What to do when a bird gets stuck in your house

There’s power in that wind

I’ve been spending a lot of dreamy time these days on a 15 year old breeze.  An almost forgotten name popped up on some website or another, and after a series of rabbit holes and poking around in digital cardboard boxes, I’ve come face-to-face with a previous self.


She was brave, braver than I am these days.  She also cussed a lot, probably to cover up some of the insecurities of all that bravado.


It’s raining today, for the first time in what feels like months.  It came out of nowhere on my morning run, leaving me out of breath and a dripping ponytail.  I could feel the ground beneath my feet opening up, grateful for something it hadn’t realized it needed.


Present, how to be
23 April 2016, 7:28 am
Filed under: ramble ramble | Tags: , , ,

Having just wrapped up a two-day workshop on health activism and immigrant and refugee rights and mental health, I’ve been having a quiet, reflective day. I went for a walk this afternoon to enjoy the sun and the last of the lilacs, and on the way home I crossed paths with an elderly woman, a bit lost and a bit nervous about being a bit lost. She asked me where 18th Ave was, and I pointed, but when I saw the panic in her eyes I asked if I could walk with her. She nodded, then grabbed my arm and didn’t let go.


We were really only a few blocks away from her apartment, and in that time I learned so much about her: she has 4 grandchildren, she is from Taiwan, she loves to cook, she is bursting with pride for her daughter. Her English wasn’t great but that didn’t stop her from trying – she was practically bubbling over with stories. She asked me over for tea and for dinner; she showed me a picture of her granddaughter. We eventually found her place. I made sure she got inside safe and sound, and then we parted ways.


I keep on thinking of the workshop we just finished – we talked about mental health and the challenges that people who move to a new country can face. Feelings of isolation, difficulties with language, a lack of the familiar cause stress and can lead to poor health outcomes. As this little old lady held onto my arm (not because she needed the physical support, I gather) I kept on thinking about how often we grapple with coming up with big solutions, systemic changes that are necessary to improve people’s lives. I am so grateful for today’s reminder that our challenge is also to come up with a million different micro-solutions, individual connections, offers of an arm to steady someone on, a space for stories.

Long time, been a
27 October 2015, 2:38 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Is this thing on?


Ok.  Here we are.  I was thinking the other day about this long-dormant space, the one where I talk to myself and copy/paste snippets of emails, of Thursday mornings, of skies full of sun-tipped sky.


I am, quite frankly, surprised that the Internet Gods spared this space. But logins and passwords accepted, here I am.  Still not sure what to do when a bird gets stuck in your house.


(not my cat)

(also not a proposed answer to the aforementioned implied question)

This one’s gonna hurt in a coupla years
13 December 2012, 1:07 pm
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Letter home:
Ok, so last night my own FACE was bitten by mosquitoes, so I was like, ASSEZ IS ASSEZ you PEUPLE.  I talked to Dali about it at breakfast and he was like, no, it’s no problem.  Just tell ’em to spray your room.  And I was like, JE DETESTE it when they spray my room, b/c CA VA ME DONNER cancer when I’m 40 years old.  He’s like, no, really, if they do it in the morning you won’t even know it.  So against all my better judgement I asked the front desk if they could spray my room un petit peu this morning b/c I don’t want to fucking ATTRAPE LE PALU at Christmas. 
I just came up to my room during the lunch break and it was like they dropped a freaking toxic bomb in here.  It’s so stinky and terrible (but, to give them credit, I believe there may be no living things in this room any more, including whatever took a dump right by my toothbrush last night).  I hope hope hope it is less headache-inducing tonight.  Holy moly.
And that wraps up today’s chapter of Aventures en Afrique Quoi. 

Chosen families, of
21 August 2012, 2:53 pm
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The plea:

I should be happy they support each other – they are alike in so many ways – they have needed someone to validate and reaffirm and complain to. They have found that in each other (I say as the voyeur, because neither one of them talk to me.  Ever.)  But I hate the word “should,” so instead I am thinking of the hours I spent on the phone – where is the recognition for that? – and of the constant struggle to show understanding, to be patient, to be there, to know that I think she is making terrible mistakes but they are hers to make, not mine.   I think of the pain and the heartbreak year after year.  The disappointments, the embarrassment, the let downs.  I feel deep sorrow for not being included in my own family, like I’m just looking in through the windows.  I feel petty and mean and jealous. My ideal, enlightened self feels far, far away.

So here it is.  I feel terrible.  I don’t know what kind of pep talk would get me out of this.  I don’t even know if there is a pep talk to give, maybe I’m not done being in it yet.  I had a yoga teacher who said that you need to acknowledge and honor negative feelings and emotions before you can let them go.  The acknowledging part is easy.  This honoring business sucks ass.

I was going to end this email by begging you grrrlz for help, because my well of wisdom feels dry and I know yours are always overflowing.  But even just getting here, to today’s end to the long, stupid chapter of the story that is my family’s life, has felt enormously helpful.  That said, got any wisdom to spare?

The response:

Overwhelming.  I was wrong.  My ideal self is never far away.  There are three of them, in fact, and one email has all three tapping on my shoulder, reminding me of who I am, who we all are, our little chosen family.

Pas facile
16 August 2012, 2:41 pm
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Kind of lost my shit today at work, staring at a box on the screen, reading the words sent over an ocean as reality sunk in.  Lourd.  That’s how I feel.  Heavy and sad.  My whole concept of the country is now different; when I travel to my “second home,” by best friend will no longer be right down the street.  No more moto rides across humid nights, palm wine I probably shouldn’t drink, marveling at his ever-pregnant wife’s expanding belly and secretly hoping it’s a girl this time.

This is silly, indulgent.  No one is dying.  He is moving to another town, took on a position that will likely pay him more than we ever did.  Even now, I know, this reaction seems overblown.  This is simply the end of a chapter, one of so many that preceded it, but still.  Il y aura une vide, I say in my bad French.  Il n’y a personne comme toi.  He responds, the words stringing together in a line that crosses the Atlantic, gently.  Please, I will cry.  In English.

I stop, hands resting on the edge of my desk, thinking how much easier it is to be brave across time zones.  Or maybe it just makes it easier to not have to admit: I’m already crying.

Vicolo Di Mercurio No. 6
9 August 2012, 2:53 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Remembered this in a slow descent of discovery, brushing off layers of memories until the words strung together.  I read these fragments from the past like a journal started in earnest and forgotten about 15 pages in.

What did I want to do with this space?  Did I come here to hide, or to show off? 

I feel like I’m on the edges of Pompeii, having found a quiet ruin of a house with a slim bar of shade.  Hoards of tourists stream by like a colony of bees, buzzing incomprehensibly.  I sit inside, bursting full of news, the best news, enough to fill tomes.  

The sun god will continue on his path, eventually surrender to night.  My bar of shade will move; the guards will shoo me out.  These things are sure.  Eventually you have to slip into the stream.