Tuesday, January 20, 2009

We Did

Why Barack is 'Ours'


My Aunt Ruth isn't doing very well
94 and the light that used to flicker behind her eyes is slipping

I hope she lives long enough to see this:
Thousands upon millions on top of multitudes of us of America Women and daddies and
babies wrapped well against the District's cold

And the children- who had the vision first
carried it home, believed in what was possible more than what was probable

When I was 4
Aunt Ruth and I stood staring at ourselves in her dresser mirror

The last hope of daylight spread over her yellow cheekbones

I had turned her into a big Barbie

Put barrettes and yarn
in her black satin hair

"Aunt Ruth, are you White?"
slipped irresistibly from my innocent lips

Her mouth did not answer
Her eyes did
written on them the harsh decades she had served army men lunch at Fort McPherson
pinching nickels to send me North to school

She revelled in her race and never once seemed
to wish to be anything else

Aunt Ruth won't be there on Tuesday
The journey's way too long
the air too frigid
She won't see a beautiful Brown man become what she always knew was possible

the reason
she sacrificed a big life to feed hungry men and hope for a small retirement check

But we'll be there
You'll be there, right?
He'll be there
carrying all our dreams in his hands
pride in his eyes

I hope he waves at the children and the old ones like my Aunt Ruth whose faith and dreams
made this moment ours.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Tree of Happiness (With a Side of Silly)

I got an award! I got an award!
(Fun Bit of Useless Piscesgrrl-Trivia for you: Whenever I say something like "I got an award!", I say it in the cadence Eddie Murphy used when he chanted his famous 'ice cream' bit during his stand-up show, Delirious. If you saw it, you can hear my "I got an a-war-d, you didn't ge-et one" going on. Look - I don't mean it, but there it is.)
(Fun Bit of Useless Piscesgrrl-Trivia part II: We got my mom to let us watch Eddie Murphy's Delirious at my 15th birthday slumber party by saying, "It's not that bad - just a few swear words.") (Sorry Mom.)
ANYhow, Heart Rockin Mama gave me this cool award yesterday - thanks Heart Rockin Mama! It's the 'Tree of Happiness' award and I'm to list 6 things that make me happy.

Only six? :)

Would you like the serious version or the silly version?

I don't know why I always have to be a smart-*ss. It just comes naturally to me. It really does. Growing up, during the entire ride to Grandma's house my mom would implore, "Now Honey, you don't have to 'act' - you can just be yourself and have fun!"

As soon as we'd get in the door, I'd be acting loopy and show-offish. Maybe that WAS being myself.
Things haven't changed much since then. I recently attended a workshop given by a friend who's the resident "JOY" lady. She writes about joy, speaks about joy, and has the word JOY tattooed on her wrist. She's down-right joyful, people!

During her workshop she asked us to write down 3 things we like about ourselves.
"Ok, I thought - easy enough." I diligently began:

1. my life
2. my writing
3. my boobs

When I leaned to my left to giggle in my friend's ear and show her my answers (and like a good partner in crime she replied, "OMG - I thought of the same kind of thing!" LOVE my fellow smart-*sses, I do), the JOY lady asked if she'd need to separate us two. Jokingly, of course. "No no, I'll be good," I promised.

But then she asked us to push ourselves a bit, and expand our list of things we like about ourselves from 3 to 30. Thirty! Whoa.

1. my life
2. my writing
3. my left boob
4. my right boob

At that point I somehow decided to lean over to the right and share my oh-so-hilarious answers with the woman sitting next to me. She happened to be the wife of a well-known local political activist - an activist with whom I'd participated in all sorts of sobering and serious activities like Amnesty International letter-writing campaigns and Iraq war protests and workshops on how to prepare for getting arrested at said protests. I didn't know his wife and this is how I chose to introduce myself.

I couldn't really tell if she was amused or not.

But because Heart Rockin Mama is a good soul, and an unschooler, and inspires me and many others with the writing on her blog, I'll behave myself.

6 things that make me happy:

1. My life.
Sure, we have our ups and downs, and nothing's ever perfect per se, but I have to admit that I have a very blessed life. I really do. I get to be home with my kids, thanks to my hard-working husband. I get to unschool with them and be witness to and partake in their inspiration and learning and fun and aha moments. I have a cozy home and wide-open yard and family nearby and good food to eat. I'm blessed with amazing friends, a close family, and a strong marriage. And while I might occasionally chew someone's ear, b*tching about this or that (here's looking at you, Sis) or whine that it's a bit lonely in the cornfields or wonder what I'm going to do with myself when I grow up and my kids leave me (Waahhhh), all in all - it's a d*mn fine life.

2. See above

3. See #1

4. See #1

5. See #1

6. My *ss is looking pretty tight after all this working out I've been doing.
Look, I'm jus' sayin'.
And now I will go forth and bestow this mighty fine award on other good folks! So many to choose from... Here's a sampling of some of the coolest blogging mamas on the web:

1. Kim at Relaxed Homeskool for recognizing me at last year's conference and saying hello, being a kool homeskooling mama, and creating a wonderful talk radio program for homeskoolers.

