Friday, July 29

Supreme Court Newbie

The Supreme Court does not have a lot of turnover, and the last couple of decades have been even more consistent. Not since the 1820s has the court gone so long without a change in face. As this is first change in the court in my adult life, I have been interested in where it is going. From what I have gathered, the new Supreme Court nominee, John Roberts, is the greatest thing since the invention of disposable diapers! Even the generally Bush-critical Time magazine could find no ill to post on this guy.

Which brings me my deep thought of the day. Is the Constitution a "living document" or should it be interpreted according to the wishes of the founding fathers? For example, when the guys in white wigs stated that we have a right to bear arms, were they stating that all people at all time should be free to carry weapons? At the time they were dealing with, you know, making and defending a new country. Probably not dealing so much with the meth-addicted crazy dude breaking into the shed next door with his big ol' gun in order to steal my neighbor's priceless scrap metal.

Shoot - here comes another deep thought. This question painfully reminds me of our religious debates. Is the Bible a "living document" or should it be interpreted literally as stated by its first century authors? What was culturally influenced? Is it the letter of the law or the heart of the law that should be upheld?

It's an interesting parallel between two documents that so many people in our country rabidly attempt to keep out of the same discussion.

Thursday, July 28

Feeling a Bit...Overwhelmed

crazy woman
This sign should definitely be posted in my yard today.

Monday, July 25

Oh, Tom, Tom, Tom...

I have resisted the urge to enter any conversation regarding Tom Cruise's recent tirades out of fear of bringing any undo attention to this ridiculous discussion. But, alas, he has forced me to enter the ring. He is clearly insane, brainwashed or a complete idiot. It's a sad time for Top Gun fans everywhere.

Thursday, July 21

Me Tarzan. You Jane.

Tarzan no like pokies We are in the process of raising an ultra-feminine girly-girl and a rough-and-tumble he-boy. Trinity insists on wearing "pretty dresses" every day, the pinker and lacier, the better. "But honey, we're going hiking today." "I won't get it dirty. I promise." Connor, on the other hand, is all about cars, trains and finding hilarity in passing gas. The only place we see the gender roles reversed in them is that Trinity is the adventuresome, rocking-jumping, tree-climbing, hacking-her-way-through-the-forest kid, while Connor prefers to ride in the luxury of a bigger person's arms. "The pokies will get me!".

This week I was reminded that we are not totally indoctrinating our prodigies with gender stereotyping. The day I forgot our diaper bag, my friend offered her girls' pull-ups for Connor, the pink Dora ones, to be precise. We quickly responded, "No problem. He won't care. He likes Dora." Allan added, "He's comfortable with his sexuality," to which my friend responded, "I've noticed that." Hmm...what did she mean by that? Oh- we realized she must be referring to the way he carries around a pink blanket and has had a pink pacifier and sometimes enjoys a good session of playing house with his sister.

Today Trinity and I were exploring the many faces and personalities of Mr. Potatohead. It was time to make him a girl. "Uh-oh, Trin, there's no girly arms." "We can use the muscle arms, mom. She can be a strong girl! She can be a strong, firefighter girl!" You, go girl!

Sunday, July 17

Today's Quote

After a very long day with one sick child and one working desperately for attention, a thought from Frederick Buechner:
What man and woman, if they gave serious thought to what having children inevitably involves, would ever have them? Yet what man and woman, once having had them and loved them, would ever want it otherwise? . . . To suffer in love for another's suffering is to live life not only at its fullest but at its holiest.

Friday, July 15

I Am The Huntress

I have recently rediscovered the joys of the garage sale. As a child who was relegated to wearing thriftstore clothes and eating government cheese, I think I have some unresolved issues regarding sifting through another's throwaways to make them my own. My mother, though, is a professional bargain-hunter, and, since we are temporarily living with my folks (another long entry for later), she has taken me along as the yard sale season gets into full swing.

Today we hit the jackpot! We found the elusive quality yard sale (actually more than one!), where the products are in good, working condition, the person selling isn't a total grump and the prices are actually a deal. But, as I have learned from the master (i.e. mom), it is essential to barter for a better price - no matter what.

Walking up casually to the table with my newfound treasures, seeming disinterented so as to retain the necessary power for the upcoming duel, "So, the child's desk says five dollars, this tiered candle holder three dollars and the children's books equal seventy-five cents. How about seven dollars for all of it?" "Let's say eight," is the quick response from the nice, slightly-sunburned yard sale lady. An equally quick parry flies from the confident buyer, hiding surprise at the bold counter made by this obviously experienced warrior, "Okay, eight...if you'll throw in this Madeline mini-lunch box." "Hmmm.., " The seller quietly considers this unexpected move and finally accepts the inevitable defeat. "Okay."

It's a thing of beauty.

Thursday, July 14

Stupid Google.

I thought I would google a few of my friend's names to see if any of them were bloggers who have been holding out on me. My friend, Stephanie, has a "not-a-blog" page associated with her work that has some light-hearted observations on her world.

Sidenote: Hey, Steph- you are #1 on google. Congrats! I don't know if that actually means anything, but Allan was sure excited to be the top Allan White--above Allan White the preacher, Allan White the attorney, Allan White the Phd. chemist, and even Allan White, the drummer from YES! Oh, I am so humiliated. I just googled myself in order to have some bragging rights of my own. I'm not even on the first page! There is some celebrity photo of a "Kristi White" (you ever heard of her??), and, ack! that is some 80's hair! How did she get in above me and my cool blog??

Focus, Kristi...So back to Stephanie's blog. I am new to this whole world of blogging, so I may be breaking some cardinal rules here. But I have to share this story she posted. If I had been drinking milk, it surely would have gotten snorted out of my nose.
For weeks now I've been *almost* grabbing my hair spray instead of my deodorant spray when reaching to put on my deodorant. I even moved them to totally opposite sides of the cabinet so even on autopilot I would know left = deodorant, right = hairspray. Gradually the deodorant moved to the right side as well... not even sure how or when. But this morning I gave myself a full on spray... only to pull it out from under my shirt and see the *pink* can of my hairspray container. Ugh. Sticky. Whelp, at least my underarm hairs will stay in place. LOL.

Wednesday, July 13

The Battle of Sri Lanka

This last February I had the great prilvege of going to Sri Lanka, a small island country located just south of India. Sri Lanka was devasted by the tsunami that hit that region of the world in December. I was chosen to join an international delegation of play therapists who were tasked with encouraging kids and families through play, teaching coping skills and offering hope for the future to people who had lost so much.

This week I have read with a heavy heart many reports that indicate that Sri Lanka is heading back to a time of war. The Tamil people in the north and east had been in battle with the majority people, the Singalese, for over twenty years. In 2001, a tentative cease-fire was reached between the groups. The fragility of that truce seems to be crumbling now.

It is easy for us here to brush over newspaper articles or ignore news reports (if there are any) about countries like Sri Lanka, Sudan or Afghanistan, especially if it is an internal battle being waged. Now for me there are faces and names and friends and memories that accompany the reports out of Sri Lanka. Those beautiful people (their smiles are amazing) were so hurt by the betrayal of the sea; they lost so much in possessions, jobs, family, friends, homes, school and security. Now to face war on top of that recovery. It must seem like too much to many. It is too much.

Sunday, July 10

I Have a Headache

Almost every Sunday afternoon I am wolloped with a terrible headache. What is that about? Today is no exception; I am on the brink of a migraine. There's no reason for that! It should be an afternoon of lounging comfortably with the Sunday paper spread all around, snacking off of a plate of fresh fruit (this is my fantasy so I'm leaving out how my kids would undoubtedly be climbing all over me, spilling my food on cream-colored carpet). Am I allergic to Sundays? Does my body so react to the "downtime" of the weekend or is it dreading the week ahead so much that it collapses in on itself? I don't feel stressed. Ridiculous.

Friday, July 8

How to Help Africa

In the last five minutes I just read two polar opposite articles on how to best help the poorest countries of Africa. With the ongoing G-8 Summit and last week's Live-8 Concert bananza, this is a hot news topic these days, to say the least. As someone who has friends and family who live in that beautiful part of the world, it is more than a theoretical exercise to work through.

Time Article with Tony Blair

Spiegel Article

Neither response proposed in these two articles seems wise: Blair's answer to flood with overwhelming funds those countries whose corrupt leadership make a habit of procuring relief for their own gain or Shikwati's suggestion to totally ignore the issue, allowing African countries to "learn on their own" and build trade within their continent. Why does either believe that giving tons of money or taking away all relief will change the hearts and practices of leaders so drunk on power? Money isn't the answer here. Corruption cannot be tolerated as the acceptable form of government. I don't think it is our job (non-Africans) to force the change. There are decades of tradition that allow for this system of corruption to continue to flourish unchecked (I must point out that I do not mean to imply that all African leaders are corrupt). I don't know what the answer is for how they can internally alter their leadership to allow for healthy growth. Giving or keeping back money is the easy fix for the rest of the world, but I don't think it will make a dent in the needs of Africa.

