Monday, January 30, 2006

self portrait tuesday

This is my fifth entry for the Personal History theme at Self Portrait Tuesday.

I realized I would be remiss if I didn't cover the most basic of my histories, the longest-running aspect of my life to date; the fact that I was a baller. I was a through-n-through gym rat and pick-up game junkie.

After I was introduced to basketball at age eleven, it became all I thought about and all I wanted to do. In junior high I played at lunchtime with the boys. I played if I was wearing pants or if I was wearing a dress. In high school, I had a stern coach named Coach Dick Beedy and if you can judge by his name, he was 150 years old which meant his coaching style was the same as the inventors of basketball: All pass, no flash. This was how women’s basketball was coached back then, and it bored me to tears. I was voted MVP of our less than mediocre team that received no attention from colleges, and my hopes of possibly turning pro fizzled -- Oh, and there were no women's pro teams at the time.

I then discovered street ball; pick-up games on park black tops, at Venice beach and at a legendary gym called Memorial Park. In my senior year in high school, I ditched school at least once a week to play at Memorial. I was the only girl that played there regularly and I would light it up from 15-20 feet if the guys underestimated me, which was often. During the NBA off season, a handful of pro players would come to have some fun with the Memorial legends. I also played a stint over at the Hollywood YMCA where I once guarded Arsenio Hall -- I'm not even shitting you. And Denzel Washington would play there on occasion too. Yes he would!

After Husband moved to California, we started playing at a gym that was becoming the Place to Play. During the NBA lock out, the place swarmed with second string pro's and elite college players. We went to the gym a few times a week, giddily. Both Husband and I can recall separate and perfect days at the gym where we won all day long on chemistry-clicking teams. We played five hours of basketball until our shoes nearly exploded off of our blistered feet in a fireball. It was bliss.

During my adult street-ball career, there was one other time that stands out. This was when Husband, his brother G, his uncle R and I went to a park in Queens, NY. Together, we ran those courts all afternoon. Not only were we significantly older than the young studs we played, but I, a woman, was the go-to guy. Typically, I played a non-starring role compared to the dominant male players of my team. This was fine as long as they weren’t cockheads about it and as long as we won. But that day I was ON FIRE. During my entire basketball career, I had had many shining moments where I scored beautifully on dudes, sending the crowd into an uproarious high-fiving fit (nothing is more infectious than that), but that day in Queens I was calling for the rock repeatedly because the basket was the size of the ocean to me. I was fading and draining and strutting. On the final point of the last game of the day, I was passed the ball again -- they knew to honor a hot player, male or female -- and with my guy guarding me tightly I pulled up beyond the free throw line and before the ball left my fingertips, I said, "Game, motherfucka." Possibly one of the greatest days of my life. Husband's brother & uncle still talk about that day, which puffs my feathers like nothing else.

This is one of the only pictures I have of me with a basketball. It's from my year book. I'm a junior in high school, warming up for a game.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Happy Lunar New Year, mi gente

It's El Año del Perro, the Year of the Dog and how better to celebrate than to share our colorful day at my beloved Bower's Museum where we went for the Asian Family Festival.

Must I express again how much I love the Bowers Kidseum? Yes! The Kidseum is in a building a few doors down from the converted mission that is the main museum. Kidseum is where we go for the Dia del los Muertos celebration and the African Festival, which will be held next month, and a ton of other fun things. When there is no festival or special event, you can always go to the Kidseum to create an art project that corresponds with the featured exhibit displayed in the main museum. Right now there is a fantastic Egyptian Mummy exhibit so, hieroglyphic writing and reed art galore!

Here's a picture of one the many masks -- this one I think from Bali -- that line the walls:

Here's Mina taking full advantage of the Kidseum amenities such as the extensive tea party goods:

Maya making her Chinese Opera mask:

Slew of children's masks drying in the art room:

Other beautiful accents of the Kidseum; sombreros for dress up:

Kimono on display:

Mina in provided hat and clogs on a horseless saddle:

Taiko drum demonstration:

Showing off their masks:

I love the surrounding neighborhood of the museum which is old southern California, working-class latinos, mismatched sidewalks, porched small white craftman houses with 50-year old palms lining the streets. This part of Orange County reminds me of parts of L.A. I daydream of living over here every time we come to the Bowers:

Friday, January 27, 2006

Photo Booth Friday, Y'all!

Hulaseventy's Photo Booth Friday is all the rage, y'all. I've jumped on the bandwagon, fiercely.

