Thursday, December 15, 2011

I am officially allowed to sing and play the blues now.

For my friends, family, and readers who cannot and will not understand or try to understand why I have been doing some of the radical things I have been doing lately, such as being arrested deliberately, please know that for many years, once upon a time, I saw things from your side. Probably even held a a staunchly more conservative view than you can imagine. Until recently, I have always followed the letter of the law in my activism, such as signing petitions and merely marching in rallies. I have done things the way the law tells me I must, but nothing ever changed. It never gets any better. It only gets worse and the lies from above get bigger and more outlandish as more and more go without the hard-earned dollars they should be getting a lot more of than they do.

And now people who lie across railroad tracks may potentially be considered terrorists because they are trying to save the planet from the corporate "people" who are raping the planet of its valuable, non-renewable resources, creating pollution on a scale never seen before, manipulating the government and the economy...egads, where does it have to end before people will stop scratching their heads and wondering what I'm taking against a stand against...and why. And for whom. I love you ladles and jellyspoons, and wish I could tell you how it feels the moment you realize you are willing to put yourself at great risk for something to change for the good. I know exactly what I'm doing. And I'm doing it because I believe someone has to. May as well be me. Don't support my cause, that's fine. Don't support me if you don't choose to, and that's fine, too. But please don't tell me I'm an idiot for doing something that you've never done, especially considering the conscious reasons I'm making these decisions. If you don't understand it from my perspective, it does not make it stupid. It only makes it a wrong choice for you. A right choice for me. Not wrong for either...just different.

This isn't open for discussion; I simply wanted a place to air how I feel. Yes, I'm proud to have been arrested, and I think you would be, too, if you were in my shoes, but bigger than my pride is my sorrow for the lessons I learned in jail...that our country dropped the ball on seeing to the wellbeing of its citizens' children. As a former foster parent, I got to see where my foster kids end up: like the 21-year old mother of two who has been in this jail 11 times this year. Where did we go wrong, America? What do I do to fix it? I might not get it right, but at least I'm trying. Radical Altruism. Because Greed, Corruption, and War don't work. Peaceful action might. It's hella cheaper than funding a pre-spun war overseas, too. All we want are some warm blankets and a cuppa or a bowl of hot soup (I've been craving a hearty vegetarian leek and potato soup for weeks) while we hang out together and try to change things. As my original sign reads..."Please pardon our peaceful chaos as we reboot our country's operating system". There's bound to be some inconvenience, just like when there's a detour when the road is being fixed. It's a bother, but in the end, the smooth surface makes the traveling so much nicer.

I will be telling my jail story soon. I'm still decompressing and digesting. I'm glad I did it. It was enlightening. I've grown.

Wishing each of you and yours the very brightest blessings of the holiday season. Namaste'.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Day 30...melancholia sets in

Being a revolutionary is hard work. It's even harder when you've slept 29 out of 30 nights in a tent in the rain, wind, or cold (or worse, a combination of all three). Have you ever camped out for a month? If so, you might realize how difficult it is to keep a clean camp, especially if you have kitchen facilities and different people coming and going all day. At the mo, I am sulking because I am not happy with the condition of the camp and am a bit embarrassed to play tour guide for curious passersby. With the setbacks we've had from the weather, especially the 60+ mph gusts of wind, our camp has seen better days in the month that it has been established in a park next to Bellingham Bay. Half of our tents are gone. Our community tent isn't adequate, requiring that it be lowered every time the winds come up (and sometimes requiring a harried run after items blowing away at two o'clock in the morning). We have no routine for making the tent weather-proof, so every time we have to adjust it for windage, the fodder in the tent (snacks, miscellaneous dishes, papers, blankets, and other stuphs) keeps getting moved around, misplaced, relocated, moved to off-site storage, thrown away, or just plain lost. We've been talking (and talking and talking) about acquiring a new structure, but so far, it's just

Frankly, I'm a bit jaded and wonder if we'll just fall apart from lack of motivation in a leaderless movement. I'm awaiting [in abundantly grateful mode] the delivery of a small yurt (six feet in diameter, not the one pictured that is a traditional Mongolian yurt, or ger) that a friend has told me I can have; it needs repair, but I'm confident that I can make it work. This will give me a bit more room than my considerably wee tent (my sleeping bag lies diagonally so that it will fit inside). You'd be surprised how much I will appreciate that little bit of extra wiggle room. It's my hope that, when the rest of the camp sees how functional and weather-resistant a yurt can be, they'll think about helping me to build a bigger one to use as our communal space.

