About Me ColorJoy Home Page Free Stuff About Me Contact Me
ColorJoy Home Page
ColorJoy Home The ColorJoy Blog Buy Patterns, Recipe Books, CDs Patterns Schedule & Potential Classes Recipes & Food Information The LynnH SockTour LynnH Polymer Clay The Fabulous Heftones - Lynn & Brian

Archive for January, 2013

No! A Tribute and Memories

Monday, January 28th, 2013

Noooooooo! Now John Pollard died.

I was John’s secretary for a while, and he treated me SO well, utmost respect. He was a man with many opinions, and you might well disagree but you never had to guess where he stood.

We worked together for about a year at the Black Child and Family Institute (I worked there 1989-1994), one of the most incredible jobs I ever had. I was the only “white” person on full time staff. I was interviewed by a panel of 5 staff members, so I knew when I was chosen that they really did choose me. I’d not felt that welcome at any job before.

I had short hair those days. My hair is naturally straight as a pin and I wanted it to have some energy. I went out one day for a long lunch to get my hair cut and permed. Came back with wavy hair and wet look Gel. Pollard took one look at me and said “Sister got a Jheri Curl!” I knew then that I really belonged.

When I knew John, I was coming out of a 16 year relationship which had turned both of us into our worst selves. I was emotionally beat up by the stress. John sensed this, and somehow decided to nickname me “Cool.” He’d call me into his office… “Hey, Cool, can you come here for a minute?” and the like. I needed that nickname just then. I’m still grateful.

Last time I saw John, it was just before a local election. He was at the corner of 496 and Saginaw at the empty gas station with a sign, asking people to honk if they agreed with him. I pulled up, rolled down the window and shouted “Hey Pollard!” He perked right up.

His grandma raised him to stand for his beliefs. To really put his life behind what he stood for. Agree or disagree, he did really live that way.

(He was a “regular” at Lansing City Council meetings. He had opinions and statistics to back them up. He was a powerhouse, or thorn in your side, depending on what opinion you had that day. He had the respect, though, of those who disagreed. I made the Pow! image here in his honor.)

Two deaths in a week, folks. I’m tired of crying.

====

PostScript: MLive did a nice write up on John, here: http://ow.ly/hde72

PPS: Lansing State Journal wrote about John here: http://ow.ly/hdjbr

PPPS: Lansing City Pulse did a nice job 12/31 here: http://ow.ly/hjWWe

Crushed. Just Devastated.

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

TorontoI’m crushed. Reverend Mrs. Lynn Grimes died. She was my church youth director from the time I was 7 till I was graduated… and then later when she had become a pastor, she married me and the love of my life, Brian Hefferan.

I did see her at her retirement celebration. I wrote her a letter of deep gratitude. In particular, the fact that she took us to big cities made a huge impact on my life, and my inner self. If you’ve followed me much at all, you know this is true. My 2 week living stint in Montreal last summer, had its first inkling of life in the 70s, in trips with my youth groups.

She took us in 6th grade, to Detroit where she grew up. We met people at her Methodist Church in downtown Detroit, where more people had dark skin than light. She loved the grand and beautiful church (with a full pipe organ and gorgeous windows), and the people there.

Since my middle school had 5 black kids total out of about 650 kids, she did us a favor to let us know that the world wasn’t all just like our suburban lives. My community was made up of professors and their families (European and Asian, mostly) and not much else. No fast food, no mall until 1972, not much commerce other than a few family-owned stores: pharmacy, hardware, two groceries.

My Biggest Gratitude
Kensington MarketIn 1975, 1.5 years after my father died, Lynn and husband Kip took 15 children that were not their own… without any other chaperones… to Toronto, Canada. I remember that they were building the CN Tower at the time.

My life turned around on a dime during that trip. I fell in love with the skyscrapers, the subway, the art museums and the bustle. The fashions were different, too. And the food… Lynn & Kip took us to a Hungarian place, a Chinese place where they actually spoke Chinese, and the Kensington market.

