Off to one of the sunshine states tomorrow. I need the Vitamin D. This is the longest winter in the history of winters. Will twitter and/or blog during the trip. At least that's the plan, Stans.
Read more here...
Today at 8.30 p.m. you can vote Earth by switching off your lights for one hour: Earth Hour. The organizers write, "For the first time in history, people of all ages, nationalities, race and background have the opportunity to use their light switch as their vote – Switching off your lights is a vote for Earth, or leaving them on is a vote for global warming. WWF are urging the world to VOTE EARTH and reach the target of 1 billion votes, which will be presented to world leaders at the Global Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen 2009." You can sign up to have your vote counted here.
I'm tired. I don't know if what follows will make sense. It is vague, I know. It's just a postscript at the end of a long day.
I'm thinking about mobs.
I don't like mobs.
Mob mentality concerns me. I am a student of history. Generally speaking, mobs are not good things. And the powers that be should be aware of that when attempting to use mobs for their purposes. The word "mob" comes from "mobile vulgus," or excitable crowd. It's the common people on the move. And usually this mobile crowd ain't movin' for good.
What happens is usually the other "suddenly" appears on the scene and that other is demonized and accused of causing all that is wrong in the neighborhood, state, country, or world. For a long while in Europe and parts of Asia (primarily Russia), Jews were the other and they were deemed the cause of all the ills of the world. Not enough food to eat? The government or some other wily organizer would point to the Jews and soon a pogrom was in the works.
In other places, you became the other if you were the "wrong" color, religion, or sex. In Russia, if the government thought you were an intellectual, you could be sent to the gulag. In China, if the government suspected you had any Western ideas you could be imprisoned. In the early years of the Americas, any Native people were considered the other so they could be enslaved and/or killed on a whim. During the French Revolution, any affiliation with royalty got you a trip to the guillotine.
In most organized religions, women were (and are) the other. In many parts of the world, women still are the other. All sorts of horrors have been meted out to women because they were looked upon as the other.
Lynching by definition and nature was a mob activity.
Immigrants, legal or "illegal," in most countries have been looked upon as the other whenever the economy tanks.
After 9/11, Muslims were demonized in this country by many.
I have been as appalled as the average Jill about the AIG bonuses. I wrote about it. But now the mob seems to be shouting for their heads—and their names and addresses. All rich people are not evil. By many definitions, most Americans are rich, including me and you, because we have food, clothing, jobs (at least for now), and a roof over our heads. Are they going to be calling for our heads next?
This is just a long-winded way of me saying—at the end of a long day—that I heard the Brazilian prez say that all the problems of the world have been caused by the white blue-eyed people.
Oh yes, let us make eye-color the determinant of the demon.
Scientists now believe that all blue-eyed people share the same ancestor. This blue-eyed monster probably came from northern Europe or southern Russia. I wonder what people thought when she was born. Had they ever seen a blue-eyed baby before? Did they demonize her? Did they think she was a medicine woman? She lived long enough to bear children: thus me and some of youse.
Maybe tonight I will try to swim to her in my dreams and say, "Hey, Grandma, the prez of Brazil blames all us blue-eyed people for everything that has gone wrong in the world." I imagine she'd say, "What is Brazil and what is a prez?" Then she'd look into my eyes and say, "You call that blue? Let me tell you about blue." And then I'd listen to her stories all night long.
I'm tired of people struggling to be separate and unequal just for the sake of blaming everyone else for these old troubles we've got. Go ahead and blame and then get going and do something constructive. I hope the president of Brazil goes to his meeting with world leaders and sticks up for his people, especially the poor, and does some good!
Me? I used to strive for separateness. No more.
Now I strive for connectedness. Community.
I wish Karl Marx had not called his movement communism. I have not seen communism work well anywhere. But I love the word community and wish there was another word that conveyed the idea that we are all in this together and that we should work and play together in our communities. Connectedism. Doesn't really have a ring to it, does it? Besides, isms ain't good for much.
I bet the president of Brazil has a blue-eyed baby in his family tree, too. Shhhh. Don't tell anyone. He might have to throw it out with the blaming water. No worries. I'll reach out my arms and catch her. I won't even look first to see what color her eyes are.
I found this wonderful verse this morning on my pillow. So far today I've gotten a massage and a Reiki treatment from Mario, and I've given him a massage and a Reiki treatment. Now Mar is making spring rolls! Then it's off to Portland for a museum trip and dinner. I was going to write today, too, but the day has unfolded in such a lovely way that what will be will be. And maybe that means there will be no writing! In any case, I am a lucky Old Gal. (Drawing is by me: Spurred on By Flowers.)
I have not been on this blog much lately. I haven't been writing. My time has been spent dealing with lawyers, doctors, work people, etc. Won't get into what it's about because it's probably not prudent. I'm still too angry about it and fifteen years of anger about this issue has now turned into righteous action. It could have all been avoided if they'd just kept things the way they were. But it's a good thing, or it will be. In the meantime, the stress of it all and the consumption of time of it all has kept me from my stories. I hope to get back to them soon. And I'm not sure how coherent this post will be, so I apologize ahead of time.
On the fun side, I kicked off the Old Mermaids Tour here at The Gathering Thursday.
I had been looking forward to this Gathering and talking about the Old Mermaids, but all week I'd been dealing with the above and people weren't returning calls and people were sending weird emails and behaving in crappy bureaucratic ways, so by the time it got to Thursday, I was exhausted.
I dragged myself to the library and put together the room for the Gathering along with a friend of mine. I had asked the women to bring found objects, and I'd said I would tell Old Mermaid stories about these objects. By Thursday, I was thinking, "You said you'd do WHAT?" I'm very comfortable in front of a group—more comfortable than I am one on one actually. In fact, I excel in front of a group. But this was standing in front of a group of people and making up stories after looking at an object I'd never seen before. That was nuts. I was exhausted, I was sad, I was weepy. Who was I kidding?
We started the Gathering by eating. (Potluck.) Twelve women showed up. I said, "Just one more and we'd have the 13 Old Mermaids here." In the middle of the dinner, one more woman showed up. Everyone cheered.
We went around the table and introduced ourselves, since a couple of the women were new. We each said our name and where we came from originally. I began to relax as I listened to each woman's story. When it was my turn, I said, "I was born in Louisiana because my dad was in the service, but I was raised in Michigan. I've lived in the Pacific Northwest longer than I've lived anywhere, and I love it, but I'm often very lonely here." My voice broke as I looked around at these women. "I still miss Linda so much that it breaks my heart. And my mother died last year and I just can't seem to get my bounce back." I never say these things out loud. I write about these things. But I rarely actually say them to anyone.
But on this night before Spring Equinox with this group of women, most of whom I'd known for years, I said what I was feeling. I could see the compassion on their faces. This was what the Old Mermaids did: They spoke truth to one another. They listened. They created a sacred container with their attentiveness, with their presence.
After everyone had a turn, they looked to me, because I was the host for the night, and I began talking about the Old Mermaids. I talked about community and how the Old Mermaids and the novel were about not creating "the other." Especially during difficult times. We needed to create community and not make people who were different from us—even people who crossed an imaginary political line—become the other.
It was time for me to tell stories from the found objects. I'd never done this before. I picked up one object. It was a piece of stone with curves and ridges on it. I ran my fingers around it, and then I said, "I can't be sure, but I think Sister Ursula Divine Mermaid found this in the wash right after the Old Sea dried up..."
And then I told a short story. (Maybe I'll write these stories up later. I haven't decided.) The second story was longer. I stood up for this one. Went to stand beside the woman who brought the object. I began telling the story of the Old One-Eyed Whale and how the Old Mermaids missed him, especially Mother Star Stupendous Mermaid.
As I was telling this story, I felt transformed and transported. I felt like myself completely. I could see the joy on the faces of the women, and I felt as though this story was flowing into me, like a wonderful stream of energy. And I felt joy. For the first time in such a long while, I felt joy fill my body. I was bringing this story to life. I could feel the story in my body. I could feel the truth of this particular story.
I felt truly and absolutely full of myself.
When I told Mario about it later, he said, "I wish I could have been there! You've got to do it again."
But wasn't this a crazy thing to promise people: To stand in front of them and tell stories? Not stories I've planned. Not stories I've written ahead of time. Not stories I've heard somewhere else. Just stand and trust that the stories will come?
Yep, it is crazy.
"Okay," I said. "I'll do it at the next stop on the Old Mermaid tour."