This is Husband, before he was knighted Husband, and me. Balboa Island, 1997. Maya was two. Mina, not even a thought yet. We walked around on shedding wood planks holding hands, checking out the rides and eating grilled corn sprinkled with cayenne. We went to the arcade and he brushed up on the Kill The Something game and I requested a photo in the booth.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Turbo Kicked Ego

Today, in the mail,the exercise video I was in finally arrived. Yea, I was in an exercise video; a Turbo Kickboxing video. That will be sold. To the public. And viewed by many.

When it was made, it was all fun and games. The best, regular students of my Turbo Kick Class, taught by the brilliant Cheerleader On Crack, were asked to participate in her newest video -- many are sold by her empire -- and I was confident that my je ne c'est qua was ready to be documented. I dig a spotlight. Or I used to. As all the students arrived for the shoot, as we were dressed by bitchy PA's and makeup'ed and rearranged on the floor, I became acutely aware that I was one of the "bigger" students. I do not consider myself big, but I was getting the hint that I had been cast as the normal, “healthy" girl. This still did not faze me particularly, and as the long-ass day of shooting rolled on, I was still hot in my own mind.

After viewing the DVD, I'm now having my doubts. In my mind, I'm so great. I'm the bomb diggity. I usually never dog myself out. I am not a fan of self deprecation at all, because if you're not talking highly of yourself, who will? But when one sees themselves jumping around in spandex next to very tone and lean fitness models, it's hard to the put the brakes on an automatic critical avalanche. I did not look terrible, but the image on the screen did not exactly match the flyness in my mind. Firstly, maybe I should trim my hair more than once a year? Even if stylists love to chop the shit out of my hair, at least then, just maybe, there would a . . .style? And, my boobs are too big to be bouncing around in that fuchsia tank they dressed me in. I couldn't get my eyes off my own cleavage. Jesus. Bimbo Turbo Jam? ug. Also, open-mouthed dancing has been an affliction of mine since I first took a dance class a hundred years ago. When I dance a routine, my mouth is either open in a surprised "Hey!" look, or my lips are puckered, innately, in a sassy "Jazz face." Eyebrows are always raised. It's like a spasm to which I have no control. So, there was a lot of that going on, to my horror, as I kickboxed. On the DVD, there is a "Get to Know the Cast!" section where we are asked questions such as who are you, why do you love this workout and what are your eating weaknesses? And, ok, I looked fine, and I was fairly charming as I rambled about my vegan cookie obsession, but why didn't anyone tell me that my bottom teeth are more crooked and jagged than the hem of Wilma Flintstone's dress? And they're off center, the teeth, as seems to be the case with my whole face when I talk. I'm like a Picasso painting (which, ok, is kinda cool). And I see that after years of holding my surprised Jazz Face, my forehead seems to just stay in that position, up and creased. AND I TALK FUNNY. What's up with that?

Maya and Mina got a huge kick out of seeing "Mami on TV!", but I kinda just shook my head and squinted my eyes to filter out the hotness, and I tried not to look at my triceps that are a tad wobblier than I thought, and I really didn't want to be made aware of that VIA A PUBLIC EXERCISE VIDEO. Ho hum.

People, I love me. I really do. And if you embarrass me with any kind of sympathetic compliments, I will you kill you. With my bare turbockick hands. Anyway, I’m not looking for that. I’m just reporting what I saw. And besides, I’m back to feeling hot again, in my mind.

P.S. I was going to post a picture from the DVD, but I'm so saving that goodness for February's Self Portrait Tuesday theme which is "All of Me, Embrace Your Mistakes, Love the Ugly Bits." HA! What perfect timing.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

self portrait tuesday

This is my fourth entry for the Personal History challange over at Self Portrait Tuesday.

This is my favorite pregnant picture. This captures exactly how I felt. Humbled. Loved. Nervous. I did not feel matters were in my hands. I knew I would be my best at mothering. I knew I would be great; I believed I had a natural capacity for that much love and nurturing. And because I wanted to be a mother so badly, I wasn't sure I would be able to have children. I believed wanting it too badly would kibosh the deal.

Before I had Maya, I had a miscarriage. Maya's father, BD, was out at sea on a naval ship, and alone I lost the baby at 10 weeks, on my sheets, in my pajamas, in the toilet. I didn't know who to tell. I telegrammed BD out at sea, and a week later he called me from a port, frantic. Then the calls flooded in from his family asking why I didn't call them. And I didn't know why. I tend to hide into myself when bad things happen.

