Friday, March 15, 2019

the wind blows hard up here, and occasionally hooks around from the north, like they used to call nor'easters in both maine and iowa. the nor'easters were wetter than the usual cold hard dry winds from canada and the west - in maine and iowa, it was because the wind had just come over the water. here, it was just a late spring blast, come down from ruidoso and sierra blanca, and what was trouble was the rain and snow that preceded it.

that's because that rain and snow had stuck to the trees, and once it froze, the trees were way too heavy to sustain themselves against the wind. by noon the first trees had fallen on the electric lines, and we were already out of power, but apparently power was out all over the mountains, from about high rolls all the way through cloudcroft, out to mayhill, and weed, and in our land out in sixteen springs. everyone lost power.

now many people in the mountains are quite used to this, and have generators and such, in some cases propane generators, or gas, to do the heavy lifting of things that need power around the house. in our case, heat wasn't an issue - we had wood, and we have propane too. the fact that the refrigerator and freezer were out, well, that's kind of an issue, and lights, yes, it was dark at night, dark all over the mountain, but what really got everyone around here was the phones - they just couldn't charge them. it was like they expected to be able to plug them in at least once a day, at the rate they use up all the juice.

come nightfall, the downtown was eerily dark, with the only light really coming from the large power cooperative headquarters. now this is ironic, because the power coop was out there trying to fix all the downed power lines, and were quite heroic, i'm sure, given the raging wind, the blowing snow, the ice, the bad roads, and all that, but the building itself, the headquarters, has emergency generators, and when everyone else is down, they're still up. so they're out there, trying to cut trees that had fallen on power lines, trying to free up the power lines and get everyone connected again.

around the same time the trees started falling. the first hit our porch with a loud thud and mangled metal roofing came down to block our view of the white sands. when we went outside to see what had happened, we saw another enormous one, listing badly. that one has always appeared to be right over our house, but now, covered with ice and snow as it was, it wasn't clear where it would fall, so we hightailed it out of there. we went next door to our friend the contractor's house, which is a much smaller cabin than ours, but mercifully clear of trees and danger. as we huddled over there, apparently, the big one fell.

"if we'd have paid to have it felled, we'd have wanted it to land in that place, and that place only." It had missed the old propane tank by about three feet; it had missed both houses. it had speared the fence, but basically it landed just perfectly. unlike its friend, which had flown over, and blown off the roof of the porch with a thud.

of the two trees, the bigger one, which had missed everything, was actually a relief to have down, as it had been listing for years. and there were two more: one that hit the neighbor's truck, and one that landed in the road out there in front of our house, not too far from his truck, but still, basically, in the road. the city guys cleaned that one up right away. our road is a staging area for city trucks, so they need it cleared just about first.

we ended up going over a day without power. at night, we had candles, and a wood fire, and it was actually kind of nice, but the kids got impatient with their phones drained and everyone went to bed early, nothing to do. turns out we could do propane as well as wood, and we are back on propane now; i'm just too tired. if i can turn a switch and be warm enough, i'll do it, simply because i work days with raucous teenagers, and i just want silence and peace.

the roads out there are icy; some people as far as i know, are still without power. as with most storms, it's much colder now, when it's all over, and it's become clear out. the jagged remains of the tree stay in our yard, and we let the dogs out on what's left of the porch.

it's all worn me out. i managed to still work a few days, but the middle school kids have caused me to lose my hearing (i fear), and, our plans to move have been set back a little. i'm feeling somewhat paralyzed - sitting by the fire, sewing a quilt, hoping the wind has died down for good.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

the horrible thing is, i come home, and my junior high kids are having a kind of party. one girl has her friend over, while the boy is chilling on the couch; their music is competing. why is the friend over? because she lives way out in the country and needs a ride which we haven't promised; she has to wait for mom or dad. why is the boy on the couch instead of his room? long story there too.

my day is three classes, over twenty each, of sixth graders learning basic graphing and such kind of math skills. sixth grade math. i'm a permanent sub. they've removed my partner and i'm in there all alone with three batches a day of wild animals. they haven't had a regular teacher in a while, so they tend to want to see what they can get away with.

they got into the supplies today. someone had overused lotion and they went after the kleenex, and pretty soon they were throwing whole boxes of them around the room. they just reached in and grabbed them. trying to make me yell or get angry i guess; they know they can get away with this stuff sometimes because if i'm angry enough, i'll lose it and then they'll have beaten me too. i won't lose it. they can be real jerks. but they know better.

