CLEANING DAY by (me!) sandra, ttgp
i absolutely must blog. and everything i thought about writing in days past but passed on, seems really important, and everything i thought could wait 'til tomorrow or the next day, feels terribly urgent. write now!
and this speaks to me first on how difficult it is to get at the truth! when citizens don't feel they can get straight/accurate answers/information from books, newspapers, television, random interviews with pre-selected experts
look at the length this man is willing to go, and at personal cost, to get past the pollution and towards the truth. i'm very curious what the results are
and then, i'm curious what size audience of voting citizens/politicians will read the results, and how influential the results of this survey will be
mostly though, it reads like a sad commentary about mass-media's inability to communicate to the public in any trustworthy and reliable way AND sad, sad, but true.. in this example, we have to count on the generosity of a wealthy person (people) to care enough about a given topic, to fork out the $$, to tap the knowledge of experts, to get to the truth, to share with the masses
in the mess of a house that who built?
so i'm sad for our current state, and grateful to scott adams.
that said, -and with no way to even pretend i know anything about world economy-
on an intuitive level, from micro life experiences, on a much, much, smaller scale
it is my feeling and understanding, that to base any decision.. to make any decision based solely, exclusively, on the economics of it.. is short-sided. the economic, profit value of a thing, is only often, one of several things to be factored in on decisions both big and small.
so in this case, for example, in theory.. let's say one president's economic policies/plans prove, by analysis of 500 experts combined, to be superior in bringing the most prosperity to the most people over a given time frame with sustainability and growth included (which would be my personal standard)
it comes to my mind then, that WARS, are very costly -economically, AND more importantly, costing human lives. we must protect and defend our freedom PLUS spread democracy
or $$$ means nothing. - we want to move away from wars - except for where absolutely, undeniably used to protect and defend (not dominate/rule/control)
which candidate then, is best qualified to accomplish those goals: protecting/defending our freedom AND spreading democracy. -in my imagination, this is the priority.
it is also vital in my opinion, that america lead by example. so if we continue on this path, of the have's having more and more, while the population of have not's increases the number of people we have living in poverty
what role model are we? who wants that to spread anywhere? it's embarrassing and shameful.
but what if...
what if we walked into the presence of leaders around the globe, and could show those leaders and their citizens how we LIFTED our own people out of poverty; how we reduced, not increased the gap between the rich and poor
how in 2008, we had this embarrassing amount of people living in poverty, but we did this and that.. and in just 5 years the trend is already pointing towards huge success!
how in 2008, we had this embarrassing amount of people incarcerated, but we did this and that, and in just 5 years, the trend is already pointing towards huge success!
how in 2008, we had this embarrassing number of children dropping out of highschool, but we did this and that, and in just 5 years the trend is already pointing towards huge success!
a powerpoint presentation (that if we could make come true) would help us inspire, lift and unite the whole wide world.
speaking of poor people ~relatively speaking~ i am one. -very conscious of the fact, i am not poor by world standards, but i do live in what has been called one of the wealthiest communities in the region, and within that region, i live in a very hand to mouth kind of way
for the most part, i want to say i make a great poor person. i am so happy with my little space where i write; so happy in my neighborhood, i'm not personally troubled much by not having money to spend on clothes/shoes/vacations, that sort of thing.
when it bothers me, is when i wish i could do more for my children, wish i could have more space for my children.. i let this motivate me towards financial independence. because.. when signing up for the new school year, for example, the paper announcement read: bring SEVERAL checks.
and it was just like that too: SEVERAL. bold and all capitals.
because you need a check for the directory, a check for the pta, a check for the yearbook, a check for the p.e. clothes, a check for the spirit wear, and three more checks for things i can't remember. but i only had one check, and if i didn't want it to bounce, had to keep it under $30.
that hurt. and i know i've got find some paying work and soon.
and the other time it bothers me, is when i wish i could do more for my parents. especially on special occasions,
like my mom's birthday. we did have a wonderful time, no doubt about it. my sister and i, took her and our dear friend robbi to tyme for tea in niles. just walking through the door makes you feel pretty special. all the lovely decorations, the gift store with victorian, sparkly decor, collectible tea ware, old books, fresh baked goods, vintage fashions, antiques galore and rose embellishments adorning throughout. the see-through drapes with tiny lights twinkling in the entryway to the tables.
and then of course, the tea itself.. the beautiful tea cups, the delicious speciality teas, the three tier tray variety of fresh baked scones, tea sandwiches, pastries, and the lemon curd and raspberry preserves!
