From my perch high above the San Andreas Fault, I use this site to post random bits of information about my life and to experiment with WordPress so I can help others learn to use it.

About Time

I hope the time has come. I too can add my story to the #MeToo chorus–a daring move for me as someone raised in mid-America in the middle class in the mid-century who learned that private matters should be kept private. I actually have two tales from many decades ago, long before there were brave women who started speaking out.

Perkins SchoolThe first incident, which I did not realize was an incident until some years later, took place when I was twelve. It was about 1952. I was in 6th grade in Glenna Gruetzmacher’s class at Perkins Elementary School in Des Moines, Iowa. I had just started taking flute lessons. A male music teacher, not a regular teacher, came to the school once a week to give lessons. The small room where the lessons were given had been built at the top of the staircase that went from the first to the second floor. It was up a few steps from the second floor hall in the wasted space at the top of the stairwell. It had glass windows that faced out toward the interior hall, but since it was up a few steps, it only let light in. No one in the hall could see what was happening through these windows. During these lessons the flute teacher used to run his hands up and down my upper leg. I thought it was a little odd but never mentioned it to anyone, but I have never forgotten it.

This next incident harks back to my mid-twenties, more than fifty years ago. After I graduated from college, I married someone I had been dating for at least five years. We were both employed for a year after we were married when my first husband was accepted as a graduate student at Stanford. We moved to California and I found a job teaching high school in the Bay Area. It was exciting for us as we started exploring San Francisco and the area.

One week-end we went on an excursion to the City. One of my husband’s fraternity brothers from college lived there and we planned to overnight on Saturday at his place. We went out for dinner with him and returned to his apartment. We turned on the television and started watching, but my husband decided to call it a night. He had had a couple of drinks and was ready to retire the spare bedroom we were staying in. I continued talking to our friend and suddenly he was all over me–kissing me and pulling at my clothes. I was finally able to wrest myself out from under him and fled to the bedroom. I never mentioned this to anyone. Needless to say, I found reasons to never see him again. But I can still remember his name.

I realize that sexual attraction exists. But the equations have been skewed. Your consent + my consent = 100%; but your consent – my consent = 0%. It is time to set things straight.

 

statue of liberty

My Country

Why do we need such turmoil in our government? We have been governed for over two centuries by administrations that we citizens, on one side, endorse and on the other side, chafe under. But we have always been allowed to be ourselves. Our government has encouraged it. Sometimes we make concessions to accommodate some, but not all, of the wishes on one side or the other. We the people have been allowed to articulate our needs, and we the people have learned to accept that our needs are not necessarily the needs of others. We are united in the idea that we all have a chance to speak our minds, and we all wish to have the respect of a leader who understands that we belong to one nation indivisible with liberty and justice for all.

my country sweet land of liberty

Dyeing in the Sun

A few years back I grew some marigolds. As the blossoms drooped I harvested them and dried them, but then stuck then in a cupboard and forgot about them. In a fit of boredom during the rains this year, that kept me inside more than I am used to, I discovered them and decided it was time to use them. I boiled them for a couple of hours until the water turned a deep golden brown, strained off the liquid and sealed it in a gallon jar.


Then came spring and summer with days of soaring temperatures that once again kept me inside. I spent some time spinning a fleece that had waited for me for several years. I plied a small one-ounce skein to see how I liked it and hit on the brilliant idea of using my marigold liquor to see what would happen. It was too hot to turn on the stove for this experiment so I decided to go solar. In a small jar just large enough to hold the skein, I dissolved a scant half teaspoon of alum in water and added a pinch of tartaric acid. In went the skein, on went the lid, and out it went to a table in the yard to sit in the sun for a day.
The marigold liquid had developed a layer of mold on the top, but it peeled of easily in one piece. The mordanted skein now went into this dye bath for another couple of days in the sun. And it seems to have worked.

marigold dye with wool in a one-gallon jar

Now on to the next step. I am not sure what that will be.

Head in the Cloud

Head in the Cloud: Why Knowing Things Still Matters When Facts Are So Easy to Look UpHead in the Cloud: Why Knowing Things Still Matters When Facts Are So Easy to Look Up by William Poundstone
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

While this book was not a page-turner, it was interesting enough that I finished it by reading a few pages every night. The author is a statistician and poll taker whose premise is that people who know more make more money, are happier, are more likely to succeed, etc. By using random questions in large samples of people, he is able to compare their answers with other seemingly unrelated facts about their lives. It is an interesting way to statistically confirm what we probably already infer.

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scarp in driveway

Gravity

I once had a dream that I was floating in the air just above the ground. I could see the entire California coast. I could sail over the hills and dip down close enough to Earth that I could talk to people I saw. No tugs, no pulls, no cares, I just floated along.

But eventually I awoke and felt the force of the earth holding me down, tugging me and pulling me in various directions. I had to obey the rule of gravity.

It isn’t just humans and animals, and plants that feel the weight of the world. The very ground itself is subject to the pull of gravity. It sits firmly in place until it is moved by an earthquake or a storm. And so it is this year. The rains have come and melted the earth. Chunks of it have been pulled downward under the weight of this water. And I have witnessed it personally.

As the rains came wave after wave starting in February, the access road to our house in the mountains tried to channel the water off and send it harmlessly downhill. For the forty-six years we have lived here it has always worked this way–until this year. The incessant rain sought the lowest point in the road and worked its way into the soil eventually turning it soft and muddy.

First there was a crack in the drive. The crack widened and started to sink. It sank lower and lower and new cracks appeared. The rains continued. Part of the road broke off and sank another four feet. Some of it tumbled down a hundred feet, or so, to a road below on the hillside. That road started to crack and to slump. This scarp on our mountain is on its way downhill. Our beautiful mountain is on its epic journey to become part of the landscape below.

We are will aware of the gravity of our situation.