Sunday, November 30, 2008
The $185 Dishcloth
Undaunted by my lack of recent experience, I dove into this project and finally came out with TWO HANDMADE COTTON DISHCLOTHS.
I'm figuring a low estimate of 12 hours to make the first one due to the time it took me to start it, tear it apart, start again, tear it apart again, look up how to purl in order to see what I was doing wrong, start again, tear it apart... over and over. At $15 an hour (a figure I just pulled out of the air) plus materials, I've now got a $185 square of twisted yarn. I mean A $185 PIECE OF FINE ARTISTRY.
I flew through the second dishcloth. I got the knit/purl groove going. It was a meditation. A dance of the fingers. I was in The Zone. That was fun!
I don't think that this will become a knitting blog, though. It's hard to knit and hike at the same time and I've got my priorities!
All Things Change
But surprise, surprise, surprise!
Instead of all of that, Mr. Park Ranger just built a couple of little bridges over the newly formed little creek-ettes. Here's a photo, taken today, of the view of one of the new waterways.
(Oh yeah, our whole hike today was in a few inches of white stuff with snow falling on us the entire time. 32 degrees F, 0 degrees C. It was HEAVENLY!)
Seeing that this important beaver work was allowed to continue, seeing that, for once, humans didn't think they knew best... I just felt sooooooooooooo happy! Happy for the beavers, for nature, and all of the changes that will follow because of this one water-diversion. Habitats will change due to water flowing where it hasn't before. Who knows what all will be different by spring-time?
For some reason, seeing all of this (as opposed to seeing man refuse to allow the beavers to pursue what is natural for them), I felt complete freedom in my cells.
Peace & Joy to you this last day of November.
Friday, November 28, 2008
Finding Beauty in a Broken World
Prairie dogs are native to North America. In the U.S., they primarily reside in the western states. Recently I have heard that they are being sent to Japan as pets. Oy. Not a good idea.
I love seeing prairie dogs in fields around here. But some people don't.
These furry little creatures live in tunnels under the ground. Developers and people with livestock fail to see the beauty and importance of prairie dogs and are known to throw poison or fire into the tunnels, then close them off, causing the creatures to die a horrible death.
But the loss of prairie dogs is the beginning of a ripple effect, because it's true that all life is dependent on other life. Species that can disappear - or almost disappear - when the prairie dog is removed include: the black-footed ferret, many types of birds (including owls, hawks and golden eagles), some types of mice, and swift foxes.
And these animals are not only important for the survival of other species, but they also work the land in ways that help the plant life around them.
But this is what I wanted most of all to tell you:
A man, biologist Constantine Slobodchikoff, has studied the communication patterns of prairie dogs and has proven that they have the most sophisticated animal language that has ever been decoded. The sentinel prairie dog warns the rest of the colony of impending danger by - get this - using different calls depending on the species of the predator.
From the book:
Focusing primarily on Gunnison's prairie dogs near Flagstaff, Arizona, he [Slobodchikoff] has also found variations within prairie dog speech - call them dialects - that differ from region to region. But studies have shown that they do understand one another. Their use of "language" includes not only nouns, but modifiers, and the ability to coin new words. To date, one hundred words have been identified among Gunnison's prairie dogs. And now, with the use of advanced technology, Dr. Slobodchikoff is in the process of deconstructing prairie dog grammar. "A short chirp, about a tenth of a second is analogous to a sentence or paragraph... If we dissect the chirp into a bunch of different time slices, each slice has some specific information on it."
Time slices become words and the assemblage of an idea appears.
But perhaps, most remarkably, Dr. Slobodchikoff has witnessed something he may never be able to explain. During a set of observations involving widely separated Gunnison's prairie dogs from different colonies, he showed each village a European ferret, an animal they have never seen before, and the isolated prairie dogs came up with the same word. [Emphasis mine]
I wonder what prairie dogs are saying about humans as we destroy them...