one girl broke into tears because she couldn't concentrate. she had also been rejected by another girl when it came time to assign partners. they need partners or they won't get it. but sometimes choice of partners changes their grade. maybe i shouldn't do partners. but i find it in the groove with current educational theory. they also like partners sometimes, as they actually learn more from each other than from me.

one boy got virtually nothing done. i tried to get him to focus but he wouldn't. finally i threatened him with iss, in-school suspension. i believed it might be good to stick him in a room where he'd simply be alone and wouldn't have other kids to keep distracting him. in the end i probably should have - he got nothing done. nothing. zero.

life goes on. tomorrow i give them the standardized test. they all know what that means, and they pretty much blow that off too. well i should say, some of them blow it off. they're kind overtested, to the point that they don't even think much about it. they do what they can and give up. they don't consider it life-altering in any way.

what bothers me is, my kids are just like those kids. so at home, my son is putting -uh on every word, to complain, and using words like "lit," maybe to impress his sister's friend. or just to be a teenager. it's not like i've never seen wildness. it's not like i didn't just witness an entire day of it.

the day will, eventually, end. i stepped out for a walk with the high school student and there was some guy with a flashlight at the neighbor's house, with his pitbull. he'd grabbed the pitbull. i think he, too, was a neighbor, after his stray wandering pitbull, but i wasn't sure. he was walking up and down the neighbor's house with that flashlight, and....but why would you take a pitbull to rob a house? well partly because a guy like me would never question your motives. it rattled me. the town was just a little too busy.

we're planning on moving way out there. where elk and deer are our main neighbors. where gunshots are relatively common, and we might start making our own pretty soon. wouldn't hurt to be able to kill a deer, my wife says. trouble is, you have to know what to do with it when you kill it. it seems like a bloody mess to me, but yet, that's what living off the land is, around here. helps with the grocery bills, they say. puts meat on the table.

finally i got this conversation around to something healthy. those kids don't want to be in school. math? they can't relate.

Friday, February 08, 2019

Cloud Quakers invite everyone to Meeting for Worship/Worship sharing SUN 7 pm US Mountain Time, on Zoom. This week's query: Does it matter if there's an afterlife? Join us on Zoom (download Zoom, dial 373 452 424). All welcome!

Sunday, February 03, 2019

ok so i'm still in mourning, my parents both died in january, my mom three years ago, and my dad last year. i was there at both occasions, and i felt like i was lucky that they went naturally - that their four kids are still around, and still get along, and still love them - yet of course we all have unresolved feelings about them. now it is february, and i'm still in january, and even dreamed of my mother last night.

here's the problem: my mother's mind went before her body. this was tough on everyone, especially my dad. they'd been married fifty years, then all of a sudden she didn't know who he was. he took it hard; we could tell. he couldn't be there for her death. but i made the mistake of visiting her one evening before she died. alone in hospice bed, she didn't know who she was or how she'd gotten there. right in that room, she accused me of putting her "in the worst position a woman can be in." i couldn't believe my ears. all those years, she had taken care of me. she knew exactly what i needed every morning on my way to school; she made sure i took baths and got haircuts. as a child who hated boredom and was adhd, i wasn't an easy customer, and she was always there for me, putting a new toy in front of me, loving me, making sure i had something to do. now, she wasn't really sure who i was, or why i was in her room at night. she was upset, confused, agitated.

i thought, at the time, that it would be ok. after all, sixty years of attentive mothering, followed by a few months of not having a clue who i was, i could easily forget that last part. unfortunately, i didn't easily forget that last part. it's kind of like when a friendship or romance ends on a bad note. that bad note kind of dominates the whole thing, in a way that casts a light backward and makes it seem like the whole thing was for naught, because it ended poorly. well, i wouldn't want to say that about my mother, but i will say that there was a problem there, that her not knowing who i was kind of changed things at the end there.

it's possible that i was hurt enough that i didn't really ask for guidance, or work through the steps to make myself feel like her son again, or feel better about our relationship. it's possible that i had to put it aside for a while. i know that my brothers and sister felt that same way to some degree. we know that wasn't the real her. toward the end we were all there, at her bedside, and we pointed that out to her, but it didn't mean anything to her. she just kept asking when she could leave.

