A Propane Tank, a Blow Torch and Me

One of the joys of getting older is that I find myself more willing to try new things and stretch my comfort zone. A propane tank, a blow torch and me? Sure, I can try.

I don't think I've tapped into an inner pyro, but I can't wait to do this again. Christopher and Jacquelyne Rice of CNY Glass Studio and Gallery made combining fire, propane and molten glass a safe, fun, and creative experience. Their class structure of 2 teachers to 4 students and their generous teaching style made for one of the best weekends I've had in a very, very long time. Not only do I plan on taking more classes from them, but since they rent studio space, I hope to be up there playing just for the fun of it.

We first started with simple clear glass. Before we started melting glass, I asked what temperature we'd be heating to. About 2000 degrees. So, I figure that's why I was being rather hesitant to use the flame to it's optimal application. Hence, the beads that retained the swirls of molten glass:
Once I settled into heating the molten glass as high as I could, I finally got the more traditional bead shape:
Then we played with using the flame as a fine works tool more than just an intense heat source:

Then we shifted to colored glass. I still want to know why clear glass will not encase green glass, but will meld to it in partial coverings. This set is just colored glass without the clear glass coat. Similar enough for earrings, I hope.
Then I made a tube bead... an inner core of colored glass with a clear coat over it. The colored glass in this one changes as the heat works on it, so you're never really sure of what you'll get until the bead is finished. Serendipity in creating is a great thing.
And these are the rest:


tessellation 1

I've been carving my own rubber stamps for ages now and a recent discussion on Erasercut Exchange got me looking at how to make Tessellations. There's something about tessellations that has me almost mesmerized. I used the process outlined here to make the stamp that eventually printed as this:

A great site about tessellations

EraserCuts is an amazing group of printmakers. So is the Carving Consortium.

We're still trying to figure out what the best way to print these are.


This Restarts as Summer Stops

It must be something about the ending of summer that brings me back to the computer and this blog. I've been enjoying the tomatoes as well as other goodies from the garden and farmers' markets, I've been soaking up sunshine and warm breezes while my cat enjoys his naps in the bed of catnip. I've been expanding my jewelry collection at Mojoz's Coffee-n-Crafts 2/4. But while I know many of those activities will continue, the last few days seem to bring signals of summer's end.

I managed to get to the Sterling Renaissance Festival. I wasn't expecting to get there this year, but it worked out, particularly with the incentive of seeing a glass bead maker at work. Now, I'm even more intrigued by the art. But not only is it an addictive hobby, but too it's expensive, never mind the whole deal about the propane tank and "flame thrower!" Oh, but it's still so tempting!

And, Monday brought Convocation to the college and today our last sessions of Orientation for incoming freshman.

The other sign was that I got to the first of this season's campaign meeting. After all the long drives and trips during last year, working on a County campaign almost ALMOST! sounds like a break. But if you'd like to volunteer to help keep Scott McNamara as Oneida County's District Attorney, head over here and join the team.

It's gotten very cool up here, days and nights. I'm really hoping that the warmth will return. It is August, not November after all. But around here, who knows?



Bailing?! No, just Busy (though will be attending the local meeting regarding the NYRI powerline!)

I had an interesting reaction to that last comment left here. It was a 2 sided reaction, but I couldn't tell you which came first or if one was stronger. Here they are in alphabetical order:

And in gym class selection method, I'll cover them in reversed alphabetical order now...

I do like to think that I was a part of making positive changes in my corner of the world last year. I certainly had more fun than I've had in a very long time, got to meet great people, work with people I think dearly of, and I got to see a whole lot of Central New York. And I do have a grateful gleeful joy that Mike Arcuri is our Congressman.

I remember one morning I was driving to work and heard the news broadcast on the radio that our then-DA had announced that they had indicted someone for a murder in town. Remember, I'd helped on Mike's DA campaign and familiar names make ears perk up anyway, so I was paying attention. And almost drove off the road when the radio named someone I knew was the indicted person.

