A day late and a dollar short, still in the race, practicing the sport. The best laid plans of a woman with spice, change and twist like the roll of the dice. Still life finds her here with words to say, if she had her druthers, she'd have it her way..

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The time has come the Walrus said to talk of many things, of ceiling wax and sailing ships and cabbages and kings and why the sea is boiling hot and whether pigs have wings.

Confessions of a Rageboy Addict
Tuesday, August 27, 2002  
This is what I sent today to the Mayor of Portland, OR

I was going to direct this email to the Commissioner of Public Safety, but I see on the website that this position is vacant. Does this explain the pepper spraying of an infant by your police department at a peaceful protest rally?

I fully understand the need for crowd control, but under no circumstance whatsoever do I understand the assault by a police officer, in whatever situation, of a baby. This is sociopathic behavior of the lowest kind upon clearly unarmed, nonviolent persons in the legal, constitutional act of free speech and freedom of assembly.

This is a heinous act upon American citizens, American children, and American civil liberties. You and your police department should feel shame at the deepest level for such atrocities. I find the city of Portland, OR, and it's Department of Police, vested with protecting the safety of its citizens, to be in contempt of human dignity. The very least you should do is make apology and reparation to your citizens, the very people who create and support your jobs. I include your contemptuous "911" dispatchers who denied service to the people who had been pepper sprayed.

Freedom to hold dissenting opinion from government officials is still a protected right in this country, or is it?

Annie Mason (United States Citizen)

I am still outraged beyond belief.

8/27/2002 06:40:00 PM

I am about half way finished with the quilt but had to log back in

I haven't been tuned into the news this weekend so only just saw this article this morning when I logged on to blogsisters. I am a late middle aged woman appraching cronehood and I have seen many atrocities in my life, many creul and inhumane acts of violence against children in other countries, but this is on American soil. In this country we are promised the right of free speech and peaceful assembly. These are constitutional freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. I spent 3 years in the military defending these rights and these freedoms. Who DARES to take them away from citizens of these United States? The Portland Police Department needs to be held up to the light of day and remanded for such jack booted thruggery. Who DARES pepper spray a baby, FOR ANY REASON?!? I am a mother and a patriot and I say that anyone who deliberately harms children is the enemy.

8/27/2002 01:26:00 PM

Tuesday, August 20, 2002  
Will be out of touch for a while

Yes, to my fan out there (electric, swivel, 3-speed), I am on one of my occational, but very intense quilt fugues. I had the cutting finished up a few days ago, but overtime and shift schedule had me away from the sewing machine. Now I am back on days and have time to sit and spin. This is my 6th quilt top this year. I am making quilts for winter soltice gifts this year and have two more to go. The artist in me has found it's medium, it's genre and it is happy and content. It will just be a few days and I will be finished and be back up and commenting on the affairs of the world.

Oh, update on the school thing. It only lasted one day. Have to see where we go from here.

8/20/2002 09:29:00 PM

Monday, August 19, 2002  
First day of school

I got my baby off to school this morning. Ok, so she is 16 and not what you would call an infant, but she is my one, my only, my baby. She was dressed to kill, styling, and ready. In fact she did not sleep last night and at 6:30 this morning wanted me to get up and get ready. She was already dressed and had her make up on. I was lucky I found my jeans hanging on the end of the bed.

She had the nerve to tell me that doughnuts weren't a healthy breakfast while I had my mouth full at the doughnut shop. Hey, who is this kid?

I've got my fingers crossed. It's only the first day.

8/19/2002 10:04:00 AM

Friday, August 16, 2002  
Yes, yes, it's simply been ages

Working 16 hour shifts can get tiresome after a while. No time to wash out undies or smear on deoderant. I wonder if I smell as bad as I imagine or if the world sort of stinks this morning. I am too keyed up to sleep and too tired to do anything else so I think I will write. What a wonderful alternative.

Politics, sometimes I do and sometimes I do not understand.

I thought of standing on top of a building and looking down at the cars and seeing the old analagy to ants, but being in the building I had to think of mound building termites as well. I imagined looking around and the other buildings and wondering what well cared for over indulged queen was giviing orders and sopping up honey carried by millions of us worker drones. Are we programmed to such a live? Is it a hive mind that drives us to create hierarchy as we do? Is it instinct and genetics that decides which among us will be the soldiers, the drones, the workers, and the queens? I see the political insect so clearly in some of my co-workers. They literally live for the buzz of the political life. They gaurd the hive, who comes and who goes, how we work and what we do. It is amazing to see how busy they are into the business of others. The drones fawn over the boss so willingly. And of course there are the workers. I get tired of being a worker, but I don't know what I would do with myself otherwise.

