October 30, 2006

Unseen Haiku

Wind – breaking branches,
stripping the trees bare. While their
roots hold on beneath.

Almost: a six-foot
branch blown free and falling to
earth, standing upright.

(Thank you to the women of One Deep Breath
for their continuing inspiration.
Entry updated on 10-30-06 with a photo & new haiku.
"Back to Work" has also received a photo "upgrade.")

October 28, 2006

Bedtime Stories

Oh, the places we go!

Bedtime stories are an absolute staple of our family life. There are books everywhere. And, beyond that, D is particularly fond of what he calls "true life stories," and asks for "one where someone gets hurt, or is in trouble, or something like that."

One time, concerned about the impression this might be making, he explained: "It's not that I like that the bad stuff happened. I'm just interested of it."

In fact it was this endless appetite for true life stories, coupled with my friend Fred's example, that inspired the My Life In Stories project.

These days, though, I'm madly working on a story for my niece, T. She commissioned it with a request for a story about "a tomboy witch." It's not finished yet, but here's the beginning:

“Newts!" Tanali swore. Her stupid bangs were always getting in the way. "There oughta be a spell," she muttered to herself, pushing her wavy brown hair back behind her ears for what felt like the squillionth time that afternoon. Looking down at her father magicking the garden's unruly hedge back into some semblance of order, Tanali sighed, tossed a tadpole out the open window into the pond far below, and closed her workbook. She'd had enough Level Two Transformation for one day, anyway.

(Thanks to the good women of Sunday Scribblings
for their continuing inspiration.)

October 26, 2006

Back to Work

I spend my days
at a desk
against a wall
beneath a clock
behind a door.

On my desk
sits a computer,
hinged open and leaning
against a stack
of unopened, unread
paid-for periodicals.

in my life before now
has given me
an expectation
for smooth water.

I catch myself thinking
about the longed-for
day in the no-doubt-distant
future when
it all changes:

the wall grows a window,
the clock stops,
the door opens,
and the weight of the undone

I catch myself.
And then I get back to work.

(Thanks to the folks at Poetry Thursday
for their continuing inspiration.)

October 25, 2006

Stay the Course?

Okay, now that the NJ Supreme Court has kicked the question of gay marriage back to the legislature, how about we pay some attention to the bigger issues at hand?


Update: Well, no wedding bells just yet. The ruling came down as follows....

"Although we cannot find that a fundamental right to same-sex marriage exists in this State, the unequal dispensation of rights and benefits to committed same-sex partners can no longer be tolerated under our State Constitution....

To bring the State into compliance with Article I, Paragraph 1 so that plaintiffs can exercise their full constitutional rights, the Legislature must either amend the marriage statutes or enact an appropriate statutory structure within 180 days of the date of this decision....

We will not presume that a separate statutory scheme, which uses a title other than marriage, contravenes equal protection principles, so long as the rights and benefits of civil marriage are made equally available to same-sex couples. The name to be given to the statutory scheme that provides full rights and benefits to same-sex couples, whether marriage or some other term, is a matter left to the democratic process."

This is similar to the Vermont decision. While the ruling does not legalize same-sex marriage in NJ, it does require that ALL of the benefits of marriage be granted to same-sex couples. You can access the full 90-page (!) document here.

Let the wingnuttery commence. I'm going to go scoop up my boy and get us some haircuts. How's that for a crazy lifestyle?

To The Barricades!

New Jersey's Supreme Court is supposed to release its decision on the pending marriage equality case today at 3pm.

The Court will post the decision here: http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/opinions/index.htm

Will marriage equality be the law of the land here in NJ? Will they kick it back to the legislature? I'm trying to keep my cool.

No matter what, this will bring the haters out of the woodwork. No matter what, a few more dinosaurs will die today. No matter what, my tribe will someday be recognized in all its glory. May I live to see the day.

October 23, 2006

Yugen Haiku

(Thanks to Fabrik Studios for the image.)

Coaxing my mind’s eye,
My father’s words while sailing:
Watch for the wind now.

(Thanks, too, to the women of One Deep Breath
for their continuing inspiration. And a special
birthday cyberhug for my amazing dad!)

October 22, 2006


What did you used to wish for, back in the days when you still hoped that a genii might appear at any moment to offer you your three wishes?

My plan was to wish for the ability to stop time (so I could read more), the ability to read minds (nosy), and total mosquito eradication (duh). Although I worried about the possible ecological ramifications of that last one.

Invisibility never really made it into my top three.

Now, I have no time (coupled life + parenthood + engaging work + political activism + the internets + even more stuff I want to read), other people's minds remain a complete mystery, and mosquitos are likely to start showing up in places they ought not to, courtesy of global warming. But I do have moments when I struggle with the invisibility I never asked for.

Last weekend I traveled to California for my cousin's wedding with my five year old son in tow. People who don't know me reasonably wondered where my husband was. And I had to decide, on the fly, whether to cast aside my unasked for invisibility cloak or not. More and more in these moments, I choose truth over convenience. Because I believe that the public denial of one's loving relationships is bad for the soul. (See also Luke 22, verses 53-62.)

Meanwhile, in the world of science, invisibility cloaks are apparently right around the corner. (Hat tip to AET.)

Wonder if other people will decide it's not all it's cracked up to be?

(Thanks to Mama Says Om for their continuing inspiration.)


If you're lucky, life sends you people who love you and who will carry you when you're tired. With smiles on their faces and love in their hearts.

If you're really lucky, sometimes they'll carry you just for the fun of it.

(Thanks to MamaSaysOm for their continuing inspiration.)

October 19, 2006

Who Gets the Dammit?

D has made a new friend at school who is a year ahead of him. They hang out together in the afterschool program, playing games or kicking a soccer ball around.

