Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Fellowship of Friends of African Descent GoFundMe Campaign to support trip to Ghana

Go Fund Me page to support a life-changing trip to Ghana. Please support as you are led.

The Fellowship of Friends of African Descent (FoFAD) plans to travel to Accra, Ghana to visit Quakers at Hill House Monthly Meeting. We are raising funds to enable Friends who need financial assistance to travel to Ghana.


Support: At our 2016 annual gathering, we reaffirmed our purpose to uplift Quakers of African Descent around the world. We are equally committed to including young people on this trip, and members of the Peace Leadership and Arts Camp of Chester will join us.

Connect: Cross-cultural experiences are central to our Quaker Peace Testimony in helping create a world with greater mutual respect and understanding. As we come together with Ghanaian Friends in worship and fellowship, we seek to further the bonds of friendship, thereby strengthening our global community.

Learn: On this journey, we have the opportunity to travel historical and ecological trails. We will visit World Heritage Sites that played significant roles in the trans-Atlantic slave trade, including the “door of no return.” Also planned is a trip to a rain forest where we will learn about medicinal plants and the endangered species in the region.

About us:

The Fellowship of Friends of African Descent was formed out of a desire that Black Quakers know each other. Because of racial and economic inequalities in the United States, African Americans earn on average 75% of what our white counterparts make. In an effort to make the Fellowship’s Ghana trip more accessible to our members, we are raising funds to enable Friends who need financial assistance to travel to Ghana.

Please help make this once-in-a-lifetime experience possible for Friends in need.

In Gratitude and In the Spirit,
Members of the Fellowship

Monday, May 29, 2017

Retreat: Let's Do it AGAIN!

Warning: RantWoman reminds her readers of her Blog as Quaker Journal model of blogging. RantWoman does not even pretend that every word written here is a paragon of well-edited let alone centered communication. It is DATA. Sometimes RantWoman manages an excessively plain English to Quakerese filter, but this cannot be guaranteed. RantWoman and God have continuing dialogue about this; RantWoman recommends that readers who have a problem with this also sit with it, take it up with God, choose your favorite language, COPE.

Recipe for RantWoman Retreat Bliss NOT

Annoying Voice Friend whose drill sergeant delivery and regional speech patterns make the nails on chalkboard Woman Trying to Project Authority edge of her voice even worse. RantWoman does not know a kind way to say this much less any good speech coach tips that might help. Hold the Problem in the Light.

Terribly Earnest Friend whose notes RantWoman will be interested in reading

I’m (STILL) Not Interested in Your Thought Processes Friend who seems NOT to have learned anything in HOW many years since another retreat planning effort.

More members of committee RantWoman does not feel called to further characterize.

Charming moments:

Billing as "community building." Demographics of event: about 80% people older than RantWoman, 20% people younger. RantWoman thinks the community might be more like 35% people younger and plenty of people older. Estimates offered without further commentary.

Scratch that. Sure of course the people who were there were great, but what were ... hoping for????

Pair off and respond to queries basically about what makes people feel connected to each other. Then tell the room about your partner’s responses. Don’t pair off with your spouse (Duh!) or the person next to you even if the person is a newcomer who someone else is going to zoom in and grab anyway. Omitted: don’t pair off with the person you have been working with for 50+ years. THANK YOU to Clerk for finding RantWoman and sparing her the need to negotiate visual fog though the connect with different people thing...

What the HELL? Why should RantWoman think retreat at Quaker Meeting is going to be any different than dodge ball on the playground? But thank you again to clerk...! And Hallelujah! At least this exercise was in a room big enough  that chattering pairs right next to each other did not drown each other out.

Notes were taken.  There were common themes.  RantWoman will await notes though shared car rides, committee service,  sharing meals and potluck groups, worship sharing, activities such as gardening, common connections to communities outside Meeting stick in RantWoman’s mind, along with actually having a conversation with people one worships with.

