The Friday Five

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Because I can think of nothing better to do, I give you the Friday Five. Complete with pictures, even.

Smurfs1) When you were little what was your favorite TV show?

Depends how little we're talking. I'm told I enjoyed The Smurfs as a small child, though I don't remember it. We didn't have a functioning television for quite a bit of my later childhood/preteen years, but I do remember watching The Wonder Years, Life Goes On, and Growing Pains some, probably mostly at other people's houses.

2) What was your favorite movie?Satisfaction

I tended to get obsessed with things and beg to rent them over and over as a kid. Goonies was a favorite, as was the early Julia Roberts movie Satisfaction. I wanted to be in a girl band. Still do, actually.

Miami Ink3) What is your favorite TV show currently?

I don't watch a lot of TV anymore, but I do really like Miami Ink. I watched Rollergirls when it was on. I'm a bit intrigued by Big Love right now.

4) What is the best movie you have seen so far this year?

Probably Brokeback Mountain. Capote was also excellent.

5) If someone was going to make a movie or TV show about your life, who would play you and why?Laura Prepon

I'd want Laura Prepon from That 70's Show to play me. She's the only actress I can think of who is both tall enough and in the right age cohort, without being terrifyingly skinny or just bugging me. We don't particularly look alike, but something about her reminds me a bit of myself. I've been told Laura Dern would be a good choice, but she's quite a bit older than I am.

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April Giving

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One day early, but oh well. My choices for April Giving are:

1. The Catholic Charities Justice for Immigrants project. This may seem an odd choice for me, and it is, but there is reasoning behind it. My great-grandmother, an Italian immigrant and a devout Catholic, died last week. This donation is in her honor. May she rest in peace.

2. Lilith: A Fund for Reproductive Equity, a local organization providing funding for low-income women to get abortions. From their website: "Lilith: A Fund for Reproductive Equity believes that the right to choose an abortion is meaningless without access to abortion services. Restrictions on abortion access and funding are discriminatory because they especially burden low-income women. We oppose all efforts to restrict abortion rights and are committed to fighting for access to abortion for all women. We believe that it is the responsibility of government to provide public funding for abortions, but that we must act now to support women who want abortions but cannot afford them." I'm behind that.

As always, please check them out (butttons at right), and give if you feel moved to do so. Happy April!

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Friday Five

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(Inspired by The Summer Chronicles.)

1) Of the various cultures, ethnicities or nationalities you belong to, which most strongly do you consider yourself?
I identify my ancestry primarily as Scottish, Dutch, and Native American, as those nationalities make up the largest part of my bloodstream, and they are the ones members of my extended family have most embraced.

2) Is there a culture you cannot claim heritage from but which you feel quite close to?
I think in my case it is less feeling close to cultures that I don't claim heritage to and more feeling close to the cultures I do out of proportion to that heritage, if that makes sense.

3) What's one language you wish you knew fluently?
Spanish would certainly be the most useful, but I've always kind of wished I knew ASL.

4) If you could move anywhere in the world and be guaranteed a job, etc., where would you go?
In reality, I'd probably go home, to Oregon. If feeling more adventurous, though, I'd say Spain.


5) If you had a time machine, and could witness any one event without altering or disturbing it, what would you want to see?
There are way too many to choose from. Senaca Falls comes to mind right away, though.

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Big news times two

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I have to big exciting pieces of news today.

The first is that Mark and I are finally buying our new car. It is a Honda Element. 2006, 4WD EX. We pick it up tomorrow morning.

We test drove our three top choices (given our research) last weekend. These were the Element, the Honda CR-V, and the Subaru Forester. We didn't like the CR-V at all--it seemed a bit cheap inside and did not drive as nicely as the Element does, and it was all cloth and carpet, so it was a lot less hairy-pet friendly. The Forester was great, but not big enough for our our dogs, especially since the seats don't come all the way out or fold all the way down. The Element, however, was nearly perfect. It's a lot more fun to drive and more comfortable than we'd expected, given the body shape, and it is HUGE inside, with completely removable back seats and a large, dog-friendly, rubber floor. We're very excited about how well it is likely to work for our boys. The gas mileage is obviously not what we'd like, at 21/24, but it's better than a Suburban, for sure, and at this point it's a trade off we needed to make. We'll be keeping our other car, a fuel-efficient Mazda Protege, and will use it on any long trips that don't have canine participation.

