Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Noah's Wish

I just heard about this organization while listening to Associated Press reports of Katrina's devastation to Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

What they do is evacuate all the animals they can before the natural disaster and then round up all the survivors they find afterwards. Visit their website and seriously consider donating some money; animals need help during times like these, too.

Oh, from what I can gather, they don't just help dogs and cats: sometimes its a horse, cow, etc.

I can't provide a link to the news coverage but I can get you closer to the page.

Click on Mississippi: At Center of Storm. It should bring up a separate window of Most Watched. Click on Hurricane Katrina, which is underneath Most Watched. Scroll until you see some dogs and 2 people in deep water and watch Founder and Director Terri Crisp tell you what they are doing there now.

Note: I am also happy to report that the woman who was going to ride out the storm on a friends Shrimp Boat with her 3 year old daughter is fine! Yay!
Keep reading....

Monday, August 29, 2005

Non-friend S. responds

And I thought about posting her lengthy response here on my blog, but lucidity struck and I figured that might not be fair to her, though it would let you know both sides of the story for sure.

I had originally posted about Non-friend S. here ("you know the old cliche'" which will be archived as soon as I post this) and let out how angry I was at her. Given her response, it quickly became apparent that she still reads my blog. It also quickly became apparent that she was reading it because she didn't (and still doesn't) think she did anything wrong to provoke these feelings in me; that I'm simply overreacting.

How nice of a woman friend to deduce rational objection as over-reacting, eh?

So she rehashed the old shit I mentioned on my blog not realizing I mentioned it all here in order to give readers' a history. I wasn't attempting to dredge it up and out any longer, just merely proving the past offenses.

What has gotten me hot this time is blatant misreading of what I originally wrote.

For example, I wrote the below paragraph somewhere in the middle of the original post:

What kind of friend tells you that blogging, writing letters (not the ones you click and send though sometimes they are easier), volunteering at a husky rescue and the YWCA, going to school full-time, raising an almost 6 year old full-time and commuting appx 3 hours every single fucking day isn't enough "activism?" Oh, did I mention the work I do running her around on errands while I'm here in Richmond or during the semesters for the organization we belong to called VOX (the VCU chapter)?

And then I wrote this sentence at the very end of that same post:

And most importantly, I'm just tired of not being appreciated for what I've already done and/or contributed to this new movement. I'm only one person and I can do but so much.

How does she respond to both those statements you ask?

As for appreciating you driving to and from Richmond and raising a 6 year old everyday, why should I or anyone else thank you for this? How exactly is this activism? If it was the world would be a much better place everytime someone became a parent. You choose to do this. You also live rent-free with your parents. You are very lucky to have supportive parents. I don't have parents but I'm not asking for anyone's appreciation or pity over this or over the fact that I'm currently unemployed yet still paying rent and bills off of the little financial aid I can get (which is less than half the amount you get).

I don't remember asking for appreciation for being a parent, but merely for my time that is dedicated to being a parent 45 min north of Richmond. Not exactly a prime location for doing "activism" when I feel the need to satisfy that urge. But more importantly, what I wanted appreciation for was the stuff I've already done, not for the fact that I, in her opinion, still haven't done enough.

What I also find amazing is that right in that paragraph she mentions her unemployment status (began in May) but yet all summer blew 100's of dollars on chairs, plants, dirt, etc. Shoulda planned better in my opinion. But I stayed out of it because it was none of my business.

I've even tried breaking down my financials for her to no avail, so I'll try it again.

$436 and some change every 2 weeks. $200 now goes to gas. That's $400 a month! And she wants me to drive to Richmond whenever she says Activism? WTFever.

Let's not forget $150 in car insurance, $80 for daycare, school clothes, credit card bill, school trips/supplies, school lunches....lest I go on? With all this spelled out for her, perhaps she will understand why driving to Richmond these days is such a big deal. I've been shelling out $42 every 4 days so that I can live rent free and have those supportive parents. I still need to buy groceries. I still need to feed Peanut and myself. That doesn't come free.

I think what really pisses me off is having to explain myself to a supposed friend. I've thought long and hard about my reaction to Non-Friend S., wondering if good friends T., C., and L. would treat me like this and if they did, would I react in the same way.

The funny thing is, I wouldn't have to worry about my reaction because no, they wouldn't tell me that what I'm doing isn't enough because they have the forsight and working knowledge of empathy to realize that each individial does what they can when they can do it.

And most importantly, I wouldn't have to explain nor justify myself to them. That's what good friends do for each other.

Update: Now my true personality and "nastiness" are coming out and she sees me for who I really am. Because, like, I haven't been consistent or anything over the past year. Wouldn't you figure out who someone truly is much quicker than 1 year? Or perhaps when you see the other side of a personality, the nasty side turned on you, would you think to question what had happened to change said person into nastiness? Not Non-Friend S.!

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Thursday, August 25, 2005

Abuse in military schools?

Seriously? You sure they aren't just "being boys?"

Oh, you mean a separate task force finally realized the female cadets of the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs were telling the truth?! Geewillikers.

And someone finally began to listen to all the, "When women are devalued, the likelihood of harassing and even abusive behavior increases" voices? Amazing I tell ya.

Here are some of the few recommendations to fix the problem, and they are definitely good ones which I hope they actually try:

• Increase the number of women on faculties and in student bodies. About 15% of cadets and midshipmen are female.

