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all ignorance toboggans into know
and trudges up to ignorance again:
but winter’s not forever,even snow
melts;and if spring should spoil the game,what then?

all history’s a winter sport or three:
but were it five,i’d still insist that all
history is too small for even me;
for me and you,exceedingly too small.

Swoop(shrill collective myth)into thy grave
merely to toil the scale to shrillerness
per every madge and mabel dick and dave
–tomorrow is our permanent address

and there they’ll scarecely find us(if they do,
we’ll move away still further:into now

by e.e. cummings


I discovered e.e. cummings in high school, just when I was bubbling up with angsty ridiculousness and writing my own (bad) poetry. I wrote a term paper on him and his poems and learned a ton, and never stopped enjoying his work. The typographical experiments, the use of dialect in his poems — it was all really exciting and new to me and really struck a chord, apparently.

I own at least four volumes of his work but haven’t read them in a long time, and when the Silent Poetry Reading came up again I went looking for this one poem of his that of course has no title and of which I only remember half a line. Awesome. Naturally, I couldn’t find the poem I was looking for, so I went through one of the volumes (that a friend in high school gave me as a birthday gift) in search of something to add to this event. There are so many great poems of his that I love and had forgotten, and re-reading them put me in a bit of a pickle: which one do I choose? Humanity i love you, and “next to god of course america i are brilliant, but I didn’t want to put a bunch of grumble up today. This poem feels like this moment to me, and there you have it. I hope you enjoy the Silent Poetry Reading happening all over blogs near you.

Huh. I went and got older while the blog wasn’t looking.

Some observations on being thirty years old:

1. My metabolism seems to have run off somewhere far away from here.
2. New grey hairs are bringing their power to the party.
3. My Mom now has a 30-year-old daughter. HA!
4. I’m starting to care less about those spooky and ubiquitous societal expectations.
5. I feel much more comfortable swearing in public.
6. I catch myself grumbling about “kids these days” and instead of horrifying me, it cracks me up.
7. The acne! Why do I still have it! Argh!
8. I’m oddly more mellow and more likely to start a fight now. It’s a weird mix.
9. I feel the need to read all the classics of American and world literature that I have never read.
10. My ability to keep my houseplants alive astonishes me, and gives me hope.

Happy February, everyone. Next time: I give you more pictures.

Today is the 37th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision (read the whole thing).

I’ve been thinking about what I would write for the last couple days, and other than incoherent ravings I didn’t think I had much to say, mostly just bullet points. But the incoherent ravings are huge. And frothy. I froth at the mouth when confronted with injustice.

A lot of the things I want to say are pretty inflammatory if you’re on the other side. Words like “forced-birth” and “fascist state” come to my mind, but I don’t want to use them because they don’t get my point across. That’s not true. They get one of my points across, but not in a way that accomplishes much.

Abortion has been legal for my entire lifetime. That’s a really hard sentence to follow — it’s been legal for my whole life. I’m about to turn thirty next week and that whole time this medical procedure has been legally available to women. Is that amazing to older feminists? It’s something I think I’ve taken for granted, so much so that the whole abortion/Baby-lies-to-her-Dad part of Dirty Dancing completely went over my head. What was the big deal? Baby didn’t lie to her Dad, after all. Wait, you mean this was illegal once?! My adolescence right there.

There are so many facets of this issue to talk about: how it’s actually not accessible by all women, thanks to the Hyde Amendment of 1976; how the granting of personhood to fetuses reduces the personhood and civil rights of the women carrying them; that the current attack on abortion rights seems to stem less from concern about unborn children than from a deep desire to keep women from attaining complete bodily autonomy WHAARRRGGARRBLL.

