Monthly Archives: September 2007

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Stories that happen to me

Why I Love People

On the phone with a new nurse at my medical clinic, trying to make an appointment. She’s asking for the usual information, for which I have the usual answers.

Nurse: Do you smoke?
Blue: No.
Nurse: Do you consume alcohol?
Blue: Not usually.
Nurse: Are you sexually active?
Blue: Yes. [Here it comes.]
Nurse: What method of birth control do you use?
Blue: I don’t sleep with men.
Nurse: Well, hey! That’s a great method!

The Devil in Mrs. Blue

I’m cleaning a commode when I hear a knock on the front door. I peer out the bathroom window to see short people waiting on the step. With yellow vinyl gloves on and toilet brush in hand, I shuffle over and open the door.

Two adorable little girls give me their best photo-grins. The one in front recites nervously, “Hello ma’am I’m Mitzee and this is my friend LooLoo and we’re going around the neighborhood today to encourage blah blah blah . . . “

Good God. She’s clutching a black leather Bible to her pre-pubescent bosom.

When did Jesus start sending little kids out to do the Lord’s work of having doors slammed in their faces?

Sweetheart, I already read the Bible. The King Lucifer version – All Hail Lord Beelzebub! Hearts and tongues! Hearts and tongues for breakfast! My fangs are red with the blood of Girl Scouts! Run now, run from my Toilet Brush of Terror!

“Well, the people who live here aren’t home right now, and I’d better get back to work. But thanks for stopping by. Drink your water, it’s hot out there!”

“OK! Thank you!”

The end.

p.s.: I really don’t think “black leather” and “bible” go well together.

A Guest Post From Queen Mother Ox! All Hail the Queen!

This in response to the post about Rocky turning into a half-dressed wild child on her first school day . . .

“Rocky’s great grandmother Inez told me that I, Rocky’s grandmother once disappeared and the whole neighborhood was out looking for me. When they found me, I was in the neighbor’s dog house–all clothes removed– playing quite happily with a beagle. No clothes were ever found. . .

You know, of course, that as a child, you quite frequently hid and everyone on the farm, within earshot, would search until we found you. You never got far and when we tired of looking, we’d just call good ole Maggie [the family dog] and whatever direction she came from, we’d head that way and find you. Occasionally you were dressed, but your choices were ‘unusual’.

I guess I’m trying to say that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Love love love MOM”

Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day

Arrr!

For the bravest among ye, hoist the main brace and click the link to Accident of Hope for a tale from the scurviest of wenches, Cap’n Trista!

Shiver me timbers, and stuff!

Sign me up, too

We anxious parents dropped off our little baby at preschool today, for the very first time. We left her in a nice pink skirt, pink tee shirt, little brown and pink shoes, all clean and fresh for the day, hair soft and nicely combed, little lunchbox and water bottle over her shoulder.

When we went to pick her up, this is how we found her: out on the playground (basically just an expansive sandbox and toddler ropes course), mud smudged into her cheeks, knees scraped, bugbites everywhere, no shoes or skirt, just tee and undies, sopping wet from having apparently just wallowed in the playground mud puddle. Upon seeing us, she raced away across the yard looking for all the world like a little feral piglet. No hello, no I missed you, just a glance over her shoulder that said it all: Sooooo-eeeee! If this is School, I ain’t never goin’ home!

It’s not exactly a hippie school. The kids don’t run around naked all the time eating bugs; there are no teachers with names like Moonglow who talk in breathy voices about hippie things. Not that I’m against hippie things; I employ many, many hippie things in the workings of my family, coming as I do from a hippie commune. But we wanted a school that mixed just the right amount of hippie with just the right amount of conventional. Apparently, we found it. Rocky’s class is structured, with plenty of room for the kids to improvise. The teachers are all delightful and very experienced. They do all the activities that Rocky loves. They are learning new things every day, about art and bugs and bones and cool things like dinosaurs. And they let the kids play in mud puddles.

I did find it interesting that ours was the only child out there who had ditched her clothes and looked like a little mud-covered ape.

