Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Bless Your Heart Dennis Hastert

Festive Rant in honor of the sentencing of Dennis Hastert. Vivid illustration of reasons RantWoman could use an editor and MAYBE should try a different PR tack about life in her own Meeting.

Based on evidence so far a trans woman is far less likely to harm chidlren than a four-term speaker of the House.
Obligatory text-in-graphic, via @DaveWeigel

RantWoman, how are your sex offenders?
[RantWoman does in fact sometimes field questions like this. usually there are multiple interesting threads of the conversations.]

MY sex offenders? You mean the formerly incarcerated known offenders who are now valued members of our community?  Meeting’s sex offenders? Guess what they get to wait in line for attention while RantWoman’s inner blowtorch shines in other directions.

 Bless your heart Dennis Hastert. Thank you so much for being sexual abuser of the day. How refreshing to have you a male politician interested in boys are available to take our minds off the nauseating trail of disgusting history that now tumbles out every time RantWoman hears the name Bill Cosby.

 Bless your heart because my Twitter feed says it’s National Child Abuse Awareness Month, which of course covers a whole bunch of things besides sex abuse, but it’s perfect alongside news about your court case.

 Bless your heart, sir, for trying to pay hush money, for trying to structure the payments to evade banking reporting requirements and for telling stories that did not add up.

 Bless your heart for the young men who have come forward and who get to relive your behaviors toward them every time the prosecutors have to detail the facts behind what you have been indicted for.

 Bless your heart for walking us all through the painful experience of facing behavior that should not be hidden, abuse of trust and authority, betrayal of responsibility to youth. 

 Bless your heart for making RantWoman wonder whether this history of abuse somehow played out in how you served the country as Speaker of the House, third in line for the Presidency. Hasta en las mejores familias.

 RantWoman is sorry you are now ailing, and Bless your heart is the best RantWoman can do for prayer.

 But bless your heart because your story also reminds RantWoman of sex abuse very close to RantWoman, of enough threads to keep a large number of mental health professionals in yachts, that is assuming anyone receiving services could sustain yacht payments. And that does not count one mental health professional who, RantWoman has learned, ai-yi-yi, was arrested awhile ago in connection with a creep one out internet sting.  

Bless your heart for one person dear to RantWoman who has an official “crazy letter” but who has come far enough in her spiritual work  to recognize both that she is well off and that others need to be held as they continue their recovery.

Bless your heart for email and other electronic emanations from someone else: threads in the narrative have shifted in ways RantWoman has to guess indicate encounters with mental heal services that actually help. And please excuse RantWoman for being an arrogant bitch around people who find the Still Didn’t Get the Memo Committee on Email Immoderation daunting: yep. The ONLY reason RanWoman draws the conclusions she draws is because she takes the time actually to READ and consider responses to the communications in question.

 Bless your heart for RantWoman’s longtime school friend who really thinks she ought to be able to read Nabokov’s Lolita, on account of it is supposed to be great literature and all. Never mind that RantWoman’s friend received decidedly inappropriate attention from the Jr. high band director and that somehow is for better or worse saving her from what is in fact a pretty creepy piece of literature.

 And Bless your heart for the choir director from the other high school. RantWoman wonders whether the community might actually have been able to handle him being gay; they definitely should not have had to deal with him molesting students. RantWoman has other friends, male and female who have been abused by teachers. Bless your heart for reminding RantWoman of their stories.

 And bless your heart for showing up in the news around RantWoman when RantWoman isstill trying to dodge a call to truth telling. RantWoman has in fact told many of these truths many times. RantWoman has collected SOME evidence both of being heard and of her Lightalso speaking to things others’ hearts. And yet, RantWoman is called AGAIN to…to SOMETHING, something more than clearness committees with people who have repeatedly silenced her. Please hold RantWoman and everyone in the vicinity of her psychic blowtorch in the Light.

 Bless your heart, Friend around whom RantWoman spent MULTIPLE months trying to get you to hold worship sharing with a certain committee about what it means to be in her Meeting’s sex offenders among us announcement. For RantWoman’s faithfulness to her Light, RantWoman got to listen to said Friend debrief about a small part in another Situation involving end or relationship Drama as well as a teenager caught up in his adults’ challenges. Trust RantWoman, what you needed to debrief about was a SMALL part of the situation. RantWoman is happy to have listend to your distress but still pissed off basically to RantWoman’s ear to have been told to go away afterward. Oh, and said committee was removed from the official announcement. Upon reflection about rantWoman's own experience, Rantwoman would also say that tidings of such matters do not automatically seek out or find the committees officially designated as responsible, a point RantWoman's psychic blowtorch is being more present about that is suitable for this blog entry.

There is such a long trail of further silencing connected with all that, RantWoman is pretty cluntly just in “shit happens” mode, with further allusions to Ben Pink Dandelion’s observations: sometimes people who have absolutely NO gifts in topical areas should collide with roles every now and then so people appreciate the value of having the roles filled by people with the right gifts. RantWoman also notes that said Friend is so clearly called to some strands of witness Rantwoman considers really really important, particularly teaching environmental science to students from countries with no tradition of environmentalism that RantWoman feels particular call to forebearance about other shortcomings. RantWoman feels call to forebearance but RantWoman so far is not entirely successful about actually extending it. Shit happens --and people keep coming to worship together!



