24 November 2007

jane! get me off this crazy thing!


i caught bebe's cold.
i caught will's stomach bug a week into the cold.
got rid of the bug
still have the "cold."

i have been sick now, for almost three weeks. fever, horrible cough, blah blah blah. i went to my doc, who gave me some herbal and homeopathic stuff, as my old standbys of cayenne pepper and garlic lemonade weren't doing the trick.

i started taking it. spent three days feeling completely weird. face tingling, unable to think clearly, disoriented.

after i dropped the boys off at the family gathering on thanksgiving so i could come home and lay down, i got dizzy enough that i almost passed out twice while driving. thinking my illness had morphed into pneumonia, i took my bad self to the e.r.

i told the triage nurse i'm allergic to penicillin. i told the nurse i'm allergic to penicillin. i told the doctor (who made "the face" about my herbal remedies) that i'm allergic to penicillin.

guess what the doctor wrote the prescription for?


i told the discharge nurse i'm deathly allergic to penicillin. again. she says it is fine. take it.

still fairly certain i've not been able to take this either in the past, i called the pharmacy and told them i'm allergic to penicillin. they said no amoxicillin for me.

i now have a different antibiotic and a decongestant. still feeling horrid, but at least my face isn't tingling anymore and i'm not dizzy.

i have my breast surgery, if i'm well enough - and a huge paper due next week. all i want to do is sleep.

another project is due the following week.

a final exam the week after that, and a different surgery.

body, don't fail me now!!!

i just needed to vent.

all i can really do at this point is laugh, ya know?

when a doctor and two nurses try to kill me... well. you know something is messed up. ;)

that is all.

carry on.




21 November 2007

thanksgiving ramblings

at the risk of sounding self-righteous, which is not my intention on any level, why do we need a day to be thankful - one based in such horrid events? why can't we be thankful everyday, and run the gamut of all emotions that are part and parcel of a healthy emotional life? daily i find myself thankful, pissed off, joyful, disturbed, elated, worried... the trick, i think, is to acknowledge all of these parts of us, embrace them and keep on moving on . loving, using our powers for good, speaking out and living life - not allowing our lives to live us. we can't get stuck in any of those moments, whatever form they take...

i don't say it enough, but i'm thankful for what each and every one of you has brought into my life. every day. i don't need to eat a turkey to prove it. and i won't. :)

so, thank you. 365 days a year.




hey, as long as they've got our oil, right?

a 19 year old saudi woman has been sentenced to 6 months in prison and 200 lashes after being GANG RAPED by 7 men for being with a male that was no relation to her at the time of the attack. the saudi judiciary, yesterday, defended the court's ruling.

this is the kind of bullshit that pisses me off in the double speak that defines this administration. allies that continue to do horrific things in the form of human rights abuses are embraced. oppressive regimes are propped up by our tax dollars. world wide killers are trained at the school of the americas, also on your dime. this is the kind of stuff that breeds future "enemies" and terrorists. but, hey - we have all the oil we need for now, right?

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20 November 2007

i'm with her.

Thanksgiving: A Native American View

By Jacqueline Keeler, Pacific News Service
Posted on January 1, 2000, Printed on November 19, 2007

I celebrate the holiday of Thanksgiving.

This may surprise those people who wonder what Native Americans think of this official U.S. celebration of the survival of early arrivals in a European invasion that culminated in the death of 10 to 30 million native people.

Thanksgiving to me has never been about Pilgrims. When I was six, my mother, a woman of the Dineh nation, told my sister and me not to sing "Land of the Pilgrim's pride" in "America the Beautiful." Our people, she said, had been here much longer and taken much better care of the land. We were to sing "Land of the Indian's pride" instead.

I was proud to sing the new lyrics in school, but I sang softly. It was enough for me to know the difference. At six, I felt I had learned something very important. As a child of a Native American family, you are part of a very select group of survivors, and I learned that my family possessed some "inside" knowledge of what really happened when those poor, tired masses came to our homes.

When the Pilgrims came to Plymouth Rock, they were poor and hungry -- half of them died within a few months from disease and hunger. When Squanto, a Wampanoag man, found them, they were in a pitiful state. He spoke English, having traveled to Europe, and took pity on them. Their English crops had failed. The native people fed them through the winter and taught them how to grow their food.

