geminigirl: (Default)
Testing the crossposting feature while managing someone else's crisis and waiting for Naomi to get home so we can go out this afternoon.
geminigirl: (Beta headshot)
It looks like everything has been imported and is where it's supposed to be. I need to figure out the OpenID stuff, and for now, how to get it to crosspost to LJ until with the little notification thing at the bottom, and all that.

Who knows how much use this will get, especially since LJ has been more idle than not, but it's here, and I can continue to use it, and haven't lost sixteen years of content to the Russians and all that.
geminigirl: (Beta headshot)
Working on exporting everything from here to Dreamwidth as most of you are. I've needed space for longform noodling but haven't felt comfortable here. My username there is the same for the sake of convenience, but I don't know if it will stay that way.
geminigirl: (Angry Woman)
There is something both sweet and scary about preparing Naomi for her first big protest where bad things might happen. It's Orlando and so I'm not as worried as I might be if it were DC or New York or some of the other places I've participated in social actions like this one, but still, sitting your kid down and saying "Here's a card with all your pertinent information, put it in your bag," and writing her name, age and birth date on it and "In case of emergency" who to call. (Stuff they tell protesters to write on their bodies, but that I didn't want to write on her just in case.) Explaining to her "Avoid the police, if you get lost, find someone with a stroller," and telling her which media outlets she's not allowed to talk to.

Naomi asked about going to the women's march today. I have mixed emotions about it-I'm proud of her for wanting to take a stand, I'm frightened at the idea of letting her go, I'm excited to see her take real ownership in her own world and embrace the power she has to be part of making change.

We've prepared her to be safe as best we could, she's capable of talking to the news media (and we've even told her a few that we don't want her to talk to,) and she's as ready as she can be. I may not be ready to help her deal with the things she might see or hear, but I will rise to the occasion.

Miriam didn't want to go-she couldn't handle a crowd that size or the noise; after some discussion last night Andrew and I decided that I'd stay home with Miriam and he'd take Naomi. In a truly dangerous situation, he's bigger and scarier looking and better able to protect Naomi and keep her safe. I'm sad about missing out, and about sharing that experience with her, but I think as parents it's one of the times we choose what's best for our children over ourselves.

We did give her a job to do today-we showed her the Safety Pin Box project and asked her to do their Safety Pin Box Kids Mini Task.

I am so very proud of Naomi and the person she's turning into.
geminigirl: (Chai)
In the last three weeks there have been three bomb threats at our local Jewish Community Center. The JCC is a great spot-terrific camps, love their kid programs, wonderful pre-school, lots of great things about it. But the world has become threatening, and bomb threats at the JCC, while not out of the ordinary were not frequent; I'd always treated them as a "comes with the territory" sort of thing...that being Jewish, just like various other things comes with a certain amount of being threatened.

So with three bomb threats in three weeks of course, people have talked about this a whole lot lately. Today, as I was just about ready to leave the house to pick the kids up from school and head to Girl Scouts, my phone rang. the number looked vaguely familiar, but not enough to be in my contacts or for me to know it, so I answered it. It was the reporter who interviewed Naomi a few weeks ago, wanting to know if I could talk to her on camera about what's happening at the JCC. I consulted with Andrew (it's his family too, and I need to make sure he's ok with how public things are,) and agreed to do the interview-the catch was I couldn't do it where she wanted (near the JCC)-I had to have her meet me near the kids' school so I could get in car line, then do the interview while I was waiting.

I arrived, she hugged me, we slipped the microphone on, answered a few questions, and raced off to get the kids and head out. I hope that next time she calls me for something, I'll have time to do things like take a shower and do my hair before I show up. I wasn't expecting the hug-it made me think about what the female equivalent of the handshake is though. Maybe that's it.

Anyway, here's the story in the print and video format..



http://www.mynews13.com/content/news/cfnews13/news/article.html/content/news/articles/cfn/2017/1/19/fbi_investigating_th.html?cid=facebook_News_13
geminigirl: (Beta headshot)
Local news station interviewed Naomi yesterday about her campaign to get Hanukkah decorations


I am more and more amazed each day.
geminigirl: (Beta headshot)
Also, when did Naomi grow up so much?

