Friday, December 30, 2011

Elevator Speech

RantWoman's recent holiday procrastination party was well covered. Enough people braved seasonal torrents which began just as travel was needed. Friends and people from SHARE who sleep on our floor at night and random other friends of RantWoman's had cheerful conversation. Some brought or wore T-shirts with funny stories. Conversation was relaxed, comfortable. More than one Friend commented afterward that it was nice just to gather without any heavy agenda. RantWoman has also stored up some other voices thinking a quarterly Ministry of Potluck would be wonderful thing. Hold that thought.

RantWoman once threw a party, invited guests of her choice, and had different clumps of her guests all say afterward "we were nice to THOSE people but we would never talk to them anywhere but your house. So please don't invite us to the same events anymore." Fine. RantWoman stopped inviting most of them anywhere. Fine.

This time, RantWoman knowingly, willfully, with intent aforethought included in her invitee list, some combinations of people for whom RantWoman thought it possible she might hear analogous requests. RantWoman invited Mr. and Mrs. Friend with the Remarkable Story. RantWoman invited a few people she knows from their work lives. RantWoman was thinking about her past party story when one of those she invited emailed RantWoman his procrastination / why he missed the party story: he was on a plane because of some form of airline procrastination.

RantWoman looked at the latest job title in this person's email and realized he might, for work reasons, be in a position to have heard of the Friend with the Remarkable Story. RantWoman has been thinking about the possibility of this coming up in conversation. RantWoman found herself thinking of elevator speech angles. RantWoman did NOT find herself thinking of any clear elevator speech except "Guest, this is Friend with a Remarkable Story. Friend with the Remarkable Story, this is Guest who works in...." RantWoman thinks this Guest would handle things with equanamity. Thanks to the airline, RantWoman gets to procrastinate about opportunity to make any such introduction and find out.

At one point in all the cheerful party chatter a Friend asked RantWoman about something from the most recent Business Meeting which also indireclty referred to the Friend with the Remarkable Story. Urk! RantWoman and Inquiring Friend were seated at a table full of people from RantWoman's life outside Meeting including RantMom. RantWoman SO wanted this to be her party. RantWoman SO had no interest in "Ooh! There's a (Friend with a Remarkable Story) at my party" conversations. RantWoman so did not have any clear elevator speech in mind about any of several topics which might need conversational attention. RantWoman so wanted it to be her party and so felt no obligation to go on at length about the Friend with the Remarkable Story. RantWoman to Inquiring Friend, "How about I call you about that?"

Nevertheless, RantWoman is making a list of topics about which good elevator speech soundbytes are apt to be needed:

Restorative Justice

Alternatives to Violence

Sex Offender Treatment

Sex Offender Registration and Notification.

and on the Victim / Survivor side:

Effects of traumatization

Trauma Recovery
(RantWoman in telling too much of the Truth mode currently has a sense that everyone thinks they understand these last two because Meeting has been discussing the Safest Sex Offender on the Planet for a gazillion years. Guess what the Telling too much of the Truth point would be.)

Quaker PR for Dummies. Okay, RantWoman realizes she is already in need of the remedial course of this, but onward in the Light anyway!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

God in DC

RantWoman has been seasoning thoughts related to some blog bits about our nation's capital. If RantWoman were to pose her reflections in terms of queries, RantWoman would say "How is one called to live in the light and power... among the gifts and obligations inherent in a specific place?"

Micah Bales

Jim Wallis

On the other hand, if RantWoman were to offer responses, albeit unsolicited to such queries:

RantWoman feels no call to offer Jim Wallis advice during his sabbatical. RantWoman considers the opportunity to interact with the Sojourners community unquestionably an attraction about living in Washington dC. Rantwoman especially appreciates prayer centered on God in connection with much that seems broken in our nation's polarized political paralysis.

Two words: prayer breakfast. RantWoman has NO clue about the protocol for securing invitations to such. RantWoman just knows that there are options.... Where two or more are gathered in my name...

The gift of hospitality: being located in the nation's capital guarantees endless opportunities to help different categories of people connect with overnight lodging: visiting Friends, people who come to town for FCNL events, people who come for other lobbying reasons, as well as demonstrations. One need not overdo hospitality in one's own home to have an endless stream of visitors and opportunities for dialogue, shared tourism experiences, other entertainment.

