Posts Tagged Downey

My Yearly Update!

23 April 2012

I never blog anymore.

I think this is because I need to decide what this blog is, exactly. I know i don’t want to be 0ne of those “mommy bloggers” whose blogs I read often. I’m just not as awesome as they. Nor do I see myself being one of those that blog every major and minor life event, with pictures. I’m too much of a slacker for that.

Oh well.

Here’s an update at least:

I am working part-time at Cerritos College now. I teach Acting Fundamentals in the Theatre Dept. It is temporary, substitute. But they asked me to stay until the end of the semester because the reg prof is on medical leave. I am loving it! The class is great. I’ve decided I don’t really know how to act, but hopefully my students won’t figure that out until after the semester is over. Don’t tell. =) Next time I should teach something easy like how to tie shoes the cool way, or alphabetizing my bookshelf… j/k… The hardest part really is dealing with childcare. Andy stays home once a week and the other day we have been using a series of grandmothers and babysitters. It’s really hard to leave them, but I know they are in really good hands, and that they are enjoying the time they spend with their caregivers. I don’t know what we’d do if I was offered a more permanent job, but I trust the Lord will show us if He gives me such an opportunity.

The Downey Arts Coalition is embarking on its first theatrical endeavor! I am so excited to be producing Urban Acts: New Plays from the Street alongside Andrew, a couple other DAC members, and also alongside the critically-acclaimed Urban Theatre Movement. Those guys rock. This will be a staged reading series at site-specific locations throughout Downey. All new plays by new and established playwrights. We are very very privileged to be able to read these wonderful new works and to have most of the playwrights in attendance as well! Check out www.downeyarts.org for more info.

Speaking of DAC, our organization is 1 year old now! I can’t believe the organization that Andrew started has grown into such a huge thing practically over night! I never imagined we would be involved with so many incredible people and doing so many exciting things here in Downey when he first started talking about wanting to form a group like this. That’s exactly it– when he started talking about wanting to do this, it was just going to be a group. Like maybe a support group. Well, God had other plans and it has exploded into an organization! No, a movement! We are even on the fast track toward 501C3 status with our plans to merge with the Downey Art League. This, alongside our friendship with the Downey Art Vibe, is making the arts movement in Downey a force to be reckoned with! Good things are happening and lots of people are getting on board.

It’s also pretty cool to see my husband in this leadership role. He’s always been such a strong leader and he is really thriving in this organization. I’m so proud to be his wife and partner. He stays up way too late, though. 😉

I’ve got a couple of potential directing gigs lined up. Not professional, but I’m excited about both the projects. I hope they don’t fall through! Meanwhile, just focusing on Urban Acts and my new job.

My children are a constant delight. I want to homeschool Peer, we’re learning more about that and considering our options. I might sign us up for a charter in the fall. At the very least we are glad that we can delay kindergarten and keep him home until age 6. A lot of parents are doing that nowadays. “Giving them the gift of time,” as I’ve heard it said. I like that. He will be 5 this summer and I am so proud of the young man he is growing into. I’ve recently discovered that he knows quite a bit of math. He is very adept at simple addition and subtraction, and he’s learning to read and sound things out. I catch him practicing on his own, it’s so cute. What a smart kid I have!

Leif is 17 months going on 5 years old as well.  =) He seems to have his own complete language that he is teaching us, and loves to play and run around outside with his brother. He wants to do everything his big brother (or “Ba-Ba”) is doing, especially the naughty things like smacking and destroying. Also wrestling and horseplay. It’s all a lot fun until someone lands on their head, boys! I am pleased that we are at the point with breastfeeding where it is so easy. But I often miss having a tiny one to nurse. Leif no longer needs/wants to snuggle in my lap for hours nursing. At most it may be 10, 15 minutes and then he’s back to playing. Oh well, he’s pretty heavy and squirmy anyway!

We still go to First Baptist, not a long happening there. Looking forward to several weddings this summer, especially that of our good friend Geoff, when Andy will be a groomsman. Geoff is very special to us and we are so happy for him and his new bride-to-be Scarlet, who is especially lover-ly and wonderful.

I guess that’s our family in a nutshell right now. Sorry no pics. I’m a slacker.

 

City of Downey = Not as Lame as You Thought

1 February 2012

So someone told me recently that Downey has a reputation. Like among LA people. Like that they don’t like us. This came as a surprise to me for a couple of reasons. First, I didn’t think LA people knew Downey existed. Second, why they would care is beyond me. But anyway, it got me thinking about all the cool things we have here in D-town that set us apart from the surrounding cities. We may not be Los Angeles, but we are significant. We’re not just a quaint little small town. Although we do have that small town feel.

Here’s a quick list of some cool things we got:

1. Two Hospitals (DRMC and a brand-new Kaiser)

2. Two Golf Courses (Rio Hondo and Los Amigos)

3. A nationally recognized rehabilitation center

4. A courthouse

5. Our own police dept

6. Our own fire dept

7. A movie studio (though not for long)

8. A mall

9. Our own Museum of Art with important works by internationally-recognized artists in its collection. (Although it currently has no home. Read more about that here.)

