Sunday, November 30, 2008

Dear India

I am so sorry for what they've done to you. I've never felt more welcomed or more overwhelmed in another country. To take advantage of your openness, your attempts to allow all individuals live together in harmony, is disgusting. I'm apalled at the brazen terrorist attacks in Mumbai and only hope that healing will begin soon.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Lurky Turkey

On the Eve of Thanksgiving
I'm looking forward to
baking pies and eating
watching parades, too.

A few people coming over
Some football to watch
Missing my family
Hoping the turkey we won't botch!

Coming down with a cold
Bundling up inside
Convinced Alex we need
warmth by the fireside.

Here's to you and yours
A happy, happy day
Filled with laughter, warmth and love
And some booze on the way!

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!
And special thanks to Cod, for the inspiration :)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Birthday Weekend Wrap-up - A Reflection on Age

So, my birthday, for once, fell on the weekend before Thanksgiving, instead of it's usual during Thanksgiving weekend, so I thought I would have a party. I go to school with a fair number of people, so I thought it would be fun to invite some friends and hang out. I spent a fair amount of Friday night as well as all day Saturday making food, baking a cake, cleaning house, etc. By the time it was party time, I was pretty pooped. I always make too much food, even though I am not from the Midwest. I feel it's important to have snacks on hand while drinking. The party was fun, although the air was FRIGID. Man, was it cold! The cool thing about that, tho, was that the backyard turned into our fridge. All the beer and white wine was stored outside - something we've never been able to do in CA. I guess there are some good things about living east. Anyways, people didn't start showing up until 10ish, and the party got underway. There was not a really ridiculous crowd, just small groups of people hanging out. A couple friends brought friends, which was cool. I had a nice time chatting with people and all that jazz. At some point in the night, somebody threw up in the bathroom sink (which is, like, 2 feet away from the toilet - how hard was it to make it to the toilet?) and someone ripped the cover off a magazine I had in the bathroom. The next day, we noticed that the wall leading up the stairs had a big smudge on it, and the kitchen floor was a sticky mess that attracted a large horde of ants. While all of these things are minor, and the party was a nice time, it kinda left a bad taste in my mouth. Don't get me wrong, I had a lovely birthday, I just think next year I might do something different. For one, I didn't get to talk to everyone I wanted to talk to. I didn't really get to hang with the folks I wanted to hang with, and I found myself still up and chatting to people who came to my house basically for the free booze at 2:30am. We had some randoms and we had some stragglers, and we even had some people there who I did not want there at all. It's funny because when I was in college, we used to have huge parties with kegs and tons of people. We rarely had any problems, and we always had a blast, with the stereo blasting, dancing in the living room, and the keg and bar out back. We'd have randoms and stragglers, but usually it was a so fun and I loved it. Now, at the age of 31, I've begun to realize that what I really want in my busy, hectic life, is a chance to sit and chat with my friends, who I don't often get to catch up with. I've got a lot of acquaintances, and a fair number of people I'd call friends, and most of us are not really into the "party" scene anymore. I'll have a few drinks over the course of the night, but I gotta tell you, that hangover the next day is just not worth it for me. So, what happened at my party was that most of the people who I wanted to show up did not, and most of the people who I did not want to show up, did. So, it's made me learn a lesson on the first day of my 31st year. My next party will be a dinner party, where we can sit around and tell funny stories and get to know one another. I'll have a couple bottles of wine and a birthday cake and I will have a great time. I think I might be done throwing the random "Come One, Come All" party. I am certainly somewhat done attending them. And I can say I've learned a valuable lesson. At my age, it's not important to make more and more friends. It's important to keep the ones you have. I hope it's the beginning of a beautiful year :) Thank you all for the birthday wishes. I wish we all lived closer to celebrate together :)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Dear Mayor Nutter,

