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SATURDAY, JUNE 25, 2005
I'm on such a strange clock, sleep-wise. Yesterday (Friday) I napped for a couple of hours in the afternoon before going to a water aerobics class at the lakefront park pool. It had been three years since I'd done aerobics and I'd forgotten how strenuous it is...especially on top of a 45 minute workout with Matt at the gym on the same day. After supper, a walk/scoot with Eddie, and a brief time watching the end of "Pride and Prejudice" on video, I fell into bed at 9:30 PM. And then I woke feeling rested just a few minutes ago. We'll see how long it takes before I'm ready to go back to bed.
I'm sure my body is in a recovery mode after the week away. Saskatchewan is on Mountain Time, so that meant everything was two hours earlier than I'm used to, and I must admit to having stayed up late talking to my new friend Georgina at least two nights. Going to bed after 1 AM and then getting up at 7 AM just doesn't quite do it, for me anyway. Especially when the days and nights are packed chock-full of activities, learnings and feelings.
I feel uneasy trying to describe what it was like at A Continent In Song; the words that come to mind seem too small. But until I can figure out how to put up my pictures, words are all I have.
Transformative is at the top of my list. Simply being in the presence of 140 women who have spent their lives working for change changes you. During our mornings together we'd not only sing but hear women tell their stories, offer poems and reflections. Wednesday, the theme was "Hold Loose the Spinning Thread: Grounding in Gratitude;" Thursday, it was "Lament Refusing Despair: Grieving for the Pain of the World;" and Friday, we moved into "Love As An Act of Resistance: Seeing With New Eyes."
Each woman brought her unique gift to the circle, some as part of the planned program, and others spontaneously.
Chris Loughlin, longtime director of the Women's Center at Plainville, Massachusetts and sister of Carolyn McDade's in the struggle for justice, brought her gift of preaching three times during the week. It feels strange to use that word in the context of a non-religious gathering, but it's the only word that begins to describe the power she brought to the community when she offered her reflections. It was Chris whom I quoted in the poem that I posted on my blog. It was her assertion that we are living into the "not-yet" and her call that what is needed now is "comprehensive compassion."
Theresa Hucul, a nun from Edmonton, Alberta, brought her gift of dance whenever the spirit moved her. How beautifully she embodied what we were singing! I also appreciate her being there for Lise Morin, a wonderful woman from Prince Edwards Island, when powerful currents of energy coursed through her body and she needed grounding.
Georgina Chambers, Norma Luccock and Nancy Nordlie brought their gifts of songwriting to the circle, teaching us new songs and leading us in older songs that are among our favorites. I was fortunate to partake in the vocal ensemble with these women during the studio times from 4-6 PM on Thursday and Friday. We then brought the songs we learned to the community on Saturday night and Sunday morning.
Beth Vincent from Waterloo, Ontario added so much to our circle. This young woman who was born twenty-five years ago with Down's Syndrome, was also born with a capacity for joy unmatched by any of us. A highlight of the week was when she sang and danced with Carolyn McDade at her birthday celebration on Saturday night.
And how could I not bring forward Two Women From Burr who, although not caterers by profession, offered us the most creative, delicious, meat-and-vegetarian-friendly meals imaginable...including bison! And where is Burr, you might ask? The town is two houses nestled between Regina and the Qu'Appelle Valley that has a few outlying farms, on two of which Lauren and Marie live with their husbands and children.
Mary Casey also touched me deeply. I'd first heard her sing on "The Best of Struggles" tape that was made at the Women's Center in Plainville in 1988 by an amazing group of women from diverse cultures and ethnicities; her Irish solo was something I've never forgotten. And here she brought not only her voice but her truthful, direct, playful and strong way of being in the world. When she invited us on Friday morning to offer verses to her song, "Not in my name; Not on my land!", I was able to express in a power-filled, healing way the anger that has often overwhelmed me since George W. Bush started his disastrous war on Iraq.
I've mentioned Georgina Chambers earlier as a songwriter and friend with whom I stayed up late talking, but this dear woman offered me perhaps the greatest gift of the entire week: it was Georgina who insisted they would make it possible for me to swim in the Standing Buffalo Lake.
