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April 13th, 2011 (01:03 am)

I'm not here. As of April 8, 2011, I'm blogging here. But I'll still be reading and commenting on my LJ friends' posts.

A good effort

April 5th, 2011 (11:46 pm)

Socks for Japan is a cool concept for extending a bit of kindness to those affected by recent catastrophic events in Japan. I share these photos not because I want anyone to think I did some great thing. In fact, it's a very small thing. The great thing is the concept: Sending new--NOT worn--pairs of socks to a direct-aid group who will get these comfort items to the men, women, boys, girls, and babies who have lost everything. No big overhead, no paid staff--just a bunch of people who can leverage their location and time into helping with relief efforts.

To find out more about how you can participate, see photos of the process from Japan, and even get your personal notes to the recipients translated into Japanese--here's the link again: Socks for Japan. Because in my own life, it's often been the smallest gestures that helped me cope with the biggest challenges.

Thanks to Houston artist Jennifer Mathis for indirectly guiding me to the Socks for Japan web site.


April 3rd, 2011 (03:06 pm)

It's been a while since the table looked like this on Craft Night. Lindsey was Bedazzling a Shake Weight for use as an honorary "reward" for a group in Rhonda's office. (Apparently one becomes temporary owner of the Shake Weight of Shame after a screw-up.)

Here it is in an unfinished but still glam state:

Meanwhile, I'm working on a new series of paintings that will hang at Té House of Tea during the month of May. More on that as it develops. =) In between bouts of painting and cooking and gym going and other things, I'm weeping copious amounts of tears over "Brothers and Sisters" on Netflix. I love family drama with a good ensemble cast. I'm in Season 2 now.

Button Sunday

April 3rd, 2011 (12:18 am)
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Busy Beaver Button Company created a few buttons while the Bronx Zoo Cobra was missing.

And of course, just in case she was wearing a disguise:

Rescue me

March 22nd, 2011 (09:30 pm)

Taking a circuitous route, a scrapbook designed for dogs found its way to me. We haven't been doing very many crafty things on Craft Night recently, but I have managed to get this project up to date. I decided the scrapbook could best be used to keep a photographic record of the dogs that Tim has helped through Scout's Honor's rescue program. This does not include the dogs he's helped transport to and from veterinarians or boarding locations. Most of the dogs pictured have been his fosters, even if only for a few days to relieve other fosters or on their way to forever homes. All have stayed at The Compound for at least a couple of nights--most much longer.

Of course, first up is the miracle dog who began it all: EZ, who still comes to visit and stay with Tim from time to time. After so many challenges and almost an entire year at The Compound, EZ was adopted into the perfect forever home, where she is loved unconditionally. Though I won't share as much information under the rest of these photos, trust me that these Scout's Honor dogs have all been placed with equal care in homes where they could thrive.

Please click here to see the other dogs.Collapse )

If you're unable to adopt a dog, almost every city has rescue organizations who need foster help or even occasional relief for their foster families, or transportation for dogs. Fosters can be challenging; I won't lie. A dog who's been abused or who's been in a pound or on the streets for a long time needs socialization, attention, and training. They can do destructive things. They don't always mesh with the other members of a household and need to move to a different foster environment. Fostering isn't for everyone. But even going to your local shelters or to adoption days and enabling dogs to get out of their crates for little walks and bio breaks, or some hugs and ear rubs, can help. Depending on the type of rescue organization, you may be able to best help with donations of food, bedding, or money for crates and vet care. And if you're not a dog lover, trust me, there are plenty of opportunities to help foster or assist programs with cats, ferrets, and other surrendered or rescued animals. For example, many years ago, my sister was part of a rescue effort that took Snowball from a situation of terrible neglect to a chance at a new and better life.

If you're looking to add a permanent new member to your household, animals who have been fostered usually come to you fully vetted, at least partially trained, and with valuable information that only someone who's lived with the animal can provide. It's a great way to find an older companion animal, a younger animal, or an animal who was deemed unworthy of saving before a rescue organization stepped in, as is often true of disabled dogs. You will be repaid a million times over with the love and companionship of a forever friend.