It's scary and it's exciting. We'll see if I'll sink or swim the next time.
Naw, I won't sink. The Old Mermaids will be there swimmin' along with me!
I've got the solution for what's happening at AIG: The gov needs to take it over. That's it. No more million dollar bonuses. In fact, no one at any of these businesses we're bailing out should get more than $100,000 a year, tops. (I'd like to say $50,000 a year, since that's still more than what we make in a year, but I'll say $100,000 just to be generous.) AND THAT'S IT. No bonuses. In fact, if you've run a business into the ground, why are you getting a bonus? I'd get fired. I wouldn't get a bonus. But then I work for a governmental agency that is legally obligated to account for every penny it spends. Sounds like a good idea for these companies we've bailed out.
What I still want to know is this: Why didn't Congress put all sorts of strings and restrictions on this money in the first place. They all keep saying they're shocked, they're shocked. I wasn't shocked. Not that AIG kept giving out bonuses. I was shocked that these politicians don't seem to learn. I think it's a cultural thing: the rich culture vs. the rest of us. So let's the Rest Of Us speak up and continue to take back our country and our world.
This is the beginning of the novel I wrote in Arizona this year. It's first draft. I haven't even read it for the stupids. Hope it works. Enjoy!
Sara heard Ian Mclaughlin whisper her name before she saw him as she stood on Far Cliff and looked down at a dark green sea. She smiled. When Ian said her name it sounded like the whisper of sea spray over rock or the beginning of a siren song.
The other villagers said her name as though it was a lament, “Sar-ow.” When they asked after her it always sounded as though they were saying, “Where is sorrow?” “She’s not far behind,” her mother would say. “Sorrow is never far behind.”
Sara did not turn from the stormy sea, even for Ian. The O’Broin women came from the sea and a tempest stirred up all that remained wild inside each of them. Sara was no exception.
“Have you seen a sign of these times yet, Sara my girl?” Ian’s arms went around her waist from behind and she felt his breath on her neck. “I’m waiting for you to leave your red cap on the beach so I can steal it and you’ll be mine forever.”
Sara turned around so that she was facing Ian. He grinned. His eyes were the color of blue ice and his hair was as black as the raven on Muiraugh Hill.
“That is a silly story, Ian McLaughlin,” Sara said. “We don’t have red caps you can steal. I would let ya. But there’s no need. I am already yours and you are mine.”
They kissed. Then they held hands and ran down the hill, toward a place where the green skin of the Earth split open and spilled out a river of rocks. They climbed down this crevice and went into an open cave where they were protected from the coming storm. Ian McLaughlin dropped his coat onto the sandy floor of the cave, and then the couple lay on the cloth and made love.
“When are you going to marry me, Sara girl?” Ian whispered as he leaned over her. She reached up and wrapped a black curl around her fingers.
“In all good time,” she said. “When the auld ma of the sea whispers her approval. Or when the moon is blue. Or maybe next full moon, up by Cailleach Stone.”
“Is that a promise then?” he asked.
“It is,” she said. “Can you wait that long?”
“That’s not far off,” he said. “Don’t let anyone steal you until then.”
“And you keep your boat close to here until then,” Sara said. “I won’t have the auld ma or anyone else taking you to the world below. My sisters are very enticing.”
Ian laughed. “I’ve known your sisters since they came out of your ma’s womb,” he said. “They have nothing I want ‘cept you!”
Sara smiled. “I’m talking about my sisters down below.”
Ian kissed her lips. Then he said, “Aye, I’ve heard the stories. I don’t believe any but the ones you tell me.”
“Go on then,” Sara said. “Ya better catch us some fish. We’ll be feeding the three of us by end of spring.”
Ian jumped up and nearly knocked his head on the ceiling of the cave. He clapped and laughed out loud. Sara smiled.
Sara reached for his hand and pulled him down beside her.
“Can I tell the world, darlin’?”
“Not this world,” she said. “Not til the druid handfasts us and the priest blesses us.”
Ian took Sara’s face between his hands. “I’ve loved you forever. It’ll be a grand life.”
“It will,” she said, “unless I decide to swim back into the ocean and leave you and the babe on your own. So you best treat me well, Ian McLaughlin.”
“May the strength of a thousand old oaks me on you,” Ian said.
“May the sight of the raven be on you,” Sara said. She kissed Ian’s lips.
