biting in

out for dinner

celebrate your thirty-third birthday three weeks after the birth of our son – a pulsing, :flooding gush of blood

a crowning head from your body torn open

by his entry into our lives

you are more beautiful to me than ever

nursing breasts swollen with milk nipples still sore, from suckling the baby

belly shrinking, distended with stretch marks,

red stencils of her passage into motherhood

I wonder if you notice

how much you have changed since this conception.

months of wondering if this baby might survive

unlike our first.

Anxiety combines with nausea bloating, cramps

intermingled bleeding

rub vitamin E oils over distended bellyskin massage your lower back

your  mind – some other place

parenting classes, breathing exercises

sit with pillows on the floor, mark moments on our watches count the time between contractions

what to do when the water breaks

a packed bag – toothbrush change of clothing hospital stuff

then the day of the birth race home from work

find you already gone by taxi your bag still in the closet

all our lessons together already abandoned with your frilly gown

and brand new toothbrush

arrive at the  hospital after a sixty mile an hour drive across the city beginnings of rush hour.

I am terrified

I am going to miss being with you

to share in the birth of our child

when I arrive you complain

I’m never around when you need me but before you land any real blows you clench back a howl

from the pain of a contraction .

I hold your hand while your eyes glaze over momentarily

before you return from your journey into pain to look up at me

from your seat in the shower in the maternity ward

the rest of the long night blur of nurses and midwives, friends come by to see you

some stay through the birth

others leave at the first real signs of birth – the final minutes

unable to face

the overpower physical reality of it

during the breathing counts your eyes are locked onto mine

it feels like our souls are glued to each other by going through this passage together

it is the only way we can face this pain

is if you can concentrate your focus on my eyes, counting

panting together

a counterpoint to intercourse a body passion to expel

what we have inspired in your womb

in the final moments

fully dilated, ready to push flushed, fearful, pressed angry, hopeful

you are enraged when a nurse

scratches your thigh with a protruding fingernail

swear like a trucker

during the final push when the baby’s head passes out of your body

the rest of his little torso

is expelled from you like sausage from a meatmaker

part of me is repulsed

by the whole damn thing, but I am also

drawn in

by its sheer immensity

afterward

in the visitors room the relatives

noisily visit mama and baby

I finally go home

too exhausted to notice when I say goodnight

and kiss you on the cheek

you barely nod in my direction our son sucks

on breasts newly sprung triggered by the baby’s need.

out for dinner

three weeks after the birth of the baby you sit back in your chair

suckling the baby

even more of a stranger to me now than before our first embrace

The Problem is Now and Tomorrow

Canada has been absorbing this week the revelation of the burials of 215 children at the Kamloops Residential Schools, many of them completely undocumented in our past, and mostly completely unknown to most Canadians. In an important sense every one of these children is a crime victim, the least of which is neglect the most serious of which is genocide. Worst of all, most of us had no clue that this burial ground even existed, although that’s just a little too convenient an excuse.

This week thousands of articles have been written on the subject, news stories broadcast on radio and television. There is much hand wringing and guilty statements about Settler privilege.

What I haven’t heard enough of, or even any of, is the genocide underway in Canada today across the country. Every day children are still being taken away from aboriginal families and forced into “care” where they are neglected, abused and abandoned, with many of these children dying while in care, or shortly after “aging” out of foster care. These kids are removed from families, single parent moms mostly, because of a system that still sees “drunken indians” instead of struggling people who have been largely dispossessed from their tribal history and context by colonial exploitation and continuing subjugation by the settler cultures.

Johnny Depp – Not so fast….

I was quite excited to see that Johnny Depp was “Possibly” an eighth cousin, according the “We’re Related App” and Ancestry.ca, through my Babcock family, again, but pretty cool. Like most people I’ve been entertained by his cocky characters and extreme persona. Love it. love him.

The only thing is that he’s probably not my eight cousin, because there is an error in his family tree, just below the link with the Babcock clan.

I didn’t do a whole lot of checking but I still spent a couple of hours trying to correct the error, or see if there is a “work around” the broken link. but alas, no luck so far.

The We’re Related App is great, but it’s not perfect, nor does it pretend to be. Take the referrals somewhat lightly, but definitely check them out yourself. The more you work at it, the better your genealogy skills will develop, and the more accurate your own family tree will become.

I still love Johnny Depp, even if he’s not my cousin.

Marilyn Monroe – my 9th cousin

Marilyn Monroe. Marilyn was an icon of the 1940’s through her death in 1962. The legend of her life was bigger than life itself. Although she didn’t live anywhere near long enough, her image still dominates when it comes to a certain type and style of actress, model and woman. She is “possibly” my 9th cousin, according to “We’re Related”

Marilyn Monroe Sings in George Cukor Retrospective Trailer for ‘Let’s Make Love’

Her image appears on so many diverse applications that it has become a generic symbol of the American Sex Kitten, extolled in movies and television, mimicked by many but never matched.