• Pass criminal rape laws for the military similar to those of many states. Current military laws "do not reflect the full range of contemporary sexual misconduct," including cases that don't involve physical force.

• Add history of women in uniform to the curricula, including why women are excluded from combat.

The article states that more than 4 dozen recommendations were made to rectify this distressing problem. 4 dozen recommendations people!! That means the academies have got to be in sorry shape to have 48 suggestions made to include women and hold harassers responsible. They shouldn't be needing any and taken care of the abuse when it first started being reported instead of sweeping it under the proverbial rug and hoping it would take care of itself.

They even suggested stopping the use of alcohol on school property. If any of you have ever been around someone in the military, drinking is definitely something they do best. It's almost as if the military breeds alcoholism they drink so much (having come of age in Virginia Beach, bars were full of military assholes).

So it's nice to see they didn't let this issue die out and instead, investigated the shit out of it. So much so, they found out at least 50% of women cadets have been harassed, most verbally, but too large a number sexually to be ignored.

Now hopefully, they don't ignore this report and begin to seriously fix the problem.
Keep reading....

Baby Monkeys

My friend Joe would probably get a kick out of this: 2 baby monkeys were saved in Rio de Janeiro after their mother was hit by a car. They are no bigger than a human thumb and run high on the cute meter!
Keep reading....

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


I'll let this speak for itself:

Over 300 coordinated explosions through 63 of a country's 64 districts within an hour, an estimated 100 injuries, a miraculously low two casualties. It's the kind of story that would have drowned out all other noise in the media short of another 9/11 had it happened in the US. Or to a more "important" nation, however you choose to define that word. But it happened in Bangladesh. So the only people paying attention are analysts who realize that the poor and densely populated Muslim-majority country may be going from secular to Islamist without the resources to fight the terrorism virus.

Quiet Bangladesh Woken by Bombs
Battling Bombs in Bangladesh


Update on arrests made.
Keep reading....

Tuesday, August 23, 2005


The following stories are far more blogworthy than people running over one another, peeing on themselves or losing their flip flop for a $50 iBook.

First, I enjoyed waking up to the story of Pat Robertson's big mouth opening too far once again. He makes common mistakes like this much too often and yet he still has people following him around blindly.

So the question is begging to be asked, I'm sure: should our "operatives" go ahead and take "[Chavez] out" to "get it over with"? It would, after all, "be a lot cheaper than starting another war."

"Venezuela is the fifth-largest oil exporter and a major supplier of oil to the United States. The CIA estimates that U.S. markets absorb almost 59 percent of Venezuela's total exports." (source)

Maybe we will be getting involved because we can't lose that precious oil. Chavez has also become very anti-Bush, accusing Bush of attempts to topple his government as well as to assasinate him. Since we get so much oil, that we won't want to lose, from Venezuela AND Chavez doesn't seem to like Bush much, I'm sure we'll be finding a way to do invade yet another country. You know, because our troops aren't spread thin already helping to keep *America free* and all that in a $200billion war (has Pat been reading the same economic sources that I have?).

On a greater note, and I wish grander scale, parental rights were redefined in California, holding same-sex couples reponsible for their children in cases of separation or disintegration of the relationship and granting rights to 2nd moms/dads to be just that, on paper, too.

"The California Supreme Court on Monday became the first in the nation to grant full parenting rights and obligations to gays and lesbians who have children."

I think it's exciting because it's yet another step closer to full equal rights under the (quickly becoming) outdated laws. Justice Carlos Moreno stated that parental rights go both ways: gay/lesbian couples have a right to be legal daddies/mommies, but they also have a responsibility to support their children if the relationship falls apart, just as in any instance dealing with a heterosexual couple.

This ruling has certainly pissed some people off - especially all those nuts who think a woman and man exist only to "participate in the miracle of procreation". Yeah, because a woman giving birth is miraculous now. Oh wait, Randy Thomasson wasn't talking about the woman giving birth to said fetus, he was merely mentioning the act of procreation itself as being awe-inspiring. Duh. Somehow I had forgotten that this is what has been happening since the beginning of time, way before Adam and Eve showed up. We just know how it happens now.

And when a 15 year old girl doesn't respond to your whistles, barking and otherwise "meaningless" cat calls?

Beat the shit out of her.

This happened last Tuesday in Spotsylvania County, which is not far from where I live. Thankfully, a co-worker saw what had begun to transpire and came to the young girls rescue.

She suffered a fractured cheekbone, a broken nose and had to have 30 stitches in her face and head.

Ramirez, who is an illegal from El Salvador, is being held in jail without bond. I'm thinking the culture he came from breeds, in their men, a certain amount of expectation when it comes to women, so perhaps that is where some of his anger came from. But, break the rules, pay the price, no matter what country you are in.

I really like this article from the Washington Times today: Efforts aim to show men how to be '24-7' dads.

I have a problem, a huge one, with Peanut's dad. Last year he came to Peanut's first day of Kindergarten then proceeded to tell me how I needed to run my days although he's not ever been involved in our lives before (or since). I try to give R. updates on Peanut but he tells me he only needs to know what Peanut tells him (then complains when he has to *ask* me for information).

