As a webcrafter, I am professionally dismayed at the typography and inaccessibility of that site. It does not respond to various devices, and has extraneous markup that prohibits it from being read by services that help people in understanding the subject. You’ve taken the time to add the so-called “open social graph” elements, but you still load iframes and wrap everything in unnecessary div blocks. I recommend that you seek a professional webcrafter to redo your site that follows modern best practices and technology.
However, that is not why I am writing to you today; rather, it is the personal matter of hosting images of my young child Emma Clover. No doubt you have some automated services scraping the internet for images, and I hope this causes you to reconsider that strategy and take a more hands-on approach to gathering information.
All the images you’ve used are either full copyright, or licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike license. Where it is licensed under CC, we require attribution. As the images you’ve pulled are from a few different sites, please check your logs and attribute correctly (we normally ask for the name of the photographer, either me or Susan Magnolia, and a link to the appropriate site). As an advocate of the commons, I will help you in this if you’d like, you can reach me at email@example.com, or one of the ways described at http://interi.org/contact.
If your software prohibits you from easily attributing those images, or you otherwise choose not to comply with the license we’ve released those images under, please remove them from your site. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me, or check the resources listed at http://creativecommons.org/contact; the mailing list or IRC channel may be the quickest way to get help on how to use culture licensed with Creative Commons.
Susan was able to get a video of Clover singing with em knowing. It starts out with Clover’s rendition of the refrain from The More We Get Together. The next part is the naming of our friends, as e begins…
Our new place has a nice big kitchen, with plenty of counter space. I am surprised by how much of a difference that makes for me. That cottage had about a square foot, or we had to use the table, which isn’t fun.
We live down the street from the Oaktown Spice Shop, and Susan found they have Japanese curry powder. I am working through the boxes I’ve stockpiled so I can switch up to fresher, less processed ingredients (in this case, sans the gummy stuff they use to make the curry into bricks, and of course the MSG).
Today I made an off but quick curry udon, using a brand of “quick” noodles I hadn’t before. Normally I cook udon in its own water, but this cooked in the broth, which was just curry brick, water and broccoli (my dashi powder had expired, and I am suspect of using it past that date). I am not sure if each step of my concoction made it weird, but it isn’t my best bowl. On the other hand, it is still curry udon. ^_^
The last week has been tough. About 18 months ago I started practicing daily routines. And about 8 months ago I went from being a full-time caregiver to a full-time webcrafter. However, I was able to keep my routine because I stilled stayed at home, and I was able to adjust it over time.
This recent move through me for a loop, but Susan talked some sense into me, and made me realize that I needed to grab on to something again, to navigate this new environment.
I practice what I called structured flexibility. I could, and should, write a lot about it, but the basic premise is that I try to be unattached to most ideas or habits*, so I can react with intention when people need help. I discourage clients from unplanned work, but I also specialize in web disaster relief. If my tribe is in need, I can make things happen, because those occurrences happen with an infrequency that make it easy to deal with one crisis at a time. The structured part comes from the forethought of not over-committing myself on emotionally taxing situations, and to my routines.
Moving is very emotional, and if not for folks in general, then for me in particular. It is basically one mini-crisis after another, and it had exhausted me to the point of forgetting to eat or drink.
I am coming out the other end of that now, having my expectations being met (really, just internet access at home, and deciding to continue my caffeine addiction**).
On the bright side, Clover seems to be doing really well. All the parents(!) told us that if we got a larger space we would use it, which is an experiential thing that didn’t make sense to me. Clover runs around, something that wasn’t really possible in the tiny cottage. It is a privilege that I don’t take for granted. We also just switched out our stroller and car seat for larger versions, so I guess there is a lot of change, for all of us.
I am lucky to have Susan here to ground me in my walkabout in maiki-brain. ^_^
*That is a loaded statement, and can’t be explained here without muddling the topic of this post. I do have attachments, though.
** I get headaches if I haven’t had a cup of tea within the last day. It is common, but it worries me.
I have a thousand minutes/texts on a SIM in a device capable of connecting to a mobile cellular network.
If Susan needs to meet me somewhere, and doesn’t have access to a network/device combo that allows jabber, then she can text me. If Susan has an emergency with Clover, she can grab any phone and call 911.
Those are the only two use cases I am concerned about. It gives me time to think or read during commutes, and the rest of this time I am connected to the internet, which is a global interconnected networks of nodes that terminate in odd places, like not on BART (unless one wants to use a web interface from 1994 on a mobile device). If I could easily connect to the internet on BART, I would run a jabber client on my mobile device, but as it is I will always have a preferred device for chatting at the places I do such things.
No one will care. Well, Kevin will, but if e gets a data plan, problem solved. My clients will be okay, because the first time they ask me to call them I politely decline, and no one has ever been concerned (which fascinates me, kinda, because I have plenty of clients that I’ve no idea of how they sound).
I do have a SIP address (firstname.lastname@example.org), but that is mostly because I like the idea of “calling” Susan on her phone from Pidgin. I’ve haven’t quite figured all the ins and outs of “voip”, and it is something I am very interested in, but not to actually use. I don’t like talking on phones, so when I do it had better be inexpensive.
Now we will see how long my 1,000 minutes will last. ^_^
I’ve embarked on a new part of my tea journey, loose-leaf. Susan got me a tea ball for infusion. I’ve resisted because I am lazy, but now that I have a place where I work consistently, I can have the equipment available.