Ahem. dabs froth daintily from corner of mouth

The part of reproductive choice that I am most involved in is the choice of women to decide when, where and with whom we will give birth. The ‘when’ kind of encompasses most of the pro-choice argument, but the ‘where and with whom’ is part of my doula/labor and birth support activism. I am an advocate for a woman’s right to decide where she will give birth (at home in a pool for a natural birth after a cesarean, in a hospital with the Cadillac of epidurals) and with whom (do you want your whole neighborhood there? Just your partner?) because this is part of the whole package, the whole reproductive choice issue. The right to privacy and bodily integrity was a focus of the Supreme Court decision in 1973, and in 2010 that right is vanishing. If one part of our ability to self-determine is taken away, others are sure to follow and what will be the end result? Who benefits from that? Clearly not the women who are not allowed to decide for ourselves what to do with our bodies.

I’m a pro-choice doula, likely an unpopular stance in my profession (I haven’t met many of us yet), and I trust women to make our own decisions.

I don’t have the last two days of the year sorted out yet, either in pictures or the actual events of the actual days. We’re in Michigan right now with our good friends Mark and Amy and we’re (they’re) fixing the dinner/snacky bits for their party tonight.

As we’re away from home I naturally don’t have all the bits and pieces of my daily life, including the camera charger. The camera’s battery is getting low and as I went around Mark & Amy’s house snapping pictures for today I thought “I should save the battery for tomorrow’s picture.” But I don’t need to. My part of Project 365 ends today, is over in fact because I’ve already selected today’s picture. And that feels completely weird.

I don’t have time right now to say everything I want to about this project, but I will say: I enjoyed the hell out of this project. Sometimes it felt like a burden and sometimes it felt like I was really progressing and growing my skills as a photographer, and I enjoyed all of it. The burden (“oh shit, I forgot to take a picture for today and now I’m in my pajamas — how do I make my house look interesting?”) pushed me to change my perspective and that’s been really valuable.

December 23, 2009
2009-12-23

On Wednesday the 23rd we drove to Rockford to see Becky and Jason, visiting from Virginia. We met their awesome daughter Grace and had a great time hanging out. It was so much fun, and I’m looking forward to their possible move to the midwest for more awesomeness.

December 24, 2009
2009-12-24

Christmas Eve we ate a delicious dinner and opened our presents. NinjaHusband enjoyed the Ken Burns National Parks DVD. I feel like I should say more about this picture, but that’s really all there is to it.

December 25, 2009
2009-12-25

The tree at my parents’ house. We don’t have one up in our house, and I miss the tradition our family had of all going to Williams Tree Farm, choosing a tree (each year a different person got to make the final decision on what kind of tree we got), and Mom buying each of us girls a new ornament. Then we’d get some hot cider and hang out by the fireplace with the Williams’ dogs, catch up with their family (all us girls went to school with a Williams boy), then go home and decorate the tree. It was a great way to start the holiday time.

December 26, 2009
2009-12-26

On Saturday we went to my Aunt’s house and on the way we picked up my Grandma from her nursing home. While NinjaHusband helped Dad get Grandma into the car, I noticed the huge snowflakes that were collecting on the windshield. I took about 12 pictures before I got a few good ones, and this turned out to be the clearest. I took this from inside the car, looking up at the snow (it snowed SO MUCH that day).

December 27, 2009
2009-12-27

On Sunday I decided to get back to cutting up old t-shirts to create “yarn” for a rag rug that I’m knitting. I found a tutorial online on how to easily cut shirts (I’ve been cutting them in a spiral around the torso — it takes forever) which of course I can’t find right now. It turns out to look like a ribcage kind of, and it strikes me as funny.

December 28, 2009
2009-12-28

An old house (now maybe turned into a duplex?) in DeKalb, framed by a tree. This house used to be either the servants’ house or a guest house or some outbuilding belonging to a huge HUGE mansion that stood on the corner of Pine and Third, but in the 1960s the amazing home was bulldozed to make room for, in the finest American tradition, a parking lot.