It took an entire year to get pregnant with Maya after the miscarriage. I was trying too hard. I wanted it too badly again. I tried not to care. When I found out I was pregnant, I chanted in my mind the entire pregnancy: healthyhappystrongbabyhealthyhappystrongbabyhealthy
healthyhappystrongbabyhealthyhappystrongbaby. . . I willed her to stick. I just chanted this nervously any time I was not talking aloud.

Before I had Mina, I had a miscarriage. At 10 weeks again, but this time Husband was with me. And he was nonchalant about what had happened. We had Our Worst Fight in Our History that night. I didn't feel as desperate after this miscarriage because I felt maybe Maya was enough of a blessing already and I wasn't going to be allowed another. But only three months later, I became pregnant, and again all I did in silent moments was chant: healthyhappystrongbabyhealthyhappystrongbabyhealthy
babyhealthyhappystrongbabyhealthyhappystrongbaby . . .

Monday, January 23, 2006


When I was young, from about thirteen until I don't remember when, my mother studied Tibetan Buddhism. She studied intently for years. I would often go to the Buddhist center with her and hang out or do my homework as she took classes. It was a place where I could rest my mind. The center was a converted house, a large rich brown craftsman style in the heart of LA. Concrete steps led to the house and they were wide and slanted and cracked. The house had barred windows beyond the thick, square-columned porch, and the door was heavy and huge, splintered at the base and a little lighter shade than the house shingles. Inside, the vibe wrapped me up, insulated me with heavy quietness. My only and sincerest urge was to lie on the huge fuchsia and turquoise prayer pillows and stare at the tankas and be alone. Nobody minded this. The caretakers of the center were kind and gentle to me.

After years of going to the center, my mother embarked on a series of higher, initiate classes. They were held every night for hours. Usually I stayed home alone and cared for myself, but for this particular series one of the monks encouraged my mother to enrolled me in the Lam Rim course which was the basic Tibetian Buddhist teachings. A well-known and ancient rinpoche was visiting from India and, through an interpreter, he would conduct the Lam Rim teachings. I was fifteen, and I studied this every night for a couple weeks.

I rarely talk about these teachings because they are hard to just . . . bring up, but when I have mentioned them, I speak humbly of the experience. It was a great honor to be taught by this particular teacher, to even be taught this at all. But more honestly, I felt it was divinely purposeful that I took these classes. I was not shy or coy during class, and I stared directly at the rinpoche, drank him in. He often stared at me as well. He spoke in long, quiet Tibetian phrases moving his hands like a dancer, flowing them from side to side as his gold and crimson robe sleeves swung below them. He would close his eyes and speak on. The interpreter waited patiently to translate as we sat on pillows, cross legged and captivated. When the rinpoche opened his eyes, he would often look directly at me. This did not startle me. I thought he recognized something in me that I knew vaguely myself. The interpreter used big words that made no sense to me; words that described levels of hell and heaven. Words that other students scribbled furiously in their notebooks. I sat and stared. But when the rinpoche spoke of compassion and motivation and suffering, to these things I paid attention. I believed that the names of hell meant nothing when the basic concepts were so difficult. How hard to live a life with a goal but without a goal? The concepts of relieving suffering and practicing compassion with only clear motivation eluded and encompassed me. I floated in a space where I innately understood it all and where I had no idea what he was saying. In the end, sadly, all I wanted was more recognition of my specialness. I had succumbed to the vanity of the teachings because the subconscious recognition of it had been too much. All I could think about was, "I know he saw It in me!" I thought he saw that his youngest student was his clearest receptacle of his words, and because of this connection, I was dying for guidance. As the classes and weeks ran on, as I sat there sponging up his words and collecting his stares, I waited patiently for word of a next step for me. I needed his help. "Divinely I understand! What now??" But, the message escaped me in this desperation of guidance. When the series ended, I was not called aside. I was not told I was a chosen one. I was confused, and had frankly missed the point.

What consistently floats to the top over the years about the Lam Rim teachings are the most basic concepts, I believe the hardest still: Am I compassionate in all instances? Do I help end or relieve suffering? What is my motivation in everything I do? When I think of these concepts today, it still feels like I am floating in that space of all knowing and never understanding. Nearly the same thing that I felt at the end of yoga. But I am self conscious of the vanity I still feel in this complicated space. I feel embarrassed that this space makes me feel special with no tangible manifestations of my apparent, internal greatness. I realize that the specialness and the manifestations are all the wrong motivations. So, again, I am floating.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

5 Guilty Pleasures

I was digging Ms. Andrea's post over at hulaseventy today. She did a meme listing her top five guilty pleasures. And I wanted to do this today too because sometimes I let myself sink into my guilty pleasures a little too much. Recently being one of those times. Currently, even.

