Random (but not really)

Friday, October 16, 2020

Black. Lives. Matter.

I had a flagpole on my deck, and generally hung my US flag on US holidays and the WV flag on WV day.

Late this spring, I ordered two more flags: and LGBT Pride flag (Philadelphia) and a Black Lives Matter flag.

Black Lives Matter

It took more than a month, but my flags finally arrived, so early summer I hung up my BLM flag and left it up 24/7. (The US flag (as per US Flag Code) would up after sun rise, down at sunset, and didn’t go out if it was raining.)

I live on a high-traffic street, which is why I got the BLM flag.

I am a white woman in West Virginia, the third whitest state in the US. Yeah, where I live is more diverse than the rest of the state because of the university, but it’s still pretty damned white in here.

Racism is something I have had the privilege and luxury of ignoring—because it just wasn’t something that I saw. I knew it existed, but I didn’t see that there was much I could DO about it in my day-to-day life.

Then the Black Lives Matter movement happened, and I finally realized that it wasn’t enough to not be a racist, it was my responsibility to become anti-racist. Unfortunately, there was a lot going on personally for me, and I failed to do anything. (I have struggled with mental health issues since I was a teenager, and when things are difficult, I can manage going to work but little beyond that.)

But this spring was so awful, I realized that the ABSOLUTE MINIMUM I could do was put up signs, because I have white privilege and it is my responsibility to speak out against racism since it is predominantly a white problem. Yes, other types of racism exist, but in the US whites—particularly white men—have power and privilege and have blithely used that privilege to further consolidate wealth and power. And if you think that isn’t real, I invite you to research white housing covenants.

So I got my flag, and I hung it up and fretted that I should do more, but failed (mostly because of mental health issues).

Late summer I got an email from Gwen. Her mom had spent her life in WV politics and had worked with Mike Caputo, and so remembering that I’d put up signs in previous years asked if a sign for him could be put up in my yard.

Of course!

So the sign went up and I thought nothing more about it.

A month or so ago, the news was all about white supremacists harassing a BLM march in Preston county, and making Danielle Walker specifically a target. I realized (I’m slow sometimes) that I could ask about getting one of her signs to put in my yard. And up it went.

Earlier this week, we looked out to realize that someone has stolen the Danielle Walker sign from our yard AND come up to the deck, torn down our flagpole and stolen the BLM flag.

But they left the Mike Caputo sign.

If you’re not familiar with WV politics, Mike Caputo is a white male. Danielle Walker is a Black woman.

If you think racism is a thing of the past or that white privilege doesn’t exist, then not only have you not been paying attention, you have been willfully ignoring what has been going on around you for your entire life.

Which is, itself, white privilege.

Black Lives Matter

Written by Michelle at 6:58 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Morgantown,Politics,West Virginia  

Friday, March 27, 2020

E-Moore Hall Sycamore

If you weren’t aware, the sycamore in front of EMoore hall is scheduled to be taken down, along with several other historical trees on campus.


On social media I’ve seen a lot of people up in arms about this, and although I am admittedly sad, these trees are unhealthy and unfortunately a danger.

In 2011 the silver maple in front of Stewart Hall fell unexpectedly, and it was very lucky that no one was injured, and no buildings were hit.

So I thought I’d point out something that I don’t think many people have noticed: the sycamore branches have support wires–and have for several years.

Here’s a one view of the tree–if you click through you can zoom in and see several other pictures I took from different angles.


And here are three different areas where you can see the bolts that the wires are strung between.

I noticed these wires years ago, which is why I was not at all surprised that the tree is coming down. Unfortunately, for all it’s age and history, the tree is becoming a danger not just to the building, but also to people who walk around this busy part of campus.

So as much as I don’t want to see the sycamore go, it’s better to take it down safely, than for one of these branches to fall.

And on a positive note, the wood from these trees is going to the Davis College to be used to make things, which is a lovely use.

And FWIW, here is the stump of one of the two trees that has already come down.


