Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Book Review: Cane River, by Lalita Tademy

Cane River, by Lalita Tademy.
What can I say about this book, but WOW. This book blew me away. In it, Ms. Tademy tells the story of four generations of women on her mother's side, reaching back into slavery. These women are amazing, resilient, passionate, talented. Their stories are riveting. This is the most real history I've ever read, although Ms. Tademy herself acknowledges that she has woven in fictional accounts of events.
This is a must-read for anyone who believes slavery was a good system, that slaves were happy. This is a must-read for students of American history. This is a must-read for those who love women's studies, gender studies, or genealogical history.
This is a MUST-READ, people!!

I'm just sayin'.

There's a lot of people in the public eye right now, that I really feel I know too much about. Is privacy completely out of style?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Alternate Triathlon

I know a few folks who are athletic enough to participate in triathlons, and I've briefly flirted with the idea of training for one.

And then I came to my senses.

After all, a triathlon (1.5 km swim, 40 km bike, and 10 km run) is a lot of work. Which means a lot of training. Which means a lot of pain, sweating like a pig, and having to follow someone else's regimen. And since we've already established that I can't even run more than 2 miles without a break, I think it's clear that the triathlon circuit is safe from me.

But that doesn't mean I can't compete in my own, alternate triathlon. For example, a 500-page-book, a pint of Ben&Jerry's, and "Elizabeth: the Golden Age" on netflix, in two days. Or, a dozen barbecued wings, two servings of cole slaw, and three biscuits, in one sitting. Or even, four hours of shopping, one margarita, and a plate of fajitas - home by 10:00 pm. I wouldn't mind training for these.

What's your alternate triathlon?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Shared interests

One of the best things about being married to TH is our shared interests, which include dressing up as pirates and acting like goofballs.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Word of the Week


v. to bamboozle; deceive.

I mean, come on! How can you not love a word like hornswoggle?



Monday, June 15, 2009

Summer at the Movies

Th and I had the day off today and went to see "Star Trek." Holy cow, what a blockbuster! It's everything you'd want from a summer movie: action, excitement, suspense, sexual tension, great characters, and a good, but still kinda fantastic, story.

Not to mention Simon Pegg.

I think Leonard Pitts Jr. is awesome.

Another fantastic article from Mr. Pitts.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

This is NOT OK.

Suicides are on the rise among soldiers returning from combat. Read this story about one young man.

The article states that, "According to the Army, soldiers are killing themselves at the highest rate in nearly three decades, surpassing the civilian suicide rate for the first time since the Vietnam War." (Sacramento Bee, 6/11/09) Suicides that occur after discharge, like the soldier in this article, are not counted in that figure. "The Army has estimated that as many as one in eight soldiers returning from combat suffer from PTSD, which is caused by severe psychological trauma and can cause flashbacks, nightmares, sleeplessness, detachment and irritability, among other problems." (ibid) For comparison, one in eight is the same statistic quoted for women's chances of getting breast cancer. And many who work with veterans estimate much larger numbers, due to the length of time it takes for PTSD to show up, the amount of bureaucracy that puts barriers in the way to treatment, and many soldiers' shame at admitting to "weakness."

There are several reasons why I am philosophically opposed to war. People have told me that being opposed to war means I don't support my troops (or my country, but that's another post). But how is it supportive to assign someone to possible death; certain trauma; and, if they're lucky, years of recovery from PTSD or other mental health issues; if they're unlucky, suicide, homelessness, unemployment, and/or isolation? Taking care of our troops means taking care of the whole person, not just using them for our purposes and throwing them away. Have we learned nothing from Vietnam, Korea, WW II, or WWI?

These soldiers, they're our children, spouses, friends. We can do better. We must do better.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The Good:

  • Realizing that I am only 2 and a half weeks away from a mini-vacation to see one of my best friends.
  • Eating the chocolate doughnut that my coworker brought me. Having a co-worker that knows what I need to be cheered up.
  • Gaining much-needed insight into my current mental state.
  • Finding an online-streaming radio station that plays jazz.

The Bad:

  • Feeling a little overwhelmed, and knowing it's still 2 and a half weeks until my mini-vacation.
  • Sore muscles from possibly overdoing the exercise in the last two days.

The Ugly:

  • Having a student imply that I have not done my job properly. Knowing this is not true, and having no way to defend myself.
  • Dry heaves after my morning run.

All of the above:

  • Realizing how much I still need to work on to become the person I want to be.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

From the earth to my table, in one day

Thunderbolts and Lightning

Last night TH and I were captivated by an incredible electrical storm. Lightning flashed nearly continuously for about an hour, sometimes accompanied by thunder. The sky was clouded over and huge raindrops fell intermittently. It was a dark and stormy night. These types of summer storms are relatively uncommon for northern CA. We usually get some rain in June, but not the flashy stuff we got last night.

(Free photo thanks to; ours didn't turn out this well)

For some science about how lightning works, see this site. And if you enjoy mythology and cultural stories, you may recall that the thunderbolt is a symbol of power which is present in many world myths. It is symbolic of a loss of ignorance and/or of destruction, or retribution. It is still used today, especially in military symbols or pictures. And in language, both French and Italian use a phrase for "love at first sight" that translates directly in English to lightning strike.
No matter how you look at it, lightning is pretty awe-inspiring.