Friday, January 21, 2011

1,218,240 Minutes

That's how long it was between full time jobs for me. 

But things have finally turned for the better and can't begin to tell you how delighted and relieved I am.  You know it was very hard to handle while it was happening but I think (not sure yet) that it may have been an extraordinary time. 

I'm going to spend a little time reflecting on all those minutes and see what emerges.  I have a feeling it will be good.

In the meantime, here's BadKitten Day 33.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Well Said

This is worth reading over and over.

And it never fails to reduce me to tears.

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation. 

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.
But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check -- a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. They have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.
As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied, as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating "For Whites Only". We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.
This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring."

And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

I'm going to skip BadKitten today and offer up the video for every young person in the hope that we adults can give them a world of freedom, justice and accpetance.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

No really--it's all about Christmas

Okay so first I couldn't find which bag I had left my camera in.  Then I couldn't find which bag the charger was in.  Then I found them both and tried to get my act together but that didn't work out well at all!

So let's finish talking about Christmas, shall we?  The day started out with breakfast at the inn.  Which, naturally, was delicious.  The start you out with a little baked treat (it was a cinnamon bun Christmas morning) and a little espresso cup of some sort of fruit smoothie.  And it was a Christmas miracle--a smoothie made without banana!  You see, I am violently allergic to bananas and most smoothies are made with them so I always miss out on it.  Even if they say it's, oh say, a strawberry smoothie, it usually has banana in it to give it body and texture.  And hives.  Big ones!  Emergency room ones.

Coffee, waffles, etc. etc. etc.  Really, everything you could possibly want from breakfast at a beautiful little inn. 

Then off to Sissy's where this was waiting for us.

See all those presents.  Well that's barely half of them.  The pile was HUGE.  And good. 

My best gift that I gave this year was my niece's new purse.  It's made out of actual film from the movie Twilight.  So when you hold it up to the light, you can see all the characters.  It's way cool and was a huge hit!

Gifts, gifts.  Eat, eat. Lounge, lounge.  I lost the bet on what was in the little Lilly Pulitzer bags.  I had guessed makeup bags but they were really lovely pashminas. 

When it got to the point that no one could move, we decided that it was a really good idea to move.  So we grabbed a folding chair, Blueberry grabbed her skates, and we marched up the hill to the pond.

BrattyGirl planted her ass in the chair.

Lucy chased a stick.

Don't you just love her sweater? 

After a sufficient amount of fresh air poisoning it was back to the inn for dinner.  And it was divine.  I had the diver scallops and the duck.  Too die for.  All the desserts looked so good that I just told the waiter to pick the one that he would choose.  It was an assortment of outrageous, orange concoctions.  I swooned. 

By 8 o'clock, we were all snuggled down and settled in for a comfortable evening.  And then the phone rang.  My sister had called to warn me about the blizzard.  Yeah, that blizzard.  Not sure if you remember the last time I drove home from VT in the snow but suffice it to say there was no way I was getting on the Taconic again.  But I had until morning to worry about so I went down to the lobby to fill my ice bucket and have a glass of chardonnay.  And who should I find but Pop.  Or should we call him Samurai Santa.

As you would imagine happening, in a lovely little inn on Christmas night, we met some people.  Really really nice people.  There was a couple from England who were traveling to NYC in a few days and we gave them a list of places, off the beaten path of course, to check out.  There was the couple from NH who, it turned out, were friends of friends.  We got to meet our favorite inn keeper's fiance.  It was heaven.

So all that said, was it Christmas?  No, it wasn't.  It was all brand new.  There were none of our normal traditions.  My dad didn't get to flirt with the pretty little waitress at our local Italian joint on Christmas Eve because we didn't go there.  We didn't have prime rib and mashed potatoes because we ate at the inn. 

Will it be Christmas?  You bet your boots it will.  The funny thing about starting new traditions is that they aren't traditions until you do them twice.

P.S.  Just in case you were worried, I beat the blizzard home by about five minutes.  I missed out on the first day of the Webs sale but I did get to make a little pit stop in Northhampton to pick up a bag that a friend had left at her mother-in-law's house so I did get to drive right by Webs.  I had to keep reminding myself that no matter how much yarn I put in my car, it wasn't going to give my little Mazda any better traction in the snow.

And before I forget.  Here's BadKitten Day 32.  I really like this song and this band.  Enjoy!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

One One One One

There's something about all the ones today that is making me feel brand new!  I love New Year's Day. The world is your oyster and anything at all is possible.

I'm getting started on a new knitting project tonight.  BadCat and Jeri have put together an amazing, gorgeous, mathematical lace sweater and, to date, there are over 70 of us signed up to knit it together.   Since I'm starting out the year with a project called Metamorphosis, I've been thinking a lot about change and what it means.

Last year, my new year's resolution was to live my life with more generosity of spirit.  I may have mentioned before that this was not a self-deprecating resolution.  Rather, it was about being generous of spirit with intent rather than just as habit.

So this year, I'm going for Metamorphosis as my New Year's resolution.   I am not talking about actively running around looking for things to change.  I'm making a commitment to being thoughtful about change.  And curious about it.  I'm going to try to look at things with an eye to whether or not I should change how I react, respond and decide.

If nothing else, it should be interesting.

By the way, I know I had said the next post would be about the rest of Christmas but I couldn't find the charger for the camera and I have pictures to share.  The charger has been located and the battery is charging so I promise I'll finish up the Vermont tale tomorrow.

Here's BadKitten day 31