who's the ECL?

My photo
Portland, Oregon, United States
I'm not BAD evil, more like devil's food cake evil.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

mele kalikimaka (merry christmas)!

the battery in my camera is about to run out of juice and i forgot my charger AT HOME. d'oh!

so please go over to kala's honolulu daily photo blog--the shot for sunday dec 24, that's pretty much just up the beach from where we're staying.

hope you are all well and warm, and happy

Honolulu Daily Photo

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

weather

Today's highs/lows for Portland, Oregon:

35/34 freezing rain.

Tomorrow's highs/lows for Portland, Oregon:

43/36 showers.

Tomorrow's highs/lows for Haliewa, Hawaii:

81/69 mostly sunny.

hooray!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Camera Shopping

I actually broke my shopping rule and went out Saturday evening to buy myself a new camera.

I had done a lot of internetting and had decided on two different cameras, both at two big box stores relatively close to each other. Off I went to play with both of them and compare prices.

Even though my favorite big box store, Target, was infested with slow moving, cell phone talking, aisle hogging consumers who were losing it on their kids and generally displaying their amazing lack of intelligence I was in a good mood and didn't even politely yell EXCUSE ME with any attitude. Since I had come with a purpose, I went to task and played with both cameras and asked some questions and pretty much made my decision.

Off I went to big box #2. There weren't as many obstructions to my purchase (aka people) as in Target, but my shopping experience there was considerably less pleasant. And the camera cost more. But I did find a cute camera case. The cases at Target blow chunks.

I returned to Target and made my purchase. Hooray!

I decided to get the little canon elph and methinks he needs a name. Something cute and elf-like and industrious sounding. Not quite sure yet. I'll keep you posted.

Christmas Shopping

During that exciting windstorm last Thursday I decided to do some Christmas shopping. I hate shopping when its crowded; as a rule I do not go anywhere near a grocery store or mall or retail location on the weekends. So when the December crazy starts up, I try to shop during the week and in the late evening. Like around 8 or 9 pm. So shopping during the week late in the evening during a freak windstorm seemed like the perfect time to go downtown.

I decided to just hit one store and get my sister's gift out of the way. Luckily, I found parking practically in front of the store. Woo-hoo!

This store, a large outdoors store, had a good number of shoppers standing in the middle of the aisles on their cell phones completely oblivious to everyone else. I still found it easy to zigzag my way to the proper counter without having to slow down and/or politely yell EXCUSE ME too many times. I was pleased.

I also knew exactly what I was there to buy. I knew the brand, the color, the price, everything. This was a simple matter of getting it and going away. No questions, no browsing, no deciding needed. I did that at home in the comfort of my bed whilst perusing their website.

I did have an advantage: my sister's christmas list. Everyone in my family is extremely picky. We know what we like and how we like it. We are easy to please as long as we don't get crap. And we each have a firm and particular idea of what crap is. My sis is notorious as being the pickiest of the four of us so she started the trend five years ago of sending us her christmas wish list formatted as a catalog. We get the description of the item, the precise color/size/specs, the price, a weblink, and a photo. It is awesome. I can walk into a store, point at the product on her list and ask the greeter, "where can I find this?" In minutes I'm buying the thing and out the door.

So there I was at the large outdoors store, peeking under the arm of the dude in front of me trying to spy my sister's gift. The dude was standing in such a way as to block the entire case so that I had to dance around behind him to get a look, and he was so fixated on grilling the servatron about pedometers and getting him into a conversation about how well did they work, really, and pulling some other servatron into this fascinating conversation that nobody noticed I was obviously wiggling about for a reason. As their discussion droned on, I watched the guy who had been looking at knives get fed up and leave (I was the only one who noticed). I wondered how long I was going to be polite and wait my turn.

The servatron finally distracted the dude with some sort of do-hickey in another case across the aisle, and I quickly stepped in and looked square in the case. There it was. My buried treasure. Right in the front. I just needed someone to get it for me. Anybody? Anybody? Bueller?

Dude came back over to this case with the servatron, and I politely scooted over a bit. I hoped he took notice of my manners, but I was pretty sure he was still too fixated on talking pedometers to even notice I was there. I stared pointedly at the servatron. I willed him to look at me. I hoped this dude would just go away. I just wanted one freaking thing out of the case. Come on!

I finally got the servatron's attention and I got my thing and proceeded to checkout. Servatron called out after me: "do you have a membership?"
me: "No, I don't need one. I don't shop here."
Servatron: "Oh you should get one, what if your thing breaks?"
me: "Its not for me, its a gift."
Servatron: (hesitated, then found a new angle of attack) "You sure you won't shop here again?"
me: (testy) "No, I don't come here EVER."
S: (feigned incredulity) "Really? You NEVER come here?"
me: (totally done) "I NEVER SHOP HERE. DO I LOOK OUTDOORSY TO YOU????"

Friday, December 15, 2006

seriously unhappy.

maui 2004my digital camera has died. and it is only five months old! cheap piece of hoohah!


and the timing couldn't be worse: tomorrow i bake a cake, over the weekend i'm going to two birthday parties, and on thursday i leave for hawaii.



AAAACK!!!!!!!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

jumping off the cliff

well, i finally succumbed to the pressure and switched to beta.

and i decided to go pro with the flickr account. this means that certain fun photos, like the Peeps and Fluff Cake are back!

there is more, but the battery in the computer is about to die, so i will save it for later.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Happy Sweet Foods In Portland

Food stuff that I have recently enjoyed/been obsessed with:

1. Deep fried chocolate pies from Russell St BBQ. I was there Friday with Zetta, lovely lady I might add, and Oh! The deep fried pie! The crispy savory crust! The dark velvety choclate ganache filling! The cold creamy vanilla ice cream! Happiness there was, my friends. Happiness.

2. That damn caramel corn place in the Lloyd mall. That shit is the bomb. Better than Cracker Jax. Better than all the microwave caramel corn. Beter even, than the caramel corn that one of the moms would bring to our 4th grade CCD as our snack. And that stuff was homemade. It is a good thing that the caramel corn place is in the mall, or I might go there more than twice a year.

3. Bluebery tea. Which is really earl grey tea with amaretto and grand marnier. A good winter drink, my Portland friends.

4. Chocolate croissant from St Honore in NW Portland. Listen up people. That sad soggy, often greasy croissant that many places pass off as croissant is WRONG. An insult to the real thing! Croissant should be flaky, buttery (but not greasy), crisp on the outside and soft, tender, and light on the inside. You should not have the gnaw or chomp croissant. You should fall in love with it. Which you will do. At St Honore.

5. St Cupcake makes a pretty tasty cupcake. I mean, I think sometimes I make a way better cupcake, but they do it in such a fun and cute way. I can't help but love them. And they are opening up a new shop on Belmont, across the street from Zupan's. I will be there, eagerly waiting my chance to buy several vanilla dots with hot fudge frosting.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

How to Calculate Pi by Throwing Frozen Hot Dogs - WikiHow

I'm saving this experiment for either: a boring rainy afternoon, one of those wierd Portland snow days, or a late night drunken group activity.

When are you going to try this?

How to Calculate Pi by Throwing Frozen Hot Dogs - WikiHow

I don't want memories

(man, they are really getting pushy with the switch to beta blogger, aren't they?)

How do you say goodbye when you aren't ready?

I am really good at goodbye when I feel the time has come. When I am ready to be finished with a place, situation, or person, I can say goodbye without a lot of tears and drama and walk away.

But when I'm not feeling finished with a place, situation, or person, it takes me forever to let it go. I can hang onto a memory for freaking ever. I am loyal to a fault. A serious, San Andreas-sized fault.

And I just don't want to let go. At all. I'm holding onto the prow of a ship that is sinking--has sunk really--and I can't bring myself to let go. I don't think I'd rather die than let go, but it all just seems so bleak to me. And that letting go would let everything just become memories. Memories are so easily reworked to seem better or worse, memories become faded and part of the background. Memories aren't real or present and they can't tell me they love me. I don't want memories. I don't want background or past experiences anymore. I don't want to sleep in this big bed with just my cats anymore and I don't want to cry every other day or wake up thinking of the past and I don't want to believe that I should just devote my time and energy to my career because my career won't keep me company when I'm eighty or help me feel less alone in this world. My career is no substitute for anything.

And even though I know I'll someday eventually find somebody else I can walk with hand in hand, my heart mourns the fact that it won't be him. Something bright and shiny, warm and wonderful has been lost, you know? It should have been him.

Why couldn't it have been him?

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Happy Turkey Day*

I have to get out of bed and go help out with the cooking cacophany upstairs, but I just wanted to pause and wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving! Hope you are all happy and well fed and warm.

*10 points if you know what this is from!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Walking Your Talk

I attended my last birth of 2006. It was L O N G. The longest birth I've ever been to, but by no means the longest birth ever. This one was 44 hours long.

