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October 3rd, 2006


03:25 am - Gay Rights/Human Rights
"Why is it that, as a culture, we are more comfortable seeing two men holding guns than holding hands?" - Ernest Gaines

We would like to know who really believes in gay rights on LiveJournal. There is no bribe of a miracle or anything like that. If you truly believe in gay rights, then repost this and title the post as "Gay Rights". If you don't believe in gay rights, then just ignore this. Thanks.
********************************************
However, let me amend this. I support equal rights for all humans, save dictators, tyrants and certain criminals. I don't care what your gender or orientation is, you should be given the same civil rights as anyone else in this country, and in others, as long as you're willing to treat others the same way.

Unfortunately, ordinary folks' rights are being curtailed in the US right now--habeus corpus for instance--and as mdlbear says, makes the issue of gay rights look almost small potatoes next to it.

(4 comments | and then you say)

August 28th, 2006


06:14 am
saffronrose
okay, an acceptable color.
gacked from a number of MysticDreams folk.
Mind you it is only ONE of the acceptable Marina colors, as it is not a bluey-green. It is however, my birthstone color.

(9 comments | and then you say)

July 25th, 2006


11:54 pm
It's hot, it's blasted hot,
and what do you know, it's going to be hot tonight
I'd sleep but I'm too hot
and airconditioning doesn't exist at work!

Two nights now, it's been 20 degrees cooler at night in Palo Alto/Atherton than at home. I arrive to soup heat.
Sitting up to one's neck in the pool cools one off for only so long, and I can't sleep there, not being an aquatic mammal.

The woman who always wants her water without ice is not overfilling bottles and glasses with ice. Besides, in the non a/c house, it'll only last about 10 minutes or so before the ice has completely melted.

Bleah.

In other news, our friend rowanf has successfully has her appendix out, and is resting comfortably at home, with the aid of pain meds, I suspect. They did have to go in through one of her tatts, but they were very careful in sewing back up.

On the job front, I was found to be too informal for the classical music series that was to have me working evenings and weekends until mid-August. Oh, well. That's me, not reverent enough to people I have no idea of their importance to someone else without explicit information. At least most of the folks on the phone seem to like warm&sparkly.

The upside of that is that I'll be able to make rituals I wasn't going to attend working weekends. I'm just sorry oceandusk is going to have to take my place because she's a known positive quantity.

There needs to be an In'n'Out Burger place nearer the Stanford campus. The nearest one I know of is at Rengstorff and the 101. Took me 45 minutes to get there after work (oceandusk said she could really use one of their cheeseburgers, and JeniW piped up and said she'd like some, too, as she was working that night.) I only minded that it took me so long so that they didn't get their burgers earlier. Maybe going south on 101 would have been faster, but no, I had to take an alternate route!

So mr_kurt is away again, and I'm waiting up for his "I've landed" call. It's too hot to get close to him except in the pool, but I still miss him when he's not home to come to bed next to me.

Ah, well, upstairs it is. Perhaps it'll be cool enough tonight to sleep long enough, even if I have to do it by myself.

(2 comments | and then you say)

July 13th, 2006


02:35 pm - Memege

Ten Top Trivia Tips about Marina!

  1. Marina can live for up to a week without a head!
  2. In the kingdom of Bhutan, all citizens officially become marina on New Year's Day.
  3. Marina will give a higher yield if milked when listening to music!
  4. In Vermont, the ratio of cows to marina is 10:1.
  5. Human beings are the only animals that copulate while facing marina!
  6. If you lace marina from the inside to the outside, the fit will be snugger around your big toe!
  7. Long ago, the people of Nicaragua believed that if they threw marina into a volcano it would stop erupting.
  8. Neil Armstrong first stepped on marina with his left foot.
  9. Marina, from the movie of the same name, had green blood.
  10. Marina can sleep with one eye open.
I am interested in - do tell me about

(and then you say)

May 17th, 2006


10:34 pm - The British Anti-Burglar Brigade
I have negelcted to say how enjoyable the British Anti-Burglar Brigade, sometimes known as Simon & Mary (aka sbisson and marypcb) has been. Off and on in March (and recently in May), they showed up for a day or more, wandering hither, thither and yon (that must make us Hither) while being helpful guests, capable of entertaining themselves (whether it was work or other friends, LJ and not, to visit; or places to see) or being delightful conversationalists while present, happily eating leftovers when they arrived late and famished, just as happy to eat freshly-prepared food when dinner was timely.

