Saturday, August 28, 2021

Show Pins Quilt

 Several years ago I found this long, narrow, already-quilted piece on a Free Table at a guild meeting. I don't know who made it. I took it, not sure what I would do with it. Eventually I decided to turn it into a quilt on which to display my pins: quilt show pins, pins from work, school, church functions, and pins from my various travels.

Today I put on a binding, a hanging sleeve, and now the pins are officially in their place. I am sure I used to have more pins, but without an official spot, they have been mislaid. That's OK. I like the ones I could find.

My church pin includes a president's pin from the year I was president of United Methodist Women (I was a terrible president). Travel pins hale from Scotland, Czech Republic, Panama, and the states of Washington, New York, and Florida. 


Do you have pins from various experiences of life over the years? What do you do with them? Do you put them in a specific place?

Monday, August 16, 2021

Unscientific Assessment

 I recently went on a very long road trip, and listened to a lot of radio. I decided to concentrate on Country Western music, even though it's not something I like very much. My assessment goal was to pay attention to the words and see what they say about life.

Most of the songs were about relationships. These are the stereotypes I came away with from country music:

A woman is small, beautiful and can "please her man." She looks great in jeans and a tank top. She can also be evil and conniving, but these are only the bad women. A woman seems to make serving a man her life's desire. What happens to her own dreams and goals?

Men are rough and tumble, bad at talking about feelings, jealous, and fall in love based mainly on looks - the looks of the woman make them weak in the knees, of course. Where is his desire to see the woman soar in her own life dreams? He doesn't appear to need to offer her any support in this area. 

A person should be raised by a mama who is an excellent cook and homemaker and instills in her children a faith in God and loyalty to family.

I learned very little about dads.

Very little about real-life struggles except for occasionally romanticizing being poor (down to earth).

Nothing about same sex relationships.

Nothing about people of color - people are assumed to be white? It seems that women should be blond.

Nothing about social justice issues.

I heard ONE song with these lyrics by Kelsea Ballerini: "I miss me. I miss my dreams. I miss my wings." The woman in her song, apparently in hooking up with a man, gave up her own dreams and her independence. At least she is realizing what happened. Is he?

This made me wonder about the world view of country music listeners and about their politics. Do they really see the above descriptors as the ideal? Do they really think this describes the way the world should turn? Maybe this is one of the reasons why a certain t-man whom I shall not name rose to such power and remains as "God, Jr." in the eyes of his supporters. He epitomizes this life to them? 

The thing is, I know and love people who listen to country music. I don't believe they hold these restrictive ideals for the roles of men and women. I am wondering how people can listen to country music all day long and not get sick and tired of its sameness. And I am wondering, do people who hold limited world views gravitate to country music? Does country music help mold limited world views? Or is listening to this music completely separate from one's politics and world views?

I may have offended some readers, and for that I apologize. You may have guessed that I, for one, will never be a country music super-fan.

(I do like bluegrass which, in my opinion, does include a wider world view and more inclusive perspectives. That's as close as I come.)

Friday, August 06, 2021

Hiking, Baby!

 I have caught the hiking bug! A while back, mostly out of curiosity, I joined a Facebook group called Women Who Hike Minnesota. Women Who Hike is a national group, and each state has their own local Facebook group. So.. I watched various women from Minnesota hike around the state in all kinds of weather. They exchanged ideas on good places to go, information about equipment, how to dress for cold weather, and lots of cool photos.

My husband had my extra shirt on his head, because he had no hat,
and this trail was VERY buggy.

After a long time of watching, I noticed someone posting that she wishes someone would start a small group she could go hiking with. "Self," I thought, "you could easily do that!" So I posted a note asking for out-of-shape hikers to join me, a hiking newbie, at a local state park. I even drove there a few days ahead of time to take pictures of exactly where we should meet and what the place looks like.

To my utter surprise, 15 women showed up! Wow! It was so cool! We had a beautiful day and a lot of fun. In Minnesota, one can participate in a Hiking Club through the state park system. I imagine most states have similar programs. Just go to a state park and ask about it, and they will sell you a little log book. It costs about $15. It lists all the official hiking club trails with little descriptors of each one. All you have to do is visit the hiking spots, do the hike, find the password which is posted at about halfway through the hike, and then record it in your log book. You write down where you were, the name of the trail, and the password.

After accumulating 25 miles of walking you get a patch. You get another patch for every additional 25 miles. I think if you do all the hikes you will have walked about 200 miles. I believe you also will be awarded a free camping night at a state park of your choice. Pretty good deal!

My signature look is to wear a tie-dyed shirt on a hike -- 
at this one I also had a tie-dyed hat!

Anyway, I have now been on about 5 or 6 hikes with various groups of women from the Facebook list. Sometimes people drive from quite a distance to join us! It is so fun! They have all been very nice, and it has been fun to do a new thing with new people. One of the people who came was an oldie.. a friend of mine who went to interpreter training with me waaayyy back in the 80s. Now we're both retired, but we had not seen each other in about 30+ years. It was quite fun to see her again out on a hiking trail.

I'm sharing some pictures I have taken on various hikes. Most of these are in state parks. Some have been hikes with my husband. Most have been hikes with women from the WWHMN list on FB. There are several more hikes coming up, and I am eager to see how things change once cold weather returns. I will need to learn how to dress for winter hiking.

I'm on my way to being an expert, apparently. Today I purchased these hiking sticks, aka trekking poles. Here's to the great outdoors!