Wednesday, November 30, 2005

If Bush Could Read...

Wow. I have just finished reading an amazing book. As an environmentalist, feminist, and former mother I have no idea how I missed this in the last four years. Okay, so before I step up on any soap boxes, I have a question for you. Have you ever heard those warnings, that say nursing and pregnant women shouldn't eat or drink certain things due to the possible toxic exposure to the baby? You know, things like "all women of childbearing age should avoid eating shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish..." (January 2001 FDA guideline) And somehow those warnings don't usually seem to apply to many people, or seem sort of marginalized. So that at least half of the population can say, heck, that's not me! I don't need to worry! But wait.

Where did they come from, that lucky half? Why from their pregnant mother's wombs of course! How does every single human being enter this world? As of yet, there is no other way. The womb is it. So these warnings are not only affecting the marginalized female half of the population, it affects every future human being on earth.

So why is it that we allow our leaders to get away with things like refusing to cap mercury emission from our coal fired power plants? Even though every single species of fish on the planet now has unnatural levels of mercury bioaccumulated in their bodies. Even though there is a direct and proven link between mercury and inhibited fetal neural development.

I am riled up and on the rampage. Mercury is just the beginning. There's also dioxins, and persistent organic pollutants. And lead. And pesticides, and flame retardants. Augh. All are thought to be safe until "concentrated" in the pregnant or nursing mother. That wacky marginalized percent of the population that really doesn't count for much. Unless of course you are interested in how the next generation of inhabitants to the planet are going to turn out.

Oh, and the book is also a great read. How can you not love a book whose first sentence is: "In a faculty bathroom on the campus of Illinois Wesleyan University, I am trying to pee on a stick."

So, if you have any interest in eating, parenting, ecology, science, fish, polar bears, LBI New Jersey, or just reading a well written book, I highly recommend that you check out...

Last I checked it was available used on Amazon for the shockingly paltry sum of three dollars...

PS. Special thanks to Mrs. CrazyTalent for most forcefully recommending this book, you are so right!

Friday, November 18, 2005

O Brother, We Were Here!

A little while ago, our leetle, teeny, tiny community cranked out with the coolest Geek Family Activity ever. The Hub and I assembled at Mr. and Mrs. Impetus's house and were joined by Mr. and Mrs. CrazyTalent. (Heretofore to be known as Imp or CrazyT.) After an unhurried degustation of tasty tri-tip tacos, we adjourned to the living room, cum music studio. Misters Imp and CrazyT brought out their guitars, while Mrs. CrazyT brought out her cello, piano skills, lovely voice, and violin-know-how. The rest of us warbled along and added enthusiastic mini percussion to the mix, with an occasional, and semi-successful, foray into the realm of long lost childhood instruments. The two year old was rockin' on the snare drum, and the 10 month old did some mean egg shaking. We sang every song that driver knew. Ooo ooo.

It felt a bit like a pioneer town, where there is no live music to go see, so you'd just better learn to make your own. Its a shame though, with all the time and money our parents spent on violin lessons, flute lessons, and various instruments that we don't retain much of that knowledge. Except, perhaps, that is the root of the deep joy derived from our little music night.

That said, I also have to admit that I came home wildly jealous and inspired, and therefore spent the entire next day at the piano, relearning some folk songs. So I'm set, and ready to go, and barring a case of crippling stage fright, I should be able to hold my own on a few tunes next time. So come on out, and bring your humor, joy, and your pioneer spirit, 'cause there's a jug and some spoons that are in dire need a virtuoso!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Anyone Going Sailing?

Fall is here, and what better way to greet it than with some warming comfort food baking activities. Now, I love me some gingersnaps, so I got out the Martha Stewart cookbook and whipped up this batch of little leafies.

Unfortunately, despite the fact that they are cute as the dickens, they more closely resemble a bitter flavored hardtack than a crisp gingery cookie. Darn that Martha. What does she have against me? I wasn't even in favor of her jail time.

Well, it could possibly be my fault, as I lost count of the cups of flour somewhere between 4 and 5. Or possibly the fact that I didn't have ground cloves, so I used Allspice, which smells rather clovey, ya know? Could that be it? Well, regardless, the second batch was slightly better, as I rolled them out wafer thin, and therefore they lost some of that grim tooth-chipping quality. I even tried to ameliorate the bitterness by sprinkling one batch with sugar before baking, but, oddly enough, that was of no avail. Hmm. My next thought is frosting. Everything is better with frosting.