While they announce freely that the burglars have arrived, they seem to bring something with them, rather than take things away (aside from photographs and good memories, one hopes). We get interesting bottles of wine for the most part--whether for the packaging (as in one HP wine!) or the contents (my rosepetal wine from Lurgashall winery in Britain).

We always enjoy seeing them when they are in the area. One of these days, we hope to return the favor.

(and then you say)

April 15th, 2006


10:11 pm - Conflicting emotions: failure and failing parents
On January 18th this year, I wrote much of the essay below for a friend on Femrel, Wendlyn Alter, whose father needed more attention that she could possibly give while working full time to support them both.

*****
I swear, the hardest thing on earth is to be responsible for another person's safety and life-in-general. Doesn't matter if the person is older, younger, or the same as as you are. Sometimes it feels as if there are NO right answers.

All we can ever do is our best, and guilt about what we might have done better keeps us from the job at hand, with the facts at hand. Someone remind me of this when I need it, right?

It is never "failure" to ask for assistance when needed. It is failure to believe one can do it all by oneself, and then fail both the other person and oneself for pride's sake. It's the one thing that's kept me and others in the running for Best X of the Year, as opposed to not even making the first qualifying round.

You, Wendlyn, and also many others, struggle against overwhelming-to-most odds and circumstances and come out alive and reasonably sane
BECAUSE YOU ASK FOR HELP when it's called for, and
BECAUSE YOU ARE STRONGER THAN YOU FEEL at the moment of asking.

I broke down in tears at the thought of a mood cycle a week, with a two day crash on the weekends this last autumn. I am so afraid of this [bipolar] disorder crippling me--or the medications for it doing so--that I often fear what the next day will bring. I get better only because I want to so badly, and I have a psychiatrist who works the med changes for me, and a therapist who sees what I can't voice or comprehend just yet. Without those two women, no other support would be enough, and no support would be no different.
It is strength to ask for help when the task is more than you can face alone.
It's a mitzvah to let your friends help...and there's a whole set of industries needing your help to survive (laugh, it's a joke).

Remember Wendlyn, my mother was no less unhappy nor any happier when she was transferred to the nursing home after 6 years at home. My sister's health improved drastically. My mother had better care, and my sister began discovering life again. My mother would have been 82 today. She spent 10 years in a prison of her body. My sister was showing signs of being in a worse prison. It is no sin to wish to outlive your father. It is not surprising when ANYONE discovers an Alzheimer's patient is farther along than realized, because they have some coping mechanisms, and the changes are gradual, usually.

It doesn't have to happen to you--and your dad was happy at the place you visited. He'll be well taken care of whether you're working out of town or in; any crisis will be dealt with competently and swiftly, and he'll be able to do things with you that are fun for both of you. People who understand Alzheimer's will be there, and they can help YOU with his Alzheimer's, too. The center should have social workers for that. They will help you understand and process what you know.
[As it turned out the facility went sour and other arrangements have been made for the next 6 months or so]
***********

People who judge people about nursing homes and the parents therein have generally never been in the situation where they had, solo, to deal with a parent incapacitated and unaware. I wouldn't wish it on an enemy, but many folk who never did anyone wrong have to deal with this awful choice, the situations coming out of that choice, and we have no social rituals for people to follow when one's parents go so badly downhill. We seldom live close enough anymore--it was bad enough for me in Northern California, when my mother and sister were in San Diego: a friend of mine, silme, from a couple of Loreena McKennitt-centric lists has an ocean to cross.

