Sunday, August 31, 2008
"Somewhere Along the Line...
We had two room-mates during the Democratic Convention. Two men whom we had never met before. An act of trust on both sides.
Over the week, we became good friends. As one of them said on the last day here, after the two had bought us a Thank You breakfast, "We are family now." That's how I felt. I was sad to see them go. A deep respect and caring had developed throughout the week.
Both men are older than me (yes, people do live past this ripe, old age) and one of them uses a walker to get around. They both had endless energy, staying out for up to 19 hours a day, walking in many marches and attending endless events. I don't know how they do it!
On Wednesday night, our new friends paid for us to hear Ralph Nader. And before I go on about that fun night, I would like to say that I value complexity and an open mind. To close down and not hear the message because one judges Nader as a "spoiler" limits our possibilities. I want to be able to hold the tension that comes with shades of gray. If it weren't for independents, I wouldn't be allowed to vote this coming November. Throughout our history, every major political social change, including women's right to vote, has been instigated by independent parties.
The event, titled, "the revolution COULD be televised - open the debates" was an inclusive call to open the debates for all voices. Besides Ralph Nader (Independent Presidential candidate), we heard from:
Cindy Sheehan (Peace Activist Mom and Independent candidate for Congress - CA)
Rosa Clemente (Green Party Vice-Presidential candidate)
Tom Morello (of Rage Against the Machine)
and via video,
Cynthia McKinney (Green Party Presidential candidate)
Bob Barr (Libertarian Party Presidential candidate)
So this wasn't just a Nader event. It was for all of the excellent candidates whose voices are not heard in our two - no, make that ONE - party system.
I like Obama as a person, even though he has done - or not done- some things in his career that I don't appreciate. His speech the other night was breath-taking. Certainly more polished than the talks given by the people above.
BUT the people that I listed above (with one exception) said the words that I really want to hear from the leadership of this country. They don't compromise to get the vote. They live lives of service to the common person without money and favors from lobbyists. These people not only deserve to be heard, we NEED for them to be heard.
Saturday, August 30, 2008
It looks like arrests have already begun.
Friday, August 29, 2008
$50 Million For Security
I'm posting these just to show what the mainstream press doesn't include.
Last Monday night, police surrounded protesters as they marched out of Civic Center Park. Anyone who happened to be there ended up caught in the trap. I believe 90 some people were arrested.
Part of the way through this video, you'll see an officer use his baton to knock a woman to the ground. Afterward, when she is speaking with reporters, she is grabbed and taken away by police.
An ABC reporter was arrested as he tried to film Democratic officials leaving the Brown Palace Hotel:
ABC News reporter arrested in Denver during the Democratic National Convention
Iraq Veterans Against the War - DNC
I continue to be inspired by the actions of the young men and women of IVAW. And I was proud on Wednesday afternoon when I received, on my cellphone, a photo of my son as he participated in the march.
Hat tip to Darla.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Iraq Veterans Against the War
See Thousands In Anti-War March Deliver Letter To Obama
I will have to write later about the event I attended last night. Gotta go to work today.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Poets, People and Politics
We drove down to the park where the banners were to have been - at the location of Tent State - anyway, because we wanted to see what was going on. It turned out not much was happening, since most Tent Staters were at the Rage Against the Machine Concert. So we did a foot tour of the Platte River area that used to be filled with warehouses, but now holds million dollar lofts. As we meandered, we came upon a city block that was filled with booths with the theme of Sustainable Living.
And there we saw....
...Rick Burnley, Camp Casey Poet Laureate. G and I had met him when we went to Texas to Camp Casey the second time - Easter, 2006. This really is a small world, you know.
If you're interested in reading about Rick, there are links on the post I wrote after Camp Casey here.
Rick told stories of complete strangers all over the country hugging him, thanking him, and giving him money because they had been so touched by his words. I was hit over the head with the realization of how our words - our message - can give comfort, create connection, soothe, or say "I understand". When I think that I have no effect, I want to remember the people hugging Rick just because he took the time to speak the truth.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
How I Didn't Get to See Robert Kennedy, Jr.
