Thursday, February 23, 2012

How Men Have Nothing to Do with Making Babies

I've asked people to explain the continued legislative fascination with babymaking. Nobody has a good answer so far. Maybe it's the conservative approach to jobs creation. The bishops switched gears from hiding and denying abuses in the church, to insisting that the administration is abusing their doctrine. Virginia state legislators solidified the conservative agenda that people have rights from the moment of conception to the moment of birth. What the hell is transvaginal ultrasound anyway? Who comes up with this crap? We have candidates for president of the United States who maybe understand where babies come from, how babies are made, but can't be bothered to talk about men. It's the vile and anti-Biblical women, those harlots who make babies, and so forcing those heathens to bear children is what? Justice? God's will? Government business? Why aren't we policing those penises involved? For every child conceived there's a man who unzipped. Why aren't we insisting on the men taking responsibility for their actions? That legislators, elected representatives, and candidates for more power in government have such a puerile, idiotic and misogynistic view of women should make all of us cringe. Are serious journalists reviled? Are you?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Michigan, My Michigan

I love Michigan. There are other beautiful states in our union, but I was born here, have lived here all my life and will probably continue to live in Michigan. My matriarchal ancestors are buried here (all on Drummond Island) and my paternal ancestors one generation past are buried here. The other folks are in England and Finland. I am second generation American, and second generation Michiganian. Michigan enjoys four true seasons. Well, except for this winter which has been not great for snowshoeing. My mom had a tshirt that, among other joke traditions, reported that summer in Michigan is two weeks of bad sledding. And you can get sunburned and frostbit in the same week. And you might be from Michigan if you think alkaline is a Tiger right fielder. Michigan has the most bowling alleys and consumes the most potato chips. Michigan was home to dozens of film actors, writers, and hopefully will return to being a film industry destination. Michigan has the largest alvar plain in North America (Maxton Plains on Drummond Island). We have many nationally designated wild and scenic rivers, an honorific that will keep our rivers beautiful and pristine. I commissioned this dual-peninsula Michigan pin to be made long ago by James Avery Jewelry in Kerrville, TX. If JA still has the mold, you can get the pins there even now. Notice that Drummond Island is happily floating in its channel to the right of the U.P. There are State of Michigan maps that do not include Drummond, but it is a Michigan island. Anecdotal history reports that it missed being Canadian because the survey team got the British captain drunk and sailed him through the false channel. You can read about the British on Drummond from 1815-1828. Michigan has great stories to share. Michigan has my heart.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Vintage Brass with Cloisonne Necklace

This necklace has not had one look on etsy, and is feeling lonely. I love the rare and unusual chain. Does this qualify as steampunk? Victorian attributes with distressed industrial overtones. I've been eyeing this chain, trying beads and color combinations for a little while. Nothing popped. Then the lilac chose to be with the brass. The lilac disks are vintage German glass. The Swarovski bicone crystals and cloisonne doughnuts are from beloved Beckie's estate, and the lobster claw was purchased on etsy. The necklace is matinee length. My eyesight is going to need a booster soon. To work close-up with tiny stuff I take off my glasses. Making this necklace, I reached up to take off my glasses which were already laying on the workbench. Time for Dad's 3000x super hero goggles.

The Birds & The Bees in Government

Rachel Maddow tried to explain where babies come from to the busybodies busy legislating women's bodies, illustrating down there lady parts in her Man Cave. Unfortunately, explaining women to men historically often results in men trying to control how women go about the world. Read some of the analyses of the good ol' days back 5,000 years ago when matriarchs ran the world, and you may find that it took about 2,500 years for men to sort out that the birds and bees thing was what delivered babies. Not prayer, a dance around the campfire, hunting things with clubs; oh, you mean, that. Precisely. And here we are 2,500 more years later, and - deja vu all over again - women have to explain how women work to men one more time. The 112th Congress and its minions at the state level are back trying to get a grip - not on their zippers and their thinking processes - but on women's bodies. And by all means, let's please drag the Catholic Church back into the discussion. And while we have a few months left in the 112th, let's reverse all those nasty property laws, get rid of credit scores for women, hell, let's get rid of money for women altogether. Bring back silencing, gaol, rewriting history, the stock in the public square, and perhaps, oh yes, those old stand-bys, the scaffold and the fire.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Pomegranate Meditation

