Friday, November 19, 2010


in such marvelous motion.

They can create,
for which I have a notion.

Sculpture I am working on this month


I did a sculpture of St. Francis of Assisi
in August of this year

Here is the finished piece after adding glaze and firing

I love to work in clay, then fire my finished pieces in a kiln.  I am working at the Aspects of Clay Studio in Sandia Park in the mountains east of Albuquerque. 

My teacher is artist Alma Quillian who is also a neighbor of mine.  She does beautiful animal sculptures and is a talented two dimensional artist as well:    Alma has a her work for sale at Aspects of Clay or she will do commissioned work. Please look at her work at: .

Her sculptures are whimisical and delightful, for the outdoor garden or home. 

Here are two of Alma Quillian's sculptures of St. Francis of Assisi. She inspires me!

St. Francis by Alma Quillian

St. Francis and his dog by Alma Quillian

Monday, November 15, 2010

Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma Free

Aung San Suu Kyi has spent most of her last 21 years under house arrest by the Myanmar army dictatorship after her pro-democracy party won 81% of the seats in Parliment in 1990. She was freed last week after the country held its first election in 20 years. The results of the elections were highly suspect and too many people continue to be oppressed. However, it's clear that world-wide attention and economic pressure placed upon the Myanmar regime are responsible for Aung San Suu Kyi's recent release.  Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 for her efforts to win democracy for the Burmese people, she is a shining light of what ordinary people can do with persistence and resolve against all odds.  People all over the world have been inspired by her non-violent campaign.  Like Nelson Mandela, Aung San Suu Kyi's struggle has inspired and galvanized the world's attention and support.

Welcome back Aung San Suu Kyi!  The world has missed your strong voice.  May you succeed in bringing Burma closer to democracy.  May your example continue to inspire the people everywhere who live under dictatorship and oppression to not quit and to do battle with non-violent direct action.

For further information and to support  Aung San Suu Kyi, please go to

Friday, November 12, 2010

Conflict...and the Role of 24 Hour Cable News in Shutting Down the Debate

I watched MSNBC's Rachel Maddow interview satirist and fake news guy Jon Stewart (The Daily Show) last night:

Jon offered that what most Americans are feeling is not a left/right conflict, but that 24 hour cable news has amplified the Democrats vs Republicans fight in Washington as "The Fight"- and that is not the right fight – that both sides have their own way to shut down debate and that cable news has made this fight “the story” that is covered rather than corruption vs non-corruption, etc. 24 hours news, because of their need to fill the airwaves, heighten the red-blue divide, have in essence created a “tribal conflict,” that cable network news and programs like Maddow's, as well as those on CNN, Fox, amplify the conflict of Washington to continually stress that divide. As he said, it leads to the shutting down of debate as we grant amnesty to those we agree with and demonize those we don’t agree with.

The comments of Jon Stewart bring a fresh perspective to the sad political state of America. His criticism and point of view are sure to stir up political discussion and strong views from partisan political commentators.  I would be interested in your comments after you listen to the interview.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Post-Election Blues or "How I Spent My October"

St. Francis in my garden
I finished September with the completion of my St. Francis of Assisi statue for my garden.  I love the quiet symbolism of this Catholic saint who served the poor in the early 13th century. He also sought peaceful reapproachment with the Muslim world in the midst of the Christian Crusades.  Not relying on the force of weapons and threat of violence, he promoted his religious principles on the basis of discussion, service and practice.  I think that St. Francis' life mirrors that of the young Siddhārtha Gautama who became the Buddha.
Both were men born into a life of wealth, gave it up, and spent their lives seeking to provide comfort and peace amidst suffering.
October was manic as the mid-term election loomed in our country.  I think we were all ground down by the millions of dollars spent by the campaigns aimed at villifying their opponent.  Apparently, this strategy of negative campaigning, for the most part, worked.  A lot of good law makers and public servants were defeated as well as some of the bad ones who needed to be defeated.  But, the people were pummeled with propaganda and falsehoods in TV advertising, mailers, and the biased reporting in our local Republican Albuquerque Journal to believe that "black was white" and "white was black".  We did retain two out of three Democratic Congressmen (Martin Heinrich and Ben R. Lujan.), but lost the Governor and one Congressman to Republicans who were bank-rolled by Texan oil and gas interests.  This election is the first since the US Supreme Court ruled that "Corporations" have the same rights as citizens to "Free Speech" in elections.  Big corporations now have unlimited money without having to disclose the donors to spend on elections to influence the electorate. This election saw billions of dollars spent nationally by corporations and Right Wing 501 (c) (3) non-profit groups like the Koch brothers' Americans for Prosperity to defeat Democrats, moderate Republicans, and incumbents who had supported President Obama's legislative program in Congress.

After returning to work at 6:30AM the next day, I slept for hours in the afternoon.  I had put in a 13 hour day on election day as a Staging Captain in Torrance County.  We sent out 14 teams to canvass in Torrance County, a rural farming and sparsely populated part of Martin Heinrich's District on the eastern plains.  I had taken time off from work in the final week and a half, phoning voters and knocking on doors.  It was worth it to retain our young Congressman (Martin Heinrich) who was first elected in the Obama sweep of 2008. 

 On Election Day, November 2, 2010, the Democratic Party of New Mexico had Winners and Losers. 
Here are just a few:

Loser:  Torrance County Commissioner Bob Maldonado

Winner: Attorney General Gary King

Our Martin Heinrich table at the Pinto Bean Fiesta in Moriarty

Along the parade route, we talked to a lot of voters
and handed out Martin Heinrich stickers and buttons

"Please vote for Martin Heinrich"

Handing out pins for Congressman Martin Heinrich
at the Moriarty Pinto Bean Fiesta

Winner: Treasurer James Lewis

Loser: Secretary of State Mary Herrera

Winner: Congressman Martin Heinrich (at
our Community Potluck Supper in Tijeras August 6th)

Losers: Diane Denish (candidate for Governor) and Brian Colon (Candidate for Lt. Governor)
I think I got the Blues from the election 'cause I just needed to sleep on the day after the election and listen to Tibetan flute and Tibetan monks chanting.  But I really felt refreshed and renewed after that.  I went to my sculpture class last night and worked on my newest clay sculpture.  Life goes on.  Acts of kindness and humility help to keep me balanced amid chaos and hate. Art restores my soul.  We look forward to the birth of a new grandchild in December.  The day dawns anew, blue and bright, with the promise of better days ahead.  Loving one's enemies is hard.  I believe that history will show that Congress did the right things, the hard things, in 2009-2010, and the economy will steadily improve because of the brave choices they made.         

Jeff and Margaret in Davenport, Iowa, expect their first child in December