Of his work, this biologist says, "I am hoping that this work will help show that prairie dogs, and all animals, are not just mindless robots that can be disposed of as vermin or property but are sentient beings that should be treated with empathy and respect."
Labels: Terry Tempest Williams
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Awarded For Having Fun
What I do when I'm talking on the phone.
But I'm not talking about THAT kind of scribbling - even though I think I'm pretty good at that kind since I put so much practice into it.
Wonderful person and thoughtful blogger, Border Explorer, awarded me with the Superior Scribbler Award. Thank you, B.E.! Thank you for thinking of me and thank you for what you do in the world. People like you give me hope, make life worth living, and teach me and others more than you'll ever know.
I'm supposed to list the rules and then award five other bloggers with this sweet award. Try as I may, I just have a hard time following rules.
If you only knew how traumatic it is for me to take personality tests - "Choose one phrase from this list that most describes you..." After much debate, I have to write, "I DON'T KNOW!!! NONE OF THEM AND ALL OF THEM!!!" Deciding on the best seven albums last week nearly pushed me over the edge. I needed to know which moment in time were we talking about.
Or this one?
It can all change without notice.
Sooooo... if you want to read the rules and check out the other bloggers that Border Explorer chose, click here. I also want to link to the creator of this distinguished award: The Scholastic Scribe. Dear S.S., I apologize for not playing by the rules.
And last, but certainly not least, I want to acknowledge a few of the varied and interesting blogs that I frequent and love. This award is for you to take or leave as you wish. You all certainly deserve it.
In no particular order:
Withinsight - even though he's in love now, so he posts infrequently (love can do that to ya, you know), I enjoy this Canadian's view of life. And the place where he lives.... HEAVEN.
The World According to Indigo - Indigo has a certain beautiful and vulnerable strength and from that strength, he allows himself to be seen just as he is.
Otowi - I have the deepest respect for Otowi as she humbly lives her faith in a sea of differing views. She is a rock.
Nick's Bytes - My sweet friend. Nick and I share a common Myers Briggs personality type. Does that mean that all the qualities that I admire in him I can also find in myself? Nick has definitely taken them to another level. From his Monday jokes to his provocative justice posts, his blog is a daily fix for me. I love ya, Nick. And while I'm writing about Nick, I can't forget Alex, the cat who owns him. His blog, Alexicon - A Kitty Kat's Life with his Hooman, is a good record of his adventures and thoughts on life.
Living Next Door to Alice - I love the way Thomas looks at the world. He makes me think, he gives me smiles, and he posts about fascinating things that I would never know about if it weren't for my daily visits to his place.
Mark of Cancer is Killing Me - I Will Never Give Up - Mark writes about his experience as he lives with cancer. He's very real.
Amy's Head - Even though I didn't meet Amy when I was at Camp Casey, I feel like I did. She is a member of Gold Star Families for Peace. She is one strong woman. I remember her speaking on stage at Camp Casey, telling us how hard it was to be a lone Gold Star mother in Texas speaking out against the Iraq War.
Daffy of Almost There - Funny. Sweet. Daffy has a great way of looking at the world.
Dancing on a Blade of Grass - My dear friend. Dancing posts beautiful photos of Great Britain, making me want to go there. If and when I get across the ocean, I want to have tea, soak in healing waters, knit, and explore with Dancing. And I hope that if she ever gets out this way again, she'll do the same with me here.
Left of Centrist - Beatles and activism. Robert is a video-maker, activist, connector. If it hadn't been for him, I'd still be riding around in some train in the D.C. area, trying to find my way. Robert helped me find a place to sleep while I waited on my friend to get released after her arrest there in September of 2007.
Oh! And the site where I most like to lurk: Joe.My.God. Gay New Yorker guy. One of my favorite blogs.
- John Jay Hooker
Monday, November 24, 2008
The Price We Pay
With that amount of money, we could have offered 1,777,367 scholarships to university students for one year, given insurance coverage to over 3 million people for a year, paid the wages of over 178,000 jobs for a year, or supplied over 13 million homes with renewable energy for a year.