So on Thursday afternoon--my 63rd birthday--she and Nathalie Lefrancois carried me from my scooter into the chilly waters of that gorgeous lake and watched me set off swimming straight like an arrow, an ecstatic arrow. The other women got nervous when I swam so far from shore, but not Georgina; she could tell I was in my element. And I was. It was the first time I'd been able to swim in natural (non-pool) waters in decades and no words can describe how that made me feel. Then Georgina and Michelle Jay helped me swim again on Saturday. This time the water was no longer chilly, but frigid. But after about five minutes my limbs thawed out and I could swim with confidence.
I must bring Ruth Blaser to this page. Ruth and her partner Brenda MacLauchlan made it possible for me to get from the Regina Airport to our village--a 45 minute drive--in comfort and style. Their niece Rebecca, whom they co-parent, uses a wheelchair, so Ruth and Brenda have a wheelchair-accessible van. And that was how I travelled not only to and from the airport, but to and from Grandmothers' Hills on Sunday.
And these women did more than that to make things accessible. They built two brand new gates on their land at the Grandmothers' Hills so those of us who needed to drive the quarter mile from the paved road to the land, could do so. By the way, this land has been in Ruth's family since 1901! Talk about hardy forbearers.
Actually I need to bring the whole planning committee to mind and heart: Ruth and Brenda, Barbara Mader, Jan Devine, Carolyn McDade, Chris Ouimet, Marion, Nancy and Dawn. Who have I forgotten? This band of women thought of everything that we would need to feel at home, supported and inspired. It was a huge undertaking but they handled it with such grace and competence that I can't think of anything I would have changed.
Well, my friends, it's now 4 AM and I'm ready to go back to bed. To be continued..
I'd like to post the poem I wrote during A Continent In Song here on my journal:
Mosquitoes the size of
dragonflies. Their whine keeps
time with the beat of my heart,
a heart enlarged with love and
gratitude for this time, this place,
Each an unforgettable story told
in her own voice. A song soaring on
pelicans' wings. A tree whose roots
embrace the land they love.
We gather on the shores of a lake
carved by glaciers' fingers, held
in the undulating arms of hills
painted green by spring rains.
We sing in ways new yet old,
ways that generations of women
have sung their lives.
We sing on the land where
First Nations women sang and
danced, worked and loved.
It is their voices we hear in the
wind-whispers of the grass, their
wisdom that grounds us in all
that has come before, their hope
that allows us to envision a future
free of arrogance, of greed, of war.
Here to celebrate our sister Carolyn's
70th birthday, we find ourselves
celebrating the wonder of all.
It is OUR birthdays we celebrate...
the birthing of the not-yet,
of defiance and hope,
of the long conversation between
persistence and impatience,
of comprehensive compassion,
of anger in the service of change.
For, as Joan says, "Once one knows,
there's no unknowing."
So, dear sister in the struggle,
faithful woman of the long voice,
beloved friend Carolyn,
thank you for the years past
and the years to come.
We say YES!
Qu'Appelle Valley, Saskatchewan
June 14-20, 2005
SUNDAY, JUNE 26, 2005
This new web design software is driving me wild! I just can't figure out how to put up images. Not only that, now I think all my links in this journal are broken. Oh well, Donte's promised to help me next week so I'm sure in time all shall be well. But in the meantime, good old blogspot.com has just made it easier to add images to their blogs, so if you go to my blog (http://windchimewalker.blogspot.com), you'll find three photos from my time in Saskatchewan.
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 29, 2005
Sorry I appeared to have left you in the lurch, but I'm afraid it was a snafu generated by my web host who is undertaking major changes in their services. I thought I had posted an entries on Sunday and Monday, but now they seem to have disappeared.
If you go to my blog (http://windchimewalker.blogspot.com), you'll see new photos that I've posted of my Saskatchewan journey. And, happily, in a couple of hours I have a 10 AM appointment with Donte, my computer tech, to try to figure out why I haven't been able to post images here on my web journal. I now suspect it is less about my inability to use the new software and more about how Donte reconfigured my computer when he installed the software. But we'll see.
