Friday, October 29, 2010

CUREALITIES: Check by Chloe Curiel

What if I don’t want to be a writer?
What if my stories are just for me,
and my poems are just poetry?
What if I get gratification
by staring at the checkmark
on your shoe until I feel accomplished?
What if I don’t want to be an artist?
What if I just want to draw,
and what if my paintings are
just color on canvas?
What if I don’t want to be an athlete?
What if I get victory from playing
and what if dirt-smeared smiles are my specialty?
What if I want to make jean cut-offs
and sharpie every piece of white?
What if the days come too early,
and the nights too soon?
What if there is nothing on this earth that I want to do,
and you can never seem to please me?
What if I don’t want to change the world?
What if I want to sit back and watch it change itself,
observe the rebirthing of it all?
What if it’s a new day?
What if doing what runs through the very core of your heart,
starts now?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Reluctant Home-School Momma: Part 2

Why am I doing this? I could be writing the novel that is outlined in a blue spiral in my back pack or finishing that screenplay I've been carrying around in my purse. I could be acting or rehearsing or counseling. I could be having lunch with other women like other women do and I've never done. I could be taking a nap or exercising or reading the eighty million books on my list of yet to reads or visiting or ministering or bringing plants back to life. . . .

     Yet, I am staring at a chore list trying to remember who did what last and dreading the fact that I need to show Chaz how to do this week's particular chore, AGAIN.
     Having a child with a disabilty has had it's challenges, but now I have an adult by year's standards and the last thing an 18-year-old wants to hear all the time is their monther's voice. 
     Especially when it's to the nth degree because he has to be reminded how to do everything so often. I take deep breaths and look out the window as he grows angrier and angrier because he has to change the settings on the washing machine or take the soaking white hoody out so it doesn't turn red or has to stop the dishwasher because he only filled the bottom half, became distracted, and left a sink full of dishes and an empty top rack.
     My daughter, Chloe (aka grade-grubber), the self-appointed fac totem, would like to make sure that everyone in class is on the same page, meaning HER page. When she is corrected, this veil of I don't know what--it's as if she has been color washed in photo shop from sunny skies to a dreary doomsday-- comes over her and she is blegh for at least an hour. My sweetest pea turns on me. 
     And while the landscape of the home school community is becoming more diverse in culture and faith, the co-ops my children attend remain strongly conservative. My son, Caleb,  takes an American History and a speech class from an organization that meets at our church. He has made it his mission to create shock value as often as possible.  
     Oh, not with his appearance or behavior, but by the topics he chooses for assignments. For his editorial piece he took a scathingly sardonic "Ask a Mexican" column from the Dallas Observer. 
     As he walked out the door, I channeled Edward Scissorhands, cut the article out and slipped it into a nice plastic cover,so no children would be harmed by the "want ads" in the back of that particular periodical. He is reading a highly edited Saul Williams poem for his dramatic reading and this is his Halloween pumpkin:

    Getting the picture?

    So when I think about all the ways I could be spending my time, I remember that the reason story structure and character development are inherent to Steven King is because when he was a child he missed a year of school due to illness and stayed home in bed reading everything his mom brought home from the library and that Andy Warhol spent much of a year of school coloring and coloring while home with chorea.   
     Granted those guys were ill at the time and are/were both weird as adults, but they honed in on their passions at home first. 
     Let's face it. There is no way that my children are getting out of adolescence without being a little nicked, but given time and materials and some divine discernment about when to stop "teaching" and start teaching, I am spending my time as an investment into my children's lives. 
     For the first time in their lives they are not totally consumed with results, output, product. The process, the journey counts. Also, their knowledge of the Bible has far surpassed mine at their age. (In tenth grade, Cecily Knobler had to convince me Jesus was Jewish.) 
     Chloe is tied to her sewing machine most of the time and is writing new songs for the piano. Chaz is constantly reading and watching videos to learn new songs for the guitar and harmonica, as well as  writing his life story in a composition book. Caleb created a reading list to rival most college-level humanity classes and is steadily checking them off, as well as deciding he's a minarchist and planning on making a documentary on chastity.
    (Apparently libertarian isn't minimalist enough and God help us all when filming begins.)
    Mostly what they are doing is finding their way and my job is mostly to let them. 
     But, still, if I have to explain adding/subtracting and
multiplying/dividing negative numbers to my brilliant, G/T daughter one more time, I will be outsourcing math next semester and making me a nice, little Saxon bonfire.
(Just kidding Shigeko. I'll give you your books back:) 
    By the way, beginning this Friday the Curiel kids will take turns blogging every week, so you too will get to experience the splendor and wrath that pour forth from their pens. 
     I mean, why should I have all the fun, right?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Monday's Much Needed Song of the Day

In honor of the concert I didn't get to see this past Friday:

Thousand Foot Krutch, Supafly:

Disciple, Scars Remain:

Some days, rockin' on, is what's best to do.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Monday's Much Needed Song of the Day:

Sometimes I grow impatient . . .How long, oh, Lord?