--RantWoman is still holding in the Light the story behind RantWoman’s recent post about the Queen of spades and pastoral care.

--RantWoman continues to wonder what is it about her face that causes people to be able to tell her about their restraining order issues.  

--RantWoman guesses she is supposed to be grateful just to have language for the problem of getting quite triggered recently when a former physicist, a deceased member of RantWoman’s Meeting came up in conversation on one of RantWoman’s non Quaker email streams. The former physicist went to work in a social services role. List memories included words that exactly matched RantWoman’s memory and the name came up because of circumstances when the person who first mentioned the Friend was a child, in particular something that probably looked entirely reasonable to all the adults but that made one set of issues worse for the then-child. RantWoman sorted all this out and then filed it in her “gee this is one reason this person is hard to work with and why it is important to keep including what she contributes” file. RantWoman also took note, when checking history for another reason: the then child as a young adult was one of the founders of the Friendly Neighborhood Center for Extreme computing. Talk about more call to truth telling and crip solidarity.


But seriously, how are your Meeting’s sex offenders, the ones you know about?

 One has a very sweet love story: he and hs wife recently celebrated their 26th wedding anniversary. Other than that, this Friend is part of a group of released offenders who regularly speak in the community. They speak with COMPLETE integrity of their past and also of the critical need for prison reform in WA. RantWoman hopes others will feel called to join this work particularly since the work will also involve a call to show up for racial justice, including working with burning concerns for different communities.

And the other one you know about? He is now a registered voter and a member of Meeting. For reasons having NOTHING to do with any violations of all his different conditions, discussions of his situation has a couple times gotten entangled in circumstances he has nothing to do with. RantWoman has no sense of whether there is anything to try to smooth over about those circumstances. RantWoman also thinks this thread is not the best place to speak of other gifts, except for one point: RantWoman is glad other people have FINALLY also indicated encounter with the point that it is not reasonable for anyone to expect this Friend to solve everyone’s anger trigger restimulation issues ever. But help with such problems does sometimes happen sometimes well, we are all ministers of God!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Quarterly Meeting Gratitudes

When all the world is a tippy cellphone camera
Trees at Lazy F, evening

Gratitudes while RantWoman gets in gear for her week:

The ride logistics to get there

Snow along Snoqualmie Pass

Snow on the ground at the site, not a lot but snow.

High roaring creek.

Good roommates


This session’s infrastructure hiccup:
The site said they received word on Monday that there would  be a power outage courtesy of the Bonneville Power Adinistation from 6 am to 8 am on Saturday. Thank you for the advance notice.

Thank you for the peculiar community of people who sleep with CPAP, more than one of whom woke up early because of the power outage. RantWoman does not in fact sleep with CPAP but does need courage about revisiting the issue and getting more and better exercise in general.

Thank you backup generator for breakfast. Thank you everyone for coping with delays in showers and coffee.

Early Elementary!
RantWoman was a guest!  The kids showed Rant Woman the displays they alid out on some tables of  natural materials. RantWoman talked about big pine cones in the NW and much smaller ones in the Rocky mountains. RantWoman has no idea whether the kids will remember this.

The kids asked great questions. They were fascinated by all the things that do not work right about RantWoman’s eyes. RantWoman likes to show what her visual field is like with a test about where, if someone stretches out their arms, they can pull their fingers in and wiggle them and stop when they can see their fingers. RantWoman cannot see the wiggling fingers until they are pretty close to her body. RantWoman think s the kids all did fine at more normal range. Then RantWoman talked a little bit about double vision. RantWoman does not think anyone got that so RantWoman has no idea whether anyone is cross-eyed.

RantWoman has some braille business cards. This time the kids did not get the most comprehensive explanation of Braille but they all got  braille business cards.  RantWoman talked about the kinds of information her white cane proides. RantWoman did not really explain about Ambassador Thwack liking either to lounge in Rant Woman’s bag or to go a little overboard about his tactile communications responsibilities. RantWoman bumped her cane against a couple pieces of furniture to show some sound differences but this was not the time for banging on floors and walls with sticks.

The adults said the kids were spellbound but when the figets got too much it was time for snack.

RantWoman talked about what a pain it is when she drops things soooo after snacks, the kids got to help RantWoman find things when she drops them. The kids had to learn left and right. They had to learn that “Over there” is not such a great concept for RantWoman. And everytime RantWoman dropped her cup, the kids helped her find it!

RantWoman heard all day from parents about all their kids commenting. RantWoman’s favorite comment though, “Mommy, she’s blond.” Um noooo, but

(Note to the sincere folks on a clearness committee who thought rantWoman should go talk to kids. TRUST RantWoman: it is MUCH better to have spent some timestalking to adults first though RantWoman's unintentional blindness tourism business would actually NOT have minded a little less demand and more insightful customers at MANY points!)

Interest groups:
RantWoman was interested to see someone new to Quakers doing an interest group about faith and Practice! RantWoman is glad to hear it went well and MAY try again to probe for details.

RantWoman went to a TRULY non-depressing talk on climate change. RantWoman did not pay meticulous attention to every word but appreciated many voices.

Community night: several WONDERFUL musical numbers

Worship group:
RantWoman found her mind surprising full from responses to one query even though RantWoman herself was better able to respond to the first query after reading all of them.

Soup and salad for Sunday lunch. RantWman is aware that others disagree. Sorry.

RantWoman has a little bit of a sad missing Madeleine Brown.

RantWoman is tender about beloved elders who do not come anymore.

RantWoman is cross and crabby about a topic she is going to have to pick up the phone about and TRY to handle with more finesse than she sometimes manages in this medium.

RantWoman is a little crabby about another moment but is grateful for connections woven by Facebook.

Friday, April 22, 2016

And Introducing....

RantWoman humbly notes an interesting evolution from ZERO people attending an Interest group RantWoman once proposed on "Howling about our Dimishments" or some darned thing. RantWoman has received and has accepted the latest in a trickle of invitations  to visit the Children's program and talk about disabilities.

RantWoman is not clear whether it is Bad Auntie or Worse Auntie who have showed up to help her prepare. Probably RantWoman should simply not become overreliant on weird character development, but in the meantime, besides the concept of "UnNameTags," some possible introductions:

"This is Ambassador Thwack my badly behaved white cane. Sometimes he would rather curl up and lounge in my bag than work. Sometimes he goes overboard on the percussive pedagogy even though he is just supposed to warn me by bumping into things so I do not have to.
   Thwack is a little iffy on the Peace testimony,,,." I also have two other Thwacks, including Deputy Chief of Mission Thwack who is the same length fully extended but folds up more compactly. She likes to roll around on the carpets at certain local technology companies and she is slightly better able to be nice to challenging people...."

"This is Alex the Service python. Do not worry if you cannot see him / her. Zie is having gender identity issues. Very rarely do people have both a service animal and a white cane, but Alex helps me manage Ambassador Thwack's behavior.

Alex's other job is to educate people about service animal issues. Alex recommends the video imbedded in this blog post.
 Really Great WA State Service Animal Video
Alex is non-allergenic and very highly trained. Zir usual focus points: there are two questions it is appropriate to ask.

Is this animal required because of a disability?
[Slightly less interpersonal finesse than a brillo pad social interaction disorder?
Hyperactive BS detector?
Severely Underdeveloped suck-up reflex?
Chronic and Uncontrollable Annoying blind person behaviors?
Terminal allergy to getting run over?
 Hyperventilation in the face of Grab the blind Person and bless Them?
Acute sports conversation phobia?
Chronic need for mental tune-ups via pipe organ?
Pick one or offer your own]

What service or command does the animal perform for you?
--My service python helps me deal with exploding people.
Exploding people? RantWoman GET REAL.
No seriously...

--Some people have elders. My service python is my elder?
Don't worry, the target age group probably has no concept of elder

--Have you never heard of a service python? In the state of WA any animal can be a service animal. Local laws vary in different jurisdictions but the federal standard is that certain breeds of dogs and miniature horses are the only animals that qualify as service animals. There is no set standard for training or certification of service animals. If the handler can answer the questions above  it's a service animals  unless and until serious animal behavior issues arise.

--My service python helps me find lemons dropped onto the kitchen floor and things like hairballs and kitty vomit that I hear happen and need to clean up.

Okay RantWoman, and MAYBE you need a different tagline that last summer's #canetravel tweet about teaching young children to bang on walls and floors with sticks...?

ummm, maybe!

Popcorn kernels left over from Meeting for Worship

From Adult Religious Education
"(talking about institutionalized racism / mass incarceration)...might be do what you need to take care of yourselves..."

SWOON! He knows what triggering is. Okay he's a social work student so one would kind of expect...."

Swoon AGAIN for thoughts that triggering might be understandable, not something too icky for anything but making the triggered person GO AWAY.

No, this acknowledgment did not make RantWoman's eyes itch any less. Nor did it resolve RantWoman's need either to stare at her phone or to do Sudoku just to keep the rest of her head present. But Sudoku or no, RantWoman was present enough to listen to many voices.

From Meeting for worship
"...judge not lest ye be judged..." from Recycled Message Friend only somehow more Germanic because of reference to Dietrich Bonhoffer

RantWoman thought bubbles
WTF? Did we suddenly repeal the 10 commandments?

Mandated reporter laws?

Common sense before things get to the point of needing the mandated reporter law?

RantWoman you know that Friend who says the phrase "fear not" or variants such as "Fear Not for I am with you" appear more than 300 times in the Bible. Go with it... your neighbor as yourself...

...That means I have to love myself? Oh happy day?

...Do unto others as you would have them do unto you...?

