Sunday, October 16, 2016

Welcome to Medicare in the Three Story Life

First doctor visit with Medicare for me. My brother and I went together. He's been on Medicare for years. Our Medicare reports came same day. There is a $47 charge for both of us for 15 minutes worth of depression screening. My brother has Alzheimer's disease, is nonresponsive, so screening did not happen. I am completely responsive, and I didn't get 15 mins. screening either. Neither one of us is on depression medication, so screening shouldn't be a proforma billing opportunity anyway.

Except - yeah - who reads a Medicare billing report?

Medical now bills like legal, in 15 min. increments? $188/hour for depression? Please don't tell my therapist this.

I went into the office, copies were made. Explanations were given. We didn't do this here. It's the system. You'll have to discuss this with Medicare. The biller is out to lunch. The biller will call you. When I hadn't gotten a call by Friday, I went in again.

Copies made right away. Notes taken. Date of birth(s), phone number. Explanations commenced. The biller is out to lunch. This invoice comes from headquarters. We can't do anything about this here. You'll have to take it up with Medicare, with HQ. Different person, same script.

It's the system.

"So your system is AI, is it?


"No human entered this code from here."

"Well, not really."

"The system did it."

Nod. "We can't fix it here."

"Because the system."

Nod. "Can only be fixed after the fact. And not here."

Blank stare.

Face transforms to sympathetic aspect. Shrug. "It happens."

"Yes, to millions of us."

"Well. Not here."

Monday, October 10, 2016

RJ Spangler Trio with Larry Smith

The RJ Spangler Trio featuring Larry Smith performed the first of four concerts in a 2nd Sunday jazz series yesterday at our Salem-South Lyon District Library. The sessions are sponsored by the Jazz Foundation of America, and the Metro Detroit Book & Author Society 2016 James Dance Performance Grant. You'll have a chance to see them perform again in Dec., Feb., and April.

L to R: Oliver Nevels, guitar; Larry Smith, alto sax; Greg Cook on bass; RJ Spangler, drums. Listeners were treated to standards from the jazz book, beginning with Body and Soul, 1930 music by Johnny Green, lyrics by Edward Heyman, Robert Sour and Frank Eyton.

The audience asked for Take Five composed by Paul Desmond, debuted with the Dave Brubeck Quartet on their 1959 album, Time Out. Take Five had a piano lead for Brubeck - we heard a George Benson arrangement featuring Oliver Nevels on guitar.

Take the A Train, composed by Duke Ellington. RJ shared the backstory on this classic: Billy Strayhorn had been sending compositions, arrangements to Ellington. The Duke finally told him he probably needed to join the Ellington organization. How to get there? The rest is superb jazz music history.

We heard Larry Smith's long rich music background, told by RJ, and - just so we didn't think it was myth - confirmed by Downbeat magazine. Larry went to high school with Henry Mancini! In Pittsburgh, he played with a George Benson R&B group. Benson noticed Smith wasn't playing the R&B grooves. What do you call what you're playing? Smith took him to a place with a jukebox, put a dime in the slot and Benson asked "who we listening to?" Smith responded, "Bird." "What's a bird?" And once more, the rest is jazz music history. 

After the concert I asked Larry Smith what maker built his horn. Bundy Selmer. He told us how saxophones used to be made of a combination of silver, brass and gold; offering a rich tonal resonance he doesn't hear in the new brass horns. My Dad's tenor saxophone is a Herb Couf instrument, and it still breathes music in the hands of Tony Lustig in NYC. Larry also talked about always having that special reed on hand, along with backup.

The concert closed with Watch What Happens, composed by Michel leGrand; a song that gives me goosebumps every time I hear it. Known for his movie scores (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, The Thomas Crown Affair) leGrand wrote just as eloquently in jazz. Still composing, still musically strong, his 85 Concerts for My 85th Birthday World Tour is getting underway. Concert dates will be released by the end of this month 2016.

I'm missing one of the tunes because I got lost in hearing my Dad play his tenor in my mind, the background music to my whole life. When I was little, I went with him to rehearsals, usually in somebody's basement. I knew the words to Deep Purple, Little White Lie, and Darn That Dream before I was six. My father is second from the left, saxes. At the piano is Joe Fredal, our family's future dentist.

One of the days I was remembering yesterday afternoon. Dad on that gorgeous Herb Couf tenor, me on my Great Aunt Suoma's little organ. He's using a jazz mouthpiece! I didn't remember he even owned one of those. For my medicine bag when I was fighting cancer, I asked loved ones to contribute a powerful talisman to kick that mess. My father gave me a saxophone reed. One more beautiful example of the healing power of music, and the importance of always having that special reed on hand. And a backup.


Saturday, October 8, 2016

Dollhouse Art Studio Installed

Set the art studio components in the 3rd floor office of my dollhouse today. The ladders are handpainted. I used a piece of 2x3 luan plywood I saved from when I made miniature diaramas; sawed it to fit the ladders. The art framed in the stack of frames is a copy of a big oil painting I did years ago.

A small bag of mini-tiles I've never used finally got use as the top of the work table. Craft sticks stained with furniture repair markers finished it.
Tinted glue made a jar of used water. Nice that it matches the corner tiles! The actual watercolor color was French Ultramarine, but the glue whitened that. I made the rolls of tape and paper towels. The ceramic art jars are made by Shari at Miniature Maker Supply. The brushes are made by Taylor Jade.

The paint tubes I made from Sculpey clay with labels signed by me. Would have used white clay if I had some. The shoulder of the tubes are half a crimp, the caps are clay painted black.

Next time - if there is a next time - I'll use the metal from the neck of a bottle of wine. The metal would look good for oil paint tubes. Saw that idea on the internet. Bonus: I'll have a bottle of wine in the house!

Holiday time is coming up! I'll be decorating the front of the dollhouse for Thanksgiving. For Christmas dollhouse tree decorations, a Christmas cactus and a poinsettia I made, have a peek at my etsy shop

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Dollhouse Art Studio Under Construction

Halloween dollhouse decorating inspired me to add some more art. I have a greenhouse still in the box for 10 years, but I'm not ready to designate it as a studio. Yet. Bought a paint-spattered step ladder for too much money, then found a cheap supplier of unfinished step ladders. My paint job is shown here. Wrote a note to Shari from Miniature Makers Supply for my first needs: 2 paintbrush jars in glaze colors of her choice, (she chose Lilac and Celery) and 2 water jars, one for used water (this will be accomplished with tinted glue) and one for clean water. She created a custom order for me. Love her and her shop! My sloppy paint rags are in the picture, and the pliers hold a glued tube which will be a roll of paper towels.