It is very hard visiting a body whose spirit, once familiar and joined to the body, is no longer there. Because I was not wrapped up in weekly visits or daily presence, my mother's body was just that. The person I'd known was no longer there, and I didn't particularly like the current spirit because she made my sister's life a living hell. Carol, however, was indeed wrapped up in every detail of our mother's existence. The only thing I knew to do was to support her in her support of our mom. She got the Mother's Day cards and suchlike as well. It wasn't enough--it might not have been enough if I'd been in the same area. I wasn't working, but I had a kid to rear and a household to run. Ideally, you'd have a caregiver or two, at least two siblings living in or near to take care of the parent, and more money than the parent made in a lifetime to care for said parent--as if that happens more than a quarter of the time! My mother's care cost more a month than her best working salary and my sister's salary put together. No wonder so many people go for stripping the assets and going for a Medicare-fundable facility--their other choice is to bankrupt themselves and be unable to live in their own home, through no financial fault of their own. From what I hear, catastrophic longterm care policies are ripoffs.

What are you supposed to do when your willingness to care exceeds your ability? When the person has changed so much that you don't know them, and they might not know you--and they're going to outlive you if you try to care for them yourself? These days, those aging parents so lovingly and erroneously portrayed in ads and talk shows? Have a good time finding them. Most are often living longer in frail circumstances, and you could care for them for a decade or more, being worn down by caring for someone who will never outgrow the need, who will never grow UP but only waste slowly. If a couple gets to the stage where each of them needs care, they often cannot find a place in the same nursing home--they must go to separate facilities. This is what my uncle and aunt faced. Their only daughter lives close enough to where they were to take them in and care for them as needed (aunt with Alzheimer's, uncle with cardio pulmonary issues AND diabetes), getting the money they would have given to stay in a nursing home. The children there, their grandkids, are old enough to help, being late in high school or early in college. This is not the usual setup.

I have another friend from both those lists who has more than one personality in his head. It's not the same as first there was this parent-of-memory, and now you have this stranger with no connection, save in the body, to the older personality. Very, very seldom does the aging parent's personality change go for the better. I know one only, and her offspring are very, very lucky.

The docile but fragile older parent who needs little additional care is a small minority of those who are incapacitated by disease or accident. Their children will never know, nor understand, what others of their generation go through.

(5 comments | and then you say)

April 5th, 2006


07:12 am - What J. K. Rowling has to say about being thin
At J. K Rowling's official site

Short summary: as an accomplishment, it's overrated.

yay her!

I got this via The Leaky Cauldron RSS feed.

(4 comments | and then you say)

March 19th, 2006


07:01 pm - Introduction for the FlameKeepers community
Who am I?Collapse )

I began seeking to learn about and to dedicate myself to Brighid-of-the-many-spellings this January. Another Goddess I seek to know better is Pomona--well, I went to Pomona College, in the midst of what used to be citrus orchards, and I seem to have fruits, nuts, and citrus in my garden, along with lots of roses. I will never have an anonymous, generic garden if I can help it.

I am a student of a NROOGD elder named Nette, and live in the midst of what used to be known as The Valley of Heart's Delight. These days silicon chips and their industries have supplanted the orchards.

(8 comments | and then you say)

March 9th, 2006


10:27 pm - Hear this, South Dakota Legislature!
I would have an abortion. The circumstances under which I would, might, have, or might have chosen to have an abortion are nobody's business but mine and those I choose to tell. They are not the business of any government. I do not accept the proposition that the state and/or my sexual partner(s) should have any say over when and if I choose to bear a child. I do not accept any sovereignty over my body and my reproductive organs but my own. If faced with the situation, I will do everything feasible to help other women and girls I know exercise their rights to safely terminate a pregnancy if they so choose. When a state treats women and girls as chattel, it is they that commit a crime.

If you agree, please place the preceding paragraph in your journal. Then use the following link to send a message to South Dakota's governor: If you agree, please place the preceding paragraph in your journal. Then use the following link to send a message to South Dakota's governor: Planned Parenthood's take action page.

And thanks, from me, from silme, and from all of us who benefit from women's sovereignty over their own bodies.