“May my love be on you all the days of your life,” Ian said.
“Aye,” Sara said.
The next day, the storm was over and the sky was bird-egg blue. Ian went out fishing with his father and brothers. Sara watched them get into the boat, and then she turned and headed home. It was bad luck to watch a loved one leave; everyone knew that. But it was difficult not to look back and see Ian’s face one more time. They could be gone a week or more, depending upon the weather. Sara would think of him tonight before she went to sleep and imagine him up on the shores of one of the islands. She had promised to sing for him before she slept; the great auld wind would bring her siren song to him to keep him safe and help him sleep peacefully.
Sara hurried away from the water and up the road to her mother’s cottage where she lived with her sisters Fiona and Aine. Her brothers Sean and Dylan had left for the north with her father several years ago, so now only the four women lived in the cottage. Her mother Maire liked it better that way. She never lived easily with her husband. But she was a good wife, he always said; and she did what was expected of her.
Sara did not want to do what was expected of her. She knew, as all O’Broin women did, how to keep a child from her womb until she wanted it. Her father said that was because O’Broin women were still close to the animal kingdom, still wild, and like wild dogs, they knew when it was safe to have pups and when it wasn’t. Sara’s mother, Maire, bristled any time her father talked about them being like wolves--or dogs.
Her Uncle Ruarce said her father did not understand the wild. Or the history of things. The O’Broin women came from the sea. The Ryan men came from the forest. Uncle Ruarc and her father were Ryan men.
“We understand wolves and bears,” Uncle Ruarc told Sara once when she was a child and crying because her father had struck her. “We even know how to avoid being captured by the fey. But we do not understand the sea.” He held Sara close to him as she sat on his lap. “You and your mother are sea fairies, sea goddesses, and as such, you must find your own way home again.”
Sara didn’t understand what her uncle was talking about then--or now--yet she was grateful for his words. She missed her uncle and wished he had never gone to the other world.
But Sara was glad her father and brothers were gone up north.
Sara heard a whistle and she looked off to the north. Cormac MacDougal stood on one of the hills watching her. She turned away and kept walking. They had once been childhood friends, but now she could hardly bear to be near him.
When they were children they used to lay on the beach together, stare up at the sky, and watch the clouds pass overhead. She had liked him then. On her twelfth birthday, Cormac kissed her and told her he wanted to marry her. It was already too late, she said: She was in love with Ian. Cormac didn’t say a word after that. He turned and walked away, and they weren’t friends any more.
Now Sara hurried toward home.
Maire was standing near the fire, stirring a pot that hung on a hook over gold flames, when Sara came into the cottage. She looked up at Sara. Fiona and Aine stood next to their mother, their faces as white as the milk that came from Neasa’s cow.
“What has happened?” Sara asked.
“There’s gonna to be a bad storm,” Aine said. “Ma heard it in the wind.”
“But Ian and his da just went out,” Sara said. “It looked as peaceful as can be.”
“The wind knows what the sea does,” Maire said, “and it has told me right. It comes from roundabout but it comes. We’re down to the sea then.”
Sara glanced at her sisters.
“Careful not to touch your hair,” Ma Maire said, “in case one of the villagers is watching us. You know they think we bewitchin’ them every time we unbraid our hair.” Her mother reached up to the bonnet on her head and pulled from underneath the first one red cap and then another and another; she handed one to each girl.
“It’s been a long time, since you were bairns. You probably don’t remember them. I wove them with the hair of a sister mermaid, the wool from the Witch McClarny’s sheep, and your own precious hair while whispering the fath fith. These will keep you protected and invisible. Keep them close always. If someone steals it, you will be obliged to do whatever you can to retrieve it again. And if it be a man that steals it, then you are his sea wife, then and there. That is the way these spells work.”
“I thought that was only a fairy tale,” Sara said.
“And don’t the fairies know a sight more than we do,” Maire said.
“Just yesterday Ian said he’d like to steal my red cap and I said I’d let him.”
“Don’t give yourself away to any man,” Maire said. “You should know that by now. If I had found what your da stole from me, I would have left you all behind long ago.”
“You wouldn’t have taken us with you?” Fiona asked. “You wouldn’t have taken us to the place beneath the waves.”
“I hardly remember it at all,” Maire said.