I have an easel, a brush and some blank canvas in my dollhouse office, so I'll begin by adding to that space.  I'm going to make my own paint tubes. We'll see how that goes. A 6 inch watercolor tube will be only 1/2 inch! Still haven't found a decent box to hold it all, but maybe I won't need it. My work station will be 2 ladders with a piece of basswood on top. If I make use of the greenhouse, I can spread out later.

These are ceramic dishes glazed and signed by Shari at Miniature Makers Supply. She has a section in her shop for Oops! - cases when the glaze goes walkabout. Love those one of a kinds! I appreciate her palette, and craftswomenship. And I love that she creates and works in Michigan. It's always my goal to support Michigan artisans in whatever way I can, and especially women artists. We need all the sales we can get!

Now I'm envisioning a "Sidewalk Closed During Construction" banner at the front of the dollhouse. Creative chaos!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

White Collar TV Show Review

This isn't the only phone camera shot I took of this series. And there are X number of episodes left in this mess of television stuff. I don't even know how to write about it.  I slogged through the first 10 episodes of the first season. And there are. Five more seasons. 5. And the reviewers rate this thing 8 of 10 stars. Absent deliberate ongoing planetary obliteration, this year's run for POTUS and oil company manipulation of the universe, this is the next annihilation of anything posing as intelligent left in the universe I want obliterated. If you can't spell, HIRE SOMEONE. A couple of the screen shots were of the highest end premier in the fashion universe episode. The biggest pink diamond ever. With background holes in the ceiling set. Holes. Nobody bothered with that. I take my rare pink diamonds seriously. As does Aja Raden. But not this show.

Gee. It's about the money, innit? Dumber is better. Lamer sells. Kill me now.

Let's start with Neal. The man has access to a tasteful millionaire Black Man's wardrobe, and he wears brown shoes with a blue suit. And one stylish hat. He is a notorious international forger criminal and he walks like a studied hipster. Think Draggable Dan, from the first web goofball character. He has blue eyes with tiny pupils. He couldn't look sinister on a billion dollar bet. And the eyes the producers think are cool wouldn't be instantly recognizable anywhere. And he goofs up. Enough to be caught by Peter Burke. Twice.

Peter Burke. A schlep, who stands on, through the 10 episodes I could stand to watch,  his singular reputation for capturing Neal Whozits twice. Oh Lord, can we please buy this guy some lips?

And here we are at Burke's wife El. She is a successful event planner, seen in one episode on her phone on the street telling the caller that 10 tables with 20 people each will look elegant. OK. No. That's Madison Square Garden pregame at a Knicks event. The next episode with her actual life involves inviting her husband (NOT) to bring Neal (who has TASTE) to sample a lunch from a caterer she's interviewing. Her husband (who, lucky for us stupid ass viewers are informed has no taste at all) pulls a Tom Hanks from Big and almost spits his pate, while Neal tastefully agrees.

And she runs Peter Burke like a watch. Can we spell stereotypical henpecked, boys? Here are 2 pictures of a wife in a TV series. Please identify the patriarchy prototype.

Hair on this show. It's all the same. I'm done with the lank long tresses, colored in a bizarre combination of Crayola Brown and Tumbleweed, twisted down a back, and limped over the front for every female on the show.

Ditto the short dresses, tall heels on actresses who can't walk in them particularly showcasing really bad asses. No, I don't mean bad asses. I mean these boys wouldn't know a good ass if they had it planted on their face.

Geez. The story. I saw 10 episodes hoping for better story. No. And there are F I V E more  highly rated seasons that I hope to die before I watch.

Thank (your higher power here) for Willie Garson without whom.


Monday, July 18, 2016

Great Lakes Siphoning Begins With Waukesha, Wisconsin

Waukesha, Wisconsin has been granted permission to pull water from Lake Michigan. Waukesha wells are contaminated with radium, a radioactive element that occurs in aquifers. It is natural. As water demands exceed supply, wells go deeper, creating more opportunity for radium infusion. What is not natural is the Great Lakes Watershed Counsel voted to allow Waukesha to siphon water from Lake Michigan. Eight Great Lakes governors and Canadian provinces Quebec and Ontario voted to allow this redirect. Waukesha has promised to return the volume of water it siphons back to Lake Michigan, using wastewater treated at a facility in Racine. Nothing can go wrong with that.

In 2011 Ontario's Bruce Power applied to ship 16 one-ton nuclear contaminated containers through Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway to a recycle center in Sweden. I started making phone calls about that, including to the members of the Great Lakes Compact. One person didn't know there was a proposal on the table! The request was eventually denied, thanks to freshwater activism, and Senator Stabenow (D-MI). I don't know the status of the request to dig a mile-and-a-half deep geologic repository of nuclear waste on the shore of Lake Huron, but I'll start again on that right now. Because nothing can go wrong with that.

Eight Great Lakes governors voted to allow the Waukesha drain. Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin. How many of these states have extensive fracking sites? How many of these states have excessive radium levels in the aquifers that may also take advantage of the fine print in the Great Lakes Compact? Flint, Michigan was poisoned. Government played with water sources. Nothing could go wrong with that.

Michigan governor Snyder, environmentally obtuse and negligent, just appointed a BP exec as MDEQ head. While she may have PR credentials (having helped cover asses over Deepwater Horizon), she is not an advocate for public health or environmental issues. May as well ask Dick Cheney to keep an eye on war profiteering. Nothing can go wrong with that.

Freshwater activists can keep an eye on their own state's environmental quality. Following is the list of DEQ(s).

New York

Wisconsin doesn't have a department devoted to protecting the environment. Nothing can go wrong with that. 

Thursday, June 16, 2016

2016 Michigan Notable Book Author in South Lyon

Doreen Hannon and Donna Olson
South Lyon, Michigan recently hosted a
Josie Kearns and Joe Matuzak
Pulitzer Prize-winning author for a talk and book signing. David Maraniss' newest book Once in a Great City: A Detroit Story is one of 20 Michigan Notable Books for 2016. Chosen by the Library of Michigan each year, this year's authors are visiting 50 libraries throughout Michigan during April, May, June.