2. Debra at From Skilled Hands because she posts My Town Mondays, gives away lovely, lovely art, and when she found out I, too, was going to UWWG asked if I'd join her panel presentation. Can't wait to meet up!

3. Lynn at a life worth living because she has steadily and with intention embarked upon an unschooling journey. And because being from the United Kingdom, she says things like "mum" and "whilst" and "more the clobber" and "I toppled down." Love that.

4. K. at Duff ABC's because she blogs about things like her grandma's fudge pecan pie. OMG - get over there and make that!

5. peacegoddess over yonder at Patchouli and the Porch because she just started blogging again too. Yay!

6. and finally, Kelly at she's in transition because that way I can say I linked to her twice in one week while she only linked to me (doing cheerleader moves of all things) once. It's good to have one up on Kelly at all times.

Go forth and be happy! And thanks again Heart Rockin Mama!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

This One's for Kelly

I'm SURE you already know by now that Kelly, of She's in Transition, recently featured me in all my former-cheerleader glory on her blog. I don't know how she found out I was a cheerleader in a former life. I guess it might've been part of our pre-nuptual preparation or something, since we just know that if we ever manage to meet in real life, we're gonna be, like, way tight. ("Way-ay-ay-ay TIGHT!" *hold-2-3-4*)

Sorry. Sometimes my alter-cheerleader-ego appears at the oddest times.

The universe tends to work in mysterious ways though, and the recent reappearance of my old cheerleading photos, among other ancient childhood artifacts, was quite appropros in more than one way.

The teenage daughter of a friend found her mom's old eye glasses, put them on, and made a video for Facebook that worked along the lines of, "I wonder whose glasses these are? These big, dorky glasses? How do I look? Whose could these be?" I cringed for my friend and left a comment along the lines of "Sweet Jesus - keep those girls away from my childhood bedroom closet!"

Then an old friend posted my
Sheena Easton wannabe photo, quite out of the blue, on his facebook page, unleashing quite the firestorm of comments.

And then, as if on cue, my mom showed up at my front door with 3 armloads of stuff. Old stuff. From my childhood bedroom closet. OY.

The pile sat. It sat 3 feet inside my front door for several days before I could muster the courage to take a look. And the odd thing is no one else noticed the pile even existed. This amazing feat - that my 3 boys can be so oblivious to a change in their surroundings - can be both a blessing (there were old love letters in there) and a curse (they'll step over an obstacle course of strewn items without ever noticing, much less picking anything up).

And so it was really only another bit of karmic magic that Kelly's cheerleader post appeared when it did. Somebody, somewhere, is having a good laugh.

The other day, home-bound with a sinus infection that could choke a walrus, I finally peeked into the stash of old memories. Several things were immediately used to stoke the woodburning stove. (Dear gawd, did I pledge my undying love for HIM?!?) (Ew!) (Double Ew!) (Like, ew to the fifth power!)

But others... others elicited sighs, laughter, and amazement. We thought we'd never forget those things. And yet... I did. I forgot about almost all of it.

So this one's for you, Kelly. (Cue Budweiser jingle.) For loving me even though I was a cheerleader in a former life.

My mom had the BEST idea. She suggested I hang all these old photos on a wall in our newly finished basement.

Rob just got one of those looks when I suggested it... one of those looks that suggest he just smelled something rather foul...

Friday, January 16, 2009

Teens Who Cook

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I got two teens - Brady and his best friend Ben - to cook homemade french fries and, even better, sweet potato fries for me. Ben shared that he knew how.

He might think twice about giving out information like that from now on.

I love teens cooking in my kitchen.

A Picture a Day Keeps the Crickets at Bay (Wow - Lame)


Dharmamama said so. And in case you were wondering, when Dharmamama speaks, I listen.

It would seem my muse has done gone and left me. (The tramp.) I'm still writing, though. I'm in charge of PR for both our
community theatre's current show and our statewide homeschooling conference, so I've been busy emailing, writing press releases, emailing, creating programs, emailing, and emailing. Oy - the emailing! YOU try and email over 200 homeschooling groups in IL and surrounding states, not to mention every library in the state - twice! - and see if you have anything left for the ol' blog.

I've also been busy working on a freelance article or two, getting the kids to and from their various engagements, and arm-wrestling Brady over who gets the car that day. Having another driver makes my life both easier and far more difficult. I've also been doing the
Facebook thing. If you haven't caught up with me there yet, you're missing out. Seriously - my current status update is "Laura could jump in the fray. But won't." How can you go another day without knowing such things?

So maybe I'll keep the engine warm on this here blog by posting some pictures. That's not a bad way to keep the home fires burning but not over-exert myself, right? Unfortunately, even this simple task may be more challenging than usual - a few weeks ago all my photos disappeared from Picasa. (Dear Picasa experts - help!) After the resulting nervous break-down, I'm now, with the help of my therapist, slowly getting ready to try again.

But to start off this photo frenzy, I don't need no stinkin' Picasa. (Take that, Picasa, you mean old photo-deleter!) Today's photo appeared unexpectedly on Facebook, in the photos section of an old friend from high school. I have no idea how he even got this particular photo and it cracked me right up when it appeared.

I fondly call this, "Sheena Easton Called - She Wants Her Hair Back."

Me, circa 1987