Friday, March 20, 2009

6 Years Later and Why I am Still a Peace Activist

She joined our peace group carrying a homemade sign. It wasn’t just a “Peace Now” sign or even similar to the six-foot “Pray for Peace, Act for Peace” banner that I brought. It was a sign made out of pain. It was covered with red paint, similar to blood, spattered on an attached doll. It was eerily similar to those cringe causing signs held at anti-abortion rallies. She wore a large hooded sweatshirt and an invisible wall of protection.

Over six years ago the tension was building, as it was evident that the neo-cons would start the war for which they hungered. I wasn’t an organizer then but I had a strong inner drive to seek out peace rallies.

The day after the Iraq war started the local Peace and Justice group held a riverside candlelight vigil. Year 2, I sought out a rally on the street while vacationing in Florida. Year 4 I traveled to Washington DC and shared the evening in the National Cathedral and marched to the White House with fellow Christians. In 08 the election motivated over 100 ralliers to 2 demonstrations in our city.

Everyone has a story, especially activists. People wonder where I get my energy to continue to plan rallies, talk on the radio and lead the local progressive group. I have my story. My drive was born from grief and fueled by the desire that others would not have to share my story. My 18 year-old son died in a car wreck 11 years ago. It was an accident but sending soldiers to a war is not an accident. I could not bear the thought of some mother, somewhere hearing that knock on the door that would forever change her and her family.

Year six started out quieter; maybe because Obama was president, maybe because there was a promise that this war would end and maybe because we were just all tired. This year we sang and prayed, sang and prayed for peace and healing. We were 13 strong, a veteran, a minister, a musician, a mother and child, four seniors, and three pacifist- 12 plus the woman with the sign. The minister led us in prayer, the musician led us in song, and the seniors held the banner. Each held a flower with a name of a fallen soldier from our district. We quietly read the names and placed it in the vase. 4924
Is not just a number, 10 lives were lost from our neighborhoods.

Then she pulled back her hood uncovering her long red hair that matched the picture of a child and the grown soldier on her poster. My mother’s heart ached and the group understood why we keep gathering year after year.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

More Animal Tails. . .

A friend of mine's cat had this cute litter of kitties, and I got the privilege of naming them (he'd run out of names after the first litter, the year prior). One of the kittens, a girl, was white, with very large perfectly round black polka dots. So of course she got a name I'd wished to bestow on a cat since Dick and Jane in first grade, lol! Spot. . . (This *isn't* her, but could be her double)

One of her siblings, a boy, I named Nixon due to his penchant for screaming bloody murder if he didn't get his way, and for climbing on the other kittens' heads and bodies in his attempts to escape their box. . . He was yaller. . . .

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Monday, March 16, 2009


These are the light-up shoes that Susan has sent to Ally.
(This was the package that got stuck in my mailbox! LOL!)

As you can see, they will match perfectly with Ally's stylin' coolness.  



The other day when I was going to teach my class, I saw this goose in the middle of the parking lot. That struck me as odd, so, of course, I took out my phone and took a picture of it. And another picture, because I'm never positive that a picture has turned out until I look at it on my computer. So I have to take extras, as a sort of insurance. And if I try to take a picture with a decent resolution, it takes forever to save, so after I take the original picture, I get to spend a fair amount of time staring at a rotating hourglass icon before I can snap the emergency back-up picture. So it's always a very real possibility that the scene will have changed by that point.

By the time I was taking picture number two of the goose, I was starting to wonder if the little guy was okay. If he was okay, wouldn't he have moved by now? Just then, he lifted his head and let out a loud "HONK!"

I'm guessing that was a "Yes".

Another critter story. Remember I was telling you about the rat boys and their different learning curves? I continue to spend time interacting with them when I can, so that they are comfortable being handled by me. This afternoon, I took a couple of whole wheat pretzels, broke them into pieces, and brought them up to Daughter's room.

By now they know that I usually come bearing gifts, so as soon as I open the door to the room, I've got their attention. By the time I open the door to their cage, Dango is right there waiting. Today I decided that, rather than handing each of them a treat, I wanted them to walk over to my hand to get their snacks. Dango came right up to me, gently accepted the pretzel bit I offered him, and then hurried back into the cage to eat it.

While Dango was happily polishing off his snack, Vlad showed up at the door of the cage. He looked at the treat in my hand, paused a bit, and then climbed the outside wall of the cage in search of food on the roof. Because, after learning from watching Dango, he knew that's where the food was. And I thought, how weird! The food had been inches away from his nose--even if I'm overestimating his visual abilities and he didn't actually see me holding the pretzel bit, surely he must have smelled it. Yet he climbed up away from it, and searched all over the roof for food that wasn't there. Then it occurred to me, "Hey, he's making the 'A-not-B error'!" See, not only do I teach psychology, but I can be downright geeky about this stuff. ;)

And speaking of geeky, there's a bag of dry cat kibble (which I bought from a local health food store) sitting on our kitchen table. Its name, oddly (for a cat food), is "Spot's Stew". So for several days now, I've had Commander Data's "Ode to Spot" stuck in my head.

Felis Cattus, is your taxonomic nomenclature,
an endothermic quadruped carnivorous by nature?
Your visual, olfactory and auditory senses
contribute to your hunting skills, and natural defenses.

I find myself intrigued by your subvocal oscillations,
a singular development of cat communications
that obviates your basic hedonistic predilection
for a rhythmic stroking of your fur, to demonstrate affection.

A tail is quite essential for your acrobatic talents;
you would not be so agile if you lacked its counterbalance.
And when not being utilized to aide in locomotion,
it often serves to illustrate the state of your emotion.

O Spot, the complex levels of behaviour you display
connote a fairly well-developed cognitive array.
And though you are not sentient, Spot, and do not comprehend,
I nonetheless consider you a true and valued friend.