Monday, September 30, 2002

Collective Joy and Despair

Looking for a change of pace in Blogostan? Check out the women of ResidentBlog for some "collective joy and despair." In the midst of an 82-hour week, medical resident and blogger Amanda, sat down to craft a Sunday, September 22nd piece that is certain to capture your heart and mind. It will also open your eyes to the almost ministry-like aspect of the profession. People don't last in this biz unless they're evangelical about public health, and sort of ambivalent about sleep. yourself a favor and join Amanda in the maternity ward and neonatal care unit. It's a birds-eye view of the real deal, good stuff you're not likely to find anywhere but on rounds or online here.

NOTE: I've not been able to detect permalinks on the page, so I ask that you just head on over to the September 22, 2002 entry. This entry has been cross-posted at RuminateThis

Sunday, September 29, 2002

Almost Instant Activism

For those of you who are worried about the prospect of the US attacking Iraq, there is letter writing campaign being co-sponsored by
Progressive Portal
and Global Exchange, calling on Congress to urge the administration to work through the United Nations for a nonviolent resolution to the conflict.

Also, you can download and print a
promoting this letter campaign for posting around town and
handing out to friends and at events.

I realize that folks have vastly differing opinions about the best course of action for the US to take, but I urge everyone to read the text of the alternative resolution introduced by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) and 29 other members of Congress encouraging President Bush to work with the UN.

Saturday, September 28, 2002

Pretty Petty

I grew up in a family where the visual was very, very important. Both my parents were sculptors, and aesthetic appeal was a significant factor in valuing anything. Including people. (My father, for example, was always pointing out interesting specimens ~ either for their overall beauty or for some intriguing feature or shape.)

Except, of course, it wasn't supposed to be. My family also placed great emphasis on moral character. Being a good person was supposed to be much more important than how you looked or how wealthy you were, how much you had accomplished or how much power or influence you had.

It was also important to have good manners. Even if you weren't a good person, you got points for acting like one. Politeness, courtesy, humility, and consideration were to be cultivated at all times. While not caring too much about how we looked, we were also to be well groomed and irreproachable in our personal style. Appearances counted.

So: beauty is skin deep. But everybody judged the book's cover anyway.

Some other data points. My immediate family was remarkably good-looking. My mother was a natural beauty ~ not a glamorpuss, but truly beautiful. My father was very handsome, and a fine figure of a man. My sister was extremely pretty, and a sexy creature too. My brother was universally acknowledged to be a remarkably attractive young man.

I was, well... okay. Certainly not ugly. But nothing special either. Average. Kinda... eh. Not in the same league with them.

Of course, no one ever said any such thing.

So it is with a wry irony that, years later, I realize that ~ at last ~ I'm the best-looking one of the bunch now. It's a Pyrrhic victory, since it's entirely based on the fact that I'm ten years younger than the youngest of the rest, and through no merit of my own apparently I age more gracefully than average.

And, of course, no one cares about something as trivial as looks in my family. That would be superficial and petty.

[cross-posted to both2and: beyond binary]

Wednesday, September 25, 2002

Throwing off the Veil of Oppression


Not that I'm a condoner of violence, but that was a pretty brave, gutsy thing to do. I don't have much commentary to add to the article other than that.

Found via The Avocado Couch.

Read a Banned Book

Just read in my NCTE newsletter: "The 2002 Banned Books Week, sponsored by the American Library Association and other organizations, is taking place September 21-28. This year's theme is "Let Freedom Read: Read a Banned Book." The purpose of the week is to highlight the value of freedom of expression and the right to read." It is worth a trip to the ALA's website -- --just to read the list of Most Frequently Challenged Books. Some are old standbys--"Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" and "The Catcher in the Rye," but others might surprise you (that full frontal toddler nudity in Maurice Sendack's "In the Night Kitchen" sure is scary).

Tuesday, September 24, 2002


I'm interested in hearing more about how different women view or experience the term "sexy." I've posted on the subject a couple of times at my blog, and I'm intrigued by the responses I've received so far.

Here's what started the discussion...and here's another post on it (scroll down to where it says "You're Welcome Dorothea" on September 21).

Monday, September 23, 2002

How's About a Bit of Activism?

Hi, everyone! It's been a while since I've posted. I've been here, in the background, and have enjoyed reading all that's going on with my Blog Sistah's. Here is a post I'm going to be putting on my own blog, as well. I think it's an important issue.