Look, I know that Philadelphia is facing a pretty big budget problem. I understand that the entire economy is tanking and that there's something that we should do in order to make ends meet in terms of the city and its fiscal health. However, closing libraries and public pools is not the answer. Kids already have a hard enough time finding things to do and places to go after school on the weekends. Apparently, malls are even kicking them out. But closing a bunch of the library branches? This is beyond ridiculous. Especially in this bad economy, we, as citizens, needs places we can go for free entertainment and distraction. The Philadelphia Free Library is a wonderful library system that lends videos, DVDs, books, manuscripts, newspapers, etc. They provide a safe and warm environment for kids to go to for research. There are free computers and access to community groups. There are meeting places for local charities, lectures on myriad interests (I once saw Will Shortz of NY Times Crossword Puzzle Fame) and a plethora of things to do, explore and learn. When I was a kid, I visited the Oxnard Public Library every week with my Grandma, and I am pretty sure I checked out every Nancy Drew book they had at the library. Kids need access to good books, lots of them, and they need encouragement to read and write as often as possible. The library is a center for education, a center for community awareness, and a way to get in touch with your neighbors, your roots, anything you might be interested in. To close a library because of a budget shortfall is a disgrace to this city and and insult to education (which we are trying to improve around here!). And while I'm at it, please don't close those public pools! There are so few here in the city, and they are not open for very long (two months at most). They provide employment for local kids, a place to learn how to swim in a safe environment, and a great place to cool off in the dead heat of summer. The public pools are safe, popular and a great place for kids to hang out in the summer. Please don't elminate these perks (the very few) that our neighborhoods enjoy. I understand you are taking a pay cut (as are many other city employees), which I commend you for. I also understand you are working hard to make the budget balanced, which is something your predecessors may not have done. I think those are all good things to try to do. But when you are cutting services that are so popular, so needed in most of our city neighborhoods, you are asking us to sacrifice too much. We'd like to see the city sacrifice some of it's self instead of taking away our perks. Many things have been suggested, like changing to a computer based system to eliminate paper waste. What about increasing recycling? The city can definitely make money off that. Please, Mayor Nutter, think about this. A whole generation of kids growing up without libraries? I can't bear to think about it.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Weekend Wrap Up

This past weekend sent Alex and I into suburbia, pretending to live in the vast outreaches of our grand old city. We rented a car and drove out to the western Philly 'burbs and then headed down to Dela-where? for some shopping. As we soon discovered, the only good thing about Delaware is that it has no sales tax. Meaning, the price tag on that thing is what you pay. How weird, right? The mall was filled with bored kids and over-wrought parents and old folks. We ate at Red Robin (not very good, by the way). And we checked out a sign that met us at the entrance to the mall saying that "Parental Guidance Required". I'm sorry, what? The sign basically said that kids under 17 years old were required to have a parent with them at all times. What a dumb rule! I think I started going to the mall alone (with Randi, of course) around 12 or 13 years old. It was a great way to get away from your parents, check out a bargain movie, and sift through each and every store in the mall 100 times. Seriously, I have NO idea how we spent an ENTIRE day at the teeny, tiny 'Splanade, but we did. And we had a blast. What are kids today supossed to do? Sit around and play video games? At least you're walking around in the mall. I feel really bad for kids growing up in Delaware. How boring. Anyways, after the mall, we hit the liquor store and then another mall w/ Target and Petsmart and all those great places. Then it was time for hibachi dinner (which was great, although he threw the shrimp at my cleavage instead of my mouth!) and then we saw the new Bond movie. The theatre was really, really nice - way fancier than anything we have here in the city. And I wasn't that surprised to pay $10.25 for a movie, since I thought the experience would be pretty fun - I mean, there's no other way to watch a James Bond flick than at the theatre, right? Luckily, we got into a later show so it wasn't too crowded. And the seats were super comfy and no one lit up their cell phone during the film (surprisingly) since there had to be 100 warnings to turn off your phone before the movie. The sound was kinda fucked up, but otherwise the film was excellent. Lots of violence and lots of noise. And damn if Daniel Craig is not the sexiest thing I've seen in a long time. They've finally given an opportunity to a female lead to have something to do with the plot, so I liked that the Bond girl was not a constant "damsel in distress". Altogether it was a good film, with great car chases and even a dogfight scene, which was pretty rad. As always, it hits a little to close to home and you wonder if that's how things operate in large first-world governments, but I try not to dwell on it too much. To sum up our trip to the 'burbs, it was a nice change from the status quo, but I am glad I live in the city. I think there's a more heterogenous population here, and I get to experience different things, as opposed to the chain restaurants and stores that spread all over the place. I'm sure we'll be back, but hopefully not soon :)
Oh, and BTW, whoever said a Ford Focus is a nice car is delusional. It does not even have headlights that illuminate the road in front of you! And it's so light, it's super squirrely on wet roads. No thank you!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Know what?

