Tis the end of a year. The first dawning breaths of a new one.
Its been a very long year. A year of political and emotional unrest. It seems at times like we have taken so very many giant steps backward. Actually, we have. But, then again, we haven’t. Not in the truest sense. For every roll back of rights, of gained ground, there has been push back. Even the leaders in our armed forces have stood for the rights of the LGBT community.
Things look dire at times. But, I think we have to shift our gaze and stop looking at the capitals and start looking at the communities. Yes, we have had Nazi flags and white supremacists marching down the streets. But, we have also had huge corporations starting to pull from states, cities that promoted laws of intolerance. Stories of sexual misconduct is nothing new to any woman, particularly when involving men of power. Yet, even the most anti woman rights members of Congress are calling for reform and investigation. Many at the top of their specific ladder have tumbled to the ground. And dialogue is opening about these things. Not all of it is good, but it seems to be moving in the right direction.
It may be that all that has happened shall have a positive result. We have become complacent in our maintaining of our governing bodies. Maybe we are learning. We shall see this year.
My life has been a roller coaster as well. Loss of a long term job. A short stint with another job, which is now gone as well. Was only a contract, but there was the hope for more. But, there is hope for a better promise around the corner. I passed the test, which is the first step. May be the new year will give me this position and send my life on a totally different path.
I now have an art studio. And even with all the stress that life has thrown at me this year, I have found time and inspiriation to keep creating. I have found friends to share with on these paths. I have grown and learned much this past year.
I don’t make New Year Resolutions. I think they are a recipe for failure. Virtually no one fulfills them. Instead, what I have been trying to do is to give myslef a direction to keep aiming for. Maybe I should start making them a list that I keep adding to.
So, I think it doesn’t need to be said that I shall keep making art.
I will learn to relax more and try and take better care of myself.
And I will try and break the habit, once I get a new job, of not taking vacations. I need to spend time with people I love. I need to get away a bit once in a while. Maybe not to exotic places, but some time away. With people.
And I should probably try and get out a bit more.
And through it all, I will make more art.
Because as long as people can keep making art, there is hope for the world.
I actually started this a while back from a different angle.I may add those parts in as serial installments at some time as I feel this is an ongoing subject that needs some serious pondering.So, aside from that little introduction, on with the piece.
Communication has become a misnomer in our society anymore.We are dysfunctional, divided and biased without full information.The news has been reduced to short feeds on our phones, quarter paragraphs on the websites and sound bites on the television.We connect, arrange and break up through the safety screen.This makes it so easy to not have to deal with the messy interaction of emotions, self-reflection, or taking of responsibility for our actions and seeing the possible destruction our actions have caused.
Case in point.I just had a multi-year relationship end via a 3 paragraph e-mail.No in person discussion, no voice talk.Just a simple safe e-mail, where the other party didn’t have to deal with the pain that was caused as a result of their decision.The reason for it was because I had the audacity to get angry that they had made plans to have friends out on my birthday weekend almost 2 months ago and I only find out the week before my birthday.Yet, I am in the wrong.I am abusive because I say it is thoughtless and disrespectful to not speak of this well in advance.I’m not even worthy of a phone call for this.Just an e-mail so they can have the last word and walk away from the wreckage without a single look back.It is like I was a file on their computer that had been sitting around for too long and simply swept into the recycle bin during the latest housekeeping.I wonder how many of us now find ourselves sent out for recycling?
The saddest part of this is that it could have been handled so very differently.Communicating early on, accepting it could get a bit emotional and messy, but that is part of life.I believe this had more to do with his inability to find the contract work he needed to make the trips out since he retired.Something I had even asked him about on occasion and was told that wasn’t the case.I have known it would come to an end at some point because of his retiring in another state.So, I wonder how much of this was needing to create a situation rather than admit I was right and he had failed to find the jobs he was so certain he would get.The truth is, it wouldn’t have made him any less in my eyes, it’s just how things are sometimes.I would have been hurt.Maybe angry for a little bit.But it, at least, would have been something I had both been expecting and could live with.It would have changed the relationship.Granted, it would have taken some time to get used to, but when you care for people, you work through things.You find ways.You fight for the relationships that have meaning.They don’t come along very often.You don’t just sweep them into the trash because you made promises you can’t keep.Because its easier to throw it in the trash rather than ride out the storm.So you shatter what could have been reformed a bit with a little patience and real communication.