Are you all familiar with the Independent Women's Forum (IWF)? If not, then you should know that the IWF is a organization which has made a name for itself by attempting to defeat legislation aimed at supporting America's and the world's women. Counted among the IWF luminaries are such stalwart right-wingers as Ann Coulter and the late Barbara Olson. IWF takes some really unusual and extreme positions, such as their recent calling for the rejection of The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) - that UN treaty signed by all but a handful of nations (including the US, btw). Today, the IWF is back in the news - this time because one of their members, Nancy M. Pfotenhauer, has been appointed to the National Advisory Committee on Violence Against Women. To fully appreciate the surreal nature of this move, one needs to take into consideration that Ms. Pfotenhauer and her colleagues at IWF have repeatedly and publicly testified against the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). That's right, in their repeated opposition of VAWA before Congress and publicly, The Independent Women's Forum have maintained that the abuses for which VAWA was enacted no longer exist, and that government would be of no help to those women who are in need. Circuitous argument? You bet.

Another point to consider: the VAWA office reports directly to the Department of Justice. One wonders how it is that Ms. Pfotenhauer can be expected to fairly execute her committee duties on behalf of abused women when her public positions have always run counter to their interests. Given her track record, I can't imagine Pfotenhauer's advice and counsel to Attorney General John Ashcroft to be anything other than more of the same old effort at reducing government protection of individual rights. Can you?

Here is another example of the administration seeking to render impotent a department charged with protecting American rights. Just as with the appointment of the corporate anti-environmentalist Gail Norton to the Department of the Interior and with the anti-protectionist Peter Kirsanow, to the US Civil Rights Committee, the administration's selection of Nancy M. Pfotenhauer serves further notice that America's rights are under assault.

One might ask why anyone should bother fighting the Pfotenhauer appointment since what's done is done - she's now on the committee. The answer is that their fait accompli does not make it right, and that until advised otherwise, we continue to have freedom of speech in this country. Also, word is that John Ashcroft has also invited another anti-woman extremist to sit on this committee: IWF National Advisory Board member Margot Hill. These invitations run counter to the committee's ministry. Since its inception, members of the National Advisory Committee on Violence Against Women have included victims services providers, battered women’s advocates, survivors of domestic violence and legal professionals. Let's also not forget that we continue to apply the rule of one-man one-vote, and a mid-term vote is coming up. Politicians are eager to hear our views. Now is the time to talk up the problems. Please contact your legislator or write a letter to your local newspaper airing your opposition to the appointment of Nancy Pfotenhauer to the National Advisory Committee on Violence Against Women and demand her resignation. To that end, why not take advantage of this free internet fax program?

Learn more about this issue by visiting the National Organization for Women (NOW). Another good resource on women's rights and for that matter everyone's rights is the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), always a good friend to have around when your back is up against the wall.

Sunday, September 22, 2002

Honor Me With the Truth: A Manifesto

When I was a young teen, probably twelve or thirteen, my mother told me something that I've never forgotten. I think she said that her mother had told her the same thing when she was that age too.

"When I met your father, and we became serious about each other, I said to him that if he ever raised a hand to me in violence that I would leave, and he would never see me again. It wouldn't matter how much I loved him, or how much he said he was sorry, or how long we had been together, I would leave and he would never see me again in his life."

This story made a huge impression on me, and I adopted this tradition myself. Every man with whom I've ever been seriously involved has heard me say this to him. And I have always meant every word of it. (I didn't believe or expect that any of them would ever exert physical violence in our relationship ~ and they knew that ~ and none of them ever did. Nor were they offended that I said this to them.)

To that non-negotiable, I plan to add this further request: Honor me with the truth.

"You can show me respect and love by always telling me what you perceive to be the case, so that I may make my choices with as much information as possible. Trust me to use good judgment with the truth that you impart to me. Don't protect me from reality; don't shave the truth to smooth over a situation, or to spare my feelings or yours. If I cannot trust you to trust me with your candor, then I cannot trust you at all. I, in turn, will do the same for you: I will tell you my truth as I see it, and I will work with you to try and understand the way things are, both in the world and between us. I will not hide the reality that may cast me in a less than glamorous light, and I will not try to persuade you that things are other than they are. You may trust that what I say is not a dim shadow of what I think is true, but as close as I can get to it.

I believe that reality is our friend, and that the truth will set us free. I believe we can be honest without ever being cruel. Let's be brave and adventurous, kind and frank with one another, so that we may grow together rather than apart."

Perhaps these are things that should go without saying. But saying them gives them power, puts them on the record, and provides a touchstone of intention to return to in difficult times.

Cross-posted to both2and: beyond binary.

Matchmaking the "Brightest People"

Now here's something for the single Sistahs to consider:
Psychoanalyst Frederick Levenson, who practices on Long Island and in Manhattan, has begun marketing TheraDate....... The concept is that "The people using psychotherapy to improve their lives are some of the brightest, most verbally adept and success-oriented people in America," Levenson said. They would be more likely to have successful relationships with others who recognize the value of self-reflection and are prone to talk about their feelings, he said. And who better to match them up than therapists, who do marriage counseling every day and whom Levenson calls "relationship experts"?

He's got a website at, but I've yet to be able to get on it.

Friday, September 20, 2002

::blush:: Hehe

Hey! I was just quoted here ~~> Random Blog Quotes for my last blog entry!!

I'm so tickled I can't stop giggling!! ::grins hugely::

Just had to share that with my Sistahs!!!

Thursday, September 19, 2002

Hi, I'm new

Hi, I'm new to the blog. I'm 20 years old and an Aries. I live in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. I'm currently completing a Bachelor of Arts (Multimedia) course at university. I'm in my second year. Hmm, well, I can't wait to meet you all and read everyone's posts!

Wednesday, September 18, 2002

Good vs. Evil, Us vs. Them

I just posted this over on my blog and I'd love to hear what my Sistahs think about the subject. Basically, it's regarding a discussion my son and I had this evening while watching the new Twilight Zone that got me thinking, and I wanted to share :D

Thanks for any input/insights/wisdom you'd like to share!

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Blog Sisters News Alert!

1. We have had an influx of new Blog Sisters over the last month or so. At the moment, our official membership registration stands at 85, and there are about 20 invitations that have been sent out for which I’m still awaiting replies. Our voices are being heard, and our words are encouraging more and more women to exercise their own unique voices. Keep it up, Sistahs!
2. Because I’m the one who sends out the invitations to join, some of the new members might not realize that our Great Founding Sister is Jeneane Sessum, not me. Jeneane continues to be our inspiration and motivation for keeping this weblog a place where women can feel safe speaking their truths. (And sometimes we find that we have as many truths as there are Blog Sisters posting. And that’s just fine.)
3. We’re taking on an additional administrator to help with the technical aspects of the site. Andrea R. James, who is a consistent contributor to Blog Sisters and a talented techie, has agreed to be the person you can contact if you’re having technical difficulties. She’s also going to work on giving the look of this weblog a little creative massaging. You go, Andrea.
4. Because we’ve had such a constant flow of newcomers, I’m not sure that I have everyone listed in our blogroll the way I should. So, please check for your name over on the left and make sure that it links to your personal weblog. If there are any mistakes or you want anything changed, just let me know at

And now, back to our regular programming.


Hello all, I am a brand new blog sister. I just wanted to say hello! Thanks so much to Elaine for welcoming me! I'm a 26 year old singer and photographer. I am currently living just outside of Nashville, TN. I am about to move to North Carolina. If anyone lives in coastal North Carolina and could tell me a little bit about it, I would love to hear from you!

Warm regards,

Serena Matthews

Tuesday, September 17, 2002

Basketball or abortion

While head coach at the University of California at Berkeley, Marianne Stanley, now the head coach of the Washington Mystics, gave an assistant coach a choice between having an abortion or quitting, and then left the pregnant woman at a hotel during a Midwest recruiting trip. The assistant, Sharrona Alexander, was paid $115,000 two years ago by the university to settle a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit after she refused to have the abortion.

The Merc and Chron weighed in with their own commentary:
Belief that coach can't be pregnant outdated, absurd--SJ Mercury News
Pregnancy suit an isolated case--SF Chronicle

Full disclosure again: I'm "tight" with one of the writers of the Post story. But the story is certainly pertinent to this list o' ladies. As one of my friends said:
"I can't believe this woman was an All-American and had a child and then filed her own (rightfully so) lawsuit to get equal pay at USC--YET she wants to limit another woman who was just about to really make it too!"

Sunday, September 15, 2002

Beware David Still

This is a word of caution in case you start getting e-mails from this guy. A few weeks back I got an amusing e-mail from David that seemed harmless enough. He had found my blog and looked at some pictures I link to from it and written me this e-mail saying, "you're so beautiful, be mine," and so on. I took it as a silly little flirtatious thing. Wrote back to him, then he wrote back to me, then I wrote back I think one more time. He wrote back again, but I didn't really have anything more to say, and I figured that was a good point to end the e-mail conversation.

Didn't hear from him for about a week, maybe two. Then yesterday, I got an e-mail from him saying the weirdest thing had happened: He'd found a picture of himself, and my name was written on the back, and wasn't that weird? He provided a link to it. I knew this couldn't possibly be true since I've never been in the same room with the guy (he claims to live abroad, although at this point I'd question anything about him). But I was curious what it was he'd concocted this time. I assumed it would be some other silly, flirtatious thing. Uh uh. I clicked the link and it opened to a stomach-wrenching picture of a man's bloody, mutilated face. Ugh, it was nauseating!

I wouldn't typically denounce someone publicly like this. But in case any of you have had e-mail contact with this guy, I wanted to warn you and spare you the trauma of having to receive an e-mail like that. It's still making me ill.

I'm mad at myself, too: I wouldn't describe myself as naive to the ways of the Web. But this guy is sick, and unfortunately, I was duped.

