Friday, March 28, 2008

spring break

in a couple hours the mouse is hitting the road. although I won't be going to beaver or to moon, the road I'll be traveling on goes right past where you would get off if you were interested in visiting either one of them. every time I pass the sign for moon, I think what a kick that would be to live in a town named moon.

a few blocks from my house here on avenue c is a street named mars, when we were moving to this side of town a couple years back, I had hoped that there would have been a nice place for rent on mars. can you imagine what a hoot it would be when someone asked where you live and you could truthfully answer "I live on mars."

well, enough stream of consciousness silliness for this morning, time to go put some clean clothes in a suitcase. for the next week or so I'll be sofa surfing and living on the kindness of friends!

the mouse is on spring break. my travels conclude april 7th, so until then if anyone needs a dose of mouse medicine they will have to go to the archives! until then be kind and be well.


We have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love and that love comes with community.

The greatest challenge of the day is: how to bring about a revolution of the heart.
Dorothy Day (1897-1980) social activist & co-founder of the catholic worker

a couple days ago I learned that dorothy day's daughter tamar day hennessey passed away on tuesday. this news was the catalyst for today's herstory honoree.

if you are interested in learning more about dorothy day, along with a host of written materials, I have heard there is a new documentary about her entitled "don't call me a saint." I missed the showing of the film when it was here in cleveland, but I just read that it is now available on dvd. it sounds most excellent. there is another movie about dorothy, which I thoughly enjoyed entitled "entertaining angels: the dorothy day story." this film was released in 1996 and stars moira kelly as dorothy and martin sheen as peter maurin. I ran across the film several years ago while perusing the shelves of my local library, I expect it should be easy to find.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

wandering around

on monday I started writing a post saying it would be heavy on pictures and light on words; it turned out heavy on words and relatively light on pictures. today who knows what is going to happen.

yesterday I never found the time to blog in, I mean log in....the post that had yesterday's date was technically the second post for tuesday. I felt a little bad because I missed putting up a tidbit for women's history month. my current little obsession: "put a little herstory on the mouse each day for the month."

today on the diane rehm show, diane interviewed james gustave speth who is the dean of the school of forestry and environmental studies at yale university and a co-founder of the natural resources defense fund. dr. speth and diane were primarily discussing speth's new book, the bridge at the edge of the world: capitalism, the environment, and crossing from crisis to sustainability. this book sounds as if it should be required reading for any one who claims to care about the future of the world. (really the only reason I'm on the computer right now, is because I ran up to see if the book is available at the library. it appears that there is only one book currently owned by the vast clevnet system. I'm number 3 on the list!)

speth envisions that we are in the midst of a three-prong crises - an environmental crisis; a social crisis (where we have an unprecedented gulf between the haves and have nots); and a political power crisis (where there is a great concentration of power in the hands of a few and in the hands of corporations). dr. speth stated that we need to "take back the environment" and "take back democracy" and in doing both we need to take corporations out of politics. dr. speth contends that in order to survive we have to start making a lot of sacrifices, we have to start changing the way we live NOW - for our planet to survive, we can no longer afford 'business as usual.'

most importantly, we have to stop our obsession about growth and realize that the root of our current problems lie with the very structure of modern capitalism. speth contends, and I agree wholeheartedly, that modern capitalism is in fact inherently destructive to our health and well being as a planet and as a species. what dr. speth says isn't particularly new; I'm reminded of e.f. schumacher 1973 book small is beautiful; paul ehrlich's 1968 classic the population bomb - although we have yet to experience the type of mathusian disaster ehrlich predicted, population growth continues to be a big threat to the planet's sustainability; rachel carson's 1962 masterpiece silent spring - the book which many credit as the catalyst for today's environmental movement; and a slew of other books and articles which started emerging during the 1960s (there were plenty of folks writing about the ecological crisis before al gore)

in light of things like the ice shelf collapse which is currently happening, such warnings and calls for action seem even more critical today. although speth's thesis is not new there is a certain urgency about the state of the planet and the species today vs forty, thirty, twenty or even ten years ago.

geez, I do go on (and on). initially was just going to take you along with ms t and I as we went off yesterday in our hunt for some signs of spring. finally we had sidewalks suitable for the stroller so we were able to resume a few of our usual rounds.


Help wanted—Separate and Unequal

Until the early 1960s, newspapers published separate job listings for men and women. Jobs were categorized according to sex, with the higher level jobs listed almost exclusively under "Help Wanted—Male." In some cases the ads ran identical jobs under male and female listings—but with separate pay scales. Separate, of course, meant unequal: between 1950 and 1960, women with full time jobs earned on average between 59–64 cents for every dollar their male counterparts earned in the same job.