The other big news is that I am changing jobs. I have been on the interview circuit for a couple of weeks, and this morning I got the call hiring me for one of my top choice positions. It's a grant management job on campus, which is just the direction I'd like to move in, and will be good for a variety of other reasons as well (good pay, great benefits, private office, etc.). I'll be starting two weeks from Monday. I'm quite excited.

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More about the dogs

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Intrigued by Belinda's comparison of my position on pet breeding and that of PeTA (in the comments to my last dog post), I decided to delve a bit more into things. A good starting place was Belinda's own anti-PeTA post from October. Then I checked out PeTA's website to make sure Belinda was portraying their views correctly, and I think she is. In addition to being against animal research and wearing or eating animals, PeTA is also conceptually against pets (or, if you prefer "companion animals") and believes that they should not be intentionally bred.

So, while PeTA and I apparently do share the view that the domestication of animals for the purpose of human companionship was wrong, that's about all we have in common. For one thing, I'm not a vegetarian (although I don't eat pork). For another, I am not against all animal research (though I am against cosmetic testing on animals, certain kinds of inhumane research, and primate research). But really the question is how much of PeTA's view on pets I share...

I agree, on a basic philosophical level, that it was incredibly selfish of humans to domesticate animals for companionship. I understand domestication for food and for work, as those were at one point near necessities, and are still at least useful. Domestication for the purposes of companionship, however, was just a qualify of life improvement measure. Please understand that I say this as someone who has two dogs and a cat, whom she loves with all of her heart. I don't think owning pets is wrong--the animals have already been domesticated, we can't go back. I just think it was a mistake to domesticate in the first place.

A related but semi-seperate issue is my view on breeding pets and buying pets from breeders. My primary reason for opposing this is our society's huge pet overpopulation problem. I believe that we, as human beings, are responsible for the well-being of the entirety of this domestic pet population, which is a monster of our own creation. It is stupid and negligent, given pet overpopulation, to intentionally create more pets. I understand the appeal of it--people are attached to certain breeds and lineages, to dog shows, to getting puppies, to getting health and temperment guarantees, etc.--but those advantages of bred pets pale in my mind in comparison to saving the lives of already existing pets, which is what rescue does. That's why I favor legislation against pet breeding. While I understand that the logical outcome of this could be no pets at all, I don't really see that happening, because that would require perfect compliance with the law, which is ridiculous. My concern is much more literal than theoretical here--once there are no more homeless pets in shelters, or at least a very marked decrease, I'd have to revisit my position on breeding. I don't think that stopping breeding with the eventual goal of eradicating the domestic species of dogs and cats is a really reasonable goal, and it's not my goal. My goal is to stop breeding while so many pets die.

On a personal and practical note, this is what it boils down to: I will never purchase a pet. I will make an effort to rescue pets that might otherwise be put down. I will strongly encourage my friends and family to adopt pets from shelters and rescues rather than buying them. At some point, I may put myeslf on the list for breed specific rescues, since there are particular breeds to which I am attracted. My primary focus, though, is on adopting pets that might otherwise not make it. And so far, that's been a pretty damn succesful way to go about things. Which I will now prove to you, with picture of my dogs, both rescues, in party hats.

Oh, and one more thing about PeTA--they support pit bull breed bans. As anybody who's been reading WINOW for long knows, I am admantly, totally, vitrolically against that. So screw PeTA.

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Solicitation

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Next month, I am participating in a benefit walk for Safe Place, a fantastic local women's shelter/organization combating domestic and sexual violence. So, I'm soliciting contributions to sponsor my walk. My current goal is to collect $300 for Safe Place. If you think you might want to contribute, please go to my walk web page.

Thanks in advance!

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Identity and obligation: Cyber-Grace?

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Karen over at Chookooloonks has an excellent post up today where she begins to explore the idea of a blogger's obligation to represent elements of her core identity. In Karen's case, she's talking about her family's multiraces, her daughter's adoption, her country, etc. Her post made me think, though, about the parts of my identity I represent on my blog and how and why.