so, in my dream, i walk into this restaurant, and there's a statue of my mother sitting there next to the cash register. in a kind of spooky way, it was like the colonel sanders who sat in the kfc shop as we bought fried chicken for my dad, which he really liked. but here it was, her, and she was a statue; the restaurant was using her to publicize its good food, no doubt. i immediately spoke to her, and asked her if it was alright that they had used her like this, and that she was like a statue. but, again, she had limited understanding. or, maybe it was limited movement. whether she liked it or not, she couldn't do much about it, and she couldn't really say anything either. and if i tried to pick her up and carry her out of the place, well, that might not have worked out too well, i figured.

i woke up upset and agitated, and i'm not really sure how that dream worked out. there was no representative of the restaurant in it. there were no other people. connection between my mom and me was blocked, by her physical state. she was stuck in a body, or at least, her body was still around, immobile, unresponsive, and i was still reaching out to her.

it's one of the harder things for a person to do, stick by a parent's side when the mind has gone before the body. if you think about it, it's just a matter of chance, and, if we're lucky, the body will go first. my dad was lucky, he was still there upstairs up until the very end. my sister lives in terror that her mind will go first - then what? i tell her, she'd definitely more like my dad, but that is somehow not much comfort to her.

as for me, i can only hope, and as it's been pointed out, one never knows what is in store. one should live every day as if one will never get better, and, at a certain point, one doesn't get better. i know, at the end, my parents didn't even want to do jigsaw puzzles any more. and when my dad finally, out of boredom, turned on the television, all there was was you-know-who. sometimes life is an infinite chasm, and, if we look too carefully, the sheer emptiness of it will stagger us. in my infinite quest to avoid boredom, still i get a peek at it, the ultimate boredom, every once in a while. and i don't like it. i go back to filling my life, and postponing true retirement.

Saturday, February 02, 2019

a friend of mine is the author of best of enemies, a book that has been made into a movie; the movie is being released this weekend. the attention given to the book on account of the movie is obviously good news, but to me it's quite interesting the path this friend has taken in his journalistic career. he's obviously a better writer than i am; he's been doing it all his grown life. he has written non-fiction books about the collapse of rural america, and about the solar revolution in germany.

in fact i've been mulling over serious changes in my pattern as a writer, since a small batch of books of short stories has literally gone nowhere. my problem is, i can't finish a novel (i have about two half-done), and my attempts at non-fiction haven't gone far either. i'm stuck on the one about the puritan leveretts, and, though it's almost done in its own half-baked way, i simply can't finish it. in my frustration, i just hang around making quilts.

my wife encourages me to go in a direction that would be more lucrative. one possibility is to write biographies; a whole slew of half-baked writers do kindle biographies of various people and make a reasonable living from it, since there are always people willing to shell out a couple of bucks for the bare outlines of someone's life, someone they are researching, or someone who has become their enemy. on kindle, you can get these poorly-written biographies for less than three bucks, but the writer is doing ok on the other end, and keep in mind, he can start with a wikipedia entry and get the outline of the book right there.

so my friend's story is about a rabid kkk type guy, and an equally vitriolic black woman, who get into a tangle and then become close friends. they ultimately realize that poor whites and poor blacks have more in common than the ability to blame each other. it's an uplifting story, but it comes at a time when the country needs uplifting, but may not know it. it speaks to me because i live with the frustration of being in a community where everyone simply blames the "libs" for everything. they are scared to death of people sneaking across the border and snatching their motorcycles, but really, it's more likely the oil deposits in the permian that are going to alter their lives permanently, if they truly want to live in the mountains and be left alone. i've taken the liberty to read in on their facebook page, where one after another endless rant against the libs, and against the sanctuary state idea, assault me. i feel like speaking to that kind of ignorance, yet the best i could do would be something like what my friend did, and even then, it wouldn't be as good.

when it comes to biographies, one name sticks in my mind, and that is arpaio. i see him as a symbol of southwestern trumpism, rampant jingoistic cowboyism, and somehow i feel that studying him would keep my mind off of trump and teach me that some people are even worse. but why would i want to spend my time researching a guy who is given a few million to run a police department, and spends it all harassing his lib enemies? or making a tent camp where temps go over 120, and bragging about how it's like a concentration camp? not sure why i'd want to, but somehow, i feel like this guy makes trump look good. and maybe that's reason enough.

we live in a sick, broken, desperate world. the methane is coming up out of the tundra; the ice is collapsing; the poles have melted and the sea is rising; yet we argue because our president has sold us out, robbed us of billions, and demanded a huge pointless monument to himself as part of the extortion he considers to be leadership. and my neighbors are all in favor; not only do they feel that a wall is good at all expense, but, seeing him steadily diminished by constant reports of corruption uncovered, felonies done, etc., they are all the more steady loyal supporters. they love him. they don't care about democratic process, or at least, if they do, one wouldn't know.

maybe i can write this book that will explore the limits of breaking the law, just for its own sake, just because you're a cowboy and think it's ok. just because you can. just because, in some cases, you feel like you represent the law.

