Sunday, July 3, 2011

an excerpt from an article from portland: the university of portland magazine

i have moved countless times since graduating from college...and never once alerted the university of portland (my alma mater) of my whereabouts, but somehow they always find me.  :)  four times a year, they send me a copy of PORTLAND: the University of Portland Magazine.  in the seven years (yikes, years?) since i graduated, i have thumbed through the pictures of a handful (or two handfuls...maybe...) of times and maybe read four articles, but i actually sat down and read through a lot of this issue (summer 2011).  

 i have cut out some of the more upsetting/disturbing/sadening (not really sure that is the word i'm looking for, but it'll work) parts of the article so that while i think it still drives home its point, it isn't so melancholy that you miss the potential joy that change could bring. 

"Why Do We Say One Thing About Children but Do Another?"
By: Brian Doyle

Why is that?

Because, as you know and I know, they are really and truly, no exaggeration and hyperbole whatsoever, The Future of the Planet.

Because soon enough we will be in their grubby gentle hands and they will be making all the crucial decisions about clean water and wars and health care for decrepit ancient gaggles of Us.

Because we swore and vowed to every god we ever imagined or invented or dimly sensed that we would care for them with every iota of our energy when they came to us miraculously from the sea of stars.

Becasue they are the very definition of innocent, and every single blow and shout and shiver off fear that rains down upon them is utterly undeserved and unfair and unwarranted.

Because we used to be them, and we remember, dimly, what it was like to be small and frightened and confused.

We say one thing about children as a nation and a people and a species and we do another.  We say they are the holy heart of our society and culture and we lie.  We say the words family values like a cool slogan on a  warm flag that wraps protectively around the smallest and newest of us but we let them starve and wither...and live in the snarling streets.

Why is that?

Because even the best of us, the mothers and fathers and teachers and nurses and doctors and counselors and nuns and coaches and other sweet patient souls who listen to children with all their open hearts, cannot hope to reach more than a few of them, and so many of them go unheard, unwitnessed, unmoored, unmourned.

What could we possibly do worse than that?

Because even the most cynical and weary of us in our iciest darkest moments has to laugh when we see a cheerful toddler trying to cram a peach up his nose, or an infant chatting amiably with a dog, or a tiny kid leaping over a tiny wave at the beach and being pretty proud that she showed that old ocean who was boss, yes she did!

Because if we are any shard or shred of the people we want to be as Americans and human beings, we have got to take care of them before we do anything else at all, we have to coddle and teach them, and feed and clothe them, and nurse and doctor them, and house and hold them, and be patient as they thrash toward who they might be if they get enough light and water and song, even if, as they stumble through their teenage construction zones, they thrash mostly against those who love them most...

...I know how incredibly hard most of us work on behalf of every kid we know.  I know more brave and weary people breaking their backs for kids than I can count.  But there are a lot of kids we don't know, lost kids, scared kids, kids who are headed to an ocean of blood and despair.  How can we catch them on the beach?  How can we bend the bruised and blessed world an save them?  Because they are all our kids.  And all they want, all the ever wanted, is us.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

happy 4 year anniversary as a californian to me!

four years ago today, i arrived in california with my kitty and a loaded to the brim vw golf.  i had no job, no dresser, no bed and very little savings.  i lived out of boxes and slept on a borrowed blow up mattress (thank you kindly, josh lee kwai!) for a year!  my amazing big brother had moved across the city from scary (aka: really hot) burbank to west la and found us an apartment to share.  when i arrived, i wondered why he had rented us an apartment on a highway!  now, i realize, that it was most definitely not a highway, just a street named sawtelle (which for you canby folk, is roughly the size of 99e).  i would have never made it down here (and survived) without the love, support and encouragement from my parents (especially my pop), my sweet friend sarah q., and mostly my incredible brother, tyler.

you see, my following tyler around started WAY far back as i can remember, really.  tyler's first job: server at the local retirement home, springridge down the loop of the neighborhood.  my first job: server at the local retirement home, springridge, down the loop of the neighborhood.  tyler's second job: langdon farms golf club.  my second job: langdon farms golf club.  tyler's pick for college: university of portland.  my pick for college: university of portland.  i varied from him a little in the sports that i played, the type of job that i had at langdon and my major in college...but otherwise, i pretty much followed right in his footsteps.  while i sort of doubt that he really appreciated all my copy cat moves, he always put up with them.  when i was a freshman in college, he was a senior.  he took me under his wing, shared his car with me and invited me and my friends over to forty night at his house (as in oe forties...yup...the malt liquor...gross...i never did get anywhere near finishing one). tyler moved south to la shortly after graduating took me another six (?) years to follow that path. but, here i am. :)

after i moved to la, he took me under his wing once again.  he invited me along to functions with his friends, showed me the ropes of living (and driving...those stinking left turns, man!) in la, helped me navigate areas to find a job, furnished our apartment, picked up my slack on rent, cable, etc when i was short (whoops...) and so much more.  without him, i certainly would not be sitting where i am today.  so, thank you, tyler, for always being such an amazing guide and friend.

just weeks after i moved here, i found a job and nearly immediately met anthony.  :)  i knew right from the start, he would be the man i would marry.  after a year of living here, we moved in together and after three more months we were married! (crazy, right?).  i could have never imagined how much my life would change in a mere four years, but i am so thankful for it all.  in four years' time, i have met and married my husband (and best friend).  i was hit by a car while riding my bike (ouch).  i am now the mommy to sofia, my angel baby in heaven and nolan,  my 16-month-old, rambunctious, loving, funny little boy.  i have lived in three different apartments and had three different jobs (my current job of mama being by far my favorite...and the trickiest, at times).  i have found a passion for all things related to pregnancy (well, except the puking part) and motherhood and hope that this passion will some day parlay into a career helping women...i'm just not quite sure what that looks like to me right now.  and i have met some INCREDIBLE people that i am so honored to call my friends, who keep me sane.

before i moved, i figured i would change a lot and perhaps become a super-hip, trendy, high-steppin', fast-paced la lady...the funny thing is, i think the opposite has happened!  i have never in my life felt more grounded and more me.  i wear jeans (of varying lengths) and a t-shirt pretty much daily, i love all things "green," and am pretty sure that most people would think of me as a little "crunchy".  though, i promise you, i still shave (when time allows...hehe) and wear deodorant.  sadly, i appreciate portland, it's greenery, rain, beauty, fresh air, people and uniqueness SO much more now that i am here than i ever did as a portlander (boo...i guess that's what being away does for you, huh?  luckily it is short flight home to visit).  the way i see it, i have the heart (and often brain) of a portlander, while enjoying the benefits of living in southern california. i like the blazers and hate the lakers (and always will...sorry, hubby).  now and again, i crave cool, cloudy days with a little rain, but really love being able to take nolan outside to play almost any day of the year.  i miss walking around northwest portland and running into at least three people that i know, but love that now i can walk to the beach, bury my feet in the sand and wet my toes in the ocean waves.  and i guess it's pretty neat to watch movies and recognize places that i go regularly...  :)

if you had asked me four years ago, what i thought my life would be like now, i wouldn't have had a clue!!  but i wouldn't change it for the world.  now, what in the world will the next four years bring!?  hopefully lots of happiness, love and fun!