Saturday, August 1, 2020

Planting a tree in July 2020 in Vietnam



Lagerstroemia speciosa.

Mission Statement from the PeaceTrees website:

"Our Mission is to heal the legacy of war by removing dangerous explosives, returning land to safe use, promoting peace and cultivating a brighter future for the children and families of Vietnam."

Addendum:  It just occurred to me that no one is wearing a mask.  With a little googling, I find this and then this.

"(HANOI, Vietnam) — Vietnamese state media reported on Friday the country’s first ever death of a person with the coronavirus as it struggles with a renewed outbreak after 99 days without any cases."

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

More of one thing leading to another / Names / Waiting for Orion to appear / And More Names



After accessing the YouTube video I made of my sweet cat, Oboe, so that I could email it to a friend and while writing that email, I heard a man's voice and realized that YouTube had moved on to something else that it determined I would like to hear, based on the fact that the video I had accessed had the word "Oboe" in it.  What YouTube chose for me turned out to be deeply moving and timely.

If you listen to the video, watch for the list of names near the end.  Seeing those names, I was moved in the way I was moved when I stood in front of the Vietnam Veterans Wall of names some weeks before the official opening ceremony in the fall of 1982.  The power of naming is mysterious and profound.



Just before I sat down to work on this post, I went out on my porch  to look at the early morning sun shining through the cottonwood grove to the northeast of my porch.  It seemed to me that the sun was near the place it had been last May, but it is further south because we are more than a month beyond the first day of summer.  Soon Orion will appear in the pre-dawn sky above the cottonwood grove.

As I finish this blog post, I'm feeling grateful to my first cousin once-removed who will remain anonymous.  She was the one who inadvertently introduced me to blogging.  It was her blog list that led to some of the blogs I still read (Velveteen Rabbi and the cassandra pages).  That must have been in 2005.  From that beginning, I was led to one blog after another which I put on my blog list.  Many of those blogs no longer exist but many new blogs have been started and new blog friends discovered.  One thing continues to lead to another.

Addendum:  After I posted the above, I checked my email.  A friend had sent me this:



Imagine my surprise when I found that the names of all the singers from all over the world are listed in the second half of the video. 

"... Imagine all the people living lives in peace ..."
(Yoko Ono and John Lennon -- 1971)

Saturday, July 25, 2020

"... good trouble, necessary trouble."




“Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.” -- John Lewis



Just now I paid $7.58 to watch this later today on YouTube.  I'm grateful to have easy access to this film through YouTube.  This is the first time I have paid to watch something on YouTube.  My income does not allow for much beyond the essentials.  For me, this is an essential.  

