links open windows when you put a check in this box thanks to random walks!

March 2003

March 1 2003                                                    10:42 AM 

I forgot Rabbit Rabbit again.

 

I did a bunch of laundry yesterday. While waiting for the washing part to get done, so I could get to the drying part, I walked to the store. When I came back there was the sound of a low flying plane. Really loud. Annoying. The handyman for the building was in the garden when I walked in and told me to look at the plane. The plane was pulling a banner which read ANNA MARIE WILL YOU MARRY ME. Sweet.

 

Dinner was great. Kara bought Kobi a bunch of oysters for his birthday (which it turns out was on Wednesday) and they brought some over. I made the smoked trout/leek/spelt crust/creme frache pizza and a big piece of beef with mushroom pan sauce, wasabi mashed potatoes and green beans. Then we had angel food cake with blackberry/ginger sorbet and some blood oranges that I had macerated in honey and rum. So the food was good. And we talked and talked. I used ever dish I own. I don't know how that happened. So I will be cleaning up today.

 

While I was cooking I burned my finger tip and after they left I stubbed my toe on a chair. So I was kind of wounded when I went to bed. It's the tip of my left click finger so every one in a while I hit it. Ouch. Ouch.

 

We had a great time and it was great to see them. But if you spend any time with people who are thinking and paying attention at all you spend some portion of the evening talking about the misery of having our president. I was looking around at the empty plates and half filled wine glasses and loving my friends and feeling lucky. Listening to their plans for the future. And wondering how we can make a future in a time of war. And knowing that we have to keep on keeping on.

 

I love this kid. I've heard him on the radio a few times and he was CNN once. He's clear and articulate and way more mature than I will ever be.

March 3 2003                                                    11:54 AM 

 

So sick. I got the flu. Stomach/intestinal thing. Very bad. Must lay back down.

March 6 2003                                                    8:36 AM 

Thanks so much to everyone who stopped by and left me a get well comment.

 

I'm not going into detail. No one needs to hear about it. Sunday was the worst. Monday. I thought I was better in the evening. Tuesday morning...wretched. But I did get up and take a shower and checked on a few blogs and did some e-mail. Tuesday night was bad again. Wednesday I felt beaten. 

 

I kept staring at my book shelf thinking it might be good to read one of them. And then my eyes would close and I'd be gone. Which was the best place to be.

 

Thankgawd for Sundance and IFC. There was a documentary on Golub and another on George Seldes and Spalding Gray. If ya gotta be sick Spalding Gray is the guy who you want to come over and tell you stories. He's fun to watch but you can just close your eyes and listen. On Sunday I watched as much as I could of Susan Sontag. But it was a bit of a blur. I avoided the news. I literally did not have the stomach for it.

 

I wasn't feeling Fat Tuesday. Which made me sad. I didn't get to do a big tirade on the idiot weigh in day yesterday and ISAA's weigh in response. Maybe later.

 

This morning I still feel terrible but it's a less shrill kind of terrible. So thank you for the good wishes.

Only connect!

That was the whole of her sermon.
Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted,

And human love will be seen at its height.
Live in fragments no longer.
Only connect...

                          -- E.M. Forster

March 6 2003                                                    4:57 PM 

I spent the morning reading blogs and talking on the phone. I'm dizzy. But I am better. I'm sipping echinacea infused cranberry juice. I took a shower and put on clothes instead of pajamas. And I might maybe should ought to use my energy to do school stuff that didn't get done. But I haven't really got the will. I'm in a woozy think/feel kinda space.

 

Living Nappy isn't going to blog for a while because a fellow worker found her site. She's having trouble not writing. I feel that. While I was sick I dreamed I was posting. My little writing project has become a life line for me. I think blogging, or on-line journaling, is different things to different people. But it is addicting. It feels to me like we are all on our little islands and once, or twice, or seventeen times a day we write a note and put it in this blog bottle and hurl it out to sea. And then we wait on the shore for the notes to arrive from the others. Living Nappy says, "Wait for me." And we will.

 

What is with the world? Why do we have more than one face? Most of the people in my world know about my blog. But my parents don't. They wouldn't get it. I don't lie about who I am to them but there are plenty of things I don't talk about with them. If they found the blog we might have a tense conversation about how weird it is and how dangerous the world is and how I should be more afraid and why do I have to use bad words all the time. And then ... I would keep writing. But a job is something else. Dooce lost her job. Glovefox was called into her deans office. Stuff goes wrong.

 

I was reading Trish Wilson's break down of Dru's reaction to an article about blogging. The article didn't reflect the number of women bloggers. Dru got a pile of comments and Trish does a great job of breaking it all down. I missed the whole thing because ... well you know why.

 

Trish is new to this writing on line thing. She writes that the first blog she read was Instapundit, a blog that I must admit I never read. I think I did once or twice when he first started. But Instapundit gets press.

 

Wonder why?

 

Dru was writing about sexism. And Trish goes on to talk about sexism in the world of blogging. And I was reading it all and remembering conversations that have happened here. And I'm in my woozy, dizzy, not quite cogent zone. And somehow all this stuff starts to form  in me.

 

There is some amazing open hearted wrenching writing going on. Melanie writes about pain. Monica writes about suffering. Notes in a bottle.

 

I don't mean to gender this kind of writing. I read men with lots of heart. But it is the kind of writing that pulls at my heart. And I marvel at it. I marvel at the raw openness of it. The courage and the beauty and the hope of it. It isn't quippy commentary. It's a kind of reaching. And more.

 

And every time I read a dis of cat bloggers I want to pretend I have a cat. I want to write long posts about my cat. I love the cat stories. I love the kid stories. I love stories of our ordinary lives. The chop wood carry water stories.

 

I guess I do gender the valuing of a certain kind of writing. And that may be sexist. But I guess I do think that there is a way in which the journalistic aspirations of a few bloggers and the A-list bullshit are a more patriarchal way of describing value. Or maybe assigning value. So the whole division of blog/journal becomes gendered. Blogging is serious. Journaling is for people with time to be personal.

 

What ever.

 

I'm pissed off at the world that sets up the conditions in which we have more than one face. And we can't tell the truth. And we are silenced. And I'm not saying that men made the bad world. We made it together. We make it every time we value thinking at the cost of feeling. We make it when cat stories are less important than political analyses.

