Monthly Archives: April 2012

How many tools are missing from your toolbox?

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How many tools are missing from your toolbox?

One of my best lifelong friends and I were having a conversation about being in relationships and trying to raise teenaged children when we basically raised ourselves and don’t have any sort of healthy relationships to model. Honestly, we still don’t. When it comes down to it, everything I know about being in relationships and raising children has come from television or trial and error. We are simply just a generation that is missing tools from our tool box, or maybe we are not able to read the schematics. Maybe it is outdated technology. I don’t know.

Recently, I feel I have learned a lot from my studies, as far as theories and developmental stages; relationship dynamics and the like. But honestly, it’s all been practice. Hopefully, my kids aren’t as effed up as I think I am sometimes. It seems that I try very hard to balance being a friend and an authoritarian with being nurturing and not trying to make them be anything but themselves. I want them to question authority and the status quo, but do what I say, when I say it. Cause I said it. Meh. Sometimes it works. More often than not, someone ends up mad, sad, or both.

The first 10 years of each of my kids lives were relatively easy. I believe it’s a combination of hormones, theirs and mine plus the additional stresses of a regular life plus graduate school that have led to our mutual frustration. But all in all, I think they have it pretty good. Me on the other hand, I feel like a nutcase most of the time. I over think everything and vacillate between being a tyrant, a mama bear and a big sister as my parenting role. Perhaps it comes from my combining Roseanne Conner, Charlie Salinger, and Benny Lopez. If I had to describe my parenting style, it would definitely be like a big sister. Which if you subscribe to the idea that we learn more from our siblings than our parents, great. But if not….

And then there is romantic relationships. Oy. I really, really suck at them. It’s true. Some days I just feel that relationships are a tool themselves to learn from, other times I feel like that is a rationalization of someone who sucks at relationships. I have control problems and get in relationships with people for all the wrong reasons and don’t give things time to develop. I know this. Plus, I am constantly evolving and becoming a different person it seems. Now, this may sound like the rantings of a borderline personality issue, but I have explored that. It’s really not. It’s simply a matter of the fact that I am just starting to get a grip on who I am and who I want to be as an adult.

I grew up really fast and skipped some steps; it left me a completely developed underdeveloped adult. 🙂 And now that I am going back and reexamining and reprocessing those pieces I had to put off in order to survive and adapt, I am finding myself drawn to things and becoming a person I would have argued with you about 16 years ago. C’est La vie.

So what’s the score? How do you cope? Do you just keep on keeping on and let the chips fall where they may? Sigh. Usually I try to be pretty upbeat, funny or proactive about my posts and life in general, but sometimes I am just soooo fucking tired. It’s been a long life.

Little Art/Big Cause Pieces

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Little Art/Big Cause Pieces

This year I am participating in Scandals annual Little Wood/Big Cause

According to Munro Rost, “A portion of the money raised for all 8 x 8 pieces of art sold, help to benefit our featured Non – profit organization for the “PRIDE” season. Scandals has raised enough to help keep HIV/AIDS testing free to the public through Cascade AIDS Project, for the past six years! We were only able to that with the help of YOU, and our community, through events such as (LA/BC), and our three day “PRIDE” Block Party!”
As you may or may not know about me, the LGBTQ community and raising HIV/AIDS awareness, knowledge and education is one of the most near and dear causes to my heart. I am so excited for my first Portland Pride participation! So for a little shameless self promotion and to get you some of you edumacated on what you could possible be missing in Portland’s beautiful pink triangle….I offer my 5 pieces for preview 🙂
Now mind you, there will be hopefully hundreds of pieces to choose from, my meager five will probably be lost in the mix….BUT if you happen to find all five, they make one smashing statement together and a smaller one individually 🙂

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I would like to add, there are things here you cannot see in the light….My paintings have a lot of texture and 3 separate layers of phosphorescent deliciousness…. For example… The white you see now will be nearly clear when totally dry and that glows in the dark as well….
Hazaah!

Equalism? Machism? Feminism? Ismism?

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Equalism? Machism? Feminism? Ismism?

I was trying to process what I was feeling recently, in regard to the fact that I am somewhat dependent on my husband right now and I really f**king don’t like this feeling. BUT, even though he may not admit it, I think he likes being in the position to “take care of” me and my kids, at least for the moment. So I started to explore that and my feelings about it, from an angle of perceived control and feminist leanings.

After wading through my anti-Disney views, I realized a few things about boys and the similar messaging they receive through childhood movies, namely Disney. While so much focus is on girls and the messaging that they receive from the media, on their bodies, their sexuality, their gender defined roles and expectations…BOYS do too.

Take Beauty and the Beast for example. He is a hairy, mean, aloof asshole really. Sure he is well read and intelligent, but he is an asshole. But despite any sort of Patty Hearstesque issues in Belle, we still get to the end of the story and Belle fell in love with him despite all his shortcomings.

The message to girls: You can turn a monster into a beautiful clean-shaven prince if you love him enough.

The message to boys: If you are rich and have a castle and isolate a girl, she will love you despite how you treat her. And plus, at the end, you get to look like an Abercrombie model.

