Saturday, November 24, 2012

more from Indonesia, mostly Borobudur

post #113

      Indonesia again, with its kids in central Java eager to check us out.   I believe these folks all appeared while we were waiting for a train!  They didn't ask for anything in return.  There weren't all that many of us Americans off the beaten track back then.
     However, as promised, this post is mostly about the Buddhist temple of Borobudur, in central Java.  After looking up the place on Wikipedia, I learned that major renovations have occurred  since our visit there 40 years ago.  These few images may seem like ancient history!   Borobudur, the largest Buddhist temple in the world, is now also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and evidently the most visited location in Indonesia.  We, however, had the place pretty much to ourselves.

It seems we didn't take a slide of the front of the temple, so this is as much in situ as I can provide.

It would be so interesting to return for another look!

We liked how the building was so in harmony with the mountains.

For those who expressed curiosity about the journal and the notebook, when I mentioned them last week, here they are, together, loyal companions. 
A favorite photo from our whole trip, taken while visiting Prambanan

     I was thrilled to hear from my neighbor Chris last week in response to my last post.  It seems he is a remarkable photographer and was in Java last year.  I hope I can work it out to share some of his photos from Indonesia on this blog, very soon.  Maybe Carolyn or Ashley have a photo from there to share as well.  Cool!

    I want to end with an INVITATION: I will be sharing a "doublewide" next Saturday, the first of December, with Jennifer Reis at Morehead State University's annual Arts and Crafts Fair at the Laughlin Health Building Gym, from 9 to 4.  LOTS of note cards to choose from and photography banter and some matted photos and copies of Counting on the Woods.  Come see Jennifer's jewelry and her one of a kind embellished textile assemblages.  We have a great time.  Again this year I offer 10% off to any one who mentions this blog -- like Ann S. did last year -- and visit Appalachian Holiday Arts and Crafts on Facebook.
  Note: I have had expert preparation help this year from my friend Sandy, and I am grateful!

Appalachian Holiday Arts & Crafts Fair

Sunday, November 18, 2012

a detour to the other side of the world

post #112
       A friend of ours, Carolyn, has just returned from a part of the world that my husband and I visited long ago, in the early 1970s, with our backpacks and a budget of $10 a day.  We left before Christmas and returned in late June.  
      Photographically, we took slides as we went along, mailing several rolls at a time to my mother from wherever we happened to be.  We thought she could follow what we were doing, but the reality is that those little packets greeted us when we got back to the States.  Had the camera not been working, we wouldn't have known until our return!!  
      Today I am going to scan some of the slides to share with Carolyn and with Ashley, whom she visited  -- and with the 100 or so weekly visitors to this blog.  We had one camera, one lens, and two of us taking turns making photos. So, duh, the ones I took for sure are the ones with hubby in them.  We also took turns writing daily in our journal, a legal size spiral notebook that now is a treasure of specifics.  In a smaller blue notebook, we kept track of addresses, when we mailed something, and of every coin we spent.  By the way, believe me, traveling cheaply is a lot of work.  And without networking along the way and staying with friends or friends of friends, we couldn't have pulled it off. 
      It was a most memorable trip, one I am so grateful to have made. A lifetime of stories. Once we started, I realized that I had always really just wanted to see what was on the other side of the world.   
       OK, today, therefore, is the Indonesia segment of the adventure. We arrived there in late January.  (We headed west most of the time.)  This is embarrassing to admit, even now, but one reason I wanted to go there was because I didn't really know where Indonesia was located!  Yet it was the fifth most populous nation in the world!  (It's now the fourth.)  How American ignorant is that!  It is such a beautiful place, very different from anywhere I had ever been before.  (Of all the countries we visited, we had always thought we would like to return to Indonesia, Japan and Afghanistan.  It hasn't happened -- yet.)

friends of a friend: Our letter to Winnie and Dick about our arrival was never delivered, so we showed up in their village unannounced!  They were wonderfully welcoming.  Notice the ducks in the canal behind them.  They had come from Boston so Dick could carry out a Harvard research project about rice growing in very rural central Java. 

