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C is for Childhood, anointing purity thereof

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Granddaughter holding grandfather, Hayward, CA.

A month’s daily output here has been dramatically interceded upon by a marked jolt to my Pops’ biographical timeline, in the form of another stroke. He has surprised us by being the proverbial Eveready bunny after past setbacks.

Not so, this time.

This afternoon, my daughter took his hand in hers (first holding it alongside my hand, and then taking it into both her own). For minutes upon minutes on end, she stroked the back of his hand, and then his forearm. Put her soft-soft nine-year-old girl cheek against his hand. All the while, smiling at him radiantly, deeply. As if she knew something he and I didn’t quite.  We both looked on in wonder.

(By way of explanation to the children: “Think of DadDad as a magnificent castle, and room by room –  sometimes a whole wing at a time –the lights are going out.”)

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B is for Buddha

Polaroid Transfer Buddha-Old Sukkhothai
Buddha in Bhumisparsa Mudra, Old Sukhothai, Thailand

Buddha, providing me positive role modeling since the late 1990s.

This is a bona fide Polaroid transfer I did of a bona fide analog film slide I took with an actual, physical film camera in 1997, on my beloved’s and my “sweetiemoon.” (That’s non-marriage for “honeymoon.”) We went to Thailand for about a  month following our commitment ceremony. Her brother’s gift to us had been frequent flier miles enough to go anywhere in the world. First class.

Back in the olden days, there were actual physical bookstores, so we went to one (Cody’s, the late great Berkeley institution), sat down in the Travel aisle, and pulled book after book off the shelf. Seychelles? Chile? Thailand, a Buddhist country in which it was reputedly easy for two “unaccompanied” women to travel, won out. So did we.

 

 

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A is for About time

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Girl at dusk, Berkeley, CA.

“A” could be for a hundred and one things, A hundred and one things, but we have to start somewhere. Apolplectic. Amblin’. Anti-social. Agita. Anima animus. But one has to start somewhere, and so thus with About time do I start a month o’ photos, a semi-annual (by which I mean, somewhat annual and not every half-year) tradition here at Casa LD. Casa El Dee, as a reader long ago suggested.

About time I return to this very helpful place. One of my biggest challenges is about time, generally speaking and particularly in an era governed (perhaps ruled? not always benevolently?) by Moore’s Law.

I usually resort to this month o’ photos thing when I’ve fallen to a very low output, which I have as of late. This time around, it is attributable to some of the usual reasons, and other less than usual. The usual: the press of the actual of life  against the virtual, and the increasing challenge of representing the lives of increasingly subjective subjects. The less than usual: some good – such as a big redirect of my online writerly (mostly editorly) att’n to VillageQ, née Lesbian Family; some less than good – such as renewed/ intensified internal familial stressors, stemming from the gentle, insistent decline of an aging father, the difficult-to-process (and -manage) estrangement from sibling, and protracted employment instability. By which we really mean, insufficiency. The stuff of early 21st century midlife living.

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NaBloPo– uh oh

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Fun little story about this button.

So I have a bunch of these buttons, and order them periodically to keep in my pocket, and bring them to places like events or conferences or wherever I feel I might want to spread the good gospel. Give ‘em to friends.

Even strolled up to Jane Lynch her own bad self, the fateful night of the annual NCLR party a few years back when she and her lady love (now lawfully wedded wife, Lara Embry) had met and the sparks first flew. I waited for Jane (I know! we’re on a first-name basis. okay, I am) to finish playing tonsil hockey with her (geez; I think it was her!) on the dance floor (yes I said that, and yes I did wait discreetly), and then I tapped her on the shoulder and gave her one of these.  She looked at it, looked at me, said, “Uh, thanks,” and went back to paying attention to her future spousal unit-to-be.

I saw Jane again back last August in San Diego at an event and gave her another one. Reminded her of the first time, she totally blanked on the moment (shocked! I’m shocked!), and said, “Great, now I have two!”  Oh, by the way, when I told her my blog name, she said, “Hey, that’s what I am now!”  And how’m I gonna disagree with that.

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Thankful

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Thanksgiving table post-repast, Berkeley, CA.

We all went around my brother-in-law’s Thanksgiving table–my own brood, my dad, my mother in law, her old friend, her partner, my partner’s dad, my partner’s brother’s family and his wife’s mother–and said what we were thankful for. Many of us said we were thankful for the Occupy Movement (as ironic as that might have been, from around a well-stocked table in a comfortable, warm home).  All of us who were not retired and of working age were hugely thankful for our full, rewarding, gainful employment. Most of the kids under 12 demurred, though I know their gratitude is big, if fairly tightly woven into need and dependence and hope and expectation.

My dad was grateful simply to be alive and here for another Thanksgiving, and I immediately seconded that thankfulness. I went on to say specifically: each morning when I walk from the bus stop to work, I call Pops, and we talk for the 12 or 13 minutes it takes me to get to my building’s elevator, where the signal begins to fail us. It’s always too short, but he’s a lot more alert during this morning call than he used to be when we talked after I got the kids to bed. The calls during when I’m interruptable by the kids are usually just too hard to sustain.

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Activity list (emergency for cabin fever.)

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Activity list (emergencey for cabin fever.), Berkeley, CA.

My daughter drew this up, in preparation for a recent trip to either the moon, or some distant planet. We haven’t read Le Petit Prince recently; not sure how this space travel notion came to her. But a great, great many notions come to her via mechanisms I can only guess at.

I think this might come in handy for folks considering cabin fever over the Thanksgiving holiday. After they’ve thoroughly perused this fantastic resource from LGBT Map, my new organizational BFF: Talking About Overall Approaches for LGBT Equality. This clear, thoughtful “Talking About” series is of particular use for folks visiting relatives and trying (trying! trying!) to gently, persistently, open hearts and minds.

After that work, and in the event cabin fever sets in, you may want to consult to the above list. For those not familiar with my daughter’s handwriting, please allow me to transcribe.  Spelling left intact.  My favorites are #s 14 and 19, as you, my imaginary friends, might imagine. Item #23 is a sign that, after all, she is her mother’s daughter.

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Goggle-eyed

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Making restaurant patrons ever so slightly uncomfortable in Santa Nella, CA.

He could just as soon be searching in vain for my daily posts for National Blog Posting Month. Which, around these parts, sputtered and degraded into National Blog Sporadically Posting Month, or NaBloSpoPoMo.

All the same, lard love me, I’m still up on the horse. Even if it has paused to pee. And the rest of the herd has long since galloped by.

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ReOccupy Cal

Today, a Day of Action, called by popular vote at the General Assembly the night of November 9, was held. An “Open University”

Please forgive the advert that precedes this 17 minute clip from Robert Reich’s historic–yes, it’s not even a day old yet, and it’s clear it will be looked back upon as historic–speech to 10,000 gathered at Occupy Cal tonight (Tuesday night, Nov 15).  It was the 15th Annual Mario Savio Memorial Lecture, long scheduled for this night, though previously located indoors at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Student Union, which faces the administration building at the other side of Upper Sproul Plaza.

Lest this movement be misunderstood as rudderless or aimless, note that 10,000 were more or less rapt with attention, laughing at side jokes about the Koch brothers.

Here’s the link to the KGO of most of the whole speech on their own page.

Highlights of Reich’s speech:

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