I'm certain that I can create this common area, used for our General Assemblies and "living room" when we're not working for the movement or shivering against the cold in our residential tents. I won't say that I've met resistance on erecting a bigger yurt, but I've deferred to the others in camp who seem to think that a structure using scaffolding as a foundation will serve better than a yurt. However's been over a week that we've been discussing this shelter, and to my knowledge, we're no closer to acquiring it than we were when it was first discussed. In the meantime, I've researched the materials necessary and checked various resources for availability of inexpensive, used components (slats or rods for the lattice wall, supports for the central ring that can be made of PVC pipe, tarps and thrift-store or donated blankets for the roof and outer walls). It won't be the quality of the yurts made by my friends or manufactured kits you can purchase, but in my humble opinion, it would serve better than the wall-less awning type of tent we currently have; the tarp walls we haphazardly hang from the sides to keep us a bit warmer do absolutely nothing to increase its stability in the wind. Yes, I'd be happier to have a yurt than a scaffolded tarp castle, but if this castle would just get built, I'd shut up about the yurt. I know I sound like a broken record, but someone has to keep harping about getting something done, else nothing will ever get done, will it? And after 30 days of camping in adverse conditions, it's getting easier to harp about things that just aren't getting done. Once a mom, always a mom.

I'm currently awaiting moving into a flat here in Bellingham after living in my cozy little place in Sumas for three years; I expect to be relocating in two to four weeks. This means that I really need to spend some time there, packing and preparing. However comma...every time I leave camp, I feel guilty, thinking that I may be needed there. Our population has dwindled with the nasty winter weather that keeps getting thrown at us; there aren't enough of us as it is to have the camp manned 'round the clock. I have to wonder if this is a point that the other Occupy encampments have reached...a month in, and there is talk of doing away with the camp in favor of participating in more events and actions. I don't support this, as ready as I have been in the past couple of days to just throw in the towel altogether. We need a camp. We need that symbology of sleeping in cold tents in the wind and rain to show our solidarity with Occupy Wall Street. And Portland. And Oakland. They had their camps taken from them against their will, along with their personal belongings and their very safety. And we're gonna give up because it's too hard? I have said that, even if I am the only tent left in the park, I'm not leaving. I hope I can live up to that. I'm certainly not doing this for my health. I'm here for my granddaughter. And for my kids, because I was ignorant about all the reasons I'm now part of this movement while they were growing up. For Mother Earth, who just can't take any more abuse from the oil corporations that continue to rape her of her lifeblood and nutrients.

But I am tired. And a bit melancholy. And I miss my big ol' brass bed and a lifestyle that doesn't involve waiting until right before it's too late to make it to the freezing porta-potty at three o'clock in the morning because I can barely wriggle out of the cocoon that is my WWII down mummy bag in time, the only warm place in my universe. Still, there's a revolution to be waged, and wage it, I will.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Postcards from camp

A few photos from Occupy Bellingham, my home away from home, while we recover from having about 2/3 of our camp dismantled by the strong winds last night.

This is Suzie, our resident mooch. Too cute to deny, she runs off the other swirls, much like the one-footed starling who knows she alone is allowed to clean up after us.

Home away from home

When we're really lucky, an anonymous donor brings us hot bricks to warm our hands and place in our sleeping bags to warm and dry our cold tootsies.

Support from down the road...awesome! And yummy!

My new boops...good camo, and they keep my feet dry, if not terribly warm and comfy. Dry is still a very, very good thing at camp.

Stick around for deeper blogging...I'm currently running on very little sleep and/or rest. This is just a glimpse into the unexpected things you might see at camp.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Portland Police Peppered my Papoose

My baby was pepper-sprayed yesterday. I'm so proud. Well and truly. As part of what seems to be an organized movement against a movement, the police have shut down Occupy Portland (in addition to much unrest in many parks across the country), where my son has been contributing his time and energy to the same cause to which I dedicate myself here in Bellingham. Though I've never been tear-gassed or pepper-sprayed, I know that my very presence here makes that a possibility (though a slim one, as the Bellingham police have been quite gracious). Knowing that my son stood his ground against injustice the same way I would have done makes me a very proud mum, indeed.

