Friday, March 30, 2007
I. and W.
I. is a painter and sculptor. I first met her at an International Women's Day event at which I spoke. "You remind me of my sister in Hungary," she said.
I meant to visit her studio but somehow never got around to it.
I did manage to go to her art show opening night. She gave me a large smile when she saw me.
Her art is real, visceral. It makes sense to me. It is the type of work that I made when I made art.
Then, nearly a year later, I saw her and W. at a talk about Palestine. I did not realize that they shared my other passion. I finally realized who the W. was who wrote the monthly letters to the editor.
I spoke out that night. A man was not understanding our country's involvement in the Palestinian, oh I do not have words for it, genocide, mass encagement, do you have better words? I reminded him of our military aid to Israel. I didn't even think, I just rose.
I put I. on my e-mail list when I went to Lebanon. Without even asking her. I just did it and when I received her first response, I asked her if it was OK.
She was very happy to be on it. And so was W.
Last month, I. came by where I work. We gave each other a big hug and I gave her a short story that I had been meaning to mail her for over a year, "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Her paintings reminded me of this story.
I put I. on my "to call" list after that. But she got to me first and invited me over to see her paintings when the light was good.
She just finished a series of paintings of prostitutes. Bright blue and deep red. The workers no one wants to talk about.
I remember a class I took years ago where I suddenly realized that sex workers were maintaining the "morality" of other women. Satisfying the insatiable sexual desires of man. "Wouldn't it be so much easier if men could just learn to control their sexual urges?" I thought. But then we wouldn't be divided into good and bad, sexual and virginal, would we?
Years later, I still often ask myself the same question.
Divide and conquer is really what it is all about.
We had coffee amongst all the same Middle East history books I have piled up around my nest with the visceral relatable paintings hanging around us on the walls.
I can think of no other ending.
Here are a few highlights:
Under a 2006 federal law, the Deficit Reduction Act, most people who say they are United States citizens and want Medicaid must provide “satisfactory documentary evidence of citizenship,” which could include a passport or the combination of a birth certificate and a driver’s license.
Contrary to what one may think, United States citizens are being the most affected by this policy. The number of Medicaid recipients is dropping and this does not mean that people are finding health coverage elsewhere, they are just going without.
Do you have a copy of your social security card? Have you tried ordering one? They cost $60, by the way. This is alot of money to alot of people. Money and time a person may not have when they are in an emergency.
And so you know, a large number of those being dropped from the Medicaid rolls are children.
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
This is so great! Do you like documentaries with substance that make you think and allow you to get a sense of what is really happening in the world? Are you unwilling to join Netflix because they are owned by a major human rights violater, WALMART?
Well , maybe the Film Connection is your solution.
I am so glad that I have discovered them. I am forming a group. That's it.
Monday, March 26, 2007
Thinking about the memorable moments of my day:
A man gave me a nickel when I didn't have anything for the meter.
He said that he was glad that he could start his day off by giving.
I shared a few moments with my Monday morning coffee shop community.
My boss smiled this complicit smile.
Later, a dear colleague e-mailed me to tell me that she appreciates how much I care.
Another wondered why I wasn't bouncing off of walls as usual.
And a Madonna dishwashing dance was done in my name.
Can it get any better? Perhaps. When the phone rings.
Sunday, March 25, 2007
I spent the weekend in Seattle. A new and difficult adventure, as I have already written.
Thursday, March 22, 2007
It really suits my mood today as I am beginning to set off on a new adventure, one that is the most difficult I have yet faced.
Well, here's the poem. I hope it blows you away as much as it does me.
For me at this moment it's about living and letting yourself feel even if those feelings are frightening.
Let it speak to you however it does...
A human mind is small when thinking of small things.
It is large when embracing the maker of walking, talking, and flying.
If I can locate the sense beyond desire,
I will not eat or drink until I stagger into the earth with grief.
I will locate the point of dawning and awaken
with the longest day in the world.
Monday, March 19, 2007
Sunday, March 18, 2007
Today's post is just about me in my world. I bought this cactus the other day because it reminded me of Jean Dubuffet's work.