So, my friend and I rode the bus into town, walked to the church where the Progressive Democrats are hosting awesome speakers, found ourselves 3rd row seats, and waited for our Kennedy moment.
Only to find out that, since Teddy Kennedy made it to town last night, Robert had decided to spend the morning with him.
Can you say "DISAPPOINTED???"
You know that feeling when you really want something, but you know that what is happening right then is the best thing to be happening, but still, you really want what you're not getting? That was me.
Still, I got to see and hear:
Governor Don Siegelman (if you don't know his story, it's worth learning about - thank you very much, Karl Rove...)
Greg Palast (author of The Best Democracy Money Can Buy) (He's working with Robert Kennedy to find out how votes were stolen in recent elections and to figure out how to prevent it from happening again.)
Amy Goodman (of Democracy Now)
Rep. Jim McDermott, (WA)
They were all wonderful people and I left there feeling good just because there are people like them in the world.
Tomorrow, I may write about what was said there today. And I might not! Stay tuned...
Monday, August 25, 2008
Bubba Gump Sliced Peaches, Bubba Gump Frozen Peaches...
Every year, Christmas comes for me in July. Peach season. The peaches on the Western Slope of Colorado are le magnifique. EVEN better than garden tomatoes. And that's saying a lot!
We buy boxes of organic peaches and usually eat most before they go bad, freezing some for the peachless days. This year, I borrowed my friend's food dehydrator and dried a box of fruit for winter enjoyment. We'll have them for the when the snow flies IF we are able to not devour them before then.
Trying to put my cynical side regarding the media, the political parties and our future to bed. I just want to stay present for what comes up.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Oh Me of Little Faith...
Do you think that next year I'll remember this and stay patient when it seems like my tomato-plant-tending is for naught???
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Democratic National Shopping Spree
Our Women in Black vigil is located outside a shopping mall that is about 20 minutes west of Denver. No convention events are planned anywhere close to where we stand. But you wouldn't know it by the traffic today. This was the busiest I've ever seen this part of town. Some vehicles were just passing by, but a LOT were going to the MALL. It was like the weekend before Christmas! No wonder cities want to go through all of the hassle to obtain
"...a tactical armored vehicle that withstands bullets, a $750,000 truck to handle hazardous materials, guns that fire pepperballs, surveillance cameras and other equipment for crowd control and mass arrests."I guess it's like Christmas for "law enforcement", also!
The atmosphere out there was really charged up. I had so much fun standing with all of the honking and peace signs around me, if I didn't need a nap REALLY badly (only three hours of sleep last night), I could have stayed for hours.
Regarding los ratones (that sure sounds worse than "mice"), our handyman, Joe, sealed up all of the openings that had "Mice Enter Here" in neon lights above them. Now, I imagine that those little guys are thinking that this mouse eatery is no longer a 24 hour operation, so they're waiting for the doors to open for dinner.
Ha! Be gone, you gnawing creatures!
Friday, August 22, 2008
Times That Try My Soul
We are feeding said rodents well as they take the bait and avoid the trap.
We killed one measly mouse in a trap and I didn't know whether to be glad or sad or disgusted.
I was all three.
We are going to have three strangers staying in our house for the DNC.
The news is, for some reason, more than ever putting me over the top.
This DNC is magnifying the true colors of the people and those colors seem to clash and hurt my eyes.
I'm going out to my garden to water my plants where all is well - even if all of my tomato plants have permanently green tomatoes .
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
How I Lost My Peaceful Ways
I don't know how long my grandmother lived in that house. By the amount of stuff that we pulled out of that old, two-story Kansas home, I'm assuming that she had lived there forever. (Unfortunately, her pack rat DNA courses through my genes.) So when we emptied out the old catalogs, we didn't just find catalogs from one or two seasons. We carted out hundreds. Same with old jars, some of which were filled with creepy crawly things that at least were no longer crawling, but they were still creepy.
