Tag Archives: writing

Another Year Turns

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.

Happy New Year Everyone!


I Will Speak No Evil. Well, Maybe.

The First Amendment of the Constitution reads:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Many people, myself included, think this is one of the most important amendments in our constitution (besides the ones that enfranchised blacks and women, which should not have been necessary to define them as people with rights)  The impact of this freedom cannot be overstated in my opinion.  When you have a country that allows the free expression of opinion, the ability to petition the government for change, freedom of the press to explore the truth when it is found, you have the foundation for a free society.  There will still be abuses, power controls, etc.  There always are. 

There are, and should be, some exceptions to this freedom of speech.  You do not have the right to incite violence.  You do not have the right to spread knowingly false statements.  Other than those, there are few limitations. 

Which brings me to the bug up my butt right now. 

It started with a white supremacist march a couple of months ago.  Now, I have absolutely zero use for white supremacists or klansmen.  I have no use for hate purveyors of any kind.  I would like to believe that we should have evolved beyond such things by this time.  It is obvious that we have not.  But, so long as they are engaging in a non-violent demonstration, they have the right to speak their words of hate.  And as offensive as I find their words, I will defend their right to speak them.  Many people don’t agree with me on this, and that is also their right. 

One of the things that followed this demonstration was people posting pictures of people who were part of this demonstration.  They identified many of these people and searched out where they worked and lived.  Then they demonstrated and protested to their employers, neighbors, schools.  Many of these people were fired, their homes put in danger, etc.  And many will say they got what they deserve.  I am not sure I agree with that.  I believe all that was accomplished in this was creating even more anger, hatred and increasing the numbers of the haters who had been hiding in the shadows.  By targeting a few, they gave the numbers a greater cause to raise a flag to.  Hate is not solved by creating more anger and hostility.

There was recently a woman who was riding her bike and flipped off what she believed to be Trump’s motorcade.  Whether it was or not is irrelevant .  When she was identified, she was subsequently fired from her job.  Even though she was on her own time and simply gave a visual comment to a figure she didn’t like.  Because the image of her (from the back) went viral online.  She was fired.

A dear friend of mine almost lost her job of many years for speaking her mind after the presidential election.  The social media and in person campaign waged against her and her partner was horrific, invasive and reprehensible.  I believe the only thing that saved her was the equally strong forces that stood behind her while she fought the attempted character assassination. 

Women are stepping out from all corners about sexual abuse in their workplaces.  Not that this is an issue that we don’t all know is a commonplace occurance.  And no matter how powerful some of these women are, they are still in a battle of their lives for their character.  They are made the victims all over again and accused of false accusations, Ulterior motives.  Calls for them to be dismissed from their roles. 

Freedom of speech is so very powerful.  And it is also so very vulnerable.  All freedoms are.  We want to step on the moral high ground and say “But, they are speaking hate.  It has to stop.”  But, they are saying things I don’t like, it has to stop.  They aren’t saying it the way I want to hear it.  It has to stop. 

When you seek to silence the klan, the supremacists, you weaken everyone’s right to speak.  Because they will take what you did to them and apply it to everything you do or say.  As they did with the woman on the bike.  As they are trying to do with the women coming forward.  As they try to do with anyone that has something to say that they don’t like.  As you try to do with anyone that has something to say that you don’t like. 

I do, however, believe an exception is a person in political power.  They are public servants and sworn to serve all the people.  And first responders and medical people.  We need to trust that these people will serve all the people equally.  To not sever the rights of any of the citizens because of their hate stance or affiliation or religious conviction.  The minute they leave that arena, they can do what they want, say what they want, so long as they are not bringing harm on others.

I do boycott companies whose practices go against what I believe in.  I do not tell others not to buy from them.  I do tell they why I don’t.  They have to make their own choices.  If after I tell them my reasons they don’t feel those reasons work for them, that is their choice.  I will join in protests if their practices take away or limit the rights of other, such as Hobby Lobby and Walmart.  But, herein lies the truth.  They still exist.  They still prosper. 

This is not to say that you should not counter protest.  Of course you should.  We should all make sure our voices are heard on matters that have meaning to us.  We worry about Big Brother.  But the truth is that WE are Big Brother.  There are many groups whose speech I despise.  Westboro, the klan, the supremacists, many of the hate preachers like Pat Roberston, Jerry Falwell Jr., Jim Bakker and his pasty food.  But, I will defend their right to speak their words.  I won’t silence them.   Because I don’t want to be silenced.  I don’t want the people I respect and love to be silenced.  And I want to know who the haters are as well.  I can’t fight what I can’t see.  I need to know where the shadows are.