It wasn't until the passage of the Equal Pay Act on June 10, 1963 (effective June 11, 1964) that it became illegal to pay women lower rates for the same job strictly on the basis of their sex. Demonstrable differences in seniority, merit, the quality or quantity of work, or other considerations might merit different pay, but gender could no longer be viewed as a drawback on one's resumé.

source:The Wage Gap: A History of Pay Inequity and the Equal Pay Act by Borgna Brunner

photo: spring flowers, 26 march 2008

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

make it stop

I was unable to make it downtown tuesday evening for a gathering commemorating the 4000 soldier killed in the war in iraq. instead I offer the following as my small contribution to the stream of energy going up today calling for peace and praying for all the those who have died.....

the artist who created this mosaic is nico pitney. he is the national editor of the huffington post. he was previously at the center for american progress and was managing editor of ThinkProgress. nico can be reached at

nico's post which accompanies the image:
In remembrance of the 4,000 brave men and women who sacrificed everything for us -- and the two men who would continue this great tragedy, despite the cost to our soldiers, our military, and our nation. Since some photos of fallen U.S. soldiers are unavailable, there are duplicates.
Click here to see the full (very large) image.

on npr's morning edition tuesday was a moving piece by thomas phillips. phillips is a veterans affairs chaplain who receives computer notification whenever a member of the american armed forces is killed. to listen to this 2.5 minute story click here and then click on 'listen now' icon.

The following was prepared by the Peace & Social Concerns Committee of Princeton Friends Meeting 3/24/08
5 Years of U.S. War In Iraq
No End in Sight
The Costs Are Many

4,000 US Military Killed(1a)

29,320 US Military wounded – direct hostilities(1b)
62,650 US Military wounded – indirect, accident, disease(1b)
81,174 to 88,585(2a) to 1,185,800(2b) Iraqis killed
2.3 million Iraqi internally displaced persons(3)
2,012,000 to 2,467,000 Iraqi refugees(3)
1,810 Iraqi refugees admitted to US (fiscal year 06-07)(3)

1 trillion dollars for the first 4 years of the war(4)
3 trillion dollars estimated for the long term costs including taking care
of wounded veterans and interest on debt incurred to borrow money
to pay for the war(4)
$720 million per day = $500,000 per minute(4)
More than $4 billion spent in 2007 for recruiting into the military(5)

Other ways to spend $720 million (a day’s cost of the war) (4) :
16,525 people could get health insurance for one year
423,529 children could get health insurance for one year
95,364 kids could have a year in a Head Start program
1,153,846 kids could get free lunches for a year
34,904 people could go to a state college for 4 years
12,478 teachers could be paid for one year
84 new elementary schools could be built
6,482 new homes could be built
1,274,336 homes could have renewable energy for one year

(1a) Department of Defense has officially confirmed 3,992; 8 more remain to be confirmed.
(1b) Department of Defense, 3/1/08 (Note that the DoD has an unusual way of distinguishing between “hostile” and other types of injuries.)
(1a and b from on 3/24/08)
(2a) estimate (1/1/08) given at
(2b) estimate (1/1/08) given at
(3) UN High Commission on Refugees, 11/21/07 (in Quaker Action Winter 2008, published by the American Friends Service Committee)
(4) For basis of estimates and calculations, see:
See also 2 minute video “One Day in the Iraq War” at
(5) includes advertising, maintaining recruiting stations, pay & benefits for more than 22,000 recruiters, and enlistment bonuses.

thanks to dlp for calling my attention to nico's mosiac and asw for sending me the factsheet prepared by psccpfm.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

teach your children

We cannot know the consequences of suppressing a child's spontaneity when he is just beginning to be active. We may even suffocate life itself. That humanity which is revealed in all its intellectual splendor during the sweet and tender age of childhood should be respected with a kind of religious veneration. It is like the sun which appears at dawn or a flower just beginning to bloom. Education cannot be effective unless it helps a child to open up himself to life.

Maria Montessori (1870-1952) physician, educator, philosopher

born on this day in 1934 gloria steinem, feminist activist, theorist, journalist, and writer. happy birthday gloria.
quote of note:
The first problem for all of us, men and women, is not to learn but to unlearn.

photo: a hitching on ride on papa's back, hale farm and village march 2008

Monday, March 24, 2008

you turn me on I'm a radio

this morning's post may be a bit heavy on pictures and light on words since I have a busy morning (and busy week) ahead. I'll be heading off for my wander at the end of the week; I am ready! I do hope things are blooming over on the east coast. here on the north coast, there's more snow in the forecast. spring, you say? I am repeating: spring is here, spring is here!