(and then you say)

February 6th, 2006


08:35 am - A memorial for a former employer, Elizabeth Springer Wrigley, from 1998
I got a call on 28 January 1998, just as we were about to cake my son, turned 4 (chucked the car seat, moved to a booster). I found that a former boss of mine, Elizabeth S. Wrigley of the Francis Bacon Library & Foundation in Claremont CA USA had died on 26th April 1997. As with many fiercely independent folk, when her health began to fail, she hired help and began to push friends away, not wishing them to see her and perhaps to think less of her because of illness.

Her attorney had been trying to find me from information written in 1987, before I married (but someone overlooked going to the Library across the street, or to my Alumni Office, or even the Library's mailing list, as she had certainly known where I lived and had even seen Arthur), due to a small bequest.

It is always a shock to me to get a call or a letter addressed to my birth name, unused since January of 1984, and it gets my attention and gets my brain jumping to conclusions. When the PI got to the part about had I lived in Claremont, I was unfortunately aware of Elizabeth's failing health from finding out about the Library having been closed in 1995 (only found out because I got a list of books the Huntington didn't need, from a local bookseller handling the matter), and leapt to the correct conclusion. Oddly enough, a listmember from the Ramblin' Rovers (Silly Wizard) is working on the accession/cataloging of the collections from the FBL at the Huntington.

I have some great memories of my time and the Bacon, and time with Elizabeth, and I have acquired some of her speech patterns, and I am grateful for all the ideas and people she exposed me to, traits she encouraged in me (and those she attempted to correct, as well!). The kindling for my Samhain fire this year will be the NYT crosswords I'd been saving for her when I got time to write.

She led an amazing life, was a surrogate aunt to me, and a wonderful boss who I will always regret having to leave so that I could pay more than just rent and food with my salary (non-profits, gotta love 'em). I expect I like Diana Trent of Waiting for God because Elizabeth resembles her in spirit.

I tired to find her people back east--extended family, but got nowhere. I know she was originally from Pittsburgh PA, graduated from the Univ. of Pittsburgh. I believe she was an only child (but I have a vague idea of a niece), and her father was a civil engineer who travelled widely for his work--Elizabveth spoke of having an amah in India. If there is an email address for the Univ. of Pittsburgh alumni office, that would help. She was married to Oliver Kenneth Wrigley, who died in the late 70s in the LA area (they lived in Temple City).

I wrote a letter to the attorney/executor asking about her (extended) family, but he had no records to indicate any--and that may mean nothing at all.

It also turns out that her remains remained in his office, as no-one yet asked felt up to the task of discreetly scattering her ashes on Mt. Baldy, above Claremont. I volunteered to do this when the weather improved, on the anniversary of her death. Doing this did not hit my ick-buttons or any prohibitions that I knew of, and I considered it an honor. I think Julie Robinson-Zurek (the cataloger hired when I was there) scattered the ashes on 23 or 26 April 1998.

She is one of the "ancestors" I call in circle to join us in work, as I think she would have been happy to participate in rituals. Her memorial tree is a Queen Elizabeth Standard (aka tree rose) bred by Walter Lammerts (who has a niece who lived in Temple City, as well) in honour of Queen Elizabeth II of England. Between her and Elizabeth Moberly, it was certain that some form of Elizabeth would have been part of any daughter's name, should I have borne one.

Elizabeth Springer Wrigley, 4 October 1914 (or -15) - 26 April 1997

Cast your eyes to the ocean, Cast your soul to the sea,
When the darkness seems endless, please remember me, please remember me.
(Loreena McKennitt)

(1 comment | and then you say)

October 4th, 2005


09:41 am - The second of two very important Elizabeths
The second of two very important Elizabeths in my life died on 16th March 2000.