RantWoman, recalls Quirky Friend now relocated due to magnetic grandchildren. Quirky Friend says "Why should I assume that someone else will like what I like?"

Vocal ministry about something to do with forgiveness?

more thought bubbles
Wait! How did we get from "Judge not" to Forgiveness?

and forgiveness is not the same thing as forgetting in either one's mind or one's body.

more vocal ministry about community and feeling loved

and a whole pot of popcorn from the event after worship but that gets a separate post.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Blindness Tourism enroute to Quarterly Meeting

Globe nestled in branches of a tree whose branches look like fingers with leaves growing out the ends of the fingers. Use OCR to read the text
Spring Quarterly Meeting Flyer
Hover your mouse to hear
RantWoman's suggested alt text
The following moments of Blindness Tourism and perpetual RantWoman malcontentedness brought to you by new #alttext functions now appearing in various corners of the interwebs. Geek terminology alert; if you have trouble finding God in the geek terminology, breathe deeply and RantWoman can TRY for other points of connection. And if you entirely resent being dragged along on this blindness tourism excursion, consider whether you might ever have dragged RantWoman along on any excursions she really was not that interested in and MIGHT have just been making nice out of politeness.

RantWoman does not do Facebook on an iOS device. Nor does RantWoman feel a call to upload the current Quarterly Meeting flyer to Facebook just to see what the innovative new artificial intelligence #alttext generator for iOS devices would do with the artistic elements of this graphic. But RantWoman has the same question about 3 wonderful photos on the Seattle Art Museum Sculpture Park that all include a sculpture called Echo and render the concept of Echo visually in interesting ways.

RantWoman's life is not overflowing with people who provide alt text voluntarily, but in the event that something say from an art museum showed up with the sort of thoughtfully crafted art verbiage that are museum curators' bread and butter, RantWoman would not want that text overridden by artificial intelligence creations. Design moment for the next iteration?

Some of RantWoman's blind and blindness network are quite charmed with the new functionality; others see work in progress. Why, though, should sighted people be deprived of the opportunity to appreciate what artificial intelligence creates? What would be a touch-screen equivalent of a hover the mouse to see the alt text?

RantWoman notes that she personally would find OCR for all those endless text in graphics thingies people post on Facebook really fabulous.

But Praise God for Convenient OCR! RantWoman downloaded the image from the Quarterly Meeting Website. Convenient OCR  the function of RantWoman's Windows-based screen reader, JAWS, successfully read MOST of the text in the above flyer. Convenient OCR completely bypassed all the curly italic stuff though.

Suppose for a break we visit Twitter's new  #alttext functions for photos. RantWoman actually fantasizes about options for adding  #alttext at the time she takes photos and having the alttext stay with the photo as it moves through the interwebs. Again, why should sighted users be deprived of the experience of reading what people put in their #alttext?

Here it would occur to RantWoman to experiment with the altexts she has applied on her phone to see what Twitter in IE does with alt text. It would occur to rantWoman to play with this, but not tonight.

RantWoman would be thrilled for a Twitter OCR function, maybe a swipe gesture, not automatic for all the text in graphics thingies abounding on Twitter.

RantWoman has been experimenting with all kinds of junk in the Alt Text on photos she tweets: hash tags, snarky comments, actual descriptions of the visual content. Possibly RantWoman should think more about what actually makes sense there.

Stay tuned?

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Memorials with Swedish Sign Language Interpreter for garnish

In the category of still don't know what to do with these entanglements:

Short version of the text: Love your mothers while they are alive because no one can take their place.
Ferrener Husband is VERY sad. His mother passed away 1 year ago this week. This week he learned that his last surviving brother was found dead in the family's apartment in Ufa. Neighbors contacted the police. The police reached out to the Deaf club.

There is SO little I could do; still there is a big spot of affection for all of them. The whole story needs prayers.

I have never regretted making the effort to visit even though there were some daunting moments. There were family photos and stories from O doing theater at the Deaf Club in Ufa before he managed to weave threads together to go to school in StPB. There were oceans of alcohol. There were topics to be dodged all over the place. There was work for O's parents and for O in an airplane plant because historically Stalin figured deaf workers would not spill secrets. It was clear the family all loved each other and the whole story needs prayers.

The most recently deceased, courtesy of the internet
Vl.R.I 2016. O's next younger brother. Liked to wear a suit and tie. Went through an entire business course of some kind with one-on-one sessions with the professor because there is no such thing in Russia as sign-language interpretation for one's classes.

V.B.I 2015 RantWoman's mother-in-law. Small. One night we walked 2 miles in -10 degree Celsius to the apartment of a childhood friend of O's. Listened to Bashkortostan 3, the local non-Russian language radio really loudly. Sent us back to Seattle with a 3-liter bottle of homemade jam. I begged O to leave it with the people we stayed with in StPB but he did not. Flavorwise I know why. The jam survived all the way until the last leg of the flight.
   Met O's father at the Deaf Club and learned RSL from him. Her mother, O's grandmother, did not approve. O remembers his grandmother always protecting the boys from bullying by the other kids. O says his grandmother's sister helped keep her sister and niece alive during WWII. O also says his mother always scored A's in English because a friend of her mother's was the teacher. O's mother delighted in the calendars we brought or sent.