 

But. Look. The thing about the blog world is that it subverts those values. Every one gets to write what they will and choose their own blog roll. No one needs to read a cat story if they don't want too. There is something much larger than journalism going on in these pages. There is a popping, sparkling, me too ness going on.

 

I read a lot of political blogs. Coz. I like them. I read political blogs by women. I read political blogs by men. I read blogs where not much of the person's personal life is revealed and yet I have a sense of who they might be. Dru has one of the best political minds I've ever read. And she still has time to marvel over her children. And I've read men marveling about their children.

 

The personal is political. One of the blogs that reflects one of my strongest political needs is run by a man.

 

What am I talking about? Oh. I'm all over the place. Content is a trope.

 

Only connect.

March 7 2003                                                    10:59 AM 

I was worried that sleeping for three days, which was about all I did, might eventually make it hard for me to sleep at night. I didn't sleep in the day on Thursday. At 2:00 A. M. I was awake, listening to my clock tick. Not a big deal. I read for awhile. I am better. I think I've moved from so-sick to out-of-sorts. I may color code my wellness. Isn't that what we do now?

 

Maybe it was listening to the recalcitrant boy prince continue to affirm his intention to escalate the war he's already waging. Really. We've been at war with this country for eleven years. When are we going to tell the truth? I'm listening to the UN on KPFA as I type. I guess that's a sign that I'm better enough to deal with it.

 

I noticed an ad for Washington apples in a magazine. If you go here and scroll down you will see three posters on the side that are pop ups. In the new ad campaign Washington Apples are linking with Gold's gym and are now the self proclaimed diet pill of Gold's.

 

Uh huh.

 

So now a really good and healthy thing is equated with a synthetic and potentially deadly thing.

 

On the ads are pictures of apples with a torso carved into them. The first is a woman, shown from behind with the caption - A few apples a day keep the lipo doctor away. The second is a male torso with the caption - If you blow this diet all you'll be out is 85 cents. The third, and really most disturbing, is a female torso shown from the front with the caption - Time to go beat up a pudgy little fat cell.

 

Time to go BEAT UP a pudgy little fat cell.

 

I could just go on and on about why I hate these ads. there's the sexism implied in men not needing to worry about blowing the diet and women being threatened with surgery and beating. There's even a homophobic weirdness to the whole 85 cent blowing bit.  

 

Happily, for me, I live in California. We grow our own.

March 8 2003                                                    8:46 AM 

Ohmygawd I'm Eugene Debs.

 

 

I can't tell you how happy that makes me. Brother Debs spent time in prison for his anti war sentiments. Will I be able to blog from my cell?

 

I found this quiz on Susannah's journal. She got Nader. Why didn't I get Nader?

 

Way back last Sunday, before the bad bug bit me, or I ate the unwashed grape, or whatever happened, I was writing a post in my head in response to something Susan said about me writing a food column. I had intended to do more food writing. I bought a bunch of food books for inspiration. I thought it might be good for parts of THE BOOK. I used to read food writing a lot when I was working as a cook.

 

I was thinking about a post of Angela's in which she contemplated Leroy's eating. He likes ham.

 

When I was kid we bought chipped ham at Islay's on Sundays after church. My grandmother would order it and the guy would put the big chunk of ham on the slicer and set it to go really fast. Then he would give me a piece to eat while we waited for the rest to chip. We took it home and ate it on mushy hamburger rolls. I remember that mushy, salty, mouthful. It kinda tickled.

 

Cheryl walked up to the table in the cafeteria the other day with a grilled ham and cheese sandwich. She stood there looking at it woefully. I looked at it. We looked at each other. She said something like, "Maybe I should take this back." It did look a bit unsavory. There was one slice of ham and some obscure cheese and it was on white bread. At the same time it had the look of something from childhood. Something you might have eaten in a cafeteria. And there we were again.

 

Once I went to a deli after work and bought a ham sandwich on a hard roll and a Peroni, took it home and ate it on my porch. The ham was good baked ham, not processed loaf ham, and the roll was crunchy. It was the perfect thing.

 

I don't eat ham on any kind of regular basis. But I was thinking about all this. And food writing. On Saturday night. And then on Sunday morning ...

 

But I think we can move my wellness to a new color coded level. If I ever figure out the colors. I'm not quite at peachy.

 

Heh.

 

Today is International Women's Day.

 

Uh.

 

It feels like I should have something to say about that. But I don't. All during Black History Month I kept thinking I should talk about it. But I'm having some kind of fussy reaction to the setting apart of time for a people. Every day should be ... ya know. At the same time I like setting aside time to ritualize and focus. So. I'm in some kind of fussy stuck place about these kinds of things.

 

Meanwhile George and Dru are in Austin. And other people are there too.

March 9 2003                                                    7:52 AM 

Judy Rebick thinks the women need to take over. If only it were that simple. Hillary was given the pink slip because, as a woman in power she isn't getting it done. But Judy makes a good point.

 

Because as long as any of our relationships are based on domination, we will never end the most extreme form that domination can take and the one that lies beneath all the others.

 

The voice on NPR is talking about the rise in anti war protests. The Pope says no to war. There is so much dissent. In the world. In the country. From with in the administration. Jimmy Carter says no to war. It's every where.

 

It was Alexandra's birthday yesterday so we went out to dinner. I was worried that I wouldn't be well in time. But I think I am All better now. She celebrated her birthday by going to a demo. Her first demo. People who don't go to demonstrations are going to demonstrations.

 

I was fussing with my site design yesterday. I couldn't seem to decide what I wanted to do. I was just restless and unfocussed.

 

Marilyn has created a Cafe Press store. I wish Cafe Press would get some bigger sizes. I may end up with the biggest collection of canvas shopping bags ever.

 

I'm goin swimming.

 

Peace.

March 10 2003                                                    8:54 AM 

OK. So clearly I was feeling the need to change somethin. And I was feelin this green. Lighter. Spring. Something.

 

It's funny to me how much the template of a blog shapes the way I feel about the blogger. The colors they choose, the pictures. I find it disorienting when I come across a blogspot blog template that I am used to reading someone on and it isn't them. I thought about doing an about page. But I actually like the slow process of getting to know someone by reading them. There is an initial impression created by colors and pictures and blog rolls and all that. And then there's the build. The day to day with someone. About pages feel perfunctory sometimes. Not always. But when I try to write one I feel kinda kooky.

