Monday, December 29, 2008

Hull Cleaning

Couldn't sleep. The current situation in Gaza is motivating me to remove some of the cynical stagnation off my hull. Wrote a quick e-mail to my representatives urging them to pressure Israel for an immediate end to the current violence. This is a short term solution that I recommend everyone do. I will write a longer letter later. Not sure what else to do right now. A friend sent me a link to the Global BDS Movement: Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions for Palestine. I also have started reading One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse by Ali Abunimah the cofounder of electronic intifada. He basically says that a two-state solution won't work. I just finished the chapter on Israel's broken agreements. Sad and overwhelming. But, that was Chapter Two. Proposed solutions will follow.

Art always sees me through these bouts of insomnia and paralysis. Enjoy.


Saturday, December 27, 2008

Gaza

My heart is with the people of Gaza right now.


A break from the holiday creativity

Things aren't so hot in Gaza right now. If you care to learn more go to electronic intifada and Al Jazeera.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Stencil Madness





E. and I stenciled t-shirts the other day. These are some random images from our fun. Some of the stencils and ideas are from Lotta Prints, some are from Stencils 101, and others are just our own!
Hoping this is a creative time for you as well,
GBG

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Intriguing Images






I found these unexpected photographs by Rune Guneriussen the other day. Seeing that I have been sharing lots of photos of lights these seemed apropos.

I also was intrigued by Jade Pegler's sculptures. Nothing like the photos above. I tried to copy a few photos into this post but wasn't able to. Sorry. Just follow the link.
I am feeling a need for more intriguing images in my life. If you are inspired by a visual artist, I'd love to learn more.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Holiday Materials

Materials for celebrating this holiday season abound. And, to be a part of the celebration you do not have to participate in any amount of store gift buying. Not that I am advocating going all the way and making no purchases. I am always in awe of human creative potential and believe in supporting this creativity.
Our at home holiday expression is a mixture.

Garlands, fair trade and made from scraps, along with a locally handmade ornament.

Yes, we marched on Washington a few years back. But snowpeople will always melt peoples' hearts.
I could give two shits as long as it is E's that I melt.
Every vote counts.
Happy Holidays.
Experience whatever these two lines bring to mind.
En fin, tu ethos will save you.

According to the label of the Ethos Water container that I bought while trying to make sure that kids in my community get some of the information they need to succeed in their everyday futures.

We began with the simple idea: "Let's create a bottled water to help children around the world get clean water." We felt compelled to make a difference because more than one billion people lack clean water access, and the problem affects children most. Ethos Water donates 5 cents for every bottle sold toward humanitarian water programs. Our current goal is to invest $10 million in these programs by 2010. Already, we are helping children and their communities in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Thank you for joining us in our efforts.
Who created water disparity anyway?
Contrary to corporate belief, our salvation and those of others does not lie in purchasing a water bottle.

Happy Holidays.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Fa la la

I've been struck with some holiday spirit. Got to make peace with this horridly cold weather I suppose...


Saturday, December 13, 2008

Holiday Wreath

I finished my wreath! Hope and fullness to all...


Bumminess be gone!

E gave me a DVD of Persepolis for my b-day. We watched it last night as I worked on my holiday wreath (To be unveiled soon.) My favorite is the "Eye of the Tiger" scene. Such a wonderful way to get out of bumminess. I think I will watch it every time I get a little down.


Monday, December 08, 2008

Holiday Making

I've been struck with the bug- the "making things" one. Not that I'm complaining. This may prevent reading burnout when it comes time to do nothing but reading and writing in a month's time. And the holidays are here. I've been avoiding getting too involved in holiday consumerism and am glad that my alternative is searching around the house and the internet for ways to celebrate without further contributing to our earth's destruction.

So far, this is what I have come up with: a handmade ornament that I bought for E. at a local gallery/bookstore that I love and our tree. The tree is made up of part of the ceramic bird bath that usually lives in the backyard and some pieces of driftwood from the banks of a local lake. My grandmother would be so proud.

She'd like the pink lights as well.
I still would also like to make some sort of garland and wreath. My idea is to be inspired by the artists' work below and make use of my abundance of recycled cloth and paper that too often lies undisturbed in containers. My birthday is this weekend and I thought I'd have my friends create little additions for the garland with hopes, wishes, and dreams. Then I can hang the garland up and send my friends positive thoughts for years. I will let my blog readers know if the idea actually becomes reality.
A fabric wreath by Lindamade.

Fabric garlands at Ambatalia, the Fabric Society.
Wake up to a snowy dream by making a snowstorm.
The last three are Sophie Cuvelier's creations. Yum.

