Monday, April 18, 2016

Thoughts on Grandparents Part II

My sleeping bag, ukelele, camera, and the baby's diaper bag are by the door ready for tomorrow morning. We'll rise with the sun and while Max hums his morning tune, I'll brush my teeth and remember to bring my pillow. Seven hours later, after long thoughtful Nevada spaces, we'll arrive at St. Mary's, the place where I was born, to see you.
You're not sure if it's worth it anymore; you may have even made up your mind that it is not, but this morning, while they loaded you into the ambulance, cussing and fighting, GranD told you that it wasn't your time yet, Sammy's on his way. We'll be there this time tomorrow. Max will make you smile and maybe breathe a little easier.
I've heard the whispers from your sister, brothers, your daughter, reassuring me that they are there for you with strength and freedom. Thank you for preserving your point of view through numerous angles and lenses. You are loved in an infinite sense.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Generations of Thought - Or, Reflections on How to Talk to the Elderly

Letter to My Grandparents:

What I understand about you and your view on the world is as useful as your interpretation of mine. Sure, you've been here before, but you're not here now. And, yes, I'll be there one day too, but I'm not there yet. As your grandchild and future great-grandchild, we come as a package right now, I know how important it is for me to be with you at this time. No matter how much time has passed between then and now or between the two (three) of us, Life is universal. This kicking and punching fetus is as alive in me as my mother and father were in my grandmothers. Making that connection with you is so important to me. I am grateful for the years between us because they are what make this bond stronger and even more important. I hope that this kid has the privilege of growing up around you, just like I did. Thank you for your time, your lessons, and your love.

Letter to Self When I Find Out I'm A Great-Grandparent:
Don't remind your grandchild and future great-grandchild about how close you are to death every 10 minutes. This is a fact, a reality, that I am sure they are aware of, perhaps not as painfully as you, but they know it.
Your stuff is not important to your grandchild, you are. Whoever gets what after you die is irrelevant.
Try not to reveal too much information about your bathroom habits. It's true that it may become the most anticipated event of the day, but it's also true that it can be too much information.
When you say "I love you", really really feel it and mean it. Hanging baggage on those three words negates them.
Share stories about your babies and grand babies. That's the gift you have to offer.
Eat good food, go for walks every day, take care of yourself so you can share your time, your lessons, and your love as long as you are able.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

I'd like a Manhattan, please.

I can't find a picture of us together. I have pictures of her birthday cake and the balloons. I have blurry quick snaps of her with friends.
I want to know if she would have liked listening to Nina Simone, or what her favorite dessert was. What was her middle name? What did she want to be when she was 10?
I know she feels amazing right now. I know she knows she's loved.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Knowledge is power

I am an educator. Therefore, it is inherent that I believe knowledge is power, because I've seen it and experienced and nurtured it. While wasting my knowledge points on my FB feed, I came across the following three posts. They all rang that deep internal teacher gong:

"Yes, books not bombs please," says the reasonable adult. 

I finished reading Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas by Tom Robbins yesterday, which coincidentally waxes poetic about the mysterious knowledges of Timbuktu. Then, after reading this article the sensitive librarian in me sputtered with dignified outrage and then, immediately, drink a bottle of wine. 

"New fears for the city's historical treasures emerged Monday as Malian soldiers reentered Timbuktu. The mayor told the Associated Press that as extremists fled, they torched the main library stocked with ancient manuscripts, sending “the history of Timbuktu” up in flames.",0,2853548.story

And, this:

Thank you children. 

Friday, January 4, 2013

Home is...

...where you hang your hat, where your heart is...
Yesterday, I stretched my mind out so far that I felt like bursting out of my skin. I made the journey to Red Rock and as I walked among the giant bones of my ancestors, I felt at home. When I remembered what the place I call home most often felt and looked like, all I wanted was to be there. So, I left the Rocks of Red to get to the place I call home. The place with my leather couch, our coffee cups, my stash of socks, and Lou's encyclopedia set.

...where you make it, on the range...
I love it here. Las Vegas. I'm a true blue Nevadan to the core, though I've always affliated myself with the more granola Northern Nevadans being a native of Reno. I lived in Reno for the first 6 years of life. Presently, I have been a resident of Las Vegas for 16 years, going on 17 this July. Henderson was the hometime I thought I'd never find again. Whatever my mixed emotions are about the two, today I know that I could be happy here for a long time and that's an excellent feeling.
10 Jaw-Dropping Sights You Can Only See in Nevada

...Nevada, su casa...
Reading my mind in the paper this morning wherein other Las Vegans reflect on the year of Downtown 2012 and what 2013 will be the year of. All of the suggestions are equally viable and deserving. I wonder if this is the year I plant a bean seed on Water Street. 
The Year After Year of Downtown

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


Good morning 2013. Resolution #1 - Send birthday cards 
Resolution #2 - Fly more
Resolution #3 - Less screen time
So, I read this morning.

