Thursday, October 30, 2008

Fall Back

On Sunday, Nov. 2nd at two in the morning we fall back one hour. It's some strange pagan ritual that our culture engages in to thwart all devilish functions in the universe or something like that. It's also an appropriate time to tap into your music library and pull some notes from the past. This is my Fall Back mix in honor of the auspicious occasion, starting right from the top with Neil Diamond on crack...or, in other words, Crooked Fingers.

Crooked Fingers - The Rotting Strip
The Replacements - I Will Dare
Alva Noto + Opiate - Opto File 1
Luna - Math Wiz
The Stranglers - Skin Deep
Serge Gainsbourg - Sorry Angel
The Pogues - Turkish Song of the Damned
Missing Persons - Words
Whiskeytown - Factory Girl
Miles Davis - Generique
Yo La Tengo - My Little Corner of the World
Jocelyn Pook - Flood


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

9 Months (again)

Two things, quickly as I'm getting further and further behind with these monthly journal entries, both of them revolving around how much Quinn adores her brother.

When we decided to have children, and yes it was a conscious decision as it should be for everyone, I was constantly advocating for two little munchkins so that they could grow up together. Xtimu was a little more hesitant, even after we had Lucas and his presence continuously created magic in our lives. Unsure of how to proceed, fate stepped in and, though the decision wasn't as conscious this time, we began to prepare for our second child.

Xtimu was blessed with a brother when she was two-years-old and to this day, they share a special connection. I was always hoping that if we were fortunate to have two children that, for one, we'd have one of each gender and, two, that we could help them nurture the same type of cherished relationship that Xtimu and Spider share. Well, though Lucas has his moments, they both have embraced each other with warmth and beauty thus far. But one thing is for sure, Quinn is absolutely in love with that little guy.

The other day I was driving home from one of the many activities that Lucas is now becoming involved with and I discovered a small joy in life. We aren't the type of parents that do things in the normal fashion, so you won't find window shades plastered with disney paraphernalia. Instead we use a thin baby blanket that we tie to the OSH handle and drape over Quinn's seat to block the sun. On our way home the other day, I began to hear Lucas' maniacal laugh blossoming from the backseat periodically. I knew that he was doing something with Quinn and usually when he laughs like that I begin to anticipate one of her banshee calls. Well, he was taking the blanket and pulling it completely over her head so that she was buried beneath it and then ripping it off really quickly. Just as I was about to tell him to stop, I heard his laughter coming from the backseat again but then I froze. It wasn't just one laugh but a duet and I almost didn't notice that the two of them were laughing together because they both have the same laugh! It was one of the most joyous sounds I have ever heard in my life and I was so glad that I didn't put the kibosh on it. I serenely listened to the two of them laughing hysterically the rest of the way home.

Now that Quinn is beyond three-quarters of a year old she has reached the wandering age. She is crawling. I remember continuously being warned that your life was over once they start crawling because you always have to have an eye on the squirrely little ones. All I know is that for some reason I feel more free once they begin to move around. The best part about it is that they begin to do things for themselves. If they want something to look at, they go over and get it. Our house is 95% baby-proof so I feel pretty comfortable letting them wander, plus you can't too far away when you only have 750 square-feet to explore.

Anyway, the other day Lucas was konked out for the count while both Xtimu and I were struggling to muster some energy. What that meant was that we were both preoccupied with things that required very little movement. Meanwhile, Quinn was wandering around the house checking out toys and dogs and shoes and books and whatever else she could get her hands on. Things carried on in this way for an hour or two until she eventually made her way through the kitchen and into the doorway of Lucas' room where he was taking a nap. Well, I guess she realized that her brother was nowhere to be found and went looking for him. I was out in the living room so, when I began to hear her yelling loudly, I had no idea what was going on. She did this for a few minutes repeatedly until I decided to check out the situation. Quinn was sitting on the floor of the entryway to Lucas' room and was shouting at him to get up, in her own language of course. It was absolutely adorable. She'd become completely tired of both Xtimu and I ignoring her so she went off to find her favorite companion so that they could play together.

