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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Love Conquers Fear

Jack walked into the house and found me scraping out the bottom of a muffin pan of its burnt contents. "Before I was born I was a blade of grass." he said.  I heard "Was I born a bad ass ?"
Of course I asked him to repeat himself because misheard things have been known to cause conflict in our home.

The last instance was when I thought Oscar said "fuck you up" when… oh wait, he did say that. But in his defense he thought he was saying "funk you up."

I stopped the scraping and asked him to repeat himself.  By this time his older brother was standing there when Jack again declared that he was a blade of grass before he was born.  Fin immediately said that it was stupid and impossible.  Jack held his ground, (pun intended) yet this time defensive and hurt.

He explained that he wasn't a blade of grass for very long, but when he was it was wonderful. He remembers being cold at night and waiting for the sun, and when it finally came up he would feel it's warmth. He talked about how he got water from the ground when he was thirsty.

Fin decided that this wasn't worth his time and he left saying that he hoped a dog peed on Grass Jack.   By this time Jack was drawing vibrant blades of grass on a paper and tried to ignore Fin's insult.  But tears were forming in his eyes and he asked me if I believed that he was a blade of grass before he was born.   I told him that I believed him with my entire heart.

Since Jack was born, he has added a sweetness to our family. His heart is pure and his love is contagious. Jack was my first son whose birth showed me what other women were talking about with love at first sight.   When he was 3 we thought he had wondered off. For two agonizing hours we couldn't find him. I wrote about it here, but the reason I bring that up, is because our entire neighborhood went looking for him.  Even when he isn't even trying, he brings out goodwill in people.

If something in his little heart identifies with a simple blade of grass, so be it.

When do things get complicated?  To a kid it is really simple.  There is love. Eventually fear creeps in, But usually love can overcome fear.  I was terrified of the dark as a kid.  I was afraid somebody was going to climb up from the floor and get me.  A fear based on Edgar Allen Poe's, The Tell-Tale Heart   The fictional story my brother told me had created such a fear in me that my mom would lie on the floor in the spot that the dismembered body was going to creep up from, until I fell asleep. Her love, not her girth, or strength, weapons or opinions were going to save me, but just the fact that she loved me, led me to feel safe.

*On a side note, I would like to thank my brother for telling me that story so I could have nightmares the first half of my life.

You fear what you don't know or understand. In my case it was a story, in other's case its someone who is different from you.  But even in my darkest moment of fear when I thought Jack was gone, love prevailed.

The biggest lesson I try and teach my boys is one that I have to work on every single day.  What if  there was no "you" and "them"?  What if we all came from the same source?  If you insult someone you are essentially insulting yourself. But if you show compassion and love to someone, ultimately you are showing love to yourself as well.

Some will say, it's not that easy or it's easier said than done. Which is true, but it shouldn't be.  Love really isn't hard. Do we really have all the answers anyway?

With everything going on in Indiana and the mud slinging of hatred on both sides,  I have to remind myself that we are all one.  When you look at a field you don't see the tiny blades of grass, you see it as a whole and it is beautiful.

As we get older we find ways to make things complicated. It is all pretty simple when you step back and look from a wide lens instead of a narrow one.

Love really can conquer fear if we step aside and let it.

Friday, March 20, 2015



I cannot believe the breakfast club is 30! It was the first tape my family ever owned. This was back in a time where parents didn’t have access to online parent guides or reviews as to what was appropriate for children. My brother is 7 years older than me. At 15 I guess my parents thought he was mature enough to watch R movies. (He wasn’t). So mature that he would fire up the VHS, pop open a bag of Doritos and watch it with his 8-year-old sister, repeatedly. To this day I don’t think our parents have even seen a movie that I can recite word for word.
I would like to think that my parent’s lack of micro-supervision in the 80’s was beneficial. The lesson I learned while watching The Breakfast Club shaped how I parent today. So now I belong to a social club called parenting. It’s sort of social, demented and sad, but social.

1. Breakfast can be just as good for lunch. I would never have discovered the delight of a
Capn’ Crunch sandwich if I hadn’t seen Allison eat one.

2. Bitches can’t handle the smoke. Don’t think I didn’t think of that the first time I was offered a cigarette.

*On a side note: drugs don’t discriminate social groups. You can be a princess, an athlete, nerd or basket case and still smoke pot. The high doesn’t even last the entire day.

3. You have to carry a ton of shit in your bag, because you never know when you may need to jam. Especially if you are potty training a 3 year old.

4. Don't Go Into a Closet with A Bull,  Son. Principles and other people of authority show their true colors behind closed doors, or in a school closet. As soon as the door shuts they will call you a gutless turd. Just because someone has authority and makes a ton of money like “$31,000 a year.” Doesn’t make them a good person.