 

The swim was great. And since I'd spent so much time not moving all week I felt all my muscles twitching afterward. I love that. I came home and played with the new design. Then I fooled around some more with my Live Journal.  I set it up so that I could have a name when I posted comments at Angela's. I've been loving reading her. It's a different feel. It really feels like a journal.

 

But. This feels like my journal. I might play with doing a writing assignment in the Live Journal. Try to push in. Because, really, why not? It's not like I have a BOOK I'm supposed to be working on, or school work to do.

 

Heh.

 

I was thinking about the shift of thinking that happens when you stop dieting and trying to lose weight and begin to eat with awareness and move for the love of it. It feels different in your body. It feels like freedom.

 

When I was in New York I worked out five days a week. Sometimes six. I was running up and down the subway stairs every day. I was fit. And I was fat.

 

Sometimes I'd be doing reps in front of the mirror, watching to make sure I was standing straight and lifting the weight just so. And I'd see my body in the mirror. And I'd be filled with this sense that it was never going to be enough. And what was my standard of enough? Being thin. I was strong. I was healthy. And all I wanted was to be thin. Sometimes I'd put the weight down and walk out.

 

Yesterday. In the pool. I was just swimming and feeling my lungs work and my muscles. Feeling my body. And loving every minute of it.

 

It's interesting because people think size acceptance is about giving up. And. I guess it is. It's about giving up on temporary states of existence and imaginary numbers. For me it never meant giving up on health, or movement.

 

But.See.I don't think that I'm cool because I swim and don't eat Big Macs. I remember a time when I used to buy a Sara Lee frozen chocolate cake and eat it before it even thawed. Eat the whole cake. Frozen. Afterward I'd feel like an asshole but I'd think about it all. I'd ponder the feeling of need and the sick too much sugar too fast feeling and I'd think about what I really wanted and I'd think about hunger. And then one day ... I didn't need to do that again.

 

So it's a process. And people get to live their lives. And learn about themselves in any way that they can. The health thing bugs me. No one is healthy every minute of the day. Bodies are always changing. And maybe because I was so sick and I feel so much better I was feeling really happy to be in the pool. Moving. So happy to be able to eat eggs and black beans and chile verde afterwards.

 

I spent too many years being told that my body was wrong. It's unhealthy to believe that. Even for a second.

 

It is Monday. And I am behind on school work. So. Uh. Must work now.

March 11 2003                                                    8:54 AM 

I had CSPAN on in the background the yesterday. Ari Fleischer was doing a press conference. I swear. It seemed like the journalists had no respect for him. Many of the questions had a tone of incredulity. It was like they were saying, " You can't be serious." I didn't hear the time when they actually laughed him offstage. But with a few of them there was a barely concealed contempt.

 

I got most of my stuff for school done. I have time today to the rest. Went to therapy last night. But I was in such a good mood it seemed funny to be there. Beth did a really nice mini talk in response to one of the people in group about the TA model and how it operates in relationships between men and woman. I was never that interested in the TA thing. It seemed too reductive. But with Radical Psychiatry that model is embedded in the awareness of how we as individuals operate in the larger cultural soup. And the language of the model becomes useful.

 

I always resist the lanquege in groups. I mean when I hear myself using too many catch phrases I pull back. It's too easy to use the words and stop doing the work. At the same time I love a great way to say something. And when Beth was doing the riff it made so much sense.

 

I really get how frustrating it is for hetero men when their partners are pissed because they aren't communicating emotionally. And they get that they're doing something that is causing hurt and anger. But they can't figure out what to DO. And they really want to DO something. And so often it isn't about doing. It's about being. Just being with someone. Something has gone wrong in the relationship. Things go wrong. And there isn't an easy fix. And all the women want is presence. And the men are trying to DO.

 

I actually have a few women friends like this. It's really hard for them to just listen and feel with ya. They want to fix things. Solve things. Me too. But sometimes you can't. Hurt happens. Anger happens. Life goes on. And relationships are made better or worse.

 

For me it's always about feeling like the other person is WITH me. Even if we're pissed at each other.

 

I came home and wrote a little muse in the Live Journal. I really like the way things go in the Live journal space. The friends thing. Last night it felt like coming home to a pajama party.

 

And, being who I am, it makes me think about writing. And how writing is. Which I need to do more of. Right now. Before I go to school.

March 12 2003                                                    7:37 AM 

Today I have to race out the door and go to school so that I can observe a class. Then I have to write a little analysis about that class. I won't have time to get the bus back home and then back to school. Well. I guess I could but that would be like two hours of bus riding for on hour of being home. So I'm just gonna hang around campus. I'll have my laptop. I need to write.

 

I went to class tonight and found out that I was supposed to have writing to turn in. I should have known. I have it written down. But I was ... sick. It isn't a big problem. We have spring break next week. The teacher was amused by how embarrassed I was. I was. I was shocked. I never do stuff like that. I always have my stuff. I know I've felt disengaged with school but I didn't know it was this bad. So I have to get on paper the piece I've been writing in my head.

 

I was talking on the phone last night and the news was on the TV but the sound was off. They kept showing footage of the bomb test in Florida over and over. I don't even have language for how I felt. I was listening to my friends voice talking about her day. But I was watching this ... horror. Repeated.

 

Sigh.

March 13 2003                                                    10:46 AM 

It was a long day. I sat in on the class. Went to the cafe and typed up the notes. And then Cheryl printed them up for me. She and I went up to Lone Mountain and talked till class started. Class was fun. But I was glad to go home when it was over.

 

I turned the TV on and there was 60 minutes II. I haven't watched it before. I could hardly believe my eyes. There was a doctor on a mainstream television show saying that fat people are fighting genetics when they diet.

 

He says thatís because each of our bodies has a genetic set point. In effect, your genes establish your weight range of about 200 pounds, say, or about 100 pounds. ďWithin that ballpark, you can slide up or down about five or ten percent, with dieting and exercise and the use of a few available medications we now have,Ē he says, ďand for most people, not much more than that is attainable or sustainable.Ē

What?

For a few minutes I had hope about the content of the show. I'd missed the beginning but I was encouraged. Things went sour pretty quick. The show was basically talking about the researchers who are doing the work to come up the magic pill. Even with all the acknowledgement of different kinds of genetic and hormonal reasons for fatness the goal is still to lose weight.

 

What do I want instead? I want them to study ideas about health at any size.