Staying in touch with your home state: RantWoman's experience is that one never really stops being from somewhere. Sometimes this means one is both blessed and called to interact on that basis. RantWoman has the impression that every state probably has some kind of a club for people from that State. When RantWoman lived in DC, she went with an old family friend to a couple events for people from her natal state. RantWoman ALWAYS met interesting people and had interesting and unexpected conversations she might never have had otherwise.

Mostly, RantWoman thinks, trust your Light also about when it is time to stay in one place for however long one is led to do that.

Thursday, December 22, 2011


RantWoman needs to hold two stories of the World's Most Irrepressible Nephew and weaponry. RantWoman is thoroughly rattled on her own behalf by the second weapon tale, about which PERHAPS separately. In the meantime, is one a completely Bad Friend if one heaves a monstrous sigh of gratitude because blow guns are now on Time Out at Irrepressible Nephew's house for ALL of Christmas vacation?

The first weapons story: there was the time a couple years ago when Irrepressible Nephew was expressing typical holiday STUFF desires. He was especially interested in swords and may even have wanted to forge something. RantWoman is unclear about how the fantasy forge was to get fired up; RantWoman just remembers it being a theme one time at Little Sister's house.

Also a theme: oh, Quaker Auntie, YOUR nephew wants to make weaponry. Would you please talk him out of it?

Mind you, the household is bathed in television and permissible movies are heavy on "hero saves the world" themes where a certain manly mastery of weaponry is part of the ambiance. Auntie does not get asked about this. Auntie does not necessarily entirely object and even manages to be a little broad-minded, respectful of Nephew finding his own path and more understandings--unless Quaker Auntie also gets called in for emergency sword persuasion.

RantWoman at the time of that request looked the Nephew up and down. RantWoman thought of the story about George Fox and Ben Franklin and the sword. RantWoman looked at nephew. RantWoman assessed her own capacity (NOT) for telling the story. RantWoman assessed a very high probability of Irrepressible Nephew's, Little Sister's, and RantMom's eyes all glazing over so hard even RantWoman could tell. RantWoman said a prayer and was answered with...RantDad, aka Nephew's RantGrandad.

RantDad performed in the sort of Renaissance ensembles that, a time or two, drew fans from the local Society of Creative Anachronism, medieval re-enactors not generally known to brave the thresholds of the kinds of venues (churches) where the Renaissance ensembles performed. The SCA types admitted to admiring the music. RantWoman is wondering whether some of them also admired the weaponry.

The weaponry? RantDad had a truly awesome and formidable arsenal of medieval mayhem inducement prop weaponry--generally made of cardboard and tinfoil! There were swords, daggers, a battle axe or two, a mace... RantWoman spun the best tale she could of all this and Irrepressible Nephew...immediately lost interest in everything to do with forging weaponry in the living room!

This year, Nephew has been wanting to make himself a bow and arrow. RantWoman admits to admiring archery herself in the abstract, where eyes function well enough to get arrows somewhere near a target. RantWoman is unclear about the presence of actual bows and arrows in Nephew's household. RantWoman IS aware that Irrpressible Nephew is now computer literate enough to fantasize with the help of search engines. The most recent object of these fantasies: blow guns!

A couple weeks ago, the First Day shared RantFamily bus run to our separate houses of worship featured much commentary about blow guns. Irrepressible Nephew regaled Auntie in great detail of different options for tips and scenarios for using the different tips. RantWoman had not previously thought even to need such information, but Irrepressible Nephew was waxing enthusiastic with elan. No one had thought of blow guns when RantDad was assembling his Renaissance arsenal so there was no chance mention of heritage would cause Irrepressible Nephew to lose interest.


Instead, Irrepressible Nephew had a bad day on the playground at school on Friday. It was the kind of bad day where Mom gets called in the middle of the morning and must go meet the assistant principal. It was the kind of bad day where nephew was immediately contrite and remorseful. Nephew is responsible for his choices and cooperative, and the situation most definitely needs remorse!

