21 September 2006

blacklists, babies and bathwater

Recently, I was blacklisted (again) from sending email to my friends and family with Comcast email accounts (To my friends and family with Comcast email accounts: if you don't hear from me for a while, this is why). I have gone back and forth with Comcast trying to rectify the situation and explain the misunderstanding.

Have I gotten a little too carried away sharing my thoughts and photos with people I love? Does anyone really even care?
AM I sending spam???

To indiscriminately send unsolicited, unwanted, irrelevant, or inappropriate messages, especially commercial advertising in mass quantities. Noun: electronic "junk mail."

As I've pondered this questions, my answer has been a resounding, NO.

I have never sent JUNK to anyone. I am a human being with human thoughts and interests, human cares and concerns - making intentional attempts to stay in touch with people I care about. I am inviting a discriminate group of human beings to share in my relevant and highly appropriate messages.

In an attempt to deliver us all from Doctor Pharmaceutical, Newton Garza, Reg Herman and every other imaginary cyber-person out there trying to improve our sex-lives and to help us fight obesity, Comcast has cut off the real people too. They have thrown the baby out with the bathwater.

We all do this in our own ways, don't we? One bad experience... one bad apple... our minds, our paradigms, our prejudices and even our inboxes are forever shaped.

I'm just thinking out loud...

a five

I have a lot on my mind today. You'll have to bear with me...

I just listened to my son scream for no reason and every reason in particular... for an hour. Yes, ONE FULL HOUR. I'm not exaggerating. He was mad an he wanted me to know about it. He's teething, he's hungry, he's tired, he wants to be held, he doesn't want to be held, he wants to go outside. It's raining... My daughter is in a lovely stage of bossing and even better, talking back. I actually caught her muttering something under her breath and rolling her eyes at me the other day... SHE'S TWO?!?!?

"I'm hungry... I don't want this... I don't like that..."

A little over an hour later, they are chatting it up with each other over lunch - all fed and full and sweet - without a care in the world. There is no care or concern over the fact that while they've now had breakfast and lunch, I haven't yet eaten a thing (I'm STARVING after a wet 6-mile run earlier today). There is no care or concern over the fact that there are children in our city and all over the world who are sitting outside in the rain this afternoon with no food in their bellies, no beds in which to nap, no stories to read and no one to care for them.

Hold on... more screaming.

When my kiddos go down for their naps in a bit, I will use my "free time" to wash their dishes, fold their laundry and maybe just maybe scarf down a little something and enjoy a few moments of silence before the noise begins again.

I am blessed. I know it. I have a family. I love my kids and I know they love me too. I have friends. I have a home. I got to run on two healthy legs this morning. I get to eat this afternoon.
I get to write. I have clothes to wash. I have a washer and a dryer... I could go on and on and on. My blessings abound.

Even still.

At Judi's House (much more on this to follow someday soon), we check in at the beginning of each group. Where are you on a scale of 1 to 10? Yesterday, I was a 9. Today, it's somewhere a little closer to a 5.

This is one day in my life. This is the life of a mom.

I know there are dads and kids and all kinds of people out there with their "days" and their "stuff," but for five minutes, this is not about them. This is about me. This is about you.

I'd like to send a shout-out to all the moms out there. I love you. I appreciate you. Whether I know you or I don't... Whether you are at a 5 or a 10 or a 2 today, I just wanted to say that I see you and I hear you. THANK YOU for doing what you do and being who you are. You are amazing. You are inspiring.

Enjoy your silence. Enjoy your lunch!

16 September 2006

progress report

A month has passed since I spilled my soul and uncovered the secrets deep in my basement. My decision to come clean has been cathartic, and we've actually made progress, people... some real progress!

Step One: The Piles... CHECK.

We toiled and trudged through every square inch of our basement. We combed through boxes and boxes and more boxes. Each item required a destination. Anything and EVERYTHING had to fit into one of four categories: keep, sell, donate or toss. After just one weekend, we were able to scale down the disaster from this...