I just feel blah today. It's raining and chilly out and my head's a bit of a mess - the first of the winter colds coming on? Yesterday, I went to a seminar entitled "Finding Balance in your Life". It was pretty interesting, but they spent more time trying to help us identify when we felt out of balance that telling us ways to combat it. I think I've felt out of balance all week because I am writing a paper with the most anal person on the planet. He's been questioning my data, questioning my presentation of my data and been all around condescending and snobby about the whole affair. Oh yeah, AND he's another student. What a pain in the ass. The paper is due tomorrow or Sat, so hopefully my boss will get a chance to read it and make comments on it soon. And it's comforting to know that a few weeks from now I might have my first publication! Whoopee! OK, now I am going to crawl back into my little hole and finish working on the paper....

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Lesson Learned

I often find it hard to think about the future and where I want to go and what I want to do with my life. I've been in school for just over 5 years now and will soon be finishing up and heading off into the great unknown. It's scary to move on from something I've been doing for a while and someplace I'm comfortable and a city I know pretty well. But at the same time, I can feel that old familiar "chomping a the bit" feeling. Remember that from grade school or college? That, "Let me outta here! I'm ready to fly!" feeling? Yeah, I get that sometimes. So last Friday, I attended a happy hour / talk given by 4 past members of our program on what they've done since they graduated and what their jobs are like. It was a really interesting talk; it was great to see some familiar faces. But it was also such a great reminder that life is a journey, not a destination. I have such a hard time remembering that sometimes; it's great to be reminded of it. When I was in college, I worked my ass off, sometimes taking 20 units (during a quarter, it's not that easy!). I would spend hours in the library or at the UCen studying, writing papers, catching up on literature. I did make time for my friends and I did get to spend a lot of time on the beach (studying, of course!) and, altogether, I really had a blast. But my last quarter at school, I really started to look around. I started to appreciate my lectures and the teachers who were giving them. I started to look at my fellow students in a different light. I started to "stop and smell the roses", so to speak. I hung out with my friends a lot more, invited new people to our parties, attended as many fun things as I could. I went out on dates with guys I would never have considered dating before. I met people and enjoyed them and really had such a great time. It made my last few months at school so much more special. And when I think about college, I think about those last few months and it always puts a smile on my face. Why isn't my life more like that? I am always working to get somewhere, do something, reach some sort of arbitrary goal without stopping to appreciate my surroundings and my life as I know it. And it all happens so fast. People come and go, the seasons change, the earth keeps spinning, yet I am always working to make something happen, can't wait til this is over, etc. Life is a journey and we all make our own paths. There's not one right or wrong way to do something. We'll all get there someday. But today, I'm going to try to remember to stop, appreciate, and notice what's going on around me. Maybe you should try it, too :)

Friday, November 7, 2008

Haiku Historic Friday

What a week, you guys!
History happening right
before our own eyes.


Our first African
American President
headed to White House.


Hope he can turn it
around: economy, jobs,
wars, rights, taxes, change.


Barak's got a lot
to deal with. I hope we can
come together now.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Dear California,

"We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness." quoted from the Declaration of Independence by Thomas Jefferson, 1776.

The Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution states that "no state shall ... deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the law".

