Thursday, August 21, 2014

Help - I need somebody

A horrifying situation that I feel like I can't even begin to talk about happened. 

As a child there is a tendency to think of ourselves as invincible. When you are a parent, or a nurturer, and you have to deal with life and death types of risks in regards to children, you find that your whole mind set changes.

deary me, that probably only makes sense to me

Squink had a situation that absolutely terrified me. Made my heart stop. Made me roil and boil with an unfathomable anger that is still present and is mixed with dread, fear, anxiety...

My take away, one of them anyway, from what happened is that we have failed most of our kids in that we have not taught them what "get help" means.

When I was 7, I found my 9 or 10 year old cousin and my grandfather together. My cousin was laughing hysterically and my grandfather was blue and sweaty and unable to speak. My cousin said that he was laughing because my grandfather was pretending he couldn't move. 

I knew immediately that this was serious. I told my cousin to find my dad and get help while I went to find our grandmother. We were on a boat, they were easy to locate.

I was seven. He, my cousin, was at least two years older.

I don't know if I was able to assess the situation because I had grown up with a great caution instilled in me (from the very real possibility of my being kidnapped and being told what to do should that ever happen - my brother and I shared a room for quite some time so that in the case someone came in to our room at night, at least one of us could scream for help).

I don't know if I went to get help because I was taught by my mother what to do in cases of emergency.

I don't know if I went to get help because I am a girl, and that is what girls do.

But, the fact is that I got help. 

Not that it helped, he died that night.  But how much more awful would it had been to not have gone for help when it was obvious there was a need for some further intervention that was out of our child hands.

So, yes...

Squink was in a life or death situation. He was with "friends", all over the age of 7.

All were boys.

None got help. 

We found out by accident that he was in trouble, Overhearing the first two back washing their hands.

A couple that lived closer to the incident site decided to listen to their barking dog, look out the window to see what he was barking at, and they saw Squinks finger tips waving from a mud pile.

When they got there he was unable to scream. One of his rescuers told me that he was unable to scream for help any more and that as soon as they had removed him from the situation, that he seemed to be in shock.

My heart breaks at this situation.

So, if you are involved with children in any way... please talk to your children about what getting help means. That it means you get someone there right away. That it is serious and they should never worry about being in trouble. To scream when others can't.

Still, I just can't help but be bewildered that none of them got help.

I can't even describe the lump in my throat.

He was stuck in a very muddy excavation trench for a high voltage underground wiring system for some homes nearby. It was at least 4 feet deep. There was at least one line that was live. The hole was not barricaded, filled in, or had any forms of warning that it was not to be messed with (such as caution tape or barricades). In such shoddy work, it would be entirely possible that the contractor used broken pipe.

You can see the holes where his legs were stuck.

I can't even begin to describe the anger I feel at the contractor responsible for not doing any of those things and how he chose to follow up on the situation.

The fact is, Squink is my child and it is my god given, ancestral duty to protect him and so many people failed me on helping me do this. 

I assume a social contact with friends and family, with too few exceptions in this case, they and their children failed me.

I assume a social contract with professionals in whatever job that rules will be followed (in this case construction), they failed me.

I am angry.

I am heartbroken.

But for the sake of my child, you will hear me roar.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Blaine the Dane QEPD

Just shy over one year ago, a very dear and special person passed away. his friendship was deeply important to me, he was kind, and gracious and patient with me. I was reminded of his passing, and the flood of sadness at knowing that I would not hear his voice again, just made my heart feel heavy. again.
He was living in New Orleans when Katrina happened, he called me a couple of days after from his cell which I had tried repeatedly to reach him on. I answered breathing into the phone with anticipation; "Blaine, please tell me you are Blaine and that you are OK" He answered; "Darlin', I am OK. It is hell here, but I am alive.". He asked me to call others that were important to him, people that that I did not really know, but had met and knew how to get a hold of... There was such an honor in being that person to him.
I wrote him a letter last year, shortly after I found out he had passed away from brain cancer. Here is an excerpt of that letter.

My dear Blaine,
I always told you that you helped me in ways that would be eternal.
I was recently broken up with one of the most vile and worst of the boyfriends in my life... I was broken but managed to talk myself into going to Long Wong's in Tempe to hear The Revenants play... alone. Not anything I normally did, and everything I was told I should never do.
You were sitting outside on the patio with mutual friends. You heard them ask me about the ex. They went inside to see what was going on. You stayed and talked to me about what I needed to know about being in a relationship with an addict and how to handle it. I recall thinking that you were trying to work me, and you probably were.  The light from the streetlight reflected on your long thick hair. I was pretty broken that night when I arrived. You were extremely kind and I decided to give you a chance. We spent quite some time together after that, hanging out at your casita talking about having ties to the rise of Phoenix; your years in college in Denton, Texas; music; astrology... and even a little about Charlotte… and my vile ex boyfriend.  And in those moments, where we would sit and talk, a wonderful friendship began. That is, until you decided to move to New Orleans because you didn't want to cut your hair. I'm not quite sure how you managed it, but before you left Arizona, you helped me regain a sense of worth that I had handed vile ex boyfriend on a silver platter.  Merely in you appreciating me for who I was, was I able to regain the knowledge that I was a good person.