I was in The Lyon Theatre, listening. How did this extraordinary event happen? A notable book author in South Lyon?

Dedicated people made this happen.

South Lyon has a 3-year-old Cultural Arts Commission and the commissioners are working to bring more arts and humanities to South Lyon. Pictured lower left is Josie Kearns, South Lyon Cultural Arts Commission.

Ten months ago Donna Olson joined staff as Adult Services Department Head. SSLDL became a Michigan Center for the Book (Library of Michigan) affiliate. You can meet Donna at SSLDL. Her enthusiasm is catchy and her smile is instantly recognizable (see pic top right.) Doreen Hannon, SSLDL Director (pictured top left) brought Donna to our library from Howell Carnegie District Library.

The Michigan Humanities Council has used surveys in the past after cultural events. In connection with SL CAC, Joe Matuzak, University of Michigan Institute for Social Research (pic bottom right) volunteered to help design a survey for before events. Not how did you enjoy what you just experienced, but what experiences would you like to create?

And David Maraniss came to the South Lyon Theatre for a free presentation. Thanks to all the entities mentioned in the Hometown Life news article. These encounters, free to the public, are brought to you by the Library of Michigan, Michigan Department of Education, Michigan Humanities Council, the Library of Michigan Foundation, Meijer and the Michigan Center for the Book. Kudos, all!

I have, and will continue to, personally thank Doreen Hannon, Josie Kearns, Donna Olson and Joe Matuzak. You can too, whenever you see these energetic and involved people in South Lyon.

Our library is a living member of the community. Arts and art events make it breathe, and the heart of our town, dedicated to bringing more memorable cultural events to South Lyon, is a marvelous working engine.

You can be involved in this endeavor, this cultural renaissance. What would South Lyon residents like to see more of in town? You can share your thoughts here through the end of June. You can participate in events scheduled as as each occurs by checking the South Lyon Cultural Arts Commission website, the City of South Lyon website, and the Salem South Lyon District Library site. I just created a South Lyon folder on my bookmark toolbar. I'm so proud of us!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

How I Am A Patriarchy Enabler

A guy brought a flamethrower to the garden. Already that sounds bizarre. He began his stated intention to use it on the entire 60 feet of his section of community farm, but his nozzle broke. I smelled the burn before I saw it. Shocked, I brought another man over to take a look at it. Was this an accident? Nope. Looks like he used weed killer and then started to burn the poisoned field. The guy I asked sounded impressed, called it a controlled burn. The farmer across the way told me about the failed nozzle. He was okay with it. I went to city hall to ask about flamethrowers in public gardens, and got more of the same from the fire chief. To be clear, there is no burning allowed within city limits. But all the men were fine with it. Including my father's home health worker. Doesn't see what the problem is. And my father was okay with telling me that his HHW was okay with it. I'm tangled up in this flaming stuff. Who even thinks of flamethrowing a garden? Guys. I looked at a site that sells these things, and the video shows the outfitted flamer setting fire to couches, a car with paint cans on top. What's it good for in the text? Clearing land. Getting rid of pesky insects.

Herein lies the enabling piece: the guy who knew that no one would object to him torching the ground. The fire chief who knew he could get rid of the woman at the desk who approached him to ask the question (and he tried to shoo away). The me standing there in my dirty coveralls insisting he deal with this. That ended in him handing over his card, and dismissing me with "call me, ma'am, if you have any other questions." Scram, li'l lady.

We did this. I've done it. By not speaking up. By playing along to get along. By not reporting that boss who threatened me with my job if I didn't sleep with him on a business trip. By raising children who are entitled, and dismissive of those who question that privilege. By not teaching and insisting that people in our lives abide in community with all others.

My dad pitches in with any household duty only when he knows I'm pissed. Then there's a perfunctory and short-lived effort. He sits at the table waiting for dinner to appear in front of him, and watches me cook. Then I put dinner on the table in front of him. And I stew. This is how he was taught to operate in the world. Women are taught to put the dinner on the table. And not stew. Patriarchy isn't good for any gender. Men go to war because that's how supremacy and colonialism works. Guns are an epidemic in America because of patriarchy.

And gardeners are fine with flame-throwing a garden plot. I wasn't going to pursue this. I was going to swallow it, and tamp down the corresponding flame in my belly. Why? Because I am afraid of retaliation. Because that's another thing patriarchy encourages. Women understand early in life the consequences of speaking up and out. Patriarchy counts on that mightily. When we don't speak, when we are silent and afraid, we are enabling the flamethrowers of the realm to run our world.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Women Warriors WisCon 40 Urim

Urim is the 13th of the scifi women warriors going to WisCon 40 in Madison, WI over Memorial Day weekend. This character will be a leading actor in the Stellar Repo universe, although I wonder if Urim will keep the dark humor alive. We'll find out together.

My abridged theory of how women lost the power 5,000 years or so ago: we humans stopped wandering; built, cultivated, fenced, domesticated animals and ourselves. A priest class rose to assure that whatever was working continued to work: sun rising in the east, rain falling, crops growing, babies aborning. Check. Cultivation took and then there was surplus. The priest class added a notch on its CV to defend the wealth. Warrior. Warrior priest class. And women were shoved into the back office. Read domesticated. Think domination.

Enter the warrior priest who is going to upend all that shit.

Stellar Repo is about returning stuff to the rightful owner. She is selective about what stuff and rightful means. Tikkum olam - repairing the world. Urim will be a prominent player in educating Stellar on the intricacies of gathering the pieces together. Urim is a devotee of cleromancy.

This figure is painted with stainless steel paint. Her torso is adorned with beaded glitter which represents an embodied tattooing. Her skirt is made from copper mesh and cinches with a copper clasp in the back. Her sandals are clay with copper mesh straps. Her labrys (doubled-bitted ax) is a copper tube with jewelry findings. The jewel at her third eye is a lemon pear-shaped faceted crystal, surrounded with hammered copper. Her earbob is heavy gauge coiled copper. The cloak is a sewn fabric remnant, as is the stole.

Urim wears a chest medallion that is argentium I fused to a copper oval, and is the symbol for the Cosmic Egg. The image can be found in Barbara Walker's Woman's Dictionary of Symbols and Sacred Objects or by searching images on the internet. The medallion can be removed and makes a swanky human pendant.

You can read more about the Stellar Repo universe on this blog.

Urim will be appearing with her 12 sister warriors at the WisCon 40 Art Show in Madison, WI during Memorial Day weekend.