ducks in another canal, started in the days when the Dutch were in charge

ducks in the fields, central Java, eating the fallen grains
taking some of the crop home at the end of the day

harvest time, with the kids fascinated by us strangers
riding in a cart, for half an hour, headed to an uncertain address

then traveling by train in central Java

      It takes a while to clean up these slides for viewing, so I will show the other half next week.  These include our visit to Borobudur, and more kids -- who seemed to show up where ever we went.  (These slides are somewhat worn, from being shown in my husband's classrooms for many years.)
      I know that since we were there forty years ago many things will have changed, but perhaps these images from back then will be of interest to those who live there or visit there now.  The people we met were unfailingly kind as well as curious and helpful.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

What, there is life after the election??

post #111
      It hasn't even been six days since the election, yet it feels like an extremely long week.  First was the task of breathing again, after imagining all the ways Americans could have been derailed.  Then there was regular life and a workshop and worrying about family and friends impacted by Hurricane Sandy.  I confess to being shocked by how many sheltered Republican big-wigs thought they had the race sewn up.  Do we all see only what we want to see?

      I am delighted that there are now 20 women in the US Senate.  But we need more.  Twenty is only 20% of the Senate; our nation is of course closer to 50/50 in numbers of males and females.  Thank you, Emily's List!

      I am amazed how dedicated some people had to be to vote.  Hours in line.  Voting by lantern.  Worrying about photo i.d.'s.  Thanks to each of you for your commitment to democracy.

      Closer to home, here is a photo of our voting place -- with an unexpected addition.  I had no idea such a rig was on the ridge.  The owners were inside waiting in line, as we had just done, to vote.

   During election day, I took a walk in the woods, wanting to see the world clearly before the start of the next four years -- a remembrance, of sorts, of why we care about who are our leaders.

a scar, on a beech tree.

an experiment with the iPhone....of our creek

the season for seeds -- our future
      I have to mention that although Kentucky was a guarantee for Romney, there were four counties (out of 120) who went to Obama.  Ours was the only one to do so in the eastern part of the state.  A proud tradition.
      I did hear that at 11:15 pm Tuesday evening, at Morehead State University, there was an eruption across the campus of cheers and hoorays.  Go students!! 
       So, until next week.  I'd hope that everyone was happy about something on election day, despite all the compromises that are part of the process.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Speaking as a woman

post #110
       I am many things.  Alphabetically speaking, I am an Appalachian, by choice, an artist, by good fortune and by choice, an appreciative family member, and the parent of a son and a daughter.  Also, I am a woman.
        Though my close friends are particularly important to me, my life experience has encouraged me to be aware of the human community we are each a part of.  I feel the benefit of all of us looking out for each other and of our taking care of our single shared planet. 

       I post these thoughts today because of Tuesday's national elections.  I believe each vote counts.  I care who wins.  I care that we each think for ourselves before voting.   I care that so much of the change we all want requires long term solutions, and that we are not strengthening our ability to be patient while we do the work that true change requires.  Our imaginations are in peril; each is essential.

       In particular, however, as a woman, I have been appalled by some of the outrageous statements made about women.  By male (mostly) officials seeking reelection.  By the strange, disparate band of hopefuls for the American Republican presidential nomination.  By cultures around the world.  These views are just not acceptable.  They can only be attributed to willful ignorance.  We shouldn't forget "legitimate rape" or "binders of women" or unequal pay for equal work.  The work ahead requires the best of the abilities of all of us.  While I am constantly grateful for laughter, I'd rather be laughing at what's funny and clever, not at what's hurtful and harmful.

     Instead of linking to the following article, I am going to copy it here in its entirety, in honor of thinking and voting.  It is not required reading.  Not everyone who visits this blog will be excited by it.  However, I don't earn money from this blog, so I am simply sharing something that I appreciated seeing in print.  The writer is Thomas Friedman, and the title of his opinion piece is "Why I am Pro-Life."  It appeared in the New York Times on October 27, 2012. (I have highlighted the paragraph that speaks particularly to me.)
    I have put the photo of the day at the end of the blog, as a thank you for letting me share my thoughts with you today, hopefully in a thoughtful tone.  As I have written in earlier posts, we all live downstream.  We are all in this together, so let's think it through together. 