What was Prop 8 really about? Was it really about "protecting marriage", or was it really a thinly veiled act of discrimination? I would argue the latter and would hope that if not the Supreme Court of CA, then most certainly the US Supreme Court would strike down this CA Constitutional Amendment based on the clauses I quoted above. Marriage, as viewed by the state, is a contract two people enter into to share properties, taxes, children, etc. The states recognize these unions, and as such, people are treated differently. For example, you cannot be compelled to testify in court against your spouse. You have the legal right to make decisions on the health care of your spouse in an emergency. You would file taxes together as a couple and the government would recognize you as a joined entity, not two individuals, if you so choose. Each of you owns 50% of your collective properties. There are lots of ways that a government would recognize a marriage that have nothing to do with religion whatsoever (remember that whole "separation of church and state" Constitutional Amendment?). Marriage in a church is a whole different matter, and can be defined however that church wants to define marriage. I believe in separation of Church and State because I don't want some religious people telling me what to do with my time and my money. And I also believe that the religious have no right in saying who can and cannot get married. I also think that passing a Constitutional Amendment defining marriage as only between a man and a woman by a slight majority is ludicrous. Amendments to the US Constitution must be approved by a two-thirds majority, not barely above 50%.
And really, what is their argument? That your children will be "indoctrinated" into the "gay culture"? What the hell does that mean? Is gay a cult? Is it like Scientology? Is it outlawed in Germany? No. Homosexuality has been clearly defined as something you are born as. Just as you are born black or white or Asian or African. Just as you are born with blue eyes or brown, black hair or red, weird toes or long defined fingernails. It's in your DNA. It's in your wiring. You are just wired that way. It has nothing to do with how you are raised, what your parents are like, how many Broadway shows you saw as a kid. There is nothing wrong with being gay. It just is. Get over it. You cannot catch it, your kid will not be "indoctrinated" into it, there is nothing wrong with being gay. What might happen (god forbid) is that people might be more tolerant of homosexuals. Maybe some kids might feel more comfortable coming out of the closet. Maybe more people might be supportive. Perhaps fewer and fewer young homosexuals will come close to suicide. Perhaps our culture as a whole will become more accepting of everyone, no matter what their orientation or color or creed is. I know that if I had kids, I would want them to know I love them no matter what. I would want them to feel comfortable being themselves. And I would want them to be allowed to get married to whomever they choose and to have those rights under the law. I firmly believe this is another clear civil rights movement. And I am behind you 100%. Straight but not narrow. And ready to fight!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


I'm still reeling, as I am sure most of you are. We have a new president. An African American president. I remember watching movies or TV shows with black presidents and thinking (literally), "That will never happen" and it has! It's unreal to me, and I still don't really believe it. There are so many things about Obama and his family that people can identify with. Being a single mom, living on welfare, trying to support your family. For once, a politician has spoken to America about things that we face every day. For once, someone has addressed the elephants in the room all over the country. Turn off your TV, let your kids learn something in school. Let's make healthcare affordable, because everyone needs it. The economy is in the shitter, I have a plan to do somethings about it. Yes, I'm black, there are issues about being black, lets talk about them. Jobs are leaving our country, how can we support our families? The world is a scary place, let's try talking to people instead of pretending like we're in 7th grade and not talking to them. Let's get the fuck out of Iraq. Let's do something about Afghanistan. Let's take care of our veterans. Let's get our kids into college and push them to do community service. I don't know how it was that Obama was able to get to the core of our beings and speak to us, not as a black man, not as a politician, but as an American. He ran a phenomenal (and largely positive) campaign that I marvel at. We're dying for some form of positivity. Something that we can rally behind because we've been divided for so long. We've needed this for a long, long time and I am so proud to have been a part of it. I am so proud to have seen it happening. People walking the streets last night, chanting, "Yes, We Can!" People honking horns and hanging out car and apartment windows to shout and yell and scream, "We Did It!" The feeling of elation and giddiness is palpable. It's been a phenomenal run, Obama. I can't wait to see what you'll do next. Congrats, Americans. For once, I AM proud to be and American.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Didja Vote?

I voted this morning, only a couple people in line. It feels good. I'm proud to say that I voted for the first woman in history to run for President and I just cast my vote for the first African American President. What a glass-ceiling shattering year it's been! Tonight, we'll watch the tallies come in with our friends (and probably partake in some booze as well). Looking forward to celebrating and (hopefully) waking up to a Democratic President tomorrow!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Phillies Celebrations!

Taken with my very own camera - it was hysterical!

Weekend Wrap Up

Philly pride, courtesy of the Cira Center

Everybody loves a parade, even the Phanatic!

I know my pics aren't the best, but over on the left is our mayor, Michael Nutter, with a shit-eating grin, holding the World Series trophy.

Jamie Moyer, Greg Dobbs and Ryan Madson, plus families on one of the Phillies floats.

Jayson Werth and JP Romero waving at us!

It looks like Jimmy Rollins is looking right at us! (L side)

They threw pretzels off of the floats - LOL!

I can't really comprehend how many people were there, but it was a TON! And it was great fun! Congrats, Phillies!

More pics to come, perhaps even videos (which I find quite hysterical).....