At one point, some of us were in the dining room, stirring something up when a mouse ran out into the middle of the room. Instantly, my mom and aunt were standing on chairs, screaming. Just as quickly, my dad, broom already in hand, started to beat the mouse. And I stood behind my dad, beating on his back and yelling at him to quit hitting the mouse.
I usually can't find a good reason to kill things. If spiders find their way into my home, I either leave them to do their thing or carry them out to the yard. I admit that this house was planted in a place where other living creatures had dwelled just fine before me, so I am willing to share what I have with those around me.
And that's how we got in the predicament we are in today. We are now co-habitating with many generations of cute, sweet, dirty, audacious, prolific, destructive, hairy, little rodent invaders. First we ignored them. Then we tried live traps, which worked for a time. Then we ignored them again. Now, this is no longer our house - we have become the guests of who knows how many rodent families.
Meanwhile, 19 year-old Ms Kitty has decided that she is in retirement, so she no longer works, but expects social security (a.k.a. US) to supply her every need. As she sleeps, mice can come and go freely, thank you very much.
And I am dreaming of ways to do bad things to little creatures, no longer willing to be Ms. Nice Guy. I just got back from the hardware store where I nearly cleaned out their supply of mousetraps. I also got some sheet metal that I will use, as soon as I figure out how to cut it, to cover over any openings, which carry "Welcome Hairy Animal" signs.
It is not without much thought and deliberation that I take such drastic measures. I have really tried to live in harmony with my roommates. When that didn't seem bearable any longer, I consulted several experts. One suggested that I go to a hypnotherapist to find out what the mice are trying to tell me by their invasion of my home. And I know one woman that would, I'm sure, have a conversation with the little guys and persuade them that she meant them no harm, but would they be willing to find another place to live? (And they probably WOULD leave - she's really good!). But most people recommend death to the rodents.
I think that I will combine the best of all worlds. I will offer the cuties the opportunity to tell me why they are there. I will suggest nicely that they find a new home. And for any of them that don't take my suggestion, they'll have a choice between one of my spiffy new traps or my dad and his broom.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Update on Gitmo on the Platte
Monday, August 18, 2008
Building Bridges for Peace
Building Bridges for Peace is part of Seeking Common Ground, whose motto is "Empowering individuals to create peaceful communities through communication, integration, and leadership development."
Yesterday was the 15th annual Building Bridges for Peace brunch, and I missed it once again. I seem to find out about it each year right after it occurs. I have now put it on my calendar for next year. This is the kind of work that I think will bring about peace on earth.
"We want the others to look at us and make them feel some of our pain and to teach them things they don't know about," Ayoub [a Palestinian teen] said. "They don't know some of the horrible things happening to us. I'm feeling proud to be a girl who tried to make my enemy change their ideas about us."
"I can't make a big change," the Israeli said. "I can only change myself, and then, maybe, some people close to me."
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Thoughts on a Street Corner
I don't think so.
While we stood on our sidewalk, a somewhat short man - probably in his 30's - with long hair and a cigarette hanging out of his mouth walked past us with what appeared to be his son at his side. The son was, hmmmm, maybe eleven years old. Even before they passed by, I could hear Dad in a very lecturing tone going on and on about I-don't-know-what. As they walked in front of us and our 8 foot long banner, Dad paused his discourse, but then quickly picked up where he left off once he was free of us. Just before the two would be clear of the last Woman in Black, the young boy paused ever so slightly and turned to read our banner. I wish that I could paint you a picture of the light in that face - of the curiosity, open-ness and wonder. It was just a precious second, but it was profound. I hope that young man can keep his light alive as he is bombarded with a dad who must be a knower of much.
As I stood, I began investigating how it is that, just because one has lived a few years longer, is a few pounds heavier, or has a small amount more education - how is it that those little "qualifications" give us license to lecture??? Do we always know more than those who are younger in years? Does size = wise??? Is our education the be-all of knowing, even if what we learn is not necessarily chosen by the smartest people and has nothing to do with functioning in day-to-day life??? Does the fact that the clouds break up and the sun shines on us for a moment make us "right"???
