9.07.2007

The author of one of my favorite series of books has passed away. I usually don't say anything about the passing of a celebrity because I don't know them personally, but this saddened me a bit.

Madeleine L’Engle, you will be missed. I will share your work with my children and my grandchildren. I will carry your memory in my heart. You made my life brighter and I am sad that you are gone.

I remember with clarity the first time I read "A Wrinkle in Time". I remember how excited I was when I finished it. I remember rushing to the library to get the next book. I remember feeling that same rush of excitement last month when I read it again.

Madeleine L’Engle did what I hope to do as a writer some day, she inspired imagination. She sparked creativity and a passion for dreams. Madeleine L’Engle was a builder of worlds and an architect of futures.

If you have never read her books I encourage you to do so. If you read them as a child I encourage you to read them again. Read them to your children. Read them to your grandchildren. Read them to your nephews and your nieces and your neighbors children. Volunteer at a local school and read them to a classroom full of wide eyed fourth graders. Share this marvel with a whole new generation.

Madeleine L’Engle you will be missed.

A topic I seem to discuss a lot.....

Since I started college again, I haven't really been doing a lot of blogging. Today, I was reading over at CUSS and at the end of the post Suzanne asks that anyone that supports Planned Parenthood blog about it. I think I will.

Planned Parenthood is a good program. If it received more funding and wasn't restricted by so many nonsensical things it could do more good. People who make the assertion that giving away free condoms will urge teenagers to have sex are just morons. There's no other way to say it. Teenagers are going to have sex, teenagers have always had sex. Not giving them birth control isn't going to make a sixteen year old boy who's about to get some go, "Oh, wait. I should stop and consider what this might do to my future." (As I type this I am making a very unladylike noise...you know the one, the *phtt* "AS IF" noise...)

Planned Parenthood often does what most REAL parents are not willing to do. It talks to teens about sex. More importantly, it provides services to more than just teenagers.


Now.....

Earlier in the post, Suzanne talks about how the "pro-life" groups amount to nothing more than terrorists. On one level I agree with her. The people you read about in the paper and see on the news are horrid people, concerned more about their own political or religious views than they are about doing any real good for anyone. But it is important to remember, that just like the fact that the picture painted of "pro-choice" groups in the media isn't accurate, the picture painted of the other side is blown out of proportion a bit as well.

I have met some of these "save the baby, no matter what" people. I know they exist, but I also know several people who are right to life because they firmly believe that those children would be loved by a family, even if it isn't the woman who gives birth to them. They believe that these women should be given adequate access to health care during their pregnancy. Emotional support should be made available and that they should be given financial support if it is necessary. They also believe that education, to prevent another unwanted pregnancy from occurring, is vital.

Calling ALL pro-life individuals terrorists, is like calling people on the pro-choice side murderers. I could make a case for that. It wouldn't make it accurate or true, but I could make a strong, fact based, rational argument for it...using things I've seen in the media and examples from personal experience. It boils down to this: Not everyone is a fucked up as the people you see on the news.

Still not done......

I'm really, really hoping that the portion of Suzanne's post where she talks about the unborn being easy to care about because they're quiet was meant to be slightly sarcastic. If not, it's highly offensive. I've had children. Five of them. Two were planned, three were not. One was in my teens. One in my twenties. And the last three in my thirties. I know exactly what being pregnant will do to your body at most stages of life. I know it's a hell of a lot easier being pregnant at 18 than it is at 35. I also know that just because a child is unborn, doesn't make it "quiet". Unwanted or not, it's a human being. Unwanted or not, it is a CHILD.

I want everyone reading this to know that I'm firm in this belief. It's very easy to talk clinically about "when life begins". Bravo for advanced society. What I don't hear anyone talking about is the fact that we have dehumanized the killing of a person. There, I said it. If you were to read in a newspaper or see on the news about some person hunting down and cutting unborn children from their mother's wombs, you would think, "murderer". I have heard people, time and time again, make the argument that if a person kills a pregnant woman they should be charged with the murder of the unborn child as well. Why? Because someone WANTED that child? Is that what it takes to make the difference between "ending a pregnancy" and "murder"?


When you denigrate human life by saying that abortion is okay because it's "not really" a person, you steal humanity from us. Throughout history I can point you to cases where horrible atrocities have occurred using that very same argument. Our own nations history is peppered with them. "It's okay, they don't really count." It demoralizes our society, it makes it easier for our young people to rationalize bad choices and it is, at it's core, an empty argument. There are those of you reading this that are poised and ready to type,"It isn't the same thing. Those were..." Go one, finish the sentence...those were... "people". So are the unborn. They may not be able to walk among us, but they are people. And the choice we talk about so freely is never given to them. While we are in such a rush to protect the woman who didn't want to be pregnant...while we're in such a hurry to protect her right to have sex when she wants, with whoever she wants, as often as she wants...with no responsibility...we have stopped giving a DAMN about the child no one wants.

Except there are plenty of people who do want them. There are literally thousands and thousands of families out there waiting for some woman to be kind enough to provide them with the one thing they can not get for themselves...a child. I never hear anyone talk about adoption. I hear plenty of, "who pays for the diapers? who pays for daycare?" Who says she has to KEEP the baby? Where is that option? In the grand argument for choice? Where is THAT argument? No where to be found.

It boils down to, a woman shouldn't be "forced" to be pregnant. Fine. If you want to be pro-choice, great. Be pro-choice. I've said before that as long as it's a legal option, women should have access to it. But do NOT insult those of us who have chosen to give our children life. Do not dare to even whisper that those babies were less human. Part of the choice in "pro-choice" is taking responsibility for the fact that you are ending a human life. You can't have one without the other. You don't get to be all comfortable and safe and say that you aren't really supporting "that". You are. And if you're okay with it, for whatever reason...fine. But be big enough to stand behind it.

I have had three unexpected pregnancies in my life. Each time they disrupted my life. Financially, physically, emotionally. Each time I have had long standing, far reaching consequences. And each time I have made a CHOICE. I chose to give my children life. I chose to find a loving family for my children. I was a mother first, a woman second.

I take great offense when I hear people talk about the unborn as though they have no value. It angers me. It hurts me. It makes me want to scream. And it makes me cry.

The unborn are not silent. The unborn are not less valuable than the person sitting next to you. It makes me sick to my stomach that our society cares more about it's animals than it does about it's children. Don't believe me? I can point you to hundreds of "animal cruelty" websites designed to prevent me from eating that poor helpless cow up the street, but when I try to point out that abortion ends human life? Suddenly I'm an evil anti-woman throw back that wants to prevent women from having free choice over their own bodies. Chew on that one for a while.

8.24.2007

Before I get into this post I want to say a couple of things. First I want to say to one person in particular who may be reading this: Nothing you are about to read is aimed at you. You have never been anything but kind and thoughtful. You have been loving and supportive and more wonderful than I can ever tell you. Please do not think for a moment that I believe you minimize me or trivialize my feelings or importance. I have been lucky in the extreme. Our's is the example all others should follow. There would never be another bad experience if everyone took the time you have.

Second: I want to say that I acknowledge and understand the very real pain, frustration and depression that parents trying to adopt go through. I have seen it in the eyes of women I know. I am not trying to downplay that. I am not trying to minimialize that. That is not what I want to talk about right now.

Recently I overheard a slice of conversation. It is not the first such slice of conversation I have heard and I do not kid myself by thinking it will be the last. Two women were discussing a family member who had recently had an adoption fall through. One of them fairly hissed the word "birthmother" like it was dirty in her mouth. They spoke about the woman who had changed her mind as if she were vile and loathsome, full of evil, cunning and hate. It made my stomach roil. I actually felt as if I were about to vomit.

Because I understood the pain they were feeling on behalf of their loved one I kept my mouth shut. On the inside I was screaming. Crying out on behalf of the woman they were scorning so casually. They were talking about her as if she had no right to the child she gave birth to. As if by simply considering adoption she had lost all rights to call that child her own. I wanted to lash out.

Any of you who read here regularly will know that I have placed three children for adoption in my lifetime. One at the age of nineteen and two in the last two years. None of the adoptions were easy for me and I have in my possesion journals filled with page after page of anger, self loathing, jealousy, hatred, self doubt, self pity, bitterness, depression and venom soaked words aimed at a world I could not understand. All the pages are dotted by my own tears.

The thing I wanted most to tell these women was that simply because a woman considers or even goes through with an adoption does not make her any less a mother. What makes a woman a mother isn't a piece of legal documentation. You can't snatch up a baby, holler, "Mine!" like it was a baby doll on a playground and run off expecting that the other person, the one who gave birth to the child, will have no further feelings. And yet I see it over and over again. I see adoptive families that talk about birthparents like an afterthought. They talk about them like they did some huge favor and, "Oh wasn't that nice of them...but their gone now." I don't know that it's intentional, which is why I never say anything, but it's insulting, to say the least.