 

While I was in Cheryl's office we looked at my site on her much bigger computer screen and the tables were borked. I get so depressed when I see this. I never wanted to be designer but I do like doing design. And the limits of my knowledge mean that I never really do it well. On my screen the text box that I'm writing in is next to the Forster quote. On her's it was way down.

 

I'm in a horrible mood today. But I'm not sure why yet.

March 14 2003                                                    9:05 AM 

I spent the day trying to snap out of it. I failed. Thursday's are often a space out day. But yesterday it was really bad. I woke up late, took a nap, went to bed early. Ordered pizza instead of cooking. Spaced out. Watched bad TV.

 

Part of this is about not doing the piece of writing for class. I've had it in my head for a while. I just am having a hard time getting started. Writing is a funny thing. So many people are so kind and encouraging about my writing. And still I struggle.

 

Part of this is about wondering what the hell to do with myself when school is over.

 

Part of this is about reactions I've had to things lately. Things. I know it's an oblique term.

 

I don't know. I don't know what it's about. I just know I gotta snap out of it today and do some writing.

March 15 2003                                                    9:08 AM 

Some writing got done. Some. I don't know why this is so hard right now.

 

I was distracted by an e-mail exchange with a pediatrician. She got my e-mail address from an e-mail that I had sent to some of the Supervisors asking them to take the words overweight out of their healthy kids task force resolution. I don't know why she got it but she talked about the epidemic of obesity and diabetes in kids.

 

This stuff pisses me off. On the one hand I think kids (and every one else) eat too much crap food. If you've read me for very long you know I'm a bitch about fast food. Don't like it. I wish all the fast food places would close down and everyone would eat real alive food. And if you have to have a burger and fries (which I do every once in a while) make sure the meat is fresh and local and the potatoes are real and local. And I wish all kids had a variety of foods to eat .

 

On the other hand fast food is cheap and ... fast. And people on low incomes can feed their whole family on the run. And it's punitive to make them the bad guys when they don't have the time, money or energy to make dinner.

 

Are kids fatter? I don't know. Maybe. What ever. I sent the supervisors a link to The Edible school yard. I think that kids should have lot's of opportunities to run around. But I think that's true for all kids. Not just the fat ones.

 

But this pediatrician is out to make sure that no kids are fat.

 

I might post our e-mail exchange here after the hearing. I feel some paranoia about this politically. I don't know why.

 

People began protesting the war yesterday. Today there will be more. And Sunday.

 

Meanwhile I'll be buying some Dixie Chicks tunes. And my crush on Eddie Vedder is now bigger than ever. And Cat Stevens. I'm gonna download Peace Train.

 

And I'm gonna get back to work.

March 16 2003                                                    9:08 AM 

I was celebrating my clitoris last night.

 

Heh. (That ought to tease out some interesting google searches.)

 

I went to the First Annual Clitoris Celebration. Yes! It was SO good! It is the work of Sia Amma. The Dimensions Dance Theater performed. The Kouyate Brothers. Kora Badialy Ciassoko. It was a party.

 

SO OH OH good.

 

It was a party with a message. And it was amazing that Amma was able to bring in so much information about this horrendous practice and still keep things celebratory. And she did. She was able to hold the love of her culture and her family and the horror of what happened to her in balance. It was moving. She travels back to Africa to bring clothes, medical supplies, educational materials. At the end of the show she talked about trying to build a school and asked if we had any pencils or pens laying around the house. I thought about the two cups full of pens and pencils that I never even touch.

 

I'd listened to the demos all day while I eeked out another page of writing. So I was in a pretty good mood before Marilyn picked me up. We had dinner first. I feel better than I have for the last few days.

 

Pattie wrote a reaction to the email exchange I was talking about yesterday. I posted the exchange on a list serve of folks who operate in the health at any size paradigm with a request for support and she read them there. I am still worried about posting them here. And, again, I'm not sure why. But until the hearing happens I'm going to trust my paranoia.

 

For some reason I've read a few posts on a blogs lately in which women are bummed out with their bodies. This always makes me a combination of sad and mad. I understand why women go there but I want them to get how important it is to STOP. Last night there were women of all sizes. Shaking and dancing and laughing. And the men, the musicians, were smiling at them in this beautiful open way. It was euphoric.

 

Celebrate your clitoris and the size of your ass. Feel your body in a new way. Because women all over the world need you to embrace yourself. Don't give in to the shame.

March 17 2003                                                    8:59 AM 

This morning I woke up with this terrible feeling that the worst had happened. I was almost afraid to turn on the radio. I had the TV on before I left for the swim yesterday and there was a press conference from the Azores. The boy prince was rude, aggressive, hostile. It was just miserable to watch. Dru linked to this article about Papa Bush talking about how his son needed to cool out. So lets see...the world, his country, his own father are all asking him to slow down. And this morning I was afraid to turn on the radio.

 

There's a protest going on in SF right now.

 

On Saturday I was listening to the demo in DC on CSPAN and I was struck by how it seemed like all the speakers were shouting. There's something odd about people shouting about peace. I imagine that they needed to be heard by a large crowd and there's only so much a microphone will do. And I know people (myself included) are feeling powerless and angry and need to shout. The madder I get the quieter I get. If I'm yelling I'm just really worked up. When I get really pissed I seethe.

 

But I want a peace movement that is focused and articulate and peaceful. And that may be a lot to ask. Maybe it's too much to ask. People are at their wits end. Things feel tense.

 

Sometimes at the swim I do laps next to someone and we talk while we swim. Sometimes, like yesterday, I just swim. I was tired when I got in the pool. And swimming seemed like work. Which was OK. It doesn't always have to be fun. Then we had lunch, bought some books, shopped. All the while I was tired. I'm not sure why. Maybe the celebration was too much for me.

 

Heh.

 

It's St. Patrick's day.

 

I gotta gotta gotta finish this piece I'm writing today.

March 18 2003                                                    9:06 AM 

I listened to a few minutes of the speech before I left for therapy. I sat on the bus feeling miserable and hopeless. After therapy I was feeling a bit better. I looked at the full moon and said a prayer. This morning was the same as yesterday. I just did not want to turn on the radio.

 

I heard someone on MSNBC, Bill Press I think, say something like well I don't support the war but now that it's going to happen we have to unite. He is the president. Oh. I don't think so.

 

So much of the work I've done in my life has been to heal the shame from things in my life. And now I am so ashamed. So sad. So angry.