These were not merely "friendly Indians." They had already experienced European slave traders raiding their villages for a hundred years or so, and they were wary -- but it was their way to give freely to those who had nothing. Among many of our peoples, showing that you can give without holding back is the way to earn respect. Among the Dakota, my father's people, they say, when asked to give, "Are we not Dakota and alive?" It was believed that by giving there would be enough for all -- the exact opposite of the system we live in now, which is based on selling, not giving.

To the Pilgrims, and most English and European peoples, the Wampanoags were heathens, and of the Devil. They saw Squanto not as an equal but as an instrument of their God to help his chosen people, themselves.

Since that initial sharing, Native American food has spread around the world. Nearly 70 percent of all crops grown today were originally cultivated by Native American peoples. I sometimes wonder what they ate in Europe before they met us. Spaghetti without tomatoes? Meat and potatoes without potatoes? And at the "first Thanksgiving" the Wampanoags provided most of the food -- and signed a treaty granting Pilgrims the right to the land at Plymouth, the real reason for the first Thanksgiving.

What did the Europeans give in return? Within 20 years European disease and treachery had decimated the Wampanoags. Most diseases then came from animals that Europeans had domesticated. Cowpox from cows led to smallpox, one of the great killers of our people, spread through gifts of blankets used by infected Europeans. Some estimate that diseases accounted for a death toll reaching 90 percent in some Native American communities. By 1623, Mather the elder, a Pilgrim leader, was giving thanks to his God for destroying the heathen savages to make way "for a better growth," meaning his people.

In stories told by the Dakota people, an evil person always keeps his or her heart in a secret place separate from the body. The hero must find that secret place and destroy the heart in order to stop the evil.

I see, in the "First Thanksgiving" story, a hidden Pilgrim heart. The story of that heart is the real tale than needs to be told. What did it hold? Bigotry, hatred, greed, self-righteousness? We have seen the evil that it caused in the 350 years since. Genocide, environmental devastation, poverty, world wars, racism.

Where is the hero who will destroy that heart of evil? I believe it must be each of us. Indeed, when I give thanks this Thursday and I cook my native food, I will be thinking of this hidden heart and how my ancestors survived the evil it caused.

Because if we can survive, with our ability to share and to give intact, then the evil and the good will that met that Thanksgiving day in the land of the Wampanoag will have come full circle.

And the healing can begin.

Jacqueline Keeler is a member of the Dineh Nation and the Yankton Dakota Sioux. Her work has appeared in Winds of Change, an American Indian journal.

© 2007 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.
View this story online at: http://www.alternet.org/story/4391/



19 November 2007

you can write in my books.

several years ago, billy collins spoke at a local university. his poetry is even more delightful when read by him - i'm a sucker for a dry sense of humor. what can i say?

after he was finished, i made my way towards the front to get in line to have my book signed. he had an assistant beside him, tapping his watch, moving us through speedily. i'm sure there were appointments to be kept and not a second of time could be spared.

when it was my turn, i had no idea what i would say. but suddenly my mouth flew open in true kara form, and out came this:

"mr. collins, i know i'm supposed to tell you how great of a writer i think you are, but all i really want to do is give you a hug, because you completely delight me."

the assistant watch tapper sighed. loud.

mr. collins, pen in had, ready to write in my book - looked up at me, tilted his head to one side, sat back in his chair and laughed. he shrugged as he stood up, hugged me (a genuine hug, to boot) and lightly kissed my hair on my neck.

the assistant sighed again. mr. collins thanked me. i guess i can call him billy now. you know, since we tight and all. ;)

i picked my book up and ran back to will and jeffrey exclaiming, "I MADE OUT WITH THE POET LAUREATE OF THE UNITED STATES!!!!!!!!!"

much laughter ensued.

i thought of that story tonight as i stumbled across one of my favorite billy collins poems. that's the cool thing about collins - ANYONE can find something they relate to in his work. i'd dismissed him at first, for being too assessable. i was wrong. and i have my grrrl christy to thank for that.

but back to the poem at hand. i'm a notorious book writer inner. in fact, i encourage those who borrow my books to do the same. i like to read back through the notes that others leave - it is as if the book takes on a whole new life, a dialogue. something i value immensely. this is also why i dig used books so much, often times i find fun gems in the margin.(don't worry, crystal, i won't mark in your book. i pinky swear.)

so, anyway, enjoy.


