Windchime Walker's Journal 39 Archive

To read previous journal entries, please go to: Journal 1 archive 2/25-3/24/00, Journal 2 archive 3/25-4/24/00, Journal 3 archive 4/25-5/24/00, Journal 4 archive 5/25-6/24/00, Journal 5 archive 6/25-7/24/00, Journal 6 archive 7/25-8/24/00, Journal7 archive 8/25-9/24/00, Journal 8 archive 9/25-10/24/00, Journal 9 archive 10/25-11/24/00, Journal 10 archive 11/25-12/24/00, Journal 11 archive 12/25/00-1/24/01, Journal 12 archive 1/25-2/24/01, Journal 13 archive 2/25-3/24/01, Journal 14 archive 3/25-4/24/01, Journal 15 archive 4/25-5/24/01, Journal 16 archive 5/25-6/24/01, Journal 17 archive 6/25-7/24/01, Journal 18 archive 7/25-8/24/01, Journal 19 archive 8/25-9/24/01, Journal 20 archive 9/25-10/24/01, Journal 21 archive 10/25-11/24/01, Journal 22 archive 11/25-12/24/01, Journal 23 archive 12/25/01-1/24/02, Journal 24 archive 1/25-2/24/02, Journal 25 archive 2/25-3/24/02, Journal 26 archive 3/25-4/24/02, Journal 27 archive 4/25-5/24/02, Journal 28 archive 5/25-6/24/02, Journal 29 archive 6/25-7/24/02, Journal 30 archive 7/25-8/24/02, Journal 31 archive 8/25-9/24/02,Journal 32 archive 9/25-10/24/02, Journal 33 archive 10/25-11/24/02, Journal 34 archive 11/25-12/24/02, Journal 35 archive 12/25/02-1/24/03, Journal 36 archive 1/25-2/24/03, Journal 37 archive 2/25-3/25/03, Journal 38 archive 3/26-4/24/03, Journal 39 archive 4/25-5/24/03, Journal 40 archive 5/25-6-24/03, Journal 41 archive 6/25-7/24/03, Journal 42 archive 7/25-8/24/03, Journal 43 archive 8/25-9/24/03, Journal 44 archive 9/25-10/24/03, Journal 45 archive 10/25-11/24/03, Journal 46 archive 11/25-12/24/03, Journal 47 archive 12/25/03-1/24/04, Journal 48 archive 1/25-2/24/04, Journal 49 archive 2/25-3/24/04, Journal 50 archive 3/25-4/24/04, Journal 51 archive 4/25-5/24/04, Journal 52 archive 5/25-6/24/04, Journal 53 archive 6/25-7/24/04, Journal 54 archive 7/25-8/24/04, Journal 55 archive 8/25-9/24/04, Journal 56 archive 9/25-10/24/04, Journal 57 archive 10/25-11/24/04, Journal 58 archive 11/25-12/24/04, Journal 59 archive 12/25/04-1/24/05, Journal 60 archive 1/25-2/24/05, Journal 61 archive 2/25-3/24/05, Journal 62 archive 3/25-4/24/05, Journal 63 archive 4/25-5/24/05, Journal 64 archive 5/25-6/24/05, Journal 65 archive 6/25-7/24/05, Journal 66 archive 7/25-8/24/05, Journal 67 archive 8/25-9/24/05, Journal 68 archive 9/25-10/24/05, Journal 69 archive 10/25-11/24/05, Journal 70 archive 11/25-12/24/05, Journal 71 archive 12/25/05-1/24/06, Journal 72 archive 1/25-2/24/06

To read my current journal, please go to: windchime walker's journal

*Now that I have a digital camera, journal entries may be linked to related photos. To access the photos, simply click on the text printed in color.The easiest way to navigate going back and forth between photo links and journal text is to click on your "back" button at the left of your tool bar.


New things can be SO disconcerting! My nephew John did an amazing job of reorganizing my site with its 10,000 files (not an exaggeration). He spent over 24 hours doing it, and I'm sure he has gray hairs to prove it, but when I just tried to upload this journal page's photo and it didn't show up immediately online, I panicked. I called John and he simply said, "Click your 'refresh' icon and see if that does the trick." It did. Duh. It's not that I don't know to do that, but because I'm feeling so unsettled with this new way of doing things, I lost my ability to think. Know what I mean?

By the way, the reorganization was totally behind the scenes. As soon as all 10,000 files are uploaded--this time within folders of 500 files or less--you shouldn't notice any difference in the layout of my site. That is, except for the fact that you'll need to change your bookmarks because my file names have changed. The only file name that remained the same is my home page. But don't get nervous if links to photos don't work for awhile, especially in my journal archives. I have about 4000 more photo files to upload!

It was amazing to watch John tackle each problem as it came up--and there were plenty--without ever losing his composure or his confidence that there would be some way to resolve it. Of course he has been a computer person since the 1960s, back when he and his buddies would go to a place where the computers took up the whole room. And he's been a Mac person since the first Apple dropped from the tree. What a dear guy to spend his weekend helping his auntie in this way!

I had a marvelous trip east and look forward to sharing it with you, but now I've got to go to bed. I got up at 5:30 AM this morning and was on the road before 7 AM. The five and a half hour drive from Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania went well, and I was home before 12:30 PM. Except for dinner and a walk/scoot with Eddie, I've been at my computer since then. Enough already. Time for bed!

Or so I thought.

After an hour and a half on the phone with John trying to troubleshoot my difficulty uploading this new journal entry to my web site, I'm about to call it a night. We don't know what's wrong, but maybe it's something to do with my web design software. Whatever it is will just have to wait, at least until tomorrow. My eyes are beginning to close...


Yes, I am definitely on a steep learning curve here. As of today I'm using a new web design software--Adobe PageMill--and find it slow going. So you, my faithful readers, may find things looking/acting a bit differently until I get accustomed to this new tool. And I'm also finding that a good number of my photo files will have to be renamed so as to work properly in this new format. Time (and a bit of extra effort) heals all broken links.

But what I want to write about is the magic of the last six days. As you know, I drove the 580 miles from Detroit to Washington, DC by myself. This was my third such journey and I find being a solitary traveler suits me well. I make the drive in two days--five and a half hours each day--and enjoy times of silence interspersed with listening to music and singing. This trip served as a four-day practice session for the O Beautiful Gaia CD project. The rough cut CD we'd made in March was a wonderful rehearsal tape.

So there I was riding through spring-clad farmlands and mountains, singing love songs to the earth. It made the songs come alive in a new way. As I sang of flowing streams, there they were rushing headlong in the green marshland beside me. Stately maples stood with their arms full of fresh green leaves. And a monarch butterfly actually flew in front of my car the minute I'd finished singing the following verse to "I Sing the Longing":

We are the monarchs
Floating on earth's golden air
Our light wings soaring
In silent prayer

It wasn't simply the graphic enactment of what I was singing that provided a sense of wonder; it was the mystery of travelling from season to season within a few hours time. In the flat farmlands of Ohio, it was early spring, with newly-leafed trees sheltering houses while yellow forsythia bushes and pink magnolias provided accents of color. But most of the trees that bordered recently-plowed fields or stood together in forests were still in bud. And then I entered the mountains of Pennsylvania, and later, West Virginia and northern Maryland. There, the season depended on the elevation. When driving through mountains below 2000 feet above sea level, spring had taken hold with breathtaking variations in green. But as I climbed the highest peaks--around 3000 feet in elevation--I went back in time to what looked like late winter, with bare trees scribbling black-and-white messages across cerelean blue skies. When I dropped south into Maryland and later, into Washington, DC, spring was in its full glory with all the trees leafed and mountains of azalea bushes vying with one another in radiant cloaks of pink, purple and white. Oh, and how could I forget the wild dogwood (white) and mountain laurels (purple-pink) carpeting forested hills at the lower elevations in West Virginia and Maryland. It's a wonder I could keep my eyes on the road.

And that was just the drive.

As you know, the purpose of my trip was to avail myself of my nephew John's generous offer to help reorganize my web site files. For four years, I'd been adding to this web site file-by-file, until the 10,000 began to choke every piece of software I used to maintain it. Something had to be done, and fast. John offered to download this mountain of material, reorganize it into folders, and upload it in its more workable format. As I wrote in yesterday's journal, this kind offer translated into over 24 hours of work and many opportunities to practice problem-solving techniques. John stayed his old sweet self throughout.

That was what ended up being the most fun: joining him and Kirsten for two delightful dinners (Indian and Japanese--my favorite kinds of food), and hanging out all day Sunday at their house. In the 37 years I've known John, we'd never before spent so much time together. I come away with a deep admiration for this eldest son of my husband's brother, and a love and appreciation of his wife Kirsten and how they are together. This opportunity to spend unhurried time with my nephew and his wife--even more than the amazing work John accomplished with my web site--is what I will remember as the grace of my trip.