The past few days have been hot and humid in the Detroit area. We've had nine days in a row of temperatures in the 90s! In the midst of it all I've stayed busy. I've also been going to bed early.
On Sunday, Stephanie, a friend from the gym, and I went to an excellent concert at the Kerrytown Concert House in Ann Arbor. It was the 21st--and final--concert of the 2005 Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival and featured some extraordinarily talented young artists. At least they all seemed young to me, but the older I get, the younger everyone seems!
On Monday my dear friends from California, Phil Ouelette and Scott Weldon, came for an overnight visit. It was so hot we did a lot of talking while standing in the pleasantly cool waters of Lake St. Clair.
Last night Sooz, Judy Drylie and I went over to Windsor to attend a potluck dinner and presentation at the Social Justice Center of the Archdiocese of Windsor. It featured Yolanda Diaz Calligros and Zoila Burga Custodio who are trained educators from Peru and active locally and nationally with human rights, peace building and education for women and children. Zoila had joined us at the Continent In Song in Saskatchewan, so it was a joy to see her again and to hear her story.
I continue my exercise, having swum laps on Sunday and worked out with Matt at the gym yesterday. Tonight is my Arabic class. I'm finding it interesting and tough. Languages don't come easily to me.
FRIDAY, JULY 1, 2005
My computer is home again but it's acting way too sluggish. Having dial-up internet connection is part of the problem, but my computer also needs more memory. This new system of synchronizing my web files and folders obviously uses way more memory than my earlier way of organizing my web site. I've ordered a larger memory chip and highspeed internet, but it will be at least a week before either one can be installed. Unfortunately, the computer service center where Donte works is taking all next week off, so I'm on my own until a week from Monday. Patience, patience, patience...
Well, I just uploaded the first paragraph and it didn't take too long. I think I'm feeling discouraged because of a stupid mistake I made when I was burning CDs of the new web site files and folders. Without thinking, I copied tens of thousands of files from my new windchimewalker.com folder onto my desktop, and now I'm having a heck of a time trying to move them to the trash container. I wait and wait and the icon that shows action--in the case of the Mac OS X, it's a whirling rainbow icon--just keeps spinning. I'm reminded of the sorcerer's apprentice in Disney's "Fantasia." I'm sure I'll eventually get those files deleted, but until then I'm reluctant to try to bring up my desktop on this software's browser for fear it'll take another hour for all those items to appear.
If you understand what I'm talking about, you know more about computers than I do!
But, in the world beyond computers, life is grand. After twelve days in a row with temperatures in the 90s, welcome thunderstorms moved through southeastern Michigan and southwestern Ontario yesterday and cooled things off. It was so pleasant last night that Pat and I went down to the Taste Fest--a five-day music and food festival in Detroit's New Center area--and had a fabulous time. Our favorite stage was the Metro Times techno music stage and we danced for hours.
The techno music scene, which we first discovered at the annual Techno Festival at Hart Plaza on Memorial Day weekend, attracts young people of all races, ages, classes and abilities. Pat and I were the only gray-and-white haired folks dancin' to the music, and the kids LOVE seeing us there. They take our pictures, come up and give us hugs, say they want to grow up and be like us, and generally make us feel pretty darn swell. Besides, everyone is happy at that stage. Smiles everywhere. I love it!
So, don't expect long journal entries this weekend. I plan to spend LOTS of time dancin' my life away down at the Taste Fest. Enjoy your holiday weekend too, whether you live in Canada (July 1, Canada Day) or the U.S. (July 4, Independence Day). In times such as these, when many of us disagree strongly with the policies and decisions of our current governmental leaders, it's up to us to remember where we came from and celebrate who we can choose to become.
OK, now I'm going to try to add a link to an image. This one is of the Great Lakes Basin women who attended A Continent In Song in Saskatchewan. Carolyn McDade and Beth Vincent are standing with us, and Judy Drylie was unfortunately somewhere else.
It worked!!! Now I feel WAY more relaxed about my computer and its functioning. And knowing things will only get faster with highspeed internet and a larger memory chip makes me even happier. All shall be well.