Friday, February 01, 2019

cloud quakers
online at zoom, 7 pm us mountain time (8 in chicago, 9 in new york, 6 in california)
download zoom (~5 minutes, like skype), dial 373 452 424. all welcome!
we are quakers. we minister to each other; we share testimonies and support each other in living peacefully on this earth.

just a little break here, for two reasons. first, chinese new year: my three classes, on friday, sunday and monday mornings, are only meeting friday and monday, and then taking the following friday off; this means i sleep in a few more days. my students, who range in age from about ten to about thirteen, will be with their families eating dumplings and other feast-like treats. some, who will turn twelve in the coming year, are enjoying their special year, as "pigs." i asked one what that entailed, and she said, well, pigs are generally the sacrifice. they give their all so that we can eat well.

the other is that the alamo schools have conference days, both today (fri.) and monday; they don't need subs. we subs are on involuntary furlough. but i can handle that, too. i need a break kind of like thanksgiving gives you a taste of the christmas one. you need time to get back into the grind. just king day is never enough.

my schedule is a little frantic; i have three jobs and go to school. in addition, i am running a quaker meeting, and that has arisen to be very good for me and pleasant. it is on sunday night, and i will include a little publicity on this site as well as others, as time goes by. it has started out, really, with my best friends, people for whom i am already in the habit of enjoying their company. we meet online. we act like quakers. it's a nice meeting and i have come to some unusual beliefs with regard to it.

first, i think online environments are the savior of the religion itself. quakerism is quite fractured, so that even in a town like philly you have these hundreds of quakers, but some are unprogrammed, some are programmed; some are gay-friendly, some are christian/traditional; some have certain styles and others have others. out in the west it's worse; a college town like las cruces may have a quaker meeting of about eight or ten on an average sunday, but they struggle to find common ground and they lose a few visitors because they just can't be everything to everyone. and then there's me, who has to drive ninety miles across the white sands and desert just to be there, and three hours on a sunday is something i just can't give up. i have the added problem that i've had no patience for las cruces since my parents died, though it is just a town, and really, the meeting is nice there. i like it. i just can't attend every week.

second, the conservative tradition has a strong emphasis on community. i consider myself a new conservative; that is, if we could live in isolated farm communities, as a community, i would do it, but since we live in the modern world, we have to make our communities with modern technology. this can be done and is actually quite easy. keep in mind here that "conservative" in the quaker sense is "conserving the traditional method of silent meeting / no pastor". as it happens, ministering to each other and carrying on without a pastor is the conservatives' idea, though it looked quite different in isolated farm communities than it does in modern FGC college-town gatherings. the state of quakerism is fractured that way; you have college-town gatherings, many of which are alive and well (including even las cruces), then, you have this network of traditional more rural meetings, that are dying out and going away, unless they figure out ways to get young people more involved.

finally, i believe that a meeting can function as well with online tools as it can with a live place, with walls, window, woodstove, or whatever meetinghouses have these days. now i'm not sure about this last one; i think we'll have to carry this out and see what happens, but i think it will be interesting to see how it pans out. i can assure you that it will be quite a bit different online, but not worse, not better, necessarily. it's harder to hug online. but it may make for a very cool reunion, if cloud quakers could gather once a year.

i will write more on this on the cloud quaker blog or on my own quaker site. Most of the time we use the Facebook site where i have also gathered a collection of good quaker graphics. join us! see the post above this, which is sure to have the necessary information.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

heavily stalling on two important things. one is some extra calendars which i need to send out. the second is enrolling, paying tuition and going back to school.

with the calendars, the problem is that i need to open my address book. half the calendars are my dad's photography, but the address book is full of mom & dad's friends too. both mom and dad died in january, dad last year, and mom two years earlier. this month, as our streets are iced over and snow sticks around in its brutal way, i'm kind of absorbed in grief. and can't get to the calendars. what i need to do is to send the remaining ones out.