By the sounds of things, Nephew is blessed with a wise assistant principal: Nephew has grown A LOT in recent months and wise principle recognizes that sometimes one's body grows faster than one's mastery of what new forces can do. Nephew also has professionals in his life with different letters behind their name, parents and a grandmother who faithfully noted five behaviors Nephew is to work on. Quaker Auntie requested but so far has not received a copy of the behavior list; maybe Quaker Auntie gets simply to quiz Nephew at some point. Quaker Auntie actually wants to quiz Nephew about responsibility, about forgiveness and restorative justice practices at his school but this weeks's bus ride was not the place! Nephew is suspended for 3 days! And the blow guns are on TIME OUT for all of Christmas vacation!


So prayers needed all around.

RantWoman wants to root for the boy growing, learning his own limits! And RantWoman is praying about puberty on the horizon!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

UnChristmas UnBirthday Holiday Procrastination Party

It’s an Un-Christmas, Un-Birthday
Finally Getting Around to Admitting I’m 50
Holiday Procrastination Party.

You and anyone you want to bring are invited.

Wednesday December 28, 2011
4:30-8:30 pm
University Friends Meeting,
4001 9th Avenue NE, 98105

I will supply popcorn, spiced cider and other beverages.
I hope my guests will supply:

--potluck supper, 6 pm: leftovers are fine with me

--singing! There is a piano and some song books. Other instruments welcome. I know lots of people from different parts of my life who like to sing. Enough said

--confessions and exclamations about something you have not gotten around to this month, this year, this lifetime.

Ice-breaker Theme: Been There. Done That. Got the T-shirt.
Please wear a favorite T-shirt and be prepared to tell and listen to T-Shirt tales.

Children are welcome. Singing and storytelling are intended to be all-ages. Children might also want to bring a small item to amuse themselves.

Please DO NOT Bring Alcoholic beverages!

I just want to have a party and gifts are NOT required! However I have not gotten around to letting others help celebrate a half century of my life and I am definitely old enough to be persnickety. If people want to offer gifts for the occasion I am shamelessly offering clear instructions about things I want / need.

-- If you want to spend less than $5, I would love to have bulk spices or favorite salsa, teas or chocolate, in increments costing $5 or less. I also need some new mugs and have not gotten around to checking out options at Goodwill.

--If you want to spend $5-10, I really need a couple items that cost more than this but I would be happy to help people collaborate.

--If you want to spend $10 or more or want a tax deduction, please write a check to the UFM Building Fund.

Look, I know the party starts during work hours for some people. It’s cold and dark and wintry and some people in my life turn into pumpkins early. This party will likely include guests interested in digital inclusion, accessibility, language access, walkability and pedestrian life, transportation, social services, health care reform, and a host of other topics. So tell the boss it’s networking, and if you are the boss…

There is parking on the north side of the building. There is also a paid lot on the east side of 9th Ave NE, slightly north of the Friends Meeting

Send a note if you need more detailed walking directions from nearby bus stops than you can get off the trip planner

The ACCESS stop is on 9th Avenue NE near the level section of the entryway that is most wheelchair accessible.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Hit the Hallelujah Button with Mormons at the Bellagio

Here is the perfect riposte to all those tiresome, dull as paste, Christmas every day, fly into a lather about worldliness Quakers: the Hallelujah chorus, sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in time with the fountain at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas.

RantWoman really, really, really likes this. RantWoman could be OVER the Hallelujah Chorus already thank you very much, but there is something so over the top about trying to squeeze the Mormon Tabernacle Choir out of computer speakers!

But check out the Daily Hallelujah your own darn selves and see.

The Final March out of Iraq?

Dear President Obama,

RantWoman appreciates the concern for our returning troops embodied in the words below. RantWoman means to do the best she can to pen an appropriate welcome home greeting, but so far all that is coming to mind is tirades about matters RantWoman does not consider our returning troops first in line to be responsible for dealing with.

RantWoman also apologizes. RantWoman has been attending to this month's processions of punditry about our troops departing Iraq. RantWoman keeps finding herself thinking of a certain famous photo of your predecessor in office standing on an aircraft carrier under a "Mission Accomplished" sign. RantWoman notes tartly that our troops are coming home because the Iraqi government declined them further invitation to stay. RantWoman also notes that our country is leaving behind the largest US embassy in the world, staffed by more of the unaccountable contractors who have caused so much trouble to our nation's image already.