December 29, 2009
2009-12-29

The corner of 38/Lincoln Highway and Second Street in DeKalb. The object on the left is an iced-over pipe on the exterior of a wall. This turned out blurrier than I had hoped, but I like the out-of-focus look down toward the Hillside and the Egyptian Theater. I wasn’t feeling awesome at all this week, and I was having an especially shitty day on Tuesday, so the blurry look feels completely right.

December 30, 2009
2009-12-30

This is a lamp (allegedly made of kryptonite) in Mark & Amy’s house. It lives in the middle of their superawesome midcentury wall piece, full of bookshelves and cases. It’s good people and greeted us with flair when we arrived here last night at midnight. Late driving is not easy, and it’s worse when the weather is crappy like it was last night. NinjaHusband kicked ass driving our new car (of which I still haven’t taken a picture) in the snow.

December 31, 2009
2009-12-31

He can’t even contain his enthusiasm. I took this just a bit ago, when I was writing the beginning of this post, as NinjaHusband was giving Amy his opinion of the lighting.

Happy End of 2009! You were a beautiful and varied year, but I’m not sorry to see you go.

Happy Beginning of 2010! I expect great things from you and your new decade.

All the best to you and yours, darling readers. Thanks for putting up with my total lack of anything BUT pictures for the majority of this year. I hope to bring back the knit next year, and keep up with the pictures but hopefully keep them from taking over the blog.

It’s Christmas Eve! Woohoo! I have one gift to finish, a little grocery shopping, and a whole bunch of lounging around to do. And some pictures to show you.

December 14, 2009
2009-12-14

This happy little tree belongs to our friends Adam and Beth. We went over to their place on Monday to play what seems to have been the last round of Rock Band on the XBox, for they got the red ring of death just a few days later. Boo! I snapped the tree because I’ve kind of adopted it. I like the cheeseburger ornament best.

December 15, 2009
2009-12-15

On Tuesday I was taking pictures to use on the library’s christmas cards, and they turned out to be the only pictures I took that day. I like this one best because it has some nice contrast and pretty colors.

December 16, 2009
2009-12-16

Another favorite ornament. When I was growing up my Mom bought me and my sisters a new ornament every year, and as a result we have our own collections now. She bought me this one at (I think) the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago on a Girl Scout trip when I was pretty young — 10 or so, maybe? The museum had all these christmas trees up and covered with ornaments from different cultures. I have no idea what culture this is from. I love it.

December 17, 2009
2009-12-17

Maribeth graduated from nursing school! Here she is showing off her pin after the ceremony, so happy. Congratulations MB!

December 18, 2009
2009-12-18

On Friday Maribeth’s graduating class hosted a dinner party for friends and family at Cliffbreakers in Rockford. Becky and Kori drove up from Texas for the holidays and made it up early for Maribeth’s graduation and dinner. I took a couple pictures of them in front of the lovely fireplace, one with flash (not flattering!) and this one without flash, which I did run through the Photoshop to upgrade the color balance and give it some brightness.

December 19, 2009
2009-12-19

The cat loves this grey silk and wool scrap of yarn and will bat it around, throw it to herself, and hide it under the table leg, then work to get it back out again. Wacky cat.

December 20, 2009
2009-12-20

A felted owl, by one Heather. I like to think I helped in the construction of this little guy.

December 21, 2009
2009-12-21

The candle I lit on the solstice. Mmm… candlelight.

December 22, 2009
2009-12-22

Berries under snow. Merry Holiday!

Everyone needs something to believe in, and I believe I’ll have another beer.

It’s been a long and wonderful day, and now I hope to get this post written and posted before I pass out from awesomeness. And whiskey.

November 30, 2009
2009-11-30

The doors on the Lutheran church on my walk to work. I’ve taken lots of pictures of the Lutheran church this year, and this shot lined up nicely. Merry Holiday!

December 1, 2009
2009-12-01

On my walk to dinner, the Christian Scientist church (yes, the library is surrounded by churches. and a funeral home). I really like this building, and it catches the light like whoa.