When kindergarten was over, they supposedly had some sort of program, but it wasn't graduation. R. bugged me for 3 days wondering what time and day the program was. After telling him several times that I didn't know (it wasn't that important as I knew I couldn't go), I yelled into the phone for him to call the school himself if he needed to know that bad. He didn't.

R. doesn't buy school supplies for Peanut. I asked him on Sunday to take Peanut to Target or K-Mart to get a bookbag and lunchbox but I doubt it will happen. He's only interested in buying Peanut toys or video games.

I also found out that Peanut has 3 pairs of shorts and 4 t-shirts for his 2 week stays with his dad. No socks. And only the underwear I had given him because somehow Peanut's drawer began to overflow with Buzz Lightyear, The Incredibles, Spiderman, the Hulk and even a Harley or two.

R. once told me that being involved meant he took Peanut every other weekend like he's supposed to when he could easily have walked away like my niece's father did. In that same breath, he also told me I should give him respect because of the fact he's still around.

Like Mr. Muslim (from the link) said, "When fathers tell [him] that they take their children to school the first day or they take their children to the park for the afternoon, he retorts, 'You don't get points for that. That's what you're supposed to do.'"

R. doesn't get respect for sticking around and making my life hell too often. He would, however, get the respect if he were actually involved in Peanut's life and tried to understand what our lives might be like just a mere 2 hours away from him.

But he doesn't. He pays his $200 a month in child support and thinks that takes care of everything.
Keep reading....

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

A few things....

It's about time a large anti-war movement started. Of course, Cindy Sheehan is being blamed for it by Bush's wackos'.

Let us not forget Why mothers push for peace, either.

Then there is Voices of Choice, thanks to Jill over at feministe.

And have you been reading Twisty lately? You really must. It's well worth unlazying yourself to click on the link.
Keep reading....

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Stampede in Virginia

This is the message my Special Friend left on my voicemail earlier today:

"You didn't tell me there was a stampede this morning. If you are going to blog about anything, this would be it!

He was referring to the iBook sale at the Richmond International speedway this morning. 1,000 iBooks were on sale for Henrico residents only, since it was their tax dollars who paid for the iBooks to be used in the school system 4 years ago.

I don't think people pushing, shoving and trying to kill each other over 1,000 $50 iBooks is blog-worthy because its just stupid rude ass people that are getting violent to begin with.

But apparently it made the national news since the Associated Press picked it up first and it's on yahoo!'s main page. Interesting.

Update: it made the front page of the Times-Dispatch in Richmond today. You really should click on the 3 video and 1 slideshow links to watch the madness unfold. One couple's toddler was in a stroller that you will see as a demolished lump of green in the slideshow. Thank goodness for the father's quick reflexes because, on the news last night, he told of how he had to yank her out before she, too, was trampled.

This reminds me of the time I tried to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade live in downtown Manhattan. We were getting there and Peanut was on the back in one of those backpack carrying things for kids. He had just turned 1 two months before. We ended up (well, mostly me since I'm the mom) getting severly pissed off because people were pushing us, even with Peanut on the back of my then bf. I remember whirling around at one point, cursing the people pushing and telling them to back the fuck off my son. We didn't stick around as I didn't want to end up with a crushed kid. On our way out, another dad was following close behind us carrying his daughter, who was bawling, in front of him (which is where we quickly placed Peanut, too). She had gotten smooshed, too, and didn't like it one bit so the dad was doing what we were: leaving.

People can be such ruthless assholes even when there isn't much need to be. Yesterday, RIR started off with 4 cops but in a matter of minutes brought in 60 more. Given by some of the shots/interviews on the news last night, total chaos ensued for a chance at $50 iBooks.

Gimme a fucking break people. They aren't worth killing someone over!
Keep reading....

Cindy Sheehan

She only wants to meet with the President in order to speak with him about his lies. It really wouldn't take long as he would smirk, then say things such as, "I understand," or "I can imagine how you must be feeling," when really, he has no fucking clue. He dodged the Vietnam War big time, has 2 daughters that have not even dreamed of entering into military service and it rich off oil beyond what any President should be.

So it's really not a surprise he moved Ms. Sheehan's camp a few miles down the road from Bush's camp - all the better to not see her on a daily basis.

Now Ms. Sheehan's husband has filed for divorce, which is most often the case with the death of a child. But I can't help but wondering if her anti-war protest has a little something to do with the decision to separate as I imagine it could cause higher tensions in an already unstable household.

I remember the mom in Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11, where, despite Moore being so very wrong about Terry Nichols, he captured this mother's pain and grief exceptionally well. And she allowed him to.

So many more mothers' have become skeptical of this "war" and have been speaking out for a while now. However, Ms. Sheenan's protest camp is the one to get the most attention and yet still be completely ignored by Bush and his administration.

At the bottom of the article regarding Ms. Sheehan's impending divorce, notice this:
Late Monday, a pickup truck tore through rows of white crosses that stretched about two-tenths of a mile along the side of the road at the Crawford camp. The crosses bore the names of fallen U.S. soldiers. No one was hurt.

Is to remember the fallen soldiers of America, who fought in a war they were not told the whole truth about, somehow unpatriotic? Is it a slap in their faces when the see real women and men died on foreign soil, alone, without their moms, dads, sisters, or brothers to comfort them in their last moments of life?