I'm sure that someone will point out to me that there are situations where the birthmothers don't care. That some children are taken from their natural parents. That's not what I'm talking about here. I'm talking about women like me. Women who, for one reason or another know that we can not provide the best home for our children. For me it was knowing that without access to consistent medical care for my Bipolar Disorder the stress of having three children under age three in the house would likely push me into a state where I would end up dead or permenantly hospitalized. I had to weigh the welfare of not just the two infants, but the two already at home.

When I signed those papers, I didn't stop loving my children. I stopped being their parent, but I will never stop being their mother. That never stops. That love never goes away. Every day I think about them. Every day I wonder how they are. Every day I thank God for finding a safe and loving home for them. Signing those papers took away my legal right to have a say in how they are raised and to obtain information about them. It didn't take away my right to love them.

When a woman who has said she will place a child for adoption changes her mind it is often because she can not face that very thing. There is a terror there. How can I be sure? If I don't have the legal right to know that these people are treating my child well, that my child is safe and healthy, how do I know? What will I do if I find out later that something happened? What if they turn out to be abusive? What happens if they die and my child ends up with someone I don't even know? Can you even imagine that terror? Or the guilt that goes with it?

Its hard enough trying to find the words to explain to this precious little life why you couldn't keep it. Why you gave it to someone else to love, protect, cherish and watch grow. How do you find those words? Where do you even begin to look for them? For some women, there are no words and trying to contemplate finding them hurts so badly, they simply stop the process. It becomes easier to deal with the unwanted pregnancy than to deal with the aftermath of placing a child.

The after effect of placing a child for adoption is just like losing a child to death. You go through the same grief process.

Yet when a woman changes her mind she is viewed as a hideous monster. Lower than low. How could she hurt someone that way? How could she cause such pain and torment?

Who cries for her? Who heals her broken heart? No one.

As birthmothers we sign a piece of paper and we leave the hospital and that is that. We are expected to walk away from a living breathing child and never look back. There is no counseling offered, no support. Even what is called "open adoption" isn't really open. Most often it amounts to a letter and some pictures once or twice a year. We are cut out of the childs life forever. We have no place in that world.

The next time you read a story or hear about a birthmother who has changed her mind, think about this story before you judge her harshly. Think about your own feelings as a parent and what you would do if someone asked you to simply walk away from one or all of your children without looking back. How easy would it be for you?
I covet. Not just one thing. There are several things I covet. I have found that in my dark corners I have secret yearnings. I feel I must confess this sin.

Furniture from IKEA. The funky chairs. The oddly shaped couches. The sleak-lined beds. The endless supply of storage boxes. I want it all.

Books. The feel of them. The smell of the ink on the pages. I don't want e-books or audio books. I want the real thing. Hard bound. Soft bound. Trade size. Mass market paper back. Childrens books. Young Adult. Science Fiction. Non-fiction. I read it all.

Disney World Vacations. Odd? Yes, I know. I sit and day dream about spending a week in this magical place. It calls to me. The brightly colored commercialism. The sureity that I won't have to do anything. The laughter. The fun. I want it.

You may be thinking that I have used the wrong word to describe my feelings for these things.

To Covet:

cov·et /ˈkʌvɪt/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[kuhv-it] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
–verb (used with object) 1. to desire wrongfully, inordinately, or without due regard for the rights of others: to covet another's property.
2. to wish for, esp. eagerly: He won the prize they all coveted.
–verb (used without object) 3. to have an inordinate or wrongful desire.

I lust for these things. Against all my better judgement. I practically drool when I think of them. I am jealous of those I know that have the them.

I am a sad, sad shell of a human being.

8.23.2007

Because when you're rich "Crazy" becomes "Eccentric"



Let's face it, if you went to pick up one of your friends for a night out on the town and she was dressed in a white bikini, Jedi cape and Velvet Muk-Luks, you would have her checked for drug usage.

I give a big thumbs up to Bia Ling. She's either crazy as the day is long or she just doesn't give a shit! Either way, I love her!

Debtor's Prison....An Idea whose Time has come Again?

As I was reading the news this morning, there was an article about the Fed slashing the rate charged to the nation's "least credit worthy commercial banks". Apparently this was done in response to pressure received from Wall Street and the White House and was supposed to help the Economy. The consensus seems to be, however, that it will have the opposite effect.

About half-way through the article there's a link that says:

Talk back: Time to bring back debtors prison?

I stared at this for a moment, stunned. Was the person that wrote this serious? Surely no one could think this would be a good idea. Curious now, I clicked the link. Sadly, there were actually people who thought it might be a good idea. They were limiting it to the housing area, but seemed oblivious to the larger picture.

Walk with me down this twisted path, won't you?

Tomorrow the United States Government reinstates "debtor's prison" making it a criminal offense to renege on a debt. This offense is punishable by time in a federal prison. It is meant to keep people from taking on debt they can not realistically hope to sustain. (Because we all know how good Americans are at preventing crime....that's why there are NO drunk drivers in this country, right? Because people KNOW it's illegal.)

Now, the law goes into effect and suddenly Joe down the street is being arrested. You look at your spouse and you say, "I didn't know Joe was behind on his mortgage payment." Your spouse replies, "Oh he wasn't. Last year Little Sally got sick and they had some medical bills they couldn't pay. That's what he got arrested for."

Two days later your at work and Tammy, the girl in the next cubicle, doesn't come back from lunch. You inquire about what happened to her. Your coworker says to you in hushed tones, "Oh, didn't you hear? Last winter she ran up a huge gas bill that she hasn't paid off. She got arrested for it."

How about that movie you forgot to return? The library fine you forgot you had? The teenager that writes a bad check? Let's not even get started on credit card debt....

Meanwhile, you start to notice that there aren't any wealthy people being arrested, even that guy down the street that you KNOW hasn't made his house payment in six months because he's paying alimony to three wives. Why? Because he can pay an attorney.

Debtor's prisons punish the poor simply for being poor. It's why they were done away with in the first place. Instead of even entertaining a discussion about bringing back such an arcahic and useless system, we should be discussing the real problems. Credit card companies that extend credit to people when they know those people can not possibly make the amount of money required to pay off the balances in a realistic amount of time. Mortgage companies that will offer finance rates that suddenly change, thus making a home look affordable when it really isn't.

And the most important factor? Teaching people to live with in their means. Sure you might be able to afford a $3800.00 house payment, but can you still afford a $3800.00 house payment when you add in the actual cost of the home? The electricity, gas, water and upkeep on a home that size? Does your family really NEED a home that size? Do you need five credit cards? Why not save up for what you need?

Most banks offer pre-paid Visa or MasterCard that can be used to shop online or take on vacation. Keep one that you use for emergencies or hotel reservations and car rentals if needed.

It's called Common Sense.

I am hereby forming the Citizens Coalition for Common Sense. If you join, it will be your job to scoff openly at the idiotic lack of common sense in society today. When you see someone doing something blatantly stupid it will be your job to laugh openly, but not explain why your laughing. More importantly, it will be your job to work for the implementation of Common Sense in everyday life.

They say, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Well it's broke...we need to fix it. FAST.

8.19.2007

Who do we blame?

I was talking to a friend of mine this weekend and we ended up discussing the topic of the culture of excess that thrives in our nation. As a country was have come to rely on things that are not actually necessary to our everyday survival and that self entitlement thought pattern is passing into our younger generations.

We treat luxury items like they are everyday necessities and worse a vast majority of people don't stop to think about how what they buy and the price they pay for it effects the overall picture.

Stay with me on this for a moment. I've had this discussion before, most memorably with a co-worker who wanted to buy a Rolex. I asked why. His answer? "Well, because it's a Rolex." He was confused that I didn't understand his desire for this item. I asked him if a Rolex told better time than a $24.99 Timex. He looked at me like I was stupid,"No, but it's a Rolex." Then I asked him if perhaps magical elves were making the watches and that's what made them special. He snorted at me and said, "Now you're just being stupid." I shrugged and said, "Well, if you're wanting to spend 10,000 on a watch I don't know that that makes me the stupid one." He didn't talk to me for about a week.

I hear people talk all the time about how hard they work for their money and how they deserve to have the nice things in life, but I often wonder what that means. Does spending $100 on a pair of jeans make them better or more special? Does having a particular name stiched into the back of your shirt make you a better person?

Most of these same people talk about the good works they do. The charities they support. I can't help thinking that if they weren't spending $200 on a single shirt, they could have helped more. I will never make a good rich person. I just don't understand the mind-set.

The only reason stores like Abercrombie and Fitch or Banana Republic can charge what they do is because people pay the prices. If no one shopped there, you can damn well bet the prices would be much lower.

How does this effect the big picture? Think about it for a minute. Why do you suppose so many young people are looking for a way to make money quickly? Why do you think teenagers look down their noses at jobs that pay minimum wage? There's a culture in our society now that says that to be successful you must wear Item A and own Item B. To fit in with the people who matter you have to look one way, act one way, smell one way.....and the majority of people don't even question it.