December 2, 2009
2009-12-02

Not a very good picture of my favorite candleholder. I bought this with NinjaHusband so long ago… I don’t even remember where we were. Maybe 10 years ago or more? It’s frosted glass pieces inside a metal framework. So simple, so Japonese-ish, so awesome. I wish I had gotten a better picture than one with a flash, but what can you do in a low-light living room at night?

December 3, 2009
2009-12-03

On Thursday we put up the lighted garland, with ornaments. Heart! We don’t put up a tree, but we do put up a bunch of lit-up garland and I hang my favorite ornaments — currently stars and snowflakes on one side of the room, and red/gold balls on the other side.

December 4, 2009
2009-12-04

One angle on a snowbabies figurine given to me by the lovely and inestimable Peninah. Mwah, dahling. It’s my favorite holiday decoration.

December 5, 2009
2009-12-05

This tag was on a pair of shoes I bought. I took the picture because it seemed so incredibly absurd.

December 6, 2009
2009-12-06

One of the ornaments on the stair railing garland. Happy Holiday(s) of your choosing! I attended a birth this day and took this late at night, enjoying the twinkly lights after my nap.

December 7, 2009
2009-12-07

I took this picture because the street looked pretty, and it was a nice parallel to the picture on October 28 in this post. Whee!

December 8, 2009
2009-12-08

Tuesday night at work my computer got all hung up on something, so I pulled out my emergency knitting (stashed in the lower drawer on the right-hand side) and worked a few rows of garter stitch to take the edge off.

December 9, 2009
2009-12-09

On Wednesday I wasn’t feeling well + the roads were full of snow + my car is a POS, so I stayed home. The heat turns itself down during the day, and the cat and I burrowed into blankets for some delicious naptime.

December 10, 2009
2009-12-10

The day I finished most of my holiday cards.

December 11, 2009
2009-12-11

My friend Joe, on his 30th birthday. I went into the city to see Joe and John, his twin brother, for their birthday, and ended up meeting an old high school friend as well. It was a kickass time and I wish I saw Joe more often. Happy birthday Joe and John!

December 12, 2009
2009-12-12

On Saturday we had an awesome dinner + game night with friends, one of whom is pictured here.

December 13, 2009
2009-12-13

Yay for Beth’s finished jacket! She finished sewing the ribbon-backed snaps on at knitting group, and it looks great on her. So pretty!

Late again. And with only a few more weeks left in the year! At least I’m only behind on one holiday at the moment.

November 23, 2009
2009-11-23

A look at what I had planned for Thanksgiving, both at NinjaHusband’s aunt’s house on Thanksgiving and at my mom’s house on the Saturday afterward. There’s more on the back of that sheet of paper. I’m pretty happy that Thanksgiving comes but once a year.

November 24, 2009
2009-11-24

The cat, an excellent source of fun. She gets in playful moods when we come home from work and leaps about, playing with her toys. This time she got in a shopping bag and waited to pounce on one of us when we got too close.

November 25, 2009
2009-11-25

Behold my awesome pictures. I give you: side table. This was a TV stand that belonged to my grandparents when they got their first TV, I think. My grandma gave it to me. It’s the perfect height for an end table, and I love the scratches all over it. Character.

November 26, 2009
2009-11-26

Thanksgiving night at my Mom’s house. These are plates that belonged to my grandma, all freshly washed and ready to be set out for Saturday’s meal.

November 27, 2009
2009-11-27

NinjaHusband and my Dad moved a ton of stuff from my grandma’s house to my uncle’s, and to my aunt’s, and to Mom & Dad’s. This hutch moved in and now holds the nicer plates and china.

November 28, 2009
2009-11-28

Tops of poplar trees. I went out to the back yard on Saturday, before all the family came over, to get some pictures of trees for my sister who is writing a book about trees as literary theme. I got this shot by lying down and snapping just the tops.

November 29, 2009
2009-11-29

On Sunday we went into Chicago to see our friend John, who is running sound for the new Cirque du Soliel show at the Chicago Theatre. Much fun was had by all.