Actions such as that truck driver remind me of the hoopla over the photo where the caskets drapped in American flags were being transported on a cargo plane - and how quickly that photo was banned. Or of the program Nightline wanted to run, where Ted Koppel read the names of soldiers killed, roll call style, but 7 networks owned by Sinclair pulled it, saying it was politically motivated. Yep, remembering soldiers killed while "defending our country" is always politically motivated, isn't it?

Personally, I want to see everything, even if it means seeing pictures of civilian casualties (warning: very graphic and not for the weak), because then at least I know I'm getting the truth.

Then we need to ask ourselves: if we didn't like it happening to us, why on goddess's green earth would we do this to someone else, but worse?

Update: Look! Sheehan gets to move closer to Bush's favorite vacation spot and right across the street from his church!

And check out this essay from another mom and son who are also with Sheehan. Celeste Zappala and Dante Zappala are there because of Sgt. Sherwood Baker, killed in Iraq in 2004; he was Celeste's son, Dante's brother.

My dad was in the Navy for 24 years and went to the Med during the 1981 mission. We kept our christmas tree up until May that year because he had been gone for well over 6 months. My dad was gone a lot, but retired when I was about 14 or so. Looking back on it all now, I remember how much my mom missed him. They still have some tapes they sent back and forth to each other because, as they said, sometimes they just needed to hear each others voices. Email, nor all that video conferencing stuff, didn't exist back then. The video feeds were only used on holiday such as christmas and thanksgiving and it wasn't a video feed like it is now: everyone said their peace on the same tape, then it was airlifted to the seaman.

Every single day while he was out that year, I was glued to the news. Everytime we met my dad at the pier, I worried that he fell overboard or had been forgotten wherever they had ported last. It didn't help that everyone looks the same when they are all wearing the same exact thing.

I've experienced the longing and waiting for a loved one to return home. Living in Virginia Beach, you get to see many other wives/husbands/children doing the same thing over and over again: waiting.

But my dad was mostly safe on a ship out in the oceans/seas. He was inside, making sure everyone knew what the blips on the radar were. He wasn't on the ground, fighting at checkpoints, wondering if the shooting will ever stop. He was insulated and I never on a daily basis did I have to worry about him dying.

So I want the troops home, too, but mostly because there are people back here that are missing them very much and driving themselves sick with worry.

Then there are those who have already suffered a loss, such as Ms. Sheehan and those who are with her now, a loss that was easily preventable by our CinC (Commander in Chief).
Keep reading....

Monday, August 15, 2005


I was just taking a gander at the different searches that were conducted by some sick people where my blog turned up. The three most disturbing have got to be: "black men impregnating white women," "how to rape," and "fuck mom."

Still not as good when I found someone had done a search for "VFW Porn" to which I had started freaking out, wondering if my dad had somehow found my post where I admited to finding his disgusting bondage porn.

Nope, VFW in this case did not stand for Veterans of Foreign Wars. Instead, it meant Veterans of Foreign Whores.

Not what I needed to know.

Oh, then there was this search: "encouraged miscegenation" OR "promoted miscegenation".

What in the hell are these people looking for?!

Thank heavens to hell the "how to rape" search came up with anti-rape sites or I'd be more worried.

Someone did a search on Rebkah Howard and look, I found Drum and his fellow tools were so nice to include Tamika Huston on their unwoman-friendly blog. He does get many more readers than I do so I guess I'll let it slide this time. But he only jumped on the bandwagon. Shouldn't he be mentioning the fact that the majority of missing persons are, in fact, black men?

This search, "high heels mud stuck car," just cracked me the hell up. After all, wouldn't you want to know whose high heels were mud-stuck in/with a car somewhere, too?
Keep reading....

talking to myself

Sometimes it seems that I am doing just that here on this wonderful blog of mine. But that's okay because it does me a world of good being able to put this stuff somewhere else other than my brain.

I've been working on that essay but my friend has yet to give me the book I need to cite and reference soooo, it's still a work in progress so-to-speak. I've been on her butt to get it from her parents house and admonished her for packing up such an important book that wasn't even hers. I then told her that I really wanted it so I can write the essay before school begins and that I'll most likely need it for my other 2 classes as well.

I'm hoping I get the book the next time Peanut's dad and I do "the switch" so I's can set to writin'. In the meantime, I'll be continuing my boredom by knitting scarfs/hats Pet Harbor to sell at their adoption events.

Oh yeah, and posting when interesting things come up.
Keep reading....

Friday, August 12, 2005


My Special Friend wants me to post on the Va Tech/Saudi Arabian school thing where they are ceding to the Saudi's by having gender-separate classrooms for the teachers but I'm just not in the mood. So here's one of the few links I can actually find on the issue; please entertain yourselves and leave comments as necessary.

Okay, so I will say one small thing because I just read this:
Eloise Coupey, an associate professor of marketing at the Virginia Tech, filed a complaint with the school Tuesday alleging the single-sex classes created a hostile environment for women.

I"m going to be completely honest here. How in the world is having a classroom with only women in it "creating a hostile environment?" If anything, it'd be much safer. Here in the U.S., men are required to have a modicum of respect for the women in their classes but in Saudi Arabi, the men aren't. So, again, I think it would be much safer.

Then I saw this:
"The presence of these segregated classes on campus indicates to me that the university doesn't place a strong enough value on women's rights," Coupey said Wednesday. "This makes me feel that the university holds me in less regard than my male counterparts."

