23 May 2008


Advisors are only useful if they can be consulted when one is in need of, well, advising.

That is all.

20 May 2008

Bellydance events

Just wanted to share real quick. On Saturday, May 31st I'll be dancing with my troupe at the Shah Sitara Showcase in SLC. More info here.

After that we hit the road to Cali for a week. After J's sister's wedding we're going to this Bellydance Carnival briefly before heading back home.

Bellydance galore!

16 May 2008

Outside looking in

I strongly believe what the button above says is true. Hatred is not something that should be taught to children, or condoned in our society. So why is it so prevalent? And why, with our current political administration that's all about promoting good Christian values, is hatred so rampant?

I thought the Bible said to "love thy neighbor". No qualifiers. It's not "love thy neighbor only if they look like you" or "love thy neighbor unless they love the same sex" or "love thy neighbor unless they worship another god (or none)...in which case, killing them is okay." I'm an atheist, and I know the Bible doesn't say these things. So why do so many people who readily identify themselves as "Good Christians" feel perfectly okay spewing forth hatred about anyone not like them? (see my previous post on McCain's religious affiliates for some examples of Christian pastors preaching venomous words about "the other").

I'm an outsider. I am not Christian. So I feel bad to judge people on how they behave relative to the beliefs they claim. But when a prominent religious figure talks about loving Jesus and then goes on to talk about the sickness of homosexuality in our nation or the scourge of Islam... do they not realize how much their words hurt people? How alienating they are? How un-Christ-like they are coming across?

Is this okay behavior in our society? Is it acceptable to talk about how virtuous you are and in the same breath spew hatred about others? I don't think that's right. Or fair. Or nice. I want better than that for Doodle...for our world. Why is it so hard to just love thy neighbor? Or even to simply peacefully coexist? I don't understand.

15 May 2008

Same-sex marriage legal in California

California's Supreme Court ruled today that same-sex couples have the constitutional right to marry! From the SF Chronicle:
In a 4-3 decision, the justices said the state's ban on same-sex marriage violates the "fundamental constitutional right to form a family relationship."
Here's another article from the L.A. Times. They say Gov. Schwarzenegger says he'll follow the court's ruling.
"I respect the court's decision and as governor, I will uphold its ruling," [Schwarzenegger] said in a statement. "Also, as I have said in the past, I will not support an amendment to the constitution that would overturn this state Supreme Court ruling."
Unfortunately, it looks like hate groups such as the Campaign for Children and Families will be pushing for a ballot initiative in November for a state constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman. Think I'm extreme for referring to such a nice, wholesome-sounding group as a hate group? See for yourself what they said about this court ruling:

On a 4-3 vote, the California Supreme Court has destroyed the civil institution of marriage between a man and a woman, and law-biding Americans must condemn it in the strongest terms. By bowing down to homosexual activists and the rebel city of San Francisco, the California Supreme Court has exchanged the rule of law for the rule of unbridled power to destroy all that is good and sacred.
That sounds like hatred to me. According to the L. A. Times, "more than 100,000 same-sex couples in the state, about a quarter of whom have children," will be affected by this law (data from U.S. Census bureau). I would think a group supporting families would want the stability of the institution of marriage available to these families. That would be best, right? I guess not, when addressing something that they feel could "destroy all that is good and sacred". Yikes.

I'll be keeping a close eye on these goings-on in California. I truly hope this ruling stands, and no amendments are passed. I just want people to be able to love who they want, and if they want the state to recognize their union, then I want them to have that. Good for them. I just don't understand when people turn it into a good vs. evil thing. That doesn't help anyone, and only makes more hate.

What the world needs now is love, sweet love,
It's the only thing that there's just too little of.

What the world needs now is love, sweet love,
No not just for some but for everyone.

-Burt Bacharach

14 May 2008

Growing up

It's official. My doodle isn't a baby anymore. She's a full-on, running, talking toddler. When did this happen?Here's the cuteness in her Park Ranger attire. Note the pigtails, a new occurrence as of today. *sigh* She's so big!