I think I'm fairly honest here about who I am. I use my real name, I don't make a secret of where I live, I post pictures of myself. To some people's thinking, and I'm not sure they are wrong, this isn't smart from a safety perspective. However, it became important to me, as I got more into communication and socialization on the Internet, for there not to be a seperate cyber-Grace (see left), and the best way I found to be the same person on and offline was to be honest about myself. That being said, there are a few things I don't talk about here, for reasons of "safety," or at least to keep myself out of trouble. Most specifically, I keep talk about my job to a minimum. The lesson we all learned from Dooce, I guess.

Beyond that, I'm in some ways more honest about myself here than I am in real life. My mothers, were she to read my blog, would learn things about me that she doesn't already know. My friends often learn things I'm thinking and worrying about from my blog. I find this format easy to be candid in, as I almost never write to any imagined audience, but just to get my own thoughts and feelings out.

Candor isn't really the same thing as responsible representation, though, which is, I think, more what Karen was getting at. The truth is, though, that I feel completely unqualified to respresent any larger group. There are certainly groups I fit into, or even that help define me: woman, feminist, Westerner, small-towner, class straddler, etc. But I don't think I'm a very good representation of any of these, and it never occurs to me when writing that my words could be taken as representative of any of these groups.

Does that mean I'm shirking responsibility? I dunno. I mean, maybe if I claimed to be representing those groups, or representing anyone. But I'm not. All I claim is that I'm as honest as I can b about who I am. And I think, for now, that's enough.

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Back to church

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I have returned to St. George's Episcopalian church these past two Sundays, and I like it more each time. Maybe like isn't the right word, exactly...I feel more each time, more in tune with myself, and in tune with something outside myself as well. I think I am growing more comfortable with the idea of God. I've really enjoyed the sermons, and I appreciate the type of Christian the priest seems to be instructing his congregation to be. For example, this past Sunday's sermon focused around the idea of the story of Abraham's aborted sacrifice of Issac as being not about demanding violence, but about stopping it. I can get behind that.

The problem is Jesus. While I can conceptualize God in a non-human form, in a very general way, I have the hardest time getting myself to even entertain the thought of everything from virgin birth through resurrection. It just seems...unlikely. And I've been told that it's OK to think of those stories as homilies, or as metaphorical, but I don't know if that's really true, given that Jesus the Savior is a pretty essential element to Christianity. So that's where I'm hung up right now.

And then again, it may be that the fact that I'm still insisting on considering all of this logically at all, rather than taking in on faith (there's that word again...) speaks to how little distance I've actually travelled. I dunno. Regardless, St. George's feels more and more comfortable to me, and I really do believe I am getting something out of the time I'm spending there, even if I'm not yet wholly sure what it is.

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I have been following the discussion over on Fussy with great interest. Mrs. Kennedy posted about the eye health issues her bulldog, Katie, is having, and that started an intense debate on breeders vs. rescues as places which to obtain dogs, neutering and spaying, etc. This is obviously something on which I have an opinion. And quite a strong one. One which is different from Mrs. Kennedy's. So, rather than clog up her fantastic blog with it, I'm going to use my soapbox.

With possible exceptions for working and service dogs, I don't think dogs should be intentionally bred. Not by large scale breeders or small scale breeders, not with any kind of licensing, just not at all. I place little value in keeping up breed lineages, especially as compared to saving the lives of the thousands of dogs that are put down every year for no reason other than that there are too many of them. The truth is that we (humans) have domesticated these animals and we are responsible for their surival. All of them, not just the breeds we fancy on a given day, not just the ones that are genetically perfect, all of them. And breeding is bad for them as a whole.

Like just about everything else, it's a supply and demand issue. People who breed their dogs intentionally do so with a motive to sell puppies. It may not be extremely profitable for most, but if there wasn't at least some market for it, far fewer people would do it. So, first, the impetus is on the "consumer." DO NOT BUY A DOG FROM A BREEDER. Rescue a dog. If you are adamant about a given breed, look into breed-specific rescue. And, better yet, take a good hard look at your reasons for being breed specific, and for not wanting to consider mixed breeds. Then weigh those reasons against a dog's life. Because if you buy instead of rescue, you are sentancing one more dog to death row. It's that simple.

