the new blog

22 11 2015

I take pictures, spend time looking at things up close, take the laptop I share with my son to someplace with internet, craft the words to tell the rest.  eBay is my new blog.  Connects me to groceries and gasoline.  Ladies size 24, cotton/polyester blend, nice feel to the fabric becomes a bag of rice and some taco shells.





When FREEDOM was “just another word for nothing left to lose…”

29 01 2014

I stopped in downtown Charleston today, to the warmest, sweetest family restaurant that retains its employees by being good to them and its customers by learning their names and refusing to poison them.  I’ve taken pictures of reflections in the window of Graziano’s Pizza, oh, eleven years I guess.  Even the reflections are familiar now, so the little paper sign “using bottled water” was particularly powerful.  I’ve seen the same thing on the sign in front of the East End Tudor’s, “We are using bottled water.”  The little sushi place, Umami, with its bottled water and Christmas lights… the restaurant owners that banned together with lawyer friends the night of the spill to slap a lawsuit down on Freedom Industries table by 7:55 a.m. the next morning… so many examples of small business with heart, doing the right thing.  Standing in line at Graziano’s, watching them bring hot, fresh, twisted rolls out of the oven… I know it has to be difficult to cook with bottled water, but these are people we know and they’re going to feed us the same as they would their families because that’s just the kind of dignity our people have.  We are West Virginia and we care about what we do.

I remember when “Life Without Water” was just a novel by Nancy Peacock, full of images of painting in fields and a child’s perspective on the sounds of lovemaking from another room.  I remember when FREEDOM was “just another word for nothing left to lose.”  I don’t care if it’s Janis Joplin or Kris Kristofferson or us and Momma with a guitar, it should still be. FREEDOM should make me think of “Me and Bobby McGee” and not of the asses who poisoned our Elk River.

When 3,000, errrr…  5,000, errrr… 7,500, errrr… ummm, maybe now it’s 10,000 gallons of Crude MCHM, and, ummmm, well maybe also PPH, Stripped, managed to — in all its stealth wisdom — plan its escape from a 70-or-so year old tank, unmaintained, and then, sneakily, outsmart a concrete secondary containment fence with a crack in it, and in a wave of pure brilliance, even make its way past the cinderblock and the sandbag placed there to prevent its jailbreak, and quietly oooze its way into the ground and down the bank into a river that starts in Pocahontas County and travels 172 miles, part of that underground, part of that being held up behind a dam, part of that being full of little boy frogs looking for little girl frogs in the spring, part of that with leaning Sycamore trees, but all of that without Crude MCHM or PPWhatever, stripped….  well, we got the other meaning of Freedom.

Freedom is just another word for stacking up companies so many miles deep that no one is ever to blame.  Freedom is just another word for conveniently filed bankruptcy and outside industries benefiting from extractive industry in a beautiful place where the people, and rivers, deserve better.

I was washing dishes and making a kettle of mashed potatoes when my sister texted me to ask if I’d heard not to use the water. I was painting with my son, an hour later, when my ex-husband texted me to tell me the water has been contaminated, do not use it.  I was getting ready to pick up my daughter from a high school basketball game when I got a text from Mom, with Dad very worried…  my parents are people who believe our ancestors look out for us, and they’re going to look after us and our descendants years after we’re gone… and here one out of three of their daughters, and two of two of their grandchildren were sitting in a town polluted by a chemical that used to make bats explode on the strip mine. School was cancelled the next day, and five out of five of the following week, and then for weather the week after that.  Friends in nearby areas posted on Facebook to offer showers at their homes, and a neighbor I didn’t know offered me jugs of water stacked on her front porch.  West Virginian’s are like that.  Everybody scrambling to see who and how they can help.  I was not listening to radio that evening, but having received word from three different texts… that’s West Virginia for you.

We’re not drinking the water yet, and the restaurants staffed by ones of us (here’s how you can tell “ones of us” from “not ones of us”, “ones of us” will not poison us) are being responsible.  Some of us have tentatively began to shower, tomorrow makes 20 days later.  We’re not fond of the smell of licorice anymore.  Our kids have learned lessons on patience and rage.  We’re resilient people and we’re doing okay, but so aware there will not always be “other places” to bring bottles of clean water from.  People in other places should be aware of this too, if you count how many earth’s we have, you never get past one.  Outsiders on messages boards — though we comforted them through storms and all manner of heartbreak — dismiss us as as uneducated people who kiss coal’s ass every morning before sunrise, but in truth, we just live in our homes, work at our jobs, raise our families, and… buy bottled water for our cats and dogs… just like anyone would.  From our capital city to the hills and hollows on the outskirts of this “water crisis,” we do what we can with what we have, and that’s the West Virginia way. We often do more than we can, with what we haven’t.  The people are Fathers, Mothers, Children, Grandmothers…  living alone or with others… having the means to go pick up bottled water or not having the means to do so… offering to help whenever half an opportunity presents itself or is created.  It wasn’t West Virginia that did this, it’s West Virginia this was done to.  Freedom’s just another word for unchecked greed and disregard, but we go on because we’ve got the heart.  “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose,” but we have something left to lose that frankly, we just don’t want to, and we will fight to protect.

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City Woods

29 01 2014

Down Emmett and Tara IMG_4124 IMG_4126 IMG_4140 IMG_4143 IMG_4148 IMG_4179 IMG_4195 IMG_4206 Maria and Tara





Art, Science, Rage and Transformation: (Or, you know, just an afternoon of television.)

28 01 2014

tv 1 tv 2 tv 3 tv 4 tv 5 tv 7 tv 8 tv 9 tv 13 tv 14 tv 15 tv 18 tv 20 tv 21 tv 22 tv 24 tv 27 tv 28 tv 30 tv 31 tv 32





2013 – Our Year in Pictures

18 01 2014

January

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February

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March

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April

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May

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June

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July

0716132003 a - Em and M (4) a - Em hot chocalate bee in a candy store edit Em's treasures IMG_0973 IMG_0991 M Mag edit Maria mirror (4)

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August

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September

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October

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November

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December

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Happy New Year!!!!

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In Roanoke…

26 07 2013

In Roanoke…

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My Dad prepared for a quadruple bypass…

By sneaking a cigarette in the bathroom…

And playing guitar in a hospital bed…

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My Mom wore his rings on a bandana around her neck…

While showing my son, their grandson, magic symbols…

So tired, and so thin, and so pretty, and so strong…

Barefoot in the waiting room…

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My sister slept, in a marker-made t-shirt…

With her laptop nearby, and her glasses still on…

Our other sister posted Dad’s name in the Philadelphia sand…

On Facebook where we all could reach…

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Old family friends wrote poems…  Told their stories…

(While we learned the meaning of “old family friends…”)

Cousins who once visited our farm…

Co-workers who always remembered…

People who danced in cities and knew magic…

All threw their voices and hearts in Dad’s direction…

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I just drove… and tried to keep things still… brought in food… and remembered playing cards…

And this little bridge found me…

Waiting under a taller bridge, and over a muddy river…

Playing at hide and seek; sunlight reflections; making bridge sandwiches…

In a city I’d never seen, and never intended to see…

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And my Dad came home, with so many more cuts and bruises and metal staples…

But free of wires and tubes, and able to move as he chooses…

Appreciating the ability to eat and to exist…

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And we planned a family return, to Downtown Roanoke…

The Art Museum, The Museum of Transportation…

(And this one little bridge who loved to play.)





What Summer’s All About

25 07 2013

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