Here's my list because who doesn't want to hear about other people's obsessions?

1. Chocolate Chip Vegan Cookies. I KNOW, I KNOW, again with the goddamn cookies. But if I didn't list the VC's then I'd be cutting out a big portion of what I think about daily. Last weekend in a PMS cloud that grappled me to the floor, I ate so many VC's that I was in an evaporated cane juice funk very similar to its more evil sister, the Refined Sugar Funk, but not as bad and I got over it more quickly. Still, it was bad. So bad that I have two post-it's pasted up -- one at home, one at work -- that read: "Do Not Buy Vegan Cookies -- Will advise when ok to do so again." When you're asking yourself, Hmm, why has Husband lost 10lbs during our Raw Until Dinner quest and me only 2, then maybe I should revise my program because right now it's apparently Raw 'til Dinner, Cookies 'til Dawn.

2. Peacocks. I love everything Peacock. It is a blind and subconscious love, and I automatically want to buy every peacock thing I see. Every time I spot a peacock design I believe it was made especially for me. Every single time I see one live or fake, without fail I gasp a little and think, OH, How pretty! I have a peacock locket, peacock cards, peacock bags including my prized vintage feathered clutch bought off eBay for $20, a gorgeous peacock vase and now a big-ass peacock tattoo on my back which I got at the tattoo convention a couple weekends ago. There is a picture in my flickr box of me getting the tattoo. It was taken in the last 15 minutes of the 5-HOUR ordeal. My guy had broken my will to live after the 4th hour. I seriously said to him, "If you don't finish soon, I'm going to punch you in your face." He had the nerve to laugh. But, still! I got my peacock and I don't even remember the pain now. Like childbirth!

3. Daydreaming. I still daydream like nobody's beeswax. I play the lottery only so I can daydream hard about it for the next few days. I daydream in the car which is the REAL reason my sense of direction is for shit. I daydream during the 7 minutes between putting my book down and falling asleep. I daydream about what a perfect day would be. I daydream that I can sew or cook better or that I own a cafe; that I'm giving a speech or telling someone off or accepting stuff, awards and such. I daydream about how I could live my life better. Some call all this "visualization", but it still feels the same as when I was staring out the window in 4th grade.

4. Bookstores. I fell in love with bookstores at age 8 when my mother used to frequent a feminist one called Sisterhood Bookstore in LA. Crossing the threshold of Sisterhood, she would go her way and I would go mine. I was comfortably surrounded by fertility goddesses and crystals and vagina flowers (I later learned) and I found books in the kid's section to which I could relate. I got my first Judy Bloom book there. The love affair had begun. I was just expressing to Green Whale that I was oddly and ironically intimidated by the library because in the library, people didn't seem to be daydreaming. They seemed seriously studious and hard core, and way above my head. While in bookstores, I could see other people wrestle with their desire to greedily buy as many books as possible. In bookstores now, I carry around an armful of books I call "nominees" until I narrow it down to just one. My impulse is to buy the entire armful and stack them in my house and smell the crispness and stare at them because they are so beautiful, but I realized that I actually read more when I only buy one book at a time. But I gladly take hours to find the one.

5. The Grocery Store. I spend most of my money and a lot of my time at the grocery store. I don't really feel guilty about this. I love to wander every aisle of Mother's or Whole Foods and read every label and test new products because frankly, I can now. Growing up, I ate the same foods over and over again; plain-wrap hot dogs and block cheese. In my senior year in high school, I rented a room from some people I worked with. I remember budgeting $25 a paycheck to spend on groceries and that meant a lot of canned beans, which I liked just fine, but $25.00 even in '85 went fast. After high school, I moved to Berkeley and I worked at a bakery. I made less money than I did in high school, and my diet mainly consisted of free cookies that weren't sellable because they were broken or they were day-olds. Knowing my love for cookies, I was not too sad about this, but honestly after this period in my life I'm shocked that I still do love cookies. Oh, this was also when I was at my heaviest weight ever. DUH! My point is: Once you earn enough money, there are certain things you don't want to restrict any more. I knew a bunch of guys that bought sneakers every pay check because they could; because they once had to wear one pair for the duration of an entire grade. And for me, it's how I feel about groceries. I even love the word: gro-cer-ies. I feel a surge of decadence and luxury because I can fill my cart with not just any food I damn well please, but because I can thoughtfully pick out organic, healthy food for the girls, for all of us. Automatically, however, my heart still skips a beat as I wait for my ATM card to be approved. Ha! I still can't seem to shake this reaction. I go the store about 3 times a week. And always, I can't wait to get there and browse around and get whatever I want. It's better than the mall. It's even better than the bookstore.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Madness' Drinkable Dressing