Specifically mentioned as NOT necessarily being helpful: coffee hour! Hallelujah! RantWoman can kind of make coffee hour work for short hug and greet moments but is glad to learn she is not the only person with this problem.

An item RantWoman did not hear but that wandered into her mind while composing: planning events together.

Also stuck in RantWoman's mind: a comment calling RantWoman AGAIN to try to elder...  That is not a hold the problem in the Light issue, more light, be very careful with the RantWoman Inner Blowtorch. But the day was young and the inner blowtorch topic MAY need just to live in email!

The We Must All Sing TOGETHER exercise.
And walk around the room LOOKING at each other.

The first problem with this exercise.
This is supposed to be FUN

The second problem. RantWoman is having this visceral reaction: We Must All Sing TOGETHER is to RantWoman, excessively plain English to Quakerese filter completely offline here, CRAP THEOLOGY. Unity is a beautiful thing. It comes from God, the holy spirit, whatever is beyond us as individuals. It is not something that people can be beaten into with a drill sergeant voice and enough earnestness.

The THIRD Problem: Remember Bowl? What Bowl?   The wellspring of RantWoman terrors about being forced to sing is probably not going to go away and well-meaning earnest figures certain of their good intentions are NO bleeping HELP. In fact, that just makes matters worse!

The FOURTH Problem: just because RantWoman is in a miserable upset, too upset to talk state of mind does NOT mean RantWoman will want to go outside. Even if RantWoman were able to still fears about plowing into people, RantWoman's willingness to tolerate being led around is way below any minimum that might be reasonable in the first place. In the second place, RantWoman somehow feels this generous sense of offering people around her opportunities just to Cope!

For the record, RantWoman appreciates that two different topical people have asked RantWoman her perspective on this retreat. RantWoman appreciates being asked, but RantWoman is posting here so that anyone who wants can interact in RantWoman's own words.

Happy Interacting!

Retreat Bliss: the after dinner edition: contra dancing

RantWoman always approves of live bands and a good caller. RantWoman expects that they got properly paid but has not asked.

RantWoman thanks everyone who kept trying to drag RantWoman out to dance.  RantWoman directs everyone to the same mobility while blind tirade as above. To repeat: RantWoman is legally blind and built like a linebacker. RantWoman has more than enough appreciation for physics to register paths to serious damage intended or not. Add opportunities for colliding with limbs from all the over and under. YOU try contra dancing while blind-folded. RantWoman was definitely into the music. RantWoman got from the fog and blur that the calls mostly seemed to be working. The music was great accompaniment to RantWoman’s next increment of geopolitical Twitter fix. And that was sufficient for the day.

Please hold the whole circus in the Light.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Nutella Kale Neighborliness North Korea

This message being composed under the influence of Nutella and breakfast oatmeal. RantWoman cannot rule out the possibility that rather than unmitigated experience of the divine this intersection of God and gluttony simply reflects an overdose of sugar, chocolate, fat and fiber.

RantWoman meant to compose gratitudes yesterday., These are leftover gratitudes along with a fresh morning delivery via NPR and the Queen of Spades purring on RntWoman's shoulder.

Nutella. Need RantWoman say more?

Two Russian kale plants brought home from RantWoman's beloved potluck group.

Pot big enough, RantWoman whope to hold full-grown Russian Kale plants.
The temerity to commit small-scale civil disobedience and grow Russian kale plants on the balcony across RantWoman's hall. True there is risk a favority neighbor might adopt a plant in support of weekly visits from their extended family, but RantWoman can live with that level of neighborliness.

A sign RanWoman saw on her way home. RantWoman’s phone refused to cooperate about photographic documentation but the sign said in English, Spanish and Arabic, No Matter where you are from, we are glad to have you as our neighbor.

Okay, RantWoman KNOWS this is a weird one,but:  N Korea, that weird geopolitical lubricant between counterposed empires. Nothing to make it famous except nukes and rocket tests. And a dictator with weird hair, an exhausting political ideology and an economic system that leaves people on the brink of starvation even without sanctions for excessive militarism.
But wait. Is North Korea behind the Wanna Cry malware now causing global vexation for people and organizations still running XP and people who for various reasons do not fly to install every Windows upgrade that comes along?

