Thursday, February 25, 2010

Lost It On The Playground

I guess I'm working too hard at too many things. Right now, I am putting together a web site to accept donations for my kids' school. The PTA has to fund the arts (Art, Music, Computer Lab and P.E.) because the state budget doesn't pay for these things any more. Our PTA fundraises for about $100,000 each year. It's like squeezing blood from turnips to get all the families to just contribute a lump sum for each kid, so we are left to fundraise in ways such as the upcoming "Walk and Roll-a-Thon", where kids get pledges to run.

I keep telling the PTA we have to use the internet to fundraise but nobody will take on the job. Wimps. After three years of talking about it, I just up and did it myself. It was so easy. You should try it. One problem is that I really needed some pictures to put on the site to make it more compelling. Kind of like yelling, "hey, it's me, your friend/family member! I need your ten dollars to get to do the stuff I really enjoy!"  So, today, as I was serving as noon aide during the upper grader's lunch, I snapped a few pictures. The kids were so cute, they all wanted me to photograph their feet. I took advantage of a primo photo-op when the band came out of lunchtime practice to take their yearbook photos. I ran right up the little grass hill, about 20 feet from the lunch tables, to snap some shots.  It was a sweet moment. Kieran looked (and sounded) so COOL with her beautiful sax. My baby, the band geek. I was in heaven.

I returned to the lunch tables and was asked by the nearest group of kids if they could please be excused. Their table was tidy, the compost sorting line was short, so I let them go. Then, one of the other lunch ladies yelled at me "SHELLEY! What are you doing! I thought we had a system and you just disappeared!" Uggggghhhh. So I went back to the group of boys I had excused and told them to sit back down because Mrs. ____ was excusing. Then as each table asked to be excused I told them the same thing, "sorry, Mrs. ____ is excusing". So stupid.

Up I went to the playground to do yard duty when Mrs. ____ approached me.  I got pissed off and LOST IT on the playground, in front of all the kids.

I felt the need to defend my ways, which are kind of fly by the seat of your pants style. This other woman is a scientist and obviously prefers order and discipline to my free and easy way of doing things. We got into a heated discussion in front of the handball court about her need to yell at me and my need to multitask. I was still within visual and auditory range when I stepped away to photograph the band, and the kids at lunch were fourth, fifth and sixth graders, who are pretty darned easy to wrangle (for me).

I got all teary eyed in my heated debate when I exclaimed that I care about all the kids and that I am trying to do this other thing (the web site) to help them all out. Geees.

So what's the learning experience here? The kids at school got to see a lunch lady "fight" which could be pretty cool if you like that sort of thing. It didn't come to blows but I may have secretly flicked a spoon full of peas and corn if I knew I could have gotten away with it. Hey, I'm the first to admit that I'm not perfect. I have flaws, I make mistakes, I do my best and sometimes I make up my own rules. No wonder the kids like me better.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Mundane Magic

Yesterday I took the kids to the beach for a morning walk. Aidan had a huge tantrum. He frequently has huge tantrums when we are at beaches, or pools. Before even hitting the sand, he was crying, "I want to go home".  Not atypical.

He started having crying fits around water when he was about three months old. Bathing him, on my lap, as I always had, he began to protest with what appeared to be a mortal fear. Like being hit on the head with a rock, I have seen this pattern emerge over his almost seven years of life and it finally became clear to me; something bad happened to Aidan when he was not Aidan that involved a large body of water and probably death.

The magic is that I am not denying that this is a probable rather than possible reality for him and I'm willing to discuss it with him openly now. When we got into the car I said, "Aidan, I have noticed that you are very distressed and fearful around the ocean. Did something bad happen to you in a past life? Did you drown? " He replies, "yeah." "I think so."

It lead to a car-wide discussion about past lives. Kieran said she didn't remember any of hers. I said,  "I don't think you are supposed to" I followed with..."but sometimes kids come in almost knowing how to do certain things like read and draw." To which, Kieran agreed. She seems to have known how to do these things from birth. "Sometimes we retain fears that don't make sense to us in this life but maybe come from what has happened to us in the past."

Just going to that unknown place openly, will open all kinds of magic up for us.

Later that same day, the kids played Chumash Indians in the back yard. We went to the Natural History Museum and explored crystals, space, mammals, and birds. We listed all the native animals we had seen in our back yard. The list was impressive.

Today, I made a necklace for Morgan of black tourmaline, ruby, spectrolite, riverstone and turquoise to help him protect his personal energy. I made three very powerful candles for Stacy, infused with black tourmaline, patchouli and valor oil with some reiki matches to help her clear the energy in her home. I did this while simultaneously baking chocolate chip cookies for the kids who were playing Chumash again today, blowing their flute, collecting their herbs, doing their rain dance in the back yard.  Mundane Magic.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


Dearest Loves of my life,

You are my suns, my galaxies, you are my Star Wars and my favorite songs.
You are my ethnic foods, my coffee with milk, you are my funny movie, my creative drive,
 my hike in the mountains my low tide.
 You are the most fun I can have on any given day, you are my adventure, my comfort and my play.
 I love you, I cherish you, the time we spend, the way you smell, your hands in mine, your lips, your cheeks, your wiggly tooth, the sound your saxaphone makes.  I love your drawings, your wit, the way you read out loud, The dinners you bring home almost every night, the way you hold me at the end of the day.
You are my best memories, all happening now, my full moon, my vacations, my playground. I love you, all of you, you know who you are. If you can't feel my love then I need to work harder.

LOVE, Shelley

Sunday, February 07, 2010


While everything is going on around us, all the mundane, the tragic, the upsetting, the hopeful, the challenging , the new... stars are being formed. Galaxies are colliding. Cosmic dust is coalescing or expanding, heating in a dance of friction and fusion or cooling and dissipating into the blackness of space. It's all happening and it is beautiful. It is orderly and and chaotic at the same time. It is a metaphor for our lives here. All is born, all lives, all dies, only to be reborn again. All is beautiful. 

I have found comfort in this phenomenon since I was old enough to look up and grasp what I was seeing. I always felt like I was looking at "home" and I was. We are small and huge at the same time. We are individuals and part of systems, like stars in a galaxy. We are also galaxies in a universe. 

Look closely at the last picture, borrowed from one of my favorite websites, The little spirals and lines are not stars, they are galaxies. Each galaxy has billions of stars, there are billions of galaxies in the universe, and now scientists are beginning to accept that there may be more than just one universe. There may actually be a mother universe that holds many many universes.

Perspective gives you the power to know more than just what is in the scope of your headlights. Perspective may stretch and span beyond time and space. You may begin to feel like you are a part of something bigger and that there is nothing to fear. There is no beginning and no end to anything. 

You are beautiful just because you are. You are perfect in whatever state of perceived order or chaos you are wrapped in today.