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topaz: (Morgan - thrashin')
 [livejournal.com profile] redheadedmuse wrote recently about the importance of recognizing and valuing the way people in relationships with you desire you. We often may misread desire as being needy, a drag on our time or energy, an irritation, an interruption of some very important thing we must do right away. But recasting it as desire -- thinking in terms of how these people desire you -- has potentially a lot of power to reframe those emotions in a positive way. We all want to be desired. It may help to remember how many ways it happens, all the time.

Today I'm struck by the way my kids desire to be with me and do things with me.

This ain't small potatoes. Morgan, at 12, is right on the edge of figuring out what dorks his parents are, and once he does, I figure that's going to be game over until he's 35 or so.

It hasn't happened yet, and that's continually fascinating and rewarding for me. He calls to find out when I'll be home from work, and whether it's okay with me for him to watch Doctor Who without me. We play Dungeons and Dragons together every week with friends, and he's decided he wants to start a second campaign with me because he's not getting enough of it. I read to both of them at bedtime every night, and Morgan always wants me to start earlier and read more.

I have to remind myself that any day now, he's going to go all angsty and emo and will be hopelessly nonplussed by my complete uncoolness. For now, I'm just going to live in the moment. My kid still thinks I'm awesome. How great is that?
topaz: February 20, 2008 (lunar eclipse)
there is nothing half so much worth doing
"There is nothing -- absolutely nothing -- half so much worth doing..."

as simply messing about in boats
"... as simply messing about in boats."


Jul. 13th, 2010 10:33 pm
topaz: (Default)


Posted via LiveJournal.app.

topaz: (respect the bike)
So [livejournal.com profile] omegabeth and I rode from Boston to Provincetown on Saturday, on a tandem bike borrowed from [livejournal.com profile] moominmolly and [livejournal.com profile] dilletante.

What happened?

  • Tandems are way cool. Everyone we rode with seemed to be cheered up just having a tandem on the road. We became known to the rest of the riders, and later, by apparently random people in Provincetown, as "those crazy tandem people."
  • [livejournal.com profile] omegabeth did not keel over and die from biking on her broken ankle.
  • [livejournal.com profile] omegabeth actually finished in way better shape than I did.  By the end of the ride, she was doing the bulk of the hard cranking.
  • [livejournal.com profile] omegabeth is clearly a mutant who has supernormal healing powers and possibly an adamantium endoskeleton.
  • Good bike fit is really important.  Really really important. Like, as important as you thought it was, and then more important than that.  I did an okay job of sizing the tandem to me, but "okay" is not good enough, especially for a trip like this.  I finished the ride with severe numbness in the ring and little fingers of both hands, and profoundly diminished gripping strength.  Right now I can barely turn a key in a lock, put on my socks, or write my name.  Calling the doctor first thing in the morning.
  • As important as it is to wear sunscreen, for the love of god remember not to wear it on your face. Because then when you start sweating, it melts and trickles down your forehead into your eyes, and it stings and you can't see and THAT WILL MAKE YOU DIE.
I have many many heroes today, but especially [livejournal.com profile] keyne and kids for their love and ongoing support of my madness, [livejournal.com profile] moominmolly and [livejournal.com profile] dilletante for the loan of their contraption and for invaluable technical advice, [livejournal.com profile] soong and [livejournal.com profile] sandhawke for sharing their homes (sometimes unexpectedly), [livejournal.com profile] bubblebabble and [livejournal.com profile] bitty for sharing their home and for gamely going along with our insane plans, [livejournal.com profile] inseriatim for repaying the favor and registering me when I started acting lame, and [livejournal.com profile] omegabeth for being such an amazing, untiring, perpetually upbeat and inspiring ride partner.  This life is sometimes an amazing place to be.
topaz: (Morgan - 4 days)
This short interval was sufficient to determine D’Artagnan on the part he was to take. It was one of those events which decide the life of a man; it was a choice between the king and the cardinal--the choice made, it must be persisted in. To fight, that was to disobey the law, that was to risk his head, that was to make at one blow an enemy of a minister more powerful than the king himself. All this young man perceived, and yet, to his praise we speak it, he did not hesitate a second. Turning towards Athos and his friends, "Gentlemen," said he, "allow me to correct your words, if you please. You said you were but three, but it appears to me we are four."

I read a lot to Morgan and Quinn, particularly at bedtime. We've read all the Harry Potter books, of course, and the Lord of the Rings and Watership Down and The Cricket in Times Square and Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn and Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH and lots of others.

