Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Forrest Gump: "Momma Always Sayyed Life Is Like A Monkey Puzzle, You Just Have To Find All The Parts."

Responding to a request:

Publicly over-sharing: Not my nature, but a little bit of supporting back-story is needed for full appreciation.

My first psychology class was in high school. It was offered on a limited basis to the seniors--and I had to get in. I wanted to get the goods on how people worked and what caused them to do what they did--or not. I wanted to understand the psychological tangle I came from and if I was ok, or would be. I wanted the answer to human motivation because certainly, I could get through if I just understood how it all worked. Turns out, it wasn't so cut and dry and while I walked away with more than I had when I walked in, it turned out to be something equivalent to having been given a bucket with which to measure the ocean's volume--in quarts.

One afternoon, Mr. Day introduced the thirty of us to "Nature vs. Nurture" and as he began thoughtfully unfolding the oragami of this topic, I thought, "By Jove! Tell it Man!! Don't hold out on us!" Later that week, I'm a little disappointed that my Calculus teacher seemed to have more answers to my "whys" than Mr. Day. You mean it's not exact? It can't be graphed? It's not fully known? What the hell do you mean it's like the chicken and the egg roundabout?

Certainly, by now, I'm not so frustrated by the notion. I've got 4 children who keep me entertained with the mile long equation with too many unknowns to solve that Nature v. Nurture presents.

I knew my father until I was four and a half. I knew him. I also practiced remembering him and all there was to remember about my life to that point as well as my brain at that stage would allow. I did not have permission to speak about my father openly nor behave as if he ever existed beyond some summer evening in 1975 when my mother came back after nearly eight months of "away" to I didn't know where, and re-conned me 250 miles away without so much as a word to anyone but her mother and new beau. My father returned from a trip to the auto-parts store to find his mother unconscious on the floor and me missing.

My mother knew my father too, only different. She fled with her life from a Vietnam War torn marriage and hope for a better one. I was left with an internal monkey puzzle missing half the pieces, and a mother who was white-knuckling all the marbles she had left.

That same senior year, an intrigued friend of mine handed me my father's phone number over a study hall table the day after I'd whispered my story to her. Twenty-four days later, I hugged my father again for the first time in 4,861 days--he had been counting. That was also the day I met my sister Darla--ohhh, the foreshadowing. She was a cheeky ten year old whom I would not meet again until she was a twenty-something married mother of one. Darla knew him like I did, only better.

Thirty-two days later, a blood vessel in my father's brain burst and killed him in his St. Louis living room. He was 40, I was 17.

Now we get to the soft answers to the hard questions we ask of God. The longer I live, the more evidence I collect regarding God and his impeccable and beyond-reproach,, often comedic, timing:

Fast forward to two Saturdays ago.

The characters: My 17 year old daughter, "The Big One", 10 year old daughter, "The Middle One" and, 4 year old daughter, "The Little One".

The Big One is trying her hand at mowing the front yard. For her, it's still a somewhat novel way to earn pocket money if my husband is under the weather. Her apparel, not enviable to most indigents: a faded, once black, Smurfette t-shirt, nylon shorts circa middle school P.E. and battered green Converse high-tops, doodled upon with blue Sharpie--no socks.

The Middle One and the Little One are spectating from the front porch's sidewalk--still in their pajamas, Sponge Bob and pink with green froggies, respectively.

Now, watching another person mow a lawn is not generally worth watching, but the Middle One caught wind that the Big One was concerned, and rightfully, that the proud parents of the baby robins in the smaller tree (the nest at head level dontchaknow) were going to make it their business to keep trespassers at bay.

It was the Tag-Team-Kamikaze-Event of the year for those birds. Head hunkered, The Big One is pushing the lawn mower as fast as she can, scouting the sky like a tweakin' out Secret Service Agent ready to go AWOL.

The Middle One and the Little One are watching with a great deal of interest when the Middle One gets inspired and disappears into the garage and emerges wearing one of two bicycle helmets, placing the purple one on the Little One's head.

According to my sister Darla, who had a more "pieces" of our father than I did, the Middle One is "one of us".

She said so through a shared fit of stomach cinching laughter that comes from the deepest knowing that cannot be explained.

"Same hard drive," she said grabbing breath for words "upgraded software. That's one's Vista, we're '98."

So, the Nature part isn't so bad. It never really was.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

FINALLY: I found the password for this blog!

And now I return to write.

I've said and heard so much in class this last year and sure wish I would have written some of it down. I have a few that follow this blog who are also students . . . some who are just friends. Help me out of this "writer's block" would y'all? Here's how: "Hey, Anya, tell that story about the . . . again." or "What was it you said one time about . . . ".

Thanks in advace :)

Love as always,


Thursday, January 01, 2009

Press Play to Start

Who hasn't said, "After the first of the year, I'm going to start . . . "? After so much strife in America this past year, we all seem to want to "start" something. Reboot, or even wipe the hard drive clean and rebuild.