I did go home and sleep for about 5 hours in the middle of the whole thing and I'm glad. I don't know what I would have done if I didn't get the nap. Found the means to get through it, I suppose.

This birth was fabulous and wonderful and the little one is precious and darling, and this post really isn't about them. Of course, its about me!

I was interviewing with a prospective couple today and as I was talking to them I finally put it together what bugs me so much sometimes:

Childbirth is something so intense and personal and life changing, and every mom tells me that they knew all that intellectually before the birth, but they didn't really get it until they were in it. So, being a doula and a birthing from within mentor, new couples look to me to help them prepare and understand what will be happening during labor. And I know they won't know until they're doing it. And a lot of them know it beforehand too. So how do I do it? How do I help them get something that they just won't get until they're doing it??? And how do you convey that they really won't get it until they're doing it??

And how, in the name of all that is, do you get them to let go of control and fear and embrace walking in the dark?

Sigh. I know the answer. The answer is so simple, and thus so profound. I need to do it, every day, every moment, for myself, in my life. And when I embrace it, when I become it, then these couples will get it, and I will convey exactly what I am struggling to convey.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Souhail Kaspar--Kick Ass Musician and Instructor

Souhail Kaspar doumbek solo

This is a long video--8.21 minutes, but DAMN! Someday, maybe I'll play that well, but that day is way out in the future.

He'll be in Portland this weekend for a series of classes and a performance Saturday night, but I won't be able to attend. Oh well, next time!

Monday, November 13, 2006

history can be a downer

Yesterday while trying to wake up, I watched some OPB thing on the California Gold Rush of 1848-49.

I feel that history is the key to understanding the present.

I also know that history is a lot like statistics--anyone can make any event(or statistic) mean anything they want it to.

And I was watching this documentary about the gold rush and thinking about how there were so many themes that are current to today's world, more than one hundred years later.

Especially the theme of immigrants and non-english speaking people and their rights to a piece of the pie. In 1949, the second year of the gold rush when tons of miners overran the hills of California looking for a quick fix, the white men began to run off the land anyone who wasn't white or spoke english. They even began to kill men who did not leave when confronted.

That's when I turned the TV off.

The year is 2006. More than a century later, and has anything changed??

Monday, November 06, 2006

Coulda Used The Advice 13 Months Ago, Thanks



Highlighted Excerpts From:
Why You Shouldn't Date a Musician by Damian Kulash, (frontman of Ok Go)
(as found on a flickr page, scanned from ElleGirl)

OK Go singer Damian Kulash knows he is an attractive, intelligent young man, but he's warning you not to date him or others of his kind. Read on for the arguments.

Ladies, there are a million well-known reasons why you shouldn't date a musician. We're self-obsessed, flaky, hot-tempered, unreliable, and always broke. We're imperious, impenetrable, impractical, and--let's face it--we ain't usually the cleanest of folk. Nonetheless, you keep falling for us. The only reason I can surmise is this: Our faults get mistaken for virtues in the confusing tumult of love.

Let's say you meet a cute guy: He's a little cocky, but you like confidence in a man. He's a bit scatterbrained, but you think of it as creative. He's manic, but you call it passion. Perhaps he could shampoo more often; you say you like 'em on the wild side. These charitable evolutions are the currency of love--they're how you're supposed to feel when you're falling for someone. But ladies, I'm warning you: You've got to stay away from the musicians.

The real reason we're unlovable has nothing to do with our big mouths or big egos. In fact, it's not a matter of emotional compatibility at all; it's a matter of practicality. We want precisely what you do not. You want a companion; we want to take our guitars and disappear. You want someone to eat meals with; we want to be in a van somewhere between Minneapolis and Seattle, hopped up on the Red Bull and speeding like hell to make it to the club in time. We thrive on endless newness, endless stimulation and endless travel.

The longer you spend with a musician, the more you will understand the discontent at his core. If you are lucky, he will have great success and be swept off into the tempest of the music industry, never to bother you again. Most likely though, you will find your heart tied to someone who is terminally dissatisfied. He will toil endlessly and fruitlessly at song after song, idea after idea, show after show. The only thing that could possibly fulfill him is the same success that would ruin your relationship. And even then, he would want more. Like I said, he wants exactly what you do not.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!!

Some things that I have been for Halloween:

1. Snoopy.

2. Christmas present. I was in this big box and we cut holes for my arms, legs, and head. We wrapped up the box all nice and pretty, and then during the night I fell down and couldn't get back up.

3. Tomato. I think this was the year after the humiliated christmas present incident and I decided to just dress all in red and tell everyone I was a tomato.

4. French Maid. During the awkard 6th grade boy-crazy year. Why weren't my parents concerned about me wearing a trashy french maid costume? I mean, I wasn't giving anything away, but the implications, man.

5. Executioner. My MOM made the costume for me. I was in 7th grade, people! Mom sewed this big black robe and the hood--you know, the one with just the eye slits? I walked around school that whole day and nobody knew who I was.

6. Raistlin, the wizard from the Dragonlance books. Nerd alert!

7. The Red Death. I don't remember when we read The Mask of the Red Death by Edgar Allen Poe, but I thought it was awesome. I even tried to draw a map of the party and all the different colored rooms. Anyway, this costume was a keeper. I did this several years in a row. I wore the big black executioner's robe, painted my face white, painted my lips black and big black circles around my eyes, then took fake blood and made it look like my eyes, nose, ears, mouth, scalp, and hands were bleeding. I scared many children this way.

8. Wednesdae from The Addams Family. It was hard not to smile.

9.Psychedelic giant bunny. Man, I wish I still had this costume. It was SOOO tacky. I bought it for a dollar from the Willamette theater department. It was this head to toe polyester crazy quilt patterned bell-bottomed bodysuit in blues and greens with a big green panel on the front lined in fake fur, a big white pom-pom on the ass for the tail, mitts for the hands, and a hood that covered your whole head, except for your face (which was lined in the fake fur), and had two big ears with fake fur. It was so freaking hot in the costume but it was the coolest. I can't find the pictures I have of it, but if I ever find them, I'll be sure to post them.

10. One year in high school my friend Jeanne and I just went around the neighborhood, uncostumed, and got a bunch of candy. That was awesome.

Also, check out this pumpkin giving birth!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

The Squaredance

I've been trying to post for a few days now but everything I've written has been kind of meh.

I'm trying people!

I spent a lot of today under cat paralysis, and I actually took a serious nap in the afternoon for no good reason. My cats have been very pleased with my sedentary behavior today.

Last night was the last squaredance hoedown out on Sauvie Island this year. I freakin love the squaredancing. It was part of our PE curriculum in the 6th grade and I thought it was awesome. Not only did we not have to go outside and play kickball, but we had dance, and with boys! As a 6th grader who had a crush on practically all the guys, that was AWESOME. I even did the extra credit squaredancing and was pleased to see that some of my favorite crushes did too. I still don't understand why all those guys chose to squaredance instead of going outside and kicking that damn ball around. But thank god for my ego they did.

Anyway, the squaredancing that I've been involved in lately is really fun and social, as well as a good romp to some fun old-timey live music. The ladies aren't wearing those crazy gingham get ups, and nobody cares if your partner is the same sex. You spend half of the time skipping around the room with your partner and teaming up with some other strange couple for a dance or two. All of the dances are walked through before the music starts so you get a chance to figure it out--but if you don't, who cares!

I was asked how I take care of my inner child when my heart gets broken, and dancing was way up high on the list. Hooray for the squaredance!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

bye, josh



I took Josh to the airport Saturday night.

I feel like hibernating.

I miss him.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Farewell Esmerelda, Welcome Hedwig

Yes, I named my new computer Hedwig. As Harry Potter's owl, Hedwig has been exemplary in keeping him in touch with the wizarding world, his godfather when he was on the lam, his friends when he was stuck at the Dursley's. So since I use this machine to keep me connected to the outside world, I thought I would give computer a persona to live up to.

Maybe my Hedwig will start bringing me gifts on my birthday, too!

Hedwig is pretty much the exact same computer as Esmerelda, except he's shinier and faster and 4 years newer, and a guy.

Waitaminute--isn't Hedwig a girl's name? Dang.

I don't have much to blog about right now. I'm in a little bit of a limbo pattern--Stinky leaves on Saturday and I think I'm just waiting for this to be over before I start anything new.

I'm doing okay with his leaving. I've had enough time to be terribly unhappy and mopey and pissed off and all sorts of other emotions and now I'm just in acceptance of the situation, and realising that for both of us this can be a good thing. So I'm determined to make it a good thing. And anyway, my misery was a direct cause of my attitude and outlook. Once I got over myself, I stopped feeling miserrable! Funny how that works.

Anyway I'm stil in my pjs and its almost 1 pm. I love having Thursdays off. But I need to get out of the house, so off I go.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Goodbye....

damn computer.

