Saturday, August 31, 2002

Veggies make sense again

I have tried unsuccesfully to provide a link to Farm Sanctuary and the edit and help features were of no help. The santuary can be reached at www.farmsanctuary.org. If anyone can offer some advice on creating links I would appreciate it. Thanks.

Veggies make sense!

If you are looking for an informative vacation stop I would suggest Farm Sanctuary . There are two locations, one in Watkins Glen, NY the other in Orland, CA. I visited the Watkins Glen location. Farm Sanctuary is a national nonprofit organization working to end the exploitation of animals raised for food. But, they also have many resources for a better understanding of the typical "American" diet. If you can't visit, you can order their literature. I would suggest "The Truth About" series, which includes individual pamphlets on the truth about veal, pork, beef, poultry, eggs and dairy. The Sanctuary offers a bed and breakfast which allows you the opportunity to view interesting videos in the sanctuary library. One that was especially good is "Diet For a New America", hosted by John Robbins (also available as a book). The video is available through Amazon or Farm Sanctuary and the book is available through any bookseller. Robbins hails from the Baskin-Robbins ice cream family. He was ill and began investigating nutrition and food production, turning away from the family owned business to pursue a more healthy lifestyle. The results of his research are very enlightening. Many of you may already know about the book since it has been in print for quite some time, but the message is still very relevant, since not much has changed in terms of the marketing of the American diet.

I have experienced some wonderful results by adopting a semi-vegetarian diet (I eat small amounts of seafood but no red meat, poultry or dairy.) As a person who has been plagued by digestive problems for most of my life, I can attest that eating a plant based diet really does solve a whole host of problems. No more Metamucil, my acid reflux is under control, etc. etc. I asked myself this question: "If you are what you eat, then which would you prefer to look like -- colorful, vibrant fruits and vegetables or a hunk of dead meat?" It seemed like a no brainer to me.

Also, many of the symptoms experienced by menopausal women, heat flashes in particular, really can be dramatically reduced or, as in my case can disappear by eating soy products. If Asian woman don't have a word for heat flash, well then that's enough for me to take a look at what they are doing "right". Since menopause is just a natural phase that women go through and not an illness (as it is often looked at by practitioners in the US), then maybe our bodies are just rebelling and telling us that we are in fact doing something wrong and we need to wake up. Red meat, refined sugar, white flour -- all of these products have an effect on women during menopause. So, if that is the case, then why wouldn't they also have an effect on everyone thoughout their lifetime? I think the body is just saying, wake up; eat right; you are getting older and the body just isn't designed to tolerate this stuff -- and when my body speaks, I try to listen.

Exercise is another topic, but if you have ever have the opportunity to see seniors who participate in masters competition, in running in particular, you cannot walk away without knowing that exercise does make a difference, a dramatic difference! I know that I was never meant to be sitting still in a chair! I believe, that many times we buy into the ideas and images we are fed on a steady basis. Although our culture promotes the young, skinny body, through media, fashion, and entertainment, the same media promotes the idea that Americans are overweight, and will be overweight. If you believe it, then it will be so -- well that's my motto. I am 5'2 and very fortunate to be petite, but I work at staying fit. It is a lifestyle choice. The whole dieting thing, well it's just another way to sell more stuff, in my opinion. This is a capitalist economy, and the economy does better if Americans eat dairy, meat, chicken and turkey and gain weight because it promotes big money industries.

I believe, the only way to find answers for your personal health and fitness is to read, investigate, and experience. And contrary to popular belief, vegetarianism is not difficult and you can easily get all the nutrients you need and many other added benefits (and it's cheaper too). Beans, tofu and beautiful vegetables and fruits make a luscious, interesting and exciting diet. But, you must believe it is possible before it can be so!

Friday, August 30, 2002

Writergrrl power

Spread the word about this book: "That Takes Ovaries!"

It's an anthology of stories by daring women young and old. According to the book's editor, Rivka Solomon, when you speak the book's title,"You're saying power and fearlessness is no longer in the realm of men."

The book contains 64 stories ranging from whimsical tales to stories of political activism and physical or emotional bravery. A stunning 80 percent of the initial submissions were about standing up to male violence, Solomon said, and she included many of those stories.

Boys' club

The Augusta National Golf Club is going to televise its Masters tournament commercial-free because it would rather not get any money from advertisers than allow a women's group to bend corporate sponsors' ears.

In a three-page reply, Johnson said that while the club had no policy prohibiting women from joining, its membership alone -- "not any outside group with its own agenda" -- would make decisions about its future.

Johnson's full name is Hootie Johnson. He's the club chairman. "Hootie." Just had to point that out.

(Full disclosure: Jen is, um, pretty tight with the reporter on this story.)

Another Child Safety Post

I know I should be adding this to the comments sections of the other posts about Child Safety, but I just can't stand writting in those little boxes sometimes. I have 4 children from 20 years old to 2 years old. I myself was raised very strict and protective. My parents never let me leave the yard (and yes it was the 70's) and never let me ride my bike or go to anyones house without knowing the parents (and even then it was a very rare ocassion). So when my children were born I had the reverse attitude that my parents had. I let them go play and make friends but, ( I didn't let them run wild or anything like that) I did put a few restrictions on where and who they could play with.
My husband on the other hand was allowed to go and come as he pleased. So he had the opposite attitude about our children. He did not want them going anywhere at all. It was a while before we both found those common ground rules we could agree on. I think everybody has issues with the way they grew up. You ever hardly hear anyone say I grew up in a perfect house with perfect parents (If there is anybody like that PLEASE let me know).
Recently we have had to deal with problems with our 8 year old. He would go out to play and a little while later we could not find him. We knew he was at a particular friends house, but hence the fact he did not tell us where he was going, became an issue. Of course punishment was involved, being restricted from playing outside for a week. But now he has recently been asking us questions about the children he is hearing about in the news. We tried using his questions as a lesson tool, saying "That is why we need to know where you are and where you are going to be playing. So no harm comes to you". Now we didn't try to scare him into thinking that people would just walk up and take him (even though we KNOW that happens). But we really didn't know how to deal with all his questions either. My 2 older children never asked us about kidnapping or any of those issues. I think now that the media is drawing so much attention to it all, which could be good or bad (which is another issue all together) that the children of today are scared that they may be stolen or hurt. How do you dicuss these issues with a young child???
I remember being taught never to answer the door to strangers or answer the phone that your home alone, etc. But now what do you tell your children to do if in the middle of the night somebody breaks into your house and tries to steal you out of bed..what do you do??? How do we teach the children of today about safety????

Thursday, August 29, 2002

New Sister, New Blogger

I hope that I am following proper protocol in posting an intro in this section. I first wrote one in "Drafts" but I'm not sure of the purpose of the Drafts tab, so I will take a deep breath and post here and if this is not appropriate I am sure someone will alert me. My name is Sharon Harvey and I am (why does the age always come next) 52, it seems unimportant the older I get and would be better off forgotten, particularly in our youth crazed culture. Don't get me wrong, I try my best to stay fit, and to look the best that I can, but as times passes what I have to work with requires a great deal of creativity. It's not what is most fashionable, but what will minimize the worst and maximize the best that I search for. But, it doesn't really matter, because it's what's inside that really counts. (Didn't believe that at 20, but it makes perfect sense to me now!)

In addition to my skills in being a master of age disguise, I am a mother of four grown children, wife, professional auctioneer, and small business owner. I love physical activity -- mountain and trail biking, running, lifting, and cross country skiing. I plan to try out my new roller blades as soon as the rain breaks and might try snow boarding this winter (provided that my year old whip lash injury won't prohibit me.) I am just getting back to my former self physically and am slowly adding activities. My hope is that next summer I will stop talking about parachuting and "Just Do It" already. I am a semi-vegitarian (cheat a little with seafood). I enjoy writing and drama, two things I have put on the shelf for several years and am just now bringing them out and dusting them off to reawaken my creative side. I feel so lost without them. I am a Unitarian Universalist which means I take a very eclectic approach to spirituality. I don't like labels or having people tell me what I should or shouldn't believe. I subscribe to the four principles of Miguel Ruiz in the book "The Four Agreements" -- 1 - Be Impeccable with your Speech; 2 - Don't Make Assumptions; 3 - Don't Take Things Personally; and 4 - Do Your Best (not necessarily in that order and I am paraphrasing.) I find that most religious or spiritual laws or ideas relate to one of these basic principles in most instances.

The issue of SAFETY for young children today is a real concern, but I must wonder if many incidents such as those in the spotlight today were simply not reported in the past, rather than there being a sharp increase in these crimes. Either way, I understand and felt the pangs of uneasiness this past weekend when I accompanied my 7 year old grandson to Burger King. When he asked to use the restroom I was startled and wondered how I should handle it. I was afraid to send the kid to the bathroom. But I didn't let him see my uneasiness and quickly dismissed the idea of making him go into the ladies room with me.

My husband and I took a trip recently and travelled through some beautiful neighborhoods in Western PA and New York. We both remarked that we hadn't seen one child outdoors playing. Perhaps the fear of abduction or harm is resonsible for much of the "indoor" activity of children these days as well as computers and T.V. I did play outside all the time when I was a kid, but that was a different era for sure. There are also many organized activities for children today that did not exist when I was young.

I suppose that is quite enough of an introduction and first commentary. I look forward to many more readings and writings.