10. An annual float in the Rose Parade

11. A beautiful, professional Civic Theater that is now being booked as a concert venue with some pretty big names.

12. A brand-new Space Museum

13. As of last Saturday, protests. That’s right, people. We are a city that cares about stuff.

14. Not to mention all the cool stuff happening all the time with Downey Art Vibe and Downey Arts Coalition.

15. Two local newspapers (The Downey Beat and The Downey Patriot)

16. Our own Civic Light Opera

17. Our own professional Symphony

18. Weird Al Yankivic is from here. You read that right.

19. The world’s oldest operating McDonald’s

20. the very first Taco Bell

21. A superior Farmer’s Market (and I say this as a total junkie)

22. Our rich and lengthy history, including the hometown of The Carpenter’s, our connection to NASA and the aerospace industry, and much, much more.

23. Last but certainly not least, Downey Arts Ryan Gosling

Anything I’m forgetting?

A Busty Woman: Mothering Courageously while Homeless

10 October 2011

Earlier this week I was making a trip to the bank with my boys, and while I was trying to navigate my car into the drive-thru ATM, I noticed something I hadn’t seen there before.  A woman was standing there, just a few feet from the ATMs with a cardboard sign asking for money.  This was a little out of the ordinary at a bank (smart move, though) and here in Downey (we don’t see a lot of that), but what was really extraordinary was the fact that she was not alone.  She was standing there nursing a sleeping baby at her breast.  I would say the babe was probably about 3-4 months old. She was not using a shawl or even wearing nursing attire.  She simply had the neckline of her shirt pulled down and baby was asleep, nursing away, as mine often do.  The only “cover up” she has was the cardboard sign she was holding and her baby.

I was extremely moved by this encounter. Allow me to explain.

First, I should say that I’m really interested in the politics of breastfeeding and I love following the Lactivist blogs and facebook pages to learn what’s going on.  Because of this I know that in this country women are thrown out of establishments, harassed, and shamed quite often for exposing far less than what this poor woman was exposing.

In addition, we are the city of Downey.  Now I love Downey, but we are a very conservative, right-wing sorta town.  There are probably many people who do not take kindly to seeing people camped out at banks with cardboard signs.  Maybe freeway exits, but no further.  Now on top of that, we have fairly poor breastfeeding rates.  Our hospital does not have a Lactation Consultant, and I think a woman was even thrown out of the library a few years back for breastfeeding in the children’s area.  Sadly, we are not a very breastfeeding-friendly city.

I don’t think this courageous and loving mother really realized what a ballsy thing she was doing.  (“ballsy”?  No, bad choice of words.  Let’s use “busty.”  And in this case, “busty” can mean feminine courage–courage that only mothers possess) Judging from her accent and limited English, she didn’t seem have been in this country very long.  And usually the American poor– at least in southern CA– do not breastfeed.  I imagine in her country it is normal for a woman to breastfeed, and to do so publicly.  She probably didn’t realize what a novelty–dare I say taboo– it is here.  Here she was, begging for money in a public place, pulling down her shirt to do what’s necessary to care for her child, all the while hoping that a few people will collectively do half as much for her. All in a place where breastfeeding isn’t very visible, and where many would like to believe that homeless people are lazy, or worse: con artists.

Is it possible she brought her infant to elicit sympathy?  Sure.  But she was still nursing a baby while begging for money for food. You can’t fake that. And you know what’s beautiful?  As hungry as she may have been, her baby wasn’t.  What a beautiful testament to everyone around her that God through nature provides a way for even the most destitute to nourish their babies.  And in my opinion, it also sends the message that sometimes people fall on hard times, and they are unable to restore their financial situation, to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps, because they are caring for the very real needs of others.

I find this mother’s courage admirable.  Although I doubt she felt courageous.  In fact, I imagine she probably wasn’t trying to be courageous at all.  She must have been feeling very vulnerable and desperate.  This must have been a sort of rock-bottom for her.  She probably did this because she had to, because she felt she had no other choice.  And that’s what feminine courage is.  We parents are given the task to care for our children in the best way we can, regardless of our circumstances.  And this mother did what she had to do. Pop that baby on the boob and see if anyone will help you with the rest. Multi-tasking at its best.

When I have a friend who has a baby, I usually try to help her with breastfeeding, if she wants help.  I have long phone conversations, write lengthy emails, send them books and articles and buy them supplies.  I pray for their milk supply and for their adjustment and their perseverance.  I cry with them when things are tough.  These are my middle-class friends, all whom have homes and three meals a day.  I wish I could have helped this woman more, although she certainly didn’t seem to need any help breastfeeding.  But a little money and some gift cards were all I had to give.  I did cry a little for her, and ask God to bless her.  I only hope that if hard times should fall on me, that I would possess the courage she had.