slave labor

Slavery means being subject entirely to someone else’s authority as if property. The word has somewhat vanished but the definition is still valid. Terms like child marriage, forced prostitution, debt bondage, bonded labor and human trafficking exist instead. It exists wherever one human can convince another that he has no value of his own. Its victims cannot leave of their own free will. In the ancient worlds of the Ottoman and Roman empires, slavery was common. We have advanced globally as a people but too slowly. According to the 2018 Global Slavery Index, there are 40,300,000 enslaved. It is not “legal” anywhere in the world but there are many places where it is a “normal” practice. In Mauritania slavery was banned in 1981, but as many as 20% of the population is estimated to still be enslaved today. In Haiti, forced child domestic servants called restavek, are estimated today to be between 225,000 and 500,000, though slavery was abolished in 1793. In Ethiopia, slavery had been part of its culture for centuries. During the 1935 Italian occupation, slavery was officially banned though to little effect. The independent Ethiopia again tried to stamp it out in 1942 due to pressure from the international community. Eritrea still fails to enforce it’s 2007 law, where slaves are often descendant based. It’s national conscription service can often mean an indefinite period of servitude. In North Korea, as much as 20% of the population may be in forced labor camps though this number is difficult to ascertain. In Tibet controversial legal slavery in the form of serfs, may have existed up to 1959. Other places where slavery remains high include Burundi, Central African Republic, South Sudan, Pakistan, Cambodia, Iran and India. In many places, slavery is a product of war, devastating natural disasters, lack of rule of law, and poverty. But in developed countries we may be unwittingly promoting its continuance by lack of transparency of companies whose products we buy. In 2019, Thailand finally implemented antiforced labor laws against its fishing industries but has a long way to go before trafficked forced labor is not a common and acceptable. In the chocolate industry, cocoa is often harvested by child laborers in Africa who may never see their families again. These are only two of the industries that use slavery to produce their end products. Tobacco, coffee, cotton, rice and coal industries have long histories of using slavery. Today, the US department of Labor has an app that can be downloaded easily called ‘sweat & toil’ tracking those companies/goods that continue to use child and forced labor. Educate yourself on what products you may be buying that are supporting the slave industry. Look for companies that are transparent and ethical in their sourcing and production. Firmhugger.com, Fair Trade, and ethicalconsumer.org are all great tools in the fight against slavery. 

happy list

sunflowers, heavy and bright, uplifting


dragonflies

lovely iridescent glowing, being okay with just sitting awhile

bubble bath

time to just soak, think of nothing, or maybe page through a magazine full of glorious colors

kittens

nearly always way too cute when sleeping

quilts

both old and modern, my stash of threads and fabrics, creatively dreaming, making gifts of warmth, remembrance to come

orange

gentle rain and good chair

old books

I’m trying to be ruthless, even so I don’t find too many books making it to the pile for the used book store.

new journal and old fountain pens

June is nearly over. The humidity and the heat are steadily increasing. I find myself spending more time in my studio, writing and watching the hummingbirds from the window.

coffee

good morning

C​offee. Ahhh. First thing in the morning and life is never finer. Unless, you get a bad cup….you, coffee slurpers, sippers and mug collectors know what I mean. A bad cup of coffee sets the tone for the day, the burnt oily sludge can stick to your stomach for hours. My stodgy and dependable Breville decided to konk out on me- actually the pot cracked, leaking coffee brewed all over my morning routine and costing me pricey minutes in my commute. I checked allover, including with kitchen stores and the manufacturer as well, but this particular coffee pot is no longer made. Sigh. It had been an expensive heart-rending buy years ago after extensive research. But, I will admit I wasn’t 100 percent happy with it ever. Time to again time to return the search for the perfect cuppa. 

There are many coffee makers. The kind of equipment you choose will greatly change your coffee experience. Water is either dripped, steeped, or pushed through via pressure. Just looking through the SurLaTable catalog was giving me a headache.

T​here is the Steeping method. The French Press, the coffee ‘tea’ bag, and the vacuum pot all use steeping methods. I don’t recommend the coffee tea bag method, unless you’re out in the woods and want something hot and not necessarily good. It’s a step up from instant, barely. The French Press always makes a decent pot of hot and fast coffee, but you will have to clean the messy grounds out afterwards. The vacuum pot is like a beautiful science experiment. This method also requires a bit of work but on a lazy Sunday its super sexy and impressive. You can boil coffee with water as in Turkish or cowboy style coffee, but this is often a bitter choice.

T​he Dripping or Filtration method includes the electric percolator, the chemex, cold drip brewing, and nitrous coffee. 

P​ressurecoffee makers include espresso, mokaand aeropressmakers.