For those who will not be attending WisCon, a 4x6 art print of Urim is available in my etsy shop.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Women Warriors WisCon40 Stellar Repo

The lead character in the Stellar Repo storyline. Stellar is an intergalactic retriever of swiped stuff. She has an attitude problem which is perfect for breaking and entering and putting the habeus grabus on purloined property. Her tools and - when necessary - her weaponry are bolt cutters and a long crowbar. Her story is space noir.

The plot is based on an odd promotion in my banking life to aircraft loan collection manager. I was such a neophyte - I think the entire commercial loan division shared jokes about the bonehead moves I made early on. One repeated around the office: a man in Kentucky was suspected of using his de Havilland as a crop duster. The bank's loan contract forbade use of private aircraft for commercial purposes. So Boyd Burnett was in violation. He refused my calls, disguised his voice, dodged my investigators. A private airport operator took pity on me and ratted Burnett out. Next time I called, I said, "Mr. Burnett, I know this is you. You are in violation of your agreement with Big Bank, and you leave me no choice but to take the aircraft." <Guffaw> "Mr. Burnett?" When he stopped laughing, he drawled, "Li'l lady. You find that sumbitch, you can have it."

I had no idea where the plane was. I told the B. Burnett story while in a TV studio sound room, and the young engineer said "why don't you write it in space?"

This character is wearing traditional ninja attire, carrying the tools of her trade. Her goggles are SGT Leigh Ann Hester eyewear from Rattlesnake Toys. She is a fully poseable action figure. I just noticed you can't see her goggles. You'll have to trust that they are cool!

I am crazy about Stellar Repo. You can read more about her on this blog. Episode 1. Episode 2.

Stellar will be appearing with her 12 sister scifi warriors at the WisCon 40 Art Show in Madison, WI during Memorial Day weekend.

For those who will not be attending WisCon, a 4x6 art print of Stellar Repo is available in my etsy shop.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Mai Women Warriors WisCon 40

Bieggolmai is the Saami goddess of summer storms and wind. This small action figure radiates fierce. When I was working on her, I had to turn her head to the side because her stare was so daunting. I stopped redesigning her face when she started looking back. Look at her - posing her, she stomped on her nameplate. I left her that way. She came in a group of action figures, and as luck would have it, fit a pair of pants I made that were too narrow for normal 1:6 scale figures.

Mai is anything but normal. She has no assignment in a storyline, but she will be as transient and memorable as a summer storm when she does appear.

Her sword was acquired from an eBayer who recently lost a good job, and has to sell his handmade collection of gear and weaponry. The sword is hand forged, and buyer beware, quite sharp.

Mai will be joining her 12 sister warriors at WisCon 40 Art Show in Madison, WI over Memorial Day weekend

For those who will not be attending WisCon, a 4x6 art print of Mai is available in my etsy shop.

Women Warriors WisCon 40 Kala

This character has no assigned role yet. She is a metabolically modified mermaid who can fly. Kala is the Finnish word for fish.

You can undoubtedly tell she was a Glenn Close 101 Dalmatians doll-one of the few molds based on humans that actually looked like who it was supposed to be. I removed most of her exaggerated make-up and that awful hair. She is hardwired in a skullcap with watch parts and thread.

So. What story doesn't need a metabolically modified mermaid who can fly?

I'm wild about wiring and fusing wings. I see dragons in my future. Storm dragons, underwater dragons...

Kala will be joining her 12 sister warriors at WisCon 40 Art Show in Madison, WI over Memorial Day weekend

For those who will not be attending WisCon, a 4x6 art print of Kala is available in my etsy shop.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Women Warriors WisCon 40 Rock Star

This weary beauty is one of my oldest and a favorite. She has no name yet, but she will surely appear on stage in the Stellar Repo universe. She is an entertainer, and I have some insider information about her I am unwilling to reveal just yet. Entertainers hear many dangerous secrets because audiences forget celebrities have ears. And brains. And histories. And agendas.

This character has a wire armature, a rolled up masking tape head. Her hands are wrapped in thread. Her purple boots are sculpted from clay. The jean jacket and pants are from a favorite pair, threadbare and well loved. The jacket has a fake fur collar. Her turtleneck is from a castoff tshirt. She has doll's hair and human false eyelashes. She is the smallest of her sisters at about 9-1/2 inches high.

She posed herself and I love the way she stands on her own.

One last bow before saying good night.

Rock Star will be joining her 12 sister warriors at the WisCon 40 Art Show in Madison, WI during Memorial Day weekend.

For those who will not be attending WisCon, a 4x6 art print of Rock Star is available in my etsy shop.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Women Warriors WisCon40 Quattuor

Quattuor is Number Four in the Dark Tetrad who rule one of the dimensions in the Stellar Repo universe. DT in our reality is a psych profile combo that includes many of the worst possible personality traits a human can have, or have the misfortune to be introduced. Scifi is chockablock with Alliances, Counsels, ruling classes that present as fair and balanced and are not. It's a story arc. In the Stellar Repo universe, characters are named what they do or how they are. Arti Fact (who owns the refueling asteroid Stellar frequents) blathers trivia on any subject that pops into a conversation. Token Guy owns The Bar, Stellar's fav after work hangout. Stellar Repo takes stuff back for hire.

And Quattuor is the fourth in a tetrad that probably is dark.

Quattuor will be an interesting character to write more about. I'm fascinated that 90% of energy in space is dark energy. There's got to be some wicked fun stuff going on in there. Earth and everything around us make up only 5% of energy material and look how busy we all are. And that's just the busyness we know, including goings-on we cannot see. How cool to write about the shenanigans we don't know and cannot see. Limitless opportunities for mayhem scenarios.

This figure is an original sculpture with a wire armature. Her hands are exposed wire. Her boots are made from clay. (Feet of clay, hmmm, if Terry Pratchett hadn't already used that...) Her hat is sculpted from felt. Her face is also made of clay. She has doll hair. The clothing was partly sewn and then glued to the endoskeleton. She combines a skinny suit with monstrous shoulder pads. I miss shoulder pads. Her skeletal profile reminds me of the gangsters in Les Triplettes de Belleville.

She stands on her own. I'm thinking she does that, too, against the other three of her sinister crew in the Dark Tetrad storyline.