Wednesday, August 28, 2002

A Question of Safety

In regard to Elaine's comment in Dru's protest blog about children being safer even 15 or 20 years ago, do you folks think that alert systems such as the Amber Alert and the media coverage of certain missing children cases make parents more paranoid and fearful for our children?

In our family's case, it certainly has gotten to my husband. We have a chain link fence around the perimeter of our property and normally I allow our 3 year old to go out and play after I've gone out and used the clasp of an old dog leash to lock off the gate. He's not allowed in the back of the property unless I'm with him, but he can play in the front yard where he's in full view through the front door and bay window. I did this the other day and hubby nearly went through the roof. Granted there had just been 2 kidnappings in our area (So. Calif.) in recent days, but the boy needed some fresh air and sunshine and to be out of my hair while I got some housework done.

Hubby grew up here in a far more dangerous area than the one we live in now. He talks about how he rode his bike everywhere he wanted to go from the time he was about 10, and that his mom would leave him alone in their apartment from the age of about 6. He says he was one of the original latchkey kids. Just this year though, did he give permission to our soon to be 14 year old to ride the mile to the local high school so he could take swim lessons.

I grew up in the middle of nowhere, where our nearest neighbor was over 3 miles away. I played outside and wandered all over our property, rarely seeing another human being outside our family unit. My parents didn't allow me to play near the road, as they said, "just anybody could come along and pick you up and we'd not know about it for hours!" Sensible warning for a 7 year old, but that was the most danger I ever knew of as a child. I know I always thought my parents were being way overprotective of me, but now I'm not so sure.

Are we doing our children a disservice by being more overprotective than our parents were?

Tuesday, August 27, 2002

In the flesh

Joan Ryan of the S.F. Chron writes a column about the recent hullabaloo surrounding Jamie Lee Curtis's choice to expose her real self to the world. An excerpt:


Curtis's true-life photograph has created the loudest press buzz since
the magazine began publishing four years ago. The story has been picked up
everywhere from Liz Smith's gossip column and the "Today" show to MSNBC's "Nachman," CNN Headline News, the London Daily Telegraph and USA Today.

Why?

Because in 2002, more than three decades into the women's movement, it is still a radical act for a woman to accept her body as it is.


Yes, Jamie Lee is promoting a book, but it sounds like her motives are sincere. I've passed this article around to a few girlfriends, and already, they're inspired.

My peaceful protest

I posted this to the Mayor of Portland, OR, today as my way of "peaceful" protest. Thought you might find it interesting. Feel free to copy if you want. Such abuse should not be allowed to go unchallanged.

Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women

The illustrious Michael Moore's upstart "Office of Homeland Security" has a good alert on the CEDAW treaty. Go Michael Moore!

I knew there was a reason I liked that guy. Not to mention he has a solid track record for fighting corporate crime.

Kids and Protests...


We brought our children to a peaceful protest, we stayed in the back and we were walking on the sidewalk. The march stopped at the intersection of 2nd and Alder we could not see why from our position on the SW corner of the intersection. Police quickly moved up behind us and a moment or two later sprayed pepper spray into the crowd from the NE corner of the intersection. the crowd ran toward us to escape the spray. We asked the oficer closest to us how we should exit the intersection. He pointed and said to exit to the NE, into the spraying police opposite him. as the crowd pressed toward us I yelled to him to let us through (south on 2nd) because we had three small children. He looked at me, and drew out his can from his hip and sprayed directly at me. I was at an angle to him and the spray hit my right eye and our three year-old who I was holding in my right arm. In the same motion he turned the can on my wife who was holding our 10 month old baby and doused both of their heads entirely from a distance of less than 3 feet. my six year old daughter was holding my left hand and was not hit directly. We ended up on the sidewalk a few feet down alder with fellow protesters holding my screaming children and and pouring water on our eyes. Someone yelled that the police had said that we could pass through the cordon on alder with the children. I picked up the baby and other protesters brought my wife and other children to the police line. We attempted to pass through but they leaned in shoulders to block us. I yelled at them to let us pass for about two minutes and finally some officer up the line nodded me and the baby through. they were not going to let my wife and other children out but after a few minutes of pleading from the crowd and another signal from up the line they let them out. As we passed the officers were laughing and said something to the effect of "thats why you shouldn't bring kids to protests".

...On the way to the E.R. my three year old said that those guys back there were trying to get us and said we should call the police.



I'm really conflicted about the idea of bringing kids to protests. I strongly believe that each parent knows their children best, and I do not want to judge other parents for the choices that they have made (and I really hope any comments on this post are self-reflective rather than judging) but I've been trying to figure out whether or not I would want to bring my children to a protest.

On the one hand, wow, what an awesome way to teach children the power of people standing up for what they believe in. On the other hand...I believe in consent, and I'm not sure at what age a child is cognizant enough of these things to give consent. I imagine it's different for different children, which is probably why I hesitate to judge parents who know their children better than I do. On ANOTHER hand, a peaceful protest SHOULD be a place where children are safe, and perhaps it is intentional that parents feel intimidated bringing children to protests (what a huge segment of the population to keep under control this way!)

Right now, I know that my husband feels very strongly that our children do NOT belong at protests, and I honor that because I don't feel strongly enough to the contrary. I'm curious what the blogsisters think about this.

Let me just reiterate that I'm interested in your feelings for your own family, and I really hope whatever discussion ensues does not revolve around second guessing the choices of other parents.

Monday, August 26, 2002

Today is Women's Equality Day.

In the U.S. it was a seventy-two year struggle from a tea party to the ratification of the right to vote. There are other pages about this on the web but I liked this one because of the songs.

And.

The World Summit on Sustainable Development is happening in Johannesburg. Gender Equality will be a topic of discussion.

Freedom to Speak

I'm sorry, no offence intended, but I had to chime in on this one. I laughed gently to myself through most of the blog because I was thinking of how women perceive themselves, what has the deepest impact on their lives, and how hard it is to equate 'women' things to 'important' things. Also, how difficult it is to equate the need to discuss and get feed back on women things with the idea of intelligence. 'Bitch session,' 'prattle,' some term my mother used to use and I can't quite call it to mind but it had something to do with hens, all names for what women do when they get together, offer each other support and confirmation of womanhood. There are so many things that I can not talk about at work where I am a token female in a world of men, but with one other woman, even a stranger, I can easily comment that I'm on my rag today, my heavy day that makes sitting and standing a wet, squishy torture and she knows just what I mean and we can laugh about it. I can talk about 'important' stuff all day long, but here with other woment I can talk about real stuff and I think it is all important.

Someone once told me that anyone is smart when standing in their own field and ignorant when standing in someone else's. Intelligence (I always need the spell chuck) is relative to the situation. I can speak of politics, social interactions, religion, business trends with pretty sure footed reliance on my grounding in these subjects, but don't get me talking about anything technical about the computer world. I feel pretty confident driving the car, but underneath the hood is not my area of expertice.

My feeling is that this place, this kind of blog, is an area where we can share our intelligence, no matter what the field and not be ashamed of our ignorance. In my years of life, I believe that this is one of the most wonderful strengths of women, the ability to collectively support each other. Yes, there are back stabbers, game players, and bad attitude displayers, but this crosses all gender, background, etc. lines. So I would say yes, this is a place for a woman with an ISP and personal opinion (ours have been ignored or quashed for too long) and that we should leave the welcome mat out to come and go as an individual sees fit. Let's not be too exclusive, one never knows who has a really good idea and just needs a place to make it know.

Saturday, August 24, 2002

What's in a word?
Babe
I believe if we are going to monitor other's words for sexism, we should monitor(aka:censor) them for grammatical and linguistic purity. Why do some people opt to use profanity, when a little creativity would get the message across just as easily? Why do some choose to use what can be called either colloquilism or "street language" instead of what others might call proper language? Once we start censoring each other we start an avalanche. When I was a child, I was often told, "What's good for the goose is good for the gander," which meant that we should treat each other fairly and equally. I believe that if any woman is or was offended by Doc or any other man's use of the term "Babe" she should go directly to the source and tell him. As Tom Hanks often repeated in his movie, "Forrest Gump", that's all I got to say about that.

Weddings, Marriage Ceremonies, and Breast Feeding
These are all personal decisions. And each decision is made for a variety of personal reasons. Feminism and Feminist and being Feminine are likewise personal decisions. So is blogging. I often feel defeated when I open Blog Sisters, and read everyone's personal opinions of each other's personal choices. I thought this was a forum for intelligent women, but I find myself thinking, instead that it is simply a new version of a "bitch session", with a welcome mat out for any woman with an ISP. I may change my mind in time, but I doubt I'll be back.

A Summer Place

I've for a very long time had a dream of finding an affordable rental house somewhere on the beach or near a lake, populated with women friends and our children. A summer place...

Even now, while typing, I'm almost transported to the narrow walks of an ocean beach and the sound of our children and their hearty giggles; the image of kids playing with one another - varied ages, hands swiftly moving through the air, their lips and laughing tongues stained with bluejazzberry ice. There's something almost prayerful about their running, playing tag or being buried in sand. I don't know...maybe it's just that in their noise and the occasional bump and short-lived tear, I'm more aware of my breathing and thus, more aware of life. The only thing I'm certain of, is that it has something to do with being away...and being together, we and our children. These are such strong images.

I get all calmed just thinking about we women sharing our merlot out in the freshness of a breeze or an iced tea in the heaviest of humidity, laughing our heads off, listening to music, playing a hand of cards or helping one another set tables and make beds. It's the simple things and the enjoyment of being among those who know.