So, these days, it's a lot more pleasant an experience keeping up with the job the Congressman is doing.
Things like LOCAL public meetings about the proposed NYRI power lines

in New Hartford:
Thursday, May 31
6:30 to 8:00 PM
New Hartford High School (33 Oxford Rd)

in Norwich:
Saturday, June 2
2:30 to 4:00 PM
Norwich City Firehouse (31 East Main St)

I have been keeping a watch on how Mike votes and what he does. There was one campaign I had helped (very, very slightly!) that I regret doing, so I feel the need to check up. Plus, I'm in a league in Fantasy Congress and at this writing, I'm winning. The Arcuri '06 campaign is one I'll never regret and in whatever way is best, I'll be there in '08 too.

OK, I'll grant that I haven't been blogging about politics this year, though certainly I've had opinions and shared them at time. But not here not yet. As a Democratic Committeemember, I've shared opinions and cast votes. As a resident, I've had political conversations with other residents.

But these days, I've been putting my efforts into making jewelry, making books, getting better with Photoshop, playing with my cat, reading, writing, getting together with friends, etc, etc.

Basically, Life and all it contains. Absolutely, politics is an infection that I'll never be cured of, but neither I nor this blog will be consumed by it.

Life's too interesting, too full for any one thing to take it over. It took the political season of last year to really drive home that fact to me. Not because the campaign took over but because there were other things I would not let go of.

My opinion on things? Oh, I always have an opinion, but for now, I'm going to try planting Telaxian tomatoes.


Maybe it's the sound?

Given the smut that was delivered into our homes last year, it's refreshing to see an ad that's direct, truthful and snarky. Then again, maybe it's just the sound?


Notice of Revocation of Independence

In honor of the visit of the Queen...

(one of my favorite Forwards... see others here) This was first seen soon after Nov 2000.


Notice of Revocation of Independence

To the citizens of the United States of America:
in the light of your failure to elect a competent President of the USA and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective today.

Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths and other territories. Except Utah, which she does not fancy.

Your new Prime Minister (The Right Honourable Tony Blair MP, for the 97.85% of you who have until now been unaware that there is a world outside your borders) will appoint a Minister for America without the need for further elections. The House of Representatives and the Senate will be disbanded. A questionnaire will be circulated next year to determine whether any of you noticed. To aid in the transition to a British Crown Dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect:

1. You should look up “revocation” in the Oxford English Dictionary. Then look up “aluminium.” Check the pronunciation guide. You will be amazed at just how wrongly you have been pronouncing it. The letter ‘U’ will be reinstated in words such as ‘favour’ and ‘neighbour’; skipping the letter ‘U’ is nothing more than laziness on your part. Likewise, you will learn to spell ‘doughnut’ without skipping half the letters. You will end your love affair with the letter ‘Z’ (pronounced ‘zed’ not ‘zee’) and the suffix “ize” will be replaced by the suffix “ise.” You will learn that the suffix ‘burgh’ is pronounced ‘burra’ e.g. Edinburgh. You are welcome to re-spell Pittsburgh as ‘Pittsberg’ if you can’t cope with correct pronunciation. Generally, you should raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels. Look up “vocabulary.” Using the same thirty seven words interspersed with filler noises such as “uhh”, “like”, and “you know” is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication. Look up “interspersed.” There will be no more ‘bleeps’ in the Jerry Springer show. If you’re not old enough to cope with bad language then you shouldn’t have chat shows. When you learn to develop your vocabulary, then you won’t have to use bad language as often.

2. There is no such thing as “US English.” We will let Microsoft know on your behalf. The Microsoft spell-checker will be adjusted to take account of the reinstated letter ‘u’ and the elimination of “-ize.”

3. You should learn to distinguish the English and Australian accents. It really isn’t that hard. English accents are not limited to cockney, upper-class twit or Mancunian (Daphne in Frasier). You will also have to learn how to understand regional accents — Scottish dramas such as “Taggart” will no longer be broadcast with subtitles. While we’re talking about regions, you must learn that there is no such place as Devonshire in England. The name of the county is “Devon.” If you persist in calling it Devonshire, all American States will become “shires” e.g. Texasshire, Floridashire, Louisianashire.

4. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as the good guys. Hollywood will be required to cast English actors to play English characters. British sit-coms such as “Men Behaving Badly” or “Red Dwarf” will not be re-cast and watered down for a wishy-washy American audience who can’t cope with the humour of occasional political incorrectness. Popular British films such as the Italian Job and the Wicker Man should never be remade.

5. You should relearn your original national anthem, “God Save The Queen”, but only after fully carrying out task 1. We would not want you to get confused and give up half way through.

6. You should stop playing American “football.” There are other types of football such as Rugby, Aussie Rules & Gaelic football. However proper football - which will no longer be known as soccer, is the best known, most loved and most popular. What you refer to as American “football” is not a very good game. The 2.15% of you who are aware that there is a world outside your borders may have noticed that no one else plays “American” football. You will no longer be allowed to play it, and should instead play proper football. Initially, it would be best if you played with the girls. It is a difficult game. Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which is similar to American “football”, but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full kevlar body armour like nancies). We are hoping to get together at least a US Rugby sevens side by 2008. You should stop playing baseball. It is not reasonable to host an event called the ‘World Series’ for a game which is not played outside of North America. Since only 2.15% of you are aware that there is a world beyond your borders, your error is understandable. Instead of baseball, you will be allowed to play a girls’ game called “rounders,” which is baseball without fancy team strip, oversized gloves, collector cards or hotdogs.

7. You will no longer be allowed to own or carry guns. You will no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous in public than a vegetable peeler. Because we don’t believe you are sensible enough to handle potentially dangerous items, you will require a permit if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.

8. The 4th of July is no longer a public holiday. The 2nd of November will be a new national holiday, but only in Britain. It will be called “Indecisive Day.”

9. All American cars are hereby banned. They are crap, and it is for your own good. When we show you German cars, you will understand what we mean. All road intersections will be replaced with roundabouts. You will start driving on the left with immediate effect. At the same time, you will go metric with immediate effect and without the benefit of conversion tables. Roundabouts and metrication will help you understand the British sense of humour.

10. You will learn to make real chips. Those things you call ‘French fries’ are not real chips. Fries aren’t even French, they are Belgian though 97.85% of you (including the guy who discovered fries while in Europe) are not aware of a country called Belgium. Those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called “crisps.” Real chips are thick cut and fried in animal fat. The traditional accompaniment to chips is beer which should be served warm and flat. Waitresses will be trained to be more aggressive with customers.

11. As a sign of penance 5 grams of sea salt per cup will be added to all tea made within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, this quantity to be doubled for tea made within the city of Boston itself.

12. The cold tasteless stuff you insist on calling “beer” is not actually beer at all, it is lager . From November 1st only proper British Bitter will be referred to as “beer,” and European brews of known and accepted provenance will be referred to as “Lager.” The substances formerly known as “American Beer” will henceforth be referred to as “Near-Frozen Gnat’s Urine,” with the exception of the product of the American Budweiser company whose product will be referred to as “Weak Near-Frozen Gnat’s Urine.” This will allow true Budweiser (as manufactured for the last 1000 years in the Czech Republic) to be sold without risk of confusion.

13. From the 10th of November the UK will harmonise petrol (or “gasoline,” as you will be permitted to keep calling it until the 1st of April) prices with the former USA. The UK will harmonise its prices to those of the former USA and the Former USA will, in return, adopt UK petrol prices (roughly $6/US gallon — get used to it).

14. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you’re not adult enough to be independent. Guns should only be handled by adults. If you’re not adult enough to sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist, then you’re not grown up enough to handle a gun.

15. Please tell us who killed JFK. It’s been driving us crazy.

16. Tax collectors from Her Majesty’s Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all revenues due (backdated to 1776).

Thank you for your co-operation.



Musjaffa Maimun left a comment on a previous post but it was in a language I don't know. As much as I don't think everyone should have to speak any one language, I do believe that communications is a vital interaction among all living beings.

But, because I don't know what MM said in the comment, I am not posting it. The best language to use to connect with me is English. BangLish is very iffy and almost always gives me a headache. The only one I'd take it from is my uncle and he passed away last year. And he hadn't done it to me in decades.