Those early years between us seemed a diversion. We drank a lot of your cold brewed coffee and talked.        I always marveled that you were such a wonder... You allowed me to relax and have fun. You were a catalyst in returning me to me.
We stayed in touch by email when you moved away and then when I moved out of the country. We would use chat between Quito, Ecuador and NOLA. And you taught me enough to help me get a gig in Ecuador so I could maintain digital contact with my loved ones in other parts of the world. During those times, I was able to swing a visit to New Orleans and stay with you for a few days. That trip changed me so much. It was there that I became aware that you called me darlin', you had always called me that... but it sounded different to me. It was that trip when I felt like the sexiest and most desirable woman in all of New Orleans. You took me to dinner and fed me jambalaya, later you took me to see the Blind Boys of Alabama. I wore a simple black slip as we walked around the French Quarter and you gave me a tour of the city at night. You introduced me to your friends as we walked along the street. I had asked you as we left your place that evening if I should wear the slip, it felt racy and daring and you said "Of course, darlin' you're beautiful." I think that walking around town with you while I was wearing nothing but a black slip was one of the most wonderful moments in my life as a female. I felt beautiful in a way I had never felt before. You may have been the first male to tell me that and that I believed truly meant it. You took me to a graveyard near your home and we talked about death and life as we wandered and sat on the mausoleums, that was so perfect. You told me that you had identified the time and date you'd die. You wouldn't tell me though, you said that it shouldn't matter and I realize that was right. You called me darlin' that whole trip (and never stopped).
I never had "intentions" about my relationship with you. It just was. I never thought of you as a boy friend, much less a boy friend, or even as marriageable. We enjoyed each other.
I recall that once, in Phoenix,  we spent a New Years together. We had dinner and you ordered soft shell crab. I seem to recall that we went to a party and got bored and went to just get coffee and enjoy each other. You looked so handsome in your suit, and you were extra gentlemanly to me.
I'd gotten married and when I told you, you checked our chart and told me we would be very good for each other, but that I was forever your darlin'. I came to visit you again after that and you showed me another part of New Orleans and told all the inside jokes and stories... who wants a nutria po' boy?You introduced me to your girlfriend, showed me the Shaker Shop and your love of good wood. We were friends, and I knew that would never go away.
I was one of the first people you called after Katrina devastated New Orleans... to tell me you were ok. You'd call a every once in awhile and I'd call you. You'd share your relationship horror stories and we could talk about wonderful magical things... I'd ask about my sons astrological chart (it was not done by you, but it was done with software you'd written. So it felt right to talk to you). We would talk about how New Orleans was still trying to recover, and how you felt that the US ignored Louisiana and its recovery, that we could have done more. We would talk about guns and how much you hated commie liberals. It was never contentious, it was always delightful.
Oh my dear Blaine, when you called to tell me about your tumor. I was devastated. Stage 4 is never ever good. I asked if they thought it had been that that had caused the constant ear infections 15 years prior. You said you hadn't thought of that. I think it was, but it is in my nature to find some form of survivor guilt about you. I don't want you dead, but you went ahead and did it anyway. So you leave me here, all the richer for having had you in my life.
I miss knowing that hearing you call me darlin' is a phone call away. It was always so genuine.



Originally written 8/6/13

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Finding the magic, courage and faith in the pursuit of openness... maybe.

In the lifelong pursuit of being a member of the collective world, some things help facilitate things between all of us on this planet. because left to our unhampered instincts, I think we would be quite feral.

Communication is pretty much at the forefront of that, wouldn't you say?

By that, I suppose I mean relationships.

Of course, animals develop relationships, bonds, and/or what have you... but there is a something among humans that relies on all forms of communication.

While I would say this is true of everyone, I think it is especially for people like me, who have chosen to embrace more than one region and thus have to navigate different cultures, environments, and things of that nature,

I came across this article, which got me to thinking about its list of 5 things that are better than being right (which I saw as a catchy article title that is ultimately about things that make you a better part of a community).

My first reaction was to Openness, something I am not all that good at. 

I tend to keep things closely guarded and close. I don't reveal things until I have to or if I must.  There are many conversations with family in which I will hear them say "I didn't know that, what didn't you tell me?"

I don't know if I have always been this way, but I think I am less open now than I was in... say, my teens. But, I think a lot of teens are that way.

So, I was struck by the notion of openness.