Friday, July 24, 2020

With gratitude to to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., on July 23, 2020, speaking from the House floor:
"I would also like to thank many of my colleagues for the opportunity to not only speak today but for the many members from both sides of the aisle who have reached out to me in support following an incident earlier this week.
About two days ago I was walking up the steps of the Capitol when Representative Yoho suddenly turned a corner, and he was accompanied by Representative Roger Williams. And accosted me on the steps right here in front of our nation's capitol.
(scroll down)
I was minding my own business, walking up the steps, and Representative Yoho put his finger in my face, he called me disgusting, he called me crazy, he called me out of my mind. And he called me dangerous. And then he took a few more steps and after I had recognized his – after I had recognized his comments as rude, he walked away and said, I’m rude, you're calling me rude. I took a few steps ahead and I walked inside and cast my vote.
Because my constituents send me here each and every day to fight for them. And to make sure that they are able to keep a roof over their head. That they are able to feed their families. And that they are able to carry their lives with dignity.
I walked back out and there were reporters in the front of the Capitol, and in front of reporters, Representative Yoho called me, and I quote, a f------ b----. These are the words Representative Yoho levied against a congresswoman. A congresswoman that not only represents New York’s 14th district but every congresswoman in this country because all of us have had to deal with this in some form, some way, some shape at some point in our lives.
And I want to be clear that Representative Yoho’s comments were not deeply hurtful or piercing to me. Because I have worked a working-class job. I have waited tables in restaurants. I have ridden the subway. I have walked the streets in New York City. And this kind of language is not new. I have encountered words uttered by Mr. Yoho and men uttering the same words as Mr. Yoho while I was being harassed in restaurants. I have tossed men out of bars that have used language like Mr. Yoho's, and I have encountered this type of harassment riding the subway in New York City. This is not new. And that is the problem.
(scroll down)
Mr. Yoho was not alone. He was walking shoulder to shoulder with Representative Roger Williams. And that's when we start to see that this issue is not about one incident. It is cultural. It is a culture of a lack of impunity, of acceptance of violence and violent language against women, an entire structure of power that supports that.
Because not only have I been spoken to disrespectfully, particularly by members of the Republican Party, and elected officials in the Republican Party, not just here, but the President of the United States last year told me to 'go home' to another country with the implication that I don't even belong in America. The governor of Florida, Governor DeSantis, before I was sworn in, called me a 'whatever that is.' Dehumanizing language is not new. And what we are seeing is that incidents like these are happening in a pattern. This is a pattern of an attitude towards women and the dehumanization of others.
So, while I was not deeply hurt or offended by little comments that are made, when I was reflecting on this, I honestly thought I was going to pack it up and go home. It's just another day, right?
But then yesterday, Representative Yoho decided to come to the floor of the House of Representatives and make excuses for his behavior. And that I could not let go. I could not allow my nieces, I could not allow the little girls that I go home to, I could not allow victims of verbal abuse and, worse, to see that — to see that excuse and to see our Congress accept it as legitimate and accept it as an apology and to accept silence as a form of acceptance, I could not allow that to stand. Which is why I’m rising today to raise this point of personal privilege.
(scroll down)
And I do not need representative Yoho to apologize to me. Clearly, he does not want to. Clearly, when given the opportunity he will not. And I will not stay up late at night waiting for an apology from a man who has no remorse over calling women and using abusive language towards women. But what I do have issue with is using women, wives, and daughters as shields and excuses for poor behavior.
Mr. Yoho mentioned that he has a wife and two daughters. I am two years younger than Mr. Yoho's youngest daughter. I am someone's daughter too.
My father, thankfully, is not alive to see how Mr. Yoho treated his daughter. My mother got to see Mr. Yoho's disrespect on the floor of this house towards me on television, and I am here because I have to show my parents that I am their daughter and that they did not raise me to accept abuse from men.
Now, what I am here to say is that this harm that Mr. Yoho levied, tried to levy against me, was not just an incident directed at me, but when you do that to any woman, what Mr. Yoho did was give permission to other men to do that to his daughters.
He -- in using that language, in front of the press, he gave permission to use that language against his wife, his daughters, women in his community, and I am here to stand up to say that is not acceptable.
(scroll down)
I do not care what your views are. It does not matter how much I disagree or how much it incenses me or how much I feel that people are dehumanizing others.
I will not do that myself. I will not allow people to change and create hatred in our hearts.
And so, what I believe is that having a daughter does not make a man decent. Having a wife does not make a decent man. Treating people with dignity and respect makes a decent man. And when a decent man messes up, as we all are bound to do, he tries his best and does apologize. Not to save face, not to win a vote. He apologizes genuinely to repair and acknowledge the harm done so that we can all move on.
Lastly, what I want to express to Mr. Yoho is gratitude. I want to thank him for showing the world that you can be a powerful man and accost women. You can have daughters and accost women without remorse. You can be married and accost women. You can take photos and project an image to the world of being a family man and accost women without remorse and with a sense of impunity. It happens every day in this country. It happened here on the steps of our nation’s Capitol. It happens when individuals who hold the highest office in this land admit, admit to hurting women, and using this language against all of us.
Once again, I thank my colleagues for joining us today."
Thanks to 37Paddington for bringing this to my attention and to USA Today for this transcript. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

More of one thing leading to another / Looking inside and looking outside / Following paths on the internet that led to something children learned on Netflix last February






















 
(Click on this series of photos to see Bald Eagles)





As I wandered down paths on the internet today, this appeared:



The empathetic children sing,

"... when you feel sad and scared, look for music everywhere ..."

after they learn that there are adults who have some growing up to do.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

More of one thing leading to another / Nina Simone "like a bird in the sky"



I WISH I KNEW HOW IT WOULD FEEL TO BE FREE

I wish I knew how It would feel to be free I wish I could break All the chains holding me I wish I could say All the things that I should say Say 'em loud, say 'em clear For the whole round world to hear I wish I could share All the love that's in my heart Remove all the bars That keep us apart I wish you could know What it means to be me Then you'd see and agree That every man should be free I wish I could give All I'm longin' to give I wish I could live Like I'm longin' to live I wish I could do All the things that I can do And though I'm way overdue I'd be starting anew Well I wish I could be Like a bird in the sky How sweet it would be If I found I could fly Oh I'd soar to the sun And look down at the sea Then I'd sing 'cause I know How it feels to be free


This morning I was listening to "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" on YouTube. After that song ended, it was almost without interruption that YouTube brought me that song by Nina Simone.

It was my friend, Deven, who introduced me to the music of Nina Simone and Joni Mitchell when we were students attending the University of California at Irvine more than 50 years ago. It was Deven who asked me to come with her to hear Nina Simone in concert on the university campus in October 1969. I had not heard of Nina Simone but Deven assured me that her concert was not to be missed.

With a little googling I found this article about that concert:









Then I noticed that the article was written by someone with the name David Janda and did more googling.  There is a David Janda of about the right age connected with KBBF 89.1 FM in Northern California.  KBBF was the first bilingual public radio station, founded in 1973.  I wonder if this is the same David Janda:



With many thanks to Deven:





I'm hoping to be able to listen to KBBF 89.1 FM on my laptop as I continue learning to speak Spanish.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

More of one thing leading to another, with no beginning or end in sight / Gratitude for my mysterious parents














The Bob Dylan of my mother 

(am's chalk pastel drawing from the 1980s of Bob Dylan which my mother hung in a prominent place in the small home overlooking the Pacific Ocean in a tiny town in Mendocino County where she and my father lived for 25 years until her death in 1994 and where she listened to "Oh Mercy" during the final years of her complicated life.  My mother thanked me for introducing her to the music of Bob Dylan when I was a teenager in the 1960s.  My father told me during those same years, "You were a nice girl until you started listening to Bob Dylan."  My parents, the first people I knew, remain a mystery to me.  They didn't seem to have much in common and argued frequently.  It was only after they died that I felt safe enough to love them.  That process continues.)

