Windchime Walker

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Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Roses, muscles & pink hair 

Last week I'd seen a beautiful rose garden on a street near my house, but since my camera was in the shop until yesterday, I had to wait to show you. On my way to the gym today, I scooted by that garden and took these pictures: photo #1, #2, #3, #4 & #5.

Maybe it was that glimpse of beauty or maybe it was having had a good night's sleep, but whatever it was, I surprised both Matt and myself with my increased strength today. Where last week I'd worked very hard on the monster quad machine using two-and-a-half weights, today I did even more repetitions using THREE -and-a-half weights! I wish you could have seen Matt's face; he was amazed. I just LOVE being macha (my friend Rima just corrected me on the phone when I said "macho"). I also did a new exercise--lying on my belly on a bench and lifting my legs as far off the floor as possible--and did well at that too. "Amazon womon, RISE!"

As a reward, I went to the store, bought a package of fuscha pink hair dye, came home and "pinked" myself. Not a mohawk this time--more like fuscha feathers among the white. Now I feel like myself again. Once you start going pink, plain white hair seems so bo-ring.

And now, since I didn't take my usual post-workout nap, it's early to bed.

Monday, August 30, 2004

If your heart doesn't break, you're not paying attention 

Another full day, and one that tore my heart open more than once. This morning the Raging Grannies sang at the Link To Break Israeli Chains day of solidarity with the thousands of Palestinian prisoners on Israeli prisons who are in their third week of hunger strikes. Many Detroiters who are on solidarity hunger strikes with the Palestinian prisoners gathered at the Fort Street Presbyterian Church in downtown Detroit to support the International Solidarity Fast that is circling the globe. The Palestine Office here in Detroit is organizing a "fast chain" and asking people to fast one day or more, so there will always be someone fasting at any given time. If you'd like more information or to add your name to the list of fasters, go to:

The individual who tore my heart as he spoke was Abdul Nasser who is today in his 9th day of fasting from everything but juice and water. Abdul knows for whom he is fasting after having spent years in Israeli prisons back in the 1980s. He was never charged with a crime nor did he go before a judge. His only "crime" was to help organize student resistance to the illegal Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories. In prison, he was beaten, humiliated and isolated from his family. When he told of his one year old son reaching through the bars so Abdul could kiss his fingers, it was painful to hear. It reminded me of my brother Rabih Haddad and what he suffered in U.S. prisons from 2001-2003.

My heart also broke as Hasan Newash, the director of the Palestine Office, announced that a hunger striker has died in Palestine. The wife and mother of Palestinian prisoners in an Israeli prison was fasting in solidarity with her loved ones and suffered a heart attack and died today.

To read more about what is happening here in Detroit and in the Israeli prisons, I've posted the following information:

From: Hasan Newash, Palestine Office Director,
Please broadcast widely to your lists and organizations.

Fast Link to Break Israeli Chains:
Appeal to Join International Fast Supporting Palestinian Political Prisoners on  Hunger Strike

Michigan Peace Team, IHM Peacemakers, Pax Christie Michigan, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Congress of Arab American Organizations of Michigan, the Episcopal Fellowship and other religious and community leaders invite you to join the Solidarity Fast, at least for one day, in support of Palestinian political prisoners currently on a hunger strike demanding  basic human rights for prisoners described in the Geneva Conventions.

Fast participants will form an unbroken fasting chain from Saturday, August 28th onward indefinitely, adding new participants as time passes. Rev. Bill Wylie-Kellermann, Bishop Coleman McGehee, and Father Peter Dougherty are leading the fast chain starting August 27th and breaking their fast at the end of the day, Monday, August 30, as other community leaders join the Link to Break Israeli Chains.

A press conference is scheduled for 11:00 a.m. on August 30th at  Fort St. Presbyterian Church where community leaders will expose human rights violations by Israeli Occupation forces. The emphasis will be on the abuse of political prisoners, practices similar to those witnessed at the Abu Ghraib prison.

A day-long vigil will be held on August 30th at the Fort. St. Presbyterian Church, 631 W. Fort, by those fasting and their supporters. The vigil will conclude at sundown.  Videos, poetry, music, and other information will be available at the church throughout the day.

The Palestine Office will be available to coordinate the linking chain of fasting participants as well as provide periodic updates regarding progress in the Detroit area and other cities. Area churches and mosques are urging their congregations to fast for one day or longer to join this international effort.

Let mutual love continue. "Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it. Remember those who are in prison, as though you were in prison with them; those who are being tortured, as though you yourselves were being tortured."  (Hebrews)

Join International Fast Supporting Palestinian Political Prisoners on Hunger Strike.  
Visit the following website for more information and/or to add your name to the Chain Fast:;
Other informative web sites: ;
For more information, call the Palestine Office in Detroit: 313 945-9660

Palestinians on Fast in Israeli Jails Struggle for Attention

Published: The New York Times, August 28, 2004

BETHLEHEM, West Bank, Aug. 27 - Several thousand Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails were in their 13th day of a hunger strike on Friday, but their protest has so far not inspired great public support and Israeli officials insist that the effort is beginning to founder.

The Palestinians are looking for new ways to mobilize their cause, and the unusual protest by thousands of prisoners is supposed to be one of them. But the world is preoccupied with Iraq, and Palestinians themselves have had their attention diverted by internal political struggles, the Olympics and even a Palestinian heartthrob singer in the finals of an Arab-world contest called "Super Star."

Still, Issa Qaraqe, director of the Palestinian Prisoners Association, speaking here in a storefront tent covered with photographs of the city's prisoners and detainees, argued that the issue of the prisoners and their strike was "the central issue of Palestinian society, taking priority over everything else."

The strike, he said, "is a kind of referendum or political answer to the Israeli concept that deals with the prisoners only as terrorists and criminals - if the prisoners have such status among the people, you can't say that every Palestinian is a terrorist."

Mr. Qaraqe insisted that the strike was not fundamentally political, but was based on the urgent need to improve "deteriorating conditions," limit strip searches and ensure more contact with families. "The timing is not perfect," he said. "And unfortunately the international response is below our expectations."

With half of the estimated 8,000 prisoners on strike, he said, there should be more attention, "and after 13 days now their lives are in danger."

There has been no force-feeding of prisoners yet, he said, and the protest has been nonviolent. "But if, God forbid, a prisoner dies, tension will rise very quickly," he said, a concern shared by United Nations officials who asked for anonymity.

Israeli officials, however, say the strike has peaked and is waning. Ofer Lefler, of the Israeli Prisons Authority, said in an interview on Friday that 2,000 of the approximately 4,000 prisoners in civilian jails began the strike on Aug. 15, and that by Aug. 20 there were 3,000 striking.

But the number on Friday was down to 2,600, Mr. Lefler said. There is no way to independently confirm his figures, and the Israeli military has refused to comment on the situation of the some 4,000 Palestinians in military jails or detention centers.

Mr. Lefler said he could see the strike weakening. "The youngsters don't understand what it's all about," he said. "They haven't really had time to get used to prison life, and now they're expected to go on hunger strike. The older prisoners say the timing's bad - the Olympics, everyone's busy with 'Super Star' in Lebanon - and that they've achieved more in the past through negotiation."

Even a rally on Friday in Abu Dis, in front of the 25-foot-high concrete wall that is the separation barrier in that part of Jerusalem, was sparsely attended, with as many Israeli and foreign peace proponents and journalists as Palestinian citizens.

The Palestinian prime minister, Ahmed Qurei, spoke about the prisoners' plight, as did Arun Gandhi, the grandson of Gandhi, who said Israeli treatment of the prisoners and detainees was incompatible with its commitment to democracy and human rights.

In a terse statement issued Friday, the United Nations coordinator for the Middle East peace effort, Terje Roed-Larsen, urged Israel "to make every effort" to resolve its dispute with the prisoners and guarantee their health.
On Friday evening, the Palestinian Prisoners Association said about 800 Palestinian detainees in an Ashkelon prison had suspended their hunger strike until Monday after some of their demands had been met by the prison governor.

But it was not clear what concessions were made, and the association said Palestinians held elsewhere remained on strike.

Mr. Lefler insisted that the Israeli government was making no concessions, not allowing hunger strikers, who have vowed to drink only water, to have tea, soup or cigarettes. His boss, the public security minister, Tzahi Hanegbi, has said he will not negotiate with the prisoners and is prepared to watch them die - a comment that was criticized in Israeli newspapers.

The Israelis have been trying to break the strike with psychological methods, like grilling meat in the cellblocks and putting civilian Israeli prisoners, who are not on hunger strike, among the Palestinians.

The prisoners are weighed every day, and their blood pressure and temperature are checked twice a day, Mr. Lefler said.

The International Committee of the Red Cross is making prison visits and meeting with families, but has said little in public. On Thursday, it said it would "strengthen its team of medical doctors" to step up monitoring of the prisoners' health.

Mr. Gandhi's visit is one way to draw attention to the strike, Palestinian leaders said. But his plea for nonviolent resistance is falling on stony ground, at least among the relatives of the prisoners.

Here, Rashideh Darawi, 44, displayed photographs of two of her sons, both in Israeli detention - Ziad, 27, who was a security officer for the Palestinian Authority and has served more than nine years in jail on charges of helping to kill Israelis, and Muhammad, 20, a member of the Palestinian National Guard, who was in administrative detention without charge for a year, then released for five months, before being arrested again a month ago.

Mrs. Darawi had another son, Salem, a tailor, who died at age 22, a suicide bomber in West Jerusalem who failed to kill anyone other than himself."They were all Fatah people," Mrs. Darawi said. "They believed in peace when there were hopes for peace. And when peace evaporated, they turned to Fatah."

Abdul Karim Hasan Zawahra, 62, whose son, Muhammad, 30, is in jail and who is trying to feed his daughter-in-law and three grandchildren, said: "What would you do? You rest in your home, and someone comes and attacks you. Well, the first time perhaps you do nothing and keep silent, but it happens again and again. And you begin to think of how to revenge yourself. We are in a state of war, not a state of peace."


And my heart wasn't safe even after I'd left the church this afternoon at 1 PM to go home and prepare for a visit by my friends Amy and Jack.

If you recall, a month ago I'd posted a plea to help Amy raise money so her six-and-a-half year old son Jack could participate in an intensive physical therapy program called Euro-Peds here in the Detroit area. She and Jack arrived at their hotel last night--Amy's 40th birthday!--and his therapy started today. He was at the medical center from 9 AM to 2 PM, being assessed and starting his workouts. HARD workouts, according to Amy, some of which brought him to tears, but none of which made him quit trying his best. This kid is awesome, full of life, curiosity and a stubborness that serves him well. Amy and I had made a date for them to come visit me this afternoon.

When they arrived here about 4 PM, Jack was one weary youngster. Even so, he grinned from ear-to-ear and examined every inch of my living room with his eyes. But soon he was lying on the rug, fast asleep. Amy and I had a good visit, and when Jack woke up we went to the dining room table to eat some supper. I'd gotten strawberry pecan salads for Amy and me, a sandwich for Jack, rolls, hommous, and mini-bundt cakes for dessert. Jack didn't seem to have any appetite until it came time for cake. But, unfortunately, the sweet boy soon lost his cookies and ended up looking not well at all. That's when my heart tore open for the second time today. To see Jack look sicker by the minute--and not be able to do anything about it--was truly painful. Hopefully, he was just reacting to the stresses of the day, but I ask you to send good thoughts his way.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

A rousing send-off for Granny Emily 

Dear friends, I am a total and complete wipe-out! Today we Raging Grannies--dressed in our Granny hats and shawls, I might add--attended our beloved Granny Emily Grombala's funeral mass in Hamtramck. Afterwards we joined over 200 of her closest friends and family members at a local Polish restaurant. Emily had asked her family to put on a party instead of mourning, and, believe me, they did. Can you imagine a polka dance band, a sit-down family style dinner with salad, Polish kielbasa on a bed of sauerkraut, meatballs and gravy, pork chops, homemade mashed potatoes, and two bottles of wine plus two pitchers of beer at every table? What a send-off!!! The Raging Grannies stole the show by singing three songs and then leading a conga line through the room. Emily would have loved it. I can't begin to tell you how much we're going to miss her.