The only other possibility is pre-Church Latin, but that's pretty rusty these days. Might be fun though.


What is Art? It is the response of man's creative soul to the call of the Real

said Rabindranath Tagore.

There was a massive disjoint between today and the rest of this week.

I haven't written anything about the incident at Virginia Tech aside from the piece offering tips on how to cope with things. It was sadly funny the other day at work. Someone asked me how I coped with the snow storm we had on Monday. I looked at her and had no idea what she was talking about.

Between the killing of Officer Lindsey, Virginia Tech, and the increased number of students who've either come in or been referred to us, the snowstorm that created havoc on the roads, that closed the college until 10, that closed the college until 12 though those of us who arrived for the 10 o'clock openning didn't hear about, became a non-event.

Today was a very different from the rest of the week. At least in my tiny corner of life.

First off, it was SPRING. There was even a bright yellow thing in the sky that looked vaguely familiar. And it was warm. I headed out this morning in sandals and almost felt my house keys behind in my jacket pocket.

Most importantly, it was a day of creation that came at the end of a week of destruction. And even though I didn't take part in all the creation, knowing that it exists will help me sleep better.

It started with a stop at Neptune Studio's Indie Garage Sale. It's basically a craft show, but not your mother's craft show. Unless your mom is hip, off-beat, has an attitude, and likes to recycle. There were quilted bags, altered clothes, handmade jewelry, knitted hand-warmers, melted records, handbound books, clay works, glammed boxes and I'm sure I'm forgetting other items.

Years ago, I wrote an op-ed piece offering that one of the potential saving of the Mohawk Valley was the crafters and artisans who lived and worked here. This region has a rich history in Creating and it's one that's still
alive and thriving. Neptune Studio is just one of the recent endeavors to build a arts industry here. They offer classes, studio space, opennings, and had held Friday night crafting sessions that promted me to support Coffee & Crafts 2/4 at Mojoz's when they closed their's down.

And since that time, I've learned that there are at least THREE other weekly crafting groups in the Utica area.

That's an awful lot of glue, yard and paper that's being arted up.

Tonight, Pratt at Munson-Williams held a student art show featuring Neon. Most of the display was outdoors and it was a great night for the show. Great live music, recycl
ed metals and plastics combined with light made for a magical walk on their quad.

Part of the show was inside. We rode the elevator to get to the 3rd floor. It has a mirrored ceiling. It's an art school.

I haven't yet gotten to the unseenamerica NYS project, Photos by Refugees. The unseenamerica project provides cameras to "working-class people so they can document their lives." You can see an online presentation here. The show will run through Memorial Day at the Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees.

I'm taking a class in Photoshop this semester. Our second assignment was to bring in an old family picture that needed restoration. Well, my parents were the immigrants and I have virtually no old family pictures of any kind. I know there will be a day in the lives of the children of the refugees when they too will realize that they have no old family pictures. Before that day, many of them will realize that classmates will often speak of aunts, uncles, grandparents while they might only know of their own. Of them... not know them themselves. At least the Photos by Refugees project might give them a sense of history someday.

One event that I have put into my calendar is the upcoming Bagg's Square Festival of the Arts on May 5th. They kicked things off with a photography show on Friday night at the Utica Monday Night Gallery Space at 106 Genesee St, Utica. The photo show featured local photographers capturing images of Central NY.

There's a lot of pain and destruction on the planet and thanks for CNN, MSNBC, Faux News, etc. we can all relive it every minute of every day.

It's good to remind ourselves that there's a lot of health, healing and creating too.


Everyone's born the same--- except Democrats and Republicans

Groucho Marx said that.

Psychology Today has an article, The Ideological Animal, on psycho-social differences between self-described liberals and conservatives.

It certainly explains a lot of the uummm... shall I call them challenges of my dating life. I supposed now it's documented why the last guy I was forced to endure thought the Big Thiefs of Enron were right to maximize their own self interest and why I couldn't bring myself to leave the said guy abandoned on the side of the road. No matter how much I wanted to!

It's a long, detailed article but well worth the time to read if you like trying to figure out what makes people tick.