RantWoman will now shut up and and pray, discern, seek Light and in the meantime....

Good afternoon,
After nearly nine years, our war in Iraq is ending.

In recent days, many of our troops have come home and been reunited with their families for the holidays. Over the next few days, a small group of American soldiers will begin the final march out of Iraq.
This moment of success is because of their sacrifice. More than 1.5 million Americans have served in Iraq. More than 30,000 of these brave men and women were wounded. Nearly 4,500 gave their lives. America’s military families have borne a heavy burden.

As we mark the end of this war, we need to show our veterans and their families that they have the thanks of a grateful nation.

Take a minute to look back at the moments that brought us to this point, then share a personal message of gratitude with those who have served.

Part of ending a war responsibly is standing by those who have fought it. It's not enough to honor our heroes with words; we must do so with deeds.

That's why we've worked to send 600,000 veterans and family members back to school on the Post-9/11 GI Bill. That's why one of Michelle's top priorities as First Lady has been to support military families and why she's worked with the private sector to get commitments to create 100,000 jobs for those who've served and their spouses. That's why we worked with Congress to pass a tax credit so that companies have an incentive to hire vets and have taken steps to help veterans translate military experience to the private sector job market.

In America, our commitment to those who fight for our freedom and our ideals doesn't end when our troops take off the uniform.

You can be a part of this effort to honor our heroes.

Help mark this moment. Write a quick note that troops and veterans all over the world will be able to see:

Thank you,

President Barack Obama

The White House • 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW • Washington, DC 20500 • 202-456-1111

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

God, Spam, Wal-Mart, A White Rose

RantWoman thinks she has previously confessed to a reflex left over from a long ago spell of employment in tech support to treat all items such as the one below as CHAIN LETTERS, evil cycle- and storage-sucking menaces to electronic productivity. You try explaining this to RantMom. Plus, before that, it came from a church friend of RantMom's who as far as RantWoman knows ALWAYS needs prayers. So...

One more thing: Drive safely. NEVER Drink and Drive. God has plenty to do and does not need more tasks like thi.

Still another thing: this blog post BETTER count as passing it along, okay!

Isn't God Great? If only we all had the Faith of this child!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I was walking around in a WalMart store, when I saw a cashier hand this little boy some money back. The boy couldn't have been more than 5 or 6 years old.

The cashier said, 'I'm sorry, but you don't have enough money to buy this doll.'

Then the little boy turned to the old woman next to him, ''Granny, are you sure I don't have enough money?''

The old lady replied, ''You know that you don't have enough money to buy this doll, my dear.''

Then she asked him to stay there for just 5 minutes while she went to look around. She left quickly.

The little boy was still holding the doll in his hand.

Finally, I walked toward him and
I asked him who he wished to give this doll to.

'It's the doll that my sister loved most and wanted so much for Christmas. She was sure that Santa Claus would bring it to her.'

I replied to him that maybe Santa Claus would bring it to her after all, and not to worry.

But he replied to me sadly. 'No, Santa Claus can't bring it to her where she is now. I have to give the doll to my mommy so that she can give it to my sister when she goes there.'

His eyes were so sad while saying this, 'My Sister has gone to be with God. Daddy says that Mommy is going to see God very soon too, so I thought that she could take the doll with her to give it to my sister.''

My heart nearly stopped.

The little boy looked up at me and said, 'I told daddy to tell mommy not to go yet. I need her to wait until I come back from the mall.' Then
he showed me a very nice photo of himself. He was laughing. He then told me 'I want mommy to take my picture with her so she won't forget me.'

'I love my mommy and I wish she didn't have to leave me, but daddy says that she has to go to be with my little sister.'

Then he looked again at the doll with sad eyes, very quietly.

I quickly reached for my wallet and said to the boy. 'Suppose we check again, just in case you do have enough money for the doll!''

'OK' he said, 'I hope I do have enough.' I added some of my money to his without him seeing and we started to count it. There was enough for the doll and even some spare money.

