Playing Hooky

A couple weeks ago I decided to take advantage of one of the last beautiful fall days before the cold weather descended.

(Plus, I wanted to spend some time with my squeeze, but we won’t go there)

Anyway, we went out on an excursion and played with our cameras.  First, we stopped at Dr. Evermor’s Art Park.  He is an eccentric artist who creates whimsical sculptures from scrap metal.  He has built a “forevertron” that will launch him into outer space on a magnetic beam.

google eyes


It takes quite the eye to see potential in trash.  We humans could take a lesson from this man.

We then traveled to Parfrey’s Glen.  It was a wonderful day.  Everybody should be required to take “hooky” days every so often.  Oh, and here’s a green thing:

me so zen

I remember seeing plants such as this when I was a child in Minnesota.  A simpler time.  When I was a child, I immersed myself into everything *not human* because it was too difficult to interact with people.  I am still an introvert today.

velvet water

Filling up, spilling over, it’s an endless waterfall…


I saw you across the way, on the other side of the tent, on Labor Day, and I was overwhelmed…

Ten years ago, it was, you contacted me, although I think it was a ruse. “Kathy, I saw that hemp necklace you had on, you said you make them, I wonder if you’d make me one?”

I met you at the Memorial Union with your necklace, that I had made a couple inches too long, just because I wanted to be sure. And as we were sitting there, watching the waves and the people, and feeling the warmth, I raveled two inches off your necklace. But at least I was sure. I remember tying it around your neck.  Your neck felt hot, a little sweaty, slippery….

I had met you five years earlier, and I had instantly felt a connection, although I kind of ignored it, because back then I was a lesbian.

Note that I didn’t say, “thought I was a lesbian”, or “was involved in a relationship”, but at the time I really, truly, identified as gay. I felt a chemistry between the two of us, but I blew it off as just, “he’s a nice guy”….but later on, five years later, after my relationship blew up, I found myself in the parking lot outside Memorial Union, fighting with all my will to not leap into your arms. I kissed you, and you kissed me back, and the energy and the heat swelled, and it was overwhelming….and…

“Are you involved with anybody?”

And then my heart broke when you said, “I am going to get married next week”.

“I don’t want to lead you astray. I’d better leave now.”

But it took all I could do to wrench myself away.

So, years passed by. We’d see each other every year or two, mostly at the Labor Day festival. Then the protests happened.

“I love your tattoo.”

“I’ve spent most of the past six months protesting.”

“I was there, I took hundreds of pictures, looking for you. I heard you were playing your drum in the drum circle in the middle. Right in the middle, the thick of it all.”

I blushed. You took my picture.

“I don’t usually photograph well.”

Another protestor walked by and gave me a high five…

“Hey Mark!” (he was a mutual friend, even though I didn’t realize it at the time) “how do you know Kathy?”

“From the protests, we were in the rotunda together”…

And there was another spark, I looked into your eyes, and you looked into mine.

“I’d better get going.”

But, I tossed and turned that night. I kept remembering what Jim said, that “he is the male version of you….he IS you”…and realizing that was the most clear description I’ve ever had about how you and I relate. You ARE me.

But you were married and I was involved.

The next year at the Labor Day festival, I ran into you again.  We sat at a picnic table and talked.

“so, did that picture you took last year turn out?”

“no, you didn’t photograph well.”

“Not surprising.”  Much conversation ensued.   And again, it was all I could do…that same old spark was there.  That spark that I had first felt over ten years before.  More like fifteen, if you include the spark I had ignored.

And again, a month ago, I ran into you again at the Labor Day festival.  It’s easy to find you there.  Smaller gathering.

“Every year, I go to every festival, I look for you, I ask people if you are here, and they tell me, “she was just here…she just left”, he said.   “I look forward to seeing you here at Labor Fest, all year, and I look for you for the rest of the year.”

I blushed.

“I go to most every festival, at least those on the east side”, I said…(the east side being the hippie side of town)

“I’ll look for you”

Last week, at the Willy Street Fair…I saw a glimpse, well, actually, Jim saw you and said, “is that???” and I looked over, and my heart sped up, and I felt warm and cold at the same time, and I said, “yes, that is!”  So I yelled your name.  And you came.  And talked.  And won my heart all over again.

“See that woman with the hula hoop? She looks familiar….maybe she was at festival”…and you said, “would you recognize her if she were naked?”  I said, “she may have been naked”.

“you’ve alluded to that in the past…are you a lesbian?”

“no, I swing both ways.  Let’s just say I don’t discriminate based on gender.”  And he laughed, a deep belly laugh.  He looked deep into my eyes.  I looked deep into his.  I felt the spark again, that deep connected feeling.

“Before everybody comes, back, I want to tell you, I have the hots for you.  I have had the hots for you ever since that night at the Memorial Union parking lot.”

And again, now, a week later, I find myself unable to sleep.  When I close my eyes I see your face, and I remember that night in the parking lot at Memorial Union, ten years ago now.  And I wonder how things might be different had you not been about to get married at the time.

And I toss and turn in my bed at night.

I’ve got your back, bro.

I went to court for singing at the state capitol yesterday. There were many of us singers there. We all requested jury trials. Afterwards, (it was noon, of course), I went to the Capitol to join the singalong. It is always outside on Fridays; however, lately other groups have been pulling permits for the timeframe the singers are normally inside. (The singers always go sing outside if another group has a permit to use the Capitol…they’re respectful that way)

So this Friday, even though it was normally an “outside” day, they had been singing outside all week, and there had been no permit pulled by an outside group, so a splinter group of about 30 people went inside to sing.

10 minutes later, the police got out the LRAD and broadcasted their “this is an unlawful event” warning.

I was still outside at this point…I had gone to court, and didn’t realize there was a splinter group inside.

As I was standing outside singing, I saw a man running from inside out to our group, he told us all that there were 30 people inside, and they declared an illegal gathering, and if anybody wanted to go in and support the group so they wouldn’t be able to arrest everybody before the hour was up….well, he sort of left it at that.

I sang another couple songs outside, I didn’t really want to get arrested again…but then I started thinking about those who put it on the line every day…and I went inside.

I was prepared to get arrested again.

It was amazing. There were at least a hundred people inside. People responded to the rally cry and were THERE. We sang at the top of our lungs, and we lasted through another day, another hour, chanting, “we’re still here!”

And, I was not arrested.

So, I got arrested the other day…


Long story. There has been a long-standing protest against our governor, Scott Walker. He doesn’t like dissent. It used to be that the Solidarity Singers were kind of tolerated, cooperated with…until they pushed Chief Tubbs out, and brought Chief Erwin in.

Now, Chief Erwin is pretty militaristic, while Chief Tubbs believed in cooperation and communication.

They have started arresting people for singing.

They wanted the singing to stop. So they laid down the law and started handcuffing people and hauling them to the basement of the Capitol, for the offense of singing (in some cases, out of tune, I will admit).

It had the opposite result…people are swarming to sing now. The crowd HAD dwindled to a few die-hards, but now? It’s got new life. About a hundred or more per day.

I was one of those people who arrived once I heard of the crack-down. I came to show my solidarity, to show the capitol police that they weren’t going to win so easily.

I’m proud of going. I’m proud to say I will be going to court tomorrow. And I am proud to say, I will not give in. My life is based on stubbornness. I’m a fighter…have always been…that’s not going to change now.

Life is full of choices…a person can choose to live a life of ease, or a life of challenge.  I am proud to say that I have absolutely no regrets, even though I may have a criminal conviction….I choose to consider that I am fighting for first amendment rights.

If a person has to get a permit from the government to protest, or to assemble, then you do not truly have that right.  The simple fact of having to get a permit means it CAN BE DENIED.

This will NOT happen on my watch.

Life is for Soaring


Sometimes I need to chew on something before I publish it.  The title of this blog entry came easily; the post did not.

There is a woman in my life, one I respect.  One that made me who I am.  One who always, always supported my dreams, wild and crazy though they might be.  One who accepts me as an adult, and also accepted me as a child.  She soars.

I had the pleasure of going to visit her in North Carolina, where she treated me to a wonderful weekend.  But, the weekend had sort of a theme.  Soaring.  Not just because I flew there in an airplane.

She took me zip-lining.  It is something I never thought I would experience.  I had the time of my life, and she kicked my butt-she is in much better shape than I am.

We also went to the Carolina Raptor Center.  I love birds of prey, always thought it would be neat to befriend one.  Not OWN one, but just sort of make my balcony a cool hangout for one or two.

This woman has been my inspiration for much of my life.  At family gatherings, I am told quite often that I remind people of her.  I take this as a high compliment.  I always wanted to grow up to be like my Aunt Carol.

Life has many parallels.

I feel a kinship with her.  She is the most vivacious, caring, flamboyant (in a good way) woman I know.

When I was five years old or so, I knew how to read.  Quite well, as a matter of fact.   Don’t ask me how or why, I have no idea.  But she gave me the first book I considered to be “adult” because it didn’t have cartoon pictures in it, it actually had real PHOTOGRAPHS.  It was “The Red Balloon”.  I was thrilled to be given such an adult book at that age.

Then when I was about eight years old perhaps, back when memory books were all the rage, we children carried them around and had people we cared about sign them.  I remember exactly what Carol wrote:  “Hitch your wagon to a star, and it will carry you afar”.

She has always soared.  She has always inspired me to soar.

Life is for soaring.  Thank you, Carol.  Love you much.  Here’s to you, Aunt Carol!

Shifting gears…

So, this blog has been terribly neglected. And it’s because it is trying to be something I am not. I apologize.

I’m an activist. My day-to-day life isn’t beautiful, as much as I want to embrace beauty in this blog. It’s rife with turmoil, fighting, challenge, and courage. So, my blog is shifting to reflect that. Perhaps I will be able to write more frequently.

Beauty is simply not a part of my life, in general.  Challenge and fighting is.  I hope to share that with you, the gentle reader.

Thank you for listening to my rambling.  You will soon read of my current challenges.

Shit Happens


Sometimes life gifts you with unforgettable people.

As a small child I couldn’t hear.  I still can’t hear; although technology has advanced to the point that hearing aids help me.  I remember at family gatherings, knowing people by their facial expressions, rather than the things they would say or not say.

Ardene always seemed to be the “fun” one.  She was always smiling or laughing, the life of the party-type.  Great big exuberant smiles.  And laughing?  I rarely saw her NOT laughing.

For a while, like many people do, as a young adult, I separated from my family.  I, for about ten years or so, didn’t come to the gatherings any more.  So, when I returned to a gathering for the first time, people didn’t recognize me.  Once they knew who I was, I was welcomed with open arms, as an adult this time.

“Kathy, you want a bloody mary?”  (at 9:00 AM)

Being a Wisconsinite by now, and developing a somewhat “casual” attitude towards drinking, I said, “oh, I don’t know” (waiting to be encouraged so as to not sound too eager)…

“You better have one, it might be the only vegetables you’ll get today!”

This is the family who welcomed me back.  Suddenly my world changed- I was a participant in the parties, rather than a silent witness.  That ten-year gap made it even more striking.

As for the title of this post?  This was my aunt Ardene’s favorite catchphrase.

So I am here in Windom, Minnesota to celebrate my aunt. She was a beautiful person.  May she rest in peace.