Sh. told me that these are actually two cactuses put together, the name of this process is escaping me. They do it to trees too.
I was walking around downtown today and was drawn to a vintage dress I saw in a store window. I used to wear vintage dresses all the time back when they were super cheap and I was slightly thinner and could fit into most of them.
As I was feeling womanly, girly, and/or just plain female and as I get a paycheck, I splurged on two. This blue dress is one of them.
I am even showing my current face in one because I am fed up with anonymity, today at least, and any stalker or protester who attempts ill will with this self revelation will simply be malled. I am Zorro after all (long story :) )
I have also found a way to utilize my remaining mole jar containers and the paper I have been making over the years. Candle containers... Hip Hip Hourah!
I am off to check on my rue and to attempt to catch up on L's e-mails.
Saturday, March 17, 2007
Someone made rock art at the shore of the river.
This seemed like an odd spot to leave a broom...
Friday, March 16, 2007
Thursday, March 15, 2007
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
The First US Social Forum Will Take Place in Atlanta, June 27-July 1, 2007
Can YOUR Organization Organize a Session?
The Deadline for proposals is April 27
Get more info, register and make proposals online at http://www.ussf2007.org
This is an unprecedented opportunity to network with others from around the country, to share analyses, visions and strategies and to help strengthen the capacity of US social movements to make a better world possible. Proposals that are collaborations among organizations are encouraged
The USSF is seeking proposals from a broad array of movements & topics as:
The Anti-War movement
The Environment & Global Warming
The Prison Industrial Complex
Health, Housing, Education& Much More!
Monday, March 12, 2007
I found myself hugging this rosemary bush quite a few times this weekend. I loved smelling its oils on my clothes and skin.
Sunday, March 11, 2007
I went to Portland, Oregon this weekend. I really liked it. The city makes sense to me. Also it's warmer than home, thus nature is further along in the blooming process.
Besides seeing G and D, highlights have been the cherry trees, yummy Lebanese food, Sunnyside Plaza, Sauvie Island and this cute little neighborhood called St. John's.
I did the obligatory trip to Powell's and managed to leave without buying anything. I prefer smaller bookstores like St. Johns Booksellers. Bought a collection of Mahmoud Darwish's poems, The Butterfly's Burden there.
Later this week, I'll share my favorite photos from Sauvie Island.
Friday, March 09, 2007
Thursday, March 08, 2007
I would argue that one way or another we are all complicit in perpetuating this impunity. It can be by buying a product where we know the person who made it, harvested it, or sold it did not receive a fair wage or price. It can be by closing our eyes to the poverty and lack of health care, education and affordable housing that many of our fellow women must endure. It can also be by supporting political leaders who are selective about how they support women.
For example, one of my Senators is considered a major supporter of women's rights. She has coauthored and supported legislation such as the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and pushed for Emergency Contraception to be over the counter. And yet at the same time, she voted for the war in Iraq and in support of Israel when Lebanon was being destroyed. Are women in Iraq and Lebanon not as important as women in my own country? Should I be supporting a politician who is selective on which women she cares about?
This is what has been going throuh my mind this International Women's Day. This, and thoughts of a local International Women's Day event take over. In my community, the same group has been organizing an event for years. They are cool women who worked to get CEDAW acknowledeged by our city council and who opened the first femisist bookstore in town.
But the didactic banking system of education event that they organize provides the same information in the same format every year. There is no dialogue and while the women talk about bridging the generation gap, they do nothing to actually accomplish this. I would like to see people leaving the event feeling that they are part of a multigenerational group of women that listen and support each other and can make a difference in the world.
I did not avoid almost falling asleep today. I wanted people to see me. I am just self-confident enough to know that I could organize and facilitate a much more thought provoking and inspirational event. Getting people to attend is another issue entirely. Oh the politics of a small city with a small town attitude in which I do not belong :)...