Esmerelda (my computer) died Saturday night. A little screw fell out of the underside of the cover and shorted out the whole motherboard.

$%^&&**((&%$#@!@#$$%^&*((()*&%$##%$&****!

My new computer-friend comes on Monday or Tuesday.

The computer guys said they can transfer all my old data to my new computer in about an hour or so. At least all those stupid pictures I take and the Harry Potter books on CD won't be lost.

Sigh.

Have a great weekend everybody. See you (hopefully next week) on the new technological terror.

Friday, October 06, 2006

The Journey

There has been talk of this study done where the conclusion was that neonatal mortality rates are higher among babies born by cesarean, but no one knows why.

We talked a bit about this with Suzanne Yates when she was here doing a shiatsu for pregnancy and labor workshop. She talked about the journey the baby makes on its way out of the womb and into an independent life--well at least far more independent than it was in the womb--and how this journey is very important for the baby to make. In fact, nature intended babies to make this journey.

I remember when I was in high school I was trying to explain the importance of the journey to my boyfriend. He was my first love. We had this crazy magnetic connection. It was wild, and terribly heartbreaking. In some ways I feel like my heart will forever be breaking when it comes to this guy. But don't we all feel that way about our first loves?

I was telling him that there was this journey that we all as humans were making, up this mountain, and the journey was a long and winding and arduous path and even though we were heading towards the top, we couldn't see the top. We just knew that was where we wanted to be. Like knowing that the views from the top of Mt Hood must be spectacular, and so setting out to hike up and see. That's what we, the human race, was all about. And I remember telling him that he wanted to skip the journey, the long sweaty hike, he wanted to skip the trials by fire and ice and whatnot, he wanted to hire a helicopter up to the top and when he would get there, he would turn around and around in circles, looking out at this spectacular view, and ask, "this is it?" It was the journey that make the view so spectacular. It was the journey that was the point, not the end product. That's what I was trying to tell him.

And that's what I'm trying to say now. Maybe this journey that we make as babies trying to arrive on the planet is incredibly important. Maybe what we learn as infants as we make our way out will already hold lessons that teach us how to survive independently. Maybe taking the helicopter to the top--when not medically necessary--really does leave us asking, "this is it? Where's the magic, what's so special?" Maybe skipping those trials by fire and water and whatnot leave us ill prepared to face a life full of gravity, bacteria, by-products, disappointment, and broken hearts. Maybe we don't learn that things will get uncomfortable and shitty but we will survive and adapt. Maybe we don't learn how to cope with the unending hardships of life.

Babies born vaginally and without the use of pain killers (to the mom) are high as kites. They are pumping out a good chunk of endorphins as a response to being forcefully ejected from their happy warm watery home and squeezed through a tube into the light and cold and microbes and noise and gravity and weirdness that is this world we live in. So, yeah, babies learn that things can get bad, very bad, and that Normal can change drastically, but the reward for enduring the change and bad times is a nice natural endorphin high. The first lesson babies learn is that stress, adapt and change = magic carpet ride.

(Aside: Newborns also learn that they NEED PEOPLE. They learn that life is not to be lived alone. If everything goes well the baby can go straight to mom after being born, and baby learns that feeling high = mom [and dad]. A sort of biological dependence is thus created between babies and their parents. Babies equate happy and high with mon and dad, therefore they can eventually equate happy and high with being in the company of other people. We need each other to be happy and cope. We can't do it alone. Nature sets it up for us to learn that from the very beginning.)

So yeah, it seems pretty obvious that babies who are born by cesarean have a harder time surviving. They didn't get time to learn how to do it. They didn't learn how to struggle, endure, persevere, cope, adapt, and change. And they didn't get their sweet reward at the end. What lessons do cesarean babies learn in the first few minutes? What stories do they begin to tell themselves about how the world works and their place in it?

Monday, October 02, 2006

Damned Alien Invader

I had some sort of evil stomach flu thingy the last four days. Today was the first day where I could eat without feeling nauseous, and the headache I got on Thursday finally started to go away. I could walk at a normal pace again, getting up to go to the bathroom didn't give me palpitations, and my mouth didn't feel like the Gobi Desert anymore.

Its times when I am a little under the weather that I really appreciate how good I've got it when I'm not sick. I don't live with chronic pain, debilitating migraines or menstrual cramps. My parents are both alive, still happily married (they just bought a new grill and are grilling everything), my one and only sister and I get along great. My digestion, although on the Sp Xu + Damp side, is pretty good and elimination is regular and fine.

Except for right now. I am really doing a lot of letting go. I can't wait to be fully rid of this invading pathogen.

Excuse me, gotta go.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Wish I Was Here


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There is a certain solace I find at the ocean's edge. A certain peace, grounding, and homecoming. It is the place that I run to when I am unhappy.

I was there Monday and it was grand. I wish I could be there everyday.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Of Pirates and Drunk Men

We didn't end up going to the pirate festival. Well, we got there, and looked inside the chain link fence at all the pirates in attendance, and then saw the admission price posted as FIFTEEN DOLLARS!!!

Bloody pirates!

So we had a large Indian dinner instead. Yum.

Then my doula friends called me up and told me I was meeting them at this skanky bar on Hawthorne. So off I went.

A few minutes after I got there and sat down, this random drunk guy sat down with us. I caught some of him on my camera, but unfortunately it was too dark to get good video footage, but you can listen to him just fine. And if you listen closely enough, you can hear us all react when he dumped his drink out on the floor behind us, and then later toasted us with his empty glass. We didn't find him threatening or insulting, just stupidly drunk and...entertaining.

Take a listen:


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Saturday, September 23, 2006

This Is What I Am Doing Today

Today is a day filled with good things:

1. treat a pregnant lady

2. shop the Macys sale with a some girlfriends

3. pop in at the green sprouts organic baby festival (and help pack up our doula booth)

4. go to the 1st annual Portland PIRATE FESTIVAL! arrrrrrrrrgh mateys!!!!

plus, it is a beautful sunny autumn day; my favorite.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Perspective On My Whiny Life

I read what I wrote in Horoscope This Week, and I took a shower.

And I realised this: I make it sound so drastic; that Stinky is dying or something. Let me make it clear, to myself mostly: He is not dying.

Yes, he is moving away and we won't be together anymore. We won't occupy the same heartspace in each other as we do now, we won't cuddle in bed and watch movies anymore, we won't be the last person we talk to before sleeping anymore, or the first person to share the news with anymore. We won't talk about things that we don't talk about with anybody else anymore, we won't hug and kiss and have sex together anymore. Eventually we will move on and date other people, and someday we'll fall in love with others.

There is a lot about us that will be done, and gone, and over with.

At best, we will remain good friends. At best, we will continue to occupy important places in each other's hearts, even if it isn't The Space anymore. At best, we won't go into fits of whatever when we start dating other people, and when we fall in love with other people.

But he isn't going to die, and I can still talk to him every now and then, and we can hopefully be friends.

But there is a lot about us that will be done, and gone, and over with. Let me make it clear, mostly to myself, that I am mourning the loss of our relationship, and all the bright and shiny and exciting potential we had together as a couple, and all the wonderfulness of letting him live in my deepest heart, and me in his. There is a lot to mourn, but I do not have to mourn him.

Horoscope This Week

Listen Up -- the Cosmos Is Talking!
Rethink your approach and harmony will prevail

Since powerful Pluto is in a high degree (24 degrees), as all planets finish their transits through a sign -- and they enter a new sign -- they have their last conversation with this transformational planet. It's like a doorman who has something profoundly important to say to you on your way out. Pluto's message to Venus on September 25 and to Mercury on September 27 is to let go of old beliefs and ideas about love and what you think you need in your relationships.



Its hard to spend time with someone you love who is leaving for good in a few weeks. I feel this giant clock ticking away above our heads, counting down to D-day, reminding me that this will be the last time we'll be in Portland together, this will be the last time we'll get coffee at this place, there are no more chances for him to get to know my friends.

When he carves out time to see me in Olympia in a few weeks, it will be even worse. It will be The Last Time, period. The last time we cuddle in bed, the last time we watch a movie together, the last time we kiss, the very last hug and the very final Goodbye.

And I don't want to do it. At all.

So what am I telling myself about love these days? I am telling myself that love sucks, and that there is so much pain involved in being in love that I am sick of it. And I am telling myself that maybe mom is right and I should just settle for a humdrum boring kind of guy that loves me way more than I do him, so that there is less passion and heartbreak. I am telling myself that love is too cruel to mess with, and I am telling myself that love, however sucky and cruel and heartbreaking and terrible, is something that I just can't live without, and so I am telling myself that I am resigned to hurting and loving forevermore.

So Pluto, Mercury, and Venus, if love can be some other way, you let me know. In the most kind and gentle way that you can, please, for I don't think I can take it any other way right now.