A while ago I started downloading books from Gutenberg to read to them. I read them Gulliver's Travels, and was surprised when Morgan followed the whole story all the way through. I read some of Tarzan and Sherlock Holmes. I tried reading them Treasure Island, which I loved, but Morgan begged me to stop about halfway through because he found the language too difficult.

Recently they were asking for science fiction stories, so I looked and found Realtime. This is a schlocky old story that I loved all to pieces when it ran in IAsfm when I was in middle school. It's a yarn about a future without books, in which an old woman who teaches her personal computer to love the old stories finds that it has adopted the identity of d'Artagnan and thinks of her as Queen Anne. The author, Daniel Keys Moran, put the whole text on the web, and I read it to the boys.

After we got through Realtime, Morgan asked if we could read The Three Musketeers.

I warned him that the language might be a little difficult but he insisted. We've been reading it for the last week or so and have finished ten chapters, with no sign of his enthusiasm flagging. (Quinn is less devoted to it, but listens to it and asks intelligent questions.)

How did I end up on this crazy train? I'm still not sure, but this is why. These moments. When your kid begs you to read more of The Three Musketeers and asks if he can have a rapier for his birthday. When he kneels before you with a Nerf sword and calls you "my liege." When he curls up next to you with a cold and says, can you read some more, dad. Read some more. More. More. More.
topaz: (madblog)
As of this morning, unchi.org appears to be registered to some domain squatter in Canada.  I was pretty sure I had reregistered it for 10 years, so I'm not sure what's going on, but I'm investigating.  If mail to unchi.org is bouncing, this is why. 

Edit: Resolved.   Billing dispute.  Very embarrassing.
topaz: (skull)
 Mint.com rocks.  With its help I have devised a budget that exceeds our monthly income by only 20%!

This is actually such an improvement over the previous situation that it is excellent news.
topaz: (hands)
My dear friend [info]docorion, an ER doctor, recently posted this extraordinary essay on death and his relationship to it.

I tried to write a better introduction, but he has left me tongue-tied.  So all I can say is: You should go read it.  Now.

Always say the word "Dead" when you pass this news. Be kind, be compassionate, but be clear -- this is no time for euphemisms. Dead is dead; it's not "passed away" or "expired" or any other weasel-worded expression. If you don't say the word to start, you will have to eventually, because until you say it, no one will believe it. That is the real "power over life and death" doctors have. We pronounce it, not to the patient, but to the still living, who would otherwise not believe.
topaz: February 20, 2008 (lunar eclipse)
When I was about two years old, my father bought a vintage Wurlitzer 1100 jukebox.

He had some work done on the mechanicals to make it work properly, so you could play records and didn't need to insert a coin.

Wurlitzer 1100 - coin slot

It plays 78 RPM records. My father had about 3,000 78s. We still have about 300.

I grew up with this behemoth in our living room. I used to sit on the floor and watch the glowing lights slowly revolving in the front panels. I grew up listening to the Andrews Sisters singing "Hohokus, N.J." and the Crew Cuts doing "Carmen's Boogie" and my personal favorites, Slim and Slam's "Dunkin' Bagel" and Phil Harris's "The Thing."

Wurlitzer 1100

As time went on, the other outrageous arcade gallery paraphernalia in our house slowly disappeared -- the pinball machine, the vintage Coke machine -- but the jukebox remained. Dad and I couldn't bear to part with it.

Wurlitzer 1100 - lower grille

When we were getting ready to leave Brooklyn, Dad started talking about selling the jukebox. I put my foot down and informed him he was not allowed to sell it. I vouchsafed my own living arrangements against it. "I will take the jukebox as soon as I have my own apartment," I announced.

It took until I was 28, but I did bring it home.

Wurlitzer 1100 - front exterior

I'm nearly 40 now. I live in a house that I'm delighted with, but which (by design) really doesn't have enough room for this monstrosity. It lives in storage, awaiting a final resolution. I'm writing to collectors to drum up interest in buying it. My son begs me tearfully not to sell it, and daily comes up with new clever plans by which we can bring the machine home.

If anyone knows of someone locally who might be interested in buying this crazy thing, please put them in touch with me.

Because as long as I'm selling it, it would be nice to keep it in the family. You know what I mean.
topaz: (Morgan - thrashin')
When Morgan went to Nature's Classroom in September, he took his point-and-shoot camera and extra memory cards I packed with him.  He came back with about 800 pictures.