... to this (aka the keep pile).

Step Two: The Garage Sale... CHECK.

I borrowed tables, racks, hangers and shopping bags. I bought signs, placed ads, made posters and flyers... I was committed. There was NO TURNING BACK. As expected, I got in WAY over my head in an effort to host Westminster's most organized garage sale. I spent hours and hours cleaning, sorting, categorizing and pricing the items deemed "worthy to be sold." Although I unloaded many of our large items on Craigslist the week preceding the sale, this was my garage at 2 a.m. last Thursday (with just 6 hours to go).

Remarkably, at 7:58 a.m. (after my first all-nighter since college), we were ready with muffins, orange juice and big smiles on our faces.

With Paul on childcare duty, Jill was invaluable!

A slow and steady stream of people scoured through our stuff Thursday and Friday. Over the two days, we contended with rain, displaced signs and other garage sales. Nonetheless, our efforts were fruitful. We were able to donate truckfuls of our posessions to the Cancer Federation and the Parenting Place,we made more than enough money to purchase the shelves and bins we were hoping for, I left the experience distinctly aware of how much we have been blessed with and far more appreciative of our "stuff," and I can now say that we successfully completed our first (and LAST) garage sale!

Step Three: The Shelves, The Storage Bins... CHECK.

...now we just have to unpack, assemble and use them!

Step Four: The Recovery

Honestly, the remaining task ahead is by far the most daunting. Where do we begin??? Baby steps, right? I'll keep you posted.

15 September 2006


As long as I can remember, this has been the story of my existence.

Many times I have looked around and felt out of place. Many times I have felt misunderstood and alone. Am I sad about it? No. It is the world I was given. It is the world I have chosen. I have learned to live and love in this world. In many ways it has made me me.

Recently, we attended an event where we knew and were known by virtually no one. VERY quickly, I was aware of the differences between "us" and "them." I felt out of place. I felt uncomfortable. At first it wasn't that big of a deal, I've been there before. But then came The Look.

The Look. If you are "a person of color" in this society, you know the one I'm talking about. It has been directed toward me (and probably toward you) countless times. I've learned to let it pass (as I'm sure you have), and most times it does. Not this time.

This time, although several days have passed, it continues to burn in my mind. This time I am still disillusioned. I am still disappointed. I am still hurt. I am still angry. No, I'm pissed. This time it was different. This time I wasn't the initial recipient of The Look, I was the witness. This time The Look was directed toward my daughter... then my son... then me.

Today, as I think about it, I'm angry... for so many reasons. I'm angry that in 2006 this garbage still goes on. I'm angry that fear, hatred, judgement, prejudice, intolerance and ignorance continue to endure - that some people really won't change. I am angry that over 3000 Americans died in one day five years ago because of this crap. I'm angry that countless people around the world continue to die EVERY DAY because of this crap. I am angry that too many people refuse to see past themselves, speak without thinking and hate without realizing it. I'm angry about all of the socially, culturally, racially, socioeconomically, sexually and spiritually insensitive and ignorant comments I hear in casual conversation on a daily basis. I'm angry that I don't have a solution to any of this, and it doesn't seem that anyone else does either. I am angry that this woman presumes to know a damn thing about me or about my family based on what she thinks she sees.

I am angry because I am just as guilty as she is.

09 September 2006


This is my brother. He is one of the finest men I know. Thursday, he turned 27.

For two weeks I made mental notes - "Tolu's birthday is coming up... Abi, you have to remember to send a card to Tolu... Today is the day, make sure to call ..."
Yet September 7th came and went. No card. No call. Like an absolute heathen, I failed to even acknowledge the day - sadly, for the second year in a row (I know, I know).

There is no good excuse, really. Plain and simply,
I dropped the ball.

I'd like to make amends. Please join me in celebrating my baby brother. To Tolu... cheers!
I dedicate this post to you. Happy, happy birthday!!