I understand that violence is part of the planet. Even the idea of a big bang is, in itself, a violent action that thrust movement forward. Through history violence has led to new frontiers and without violence I wouldn’t be here. Whether the act of defending oneself or others or the more malicious option of inflicting upon others, violence is inescapable. And, likely, there has always been a part of me that is violent as well. I couldn’t fight and that was always apparent; I was horribly uncoordinated and never have had dreams of putting my fist in someone’s nose, even when I felt betrayed. This is why guns have always made for an unfair fight, they become the weak fist that cannot punch.
Clearly the actions in Connecticut need to motivate people to further look into violence. If we are still working on neanderthal survival mechanisms, then how can killing our young make sense in the primal brain? We don’t sacrifice people anymore so that the corn gods will give us a good harvest, and we don’t have children at thirteen because we live much longer. Societies progress according to what the needs of the people are – and the amount of unfair fights made slaughters by use of sophisticated weapons has seemed to double and triple despite the disgust of society.
I would never assume that violence will be become unnecessary for human beings, it will be. And there will always be those that live much closer to the lines of aggression than others. It’s good as people to discuss this nature in ourselves, the shadow self; we can come closer to being honest and then it won’t be so hard to find solutions. I’m not pushing for a peaceful utopia but I do want response and action when the crime is as horrible as it has been. I want a discussion about the solutions to these crimes, I want people to put options on the table,but most of all I just want it to never happen ever again. Our children are our heart and soul and losing one is the end.
The weather is going to drop nearly 30 degrees today. Its a really strange coupling: humidity and combines still working out in fields. But it fed my imagination as I had recently acquired a copy of a small pamphlet about the Maquoketa Caves, which described how the caves had formed, and more importantly that limestone is actually an accumulation of shells and such from an ancient sea bed when the area that is now Iowa sat closer to the equator, before the continental drift. At that time Iowa would have been at the bottom of a sea. Anyways, I had some time today to get out my sewing machine and re-work some clothes.
I like the movie Pretty in Pink not because of the killer record store that Andie Walsh works in, or Duckie, or even the working class vs. preppie rich kid dynamic, nope I fell in love with the movie when I was younger because Andie Walsh crafted her own prom dress – and it was killer! Or at least I thought, this was the 80’s when lace gloves and all things flower print were sort of the rage. My first forays into sewing were with a single needle and thread where I made Barbie clothes that fit my aesthetic, I cut my Barbie’s hair, colored it blue and gave them a more fitting new wave wardrobe that I liked better than the conformist mattel packaged items. But I moved on. I loved high school home ec. where I picked out a pattern went to the fabric store and found my own material and mastered the art of winding a bobbin. And through the years I have made it a point to find something I like, some fabric, some pattern and throw together some darts, pockets, and seams that have to be folded and ironed (the single reason I keep an ironing board) and practice the art of home ec.
These days I’m more Andie Walsh, cutting and pasting clothes I already have or taking things the kids and I don’t wear anymore and making simple tights and shirts for the bitsy (my baby Vi). My deficiency in math is most annoying in this regard, sewing and even knitting tends to be a lot of measurements when it comes to fitting particular bodies and because of this I find that stretchy fabric suits me best. I’ll save the master tailor work for true professionals. When I get working I can go through two or three spools of thread in an afternoon, experimenting and patching different things together. As I have been doing this afternoon as the wind picked up and the storms found their way onto our ancient sea bed.
When I was a kid Iowa turned my stomach rotten. Not unlike what the corn here has looked like. My poor mother used to have pack three kids up in a car to go eight hours west to Omaha and she really didn’t even trust the car ten minutes down the road. Somewhere past the Wisconsin state limits, past the river, mid Iowa, I would start to get that dizzy feeling like I had been dancing in circles. But instead of dancing I had been staring out the window between my sisters arms at the miles of endless rows of corn and the fence rows (that apparently had to keep the corn from escaping). Amongst a floor full of Barbie shoes and coloring books I would lose my breakfast. I still remember the sad afternoon when I just about ruined the Donny and Marie dolls. Iowa was fun for no one.