By the way, I also envision the best of men visiting and our enjoying our company. Here's where I can't help but laugh over my keyboard, because men are terrific and delicious, they're great lovers and friends - but there's something awfully appealing about them picking up their things and just...going home.

I think it's time to begin organizing a summer place for next year.

moving to a post

I put these comments in response to the discussion around Shelley's post below. I thought, afterward, I should post them as a post. And add to what I said. So I did:

Ah. If the world were a place where we all lived up to our own high standards, and the standards of others, all the time. Sometimes we paint a portrait of individuals (and their words) as one way or another, as x or y, as sexist or not sexist, because that bolosters OUR OWN self esteem. In pegging them--we can control them. Unfortunately, it ain't that simple. In my humble opinion.

One thing I've learned in some recent soul searching and countless hours of counseling is that our words and actions aren't always aligned. I would bring this into the blogging realm by saying our posts aren't always aligned with our hearts. That's why blogging is an art and craft and also why it's therapeutic. We are spinning our own stories outward, and then back inward--the good, bad, ugly.

The journey is important. And unless someone's berating you, stalking you, attacking you, being downright mean to you, I suggest you let them take their own journey without trying to shut them down or make them self-conscious. It's counter to the spirit of what we're trying to do here, with blogging. Be concerned with your own journey.

P.S. This "isn't blogsisters sexist" suggestion pisses me off. Men CAN join in the discussion here. Anyone can comment. Can discuss. Posting priviliges are for women, which gives us a platform--much like a woman's magazine--to share our ideas and opionions with anyone who wants to read them.

The tagline is cute. That's all. I'm in the PR biz. I spin taglines all day. It's a funny, good tagline and I'm still proud of it.

Actually, damn proud of it.

Friday, August 23, 2002

Escaping Poverty
There are never easy answers to poverty. I find myself in a just over broke situation. The energy and effort it takes to do more, to do that which I need to do to escape poverty wears me down. Resumes become a major task. Yes there is institutionalized oppressive against feminine participation in the riches of our patriarchal society. No, we don't have to take it lying down. Pun intended.

I suggest a cure for welfare limitations may be for women and children to live cooperatively and focus their advancement and education on specific goals. Margaret Wheatley wrote a book called A Simpler Way. Reading that book and being in touch with the people at Berkana Institute lead me to another book The New Pioneers. I got one in a library and the other used and cheap. Reading Cat Sullivan's "Going To A Demonstration" I felt gut wrenching fear about how I am only a small step above that even after going in debt $30,000 to get college/university degrees. Between sending out resumes and paying the debt, I am most likely economically even with a lower paid job. So I don't see the value in the degree yet. What works for me is living where I am living and with whom I am living. Three of us poor women share a house. We are not yet to the collective mindset of balancing higher paid with lower paid in terms of social economics here. But still sharing is making it easier.

So I began to have the idea of solving the welfare problem ourselves, by cooperative living. An abused woman living alone can be a target for the abuser, but living with others offers greater protection. Everyone has to have shelter, why not gather women and rent the whole tenement? I am seeing the past some. I am seeing the seventies and communes. Sure, most of them didn't work, and I think mostly because sexism and authoritarianism was ruling. What better place to have day care than in your own home? Our idea of an autonomy of family is destroying our world. Do we really need a refridgerator for each person? I know my children had no problem with the community idea when they were growing up. What I called the "roving hoard" would roam from kitchen to kitchen cleaning out the refridgerators. And they didn't do the dishes after either. The only thing more detrimental to a food budget is husbands and football viewing buddies.

Welfare destruction is not about solving the problem. It is about power politics. Somebody out there convinced more legislators that the way to get you and me into the meritocracy of mediocracy was to create incentive by taking away support. I know when I was feeding my children on welfare and Wisconsin aide to children, there was no other choice, no matter how I looked and searched, my old car kept me prisoner to a certain radius. The leaking gas tank ate away the surplus needed to fix the gas tank. Escape came eventually, but death would have come to one or more of us without the support. I learned gratitude. I can only speculate that had I not had the assistance at the time, I would have learned criminal ways. I believe I would have robbed what I needed.

And I was carrying bath and drinking water in 25 degree below zero weather from a spring half a mile up the valley.

For a few years now I have been studying stuff called "Science of Mind." I can see that my limitations come from within. I can see that the Universe is an abundant and limitless place. I can also see the Iron Grip those who I now call "The Boys From Enron" have on the trickle down of money. What's more they have created messages to reinforce the limitations in our minds. We have power. We need to take it back. Two nights ago I watched a program on the Discovery channel (living in a group home makes cable eaiser to pay for). The content was about a common Eve. We are all sisters, rich and poor, black and white, red and yellow, all brown to the core. If you have wealth and privilege and are ignoring your sisters who lack that, you are part of the problem. If you are poor and continually wake up with determination to make it today, grab the hand of another sister and let's find a way to make it better for the collective. To hell with Marx, he was a man. Study the Longhouse of the Iroquois. Glean the fields, pick the rubble piles, sell it on EBay to the rich. Can you imagine if the women of Afganistan were the ones with the guns? There wouldn't be any stonings then, I'll bet.

Hey, I'm getting angry and it feels good. I have to go to work.

Robin Marie Ward

Sexist? Or Not?

Question:

Doc Searls, whom many of us know and respect, wrote the following yesterday:


    Oh: when you get tired of all the male kinda shit that seems to comprise 5/4 of the blog world (techblog or warblog... now there's a sexy selection), wander on over to the smartest babeblogs on the Web.


I wrote a posting about it, and said that I thought it was sexist:


    I know that Doc couldn't possibly mean to come across so absolutely, completely, and without any excuse sexist. I had to check the calendar to see if, somehow, all of weblogging was magically transported back in time to the 50's when I read this post.


Well, I've not had complete agreement with my assessment. So, what's all of your opinion? Was Doc's statement sexist? I'm not saying Doc is, but did this statement come across as sexist?

And while we're at it, what do you all think of the terms BlogBabe, BabeBlog, or such oldies as "...you girls". Do they come across as cute and cuddly, friendly, and warm? Or do they piss you off? How about something like the The Rackbrowser--because women participate in this, are we sending mixed signals to guys? Lay off unless we initiate the action?

Thanks for any and all responses. And I'm not picking on Doc (or Hoopty) with this one, just trying to decide if my interpretation of 'sexist' varies, considerably, from others.

To All Mothers

Hi, my name is Donna and I am new to your group. I have been reading your posts for awhile though. I was especially interested in the posts about children and breastfeeding. I am a mother of 4. My oldest is 20 years old and my youngest just turned 2 years old. I know...A big age stretch. Back when I had my first child breastfeeding wasn't acceptable. If I was around ANY family members at all when my daughter got hungry they would flee the room...including my OWN husband. My own mother kept telling me what I was doing was wrong and that it would ruin my body. Well I kept up with my OWN beliefs and breastfeed my daughter for a month. Unfortunately she developed a milk allergy and we were forced to put her on Soybean formula. My next child was born the very next year. I breastfeed him till he was weaned. He never knew what a bottle was. Neither did my next child who was born 10 years later. My son now who is 2 is still on a bottle. I tried breastfeeding him but after a couple of months he developed reflux disease. Now I could have continued with breast milk, but I found out that the formula settled better on his stomach and he started becoming a happier baby (not to mention I was a happier mommy). When I started my current child on a bottle, I heard just the opposite from other people: your baby is going to be sick, it's much better if you breastfeed, etc. The lesson I have learned in 20 years is..Do what is best for YOU and your BABY!!!!!!! I think it is up to the indivual to do what you think is best for your child and yourself. I know there is a lot of new mothers out there who want to do what is best for their child. I say, do what is comfortable for you and your baby. I feed my children both ways and all of them have thrived on my decision. I know it is hard to deal with those people who are going to question your every move also. Just stick with your decisions.
Thanks again for the invitation!!! I think this is a wonderful site for women!!!

Thursday, August 22, 2002

labium, grammar and rock journalism

Several cheers to Australian music site undercover for branch consistently providing Quality music news on an unfashionable black background. All very worthy and scrupulously researched, I'm sure.
HOWEVER the Michelle Branch i/v scores minus points for stinky oldfashioned sexism. Apparently "[Michelle Branch] slots alongside credible acts like Melissa Etheridge and Sheryl Crow instead of the Britney's and Christina's." (sic that ain't my punctuation!)
I will try to erase the fact that we're arguing about a mediocre talent like MB, and ask why it couldn't have read la vagina"[Michelle Branch] slots alongside credible acts like Bruce Cockburn and Rufus Wainwright instead of the Justins and Joeys."Oh, silly me. She has a VAGINA. Of course. VAGINA. And she's a SENSIBLE LADY. Who covers herself up - unlike those teen strumpet WITCHES who TORTURE unsteady male journalists with glimpses of cleavage to the point that they find themselves unable to use an apostrophe properly.
Heavens, sisters and comrades. Have we not yet propelled ourselves OUT of the primordial ooze wherein women may only be reasonably compared to other women? Handicapped by our GAPING VAGINAS, apparently, we must be relegated to only paternalistic criticism and BAD PUNCTUATION.

Wednesday, August 21, 2002

Weddings?