SATURDAY, JULY 2, 2005
Whenever I'm at a large gathering of Detroiters like I was tonight, I often ask myself if I could ever leave this city. It's the people. Diverse races, ethnicities, ages, classes join together at an event like the Taste Fest to enjoy live music, a wide variety of food, dancing, people-watching, and a sense of community that crosses all barriers. Everyone is welcome; everyone is a member of the family. You'll see someone who is probably homeless sitting next to someone else who looks like an auto executive. Folks are friendly and inclined to talk with strangers. Everyone smiles at everyone else. At least that's been my experience of these free festivals.
Tonight I chose to drive downtown to the Taste Fest rather than staying close to home, even though it was the night our community hosts a band at the park and then puts on an impressive fireworks display. I just wanted to be with a more diverse group of people, the kind of people I find in Detroit. And I was glad I made that choice. I enjoyed a great night of dancing, live jazz, delicious pierogis and dill pickle soup from a Polish restaurant, visits with Pat, her sister BJ, a couple of jazz friends, and nice connections with the people around me. Although I'd gone down there by myself, I never felt alone. As I say, Detroit is family.
SUNDAY, JULY 3, 2005
I spent five hours of this lovely summer day down at the Taste Fest. When I arrived at 1:30 PM, I was surprised to see the parking lot almost full and crowds of people already on the streets.
I stopped to get an order of California rolls for lunch, and scooted over to the main stage to see Karen Clark Sheard, a well known gospel singer. While there, I was delighted to meet up with Josie Huyghe, one of my favorite Raging Grannies. But when I asked after Tony, her husband, she had sad news to report. Apparently he broke his hip on June 21 and is still in the hospital. Tony, a national Masters bicycle racing champion, had been hit by a car while riding his bike in 2004 and had ended up in the hospital then. It doesn't seem fair for him to be facing another long recuperation again this year. May he heal quickly.
Soon Josie and I headed over to the Jazz and Blues Stage to see Gerard Gibbs & his quartet, reORGAN'YZ. We found a seat for Josie and a spot beside her for Sassy to park, and thoroughly enjoyed the show. So did the audience! Except for my scooting off between acts to buy a lemonade, we stayed at this stage all afternoon.
Next up was The Fats Waller Revue featuring Alvin Waddles on piano. Marion Hayden, Detroit's own Master bassist, played with him and told us that Alvin not only plays jazz and gospel, but travels with the Three Tenors as one of their piano accompanists. After listening to him, I can certainly see why. This man can make a piano stand up and walk. WOW! is all I can say.
Josie had to leave after that set so she could go back to visit Tony at the hospital. I'd intended to stay for Marcus Belgave's tribute to Louis Armstrong at 7 PM and 8:30 PM, but after eating a yummy Indian dinner, I just ran out of steam. It was now 6:30 PM and I was ready to go home. So I did.
My dear Eddie, who never complains about my going hither and yon, was happy to have me home again. And I was happy too; he is a sweet man to come home to.
MONDAY, JULY 4, 2005
On this day of patriotic fervor, waving flags and fireworks, I recall what my friend Josie said yesterday about the 4th of July celebrations.
"My people," she said thoughtfully, "don't celebrate your holiday. If this country had not won their war against England, slavery would have been abolished years earlier. You know, England outlawed slavery in 1832. Why would I celebrate the independence of a country that kept my people slaves?"
Ed and I are at the pool when it opens at 10 AM this morning. It is the first time we've swum together in years--How ever did I talk him into it?--and I'm reminded of a 4th of July weekend 39 years ago when we swam together at his apartment pool. His lips taste the same today as then.
He gets out before I and takes these pictures--photos #1, #2, #3 & #4--of me swimming my laps.
After the swim I scoot home and carry my book--Canadian author, Frances Itani's superb novel "Deafening," the story of a deaf woman's growing up and marriage to a hearing man who goes to France with the Canadian troops in World War I--out onto the back porch and read for an hour.
My next adventure on this hot sunny day--90 degrees F again--is to scoot down to rent a couple of movies at Blockbuster. On the way, I stop to enjoy the day lilies growing along the fence of our neighbor at the corner, and the climbing roses (photo #1 & #2) that always delight my senses farther down the singing street. I stop in to see Eddie at his office on the way there and back.