 

One of the hard won lessons I learned last year was how to keep my focus on the tasks of my life. How to keep moving through the day when enormous depression hovers inches above your head. I've reclaimed a kind of spirituality. No name to it. No building or leader. Just an inner sense of participation with something larger. And it has given me some peace. And today I have tasks. I have chop wood carry water tasks. and I will focus on them and work hard.

 

But part of my heart is a million miles away. In a theater of cruelty. Waiting for the curtain to rise. Hoping the play is canceled.

March 19 2003                                                    8:03 AM 

Yesterday was a day of communication. I was either on the phone or writing e-mail or talking almost all day. Suzanne came over with sandwiches. We talked an laughed.

 

I finished the piece of writing that I needed to send out to my workshop folks. I neither love nor hate it. There were things I was going to do that I just didn't get to. But I ended the day feeling OK.

 

This morning I feel the same dread that I've felt all week. KPFA is playing the UN security council. I don't know why I'm hanging on every word, hoping that they'll say something and the war won't happen. I'm having trouble forming thoughts.

 

There's a candle in the window.

March 20 2003                                                    7:54 AM 

Today I begin my third year of on line writing. I was looking forward to it. I read my first page and thought back to how it felt. I really had no idea what I was getting into. I'd seen Justin on TV talking about people putting their lives on line. I had read Willa. Today I wanted to write about my gratitude for the people who read me and leave me comments. And I do feel all those things. Today I wish I could hug you all.

 

I tried to stay away from the news yesterday. Not because I didn't want to know what was going on but because I can hardly bear the way they are talking. The language they use. It's profane. At some point I heard that it had started. Although, it's been going on for so long. As the day went on the news got worse.

 

Yesterday a man either jumped or fell from the bridge. There was a thought that he was trying to hang a banner. But they've taken that part out of the news. The streets filled up with protesters. This morning they are out there again, blocking traffic. On the television there are pictures of police beating up protesters.

 

Susan blogged the peace blogger site. I signed up.

 

I wish I could feel more celebratory. I wish I could write about what doing this writing has done for my life. But. Language is failing me.

 

There's a lot of talk about supporting the soldiers. Well. I want the soldiers to be home with their families. Is that supportive?

 

Yesterday I found myself hoping that things go badly so that this will be seen for the mistake that it is. And then I thought about who would be hurt if things go badly. I just want it to end. And I want us to get this guy out of office.

 

Peace.

March 21 2003                                                    8:09 AM 

Of the many many many weirdnesses in the media coverage of the war is the weather reports from Baghdad. It's not so much that it's weird that they do it. It's the fact that they do it the same sing song manner in which they do the local weather. So you hear the weather voice and you look over and ... it's Iraq.

 

There was the bit on the nightly news that said that life in America went on as usual. There were pictures of cars moving on freeways and lattes being made. Because that's what America is all about. As long as we can have our lattes and be obedient drones in capitalism we're fine. We allow some thugs to high jack the Whitehouse and fuck up EVERYTHING. But we show up for work with a double mocha frappe.

 

Well things were not going on as usual in SF. Suzanne was in the streets. She called me on her cell phone to keep me informed. She had lots of great experiences. For the most part, from what I could see on local TV and what Suzanne said the cops were cool and the protesters were cool but there were exceptions. The cops were working fourteen hour days and some of the protesters were not peaceful. Things began to degrade. Both sides were complimentary of each other ... for the most part. It's begun again this morning.

 

I listened to KPFA with the Pacifica Radio's coverage of the assault on peace. I watched the TV and the Internet for news. I could not break away.

 

It is hard to listen to the way things are spoken about on TV. The news people are all editorial. To be honest the people on KPFA are editorial as well. But the TV folks are always trying to minimize the protests. I think one of the loopiest things I hear people say is that the protesters should not protest because they should be thankful that they live in a country where they can protest. Criticism of the protesters is often that they have no right to inconvenience people. Yeah. It sucks when your life is disrupted.

 

And suddenly we have a new terrorist to watch for. It's not that I don't think he might exist but I just find it dubious that he is being spoken about now. They want to keep making the connection between the war and 9/11. A friend sent me an article from the NY Times that says Californians aren't making the connection between the war and 9/11 that EVERYONE EVERYWHERE else is making. I know too many people, in too many OTHER places who aren't making that connection.

 

For a minute when I woke up this morning I couldn't remember what was going on. I new something was going on but I couldn't remember what. The sound of a helicopter over head brought it all back.

 

Thank you to everyone who left me a comment yesterday about my blog. Really. Thank you so much.

 

Peace.

March 22 2003                                                    12:03 PM 

Speaking of support for the troops. The new tax plan cuts Veterans Affairs money by 15 billion dollars. Veterans are not getting the support they deserve.

 

After the last Persian Gulf War, some American soldiers developed a mysterious collection of symptoms now known as Gulf War Illness. Host Ira Flatow and guests talk about the Pentagon's plan to protect the health of troops now in the Gulf region, and why some veterans think the plan won't do enough. Plus, we'll get the latest on research into possible causes and treatments for the illnesses.

                                  (From Talk of the Nation on NPR)

 

This support for the troops stuff is the worst kind of manipulation. It's an attempt to silence dissent. Family members of the troops are shown on the nightly news as a reminded that there are human consequences. Many of the people who are pouring into the streets to say no to war are well aware of human consequences. ON BOTH SIDES. We want the troops to be home with their families. We don't want them to be involved in a war with little International support. A rogue war. Ask the veterans who do not support this war about supporting the troops.

 

Sometimes I write a post in my head. Yesterday I was making applesauce. When my mom makes applesauce she adds a lot of sugar. I use more than one kind of apple and add dried cranberries. I was thinking about writing a post about it. And I started to cry. How can I write about apple sauce?

 

I know I can't keep this up. The television is on, the computer is on, the radio is on. All at the same time. All day. I search for news. I know I can't trust the news on the television but I wanted to keep track of what was going on in SF. Coverage was so bad. Things seemed to be meaner yesterday. I can't tell you how many times I heard the protests being minimized by ... cough ...newscasters. It's beyond reprehensible. I know I need to turn it all off. for a while. But I just can't find any energy for anything else.

 

It's not that I think life should go back to normal. There is no normal. There never really has been. I do think that I have to hold on some inner place of peace. I have to be the peace I want to see.

 

Oh. But it's hard.

 

Peace.

March 23 2003                                                    8:57 PM 

A friend called yesterday and asked what I was doing. I laughed.

