Category Archives: politics

Mouse droppings and global humanity

When you live in a 200 year old structure with a stone foundation, you share your life with mice.* It’s just a given. I draw the line when and if one of two things happen: I find teeth marks in the butter or I catch the smell of dead bodies.

Mice like pistachios, it turns out. Note to self: put the bowl of nuts away at night.

Weeks of catching whiffs of that distinctively fruity and repulsive stench of death got me going. There I was down in the basement sniffing at the joists and lifting up the sump pump well cover to stare down into its depths with a flashlight. Nada.

But this morning, my hound-like powers of detection pinpointed the source of the stench. It was coming from under the fridge. We pulled the appliance away from the wall to a horror show of dust and grime and mouse droppings, urine stains and yes, pistachio shells.

No dead bodies, though.

A thorough cleaning has not eradicated the smell. Could a few little grey corpses have slid along the undercarriage of the fridge when we pulled it from the wall?

Ugh. Now what?

Meanwhile, I’ve been piecing up a whimsy (when I should have been folding up the ironing board and putting some of my piles into closets to get ready for company).

But hey.

I’ve picked up our 15 pound organic, free range turkey from across town and stirred up the brine. And my apron is on and recipes located for candied yams and maybe? — a chocolate pie (others are bringing pumpkin and apple). Before I get to it, you might like to hear this.

Today’s Indivisible Group tele-call became dispirited with news regurgitation. We’d somehow strayed from the more usual constructive format of sharing possible action steps or venues for education. One member said, “I can’t take this. I get enough with the news. I’m going to sign off”.

I piped up that I completely understood but could she hang on a minute more if the talk turned positive? Then I shared about International Peace Day … about love being the answer and peace pins and peace leaves and about making peace a daily conversation. My voice shook, for some reason.

But here’s the thing — the tenor of our call was radically transformed. I have many of you to thank for that! I sent links to some of your websites to the group and to my own and for the first time wasn’t compartmentalizing political and artistic work. Until this morning, I hadn’t even realized I’d been doing that. It was liberating, somehow.

In that positive second half of the call, this event came up: starting on December 2 there will be a 24 hour global vigil for humanity. You have to register but it’s free and you can show up for any part of the 24 hours.

Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends! This week, love and food will be the answer — especially if that food is made with love.

P.S. I’ll take this moment to be grateful that most of my family doesn’t bother reading my blog (who says they should? but then again, why don’t they — at least once in a while?). With this post, it’s probably a good thing in terms of keeping their appetites for Thursday’s dinner!

*autocorrect turned my first attempt at typing “mice” to “love” … Does that mean even when dealing with a mouse infestation that love is the answer?

Wow and wow

First wow : I was the lucky winner of Deb Lacativa’s birthday lottery. My selection of “precious bits” and thread came in a crocheted pouch — didn’t expect that! I haven’t purchased any of Deb’s cloth in a long time (or much cloth at all these days) and I’ve never used the magic threads, so I’m psyched!

Whole worlds live in some of these scraps.

Using even a little bit of this fabric elevates a composition, so how luscious would it be to construct an entire house with them? Imagine!

The second wow : the weather. You cannot believe how the wind and rain swept through here last night. It pounded and blew with a furious insistence that seemed to express the mood of a nation anticipating the Mueller indictments. I couldn’t sleep, so I padded out in the downpour around midnight to clear the sewer grate, weirdly happy to be reminded of my mammalian place in this world. The elements. A bathrobe getting saturated. Then I made popcorn and watched TV until two. Distraction is something to feel grateful for as well. Nearly every square foot of the backyard has a fallen branch in it — some moderate-sized and some small, but everywhere!

Twick or tweet?

I’m in bed and it’s dark and still raining. Click and glow — the phone in my hand. First up, a hilarious take on Halloween candy, the kind of diversion one hopes for and almost never finds in one’s merry traipsing across social media.

The World’s Most Evil Candies Ranked,” by Dhiraj Naseen. You’re welcome.
(I’m in agreement about all except: candy corns — yuck! don’t like ’em.)

Tap, tap. Next up: an article about how scanning social media first thing in the morning rots your brain. I kid you not.

Click and down goes the phone — I’m no fool! — but carefully, having dropped it enough to have those spider web cracks typical of millennial devices (makes me feel young!).I listen to the rain. Under the covers, I stretch my hips.

Unfortunately, NPR’s on. Oh great, trump will prevent Obama’s student debtor protections from becoming law, because — why? Because we all want our young to be victims of predatory lending – of course we do! Certainly, Betsy DeVos does.Another kind of poison — the inescapable toxic cloud of indecency that is the news. It’s harder to click off. There’s no getting away from it. Not really.

I jog while Nozema-ing my face in the dark — as if it might make me live longer or at least, render my jeans a decent fit again. I don’t feel like a millenial now.

