Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Anti-beauty industry and big-pharm rant of the month.

I saw an ad today for a medication that will help your eyelashes grow thicker.

So, let me get this straight. My teeth are not white enough, my skin not even enough and not the right shade, my eyes are not bright enough, my lips not plump enough or shiny enough, my face not wrinkle-free enough, and my eyebrows not hairless enough. Now my eyelashes are too thin. And that's just what's wrong with my face.

Really? Really, beauty and big-pharm industries? There are people in this world who don't have clean water, children who are dying from easily-preventable medical conditions, people who are starving and homeless, and you put your money into researching, developing, testing, marketing and taking cash from women who are already beautiful?

For shame!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Sacrifice and reflection

Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. Lent is a season of sacrifice and reflection; the 40 days leading up to Easter and the season of new life. Many people choose to use Lent as a time to work on themselves, sacrificing bad habits or patterns or behaviors in order to become a better person, or at least, a more thoughtful person.

This year I have chosen a sacrifice that has already been difficult. I have chosen not to purchase any books. This may seem small, but for a reading-addict like me, this is tough. Not just because I love books, but because I love to browse bookstores in my spare time, I belong to a bookclub, and I have a mini-vacation planned that would cross my path with a favorite independent bookstore. And there are so many great books coming out soon... I decided on this particular sacrifice due in part to my pile of books at home - let's read what we have before buying more, shall we? - and in part due to my almost thoughtless purchasing of hardbacks that are not ultimately books I want to keep.

So, my hope is that this sacrifice will gently lead me to reflect on what books mean to me, and how I can indulge in them in a more respectful way - respectful to my bookshelves, to my wallet, and to the environment.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Just sayin'.

Hot milk-based soup + too much in the blender at once= hot mess. And burned fingers. Ow.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Books for Black History Month

In honor of Black History Month, here are some books I've read that have educated me and helped me view my role as a White person in both perpetuating and working to eliminate racial injustice towards my Black brothers and sisters.

  • "It's the Little Things: Everyday Interactions That Anger, Annoy, and Divide the Races" by Lena Williams.
  • "A People's History of the United States" by Howard Zinn.
  • "Uprooting Racism: How White People can Work for Social Justice" by Paul Kivel.
  • "A Country of Strangers: Blacks and Whites in America" by David Shipley.
  • "Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl" by Harriet Jacobs.
  • "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" by Maya Angelou.
  • "The Bluest Eye" by Toni Morrison.
  • "Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong" by James Loewen.
  • "Pedagogy of the Oppressed" by Paulo Freire (if you're really feeling academic...)
  • "The Wind Done Gone" by Alice Randall.
  • "Slaves in the Family" by Edward Ball.
  • "Cane River" by Lalita Tademy.
  • "Invisible Man" by Ralph Ellison.
  • "Black Boy" by Richard Wright.
  • "A Raisin in the Sun" by Lorraine Hansberry.

Good reads, all.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Move out of the way

One of my most unique experiences, something that has only happened a couple of times in my life that I know of, is where I am in the midst of the mundane, and feel a compulsion to act in a certain way so that something BIG can happen. I don't mean to imply that it's anything to do with me, necessarily. I also don't mean it to sound like I'm being used as a puppet. It's really more like a divine nudge to "shove over, kid, and let me show you how it's done."

You could call it the Holy Spirit. Or Magic. Or the Goddess. Or Destiny. Or Angels. Or the feeble workings of a bored imagination. But I can speak only of the truths I experience, and I call it humbling and beautiful and enlightening. It is incredibly moving to feel at one with something so H_U_G_E.

And exhausting, a little.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

You Gotta Have HEART

February 5 is Go Red for Women Day. This is a crucial day for us gals to raise awareness of the #1 killer of women: heart disease. Surprised? It's true. But it's also preventable with some easy steps on your part:

1. Get active. All you need is 30 minutes a day of physical activity - climbing stairs, walking around the block, chasing your kids. You don't have to run a marathon.
2. Eat better. More fruits and vegetables. Less fats and highly-processed foods. Start with small changes. You don't have to go vegan.
3. STOP SMOKING. There is no healthy level of smoking. Period.
4. Lose weight. See steps 1. and 2. There is no shortcut, no magic diet pill. Just do it.
5. Control cholesterol.
6. Manage blood pressure.
7. Reduce blood sugar.

You may need to see a doctor to get readings for 5., 6., and 7. Look into community resources - free blood pressure clinics are common, as are machines in pharmacies. Many cities with medical schools also have free or low cost visits with supervised medical students. Aren't you worth the time and money it takes? An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and regardless of how many people don't have adequate health insurance (ahem, Congress!!), it's still a better idea to not get sick in the first place. Make yourself a priority.

Monday, February 1, 2010

February is Black History Month

"Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave, I am the dream and the hope of the slave. I rise. I rise. I rise." -Maya Angelou

"The cost of liberty is less than the price of repression." -W.E.B. Du Bois

Celebrate the history and herstory of your brothers and sisters this month!