And there was one more grace that will stay with me. It happened on Saturday when John and Kirsten had a Bar Mitzvah to attend, so I was free to go into DC and "do my thing." Any regular reader can probably guess what that "thing" was. Going to picket the White House, of course.

This time I didn't take a sign. It was drizzling and I just didn't feel like lugging it along. So I scooted to the Medical Center (red line) Metro station that was two blocks from my motel, and got into town at noon. When I arrived at the Peace Park across from the White House, there were so many people milling around that I thought there must be a peace demo going on. But as I got closer, I saw it was just hoards of tourists having their friends and familys take photos of them in front of the White House. It amazes me that people still want to be photographed in front of a building that houses the most dangerous president in America's history, but I guess that's why I'm out of step with the general public.

I greeted Conchita--one of this country's most faithful witnesses for peace--and was happily welcomed by her in return. We've become sisters over the years that I have chosen to mount solitary White House protests against the US propensity for war and global domination. If you recall, Conchita has lived in a tent in front of the White House for 22 years, standing firm against the proliferation of nuclear weapons and the US government's many wars and human rights abuses. Her mission is to educate tourists who come to this spot looking for reflected glory from the house-of-power across the street. These days she asks people to inform themselves on what this country's government and military are doing both domestically and globally, and then to meditate on all that they read/see/hear. Only then can they begin to think for themselves. It is an uphill battle. I felt privileged to join her in her work.

Sometimes you become invisible when you try to talk to people, other times you encounter folks who want to argue, but occasionally you discover a sister or brother in the struggle for peace. And so it was with Linda and Barclay, an older couple from Pasadena, California. When Linda said she usually wears a no-nukes pin, I knew we were kindred spirits. And my knowing only deepened the longer we talked. I offered her a choice of the pins I'd bought last weekend at the Drum 4 Peace demo in Ann Arbor, and she chose one that simply says "No War." She put it right on her coat. After perhaps a half hour, she leaned down and said softly, "I don't usually tell people this, but somehow I want you to know. My father was a Nobel Laureate." I asked his name and she answered, "Linus Pauling." LINUS PAULING!!! I wanted to shout. Imagine meeting the daughter of the man whose untiring efforts for nuclear disarmament had resulted in the 1963 Limited Test Ban treaty between the US, Great Britain and Russia...and meeting her as I demonstrated in solidarity with a longtime nuclear disarmament advocate like Conchita! What I'd call a harmonic convergence.

As we looked across the street to the White House, Linda told me a little of what it had been like to have a father like Linus Pauling. The thing she remembers most vividly about her Dad was his habit of always saying what he believed, no matter to whom he was speaking or what the circumstance. For instance, on the day he was to be honored as Nobel Laureate at a White House reception, Linus Pauling picketed in front of the White House carrying a sign that said, "Kennedy, Khrushchev--No More Nuclear Arms!" Later that evening he was introduced to Jackie Kennedy in the receiving line. She said, "Ah, Dr. Pauling, Caroline came up to me this afternoon and asked me if her Daddy had done something wrong again because someone was outside holding up a sign." When he shook President Kennedy's hand, Jack smiled and said, "Thank you for all you do."

Linda said that she wished her Dad were alive today: he'd have a lot to say!

She and Barclay were in Washington, DC this week for a national conference of scientists. Apparently Barclay is a geologist who specializes in glaciers in Anarctica. And yes, they are melting, which makes me so sad. Anyway, Linda and I exchanged email addresses and she had Barclay take a picture of us together. As I say, it was a truly graced moment.

I realized on the drive home that the deep sorrow I'd been feeling since March 19 had lifted. Not that I wasn't still experiencing pain over what is happening in Iraq, but it was no longer all that I could feel. Joy had eased its way back into my life, and for that I am grateful. I then realized that I had given George W Bush and his cruel pals too much power. After all, even those power-hungry men and woman could not stop winter from giving way to spring. Their "power" is all in the eyes of the beholders. If we don't give it to them, they don't have it. So I hereby announce that those who swagger through Washington's halls of power no longer hold my happiness or lack thereof in their grasping hands. I claim my right to my own sense of power. Let those who live by lies and threats fall like the empty houses of cards they have so uncaringly built.


The first crown had written on it, "Best teacher." The next was "You rock!." As this morning's fourth grade class period went on, I saw "Stop war! Start peace!", a few more "You rock!", "#1 teacher", and finally, "Ms Patricia, I love you." By the afternoon when the third grade class started decorating Ms. Patricia, my head was already covered with so many crowns they had to turn to bracelets and a necklace. "You rule!" and "Ms Patricia rules so so much" were the most unusual, and my personal favorite was a bracelet with three colored signs saying, "Mother of Nature, Mother of Peace, Mother of Freedom." Chris creatively wrote my name in the paper strips that the kids were using to decorate Ms Patricia and their planets.

Is it any wonder I love these kids? (Wish I could show you an un-edited photo, but without having parental permission, I have to protect their identities.)

But I know that these Thursdays of joy are soon coming to an end, at least for this year. We only have six more weeks until school lets out for the summer. I'm sure the teachers are counting the days. Probably the kids are too. But not me. I love being with these children and savor every moment of every day we're together. The long summer vacation looms as a period in the desert, parted from a source of life. Sigh.

Here are photos--one, two, three--of the student work that Susan, the wonderful art teacher who lets me sit in on her classes, chose for the district-wide student art show that will be opening next Tuesday. Mohammad, a fifth grader, was sitting at my table today. He was so proud that his painting was to be in this year's exhibit. I'm happy for him too, but am relieved that Susan did the choosing this year. How does one pick a few jewels from such a storehouse of riches?

FRIDAY, MAY 2, 2003

Today I wrote the following prose poem to honor Conchita, the extraordinary woman with whom I stood in front of the White House last Saturday. I want to introduce my O Beautiful Gaia sisters to this woman of courage at our monthly gathering tomorrow. I've been asked to be the "memory keeper" of a new song that Carolyn McDade brought to our circle when we were in the studio taping the rough cut CD at the end of March. It is called, "We Shall Be Moved", and is intended to companion the traditional song of struggle, "We Shall Not Be Moved", which we will also be singing. "We Shall Be Moved" celebrates what moves us to action, two of the verses being "women of courage" and "justice rising." I think you'll see why I want to bring Conchita into our circle tomorrow.

Doing Homage To a Woman of Courage

For twenty-two years Conchita has lived
in a small plastic-covered tent on a city
sidewalk. Inside this tent is a wooden
platform on which she sleeps. She sleeps
sitting up because she's been told it is
against the law to sleep lying down in this
federal park that is her home.

For twenty-two years Conchita has spoken
her truth to tourists more interested in being
photographed in front of the halls of power than
in examining and thinking about what happens

For twenty-two years Conchita has carefully
read the Washington Post every day to see
what they are doing in the house across the
street. Every bit of information she takes in
is seen in the context of what has gone before.
She is a living textbook of American history.

For twenty-two years Conchita has been less
concerned about snow, sleet, hail and thunder-
storms than about the military men who beat her,
who maced her and threatened her life. The helmet
she wears under a scarf-covered wig makes her look
odd but helps her feel safe, especially when she

For twenty-two years Conchita has spent her days
printing leaflets and updating her photo-laden posters
that document the horrors of war. She rides a donated
bike to a local cafe to read the paper, check her emails,
keep up her web site and use their toilet. On dry days
she paints doves and the words "peace" and "justice"
on rocks that she gives away. She lives on donations of
food, money and time.

For twenty-two years Conchita has been ridiculed,
ignored, laughed at, cursed, pitied and occasionally
listened to by those to whom she devotes her life.

For twenty-two years Conchita's closest neighbor has
been the President of the United States but they
have never met.

For twenty-two years she has stood as a presence of
peace, truth and justice in a place where these things
are often just words.

For twenty-two years Conchita has transformed our planet.

by Patricia Lay-Dorsey


We never know how our lives touch others. Until Conchita reads the email I sent her tonight, she could never have imagined that her faithful witness for peace in front of the White House would transform the lives of 50 Canadian and American women, only one of whom she had ever met. This is such an important learning for us all, especially now when it can seem that all our efforts for peace have come to naught. We do not know--and may never know--how far the ripples reach out from the stone that each of us drops into the lake of our communal consciousness.