Only intended to chime in for a moment to say I'd be out of touch for a few days. I am in a quilting fugue and eveything else just falls to the wayside. But when I saw the posts on weddings I had to add my uncalled for 2 cents. I simple don't understand in this day and age the need for more than a contract between two concenting adults to form a partnership of mutual exclusion. This bruhaha with all the old traditional symbolism of a woman being sold from one owner to another is anathema to me, horrifying in what it represents from a patriorical past. The trappings are so ridiculously overblown just to celebrate the date of a woman being ALLOWED to have sex legally. Now, because you have gone through all of this ritualized transfer of property, society condones the limited sexual activity of this woman. It's ok, dear, now you can legally have sex and legitimately have children. I find the whole faldara repulsive.

I believe there should be standard partnership contracts for standard lenghts of time renewable by mutual agreement. Contracts could be upgraded for children, elderly parents, extended families, etc. Divorce would become almost obsolete.

I can understand a celebration to honor the signing of a partner contract, wishing the couple well and all, but none of the horrifying chauvinism of, "let me be the first to introduce Mr and Mrs His Bloody Name.

There I've vented, aired my gripe. The man I married (yes it was a quick cermony at a JP with no rings or trappings of any kind) read over my shoulder and said I ought to tell you that he agreed with me from the beginning and that he is a nice guy. He wants to make sure you know that he is a nice guy ;-).

Going To A Demonstration

Well, my new friends, I am going to a demonstration tomorrow. I am sorry this might be a "downer" but the good news is I am getting a whole lot of therapy out of standing up and publicly saying the truth as I see it. As I said in my first posting, I had decided I would become more active and try to have a voice in what I believe. So, tomorrow marks the second time I will do this and I am a little scared. See, I belong to a group called WROC (Welfare Rights Organizing Coalition) and the issues they fight are sometimes not the most popular as they involve the single mother and as you may know, single mothers are often a political football. Which is why the Welfare Reform bill was enacted 6 years ago and become the one-way ticket to poverty for women who have no support base. At 50, becoming an outspoken activist, was just NOT in my job description as a woman from what I understood. It is not very lady-like, it means being VERY assertive and it means knowing your stuff enough to carry on a debate. I am not sure I have any of these qualities, except that I can no longer be silent about what is happening to my sisters. It is not pretty.

I work with some interesting women and hearing tier stories up close and personal is an insight. One woman who is on my mind a lot, is from Russia and was a successful lawyer there for the government there. She immigrated here with her husband and daughter in hopes of taking up a practice after passing the American Bar. Well, there were more barriers than what she could ever have imagined. Since the rules on welfare have changed to prevent legal immigrants from getting any benefits, she and her husband struggled, working two McJobs (if they could get them) and trying to balance their lives through this. Even so, rent alone took half their salaries, and since they could not even obtain food stamps, they literally had to work for food. In spite of the hard work, the bills piled up and, after a 15 year marriage, the strain proved to be too much. They separated and then divorced, leaving her with no family here, and a little girl to raise alone. Not speaking the language very well, she says what she needs more than anything else, is to learn English enough to pass the Bar. But she is not eligible for any school assistance and she is working two jobs - when in the heck could she do this even if she could go to English school? She is right now working at a daycare and also at a convenience store. What a waste and what an opportunity this country is passing up to have a knowledgeable, honest woman who knows her stuff, and to add to it, not only is she quite intelligent, she is startlingly beautiful. She cannot even raise enough money to go back home.

One of the biggest myth about the so-called "success" of welfare "reform (we call it, 'welfare DEformed' ) is why so many women left the rolls. Over 75% of those women were in school. But they were told that they had to quit school and get a McJob, or they and their children would be sanctioned - meaning cut off from any help. This is not a very politically hot issue for Americans at this time, though the patriarchal way the government treats women is SO obvious, yet hidden. Traditionally women have used welfare to pick up pieces, go to school and move on. Before welfare 'reform", the average time a woman was on the rolls before finding employment was two years, but who knows this stuff and who cares? I wish I knew because no one wants to listen in the government or on the news much except to use some of these women for poster child status so they can tout how well it "works". Even Hillary Clinton, the most powerful woman perhaps in politics is supporting even more sanctions against poor women. I was compelled to write an open letter to her because she and her friend Joe Lieberman were going around the country and making speeches about how wonderful this new system is and how well it is working. I asked her, "Sooo, you mean condemning families to permanent poverty and making it hopeless to escape dead end jobs or get an education is being successful?" No answer of course.....

Another woman I know is a survivor of domestic abuse. This woman, with five children who were also beaten, was isolated from her family and friends for over 17 years and suffered almost daily beatings. Then one day he beat he so badly, she almost died and spent almost a year in the hospital. Her husband was tried for attempted murder and went to prison, but she was left bereft without any way to provide for herself and her children. Welfare's answer, after she left the hospital, was to immediately tell her she was to get a McJob and, of course the mantra that if she did not cooperate, she and her children would also be sanctioned. They would not allow her to go to school (she dreams of becoming educated and fighting for other women in her situation) and they do not think that having five damaged children, reeling from the legal and emotional implications of her situation, or even having a two year old is "work". No, nope, the only worthwhile work she and any other woman does or has ever done is PAID work - meaning as Barbara Ehrenreich puts it, that a $7.00 an hour job is more important than a child.

The president and his party's new tactic that will supposedly fix everything is to put 1/3 of a billion into marrying low-income women off. This is supposed to be the whole solution to the problem. I had to laugh at a low income woman from Arkansas who told a member of the Heritage Foundation and one of the authors of Welfare Reform as she was struggling to put coats and hats on her two little ones when she asked, "Why do you think a man is going to get me out of this, when it is a man who out me into it?????" Good question..... To give Hillary credit, she does not support this - but she does support putting women to work for 40 hours of year around work (only about 60% of American women work full time) AND cutting the childcare budget, and cracking down on the 5 year limit in place with little or no regard for the myriad of roadblocks such as mental illness, childcare problems, etc. She thinks that creating workfare projects are great - where in her own city of NY these folks who make about $1.00 an hour, not only work for peanuts but are edging out city workers paid much more and getting the fallout for being "scabs" is "successful.

Is this a losing battle? I know it will not be an easy one. But I also know I am right when I question my government's participation in a war declared by the wealthiest people who have few qualms about collecting whatever tax deductions, evasions, accounting tricks and off shore benefits they can get while pointing fingers at the very poorest of our citizens. They may pretend they are not collecting welfare while pointing the fingers at the women I mention above, but it is time to call them for what they are - welfare queens and also to tell them I, for one will not take it anymore. I have worked McJobs for 35 years and paid into a corrupt system and I am not going to do it any longer! . It is time to tell them that, sorry, 2$ of the budget for social welfare comes nowhere near the welfare being handed out to people who could need it less while right before their eyes, their own people are suffering because of it.

My two cents worth - which is all I have....
Cat Sullivan
Seattle

Bumpersticker of the Day

Saw this while walking to work this morning:
A WELL-BEHAVED WOMAN
RARELY MAKES HISTORY

Had to giggle as I read it. Of course, I think this is literally true for men as well, but maybe not in the same spirit or meaning. ;-)
Clarification
I want to clarify something I said a few days ago. I had posted a blog that some thought sounded as if I was complaining about my upcoming wedding. Nothing could be further from the truth. I am very excited about doing a Star Wars wedding in Vegas. Curtis and I were at a traditional Southern Wedding last summer. Oh it was traditional, for sure! The bride wore white and her attendants wore pastels. All the men wore tuxedoes. The wedding was held in a church and there were candles and flowers everywhere. The reception was a buffet style dinner at a local Country Club with a delightful view of the city. The Couple had a DJ and a band! Their dances were well coreographed, and I was sure some people had been taking lessons. After the married couple's first dance, then the first dance with parents, then in-laws, and then the bridal party was invited to dance . . . I was growing tired. I wanted to be one of the ones out there dancing, not just watching someone else do it. I whispered to Curtis, "When I get married again, I want to just go to Vegas and do it. We can party later!" He was thrilled with the idea, and in the months since then, we have been lazily planning our wedding.

I agree with Christina that there was a time when the only time a woman had for her own was her wedding day. I believe that is one reason young women dreamed and schemed much of their time planning their "Ideal" wedding. Times have changed. So have we.

The more we work on our wedding, the more I like the idea. Others have had a Star Wars Wedding before us. We are not being innovative, but we are being ourselves. There are a lot of details to consider, but these details will make our special day memorable. I like the fact that Christina was able to change gears and move her wedding plans forward, that she was not so caught up in the ceremony - the symbols. She and Doug understood that their love and their relationship was the important issue, not some gown or cake or fancy ceremony.

My point, earlier, was that I had assumed that almost all men really wanted to just elope - to get the ceremony out of the way, and that men did not care one way or another about the symbolism of weddings and ceremonies. I was trying to convey my surprise and pleasure at finding a man who not only cares about his wedding, but is taking an active role in planning it. Together, we are going to make some more special memories. I am grateful for this man, and for all of you.

Tuesday, August 20, 2002

Talking about back-yard weddings, a friend of mine had hers in her mother-in-law's back-yard. It was December, so there were luminaries everywhere. We all stood about and they exchange vows in front of the JP. They just had fruit, cheese, wine, and champagne. It was great. At the end, after everyone had left, we opened the garage door and sat in lawn chairs drinking beer and listening to Motown records. So, it had a high-class start with a down-home finish! I'm actually in the middle of planning a wedding too! Only, my family wants a big she-bang, so we are going all out. I'm like you, I would prefer the drive-through chapel in Las Vegas. But it will be fun to have a big party and have everyone we know and love in one place.

