who's the ECL?

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

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


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


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?