They aren't separating the genders to be spiteful, they are separating them because Saudi Arabia is paying for the students (or teachers?) to take these classes at Tech and in their culture, women and men cannot be educated together.

I don't take offense to the genders being separate but that could also be baggage from bad experiences with having guys in certain women's studies/sociology classes of mine.

So that's my $.02. I wanna hear what others think on this issue and I do know you're all out there.

(Side note: I googled this same phrase last night and got nothing so I was shocked to see it make the WashPo today."
Keep reading....

you know the old cliche'

"Hell hath no fury than a woman scorned?" This is all me right now. It's also one thing you don't ever want to do to me: piss me the fuck off.

I don't mean angry, frustrated or irritated, I mean fully, totally and infuriatingly pissed off.

My friend S. recently asked me if I planned on doing any activism this summer. But she didn't ask me as a general inquiry or as part of her curious nature. She was being snarky because I turned down standing outside sweating like a pig (if they could) for 2 hours in the disgusting heat index of 100degrees just to get a few people to sign a petition at the Carytown Watermelon Festival.

Oh, did I mention that I'd have to drive 1 hour to get there first, then fight for a parking space for at least 20min?

Even after I told her that my asthma and extreme humidity don't go very well together, as in I could very well end up in the hospital due to an asthma attack, and that my lack of health insurance has required me to be way more careful with myself, she still insists I'm not doing enough and that all I do is talk, talk, talk with no action.

When she thought my name was on the list of volunteers for this festival, she emailed me to say that she was proud of me.

WTF kind of friend is this you ask?

A very bad one would be my response.

What kind of friend tells you that blogging, writing letters (not the ones you click and send though sometimes they are easier), volunteering at a husky rescue and the YWCA, going to school full-time, raising an almost 6 year old full-time and commuting appx 3 hours every single fucking day isn't enough "activism?" Oh, did I mention the work I do running her around on errands while I'm here in Richmond or during the semesters for the organization we belong to called VOX (the VCU chapter)?

Needless to say, she's not my friend anymore. Because this isn't the first time she's not seen what is in front of her very face.

The first incident is a relatively stupid one I think. We were both going through the volunteer training at the YWCA and I had Peanut for the 3rd week. What I ended up doing was driving him back home then heading back to Richmond for the session. (I live 45 north of Richmond so this required me to double my driving hours for those 2 days.) I was driving along then got to wondering if my friend S. would be expecting me to pick her up as I had the previous times but then thought she knew I was driving from home so was going to go straight to the meeting place.
But, good friend that I am, I decided to call her anyway just to make sure she knew I wasn't picking her up.

Nope, she had fully expected me to pick her up because, as she said during that conversation, it wasn't a problem the other times so she assumed I'd be doing it those last 2 days as well. She gave me a lot of grief about it actually and it irritated me. But I wasn't pissed off just yet.

So, I hung up irritated. I called her back maybe 10 min later to tell her to meet me in front of the library and to be ready because I wasn't waiting for her. She said okay so I thought things would work out.

While I was driving around trying to get to the library, she had called but I didn't hear my phone ring. Almost to her house, I just happened to look at my phone. Noticing she had called, I listened to my voicemail.

She had left a message telling me she had found a ride so don't worry about picking her up.

Now that pissed me the fuck off.

When someone calls you and says, "Ok, meet me here and I'll pick you up," and that person agrees, wouldn't you think they would no longer be looking for a ride?

Never has she apologized for that episode of miscommunication.

There was a 2nd incident that I can't remember the particulars of anymore. I think this latest one has blinded me to all else, lol. Maybe my Special Friend can remember since he's heard all this already. He even knows how to leave comments now, :).

My friend S. hasn't apologized for anything actually. Not the way she snarkily commented on my lack of "activism," not for finding a ride after I was already late, and not for whatever pissed me off after the 2nd incident.

I live by the 3 strikes rule and she's struck out.

What I have also noticed about my friend S., since I fight back, either she's not used to people fighting back or she just flat out doesn't like it.

She had put a Russell Pott's for Governor sign in her yard not too long ago but without asking her housemates (she had 4 others at the time). One of her housemates raised an objection, saying she found it offensive that S. didn't ask anyone else if it were okay to put the sign in the yard. I agreed with the housemate as I felt S. should have asked since it wasn't just her yard. She didn't like that too much, stating that she wanted the sign up to show her support for Potts and they'd just have to get over it.

I'm tired of being the voice in her ear reminding her that she has to take into consideration that people live their own lives how they feel they should live it. I'm tired of reminding her about empathy. And most of all, I'm tired of her forgetting about my job as Admin. Asst. and mom and that I commute while she has no kids, no bf's or husbands, no committments - not even a job - so she can volunteer as much as she wants. She lives less than 20 min from any "activist" oppourtunity. I don't.

And most importantly, I'm just tired of not being appreciated for what I've already done and/or contributed to this new movement. I'm only one person and I can do but so much.

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Wednesday, August 10, 2005

fresh cut grass

I love the smell. What's even better is when there is the scent of fresh cut grass combined with true clean air. It's a pleasant aroma, if you will, that can't be captured by even Yankee Candle. Now isn't that somethin'?