Weddings

That blog about the Star Wars wedding (still giggling over that one) made me think of a conversation my friend I had once. She is in a long term relationship with the love of her life. He doesn't want to get married until he has enough money to give her the wedding of her dreams. So of course I told her about my wedding that I planned in 48 hours and how smashing it was--actually it sucked but hey I still got married. Doug and I didn't plan on getting married until the beginning of 2000. We ended up getting married in May of 99. Heres what happen. Doug and I met in the army. I got out because of an injury and he stated in. Doug and I got engaged in Feb of 1999. Right away we started saving up money. Right after his AIT he went on leave for about a month. That's when we spent all that happy engaged couple time together (cheesy yeah I know). Well, in May he was supposed to report to his duty station in GA (we were staying at his parents house in FL). We just assumed that he would be able to live off post and yad yad yad. Well, the army said no. If he wasn't married he would have to live in the barracks. That means he wouldn't get extra food or extra housing money at all. The only way he could bring me with him and for us to be together is if I was his wife. So of course we got married. We had a hard time trying to find someone to marry us in the first place. And since Doug didn't have to leave for another 14 days I figured we had 2 weeks to plan this thing. Huh noooo. The only person that would marry us said he only had time to do it on May 27th. So with less then 48 hours to plan the wedding and only a little over 400 bucks in our wedding account I said screw it all.
I didn't stress over it. So I called all of Doug's friends and his relatives to tell them when the wedding would be and they were more then welcomed to come. I then called all my family and friends back in NC to let them know that I had to get married now not next year and that I am so sorry they couldn't be here with me. Wedding announcements and invitations--check. Luckily my in laws had a huge yard, booking the church--check. I then went through all of Doug's cloths and found that ironically enough we both had the same white dress shirt (only mine was sleeveless) and since we were in FL it would be perfect. Pair it off with a pair of jeans and we looked like one of those old cheesy married couples that always dresses alike. Groom's and Bride's cloths--check. My soon to be mother in law went out and got a couple of cake mixes and I made cup cakes with little rainbow sprinkles. Wedding cake--check. I told everyone that instead of getting us presents for our wedding just bring some food. I didn't care what it was--just anything you would bring to a normal everyday bar-b-que. Food--check. And that was it. I had to spend maybe 30 bucks for the whole thing. We used the rest of the money to buy stuff for our new house when we moved.
The point of this was I was trying to tell B. J. that you didn't need a whole lot of money to have a good wedding. That's when we came up with a theme about how weddings became this huge whoooppptyyydooo thing in the first place.
See, we decided that since, way back when, when a woman got married she well in a sense disappeared. She wasn't called my her first name anymore--she was Mrs. Whoever. She wasn't allowed to get a job or hang out with the girls anymore. She was just swallowed by her husband and her housework and rasing the children. Nobody seemed to care about her anymore--everything else was more important then a woman. She seemed to fade into the background I guess you could say.
So maybe that is why the woman seemed to want to have this one day where it was all about her. Where there was this huge party and she would be the center of attention. Its almost like she knew that hey no one is every going to noticed me again so why not be selfish just this one day.
Now that women are breaking out of that mold and are starting to well, become human beings again, weddings are getting smaller and smaller. Have you noticed that? Now a woman doesn't feel like she has to have this huge party, one last hoopla before she steps into the role of wife. Because she knows she is still going to be the same person rather she's married or not.
By the way--for those of you wondering--I got married and that's what mattered. My wedding itself turned out fine. Although Doug's older brother Pete and his family didn't come because it was a Mormon (Doug's family is Mormon and I am catholic) wedding and well they had church that night. They like to think they are righteous people when actually they just like to play the part when its convenient for them.
My soon to be mother in law didn't wear shoes--she wore overalls and socks--that's it. But hey at least my father in law buttoned his shirt. Thank heaven for the simple things huh. All in all it was a very humorous wedding which tends to describe our marriage. Not a day goes by where we don't laugh at something.
The World Up Close
"Woman loses stoning death appeal" reported by CNN. This is what we talking/writing/questioning on the Tuesday Too today.

Monday, August 19, 2002

I Thought All Men Preferred to Elope

Leave it to me to fall in love with a man who wants a Theme Wedding! Curtis and I are enormous Sci-Fi fans. In fact, we are struggling between the option of visiting my son or going to Dragon Con here in Atlanta at the end of the month. Decisions! Decisions!

Having been married before, I would be so content to just run off to Vegas and get married this weekend...blue jeans and hologram shirts would suit me fine. No flowers, no wedding cake, no big deal, but I do want to be married to this man. I am ready to make a committment and to tell the world how happy he makes me. He likes the Vegas idea, but he wants a wedding with a Star Wars Theme, family and friends, the whole She-Bang!

I had no idea how much work would be involved in organizing a wedding like this - but this is a lot more fun than the frou frou wedding I had to old--wat-ziz-name. This will be challenging...

Friday, August 16, 2002

Dalton and my nose

As we all know kids like to stick things up there nose. My mother told us a story once of Corrie, my older brother, sticking a sand spur up his nose. No, I have no idea what a sand spur is--all I know is he stuck it up his nose. Well, no one knew about it. All they knew is that for a week my brother smelled awful. No one could figure out where the smell was coming from. They thought maybe he was sprayed by a skunk, so they did the tomato thing. Then they thought that maybe he had some really bad gas. Nope that wasn't it either--so my mother finally to him to the doctors and that's when they found this little thing up his nose that was causing him to smell horrible. Once it was removed and Corrie was given a nose flush all was right with the world again.
So I wasn't surprised when I saw my son trying to stick one of those milk jug tappy things up his nose. You know the ones I mean. Those little tab things you have after you open up the milk jug. Well, of course I told him no and told him that its not safe to stick things up your nose. He seemed to understand and I did see him stick anything up his for a pretty long while. But as we all know--kids never learn that easy.
My son was sitting on my lap today and I was chatting away on the phone to my best friend in NC. The next thing I know my son is facing me with one of his fingers shoved up his nostril. If that wasn't funny enough--he then took his other finger and began to attempt to probe my nose with it. So the next thing you know here I am trying to have a conversation, trying not to laugh (because you really shouldn't encourage this kind of behavior) and trying to pull my sons finger out of nose. The whole time me son is determine to keep his finger where it is and just seems to find the whole thing pretty damn amusing. After a few minutes of trying to wrestling this two year old off my lap--he is a strong little bugger--I cant control myself any longer and I bust out laughing. Of course it comes out as one of those snorting laughs because well, I have a finger up my nose. Then as if it was the whole point of the entire experience was to get me to laugh, my son gives me one of his toothy grins and withdraws his finger, climbs off my lap and runs off to play. Yeah, he is defiantly my husband's son.

Thursday, August 15, 2002

Dismissing The System

Margaret Heffernan has a good article in the August edition of Fast Company: The Female CEO ca. 2002. A taste:
The Legally Blond generation is not interested in compromise or assimilation. It wears its femininity with pride and seeks success on its own terms. If that success can't be found within traditional businesses or business schools, then these young women simply won't go there. "If I don't fit into GE or Ford or IBM," one bright young woman told me, "that's not my problem. That's their problem." Rather than fight the system, this next generation of women simply dismisses the system. Instead, these women seek places to work that value individuals -- whether as customers or as employees. They seek places that are transparent and collaborative, that respect relationships as the bedrock of all good businesses. What women want are companies that look a lot more like a network than a pyramid, companies where fairness is a given, companies that value what's ethical above what's expedient. [Para.] At the same time, this next generation of women is too practical, pragmatic, and tough-minded to be dismissed as ideologues. If they can't find these kinds of companies, then they'll simply build them.

Wednesday, August 14, 2002

awww thanks sisters

I just read the comments some of you made about my anger post. Thank you so much. I have been struggling with this problem for a few days now. I was feeling so selfish and so childish for being mad. I have always been a big beliver in the past is the past let it stay there. But now I see that I can't move on until I get this whole damn situation resolved with my family. The anger is just going to keep building up and up until not even cheese can help me. My family needs to accept the fact that I feel this way rather they see where i am coming from or not. Until then we can't work on having a new and healthy relationship of any kind. Hopefully when I go up to NC in Nov. most of this can be worked out.
Hmmmmm wheres that cheese Rosemary!!!!!!!

Words have power, and other cliches

Several years ago, on the eve of a much desired promotion, I had a meeting with my then-boss, and a late colleague to talk about the logistics. Aside from going over money, space, and the responsibilities of the position, we also discussed the title. I insisted on being called "Director" rather than "Coordinator."

Later, my colleague, a very dear, honest, open-minded man, wondered: why would I be so inflexible on such a minor detail? Besides, what was wrong with the lovely word "coordinator," anyway? Yes, visualizing "coordinator" does summon some positive images, including relationships to wonderful concepts such as "cooperation," and "agility," while "director" could bring to mind the top-to-bottom barking of orders.

Well, I told him, during the process of this negotiation, I have considered our academic bureaucracy; I have reviewed the other similar jobs at the organization, and my little survey led me to a startling conclusion. When the incumbent was a man, generally the position carried the director label. And when it was held by a woman, it was more often called a coordinator.

