"Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice."
I spotted this lowercase ( i ) in the sky last Sunday morning. There it was, just popping up from behind the Oakland hills. What, or who, caused this "sign" to appear? Had there been an entire word in the sky before I noticed? No don't think so. I am pretty sure it was just an ( i ). Was it some kind of code related to the upcoming election? Nah... I am not much on political conspiracy theories, unless it's the one about U.S. Government workers are actually shapeshifters. I love that one!
Wouldn't it be a strange thought if it actually was God, sitting somewhere up in the heavens, learning how to type our earthly alphabet? Is he wanting to dip his toe into social media? Maybe he is just trying to order the new iPad. Ooooh... wait... maybe it isn't God, maybe it's Steve Jobs. Maybe he is in the heavens trying out the new OS for the forthcoming iSKY. And by forthcoming, I don't mean in our time, but in the hereafter forthcoming is just around the corner. Right Steve?
"It isn't all over; everything has not been invented; the human adventure is just beginning."
"It seemed like a matter of minutes when we began rolling in the foothills before Oakland and suddenly reached a height and saw stretched out ahead of us the fabulous white city of San Francisco on her eleven mystic hills with the blue Pacific and it's advancing wall of potato-patch fog beyond, and smoke and goldenness in the late afternoon of time."
~Jack Kerouac, On The Road
Okay, I know I am being a bit obsessive with the new San Francisco photos I have done this past few months, but I am still smiling from the incredible time Alan and I had in the city this fall. Am I downright giddy? Yes, but there is a serious side to me as well, and there is another dynamic about the city that has broken my heart and that is what I want to talk about right now.
There is a drama playing out in San Francisco, all surrounding the conviction of domestic violence charges earlier this year of San Francisco's sheriff Ross Mirkarimi. Briefly, last New Years Eve, Mirkarim and his wife Eleana Lopez engaged in an argument, that resulted in Mirkarimi grabbing his wife's arm so tightly that a sizable bruise was left. The next day Lopez shared what had happened with next door neighbor Ivory Madison. Madison videotaped Lopez's tearful recounting of the encounter a day earlier with her husband. This issue was apparently about Mirkarimi's fear that Lopez would leave the country with their young son and return to her native Venezuela.
Long story short... Mirkarimi was arrested, and plead guilty to a lesser charge of the misdemeanor false imprisonment. The top sheriff of San Francisco was sentenced to three years probation, one year of domestic violence batterers classes, parenting classes, a hundred hours of community service, fines and court fees, and in addition he is not allowed to carry a firearm. The top cop of San Francisco isn't allowed to carry a gun. Does it get any more embarrassing than that?
The Mayor of San Francisco suspended Mirkarimi, in an attempt to remove him permanently from office, but there was an appeal process and it took 9 of the 11 San Francisco supervisors to oust him for good, but in the end the result of the vote was 7 to remove, 4 to reinstate. He got to keep his job by just 2 votes. And there he sits... smugly... the embarrassment of San Francisco. Engaging in twit fights with the mayor and pretending he is above it all. A convicted domestic violence abuser running the sheriff's department.
I grew up in a family of abusers. My parents like to put each other through hell... and did. There were NO innocents there, and I am sure there is a bigger picture going on in Mirkarimi's house as well. But no one really knows what goes on when the door is shut. What I do know is that abuse leaves scars... deep ones. Scars that aren't immediately seen on the outside, but if you listen to the abuser and the abused you can hear the scars. We choose different words that other people. We hide from intimacy sometimes. We choose our associations carefully. We cry silently sometimes because we would rather be alone, than enter into one more dysfunctional relationship. Abuse doesn't just determine who we see romantically, it enters into every single relationship we have. For the rest of our lives.
I chose my husband carefully. There were a lot of great guys who never had a chance with me because of all the fears I had. Would I be a good spouse? Sharing DNA with abusers can weigh heavily on a person. I found a good man, he loves me, and I thank GOD for him every single day. He is well aware of all my shortcomings, and he loves me anyway. Just as I am. No need to pretend. He just loves me. That isn't easy to find, but somehow I did. So when I look at San Francisco, especially from the east side of the bay, I can't help but feel a deep sadness. It's a beautiful city, with beautiful people, and it deserves better than to settle for anything less than the best representation of her. Ross Mirkarimi went from abusing his wife, to abusing his city. It's shameful.
On a more positive note, there is a recall campaign started to remove Mirkarimi for good. One of the supervisors who voted to reinstate has lost her seat on the Board of Supervisors in Tuesday's election, due in part to a video uploaded to YouTube by Ivory Madison and San Francisco Women For Accountability, which is an advocay group for abused women. I could not be more impressed with Ms. Madison's courage to do the right thing by reporting Mirkarim to the authorities and then continuing to advocate for women by making the video to remove Supervisor Christina Olague. With any luck, all of the supervisors who voted to reinstate him will eventually be removed from their jobs. Politics should not be a part of an issue this serious, but it has been, and now politics will be the remedy. Well, politics and good old fashioned education about domestic abuse. It's a long road, but there is light waiting at the end of the journey.