And still, unto Thee, do I lift up my soul.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Weren't We?

For the cousins. In all their various 
forms. . . 

We were gonna make kites
from grocery store bags
Fly fast down snowy mountains
Catch fish bigger than us
Munch on strawberries
We stole from a garden
Eat snow ice cream
hold hands while we fell asleep
Weren’t we?

We were gonna swing
Until we were dizzy
And play football at every holiday
And raise chickens, but only eat their eggs
and have babies,
lots of ‘em
name ‘em made up names
Weren’t we?

We were gonna
play spoons
‘til our fingers bled
Dance on picnic tables
 in our cut-offs
And smear our faces
with lightening bug dust
To pretend our Indian blood glowed
Weren’t we?

We were gonna
get nerd tattoos
Drink pomegranate
wine we made ourselves and
lick salt of our wrists
before we snuck a sip
of our momma’s beer
And find out rainbows end at the 
base of our spine
Weren’t we?

We were gonna
Ride waves that
crossed time zones and
speak languages
That only we understood
wrap ourselves in ribbon
Dip our bodies in batter
and bake out on the lawn
And keep hoping
our blood wouldn’t be
trapped forever--

Until one said,
 I’ll take that one. 
And another said
 I’ll have that one
And we knew then,
we’d have to let go.

Wouldn’t we?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Yesterday's meltdown was thwarted by the song of the day and the fact that another member of the family was well on his way to a lava- lavishing conniption. Every mom knows there is only room enough for one meltdown at a time.

However mine was not really thwarted, but postponed. Even though I saved us thirty dollars by using a slim jim to get into Chris' car this morning after he locked his keys in the trunk yesterday, I still couldn't stretch the rest of my dollars. 

As I stood outside the Office Depot by the trash can today, ripping my sales paper in two because I couldn't afford an all in one, make my life easier, fax, copier, color, laser,  printer, I melted. 

Ugh, are you serious? I asked myself as tears started to roll. It's a freaking printer. What day of the month is this? I have food, a free car,  a sort of roof over my head. A family that loves me. Come on. Buck up. 

And I thought about this morning and how I dropped the slim jim down into the door and how Chris and I laughed and laughed and I had to use a butter knife to get it out.

"That's so Pleasant Grove," he said. 
"No. True Grove Rats don't need a Slim Jim at all. They would use the butter knife to get in the car."  

He prayed and finally I unlocked the door. I couldn't get the Slim Jim out though, so he drove away with it sticking out of his window. We just kept laughing going down the highway. 

But now, THREE HOURS LATER, the tears flowed. 

I took deep breaths as I got in the car and drove home. I cried harder at the stop light even though the person beside me could see. This is as private as my meltdowns get. Usually in public, but not in front of anyone I know. Who cares if strangers think I am neurotic and odd because I can't find the peanut butter in the stupid mega store that I hate to go to by myself or because I am swaying from one foot to another with paper work in my hand trying to remember my own phone number and I can't?  

Exactly. Who cares?

Maybe other moms understand the massive loads of paperwork that go along with a child who has special needs. My family,my friends, my lawyers, my case workers,maybe everyone I know, but still, it's not that big of deal and I am ANGRY that I am crying!

Then I remember the list of phrases I say to myself to be my own cheerleader or to calm myself down:

It doesn't matter.
Don't give up.
You are not crazy.
Why are you sleeping?
I will not be destroyed.
Shut up.
The spirit of power, remember?
You are a beloved child of God in whom he delights.

I just have to wait for things and it's inconvenient and makes me have to work harder and I am kind of scattered as it is, but that's how it is. And that's okay.

That's okay.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Monday's Much Needed Song of the Day

Beanbag's Whiplash. Whenever I want to cry, this song makes me laugh because it's so raw and true.