This is what I wrote Conchita tonight:

From: Patricia Lay-Dorsey
Date: Sat, 03 May 2003 20:29:50 -0400
To: <>
Subject: To my sister Conchita

Dear sister

Do you remember me? I am the white-haired woman on a disabled scooter who spent the afternoon with you last Saturday, April 26. We have also met a number of other times that I have come to picket in front of the White House whenever I am in DC visiting family. You have always been so welcoming to me, and I am privileged to have one of your hand-painted stones. Mine is blue with a white dove and the words "peace" on one side and "justice" on the other. Sometimes you have even taken pictures of my signs. One that I remember you particularly liked said, "American Generosity, Israeli Atrocities."

Our time together last Saturday made a profound impression on me. I felt we connected heart-to-heart in a deeper way than ever before. It was an honor to stand there with you as we did our best to talk to the many tourists who wanted a glimpse of the White House. If you remember, I kept trying to get them to see YOU instead of that dwelling that houses such cruel and arrogant persons. I kept saying, "Look here! This woman (Conchita) has been here for 22 years standing for peace and justice! See what it means to be faithful and committed to peace!" Some of them heard my words and some didn't, but you just kept doing what you always do no matter what...and that is educating the people and encouraging them to wake up and see what is happening in the world around them.

I came back home to Detroit on Tuesday and wrote about you in my online journal (http://www.windchimewalker/journal.html). I have found myself thinking of you frequently since then. When I was asked by my women's singing community to introduce, "We Shall Be Moved", one of the songs that we are preparing to record on a CD called "O Beautiful Gaia", I knew I wanted to use your story to inspire the women to become ever more committed to saving our precious planet. And so yesterday I wrote a prose poem dedicated to you. It is titled, "Doing Homage to a Woman of Courage."

Today I read this poem to 50 women who are part of this CD project--half Canadians and half Americans. Conchita, they got tears in their eyes and have been speaking of you ever since. For the rest of the day, whenever our song leader wanted us to dig deeper and sing from our hearts, she would say, "Remember Conchita. Sing this for Conchita!"

You can never know how much your faithful witness for peace touches people and transforms their lives. You have done it for me, for the 50 women with whom I sing, and for all the persons who read my web journal. Your life has such meaning and purpose, dear Conchita, and I am honored to feel that we are sisters. And now I will show you the poem I wrote for you:

Doing Homage To a Woman of Courage

For twenty-two years Conchita has lived
in a small plastic-covered tent on a city
sidewalk. Inside this tent is a wooden
platform on which she sleeps. She sleeps
sitting up because she's been told it is
against the law to sleep lying down in this
federal park that is her home.

For twenty-two years Conchita has spoken
her truth to tourists more interested in being
photographed in front of the halls of power than
in examining and thinking about what happens

For twenty-two years Conchita has carefully
read the Washington Post every day to see
what they are doing in the house across the
street. Every bit of information she takes in
is seen in the context of what has gone before.
She is a living textbook of American history.

For twenty-two years Conchita has been less
concerned about snow, sleet, hail and thunder-
storms than about the military men who beat her,
who maced her and threatened her life. The helmet
she wears under a scarf-covered wig makes her look
odd but helps her feel safe, especially when she

For twenty-two years Conchita has spent her days
printing leaflets and updating her photo-laden posters
that document the horrors of war. She rides a donated
bike to a local cafe to read the paper, check her emails,
keep up her web site and use their toilet. On dry days
she paints doves and the words "peace" and "justice"
on rocks that she gives away. She lives on donations of
food, money and time.

For twenty-two years Conchita has been ridiculed,
ignored, laughed at, cursed, pitied and occasionally
listened to by those to whom she devotes her life.

For twenty-two years Conchita's closest neighbor has
been the President of the United States but they
have never met.

For twenty-two years she has stood as a presence of
peace, truth and justice in a place where these things
are often just words.

For twenty-two years Conchita has transformed our planet.


May all your days be bright and your dreams at night bring you comfort. May you know how valued you are and what powers of healing and transformation you bring to our wounded world. May you be blessed.

with love and peace from your sister


My dear friends, I encourage you to go visit Conchita at her web site, and email her if you feel inspired to do so. I know it would mean a lot to her to hear from you. Her URL is:

I also found a photo of Conchita that I had taken on September 5, 2002. On that warm late summer day, her tent was not covered with plastic as it was after the heavy rainstorm last Saturday. But, whatever the weather, Conchita is always there. If you ever go to Washington, DC, I invite you to go visit her. As the song says, "You shall be moved."

The story of our day together:

Each time our O Beautiful Gaia community meets, we drop to a deeper level of trust, heart-connection, openness and oneness. And it shows in the music we make. Today's monthly gathering was spent almost entirely in song. Now that we have the rough-cut CD to work from, we see where we need to go between now and mid-June when we will tape the final least our part of it.

As you may recall, there are three bio-regions of women who are part of this project: 1) our Great Lakes Basin; 2) Atlantic Canada; and 3) Atlantic New England. About 150 women in all. Each region will tape their part of the CD in their own area, and then Carolyn McDade and the tech wizards will put it all together in the form of a double CD titled "O Beautiful Gaia." It is scheduled for release in autumn 2003. Not only will there be 150 voices, but each region also has musicians who will bring their gifts to the mix. Each community has been meeting at least one full day a month since September. It is a tremendous commitment of time, energy and creativity. And it is about so much more than a CD: it is about doing everything we can as individuals and communities to help preserve this precious planet--Gaia--that is our home. To that end we in the Great Lakes Basin have created small groups to work on such things as land conservancy, as well as having brought in speakers to educate and inspire us.

One of our Great Lakes sisters, Marion Overholt, brought us wonderful news today. For the first time ever, our own Detroit River is making environmental history by the recent appointment of two River-Keepers, one from Ontario and the other from Michigan, who will be working hand-in-hand to protect the 32 miles of this busy waterway. Marion said it was the O Beautiful Gaia project that inspired her to join the bi-national Detroit River-Keepers committee in the first place.

Today, we also saw the tangible results of another of our Great Lakes Basin small group projects. With the help of a gifted quilt-maker from Ann Arbor, Michigan, the squares that so many of our women had made--not to mention those made by the singing circle of our sisters from Georgetown, Ontario--were before us in the form of a finished quilt that made me think of the blue-green river that we share. It was a special moment when the women who had created the squares leaned down to show us which ones were theirs.

But, as I said, we spent most of the day in song. I'd like to take you around the circle, starting first with Kobe who recently broke her foot and joined us even though she was quite uncomfortable. And here is the rest of the circle: photo #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7. With the help of our inspired and inspiring song leader Nancy, our faithful sister Deanne on the keyboard, the reflections/technical reminders presented by each song's "memory-keepers", and the total focus and commitment of each sister in the circle, we further embodied "...what sings a song into the depths of meaning."

From Carolyn McDade, the spiritual mother of this project, we received the following message:

For this is what sings a song into the depths of meaning. Each song has its character and story; each singer her store of truth and passion, vulnerability and strength. Each singer takes her place in the singing. She is fully there in presence and responsibility. She is there by an inner authority. It is singing with an unshielded heart, a deep and knowing mind--it is personal, communal.

We sing for ourselves and one another. We sing for more than ourselves and one another. I cannot hide my longing that we come to this field of songs as visionary women. We each bring that by which we gauge our living--that which calls us to our deepest and our best. We immerse ourselves in singing the store of wonder and longing our lives hold, all that we have wept over, gathered in the shelter of our daily purpose. Go deep...deeper...the singing must burn first in the heart--the song will take leaps with the power of its singing.

Carolyn McDade

SUNDAY, MAY 4, 2003

Ed and I used this beautiful spring day well.

I left the house about 10:30 AM, intending to scoot over to meet Ed at his office. On the way I saw many signs of life. What first captured my heart were flowering trees with their arms stretching toward blue, blue skies. Next it was spring flowers bursting forth from the earth, among them tulips of red and golden hues, and yellow daffodils. And finally, I was deeply touched by walkers I saw along my route, persons wearing t-shirts with "MS Walk" emblazened on the back. Across from Ed's office, I stopped to talk with two MS Walk volunteers, a daughter with her mother, Betty and June. They were offering the walkers (and me) bananas, water, carbo snacks, and access to a bank of porta-potties. June was diagnosed with MS nine years ago and always helps with this annual fundraiser. It was interesting to share a bit of our stories with one another.

When I caught up with Ed at his office, I managed to get this photo of him in a reflective moment. We decided to walk/scoot down to the garden store about a mile away and see if we could find a replacement part for his broken fountain. He took this picture of me on the way. After we'd taken care of our business, we walk/scooted to the bagel and soup restaurant, where we happily ate lunch together at a sidewalk table. And then we returned to his office. Just in the nick of time, as it turned out, because my battery light started blinking soon after we got there. Ed piled me and my scooter in his car and drove us home.

