Archive for January, 2009


I’ve been trying to figure out how to put this past week in words, and I’ve been at a loss.  Definitely a week for change, for inspiration, for optimism, for doing more than our share.

The trip to DC started Monday afternoon.  On the drive down, an amazing interview on NPR with Congressman John Lewis. I had never heard of him before, but was inspired by his story.  Amazed that within his lifetime things would change so much, and that yet there would still be work left to do.  He earned even more of my respect when he supported same sex marriage, because opponents are showing the same fear and discrimation as racism.

So, on Martin Luther King day, the day before we watched the first black president take his oath of office (kinda), this piece moved me to realize just how little I have done for any cause.   Random and I both felt we need to do more.  However, wherever, for whatever cause or injustice we believe in.  It changed me in little and large ways that I can’t explain because I haven’t even said some of them out loud.  I only hope I can keep the momentum and follow through with those desires, not getting bogged down in the daily grind.

The next day, the message would be reinforced even further.

Monday evening lead us to the Rock and Roll Hotel for a Burner meet and greet.  A few familiar faces, and met a few new ones (forgot half their names), we enjoyed some beers and some of our favorite DJ’s before heading back, staying with a college friend of Random’s on the outskirts of DC.

We had wavered on the decision to head out to the mall, and while we decided to go, events kept us up much later than anticipated and that 5:30 am alarm was quite unwelcome.  By the time we were all vertical, the news reported that the areas in front of the jumbo-trons were completely full to capacity.  So, we bought champagne and watched the inauguration on an HDTV, with our host and one of his friends in Maryland.  While we do miss that we weren’t out in the crowd for it, really we didn’t miss standing in the cold for hours.

I probably don’t need to share the details of what was shown – we laughed over the flub of the oath.  We were moved by the musical performance – I love Yo-Yo Ma, and it doesn’t matter to me that they didn’t risk a poor performance and played a recording.  You could see the joy in his face when the tempo of the piece picked up, and nothing was more thrilling than hearing an amazing piece and seeing their joy at doing what they love at such a momentous event.

We didn’t watch the parade.  Eh, it was just a parade… Besides, we had bigger things to do.  Or littler.  Um, ok.  So we played Little Big Planet.  That game is awesome!

Back in DC at night, we attended the Art for Change Ball.  This ball was thrown by artists and Burners in the DC area, including some that we knew from our regional burn event, Playa Del Fuego.  Several DJs and dance floors, art, fire performances and a variety stage filled two buildings and one tent.  Getting past the security checkpoint made us go the entire way around the block, but as soon as we came around a corner and heard the music from the tent, a smile came across our faces.

Speaking of security, as I was showing my ticket and passing through the checkpoint, in my red wig and monstrous green fake fur coat, carrying my travel hoop, the guard called me an artist.  I was not there to perform.  My costume was among the plainer ones, the fur coat chosen for it’s warmth, and the wig just because it wouldn’t have been special enough for a “ball” without it.  His simple statement made me smile, and realize that the things I do CAN make me an artist.  Just maybe – despite my feelings of inadequate action that began the day before – I do change things around me in little ways.  I don’t mean this to be an egotistical thing, but just an awareness of how we can affect those around us, even if it just means looking (to some) a little silly.

We caught pieces of some performances: one singer on the variety stage in a red boa, two dance pieces in the main room (one was a powerful piece about how some in our country respect the flag much more than their fellow human beings, as they danced on and poured dirt/water on an American flag), fire performers, and again, some excellent DJ’s.

Towards the end of the night, I sat resting and watched other ball attendees walking past in their tuxedos and gowns.  Every once in a while, people would hear the beats of DJ Everyday, look up and see our group dancing in the windows, and cheer and dance as they walked.  I liked to imagine that they were bored at the stuffy ball they were coming from, and wished fervently that they had known about OUR ball.  Maybe that’s just my imagination.  In any case, we gave and received some smiles and waves, perhaps reminding us of what we have in common rather than our differences.

An interactive art project involved temporary tattoos and asked us to share photos - see

DJ Everyday never fails to move us, even if it’s only emotionally once our dancing shoes came off, and we stayed past the close of the metro… a move we soon learned we’d regret.  We hit the frigid streets and kept walking, as everywhere we were behind other people trying to hail cabs as well.  Eventually, we got away from the crowds and began seeing available cabs once again.  Saved! Or not.  We needed to go to the very edge of DC, and every cab we hailed either said “no” or just took off without saying a word.  This went on, and on, and on.  I really don’t know how long we were out there.  At least an hour, probably more like one and a half… It felt like a year.  By the time a cabbie agreed to take us, I had been long past my breaking point.  Even when we were home, I sat curled up under a blanket for an hour shivering.

