Monday, December 27, 2004

Baby's got back for Christmas! Posted by Hello

Myles = Miles Davis? Posted by Hello

Lynne holds still for a picture Posted by Hello

Cousins in color Posted by Hello

Cousins Amelia, Myles, and Carmen Posted by Hello

Cousin Amelia models new clothes Posted by Hello

Cleo loves Christmas! Posted by Hello

Grandma Diane watches who's been naughty and nice Posted by Hello

aaron shows excitement at a new book Posted by Hello

Christmas Eve at Grandma Diane's Posted by Hello

mjae wears festive shoes, kicks back, & rakes in the goods Posted by Hello

Santa reaches deep Posted by Hello

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Poem as a Daughter


Father’s day comes,
and the girls sit tribunal at the table.

Dad cooks
pancakes flip as his answers.

We hold our cards
spread evenly in our hands

anger anted, poker-faced

Dad’s being bad again.
He’s not hurting us;
he’s hurting himself,
but it’s more important than we are,
and that hurts.

See, he’s not having sex,
but he’s thinking about it.
Not even thinking about it, really,
but categorizing his experiences,
removing the guilt from his hands
his body from the act
his mind from his family
but mostly, from memory.

It’s just a database –
clinical rows and columns –
organized, precise,
but the boxes fill with names,
body parts,
and each of the rows is numbered.

He adds to it obsessively –
purging and enshrining his memories,
catching himself and his past and his acts
in double and triple binds.

Maybe he told them all he loved them.
Maybe number 49 loved him back.
She wondered on nights alone
what she and her son would fix him
for breakfast when he could finally stay over,
what they would buy him
for the first birthday that passed.
She didn’t know she was just
an aggregate of columns and trivia,
defined by size, interest, and preference.
He never could remember her son’s name,
and he never even gave him a number.

He couldn’t remember our names, either,
but we did retain our birth order.
We conformed perfectly
to the expectations of
eldest, middle, and youngest child
of broken homes.
We excelled to excess,
but we could never make his list.

It is not tempting
to wonder how hard it was for him
not to think of us as women with bodies.
I try not to embrace the irony
of complaining now that he can’t see me
as a woman –
as the woman I am in the world.

It is hard enough for him
to imagine a connection to me
as his daughter
as though he still has time
when the counting’s done
to lay his cards on the table.

Daddy doesn’t take drugs,
but he’s an addict.

His pancakes taste good,
but they always fall flat.

We keep dealing him in,
but all he plays is solitaire.

His daughters are always hungry,
waiting for him to feed them.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Christmas Questions

A Sermon Preached to the
First Unitarian Church
of Albuquerque, New Mexico
by Christine Robinson
December 19, 2004

(condensed by yours truly for

Some people look for answers in stories, symbols and cultural practices, but I have always gotten more out of looking for questions. Why do we do this, and what need does it fill, and what is the story saying to our souls? These are questions that one could ask about many stories and seasons, but none better than Christmas. In the Christmas story and our Christmas customs are two of the most important questions there are: "Where is God," and "Where is Good?"

The myth of the incarnation suggests to us that the world is sacred and that every human being, even the most difficult, is also sacred. To take this wisdom seriously is to realize that every person has a divine spark; it says to us that every human being claims an ultimate dignity; even the poor, the sick, the incompetent, the hard to understand. And the incarnation challenges us to see that that dignity is honored in all of the institutions of our world; to work for justice, to love, to help. It challenges us to find the best, the divine, in all of our neighbors, not just the easy ones. This is Humanistic theology. It, too, is an answer to the Christmas Question.

It also suggests to us that divinity partakes in some of the things we value most in ourselves as humans; the ability to grow, learn, change. This is, once again, contrary to the official theology of God, which says that God is perfection itself; the unmoved mover, the almighty, omnipotent, everlasting, unchanging paragon of every virtue. While there is something at least philosophically compelling about such a perfect God, it leaves us emotionally empty, and is not really kin to our experience of what is good or interesting in life.

