Saturday, July 18, 2009
Friday, July 17, 2009
Rising American Maternal Mortality rates,
and a call for the help of any quilters out there.
When I was talking to my friend Laura at Snip-n-Snail (click for link) about The Remembering the Mothers Quilt Project (click for link) (a quilt to remember american women who have did in childbirth) I kept seeing hedgehogs. Suddenly, they were all over my backyard!
I have never in my life seen a hedgehog before.
When an animal makes itself very obvious to me, or gets my attention like that, I like to receive it as a message. I google animal medicine or totem for that animal, and see what it's meaning has been to cultures that believe mother earth is a living, communicative being.
Here is what I found about hedgehog- it is the symbol of elder female wisdom. It is associated with fertility, and also the sun since it comes out in the summer season. Since it is nocturnal, and has poor vision, it is associated with psychic ability, prophetic dreams and visions, and particularly the knowledge of the weather, and knowing when it will rain. It is immune to snake venom, and so it is a native American symbol of the triumph over evil, and the defeat of death.
The animal walks close to the earth, and knows how to center itself by curling into the fetal position. It knows how to protect itself, and keep its environment clear of threatening energies, and always lands on it's feet. It is a symbol of the balance in work and play- being resourceful, strong, but playful.
Laura is planning a panel with the support of one of the founders of The National Organization for Women to bring attention to the very high and rising maternal mortality in the USA, and the utter lack of any tracking of the actual numbers or causes. Ina May Gaskins, midwife/ female elder conceived of The Remembering the Mothers quilt project to bring attention to this issue and will sit on the panel. The panel will be on November 1st in Sarasota, Florida, which is also the day of the dead. A good day to remember the mothers that have died. It will be a landmark forum, as previously this issue has received little attention from the feminist leadership and has not been recognized as the public health crisis it is with in the USA. It is an issue of global interest, as American birth practices are getting very bad results for both mothers and babies on a public health level (evidenced by the highest infant mortality and morbidity rates of the western world), yet the american birth models and practices are still being copied by other countries through out the world.
I hope they are blessed by 'hedgehog medicine' in their endeavor. That they walk with the wisdom of female elders, and can 'defeat death' by bringing awareness to the issue of high/climbing American maternal mortality rates, and lower them. And that Laura can protect herself, be balanced, and have fun along the way.
If you are a quilter, or know one, please ask them to contact Laura and help "Remember the Mothers" by making a quilt square for a woman who has died giving birth in the USA in the last 30 years (click here for link).
This post (click for another link) is a call to for quilters to help creates squares to remember women, and has specific names of women who need to be represented in a special quilt dedicated to women who have died of amniotic fluid embolism (AFE) . AFE was once a very rare complication that has now become staggeringly common and is suspected to be an (as of yet unrecognized) complication of induction of labor, specifically assocaited with the use of the prostaglndin drug cytotec. Laura has not gotten the quick response she has anticipated from quilters on this, so please do what you can, and pass the word on to freinds that can help so this project can be completed soon.
The Viking Museum If you want to live like a Viking, Fotevikens is the place to be. Every summer this viking museum offers for people to come inhabit it's historical viking town, so long as they act like a viking all summer long. Click here to learn how to become a viking for a summer.
From the website:
"The Village community of Foteviken
In 2001 the development of The Viking Reserve had proceeded far enough for the establishment of a village community. In November 2001 The Village Community of Foteviken called "Byalaget" was founded. As a member of The SVEG you have the right to apply for membership in the village community. The village community congregates every month. At these meetings everybody participating are dressed in their Viking costumes of course.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
The love runs so deep, it can be banked on. In Sweden at Christmas in the big box electronic stores, there were video game X-Boxes piled high in the aisles for sale, just like in the USA. But on the packaging was none other than ABBA. While the US Christmas edition of the game player was released with "Kung-Fu Panda"- a game that combines the appeal of an animated blockbuster movie with street fighting, the Swedish x-Box was sold with ABBA Karaoke, so you can sing along with all your favorite ABBA hits. This pretty much sums up the difference in Swedish culture and American culture.
USA: animated street fight starring Angelina Jolie. Bomb Iraq.
Sweden: sing-a-long, and imagine you are the girl with golden hair. Remain politically neutral, accept refugees from all over the world.
My husband imparted this Swedish love of ABBA to our daughter, who was thrilled when one year ago, just before we moved to Sweden, we were able to see the ABBA cover band Waterloo on their American tour in the USA. She was even more delighted when last week, almost one year to the day after her first "Waterloo" show, we were given free tickets to go see them locally in an outdoor amphitheater. Bad weather did not stop the fun.
Here is the crowd doing the 'Swedish finger dance' to Mama Mia..See how they suddenly lose control, with the fire that is in their soul?
We sat enjoying the show with our friends from Australia and Ireland. It was fun to realize that all three of us, from different parts of the world, could still share in this common experience of growing up knowing ABBA songs. The Australian recounted how in her school, you were either an ABBA fan or a KISS fan, the camps were very clearly defined. That at six, she had gone to see ABBA, and now, at 6 her daughter was able to see this show, coming full circle. The girls had a blast, and at just age 4 and 6, both of the girls have the box set of ABBA songs in their homes, and know every word of every song. It was great to them mouth along to the words from their seats, and share their glee with one another when they recognised the first few bars of a favorite song. Soon the excitement over took them, and with out any adult help, they walked down the stands, made their way to the front row, and like true groupies, sang, danced, and waved at the band from the front row. Swedegirl got at least three special, right-at-her waves from the band during the performance. One was caught here on film!
You can dance, you can jive, having the time of your life! See that girl, watch that scene, digging the Dancing Queen:
And when Dancing Queen came on, all those poncho clad Swedes stood up, and started dancing, and I was sure that that 'seeing ABBA live' like this was truly a cultural experience, and that Dancing Queen must in fact be the Swedish National Anthem.
I recall declaring one day when standing in the impossibility long school lunch line that I was going to marry a man named ABBA. Since my maiden name starts with 'S' and I was forever at the end of the line. I reasoned with that as a last name I'd always be the first in line. Perhaps, in someway, I did marry a man named ABBA, when I married a Swede.