Descending the stairs for coffee and the day’s official start, it’s still dark. I cover the stove and microwave LCD clocks with post-it notes — their glare offends. Okay, leave me alone.

Then, it’s down to business — a vigorous editing session and then an almost-hour-long-walk with the dog in the rain.


Home to a ‘call me back, it’s important’ message on the landline.

Turns out, all I have to do is set a firm deadline to call forth the Gorgon of my sister’s need (did you know the three Gorgons were sisters? I’ll be Medusa! She can be one of the ones nobody’s heard of).

Okay, it’s really serious, having to do with ignored notices from MAHealth, cut offs looming, documentation required (um, two weeks ago?). Even a 1% contribution to medical costs — heck, even a 1% contribution to her DRUG costs — would savage my sister’s finances (or upset the apple cart of my brother’s help — equally catastrophic).

But, wait – what’s happening? No clenching of the jaw. No pleading (her) or heaving of big, resentful sighs (me). What’s changed? Is it the reduction in her meds, restoring mental alacrity and energy? Is it me, ferociously resolved not to be sideswiped by another’s need?

Whatever it is, I’ll take it. She’s handling it (seems to be?) — late, but handling it. I’m laudatory about that, only mentioning the lapsed deadline two (or was it three?) times.

Imagine having no car, needing a walker, owning no real estate, no stocks or bonds, having no savings, no credit or debit card, and paying rent that consumes 75% of a meager income, barely leaving enough for utilities (and certainly not enough for food) and then having to prove one’s poverty to the powers that be.

I’ll blame this on trump. What state wouldn’t want to clear its health insurance rolls of riff-raff in light of all the uncertainty that has so vindictively been inserted into the arena?

Shake your head and note: this personal thread substantiates the earlier point about trump being an all-pervasive toxic cloud.

But I’ll end with this — ‘Flake’ should be the new ‘fleek’ (not that I EVER got what that meant — in spite of some effort, mind). It should be a thing and a good thing — as in “the man spoke with the strength of his convictions. He ‘flaked’ in front of the entire Senate Chamber.”

 

Peace is a Leaf Sent round the World

Peace is muscular and requires postage. Without facts, messages of peace are gauzy and limp and when espoused without action, they might as well serve as tombs to defeat. But peace upheld by informed citizenry and expressed by those willing to place their hearts in the hands of the world, shines and leads. Sinewy and generous, that kind of peace has the capacity to inspire and uplift us, even now when so much else sends us in the other, darker direction.

Liz Ackert of Texas is teaching me these things. One time contributor to the Hearts for Charleston Quilt, creator of the Peace Pin Project and now, the conduit for Peace Objects Extraordinaire, her work to advance world-wide peace is robust and by the way, lovely. Both conduit and creator, she is keeping her friends around the world focused on “Yes” — no easy task.

https://deemallon.files.wordpress.com/2017/04/img_2027.jpg?w=512&h=683

This beautiful leaf was crafted in Australia by Barry Smith. You can read more about him and it on Liz’s blog, Mo’s blog and at the artist’s blog.

Liz sent one of these leaves to each of the Hearts for Charleston quilters, reconnecting us in a kind of devotional and aspirational network. It feels good to revive that group specifically. It feels good to be connected, generally. And, as with the Peace Pin project, it feels good to be warmed by Liz’s shining example of what I’ll call ‘aesthetic activism’.
When I think about Naomi Klein’s wise thesis that it is not enough to resist anymore, I’m often stymied. Saying NO takes so much energy! There seems to be more and more to say NO to! Where is the way out or forward and where’s the energy to go there? To define and uphold YES?

Liz reminds me that positivism can begin at home. She reminds me that it can be launched with a simple idea, a sheaf of stamps, and a gift-giving impulse. The way her gestures resonate literally around the globe is testament to the nature of love, to the artistry possible while envisioning a better future, and to the power of connection.

img_2756
And of course, getting gifts in the mail is nice!


The leaf came wrapped in silk that Liz hand dyed with Brazilwood (true to form, I can’t locate it at this very second — it’s probably lounging & gossiping somewhere with the white silk sent to me by Mo).

A beautiful letterpress piece by Fiona Dempster of Australia was also enclosed. It speaks to the energetic nature of peace. Liz’s cover card, itself a work of art, offers inspiring words and a sense of occasion.

Liz is literally and figuratively ‘loosely binding us in silken ties of love’. How powerful a gift this is! Thank you, Liz — please continue!

