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Riding Metro Mobility in the early morning rain.  The only way to get us to an appointment without me lifting the chair!

Riding Metro Mobility in the early morning rain. The only way to get us to an appointment without me lifting the chair!

It has been a busy week, which is kind of nice.  We’ve had medical appointments, adventures, and a day in the park.  I’d say it’s been ups and downs, but actually it’s been mostly ups.  Sure the challenges have been there.  I’m still not putting the wheelchair into the car so logistics are complicated.  But all the potential roadblocks were addressed and things continue to move forward.

The needles are painful, but it's fun to tease Orion about his "wrinkle-free" legs.

The needles are painful, but it’s fun to tease Orion about his “wrinkle-free” legs.

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It really was a week of medical.  All of my standard appointments, plus Orion got his quarterly botox shots (to help with the spastic tone in his legs) and I had another CT following up my ER visit a few weeks ago.  That’s what I thought this blog was going to be about at the beginning of last week.  Then I started having fun.

 

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Girls night out!  We were the "guests".  The friend with the tickets took the photo.

Girls night out! We were the “guests”. The friend with the tickets took the photo.

A friend got tickets to a concert by the Cactus Blossoms and invited me and another friend to join her.  Girls night out and fun country music, why not?  We had a grand time.  Even the opening act was delightful.   Andru Bemis proved to be an impressive musician and entertainer.  I didn’t get up and dance, but by the end of the concert I was on my feet rocking to the music.  Nice to be able to do that again!

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Minnehaha Falls

Minnehaha Falls

The day in the park was for Pagan Pride.  Our community has been doing a Pride event for a long time.  In the past few years Pride has presented itself in a very public way at Minnehaha Falls Park.  It’s nice to be out under the oak trees, but it’s also nice to have some visibility in the larger community.

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When Pagan Pride first started it was indoors at a closed school.  Now it's out doors and very public.  Times have changed.

When Pagan Pride first started it was indoors at a closed school. Now it’s out doors and very public. Times have changed.

There are vendors, public rituals, music and dance performances and a lot of chatting with old friends.  Members of the Reclaiming community set up a labyrinth and other groups have booths promoting festivals and local events.  It’s a large community so there’s always something going on.

A beautiful day to be in the park

A beautiful day to be in the park

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It was a beautiful day to be outside.  In fact it was a beautiful weekend, cool but warm in the sunshine.  I even got to have dinner out Sunday with another group of friends.  A side order of humus should keep me in lunches for a few more days.  “Small portions”  has taken on a whole new meaning, but I’m feeling good and really enjoying being out and about.

Community

I have always struggled with the notion of community.  Maybe it comes from not often having a sense of belonging.  Even in my birth family there have been times when I felt very much unwanted.  This is not my imagination, I’ve been explicitly told as much.  Sometimes it’s been useful and appropriate, like when my sister and I, as young adults, effectively kicked each other out of our parents house.  Other times it’s been rather hurtful.

We've clearly forgiven each other since.

We’ve clearly forgiven each other since.

There are organizations that I’ve belonged to that function to some degree like communities.  Some that I’ve paid dues to and others that I have earned the right through study and initiation.  Alumni organizations are kind of like that, as are Wiccan traditions and other magical orders.  Even with membership I have certainly been at events where I was rather unwanted.  I really do try to avoid making people uncomfortable.

Unfortunately when dealing with communities (or any group of people) there is politics.  Sometimes showing up is necessary to maintain any kind of respect within the community.  After all they have a harder time talking trash about you when you are present to refute the accusations.

Apparently on a political level I am often perceived as a threat.  Maybe it’s because I’m a smart and verbal woman.  Maybe it’s because I call it like I see it if someone asks for my opinion.  Maybe it’s because if someone sets up a game I’m likely to play, although I am usually much less invested in the results.  My general philosophy of community is that people are going to say stuff and as long as I continue to be present and consistent eventually whatever trash talk is in the gossip stream will fade.

The flag flies at the side of Walker Church before the fire

The rainbow flag flies at the side of Walker Church before the fire

As I’ve gotten older I’ve got less interest and patience for this kind of high school “mean girls” nonsense.  I am looking for a different way to be in community and to interact with community.  Sometimes this means standing up and saying “you’re not funny.”   Sometimes this means participating in support of organizations that I don’t really belong to.  Sometimes this means taking a step back and re-evaluating the culture of community and how I would like to fit in.

So this weekend Orion and I went out in support of a community organization that we don’t belong to.  Walker Church is that kind of community organization.  Their influence reaches far beyond their membership.  As an organization they have always been active in social justice issues in the larger community.  They have supported the arts and small voices that also work on a local community level.  They promote local and sustainable food for all people.  They have been open and inclusive to people of all faiths.

The Gospel Machine

The Gospel Machine

When Walker Church burned in a lightning strike ignited fire it was a blow to the congregation.  The loss of the church building was also a great loss to the larger community.  As they hold fundraising events to support the construction of a new building Orion and I felt a joyful obligation to show up in support.

We danced to country two step music from the Cactus Blossoms.  Then we sang along with Gospel Machine.  We had to leave during the bluegrass of the Roe Family Singers.  The night started before we got there and continued for hours after we left but it felt good to contribute to a community whose mission I believe in.  We were welcomed and we had fun, even if I don’t really belong.

Roe Family Singers

Roe Family Singers

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