Wednesday, November 7, 2012

hard like mountains

The last 7 to 8 months have been full up of bearing witness to the growing up of a little human being, right before my eyes. My dear child has tattooed her laugh and movements and dainty spine and long toe nails and sweet coos and terrified cries and deep scowly brow under the thin skin of my eyelids. She lives.

 You know. She really does. She breathes. She learns. She speaks. She speaks words; she speaks garble. She dances. She cares for her mamas. She offers love.

And, I can barely keep up.

 Really, barely. We are often just making it through each moment.

Waking at 2:30am.

Singing or storytelling Willa back to sleep.

Waking at 4:30am.

Kk offering her mimis sometimes in will's bed and sometimes in our (yes, she still breastfeeds; in the early morning and before bed mostly).

Waking for real at 6:50 or 7:00am.

Morning kisses; morning hugs.

Playing. Will loves to play in the morning.

Making coffee.

Making breakfast.

Taking care of the chickens.

Dressing Willa.

KK dressing.

Me dressing.

Getting out the goddamn door.

In the summer, some days we rode will in to daycare. On those days, it was a 26 mile round trip for me (and when we took the big ass Yuba Mundo--we bought a sweet cargo bicycle--that was a lot of mileage with a huge ass load. But, my ass is firmer and so is kk's).

On the days that we do not ride will in, kk drives her in and I still mostly ride my bicycle (yes, it was our deal; I could ride my bicycle as much as possible even after having a kiddio).

 Will gets dropped at daycare.

We both go to our jobs.

We work hard.

Sometimes too hard.

 We pick up will via bicycle or motor vehicle from daycare by 5:30.

If it is motor vehicle, traffic sucks at 5:30 and somedays it takes 40 minutes to go 13ish miles. If we ride her home it takes a solid hour.

It takes me 40 minutes to ride home if I am by myself. And, 45 minutes to ride in.

Upon arriving home, I make supper. I have tried to be less elaborate, but I fail miserably and usually spend 45 minutes to an hour and a half preparing dinner. But it is beautiful. Not my food, but the time in the kitchen with willa and kk. Willa sits in her 1960s table-edge seat and noshes and I cook and talk with her and act like the big goof that I am.

We eat.

Then we dance party, or read stories, or play with animal dolls, or draw (kk cleans up dishes; at times I do too; and kk straightens the house; and kk washes clothes; and kk has a hard time sitting still till I really get on her).

Then we have bath time.

Then we read more. Every night when Willa sprawls across me for our reading time, she must first remove my belt cause otherwise it pokes her back. It is our ritual.

Then she has mimis and passes out.

Then k and I talk, (or sometimes get it on), or read. I have read a deep load of lesbian romance novels in the last four months. some are shitawful and some are interesting and good. It is my escape and how I spend my time when suffering from severe insomnia. I have had terrible insomnia for the last year; it does not help that I am regularly awakened from sleep upon falling into it and then I cannot get back into it. We often have a beer or a cocktail...

Then head up to bed (we sometimes sporadically get it on).

5 or 6 hours pass and it all happens all over again and again and again.

Then there are times like now, when I travel for work (2 big trips since October 4) and miss my loves like crazy and work a lot, but also have some time to myself and a bed to myself.

That has been our lives for the last many months.

It is good and crammed up with so much activity.

It is hard, not easy.

It is not forgettable; it is more than memorable.

It is beautiful and ugly.

Again, parenting is hard.

hard as nails.

hardness--a lovely element of life, like rocks, mountains, and good eggshells.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

a photo song from our basement

Well, I've been gone a long while.  KK says it is ridiculous that I have mostly stopped writing.  She is right.  But, being a full time activist and parenting the rest of the time is pretty darn tough and mostly time consuming.

This morning we woke up to a frigid house.

Willa said, "I cold."

This child is rarely cold.  She runs hot blooded.  She is a fire head through and through.
We should have realized that something was amiss.  In the end, we discovered the boiler had gone out.