How about Aladdin?

The message to girls: You can be a spoiled little brat if you are beautiful and don’t dress conservatively but you have no real power unless you are married to a man, regardless of how evil he is. Ahem, enter Jafar.

The message to boys: If you are a street rat and steal the right thing, it can lead to riches and glory with which you can obtain the affection of a rich and beautiful girl who never would have looked at you otherwise…You just gotta get that money, even if you have to steal it. *White boy rich, right?* Additionally, it helps to have a Genie, a monkey and ride into the girl’s line of sight in the most badass form of transportation possible…elephants for Aladdin..Jasmine don’t want no scrub.

What about Snow White and Sleeping Beauty?

The message to girls: above and beyond the obvious “only a prince will save me, I can’t save myself from the powerful woman we perceive as a witch,” what about the “if a boy kisses me while I am passed the eff out, its ok, he was trying to save me.”

The message to boys: If you have money and power and want a girl, go ahead and have your way with her if she is passed the eff out. She will let you do anything because she needs someone to save her cause she can’t do it herself.

How about my own personal favorite childhood movie (seriously, I just realized how eff’d up this is….) Peter Pan:

The message to girls: Don’t worry about the guy climbing through your window, he was in love with your mom and your grandma and has watched your whole family grow up, he looks and acts like a boy but he is really like freaking 60 and refused to grow up. Go ahead and take the “fairy dust” he offers you to make you fly.

The message to boys: Eh, you could take this from the Peter Pan Pedophile view or the brother’s view, either way, if you take the girl you have to take the brothers as well, either to keep people off your trail or to protect your sister, who isn’t smart enough to go alone and she takes care of you, like a mother, anyway.

Boys receive the same messaging girls do. Only they receive it from the opposite side. Boys have to be big enough and strong enough and rich enough and good-looking enough to get one of these girls they need. Because you aren’t successful unless you have a family to take care of and support independently.

And dear sweet ancient baby alien space monkey jebus forbid, you are not heterosexual. Then you are just screwed. Who is the bread-winner? What if you can’t get married? What if you can’t adopt because you are gay? What if you don’t want any effing kids anyway? What if you don’t want to be traditional? Then what?

Look at George Clooney for example:

He is what the media likes to deem a “lifelong bachelor.” He is rich and good-looking, etc., but people ALWAYS assume one of these days he will meet a girl who will knock him off his feet and tie him down. Um, he is dating a WWE girl and she hasn’t done it. I don’t think it will be done. And why is this not ok? Maybe he doesn’t want a fairytale BS path. Maybe he doesn’t want any damn kids. Maybe he just borrows some of Brad and Angie’s when he feels the biological pull….*eyeroll* OR MAYBE THE BIOLOGICAL CLOCK IS A MANMADE (OR AT LEAST PERPETUATED) FEELING CREATED BY PREDETERMINED ROLES!!!!

Here comes the role strain.

Here comes the anomie.

Yeehaw!  Boys, be who you want to be. Love who you want. Marry who you want to marry, if you want to marry. Have kids if you want. Be your most authentic self, regardless of what Hollywood and Disney and the GOP tells you that you need to be. Watch the documentary, “Happy.” Money DOES NOT equate to love or happiness. I promise.

As far as my own feelings, they are still be processed. But at least you get some insight into the feelings an independent woman might feel. We don’t want to be dependent either. So that should remove some stress 🙂

I’m not neglecting you. Here is a poem for the interim:

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I’m not neglecting you. Here is a poem for the interim:

Song Of The Rain VII by Khalil Gibran

I am dotted silver threads dropped from heaven
By the gods. Nature then takes me, to adorn
Her fields and valleys.

I am beautiful pearls, plucked from the
Crown of Ishtar by the daughter of Dawn
To embellish the gardens.

When I cry the hills laugh;
When I humble myself the flowers rejoice;
When I bow, all things are elated.

The field and the cloud are lovers
And between them I am a messenger of mercy.
I quench the thirst of one;
I cure the ailment of the other.

The voice of thunder declares my arrival;
The rainbow announces my departure.
I am like earthly life, which begins at
The feet of the mad elements and ends
Under the upraised wings of death.

I emerge from the heard of the sea
Soar with the breeze. When I see a field in
Need, I descend and embrace the flowers and
The trees in a million little ways.

I touch gently at the windows with my
Soft fingers, and my announcement is a
Welcome song. All can hear, but only
The sensitive can understand.

The heat in the air gives birth to me,
But in turn I kill it,
As woman overcomes man with
The strength she takes from him.

I am the sigh of the sea;
The laughter of the field;
The tears of heaven.

So with love –
Sighs from the deep sea of affection;
Laughter from the colorful field of the spirit;
Tears from the endless heaven of memories.

 

xoxo

Broccolini, Broccolini, night and day it’s Broccolini….

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Broccolini, Broccolini, night and day it’s Broccolini….