If you are insistent upon getting a puppy rather than an older dog (I honestly think this is a terrible idea, having taken in both puppies and older dogs, but to each their own), and you are committed to rescue, you are just going to have to be a bit less picky about breed. Which isn't to say that you should discount breed completely--there are good reasons to lean towards specific breeds and discount other breeds, and I think taking breed into account is a good idea. However, if you have decided that of all of the possible breeds of dog out there, there is only ONE that is right for you, then you probably shouldn't have a dog. They are more similar than they are different.

Another thing to consider is time. Often, you get be put on a waiting list at a breed specific rescue, then notified when a dog of your preferred breed comes up for rescue. Mark and I will likely do this in the future, as there are a few specific breeds we are interested in having, and they don't show up in rescue all that often. It's the combo of thinking you need a healthy dog of your preferred breed and your preferred age RIGHT NOW that makes people think breeders are the only way.

Having addressed demand, there's also supply. Why not buy from a breeder when they are so many of them? The lack of control over dog breeding is, to my mind, atrocious. That we'd actually consider breed specific legislation before we'd consider putting basic restraints on breeding is ridiculous. Here again I get radical--I don't think spaying and neutering should be optional. I think that having an non-altered adult dog should be illegal, except in regulated and rare cases. People should not be able to breed their dogs just because they want to. Think that's a civil liberties violation, that your dog is your property and you should be able to do with it was you wish? I disagree. Just like you can't legally beat your dog, you shouldn't legally be able to breed your dog. And the only want to stop breeding, either intentionally or not, is to get the dog fixed.

Obviously my positions on this subject are radical. Most people, even dog rescue advocates, don't agree with me. But I don't care. I think the way we fail to take care of the animals we've domesticated in this society is a fucking disgrace, and radical measures are going to be necessary to correct that situation.

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Histronics

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As a child, I threw world class tantrums. Tantrums the likes of which nobody had ever seen, and have never been seen since. Tantrums that people did not believe could exist when they were described, until they saw them first-hand. And I'm not just saying that on hearsay--I actually remember doing it. Which implies I must have done it to a later age than most kids, I guess. But I vividly remember not only the kicking and screaming and crying and wailing, but, most importanly, I remember why I did it.

There was just too much to deal with. There were too many choices. I couldn't have everything I wanted. I was too short to reach things, too small to carry things, and had verbal skills too limited to make what I really needed to clear. I didn't understand everything. I didn't know everything. It was frustrating, and sometimes the only solution seemed to be to kick and scream and punch out and wail until I was too tired to care about any of it anymore.

Not much has changed, y'all.

I may have the social skills to avoid tantrums now (at least in public), but I still feel the same conflation of frustrating circumstances that led to tantrums in my younger self. Life is incredibly overwhelming, I can't reach everything I try to get my arms or my head around, I can't do everything I think I should be able to do, and I still don't have the smarts or the language skills to ask the questions I need to ask and make the decisions I need to make.

And I still react for the same reasons I did then--fear and frustration. And in much the same way, by lashing out in rash, impulsive spurts, thinking that if I just kick and scream long enough, or just make enough changes to myself, or just buy enough stuff, or just eat enough, then the fear and confusion and frustration will go away. Or I'll make myself tired enought that I stop caring. But exhausted and bruised is no way to make major life decisions.

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Texas Governor: How hard can it be?

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Kinky dollIn case anybody was wondering, I am supporting Kinky Friedman for governor my beloved adopted home, the Lone Star State. And yes, I am completely serious. Not only is he the by-far least nauseating of the "candidates," he actually does and has done good things, which is more than I can say for 99.9% of politicians, especially viable ones (let's save the discussion re: whether or not he's viable for another day). Don't believe me? Check out the Utopia Animal Rescue Ranch.

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Frivolities

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I have recently become enamored with Lush. Enamored enough that I am using their products rather obsessively. Thus, I feel the need to post reviews of the products, for your edification and (mostly) mine.