If our God is what we most value and care for in our lives, the sum of the highest and greatest and most beautiful things we can imagine, then we are almost required to believe in the Process god, for what I love in life is its changes, what I value in others is their responsiveness (which is to say, their willingness to be moved) and what I most hope for in myself is growth and the enlargement of my spirit. If God is to be the best that I know and the sum of the things I value, my god must be a growing god, one whose essence validates in me what I most value in myself and others. God, the child, is a perfect symbol of such a divinity.

The second of the Christmas Questions is, "Where is Good?", and it arises, not so much from the Nativity story as from the accretion of cultural customs which practically overwhelm us at this time of year. And with good reason. The celebration of the Winter solstice is the oldest of celebrations. It is our way of remembering that we belong to the Earth and its cycles. We are nature. The darkness enfolds us as surely as it enfolds the animals in their dens and the crops in the fallow fields. We humans use our ingenuity to light lamps and fires, to put holiday lights on our trees and around our doors, and in an important sense, these are ways, both symbolic and real, of fighting off the darkness.

Where is God? asks the Nativity story. God is here, the story answers, affirming, then, three things we often believe; that the sacred is here in the world with us; that there is a divinity in the human being, that God is a process, a pushing of growth, rather than an abstract perfection existing somewhere outside of this imperfect world. "Where is Good in the darkness?" asks the culture of Christmas. "Good is here", the culture answers; in ourselves, our neighbors, our children, our hearts. It's in the gifts, and the lights, and the cookies. It's in the sharing, the laughter, and the hope for peace.

Thus it is that the spirit of the season is one we seek to capture and hold through the year, for it is a sense that the sacred is here with us, that the glow of divinity is around us; in us, between us. So, Merry Christmas...and may the spirit of the season bring you joy.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Rumsfeld Admits Not Signing Condolence Letters to Families

Meanwhile complaints about Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld increased over the weekend after the military publication Stars and Stripes revealed that the Pentagon has been using a machine to sign a copy of Rumsfeld's signature onto condolence letters mailed to families of soldiers killed in Iraq or Afghanistan. One mother in Brooklyn whose son was killed last year said "It makes me feel awful and sad. So many families out there have lost their kids, and he couldn't sign to show how much he cares?" Nearly 1,500 U.S soldiers have now died in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The White House continues to defend Rumsfeld. On Sunday Andrew Card said Rumsfeld has been doing a "spectacular job." --

Don't you get it, lady? He is showing how much he cares! He's showing EXACTLY how much he cares. Be glad it's not being delivered C.O.D. Be glad they're bothering to check his dog tags and find your address. Be relieved they're sending him home at all. Remember to send that check to the Republican Party that this hell can continue for four more years!

A Holiday Wish

Today I sent this letter to our esteemed First Man (

President Bush,

You and I disagree on a great many things. I think we both can agree, however, during this holiday season -- such an important holiday of peace and goodwill toward men -- how much it would mean for Americans and for the Iraqi people to carve out one day of peace in Iraq. By this I mean: one day in Iraq without citizens seeing soldiers or hearing bombs or gunshots or helicopters. One day in Iraq without visual reminders of the presence of US soldiers. Just one day, Mr. President, when they won't have to fear for their lives when they leave their homes to buy food. Just one day when the love of their families and neighbors is more real to them, more present, than their fear and hatred of everything the U.S. has come to mean in terms of the threats and dangers of their everyday lives. One day for the children growing up hungry and scared to be able to laugh as loud as they want and not be ashamed at their joy when so many around them are suffering.

All I ask this holiday season is just one day without fear for those we seek to "free" and a whole week of remembering for those of us here in America that our privilege and our distance and our ability to forget their suffering is bought at a much higher price than our global position and personal credit can sustain.

