the parrot and more frantic, apologetic crying on the part of the toddler. I won't go into the peeping-tom details of the discipline ordeal, but it *did* leave me feeling like a stick was in my throat. Suffering is real, and sometimes it is easier to recognize it in others.

I realized that I had said and done all the offenses that were presently being hurled upon the pre-schooler, but to my own children, especially my eldest.

Parenthood did not bring out the best in me. More like it unleashed a beast that was a culmination of legacies of poor parenting choices among ancestors on both sides. Noah was my knight who came to help me slay these demons: spanking, yelling, disrespect, teasing, taunting, bullying, harassing, doubting, giving-up-on, tormenting, grabbing, yanking, pushing, ad infinitum.

When I see someone spanking their child today I recoil with acridity. Yet, there was a time when I spanked Noah--frequently. Me! I can hardly believe it myself. The point is that I *know* that beast inside. Intimately. That is the beast of suffering and attachment. Rising up with bat wings through the smoke, not unlike the Yowee-Yahoo Vampire of Scooby-Doo!

The pain of hearing someone else attacking their child amplifies the aggression that I practice on my own children. I *still* count when I want them to do something. WHO DOES THAT TO ANOTHER PERSON? I only realized this *today* when I heard the neighbor counting to the kid. If I can shed all of this stuff by the time Noah grows up, perhaps I will achieve permanent enlightenment!

Micah and Ana-Bees are helping too, but Noah has a knack and is truly forging the way for his younger siblings. He's just so strong--he brings out the worst in me and I am forever grateful to him for it!! Bring it out! Hope I can leave more of it out. Shedding legacies of suffering is a laborious process!