Saturday, September 14, 2002

A Way to Help Survivors of September 11 Victims

Hi, Blog Sisters. I'm Ginger, I'm a thirty-something technical writer who lives in Houston and this is my first post to Blog Sisters.

Several jobs ago, I worked as a paralegal for a lawyer who practiced immigration law, and I keep up with immigration issues even though I no longer work in the field. I found out something yesterday about the immigration status of foreign survivors of September 11 victims that really bothered me, and I would like to ask the sisters to help.

It turns out that the blanket authorization for survivors to stay in the US regardless of how long they were supposed to be allowed to stay otherwise expired on Wednesday, the anniversary of the attacks. Technically, many of these survivors have no basis to remain in the US once their spouses were dead. The Attorney General has authorization to help them on an individual basis on the PATRIOT Act, but that requires a lot of effort to bring individual cases to his attention.

Senator Jon Corzine of New Jersey sponsored a bill in the Senate to help the survivors on a permanent basis, but it won't pass this year. Meanwhile, he has a bill in the Senate to extend the blanket stay for another year. If it passes both the Senate and the House before the end of the session (October 4), the President can sign it into law and the foreign survivors of September 11 victims will be able to remain in the United States legally.

It's particularly important that this bill be enacted into law now because of some provisions barring "overstayers" from reentering the United States. Under current immigration law, anyone who is in the United States without authorization, i.e., illegally, for six months is barred from reentering for three years. Anyone who is in the United States without authorization for a year is barred from reentering for ten years. That's without thinking about what might happen if they were deported instead of leaving voluntarily when the INS catches up with them.

I ask that anyone reading this talk to their senators about S.2845, which extends the legislative relief to which survivors of those killed last September are entitled under the PATRIOT Act for another year.

[If the link to the bill doesn't work, use the lookup from Senator Jon Corzine's homepage.]

S.2845 is currently sitting in committee, and the time for September 11 survivors is running out. If nothing is done for them, and that means retroactively fixing their status, they'll be deported. The status of those survivors who would have had to leave before now has already expired. While the world mourned their spouses and parents, they became illegal aliens.

If S.2845 is not enacted as a stopgap until the next Congress can offer all survivors of September 11 victims permanent legislative relief (as opposed to the discretionary relief they get under current law), these survivors may become illegal aliens. They may become subject to the three-year or ten-year reentry bar for overstaying. They may be deported.

If you think the survivors of those who died on September 11 deserve to stay in the United States, please write, email, or better, call your senators (find them here) and urge them to support S.2845. Contact your representative and ask him or her to sponsor and vote for a companion bill in the House. And spread the word.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, September 13, 2002

On Being Not Nice

Today I did something I can't remember ever doing before. I deliberately chose to be not nice. I wasn't rude, or cruel, but I was distinctly not nice. It was such an unaccustomed experience that, as I sent off the "not nice" email, my hands were actually shaking.

There really wasn't anything all that momentous about it, I was simply choosing to end communication with someone I'd met in person only once. He was either rude or sloppy in his behavior toward me (pick your intepretation), and rather than excuse it, dismiss my irritation, swallow my resentment, or even give him the benefit of the doubt, I just decided to cease interaction with him and to say why.

Of course I'm now second-guessing myself. You can read further details at my weblog, both2and: beyond binary. So, sisters, am I now officially a bitch?

Thursday, September 12, 2002

I Heart My NY

Nobody posted anything on September 11th, and I thought it was appropriate for something to be said, even a day late.

When I first entered this world, the world I entered was New York. My first sense of place and space and home was shaped by the streets of Manhattan. New York is mine because when my school was under construction and the student body was homeless, the city was my classroom; my uniformed classmates and I traipsed all over New York with our teachers, learning from the city instead of simply within it. It's mine because I once spent four hours sitting on the steps of the public library people-watching. It's mine because I've been reading the real estate section of The New York Times since I was eleven to try to figure out which New York neighborhood will still be semi-affordable when I graduate. It's mine because I've left my mark there: I carved my name on a tree in Central Park, I scraped my knees on sidewalks, I once lost a tooth in my favorite playground on East End Avenue. It's mine because being there gives me comfort and not stress: when I felt suffocated by the monotony of New York suburbia, it was my escape, and the only escape I ever needed. It's mine because it has forever imbued in me open-mindedness, street smarts, common sense, confidence, a love of culture, and a rejection of ignorance. This is my New York.

New York was always mine, and I was always proud, even snobby about it. I clung to what New York was for me, and turned my nose on what it to many tourists: an urban Disneyland whose highlights included the Manhattan Mall, the Statue of Liberty, Time Square, F.A.O. Schwartz, and the Bronx Zoo. When I passed by obvious tourists -- camera-and-umbrella-toting, too-large-"I-heart-NY"-shirt-wearing, subway-map-squinting tourists -- I sighed. How could they love -- or even "heart" New York --when they didn't know it at all? I was more partial to shirts that read "Welcome to New York!" on the front and "Now get out" on the back. But when I showed people around, be it my clueless born and raised in suburbia friends or enthusiastic visitors from out of town, I showed them my New York, what was, to me, the real New York.

