Tuesday, June 30, 2009

We sleep. We have to. Though inevitable, I resent the time wasted. In fighting off the midday drag of exhaustion following a restless night, my adrenaline kicked in on seeing a giant brown bee. I mean GIANT. This guy was easily two inches. Then, I remembered my dad saying, “god gave bees wings so they wouldn’t bump their butts on the ground.” I think god’s work is mercurial like that. All the order in nature occurs through a series of random and chaotic events. In the course of living we try to string together chaos to make meaning from improbable sets of wings.

This story's the bees-knees, wings and all. Cally’s Tang Su Do class had a year-end party. She said it wasn’t fun—that everyone in the class was from Woodstock Elementary (not her school) and she felt left out of their conversations. Then, she told us that when she tried to play ball with a group, this kid named Leo said, “pass the ball, fatso.” She told us she emphatically told him, “don’t call me that!” but that it got worse because another kid named Ben chimed in response, “what's wrong fatso?” Cally told me some of this story the day it happened. I told her then that as she was doing Tang Su Do for fun, she ought to tell Marilyn (the teacher) that being called names was not fun for her. I told her that I could tell Marilyn myself, but that I thought she would feel more relieved if she stood up for herself. She brought it up again in the car with Killian, Pops and me on the way to the movies. Killian was outraged. First he asked, “is something wrong with him, you know, mentally? Because you’re not at all fat, so he has to be a little wrong in the head.” Cally, laughed, saying, “no, he’s kind of normal, maybe even smart.” “Well, then. I’m going to kick his ass, the little turd face!” – said the boy who can barely walk, or talk and at this point weighs as much as a wet hen. Cally was glowing as they laughed together in the back seat, plotting the torture and destruction of Leo. At some point, I was pleased to hear Cally say that she would prefer from a practical standpoint to speak up for herself rather than Killian "kicking Leo's ass."

As we arrived at the theatre, who was in line buying tickets to the same movie? Leo. Cally pointed he and his family out as they stared at Killian (not an uncommon occurrence for our public outings). Killian, bandaged, shuffling—a dramatic sight regardless—fixed a glare so deadly at Leo that he cowered at his unwitting father’s side. I told Killian, “stop that,” in mom voice. It’s ironic when you use mom-voice on the outside because it’s the right thing to do, but on the inside you’re laughing maniacally like a five year old who just got away with something naughty but delicious.

Monday, June 8, 2009


We got out Saturday, on a short trip to North Adams Massachusetts. Killian wanted to go on a pilgrimage to see origami master Michael LaFosse and visit the Origamido studio in Haverhill, MA where he and partner Richard Alexander make the best origami paper in the world. I asked BFF Breon if she’d arrange a visit, as I have mush-for-brains and can’t do logistics these days. BFF was tasked to see if she could find a time when Mr. LaFosse would actually be at the studio. She found out that the Origamido studio was closed, packed up and prepared for relocation to Hawaii. She actually spoke with Richard to discover their plans for a new life, and then told him about Killian. These guys are SO incredibly generous. He and Michael offered to meet at a halfway spot for the Mansfields, and said they would bring paper, books, a movie about origami that had just been made called Between the Folds, and some famous models from their collection of masters from around the world. BFF arranged a meeting at Mass. MOCA, an agreeable halfway spot, and came with Bob and Liam.

Killian was so excited and his expectations were absolutely exceeded. Not only did they bring all that marvelous stuff as gifts for Killian, but also Michael took Killian aside and folded with him. He folded with a master. Once, Killian told me that he wanted to learn from an origami master more than he wanted to be one. He had this vision of spending a good chunk of his life roaming the world and studying with various origami masters. One down.

Richard took the rest of us origami novices into another space and taught us to fold a couple of fun models that he and Michael designed. When I checked back in with Killian and Michael, they had folded two Midori Luna moths out of paper Richard and Michael made especially for this particular moth design. As they folded, Killian talked about the music project he and Ralph had been working so hard on. He said he really wished that more sick kids knew that acupuncture, aromatherapy…integrative therapies could make them feel better and told Michael he thought most hospitals really needed to do things differently to really incorporate these therapies. Michael said he wanted to create a butterfly for Killian’s foundation, because it symbolizes change. He told Killian that, like the butterfly, he thought Killian's wish would "pollinate," spreading the word about this cause. Killian said he’d like to use Michael’s design as the symbol for the foundation.

There is so much good in the world.