I do have to mention that the dog loved them. Baking day gone flop, or new canine business opportunity? The Frosting Test will have to decide the matter...

Monday, November 14, 2005

Drudgery, Citizenry, and Punk Rockery

Hey bloggy blog, how ya hanging in there? The Hub and I had a very exciting day last Tuesday. Primarily, we finally got the Honda dealer to admit that there was something wonky about the Zippy car's transmission. Essentially, that the jerking and sputtering is not just a fun bonus feature of driving a gas electric hybrid car. Imagine that. So the new tranny is ordered, and will be installed FOR FREE next week. Yay!

While we were entrapped in the antiseptic waiting room at the dealership, we started our online research on California's Special Election referendum(b)s. Good thing too, 'cause some of those things were complex, and we ended up looking at the campaign finance page to see who had what vested interest. But due to the polls being open until 8 pm, we had plenty of time for this research phase, and ended up voting with at least an hour to spare. Yay for citizenship!

And the final event of the day was that I did this.

Or well, I had a very nice, hygienic, punk rock man in Merced do it for me. And now I get to wear yet one more tiny glint of sparklies! I'm a lucky gal. Just don't ask me to blow my nose.

Friday, November 11, 2005


I turned out to be...

Which are you?

(From random visit to burnedoverdistrict)

Monday, November 07, 2005

Oh, Mo.

I know, I know, I have been so darned chatty lately that y'all can barely keep up. I'll try to lower the frequency. To something slightly above coma, okay?

So there has been alot of hubub lately (for example here and here) about the Maureen Dowd article in the New York Times. (Yes I realize that the story is over a week old, an aeon in our information age, but I feel the need to So most likely y'all have read it by now, and are familiar with her finer points. If not, go ahead, I'll wait.

So basically, my take on her article is this. The sexual revolution failed. And, though I come from a wildly different mindset, generation, and background from Maureen, I have to agree. Before you get your panties in a bunch, hear me out. Growing up, my wonderful parents taught me that I could do anything. Believing them, I went on to be interested in math, engineering, adventure sports, women's leadership, etc. Along with these wonderful things, I also believed that a woman had just as much right to show her interest in a man, as he did toward her. There in lies the rub. Because it just doesn't work that way. Being as hard headed as I am, it took me entirely too long to learn that.

A man is expected to make passes at a woman, heck numerous women if he's unsuccessful. Even in our "modern" society, if a woman dares to make her intentions clear to one man (whom she might be genuinely interested in), she is deemed any one of a load of nasty things; a slut, desperate, a tease. Persistence is charming in a man, frightening in a woman. Yes I understand that relationships must proceed slowly, but why is it assumed that the woman will always be the "braking" factor? And this is not just bitter personal experience that no one wants to hear about, I have had some explosive fights with male friends while defending the name of female friends who just happen to be damned tired of waiting around. "Oh, you just love the thrill of the chase, well I don't give a flying fig, I'm lonely now!" Sorry, I'm feeling a bit vitriolic about the entire debate.

I had been having some of these type of conversations with the Whippersnapper in the last few weeks (before she LEFT FOR THE SEASON!) and it is apparent that despite being 10 years my junior, the issues have not changed. I felt the need to help her fill her social schedule so that she wouldn't have to PLAY hard to get, since she would genuinely BE hard to get. And that is the only solution that I have ever come up with, a maniacally full schedule is sure to put you in high demand. Great, at least we don't have to play games anymore.

Now I need to bring it down here a bit in conclusion. I have a wonderful husband. I am a hair's breadth from receiving a Master's in environmental engineering. I love my life, and there's no place I'd rather be. (Well, maybe New Zealand, but that's beside the point.) I feel that I am a blessedly successful feminist. But less than a decade back in time, I had to learn to be the relationship boundary monitor, and not an active seeker. And I can't deny that THAT disappoints.

And in classic scientific paper style, I must now move into questions of the future. Do I try and spare my children some of the heartbreak that I experienced, and teach them that, yes, a woman must play hard to get? Or to I keep flogging my head against the wall of patriarchy, and try, despite culture, media, and a millennium of history, to pass on the mantra that "a woman can do what ever she wants"?

Hope I haven't harshed on your day. Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


Hey look at my snazzy new early birthday present shoes. They're RED!