Sometimes the notes are ferocious,
skirmishes against the author
raging along the borders of every page
in tiny black script.
If I could just get my hands on you,
Kierkegaard, or Conor Cruise O'Brien,
they seem to say,
I would bolt the door and beat some logic into your head.

Other comments are more offhand, dismissive -
"Nonsense." "Please!" "HA!!" -
that kind of thing.
I remember once looking up from my reading,
my thumb as a bookmark,
trying to imagine what the person must look like
why wrote "Don't be a ninny"
alongside a paragraph in The Life of Emily Dickinson.

Students are more modest
needing to leave only their splayed footprints
along the shore of the page.
One scrawls "Metaphor" next to a stanza of Eliot's.
Another notes the presence of "Irony"
fifty times outside the paragraphs of A Modest Proposal.

Or they are fans who cheer from the empty bleachers,
Hands cupped around their mouths.
"Absolutely," they shout
to Duns Scotus and James Baldwin.
"Yes." "Bull's-eye." "My man!"
Check marks, asterisks, and exclamation points
rain down along the sidelines.

And if you have managed to graduate from college
without ever having written "Man vs. Nature"
in a margin, perhaps now
is the time to take one step forward.

We have all seized the white perimeter as our own
and reached for a pen if only to show
we did not just laze in an armchair turning pages;
we pressed a thought into the wayside,
planted an impression along the verge.

Even Irish monks in their cold scriptoria
jotted along the borders of the Gospels
brief asides about the pains of copying,
a bird signing near their window,
or the sunlight that illuminated their page-
anonymous men catching a ride into the future
on a vessel more lasting than themselves.

And you have not read Joshua Reynolds,
they say, until you have read him
enwreathed with Blake's furious scribbling.

Yet the one I think of most often,
the one that dangles from me like a locket,
was written in the copy of Catcher in the Rye
I borrowed from the local library
one slow, hot summer.
I was just beginning high school then,
reading books on a davenport in my parents' living room,
and I cannot tell you
how vastly my loneliness was deepened,
how poignant and amplified the world before me seemed,
when I found on one page

A few greasy looking smears
and next to them, written in soft pencil-
by a beautiful girl, I could tell,
whom I would never meet-
"Pardon the egg salad stains, but I'm in love."

Billy Collins

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behind the scenes

gobble gobble!

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17 November 2007

the party IS over

as with most of the pressing issues of our time, no amount of not thinking about this will make it go away. we need to be prepared for what this means for us as a society. i'm posting a guest blog today, written by a friend that has been in the oil industry for a very long time- we've had many a convo about peak oil over the years. you can find him on myspace.
inform yourself and pass it along:


Peak Oil & Energy Discussion Board


We are now flirting with $100 oil yet as a society we dont have any kind of energy game plan. After lots of posturing, Congress will have nothing for an energy bill this session, just as they've had nothing for each previous year. None of the Presidential candidates have any real energy policy programs. Its important for you to understand what this means. Our way of life is about to change dramatically for the worse. YOU need to properly understand the fundamentals at hand and act accordingly. Since 2005, its been evident we've entered a new era of oil depletion. After global oil growth rates of 3-4% most of our lives, take a look at this chart:

Recognize what this means. With the incentive of +$50, then $60, then $70, then $80 and now +$90 oil, global output has fallen. Its not an oil company conspiracy. We, especially Americans, are voraciously consuming past the ability of the system to supply oil. We are up against the limits to growth. We are near or at peak oil.

Peak oil doesn't mean we are fast running out of oil. It means we have roughly as much oil to consume in the future as we have consumed in the past. But before you get complacent, peak oil also means:
1) We can no longer grow oil supplies which I think means we can no longer grow the economy. There's too much societal debt predicated on more economic growth. This alone will be economically catastrophic. Take heed.
2) The market power shifts from the oil buyers to the oil producers.