Avobath bombAVOBATH BATH BOMB

This was the first Lush product I used. It smells wonderful, if quite strongly citric/lemongrassy. It is pleasantly fizzy. It made my skin feel quite nice and was not drying. It's large enough to split into two or three pieces for seperate bathing experiences. I'll definitely buy it again.

Honey Bee bath bombHONEY BEE BATH BOMB

First, the good: this bath bomb smells amazing. It's sweet and honeylicious, but not cloying. I absolutely adored the smell. But the smell isn't strong enough to use 1/2 a bomb per bath, making it spendy. And it turns the bath water the color of urine. And it has unpleasant gritty stuff in it that doesn't totally dissolve in the bath water. So I don't think I will buy it again, but I'll definitely try other honey-scented Lush products.

Karma bath bombKARMA BATH BOMB

This is another amazing-smelling bath bomb. Karma is one of Lush's "signature scents," wherein the ingredients they list and the smell that ensues do not seem to bear much relation to one another. It contains patchouli, orange, lavender, pine, lemongrass, and gardenia, but smells like none of those things. The smell is also quite strong, and 1/2 of one of these is enough for a bath, even though they're a bit smaller than the other bath bombs. I did find it a bit drying, though, so I'm not 100% sure I'll use it again.

Sex Bomb bath bombSEX BOMB

This bath bomb is lovely, and turns the bath water a lovely shade of pink, but it didn't smell all that good and it definitely didn't make me want to get it on. The smell is provided by jasmine, clary sage, and ylang ylang, according to Lush's website, but it doesn't smell like much of anything to me. I even used the full bomb in my bath, and still didn't get much smell. There's also not much oil in this, so I found it drying. Finally, the lovely rice paper flower turns into a nasty gelatinous blob in the bath water, which isn't particuarly attractive. I won't get this one again.

Blackberry bath bombBLACKBERRY BATH BOMB

This may well be my favorite bath bomb so far, or at least tied with the Avobath. The blackberry smell comes from perfume rather than essential oil or actual blackberries, which sucks, but it still smells great, and it wasn't drying. It also turns the bath water a very pretty purple, which is nice, has a surprise inside, and is plenty strong enough to cut in half. Excellent all the way around.

Hot Java bath bombHOT JAVA BATH BOMB

This bath bomb is supposed to warm you up. It's spicy smelling, with cinammon, ginger, and juniper. And maybe in a colder climate I'd appreciate it more, but basically it made me feel like I was stewing, plus it has nasty bits of grit in it (cinammon sticks, maybe?). Plus I'm pretty sure it made me break out. Thumbs down.

Little Monkey bubble barLITTLE MONKEY BUBBLE BAR

Since this is the only bubble bar I've used, I don't have anything to compare it with. Other bubble bars may be much cooler. I found this one to be OK, but not breathtaking. It doesn't smell banana-y, or like much of anything, but it produces lots of mild bubbles and isn't drying. It turns the bath water yellow, which sucks, but it's otherwise nice. I used 1/2 in each bath this time, but will likely use the whole bar next time in an effort to get longer-lasting bubbles.

Happy Hippy shower gelHAPPY HIPPY SHOWER GEL

I just started using this stuff this morning, and I love it. To be fair, I am biased in favor of anything that smells of grapefruit--hate the taste of grapefruits, but love the smell. This is really nice, though, because it smells like an actual grapefruit or glass of juice, rather than a grapefruit-scented product. I suspect this would have to do with them using actual grapefruit juice as a primary ingredient. I can't say for sure how it did with my skin yet, but so far so good. Also, I just used a very little bit on my shower sponge and it made a great lather, so I'm a happy girl so far.

That's the whole of what I've used so far, but there will definitely be more to come, as I have another big order currently on its way. And yes, before anyone berates me in the comments, I know I'm a horrible consumerist for spending money on this stuff. However, some people drink, some smoke, I take baths. I'm having a stressful period, and baths help me. Nice, high quality smelly stuff makes the process all the more destressing. Deal with it.

Edited 3/14/06

My second Lush order came last night, and I have already tried two more products! I can't help it, it's an addiction. And if you check out the forums on lush.com, you'll see that I don't have it nearly so bad as many people do. Anyways...