09 May 2008

McCain's religious affiliates

Another political rant ahoy!

Unless you've been living in a hole lately, you're aware of the hullaballoo in the press about Senator Obama's affiliation with Rev. Wright. The press has made such a stink about Rev. Wright's comments about oppression in America, and even that he said "God Damn America" in a sermon that Sen. Obama had to denounce Rev. Wright to save face. This, apparently, is news.

What ISN'T news in American media is Senator John McCain's religious affiliations with the likes of Jerry Falwell (blamed 9/11 on Americans), John Hagee (who 'called the Catholic Church a “great whore” and a “false cult system” ' according to these guys), and Rod Parsley. What, you've never heard of Pastor Parsley? Oh. Well, Mother Jones news called him an "Ohio megachurch pastor who has called upon Christians to wage a "war" against the "false religion" of Islam with the aim of destroying it." That sounds scary to me. Take a look at this video:

Now why is it that the media isn't hopping all over this? I see rabid, blatant hatred of a group of people. But they ignore it. Oh, right. It's because he's white. Silly me.

Update: McCain recently rejected the endorsement from John Hagee.
Ooh, ooh! More update: McCain also rejected the endorsement from Rod Parsley. John McCain (on Rev. Parsley), quoted from CNN's website:
"I believe there is no place for that kind of dialogue in America,” he told the Associated Press. “And I believe that even though he endorsed me, and I didn't endorse him, the fact is that I repudiate such talk, and I reject his endorsement."
Wow. Perhaps all the blogosphere rumblings did some good after all? One can dream.

Clinton's campaigning

Okay, this is going to be a political rant. Consider yourself warned.

I am an Obama supporter. I have been since I voted for him for his Senate position in Illinois. I respect his positions on issues, and the way he has run his campaign. He plays fair. He is respectable in how he conducts himself and his campaign helpers. It's admirable. Senator Clinton, on the other hand, makes me angry with her campaign strategy.

[A quick aside: I will not refer to Senator Clinton as simply Hillary, unless referring to Senator Obama as Barack. The discrepancy between calling him Obama and her Hillary is just weird to me - I don't know if she's striving for some degree of familiarity with the American people, like your friend's mom down the street, or what. But if one candidate is going by last name, I'm using last name for all. Just a little pet peeve of mine.]

Okay, back on topic. I just don't like how Clinton is running things. The blogosphere has been ablaze with this quote from Sen. Clinton on Wednesday:
"I have a much broader base to build a winning coalition on," she said in an interview with USA TODAY. As evidence, Clinton cited an Associated Press article "that found how Sen. Obama's support among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans, is weakening again, and how whites in both states who had not completed college were supporting me."
Did you catch that? "working, hard-working Americans, white Americans..." and the all the other Americans are what? Non-working, lazy, non-white? That's a dangerous path to be treading, Senator Clinton. These folks agree.

I find it infinitely frustrating that so much of the Democratic party debate lately has come down to race vs. gender. It's not about the color of a person's skin or what's in their pants, folks! It's about integrity, honesty, the ability to lead and to represent a nation. I would love to see a woman in the White House someday. I really would. I just don't like the kind of dishonesty and political games that are coming from the Clinton campaign. It just feels skeezy to me. Yes, skeezy. Like someone trying to slickly coerce you into something without telling you the whole story. Doesn't matter that she's a woman. She could be a hermaphroditic handicapped martian, and if she behaved the way she has I still wouldn't vote for her.

I only hope she'll do the math and bow out soon so we can get down to the business of campaigning for the general election. But that makes me nervous too, as McCain scares the crap out of me. More on him later.

Doodle vs. pavement

I knew it was bound to happen. With increased outside time and a speedy toddler, we were destined to have more scrapes, bumps and bruises. But yesterday was rough.