“I remember,” Sara whispered. “I remember how it feels. Like every part of me is alive and connected to every part of the world. I remember.”
“How can you, my sorrow?” Maire said. “You were so young last time you heard the siren songs.”
“I hear them every night before I sleep,” Sara said. “I hear them in my womb where my baby sleeps. I hear them. I sing to them.””
Maire nodded. “You’re all old enough now, past old enough, to know your heritage and your responsibilities. The O’Broin women have always kept this village safe, despite what they have done to us. It’s down to the sea we go to see if this tempest we can rest.”
The sisters put on their caps and followed their mother outside. The sky was overcast now, suddenly, and Sara wondered if it was magic that made it so. She whispered the fath fith, the ancient charm to make her invisible--to help her blend into her surroundings--and to keep her from harm. Her mother had taught it to them when they were young. She used it to walk amongst the deer in the forest and swim in the cove with the seals--although she used it in the cove mostly so none of the village boys could see her and follow. Especially Cormac MacDougal. Something wrong about the way he looked at her these days And he was always trying to start a fight with Ian. Cormac had asked Sara to dance at Winter Solstice last. It had been the first time he had spoken to her in years. Sara told him she would rather walk a foggy moor alone with a banshee than have a dance with him. She shouldn’t have said it, but she was angry with him for hitting Ian when he wasn’t looking. Had she a sword, she told Ian, she would have sliced off his head and used his skull as a flower pot.
Ian said, “I thought the O’Broin girls had the muir in their blood, not Bodicia’s! I won’t make the mistake of making you angry.”
Sara squinted at the sky and wondered why she was thinking of Cormac MacDougal. Just then three ravens flew over their heads.
“Ah, they’ve come to help us then,” Maire said as she watched the ravens. “It’ll be all right then, I’m sure.”
The women followed the path that went around the village and down to the beach. They meet no one. The air got colder and the wind began to whistle.
“The storm is calling her friends,” Maire said.
Sara’s breathing quickened. She felt strangely happy. She remembered other times when her mother had gone down to the beach without Sara and her sisters, times before a storm. Even then, Sara had felt as though she should be with her--her place was with her mother singing to the sea.
The tide was out, so some of the beach was exposed in spite of the waves and wind. It had grown dark, too, the way it sometimes did when a big storm was coming ashore. The wind was so strong and loud now, Sara couldn’t hear her mother, or anything else except the wind. She looked around and saw other women on the beach--in a kind of line that she and her sisters and mother were now a part of--walking toward the water. Sara could see their lips moving, and she heard something coming from her own lips. It was a song, a chant, a prayer. It was a plea.
They sang, “We ask those of the Sidhe and those of the sea, calm this storm before it forms, clouds part before it starts, waves calm like a summer’s balm, blessings of the sea, blessings from ye, blessings of the Sidhe. Remember us who were once you, sisters, mothers, daughters all, heed our call.”
They got closer to the water or the water got closer to them so that the waves touched their feet. In the semi-darkness, a wave of light filtered through the storm, and the beach shuddered and shimmered. Sara saw the women for what they truly were, saw their tails gleam and glimmer, and she looked down and saw her own true self. Yes, yes, yes. This was how it was supposed to be. This was her place in the world. For a moment she was balanced between both worlds: She could chose. She could dive into the ocean and feel the freedom within or she could stay on land and live the life she had known for so long. She began to lose her senses. It wasn’t a true choice. There was only one way. One wave.
Then the a gust of wind unsteadied her and snatched the cap from her head. She broke from the line of sea women and began running after her hat, only she couldn’t run at first, so she shook off the part of her that was of the sea, as though it was a skirt she could no longer use. And she ran to catch the cap.
But something happened. The wind stirred up the sand at the same time it began to rain. Sara turned to go back to her mother and sisters but she couldn’t see them.
“What enchantment is this?” she called to the storm.
She saw the red of the cap bouncing down the beach and she ran after it. Every time she almost had it, the wind snatched it up and carried it away again. She couldn’t lose the hat, especially not minutes after her mother entrusted it to her.
It was so dark and the rain was so thick--like fog and rain had become one thing. Someone grabbed her arm and pulled her toward something--away from the roar of the ocean. She didn’t shake loose. She should have shaken loose, but she was disoriented, she was afraid, she was lost. She wasn’t quite here or three, so she let herself be led into one of the cliff caves, out of the storm and into total darkness.