But we couldn't do these things. Instead, we funded a war and occupation. We have interesting priorities, don't we?
Find out the price you and the residents of your state are paying for the war (excluding casualties, lost jobs, loss of goodwill, etc., etc.) by clicking here.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Life Is But A Stream
There are those whose very presence bring me back to... to .... to something that seems more real. To the truth of who I am, maybe? Who we all are? Do you have people like that in your life? People who seem to cut through all the stuff in the world and take you right to all that really matters? My two teachers do that.
I went to a class held by my teachers Friday night. One thing we spoke of there was how nothing is solid, the same, from one moment to the next. You don't see the same river twice. Those water droplets that make up what you see in this moment aren't the same as the ones you see a moment later. It's constantly changing. Everything is constantly changing.
When it's all never the same, what is there to hold on to? We seem to do a pretty good job at holding on to our illusions of constancy.
How can we give others a chance to change if we hold on to our ideas of them? I have felt the frustration that comes from feeling changes within me while those around me seem to want to hold me to the Carol I used to be. It's hard for people to see us with new eyes each time they lay eyes on us. And it's hard for us to do the same for others.
So, as W leaves the White House SOON and as we associate with people of different beliefs/religions/races, can we see them as if for the first time? As much as I don't like most of what W has done over the last 8+ years, can I have the courage and grace to allow him to be who he is now, instead of who I think he is by what he has been? Can I do that with everyone and everything around me?
Aaaahhhhhh.... that smells of freedom....
"The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes."
Thursday, November 20, 2008
That experience, and my trip back there in the spring of 2006, changed me. And I have continued to change.
I think a lot, wondering what means are effective to stop a war. Is stopping a war what I am drawn to do here? Or is my life to be used to change the root causes of war? Oh, there are many root causes. Or is there just one big one - forgetting that we are all one? How can I affect the violence toward other living creatures if I have any seeds of violence within myself? Maybe animals innately contain seeds of violence and there is nothing that we can do about that. Maybe everything is following some grand plan exactly like it's supposed to. Maybe there is no plan - only chaos.
I refuse to follow any singular religious or political structure of thought, but I'm more than willing to explore them all, to think and learn. The thoughts and practices that humans have thought and practiced over thousands of years have gotten us where we are now. The capitalism and democracy that this country has exercised over the last 100+ years has created the interesting times that we now see. Maybe it's time to think in ways that we have never thought.
I just read a short article by Alan Weisman, author of The World Without Us. He tells of visiting the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea. An area that once held rice paddies and and villages is now a wilderness between two fighting peoples - who are really one people. With hostile armies ready to shoot on either side, red-crowned cranes feed in the bulrushes of the wilderness below. Only 1500 of these cranes exist, so this beautiful habitat is serving a vital cause. What's fascinating is the fact that this area only exists because of the fueding of the people. Once they reconcile, suburbs and industrial parks nearby will expand into this land. There are already plans for that.
Fortunately, there are people working to protect this land as a peace park. Will peace win out against profit? All I know is that the paradoxes of life are very, very intriguing to me. That war would create and sustain a wildlife habitat is beautiful. And I know that war also poisons and destroys habitat. It's ALL there.
I began this blog to talk about Camp Casey. Then, for awhile, I documented activism in the Denver area. It wasn't long before my blog became a mish-mash of my life. Today I'm feeling a need to engage more with things that I love - especially the outdoors and my spirituality. These two things can be fodder for blogging, but diving into them with all cells doesn't happen on the computer.
This long diatribe is my long way of saying, "What the heck am I doing here today?". And maybe it is giving me permission to stand back a little to see what my next step entails.
No matter what, I'm determined to soon post a photo for Dancing- once I've finished knitting this dishcloth I'm working on. My VERY rusty knitting skills have made this simple task a great adventure!