"A vacation is what you take, when you can no longer take what you have been taking."
I remember lamenting to one of my *48 or so therapists, that I just wanted to feel normal. He replied that..."doing something normal, will make you feel normal."
He was right.
My photo-blogging project A Photo A Day For 6 Months is finished. The national election is finished. My vacation is finished. My vegetable garden is finished. My rose garden isn't finished, but it is being put to bed for the rest of fall and winter, so in effect it's finished.
It's all finished.
But I am just getting started!
I had a good time with the cameras the last few months. I am beginning to understand what makes the Fuji camera tick, and I am always stunned by the photos the Kodak takes. There are a ton of events coming up soon, from the continuing burst of color the autumn leaves are displaying around here, to the preps being done for Thanksgiving, to Black Friday and all it's craziness, to the December holidays! I am looking forward to all of it. It seems that there isn't any interest in the APAD or the MPS, which is fine, I get it, but I think I am going to keep blogging for myself. It feels amazing to be like my old self again, too amazing to stop, so I am loading up the cameras into the new blue car, and I am going to see what happens. Life will happen I hope. We'll see. It's not like there isn't something in the Bay Area to find and discover.
I love it here.
And I will get right on that, just as soon as Alan comes back with my car! LOL. Leave it to his job to call him up to Sacramento, the very first day he is back to work! He will be in Sacramento for two days, and it only made sense that he took the new car that gets the better gas mileage. Sigh. But actually, it's all good. The weatherman says it's going to rain, rain and rain a little more, with strong possibilities of a nice thunderstorm or two, and snow on the lower peaks. Great. Snow. Why does it only snow when he works? That's some sense of humor Mother Nature has! LOL.
Well, with any luck it will snow here in the hills! If it does, me and the cats will go tobogganing in the back yard. That should make quite the picture, don't you think?
*I didn't have 48 therapists at once, that was a lifetime total. The particular therapist I mentioned was around therapist number 43.
October 23rd, 2012
San Francisco, Ca
"There's a sunrise and a sunset every single day, and they're absolutely free. Don't miss so many of them"
On Monday, Alan and I took the last of our big outings of our vacation for this year, it was an Eco Tour of the San Francisco Bay and tributaries. We have been having record warmth around the bay, and it was one of the most beautiful November days I remember. It's not often that you can go on the bay and not have to bring a sweater or jacket, but yesterday neither was necessary. It was an amazing sight, as we went out past the Golden Gate, to see the porpoises splashing about, and at one point a sea lion poked his head up to say HI! I enjoyed that, but while we were one our way back in, it was the sight of the golden autumn sun setting behind the Golden Gate Bridge that reminded me about just how lucky I am to not just be alive, but to be alive right this moment, and to literally have gold at my feet. If you look at the photo, you will understand why it's called the Golden Gate. This photo doesn't begin to do it justice.
Every new day has the ability to end just like this photo. Its probably not realistic to believe it will, but it's a good thing to HOPE for. The presidential election is all but over as I write this post, and most major news outlets have called the election for President Obama. I have had a real struggle to come to terms with how I felt about things and to be honest, sometimes I just wanted to look away. To not give a shit, to just take the easy way out and hide from it. I tried. It didn't last long. I do care. For a lot of reasons. It's true that the best things are worth fighting for, and how tired you get isn't the point. But the fight, be it resolving a fear, or fighting for the guy next to you, or maybe getting a half way decent photo of a sunset, fought well, will make the beauty of the sun going down on the day you fought much more vivid and colorful and appreciated.
I worked really hard for this photograph. And the exhaustion I am feeling today makes me happy because I didn't give up.
Congratulations President Obama. Thank you for fighting and not giving up!
Thank you God.
Please drop by and say hello to my friend JR. He is a wonderful photographer! You will discover some magnificent photography! :)
Okay, with today's post I have reached my A Photo A Day For 6 Months goal. So now what? Should we do another 6 months worth, or should we bring back the Monday Photo Shoot? If there is any interest in either project we will move forward no matter the participation.
"Voting for the lessor of two evils is still voting for evil. Next time, go all out and write in Lucifer on the ballot."
~ Jarod Kintz, 99 Cents For Some Nonsense
I created this graphic for the 2008 Presidential Election. It made me smile back then because things seemed fun and exciting, and there was a real passion for voting in America. You could feel it everywhere in the days leading up to, and especially on, Election Day. The news talked about a record turnout in California, and it was true. And while there has been a good bit of malarkey surrounding elections, we don't talk about the 2000 election, or Gore v. Bush in our house, in 2008 it seemed as if the stealing of an election was all but gone from the landscape.
But here we are in 2012, and on American soil more than one American governor, is actively working to make voting in their states historically difficult. Americans denying Americans the most basic of rights is shameful on any level. I voted by Absentee ballot a week ago, and I did so with pride. But shame on me if I hadn't! I am lucky to live in a state that supports its citizens. Not all Americans do. For me to ignore voting, when I know some folks have been waiting in line for hours, if not days, to exercise that same right is morally wrong! So, if you can go vote today, please do.