My husband has three pairs of Doc Martin boots, several designer lable shirts and jeans and I have a few myself. You want to know where I got them? At the used clothing store. I paid no more than $5.00 for each piece in the closet.

We talk a lot in todays world about how to make things better for the people who don't make that much. How about simply making it so that everyone can afford to live? Stop paying for the $300 shoes and the $40,000 cars. If no one bought them....

The next time you go shopping and you reach for something, stop a moment and think about what you're buying and how much you're paying for it. Think about why you're buying that particular brand. Maybe if more of us start thinking about the little things we do everyday we can bring a larger sense of social conscieness back into our world.

8.16.2007

The Mayo Clinic and You: What Are You and Your Family Dying of Today?

The Mayo Clinic Website has this handy little symptom checker so you can go online and find out if the symptoms you, your spouse or your children are suffering from are serious.

A little information is a dangerous thing my friends. Go play with this thing for a while. Pick a symptom, any symptom and then chose some things. It gives you a list of matching illnesses ranging from the mundane to the OH MY GOD I'M DYING!!!

Here's the problem with this thing. There are a lot of people out there that aren't going to notice that the list of accompanying symptoms that go with the illnesses listed are MANY and that the ones you choose are in bold face type. If only one or two of these is in bold, chances are you don't have that...if all of them are in bold, well then, okay you can panic.

Seriously fun though. Go ahead and see how many different ways you can kill off you and yours. So far I've had about fifteen serious life threatening illnesses. Good times!!!

Whine Whine Whine

I was watching television the other day when all of a sudden I was looking at the face of this little bald headed girl. There was a voice over begging me to send money to help keep her alive. Cancer, of course.

I'm so tired of all the articles I see and the non-profits begging for my money. I mean seriously, who cares if you have cancer or diabetes or lupus or any of the other fifty thousand "life threatening" illness that seem to plague our country.

I don't know these people, but someone really needs to tell them that everyone has problems and we really don't give a damn about theirs. I don't want to have to look at any more coffee cans in convenience stores with badly photocopied pictures taped to them, a sob story scrawled out in some family members shaky handwriting, "Bob is dying. He has three kids. Won't you help?"

Who cares? Jesus, suck it up. Move on with your life. Get over yourself.

By this point I'm sure that anyone reading this is either waiting for the punchline or so pissed off they can't see straight. Furiously composing scathing replies to my callous treatment of those in our society afflicted with life threatening illnesses.

I would never speak that way to or about someone with any of those illnesses. Yet I receive that same treatment from society on a regular basis. I have Bipolar Disorder and because my illness doesn't come with a tumor, a disfiguring surgery or a string of sympathy inducing commercials I hear, "Well it's not really that big a deal, is it?" or "Just get over it. It's all in your head anyway."

I can't get health insurance that will cover the cost of treatment or medications. I'm not eligible for protection under FMLA should I have a serious episode that causes missed work. My medications cost over $400 a month out of pocket so I have to buy a month, ration it to make it last for three and then buy it again. This means I can't function the way I would if I were treated properly, but because I have the medication I don't qualify for benefits like disability.

I wish that mental illness came with some hideous physical side effect, something that would make it obvious to those of you in society that don't live with it what it is and that it's real. I wish I could find the words to describe what real depression is like.

Everyone gets funked out sometimes. We all have crappy days at work or fights with our families and friends and sometimes the stress of life just weighs on us and we feel down. That passes. I'm talking about being trapped inside your own mind. Hearing your own voice in your head telling you to get up...move...do something..anything....and not being able to respond. I'm talking about staring down at a bottle of pills and thinking, for even a brief moment, that if you swallowed them you'd just drift off to sleep and never have to feel this way again.

I watch the news and I see the stories about mothers killing their own children and I feel a terror grip my heart. I know what it feels like to be so mired in darkness that the world seems hopeless. I know how it feels to want to die because you can't see a clear path through. And I know that if those women had access to reliable and affordable care for their problems and support from society, the tragedies could have been avoided.

With Bipolar you get the upswings too and everyone thinks you're the life of the party. They don't see the other side of it. Days without sleep. Outbursts of irrational and uncontrolled anger. Impulse control issues that can lead to risky behavior. Embarrassment because when it's all over you know you've said or done something that has upset or hurt someone else and they expect you to apologize. So you apologize and you feel humiliated. And you know it won't be the last time.

And the whole time you're watching yourself, like a bad movie you can't shut off. You're screaming inside because you want it to stop, but you can't make it go away. So you look at that bottle of pills again and you pray. You pray for the strength to get up tomorrow. You pray for the strength to take that next breath. You pray that tomorrow will be a "good" day.

And you smile. You smile so the people around you won't have to struggle to find something to say to you. You smile so no one will look at you like your defective. You smile so everyone will think your "normal"...because, after all.....it's only in your head, right?

7.18.2007

Two Whole Weeks....

I bet ya thought I died and went to Blogger Heaven, huh?

Nothing quite so terrible. I've just been, well, for lack of a better word, sad. And more than a little distracted. And a lot scatter brained. And a whole list of other things that have long names and medications to go along with them. None of which are contagious.

This would be one of those times my therapist would accuse me of using humor to deflect the real issue. To which I say: Damn Straight! At least I'm not drunk and dancing on the bar of the local biker hang out. (Hey, don't laugh, that happened once. I made $800 bucks)

Anyway, I'm back and mostly in place. Next time I promise to leave a forwarding address.

7.04.2007

Silence Can Be Golden

Every time I go to send an email, or leave a small comment something stops me. I've decided to listen to that little voice that's whispering in my ear. I've written three carefully worded emails and started countless comments and each one has ended up in the "delete" box.

The lesson I've learned from this experience is simple. Sometimes you don't have to say anything. Sometimes it's okay to just disagree silently. The issue that I was having a problem with wasn't earth shattering and after I thought about it for a while I decided that because it was an issue based mostly in emotion my saying something would create tension and possibly ruin a friendship I have come to treasure. I decided that saying my piece wasn't as important as keeping that friend. It was a good feeling.

This experience has been a unique one for me. It showed me that those times when I chose to step forward and make my opinions known I really am doing it for a reason and not just to hear myself talk.

I guess you could call that maturity. Who would have guessed?

7.02.2007

To snipe or not to snipe.....that is the question.

Have you ever been faced with a situation where you wanted to say something but everytime you tried it came out blundered and somewhat addled? I find myself in that very situation. Mostly this is because the comment that set me off was made by someone I respect and what I want to say I want to say without sounding condesending or snide, both of which I have been accused of doing on more than one occassion.

I started to leave comments several times and then stopped because the comments were either to abbreviated to make the point as clearly as I wanted or to long to be polite. So then I slept on it. This morning I sat down and typed out a nice long email, which I promptly decided would be taken as a chastisment and so I saved it as a draft, but did not send it because I do not want this person to think I am chastising them....although I suppose I am in a way.

This is an odd place for me to be in folks. I'm a very shoot from the hip kind of girl. Remember, I'm the woman that publically lambasted a total stranger for not watching her child closely enough. Is this maturity? Is this concern for anothers feelings? Or am I just being a wuss? Have I suddenly turned wuss-like? Did someone slip something into my Cheerios this morning? What the hell has happened to me?

I'm going to have to go back and mull this over. I'll get back to you with the resolution.

7.01.2007

Because sometimes, even your crack needs a little help....

This has been a long, trying weekend. I needed just one really good laugh. I got it.

And now, I'm going to share it with you.



Yes, it's a real product. And it's just one more example of why every product name should be passed by a panel of 13 year old boys first. If they laugh it's time to change the name.

6.29.2007

The Seperation of Church and State

As I did my morning reading I caught a piece over at C.U.S.S that made me start to think. Before you read this post, please pop over and read the one that inspired it:

The Blind Scalias of Justice

After reading the post I opened the comment window and began to type. When I reached my third paragraph I decided what I had to say was better done here so as not to clog the comment section with ramblings.

I agree that the men and women who are appointed to our courts are not always fair and impartial as they are supposed to be by law. I also think that that is to be expected. I do not know a single human being who does not make decisions and judgements based on their beliefs. We all do it whether we are Christian or not. I do think that the men and women appointed to our highest court tend to represent our Presidents mindset. I think that this is something that needs to be changed. In fact, I'm pretty much of the belief that if our government doesn't get a complete overhaul soon we're going to end up in the middle of our very own Second Civil War within the next twenty to fifty years....but that's a different post.

The topic that brings us here today my friends is the so called "separation of church and state" that supposedly appears in our Constitution. This is a debate that has been raging for as long as I can remember and until very recently I was on the "it's in the Constitution" side. And then I actually ran into someone who had made it part of their life's work to study the Constitution and it's framers and let me tell you , I got schooled.