Normally I'd have posted this kind of long form thing on Livejournal, but once I decided to submit it for publication I couldn't post a full story anywhere else until I knew what was going on.

Look what Naomi did that I wrote about and someone else published
geminigirl: (Beta headshot)
Any 8 year old who can stand up and speak in front of the City Council deserves to go out for dinner after. We had a friend along and Andrew and I were looking at menus and catching up and so Naomi ordered a giant root beer float while we wasn't paying attention. And she enjoyed it.

Also, I put my pearls on her before we left. She came in so I could braid her hair (so glad she still lets me do that,) and I handed my pearls to her while I did it. Then I slipped them around her neck and she said "Mama, these look really special." And I told her that yes, they are special, but that night was a special night and she deserved to wear something special, and that I hoped if she wore them it would help remind her of some of her heroes like Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Hillary Clinton.

geminigirl: (Beta headshot)
You may or may not recall that two years ago, Naomi wrote a letter to the mayor of our town about the lack of Hanukkah decorations in the city light displays, and he wrote back to her promising to correct that. Two years later, there are still no Hanukkah decorations in the city-sponsored display, and when we were talking about this with a friend of mine, (who happens to also be the pastor of the local Presbyterian church,) she suggested that Naomi go to the public comment period at the city council meeting and make a statement.



Naomi's statement and mine... )

I also read a statement from my friend the Pastor, who had planned to attend but got called away to church at the last minute. The mayor was visibly uncomfortable with the statement. I was busy watching Naomi, more than the mayor, but Andrew says that it was kind of like "Uh oh, I did promise this, I've been caught and shamed by an 8 year old and now it's public record." We were really prepared-we even brought a copy of her letter and the mayor's response, which were collected by the city clerk and entered into the record.

I have no idea if it will matter in the end, if anything will change. But my kids are learning truly how to make waves, how to hold elected officials accountable, how not to let things be if they're not right. And that's an important lesson.

I also submitted my first piece of writing for publication. We'll see where that goes...probably a dead end, but if it happens, that would be awesome.
geminigirl: (Beta headshot)
I just had to go read past my front page to read the most current posts for the first time in a while.

I remember when not reading LJ for a day meant so many posts it was impossible to catch up. It's good to see life breathed back into LJ again.
geminigirl: (Angry Woman)
Naomi and Miriam go to a "casually uniform" school; their school has uniforms but most of the time, unless a kid is violating the county dress code, they don't really do anything about it. So I told her she could wear her "A Woman's Place is in the House and the Senate and the Oval Office" shirt on Election Day next week as long as she wore proper uniform bottoms and put a school uniform shirt in her bag in case they told her to change.

Both kids are frightened but interested in the current election cycle, at least for president. We had a fascinating conversation a week or two ago about candidates-the two candidates running to represent our district are a woman who doesn't reflect my values and a man who, while he and I disagree on many fiscal and financial matters, on most social issues, we're well aligned. I asked the kids who I should vote for-the man or the woman, and they immediately said "the woman," until I explained that she didn't reflect my values but the other candidate did. I explained that you have to look at which candidate lines up with what you believe in the most, and sometimes even that's not perfected, and went on with "What if you believe in saving trees and oceans, and one candidate says 'cut down the trees' and another says 'save the trees' and leaves out the oceans. Who do you vote for?" They picked the "save the trees" candidate, but I was fascinated with their conversation that followed. They discussed different strategies for helping homeless people, and environmental things, but most interesting was listening to them talk about school populations-about what to do if we discovered we needed more spots for students in our schools-they considered the possibility of expanding the size of our current schools or building more schools and we talked about the environmental impact of those choices and economics and the traffic patterns, and all sorts of complicated things that I don't think most kids think about. It was really deep and amazing.

