Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Lessons From The Lorax

Dr. Seuss and I were in Ms Bronson's room after recess today, talking about personal responsibility.
 With appropriately Seuss-ian bombast, I channeled the Once-ler and the Lorax as a cornucopia of kindergarteners sat, rapt, at my feet.

It's a long story and it's hard to sit still but Grandma Suzi has a certain stare, learned from her own mother, that can quiet even the most rambunctious squirmer.

My eyes focus, the silence grows longer, the other students turn to glare as well, and before you know it we're all back, once again sitting criss-cross-applesauce with our butts on the green carpet, watching the deforestation of the Truffula Trees.

"I am the Lorax!  I speak for the trees!"

It was a powerful message, delivered with typical Grandma style.  Every you in the story was directed to a particular listener, with a grin and a pointed arm and finger and a raised eyebrow or two.  They giggled, they cowered, they grimaced.  We were all there with the Once-ler, laughing at the Humming-Fish walking on their fins while we felt sad, so very sad, about the Gluppity-Glupp and Schloppity-Schlopp in the air and the pond, forcing them and the Brown Bar-ba-loots in their Bar-ba-loot suits to leave The Street of The Lifted Lorax.

"That's really bad!" we all agreed.  What could be done?  Grandma turned the page, and read on:
UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, 
nothing's going to get better. 
 It's not.

That you came with a sweeping gesture, encompassing them all.  There wasn't an in-attentive eye, as I read it again.
UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, 
nothing's going to get better. 
 It's not.

That's true for everything, we agreed.  If you care about something you have to do something about it.  You can't wait for him-or-her-or-me-or-them.... unless you care a lot, nothing's going to get better.  

It's not.

So we smiled as the Lorax tossed out a Truffula Seed, a seed we could plant and nurture, something we could do to make the world better.... or at least, not any worse. We thought about that as I handed out stickers and hugs, and I've been thinking about it all afternoon.

Who speaks for you?  For whom do you speak?  It's all right there, in 60 pages of silliness, the question that's being answered in airports all around the country, as America's reputation fo openess and inclusion is being rewritten in the Oval Office.

I am a citizen!  I speak for America!  Because UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better.  It's not.  

So........ Isn't there a postcard you should be writing or a phone call you should be making?  As the book tells us, Then the Lorax and all of his friends may come back.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Remembering and Acting

Was The White House tone deaf or deliberately defiant by timing the Executive Order restricting immigration to coincide with Holocaust Remembrance Day?  Steve Bannon has long ago proven his anti-Semitic bias to me; Alt Right includes neo-Nazi's, if you choose to argue over his actual use of anti-Semitic rhetoric vs his support of those who do.  His nihilism is creeping into all the corners of the Executive Branch, and I have no reason to doubt his influence in this, too.

DJT's omission of Saudi Arabia from the ban on entry makes me wonder if he did extra homework over the weekend in one of his Alternative Fact Workbooks.  After all, Saudi Arabia's proven history of supporting terrorism includes those pesky 9/11 bombers,

FDR turned back boatloads of refugees yearning to breathe free, or at least not be turned into smoke and ashes.  It was not his most shining hour.  Sixth graders read The Diary of Anne Frank and wonder how many Anne Franks are huddled in basements, worrying about bombs, wondering why America has become such a cold and unwelcoming place.

Well, not all of America.  Not my America, at least.

Little Cuter is hounding the mayor of South Bend -- what can she do to help?  Lady Jane has organized an email list of concerned women who are willing to take immediate action by phone (good luck with that) and postcard and check book.  JannyLou is corralling a similar group, though this one will make visits to the offices of our elected officials, presenting ourselves and our opinions on a regular basis. Sgt. Lois is already involved with that kind of group; they're planning their second Senatorial Office visit.

I'm as energized as I was in the 1970's, when Vietnam and reproductive health were worth hollering about.

It's only been one week.  I hope I still feel this way next month.

Friday, January 27, 2017

They Were There - Part 4

Almost everyone I love was marching last Saturday.  I couldn't get off the bed to join them.

I wasn't ill.  The weather was perfect.  I had the text for Mr 11 and 13 created and ready to be sent.
I couldn't make myself do it.  There is something absolutely immobilizing that takes over my heart and my soul whenever I consider being publicly political.

I held a sign on the street corner in front of my Representative's office, but went inside when the police protection drove away.  I was fine going up in the elevator and talking to her District Manager, but I went out the back door and avoided the protest on the way to my car.

I was scared.  I'm not usually scared.... at least the before-I-was-perforated me was not usually scared.  I suppose I am often scared these days, now that I put fingers to keyboard and think about it.

I sat in the middle of the row in the middle of the movie theatre watching Sing! with Amster and Mr. 11.  I didn't realize that I wasn't scared until the movie was over and Mr.  11, who'd pointed out the exits for me when we sat down, asked if I was okay.

I was.  I was surprised that I was, which must mean that scared is, on some level, my default. I'm not judging.  I'm stating facts.  The facts suck, but I'm here to bemoan my sad and sorry state and that, in itself, should make me sit down, shut up, and get out of my own way.

I'm so much stronger now than I was, and I'll be stronger 6 years from now, I'm sure.  Still, I cannot make myself join in.  I know that bullets can show up anywhere.  No matter how close I come to leaving the house, I never get past this:  I'll feel like an absolute idiot if I get shot doing this again.

It's unlikely, but so was the first one.

There's nothing inherently rewarding in the terror. I have all the sympathy I need whenever I need it; I don't need to act out.  It's more likely that my superego has had enough of my refusal to accept that facts are facts.

Whatever it is, it was there last Saturday, and it stole an opportunity from me.  When I type that, I want to rewind the clock and refuse to let the shooter take that, too..... until I realize that I'll feel like an absolute idiot if I get shot doing this again.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

They Were There - Part 3

"When your mom makes you a Pussy Hat, you kinda sorta hafta march." 
That Big Cuter's reply to the assorted "Nice hat!" comments my first effort at pussy hatting elicited.
 San Francisco's event started at 3pm, in a downpour, 
but the crowd stretched as far as his eye could see.
He thinks he was the only straight, white, not-with-a-woman, man in the crowd,
but, "You raised me right, Mom; of course I had to go.  Besides, you made that hat... that anatomically incorrect hat.... that PUSSY hat.... so how could I make excuses about the rain?"

Have I mentioned that I love my boy?

I also love my little cousin.
who is quite mighty, indeed.

A friend's husband walked like this
and felt the love, for sure.

You've seen the older women with "I can't believe I'm doing this shit again!" signs.
You've seen the haters and the punsters and the calls to Resistance, but this one is, I must admit, my favorite:
We're going to Phoenix to see Auntie M tomorrow; I'll stop in to IKEA and consider the choices.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

I'm Bitter

The plan was to shower you with photos taken by my family and friends at the various Women's Marches they attended.

But, driving home from class this afternoon, I noted larger than usual droplets on my windshield.

Those droplets resolved into white shapes... delicate and interesting white shapes... shapes I remembered from lives past.... they were snowflakes.


I refuse to accept this, on top of everything else.

I'll be back tomorrow when I'm less annoyed.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

They Were There - Part Two

Little Cuter's acorn didn't fall far from her mama's tree. These are her words and pictures.
I made a promise to my daughter before she was born that I would do everything in my power to keep her safe and make her feel loved.

That is why I marched.

I marched to show solidarity to my fellow Americans that the current political climate is NOT ACCEPTABLE to me and that I will do whatever I can in my power to stand against it and protect the future I promised to my kid.
I also marched for strength. I marched because I didn’t want to feel removed, hopeless, rudderless or unable to turn on the television or open a newspaper. I marched for power - to share it with those who needed it and to siphon it from others who had some to spare.

I marched because I am not entitled to the cushy life that I’ve led so far. I’ve spent 31 years benefiting from the fight that those before me have waged, and I want to show respect, and allow the generations before me to know that they can hand off the baton - we are capable of taking it from here. Thank you for showing us the way.


I woke up this morning and peeked out of my hotel room window to see if I could gauge how the city was bracing for the march. Everything looked relatively peaceful, so I decided to get ready and psych myself up.

I got dressed in plain, unassuming clothes that would be easy to hide or flee in. Not one to discount the danger of attending a political event, I was as prepared as I could possibly be for things to turn south quickly. I had also promised my husband that I would not draw attention to myself unnecessarily (no signs, no themed clothing, please just stay safe).

I also knew I’d need fuel, so I pre-ordered some Starbucks and headed out. I was prepared for a madhouse once I made it to the march, but the house just felt SAFE from the minute I left my hotel. Women in Starbucks stood shoulder to shoulder, giving up seats to those who looked like they could use a rest and giving up spaces in line for the bathroom to the much older (and much younger) crowd.

Finishing my breakfast sandwich on the way to Grant Park, my first view was of the Art Institute:
The banners between the columns all depicted women, and the steps were full of fellow marchers. I knew I wanted my daughter to experience a small measure of this herself, so I called my husband and FaceTimed them on the walk to the bandshell where the rally would take place.

“CHECK OUT ALL OF THESE PEOPLE STANDING UP FOR WHAT THEY BELIEVE IN, BABY GIRL!” I cried out to her. “Look at all of the support and love Mommy has all around her!”

“Coooooooooooool, Mama” was the most I got out of her but that was more than enough for me.

To give you an idea of the crowd of 175,000 of us in Chicago that day I’d like to share one small tidbit that most likely won’t make it to the news: Those of us who had signed up online for the march had received an email with logistics for the day, one of which mentioned that the crowd should try to stay off the grass at Grant Park, because any damage would be the organizer’s responsibility to repair or replace and we didn’t want our fundraising efforts to go to sod. Not only did NO ONE WALK ON THE GRASS but as I was walking to the bandshell from Michigan Avenue I heard someone yell out “Please don’t walk on the grass - save our money for what matters!” and the person who was about to cross stopped short, waved, and kept marching.

I secured a place in the crowd by the stage at the bandshell- standing in front of a tall, square, iron parking meter. I had promised my husband I would think ahead about safety; securing my back end against a giant block of iron felt like a good start. Directly next to me was a woman fluent in ASL who had a sign saying so, and for the 5 minutes we stood next to each other she helped three different hearing impaired marchers make it to the bathrooms.

By the time the cast of Hamilton had led us in a chorus of “Let It Be” I had met a transgender woman marching with her teenage daughter, a woman who had just returned from her second tour in Iraq, and helped to hold a sign for a breastfeeding mother whose baby was getting distracted by the (unseasonably bright and warm) sun.

An America whose citizens are as passionate as they are diverse. An America that stands for who they are and what they believe in in a RESPECTFUL and decent manner. An America that will stand up in the face of danger and say WE WILL BE HEARD.
I could go on about the massive turnout, the graceful and well-prepared police presence, the weather (seriously - 60 and sunny at the end of January in Chicago - I HEAR YOU, MOTHER EARTH!), the organizers, and my fellow marchers but I don’t want my point to get diluted. The Women’s March on Chicago was life changing for me. It gave me a guidepost by which to live not only the rest of my life but the next four years with hope and purpose. It showed me that there were hundreds of thousands of us who heard President Barack Obama when he told us it was time to get to work. And get to work we did.

(fist bump)

Monday, January 23, 2017

They Were There

My brother and my cousins and my daughter and my son  - they all were there and they've all agreed that I can share their stories.  

Brother sent this to me and his Chicago-based daughter.  He tells a great story. Some of the language is not suitable for children, but there are no Alternative Facts in the tale.
Tina (our German citizen neighbor across the street ) drove ...to the Metro at 8:00 am.  Curious how an International Monetary Fund employee, a non-citizen, is protesting for women’s rights in Washington DC.  Imagine you doing that in Tehran or Ramallah.

Wife and Daughter and Crowd
We got one of the last parking spots.  It took 10 minutes to walk down the usually empty stairs to the Metro to fight the crowds to get on the train which left Shady Grove at the end of the line completely full. Never been a crowd like that.  We elbowed our way through the crowds ... (and  there was a farecard kefuffle and Brother became separated from his wife and daughter and neighbor) 

Walked home, tried to get a donut, but there was a line about 10 minutes long at the also usually empty Dunkin' Donuts. Many people walking toward the Metro.  I explained three times that they better have a Metro farecard because the lines to the machines were 20 minutes long.  

Had a nice chat with Raoul who was delivering gas to the BP station.  He liked my hat and the flag on my jacket. 

Brother's hat courtesy of his eldest siste
He came here legally and is mad at the people who didn’t follow the rules and now want to stay.  He also opposes abortion and says that the woman will have to deal with the mental aftermath but that is her problem.  He agrees with Bill Clinton that abortion should be rare but safe.  Maybe agrees.

Got home, loaded the Brompton folding bike into the front seat of the Miata and drove to (his old synagogue) where I got a good parking spot.  Rode the last 12 miles downtown and wound up walking through hordes of angry sign carrying humans.  Fellow Brompton riders shout “Hey, Nice Brompton.”  Must be a thing.  

No way I could get to (his companions) near Air and Space. Crowds way too big to move around.  Had to march 2 blocks the wrong way for 20 minutes to thread my way across Independence Ave. with the Brompton.

If HRC had won, and this was an anti-Clinton rally, these same marchers would be up in arms about the alt-righters being sore losers. Imagine hundreds of people not wearing the ubiquitous FUCK TRUMP shirts, but instead wearing FUCK OBAMA shirts 8 years ago, demanding love and understanding of gun rights and calling for revolution. (I can’t imagine anyone wanting to wear a FUCK HILARY shirt – mixed message there.) 

It is now 6:45 pm, Metro completely underestimated the crowds, and is advising people to stay downtown until Metro can hire more people, buy more train cars, fix the tracks, and maybe get you home safely.  WTOP reports people are still walking from the Capitol to the White House along unplanned unpermitted routes down both Constitution and Independence Avenues.  

There were huge crowds all over downtown because there was no real parade route, no Jumbotrons, no central sound system, no real plan.  Just come on down and be heard.  The weather is moist 50 degrees and this was the most piss poor planned event in DC history, but truly exemplifies the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Let us all pray that Donald Trump will in fact Keep America Great and be overwhelmingly re-elected in 2020 by the largest voter turnout in history.  

And go buy a lottery ticket. Who knows, it might happen.
And his daughter replied: Rights are nice. I like having rights. 
I asked for permission to share his rant (for a rant it surely is) and this was the end to his reply:
Love and kisses from your angry old white man brother whose anger is evenly and randomly distributed among the haters and hatees. 

The king is dead long live the king.
Tomorrow, more thoughts and photos from those who were there.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Will You Be Watching?

My shooter is in prison for 20 years for interfering with my participation in a civic event, not for trying to kill me.  That has always felt right to me; there has been a chilling effect on my public participation in political gatherings ever since bullets and I intersected at Gabby Giffords's Congress on Your Corner.  My fears overwhelm my desire to participate.

Friday morning, I'll be faced with a similar situation.  The fear is psychic not corporeal, unless throwing up counts as a physical threat.  I have to decide whether or not I will join TBG as he watches the inauguration of the 45th President of the United States of America.

I don't know what I'll call him in The Burrow.  I have respect for the office, but I cried last week when I saw Barack Obama's portrait in the Federal Courthouse lobby... cried because his replacement has yet to demonstrate that he, himself, deserves my respect.

He thinks it's okay to brag about grabbing and seducing and kissing with impunity.  I am as appalled by the bragging as I am about the acts.

I used to take the kids out to Bill Clinton Dinners.

We'd dress up and find a restaurant with tablecloths and behave as if POTUS was dining with us.  We had serious conversations and practiced being adults.  It was playacting and it was rehearsals and it was altogether wonderful.

The name became somewhat risible once this photo surfaced in 1992, but we never stopped having Bill Clinton Dinners.  The lessons were important.

FlapJilly's invitation to a Donald Trump Dinner would involve warnings about inappropriate touching.

Seriously. Would you encourage your daughter to spend time alone with him?  Am I overstating the case?  I really don't think so.

As the inauguration comes closer, I'm finding myself unable to listen to NPR; they keep talking about President Trump.  I'm not a safe driver when I hear that.  I had this reaction immediately after the election, but, up until today, I was feeling proud of my ability to accept the reality of the result.
Then, as I watched the Trump family leaving Blair House for a gala at Union Station on Thursday night, I found myself taking deep breaths, trying not to retch.

This is really happening and I'm having a panic attack.  It's not a useful reaction, but it's my reaction and The Burrow is the repository for my truths.

I know I'm not alone.  The Bride bristles with righteous indignation and a modicum of fear as her Facebook feed fills with incidences of anti-Semitism.  Little Cuter worries about the world in which her daughter will grow to girlhood.  Mrs & Mrs Realtor are bringing a new life into a world which is becoming ever more hostile to their love. My gynecologist is doing 7 or 8 IUD's a day, every day since the world went to Hell in a hand-basket.

I just don't think that I can sit on Douglas and watch this happen.  I don't want to listen to the list of those who are not attending.  If Rep. John Lewis thinks it is appropriate to absent himself, res ipso loquitor (the thing speaks for itself).

And then there is the whole thing about the ratings.  I'm turning all the devices in the house to NatGeo; TBG can switch to the parade and the speechifying and the swearing in if he feels the need. I'm going to walk on Christina-Taylor's path and try to make sense of things.  Perhaps she has some suggestions.  I'm fresh out.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

The Annual Butterfly Exhibit at Tucson Botanical Gardens

Certainly, there are plants at the Botanical Gardens.
Some make you smile, like these cacti Scarlett named Llamas

I see snails with their necks elongated.
We laughed at both descriptions.
This was all on the way to the tropical environs and big bigger biggest leaves in the desert in The Butterfly Experience.
These LBT's (Little Brown Things) were everywhere, fully exposed and camouflaged.

One circled me, but decided not to land.
I was kinda sorta glad about that.
You are warned to avoid touching the butterflies if they land on you.  
You are also warned to avoid stepping on them.
Their life-cycle spans 2 to 3 weeks; no need to shorten it by human intervention.

We stood for a while, watching the proboscis probe as the antennae and wings provided balance.
A friend came to visit, skirting my elbow and sharing the nectar as his (her?) wings fluttered.
They didn't seem to notice us, which was vaguely insulting.

These orchids were mesmerizing, a burst of pink amidst the green and the humidity.

Up close and personal to an orchid tendril, I found this multi-eyed beauty, soaking up the goodies.

There was another on a sturdier leaf, resting, perhaps, after sucking nectar. 

This is the inside, the view from above when the little beastie is flying.  

It would blend right into the sky and the clouds and the dark ground below, wouldn't it?  

We seem to be making this an annual adventure, Scarlett and I.... although it might become a monthly visit; they receive a new shipment of chrysalises every three weeks or so.  I'm kinda sorta curious about the next set of visitors.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Frida Khalo at the Tucson Botanical Garden

Frida Khalo and Diego  Rivera were artists and activists.
They were gardeners, too.
Who knew?  Not I, that's for sure.  Yet Scarlett and I spent a lovely Tuesday morning with Tucson's recreation of their Casa Azul.  The blue was a perfect match to our summer skies, a perfect reminder on a cooler winter day.  The orange is echoed in every other house here in The Old Pueblo.  It all felt very close to home, tempered with a bit of I-could-never-live-so-bright-a-life.
They had a ziggurat, or is it a pyramid, or is it an artists rendering of the search for heaven?
The Botanical Garden made one just for us, and adorned it with the plants that they (and we) could grow.  There was fauna to accompany the flora, with real frogs living above the ceramic toads in their pond.
Though their walls probably didn't have explanatory posters
I'm sure the windows were exquisitely placed, just as these were.
The Botanical Garden engages the community in their programming.
These skeletons were created by Senior Citizens (sic) in one of their Outreach Programs.
They were a little creepy for our taste, but they did make me smile.
We walked past the "plant these in your garden" beds and the model railroad layout and sat on several of the lovely benches while we waited for a pause in the endless stream of high school students on a field trip to the Butterfly Exhibit.
We agreed that Frida is not our favorite artist, but that the Tucson Botanical Garden had represented her well.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

A Matter of Perspective

Little Cuter was right this morning, when she said that my generation was used to taking to the streets to fight for what's right.  Her generation never had to do that, until very recently.  It's not what they saw on television growing up; those battles weren't being fought that way in the 1980's and '90's.  

In 1969 I left my Spring Formal dress in the closet in Ithaca as I rode to Washington, DC for the Mobilization Against the War. It was as close to being a Freedom Fighter, busing through the Deep South and registering voters, as my generation was able to get.  I'd seen it, I'd read it in the newspapers.  It was real and relevant and it inspired me to leave that fancy fraternity party behind in order to make a difference.

I don't remember my parents registering dismay or apprehension about the trip, either.  The country was in an uproar and a statement needed to be made and why shouldn't I make it?  I was prepared to be tear gassed, but the nearest we came to disaster was the officer on horseback encouraging us to get out of the pond surrounding the burbling fountains on Constitution Avenue before he had to take us to jail.

I wonder if these women set off with similar high hopes?
image:Library of Congress
They left New York City on February 12, 1912 and hiked to Washington, DC

There, they joined The Woman Suffrage Procession.

They came from all over the world, and all over the country, too.
image:Library of Congress
It looked like a lot of fun, 
image:Library of Congress
until the hostile crowds blocked their way.  
image:Library of Congress
One hundred women were hospitalized.  Women won the right to vote..... eight years later.

I don't know what kind of impact the Women's March on Washington will have, but I know where the heart and soul of it began.

(Thanks to Alex Q. Arbuckle for the photos and the history)

Monday, January 16, 2017

Shoelaces and Love - A Snippet

I've been reading Dr. Seuss to the 7 kindergarten classrooms at Prince Elementary School helping with the transition from recess to classwork.

I hang out with the kids on the playground before then; there are hugs and there are Hi, Grandma!!'s and there are untied shoelaces.  I believe that the Untying Fairy flies over the area and afflicts every other shoe in the vicinity.

I used to bend over and tie one and move on.  Lately, now that the kindergarteners and I have bonded over Horton hatching that egg, I've had to sit on the ground.  There are too many to do in a crouch... even when I could crouch with comfort.

And there I was on Friday, looking at untied and too long laces and knotted laces and soaking wet laces and muddy laces when I noticed a pair of grey shoes, laces loosely but securely tied. I watched from the corner of my eye as one shoe, slowly and stealthily, tugged on the longer end of the other shoe's lace, untying it.

It took a while, but that lace ended up in the Bring me that shoelace! brigade surrounding me.

Who knew that tying shoelaces would be a thing?  Love shows up in the most unexpected places, sometimes.

Friday, January 13, 2017

When They Surprise You

He does it because he almost lost me.  He worries.  A lot.

So his look of relief - when I announced that I didn't think I was physically up to walking in January in D.C. with thousands of other people for miles and miles even though were I able to go I would, for sure - wasn't unexpected.

So tonight, when I said that if I could get on a bus and sleep all the way to Washington, arriving at just the right time and dropped off as close as possible to wherever we wanted to be and then picked up at a logical location and driven home, he surprised me.

After 46 years together, surprises are few and far between.

"Well, why don't you go on-line and see if there's a bus company that will do that?"

The weather's going to be fine.  JannyLou's going and so is my gynecologist.  She doesn't have a pussy hat, but she has t-shirts in a similar vein.

"Will I worry? Of course I will.  And please don't ask me to go with you (TBG does not do crowds.) But if there is one peace-time issue that is worth going to Washington for, it's this.  And I totally get your need to go; it's such a you thing to do."

It's 33 hours across I-10 or $1000 for a change-planes-trip and 2 days and 16 hours on 7 different buses and Amtrak has Coach seats for 51 hours so I'm looking for another way to speak out that day, but I do it with a great big smile on my face.

For almost five decades, I've listened to TBG sing the praises of strong women.  Women's rights are human rights and human rights are women's rights seems so obvious to him.  He'll be the first to tell you that a civilization can be judged by the way it treats women.  I wasn't surprised that he thought it was the right thing to do.

I was surprised that his worry about the future of America outweighed his worry about the safety of his wife.  I was surprised that he wanted me to go. He wanted me to make a statement because a statement needed to be made and I was the person to make it.  Of course he would worry; he worries whenever I walk out the door.  It's the way it is when someone you care about goes to the grocery store and ends up with bullet wounds.

But for this, for standing up to misogyny and disrespect, against the lies and the nihilism and the obvious disregard for anything beyond his own small mindedness, for this President (for President he surely will be) - for this he would worry but not worry-enough-more-to-matter.

That was a big surprise... and, then again, maybe it shouldn't have been.

It's a sign of the times, my friends.  

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Yarn Bombing in Tucson

The Yarn Bomber came to Tucson last weekend.
We took donated pieces
of which there were many
sent to the YarnBomber from Arkansas and Ontario
and Thrift Shops around the country
and embellished the larger ones with smaller ones
before attaching them together in building-wrap sizes.
We set up inside for small work and outside for the larger constructions.
Denizens, I have to say that there's lying on the concrete, bleeding to death, 
and there's lying on the concrete, sewing pieces of whimsy together,
and my brand-new-Holiday-Celebration-Tour-sneaker (over there, on the right) and I are here to tell you that this way is much better. 
 The Brit Who Hugs made pretend snow angels on her section as she agreed with me.  I was having too much fun watching her, and being glad about the fact that I was there to watch her, to stop and take a picture.  You'll just have to imagine our giant, life affirming, in-the-moment, smiles.  

Here she is, with her husband and Kid The Younger, working on the aliens' spacecraft:
What aliens?
These aliens.
(oh, for a better camera)
They sit on the roof of Tucson Medical Center's Hospital for Children,
ferried from Santa Barbara by Stephen Dunier, the YarnBomber, himself.
The installation was not simple.
Sizing and piecing together just the right colors and patterns and shapes and textures required an artists' eye in addition to lots of extra long zip ties.

The single afghan covering the single panel is, he said, his favorite piece.  
He said this after an emphatic "NO!" and while I removed the very long, very bright pink embellishment he described as: 
"You couldn't help yourself, could you?!?!"

Alone, it echoes the texture and the color of the building itself.

That's why he's the artist and I stuck to my whip stitches.
I admit it.  I was addicted to the colors.

I sat on the concrete on the anniversary of the worst day of my life and I measured and rearranged and stitched pieces like this:
I just kept on smiling, doing a nonsensical but eminently logical bit of whimsy on a sunny Saturday afternoon. It was perfect.

Yes, that's a Ninja Turtle above me.  
Every kid noticed him.
That gave me the opportunity to escort them and their parents out a little bit into the driveway so that 
they could see the aliens on the rooftop.
The pieces on the top weren't connected yet, but our audience didn't seem to notice.

I wondered who'd sewn all those granny squares together and if she was glad that her work was part of the LOVE section of the wall?
I wondered who'd cut and twisted all those plastic bags to make the first three pieces on the edge.  I stitched them together, faux yarn at its finest, and thought about sustainability and distribution of resources and then I just smiled.
It was the anniversary of the worst weekend in my life, in Tucson's life, and there we were, laughing and having a great time doing something that had absolutely no utilitarian value.  And it was good.  It was whimsical and beautiful and I know that Christina-Taylor and I would have had a lot of fun, being there together, which, of course, we were
I wanted to spend that time with purpose and connection.
I did.
I didn't know, but I soon found out, that there could also be joy.