Pictured here: a stone that my friend and client, Ben Bording, spontaneously carved yesterday. He called it "Tana in the Sunshine," and surprised me with it when I visited his family. (He's a landscaper, and I'd link to his site, but it's under development and in transition.) This sweet gesture is kind of the theme of the week: people have said and done and offered the kindest things lately.
Yes, it really has been two months since I wrote here. This week must have been some kind of watershed, because I got a bunch of e-mails from people who miss me, asking if my absence was because of "fabulousness" or "otherwise."
"Otherwise" it was.
Things are much better now, hence the title, but the winter was rough for us all. Mostly financially, as one of the people responsible for supporting the child (his child), who lives with us, completely flaked. (And is flaking still, thanks so much, Mr. W, and see if I care if someone tattles on me for making this public.) So priorities shifted, and I couldn't (and can't) really justify the expense of driving all over to farms, not with gas at an all-time high, in a car that gets 15MPG. (I love my Volvo, and it was a gift, but it's just a gas guzzler.)
The supergood news is that Logan's mother continues to be fabulousness incarnate, and she just gets better and better. She's looking for a new/improved job, and a place to live so that Logan can have overnights with her. This is major progress rewarding the hard work she's done to improve her life. She's really a beacon for a lot of people, and we are so proud of her. Not a day goes by that she doesn't thank us for everything we've done, and everything we continue to do, for Logan's happiness and growth. I have to say that being the recipient of sincere gratitude feels great.
Here's the little kook himself.
Logan turned four on January 30! His mama had her birthday yesterday, and we had a lovely family dinner, with my ex-husband dropping in. (And sad news there, as his wife bombshelled him with her desire for a divorce. Actually, she bombshelled us all. We are still reeling, but the good news there is that they're all moving back to Santa Cruz to co-parent, which is great for his boys and great for Logan.) In case I haven't mentioned it, my ex-husband is the most golden-hearted person I know, so we are glad he and the boys are returning.
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On a broader scale, one thing that has inspired our family (circle of family and friends) is Barack Obama's amazing and wonderful candicacy. Up until a week before California's primary last month, I was poised to vote, tepidly, for Hillary Clinton. Then Bob showed me some of Barack Obama's speeches, and I listened with my entire being. Bob told me what he believes: that it's so important to move in a new direction in our country, and not fall for the promises of any campaign politician. (This became a "done deal" when I found out that HRC has accepted more money from lobbyists than any candidate in the country—more than every Republican...more than second-place runner, John McCain, by over $300K. That is really all I needed to know.)
The night that Obama's campaign contributors topped the one million mark (that's one million people, not one million dollars), I stayed up until 2:15 in the morning. I felt as though I were watching the lunar landing all over again, honestly. I felt young and hopeful and proud.
What I distill from Obama is that we are being asked to be the next America's Greatest Generation. For the youngsters, that would be the people who made so many sacrifices in the Second World War. Victory gardens and recycling were just part of it.They lived willingly under strict rationing, and no sacrifices were too small or too large. The result was an unflagging and deeply rewarding feeling that America was Doing Good in the world. And frankly, I'm ready to feel that way again. I'm sick of dynasty politicians and dynasty wealth. I'm tired of the rich getting richer. I'm sick of corporations ruling and brainwashing, and I'm sick of people having no reason to hope. I want to feel part of that greater America, and I believe we can do it with the "once-in-a-lifetime" leader that Barack Obama is.
And I will happily pull the ears off of anyone who thinks I am a sheep or anything of the kind.
• • • • • • • • • • •
We tell Logan all the time, "You're here for a special reason. It's more than playing or growing or learning: you are here to help people. You're strong and smart like your Poppy, and you are going to be strong like Superman when you're big. So you can help people." I think we all know how many helpers his generation is going to need. And he is a helping boy. If you don't let him help, woe be unto you. He gardens, he washes dishes, he cooks, he cleans, he does yardwork. "Poppy, I want to help! How can I help?"
I have a young friend named Jeremy who attended Mt. Madonna School. Last year, his senior class had the incredible honor of going to India for a couple of weeks. where they met the President of India and the Dalai Lama. And they visited orphanages and helped. What Jeremy brought home from this trip was that happiness comes from helping other people. He turned away from obsessive video games and got himself outside. He's in college now, and every time I hear what he's up to, it usually involves helping people with projects. He plants trees, he loans out his strength when it's needed. He knows he is tall and strong and young, and he wants to be useful.
Pictured here: the beautiful flowers at Thomas Family Farm's booth at the downtown farmers market on Wednesday, where I dragged myself for the first time in months this week. The tulips below are also theirs.
I myself love to help. I love when I can make a website that is both pretty and useful. I love when I can help my friends find a restaurant while they travel. I have loved writing about the farmers that I first respected and felt in awe of, and then came to love. I love showing photographs of the natural beauty in this world, especially as it reflects their hard work. I'm blessed to have had these opportunities, and hope to create more.
For now, that has to be on a much-reduced scale, since I have obligations to my family, picking up the slack of a slacker. But I will be revisiting one of my favorite places on earth soon, and promise to write plenty. I'm long overdue to catch up with Jim and Becky out at TLC Ranch. How does "3000 chickens" strike you as an eye-popper? They have 3000 chickens. It's surreal to think about.
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Just one more note, to show you some of the work I've been up to while I've been quiet.
The first is a website for artist, Leigh Hyams. The woman is astonishing, and if you have a drop of creative blood in your body (or want a transfusion), go read her essays. Or just feast your eyes. I can add "designed a website for a client who has painted with giraffe poop" to my résumé, heh. (You might recognize some of the books written by her daughter, also my client, Gina Hyams. Her books have been published largely by Chronicle Books, though not the most recent one about nannies.)
Another on-the-fly opportunity arose last week, when my friend and client, chef Suvir Saran, launched his new line of culinary products at AmericanMasala.com. And oooh, my new mortar and pestle arrived yesterday: my first ever. (The saffron yellow one. I am taking suggestions on the request line for what I should make first.) It is an utter joy to hold: it's solid and sturdy and powerful.
I also helped produce (not design) a website for environmental writer, Claire Hope Cummings, whose new book, Uncertain Peril: Genetic Engineering and the Future of Seeds, was released earlier this month. No less a personage than Mr. Michael Pollan blurbed it: "With Uncertain Peril, Claire Hope Cummings offers an indispensable contribution to the debate over biotechnology. She rightly focuses our attention on the seed, and what its privatization and manipulation may mean for the future of food. Without being alarmist, she's written a most alarming book, one that demands our attention."
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: "To predict the behavior of ordinary people in advance, you only have to assume that they will always try to escape a disagreeable situation with the smallest possible expenditure of intelligence." —Friedrich Nietzsche
Along those lines, I hope you are one of the millions of people with the brains to have watched Obama's historical speech on race this week. I grew up in the Deep South, in a community with an equal number of blacks and whites, and I was deeply moved by the courage and kindness in his words. If you haven't seen it, go to YouTube and keep your heart and mind open for 37 minutes. It might change your life for the better.
On the off chance you are a Republican, please check out this piece at HuffingtonPost, written by a Republican who is voting for Barack Obama. ("Republicans for Obama" bumperstickers are on back-order at the Obama online store, heh.) Thanks and a tip of the hat to my friend Maria for that.
Thanks for visiting. Happy springtime, everyone!