It was hard to restart it.

We pulled an emergency parenting tactic and put the will in front of cookie monster and ernie, so the two of us could deal with the pilot light.  And, so willa could be orphaned at a young age should the boiler explode.  I have never let will watch anything by herself before.  She is allowed about 15 minutes of screen time a week.  But, both (or one) of her parents are always by her side.  The damn show came in handy.

After maneuvering around on our ancient basement floor for quite a long time, we finally finished the task.

I also had a lovely time of re-exploring some nooks and crannies of our 109 year old basement.  So the following are some shots of those corners and walls.  You get a peek of a gritty basement instead of my sweet kid.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

the wanted one

Spring is hanging like a fine spider web, fragile and translucent out the winter window. Sickness showered days of belly aches and fatigue throughout our house. Time slides by ten times faster than it did before our daughter gifted us with her presence.

She walks.
She laughs.
She moos and woof woofs.

She is a delight.
She is delightful.

She is most of our waking moments at least those moments when we are not consumed with our other work.

The journey to willa was so long and at times arduous. When i read back through some of this blog, I am often left with my mouth slagging a little. Months and months and months which turned into years of trying to get to her. She is one of the most wanted children living on this planet (i know, there are hundreds of thousands additional very wanted children). But I think about the hoops and planning and persistence and iron chested will it took to continue to pursue this being into existence, and I am driven to anger and sadness for those people who still espouse the rhetoric of hate about my family.

You know the sant..orum said a few months back that a child was better off having his father in prison than having two lesbian parents. Usually, i brush off his hate for ignorance, religious intolerance and drivel, but the fact that he has had the spotlight of the american media and is taken at all seriously as a potential leader for this country adds a layer of fury to my disdain for people who would try to take my child from me or who refuse to give me full legal rights of my child. I know I've blathered on about it here before, but I cannot adopt willa here in this ass-backwards and repressive state of michigan and comments from someone who sucks up minute upon minute of television, and radio, and interwebs, and newspaper airtime like the one mentioned above are serious.

Oh, and by the way, I work with people in prison and encourage the good fathers and the once deadbeat dads, alike, to parent their children from behind bars. So, santo..rum's insult was not that insulting on its face value. I think people can parent from prison, but not as well as I can parent day in and day out, face to face with my willa. See, the insult rests in the attempt to make me and kk invisible/non-existent. It is reprehensible that we isolate and ostracise whole groups of people in cages throughout america. It is also reprehensible that this other otherised group, queer folks, are threatened with extermination of full civil and human rights (or do not yet have full civil and human rights). there are intersections here. In many ways I am not so different from the man in prison, both in my position politically and socially.

The man in prison (or the woman) is very vulnerable to having his or her parental rights stripped by the state. I have no (legal) parental rights from the state. People in prison are either made to be invisible by the media or portrayed as scary, evil folks who we must lock up in order to be safe in our beds. Queer people are often feared and/or otherised to the point of being draped in a cloak of invisibility or to the point of becoming the demonized, evil deviant who we should shield our children from ( i know this is changing, but not in enough spheres. example: i cannot be out in the work i do in the state capitol. whole pieces of me are invisible there. though, i out myself through appearance:)).

Similarities? yes.

Willa paints. She hugs. She blows kisses and showers our cheeks with love.
She was wanted beyond wanting.
We work to clothe her and feed her and bathe her and catch her vomit and soothe her tears.

Spring seems early. But winter never came this year, not really. The wind is howling and trying to carry the current of growing season on her back.

Life is wanted and we are working toward delight.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

from pent-up aching rivers, from that of myself without which I were nothing

yes that is a line from Whitman, above.  A good line for the sentiments expressed below and the physical place where we are this weekend.


We are visiting good friends in Brooklyn.  And, oh, how good it is to be away from the regular, routine days of our time at home.  Willa is having a blast with her friends V and R as she explores our friends' big, open apartment.  And, oh, how good it is to be away from the same routines of our everyday lives in ypsi.