Dreamtime bath meltDREAMTIME BATH MELT

I am all for this product. It's basically a aolid bath oil bar, which melts when you add it to hot bath water. This one gets its scent from chamomile, sandalwood, lavender, jasmine, and ginger, but it doesn't really smell like any of those things specifically. I used 1/2 the bar in my bath and found it to be just the right amout of moisturizing and very light, calming, soothing scent. I didn't even put lotion on afterwards, which is heresy for me. And the bath definitely gave me the urge to go straight to bed, which is, I think, the idea. I'll use it again.

Honey I Washed the Kids soapHONEY I WASHED THE KIDS SOAP

This is one of Lush's top 5 most popular products, and it is definitely the one that was recommended to me the most before I got into Lush. It smells amazing--like actual honey, not a cloyingly sweet fake honey bath product. It also produces a very reasonable lather for a bar soap. Unfortunately, it's very drying--my skin felt like it was on too tight as soon as I got out of the shower with it, and though moisturizer helped, I definitely have nicer skin when I used a moisturizing shower gel. So I think Mark, who prefers bar soap, is going to inherit this one. Which works for me, because then he'll smell like it! I'm also jazzed to see the scent has been moved to bath bomb form for Easter, as the Bunny I Washed the Kids bunny-shaped bath bomb. I'll probably be getting a few of those...

Edited 3/15/06

Broke into another new product this morning...

Creamed Almond and Coconut Smoothie shower soapCREAMED ALMOND AND COCONUT SMOOTHIE SHOWER SOAP

This stuff smells great--less like almond or coconut and more like vanilla, but really nice and warm and sweet-but-not-cloying. It's also a wonderful thick, rich texture, like washing with conditioner, only latherable on the sponge. The smell is pretty subtle and doesn't stick around too long, but the skin softening does, which is great. It's probably too rich for even dry skinned me to use every day (which is fine, because it's spendy), but I think it would be great for the day after I shave. And actually, it might be nice to shave with as well.

And another one for my after-work bath...

Letters to Santa bath bombLETTERS TO SANTA BATH BOMB

This bath bomb was one of my freebies from my last Lush order. It's a Christmas product, not available anymore, but don't get too upset. While it's cute, with the little candy letters stuck in it and all, it's not terribly practical or nice to bath in. The smell is fine--mostly clovey and fairly faint, even though I used the whole bath bomb in one bath. But the color is awful (reminds me of a cow patty) and it spreads brown grit (clove? cinammon?) all over, sticking to the bathtub and to you. So I had to take a post-bath shower, which some people seem to dig, but I don't. It also wasn't as moisturizing as I'd like. Definitely not something I'd buy. Oh, and the candy letters bob around in the bath and don't seem to dissolve, or at least mine didn't. It's kind of disconcerting.

And 3/17/06...

Blue Skies bubble barBLUE SKIES BUBBLE BAR

This looks really cool, and it's bigger than the other bubble bars, which is cool. I only used about 1/3 of it in my bath, and I got significant bubbles and scent. The scent is a little odd--my friend S. said it reminds her of her Chinese herbalist's office. It's scented with patchouli, frankinsence, cinammon leaf, and some perfume. I found it nice, but not my favorite thing ever. The bath did leave me feeling pretty calm and invigorated and clear headed, after a day that was anything but, so I guess it works as promised? I look foward to using the other 2/3 of the bar.

Something Wicked bath meltSOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES BATH MELT

This is definitely one of my favorite products so far. The smell is fantastic--it's fairly light, and the website tells me its comprised of ginger and jasmine, but I couldn't have picked those out. Mostly it's just a subtle, sexy smell. It's super moisturizing, with cocoa butter and almond oil, and it turns the bath water smoky gray-violet. It also has fun colored cocoa butter chunks in it, so it's amusing to watch is dissolve. After getting out of the bath, I smell wonderful, I feel relaxed, and my skin is very soft and happy. I did use the whole bar for this bath, just because the scent seemed fairly mild otherwise, and I think that's probably the way to go with this one.

And 3/18/06...