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
I have had a few friends either attend or facilitate a workshop at the Community Strategic Training Initiative (CSTI) and they rave about it. I actually recognize one person in the picture. I'm not saying who :) I am going to try and go this year and I recommend it to others as well. The descriptive statement that most resonated with me was this: It is at CSTI that progressives working in predominantly conservative areas find kindred spirits hundreds of miles away.
And so if you are in the area, check it out.Here's the description from the Western States Center website:
Taking place annually during the summer, the Community Strategic Training Initiative (CSTI) fills an important leadership development and strategic convening role in the region. Through intensive all-day workshops, participants come away with an in-depth understanding of how to solve organizational issues from fundraising to working with the board to administrative systems. Programmatic workshops help groups expand and deepen their knowledge of issues in the region, and each year Center staff identify key trainers who have valuable expertise to share with participants.
It is at CSTI that progressives working in predominantly conservative areas find kindred spirits hundreds of miles away. For people of color working in overwhelmingly white communities, CSTI demonstrates that "critical mass" they feel is there, but often cannot see. Despite the conservatives' rise to power, CSTI reminds us that the movement for social justice is alive and well in our region, led by some of the most inspiring, thoughtful, and passionate individuals and groups in the country.
Monday, March 05, 2007
Can I be honest and say that this looks like it will be much more fun than the 80 year-old function that I will be attending? And yet I tell myself that I will gain something from my experience. Because I will go, it is my life, my career, my path for goodness sake. I wish I could shake shake all of the pieces of the puzzle in place all at once. I know I cannot, and so I will endure until my next step becomes apparent...
And amid all of this, red, blood red, stabilizes it all. What a beautiful color.
I have some ideas in my head for Int Women's Day. I will do my best to publish them before Thursday.
Oh and yes, marxist from Lebanon was the instigator of this gut level post.
Sunday, March 04, 2007
By Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, 4 March 2007
On March 2, Democratic presidential hopeful Senator Barack Obama gave a speech that proved that when it came to supporting Israel he is "as strong as Clinton, as supportive as Bush, as friendly as Giuliani" in the words of one Israeli journalist. Obama blamed Palestinians for the failure of peace efforts and uttered no criticism of Israeli policies. Yet once upon a time Obama supported Palestinian rights and an even-handed US approach to solving the conflict. EI co-founder Ali Abunimah who has met the candidate half a dozen times over a decade analyzes the speech and traces Obama's path into the hardline pro-Israel camp.
You can read the editorial here.
Saturday, March 03, 2007
These three photos were taken on a short walk today. It was an especially dreary grey day but I was able to find green, which make them a little more colorful than some of the other photos that I have been posting recently.
This one made me laugh. We had a shooting on my block this week. By an off duty police officer no less. Who knows, maybe there is another scandal in the works.
The middle circle is my name. The four pieces that surround it are how I identify myself. Margaret, Margie, Maggie, Margarita, Marguerite,... Daughter and friend. Social worker, educator, and supervisor. A reader, someone who likes to cook, a very amateur photographer, and a Maya Portly cat lover.
The first set of triangles represent obstacles that may stand in the way of realizing my dreams. They are my fear of the unknown and of not being good enough, loneliness, depression, anxiety, a tendency to think and analyze things to obsolescence, a desire for stability, moodiness in cold weather, and financial limitations.
The second set of triangles represent my support systems and strengths. I have an amazing father and many friends including A.T., L., G., C., E., T., B., A.C., K., and P. I have a compassionate heart but am not afraid to speak out. I am bubbly, energetic, creative, and capable of using my brain upon occasion. And oh, yes, I am comfortable using words.
The feathers are my goals and dreams in life and I came up with five. I would like to be fluent in Spanish, French, and Arabic. I would like to be able to inspire people to work towards creating a better world for all. I would actually like to see a better world for all. I would like to travel and and live and work overseas, and finally maybe just maybe find a partner whose dreams compliment my own. I am not going to hold my breath on that last one.
This activity was alot of fun for me. I was able to use lots of materials and get out of my very analytical lifestyle for awhile. I recommend it. Let me know if you make your own.