From there, I drove Granny Judy out to our friend Penny's house, 40 miles away. She was having a party for all the women from our community who had attended the National Women's Festival and the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival this year. She'd also invited anyone else whom she thought would enjoy watching "Radical Harmonies", the documentary film of the origins of Women's Music and the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival. We got there in time for dessert and a time of sharing about our introduction to Women's Music and to the Festival. We concluded the evening by singing lots of old camp songs. I got home by 10:30 PM, tired and grateful for sisters, living and dead. And now all I want to do is go to bed.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

It's done! It's done! 

FINALLY...I can get on with my life! Today I completed work on my Michigan Womyn's Music Festival 2004 photo journals. There are 9 days of journal entries with photo links embedded in the text, and 255 photos presented as thumbnails that can be clicked on to be seen in a larger format. I've been working for an embarrassing number of hours every day for 12 days to complete this job, but that's just the way I do things. Even if no one else ever looked at them, I need to know I've done my best.

Today I also worked out at the gym. I've been faithful to my exercise program, even while spending so many hours at the computer every day. My strength and feelings of good health are too important for me to ignore. And those 4 lbs. I'd gained at Festival are long gone. Even with almost daily dishes of gelato!

Thanks to my regular readers for your patience during these past two weeks. It sure will be nice to write about something besides my MWMF photo-journal! I trust you agree...

Friday, August 27, 2004

Time well spent 

Another early night for me. This time it's due to having had a good long swim without my usual nap afterwards. I also spent time out on the dock standing in the wind coming off the lake. Exhilarating, especially for an air sign like me.

And guess what I did the rest of the day? If you're a regular reader, you know. The good news is that I've now put up ALL the journal entries and photos on my Michigan Womyn's Music Festival 2004 photo-journal! Now I'm in the process of adding photo links to the text. I completed photo-journal #1 tonight, and hope to complete photo-journals #2 & #3 by the end of the weekend.

This has been the most time-intensive web project I recall since first putting up my Windchime Walker site in 1999. But I don't begrudge a minute of it. After hearing from so many womyn at festival and by email that my festi-journals gave them the courage to come in the first place and nourishment during the long year's wait for the next Fest, I now know I'm not just doing it for myself. That makes a huge difference.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

School days, school days... 

Friends, it's only 10 PM but I've got to hit the hay. I always forget how much energy it takes to be with the kids on school days. And it wasn't as if I had any "job" to do; Susan did all the work. But I did have to pay attention to her laying down the ground rules and introducing our first art project to six classes. It was great to see the kids, some of whom I've known since they were in first grade (the fourth graders). Hard to imagine this is my fourth year helping Susan in the art room!

I also picketed with the library staff after I got home from school. And it was a hot day. But maybe I don't even need a reason; maybe I can simply lay my weary head on the pillow and go to sleep. Sounds good.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Almost finished... 

It is thunder-and-lightning, raining, AND I have my window fan on. A real summer night...finally. I swam laps this morning and had the pool practically to myself. I loved feeling hot again, and stayed down at the park for a veggie burger lunch. Then it was back to the computer.

YIPPEE!!! Now I only have one more day to write about from the festival! Doing Saturday took all my energy with 85 pictures to be prepared and added to my Michigan Womyn's Music Festival 2004 photo-journal and the journal entry to be written as well. After creating these festi photo-journals, it certainly helps me see why I'm tired when I get back home. Talk about active!

Tomorrow is my first day at school and I'm very much looking forward to seeing Susan and the kids. But where did this summer go???

Tuesday, August 24, 2004


Matt (my personal trainer at the gym) took my exercise program to a new level today. He said endurance is what he's after. Well, I endured but by the skin of my chinny-chin-chin. Don't get me wrong: I like pushing the envelope. It makes me feel macho as all heck. And I get a big kick out of having muscles that bulge a bit. Sure does fight those feelin' disabled blues!

Still working on my Michigan Womyn's Music Festival 2004 photo-journal. I took over 100 photos on Saturday at festival, so that day is taking more time than the others. But I'll have it up by tomorrow.

Monday, August 23, 2004

A long day 

Whew! What a day. I left the house at 9:30 AM and didn't return home until 9:30 PM. First I drove into the middle of Detroit to pick up four Raging Grannies. Then I drove us over the Ambassador Bridge to the CAW Student Center at the University of Windsor where we were interviewed live and sang some Raging Grannies songs for "The Feminist Hour" on student-run CJAM radio. And, yes, it WAS a full hour. Thanks, Lisa and Holly. You wimmin are great!

After that, we Grannies walk/scooted over to Varnier Hall to meet with the campus staff person who is helping us set up our international Raging Grannies Unconvention at the University of Windsor in 2006. We had lunch at a Vietnamese restaurant and were back at our Detroit pick-up point by 4 PM. After a visit and a gelato with Ed, I drove down to the Neighborhood Club for the Library Board meeting at 6 PM. We librarians, library support staff and patrons picketed in front of the building for a half hour and then went inside to observe the meeting and make public comments when they were allowed.

It was this part of the day that did me in. Not the meeting itself which was predictably full of bricks-and-mortar financial reports, but the public comments. And not those made by members of the community who expressed frustration with the labor dispute and/or the Library Board's untransparent way of conducting their business. No, all that was fine. Good honest expressions of concern and important questions. What did me in was one man who insisted on using this opportunity to vent his spleen in inappropriate and downright threatening ways. The fact that he is a policeman doesn't comfort me in the least. To experience an individual who is wound up tighter than a rubber band and obviously cannot control his anger and hostility is bad enough; to know that that individual carries a gun in his line of work--and off-duty too?--is frightening.

I'd had an encounter with this fellow a few weeks ago where I'd seen him go off into his rant mode--times when he insisted on calling me "ma'am" no matter how many times I said, "My name is Patricia"--so his behavior tonight didn't surprise me. But once he got going, there was no stopping him. The president of the Library Board kept trying to tell him his tone was unacceptable and it just made him angrier. I didn't know how they were ever going to get him to stop. By the way, he was speaking--he thought--in support of the library staff. After this had gone on for at least five solid minutes--which felt like a VERY long time--I decided someone had better step in and try to defuse the situation. So I scooted up to the podium where he was standing and said, "Can I have my turn now?" I parked beside him and stayed there. He went on a while longer but seemed a bit more in control. And then he walked away. More like stomped.

Whew. My voice was shaking as I began to speak, even though I'd written out my comments. But I could tell by the expressions on the faces of the members of the Library Board that I had their total and complete attention. I think they were relieved that someone had stepped in. In my comments I followed my friend Jeff Golden's excellent advice and started with an affirmation of their commitment to the community. Then I offered a non-judgemental suggestion that they institute term limits and share leadership. By the way, they've had the same president for the 10 years this Library Board has been in existence. I could tell my comments had not made them feel defensive when, later in the meeting, the board president kept making eye contact with me as he made his responses to the public comments. I know these folks feel isolated and alone now, and, as Jeff so wisely pointed out, the more defensive we make them, the less likely they'll be to listen to our concerns. I could see their defensiveness in their body language--lots of arm-crossing and blank stares. We've got to find some way to bridge the gap between us before there can be a successful resolution to this stand-off. Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

So now I am wiped out. At the same time I'm glad I was there and did what I did. But I'm still concerned that such an out-of-control individual carries a gun...legally. Definitely not a comforting thought.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

MWMF 2004 photo-journal #3 

I know my blog is getting short shrift as I work on my MWMF 2004 photo-journals, but I trust you understand. Today I wrote the journal entries for Thursday and Friday and put up the pictures for Friday. I must admit I was grateful there were so few of them because my camera had gone bad that day. Happily some of my festi-sisters emailed me some photos of the Femme Parade. I wouldn't have wanted you to miss that! I'm now on Michigan Womyn's Music Festival 2004 photo-journal #3. This will be the final one.

I also had lunch with Eddie at Subway and worked out at the gym. Of course, I had to reward myself afterwards with a little gelato ;-)

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Savoring summer 

I've been so immersed in putting up my festi photo-journals that I've been neglecting my exercises. Not just my exercises either. I've been spending way too much time sitting inside in front of my computer rather than outside savoring these last days of August. But today I made different choices. I swam laps at the community pool and then scooted down to visit Ed and get a gelato (combination raspberry and peppermint). I also spent hours at the computer putting up the photos for Thursday at the Fest. Yesterday I completed both the journal entry and photos for Wednesday. I'm now on Michigan Womyn's Music Festival photo-journal #2. What a job!

Friday, August 20, 2004

In memory of Granny Emily 

Today we Raging Grannies Without Borders of Detroit lost one of our most faithful Grannies. At 4:30 AM this morning, Granny Emily Grombala died. She'd been in Intensive Care since July 4th, the evening of the day she rode and sang with us through the streets of Ann Arbor on the AAACP (Ann Arbor Area Committee for Peace) peace float in the annual 4th of July parade.

That is JUST the way Granny Emily would have wanted to go out, working for peace & justice as she'd done all her life.

Emily was a charter member of our gaggle that started in November 2002. She was also a member of Detroit's original Raging Grannies back in the early '90s. At 84, Emily was quiet but oh so determined. She would brook no nonsense, especially from those in positions of power. She thought for herself and acted on those beliefs. She and her best buddy, Granny Charlotte Kish, could be found standing for the rights of the Immigrant Workers when they came through Detroit on their nationwide Freedom March last September, and demonstrating against John Ashcroft when he came to town (she was on TV and quoted in the newspapers that day). At lunch on July 4th, just hours before she ended up in the hospital, there was Emily taking care of ME, carrying my food, getting me settled at the table, seeing that I had a straw and napkins. That was who she was too--a caring woman who thought of others more than herself. In this photo that was taken that day, Granny Emily is the second on the right.

It's hard to imagine our gaggle without her.

But we plan to give her a good send off. We Raging Grannies will be at her funeral mass on Sunday, August 29, sitting together wearing our Granny hats, aprons and shawls, and prepared to sing a song written especially for her. I know she'd approve.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Building bridges not walls 

I've just experienced a pretty intense re-entry into the "real world." Since returning from the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival on Monday, I'd avoided reading the alternative web sites where I usually get my news. I just wasn't ready to fill my head and heart with all the suffering and violence again, not to mention the feelings of frustration that assail me every time I read about what our government is doing here and around the world. It seemed a good idea to prolong my vacation-from-the-news a few more days, at least until I'd finished putting up my festival photo-journal. But when I read an email yesterday with the subject, "Urgent need for your presence," I took it seriously.

All day today a 30' replica of what they call the Israeli Apartheid Wall was in Detroit at our peace church downtown. There was to be a press conference at 11 AM, a symbolic dismantling of the wall at 5 PM, and a forum and power point presentation at 7 PM. Apparently the organizers had received word that pro-Zionist demonstrators were planning to try to disrupt some of the events, so they'd sent out a call for Detroit area peace activists to be present to stand in solidarity with our Palestinian sisters and brothers.

When I got there at 5 PM, there were only five protesters carrying signs with "Stop the Terrorism" and "The Security Fence Saves Lives" standing on the street near the replica of the Wall. Nearby was an ambulance with writing on the side that identified it as an Israeli ambulance. It was a peaceful protest.

As you can imagine, there were lots of people I knew at this event. But something wasn't sitting right with me. I mean, if I call myself a peacemaker, how could I separate myself from the folks who were protesting what we were doing? I decided to go over and speak to them.

A wonderful woman I know, Janet Ray, was already over there talking to the folks. She introduced me to the four men and one woman, and I had the opportunity to ask one of the men--who prefered to be anonymous--what had brought him out today, what was his perspective about the Wall? I just listened and tried to find some common ground where we could agree. It wasn't hard. Neither of us wants the killing to continue. We both want peace. I didn't try to give my "side" but rather told him how much I admired him for coming out and taking a stand of conscience. After all, this man had come by himself in the name of his family members who had perished in the Holocaust; you had to admire him for that. The other four had come together and were part of a Detroit area group that had purchased this ambulance that, in a year, would be going to Israel. Again, it wasn't hard to find a sense of commonality: we all want this ambulance to help save lives.