What it did get me thinking about though, was how I perceived elections; I was a little older than Naomi in 1984. Ronald Reagan was a "bad guy" in my head, but the Soviets and their missiles were scarier and more threatening. I don't ever remember being as frightened as they are about the future of my own country though, when considering an election.
geminigirl: (Beta headshot)



Halloween Hug.jpg
Naomi turns Miriam into a pig.jpg

Oh these two. My heart. My love. No words.
geminigirl: (Beta headshot)
Things I am still not entirely used to in my adult life...

Being introduced to colleagues of my mother by first name and not "Title and name." Whether they told me to call them something else or not, I still feel like I'm my mother's kid and should be introduced to them by title and name rather than first name. (My mother works in an academic department at a university-most of her colleagues hold PhDs or other doctoral degrees, except for the grad students who, once upon a time were my contemporaries and who now are often younger than I am.)

Last year at shiva for my Dad people brought all kinds of food, and one of the professors brought a wonderful dish, similar to one I make, but I liked her version a little better (actually I'll probably combine elements of the two to get one that I like even more.) I didn't get the recipe then but I was thinking about it today, and so I decided to email my mother and ask her who it was who brought the food and could I get the recipe? In my email I mentioned the professor in question by first name, but it just didn't feel right. Is it imposter syndrome (as in "I appear to be a sensible adult but I don't actually believe I'm one,") or something else?
geminigirl: (Rain)
I had brunch yesterday with a friend, someone I've known for a while...since my pre-kid days. He's a currently single, childfree, gay male friend, a few years older than I am. He travels occasionally to Orlando on business, and when he does, we try and get together. When he first mentioned coming to Orlando this time he did mention he would enjoy seeing the kids (he hasn't seen them in about two years)-he's not a huge fan of kids, but he likes mine, and they talk about Lego a lot (he uses Lego in his work,) and they have fun. It didn't work out to get together when the kids were free, but he and I were able to get together, have brunch, and chat. I had a lovely time, but it was such a deep reminder of the difference between my life before and after kids-sitting and laughing about artistically designed bathhouses where amusement park designers have been a part of the experience, and things like that. It was lighthearted and joyful and exciting, and I felt good after leaving, but I also felt a deep reminder of where I am now. I miss what I had then, but I also suppose it's probably like many things and will never taste as good as I remember it.

And as I was thinking about that part of my life, I also had the chance tonight to use what I began learning in that phase of my life (and have continued to learn because it helps me help my own children,) to help a friend help her child...a friend who I'd probably not know at all were it not for kids, considering that I met her through a Mom's group. To have her say "I knew you would be my resource on this" and to talk about my passion for teaching this reminds me that I am good at some things, even when I forget, and reminds me of the value of the experiences I had then in living my life now, and how I can draw together what I know from then with what I have learned in the interim.

I've had a few feeling-really-good-and-valued moments in the last few days. Unfortunately, they're hard to hold on to.
geminigirl: (Beta headshot)
We celebrated someone's eighth birthday the other day. We gave her a choice between going to drag brunch the day before her birthday and going to fancy dinner on her actual birthday and she chose drag brunch. Not exactly typical for turning 8, but who said I had typical kids? They were telling their occupational therapist about it yesterday who was trying to choke back giggles...I looked at her and said "Not exactly a conversation you would expect to have with a six year old?"

Two recent photos )
geminigirl: (N'est Pas Un Blog)
Not that I have much to say-things come and go, the days turn, the kids get older, I get older, you all know how it works...

