catelin: (glasses)
( Nov. 4th, 2008 12:56 pm)
I have been reading Alice Walker's book Anything We Love Can Be Saved. The book is lovely, as is the notion of saving what we cherish most with the power of love. I have loved my country with a ferocity, even as I bore witness to decades of those I cared about ravaged by the impersonal destructive policies of a government that seemed to care less and less about more and more of us. I loved it through everything...a laundry list of the wrongs is pointless. We all have different versions of them, different degrees and we carry the marks of what has been done to us in so many different ways.

I'd had the book for months on my coffee table at work, but I couldn't bear it. I couldn't bring myself to read it. I was tired of loving in spite of, I was weary of the smugness of my government, of its smarmy certainty in the status quo. Still, because I love my country and the world so fiercely, I worked. I gave money, I called, I canvassed. I voted. I believed.

I still believe. I believe and I love and I want to save what I love with my belief that we can join our voices for the common good of not just our own country, but for every one of our brothers and sisters regardless of geography.

I leave you with a song and a quote...two tiny glimpses of all that I feel and want to say; but I cannot say it all today. I cannot adequately express what today means to me and to the country that I have loved so well and so long. I refuse to be fearful anymore. I am defiant with my hopefulness for a better world.

If we are treasures, let us demand to be treasured. And let our awareness of, and tenderness to, the most helpless be our diamonds and gold. Our last five minutes on Earth are running out. We can spend those minutes in meaness, exclusivity, and self-righteous disparagement of those who are different from us, or we can spend them consciously embracing every glowing soul who wanders within our reach. Those who, without caring, would find the vibrant, exhilarating path of Life just another sad and forsaken road.

Perhaps the greatest treasure left to us, maybe the only one, is that we can still choose.
--Alice Walker, Anything We Love Can Be Saved

catelin: (Default)
( Oct. 25th, 2008 09:02 am)
We watched the new(er) documentary about Joe Strummer last night. The Future is Unwritten. I love documentaries. I really loved Joe Strummer, with that intense sort of fan girl love that makes me inarticulate. It would have been a great film without all the commentary from people like Bono, John Cusack, and Johnny Depp. Oh, and Anthony and Flea from the Chili Peppers. Wretch. I was so annoyed by the pontificating from so many people so far up their own asses that I couldn't just enjoy the footage of Joe and his music. Let's Rock Again was a far better Strummer movie, poignant and wonderful, without all the posthumous cocksucking.

Lazy weekend ahead, for the most part. Youngest son has decided he wants to be a Cheeto for Halloween. Strange choice, but he's my strange son. The cool fall weather that I wait for every year has finally arrived! This makes me very happy.

John and I voted yesterday. It did my heart good to look around the polling place and see that there were plenty of us there who were obviously not voting Republican. I live in a very, very Republican county even for Texas so this was really heartening and amazing to see. I think the numbers from my state may not be quite what everyone is expecting this year, not that McPain won't win Texas, but I'm hoping that we'll at least manage to make a statement of some sort with a closer margin than what's been predicted. Local elections will benefit greatly from the larger numbers of us long haired liberal types and that's fanfuckingtastic! I'm ready for the revolution to begin.

All sorts of changes are on the horizon, almost all of them good even as they are uncertain.
catelin: (sculpture ranch)
( Oct. 10th, 2008 06:18 am)
Goodness is the only investment that never fails. ~Thoreau

I've had this journal for almost eight years and I've never once posted a thing asking anyone to do something in particular with their dough. Two of the loveliest people I know, [livejournal.com profile] baldanders and [livejournal.com profile] roadnotes are struggling to deal with a catastrophic health crisis. I don't have many neighbors in real life, but I have a lot of virtual neighbors. So I'm asking all of you to consider pitching in and helping some good people in a terrible situation. Neighbors used to do that, you see. They helped out even when they might not know the person down the road. They showed up and they did what they could. I'm asking all of you to consider being those neighbors now. I'm sounding the call.

