The Real Pocket Parks of New Iberia

Utility box in Lafayette, LA

When I say “rural Louisiana,” I know what y’all are thinking out there in California. But it’s not like that equally everywhere or with everyone here. Just as there are swamps and republicans in the Bay Area, there are Unitarians and three varieties of kale here.

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A Little Art From My Friends

In 1980, an aging Yemeni woman living in a Palestinian village was involuntarily relocated to a bland immigrant camp. She was an artist and felt stifled by the white walls of her new house, so she bought cans of paint and, over several years, covered her white walls with the rich motifs of Yemei embroidery. https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/afias-house-shlomi-israel Her project got her through a difficult time, and it is wondrous.

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A Few of the Ways the Republican Party Cheated at the Polls on Election Day

 

I have been listening to the Senate hearings to confirm a judge who seems to agree that the Voting Rights Act represents “the perpetuation of racial entitlement.” The conversation reminded me of  the “racial entitlement” I observed during the 2004 presidential election. I went to Reno, Nevada, as a poll watcher for a national nonprofit organization. I went with a group of friends not expecting much. Here is what I saw in only six hours in a city where the polls were managed by the local GOP:

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My Pandemic Trip to Louisiana

Painting by my favorite Louisiana artist, Clementine Hunter. 1886-1988.

In the past six months, I have been operating at about 30% capacity. Yes, I have tried volunteering and writing and baking. I hike a lot and keep in touch with friends and family. I remind myself how good my life is, but my feelings ignore my thoughts. At this time of my life, I need new places and people and ideas. I need instability.

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The Crack in Everything

Stock photo

Last week, I nearly had a melt down when the formatting in my 286 blog postings unexpectedly disappeared. This relatively trivial problem triggered something that kept me up all night questioning the meaning of life. What am I doing here? Why? Who cares? This is not my usual thing. Even while it was happening, I knew my existential angst was not about formatting.

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Bird-Brained

Pablo Picasso

Here in Berkeley while I am waiting for “the clouds” to pass, I have made a few new friends. This has been possible without visiting bars because my new friends are birds. I’ve gotten to know them by putting out treats on the top railing of my deck. I don’t do this just to be nice — there is plenty to eat year-round in Berkeley’s moderate climate. I do it for a little entertainment and hoping to learn something. Continue reading

Send in the Locusts

Allie Brosh

At our outdoor distanced dinner this week here at Maison Marianne, we laughed about a post on social media that said “I think my bingo card for 2020 is full.” And it’s only August.

Remember when the corrupt Senate impeachment process was the worst news? That was a million years ago in February. Since then, a global pandemic, economy tanking, demonstrations and rioting.

As if all of that wasn’t enough, this week in California: 560 raging fires and the worst air quality in the world after two days of rare lightening storms.

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The Truth That Could Set Us Free

To the Man Who Restored my Belief in Humanity, by Yehuda Bacon, 1945

Black Lives Matter demonstrations and conversations call into question America’s commitment to its values. They speak to the continuing oppression of important people in my life, including my son Gabe. So much has been written about this and so expertly, I couldn’t possibly do better.

But I do have a story that seems especially relevant right now.

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