Va.R.I ? Totally Deaf. OD'd. Unclear on what. 12 years younger than next younger brother. Education unclear because family managed to evade his getting sent off clear across town to the deaf school. Fascinated when we visited the Lomonosov Science Museum in StPb. Great fun to watch in other museums: stone deaf so he did not hear the alarms he kept setting off. The museum staff would run after him but they had to wait for O to interpret.

I.R.I ? Completely deaf but managed to communicate with me either by writing notes or lipreading. O's older brother. Wanted us to help him market snake venom. Offered to help raise any child we did not want. Terrifying alcoholic. RantWoman wanted to meet him. RantWoman is a little bit sorry to have pushed because of other manifestations of the terrifying alcoholic issue.

R.St.I ? O's father. Terrifying alcoholic. Somewhat bewildered by all his sons, the pets in residence thanks to Va. Muslim identity important in his own terms. We visited the year Ramadan fell over Christmas and New Year's. This is good for few hours of daylight. Vodka still needed though.

Other than the Turkic radio and the family speaking Russian when the y wanted me to hear as opposed to signing when they did not, I do not remember the sound track. NOr do I have any idea whether Swedish and Russian sign languages are mutually intelligible, but this music seems apt.

Final funny story: in StPb we ran into some Deaf guys from Italy. They had gone to StPB in search of wives but had not made connections and were headed home. People signed back and forth for a long time through the glass between the lobby and the boarding area. The PA kept announcing the flight to Rome and finally I had to get in O's face so the guys would not miss their plane.

Love ya Vlad, will miss you, probably not as much as O does even though y'all had yer differences.... RIP, and out on an up note.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Burning Country: Syrians in Revolution and War: Book event April 28, Seattle Public Library

RantWoman heartily endorses this event even though this blog already also contains another event calendared for the same evening:

Syrian-British writers Robin Yassin-Kassab and Leila Al-Shami will discuss their new book Burning  Country: Syrians in Revolution and War.

Thursday, April 28, 2016
at 7:00 PM in PDT
Seattle Public Library
Central Library,
1000 4th Ave,
Seattle, Washington 98104

This event is co-presented by the Elliott Bay Book Company and will be held at the Seattle Public Library (1000 Fourth Ave.) Level 4, Room 1. It is free of charge and open to the public.

Leila Al-Shami writes a blog on popular struggles, human rights and social justice from an anti-authoritarian perspective.

About the authors:

Robin Yassin-Kassab is a regular media commentator on Syria and the Middle East. He is the author of the novel The Road from Damascus (Hamish Hamilton, 2008) and a contributor to Syria Speaks (Saqi, 2014).

Leila Al-Shami has worked with the human rights movement in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East. She was a founding member of Tahrir-ICN, a network that aimed to connect anti-authoritarian struggles across the Middle East, North Africa and Europe.

Leila Al-Shami says:

I have both Arab and European roots, straddling two worlds and belonging in neither.

I’ve been involved in human rights and social justice struggles in the Middle East since 2001.

I’m a founding member of Tahrir-ICN a network that aims to connect anti-authoritarian struggles across the Middle East, North Africa and Europe.

Leila's blog:
a blog on popular struggles, human rights and social justice from an anti-authoritarian perspective

Syrian-British writers Robin Yassin-Kassab and Leila Al-Shami will discuss their new book Burning Country: Syrians in Revolution and War, which the journalist Hassan Hassan says is "poised to become the definitive book not only on the continuing Syrian conflict but on the country and its society as a whole."

Burning Country is a vivid and groundbreaking look at a modern-day political and humanitarian nightmare. It explores the horrific and complicated reality of life in present-day Syria with unprecedented detail and sophistication, drawing on new first-hand testimonies from opposition fighters, exiles lost in an archipelago of refugee camps, and courageous human rights activists among many others...

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Some collected links remembering Bonnie Tinker

Another reflection: when my 8th grade history teacher passed away his
obituary talked about some media interview where he was asked
something about most significant Supreme Court cases. He mentioned
Brown vs Board of Education and also Tinker V DesMoines a case brought
with Bonnie's older brother Paul, now Paul TinkerHEss as lead
My funny memory of Bonnie is the year NPYM minuted support of
same-gender marriage and full legal marriage equality. Bonnie and I
ducked out of the queer quakers eating ice cream and went off to my
room to finish word-smithing the minute that needed to come to
Business Meeting the next day.