Quotes from Terrance McKenna's Food of the Gods

Permaculture Permeates:

An Insight into the Male-Female Way of Thinking and Communicating OR Why Seed Saving is Sacred:

"Women, the gatherers in the Archaic hunter-gatherer equation, were under much greater pressure to develop language than were their male counterparts. Hunting, the prerogative of the larger male, placed a premium on strength, stealth, and stoic waiting. The hunter was able to function quite well on a very limited number of linguistic signals, as is still the case among hunting peoples such as the !Kung or the Maku.
For gatherers, the situation was different. Those women with the largest repertoire of communicable images of foods and their sources and secrets of preparation were unquestionably placed in a position of advantage. Language may well have arisen as a mysterious power possessed largely by women - women who spent much more of their waking time together - and, usually, talking - than did men, women who in all societies are seen as group-minded, in contrast to the lone male image, which is the romanticized version of the alpha male of the primate troop. 
The linguistic accomplishments of women were driven by a need to remember and describe to each other a variety of locations and landmarks as well as numerous taxonomic and structural details about plants to be sought or avoided. The complex morphology of the natural world propelled the evolution of language toward modeling of the world beheld. To this day a taxonomic description of a plant is a Joycean thrill to read: 'Shrub 2 to 6 feet in height, glabrous throughout. Leaves mostly opposite, some in threes or uppermost alternate, sessile, linear - lancoelate or lanceolate, acute or acuminate. Flowers solitary in axils, yellow, with aroma, pedicellate. Calyx campanulate, petals soon caducous, obovate...' and so on for many lines.
The linguistic depth women attained as gatherers eventually led to a momentous discovery: the discovery of agriculture. I call it momentous because of its consequences. Women realized that they could simply grow a restricted number of plants. As a result, they learned the needs of only those few plants, embraced a sedentary lifestyle, and began to forget the rest of nature they had once known so well. 
At that point the retreat from the natural world began, and the dualism of humanity versus nature was born. As we will soon see, one of the places where the old goddess culture died, Catar Huyuk (pronunciation emphasises not noted) in present-day Anatolian Turkey, is the very place where agriculture may have first arisen. At places like Catal Huyuk and Jericho, humans and their domesticated plants and animals became for the first time physically and psychologically separate from the life of untamed nature and the howling unknown. Use of hallucinogens can only be sanctioned in hunting and gathering societies. When agriculturists use the plants, they are unable to get up at dawn the morning after and go hoe the fields. At that point, corn and grain become gods - gods that symbolize domesticity and hard labor. These replace the old goddesses of plant-induced ecstasy.
Agriculture brings with it the potential for overproduction, which leads to excess wealth, hoarding, and trade. Trade leads to cities; cities isolate their inhabitants from the natural world. Paradoxically, more efficient utilization of plant resources through agriculture led to a breaking away from the symbiotic relationship that had bound human beings to nature. I do not mean this metaphorically. The ennui of modernity is the consequences of a disrupted quasi-symbiotic relationship between ourselves and Gaian nature. Only a restoration of this relationship in some form is capable of carrying us into a full appreciation of our birthright and sense of ourselves as complete human beings."

Why I Choose Fungi As My Key:

"I believe that a long history of shamanic usage is the first seal of approval that one must look for when selecting a substance for its possible effects on personal growth. And if a plant has been used for thousands of years, one can also be fairly confident that it does not cause tumors or miscarriages or carry other unacceptable physical risks."

Permaculture or Die:

"Go green or die"

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Downtown Project - School Garden

This project makes my bone marrow quiver with passion. I am a proud graduate of Las Vegas Academy, with memories of cooking an authentic German feast in the church’s kitchen to experiencing my first kiss by the tree under the stained glass windows. A decade later, I am deep in pursuit of connecting my love for children and gardening. When I learned about this project, I felt the horn of Neptune echo through my blood. (If my overt metaphors are making you uncomfortable, just please understand that I’m trying to convey falling in love with a possibility.) I was equally excited to bring my fellow permaculture teacher and friend, Cindy, in on the project. I love her brain and am always looking for an excuse to bask in her brainstorm. This project seemed to embody what Cindy and I have spent countless hours chewing on pencils over. How are we going to get schools to love gardens as much as we do?
So far as I understand, this will be a private charter school beginning with 0-5 years, each year adding a grade. The students will mostly come from working families, primarily those that work with Downtown Project’s sugar daddy, Zappos. The goal is to create a very hands-on curriculum centered on a garden that feeds the students and their families with an after school program designed to cook hot meals to take home and, occasionally, a community dinner at the soon to be events center, the former church.
Cindy and I met up with the established team of directors and planners at the site of the future charter school last Thursday. We both took time off from work, driving from our suburban homes, and arrived eager to discuss with pads and pencils ready to go. Ideas were flying out of my mouth, unedited and unbridled in enthusiasm.
  • Start a compost bin, this way you spread interest in the school garden and community center by getting the LVA kids involved through a Foodie/Garden Club and even the neighbors (you know, the people that live right across the street), and at the same time generate a source of nutrition for the soil that will in turn nurture the community.
  • Contact Nevada Fish and Wildlife and the local Tortoise Rescue Group and designate part of the garden space to native flora and fauna, making a connection for inner city kids and adults between the importance of preserving wild spaces and our local food heritage.
  • Promote water harvesting within the soil so families learn easy and applicable ways of honoring this valuable and essential desert resource. 
We were given a quick tour of the outer perimeter painting a picture of what was already designed in the plans. At the mention of turf, a small sigh wriggled between my clinched lips. At this point, I got the impression that my input was more like a slip of paper in the suggestion box. Please believe, I do not mean to discredit that at all. A suggestion box is important because at least the opportunity to provide input exists, right? Realistically, I felt that this beautiful opportunity has already set sail with a boat full of movers and shakers. Bon voyage and god speed! I’ll be there to smash the champagne bottle and wave. Time to start building my own boat.