So, I have to publish this as a regular post because I want to put it in my margins and have no idea how to do so otherwise. Also, if you have not tried this yet, you need to do so immediately. This dressing has the beginnings of a cult following; I'm the parade leader with a baton and whistle and tall fury hat. And maybe one of those sharp capes. I might get a tshirt made up with the recipe right on the front. Those of you that know me well know that I am probably not kidding.

Madness' Drinkable Dressing
1/2c. flaxseed oil (cold pressed pref.)
1/3c. water
1/3c. lemon juice
2TBS balsamic vinegar
1/4c. Bragg Liquid Aminos
1/3c. nutritional yeast (best found in the bulk aisle)
2 cloves of garlic

Blend on high for 30 seconds. I sometimes add fresh Tarragon or fresh Dill.
Put in a glass container or drink directly from the blender. If you manage to get it into a bottle, this will stay fresh for about 2 weeks though hahahaha, like it's really going to last that long.

Monday, January 16, 2006

self portrait tuesday

This is my third entry for the Personal History Theme for Self Portrait Tuesday.

In junior high and in the beginning of high school, I collected old prom and wedding dresses. When I saw a formal dress at the Salvation Army or at a thrift store it was, for me, simultaneously a tragedy and a treasure. My natural impulse was to care for it. I hung them on my wall instead of posters or calendars, and I brought life back to them with my own fantasies of family and good times no matter how torn the lace or netting was; no matter how rimmed with dirt the cuffs and hems were. I tried them on often.

A next door neighbor during this time was a photographer. I cleaned her apartment, as I did for a couple of my neighbors, and one day she asked me to pose for her in one of my dresses. We went to the bluffs above the beach as the sun set. I wore my favorite wedding dress with no shoes. Instantly, I was embarrassed to expose myself in this way to her, to the pedestrians on the bluff. But she most likely knew she could capture a photo like this one even if it was at my expense at the time.
I am seventeen here.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

My First Yoga Class

Actually, Thursday night was not when I had first tried yoga. My first yoga class was when Husband and I went on our dream getaway to Big Sur. We had decided, on a whim, to try a morning yoga class in a yurt. We were two of three people in the class. Our teacher was zaftig, perfectly juicy I remember thinking, and clear-skinned. She glowed an energy that demonstrated probably how she lived. I fought urges to smell her because I had made bets with myself that she smelled woody with amber . She was also patient and not particularly kind, but calmingly neutral. Afterwards, Husband and I had felt unexpectedly -- we didn't know what to expect -- refreshed, revitalized. This yurt yoga experience was what first piqued my interest to pursue yoga regularly.

Before Thursday night's class I took my book, which had collected dust, to a sushi spot that overlooked the ocean. I ordered a seaweed salad, green tea and then I tried to special order a vegetable roll, but my waitress cut me off and said, "Oh, we don't do that." Which pissed me off kinda because isn't that guy behind the bar with the sharp knife an artist? Wouldn't he possibly want to try to make it? Or do they just run pre-made rolls down a shoot now? Breathe, Madness, it's Yoga Night goddamn it. I was a little amped on that second cup of coffee. "Ok, regular veggie rolls, please." But still, I had the ocean, seaweed and a book on Mami Thursday. I felt bursting joy in my heart.

At the Yoga Spot, I became nervous as I waited for class to begin. A candle flickered in the dimly lit room floored with beautiful light wood. The air was warm and heavy from the previous class. I felt in over my head. Everyone waiting looked so yoga-like and fresh. Startled, I thought, wait, are you not supposed to wear all black to yoga? I looked down at my black dance pants and my black Post Punk Kitchen tshirt. Maybe all the black blocks something, energy or some shit. I don't want to block something. I shook this off and just did what the others did. I grabbed a mat. I grabbed a folded blanket. Why I was grabbing a blanket, I had not one clue. The teacher walked to the front of class. She was a sub for the regular teacher, and she had a strong, lovely Irish accent. I thought, Ooo how great that I get to listen to this for an hour and a half. Later, I would find it kinda funny how certain instruction sounded. Like, "go ahead and bend your knees from soide-t-soide." Chuckle, chuckle. This also brought me private bursts of joy.