Because Bad Things Happen

Like most everyone else, I've been trying to deal with not only Officer Lindsey's murder, but also the nightmare in Virginia Tech. The echoes of Officer Corr, troubled people I've counseled, situations other counselors have been in, etc., all reverberate much like CNN drones on endlessly.

Below is an edited version that Tamara Grasz of the Counseling Center of the Savannah College of Arts and Design so kindly shared with other college counseling centers with the permission to share and use as needed. With the open forum we held at the college yesterday, finding this in my inbox was a gift from God.

I share it here with hope it helps.

“Where do I go From Here? What do I do?”

1.) Keep busy! Focus on your projects and classroom assignments! Research indicates keeping focused on day to day required tasks or routines helps mitigate the effects of stress.
2.) Seek out persons who care for and support you. Share your reactions, thoughts and how the experience impacted you.
3.) Know that the reactions to trauma described are normal responses to a very abnormal experience. They occur in varying degrees of severity and type for each person.
4.) Limit the amount of time that you watch details about the tragedy on TV.
5.) “Baby yourself” – eat well, get your sleep, and do nurturing things.
6.) Express your feelings with your art! Drawings, poetry etc. are all healthy ways to manage the feelings related to trauma.
7.) Consider writing a journal of your experience or feelings.
8.) Seek to gain perspective on the experience. This is often helped by participation in counseling. Other aids may include meditation, reading, spiritual refection or involvement in support groups.
9.) Consider sending cards, emails of support. Helping others often is the healthiest way to manage our own feelings of powerlessness.

We are here for you to process the recent events. If you need to talk to someone please give us a call. We will set up an appointment or come to your class.
You may experience some of the symptoms below, this is normal!
• Shock: often the initial reaction to events like this. Shock is the person’s emotional protection from being too overwhelmed by the event. You may feel stunned, numb, or in disbelief concerning the event.
• Suffering: this is the long period of grief during which the person gradually comes to terms with the reality of the event/loss. Feelings that life is overwhelming, chaotic and disorganized are common.
• Sadness: The most common feeling found following traumatic events like this. It may become quite intense and be experienced as emptiness or despair.
• Anger: Can be one of the most confusing feelings for the grieving person. Anger is a response to feeling powerless, frustrated, or even abandoned.
• Anxiety: Can range from mild insecurity to strong panic attacks. Often grievers become anxious about their ability to take care of themselves, or fear an event like this will happen to them or a loved one.

It’s good to talk about it! We are here for YOU…give us a call!


Mine, all Mine... except what isn't

I came across an interesting post in another blog tonight and it got me thinking about this one.

I started this blog, or rather, kick-started it, because I was so involved with the Mike Arcuri campaign. But I also knew that there were certain expectations that I hoped to keep with how I wrote this, no matter what the topic is.

I do typically browse a number of other blogs on a regular basis. Some are those of personal friends and many are of people I don't know but who have opinions I'm interested in. Some others I read just to be aware of what they are saying.

Fault Lines has a piece about the blogging world and the interconnections of the blogs. That author is correct in how Technorati functions. And I'd hazard to guess that everyone who writes a blog does hope that someone out there reads it. And one of the ways to foster that is to read and refer to other blogs... and linking just makes it easier.

But I don't agree that the blogging community is any more or less welcoming than any other community. Just like any bordered time/space, there's great, good, bad and ugly all included.

I think that's why I don't link simply to link and when I do link, it's only after getting to know the other site enough to be comfortable to, as Fault Line's commenter called it, "enable" it.

Or, my 10th grade Social Science teacher's training for writing term papers really did leave a lasting impression. If I'm going to refer to something, I better be comfortable with it's reliability.

Do I need to do this? Certainly not. And there are times I almost wish I had an anonymous and safe place to just blurt out whatever I feel like throwing up because we all at times, want that option.

But Freedom of Speech is a right that comes with responsibility too. That's why I sign my name at the bottom of each post. It lets everyone know that the post is mine... but also reminds me that it's mine.



ooohhhhh shiney stuff!

Coffee & Crafts at Mojoz's was very productive this week. I made 2 necklaces, one bracelet and 2 sets of earings.