Cranky McKrankenstein

Warning: I am about to use some acupuncture terminology that I won't define, so if you are not an acupuncturist, please go find one to help you decipher my rant.

I just read an article that said that in the UK, one in five births are done by cesarean, and most are due to "failure to progess."

I HATE that phrase.

There are a million and one reasons why a mom might get slapped with the "failure to progess" diagnosis, and believe me, it is a slap across the face to be told YOU FAILED TO LET YOUR BODY DO WHAT IT WOULD DO ON ITS OWN ANYWAY. BIRTH IS NATURAL, JUST NOT FOR YOU.

I have seen simple acupuncture treatments of, duh, Spleen 6 and LI 4 change labor patterns. And it wasn't a big deal, I used PRESS TACKS.

This is what is making me so damn mad. Press tacks on two acupoints is so freaking simple and easy, and it can keep a woman's labor on track and progressing, so that she has a fighting chance of being able to avoid being told that she failed. And avoid major abdominal surgery to get her baby delivered. It is such a simple and mostly effective solution that it is a crime women don't have the option of getting a few stickers stuck to her.

But of course, this leads to the even bigger and stickier problem of no acupuncturists in hospitals. Sure, at least here in Portland an acupunk can jump through a few flaming hoops to get hospital priviledges, but even then the attending physician needs to order the acupuncture. Why isn't acupuncture being integrated into hospital settings? At least for pain management post injury or surgery, at least for relaxation of pre-op patients, and certainly at least for laboring moms who are trying to avoid a cesarean.

Especially for those moms who got the epidural and have to remain lying down--those moms need help more than others, because they can't move about or use gravity to keep labor going. The incidence of cesarean birth increases once a mom gets an epidural--for failure to progress. Come on, if she's lying in bed we could even do sacrum points (like the Ba Liao) to help things along.

And this is why I am leaning towards Nurse-Midwifery; I want to not only bring acupuncture to labor and delivery, I want to do it in the hospitals. This substandard quality of care is ridiculous; change needs to happen now. I'm sick of this shit.

BBC News: Unnecessary Caesareans Warning

Monday, September 18, 2006

When It Rains...

Boy, has my life been turned upside down in the last week. Not only is a very dear friend staying with my roommate and I for an umlimited amount of time, not only is the Stinky coming home to the West coast this week, not only is the Stinky turning around in 3 more weeks to move to NY, not only is my clinic throwing a big to-do this Friday for which I am baking an inordinate amount of stuff, but a whole lot more is being piled on my plate.

What a harvest, huh?

So ironic, too, because at the last full moon ceremony (Thursday the 10th) I made a point of talking about the harvest, and how sometimes the community wouldn't get a good harvest; sometimes we don't get what we think we need to survive the oncoming dark times. And I said we could either look at our failed harvest as something that happened to us (victimization), or we could agonize over what we did wrong that led to such a situation, or we could get angry, or panic, or blame, or we could sit with what we did get (even if it is nothing) and realise that maybe what we received is what we really needed, instead of what we thought we needed. Maybe what we recieved is in fact exactly what we need to get through the hard times ahead, maybe what we received is the seed of our answers to our questions, maybe what we received is quite bountiful and abundant and rich with possibilities after all.

And so I invited everyone to look at their own harvest, look at what gifts Creator had brought them to get through the dark times ahead, and to see the blessings that lay before them, disguised as not enough.

Haha--and I guess that applies to me too!!

On a side note: how can you get to a place where you can give, and give unconditionally, where you can give without expectation of result or product or return, where you can give because it is a joy to give, because to do so is a celebration of life itself, to do so is an acknowledgement of the truth that we cannot do it alone, how do you get to a place where you can give because at the soul of things to give is to be alive?

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Reminders That I Am Not In Charge

I just spent an interesting few days camping at Cape Lookout. I highly recommend everyone do that.

I am a self-proclaimed princess camper. I am a car camper, flush toilet user, free shower taker, fat air mattress sleeper, and two burner propane stove cooker. I do not want to have to dig a hole to poo or carry my inordinate amounts of stuff more than 20 yards to my campsite. Cape Lookout is exactly what I require in a campground, plus it has the super extra special added bonus of being just on the other side of the dune from the beach.

The downside to Cape Lookout is that in the summertime the campground is always packed, and the majority of the campers are 16-26 year old partygoers with their Creed, their Bud Light, and their good times that don't stop when the sun goes down and all other campers are snuggled inside their down sleeping bags.

So camping the weekend after labor day was excellent. The campground was maybe half full, mostly retirees and some young families. Dog fights weren't breaking out every ten minutes, nobody saw fit to play loud radios at all times of the day and night, and for the first night I didn't even have any neighbors!

Well at least no neighbors I could see, that is. When I woke up Monday after a nice sleep, I walked out of my tent and noticed that huh, my cooler was open. And muddy. And there were broken eggs all over the grass. And a couple of empty plastic bags, that used to have a bunch of grapes in them, and some cheese. And my bag of salad greens was on the ground (apparently a rejected food item).

Well, I guess I made my offering to the spirits of the campground, I thought. At least they got some nice, organic foods to eat. Then I saw that my package of cheddar dogs was gone. Now I was MAD. Cheddar dogs are a must-have camping food item! When else can you feel justified to eat that crap, save when camping? And the damn animals ATE MY CHEDDAR DOGS. Assholes. I hope their livers clog up on the nitrates and other by-products.

Reminder that I am not in charge #1: even after enjoying a starry sky followed by the just-recently-full-moon rising, and going to bed happy and thankful for simple beauty, the animals will insist on stealing your cheddar dogs right out of your cooler.

I had plenty of food, really, so cheddar dogs aside, I was just fine.

So after my eggless breakfast I packed up my backpack with my beach supplies and headed out to greet the ocean. Wow, I thought as I crested the dune and saw the shoreline, the tide is up pretty high. I thought about the tide timetable that the camp ranger offered me the day before when I registered, and how I turned it down. Was the tide coming in or out? I figured that it would be easy enough to tell and I could move if needed. I found a nice little spot and settled in. The sky was bright blue and cloudless and the salty sea air felt great. I sat and listened to the pounding of the waves meeting the land and I began to let go. I took a walk, took lots of pictures, and opened up my Birthing From Within Keepsake Journal to do some work. I delved into finding my deepest question--the question that drives me--and I found this: how can I be present to each moment?

I took a break and went back to the campsite to use the potty, and a lady stopped me and said, "wow, the tide is really coming in!" And I said, really? As I sat back down in my little space with my camera next to me, my book open in front of me, a box of pastels, my backpack and my shoes behind me, I pondered my deepest question and watched a wave crash on the shore not too far away, and I watched it rush in towards me, and then I watched it rush even closer to me, and then I finally realised the wave wasn't slowing down yet, so I grabbed my apple and said, oh shit! The wave rushed over me, my book, my camera, my backpack, my shoes, and as things began to float towards the laughing sea I finally clicked into action. I chased down all my gear as the other beachgoers looked on, and although waterlogged, everything seemed to be okay.

Except my camera. Which is dead.

RIP little camera. How I loved thee.

Reminder that I am not in charge #2: no matter how many warnings Creator gives us to get out of the way, we can choose to ignore all of it and get our ass kicked instead.

The next morning I ran out of propane. But I cleverly built a small fire, and boiled water in my now very blackened teakettle and had tea and instant oatmeal for breakfast.

Reminder that I am not in charge #3: you can plan a weekend of great meals but that doesn't mean you'll get to eat them.

Then that night on the phone the Stinky told me he's moving to New York. In 4 weeks.

Reminder that I am not in charge #4: just because you pray and pray for the man to spend your days with, and you even ackowledge that Creator's timeline for when you meet The Boy isn't necessarily the same as your own, and you pray that if its okay, to speed up the timeline and meet The Boy NOW, and you meet a boy which after a little bit you are 99% sure is The Boy, and two of you have a deep strong connection that is more intimate and supportive and healthy than any other relationship you've had in your life, and you love each other deeply and passionately, it doesn't matter and that timeline will still stand and fate will pull the two of you apart anyway.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Lost In Tripe

Hey! Look what I found on wikiHow!

How to Dissuade Yourself from Becoming a Blogger

What a buzz all the bloggers are making these days! It seems like just about everybody is pouring their musings into a text box. Are you feeling tempted to start a blog of your own? Here are some ways to bypass the trend.