Elizabeth Conner Wells Moberly, in the SCA known as Mistress (Court) Baroness Catriona nicChlurain of Angels, Caid, (and I'm afraid I only heard once her name in religion, and it did not stick in my brain) died at 77 years, after a year of decreasing health. She chose to stop striving in this life, and go on to the Summerland where she would rest until ready to incarnate again (I think that's how she'd phrase it). She left behind a daughter by birth, Jeanne/Sine, and many adopted daughters and sons in the SCA (of which I was one: I refer to her as my foster-mom), and their offspring; as well as many loving friends (some of whom she had joined in marriage or handfasting; I also claim that honor) and coven sibs. In the past year she'd been under treatment for emphysema, as well as some small strokes (ISAs), and penumonia.

I was treated to a very good sermon at her funeral last Friday, wherein the priest spoke about G*d, Christianity, getting to heaven, and all those persons who've never heard of Christ, but who were created and loved by G*d. He defined the Holy Spirit as Love personified, as it were, of G*d towards us, and of us towards G*d. He did not seem to subscribe to the ide that G*d made us all perfect, but as we ARE, and that the interaction with each other was an essential part of life and growth. He ended up saying that the deceased had clearly been imbued with the Holy Spirit, as evidenced by the presence of a great number of mourners speaking so highly of her, and that we should take the gift of her love, and of G*d's love through her, and go share it as she had. That priest had been a part of the SCA; he knew how many pagani and Jews were in the pews, and he crafted a message we could all accept without discomfort. Question, that's another matter--I have plenty questions for him, alas that I shan't get them answered, mostly to do with his logic and word choices. However, I think I can follow his final instructions.

It was a high-Church Anglican Solemn High Mass, complete with more incense than most pagans see in three years: Frankincense at first, and myrrh followed (according to my nose). A choir, a piper, and three priests, the primary officiant being a former Baron of Angels, now clearly settled in a role of priest in pomp and circumstance (and flashy robes, too). Lots of Lucca Della Robbia work about the church, too. He resembled British actor Brian Blessed a bit, but not in the tonal qualities, even if he was a very good speaker (no one was in danger of nodding off).

We were all a bit weepy, a bit maudlin (but I didn't check for dirty toes), as one might expect. Kleenex was passed around before the ceremony began. There was a table with photos from her life, including sides of her many of us had never seen, from the decades before we met her. While I saw many folk I expected to see, but had not for a decade or more, I missed some I thought would have attended--and the same may be said of the wake. Email addresses were gathered...

Mistress Cat, Lady Cat, Baroness Cat, Mama Cat--she played big parts in many people's lives. In my case, she took a young woman but lately exposed to Scottish culture and fostered an interest in it via the interests I already had; she showed me another way of relating to a daughter; she showed me a hospitality of a different flavor from what I had learned growing up; and in one case, showed me that not every one marries the same virtues, and are not necessarily blind to the faults of the other, which might potentially cause pain to the first. I was included on long trips north to the Kingdom of the West, before Caid was a principality, and after--I'd be stuffed in a corner because I COULD fit there and not complain of cramps (can't do that any longer!) while getting to places I'd otherwise never see (this is a good thing, reallytruly!).

She was the first Real Live Pagan Priestess I ever met, after having read enough in my adolescence to feel a pull that way--and this is before the publication of Drawing down the Moon and of The Spiral Dance. Geography and transit lines' lacks kept me from becoming a student of hers, as the LA basin is not forgiving of those without cars of their own wishing to stray from the standard corridors or travel at later hours in the outlying areas. When I finally got a car at 29, and the license shortly thereafter, I returned quite a lot of Ride Karma, which transformed easily into carpooling practice later on.

Mothering was one of her great skills: alas, it is not mine, but I can learn from her and her example, and better what I have. Hospitality was another, and that I think I have learned and absorbed as a skill. I love having a house full of people talking and eating, singing and dancing, and laughing until it hurts. I want my home to be the haven hers was. I want to have time enough to learn all the things she'd had time to forget, with a few exceptions. I may never be a dab foot at Scottish Country Dancing, but I do adore dancing parties. Ask the Morris sides in my area!

I have to go find the Scotch Briar rose (or a nice deep red one--I'm quite fond of those myself) in my garden and give it a copper tag, saying it's dedicated to her. When it gets a little taller, I can plant some lavendar around it, and maybe, also in her memory, find some 2 gal. containers of heather and plant them at the entrance to the Garden Square. I don't *think* the roots will interfere with the wisteria.