The little boy said, 'Thank you God for giving me enough money!'

Then he looked at me and added, 'I asked last night before I went to sleep for God to make sure I had enough money to buy this doll,
so that mommy could give it to my sister. He heard me!''

'I also wanted to have enough money to buy a white rose for my mommy, but I didn't dare to ask God for too much. But He gave me enough to buy the doll and a white rose.''

'My mommy loves white roses.'

A few minutes later, the old lady returned and I left with my basket. I finished my shopping in a totally different state of mind from when I started.

I couldn't get the little boy out of my mind.

Then I remembered a local newspaper article two days ago, which mentioned a drunk man in a truck, who hit a car occupied by a young woman and a little girl. The little
girl died right away, and the mother was left in a critical state. The family had to decide whether to pull the plug on the life-sustaining machine, because the young woman would not be able to recover from the

Was this the family of the little boy?

Two days after this encounter with the little boy, I read in the newspaper that the young woman had passed away.

I couldn't stop myself as I bought a bunch of white roses and I went to the funeral home where the body of the young woman was for people to see and make last wishes before her burial.

She was there, in her coffin, holding a beautiful white rose in her hand with the photo of the little boy and the doll placed over her chest.

I left the place, teary-eyed, feeling that my life had been changed forever. The love that the little boy had for his mother and his sister is still, to this day, hard to imagine, and in a fraction of a second, a drunk driver had taken all this away from him.

Now you have 2 choices:
1) Send this message to others, or
2) Ignore it as if it
never touched your heart.
The quote of the month is by Jay Leno, 'With hurricanes, tornados, fires out of control, mud slides, flooding, severe thunderstorms tearing up the country from one end to the other, and with the threat of swine flu and terrorist attacks: Are we sure this is a good time to take God out of the Pledge of Allegiance?'

For those who prefer to think that God is not watching over us delete this, for the others, pass it on!

God Bless You!

Dear God,

The person reading this is beautiful and strong.

Help them to live their life to the fullest in Your service.

Please promote them and cause them to excel above their expectations.

Help them shine in the darkest places where it is impossible to love.

Protect them at all times, lift them up when they need You the most, and let them know when they walk with You, they will always be safe.

Now you're on the clock!
You need to tell 9 friends you care for them. Go!

For Jip

Jip and John are a couple who lived in limbo between University Meeting and South Seattle as the new Meeting formed and Jip lived with MS. Our Meetings are a little erratic about doing memorials when someone is not a member or status is in transition. In Jip's case, both Meetings did a joint memorial minute, read in Business Meeting on Sunday.

Jip before her illness was a nurse and a social worker with an international focus. Jip was from Thailand. When she was first diagnosed with MS, doctors advised her to avoid warm climates such as her native Thailand. At some point it became clear that Thailand was a better place for her to be for lots of reasons. She died there last summer after a long and debilitating struggle with MS. Two phrases stood out besides the biographical details in her memorial minute:

Watering the seeds of joy

It (MS) will make me a better Buddhist.

RantWoman is in no position to evaluate the concept of better Buddhist so she will digress briefly, to matters of Buddhism in European languages, one inquiry from email about French, Braille and accessible dictionaries, one in a movie review about reincarnation in Italy, perhaps with the note that it's an interesting theme during Advent.

Jip's memorial minute said hardly anything about her husband John. Perhaps that is because he helped write the minute. Perhaps it is because he is already way beyond tender about how difficult her illness made Jip sometimes. Business Meeting was clear that Jip's memorial minute should include special appreciation of John's care and devotion.

Jip stopped seeing years ago and probaby never learned Braille, and I think they were vegetarians, but since this poem showed up in my inbox, it's offered here dedicated to John.

Except for the poem here, the book is only available in Braille. RantWoman is unclear about legalities and options to turn E-Braille back into text. To be honest, RantWoman wants to savor the poem and think about that question another time.

The Poetry of Everyday Life
This is a collection of 20th and 21st century poets, handpicked by JoAnn Becker and Diane Croft. These are frank poems about young passions and old love, nature and nurture, work affairs and love affairs. This is not your grandmother's poetry - see Sharon Olds's poem below. As Emily Dickinson wrote, "When I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry."