But for me, Iowa is different now. Being by the river helps, the actual topography is much more varied, filled with narrow roads that twist along forested strips between the railroad tracks and the river, a person could actually pretend they were somewhere else for a bit. I had to venture further west into Iowa the other day, though, and I almost hit my limit. It was only an hour and a half west of where I am now and I had thought I plotted it on the map the best way possible, but I didn’t. I hit a stretch that was one long continuous road of corn and fencing and I started to feel the crummies bubble up and my heart rate quicken. The real feeling of no-man’s land starting to set in. Good thing I could press further on the gas peddle and just try to mechanically outrun being lost in the corn.
This year the corn looks sick, for the most part. It’s getting to be harvest time so the corn is going to look brown anyways, but mid August it was rough. Meetings for the farmer’s to discuss help have been packed. I was really wondering when the hordes of locusts were going to come down and eat everything. Just like the ants in Africa that can eat a whole village in one night.
School is taking my time. Job hunting is taking my time. I question my ability at succeeding and then I diligently repeat my motto that negative thinking will only bring negative things. The rain did show up in August, and the cool weather is here. I’m going to hang in a beautiful stone barn ten miles down the road on my Birthday and watch the locals make sorghum, and the corn is going to come down and then the season will just be done and we can all forget about it. Everything’s going to be just fine out here in no man’s land, as long as I don’t venture too far out I guess.
There, I finished them. It was excrutiating. At least the last, like, few toes seemed to take a painfully long time. But there they are, a functional pair of really long socks. This is probably pair number four or five that I have made this long, and I love em’. Whether I’m wearing them with garter belts under jeans for extra warmth in the winter or pulling them up over leggings to go with boots they have ended up being a staple for me. But I’m putting the needles down for a bit to focus on this thing I am now pursuing full time, that master’s degree thing.
I’m doing all of it online which adds a level of anxiety that I can’t share with someone face to face. I’m finding that I have an online panic language that some folks over at NCCU have now experienced. It’s laced with lots of exclamation points and apologies with further thank you’s and probably in the end I’m not easy to understand and they might just be wondering why they accepted me in the first place. See, I had to register for classes online and not really knowing exactly what I was doing I ended up with three classes that were advanced information system programming. When I went to look at the syllabus for these classes I was worried. It was strung with jargon I had never heard before, and so off I went, firing away panicked e-mails to advisors, directors, whomever would listen. Then I sacked the baby in the stroller and walked down to the riverfront to the coffee shop where I proceeded to purchase three shots of espresso in very little milk and then stopped at the playground where I got on the merry go round with said baby and wondered why I felt ill when it finally stopped. Sometimes I’m slow to pick up on things.
But it’s all settled now, I think. I need to have a microphone so I can talk into the computer and theoretically interact virtually with the rest of the class and because of my panicked state of mind I already ordered the three textbooks for the programming classes and then ordered another round for the new more reasonable classes. By the end of the week I’ll know more (insert emoticon😉 or😦 not sure yet).
Apples are being picked at the orchard that is down the way from us and thats a fantastic sign in life. I made a caramel apple pie and I think I let the kids have like a third of it.
It was really good, I learned that much this week. I can’t imagine life without apples. I once read something by a woman who had come from the midwest and had moved to Mexico and she lamented at length about the absence of apples in her life while living so far south. I really have no need to live life far from an apple tree nor do I want to live where the temperature is so warm the lilacs won’t bloom. Just some things I’ve come to figure out in life. And I should never douse my brain with espresso and get on a merry go round.