In my paradise I am curled up with a mountain of good books on a mound of cushions surrounded by fresh food, cool drink and sweet background noise. I can finally finish a whole book at one sitting instead of being half way through a dozen books and rarely getting a chance to finish any. I would cuddle with my cats, lounge through my day and never change out of my comfy jammies. Every now and then another human could visit, but only for a while and then they would have to go so I could finish reading. No one else's politics would intrude on my sanctity, but then I would not dream of bothering another persons realm without invitation. I think in another life I must have been a mountain man or woman (more likely a literate mountain goat), wearing my buckskins all winter and having to peel them off in the spring thaw.

But I have to be working. Like the bullies at work have to be bullying. My solution for them, put each on an island with no one to bully but themselves leaving the rest of us to get on with our lives in a little more peaceful environment.Or put them all on one island and let them bully it out among themselves. Maybe that would be more appropriate. Then maybe we wouldn't need polititians.

After I posted this someone suggested putting all the bullies on one island and letting them work it out amongst themselves. But I think they already did that with Austrailia or somewhere. I may be mistaken.

8/16/2002 07:49:00 AM

Sunday, August 11, 2002  
I've just realized something

I am in love with the sound of my own voice speaking. I am in love with the sound of my voice speaking, being heard, being taking seriously, being admired, being complimented. I am in love with the effect my voice has on others. I knew this already. I knew it somewhere in my field of nonfocused thoughts, things that bubble and brew and cook before finally or ever breaking out into focus land. This thought broke out just now. I had posted a few comments to my favorite group blog, blogsisters and realized that I had given advice to someone in a post where I had protested the rudeness of unasked for advice. But I was just so happy with my own voice speaking (figuatively) that I didn't realize what I'd done until I posted the comment and then read it over again. I had spoken for the sake of believing myself to have good opinions and good advice, but I realized after all that I really spoke because I am love with the sound of my voice.

Ten or eleven years ago I had gone to a convention. After the main speaker had finished the group introduction and order of the day we were to break into smaller groups and hear a speaker on a particular topic. We were not assigned groups so the number of people in any one room was a matter of choice. The convention rooms were very typical, a large room cut into long small rooms with partitions. The topic I chose didn't seem to generate much interest and I had to walk way down to the front of the room to be near any other participants. Maybe the first four rows were filled out of twenty or so. It turned out to be a good choice though. The speaker was well read, very knowledgable on the subject and very well spoken. She really caught my attention and kept it. At the end of her talk she asked people to come up and give information on their own experiences with the subject. Well, with so few people in the room, I felt comfortable going to the podium to speak. It wasn't until I turned at the podium to face the audience that I realized the room was crammed full to standing room. Part of me had heart failure, the rest of me took a deep breath and began to speak. It only took those first few words. I was enthralled with myself and my story. I told them a funny incident and made them laugh, I continued on with the serious incident and how I had handled it, then gave bit of a testimonial and ended with an encouragement for other people. I DON'T KNOW WHERE IT ALL CAME FROM. It was as if I were standing a little ways outside myself and listening to this person speak and admiring her skill. She was really good. I loved listening to her. The adrenalin, the rush, the applauses, I was high for days afterwards. But I never fully realized until now what it was that I was so in joyed with, it was my voice.

Are we all like this? Are we made like this? We blog, we network, we email, we phone, we write letters, we send our opinion to the editor and for what? Is it simply to enlighten someone else, to convince someone that we are right and that they need to see things our way? Is is altruistic, to help, to heal, to succor, to encourage? Or is it the thrill of hearing our own voices? Is it like the coyote on the mesa hauntingly howling at the moon for the sheer love of her own voice and the choir of voices that join hers? My daughter and I love to sing in the car. Oh, we sound like frogs in a well and crickets in the bathroom, but play something we both know on the 'oldies' station and we can't help but sing along. Play "Sloop John B" and we are in a state enthrallment, flying down the freeway, chins raised, howling to hear the sound of our voices. It is a feeling beyond words, even if words are my forte, to be in such pleasure. I am in love with the sound of my voice.

8/11/2002 02:05:00 AM

Wednesday, August 07, 2002  
I just got another one of those cutesy emails spouting off about why can't we pray in school. This was my reply.