Steps

1. Find five completely random blogs, and read them daily for a month. After thirty days, you will absolutely dread your self-imposed requirement to read all that dreck. Any blog you create will most likely be on par with what you've been reading. Don't put anyone through that.
2. Consider that your voice, even if it is truly a good one, is a tiny peep against the massive wave of tripe out there. The odds of anyone you don't already know finding your blog are low.
3. Write on a regular basis in Wordpad instead. If that doesn't satisfy your urge, and you feel that you must post your blog online, then you might just be craving attention and validation--which you'll never truly find in a blog. If you give up on your Wordpad journal after about three days, you'll do the same with a blog that just takes up server space.
4. Ask yourself if you really have the time to commit to a blog. What about that treehouse you wanted to build? Or the book you wanted to write? Or the car you wanted to fix up? Or the restaurant you wanted to take your wife to? Or the new career you wanted to pursue? Instead of writing about pretty much nothing, or whining about all the things you wish you were doing instead, start doing something that'd actually be worth writing about. And if it's really worth writing about, you'll be having too much fun doing it to tear yourself away from it.


Tips

* If attention and validation is what you're looking for, know that you will get neither from blogging. As above, very few people will ever know that your blog (or you, by proxy) exists. Of those who do find it, a large percentage will be flamers and trolls, who will only post comments to you about how you suck. The remainder of comments posted to your blog will be sappy treacle, which you won't trust as being sincere anyway.
* Consider writing on a wiki instead. Unlike most blogs, wikis like Wikipedia and wikiHow are read by millions of people each month. Several wikiHow authors receive fan mail messages every day from appreciative readers. In addition, many authors discover that they enjoy the wiki collaborative process more than writing in solitude.


Warnings

* The information you post on the Internet is likely to linger for years and years to come, as web pages are archived by "snapshot" services like the Wayback Machine. Once it's out there, you can't take it back. An employer running a Google search on your name years down the line might be turned off by your now documented obsession with your cat.


Related wikiHows

* How to Start a Blog
* How to Write a Famous Blog
* How to Keep a Diary and Stick to It
* How to Write a Featured Article on wikiHow
* How to Defeat a MySpace Addiction


External Links

* Top Ten Blogger Lies
* Top Ten Reasons Why Nobody Reads Your Blog
* 100 Reasons Not to Blog

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

A Recycled Piece of Summer

I wrote this for my clinic's neighborhood newspaper last year, but then the newspaper organization decided to implode. Even though this piece was written for the summer, and now we are beginning that delicous slide into autumn, I thought I'ld be lazy and post it now anyhoo. Enjoy.



Health isn’t always about taking pills or going to the gym. Sometimes health is about how you carry yourself through the world.

For example: summer is the time of the heart, of relationships. This is the time to deepen our connections to each other, the natural world, and ourselves. Get out there and talk to your neighbors. Play with your kids outside or take them for a walk. Reconnect with loved ones that you miss. Eat fresh, ripe fruit and colorful salads. This is also the time of year when all of our dreams ripen and come to fruit—what dreams and ideas did you store away all winter? How can you encourage them to come true? Who do you need to ask to help bring your secret wishes into reality?

We live such busy lives that we forget to stop and admire the beauty that surrounds us—simple things like two people chatting on the corner, flowers blooming, happy children. While the days are long take the time to look at the simple beauty around you, and then go out there and be beautiful yourself. I’m not talking makeup and plastic surgery; I’m talking about carrying pride for who you are, carrying yourself with grace and dignity, and treating others with respect. That kind of beauty is like the summertime: ripe, juicy, and full of life.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Men That I Love

I am not exactly sure which planet I've been on in the last week, but I am trying to touch down on earth again.

Cetain lovely men that I have the pleasure of knowing are out and about in the world and I wanted to publicly declare my love for them, and introduce you to them.

1. If you have read any of my previous posts, you already know a little about Joelfre'. (Read about Joelf baking cookies, avoiding falling art, drinking at the fir, and hanging out in the PDX metro area.) My sister started calling him Joelf and the name has stuck. [fun aside: if you search joelfre in blogger, the engine will ask you if you meant moelfre...so I might just start calling him Moelf.] Joelf and I met on our first day at Willamette. He lived downstairs with a crazy red head (crazy in the not-so-good way) and I lived upstairs. He finally moved upstairs in the second semester and I got to hang out with him more. As the Willamette years flew by I found myself more and more drawn to Joelf and his crazy ways. He is an excellent listener, a loyal and honest friend, and his affections for the people he loves run deep. Joelf is off on a wild adventure in Kenya, where he is volunteering with the Global Volunteer Network. I set up a blog for him so that we could keep in contact with him, and so please go give him your support: Joelf's Blog

2. The Stinky has joined a band named Two Gun Man and they are off in upstate NY, where most of the band is from, playing shows and generally kicking ass. I love The Stinky with all of my heart, and I am so excited that he is out living his dream. He drives me crazy, and 99% of the time I love him for doing so. Anyhoo, go check out Two Gun Man's MySpace page, listen to their music (recorded before Stinky joined them as lead guitarist), and check out the first photo posted under the comments--that crazyhead lead guitarist with the blue shirt is the man for me! Sigh.

3. Okay, this is a man I don't personally know, its just that I just watched him in Take The Lead, and I'm not talking about Antonio Banderas. I'm talking about Dante Basco, the Phillipino actor who I totally want to make it big, and be a superstar movie guy. Mostly because he's a Flip. I first saw him in The Debut, a movie touted as the first full length feature film to show the filipino-american experience. It was pretty good and all, and I found parts of it dead-on: it could hve been my family they were talking about, and as any minority-american person would admit, that is pretty damn cool. I guess Dante's also been in Biker Boyz, and Hook, and I saw him recently in a cell phone commercial--you know, the one pimping Nelly Furtado's new song, Promiscuous...
Dante has a bunch of brothers who are also actors/performers, and I guess they are now trying to make it as a singing/R&B/hip-hop group. Whatever. I want Dante to be a big moviestar. So you should, too.

Hooray for good men!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Oh Canada

The other day I came home and saw a little package nestled up against my door. It was a box from Amazon, and since I know I didn't order anything from Amazon lately, I knew it was from my parents. Anytime my parents send me something, it comes in an Amazon box.

My hands were full of groceries and mail so I gently kicked the little box into the apartment and dumped all my crap on the floor.

My roommate, who was relaxing on the couch, got all excited for me. "Ooooh, what'd you get??"

The box was curiously light. I couldn't figure out what my parents had sent me. My parents don't just send stuff to their kids for no special reason...they're just not like that. And there was no special reason, not that I knew of. My mom and dad just moved recently, so maybe they were sending me stuff that they didn't want to keep for me anymore?? But why was the box so light?

I opened it up and found.....

a jug of maple syrup.

and a little note.

I forgot they were in Toronto a few weeks back for my cousin's wedding, and as Dad is always lamenting the lack of Canadian maple syrup in Los Altos, CA I guess he thought to pick up a few jugs for himself and his poor impoverished daughter in the Oregon backwoods.

[This reminded me of the time in college when my dad sent me a Stash teabag stapled to a piece of paper, on which he had written a little note about how the teabag was a free sample from the distributor (my dad) and that the distributor was eagerly awaiting our first order.]
See, There's Hope
Anyway, I sent him a little email thanking him for the weird package of maple syrup and his tiny note, and let him know that I do in fact have a jar of maple syrup FROM CANADA in my refrigerator, that I picked up at the grocery store down the street. I enclosed a photo in case he didn't believe me:

And this is what he sent me in return:

Globalization has struck another blow for capitalism, maple syrup in Oregon! I checked out the web site on the label of the syrup that you sent me and noticed that they get their syrup from 1500 different suppliers. My syrup, which was a complete fluke BTW because it was the only syrup available at the Baie, is from Quebec, my ancestral home in recent centuries! So you may be able to get Canadian maple syrup in Oregon but it is a pale imiatation of that magnificent Quebec product that I sent you! Seriously though, think of it as symbolic that your parents still love you and are willing to jeapordize their clothing by lugging it all the way back from Canada. And during the security crises as well!.

Quebec is where he grew up, even though our family is emphatically NOT French Canadian, and according to my dad, "all those French people" is one of the reasons why he left. His other reason? Annette Funicello.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

It's Like A Birthday Or Something

almost there

When I lived in San Francisco back in the '90's I drove around my father's old beat-up 1980 Toyota Corolla. It was dark blue with vinyl white interior that had ripped all along the seams of the driver's chair. There was no power anything, the cassette player didn't work, and the dashboard had a deep crack in it. But, I had a car. And since I was living in The City, and in the worst part of town besides, I was happy that my car was crappy. I mean, the only thing of worth to be stolen from my car was the battery. Which someone stole.

When I decided to move back to Oregon, I chose to leave that old beater behind. I can't remember what my dad did with it; I think he sold it to one of my cousins.

My parents flew up to Portland about a week after I got here to help me get settled, and to help me buy a car. Since I wanted another Honda Civic (I drove around a cute little hatchback in college) Dad was going to help me buy a brand new car.

When we went to the dealership, I got in a Civic and test drove it with the salesman and my mom. He went on to tell me all about the Alpine speakers, the compartment for the car phone, and then, THEN, he proceeds to tell me that the dashboard was made of "space age plastic."