Friday, April 15, 2016

The State of Society as Stood Aside From

[2016 State of the Society Report, as approved in Meeting for Business with RantWoman standing aside and requesting that the report be held over for further work, with multiple other Friends expressing unity with RantWoman’s views after the close of Meeting for Business.The report is not due until April. RantWoman notes a desire that edits not make the report longer than it currently is, approximately 987 words. Do urls count? How about Twitter handles?  Hashtags? Never mind. Further editorial comment left to UFM's bedbugs separately. The bedbugs do sincerely wish to thank God Almighty for the ABUNDANT data  the seasoning process offered to feed RantWoman's Show me don't just tell me Inner Editor. Possibly no one but the bedbugs realize that RantWoman even has an inner editor. Hold that point in the Light!  ]

University Friends Meeting 2016 State of the Society Report - Draft

We are a large, urban meeting, diverse in our personal theologies, length of Quaker experience, and expectations of community. Our size means we can take on many ministries and activities. It also brings challenges: our many visitors and new attenders are not always fully welcomed. We struggle with issues of privilege, class, and race. We often find ourselves overextended.

Before all else we are a spiritual community. Our mission is to nurture each other into our best, spirit-led selves and into the work to which we are called. Each of us needs to take up this challenging task. Many formal and informal activities at UFM contribute. Several members who are current students or graduates of Way of the Spirit bring the fruits of that work that to our community, as well as deepening our connections to programmed Friends.

Adults are nurtured by worship, vital and well-attended adult religious education sessions, and by our pastoral care committees. Many adults contribute to the spiritual nurture of the children and teens as teachers, mentors, and a caring adult presence. We do struggle to meet their needs across all age groups and especially for the middle school age who begin to drift away from First Day School. There is a long standing monthly regional gathering of Junior Friends (high school), and a newly-begun similar gathering of Central Friends (middle school). Together with South Seattle Meeting and Salmon Bay Meeting we support quarterly Sunday joint meetings for the nurture of Quaker families.

Worship remains the heart of the meeting and our great blessing. Meetings for worship are often deeply centered and endowed with rich vocal ministry. Many experienced Friends uphold the worship and vocal ministry. Our three weekly meetings for worship each have their own character. The small Wednesday evening meeting is valued by its attenders. At 9:30 on Sundays 20 - 30 gather in a close community for worship that is rich in silence. The 11:00 meeting is much larger, with many children joining us at the end of worship, frequent newcomers, and much vocal ministry. Particularly at the 11:00 meeting we note the challenge of discerning the difference between spirit-led vocal ministry and other types of messages.

We serve the UFM community, our local community, and the world. Our two structured ministries to our local community are the 24 year old QuEST program which places six or seven recent college graduates into a year of service in organizations with Quaker values, and our nine year old SHARE shelter, which provides a dry safe sleeping place for homeless individuals in our worship room. This year the possibility of affiliating QuEST with Quaker Voluntary Service led us to a period of active discernment about the relationship between QuEST and the relatively new Quaker Voluntary Service. We have not reached a conclusion but have been influenced by the process to strengthen the QuEST relationship to other meetings in Seattle and build stronger experiences for QuEST fellows. As the homeless population in Seattle grows rapidly our SHARE shelter continues to provide a nightly haven for about 20 people. We are grateful for the opportunity to get to know these folks and feel especially enriched on holidays such as Thanksgiving when our two communities come together.

Several members of UFM are called to leadership in broader Quaker organizations. We feel fortunate to have, among our members, deep Quaker experience that we can lend to the world, but we also see the reduction in energy and experience available to UFM itself. Like many meetings, we have difficulty filling all the positions on our committees. More worrisome is the serious difficulty we have finding Friends willing to assume clerking roles at UFM. We sometimes fail to bring the necessary level of practical and spiritual preparation to business meeting. Like many other meetings, we seek good ways to manage disruptive behavior so that everyone can contribute helpfully to our committees and business meetings.

Our buildings and grounds receive the good care of staff, members of the Facilities Committee, and individuals with a special gift for gardening with native plants. The costs of maintaining our aging buildings, neighborhood construction impacts, graffiti, and inadequate parking present challenges, however, our finances have been stable and healthy the last few years. Discerning our role in a rapidly changing neighborhood, how we can be better stewards of our facilities and how our ministries can better serve this changing community will be an important task for us in the coming years.

We nurture each other physically, emotionally, and spiritually through twice monthly light lunches, numerous and robust care committees, and clearness committees that assist Friends seeking discernment at significant life decision points. Members of the Friends Center Committee put considerable energy into Sunday morning social hour, light lunches, and holiday gatherings, especially the big Thanksgiving feast.

Several committees and numerous individuals are seeking ways to provide a more welcoming environment to new attenders and to help them integrate into the meeting. Improvements might be a step towards improving diversity. Integrating newcomers is a challenge as it is easy for someone to be ignored in a meeting as large as UFM. We recognize that diversity in our community of seekers is essential for us as a community and as individuals if we are to come to deeper understanding of the Truth, and see past our own limitations.

As of February 2016 we have 138 members. Since last June we have lost one member to death, one has resigned, one has transferred out, and seven missing members have been dropped from our rolls. We have welcomed one new member and two transfers into the meeting.

We understand from the Friends who attended the December 2015 consultation at Ben Lomond that other Western unprogrammed meetings face similar challenges to the ones we document in this report, and feel energized to hear about and learn from others' experiences and approaches to addressing these challenges.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Sex, Religion, Starbucks, Translation, Eldering

RantWoman has a neighbor who likes to talk about sex

 And religion

 In the lobby of our building

 Among people with whom it would not occur to rantWoman to discuss either sex or religion.