The cause for my fondness of fresh cut grass comes after my wonderful start to the day.

Today was one of those mornings that proves to me that I am indeed a good mom. Peanut and I woke up extra early because we were picking up a dog to bring to Richmond to get spayed. She needed to be at Prevent a Litter no later than 8am so that meant we needed to leave our house by 7am.

After we had dropped the dog off, I stopped him on the sidewalk before getting into the car to give him a hug. Sometimes I can just tell when he needs one. Giving the hug back Peanut said, "I'm going to miss Toya."

It's funny when he says he's gonna miss all these dogs we help transport because we have 3 dogs and 3 cats at home, yet they don't seem to be enough anymore.

I pulled him away to get a better look at his face (I have kneeled down onto the sidewalk to give him the hug). Then I said, "You know what this means?"
Him: "What?"
Me: "I'm making you into a dog lover - an animal lover - and that's great because you'll be nice to animals for a long time, even when you don't live with me anymore."
Him, smiling: "Yeah!"

Then Peanut and I headed off to have breakfast together. Not the usual meal where I'm rushing to fix his lunch, eating bites of my cereal in between telling him for the 4th time to eat his yogurt instead of staring at the tv. Or the rush to get his teeth and hair brushed.

Nope, we did what any mom/son should when presented with an extra hour and went to breakfast at a local restaurant.

He picked our seat, which is great fun for him. Of course he sat facing the tv since he had noticed they had the Today Show on. He recognized it because we wake up to it almost every morning; it connects me to the day.

The waitress came and asked us what we would like to drink. I have prompted Peanut to give his own drink/food orders to waitstaff because he's getting older now. He knows what he wants and he definitely has his own mouth in which to disperse certain demands.

When she brought his milk and my o.j., he said Thank You without my prompting. Naturally I beamed and told him what a great kid he was to say Thank You as it showed he had good manners.

His response: "I know. You're making me into a great boy, right?"

I wanted to cry. He'll be 6 on August 18, just days away. When he says stuff like that to me I just want to hug him and never let go. And he reiterated that yes, I am truly making him into a great boy.

Then he went on about how I'm making him into an animal lover, a mommy lover, a daddy lover, a nana/papa lover, a sister lover, a cousin lover and so on.

Then he started talking about forgetting to say Thank You sometimes and he needs to get better. I admitted that sometimes, I, too, forget to say Please and Thank You but have gotten a lot better about it since I make him do it so much.

The stinker looks right at me and says, while smiling, "You can't make me do anything I don't want to do."

I must have told him this phrase 100 times. It's what I tell him when he says something like, "Well Niece made me do it!" My usual rebuttal is the same my mom used to tell me, "No one can make you do anything. You have a choice the entire time."

So damn, he's been listening all along!

An older gentleman who had been dining by himself came up to us and also agreed that this had been a great bonding moment and that I would not forget this day ever. I love it when stuff like that happens, don't you?
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Monday, August 08, 2005

kid update

Friday nights 'round here are movie nights. We break out the popcorn, some sugary treats for the kids and watch a movie made especially for them. Us adults do nothing but sit and watch the movie with them (because, after all, that is the point).

Well, it seems that someone shot Peanut out of a rubber band this past Friday night as he was bouncing off every single wall.

So it was no surprise when he ran into the kitchen, jumped over to my mom and then proceeded to tell here that:

"At wuunka.com, there is a Golden Purrtunity waiting for you and me!"

Then bounced back out.

Later, he did the same dance and jig for me, adding in extra twirls. It was hilarious.

Then yesterday, we had decided to take a trip to the National Zoo. We park in Springfield and ride the Metro (subway) in because we're not that stupid and traffic/parking is a pain in the city, not to mention limited at the zoo itself.

The trip went relatively uneventful. Peanut let me put his hair back in a ponytail to ease the heat on him some since his thick dark hair only acts as an insulator.

On our way back Peanut and Niece were looking out the window at planes taking off from Reagan National Airport (we go by it) when the train bumped. Peanut must have hit his head because the next thing out of his mouth was, "Wow, that hurt the hell out of my head."

I asked him to repeat it for clarification.

Then I busted out laughing and tried to tell my sister. She asked if I thought laughing was gonna help. Of course not, but damn, I was soo not expecting that from his mouth.

So there I was, tattoed, pierced, black hair, knitting and my son said 'hell' and I didn't pull him through the wringer for it but laughed instead.

Yeah, I'm sure there were some people on that train condemning me to hell alright.

(flea and orange, these 2 incidents reminded me of your posts on cursing around kids and Ben being a better salesman than the commercials themselves.)
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huh, that's funny

First, we see news about Iran starting to make Uranium again, but they wouldn't be at the levels needed to actually make live nuclear warheads for 10 years (see previous post)....

And now we start to see things like this: Iran resumes atomic work; escalates crisis (heh, they should have used the word *fuels* instead of escalates).

I love it when I personally notice the hypocrisy and contradiction in our journalistic brothers and sisters.
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Re: Niger

Check out these blogs I found on Care2's website (or rather, were found for the rest of us):

Niger Watch
Beyond Niamey
Under the Acacias
Taimako Niger
Bloggers Unite for Africa
Global Voices Online

and lest we forget Make Poverty History, Save Darfur and any other organizations designed to fight the widespread poverty and hunger in Africa you shall now name.
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Friday, August 05, 2005

Space Shuttle

It's due for re-entry on Tuesday. They begin preparation for deorbiting Saturday then begin to deorbit Sunday. I'm sure the astronauts are nervous considering what happened to the last crew upon re-entry. Hell, I would be.