And as always I refer to consensus of definition and look to a dictionary (in this case The two relevant parts of the definition are here:

  • ready to entertain new ideas; not biased or prejudiced: an open mind
  • unreserved or candid
I think I have a better grasp on the first one, I will listen, though I do tend to put things I am told to some rigor. I think this drives some people nuts, and if they waffle and refuse to accept consensus of definition, I tend to close off because who can argue with someone that sets up circular non testable arguments. 

So problem number one - I lose faith.

Faith is a state of openness or trust. ~ Alan Watts  

I do not talk about politics and religion with people. Oh, I will skim the surface so there is an impression of what I actually think and believe but, most have no idea... and we have problem number two.

I refuse the magic.

There's just some magic in truth and honesty and openness. ~ Frank Ocean

So, I tend toward duty, and consider myself courageous in many ways. I don't forgo new opportunities out of something like fear, but I do tend to default to duty.

So, here, in this instance, I lack courage.

“It takes a lot of courage to show your dreams to someone else.”  ~ Erma Bombeck

The good news is that these are all things I can work on... if I want to be more open, that is... not sure what that would look like for me? I like things protected and nestled in the sacred spaces of my soul. 

Monday, August 04, 2014

Falling back on gratitude near the tranquil and fathomless water (of life).

Not a picture of tranquil and fathomless water, but extremely special to see Squink so enchanted with a dog (claims to be afraid of them).

The world is an amazing place.

After a week of staring at my own mortality (through the making of regular doctors appointments and such) and trying to navigate the why didn't you do this sooner (in the case of a 5 year span between appointments [which is not the recommended amount of time].

I managed to end up doing things that brought gratitude back in to perspective...

Yes, it had been there, waiting for me to notice it... but I was clouded by worry about being alive and healthy for my son, and failing to do that very well because I had put off too many of my medical and dental appointments for far too long.  

So, now I just need to manage one last appointment, call for some test results and get started on trying to be better about this.

But, what joy there is in being thankful.

I got to help a friend work on a crowd funded art installation in a wonderful and gentle way and I was invited to spend a morning with a bunch of women whom I have never met but found utterly delightful (I have met the hostess, that was just once, and it was a while ago... but I have followed her blog since then).

“Until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace.”~ Albert Schweitzer

Here are reminders, for me, about how there is a gentleness out there:

Resiliency roses. For more information click here

Prickly Pear Jelly (before and after, if you will). Boy, do I miss eating fresh Prickly Pear fruit!

Squink, who insists he doesn't like dogs, let this gentle creature hang out by him the whole morning.

“Joy, sorrow, tears, lamentation, laughter -- to all these music gives voice, but in such a way that we are transported from the world of unrest to a world of peace, and see reality in a new way, as if we were sitting by a mountain lake and contemplating hills and woods and clouds in the tranquil and fathomless water.” ~ Albert Schweitzer

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Sweetened and Spurred on by Gratitude

I still have not managed to get the pictures off of my camera, soon.. and I will post the magical trip to bring my son back home.


A lot has been running through my mind, I have a friend who was diagnosed with an extremely rare form of cervical cancer... so I promptly called my gyn to schedule my exam and learned that I hadn't been in the office for over three years. Considering that I am most likely perimenopausal, there is a certain amount of shame in that. I think (*think*) that I may have been screened by my primary care physician in that time, but this is still not a good thing.

Get your screenings people. And your immunizations.


I am not too shy to tell anyone how much I love this new Pope. I find it intriguing that people can even get him to make up some sort of Top 10 list... So there is this.

I was struck by the last line, which I am condensing here "May we be always more grateful...".

So true, some people do not come to gratitude well... I image that is true about myself as well, since gratitude is something I feel like I am continually working on.  I have been thinking about my facebook gratitude project from a few years ago, it was hard, but that is for a lot of reasons. One of the things that inspired it was someone whom I thought was a friend revealing that they were not, in fact a friend at all.... it was the opposite really.

So, gratitude, still in my thoughts in terms of how to make it part of the abundance of my life... I really and lucky and aware of the privilege of my life circumstances. 

I have been trying to see where I can find the gratitude in the dark things, the hard things, and even the mean and ugly things. Talk about hard!

"Gratitude spurs us on to prove ourselves worthy of what others have done for us." ~ Wilferd A. Peterson

I feel challenged by this, not that I will be looking at the mean and ugly and trying to find something magical in in, but that I can't imagine this is going to be easy.

Today, I feel old... my body is full of aches, I feel lost to the self indulgent importance I had in my narcissistic youth, I am hanging on the poorly thought out suggestions people have made to me.

How do I find the gratitude in that?

I need to deconstruct this today thing:

  • I am feeling old - which means I am alive.
  • My body aches, which means I need to listen to it more carefully, but I am aware enough to notice that.
  • I feel unimportant - but I am a mother, wife, daughter and in clear scientific (in the social science way) know that is just not true.
  • Poorly thought out suggestions - I can look deep into what is the truth that is buried in them, find the kernel that makes them sting and identify what I lament, find those and I can work on changing those.