May, 2012 Archives

The Bad – Ass Big Brother

May 21st, 2012 Permalink

This is my bad – ass, brilliant, book lovin’, bass playin’, Samuel Beckett readin’, Bozo appreciating, French speaking, big brother John.   He was a lawyer and now he don’t care, he’s studying Latin and Greek and Plato.  Look at him, he’s going back to school to be a Greek philosophy professor.  My bad-ass brother don’t [...]

This is my bad – ass, brilliant, book lovin’, bass playin’, Samuel Beckett readin’, Bozo appreciating, French speaking, big brother John.   He was a lawyer and now he don’t care, he’s studying Latin and Greek and Plato.  Look at him, he’s going back to school to be a Greek philosophy professor.  My bad-ass brother don’t give a shit, he just takes what he wants.   Watch him study , ew what’s that a book of Latin? Ew look he’s reading things and playing the bass – whenever he wants.  Look there’s a class full of students half his age.  You think my big brother gives a shit?  No, he just goes in there and blows the rest of them away.   He doesn’t care about a bunch of 20 year olds , he just takes what he wants.  And what does my bad ass brother study for the next 3 weeks?  Latin.  The bad-ass big brother.

Happy Birthday John – You’re “badder” than the Honey Badger.  Love your sister Suz

I know you’re there Mom

May 14th, 2012 Permalink

It’s hard to believe that shortly after this wedding photo was taken, this beautiful creature (my mother), ran out of her apartment in the middle of a weekday, in a panic.  She blazed down the street to a drug store to buy a pack of cigarettes and then ended up at the home of an [...]

It’s hard to believe that shortly after this wedding photo was taken, this beautiful creature (my mother), ran out of her apartment in the middle of a weekday, in a panic.  She blazed down the street to a drug store to buy a pack of cigarettes and then ended up at the home of an older neighbor who was having a gathering with her friends.    They comforted the new bride saying, “Oh honey, you’ll adjust”… or so the story was told by my mother, Virginia.

I love this story because it helped me understand some of my own angst after leaving college.  A close friend and I often talk about this “scene” that was my mother’s in the early 60′s.  Not only does it remind us of Edvard Munch’s painting, “The Scream”,  but it helps us to relate to our own struggle with identity and what it means to be a woman in this era.  My mother was a beautiful, happy bride, but she was a also a thinker.

Virginia Keller studied philosophy and theology in college and she was ahead of her time.  She rejected a handsome, athletic suitor from her hometown when he  proposed to her while she was in college.  She had other plans.  She met and loved my father, but decided to separate from him to go to graduate school in Chicago and  she lived in Lincoln Park in an apartment way before it was “hip”.  Instead of walking down the aisle by herself, she walked to the alter, hand in hand with her groom.

My mother never had a chance to finish her studies.  After a year or two, she missed my father, but men were not allowed to live in the dorms with women students.  Men, on the other hand, were completely free to bring their wives to live at school with them.  So my mother made a choice.  And that choice sacrificed a bit of who she was – no, a lot of who she was.  She loved my dad  and she made the commitment, but then was reduced to running down the street for a pack of smokes while my father was at work.

My mother has told me that she began to feel better when she started taking classes again and while working at a local church’s early childhood program.  But she claims that it was motherhood that brought her the most joy.   “I never even thought I wanted children,” she has said, “but once you guys came along I was on cloud nine.”

Lucky for us, we had her for a mother and we also inherited her philosophical side (the good and the bad).  When I was about 7 or 8 I remember sitting on her lap in a total panic.  I asked her, “Mom am I here, am I here?!”

She said, “Of course you’re here.”  I replied, “But how do you KNOW I’m here?”  I felt completely alone.

She continued to comfort me, “Because I see you, and feel you, and love you.”

This didn’t calm me so much, senses just didn’t seem like “proof” enough.   She just sat there reassuring me until I got hungry or something.

Now I know that whether  I’m “here” or not, that beautiful woman’s face, hands, warmth are always there looking back at me and reminding me that you don’t have to run out your door for a pack of cigarettes when you have an existential crisis.  You just remember the woman that reminds you of who you are.   And in return, you should remember that before that woman was a wife and mother, she had dreams of her own.

She’s a Flame Thrower

May 4th, 2012 Permalink

Thanks to photographer Shauna Bittle, I attended my first ever luminary parade in Olympia Washington last weekend.  On Friday evening there were flame throwers and artists filling the streets until the final parade of luminaries at 9:30.  The praying mantis was definitely a hit.

Thanks to photographer Shauna Bittle, I attended my first ever luminary parade in Olympia Washington last weekend.  On Friday evening there were flame throwers and artists filling the streets until the final parade of luminaries at 9:30.  The praying mantis was definitely a hit.