Raised to Profess Social Justice and Faith!
108 years ago, my ancestors came as strong-willed, hardworking and God--loving intellectuals from Europe. They came
to pursue the promise of land, freedom and education for their children, and a brighter future than they fear they faced
in the political and social climate of Germany. Here they encountered the lies and broken promises many immigrants
to America faced. My family largely worked themselves to death in the squalid conditions of the packinghouse industry,
bluecollar workers who broke their hearts and backs for my white-collar future.
My BlueCollar Beloveds and
I desire to live a life exemplifying the Christian walk, a walk we feel is entirely
compatible with intellectual endeavor, good humor, and activism.
We consider ourselves "blue sheep" of the Religious Left and embrace
a fiscally liberal, pro-labor, egalitarian philosophy which values an active
fight for social justice. Our faith in Jesus Christ emboldens us to fight against poverty, injustice, discrimination, ignorance, intolerance,
arrogance, greed, racism, sexism and oppression in all its institutions.
Our family lives an afflicted victory thruogh which we seek to encourage, enlighten and bring hope and joy to others
through Spirit-led works of the hand, heart and mind. We invite you into our family and welcome you to join us in our
endeavors for the good!!!!....
Friday, July 30, 2010
Roo completed his last day of the summer enrichment program at
Rondo Museum Magnet School. Yay, Roo! For his last day he chose to go to class as a hipster child (pictured here, 3 going on 33).
Fri, July 30, 2010 | link
After disembarking the bus, he came in the house and immediately spiked a fever,
began moaning and vomiting, and has since been rolling about various beds in discomfort.
High Summer vacation is
Land, ho! Here come the tall ships!
According to Toe, "pirates say, har-heh-heh!"
and "parrots say brrrawk!" This is the first thing you need to know before visiting the tall ships now in
Duluth harbor for this weekend's festival.
Fri, July 30, 2010 | link
If you've never seen the tall ships, do go, or at least check out the video of their
beautiful dance into the bay from 2008's festival (at the website linked above). It's dreamy, a once-in-a-lifetime
sight to be seen! There is poetry in the tall ships' billowy, bobbing movement, the smoke of their cannons,
the seagulls hovering over the vaulting masts and sails like the wings of an angel.
This year's festival has
the most ships ever this year for Lake Superior: Brig Niagra, Barque Europa, HMS Bounty, Pride of Baltimore II,
Roald Amundson, The Zeeto, S/V Denis Sullivan, The Roseway, Freedom Schooner Amistad.
You can board ships
for tours or just play pirates in Bayfront Park while feeding the birds a box of Cheerios (free). And if you have a
spare $1250 per person, you can sail away to Sault St. Marie with yer mateys! Arrg!
Thursday, July 29, 2010
wake up and smell the birthday
Hub is 38 today. I wanted to go for truth in reporting,
so I snapped this baby at 4 a.m. to show Hub a lot like he probably looked directly out of the womb: scrunched up and
wrinkly, in shock, squinting into the brutality of the light. He immediately croaked, "Don't put that on the
internet!" Sorry, baby. All I can say is, "for better or worse, til death do us part." You have
to believe me when I tell you, I warned him repeatedly not to marry me.
Thu, July 29, 2010 | link
So, Happy Birthday, beloved!
The lads and I will do our best to make all your birthday dreams (yes, even bacon) come true. We're so glad you
were born, and that you have been able to survive this long, in spite of us. Here's to another happy healthy year
of the blessed experiment!
xxooYour Great Wife Shark
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Our Autism Odyssey: WILD THING DAY
Tue, July 27, 2010 | link
never enter into parenting without first defining a clear exit strategy.
Okay, that never works.
Some days, though, we just toss in the towel of tradition and let our wild boys get their freak on.
We call this Wild Thing Day, which always starts with the reading of Maurice Sendak’s classic book Where the Wild Things Are/Wo die wilden Kerlen Wohnen/Donde
Viven los Monstruos/ Ubi feri sunt (yes, we have this particular story in English, German, Spanish
& Latin—it’s a top shelf fave, what can I say?). Toe , the original wild thing, knows all the words by heart
and roars his terrible roar. His love for naughty Max is true. Roo stomps his feet and
bares his terrible fangs a lot—he is lost in the promise of the rumpus.
that typically occur in the course of any given WTD:
--Reckless disregard for the sanctity of Mommy’s bed (yah, sorry,
but since birth the lads have both been of the opinion that not a damn thing inside the home actually belongs to Daddy—Daddy
does get credit for ownership of the trampoline, mower, power tools (handtools, however=Mommy’s), LEGOS, vehicles,
the backyard maple tree and poopy shovel). Anyhoo, this trespass into the sacred zone of the Mommy Bed
usually manifests itself in wild jumping, rooting, wallering, snuggling, tickling, mosh pit style piling, dozing, and impromptu
--Playing Stella the guitar
--Upside down time (doing the opposite of what you say,
saying the opposite of what you do)
--Hub remixing classic kids’ songs and nursery rhymes in a slightly gallows manner, such as
more monkey jumping on the bed
He fell off and…now
Mommy called the doctor
and the doctor said
Can’t you see his brain fell out of his head?
--Pink Floyd Psychedelic “FauxLaser” Light Show :
this is where we all cram into a dark bathroom with our flashlights and flip on our makeshift ASD therapy bubble light.
The real deals costs thousands of dollars, but for $17 you can get a wild light-projecting orb for swimming pools with tons of settings that turns any the walls & ceiling of any room into Xanadu on acid.
---Flash mobs (for example, we all put on lighted spelunker helmets and show up in the toy storage area of the basement for “cellar
Staring contests, poetry slams, break-dancing, spontaneous picnics, beagle rodeos…these may all also
be part of Wild Thing Day.
Monday, July 26, 2010
there outta be a law...
The Americans with Disabilities Act turns 20 today. A lot of things are older than the legalized civil rights of the differently-abled: Microsoft,
the Space Shuttle, Red Bull. I'm not really bitter, just a little surprised. As I said to the MN Political Roundtable: technology and medical advancements move fast in America, social justice a little slower.
Still, I am celebrating, and you should too. Chances are in your life you or someone you love will benefit from the
access and benefits this law tries to guarantee. It's a landmark of legislation, and if you ever question
that, think about just some of the things it's done in it's short time on the books:
Mon, July 26, 2010 | link
--Employers can't refuse
to hire or fire someone simply because they are disabled
--The blind are guaranteed access to TTy and braille communications
--The hearing-impaired are given ASL interpreters
--Those with psychiatric disabilities given the same rights as those
with physical ones
--Those in wheelchairs or with other ambulatory assistance needs can get in and out of buildings like
the rest of us
--Health insurers need to cover necessary medical devices for ambulation
--Streets and parking lots
provide wheelchair-acessible curbs
--Buildings and bussiness provide automated doors and elevators
is inspired and passed as a legacy, including the IDEA law (providing for equal, appropriate education for disabled kids)
and FMLA (protecting individuals with physical conditions and their families from losing employment due to medical
These are things we mostly take for granted now, but just two short decades ago they were not a guarantee.
Let's think about that as we move on to the next piece of the puzzle by working to support laws and legislators who are working to give the ADA and its legacy laws increased and expanded enforcement in the real world.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Attack of the birthdays
In my world, July is to birthdays what June is to weddings. I realize the month of conception for babies born
in July is, like, November, so I am assuming that in our families and among our friends, all these people walking around were
just a way of happy couples giving thanks (or possibly the result of turkey intoxication). Maybe it was the first snow
and there was nothing else to do? I can't speculate further--these are, after all (gulp, breathe) mostly realtives.
Sat, July 24, 2010 | link
In my parents' house growing up we were taught to respect the birthday. Nothing fancy or overly indulgent,
mind you, just a nod to the person born via cake, card, simple gift. Extra hugs. The first choice of fried chicken
pieces for dinner (I call drumstick!). We were taught to send cards and make phone calls and often bake treats or make
crafts for those beloveds far away whose birthdays we could not celebrate together. Kinda like saying, Hey, you,
you mean something to the world, to me. That's all. No backyard carnivals. No Rolex watches.
I realize some people do the birthday thing differently now. There are the birthday haters. They fall
into 4 categories: the don't-make-a-fussies, the age denialists, the anti-conusmerism objectors and the religious
abstainers. Yah, so we didn't really start celebrating birthdays as such with gifts and feasts and songs
until the self-absorbed hedonistic Victorians came up with it as a way to party during their repressive little laced-up lives.
So what? And so what if the only birthdays talked about in the Bible involve naked scarf dances and beheading of saints?
Is that really a reason not to phone your auntie and wish her a happy day?
There are birthday crazies, celebrating
each year of their toddlers' life with a "black ties and tiny tiaras" Mommy-and-me cruise of the Med or
whatever. They buy $300 cakes sculpted to replicate their child or embossed with an edible ink replica of their first
sonogram, etc. In the end though, all the kids want to do is run around screaming on their sugar high and chase balloons
while the adults down a cocktail and check their watches. Kiddie birthdays are pretty much the same across the spectrum
of how crazy we are (or are not).
So back to the point. I could make a full time career out of celebrating
the number of birthdays falling in July in my family, and I could crash the internet uploading all the pictures of all the
beloved people local hospitals have cranked out in the month in our family. So here's some of the list, and
also the wish: Happy birthday, God bless another year of your lives, and we are all glad--so very glad-- you
were born...go crazy if you want--or not-- (we still love you!).
The Havliceks on the Prairie: Chris, Kendra, Tante Gretchen)
Swatz (yah, I know,
you leeched over into Aug 1 but it counts)
Uncle Bobster (ditto)
Hub (more for you later, my man).
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Little Angela and The Electric Light Orchestra
Wed, July 21, 2010 | link
OMG, remember ELO? ROFLMAO! LOSER!
Whatever, ELO was horrible, but they certainly marked a moment in childhood (my
childhood, not yours--you're either too young or too old to remember ELO since all the people my exact age
are in their prime productive years and busy busy at work too busy to read blogs and OTHER NON-WORK RELATED INTERNET SHENANIGANS).
So, back to work. Where was I? Oh, yah...
When I was a tyke, the St. Paul Public Schools had
this pilot elementary school program called "outsource enrichment." It was basically a plan to load us all
on a bus and ship us off to poorly supervised venues where we could dabble in thinly veiled vo-tech type activities at the
ripe old work-ready age of seven (while our regular teachers sipped coffee and gobbled migraine meds back at our wall-less
70's experimental "leaning environments"). Kind of like OJT or apprenticeship for kiddies. I mean, who
needs to sit in a "school" and learn "subjects" from a "teacher" all day, right?
for OE, you could pick from three programs: the arts, earth science, and something disappointingly packaged as "careers."
Always pick science, that was my rule, and also a rumor I spread. Therefore, by the 3rd round of "enrichment,"
science was sold out before I signed up (always always pick science!) and I was carted off to "careers"
against my will, like a veal in a boxcar. Boo.
Here's what I did during my (what seemed interminable)
days at "careers":
1. Fiddled around in a mock beauty shop, equipped with giant barbie heads of
synthetic hair and real, real hot curling irons. No supervision. Hot irons. Synthetic hair.
Wanna see the scars from the blisters? Wanna know the haunting smell of melted rayon tinged with seared human flesh?
2. Mucked around in a mock restaurant (okay, restaurant is too fancy a word--it was more like a mock taco truck
interior) making all sorts things of absolutely no appeal nor food value with real ingredients on authentic stoves and in
working blenders. No supervision. Real stoves. Whirring blenders. I won't go on, but I can tell
you there were EMTs at OE at least 4 times that session (not for me). Mostly I just sat and ate carob chips and watched
other children blend their fingers.
3. Hung out in the "Mellow Station." This was a dimly
lit alcove under a stairway, furnished with beanbag chairs, a stack of putridly pop LPs and phonographs (huh, yah, remember
those? FO-NO-GRAF), complete with giant muffin headphones and "secluded" by a curtain of seashell and bead streamers.
No supervision. Bean bag chairs. Music. Even bad music was better than the pointless and degrading blood,
gore and mayhem of "careers," and typically that is where you would find me: mellowing for hours on end. If
it comes up in cocktail party conversation, just remember: this is why I know so much about ELO, and all the words
to Olivia Newton John's Xanadu album and the lyrics to the soundtrack from the movie Grease, and
why I can also talk coherently about the real Xanadu in literature and the finer points of Grease the original broadway
show (well, that and because I took a lot of American Studies courses in college).
So, of course they shut
down the program. No more "outsource enrichment."
What else can I say but...
and passed away,
Hardly seemed to last a day
But it's over and what can I do?
Music playin in the ai,r
Silence on a darkened stair
Cos it's over and what can I do?
(Yeah, thanks SPPS. That's
about 60 hours of my tender childhood right there!) Always choose science.
life's a moving....
what I picket up at Target today...
Wed, July 21, 2010 | link
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
I have been waiting impatiently for 10 years for Laura Hillenbrand
to finish writing a second book. That's how good she is. That's how sick she is.
Tue, July 20, 2010 | link
Since publishing her first book, Seabiscuit: An American Legend, in 2001, she has been suffering
a very severe form of CFIDS (Chronic Fatigue Immuno-Deficiency Syndrome), an illness tht shares many of the same traits as
mine, and which was one of the initial diagnoses I received at Mayo. Like me, she was stricken very suddenly and inexplicably
with her illness, and went through years of medical hell to get a diagnosis and treatment plan (only to find out her condition
was rare, incurable, mysterious, idopathic...). In the past two years, she has been so ill she has been able to leave
her home in D.C. only twice (once to get married to her longtime fiance--yay for true love!), but she has managed to write
an amazing new book--something she said after Seabiscuit she felt she would never survive to do again.
But she did it!
Unbroken is the true story of Louis Zamperini (now 93), whose remarkable life is a true example of strength in the face of adversity. He was an American Olympic
athlete at the Berlin games of 1936 (where he had to shake hands with Hitler), and 7 years later fought as a bombardier
in the Pacific Theatre of WWII. Failed engines cuased him to crash into the ocean where he survived 47 days floating
in plane wreckage, across 2,000 miles of ocean. When he finally reached the shores of Japan, he was taken prisoner and
endured months of severe beatings and deprivation before being freed. Zamperini speaks often about his faith in God
and how it factoroed in his ability both to survive and forgive.
Both Hillenbrand and Zamperini are heroic
figures in their own way, and I am so happy to recommend this book. I got a sneak peek through a freind's reviewer
copy, but you can get it Nov. 16, 2010.
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Roo enthusiastically compiles
complaints for use in his upcoming guest stint as "opposition blogger."
Sun, July 18, 2010 | link
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