 

I've been DOING the same thing for three days. I sit at the computer searching for news. Listening to KPFA mostly but sometimes the TV. CSPAN showed Veterans against the war a teach-in in which Daniel Ellsberg spoke. Right before I went to bed I was listening to the local news guy put the same tired negative spin on the protests. Yesterday's rally was huge and peaceful. The guy on the news was suggesting that it was peaceful because the SFPD had made sure people knew they'd be arrested. It might also have been peaceful because the majority of the people out there are about peace.

 

I know there are a people who just want to fuck with the system. And I can't say that I blame them. But the great mass of folks in the street were there to say no to war. And the press just keeps on spinning. Elayne linked to this article on the Clearchannel connection.

 

There are a few bloggers who have an Iraqi death count thing on their blogs. I understand why and I thought about getting one. But I fear the count is much higher.

 

It's Sunday morning. In a little while I'll go swimming. It will be good to get out of the apartment. And I have work to do for school. I'm worn out and pissed off and sad and scared. I know the water will sooth my soul.

 

Cyndy linked to this article on a spring morning in Iraq.

 

Peace.

We live in fictitious times. We live in the time where we have fictitious election results that elect a fictitious president. We live in a time where we have a man who's sending us to war for fictitious reasons, whether it's the fiction of duct tape or the fiction of orange alerts.         -- Michael Moore

March 24 2003                                                    9:25 PM 

There is a woman at the swim who I do laps with. We chat while we swim. She's a very nice person. Today we started to talk about the war. Tentatively. She seemed to be saying that she opposed the war. But it was really more that she supports getting rid of Saddam and she just wants it to be over soon. And she believes that we are at war to get rid of Saddam. And then we got to the protests. She was livid about the inconvenience that the protesters were causing. And she had bad memories of being in college in 68 and being scared by protesters.

 

Well.

 

I made some effort to discuss it all but it was clear we were going down a bad road. And we were there to swim. I pulled out of the conversation. In a minute or two she began another conversation with me about school. I could feel how she wanted to make sure that we were still friends. And we are. Friends can disagree.

 

When I was watching the protesters I was thinking about the time I lived in South of Market and worked in North Beach. I took two busses to get to work every day. If I'd needed to get to work last Thursday I woulda been screwed. A great many people who work for an hourly wage had trouble getting to work. And if they miss an hour of work they don't get paid for that hour. And when you work for an hourly wage you need the pay for every hour.

 

Civil disobedience is supposed to be disruptive.

 

But if you do civil disobedience you have to accept the fact that you may hurt some people. You have to have some humility about the fact that you are choosing to irritate. When Ghandi encouraged the people of India to wear home spun he knew that factory workers in England would be hurt. It is too often the workers of the world who are hurt. That's the problem. The corporate elite create the conditions in which we are pitted against each other.

 

And.

 

Civil disobedience is important.

 

Why do American's think that our lives should go on as normal while our troops are reeking havoc in another country? Will the actions of the protesters stir up debate? My experience in the pool was that it did not. My friend was too pissed off to listen. But maybe sometimes it does. And that's the hope. The hope is that if we keep being irritating that something beautiful will occur. But, like the piece of sand in the oyster, we need to know that it will take time. And it won't feel good.

 

I'm not interested in pushing my ideas into anyone's face. I'm not interested in being right. I'm interested in peace. So I talked as much as I could. And I stopped and reassured my friend that we were still friends.

 

And afterwards I was sad. Because she kept talking about Oprah. Oprah shaped her ideas about getting Saddam. Most of the people I know are interested in seeing Saddam be unseated from power. But how?  What are the ideas that are shaping this war?

 

Ray did one of his amazing parodies and I was having trouble raising the link to the story he was writing about. He sent me another link. One of them should work. (Thanks Ray!) So do the guys who put up the flag understand why it was not good? Or are they hopped up on jingoist rhetoric? We are, after all, attempting to INSTALL a democracy. We are, after all, going into a war with little support from the rest of the world. They are told every day that Americans are doing the dirty job that no one else was willing to do.

 

It does not feel good. It should not feel good. Whether you support the war or oppose the war it should not feel good. I am firmly positioned in my feelings about the wrongness of this war but it does not feel good. I am not the Mahatma. I am not peaceful spinning cloth while I make my choices. I am troubled by the anger I hear coming from the mouths of the people who are fighting for peace.

 

Fighting.

 

For peace.

 

So I went swimming. And I thought I might get away from the war. But there is no where to go. Until it's over.

 

Peace.

March 25 2003                                                    8:31 PM 

So tomorrow I will be going to the rules committee meeting. They are going to hear the resolution to create a task force on childhood obesity. I thought they had changed the title of the resolution to -- task force on childhood nutrition and physical activity. But on the web site it still says obesity. Could be a glitch. But no matter. I am going to ask them to remove all the reference to size from the resolution. I am in support of creating a task force on nutrition and physical activity for all children. If you get streaming audio on your computer you can watch me. The meeting begins at 9:30 and we're third on the agenda. But there's no telling what that means. I get to talk for three minutes and this is what I'm going to say.

 

Good morning Supervisors.

My name is Tish Parmeley but until the age of eleven my friends and family called me Patti. Unkind people called me Fatty Patti.

I am here today to ask you to remove any words that describe a specific body size from the resolution to create the childhood nutrition and physical activity task force and to make sure that the task force includes people who understand the importance of the health at any size paradigm.

I sometimes hear people say that making a fat joke or teasing a fat person about their weight might not be a bad thing because it might motivate fat folks to lose the weight. But I donít think shame is useful and particularly not when it comes to kids. All kids should feel like they are the most beautiful kid alive. And I donít think fear is a good motivator. So while there are health concerns for all kids I think drawing a connection between body size and illness is a negative way to motivate kids to make healthy food choices and participate in physical activity. 

Having said this I am in complete support of the intentions of the task force. Kids in the Bay Area are in a perfect position to learn about healthy good food. For example at Martin Luther Kings Middle School in Berkeley they have a program called The Edible School yard in which kids plant the seeds, harvest the crops, prepare the food and enjoy the meal. I also think that kids should have access to a variety of opportunities for physical activity.

But I think itís only fair that all kids are encouraged. And I think that keeping the words over weight in the resolution adds a bias toward talking to fat kids about food and exercise. Because fat kids have a body type that is read as stupid, ugly, lazy and slothful they already suffer ridicule. I donít think public policy makers need to reify the negative ideas about having a fat body.