Quattuor is fully poseable because her bone structure is intersected wire. You're welcome to try changing the pose she has now. I'd think about the consequence complexity involved with manipulating a Dark Tetrad oppositional character before I'd start scrunching body parts. Maybe. Just a thought.

Quattuor will be joining her 12 sister warriors at the WisCon Art Show in Madison, WI over Memorial Day weekend.

For those who will not be attending WisCon, a 4x6 art print of Quattuor is available in my etsy shop.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Directed by Women Worldwide Film Viewing Party and Me

I love movies. I've loved watching films all my life. The movie theater was a good place for a babysitter to take us (bags of homemade popcorn in hand), and when we were older, my mother could drop us off for a whole afternoon. Two features, and sometimes we stayed to watch one again, if we had walked to the show. At Academy Award time, if we hadn't seen everything nominated we had a marathon weekend of watching. 1965. Ship of Fools year was a marathon viewing weekend. 1976 Marathon Man year. 1980 Atlantic City year. I read about filmmaking, and learned about the early years of Hollywood when women made big money, were studio heads, scriptwriters, production designers, directors, producers. And then how it all went away when the money men from the east got to town. At the millennium, I got mad. It was clear that women, who had regained a small percentage of ground in the film industry, saw those gains eroded year to year. Women moviegoers began staying home in droves. What was there to look at on the screen? Buddy movies, bromances, comic book guys in tights, throwaway woman roles, stories with no soul or truth. I blogged like a lunatic, doing what I called railing against Bellus. Bellus is the planet that will crush the earth in the movie When Worlds Collide. Not much good to scream at an approaching obliterator.

In 2009 I met a young woman at AFI because I sent her a film noir doll I made to encourage her on a noir project. I told the friend who mentioned the student that she was in the belly of the beast. A woman +  <35 + smart + Hollywood and she was feeling alone. Right?

From that point, I was whinging louder. Didn't anybody get this? I tweeted, wrote, wailed, bellowed, banged my head against walls and every friend's head in my range. Made more doll art: women who had been forgotten by history, or worse, their story mulched into the male realm. There are few women cinematographers because cameras used to be heavy. It took some muscle to lift and carry. A woman can direct; women do, but their work is not on our local cineplex screens.

The journey of the AFI student through graduation to her first film I witnessed up close and personal. Written and directed by a woman. From 2010 to 2014. The film festival submissions, screenwriting submissions, submissions, submissions. And the names on the written by, directed by credits of films accepted. Percentages of women directors represented we then knew were real and disappointing.

Following women directors, and focusing tightly on women filmmakers, I read the intention of Barbara Ann O'Leary to watch a female-directed movie for every male-directed movie. Daunting, I thought, but my interest was snagged. I followed her journey for a year, and watched as many of the women-directed films as I could get my hands on. Barbara started what would become the Directed by Women Worldwide Film Viewing Party the next year: two weeks in September when we all celebrated the vision and the work of women directors around the world. By watching movies.

During the months before September 2015, Barbara Ann O'Leary devoted her own time to gathering women directors into a database that reached 6,000+ before the party, and now names 8,948 women directors. Bounty! Abundance!

She also changed my brain and retrained my heart. Focusing on lack gets more of the same back. I know this cognitively. But I don't practice this. We notice absence, and the hole stays empty. When I saw what transpires when attention is beamed at what is, and what we have, and celebrate that, my home life changed as well. All those overused contractions - don't, haven't, can't - became will, can, has. Loved ones around me benefit from what grows me.

I volunteered to help the party. I called on people I didn't know, made appointments to see anyone who would listen to the party invitation. Everything I did to celebrate women film directors brought a glow that comes from inside. I met people as thrilled to be a part of this appreciation as I was.

I'm volunteering again this year because joy keeps going, appreciation grows the love, and movies need voices and vision that must be heard and seen, especially women voices and vision. I love movies.

Everyone can contribute. Keeping the energy going requires administration, research, record keeping. There are 8,948 women directors on the Directed by Women site, and the list is now searchable. $1 donation to the Directed by Women Worldwide Film Viewing Party 2016 from that many interested people will keep the party going. I donated. You can, too. Keep the celebration alive. Please.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Monomyth Women Warriors WisCon40

Monomyth. The leader of Last Standing tribe. She was in the world Ago, a hacker. And a telepath. And a couple of talents to be named later. Of those who might have survived whatever happened, Monomyth was at the top of the recruitment list. Monomyth organized the remaining before those left knew that's what they would be, and moved to a stronghold island in a Great Lake. Ask my friend Rosemary how they get back and forth in winter. She's the "Fastest Woman on the Ice."

Last Standing are the keepers of heirloom seeds and fresh water. Monomyth is the tough genius misanthrope who gets to organize the aftermath because she recognized the need. Is she good at this? Nope. Is she good at other not-people stuff? Totally. Hacker. Remember?

Monomyth action figure is a Sleeping Beauty Princess Barbie. She was more than one toddler's inappropriate toy. Her hands were chewed, her hair a toybox nest. My first rescued Barbie. She had horrendously elevated blue eye shadow and spiky painted eyelashes - I could go on, but she's not that now.

Monomyth was aged with marble dust and repainted. She has one blue eye and one green eye. My sister was the inspiration for that. Her hair was serially braided, with tiny seaglass beads. The chewed, ring-ripped hand has a bloody bandage. Her quiver is made from the same leather glove that Akka's costume uses, and I made the arrows from slivered dowel and fletched them with tiny feathers. Her tunic is the last remnant of a fleece jacket. The little vest came with the Gem doll, and I dyed it with watercolor. I made the bow from heavy gauge wire, and banded wire with floral tape binding.

Tied at her waist with leather cord is a coin purse (the inside of that famous brown glove) with gold and silver coins I hammered from segmented jewelry findings. Netsuke foxes attach the purse to the belt. Monomyth carries a Saami drum. Saami drums were used for dual purposes. As shaman, to transport from one dimension to the other by drumming with a reindeer antler. Second purpose: to advise on which path to pursue here on earth. A frog (an ornamental device or a favorite stone) was bounced on the drum surface and, depending on which image the frog landed, gave the seeker a reading on what to do going forward. This drum has the rune for All Mother (Akka) and several others from the only 17 Saami drums remaining in the world. I tooled the woodburned images onto Monomyth's drum.

Around her neck is a torc made from a leopardskin jasper doughnut and bent medium gauge copper flat wrapped with copper wire. The boots are hand-sewn felt from an eBay supplier. The tights are from The Sister Who Sews.