A nice long nap on the couch, cooled by the floor fan, follows. And now I'm taking care of computer business before Eddie comes home for dinner. After dinner we'll go for our nightly walk/scoot along the lake and then settle down to watch a movie.
A sweet celebration of the ordinary.
TUESDAY, JULY 5, 2005
More often than not I start out by saying a loud resounding "No!" to invitations to change.
That was my initial response last autumn when I thought about attending A Continent In Song in Saskatchewan in June, and more recently it was how I responded to Melanie and Gloria's encouragement that I consider attending a four-day writers' workshop at Leaven Center in mid-July.
In both cases, something deep in me refused to give up trying. Niggling thoughts kept me awake at night, flashes of intuitive knowing I was meant to be there would come upon me unawares, and inklings that transformation was in store if I said "Yes" combined to move me beyond myself.
The final push came this afternoon when I called Ruth Blaser, one of the most grounded visionaries I met in Saskatchewan, and heard her speak of her plans to take two days in silence and solitude to give herself an opportunity to begin to discover what had moved within her during our week together in the Qu-Appelle Valley.
I knew I had to allow myself the same privilege. But I also knew that writing is my most effective means of discovering what is stirring in me. And that was when the writers' workshop at Leaven came to mind. So I called Leaven to find out if there was still space, and, of course, there was.
By the way, my greatest reluctance to attend this workshop was that it is the same weekend as my favorite free music festival, Detroit's Concert of Colors. I couldn't see myself missing that wonderful, community-building event. But when you read the writers' workshop description, I think you'll see that it has my name on it. This is how it is described on the Leaven Center web site:
Place and Exile ~ Borders and Crossings: A Four Day Workshop on Writing and Social Change
It is often simplistically stated that writers must create from a sense of “place.” But what about those of us who were forced to leave our ancestral homes because of war, political oppression, or economic exploitation? What does “place” or “home” mean to those of us who have transgressed social boundaries of gender, race, religion, culture, or sexuality? What are the stories that we are birthing in exile and at the border crossings?
Through the process of our own writing, as well as listening to the words of other writers, we will explore the meanings of place and exile, borders and crossings, in our lives. We will explore what is at the heart of writing that can break social silences, recover people’s histories, reveal suppressed connections, and redream a just world.
There will be room for many kinds of writing and many kinds of writers. We will read, write, and share our writing with one another (by choice, never by obligation). We will think about writing as a process a way to tell stories we already know, but also a way to find stories we have not yet imagined.
Leaders: Demetria Martinez and Anya Achtenberg
Time: Thursday, 7 pm - Monday, 1 pm
Demetria Martinez of Albuquerque, New Mexico, is the author of a novel, Mother Tongue, winner of a Western States Book Award for fiction; and three collections of poetry, including Breathing Between the Lines. Mother Tongue is based in part upon her 1987 indictment in connection with the Sanctuary Movement. She is summer writing faculty at the William Joiner Center for the Study of War and Social Consequences at UMass Boston. She lectures widely and writes a column about social justice issues for the National Catholic Reporter.
Anya Achtenberg lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and has taught creative writing in many places, including New York, Boston, St. Paul, and Albuquerque. She is the recipient of numerous literary prizes. Her novella, The Stories of Devil-girl, was released on CD in 2003. Her second book of poetry, The Stone of Language, published by West End Press in 2004, includes poems awarded first prizes from Southern Poetry Review and Another Chicago Magazine. Her novel-in-progress, More Than the Wind, has been excerpted in Harvard Review.
WEDNESDAY, JULY 6, 2005
Even though I took a nap this afternoon, I'm feeling ready for bed. And it's only 10:30 PM. It wasn't a hard day, merely full.
It started by my pushing the snooze button on my alarm clock four times. Obviously I wasn't ready to get up, but I had to: I had a 10:30 AM appointment in Windsor with Lessa for a haircut.
After that I drove through Tim Horton's at Wyandotte and Walker Road and ordered an egg salad on whole wheat and an apple juice. I then took these down to the Odette Sculpture Park on the river and parked Sassy on the grass facing the Detroit skyline.