A lot of them were of things like his dinner and mashed-potato sculptures and his classmates doing goofy things.  There were probably 100 pictures of the bonfire at the end of the week, taken valiantly in total darkness and coming out impossibly blurry.

But a lot of them came out well.  And some of them really stunned me.

I think I could work with this guy.

forest walk

fish heads


Aquila shows off
topaz: (dream avatar)
There are three things in particular that I feel especially thankful for this year.

I'm thankful that, after so many years and so much work, we get to spend Thanksgiving at Mosaic Commons.  I love spending this day cooking and socializing with friends and family, and I love it even more now that taking a break from dinner prep means going for a stroll and stopping in at friends' houses for a glass of wine and to wish them a happy holiday.  It's amazing what a difference it makes.

I'm thankful that at this time, this year, [livejournal.com profile] keyne and I are in a much better place than we have been in a long time.  We are doing much better at working with and communicating with each other about the hard stuff of life, and I'm incredibly grateful for the work that we have done to get here.

And I'm thankful for my friends.  I'm always thankful for my friends, but I'm not accustomed to leaning on them.  Lately things have been really hard for me, and I've found myself leaning on you a lot, and it's given me a chance to discover just what an amazing, thoughtful, resourceful, brilliant band of brigands you are.

So this is me.  Giving you my thanks.  And if for any reason you think I'm not talking about you.... you're wrong.  I mean you, too.

turning 39

Nov. 13th, 2009 12:35 am
topaz: (birthday)
So I had this birthday.  And a really, really lovely birthday it was, with highlights including:
  • Surprise visit and magnificent birthday cake from [livejournal.com profile] omegabeth in the morning
  • Surprise visit and gifts from [livejournal.com profile] chaiya in the morning
  • Long lunch and great conversation with [livejournal.com profile] ectophylla 
  • Surprise birthday dinner and magnificent birthday cake from [livejournal.com profile] keyne, Mom, Dad and the kids
  • Lots of post-dinner visits from the neighbors to help polish off as much of the cake as possible.
The funniest part:

The magnificent birthday cake from [livejournal.com profile] omegabeth was a chocolate layer cake with peanut butter frosting.

The magnificent birthday cake from [livejournal.com profile] keyne and [livejournal.com profile] npierce was.... a chocolate layer cake with peanut butter frosting and chocolate glaze.

I think I may be getting predictable.

But enough of that.  Here's what matters.  All day long, I ran into people at every turn who were conspiring to make sure I had a good day.  And wow, apparently I needed that more than anything.

Thanks and love to you all.  You are my rockstars.


Oct. 18th, 2009 05:50 pm
topaz: (grinnybike)
Dear Tim:

 Congratulations on successfully completing the League Cycling Instructor Seminar in Cambridge MA and becoming an Instructor-in-Training.  I hope you are as proud of your accomplishment as the League is to have you as an LCI. Your LCI# is 2667 and your certification date is 10/18/2009.

Ironically, I never even put this on my Project Forty list, and all this time I assumed I had.  Now I feel like I should go back and add it, since that was always the intent anyway.
topaz: (hands)
More first responder training tonight.  We finally got our books!  That will be awesome -- I have been taking copious notes, and when questions come up, Mike has provided good and clear answers, but I'm certain I've been missing some stuff.  Tonight's class was all about vital signs, recognizing different classes of shock, and how to treat different classes of wounds.

But here's the snag: we can't administer an Epi-Pen.

First responders are trained to provide a very specific level of emergency aid.  We can dress wounds, splint fractures, administer CPR, that sort of thing.  We cannot go beyond our scope of training.  That makes sense -- they don't want a bunch of kids who have gotten 30 hours of classroom instruction to go swaggering out in the world thinking they can perform emergency tracheotomies.

Among the things first responders are not allowed to do is administer medication.  Which includes the Epi-Pen.

Now, our neighbors include one young boy with a very severe peanut allergy.  We all got instruction from them on how to use the Epi-Pen, in case he were to go into shock when his parents aren't around.  My spouse has an allergy to bee stings severe enough to keep an Epi-Pen in her purse.

As a regular joe, I would be covered under the Good Samaritan law if I were to administer the Epi-Pen to someone in good faith.  But for trained first responders, the Good Samaritan law only covers you as long as you stay within your scope of training.

My reading of this is that, until I get my first responder certification, I can legally use the Epi-Pen on someone who's going into shock.  After that, doing so could expose me to liability if anything were to go wrong.