Earlier this week, D's other mom got to school in time to see D and his friend playing soccer with two of the older Princeton Friends School boys. It was mostly a friendly ground-based version of monkeys in the middle, with D and his friend signed up for monkey duty.

At one point, though, our little man managed to actually get his foot on the ball. Very exciting! From across the field, his friend let out a howl of dismay. How could D, only a Beginning Schooler, do what he, a first grader, had been unable to do?

Seeing his friend's distress, D yelled across the field:

"Don't worry! Remember last week, when we were playing baseball and you could hit it but I couldn't? That time I got the dammit.

And this time YOU get the dammit, is all!"

Did I mentioned he yelled it?

From here on out, D gets a nickel from either of his parents whenever we swear. "What if you say dammit, and I tell you you shouldn't, and then you get frustrated that you said it, so you say it again?" asked our little entrepeneur. You could practically hear the "cha-ching" sound in his brain. "Then you get two nickels," we said.

Stay tuned for our impending declaration of bankruptcy.

And, speaking of dammit moments, my lovely birthday girl sister sent this along this morning. Ouch! Kind of puts it all in perspective.

October 17, 2006

Beyond Hellonika

I've been enjoying artist Nancy Bea Miller's blog for a while now. And she's been enjoying mine! [blushes] So I was thrilled when the stars aligned earlier this month to permit me to attend her latest show down in Philly. Her work in this exhibit was mostly pieces of cake – well, paintings of pieces of cake – with a small basket of cherry tomatoes (behind us in the photo above) thrown in for good measure. (Of course my favorite piece was the one not like the others. So predictable.)

I find her work and her way of moving through the world inspiring. So I was going to blogroll her in my "inspiration" category. But now that we've actually MET, I get to bump her up to "lucky to know 'em." I didn't tell her I was planning to attend, in case it didn't work out, but then, when I got there, realized that I didn't know what she looked like. So I looked for someone who looked like her son (whose picture I'd seen on her blog), and it all worked out. We had a good chat, smiling all the while at the improbability of it all.


Last week, I was talking with someone at my evening presentation in Princeton about the usefulness of Yiddish words, and she mentioned that her grandmother had coined a few words of faux-Yiddish... words that she felt a need for, and so had uttered into existence. One of these words was "hellonika," used to describe the kind of acquaintance who never quite makes it past the point of "hello's"... someone you'd greet, but who you would probably not describe as a friend.

I'm so pleased to have this new and useful word to add to my vocabulary. And I'm even happier to have moved beyond the hellonika stage with Nancy.

Hi, Nancy! [waves, grinning]

October 16, 2006

Simple Pleasures Haiku

Gardens at first light:
full of busy workers, but
even snails take breaks.

(Thanks to the women of One Deep Breath for their continuing inspiration,
and to my son, who insisted that I take a picture of the resting snail.)

October 12, 2006

Civic Duty - NJ Edition

Soweto residents waited for hours in the burning sun for the opportunity to vote in South Africa's first all-race elections in 1994.

What will you do to vote?

Do-it-yourself voter registration form here (last day is 10-17!).

Request an absentee ballot (in NJ you don't need a reason other than "I'm busy!") here.

Get answers here.

Please at LEAST make sure your voice is heard.

October 11, 2006

Adjust Your Browser?

I have no idea why my blog has gone photo-free for viewers using Firefox.

But I'm pretty sure it's not your fault. Or mine, for that matter.

Fire up Safari or surf on over to my Flickr site if you're feeling deprived, and if you've already made the move to Wordpress, tell me how you did it!

Oh, and happy National Coming Out Day. I'm gay. But I'm fresh out of people to come out to. So if you're new to the blog and this came as a big news flash, thanks for being there for me. :-)

October 09, 2006

Countryside Haiku

Intent on their work
Surveyors taking sight lines:
Two deer on "our" street.

(Thank you to the women of One Deep Breath
for their continuing inspiration.)

October 04, 2006


Chess Grand Master Glen Bady came to Princeton on Saturday to play 20 amateurs simultaneously at our public library. The vibe was impressively cheerful for a roomful of people who knew they were about to get their hats handed to them.

It was especially exciting to see some of the smaller guys hanging in there and holding their own.

I see more chess in our future.

October 03, 2006

Autumnal Effects

I am careful of spiders. Someone told me at just the right moment in my childhood that killing a spider is bad luck, and that, as carnivores, spiders are usually busy trying to kill bugs that we like even less, so... I try not to mess up their work. I have never intentionally killed a spider. Mosquitoes? Moths? You bet. But not spiders.

Yesterday morning, on the way out of the house, we accidentally walked right through an impressive web, leaving it in tatters. D was upset. I explained to him that the spider would probably make another web that we could look for the next morning.

This morning, the new web was even bigger than the one we'd accidentally destroyed.

Why does it need to be so big, D wanted to know. Well, spiders have to work pretty hard to catch their breakfast and lunch and dinner every day, I said. And as the weather gets cooler, fewer bugs are flying around for them to catch. So maybe in the fall their webs need to be bigger.

As is so often the case, I was making things up. I have no idea if autumnal spider webs are bigger than summer webs. But it does seem as though late-flowering plants go through a burst of productivity just as we head towards that first defining frost.

How about you? Are you experiencing a fall-induced burst of productivity? Are you squirreling away your acorns? Or are you planning to proceed directly to hibernation?

(Check out Mama Says Om for more musings on fall.)

October 02, 2006

Book Tanka

I was only three
when my mother bought the lamp.
The salesman, smiling,
asked her, did I read a lot.
No (smiling back), but she will.

(Thanks to the women of One Deep Breath for their continuing inspiration.)