On September 11th, something suddenly changed. New York was not just mine; New York no longer belonged exclusively to New Yorkers. New York City suddenly was real for everybody, and truly belonged to everybody. It belonged to all the tourists whom I'd scoffed at, to all the people who'd never made it there, to everybody who had ever loved anybody or anything. I love New York with everything in me, and I have for as long as I can remember. But on September 11th, we all mourned together. We all loved New York together.

A year later, nobody has forgotten. Everybody I know still has a soft spot for New York that they hadn't had before. When I was in the wilderness of western Canada a month ago, a local asked me where I was from. I told her. She replied only: "Where were you when it happened?" One year has passed, but the memory of that day is so vivid and the pain so fresh, that it hardly seems possible. I'm no longer eager to claim New York as exclusively mine. Every citizen of the world has stock in what New York City and its people have come to represent. I only hope that the anniversary of September 11th is marked by genuine remembrance and reflection, not by blind patriotism and kitsch worthy of the Manhattan Mall. We shouldn't need plastic flags and TV specials to help us remember. As President Bush was quoted as saying on December 11th, "In time, perhaps, we will mark the memory of September 11 in stone and metal, something we can show children as yet unborn to help them understand what happened on this minute and on this day. But for those of us who lived through these events, the only marker we'll ever need is the tick of a clock at the 46th minute of the eighth hour of the 11th day."

originally posted by me at Fire & Ice

Tuesday, September 10, 2002

Another interesting item

I recieved an email reply from the mayor of Portland. Very politely done.

An egg off the ol' ovary

My daughter asked me yesterday about the new commercials on TV that depict a world where books, newspapers, and religious gatherings are banned or severly restricted. She asked me what they were about. I told her that I beleived that these were ads from groups protesting the so called Patriot Act that would abridge the guarenteed rights and privileges of the Bill of Rights in the name of fighting terrorism. She was very upset about what I told her. I sent her to several web sites to do some reading before I went off to work. When I came home, this is what she had written.

"I am Amelia Margaret Mason and I am 16 years old. I wrote this because I am worried about what the government is doing. I am too young to change things myself, but I hope that you who are reading this can do something about it. I am greatly concerned because I feel that from now on there is the possibility that the world that I will soon be entering will cease to be a free one.

What are the first things that came to mind when you ask someone my age why someone from another country would come here. They would probably say freedom of speech and freedom of religion. There are also many other things that make America special and different from other countries. I think that the terrorists do not like the freedom we have in our country or are some how jealous that they can’t have the same freedom. I think they do things like the atrocity of 9/11 because they think it could take our freedom away by scaring us.

That didn’t work on the citizens of the United States. But they scared the government. Now the government is scared enough to try to pass a bill called The Patriot Act. This act gives the president a lot of power to decide things without a vote. This may help some time, but I think it could lead to some very bad problems. From what I have hear and read the president is not really competent enough to make these kind of decisions properly by himself. From what I can tell he is more concerned with politics than the welfare and rights of the majority of the citizens of America. Also, this act takes away some of the most basic rights that we have: the freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and freedom of assembly. Without these basic rights America would be like any other country that we fight against. In effect the government is carrying out the terrorists work for them.

I hope that the adults that read this can vote and try to stop this so that when my friends and I grow up we will have a country we can be proud of and happy in."

I was truely amazed. So much so that I felt it was important to let her share her opinion. I think I would have sworn yesterday morning that the only things on her mind were clothes, makeup, Pink, and the boy next door. I really enjoy being that wrong. What a kid.

Men, depression, relationships, families, and two good books

I'm in the process of reading two excellent books by Dr. Terrence Real, a family therapist and author about whom Jeneane Sessum has been posting. And so I'm dedicating my next few posts on my own blog to sharing information from these books. Given what I've been reading here and in the personal blogs of some of our Blog Sisters, the information that Dr. Real is sharing is very relevant. If you don't have time to read the books, read my posts, so far here and here. Stay tuned for more.

Monday, September 09, 2002


Right now my son cannot express his emotions physically so he does them physically.
That sentence should read ====Right now my son cannot express his emotions verbally so he does them physically.

