quiet on the set

Kaki and I are putting the book on cassette tapes for her 91 year old mother, whose eyesight is failing. We read a few chapters each, then stop and eat some of the quiche and pumpkin pie meant for my sister's snowed-out Christmas party.

Last scene I read was the birth at the end of Part I. Kaki came in from doing dishes in the kitchen to hear, smiling as I read the last sentence, a quote from Tahija - “The happiest memory I have of being a mother is the first time I heard them cry, because the doctor told me that they might not cry because they were real premature and their lungs might not be developed enough. The second was when I held them in my arms at the same time. I knew they loved me just as much as I loved them from the little smirk they had on their face, like Joy I finally see who I was kicking all that time.”

Many other good memories have come to her since, and will yet come, but I'm glad I captured that one -- for her and Lamarr and us, if not for posterity. And for the boys, who are posterity. And still kicking.

Happy Kwanzaa, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Bright solstice to us all.

look for us in that crowd

Looks like we may be going to the capital. A D.C. quaker lady offered two rooms in her house on the metroline. Dad said aight!, mom said no but not NO no, just the usual what I now take to be automatic response to any offer or invitation.

Or am I dreaming? If so, it's a good dream.

I remember three summers back, at the zoo with the seven-year-old triplets. We'd finally all gotten the nerve to go up in the hot air baloon (or should I say finally talked little Lamarr into it). Looking out over Philadelphia Damear was sure he could just make out the white house. More recently Mahad thought the same when he and I went to the top of City Hall to talk to William Penn. As if in looking into the distance they actually saw into the future.

A future with them and their parents watching Obama being sworn in, with a visit to the less-white-now white house, to Mr. Lincoln sitting so patiently and to Constitution Hall to see some old parchment paper encased in glass but not encased any more -- soaring now like an eagle, from california to the New York island.

This land, this day, this January 20th was made for you and me. And for the triplets.

... to swim in trouble like a muddy river rising

Better, I thought, for me in my rough being
To force makeshift connections, patches, encounters, rows,
Better to swim in trouble like a muddy river rising,
Than to become at last all thesis,
Correct, consistent but hollow
The finished ghost
Of my own struggle.

From "The Homely War" by Marge Piercy
suggested by Kaki

pitching the book to social work folks

This is WWU publisher Jeff Hitchcock and me at the Conference of Social Work Educators (CSWE) back in October. He's holding The Anti-Racist Cookbook, one of his other titles. After a top social work school, the University at Albany, selected the book for all its incoming students to read (thanks to the advocacy of my early supporter/angels Sue Clark and Florence Frazier), we thought other social work schools and profs might be interested. A lot of people bought books. Some, like a professor at St. Louis University, decided on the spot to add it to her syllabus. We'll see what develops. We had fun. Kaki was there too and a real powerhouse of outreach. One of her professors from the Binghamton University MSW program she started in the fall stopped by. I believe she got a free book (0:

Thanks to Ann at Marywood for the photo. She had the table across from us.

thought for food

This morning filling the bird feeder I found myself talking to one of the triplets in my mind – how it seems like the chickadees are telling me hurry up, hurry up or thanks a lot, but probably they’re just alerting other birds to the presence of food.

Instinctual sharing? The way the boys shared when they were babies, passing toys and food from crib to crib, the way they still do, freely, easily, without the negotiations and record-keeping I remember from my own childhood. They came in this together and they're sticking together. I miss them.

Notice (I went on in my head) how different kinds of birds eat at the same feeder without fighting. Some people don’t like blue jays but I haven’t had any trouble with them, of course when deep cold comes and if the feeder's low you'll see any type of bird trying to chase the others away.

I was inside by now looking out – watching the flitting and feeding. What in me do I feed with this imaginary explaining? And why do I look back on it, as if my mental patter, my imagined moment, is somehow feeding the boys?

The only thing it literaly feeds is my hope that the boys can come back soon to this house called Lucy, or some other place in nature – that great feeder endlessly replenished with a food we all need.