Simple Fact Number 1: The phrase "Separation of Church and State" does not appear anywhere in our Constitution. It is not in the main text. It is not in the Bill of Rights. It simply isn't there.

Simple Fact Number 2: The founding fathers of this country were not trying to prevent a theocracy. They were trying to ensure that the people of this country would have the freedom to choose whatever religion they wanted.

If you read the First Amendment the wording is fairly clear:

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Now a lot of you are immediately going to go for my jugular, "It's right there Serena, it says : Congress shall make NO LAW..." And you would be right, but read it....really read it. It says that Congress won't make any laws with respect to the ESTABLISHMENT of religion or laws that would prohibit the free exercise of that religion. It does not say that Congress will define a clear line between the government and any religion.

When we get all bent out of shape because some conservative twit has done something stupid, we have to remember, he or she isn't breaking any laws. They are just being a twit. If we get angry because some asshole has tried to get a law passed that will infringe upon our basic rights, we need to stop blaming religion and start fighting back.

It's important to remember that every time we rage about "those damn Christians" they aren't the only religious group seeking and receiving preferential treatment from the government. Right now they are the loudest, but they aren't the first and they won't be the last. Even Atheists aren't above running to the courts to ask them to intervene.

Should government be separate from religion? Hell yes. Religion muddies the waters. It taints rational decisions with the murk of morality. Will it ever happen? Not until people learn to accept the flaws inherent in themselves. The search for "moral perfection" and the need to push that on others comes from the basic drive in the human species, the need to explain away the ugly and evil things that happen.

When we were cavemen it was the lightening in the sky and the sound of thunder that needed an explanation. Today it's child molesters, mother's who kill their own children, war that kills thousands, drugs that eat our children alive. People need an explanation for these things and God and the Devil provide a way to explain it. Looking inward and pointing that moral finger at ourselves would be to painful. Our society isn't ready for it yet. And so they thump their Bibles much like cavemen thumped their chests. The next time you hear that thump coming your way, stand up and thump back.

EDIT:

Below is a link to a page on the Library of Congress website. Here you will find the text of Jefferson's Letter to the Danbury Baptists. This letter contains in it the phrase "separation of church and state" and has been used to help set the precedent that is used today when a person or group has an issue that involves religion. When atheist groups sue to have social groups removed from schools based on religious function, when Jehovah's Witnesses sue to prevent teachers leading classes in the Pledge of Allegiance because it violates their religious code, when American Indians want the right to follow age old religious traditions that violate current Federal or State laws, when Christians sue to keep the ten commandments on display in a clearly secular setting. In any case where a person or group feels a local, state of federal agency has overstepped it's bounds, this is the document that has been held up to establish that our founding fathers did indeed intend a clear and lasting division between the two:

Jefferson's Letter to the Danbury Baptists

I've read this document before and did not mention it because I don't feel that it really fit the topic at hand. Jefferson clearly upholds the idea that our government should not be allowed to interfere in the establishment of a religion or the practice of a persons chosen religion, but does it say clearly that all of the founding fathers, and not Jefferson alone, felt that the men and women in our government should never use their own moral and ethical values as a guiding compass?

Where does that line blur? Would it be okay if the decisions being made matched more closely with the opinions you held? Would the religious beliefs of the person making those decisions then become less of an issue? Exactly how do you separate religion from government completely?

6.27.2007

Sometimes I'm simply stunned by the sheer lack of knowledge (I'm trying to be less of a bitch) that I encounter in my everyday life. Today was one of those days.

I had to get groceries today so off to Wal-Mart I went. My bill came to $62.00 and some change so I handed the girl behind the counter a $100 dollar bill. She got a very confused look on her face. She looked down at her counter. She held the bill up to the light. She looked down at her counter again. She held the bill up to the light again. She turned to the cashier next to her and said, "What should I do? I don't see the little security strip? I don't have one of those marker thingies."

At this point I said, "If it's going to be that big of a deal I can give you a newer bill, one with the BIG face on it."

She turned back around, looking very relieved and handed me the bill back....and then she actually thanked me. I handed her a bill with the large, off center face of Benjamin Franklin on it. She didn't try to find her little pen, she didn't check for the security strip, she simply put the bill in her drawer and gave me the change. All because it had the BIG face on it.

I couldn't help myself, as I was leaving I said, "You know hun, they did actually make money BEFORE the year 2005." I don't think she appreciated my humor.

All of this confusion was caused by a $100 dollar bill minted in 1985 which I was given by my bank last Friday. I will be exchanging it tomorrow lest I give some poor unsuspecting cashier an aneurysm.

6.25.2007

Bitch...Unleashed (part II)

So, having enjoyed 1408 and feeling in the mood for some shopping we proceed out into the sunny glow of capitalism that is a Saturday at an outdoor mall. We head to Anthropologie because they have the best lotions and perfumes. (Please see post where I confess to being obsessed with all things lotion and skin related....) I got these wonderful little perfume solids from crazy libellule and the poppies .

Content with my purchases I leave the store to find Stehpanie standing outside waiting for me and I notice a small child sitting on the sidewalk in front of Buckle. No parent in sight. Stephanie mentions that she's been watching this child for five minutes and has yet to see a parent. I start looking around and I notice a blond woman inside the store. I ask the child if that is her mommy. The child replies that yes, it is indeed her mother. At this point I can feel my dander rising. I go and stand next to the child and look at the woman. She eventually makes eye contact with me, looks at the child and then......she goes back to shopping! I'm dumbfounded. I continue to stand there thinking that perhaps this bleach bottle blond just hasn't processed the information yet. She looks at me again. Again we make eye contact. Again she looks at her child. And AGAIN she goes back to shopping. This time she actually walks all the way to the back of the store and into the dressing rooms to look at herself in the mirror. At this point I get pissed.

I turn to Stephanie and I say, "Watch this child please," and I step into the store. The over tanned, underfed wonder mom sees me coming and she stops. We lock eyes. I say, "Excuse me, is that your child on the sidewalk outside?" She pulls a face and says, "That's none of your business." I cock my head to the side and say, "Yes, actually it is. Do you have any idea how easy it would be for someone to just walk off with her?"

Now she's pissed off. She slaps her well manicured hands onto her boney ass hips and snaps, "It's none of your fucking business and besides, my daughter is watching her." I smile evenly and reply, "Would this be the same daughter that is standing next to you inside the store watching you try on clothes?" There is a sharp intake of breath and said teenage daughter says, "Chill out would you?" This does not help calm me down. We have attracted the attention of everyone in the store and several people on the sidewalk. She looks angry and embarrassed. I say, "You need to watch your child or you're going to end up being one of those families on the evening news crying for your child back. If you won't go get her off that sidewalk, I'll go find a police officer and you can explain it to him." Her stunning reply? "Why don't you find something better to do with your time, like eat a cheeseburger?" This is obviously a comment aimed at my weight, because apparently she believes everyone in the world is as shallow as she is. I smile and say, "Why don't you try watching your children instead of getting a tan?" and walked off to find a police officer.

I located a mall security officer and had him get me a Salt Lake City police officer. I made a report and he returned to the store. I would have loved to have been there when he showed up.

Later that day I had a thought, "One of these days I'm going to get punched." I'd do it again though.

Bitch....Unleashed

Common courtesy has died a slow and painful death in our society.

I went to a movie on Saturday with Stephanie. The theater makes you purchase reserved seats like you would at a concert. I can understand the point behind this. It makes it handy if you purchase online for a night out with the family or purchase a head of time for a major release, like the upcoming Harry Potter. You get to pick where in the theater you want to sit and you know you and your date/family are guarenteed seats without hassle.

So Stephanie and I pick our seats, get our goodies and go in and sit in our reserved type seating. Behind us are three women. I noticed them because they were giggling. Well, not so much because they were giggling, but because they were old enough to be my mother and they were giggling loud enough to be my teenage daughter. Just before the movie starts a young couple (early teens, late twenties) walks into their aisle. The young woman says, "I'm sorry, but I think you might be sitting in our seats." She was very polite. She kept her voice low, trying not to embarass the other women. One of the ladies looks up, laughs and says, "Yeah, well there were people sitting in our seats so we just took these." She and her companions made no attempt to move. The young woman got upset and left. She didn't do anything to claim her seats. At this point, I turned around, looked directly at the three women and said, " You would think some people would be old enough to know better. I mean you expect that kind of behavior from teenagers, but from grown women? Common courtesy really has died a slow, painful death in our society, hasn't it?" The women laughed nervously, but the noise level in the row died down and they started fidgeting and looking around.

I felt a great sense of satisfaction.

Stay tuned for Bitch...Unleashed, part II (oh yes, it gets better....)

6.22.2007

Big article out today about doctors refusing care to women based on their personal belief systems. The article has, at one point, a headline which reads:

"An ethical dilemma"

In this portion of the article we meet Sandy Christiansen, M.D., an ob/gyn in Frederick, Maryland. She says that providing services that are legal, like abortion referrals, EC and even birth control cause an "ethics problem" for her. She says that, "Doctors are people, too," she adds. "We have to be able to leave the hospital and live with ourselves. If you feel in your heart an action would cause harm to somebody — born or unborn — it's legitimate to decline to participate."