Much love and peace to you and all on this beautiful planet.
Labels: Camp Casey
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Bet Your Dog Can't Do This
Buddha, the dog, teaches me joy. When Buddha knows it's time to go for a walk or hike, he cannot contain his happiness and he has no embarrassment about squealing uncontrollably .
Buddha, the dog, teaches me about living in the moment. He is always present to whatever is going on around him. He holds no grudges and lets go of disappointments effortlessly.
I am learning to be like Buddha.
Except for the Crab part.
And maybe the squeals.
Monday, November 17, 2008
More Music That Moves Me
We see them every year when they come to Colorado.
This video is a Johnny Cash cover that shows much of their talent. The only thing you don't get to experience in this song is the beauty and clarity of Marty's perfect tenor voice. His rendition of Danny Boy can make the hardest of hearts melt and if there was a YouTube of that, I'd post it here.
The Washington Post says about one of their CDs: "It's a rare CD that makes you want to rub sticks together in your back yard, yank off your clothing and howl at the moon while cavorting around a crackling bonfire."
"Walk as one people
We're all One!"
I never saw them and now I can't because they are no more.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Blogging Album Project
1. Post your list of the seven best albums, the seven bloggers you will tag, a copy of these rules, and a link back here.
2. Each person tagged will put a URL to their Blogger Album Project post along with a list of the seven best albums in the comment section here.
3. Feel free to post the "I Contributed to the Blogger Album Project" Award Graphic (found here) on your sidebar.
4. Post a link back to the blogger who tagged you.
My seven favorite (not necessarily the best, just my favorites - and in no particular order):
1. Moody Blues - Days of Future Passed
2. Cat Stevens - Tea for the Tillerman
3. Talking Heads - Little Creatures
4. George Harrison - All Things Must Pass
5. James Taylor - Sweet Baby James
6. U2 - Joshua Tree
7. Neil Young - Harvest
I tag (and feel free to blow me off - even though I'd love to hear about the music you like):
Mary - Get Your Own
Nick - Nick's Bytes
Thomas - Living Next Door to Alice
Chani - Finding My Way Home
Dancing - Dancing on a Blade of Grass
Indigo - The World According to Indigo
Michelle - Crow's Feet
Tomorrow I'll post my favorite World/Unknown/Alternative list.
Friday, November 14, 2008
Here is documented proof that the anniversary of the miraculous day of your birth was celebrated here at the CarolForPeace House.
Somehow, I think you were.
You are always in my heart.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Remember the 130 green tomatoes that I picked before the first frost? After almost a month of tender-loving care, here are just a few of them today. The flavor of dark-drawer-ripened tomatoes is a close second to vine-ripened. They're still better than those from the store because no shipping was necessary and I know they are chemical-free.
We still have carrots and chard outside, covered up every night as a protection against the frost.
Tonight: Tomato-based veggie soup.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
The Eyes Wide Open exhibit is a display with pairs of boots that represent each of our soldiers killed in the Iraq War/Occupation. It also includes many pairs of shoes that represent Iraqi dead. The exhibit used to be national, but it got too big and expensive to move thousands of boots and shoes all over the country, so now it's been divided into an exhibit for each state, each one containing boots representing the men and women from that state who have died in this war.
I worked on the national exhibit when it came to Denver two years ago. On the day that we took the display down, 2,753 of our young men and women had died in Iraq. Nine of our soldiers died just in the two days that the display was up.
Today, 4,193 of our soldiers have died in this occupation, along with 176 soldiers from the U.K., 138 soldiers from other countries, and, of course, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis.
Oh. These photos. Remembering... Blessings to all who have died in violence around the world...
Well, after digressing for a few paragraphs, I come to the point of what I wanted to write in the first place (Sheeeesh! I've had no words for days and now ya can't stop me!).
