Monday, July 15, 2019

A Plea Among the Riff-Raff

Yesterday my fella and I were heading up to celebrate our grandboy's 16th birthday.  Traffic through the tunnel that leads to the freeway entrance was stop-and-go, so we had plenty of time to read the spray-painted tunnel walls.  Not a pretty sight.  Now don't get me wrong.  There are plenty of beautiful graffiti tags out there.  But this specific tunnel doesn't sport such a visual treat.

So among the spray-painted riff-raff, we found a pearl.  A small beautifully calligraphic plea to Bring Back the Mullet.  We were able to sit there for a bit and mull over that plea.  Bring back the mullet.  Oh yeah there was a style that needs be returned *voice fading away*

The mullet.  Yes, the mullet.  Business in front and party in the back.  We think of this style as a 1980s icon, but the beloved style dates pretty far backIncidents of the hairstyle were documented more than 1,400 years ago, when Byzantine scholar Procopius wrote of a craze among young Roman men in the 6th Century BCE, who sought to emulate the look of Hun barbarians by growing their hair long all around the head except across the forehead, where they kept it cut short. (here I feel so scholarly when I do this)

President James Polk sported a mullet. And of course every great athlete and many entertainers in the 80s gave us this look--Paul McCartney, Billy Ray Cyrus, Andre Agassi, Larry Bird, David Bowie.  The list goes on.  So the mullet is deeply ensconced in history.  

Perhaps we should simply allow the hairstyle remain as a footnote in world history.  Iran agrees.  The Iranian government banned the mullet as an acceptable hairstyle for men, claiming it was part of a "Western cultural invasion.” Barbershops were raided and serial offenders were issued steep fines.  This might be one of the few policies that Iran has created that Americans could agree. 

Others would disagree and will march to the right to wear their hair in any style that floats their boat, flips their skirt, or bounces their ball.  All-in-all I can  appreciate the small voice heard with a sweet little plea posted right there among the tagged riff-raff. 

And so it goes

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

It's Just Another Silly Love Story

I joined the Internet in 1994 through my friend, Scott.  I loved the interaction with people all around the world and found a great channel to chat on Internet Relay Chat (IRC): #41plus.  I took on the nick of pollyanna and became an Internet geek of sorts.  I met lots of online friends in person at IRC Parties and when I would travel across the U.S. during summers.

I had become special friends with a man in Kentucky and spent a year in that long distance relationship.   When that fell apart, I vowed to never do the long distance relationship thang again.  But alas, the majority of my friendships were online, it was inevitable I would meet someone else who would become important.   
    My good friend, Besthippi (Steph), introduced me to nolte (Doug), who lived in Pennsylvania.  So okay, what's a few thousand miles?  I had been a single parent for the past 20some years and wasn't eager to jump into anything permanent.  Hmmm...or was I?

Doug was different than some of the other men I had met online.  No games.  No BS.  Just Doug, take him or leave him.  The first time we met face-to-face was in 1996.  In 1997 I took a sabbatical in order to figure out this relationship...and (the academic reason) how to teach Public Speaking online and went back to Pittsburgh, PA for a year.  

What fun we had!  I was able to travel to new places and meet new old online friends.  I had traveled the south the years before and now I was able to travel more north, including Canada and Niagara Falls.  And then it was time to go home in order to write my research (I had been teaching an online class for the year) and finish out the academic year.  I returned in the summer and we set about plans for Doug to move to Oregon.  I always said that he followed me home so I had to keep him.  He arrived Halloween 1998.  We were perfectly happy to remain unmarried but it changed.  We wanted to make it official.

 We set our wedding for Saturday, July 10, 1999.  We wanted to be married outside in the garden somewhere.  I wanted daisies in my hair and bare feet.  My hippie dream back in the 1960s.  We decided to get married at Cathedral Park in north Portland, under the St Johns Bridge, but had to change the date because the Hood to Coast bike ride always stops at Cathedral Park.  With our family around us and a few special friends, we were married.  Friday, July 9, 1999.

There's really nothing special about our love story, except it is our love story.   We were pioneers in that we met online and married...and still together celebrating our 20th anniversary of marriage.  We are still having fun but it seems it is "older people" fun.  He still makes me laugh.  I still get him out and about on spontaneous whims.  And life is good.

And so it goes

What's On My Design Board?

Spring Rain
I usually don't have unfinished projects because I like to see the quilt finished.  For many years I never started a new project until the first project was completed.  All that has changed as the years have gone by.  So what projects do I have on my design board right now?  Plenty.

In my Spring class, the students made a nice quilt called Spring Rain.  When I was a student in this class, I always had the project complete by the last day.  I'd bring it to class and sew the binding.  This spring, I haven't completed the project yet.  My class this summer is "UFOs"--unfinished objects.  I will add the borders to the top in a week or so.  But I do love the soft spring colors of yellows, blues, and whites.

 In June I took a class up in Washington at the best little fabric store around: The Paisley Duck.  Well worth the 40 minute drive.   I wanted to make this cute pup.  I have it in mind for friends who lost their sweet pup last fall.  It was an interesting process of reversing the pattern and appliquéing with fusible webbing.  I usually do needleturn appliqué, so this was a bit of a challenge.  I now need to sandwich and quilt it.  I will be using different stitches on the pup body to help the illusion of a crazy quilt on the pup body.

Probably the worst procrastination on my design board is my husband's stepdaughter's (I call her my stepdaughter-once-removed) stepson's (I call him my stepgrandboy-twice-removed) high school graduation.  I make every niece, nephew and grandie a wall-hanging that focuses on their interests when they graduate from high school.  It is the worst procrastination because he graduated a year ago June.  Gotta get it done!  