To restate the obvious, there are extensive oil reserves. We're at the peak. We roughly have just as much oil to produce as we've pumped in the past. But at the peak the power shifts from the consumers to the still prolific producers. So does the money. They can jerk us around without much recourse. There's no longer energy growth alternatives. The Saudis, with the collusion of their ARAMCO partners, will throttle back and make a killing. Dan Yergin will come out and say 'its not geologic constraints its political. We weren't wrong.'

We all got duped but what are we gonna do about it now? This so called 'free market' approach to resource allocation sure served them well. The free market richly rewards those with still prolific production up and over the peak. Its too bad they are now most adversaries to the U.S. The oil wars will rage on. Too bad.

3) At and over the peak, the propensity for oil wars escalates. Its why we are building a $1b super-fortress embassy and permanent military bases in Iraq.

"...the more you understand peak oil fundamentals the more you know Iraq was about oil. The propensity for oil wars accelerates up and over the peak. Those that embrace the B.S. reasons for going into Iraq...weapons...911...democracy seem to also lack any real grasp of peak oil. They also are the ones who incorrectly think free markets and more domestic drilling will solve this energy problem.

The prudent post-911 response should have been highlighting and addressing our dangerous dependency on imported, especially Mideast oil. Instead they opted for an invasion of Iraq. It was about oil and its important to recognize, as we cruise around in our SUVs, is we are now on the wrong side of the energy equation and post-peak is going to smack us hard."

Here's some significant archived reading on whats unfolding with peak oil: Important Archived Peak Oil Threads. and check back on the main Petroboard. Its going to get volatile and interesting. Take heed.

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13 November 2007

your cousins

i've never been able to understand how this is allowed to happen. i thought this inhumane and disgusting treatment of our cousins had been halted, due to numerous field research observations over the years that have proven monkeys have the capacity to think and feel. due to studies that have proven how humanlike they really are.

how twisted, huh? researchers acknowledge the monkey's human likeness, but somehow completely ignore its emotional and physical pain - and engage in murder. on your dime. and for what?

"In one example of the wasteful experiments at ONPRC, experimenter Eliot Spindel has injected pregnant monkeys with nicotine, delivered the babies by cesarean section, measured the babies' lung function, and then killed the babies and cut them up for exam—even though the dangers of nicotine to human infants have been well documented in studies of people.

In another example, experimenter Judy Cameron takes infant monkeys from their mothers and observes their psychological suffering—even though these traumatizing experiments have been conducted for half a century and the tragic effects of maternal deprivation have long been identified in humans."

this is so disturbing to me, on so many levels. groups like this are engaging in "medical" experimentation for already well established facts? don't smoke while pregnant? if your infant is deprived of love, it is psychologically traumatizing?

there is always another way - one that doesn't involve torture. what we do to the web, we do to ourselves.

please take a moment to watch the video and send a note to the usda. there is another news article here.

*h/t to holly for sending me these links.

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12 November 2007

she beat me to it.

and said it better than i ever could have. the following veteran's day musings were penned by my dear friend, melissa. she's an inspiration and her friendship is sacred to me. she is also beautiful and brilliant. i'm passing her words on to you. the only thing i would add is the repeated attempts by bush during his years in occupation of the whitehouse, to slash veterans benefits even further. how he does this with a clear conscience is beyond me... and you don't get to ban iraq war vets from veteran's day parades.

"Today's observance was intended not to glorify war, but as a solemn way to recognize its end. In that spirit, today I continue my commitment to advocate for a peaceful resolution to end the war in Iraq, and prevent war with Iran. We do not need more veterans. Instead, we need to honor those we have by fully funding services designed to meet the challenging and diverse needs of the men and women who have served in our military.

We can say 'thank you' with the immediate elimination of waiting lists for care and benefits.

We can say 'thank you' by ensuring that the mental health needs of returning soldiers are considered a medical priority and providing the adequately trained staff in sufficient numbers so as to guarantee that every solider receives the best standard of care possible.