Is WannaCry a mutant reproduction of some cybernetic DNA dribbling into the wild from the NSA? Is it some kind of guerilla effort to map places still running XP?

OR is WannaCry just some wacko way of observing Global Accessibility Awareness Day because it gives RantWoman the opportunity to rant about accessibility: not breaking some or another accessibility issue is a very big reason but not the only one that large organizations do not rush to install every update emanating from the great Redmond software giant.

Despite the scale of the vexation, how malicious is it? It is easily disabled. Few people have made the requested Bitcoin payments and the Bitcoin payment path is easily trackable.

Is it at least better than missile tests? THINK of all the disruption and at bargain rates. The British NHS. The Chinese government. The body that administers driver's licenses in the Russian Federation... WAY better than missile tests!

To top things off, here's the latest deal offered by the Queen of S[aces: I will scratch your legs after breakfast. I will bite and scratch when you accidentally pet my ouchy spots. Bot don't worry I will protect you from N Korea.

Um CAT, don't you have some pigeons to chase on the window ledge or something?

State of Society--almost

State of the Society Report
University Friends Meeting
Draft April 30, 2017

[Annotated after Meeting For Business; RantWoman expects there should be a link for a final version at some point. Uses of “spiritual:” 6, down from 14. Shared mirth with drafters about going overboard even worse as a joke.  MUCH improved but RantWoman thinks excess verbiage could still be eradicated. RantWoman also still crabby because of tensions about mentioning matters beyond Meeting’s walls. RantWoman not crabby? Take her temperature!]

University Friends Meeting (UFM) strives to live and act in accordance with Quaker testimonies and practices, and to build a caring Meeting community. While there is much to say about the work and state of our Meeting, this report emphasizes the interests and concerns related to the spiritual health of UFM.

The current number of adult members is 141, which is a net gain of one adult member in 2016. UFMprovides the opportunity for its members and attenders to balance their busy lives and spiritual needs.

We regularly have three meetings for worship each week. The 11:00 o’clock meeting on Sunday
mornings typically has an attendance of 40 to 70. It is a meeting with the most vocal ministry, and is attended by a mix of newer members and attenders, members with younger children who take advantage of the preschool and First‐Day School offerings, and many long time members. The 9:30 meeting typically has an attendance of 15 to 30, many of whom seek a deeper worshipful experience with less vocal ministry. There is also a Wednesday night meeting for worship which typically has attendance in the single digits.

The quality of worship is generally considered to be good. When problems with worship are recognized, steps are taken to restore a worshipful atmosphere. At the conclusion of the 9:30 meeting, Friends introduce themselves and may share concerns or experiences that are important to them. At the conclusion of the 11:00 o’clock meeting, there is a time for sharing joys and sorrows that do not rise to the level of vocal ministry during the meeting for worship proper. As the Meeting has become accustomed to this practice the time spent in worship has become more centered as there is now a separate time for sharing other concerns.

A number of UFM members have participated in Quaker spiritual enrichment programs such as Way of the Spirit, Woman’s Theological Conference, Quarterly and/or Yearly Meetings, and local and national Quaker organizations. This has deepened the spiritual experience for our entire Meeting. Another way we deepen our community is through worship/sharing groups that meet for several months. Our preschool program, First‐Day School program, and Junior Friends program enrich the lives of our children and teens while allowing parents time to attend to their own needs in meeting for worship. [Elders? Senior citizens?]

We have a relatively high number of attenders who have varying familiarity with Quaker worship and practices. Maintaining the quality of worship is a challenge at times when there are a relatively large number of attenders new to Quaker worship. The majority of our members come from white middle class backgrounds. We are challenged with how to build a Friends’ community which embraces the cultural diversity of our region. We have had some attenders from minorities who have worshipped with us frequently for several months, even joining a committee only to decide that we were not the religious community that they wanted to call home.