I've lost track of the number of nights I've slept in a cold tent...I think last night makes night 20 (night 21 for the camp, but I missed a night when I went home to tend to my cat who now lives with me here). Today marks the beginning of Week Four here at Noisy Waters (our camp name, the native meaning for Whatcom, the county in which I live). I would never have believed I'd be living in a tent at my age, especially when I have a warm, dry, comfortable, cozy apartment of my own. I suppose it's taken me this long to finally know who I am, what I stand for and against, and what is so important that I will make sacrifices I'd never have considered making.

Why the hell am I doing this? For my granddaughter. So my wee Kalliepillar Flutterby won't grow up ingesting growth hormones in the milk that she drinks and genetically modified foods that haven't been tested. My granddaughter deserves the very best planet I can give her. Unfortunately, that planet has been overrun by corporations like Monsanto that buy their way into our government and into our food supply. When a former bigwig for Monsanto becomes a chief advisor for the Food and Drug Administration, there's a huge problem. Can you say conflict of interest?

Monsanto is just one very scary corporation whose government money threatens us. And not merely financially, like some of the others who take away our homes, underpay/underemploy us, or give our jobs to someone who will do it much more cheaply overseas. By continuing to be ignorant and or apathetic of their practices, we are allowing them to poison our food chain. We are inviting them to take away our small family farms as they sue farmer after farmer when they conveniently discover that a single kernel of their corn has "volunteered" on the next farm over. "You can't grow our seeds...those are our property. Now we will sue your farm away from you with our great corporate gain and legal team you can't afford to beat." They are sneaky cheaters, throwing money at the government who looks away, choosing not to see the potential dangers that the chemicals they are producing will eventually eradicate entire plant species which are beneficial to man. Do some research into what Monsanto's weed killer, Roundup, is really doing to our world. Seems to me that a corporation that manufactures plant killers probably shouldn't be in the business of growing the genetically altered food the government tells us is "just fine" to eat.

And Monsanto's GMOs may do us all in, as testing isn't always done; "these foods are essentially the same as what you're used to eating, so extended testing isn't necessary". Really? You're fooling around with isolating the particular section of a gene from an animal that will, say, allow a plant to require less water and be heartier in adverse conditions, and you expect us to believe that it's basically the same thing that our ancestors grew? Pardon me if I cry bullshit, but "Bullshit". What's scarier about all of this is that, when combined with the text of the Codex Ailmentarius, written in 1962, you realize that the whole food supply becomes a potential weapon. And our very own government, there to protect us, right(?), has been so caught up in the want of more, more, more, that they look the other way while the ones pouring money into their coffers are simultaneously pouring poison down our throats.

This is just one example of what one corporation's money in our government is doing. And just look how deep it goes! If this one corporation alone is creating such problems for mankind while getting richer and richer as they do it, don't you wonder what the others are doing? Isn't it time to take a stand against that? Isn't it potentially the time to be pepper-sprayed if there's a chance that it will keep your granddaughter from growing breasts when she's nine years old and menstruating at the age of ten? Now is the time for action...we have been submissive and quiet for too long. I am living in a cold, wet, tent in the winter (it snowed some last night) to remind others that things are rotten in the state of America, and to rally with those who know that we have to change this system. Now. And hope it's not too late.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

(Typed before I had access to any news)
So, apparently, Occupy Wall Street is under attack. Or was. Even the media was first uninformed, then arrested when some reporters showed up, and the protestors have lost Zucotti Park. My cell phone, my only real source of news outside the camp except for my fellow Ninety-Niners, won't keep a decent charge in the cold, but the last text message I got from my PuppetMan (a dear friend in Chicago who is one of the artists of PuppetBike there) was that OWS was blowin' up. I went to bed knowing the police were there, but didn't know what would happen. And I still don't know what's happening, as the camp is particularly empty this morning. I won't know much until I go up the hill to charge my phone and hear the news, which is when I'll also post this notepad creation to Bicycles and Beansprouts. If I'm lucky, I'll have just enough charge on my laptop every day to formulate a post while I'm sitting in my warm sleeping bag, waiting for my day to start. And because there's so much uncertainty to what is happening to the peaceful occupation movement in New York, I'm feeling a bit more unsettled than the last 15 or 16 mornings I've woken up in my wee tent here.