Space age plastic!! Well shit, where's the slot to recharge my lightsaber?

Luckily for him I was already set on buying a Civic otherwise I would have stomped off the lot in an amusedly indignant huff.

This little Civic had power stuff: windows, steering, rearview mirrors, and locks. It had airbags. It had a CD player. It had an alarm system, even!

A couple of days later I was sitting in my shiny new car and decided it was time to give the car a name. First I determined the gender of the car was female, then I felt that she wanted a princess-type name. Cinderella? No. Esmerelda? no. Priscilla? Yes!

Priscilla and I bonded pretty quickly after that. One day, as I was driving my roommate and I around he looked over at me thoughtfully and said, "you really love your car, don't you?" Of course I did, but what made him say that right then? He said something about how the energy of me and Priscilla were totally humming along together or something like that. It was true. Priscilla and I were like one symbiotic being at times.

I will confess to you right now: I love my car. I love driving her. I love driving fast and beating out the hotshots in their BMWs. I love the sound of her little Civic engine as she revs up. I know I am consuming the deteriorated bodies of dinosaurs and contributing to the war in the middle east, but I love my car.

Today was a big day for Priscilla:
she made it!

Yep, my baby girl turned the big 100,000!

To celebrate, we went to the DEQ so she could get new stickers for her license plate. (She was 6 weeks overdue.) Then we drove to the Jiffy Lube and got her oil changed. The Jiffy Lubers tried to bully me into getting all sorts of other repairs done, but I put my hands over my ears and kept yelling "just change the oil! just change the oil! lalalalalalalalalalalalalalalala" until the Lubers got the hint and just changed the oil.

I would have taken her to the car wash too, but I had to scoot over to Beaverton to participate in a focus group about auto glass replacement services and eat a free sandwich and cookie and earn a hundred bucks. Priscilla was a little disappointed--she was looking forward to being shiny again--but she got to drive on the freeway so she's okay. I'll just have to get her to the carwash on Thursday.

Now that she's up there in the mileage department; I'm a little freaked out about her health and well-being. But I think she's doing okay, and she's a Honda Civic---love her a little and she'll love you a lot.

To Priscilla--long life and viscous oil; may you continue to age with spark and speed!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Large Intestine Four

Lagre Intestine Four is the uncreative name for the acupoint known as "Hegu" which is located in the meat of the muscle between your thumb and index finger. Many people know of it as the place to press when you have a headache.

I always thought of it as a great point for moving Blood.

And also, as part of the Liver 3-LI 4 "cross breeze phenomenon"--you know, opening windows in opposite parts of your house to get a cross breeze and circulate all that old air.

But really, it is a point to encourage us to let go.

Letting go can be just a physiological thing: pooping, breathing out, peeing, detoxifying.

Letting go can be oh so much more than that, though. Letting go of expectations, fears, old memories that haunt us, trauma, ancestral patterns, people who have moved on, energy that doesn't serve us, etc etc etc.

Letting go is a thing I am contstantly doing these days. Letting go of clients who have had their babies, letting go of money that is owed elsewhere, letting go of wanting to control situations becuase I think I know best, letting go of people that I am scared to let go of, because I am afraid they will never come back. Letting go of my fears, my inadequacies, the big boulder that sometimes sits over my heart and renders me emotionally distant and "logical."

Letting go is something I do every day so that I can fill up with newness. Letting go is something I do every day so that I can stay sane.

Sometimes I hate letting go and would rather constipate on the memory, person, or dollar bill. I want to hold them inside so that I feel full, satsified, whole. But in the end, those are just things--and they are things that eventually get in my way and make it painful to move.

That Large Intestine 4 is a spot that is swollen and tight on many people, and it doesn't surprise me.

Letting go gracefully and smoothly takes practice, and it sometimes breaks my heart to do it.

Friday, August 18, 2006

365 days ago

I like to every now and then look back to where I was a year earlier. It helps me keep a little perspective on my life.

One year ago, I was so lonely and desperate to meet The Man For Me, My Life Partner, The Father Of My Children, all wrapped up in one guy who would be not too much older or younger, fair skinned, blue or green eyed, creative, intelligent, funny, a little odd, accepting, driven, strong willed, sociable, affectionate, good at kissing, hopefully red haired and accented in speech, flexible, spiritual, communicative, not previously married, no children, wanting marriage and children, and ready to get at it right now. I had a pretty specific list.

I was so determined to get on the married with children bandwagon that I was even telling people that I didn't care about anything else and was going to devote all my energy into getting The Man For Me, et al. I mean, I was ready to let my business slide into oblivion if I had to.

Which is pretty drastic; and I knew it.

My busness was doing marginally okay. About this time last year I finally realised that I wanted to focus my acupunk/shiatsu business on prenatal care, because they were the population that I loved working with the most. I also felt largely unqualified to advertise as doing complementary prenatal care, because I knew just about nothing about a lot of prenatal conditions. I also knew next to squat about the physiological changes (not to mention energetic changes) in a woman's body when she is growing a babe. I started shopping for midwifery/obstetric textbooks. I tried to find a good book about pregnancy and acupuncture (it does not exist). I wanted to do more doula work but didn't want to work at advertising myself--I was too busy with the boy stuff.

I also realised that I love love love the ocean, and I feel much better, much more grounded, much calmer, much more ME when I am by the sea. I started thinking about West Coast towns that I might be able to live in. I spent a week camping out at Cape Overlook and explored that part of the Oregon coast. By the end of the week I had ruled out the Oregon coast as a possible place for me to live. I had already ruled out the Washington coast, which left me with either the Canadian coast or California. I was willing to consider the San Juan Islands, Vancouver Island, Vancouver BC, maybe the Candian Islands up thataway, maybe even somewhere along Puget Sound (but that was stretching it--had to be a Great Place to make up for not being truly on the ocean), and maybe Santa Barbara or somewhere North of SF. And nowhere else.

One year ago I was recovering from a weird, unspoken, not really anything, internet relationship. I went into it with my eyes open--I knew what I was choosing to do and what it meant in terms of my life and the possibility of getting hurt. I was really excited by him, and we met in person a couple of times when he came through town, and it seemed really great, really promising, really hopeful. I had totally fallen for him, and for who I thought he was, and for what I thought he could offer me, and blah blah blah....When he moved back here for good and we spent a little bit of time together, it become clear to me that we weren't really anything at all, and shouldn't be.

I also knew that I was standing in the middle of a dry riverbed and that the dam holding back my foward movement in terms of personal growth, career, and everything else was about to break open and I was scared and ready all at once. Refusing to look back or change my mind I braced as the water rushed over me and drove me down the now rushing riverbed of my life. I tried hard not to direct the currents of water that were propelling me forward, around, up and down, but of course in moments of fear or panic I did try and tell the water where to take me, and even refused flat-out to live up to my potential until I got a few things that I wanted first.



You know, when I look back a year ago I sometimes think I was a total nut to have made the choices that I did, but in the end those choices led me to today, and today I am happy with my life as it is. I'm not waiting for a magical future when my life will finally come together and I'll have meaning and purpose, I'm living that right now. So, looking back just makes my present more...present, you know?

Where were you 365 days ago? How does today look, knowing what yesterday was?

Thursday, August 17, 2006

musings on chaos and control

you know how i mentioned way back that birth is chaos? it is unpredictable, you can't control it, there are no guarantees, things can change in an instant, things that you thought never could happen do happen, and the only thing you are in charge of is your mind and what it is thinking about all these events.

for example: childbirth is painful. i mean, if you have not vaginally birthed a child without painkillers, imagine the most pain you can concieve of. and know that childbirth is more than that. so we tell expectant moms, "labor is painful. but you don't have to suffer." and what is the difference between pain and suffering? your mind, my friends. your perceptions.

what is the only thing you can control in childbirth? that's right; your mind, your perceptions.

i am learning that it isn't just birth that is chaotic, LIFE IS CHAOS. and just like birth, the only thing we can control is our mind, and our perceptions about what is going on. that doesn't mean that we are helpless little jellyfish being swept this way and that by the currents of life; it just means that as much as we would like to see life unfold in certain ways, it just might not. and we can view that as failure--but that is just a perception of the situation. like i said, we'll feel pain, but we don't have to suffer.

there is a very fine line between setting our intention/manifesting/praying and trying to control the situation. how many times do we need to set the intention around something before it becomes rigid attempts at control?

this control thing that i keep witnessing--why is it that we try to control our environment, our bodies, our relationship with life? does it makes us feel better, safer, more comfortable? less vulnerable, less like a victim; are we more powerful if we can control things and situations and people? does that make us better than others who can't? does our ability and need to control set us apart from the animals we have so much in common with?


the more that i step into the darkness that is childbirth, the more that i work with people who are also in that darkness--pregnant and support person alike, the more i see all of us trying to control the process and the journey--trying to turn on the lights, so to speak. and really, who are we kidding. and why are we so afraid of the dark?

