Category Archives: Community


Save the Date

Are you in the Tucson area the weekend of March 12th? Yes? Alrighty then. Get whatever gizmo you use to keep track of all that scheduling and type/write this down:

Saturday, March 12th
10am – 12pm

A Children’s Clothing Exchange and Diaper Drive

to benefit
Diaper Bank of Arizona.

Geneva Hall, St. Mark’s Presbyterian Church
3809 East 3rd St.

Check out the Eventbrite page or the facebook page for the important details.

This event is totally inspired by the TucsonMama kid’s clothing swap of 2009. I should also mention that it was Tucson Mama’s exchange that inspired the Bay Area folk last February to do the same thing to great success. Tucson Mama is going to be joining us at Swap-O-Rama to lend her support and her cool factor to the whole shebang.

Those from outside Tucson wondering on how you can get in on the whole cool diaper drive action? Check out Help A Mother Out’s suggestions here.

There will be more details to come. I need to get to sleep right now.

ps. Hey, do you remember that whole “What the hell are you going to do now?” thread? Yeah, filled my time up nicely already.
pps. Follow up on the Junto thing. It looks like there is plenty of interest and we’re just in the process of finalizing a date. Sweet.



Filed under Acting Up, Community, Diapers, TucsonMama

Tucson -State of the Union & Junto

Over on The Burrow, Ashleigh Burroughs, aka Suzi Hileman, is reflecting on the President’s State of the Union and asking what positive steps we’re willing to commit to publicly. So here I am, thinking about an idea that has been bubbling on the back burner for the better part of two years. Not a novel idea. A borrowed idea, but I think an idea with potential.

I want to hold a monthly Junto of sorts. A time when like-minded folks explore an issue of relevance to our community ex. health care, education, and immigration. A time to challenge assumptions, rethink and refine ideas and then take an action. Right there, a letter written, a phone call made, a status update complete with action that friends can make.

There are plenty of wonderful organizations in our fair city that allow us to do this, but right or wrong, I’m unlikely to attend these meetings. However, I do make time for friends, for family. This junto would consist of friends, an excuse to get together, for children to run around the yard, a safe place to explore ideas where you don’t feel like an idiot for not knowing some governmental procedure, but rather feel empowered to find out. Somewhere in the house I have notes on this idea, scrawled in pencil while talking with friends. Ideas about topics, guests we could invite to explore ideas. I worry that it would dissolve into inaction, but then at least we would get together and talk. There would be beer. There would be deviled eggs.

So my public commitment is to email 5-8 friends and ask them if they want to join me. Of course, if you’re reading and you’re interested you could always just let me know too. I would suggest a date in late February to meet. I’m going to move on this within the next week.

This is my commitment.

Update: Several friends and interested parties notified by email. Will follow up to let you know what happens and if it works out.


Filed under Acting Up, Community

Tucson – A Response

Last week we pedaled over with a bunch of others from the University mall to University Medical Center to the vigil for those hurt in the shootings on January 8th.

The front lawn at UMC is covered with flowers, candles, balloons, cards, good wishes, love, hope and memory. While the rest of the world has moved on, we’re still here trying to put it together and learn. I’m afraid that already there are some predictable responses demonstrating a complete lack of logic, reason and humanity. Tempting as it is to just say “oh well”, it isn’t reasonable or decent. So what do we do?
From Bike Vigil to UMC


Filed under Acting Up, Community

Tucson Treasure – All Souls Procession

asp lantern
I remember seeing the rag-tag group moving down Fourth Avenue in the early 90’s and then in the mid 90’s sitting in O’Malley’s with Julie, I think, watching it again, still small. Today, the All Souls Procession, is truly a sacred Tucson Treasure. It represents something so magical, so community-based, and so healing that it should be nurtured, protected, revered. If you’re in Tucson and you haven’t been, mark the second Sunday in November 2011 now. You should go.
asp skull
What is it?
The All Souls Procession is a time to celebrate the lives and mourn the death of loved ones and ideas. Echoing the Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico, face paint, homemade costume and creative lanterns bring a sense of ritual to the event.
asp guitar
Why go?
The culture I belong to, (perhaps you do too?) has such issues with death. We have lost the ritual and tradition of wakes. The above all things work culture demands that death of loved ones be quickly addressed and not interfere with work production. How wonderful is this then? A time to celebrate, to laugh and love and cry. A time to remember. Death meets us all, but before that we get to live. We shouldn’t try to pretend that death isn’t part of the deal.
asp mama1

Do you take your child with you?

For a humanist/atheist, the death of a loved one provided me with a real parenting test. How do you explain death to a small child? Oh, how easy it would be to say the dead loved one is in heaven, or in the case of our sweet pups in doggy heaven chasing trains and rabbits. Easy to say we would see them again, but the truth, the truth is harder. We told Bean that death means the person is no longer living, we can no longer see them, or touch them, all the energy has left them, but that we still have love for them in our hearts, and sweet memories in our minds. That we always have them with us in a way as long as we have that love and those memories. *
Altdot Fall Exchange
Bean’s First All Souls Procession in 2007.
Sometimes, Bean says she is keeping Huxley in her stomach. Heart, stomach I get them confused too. Sometimes, like tonight she corrects me when I tell her that we’re celebrating the lives of those that have passed, “No Mummy, they haven’t passed. They’re dead. But we can remember them, and we can think about them, and we keep it here in our hearts.” As someone who spends too much time worrying that my child will be left motherless, it is important that she has a framework for understanding death. To understand the sorrow, but also how important memory and celebration of life is.
asp whitemask

The All Souls Procession draws upon Día de los Muertos and traditional rituals that include Catholicism, but the procession is for all walks of life and does not have to be religious. Whether you are religious or not, the procession is for all ages.