Here's what I learned:

1. The blanket you can tuck under your butt while doing certain sitting things. I found this uncomfortable so I tossed the blanket to the side. You can also cover yourself at the end of the class. I didn't do this either.

2. If you're a dancer, the transition into yoga may be easier than for other beginners. Dancers constantly think of the alignment of body parts. Which always reminds me of my favorite I Love Lucy episode where Lucy takes a ballet class and Madame Lamond rattles rapidly, "Back straight, hips under, shoulders back, chin up ---" and Lucy makes adjustments like a rag doll.

3. You can make yoga much harder than it looks if you really concentrate on these adjustments and elongating and such. I was digging that.

4. Beyond trying to adjust, the breathing and the flow of movement felt . . .universal and connected. Are all yoga practitioners saying "DUH" as they read this? How late am I to this party? I'm just saying, I could feel this right there in that first class. I could feel it because I was not self conscious about diving into this whole-heartedly. Is this another "DUH" statement? Or "doi hickey" as we used to say in middle school?

5. DUDES! I didn't know there was nap time at the end of yoga! We didn't do this in the yurt. How great is that though? Three times during these ten wonderful minutes, I consciously thought, "I'm meditating, yo!" I was giddy by this point and still I was able to empty myself -- except for the couple "I'm meditating!" outbursts . I felt huge, looming over the room, and I felt I had disappeared. I felt like I didn't need to breathe. I felt like I wasn't. I felt completely alive/awake and I felt I was in a dreamstate. I felt weightless. I felt I had melted to my mat.

I felt that Yoga was going to be another decision to enhance my life beyond what I was capable of understanding, even in that all and nothing state.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Second Cup, I'm Sorry I Strayed

I seem to be on this auto-piloted mission to weed out all things toxic from my diet. I've been on a roll lately so maybe I convinced myself that cutting out all things would be a glorious breeze. Look at me, I'm so wonderfully pure! I read somewhere -- and I'm paraphrasing -- that if a change feels like you're grating your face across an asphalt driveway, then maybe you're not ready for that particular change. My face, people, is being grated.

I'm a Don't Give Up! girl or more honestly, a Stop Being a Fucking Baby girl so when I decided to not drink a second cup of coffee which I usually enjoyed in the afternoons, I knew it might be a little difficult. I knew that it would take my body some getting used to, some adjusting. I'll drink some Green Tea, I told myself. I'll drink more water! Yes! Because I'm a walking picture of health and health knowledge! It's day 12 and if someone doesn't get me a goddamn cup of coffee this afternoon, my foot is knocking out some teeth. Wwwaaaaaa, why did I abandon you, oh sweet life elixir?

It's not that I object to the coffee so much. I don't think there's that much wrong with two cups of coffee a day. But in 2006, I no longer wanted to flush my hard-earned cash down the Starbucks toilet every single day, sometimes twice. The other reason for less coffee was that I truly needed to cut back on the amount of soy creamer I was using. I mean, why was I adding it TO coffee when I really should've just splashed some coffee into the creamer carton? Or maybe I should've just put a straw in the carton and cut out the coffee beard all together. When I was drinking Starbuck americanos on the daily I was buying soy creamer every five days. Now THAT'S embarrassing.

This year I've been making my own coffee -- which is still delicious with agave and 1/2 the creamer previously used -- and I take it work in my lovely Lupe & Carmen car mug. Satisfaction! But in the afternoon, me, green tea and my scrumptious Pecan Pie Larabar look at each other and lament over Mami's little friend, Afternoon Coffee. WWwwwwhhhhhyyyyyyy have I forsaken thee? Why do we hurt the ones we love?

I have two confessions. 1. I'm PMS'ing so missing the coffee at this particular time is amplified in soul-crushing ways. 2. I have not been sleeping enough. I like to go to sleep at midnight though I should not. I should get up at 6:15 which I do not like. I try to go to sleep around 11, but that's when my boyfriend Jon Stewart wants to be adorably witty for me -- and now that Howard Stern has graced us with his absence -- go be on fucking satellite already -- they now play SNL reruns! At 11, the house is dark and soundless. Even Husband is asleep. It's one of my favorite times because I sink into my bed and I can feel limbs and muscles unwind. And then I'm ecstatic about the fact that funny and smart people want to entertain me on TV at that time. But 6am comes so quickly, you guys.