Friday, August 11, 2006

Whiny

I'm sick. I HATE being sick. I do not take it with grace and humiltity at all.

This especially sucks as I am also in the middle of a really amazing workshop with Suzanne Yates who is a shiatsu therapist who works primarily on women during the prenatal, birth, and post partum months. She is teaching us how to work on people's Jing, here, people. Jing is this thick gooey stuff that holds our genetic information, our ancestral memory, and our links to our lineage. And she is teaching us how to work with it on my favorite population, pregnant women!

I am seriously in love with this workshop, despite my headache, thick yellow snot, sore throat, and nasty cough. Dammit. I hate being sick.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

NIPPLES

It's World Breastfeeding Month or something like that and I've been aware for some time of the crazy debate that is raging over a woman's right to breastfeed in public.

Let it be known to all, that a woman's right to breastfeed in public is protected by law.

That should be the end of the debate, right?

Yeah, well. Somewhere in the history of mankind something seriously wrong happened and sexuality became something to be ashamed of and punishable.

I will not get into my theories about the whys and hows; I'm sure you all have your theories too. Feel free to discuss in the comments.

I just want to publicly state: THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH BOOBS.

My friend, the Reluctant Lactivist, has been in the spotlight recently for her public breastfeeding advocacy. And she's in the Oregonian this week, and KATU news featured her story, and just go follow that above link and check out her blog.

I just want to remain focused on me over here at EBTC, and display for you, dear readers, my comment on her blog regarding NIPping (Nursing In Public). You just needed that background story and I have lazily supplied the link for you to go figure it out.

And so here it is, My Comment:

Well. I am not a nursing mother, although I am a strong breastfeeding advocate, and I believe babies have the right to be fed when they are hungry, no matter the location. I do not believe mothers should hide, or cover up, or feel ashamed when they breastfeed in public.

But I will say: yes, breasts are for feeding babies, but at least for me, unwed and childless, breasts are also very sexual--and what is wrong with that? I am sensing from this debate that breasts have become an either/or situation. Either they are (I'm exaggarating here to make a point) mammary glands with the sole functional purpose of feeding a child, or they are (again, exaggerating to make a point) sexual, dirty things that lead men and women into deviant behavior.

Why can't we allow our breasts to be everything they can be--and why can't it be okay for our culture to be comfortable with a little breast?

I Know that when a woman is breastfeeding it isn't a sexual act--it is a mother feeding her child, giving her child comfort, bonding with her child. And I think that people who are uncomfortable with seeing a woman breastfeed in public are uncomfortable with their own sexuality--and transferring it onto this lovely private moment between a mom and her baby, a private moment between the two of them even if she is standing in public.

So really, the root of the problem needs to be addressed here if we are to see some real change: and what a root it is. How do we get a society that is so confused about sex--is it dirty? Is it biological? Is it about love? Do we need it to love? Can we use it and abuse it? Is it bad? Is it good?--into a place where we can identify a healthy expression of our sexuality, and not be freaked out, threatened, or made to feel dirty, when we see a woman breastfeed her child? How can our own views about sex and our bodies change so that we can discern when an exposed breast is about sex (in a good way, bad way, or otherwise) and when it isn't?

Friday, July 28, 2006

I Am So Pissed Off


I forgot to tell you in the last post:

I am so pissed off right now.

Last night at the show of our friend's band--what's their name?--at the Doug Fir, this guy shows up wearing a Harry and the Potters T shirt. And so I catch his attention to say to him, "NICE SHIRT!"

And he grins and tells me that the band signed the shirt, and I ask him, "HAVE YOU SEEN THEM PLAY?"

To which he replies, "YEAH LAST WEEK."

And I exclaim, "THEY WERE IN TOWN LAST WEEK????????"

"Yeah," he says to me, slightly smug because he knew and I didn't, "THEY PLAYED AT THE ACME AND THEN AT THIS BOOKSTORE ON KILLINGSWORTH."

Me: "DAMMIT!!!!!!!!"

I am SO bummed I missed them when they came to town. You should spend some time perusing their website and reading their tour journals because they are ridiculously silly. I mean, reeedikkuloussss.

Odds and Ends


  • Watch this, monkeys.

  • So The Stooges (plus one) were back at the Doug Fir last night to see a friend's band. Before the show we had some food, and were surrounded by the biggest gay men fest ever. And they were hot. So Joelf took some pictures; this is the best one:


  • I am so glad it isn't freaking hot anymore. We saw this posted on the door of a diner in SE last Monday (sorry so dark, but worth posting anyway):


  • We learned that there isn't much to do in the OC (that's Oregon City) on a Wednesday night. We tried the observatory at Clackamas Community College--closed. We tried to go to this place Charlotte calls the Tattoo Bar--closed. Then we tried to go to this blues club--open and chock full of bikers, kinda not our crowd. Then we drove around and around trying to find the McMenamin's, which we finally did. Inside there was a slightly inebriated dude mouthing off to his friend about politics, in that way that says, "hey, all I know is what I hear on Fox News, but that's good enough for me!" We ordered some grub and eavesdropped on the dude, and then became unusually distracted by this:
    Can you say understaffed?

  • Have you been to the Bridgeport Mall thingy place? If you have, and you've been to Disneyland in recent years and seen the mall they built down there, you'll realise that you are in the same place. The Same Place. And to top it off, on Saturdays the Bridgeport mall blares Radio Disney through its speaker system so that everywhere you walk, Disney.
    Oregon has its own happiest place (to consume) on Earth!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

An Ode To The Three Stooges

These were taken in April 2006 in the course of one night.



That extra hand is Cookie.




I don't know why I am clutching my bag like that.




Obviously, we were the most entertaining people in the restaurant, and considering we were at the Doug Fir, that's saying something.


After four hours at the DF, we decided to move over to Dot's Cavernous Lounge With Creepy Paintings And SE Hipsters.



We all tried to be squinty eyed




Then we all tried to be round eyed.




Six hours of continuous drinking and laughing and you would look like this too.


I love them peoples.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Adventure of the Three Stooges, er, Caballeros, or, Art Is Dangerous

One of my bestest friends is in town this week.

Yesterday, The Three Stooges--me, Joelf, and Cookie--I started calling us The Three Stooges only because we are a little crazy when we get together. Cookie and Joelf weren't so down with that name for us, came up with some other stupid ideas, and we eventually settled on The Three Caballeros, which I think isn't as accurate as The Three Stooges.

Yestarday, The Three Stooges spent the day looking fabulous around the Portland metro area. Or at least, that is what we had planned on doing. Until Cookie was attacked by a piece of art.

We were at breakfast, in this nice little place downtown on 3rd, and there were all these huge mobiles hanging from the high celings in the restauarnt. Lots of color, big pieces, neat. We were seated at a table under one such mobile. We get our coffee, earl grey tea, water, mimosas. Our meals were ordered. We were starting to settle in, ready for food, enjoying our crazy assed conversation (everything that involves the three of us is crazy assed).

Like, when a huge mobile comes crashing down on our table. THAT, my friends, is crazy assed.

It turns out that the big mobile, made of CERAMIC and IRON, was hung from the ceiling with STRING. That snapped. And fell on our table.

Luckily, it mostly fell on the side of the table that no one was sitting at, and aside from glancing off of Cookie's shoulder, we were all okay.

We got a free breakfast (which was pretty good--not excellent), pieces of shattered ceramic mobile as a memento, a serious shot of adrenaline to wake us up, and Cookie got a welt and some shoulder pain.

It only got better as the day progressed.

Monday, July 24, 2006

There She Goes

off on a new adventure

I attended a great wedding on Saturday, and since we were up in the arboretum with great big tall trees, the heat wasn't so oppressive and unbearable.

I just love this shot; she's off to go see what awaits her around the bend. You can almost imagine the red cape and basket of goodies for her ailing grandma.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Since I'm Too Serious

I seem to be addicted to writing non-funny posts these days. So as a public service announcement, I suggest you follow the link below, because--

--goddammit. She is funny.

The Bruni Digest, Monday July 17th. Go read, go read!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Welcome To The World, Little One

I attended a birth overnight. The baby was born around 3:45 am.

The little one had a hard time breathing. She swallowed an inordinate amount of amniotic fluid and needed to be whisked off to the nursery for oxygen and further testing.

The mom, brave and courageous and strong, labored beautifully. I mean, I cannot stress that enough. She was a goddess, channeling an amount of power and energy beyond comprehension. She was a woman in labor.

After about an hour of baby in nursery, the pediatrician came in to say that although baby was pinking up really well and gettng vigorous, the x-rays showed babe's lungs to have a lot of fluid, such that she was given a diagnosis of pneumonia.

