gunstream girl

Location: Cleveland, Ohio, United States

I'm a Southerner, born and bred (though you'd never know it from my accent, I'm told). I like to eat 'til I'm tired out from eating, hear good storytelling 'til I can recite the stories in my sleep (Stories have to be told or they die, and when they die, we can't remember who we are or why we're here.), watch people, look at sparkly things, listen to good bluegrass music, dream about owning a dog, tell crazy stories about my family, and organize things.

11 August 2005

My weave

Karen Holland, a colleague and friend, came up for a visit several weekends ago. She and Tommy and I went to Hale Farm, a turn-of-the century working farm that's just down the road from us. She took some wonderful photos of the place. Thought I'd share. Cows at the farm, in the picture above.

Tommy's fetchin' water.

Karen and I are were making a rag rug in the picture below.

The blacksmith gave me a rose (I had to give it back to him, though). He scented it with rose oil. Truly remarkable craftsmanship.

Me and Taboo running around the farm/village. I think we were walking towards the attorney's office. Or many just a townsperson's home.

Amazing flowers. Amazing weather. Beautiful day all around.

Troy has a wood-burning stove in his cozy kitchen that reminds me of this one (or vice versa). So homey! Love!

This is the local carriage house. It was boarded up, but I still had to peek.

The women at the farm still raise and shear sheep, boil, comb, card, dye, spin, and weave wool. Very cool.

A typical house (cabin) for the area and era. This is the place where Tommy was fetchin' the water a few pictures ago. There was a stream out back.

Hope you enjoyed our day at Hale Farm as much as I did!

I'll be out of the country for the next couple of weeks.

I'm sure I'll have LOADS of tales upon my return from Zambia and South Africa!

10 August 2005

Me: 61-70

61. Jennie's last blog entry prompted me to think of this one....I L-O-V-E stinky cheese...bleu, stilton, gorgonzola, camembert, feta.... O, deliciousness!! Where do I begin to list the ways of your wonder?!

62. Support your local farmers and producers!!! Okay, that's more of a direct request, not so much a bit about myself, but I do believe in supporting the local economy and what's left of our small-scale, struggling farmers in the USA.

63. Get worms! Another command for you. I have a vermicomposting unit---it's the most fascinating thing...I just give them my food scraps (no meats, they're vegetarians), and the little red wrigglers gobble it up and make rich soil for me. "Black gold" they call it in the worming world. Easiest pets you can ever imagine. Well, maybe a pet rock is a bit more low maintenance, but these are at least living, if not warm-blooded.

64. Charlie and Zach. My nephews. They crack me up. I think they're so swell. I hate that I'm so far away from them while they're growing up so quickly.

65. Asheville is a town that I see as my home in the near future (as in a couple of years). I LOVE it there.

66. Unfortunately, I'm stuck in Cleveland for a while. But I love visitors!!

67. Taking vacation is one of my favorite things to do. I prefer to check out about 20 books from the library and then just stick my nose in a book uninterrupted for one blissful week.

68. A lifelong dream of mine has been to take a week of vacation with the intention of parking myself in the children's section of a library, and reading every title from cover to cover from A-Z.

69. Another dream of mine is to write and illustrate a children's book. I wrote a story in college that I thought was pretty funny about a monster that lived at the bottom of a bathtub drain. The monster's name was Galumph. It didn't go very far, b/c....

70. I am the queen of unfinished projects. Too much closure in my life (while extrememly satisfying) would disrupt something in my core being, I think.

08 August 2005

Me: 51-60

51. Peeling the dryer lint off of the screen is my absolute favorite part of doing laundry.

52. I discovered that I am highly allergic to shellfish this past vacation in North Carolina. I always thought that I was sort of allergic to it, so I generally avoided it...not so hard to do when you're in a landlocked area. I guess I ate one too many buckets of crab legs and oysters on the half shell this time! Red, blotchy, irritated, peeling, scaly skin all over my face for a week! Awful.

53. Skin peeling from a sunburn disgusts and fascinates me.

54. I know I already listed one favorite book of all time, but that's never enough! Also competing for first place are A Prayer for Owen Meany and A Dog's Life. Okay, I don't know about that last one, but it's a really good quick read for anyone that has ever owned and loved a pet. The author's name is Jon Katz. Imagine a book about dogs written by a kat! (the phonetic spelling really hurts)

55. I've been to 31 U.S. states. I really want to go to Utah. And Montana.

56. Vanilla would almost always be my pick over chocolate.

57. I have a hard time expressing any level of deep emotions to others. I'm a bit too guarded for that. Guess I come by it honestly.

58. I practiced the piano for 13 years. I won't say that I was ever very accomplished. But you better believe my butt was sitting in front of that piano every day plunking out music.

59. I'm just getting over my lifetime fear of mayonnaise.

60. I was so relieved to discover my decorating 'style' a couple of years ago. It's country. For some reason, I got a lot of clarity about myself when I realized why I am motivated to surround myself with things the way that I do. I think most people are a bit surprised by my style. They always think I am more eclectic or modern.