I hope everyone had a good weekend, mine was great. any time live music is part of my overall plan, I find my 'are we having fun' quotient is increased substantially. on saturday lin and I headed to columbus for a cowboy junkies concert at the southern theater. they were great! although I've loved their music for years, this was the first time I've attended one of their concerts. lin, on the other hand, is the cowboy junkie equivalent of a 'dead head' - I guess we could say she's a cowboy junkies junkie! I think she said she's seen the group at least forty times in the last twenty years. now that's a serious fan. but then if neil, joni, or bob played small venues like the cowboy junkies do, I might have become a head of some type too. well, I was like that with the oysterband when we lived in connecticut - but then they quit touring the usa. but I see they are finally touring in canada - I wonder if f is up for a quick trip to toronto the week after I get back on my wander? I guess you can say we are jdg heads, every time jimmie plays within striking distance, we're there.

hey speaking of dead heads, did you know that satellite radio has a channel that is grateful dead music 24/7? I didn't know that but then again I've never paid much attention to satellite radio. as far as the radio goes I pretty much stick to npr and a couple of the local college stations. but lin has sirius in her car - it was part of the enticement package when she bought the car so she gets it free - along with an all grateful dead channel, can you believe there's actually a nascar channel - all nascar, all the time - seriously! no wonder the country is going down the tubes! when the number one sport in a country is nascar (I don't know if this is true; but last night at dinner, when I went on a rant about the nascar channel, e and t quickly put me in my place and accused me of being a snob - didn't I know nascar is the most popular sport in america? shit, no wonder we have an idiot president who wages war for oil, when the great masses are clammering to watch, hear and wager on a bunch of guys burning up our precious fossil fuels in jacked up cars. okay, I am a snob and I definitely do not understand the attraction. as far as sports go, give this mouse baseball and college basketball -- go huskies! - uconn women bb that is!!).

the other wonderful part of the weekend was sunday dinner. since sunday was easter we enjoyed a slightly larger gathering for our traditional 'sunday dinner.' in addition to the usual 4, ms t and her parents and lin joined us for family dinner. we were fairly traditional this year since f's buddy gave him a ham as an easter gift. we had plenty of yummy vegetable sides along with my homemade mac and cheese (here's the recipe I use), which all the boys love, we also had another dish involving pork products - scotch eggs. f and t have been talking about making these things for years and finally this easter they decided to go for it. emma made a cheesecake (yes, from scratch) that was to die for!

of course between the scotch eggs, cheesecake, and all the chocolate that ms t's mama brought over everyone is now going to have to go on a fast in order to be able to wear their normal clothes again. I don't have the cheesecake recipe, but emma did mention that it required 5 packets of cream cheese. oh I didn't mention, lin has been trying to eat vegan recently - well, sunday really railroaded those plans - sunday's dinner was a bit heavy in the dairy and meat departments. I'll end this post with a slide show of the production of making scotch eggs - and let me say it was a production. but it was fun and surprising they were delicious!

oh, so much for being light on words this morning - I guess I got carried away!

in 1923 alice paul and the national women's party first proposed an equal rights amendment (ERA) to eliminate discrimination on the basis of sex. in 1972 the equal rights amendment (ERA) was finally passed, but congress failed to ratify it. in 1977 thousands of women marched in washington d.c. on women's equality day to support the ERA. okay, it's over thirty years later, we still don't have an equal rights amendment. and when was the last time you have even heard it discussed?

Sunday, March 23, 2008

a brighter dawn is breaking

Whether one believes in a religion or not, and whether one believes in rebirth or not, there isn't anyone who doesn't appreciate kindness and compassion.
Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama (born 1935)

happy and joyous easter wishes to ALL
a brighter dawn is dawning

this date in the times of the roman empire would be the fifth and final day of quinquatria, held in honor of minerva.

photo: detail of stained glass window designed by louis comfort tiffany entitled "consummation of the divine promise" in the wade chapel of cleveland's lakeview cemetery.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

easter parade

as we know easter is a movable feast, but doesn't it seem that this year it is particularly early? well inquiring minds need to know, to satisfy my own curiosity about the range of dates for easter I discovered that march 22 is the earliest possible date - and april 25th is the latest. so, we are just one day off from having easter be on the earliest possible date and had it not been a leap year.... well.....

that explains the easter bonnet that greeted me this morning when I went out to fill up the feeders:
I never got it together to color eggs, so we'll have to just make do with a picture of œuf dur coloré that I took last spring while wandering around the marche richard lenoir:

tsuki makes a lovely addition to the centerpiece:

at lake farmpark last week we ran across the easter bunny getting all spruced up for the upcoming holiday:

I don't know if this is a common thing, but here in northeastern ohio we've learned that it's quite fashionable to have the easter bunny running around meeting with folks. we saw this sign last week while out on a wander. at the ice-skating rink near my house, there's a sign which states that you can skate with the easter bunny this afternoon. I'd go but I'll probably be too busy shoveling snow and anyway I never have learned how to ice skate, guess that's something I need to put on my bucket list.

speaking of fashion, from the treasure box of old photos I ran across this family picture taken on easter in 1960 in san diego - by the way easter fell on april 17th that year. isn't my mother beautiful - and my brother p and I were quite the cuties too!

on this date in 1638 Anne Hutchinson is expelled from Massachusetts Bay Colony for religious dissent. “If any come to my house to be instructed in the ways of God what rule have I to put them away?... Do you think it not lawful for me to teach women and why do you call me to teach the court?”

Friday, March 21, 2008

your name here

no matter where we go these days we see signs - and I mean signs - of the corporatization and commercialization of our culture. I don't know about you, but I find this a disturbing trend. but most of the time there's not much I can do about it.

in cleveland we have two recent examples of sporting spaces being renamed after receiving a healthy corporate contribution or a transfer of ownership. in 2005 when dan gilbert bought the cleveland cavaliers he renamed the gund arena, where the cavs play, to "the quicken loans arena" after his online lending company. of course, he forked over the bucks and had the right to rename the space anything he wished. personally, I find the name and sign tacky, but that's another issue.

then earlier this year peter b. lewis, a local billionaire and philanthropist, bought the naming rights to "jacobs field," home of the cleveland indians. the ballpark is now "progressive field," I actually like the new name; after all, it's not being called "the progressive insurance company field." peter b. lewis is an interesting guy and fairly progressive from what I've heard. I'm hoping that now that he is invested in the ballteam, maybe he can use some of his civic clout to help us get rid of the offensive chief wahoo mascot, but that too is another issue.

when judy norsigian was in town recently she brought to my attention another example of the commercialization of our world. the building is a children's emergency and trauma center and the corporation is a clothing company which routinely sells it's products with highly sexualized and provocative advertisements. however, this time there is something we can do about it. below is the text from an email that judy forwarded from the campaign for a commercial-free childhood. please take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with the issue and if you are offended as I am, please act. thanks!

Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio is planning to rename its emergency room The Abercrombie & Fitch Emergency Department and Trauma Center in exchange for a $10 million donation. These naming rights will entwine an institution of healing with a company whose advertising is notorious for undermining children's wellbeing and will promote the exploitive Abercrombie brand to children in a hospital setting.

On Tuesday, March 11, CCFC sent a letter signed by many of the country's leading advocates for children's health to the hospital urging them to rescind the naming rights. Our letter has generated national attention with stories in the Associated Press and New York Times.

Now we need your help. Please tell Nationwide Children's Hospital not to sell naming rights to Abercrombie & Fitch and forward this message to family and friends.

You can read more about Nationwide Children’s Hospital and Abercrombie & Fitch at: Click the link on the right under “Take Action” to send your own email.

today I'd like to honor an important, but little known figure in the annals of social activism and women's history, barbara deming (1917-1984) along with being an activist, barbara was a poet and short-story writer.

The longer we listen to one another - with real attention - the more commonality we will find in all our lives. That is, if we are careful to exchange with one another life stories and not simply opinions.

I think the only choice that will enable us to hold to our vision. . . is one that abandons the concept of naming enemies and adopts a concept familiar to the nonviolent tradition: naming behavior that is oppressive.

photos: bp bridge, chicago; 'the q,' cleveland

Thursday, March 20, 2008

spring, sprang, sprrrrrung!

happy equinox - in mouseland we're celebrating the vernal equinox - spring arrived at precisely 1:48 this morning! and spring has sprung sunny and bright with light so pure - the frosting of snow from last night might have something to do which how sparkling everything looks.