I spent the rest of the day completing yesterday's journal entry--scroll down to read about our Gaia gathering--and continuing my ongoing web file reorganization project. Tonight we started watching an excellent film that Ed had rented from the library. "Iris" is the true story of the brilliant novelist Iris Murdoch's descent into dementia and her husband's faithful care of her. A most touching story of love.

MONDAY, MAY 5, 2003

I have finally finished uploading 9000 of my reorganized web files to my web site. But that still leaves almost 1000 files to go. Unfortunately, these files will require time-consuming changes before I can put them back up.

When I got my digital camera in December 2000, I started adding photos to my daily online journal. Unfortunately, I proceeded without any study of the process I should be using. So I often used the character "&" when naming my photo files. Now, none of those links works. So, in order to repair those broken links, I must change the name of every file that contains "&". Then, because the files will have different names, I will have to replace each photo in its special web page. And finally, the link contained in the text of my 38 journal archives will also need to be changed. A tedious proposition, to be sure, but one that must be done.

It helps to be a bit of a bulldog if you plan to go into web design. It also helps to research things ahead of time so you don't end up having to change everything a few years later. If you're intending to put up a web site, I have two pieces of advice: 1) Put all of your web files into folders from the beginning; 2) Do not use anything but dashes and underlines to connect the words when you name your web files.

Happily, I was not stuck to the computer the entire day. I scooted down to swim laps at the middle school this evening. And I was very fortunate because the rains came while I was in the pool swimming, but were done by the time I was ready to scoot home. The night sky was beautiful with puffy clouds and a crescent moon. I just had to watch for puddles.

TUESDAY, MAY 6, 2003

There were two reasons why I went to school today instead of Thursday: 1) Susan, the teacher, will be with the fourth graders at camp on Thursday; and 2) Today was the opening reception for the Dearborn Public Schools City Wide Arts Festival, in which thirteen of our students have work. Actually, I'm getting so sad about school coming to an end in a few weeks that, starting next week, I'm going to try to go in on both Tuesdays and Thursdays. I suspect my growing nostagia showed in the pencil portraits I did of students as they worked in four art classes today. I just don't want to let them go.

The art reception was wonderful! It's such a joy to see the youngsters filled with well-earned pride, pride that is mirrored by their families. And since I was able to get their parents' permission to put their pictures up on the web, I can finally show you some of our students.

Here is our youngest exhibitor, Sabrina, a kindergartener, in front of her painting titled "My House." Zeinab, a second grader, had her "Texture Monster" painting in the show. She had the proud support of her four sisters and mother with her. Areej, a fourth grader, posed for me in front of her "Egyptian Areej" self portrait. Another fourth grader, Mohamed, was there and let me take a picture of him in front of his watercolor, "My Bedroom." His sister wanted her picture taken too. And how could I not take a picture of the art teacher who helped inspire all of this creativity? I sure hope these youngsters realize--if not now, at least in years to come--how very fortunate they have been to have Susan Briggs introduce them to art. She is an exceptional teacher.

Finally, I couldn't resist taking a picture of one of the outstanding senior artists, Nabaa, who posed for me with her baby sister, Fedek, of whom she had drawn this pastel portrait. Nabaa is planning to study medicine after she graduates from high school, but I encouraged her to continue to study art. She has a unique vision.


This was a day when I had things I had to say. The first was in the form of a Letter to the Editor of the New York Times:

Subject: Fund our future

Dear editors

I am an artist who volunteers in the art classes at a K-5 school in Dearborn, Michigan. At least 85% of our students are Muslim and are from Middle Eastern countries. The US had billions of dollars available to bomb their people to dust, but cannot seem to come up with the thousands needed to keep the teachers and programs we already have.

We at my school have now had four of our teachers pink-slipped because of budget cuts for next year, and have lost the city-wide art coordinator position that had helped to make our district's art program so fine. I urge Congress to stop funding war and start funding education. Fund our future; do not fund further destruction.

Patricia Lay Dorsey

The second was another in a series of group emails that I've felt compelled to send out during the past months:

Subject: The real American Agenda

Dear friends

After the US Commander-In-Chief's PR advisors managed to cast him as a "military hero" when he landed on the deck of the carrier Abraham Lincoln in the co-pilot's seat of a Navy S-3B Viking combat aircraft, you can be sure that mainstream news coverage of Iraq will soon go the way of formerly-vanquished Afghanistan. It will no longer be considered "newsworthy", ie., Iraq's story will no longer be of use to the Washington crowd who prefers to manipulate public opinion only when they want something, not once they've got it. Especially if the aftermath of their "victory" becomes messy and embarrassing, as it already is in Iraq and has been for a long time in Afghanistan. A proven method to deflect attention from a past debacle is to set up a new one. Whether Syria, Iran, North Korea or even Egypt, there are always new fish to fry...and new empires to build.

So we will need to be even more vigilant in tracking down news of Iraq and its people. As always, I recommend going to alternative news sources online, especially those that offer articles and op/ed pieces from international newspapers. So far, the US is the only Western nation where the media and press have, except for rare exceptions, been bought and paid for by governmental/military and corporate interests that insist on unanimity of thought.

To gain an eye-opening perspective of what the real American Agenda is in Iraq and the Middle East, I invite you to read Haroon Siddiqui's article from Sunday's Toronto Star. I have copied it to the end of this email, or you can read it online at:

Remember, my friends, even during these trying times, everything we do to shed the light of truth on the darkness of half-truths and outright lies, has the power to change minds and create new members of our global peace community. So, stay strong and keep speaking your truth.

in pursuit of peace

"My heart is moved by all I cannot save, so much has been destroyed. I have to cast my lot with those who, age after age, perversely with no extraordinary power reconstitute the world." ---Adrienne Rich

Real American Agenda Now Becoming Clear
Haroon Siddiqui
The Toronto Star

Sunday 4 May 2003

A superpower like the United States does not invade a pipsqueak power like Iraq - outside the framework of international law and against worldwide opposition - only for its publicly stated reasons, in this case, fighting terrorism, liberating Iraq and triggering a domino effect for the democratization of the Middle East.

The real American agenda is only now becoming clearer.

The conquest of Iraq is enabling a new Pax Americana that goes well beyond the much-discussed control of oil, as central as that is to the enterprise.

America is redrawing the military map of the region with amazing alacrity. It has pulled its bases out of Saudi Arabia and Turkey in favour of less-demanding hosts.

Its relations with Egypt have been placed on the back burner.

It is no accident that those three nations are the region's more populous. And that America's newest partners - Qatar, Bahrain, Oman and the United Arab Emirates - are thinly populated and tightly controlled monarchies.

People are a problem for America in the Arab and Muslim world. They are bristling with anti-Americanism, principally over the Israeli-Palestinian dispute.

The pullout of 10,000 U.S. troops from a Saudi air base was long overdue, not just because it was a favourite target of Osama bin Laden. It so embarrassed the ruling House of Saud that the Americans had to be kept in purdah, away from the public at a remote base in the desert.

The base is obviously no longer needed since Saddam Hussein is gone. But its closure, in fact, is America's answer to Saudi resistance to the war and the fact that 15 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 were bin Laden Saudis.

As the two nations begin a new chapter in their 50-year relationship, America will be less dependant on, though not free of the need for, Saudi oil.

The kingdom with the world's largest oil reserves and the highest output will lose clout as America controls the second-largest reserves in Iraq.

Turkey, too, has to renegotiate its relations with Washington.

America now has a vise grip on the region, with 14 new post-9/11 bases, from eastern Europe through Iraq, the Persian Gulf, Pakistan and Afghanistan to the two Central Asian republics of Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.

The singular feature of all those new allies is that they are weak states. Most are undemocratic, if not repressive.

So, America is replicating its failed model of using unrepresentative regimes to suppress the people, but doing it on new turf.

This short-term gain, therefore, may come at the expense of long-term pain. And even that will depend on how well America does with its "road map" for peace in the Middle East, so inextricably linked are Muslims to the plight of Palestinians.

Within Iraq itself, the dawn of a democratic era is not unfolding as advertised.

In the name of stopping the emergence of an Iranian-style theocracy in favour of what the White House has called an "Islamic democracy" (whatever that means), America seems determined to install its own puppet regime in Baghdad.

The majority Shiites are being shunted aside.

Those protesting the American presence, including the minority Sunnis in the cities of Falluja and Mosul, are being shot and killed by American troops.

The distance between American words and deeds is nowhere more evident than in George W. Bush's triumphalist declaration that he has licked terrorism in Iraq.

It turns out that he has a very selective dislike for terrorism.