I've been keeping track of what the crew has been up to, but not so far as watching every video feed so I'm not that obsessed.

Mostly I'm just nervous and anxious for the crew and hope they will have a safe, uneventful return.
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Reparations, hunger and exporting prisoners

I was kinda excited when I read Repaying Segregation's Debt, an editorial in today's WashPo. I live here and still didn't realize these scholarships had been granted. I think it's a great idea and if anyone needs to make peace with their past, it would be Virginia. Well, Mississippi and Alabama rank a close second.

What I also found interesting is this:

In 1959, Mr. Woodley's own newspaper led the local chorus of opposition to integration, denouncing it as a communist plot against racial purity and the American way. Now the newspaper, under the same family ownership, has backed Mr. Woodley, and the state scholarships, to the hilt. That is a measure of Virginia's progress, and a credit to it.

I guess he changed his mind. Now, if he could only convince himself and others that gay women and men need to be treated as humans, too.

The hunger in Niger has reached pandemic proportions. But we've known that right? They say the public was notified too late and this plague was predicted 9 months ago. I think most of us have just been ignoring it, hoping they would be able to take care of themselves. After all, severe hunger and malnutrition isn't new to the African continent: Darfur, Rwanda, Congo. The only difference from those countries and Niger, is the latter is not at war with itself. As said on the news last night and this morning, it's not hard to access Niger and most of the world has more money/food than they know what to do with.

I keep coming back to the line: but we didn't know, we weren't told until it was too late (and by 'we' I mean the rest of the world). The ONE Campaign has been out in force trying to raise awareness about hunger and poverty. How could they not know? How could any of us not know?
And most importantly, how could we not feel the least bit empathetic as moms watch their children die a preventable death?

Finally we are getting rid of some detainees from the Guantanomo Bay prison, er, detention facility. Afghanistan of all places is going to take some at the urging of the U.S. Go figure. Maybe they will "escape" back to their families once there.

I love how words like exclusive and enemy combatants are in scare quotes within the article.

Oh, don't miss this:

"The Guantanamo issue is clearly a liability for the Bush administration, and emptying it has become a priority," said John Sifton, a specialist on Afghanistan and detainee issues at Human Rights Watch, an international monitoring group. "It's not a victory for human rights if a whole set of people deprived of their liberty are then moved to another place and continued to be deprived of their liberty unlawfully."

Yep, there is more to this move than just returning the detainees or trying to release some pressure from Guantanamo Bay.

Someone needs to impeach this man or seduce him into receiving oral sex and then lying about it. In front of a Grand Jury trial. Hurry!
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Thursday, August 04, 2005

When is the last time your local news station covered a missing woman who wasn't white?

That question comes up often for those of us who pay attention to these kind of things. I honestly can't remember the last time my local news (or the Today Show, Good Morning American, the Early Show, etc) plastered the face of a black, asian or hispanic/latina woman on our T.V. screens.

So I decided to google "black missing women" to see what I got and let me tell you, I'm not the only one who's asked this question. However, it seems that only random people are curious, not the people who matter (but we aren't surprised, are we?).

First I paid a visit to this page which led me to an article in July's issue of Essence, Have you Seen her?. On the website for Essence, the profiles and pictures of the young women who are still missing can be found.

But while missing African-American women like Tamika receive only spotty coverage, mostly on local broadcasts, seemingly headline-worthy names like Elizabeth Smart, Laci Peterson and Dru Sjodin scream at us in the national news.

When national news is carrying the story of a missing woman, especially female children, investigators might work harder and more diligently. Go figure. When Laci Peterson died, thousands of volunteers were out looking for her. When Jennifer Wilbanks decided to become a real life "Runaway Bride," her face was still being plastered all over news shows long after she was "found (and she's still on with rumors of their impending wedding on August 12th)."

Tamika Huston disappeared in May 2004, over a year ago. I had not seen her face before specifically googling "black missing women" and then being directed to the article from Essence magazine.

Even NPR did a piece on her, comparing her lack of importance to "runaway brides."

So why are white women more important than the varying shades of their sisters?

Rebkah Howard, Tamika's aunt, has this theory: "Broadcasters don't think the public will identify with their stories."

Since when did all women have to be white in order for us to be able to identify with their stories? A woman who is abducted, killed, raped or assaulted goes through very similar, if not exact, circumstances no matter what shade of skin she has.

Every one of us is born the same way: out of our mothers' wombs through their vaginas' (sometimes belly areas). Though each death is a different experience individually, we still all die the same. When a man chooses to abduct and kill his pregnant wife, strangling and then tossing her body into the river, he doesn't see a different skin color. He only sees a woman he no longer wants to deal with.

This business of not being able to identify with another woman's story simply because she isn't white like me is, well, abhorrent.