We can say 'thank you' by the immediate elimination of pay and benefit inequities between U.S. military personnel and private paramilitary contractors who often perform the same work, in the same situations, for a fraction of the compensation. Those who wear our uniform deserve more pay, not less.

We can say 'thank you' by keeping our recruiting promises to help pay for college in a realistic and meaningful way that accurately compensates veterans for the true costs of higher education.

We can say 'thank you' by encouraging a real national conversation about the toll of war on the future of this country, not just in dollars and cents, but in the loss of production and innovation that will come as a direct result of the permanent disabilities of our wounded.

We can say 'thank you' by redefining what support means. Forget the rhetoric. It isn't about showing respect to the flag and it isn't about whether you wear a lapel pin. It isn't about a 99 cent magnet flung on the back of some car. This is what true support would look like: not one homeless veteran. Not one.

We can say 'thank you' by working as a nation to eliminate the stigma associated with PTSD, depression, and other identifiable and treatable mental health issues so as to eliminate this debilitating barrier to service provision.

We can say 'thank you' by finally ending the flawed 'don't ask, don't tell' policy. We must bring honor to all our veterans by allowing them the respect and dignity they deserve. Sexual orientation has nothing to do with patriotism or the ability to do one's job. Existing benefits and supportive services must be extended to the families of LGBT military personnel and they must be permitted to serve openly without fear of discrimination or harassment.

We can say 'thank you' by praying for peace."



09 November 2007

we'll just file this one under

things i should know about, but didn't. of course, i feel it is my sworn duty to pass this new knowledge along. you know how i do sometimes.

holly and i were rappin' this a.m. via the internets. holly is a rockin' animal/human rights activist, p.s. - and someone that i consider to be the most knowledgeable about such matters. she is not all hat and no cattle, she walks the talk. and that, my friends, is beautiful and rare in this day and age.

but i digress.

i was expressing my disjunct with a culture so supportive of "finding the cure" for cancer via walk-a-thons and knowing that there are those creating cancers that aren't being held accountable. industry waste, spills, harmful products (deodorant - although studies provide conflicting results - whatever.), etc. basically, we're given these nasty little incurable diseases and then are asked to collect money to find a remedy. we could also file this under "more band aids for cuts that need stitches" - a favorite category of mine these days.

but the plot thickens. i had always assumed this money was being used to, wait for it, find a cure. i assumed that the money was actually being used WISELY and pro-actively. silly me. while i should have assumed that animal testing is a part of all of this, it is also something i have a difficult time thinking too much about. must mean i should give it more thought.

let me just excerpt a bit of the conversation that ensued, what she sent my way:

Although the war on cancer was declared nearly 30 years ago to the tune of $35 billion, cancer deaths are at an all-time high because of our reluctance to move past the animal model to reliable, humane methods of experimentation. "The history of cancer research has been a history of curing cancer in the mouse. We have cured mice of cancer for decades--and it simply didn't work in humans." -- Dr. Richard Klausner, director of the National Cancer Institute.

Although experimental cancer drugs reduce tumors in mice, experts agree that this treatment cannot and never has been successfully extrapolated to humans. Animal experimenters poison and kill animals by the tens of millions and give cancer sufferers false hopes that a cure is right around the corner. "The patients are the losers when all of this is dangled in front of them and it turns out to be nothing." -- Dr. Robert Mayer, president of the American Society for Clinical Oncology.

Cancer therapies used in animals do not accurately demonstrate side effects that will show up in humans once a product is put on the market. These side effects include muscle inflammation, skeletal stiffness, loss of sensation in the limbs, and brain cell toxicity. In some cases, these side effects force researchers to limit doses to levels too low to be a benefit to the cancer patient, rendering the therapy useless.

More than 100,000 people in the U.S. die from side effects of drugs not detected in animal tests. An additional 2 million people are hospitalized. $4 billion is spent annually treating people for adverse side effects from prescribed drugs.

so not only are animals being tortured, people are dying while time, money and resources are being horribly horribly squandered. apparently there is some "research" being inflicted upon monkeys as well - which will more than likely also wield no valid results for humans.

sick. sad. disguting. all around.

and as if that wasn't enough, she hit me with this, stats taken from the FDA

More than 90 percent of drugs that appear safe in animal tests fail in human studies.
More than 100,000 Americans die each year from adverse reactions to approved drugs. This is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States.
More than half of all approved drugs will be withdrawn or relabeled for serious or lethal effects in humans.

which i verified here, in reference to the vioxx fiasco.

ah, western medicine... i'll save my rant about what this means vis-a-vis the human experimentation that is occuring with anti-depressant/anxiety/panic medications as we speak for another time.

she also gave me
this link - charities that do/don't engage in animal testing.