I know that times are tough, and money is tight. I know. But any small amount will help, and a lot of small amounts will grow into something large and wonderful. Please consider a gesture of kindness, even if they are strangers to you.

http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/010660.html#010660
catelin: (herahead)
( Sep. 26th, 2008 06:56 am)
Quickest update yet...

1. The Donna has invaded my home and we are having fun, fun, fun!!! I am trying to convince her to move to Texas. Plying her with Cheetoeeees and manicures seems to be working! Seriously, she needs to be here. NOW.

2. Sarah Palin is a vapid twat.

3. Today is fair day in Comal County, yo, and we're going! Cakes, pies, piggies, moo-cows!!!

4. I want a Starhead shirt. I will email you later about that. Actually, I want more than one.

5. First cool day of the fall, barely a hint of crisp but it's coming!!!
catelin: (Default)
( Sep. 12th, 2008 07:02 pm)
Not much going on here other than couch-sitting and storm watching. My cat has entertained herself today with her favorite cat game, Anus in Yer Face. I'm convinced that cats live to stick their kitty buttholes in our faces. We're out of the path of the storm, but I'm still hoping we'll at least get a little rain our way. It was a rough week and I'm looking forward to doing absolutely nothing this weekend other than laying about and watching movies with my man and the kids. Crossing my fingers for everyone down south of here!
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catelin: (strummer)
( Sep. 6th, 2008 07:56 am)
I have rarely cut people from my journal, especially with unkind feeling toward them.  Today, I did so.  I did it with disgust and relief, but I did not do it lightly.  You see, I am a big believer in dissent and debate.  I do not take it personally when people care to express different views--be they political, religious, what have you--from those that are dear to me.  And my views are dear to me.  I have earned the right to have them through experiences both joyful and desperate.  I always assume that others have come to their views in much the same way.  I am always surprised to find how many have not.

When you are so glib in your railing against "queers and homos," I recall sitting with my friends in the rooms of strangers.  They were dying and we were there so they would not leave this earth with no one to bear witness to their passing.  Abandoned by everyone who should have loved them, abandoned by a government that should have supported them, they died in the arms of people who barely knew them.  When you speak of other human beings with a hatred disguised as flippancy, I recognize you, asshole.  I know who you are from that dark time when so many of my friends were sick, sick to death.  And you did nothing but smile and say it was your god's will.

When you talk about the sanctity of life and how no woman should ever have the right to "kill her baby" I recognize you.  You are the one who is terrified of women, who secretly hates me for being in the same courtroom as you because you believe that your penis makes you better than me.  You are the one who goes to church every Sunday, but didn't hesitate when you paid for your Sancha's abortion so your wife wouldn't find out you were fucking someone behind her back.  You think we don't know, but we do.  Everyone does.  I certainly recognize you as the same hypocrite who wears a thousand different skins in a million different ways.  We've all seen you because your selfishness is too great to be camouflaged.

When you call my candidate of choice a "negro" you conjure every memory I have of race and hatefulness.  Being a sister of the south, I have plenty of those.  I know that you didn't use the word you really meant, not only because you are a coward but because you feel that not saying it somehow lends a patina of civility to your bigotry.  It doesn't.  You are the same mean spirited whisper behind my grandmothers' backs, using the same word for the both of them regardless of the tone of their skin...dark or honeyed brown.  You are the reason that many of my friends are the first children in their families not to speak Spanish.  Their parents didn't teach them, they discouraged them from anything but English--English that you used to put signs in store windows that said "NO DOGS OR MEXICANS."  Have you forgotten that?  I haven't.  You are the same good looking young man who smiled at my friend in the bar 25 years ago and leaned into her ear to hiss "No hablo español."  Did you not remember that?  Because she still does, and so do I.  The funny thing?  She really didn't "habla español" because her parents had grown up getting their knuckles rapped at school for slipping into their native tongue.  They'd learned to deprive her of the language that had been in their family for generations.  You taught them that.  You are this country's shame, and I am sorry that you still feel so afraid of everything and everyone.