With time, hot tea, and advil, I was eventually able to feel warm and fall asleep.  We slept in the next morning, and went for an expensive but always worth it meal at Eggspectations, and goofed off before heading home just in time for traffic.

While I didn’t witness the inauguration in person, the trip was more than worth it.  And it was a kick ass party as well.

So, after this inaugural week, I feel blessed for the community which inspires me and surrounds me with creative people.  I feel lucky to be able to bring a part of that into the “mundane” world and inspire, shock, or keep people on their toes.  I am so thankful to be alive and in love at a time where – in most of the country, at least – I don’t have to worry about physical harm or danger because of who I love.  I feel responsible and inspired for doing more, for doing everything that I can do – because it still won’t measure up to the sacrifices of so many, but we can’t let that stop us from trying.

Change is the word of the week.  But the quote of the week for me is not something that John Lewis or President Obama said.  It was a little line in a little blog.  A little blog about knitting, which has inspired it’s readers to donate a total of $590,768 (to date) to Doctors without Borders, and just raised the goal amount to an even $1 million.

Andy said “As we head off into a year of uncertainty, there is one thing I know is true. Things will be better if we all take care of each other than they will be if we don’t take care of each other.”

There’s change around us that is beyond our control, but we always can control who we are and what we do – and when times are rough, that’s when what we do matters most.

So, I raise my glass to President Obama.  I don’t look upon him blindly as someone to save us and solve all our problems, but he has better answers than anyone I’ve heard in a long time.  I admire him, congratulate him on having the courage to take such a historical step, and I look forward to witnessing him create a legacy of lasting, beneficial change.

Let us all be the change we seek, for we are not one person called President, not even just one country, but residents of a planet which cries out for freedom, justice, peace, and love for each and every one of us.

A short note that says a ton.

If you are anything like me, grab a box of tissues before starting this…

today, she is my hero.  get out there and do something you can’t do well, if you enjoy it just do it anyway.

leaving for DC, will report back when I get home.


(ahem. would link to jersey-buttfly’s LJ but her post on this is filtered. apparently haikus help you journal and find “gentle clarity”?)

hear the burners roar
ticket system does not work
tribe’s down, really sucks*.

* didn’t think that ending the haiku with “this sucks balls” would be aiding in the “gentle clarity” direction. but it has been the theme of the day.


ETA: gentle clarity my ass. but it worked, two minutes later heard that numbers in the virtual line started moving again. knock wood.

(Aside – Burning Man tickets go on sale tomorrow Wednesday January 14th!!! Didn’t want that info to get buried.)

You may not have heard about this, but chances are, you will.

I heard something in passing but never paid attention.  Today, I read about a hooper selling her hoops in Oregon who was told she can no longer sell them by shop owners.

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (“CPSIA”) came about as a result of the toy recall in 2007 where some items produced in China containing high lead content, unsafe parts, and dangerous chemicals.

But they got a little carried away.   All manufacturers of items for children under 12 are now facing tight restrictions, prohibitively expensive testing fees, and enough legal hoops to close thousands of small businesses.

One poster on the Etsy forums for the CPSIA owns a small bookstore where 2,000 children’s books have been pulled from the shelves and must be destroyed, not even given away for free.  Any uncertified items are “contraband” and it will be illegal to sell or give away items to charity – even perfectly functional items must be destroyed or thrown in our landfills.

Thrift stores won’t be able to sell any children’s items.  The children’s consignment shop that only came to my town recently may have closed it’s doors already, I don’t know.   (ETA: I hear that used clothing is excluded, but new clothing is not… But I have not confirmed this.)

There is speculation over how this will affect taxes for schools (since educational supplies and textbooks are currently included) and even the simple availability of parts to repair a child’s bicycle.  This does not only affect the small businesses run out of homes, and parents of children under 12, but really affects us all.  The price to test items can run up to $4,000 PER ITEM – which most one-of-a-kind, small production companies or crafters cannot afford.

Even if you are an adult, purchasing something as simple as a hula hoop for yourself, this law can impact you.  As the nation is facing an economic crisis, costs of toys and clothing will increase and selection will decrease.