[This paragraph makes RantWoman cringe on multiple grounds. RantWoman is VERY grateful for a number of comments during Meeting for Business. RantWoman is unclear what was actually decided about wording but remembers comments about various reasons people do not feel they fit in and based on Rantwoman’s fixation on linguistic diversity a count of how many different languages people in Meeting speak at home]

UFM recently had an all‐meeting retreat in which members shared their memories of how they lived their faith during trying times. UFMs Adult Religious Education committee is sponsoring a month of follow‐up programs to this retreat. This committee continues to be a valued source of information, discussion, and spiritual nourishment for our community, covering a wide variety of Quaker and social issues every Sunday morning. Our community is becoming more aware of issues and concerns of transgender and other gender nonconforming people. An upcoming program will be UFM’s first formal step in seasoning the minute proposed for Yearly Meeting action on Gender Inclusivity.

The two long term ministries of UFM have been our QuEST (Quaker Experiential Service and Training) program and hosting of a SHARE (Seattle Housing and Resource Effort) homeless shelter. UFM sponsors QuEST fellows who live as a community in our building called Quaker House and work at non‐profit agencies. A spiritual mentorship program was implemented to enhance support to our QuEST fellows.

The SHARE organization temporarily closed its shelter system during 2016 due to funding cuts [and organizational concerns. Government] Funding was recently restored, but the UFM shelter did not reopen. The Meeting is now considering our options with how best to proceed with our homelessness ministry. [Added wording about availability of two Travelers Rooms]

Over this past year we completed many maintenance projects and repairs to our aging meeting house. The worship room was completely upgraded this year. We anticipate the loss of our long time tenants American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) and Global Gardens Preschool. This creates an opportunity to determine how to best utilize our whole property (including Quaker House) and examine our ministries in the changing University District. We have appointed an Ad Hoc Campus Discernment Committee to explore how we may best use our property. The maintenance of the physical plant of our campus will continue to be a stress to our Meeting’s energy and finances.
The Meeting has several part time employees, some of whom have been with us for many years. Our meeting has begun discussing potential changes to our personnel structure that might more effectively meet the Meeting’s needs. This has proven to be a challenging discussion due to many factors, including concerns about current employees losing their job, as well as interpersonal conflicts within our community. Working through these issues can be an important opportunity for healing and growth within UFM.

UFM continues to be challenged with adequately filling our committee rosters with people willing to commit their time and energy. We have had previously active and valued members who have been clerks of committees, and then have stopped being active in the Meeting at the end of their terms. UFM has benefitted from their valuable service. It is possible that they needed respite from a heavy workload. However, there are feelings that their work is not appreciated or is criticized in ways that are hurtful. UFM has become increasingly concerned about the way we communicate with one another, and is also working to make an environment where bullying is not tolerated. It is our intention to deal with all involved in a supportive and loving way with the hope that all parties may come to an understanding and either resolve or embrace their differences. As a community we try to be more affirming of the valuable contributions that each person makes. Like all human endeavors this is a work in progress.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Mothers Day Nephew Couch

There is a teenager on this couch.
Couch, Irrepressible Nephew

The teenager is 6’4” long. The couch is not.

When the teenager is awake he talks of salt water fish tanks, planned summer trips, his spring break trip with his church to build houses in Tijuana.

There is a girlfriend who was not seen today.

This is the teenager’s mother, Little Sister.

Little Sister

The teenager's dad Brother in Law was not looking to be photographed.

Little Sister was in awesome enough humor this past week to get help and rearrange her apartment to make her living area way friendlier and cut WAY down on trip and fall hazards. Little Sister invited RantWoman and RantMom over for Mother’s Day.

Little Sister supplied lasagna, salad, garlic bread that was NOT too burned to eat—if RantWoman had been hungry enough to want garlic bread. RantWoman supplied homemade ratatouille.

Good will supplied all around. Sister fights negligible and laughable.