One of these days, one of us will be the 100th monkey…

 

a pile up of questions

img_5118

  1. Why does my fridge stink AGAIN?
  2. Why do multiple requests to “Unsubscribe” so frequently fail?
  3. How did I manage to change my browser home page last weekend?
  4. Why does it take X so long to return my calls or texts, when she promptly takes every call and text when we’re together?
  5. And, how not to take personally?
  6. Who am I letting down by not calling or texting back promptly?
  7. Why does Finn greet dogs socially when with his walkers but not with us?
  8. Why are Republicans so determined to screw the American people?
  9. Why don’t I own a pair of shorts?
  10. How is it possible that the obscene and hateful desire to undo a black president’s legacy has turned so many Republicans into immoral toads?
  11. Just how guilty should I feel buying incidentals with Amazon Prime (even with batch shipping)?
  12. How can the GOP dress up any of what they’re doing in conservative ideology?
  13. How can Finn shed so much and still have fur on his body?
  14. How can the GOP NOT CARE about Russia (possible treason) or constitutional violations (provable without an investigation) when it’s now clear they won’t be able to slip through their monstrous agenda under cover of DJT’s chaos?
  15. Did I really give all my shorts away?
  16. Is there a conservative ideology any more?
  17. How did we manage to break three wine glasses this weekend?
  18. Where did my pruning shears go?
  19. Is there a word for ‘bigger and better hypocrisy’  — because ‘hypocrisy’ alone doesn’t get at the epic, malevolent version practiced by Mitch McConnell.
  20. Why doesn’t clicking “Remember me” and “Update Password” work? (i.e. Typepad)?
  21. Why do I click “Remember me” and “Update Password” anyway?
  22. Given the astonishing willingness of the Trump base to believe unsubstantiated propaganda and wild conspiracies, how will we ever move forward?
  23. Now that leaf-blowers are banned, can we outlaw beeping truck alarms?
  24. How can anyone pin their hopes on mid-term elections when no one’s even trying to prevent further Russian interference?
  25. What does Naomi Klein mean: ‘we have to SWERVE’?
  26. What would my father think of my boys?
  27. Why is inverting the truth so popular with the Republicans?
  28. When that ice chunk the size of Delaware melts, what next?
  29. Remember when all we were bracing ourselves for was a kleptocractic moron with mental issues and damning conflicts of interest?
  30. Doesn’t that seem almost quaint now?
  31. Why are the original Klondike bars so tasty and the variations so meh?
  32. Why didn’t I send a comment to the FCC (this was the final week)?
  33. Why are the hollies dying?
  34. How can Jeff Sessions say the words, “war on drugs” with a straight face?
  35. Does Jeff Sessions own stock in private prison corporations?
  36. Do we?
  37. Is vacuuming the garage related to a generalized sense of powerlessness?
  38. Is there a bottom to the contempt and loathing I feel these days?
  39. Is America over?
  40. Why did the Gerber Daisies go crazy this year?
  41. If we were to cash out on this house, where would we go?
  42. What should I do with all the family photos?
  43. Given how much my joints hurt, why am I still eating sugar?
  44. If we don’t cash out on the house soon, will we regret it?
  45. Is America over?
  46. If hope is a radical act, how do I radicalize my outlook?

 

Liberty and zombie filters

“Who will steal your liberty and when?”

On days of incomprehensible news, I take an obsessive satisfaction in making digital collages. It could be because it’s nonverbal and provides a kind of pause in all the urgently spoken outrage. Or maybe it’s because with these photo-combos I can almost, kinda, sorta capture the truly weird and horrifying circumstances we find ourselves in.

The paper collage (upper left) is from an old Sketchbook Project called, “Questions for a 19 year old” submitted in the category, “It’s not about me”. The Pinocchio photo is mine. On the right is an unfinished collage that became a SoulCollage card entitled “Fear”. I made it shortly after the election by combining two fashion ads from Vogue.


I use two free iPhone apps: Diana photo app and Prisma.  Some of these were generated solely with Diana.

Photo of Trump came from a Sarah Jones article entitled, “Trump leaves out Comey request for more resources to investigate Russia from timeline”. It was published online on politicususa.com here:

http://www.politicususa.com/2017/05/10/trump-white-house-sends-timeline-comey-firing-leaves-request-russia-resources.html

I didn’t see an attribution for the photo.

The old Sketchbook project queries keep coming back because of their relevance. Questions for a 19 year old included:

  • What will you carry?
  • What will haunt you?
  • What will you do when she changes her mind?
  • Who will steal your liberty and when?

I don’t usually like this dark green Diana filter but it seemed fitting for today. It’s called: “Zombie Apocalypse”.

I hear pundits say we are “on the verge” of a constitutional crisis and wonder what else would need to happen for them to name it an “actual crisis”?

#silentcoup

I have a lot to say about all of this. Maybe another spoken piece next — something I wrote in class today?






The act of tiny fingers

Here’s a 6.5 minute crude lament from today’s writing class. The prompt was to begin a piece with the line, ‘he steps a foot away and spits’. I stumble a few times and need to figure out how to turn pages more quietly, but hope the mistakes aren’t too distracting.  Please let me know if viewing is problematic. Maybe YouTube’d be better?