 Sometimes RantWoman deeply esteems this neighbor for this trait.

Recently this neighbor asked RantWoman, do you think God answers prayers?

 Yes definitely, but sometimes we do not necessarily like or understand the answers.


 And the Lord spake unto RantWoman?

 Um, noooo, but God definitely told RantWoman to go to Starbucks.

There is a Starbucks on the way from RantWoman’s bus stop to Meeting. Most of the time when thoughts of lattes rise enroute, RantWoman asks God whether the situation is just caffeine addiction and marketing.

 Most of the time God firmly reminds RantWoman that there generally is perfectly fine caffeine at Meeting and besides RantWoman should just contribute her latte budget to helping ensure that there is plenty of milk for others besides herself who like a little coffee with their milk.

 But this week, God definitely told RantWoman that to prepare for Business Meeting she needed to go to Starbucks, to eat a spinach foldover and enjoy a latte.

 RantWoman had already had one conversation about the point she was stuck on. RantWoman was trying to be at ease somewhere between “Trust…” and “Trust but Verify...” RantWoman was NOT succeeding.

 Munching at the spinach foldover, RantWoman to God, “Am I just being an egomaniacal bitch?”

 RantWoman, YOU decide about the egomaniacal bitch issue.

 You do in fact know quite a lot about the topic. You have earned part of your living doing various strands of work related to the topic. You are WAY more likely than other people involved in the process to have personal contact with people receiving the output from the process.

 Yes, and …completely shut out of …otherwise…

 RANTWOMAN, you were true to your Light about concerns (and mutual support!) not uncommon in the work processes of those who shepherd meaning back and forth between languages. You jumped up and down very hard. You WERE listened to. You know you were listened to both because Conflict is a Gift of God Friend bitched MIGHTILY and because another Friend shared data you would not have minded being wrong about.

If you were shut out of one moment, you are NOT RESPONSIBLE if the results of others’ efforts were less than perfect. Plus, just because Conflict is a Gift of God Friend bitched does not mean you should try to evaluate without reading…

Yes, but these particular documents go out in the name of the whole Meeting. Some of the rest of us will likely be called to carry and share work going forward. Besides if we are supporting a ministry well, the minister should not have to translate his own travelling minutes.

RANTWOMAN, you know all those junior staffers you go to meetings with? The ones dealing for the first time in their careers with language access issues in this multicultural city? The ones whose first thought is to Google translate their flyers and whose second thought is MAYBE they can listen to members of various communities particularly when the various communities say “forget all that paper and give us live competent humans.” This situation is definitely not just Google translate in the first place but it’s definitely like junior staffers learning something new. In the second place, can you please somehow for once in your slightly less interpersonal finesse than a Brillo pad life just BE GENTLE with people?


Business Meeting got VERY interesting.

RantWoman was given many words of testimony on target except, peace testimony and all, “on target” might not be the best metaphor.

Discussion meandered toward ministry within our Yearly Meeting. Not so many translation issues for sure.

Somewhere in there, MUCH truth telling occurred. A newcomer reportedly expressed admiration for the honesty.

Progress was made in the realm of steps to move forward efforts where timeliness is an issue.

Language emerged about “always in presence of an elder.” And thanks to RantWoman reading subsequent email, RantWoman now also has the opportunity to promote and test understandings of “always in the presence of an elder” when gadding about in the electronic realms of Quakerdom. Hold that testing in the Light, especially since RantWoman really wants to TRY to let others tend for the moment.***

***And yes, dear readers, RantWoman reminds her public that this is blogging as Quaker journal, for better or worse 100% free of recognizable elder presence. Hold that point in the Light.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

EVENT: The Prison Experience in WA

“Ain’t nothin’ easy ‘bout livin’ in a cage”


The Prison Experience in Washington

April 28, 7-9 p.m.

University Friends Meeting

4001 9th Avenue NE, Seattle, WA,  98105


 We live in an age of mass incarceration unprecedented in human history. If you’ve ever wondered what that looks like in our own blue state of Washington, please join us on April 28.  Dr. Steve Herbert from the UW’s School of Law, Societies, and Justice will sketch the historic and international context for us. Then a panel of four former prisoners will talk frankly with the audience about life in prison—their daily lives, their fears, their successes and failures, prison’s impact on their families, and their recommendations for change.


We’ll leave two hours later with a better understanding of the human face of our prison system, and more importantly, ideas about four crucial policies changes that can happen in the next legislative session if we start working now:


1) change the mission of the Department of Corrections from punishment to reintegration

2) create an independent ombuds office to oversee the DOC

3) restore higher education funding for prisons

4) create a sentence review (parole) program.


