My Fresh Hell
Life in Scribbletown.

Circle of Hope


I have run away from home. Yes, it has come to that. In order to have a moment of peace, a moment to myself, to let my brain think of something other than where are the tissues cause this childís nose needs wiping, I announced I was going to the grocery store alone this morning and taking the laptop with me. And here I sit, in semi-darkness, in the study room of the library, gloriously alone! (Now, when Iíll have a chance to actually POST this is anyoneís guess!)

I have been slowly coming to the realization (a realization with a duh-ness factor so high itís off the scale) that the only way to get time alone to write Ė no matter how trivial the writing might be Ė I will have to snatch it by myself, actually do something active like say, ďIím doing this.Ē. No oneís apparently going to offer that time to me. I have inadvertently become some kind of secret, suffering martyr and itís got to stop. Only I can do that. Because others are simply too dense and selfish to give me the time just out of the goodness of their hearts. Things are going to change. THAT is my New Yearís resolution. Itís going to be the Year of FreshHell (not unlike the Summer of George but without the naked cheese eating.).

Maybe itís because Iíve just spent ten solid days surrounded, night and day, by my lovely family, and that time included various levels of sickness requiring my mad Florence Nightingale skilz (which, as Iíve mentioned in the past, arenít all that great), but frankly Iím looking forward to going back to work on Tuesday.

Never mind that I have a dentist appointment first thing followed by a Come to Jesus meeting between the prez and our department to discuss the fact that weíve been without a boss forÖoh, whatíre we up to now?...ELEVEN DAMN MONTHS. Perhaps we will discuss how weíre going to operate in the coming months. Perhaps their will be some, uh, reassignments. Who knows. I do know that I am completely in the dark in many ways. We havenít held a staff meeting since April. So, the meeting will be interesting if nothing else.

So, the chances that Iíll be back here in FreshHelldom anytime soon (read: before Wednesday) are slim. Because while Iíve been able to staunch the flow of (spam) email while Iíve been gone, I have a feeling certain laggards will be given some marching orders and they will, in turn, expect me to save them. I only heal those who can heal themselves. Meaning, they can go *ahem* themselves.

Not that my time at home has been all that terrible. Itís just that I am a natural recluse. I am an introvert who needs time to myself everyday to recharge. Otherwise, I get grouchy, at the very least. If left to myself IímÖ.perfectly content. But, itís also been good to spend some concentrated time with Dusty and Red.

Red is becoming a kid. Itís sort of like watching one of those sped-up films of a flower growing from a seed. I can see the changes happening right before my eyes. Sheís suddenly got a good grasp on the language (though she still reverts to her crazy Scribbletown rantings, esp at dinnertime) now and can talk and express her wants (Mo cheese pease! Pease! Pease, mo cheese!) so that they can be (mostly) understood. This is progress. Sheís also spending more time on the (bone dry) potty and is able to amuse herself (the l3go table helps) for longer periods of time.

Yesterday, though, she went back to daycare. I really believe we all benefit from a normal routine and the trouble with holidays Ė especially extended ones Ė is that that routine vanishes into a neverending stream of alike days. So, Red went to school and Dusty and I had a ďDusty Ďn MomĒ day.

We bought half-price calendars for the house (she got H3llo Kitty for her room; animals shaped from fruits and vegetables for the kitchen because Barren and Ignoble had no Mr. Winkle; and Red got Baby Animals for her room). We got Dusty more socks because she seems to be ingesting one of Aliceís bottles of mysterious elixirs.

Then, we went to see Charlotteís Web. Which was a wonderful movie. Regardless of what our local dimwit movie reviewer thought (and he hates everything, kinda like Mikey), the movie was perfect. It was made the way movies for children should be made. I have a rant brewing about current animated movies which are supposedly made for children (NOT), but Iíll save that for another entry. CW was so well done, in terms of computer manipulation, that Dusty kept asking if Charlotte was real. We both sobbed like babies when Charlotte died and it reminded me why this story is such a classic, maybe one of the top five best childrenís books ever.

It tells the birth-death-rebirth story so well, itís really hard to beat. It confirmed in me why religion (which is telling the same story) is not necessarily necessary when you can present the basic POINT of life within a realistic, here-and-now setting that I think resonates so much more for children. Here is reality: beings are born, they will live their lives, there is a natural order of things but what that is depends on how you view it. Oneís natural order includes the fact that pigs are raised to be eaten. Anotherís view is that life has a meaning above a mere meal, that we all have a purpose beyond the obvious, that we need to rethink that what ďnatural orderĒ means. We strive for meaning in our lives as higher-order beings. We are responsible for the beings we create, raise, care for.

I will digress here a moment to state that this idea undergirds my pro-choice stance. I am interested in those who exist (human and animal) NOW, at this moment. I have no patience for the what-ifís. There is potential and there is potential. I think once you are born, you are much more valuable than your possible, unborn self is; more valuable than a collection of building blocks that might or might not create a being.

We die. That is a fact. The rebirth issue is handled differently (and, to my mind, very strangely) by the different religious beliefs. In secular terms, rebirth is not the born-againness of the same entity. Rebirth is birth again. The miracle that happens when healthy sperm meets healthy egg. When just enough rain falls on a seed planted in the right soil with just enough warmth from the sun. It is our children. It is the next generation Ė of plants, of animals, of people. Thatís our immortality: what we leave behind, what weíre able to create. Whether itís another generation, a great body of work, the giving and loving we did while we were alive that resonated. Kind of the pay-it-forward idea, I guess. I never saw the movie so Iím grasping here. But, this is the essential understanding children should have.

Yes, your friend died, your parent died, your grandparent died. But not in vain (whatever that means). Because they gave you something Ė themselves, that experience Ė which no one else could give you. You carry that with you and it becomes a part of making you who you are. And then you take the sum total of who you are and touch someone else. And on and on and on. Perhaps itís a vicious circle of sorts but itís what weíve got to work with.

Hmmm, maybe Iíve had enough ďalone time,Ē as Dusty calls it. Perhaps I should go get the groceries and head home. Have a nice final few days of 2006! Letís hope 2007 is better in many ways: personal, professional, political. Though, in light of Saddamís execution, Iím not holding my breath for world peace anytime soon.



1:17 p.m. ::
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