December 2005


Yes, that’s right I’m not doing anything for New Year’s Eve AGAIN. When I was a teenager it was always because my parents didn’t want me driving on the roads with all the crazy drunks. Then when I got older I just never really had a desire to celebrate new year’s, but this year I had plans and now they’re ruined for much of the same reason as when I was a teenager.

In case you haven’t been outide recently, or haven’t been watching the news, there’s a major storm system headed through Northern California and it’s been flooding several regions, including my county. The creek closest to my house was supposed to reach the top of the levee by 4 p.m. today, causing major flooding throughout the area. Water is supposed to reach the northern half of my town by 9 p.m.

Now, even though I don’t live in the north end of town, I’m still worried because several roads have been closed during the day and I have to work in the morning so if I drive out to see my friends I may not make it back in time. Not only that, but I was scared to death driving home in the pouring rain last night and I’ll be ten times more scared tonight with a storm AND crazy drunks driving on the road. It’s just not worth risk. Sometimes I hate being a responsible adult.

But I’m also not going to sit here and pout too much. Instead, I plan to enjoy all of my wonderful vices before I have to give them up for the new year. I’m going out to buy ice cream, wine and 2 tacos from Jack in the Box. And I plan to enjoy them all while watching Sex and the City. So there Mother Nature, you can’t ruin my holiday completely.

Last year I only had one new year’s resolution and I made it to May before giving in to Jack in the Box and their delicious 2 tacos for $1 deal. So this year, I have the same resolution – to limit fast food to once a month – along with several other things I’d like to change or accomplish this year.

– I resolve to decrease my sugar intake. I’ve been eating way too much candy and cookies lately and my teeth are starting to hurt from it, so I’m pretty much giving it up, except for the occasional M&M’s.

– I’m going to begin Spanish classes so I can try to communicate with Costa Ricans while I’m there this summer, along with this goal is the goal to save up enough money to even take the trip. (see the end of this blog for latest update on donations)

– I’m going to be more assertive in telling people what I want so I don’t get stuck in a relationship/job/position I don’t want to be in.

– I’m going to have as much fun as possible! This is an important one.

– I’m going to read more. I want to try to read at least two books per month, if not more.

– I’m going to take the CBEST and pass (hopefully) so I can begin tutoring/substitute teaching, which leads to my last and final goal:

– I’m going to fill out my application for the Peace Corps.

So how ’bout the rest of you? Did you accomplish your goal this year and have you set new ones for next year? Even if it’s not something you normally do, New Year’s resolutions are a good idea because they give us a milestone, a time that we’ll remember and be able to use to gauge our progress.

PS I received another donation for Costa  Rica! This time from Joe. Thanks Joe!

$1002
+ 25
——-
1027

Only $1500 to go. Remember you can read about what I’ll be doing and donate by pushing the “Make a donation” button on my front page.

Yesterday my friend Joe and I were talking politics, as is often the case when we get together, and I said to him I didn’t think I was a full-fledged liberal because I was pretty moderate on some of the bigger issues – one of them being gun control. And he said he thought of me as more of a feminist liberal, which was fine with me…but then I started thinking about it. What did he mean by feminist?

I don’t have a problem being considered a feminist – I’d love to be a more active feminist and research all of the inequalities between men and women in the United States. The problem is in the definition. Feminism often has a negative connotation to wo/men who are not themselves a feminist. It is often equated to being a “man-hater” and nothing more, but being a feminist is much, much deeper than that. So this is why his comment began to eat at me. Do I portray an image of a man-hater just because I write blogs about guys being jerks to me? Men do the same thing when they get dumped or have a bad run-in with a female and not all of them are misogynists, just as feminists don’t hate all men.

I have to admit that I’m not very educated on feminism, which is why I don’t think of myself as a major feminist like some of my best friends. I do, however, have no problem being referred to as a feminist. I believe women should have equal rights, they should be paid the same as their male counterparts and they should most definitely be hired for jobs they are capable of. Women should also not have to worry about going out at night or walking home alone, but it’s not something that’s going to change without a change in cultural thinking in this nation. That’s why feminists fight to take offensive ads off TV and radio and they fight to have women portrayed as human beings rather than objects because as long as wo/men think that women in this society are lesser humans then we will remain in this holding pattern.