Subway Car(An aside… in the neighborhood called Kensington Market, a fruit vendor who was perhaps Greek or Arabic, figured out how green and gullible we were. He told us he would sell us his son for “a good price.” We were horrified!)

I would NOT be the person I am today if Lynn Grimes had not been in my life. I’m deeply, deeply sad for her loss. Thank you for allowing me to share.

Photos: Toronto modern hotel next to gorgeous old church. Kensington Market neighborhood. Toronto subway/trolley riders.

The Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

Lynn and Altu in Alexandria, EgyptI believe I live in an amazing time. Humans will always strive toward a utopia that is out of reach, but things are pretty good where I sit.

The Good Stuff
I’m an educated, white adult female who looks a way that society approves of. I have no visible handicaps. I have plentiful clean water, transportation, no need to walk for hours or days for medical care.

I have enough income to make a living with a computer and my good brain, and some determination. I can go places alone, make financial decisions for myself, even have a meal with a male friend without the permission of my husband.

I can be married for the reason that I love my spouse and not because I need a financial partner or caretaker. If my spouse dies, I will still be a financially viable person on my own.

Counting My Blessings with Open Eyes
I live in the USA, where women can own property (I purchased a house with my own signature in 1992). In other countries, women are still legally property of their fathers and/or husbands. There are places where women are allowed to study to become physicians and even practice medicine, but they are not allowed to drive themselves to work.

There are a lot of places where a single/widowed woman is reduced to begging to make a living. There are places where abusing a woman is legal, because she is your property.

We had a young woman die in India this month from group physical and sexual abuse. Her name was Jyoti Singh Pandey. Her father tells her story here. Not for the faint of heart. YES this relates to Dr. King’s legacy. Yes, it does. Equality is Equality.

History Must Not be Forgotten
When our country was founded, people with dark skin were property, too. “Blacks” were slaves. The history of our constitution and very early laws, can show how much this impacted and still impacts this country. We continue to grow and change, shift and wake up.

It’s a slow process, like evolution rather than a volcano. I am enough of an optimist to believe it will continue. Notice in the infographic below, the Voting Rights Act was instituted in merely 1965 (I remember that year), which put into place the right of Black citizens to vote. What? What? Incredible… that’s a crazy fact. Read more here…. about southern blacks in 1965 (and non-literate or non-English-speaking citizens) and how this changed their world.

Continuing Segregation
I find that when I visit cities in the south, the skin color of people on one side of Dr. Martin Luther King Drive is darker than those on the other side of the same street. In my neighborhood and my city, we are naturally integrated. One of my very best neighbors, who changed the quality of my block by moving in, has darker skin than me.

My City Rocks
My best friend was born in Ethiopia, in eastern Africa. She has dark skin and yet in this city (Lansing, Michigan) we can meet, become close friends, live near one another, go to the same church and hang at the same places without it being even noticed. It’s normal here. There are many cities, even in the USA, where there are parallel societies and people only integrate sometimes at school or work. (See me with friend Altu in Alexandria, Egypt, at the Mediterranean, in December 2004, upper right.)

I am grateful for what I have. I am grateful for Dr. King, who led a multi-racial, multi-gendered movement toward equality for ALL.

For all. Race equality is not fully reached yet, though it is legally in place. We still fight inequality in gender and marriage, which saddens me.

We are the Human Race. HUMAN Race.
We are ONE race. We are the HUMAN race. Whenever I have a chance to fill out a form which asks my race, I look hard for the “human” choice. My skin is not the crayon color “white.” My friend’s skin is not the crayon color “black.” Yes, those are convenient words to generalize as we speak. Still, there is no such thing as “white society” or “black society.” It’s far too general.

Dr. King’s Life and Legacy
I’ve written about my gratitude for the movement Dr. King led while he was alive, and which still continues without him. People continue to find my writings, after MLK Day has passed.

A few weeks ago, I received an email from Allison Morris of OnlineCollegeCourses.com. She offered to share an infographic about Dr. King’s life with my readers. I know nothing about her organization, but I do like the infographic and thought maybe you might, as well. (If you click it, you’ll find yourself on her website.)