I love spring, I almost wrote that spring is my favorite season; but truth be told, every season is my favorite season - for each brings special gifts and delights! although I'm long from my student days or having a school-aged child in the house, I'm hardwired for the idea of 'spring break.' and happily it appears I will have one, at the end of the month I'll be off on a wander. this year's destinations won't be nearly as exotic as last year, however, I expect the trip will have the same desired effect - to stimulate my senses and transport my imagination to different places and times. this year my 'spring break' will be spent in philadelphia, new york, and maybe connecticut. I'm able to hitch a ride to philly (thanks lin!) but I don't plan on being there long, just long enough to take in the frida kahlo exhibit at the philadelphia museum of art. a couple friends from nyc are coming down to meet me for the exhibit; after the museum, I head up north with them and use their flat as my launching pad for the week's adventures. once I get to new york, I'll see what each day brings - something quite exciting about having a vacation planned with no plans.

besides spring trips, another thing I love about spring is the arrival of baby animals.

today is noruz an important and happy holiday in iranian culture. in recoginition of noruz I'd like to honor shirin ebadi (b. 1947) the first iranian woman to win the nobel peace prize. as the founder of the children's rights support association, ms ebadi received the nobel peace prize "for her efforts for democracy and human rights. She has focused especially on the struggle for the rights of women and children."

photos: prayerflags flying at avenue c, 19 march 2008 (5th anniversary of the iraq invasion); baby pigs at lakefarm park.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

give peace a chance

today marks the 5 year anniversary of the u.s. invasion of iraq. today, bloggers around the world are participating in the iraq blogswarm. visit the blogs of the swarm.

even before the invasion happened people took to the streets in a call for peace - war and violence is never the true path ~ now people have taken to cyberspace.

this 'war' in iraq was built on lies - contrary to what mr. bush said as he marked the 5th anniversary of "his war" - the war has not been "worth it"

peace ~ we want it now
no more war for oil
no more vietnams

women have played pivotal roles in peacemaking throughout history. women been leaders in peace movements of the 19th, 20th, and 21st century. go here to learn more about peace activism by women and women's organizations.

the nobel peace prize has been awarded since 1901. twelve women have won the peace prize:
baroness von suttner ~ 1905
jane addams ~ 1931
emily greene balch ~ 1946
betty williams & mairead corrigan ~ 1976
mother teresa ~ 1979
alva myrdal ~ 1982
aung san suu kyi ~ 1991
rigoberta menchú tum ~ 1992
jody williams ~ 1997
shirin ebadi ~ 2003
wangari muta maathai ~ 2004

to read an excellent essay on the first nine of these women go here, for those interested biographies or blurbs of all recipients of the peace prize are available through the nobel prize website.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

"success is the sweetest revenge"

It is in these acts called trivialities that the seeds of joy are forever wasted, until men and women look round with haggard faces at the devastation their own waste has made, and say, the earth bears no harvest of sweetness --- calling their denial knowledge.
George Eliot ~ pen name of Mary Anne Evans (1819-1880) novelist, humanist & freethinker
quote from Middlemarch, chapter XLII

more herstory:
born on this date in 1963, vanessa l. williams. ms williams made history on september 17, 1983 when she became the first african-american woman to be crowned miss america. unfortunately, decisions made in her past forced her to turn in her crown, or as she put it "The past just came up and kicked me." ms williams has gone on to great success as an actor and singer-songwriter. in her career to date she has earned grammy, tony, and emmy recognition.

the title of today's post is another quote by ms. williams, which is appropriate for both women being recognized on the mouse today!

photo: maple sap buckets at hale farm and village, bath ohio ~16 march 2008

Monday, March 17, 2008

top o' the morning

st. patrick's day dawns sunny and bright! I must confess I'm in a bit of a daze this morning after a weekend - or rather week - that was jammed packed. I'm really excited that in just a few days spring will officially arrive! even though there's still snow on the ground, there are plenty of signs about that it won't be long till we see the greening of the land and trees.

the theme for saturday seemed to be community health. saturday afternoon was the forum on birth options and it was wildly successful with almost a standing room only crowd. after the talks, film and panel the attendees took part in a lively discussion - a most excellent sign of a successful educational event. judy norsigian from our bodies ourselves was a special guest. I met judy years ago when she was the keynote speaker for a conference on women, health and technology that we held at the university of connecticut. the conference was the catalyst for a book that came out a couple years later. I was very fortunate to have collaborated on an article with judy for the book. judy is an amazing woman and a tireless advocate for women's and children's health issues. since I had a previous connection with judy, the organizers for saturday's forum took me up on my offer to pick judy up at the airport and chauffeur her to the event. I haven't seen judy in almost twenty years, it was wonderful to catch up and learn from someone who is on the front line of women's health advocacy about what she believes are today's hot topics. despite all the activism and progress over the last forty years on women's health, it's sobering to realize how much work is still needed. thank goodness there are people like judy and groups like OBOS and NFP that are out there helping improve the lives and health of women.