The reality we need to understand is that if any one of us is silenced, even the most base of us, then we all are silenced.  We don’t win by silencing.  We win by speaking.  We win by talking and listening and understanding.  We don’t win with hatred.  We win with connection.  Walls only separate.  Even walls of silence. 



The Lost Art Of Communication – Safety Screens

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.

September 9, 2017


April 2 – How I spent my day

How I spent my day today.

  1. Washed linen
  2. Made bed
  3. Made weeks worth of fruity/veggie cups for morning shakes
  4. Played with Cassie
  5. Cleaned kitchen
  6. Played with Cassie
  7. Cleaned laundry room and took bags of clothes out to garage to go to thrift store
  8. Played with Cassie (she thinks everytime I get done with something, its playtime)
  9. Put pot of eggs on to boil
  10. Went outside to look at yard and started talking to neighbor.
  11. Checked status of decomposition of vole.
  12. Had nice conversation before realizing eggs were still on stove and squealed and ran back inside
  13. Brushed debris off patio table
  14. Collected pot fragments from exploded planter from freeze (made some really neat swirls!)
  15. Moved makeshift bench from behind shed to by fire pit.
  16. Made bath water for birds.
  17. Argued with birds over giving them new cake when there was still some of last cake in feeder.
  18. Took hay forky thing to move brush and cuttings needing burning to different location few feet away.
  19. Moved makeshift bench to where brush was before moving.
  20. Arranged long sleeve tops in closet by color.
  21. Played with Cassie
  22. Watched episode of Grace and Frankie while doing little work on hot pink spider pussy hat.
  23. Played on computer for a while.

And just realized I should probably find a few minutes to wander out tomorrow and take a few pictures of what I did today.



2452ee44736c5de8658ef36485f7cd30And 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.April In The Garden 2016 Lo Res051

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.

Sephi PiderWitch


Plain Red Wrappings

This year's holiday season red cups at Starbucks have stirred up critics who accuse the company of waging a war on Christmas.Sometimes ridiculous just hits levels that cause you to give yourself whiplash from how sharply you jerk your head to the side in disbelief.  The latest such case is the one about the new Starbucks Holiday cup.  And it is being condemned by the religious community at large all the way up to presidential candidates as the latest assault on the “War on Christmas”.  And what is so very shocking about this inflammatory cup, one may ask.  Its simply red with the Starbucks logo on it in green.  Well, what else is there that is causing such a controversy?  Nothing.  Yes, but what is the source of the reason for the controversy?  NOTHING.   Literally, NOTHING.

It seems if you choose to opt out of choosing sides, of trying to decide what images will or won’t inflame someone, or some group out there, and go with a plain, undecorated (aside from the company logo) red cup, you have declared War on Christmas and a War on Christianity.

Originally, I was just going to laugh this whole thing off.  However after giving it some thought, I realized that this has presented probably the most glaring example of how ridiculous this whole accusation has become.  And reading some of the comments people left on the news item clearly shows that I was not the only one that found it placed very firmly beyond the extreme line.

The truth is that it seems almost like the opposite of the Draw Mohammed thing.  Draw any depiction of him in any form and you can be put to death.  Well, if you fail to offer the appropriate supplications to the glitter god of Christianity, you will be picketed, persecuted, publicly shamed.  (Though they all still seem to be using the internet, google and all those other very convenient tools created by the apostates and heretics)

Granted, we have not yet progressed to the point of putting people to death for their beliefs, though the talk of such things gets louder and from a greater number of pulpits.  I suppose time will tell on this.

Now, I can’t profess to know what the execs at Starbucks were thinking when they came out with the plain red cup.  If I was to follow my logic, it would be that they chose this as a way of avoiding the firestorm that any symbol/s they might choose to grace their cups with.    And I have to imagine that they were probably found sitting around that same conference table after the shitstorm began scratching their heads and saying, “How they hell did they get to War on Christmas from a plain red cup?”

Note to Christians.  Failure to bow before your “god” is NOT a war on your holiday or your religion.  It is simply a person choosing not to subscribe to your belief.  Acknowledgement that there are many that do not share your belief and honoring them with a blank slate to create their own is NOT a war on “your” tradition.  They gave you a blank cup.  You can draw anything on it that you want.  Or nothing.  Your religious beliefs are not being restricted and persecuted because you cannot force the entire country to bend to them.