going to school is a true precipice. on the one hand, i've been a straight-a student. i have one full class to go before my student teaching. certification would give me five years or more of full-time teaching, somewhere, if someone would hire me (unfortunately, i'm old). i've taught all my life. i can pass one class. i can even afford it.

on the other hand, i'm sixty-four. i'm tired of it. the teachers i know are tired of paperwork and a little bitter; i may be hanging around with the wrong ones. my aspiration is to be hired up here on the hill, where i wouldn't have to travel so far to teach. but it's a very small town, and it's like, as soon as they get wind of my politics, i might be in trouble. and my guess is, they already have.

the other day, i had jury duty. a room of ninety people, all my fellow citizens, none of whom i knew. the trial was for some guy accused of domestic battery, and possession of marijuana. i could have manufactured some problem like i can't convict anyone for possession out of principle, but i didn't really have a principle about that. instead i said i had extensive experience with domestic violence and strong feelings about it; i even related the story of my marriage gone bad. then i said i would have trouble with this guy if his lawyer exercised his constitutional rights and refused to have him testify on his own behalf. my reasoning here is, the natural way to sort this out is to talk to both people. that's how we decide who's gone over the line, too. having one person refuse to testify is inviting us to imagine whatever we want on his behalf. maybe his lawyer told him to do it. but what am i supposed to do, imagine what he'd say? his actions, to a degree, speak for him; he got a lawyer, he thinks he's innocent, or that they can't prove that he's guilty, etc. etc. but he's not going to tell us that in person? sorry, i won't be impartial.

there was one one older lady, my generation, in the crowd, who said she had trouble with marijuana laws. they got her for the jury, i believe, but i walked. out into the sun of a cold winter monday afternoon.

took off for the land, and came around a steep bend, where the road was iced over. my truck fishtailed, and on our side was the cliff, a long way down. a truck was coming down the hill, also sliding, fishtailing on the ice. he of course had the bank, with a little snow piled up on it, while i was on the cliff side of the road going up. quickly i tried to get control of the truck and continue up the steep icy hill, slowly, on the cliff side. the other truck put his wheels into the snow bank, but not too far. it was impossible for me to judge whether he was stuck or not; if he got out, it would still be a steep and slippery way down. it was impossible for me to judge also, if he had four-wheel drive or not.

so i'm crawling up the icy hill, on the cliff side, and right past him, while my wife was just about dying, and the kids in the back, having picked up on her panic, were panicking also. it occurred to me that, if he was stuck, he was way out on the mountain, with not many people around, or worse, stuck with his truck on an icy downward hill where nobody could stop. but i couldn't stop either, couldn't stop to offer my help or say hello, or make sure he could get out. i had to keep my steady pace up the hill on the ice - have to keep going forward, don't hesitate, don't stop, don't change my mind. trying to come back down would be suicide.

top of the hill, james ridge it's called, i find it really has its own weather, in this case, foggy, icy, rainy, and snowy all at the same time. both the valley beyond, sixteen springs, where we live, and cloudcroft itself were more reasonable. james ridge was a way-up-there, foggy mountain scene.

these days i'm quilting. trying to make a shalom kind of quilt, with a shin (peace sign) on a background. i've gotten a little fanatical with a pile of old jeans that have been sitting around for a while. all this in avoidance, avoidance of the things above. avoidance of opening my address book. avoidance of tuition.

such is life. tomorrow i'm back in the band room; it's where i started my subbing, two years ago.

Sunday, January 06, 2019

we left cloudcroft in the morning; it was already snowing. the hill was dicey, but when we got down to alamogordo, it was drizzling and it looked to be clear sailing for a while. it was good that we'd made it down the hill, a steep drop with no shoulders on the hairpin turns, where, if it's snowing hard or fast enough, it can get pretty slick. we were going up to las vegas new mexico, where a train would take us to kansas.

unfortunately, in oscuro, about forty miles up the road, a blizzard hit suddenly, and, not only could we not see anything, but the road was suddenly completely iced over. i ran off the road once; another time i swerved sharply and had to save the truck from going off again. trucks and cars were in the ditches, off the road. it was only eleven thirty in the morning.

oscuro is where the cutoff to the trinity site is. a completely empty road, across truly barren desert, that road represents new mexico better than most places. there is perhaps one or two people that live in oscuro, but the place always makes an impression on me.

