Friday, November 16, 2018

It's just impossible

Seizure days. ESES days. How do we get through them? Still, I have no idea. Still. Still! What would it look like to get through them? Is there some sort of chant for it, a manifestation? How does Buddhism work when your daughter has a bad seizure day?  It's just impossible, my friend Jody once said about her own situation, and I think about that often. It's just impossible. I think about Paloma and Calvin and Michael and Robert and Zaki and Charlotte and FlyBoy and Sophia and William and Emily and -- well -- all of them. It's impossible.

Listen. We had Dr. Bonni Goldstein on the Who Lives Like This?! podcast this week! She educates everyone about the endocannabinoid system and how cannabis medicine can right the balance for so many disorders. She talks about caregiving for caregivers, but her advice is really for anyone who wants to learn about how imbalances in the endocannabinoid system can manifest as disease or insomnia or anxiety or depression, etc. She has advice and suggestions. Check it out here. You can listen right from the blog post or from iTunes directly.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

for your eyes only

I need to get back to writing a little bit here every day. It was a good exercise and occasionally I'd type out some really good stuff. Thoughts and musings or what passes for thoughts in my beleaguered mind these days. And nights. I went to see Dr. Jin today. I have mornings when I'm taking care of Sophie and feel tears in the back of my throat that I swallow. A sea. So I went to Dr. Jin and she tried, again, to stick a needle in that fleshy space between the thumb and forefinger, but I knew and then she knew that I knew what was going to happen and that is pain, and it's a weird pain that I just don't can't take. So she didn't stick the needle there. After she finished with the needles she turned on the Chinese music and shut the door behind her, and I swear it's the same music that they played in the Chinese restaurant where I worked for a brief time in Carrboro, North Carolina. I was the host and seated the few customers we got in dark booths and I've written this before, but there was a Chinese waiter named Jackson who was in love with my young college self and he was always somehow behind me whispering in low tones under that Chinese music. One day he came in with a perm and I noted the perm and he said for your eyes only which I believe was a Bond film of the era. I still remember Jackson and the bags of food that the cook in the back dumped in woks and stirred around and I wonder what happened to all of it. I think about Jackson every time I lie on Dr. Jin's table with needles between my eyes my breasts and down somewhere on my feet and that Chinese restaurant music plays. I'm the hostess, still, and he's at my back, whispering in my ear and there's something so relaxing about letting it all go or come, these memories of darkness and men and food and the way light falls in a late-afternoon booth. It's not nostalgia but a meditation and after a while the Chinese music tape clicks off, Dr. Jin comes in and takes out all the needles and tells me to take these pills for my sadness and she does this for me, she says, and I love her.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Riding with Min After Baez Sang Dylan

Joan Baez, Royce Hall, UCLA
November 2018

I know that's a bad photo of Joan, but I had to take it quickly, when she first came out or risk the wrath of my fellow concert goers. I like that her head is blurred out in light because that's what listening to her sing did to my soul. Blurred it out into light. I went into the concert so heavy-hearted, the fires, the air, the animals, the earth, the dead and charred land, the piles of dead children, again. It's not too much, it's just so, so awful. Joan sang and sang, though, in what was supposed to be her last Los Angeles appearance. She sang her own stuff and Bob Dylan and Tom Waits and John Prine and Woody Guthrie and Stephen Foster and Pete Seeger, and when she sang Zoe Mulford's The President Sang Amazing Grace, I cried. Because, really, it seems like another life these days, doesn't it? I'd never heard Baez in real life, had sort of fallen in love with my first real love to her music and was amazed that while her voice had deepened, it was still strong if not capable of hitting the super high notes of old. To tell you the truth, I don't know if I ever really appreciated those super high notes, anyway. When she sang Diamonds and Rust, I was twenty years old again and all moony over anyone who had a love affair with Bob Dylan and wove that love and anguish and romance into such words. Oh, boy.

I took a Lyft home, and when I got into the car, my driver, Min, acted super flustered as he'd had a time getting through the after-concert crowds in the street. I reassured him that it was no big deal and then he asked me how to get out of the campus and then he asked me what kind of concert I'd been to. It was Joan Baez, I said. And he asked, Who's she? And I said, She's been around for a long time, was famous in the sixties and seventies as a protest singer. Min asked me to find a song of hers to play for him in the car, and while I tried to pull one up, he asked, So what kind of things did she protest? And I said, She protested against the war and for immigrants and everything when she was young and now she's pretty much doing the same thing because of Trump. Min said, Why does she protest Trump? I know it's not good to talk about politics, but I love Trump! I think he's doing a good job! And I stopped looking for a YouTube video for Min to hear and said I can't stand Trump. Min asked why? and I said because he's a piece of shit. Bless Min's heart. We talked a bit more. Min is Korean and lives in Koreatown. I learned that he loves Trump because he's sticking it to the Chinese. Min conceded that the POSPOTUS does say controversial things but insisted his attitude toward China made him a great president. I said anyone who is so deeply racist and misogynistic, as well as ill-tempered could never get my respect. Min asked What sort of racist things has he said? I told him a few things and then said Honestly, Min, do you think he cares that you're Korean? He probably despises you for being Korean. Min clung to the anti-Chinese stuff and I sat pissed in the back seat because that light emanating from Joan Baez was leaking out of the car. I thought about jumping out at a light and then thought better of it. Min had on a large checked button-down shirt, just the kind I dislike, and I didn't know what to make of him, to tell you the truth. When I got home, I told Oliver and Carl about him. Carl rolled his eyes and Oliver said, Min sounds like a dumbass.