This whole thing would be funnier than hell if it wasn’t so common and being pushed at such high levels.  We even have presidential candidates that have said if they are elected, Everyone will say “Merry Christmas”.  I wish people would really sit down and let that sink in for a bit.  EVERYONE will say “Merry Christmas”.  How different is this than the countries that control and prosecute non-Muslims?  Maybe we aren’t throwing them in jail or executing them.  Or at least not yet.  It is only a difference by degree, and that degree is becoming closer and closer all the time.  That is a truly scary notion.

This season doesn’t just belong to one religion, one belief.  It belongs to almost all beliefs.  The blank slate of the red cup at Starbucks gives everyone the canvas to celebrate what it means to them.  I don’t know if that is what their intent is.  Or if it was a stepping back.  Or if it was just plain cheaper.  But, I do not believe it was a war on the season.  Its just a red and green cup for the season that will hold a hot beverage to warm you on a cold day.  Granted, its an overpriced hot beverage.  But, its simply a hot cup.   That’s red with a green logo.  There are far greater things in this world that need our energies.  A red cup does not.

And to end, just a little sampling of some of the celebrations for the closing of the year.




The Inquisition of Cecile

720x405-GettyImages-490528966It was very hard to watch and listen to the Congressional Hearing with Cecile Richards.  The whole thing was reminiscent of the videos I have seen of the McCarthy Hollywood communist trials.  Ms. Richards was badgered, derided, accused and verbally assaulted for five hours.  Granted, there were many who came to her defense, to the defense of Planned Parenthood and women’s right to choose their health provider.  I am glad for that as I felt that did help in giving her strength.

One of the things that resonated strongly in my mind as I listened to these people grilling and commenting was the complete lack of understanding of women’s needs and healthcare they seemed to possess.  She was accused of lying because the Planned Parenthood site says mammograms is an offered service and they send women who need them to an imaging center.  I was stunned over this one.  Every clinic that I know of sends you out to an imaging center.  Same for ultrasound and CAT scans.  Its not financially feasible for them to have those expensive units.  They won’t pay for themselves.  The ignorance of this fact was just mind boggling.

Then there was the diatribe from Mia Love of Utah where she said she didn’t see any reason the dollars sent to Planned Parenthood couldn’t be sent somewhere else instead.  I guess she doesn’t think it matters that women trust Planned Parenthood, trust their work, their history, their care.  That many doctors and clinics will turn patients away that are on Medicaid because they don’t want to deal with it.  That many don’t even trust those establishments.  It really and truly pains me to see women also stepping up on this bandwagon.  I suppose the flaw is in me in that I expect a woman to understand such matters better.

One of the larger contentions many had with Ms. Richards was the salary she receives.  There are many instances when I have an issue with the massive salaries a CEO receives.  Cecile is one of a handful of exceptions.  She has fought tirelessly for the rights of people to free or low cost reproductive care.  She has fought the media, the legal system.  I am sure that there are few places where she can go and not fear for her life.  I can’t imagine there are very many people who would have hung in with such a position given the climate she is forced to work in.  She is worth every . . . . single . . . . penny of that salary.

And I must make note of one of the most shining, though highly under-reported aspect of this hearing/witchhunt.  During all the badgering, all the verbal assaults, all the irrelevant questions and interrogations, Cecile remained calm.  She remained polite.  She remained well spoken.  And she remained honest.  There were times when you could see the wear it was having on her.  But, she drew from an inner strength that I would lay money few, if any, of her accusers possessed.  She didn’t waver, she didn’t cower, she didn’t wave the white flag.  She was a champion.  She was our champion.

I do understand that there are people that have moral and personal issues with abortion, with birth control, with reproductive freedom and sexuality choices.  I also understand and know first hand that there are at least as many that will have moral and personal issues with many of those people’s choices and beliefs.  Its called personal freedom.  Yes, as voters you should have a say in how your tax dollars are spent.  However, and somewhere this seems to be getting lost from the discussion, YOU are NOT the only ones that pay taxes.  There are at least as many that pay taxes that stand in support of organizations such as Planned Parenthood.  Your choices do not cancel their’s.  And even if your taxes have a greater total, I am sure that their’s are sufficient to pay the 500 million that PP gets in Medicaid reimbursement.  Not for abortions, but for Medicaid approved procedures.

The major claim of fury in these so called investigations is due to the fact that a small percentage of facilities allowed the women to donate the fetal tissue.  For this, Planned Parenthood received a minimal payment ranging from $30 to $100 that barely covered the cost of obtaining, preserving, transporting and providing the proper paperwork.  I don’t even need to understand the full work involved in the transport of these tissues to realize there was no money made off of these transactions at these prices.  I am willing to bet that there was actually a loss.