Appallingly, he has quietly cozied up to a most notorious terrorist group, the leftist Mujahideen-e-Khalq in Iraq.

Prior to the 1979 revolution in Iran, the Khalq was accused of killing Americans there. Post-revolution, it reportedly supported the student takeover of the U.S. embassy in Tehran. But frozen out of the spoils of power, the group turned against the Islamic regime, killing scores of civilians.

Routed out of Iran, it set up guerrilla bases in Iraq from where to harass and attack Iran.

On the diplomatic front, the Khalq took full advantage of America's antipathy to Iran and convinced 150 members of Congress to blindly sign petitions in its favour. But the U.S. and the European Union eventually caught up and branded it the terrorist organization that it has long been.

In the early days of the war on Iraq, American planes started bombing its bases. But the Khalq PR machines swung into action in Washington to get the guerrillas spared.

In a secret ceasefire deal, signed April 15 but not released until Wednesday, the Bush boys agreed to let the Khalq be. The group even gets to keep all its weapons.

So the Khalq moves from Saddam's patronage to Bush's.

So much for wiping out terrorism and terrorists.

Taken together, these American moves do not reflect the high principles of Bush's rhetoric. Rather, they bear an uncanny resemblance to the British colonial enterprise of nearly a century ago, the price of which is still being paid by the people there.

The final thing I have to say is how much I love the women who gathered this evening at my home for our monthly book group discussion. I mean, in how many gatherings do you feel you can say anything and be heard and understood. And laugh, rage, be tender, honest and respectful of differences all in the same evening. What a gift they are.


If you're a regular reader of my journal, you know that I'm hardly a shrinking violet. Getting up in front of a crowd is something I do without giving it a second thought. So why am I so uncomfortable about tomorrow's WAND Michigan 2003 Mothers' Peace Day Breakfast? So what if Kathy and I are two of the five "honorees" for our work as co-founders of the Raging Grannies Without Borders? Why does this not sit well with me?

It isn't that I'm not grateful; it's just that I don't like being singled out for an honor that belongs to ALL the Grannies. We are a community; no Granny ever stands alone. Yes, people might know me as Granny Patricia or Kathy as Granny Kathy, but when we're singing, we are the Raging Grannies, not a group of individuals. That's the way we've been from the beginning. Once any of us puts on her Granny hat, apron and shawl, she becomes a generic granny, which is kind of fun. Especially for women like me who never had kids so didn't go the grandmother route. Anyway, as soon as they introduce Kathy and me, I'm going to invite all the Raging Grannies to come up and join us. And I think that's going to be a good number of women, all dressed up in their Granny outfits. Then we're going to lead everyone in the following Raging Grannies' song that will be printed in the program:

(Tune: Clementine)

Look around you, see the people
Who are working everyday
For the kind of world we all want,
Where the children laugh and play
It's a world with no more weapons,
Guns are banned and want is rare,
Where all races live together,
Everyone has good health care.

Equal rights and equal wages,
Social justice on the earth,
No pollution on the planet,
A new world will come to birth.
Look around you see the people
Who are working everyday
For a world of peace and plenty
Where the grandkids laugh and play.

original words by Shirley Morrison and Kay Thode

I guess it won't be too bad, just as long as they don't make too much of a fuss over Kathy and me when they introduce us. But I'd still rather it were the Raging Grannies as a whole being named as honorees. To my mind, these faithful, feisty women deserve every award in the book. When I think of all those frigid demonstrations, long marches and hours of singing in winds that threw your voice back down your throat, I am in awe of what these women were ready and willing to do in the name of peace and justice. Let's hear it for the Grannies!!!

FRIDAY, MAY 9, 2003

Well, it wasn't so bad after all. Actually, I'm grinning as I write that, because today was amazingly wonderful! Dear Clare Mead Rosen, a Raging Granny herself, introduced Kathy and me just as we'd hoped...she called ALL the Grannies forward to receive the honor. It was perfect!

If you don't know what in the world I'm talking about, you didn't read yesterday's journal entry (tsk, tsk!). This morning Kathy Russell and I were among those honored at the WAND Michigan 2003 Mothers' Peace Day Breakfast. Yesterday I'd shared my concerns about us co-founders being singled out for an honor that rightfully belonged to the whole gaggle. And as it turned out, the gaggle received the recognition they deserved. Not only that, but we got to hear the incomparable Granny D speak!!! None of us had ever seen her in person but many of us have admired and respected her for years. It was Granny D who walked across the country in 1999-2000 for campaign finance reform. The fact that she was 90 at the time and carried a 29 lb. pack on her back has catapulted her into the status of an almost mythological being. Since that time she has been travelling the country giving powerful speeches. She gave us one today, that, hopefully, you'll soon be able to read on her web site at:

And also check out her latest project at:

It is called the Swing State Project and Granny D is asking all of us who are concerned about the state of the nation to cast absentee ballots in 2004 and travel at our own expense to swing states to help get out the vote for the Democratic candidate, so we don't have four more years of Bush & Co. By the way, this is not about politics; it is about saving the planet from further destruction and our country from greater loss of liberty.

After the official part of the breakfast meeting was over, we Raging Grannies crowded around Granny D like teenage groupies. While we were standing there together, we Grannies started singing. That inspired me to teach them the Woman's Peace Song by Karen MacKay that our O Beautiful Gaia women will be singing on the CD.

If every woman in the world
had her mind set on freedom.
If every woman in the world
dreamt a sweet dream of peace.

If every woman of every nation,
young and old, each generation,
held her hands out in the name of love,
there would be no more war.

So, there we were in a circle with Granny D in our midst, singing our hearts out. The PERFECT mother's day celebration, I'd say.

After our songfest, we did the photo-op thing, with dozens of cameras clicking right and left. A precious momento. Isn't it wonderful how many Raging Grannies were there today? A few of us--Helen, Magi, Rosalie, Kathy and I--even got to have a close-up with Granny D. What a woman!

The most unexpected part of the day came much later. Each honoree was given a framed WAND Certificate of Achievement, a bouquet of flowers and a proclamation in her name from the office of Michigan State Senator Gilda Z. Jacobs. The latter was a huge sheet of paper with lots of writing and a very official looking Michigan State seal at the top of the page and on the folder in which it was presented. To be honest, I just glanced at it this morning without reading anything. It wasn't until late this afternoon that I took the time to read it. Well. It was not at all what I'd expected. I thought it would be one of those generic "whereas..." type documents. Instead, it contained a detailed description of what the Raging Grannies, Kathy and I have done to earn this commendation. In beautiful language, it proclaimed the profound appreciation of the state, the nation and the world for my dedication and hard work for peace. It shocked the heck out of me. In all the years I've been doing this work, I've never expected to be honored for it. It's always been enough just to do it, to know I was doing everything I could to bring peace and justice to our world. Ed just read the whole thing out loud to me at the dinner table. I could feel my face turning red and myself inclined to dive under the table. But at the same time it touched me deeply.

The bouquet of flowers turned out to be another special gift. As I left the golf club where the breakfast was held, I was preparing myself for the 36 mile drive home. But before I got on the expressway, I noticed a few disturbing things going on with my car. First of all, my digital clock was blank. Secondly, the radio wouldn't turn on. And thirdly, the "air bag" light was on. I stopped at the first gas station, and pulled up to the service garage. I waved to a man who was inside and he came out to help me. After I told him what was wrong, he said, "Let me check the fuses first." Since they were right beside the driver's seat, we chatted while he worked.

Eddie's father is from Turkey and his mother from Iraq. As a child he considered both countries his home. But now that he has been in the United States for sixteen years, this is his country too. He lives on the east side of town, not far from me, but has worked in this far western suburb for years. He said his wife is always trying to get him to leave this gas station and get a job closer to home, but Eddie says, "How could I leave my regular customers?" Well, I soon found out why Eddie has such devoted customers. After he'd replaced my fuses and everything was working again, I asked how much I owed him. He smiled and said, "Nothing." I tried to talk him into charging me--definitely not the norm--but he would have none of it. Fortunately, the bouquet of flowers was on the seat beside me, so I picked it up and gave it to Eddie with the words, "For your wife." He graciously accepted it and went smiling into the garage to put the flowers in water.

This small moment felt like it encapsulated the whole day. A moment when two people from different cultures--different worlds, in a way--meet and bridge any gaps that could have separated them. The world as we know it can be.

I have a few more pictures for you. I got home around noon and immediately got in my scooter to take advantage of this beautiful spring day. Eddie--my Eddie--and I spent a couple of hours together, first sharing lunch and then walk/scooting to the grocery store a half mile away. On my way home I saw some lovely tulips, a spring-green sidewalk, a beautiful yard, and Canadian geese and flowering trees beside the lake.