When I discovered that she may be my 9th cousin my first instinct was similar to my first reaction to seeing her image as a young boy. She is a spitting image of my mom as a young woman. I remember thinking that she had to “be” my mom when I was a kid, nearly getting into a fist fight with some local kids who made “suggestive” comments about her.

It felt like they were insulting my mom. Later on I realized that she didn’t actually look that much like mom, but they were both blond beauties, whose looks belied their actual intelligence and characters.

Now that I know that Marilyn Monroe really was related to my mom, through her mother’s family, the Babcocks, maybe I can see a little more of my mom in her than my mom would have been happy to see. My mom was never a “sex kitten”, not in a million years, nor was she an emotional creature buffeted on the waves of depression that Marilyn faced, and which led to her death by suicide in her thirties.

What did have in common with my mom was her intelligence, and her ability to maximize her assets to her best advantage. My mom was “smart” and “intellectual” which she parlayed into a lifetime career as an educator, which was a reliable source of income and professional respect. Coming from an impoverished background, Marilyn didn’t really have the advantage of a good university education. Instead she learned early on how to earn a living with her physical beauty, emotionally appealing character to men, and how to use her intelligence to master her craft as an actor, musician and personality.

She invented the idea of a personal “brand” which resonates in the world of media and arts today. Managing her career she kept herself in the media spotlight and completely controlled the use of her iconic style and images.

Contrary to many opinions about her, she was never a “dumb” anything. And she wasn’t actually a blond, at all. She discovered that being a blond was to her advantage, so she become one. A totally self made woman in an era when that was nearly impossible.

My Quaker roots

Thanks for joining me! This is the first chapter based on the “We’re Related” relatives sent to me by Ancestry.com. Each blog will be centred around one person starting with the first person so cited, Bill Gates, of Microsoft fame. His full name William Henry “Bill” Gates was born on October 28, 1955 and is listed on my “We’re Related” app on my Iphone as “possibly” my nine cousin.

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

William Henry “Bill” Gates
Possibly my 9th cousinn

The choice of Bill Gates as the subject for my first blog on these possible relatives from Ancestry.com and We’re related is not because he seemed so unlikely as to be impossible as my relative because of his immense wealth and fame, or even because he would be my choice if I were to get to choose someone to be a famous member of my own family.

From We’re Related

No, he was chosen because he was the first relative listed on the app, once I connected my family tree.

William Henry Gates III (born October 28, 1955) is an American business magnate, investor, author, philanthropist, and humanitarian. He is best known as the principal founder of Microsoft Corporation.[2][3] During his career at Microsoft, Gates held the positions of chairmanCEO and chief software architect, while also being the largest individual shareholder until May 2014.

In 1975, Gates and Paul Allen launched Microsoft, which became the world’s largest PC software company.[4][a] Gates led the company as chairman and CEO until stepping down as CEO in January 2000, but he remained chairman and became chief software architect.[7] In June 2006, Gates announced that he would be transitioning to a part-time role at Microsoft and full-time work at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the private charitable foundation that he and his wife, Melinda Gates, established in 2000.[8] He gradually transferred his duties to Ray Ozzie and Craig Mundie.[9] He stepped down as chairman of Microsoft in February 2014 and assumed a new post as technology adviser to support the newly appointed CEO Satya Nadella.[10]

Gates is one of the best-known entrepreneurs of the personal computer revolution. He has been criticized for his business tactics, which have been considered anti-competitive. This opinion has been upheld by numerous court rulings.[11]

Since 1987, Gates has been included in the Forbes list of the world’s wealthiest people, an index of the wealthiest documented individuals, excluding and ranking against those with wealth that is not able to be completely ascertained.[12][13] From 1995 to 2017, he held the Forbes title of the richest person in the world all but four of those years, and held it consistently from March 2014 to July 2017, with an estimated net worth of US$89.9 billion as of October 2017.[1] However, on July 27, 2017, and since October 27, 2017, he has been surpassed by Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, who had an estimated net worth of US$90.6 billion at the time.[14] As of August 6, 2018, Gates had a net worth of $95.4 billion, making him the second-richest person in the world, behind Bezos.

Later in his career and since leaving Microsoft, Gates pursued a number of philanthropic endeavors. He donated large amounts of money to various charitable organizations and scientific research programs through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, reported to be the world’s largest private charity.[15] In 2009, Gates and Warren Buffett founded The Giving Pledge, whereby they and other billionaires pledge to give at least half of their wealth to philanthropy.[16] The foundation works to save lives and improve global health, and is working with Rotary International to eliminate polio.[17]

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Wow! This guy is amazing, and not only because he’s so accomplished and successful but also because this is far from the first time I’ve thought about him, either as an entrepreneur or as person in his own right. He’s been one of my personal heros my entire adult life.