Let me explain

I guess I should have explained my point a little more. Like I said my son is only 21 months and at this age he is naturally attached to his mother. Especially when his father is hardly ever around and when he is around he tends to get very annoyed very quickly with Dalton. I am not going to allow my son to act like this forever. When he gets older--around 5 or so--I hope to enroll him into some self-defense classes such as karate or something of that nature. That way he can learn all the wonderful benefits of that art. But for right now, since he cannot talk I feel safe knowing that if a stranger touches him he can make a scene and get other peoples attention that hopefully would alert them and myself. He doesn't understand the difference between a stranger and a friend right now. As he gets older he will start to understand the difference between good strangers and bad strangers and right and wrong. I didn't mean to make it sound like my son is glued to my hip 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Or that he is throwing a fit and biting everyone in sight. He's not. He just doesn't like complete strangers touching him and I do not try to make him think its okay for strangers to do that. When he recognize people he does allow them to pick him up and cuddle with him--if he wants them too. No one should do anything to you that you don't want them too. He is just very weary of strangers and happens to be very forceful when he shows it. At this age that's all he can do since he can't say "hey put me down." As he gets older I am sure he will replace the screaming and biting with , "No, don't touch me." I also don't just sit there and let Dalton throw a fit or anything and then say nothing about it. I am trying to teach my son to associate those fits with the words, "No, don't touch me please." And when people do try to pick him up he does say "No!" and shakes his head a lot of the times. Those people who still pick him up or touch him are the ones he bites. Just because he is a toddler doesn't mean he can't have a say in when someone touches him. My mother did the same thing with me and my 3 siblings and I don't believe any one of us turned out with anymore problems then everyone else. You teach different things at different stages of life. Right now my son cannot express his emotions physically so he does them physically. I believe that allowing my son to express his feelings the only way he knows how (physically) will help him to learn that its okay to feel how you feel and to express them when you feel them. Not to keep them bottled up inside. He is only 22 months--I still have a whole lifetime of lessons to teach him.

let it flow.

I have something on my mind and I'm wondering where the Blog Sisters stand on the issue. I have been, for my past 4 or 5 menstrual cycles, using washable, rather than disposable products to collect the flow. I first became curious about washable menstrual pads through the many ads for them in 2 of my favorite magazines, Bitch and BUST. For years, I did nothing but wonder, who out there would have the time, to say nothing of the desire, to wash out blood-soaked rags throughout their cycle. Especially those women with heavy flow. We're talking washing out pads maybe 4 or 5 times a day, over the course of 3 to 7 days. Aren't disposable tampons and pads a revolution in themselves, liberating so many women from the endless drudgery of scrubbing that our foremothers endured? Isn't that the definition of "better living through chemistry?"

Then I started reading. I was alarmed, and then increasingly horrified to realize something that should have been obvious: that the dioxins and other chemical agents used to bleach paper products, substances that I know are harmful to the environment, are the same toxic chemicals used to bleach tampons and disposable pads that I would regularly wear close to the most delicate area of my body during my period. Further reading turned up evidence of links between tampon use and diseases such as endometriosis. The more I read, the more I thought, I need to get over my squeamishness and my wanting to avoid extra time with my handwashing. In addition, I thought about the sheer volume of menstrual trash that would be eliminated by my ceasing to use tampons and throwaway pads. For that reason alone, I thought, I should at least give washable menstrual pads a try.

Now that I've done it for several months, I know I'll never go back to my disposable ways. They're comfortable, they don't have that nasty plastic liner to deal with in your panties, they're safe and - the big bonus - they're incredibly cute! You can go to
Lunapads, the Rag Hag, or Urban Armor to see for yourself. My question is, do any of the Blog Sisters use these products, and how do you like them? I have brought up my newfound love of them to a few friends, progressive ladies all, and the responses have been mostly mild curiousity. I currently don't know anyone personally who also washes their pads (unless they just haven't told me yet!). I do have some links to purveyors of the pads displayed quietly on my blog under the heading "good for the planet."

I'd be interested to hear your responses. Also, if this topic has been raised in a previous discussion, then please point me in the direction of the archives and I'll read there happily.

This is my first time here, and I'm honored to be a new Sister. Thanks.

BOO HOO, The Miss American Pageant gets another black eye!

The Miss America pageant has taken yet another blow in the controversy over the two North Carolina contestants as reported by the Associated Press (pity, pity). Since I have a problem with the silliness of this whole beauty pageant thing anyway, I find it even more annoying to have this be such a focus of attention (so here I am giving it more attention.)

So what -- Rebecca Revels former boyfriend Tosh Welch snapped a couple of photos of her in the nude (now isn't that just horrible?) The pageant parades women around showing off their tushes, legs and boobs in bathing suits and gowns as part of the competition, but it's a NO NO for the women to be naked with their boyfriends -- naughty, naughty. I feel like I'm in a time warp, REALLY!

I don't like or watch the pageant, but I say three cheers for Rebecca. If anybody has to win the stupid thing, I hope she does bare chest and all. And to make the pageant more palatable, I'd like to see her moon the judges during the promenade.

Sunday, September 08, 2002

Biting is okay in my book

This is in response to D.C's comment about child safety--the comment button is missing again.