One earing set was for myself:
Then Saturday, I made 2 rings:

There are worse ways of spending a Saturday.


Poetry, Colonials' Basketball and Crafts.

Well, I sat down to continue judging the entries for the Jay Trisalino Poetry Contest that the Utica Writers Club is hosting. But I also realized that the GW Colonial's game was starting. As a student, I barely paid any attention to sports. I know I figured that there might be a relation between bad sports teams and good academics and I did get a great education at GW. But now, as an alumna, I'm excited when GW does well. So, I'm putting off the review of the poems until after the game ends.

Funny how life can change through the years. Back in the GW days, I was editor of GW's Wooden Teeth, the arts & literary magazine. Being able to link to their website does remind me how the years have passed. As editor, I created some waves by putting a request for a typewriter in the annual budget. An electric typewriter yet. Layout was done the old fashioned way back them... type pieces out, cut them out, glue them down onto paper, organize the pages in the write order, then walk the sheets over to the print shop.

Today, I can sit at my computer, even tucked under my quilt, and upload my project to Staples and then just swing by and pick up the final project.

Last night was Coffee & Crafts at Mojoz's and it was so much fun. We spilled out of the back room as more people came that we thought would, but I think everyone had fun. We had eraser carving, clay working and crocheting. I don't know which project I'll take next week, but I'll definitely be there. Crafting, like writing, can be a pretty solitary activity, but crafting can be dome a lot easier with others. And seeing what everyone else does really fuels the creative spirit.

I also decided to start a new blog. I, like everyone else with email, get a good number of forwards. A lot get barely read, if at all, but others are worth the time, usually for a smile or laugh. So, I'm going to start a place to stash the ones that I like. You're more then welcome to send me the ones you like, but I reserve the right to choose the ones I want to post.


Live Music, while we can

I remember standing by the railing of the boat, binoculars flush against my Coke-bottom glasses, scanning the horizon probably much like the whalers of long ago. Not that whalers are a thing of the past, no. But now, instead of hunting with their eyes, they use high-tech gadgets to destroy the hottest blood of all...

But, back to being in 9th grade. The whale watch was the highlight of a weeklong field trip spent on Cape Cod doing the ecology chapter in Biology. The Johnson's (he the bio teacher and she the swim teacher) taught me a great deal more than biology and swimming and I can only hope that I can pass on a portion of what they gave me. Mr. Johnson told us to scan the horizon looking for the exhaled spray of the whale against the blue of the sky.

I remember that I thought I say what he was describing. I remember almost calling out that I saw it. And I remember thinking... believing... that I was wrong. I wouldn't have been able to do something like that. My grades weren't good enough, I wasn't smart enough, I wasn't pretty enough, I wasn't normal enough, I wasn't tall enough.... All the junior high insecurities, and then some, so certainly there was no way I could be the one on the boat to first spot the whales.

And as I stood there, not believing what I know I saw, over the speaker, the captain announces that a whale was spotted. Exactly where I saw it. Eventually, I worked my way out of the insecurities. Maybe it was the magic of the whales... maybe it was just the passing of time.

But the wonder of the whales has never passed. Standing on that boat, I decided that I wanted to be a marine biologist learning about whales. Fast forward a few years to freshman biology class in college where I discovered that the competitiveness of pre-med students made a really nasty atmosphere in lecture and lab. Psychology became my major though I reeled for months, off balance from changing a direction that I'd held for so long.

And I do love psychology. I love counseling.

And I still love whales.

So, scanning through a magazine article about how wild animals can benefit our lives, I caught the listing of a website about whalesong. According to the article, listening to whalesong reduces tension and helps people relax.

I just know that whalesong fascinates and mesmerizes me. For me, listening to whalesong is like floating in complete comfort and safety in the middle of the vast endless ocean the whales call home. Tranquil, blue and beautiful.

The Whalesong Project is probably going to be my "always on" site. At least between November and June. The Project drops a underwater microphone off the coast of Maui and through the marvels of high-tech, the internet brings the song of the whales to my computer.
If the whales are near enough and if they decide to sing, that is. Live whalesong, if the whales will oblige.