He is going to an acting school in Los Angeles.  Him on TV gets lost with the bordering fabric.  I need to remove all the dark around his TV and add a lighter fabric.  Then add the "rabbit ears" at the top and quilt it.  I'll finish this by next weekend :)   

That's what I'm working on.  Plus three quilt tops to quilt for a client.  And a bunch of other projects I an eager to get started!  What have you been up to lately?

And so it goes

Sunday, July 07, 2019

Sunday Funday: Splish Splash

I love the water.  I love the feel of silky water against my skin.  I love the feeling of total weightlessness, of floating.  Coolness on a hot day.  We grew up around water.  Dad had a ski boat. Mom couldn't swim, so insisted my sister and I take lessons.  

Washington Park Swim Center
All summer from preschool through lifeguard training, Mom would take us to the local swimming pool weekday mornings for lessons, and then return after lunch for the 25 cent I-take-lessons-discount-swim in the afternoons.  Our summer lives existed around the smell of chlorine.

We were simple people in that a sprinkler was the best of fun when the pool wasn't available for us.  Or we'd just get the hose out.  Cold water was all it took (and you could take a long cold drink in the middle of a game!).  

I had a plastic wading pool for my grandboy.  When he was two, he started swim lessons.  Oh how he loves the water.  He would stay in the water until his fingers and lips turned blue, and then whine about getting out.

Portland has a bunch of wading pools in our parks.  Fun with fountains shooting up for the kids to play.  Buckets filling with water and pouring our over heads.  Who doesn't love those?  And the city parks and rec have a bunch of indoor and outdoor pools--indoor for year-round swimming and outdoor for neighborhood fun.  

Evergreen Airport Waterpark
But the BEST are the cool water parks!  Oh My!  Hampster tubes to slide down into a big splash!  Big pools.  Smaller pools.  Swim pools.  Splash pools.  Slides.  stairs.  A whole trail of goodies to add to the splash.  Evergreen Airport in McMinnville, OR has converted an airplane into a huge hampster-tube slide.  Oh My! 

Super Waterpark
Admittedly it does look simple compared to some of the waterparks out there, but it's not far away and not super expensive.
(borrowing from lyrics...) So pack up the babies / And grab the old ladies / And everyone goes / 'Cause everyone knows
It's Summer!  Get thee to the Sunday Funday pool!

And so it goes

Saturday, July 06, 2019

Fighting for Freedom

Elizabeth Freeman was the first slave to fight for her freedom from slavery by taking her case to court.  Her fight for her own freedom changed history forever.

Elizabeth was born to native African slaves on the farm of Pieter Hodgeboom around 1743.  The name she was given was Bett Mum.  When Hodgeboom's daughter married Colonel John Ashley, Hodgeboom gave the newlyweds both Bett and her sister Lizzy as a wedding gift.  The two girls were teenagers.  About this time, Bett gave birth to her daughter.  She was called "Little Bett."  The father is unknown.  Bett, Lizzy and Little Bett now lived in the Ashley house in Sheffield, Massachusetts.

The Ashley House
Hannah Ashley was mean to her slaves.  The story goes that once Mrs. Ashley went to discipline Lizzy with a heated shovel and Bett stepped in between the heated shovel and her sister.  She was severely injured on her arm from the hot shovel.  It took a long time to heal and the scar was quite ugly.  Even though Bett was illiterate and had no schooling, she was quite clever.  She didn't hide her wound behind clothing, but kept it open for all to see.  When visitors would ask what was ailing her arm, Bett reportedly answered, "Ask missis!"  Elizabeth later said that "Madam never again laid her hand on Lizzy."

Colonel Ashley was a wealthy citizen in Sheffield.  He served as a judge of the Berkshire Court of Common Pleas. In January of 1773, he moderated the local committee that wrote the Sheffield Declaration.  This declaration was approved on January 12, 1773. It stated that “mankind in a state of nature are equal, free, and independent of each other, and have a right to the undisturbed enjoyment of their lives, their liberty and property.”  This same language was used in the United States Declaration of Independence of 1776 and in the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780.

Theodore Sedgwick
Bett Mum heard the discussions for the constitution and took the words to heart.  In 1781, along with an enslaved man named Brom, she took her plea for freedom to the prominent
attorney, Theodore Sedgwick.  Sedgwick had helped draft the Sheffield Declaration.  He decided to take her case as a "test case" to determine if slavery was legal under the new Massachusetts constitution.  Even though the case demanded that Ashley release the two, he refused to free Bett and Brom, stating they were his property.  Sedgwick took his case farther up the judicial ladder, arguing that slavery was illegal under the new constitution (ironically because of the initial words formed by Ashley himself).  Sedgwick won the case and slavery was banned throughout the state.

The Sedgwick Home
Once freed, Bett Mum changed her name to Elizabeth Freeman.  Ashley offered her a position as a paid servant if she returned to his home, but Elizabeth refused.  Instead she and her family became paid domestic worker in the Sedgwick home.  She also worked as a healer, midwife, and nurse. After 20 years, she was able to buy her own house where she lived with her children.

Smithsonian National Museum of
African American History and Culture.
Elizabeth Freeman died on December 28, 1829 and was buried in the Sedgwick family plot in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.  She is the only non-Sedgwick to be buried in the “inner circle” of the Sedgwick family plot.   She was approximately 85 years old.  

Ms Freeman never did learn how to read and write.  But she was still able to make history by being the first black woman to take her freedom to court and doing so, gained freedom for all slaves in Massachusetts.

And so it goes