One Ends, Another Begins

The bright afghan is in the dryer as we speak.  It seemed to have come through the wash just fine, no colors bled onto their neighbors, and if it can stand to be tossed around in the dryer, I will call it a raging success.

I have started the blue afghan, I think.  I have an idea for it.  Undulating columns of stripes, like an ocean or the sky or a song a girl sings when her heart is heavy and she wants to be distracted from worry.  We’ll see how it goes.

Also, my bloggy friend’s daughter is home.  I don’t know any more details than that, but I want to take it as a good omen.

There were two fat crows in the tree on my way home from work.  I also wanted to see that as an omen.

Please, please, please have meaning for me, too, and mean good news.

It’s just different with my mom.  I see her in me.  I feel her hair on my head.  I see her mother’s face in mine.  My big butt is her big butt and I am knit together from her stuff.

I don’t feel like I could ever lose my mom.  I don’t know how to explain it any better than that.  It would be like losing the sun or the moon or my own blood.  How could death separate us?  How could death begin to sort us out?

But my dad?

He and I are like two children tugging on a rope as hard as they can.

If one lets go, the other goes tumbling backwards.

And yet, without agreement ahead of time, how can they move closer to each other without hurting each other?

The minute one takes a step forward, the slack in the rope will send the other spilling.

We have never figured that out, I don’t think.

But I want the chance to keep trying.

That’s all I can say about it.

I’m kind of swamped tomorrow, but I’ll try to check in here after I know how the surgery went, just to let y’all know.

Updates for You Following Along at Home

1. My dad’s going in for surgery tomorrow. They’re doing that thing where they go in and clear out the artery. If they need to put in a stint, they will do that at that time. If they do, he’ll have to stay over night. If they don’t, he’ll come home tomorrow evening.

He’s done that bullshitty thing where he’s said that I don’t have to come up today if I don’t want to.

So, now I can’t tell if I really don’t have to go up and that’s cool or if it’s some test to see if I love him enough to drop everything and come up there right this second. Because, yeah, duh, of course I want to be there, right this second.

But I also don’t have the kind of life that allows me to just drop everything at a moment’s notice and go up there right this instant. Tomorrow is absolutely the worst day of my whole month that I could possibly not be here.

But he’s having doctors poke at his heart and you know, I hate being here instead of there for that.

So, fuck it. I’m stuck here and that’s just the way it is. I can get up there later in the week.

2. And he’s mad at me, still, for telling my Uncle B. But my Uncle B. is coming down from Michigan to be there so, fuck it, I don’t care if he’s mad.

3. My Uncle B. has the makings of a fat activist, I tell you what. He’s all “Look at your dad. Eating right. Exercising. Still fat. Still has heart problems. Look at me. Lazy. Eat what I want. Still fat. Still have heart problems. You know what that tells me?”


“You can’t outrun genetics.” [pause] “Well, of course, there’s not much we are outrunning.”

I think I could take him in a foot race. It might be worth going up just for that. And probably for the best if we held said foot race right there at the hospital, in case either of us needed it at the finish line.

4. Oh, hey, that’s totally the punchline without a joke that I was trying to remember the other day!

“I don’t have to outrun the bear. I just have to outrun you.”

5. If only I could cure my uncle of that Republicanism thing, then he’d be super duper awesome instead of just super awesome.

6. The bright afghan is pieced together. I’m doing the border now. Then, I will wash it. And it will, hopefully, not fade or fall apart, but be free of excess dye.

7. One of my internetty friends, who I’ve met once, is going through something much, much worse than my stupid problems. Her daughter is missing.

We once lost the recalcitrant brother for six weeks and, I’ve got to tell you, there aren’t words for what it’s like.

So, all this is just to say that I’m blowing off some steam here, but one way or another, I’ll be fine. But keep my friend in your thoughts and prayers.


Listen Now or Listen Later

Mack wrote a letter to the folks who had the get-together I told you about the other day.  I have a bunch of points I want to make, in no particular order.

1.  If your kid came running in the house, gushing blood from a huge gash on his arm, yelling about sharp metal in your lawn, you wouldn’t first gather everyone in the house to discuss strategies for getting people to support your candidate for waste metal removal.  You’d patch up the kid.  Someone would go outside and see if there was one piece of metal or more.  You’d warn your neighbors about possible metal in their yards.

For that reason, when you have a feel, even an imperfect feel, for the suffering our policies are causing, it’s very hard to sit by and listen to folks just talk about the problem and what’s being done on a government level to try to combat it.

What can we do?  What should we be doing right now?  Shouldn’t someone be running through the streets warning people about what’s happening and telling them what they can do to protect themselves?  And where is that person or those people in Tennessee, in Nashville?  Let me give my support to them.

2.  According to the Pew Hispanic Center (pdf here), the median age for U.S.-born Hispanics in 2006 was 17 for men, 18 for women.  And, on the one hand, Mack is right, that these young voters are going to want to know that politicians get that they have more than one concern.  On the other hand, his commenter Woody is right; everyone is using the immigration issue as a short-hand way of talking about how this country feels about all Hispanic people, legal or not:

I am a 64 year old mexican born in LA and all my kids and relative were born in America, yet the immigration issue touches me deeply because it tells me how my country feels about people of my color and heritage. Right now I feel isolated and angry that we have become a battlefield. [emphasis mine]

3.  I’ve got no conclusions about this, I just think it’s important to juxtapose them:

What Mack says to the Tennessee Democratic leadership:

They will know if we sugarcoat important issues, and will grow disillusioned if all they hear from their leaders is “Si Se Puede.”

4.  When I lived up north, I was not a radical feminist.  In fact, if you’d asked me, I would have placed myself in the moderate to wishy-washy camp.  Nothing about that has changed; I just moved to Nashville and, by comparision to others, I’m practically the kind of girl who has a necklace made from the balls of the men who have crossed me.

I mentioned this to Mack on Saturday, as he was trying to phrase his letter in a way that would get across the urgency of the situation without making him sound like a dismissable radical, because it seems to me that he’s in a similar situation.

Back in California, I’m sure Mack’s political views are pretty common among the Mexican-American population.  In fact, I’m sure he’s the kind of guy that younger activists like but get annoyed by, because he’s constantly wanted to check and make sure that folks aren’t storming around just being pissed off for the sake of being pissed off.

He moves east, though, and he’s practically leading the Tennessee branch of the Aztlan Reclaimation Movement.

5.  I’m saying all this not as some giant love-letter to Mack, though I do love him like a brother–a much older, bossy, pig-headed brother, who smokes in my car, doesn’t recognize my brilliance and right-ness, and never has Diet Dr Pepper when I visit. 

But because I want people in Tennessee who are in a position to do something to read what he has to say and to think about it. Because I know there have to be Hispanic activists in our community, here in Middle Tennessee, young men and women working at a grass-roots level, maybe in their neighborhoods or on their college campuses, folks motivated and busy working at the street level to make a difference, who are saying what Mack is saying; this will be the base-line starting point of younger activists, even if it seems shockingly radical to the Tennessee Democratic infrastructure now.  So, if our party is smart, they will listen now instead of fighting to ignore it for the next twenty years.

Edited to Add: Mack informs me that the paragraph directly above the one above this might more accurately read:

A slightly older (though much younger looking), bossy, in the way that wiser people should be, man who allows me to sit and relax while he tackles the driving, and who doesn’t laud his condsiderable rightness over me though he clearly could spend a lifetime doing so, and finally, who has so much brotherly love for me that he does not enable my addiction to carbonated sugary drinks.

You’ll notice that I chose not to make the change.