Monday, December 31, 2012

Goodbye 'isms

In the spirit of the New Year, and as if it's already the season of Lent, I've decided I'm giving up 'isms' in 2013.




And any other 'ism you can think of that promotes passivity and resistance.  And hate.  I hate Hate.  I think passivity and resistance together is lethal.  Instead, 2013 is a good year to think critically, question those in-charge, and mostly, keep people with these -isms at a distance.  In the wake of the aftermath from 2012 - a year of many good things, sprinkled with substantive struggle for a lot of us,  I still believe that the propensities for human goodness is everywhere.

So long 'isms.  If we meet again, I'll work my damnedest to get rid of you.

I'll be seeing more of you this year Peace, Altruism, Resiliency, and Compassion.  Happy New Year to my devoted and loving husband, and my spirited children!

[I said goodbye to my hair in 2012 and donated those locks to Pantene - a great way to lighten up for the New Year . . . ]

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Time to Plot

Winter vacation.  Just the time for plotting and planning the places I want to climb, and the means to get me there.  I spent a good part of this morning looking at the front covers of these guidebooks . . .

Instead of thinking about the means, I reminisced instead and thought about all the climbs I've done in some of these places and why I want to go back.  Wyoming, Utah, and South Dakota have interesting terrain, but the real reason I want to climb there again is because I have such vivid memories spending time with people I adore and trust.  And I wouldn't mind getting back on some of the classic climbs I feel I made my personal mark on.  

I couldn't find the guidebook for Shelf Road or Clear Creek Canyon, but those are two areas where I would go back to in a heartbeat.  Plus, I have some unfinished business there.  Hueco and Rocktown and other places down south are top on my list if only I could convince myself and my bank account that quick weekend trips might be all I could manage at this point in my life.  

I love guidebooks!  

And I love winter vacation because some of my best scheming comes from this down-time.  Aside from  thinking about climbing, family trips, and weekend outings, there's also that marathon I'm running in June.  

I almost forgot about that.  

I love vacation, guidebooks, and plotting!  

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

To Be Catholic

I've gone the cycles of wrestling and reconciling being a Catholic most of my life, and I admit that it's a hard thing to escape.   I've practiced the rituals and spiritual traditions of this faith for so long, I feel bound to it - like I have a responsibility to it, like I have a stake in being Catholic.

Frankly, I feel Catholic.  I really do.  My parents are Catholic, most all my Chamorro relatives are, and there's a huge world population that identifies with being Catholic.  When I had Misa and John-Pio, it was without question that they would be raised in the Catholic church, and currently, I've lived up to my self-induced responsibility from both a family and cultural standpoint.  They attend catechism every Sunday, we make the sign of the cross before and after prayer, and they identify themselves as "Chamorro Catholics."  In fact, they are so close to their godparents whom they refer to as "Uncle Nino," and "Auntie Nina," that they might have forgotten that their first names are actually Geri and Peter.   Their experiences have led them towards a belief in what Catholics believe, and attention to how Catholics practice.

I'm proud of how my kids have been influenced as Catholics, but more than that, I'm proud to raise them to be discerning and thoughtful about how they go about living out their spiritual and religious lives.  It can be such a hard line to tow these days here in Madison, especially because Bishop Morlino and I have never seen eye to eye, and I've been discouraged and outraged by his recent call to dismiss and punish the good works of others.  I'm not so shallow as to let this represent all of what it means to be Catholic, as actions and decisions by the religious have long had an effect on my conscience.  Admittedly though, Bishop Morlino leaves a bad feeling in my being.

I could not fake the season of Christmas without being open regarding this latest issue with Bishop Morlino.  I didn't want to go through a mass with him celebrating, and I was plotting the church we would attend for Christmas mass based on where he was not.  Frankly, for the past few weeks, I was feeling cynical and angry.  And one thing I know about these two emotions is that when I go there, I have to consciously wage that battle with myself to push through and out of it.

Over dinner one night a few weeks ago, I brought up the work being done by Wisdom Well . We looked at their website together and I shared about the retreat experiences I had with them when I first moved to Madison.  Then I shared the story published in the newspaper about Bishop Morlino's admonition against them.  Our discussion was frank and instructive, and closed with my personal sentiments about his decision and why I believe what he has decided was wrong and is still wrong.