PLUS mimosas! and a great visit.. i have no doubt my mom is being sincere when she says it was a very happy birthday, and that she likes the pretty blouse my sister and i picked out for her,
but as a mom myself now, at 42 1/2, with two young children -as mentioned and hinted at in earlier blogs regarding my dad-
i just have such a deeper apprectiation and greater understanding of all she's (he's/they've) done for me (for us) over the years, and
and when i consider it.. when i let it all in... i'm so overwhelmed. the unconditional love in sickness and in health. the hand on our face and forehead to check for fevers, the running of her fingers through our hair to help us fall asleep. the love that never wavered before puberty, during puberty, in the aftermath of puberty. (and what a test that is!) the help and guidance with school, friends and boyfriends. the ongoing inspiration and support. loving me enough to track me down and ground me when i crawled out of windows at midnight. the clothes, the gifts, the breakfast, lunch, dinners and homemade desserts. the picnics, the parades, the very special birthday parties. the sending us to hawaii before she had ever seen it herself
and with not much money, but an abundance of love.. she, to this very day, has the most magical way of making each of the three of us, plus her grandchildren
feel like we are equally and unconditionally and enormously, infinitely loved.
to experience, share, pass on this magical love, is probably the greatest gift, write...
but what i really wish, is that i could afford to send her first class to where ever in the world she most longed to see, and for as long as she wanted to see it.
i'm letting this motivate me also, toward financial independence.
it's been a conscious decision on my part the past two years, to budget in whatever way i needed to in order to remain available for my children before and after school.
none of this availability possible w/out the support of my ex-husband, but that support will be terminating soon, according to our agreement.
and i'm just so grateful for the time i've had; we've had. the conversations that take place in between the doing of things like homework, snacks, meals. just being in each others company and presence. being available to help and guide. being available for sick days.. holidays.. and all those days planned, and unplanned, the kids don't go to school. we know each other well, through all these moments combined, and i can literally feel our love deepen and grow. i'm confident i've shared my values and that those values are understood and respected. i'm confident in myself, as a parent, that i've paid (i continue to pay) close attention to each of my children, and recognize and celebrate and love each one for the unique individual they are..
this time i've had the past two years, which has allowed me to parent, to write, to heal, is not a luxury my mom ever knew when my parents divorced. from stay-at-home mom, pta president, kool-aid and cookies after school to
gone to school, gone to work. with us, her three little rascals, shuffled from day care to day care to different day care; and not without consequence.
and it is those memories combined with the experience of having the time/availability over the past many years, and therefore understanding the value of that time/availability in a very real and practical way, that helps me keep focused on my greater goal: to somehow remain available.. through part-time work and a strict budget, for those moments..
for those moments that alone, can seem not so important really, but added together make all the difference in the world and lives of the people who experience them together.
(notices dust on shelves and spots on mirrors on visit to the bathroom) what else then? oh yes!
there is a chronic little ache in me, a disappointment in myself, that i do not have greater stamina for helping my sister with her two children. i often think, that were i not already exhausted from my own life, raising my two children, and being in perimenopause mode
if i were her younger sister and not older, a young-spirited sister with no children of my own yet..
i might have the energy to do more. but my confession to the world is this: i've been operating on the fumes of my back up tank for years already
(oh! look, it's 10:49, i can switch from tea to wine now)
there's no dancing around it. i wish i could do more, but can't. that said, i do what i can. babysit for an hour here, an hour there. help with transportation to and from school, take one or both, one or the other, to the park now and then, on little, short outings, to a play maybe, a movie, or for ice cream at meadowlark and a visit to a local park. it's not enough. so i was glad
this past week, with my children on vacation, me with more open time than usual, that i was able to help for a greater chunk of time. two all~dayers, vs. an hour or two.
