About Paula

Artist

Where Are the Children of Light?

“. . . history will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people. Our generation will have to repent not only for the acts and words of the children of darkness but also for the fears and apathy of the children of light.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

I drove north on Hwy 101 not surprised to see a small gathering in the parking lot of the Newport Armory. Hand drawn signs covered a jeep pleading “protect your guns.” I shook my head and scowled disapproval at the woman waving at me from that scene as I drove by. Why didn’t I stop and let them know, on no uncertain terms, that there is at least one person in their midst who opposes their “clamor”?

“The clamor of the bad people” – who are the bad people? I suppose, like me, these folks are speaking to represent those they perceive as a compliant majority of like-minded protectors of a civil right (though not the same right I would select above the others to concentrate my energies upon). Would they really defend all of the policy choices of this gangster-in-chief? While I don’t really know if most people are good, I can hope that we are. Misguided, frightened, not evolved – these are words I’ve used to describe, for my own comfort, these extreme right-wing responders. I live among them and communicate civilly as I do with any stranger. What is civility in the face of barbaric behavior like imprisoning children? Is that good manners or just fear?

I am not apathetic regarding what is going on in this country. I am not apathetic about the current federal administration policies that separate families and put children in cages. The racist, sexist, thuggish bullying tendencies of this American President that seem to have overthrown the minds of a segment of the American population and belittled American values based in humanitarian morality is breaking my heart. What is this slimy ideology that is creeping into our lives? Should we be expecting the mind-police at our doors soon?

The familiar chant of the 1960s echoes in my mind: “Love it or leave it.” Leaving it has crossed my mind lately, but, the thought is quickly followed by the self-accusation of “Coward!” I have loved Oregon, being born here, surrounded by the stature and incomparable beauty of every part of our state. There have always been our right-wing thinkers, but, as evidenced by Oregon’s status as a politically “blue” state, most of us are not of that lot. We have all lived together like family – sometimes in disagreement – usually with respect. What changed?

Our so-called leadership in Washington DC is calling to the dark nature of a small segment of our citizens. The strength of the response seems to be growing if reports are to be believed, but, I think we are all being manipulated into thinking this “trend” is inevitable. I cannot believe that we have no option but to fall into this pit of hell and despair! What set of reasonable answers do we have from which to chose that will solve this distressing equation?

I am just a lonely voice screaming from my broken heart and it seems to be all I can do from here right now. When opportunity for real and effective action presents itself I hope others will join me. This situation we are being given is a problem to solve and quickly – lives and the futures of very young children who cannot act for themselves are being held hostage along with the true soul of our nation.

Please speak up as a Child of Light.

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23 days into keto

An odd number of days to celebrate, but a 10 pound weight loss is extraordinary for me. I have no before pictures . . . sorry to those who thrive on such ghoulish voyeurism. To me, the number on my not-always-reliable-for-accuracy (but useful for recording incremental changes) is an outward indicator for (yeah, man, this is so cool!!!!)the first stages of success at something new.

I feel that ketogenic ways of eating are a natural for me and it seems so weird that I missed it on my radar for so long. I’ve been researching the science for the past month and cannot find any good reason to stop the process of very low carb eating.

I have recently completed a study sponsored through Oregon Health Sciences University testing a biologic medication for my early stage rheumatoid arthritis. I’m now in remission thanks to this drug, but each weekly dose is about $1,000 delivered by injection. I’m very grateful for the opportunity to have had access to such efficacious medicine, however, I don’t make enough income in a year to pay for 6 months of treatment. Clearly, my future health and mobility depend on finding another path.

Keto may be that path and I’m very excited. I’ve already seen improvements in my blood pressure measurements and, three weeks after my last dose of Abatacept, I have no recurring pain in the joints that were heavily affected by the RA . . . so far, fingers crossed!

That’s all for now.

Studio Today

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Dear Visitor,
Hello to anyone looking in. It has been a very long time and a few significant life events in the family have altered my focus. So, to sum up, I have advanced into torch tasks (soldering, annealing) with sterling silver and copper. It is the very newness that I love which is frightening and exciting all rolled into one amazing jittery feeling.

sterling cobalt ear

I recycled this sterling silver from a ring that I thought would have a better life as a pair of sterling silver earrings featuring lovely cobalt blue glass orbs.
Cheers

 

Interested? They will be found on Etsy.

 

 

 

A New Crusade – Rage Against the Bully

Bullies seem to be in style now – we all have our Trump.  And I have my own bully, my own personal bully – the kind one finds in a workplace.  Research teaches me that this is not my first one.  I simply have not recognized them.

In this new age of bullies – ones that torture children at school and through the internet, ones that get elected to high office, ones that lurk around the workplace – it felt reasonable to do a little online research to see if any of the pieces fit my situation, if any of the boxes could be checked.

All of the boxes could be checked for me as the classic target of a classic bully.  Oddly, the discovery is liberating.  I mean, even if I don’t escape the “attentions” of this person, I will still be free of the effect of those attentions.  With time, opportunity, and careful cunning, I may be able to convince my tormentor to move on to some easier target.

That may sound cold-hearted – wishing the bully onto some other poor soul – but, nothing will ever stop the bully from being one. Sadly, there is no guarantee against picking up another one – like I said, I recognize that I have had at least 2 in the past 3 years.   All one can do is shake them loose.  Fortunately or unfortunately, both of those encounters resulted in a job loss for me.  By the way, being the target of a bully in the workplace usually does result in the loss of your job according to research.

It’s not important to display details of this very stressful , insidious, and personal torture.  Bullies come in all shapes and sizes with all manner of psychological influences and motivations.  That one latches on to me (or you) is only a matter of matching up profiles.  It is almost neither person’s fault.  It is import to realize, also, that bullying is not illegal – it cannot be viewed as harassment unless it is clearly based in illegal discrimination.

The important thing for the target of the bully is to recognize what is happening and call it by its name.  That simple gesture alone will relieve a lot of unhealthy stress and put one in the productive mindset that will enable escape from any further damage, professionally and emotionally, by the bully.

I’m still learning and I will share an important website :

http://www.workplacebullying.org

If you suspect that you have become the target of workplace bullying, check out this very helpful website.

Studio Today

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Dear Visitor,
April, my favorite month! Yesterday I completed the cutting and fitting on my current glass project.

 

un-named project

Un-named piece – See the progress on OregonEdgeStudio.com

 

Had a little time to work on my new craft (I love it because it involves using a hammer – yay!) silver-smithing. I followed directions from experts online and distilled what I remembered into my own first attempt. When I feel comfortable with the craft and actually come up with a nice piece (other than the 7 earrings I’m wearing now), I’ll post a picture. I love April! Creative energy is in the air here on the coast . . .one just needs to breathe it in!
Cheers

Loving the Sourdough

fourth and success

Here it is, so beautiful!  The crust is crispy, the crumb is well structured but not gummy or stiff.  This morning it was the same, no overnight morphing to tough leather like the last loaf.  I think my recipe is solid, but will do it a few more times to make sure.

Toast this morning was only one slice (instead of my usual two) and the crust baked under the oven broiler to a light crispy, interior of bread was heated through but not hard.  Lovely!

I can’t believe how satisfying one slice of bread can be.  I’m sure it’s the sourdough difference.  I feel nourished and full with only half the amount.

There have been times when I’ve been lazy.  I would go through phases of  just picking up a loaf of bread at the store – just trying to get the best I could afford without going crazy.  I always read labels and could not accept high fructose corn syrup.  Other than that, I just tried for being able to pronounce ingredients.  The most remarkable thing about using commercial bread is that, for me, I could go through a loaf in two days – by myself!  Not only that, I would still feel hungry.  What is going on with commercial bread?

At least making my own bread gave me a pause.  It has been more filling than any commercial bread, but I still eat too much of it – my body searching for nutrition.  It’s like being thirsty and trying to slake that thirst with fizzy drinks.  Doesn’t work, does it.  You just end up more thirsty.

Now, with sourdough, I’m finding a serene satisfaction.  A half slice with a tablespoon of mascarpone and that can be lunch.  Hunger is gone for an appropriate amount of time.

