Thursday, January 31, 2013

Gabby Goes to Washington

She looked gorgeous.  Her arm brace was off, her hair was styled, her smile was glowing.  Her husband held her hand and guided her through the throng.  My eyes were wet as I watched her swing her leg to walk, turn her head to see.  She's the living embodiment of everything that is wrong with our gun laws today.  She served in Congress with those she brushed by. How can they not be moved to act?

She was a Republican before she was a Democrat.  She's a gun owner. She's damaged.  Those are all facts which should make her opinions somewhat more valuable than others.  Somebody should be paying attention.

She wrote her own speech, which is much more eloquent than any words I could write, myself.

Read it, and weep.
Every word was articulated with care and effort.  Her mouth formed each syllable, her tongue got around each dipthong, and the work it took was obvious.  Mark Kelly, astronaut, Navy Commander, husband and friend, stood by her side, nodding his head as he silently read along with her.  He reminded me of myself, watching the Cuters perform on stage, reciting the lines we'd practiced at home.  C'mon, sweetie, you can do it... I know you can... that's right, pause there.... and then...

And then she looked up.  She stared right at the cameras, at the Senators, at those watching at home.  BE BOLD! she exhorted.  BE COURAGEOUS! she implored.  In those moments, there was our Gabby, our Representative from District 8, our Congresswoman Giffords.  She never hesitated to call for action.  She often led the charge.  Now, from a back seat not of her own making, she's reduced to commenting from the sidelines.  Did her listeners realize that there but for the grace of God go they, themselves?  Did they notice that her life is taking quite a different path than that which had been planned?  Did they make the connection between the battered-but-unbowed woman before them and that-could-be me?

Be Bold.

Be Courageous.

Those words shouldn't have to be reminders.  Those qualities should be woven into the fabric of the listeners' lives.  If a former colleague's words are not enough, if seeing the effects first hand do not shame them into action, if pictures and stories don't push them to action.........

I can't finish that paragraph.  There is no place else to go.  Clerks can take it upon themselves to deny bullets to the obviously crazed, as the first Wal-Mart salesman did to our shooter, but that kind of boldness and courage has to be reflected at the top in order for real change to occur.  We all need to look in our own backyards - locking weaponry at home is a good start - but those charged with making the rules need to step up and act, too.

I want to finish that paragraph.  I just don't know where to go.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

There's a New Mosaic in Town

Ben's Bells coordinated it, and I helped to create it.  Next time you're driving into Tucson, you'll see it on the driver's side of the car as you head east on Broadway.  Yes, it's near that low concrete wall by the plaza.  No, it's not the one that faces Stone; it's across the street from Ben's Bells' downtown studio.

Those details are for tourists.  The week-long project was for Tucsonans.  Like everything associated with Ben's Bells, it was beautiful as it was healing.  Of all the ways I've learned to self-medicate since I was shot, ceramic artwork with this not-for-profit is way up near the top of the Most Helpful List.  Plus, it was tons of fun.

Driving downtown is complicated by the never-ending Modern Streetcar Project. Rails are being laid, streets are closed off, the usual routes no longer exist. I found a surface lot a block away, and, marveling at the fact that I could cover the distance between the Schnozz and the venue, I joined the volunteers.

I knew I was wanted, 
even if the spelling left something to be desired.

My volunteer slot was on Friday, the last day.
There were many of us on hand to help
 We were tasked with filling in the spaces between the mosaic's tiles.
That entailed carrying heavy bags of sand from the street to the site.
We were lucky to have random construction workers who were willing to shlep the bags for us.
There was shaking of cans of color.
 Sand was added.
Then water was poured in, to make the goo. 
Mixing the goo was a task I'd have loved when I could balance easily on two feet.
On Friday, I watched as younger, stronger backs did the work. 

The finished product looked like this.
Then it was time to dip a sponge in the grout, and smear it over the tiles.
Smearing is something I am very good at.
After the smearing, came the feathering. 
Brushing the grout over the tiles smoothed the surfaces and allowed it to dry evenly.
We were atop ladders, 

and half way up ladders
and between ladders 
and posing on ladders. 
Some were under ladders, but I've had enough bad luck for one lifetime, so I demurred. 
In addition to the Be Kind proscription, 
there was a "Bike the Mountain" theme.
It was exciting to watch it take shape. 
Cleaning up was also part of the project.
although we left the grout-filled trays for someone else to wash. 
Getting it out of the sponges was hard enough. 
When my back and my butt and my leg and my hip agreed that it was time to leave, 
they were almost finished.
I really should follow the directions above and go back and take a picture of the final product for you.
For me, I'm satisfied
Tucson has been so good to me.
It seemed only fitting to make a greeting card to say "Thanks"

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Random Thoughts

I suppose it would be considered churlish of me to complain about the weather, but I'm going to do it anyway.  G'ma was cold as we left the pod-castle this morning.  "Mommy, it's in the mid-60's and it's January," was met with "SO??? It's cold."

I could wax eloquent about how frail she is getting.  Instead, I'm just going to agree with her.  It's dreary and rainy and cooler than it ought to be.

There, I've said it. I will move on.
This is a slow sports week for my boys.  They are on tenterhooks, following every scrap of information as their 49'ers head toward the Super Bowl. For those of you unable to add your own two cents to the water cooler patter (and you know who you are), here are the highlights: the coaches are brothers who always look ready to surprise the other with a noogie.  No, the Patriots are not playing, the Baltimore Ravens (actually the faux-Cleveland Browns, but that's another tale for another time) apparently will be carrying out God's plan as they swoop to victory on Sunday.

That's Ray Lewis's story, and he's sticking to it.  Personally, I'd like to think about that being as having more important matters to tend.... although maybe Ray's church of football is across the street from Annie Savoy's Church of Baseball.  I wonder....
Slow progress can impede the best of intentions. Pedicure to pedicure, my neighbor and I commiserated. She'd been on Weight Watchers since October. She'd only lost 14 pounds and she was discouraged.  Having hauled my achy hip up onto the massage chair with movements that were the antithesis of grace, I shared her pain.  Two years on and I'm still creaking along.

But, as I reminded my new friend that one pound per week will be 52 pounds next October, that slow and steady wins the race, that you have to set achievable goals and be satisfied with the interim steps, that she was trying and that was the main thing, I realized that one year ago I needed two hands to get one leg up there with me.

She never knew she was a mirror
The back-to-back freezing nights last week took a toll on my plants.  The lantana are shells of their former selves, droopy and brown and matted.  I knew better than to leave the adenium out in the chill, and its soggy trunk fills me with remorse.  The theoretically-evergreen Mexican Bird of Paradise is leafless and an interesting shade of ecru.  It bends, so it's not dead, but if this is livin'.....

I would take pictures for you, but it's too ugly out there (cf paragraph 1)

Monday, January 28, 2013

Take Off Your Shoes

Amster and I took the boys to the beach today.  
We didn't get on a plane, we used barely a gallon of gas, we didn't pack sun screen or towels or toys.  We piled Mr. 7 and Mr. 9 and their friend and another friend's dog into the car she's inherited from The Firefighter and drove north to Catalina State Park.
The dry wash is teeming with runoff from the mountains and yesterday's rain.
Amster's toe shoes were perfect.
Sasha's paws were handy, too.
Mr. 9's feet, on the other hand, had issues.
The slip on shoes were too heavy and kept falling off.
The socks collected grit and hurt his tender tootsies.
The plan seemed to be to cover the soles entirely with sand and use the beach against itself.
It wasn't a perfect plan, but he couldn't convince us to leave, so he gave up arguing and resumed having fun.

I, comfortably ensconced on my sweatshirt, watched the world go by.
To be precise, I watched the world try to traverse the watery barrier.
There were some rocks, but not many of them.
Not all of them were were stable.
Many of them were too far apart for a shorter person's stride.
Some people didn't care. 
Others were a bit more fearful. 
 The boys offered their assistance.
and, as outriggers, got her to her destination, dry as a bone.
It takes so little to be a hero.
The boys had the right idea. 
The answer was obvious.
Take off your shoes.
 Young or old, it was the only way to go.
First, you remove the shoes.

Then, you walk across.
 Then, you towel dry.
and put the shoes back on your feet.
 For some, equipment was the way to go.
This woman walked back to the car for the hiking poles.
As she gained confidence, she picked up her pace.
 And off they went.
For some, it was Mom-as-transportation.

For some, the pooch led the way
 and there was no arguing,
no arguing at all.
It was dry on the other side, after all.
Though others eyed it, 
only these two tried it.
I was laughing too hard to take the picture when they fell in.
Clearly, it was time to go.