Friday, June 28, 2013

New Yorker photo manip: Kirk/Spock's "Moment of Joy"

 Of course, to Kirk and Spock, this is a historical document.

My first-ever photoshop! (with a ton of phone help from bink)

Star Trek photo manip of the New Yorker cover "Moment of Joy" by Jack Hunter:
Sesame Street's Bert and Ernie watch the Supreme Court of the United States striking down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA):

From the Supreme Court decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy writing for the majority:

DOMA singles out a class of persons deemed by a State entitled to recognition and protection to enhance their own liberty. It imposes a disability on the class by refusing to acknowledge a status the State finds to be dignified and proper. DOMA instructs all federal officials, and indeed all persons with whom same-sex couples interact, including their own children, that their marriage is less worthy than the marriages of others. The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and to injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity. By seeking to displace this protection and treating those persons as living in marriages less respected than others, the federal statute is in violation of the Fifth Amendment.
from "Supreme Court Bolsters Gay Marriage With Two Major Rulings" (New York Times, June 26, 2013)

Thursday, June 27, 2013

" would be entirely forgotten."

Looking through Marz's old blog, I came upon a few posts of photos she'd discovered in her family's attic. Marz has been reading the Hornblower books this summer, and I thought this unknown sailor (surely the blond horsing around is a relative of hers) could use a caption, so I searched one out.

"...hands with something of beauty about them"

Erratum: This quote is from Lieutenant Hornblower (not Mr. Midshipman). Thanks, Annika!

Another photo of Marz's Unknown Sailor relative.

Looking through Marz's defunct blog (where I found this photo), I felt a pang for our old blog-friendship. It's definitely better, by far! to live with her and enjoy seeing her every day. 
But I miss the surprises that come with the mutual reading and writing of blogs. 

Hey, Marz! SURPRISE!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Postcard #11: "What time is it?" (Fresca)

Postcard #11: me to bink
What time is it?
February 28, 1992

At Christmas 2013, Bink scanned for me this long-lost series of postcards that we had made and sent each other in 1991-1992.
Click to see all 22 postcards

My book got recommended in the Horn Book!

Gosh! The Horn Book––a well-respected magazine about books for children and young adults––just put my book on their Recommended Books: Social Issues list, the book I posted about writing a couple years ago (mostly here: networking images), the book that I dedicated to you, "friends in the blogosphere" (sorry, I know I've missed some people...):

The phrase "well-researched text" especially makes me all smirky-happy. Mostly the kids' nonfiction books I've worked on were for a geography series: they just disappear onto school library shelves and are never heard from again (except in kids' reports).

After a couple years away from writing, I'm back at it, researching sanitation history. It feels right to be back, and it's a big boost to have this praise.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Jogging, Month 4 Update

For the past two weeks––now, sadly, entering my third week––I've jogged only once a week.
Mostly because I hate humidity and we're in swamp season now, which here in MN lasts a good 3 months.

And now it's hot, too, heading into the 90ºs...
So, I have to decide... do I want to give up jogging?


OK, that was easy: even if I have a hard time doing it, even if I'm not doing it, I WANT to jog.
I truly like it, me and my body out shuffling along.

And I like the effects---being able to run for the bus, for instance, board it, and not have to act in front of the other passengers like, Oh, me? Are you kidding? I can easily run half a block! No prob!
...when really I'm smothering the need to gasp like a fish.

So, then, what?
Well, I can go to the gym and jog on the treadmill or the track.
These are OK options, but one of the great things about jogging is it doesn't require a trip to the gym. Jogging is a trip: I've even jogged to the gym for weight-lifting class a couple times.

 "I've even jogged to the gym for weight-lifting class"?
This is ridiculously misleading: I sound so active! so athletic!

No, and no.

In the past couple weeks, every day I've been

1.  sitting at the computer for 8 hours, "working" (i.e., e-mailing! No, also, really working, researching history of sanitation, for the publisher, which means, you know, following intriguing wisps of facts down sewers leading to distantly related topics--
--like, did you know U.S. President James Polk died, at least in part, from cholera, after complaining of "a derangement of stomach & bowels"? He only lived 103 days after leaving office in 1849, the shortest presidential retirement in history)

2. sleeping 10 hours--really! the heavy wet air just knocks me out

3. and in the remaining 6 hours... um, what? 
Chatting with Marz and eating and watching movies and feeling, more and more, the effects of gravity on bodies of water (mine).

So, what then?
 I could run in the early morning.
This might be a good idea, if I can make myself get out of bed. But honestly, bedtime aside, it also makes me nervous to be on the running path when there's no one else around---it's isolated and sometimes people have been robbed...
And I don't want to run on the concrete sidewalk, with my feeble knees.

Or, I could just  see if I could acclimate: drink a lot of water, go slowly, and go short---just 1 mile, instead of my usual 2 miles, or maybe even less at first.

I honestly don't know if this could work--will my body adjust, or will it just be miserable? but it appeals to me most. Then I could go at my usual time--after I get up and drink coffee.

I think I will try it this and find out.

P.S. Those animals, above, are red pandas

Thursday, June 20, 2013

My Mother and Valium

My mother (29), sister (5), and me (3).

I grew up seeing my mother take little blue-green pills with a V in their center.