Oh, she is one special little child. She really makes you feel like you are an important person in this life and I must concur, that the more time I spend with these two little people, the more I do feel important. Maybe I'm just discovering that the important things in life are right here in my small family, our little community of four. It's a beautiful place to inhabit.

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Thursday, October 09, 2008

4 years (48 Months)

Just finished Lucas' daily violin lesson. He has embraced the journey of sound with a full heart and the enthusiasm of youthful determination. Sometimes that means he has a a hard time focusing all of his energy on the lesson (is it even possible for a kid to focus all of his attention on just one thing?) but most of the time he's pretty good at keeping on track. We've been attending a group lesson for one hour every Saturday and just this week he attended his first private lesson. Following our time together on Saturdays he often tells me, "Daddy, I love my violin.", which is such a wonderful thing to hear from your four-year-old. You never really know what he's going to embrace and what he'll reject. I think that since we're constantly pumping the symphony of music in his ears that it's a part of life that he's always been intrigued about. I hope his enthusiasm continues on for the rest of his life.

As I mentioned before, I have also started learning the violin along with him. It's an incredible challenge and for the past month I've struggled a bit to make it a priority. Yet, for the first time in my life, I am learning how to play music. I'm getting excited just thinking about it. I love to create and tap into that beautiful spirit dwelling deep within us. It's the only reason that I became a writer. Not because I thought I could express something valuable for the world or teach others with my words or because I loved the idea of language. Actually I didn't like doing any of those things for most of my youth. But I had to know the inner beat of my heart. I needed to connect with the pulsing thread of my life that communicated with the universe, that went beyond crass conscious thought. I had to express my creative spirit. For the longest time, it was the only way that I felt alive and when I could see that truth about myself I made a determination to become a writer, a poet, a musician, a philosopher, a painter, then a muse.

Right now I'm Lucas' muse in a way. I'm doing everything that I can to help him connect to his creative spirit. I'm pushing him toward activities that give him awareness; music lessons, gymnastics, art, gardening and also steering him away from things that might cause him to forget himself; television, just about anything that's advertised for children, anything completely passive but mostly just keeping the television turned off. I want him to grow up with an understanding of life that is more in tune with the natural world.

Long ago, when we we're just children, we wandered the earth. Both Xtimu and I have stories about the adventurous lives we led on other continents found in canyons and abandoned golf courses and creek-beds and deserts and treetops. We felt wild and free and when I look around at the environment where our children grow, I get a little sad. They don't have that freedom. They have safety instead.

But no matter what kind of places we build in our communities, whether free or natural or safe or stifling, everyone has the ability to explore an amazing place that exists deep inside. The creative and imaginative soul is one that will always be free from any type of tyranny imposed. We have to give our children the tools to connect with this precious part of their beings. So much of our society is geared toward hindering and diminishing people's spirit. The onslaught of depression that has plagued the modern person is directly connected to our consumer culture that only thrives when you feel insecure.

I don't want my children to feel that way. I don't want to pass on that legacy to them. I'm sick of dealing with it for myself but now I have to contemplate the world that I am going to hand over to these precious little souls. Why would we ever want to give them such a horrible place? For many years, generation after generation did everything in their power to make life better for the next one. When did that ambition become one where we took more from the generation that would follow. It's a tragic curse that has poisoned the well and the villagers just keep on drinking.

We have to grow up. Once we become parents, our lives are not as important as those children that sleep in the next room. We have to think about all of the opportunities that we can provide for them first, before we selfishly act on our own needs. At least that's a sign of a mature person and as I look around, I'm constantly amazed by how immature our culture has become. Well, we'd better wake up and see the truth through the trees before the trees are gone and our children are living in a wasteland. But if that happens, even if all the resources are severely diminished, at least I know that my child will have something bountiful and precious. They will know the path into their hearts. They will understand that it's not about where they live but how they live that matters the most. At least I can give them that.

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