Itís possible that the Public Health community isnít as informed as it might be about the health at any size paradigm. I am asking you to encourage them to learn about it.

The other day I was thinking about how desperate I feel to get you to understand why this is important. I thought about the number of fat adults who have told me they avoid doctors because they are sick of being told that their only problem is that they need to lose weight. The health community does fat kids and fat adults no service when they make the size of a persons body the central issue.

I was a fat kid who walked everywhere, since we had no car, went swimming every day in the summer and took tap and ballet lessons. There have always been fat kids and there always will be. And thank God because they are so beautiful. Talk to them about salad and give them passes to the pool but donít make them ashamed and afraid of their bodies.

 

I wish I could say I feel ...uh ...up for it. But I don't. My heart is too sad. It takes a lot of energy to fight the fat revolution. You are going up against a culture that feeds you and everyone else on the idea that to be thin is not just to be more beautiful but it's also to be more moral. And you're fighting the internal voices that have eaten that toxin. It means that you have to have some energy. It means that you have some hope. And right now I don't have much. My reserves are drained.

 

Yesterday I got support from Barbara and my therapy group and I was feeling pretty good. But when I got home I crashed. I won't be alone. Marilyn will be there. Sondra will be there. I think Jennifer might be there. I'm sure I'll take heart when I see them. And I know it's important work.

 

But. There is so much work to do. I was thinking about my post yesterday. I was thinking about how much anger I have. And about how I have used that anger as fuel. I did not mean to imply that I think anger is bad or wrong. I am angry. But these days I feel the need to move past that anger into something more ardent. Something that I can give over to with all my heart. I guess that means love. But it isn't a warm and fuzzy love. It's a love that I can't even describe with words. It's a big big love. A love that can hold the world.

 

And I'm trying so hard.

 

Peace.

March 26 2003                                                    11:42 PM 

The first thing I want to say is thank you. The second, third, forth, fifth and sixth thing I want to say is thank you. I don't think I can say thank you enough.

 

It just so happened that on Tuesday night the piece of writing that I was struggling with so hard got work-shopped. And it went well. I got lots of praise. And. As it goes in workshops, there were things in the writing that the members of my workshop wanted to change. Which wasn't that bad. Really. They were all very kind and supportive about the piece and they encouraged me to publish it and I will try.

 

Then I went to the supes meeting this morning. And it went very well. I didn't sleep well the night before and I was very nervous. The ride over on the bus was the worse part because I was alone. Once I got there and was with all my fellow fat revolutionaries I felt better.

 

As it turned out they had already changed the language. Pretty much. I think the e-mail campaign and the amount of people who were there made it clear that they needed to do some work on it. I didn't actually say what I had written because it was clear that I didn't need to. I really didn't know what I said until I got home and watched it here. I'm not sure the link will work and it is a long meeting. I'm somewhere in the middle.

 

There were lots of people who said wonderful things. And it looks like the message was received.

 

Adrienne took me out to lunch. She was the perfect person to be with. She was able to reassure me that what I said had merit. And she was able to hold the conflict that I was feeling.

 

Because it was good and it did go well and we did break through. And it was also emotionally difficult.

 

She drove me to school. And it just so happened that I had to teach a mini lesson for my teaching writing class. It also went well. So it was a bunch of successes. But it was also a lot of expended emotional energy. By the end of the night I was exhausted.

 

One of the last things I did before I left home was to look at my comments. I took so much heart from the support I read in them. The first thing I did when I got home was to read my comments. And I took so much solace from them.

 

So I say thank you. And I can't really say it enough.

 

And there was always a part of me that was aware that the most difficult thing that I was going through was nothing like what people in Iraq are going through. I don't really think it's useful to think like that. Because this was important work. And this is my life. I kept looking around me. I kept looking at the beautiful place in which I live. I kept looking at the beautiful friends I am so lucky to have. I am so grateful.

 

I couldn't take in the news when I got home. I'm not sure what to make of it all. Or how to put it in perspective. I feel the deep sadness that has always been in my heart. I feel how easily it begins to well up and take over. And the battle that I wage to not let it be the loudest voice. Every day.

 

So the last thing I want to say is thank you. I want the sound of my gratitude to fill the sky. I want it to echo back down to all of you. I want you to feel how deeply I appreciate you. And I want to hope that it really is some kind of energy. And that it makes a difference. In the world.

 

Thank you.

As if the task of rebellion were not difficult enough, Camus once more reminds us that the rebel can never expect to escape the fate of Sisyphus: "Man can master in himself everything that should be mastered," he wrote. "He should rectify in creation everything that can be rectified. And after he has done so, children will still die unjustly even in a perfect society. Even by his greatest effort man can only propose to diminish arithmetically the sufferings of the world."

                    -- John K Roth

                          via Chris

March 27 2003                                                    8:27 AM 

I kept talking about feeling beaten up. Yesterday I looked at my elbow and I did have a black and blue mark. I have no idea when that happened. It isn't a big deal. It doesn't hurt or anything.  

Why did I feel beaten after so much success? Because there's always a shadow part of the story. And it doesn't take away from the success. But it is there. And for me there were so many moving parts to what was going on. Politics is ... uh ... political.

 

I spent the day writing thank you notes and processing the hard parts. And trying to catch up on the news. Every station had the families of someone in the military. No mention of Iraqi casualties.

 

Chris said something in a post yesterday.

Is it reasonable to want and expect ever increasing happiness and excitement about life? Sometimes I think that I'm fighting against forces beyond my control. Like I'm wading in the Gulf of Mexico and taking swings at the waves.

 

Yes. Taking swings at the ocean. Pushing a rock up a hill. Over whelmed and tired.

 

Suzanne and Dru have issues with the word peace. And I understand those issues. Suzanne talked about being more interested in balancing power. Peace is an opposite. And there will always be disturbance. So sometimes the word peace feels like a simplification. In times like these it feels like a reaction. For me it feels like the end of a rope I'm pulling on to keep us all from going over an edge. To keep myself from going over an edge.

 

Because, as hard as I try, I am not peaceful.

 

Most of the people I know are struggling with how to live their lives with some kind of balance. Most of the people I know are angry and scared and sad about the war. And we wake up in the morning and try to find meaning and reason in our lives. And we wonder how to do that in a world where meaning and reason are being destroyed. I wonder how to find meaning and reason.