*remind me to tell you about a really lovely childrens book we found that deals with death without religion.


Filed under Arizona, Celebrations, Community, Family, Humanism/Atheism, Navigation of Dangerous Water (Parenting), Treasures of Tucson and Southern Arizona

Beer. Local AZ wheat beer.

Remember this post? Fast forward five weeks after the initial brew date which used this:
and we have this:
Which went exceedingly well with this:
and these:

The dedication of the new Native Seeds/SEARCH Agricultural Conservation Center was this past Friday. A thank you for all the muckity mucks who had donated to the building of the center. As part of that thank you they got to sup beer my Green made from local white wheat grain. It wasn’t malted so it turned out more like an amber than a wheat beer, but even I thought it pretty good.


Filed under "Gastronomic Delights", Community

Voters 4 Kids

Vote for Terry

Bean and I went to the Voters 4 Kids Celebration today which was an opportunity to hear how local candidates stand on public education. As you might have guessed Arizona is dead last for educational funding in the country and that lack of financial investment is reflected in the education availed to our children. Sucks.

All candidates for federal, state and local, of all parties were invited to attend. However, presence was dominated by the Democrats. Jesse Kelly aka Tea Party nut job showed up. Got to give him kudos for being there. However, it would be a cold day in hell before he got my vote. Privatize and phase out Social Security? Crazy.

There were a couple of groups there, and that were partnering on efforts prompting voters to put Education first. Their suggestions?

1. Vote NO on 302. Prop 302 completely decimates First Things First. First Things First is early childhood services, and the monies that support these programs come from the tobacco taxes. That’s right this legislature wants to further cut services to the 5 and under crowd. I guess they figure the five and under crowd are not voters  so why worry about them. The proponents want to sweep this funding into the general fund to address the deficit. My suggestion, cut out the corporate tax cuts and invest in education to deal with the deficit. An investment in education attracts companies who typically have higher paying skilled jobs.

2. Protect the Voter-Approved Early Childhood Health and Development Funds. If kids aren’t having their health needs met it is difficult to see how they might fulfill their educational potential.

3. Make sure your candidates are unwavering advocates for education. Can I just add a little to this? Make that unwavering advocates for high quality public education for all.

4. Rally 10 friends to vote with education as their “hot button” issue. Healthcare and Education are my top two.  As for rallying, I encourage you to go check out the Educational Funding Voting Record of our various representatives, senators etc. Reflect on whether their voting record reflects Article XI, Section X of the Arizona Constitution which mandates that our legislators

“…shall make such appropriations, to be met by taxation, as shall insure the proper maintenance of all state educational institutions, and shall make such special appropriations as shall provide for their development and improvement.”

That is, legislators who threaten to sweep monies for education and so destroy state education institutions are not abiding by the Arizona Constitution. Don’t vote for them.

Listening to the speakers.


Filed under Acting Up, Arizona, Celebrations, Community, Education

Life Lessons – Community

Help A Mother Out

Being a parent really hones your sense of mortality. The idea that this other living being is dependent on you makes me examine the fragility of life more closely, given my own health history sometimes this is a topic fraught with a heavy dose of reality. The fragility of life and the worry that my daughter might be left without a parent too early, informs some of my parenting. I’m not sure what Green thinks about this aspect of parenting, but he can be terribly stoic that way and I do enough worrying for both of us. I think about what I would want her to know if I wasn’t around anymore. That I love her and she is the most precious thing in my life obviously, but what else?

Advice for the Heart? I want to leave her some dating advice. I wasted a ridiculous amount of energy crying over useless romantic interests, and I’d love to save her that, but that I think is for a later date. An action I’m actually able to teach her at the tender age of three is about the importance of community involvement.

Activism was part of my growing up. My parents had my little brother and I on picket lines and in marches at a young age.  I can still remember the songs from the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament marches and the chants (AND the message) from picketing against the building of a factory right next to our neighbourhood school. It was not uncommon when I was elementary age to fall asleep to the sounds of impassioned discussion about local issues and I have fond memories of this. It was something we did as a family, we were involved positive community action; we were part of a community and it was our duty to support the community. So, I admit, it is the lack of meaningful action and community action that I have participated in as an adult that I’m most disappointed in myself about. Heck, I didn’t get my US citizenship until a year and a half ago (just in time to vote in the big election) despite being eligible for nearly 15 years.

Getting my citizenship was empowering, becoming a parent more so. Finding time as a parent who works more than a full time job outside the home to take action? That has been more difficult. Help A Mother Out‘s mission struck right to my heart and involvement in this grassroots group has allowed me to take action, to make a difference in my community and share with our daughter the importance of community. I’ve talked about what we’re up to in Tucson this week, with the Learn-to-Knit Party, but there are activities going on all over the US and I know that there are people dropping in and reading this blog from all sorts of places. Often these are activities you can do with your kids if you want. Please consider attending one of the diaper drive parties happening around the country. Whether you can be there are not please share what is going on with friends and family whether with a simple email, facebook status, or blog post.  You don’t have to explore your parenting angst like I did here (I’m thinking alot about parenting philosophy right now because its part of the adoption autobiography), just say: Hey, this looks like fun and it is for a great cause. Perhaps show your own mama a little love this upcoming Mother’s Day with a good karma gift of donation to Help A Mother Out.

While we’re on the topic of life lessons, what are the important lessons that your family taught you? What do you want to teach your children?


Filed under Acting Up, Adoption, Community, Diapers, Homestudy, Lessons, Navigation of Dangerous Water (Parenting)