I remember when we still had a morning prayer and the pledge, I also remember when our school was segregated and wife beating and child abuse were considered family matters and none of the law's business. I remember when this town had a rule that blacks and Hispanics could only enter the city limits to perform domestic work and had to be out of town by 6 PM. We also had a principal at high school who punished kids with a shaved down Louisville Slugger baseball bat. We had a man who lived on the outskirts of town who built and sold bomb shelters and the school kids wore army name tags so we could identify bodies in case the big one dropped. We still had school bullies, disobediant children, the kid who was always in the principals office, the teacher's pet who could get away with murder, and the kid in class who always got picked on. There was bigotry, intolerance, ignorance, suspicion, and never a thought that peoples of other religions and national origins might also have a right to hear THEIR prayers at school, also. We never heard a Jewish prayer, a Muslim prayer, a Hindu, or Shinto prayer even though we had children of these nationalities and faiths attending that elementary school. No one seemed to give a damn about their religious freedom. I don't really see where that morning prayer or the later lack of prayer ever did anything at all to solve the problems of the kids at school or to solve the problems of religious, political, or racial intolerance in this community. And no one ever told me, because there is no law against it, that I personally couldn't pray at school. They only said that the staff and teachers could not LEAD a public prayer, this of course does cross over the separation of church and state and their is a law against it.

Pardon me for getting up on my soap box, but I try my hardest to be tolerant and respectful of other people's religious faiths and observances. I see no place in public school for private worship unless it includes ALL religions without exception. I see no problem with the teaching of all religions as long as it is done fairly without giving preference to any one religion. The pledge is another matter all together. I see it as a bit of propaganda that got way out of proportion to its intention. "Under God" was only added to the pledge in the '50s to try to weed out "godless" communists who would not want to repeat those words, a left over from 'froth at the mouth' McCarthy and his paranoid delusions.

I hope I haven't been too offensive. I just get so tired of the prayer in school issue. It should be moot. All people of all faiths are allowed to pray as they please in their homes and their churches. Public gatherings, if not religiously sponsored, may want to choose to have a religious blessing but should consider the religious observances of all the people involved at the gathering, not just the belief of the majority. Schools should be for education, not for religious indoctrination.

Thanks for a minute to spout MY school prayer attitude

8/07/2002 07:28:00 AM

Saturday, August 03, 2002  

8/03/2002 09:17:00 PM

Something New

Learning a little more every day. Frank sent me some code today. Ok, I missed out on all that stuff back in the '80s when the rest of the groug was taking computer languages. I was taking business management, bah, humbug! It got me a pretty piece of paper somewhere, that's about it. Now I have to try to figure out alien bits of typewritten gibberish just to get a piece of information to stick to a particular column of color on my blog. This virgin stuff is pretty painful at my age. THAT THING GOES WHERE?!?!?

A little personal lubrication and a little help from friends, maybe this will slide a little easier next time. I beleive I am just too spoiled by this mouse thing. Point and click, click, hold, & drag, right click, scroll & click, all done. No sweat. Some of this is helpful, though, as I work with an ancient VAX program at work. There is no room for error on this dinosaur, get it right or it locks up and boots you right out. I've had to go searching through tomes of user very-unfriendly manuals just to find the code combination for "page back" to try to fix an incorrect entry. What a booger bear. Speaking of which, I am off to the salt mines now, graveyard shift. Doncha love the sound of that word. It is really the best time out at the plant. The day pukes are gone home, the contractors are mostly gone home, and it is just we operators. Funny, the plant usually runs so much better at night and on weekends. Why is that, I wonder? Just me and my four monitors, one PC, and three Tektronics, and cans of process graphic interface. Hey, I'm making chemicals, man.

Thanks to Frank for getting some blogs posted on the proper parking zone. I will get better connected here one of these days. I may even have to upgrade to bloggerpro so any one or two readers who might happen to be out there and accidentally stumble onto this space can tell me so. Otherwise, you got my email, write me a letter.

8/03/2002 09:01:00 PM

Friday, August 02, 2002  
A womans voice

I also posted this at Blog Sisters, be my guest to write to your senate and congresional representatives. Make your voice heard.

[8/2/2002 6:56:16 PM | Annie Mason]
As a Citizen of the state of Texas
I mailed the following to Senator Kay Baily Hutchison, think it kicks enough ass?