Here's what I have to say to that. If you feel that you're a "christian" doctor, then you need to advertise yourself as such. You need to tell your patients up front that if they come to you they had better be on the same moral footing as you, believe the same things as you and be living the perfect little Christian life that you seem to be saying you're living.

When you simply hang out a shingle that says OB/GYN on it and allow any woman to make an appointment, regardless of what her beliefs might be, she has the right to expect she will receive access to all legal medical options allowed her in this country, including the ones that don't jive with your self-righteous mind-set. You want to ride the high moral tide? Great! Then your ad in the yellow pages better read something like this:

"Christian OB/GYN. Will not give patients access to most modern procedures. Believes self to be above reproach and has developed a God complex that allows self to make moral judgements of others that will govern the standard of care they receive. Those of questionable moral fiber need not call for appointments. This includes, but is not limited to: lesbians, single mothers, sexually active teenagers, rape victims, victims of incest, women with piercings in places I may find disgusting, women with oddly colored hair, and women of other religions. We are taking new patients. Mary, Mother of Christ always welcome. Mary Magdalene need not apply."

There's a difference between ethics and morality. The ethics of a given profession are there to ensure that those of us who rely on the people practicing that profession get a high standard of care. Morals are the code each individual person lives by. If you can't seperate the two then you need to build yourself a time machine and haul your June Cleaver ass back to the 1950's.

I believe in a higher power. I also believe that when people like this pass into the next life they will find a seriously pissed of version of said higher power waiting for them with one question: "What exactly was it that you thought you were doing?" It gives me some measure of comfort knowing that for every tiny minded individual like this one there is a higher force waiting to judge them....and the retribution will be Divine.

6.17.2007

Rise of the Silver Surfer

I took my husband to see Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer today. For anyone who saw the first movie, this second offering is an improvement. It's still not a great movie, but it's an improvement. I'm of the opinion that comic book movies should be fun first and anything else after that. This movie scores on the fun part of the equation and it made improvements over the first film as far as the cheese factor goes.

The big problem I had with this film was the lack of character development. The Fantastic Four are still a little cardboard for my tastes and the Surfer doesn't get a lot of air time. They spend more time focusing on trivial stuff...like a wedding and media hype. The time would have been better spent focusing on the Surfer and how the Fantastic 4 come to form a relationship with him.

The second problem with this film is a pretty big plot flaw. SPOILER ALERT: Johnny Storm has a run in with the Surfer early in the movie. It leaves him with a virus that causes him to swap powers with whoever he touches. At the end of the movie Doom steals the Surfer's board and it makes him all powerful. In order to get it away from him and stop the planets impending doom the 4 all touch hands and transfer all their powers to Storm......Okay....wait a minute. Stop the movie.

Here's the problem with that:

(1) When he touches someone he changes powers with the person he touches. He gets their power and they get his. So, if he touched all three of the other Fantastic 4 he would get their powers, but they should all have gotten his, he shouldn't have his fire anylonger, right?

or....it should have swapped powers among the four with unknown results, but in the movie it simply automatically transferred all four powers into Storm.

Now, he takes off and flies after Doom where he starts fighting with the SuperVillian and we encounter plot hole two.

(2) Because of the virus the first time he touches Doom the powers that he has should transfer to Doom and the powers Doom has should transfer to him. But they don't why not?

I hate when they just have things work because they need it to in a movie. They need to give me a reason. Any reason, but damn it, give me a reason.

All in all, it wasn't a bad way to spend an afternoon with my husband and my son.

6.13.2007

Thirteen Days and Coutning.....

There are two sides to every argument.

Just because you can do a thing it doesn't follow that you should do a thing. Simply because we can kill and eat lower species, does it necessarily follow that we should? When civilization was young that may have been the case, meat was required for survival. Now that simply isn't true, not in non-third world nations anyway. Science has created several alternative nutrient sources that provide for our dietary needs and several of the plants found in nature can provide the things our bodies need just as well as meat can.

So why has the habit of eating other living creatures persisted throughout history. Many point to the Bible and the Book of Genesis. God putting the animals on Earth for Adams use and all that. That argument only works if the person your arguing too is a Christian, and even then it can be argued that "use" does not have to imply consumption, so it's a flawed argument.

I have pointed out the fact that even if everyone stopped eating meat based on the "cruelty" factor we would be left with an overpopulation of domesticated stock. This would cause several problems like where to house them and who would care for and pay for the animals. The answer to those questions is actually not as complicated as it might seem. Rather than try to force meat out of the public consumptive pattern all at once, it would be better to shoot for a gradual end to meat consumption. While doing so, you gradually begin thinning the herds being kept by commercial farmers and begin preparing animal preserve space for the herds that will be left. This process would take several years, but would result in a manageable population.

Health concerns can be raised regarding the proteins found in meat and the calcium and other minerals found in dairy products. Again, a slow phasing out of the products now in place and implementation of replacement with substitutes already found in nature could be managed. The products are available and while they do not taste the same many of them do provide the same nutritional content with out the fat content or cholesterol found in traditional foods. Over time, these new sources would become the "norm" and future generations would look on meat consumption as odd, even unhealthy.

Do I think that our society is ready for such a change? Not right now. Our palates and our cultural senses are attuned to a certain way of doing things. Right now, being a vegetarian is outside the cultural norm. Do I think such a change could happen? Yes, actually I do. I believe that as a society progresses it will inevitably shift away from killing for any purpose. "Just because you can do a thing, it does not follow that you should do a thing." I think that within the next decade or so we will begin to see a slow melding of these two points, more vegetarian options will begin to appear...and more people will start to choose them.

6.11.2007

Here's One For All the Geeks Out There...

If you listened to Dr. Demento as a kid. If you played D&D as a kid. Better yet, if you did both...then this is for you.

The Dead Alewives
Enjoy!

6.09.2007

I'm a Goddess, who knew??

As I was looking for clothes tonight I was surprised to learn that I'm a Goddess. I know, shocking isn't it? Don't believe me? Well I can prove it.

Goddess Serena

Not what you were expecting, huh? Imagine how surprised I was to find out that a corset has been named after me. Apparently not only am I deity, I provide comfort and support. I'm a full service Goddess.

Nine Days and Counting

I'm nine days into my no meat experiment and I have to say I never realized how much meat I actually ate. I find myself reaching for something and then stopping because it involves a meat component. It's one of those experiments that makes you stop and take stock of your habits. Technically you would call me a Pescatarian, a person who eats a mainly vegetarian diet but still eats fish for health reasons or to ease into the vegetarian lifestyle. In my case, it's health reasons. My doctor advised that doing away with all major sources of protein would be a bad idea as my body is still recovering from two pregnancies...so fish stays in the diet.

I also choose to keep dairy in my diet. This is also for health reasons. I need the calcium and the vitamin D. Selfish reasons abound as well. I enjoy cream cheese, yogurt, pudding, cheese and many other things of the dairy persuasion. I also do not relish the idea of becoming a hunchbacked old woman with brittle bones. Osteoporosis sounds painful and is not something I wish to experience.

There are the basic arguments to be made to in counterpoint here. Multivitamins are available as well as supplements that have the other compounds like protein and calcium. While this is true, those chemical supplements are not closely regulated and so do not contain a reliable amount of the necessary vitamin or mineral. Also, it is a medical fact that while multivitamins can be a good addition to a diet, they are not absorbed by the body as well as the vitamins and minerals found in food and so your body does not get as much of the health benefit from them. Hence my decision to keep fish and dairy in the diet.

Okay, now I'm going to address the whole "you shouldn't eat animal products because it's cruel" issue. This is a touchy issue with a lot of people and I tend to avoid it whenever possible because honestly I think many of the people who make the arguments have never actually been to a real farm.

Don't get me wrong. I understand the argument against the large scale "farms". Thousands of dirty, sickly looking chickens crammed into a holding pen is not a pretty thing and it is, well, cruel. Calves locked in pens and not allowed to move so that veal will be soft. Cruel. Animals killed solely for their skins. Cruel. Rodeos....Cruel, no explanation...just cruel. There are many things I could list that I agree with that are cruel. We can work to change those things.

Here are the flaws I find with the whole "Don't use animal products, it's cruel." argument.

The main argument against dairy seems to be that the cows are "kept" pregnant. In many peoples minds this seems to illicit a vision of cattle popping out calves all the time. A heifer will produce milk for twelve to fourteen months after having been calved. The farmer will breed the heifer once every twelve to fourteen months in order to keep her producing milk. The machine used to collect the milk is attached to the udder and uses a force that is akin to someone sucking on your finger. Having grown up around dairy cattle I've actually seen the machines and have, in fact, stuck my finger in one...so I know what I'm talking about.