Sourdough is touted to break down flour and make the nutrients available to human bodies in a way that commercial yeast home bread-making cannot do or does very incompletely.  Certainly the mysterious process of commercially baked bread with all its chemical dough conditioners and such and the for $ profit emphasis of those selling such bread is not even worth the time it would take to read the label.   Sourdough – worth a try, I said to myself.  The long run will tell, but it looks promising.  So far I’m loving the sourdough for everything it brings to the table.

I’m in love with the basic sourdough bread, but I’m an experimenter.  So, onward.

Free Range Yeasties

third sourdough

This is my third try.  A bit dense, but great flavor and crust texture.   A little chunk of heaven with butter on it.  After cooling this loaf down for an hour, I sliced off the end piece and buttered it.  The crust was delicate and crispy, the bread was tender and springy and it made me happy to chew it.

But, still work to do.  The next morning the crust was a bit less crispy and the loaf was an exertion to slice.  Looking at a lighter loaf,  I adjusted the recipe in two ways – one by accident and one by plan.

As i weighed the starter, 150g became 178g.  I thought, divine intervention!  Then I thought, uh oh, this will make the dough too wet.  So,  I adjusted the water by half the difference.  Explaining – starter is roughly half water and half flour (in my inexperienced estimation), so reducing the 250g of water by 14g might work to keep the moisture level right.  This all remains to be seen.

The intentional planned adjustment was as follows: instead of 250g of white flour and 250g of whole wheat flour I added 15g of gluten, 135g of whole wheat, and 350g of white flour.  I always think I need to put at least a little whole wheat in a loaf of bread; otherwise, it’s just cake.  I’m hoping this will lighten the loaf a bit.  It is proofing now;  I’ll give it an hour then drop it into my cast iron dutch oven, give it a small slice on top and put it in my 450degree oven with the lid on.

So, now you’re wondering why is this post called “Free Range Yeasties” anyway?  Well,  this morning as I reached on top of the fridge to get my starter, I found a huge overflow of the wonderful stuff having a big ol’ time across the front corner of the appliance.  I’m not sure why, but I felt exhilarated as I gathered the starter up onto my dough scraper and rinsed it down the sink.  I think it just felt like success knowing how happily bubbling and frothy my starter had become.  I need a bigger glass jar or decide to ask it to live in the fridge instead of on top of the fridge.  It sounds weird, even to me, to think that I’m going to make the starter less happy if it has to be subdued.  I think I’ll go in favor of give it more room to roam – my free range yeasties.

 

 

 

Feeeed Me, Seymour, Feed Me!

Seymour

Sorry.  When I saw the loaf of bread, my second try, that slash in the center reminded me strongly of Audrey II in “Little Shop of Horrors.”

Seymour texture

This loaf is dense, chewy, very heavy, not as risen as I hoped.  Not very much like my commercial yeast loaves.  It did smell great as it baked and it does taste pretty good.  But, My third try is autolysing as I write this.

So, what happened here?  I did not follow the suggested, very precise recipe amounts.  After all, I’ve been making bread for a very long time;  I know what a bread dough is supposed to look like.  Right?  Well, this was humbling.  I went back to the internet for more tutoring.  Ah, I didn’t scroll down far enough.  There it is, the perfect combo in grams of everything to put in the bowl first.  Yay!  I’ll give it a try.

I like to learn new things and especially things that transfer to learning other new things or perfecting skills that I’ve only half learned to that point and so on.  For example:  learning patience as I perfected my glass-working skill sets (subtle and profound) became a skill (yes, for me , patience was and continues to be a learned skill) that transfers to many other aspects of my life.  Come to think of it, patience is included in just about every skill set I’ve acquired in my life – customer service, natural and cultural history interpretation, cooking eggs and so on.

Preparing and baking sourdough bread is all about the bread.  There may be transferable skills that are being learned in acquiring the skill set of making sourdough bread (I will know them in the fullness of time), but what I am seeing most strongly is that I need to apply universal skills that have been learned in other ways to reach the desired level of expertise I am seeking.  Maybe that’s what my unwitting mentors mean when they say sourdough bread is the “holy grail” of bread-making.  Maybe what I will learn is that there is only the making of sourdough bread and no further to go, nothing that is transferred to other tasks.   Uh oh, there’s the Buddha floating in light above my eyes as I feel my mortality looming just ahead.  Enlightenment is a perfect loaf of sourdough bread.