What happens there affects us here, as we are their 99% and they are ours. I fear for them. And for all the movements that are peaceful. We are horribly misrepresented by the majority of the media. Any drug overdose you hear about in an encampment is one that could have and probably would have happened anywhere else. As for filth, this park is cleaner than it was before we occupied it. Sure, we each have our representatives that might not serve as well as others, but that's also true in any organization or family. The media, a tool for the very corporations guilty of the deeds that have wrecked our planet, will show you only what they're "allowed" to show you. Remember the twins in "Good Morning, Vietnam", the ones who censored the news feed feed before Robin Williams' character could read it on the air because "what we didn't know wouldn't hurt us"? If you don't believe that the media is controlling you just as it is being controlled, then you're probably not the right type of audience for me, quite frankly. No offense, but some thinkering.

I digress. Occupy Wall Street. Without knowing what's going on, my mind has the potential to fear the worst: rubber bullets and fractured skulls, pepper spray and skin burns, tear gas and mass confusion, mayhem, and another word, WAR. Why?!? Someone please make me understand how camping peacefully (if they're even allowed tents) and doing the necessary work to make things right in our government at long last is a crime. And even if it is, how is it feasible that it's so potentially dangerous to anyone but the 1% that the police need to go to such great lengths to hurt the peacemongers who don't have riot shields to hide behind? We're unarmed. No weapons allowed. As far as I know, the movement of non-violence is prevalent throughout every Occupy movement. So why are we battled out of the places we paid to build with violence and weapons? I can't fathom where treatment of people is acceptable in any country, but this is us...the good ol' USA. And just like in the wars where we send our young men and women to battle for reasons they're not told and lies they believe, we are at war with our own countrymen because of the same lies. Only we don't have bullets, pepper spray, tear gas, riot gear, and batons. Those of you still scratching your heads, saying, "You 99% camps...we still don't get it"? You may not understand, but the 1% does, and they're scared. And as always, they administer hate as a treatment for what they fear. They are sending our own countrymen after us. And not for the reasons you're being fed by the media.

I can't imagine being rousted out of my warm sleeping spot by someone behind a riot shield, wearing full protection, identity obscured by a mask. How scary. Are sleeping peacemongerers really that dangerous? Beside the point is that our First Amendment tells us we can peaceably assemble. And now we're having that right not only ignored, but raped away from us in the middle of the night by men with weapons. In what operating system is this right? What kind of mind would acquiesce to those kind of orders? Law enforcement officers are just as lucky as the rest of the country to have a job these days, but where is the line of integrity drawn?

Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. War has NEVER worked. Isn't it time we tried peace? Speaking for my camp, we do an excellent job of that, and I'm fairly certain that we truly are the 99%...our camps are like those of the others. Peaceful. Non-violent. Not deserving to be evicted from the parks we paid for, but worse, we are being physically assaulted in the process. I say "we" in solidarity, as the police here have been most gracious. We would hope that their jobs have been maybe even a tad easier since we include the homeless in our community, helping them stay off the streets to some degree. I can't imagine a single reason that the police might be justified in tearing apart our camp, especially armed to the hilt against unarmed citizens who do well just to stay warm against the winter cold.

Have you not felt the great civil unrest? Have you not realized that every revolution has to start somewhere, and this is it? Even in places like Bellingham, "the City of Subdued Excitement", population 80,000ish, there is a shift occurring. People are waking up to the injustice we have experienced not only ourselves, but to the wrongs done to our friends and family, our communities and small merchants, the mom-n-pop shops and restaurants that I am coming to love more and more as I work on blog posts and research from the comfort of a place where I can get a cuppa and borrow some 'lectric juice for my phone (and now my laptop). There is no comparison to sitting in a building with a near-100-year history, writing about the revolution that is happening right in front of my nose and yours than, say, blogging from a McDonalds tucked away in a Wal-Mart. These small businesses are the 99%, as well, too often in competition with the big corporations...and losing. Shame, that. And now the police are attacking us because we're trying to defend their way of living. What is the world coming to when the very citizens who sometimes shop these independent establishments protect the country from the citizens who run them? With bullets. I don't get it. Never will. So I will stay on this side and fight with peace.