I’ve become slightly obsessed with broccolini, to the point my kids are sick of it. Oh well, apparently my heart chakra is in need of some greens, ok? I had been trying to incorporate them into my diet more and more (greens that is) and had run out of new things to try in my neck of the woods. That is, until the farmer’s market opened back up.

Broccolini is a magical hybrid of broccoli and kai-lan, of the cabbage family. It is sometimes sold as Chinese Kale. It should be bright green with yellow flowers and florets.

It is touted to have massive inhibitory effects on human cancer cells and is all around just good for you. So I have a simple recipe for you brave souls who would like to try it and those of you who are familiar, perhaps a new way to eat it!

Broccolini Mussolini

The first thing I do is to heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in my lovely cast iron pan, then add 3-4 minced cloves of garlic, stir until soft and fragrant. Then add a couple of spoons of pesto, some chopped sun-dried tomatoes and a few capers with some sea salt. Gently fold in your rinsed broccolini and cook until wilted.

Meanwhile, I have a pound of penne cooking in salted water….drain of course after cooked….then…

Toss the two together!

Shave some parmigiana over the top and eat. It’s magical. And much lower in bad fat than creamed sauces…

The part of the recipe where I sing, “Broccolini, Broccolini…” to the tune of “Cinderelli, Cinderelli…night and day it’s Cinderelli…” is totally optional.

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I love this and the links! Michael is one of my favorite people these days….

Social Justice For All

Thank you to my friend Allison for sharing this wonderful NPR gem. While I may not have had the language for it at age five, I knew I was gay.  I knew I was different and even knew I would never marry a woman.  Now of course, it was 28 years before I allowed myself to look at the truth about my sexual orientation.  When I talk to many other LGBT folks, they have a similar story: they knew around age five they were different. NPR recently did a story about a blog called, Born This Way! It really is a lovely blog with great photos and history.  Looking at the blog is affirming and feels like you are going through LGBT archives. In the blogger’s own words:

So, some of the pix here feature gay boys with feminine traits, and some gay girls with masculine traits. And even more…

View original post 110 more words

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This is particularly insightful to me today.

HeartSphere

Take a look on your shelf, in your closet, garage and every other room. You may notice that you have acquired a great deal of “stuff” over the years. Now ask yourself, how often do you use all of your “stuff?” Most will find that its not too often that we take an item off of the shelf or out of a box. It stays put, covered in dust most of the time dwelling within the sphere of acquisition.

Though many things that we keep are indeed useful, and have their time for use which may or may not be all that often; most are simply objects taking up space. This space could be used much more wisely, much like the infinite space within the heart.

If you’ve ever ridden on the schoolbus as a child, you know the name of this game. Too many kids cramped on vinyl seats…

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Vision Board, check.

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Vision Board, check.

I have a vision board. It is about 2 years old. I have been reevaluating it and taking stock of what it meant, what it means and what is coming to fruition. I am more than pleased with my progress.

My not for profit is becoming more and more shaped in my head and on paper, due to my using it as fodder for my MSW assignments.

My advanced placement practicum is going to be at my first choice org. which I have been salivating at getting to work at, to the point that I have put off my volunteerism in order to not engage in a conflict of interest.

Yay for me at the Cascade AIDS Project!

I have missed my intrinsic rewards….a.l.p.h.a. had me at “Hello.”

Also, I have a couple leads on summer jobs!

I am pretty much just excited in general about life, right now.

There is still much work to be done, but I am getting there.

Where, I do not know. But it is closer.

Cheers!

Poverty, Homelessness and privilege:

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Poverty, Homelessness and privilege:

Have been the topics du jour in my classes this week. My poverty class is putting together a small Peoples Movement Assembly on poverty next month at Portland State, so I have been thinking a lot about poverty.

Homelessness is one of the many frustrating facets of it which are immediately apparent, particularly for me here in Portland. They make fun of the “gutterpunks” and the  panhandlers on “Portlandia,” but rarely do you see the REAL inequities and injustices without being here. I watch people a lot on the trains and at the stops and just downtown in general; most people avert their eyes as if not looking at the homeless will make them go away. Shameful.

I read a pretty resonant blog today that I would like to share with you:

http://adventuresofcassandra.tumblr.com/post/21338683124/homeless-happy

I encourage you all to remember that poverty is a human issue, not a poor issue. It is systemic. It is RAMPANT in the United States, despite what we may want the world to believe.

Don’t turn away. If you have nothing to give, you are dead. Sometimes just a smile can change someone’s world. Energy is cyclic.

Thanks, Cassie.

xoxo

Jani

To be 15 again…

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To be 15 again…

Summer breezes speak of puppy love,

boys on skateboards and innocent kisses.

Well meaning lies that drip from lips

like bodies on docks,

firm breasts and cherry chapstick…

Laying in grass, holding hands

counting clouds and freckles; skin constellations

Lemonheads and hair brushed behind ears by a fingertip

the first indications of ancient secrets to be discovered

pupil dilation and shivers of longing…

Wind ravaged hair from the back of a motorcycle

in the cool crisp musk of late night,

Camel filters and Dr. Pepper

your incoherent sleepy whispers

and promise.