So far things had followed my usual pattern. Next on my agenda was to go to stand across from the entrance to the Ambassador Bridge with the Windsor Women In Black. But that was when the Universe or whatever you choose to call it, took things in her own hands.
Before I'd even unwrapped my sandwich I heard a familiar voice say, "Hi Patricia!" I looked up to see Elaine Carr, an old friend from WomanSpirit days and more recently from the O Beautiful Gaia CD project. She sat next to me on a bench and before we knew it, an hour and a half had passed. That's how it is with friends: time forgets itself.
I was home by 1:30 PM, made some calls, checked my emails and by 3 PM was stretched out on my bed. I awoke at 4:30 PM and was out the door by 5 PM. Tonight was my Arabic class.
I can't say I'm particularly adept at grasping this language; even trying to pronounce the words is a challenge. There are sounds that we English-speakers have never had to make before. And I don't know enough grammar for anything to make sense. But I'm sure that simply hearing Arabic spoken and trying to repeat what the teacher says will be of benefit when I find myself in an Arabic-speaking country like Lebanon. Of course, if I'd practice between classes, I'm sure that more of it would come in. But I'm not going to force myself. I'm happy letting Arabic simply wash over me; it's such a beautiful language.
And now I'm going to let sleep wash over me. Night night...
THURSDAY, JULY 7, 2005
I would like to send my love and healing thoughts to the people of London who have suffered such a terrifying, tragic experience today. And to those who have lost loved ones, I send my deepest sympathy. Please know you are surrounded by the love of millions of persons across the globe. You are not alone.
May our world find new ways to mend the differences that divide us. May we learn that when we bring suffering to one, we bring suffering to all...ourselves as well as our so-called "enemies." May we see the ones we call "other" as our sisters and brothers, for that is who they are. May all violence cease.
SATURDAY, JULY 9, 2005
Someday I'm going to create my long-overdue Journal Archive 63. I also anticipate finishing and posting my Continent In Song online album with all the photos I took in Saskatchewan. My other job is to send out change of email address notices so that I can activate the highspeed internet cable connection that was installed yesterday. But these summer days are too precious to spend glued to a computer screen, especially ones as beautiful as we've had of late.
Yesterday Pat Kolon came for an overnight visit and we had a grand time sharing dinner with Eddie and then going to see the excellent documentary film, "Rize."
This morning we slept in, read, and took a tour of our neighbor the Fedirko's garden where I saw this bee and bug on a flower. We then walk/scooted down to the park for lunch. While there I was delighted to run into our dear former neighbors the Bonahooms, their children and grandchildren. After lunch we came home and Pat read while I napped.
Tonight we went downtown to see "Menopause: A Musical" at Detroit's Gem Theatre, and finished the evening by walking around Harmonie Park and Greektown. The city was vibrant and alive with crowds everywhere, a jazz band at one outdoor restaurant and an Irish band outside another. There was an air of excitement as Detroit prepares to host baseball's All-Star game on Tuesday, and the temperature was a pleasant 80 degrees F.
By the way, I was surprised at my response--or lack thereof--to the Menopause musical. So many friends had told me I'd love it. They'd also said it was hysterical. Well, it was certainly well conceived and well acted, and the audience obviously adored it. So why didn't I? Maybe it's been too long since I went through menopause--20 years now--and maybe I'm just too far outside the mainstream to find humor in what most people find funny. But I enjoyed the music and certainly loved being downtown on this lovely summer evening.
I have one more photo for you: it's of a hollyhock I saw on a scoot down the singing street on Thursday. How I love summer!
SUNDAY, JULY 10, 2005
I swam laps this morning, then stayed down at the park and finished reading "Deafening" by Canadian author, Frances Itani. What a superb writer and storyteller! I highly recommend this award-winning novel.
Except for dinner and an after-dinner walk/scoot beside the lake with Ed, I worked steadily at my computer for the rest of the day. I installed my cable high-speed internet connection, and sent out my change of address emails. This evening I prepared my journal archive 63 and posted it online.
Enough computing already!