when we got to carrizozo we stopped, traumatized. the following day the roads opened, and we went up to las vegas, and got on the train. the train was maybe three hours late; the blizzard had covered the albuquerque and santa fe areas, and made life difficult for a whole range of people in northern new mexico. one problem is that they need people to pounce on these icy patches with beet heet, and they just don't have them up there, for some reason. or, the people are completely outgunned by the expanse of area that they have to cover. in any case, whole swaths of road are just solid ice. i made it by virtue of going very slowly, and leaving lots of room between me and the car in front. my son never wants to drive; it scares him. ice scares him, and for good reason.

kansas, though, was good. we saw relatives; i was the grandfather. a pleasant chaos reigned as even small kids spread toys out in joy and educational inventory. the food was delicious. the host and hostess had that covered.

coming back, same thing. the truck battery had died, and it had a flat tire, but i got on the road in las vegas by about evening. it was a place called vaughn, this time, where the roads were ice-covered, slick as a whistle. i slowed way down.

las vegas itself was an interesting place, and i never even saw the old part of it. the train station itself was beautiful, with an old hotel and an old downtown nearby. capital of the southwest territory, biggest city in the southwest for many years, las vegas new mexico seems almost forgotten in time, but it still does pretty well; it has a small college, and it functions. the work on renovating the place.

this time, coming through, vaughn was the treacherous place. at the sign to fort sumner, you couldn't take that turnoff without turning your wheels on slick snow; better to go straight, and try not to use your brakes. at oscuro, though, the road was clear. now it was just an effort to stay awake, and make it back up the hill.

cloudcroft had gotten 29 inches the day i left. my wife was completely snowed in, and never made it to kansas; neither did the girls. a car was buried, and it too had a dead battery. big piles of snow lay in every direction; they had at least plowed the town. i came back; i started the car (like the truck, some security system had gone haywire and drained it; i'm not sure how, and i'm not sure anything had come along and set it off). now, another snow is coming. but i'm home, and don't have to go anywhere, and grateful. the wind howls outside, but i can rest a little.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

lots of my facebook friends are mentioning the imprisoned children, presumably the ones in tornillo, as the heart is drawn to those less fortunate, and nothing can be worse than being in a jail when you committed no crime, and have no clue or responsibility for what happened. tornillo, as it comes from news reports, is in the middle of nowhere, one would think, out on the deserts of west texas where there is way too much space and not enough water.

it turns out, this is like my back yard, in a general kind of way. we go to el paso every once in a while, and yes, it's a grueling one and a half, or two hours of pure desert, mostly government owned, both ways. we go there for its airport or, in my case, for hearing aid maintenance and supply. tornillo would be maybe an hour or two past that, maybe a four hour trip each way, mas o menos. it's not undoable. i could in fact go on a single day and see for myself.

but, to what purpose? i don't think they let demonstrators in. i think they are scrambling to find people to actually work there, but i can't really do that. they might, under some conditions, let visitors in, but, even then, what would i say? sorry you're in such a position. my heart goes out to you. not all americans are this bad, as the ones who would imprison you for no good reason.

i know conservative folk who aren't too upset about kids stranded and imprisoned at the border. it's what they get, they feel, maybe. actually maybe they don't think much about it. or, it's like other criminals out there. they do something wrong, they take away their kids, everyone ends up institutionalized indefinitely. it seems kind of hopeless, if you look at it like that. it's like, rather than just denying them entry, and letting them make their way in tijuana or juarez or wherever, you actually put them in jail, making them part of our system, our world, our problems. and then, they grow up angry at a government which did this to them, and we'll wonder why? a rough comparison would be the interned japanese during world war two. they never found out what they'd done wrong, except have the wrong race, but that apparently was wrong enough for them to spend three, five, nine years in jail. in jail, for being japanese.

it's christmas here. our kids, spoiled as usual, are contemplating their haul. food was lavish, plentiful and delicious. our entire family of six ate at the same table, pleasantly, with a lit tree right behind us, and a wood stove churning out the heat on the other end of the living room. though our kids have some idea of poverty, neglect, the bad side of things, mostly they've forgotten. mostly it's abstract. i've started a quaker meeting. it seems impossible for me to take a day and go to tornillo. but i can take a few minutes, once in a while, and at least talk about the possibility. maybe i could set up a situation where there was some kind of organization for those who find their way down to west texas. i'm not even sure who that would include, besides beto and perhaps a few quakers of the glbtq variety. several people have made it down there; i haven't. i find it incredibly difficult, just to go to el paso.