2 August 2002

Senator Hutchison
284 Russell
Senate Office Bldg
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Hutchison,

I am writing to you concerning The Treaty for the Rights of Women. I am sure that you, because of your acquired position, your role modeling for women, and your obvious gender, understand more than most the absolute importance of the passage of this treaty. How much longer can we, as women and fifty per cent of the population of this earth, afford to be accounted as inferior by simple means of gender? We live on this earth and inherit more than our share of its abuses and punishments by simple chance of DNA. It is time; it is well past time to right the wrong of gender apartheid in this country and on this planet. We are women, we are individuals, we are unique, we are worth our salt and we deserve the right to explore all opportunities available to humans in our search for the place we choose in this life. Without a treaty that guarantees the right of full humanity and the right of unrestricted choice under the law, many of us are yet fettered in the ankle chains of history that would still brand us as property, chattel, barter, and slave, unable to make for ourselves the life we want and deserve.

Stand up for us, Senator Hutchison, speak up for us. You are in a position of power and visibility. You are a woman gifted with intelligence, education, fortitude, and persistence. Make those gifts a light to the women of this country and this world. Help us gain our rightful place as free and equal humans in the eyes of law and justice. Support The Treaty for the Rights of Women.

Yours sincerely,

8/02/2002 09:47:00 PM

Thursday, August 01, 2002  
This is something I wrote in response to a book I am reading, The Feminine Face Of God. It felt good to get these feelings out and printed. Religion is still painful to me. I either need to start something completely new or forget it completely. To try to fix what we have now is just to difficult for any one person, the process is just too deeply ingrained. And to go back even further to the goddess religion would be better, but not good enough, it still favors one gender over the other. We either have to enclude everyone or no one.

Seedbed of the Sacred
My Own Experience

As a small child I didn’t hear angels or voices, have any special knowledge of the world, or sense any special feeling of being singled out by the sacred. What I did have was a sense of belonging, a sense so deep that I only realized the strength of it after it was gone. In my earliest memory of that warmth of belonging I am wrapped in the aroma of mimeograph ink. I am 4 years old and I am sitting on the floor in the upstairs office of the little church where my family attends. My mother has finished typing the big blue stencil for the church bulletin and she is cranking out copies on this old hand powered machine. The smell of the ink is intoxicating. I can see her standing there, very pregnant with my little brother. In my mind she IS the divine. She and her sisters and mother, my wonderful grandmother, are the church to me. I didn’t have the words for the feeling I had back then, but I knew beyond words that these women and their work were the grounding of my spirit and my life. It seemed that my mother could do anything and everything that needed to be done at church.

We only lived two houses down from the little church and we walked there almost daily. Mom typed and printed the bulletin, taught Sunday school, organized vacation bible school, sang in the little choir for weddings and funerals, helped coordinate food for weddings and funerals and church get-togethers. She helped lay out the sacrament crackers and filled the grape juice cups and many times I stayed with her while she helped to wash up the little cups for next time. With the other women she made the church ready for Sunday. On Sunday morning we all sat together; my family, my grandmother, my aunts and uncles and cousins. I knew the men did extra things on Sunday morning, but it seemed to me a kind of fair trade off for not being there the rest of the time. During the week mom and her sisters and mother kept the church nursery tidy, visited the sick and shut-ins, made arrangements for meals to be brought in for families when a mom was ill or a child sick. In addition they made the arrangements for the huge church gathering dinners (potluck food all provided by the women of the congregation). There were ALWAYS women at church. In my mind, I think I believed that women were the church and that men only came to church at certain appointed times. My mother and dad both had beautiful singing voices, so when my mother sat with us in the pew to sing and my dad led the singing from the front of the church it only seemed natural. They worked together.

I went on in that protected and comforting cradle of womaness and belonging until I was 6 and a half yrs old. This was when my father’s company moved him to another city. The church we left was small and needed every volunteer possible to keep it running. The church we began attending in the new city was huge. I didn’t realize it then, but the volunteer positions were sort of a popularity contest. All of the work my mother had done before was already being taking care of in this new church so we weren’t in and out of the church building so often as before. It was a new place and I didn’t have quite the same sense of belonging and nurturing that I’d come to know, but I still recognized the same sort of womaness about the place. If there was work to be done, a class to teach, a wedding or funeral to organize, what ever the need, women would be there in abundance. I still saw myself as a part of the women and their work.

That is until I was about 7 or 8. I imagine this was about the time when I could finally begin to see over the pew to the front of the church. Before that time, except for the voice of my father when he led the songs, I never paid much of any attention to the voices from up front, my coloring books and Sunday school pages needed attention. But, one Sunday I sat up on my knees to watch what was going on and I saw the preacher doing his dramatic best to empress the congregation with some biblical point. It was at that moment that I was almost overwhelmed by the knowledge, by the certainty that up there in front of the congregation was where I belonged. Somehow I knew that I was meant to speak out and to teach. I knew that I could stand in front of these people and make the walls shake with my voice. That is when I turned to my mom, the representative of church, and told her of my revelation. Mom, I’m going to be a preacher.

