Archive for September, 2009

This weekend I was in this… state of observance, seeing if my hypothesis about love being energy is true… starting with the love energy exchange in my home, between me and my kids.

Now that it’s the three of us we really focus more on one another, and our dynamic has changed. They seem to want quiet time with just me – their need to be entertained has gone down. Maybe it’s because school and sports are stimulation enough, I don’t know.

My daughter wants to sit in the hammock together and read, or kick the soccer ball around. My son wants to play Legos with me and talk about all the levels in his video games. And tell me how things work. He loves to tell me how things work.

The last thing we do every night is have a big, long hug, the “tucking in” that comes after reading together. This tucking in is new – they started asking for it two months ago. They look forward to it. I do, too. Their arms wrap tightly around my neck. They don’t let me go for a good 20 seconds of unadulterated, unabashed connection. When I stand up they smile up at me in that dewy, tired, beautiful way they have. It completes our day.

In the morning the first thing they get from me is another hug. I think it’s always best to start with a hug before the tyranny of the day sets in. The energy exchange is here, too. They are just waking up and don’t mind having mom give them some love, don’t feel “too big” to accept it.

I can see them smile as I approach the bed. They are already awake, usually, but won’t get up or even open their eyes until they get that hug. Their arms swing open to circle me, I say good morning, sunshine and go in for my daily dose of totally unconditional love. Their little bodies are warm and I pull them up to meet mine.  Then they pretend to be asleep for the rest of our ritual. I grab them by the ankles, swing them around until their feet are on the floor just enough to make them uncomfortable.

When I know they’re up, the tyranny begins. Breakfast! Get dressed! Brush teeth and hair! Backpack! Lunch! Shoes! Coat! Bus!


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My parents were Beatles Parents.

Not a lot of The Rolling Stones around.

Not until I moved to Chicago was I introduced to them the correct way, by two diehard fans who follow the band around the world – plan European vacations around their tours. I suppose there are worse ways to plan vacations.

They convinced me not only to go to see the Stones at Soldier Field (I loathe large venues), but to pay an outrageous price to be 50 feet away from Mick Jagger’s oddly large belly button. It was a great show. I’ve not seen a joint passed around an audience since Earth Day, 1990 (probably just because I don’t pay attention).

Lips and Tongue

Lips and Tongue

That’s when I got it. I understood the tongue and lip design. The appeal clicked. The Stones are all sex, all the time.

I have random songs in my Purchased playlist, but hadn’t bought an album until the other day when I heard Under My Thumb.

I love that song. Siamese cat of a girl.

After that song played on random shuffle, I remembered that they did a film recently with Martin Scorsese, Shine A Light, a concert movie, for lack of a better definition.

So I bought the soundtrack from Shine A Light.

Like I said, I don’t have much of a collection.

But this album is excellent (except for when they have Christina Aguilera sing with them. I’m sorry. I’ll just never like her.). Watch out for the song they sing with Buddy Guy if you have kids, because Mick says, “Buddy, motherf(*ckin’ Guy.”

My hand went to my mouth, my kids looked up at me, my other hand went up, and I said, “I can’t even explain that one to you. Just know that if you ever say it you’re dead.”

Maybe that has something to do with why my parents were Beatles Parents, although… I listened to Janis Joplin all the time with my mom and that lady could curse a blue streak.

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Love, Part One

My friend Sarah wrote about love on her site. After some great ruminating on what the word itself means, she writes:

What does it mean to be a Mother and Father? What does it mean to be in love? What kind of loves are valued? What kinds are depreciated? What am I willing to do for love? What do I expect of it?

I wrote a bit about loving my kids not too long ago. Like hers, my post talked about the work of love, and what my children are to me. I went back to that post today after reading hers. The end of mine says:

It is the most curious mix of holding on and letting go I’ve ever experienced. It is love without attachment at its most profound.

So that got me thinking (though what I really need to be doing is making enough salsa for 8 people), and I am probably only gathering these tentative conclusions from a whole body of reading, listening to music or watching movies over my lifetime, but here is where I stand at this moment.

I believe love is, simply put, energy. I believe we turn it up, we turn it down, we redirect or try to contain it. I believe we give it and we take it. I feel it between myself and others, all the time, like a current, a tide, a pull or a push.

It is gravitational, thermal, electrostatic, magnetic, chemical, potential, kinetic — at its most destructive and creative, maybe it could be called nuclear. It is mutable into every identifiable form of physical energy.

The giving of love is a choice we make to give out some of our energy. The taking of it is something we must all do to survive. When people can’t give and receive love, they die on the inside.

There are those of us who believe we have a finite amount. But we don’t. Like energy, love is infinite, there is an infinite supply in so many forms, but it cannot be simply created or totally destroyed.

Love between parent and child, to me, seems to be the most strong, the greatest pull, the purest energy exchange two people can have. I love them simply for being them. They love me for being me. We give and take from each other constantly. We practically glow from it – a single hug can remake an entire day with its energy.

Maybe our energy, our love as adults for one another can never be so pure or strong because we have a lifetime of experience and disappointment making us crank down the amplitude at which we exude, or allow ourselves to give, the love we have to another adult. Adults have baggage. Quirks. Make mistakes, have checkered pasts, give out negative energy sometimes. How can love, how can energy, remain pure and clean, not create pollution in that scenario?

I wish I knew the answer.

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These days I wonder about the wisdom of online life. So much so that I contemplate what to do with what is out there of me, and how frequently I use the web to communicate with people.

First, getting off grid entirely. Extinguishing my online persona, what little of it is out there. I have always been careful about how much of me is “findable” online, having been around the web since the first Mosaic browser I know just how long it can all last – Google me and you will see only Linked In & Facebook, and a listing in a literary journal from 1993. For about a year I made it impossible to find me on Facebook at all (search exclusion).

In this ultra-connected world, I still value my privacy, and would like to think I don’t “put it all out there” online for everyone to see.

Second, I’m downright paranoid about putting too much of myself into anything that other people will ever see, which is why my journal is double-encrypted. This is kind of a problem for a novelist. So in this space I have been experimenting with taking journal entries and attempting to craft them into something of a personal essay, so that I can hone the unfiltered into something another person can understand, appreciate and maybe even relate to.

That’s kind of one of the goals of being a writer. Taking the worlds I create in my head, and putting them out there in that precise way, so that they become important to someone else.

I deleted the entries today, too paranoid, and feeling as though they were just too confessional for someone who likes to deal with their own stuff.

But where does this leave me? I’m not funny enough to simply post innocuous random stuff everyone likes. Am I stuck with status updates like the one I posted today?

“…is shopping in a completely dark Target, contemplating the Wonder Woman Halloween costume. Hot boots.”

(I’m not even kidding. People were shopping with flashlights. The blue squiggly lights illuminated the Halloween costume aisles. I would like to note that it’s September 5. The kids thought it was awesome.)

Third — then there is the other side, the part of me that not only enjoys but needs my friends and family just where they are on Facebook. The part of me that wants to see what Aunt Karen is doing, or what my old high school friends are up to, or photos of the babies long-lost friends recently had. Honestly I don’t know what I would have done during the early days of my separation without those friends and family with whom I was able to reconnect.

Fourth — there is a time problem, here. Spending too much time on Facebook takes away from all kinds of real life activities, but once you are tied into it, you are really tied in. As in, people expect you to check email there, expect you to comment on things, and you come to rely on that interaction, even though the only thing you are really interacting with is a keyboard. It’s comforting. People you know, right there online.

I don’t know what the middle way is, but I need to find it. There has to be something between disconnecting from the Internet entirely (a ridiculous idea), and being online all the time.

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