 

Peace.

March 28 2003                                                    1:38 AM 

It's the middle of the night. One set of neighbor's kitchen is on the other side of my bedroom wall. They came home a little while ago and were banging around. I usually am not bothered by noise. Certainly not enough to get out of bed. But I haven't slept well all week. Too much thinking about what I can and can not do anything about. And I have a stomach ache.

 

Renee surprised me by stopping by for a quick visit. She's on spring break and rushing about to see as many friends as possible. Seeing her made everything feel better for a while.

 

I have such mixed feelings about parts of the Rules Committee Meeting and the ideas about health. I do want kids to be healthy. But I also want some of them to be able to be the kid who would rather curl up in the corner with a book. And isn't coordinated. Maybe that kid can just take walks. Or swim. Or do yoga. I wish I had spoken out for the kid who just wants to sit in the corner and read a book.

 

When I was pre teen we danced. We went to the rec center on Friday nights. And we danced ourselves sweaty. Mostly the girls danced and the boys sat on the side and watched. I loved to dance.

 

Movement can be joyful. I'm so happy when I'm swimming. But I remember how much gym class sucked. Obviously when the task force is formed I can address them. I can say this to them then.

 

I just want the fat kid to have a place in the world. I want all the kids to have a place in the world. All the kids. Safe. And they aren't.

 

It's the middle of the night. I'm full of abstractions and sorrow.

 

Peace.

March 30 2003                                                    8:49 AM 

Cheryl's birthday was yesterday. Some friends of hers organized a surprise party for her. We went to high tea at the Palace hotel. It was a very pleasant event because Cheryl has such wonderful friends. Really very lovely people. I arrived early and was there alone for a while. I looked around at all the grandeur and abundance. It would have been ridiculous to bring my preoccupation with the war into that room. We were there to celebrate the life of a wonderful woman. And it was nice to listen to the harp playing and eat little sandwiches with the crusts cut off. I left and took the bus home. I stared out the window at the shoppers and the tourist and the people playing volley ball in the park.

 

Life goes on.

 

And it should.

 

The problem for most of the thinking people I know is how to go on with life. We all have headaches or belly aches. We can't sleep. We can't eat. Life feels distorted. And yet we have to wake up and live.

 

When I hear people saying hostile things about "the Americans" I don't get too worked up. I feel the same way when I hear people of color say things about white folks. I don't feel the need to say ... hey I'm not one of those bad people. It is generalized language. It is never useful to lump people into categories. But I am an American.

 

I find no pride in being American. I haven't for a long time. It's an identity built on denial, oppression and appropriation. It's a hyphenated identity. The ideal of what it means to be an American is so far from the experience. And right now I am so ashamed of the actions done in the name of America.

 

So I protest and I speak out and remain mindful.

 

It does hurt when I read generalizations about Americans. And it should. And I am tempted to make lists of the things that are and always have been going on here. We are not all in lockstep with our boy prince.

 

It's not a new experience for many people. Many people are lumped into an idea of what it is to be them. So I do not argue. I think to myself ... ah ... this is how it feels.

 

I am an American. I can't move away from that. I can't pretend that because don't relate to the idea I am not complicit. It is my country that is dropping the big bombs. It is me in the beautiful room with the big glass ceiling sipping champagne and eating little salmon sandwiches. It is me that walked past four people begging for change on the way to the tea. It is me who has to hold all these contradictions.

 

I got an e-mail from Ryan. He pointed to this flash presentation about why the war is wrong. I got the sorry girl from Ampersand who got it from here. If you right click on it and save it and post it on your web page then we can see how it travels. It might be fun. But it also seems so apropos.

 

 

Peace.

March 31 2003                                                    8:56 AM 

I almost didn't post today. I've been struggling with how to keep writing. It's the same struggle I have when people ask me how I am. Do I say fine? How can I be fine? But there is a way in which talking about it all in this manner makes it about me. It feels narcissistic. What good does it do for people to read about my sleepless nights or stomach aches? How is any of that going to stop the war?

 

And, really, yesterday was about going to the swim, eating lunch, processing issues in relationships and feeling through the things that have been hurting me lately. The things that have nothing to do with the war.

 

But it all goes on in the context of the war.

 

I've been thinking a lot about the horror that goes on in the world every day. Before this war there was horror. After this war there will be horror. I used to feel like I should ignore it all and just work on myself. Just work to toward something loosely described as enlightenment. But I can't ignore it all. I feel the need to hold some of the pain. Somehow. To witness. To understand. To speak out about.

 

I'm not up to the kind of detailed analysis, link laden posting that I read so much of. There are bloggers who I read because they are my news source. They gatherer up the articles that put the lie to the mainstream news version of what's going on. I read and read and try to understand. Every once in a while I have an opinion about something specific and I write about it.

 

I've never had a clear idea about what this writing is supposed to be about. Every day I wander through the meaning making systems of my life. I write about the stuff that grabs my attention and forms into a response. And these days part of my attention is always on the war. But what can I say day after day?

 

Yesterday I listened to the public comment at the Board of Supervisors in response to Supervisor Tony Hall's resolution that the protestors be charged for the cost of the police supervisor. The public comment came at the end of a long and contentious meeting and many of the Supes had already left. There was one point when a nineteen year old man was talking about his experience. He was less than articulate. Many of the people were less than articulate.

 

But they were filled with passion.

 

This morning I read a rather harsh critique of the peace movement. And something in me bristled. I am not uncritical of the way things are done. But I take heart in most of what is being done. I register with every new Internet peace list. I write letters and make phone calls and read and talk and pray. None of it may stop the war. All of it together is a pressure.

 

Despite the fact that the people who are making war do not seem to listen to anyone I have to believe that the pressure wears away at them. Or, at least, wears away at the support that they think they have. So maybe the peace movement is chaotic and maybe all I have to offer is wishful thinking and maybe it's solipsism to write about my sleepless nights and sorrow. And maybe I should not post when I am full of abstraction and emotion.

 

But it's all I have to offer. I only have the story of my own heart. I only have the struggle of my own mind. And the hope is that, if nothing else, it anchors something human.

 

Or maybe not.

 

It is true that we need a peace movement. A strong, articulate, grounded, relentless peace movement.

 

Happy Birthday, Cesar. Si se puede.

 

 

We draw our strength from the very despair in which we have been forced to live. We shall endure. - Cesar Chavez


Peace.