You are the weight around so many necks, the boot on so many throats.  Have your smug say somewhere else.  I respect your right to do so, but this little corner of the virtual world is like my kitchen table and I find that I do take it personally when you hurt so many people that I love with your words.  I wouldn't invite anyone with that sort of bile oozing from their spirit into my home, so I feel comfortable choosing to no longer have your hatefulness smeared in my face here.
catelin: (cleaver)
( Aug. 3rd, 2008 09:15 am)
August in Texas pisses me off. I'm a hothouse flower, mind you, and the heat normally doesn't bother me a bit. But August is different. August makes me want to shave my head, get naked, and run around screaming "FUCK YOU! FUCK YOU! FUCK YOU!" to everyone and everything all at once. August brings out the hermit in me and it's not uncommon that I'll go the entire month without returning a phone call. It's too hot to talk. It's too hot to move. Nothing is comfortable and everything rubs at me like a cactus splinter that drifts across my hand, invisible but no less irritating than the things I can see with my hateful eyes.

I've been up early this morning, fuming while everyone sleeps. I had fantasies about clanging through the house with pots and pans, blasting The Dicks at full volume, making every kind of angry noise possible. August brings out the punk ass in me, in all the worst ways.
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catelin: (durgapink)
( Jul. 17th, 2008 11:18 am)

Messenger

In that space where he fluttered inside you

(and I when I say him it is not so much

about gender or form, although I know

no other name for him than Gabriel),

the seraphim who rested his wings

waited in your belly and whispered against

your innermost ear the secrets that you

were, for so long, too afraid to know—that

you were good, not merely good enough,

but absolutely deserving in a way only

the intensely faithful are; and the universe

was replenished with your understanding,

the world finally grew large enough to

accommodate his joyful soaring, too

divine for human eyes to bear, trumpeting

your true name—mother—in a thousand

languages across every sky that ever existed.

catelin: (pallasathena)
( Jun. 17th, 2008 10:47 pm)
It's been a rough month or so, but especially the last three weeks.  Three things happened.  First, we had to spend several thousand dollars (that we didn't have) on a new A/C system for the little house.  Second, the sweetest of my kitties almost died last week.  He's home now and doing better...still not completely out of the woods, but alive.  Eating, drinking, and pissing after horrible urinary tract issues that put him into a coma are just fine by me.  What's not so fine by me (even though he is totally worth it and more) is the fifteen hundred dollar vet bill that we're now paying off.  Third, I just found out today that my beloved Subaru is taking a big crap after 160K loyal miles.  I've got to start looking for a new (read--new to me) car pronto.  I drive over a hundred miles a day to and from work, so it's not something I can put off or do without for a while.

I am bombarded, yet I stand. 

The words that always serve me well.

My man has gone to supervise the packing and move of the rest of his things.  He'll be back on Saturday, but I sure miss him.  The upside is that my stepdog and I have bonded like nobody's bizzzness.  He loves me!  Wheeeeeeeee!

My life is pretty ordinary these days.  I read some of your accounts with a little envy...books published, bands breaking, bees charmed....mostly, I grin like a kid and am so proud of you all.  I can't help it.  It's the mother hen in me mixed with the secret hope that I also have something extraordinary in me--that I can't have merely stumbled across so many amazing friends by accident.

My writing feels dull and plodding of late, but my life is joyful and technicolor.  And as awful as I am about keeping in touch and making time to be social, I never come here without feeling intensely the care I have for some of you.  Please never mistake my silence for lack of good will.

I'm the richest broke woman who ever lived.

catelin: (looking up)
( Jun. 15th, 2008 07:35 pm)
Texas is officially hotter than hell.  I thought we might escape the usual blistering heat since it took a little longer to get here, but it was just jacking with me.  Along with the heat, new neighbors moved in down the street.  The former owners divorced and rented the place to a woman who seems to be dating this guy. 



Seriously, and I'm not even kidding.  Our new neighbor.  Down to the beater tan and tube socks.  We call him Dougie Nunchucks.  He drives an old brown Chevy with paper tags.  I really don't even know if he actually lives there.  He's here almost every weekend to knock back a few malt liquors and exchange crabs with his old lady.  Alas, the afterglow generally includes a good fight between them and him yelling "Fuck you, bitch" as he tears down the street in all his white trash glass-packed glory.  He is spectacular!