My kitchen has a French Press, a moka pot and a Chemex stocked and when I feel like a bit of fussy I use and enjoy them. The espresso cappucino machine has been in the pantry for a while and comes out for company. It is pretty but a bit too much for everyday use. I still wanted a machine – something pretty on the counter with a button to push and that would make wonderful coffee. I had looked at Keurig longingly a few times but I just couldn’t get my head around the pods. They have a large selection of pods but it seemed like too much waste for my habit. I had to admit though the coffee was sublime. It was fast too with minimal mess. I’m the only one drinking coffee on a daily basis in my home, so a single cup at a time seems like a good solution. I then met my first Nepresso. The crema on top of my first cup was impressive and tasty. The machine itself seemed to be heavier and more solid than the Keurig. The recycling program Nepresso has was the deciding factor. Keurig is aiming to get there by 2020, but Nepresso already has a program in place that is very user friendly.

aging

sleepy Sophia

This is Sophia. She’s 20. I know, that’s old for a kitty. Yesterday my husband made an appointment to have her euthanized. He thought perhaps she had gotten to be too much for me. I told him to cancel it. I have had animals euthanized. Every single time my heart and mind struggle. Somehow it feels wrong to me. Yes, hospicing an animal is inconvenient and sometimes very difficult. Sophia gets around okay though over the last year she has lost all her excess weight. She is still going up and down stairs, jumping up on things and even running after her toys though not often. Mostly she sleeps. Her eating is sporadic. I usually open her favorite and then wake her up. She isn’t too good at actually using the catbox though she doesn’t have any mechanical trouble. We’ve set down pee pads for her and most of the time she uses them, or the shower. That’s probably the worse of it- having to clean up the floor on a regular basis.

The last cat I ‘put down’ was ill, and had been getting worse due to IBD developing into cancer. There were times she was in obvious pain. I tried every suggestion I could find, but at only seven years old, she had enough. You could see in her eyes that she was so very tired. Even so, after I wondered if euthanasia was for her or for me. It took me weeks before I could stop feeling guilty.

People say euthanizing a pet is a kindness. They say they don’t feel a thing, though we can only say what we observe without any real insight into their consciousness. They say all kinds of things but I think it’s mostly because it is just so difficult dealing with aging and death. So things are said to make it seem smoother, bearable somehow, even righteous. Maybe, I will have to euthanize Sophia but for now, she will continue with us.

heating up

garden bounty

In just 30 minutes, my tee shirt was soaked with sweat this morning despite it only being 6:30 in the morning. Humidity is at 87% but it feels much higher, and with temperatures in the 90’s the heat index will cook the garden this afternoon. I am using some clay water spikes with upended recycled bottles of water to try to keep the roots watered. The tomatoes and peppers, especially the ancho and jalepeno types, are sluggishly producing still, there are a few skinny eggplants left, and one enormous to-be-later-stuffed zuchinni, lots of basil and oregano. The artichokes are putting off new leaves. The strawberries are done. The hummingbirds even seem more sluggish as they buzz in and out the gladiolus. Forget weeding much lately- I just can’t stay out there long enough to tackle much. This is zone 8b with super alkaline soils that make raised beds and container gardening the best solution. I planted a few presoaked yard long beans, okra and aramanth to take over where the wax and kentucky pole beans are petering out. Thinking about maybe some baby pumpkins too. If anyone has any gardening tips, I’d love to hear what has worked for you.

seven days

there are only seven days in a week

so that means I can wear seven outfits, maybe two, plus pjs or whatever

I wash clothes pretty much every week

and yet I have a ton of clothes

and so the cleansing has begun

before

to be fair, my work required wearing only black, white or solid gray t-shirts

three bags later

after
no one needs this many

and another three bags later

much better !

so six bags off to the church donation center

how did it get this bad?

sigh.

I plan to head into the rest of the closet and tackle the drawers as well. It’s amazing how long we hang onto things we no longer need or want.

How to buy a dictionary

I am motorboating

In deep green

Summarized

I have learnt

Can control

with no ergonomics in mind

I shall

give you my finest

Tag, break it down to some kinda

Lingo

Swallow, then sip, say something silent

Ssshh- I have a forked tongue

For me, the bling is not quite so

Sparkling,

Efferevescent…

Just let me be

marinating

Double speaking coke vs pespi

Choose your own poisonous sugar

Babe, he says,

I haven’t even yet begun

To slake my thirst

Just bring on the water

Let me lie against this cool

Perplexity

Is precious

Language lies you know

so please

Return to the index

page on through

until you find the defined place

That one truth

The Penguin lessons

How could you not fall in love with a penguin especially when named Juan Salvador who listens with his beautiful expressive eyes? In just a bit over 200 pages, Tom Mitchell, explores his unusual true story of rescuing a penguin from an oil slick In Uruguay. As a young man, Tom wants to see the world and chooses a year work assignment in Argentina despite the fact that these are the turbulent 70’s. There is out of control inflation. The Dirty War is underway. There is kidnapping. And amid this unrest there is still lightness and incredible beauty. Juan was the sole surviver of an oil accident. Once he is cleaned up he refuses to leave Tom’s side. Tom then smuggles Juan back across the border where he becomes the school’s rugby mascot at the elite school where Tom teaches. Juan quickly ingratiates himself with the staff and students, becoming a friend to all. He becomes the catalyst to change and growth to nearly everyone that meets him, proving that great things can come in small packages.

America’s Deepest Lake

Formed by the collapsed Mount Mazana volcano 7,700 years ago, Crater Lake, Oregon is stunningly beautiful and serene. It has measured 1,949 feet deep, a level that only changes with precipitation, evaporation and seepage. It’s crystalline blue waters are worth making a stop for during the 3-4 months access isn’t blocked by snow. Be sure to check with the National Park Service for current conditions and up to date fees. A trip isn’t complete without a Park Ranger accompanied boat tour of Crater Lake. You will have the choice of exploring Wizard Island where you can hike or swim nearby before being picked up and returned to the dock. Be aware that both the hike to and from the dock is a steep 700 drop 2.2 mile trail. Reservations are highly suggested.