saturday evening's community health event was the annual fundraiser for FEDOPO, an organization in the dominican republic that has been fighting to improve the health and opportunities for people who live in a very impoverished area outside of santo domingo. for the last six years we have been throwing a carribean themed house party in order to raise money to help the clinic in guaricano. for the last three years I've contributed a quilt for the raffle that we hold during the party. this year I confess, I didn't plan far enough ahead and was down to the wire in terms of getting the quilt done in time. but in true mouse fashion, it got done when it got done and not a moment before. there's something very gratifying to hear the buzz from folks who bought raffle tickets expressing a desire to win the quilt. coincidentally, the winner of the quilt is a friend who has commissioned a few mouse quilts in the past for special family events. he was so motivated to win the quilt he bought as many tickets as was possible - even to the point of scraping together change to get one more ticket!

sunday we had a most delightful day. in the morning we headed down to hale farm and village for their sugar maple festival pancake breakfast. after filling up on pancakes we toured the grounds. this living museum is most certainly a treasure as it attempts to recreate life circa 1810-1870. after our visit to hale farm we went up to another farm park - here instead of experiencing maple sugaring and transporting ourselves back in time, we checked out the quilt show and baby animals (it's lambing time and I was in cute heaven!). I wonder if one can have a couple sheep in the city - sure would be a good way to keep the lawn mowed and we heard they are looking for new homes for most of the lambs....

along with march 17th being the feast day for st. patrick, march 17th is also the feast day for st. gertrude of nivelles (626-659). st. gertrude holds a special place in the heart of this mouse seeing that she is the patron saint of cats, the recently diseased, gardeners, travelers, the mentally ill, and people with a morbid fear of mice and rats.

photos: top - detail of first settlement log house (circa 1814) hale farm & village; bottom - sheep in a heap, lake metroparks -farmpark ~ 16 march 2008

Sunday, March 16, 2008

words to live by

Never have one hard feeling towards each other, but live together every day as though it was the last you had to live in this world.
Mother Ann Lee (1736-1784) 'founder' of Shakers

photo: seed shed at hancock shaker village, massachusetts; to take a virtual tour & learn a bit more about the shakers go here

Saturday, March 15, 2008


I myself have never been able to find out what feminism is; I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat or a prostitute.
Rebecca West (b.1892- d. 15 march 1983) suffragist and writer

hope everyone is having a good start to their weekend. I definitely am! the black 47 concert at the beachland last night was an rousing beginning to a full and fun weekend. the boys were in excellent form and played lots of my favorite tunes. they surely can get my dancing feet moving like no other! the band is currently on tour promoting their new album 'iraq' - the album is the first release for 'united for opportunity music' a new initiative of independent musicians. the album is the band's response to the war in iraq. according to larry kirwan, "IRAQ – an attempt to portray in song what’s actually going on over there. A warped ideology caused this war and, even though we’re against it, the last thing the country needs right now is more didactic posturing. "

the formal release party for the album is being held on st patrick's day this monday - in nyc at bb kings.

speaking of st. patrick's day, guess you've heard 'the church' moved st. paddy's day to today! it appears that celebrating st. patrick during 'holy week' is frowned upon. geez, is nothing sacred. personally we've been celebrating all month!

photos: note on photos in slide show - earlier this month when f and I stopped for a pint and bite at mcintyres I didn't have my camera; however, that didn't stop this intrepid documentarian. these pictures were taken with my cellphone.

Friday, March 14, 2008

"we didn't come to compromise"

this date in herstory:
on 14 march 1977 civil rights activist fannie lou hamer passed away. ms hamer (b. 1917) was an electrifying speaker and tireless advocate for the rights of african-americans and for the poor. ms. hamer is perhaps best known for her presence at the 1964 democratic national convention, she attended with a delegation of other civil rights activists in order to draw attention to the plight of african-americans in mississippi. most blacks were not allowed to vote. she is credited with saying the often quoted expression "I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired" which later was used as her epitaph. god bless you fannie lou and thank you!

photo: kent, ohio march 2008

Thursday, March 13, 2008

always in season

Cautious, careful people always casting about to preserve their reputation or social standards never can bring about reform. Those who are really in earnest are willing to be anything or nothing in the world's estimation, and publicly and privately, in season and out, avow their sympathies with despised ideas and their advocates, and bear the consequences.
Susan B. Anthony (b. 1820 - d. 13 march 1906) civil rights leader, suffragist