When I was on the PETA website recently I noticed a side link where you can "Meet the animals". Curious, I started clicking and reading. I have to say, the animals they are describing are not the ones I grew up with. Cows can indeed be very gentle and curious, but the ones we had were not the uber geniuses PETA is painting. They didn't have cliques in the farmyard or pout when their calves were taken from them. My grandfather did have one that was a complete bitch, but that's a whole other story. I don't doubt that cows are more intelligent than a many people give them credit for, but people they are not. That's gonna piss people off, but I'll get to that argument in a minute. Now, on to the chickens.

Chickens are mean. I have the scars to prove it. Chickens are not loving or curious or fun to have around. Chickens are angry and mean and will peck the shit out of you given the chance. The only thing meaner is a goose. Chickens will actually stop chasing you, geese will not. Eggs are not a form of torture. Chickens lay them everyday. I know because I used to have to go and gather them everyday, thus incurring even more wrath from said chickens. I will concede the point that the color of the egg doesn't mean a damn thing. The color of the egg is a matter of what breed the chicken is and what the chicken eats. The white eggs most people buy have been bleached. But eggs are not something evil being done to chickens. The biggest difference is that between a family farm and a commercial farm...and that is something that can be changed.

Now, let's deal with the main argument. The actual killing of animals for food. The first point people make is that the way in which animals are killed is inhumane. This in and of itself makes my head hurt. I mean, is there a humane way to kill something? There isn't....death is death and it's ugly. So we aren't even going to discuss that one.

My main problem is this: Let's say you get everyone to stop eating meat. Now what? The farmers and ranchers with herds aren't going to pay for the upkeep of the animals once it stops being profitable, so what do we do then? We have hundreds of thousands of head of cattle and then what? How do we keep them in check? Who pays to keep them healthy? Where do we house them? Who pays to feed them? And that's only the cattle. Then you have to factor in the chickens, pigs, goats and other livestock.

In nature, when a herd becomes to large for the environment to support disease takes over and decimates a portion of the population until it is once again sustainable by the ecosystem. If the livestock population were allowed to run out of control, the same thing would happen....unless a "livestock" hunting season were instituted in order to keep the herds thinned enough to prevent disease. (which is what is done with deer, moose and other wild herds....) and then we're right back where we started.

I don't believe in killing an animal only for it's fur. I won't take my children to zoos, rodeos or circuses. I wear leather. I generally eat meat and even if I choose to stop, I'm not going to expect others to because my choice will be health based and not because I think meat is murder. Fact is, we're the top of the food chain, simple as that.

People make this decision for a great many reasons, but the next time you start to give the speech to someone about how eating meat is cruel, go spend sometime on a real farm. Get to know a farmer or two. Sit down and think about what would happen once all of those animals were "free".

There are always two sides to every argument. This is my side.

6.08.2007

HA!


They sent Paris kicking and screaming back to jail and all I have to say about it is:

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA

Today I will not be writing emails in outrage and frustration. Today I will be writing emails in congratulations and incredulity. I can't believe that the judicial system actually sent the snivelling little brat back to jail. Hooray for Superior Court Judge Michael T. Sauer!!!!

Can I tell you that I actually barked with laughter when I read the headline? Seriously. It just jumped out of my chest. Then I rubbed my hands together like some deranged mad person. Is it wrong that I'm getting a LOT of enjoyment out of the picture of her in tears in the back of a squad car? Does this make me a bad person who will burn in hell? Should I feel guilty because I don't care if it does?

Anyone else experiencing an overwhelming euphoria knowing Paris is sleeping on a hard prison cot tonight and dining on institutional food? Cause chances are, you're going to hell too and all I can say is: HA!

Poor Little Paris

It appears that Paris Hilton isn't immune to the long arm of the law after all. Apparently the judge that sentenced the fluffy headed heiress to serve her sentence in the L.A County jail was not amused when the Sheriff allowed her to return home with an ankle bracelet due to an "Undisclosed Medical Condition" and has ordered her to appear before him in court today.

She was picked up by the L.A. County Sheriff's Department, placed in handcuffs and driven to the courthouse where the prosecutor is expected to demand her return to jail and is also expected to ask that the Sheriff be held in contempt for allowing Ms. Hilton to leave the jail at all.

I have to admit that I am pleasantly surprised by the prompt response to this outrage by both the judge in this case and the L.A County District Attorney's office. They appear to be doing the right thing....making Paris Hilton take responsibility for her actions. It's about damned time, that's all I can say.

I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when Glamour Girl got the call telling her she was going to have to account for herself like a grown up and that batting her eyes and crying just wasn't going to cut it. And how pissed do you suppose Mommy is? Is it wrong that I'm gleeful about this? Is it sick that I did a little happy dance upon finding out that they actually handcuffed her underfed, over manicured ass? I hope the judge reads her the riot act!

If they actually follow through with this, there will be a second round of emails on my part, congratulating them for doing the right thing.

6.07.2007

I usually don't talk about celebrities or their lives but today I'm making an exception. It seems that Paris Hilton was sent home from jail after serving only five days of her already reduced jail sentence because of an undisclosed "medical situation". They fitted her with an electronic bracelet and she'll do her remaining forty days at home. Basically, she's been grounded to her room and I'm sure we all remember how effective that was as a punishment.

I'm so angry about this it's hard to put it into words. This is a perfect illustration of how unjust our justice system really is. I'm sure there are any number of men and women sitting in jails all over our country right now serving time for the same crime Ms. Hilton was convicted of that have medical conditions and none of them are being sent home. I'm betting every single one of them wishes that a tummy ache would get them the magical "get out of jail free" card.

Hilton is receiving special treatment because of who her family is. She's rich and white and that makes all the difference. I mean who cares if she's a negligent little bitch that drove drunk? Who cares that she then drove on a suspended license? The law apparently only applies to those of us who aren't rich enough to buy ourselves a little justice. The rest of us have to "do the time". Our jails are overflowing with first time offenders, many of them incarcerated for non-violent offenses. Public defenders don't have resources and many of them don't really give "due diligence" to the cases.

Something like this is a slap in the face to the rest of society. Personally I will not stay at another Hilton Hotel. My money won't be missed I'm sure, but perhaps those of you reading this will think about the principle involved and follow me and encourage your friends and family to do the same. I will be writing a letter to the Hilton Corporation telling them why I will never use their services again. Paris Hilton's family deserves as much blame as the system that allowed this to happen. Her parents are responsible for raising a selfish, self absorbed child that has grown into a adult with a sense of entitlement, one that our country feeds.

I encourage you to do two things after reading this:

(1) Write a letter or send an email to the LA County District Attorney's office telling them that you think it is a miscarriage of justice that Ms. Hilton was sent home when no other inmate gets such preferential treatment, not even inmates with life-threatening diseases.

210 W Temple St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Phone: (213) 974-3512
Fax: (213) 974-1484
Email: lada@co.la.ca.us
Web Page: http://da.co.la.ca.us/

(2) Write a letter or send an email to Hilton Hotels telling them that you and your family will not stay at the Hilton chains because of the apparent lack of respect the Hilton family has for the American justice system and their apparent belief that their family is above the law.

Hilton Family of Hotels
Kendra Walker, Vice President - Brand Communications
Phone: 310 205-4017
Fax: 310 205-7880
kendra_walker@hilton.com


While a few letters may not change the world, standing up for a principle can have a larger effect than you may believe.

EDIT:

These are the emails I sent out today. The first is to Kendra Walker and the second is to LA District Attorney Steve Cooley.


Dear Ms. Walker,

I am writing in response to the recent news that Ms. Paris Hilton was released from jail after serving only five days of her already reduced sentence. I would like your company to know that my family and I will no longer use any of the Hilton chains when we travel and I will recommend to my friends and extended family members that they do the same.

While the Hilton Corporation itself may not be responsible for Ms. Hilton's behavior, she and her family receive revenue from the company. I will no longer contribute to that pool. Ms. Hilton and her family apparently believe that they are above the law. I will not allow my children to see me supporting anything or anyone that is connected with that attitude. Money should not give a person a "get out of jail free" card. There are many men and women serving time in our nations correctional facilities with medical conditions, many of them convicted of non-violent offenses and yet none of them are sent home to serve their time in relative comfort. The only difference is the lack of money and the last name.

Ms. Hilton should be ashamed of herself and her parents should be ashamed as well. I have asked my readers to join me in boycotting your hotels. It's time someone stood up and said enough is enough. Having wealth should never be a way to escape taking responsibility for your own actions and as long as your company supports that image, I will actively speak out against it.

Sincerely,

Serena Woodward


Dear Mr. Cooley,

I am writing today because of recent news that Ms. Paris Hilton was released from a L.A County jail after serving only five days of an already reduced sentence. The article said that Ms. Hilton had been sent home due to an "undisclosed medical condition" and that she had been "fitted with an electronic bracelet". Mr. Cooley, is it a new policy in Los Angeles to ground people to their rooms? I'm sure that this must come as a relief to the many other non-violent offenders currently serving time in your jails. Will you begin sending them home as well? I'm sure that many of them have any number of medical conditions ranging from tummy aches to AIDS.