Beginning last week I started giving my two year old a bed time along with kickin her out of my bed. This has been excrutiating on me. I know that co-sleeping is really controversial – there’s problems with SIDS or rolling over on the child or any other random night time dangers, but for us it was magic. When it came to getting a full nights sleep and also feeding a baby that wanted to eat every three hours for the better part of a year it was clearly the only functional solution. I cut the nursing out at a year but her cute little self was still buttering herself up right between the husband and I with a darling little smile and cute baby babble that made us laugh in the dark. We enjoyed having her along as much as she felt it was her rightful place.
That is until last week. My oldest two in all of their grown up wisdom are well trained when it comes to bedtimes. They are the product of several years of maniac scheduling that required they be in bed as early as seven and sometimes awake at four or five. They are well acquainted to the bitterness of false light in the morning when the rest of the world is dark, daycare could never open soon enough for me, sometimes I used to get called to work at three or four in morning for snow removal. But not this little one, she has known nothing but her own schedule, which is why I think this transition is rough for me. I now have to introduce her to her first schedule, but, ultimately, I need her to be on one.
Seriously, a toddler up at midnight is no fun for anyone. Laying on the couch in the dark while you try to finish up what you couldn’t during the daylight hours she lays there and wants to still have The Cat in the Hat on, or she wants to read the Berenstein Bears ‘Ghost of the Forest’ just one more time (even though you have already read it five times during the day) and she wants to throw all of her bathtub toys in while you try to take in some alone time. She’s absolutely adorable, she’s a light, she’s magical, but she’s a whirlwind who needs a regular bedtime and her own bed, and enforcing this is tough. So far we’ve skipped afternoon naps so she’ll be more tired at night and forced the Beagle to become her ultimate protector just until she falls into deep sleep. It’s sort of working. She is still waking up in the middle of the night and crawling into my bed, but thats fine, she’s getting the drift.
I’m still working on my thigh hi’s, but the thing about socks is that you have make two. Once you have the first one done you can’t revel in a sense of accomplishment, that will come when the second one is done. So I’m on the second one; enjoying it one stitch at a time.
I was a bad kid. I have no idea really how it started, but I have brief memories of kindergarten where I would slither away during music time and go sit in my cubby away from the class. Then I took some kids gum out of the teacher’s desk in second grade and then I ripped another girl’s homework up on the bus in third, and then I cussed a girl out in sixth (would not have been a problem except she told the teacher, who then apparently had the moral high ground to inform my parents), I ran away, I stole money for red suspenders, I don’t know what I did, but it was all bad. I guess it got worse as I got older, I liked other bad kids, I liked boys in black leather biker jackets, I dropped out of college (owing them money that they had to try to hunt my parents down for – ), and I smoked cigarettes like a chimney.
I don’t think about this stuff often except when family stuff comes up, and it does, and it will, and then I always feel like the “bad” kid again. I accepted the bad kid title long ago, attempted making peace with it, tried to rename it other things like: late bloomer, free spirit, misunderstood, independant, whatever. I was like a scrap bag of remnant material, and over time I had to like the bad in me because it will never go away. There will always be something bad about me to write about in the yearly christmas letter but what I figured out was that I wasn’t all bad. I still liked puppies and kittens, and I always showed up for work on time, I held on tight to friendships I felt valuable, and tried to find the beauty in the world without being bad and I fell in love with another bad kid and had children on a whim, could be bad, was G-R-E-A-T. Now, undoubtedly that I have all of this experience in being bad, I suppose my children will be good, which will, of course, be a mild dissapointment, but barring misdemeanors and weddings, they know I’m here for them anytime.
I had a streak, that’s for sure, but it made me fearless at times, it allowed me to relate to some I may never have been able to, and it makes for heartwarming stories that reassures my children when they get in trouble that they will never be all bad, or even all good for that matter.
I’m knitting some socks right now, a ghastly green and orange that should come up almost thigh hi or taller. I like them, thigh hi’s are for a ‘certain’ type of person, probably one with a bad connotation but green and orange wool ones? How can you really be all bad in something like that? You can’t and that’s just my kind of bad anymore – a little risky but a little cozy and there’s a middle ground in there somewhere.