It was in that moment that I first saw “the look” on my mother’s face. It is a look that I have heard described by so many other women when, as children, they were faced with another woman passing on to them that first horrible taste of unfightable, unfathomable, unbelievable discrimination handed down by god. It was a look of fear, of certainty, of sadness, of regret; a look I had never seen before on my mother’s face and it scared me. She took a deep breath and said that I couldn’t be a preacher. But why, I asked and she said those words that ripped my soul and rip it still forty years later, because you’re a girl she said and girls aren’t allowed to be preachers, only boys can be preachers. I’m sure I must have asked why and, if I know my mother, she said something like because god said so.

I was absolutely stunned. I suppose until then that I’d never really noticed that every one up in the front of the church was male. And in that moment of revelation I saw them all, the preaching man, the praying man, the song man, the communion men, and in an instant of crushing dismay, the image of my mother’s church and of the power of women in that church began to crumble. Why had I never noticed before that there was such a chasm between men and women and what god said they could do? I had never felt that there was anything out of place with what men did. They were never denied a place in the women’s realm. They may have seemed a little awkward or funny to me when they carried a covered dish or taught Sunday school, but no one told them that they COULDN’T do something. The spirituality of my life turned in that moment when I was told that my presence in certain parts of the church was not only not wanted, but also forbidden.

For years I felt that there must have been something wrong with me, something wrong with being a girl. What was it that god didn’t like about girls? Years later a Sunday school teacher told us that it was because Jesus and the apostles were men, so god only wanted men to be leaders in the church. When I asked about all the women that were with Jesus I was told that they didn’t count. The unfairness that I saw and experienced in those years truly crushed the life out of the warmth and belonging that I had felt as a child. I remained in that church for some years afterwards, but bit by bit any feeling that I might have had for its place in my life disappeared. I ceased to listen to what it had to say or what it said it stood for. I no longer believed in its relevance to my life. I came to believe that a faith that denied me because of gender was no faith at all.

The final blow, the point beyond which I could no longer bare to even be associated with church came when I was sixteen. This was in the late 60’s when beehive hairdos were popular for women and men were beginning to wear longer styles. Our preacher, at the time, really disapproved of longer men’s hairstyles and decided to voice his opinion from the pulpit. He preached an entire sermon on a verse relating to the length of men’s hair. He twisted the words of this verse to make it say that god had commanded the fashion in which men should wear their hair. God said cut it short and keep it short, this is the word of god. This is all well and good, but in the next verse god also supposedly says that women should keep their hair long and keep it covered. This verse would also appear to be god’s commandment. Curious person that I am, I cornered the preacher after the sermon and pointed out to him the verse about women’s hair. He just smiled at me and said, “Oh, that’s just an old Jewish custom.” Men get commandments from god; women get old Jewish customs. Sure. That was thirty years ago. I’ve never been back.

If there is a feminine face of god, a sacredness that encompasses women, then I have only experienced it as a small child in the company of my mother, my grandmother, and my aunts when they seemed to exude the sacred from their very existence. That face, that sacredness died when I saw women’s service denigrated by men and a very male god to non-sacred, mundane, drudgery.

I have tried on several occasions to regain something of that spirit that cradled me as a child. I have been to several different denominations and participated in activities that I was barred from in the church of my childhood. I have led prayer, served communion, and on one wonderful occasion I stood in for the pastors when they were on vacation. I led the service. The feeling was wonderful, it was vindicating, and it was uplifting, but it was not enough. No matter how egalitarian the denomination, the service was still in homage to this very male god that bars any female association on an equal level with himself. That I can not abide.

For the time being, I associate with no god or goddess or spiritual deity. I do believe in the power within human beings to affect their lives, their surroundings, and the outcome of events on this earth. I believe that our need for a god is a very real need to impose some order on the chaos of our world. It is so much easier to blame a devil or a god than it is to take full responsibility for the state of our world onto our own shoulders. We make the choices; we suffer the consequences. We create our own devils and our own gods. They are at our command and do our bidding. When we can begin to include all peoples and all genders into the idea of a deity and realize that inclusion of all peoples and all creation is the true purpose of a deity, then I believe we will have reached a maturity as humans that has grown past the need for such a deity. We will have reached a place where we can say as sincerely as Jesus did, ‘I can as easily say to this man his sins are forgiven as I can say to this man pick up your bed and walk’ and know that it is true.

You are god, I am god, and all that exists is god.

8/01/2002 07:56:00 AM

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