Today, I ask you as a President and as a man and as a lover of what is good in men: Mr. Bush, please instruct your Pentagon to give the Iraqis one day of peace. Ask them to do whatever we have to do in order not to shoot anyone or bomb anyone or scare anyone for one full day. It doesn't seem too much to ask. It's probably inhuman of me to ask for so little but unconscionable not to ask at all. May I be forgiven and my intentions understood.

I ask this in the spirit of healing and renewal that we call by many names.


Mikaela Renz
Albuquerque, NM, USA

Monday, December 13, 2004

Waiting to print

So it's 3:25 am.

Two days before the big community presentation.

Here ensconsed at the office, blinds shut, stealing company resources.

Tired. Very very tired. But strangely happy, too, because the semester's almost over, I'm drinking a coke, and listening to the Shins. Did you know there are no barking sparrows? It was news to me.

In honor of my 49th wind, a poem:

He loves to move
and he’s begun to move me
inching me toward
something I didn’t know I still had

His toes are straight
but mine curl
and I’m unsure whether
his admittedly dexterous hands
can stretch
toe flesh
grow bone
where feet
strike the earth
and propel us forward
toward or away
from home.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Poem as a Sister


We’re using the internet now
to solve family problems –
the sisters fighting
in fiber-optic waves.

One step removed from the passion
that causes us to hurt
our words are chosen
clinical in their therapeutic jargon
that belies the seriousness
of the cancer
our chronic defensiveness
lodges in our bodies.

At best
we love carefully
with fingertips and toepads
pressed to baby-bird shells
in mine-fields of good-intention tulips.

We are mindsets and memories.
Our relationships stagger into the present
from the drunken, repetitive
beatings of our pasts
woven together with verbal fisticuffs
and a hollow disregard for the reality
of a sister’s lived nightmare
that never resembled our own.

Our bodies, separate and unequal,
absorbed the family horrors
in three separate ways:
blocked, volleyed, relayed.

We circle each other and spar
now on the attack
now crouching
now unreachable.

We hunger. We are carnivores.
We eat each other
our bellies never full.
All the while
we hold fast
our true-to-life faith
that we can know ourselves
without each other
know our past
without pain
confront our demons
without shedding the ones dressed
in hand-me-down sibling clothes.

We hunger. We fight.
We splinter into shadows of ourselves
and each other
until each shade of gray
becomes layered as clouds –
filled with unshed rain.

Receivers jammed
we listen in the silence
of an unheard future
to the typos
slipping meaning
into unknown code.

Connection lost
our words transmit one long run-on sentence
into cyberspace.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Long time, no blog

What's amazing to me in this rosy day and age is that you can be totally and completely overwhelmed with all you have to do from minute to minute and yet feel unaccomplished.

Where does this come from?

I mean, I am the first to admit that I have some ... ummm ... issues with perfectionism. And I have lofty goals and high expectations of myself. But even given this caveat, I think it's really hard to make all of these minutes we spend busy busy busy really add up to anything substantial or meaningful or lasting. Maybe that's just me.

My mother, the white witch (not kidding), explained to me that the feeling we all have that time seems to pass faster and faster as we get older is really linked to a universal phenomenon. The earth is spinning faster (or something), and we're losing something like an hour a year. I'm sure the Mayans compensated for this in their mathematical calendar, but as a modern person, I feel woefully inadequate in my ability to fold this loss neatly into my yearly activities. I just lose time.

And so days go by, and I don't have time to blog, or journal, or exercise, or make dinner, or get a new dog -- not to mention train a new dog even if I squeeze in getting a new dog -- or shop for birthdays or the holidays. Every minute seems accounted for.

Thankfully, the transition from place to place, deadline to deadline, is made much sweeter by the new automobile and the assured sense that I'm not wasting as much gasoline or oil as I was driving the truck. Merry sigh.

Other than that, though, I have to say that life at the moment ... blows.

I need new music. And a haircut. But really, who has the time?

A New Friend? Posted by Hello