SATURDAY, MAY 10, 2003

To a Mother of all in Peril.
Happy Special Day.

With All of My Love

This note was tucked in a lovely orange hibiscus flowering plant that I found in our vestibule today. It brought tears to my eyes.

Then this evening, after I'd returned home from a day of singing with my Gaia sisters in Windsor, Ontario, this dear man and I sat outside under a bright, waxing moon and talked of this and that. It was such a mild night that Eddie was in short sleeves. The fragrance of lilies-of-the-valley wafted over us as we talked, and leaves spread above our heads like a canopy. How blessed I am.

SUNDAY, MAY 11, 2003

I awoke to the sounds of wind brushing tree branches against my window. And a serious wind it was! I lay there watching puffy white clouds scudding across the sky, the sun sparkling through the prism hanging by my window, and newly green maple leaves dancing in the breeze. It was a show in itself.

Later in the morning I scooted down to Ed's office. On the way I could not stop taking pictures of the flowering fruit trees--among them, crabapple, cherry and plum, if I'm correct. This time of year is breathtakingly beautiful, as if spring is determined to make up for the long months of winter. How my heart sings in gratitude for all this color!

When I got to Eddie's office, he was happy to pose beside his new fountain. If you remember, last Sunday we went looking for a new fountain to replace the one that had disintegrated at the end of last summer. He found one, not that day, but a couple of days later. It is quite elegant. By the way, this picture was taken in the small fenced-in patio that is outside the sliding glass door in his office.

We then did as we'd done last Sunday and walk/scooted down to the bagel store for lunch. Even with the high winds, it was a day that made you want to be outside, smelling the lilacs and being caressed by the sun. We're so fortunate to live in a community that seems to be made for walkers...and scooters too!

Later this afternoon, my goddess daughter Emily came to the house with her mother, my friend, Pat. We three celebrated Mother's Day together, with gifts followed by a painfully honest but, more importantly, deeply transformative conversation.

A day for being with those I love.

MONDAY, MAY 12, 2003

Dear friends

Whoever owns the media and press owns public opinion.

From I recently received the following action alert: "On June 2, the Federal Communications Commission intends to lift restrictions on media ownership that could allow your local newspaper, cable provider, radio stations, and TV channels all to be owned by one company. The result could be the disappearance of the checks and balances provided by a competitive media marketplace -- and huge cutbacks in local news and reporting. Good, balanced information is the basis for our democracy. That's why we're asking that Congress and the FCC should stop media deregulation and work to make the media diverse, competitive, balanced, and fair." They encouraged us to go to to tell your US Reps and the FCC what we think. The URL is:

I don't know if this sends chills up and down your spine, but it does mine.

We have already seen that rightwing Clear Channel Radio has practically taken over United States radio stations, and that one man named Robert Murdoch now owns more TV stations and newspapers than any other individual in the country. Fox News Channel is his primary avenue of communication. An April 16 article in the New York Times noted that Fox News Channel had been the most watched news source during the war on Iraq. "Fox's formula had already proved there were huge ratings in opinionated news with an America-first flair. But with 46 of the top 50 cable shows last week alone, Fox has brought prominence to a new sort of TV journalism that casts aside traditional notions of objectivity, holds contempt for dissent and eschews the skepticism of government at mainstream journalism's core."

One man's voice is forming public opinion.

Immediately after calling my senators' and representative's offices to express my opposition to the FCC plan to allow for even more media monopolies, I received an email from a Raging Granny in Vancouver, BC. In it she quoted an article by Thom Hartmann that had appeared on March 16 in I had read it at the time, but rereading it today, with the knowledge fresh in my mind of what the FCC is planning to do, made me stop in my tracks.

As they say, those who fail to learn from history are compelled to repeat it.

Let us each do all we can to learn from history and then to offer our sisters and brothers the benefits of that learning, so that the American people will not continue to sleepwalk through this most dangerous period in their history. For the strands that connect us nation-to-nation, people-to-people are even more closely interwoven today than they were 60 years ago. Let us not look back and say, I wish I'd done more to stop this disaster before it became unstoppable. Yes, it can look impossible even now if we stay focused on ALL that must be done, but if we take one small step each day, we will succeed in changing the world even as we change ourselves.

in pursuit of peace

"My heart is moved by all I cannot save, so much has been destroyed. I have to cast my lot with those who, age after age, perversely with no extraordinary power reconstitute the world." ---Adrienne Rich

Soon after I'd sent out that group email today, I received the following response from Birgit, a young German woman I've met in the peace movement who, with her husband, has lived in this country for three years:

Liebe Patricia,

Exactly the same article I got 4 weeks ago and immediately I sent it all over the world to my friends, because Maik and I felt the same way as you describe it.

For us it is even more bone chilling because german history is inprinted in our brains, and still we don't feel allowed or don't get this whole patriotic issue, like flagwaving. I can't sing our anthem without hearing the abused lyrics, and being unpatriotic if you don't share the goverment's opinion. As a teenager I tortured myself in reading all these stories about Auschwitz, the Holocaust, and I tried so hard to find an answer, whether I would be so brave and human to join a group like the white rose.

So this article made me trembling, because I know all the historical facts and now I get a clue how subtle this development to a fascist state can go. So thank you for all your emails I really appreciate your thoughts and chosen articles.

Follow your dreams...
Yours Birgit

And then, an hour later, I received an email with a copy of the the speech I'd heard Granny D give at the WAND Mothers' Peace Day Breakfast last Friday.

In all of these voices--mine, Thom Hartmann's, Birgit's and Granny D's--I hear individuals who see what is happening in this country, and by default in countries around the world, yet are not giving in to the temptation to despair. Instead we are bringing our minds, hearts, spirits and bodies to the work at hand. If at this juncture between Bush & Co.'s "unending wars", we cave in to the media-led campaign to "support the president and the troops", there is no question that this country will more and more resemble Germany of the 1930s and 40s. It is our choice.

TUESDAY, MAY 13, 2003

If you're having a bad day, this is just the journal entry for you! I was at school today (K-5 art classes) and continued doing pencil portraits of some of the kids at my table. I guess that gave Susan the teacher the idea to ask the students to draw portraits of me. So I posed in front of a second grade class and got to watch these youngsters work very hard to come up with my likeness. And then they ALL gave me the drawings they'd made!

If you can look at these without a smile coming to your face, I'd say you really ARE having a bad day!

Portrait #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9, #10, #11, #12, #13, #14, #15

NEWS FLASH: I just received the following information by email:

After a great deal of reflection, Sisters Carol Gilbert, OP, Ardeth Platte, OP, and Jackie Hudson, OP, recently decided to be released on their own recognizance and so will be out until their sentencing in July. Ardeth and Carol are on their way back to Jonah House in Baltimore, and Jackie to Washington state.

I can't tell you how that news cheers me! These three nuns had spent over six months in a small, dreary cell in a county jail in Colorado. During that time, they were allowed no time outside the building, and only one hour a day outside their cell for "exercise." Since their trial in late March, they have known that they will be spending anywhere from five to eight years in federal prison...that is, after they are sentenced on July 25, 2003. The knowledge that these three courageous women are now breathing fresh spring air makes my heart sing.


My laps tonight were of the kind where you forget you're swimming and feel like you're flying. No effort, just a natural rhythm that soothes your soul and stimulates your mind. I do some of my best thinking when it happens like this. Not just thinking, but feeling. I find if there are unacknowledged feelings lurking around inside me, swimming helps me release them in a healthy, non-hurtful way. How fortunate I am to be able to swim regularly. And I found out tonight that next year it's going to be even better.

Our community's recreation director swims on Wednesday night too, and tonight he told me that the new disabled lift has been ordered and will be installed by June. And to think, this good news is a direct result of his happening to come upon me a couple of weeks ago struggling to get out of that funky hammock-lift they've had at the middle school for who knows how long. By the time the outdoor pool is closed next September and I'm back at the indoor pool, I'll be riding high in a water-operated hydraulic lift with a plastic seat. No longer will Tim, the good-natured 62 year-old lifeguard, have to get a hernia pumping me out of the water, and then worry about getting me safely from the hammock to my scooter. Nope, I'll be an independent agent. Yippee!

This was the kind of spring day that I just couldn't stay home. Nor could I keep from taking pictures of the flowers, some of which I could identify--like the lilacs and tulips--and others I could only identify as pink, blue and red. Someday I'm going to learn my flowers and trees!