I have come to such a stale place on some fronts of my life.  I feel worse than dry toast.  Ragged and tired of the chaos of work (and all worn out from 9 years of being a witness to the heinous actions of humankind).  And on top of that hugeness, I am just about over the complications that arise from living in too small of a town.


Don't get me wrong, I love my family and I love all of these new adventures we are experiencing with this growing, beautiful being, willa.  However, there is this place I am coming to, and it is like a stutter in the almost middle of my life.  


K and I are both hankering for change.  And this is coming from me, someone who thought she would die in the quaint, old house we live in at the almost top of a hill in a small town in an area that used to be wetlands and forest and now suffers from the aftermath of industrialization. 


There are those times when my heart gets beyond restless and difference seems like the resolution to that constant urge that itches and tickles the lining of my chest.  I am in one of those phases right now.  But, it is the most intense one I've ever expereinced and maybe really it is my mid-life crisis.  Maybe my earth sign is being shaken to the core and my roots are getting exposed.



 And, maybe just maybe, I 'll build up enough courage to do something differently.  To change the patterns that make my heart heavy.  Maybe a scenery change will come soon.  Maybe, not.  

In these interim places, while time pulses by and my baby's face changes every morning into something new and something more beautiful, I'll hold fast to the pent-up aching river of my longing for change.  Perhaps I'll take real steps to change my circumstances.  Maybe that will involve physically shifting where we spend most of the hours of our days, or maybe it will involve shifting my soul... 

Here's to New York for getting me to think more deeply about doing that which I dwell on.  Here's to holding change close and loving the fact that yearning has my stomach all a flutter with hope in that which is different and new.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A year gone by

I know I have disappeared under some kind of stone.  
The stone is called no time. 

But, I miss writing.

I miss reflecting on all of the ins and outs of the decision to have a kid, the parenting that comes with aforementioned kid, and the struggles for justice, goodness, and a life of joy that k and I work toward on a daily basis. 

No doubt, it has become increasingly difficult to carve out time to get words down, or art drawn, or books read (though I have been able to really delve into some escapist and not so escapist fiction and non-fiction in the last four months: Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections, Jonathan Safran Foer's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Geralidine Brook's The Year of Wonders and March, Wes Jackson's Nature as Measure, George R.R. Martin's A Game of Thrones, Dorothy Day's Diaries: The Duty of Delight, and Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow).  But, what I would not give to really be able to have some time to reflect on most of the books I listed back there in writing.  

It really has not been the dawning of parenthood that has kept me from writing and making art.  If anything, parenting willa with k makes me want to reflect and jot down ideas even more.  It has been my personal tendency to live on the edge of working too much, always, that has left my down hours to being solely devoted to my family and nothing more (except devouring books when getting ready for bed or when insomnia strikes or when I am flying on a plane somewhere for work).  Otherwise, I would not be able to really experience my child all that much. 

However, I've made a commitment to myself to not put in hundreds of extra hours in 2012 (hours that I never use the comp up on).  I simply cannot afford to let my life and all of the beauty in it pass me by.  I am, by nature, a recorder of events and stories.  I love to etch in ink, pencil, paint, photographs, and typography the passing of time and the interactions of people, animals, stones, waterways, trees, honeybees, and all living things within that passing of time.  

When I fail to write or make art, a part of me sits hollow. And, depression leaks in.  Not to mention, this winter in MI has been gray, wet and only semi cold--the kind of cold wet that gets under your bones and causes an ache for warmth and sun.  In addition, I need to write in order to better analyze the world and the happenings around me.  Not doing so over the last few months, has let some things seep into my heart in awkward and overwhelming ways.  

With all that being said, let's see if this new blogsy app helps me get some more writing up on this blog.

Will turned 1 on November 30, 2011.  
She is awesome.