I believe in telling my son the truth about everything. Grant it, he will only be two this Christmas Eve and really doesn't understand a word I say to him but I am already teaching him things that will help to keep him safe. My son thinks his name is PFFFFFFF. I taught him to stick his tongue out at people and make that raspberry sound when they ask him his name. A friend of the family came over to met him and when he did that to her she told me that she thought it was rude. I then informed her that while she is a friend most people that come up to little child and ask them their names have no business talking to them. If they want to know his name they need to ask me, not my son.
I also make it a habit not to let people hold my son or pick him up. Now when someone wants to pick him up or cuddle with him he screams and yells and throws a fit and comes running to me or his daddy. Of course, so many people have told me that he is spoiled and I am sure it hurts their feelings but I don't care. He knows no one is suppose to hold him but mommy or daddy. He knows that if someone picks him up its okay to kick and scream and even bite. These are the little things I can do now that can help keep him safe.
My son is also a biter. At first I thought it was a bad thing, until one day we were at Walmart and my sister-in-law happen to be there. She had a friend with her and of course as soon as she saw Dalton she tried to scoop him up in her arms and hug him. Dalton responded by biting her on the shoulder, hard. She of course put him down really quick and my little boy came running over to me. The woman looked at me like I was supposed to say sorry or something. I am not going to apologize to someone who picks up a child they do not know and then expects me to punish him when he bites her. She shouldn't have touched him.
Children get so many mixed messages these days. Don't talk to strangers but be respectful of your elders--to kids everyone is an elder.
I plan to teach my son to be respectful to himself. If an adult touches him that he doesn't know I want him to bite them and hit them and get away from them. If I know the person then I can explain to them why he does that. If I don't know the person they shouldn't be touching my child in the first place. That same person who just wants to give your little one a hug could also be that same person who wants to pick him up and take off with him before you have a chance to blink. I would much rather explain to someone the reasons for my son's "bad behavior" then have to explain to the police what my baby looks like and how long he has been missing.

Thursday, September 05, 2002

Woah! Wanna know something weird?

I now can look at stats for my blog. I've only had this particular blog address for a month, but I still thought it would be fun to look. The stat program can tell me the most common words people put into a search engine when they find my blog. They say that 46.6% of the people who found my blog with a search engine had typed in the words

"hijab pakistan"


Of all the websites in the world why would those words trigger a link to my BLOG???? MY blog?????

I finally got a decent blog!

After looking and looking and looking I found that the perfect blog-creating software/hosting was under my nose-- it was the Page Builder program through Geocities. (Sorry, Blogspot people, but they are waaaay easier!)

Blog Sisters, please check it out and tell me how it looks on your computers. You can click on my name on the list to the left of this page or cut n' paste

Technical Difficulties

I have tried to follow the directions and suggestions given to me in help and from your comments as well, but still have had no success in posting links. Is it possible that I need an updated version of explorer? Any ideas?

Wednesday, September 04, 2002

How do I make someone an administrator?

Can anyone help me with this? I am moving my blog to Blogger from geocities, and I signed up my "alter ego" as another administator. Or at least, I thought I did! But I can't figure out how to do it! "Help" is no help!

Have you ever? Of course I have.

I wrote this recently because I'm hyper-sensitive about what I look like now and what I will look like then. It's a natural phenomenon, right? I'm not vain for worrying what my appearances look like when my insides are all cancered up. Right.

Here's the thing, I made a big stink about the reaction the Boy had to Jerry Lewis' physical change. Yeah, he gained weight. 45 pounds from medication to be exact. I'm a bit more sensitive especially since I thought my eating disorder days were over. Then in the past couple of years, it's starting to slowly act up again. I wasn't hiding my eating habits more so because I didn't care. I just cared about not throwing up on myself with the smell of certain things such as bagaong that I usually love eating, it's just the smell I couldn't handle.

When the Boy expressed his shock tonight, I freaked out. It doesn't help that I've been secretly hiding the fact that I only eat decent meals when we're together. He caught on weeks ago he said, he just didn't say anything until last night. What the hell am I supposed to so say? Admit that I hate eating real meals when I'm alone because it just isn't the same? That I can only eat when there's at least one person around me? I end up getting so hungry I graze all day on fruits and crackers, and yes I haven't learned my lesson because my cravings for junk food are even stronger than ever.

Now that my nearby future just might bring me back to my weekly diet of saltines and peanut butter (I survived my second round on this stuff), I wonder what the Boy will say to that. If I lose/gain a significant amount, will he freak out the same as he did tonight? I'm a thousand times even more self conscious now that I've seen a glimpse of his reaction. He's in for a disturbing sight, especially since the last cycle had me with skin rashes, globs of hair everywhere else but my head, nausea, moody, sleeping marathons, and last but not least this major depression. Depression not because I am battling breast cancer but because I won't look the way I wanted to: good.