Today another woman and I met with some members of the Amnesty Club of a local High School because they are interested in hosting the Eyes Wide Open exhibit at their school. I don't know what about this touches me the most:
1) This High School is not in the most affluent neighborhood of Denver. Maybe the Eyes Wide Open exhibit will have the ability to open one student's eyes to the cost of war, helping him or her to realize that the price is too high.
2) The young people with whom we met are poised, confident and capable. I have seen this a lot in the youth of today. They are not like anyone that I knew when I was that age. They give me hope.
3) This administration has not allowed us to see the dead and wounded of this war. We can easily live each day not even remembering that our country is involved with fighting and occupying another sovereign nation, killing its citizens and displacing millions. The Eyes Wide Open exhibit is a tiny look into the truth of what is happening. I am proud to be a part of bringing this glimpse of reality to people too young to have seen the carnage of Vietnam, thus they don't know what is being blocked from their view now.
I will probably be writing more about this exhibit as I attend the events that will be occurring at different venues across the state. I know that these experiences will change my life.
If you are trying to figure out how to use up a few minutes of free time - or if you're curious about my posts from the Eyes Wide Open exhibit when it was here two years ago - here are some links to the posts I wrote at that time:
Eyes Wide Open
A photo of the Iraqi shoe display
What Would We Do If Another Country Did This To Us?
People Just Like Us
Boots Tell Haunting Tale Of Losses In Iraq
Monday, November 10, 2008
Every once in awhile, the clouds get in my way and I need to step back and let the sky clear again. I've been wordless for days. Still am. But I wanted to at least wave "Hi" to you on this COLD November morning.
Today, I feel like I'm walking a crooked and lonely trail and I resonate with this quote of Abbey's:
Friday, November 07, 2008
Thursday, November 06, 2008
BlogBlast For Peace: November, 2008
Today I wish for peace.
Not just an absence of violence or conflict
(Even though I want that, too)
But my bigger wish is that we/you/I may all know our true Self,
The Self underneath our name, our title, our talent, our mood, our beliefs
Down to who we were before we were born
Before the ideas that float around us stuck to us
like a dust storm on a newly-washed car.
Ideas of who we are,
right and wrong,
who is lovable and who isn't,
what we should look like and what we should do.
If we take a small glimpse of what there is under
all of those thoughts that are, really, only thoughts,
I think - no, I KNOW - we will experience
the beauty of our unity
and true Peace.
- Black Elk
(BlogBlast For Peace globes are being displayed in 44 countries today. Check out Mimi's site to find out where you can see more. THANK YOU, Mimi, for bringing together so many people from around the world!)
Labels: BlogBlast for peace
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
May we put the divisiveness of the campaigning season behind us and work together to heal the problems facing all beings on this planet.
Labels: 2008 elections
On This Election Day, 2008
Quoted from the article:
"Like a lot of us, I keep asking myself, how did we get into this mess? Since humans have innate needs and capacities for cooperation, empathy and fairness - which science now confirms - why does so much suffering and destruction continue? For many, the answer seems obvious: Humans just aren't good enough; we need to become better people; we need to overcome selfishness and evolve into more caring and cooperative creatures. I disagree. Since these positive qualities are hard-wired in virtually all of us, maybe what we really need more of is something else: backbone.
Have you ever considered we're too cooperative? Maybe we're hard-wired to follow others, even if we should say 'no way.'"
Lappe goes on to site recent studies where people were willing to administer electric shocks to others in order to induce learning. More than half conform, delivering up to 150 volts, even when the subject cried out in pain. When interviewed afterwards, those that stopped sending shocks believed themselves to be responsible for the shocks. The ones that kept going believed the experimenter was the one to be held accountable.
Maybe, because we believe our government is accountable, we don't hold ourselves accountable when we witness racial slurs, poverty, and other problems that we say are not acceptable.
"...In these do-or-die times, the future depends on how quickly we grasp that we must keep power dispersed. As it's dispersed, more of us come to feel accountable. We must master the art of positive courage. We can, for example, reward our kids from the earliest ages for speaking out against injustice.