Were this an isolated incident, it would be one thing.But it isn’t.People talk through screens, make plans through them, organize and create their lives through them.They are the greatest hiding devices in the world.You can be anyone you want to be, say anything you want to say.Hell, even the man in the white house shoots out angry tweets at anyone that displeases him that day.The sad truth is that is how he got there in the first place.So, it is no wonder that it has become the common way we deal with our lives.Nor is it any wonder that we don’t understand why things are the way they are.One of the more ironic things is the fact that he and I used to make comments about other people conducting their lives, breaking up, etc., via their phones or other electronic devices, what cowards they were to not handle such things face to face.And yet, he also chose the coward’s way out.
We cannot as individuals or as a society build bridges if we remain behind a safety screen.If we stand in a place where we believe that we can do what we want without taking anyone else’s feelings or expectations into consideration.Alliances, friendships and all relationships are complicated workings.They don’t always run the way we want them to.But, if we step from behind the safety screens, we may find that there was more worth saving than we thought. And in the interim, it shall be a very sad birthday this year.
Every good journey should begin with a dinosaur. Yes, dear readers, dinosaurs do inhabit our island. Its a little known secret. Alas, we have droves of carnivorous hummingbirds that strip all the flesh from them and leave their skeletons scattered throughout the island.
We have the BEST clouds here!
And even cooler when you strip the color.
Apologies on the reflections. I tried many angles and this was the best I could do.
This is one of the Dorseys. I failed to write down which one to attribute to each painting. What I know is that this entire family is immensely talented.
Another one from the Dorsey’s. I fell in love with the tree in this painting. He did such a wonderful job on the shadows in it.
And this one was just lovely!
Upstairs was the work of Ann Cory. I fell in love with her eagle. Alas, I can’t afford it.
This one has a bit of a Vincent feel to it, doesn’t it? I fell in love with it as well.
This was a tree outside on the next property for Betty Dorotik’s Studio and home. I couldn’t resist the tire swing!
One of nature’s contributions.
The gate flamingo!
And my lovely sidekick Margie!
This is a tree stump Betty has in her garden. It looks like there is a nest on the top of it.
Yard and porch art. How fun!
And she has her own swing in her garden. I need to figure out how to do one in mine. Course, that probably means growing a couple of bigger trees.
The view from her back porch.
Back of her house from the garden. Such a lovely home!
This is one of her owl paintings that I fell in love with. Amazing talent!
Gotta love the ravens and their shinies
Another one of her pieces that took my breath away. Such a majestic hawk!
Margie venturing into her tool shed.
Sitting right inside the shelf inside the shed.
Love the handle!
More of her garden art. Gorgeous statue.
The trees are watching you!
And a watcher from above.
And this is the work of Susan Cohen Thompson. Her work has a touch of magic to it. And I think she has been featured in a number of magical magazines if I am not mistaken.
Garden art again. Must be something about artists and their gardens.
I am going to take a chance that I have the artist correct on this as I don’t seem to have a card. Roger Cocke. He also belongs to the brushes above.
And this piece I would so have loved to have brought home with me. I fell in love with the colors in the clay. He explained to me how he does it. But, I don’t remember. Probably because I was just smitten wit the face.
And as we were leaving, Margie pointed out the glasswork on the door next door. It is some pretty impressive glasswork!
And that was the end of day one. We had actually visited quite a few others, but I didn’t have my camera when we were at the Terry’s Corner displays and some of the artists didn’t want their work photographed.
Yeah, she’s a little topsy-turvy, but she says it helps the blood flow in her head. And its also a retaliation for her not being offered copious quantities of treats to be the CoverGirl of the post.
Since I have been very negligent on my blog, I am just going to run a Cliff Note version for January. I admit that I allowed myself to get sideswiped by politics last year. And I have come to the conclusion that if you allow yourself to get too caught up in things such as that, you forget to live and laugh and have fun. By the end of it, I was totally burned out. The chips will fall where they will in the aftermath. There will either be traces of green earth or it will all be scorched. But, I shall take a lesson that I learned a few decades ago. The greatest revenge you can inflict on a force attempting to control you is to simply live your life. To not let that force interfere. To smile, to laugh, to make good art. Because, if you do that, they ultimately lost.