No good reason was offered for the why of it, and I'm not really expecting one. Labor is chaos, pure and simple. Chaos has no rules, no safe places; every minute is a wild card that needs neither logic nor precedence to permit the next moment's happenings.

The docs then mumbled something about baby's possible distress during the descent, because she only pushed for an hour before giving birth. And yes, it is common for babies to inhale a little fluid if they get stressed out in the process. So, sure, that explanation makes sense. It was the way that they sort of, slightly, pointed a finger at mom and said "your labor was too fast for your little one." And I wanted to say to them, because I caught that little pointed finger, and I'm a caretaker, and I'm her doula and its my job, "hey! You are the ones who encouraged her to do the long, holding the breath, kind of pushes because you said it would makes things faster!"

But I didn't. Its not my job to pick fights.

But I wonder about that. If she was left to do her own short grunty pushes, would that have made a difference? Baby's descent would have been slower, which might have been better, or it might have been worse. Too long in the canal and a baby can stress out. Too long in the canal and it can get life-threatening. But too fast a birth can and will freak a baby out. So...what's the middle ground here? What is normal? When is it great to go slow and when is it great to work a little harder?

This just brings me around to one of the great medical fallacies that I keep encountering: One Way Will Work For Everybody. The Magic Bullet mythology.

If every birth is chaos, how can there be set rules that work 100% of the time? When will the medical establishment finally be encouraged to use their intuition, trust in their patients, keep listening to the fetal heart tones and if everything is great, well then, shut up, sit back, and let the process happen!

Sorry. Got a little fired up.

So, my heart and prayers go out to the little family that I walked up to the gate of parenthood with early this morning. May baby claim her own body, may the parents claim their transition into parenthood, and may all of them heal, mend, bond, and fall in love.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

The ECL Is All Business

I've noticed that all my posts have been so serious lately and so I am consciously trying to write about something a little more...light. That will seem punny in a few short minutes.

I decided to spend my lovely Sunday going to the mall and returning some things I bought a few days ago. Actually, I wanted to do an exchange--maybe get the skirt in a different color, return the top and get some more lacy underthings, because a girl always needs more lacy underthings.

As I entered the parking structure and noticed the already circling sharks looking for the one parking spot closest to the door, I knew I made a big mistake. What was I doing, I thought to myself, as I entered the fray and began to scan for parking. Today is Sunday, I reaffrimed as I circled for the third time. I should come to the mall during the week, I told myself as a little hyundai beat me to the empty fissure passing as a parking spot.

And I circled my way out of the parking structure and very happily drove back to my sleeping pains-in-the-asses (aka cats) in the backyard. On the way home I reflected on the conversation I had with Mary regarding clothes shopping and the quest to look business-respectable without breaking the bank, or your sense of self.

When I was in high school I ran with the Wearers-Of-Black crowd. My head was partly shaved, the rest of my hair was mostly uncombed and purple, I wore at least four necklaces at once, rings on almost every finger, black boots, and I had, without exaggeration, the BEST collection of tights this side of the Atlantic. I know that because I got most of my tights on the Haight in SF and they were mostly from England designers. So there were probably girls (or possibly boys) on the other side of the Atlantic with a tights collection that would put mine to shame, but in Los Altos, the Bay Area, and the West Coast as a whole (excluding Southern Calilfornia, because they don't count anyway), I was Queen of the Cool Tights.

goth, sweet goth

Yeah, that's me sitting on the gravestone in my cool trenchcoat with my cool little band buttons and my cool friend who got sent to St Francis, the catholic private high school, because her parents wanted to protect her from all the drugs at the public school. Incidentally, she did WAY more drugs than I ever did, and she's the one who got me into the Santa Clara party circuit and got me stoned for the first time in my life. So whatever.

I know the photo is pretty shitty becasue I scanned it from the original and that never comes out good, but if you look closely at my blackest self you may notice that I am wearing one of my cool tights. They were printed with paisleys on this grey background, such that people thought my legs were tattooed. I mean, I saw girls buy tights that were black with these shitty paisleys stamped on them with what looked like puffy paint, but these, these were Mary Quant, high quality, British-made tights and I WAS COOL.

So there I am wearing black on the outside because black was how I felt on the inside (does that mean that paisley was how I felt on the inside, too?), sitting on some poor dead person's grave hanging with a couple of friends--did I mention that it is the middle of the night and we had to climb over the cemetery gate? I mean, how goth can you get. Yeah!

I was always pissed off when people, namely adults, wrote me off as a loser just because I looked the way I did. They assumed I was another kid wasting my life; squandering it on drugs, alchohol, and S&M sex with some dude who dyed his hair and painted his fingernails black who stole from the Goodwill.

Okay, yeah, that sterotype held true, in one way or another, for the majority of my friends in the Freak Klub, but not so with me (well, I was no angel, but I wasn't squandering anything). I was a student in AP English and AP US History, I had 3 years of German under my belt, and I was on the varsity field hockey team. When adults looked at me they didn't see a girl who passed most of her classes exceptionally well for never studying, they saw a Problem Child.

Do you see a discipline case or your future midwife?
ps: The Cure rocked my world.

Anyway, as life progressed for little Freak me (who had to endure the stupid neighbor two years older than me who liked to scream, "YEEEEAAAAAHHHHH!!!! PUNK RAAAAWWWWWK!!!!!!" at me from her bedroom every time she saw me--but as I heard her blaring "Raspberry Beret" by Prince all summer long I knew she was a poser and I could hold her in complete comtempt) and I moved up to Salem, OR to go Willamette University and be THE ONLY person on the campus whose wardrobe was 95% black, I began to mellow out.

For me, being a Freak was fun and satisfying because I belonged to an exclusive and slightly intimidaing clique, and we looked out for each other and I truly loved my friends. We were all a little too weird and creative and wild to be friends with anybody else, and we readily accepted into our ranks all those who felt the same, regardless of their attachment to black clothing and big boots. There were some people whom we excluded even though they wore black and professed a liking for Ministry. It was the wild and crazy about people that we loved, the exterior wasn't as important (although I confess, it did help).

So today, 17 years later, I still struggle with people's first impression of me because I have this ring embedded in my lip and I look like I am barely 21. I know every time I go for a doula interview I need to be impeccable in my appearance and manners because I am swimming against The Tide Of Body Piercings And A Young Looking Face. It still pisses me off when people judge me by my cover, and don't even give me a chance to show them who I truly am inside. I understand that habitually we will make snap judgements, I do it too, but I generally allow a person a chance to show me who they really are. As powerful as first impressions are, they can also be so terribly limiting.

And that just makes me want to go lie on a gravestone somewhere, listen to Bauhaus, and wait for that tragically romantic moment when I get bit by the vampire who happens to be the love of my life so that we can live undead and unhappily ever after. And chase down all those stupid people who drove me to my tragic end.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

An Open Apology To Grandmother Spider

Okay, maybe I was pretty harsh on Grandmother Spider a couple of weeks ago.

i'm sorry.

It struck me a couple days after that post that I was declaring war on a representation of the sacred feminine. That war was something I did when I was a little girl, and especially when puberty attacked. I hated my body and what it was doing. I felt so out of control, ugly, yucky and dirty and gross.

I never really felt all that great inside of my own skin as a kid anyway--I was always teased for being too fat which I readily accepted as true. Which makes me crazy, now, when I look back at pictures of me in the 5th grade and I WASN'T FAT, people, I WAS A KID. I so desperately wanted to be Beautiful, so that I could be accepted and loved and listened to and included.

And then, puberty hit. And my hair (on my head) got all frizzy and out of control, I had braces and a neck gear (that is the ultimate punishment--a neck gear), I was growing body parts I never had, I got hairy, and this monthly thing. Which happened to me before the sex ed movies, and I had no idea why I was bleeding, and why it wouldn't stop, and what was wrong with me, and why can't I be normal? When my mother confronted me with my dirty laundry I cried, which at age 11 I already vowed never to do, I cried because I was so scared and I cried because I was so ashamed of my own fucked up body that hated me, and I cried because I was displaying my vulnerability to someone who judged me, and I hated myself and I hated myself and I hated myself.

It has taken me a long time to get to a place where I don't hate myself, where I find value and beauty in myself as a person, and especially as a woman.

And it has taken me an even longer time to understand that my being a woman doesn't have to be defined by the imaginary family that I don't have yet, and the imaginary husband that I don't have yet, and that I am not failing as a woman because I am 33 and unmarried and childless.

This was supposed to be a post about Grandmother Spider, and her wonderful medicine that holds all of us together, and how key symbols of the sacred feminine have been perverted to scary, nasty, and evil things, but I guess this post is about me, coming to terms with my own Grandmother Spiderness, my own snake woman, my own roaring ocean.

And this post is about the Adult me mourning for the loss of innocence of the Child me, which happened earlier than it should have, and inevitable as it was, that it should have happened at all.