Antidote for War

I had an idea for a fun post. But then I forgot. (I'm sure I wrote it down somewhere so it's still coming...)

I had way too much fun changing my banner (lots of you use the rss feed and prolly don't notice that I change my banner weekly-ish which is why I'm mentioning it so you can go to my real live blog and check it out!)

and the quote:
"When all the peoples of the world remember to laugh, particularly at themselves, there will be no more dictators and no more war."
--Ben Lucien Burman

And now for some laughing at myself:

I hope that made you feel good because it sure made me feel good!


Resolutions Week 6

-scanned lots and lots and lots (about 10 hours I would guess)

-I thought the project would take 5 hours, but after 10 hours I still have another 3-ish to go.

Last Week:

Next Week: (I'm keeping it easy again because I'll be gone a couple days)
  1. Reply to email/voice mail within 24 hours. I need to revisit this one
  2. Try out jump-roping

And this is totally me: (Thanks Matt!)

Banning the Homeless in Colorado Springs

Last week I attended a workshop by Kathy Kelly on Creative Nonviolence. She wrote this article relating to the "No Camping" Ordinance that has now passed in Colorado Springs and asked us to repost it.

By Kathy Kelly

Decency and Strength

"Here in Colorado Springs, student and community organizers recently invited me to try and help promote their campaign against a proposed “No Camping” ordinance, a law to ban the homeless from sleeping on sidewalks or public lands within the city limits. The organizers insist it’s wrongful to criminalize the most desperate and endangered among us, that it instead seems quite criminal to persecute people already in need of far more care and compassion than we've been willing to offer, especially during these bitterly cold winter months. But others in the area are intent on eliminating the tent encampments near the Monument Creek and Shooks Run trails, complaining that the encampments mar natural beauty, deter tourists, create fire hazards, and degrade the environment by strewing heaps of trash and debris near the creek and even in it.

It seems important for both sides of the argument to acknowledge other local encampments that Colorado Springs is home to: Fort Carson Army base, both Peterson and Schriever (formerly Falcon) Air Force Bases, Norad and Cheyenne Air Force Stations, and the U.S. Air Force Academy. It's not lost on opponents of the "No Camping" ordinance that stop-loss policies prevent many of the young men and women at these institutions from returning to their homes, where many of them long to be after repeated tours of military duty outside the United States. For every soldier intent on strengthening his or her country's military option, how many more are taking a last-ditch option, signing up for the famed "poverty draft," to sustain themselves and their families through an economic crisis felt throughout the country and the world? Many, though not all, of these young people have been driven by poverty into their encampments as surely as the Monument Creek campers have been driven into theirs.

And these bases, whatever the intentions of their residents, can certainly be scrutinized for creating waste, destruction, fear, fires, massive casualties and environmental degradation. Whatever the soldiers' intentions, these bases are here, when called upon, to supply "shock and awe" wherever needed around the world. But, it’s highly unlikely that a No-Camping ordinance will appear before the City Council of Colorado Springs, or any other city in the United States, returning these young men and women to viable and secure lives back in their home communities.

President Obama, while freezing spending on nonmilitary programs in this desperate economic moment, just submitted a new budget asking an additional 708 billion dollars for the Department of Defense. Keeping one U.S. soldier in Afghanistan,for one year, costs one million dollars. All this to prevent Al Qaeda strongholds in the country even though mainstream news sources have noted that less than 100 militants of the Al Qaeda organization even live in Afghanistan. (Fox News, December 2nd, 2009). With our additional attacks against our supposed ally Pakistan, and our insistence that its government attack its own villages along the Afghan border, we have displaced at least 3 million more people, one million of whom still wait in tent encampments and inadequate shelters for their indefinitely postponed return to security and normal life, filling massive refugee camps that military observers repeatedly warn create ideal recruitment conditions for jihadist groups.

“In this new decade,” said President Obama, in his State of the Union address, “it's time the American people get a government that matches their decency; that embodies their strength.”

But where, with this addiction to war, this perverse use of resources that could house and feed our neighbors to instead destroy homes and villages abroad, --where can we find decency? Where can we find real strength? The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King famously insisted that "A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death." When asked, U.S. people are overwhelmingly in favor of reductions, not increases, of the military budget, and increases of aid to the needy, not reductions or freezes. Why does it seem so impossible to find a government that matches this decency and this strength?