Alison writes:

Though not affiliated with The King Center, I actually work with a small team of designers, and we build and design graphics for Internet resource sites. Our primary goal with these pieces is to be able to make a connection between visualization and learning. That said, in light of MLK day approaching, our most recent graphic chronicles Dr. King’s life and his personal achievements:

MLK Infographic

May we all appreciate what we do have, and keep our eyes open to those pieces of improvement, even utopia, which need more work to happen.

World, I love you. All of you. Go in peace.

Three Weeks Already?

Sunday, January 20th, 2013

Zoom!
We have already passed through 3 weeks of 2013 already? Is anyone else reflecting on the passage of time right about now?

As for me, mid-October through early January was a blur. Beginnings, endings, more beginnings… health scares (not me personally) that turned out OK, creative ups combined with too much  on the to-do list. Hellos, goodbyes, and good old dependable friends by my side.

Focus: Word of the Year
I like to focus on a word each year. Some years I continue the year before, if I think it will be beneficial.

Two years ago, my word was “Kindness.” I focused on how I could stay honest and straightforward but find ways to speak my truth which were also kind. It was a fruitful year. Nobody is perfect, but I continue to grow from that year of focus.

Last year I chose the word “Maintenance.” I hoped to work both on health/fitness and business/financial areas.

I did really grow as far as my health. I walked a lot, attended yoga in fits and starts, did a lot of the exercises I’ve been given over the years from my doctor and various physical therapists. I danced, both for fun and with a dance troupe.

On the other hand, I continue to struggle with paperwork routine. It’s not time to give up, but knitting a self portrait was easier than doing taxes in January.

Know Thyself
Being creative for me, brings along a weak spot as well as the lovely parts. I have not learned to be much on a routine. Some days I put one sock on, then the other, then shoes one at a time. Some days I put a sock on and then its shoe, then switch to another foot. This is just a small example.

Some days I eat breakfast before getting dressed, others I switch it. I realize that many people just have a way they navigate through the morning which works well, and which varies rather little from day to day. They waste a lot less time than I do!

The only way to get better at things is to keep at them, yes? Practice, not perfection… but then more practice. Giving up is not an option. So I keep plugging away, working at improving my weak spots.

Slow Go, but Don’t Give Up
On the good side, our house is much more manageable than it was even 5 years ago. Slowly, things start having proper places and I know where those are. Once I know where those things go, I can just find them when I need them. It’s easy to put things away when I know where the heck they belong!

Progress in One Corner
Recently I’ve been struggling with the corner of our living room which is my yarn/knitting item area. It turns out that the yarn itself is in good shape. I have shelves with clear bins on them. Each bin is designated for a particular weight/type of yarn. I know where those things go, so I can put them away. For the most part, the bins are an appropriate size for what goes in them.

However, there were boxes on the floor which held items without clear homes. It turned out that they mostly fell into these categories:

  • Materials used specifically to teach particular classes, in bags ready to go out the door when I should teach that class.
  • Store samples of my knitting patterns, not currently living in a store.
  • Store-purchased sweaters which were shrunken/felted on purpose, to be sewn as fabric.
  • The knitting magazines I’ve chosen to keep. (I let go of dozens of magazines about 6 months ago.)
  • Projects needing my attention. This mostly is sweaters I bought but that need an alteration or repair.

Luckily, I just happened to “inherit” 5 plastic under-bed boxes recently from my sis in love who just moved.  Those items, other than the magazines, went into the boxes, got LABELED (imagine that) and put in a safe place in the basement where I can get into them easily on those infrequent occasions when I need them.

Now?
My yarn area is relieved.

On the other hand, I think one word for 2013 is still going to be “Maintenance.” Then again, I have a lot of half-done projects I hope to finish. Maybe it needs to share space with “Completion.”

What do you think?

=======

PS: The image above is 1600 x 1200 pixels in size. If you know how to save it and use it as the wallpaper on your computer desktop, please feel free to do so if you wish.