This really will affect all of us – please take a moment to read up on the act and take action.  Here are several resources and recommended ways to voice your opinion!  Also please write to your Congress Person and Senator to request changes to save handmade children’s products – a sample letter is here, and you can find your Congress Person and Senator here.

CPSIA Government site – The act is open for public comment on the latest exemptions to the Act until January 30.  (See PDF file for full information here)

Comments must be received by the Office of the Secretary no later than January 30, 2009.  Comments may be filed by email to Comments may also be filed by facsimile to (301) 504-0127 or by mail or delivery to the Office of the Secretary, Consumer Product Safety Commission, Room 502, 4330 East-West Highway, Bethesda, Maryland, 20814. Comments should be captioned “Section 102 Mandatory Third-Party Testing of Component Parts.” Interested persons will also have additional opportunities to comment following publication of any notices of rulemaking proceedings in the Federal Register which are commenced under this section.

Buy Handmade blog

Save Handmade!
(Get this tag on the buyhandmade blog!)

A blogging crafter’s personal story about public apathy regarding this act

Handmade Toy Alliancepetition here

National Bankruptcy Day – vote, and this issue may be one of 10 the site brings to a Washington DC seminar

Another petition

Reform CPSIA – information on a class action lawsuit for consumers and businesses

We all want children to be safe and protected from harmful items, but this act is a totally inappropriate reaction to the events in 2007 and innocent people are the victims.  Please speak up and let your voice be heard.  Thank you.

The theme for today is lists.  Sent links for 43 Things and 101 things in 1001 Days to Limerick, and found the below posted on 101 things.  The original article mentions “before you die” lists.  I never think of them as that, more as “how to LIVE” lists.  My 43 things are mostly ongoing, so it’s hard to cross them off ;o)  But as the writer of Zen Habits says, the goal is NOT to check off things just to say they were done.  The goal is to not sit idle and watch life pass by!

Anyway – here’s the summary of the article:

6 Questions to Ask Yourself to Get the Most Out of Life

A recent article over at Zen Habits made me think a lot about the motivation for creating a 101 Things list. The 6 Questions to Ask Yourself to Get the Most Out of Life can be seen as a great starting point to coming up with ideas for self improvement on your list:

1. Who do I love, and what am I doing about it?
2. Am I pursuing my dream, or is fear stopping me?
3. Am I doing something that matters?
4. What am I doing to help others?
5. Am I as good a person as I want to be?
6. What am I doing to live life with passion, health and energy?


1.  Random. What am I not doing about it? 😀 

My family.  I’m horrible about calling them.  I’ve grown to dislike the phone.  I also need to visit them more often.

My friends.  They are my family too.  It’s hard when I feel drawn in many directions, and want to spend time with all of them but also need time to replenish myself.  hmm.

Me.  Yeah.  Sometimes, it’s OK to put me first.  The whole oxygen mask on the airplane analogy.


2.  I’m trying to figure out what my dream is still.  Workwise, no clue.  Aside from work, it’s just to have adventures with friends and those I love, to be challenged and challenge others, to grow, to never stop learning and more importantly, never stop playing.  It may look like goofing off, but I consider this pursuing my dream.

Fear may stop me in the career part – fear of failure, fear of hating something else, I don’t know.  It’s something I’m definitely struggling with, but to me the job is just to pay for shelter and for adventures and lots of cool toys 😛


3.  Again, splitting between work and social.  Work? I suppose so, roads need to be improved so I do provide a service.  If I weren’t here, someone else would do it.  I dunno…

Outside of work?  I want to do more.  Not sure how to go about that.  But I do feel that being part of a Burner community is doing something that matters – to other burners, to myself, and when I bring a bit of burner spirit to the rest of the world, I hope that matters too…  I suppose rather than a big thing I try to do lots of little things.


4.  Not enough.  Really.  How can anyone other than those who devote their lives to others really say anything else?  Again, if helping others in small ways matters, I do (try) that.  I need to devote more time and money to serious causes though.  Still haven’t donated to the food bank because of money shortage over the holidays, and I want to donate to Doctors without Borders again.


5.  Am I a good person?  I like to think that most days I am.  If I were as good a person as I want to be, I wouldn’t have anything to strive for, so that’s enough for me, for now.