My mantra this holiday season is
CeLebrate and
CREATE Wonder
for yourself and others.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Glimpses

It's a cold winter Saturday. I need to do some chores out in the world but am enjoying a little internet immersion and sharing in the mean time.

I am liking the God's Eye that I made in Guatemala hanging in front of my westernized keffiyeh. They hang in my office/art making space.
Tiny Red inspired the clothing photos. She takes photos of just about everything that is visually interesting in her life. I always look forward to the glimpses of her outfits that she provides. Lots or red, polka dots, and bold lines. I bought this goofy skirt last year on a pricey whim. But, I do like to wear it this time of year and it sure beats those holiday sweatshirts and sweaters with sequined Christmas trees, santas, and snowmen on them. Sorry, I just don't like them. If you do, more power to you. I guess. I will wear my gingerbread skirt instead.

I like red and brown together sometimes. I was proud of this outfit, if you can't tell. My red seed beaded necklace that I rarely take off, my earrings from Guatemala that I don't take off, and my favorite button: THE REVOLUTION BEGINS HERE.


Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Another Cherrie Moraga Quote

... And how will our lands be free when our bodies aren't?

Land remains the common ground for all radical action. But land is more than the rocks and trees, the animal and plant life that make up the territory of Aztlan or Navajo Nation or Maya Mesoamerica. For immigrant and native alike, land is also the factories where we work, the water our children drink, and the housing project where we live. For women, lesbians, and gay men, land is that physical mass called our bodies. Throughout las Americas, all these "lands" remain under occupation by an Anglo-centric, patriarchal, imperialist United States.

-Cherrie Moraga, The Last Generation

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Life Choices

I've been reading Cherrie Moraga's The Last Generation this weekend. The verse that follows made sense to me in my own life and goes well with the photos I posted in my last post.

After awhile it comes down to a question
of life choices not a choice between you/or her
this sea town/or that bruising city
but about putting one foot in front of the other
and ending up somewhere
that looks like home.

-From "En Route para Los Angeles" by Cherrie Moraga

Friday, November 28, 2008

A Grey Day

Yesterday was a wonderful day with loved ones and friends. Today, on the other hand, it is rather dreary outside. I learned recently that the day after Thanksgiving is called "Black Friday" by people in retail sales because it is the biggest shopping day of the year and just this one day can get retail establishments out of the "black" for the whole year. I don't know how I managed to go 40 years without hearing this term, but I have to say that it makes me proud that I hadn't.










To create a positive day out of this lack of sunshine, I was determined to take a walk and find beauty in the grey.
It even started snowing as I proceeded. These photos are what I came up with.

Enjoy your day!
Addendum: I have learned that being in the "black" is a good thing. It is being in the "red" that means being in a financial hole. Ah, the things one learns...

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A Day of Thanks

The United States holiday of Thanksgiving is soon approaching. The reason for this holiday that I learned as a child is not one that I want to celebrate. The pilgrims, or the colonizers, had a meal with the local inhabitants, the Native American "Indians", in order to show their gratitude for surviving a difficult year. Of course, the local inhabitants that the pilgrims shared this meal with and who helped them survive that difficult year were later killed, infected with disease, and sent off to reservations, but to this day Americans still celebrate. And despite my bleak introduction, I do too.

I love Thanksgiving because I love to cook and share food with folk. And so, for the last few years I have become quite the happy homemaker. I cook all day and invite anybody who wants to come by and share a meal. I have a few dishes that I usually make, often passed on from friends I have met along the way such as Lazaro's wild rice dressing with sausage, apples, and fennel. Other meal essentials are an apple cheesecake and a turkey. Turkeys are almost a requirement for this traditional meal.

This year I am thinking about making a turkey with some sort of mole sauce. Hence the above photo. It is a mole turkey from Epicurious. I may not follow the recipe exactly. I rarely do but as I experiment I will be reminded of another dear friend of mine, Petra. One of my favorite Thanksgivings was spent making and eating turkey enchiladas with mole sauce with her and her family.

I am so thankful for all of the moments that I have to share with my friends. And, I am thankful for you, my readers, too :)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A Scarf


Yesterday I had tea with a wonderful woman from Jordan. I sought her out because she is in the graduate program I am considering and because she is Jordanian. Where I live, it is not every day that I get to be around folks from the Middle East, much less a country so close to my dear Lebanon!
Even though we just met, she gave me this beautiful scarf. "I didn't know if you wore scarves," she said, "but I see that you have one on now." Ever since I returned from Lebanon, I have worn a shawl sized scarf nearly every day.
I wore the shawl to our work holiday party last night and told everyone I talked to the story. Every time I wrap myself in it, I will be reminded of a part of the world that is often misunderstood in the West. I will also remind myself and others that there will be no real "hope" and "change" until everyone is a part of it, including the Palestinians and others in the Arab World that the West would rather forget.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Gay Marriage or Civil Unions for All?