I broke my toe getting into the shower yesterday.  It hurt like a mutha and looks gnarly enough today to gain the respect of my two boys.  It got two hearty Whoas! from each of them.

Work is awful and wonderful at once.  People are hurting or killing their kids in record numbers this year.  It's been depressing, to say the least, but I do have a sense of accomplishment when I manage to fight the monsters and win.

I'm writing a little more, but still focusing more on things that get my hands dirty.  It's hard to get back into the habit after so much time spent with more active sorts of art.  My man and I are going to start working on some sculpture projects that will be messy with concrete and Mexican tile.  Funny, I used to wish for a collaborator for stuff like this--a partner that I could make art with--and now I have one.  It's an entirely different process than working alone and I'm really looking forward to seeing what we create together.

Summertime.  And the living really is easy.
catelin: (sculpture ranch)
( May. 25th, 2008 09:45 pm)
It's been an odd year so far...I have been far less communicative than I have in a long time--and it's not necessarily a bad thing--but I have simply felt the need to process much of my life internally.  I'm not so quick anymore to vomit up every feeling onto the floor before I look at it and try to figure out what it is.  It's been a rough few months in a lot of ways, full of changes and facing fears of all sorts.  I was afraid of growing older, I was afraid of being left, I was afraid of planning for things because I couldn't believe there would be a point to it, I was afraid not to plan because chaos was sure to follow.  I was afraid of how quickly my sons are growing, of how little they seem to need me anymore.  I was afraid of my animals dying, of something terrible happening to my man.

Middle-age, I think, is a stage in life where we all necessarily go through a period where we are scared shitless.  Mine lasted a while, but I am making my peace with all the changing landscapes in my life.  The landscape of my face and body continues to shift and I am at peace with it in a way that I never have been before.  Oddly enough, Madonna had a lot to do with this.  She looks strange to me now, with her ever-so-slight work.  She's still lovely, but she looks nothing like herself.  The one thing I have always chosen, even when I lived in the land of nip and tuck, was to look like myself.  I decided that I was still very happy to look exactly like myself, even if that self is my aging self.

The landscape of motherhood is shifting, but the floor of that sea remains.  My oldest is almost 13 now and hardly lets me touch him.  His favorite answer to almost anything is "whatever" and he hides his beautiful face with too much hair in his green eyes.  Still, he is the same amazing child, even with all his new bravado and tentative efforts to separate himself from me.  That's what he's supposed to be doing.  He's at an age where he's supposed to think I'm a big dork.  I still enjoy the occasional glimmer of unreserved love when he forgets to act like Mr. Cool.  His ten-year-old brother is not far behind him, but I'm ready.  They get bigger, but they are still my sons.  They have learned exactly what I set out to teach them...that they can be themselves, separate from everyone, but still always loved, safe, and connected to family.

The landscape of love and friendship in my life continues to amaze me.  I am, in the end, luckier in love than I ever thought possible, with a man who never fails me.  We are both tough and tender in many of the same ways, but we fill in our gaps with our different approaches and experiences.  Together we are a badass two-headed love monster that can deal with anything.  That's been a nice change from never being able to count on anyone to shoulder the burden with me before.  He's solid, this man of mine, and I have learned that I can count on him and believe in him without reserve.  That knowledge gives a soul a lot of breathing room, and breathing feels good.

Times have been bad and good, all at once, a swirl of life with a pace that leaves me dizzy sometimes.  I feel sometimes like if I stood in the grass and planted my feet for a few moments, I'd be able to see it all moving past--circling and changing even as it is all perceived.

