Archive for the ‘hate’ Category

Random Ramblings

In honor of marching – this was made last year as part of the Threads of Resistance project. I hope to show it this year…in another law office – we shall see if it gets “censored” again. You can see the full story of the resistance quilt “Women’s Work is Never Done” here and here.

Back to my regularly scheduled ramblings….

Yikes, what a busy three weeks! My organizing system is working really well – as is my “self-care” plans to keep me healthy. I am discovering a number of things with my lists – I get lots done, I don’t have to remember all the time, but I also get tired and don’t get my sewing/quilting/artwork done. With all the shows this year, that needs to change quickly – move to the top of the list. I won’t even talk about cleaning….just not happening, and maybe if I just consciously did one thing a day – like wipe down counters – I could accomplish that in baby steps.

My word for the year – agape – is proving to be very interesting. I am reading “Conversations with God”, book 1 – and I will get a copy of my own, as I want to reread this many times. Love, trust, belief in oneself – all things I need to work on. At the same time, I am taking an online course from Coursera.org called Love as a Force of Social Justice. Fascinating, and the readings to go with it are wonderful – there is a book to download where we have exercises that go along with the readings, and they are proving to be very powerful. Plus an amazing TED talk that is worth every minute of your time – one I will watch again and again to inspire me – changing our lives of our community through generosity and love.

At a time when the nation is in such dire straits, I need to feel like I am helping and making a difference. I struggle with the idea that simple random acts of loving kindness and compassion make anything more than a small difference. But I need faith that the ripples will spread, while I await those opportunities to step up to others in an impactful way. I missed the new march today because of care-giving duties, but I am trying to consciously send compassion out to all who are making a statement.

I was particularly disturbed by an article that talked about 45’s problems and that he could conceivably start a nuclear war to take our minds off all his missteps, incompetence, and craziness. What on earth (literally) will that mean for us? These are the kinds of things that keep me awake at night, feeling helpless while trying to control my anger. Talking, helping, providing food and shelter, sharing ideas, creating art – sometimes it feels like less than a drop of water in the bucket, but I know there are many of us doing exactly this – so we will prevail, but it might be in a different world than what we knew as children – or know now.

In the meantime, I want to write and create and contribute. Screw the housecleaning….

#WatchPaintDry

The past couple of weeks have seen my activism rise. Phone calls, emails, petitions, talking to other folks to learn about their views, searching out reliable news outlets – and I’m walking in the Women’s March in Montpelier, VT. just three months out of knee surgery – this is too important for me to miss.

But back to art. I am a strong believer in the power of art. On January 8, 2011, there was a mass shooting in the Safeway parking lot in Tucson. Six people died, including a 9-year-old girl, and 13 were wounded, including my Congresswoman, Gabby Giffords. The following week was very difficult; being a teacher means you are a “first responder” at times – Monday morning after the shooting, Wednesday when President Obama came to town for a memorial, and Friday when the Westboro Baptist Church threatened to boycott funerals. Try explaining to teenagers whose brains emotionally are not fully developed that responding to the hate of Westboro Baptist Church was not a healthy response. No time to process my own feelings, just to be there for kids who weren’t sure what was happening – and especially since so many of them had already seen violence up close and personal in an urban city.

With that background, I had to create something, so I made a small piece of quiltart that spoke to my feelings. The piece made itself…from the choice of background (chicken-wire for fencing) to the words printed on cotton. The local newspaper did a brief story, and in Arizona (as in many places now) the trolls came out and said “If only I’d been around to give Hitler a quilt, everything would have been better.” Others reacted to my premise: that words have power; a woman from Australia said the words weren’t the cause, the man was mentally ill. Yes, no question the shooter was mentally ill, and no help from a broken system (thank you Ronald Reagan)….but words can push a person over the edge, even in the best of times.

My original post is here. I just reread it – raw writing for me. Here is the piece – 8.5 x 11 inches.

Binding looks like bullet holes, as does the stitching around the holes. People objected to the words, felt they were inflammatory for someone who was mentally ill. This was after Sarah Palin had a page on her website with a gun sight right over Arizona and Giffords’ district. I believed then that words caused this man to lash out, that words triggered his mental illness to another step.

We see just how far we have come 5 years and 11 days later. We don’t even talk about mental illness, nothing happens at the state or federal level, the body count keeps growing, and we are entering dark days. Hard to believe we are only now recognizing the words of the past months as hate speech, as power, as darkness.

I will keep speaking out through my art. Predominantly I am working with environmental statements concerning climate change. My Wetlands piece is the first attempt to look at a vanishing resource. there are so many issues and problems ahead for us. As artists we must be active.

I welcome comments.

 

Lessons Learned…Goals Identified

Unexpected colors – from my coloring book experiments

A load of lessons this year – big, small, in-between – physical, emotional, business, art, political. It’s always interesting to me to reflect on what I’ve learned in times of turmoil.

  1. I will stand up against hate.
  2. Knee surgery is a pain, literally, but necessary. Physical therapy is necessary. I am blessed with a great doctor, fabulous physical therapist, and a hospital that helps with financial assistance.
  3. Losing weight over 60 (…over 40…) is tough, but thanks to The Gabriel Method I might just be able to do it this year. No chocolate in over two weeks, n0 hunger pangs, no snacking – all because of visualization.
  4. Vermont pushes too many pills – finally found an integrative health doctor, rather than getting a prescription for anything that ails me without even looking at symptoms.
  5. Survived major surgery with hubby on his aneurysm repair last winter. Great doctor, learned a huge amount – he’s good to go.
  6. Walking still is my best form of exercise. So glad I can do more walking, much more comfortably, with the new knee.
  7. I like myself a lot more. Been years in the making, learning to deal with what I can’t change in the past.
  8. Still madly in love with hubby of 40 years. We always find something new to talk about.
  9. My mother was a full-blown narcissist, and I lived in fear of her most of my life. I have forgiven her and have moved on. She appears every now and then in dreams, and I find I can tell her off when she shows up – something I couldn’t do in real life. I’m moving on.
  10. I need to plan for art business this year. We had a great year last year, and my goal for this year is to sell a lot more art and make some good money.
  11. Newsletter each month for the marbling, more teaching opportunities, retirement sale of older works.
  12. Continue taking online classes for the pure enjoyment/learning something new. Work on color sense.
  13. I wrote a teaching manual – all 35,000 words – essentially in five months. It’s a template for teacher manuals, as it works with standards and ways of integrating new curriculum ideas for teachers. Thinking about a mathematics manual for algebra.
  14. I WILL publish my political novel this year. I am planning a Kickstarter campaign – or something similar. I have to do it in the light of current politics, and I need to get back to book 2.
  15. Made a lot of art last year. I want to make even more art this year, including a couple of large pieces. I’m keeping track of the process of taking my Pele piece apart and modernizing it with my new skills in free motion quilting.
  16. Three years ago I realized I only had 200 more b;og posts to do to hit 1000. Then I seemed to take long breaks from blogging. I’m still trying to hit 1000 – 920 and counting…I should be able to get 80 posts done this year……(PS – 921…)
  17. Politically it’s been a very difficult year for me. As a history/political science major I see trends before they are trends. I’ve been worried the last two years. It is time this year to write, speak out, demonstrate, listen, reach out.
  18. Be kind and listen, regardless of your own opinion. All of us need kindness and understanding.
  19. I will be out in nature more, travel more, worry less about finances.
  20. I will stand up against hate.
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