Incident #1: the head. We were making the rounds of the neighborhood with neighbor L, K-So the dog, and little neighbor A. A loves his "pop-pop", one of those Fisher Price push toys that has little balls inside and pops them up as you push it. Miss Doodle also loves the pop-pop, but doesn't get to play with it much. Well, partway down the sidewalk A takes off, leaving his pop-pop behind. Doodle, missing no opportunity, grabs the pop-pop and takes off running the other direction, pulling it behind her. She seemed hellbent on enjoying the toy while she could, and was absconding with it as fast as possible. Until she tried to look behind her. While running. Down went the Doodle, and hit her head on the pavement. Inconsolable crying until we relinquished the pop-pop and went inside to cuddle. The end result: a scrape/bruise combination on the side of her head, just above and to the side of her eyebrow. Pavement 1, Doodle 0.

Incident #2: the finger. I was helping a friend with pollination work, so Doodle was home with J. They were weeding, and she took off with the dandelion weeder. Tripped on the concrete, landing with her weight on her hand and her hand closed around the handle of the weeder. Skidded some. The end result: she scraped through her fingernail in one spot, resulting in a gnarly looking sore spot mid-nail. Pavement 2, Doodle 0.

All this after a pretty skinned up knee last weekend that she still points at and says "Ooouuuuww" with a sucking-in sound at the end and little pursed lips. Thankfully she mostly regards her owies with curiosity rather than drama. I'm so glad she's sturdy.

06 May 2008

International Midwives Day

Yesterday was International Midwives Day. If you know a midwife, thank them for the love and energy they invest in healthy, happy families.

This post is dedicated to Melissa, our wonderful midwife (shown here at Doodle's six-week checkup). We love you Melissa!

02 May 2008

Air pollution

According to the American Lung Association, Logan is ranked #6 on their list of worst air pollution cities in the U.S. for 2007. Okay, so this is just for short-term particle pollution, meaning our air doesn't suck year-round. But in the winter when we have inversions, it's bad enough and often enough to earn us a ranking among cities like L.A., Sacramento and Washington D.C. That's bad. Really bad. Here's the list of the top 10 worst cities for short-term particle pollution:
#1 Pittsburgh, PA
#2 Los Angeles, CA
#3 Fresno, CA
#4 Bakersfield, CA
#5 Birmingham, AL
#6 Logan, UT
#7 Salt Lake City, UT
#8 Sacramento, CA
#9 Detroit, MI
#10 D.C./Baltimore, MD
(Provo, UT is ranked #12)
Here's a little bit of info on particle pollution from the ALA's website:
  • Particle pollution is the most dangerous of the widespread outdoor air pollutants. It is typically made up of ash, soot, diesel exhaust, chemicals, metals and aerosols. Particle levels can spike dangerously for hours to weeks on end (short-term) or reach high levels for most of the year (year-round).
  • Breathing particle pollution can kill. Breathing particle pollution year-round can shorten life by one to three years. It triggers heart attacks, strokes, irregular heartbeats, and causes lung cancer and premature births. Particle pollution harms people in many ways, even when the particle levels are very low. Particle pollution worsens serious respiratory disorders, including asthma and causes wheezing and coughing.
  • In the eastern U.S., many particles come from power plants that burn coal to produce electricity. In the western U.S., particles come from diesel buses, trucks and heavy equipment, agriculture and wood burning.
  • The body’s natural defenses help to cough or sneeze larger particles out of our bodies. But smaller particles can be so tiny that they can become lodged deep in the lungs and cause major damage, or pass from the lungs into the blood stream and then throughout the rest of the body.
That's scary stuff!

The ALA also assigned a grade to the counties of Utah for our short-term particle pollution. Care to guess what Cache County got? Yep, we failed. Though if it makes us feel any better, most of the other counties in Utah that were evaluated failed as well.

Now for the resources: Check here for the air quality forecast. Want to help make a difference in our air? Utah Moms for Clean Air are an active group trying to make political and community changes to improve our air quality. Or check out the Choose Clean Air website from the UT DEQ for ideas on minimizing your contribution to the air quality problem.