The wake was held the next day at the home of a couple who had long and winding ties to her; I saw many, but not all, of the folks I'd seen the night before, and I saw a few there I had not seen at the funeral; again, many not seen for at least two decades. Many brought bottles of spirit to share, as well as a large variety of food (and there was even protein and vegetables!). There were no pronouncements or big speeches, but a few toasts, good fellowship, conversation and memories shared and exchanged. Again, I got a chance to connect to folks who'd been important parts of my life as a young girl, and get those email addys to allow reconnection. I also met some folk I'd not met before and chatted happily with them about mutual interests.

I learned about Locks of Love--and if any of you have long hair (a foot or longer) that you plan to chop, I urge you to enquire into donations for this organization. It makes wigs for kids who've lost theirs to alopecia, cancer treatments, or other misfortunes. You see, Cat's daughter Jeanne used to have lovely long hair that I envied: straight honey colored hair with a bit of wave to it. Now she has a short cut that my hair would never comply with anyway that frames her face beautifully. One of my foster-sisters, Eyana bat David, shaved her long black straight hair off before? the diagnosis of ovarian cancer, and gave it to Locks of Love. Of course, Eyana used this to great effect as a Centauri woman in a masquerade competition, too. I've learned that she had a very nicely shaped head, and I'm going to go through my hat collection to see what I might pass on to her.

Another thing that happened is that we all saw older photos of Catriona, taken at the age Sine is now, and could finally see the resemblance, as her face was growing into the form her mother wore when first we met her. So, if you are told that you don't resemble a parent much, perhaps you have to wait a few more years for the resemblance to appear in the eyes of others who met that parent later in life.


What can you do with your days but work and hope? Let your dreams bind your work to your play
What can you do with every moment of your life But love 'till you've loved it away?
Love 'till you've loved it away. Bob Franke, "Thanksgiving Eve" (chorus)

(and then you say)

June 1st, 2005


04:28 am - Some memes until I feel better.
seen in melangell's journal

Which Witch are you?Collapse )
Quelle surprise, eh?


from singerofdark:
What Icons are for you?Collapse )

ooh, ooh! I get Eliza Dushku too!

gacked/kypped from rowanf:

What i don't know about folk on my friends listCollapse )

(3 comments | and then you say)

May 21st, 2005


07:40 pm - outraged yet?
recently seen in Memphis

the story behind the photo

(2 comments | and then you say)

August 31st, 2004


01:10 pm - Serious or silly? (header corrected)
The Pagan Problem Report Form (from CoffeeGrrl23)

1. Describe your pagan problem:
__________________________________________________
__________________________________________________

2. Now, describe the pagan problem accurately:
__________________________________________________
__________________________________________________

3. Speculate wildly about the cause of the problem:
__________________________________________________
___________________________________________________

4. Problem severity:
A. Minor
B. Minor
C. Minor
D. Trivial

5. Nature of the problem:
A. ___Attachment
B. ___Possession
C. ___Hex
D. ___Strange Smell

6. Is your Aura plugged in Correctly? Yes __ No __

7. Is it turned on? Yes __ No __

8. Have you tried to Cleanse or banquish it yourself? Yes __ No __

9. Have you made it worse? Yes __

10. Have you had a friend who "knows all about Witchcraft and cleansing " try to fix it for you? Yes__ No__

11. Did they make it even worse? Yes __

12. Have you read a Book of shadows? Yes__ No__

13. Are you sure you've read a Book of shadows ? Maybe __ No__

14. Are you absolutely certain you've read a Book of shadows ? No__

15. If you read a Book of shadows, do you think you understood it?
Yes__ No__

16. If 'Yes' then explain why you can't fix the problem yourself:
__________________________________________________
__________________________________________________

17. What were you doing with your Ritual circle when the problem occurred?
__________________________________________________
__________________________________________________

18. If you answered 'nothing' then explain why you were on the Astral plane
___________________________________________________
__________________________________________________