And that was that.  I breathed a little easier.  My cynicism and anger lifted.  My kids chocked up another contribution to their developing consciousness.

I still didn't feel like going to a Christmas mass where he was celebrating.  So we went to another Catholic church on the isthmus with an amazing choir filled with harmonic and angelic sounds.  It followed all the goodness from the morning surprises and laughter of delight, and was especially heightened when, in the middle of the service, John-Pio leaned over to whisper in my ear, "This is really quite a fun mass, Mama."

That was just the boost I needed to feel Catholic all over again.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Following Up

Days have passed and I'm still thinking about the people of Newtown, CT.  Some thoughts as Brad and I were talking  . . .

1) I want an assault weapons ban
2) I want a background check and waiting period before buying a gun
3) I want mandatory training for handgun safety
4) I want ammunition controls
5) I want government monitoring on large gun purchases like they do for fertilizer and black gun powder, now)
6) I want incentives to turn in weapons when the owners die
7) I want mental health monitoring
8) I want funds for mental health outreach programs
9) I want to find the loners, and I want people to help report loners
10) I want people to be brave and confident to be part of a "see something, say something" program

In all, I want us to make the gun culture uncool.  Use advertising, media and pop culture to stamp it into people's minds that guns are uncool.

That's what's on my mind.

Monday, December 17, 2012


I didn't feel the heaviness until I actually entered my classroom.  We kept the same routines and scheduled and saved time later in the day to talk about about the loss of 20 children and 7 adults and how Newtown, CT is changed forever.  

I believe it's safe to say we are all changed.

Heavy sigh.

One of our students sobbed while we showed the CNN video which was a lesson designed for students as a way to talk about the tragedy.  So visibly heartbroken, this young adolescent exclaimed:  "I don't want to talk or see or think about this anymore."  

A parent called and the first thing he said was, "Hey Ms. Naputi.  How are you holding up?  How are all you teachers doing there?"  That lump in my throat - the one I carried as I walked into the class, returned.  I heard it said that the blood relatives of kindness are compassion and consideration.  I certainly felt that from this parent.

And from all our students on our team - I felt their heaviness and saw their faces when we showed the slideshow of those sweet lovely children.

I'm exhausted today, but I'm going to rally.  Tomorrow is a new day with renewed hope and optimism that our nation is going to get better - I won't bring up the issues now because I'm still grieving and thinking about the children, the teachers, the school psychologist and the principal.  I'm still praying for the families and the community of Newtown.  But soon, I will write what I believe must be done so that this horrific event is never, ever repeated.  Ever again.  Ever.

Blessings to us all.

Monday, December 3, 2012

December Highlights Already

I only noticed that November flew by because I couldn't wait for December.  Here are the highlights three days into the month . . .

My mom came for a quick weekend visit, with my nephew Erin as her escort.  It had been at least two years since her last visit, and since 2002 for Erin's.  With all the unique restaurants we have in Madison, we ended up taking her to bars.  She's a good sport.  Erin is my oldest nephew and for the first time, I felt like a true Auntie.  I think it's because he's now 30 and I have such strong memories of all my aunties from both sides of the family (Auntie Chai, Auntie Ana, Auntie Mary, Auntie Lou, Auntie Chai Duenas, Auntie Ella, Auntie Liz, Auntie Annie, Auntie Mary Paulino . . . ) who I've always respected and adored for select reasons.  I just feel like an "elder Auntie."  The time is now right?

Boulders celebrated its 16-year anniversary.  It was fun to share an important part of our life with my mom and Erin.  I'm proud of the journey Brad and I have chosen to take, and I'm happy that we could celebrate with so many nice people.

Misa only has three more plays left to perform and lordy lordy I'm counting them down.  She had a Sunday performance at the Barrymore Theater and it was special to see Annie & Stanley, Molly & Claire, my brother, Ruth, Chris and Daniel, and Stacey - all come out to see Misa's play.  I love my friends and family.

I registered for the Grandma's Marathon June 22nd.  

I have been thinking more and more about my plan to cut my hair off for a donation.  Stay tuned for details, I can't decide if it'll be before or after winter break.  I may have to put the question out to my students.

My mom and Erin left and I cried.  I miss them already.