In other news, my spring fiction workshop is supposed to begin tonight and I've decided instead to deem Thursday "Mami Thursdays" and I'm going to now take yoga on this day. And then go to a cafe and write. Dreamy! I decided this all today. I told Husband, "Yo, I'm embarking on yoga now. (smack of the lips) Check me out. Next I'll cultivate fine-hair dreads and wear hemp trousers." He was working on the computer and most likely heard, "wwa wa wa wan wo wa hemp wawa wa." He perked up on "hemp."

Ok, fuck this. I'm making some lunchroom coffee right this instant so I can be all wound up & gassy for my first yoga class. Awesome.

Monday, January 09, 2006

self portrait tuesday

This is my second entry for the Personal History Theme given by our friends at Self Portrait Tuesday.

Three Generations of Creative Hands

My mother and I do not look alike. She is tiny and straight shaped. I am tall and curvy. She is light; light skin, light red hair, see-through eyes. I am dark haired, dark eyed. She has thick wavy hair. I have fine, pin-straight hair. We have the same face shape- I inherited the strong Irish chin - but most notably, we have the same feet and hands. It always seemed funny that I had such tiny hands and feet on my body. But I see her there, in my hands, and I have to remind myself that they are the hands of an artist, and that I can create my own beautiful life with them.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

The Click of Time

I have realized that forgiveness between my mother and I manifests itself in small clicks on the dial of how we treat each other. If I want to forgive, and don't know how; if she wants to be forgiven, and wonders if too much time has passed, we are left with the only thing we know how to do: Act nicely towards each other. I am hospitable and accommodating. She is generous and nice. During each visit, we are a shade nicer and more hospitable. More importantly, with each visit we are a click more comfortable with each other. This is what I noticed most this weekend.

The more time we spent together the more I realized that a grand, forced Talk was less as important as this effort to be nice and this comfort, all built gradually and naturally. The effort and the comfort are the forgiveness, the asking for and the accepting of it.

Before this weekend, I knew I could not force feed myself the rhetoric of forgiveness. I didn't believe it possible to simply nod my head and say, "All is forgiven", even if this is the right thing to do. It wouldn't have been true. I hear that's what people do though. It's what happens successfully in the movies. Since this seemed impossible for me personally, I didn't think forgiveness would ever happen. I was trying to live with that, even trying to forgive myself for that. But forgiveness has been happening for years. We've chipped away at our shit for a long time, indirectly. As with all my transformations, practice creates a grove, creates rightness.

Blogging about this has helped exponentially. Release does wonders. And the supportive comments helped me beyond what I am able to express. You daughters and the mothers that shared related stories made me realize that even the most evolved people still suffer from busted relationships and that with clear minds and open hearts, we are all just doing the best we can. I feel part of a caring & brilliant community, and I am very grateful for that. Thank you.

Friday, January 06, 2006

In the Air

My mother is in the air, on her way. I'm still nervous, but better. I was feeling a bit guilty that when I think of her, I only think of the negative. I want to share some positive things about her because as much as I still carry this residual anger, I think it's fair to present a balance.

*She is progressive and interesting. Her style is bananas cool. She wears the coolest glasses & clothes, and her best friend is a vintage costume jewelry broker so my mother has the best and most interesting jewelry. Her bakelite collection is enormous and OFF THE CHAIN.

*She is a good painter. She shows her work and is making a name for herself in Seattle where she lives. For as long as I can remember, she has been a painter and her work in genuinely good. Because she is an artist, I have always been exposed to art and artsy, funky people. I am forever grateful for this.

*She has trekked the base camps of the Himylayas in Nepal a few times, ridden a bike across New Zealand and climbed up half of Kilimanjaro.

*When I was three, an intruder broke into our apartment and raped her. She didn't make a sound afraid I would wake and he would harm me.

*She has a strong jaw line and a tiny overbite that I think is really attractive. She has grey-blue eyes, nearly see-through, that have softened and warmed over the years, and I realize they are beautiful.

*She was the first vegan I ever knew. She is more of a vegetarian now, but when I was eight, thirty years ago, is when she started her Road to Veganism. At that time, she was about sixty-five pounds overweight (a lot on her teeny tiny 5'3" frame), she smoked and had a long history of drug and alcohol abuse. And then one day she went to a hypnotist to stop smoking and she was packing this thing called tofu for lunch. She fed me the same ol' crap, but I obviously took notes for when I was older. I saw it transform her health.