“He’s dead.” The stranger said those words, and Sara knew it was a man. She started to run back into the storm, but the man jerked her back into the cave. She knew that voice. She tried to pull away again.
“Let me go, Cormac MacDougal,” she said.
“I have your red cap,” he said. “I know what that means.”
“It means nothing,” she said. He was stronger than she would have imagined. She tried to pry his fingers off of her arm.
“He’s dead,” he said again. “He will never come back to you. That bairn of yours will be a bastard child.”
“You use such words?” Sara said. “You do not honor your ancestors. What do I care what some old priest says about my child? And Ian is not dead. He will return to me.” Her heart raced. She could feel Cormac MacDougal smiling in the darkness.
Sara sucked in her breath. “You conjured this storm, didn’t you?”
“I have no knowledge of such things,” he said. “But I am acquainted with those who do people who do. And I knew if a bad storm came, your mother and all you witches would try and stop it. I knew I could find you here.”
“Make it stop,” Sara said. “Let Ian come home safely. I beg of you, Cormac MacDougal.”
“You’ll need those banshees now, won’t you?” he said.
“I am sorry for saying that to you,” Sara said. “I was angry with you because you were making such a fuss. You know my heart has always belonged to Ian. Any other girl in the village would be happy to have you.”
“You can’t get out of this,” Cormac said. “You are my sea wife now.”
“I will kill you when I can,” she said.
“I fear I am already dead,” he whispered. “I think of nothing but you. Now that I have the cap, now that I have you, I will have some peace. That has always been the way of it.”
“You will have peace,” Sara said, “but what of me?”
“You will have me,” he said.
And then despite everything, despite her own strength, despite her whispering the fath fith and calling on the faeries to save her, despite her screams, Cormac MacGougal ripped off Sara’s clothes, and he raped her. As she struggled to get away, she whispered to her baby that all would be well. The baby’s father would come home and he would save them.
“You belong to me now,” Cormac said when he was finished. “There’s no stopping it now.”
“I belong to no one,” she said. “And I will tell everyone what you have done here today.”
As Sarah searched the darkness for her clothes, the storm eased outside and the sky lightened. She could see Cormac for the first time. He looked uglier now than he ever had, especially since his left cheek was bleeding where Sara had dragged a rock down his face.
“I hope you will tell everyone,” he said. “That will make my claim on you even stronger. I will see you in the church three days hence. You must marry me. You have no choice now.”
He left the cave and walked down the beach away from her. Sara put on her clothes and then looked all around the cave for the red cap. It was not there. She staggered out onto the sand. She could barely stand, but when she was able, she began running. She called out for her mother and sisters. The wind died down and the sand settled onto the beach again and the way was clear she saw the other women walking away from the water. Her mother and sisters called out to her and ran toward her.
“We stopped the storm,” Maire said. “What has happened to you, daughter?” She put her arms around Sara.
“The storm was conjured so Cormac MacDougal could get me--get the red cap. He raped me, mammy, he raped me!”
Her sisters gasped.
“Where is the red cap?” Maire asked.
“Cormac MacDougal has it,” Sara said.
Her mother dropped her hands from Sara and stepped away from her.
“Mammy,” Sara said. “Did you hear what I said? He raped me. We must tell everyone. He must be punished.”
Her mother started walking away. Fiona and Aine stared after her. Sara felt as though she was going to fall down. Her sisters steadied her. “Mam!”
“There’s nothing I can do,” Maire said as she walked.
“Ma!” Aine said. “He hurt her!”
“It has always been this way,” Maire said. “I told you not to lose the red cap.”
“I had no choice,” Sara said. “He planned this. He conjured the storm.”
Maire stopped and turned around. “And so it was meant to be. The day I return the cap to you is the day it is stolen. Cormac is your husband now. That is the way of us. It is a bargain we made, an enchantment we agreed to.”
“I never agreed to it,” Sara said. “I will not go with him whether he has my red cap or not! I will be with Ian McLaughlin. He is my child’s father.”
Maire shook her head. “No, Cormac McDougal is the bairn’s da now. You cannot change this.”
“I won’t do it,” Sara said.
“Then you will die,” Maire said, “and the baby will die with you.”