So, the first day of the year, I began it by going on a 1st day hike. The ranger running the group didn’t want to wait for me to use the restroom, so they all took off without me. I decided I was fine with that and could make it a picture day and take my own sweet time stopping wherever I wanted to. And along the trail, I found this wonderful driftwood elephant trying to grab a tree limb.
Note: If you click on the picture, you will go to the gallery of pictures I took on the hike
I stopped at Fir Island on the way back and was treated to a number of herons playing in the vicinity. If you go to the gallery (click on photo and it will take you there) you will see a large heron with a great beard. He was totally indifferent to my presence. Actually, most of them were someone unbothered by it. I do believe they are aware that they are on protected lands there.
I saw snow banked along the side of the river driving home one day and figured I had better get some shots before it melted. Most of our snow is on the mountains and it doesn’t often stick for long when it does come down. The really cool thing when I got down to the river’s edge was the ice sheets floating down the river and crunching into each other. My timing was perfect too as the sun was starting to set. No alterations have been made to the color in the photos. That is the color being cast by the setting sun. Took “Golden Hour” to a new level.
Again, clicking on photo will take you to the gallery of photos I took at the river’s edge.
This, is a juvenile red tail hawk. It was captured before a raptor class I went to. You can’t really tell what the gender is. Mature and in a nest with their mate, you can. The female will be the larger of the two. During the class, they measured, took vitals and banded the leg of the hawk. And this was when I learned that their legs are full size at 3 weeks old. And that is why they can band the leg of a juvenile and not worry about it. They also said that if you find a band, you should call it in to the local bird watch. It was an amazing class with a field trip after.
While we were out looking for more birds, they caught this merlin. They caught it while we were distracted looking for other birds in the fields, so I didn’t get to see how they are catching these birds so easily. But, look at the feathers on this little one! Just gorgeous!!!
And isn’t this the cutest face you have ever seen??? And if you click on the pic, you can see all the shots from that day.
We had a wee bit of a cold spell here a couple weeks ago. Cold enough that it managed to freeze the fountains at the Tulalip Casino. We don’t get sustained colds around here very often, so I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to get some shots of this.Again, click the image to see the rest of the shots. )
But, there was an additional surprise when I went down the road. The fields were full of snow geese. And I was lucky enough that after parking the car, I got to witness them taking flight. I couldn’t begin to guess how many were there, but it was well in the thousands.Yes, there are more pictures if you want to click on the image.
Just a little example of some of Seattle’s graffiti.
I know. Its a bit glary, but I really liked this painting and had to take a picture of it.
THIS! This is a jacket I found in a local second hand store. I am beside myself with glee over adding this to my wardrobe.
And the back view of it.
A present. Its a tortilla warmer. Isn’t it awesome??
New Watercolor Brush. Don’t know what it will do yet. Will play with it this weekend.
And this is a horseradish sauce guaranteed to clear your sinuses, make your eyes water and possibly give you coughing fits. Yumm!
And it is the year of the rooster, so the post wouldn’t be complete without an impressive cock.
And her little Princess Cassie Flooferpants says it is time to go for now. She says she will need at least 4 treats, no, 6 treats for waiting for me to finish.
Well, I finally got one of my projects off my list for the year. I finished my fire pit!!! And no, that is not a compost fence inside it. Its a steel cage thing my old next door neighbor gave me to keep yard cutting together for burning. Its a mini towering inferno!
There is a very interesting rock that i Place in the lower left that has a hollow out section. Not sure what I will use it for. Maybe a waiting room for the Peeps just before being sacrificed.
I'm thinking I need to add a rebar stand with a cross bar for hanging a cauldron pot over the fire.
Next up, Finishing the Craft Studio. Then digging up the garden areas. Woot!
My studio is starting to come together nicely. Art desk faces out the front of the house so I can watch the birds and furry critter in the yard.
The area is being populated by many of my plush critter population. I figure they will provide inspiring smiles. And the stereo is hooked up so I can rock out while making art. And if neighbors on walks are paying attention, possibly entertainment. *grin*
Looking out my Artroom Window
The teepee outside the window is one of the suet feeders. Will probably remain empty for a while now as it is getting warmer and it will just make a drippy mess which I am sure the critters will enjoy, but will go through an entire suet cake in a day.