Many of you may think me, and people who think like me, are crazy. You’ll say, “Nah, stuff like that doesn’t happen anymore” or “Sexual harrassment is so over.” Try being a woman for just one day or just look at the way your women friends are treated and try to think of it from an objective point of view. Would you want your mother or sister treated that way? I doubt it.

I’ve faced gender discrimination only one time (that I know of) in my life and it was at one of my college jobs. I worked in retail and had been at the same company for nearly four years. I had been promoted several times, yet I found out that a temporary employee who was hired on for Christmas was getting paid more than me and it was because he was a man. I was the only woman who worked in my entire store and I was paid less than everyone, even this guy who had NO retail experience. I left soon after because I was also sexually harrassed by a co-worker. I never filed any reports.

One last thought: When I wrote my Peace Corps blog I thought it was interesting that all of the men brought up disease, war and poor living conditions as possible issues for me going to Africa, but not one brought up the thing that worried me most – rape. But I bet every single woman who read that blog had rape in the front of their minds as one of the biggest things to fear when going to Africa, even those who aren’t well-educated on current events. This is just one example of the difference in thinking between the sexes. Men and women do not have the same fears, not because men are stronger or better or less vulnerable, but because they have been taught that they are. It’s time to change the culture and stop making “feminist” a dirty word.

Any wo/man out there should be proud to be a feminist.

PS Eileen got me a subscription to Bitch Magazine for Christmas and it is SO cool. It’s a great way to start educating yourself on feminist issues and break down the thoughts that feminists are imagining things.

Have you ever had a secret so awful you didn’t want to share it with anyone because you knew they’d judge, but you felt like you couldn’t keep it inside any longer? It’s torture to hold a secret in sometimes, at least for me, especially when it’s a really good/bad one, but who can you share it with when you know they’ll be just as tortured by holding your secret in?

I think most people can relate to the secret-keeping/sharing dilemma, which is probably why this website became so popular. This guy started a blog where he posted images of postcards he asked people to send him in the mail. The postcards are usually pretty artistic and on them are written the persons deepest, darkest secret. Just one secret they couldn’t keep inside any longer, but they couldn’t tell anyone else either.

The site is totally anonymous and a collection of the postcards is now on display in Washington, D.C., while the blogger has a book coming out called, “Postsecret: Extraordinary Confessions from Ordinary Lives.” I just bought it with my Barnes and Noble gift card from Kassie and I can’t wait for it to arrive! I’m a secret stalker of this blog. Some of the secrets are really compelling and horrifying, but others aren’t too big a deal. I’ve always wanted to send one in, but I don’t know if I have a big enough secret to send in…

Also, this site got me thinking about success. This guy was a nobody with a silly blog idea and now he’s famous, syndicated even. Isn’t it amazing how some things just catch on? I don’t know how there are so many ideas in this world that flop when things like reality TV and a postsecret blog can make someone famous. Life is weird.

Anyway, if you have a secret you haven’t been able to tell anyone, you know have an outlet. Have fun!

For why we need environmental awareness.

Australia was discovered by white people in 1770, less than 250 years ago (as a comparison, the United States was “discovered” more than 500 years ago – in 1492), yet they have managed to destroy much of the natural environment that existed before their arrival. The continent should be considered heaven for environmental scientists, they can study first-hand how destructive our species can be – and in a controlled space no less. The discovery of Australia set off a chain reaction that has only begun to be noticed today.

Early settlers cut down 98 percent of the original rainforest in the upper section of the continent. No, they didn’t just cut down the trees they needed and then leave, allowing the forest to repair itself. Instead, they cut down the trees they needed, then burned the rest of the forest so they could use it for raising cattle.

This is where the chain reaction began. Clear-cutting the forest took away the natural absorbers for rain water. Add to that the fact that Australia has no native species of hooved animals and suddenly there is a serious problem. Raising cattle in the clear-cut forest meant more run-off to the surrounding creeks and rivers, not only because there were no trees to absorb the water, but because the cattle were breaking up the land and making it softer than it had ever been. This wouldn’t have been so bad if it were just rain water, but it was also animal feces and pesticides flowing into the creeks and rivers, which then flowed into the ocean.

