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Heartbreak, DC.

The rest of this post was written before Friday morning.

I am leaving it. I don't quite know why, but maybe that because in dark times, the tic of normality, the reminder of excitement and discovery, helps to dispel evil.

Because it was true evil that came, Friday.
Here are pictures of our trip to the Zoo that day, before I knew.

Wouldn't it be nice if we reached out to each other and had a dialogue instead of deleting and blocking over the next few days? I resolve to not delete a person, despite high emotions. Because if I only allowed those around me who thought exactly as I do, I would never grow.

For other parents whose children are in elementary school:
From What A Shrink Thinks's status.
"These are the suggestions I have made to the parents in my psychotherapy practice and to my children's class parents if this is helpful to anyone:

It is important to screen your elementary school aged child from media exposure to these events

Its is a fearful and vulnerable age, and any details about this event are not psychologically useful to them.

If you decide to discuss it with them keep it simple, general and minimal.

But they may encounter overstimulating details from overexposed peers, media exposure that you cannot control, overheard grown up conversations in public spaces, or older siblings.

So: Be aware for anxious symptoms: agitation, school refusal, sleeping problems, increased stomach aches and vague somatic complaints, an increase in violent play -

A template for a discussion might be something like this:

"You might be hearing about a sad, scary thing that happened at a school. Some children died after a shooting at a school in another state

Your school is perfectly safe, and you don't need to be worried about anything like that.
If you hear something about it from friends or at school we just didn't want you to be scared. Please talk to me if you get worried."

If they press for more details: (they may not) you can remain vague:

"The important thing is that it is safe now.

"The man who did it is dead and the police say everything there is safe now.
If you hear things from other kids, check with us first - because you know kids exaggerate things and make up rumors sometimes! And its important not to talk about this in front of little kids. Its too scary and confusing for them. If you see friends talking about this around littler kids tell them not to"

Please come talk to us more if you get worried. Its very sad, and lots of people are sad about it right now"

Hope this is helpful."

My children know nothing. I had decided that before I received the prior, good advice.
Raised with guns, now homeschooled, knowing about Friday would only increase their trepidation of traditional schools, and I know the first thing they would wonder in their sorrow would be, "WHY DIDN'T SOMEONE SHOOT BACK."

IF they knew, I would discuss Fred Rogers.
"When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.' To this day, especially in times of "disaster," I remember my mother's words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world."

But: Stand up and stop evil. Act on mental illness. Help those who need help before they lose themselves, hurt others.  Too many of us look the other way.

With this heavy heart, respectfully, the rest of my post, written before Friday, continues.

The Geminid Meteor Shower peaked and I was not on the farm at Higher Ground, but in DC.

The streets of our DC neighborhood are strewn with yellowed ginko leaves, one of my favorite trees.
It is a great time to be here.

The children enjoy ice skating on the mall, Tiny-The-Ginormous-Puppy learned about romping around in dog parks, and I reconnected with DC friends and DC's EcoWomen.

I had a great time at DC's EcoWomen's holiday party!
I had been a speaker awhile ago; it was nice to reconnect.
There were many lovely people. Who are we kidding? Cause, the PhilanthroPub, was PACKED with green-minded, often non-profit oriented gals.

My favorite was another girl just moved here, from New Jersey. After working with Richmond's Green Drinks so long I could recognize a "I don't know anyone" look- I'm certain I wore it myself- I included her in conversation, then we really spoke, connected, became friends.
She's a doula who advocates for teen mothers.
She's cute and tiny and I just *loved* speaking with her. I mention the physical only because she has to be so STRONG in everything she does, physically and in advocacy and education. So I love she is so large in character and strength, in a smaller frame. : )

I was able to lunch with old friends.
One is an architect who has worked with the White House, The Octagon, the Park Service, and is busy getting ready to commemorate The War Of 1812 for Cultural Tourism DC. She. Is. Fabulous.

The other is back from Iraq, busy saving monuments while giving back teaching at UVA's School of Architecture.

She's pretty fabulous, too!

Oh but enough about world revered monuments and architecture.  
Forget Decartes. I want to know about De Carts.
Oh, yes. I want to discuss Urban Cart Etiquette.
Ok I have a question for you Big City Urban Dwellers.
After lugging my cloth bags back from the DuPont Circle-ish area grocery store awhile, I caved and bought a cart. I never had one in New York, as I was just shopping for myself. But with a family, even when going more freqently, I still need to lug home more quantities of food.

So this time I bounced my empty cart behind me, but as I drew near the grocery, I slowed...  
What IS personal bring-yer-own grocery cart etiquette?

Do you have one hand push a traditional grocery store cart in front while dragging your other cart behind with the other hand?

Do you dump your personal cart into the store cart, taking up pretty much the entire space?

Do you just place the items you intend to purchase in your cart, hoping store staff know you never would abscond with the items?

I trickily kinda held mine off the back, holding it with my hands, but that made for awkward removal of items from the shelf... I wanted to place items into my personal cart but that just didn't seem proper as they were not yet purchased, and the thought made me blush furiously.
How do you do it?
I would redesign the frickin' cart.
They should redesign grocery store carts to have a hook where you can hang your purse, personal cart, stroller, hang yer children by their pants so they stop doing the dreaded Grocery Cart Climb... #IndustrialDesign

While I pondered grocery carts, we did manage to Culture Ourselves A Bit.
We were even able to go out alone, thanks to our babysitter!
Real life picture of our babysitter.
[Thank you, Facebook.]
She is an amazing childrenz and Shop Dawgz wrangler.

Handsome Husband made insane bok choy. Do give it a lissen:
  1. trim leafy greens off bok choy gently, greens are delicious in thir own right.
  2. cut length wise in strips
  3. sautee half of an onion in olive oil until translucent
  4. add bok choy and sautee under medium-low heat for 5 minutes (should still be somewhat crunchy)
  5. pepper and sprinkle with parmesan
And Tiny-The-Ginormous-Puppy, aka Puppy Galore, attacked the paper Christmas Village Pipsqueak 2 had so carefully crafted over days while we were out earlier this week. We came home, all cultured up,  to blue and white glitter and shredded paper from one end of the apartment to the other. 

We love visiting the DuPont DC Apartment and all the educational opportunities DC offers.  But we miss Higher Ground every step of the way, ginko strewn sidewalks or not.
Home calls.
[via my hilarious friend Justin]




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