I need some input from any readers out there. There has been a post election flurry around the fact that while anti-choice political efforts failed in various states last week, gay rights had the opposite luck. To be specific, efforts to gain support for gay marriage have gone backwards rather than forwards. At the LGBT Film Festival in my town this past weekend, Equal Rights Washington was giving out stickers saying that the owner supported gay marriage. I couldn't take one.

It's not that I don't think that people, like myself, who love someone of the same gender should have the opportunity to make a formal commitment to one another. It's the institution of marriage itself. Do people really want to be part of a traditionally patriarchal and heterosexist system? Not me. I would rather have my union sanctioned by the state and if I choose to have a commitment ceremony in a religious institution, then so be it. But my benefits shouldn't be tied up in this.

All couples who want a civil union should be able to have one no matter their sexual orientation, race, gender, etc... In fact, civil unions should be the only official sanction the state provides for all, regardless of sexual orientation. And with a civil union should come all the benefits that traditionally come with marriage. Then, if you want to get married, go to your church or community of faith. Under these conditions if you then want to exclude others, you have the right to. No benefits are attached and so I could care less what you do.

He, he. Some could say that the "gays" want to deny marriage to "straight" people. Not really. But read it as you like. It's a paradigm shift that even gay rights groups have yet to embrace. We are stuck on the wrong word. Forget marriage, think civil unions for all!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Vandana Shiva Lecture

I had planned to drive for at least one hour and a half each way this evening to hear a woman that I greatly admire, Vandana Shiva. The more I thought about it, however; the more I realized that my driving for so long and expanding my carbon footprint was in direct opposition to what she discusses. It is not a sustainable practice. On the other hand, the internet is a wonderful way of narrowing divides. Plus it isn't as environmentally negative (as far as I know) and I can cuddle on the couch with my sweetie while listening to Vandana Shiva speak.

This is long piece. 76 minutes to be exact. So make sure you are ready to sit down and watch it. In my opinion, she's worth it. I wouldn't bother posting it if I didn't think highly of her.

I tried to download the video and experienced technical difficulties, so here is the link. In case it works here's the video as well.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Breathe, Vote, and Hope

Breathe. Tomorrow is the day that all of these attack ads will hopefully cease.
Hope, that this country will embrace a change.
Have you voted yet?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Voting , Reading, and Writing

I know, I am rarely on here anymore. Even comments sit in pre-approval land for days before I notice them. I've been auditing that LGBTQ studies class which is taking up alot of my time. We are entering queer theory now and while I am a bit confused I am enjoying it. I have always found defining myself within a sexual identity and orientation limiting.




And yes, I have voted. It's quite the theme of Facebook pictures right now. At least among those of us that mail in our votes. This is quite common in Washington and has increased voter turn out. I haven't mailed mine in yet. There are a few resolutions and judges I need to read up on before doing so. And despite the fact that I am by no means an avid Democrat, a multi party system makes much more sense to me, I am casting my vote for Obama. I am not going to turn on the television on November 4. But I will go online first thing in the morning. Trying to convince someone, anyone to go listen to Vandana Shiva with me. What a wonderful way to end an anxiety producing day. Yes, its a 1 1/2 hour drive each way. But she's worth it in my opinion and if I find someone to accompany me, the conversation upon the return could be equally stimulating.


I went to visit an American Studies program down yonder. I felt so energized. I may be moving down to the Palouse where the program is for two days each week to take a class and to work from there. I actually may get a Ph.D. Taking it slowly though. Don't even know what I would write my dissertation on. I went down to the text book section of their bookstore. With a little effort, I convinced the manager that it was OK for me to go beyond the barriers and roam the shelves, starting in Accounting and ending in Women's Studies. I did come out with a book. The Heart of Whiteness by Robert Jensen.



It should be required reading for everyone who considers themselves white in the United States. Racism is the demise of my country. Unless we white folk truly look at ourselves in the mirror, our country is just plain fucked. This country is built on racism and oppression. Please read it after my eloquent introduction.

I have been working on one short story. Yes, just one. Met with my prof this weekend and finally realized that it is about a female friendship gone raw. Yes, I'm dense. Now I can make a list of others, including male friendships. Hmm, I see a binary here.