I've had it open as I've been writing this (which might explain any choppiness of this entry... I find that I keep getting lost in the song instead of writing). When I first openned it, I couldn't hear any whales. Figuring something was wrong, I looked again at the website and saw that it was live feed, not recorded songs (though archived songs are available... Guess what I'll be doing from June to November?) And that's when a whale started to sing. It started so faint, like that exhalation of so long ago, that I wasn't sure I was hearing anything.

And then I knew.

Coffee & Crafts Night

UPDATE: This is now Coffee & Crafts 2/4
Crafters will meet the 2nd and 4th Friday nights starting at 6:00. Welcome Spring!

I'd hope that with this year's election cycle being (at least in theory) a little calmer, I'd be getting back to my dabbling in art. And what can be more fun that creativity, good coffee and good friends (some who I know and I hope other's I'll be meeting!)


Coffee & Crafts at Mojoz’s

All crafters are welcome to bring their project(s) and join with other crafty people for sharing, demonstrating, creativity and fellowship while enjoying the good eats available at Mojoz’s Coffeehouse

Friday nights, 6:00 to 8:00 starting March 9th

Mojoz’s Coffeehouse, corner of Culver and Albany Streets, Utica.

March 9th will feature a make-n-take (for those interested) in learning to make rubber stamps from your own designs.

All creative people and all crafts welcome!


Caption this

Sorry, I just can't resist this...

A minister who oversaw counseling for the Rev. Ted Haggard said the disgraced minister is convinced he is "completely heterosexual."

My thought... 3 weeks to "cure"... that's not counseling, that's a miracle.


A Week in DC

It's Congressman Arcuri now. Just saying it works wonders.

I had a wonderful time in DC. I went down early to spend Eid al-Adha with family and friends, spent a day shopping, then met up with everyone from the campaign that had traveled to DC to celebrate Mike's swearing-in.

Here's some of us in the Hall of Statues during the tour.

I'd visited Congress once before this trip. A friend had come down to visit me in college and for some reason, we went to Congress and even sat in the Gallery to listen to a Senator speak on the floor. Ironicaly, I wasn't into politics back then. Oh, I voted and Reagan had convinced me that I was a Democrat, but I don't really know why we went to the Capitol other than perhaps because it was a tourist thing to do. Fast forward a few years and I'd graduated and returned to Utica. I never did get to a College Democrats meeting, but there was a group called "Young Democrats" that was starting up in town, so I went to one meeting. Met a woman named Roann Destito there before she earned the title Assamblywoman and met a guy named Michael Arcuri. Yea, same one. I never did go back to another meeting and soon there after, I was
heading to grad school in Boston. But after grad school, I was again back in Utica and soon met Roann and Mike again as they ran for Assembly and DA. And the friend who was visiting me... her mom is the New Hartford Town Democratic Chair. Yea, Utica's a small town.

Day one of the celebration included the tour of the Capitol that was rather an eye opener for me. The underground tunnels certainly make running all over so much easier, but you never get to see the sun. And there must be miles and miles of halls between and in all those buildings. I gave up on fashion and wore my comfortable work shoes and by the time I got into bed that night, my legs were in the likes of such agony that I had not felt in years! But the tour was amazing and I'd really like to visit again with a slower pace if it's possible. There was one hallway that had beautiful small murals
over each door with great sayings. I'd have loved to look at those a bit closer. After the tour, Ed Sitts, Chris and Joe Giruzzi, and I took the Metro out to Pentagon City to find the restaurant we were all celebrating at that night. The Lebanese Taverna was easy to find even though I don't think I've been back to the Pentagon City Mall since my college days. The food was amazing and I'm looking forward to heading there again. The 4 of us got there a bit early, but it was oh so nice to sit and catch up with each other before the noise level went too hi.

And I did have some catching up to do. I attended Hughes School in Utica for a few years and for part of that time, Chris Giruzzi was my classmate. Fast forward to 2006 and I'm with Mike looking for our spot in the Frankfort Parade when Mike says, "There's Chris... we're walking with him." HUH? Why are we walking with 'Chris from 7th grade?!"