19. Are you sure that you aren't imagining the problem? Yes__ No__

20. Does the Cauldron in your circle work Yes__ What's a CAULDRON__

21. Do you have a copy of 'Witchcraft for Dummies'? Yes__ No__

22. Do you have any independent witnesses to the problem being here or passed over ? Yes__ No__

23. Do you have any magical tools, gifts or talents that DO work? Yes__ No__

24. Is there anyone else you could blame this
problem on? Yes__ No__

25. Have you given yourself a good whack on the forehead? Yes__ No__ (if 'no' do it now).

26. Is the group outside your home trying to set you on fire? Yes__ Not Yet __
Current Mood: gigglygiggly

(5 comments | and then you say)

12:48 pm - Remember when/how women got the vote
(from Leslie Sheridan's "Carpe Diem Voice", found on Stephanie Lynch's LJ)

The women were innocent and defenseless. And by the end of the night, they were barely alive.

Forty-prison guards wielding clubs and their warden's blessing went on a rampage against the 33 helpless women wrongly convicted of "obstructing sidewalk traffic." They beat Lucy Burn, chained her hands to the cell bars above her head and left her hanging for the night, bleeding and gasping for air. They hurled Dora Lewis into a dark cell, smashed her head against an iron bed and knocked her out cold. Her cellmate, Alice Cosu, thought Lewis was dead and suffered a heart attack.

Additional affidavits describe the guards grabbing, dragging, beating, choking, slamming, pinching, twisting and kicking the women. Thus unfolded the "Night of Terror" on Nov. 15, 1917, when the warden at the Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia ordered his guards to teach a lesson to the suffragists imprisoned there because they dared to picket Woodrow Wilson's White House for the right to vote. For weeks, the women's only water came from an open pail. Their food--all of it colorless slops--was infested with worms. When one of the leaders, Alice Paul, embarked on a hunger strike, they tied her to a chair, forced a tube down her throat and poured liquid into her until she vomited. She was tortured like this for weeks until word was smuggled out to the press.

So, refresh my memory. Some women won't vote this year because--why, exactly? We have carpool duties? We have to get to work? Our vote doesn't matter? It's raining? Last week, I went to a sparsely attended screening of HBO's new movie "Iron Jawed Angels." It is a graphic depiction of the battle these women waged so that I could pull the curtain at the polling booth and have my say. I am ashamed to say I needed the reminder. There was a time when I knew these women well. I met them in college--not in my required American history courses, which barely mentioned them, but in women's history class. That's where I found the irrepressibly brave Alice Paul. Her large, brooding eyes seemed fixed on my own as she stared out from the page. "Remember!" she silently beckoned.

Remember. I thought I always would. I registered voters throughout college and law school, worked on congressional and presidential campaigns until I started writing for newspapers. When Geraldine Ferraro ran for vice president, I took my 9-year-old son to meet her. "My knees are shaking," he whispered after shaking her hand. "I'm never going to wash this hand again."

All these years later, voter registration is still my passion. But the actual act of voting had become less personal for me, more rote. Frankly, voting often felt more like an obligation than a privilege. Sometimes, it was even inconvenient. My friend Wendy, who is my age and studied women's history, saw the HBO movie, too. When she stopped by my desk to talk about it, she looked angry. She was. With herself. "One thought kept coming back to me as I watched that movie," she said. "What would those women think of the way I use--or don't use--my right to vote? All of us take it for granted now, not just younger women, but those of us who did seek to learn." The right to vote, she said, had become valuable to her "all over again."

HBO will run the movie periodically before releasing it on video and DVD. I wish all history, social studies and government teachers would include the movie in their curriculum. I want it shown on Bunko night, too, and anywhere else women gather. I realize this isn't our usual idea of socializing, but we are not voting in the numbers that we should be, and I think a little shock therapy is in order.

