Friday, November 2, 2018

Saying "I Love You"

We actually did things after getting all the kids to bed last night. That's kind of unusual. Mike lay in the dark upstairs reaches of our house watching a show on his tablet, as far as I could tell. I eased away from the baby and snuck downstairs to my ballot.

When Mike came downstairs an hour or so later, he laughed to find me typing messages on my phone with two of my girlfriends discussing state propositions and candidates. We are deeply dorky. And it was so much fun.

He went back upstairs and I finished up, saving my "I Voted" sticker for tomorrow's work outfit (though I almost pasted it to my nightclothes). Close to 11pm, I went to find him again and we laughed a bit more about funny things from the day. Then tiredness came in a wave and I abruptly stood and went to lie down with the baby in the next room.

I felt sleep coming very fast, but before it did I thought how I'd like to be able to tap messages to Mike while we're lying separated by a wall.

I drifted off, thinking, "How do you say I love you in Morse Code?"

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Explaining Art to Aliens

In 1977, NASA sent the Golden Record, a record of life on Earth, into space. The classical station I listen to often mentions this when they play some of the songs included on that recording, such as the Brandenberg Concerto.

And I always think: if we humans got music from aliens I think we'd assume it was a message.We would probably try to translate it, and miss the possibility that it was "just" for the sake of beauty and shared emotion.

And then I wonder, and this is such a fun question: what are we "saying" with music (or art) anyway? I have a hard enough time articulating an answer myself. How would we explain art to aliens?

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Fancy Coffee in 2018

"So what are you up to today?" She asked me as she turned the monitor around to get me to sign for the matcha latte I just bought.

"Oh, headed to work," I said. What else would I be up to? I thought, surprised though without malice. 

"Oh! Where do you work?" This feels like a lot of conversation. "Oh, in an office," I said with a smile and a deprecating shake of my head. 

"I love your necklace!" What is this conversation? I thought, explaining distractedly where online I'd purchased the thing. Oh! I suddenly laughed inside. She works in a coffee shop! She's totally caffeinated! 

I flashed on my own friendly conversation in college when I worked at a deli.... And/or wants a tip. 

I tapped the screen -- $1. Uhhh. $6.50 total with that. For a cup of tea. I looked around. Am I the only one who thinks this is weird? This is really weird. I signed with my fingertip, feeling the tea should be less and the tip should be more, and that I lived in the future because I was signing my name on a screen with my finger.

I turned to find a place to wait. "I've got the ... cappuccino," said the barista, setting his latest drink on the pick-up counter before starting in on my matcha.

My head sideways at the paper rack, I read about Santa Barbara's annual "Zombie Dance" preparations, part of which involves school children learning the steps to Michael Jackson's "Thriller". Suddenly realizing why my oldest son has lately been jerking his body into spastic poses, I heard singing nearby, and looked up to see the barista steaming milk with his eyes closed. He cradled the milk in place, sensually rocking out to a modern hipster song. His falsetto blended with the chords piped over invisible speakers. Is this taking longer because he is singing and his eyes are closed? I wondered. Is that even safe?

Then I felt guilty about spending so much. Then I felt guilty about the caffeine. Then I wondered how big this drink was going to be, lamenting that I'd probably just paid $6.50 for a demi-cup. But, as the barista opened his eyes, filled my cup and placed it on the counter ("I've got-" "-my drink, thanks." I cut him off) it ended up being a satisfyingly large serving, which surprised me again.

I drank some as I drove and after a few minutes I took a deep breath and felt I was lifted onto a higher shelf where I could breathe better and the rainy pavement felt nostalgically beautiful and I began writing this in my head because I can do everything! (Lordy. Imagine what real drugs do.)

This was a small, yet entirely unusual kind of moment in my life, and (thank you, matcha) I'm thinking it over in laser-caffeine-detail. I felt like a visitor in the world, and it was a part-silly, part-enjoyable, guilty place to explore.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Something Big at the Bus Stop

This morning at a bus stop was
a woman with her

rucksacks on wheels (I gathered she slept there) and come morning,
before moving on,
she was sweeping.

She was sweeping with a small hand broom, and dumping it in the garbage can. Brisk, matter-of-fact, and efficient; pushing the dust on the sidewalk back into the bushes and against the bordering fence.

My eyes saw the woman and her rucksacks and her broom, and my heart saw something monumental. It felt, incongrously, like a service, like the biggest thing in the world.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Melt That

I was sitting in synagogue and we read aloud as a congregation:

The forests saw and trembled; the mountains, they melted like wax. 

With concerned eyebrows, my neighbor urgently turned to me, whispering:

Once, my radiator in the car melted like wax!!!

And I laughed so loudly that people looked at me.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Time Capsule {Before a New Month Begins}

It's the last day of August for the year. In 45 minutes it will be September. 

This coming month, I will: 
-reflect on where I am to prepare for the upcoming High Holy Days
-push forward on refugee aid (plan our upcoming speaker panel and art sale), and 
-look for a job. 

Yes! Look for a job! When my youngest baby starts school next week (!), my time is my own again. At least 16-30 hours per week is. And I'm looking for a job that continues my social activism into a paid arena. Whether that's Legal Aid as an attorney, or work at my temple (perhaps), or something as yet unforeseen. 

I am excited, unworried, and content even in the possibility alone.

And while doing all this, I want to enjoy and savor time before a job. Visit with people a lot. 

Goodnight August. {Hello Spetember!} Love, Monica

Monday, August 22, 2016

My Summer with Sean

I was lucky enough to live with my sweet brother-in-law for the summer. He's 18 and between mint tea and discussions on math, dating, philosophy, and cooking, life was full and grand. On that topic, here's that quote, Sean. You are doing so well. Keep up the good work, my dear.

“In the time of your life, live—so that in that good time there shall be no ugliness or death for yourself or for any life your life touches. Seek goodness everywhere, and when it is found, bring it out of its hiding place and let it be free and unashamed.

Place in matter and in flesh the least of the values, for these are the things that hold death and must pass away. Discover in all things that which shines and is beyond corruption. Encourage virtue in whatever heart it may have been driven into secrecy and sorrow by the shame and terror of the world. Ignore the obvious, for it is unworthy of the clear eye and the kindly heart.

Be the inferior of no man, or of any men be superior. Remember that every man is a variation of yourself. No man's guilt is not yours, nor is any man's innocence a thing apart. Despise evil and ungodliness, but not men of ungodliness or evil. These, understand. Have no shame in being kindly and gentle but if the time comes in the time of your life to kill, kill and have no regret.

In the time of your life, live—so that in that wondrous time you shall not add to the misery and sorrow of the world, but shall smile to the infinite delight and mystery of it.”

― William Saroyan, The Time Of Your Life

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Universal Heartbeats

I heard the sound of two black holes colliding yesterday on the radio, as converted from gravitational to sound waves. And more than the magnificent confirmation of Einstein's theory about the nature of gravity (as a wave versus a force) this is what made me catch my breath: the beat of the universe was the same as my sons' fetal heartbeats on ultrasound.