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Why I Am Pro-Life

      HARD-LINE conservatives have gone to new extremes lately in opposing abortion. Last week, Richard Mourdock, the Tea Party-backed Republican Senate candidate in Indiana, declared during a debate that he was against abortion even in the event of rape because after much thought he “came to realize that life is that gift from God. And even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.” That came on the heels of the Tea Party-backed Republican Representative Joe Walsh of Illinois saying after a recent debate that he opposed abortion even in cases where the life of the mother is in danger, because “with modern technology and science, you can’t find one instance” in which a woman would not survive without an abortion. “Health of the mother has become a tool for abortions anytime, for any reason,” Walsh said. That came in the wake of the Senate hopeful in Missouri, Representative Todd Akin, remarking that pregnancy as a result of “legitimate rape” is rare because “the female body has ways to try and shut that whole thing down.”

      These were not slips of the tongue. These are the authentic voices of an ever-more-assertive far-right Republican base that is intent on using uncompromising positions on abortion to not only unseat more centrist Republicans — Mourdock defeated the moderate Republican Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana in the primary — but to overturn the mainstream consensus in America on this issue. That consensus says that those who choose to oppose abortion in their own lives for reasons of faith or philosophy should be respected, but those women who want to make a different personal choice over what happens with their own bodies should be respected, and have the legal protection to do so, as well.
      But judging from the unscientific — borderline crazy — statements opposing abortion that we’re hearing lately, there is reason to believe that this delicate balance could be threatened if Mitt Romney and Representative Paul Ryan, and their even more extreme allies, get elected. So to those who want to protect a woman’s right to control what happens with her own body, let me offer just one piece of advice: to name something is to own it. If you can name an issue, you can own the issue. And we must stop letting Republicans name themselves “pro-life” and Democrats as “pro-choice.” It is a huge distortion.
       In my world, you don’t get to call yourself “pro-life” and be against common-sense gun control — like banning public access to the kind of semiautomatic assault rifle, designed for warfare, that was used recently in a Colorado theater. You don’t get to call yourself “pro-life” and want to shut down the Environmental Protection Agency, which ensures clean air and clean water, prevents childhood asthma, preserves biodiversity and combats climate change that could disrupt every life on the planet. You don’t get to call yourself “pro-life” and oppose programs like Head Start that provide basic education, health and nutrition for the most disadvantaged children. You can call yourself a “pro-conception-to-birth, indifferent-to-life conservative.” I will never refer to someone who pickets Planned Parenthood but lobbies against common-sense gun laws as “pro-life.
      “Pro-life” can mean only one thing: “respect for the sanctity of life.” And there is no way that respect for the sanctity of life can mean we are obligated to protect every fertilized egg in a woman’s body, no matter how that egg got fertilized, but we are not obligated to protect every living person from being shot with a concealed automatic weapon. I have no respect for someone who relies on voodoo science to declare that a woman’s body can distinguish a “legitimate” rape, but then declares — when 99 percent of all climate scientists conclude that climate change poses a danger to the sanctity of all life on the planet — that global warming is just a hoax.
      The term “pro-life” should be a shorthand for respect for the sanctity of life. But I will not let that label apply to people for whom sanctity for life begins at conception and ends at birth. What about the rest of life? Respect for the sanctity of life, if you believe that it begins at conception, cannot end at birth. That radical narrowing of our concern for the sanctity of life is leading to terrible distortions in our society.
       Respect for life has to include respect for how that life is lived, enhanced and protected — not only at the moment of conception but afterward, in the course of that life. That’s why, for me, the most “pro-life” politician in America is New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. While he supports a woman’s right to choose, he has also used his position to promote a whole set of policies that enhance everyone’s quality of life — from his ban on smoking in bars and city parks to reduce cancer, to his ban on the sale in New York City of giant sugary drinks to combat obesity and diabetes, to his requirement for posting calorie counts on menus in chain restaurants, to his push to reinstate the expired federal ban on assault weapons and other forms of common-sense gun control, to his support for early childhood education, to his support for mitigating disruptive climate change.
      Now that is what I call “pro-life.”

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