It is jarring to watch Woodrow Wilson and his cronies try to persuade a psychiatrist to declare Alice Paul insane so that she could be permanently institutionalized. And it is inspiring to watch the doctor refuse. Alice Paul was strong, he said, and brave. That didn't make her crazy. The doctor admonished the men: "Courage in women is often mistaken for insanity."
**************************************
I remember a Young Indiana Jones episode where Vanessa Regrave? was playing the part of a suffragist in Britain, discussing how she and her colleagues, on a hunger strike while in gaol, were forcibly fed while tied down. I had had no idea.

I vote every blasted election, I write my reps, and I take my son with me to vote as my mother did with my sister and me, every single blasted election.
Current Mood: determineddetermined

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June 2nd, 2004


01:45 pm - so I'm new at this
sosumi.
I'm learning the system, and this will get better.

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February 26th, 2003


09:16 am - A former professor's passing
My former advisor, professor and friend, Karen C. Kossuth, died of cancer of the jaw 10th November 2001.

She didn't call or write to tell me, and I only now had enough concentration to try to find out why the emails bounced and the phone never picked up--I figured she was back from sabbatical now. The cell number I had for her got answered by someone else months ago, but I had nowhere else to try, and the phone at school had an old recording this summer. I found out there was one classmate who knew, but was asked to keep her condition a secret. I understand, and I don't, at the same time.

I cried so hard when I found out via a websearch that the dogs next door started howling--my keening was that high in pitch.

If any of you are ever seriously ill, WILL YOU (or someone you designate) PLEASE TELL ME? I promise to try to visit before you can't face visitors, I won't moan at you, I won't try to be falsely cheerful, but please, if you think you're going to die, let me say a last goodbye and remind you, as you're leaving this life, how you've made my life better for your presence in mine.

I'm tired of losing people I care about and finding out about it a year later, as I did with Elizabeth Wrigley and now Karen. This is one thing that the adjusted thyroid, all the additional bits I'm doing to help along the mood stabilizer and anti-depressant can't handle--the regret of not having known in time to do something.

This regret prompted me to tell my housekeeper, when she called to say she might have cervical cancer, that I was her Patient Advocate, and I was going with her to appointments, since the nearby family were none of them capable of being that. [As it happened, we had to fire one doctor, get another, run the tests again, get a colposcopy after the cone biopsy, and finish with a hysterectomy. Fran got out of the hospital as quickly as they'd let her, so that she could go home. Her mother was there, but it was a struggle getting Fran to tell her she was sick. Fran is doing fine in 2006]

What comes below doesn't tell you much about the Karen I knew, or what she did for me. She is one of four people who kept me tied to this world annd daily life in 1988 so that I did not retreat to a point where I could find a way to kill myself. She was the ONLY person who would let me talk about my suicidal feelings, and thus allowed me to see that I didn't really want to kill myself, that I just wanted to end the pain and the fear. She accepted that some people need to leave under their own schedule, and that if the world held no more joy for me, she'd understand my needing to leave it, but miss me. Few know how precious a gift that was.

She was my thesis and path advisor, and frequent professor, in college. She liked folk and classical musics, as I did, and she was interested in medieval history and needlework, although she knitted more than embroidered, which I was doing then. She was fun to share meals with--she liked bold red wines and Alsatian gewurztraminers (Trimbach, especially), and I don't think she turned down singlemalts. I liked the years best when we lived two blocks apart, as the bicycle goes, and hated moving north away from her.

She once told me that her favorite bouquet was a single red rose surrounded by white lilacs, and I finally found a decent silk replica of the lilacs just before she sold the house & kennel in Yorba Linda. If there's to be a memorial to her at Pomona College, I'd vote for a bench surrounded by rose bushes, primarily David Austin varieties, which she favored. One could of course omit the bench...

It's her fault that we eat Dutch Babies, to which she introduced us about the time I moved in with the man I soon married. For that reason, I enclose the recipe below.

Dutch Baby PancakesCollapse )


College Mourns LossCollapse )

I have been unable to get information on her remaining family (two sisters and a brother) so that I could write them. Karen is another one of the women I call when Ancestors are called in circle. She was a great influence in my life as a professor and as a friend, after graduation.

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