Vote Whatever Your Conscience Tells You To Vote
Vote In Honor Of Those Who Have Been Denied That Right
Okay... done now. One more politically themed post to come, then it's back to our usual fun.
I am pretty sure anyway.
PS Here is a link to the FactCheck Awards For for this election season! Go have a look see! You'll LAUGH. You'll CRY. You'll wonder WHY?! WHY? WHY? WHY? LOL.
Go say HI to my pal JR. He is a kind man who puts up with me. He is also a talented photographer! He's AWESOME!
"Freedom isn't free. It shouldn't be a bragging point that "Oh, I don't get involved in politics," as if that makes you somehow cleaner. No, that makes you derelict of duty in a republic. Liars and panderers in government would have a much harder time of it if so many people didn't insist on their right to remain ignorant and blindly agreeable."
The sentiment in the above photo is a blatant, ignorant, LIE! Obama isn't Hitler. Hitler killed over 6 million people. Obama hasn't. And to the best of my knowledge, he bares no real comparison to Hitler in any way. This is a LIE made up by a sick mind. You think there might me some kind of 9/11 conspiracy? I am willing to listen, but not when this kind of destructive bullshit accompanies your theory. Don't do this. You look stupid. I think you are stupid. Anyone who can still think clearly thinks you are stupid. If you want to work for the country you say you love, help others get to the polls on Tuesday. If you want to work for the country you say you love, work to help America overturn Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission. Individual states have already made some headway toward lessening it's power. I think the Disclose Act is a good idea... don't you?
Maybe in your passion to work for the country you say you love, you could ask yourself...
If I have to LIE. If I have to create a deception in order to see a positive change... but wait... a deception isn't a good thing... hmmm... can I fight for my principles without compromising my values?
If the only answer you can come up with is NO...
Get the HELL away from my blog, and DON'T COME BACK!
I don't even want to know a coward like you!
If you can find the courage to commit yourself to working with others in honesty.
THANK YOU for making the world a better place. I am proud of you!
With this election, like no other I can remember in my lifetime, it's about dispelling the lies and the fear and the bullshit.
Choose with courage.
Lies are Lies no matter who tells them.
"Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies."
Today's links comes to us by my friend JR. He is an excellent photographer, and a loyal participant in my APAD project. Go say hello!
"Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government when it deserves it."
Okay, time to discuss the subject I have been avoiding... avoiding with a passion... POLITICS. There was a time when I lived and breathed it. I watched a lot of analysis. Read a lot of opinion. Did a lot of researched into it. I formed my beliefs and opinions as I searched for facts. I wanted to know why I believed a certain way about things. I smiled when I remembered that my first ever crush was when I was 3 and I fell HARD for Hubert Humphrey. Was it his looks? Well, no. Was it his voice? Well, no. Was it his political fighting style? Well, no. Personally, I think it was the fact that when Hubert Humphrey campaigned for the office of president, my father had one less worry line on his face just imagining a democrat in office. Well... and yes... as politicians went, he was kinda nice looking. But it meant a lot to me that my father saw some HOPE in him.
It wasn't to be, and the rest is history.
But while that elections and history was being made, California, and the Bay Area specifically, was also making history. The massacre at Berkeley's People's Park left a deep hole in the heart of the Bay Area. It's something that's never been fully forgotten, and it nor should it. If nothing else it should serve as the strongest of cautionary tales about not taking political choices for granted. It should be a stark reminder that just because someone says they are a democrat, it doesn't mean they actually hold any democratic principles. in 1969 Ronald Reagan trick-or-treated as a democrat, then called in the National Guard to bring their tear gas and weapons to enforce the government stealing of Peoples Park and the active silencing of Freedom of Speech. By the time it was all said and done, 1 person was dead, one person permanently blinded, dozens more injured, and Berkeley permanently scarred.
The next National Election is only 2 days away. I have a lot more I want to say in the next couple days. If it's too big a bummer to tune in, I get it. Believe me. I get it! I have done a good bit of ignoring all the nonsense and useless chatter the last few months, but I now find myself incredibly frustrated as we head into Tuesday. But I also find myself incredibly grateful for some things as well. Like Chris Christie putting party politics aside to give credit where it is due. I am glad that Donald Trump got called on the car floorboard by Chrysler executive, Ralph Gilles, because of Trump's lies about Jeep sending manufacturing jobs to China. Liars are being called on their bullshit and IT'S ABOUT DAMN TIME! Now, if only someone would put Willard "Mitt" Romney in his place!
If you want to avoid my rants, it's okay, but please comeback later in the week. I will be back to a more normal blog of photographs with a few words to bring it all together. I still have a lot to share with you about what I have seen and done the last month. But for now, I am looking back, before I take any steps forward.
The "People's Park" Mural, by artists O'Brien Thiele and Osha Neumann, is difficult to post in one photo, so I have decided to post vignettes of the mural.
Don't forget to set your clocks back an hour tonight. Spring FORWARD. Fall BACK. :)
So tell me, are you ready for Tuesday, November 6th, 2012?