I guess that I have some issues here with authority and hierarchy. (Imagine that). I just know that it will be awhile before I forget the sweet curiosity of that boy's face. May he carry it always.
Labels: Women in Black
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Springtime in the Rockies
I know that I wrote in my previous post that I was not going to be playing cub reporter for the Democratic National Convention. And I'm not. But I had to post a link to this article about the cages with razor wire that were secretly created to hold certain people during the event. Who says we're a "civilized" socety???
Friday, August 15, 2008
I really didn't plan to do all of this. I just wanted to write about my Camp Casey experience and go back to my regularly scheduled life. But I guess it's not news that sometimes I find it hard to shut up, so here I am, still blabbing three years later.
But I'm blabbing much less than I used to.
The person who started this blog would, today, be writing about the Democratic National Convention that is coming up in a week and a half here in Denver. She would be telling the world about all of the plans she knew about. Then, during the convention time, she would be right down there in the thick of things and would bring home a play by play report.
There will be plenty of people doing that, and I'm sure I'll find them interesting. But I'm not that person any more. "That person" went that-a-way -->
To anyone who reads this, thank you for coming to visit. The friends that I've made through this blog are very special to me. Thank you, thank you!
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
If you don't find God in the next person you meet, it is a waste of time looking for him further. - Mahatma Gandhi
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Jessi hosted a booth for AFSC's Youth and Militarism Program. There she offered students material with information explaining military myths, along with alternatives to the military. Two tables down, an Army recruiter also hosted an exhibit.
At the end of the day, the recruiter went over to Jessi's table and asked what her program was about. She told him she was working on "Informed Enlistment",
"letting youth know information that the military might not tell them - how the enlistment contracts are binding only for the recruits, not for the government, for example, or that fewer than half of the people who signed up for the G.I. Bil benefits ever receive money for college."The recruiter then read one of the pamphlets.
"When he looked up he shook his head, and to my surprise, he sighed. 'Well,' he said, 'That's the truth. People really don't know what they're getting into.' And then he offered his hand to me. Bewildered, I shook it. "Good luck with your work,' he said to me, and turned away."That gives me goosebumps. To think that people can intentionally leave out important information that would affect someone's life so profoundly, all for a job...
Friday, August 08, 2008
Well Then, What Is It That Makes You Laugh?
Many things make me smile and I have lots of fun, but to really laugh... I think I have a defective gene.
I DON'T laugh when someone gets hit in the genitals and falls over writhing in pain. (Now some of you laugh at this kind of stuff. You know - and I know - who you are!)
I also don't laugh at cartoons.
BUT I remember laughing so much my stomach hurt when my mom and I played darts and her darts kept hitting the wall about a foot above the floor.
I used to laugh until I cried when Red Skelton would laugh at himself. Or when Harvey Korman would struggle to compose himself while Tim Conway got carried away doing what he did best.
Mostly I can laugh at the human condition - the moments that we see the irony in our self-importance. When we forget to take ourselves so seriously.
What makes you laugh?
(Besides Conway's amazing physical comedy, watch Korman try to contain himself)
Wednesday, August 06, 2008
What Makes Men Cry?
One of the things on the list is the Johnny Cash video of "Hurt"
Go on, tell us what makes you cry.
Even though I'm not a guy, I'll go first. Here are a few:
- Seeing the grief of someone whose loved one has died. Photos of relatives receiving the folded flag at their family member's funeral puts me over the edge.
- Little kids who are crying from physical or emotional pain.
- A sweet rendition of Amazing Grace
- Someone having the guts to look me in the eye and just be totally present with me. I feel like they can see through me and know everything about me. In some ways, that's a real relief and in some ways, it's very scary.
Labels: You and Me and Rain on the Roof
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
Mr. Ex only owes about a year and a half more of maintenance payments, but he's suddenly quit paying his monthly check. Now, until the courts squeeze lemonade out of a cantaloupe, Ms. Ex has to borrow money in order to make ends meet.