What can make a Monday better?

March 21st, 2011 (06:47 pm)

Knowing that it's World Poetry Day! Fortunately, my daily Magnetic Poems are NOT the standard by which poetry is judged. There are so many brilliant poets, living and dead, whose words give us insight into emotion, beauty, language, history--every facet of the human condition--not to mention the non-human condition.

Poetry can enlighten us, entertain us, inform us. It can make us laugh and cry. It can make us say, Yes! Someone understands. And sometimes, I never thought of it that way. With the greatest economy of language, it offers the entire universe from the smallest speck of matter to the grandest concept we can imagine. Poetry is precise and concrete and magical and evocative all at once. It is music to our ears, images for our eyes, and gives us smells and tastes and touches we remember or only imagined.

I'd like to name my favorite poem, but as soon as I think of one, a half dozen more come to mind. For as long as I was able to read, poetry was there. This is one of the earliest books I was ever given--just for me, all mine:

I still remember, to the word, the lines of poetry Mrs. Bryan had us memorize in high school. Poetry was the first of my writing I was brave enough to share with anyone. It bonded me to one of my mentors, my uncle, and became a dialogue between my dear friend Riley and me, and later Timothy F and me.

Poetry can be, for me, as good as meditation. If I can open a book of poems while sitting outside somewhere, that's a slice of paradise. Currently, it's going to be this one:

Framed in Silence by Lynn Domina

Sometimes, as in this case, I'm fortunate enough to know the poet. That makes discovering and savoring each poem even better. But really, when I read Yeats and Keats and Dickinson and Sexton and Coleridge and Auden and Millay and Frost and Plath and Browning and Bishop and Lowell and Shakespeare and Larkin and Thomas and Doty and Monette and Hopkins and Donne and--okay, okay, I'll stop--I feel that I know them a little, too.

Their poems are old and beloved friends.

Just a little update

March 17th, 2011 (12:35 am)

If you recall, I dedicated one of my Magnetic Poetry poems to director Chris Weitz, who promised to donate $1000 for Japan relief in recognition of a winning haiku submitted to him. The winner was Twitter user spunk_ransom.

However, Weitz increased his pledge in recognition of the number of people who participated, and if you'd like to see it, here's a photo of him making the donation. In addition, he's donating a dollar for each of his Tweets and each time he reTweets through the end of March. He's currently a very active Tweeter, because he's got a new movie to promote: A Better Life, so the dollars are adding up. What a way to show his affection and compassion for Japan.


March 16th, 2011 (12:25 pm)
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The Lambda Literary Awards finalists can be seen right here. Congratulations to all the nominees and finalists, as well as to all the publishers and small presses who ignore the dire and inaccurate pronouncements that NOBODY READS ANYMORE.

There is a world beyond 140 characters.

Happy Pi Day!

March 14th, 2011 (09:57 pm)

I pretty much thought if I had to read the words "Key Lime" one more time today, my envious brain might explode. Finally, I surrendered and created this:

Created the photo, that is. Edwards created the pie, and OMG, it's so good.

Magnetic Poetry 365:70

March 11th, 2011 (01:24 pm)

As you know, every day for a year, I plan to draw random words from my collection of Magnetic Poetry words and write a poem. Today, I'm doing something different. I follow director Chris Weitz on Twitter. He's offering to donate a thousand dollars to earthquake/tsunami relief efforts in the name of whoever sends him the best haiku.

So today, I searched for specific words. Whether or not my haiku is the "best" doesn't matter. I wanted to show my gratitude toward Chris for his generosity and for the way he's encouraging people to express their feelings and reactions creatively. I'm for anything that encourages creativity.

In a larger sense, my haiku is a thank you to everyone who helps every day, whether it's financially or physically or emotionally. In an age when we are constantly bombarded by information showing people's worse selves, most people's better selves are taking care of the world and its inhabitants.

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