Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Dark Muse

Gabby came back from her visit to South Africa a couple of weeks ago.

This brought a huge sigh of relief to other friends of mine who have been floundering in the fertilizer of my personal growth since she has been gone.  (As if they haven't had enough fertilizer of their own to deal with lately; tell me, is it only Lawnton that has had a sale on fertilizer recently or is there really something to this 'Venus in retrograde' business?)

There have been huge tectonic shifts on the personal growth here, but the afterschocks remain.

My core, thank you for asking, is stable.

I have learned to step back, I have learned that not everyone has to like eachother (or even me!) and I have learned - lo and behold - that I am NOT the centre of the universe...and that, Lori you are right, it is not always all about me.

What a relief.

That this is all a gigantic, smelly load of self-indulgent fertilizer hit home when Gabby came back with stories from South Africa.

I am so blessed.

In another life - in this life, in another place - that could have been me. 

This is an educated white woman who went to teach at her local black highschool.  This could have been me.

This is a woman who was brutally gang-raped by her students.  This could have been me.

These are young people who butchered their teacher by hacking off all four of her limbs after the rape.  Could that ever have been me?  Or my boys?  Could my family - raised in different circumstances - have become this bestial, this savage, this less-than-human?

This woman - and these boys - are alive today. 

And I realize that I have five children to raise in a world that allows children to become less than animals.

I realize that I have been blessed by circumstance, that I have been given the gifts I have been given, and that these gifts carry an obligation to do better than most.

I owe it to myself, to my children and to our savage world - I owe it to my dark muse, HIV positive, missing four limbs, and most likely a shattered shell of a human being- to do more than the average person because I have been given more than the average person.

Do I fit in?  Absolutely not.

But I do feel that I can finally leave the self-perpetuating cycle of highschool mistakes behind me (every adult female group that I have been part of has been a repeat, in some way, of highschool!), that I am strong enough NOW not to worry so much about what other people think of me, that I am wise enough not to waste my time on things I can't control (including the past and the future!), that I am learning to be like the lotus.

I'm not doing it for my dark muse.  She just reminds me of what might have been.

I have an obligation to my children, sure.

But I am doing it for myself.

I have been given gifts.  I CAN do more than most.

And damn it, I have four limbs and an intact soul; I am not going to let trying to fit in with everyone else stop me from achieving heights that I was meant to reach on my own.


Sunday, May 27, 2012

Aidan on Christ Church

Christ Church is a city in New Zealand.

A year ago the earth was shaking.

This is called an earthquake.
A lot of buildings fell down.

Lots of people were hurt or killed.

Other people tried to help them.

In the museum we saw a movie where people told us about the earthquake.

One man saved all the kids from the school who were in the pool having a swimming lesson.
The earthquake made the waves very high but he saved all the kids, not just his own.

Today, builders are fixing the buildings that fell down.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Matthew on Christ Church

As promised, Matthew's account of our trip to Christ Church. 

Done on good old-fashioned poster board... and replicated here.

Last Wednesday my family and I flew to Christ Church, New Zealand.

On Thursday we all walked into Christ Church.

We saw many buildings that had fallen down in the earthquake.

But some parts of the city are already rebuilt.

We helped rebuild the city out of Legos.

On Friday we visited the museum and we saw a movied of the earthquake.

We saw a building fall down.

We also saw the firemen and police and rescue workers who saved many people.

We ate healthy fruit icecream in the new part of town.

Christ Church is a beautiful city.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Instead of Writing....

Some of the sixth grade work I am doing with Ryan.
This week, persuasive advertising.
Next week, photovoltaic cells.
I think I can scrape a "B" on this one (not enough simile or metaphor but we only had tonight to do it!) but I'm hoping she can pull off the p-n diode explanation on her own!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Somewhere between "feminist vegan restaurant in Connecticut" and "Gilhooley's Bar and Pub" lies the vast gulf that separates me from all things Lawnton.

I fit in - but still stood out - for approximately six years of my life; the first six years I spent as a child in Germany, before I knew there was anything else, but where people were still impressed that I had an American passport and was being raised bilingually.

The Americans in Stamford beat the crap out of me that first year.  Mark and I were the only white kids at Hart School that weren't either Italian or Irish Catholic or possibly eastern European. 

That was the year I decided I wanted to be "by the people, of the people and for the people."  Fitting in in public school meant I was American. 

Until my dad finished his residency and we moved to the north side of Stamford and a better school.  There we were the German kids again.  In the middle of wealthy Jews.  Ja, that worked well.  I remember wearing my deirndl to school and being called "Nazi" in the girls' bathroom.

I didn't know what a Nazi was.

Connecticut has the privilege - or did a few years ago when I read the article - of being the U.S state with the largest disparity of yearly income.  Greenwich, always one of the richest, if not the richest, towns in the United States, had an annual average salary of $650,000 a year.  $650,000.  A year.  Average ANNUAL salary.  Say what you want about the falling US dollar; that's still a lot of money.

Bridgeport, Connecticut had an average annual salary of $18,500 a year. 

New York City, of which all of these towns can be considered suburbs,  about the same distance away from where I grew up as Brisbane is from where I live now, is the most populous city in the United States.  Over 8 million people live in NYC alone.

The New York metropolitan area, also known as Greater New York, or the Tri-State area, consists of New York City and the surrounding region. It is the most populous metropolitan area in the United States (including both the Metropolitan Statistical Area definition and the Combined Statistical Area definition) and is also one of the most populous in the world.[1][2][3] It includes the largest city in the United States (New York City), the five largest cities in New Jersey (Newark, Jersey City, Elizabeth, Paterson, and Trenton) and six of the seven largest cities in Connecticut (Bridgeport, New Haven, Stamford, Waterbury, Norwalk, and Danbury). The total area of the metropolitan area is 11,842 sq mi (30,671 km2). As a center of many industries including entertainment, finance, news media, and manufacturing, it is one of the most important regions in the United States and the world.

I've stolen that directly from Wikipedia.

There are more people in the small area of the United States that I grew up in than there are on the entire continent on which I now reside.

I'm not saying that I don't want to be "by the people, for the people and of the people" in my new country.  I've spent my life trying to fit in.

I'm not saying that growing up a rich white girl with well-educated upper-middle class parents - the real deal with yearly family vacations to the Caribbean, the grandparents in Florida and with two Ivy league educations - was tough. 

What I'm saying is that I might not fit in anywhere by now.

And what I'm learning is that that's quite all right.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

April Photos

For mothers - and fathers - and sisters and brothers - who absolutely adore my writing of course, but are wondering what I have done with the kids.  April in pictures.

April 1.  Our fool turns 10.


Five out of seven on the water on April 1. 



Two cool!

A mermaid and her merbaby.

Aidan learns to jet ski.

Matthew too.

Andrew's birthday present.

Still two cool.

Matthew and bike.

Andrew on the go.

Easter at Dicky Beach in Caloundra.

Easter surf for Aidan.


Back for more. 

April 10 at Wet n Wild.  Exhausting.

Ryan rides.

A boy and his kangaroo.
Looking good.

The bees.

Andrew in action.
  This week, Christ Church.  With essays written by Aidan and Matthew.