Well, we've come a long way from Hughes School. Chris was elected Town Justice in Frankfort
in November. So, when we visited the Supreme Court on the way to Union Station, I can say that I went to the Supreme Court with a Justice. Here's the Justice and his brother outside the chamber at the Supreme Court:

But, before we ended up in the Supreme Court, there was a swearing-in we were rather excited about.

It took a while to get through security and we were then taken to a room with a nice lunch and TV's to watch the procedings. We saw Mike's vote for Speaker Palosi and cheered as history was made. I commented on how different the Chamber looked with all those children there. I can't help but wonder if some of the choices that are made there might be different if the children were always there. We also all wondered, after seeing how small the chamber is, exactly how they fit all these people in there.

Some people stopped by with congratulations for Mike and us.

One of the lessons I needed to learn during the campaign was learning to be spontaneous and less in control. That lesson continued straight through the swearing-in. We're all sitting, waiting for that moment Mike would be sworn in. Yes, Election Day was pivitol, but his taking the oath is when it all really starts.

So, we all had to vacate the room while Speaker Pelosi was still speaking. By the time we'd found our way back to Mike's office, they'd already moved onto doing the work of Congress.

Yup... we didn't get to hear or see the swearing in.

But the day was winding down, so I headed to
Union Station to get some gifts and then to Beadazzle at Dupont Circle. I actually asked the sales clerk there to not tell me what the total is and that I'd just sign on the line. I ended up seeing the total by accident anyway. OUCH.

The next day, my whole family was sneezing and coughing with the only exception being my cat and myself. We decided to head home early. I figured if I can just stay health til we got home, I'd escape the cold. Right... 8 hours in the car with 2 sick people. By the time we got home, I was coughing and sneezing too.

Then it was back to work and resettle back into my normal life. I'm actually finding it a bit hard to do. I miss all the great people I met and got to work with. I miss the traveling.

But it's also nice to have time to relax, read, play with my cat and craft.


Thomas Jefferson's Koran

OK, I'm over the top excited about Mike Arcuri's swearing in tomorrow, but this news story means a lot to me too. Now, I'm neither an immigrant nor someday considering a run for public office beyond what I already do, but I'd bet that Rep. Virgil Goode would put me in the catagory of "those people."

Way to go, Keith Ellison!

From the Washington Post:
But It's Thomas Jefferson's Koran!

By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Wednesday, January 3, 2007; C03

Rep.-elect Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, found himself under attack last month when he announced he'd take his oath of office on the Koran -- especially from Virginia Rep. Virgil Goode, who called it a threat to American values.

Yet the holy book at tomorrow's ceremony has an unassailably all-American provenance. We've learned that the new congressman -- in a savvy bit of political symbolism -- will hold the personal copy once owned by Thomas Jefferson.

"He wanted to use a Koran that was special," said Mark Dimunation, chief of the rare book and special collections division at the Library of Congress, who was contacted by the Minnesota Dem early in December. Dimunation, who grew up in Ellison's 5th District, was happy to help.

Jefferson's copy is an English translation by George Sale published in the 1750s; it survived the 1851 fire that destroyed most of Jefferson's collection and has his customary initialing on the pages. This isn't the first historic book used for swearing-in ceremonies -- the Library has allowed VIPs to use rare Bibles for inaugurations and other special occasions.

Ellison will take the official oath of office along with the other incoming members in the House chamber, then use the Koran in his individual, ceremonial oath with new Speaker Nancy Pelosi. "Keith is paying respect not only to the founding fathers' belief in religious freedom but the Constitution itself," said Ellison spokesman Rick Jauert.

One person unlikely to be swayed by the book's illustrious history is Goode, who released a letter two weeks ago objecting to Ellison's use of the Koran. "I believe that the overwhelming majority of voters in my district would prefer the use of the Bible," the Virginia Republican told Fox News, and then went on to warn about what he regards as the dangers of Muslims immigrating to the United States and Muslims gaining elective office.

Yeah, but what about a Koran that belonged to one of the greatest Virginians in history? Goode, who represents Jefferson's birthplace of Albemarle County, had no comment yesterday.

Tomorrow will be a good day indeed!