The reality is that all of our lives are what they are today as a result of fetal tissue research.  “This tissue has helped to develop vaccines for a wide range of diseases, including polio, measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis A and B,shingles and rabies.” (http://www.webmd.com/brain/news/20150929/fetal-tissue-research)    We have been using them since the 1930’s.  Its only an issue now because Planned Parenthood’s name has been attached to it in an illegal effort to discredit them and put them out of business.  The interesting thing is that many Republicans, these same people interrogating Cecile, passed, by large majorities bills allowing embryonic stem cell research.  But then, those cells did not come from Planned Parenthood, they came from fertility centers and surplus fetuses.

Oh, do read that again.  Surplus fetuses.  Those are okay to destroy and use for research.  Because they were created for the purpose of making more babies.  Mostly for the wealthy.  War veterans who come home injured in ways that prevent them from reproducing are denied fertility benefits from their military medical insurance.  There’s an awful lot of hypocrisy going on here, don’t you think?

They scream about life being “sacred”, all lives matter, etc.  They show this by not mandating paid maternity leave (We are the ONLY industrialized nation that does not, and the other two that do not are Papua New Guinea and Suriname).  We deny women equal pay for equal work.  We cut early childhood education, free lunches, etc.  We deride “welfare moms”, yet will allow her employer to deny her the right to be covered for birth control on her insurance.  61% of women who have an abortion already have 1 or 2 children.  They understand the cost, the responsibility, the burden that comes with bringing a child into the world.  They understand that once that child is born, they will be the ONLY one looking out for it.  Many understand that they will be the only source of support for that child.  They know these same people who are fighting so hard to take their reproductive freedoms away will do nothing to help them shoulder this responsibility.

RapeWe live in a world where 1 in 4 women is sexually assaulted in her lifetime,  and estimated 20% of women were molested as a child, a country where 31 states in which a rapist can sue for visitation and custody.  Women are fed drugs in their drinks at parties, dinners, restaurants to make them compliant or unable to resist.  A world where, even with all the strides that have been made, we still only make 77 cents on the dollar a man makes.

Behind BarsWithout the basic ability to control our reproductive freedom, we become trapped.  The few doors of opportunity open to us begin to close.  The inability to receive health care within our means  endangers our lives, our health.  And it should never be up to the lawmakers to decide whom we confide in for our healthcare decisions.  No man has his choices made by the lawmakers.

istock_000012424539_full_3The lawmakers say that there are alternative places to get our health care.  True.  And many will not take Medicaid.  And then there is the change in the ownership of our hospitals and clinics.  It is estimated that 1 in 9 hospitals and clinics are now owned by the Catholic Church.  They are allowed to refuse medical options that are our constitutional right to have because they are a “religious organization”.  Which mean, we cannot have a tubal ligation when we have a C-section.  Men cannot get a vasectomy.  We cannot get the morning after pill if we have been raped.  We cannot get an abortion.  We can’t even get a prescription for birth control.  If we have cancer and are pregnant, they can refuse to terminate the pregnancy to save our life.  Yes, we can take them to court over this, but by the time it is heard, the cancer would have done its job.  Our family can’t even pull the plug if we are terminally ill.  And those numbers are growing.  And it is only a matter of time if the tide doesn’t shift till they carry those rules to also include their homophobic beliefs.  Suddenly, our choices are reduced.  Unless we give up our rights.  Unless we allow others to control our bodies.

1327518210_b72f2ccd1cCecile Richards is one of the best warriors we have defending our rights as women.  Our rights over our bodies.  She does not bend to the establishment.  She fights at every turn to protect the rights we have.  To keep open the doors of an establishment that promises, has always promised to believe in women to be able to make their own choices.

The reality is that there is no biblical standing to back this anti choice stance.  Even if there was, we have that separation of church and state.  They have no more right to impose the dictates of their imaginary friends or gods on me than I have to impose the dictates of my imaginary friends and gods on them.  And I can promise, mine can be pretty scary!  At any rate, there is nothing to back up their claims other than the desire to control over half the population.  For it is a fact that that controlling women’s sexuality is the biggest key factor to the subjugation of those women.  There really is no high moral ground involved here.  Its a base attempt to put women in their place.  Its a witch hunt against one of our greatest champions.

I think I shall end this post at this time.  Though I am sure this will be far from the end of what I have to say on this subject.  That said, I shall finish with this.  I will and have always stood with Planned Parenthood.  As we all should.