That's it for now.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Sexual Object Choice, Gender Roles and Identity

I haven't been blogging for awhile because I have been spending all of my free time reading the book Same Sex: Debating the Ethics, Science, and Culture of Homosexuality for the class that I am auditing.

It's hard for me to know where to begin. I've been having so much fun with the reading and my head is whirling with ideas. I am even wanting to do the paper assignment even though, as I said, I am auditing the class. Perhaps it is lucky for me, and E., and all that are around me that I cannot even come up with a paper topic. I am too happy swimming around in concepts.
Three articles in the volume have particularly embedded themselves in my brain activity. They were all in the "Identity and History" section. In David M. Halperin's "Sex Before Sexuality: Pederasty, Politics, and Power in Classical Athens," not only did I learn that the word and concept of "homosexuality" wasn't invented until 1892 by Charles Gilbert Chaddock; but I also began my pondering about the relationship between power, social status, gender role, and sexual object choice. In Ancient Greece, a man of social standing could physically love another man as long as that other man was somehow inferior to him be it by being significantly younger (ie. a boy), of lower social status, or a slave. There was another "as long as." This man of power and social standing also had to be the recipient of "phallic pleasure" be it by penetrating the other person or by being the recipient of fellatio. In other words, he was the "active" and "male" gender role sexual partner as opposed to the "passive" and "female" sexual partner.
So, we are touching upon the source of my lens. No matter what I do or read, I tend to interpret and analyze it in terms of gender and economic power. I am besides myself with excitement. Here we have gender roles determining social status no matter what the sexual act is. As long as the "feminine," "without power" and "passive" are the other halves of the binary, men having sex with men was totally acceptable in Ancient Greece.


This acceptance also exhibited itself in George Chauncey's "Christian Brotherhood or Sexual Perversion?" In which the author researched court cases for charges of homosexuality that the Navy brought upon individuals in 1920 in Newport, Rhode Island. Once again, the only men who were charged with "sexual perversion" were the men that were taking on the feminine roles. The one exception to this was charges made against an Episcopal clergy member who argued that his ministerial duties led him to take on more "feminine" caring roles with young men. In this case, power, social status, and connections got the case dismissed.

"The Reproduction of Butch-Fem Roles: A Social Constructionist Approach" by Elizabeth Lapovsky Kennedy and Madeline Davis was by far my favorite. Oh, I am again realing. This text discusses how women who wanted to enter and participate in the patriarchal mainstream in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries had to dress and act like men. George Sand and George Eliot are two perfect examples.

Women who acted manly in the exterior world and men who acted feminine were considered "sexual deviants" and "inverts." Whereas there was yet no word, concept, and categorization for "homosexuality" before 1892, the category of "sexual deviant" did exist. They were public categories, not private ones which involved one's choice of sexual partner and act.

The authors' research involves listening to the oral histories of members of the lesbian community in Buffalo in the 1930's through 60's. Gender roles were pretty fixed. You were either femme or butch. That was the limit of self-expression. Women who identified as lesbian were directed towards one or the other category. You could change, decide you were butch after a femme relationship, even though I doubt it often went the other way. There is too much privilege to gain from taking on male roles.

I struggled with how lesbians, fleeing heterosexist norms, could recreate them in their community. "Mirror," "ape" are other words. "Ape" has an appropriate level of judgement for a believer in not passing them.

But economics saved the day and made me remember that if women wanted to survive on their own during this period, there had better be a person playing a "male" role to bring in the money. "Femme" jobs such as secretaries and teachers were sure not going to support anyone. You could say that ecomomics led lesbians into tight prescribed roles, or exterior societal models, or a combination of both.

It was the butch who took the heat for being outwardly lesbian. The femme could always back track or stand behind her "man." And, it was the butch who made sure that her "femme" was satisfied. Even in "male" roles, a woman wants to ensure that her partner is satisfied!
I wrote this nearly a week ago and now have my father here visiting. I am going to post it with all its incompleteness and give the world a glimpse of my current brain activity.
Have a nice day.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The First Presidential Debate 2008


I was in Seattle last week for a training, returning home on Friday. I happened to be in the Sea-Tac Airport during the First Presidential Debate 2008 and it was very hopeful to see so many people standing in front of the TV monitors watching it. If you missed the debate and prefer reading like me, the transcript can be found here. I am hoping that most Americans have the critical thinking skills to realize that Obama is the only choice. The debate was just further evidence. If you haven't registered to vote, you can do so here. And if you would like to volunteer for Obama's campaign, click here.