While down in the shopping area (one street with shops), I went to the grocery store and got a good selection of Middle Eastern food (my mainstay). Did I tell you I'm now a total vegetarian? All it took for me to get off of seafood was to read last week that studies prove fish feel pain. Not that I didn't know it already. Anyway, I loaded up on baba ghanouj, hummous, spinach pies, taboulee, and lentil and caramelized onion salad. Then I went to the hardware store to buy a couple feet of white contact paper. I'd decided La Lucha the scooter needed a bumper sticker. I made one later in the day that said, "Try Peace." No need antagonizing folks with my message. If I keep it simple maybe it will set people to thinking.

And finally, Ed and I finished watching a wonderful film that he'd rented from the library. It's called "Mostly Martha", is German and came out in 2001. I highly recommend it.

And now to bed.

FRIDAY, MAY 16, 2003

I am sitting at the computer listening to the Benny Green/ Russell Malone CD, "Jazz at the Bistro", that I bought at Benny's concert tonight. Such a lovely, mellow CD...and what a gentle-spirited, talented musician is this man, Benny Green. Tonight's concert was pure magic. Imagine being in a glass-roofed court inside an art museum, surrounded by murals that Diego Rivera painted onsite in 1930. Add Benny Green sitting at a grand piano, playing tunes of Duke Ellington, Charlie "the Bird" Parker, George Gershwin, Thelonious Monk, Benny Carter and Ray Brown. He even snuck in a drop-dead improv that he named "Detroit Blues" on the spot. And my friends Pat, Akira, Miki and I were in the front row about 8 feet from the piano with unobstructed views of this jazz wizard's hands. Not only that, but Bess Bonior, the grandmother of Detroit jazz pianists, was sitting right behind us, oohing and aahing, clapping spontaneously and generally going crazy over this 40 year-old pianist. And he was such a nice guy too. When I took up the CD for him to sign at intermission, that dear man gave me not one but two kisses, one on the cheek and one on the mouth. I must have reminded him of his Mum or something. But he was friendly and unassuming to everyone, both on and off stage. See him if you get a chance, or at least buy one of his CDs. I don't think you'll be sorry.

I took a few pictures at the concert, but they are pretty blurry. I didn't want to use my flash and take a chance of distracting Benny. Anyway, you can at least see how close we were to him. And I also tried to take a few photos of the Diego Rivera murals, just to give you an idea of the setting for this concert. Again, the photos are not good quality and only hint at the grandeur of these floor-to-ceiling murals that surround you in the Diego Rivera Court at the Detroit Institute of Arts, but here they are: mural #1, #2, #3, #4.

For me, this was a wonderful day from start to finish. I was with the kids at school all day, then had dinner in the DIA's Kresge Court with my friends, and finally enjoyed Benny Green's concert. Now I'm looking forward to the final chapter of this lovely day, and that is cozying up in my bed and closing my eyes. Tomorrow we have another four-hour singing rehearsal for the O Beautiful Gaia CD project, so I'd best get my beauty sleep.

SATURDAY, MAY 17, 2003

Four weeks from this weekend, we women of the Great Lakes Basin will be recording our part of the "O Beautiful Gaia" CD in an Ann Arbor, MI sound studio. Today's four-hour rehearsal was our third in three weeks, and we have three more to go. Our sisters from Toronto and Georgetown, Ontario made the long trip to Windsor two weeks ago and again today, even though this is the Victoria Day weekend in Canada. And the US Memorial Day weekend will not stop us from practicing next Saturday either. We are totally committed to this project. So committed, in fact, that I'm afraid I only took two pictures all day, and they were as we performed warm-ups (#1 and #2) preparatory to singing. After that, my attention was entirely focussed on the work at hand.

What am I going to do with my time and energy when this project is completed? The fact that our recording weekend starts on the same Friday that the kids finish school doesn't help. Talk about an empty nest!

SUNDAY, MAY 18, 2003

Dear friends

In every period of history, we see certain individuals whose propensity to tell the truth, whose intelligent grasp of what is going on, and whose willingness to get out there and do whatever is necessary to be change-agents make their voices rise above the rest in ways that will never be forgotten. To my mind, Arundhati Roy, is just such a person of our time.

And the more perilous the times, the stronger the voice must be to cut through the fog that threatens to envelope all but the most alert and discerning. So when Ms. Roy speaks, I listen. Hard. Her words cut to the quick. They are not easy to take in, mainly because she says things that even the most progressive among us would prefer not to hear. But we must. For if we don't, the runaway train that is being conducted by the dangerous cadre of folks in power will surely take us all over the cliffs of sanity and crash us onto the rocks of anarchy. What they have done to Iraq shows us exactly what that looks like.

So when I received today's news articles, I went right to the one by Arundhati Roy. It is called "Instant-Mix Imperial Democracy (Buy One, Get One Free)" and was a speech she presented in New York City at The Riverside Church on Tuesday, May 13, 2003. The fact that she was speaking to those of us who live here in the US--the belly of the beast, so to speak--gives it even more power to dissenting Americans like myself (and most of her audience).

So here it is. Very long but worth taking all the time it requires to read it with a reflective mind and an open heart. Listen to her voice and see if what she says makes sense to you. It does to me.

in pursuit of truth

It's kind of surprising to me how I've taken to this new--for me--form of communicating in group emails that are political in nature. It kind of grew into itself without conscious planning on my part. I originally started writing them as ways of sharing articles that had meaning to me. For some reason I've never been fond of simply forwarding such articles. I always wanted to make it seem more personal than that, so I would copy/paste the article and write a brief introductory statement. As time went on, my introductory comments get longer and more reflective. During the heat of the attack of Iraq, I found myself sending out messages that were totally my own. Now that things have settled down a bit--will they ever be truly settled again?--I'm back to sharing other people's words. But I only send group emails when I feel absolutely compelled to do so. And let me tell you, as soon as I started to read Arundhati Roy's speech, I knew that had to go out!

After a day at the computer working on long-overdue projects for the "O Beautiful Gaia" web site, I went out for a scoot just to get some fresh air. I got as far as the middle of the lane outside our garage when La Lucha clunked out. So there I was stranded in the middle of the lane that the police cars are inclined to speed through whenever they get calls from the dispatcher. Kind of risky. Luckily a man was walking down the lane and, when I called to him, he came over and pushed me on my scooter back into our garage. I called my hero, and he came home and got Ona, my other scooter, out of my car and assembled it, ready for me to ride. Dear Eddie.

So I scooted--singing O Beautiful Gaia songs--the mile and a half to Ed's office. Of course, he beat me there, seeing as how he was in his beloved Volvo. While there, I asked him to take a picture of my new "Try Peace" bumper sticker. We visited while I nibbled on the cheese and crackers and Odwalla juice I'd picked up at the market down the street, then I stopped at the ATM to get some cash--all I had left was Canadian--and turned around and sang/scooted my way home.

A good day.

MONDAY, MAY 19, 2003

Today I had lunch with Lucy Edwards, an old friend. Lucy and I first met in the spring of 1971 when Ed and I bought this house. Two years ago she moved down to Memphis to help care for her ailing brother. But whenever she comes back to visit her family here in Detroit, Lucy calls. We realized today that it had been four years since we'd actually seen one another. Lucy looks the same; I do not.

Lucy and Bob had no children of their own but raised Lucy's niece and her niece's children. Now Lucy loves being great auntie to a new generation of kids. Her three grand-nephews and her niece all have children, jobs and are respected members of the community. Lucy and Bob helped make that happen. Bob passed seven years ago, but will be remembered by everyone who ever met him as one of the gentlest-spirited men on earth. I can still see his slow smile and his courtly way of tipping his straw hat. Bob always reminded me of my southern granddad, whom I had loved.

When I went to pick Lucy up at her grand-niece Cassandra's house, I was delighted to see Cassandra, whom I had known as a young child, Mercedes, her 13 year-old daughter, and tiny Keith, her four month-old son. Her three other children were off at school. I remember when each one of them was born. Cassandra, whom Lucy still calls "Tater", is a lovely woman. Now she has a new husband and an even newer baby. Keith was a preemie who spent his first two months in the hospital and is still having difficulty with his breathing. Since she arrived three weeks ago, Great-Auntie Lucy has been helping monitor this precious little one through the nights, besides showering him with her own special brand of TLC. Cassandra is finding it hard to let Lucy go back to Memphis on Friday, but says, "She has to be where she's most needed."

If there were Nobel Prizes for raising children, I'd nominate Lucy Edwards.

After I got back home, I immediately set off on my scooter. This was too beautiful a day to spend inside. I passed by a row of tulips so red as to set your teeth on edge, a lush spring garden, and azalea bushes aflame with color. It's as if the browns, grays and whites of winter have given way to outrageous hues vying with one another as if to say, "I'm the most brilliant!" "No, I am." "What about me?" There's nothing subtle about spring, at least not this spring.

