Wednesday, August 27, 2008

First of Six

Heidi tagged me: Name 6 things that make me happy...

#1: Chanting in the morning: Krisha Das and Ozomatli get me there. KD's "All One" is my current favorite. I've been chanting it for about a year not-quite-daily.
I like to start my workday hearing Raul sing "Cuando Canto". It makes me less lazy. Also, Ozo reminds me...

"We got faith in what love can do."

Interesting Sights on Today's Run

  • Teeny tiny dead baby mole
  • A whole coconut
  • Another teeny tiny dead baby mole
  • Man yelling at his garage door opener
  • A crow, who stared at me so I sang "A Dios Le Pido", which s/he seemed to enjoy
  • A family of deer, who did not like my version of "Otra Noche"

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

What's My Responsibility Here?

My friend N. was driving down a Brooklyn Street with her bf, R. The traffic knotted and after a moment they saw 3 individuals being brutally beaten by a tag-teaming group of 9? 12? 14? adult women. N. called 911 immediately. The 3 victims were: a girl about 11 years old, an older adolescent or young adult female, and a grown woman. The crowd was enjoying the show, ignoring the fact that the adult woman's head had been wedged under a car tire and she was being beaten unconscious and unrecognizable. R. jumped out of the car and tried to pull the perpetrators off the little girl, but the tag-teaming was too much.

Much credit to N. and R. They did all they could. Even after eight to ten minutes, the police never showed. It's unknown of they ever showed. The attack didn't make the papers.

My question to myself is this: as a martial artist, as someone who has some amount of training in self-defense, what could I do? If I encounter something like this, what do I do? I mean, I know to tell 911 that a cop is being beaten by someone with a gun, and that might encourage them to show. But more than that, do I jump in? Do I grab the most viscious attacker and take her down swiftly and completely - because there is no other way. Its all or nothing. Clearly those perpetrators had no fear of defenseless victims, but would they fear someone who took down their leader? Do I accept the possibility that I would die trying? Its not the movies, attackers don't wait in line for their turn at you, you gotta fight them all at once, so you have to go for the most disabling move possible in order to save 3 lives. What on earth would I do?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Forgiveness and Unconditional Love

I did a bad thing...well, a disloyal? unloving? thing. I bailed on some friends whom a) I've known forever, and b) have always been my bestest cheerleaders. Interestingly enough, they are married to one another, so I bailed on them individually and as a couple, and as a family, because they have 3 magnificent children.

Did you ever get tot he point where you don't return a phonecall because of...whatever? (In my case it was sadness and shame. I was in a bad spot - again.) And then, you keep not returning the calls and emails and then its been so long that you're just waaaay too humiliated to call? Yup, that's where I was.

So one day N. called and I answered. His compassion and kindness were overwhelming to say the least. I promised to call H., which I did. And do you know what she told me? "We don't care, we just want you back". And I could have died of relief and gratitude. These are sterling people who love me and I love them back. So here's to second chances...ok, 9th chances. And open hearts, and unconditional love, and the real meaning of family.
All credit to John McPherson for the snagged comic.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Niche Marketing

Elder Avenue in the Bronx

Goat isn't popular in the culture in which I was raised, (however, gefilte fish is revered - equally appealling - or repellant). As life-long vegetarian, I haven't developed much goat knowledge. So when I saw this sign, my first thought was of Georgia O'Keefe. My second thought was, "well, where's the rest of the thing?" Finally, I thought, "that bug squished in the window definitely makes me want to buy my goat head elsewhere."

Goat story: My friend Ivan was fascinated by my neighborhood, especially because I told him that we have lots of deer here. "Tenemos chibas aqui. Hay muchas chibas aqui!" He replied, "tienes chibas? Tus vecinos las comen?" Do my neighbors eat them? "No creo que. Es posible, pero, no." They could, I suppose, but no, I don't think so. Really, they are like quiet stray dogs who eat all the flowers.

The next day I went over the converation in my head....tenemos......chibas? No wonder
he asked if we eat the.....goats.
iAy venado!

Friday, August 8, 2008

The Women I Love Part L

Let's talk Laurie. Laurie is the smartest, nicest, bestest, funniest friend. One morning - and by morning I mean 5am - I called Laurie as my broken heart was leaking out, leaving crushed glass and gravel in its place. "Get on your knees and say thank you. This is the greatest gift you ever got, you just don't know it." And I did. Weeping, snotting, and desperate I thanked the universe. "Now come pick me up." We drove to the ashram and she spend 8 hours by my side as I chanted away all the ick. Laurie is a girl's girl.

Favorite Laurie story: we were on the phone one night and I hear her as she calls out to her youngest daughter, Sarah, "no, no, no honey, don't put that in your mouth. Mommy dissected a cat with that."

I love Laurie.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Until the Abuse Ends...

From My Sisters' Place website

National Domestic Violence Hotline

1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
1-800-787-3224 (TTY)

Please don't call it "an abusive relationship". It isn't the relationship that's abusive, its the perpetrator. I prefer to call it "intimate partner abuse", but that's a mouthful. DV (domestic violence) seems a fair shortcut, though the realtionship isn't always domestic and there isn't always physical violence.

My prefered definition: Domestic violence is a pattern of behavior chosen and used by an abuser to control his/her victim. It can include physical violence, emotional, mental, and/or verbal abuse, humiliation (public and private), sexual abuse/rape, and economic abuse. The abuse keeps the victim in a state of fear and prevents her/him from making decisions that defy the wishes of the abuser. (I'll address the "why doesn't she leave" question another day.) DV occurs across lines of race, class, ehtnicity, and family configuraton. Men, women, and trans folks can be victims. It happens in strait, gay, and trans relationships. No group is immune.

SO, if you're trying to explain to someone who is not being abused why they should care, here is one more reason that appeals to self-interest: