Black History Month – Marine Biology edition

Behind the scenes at the Monterey Bay Aquarium: Large rectangular aquarium with pale white Moon Jellyfish inside. On the outside of the tank are two circles made of dashes and arrows to show the water movement in the tank that keeps the fragile Moon jellies safe as they float in the tank.

While reading many great articles about #BlackExcellence this month I thought about how I might contribute to the conversation, if at all. I finally settled on doing some research on one of my favorite topics: Marine Biology. Specifically, I was looking to learn about Black Marine Biologists and what work they were doing. Given the issues with discrimination in STEM I really shouldn’t have been surprised by the lack of information available. Still, I have yet to meet a research rabbit hole I didn’t like, so down I went.

Bellow you will find information on several Black, primarily American, Marine Biologists. I imagine there are more, certainly around the world, and hopefully in the US, but this is my start on the topic. Additionally there are links to several articles that I found helpful and some of the programs available to Black and other minority students interested in getting into the marine sciences.

I have not touched on any of the reasons why there are so few Black Marine Biologists, or why the information is not simple to find, that is a much larger and longer book that I am not currently educated enough to write. Suffice to say, as with so many other areas of discrimination and structural racism, we have a lot of work to do still to empower people with the knowledge that they can in fact study what they love and share that love with the rest of the world.

Marine Biologists

Dionne Hoskins-Brown, Ph.D., in oyster bed

Dionne Hoskins-Brown, Ph.D.

“Dionne Hoskins-Brown, Ph.D., is a change maker. When she was approached about a need for a summer pre-college experience for students interested in marine sciences, she created Coast Camp. When she saw that Savannah-area students weren’t as prepared as they could be when entering college, she sought a position on the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System (SCCPSS) Board. And most recently, when she realized how strong the connection was between her beloved field of marine sciences and local coastal African-American communities, she joined the National Park Service’s Gullah-Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission.” – Savannah State Faculty Spotlight

https://www.savannahstate.edu/News/2018/06/05/Faculty-Spotlight-Dionne-Hoskins-Brown-PhD 

https://www.youtube.com/user/invertegirl/featured – her Youtube page “Invertegirl” with lots of videos of marine invertebrates!

Dr. Dijanna Figueroa speaking at William & Mary

Dr. Dijanna Figueroa

“Dijanna Figueroa has made a career of exploring the mysteries of the deep. In 2005, she was featured in James Cameron’s documentary Aliens of the Deep, which follows Cameron and NASA scientists as they explore the some of the deepest parts of the ocean and learn about the unique life forms that inhabit those spaces. Recently, Figueroa has become an advocate for STEAM education—adding art and design to the science, technology, engineering, and math equation. She’s spent more than a decade teaching STEAM to grades K–8 in the greater Los Angeles area, formerly served as global director of the National Geographic Society’s Green STEAM program, and has advisory roles with many STEAM nonprofits. If that isn’t enough, Figueroa is a committee director for Blue Ocean Sciences, an organization of scientists conducting high-level research that addresses the needs of the global community.” – Beyond Curie

https://www.beyondcurie.com/dijana-figueroa

https://www.wm.edu/sites/50/events/figueroa-brownbag/index.php

http://www.blueoceansciences.org/bosteam.html

Dr. Daniel Pauly

“Dr. Daniel Pauly is a French and Canadian citizen who completed his high school and university studies in Germany; his doctorate (1979) and habilitation (1985) are in Fisheries Biology, from the University of Kiel.”

“Since 1999, Dr.Pauly has served as Principal Investigator of the Sea Around Us, based at the Fisheries Centre(now the Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries), UBC. This initiative, which is devoted to studying the impact of fisheries on the world’s marine ecosystems, was supported mainly by funds he secured from the Pew Charitable Trusts, Philadelphia, USA, and since 2014, from a number of philanthropic foundations.” – Sea Around Us

http://www.seaaroundus.org/daniel-pauly/ 

http://www.seaaroundus.org/daniel-paulys-publications-with-pdfs/

Robert K. Trench

Robert K. Trench

“While a professor of biology at the University of California at Santa Barbara, Robert Kent Trench earned the reputation as the world’s leading expert on corals and their symbiotic algae, more specifically strains of zooxanthellae adaptation to certain coral species.  Born on August 3, 1940 in Belize City, British Honduras, he studied at the University of the West Indies, Oxford University, and the University of California at Los Angeles where he earned his doctorate with a dissertation on invertebrate zoology in 1969.  

“Trench’s areas of expertise encompassed coral reef ecology, physiology, biochemistry, phylogenetics of symbiosis, and intercellular recognition phenomena.  He taught for four years at Yale University before arriving at UC Santa Barbara in 1976.  The author of several dozen scientific papers, in 1994 his groundbreaking description of metabolite flux from kleptochloroplasts to host won him the coveted Miescher-Ishida Prize for outstanding contribution to the field of endocytobiology.  A member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Society of Limnology and Oceanography, Trench retired from university teaching in the year 2000.” – Black Past

https://www.blackpast.org/african-american-history/trench-robert-k-1940/

https://www.researchgate.net/scientific-contributions/2060770300_Robert_K_Trench

https://alncfeaturedscientist.wordpress.com/2017/01/08/robert-k-trench/

Samuel Milton Nabrit

Samuel Milton Nabrit

“A celebrated marine biologist who specialized in studying the ability of fish to regrow their fins after injury or disease, Samuel Nabrit was the first black representative on the United States Atomic Energy Commission. In a long career, Nabrit found success on many fronts. He was the first alumnus of Morehouse College to receive a doctorate and the first black to be awarded a Ph.D. at Brown University. He served on various committees under three United States presidents and as president of Texas Southern University he steered the institution through many years of civil rights protests and change. Commenting late in life on the difficulties he experienced in advancing his own career, Nabrit is reported to have said that “no kite can rise unless it’s going against the wind.” – Samuel Milton Nabrit Biography – Selected writings


http://biography.jrank.org/pages/2364/Nabrit-Samuel-Milton.html

http://todayinafricanamericanhistory.com/december-30th-in-african-american-history-samuel-milton-nabrit/

Ernest Everett Just

Ernest Just

“Born in 1883 in Charleston, S.C., Just attended the Kimball Union Academy, a boarding school in Meriden, N.H., graduating in 1903. He then enrolled at Dartmouth College and graduated magna cum laude in 1907 as an esteemed Rufus Choate scholar. He immediately accepted a teaching position at Howard University in Washington, D.C., where he quickly rose through the academic ranks, becoming full professor in 1912. He chaired the department of zoology at Howard and, with the help of the Rosenwald Fund, established a master’s program in that field.

“In 1909, Just began making annual summer excursions to the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass., where he worked under renowned embryologist Frank R. Lillie. Almost from the beginning, his work was significant. His first paper (5) showed that the sperm entry point determines the first cleavage plane in the egg of the marine annelid Nereis limbata. The body of work for his doctoral degree, which he obtained from the University of Chicago in 1916, was based on his study of the breeding habits of N. limbata and Platynereis megalops (another annelid) and the fertilization reaction of the sand dollar Echinarachnius parma. While at the MBL, he rose from student apprentice to internationally respected scientist.

“Just was known at Woods Hole and beyond for his uncanny ability to coax marine invertebrate embryos to develop normally, and many sought his advice on the proper handling of marine animal eggs and embryos. He compiled a set of indices of normal development based mainly on the timing and quality of fertilization envelope separation, allowing him to predict with great certainty whether or not development would be normal for a given egg. In 1939, he published a laboratory manual, “Basic Methods for Experiments on Eggs of Marine Animals” (6), which applied his deep storehouse of knowledge on egg handling.” – American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology / ASBMB Today Feb 2010

http://www.asbmb.org/asbmbtoday/asbmbtoday_article.aspx?id=5878&page_id=1

https://www.capeandislands.org/post/life-lessons-first-african-american-marine-biologist

Roger Arliner Young

Roger Arliner Young

“[B]orn in Burgettstown, Pennsylvania in 1889, was the first black woman to earn a Ph.D. in zoology and to conduct research at the prestigious Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole, Massachusetts.  Young conducted research on the anatomy of paramecium and the effects of radiation on sea urchin eggs.

“Young enrolled at Howard University at the age of twenty-seven, intending to major in music.  After struggling through a biology course with African American biologist Ernest Everett Just, she changed her major to that subject, earning a B.S. in 1923.  Just hired her as an assistant professor at Howard while she attended graduate school.  The next year, Young enrolled at the University of Chicago in Illinois part-time and published her first article on paramecium which achieved international recognition. She received her M.S in Zoology in 1926 and was elected to the honor society Sigma Xi.” – Black Past

https://www.blackpast.org/african-american-history/young-roger-arliner-1889-1964/

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/urban-scientist/roger-arliner-young-zoologist

And FYI the Urban Scientist who wrote the second link on R A Young is a black scientist herself, Danielle N. Lee. Check out her blog at Scientific American:

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/urban-scientist/

Articles


Minorities in Marine Biology: The Dearth of Black Professors
An old but interesting piece about the lack of minorities in the marine sciences with a focus on black students and teachers in particular. This is one time the comment section is worth reading several of the names and organizations I have linked came from information in this comment section.

African Americans in Marine Sciences
“African Americans have made contributions to maritime history and the sciences from the colonial period forward. The first wave of academically credentialed African American marine scientists, however, would not be born until toward the end of the 19th century. HarborLAB serves budding African American scientists through its youth programs each year, and for Black History Month honors trailblazers from years past.”

Minorities in Water Sciences
“As with so many other scientific fields, African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, and Pacific Islanders are poorly represented in the ranks of practicing water science professionals. Minority students interested in becoming oceanographers, marine biologists, fisheries scientists, hydrologists, ecologists, aquatic chemists, or limnologists have few role models to emulate. In part, this reflects a history of a lack of minority science and mathematics teachers in the K–12 schools. A number of institutions, such as Northern Arizona University and State University of New York at Oswego, are trying to correct that by offering programs that are directed towards elementary and secondary environmental education.“

The article includes many links of interest for minorities wanting to explore and/or get started in the marine sciences.

Programs

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution – undergrad minority summer fellowship

American Elasmobranch Society 2019 Young Professional Recruitment Fellowship Diversity Scholarship award winners

(Sharks!! – Also, their website is not well updated but the general information about applying for the award is still on the site)

Additionally see the many links as part of this article at Water Encyclopedia

Just write!

Really good piece in by by Marissa Lingen in Uncanny Magazine about who gets to write Hard Sci-Fi and really what does “hard sci-fi” mean anyway?

“So how else do we do this? How do we do this better? How do I stop having conversations with smart, talented writers who tell me that they don’t know enough science to write hard science fiction, theirs is just about this family on Mars that finds a funny rock? Theirs is just about zoology? Theirs is just about this stuff they’re really interested about with grass botany? On some level, as long as they write the story, it doesn’t matter if they don’t want to arm-wrestle for the label. Write the story, play with the science, find the joy. Love your parrots, your fungus, your funny aliens yearning to breathe methane.”

The Trip and Concert of Awesome

Pre-show Time at the Orpheum in LA

April 1st to 3rd in LA for a concert!!!!


Because it’s a new year and so many things have changed for the better, when Adam Lambert announced his tour dates and the only CA shows were in LA, I said fuck it and set out to go with friends. And I am so glad I did. While he was amazing to watch live, the trip itself was an eye opening and life affirming experience.

Friday April 1, 2016 – travel day

We had planned to be a trio for the trip. Sadly C was on day three of a migraine by travel day, so she had to opt out so J and I were on our own. Since J had a lot of experience with allergies and chronic illness, she was my tour guide for traveling with said issues. I am so grateful to her for all her help.

We flew out of OAK (Oakland) for BUR (Burbank) on a 1 pm flight with Southwest. I got to the airport early, opting for calm and easy over last minute running around. Did the curbside check in, which I have always loved. Working with less stressed people is way more fun than waiting in line. And then apparently I got lucky because I had been given TSA pre check, which got me through the security stuff super fast – and had me thinking that the silly was not so bad. I learned better on the way home.

J and I met up at the gate, got coffee and lunch for the plane and then hung out for the hour plus before the boarding. I did miss a memo and forgot to talk to the gate staff about getting a pre-boarding pass, but at the last minute we got it sorted out. So J (as my helper) and I got on the plane first and grabbed one of the bulkhead rows. Oh my lords preboard is the best thing. Calm, easy and with the fractured foot it was nice to not have to worry about going slow and careful.

J had asked me a few days earlier if I was afraid of flying or worried about any of it. I said no at the time and once I was on the plane and we were taking off, I remembered how much I actually love flying. I took tons of pictures! Because of course I did.  of the gate, and the folks working the ground and then take off, even video of that part, and then lots and lots of images flying over California. The artist in me started getting ideas with everything I was seeing. I have IDEAS. So many ideas. For the assorted stories I’ working on, for sculptures, for JNL for her Earth Science’s classes. So many ideas!

We landed safe and sound in Burbank, which might be the cutest airport ever. seriously, adorable and so freaking easy to deal with. I don’t ever want to have to deal with LAX again.

We picked up the rental car and worked our way to our hotel, thank you Google for the assist.

Because J and C are pros at traveling with allergies they had the hotel set up for safety – the key words are “Allergen Friendly Room” and “Feather Free Room” and then keep the Do Not Disturb sign on the door so they don’t come in and mess things up. While the hotel lobby was soaked in scented candle smell, the room itself was lovely. I had our new portable air purifier with me, so I added that as well and had a chemical free room both nights.

The only downside was the hotel didn’t have any room service, but there was a burger and pizza place that delivered so that worked out. The included “breakfast” was nasty, so I made other plans after testing it on Saturday.

J and I spent the rest of Friday relaxing in the room. And while my brain got twitchy and wanted to DO THINGS! It was a really good idea to be still and calm for my first day of travel. Pretty sure the foot liked it too.

Saturday, April 2, 2016 – visiting friends and show day!

Saturday morning J and I discovered the downside of the hotel’s “breakfast” and then hung out in the hotel room before we each went off to lunch with friends.

After thirteen+ freaking years, R (who I went to college with) and I FINALLY got to see each other in person again. I also got to meet her beautiful twins. We had a very fun lunch getting caught up on life and then the kids and I agreed that naps were called for R dropped me back at the hotel where I promptly put my foot up and did more of that resting thing.

It seriously needs to be less than 13 years for us to see each other again!

After a little more hanging out and resting and it was finally time to get my glitter on! 😀 And yes, I brought and wore glitter. Because duh! I was nice and stepped into the shower to apply the glitter. There might still be some trace of it, but at least it was confined to a small, easily washable space.

All dressed up, we drove over to downtown LA to meet up with two fellow Adam fans at the Orpheum and then next door for dinner, which was a 45 minute wait because ALL the Glamberts had the same idea. But it since we had an easy hour before the show was due to start, it all worked out. There was a rush just as we were being seated, of folks getting in line to go into the theater which just seemed odd to us since the whole show was reserved seats, not a crush to get in and grab that perfect spot at the front. But to each their own. I had an awesome burger and pleasant company.

The Orpheum is one of those Grand Dame theaters of the good old days, like the Foz and the Paramount in Oakland, with gorgeous decorated plaster work and beautiful carvings. She’s a 2K seat house with amazing sight lines. Our seats were almost at the back of the Orchestra and on far right aisle and they were still fantastic. As the one with the aisle seat, I probably had the least obstructed view, which didn’t hurt. And while Lambert and his crew looked kind of squished because of the distance, it was still close enough to feel like we were a part of the whole party. Since the show was designed to feel like a dance party, that all worked quite well.

Alex Newell, of Project Glee and Glee fame, was the opening act. I liked Alex on both shows, so I was happy to see him in this spot. His half hour was a mix of cheerleading to get the crowd pumped for Lambert (not hard to do, but fun none the less) and singing his own material. While his voice is amazing, his music’s not my first choice. Still it was fun.

After Alex there was about a half an hour wait while the crew stripped Alex’s gear from the stage and confirmed the set up for Adams. While J and her friends wandered and said hi to folks they knew I watched the crowd.

My people-watching led to crew-watching, because of course it did. Also, our seats being so far in the back where almost touching distance from the Boards at center back, so I had a good view of the light and video, and maybe sound board operators. That proved delightful when they all started head banging to one of the pre-show songs lol. I missed video-ing that, but I did get a general pic of the guys. Because I’m that kind of geek.

Then finally! Finally the last of the VIP/Meet and Greet folks trickled in and it was show time!

The show was fucking amazing. Seriously. Everything everyone had told me about Lambert in concert, and what I had seen at the Queen show in 2014, was in full view with this solo show. He’s a powerful presence on stage with a monster voice that goes on for days. Hearing him live is a million times better than any recording. He’s good in the studio, but on stage he is out of this world good. Combine that with a wicked cool light and video show, lovely backup singers / dancers, and some very good musicians and you have an amazing 90+ minutes of dancing, singing along, clapping, grinning and joy.

From the very begging, at pre-set we have an amazing visual in the staging with four floor-to-ceiling narrow video screens showing a circular constellation map like image in deep dark blue with white for the stars and icons. The screens are then used throughout the show with coordinated videos for each song. Crazy cool lighting and lasers added to the whole thing and it was just freaking GORGEOUS. I am a little in love with the designers. It all worked to frame and support what he was singing and doing so very well. And apparently he had a big part in the design process and then hired great people to bring the ideas to life.

I really liked his backing band. I’m kind of in-crush with Darwin, the bassist. There was just something about him that radiated joy and contentment. I dunno. 🙂 And I like the new guitar player (long story that gets weirder depending on which part of fandom you talk to), who is also named Adam. The guy is so damn grounded and centered. I got the feeling he could stand in just about any storm and play his fingers off without getting blown over… which might actually be an ideal job description for being a guitar or bassist for Lambert. And he looks good in silhouette / overhead lighting poses 🙂 The keyboardist/Musical Direct, Peter was cool. I didn’t get as clear a sense of him, other than I like what I heard and what he’s helped put together with Lambert. The drummer was sort of blank for me, he’s sweet from what I’ve seen and competent which is good, but if anyone is looking for genius, I didn’t get the sense that he’s there yet. (Another fan clarified for me that the drummer is in fact young both in age and experience) I like the dynamic of the two back up singers/dancers: Holly and Terrence helped keep the stage interesting without being crowded.

As for the show proper, its really well constructed. It pulls heavily from the current album but also has a really satisfying mix from the other two and a couple of fun covers.

Its clearly divided into three distinct parts with very different tones and flavors. The first was hard driving, with almost no spoken interaction with the audience, just one hard-hitting song after another. The tone was hard-edged and futuristic from the costumes to the lighting and the videos at the back of the stage. There was controlled anger and frustration and a drive for more of something “he” /“we” cant quite name. A lot of this I know from interviews Lambert’s given about the meaning of the songs on the current album, many of which look at the 30-something / millennial hunt for meaning and purpose, but the undercurrent of all of that was also very present in the mood and feeling of his performance.

We got treated to an appearance by Laleh, the artist who co-wrote and is featured on the single he released two weeks before this show called “Welcome to the Show”.

Adam Lambert and Laleh

Part two dials all of that outward thrust down to quiet contemplation. It’s him and not much else, even his clothing choice is vastly quieter (though I have to shake my head at the suit choice, the fucking thing is cut wrong or something, and looked wrinkled for gods sake! which is odd for him because normally he’s damn good at his clothing choices.) Near the end of this section we got some talking. This is his spot for getting on his “soap box” (the next night his crew brought out an actual soap box for him to stand on which got him all sappy and pleased by the gesture). Lambert is a big believer in the notion that Love Conquers All. It was almost the theme of his first solo tour (during which he basically ran a love spell to help people learn to love them selves over the 6+ months of the tour). This time it manifested in the declaration that we all share an organ inside our chests that is about love. No matter what things identify us as different, we are all the same inside and the heart just wants love. The boy is a hopeless romantic and adorable. He rounded all of that out with his biggest hit, “Whatda want from me?” And this is where I almost lost it. Of all the songs, this one had me in tears. I don’t know if it was because it was his first real hit and so associated with him from the beginning, and that beginning was a time when I didn’t know if I would ever see a concert, or the way he was performing it, or what, but it just hit me like a ton of bricks and I was singing and crying and laughing at the same time.

Part three was the official Dance Party. Everything here was bright and up beat and happy. The third outfit was way more causal than the others and lighter in tone as well. (and fit well lol) It was all loads of fun and exhilarating. Then we got the band intros and encore – which included Another One Bites the Dust mixed with his song Trespassing led off by his kick ass bassist.

And then we were done, exhausted, sort of wanting more, but needing an intermission lol and high as fucking kites. It was stunning and everything I had hoped for and then some.

After the show we all hung out for a while to meet up with folks – and that phrase alone might be the most defining of this whole thing. After two+ hours of being surrounded by people, of dancing (on a fractured foot mind you!) of singing and shouting, I had the spoons to “hang out” for a while! Lol I’m glad I did because it meant I got to meet up with T, an Oakland Glambert who I was introduced to on FB through a mutual friend because we were both in LA for the show. She looked amazing in her bright Oshun yellow and black outfit!

Then we limped home to the hotel and fell over. Make up off, pj’s on and a bag of ice on my ankle to end the night. And it was good!

I had a conversation a few days after the show with a fellow fan who;d seen the show a month before me and we’d been talking off an on about how different it felt to her and many of the early adopters.

What I see in this album and this show/tour is an Adam who is maturing. We’ve heard that alot about the album how its a more cohesive and mature sound for him. I think the same thing is going on with the shows. He’s growing up literally and creatively.

I see in him and in the show the evolution of an artist, a performer who admits to having a million and one ideas who is learning through experience when to throw things at the wall and when to hold back. He’s trying things and testing himself and seeing what he likes, what sells, what’s fun to do night after night, what works on large and small levels. This to me is a very good thing. And rather than mourn those things that he’s chosen to not continue working with right now, I cherish having been able to see his early experiments. He let us in, he offered us his ideas and heart and shared some of his process. He continues to share his journey with us and I am deeply grateful for that gift.

All art is an evolutionary process. It flows, shifts, doubles back and leaps its banks. This is the creative process. What we have been watching for seven years is Adam’s creative process and it’s a beautiful thing. Just imagine where he might be dancing and creating in seven more years? What wonders will he share with us between now and then?

As for the show, there is a distinct difference in feeling in the three sets. We are used to his contemplative side and bringing the show to a quiet mid part and we are familiar with his drive for a Dance PARTAY! But that first part, with its hard, edgy feel is very different for him and us. He seems to be pushing the energy, or allowing it to push him, so he can drive the performance in dark ways during that set. It IS disconnecting in a way. I don’t know if he gets that and is ok with it or what. But I do think there’s a choice there. At least it’s something he opted to try. And it being at the top of the show and so freaking relentless, it all works in his favor mostly because you don’t have enough time to breathe and realize you could leave if you really didn’t like it. And then, just before its too much, he pulls back to something softer and more introspective, and I find that intriguing.

The whole experience reminds me a little of what kids and parents go through during the transition from 5th /6th grade to high school – those years are Messy! They’re complicated and confusing, and can be painful.

I’m such a process junkie 🙂 I actually like all this shifting and changing because that part is so interesting to me. What we get to see of the making of a career, an album, a show and a person!

April 3rd, the return

The return trip was, if anything, even easier than the outbound trip except in one area. On the way to LA I had gotten TSA pre-approved and gotten spoiled. It was simple compared to the way home lol. Ah well, at least now I’ve been through it both ways and know what to expect.

Possibly the coolest thing about the flight home was seeing the landscape change. On the way down, I didn’t change the shit as clearly from green to dry brown and tan. The dry is noticeable once you are over southern California but coming home! Oh wow! Flying into all the beautiful winter rain soaked green was amazing.

And then we were on the ground, getting out luggage and meeting up with our spices. Exhausted but happy.

I am SO freaking glad I went. I’m amazed that it all worked out as well as it did. I wanna do it again and again and see more places and shows and people. Landing back in Oakland I started crying because that moment, more than all the others – the cumulative of all the others – clarified for me that my world has changed. I can do this. I can step out of my comfort zone, out of the known levels of safety of home/friends/local and stretch my wings. I can fly now. Maybe I always could, but now I know I can.

reality check moment

dear weight loss industry, medical establishment and “well meaning” people –

do you know what 30+ years of hearing “if you just had a little will power”, “all you need to do is exercise more”, “you be so pretty if only you’d…” “maybe you shouldnt eat that piece of cake…” do to a person’s brain? It makes us believe that we are the root of all the fucked up things in our lives and that the ONLY way we can win your love is by “doing better” because its clearly “all our fault”

fuck you.

Glitter – the Ultimate Power Up

The last few weeks have been exhausting and spoon eating.

red plastic utensil broken in half. One end is a spoon, the other is a spork.
Broken spoon, broken spork

The sinus infection I’ve been negotiating with got ahead of me and started to build camp in my lungs. This is generally the point at which I tell it to bugger off through the use of antibiotics. (Since I have a near constant sinus infection and living on antibiotics sounds like the least fun thing ever, I wait until things get worse because otherwise I really will be living on ABs.) Monday the antibiotics started which is great, but draining in its own way.

About two weeks before all of that, my insurance company micro-managed me into a corner that I had been heading towards but wanted to settle into on my own terms and in my own time. *sigh* Namely, one of the medications I’ve been taking for about five years was cut off because I cant take the generic (Seriously nasty side effects for me) and the Insurance co wont pay for the label. The neurologist and I had already decided that medication was going to come out of the “cocktail”, but cold turkey is never fun. At least my dosage was fairly low to begin with. Of course, at the same time this happened, the neurologist upped the dosage of one of my pain meds. Either one of these on their own is enough to make a person a little off kilter. Together? *boom* brain explodes, body hates me and where are my blankey and my cave thank you very much.

While I have managed to get a little bit of work done on the new novel, mostly I’ve been wishing for a vat of really good (non-allergenic to me) chocolate ice cream.

What does all of this have to do with glitter? Well, I’ll tell you – (yes, the snark is in rare form this week) – I have always known glitter was my friend, that is part of why this blog is titled Call Me Glitter. This week I discovered that it serves as an excellent power boost – Power Up for you gamers. I’ve taken to sprinkling a little on before I leave the house to help get me through whatever I need to do. Not only is it fun and pretty, but it really does help. Even if its just a mnemonic of sorts, it helps me to focus on the good and have faith that I can get through my day, one way or another.

I first met glitter when I was three (or five depending on who you believe and what calendar we are using) when I was inserted in to a whole on the stage of a “transvestite review” called “The Angels of Light” being done at Theater for the New City in NY in the early ’70s. I remember very clearly that there was this bucket of glitter on the floor beside the stage and I wanted to play with it so badly! But no one would let me!

It was pretty much down (up?) hill from there. Growing up in the theater and arts world in Greenwich Village in the 70s and 80s meant there was always glitter somewhere and there was always an event going on and I always wanted to be a part of the shiny things! At one point my mother created the “Super Brat Club” complete with brown  t-shirts with those words emblazoned in orange glitter on the front. (the 70s where many things, including painful on the eyes). So, I come by my love of glitter and all things shiny honestly.

There was glitter hair spray, glitter make up, glitter on the desk, glitter on the floor and even so much glitter on the walk way a while back that my husband suggested we get a concrete sealant so we could have the “glitter brick road” leading to our door. (that is still a pending project).

I have glitter clogs:

clog covered in dark pink/purple glitter
Glitter clogs for the 2013 season

SO Much glitter nail polish:

green glitter polished nails.
Five greens and a gold

and even a glitter lispstick – Zuzu’s Uber

glitter lipstick
Zuzu – gluten free lipstick “Uber”

And this morning I finally painted and glittered a shirt that has needed its own kind of power up for a while now: my “Treble maker” t-shirt (hmm, actually its name is “Trying to Sing” and was created by Tobe Fonseca)

photo collage - upper and lower images are of the same dark gray shirt with black raven silhouette holding broken musical notes. Bottom one has added glitter.
Photo Collage – treble maker shirt gets a glitter/glow in the dark power up

Glitter doesn’t change the fact that I have a chronic illness or that today is a bitterly low spoon day, or that I have to go get something done outside the house anyway. Glitter reminds me that there is beauty and joy and silliness in the world, and THAT makes every day a little better.

 

And when all else fails… take a trip and fall into the glitter ….