MONDAY, JULY 11, 2005
Thanks to Leah, a reader, I checked out Faiza's July 10 entry on her blog, A Family In Baghdad, and read an incredibly honest, compassionate appraisal of where my country is now. Through the eyes of a woman engineer from Iraq who had just returned home from a trip to the U.S., I saw America in a way that resonates with all I know, but because she is not a part of our culture, she brings an objectivity that would be hard for us to have. I so recommend your taking the time to read and reflect on her words.
I'm not going to copy her entire entry here, but would like to share her final thoughts:
I saw that with my own eyes when I was in America; everything says the country's economy is threatened, and moving to the worst....the big companies suffer from crises, and recession....they need new markets, and they need fuel to operate the factories, in the time to come...
And this war was also in order to keep the evil factories that manufacture weapons alive.
The idea of capitalism is: Work, production, and then the money shall flow...the market, the economy, the high profits, and the cheap financial sources, to ensure the high profits...
Capitalism is like a snake that sucks the blood of the earth, and the people, without getting enough...
I could almost see its end approaching....I could almost see it expelling its last breaths, and the war on Iraq was nothing but one of the last attempts to rescue the collapsed capitalism in its final days, hoping to retrieve its youth....
I think the first true step towards peace on earth, is to shut down the weapons factories, to replace it with food, medicine, or children's toys factories, perhaps then the nations would live in peace and happiness, forever....
The American people, not the government, is in need of a pause, and a clearing of conscience, to find out what is happening around them, and where are they being taken....
The unjustly treated nations, like the Iraqi people, understand exactly what is happening around them, always thinking, and working, to find a way out....
But a nation like the American people is also in need of a way to salvation, for they are heading towards an abyss, and they should stop, and change the course......
If there were any smart, free minded people, they should work to change....this is their responsibility towards humanity, and the coming generations......
For those shall question them: what have YOU done to stop the flow of injustice, greed, and evil?
by Faiza as published in her blog, A Family In Baghdad
TUESDAY, JULY 12, 2005
It's time for some pictures...
I'll start with two photos taken at the gym: 1) The first is of Matt and me during today's workout. I'm wearing Rima's birthday T-shirt with "meathead" printed on it; 2) and the second was taken back in June when I started using the elliptical trainer. This has become a regular part of my exercise program and, hard as it is, I love it. It feels like I'm running again.
Next are three photos taken at the lake when my computer was in the shop: 1) sunrise over the lake; 2) a duck in sun-sparkled waves ; and 3) a red-winged blackbird taking a rest.
Finally, here are a few of the photos I took in Ann Arbor during an overnight visit in June: 1) Ed's childhood home; 2) a pink peony; 3) a white iris; 4) a red poppy; and 5) white clematis climbing up a trellis.
WEDNESDAY, JULY 13, 2005
One month ago tomorrow, I was on my way to the Continent In Song celebration in Saskatchewan. And today I FINALLY finished preparing and putting up my Continent In Song Photos #1 & #2! It has been a joyful, albeit time-consuming, endeavor.
And tomorrow I'm off on yet another adventure--this one being the writing workshop I told you about last Tuesday. The theme--"Place and Exile; Borders and Crossings: Writing and Social Change"--intrigues me, but I have no idea where it will take me. That's the wonder of writing.
I will return home on Monday night (July 18), but will then be on the road again the following morning. I'm going to visit my friends in northern Michigan for a few days. I'll be staying with Mary White--Remember? I visited her last September--and will be getting together with my other friends, Jackie Berz and Jan Stutzman. On Tuesday night we're going to Interlochen Music Camp to hear a concert by Ani DeFranco.
Life is SO rich.
MONDAY, JULY 18, 2005
I can't imagine anyone more grateful for life than I. How can it get any richer? But it seems to.
The four-day writers workshop was all I'd hoped for and more. Much much more. Anya Achtenberg and Demetria Martinez were superb teachers/facilitators, our community bonded deeply, and the writing that emerged from these 19 women was knock-you-in-the-gut fabulous. And I haven't even mentioned the setting, food and land, all of which were perfection.
