Phoenix Project

I haven’t been using most of the available-but-not-mandatory prompt words for Just Jot It January, but I was struck by the word “detritus” which is today’s last-day prompt.

I used “detritus” in a poem that I read recently. The poem, which I can’t share because it is unpublished, is about the Phoenix Project by Chinese artist Xu Bing.  1186023_10200534417668419_1858818271_n
Two giant phoenix sculptures were created by Xu Bing, using the detritus from construction sites. Part of my Facebook comment on this photo, which is from September, 2013, reads, “They are also a political statement. When Xu Bing went to the Beijing construction site of the fabulously expensive buildings, he found workers being poorly paid and exploited, making shelters for themselves from the construction debris. He decided to make a pair of phoenixes, which in China denote power and wealth, from the debris, to call attention to the plight of the workers. At some point, the building owners decided they would not pay for the completion of the commission, but the artist was able to finish and Mass MoCA is their second venue for display. Next they will go to the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in NYC.”

I had been planning to write on the latest news from the fallout of DT’s travel ban/refugee executive order, but I didn’t have the heart. Detritus may be all that is left of the US government soon, too.
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It’s the last day to join in with Linda’s Just Jot It January! Many thanks to Linda and all her blog community who made it such a great experience! If you want to add your voice on this last day, you can find out how here:  https://lindaghill.com/2017/01/31/jusjojan-daily-prompt-jan-31st17/

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Missouri arrival

Yesterday, B and T crossed the Mississippi – and the Missouri twice – to reach the town in western Missouri where T will live for the next year, while acting as a crew leader for research in the effects of fire on prairie grasses and other plants.

Today she will be moving into the house that the Missouri Department of Environmental Conservation provides for their short-term workers. “Short” is a relative term. T is there on a one-year contract, which is designed for recent graduates to expand their skills and get leadership experience.

B and T will also be exploring the town and stocking the pantry and other chores to help T settle into her new town. B will fly home on Wednesday and T will start her new job late this week or early next.

E and I already miss T’s hugs and conversation. B and I hope to visit in the spring.

I won’t bother to pretend that our re-configured household will settle into a routine. We are expecting a lot of to-ing and fro-ing in the next three months. Never a dull moment!
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doomed to repeat history – or just doomed?

I haven’t been using most of the (optional) prompts that have been provided for Just Jot It January, but I will start off using today’s, which is history.

It begs the question, “Does DT know/understand any history?”

If he did, would he be spouting the slogan “America First” which has disturbing connotations from the World War II era?

Would he have signed an order to ban Syrian refugees on Holocaust Remembrance Day, inviting comparisons to the shameful and cruel turning away of Jewish refugees trying to flee Hitler?

Does he understand the separation of powers in the United States Constitution? In some instances at the airports, executive branch personnel refused to carry out the order of federal judges. There will be numerous lawsuits filed challenging the legality of the executive order. US immigration law prohibits discrimination due to national origin, which this executive order clearly violates.

It also disturbs me that DT reneged on the promises made to visa, refugee, and green card applicants. A local example: A staff member at my parents’ retirement community is a long-time US resident and green card holder. He planned to leave in a few days to visit family in Iraq. Now, he won’t be able to go. Even if he can get to the Consulate, which is several hours away, and is granted a waiver, he may be leery of leaving the country because the administration has already shown that they are not honoring his green card as equal to that of someone from France or China – or Saudi Arabia, the country from which most of the 9/11 terrorists originated.

I have written often about my fear of Trump, which I am trying to mobilize into energy to fight for social and environmental justice in the face of his threats and actions.  These last two days make it even more difficult to not be afraid. Does DT think that he is above the laws of the United States? Does he think he makes the laws? The legislative and judicial branches need to assert their independent authority, as our system is designed. Sadly, only a few Congressional Republicans have spoken out against the executive orders on immigration.

Again, people power has been a source of hope. Protesters appeared at the airports where travellers were being detained despite their having valid visas and passports. Lawyers skilled in civil rights, Constitutional law, and immigration law rushed to help the affected people and filed emergency suits to keep them from being deported.

And this is only the second week of the administration.

I feel like a firefighter who is being summoned to multiple locations at the same time.

So much work to be done. So many people to try to protect.

Not knowing whence the next alarm comes.
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SoCS: What would you do?

People sometimes ask themselves, “What would you do if…?”

We in the United States are now getting the answer to to those hypotheticals when it comes to questions of what we would did if our liberties, rights, and Constitutional protections were threatened.

The answer is “We organize and fight!”

I don’t mean fighting in a physical sense; we are fighting non-violently. We are marching, calling and writing our members of Congress and the president, getting the word out in traditional and social media, and working through established organizations.

One of the heartening things to me is that we are helping each other with various causes, even if we are not directly affected by them.

I have been involved with various organizations for environmental and social justice for years. Most of them would co-ordinate with some other closely related organizations within their areas of interest, such as environmental or health care causes, but not think about other areas, such as racial justice or poverty. Now, everyone is pitching in to help any injustice that appears.

We are all in this together.

It isn’t easy and how effective we will be is unknown, as these are early days.

But we must keep at it to ensure our rights and the fate of our nation.

There is an old story about not speaking out when “they” (meaning the authorities in an authoritarian country) came for the members of this group and that group because the narrator is not a member of those groups. When they come for the narrator, there is no one left to speak up for him.

We are not making that mistake.

And for that I am grateful.
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Linda’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday this week is wood/would. Join us for SoCS and/or Just Jot It January! Find out how here:  https://lindaghill.com/2017/01/27/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-and-jusjojan-jan-2817/

 

Solar!

I am pleased to announce that in late December, our household went solar!

Thanks to a change in the New York State laws, community solar projects were finally allowed in 2016 and we jumped in as soon as practicable.

We had had our rooftop evaluated for solar panels previously, but the south side of our house is too shaded. The shade trees help to cut down on air conditioning costs in the summer, so it would have been counterproductive to cut them down in order to put up solar panels. Also, some of the shade is supplied by trees in our neighbors’ yard, so we wouldn’t have been able to cut those down.

We had hoped to be able to join a community solar farm in our county, but Tompkins County was able to get permits and leases in place sooner, so we decided to go with Renovus in Ithaca, which is the home of T’s alma mater, Cornell University. Here is a short video of the final installation process a few weeks before it went online:  

(There is a lot of mud in the video, but it will be seeded in the spring.)

We own twenty panels in the array, which is in Trumansburg. Being a part of a solar farm does have some advantages. The panels are commercial grade, so their production is higher than residential panels. They can be optimally oriented and angled for catching the most sunlight. Also, if we move to a new home in our area, we can continue to use the credits from our panels. Alternatively, we can sell them, either to new owners of our home or to anyone else in our area.

It was nice to have the panels go online before the end of the year, as we will be able to apply for tax credits when we file our taxes.  It’s not optimal for solar production, though, with daylight hours so short. Still, we will get some reduction in our electric bill for the winter and spring. By summer, we will be able to start building up credits in our account to cover for the lower wintertime production next year. Our array is sized to cover our annual household usage, so it will all average out once we get through this initial low-production period.

Until we get an electric car…

Stay tuned.
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reaction to the morning news

No torture. Not ever. Under no circumstance. It is immoral and illegal.

I can’t believe I even have cause to write this.
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One-Liner Wednesday: facts

“Alternative facts” = Lies

This one-liner, which distresses me to have to write about my own country, is part of Linda’s One-Liner Wednesday and Just Jot It January series. Join us! Find out how here:
https://lindaghill.com/2017/01/25/one-liner-wednesday-jusjojan-2517-prompt-its-here/

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