For more information about the event or about carpooling options from outside Seattle, please leave a comment with your question.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Friday, April 1, 2016

PARKING: "Mobility impaired" vis "disabled"

In case anyone wonders why RantWoman keeps standing aside from all kinds of things, repeatedly offering help even when help is repeatedly turned down, being insufferably true to her Light and generously spreading consternation in as many ways as possible, here is another example, "mobility impaired" parking as distinguished from commonly understood "Disabled Parking / Handicapped Parking."

A new announcement as it appears in the Weekly Bulletin after being announced in Business Meeting as a decision after the fact, not including a request for input that might have changed the decision. Hint: ask for input BEFORE you order the signs!

NEW RESERVED PARKING FOR THE MOBILITY IMPAIRED. We have installed four new Reserved Parking signs in our parking lot in spaces near to the Meetinghouse. These spaces are now reserved on Sundays from 10:45 to 2 pm for the mobility impaired. These are not state designated handicapped spaces, but rather our effort to increase access to the building for people who use canes, walkers, wheelchairs, or who need to minimize the distance they walk. If you think this applies to you, then please use these spaces, as the system is based on self-definition andis self-monitored.

Construction is occurring near the Meetinghouse. Parking is a mess for everyone. especially people with mobility limitations. There are people who are not coming to Meeting because of parking problems. RantWoman is not in that number. RantWoman continues to get around mainly in the chauffeur-driven limousines operated by King County Metro though thanks to #Ulink2016 and the latest Metro shakeup, #bus2link, RantWoman gets to babble a lot about public transit but that is a different problem.

RantWoman's Light on the parking places issue and the announcement as digested from email and phone calls.
Reserved Parking
State Disabled
Parking Permit

--"State-designated Disabled Parking Spaces" RantWoman supposes there are some state or local code issues defining minimum number and characteristics of disabled parking Spaces for different categories of buildings. Honestly, RantWoman likes to hear reference to stuff like this in Business Meeting because RantWoman appreciates knowing that relevant committees have a handle on the right issues. RantWoman can get along without this info for now mainly because of other data.

--RantWoman would not have minded a verbal description of the new signage in business Meeting  because she can imagine needing to direct people to the designated spots. RantWoman has since located the new signage and has no further comment.

But never mind that for now. RantWoman thinks that if everyone at Meeting who, RantWoman is just guessing, probably fully qualifies for a disabled parking permit had one and displayed it when parking in our parking lot, Meeting might realize that at least on Sunday morning there is way more need for disabled parking than there are officially designated disabled parking spaces.

Thanks to the wonders of the internet, RantWoman also knows that there are ways to designate temporary disabled parking spaces, ways such as parking meter bags. RantWoman thinks this point would be highly topical for the limited time window when Meeting regularly needs more disabled parking places than it probably does the rest of the week. That is the parking spaces. Now for the people.

"People who use canes, walkers, wheelchairs, or who need to minimize the distance they walk"...(not to mention other people who have hidden disabilities..).?

--Why those sound like the very same EXACT people who probably qualify for a Disabled Parking Permit and who MIGHT, maybe possibly benefit in other parts of their life from having one as well!

--RantWoman had a conversation with one Friend who thought it would be MUCH too forward to suggest to anyone that maybe, possibly, they might qualify for, benefit from, really, really need a disabled permit.

--RantWoman shared her discernment about the issue and herself: RantWoman can bloody well walk. RantWoman really really needs regular exercise. BUT RantWoman goes about sometimes with people who a. really like parking garages, an element of infrastructure RantWoman is NOT well-disposed toward, and b. are lousy sighted guides whose arms RantWoman would NOT take. So possibly for the safety of RantWoman and others, RantWoman COULD think about getting a disabled parking placard. RantWoman will continue to think about this.

--RantWoman had an email exchange and learned that one specific Friend already has a permit. RantWoman implied also a community awareness point about the process of applying and why one would or would find permits beneficial, but the email covered only one person.

Individual placard

--Disabled Parking Permits come in two forms, a license plate and a placard that people can hang on their rearview mirror or lay on their dashboards.

--A disabled parking placard is a commonly understood clue with
commonly understood rules. Sometimes for everyone's sanity it works
best to use rules everyone is supposed to understand rather than
making up something just because we are Quakers and we are special. This also seems on-point in the event that say newcomers with actual disabled parking permits show up and want to park near Meeting as well.

--Should anyone feel the slightest inclination to look up further information about applying for disabled parking permits, the link to do that is

RantWoman does not even apologize for feeling highly motivated to spam the entire committee who announced the decision. At this point, RantWoman has much else exercising her but does specifically mean to plant some ideas because the parking situation WILL continue to evolve. And yes, this post has a certain boring engineering count things and fit them into space and other parameters aspect. Cope.

and furthermore, one more thing or maybe more than one:
--RantWoman would love to be able to deliver smooches of gratitude to someone else for providing this information or signs of interacting with this information instead of having to look it up and assemble graphics her own dang self.

--RantWoman deeply humbly thanks those near and dear to her in Meeting for so many opportunities to try to be centered about all such vexations because the rest of RantWoman's life ALSO abounds in opportunities to speak about the very same issues! Good Thang there's...WORSHIP!