Well, these particular rivers led to the part of the ocean that contains the Great Barrier Reef, (maybe you’ve heard of it?) which has been suffering from coral bleaching during the past several years. Some argue the reason for the bleaching is due to warmer waters flowing through the area and is linked to global warming, while others believe that is only part of the cause. Some scientists think coral bleaching is compounded by run-off from cattle farms and crops where the rainforest used to be.

But there is hope. Because the Great Barrier Reef is a huge tourist attraction, the Australian government is working to restore the rainforest and has begun introducing environmental protections for other regions of the country. Australia holds some of the last untouched places we have in this world. Let’s hope their government wasn’t too late in introducing legislation to save those places.

PS Australia was the first country to have a National Parks system, so they weren’t all anti-environment. This was just a really good example of how one action can lead to environmental destruction.

PPS Australia has lots of other examples of environmental must-nots. Look up Cane Toads if you’re interested.

Let me just start off by saying I have ALWAYS loved going to the denist. But it’s been a long while since my last visit to the dentist. Not only because I didn’t have insurance, but because my last dentist (whom I loved and admired) died a few years back and I wasn’t willing to try out anyone new. But my recently acquired insurance led me to take the leap and make an appointment. I went in last week and, to my surprise, found that I was actually part of a dental group, which means I probably won’t ever see the same dentist twice. The weirdest thing was that they only took my x-rays for that first appointment and then set me a second appointment for my cleaning. Every other dentist I’ve ever been to has just done them both at the same time. I also needed a cavity filled.

Today I made the second trek to the dentist, which is in Sacramento by the way, and had my teeth cleaned and cavity filled within a 45 minute span. That’s right. I arrived at the dentist’s office at 8 a.m. and was out the door by 8:45.

It was really strange because they didn’t use the old metal tools to scrape my teeth with. Instead they used one of those water pik things, spraying water all over my face at the same time (so unhygenic). They didn’t numb my tooth to fill the cavity for two reasons: I told them I’d never had problems with pain and they said it was small so it shouldn’t hurt – it didn’t. So they just started drilling and filled it in. It literally took seconds. Then they cleaned my teeth and sent me packing. Oh, well they did leave time for the woman to tell me she could fix my two front teeth for the small, uninsured price of $1900.

The experience got me thinking: Has the way of the dentist fallen to corporate America? It’s all about efficiency with no personal touches – not even a free toothbrush to take home with me. People never know who to expect when they come back unless they specifically request a dentist and they try to upsell you on stuff – do they get paid on comission?

So, does anyone out there have a real family dentist still that you could recommend? Keep in mind: I want, no, I expect, a free toothbrush at the end of my cleaning. Am I wrong to expect this? Are kids the only ones who get the free toothbrush anymore? Maybe I’m out of the loop, but seriously. Adults are the ones who appreciate the fact that getting a free toothbrush just saved them $4. Not me though, I’m gonna have to go buy one today…

PS My dentist said my teeth look great. See, that’s what regular flossing does for you.

Last night I dreamt of going over those tire spikes with my car and I could visibly see the warning sign: “Caution – Do not back up. Tire damage will occur.” It got me thinking, some men (and women) should come with warning signs: “Caution: Do not call me. Severe emotional damage will occur.” But then, we ignore warning signs all the time don’t we? And would we really pay any attention to these warning signs? Probably not. Like the wet floor sign: Unless you see actual water do you actually tread more carefully? No, not likely.

The same thing would probably happen with people and their warning signs. If there weren’t the visible “creep” warning signs we’d say, “Nah, it can’t be that bad. I’ll just give him a call.” But within a short time we’d know and our friends would say, “You should have paid attention to the warning sign.” And our insurance wouldn’t cover it saying, “There was a warning sign, that’s what they’re there for.” And you’d feign ignorance, “But I didn’t see it,” you’d say. Or “It was hidden by that tree.” Or “But the spikes weren’t actually sticking out, how was I to know?” But it would be no use. You’d still be an emotional wreck waiting to see who the next victim will be, or worse, waiting to be a victim again.

PS When I was writing this it reminded me of Atmosphere, one of my favorite hip hop groups. They’re a great angry group to listen to during a break up. Half of their songs are dedicated to Slug’s ex-girlfriend, Lucy Ford. They even have one about warning signs. You should definitely listen to them if you haven’t before.

“I got an idea, you should get a tattoo that says warning, that’s all, just a warning so the potential victim can take a left and save breath and avoid you sober and upset in the morning.” -MC Slug

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