Here it is in print (I fix a mistake in the 1st paragraph):

 

The Act of Tiny Fingers

He steps a foot away and spits. His phlegm lands in a glistening lump. He is a master
of distraction and will impose no bounds on his tricks… certainly not propriety or hygiene.

He will steal your dog, rifle through your purse just for fun, and decapitate your peonies some moonlit night in June.

You wake heartbroken at the pink debris, no idea he’d been by.

He picks his teeth and scratches his balls — especially in front of young women — as if those young women didn’t already feel the menace of his maleness.

He’s a ticket to hell. He’s hell itself.

But, don’t take it personally. He will do whatever crosses his path.

Of course he has a predilection for things with slits between their legs — see how even in calling out his sins how his sick cosmology taints our capacity to name ourselves!

But yeah, he’d prefer to fuck with girls or women but boys don’t get a free pass because of course by now you know that our gross master’s magic depends on opportunism.

He’s a sneak, but only for fun because he has the power to impose blatant violations openly. Day in and day out, he commits his atrocities. A fallen building here, starvation mid-Africa, soul-stealing all along the streets of Detroit.

I hope I don’t need to tell you who funds our clever sinner, now do I?

Big pharm, gun makers, gas and oil dealers and all their unmanned, creepy minions. Is it easier to sit atop your high horse, Mitch McConnell’s of the world, when your balls have been handed to you so long ago you can’t remember where you hid them? Did you hide them? A trophy of shame and compromise.

Oh the calls how they come! The justice mavericks need money more than ever and I’m just trying to eat my lunch, watching bad crime show re-runs. The insistent demanding fundraiser wasn’t having my refusal — kept on sputtering her message — Emily’s List! Georgia! 2018!  I stopped being annoyed and became something like amused. But the wallet remained clamped shut until she misspoke (did she mispeak?) and called the Koch brothers, ‘the Cock Brothers’.

At that point, I might’ve handed over my first born. “Just for that,” I laughed, “here’s my Visa number, expiration June 2018.”

It is no glum, exaggerated prognostication to think we might not be here come June 2018.

He grossly clears another load of phlegm and lobs it through time and space so that it almost hits my shoe. Such precision! Such calculation! Of course he’d slobber on my foot if he so chose. I know it and he knows I know it. It’s all a game to him — tally and torment. Grabbing and removing lawmakers’ manhood one minute and violating an anchorwoman the next.

But! But! The predator’s ratings rise — like his purple veined member! Apparently, the dollars of hard working folk and the dollars of companies willing to take a stand don’t matter as much as we’d like to think.

Did he use a microphone? Was it greased with spit?

And you want to call ME gross? Does the reporting of violation constitute violation?

In the morning we rise, no longer unclear about what the matter is. Remember those frosty mornings in November — in that early time of disbelief when you’d wake and scramble through memory wondering, “Now what is it that’s so god-damned awful?”

Oh. Yeah.

The prankster works at all ends of a crisis — first (but not first) mortgage scams denying people of color entry to the middle class, then a so-called war on drugs (the Devil loves euphemism in case you don’t know), then the double, triple standards of education, employment —

Oh Christ! The line of sin is so long just recounting it takes more juice than I possess, but for now think: LEAD. Lead in the water. Not an iffy contaminant, but a known poison with known, documented harmful results upon ingestion, especially to growing brains.

Oh how we worried about paint chips in our 200 year old house! Waited for the blood work. Sighed with relief. Such privilege!

Syrian babies make buffoons cry on television. Or was it the man-baby’s wife-daughter who cried and inspired his missile attack? Talk about compensation! Maybe half our problems would go away if the giant fool could simply (simply?) fuck his daughter.

I am prepared to wipe my shoe if need be.

But am I brave enough to launch a kick — particularly when I am too short to reach any tender pieces above the knee?

The Devil operates in abstractions, too, but revels in the bawdy, the crude, the parts that smell and tug and shove and release. It’s not me reveling.

I can’t even make a gob of spit like that. Is phlegm production related to lying in any way? If so, there must be rows of spittoons in the House and Senate and along the corridors of our formerly esteemed White House.

The overwhelm of destructive might be working — shock and awe, they said, shock and awe. Or was it fire storm? I mix the metaphors — proof in point. When we turn on the news and the most recent, singular, and shocking revelation makes you reach for the clicker, that’s the Devil’s work, too. He wears us out.

Pandora has a place here, too. Let’s ask — how? How? How on earth do we stuff this bile and vitriol and regressive policy back into the box?

Don’t we already pay with pained childbirth and cancer? Must we also suffer as witnesses to the act of tiny fingers turning a clock back decades? Undoing, undoing, undoing.

Oh please, spare us — just go fuck your daughter.