*When I was in my early twenties, I lived alone in West LA. A next door neighbor tried to become overly friendly with me and when I ignored him, he started bugging. He would shout at me through my window and slice my phone lines. When he threatened to kill me, my mother offered to let me stay at her place until I got a new place to live.

*She is a different person than when I was young. And because of this, she is loving and sweet to my daughters. I realized that I did not care about our own mending as much as I was concerned about how she'd treat the girls. If I had heard one disparaging word from her directed towards the girls there would not be one visit ever like one we are having this weekend.

I just don't want this to be the trip where she wants To Talk. I can't imagine that happening though. We never talk about the past. At this point I think I would feel a bit mortified because after all that has been done and said, I know if she talks about It, all I'll say -- like all I’ve ever said as a kid -- will be, "No, it's ok." "Don't worry about it. It's ok." And that's what's mortifying to me; that as a strong, confident adult, I will cower back into feeling squashed. I will feel embarrassed by what some else has done to me and pretend it was nothing.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Feeling Raw

So, y'all know how I feel about my beloved veganism (I love you veganism), but recently I've had to come to terms with the fact that I could EASILY become a junk food vegan. I know me well and I know that I could/would/will turn my enthusiasm for all the new glorious vegan choices into a sly excuse to oink out on some processed, albeit vegan, foods. I'm realizing that when I'm saying, "I can't believe this is vegan!" that this may not be a good thing. I've never been a fan of soy "chicken" or "tu-no" or seitan "shrimp" -- barf!-- (though Soyrizo is crazy good), but if the word "cookie" follows the word "vegan", I am ALL-OVER-IT.

When I worked at Mothers, I boasted to employees and customers alike that I was the Company Vegan Cookie Connoisseur, and I could recommend a cookie -- and eventually a nutritional bar -- like a good sommelier. I would confidently approach a confused customer who was scanning the organic chocolate aisle and after asking a few qualifying questions, I would break open bars to sample. They would leave with a new item that they loved. I continued my research and I was set on eating my way through every packaged vegan item sold at Mothers. Good for me.

THE POINT IS, just because it says vegan, it doesn't mean it's ok for me to eat an entire delicious Fabes blueberry pie - regularly. Why? Uh . . . wait, I know this . . .I'd like to pretend that vegetable shortening is doing me some good, but come on. I decided that 2006 would be the year I get back to basics, get together more with my good friends, Fruit and Vegetable. Ever since I went to San Francisco and experienced the eye-opening raw-food extravaganza, I've had a crush on the Raw Lifestyle. And since then, I've been reading about and I've been flirting with the idea. A couple of weeks ago after some research and soul searching, I dove into a Raw Until Dinner regime. I eat fruit and fresh juice until noon and raw veggies and other raw shit ("crackers" and nuts and avocados, raw bars even) until dinner. I was terrified to give up a hearty breakfast. But when Santa surprised me a juicer (he was thanked handsomely for that stunt!) and when I just dove in and went for it, I realized it ain't that hard! I was kind of shocked by this. So, I'm digging this decision like you can't even imagine. You know that Rebirth Post? It was written during one of my many fits of euphoria I've experienced since getting raw. I mean, I felt good as a vegan, but it's a little ridiculous to feel THIS good.

However, speaking of raw, my mother is coming to visit us tomorrow. We see each other about once a year, maybe every year and a half. And I always get very nervous before she comes. It usually all turns out fine and we have a good time because she’s interesting, artsy and hip. . While she's here, Husband notes, I'm cordially tense, not quite myself. I am polite and accommodating. I do my best to be a good hostess and I run around nervously getting her whatever she wants when all I want is for the weekend to be over so I can relax. She's very nice too, now. But there is a synapse missing between us. We relate, but we are on different continents. Our misfitting is not generational, it's emotional and historical. I keep her at bay with my hospitality. I had written more, but then deleted it because I’m not quite ready to betray her troubles, more than I already have I suppose. Or, really, I’m not ready to expose the one big issue that I can’t seem to make peace with yet. I brilliantly planned her trip around a tattoo convention - she likes tattoos too-- so we can mainly talk about that, and we can people watch or even spend time under the needle. She’ll like to hear about my raw experiment and she’ll like the juice I make, I’m pretty sure. I’m just nervous. It will be ok.

Monday, January 02, 2006

self portrait tuesday

This is my first entry for the Personal History theme for Self Portrait Tuesday.

Nobody questions why Mina wanders around on her own path.
The apple didn't fall far from the tree.