Fish Oil

One midnight, I got home from work
and the apartment reeked of fish boiled
in oil. All the windows were shut,
and all the doors were open - up
from the pan and spatula rose a thick
helix of cod and olive. My husband
slept. I opened the windows and shut
the doors and put the plates in the sink
and oodled Palmolive all over. The next
day I fishwifed to a friend, and she said,
Someone might live with that, and come to
savor the smell of a fry. And that evening,
I looked at my love, and who he is
touched me in the core of my heart. I sought
a bottle of extra-extra virgin,
and a recipe for sea fillet in
olive-branch juice, I filled the rooms with
swirls of finny perfume, the outlines
in the sand the early Christians drew,
the loop meaning safety, meaning me too,
I remembered my parents' frowns at any
whiff of savor outside the kitchen,
the Calvinist shudder, in that house, at the sweet
grease of life. I had come to my mate
a shocked being, agog, a salt
dab in his creel, girl in oil,
his dish. I had not known that one
could approve of someone entirely - one could
wake to the pungent day, one could awake
from the dream of judgment.

- Sharon Olds

Friday, December 2, 2011

Gay Rain and....

RantWoman is seeking LIGHT about a personnel matter in her life outside Meeting. RantWoman is SUPPOSED to be one of the responsible adults in the picture. RantWoman is leaving to her readers' imaginations speculations as to which cheery themes from RantWoman's ongoing yucky topics festival the following items constitute a welcome levity break. RantWoman also would ALWAYS prefer that such items come with BOTH closed captioning AND video description enabled. RantWoman is just a demanding bitch, except someitmes when she forgets to check. Or when the material comes from the army and you don't get to need accommodations and stay in the military or ...!

Look, okay, RantWoman LIKES to laugh. Sometimes RantWoman even laughs at things that most assuredly are problematic.

Not your average take on sexual harassment.

A gaythering storm of people terrified about gay marriage, school lunch, and...

Warning: RantWoman has altruistically viewed the entire video to verify that it is vulgar and disgusting and contains frank language about body parts. So you do not have to look and RantWoman will shortly be washing her brain out.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Trauma Struggle Recovery

From Today's Blogroll, oddly linked in RantWoman's mind by factors tempting RantWoman to focus only on individualism instead of shared struggle:

A quote at

Without the context of a political movement, it has never been possible to advance the study of psychological trauma. The fate of this field of knowledge depends on the fate of the same political movement that has inspired and sustained it over the last century. In the late nineteenth century the goal of that movement was the establishment of secular democracy. In the early twentieth century its goal was the abolition of war. In the late twentieth century its goal was the liberation of women. All of these goals remain. All are, in the end, inseparably connected.
-- Judith Lewis Herman, M.D., in

from Judith Herman's bookd Trauma and Recovery

RantWoman means no disrespect at all to the liberation of women, but RantWoman finds boiling all the technological and ecological concerns of the late twentieth century down to this sentence a little disconcerting.

Despite the shared / overlapping struggles theme, RantWoman's individualism temptation here has to do with reading, time, needing to steep herself in the right community of people who have read and interacted with the book. WHINE.

Given the wine above about direct unmediated interaction with the text above, RantWoman has a lot of darn nerve even commenting in the specific case. In general, when RantWoman reads some kinds of trauma recovery literature, RantWoman has more than once come away very grateful for practical insights and also hungry for some spark of sustaining spirit.

RantWoman is unclear that Clothe Yourself in righteousness and get spiritually naked is what she has in mind.

RantWoman appreciates:
--a healthy sense of confession, a concept RantWoman finds more chimerical among Friends than, say, among the baptists of her youth

--The more radical than thou search for self-definitionof thinking youth in every generation.

RantWoman is a little fussy about:
--dissing people who take in Bosnian refugees because doing what one is called to often proves transformative for those so called.

--it's one short video but again rantWoman misses a more explicit connection between the individual and the community, realizing that of God in relations among people, that stuff about peacemaking that is really hard and that RantWoman could barely even think of undertaking in her youth despite obvious and persistent need for same.

Okay, okay, RantWoman has only been doing spiritual striptease all over her blog for awhile now, not obviously to social effect but still.