photo: nature's bin awning, lakewood ~ 12 march 2008

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

the way the cookie crumbles

some little clipper moved in and disrupted the weather - the previous forecast of temps in the 50s for the end of the week have been modified. the good news is there isn't a new blizzard on the horizon. last weekend's storm pretty much put a kibosh on various activities we had planned - catching a couple films at the cleveland international film festival and checking out the quilt show at lake metroparks farmpark. unfortunately it's not looking good to get to the film festival this year. I can't play hooky this week to attend during the day - deadlines, deadlines and our evenings are filled. tonight is bookgroup, tomorrow night e returns from maui (!!), friday black 47 will be playing at the beachland and saturday is filled with an afternoon forum and the annual caribbean house party for FEDOPO in the evening. since the film festival and the quilt show end this weekend (or at least this is the last weekend time for both) we flipped a metaphorical coin to decide on what to do sunday - heads, it's the the farmpark - the lure of inspirational artquilts and baby animals is too great! and based on past experience, the last day of the film festival is chaotic and crowded - considering that the blizzard of 2008 inevitably played havoc with last weekend's attendance I expect this weekend's crowds may be overwhelming.

it's great living in a area where there's always good stuff happening! yeah cleveland rocks!

this day in herstory:
on march 12, 1912 juliette "daisy" gordon low brought together 18 girls in savannah for the first girl scout meeting in the united states. the girl scouts of the usa were initially called the girl guides which traces its origin to england.

so this explains why girl scout cookies are sold in march!

photo: 3 cat night (rosie, gwen, tsuki) 11 march 2008

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

remembrance of things past

on a recent visit with my parents, I learned my fondness for photography doesn't just go back to my father. my dad said that his father, my adored grandpap, was also quite the shutterbug in his younger days. as with my father and myself, grandpap loved documenting his everyday world. unfortunately this early avocation was curtailed once he married and he and grandmam needed to direct their attention and resources to the care and feeding of a large family. the picture above is of grandpap's sister, emma. I love the way he captures her playful nature and don't you just love the dress. like most photos in my 'treasure box' of old family photos, there is no date on the back, but at least now I know who was most likely the photographer of many of these older photos.

speaking of grandfathers, march 11 is the anniversary of the death of my other much loved grandfather - george kravitz. from this grandfather I'm sure I inherited my fondness for making things and hearing and learning about how things work. grandfather george died in 1965 - way too young. he died when my family was living in guam. one of the most profound memories I have from childhood was watching my mother's inconsolable grief; she was not able to say goodbye and distance made it impossible for her to return to pennsylvania for his funeral. this picture below was taken when my grandparents came to visit us in 1962 while we were living in memphis. I've always wondered what my grandfather and brother are pointing at. my father took this picture and I love the way he framed the picture and captures the moment. others in the photo include my mother, nana, my cousin mary (in rust colored hat), and myself.

today's quote for herstory month:
If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation.

Abigail Adams (1744-1818) proponent of women's rights, the second 1st Lady

photos: top- emma in lofty, pennsylvania sometime in the 1910s; bottom - on the banks of the great mississippi river, tennessee, 1962

Monday, March 10, 2008

bound for glory

both days after what will be probably be known as the blizzard of 2008 have dawned sunny and bright. the forecast for the week is for temperatures above freezing, getting into the 50s by the end of the week. this probably means that the great snow will give way to the great flood. just mother earth working to recharge area aquifers and get water levels of lakes and rivers back to normal.

the weekend's snowstorm provided me ample time to watch the small pile of dvds I had sitting around (and work on my muscle tone as I helped in the effort to relocate the ton of snow on the house's driveway and walkways) - the four films I watched were all winners listed in order of my viewing:

away from her
- julie christie gave a powerful performance as a women affected with early onset alzheimer's. although the particulars vary the story of fiona is all too familiar - 24 million people worldwide are afflicted with alzheimer's diesease. a cruel disease indeed - for everyone.

before night falls - this movie, starring javier bardem, is based on the memoir of cuban poet and writer reinaldo areanas. another powerful and heartbreaking story - find it if you can. along with bardem, the movie includes performances by johnny depp. he has dual roles, both minor but critical - however, don't expect seeing depp right away, neither character appears until well past the midpoint of the film. sean penn is also in the movie, but he is so well disguised I didn't realize he was in it until I read the end credits.

continuing the theme of heartbreaking and sad stories, the next film I watched was the documentary romántico. the film focused on mexican musician carmelo muniz sanchez who valiantly tries to make a better life for his family - primarily to improve the life opportunities for his two daughters. the film is very poignant and creates a beautiful and touching portrait of carmelo. it compassionately captures some of the myriad of personal and political issues surrounding the immigration experience and so-called immigration debate.