Monomyth will join her 12 sister women warriors at Wiscon40 Art Show in Madison, Wisconsin during the Memorial Day weekend.

For those who will not be attending WisCon, a 4x6 art print of Monomyth is available in my etsy shop.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Enibodi Women Warriors WisCon40

Enibodi is out of order. It isn't my inability to alphabetize. No. There must be a story connection concerning who she wants to be because Enibodi is a character I know little about. Her name is a combination of Enhanced Neural Instrument and Bodi. Not quite cyborg, nor AI nor robot. She will probably appear in the Stellar Repo universe.

She was a sleek blonde Janay when she came here. Her legs were damaged (one still is, but now the poking armature is part of her artificial skeletal array.) I left her face untouched because she is beautiful.

I made her turtleneck from a shirt of mine. The hoodie is from a fleece remnant that I still enjoy using. She's carrying a backpack and wearing tights and black boots. I know she and I will become better acquainted as the Stellar Repo storyline continues.

Enibodi will be appearing with her 12 sister scifi warriors at the WisCon 40 Art Show in Madison, WI during Memorial Day weekend.

For those who will not be attending WisCon, a 4x6 art print of Enibodi is available in my etsy shop.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Lore Women Warriors WisCon40

Lore is the history of Last Standing tribe in the Monomyth storyline. She is tattooed from face to feet with the archive of their origin story. The tattoos are memic. Body memory. Touching any line with Lore's permission will reveal the narrative. She is one of the characters I have shared the most time with - I know her better than 5 generations of my family, although she is written from each lifeline in my matriarchal stronghold. She can kick your ass and tuck you into bed with the same aplomb. Lore is ancient. She has cajoled, wheedled, tricked and finessed Monomyth to get someone to take her place so she can step on. At the point we join the story, Lore's career path is pointed to ancestor. She's still feisty (and fashionable) enough to wear fancy togs. She makes them herself, as Monomyth continues to remind those who want the same. Ask Lore.

Lore is a Polynesian Princess Barbie. She's the doll I've had the longest and the first I aged. Her facepaint was removed. It took a year for me to be OK with scrubbing her that way. Then her hair was cut and greyed. And the tattooing started. The tattoos are applied with about 50 extra fine Sharpies. I wrote the Last Standing history, switched it to Elder Fruhtark font in Illustrator, and then transcribed it onto her body. I sure hope I saved the translation because when my old computer croaked, I lost Illustrator.

I cut the hat and molded it from another hat. Her cloak is a CyGirls trenchcoat, and I added the beaded embellishments. She has an original Barbie leotard (with a tiny hole in the abdomen that I did not repair: shabby chic in the future!) and some stockings by The Sister Who Sews on eBay, from whom I buy all my stockings. Her boots are a new acquisition - slumpy felt, possibly hand-built, that had white top stitching I hoped, hoped I could remove. And I did!

I love this figure. She is the character I started this journey alongside, and why I continue to enjoy creating older women figures. Her tribal leader is Monomyth, the next character in this blog trail.

Lore will be joining her 12 sister warriors for sale at the WisCon40 Art Show in Madison, Wisconsin during Memorial Day weekend.

For those who will not be attending WisCon, a 4x6 art print of Lore is available in my etsy shop.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Gem Women Warriors at WisCon40

Gem is the apprentice of Lore in the Monomyth story. She is a tween caught stealing food from the Last Standing tribe's protected farm. Rather than put an arrow through her, Monomyth sees something that brings Gem into the group. Her bandolier carries cartridges of seeds and cuttings (in the story.) Last Standing are the protectors of fresh water and heirloom seeds. As apprentice to Lore, Gem will wear the history of the tribe, as Lore does now. On her arms are the first tattoos: one arm has the seasons, the other the elements air, water, earth, fire. The talking tattoos are the history of the tribe. Gem will be one of the hidden individuals who will carry on the traditions and stories. All are secretly protected and unknown to each other. I'm noodling in my head telling this story as a mythic character piece. Gem would then be a major narrator, rather than the Monomyth. It's a tough mind switch, but will be fun to do. Gem is named for a character in the original Star Trek series. The Empath was written by Joyce Muskat - the only original script she sold to television. Unforgettable writing.

What I envision for this trio of characters is a video game for children. Players will identify edible and medicinal plants, learn trees in all seasons, get points for collecting seeds, and protecting nature. The game can be adjusted to reflect what the child may be doing at home or in school, with downloadable teacher and parent workbooks. It's a good dream to nurture.

This figure came to me with shiny straight, static-electricity-mad hair and the usual glam girl make-up. I dreadlocked her hair, and repainted her face. She has copper eyes. The jeans are a scrap of a favorite pair of mine, and I distressed holes in the same places mine had worn out. The pants close with a snap in the front. Gem has an orange camisole under the jacket. The jacket has a working zipper. She has a knife in the pocket of her jacket. Her boots are plastic. Her body is not articulated, so she has limited posing potential. The knife is plastic.

Gem will be joining her 12 sister warriors at the WisCon40 Art Show in Madison, WI during Memorial Day weekend

For those who will not be attending WisCon, a 4x6 art print of Gem is available in my etsy shop.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Biewe Women Warriors at WisCon40

Biewe is the Saami goddess of the sun or the actual sun itself. For this character, she is the deity and spelled from one of the options. The pronunciation of her name - however you feel about it. In Finnish, there are a couple more syllables than actually appear: there are English (US) and several other languages on pronouncekiwi. She got her name because her hands are a shiny odd color - like liquefied vanilla fudge. Or streaming sunspots viewed through a powerful telescope. Biewe will feature in the same storyline as Akka, which, for now, is in the Stellar Repo universe.

Biewe's body is articulated: I think she's a Dragon Toy product I got in a sale lot of wounded action figures. I took off her face paint, repainted her in purple and silver. I added a purple manicure, too. Her armor is assembled from jewelry findings in my collection, including the nunchuks, which are not hardwood, but stainless steel tubing, wrapped with stainless steel wire. Her headgear is a pair of my mother's earrings. The bodysuit she's wearing has wear, and Biewe's hands do not come off, so it'll be a session to remove that garment. The armor pieces are all removable if you're like me and want to switch it up (or clip the pieces together for a conversation-starter bracelet.) The boots are CyGirls.