I have a memory of unbundling pomegranates in our band uniforms at football games in high school. After the halftime show, we'd sit in the stands for the rest of the game, play when instructed, and goof around otherwise. The band leader would bring a barrel of apples to share. Spats. We wore spats. And white gloves. And Nancy and I would take apart a pomegranate each with our white gloves still on, and not get one mark on either glove. That was the goal. Pull the rind off just enough to get a sense of the structure. Feel for segmentation, analyze with eyes closed the torque required to separate. The sound and the feel. Not there. Here. Push more and spray will erupt. Balance push pull. Yin yang pressure. I unbundled a pomegranate yesterday at halftime 45 years from those football games. I like the tarty crunch. I love the meditation still. Pomegranate meditation. Secret sheathing molded to the seeds. This unveiling cannot be hurried, requires concentration and calm. Relaxed mind; nimble, gentle fingers. I feel the texture, shape; see the color, contrast. A fresh new pomegranate surrenders seeds with a snap, fruit launching from the rind. An older pomegranate seed clings to its fibrous perch, snoozing. An older pomegranate takes more tenderness and time. Pomegranate meditation. At any age, a joy.

Out of My Life

The weather's been so warm in Michigan that we saw forsythia blooming in Howell a few weeks ago. And I've been in the mood for spring cleaning since Thanksgiving. As there's only so much cleaning one can do in a pleasant but small Artist's Dungeon, I've been going through files and boxes. I sorted Beckie's jewelry findings. Again. And one of these days before true spring, I'll get around to the books. Again. I have a jewelry box that I've had for a long time. It has the lock and key inside it, but the lock hasp is gone. It's a cheap wood and cardboard affair but it's performed good service for decades. At the bottom of it are pieces of jewelry that I'll never wear, and some pieces I'm embarrassed to own. So why do I still have them? Because people I loved gave them to me. The people are gone, but I liked keeping the artifacts. There are many things I want out of my life. Judgment. This ivory necklace. Low self-esteem. The Andean Condor loose powder compact my great-aunt gave me in the 60s. I can put the jewelry on etsy, and do my best to explain what the hell I'm doing with ivory and condor. I have never bought animal products in my life, and will continue that fine and highly recommended practice. The other stuff I want out of my life I'm working on still. Two down, a kajillion to go. Isn't it grand to have some goals?

Friday, February 3, 2012

Pink Ribbons, Inc.

Documentary by filmmaker Lea Pool premiering in theaters today, about the cynical business of using breast cancer for PR and corporate promotion. There is not one glamorous thing about breast cancer. Not one damn thing.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A Three Story Life: Hot Water

We're spoiled by readily available hot water. When I think I've run out of blessings, I remember we have running water, and when wanted, it's hot. I am grateful. The Active Adult community we live in has an aging problem, not the biggest being most of us are not even a little active, but the complex is aging as fast as we are. The boiler is creaky and noisy, like some of us. The hot water tank passed on a few weeks ago. The complex supports a Handyman. He's been around for a long time. He drives around in his red truck with his two semigrown sons in tow, just in case there's something to do. My Dad caught him napping in the boiler room one sunny afternoon. What are you doing? asked Dad. Waiting for a part, said Handyman. He doesn't like old people, especially old women. The new neighbor already doesn't want him in her house, but that's who we get for every issue. Whatever the problem, it's always your problem, not the complex. (I just figured out why he's kept around.) When our power was serially outing, he said ma'am, can you come in here? and gave me a long and wrong lecture on how electricity works, until I asked him to please leave. We hired a real electrician and it got fixed. The manager says Handyman is a master plumber. Fine. So the water tank blew. Handyman replaced it. We soon were getting variously scalded and freezed in the shower. I called the manager. She said that Handyman said that it's our shower head. Really? I said, is he personally familiar with our shower head? She said that's what he tells her when people complain. Interesting that two shower heads and all the faucets went bad at the same time, I said. Okay, I'll postpone a visit from Handyman and adjust. Then Dad got scalded. Then Dad checked on Scott in the shower, and Scott was cowering against the wall while the shower spewed freezing water. Manager wasn't in, so I left a note. Handyman came over. Sir? Can you come up here? he summoned Dad. He used a meat thermometer to check the temperature coming out of the tap, flushed the toilet, temperature remained the same. Check shower, flush toilet, temperature got hotter. Everybody has this, he said. Funny it never happened before the new water heater, Dad said. More Handyman yammering on and on and on (a friend said there should be a 12 step program for people who do this, called Onandonanon). While putting on his shoes he said he'd go turn the temperature down on the tank. The next day he was in the boiler room with his two semigrown sons, and whatever they did after their nap actually did finally sort of fix the freezing boiling water. I am working to retrain myself to take a shorter shower meanwhile. Better for the environment and my mental health.