I ended the blizzard film festival with the short documentary the internationale. this little (30 minute) film takes us around the world and weaves the amazing story of one song. the song was written in 1870 during the paris commune to inspire and empower the oppressed and exploited french masses. in the one hundred and thirty-plus years of this song's life, and it is truly alive, it has become a siren call for people struggling in nearly every nation of our little planet - from france to the workers movement of the united states to the russian revolution to tiananmen square to jamaica to the philippines - and it's journey is ever onward and upward as it is sung to realize:
The international ideal,
Unites the human race.

this date in herstory:
harriet tubman died 10 march 1913 -

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”
Harriet Tubman (1820-1913), abolitionist, humanitarian, conductor on the underground railroad

Sunday, March 9, 2008

the wisdom of squirrels

Squirrel embodies the quality of trust...Squirrel represents balance within the circle of gathering and giving out. If squirrel has scampered into your life pay attention to the wisdom it has to offer you. Preparedness and survival skills can be learned from this powerful totem.
from the cycle of power: animal totems by sayahda; more on squirrel and other animal totems click here

this day in herstory:
born on this day in 1892 Vita Sackville-West, English poet, novelist, and gardener.
debuted on this day in 1959 Barbie

photo: happy squirrel (happy because he has a human friend supplying plenty of food) ~ 8 march 2008

Saturday, March 8, 2008

this ain't no tasty freeze

the blizzard rages on - it's all quite exciting - especially since we don't have to leave our cozy nest here on avenue c. there's a beautiful bit of snow architecture being formed on the edge of our front porch. when I asked f what one would call this phenomenon - my dear f does know just about everything - he said it could probably be considered a 'snow cornice'

Snow Cornice Known as "navcaq" in Yup'ik Eskimo lexicon, these snow overhangs are precursors to avalanches, formed amidst persistent strong wind and destined to collapse as soon as melting or movement-related shifts loosen the tenuous crystal-to-crystal frictional bonds which hold up the cornices.
above definition courtsey of roger edwards

we're not talking dairy queen!

bliz·zard (blĭz'ərd)
    1. A violent snowstorm with winds blowing at a minimum speed of 35 miles (56 kilometers) per hour and visibility of less than one-quarter mile (400 meters) for three hours.
    2. A very heavy snowstorm with high winds.
  1. A torrent; a superabundance: a blizzard of phone calls.
[Perhaps of imitative origin.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
Copyright © 2006 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

1859, origin obscure (perhaps somehow connected with blaze (1)), it came into general use in the hard winter 1880-81, though it was used with a sense of "violent blow" in Amer.Eng., 1829; and blizz "violent rainstorm" is attested from 1770.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2001 Douglas Harper

happy international women’s day!
to learn more about international women's day click here

photos: top two waking conditions on avenue c, 8 march 2008; bottom pic courtesy of google images

Friday, March 7, 2008

riders on the storm

just in case the forecasters are correct and we actually get the predicted 16 inches of snow this weekend, I better finish getting prepared. I have to hit the store and stock up a few depleted provisions; we have the bread and milk covered, but we're totally out of yeast for pizza dough and the coffee beans supply is critically low. I also need to pick up more bird seed - now that the birds are back, they seemed to have returned with voracious appetites.

it will actually be nice if we get snowed in tomorrow, I have a project to finish and yesterday I swung by the library to pick up two dvds that I had on hold - 'before night falls' which stars recent oscar winner javier bardem and 'romantico,' a documentary that blue elephant recently recommended. lin also brought over 'away from her' so I can watch it before sending it back to netflix - I love having friends that share.

but tonight, I'd actually prefer it if the storm holds off, I don't want to miss the brigit festival that s and I have been planning to attend. it's being held nearby, however its perhaps a bit far to walk to if there's a raging snowstorm happening.

if we end up canceling tonight at least s & got a jump start on the weekend by attending a boys of the lough concert last night. I've been listening to this group for almost thirty years, but last night was the first time I've seen them live. their music and preformance was absolutely brilliant. the group definitely deserves to win some sort of award for most humorous stage chatter. cathal mcconnel, one of the founding boys, had me close to pissing in my pants I was laughing so much and so hard whenever he provided an intro. but he wasn't alone in terms of being a natural comedian, dave richardson, who has only been in the band since 1973 and the only english member of the troupe, had a dry dead-pan delivery to his stories that s and I found delightful. his rendering of a tall-tale which had brendan begley being raised by wolves in a cave in county kerry sounded like some type of special bbc natural history program. oh by the way, brendan sung a few songs in gaelic and I must say it was truly a transcendent listening experience - what a voice - he also plays the button accordion and when he played one of those slow airs it took one far and away.


photos: george on ave c; kent stage, kent, oh
images: courtesy of the internet - thanks!