Some of these posts will be scattered, as I have only the resources to be sporadic; if a post doesn't flow, my apologies. I often have to abandon one train of thought because another one is coming in behind it so quickly that it shoves it off the track. And on that note, I have some books to read on yurts. I've always wanted one...I never thought I'd be building my own to winter a war. Blessings to the oppressors, may their eyes be opened. May they realize that they are one step away from being us. Om shanti.

I freakin' love this woman; the message on her shirt is one I fell in love with years ago, and bless her for allowing her kidlets to be a part of history.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Here's the doozy of a promised over a year ago.

I dunno what happened; the year got away from me without a post. I hope that this one will make up for it.

If anyone ever told me that I'd be a spokesperson for anything, there was a time when quiet, shy, reserved me wouldn't even have the nerve to laugh in their face. Now, however, not only am I a spokesperson, I represent a revolution!

I am the 99%. I am what democracy looks like. I "twinkle" when I like something. In the cold and the rain and the wet and the wind of an early winter, I am living in a tent in a camp with electricity from a generator that is run for only a few hours a day. And I've never been happier. How could that possibly be?

It all started just over a month ago, when I was compelled to march with in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement in my local community of Bellingham, Washington. I was swept into something much bigger, meeting new best friends and friends I've had again and again in this wild, wacky, and mysterious cosmos. I've experienced magic in this little rag-tag camp of amazing young people and dynamic individuals who make up oh, so much more than the sum of their parts. We are changing things. Changing ourselves. Becoming the change we wish to see in the world. And it all seems to blossom and grow, flourishing with the nurturing of the Oneness of the camp.

That's not to say that living here is all Bavarian Bismarcks from Rocket Donuts and a lovely cuppa tea from Woods (where cold revolutionaries go to charge their cell phones and other 'lectronics). It's hard work to keep the Occupy movement going, as it is primarily double in scope for me; creating an awareness of the situation with the banks and corporations in order to bring about the necessary separation of the greed and corruption of the 1% from our democratic process, and to keep the camp avoid losing valuable members of our community. To be sure my new family has enough to eat and dry socks and "austerity blankets", the blankets most of us wear about our shoulders as an additional layer against the cold that settled into camp as soon as we did. Layers are our friends. I am determined to make long johns (thermal underwear) a staple in every woman's winter wardrobe.

We do phenomenal things here. We are feeding, clothing, and sheltering the homeless. We are dealing with scary-ass situations with peace and love. Compassion and non-violence. The diversity in our camp is rainbows and thunderstorms and sunshine. Meadows and badlands. Oceans and deserts. And yet, somehow, with all the little niggly things you'll encounter in any and every family, we have come together to support one another completely as we, the Whole, support the other Occupy movements that are popping up all over the globe. Thank Cow! We're way past due for a decent revolution. And that is indeed what this is. Welcome to an inside seat to what it's like to be changing the government, just as our ancestors did when it became necessary to right the injustices of the corrupt.

Stay tuned as I blog what it's like to be on the front lines of a peaceful war against the lies, the greed, the slavery, the dumbing-down, the selfishness of those who perpetuate hate and fear. I am a love-based Being, determined to win this fight to create a better world for my granddaughter, for my Mother Earth, and for you. Doing that is the hard thing that requires the sacrifices I am honoured to make with my new comrades at our camp, Noisy Waters, in Bellingham. Namaste'.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

I know, I know...

A new post is coming. It will probably be a doozy, glooming over how July should be wiped from the annals of history forever. Or at least mine. 'Twas a sad, painful, difficult month. September brings a whirlwind of planning. October brings a road trip with my brother and father; half-way 'cross the country to deliver a particular gramma to a granddaughter she's never met.

Wait a minute...just a note to say a post is coming soon doesn't look like this. I've been hijacked by my muse who is clamoring for my attention on another writing project. Auf Weider Bye-Bye.