Sunday, June 27, 2010

We Are Stardust

Here are some of yesterday's garden photos. Taking pictures of flowers around the yard soothes me, but now it is after midnight, and I'm hoping that getting these words down will get them out of my head.

I'm seething over things I can't control. Lawyers, politicians, insurance companies, mega corporations... as much as we try to simplify our lives, these tentacled creatures slither their way in.

The colorful front garden:

I signed my daughter up for Tap lessons today at a small, local dance studio. Here's a quote from the release I had to sign:
"Participant fully understands and acknowledges that all of the activities that Participant will undertake have inherent risks, dangers, and hazards and such exists in Participant's participation in these activities, and (a) Participant's participation in any AOP activity including but not limited to dance lessons, dancing related activities, use of any equipment, or any travel in automobiles or busses (THEY CAN'T EVEN SPELL BUSES) may result in injury or paralysis, death, or other ailments that could cause serious disability, and (b) these risks and dangers may be caused by accidents, breaches of contract, or other causes, and (c) in connection with Participant's participation in these activities and use of any equipment or travel, Participant hereby assumes all risks and dangers and all responsibility for any losses and/or damages whether caused in whole or in part by the NEGLIGENCE or other conduct of AOP, its employees, agents, independent contractors, volunteers, other participants" ..... AND ON AND ON.

Raspberries ripen every day:

Item 12 in the release:
"Participant acknowledges that Participant has had an opportunity to obtain independent counsel before signing this release and has obtained such counsel or has made a voluntary decision to forgo such counsel."

In essence, I should hire a lawyer to review a release that absolves this place from hurting my daughter even if they are negligent!

Little berries on my favorite bush in the yard. The leaves turn a beautiful pale yellow in the fall.

According to a little research I've been doing during this insomnia, even if a contract says that a company won't be held liable for negligence, this is usually not true. For example, if a company (like a boating company [I had to sign similar forms for my son to go on a kayaking trip]) hires inexperienced teenagers rather than experienced guides with safety training, they could still be held responsible in an accident.

These green and purple beans from the garden were part of our dinner last night.

Insurance companies and lawyers have enriched themselves by making so many of our interactions impersonal and full of distrust. Businesses must protect themselves from their customers. They are more responsible to their shareholders. Politicians are more responsive to their corporate supporters than the citizen/voter. It is the faceless customer who eats the beef contaminated with e-coli because the slaughterhouse line moves too fast to safely clean the meat in order to squeeze out higher profits. Toothless cigarette warnings absolve nefarious tobacco companies from liability for addicting teenagers that they target with their marketing. The BP CEO takes a sailing vacation in far away waters as the Gulf is destroyed by a rig explosion caused by shortcuts and sloppiness without regard for the consequences.

"I fear to be a cog in something turning."
"I dreamed I saw the bombers riding shotgun in the sky. They were turning into butterflies above our nation."
"We are stardust. We are golden, and we've got to get ourselves back to the garden."
-Joni Mitchell

A beautiful spider with an egg sac found in the yard.

I want to retreat into the garden and let the anger that seethes in me melt away. It is very hard!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Will lists of chores be my Life List?

Highlights from the garden this week: roses and peonies and lots of stuff I don't recognize.

Note the lichen on the very old steps.

There have been crazy storms all week. An inch in about an hour yesterday and lightening and thunder every night. The yard and garden are getting hugely overgrown and I feel overwhelmed about everything; piles of weeds, piles of laundry, piles of dishes and obligations to cook and clean all the time. How did I turn into a frustrated 1950s housewife? And by the way I load all these chores on myself. My kids obviously don't mind a mess, and I'm sure everyone would be happy with takeout more often.

I just finished Life List.

It is a biography of the great birder Phoebe Snetsinger. She was a frustrated housewife of the early 1960s who after a prognosis of 1 year to live from melanoma changed her life. Living as if every day was nearly her last, over the next nearly 20 years she followed her dream of studying birds from all over the world. At times she traveled to remote locations across the globe for up to 10 months of the year. By the end of her life she had seen nearly 85% of the bird species in existence, the most of anyone at the time. She caused many rifts in her family relations but she made great friends and followed her dreams. It's a complicated story of passion bordering on obsession.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Memorial Day

Memorial Day weekend contains all the conflict and gray areas of our complex lives today. We march in parades and head to cemetery memorials to commemorate fallen soldiers. Then we head to barbecues to relax and have fun even while wars continue and new troubles among Israel and Turkey over Gaza threaten more. Drone attacks kill yet another Al Kaeda #2. Do we get closer to security or create more jihadists (terrorists)? We drive to the shore and perpetuate the need for oil that is poisoning the creature in the Gulf of Mexico.

It is a rare moment now when I can stop the angst in my heart regarding the problems of the world. I am constantly trying to think of ways to make my life less impactful. Yet the problems only grow. The currents of the world seem to be flowing ever closer to disaster.

Our recent efforts to green our lives include:
the new compost container I built from scrap wood

My husband and son installed a 2 cycle flusher in one of our old toilets that allows for very small flush for liquids and a stronger flow for solids.

Our CSA from Siena Farms begins this week. Hooray. And I purchased fresh spinach from Mainstone Farm across the street from our house. Yum. They sell their own organic produce and grass fed beef.

And yes we did have some fun at a friends' bbq. They had a terrific new swing and some balls to juggle.