The events went on until 9:30 PM, with a little bit of everything. We had poetry readings, jazz improv, song, talks by peace activists who have spent time in Israel and Palestine, as well as an excellent presentation by Erica and Russell, the folks responsible for taking this Wall around the country. You can read about their tour by going to But for me the highlight of the day was beginning the long, slow process of reaching out to people who see things differently from me. I have a long way to go, but at least I've taken the first step.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

MWMF 2004 photo-journal continued 

Most of the day I worked on my Michigan Womyn's Music Festival 2004 photo-journal #1. I added journal entries for Sunday and Monday and put up Tuesday's photos. Time-consuming as it is, I thoroughly enjoy this project. It offers me a wonderful opportunity to relive my Festival week and begin to assimilate all that happened there.

At 6:30 PM I scooted down to meet Ed at his office and we walk/scooted over to Jump's Restaurant, a funny little hole-in-the-wall with absolutely no atmosphere and gourmet food. I had their creative soup du jour--chilled cucumber, almond and green grape--and cracked wheat salad with pita bread. Ed got his usual: the Jump's hamburger with grilled mushrooms and red-skinned potatoes and onions.

On the way home I ran into Pat Zavel, a sister alumnae of the Smith College School for Social Work. I'd guess it's been 20 years since we've talked even though we live only a mile from one another. What different paths we've trod! Pat identifies herself as politically conservative and computer illiterate. I, on the other hand, identify as so far to the left politically that I'm practically falling off the edge. And you all know about me and the computer. Hardly illiterate. Isn't it interesting how two individuals can start from similar places and grow in such different directions?

And now, even though it's only 10:30 PM, I'm finding myself ready to hit the I will. Night night.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Weight, weights, pink hair, photos & readers 

I just discovered that I changed in more ways than one at Fest last week. Ed's scale says I put on 4 pounds. Yikes! But at the same time I was stronger than ever at the gym today. Matt's mouth literally hung open as he had to add more weights to the monster quad machine. He also started me on new biceps exercises that I did with gusto. If I keep going like this maybe I can join in the Butch Strut at Fest next year!

It was fun joining Ed for lunch at the Subway today. He'd warned the owners ahead of time about my pink hair, but the response from the high school kids who came in to eat was great! Just like at Fest, young folks light up when they see me now. They greet me with huge grins and enthusiastic hello's. Very different from the invisibility that usually cloaks older folks in the eyes of teens. The more I think about it, the more I believe having a punk 62 year-old in this conservative community is just what the doctor ordered. As I said to a few folks today, "If the kids aren't going to be wild, I will!" It'll be fun to see if the number of rainbow-haired students increases at the high school this year. I sure did see more pink hair around Fest after Cat dyed mine on Tuesday morning. When I saw Cat later in the week, she told me she'd "pinked" lots of womyn who had seen and loved my hair. Fun!

This afternoon I put up my photos for Sunday and Monday on a brand new Michigan Womyn's Music Festival 2004 photo-journal #1. I hope to add at least one day's worth of photos every day this week. After that, I'll start writing my journal memories.

I must say it was gratifying to have between 100-150 womyn come up during the week to tell me how much my festi-journals and daily journal and blog mean to them. A number of them said they've read my daily journal for years. You can't imagine what that means to me. If you're a regular reader you know how committed I am to putting up a new entry every day, even if it means not getting to bed before 2 AM. Sometimes I wonder if I'm just doing it for myself. Yes, I hear from some readers by email but not many. I'm not complaining, simply explaining why it touches me so deeply to know I have far more readers than I'd imagined. And the best part is that they range in age from their late teens to early 70s. Just as I'd always hoped.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Home from the Fest! 

I don't know if you recall my saying that I never return home from the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival the same person I was when I left. This time that reality took on a whole new meaning. And do you know Eddie's response when he first saw the "new" me this afternoon? He laughed out loud! Of course, my pink hair--that is a semi-permanent dye, by the way--had been enhanced by the purple naked dancing womon that Jayne-the-bodypainter had painted on my left cheek at the Acoustic Stage yesterday morning. When I pursed my lips to give Eddie a kiss, he grinned and said, "Where's the mouth?" At dinner he said he likes my pink mohawk. "It's quite conservative," says he.

This man I married 38 years ago never ceases to amaze me.

Speaking of amazing, I have just experienced a week that defies description. But since I'm a word person, I can't just leave it at that. These are the words that come to mind: magical, uncomfortable, affirming, surprising, nourishing, challenging, loving, transformative, hopeful and just plain fun. We had two of the coldest, wettest days and nights I've ever lived through in my 11 years on the Land, as well as two warm sunny days followed by frigid starry nights. Last night I kept waking up with my poor feet feeling like they were encased in ice. I was not surprised to hear this morning that the temperature had dropped to 36 degrees Farenheidt at 3 AM. That, my sisters and brothers, is COLD when you're sleeping in a non-arctic sleeping bag and using a tent that has mesh doors!

But now all I want to do is take this weary body to bed. A real bed in a room where I can close the window and snuggle down under covers that keep me warm. And, yes, fear not...there are LOTS AND LOTS of photos to come.

Saturday, August 07, 2004

I'm off to the Festival! 

Well, Sojourner my minivan is all packed and ready to go...and so am I. Michigan Womyn's Music Festival, here I come! I'll see you when I return home on Monday, August 16.

But before I go, let me leave you with a few photos I took today after swimming laps at our lakefront community park:

Clouds meet water.
Fishing poles at the ready.
Morning glories in bloom.
Yet another view of the lake.

Friday, August 06, 2004

Hiroshima Remembrance Day 

Hiroshima Remembrance Day and it never came to mind until a few minutes ago when I typed in the date on my journal. That goes to show how self-absorbed I am as I prepare to leave for the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival on Sunday.

Normally I am so conscious of this reminder of America's darkest moment. Even now, 59 years later, it is hard to imagine anyone making such a cruel and deadly choice, knowing full well what it would mean to the residents, and their descendents, of that unfortunate city. And we call 9-11 the worst act of terrorism in history. No. It was not the worst. Nor was Pearl Harbor. Dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki--neither of them strategic military targets--was the most destructive action ever carried out in human history. Yet my parents--along with many persons of their generation--admired President Harry Truman without reservation. They thought dropping those atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was awful but necessary. After all, they were told that it was the only way to end the war against Japan and save the lives of thousands of U.S. troops. As if the lives of "our boys" were more valuable than the lives of Japanese children, women and men. And their children and their children's children and all the generations to come.