Oh, what'll you do now, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, what'll you do now, my darling young one?
I'm a-goin' back out 'fore the rain starts a-fallin'
I'll walk to the depths of the deepest black forest
Where the people are many and their hands are all empty
Where the pellets of poison are flooding their waters
Where the home in the valley meets the damp dirty prison
Where the executioner's face is always well-hidden
Where hunger is ugly, where souls are forgotten
Where black is the color, where none is the number
And I'll tell it and think it and speak it and breathe it
And reflect it from the mountain so all souls can see it
Then I'll stand on the ocean until I start sinkin'
But I'll know my song well before I start singin'
And it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard
It's a hard rain's a-gonna fall

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Awake People Be Awake

Woolsey Fire Lit, early afternoon

A Ritual to Read To Each Other

If you don't know the kind of person I am
and I don't know the kind of person you are
a pattern that others made may prevail in the world
and following the wrong god home we may miss our star.

For there is many a small betrayal in the mind,
a shrug that lets the fragile sequence break
sending with shouts the horrible errors of childhood
storming out to play through the broken dike.

And as elephants parade holding each elephant's tail,
but if one wanders the circus won't find the park,
I call it cruel and maybe the root of all cruelty
to know what occurs but not recognize the fact.

And so I appeal to a voice, to something shadowy,
a remote important region in all who talk:
though we could fool each other, we should consider—
lest the parade of our mutual life get lost in the dark.

For it is important that awake people be awake,
or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep;
the signals we give — yes or no, or maybe —
should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.

William Stafford

Woolsey Fire Lit, early afternoon
photographer: Carl Jackson

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Gun Rage

inside jacket of Rebecca Traister's book Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women's Anger

I'm enraged this morning, waking to the news that a 28 year old ex-Marine with "possible PTSD" opened fire on a group of college kids in a popular bar and grill in Thousand Oaks, a suburb of Los Angeles. He killed twelve people, including a sheriff and then himself. Many people are injured, and there's a been a call for blood donations. I don't know what to do with my anger this morning and will use this space to express it.

My rage is not directed toward the obvious target but rather toward those who persist in believing in their right to bear arms, in their right to use violence to protect themselves from the boogeyman lurking in their neighborhoods, in their right to be "good people" with guns, in their right to collect guns and place them in special locked boxes or cases, in their right to use them for "sport," in their clamor for their own "liberty." I believe that justifying owning and using guns like the Glock this man used in this point in time, November of 2018, is outrageous, that those who do are complicit in perpetuating the myth of safety in arms and the myth that owning a gun confers liberty. I believe that these people are complicit in the deaths of tens of thousands of people a year in our country. I am enraged enough to believe that these people -- men AND women --  are equally as complicit as the gun men (because, let's face it, it's MEN who do this shit) because they contribute to the myth of violence being the answer to conflict. I believe that every single person who owns guns -- for sport, for pleasure, for safety -- because they can, should acknowledge their complicity and step up and do something about it.

Me, I'm going to donate some of my blood -- boiling at this point.


Monday, November 5, 2018

Life FEELS Good

I get at least twenty requests a day asking me to promote a book or a product or a service on my blog. I delete nearly all of them. I was just about to press delete on reviewing the movie LIFE FEELS GOOD when the words cerebral palsy jumped out. Then I saw that it's a Polish movie, and I love Polish movies, so I clicked the trailer, and -- well -- I'm happy to review and promote it.

LIFE FEELS GOOD is a film by Maciej Pieprzyca and is described as "heartbreaking and humorous," two adjectives that I highly relate to and find resonant. Dawid Ogrodnik plays Mateusz, a man with cerebral palsy who wants to be understood by his family and friends. It's based on a true story and has been nominated for eight Polish film awards, winning for Best Leading Actor, Best Screenplay and an Audience Award. It's distributed by Under the Milky Way and will be available on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, XBox Microsoft and other VOD platforms.

I will be viewing it soon and will post a review, but don't you think it looks amazing? It's going to be released tomorrow, November 6th. Check it out.


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