My life's horizons move like oil on water.  That frightened me at first, the uncertainty of it.  There are still times when the uncharted territory of the faraway can leave me in a panic.  Then I began to see that even unfamiliar landscapes are always decorated with markers that I've crafted for myself and those I love over the years--markers that remind me of my strength, of my courage, of my joy, my laughter, everything that I have to offer and everything that I am still learning to give.
catelin: (Default)
( Apr. 11th, 2008 09:52 am)
Everything is fine, benign. Huge sigh of relief for me. Thanks for all the kind thoughts and good energy. I am certain it played a big part.
catelin: (cowgirl)
( Apr. 8th, 2008 07:59 am)
In a not surprising synchronicity with the sun, [personal profile] notwolf , I am trying to grasp the crazy-quilt universal weave of good/bad/ugly that life can sometimes be.  Biopsy today, needles in my left breast and holding my breath for two days to see what comes next.  Otherwise, my life if full of sunflowers, gardening, work, my beautiful children and my beloved.  He's here, for the most part, with some loose ends to tie up but we are laying our heads down together each night and smiling at one another each morning.  So this time, I'm refusing to give in to my fear of the other shoe...you know, the one with dog shit on the sole that drops as you merrily roll along?  I worked too hard to come to this happiness and I will not let it go without a bloody fight.  I am living proof that love can make a person fearless--not because of him but because of the journey and experiences that brought me to him.  He made sense of those.  He made sense of everything, even what I could not.  So I may hold his hand a little tighter when I close my eyes for the next couple of days, but I will not let go of the certainty that I am finally and exactly where I need to be.
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I'll be forty-four years old next Sunday. I don't know why, but every time I think of this birthday and its number I picture 44 blackbirds flying out of a pie. It's an odd age, 44...so close to 45 and 45 being almost fifty. Weird. I don't feel old. I do feel wise, after a fashion. And happy. Not even happy, so much more than happy. I am blissful.

I got a big promotion at work that came with a fancy schmancy new title. I have a new attorney working with me. Everyone is very happy with the change and feels like the cases are now being handled better. I think I did the right thing in accepting the position. I'm the Chief of the Family Justice Division. See? I told you it was fancy! It's still all the same Creeps & Perverts cases, but the name sounds so much more civilized.

In other news, my man gave me the best Valentine's day gift ever last month--a beautiful new sewing machine. It wasn't anything I was expecting, but it was more perfect than he could have ever imagined. It was the ultimate gift for a holiday marking love. Sewing, for me, is so connected to both of my grandmothers, how they loved me and how much they taught me. When I sit at a sewing machine and work, I can picture both of them sitting there next to me, heads nodding, both of them smiling at how much I can do now. It may seem silly that sitting at a sewing machine binds me to that wonderful universal light--call it love, grace, god, whatnot--but it does. It conjures every good thing I ever had in my life that is related to being loved and loving without reserve. I'd never talked about this with him, so it wasn't anything intentional. But whether happy accident or intuition, it was one of those sublime acts that struck such a heart chord in me that I wanted to melt. I sure do love him.

Last week we drove in a borrowed pick-up to the boonies south of San Antonio and picked up some wrought iron patio furniture. Next week we're heading out on a road trip to the bayou country of southern Louisiana for my birthday. Spring is going to be a season of all sorts of movement and travel, but home for both of us is becoming the little house here at the lake and that makes me grin like a kid.
catelin: (glasses)
( Feb. 11th, 2008 07:57 pm)


My Mother, December 1971




Me, December 1991
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catelin: (sculpture ranch)
( Feb. 9th, 2008 10:14 am)
Today is one of those days where nothing in particular is going on, but I just woke up with a feeling that all is right with my small corner of the world. I have two beautiful children, a man I adore who adores me right back, a house that I love, and more than enough animals to drive me crazy. When I was a little kid, I used to imagine how I would be as a grown-up. It was always me, living in a big city, being oh-so-sophisticated. I think I was never sophisticated. I don't know that I ever have been, even when I lived in the big city.

My youngest son told me a few weeks ago that I am a Type 6 Hippie. I had no idea what that was, much less that he'd been classifying hippies! According to my ten-year-old son, a Type 6 hippie is a punk rock hippie. He told my man that he was a Straight Up Hippie. Now I don't know how accurate this whole classification thing is, since he seems to think that everyone who lived in the eighties was a hippie, but it still cracked me up. I'm more than happy to be a Type 6 Hippie. I'm happy to live out in the boonies. I'm happy that my most valuable monetary asset is a badass comic book collection that I would never sell. I'm happy that I have made a crazy, completely unsophisticated life for myself and my kids that has room in it for art, learning, exploring, sharing, and--most of all--plenty of laughter.