To call forth courage in the wider culture, we can actively protect and publicly reward and honor truth-tellers willing to risk humiliation or even their livelihoods to uphold our shared values of fairness and honesty. We can work on ourselves, checking our tendency to go along with what we should not.
Preaching generosity and cooperation alone won't get us there. Evidence-driven thinking about the real challenge of our species - cultivating gutsiness - is the first step toward the world almost everyone wants."
Labels: 2008 elections
Monday, November 03, 2008
Breaking Our Silence
Before Charlie's talk, members of our Women in Black vigil were invited to stand up front with our banner for a few moments and speak about our vigil.
One woman spoke for all of us, then we each said a few words. Here are the words that BL spoke, followed by my contribution:
Every Saturday afternoon since September 2005, the women you see in front of you along with other women in the area have gathered on West Colfax Avenue in Golden to stand for one hour in support of peace, to protest war, rape as a tool of war, ethnic cleansing and human rights abuses all over the world. We hold the banner you see in front of you which reads, "Women in Black, Standing in Silence for Peace." We are silent because mere words cannot express the tragedy that wars and hatred bring.My words:
This worldwide network, Women in Black, began in 1988 in Israel in protest against Israel's Occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. A group of brave women crafted an agreement that called for the establishment of a free, independent and secure state of Palestine side-by-side with a free, independent and secure state of Israel. As the idea of peace expressed through these women grew, "Women in Black" developed into an international peace network in more than 30 countries around the world. Women in Black have stood in Bangalore, India to call for an end to abuse by religious fundamentalists, in Yugoslavia and Serbia to set an example of inter-ethnic cooperation, in South Africa when its government massacred children in Soweto, in Argentina where women walked silently in central plazas every week to commemorate and mourn thousands of their loved ones who "disappeared" during the military dictatorship.
The response of people who see us standing each Saturday has been uplifting. There are visible signs of support from a thumbs up to the peace sign to comments like "way to go," "thank you," "right on." Some have parked their cars, walked over, and stood with us, some have brought us cold bottles of water on hot days, some have brought their small children in strollers and their teenagers to stand, and some have even offered us money.
I first started standing as a protest against war.
War is still with us, but so is love and kindness.
I have witnessed it, not only in the women who stand each week through all types of weather, but also in they eyes of those who acknowledge us in some way as they pass our vigil.
In parphrasing Anne Pauli of White Lake Women in Black, I say,
Our silence is a voice for the voiceless.
Our spirits are replenished, reenergized and rededicated.
We are a force for love, hope, faith, and peace on earth.
We stand for very human.
Sunday, November 02, 2008
The writer Andre Gide relates this experience of a trip he took into the Belgian Congo:
My party had been pushing ahead at a fast pace for a number of days, and one morning when we were ready to set out, our native bearers, who carried the food and equipment, were found sitting about without any preparations made for starting the day.
Upon being questioned, they said, quite simply, that they had been traveling so fast in these last days that they had gotten ahead of their souls and were going to stay quietly in camp for the day in order for their souls to catch up with them.
So they came to a complete stop.
Good idea. I think that it's about time for us to slow down and wait for our souls to catch up, too.
Saturday, November 01, 2008
Nonviolence: More Successful
Nonviolence Is The Right Choice - It Works
by Amitabh Pal
Nonviolent resistance is not only the morally superior choice. It is also twice as effective as the violent variety.
That's the startling and reassuring discovery by Maria Stephan and Erica Chenoweth, who analyzed an astonishing 323 resistance campaigns from 1900 to 2006.
"Our findings show that major nonviolent campaigns have achieved success 53 percent of the time, compared with 26 percent for violent resistance campaigns," the authors note in the journal International Security. (The study is available as a PDF file at http://www.nonviolent-conflict.org)
To read the rest of the article, click here.
"Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him." - Martin Luther King, Jr.