*On a side note: What principle wears a suit to work on a Saturday? 

5. Running in a group is always better than running by oneself. However, floors can be very slippery. Take caution when running.

6. Duct tape does not belong in a locker room. Poor Larry Lester. Also, if you see a jock holding duct tape in a locker room you better cover your buns and run.

7. Less is more. Nobody looks good with all that black shit in her eyes. Pulling your hair out of your face is a good thing.

*On a side note: You have to have really voluptuous lips and a yoga-like neck to pull off Clair’s lipstick trick. After 30 years of trying, I personally think it is impossible.

8. Parents can be assholes. They pressure their kids to be good a athlete, or to make the fucking elephant lamp to work. Or they ignore their kids or and become demanding when they want chicken potpies. As a parent, don’t be an asshole.

9. Good dancing is subjective. It could be rolling around a statue, or skip-dancing on the stairs, or doing some weird muscle man walk thing or drumming on your knee. Don’t worry about it, just move your body and be happy.

10. Don’t judge a book by its cover. You can make friends with anyone even when you only have one thing in common, like detention.

The sad reality is that if you were to have the same situation tomorrow in a school detention, those five students would probably never even learn each others name because their heads would be buried in  apps, snap chats and texts.

I’m so thankful I was able to live the awkward, kind of childhood that John Hughes told so well. It made me a kind of awkward bizarre parent I am today.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Art in chaos

Every so often, I completely lose my mind and give up trying to make sense of the fact that nobody notices the inconceivably vast mess that surrounds us.  Then it occurred to me, maybe they don't see what I see. Is it a gender bias or a mother/child differential component that makes certain things impossible to see?  (Unless it is my mother, she makes it very known that she can see it.)  Could it be possible that I have young virtuoso prodigies on my hands and where I see chaos they see art?  So, in an effort to support my budding Pablo Piccassos I took a Sunday afternoon strolling the the museum, otherwise known as my house.

Practical Life Cube Sculpture

What I see- Clean laundry of all colors, darks, lights, whites, that has been sitting in a laundry basket for five days and has now moprhed into the shape of a laundry lego.
What they see- Sculpture representing the world family as one unit. All shapes and colors tightly bound together into one cohesive shape and possibly stackable.

                                                                                                  Contemporary Mosaic 

What I see- The most annoying thing on Earth that makes my head feel like it is going to explode with rage.
What they see- A mosaic interpretation of the tiles on the floor.  Metaphorically missing the drain to prove the point, that beauty sometimes misses the mark, but one must try and try and try…and try.

                                                                                            Impressionism with fingerprints

What I see- A glass door I cleaned 3 minutes prior to this photo. A door that clearly has a door knob which they seem to miss.  I also question what they have been eating because by the looks of the greasy finger prints, it appears they ate sticks of butter with their hands.

What they see- A floating dog.

                                                                                                    Practical Life Sculpture

What I see- Someone who poured way too much cereal in a bowl for a 4 year old who ate 2 bites. Obviously the sink was full so it couldn't be cleaned, so the next best place for it would be right next to the sink for the world to see.
What they see- The spoon is positioned just so as to give the impression it will be finished later, but everyone knows it won't. The box in the background (that wasn't put back) makes a powerful statement LIFE. This is my Life and sometimes it makes me cry.

                                                                                                             Realism Art

What I see- Someone who left just enough orange juice in the bottom of the bottle so they could justify not throwing it 2 feet away into the recycling bin.
What they see-  An optimistic point of view. Is the bottle empty or is just an illusion of empty. It is all how you look at it.


                                                                                                                 Junk Art

What I see: A pile of clothes that my husband steps out of right before he steps into bed. Layer by layer you can find complete outfits from the days before. At some point it may stand up and resemble my husband and I won't be able to tell the difference.

What he sees: I believe he is blind to this and unable to see it. Just as he is blind to the hamper he passes, as well as the chair and ottoman he passes on his way to this very spot.

                                                                                                       Exhibitionist Art

What I see-  A losing battle with gravity.  A child who was born without hips and who doesn't notice a draft. Who is also sitting in a "W" position which I have heard is horrible for children and results in their legs being bowed and unusable. 
What they see- A valiant statement that pants are restrictive. That parts of a body should be celebrated, not covered. That you can sit whatever the hell way you want to because you are 4 and nobody is going to tell you how to sit when watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.

I'm sure if you take a look around you can find art in the chaos in your own home.  In my house it is a continues example of how art imitates life, chaotically.