It all reminds me of Michael Pollan's discovery of the bizarre legal rabbit-hole around the poppy: that if you wish to grow opium poppies, you can do so provided you do not know what they are -- that once you realize that fact, you can be held liable for drug trafficking.  It's kinda loopy.  But there we are.
topaz: (Default)

First sleepaway class trip, originally uploaded by qwrrty.

We spent most of the week preparing, buying jeans and waterproof boots
and making sure he had spare cards for his camera, and I'm still not
sure if all the fuss was for his benefit or ours.

I made him remind me about eight times this morning what his five
pieces of luggage were (duffel, backpack, bedroll, pillow, jacket) and
reminded him three times where his camera was. He took a whole pile of
cards and envelopes for mailing home.

How did this happen? How did we end up with this great grinning gangly
clown, who remembers to pack his toothbrush but not his sketch pad,
who won't leave home without a picture of his mom and dad and brother?

When it was time for me to leave, he gave me one last hug and I left,
promising to pick him up on Friday and making sure his teacher had his
homework folder. Funny, there was a lot of mist out there today.

topaz: (hands)
27. Get CPR certified.

I started First Responder training last week.  "CPR training" has been on my to-do list for a long time anyway.  This is a lot more intensive than that, so of course I jumped at the chance when I learned they had classes in our area.

The instructor is a gregarious and rambly local EMT and firefighter.  He's a nice guy but it remains to be seen how effective the instruction is -- several times the class has gone off on a long digression to cover another hysterical story about a greenstick fracture or meth overdose he covered once.  Which I don't mind hearing about, as long as I feel like it prepares me to take care of a terrified car wreck victim some day, which I'm not sure it will.  But hey, we'll see.

Possibly the most disturbing thing I've learned tonight is that paramedics consider rotten.com a great source of photographs for teaching aids.  (Not entirely surprising, but disturbing nonetheless.  And I'm deliberately not giving you a link there -- if you don't know what it is, then you probably don't want to see it.)
topaz: (Mosaic)
I learned to drive a backhoe last weekend. How was your Labor Day?

Seriously. Our landscaping team here at Mosaic has been on a tear to spruce up the place and have done some absolutely astounding, fantastic, brilliant work around the grounds. On Sunday morning, Beezy came and knocked on my door and said: We need someone to drive the backhoe. Can you do it?

What was I supposed to say? It's just like driving a truck, right?

Actually it's like the biggest Erector Set you've ever had in your life. I drove that thing back and forth all day and didn't stop grinning.  I dug two 10'x20' garden beds in no time flat.

The previous day, Morgan and [livejournal.com profile] lilzon and I spent about four hours unloading and spreading a truckload of wood chips in the hot tub enclosure, to keep the weeds at bay.

Does this sound like work?  Okay, so it's work.  It was hard.  I was exhausted and burnt to a crisp by the end.  Both days.  Big deal.  It's hardly work if it's filled with so much joy.  Piece by piece, this place is coming together right before our very eyes.  Every day tops the previous one.

We held a barbecue to celebrate opening the common house, and it was so very wonderful that you could be there.

five more )
nobody's fool
topaz: (Mosaic)
Just about every cohousing community is built around a "common house" -- sort of a clubhouse for grownups.  Typical common houses include a "great room" large enough for a few dozen people to eat together, a kids' rec room, a mail room, a living room -- that sort of thing.  Ours also has a music room, a laundry room, an exercise area, a commercial-grade kitchen and more.

The common house is the backbone of a cohousing group.  The community is organized in a way that encourages people to gather at the common house during the course of the day.  Everyone's mail gets delivered there.  Many of us do laundry in the common house.  Two to four times a week we hold a community-wide meal.  We designed and built the community with the expectation that we would often spend as much time hanging out at the common house as at our own houses.

There was one hitch in this plan.  Our common house wasn't ready.

When we started moving in, the general contractor was still finishing some of the units.  The construction schedule meant that most of the units would get finished before the common house.  That's good, because the individual family houses had to be finished before people could move into them!  But very very frustrating for us.

So we have been picking up our mail at the town post office every day or two.  Those of us who don't have our own laundry machines have been sharing with those who do, or going to a laundromat.  We've been having common meals a couple of times a week in the dining room of one of the unsold units.  Living here is great, but it wasn't exactly what we were expecting.

Until now. )

It's a "temporary" certificate of occupancy because there are still a few things to be negotiated with this inspector and that official and this other guy, and so on, but nothing likely to be show-stopping at this point.  With no likely overwhelming roadblocks at this point, we are legally allowed to use the building.

So what's it like?

Let me show you what it's like. )

April 2012


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