And a few of the paintings that are in process.
The full moon! Alas, all I had was the little camera to get a picture of it. It was lovely though!
And I just began on converting one of the sheds into a craft studio. Yayyy!!! More on that when its a bit more together.
And then there are those days when you look across the room and see this small beige fuzzy thing by your sliding door that looks like it has a tail. And there in her little warm bed is Little Misssy Princess Floofster Cassie SassyPants resting her chin on the side wall and giving you that bored look. And as you slowly approach it, she sits up and watches you closely. Gently, you tap it with your foot. This brings on that tilted head, Dafuq you doing mom look from her. Still unsure, you go and get a couple of paper towels and pick it up for inspection. This causes the little Floofster to cock her head in the other direction, then reach out her paw with a “Want me to help your with that?” look. There really are times when one thinks they do these things deliberately to mess with their humans. Seems I forgot to finish this paragraph. After carefully examining the fuzzy object, it appears that my companion has decided to take up felting sculpting and produce a baby mouse shaped hairball. Maybe she just wants her work to be displayed in the house with her mommy’s.
And on another note. I filled the bird feeder in the back yard with the lower half having just the wild bird seed, then topped it with the black sunflower seeds. Just cuz it looked a bit cool. They actually figured out how to pick at the seeds so they could get to the sunflower seed and had them wiped out with only a tiny dent in the regular seed. Another thing that surprised me was discovering the goldfinches also had a preference to the sunflower seeds. Damn things are bigger than their beaks! I am guessing I need to go get some more proper sugar for the hummingbird feeder this weekend, as they keep buzzing my window. They will actually hover in front of it as if they are saying, “Hey! Fill out damn feeder as well.” I would, but I forgot to buy their sugar the last time I went shopping.
The weather is supposed to be nice this weekend, so I think I will go work on my fire pit, since no one wants to fly up to help me with it. I’ll take the camera with me and see if I can get some good pictures of some of my feathered friends.
Sometimes it seems there is just too much hate and ugliness in the world. Though there are many experts that continue to assert that in spite of what we see in the news, we are, in reality, becoming a more peaceful species. Maybe it is because we so love a good horror story, a scare that gets our adrenaline pumping and springs us into action. It does sell papers and jumps the ratings on TV stations.
One cannot ignore the bad news stories. The horrors of what religious fanaticism and the hatred it breeds can reduce some humans to do. For, if we don’t pay attention to such things, we have no hope to find answers to change such things.
But, we must also call to mind the beauty of what we can be. The greatness we can achieve. It is the beauty and the art that allows us to rise above the tragedy. And though we cannot always “Make Great Art” as Neil Gaiman says, sometimes it is enough to just appreciate the act of another doing so.
Found this clip this morning on a feed.
My heart is just breaking. A man walked into a gay nightclub and killed 50 people and wounded at least 53 more. Total strangers. Not in a war zone, not in defense. Simply because they were gay and living out loud.
They say they believe he is Muslim. But, that doesn’t matter. I have heard enough from the Christian pulpit saying as well that gays should be killed. And from many other religions.
Why can’t the religious people just not allow people to live on their own terms?
Why must they spread fear and hatred and death? And yes, I hold all the religious people responsible that condemn those that are different. Whether you pull the trigger yourself or not, you hold a responsiblity. You feed the anger, the hatred.
Why must people hate anything that is different?
When you call a Trans person a pedophile, you feed the hatred. When you call a gay an abomination, you feed the hatred. When you call an atheist a blight, you feed the hatred. When you excuse the rapist, you feed the hatred. For every time you speak such words, you strip a bit of the humanity that that person has. You make it far easier for the gunman to justify his actions. For your words of hatred tell him that he is doing humanity a service, that he is a hero.
Your religion doesn’t make you a better person. It doesn’t give you the right to stand in judgement. It doesn’t give you the right to pull the trigger or throw the punch. I really don’t care if you keep your religion. Just keep it held deeply to your breast. Its judgement applies only to you. Not to your neighbor or the man or woman in the next city or across the country. Your color doesn’t make you better. It just means you maybe burn easier. For, under the skin, we all bleed the same blood. We all have the same organs.
