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two months

(Why am I naming days?)

10/15/14, Day 14,043 (Mercena Day 61): Two Months with Mercena

What’s amazing to me is how natural it all seems now.

In the early days, everything was so strange; not just the new life wailing in our home, but all the trappings that go with it–the diaper hose I installed into the toilet, the warmer for the wipes, the retro-robotic wheeze of the breast pump machine. All those tired days and bleary nights searching books and the Google to find answers to her Inscrutable Wails. And those sudden, jagged swells of overwhelming love…

Well, those haven’t changed much. She herself is still a wonder. Mercena West. But every day, she seems more and more like a person, a human that of course lives with us because she always has, a miracle, but an everyday one.

And she herself is doing well, not sleeping through the night yet, but sleeping for five-hour stretches more regularly now. She still gets fussy at the witching hour, but last night, she had the biggest smile while we were singing her lullaby. She’s figuring us out, too. She has bad days, like we all do, but she becomes more curious every day. Her activity mat, which she used to treat like a hot plate, is now her favorite place, as she swats at the Cow Mirror, the Motley Knight and her greatest foe that hangs above her, the Red Monkey.

And she talks! Boy, does she talk, seemingly a new sound introduced every day. Her Talking Spots are the Activity Mat and–would you believe this?–the Altar of Sacrifice. Yes, that’s right, the spot where she used to reflexively howl and fuss has become her favorite spot to babble and coo. How the whirligig of time brings in her favors, too…

Oh, and yesterday? Heather gave her a bath, and she didn’t fuss at all.

I wasn’t able to assist much with that bath because my back is still a snarl of argh. There’s always a base discomfort, but whenever I try to adjust a position the really startling agony jets up. However, I do seem to be getting better every day–only 10% to my mind, but the chiropractor assures me that’s pretty good for what I have (we take a cab to and fro, because I don’t really know how far I can walk). Sandra came to our rescue yesterday, and helped Heather with some shopping and laundry that more or less hit the reset button on our jostled lives. And I was feeling well enough to do some dishes and putter about…

I also worked another full day at TCG, and while I wish I could go in today, that seems like a mistake. I was also able to move a bunch of Flux stuff forward in the evening, and yes, I even found time to write late at night. There is a benefit, I guess, to not really being comfortable enough to sleep…

…and it’s become clear to me that in my little technique tally below, I need to add yoga. I’ve inherited a predisposition for back pain that will require I change my life and take better care of my slippery spine. However, I’ve had a heck of a time ever committing to a regular schedule of yoga.

So, I’m going to try something new. I’ve never had much luck with clearing my mind or simple mantras; the rainforest of thoughts buzzes too much for that. But I’ve had more luck with what I suppose is a kind of prayer-in-motion, if you can call an atheist’s guided thought a prayer. And, as I’ve found that sharing things here is a remarkably effective motivator, I’m going to share my daily prayer-in-motion here, although my motion today will certainly be quite minimal (if I can make it to the floor, the chiro has advised three very gentle stretches).

I’m also hoping that this daily-ish practice will help me think about my larger actions and how to make change possible. I believe that any change I want to see in the world must first be made within myself, and then ripple out through the other circles of my life.

For now, I’m playing with the following nine circles:

First circle: Me
Second circle: My first family (the family I was born into, Heather’s family and the family we’re making together)
Third circle: My second family (Flux and those friends I consider family)
Fourth circle: My local community (New York City)
Fifth circle: My community of searchers, creators and healers (artists, scientists, activists)
Sixth circle: My human community (humans, living or otherwise)
Seventh circle: The community of life (animals, plants, this precious blue rock circling round the sun)
Eighth circle: The universe (you know, like, what’s been happening since the big bang)
Ninth circle: The mystery (imagine this as a kind of poetic potpourri section)

For the moment, I’m working with either prayer (sending healing thoughts where they’re needed) 0r praise (sending gratitude for something that’s awesome).

While I’ll be sharing these here (if I really am able to commit to doing this on a regular basis), I will occasionally be poetically redacting things by riddling them past easy comprehension when someone’s privacy needs to be protected. I hope it to be equal parts sincere and silly, part to-do list and part poem.

So, here’s the first prayer-in-motion:

A prayer for my back to heal
And praise to Sandra for her help
Sling joe to sweet cherry anne for her pain
And remember those with no shelter from this rain;
Praise to the makers of Swarna-Sub 1
Solidarity with #FergusonOctober
For the great Spinosaurus, praise
And search-on for BICEP2’s gravitational waves;
And hey there, beautiful mystery.

Technique never stands still: it only advances or retreats…

Writing: 162 out of 211 days
Spanish: 134 out of 211 days
Music: 63 out of 117 days
Yoga: 1 out of 1 day

What small things did I do yesterday to help build the Honeycomb?
(And what does it mean to “Help build the honeycomb?”)

  • Ate and cooked local, organic, vegetarian food, and used cloth diapers for Mercena;
  • Asked Microsoft’s CEO to release their pay data to ensure equity and diversity in their hiring practices;
  • Sent another petition to the EPA ion support of coal ash regulation;
  • Asked NPR to remove pro-fracking ads from their broadcasts;
  • Signed a petition to the Obama administration to end militarized, racially-biased policing against Black and brown communities.
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(Why am I naming days?)