It's now 11:15 PM and I've got to get to bed so I can get up early to drive the five-and-a-half hours up to Mary's tomorrow. I want to get there by 3 PM so I can take a nap before we go to Ani DeFranco's concert at Interlocen tomorrow night. So I'm only going to put up my blog today and hope my journal readers think to visit me here.
URGENT: I want to ask you to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and urge them to do all they can to see that Khalid Jarrar (Faiza's son) is released from jail in Iraq. Khalid and his brother Raed have been open critics on their blogs--Secrets In Baghdad and Raed In The Middle--of what is happening in Iraq and Juan Cole, who knows about such things, believes that is why Khalid was arrested on July 14. He had just gone from Amman, Jordan to Baghdad to help his family after their home had been broken into. You can read more about it by going to Dancewater's blog.
FRIDAY, JULY 22, 2005
So much has happened since I last posted here. I'm not the same person I was then. But I'm not even going to try to tell you all about it tonight. It's close to midnight and I had a long drive home from Mary White's in northern Michigan today. Well, not as long as it took me to get there on Tuesday. This time I didn't go an hour and a half out of my way, but five-and-a-half hours of steady driving was enough.
Tonight I'd like to put up the photos I took at Mary's, and wait until another day to show-and-tell about the four-day writers' workshop I attended at Leaven Center prior to going up north.
If you recall, my friends Casey and Jeanne--who joined us for dinner last night--and I had gone up to visit Mary White last September. She lives close to her son Huther and his girlfriend Penny in a magical place surrounded by woods (photos #1, #2 & #3), flowers, vegetables, chickens, dogs, cats, water (next door to Gilbert Lake and a few miles from Lake Michigan), sky, and creatures like the doe we saw Wednesday in the meadow and the hummingbirds who were always getting drunk on the scarlet bee balm flowers outside her kitchen window. This time I went up by myself.
Mary and I discovered the rhythm of our days is similar. We both like a mix of solitude and sharing, naps and writing. At least twice every day we'd use the writing prompts Anya and Demetria had shared at the writers' workshop, and then read aloud what we'd written. We prefer grazing to sitting down to a formal meal, and appreciate seeing the sun set over Lake Michigan, and value time spent with friends like Jackie and Jan (photos #1, #2 & #3), and Casey and Jeanne. Mary wakes early but then goes back to bed for a nap that seems to coincide with my natural getting-up time. We adored Ani DeFranco's concert at Interlochen and spent as much time on our feet as the young folks that surrounded us.
It was all pretty darn idyllic. And now it's going to be equally idyllic to go to sleep in my own bed.
SUNDAY, JULY 24, 2005
Whew...88 degrees F. at 11 PM! That, my friends, is hot. And it isn't just the heat that gets to you, it's the high humidity. Yes, this is a summer we will remember.
Ed and I finally gave in and put up the window air conditioner that's been sitting unused in its original box for at least five years. He put it in the window beside the piano so it cools the entire living room area. When we returned from our after-dinner walk/scoot, we couldn't believe the difference. Now we have a room to escape to when the heat gets to us. Like maybe later tonight. Luckily our couch is very comfortable for sleeping. I'll see how my bedroom window fan handles tonight's heat.
I've been a big slug-a-bug today. Last night I took a fall that let me know I've been pushing the envelope. Whenever that happens, I just slow down and give my body what it needs, in this case, rest. After sleeping in, I worked on my photos from the writers' workshop. There's still more to do before I can put them up online, but it's coming along. Then I took a nice long nap before dinner.
Sorry I didn't post a journal/blog entry yesterday, but I needed sleep more than I needed to be a faithful journal-keeper/blogger. I'd had a good swim around noon and then met a wonderful fellow, Richard, who recognized me from the gym. We sat under a tree beside the lake and talked for a good long while. Then I ran into one of our "kids", Lindsay Morris, her husband Steven, their boys Milo and Cecil, and her mother Pam. Lindsay and her sisters and brothers used to hang out at our house back when they were growing up. I always enjoy seeing them.
It really is good to be home again. Seems like I've been away a lot this summer. Good stuff, all of it, but home is good too.
© 2005 Patricia Lay-Dorsey. Please use with attribution.
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