6.  Oh a stickler, this one.

Passion.  Easy.  (Get your mind out of the gutter! :P)  I explore what I’m passionate about, I jump in and learn everything I can.  And then I discover something else.  OK, mind back in the gutter, or at least in terms of relationships – I do my best to love fully and accept love in return.  I read once that we only accept the love we think we deserve.  That makes a lot of sense, and I’m trying to remember that.  Because many days I don’t know what I did to deserve such an awesome guy ❤   (and awesome friends too!)

Health/Energy.  They go together.  Always striving to find joyful ways to move (not the E word!), to eat more wholesome foods than unwholesome ones, to improve our home environment so that it’s a place of rest and relaxation.  I definitely need to work harder on this, but I try.  Most of the time.  (Right now the vending machine is calling my name, miso soup was yummy but still hungry.) 



Yeah, so most of the things on my lists fall into these categories, but it’s a good checkpoint of sorts to answer them.  (Not tagging anyone, but feel free to contemplate on these even if you don’t blog/write publicly about them.)

A few positive thoughts for the New Year resolutions ponderings, and reminders of what’s important.


(I really want to read/process more about this story, but my heart can’t bear it today… Things like this, and prop 8 passing, make me want to take Big Action (whatever that is), but it’s so hard for me to stay in that mindset because I just get so angry and sad that I’m not capable of being very productive.  Sigh.  Add figuring out how I can help to #4.)


OK let’s end on a more positive note. This seems applicable, one of my favorites…

This is my living faith, an active faith, a faith of verbs:
to question, explore, experiment, experience, walk, run, dance, play, eat, love, learn, dare, taste, touch, smell, listen, argue, speak, write, read, draw, provoke, emote, scream, sin, repent, cry, kneel, pray, bow, rise, stand, look, laugh, cajole, create, confront, confound, walk back, walk forward, circle, hide, and seek. To seek: to embrace the questions, be wary of answers.

~Terry Tempest Williams, naturalist and author (1955- )



Blog addiction

So despite not having any New Year’s resolutions, I’m still working on reorganizing our home and my finances.

Going over my monthly expenses, I am reminded yet again that I am paying $8.95 a month for a Typepad account for 3 blogs that haven’t been touched in 3 years (for two of them, one was updated about a year ago).

The photos and files hosted on there are also on my computer.  Though at times, they have been easier to find on the blog, or accessible from work, it’s not necessary.

If I deleted them, I’d lose the entries.  I don’t know how to back that up.  I could make a huge word document.  I don’t know why I’m hesitant to let go of this account, wordpress has been much better for me.

The three blogs are my knitting blog, my henna blog (I had the domain for a while, but let it lapse since I don’t do it much anymore), and a general blog using the craft name Creatures of Nature.  I used this for various interests that I dabbled in – jewelry, reiki, and other crafty stuff, usually based on animals or natural items like semi-precious stones.  It is kindof interesting to look back, and see how I bounce around hobbies!


So – should I end that account? Yeah, I know the answer.  What’s the best way to back them up?


ETA:  Seriously.  About 2-3 hours after I posted this, I wanted to find a photo.  A photo that I have on my computer at home, but I’m at work, and I remembered having it in a typepad album and found it pretty quickly.  Sigh.  Makes me reconsider giving it up – but is it THAT important to have a photo of an awesome t-shirt that I need to find in my laundry pile to wear to DC just to show it to someone I’m chatting with online at that moment?  I think the answer is no.

Goodbye 2008!

IMG_4911, originally uploaded by k8et.

Shortly before midnight. By the light of the burning dresser. In subzero weather (with the windchill anyway) yet feeling the warmth.

Goodbye 2008, Hello 2009!

Belated happy new year to all!

I was drunker than I thought, and took longer to recover than expected… but still an awesome time.   Burned a dresser, kissed my love at midnight (and everyone else), and then hooped in the new year.

Today I’m all ADD while sitting at my desk at work.  Recipe for tofu curry.  Reading this awesome blog I found.  Planning game nights.  Discussing fuzzy/lost memories of NYE.  Must get drain-o on way home.  When can I get out of work.  Discussions of lap dances O.o  I just want to go home and play xbox…….  and I need to upload photos from NYE too!

ETA: one of my favorite memories is sitting next to my love on NYD, eating black eyed peas (in an amy’s frozen dinner, with hotsauce added – yes my tummy survived that!) looking at him and knowing that we’ll be ringing in every new year together, and being so happy about making our own traditions. ❤