10/13/14, Day 14,041 (Mercena Day 59): Back Monster, Day Two; or, Soft Launch of Flux Forward

Not to much to report from these past days. The back injury is not getting much better, even after a visit to the chiropractor. I’m heading back for a second visit today (a laborious and costly process of careful slow walking and green cabs), so hopefully we’ll make more progress.

This second day of back pain wasn’t unproductive; Chinaza and I were able to get all of Flux’s ducks in a row to soft launch FluxForward with our Friends of Flux (more on that soon). A production meeting and visit from Emily gave me some faces to say hello to before retreating to my pain cave. Truly, the hardest part of this is not being able to help with Mercena, who had some serious witching hour action once we fell of the schedule in the afternoon.

Heather has been amazing throughout all of this,  which is no surprise but I am filled with even more gratitude for my amazing partner in life.

10/14/14, Day 14,042 (Mercena Day 60): Back Monster, Day Three; or Chiropracting

It was a comical, slow-motion journey, but I did make it to the chiropractor yesterday with Heather by my side, and Mercena in the care of an angel friend. As I wrote above, hopefully the second visit to the chiro today will make more of an impact. But in spite of the pain, I was able to be productive remotely, getting a bunch of TCG work done during the day, and more Flux work at night. I haven’t been able to write since the injury, but I’m hoping to change that today.

Daily pain is a part of so many people’s lives, and for however long, it’s now a part of mine. All right. What’s next?

Technique never stands still: it only advances or retreats…

Writing: 161 out of 210 days
Spanish: 134 out of 210 days
Music: 63 out of 116 days

What small things did I do the past two days to help build the Honeycomb?
(And what does it mean to “Help build the honeycomb?”)

  • Ate vegetarian food, and used cloth diapers for Mercena;
  • Signed my solidarity with the pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong;
  • Signed a petition to make it more difficult for those who commit violence against women to purchase firearms;
  • Signed a different petition in support of Komen breaking ties with Baker Hughes, this time to the fracking company itself.

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8weekmercena

(Why am I naming days?)

I’m writing these posts in bed after being incapacitated by the worst back injury of my life yesterday, so please be patient as my pain-addled mind moves through the last few days.

10/9/14, Day 14,037 (Mercena Day 55): Into the Weeds

This was the day I began to feel truly in the weeds with the combined workload of TCG, Flux, NET, my own creative work and Mercena. I don’t remember much else about this day–it’s one reason why I try (though lately fail) to update this daily, because memory makes such quick hash of days once they’re done–but I do remember a breakthrough meeting for TCG’s Fall Forum and the launch of a new trustee initiative, and our now nightly routine of putting Mercena to bed: we change her into her sleeping outfit, read her Goodnight Moon, sing her Turalura and then lay her gently into her bassinet, wishing her sweet dreams. She’s begun to recognize the routine, but depending on how tired she is, she’ll either great it with delight (rare) or fussy resistance (common, but is usually doesn’t last long).

Most promising of all: she’s really begin sleeping five-ish hours a night consistently. Sleeping through the night, here we come (he says with great caution and humility).

10/10/14, Day 14,038 (Mercena Day 56): Mercena EightWeeks; or, What Thursday and Friday Mean to Me Now

Every Thursday since Mercena was born, I think: this is the day we went into labor; every Friday I think, this is the day she was born. We are such pattern hungry creatures and I am more pattern hungry than most. But, it does mirror how my weeks at TCG often feel: by Thursday, the amount of labor seems insurmountable, but by the end of Friday, something new has been moved forward.

So it was with this last Friday, where I put my head down and managed to knock out a bunch of significant projects on my TCG desk. I’d been hoping over this long weekend to polish off the rest, but losing a whole day to my back injury yesterday has me worried I’ll be back into the weeds come Tuesday…

10/11/14, Day 14,039 (Mercena Day 57): FluxForward Close To Boil

Chinaza and I have been working on a anew initiative for Flux that I’m really excited about, and this past Saturday, I spent four+ hours moving it significantly forward. I also sent some love to Allan and Sarah on their anniversary, and went for a beautiful walk with Mercena and Heather. Forest Hills is really beautiful, and we discovered a few areas on our last walk that felt almost European. And as for our daughter, she is becoming more and more a unique human with a personality that is utterly her own. I really do love her more and more every day…

10/12/14, Day 14,040 (Mercena Day 58): Back Brings Me To My Knees

As I was lifting Mercena out of her bouncy seat to ready her of her Ergo walk, pain like I’ve never felt shot through my lower back, and I was barely able to get her on to the changing table before collapsing to my knees. I took me a long time to stand up, so thankfully she was a in a good mood and chirping away on the table as struggled to my feet. Heather was away at a production meeting, and so I needed to swaddle her and put her to sleep somehow before collapsing entirely.

I managed to do it, but not much else. I’ve had back pain before, but nothing like this. Yesterday, I could not find a position that wasn’t significantly painful, even after some pain medication, and I barely slept at all last night. Heather took good care of me, and I distracted myself as best I could.

I’m feeling a little better today–good enough to write this post, at least. I’m trying not to freak out about how much of a setback this injury could be on all things I need to move forward. One painful step at a time.

Technique never stands still: it only advances or retreats…

Writing: 161 out of 208 days (New untitled time play)
Spanish: 134 out of 208 days
Music: 63 out of 114 days

What small things did I do the past four days to help build the Honeycomb?
(And what does it mean to “Help build the honeycomb?”)

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