Other Hippie Classifications, for your edification:

Type 1: "People who protest the Viet Nam War after it's over"
Type 2: "Nature people, like nature conservers and stuff like that"
Type 3: "Disco and Afro Hippies"



The Hippie Expert & Mom
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catelin: (flora)
( Feb. 7th, 2008 09:16 pm)
After a discussion of family histories last week with [livejournal.com profile] icarus_after, I was inspired to dive back into the genealogy pool that I've dabbled in for the last few years (my mother was recently kind enough to gift me with a subscription to ancestry.com). I ended up finding census records for my great-grandmother when she was a child. The records confirmed what my mother and I have suspected for a while since I found some other stuff a couple of years ago. My great-grandma and her entire family was listed on the 1900 census as black. She moved from Georgia to Texas with my great-granddad and...voila!...in the 1920 census she was suddenly white! There are so many questions that will never be answered about this and it's sad and fascinating all at once to me. Was she passing when she met my great-grandfather or did he know? This was back in the day of the miscegenation laws, mind you. Would she have ever told my grandfather anything about her past if she'd lived longer? She died in 1925. My grandfather was only 13. His father lived a long time and never said anything about it.

My grandfather is so completely without guile and is completely clueless about any of this. He's 95 years old. Would it be fair, at this point, to take his history away from him? Doubtful. He's lived such a long time perceiving himself to be a certain person. He is, without being a racist, still very much a product of his time. I think it's a safe assumption that he would not be nearly as thrilled as my mother and I. Still, there is something in me that chafes at being party to keeping a secret that was born of such a disgraceful chapter from our southern past. I feel complicit somehow by not telling him. I feel especially tempted to lay it out full force when he tells my mom that he could never vote for Obama because...well..."he's black."

The right thing to do in principle is not always the kinder and best thing to do in the specific. Three generations later, and the compromises that come with the color of one's skin still hold sway. So I hold my tongue and keep my bargain--my silence for the certainty that the last shreds of this shame his mother felt for who she was will live only as long as he does.
catelin: (glorious birds)
( Jan. 17th, 2008 07:19 am)
It's cold here today, like winter even. I'm already looking forward to spring and bluebonnets, but I think there's still a few more weeks of winter left to go. I had a great lunch yesterday and came home early to pack for a long weekend! After the last few weeks I'm definitely in need of a vacation so I'm looking forward to getting out of here for a few days. Work has been crazy and I've been feeling off kilter in all sorts of personal ways. Still, I'm trying to get back into the habit of writing and giving voice to things inside my head more. It's amazing how much writing is like exercising--easy to get out of the habit of it and harder than hell to find your strength for it when you come back to it. That's my nice way of giving my apologies in advance for the posts that may come close to being vapid accounts of all sorts of trivial shit that not even I care about...but still, I'm writing something even when I'm writing about nothing. That's what I'm going to tell myself at least.
catelin: (herahead)
( Jan. 13th, 2008 10:02 am)
Stuff like this is what makes me refuse to be completely cynical about the human race.
catelin: (kiss)
( Jan. 13th, 2008 08:49 am)
I was looking at the archives of my journal and realized that I have been posting here for over seven years. Weird. What's even more strange to me is how the time has gone by so quickly. It doesn't seem like it's been that long, even though the edges of things from a few years back are already fuzzy to me and hard to recall. What I am most struck by is how much my children have grown during all this time. Raising children without a partner robbed me of the luxury of documenting their amazing passages as I would have liked. I didn't take tons of photos. I don't have a single video recording of either of them. There are no baby books to pass on. In this, I see the greatest difference between myself and my friends who had the support of an extra pair of hands around the house. I am not a picture taker by nature, so I am left in most cases to enjoy the pictures I carry in my head. Still, it would have been nice to have a few more snapshots of the boys. I've decided to try and write about them here a bit more, to have at least some prose portraits of them since writing is something that I know I can do. That's what's going on in my head this morning, anyway. I'll put a bit more thought into form and frame, but I definitely think that's something that I'll do.
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