I became a director. Nit-picking? Perhaps, but important nonetheless. So, "sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me," or is "the pen mightier than the sword?" I say, there's power in words.

making the best of the frustrating situation

I don't know how many of you are mothers and I don't know how many of you have been through this but let me warn you--this story is not for the weak of stomach.
When I was living in GA I use to baby-sit the twins of a really good friend of mine. The twins were about to turn 3 years old. Now they had this habit of taking their diaper off and well playing with it. They would smear it on the walls and the windows and yes themselves. Of course being a new mother and my perfect little Dalton only being 5 months old at the time I was just shocked at how kids could do this--it just wasn't normal. Boy I couldn't have been any more wrong. (if that is incorrect grammar I am sorry and please forgive me Chris--I would hate to have the grammar bitch smash me).
Of course whenever the twins would leave a nice little surprise my friend would rant and rave and spank and yell and well just be a frustrated mother. Now keep in mind my poor friend had just moved to GA, she had few friends, her hubby was off in Kosovo and this had been happening everyday for months. She handled it a lot better then I would have if I had been in her shoes.
But the point of my story is this. I was so shocked that kids would do something like this--I mean come on its gross. So when my son starting doing the same thing a few months ago I was about ready to pull my hair out. At first I was angry--why would he do this, is it something I did? So of course I called my doctor and she assured me everything is just fine. This is a normal behavior for some kids. At that young age kids don't know that what comes out of your butt is bad. They don't understand that its gross and could possibly make you sick. All they know is that its squishy and you can "draw" with it. 99.9% of all kids grow out of this once they are potty trained and the only thing I could do was try to prevent it and if it does happen to try to explain to him that its a no-no.
So for the next two weeks I did everything I could think of to keep his diaper on his butt. I dressed him in everything from oneses to overalls to cloths that had no buttons on the bottom. I yelled at him, I pleaded with him, I tried to bribe him and yes, I am ashamed to say, I even spanked his little butt a few times. And yet everyday I still had a bucket and scrubber in hand to wash away his lovely art work. So I took the next logical step. I bought some duct tape. Yes, I said duct tape--a mothers best friend for stubborn toddlers. Now before I put him down for a nap or to sleep for the night I just slap some duct tape over the taps of his diaper and pray that he doesn't find a way around them. And so far it has worked like a dream.
Until today that is. Today was my husbands day off so of course he was the one to put Dalton to bed. And of course--being a man and all--he forgot to slap that good old duct tape on the diaper. Needless to say when I went to go get him up from his nap I was surprised with big blob of mess that turned out to be my little angel. At first I wanted to yell at him because it has been weeks since I had to pull out that handy bucket and scrubber. I had so much cleaning to do I didn't have time for this. But then I spied his diaper on the floor. No duct tape--not a bit of it anywhere. So now that the blame was totally on my hubby I couldn't help but to giggle. First--I wouldn't be cleaning up this mess, Doug would. And second I just found the perfect black mail picture. Yes, I said it--BLACKMAIL. Now I understand why so many parents carry around cameras. Its not to capture those unforgettable moments of their buddles of joy on film--its to capture those unbelivable ones to use against them when they get older and decided they dont want to do what mommy or daddy says. So I ran to get my camera before putting Dalton in an empty bathtub. With the light shinning right on him I snapped a few pictures before I spent the next 30 minutes trying to restore that wonderful baby smell that all kids seem to have.
So while the whole situation might not be to pleasant and completely frustrating at this time I know that 12 years from now when my son discovers the wonders of females I have a sure fire way to get him to take out the trash whenever I want.

Banned Books Project

i'd like to call attention to the Banned Books Project, founded by Michele of A Small Victory last year, in response to the American Library Association's Banned Books Week, held this year September 21-28.

the goal is to have our voices heard as we speak out against book censorship, showing solidarity by linking to the project, talking about banned books, writing about banned books, reading a banned or challenged book, and sending a clear message that the freedom to read is absolutely necessary in our society.

Read-Outs and other events are being planned for this year's Banned Books Week. check to see if something is being planned in your area; if not, start something!

Tuesday, August 13, 2002

Finally writing again

"Were you a tomboy? I was. Still am, really."

This post is for all you girls who were up at bat in a game of softball, and all the boys moved in from the outfield, just waiting for your wimpy little hit.

On moods

Current mood: complacent.

Um... I want to ask you people something... My host is a guy and I pretty much did't know him, we only exchanged e-mails a few times and once I got this e-mail from him and he asked me out. I was fine with that. After work, he was supposed to come to the place where I worked and pick me up from there. When I saw him, I knew it was him...and I wanted for Earth just to burst open and eat me so I wouldnät have to spend time with him! Not to mention him being short and fat, he also has acne all over his shoulders and was wearing some damn old-trucker-dude clothes. Oh my God, I SO much wanted to just run away. It was horrible, I told him that I'm not feeling well and that he should take me home. He was pissed, I must say VERY pissed. Hehe... Talk about blind dates being awful. As my my main page says, "if blind dates are cool, then WalMart is the coolest store!". Similar experiences anyone???

Ok, girls, time for me to shut up. Throw in some MSN messenger info in those comments (add me as coldillusion@hotmail.com), would love to chat. P out yo!

Movie Night

I finally got a chance to go out and see "Lovely and Amazing." If you are looking for a film to see with your sisters (any variety), and you like a film that's heavy on dialogue, and that you can talk and debate about afterwards, this is a good pick. If you like films that are very strongly plotted, or action-oriented, forget about it. I loved it --even though it has some problems, I think, I'm glad that a movie like this can get made, and more importantly, widely released. I have more to say about it (along with why I didn't love "Lord of the Rings") on yesterday's blog post. So, Denise . . .have you seen it yet?

Halogen

Was that Hello Again or Halogen?

A few nights back I left a small halogen bulb light on next to my computer. When I was in the other room getting sucked in to a television show, the light decided to break for whatever reason. It fell down and landed on my computer mouse.

When I found it, the heat had melted a pit into the back of the mouse and the whole conglomeration was quite hot. I think it was within seconds of bursting into flames.

I have noticed that my monitor won't hold a "white" tone, It kind of shifts in and out of bluish to whitish.

My car needs new motor mounts and tires, and I have no idea where the money is going to come from to fix my link to the outside world.

Sunday I spent in a glum mood, perhaps from concern over these material things or perhaps from hormone fluctuations. I watched some of Dr. Wayne Dyer's presentation in support of Public Television. In one part he said we all should follow our heart no matter what anyone else said or thought about us, because how true we lived to ourselves was going to be the most important aspect of our lives as we grew more toward the end of it. It seems right now that I have never been more unsure of what following my heart, following my bliss means to me. But then, he is a white male and gets his privilege served to him on a golden plate of hegemony.

I go to work at one job in a concrete closet, isolated from any human contact. My other work is linked to the past in a way that raises the question; if all I am to do is return to that which injured my body for the money to survive and pay my debts, then the debt and expense of college was yet another worthless ploy to transfer my wealth and privilege to someone else.

Yet, even in the face of isolation on many levels, I doggedly mail out prospecting material, maintain an attitude that good must prevail in the end, and forcefully drag myself to things, like the concrete closet job, which are having serious psychological consequences that appear to be growing beyond my control.

4:44 this morning I awake with the "fears" charging the horses of the chariot. My life is not in my control. I can't see the driver. What can I do? I pray of course, and hope.

The halogen lamp sits propped up against my shelf illuminating my keyboard. It is a disabled bird, a crumpled newspaper, we can see its form but its not whole.

Robin Marie

Monday, August 12, 2002

On being new and acting retarded

Mood: retarded

Now you see what surfing other Blog results in... I become one of the Blog sisters. Cool. Um, I'm at work, as soon as I finish, will become more like a full time, rather than a part time blogger. Dude...this computer is freaking me out and making me mad. Should I kick the screen and yell? Ok, post more later!

Kill Barney the dinosaur! P out yo!

yucky yaccs

In response to Caryn's concern below: Sometimes our Comments capability provider goes beserk and Comments disappears for a while. I've always found them to come back, eventually. We just have to ride out the disruption in our thought processes. Sorry.

Replies seem to be missing!

I am looking at the website on August 12 at 8:30am Pacific Time. All replies to posts are missing, and there isn't any place to reply to posts! What's going on?

Sunday, August 11, 2002

Golden-age child neglect!

I am watching "Leave It To Beaver" right now, and GUESS WHAT??? The Cleavers parents were supposed to be really responsible parents, right? Model parents that others thought were unrealistically perfect? And Beaver is about six years old, right? Well, his Dad went golfing and his Mom went grocery shopping and LEFT HIM HOME ALL ALONE! This was no weird circumstance; it appears to be perfectly normal for them.

Can any of you even IMAGINE leaving a six-year-old home alone while you went to the grocery store??? Are we overprotective, or were they unrealistically unconcerned back them?