Although I wasn't looking for current articles about Bob Dylan, this arrived in my email inbox today:

"... The Bob Dylan of my dad was the one that told the story of his life drifting, constantly changing in his perspective of being a rolling stone. My Dylan is the one who alludes to the wisdom and guidance to know that even through the years, we can stand confused and be transformed. As he even proposes in “Tryin’ to Get to Heaven,” a confident voice of only one thing: “When you think you’ve lost everything, you find out you can lose a little more ...”

"... The body of work that he has created is proof of time, of life experienced and lived against being analyzed, we’ve grown with him, and he has a perfect way of expressing it, like a medieval troubadour courting life, the perfect witness and acknowledging that there’s a Bob Dylan for all and that is where his greatness lies ..."

Tatiana Altagracia (click on her name to read the article)



Of course, not everyone is for Bob Dylan.  My father, for instance, thought that listening to Bob Dylan had ruined his firstborn daughter as she made her way through her teenage years.  He didn't understand that Bob Dylan's music brought to me what he could not bring to me -- validation of the creative woman I was becoming and yet, there was more to my father than met the eye.  I have come to understand that his life was as complicated and conflicted as my mother's.  Perhaps that is what they had in common.  Here is the gouache and watercolor painting of mine that he chose to hang in his living room until the last few years of his life when he moved to a smaller independent living apartment:

Calendar Series: 46th Month / Land Fish with Open Hearts Confronting Stranded Tool (1989)



Here are two views of one of the art works of my father who stated that he was not an artist:




















The gorilla that my father carved in redwood lives on my porch next to my abbreviated garden, which reminds me that my father expressed his love of beauty and design through gardening and landscaping.



My mother was an artist (look here, below my post for today, to see the mandalas she created that inspired mine) and a writer of poetry and short stories, although she abruptly stopped writing creatively in the late 1960s and began doing art work instead, beginning with learning to paint using watercolors and moving, over the years, to Japanese brush painting, silkscreening, batik, stained glass, and finally working at complex pattern knitting until the last days of her life.

When I was out walking in the past few days, I could feel the presence of my friends who have died and of Oboe.  It occurred to me to ask my parents if they wanted to walk with us and then I found it difficult to picture them walking with me.  As I write this, it becomes clear that my parents were not people who walked with other people.  I can picture them wishing me well but declining to walk with me.  What I want to focus on is that I sense that they wish me well.  I wish the same for them.  I know that I know nothing about their inner lives except what was expressed through their creativity.

The formatting elves are playing with my layout again  (-:

Be well.  Be safe.  The world is still being born.



Vocal, guitar and harmonica:  Terayama

Sunday, July 5, 2020

"... ready to change the world ..."





“I do not know if these hands will become Malcolm’s—raised and fisted or Martin’s—open and asking or James’s—curled around a pen. I do not know if these hands will be Rosa’s or Ruby’s gently gloved and fiercely folded calmly in a lap, on a desk, around a book, ready to change the world . . .”

― Jacqueline Woodson, Brown Girl Dreaming



"On July 5, 1852 ..."

Friday, July 3, 2020

Talkative Oboe Listens / One thing leading to another (otra vez)



About a month ago while listening to Bob Dylan's "Time Out Of Mind" from 1997, as I make my way through my collection of cassette tapes and CDs of Bob Dylan's music from 1962 to 2020, I looked up and saw Oboe lift her head in a way that I have not often seen her do.  I picked up my camera and filmed her.  When I tried to upload the short video to YouTube, I received a notice that my video would be blocked because of a music copyright issue, and so I figured out how to mute the copyrighted music.  I am grateful that I have this short video of Oboe in May 2020.

The Fish

Although you hide in the ebb and flow
Of the pale tide when the moon has set,
The people of coming days will know
About the casting out of my net,
And how you have leaped times out of mind
Over the little silver cords,
And think that you were hard and unkind,
And blame you with many bitter words.














My mother purchased a print titled "Shadow-play Cat, by Dorr Bothwell, many years ago.  She found
it at an art gallery not far north of where my parents lived in Gualala, California, for the 25 years
prior to my mother's death in 1994.  For the past 14 years, the print has been hanging on the wall 
above where I put Oboe's food.  In the print my mother purchased, the lower part of the print is 
orange rather than blue but otherwise the same.  I've moved the print to my living room where I can 
enjoy seeing it more easily now.

The summer cloud view from my porch has been lovely.

Something is being mischievous with my layout today  (-: