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Use It Up, Wear It Out, Make It Do, or Do Without

Friday, September 19th, 2008

The title of this entry is a saying that I heard many times from my grandmother [Grammy–my father’s mother] as I was growing up.  She was originally from Maine, but had moved to the mid-Atlantic region as a new bride when she was in her twenties.  She never lost her Maine accent to the day that she died, in her eighties.

I always thought that this was one of those “frugal New England” sayings, stereotyping the region and Grammy all at once.  As it turns out, it took coming to California to allow me to see my mistake.

Recently, when Jeremy was visiting, we went to the “Rosie the Riveter Homefront Memorial” in Richmond, CA, near where I work.  It’s quite an amazing place, in a park on the old site of Kaiser Shipyard No. 2.  As it says at the website, an estimated 18 million women worked in the defense industries during WWII.

And a part of that story is the history of the dykes–the women who dressed in overalls and worked in heavy industry–and discovered that there were other women who felt like that, too.  But that would take us rather far afield. 

The main part of the site is a sculpture that outlines the form of a ship under construction.  In the pavement that defines the keel of the ship are a number of incised stones that give the chronology of the war and of the war effort.  There are also sculptural element that outline the main architectural features of the ship.  They include plaques including photographs and other items of life during the war.  One of these is  a brief notice talking about hardships during the War.  One way of mobilizing Americans to contribute to the War effort was the slogan above.

I’m appalled that Bush’s response to the events of 9/11/2001 was to tell us to go shopping.  I fear that, with the current crisis in the financial sector, we’re in for another very bad patch–perhaps as bad as the [Great] Recession of the 1930s.

I find that I’m more and more interested in putting things up–this weekend I’m canning spaghetti sauce.  Somehow, it feels like things are going to get much worse.  So I share the saying above.  And really, it’s time for me to act like there are limits to what is possible.

afghans for Afghans–personal knitting for global connection

Monday, June 16th, 2008

A week or so ago, I got an email newsletter from a local yarn shop that included an invitation to knit a rectangular shawl for women going into a maternity hospital in Kabul.  This is only one of the projects of afghans for Afghans.  I really like the idea of putting my knitting to work to create a connection among people far across the world.

And I spend my working life dealing with the new infants of California collectively, as statistics–and I’m not minimizing the significance of what I do–but it’s not personal, not individual, in the way that this will be.  I know that, whatever I produce will be given to one particular woman; and I’m grateful for the chance to produce something that I hope she will like.

Unfortunately for me, they’ve asked that the shawls be ready to ship in July, which means that I’ve got to get my jet skis on, and make tracks.  I found some beautiful, soft, wool yarn in the local yarn shop–balls of variegated blue, or green, or purple.  I’m knitting the shawl longways, so I can change colors and get lengthwise stripes.

The project is supported by the American Friends Service Committee of San Francisco–who provides, among other things, a place to store the items as they accumulate. 

This whole project just leaves me smiling with hope for humanity.  

Other Countries, Other Customs–Obama and TUCC

Thursday, June 5th, 2008
When I was studying German in high school, I learned a proverb that has passed the test of experience: "Andere Laender, Andere Sitten"--Other Countries, Other Customs.  My version wouldn't be so much "When in Rome, do as the Romans do" ... [Continue reading this entry]

Entering the U.S. in Vancouver airport

Thursday, May 29th, 2008

Well, I headed back to the U.S after my visit to Vancouver.  For people who haven't taken a plane from Canada to the U.S., the process is a bit unusual.  After checking in, I proceeded through duty-free shopping, and then ... [Continue reading this entry]

Come Out! Come Out, Wherever You Are!

Thursday, May 22nd, 2008
I was talking with a friend about the California Marriage ruling, and the prospect of an ugly initiative campaign in the Fall.  And I said that the most important thing that gay people can do is to come out--to friends, ... [Continue reading this entry]

The California Marriage Ruling–Can I let myself hope?

Sunday, May 18th, 2008
By now, you've heard that the California Supreme Court ruled that the ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.  There is much about  the ruling that cheers me.  [Just so you can find it, here's the [Continue reading this entry]

Clinton, Obama, and the “Race Chasm”

Saturday, May 10th, 2008
I just came across a column that  finally makes some sense of the voting in the Democratic primaries in various states.  This is David Sirota's article in In These Times "The Clinton Firewall".  He ... [Continue reading this entry]

In honor of Mildred Jeter Loving

Thursday, May 8th, 2008
Before I go on with this post, a quick quiz:  In what year did the U.S. Supreme Court declare that laws banning interracial marriage were unconstitutional?  [The answer is at the end of the post.  For extra credit: What was ... [Continue reading this entry]

HIV+ tourists are still banned from U.S.

Monday, May 5th, 2008
I'm getting ready for my annual trip to the convention of lesbian and gay square dancers.  This year it's the twenty-fifth annual convention, and it's in Cleveland [Touch a Quarter Century].  So, of course, I'm looking ... [Continue reading this entry]

Faggots & their Friends between Revolutions (2)–Women Wisdom

Friday, April 18th, 2008
   I think it's time for another bit from this book.  There are a number of pages labeled "Women Wisdom".  They represent various things that women have learned that they can and do teach the faggots.
 The strong women told the ... [Continue reading this entry]