Anger is a healthy emotion and should always be expressed

Okay so I have been depressed the pass few days--well actually depressed and angry. See, my sister and my little brother were supposed to come to FL to see me this weekend as you all know. I haven't seen my sister since 98 and she has never met my Dalton. So when she called me Friday evening--a few hours before I was expecting her--to tell me that her and Michael decided to spend the weekend at the beach I was just a tad bit annoyed. Of course at the time I said oh don't worry about it, its okay, I understand. Now after having time to think about it I just got plain old pissed. My mother did the same thing to me earlier this month. She was supposed to come down for a week but when I called her a few days before she was to leave I was told that she already took her vacation time earlier that month. My older brother once again, lost his job and need a place to stay so my mother went looking for a place where they could both live. So once again, I was placed on the back burner while something else--more important--was taken care of. I know that sounds kind of selfish but this has been happening all my life. My mother walked out in the middle of my high school play--which I was the lead--because she promised her friends she would met them for a drink at a certain time. She never even showed up for the other 3 I was in either. For months before my first dance performance she promised she would be there and she knew how excited I was. 20 minutes before I had to be there she tells me she cant go because Jack wants to go curtain shopping. When my sister graduated they made a huge deal of it. They got her presents and took her out to dinner and going to the ceremony was a huge deal. When Corrie dropped out of school was so upset because she would never be able to see him walk across the stage. When I graduate I never hear a congrats or got a present and no one even asked if I was going to walk or not. Well, with the lack of excitement about my graduation I just never walked across the stage--just had my diploma mailed to me. There are a million examples I could give--sorry if I sound like I am whining about it but this is anger that has been building up for years and well, I am tired of being the one to say its all right its okay I understand because I don't understand and I do care and no its not all right anymore. I guess this weekend was just the straw that broke the camels back and Christina is not going to take this crap anymore.
I bet you are wondering--hmmmm where's the smile thought. Well, I am getting to that trust me.
This weekend I realized two things. One--its time I let my family know that I will no longer sit quietly on that back burner anymore. I am an important wonderful person and if they cant see that then I don't need them in my life right now. It is time that I tell them exactly how I feel. I need to say "hey this isn't right its not fair," they need to know that I am angry at them and I am going to stay angry until they realize what they have been doing to me all these years and start to make up for it. I have always been there for them. I was the one telling them that they are good people and that they don't need to be so depressed about whatever situation is happening because they can get through it. Now, its my turn. The only time anyone ever showed any emotions for me or put me first was when I was throwing up all the time. I shouldn't have to make myself sick to get love from my family. I have been so upset about my family lately that I have actually went back to my old ways for a few days here and there. Then I realized that I am killing myself to get their love. Screw that. If they cant see how wonderful the Super Cow is then they can just go stick their head in some old moldy melted cheese for all I care.
Now here is where the smile though comes in. While I realizing that my family sucked I also realized how great my new family is. I have been crying off and on since Friday. My son, my wonderful son, has shown me how much compassion he has even at this young of an age. Every time he saw me crying he would crawl up in my lap give me a big hug, babble something in baby talk and then sit down and watch t.v all cuddled up with me. When my husband saw how upset I was--he waited until I went to sleep that night and then ran out and got me a dozen roses and my favorite flavor of ice cream. When I woke up I found a note that said "You will always come first with us. We love you so much and know how important you are to everything we do. Love Doug and Dalton--your two crazy boys." Then Saturday my mother in law came over and asked if she could take Dalton to the store with her. Of course I said yes and just threw some cloths on him and brushed his hair really quick. When she came back a few hours later she presented me with a disk of pictures of Dalton. She had taken him to Walmart to get some pictures of him as a surprise for me. She said that she knew I was planning to take Dalton anyway when my sister came down so she thought that getting them done would make me feel better--and it did. I will be getting 4 8x10s of my son in different poses on the 28th but until then I have 7 on a disk. She even got a CD with a program on it so I can make these pictures into a screen saver--which I have already done. If anyone wants to see these pictures just email me at moocows132@aol.com and I will send some of them your way.
So while I am still upset about my side of the family I must say I am so happy to know that I married into a family that shows everyone so much love. It also feels great to know that they see me as an important part of their lives. Everyone needs to feel important and loved--thank God I finally feel that.
Christina
Just wanted to say hi: despite being a longish time blogger, I'm feeling a little nervous about group-blogging. This is my first time with a group.

I got a little carried away

I enjoyed posting comments to several blogs today and suddenly realized that I was speaking as much for myself as I was for the person I was posting a comment to. This idea sparked a full blown thought that I wanted to share for the simple joy of sharing.

Friday, August 09, 2002

Giant figurative warning billboards ignored!

This is the main part of my latest blog entry. I thought I would share it here:

A “Why Didn’t Someone Say Something?” Event:

Last April a Scottsdale man murdered his wife and two kids, set fire to their house, and drove away. At first police thought he was a victim, too, but they later realized he was the murderer. They haven’t found him yet.

Now police have a clear picture of what a nasty man he was. His wife was trying to leave him, but she was scared of him, too. Amazingly, the following things happened and no one intervened:

1. A friend of this man was once on a boating trip with the man and his children. The man decided to teach his kids to swim by throwing them overboard! Although this “friend” thought this was wrong, apparently he did nothing stop this monster and help the kids.

2. This man liked to “joke” with his friends by sneaking up on them WHILE THEY WERE PICKNICKING WITH THEIR FAMILIES and empty the clip of a 9mm pistol into the air. (To those who don’t know much about guns, “empty a clip” means “shoot every bullet in that clip.”) Did anyone ever tell him to stay the hell away from them and their families? Did anyone ever report him to the police? Apparently not!

And finally….

3. This man pointed a loaded gun to the head of another “friend,” who is also a minister who counseled this man. He decocked it against his friends head and said, “It’s that cool?” Can we point out all the things that are wrong with this? How about: counselers should not have friends as clients. And: Counselors are supposed to report attacks on their persons from the whack-jobs— I mean, disturbed clients—whom they counsel. And: If he did this to his MINISTER, what do you think he was doing to his WIFE?

These three stories are accompanied by a laundry list of looney behavior that wasn’t a secret from this man’s circle of friends.

What does it take for men to acknowledge the misdeeds of other men????? What does it take for men to admit that on of their own is mentally ill and others need to be protected from him?????
Christina's Nagging Question

What exactly is in a name? Shakespeare said "A rose by any other name still smells as sweet." I know a woman who kept her family name because she thought it was unique, and the man she married had a name like Jones, Smith, or Wilson. Her children bore their father's name. It was their choice. I know another woman, who did not change her name when she married, because she said she was too lazy to bother with all the paperwork involved. I know at least three women who chose to keep their maiden name, "just in case we get divorced." They did not want the hassle of changing names on documents. I do not know if any of them have had any children. My neice married a man from Mexico. He wanted her to keep her maiden name, and when their children were born, he wanted the children to bear both names, as is the Spanish tradition. Spaniards (and many whose cultures spawed from that region) name their children with the mother's name as the final name. There is no hypen, but the father's family name is the next to the last name. Mt neice told him that since they are living in the United States of America, she wanted to do thing the "American" way, so she and her children bear her husband's family name (which is his mother's family name). Russians keep the father's last name, until marriage, then the women assume the husband's name; however, daughers and wives must add "ova" to their name, which indicates "daughter of" or "wife of". There is a way to denote "son of", but it slips my mind. My boss, who is Chinese, and her husband (also Chinese) have different last names. I do not yet know if this is due to a cultural or a professional reason. I know several professional women who will not "take" their husband's name because it causes corporate communication problems. Email addresses , business cards, voice mails all have to be changed. I have been told that some clients become uncomfortable when women executives have "revolving door" name changes.

I was married for more than a quarter of a century to a psychologically abusive man. I can relate to why Christina's mother would remain with an abusive man. We sometimes do not think we have options, or we think our options are less desirable. I was often told, "The devil you know may be better than the angel you don't know." When I got the strength and courage to leave him, I had little strength or courage for much else. I had two nearly grown sons who were doing their best to deal with our divorce. Out of respect for my sons, I kept the name that I married. Within six months, I regretted keeping his name. I have already assumed Curtis' family name. This is a name that I will be honored to share, because every person that I have met who has that name has shown me nothing but unconditional love ana complete acceptance. This is my choice, and it is a choice that pleases Curtis, but it is ultimately my choice. I had considered changing my name to Mary Pumpkins, for completely sentimental reasons, but decided that Pumpkins might not be the best name for a respected writer. But, Hey! What do I know?

My oldest son has a unique middle name, taken from his father's maternal family name: Bastian. My mother thought it looked and sounded too much like Bastard, and she hated it - but she loved the child. My youngest son's first name, Aron is taken from his father's name which is spelled exactly the same way. For some reason his father's family had a tradition of leaving out the second "a" and we continued the tradition. We have gotten our share of strange questions too. I am 47 years old, last year, I needed a certified copy of my birth certificate, so I requested one from vital statistics, giving the information that I've had stored in my head for most of my life. I received a letter stating that there were no records of anyone with that name born on my birth date. I called my mother. She said, "Yes, your name is indeed Mary Ann Catherine. Remember? I told you that I wanted to name you Mary Ann, and your father wanted to name you Mary Catherine. When you were born, I told the nurse to write down Mary Ann, and your father made her add Catherine. It's ON your birth certificate." Well, I hated to disappoint my mother, but when I did finally get the official record, my name is only Mary Ann. My baptismal certificate shows the Catherine. My first communion certificate and my confirmation document show the Catherine, but only in the church documents does the second name appear. I once dated a guy who would only call me Catherine, because nobody else did. My ex used to call me that to get me upset...and it's not even my name! They might as well have been calling me Gladys or Hariett. Learning that Catherine is not really my name did not change me. I am still the same old stink weed that I was before. My oldest sister mourned the fact that our maiden name is Worden, and not something like Taylor, or Chase. She desperately wanted to incorporate our family name in her sons' names, but did not know how to do it...of course this was long before people began to hyphenate names on a regular basis.