And if your religion tells you to kill, to demean, to hate, to disenfranchise, to discriminate. Maybe you might want to rethink that religion.
My son is gay, so this hits me very hard. My son is an amazing person. The world is a better place for him being here. His gayness is simply who he is drawn to. The beauty of his soul is his gift to the world. The brilliance of his mind is his gift to the world.
If your religions believe he is wrong, then I wish you the most Godspeed to any God or Hell that may await you in the next life. And if your God, if he exists (which I don’t believe he does) truly finds my son and others like him to be wrong, then I hope that karma finds a way to send him to the deepest bowels of his hell to be food for his demons.
And now I shall listen to John again. He seemed to understand better 45 years ago than we do now.
I got a bit of a reality check this week. I needed to make an appointment with an OB/Gyn for a procedure my regular physician couldn’t do. I was annoyed with an unprofessional behavior by the receptionist at this doctor’s office and wanted to look into other doctors that might be an option. So, I looked through the directory on my insurance company’s page. What I discovered in this search was quite a bit beyond disturbing. Shy of driving all the way into either Seattle or Kirkland (both over 60 miles from where I live), the office my doctor referred me to is one of only two OB/Gyn clinic/hospital that is not owned by the Catholic church. Even Swedish has recently been bought into by the church, though they are stating that the church is allowing them to remain secular in their treatment (though I am sure that will change rapidly). They are also attempting to buy into UW medicine.
Now granted, I am past my childbearing period of life, so I don’t personally have need of birth control or abortion services. But, I am a woman and that makes this a vital issue to me. I do not believe that my medical care should be governed by a religious doctrine I don’t believe in and has absolutely no merit in science or human rights for that matter. And I also understand that there are far more issues than just birth control and abortion and many fertility treatments, though those two would be enough for me to want to take up the sword and do battle over.
We are in a time when many efforts are underway across the country to curtail and block women’s access to reproductive health options. One of the more common attempts being waged right now is the demand that an abortion clinic have admitting rights to a hospital within a specified radius. Even if such a demand had a merit based in medical science or evidence of a need, which there isn’t, such an admitting right would be denied by any religious owned hospital. I am lucky that there is ONE, count them ONE hospital in a 50 mile radius that is not owned by the Catholic Church. Most of these hospitals have been purchased by this church in the last handful of years. Funny how that works out, doesn’t it?
The Catholic church has made a particular focus on buying up hospitals and clinics in areas that have a tolerant and diverse population that is not about to pass legislation limiting a woman’s access to reproductive services nor a gay’s right to marriage and the rights that go with that. The solution? Buy the clinics where you can impose the Bishop’s Directives on the staff and the treatment. Its a fun little read. Guaranteed to even set the hair on many Christians, nay, even the Catholics on end when they realize how little control they have over their bodies when in the hands of these people (estimated 99% of married Catholic women have used birth control). You can read it here. Ethical-Religious-Directives-Catholic-Health-Care-Services-fifth-edition-2009
And somehow, in allowing these buy ups to happen, we have once again fallen into the pit of forgetting history. There was a time when medicine (such as it was then) was under the jurisdiction and iron thumb of the church. The orphanages as well. So long as you were born of “legitimate” parents.
“And in general, the only provision for illegitimate babies was the parish poorhouses or, from 1722, the workhouses where they frequently died of neglect. Mortality rates were extremely high: over 74% of children born in London died before they were five. In workhouses the death rate increased to over 90%.”
Oh, but that was ancient history, you say. (actually not all that ancient, but the really ancient history is far more violent). But the church has changed and is now a source of goodness and charity and compassion you say? Remember Mother Teresa, you say? Alas, she has been shown to be as much of a sham as the rest of the church’s doings. Seems she collected millions and millions in charitable donations to allow the patients in her charge to die in suffering and squalor. But, she lived as they did, you say. No, she did not. When she needed medical care, she got the best there
Then we have the church’s white slavery of young girls. The Magdalene Laundries. Again, not so ancient history. Maybe this is what they have in mind when they are taking over the women’s clinics, hospitals and other medical establishments. They are getting tired of doing their own dirty laundry.