The beginning of each year always brings an influx of enthusiastic women who want to 'go ahead and take bellydance' usually because 'it's just always something I've wanted to try/do'. If they're been local (or a student of mine) for any amount of time, they've invariably been to see Zaina Ali perform at Tasso's Greek Restaurant which only adds gas to their curious spark.

To the spectator, bellydance is sparkling and mysterious, delightful and dazzling. As a student or instructor, it is an introduction to areas of self that are surprising.

To brew a song through the soul with complete command and awareness of every place in the body that the spirit resides . . . this is one face of bellydance.

Monday, August 25, 2008

It's Just Like Riding A Bike . . .

with 20 pound sand bags strapped to either side of your behind that you weren't wearing last time you took the Schwinn for a spin. Yes. After a 3 year mommy hiatus, it wasn't easy for me either girls--but it felt good (if you're not to the "felt good" place in your happy hearts yet, read on).

Every muscle, every concept, every stretch and pull reminded my body of what it used to be, what it longs for and what it has craved for these years--a return to connectivity and acknowledgment. Like well-loved doll laid down from care and play one day, found years later, as precious and beautiful as in the store window, only now in need of redressing, coiffing and sunlight.

My body has responded to the dusting off. I know because my abdominal muscles shared thoughts with me as I rose from the bed this morning. I also heard from my quads and glutes on my way down the stairs. Reaching for the coffee cup on the top shelf, my shoulders answered to the roll call. Getting in to the car, my abs went on about it some more and of course, they punctuated their commentary as I emerged from the car.

If your muscles are responding to you similarly this morning, my lovely girls, I ask you to think about how you might respond to being rousted awake in the middle of a deep sleep.

First, you may be disoriented.
Then, you might smoosh your face at whomever dared stir you.
And, if you then discover that it's only 5 am and you were waiting for the "wake-up call".

You might sass back and grumble for a few minutes before you begin appreciating the day.

A sunrise is captivating, isn't it?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Changeover . . .

This blog used to be a rambling pad where many of "the gang" used to peek in and see what was up and happening in Anya's eternally maternal world of Lucy Ricardo-Griswold flavored adventures. Scroll back through and get a taste if you like.

The next post, and it will be in a matter of hours or days, I'll be introducing Anya's bum shrinking play-by-play. Something like "The Biggest Loser" but not the same sort of double entendre. Loser? No. Not loser. How about defrag & hard reboot for bellydancers?

No False Advertising! The belly & bum you see on is the same one underneath Anya's post-partum chub.

Stay tuned here for the first episode in the series.

Ethel Mertz: Gee, this high altitude sure gives me an appetite.
Fred Mertz: What's your excuse at sea level?

Thursday, June 28, 2007

An Open Letter To My Sociology Professor of Yore

Dear Professor David Curtis--a sociology enthusiast & professor who can appreciate my academic references to Pulp Fiction--of all things.

The Wolf: You see that, young lady? Respect. Respect for one's elders gives character.
Raquel: I have character.
The Wolf: Just because you are a character doesn't mean that you have character.

[This post is from an earlier musing.]

Monday, June 18, 2007

Women's Sufferage, The Saga Continues

I'm a newsletter recipient of this web-based organization called, "Mom's Rising"; This isn't a plug, it's just part of the back story. Anyway, it just reminds me of how once upon a time in America, women, as we all know, weren't allowed to vote, own property in their own names, and they weren't taken too seriously in college (if taken at all). In the 60's, women sometimes pursued what some referred to as "MRS Degrees". The degree a girl would get in order to get a good husband in the right social circle. Yes, dear little ones, once upon a time.

I recently spoke with my mother about the iniquities of gender inequality when it came to social support for uneducated women (and perhaps even the educated) when it comes to the issue of child support. My father, back in 1974 or so, was ordered to pay child support to my mother for me--a whopping $25 a week. Before she left the courtroom, he turned to her and said, "You'll never see a dime." This was among few times he was true to his word. The words came from the same man who nearly beat her to death many times over--and he blamed her. Now, as my step-father did, so does my own husband. He takes up the slack for the slack-er. It's not fair, but it goes to show you that there have been and still are some stand-up men in the world.

The America my mother experienced in her 20's didn't have organizations like The Rose Brooks Center ( and domestic violence wasn't often recognized as a crime, court-ordered child support was disregarded by dead-beats/angry ex-husbands and taken as "a suggestion" from the judge. Everyone knew it wasn't enforced as we like to think it is today. Granted, the child support enforcement system is better now than it was but it's far from effective--or even consistent. It's just not good enough. What with it's loop-holes, time buying strategies to avoid major (or any) consequences. It's just not acceptable.

I spoke with my mother about all of that. The conversation went something like this,

I said, "Mom, why didn't more women stand up for these things in generations before?"

She said, "That was just the way of the day."

Just the way of the day. Really. I guess it was.

Well, . . . this is the way of this day, and I can say something.