His leadership of Microsoft, over the years, has driven my own career ambitions, not that I’m in the same league, but rather his style of leadership, He has been the master of switching directions when he feels like it is time to make a change. He’s taken enormous risks with his career and his company, both of which have paid off, over and over again.

And I find him inspiring today. He and his wife, Melinda Gates, have created the world’s largest charitable organization which takes giving to a whole new level, including the most important personal delivery – fresh water and prevention of malaria. He not only has good intentions, but they deliver on those intentions.

Bill Gates and I are descendants from Thomas Weeks. We are both his ninth degree grandsons, through the Weeks, Brush, Woolward, and Maxwell family tree, me through the Weeks, Wilman, Wilhelm, Babcock and Mobergs. Our common ancestor is a part of the New England puritan settlers as well as the Quakers of Oyster Bay.

Of all of the Protestant Christian denominations, that of Quakers is probably set apart the most. “Friends,” as they call themselves, believe in the Trinity of the father, the son, and the Holy Spirit like other Christians, but the roles that each person plays varies widely among Quakers.
Below are five beliefs that set Quakers apart from other Protestant Christians:

1. Meetings: Quaker meetings, or a meeting of friends, may differ considerably, based on whether the individual group is liberal or conservative. Because of this there are basically two types of Quaker meetings. Meetings of meditation are mostly silent, with expectant waiting for an answer of some sort from the Holy Spirit.
Individuals may speak in these meetings if they feel led to do so. Pastoral meetings can be much like an evangelical Protestant worship service, with prayer, readings from the Bible, hymns, music, and a sermon. Some branches of Quakerism have pastors, others do not.
2. Personal Communication: In order to communicate with each other and with God, Quakers often sit in a circle or square. This allows people to see and be aware of each other, but no single person is raised in status above the others. Some Friends describe their faith as an “Alternative Christianity,” which relies heavily on personal communion and revelation from God rather than adherence to a creed and doctrinal beliefs. Early Quakers called their buildings steeple-houses or meeting houses, not churches.
3. Continuing Revelation: Most Friends believe in the religious belief that truth is continuously revealed to individuals directly from God. Quakers are taught that Christ comes to teach the people himself. Friends often focus on trying to hear God. Because of this, Quakers reject the idea of priests, believing in the priesthood of all believers.
4. Equality: From its beginning, the Religious Society of Friends taught equality of all persons, including women. Some conservative meetings are divided over the issue of homosexuality.
5. Sacraments: Most Quakers believe that how a person lives their life is a sacrament, and that formal observances are not necessary. Quakers hold that baptism is an inward, not outward, act. And when it comes to communion, instead of the Lord’s Supper, Friends subscribe to the theory of spiritual communion with God, experienced during silent meditation.

5 Beliefs That Set Quakers Apart From Other Protestant Christians
By Cindy Hicks NewsMax Internet TV

Wednesday, 01 Apr 2015 3:50 PM

Both of us had ancestors rooted in the traditions and values of the Quakers. When I first came across the Quakers I wasn’t so sure that I understood why so many of my ancestors were Quakers. In both sides of my family, through my father’s father’s side and my mother’s mother’s side there are direct descendants of the Quakers.

My American born grandmother, a direct descendant of ancestors who came over on the Mayflower, who also had roots in the Quaker community.

As I get to know more of my “famous” relatives I think that the Quaker inheritance still holds some sway in my values and my family’s cultural traditions.

If America society can be said to have had a conscience since it’s founding by the Pilgrims and other early settlers, the Quakers have often provided it. At numerous times during the last five hundred years, the Quakers have often stood alone for justice and integrity. They believed in equality of the sexes long before it was popular in the media. The declared slavery an abomination and worked tirelessly to end it both in the United States and the British Empire. They resist any form of arbitrary leadership or moral superiority by positional authority. They believe that each person has a relationship with God, and each person alone can determine the right and proper things to do, when decisions are necessary.

I know that this is simplistic, and pretty shallow interpretation of Quaker thoughts and traditions but my main point is that I feel that Bill Gates, and his wife Belinda live out the values of a twenty first century Quaker brought forward into the secular age.

This blog is about my family tree. It’s exploring who we are, and who I am because of my family tree and its members. One of it’s roots is buried deep in the American experience, but I think in that part of the experience that questions everything, and demands new answers for a new age. Just like Bill Gates, my esteemed cousin, possibly.