TUESDAY, MAY 20, 2003

It is now close to midnight and I'm just starting to write today's journal entry. It was quite a lovely day, with time spent with friends at lunch, a scoot on rain-washed sidewalks under a canopy of green, a dream that prompted my calling a dear friend, Randy making a house call and fixing my scooter problems, a chilly after-dinner walk/scoot along the lake with Ed, a feeling of accomplishment at the computer, and even a little video-watching.

Lunch was with Joan and Brigitte, friends whom I first met at water aerobics classes two years ago. Both Joan and Brigitte are cosmopolitan, intelligent, informed women who see things through the lens of experience. I am always enriched by our conversations.

The dream that prompted me to call a friend came early this morning and led me to wonder if she needed a little support. As it turned out, she did. I am so grateful that I followed my intuition.

And the beauty of this off-and-on rainy day filled me with gratitude that I live in a part of the country that gives itself over to lush, green springs. Add the fragance of lilies-of-the valley, lilacs and musky wet earth and one can do nothing but sing out loud. At least, I could do nothing but sing out loud.


Later this afternoon I will be driving to Ann Arbor to attend a workshop that I desperately need. This is how it was presented in an email sent out by the Ann Arbor Committee for Peace:

NONVIOLENT DIALOGUE WORKSHOP FOR PEACE ACTIVISTS (aka "How to talk effectively to people who don't agree with you")

WEDNESDAY, MAY 21, 6:30-9:30 PM, QUAKER HOUSE, 1410 HILL ST. Free.

**Please attend if you have ever volunteered for our peace outreach efforts, or intend to do so, or are even thinking about it.

Ever get tongue-tied, frustrated, red-in-the-face, or homicidal when discussing war and peace issues with pro-war friends, relatives, acquaintances, co-workers, spouses, or total strangers? Do you believe in your heart that the
best way to grow the movement and create change is to reach out to that astonishingly large number of people who supported the war, but lack the patience or confidence to do it? Then this workshop is for you.

The American Friends Service Committee will present their "Towards Understanding" workshop for AAACP members on 5/21. Using discussion and role-plays, they will teach us the LARA (listen, affirm, respond, and add) method of speech as nonviolent action sure to make our difficult discussions more productive and peaceful. Well worth the time -- it could make a lifetime of difference!

Sure sounds like it has my name on it.

11:30 PM

Well, it DID have my name on it! What a powerfully simple tool for communicating non-violently with those with whom you disagree. Developed by Bonnie Tinker of Oregon as a tool to dialogue with homophobic folks who would call into her talk radio show, the LARA technique can be applied to any topic or issue that stirs up passionate feelings. Tonight the facilitators of this American Friends Service Committee-sponsored workshop helped us peace activists apply it to discussions of peace and war, especially discussions with persons who hold diametrically opposite views from us. The workshop, which was called "Towards Understanding", involved presentations, discussion, role play in small groups, and a most helpful hand-out. I think everyone was surprised at the numbers of people who showed up. Tonight was for members of the Ann Arbor Committee for Peace and thirty women and men were in attendance.

It's late and I'm sleepy after 100 miles of driving plus the three hour workshop, but I want to give you a brief taste of the LARA method. Before I do that, though, let me list what they call "Five Key Elements in Using Speech as Nonviolent Action:"

1. Take away the threat; create a safe space.

2. Underlying this message "I will not harm you," establish--to the extent that you are able--a profound respect for the other in your own heart.

3. Allow the other person some moral ground on which to stand.

4. Make connections, find common ground.

5. Most people don't want to hurt another person without justification and resistance.

And now the LARA technique in a nutshell:

LISTEN--Try to hear and understand the moral principle from which they are speaking.

AFFIRM--Express the connection that you found when you listened, whether it's a feeling, an experience, or a principle that you have in common with the other person.

RESPOND--Answer the question. Respond to the issue that the person raised. (Where most of us usually start!)

ADD INFORMATION--share additional information that you want to give the person.

As I say, it was excellent--worth every mile and every minute. Now I want to bring these folks to Detroit to give the same workshop to our peace communities here.

THURSDAY, MAY 22, 2003

When I arrived at school this morning, a fourth grade class of my friends was out in the playground having gym. Some of the girls yelled out, "Hi, Ms. Patricia!" and came running over. One of them pulled up her slacks and showed me that she was wearing two different pairs of socks. Another girl had her shirt on inside out and backwards, but what surprised me the most was that one of our scarved girls had a mustache and goatee drawn on her face! They laughingly announced that today was Crazy Day at school.

And a crazy day it was! One of the fifth grade boys had on a dress and women's shoes. The girl with the mustache and goatee was also wearing a man's suit jacket and a tie. Another boy had on a woman's hat and his nose was painted lipstick-red. When I expressed my disappointment that I hadn't known ahead of time so I could have worn something crazy, one of the boys said, "Oh, you look crazy enough with your hair!" Out of the mouths of babes...

I worked on more pencil portraits of students, and in my favorite third grade class, some of them made portraits of me. It's so much fun to see how other people see you. One little girl drew me with long brown hair just like hers, or maybe it was really meant to be a self portrait. Another had me saying, "Peace!" And a fourth grade boy drew me with my mother and father beside me. One little girl did a very fine job of getting my likeness, and another drew the teacher and me together with the word "Friendship" made of clouds between us. In one drawing there were no people but instead, a heart-shaped balloon on which was written,"I love you." And the girl who had made me a bracelet with "Mother of Nature, Mother of Peace, Mother of Freedom" on it a few weeks ago, made me another bracelet today. This one said, "She's caring, loving, like a mother to me at school. I love you."

As the third grade girls worked on their portraits of Ms. Patricia, they asked to sing the peace song and the river song I'd taught them about a month ago. They even remembered all the words.

Is it any wonder that I love coming to school?

Although I can't show pictures of the kids here on my website--at least not ones in which they can be identified--I was able to take one photo where most of their backs were the camera. This was when the third graders were glazing their clay "aliens" from their planets. And after everyone had left for the day, I took a series of photos to show you this wonderful art classroom where the kids and I have spent so many happy hours. I start with the view as you walk in the door from the hall. Then we are looking down the room to our left towards the sinks. And now we're inside the room looking towards the unofficial "picture corner" that develops every year on the front of the cabinets. My final picture is the view of the computer corner and the door to the hall.

Isn't this a place where you'd love to make art? Believe me, the kids love both the room and their teacher who gives so unstintingly of her heart, mind and creative spirit. If we had all had an art teacher like Susan Briggs, books like "The Artist's Way" would never have had to be written.

FRIDAY, MAY 23, 2003

If you logged onto my journal on Saturday morning, you must have wondered why there was no entry for Friday. I forgot! For the first time in the 39 months that I've kept a daily online journal, I totally forgot to write an entry. And it wasn't that I was busy doing something else. From 3-12 PM--with an hour off for dinner and singing at the piano with Ed--I was sitting here at my computer working on what seems to be the never-ending task of renaming my web site files. Actually, I was so happy to finally get my Michigan Womyn's Music Festival web pages up and running properly again, that I could think of nothing else. And Friday was a day that deserved to be written about since Ed and I had gone to Ann Arbor together and had lots of fun.

Ah well. Better late than never. (As Ed says, "Cliche Alert!!!)

SATURDAY, MAY 24, 2003

I remembered to write my journal entry tonight, but I'm afraid I'm too tired to do it much justice.

Twenty of us got together in Windsor for a four-hour rehearsal today. We record our part of the "O Beautiful Gaia" CD in three weeks, so each rehearsal becomes progressively more intense. It's amazing how much energy it takes to sing each of our nine songs with the technical attention and depth of heart it deserves. But we used a most helpful process today, one that our sisters in the Atlantic New England region shared with us. We went through each of the songs in the following way:

1) Nancy, our song leader, and/or the song's memory-keeper began by sharing technical and heart reminders designed to help us enter more consciously into the music and its message.

2) Nancy led us in singing the very beginning of the song three times over, so that we could engage our cellular memory of it.

3) The memory-keeper or whomever felt called to do so, presented a reading intended to help us drop even more deeply into the heart of the song. A period of silence followed the reading.

4) We then sang the song through, followed by another period of silence.

5) During that silence, we each wrote down what we felt needed work and/or what of value we could build upon.

Except for a fifteen minute break in the middle of the afternoon, it took four full hours to run once through all nine songs. I believe we made great strides today, both in technique and heart.

Afterwards, seven of us went to a Chinese restaurant and talked about our Gaia project, laughed a lot and shared stories. I am so grateful to be part of this community. And now to bed.

© 2003 Patricia Lay-Dorsey. Please use with attribution.

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