Biewe and her 12 sister warriors will be for sale at the Wiscon40 Art Show in Madison, WI over Memorial weekend this year

For those who will not be attending WisCon, a 4x6 art print of Biewe is available at my etsy shop.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Avian Women Warriors WisCon40

Avian is the leader of the moon of the same name. Stellar Repo thinks of Avian as her home world. She was left there as an infant, and raised by the female monks in the aerie. This character has the face and neck colorization of a Cooper's hawk. She would have more birdish legs in a figure constructed from armature, but patterned orange stockings, and some nubby boots fit the bill. (Is that a bird joke?) This character was originally Megara from the animated Hercules. Her robe is made from an old tshirt. The dress and shrug were bought from a maker on etsy. The wings are Angelina film, beads and wire. I didn't make these wings, but you can see my constructs on the figure of Kala. Wing supplies are from OOAK Art Emporium. The wings can be gently posed, and also be easily removed.

Stellar Repo is the lead character in her own story. She works as a recollector of pilfered stuff. Stellar is an orphan, parents unknown to her, but perhaps not to others, and she is being hunted by authorities of one of the regimes at play in the universe. She is a misanthrope by personality and necessity. Her PA is Surly Bugger. Some of the other characters in Stellar's realm are Token Guy, owner of The Bar, Stellar's watering hole; Arty Fact, owner of the asteroid belt refueling station at the center of the cosmos Stellar travels (Hot Mess is the cook at the eatery housed there.)

Avian will be joining her 12 sister warriors at the WisCon40 Art Show in Madison, Wisconsin during Memorial Day weekend

For those who will not be attending WisCon, a 4x6 art print of Avian is available at my etsy shop.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Akka Women Warriors WisCon40

Akka is a Saami fertility goddess. Akka is also an open source toolkit for building applications on the JVM. Kinda cool in that I just named this figure yesterday from my backpack of Names To Use in Future, and found this technie stuff going on. Etymology: from the Greek word meaning to hide. Urban dictionary defines it the same as whinging. Going akka at the club. A Dravidian word with the same sense as mother. This searching stuff is what makes me happy. If you dig wide, you can find trivia that supports whatever premise you start conjuring. I like significant naming protocols for fiction. Especially if those parameters are just in my head. That's where story lives, yes?

I have constructed figures when I need to see what I'm writing or thinking about. I started doing this when I began to go akka about the absence of women in pop culture. This began when my niece was born. Try finding a diverse angel at the Hallmark store in 1992. Or books that feature all girls, or girls at all. Or calendars. Cards. Movies. I made my own. When I spotted history altered to credit men, I made a figure. One of the first was a kabuki dancer. Women created kabuki theatre. Until the Edo period, when women were banned from performing. Prestigious newspapers got it wrong covering the influence on Bowie. Rewritten history. When I get mad about women being stuffed in the back, I create a positive image.

Creating characters in real world transforms the women in story world. Akka was just a cool action figure I bought in a lot. She had green plastic molded hair and a green face. She's articulated everywhere, including some shoulder action that looks like armor. But she wanted to be softer, less martial. I razored off her plastic hair, and gave her gray curls. Her undertop is made from scraps of a pair of leather gloves that the same niece played with in the snow. The pants are from a pair of winter tights. The vest is a sale item I grabbed from Hazel Street Designz. The rawhide skirt is a scrap from a Gathering Society day of making canteens. The boots are suede with treaded soles. I bought those. Because wow. Her staff is a wood dowel wrapped with flax. I was given the flax from the collection of a dollmaker who is now in a nursing home. The flax smells wonderful.

I don't know yet which story this character will populate. She may be part of a group of deity/tech women who are hiding out on an obscure planet. And what would a goddess of fertility do on a moon that does not feature in utero reproduction? Sounds like AI to me. A detail to be expanded in the backstory development.

Akka will be joining her 12 sister warriors at the WisCon40 Art Show in Madison, Wisconsin during Memorial Day weekend. For those who won't be at WisCon, a 4x6 art print of Akka is available at my etsy shop.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Neighbor Teacher Friend

F. Marilyn Downey moved to her next celestial adventure February 28. She remains a generous and loving spirit, happy to help those in need, glittering the realm with her infectious laugh, her ongoing skill at finding the brightness wherever her eyes alight, with a steady and gracious demand that there is light in everyone and everything. "See the light, Linda," she'd remind me when I complained about some wrong. "See the light in him/her." It took years for me to learn this, and I'd confess that. "Okay, I saw his light. Teeny light. Dim." She lived next door, and I'd visit her bearing hot cake, a new recipe, a good story. In her home there was always peace and love. She had many crystals in her front window, and the light would dance in the sun. Rainbows bounced on the ceiling, walls, our skin. One day I'd come to loan her a book, and I looked up. On the ceiling was this angel (the image is a photograph of her.) We watched in awe. I had to figure out where it was coming from (angels aren't really on ceilings, right?) It was the light from a crystal bouncing from the plastic cover of the library book. Marilyn was an angel on earth. And now she's an angel in everyone's ceiling. I will not mourn her passing, because she will always be with me. And we have an arrangement to meet at the new galaxy forming in about 65,000,000 years. Nakemiin, dear friend.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Predatory Physician Practices