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07 November 2007

i heart alternet. and opening cans of worms.

even when they send sillily titled articles to me via my online subscription:

porn - healthy or harmful?

yup. make sure you take your vitamins and PORN this winter to avoid catching the flu. sheesh.

i can kind of even get my brain around the arguments that porn isn't harmful. kind of. i don't agree and i think that robert jensen has a million fantastic things to say in response to the argument (esp. in regards to the harder core stuff that is out there) - but, is porn healthy?

alternet has an interesting debate between two clinical psychologists posted up on their site. if you want it, here it be. have at it.

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06 November 2007

this is just cool.

ladybugs. everywhere.

i picked up a serving shift on sunday at the bar. each time i went out to the patio, a ladybug landed on me, or flew into my face. same difference. i also kept finding them crawling up my arm once i was back inside. doesn't take much to amuse me. at one point, i looked up on the wall and there were close to 40 just cruising up and down the side of the building.

there are three currently residing in my house.

of course, this must mean something, right? in a universal sense? i mean, this has never happened before, in all of my 34 years.

so pokin' about i went...

here's the scoop - ladybugs as animal totems:

The ladybug is one of the few beetles that are well liked by humans. Unlike other beetles, the ladybug stirs a feeling of joy within us. Its small size denotes a delicate and loving nature. It emanates the energy of harmlessness and can show us how to stop harming ourselves.

The shell on its back serves to protect it from predators. Its wings fold against the body protecting its soft underside. Ladybugs have keen instincts and feel vibrations through their legs. This enables them to sense the energy of whatever they touch and is another form of protection. In spite of its size it appears to be fearless. A messenger of promise, the ladybug reconnects us with the joy of living. Fear does not live within joy. The need to release our fears and return to love is one of the messages it carries.

Ladybug teaches us how to restore our faith and trust in great spirit. It initiates change where it is needed the most.

i hear ya knockin' ladies.


where do i get off?

apparently, i'm not handling this month's worth of nasty health events as well as i thought i was. my back is one moment away from failing me. i cannot begin to describe the pain, nor the frustration that goes along with it. if i move, at all, i hurt. hell, i hurt when i don't move. all of my normal activities are accentuated with pain that makes me sick to my stomach. ah, the things i take for granted. like walking and bending and lying still...

i've had these bulged discs for years - and since they were diagnosed, they've gone haywire when presented with stress. it truly is amazing what the psyche can manifest into the body! the last time this happened was after arriving home from the dnc protest back in 2000 - after days of wondering when the police were going to decide to beat us all down during peaceful protests. go figure. but i digress. i'm having a hell of a time trying to study for my exam thursday, finish my summary for tomorrow and i won't even get into the logistics surrounding a Very Busy bebe and housecrap that i don't care for anyway and... does someone want to come break my arm to take my mind off of my back? ;) i hear that works.

i do have great news on the health of moi front. see? i'm not all gloom and doom. i met with the surgeon today who has opted to remove the suspicious lump. she doesn't think it is anything worrisome, but is going to take it away. i like that. i like that a lot. i should have the results from my other biopsies back this week. there may to be another lazer type surgery for that - we shall see. my body is not pleased with me this month, needless to say.

all i can do at this point is laugh. it really, truly is ridiculous, how nutty these weeks have been. the timing, blah blah blah.

and it keeps occurring to me that i shouldn't really complain, given how horribly people suffer daily in this world, because of my country - based on the whims of few mindless, greedy, arrogant people. darfur, iraq, afghanistan, those not holding the chunk of the wealth, the list goes on and on and on. next post? entitlement.

my pain is so temporary. where do i get off, anyway? how dare i. seriously. for reals.

back to the books.



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