grown ups are like that....

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Separate is Never Equal

Dear Julian and Valentina,

Last night I met an amazing woman! Her name is Sylvia Mendez. When she was just a little girl the local school board wouldn't let her or her brothers attend school in their neighborhood because she was Mexican? Can you believe that, my loves?

 




Her father took the case to the courts and they won! Because of Sylvia the California schools were desegregated in 1947.

She travels the country encouraging children to get an education, and in 2011 she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Honor.

Well guess what? We met her last night! She was excited to learn that I was also from California and said she was just visiting San Jose where mama and I grew up.

We then saw a whole play about her life called Separate is Never Equal. The Rochester Latino Theater Company did a wonderful job, and the city of Rochester issued an official proclamation recognizing Sylvia's efforts to improve education nationwide. Now the Rochester City School District will be teaching their students about her life. Bridget and I hope that the Brockport School District will follow suit.





We bought a book about her life for you to share. She signed it to you both, so take good care of it.  She is a very import person, and when you read the story remember all she did for the Latino community.

With love,
Tia Chrissy & Cousin Bridget

 

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Breathe

I have the window wide open today. The air rushes in and I take great gulps.

My friend writes every Sunday. The words flow from her onto the page and she feels lighter. She has processed. She has created.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

When I was pregnant with my children each would shove little feet up into my ribs on the right side. Sometimes it was a hard jab and other times slow, persistent pressure. Either way, my lungs were compromised and air was hard to hold onto. I'd stretch and wiggle until I could breathe properly again only for their foot to once again find that comfortable place that made me choke and gasp for air.

When they were born I could breathe with ease almost immediately.

It is so easy to compare writing to birth. Of course it's been done. Of course it's cliche. Hackneyed.

But isn't it true that you can breathe better after an essay, story, or poem is done? Our  "babies" are out there now, no more foot in the rib.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Today I imagine my friend sitting at her computer with a cup of coffee. Her window is open and she watches the sun next to the Austrian crystal that hangs there. Words flow.

Poems emerge.

She can breathe.








Sunday, October 4, 2015

Trio

Last night I had a small party to celebrate the release of my husband's new book, The Public Universal Friend.  The event was fun, and so many good, kind friends and colleagues came out to support us. But this post isn't about the party or the book, really. It is about my two dearest friends, Kelly and Nadine.

To say they helped with the party is an understatement. As soon as the event was announced they agreed to come, no questions asked. And then they ever so gently pushed..."How can we help?What can we bring? How early should we arrive to set up?" But I pushed back..."No, I want to do this all on my own."

They patiently waited until I came to my senses. They read my stressed out emails and helped review my menu choices. And they were right there when I buckled and said, "Help."

So Kelly shuffled off her children to grandma's house. Nadine told her significant other that the party he was having the same night would have to wait. They brought their own linens and decorations and showed up ridiculously early to help make this event absolutely perfect. Nadine whisked my kids away, so we wouldn't have to tend to them or worry. Kelly and her husband stayed until the very end to help clean and lock up.

Thank you both, I love you. Your support amidst my crazy-making is appreciated more than you will ever know.


Sunday, March 15, 2015

Hey there, honey...

My friend Christina gave me some unfiltered beeswax and some honeycomb from her beehive.
 I stuffed the whole mess into an old stocking and added the stocking to the top of a double boiler. I learned this method on THIS website.
 I made sure to have a clean drink carton on hand.  I cut off the top.

I turned the heat to medium and watched as the clear wax seep through the hose. When it appeared all the wax was rendered, I discarded the hose full of dirt, bee bodies, bee bread, and pollen.

 I added a second pair of hose over my juice carton and poured my clear, hot wax through it.


 After the filtered wax cooled all that was left was wax and a little bit of brown watery stuff.

 The dark watery stuff was a little sweet, but wasn't pure honey.  I discarded it as well.
 And now I have some lovely wax to make candles!!!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Lit up!

I was a guest on the brand new radio show, Lit up! with Nina Alvarez.  Go check it out!


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Flow

There are days when you sit in front of the computer for hours writing, editing, reading, submitting. Your butt starts to hurt so you break for tea. It grows cold, though, because your fingers are simply flying over the keyboard.  No time for sips of tea.  Your eyes strain, but you press on.  Today you have a lot to say.  You have no idea where it comes from or why, but you don't question the flow. You embrace it.

Other days you'll sit in front of that same computer and nothing comes.  You screw around on Facebook.  You read the dumbest news stores.  On-line shop. Text your friends.  These are the days you'll get mad and hate yourself and wish you decided on a different life and feel defeated.

But those days are also part of the flow. Like it or not, it is best to embrace that part of life as well.

---------------------------------------------------------------------

Today my fingers fly and so does my heart.  Tomorrow...who knows?  But no matter what I plan to simply go with the flow.


Monday, January 5, 2015

Craft

I stand in the craft store looking for wire and the little clamps that you use at the end of a beaded project to hold the whole thing together.  But I don’t have my instruction book with me. I don’t know what I’m looking for, not really. My daughter stands beside me exasperated and eager to just get out of here so we can go to the mall. But I’m determined.  I want to make prayer beads for meditation.  So far I’ve collected a pink skull bead, a rose quartz bead, a cowrie shell, an evil eye, and a small pomander ball filled with osha root.  I’m keeping my eye out for a small cross and a bumble bee.


I stare at the wall of supplies and realize that I’m totally at a loss.  Do I need those fancy jewelry pliers?  What about the cowrie?  How do I wrap it? Or do I drill a hole in it? I’m clearly confused, but I try to maintain my cool.  I’m not sure if I want to be like the other moms in there buying scrapbook supplies and puff paints or if I want to be like the cool Bohemian twenty-somethings buying steam punk beads and modge podge.  Maybe I don’t want to be like either.    

 I distract myself with candles. There is an audible sigh from the teen.

“Why do you always buy so many candles? It’s weird.” 

I ignore this comment and ask her if I should get scented or unscented white votives. 

“Unscented, of course.” 

She knows I’ll cover each in perfumed oil anyway.  She knows that the synthetic fragrances in the scented candles won’t mix with the smell of incense and sage that permeates my house.  Two of my best friends say my house smells like a hippie, but they like it.  I just secretly thank god it doesn’t smell like a dog.



I’m back at the beads. I pick up various bags of wire.  I simply have no idea what the hell I think I’m doing.  Prayer beads?  What kind of new agey jerk have I become?  I feel silly and like I’m grasping for something totally out of my reach and beyond my age and absolutely trendy. 

Screw it. I’m going to do it anyway. I grab a bag of generic “Craft Wire” in various colors and toss it in the cart with my unscented white votives, three empty bottles that I’ll later fill with Four Thieves vinegar, and a tiny purple stuffed octopus that my daughter urges me to get.



I buy my random assortment of treasures and head for the car.  My daughter puts the new octopus toy on the dash board and we name him Periwinkle. At home, I stash the wire with the beads I’ve collected. I set my candles on my table and put the vinegar jars in the cupboard.



I haven’t begun my prayer bead project yet. Sometimes I’ll take all the beads out and look at them, study their shape and size.  But I don’t do anything with them besides keep them in a pretty box my mother gave to me that I keep right next to the sage and scented oils.