Who was that masked man? I picked up my father from Providence Park Hospital today. He's been there since Saturday in the cardiac care step-down unit. Not his first tour. He's been twice on the 5th floor, entering from ER with congestive heart failure, and other issues attached to being 85+ years old. This visit went Twilight Zone. Keep in mind he's now 88. This entry was precipitated not by heart issues, but an onset of blindness in his left eye. Associated nausea. This is the first time he saw a stretcher come into his house - he was not breathing the last two times. He was responsive and all signs normal when he left the house. Near as I can figure, within 10 minutes his lungs were full of liquid and he landed at the hospital straight into the trauma unit. From there he was transferred to cardiac care. A different floor. No idea what the difference between the 5th floor and the 2nd floor cardiac care, but the doctor portion of this stage was bizarre. We left today with a list of 8 Practice Attendings. That's groupese for opthalmalogy (2 regular, one surgeon) cardiac (1 who knows, and his crew), one neurologist and a couple of crew. And that's the list of Practices, as the nurse told me. Does not include the rest of the Crew who will bill. The opthalmic issue is serious. He had a CRAO, and is blind in his left eye. A Saturday to Friday stay, and several attempts to talk to a heart guy, and no response. Cardiologist attending - and blimey here's his name - Dr. Raina ordered a stress test. On an 88 year old man with congestive heart failure, peripheral artery disease, a blood clot roaming in his left brain that BLINDED HIM IN THAT EYE, and didn't consult anyone else. Dad thought this was a test he needed to get the hell out of the hospital. He wasn't asked to consent to this procedure until he was being wheeled into the unit. Where am I going, he asked. Sidebar: the photos taken after the chemical stress test had to be redone because they took a picture of the monitor. Another 20 minutes in the tube. And they banged his elbow coming out the photo unit, which is still sensitive. Raina's mission I believe, because he told Dad what he thought should happen was at the least a carotid artery reaming, a heart catheterization, and next a pacemaker. My father had no evidence of any symptom that would require a pacemaker. He doesn't have arterial fibrillation. He hasn't had a heart attack. He has a fucking weak heart because he's 88 and he's got arterial problems. What I found out today, checking his discharge paperwork is that he hasn't been getting his normal course of medications. Two of the heart meds (the ONLY two he's been taking were 1) filled at a cost through Providence Park when he has a 90 day supply from the VA at home and 2) were being delivered to him in the hospital at, in one case 1/2 the dose he's accustomed to taking, and second, 1/4 the dose he's accustomed to taking. I don't do math good, but 30 mg is about a quarter of 120 mg. Perhaps there was a medical reason for this. And here we are. When I called to ask for Raina to call me back, he didn't. He may or may not have told my father he had no intention to call his daughter. My father, bless him, is confused. And that's where this type of medical person steps in. Doctors in specialties dealing with elderly patients and trolling for procedures. One of these birds called me after I was in bed, and then reached my sister, the second on the list to find out if the DNR was real. If the DNR was real. What the fuck is that about? Absent an involved family, your loved one is a potential target for procedures. And billing. I'll fight Raina's bills. And the rest of the Practices that showed up. Opthalmic surgery? My Dad won't because he's that generation, and he has good insurance. This will never happen to me. And I hope it doesn't happen to you.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Playing with a New Word for Aging

I got to this age the way everyone else does - by hanging around on this planet for X amount of time. What do we call being over 65? I read a couple of comments today without active participation until I decided to make up my own word for an older person. Making up words is more fun than aging. A word's power gets muddied in perception. Evidence crone which has slumped in popular usage over the centuries. Elder, some object to as too Druish. Senior? OK if there's a golf league to join or a discount to be had. Old. Nobody cares much for that because. Flowchart. That person with the wheelchair? Not me yet. If we think of this process of hanging around on earth for X time, (or for the math fans Earth+Time=Old. Maybe X=ET?) as spiritual growth or wisdom plus physical decline that gives me a place to word search. Wax and wane don't quite do the job because the etymology of those words is too close to make a word that's interesting or simple. Wax can mean grow in intensity, whether light in the case of the moon; or power in the case of potential energy (like a wound watch spring). That gives us aug. Augere in Latin, or Olde English, although that leads to augment and that leads to ED junk and I'm not going there. Wane gives us Latin vanus (empty) although I don't believe that etymological root. Ah, Yahoo, so not a root but a word itself. Combine spiritual growth and bodily decline. We're already in the realm of philosophical. Philosophy is not an antidote to science. Started reading a book by a philosopher which I then stopped reading because philosophy + science gets into the realm of gobbledygook. Holding two opposite thoughts in your head at the same time=bonkers. And getting a PhD in philosophy seems redundant to me. So trying to combine spiritual growth, which is potential energy (philosophy), but not applicable to every human's bodily decay over time, which is science and inescapable for everyone born of woman. That doesn't feel as much like bonkers. While the words are fun and highly entertaining for those of us old people who are terribly fond of words, old is old. No judgment on whether there is spiritual growth attained, or wisdom cultivated (and then, even more difficult: prove applied.) Judgment vs. discernment. Adding one more thought into this cauldron. So I'll stop here and go do something simple like laundry. Haven't even touched on the gobbledygookiery of adding anti-aging culture into the hopper. On to laundry...although...Latin de (to turn aside) as in decline, combined with a Latin word for growth silva is cool. Desilva. Turn aside from green? Maybe silva on its own. I am old. I am silva. [Photo: Detroit Bold is excellent coffee.]

Friday, February 5, 2016

My Next President

Imagine it's 2017. The president has been busy, vetting cabinet members, making new alliances and contacting old friends in Congress, firming up gubernatorial relationships state to state. Staff is putting out remaining fires from the campaign, paying bills, making new friends among staff in Congress, reaffirming commitments, bridging differences. Campaign workers are sending resumes for the next job. Newspapers are predicting whatever shiny new or stale old events their editorial board dictates. Life goes on. Politics goes on. Politicos move focus to the 2018 elections. Overseas news services ask what this new prez will do about all the hot spots on the globe. NGOs scribble grant proposals. What's your president doing? If my choice candidate is president, the issues that matter to me are being addressed already. Cabinet nominees are chosen and interviewed. Foreign government allies have been contacted, ambassadors in place or on their way to their new assignments. The first Cabinet positions have been sent to Congress for confirmation. Those posts will be the ones that are important in 2017. State, Education, Health and Human Services, Defense. Women's issues, children's issues will be on the mind and agenda of the President, and foreign policy initiatives are underway. Global governments that are not allies have been contacted as well, told emphatically what will remain the same, what will not. If a confirmation for State can be moved quickly, that Secretary will be on the road now, now, now. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright once said it was a huge diplomatic advantage to land on an airfield and step out of Air Force One. I believe and will vote to help ensure that when Air Force One lands, the huge diplomatic advantage will be that President H. R. Clinton steps off that plane.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Flint Michigan Water Crisis Volunteers

Water is life. Clean water is healthy life. For millions on our planet, clean water is a luxury. For those of us who are blessed to have water right out of our tap, we don't think about how safe that water is. People in Flint, Michigan know their water is harmful, poisoned by bureaucrats that counted money instead of people. There is a Chain of Fools that orchestrated this disaster. Always when officials act inhumanly, there are good humans who offer help to clean up the mess. The people who are volunteering in Flint are heroes. Whether it is sending water, delivering water, helping residents fit filters to their taps, demonstrating to change the way democracy has been ripped out of Michigan, giving rides to people who cannot get to the fire stations for test kits or water, supporting other volunteers. These are everyday heroes. I celebrate and admire their courage, fortitude and grace.