And people wonder why I am a pacifist, opposed to all wars. August 6 and August 9, 1945 are all the reason I would ever need. If that is what war brings then I say, NO to war!

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Is this what Democracy looks like? 

I was wondering what I would write about tonight. I mean how interesting is it to hear about someone getting their hair cut, going to the bank, picking up alterations, even picketing YET AGAIN in front of their local library? And then I went to one of my favorite blogs--Kim Antieau's "The Furious Spinner"--and read one of the links she'd posted yesterday. After reading that link, I knew what I needed to say.

The link is to a message by Charley Underwood, the delegate who cast a vote for Kucinich from the Minnesota delegation. He originally posted it on an email list-serv for the MN for Kucinich campaign, but it was reprinted on the Democratic Underground web site.

In a nutshell, it is the story of what happened to anti-war delegates on the floor of the Democratic National Convention in Boston last week. How they were pressured to "toe the line" and demonstrate unbridled support of Kerry. How they were not allowed to bring signs onto the floor and when Charley dared to make a sign onsite--a daring sign that said "Peace"--it was confiscated. How some delegates had chosen to wear pink scarves on which was printed "Give Bush The Pink Slip; Delegate for Peace." How those scarves were confiscated. How Kucinich delegates were "released" by Dennis but so strongly "encouraged" to cast their ballots for Kerry that they felt forced to deny their beliefs and vote for a man "whose idea of progress is to put a velvet glove on the iron fist of colonialism," as Charley Underwood so succinctly puts it. The strong-arm tactics that were used all week to show "unity" in the party, tactics that attempted to obliterate any dissent, dialogue or input by the delegates. What Underwood called "a high-end infomercial." How everything was orchestrated and if you held up the right sign--say a blue-colored Edwards sign--at the wrong time (like when you were supposed to hold up a red-colored Edwards sign), you were reprimanded.

Why am I not surprised? Nor do I lay blame at the feet of John Kerry. He is merely representative of a political system gone wrong. This, my friends, is NOT what Democracy should look like.

My criticism is not about whether the Democrats or the Republicans should win in November. It is not about whether we need a two or three-party system. It is not about whether or not the best candidates are running. It is about lack of representation by the people. It is about control by corporations and campaign donors. It is about "special interests." It is about pretending to be a democratic process when it's not. It's about not allowing dissent or even differing perspectives. It's about "unity" meaning marching in lock step. It's about taking away individuals' rights to think their own thoughts and express their own opinions. It's about that slippery slope to fascism.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Kerry from another point of view 

Today I received several emails from my dear friend, Jeff Golden. He was responding to my rather disparaging July 29th entry regarding John Kerry. I respect Jeff and his reasoned, deliberate way of sizing things up, so I'd like to quote one of his emails here.

Subject: your thoughts about John Kerry

Hi Patricia,

As you know, I'm doing a lot of thinking of things political these days.

I saw your recent blog about Kerry. As we've discussed, he wasn't my first choice, nor my second, nor my third or fourth or even fifth...

But I have been supporting him, and he doesn't strike me as quite so bad as he strikes you. Especially on questions of the environment, Supreme Court appointments, universal health care, and starting wars to loot the planet, if Bush is a 10 then to me Kerry (and even the worst Democrats) would have to be no more than a 3. Bush is just sooooo horrible, and the damage he's doing is so long-lasting, that there really is no close comparison at all.

I agree with you that their positions on Israel are similar, and if that's the only issue we vote on, well then they're TweedleDum and TweedleDee. But I don't see similarities on other key issues. I read Common Dreams but maybe I missed an article you saw on this? From everything I've read and heard (particularly from Kerry's own mouth, since I watch his speeches and interviews) he currently is quite explicitly and adamantly AGAINST making preemptive war, and I believe him on that point. As for possessing truth, integrity, respect for differences, ability to listen, compassion, a broad perspective, commitment to community, non-violent ideology (look at Kerry's work agains the Vietnam War), concern for the weakest, and fiscal responsibility, I'd rank Kerry quite well, according to what he himself has been consistently saying in the past year. He's no Dennis Kucinich, but he's pretty good considering that he's actually got a chance of winning the job.

Yes, he's had to be mum on gay rights stuff, but even his good friend Barney Frank is advising him to do that right now. Kerry was one of very very few senators who had the guts to vote against the Defense of Marriage Act, which totally reassures me on that issue. If he ran as an open supporter of gay rights this season, he'd lose for sure, and to me gay rights is nowhere near as important as getting rid of Bush. Once Kerry gets in, he will try to lead the public toward openness on that and other issues.

I urge you to listen to Kerry's convention speech. You can see and hear it on He's a lousy public speaker but you can tell a lot about his character and values by watching it. I think he addresses most of your listed concerns, at least indirectly.

Many of us so desperately want our political leaders to be our saviors, but I'm not sure that's a fair expectation. We're not electing a god or a prophet or a spiritual leader or a guru. There are other places in our lives to find deep wisdom and perfect expression of our most fervent dreams. We're not electing Martin Luther King; we're not electing somebody to be Jesus Christ; those positions have been taken. Even Abe Lincoln took some conservative positions and argued some points that I find quite appalling, and of course he gave war orders that killed tens of thousands of people. Yet he was the right person for the time, and in fact the only person at the time who actually had a chance to become president and do the right thing where it really counted.

Are we expecting too much of Kerry (or any one person whom we want to be bursting with goodness at the same time as being electable given the reality of our world)? Without lots of help, he's not going to win. He's still clearly behind in electoral votes, and he's even behind in the popular vote, according to the latest polls of likely voters. Unless he wins, he won't get Bush out, he's not going to get the chance to stop at least 2 right-wing Supreme Court appointments, and he's not going to get to show a more compassionate side of America abroad.

I think he's worth helping. If we're lucky enough to get him in, we can try to pull him to the left later. There's just no better alternative right now.

Anyway, just my thoughts.