“The Good Shepherd Sisters, a Roman Catholic religious institute for women, is one of the orders being charged with the enslavement and abuse of thousands of women in what are called “Magdalene Laundries.” Last one closing in 1996”
Now, I don’t care what a person believes. But, I do care when they bully their way into my access to proper medical care and impose their archaic and ignorant beliefs on what treatments I may or may not be allowed to receive. I take huge issue with their buying up hospitals for what I believe to be the sole purpose of barring me and other women and men for that matter from accessing the care we have a right to. Care our insurance gives us the coverage for.
No, I am not of child bearing years and that part does not affect me personally. But, it does affect my daughter, my friends and their children. Not only does their doctrine prohibit abortion and contraception, it also prohibits IVF and any fertility treatment that doesn’t include sexual intercourse. Which really baffles me coming from a church whose priests and nuns take a vow of celibacy. Not that the priests actually hold to that, unless you disallow it as sex if it involves raping young children.
But, I also live in a state that should I become terminally ill, I have the legal right to have a doctor issue me a lethal dose of medication if I want to end my suffering. Their “doctrine” will not allow that doctor to grant me my legal rights that were voted in. Plus, they have the right to decide if the plug is pulled. Their doctrine does not allow for research with stem cells, fetal tissues. Their doctrine does not allow for science. Their doctrine does not allow for progress. Their doctrine will take us back to leeches and bloodletting (and yes, I know there are some instances where those are used in modern medicine now).
All this coming from a church who claims a “moral high ground” and says their concern is to save lives. A church who when they held the hospitals and orphanages in their control, threw out orphans into the street if their parents weren’t married. Imprisoned young women in sweatshop slavery if they got pregnant. Ran hospitals for the dying where they didn’t even offer them pain relieving medicine or any comforts. Why????? Because they believe suffering brings one closer to “God”. Ya know? I really don’t want to be close to something that wants me to suffer like that first and I really don’t understand why anyone would.
I am the mother of a gay son. A son who is one of the most amazing blessings I have had in my life. A son who deserves to be treated with the same respect, the same dignity, the same relevance as anyone else. There is no doubt in my mind that it is only a matter of time until they refuse him and his friends to be at their partner’s dying bedside because it is against their beliefs. Sooner if one of the Rabid Republicans takes office this election. Add to that their refusing to offer medical aid to the LGBT community. If they will turn away children born out of wedlock, they will turn away gays. They have already begun to petition for this “right”.
Women fought for the right to vote, the right to have control over our bodies, the right to make choices. Gays have also fought for such rights. People of color, of different religions, no religion have fought for the right to live free and independent lives. To have reasonable choices available.
When a hospital enters the private sector, accepts patients of different faiths, accepts their insurance payments, the government grants and monies allotted by the government, they are obligated to set aside their religious beliefs. They must serve the people according to their patient’s beliefs. Or they must withdraw from the hospitals that serve us.
We have the right to be treated within the law, within our wishes and understanding of our bodies. We have the right to be treated with science, not superstition. We have fought for those rights and earned them. Alas, the rights aren’t worth the paper they are written on when there are those that can bar the doors.
How can these religious/secular hospital mergers affect patients?
When secular (non-religious) community hospitals merge with religiously-sponsored hospitals and agree to adopt religious restrictions, patients can suddenly discover they have lost access to vital reproductive health care services and may encounter interference with the ability to make decisions about end-of-life care.
Under the directives, the reality for women who find themselves at a Catholic hospital means they have:
No access to abortion—even in cases of rape or incest (Directive 45)
No access to in-vitro fertilization (Directives 37, 38, 39)
No access to contraception (Directive 52)
No treatment for ectopic pregnancy (Directive 48)
None of the benefits of embryonic stem-cell research (Directive 51)
No respect for their advance medical directives (Directive 24)
The sole exception to the ban on contraception falls under Directive 36, which only allows the provision of emergency contraception (EC) in cases of sexual assault when it can be proven that pregnancy has not occurred. This creates an unnecessary restriction, as EC does not interfere with the implantation of a fertilized egg. Evidence also suggests that many Catholic hospitals rarely provide EC even under the circumstances approved by the directives. A 2006 study found that 35 percent of Catholic hospitals did not provide EC under any circumstances, while 47 percent refused to provide referrals to hospitals that did. Of those that provided referrals, only 47 percent of these led to a hospital that actually provided EC.