I got a call from the Library's HR department. They'd done an audit and discovered that they had misplaced some forms Mario and I had filled out before we started work. They're the forms that prove we can legally work in this country. I filled mine out twenty-two years ago. Mario filled out his twenty-one years ago. Anyway, when the person who called me said, "We need these forms for Homeland Security," I got sick to my stomach. Whenever I hear the words "Homeland Security" I think of Nazi Germany. It took me a minute to get a grip and realize it was just a lost form. In April they're changing some things so that this form is more complicated, the person from HR told me. I said, "But Bush is gone. This is the Obama adminstration." Doesn't matter: I still have to fill out these forms.
It's true I filled out the forms before Bush was in office. Still Homeland Security came out of the Bush administration. I want all the remnants of the Bush administration gone, and Homeland Security is a remnant. I want all the corrupt policies undone. I want all the people prosecuted for their crimes and for their greed. And if this country must have something like Homeland Security, change the name, get rid of the Patriot Act, and truly make it about people feeling secure in their country: stop global warming, get healthcare for all, and create good jobs which fulfill and sustain families. That's security.
We are waiting for the cats and dogs to start falling. I spent the entire day today creating a new website to go with the newsletters I'm sending out. I'm putting it on wordpress rather than blogger because wordpress has static pages, and I like that. BUT I like blogger so much better. At least for my brain. It's simpler, cleaner. I can easily change the html. So far the support seems to be pretty good at wordpress though. I'm not leaving this blog. I'm just creating a website for my local healing work, that's all. I've got a spot of vertigo, so I'm doing the work while curled up on the couch. After the Sturm und Dang of this week, doing this is a pleasant reprieve. We've got the movie Seabiscuit on in the background. I hope our economy doesn't get Depression bad. Geez. Earlier we watched Apollo 13. I am a geeky girl.
I've been out of touch with the wide world as I've had to deal with the dramas in my own life. And I've wanted to give the new prez some room. But I'm not happy with some of the things he's been doing. Actually, to say I'm "unhappy" is an understatement. I am appalled that the Obama Administration is keeping alive Bush's practice of rendition.
Here's an excerpt from Ruben Navarrette Jr. column today:
"We've had a glimpse at some of Obama's policies, which look an awful lot like those of his predecessor.
"For one thing, the Obama administration recently carried out its first work-site immigration raid in Bellingham, Washington, despite the fact that immigrant activists despise such raids for dividing families and turning lives upside down.
"Then there are Obama's anti-terror policies. While Obama ordered closed the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, he also kept alive the CIA's authority to carry out 'rendition,' the secret abductions and transfers of prisoners to other countries where they can be tortured. That outraged civil libertarians.
"So did the position of the Obama Justice Department that 600 prisoners at the U.S. air base at Bagram, Afghanistan, cannot use U.S. courts to challenge their detention. That was also the Bush's administration's view.
"The third strike for many on the left was the attempt by the Obama Justice Department to quash—in another echo of Bush policy—a lawsuit challenging the government's rendition and warrantless wiretapping programs.
"Last week, a federal Appeals Court in San Francisco rejected the Obama administration's request for an emergency stay in the case. Government lawyers signaled that they would continue fighting to keep the information secret on national security grounds.
"That sparked an angry response from Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing the plaintiffs in the case.
"'This is not change,' Romero said in a statement. 'This is definitely more of the same. ... If this is a harbinger of things to come, it will be a long and arduous road to give us back an America we can be proud of again.'"
I can only concur with Romero.
So picture this. Two people home after a very long day, some of it very stressful, some very emotional, some really nice. Man is picking up the hosue. Woman sits on couch and looks at the internets. Sees an article about the internets screwing up our attention spans. Woman says to man, "I don't have the ability to concentrate to read this. Read it for me and tell me what it says later."
Man mumbles. Woman copies the URL and sends this email to the man: "Have you read?"
Woman continues surfing. Man goes up and gets his computer and brings it down and sits opposite the woman in the living room. She gets an email. It's from the man. He is answering her email. She reads what he has written: "I haven't read the article yet, but I have read where researchers say people email each other instead of talking to each other. Even if they are in the same room. Can you imagine?"
She writes an email to him. He reads the email she has written: "I hadn't heard that. What kind of assholes do that?"
He laughs and looks up at her. "I have no words." And then he looks back down at his computer.