But I digress. That's not the real issue at hand you say. It's too simple an explanation. Perhaps the reason is more deeply rooted. Think back to our history of slavery, to how unequal black women and men were to begin with, and how a black woman's vagina often was an orifice the white man felt entitled to fill with his white misshapen penis, often impregnating her (Thomas Jefferson encouraged miscegenation as a means of ethnic cleansing). When a black woman went missing, no one cared because it just meant one less black woman they needed to worry about. Of course, if those women were slaves still owned by their masters, they sent the dogs out after her. But this was true of both men and women: they were property and the slave owners wanted their property rightfully returned to them (the story of Harriet Jacobs comes to mind).

I dislike bringing up the slavery argument again, but that's really where most of our segregation issues stem from, especially here in the Capitol of the Confederacy itself. We are an entire city built offthe lives of black people.

In my opinion, this theory actually goes hand-in-hand with Rebkah Howard's: we are a Eurocentric, heterocentric society who has forged their way into existence based on the oppression of other people. We have been taught that white is right. When a person of color dies a violent death (or at all), and we have already been taught that their experiences and culture are different from ours, it somehow makes sense that the decision-makers for the media think no one else would want to hear about it. Especially if those decision-makers are white. Not to mention the fact that somewhere out there, a white woman or man is sitting in front of the T.V. saying something like, "Who cares? Let 'em all kill each other that way they'll be one less n****r left in the world."

Because, after all, it's only black women who are on welfare. Or it's only black women who get pregnant at 15. Or it's only black women who stay in abusive relationships. Right? We want them to keep the devastation to themselves so no one can relate to their stories, not even other black women.

P.S. Here's a blog that has been discussing the racial/gender bias of coverage of missing persons in the media. It's pretty interesting.
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Wednesday, August 03, 2005

this evening

I just (well, not just but close enough) finished dinner at the Galaxy Diner with none other than the illustrious Jenniebee. She's been busy with this new job: she said they've definitely got her busy and not just with busy work.

Some of you out there in the blog world should come see the Capitol of the Confederacy. It really is pretty as long as you don't venture towards Broad Street. They are renovating it now, too, to make it prettier or something.
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Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Mortal Combat

So Bush says we're winning? 1800 soldiers doesn't seem like winning to me.

Of course, that number looks piddly compared to the 24000 to 30000 civilian casualties in Iraq.

Hoo Hum indeed.
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Might they be next?
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Monday, August 01, 2005


While leaving the gas station, I heard a radio commercial for PMDD: Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder.

Irritated I turned the channel while saying, "Argh. Just what we need...."
Peanut piped up from the backseat with, "What? What's wrong with it?"

He knows I'll change the channel quick if I don't want him to hear something and often he's the one reminding me when Nelly or R.Kelly comes on the radio.

I retort, "Nothing. You're too young for me to even begin to tell you why that commercial irritated the hell out of me."

He left it at that because he knows usually I will try, but in a condensed 5-yr old worthy version.

So I made a note to look this "disorder" up when I got to work. There seems to be some truth in it, but I'm still skeptical. While I understand that every woman experiences her menstrual cycle in varying ways, I'm hesitant to label those 9% as having a "disorder" because, well, that's not what women really need. I don't think we need the idea of women having a disorder hanging over us because it might create the idea in our society that PMS is easily fixed with yet another pill.

Tom Cruise, lately, has been on a crusade about our over-medicated society when it comes to Post-Pardum Depression and ADD/ADHD. He ain't seen nuthin' yet.

The Monitor on Psychology claims it to be real but only affecting 3-9% of women.

"It's a real biological condition for which women seek treatment--and for which effective treatment is available," says Jean Endicott, PhD, director of the premenstrual evaluation unit at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center. Eight years ago it was included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV).

My sister used to have severe migraines and cramps which have lessened some after having 2 children. She still relies on Motrin PMS but I don't hear her complain nearly as much as I used to. I don't complain at all because my symptoms are far less intense than hers.

I am skeptical because I think it disingenuous at best to require a woman be diagnosed with a particular disorder in order to receive necessary treatment or to have people believe her (which I think is more the case here).

But many health professionals say PMDD does not exist, that it can be confused with other mental health disorders, such as depression. Psychologists in this camp contend women shouldn't have to be diagnosed with a mental illness in order for others to believe they are uncomfortable or unhappy or to get help and support.

This paragraph echoes my exact thoughts:

"PMS and PMDD are both 'culture-bound' syndromes," says Joan Chrisler, PhD, a psychology professor at Connecticut College and president of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research. "There is no evidence [that PMDD exists], though people have to find such evidence," says Paula Caplan, PhD, author of "They Say You're Crazy" (1995, Perseus Books). "It is really appalling that using PMDD for women who want recognition for discomfort is a very clear message that goes something like: 'OK, OK, we'll believe you are feeling bad if we get to call you mentally ill for feeling bad.' Can you imagine if we did that to men?"

So, you ask, what are the meds they prescribe to "fix" this problem?

Sarafem (repackaged Prozac) and Zoloft.

That's right, heavy narcotics which run a high risk of dependence and are generally used to treat depression are being used to "treat" PMDD. Some claim this could hide the real issue instead of addressing it and I would have to agree. But that's how I feel about any medication needed for psychological disorders/diseases. We are an over medicated society after all.

What I did like at the end of this article is this:

Whether PMDD is a mental disorder or not, the most important thing is to give women who seek help validation. "Whatever they're experiencing, they're experiencing," [Chrisler] says.

And I agree. So why the need to classify extreme PMS as a mental disorder?
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