As for Christina's nagging question: if people have the audacity to ask you why your name is different from your husbands, or why your son's name is a combination, you can find your own way to answer them. One that usually stops people dead in their tracks is to ask, "Why do you want to know?" Now, you can also tell them that just as your son shares DNA from both of you, he also shares both your names. If you don't want to justify why you and your sons names are different from your husband's you should not feel that you need to. You can simply tell people, "This is the 21st century." Make them wonder what in the world that means. There are all sorts of celebrities with only one name. Do you think anyone makes them justify why they don't have more? I doubt it. You could also tell them,"Where I'm from, this is traditional." They will start to think of you as some exotic person. You could learn the naming conventions from different countries and recite them. "In Spain they - - - in Russia, they - - , in Tanzania - -- but where I'm from, we honor our mother's courage by keeping the name she fought to provide for us!

Florida Takes Away Choice

Got this pointer from b!X, who notes:
So, in Florida, if you're a woman who wants to give up your baby for adoption, you have to publish in the newspaper your name, address, and list of the people you've had sex with in the twelve months prior to the baby's birth. First off, why 12 months? Last time I checked, human gestation was nine months. Did this get changed by the Florida legislature at some point?

Thursday, August 08, 2002

ummm what is this?

a 3 year nagging question

Well, I'll be darned I think I have another blog post. It's a long one so pull up a sit and get some cheese. [I love cheese, I believe it is the essence of life so any mention of cheese from me is a big big deal ;) ]
I was just talking to an old friend of mine the other day who didn't know that I had gotten married 3 years ago or that I had a son now. She was of course so excited to hear all this and began asking me all sorts of questions. She asked me what my new name was and I must say I wasn't shocked by the little "oh" she gave in response when I told her I never changed my name when I got married. "Well, the baby has his fathers last name doesn't he?"
Uhhhhh no. My son is one of the lucky ones that has an extremely long name thanks to the wonders of hyphens. Since my last name is Cordier and my husbands name is Evans my sons last name is Cordier-Evans.
My friend thought this was amazing and well a bit weird. She then assumed, like so many others have, that I had Dalton out of wedlock or that Doug, my husband was not the birth father and adopted him when we got married. I got married in May of 99 and my son was born on Christmas Eve of 00. We talked about it some more and although I don't think she completely agrees with it I do believe she understands. Which is the only think I ask for.
My question is why is it when I tell people I didn't change my name and that my sons name is hyphened I get that "oh." Then there are the few that ask "Why does he have two middle names?" Then when I say he doesn't have two middle names its "why does he have two last names?" My son does not have two last names--he has one and its Cordier-Evans.
When I first told Doug that I didn't want to change my name he was fine with it. But ever since we moved back to his hometown in FL I can see that it irks him sometimes. While my family has no problem with this, some of his family, however, does and I think that is why Doug is getting iffy about it all of the sudden. They act as if the Cordier part isn't even there. To me, that's disrespectful. I also thinks its wrong for them to demand an explanation from me on why I chose to keep my name and not just be "a normal God faring wife and take the name of my husband."
Well, here is my answer. Before I was married I asked my husband if he had a problem with it and he said he didn't. I asked if he would mind that we gave our children the last name of Cordier-Evans and he said he didn't care. So if I don't mind and my husband doesn't mind why do I feel the need to always tell this story to people?
My last name is special to me--I did a lot as Christina Cordier and I didn't want to just leave that part of me behind because I decided to get married. Cordier is not my birth name. My birth name is Mickey. When I was 3, I believe, my mother fought for months to get mine and my older brothers name changed from Mickey to Cordier--the last name of my older sister. My real father was just sent to prison for abusing my mother for years and it was her way of ending those ties with him forever. My mother had a hell of a battle with the courts over the whole thing but she finally won. Of course, when I was 8 she married a man that didn't physically abuse her but he mental abuse all of us over the next 10 years or so. I always saw my mother as a weak woman--someone who just had to have a man in her life and didn't have the balls, so to speak, to make it on her own. After I had graduated high school and joined the army my mother finally divorced Jack. She also finally told me why she had stayed. She stayed because of her kids. She had to make sure we had food and cloths and a place to sleep. She knows now that the abused we suffered was not worth that but at the time he had so much control. There's tons more I could say about that but the main point is this: When my mother left my father and fought to get my named changed showed me that she wasn't the weak woman I thought she was. She, at one point in time risked everything and stood by herself and was strong and that makes me so proud of her. I just couldn't see changing my name after my mother had worked so hard to give it to me in the first place. And as far as the "God faring wife" thing goes, isn't one of the 10 commandments honor thy mother and father? For me, keeping my name is my way of honoring her.
Dalton is not only Doug's son, he is my son as well. I want my son and future children to grow up knowing the history behind their last name and why it means so much to me and my side of the family. Maybe one day, like it has done for me so many times in the past, it will give them the strength to push just a little bit harder, just like their grandmother did.
But, there still leaves the annoying problem of why I get so much grief about the whole thing in the first place. I don't go up to women who have kept their name and go, "Man, how old fashion is that." Its a personal choice I made and I am happy with it. What do you ladies think?
Breast Feeding
I'd like to comment on Christina's post regarding breast-feeding. I agree with you completely. How you choose to birth, feed, and raise your child is your business, and no one else's. I breast fed my sons more than 20 years ago, when it wasn't in vogue, so I was the one who was often shunned, and told to go hide in another room at family functions. My family did not trust me to be discreet, and they thought my sons were going to starve since it was my choice not to supplement their mother's milk with solids for as long as possible.

What I don't understand is these same people who frown on mother's choices for feeding, don't frown if these women choose to clothe their infants in cloth or disposable diapers; they don't scrutinize choices of car seats or vehicles in which these children will be transported; they don't complain or criticize when mothers make choices about what kinds of toys to present to these children. A mother is the best one to choose how and why to feed her child. There are a lot of choices regarding formulas, and there are many reasons for these choices. I learned the hard way that even though I was breast feeding, I did not always do what was best for my infants. My youngest, especially, made me adjust my diet in a very strict sense. He was very sensitive to many of the foods that I ate, and the only way to determine this was by an elimination diet. We both suffered until I found the diet that suited him best. Not all mothers make the best decisions, but I think most mothers make the best decisions they can, based on what information is available to them. I must have done pretty well with my eating. That same child is now a young man of 21 and he is 6' 8 " tall!

Hiii

Er.. *waves hello* I'm new here... so wanted to give you all a smiley hello!

Ciao! :)

Managing the Blog Sisters Explosion

I am so pleased to report that we've had a steady influx of new sistahs. We obviously are getting very well known around the net. And that's because we are an open, accepting, tolerant, choice-committed group, right?

We don't have a mission statement as such -- but I want to state here what I tend to tell potential members who email me to ask about what we are about. This is what I say: Blog Sisters is pretty much whatever the members want it to be. Conversations range from parenting to abortion to politics to relationships. Our members range from high school girls to "older and wiser" women, from stay-at-home moms to full-time high-level professionals and unemployed techies. What we have in common is our commitment to personal choice and a general irreverence toward partriarchies.

In light of the post below from our very newest member, I felt I should see if we really do have consensus about where Blog Sisters is coming from and where it stands. I think that we all have strong convictions -- including religious, political, dietary, fiscal, gender, etc. etc. And I would like to think that the two things that we have in common are our belief that we all have the right to make our own choices about how we live our lives and our commtiment to supporting each other in that right.

Am I wrong?

breast feeding

I just want to make a comment about the post about breast feeding week. I am a mother and I completely support women who breast feed, but I do not like the way most non breast feeding mothers are treated because they chose to use formula. I can't count the number of times I was downgraded by other women(complete strangers even) when they found out I decided to bottle feed my son. They did not know the reasons behind my decision but still I was told that he was going to be sick all the time and that I would never have a bond with him and blah blah blah blah. All of the sudden I wasn't as good of a mother because I decided the bottle was best for me and my baby. My son did fine on the bottle--and he had no horrible effects from it like everyone said he would. He was drinking from a sippy cup at 5 months, he is so smart, and he has never had an ear infection or anything more then a runny nose. If a woman wants to breast feed she is a good mother, but if a woman decided not to then she is selfish. That's not really fair. As far as breast feeding in public--I am all for that too. I do not know why some women flop their breast out for all the world to see, but most women will drape a blanket around her or hold the baby in a position where everything is not completely exposed. I think if you are going to breast feed in public at least try to cover up a little. I understand that you are feeding your child and its nothing to be ashamed of but it can be done with some taste and consideration for those around you.

ummm confused

am i suppose to publish this somewhere???? thought i knew what i was doing somewhat but now i know i am completly off base--

computer geek wannabe

Okay this is my third time trying to write a post because well I am a dork and couldn't figure out how to get these words off here and onto the post thingie--I am sure you know what I mean. Then duh I see a little post sign right there and I have this sudden urge to smack myself.
So I guess its safe to say I need help with this ladies! Please please someone email me at moocows132@aol.com and tell me what to do. And remember I am an idiot so talk to me like one no computer savvy slang. From what I gather so far all you do is come on read some post and well then write a post. What confuses me is all this web page hosting and other stuff--what's that about. I read a ton of post and I must say its pretty well, interesting. Any help for this first time blogger would be so wonderful and I would love you so much--I just might share my beloved cheese with you.
Christina