When I was growing up I often got asked by adults if my family was in the military. It seems like an absurd question now, as if entire families could enlist. I understood it, though, because the man my mother was married to had once been a Marine, and having been dishonorably discharged, had never gone through the civilian training that adapts them back to “normal” life, if they had that back then, and so my siblings and I were raised with a heightened awareness of this country’s foreign policy and how we should basically bomb the fuck out of everyone. Charming people, our parents.
Anyhow, the reason adults around me, mostly school faculty, asked me that was because my family moved very often. I estimate that we hardly lived anywhere for more than a year. Often it was much less, and I know this because there were school years that I went to multiple schools in a single grade. And it wasn’t because of the military, we were just poor. Or unskilled at life. I don’t know, I wasn’t really participating, just ambiently learning how to not live in one place for very long.
This would continue for me into my mid-twenties. After I was kicked out of home in high school, I still managed to attend two more institutions (separate halfway houses for teens) after I was asked to leave school for being homeless. I’ve attended classes at four community colleges. And until recently in my life I hadn’t lived in the same place (house address) for more than two years.
I’ve lived in my current home for three and a half years.
I suspect that it is having a strong subconscious effect on me that we have to move. And I can’t sleep without having terrible dreams. Which is why I am writing this at 5:26AM.
After my mother fled her husband, I think I gave up on the idea of a permanent home. As in, when I think back on when that comfort of “home” faded in me, it was sitting in the back seat of a station wagon, as two toddlers sleep quiet and sweating on either side of me. The excitement and relief of fleeing such a violent place dislodged that part that yearns for a place to return. Or so I thought. For over two decades I had no inherent sense of what people talked about in drunken oratories on how much they miss their home, or the various scenarios played out in movies and tv.
Then I met Clover.
I had thought it was cliché, because why else would it be in a movie, but the closest thing I ever heard describe how I feel is from the movie Garden State, when two people are chatting in a swimming pool about belonging, and one mentions something like, “Maybe that’s all home is, just our collective memories of a place we used to know, and the reason we start families is to somehow capture that again”. It was subversive and alternative enough to give me pause, but I didn’t really think it was how I felt, because I didn’t want a family.
Susan and I came a long way before deciding to have a child together. Ours has been the most defining relationship in my life, and I’ve grown by jumps and starts since being near her. I like to think that we have vastly different personalities, and that is part of why we jive so well, because we are like puzzle pieces that show different parts of the picture, but fit together to create a whole. Over time I know that we’ve gone on to influence each other fundamentally, and with some shame I admit that I am a better, kinder person for it. I don’t think I am an ongoing burden to her, but I can scarcely think of a day where I don’t feel compelled to apologize for having to put up with me; something that many folks don’t understand is that eccentric, outlier-types, we know we are such, because everyone points it out. It would make sense that we clutch to the rock that can withstand our personality.
We came a long way, and because of our individual paths before meeting, and how our beliefs were reinforced through the example of our shared lives, we employed family planning and decided to have a child approximately seven years after initiating our intimate relationship. Seven years is the important bit of information for what I am talking about, and I am careful to avoid using terms like, “we held off for seven years” or “started a family”. Susan became my family the moment my heart let her in. We didn’t hold off on children, rather, we played it by ear and took assessment of our situation; it was an ongoing process, and not guaranteed to produce children. Though impossible to measure due to my inability to compare alternate realities, we could have sought our happiness/life-meaning elsewhere, like the variety of other countries on this planet, or the staggeringly varied and practically infinite amount of activities humans are capable of.
But we got to a point and wanted a babby, and I talked a lot about that, so back to the seven years.
When I started living with Susan it was under stressful circumstances, and I really should document them sometime, but will be unable for years to come. What I had presumed would be another in a string of displacements actually turned into my grounding, where each successive place we would live we would gather more people and live for as long if not longer than we had in the place just before. Not really a regret, but I wish I could have communicated to all our tribe members that put up with me during that time. They will never fully know how much it all meant to me, because even now I don’t fully know myself. But it meant a lot.
And at the beginning of 2011 Susan and I created a new family member. And along with a lot of other dislodged parts of my heart, that yearning for a home came back, shoved back into place by the little wet, pink ball I would stare at for hours.
I think that it is hard on me in navigating our current situation, because I fought so hard to be here. It isn’t easy for me to pay rent. I am fairly good at generating income, and have gotten a lot better in the last couple of years. But there are all these rhythms that everyone seems to sense that I don’t, like how money turns into home. I’ve transitioned to project-based work, and that has helped. Before, I charged hourly and would invoice for work that when paid, the people paying me couldn’t remember it: a month of hours at net 30 meant that folks would sign a check paying me for things I did 60 days prior. So I was never paying bills or for food, I was thinking about a future where the past will hopefully keep me warm and dry and fed. I was a time traveler from a world very different from the one around me.
Meeting Clover made me work smarter, and that continues to ripple through my life. And it also means that I am scared of what happens next. With every other stage of my life I’ve felt that the lowest I could hit, I could manage. If all else failed, I am always better equipped to deal with homelessness, of losing everything and starting over, than I was when I was 15. But that is a possibility that faded into ether when Clover joined the party, along with my ability to morbidly fantasize about losing everything in trying to mitigate the pressure of daily life.
I’ve heard that moving is one of the most stressful times for a person. I think this move is the first time I’ve resisted. Not in the sense that I don’t want to, but more like when you have to confront something, and it is on the other side of a door, and your body plays with the idea of not working correctly, and even though you will eventually grasp the handle and turn it, your arms take a long moment to do that simple action.
In the past a place where I lived was a growing burden on my unprepared shoulders, and I would leave it in a hurry, for less stressful places to linger.