Tuesday, September 03, 2002

A Random Observation

I just posted this to my blog, and I thought I would share it here:

A Random Observation:

Right now every other country in the world is against a US invasion of Iraq, while our government, and many Americans, favor an invasion. Isn’t this backwards? Military action against Iraq could hurt our high-tech industries in the same way they were hurt by the Gulf War, and many US soldiers might die for a negligible return. You would think WE would be saying, “Ummm…. this is not the best idea” and the REST of the world would be saying, “All RIGHT! The US is going to get rid of that troublemaker!”

A comment from the father of my offspring

He left this poem he wrote as a comment on my weblog. I think it deserves repeating here.

Little girls are nice
but we do them wrong
fussing with their hair and dressing them up
like dolls --
teaching them from the start
they are playthings.
Better we should feed them
words and numbers and tools
to remind them
that before women, they are people.
Teach them love and caring and nurture, yes,
but not as the entirety of their being,
else those qualities become walls and prisons.
Give them, as well, wings
and teach them to fly --
in case later in life
someone builds walls around them.
Little girls are nice,
but daughters who are their soaring selves
are better.

A Loss For Words

This afternoon on Fresh Air, I heard this editorial about the vocabulary of "welfare mothers." Apparently, several sources have been misinterpreting a study about the vocabularies of three year old children of welfare families versus the children of affluent families. The misquote was "A 3-year-old child in an affluent family has a larger working vocabulary than the mother of a 3-year-old from a welfare family." And Nunberg (the author of the editorial) discusses how this misrepresentation of the facts could come about. Although I found the editorial to be at times a little high and mighty, the closing portion that I'm quoting here really summed it up nicely:

Now I don't think that the Administration education honchos who have been repeating the claim about welfare mothers' vocabularies set out to deliberately distort Hart and Risley's research. My guess is that none of them actually read the study -- this has the sound of one of those third-hand factoids that are always making their way around the scientific grapevines. But even so, it's telling that they found this a credible sound-bite. Whether you're disparaging the vocabularies of welfare mothers or the Cherokee, the claim always carries an unfortunate tone of condescension. It's easier to ignore people's voices when you've decided they couldn't possibly have one.

I think this goes along with what an ongoing discussion I've been participating in about racism and sexism in the media. It's very easy to assume these ridiculous assertions are true when there are few representatives present to refute them, or few who have the energy to do any refuting.

Sunday, September 01, 2002

Interesting take on gender difference

I found this very relevant passage in a "trashy" novel I just finished reading that gave me a kind of "Aha!" Here's the condensed passage: (It's a novel written by a woman about a novel that's being written by a man.)

"Women readers aren't turned on by nice heroes any more than male readers lust after heroines who are too virtuous. There should be a hint, maybe at least a promise, of corruptibility."

"You don't have to worry about Roark in that regard. Women readers will love him.... He's very male. His responses are intinctually masculine. He looks at everying in a sexual context first, before expanding his viewpoint to include other factors, like morality...... He declined her invitation to have sex, demonstating that he knows where the lines of decency are drawn."

It seems to me that the same concept is often true in the non-fiction world. Men and women start out from different sexual/emotional places. And, if they're "evolved" enough, expand their viewpoints so that their attitudes can meet up somewhere in the middle. Whaddya' think?

Feminism's many flavors

Click here, scroll down a bit and find a well-balanced, engagingly written treatise on feminism(s). The writer explains at length the characteristics of the various types of feminism. No, not all "feminists" are alike, despite the stereotype that persists that all women seeking equal treatment have to be bra-burning ball-busters. An excerpt from the post:

Just because I choose to embrace my femininity does not mean that I'm any less effective a feminist. I just happen to believe that only when society accepts femininity and womanhood on par with masculinity and manhood, learning to value both equally, will equality truly come into effect.

That's one approach. It happens to be mine, too. There's nothing wrong with being feminine but at the same time demanding respect. Femininity has been portrayed as a weakness--as a quality of the "weaker" sex or of "sissy" men. Historically men have derided "female" qualities in their effort to assert power, even though many of these qualities, if embraced, could easily make the world a happier place.

And no, feminists don't all hate men. Men, feeling threatened by the word "feminism" because their impression of it is the one always replayed by the media--the one of bras aflame--often interpret it as an attack on their maleness. Although there are certain schools of feminism that spurn the male and assert that the female is superior, that's not the healthiest way to go about it, in my opinion. Feminists who embrace aggression toward males to get their point across aren't any better than the men who behave aggressively back. The fairer approach is not necessarily to criticize, but to educate the world about women's inherent worth--worth that should be recognized with equal regard in whatever women want to be, be it a mother or a doctor or a soldier or a teacher.

What to do with teenagers when roller skating gets old? SkyZone!

As the mother of a teenage daughter, figuring out activities that give ME a break, are nearby, don't involve computers and cell phones...