I find it appalling sir, that you allowed this to happen. There is not an intelligent adult in this country that doesn't understand what happened. Ms. Hilton was found guilty of a crime but because she is rich and her family is powerful she was given what basically amounts to a slap on the wrist. Had this been any other individual they would have been taken to the jail's infirmary, treated there and then returned to their cell.

I am hoping to read a press release from your office soon that states you have developed a plan to use electronic bracelets on non-violent offenders as a way to relieve over crowding in prisons and that Ms. Hilton was a test case. Sadly, I do not think any such press release will be forthcoming.

When things like this occur it does not matter to me how much good you say you are doing, it is tainted. I am a parent and I will hold this, and you, up to my children as an example of how not to conduct yourself. You should be ashamed. Justice should not be for sale to the highest bidder. The next time you find yourself in a discussion about what is wrong with the justice system in our country, look in the mirror, the answer will be staring you in the face. Have you ever stopped to question why so many young people don't have any respect for the law? People like you. They understand that without money there is no justice and you prove them right every time you allow someone like Paris Hilton to skate by. Wrong is wrong, it shouldn't matter who you are or how wealthy your family is. Ms. Hilton broke the law and should have been held responsible for it. Shame on you sir. Shame on you for spitting in the face of everything your office is supposed to stand for.

Sincerely,

Serena Woodward

6.06.2007

Now that the child is feeling better....

Don't watch this one at work:



And just in case you can't get to church this Sunday:



And because you're going to go to hell for laughing at that one:



This last one is a joke that only Gunfighter will get, or at least I hope he'll get why I posted it. Still funny though...and look, it's Hugh Laurie pre-House!

6.04.2007

Exotic Illnesses

Just letting everyone know I may not be around for a while. My son has contracted Herpangina. I know! It sounds like a mutated STD doesn't it? I almost fell off my chair when the doctor told me what he had. Turns out it's just a fancy way of saying my three year old has a really high fever and a mouth full of puss filled blisters.

It supposed to last for a week. It can't be treated with antibiotics. Needless to say, this will most likely be my last post for a while. (Unless the husband is sitting with the sick child....)

6.03.2007

Monty Python








I'm feeling the need for funny today. And Monty Python is funny.

Funny Stuff




Thought I'd share this.

6.01.2007

In keeping with the spirit...

So far this summer I have:

(1) Gone back to college after a thirteen year hiatus

(2) Taken my writing out of mothballs and begun work on it in earnest

(3) Signed up for a script writing .... umm??? Activity? Contest? I'm not sure what to call it exactly, but it's exciting.

and my newest new thing, in keeping with the spirit of adventure I seem to have embarked upon is:

Beginning on June 4th I will remove meat from my diet for one month. I'm not going to go Vegan for a month, THAT would kill me. I am going to try vegetarian. I know a lot of people that are vegetarian or vegan and I've often wondered how you eat that way and stay healthy and what prompts a person to stick with the lifestyle.

I have all these questions like: Don't you just crave a hamburger sometimes? and How long does it take for you to get used to not eating meat? So I'm going to give it a shot. I'm going to take the weekend and do some research and starting Monday, no more meat for a month.

I wonder what else I'll discover this month?

5.31.2007

Writing Meme

In keeping with the writing theme I have pilfered the following meme from E-Dawg. Okay, he kind of suggested that I should do the meme, but saying I plifered it makes me sound like some kind of meme bandit. Woo hoo! I'm such a rebel.

1. Do you outline?

I don't know if you could call it an outline, but I usually sketch out the idea I want to work on. I do this because a lot of times I am working on multiple projects and I don't want to lose any of the ideas I get.

2. Do you write straight through a book, or do you sometimes tackle the scenes out of order?

I do both. I have written stories where I start at the beginning and go to the end. For others I skip around, writing scenes as they come to me and tying them together as I go along.

3. Do you prefer writing with a pen or using a computer?

When I first start working on a new project I'm a pen and paper girl. I own almost a hundred different journals...and that's just the blank ones. Once I get the bare bones down, I switch to the computer. I just like the feel of pen on paper.

4. Do you prefer writing in first person or third?

I prefer writing in the third person although I will challenge myself sometimes and write a story in first person. First person is MUCH harder. It's hard to stay in that voice.

5. Do you listen to music while you write?

I actually have set playlists for the type of writing (drama, sci-fi, stage) that I'm doing. There are three specific types of playlists so that they match my mood. How anal does that make me sound?

6. How do you come up with the perfect names for your characters?

When I'm writing, the characters usually name themselves. For those times when I really need to find that perfect name I own several baby name books and other name reference books and I have links to some name generators.

7. When you're writing, do you ever imagine your book as a television show or movie?

There are some stories that I start writing as a short or with the idea of doing a novel and I'll stop about half way through and set it aside because I realize that it would be better as a movie or a mini-series.

8.Have you ever had a character insist on doing something you really didn't want him/her to do?

All the time. Characters will start out as just characters and by the time I'm done they are living and breathing. It makes me sad sometimes to come to the end of a project because it means I have to put those characters aside. But there are always new characters around the corner.

9. Do you know how a book is going to end when you start it?

I like to think I do, but things don't always go as planned. Writing is kind of like life that way....you don't always know what to expect.

10. Where do you write?

Where ever I am when the mood strikes. Right now I don't have a "writing schedule", although I'm going to have to set one soon.

11. What do you do when you get writer's block?

I read or I write fan fiction. I know writing fan fiction sounds like an odd thing to do when you have writer's block, but it doesn't require as much as creating something brand new. You get to start with a set of cannon characters, a background and a place to go from there, all you have to do is run with it. Reading or re-reading a really good book does the same thing, it frees up my mind so I'm not concentrating so hard on what I think the problem is.

12. What size increments do you write in (either in terms of word count, or as a percentage of the book as a whole)?

I write until I'm done. Sometimes thats four or five pages, once it was one hundred pages. When I've tapped myself out, I can feel it and I stop.

13. How many different drafts did you write for your last project?

At least four....with some of my poetry there have been as many as fifteen rewrites.

14. Have you ever changed a character's name midway through a draft?

In my rough draft if I'm having trouble with a secondary or background character I'll just drop a name in, like Bob or something equally generic, when I do rewrites I change the name to fit the character.

15. Do you let anyone read your book while you're working on it, or do you wait until you've completed a draft before letting someone else see it?

If the person is reading for me to help me catch possible problems, then yes. Otherwise I don't let anyone read what I'm working on until I'm finished.

16. What do you do to celebrate when you finish a draft?

Like Ian said, I usually feel a little sad when I finish something. A lot of writers actually say they feel that. You spend so much time working on these characters, getting invested in them and their lives...they become like family. Then one day...you're finished and you have to let the project go to someone you know is going to "edit" it. It's kind of a sad moment.

17. One project at a time, or multiple projects at once?

I'm actually laughing as I type this. I wish I could do one project at a time. I pray daily for the ability to keep my mind squarely focused on one writing project. I usually have three at any one time.

18. Do your books grow or shrink in revision?

That all depends on what the point of the revision is. I can't edit my own writing, something I'm working on. When I look at things every word is important, every syllable a must keep, so if it's cutting that needs doing, I'm not the one doing it. Additions I can handle. I get someone to read for me and point out where they felt the story lagged or needed more, then I go in and revise the story accordingly.

19. Do you have any writing or critique partners?

I live in a small town where I don't have many friends, so at the moment I have two people I can turn to for help critiquing. One lives in Salt Lake and the other I know from on-line. I'd like to have a group I can go to, but there's no one in my community that is interested in it...well no one that I've met anyway.

20. Do you prefer drafting or revising?

Let me put it to you this way. I would rather spend an entire weekend locked in a room with a televison stuck on C-Span than have to revise something.

Writing is MUCH more fun. The editing and revision process is a special kind of hell.


There you have it friends. I'm not tagging anyone with this, but for any of my fellow writers out there, I encourage you to pilfer this from me. Come one, you know you want to......

Well, I'm in for it now.

I did it. I signed myself up for Script Frenzy. I have never written a script before in my life. I'm not sure what kind of insanity came over me, but this next month should be interesting. I have a couple of ideas already, one based on a short story I wrote when I was younger and one based on a story idea I had a couple of years ago.

I'm actually really excited about this. The script I end up with might turn out to be complete junk, but it will be an interesting creative endeavor.

I also have two writing projects in the works. Anyone that answered my call for bodies can expect to get a follow up email later this weekend to give you more information and ask you to answer a few questions.

I'm all a twitter with excitement over the many projects I have in front of me. We shall see how long that excitement lasts.