Again, if you click through you can zoom in and see the amount of rotted wood at the core.

So, hopefully this won’t many anyone feel better necessarily about the trees having to come down, but to understand why it is necessary.

Written by Michelle at 2:53 pm      Comments (2)  Permalink
Categories: Morgantown,West Virginia  

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Back-to-School, Back-to-Free Lunch

Two news bits, one after the other, struck me the other day. They were the following:

Staff Council to collect back-to-school supplies for children of WVU families

Third Annual Back-to-School Supply Drive sponsored for local families

It’s laudable and awesome that the WV and WVU communities support WV and WVU families in need.


I find it upsetting that so many local families and WVU EMPLOYEES are unable to afford the basic necessities for their children to get a proper education.

WVU is the state’s flagship university but doesn’t pay some employees enough for them to buy pencils and papers and notebooks for their children for school.

How can anyone read that and not be mortified? How can we live in a day and age where people need go-fund-me pages to pay for medical bills so they don’t go bankrupt?

How can people think that education, health care, and a living wage are privileges and not basic human rights?

How such people can live with themselves–especially people who claim to be Christian–is beyond me.

Written by Michelle at 9:05 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Morgantown,Politics,West Virginia  

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Sunday Flower Pr0n!

Some flowers are from my house, some from the WV botanic garden, and one from the WVU arboretum.






Broom (I love broom, and am glad this one has struggled and survived)









Written by Michelle at 4:43 pm      Comments (2)  Permalink
Categories: Flowers,House & Garden,Morgantown,Photos  

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Things That Are Wrong

Let me be clear–most areas of WV in which I travel are pretty litter free. Student areas in Morgantown? Not so much. But I don’t see a ton of litter when I’m out and about. So there is a good possibility that a good deal of the trash is from flooding rather than littering.

And there is a LOT of organic matter there as well, which is of course no ones fault.

But there is still a lot of trash in there–non-biodegradable trash–and that is a problem.



Written by Michelle at 8:30 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Morgantown,Photos,West Virginia  

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Sunday Flower Pr0n: Wild Flowers!

The arboretum is FULL of wild flowers right now!




Dutchman’s Breeches, Dicentra cucullaria


Spring Beauties, Claytonia virginica


Virginia bluebells, Mertensia virginica


Trout Lily, Erythronium americanum

Written by Michelle at 6:23 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Flowers,Morgantown,Photos,West Virginia  

Hiking WV: Snake Hill WMA

As much as I love the Morgantown Farmers Market, I *hate* their winter market hours. 11 AM on a Saturday means we can EITHER go to the market OR go somewhere and go hiking.

Despite the beautiful weather, we went to the Farmers Market, so we needed a close place to hike on Saturday, so we ended up at Snake Hill WMA (Wildlife Management Area). There are multiple logging / gas / access roads and multiple trails off them. The trails are unmarked and not blazed, but they had enough use to be pretty obvious.

The trail we set out to hike–the Canyon Rim trail–has four overlooks: Table Rock, Lake View, Middle View, and River View. For trails and overlooks that are not maintained, three of the four had excellent views. We also only came across one other group of hikers, which for a beautiful Saturday afternoon, was nice. (At Coopers Rock on nice days there are a constant stream of people; it’s nice people are visiting the forest, but not nice for relative solitude.)

Location: Snake Hill WMA
Trails: Canyon Rim, Cheat View, Little Hoop, Big Dipper, Northside Trails
Distance: 3.8 miles
Elevation: 1715-2342 feet (698 feet elevation rise)

Facing west towards Cheat Lake (Lake View overlook)


Facing east towards Cheat River, Raven Rock is on the left (River View overlook)


Coopers Rock Overlook. I swear I’ve never noticed that giant rock down and to the right.


In Snake Hill WMA there is a small cemetery, with three gravestones, and one rock that might be a marker. All three males (ages 4, 17, 19) died in 1860, two in July and one in October.


Written by Michelle at 3:43 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,Morgantown,Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  
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