Dream a Little Dream of Me

I had two disburbing dreams last night. You know, the kind that put a little funk over your mood even once you are up in the morning?

In the first one, Allan and I were at a reunion from our college, Harding University. It was fun to see people, even in my dreams, who I hadn't thought of in almost ten years. He and I were both talking to old school folks when I realized we had misplaced Connor. I began the search in a huge convention center area, trying to appear calm and dignified to my old peers, inside panicking in terror. I came across my mom who told me that she had seen Trinity riding a tram by herself. Allan had left her sleeping in the car, so I realized, in horror, that she must have woken up and began looking for us. I was overwhelmed with the terrible collection of fear and guilt! As a parent, a lost child is one of the worst possible scenarios to endure.

The second dream was short, but very disturbing. Allan was leading singing at PUMP, when mid-song he just stopped. He looked awake, like he was just trying to remember the next words to the song, but I knew something was really wrong. No one seemed to know what to do; they all just sat there, waiting uncomfortably for him to keep singing. I asked one of the men to take everyone outside, someone else to take care of our kids and another to call 911. I knew he was dead. I woke up hyperventilating and was unable to relax myself back to sleep.

Dreams are bizarre, aren't they? I am fascinated by what happens in the subconscious to produce these fascinating, disturbing, exciting movie shorts. Is it my fears coming forth? I can say, very confidently, that these do not express my desires! Maybe a good game of hide-and-seek or a story with Mickey Mouse will blow away the little dark cloud that joined me last night.

Monday, July 4

Happy 4th!

I was reading an article in Time yesterday about the Live-8 concert and the upcoming G-8 summit. The guys being interviewed (Bono & friends) talked about how the one critical missing link in their mission is the U.S. America, through Bush, has given more to African nations than any other time in our history. Yet, they emphasized, the U.S. was starting from such a low bar that we only had one way to go.

Something they said stood out to me more than anything else: America doesn't have a lack of empathy; they just don't know the issues as well. I wonder if that is true?

I often am frustrated with the media for being so entranced by gossip news or only talking about what is happening here at home. I have often said aloud, I wonder what was happening in the world today, while all we have been hearing about is _____ (fill in the blank with Michael Jackson, school board issues, NBA draft). I want to know about those experiences; I want to also know what people are experiencing elsewhere. I think traveling the world has helped open my consiousness to the the pain, the joys and the beauty around the world.

So, today, while I am putting together pasta salad and jello, while we walk through the Wisteria Lane neighborhood where my brother lives in order to end up at a community park gathering, while I hide with my son from the loud bangs and bright colors in the sky, I think of the world. I am so grateful to be an American. I love my country so very much. But it's not just about us! There is so much more to this amazing, diverse and wonderful world.

God Bless America...and the rest of the world, too, please.

Saturday, July 2

Getting Started

Starting a blog is harder for me than I thought it would be (and harder than it should have been, no doubt!). I tend to reside on the side of the fence where perfectionism tends to find its home- something my husband insists that I must let go if I am to be a "successful" blogger. We set up this initial page today, and Allan prompted me to get my first post up as well. So I just spent the last thirty minutes looking for the "right" photo to start off this great collection of musings and perspectives.

I didn't want my first post to be a picture of my kids, even thought that is the obvious place to start: I am more than just a mother!To which my father who happened by responded, Not much!Very funny, dad. But he's right. Being a wife to Allan and a mom to Trinity and Connor are the roles for which I am most grateful to have been cast. I am afraid, I think, of having people immediately turn away from my page, if they think that all I can do is talk about the antics of my offspring. But more about my issues later...

After all of that painful deliberation on displaying the right look for my first post, I settled on this. Obviously not a photo; this is an etching that Allan did a number of years ago. It is of "our mountain", Mt. Hood, which is the beautiful backdrop to our home city of Portland, Oregon. This image takes me to a place of comfort, of tranquility. This is home.

I look forward to sharing more images, more thoughts, more reflections that make up the whole of my life. And, yes, I'll talk a lot about my kids (there are enough stories there to fill the Congressional Library). I look forward to seeing where this wandering path will take me.