It was lovely.

Thanks Sis for being an Amazing Mom. Thanks for working so hard to do things differently than our parents did.  THANKS for keeping one of my favorite thoughts real: The great thing about being Auntie is that you get to give the kid BACK.

RantMom and her childhood as well as the RantChildren get a separate post.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

How Not to Laugh at Jeff Sessions

Some of RantWoman's strategies for TRYING to maintain Quakerly centeredness in the interwebs during the current regime:

Find a way to bring people together. On Twitter, RantWoman for better or worse maintains public lists of people she groups together. Some of RantWoman's lists are more clearly focused than others. That point is a problem for a different message. Here are RantWoman strategies for TRYING to find that of God in what comes through her Twitter feed:

Talk about cats. Once a week RantWoman posts some kind of picture of She Who Has Dominion Over RantWoman's Household, aka the Queen of Spades. People whose first Twitter encounter with RantWoman is about cats go into the Cats list. The Cats list includes people with LOTS of different other affiliations and interests.

Quakers get their own list, but everyone else that vaguely mentions religion in their first encounter goes in the same list. So far, despite HUGE diversity in perspectives no explosions have occurred.

Don't engage Trumpoids and trolls. Just pray for them. Too many #alternativefacts and a certain tone automatically get people sent to the I pray for you list.

Find a way to laugh. RantWoman regularly finds balm in the work of comedians. RantWoman does not find every comedic emanation entirely congenial. RantWoman even concedes room for "That's NOT Funny" dialogues. Still RantWoman finds much to appreciate.

Consider this item for instance.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Restrooms for all Genders but please wash your hands!

RantWoman's Meeting has been interacting with a minute working its way through NPYM about inclusion of people of all genders.

The Still Didn't Get The Memo Committee on Email (and other Electronic) Immoderation is seasoning a massive temper tantrum about matters electronic and this topic. Hold that problem in the Light, along with general light-holding of people dipping toes into various challenging topics.

For one thing some weighty but not fully techno-enthralled Friends insist that because technology does not speak to their spiritual condition, it cannot possibly speak to anyone else's condition either. This blog contains a number of items relevant to people of all genders. They are not tagged reasonably but possibly can be found under the tag Equality.  Somewhere on The NPYM website  and also in RantWoman's PRIVATE non shareably viewable lurk some relevant materials. RantWoman regrettably is not going to look them up because she does not have time today for the temper tantrum that the quest will require; RantWoman is also keenly aware of other available gateways to said badly needed temper tantrum. So back to brownie points for working on welcoming people of all genders.

Here is an excerpt from the announcement about an informational program.

Ingersoll Gender Center program for UFM, Sunday, May 7
Educational Session on Gender presented by the Ingersoll Gender Center.
Sunday, May 7, 12:30 – 3 PM
A board member, Karter Booher, from the Ingersoll Gender Center will lead our  educational session from 1:00 – 3:00 after a lunch snack. The mission of the Center, founded in 1979, is to support transgender people in their growth and well-being. They provide “support, education, advocacy and a wide array of resources for people interested in gender identity issues.” They “promoteunderstanding, awareness and acceptance of gender diversity.” We will have a chance to ask all those puzzling questions.

(Cue another temper tantrum about matters electronic: Ingersoll Center website is also getting updated. Use your search engine if this link does not get you there )

The event at RantWoman's Meeting has already occurred. Like all good discussions of matters involving all genders, at some point conversation headed for the restroom. In honor of that, RantWoman first offers an item that came to her via Facebook awhile ago:

It would be more fun just to have this image as tactile graphics
Whatever (gender / ability)
Just Please Wash Your Hands
Restrooms were by far not the only topic discussed. RamtWoman managed not to need to reminisce about the entire lecture in a grad school operations research class devoted to restrooms and how long people of different genders take in restrooms. The conversation did not get stuck, thanks partly to very firm interrupting, on matters of design and cleanliness, but an interesting question came up.