Love from

Jeff & Noah (Jeff's son)

Kerry and the environment 

In addition to being one of the most intelligent persons I have the privilege of knowing, Jeff Golden has many years experience as an environmental advocate and organizer. When I asked him about John Kerry and the environment, he sent me the following press release from the Sierra Club:

Sierra Club Endorses Kerry For President
Says Kerry Will Protect America's Health and Heritage

For Immediate Release (May 11, 2004)

San Francisco, CA - The Sierra Club - the nation's oldest, largest and most influential environmental group today endorsed Senator John Kerry for President of the United States, citing his outstanding leadership in safe-guarding America's air, water and public lands.

"John Kerry will provide the environmental leadership that has been sorely missing in the Bush White House," said Sierra Club President Larry Fahn. "His commitment to environmental progress stands in stark contrast to the Bush administration's all-out assault on the environment and its record of putting polluting corporations before the American public's health and safety."

"John Kerry has spent his entire career promoting real solutions aimed at ensuring that America?s air, water, and natural resources are protected for future generations."

Kerry has demonstrated environmental leadership throughout his career in public service, from helping organize Massachusetts' first Earth Day in 1970 to opposing the Bush administration?s efforts to dismantle environmental gains made over the last century. Highlights of Kerry's environmental record include:

--Advocated strict enforcement of the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act, and opposed Bush administration efforts to weaken the laws in order to let polluters put more dangerous toxics into our air and water;

--Advocated restoration of Superfund's "polluter pays" trust fund to ensure that polluters, not ordinary taxpayers, pay to clean up abandoned toxic waste sites;

--Led the charge against the Bush administration's attempts to allow oil drilling in the pristine Arctic National Wildlife Refuge;

--Championed an energy plan that increases fuel economy to reduce the nation's dependence on oil and supports the development of clean, energy-saving technologies and renewable energy to reduce our dependence on other polluting sources of energy;

--And, advocated for the United States to take the lead in international efforts to cut global warming pollution, reverse ozone depletion, protect tropical rain forests, preserve biological diversity and press for sustainable development.

"John Kerry's record on the environment is impressive by any measure and reveals a sincere personal passion for the issue," Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope said. "He understands that there is a better way than the Bush administration's alliance with corporate polluters. With Kerry as President, we could be sure that America's health and heritage are protected."

The endorsement was decided by volunteer members who serve on the Club's political committee and Board of Directors. Following the announcement, the Sierra Club will mobilize more than 700,000 members to talk to their friends and neighbors about supporting Kerry in November.

"One of our biggest challenges is to educate the American public about the Bush administration's dismal environmental record," Fahn said. "Now, thousands of Sierra Club members in every state will be volunteering their efforts to tell voters about the clear choice in this election. They will be encouraging all Americans who care about the environment to vote for John Kerry in November."

To learn more about why the Sierra Club endorsed John Kerry, please visit our website at:

Jeff also offered his understanding of John Kerry's environmental platform based on what he has read on Kerry's web site and heard in his speeches. From his email with the subject, "Kerry's Environmental Platform:"

Besides being endorsed by the Sierra Club, Kerry also has been endorsed by the League of Conservation Voters, Friends of the Earth, and Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund. There's nothing wishy-washy about those organizations, and in fact they often don't endorse anybody unless they see a very clear difference in what will happen to the environment.

To read Kerry's complete paper on his environmental positions, see His position on logging is especially dear to my heart and is absolutely contrary to that of Bush.

Below is a shorter version of Kerry's environmental stands, taken verbatim from Kerry's campaign website:

"As Americans, we have the right to breathe unpolluted air, drink safe water, eat uncontaminated food, live in clean communities and enjoy our natural treasures. Over the last three years, we have seen these rights eroded. We have seen hard-won environmental gains rolled back, our air polluted and our water contaminated.

"In the 21st Century, we can have progress without pollution - we can grow our economy while protecting our natural resources. But we need a leader who looks to the future and invests in innovation.

"Throughout his career, John Kerry has fought to clean up toxic waste sites, to keep our air and water clean, and to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and other pristine wilderness areas. Recently, the League of Conservation Voters called Senator Kerry an "environmental champion."

"John Kerry and John Edwards will set a new standard of environmental excellence for America. They will honor our national treasures and pay tribute to our natural wonders, while renewing our nation's promise of clean air, clean water and a bountiful landscape for all. They recognize that we owe it to our families, our communities, and our planet to defend our environmental values and protect our environmental rights.

"John Kerry and John Edwards will:

Create Cleaner, Greener Communities
Together, we can improve the environment in backyards and communities across America. John Kerry and John Edwards will revitalize contaminated industrial sites, get toxics out of communities, guarantee our children access to clean, safe parks and baseball fields, and take on traffic congestion and sprawl.

"Enact A Conservation Covenant With America
John Kerry and John Edwards believe that Americans are united in our respect for the land. They will enact a Conservation Covenant with America to ensure balanced protection for our public lands and adequate resources to enhance our national parks.

"Protect Our Health By Reducing Dangerous Air Emissions
As president, John Kerry will reverse the Bush-Cheney rollbacks to our Clean Air Act, plug loopholes in the law, take aggressive action to stop acid rain, and use innovative, job-creating programs to reduce mercury emissions and other emissions that contribute to global warming.

"Restore America's Waters
Today, approximately 45 percent of our nation's waterways do not meet the "drinkable, swimable and fishable" standard set out by the Clean Water Act 30 years ago. As president, John Kerry will implement a "Restore America's Waters" campaign, an integrated approach to protecting our precious, limited water resources. He will work with states on the toughest water quality challenges, restore damaged watersheds, protect wetlands, invest in our waterfronts and coastal communities, and protect our oceans."

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Preparing for Fest 

As I prepare to attend my tenth Michigan Womyn's Music Festival next week, my mind goes back to last year at this time.

On July 29, 2003, I'd fallen while trying to climb our front steps and had badly injured my right ankle. I didn't go to the doctor because 1) I didn't think it was broken, and 2) if it were, I didn't want to risk being put in a cast. I feared that might make it impossible for me to go to Fest, and I didn't want to miss it. So I brought my powers of creative thinking to the task and came up with ways to make it happen.