CHRISTMAS CAROL BATH BOMB

This is another one of the post-holiday freebies I got with my "BIG FREES" order. It smells amazing--jasmine and ylang ylang, in just the right proportions, and in just the right amount (if you use the whole thing). The downside, however, is that it's full of glitter. I wasn't sure how I'd feel about the glitter in some Lush products, so I've not ordered any with glitter. Now I know--I hate it. It looks cool, but it's irritating, messy, itchy, and even though I showered and scrubbed after the bath (not exactly my idea of a good end to a relaxing soak), I still look like a candy raver. So no more glitter-laden products for me. If they start making this one sans glitter, however, I'm all over it.

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In which Nyarly puts it all into words

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Rosie the RiveterGo here and read Nyarly's fantastic post. Then praise her name, as I have learned to. She's a wise, wise woman.

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Oscar re-cap

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On a lighter note, yes, I did watch the Academy Awards, and of course I have opinions.

First, I was happy to see Phillip Seymour Hoffman get the nod he deserved, and I thought his speech was really sweet. I saw Capote again recently, and he blew me away a second time. Yeah, I believe in Method acting.

Secondly, I haven't seen Crash, so I have no real opinion on it getting all those awards, but it would have to be pretty amazing for me to think it was OK to give Brokeback Mountain the slight.

I was happy to see Ang Lee when. I was happy to see Reese Witherspoon win. I was suprised to see George Clooney win for Syriana, but OK with it. I haven't seen The Constant Gardener either, but I tend to like Rachel Weisz, so that's cool. That pimp song needs to go really, really soon.

More importantly, let's talk clothes.

My best dressed award goes to...There were actually a number of strong contenders here. Others thought her dress was too much, but I thought Felicity Hoffman looked amazing. The super-deep dress plunge was sexy as hell without being typical cleavage, and she just looked happy and healthy, which was great.

I also thought Catherine Keener looked amazing. Her dress was good, but her I mainly was drawn to her healthy and happy look.

Jada Pinkett Smith also looked amazing (she nearly always does), and God bless her for having the nerve to wear such great color.

And speaking of color...I liked Michelle Williams' bright yellow dress and bright red lipstick. So sue me.

My worst dressed award, a contentious category as always, has to go to Naomi Watts. What was she thinking? Did she get mad pre-awards and take scissors to her dress? It's horrible! ALso, the 80s hair is nasty and the lack of any sort of color is kind of nauseating.

A runner up award has to go to Charlize Theron's pouffy 80's bow ensemble. Ick, ick, ick. She looks like Ivana Trump. And Amy Adams--I love you, but who picked out that chocolate old-school Madonna getup?

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March giving

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Since the month has changed already, it's time to choose new charities to highlight on WINOW. This month, I've chosen two charities. The first, Breast Cancer Research Foundation, is in honor of my friend Suzanne, who is currently fighting for her life against breast cancer. The second is Rocket Dog Rescue, the organization run by my new personal hero Pali Boucher, about whom I wrote an entry last month.

Please check out these orgs and give if you can. Happy March!

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You are dust and to dust you shall return*

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I made my first itty bitty step today. I went to the Ash Wednesday evening service at a local liberal Episcopalian church. And it was good. I went through the whole service, saying the words and getting the ash on my forehead and even taking communion. I felt sort of weird about communion, but the rector specifically said that the church celebrates open communion and anyone whose heart is open to Jesus Christ is welcome to join. If he would have said anyone who believes is welcome, I'd have stayed in my seat, but my heart is open, so up I went.

I can't say honestly that I felt anything spiritual, but I did feel comfortable, and peaceful, and the sermon and readings gave me things to ponder, particularly the bit from Matthew, regarding not putting on a show of faith for others to see, but having private, personal faith. I also felt particularly drawn towards Matthew 6-13:

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal. But store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.

That was something good for me to hear and think about, I think. I plan to return to this church on Sunday, and every Sunday for the next weeks, culminating in Easter Sunday. In between Sundays, I plan to ponder both the messages I heard at church and the feelings that they brought to light. And I plan to keep trying to pray. Right now, I think that's all I can do, and I think it's enough.

*Genesis 3-19

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