Wendy's Weirds Me Out...Again

Has anyone seen the latest Wendy's commercial? It just weirds me out.

If you haven't seen the ad I'm talking about you really should go check it out.

http://www.wendys.com/ads/

It's the one with the guy in the red Pippi Longstocking wig. What the hell does a bunch of people standing around kicking trees have to do with Wendy's? And why is that man wearing a Pippi Longstocking wig?

Maybe it's a spoof on the whole, "I'm thinking Arby's thing." I don't know. What I do know is that it creeps me out even more than the idea of them using "Blister in the Sun" to try and hock fast food.

I think the ad department at Wendy's is being run by stoners.

5.30.2007

I need a body count.....

As many of you know, I fancy myself a writer. I have a great idea for a new story and I need bodies for the body count. If I've intrigued you and you're a fellow blogger, let me know. I'll email you with details.

5.25.2007

Tag! Dammit...

I have been tagged with this meme by Brillig. This means that not only do I have to answer the question, I have to think of people to tag in return. This reminds me an awful lot of those Slam Books we used to get in trouble for when we were in Junior High.

Okay, so on with the meme:

Where did you get your kids' names from?

Let's see, are we talking nick names or real names? Let's do both shall we?

May daughter's name is Alexandria Nichelle. I picked Alexandria because I wanted her to have a strong name she could grow into, but something she could shorten and have fun with when she was younger. Nichelle I chose because I think it's beautiful. I'm a Star Trek fan and the actress that plays Lt. Uhura is Nichell Nichols. The name always sounded great to me and the actress is accomplished, well-spoken and was one of the first strong female role models in entertainment.

My daughter actually has two nick names: Bubba for when we're feeling playful or silly and Baby Angel. I started calling her Baby Angel the day she was born. I looked into her eyes and she looked like a tiny little angel staring back at me. When she turned twelve she said to me,"I'm not a baby anymore you know." I smiled and told her that no matter what age she was she would always be my baby.


My son is three. His name is Jareth Malachai. My husband and I picked Jareth because of our fondness for the movie Labryinth. And no, I'm not joking. It's a unique name and it's one he can grow into. Russ and I both love the movie and have fond memories of watching it when we were younger. We chose his middle name basically because it sounded good with Jareth...I wish there was more to it, but there's not.

Jareth's nick name is Buddah. I honestly have no idea where it came from. We've been calling him that since he was about six months old. I don't know which one of us started it, or why, but it's what we call him. Sometimes I call him Booger, usually when he's being a pain in the ass. He will usually laugh and say,"I'm a Booger." This makes me laugh...it's a good time.

Now, who do I tag? I'm going to tag:

Paula
Ian (mostly because I want to listen to him rant about being tagged with yet ANOTHER meme..Love ya Ian!)
and
Gunfighter

Have fun ya'll!
The other day I was over at Never what you think it should be.... and the utterly fabulous WhiskeyMarie was lamenting her misbehaving hair. Now folks, I have to tell you this woman has got to have the single most impressive collection of hair care products I have EVER seen in my life. I bow to her hair care devotion. She is my new hair care GODDESS! (For those of you who don't know me well, I'm a "wash and go" girl. This means I spend five minutes TOPS on my hair. I wash, spray with leave in conditioner, comb, clip up or shake out depending on the day and we're off.) For someone to have the sheer amount of dedication it takes to know how to use those products, let alone shop for them...I am in awe!!!

That alone would deserve a post, but it's not why we're here. No. We're here because while I was admiring her seriously industrious hair care collection I started thinking about my own obsession with something. I, dear readers, am obsessed with skin care.

If I owned a digital camera this would be the point in my confession where I posted pictures similar to those found on WhiskeyMarie's blog. I don't own a digital camera though as I am frighteningly behind the times, so you will just have to imagine the sheer size of my skin care collection.

I counted and I have twenty seven different kinds of lotion, fifteen different facial products, and about fifty different kinds of skin cleansers, buffers and deep conditioners. I could start my own spa. I have special socks for deep conditioning my feet. Special callous removers for both my hands and my feet. I have specific face creams for day and night. I know how to make my own facials from all natural products like oatmeal and strawberries. I know how to use mayonnaise and stale beer to make my hair soft and shiny. I know that olive oil, avocado and honey is a GREAT moisturizer.

I lay in the sun like I'm still a teenager and this pisses my friends off because I still look like I'm 25. I moisturize, soak, scrub, sooth....I'm obsessed with my skin. But dammit, I'm going to look GOOD when I'm 70!!!!!

5.24.2007

What a difference a generation makes

I have a dear friend that is in her seventies. She is like a mother to me. My closest confidant and my shoulder to cry on when times are hard. I love her. I have always known that she and I do not see eye to eye on many subjects and, in fact, it is one of the things that makes our friendship fun and vital.

The other day as we were talking about rising gas prices, global warming and rapidly rising populations it was driven home for me just how different we were in our thinking. Comments she made started me thinking about the generational differences that still exist and how they often contribute to problems like social policy change, eradication of race issues and progress in political stability and the tendency towards religious fervor that can show up in times of crisis.

My friend and I were talking and I made the comment about the human race not being able to self moderate when it came to population. That animals will stop breeding if the herd becomes to large for the environment in which it lives to sustain it, but humans will not follow this same pattern. She responded by saying, "But if we don't keep having babies the colored people will start to outnumber us and then where will we be?" I sat and looked at her for a moment, not sure how to respond. She hadn't said it with any malice in her voice, it was very matter of fact and yet it had struck me as a very racist thing to say. I know this woman and she isn't mean spirited and would never think to judge a person based on color if they needed help or assistance of any kind. And yet, here was something so ugly coming from her. How did I reconcile this? It took me back, it shocked me. I did the only thing I could think of, I changed the subject.

Others of my generation would most likely condemn this person out of hand. Angry denouncement of "Racist" and "Bigot" would be hurled. I have to admit, one of the first thoughts through my mind was, "I didn't know she was so racist." And then I stopped and thought about it. I gave thought to where the comment might have come from and if she even understood, really understood how it would have been perceived by someone else. Would she have heard the racism in the comment, or would it have been just a normal thing to say for her?

My friend lived through the Great Depression, World War II and the social upheaval of the Civil Rights movement and the Vietnam Era. She also witnessed the turmoil surrounding the Women's Rights movement and the entrance onto the social forefront of the Gay and Lesbian Rights activists. Environmental activists, human rights activists, criminal rights activists all of these groups came into being during her lifetime. The concept of "childhood" as we know it was developed and placed into society during her lifetime. When you stop going to school, when you start working to support a family, when you get married....all of these ideas have changed. Who you associate with, what's appropriate behavior in society, what's appropriate to talk about and even how you say it...all of these ideas have changed as well.

My generation takes these things for granted. We expect that everyone will accept and understand these ideas. That they are part of the societal norm is a given for us. We have forgotten that there is an entire generation that did not grow up with these ideals. They had them thrust upon them. Are still having them thrust upon them.

Imagine being seventy-five years old and having a twenty-five year old woman, covered in tattoos with purple hair, her breast barely covered walk up to you and start speaking to you about the right to have an abortion. She is mixing profanity in with her speech and waving a crudely painted sign in your face. How would you react? Or imagine turning on your television and being bombarded with images of a world that looks nothing like the one you were familiar with...hearing ideas that do not match the morals you were taught all your life. How easy would it be for you to change an entire moral code?

How do we combat that? Fighting against groups like KKK is hard enough. They perpetuate hatred based on ethnicity out of sheer fear and ignorance, born of a time when it was a right and nurtured for centuries. This kind of racism is much quieter and hides in people that really mean no harm. My friend's children grew up hearing such quiet statements and probably make them themselves, carrying the cycle forward. These are not monstrous people. These are men and women who give to charity, help their neighbors in times of crisis, bake cookies for the school bake sale and make friends with people of all colors and ethnic groups...all the while, lurking just under the surface....How do you diffuse that? What is the way to break a cycle that you can't see?

Vote For...ME!!!!

I would like to officially announce my intention to run for President! Running with me will be Suzanne. Shortly after we are elected we will be appointing Gunfighter as our Secretary of Defense, super des,Brillig,and unquietheart will be taking seats on the Supreme Court so that some REAL decisions can be made. Ian will be taking on duties as the new White House Chief of Staff. My good friend Steph will be taking on duties as Press Secretary.

This will only be the beginning. If I didn't include you in this list and you feel there is a position you would like to have, please let me know. Once we have fixed the United States, we will be taking over the World. We will be running on the "Common Sense" platform and using the "Preschool Mother" form of unilateral control. This means: If you wouldn't let your pre-schooler do it, it's not okay for you to do it. "Getting your hand slapped" will take on a whole new meaning.

"By the People, For the People" will mean something again. During my tenor, you will have a flawed, human government, but we will always tell you the truth, we will always do what is actually in the best interests of the country, and we will always look before we leap.

Vote for ME!