It would make sense for Ms. Ex to try to sell her house now, before her payments run out, so that she can buy a less expensive house and become self-sufficient. It would have made even more sense to have done that years ago when the housing market was better. By now, she could have saved up a lot of cash for a rainy day.
But there are no plans to move. When the maintenance checks stop permanently, what will she do? When we run out of oil, drinkable water, fish in the ocean, etc., etc., what will we do?
Oh, who cares? Let's just stay with the status quo and worry about it tomorrow.
Monday, August 04, 2008
Falls, Friend, and Fire
After exploring the area around the falls, we took a nice hike up the Columbine Trail. We spent some time studying and theorizing about the sap that fell like falls and collected at the bottom of a pine tree.
When I got into Denver, I could see, off against the foothills, a wildfire with its smoke trailing northward. I soon found out that the fire was on Green Mountain near my home- in an open space park where I like to hike. Many of the photos of spring wildflowers that I have posted on my blog have come from that park, but not from the area that burned.
The fire came close to very expensive homes, but between the homeowners with their garden hoses and the firefighters doing an amazing job with backfires, not one home burned.
And now, the Buddha dog is tapping his foot, because it's past time for a jaunt around the lake...
Sunday, August 03, 2008
Musings, Meanderings and Mulch for the Garden
My daughter gave me the book four months ago and I resisted reading it because, well, I just couldn't get into it at first. I already knew the awful facts about how our food is grown and the vast amount of resources it takes to ship it across the country or world.
But, at some point, I was captured, and I ended the book with a new appreciation for my relationship with the earth and food. And with fascinating knowledge about turkey sex.
In Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, Barbara Kingsolver writes about the year that she and her family grew about 95% of their own food, mostly supplementing it with some VERY locally grown crops and meat. Planting, weeding, harvesting, cooking and preserving brought the family, seasons and land together. Not like the routines of most people in our country: working at a job to earn the money to take to the store to buy bananas in winter that were picked green in another country and shipped thousands of miles to the grocery store where the workers are nameless faces. But then, we don't know any of the names along the way. Nor their stories.
I have been eating vegetables from our garden for two or three meals of each day since mid-June. I like eating with the season. First, peas, lettuce, spinach, and young kale. Then green beans, zucchini and chard. Soon the tomatoes and carrots will add their colors to the mix. And I'm hoping that I'll get a second crop of peas in the fall (if I can time the planting just right). Waiting for each vegetable's time brings a sweetness to the experience of the first bite.
This morning, I'm eating oatmeal with fresh peaches. The peaches come from an organic grower in Colorado. It's a summer ritual, in this household, to buy one to three boxes of peaches each summer and gobble most of them up, while freezing a few bags for the winter.
(And I have to admit that I don't know the names or stories of those who grew the oats or the peaches.)
I have been on my fun, yeast-killing diet (we are all murderers of some kind) for what seems like a lifetime. I'm not supposed to eat fruit. But there are some things that you just have to do in life. If I died today without having any of this year's peach crop, I would be dying with only one regret - a missed peach season. I'm not gobbling them up, as usual, but savoring one juicy, fuzzy fruit every couple of days. I never would've thought I could savor the sweetness so slowly.
When I started this blog almost THREE YEARS AGO, I was angry and kind of egotistical and thought that my actions, along with many, many others, could end the destruction that our country insists on doing around the world.
I'm not angry any more. Well, sometimes... Mostly just amazed. It's all so much bigger than me. And that doesn't mean that I don't need to do what I do.
In Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, Barbara Kingsolver's friend, Joan, was visiting her. At the time, Joan was producing a film about global climate change. She asked, "How do you encourage people to keep their hope but not their complacency?"
Yeah. I wonder...
Friday, August 01, 2008
Ode to a Zucchini Plant
I carefully explored the earth and stalks
below your umbrella leaves
finding only fresh yellow blossoms
and wilted blooms holding
promise of vegetables yet to come.
Two days later,
under the same canopy,
expected tender squash await
along with a four pound hunk of green.
A baseball bat with curve.
A boomerang on steroids.
A blip of imbalance in a portrait
of "Zucchini Life With Tomato"