News that has nothing to do with the Badness

Rocky was supposed to start preschool this morning, but had a fever and aches last night, so was banned from class. I realized, as I breathed an unexpected sigh of relief, that she’s excited and probably totally ready – it’s only two half days a week, after all – but I’m feeling melancholy about it. My baby, the one I was going to keep clutched to my homeschoolin’ bosom for the rest of her life, going to learn from another woman. She’ll probably start calling her Mama and asking for her nukins.

I am in the middle of my internship, my foot is still broken and the boot is now making my low back seize up all day long. Did somebody say, “take six weeks off”? My doctor, maybe?

In happier news, Rukan has been asked by the owner/director of the massage school to come and join their faculty! Isn’t that awesome? She got her license there 14 years ago. All we need now is for Rocky to grow up so she can go there.

The really wacky part is, Ru is going to be assistant-teaching my class. For an entire semester.

I’m a little worried about the no sex with students rule . . .

The Flower Man

Somewhere in Austin lives an old hippie named Turtle, who we call the Flower Man. He wears a hat that appears to be homemade, woven of straw, and covered with feathers, old flowers, new flowers, and maybe I’ve seen a plastic lizard peeking out of it. He goes to a grocery store at the end of each day, and gets all the flowers from the flower department that are at the end of their prime and would otherwise be thrown away. The next day, he takes a big basket of flowers all around and gives them away to people. Just walks up, hands you one with a big, warm, grey-toothed smile, and walks on.

Tonight I rounded my family up and made them go to the Save Our Springs festival at Barton Springs Pool, a cold, underground-fed swimming hole that is known by many as the “soul of Austin”. Turtle was there, with a few of his young friends, with tattered clothes and hemp around their necks; they were sitting, listening to the music on the grassy hillside, weaving things. The Flower Man was making tiny little bracelets out of thick green grass.

Rukan told him hello, and he flashed us a big smile, and brought a bracelet over for Rocky. He tied one on her wrist, and one for each of her mamas, too. They were deep green, and he had somehow twisted grass to fashion a little rose on each one. Rocky went over the the Flower Man’s communal blanket and sat down next to him. “Excuse me, may I watch?”

“Of course, darlin’,” he said with the same warm smile. She sat quietly with them, watching. There was a young woman, probably late teens, weaving hemp and beads. She asked Rocky her favorite color (green), and set to weaving a special necklace for her.

I watched Rocky over there sitting cross-legged with the old hippie and his grown-up flower children, and I saw myself, Rocky’s age. Little Blue, in hand-patched hand-me-downs, with soft, light blond hair and a sweet look on her face, a sweet little voice, tiny hands that loved to make things out of blades of grass and acorn tops, who talked quietly to garter snakes and learned the whistle-language of Osprey and how to pee standing up in the field. Dirty and barefoot, “hardened off” as my grandmother called us. “You’ve got to eat a peck of dirt in your lifetime.”

Rocky was me, happy and trusting, filled with joy at simple things like grass twisted into a miniature rose. Turtle was my grandfather, doing so much more than entertaining hippie kids – he understood the magic of childhood, had never lost it himself, and was never more happy then when he had a circle of people to sing songs to on his 12-string guitar. I loved that man. My heart still fills with love, swells with it, when I hear his voice, or see him in my mind.

My grandfather gave songs away. He traveled all over with his guitar, his concertina, a car full of instruments. He drew people to him, wove them together with stories about their history. He gave us the gift of his wonder, and his magic. He raised me to believe that I was magic.

Rocky sat with the Flower Man for a good half hour, and helped him weave. The girl gave Rocky her finished necklace – rough hemp, with a few clay beads woven in and a quarter-sized green bangle hanging in the front. Rocky jumped up and ran excitedly over to us – “Look! Look at my necklace!” Her face filled with joy.

Little Blue sat on the front lawn, overlooking the salt cove, with her beloved Pops, and wove wildflowers into his long gray beard. Years later, when she was eleven, he bought her a piano, and she wrote a song about that day. “…you put flowers in your beard, and called yourself a dandelion…”

More years later, grown-up Blue held her grandfather in her arms while he took his last breath, and whispered to him as his body finally, finally died. “I love you so much … don’t be afraid…”

Mama Blue watched her little daughter play with the Flower Man, and remembered. And that night, she sat and wove together words, and cried and cried.

I want to remember myself that way, always.