I went online and ordered a new tent, one large enough and with a front opening low enough to the ground that I could drive my scooter into it. I also ordered a folding Swedish camp bed, knowing I would not be able to get up off the ground like I'd done before. I figured I'd bring both of my scooters to Fest, using one during the day and the other during the night. My dear Raging Granny and O Beautiful Gaia singing friend, Judy Drylie, graciously invited me to ride the four-and-a half hours across the state to Festival with her in her motor home. The fact that she is an RN didn't hurt. Eddie sealed my new tent with waterproofing goop when it arrived, and Judy came over to help me pack.

During the entire 11 days between the time I injured my ankle and the time Judy and I left for Fest, I stayed upstairs with my foot elevated and one of my scooters in constant use. I could not put any weight on my right foot, so could not walk at all. Eddie brought up my food and we'd have picnics in my computer room. I was very grateful that we'd already gotten a portable refrigerator for the upstairs. This was before we'd installed a stairlift and even in the best of times, it was a real effort for me to make my way safely up and down the stairs.

That was last year.

And this year? I feel stronger and more healthy than I have in years. My exercising regularly at the gym with Matt, my personal trainer--like I did today--has made a huge difference in my muscle tone and strength. I even have biceps again! And I continue to swim laps, like I did on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday of last week. I've also lost 15 pounds, making it easier for my legs to carry the weight of my body when I walk. In relation to adaptations for my disability, this year we had Tom the carpenter build a switchback wooden ramp into the house from the garage. No longer do I have to climb those--for me--dangerous front steps. We also had a stairlift installed between the first and second floor, and, last but certainly not least, I bought Sojourner, my new (used) handicap-accessible minivan with a fold-out ramp.

I'm still happy for my scooter accessible tent because I'll be again taking a night and a day scooter. And thank goddess for the camp bed, which not only made it easier for me to get out of bed, but proved to be very comfortable. I slept better last year than ever before.

So I'll be leaving Detroit around noon on Sunday, and hope to arrive in Hart, Michigan by 5 PM. We aren't allowed to get in line on that 3.2 mile dirt-covered county road outside the Festival front gate until daybreak on Monday, so many festi-goers spend Sunday night in local motels and campgrounds. The motel where I'm staying is a favorite. For the past two years, we've had a festi-goers pizza party by the pool on Sunday night with conversation and drumming. I won't return home until early evening on Monday, August 16.

If you're a new reader, you might want to check out my Music Festivals page and click on the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival links. My true story, Mosh Pit Mama, also gives you an eye into this annual global womyn's village. There's nothing quite like it on the planet; a true example of what the world would be like if womyn were in positions of leadership. May it be so.

Monday, August 02, 2004

Summertime and the livin' is easy... 

Actually, more like hot, heavy and humid. Not that I'm complaining, mind. These August days are precious. All too soon, summer will be a sweet memory. I want to savor every minute.

So today I savored summer by riding in my air-conditioned minivan to take mending to Nini and then on to an army-navy store in Royal Oak to replace my camp porta-potty. The store was long gone but the ride was nice.

I returned home about 1 PM and sat in front of a fan in our living room reading "Krick?Krack!," a 1995 collection of short stories by the young Haitian writer, Edwidge Danticot. I'm finding her stories powerful and poignant.

After a short time at the computer, I took a nap with the window fan keeping me comfortable. I awoke at 5:15 PM, just in time to dress and drive over to the latest Library Staff picket, this one down by the construction site for the new library building on E. Jefferson.

While picketing, I had an interesting talk with the husband of one of our support staff at the Central Branch. I was commenting that I had a lot of experience demonstrating on street corners since I was an anti-war activist. He said, "You know I work for the military." He then went on to say that we had no business being in Iraq. He also said, "It's ruining the military." When I asked what he meant, he explained that everyone who comes back from Iraq wants out. "It's suicide over there!"

When the military sees it like that, isn't it time to get out?

By the way, Kathleen has put up a web site for the Grosse Pointe Public Librarians Association on which she posts upcoming pickets and meetings of the School Board and Library Board.

I was home by 7 PM and a half hour later Ed brought us a pizza for dinner. After eating, we walk/scooted along the lake, and returned home to watch a delightful DVD, "Calendar Girls." It's now midnight and I'm again being cooled by the window fan.

A perfect summer day.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

It takes a village... 

In my four and a half years of keeping an online journal--my blog is only half a year old--I don't think I've ever asked my readers to donate $$ to any cause. So I guess it's time!

If you're a regular reader you already know my friend Jack. Jack and his Mom, Amy, and I met at the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival in 2000. At that time Jack was two and Amy was doing all she could to adopt this wonderful kid whom she'd been fostering since he was a baby. We met through the didgeridoo.

Jack was crying--an unusual state of affairs for this upbeat youngster--and I stopped on the path and tried playing my didg to see if it might soothe him. Within minutes a huge grin had replaced his tears, and we'd become fast friends. A highlight for me every year at Festival was spending time with Jack, Amy and Jack's soon-to-be-other-Mom, Jennifer. That is until Jack turned five. Unfortunately, this is the age that little boys are no longer allowed in the womyn's part of Festival--a place that is clothing optional--and are invited to attend Brother Sun camp instead. Brother Sun is on the Land and Moms can camp there with their boys, but it is separate from the main areas. With Jack's special needs, Brother Sun is not an option for him.

So you can imagine my delight when I ran into Jack, Amy and Jennifer last weekend at the National Women's Music Festival. They live in Columbus, Ohio, where the festival was being held, so it was easy for them to come shop in the crafts area and attend some of the concerts. Although we hadn't been together in two years, Jack seemed to remember me and gave me LOTS of grins! Grins that were reciprocated, I might add.

And now I get to the donation part of the story. There is an intensive physical therapy program called Euro-Peds that Jack's health care professionals believe could be of great benefit to him. The challenge is the cost. This 2-week program is $6000 plus Jack and Amy's living expenses. The good part--for me--is that it is offered in Pontiac, Michigan, less than an hour from my house. So Jack and Amy and I are already planning lots of get-togethers when they're in town.

Amy has put up a web page to aid in the process of collecting $$ so Jack can partake in the Euro-Peds program that starts on August 30. She's made it easy for folks to donate online, and I invite you to consider doing so. Jack deserves all the help he can get! Believe me, he does more than his fair share; let's do ours. As they say, it takes a village to raise a child. Let's be that village for Jack!

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