Strength, in the sense of real security, comes from communities pulling together in compassion and cooperation. Strength comes from decency. We are made insecure by our criminal assaults on international security and our criminal neglect of the poor at home. Who will educate us to better understand that being seen as a menacing, frightful and destructive culture, internationally, jeapordizes our security? International law establishes that initiating war, as we did in Iraq and indeed in Afghanistan, is a crime; and in a fundamental sense, for those who wish to live in security, crime does not pay.

Our strength will not come from diversions of desperately needed resources into meaningless destruction and division. Individual Americans, without waiting for help from above, must act to correct these pathologies of American social and political life. We can support and learn from decent and kindly organizers, in Colorado Springs and other communities, who extend a hand of friendship to those all too often viewed, domestically, as expendables. We can donate from our own resources to fight poverty at home and thereby deny these resources as taxable income that our government can employ in causing more despair, poverty, and displacement abroad. And we can build bonds of community and shared purpose, organizing in our neighborhoods, our cities, our schools, churches, and workplaces, to build a world wherein no one is left out in the cold."

(Originally Posted at Creative Voices for Nonviolence)


Happy Valentine's Day!

Oh darn! I started this post days ago so I wouldn't forget and then I nearly forgot!

Our family had a tradition of making valentine's day cards for each other every year. We used lace and red paper and stickers and lots of hearts. Like this:

or this:

or this:

Well, when my mom and I pulled out the Valentine's Day Box this year, we found some old ones and I though this one from my dad was especially excellent:

Happy Valentine's Day!

Contemporary Art?

I think yes.

(Note: I realize that this is definitely not blog worthy, but I wanted to show off my beautiful creation! Sometimes I like to try to use up all the ink in my pen--I didn't succeed)


Resolutions Week 5

Another week gone! I feel somewhat indifferent about last week. Some good, some bad... I ate a lot of dessert which was not so good. And I didn't exercise a couple days. But I got my "someday" gmail folder down to a manageable few emails. I haven't felt motivated to do much of anything productive the last couple days so I think I'll keep my resolutions light this week.

Things that went well:
-I bought some organic ketchup at albertson's that was surprisingly cheap. Yum. And I've finally convinced the higher-ups to buy HFCS-free bread. yay!
-I've continued to use a daily to-do list that I write and the start of the week for some big-ish things that I want to get done and that seems to be working really well for me.

And not so well:
-I forgot to include how sore I would be from yoga since I have done a full hour of yoga in at least six months. I only did yoga twice and my body hurt mucho, mucho after each time. At least it was good pain.

And my pretty calendar for last week:

Resolutions Week 5:
  1. No more ice cream. I have survived just fine without it for many weeks. I've had it three days in a row and need to get back to the place where I don't crave simple carbohydrates.
  2. Scan box of memories. I found another mild crate full of papers to be scanned and discarded. I think if I spend about an hour a day I should be able to finish this one.


Letter to Myself

Last night I was going through this milk crate of memories (that need to be scanned then tossed) And found an envelope with my name on it! In my handwriting!

Inside was a quite cute note I wrote to myself (in early high school I think?) about the goals I want to achieve and why I'm a good person and some inspiration and, and...it's really sweet!

I'm putting the note as my desktop wallpaper for a bit so I can see it frequently. (Although maybe I should just tape it to my wall because rarely is there a time when I don't have a browser open on my computer.)

(Outside of the Envelope (the letter is FMEO) Apparently when I wrote this I didn't know that the past tense of reach is "reached".)

Resolutions Week 4

I did really well last week! Yippee! I still started out super awesomely and then slacked near the end of the week (and a few big things got pushed to next week because I didn't have enough information) so I'll give myself an A-

One of the most excited thing that happened is that I called a group in Denver about going the ANA DC Lobby Days and they are giving me a scholarship to help pay for this awesome trip! I can't wait for my first trip to DC! (But I'm already scared about lobbying my congresspeople)

Last week in picture form: (getting more and more cluttered!)

Resolutions Week 4
  1. Yoga 5 Times. any day. at least 20 minutes (I found a couple free guided yoga podcasts so I can do it at home)
  2. No HFCS. this one is pretty easy as long as I go tomorrow and buy some HFCS-free ketchup. cause ya'll know that I couldn't possibly go without ketchup for week. (oh yeah--and I can't drink the second half of my dad's daily coke)
And a final cool thing I found recently:
I've been reading YES! Magazine here and there and think their magazine is really beautiful. This article (An Invitation to Sacred Intention) spoke a bit about resolutions and intentions. I just reread and tried to summarize and failed so it's all up to you.
"Taking time each day to focus on a Sacred Intention nourishes and nurtures us, and helps us achieve the other intentions we have set for ourselves."