9a-2pm. or, 8:45 - 2:17 to be precise. and my nephew had his own sitter, so my only responsibility was my 4 year old niece. my highly energetic, non-stop, go-go-go, go some more 4 year old niece. and i know going in it's going to be a challenge because, just do the math:
and in fairness to her, she has been diagnosed, and has some learning/social/behavior challenges. and in fairness to me, i am much younger than i feel.
and i tell myself on my way over, "you can do it! you can play for hours!" and i always start out pretty strong.. make-believe; dance party; swinging in the backyard; puzzles; more make-believe,
but inevitably i hear my niece say, "auntie sandy.. why are you on the couch? don't you want to play with me?"
and i need at least 1/2 hour rest for every 1 1/2 hours we play. i don't know how my parents do it.. they both take turns babysitting on the all-day shifts, and they don't appear nearly as worn out as i do on the half-shift
anyway.. this past day, i took my niece to downtown livermore, where i thought we could walk, window shop, visit a park or two, grab a snack.. be outdoors on a beautiful morning.
and i notice when she is with me, we turn a lot of heads. that is, she turns a lot of heads. those giant sparklin' blue eyes, rosey cheeks, blond silky bouncy hair. dressed in the cutest fashions by her mom.. her "i own this town and everything in it" little prance down the sidewalks
and the gregariousness of her personality. you'd think she was running for office..
she shakes hands, makes introductions, asks questions, gets answers AND cell phone numbers or email addresses so effortlessly..
and her imagination cannot be topped. here i've taken a picture of her pretending to order pizza from the audacity of hope.
the luckiest auntie in all the world.
"let's pretend like i own horses, and you know me"
"say 'i know you, you have horses'" -she is a wonderful director too-, so i say,
"hey, i know you! you're that lady that owns those beautiful horses!"
"yeah.. i know. i have four horses but one died." she tells me, looking down at the sidewalk, all sad like
"oh i'm sorry to hear that.. how did that happen?" i ask her
"he's was born without four legs. he didn't have any legs. he didn't have any legs, or a nose, or a face, so he died"
"oh my," i say as the laughter slips out, "that is very sad.. no legs, or a nose, or a face.."
"yeah.. but you can ride my other ones.. are you afraid of horses?" (she's recently joined a horse therapy program)
"i'm a little afraid of horses"
"they won't hurt you.. do you want to feed my horse a carrot? i'll give you a carrot"
-pretend like your feeding my horse a carrot!- she directs me,
and so i do. then we switch to pretending like she is a mom, and i'm her daughter; then she's the aunt and i'm her niece; then she's a dog and i'm a dog; then she's hungry and its time to go get a chocolate chip cookie, for real.
and time for auntie sandy to do something new... so we head to my place where she draws pictures for her cousins on the mirror glass doors with erasable markers.. very creative!
and plays for a bit with her cousins legos.. and watches some tv.. and snacks on some grapes.. and ask lots of questions..
and then it becomes my turn to play pretend. -i pretend to be reading, when really i'm trying to lay down and sneak a rest.
worked for about 5 minutes. "where's your flute?" and so i let her play with my flute..
watch as she slobbers all over the mouthpiece trying to get some sound out, but can't quite get the thing to work. "you do it.. you play it and i'll press the keys"
only we can't quite get that to work either, so i come up with a plan..
"you sing twinkle, twinkle, little star and i'll play it" (because that's the only song i remember)
and you know what..
it did not sound like london bridges, or tisket tasket, and it did not sound like nothing at all.
you could -if you wanted to- tell, that this charming team was indeed trying to perform mozart's twinkle, twinkle, little star
and i was SO happy! so proud.. kissed her whole face all over. gave her a great big hug, and..
i had it all planned out so that when her mom came to pick her up, we would surprise her with our special little number.
perhaps we might video tape it and send it to all our friends and family.
perhaps we might even take our show downtown, i thought.
but two rehearsals and she was done and ready for something new. and by the time my sister came to pick her up, i had no stage presence left in me.
curtains closed. show over.
and normally.. with more energy, under different circumstances, i would have mustered up whatever it took to rally my niece and surprise my sister with our enchanting little number
but instead, i barely made it to the door when she arrived, "are you exhausted?" she asks
"yes. i am" ~ i couldn't even politely lie ~
and my niece was tired and grouchy.. and my sister said, looking at my worn out self
"that's what everyone looks like after a day with my child"
and they left for home and i collapsed.
and wondering how she does it.