BHS Reunion

Well, it's coming.

10 years.

And I'm ready for it to be over and done with, truthfully.

It's so hard to track down people!! Even with the world wide web.

I had 7 return-to-sender letters waiting for me in my mailbox when I got back from vacation this past weekend.

And several e-mails from folks that are pissed about the price ($35 bucks per individual, $60 for a pair)....for the entire weekend's events.

Planning a reunion is nuts.

And the invitations weren't exactly what I sent off to the printer. The info was there, more or less intact, but the formatting I sent over? Forget about it.



And......I could go on about this for a LOOONNNGGG time.


Can't wait to hop on a plane and forget about all of this stuff for a couple of weeks.

And I especially can't WAIT to delegate the 20th reunion to someone else.
Preferably someone in Arkansas.

02 August 2005

Me: 41-50

41. I don't have a dog yet. But I want one. I have his name already picked out. He/She will be named Bob Barker. I think it's the cleverest name for the cleverest dog on earth.

42. My favorite book of all time is very likely The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein.

43. I love parties of any shape and form. My most favorite are the parties that Jennie and Lori dream up.....most recently Abe's latest birthday party and a Bridesmaids' Bash. I wasn't able to attend either, but most certainly plan to be at Abe's party next year.

44. I love to dance. No particular style of music or dancing appeals to me more or less than others. When I was in Ghana about 4 years ago, I was named the Queen of Dancing by my colleagues there. Quite a feat, I think....given that these folks dance every day.

45. For several years, the song "A Whole New World" from Disney's Aladdin was stuck in my head. I don't know why. Wendy can vouch for it.

46. I grew up with a remarkable set of friends. Real go-getters. Rocket scientists, physicians, writers, name it, I grew up with someone that does it. I think it's unusual--having so many accomplished peers.

47. Tommy / Taboo / T : Anytime you find a big old boy that's willing to call your mother to find out how to cook beans and greens for you b/c you are should pay attention to him. Tommy treats me like a princess. Which I love.

48. I went snorkeling for the first time this spring. I couldn't do it for the longest time b/c I'd laugh uncontrollably when the puffer fishies would come my way. They are such ridiculous creatures.

49. For some reason, I get really emotional when I watch the recent Haagen-Dazs commercials. I don't know what it is about them. Beautiful pictures of vanilla beans and pure white ice cream......basket case.

50. Recently I was described as having an impish gleam in my eyes. Which I loved.


I'm gearing up for my study tour to South Africa and Zambia next weekend.

In preparation for the trip, I checked out quite a few reading materials from the Lakewood Library about all things South African and Zambian.

And how could I avoid the subject of apartheid in my studies of South Africa? I can think of few other issues that have so greatly impacted this modern era. The outcomes of this struggle (the TRC, for example) are an interesting study for the rest of the world.....can you imagine! Peaceful reconcilition of struggle! The Republic of South Africa has made great strides in the right direction, anyway.

The following is a passage from the book that I read earlier today, titled Age of Iron by J.M. Coetzee (won the Nobel Prize for Literature, interestingly). The story is narrated from the perspective of a white woman, later in years, widowed and abandoned by her only daughter, wrestling with a cancer diagnosis and only just understanding the atrocities of the apartheid. Her only companion is a vagrant that has set up shop (his plastic tarp and half bottles of sherry), uninvited, in her backyard. This particular piece is of many that illustrates the complexities of emotion embroiled in this dark era of a nation from a weak, desparate woman's perspective:

"So why should I grieve for [Bheki--son of her "domestic"/maid, recently killed in a shantytown shooting]? The answer is, I saw his face. When he died he was a child again. The mask must have dropped in sheer childish surprise when it broke upon him in that last instant that the stone-throwing and shooting was not a game after all; that the giant who came shambling toward him with a paw full of sand to stop into his mouth would not be turned away by chants or slogans; that at the end of the long passageway where he choked and gagged and could not breathe there was no light.

"Now that child is buried and we walk upon him. Let me tell you, when I walk up on this land, South Africa, I have a gathering feeling of walking upon black faces. They are dead but their spirit has not left them. They lie there heavy and obdurate, waiting for my feet to pass, waiting for me to go, waiting to be raised up again. Millions of figures of pig iron floating under the skin of the earth. The age of iron wanting to return.

"You think I am upset but will get over it. Cheap tears, you think, tears of sentiment, here today, gone tomorrow. Well, it is true, I have been upset in the past, I have imagined there could be no worse, and then the worse has arrived, as it does without fail, and I have got over it, or seemed to. But that is the trouble! In order not to be paralyzed with shame I have had to live a life of getting over the worse. What I cannot get over anymore is that getting over. If I get over it this time I will never have another chance not to get over it. For the sake of my own resurrection I cannot get over it this time. "

How many times are we removed and indifferent to the sufferings of others? It is only when we see their faces that we begin to understand.

It's the faces that I have to look into that worry me. I'm immune to the problems and successes in the world until I look them in the face.

This is why I love and hate the work that I do.