Yesterday morning, my mother, Catherine Calder, passed away.
Although she was being treated for something at the time, I think it was all her health problems of the last few years finally coming together at once.
She was a Head Start teacher’s aide for roughly 25 years. I once calculated she had approximately 1,500 students in that time, in a town of only 17,000 people. You couldn’t step foot on the porch or out of the house without some young person coming up to hug her or say hello.
She deeply involved with her faith, her church, and her family. When I saw her less than 2 weeks ago, at a family reunion, she was still talking about working on church projects.
I’ve always felt like I was lucky enough to inherit the best traits of both my parents. And my mother has left me with compassion, optimism, creativity, and a good moral compass.
There will be calling hours (10am) and a memorial service (11am) for her at the 1st UMC in her home town, this coming Tuesday.
Getty Images—probably the biggest supplier of stock photography—has updated their submission requirements to ban the retouching of photos for the sake of making the model look thinner or larger.
They cited a new french law requiring notification of such changes. But regardless of why they did it, I think it’s a good change.
It doesn’t stop the end user from making the same change to the image. But it does mean we have a supply of truthful body images from which we can work.
I have a dresser in my bedroom that has been in the family for a while. I’m told my uncle used it as a boy, which makes it at least 60 years old, and I’d suspect older. There are mounting points on the back, for a mirror that I’d never seen in my life. But I’d been thinking for the last few years that it would be nice to put one back on there. I’d researched a bit, for what style the original would have been. And kept an eye out for second hand mirrors.
Then a few months back, Abbey and I were wandering through (local salvage business) Community F0rklift, when she saw this mirror, and urged me to get it for the dresser. It was pretty dirty, and a bit beat up. And I wasn’t sure about the size. But it was cheap, and I didn’t really have anything to lose.
When we got it home, it was too big by several inches. I stewed on that for a while, thinking I could use it somewhere else or sell it on to someone else. But. it occurred to me a day or so later, thatI could probably move the mounting brackets and rotate the mirror 90 degrees. I would just have to chop out a few inches of the bottom bar; but that cut could be hidden behind one of the uprights.
So… this could still work, it seemed.
The first picture above was after a rough cleaning. Some mineral spirits, to get the grime out and get a good look at the condition of the piece.
As you can see in these two photos, there were a couple spots where veneer had broken away. And some minor cracks in one of the uprights. The back panel needed a few new nails to hold it firm. But otherwise, it was in solid shape, and the mirror itself was really good for it’s age.
The first step is usually deconstruction, so I broke down the frame into it’s constituent parts, and scrubbed everything with denatured alcohol and 4-aught steel wool. (I was fairly sure it was finished in shellac, and denatured alcohol will dissolve shellac.) As you can see, it took off the finish and a fair amount of staining. And all the scrapes, like the one on the above photo, disappeared during this process too. (I assume, between the overall lightening, and some carried over stain, the scrapes now just blended in.) The original wood grain now stood out much more.
I measured, tested, and chopped out about 4 inches of the bottom bar.
Next I needed to deal with the missing and loose veneer. The loose veneer is fairly easy… I could just use some wood glue, and clamp it in place to dry.
I’ve never dealt with veneer before, so I did a lot of studying and how-to watching at this point. It basically came down to trimming away the damaged veneer until you got a nice clean edge, and applying the new. I searched for the closest veneer I could find to the original, in texture and pattern. Then I made some templates of the spots to be redone, out of brown paper bag. I got lucky and they looked pretty good on the first try. This was heat-adhesive backed veneer, so I literally ironed it on, and taped/clamped it until it cooled.
At this point, I re-stained all the pieces so they matched the dresser. (They were already a close match.)
And I re-shellaced everything. The wood came out quite beautiful.
At this point, all that was left was to reposition the mounting brackets, and re-assembling the whole thing. I used all the original hardware, which had been cleaned up as well.
When assembled and mounted on the dresser, it was perfect. If you didn’t know the story, you’d never know it wasn’t original.
Donald Trump will be my President. And he will be your President. And saying otherwise will make you sound no better than the petulant parents who kept their kids home from school so that they wouldn’t be exposed to Obama speaking on a telecast, 7 years ago. He’ll be my President, and I intend to do whatever I can to hold him to all the legal and moral responsibilities of that job.
He’s going to do things I like, and things I dislike. And honestly, I expect much more of the latter. But I don’t think the solution to that is to disengage and be spiteful. I don’t have to like him or his plans, for him to still be the President. That was one of Hillary Clinton’s great downfalls… the constant refrain that she was mean and unlikeable. A leader doesn’t need to be likable. They need to lead.
I don’t know what Trump is going to do, as President. No one does, yet. You can’t take him at his word, on anything he’s promised thus far. For one thing, he knows full well he can spout off anything he wants now, before he’s legally held to a different standard. And he’s taking full advantage of that, for which you can hardly fault him. But for another, he’s backpedaled and reneged on every single major promise and platform issue. So his word is essentially meaningless. And he’s entering office with historically low approval ratings. He’s starting from zero, in more ways than one.
I think in about 15 minutes, his stage act will have to start coming to an end. It may just be morbid fascination, but I’m interested in seeing what happens in the long run. If he lives up to our worst fears, I’ll be there to demand correction and change. If he occasionally pulls a 180 — as he’s done repeatedly in life — and does something good, I’ll be happy and respect him for that.
And if you don’t like what happened with this election, what productive thing are you doing right now to change that?
I am mystified by the relative success of Trump’s campaign. I can understand he’d have some amount of support. He’s been a media personality for 30 years. He’ll have developed a fan base in that time. But the idea of seriously voting for him for President, on a mass scale, is bewildering.
He’s a bad Republican.
I understand that a lot of people vote primarily based on political party. But even in those circumstances, he’s a horrible choice. He’s bragged about using every possible legal loophole to make a living, which should anger small government advocates. He’s got a history going back decades, of strongly criticizing both parties, and taking stands that directly contradict the republican platform. He butted heads with the Republican party at every turn in this election. He insinuated if they wouldn’t support him, he’d run as a third party candidate. He denounced Rand Paul and John McCain, arguably the two most powerful, active Republicans in the country. Past Republican administrations are publicly announcing they’ll vote against him.
He’s a bad person.
While running for president, he’s made racist comments, about other countries, and even Miss America. He’s advocated for discrimination based solely on religion. He’s promised to remove civil rights for LGBT people. He can’t seem to stop himself from making sexist comments at every turn. He has shown a blatant disregard for the value of honesty, and instead is willing to say and support anything that will improve his standing.
He doesn’t have the temperament.
All you had to do was watch the debates. He became bitter, hostile, and petulant every time the arguments weren’t going his way. If president, he would have the entire world against him, not one woman. And he has repeatedly made casual, scary, ill-informed comments about the use of nuclear weaponry.
A common refrain among his supporters is that he ‘speaks his mind and doesn’t care what anyone thinks about it’. That is not something to be proud of. That’s the logic of an angry 18 year old. An adult learns there are times you don’t speak. An adult learns there are times where you pick your words to have greater impact. A President is a diplomat, a leader of his party, and the first person the country turns to in major tragedy and triumph. All those things require careful, considered words.
I just read a new bite last night that his staff has locked him out of his own Twitter account, to prevent him from saying something (else) spectacularly stupid. His own staff doesn’t trust him with Twitter… and yet people want to trust him with the world?
He doesn’t associate with good people.
It’s been suggested that he could be a figurehead president. That he would just do as he was told, and collect a paycheck. But the people he has surrounded himself with have horrible records on ethics and (mental) intelligence. Say what you will about Dick Cheney — who people suspect of having run the Bush Jr Executive Branch — but while he was undoubtedly an evil fuck, he was a very intelligent one. But now we have a VP candidate named Mike Pence, who wanted to divert HIV funding to pay for Gay Conversion Therapy, and actually signed a bill that would jail same sex couples just for applying for a marriage license. He was a huge advocate for defunding Planned Parenthood on the basis of their providing abortions — which would deprive millions of women annually with health care services having nothing to do with abortion.
He is unpredictable.
As I mentioned before, he has a long history of being at odds with both major parties; and a history of saying anything to anyone, with no intention of standing by his word. (How well would that untrustworthiness go over in international affairs?) Once in office, why would you think he would do the bidding of either liberals or conservatives? And that’s assuming he can stay in office. With his shoot-from-the-cuff style and do-it-now-and-deny-it-later style, just how long before he’d be impeached?
He’s not just as bad as Clinton
The false equivalence between Clinton and Trump also amazes me. “He may be awful, but she’s horrible and untrustworthy!” Clinton isn’t who I want in office either, but in no sane world are these two people comparable. If Clinton was the monster she’s been painted as, this campaign, then — without resorting to conspiracy theories — why in 20 years of federal investigations, has she never been found guilty? She’s no saint… I believe she’s as corrupt as any major politician. This is a race for the presidency of the United States…. do you think anyone gets to that level without having some serious skeletons in their closet? I think Clinton would be just as bad and just as good as any other run-of-the-mill President. Her only defining character in the last 16 years has been that she wants to be president. Not to do good, or make a change, or anything else… just “to be president”. I think she would go down in history as “First Female President of the US”, and not much of anything else. But when you compare that to the unholy clusterfuck that a Trump presidency is likely to produce…? I will vote every time for ‘useless’ over ‘chaotic, uninformed hot-head’.
Make America Great Again
“Make America Great Again” is an utterly meaningless slogan. It’s pandering to people who feel afraid and alone. It promises people that they can live in a Norman Rockwell / Disneyland version of history. But I can’t think of any decade in the last 110 years that didn’t have major upheavals and problems. Trump’s campaign is based around a meaningless slogan that promises something that never existed. Okay… maybe it is fitting for his campaign.