RantWoman's meeting has two single stall restrooms with tactile signs that look something like the sign below minus the braille.
Example sign for wheelchair accessible unisex bathroom

A question came up: are those signs too insistent on the gender binary.

The presenter said "Why don't you ask the people among you...?"

RantWoman offers a peculiar comment from Seattle. RantWoman has been hanging out with some blind people one of whom jokes about "ADA inspections" of the restrooms in the venue where we hang out. RantWoman has not asked for a verdict. RantWoman has an opinion, but would also offer a City of Seattle Civil Rights Inspection based on the following moments circumstances which make RantWoman proud to live in Seattle.

Despite proclamations from our mayor, RantWoman's experience in Seattle varies.

RantWoman quite likes signs on single seat restrooms that say things like "Restroom for Humans." RantWoman personally will not check if visitors from UFO's also need restrooms but so far no reports have surfaced...

Some venues do not do any better about the City of Seattle Of Seattle perspective than they do about ADA matters such as reasonableness for wheelchairs of different sizes or ADA standards for signage. Lots of people cope anyway. Enough said for now?

Friday, May 5, 2017

Guns Spirits Gratitudes

“…guns in my head and they won’t go. Spirits in my head and they won’t go…”

Oh HELL, if RantWoman has an earworm wriggling, just post the topical video. Do not fret TOO much or overanalyze or …; just let the performance speak to one’s condition.


 Now to the matter at hand: gratitude, or gratitude as served up around Planet RantWoman:

 RantWoman considers the discipline of gratitude a great good thing, most of the time, except when RantWoman is seasoning  possibility of needing to be grateful for overabundance of things to howl and yowl about. Hold the overabundance in the Light. Decide whether or not it would be a blessing for RantWoman to fill the interwebs with her current list.


Gratitudes of the day:

 Speaking of overabundance, even though it is several days past Blogging Against Disableism Day, #Badd2017 , RantWoman still has PLENTY to say.

 RantWoman has a wonderful comparatively large jar of ground cumin. RantWoman had not been able to locate it in her cupboard for several weeks. RantWoman is grateful to have found the jar while moving things on her counter. #cookingwhileblind.

 Despite the best efforts of not one but TWO bicyclists, RantWoman managed to avoid subjecting said bicyclists to more physics experiments than they were counting on. One was just riding without any kind of bell near a bus stop in one of Seattle’s new (Annoying as …) protected bike lanes  in a direction RantWoman had not been expecting bicyclists. Now RantWoman gets to be grateful she knows to expect bicyclists coming from that direction. The second executed a right turn right in front of RantWoman as RantWoman was crossing a street WITH THE LIGHT. Bicyclist almost got caught on Ambassador Thwack. RantWoman is not sufficiently grateful that Clueless Bicyclist did not splatter himself all over that pavement, but RantWoman is at least grateful she did not need to hang around and deal with PAPERWORK.

 RantWoman was nowhere near any of THREE gun incidents in her ‘hood in the last several days. If RantWoman needs things that sound like gunfire, though, RantWoman gets to remind herself to be grateful for the model of Accessible Pedestrian signal installed on the corner nearest her abode.

Two of the three gun incidents occurred near favorit RantWoman calorie hazards. RantWoman is supposed to be grateful to be spared the temptations to visit said calorie hazards. RantWoman is grateful to be resourceful about calorie hazards in other parts of town if calories are needed during the height of police crime scene investigation.

RantWoman visited one of the crime scenes the next day, partly out of commercial neighborhood solidarity and partly because RantWoman wanted specific favorite calorie options. RantWoman is grateful the business was operating at its usual level of funkiness and that there was nothing left over from the night before to gawk at in the parking lot.

“…spirits in my head and they won’t go…”
Obligatory  Quaker  Mystical experiences?
An increment of time winnowing a list of mental health provider optionss?
Reminder just to shut up and listen to music sometimes?
All of the above!

There. Now please appreciate RantWoman’s gratitudes and RantWoman will resume her efforts at spiritual housekeeping.