but, I've got an interesting opportunity to write a longer form blog piece about "raising socially conscious children." The author of Motherhood Community has invited me to write a piece for her about raising socially conscious children. It's been so long since I've really done longer form writing for anyone else to read that I'm not sure what I want to say or how I want to get started, but it's an exciting opportunity if I can ever pull things intno a coherent format. It's both nervewracking and exciting to think that I might have something worth saying to a larger audience and I hope that whatever I can put together will be interesting to people and make them want to read more, and that I'll have more opportunities to write.
geminigirl: (Books)
The interesting thing about having medium sized kids (which is what I call Naomi) is chatting with her about serious things. Today it was banned books and censorship. And while she still does distill some things into very simple, very black and white "That's bad" sentiments, to have a child who is aware, thoughtful and trying to make change is fantastic. I don't want her to ever be afraid to use her voice. At 4 and a half she wrote to the President of the US. At 5 and a half she wrote to the mayor of our city about a specific problem-lack of Hanukkah decorations in our town. Her heart is amazing and makes me cry just thinking about her. May she always be able to speak up as strongly as she does now.
geminigirl: (Sex Education)
Straightening up Miriam's room with her tonight and she picks up a toy horse made by Schleich. The Schleich animals are anatomically correct, in case you didn't know. She turns the horse over, looks at it and says to me, "Mom, does this horse have a penis?" I look at her and say "What do you think?" She examines the horse, puts it back on the shelf and says "I think it has a penis, it's a boy horse." Then she picks up a dinosaur and says to me, "Mom, did dinosaurs have penises?" I answer her "I don't really know that much about dinosaur anatomy. We can try and find out later." She says "I think they did, but this dinosaur doesn't have a penis. It's a girl."
She's quiet for a few minutes, picking up things and she says to me, "Mom, I use to think penises weren't a real thing but now I know they are real. But Mom, penises aren't for everybody, Mom."

Oh the giggles I had to swallow there.
geminigirl: (Beta headshot)
Small victory...I made it through my trip to the store to buy Yarzheit (memorial) candles without crying.

I have a deadline that was technically this evening, but really isn't until 9/24...it was set tonight for the convenience of the person who needs the data and to give her some time to finish collecting it from the people who haven't turned it in. I'm grateful that when I called her today with a question about it she said to me "Stop stressing about it. You have a holiday today and tomorrow. I don't actually need to have paper in hand until Friday. Get the data entered into the computer and have your holiday. Stop by Thursday or Friday with the paperwork." She was right to remind me to take care of me and to not let this stress me out so much. I need to thank her for it.

I'm really trying to focus on not having to go through the first time again for a lot of things. I made it through the first Rosh Hashanah without my Dad. Now the first Yom Kippur. Soon the first Simchat Torah, which the girls will enjoy. Sometimes being able to sink into the ritual is helpful-it brings some of the emotion that I may not have given a lot of thought to to the surface and allows me to let go. Same friend who reminded me to take care of me also said "Grief doesn't end, it just changes." Someone else said to watch out because it may sneak up on you in a few months when something else is going on and to give yourself time and space for that. I had this moment a week ago where Miriam said something and I would have reached for the phone and told him about it and he would have loved hearing the story, and I looked at my phone and put my hand on it but I knew I couldn't just make the call. And what about when I upgrade this phone? Will I change the entry from "Mom and Dad" to "Mom" or what?

I'm working on it.
geminigirl: (Beta headshot)
I loved doing HIV and sexuality related work with teens and young adults. Loved it. So much so that I was applying to PhD programs in order to refine my skills and be able to research about effectiveness and develop new programs and stuff like that. And then Life Happened-we decided to get married, which didn't affect my desire to go get a PhD, just changed my search area for programs, but then the whole moving to Florida part happened and that dream kind of had to be put aside because there aren't programs nearby and distance learning just doesn't seem compatible with what I was doing and frankly, we're stuck where Andrew has work (his earning power will always be greater than mine so we're not going to go chasing my jobs,) then kids happened. Jobs doing that kind of work even without a PhD don't really exist around here either. I really thought that was something I was kind of done with, not out of any specific desire of my own, just because circumstances dictated it.

So imagine my surprise yesterday when I got a message from a friend asking if I'd be interested in teaching the OWL program to homeschoolers. My immediate reaction was "I'd love to, I'm not trained as a facilitator though." She suggested I look into getting trained-she'd do it herself but she's still got a nursing baby and can't get away long enough to do the training (he's old enough that he'd be a disruption and a distraction but not old enough to leave home for three days yet.) There are many training opportunities though and it's not like we'd have to start next week. Andrew and I are trying to check the schedule and figure out if we can make it work financially and time wise. It's an opportunity I'd love to take advantage of, especially since it's a program we can use in other environments-the humanist group that a friend and I are working to create might be interested for example.

Almost like things are coming full circle I guess. Funny that way.

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