Twenty-nine years old, my mother was isolated, far from home, living in a rented farmhouse in Wisconsin with two little girls, while her husband taught at the state college nearby.
She had some sort of breakdown--I don't know the details--and her doctor(s) prescribed Valium (diazepam). This potent tranquilizer had just come out in 1963.

Valium can be addicting; "rebound anxiety" upon withdrawal can be worse than the original anxiety. 
As far as I know, for the next almost forty years my mother was never off the pills, or not for long, until she died at her own hand. 

Like other  benzodiazepines (a class of drugs that work on a neurotransmitter, a chemical messenger in the brain to bring relief from anxiety), Valium can cause or worsen depression over time, and it is contraindicated in the case of suicidal depression. 
Yet my mother talked to me about committing suicide for 25 years before she finally shot herself.

 I wish I'd asked my mother how the drug affected her. She treated it pretty casually, like aspirin. She even gave me half a V once, when I was in high school, because I couldn't sleep. I woke up in the morning feeling that I had not slept, I had been obliterated.

 I remember her being angry about doctors sometimes being unwilling to renew her V prescription, but she, with her smart and winning social ways, obviously didn't have much trouble finding her way around the restrictions.
At any rate, when we cleaned out her apartment, there were plenty of those familiar little pills around.

At the time my mother died, I hadn't known that Valium might have been partly responsible for her decline--she'd gradually receded further and further down a dark hole--- but a doctor acquaintance told me it was possible. 
I've always meant to look further into it. It's taken me ten years to get around to it.

I was unemployed and injured for most of last year. After a few months, I began to experience for the first time what I think my mother must have: pointlessness and anxiety. 
I don't think my mother needed drugs so much as she needed meaningful work to do and connection with people other than small children.

The year after my mother was prescribed Valium, my parents moved into town and my mother did get a part-time job. She told me later that she shared my memory of the next few years being Golden Years for her and the family. 
But those little pills, like mini-SweetTarts... they were always there.

I thought this image was a crumbling Valium pill, but no: it's a color of eyeshadow named Prince Valium.


For more info on suicide prevention or help if you are struggling:
"The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals."
Outside of the United States, please visit the International Association for Suicide Prevention for a database of international resources.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Facebook Thumbnails, Batch 3, and the Academic Avenger

Taking a break from Facebook--considering deleting my account (again)--partly because I get sooooo judgmental about what other people post, I start to despair of humanity (my own).

Last week someone commented on a photo of a flowering strawberry plant, "I didn't know strawberries have flowers!"

Well, so, modern Americans don't know where our food comes from... or even what flowers are for. 
This is new information?
But my inner judge sprang into action.

I (daughter of a professor) imagine this figure as a comic book–style Academic Avenger (wearing academic regalia--the doctor of divinity robes, top & center, here, would fit) whose little eyes glow and its horned tail switches back and forth and steam comes out its nose.

It zaps people not so much because they Do Not Know Basic Things, which Academic Avenger finds forgivable (A.A. is benevolent/paternalistic), but because they don't feel ashamed that they don't know basic things and blithely display their ignorance on Facebook.

I don't like this part of me at all--I know how awful it is because I grew up with it directed at me. But it's super sticky and hard to remove---one of those styrofoam peanuts of the inner self.

FB can a good place for me to practice mindfulness and acceptance, to try to let go of this scornful judgment, which I inherited as a kind of Fundamentalism. But sometimes the triggers on FB come faster than I can handle gracefully, and then I know I need a break.

Also, I keep wanting to write more in-depth stuff but find I spend so much time posting fluff, I don't get around to it.
I like fluff! But not as a staple...

I somewhat regret posting all these images (with words) on such an ephemeral site as FB: I can't even see the full version of the oldest posts anymore. I don't entirely regret it though, because I always said FB is like chatting in the grocery store---not everything one says and does needs to be recorded for posterity.

Still... I want to save some remnants, so I screencapped the thumbnails on my "Photos" page on FB. 
This is the most recent batch, Spring/Summer 2013:
I started watercolor painting;  Glam Doll Donuts opened 2 blocks away; I started jogging, celebrated my 52nd birthday; Pope Benedict retired; Margaret Thatcher died; Minnesota legalized marriage equality for all; Star Trek Into Darkness came out and I loved it --and the lastest 7-Up film too, 56 Up.


Facebook Photos, Batch 2

These are screencaps of the thumbnails my "Photos" page on FB.
Fall/Winter 2012 to Spring 2013:
While I waited for my wrist tendons to heal, I explored videomaking and photographed my What I Like in the Twin Cities series; continued the Whittier neighborhood photo blog. The country reelected President Obama, and Minnesotans voted down a proposed amendment to the State constitution that would seeking to define marriage as only between a man and a woman.


Facebook Photos, Batch 1

Taking a break from Facebook--considering deleting my account (again). These are screencaps of my "Photos" page on FB.

Spring – Summer 2012:
I got hired as a nursing assistant in a nursing home, but had to quit four months later when I pulled my wrist tendons (DeQuervain's Tenosynovitis). Marz turned 21, we watched Battlestar Galactica (I quit after the 2nd season), went to Duluth, and drove to Trek Fest with bink (where Marz won 1st place for her Yang costume).
Also, baby animals.