Tuesday, October 31, 2006

If I Had A Billion Dollars

I have been thinking lately of money. Well, a lot of it has been my lack of money, but sometimes I think of what I would do if I had plenty of money and didn't need to worry about how I'm going to pay for basic necessities. So, I've compiled a list. There is really no end to what I would like to do, but these are some of my top picks.

Drum Roll please (not that anyone actually cares about this list, though I'd love to read yours)

1. I would have accounts made for each of my nieces and nephews so that when they turn 18 they can go to the college of their choice (provided they're accepted of course) OR if they prefer to wait for college, they can volunteer at something like the Peace Corps and have that money waiting for them, able to withdraw it at will.

2. I would give some subscribed amount: $25,000 maybe to Planned Parenthood, NARAL Pro-Choice, NOW, and Ms. magazine.

3. I would donate $50,000 to WSU for History scholarships and/or a history student's grant. I would allocate some of that money for book buying related to the social sciences to the WSU library.

4. I would give $75,000 to a therapy program for rape victims - they heal by swimming with dolphins!

5.I would start a new charity that builds houses for the poor and fixes up houses that are in urban areas - sort of Habitat for Humanity and Urban Renewal combined. These would be available to those who applied.

6. I would donate $150,000 to a fund for poor women to gain abortion and birth control. With the huge amount of money I am imagining I have, this would be renewed every year.

7. Okay, I have to get a bit selfish now. I would buy my dream house. Nothing necessarily huge or anything, but with everything I would want: a library, a large kitchen, fireplaces, a solarium or sun room, etc.

8. Hey, I said I was going to be selfish: a vacation home on the Atlantic coast, preferably Maine. It wouldn't be huge at all, just a 2 bedroom cabin type, right on the beach, with a huge fireplace and bookshelves everywhere.

9. A fund for open and honest sex education for any school or clinic that applies and international clinics as well, including AIDS education and prevention, and free birth control: maybe around $25,000 each or so? Stop the Vatican and Bush from the gag-rule and imposing their values on people that can't afford to go somewhere else for another opinion.

10. Another selfish thing: Books. I would buy every book I ever wanted; on my wish list from Amazon, whenver I found one I liked in any bookstore I went to. No end to buying of books (this is why I need a library).

11. A Toyota Prius and a Honda Element. Both are good cars...if the Element becomes a Hybrid that would make it even better.

Okay, I think I would consider these my top 11 or something. But again, I could come up with many more. Some are selfish, others not so much. I would love to hear about your lists if you have them.

Monday, October 30, 2006


Following in the footsteps of my good friend Sara, I have decided to give you all an update on my life. Please don't snore too loudly. This past weekend I traveled the eight hours down to Wichita and attended a wedding for my BF Nick's friends. A Catholic wedding, no less - meaning a lot longer than any other type. It felt weird to be in the church, but kinda neat because the priest that married the couple also married my brother and sister-in-law. Sometimes it's a small world. I did notice though that the vows still seem rather sexist to me: the groom promises to be faithful and to be a good father (no mention of being a good husband, I guess as long as he is a good dad and provider he can beat his wife or something.) The bride promises to be faithful as well, but to also be a good wife, AND mother. I feel sorry for those women who make this vow and then find out that they can't have children. Or don't want them - as it seems that the Catholic Church insists on having more members brought in from birth, and therefore you are not a good Catholic if you don't automatically desire children. But I digress into my cynicism and I apologize. This is for a later blog topic. I spent Saturday meeting my stepmother's family - her mother turned 90 and all of her kids came for the party and to visit. It was nice, though a bit long. Lots of good food and cute kids. I got to hold a baby! Trying to practice so I won't forget when Sara and Brad have little Kathleen and I get to hold her :-)I got to see my niece and nephews which was great, though way too short - my sister-in-law had the flu so I didn't spend a lot of time there; plus, my brother had just gotten back from a 2-week long work time in St. Louis - the kids hadn't seen him for a long time. But I did get to see their costumes. Dad and I got a chance to talk a bit. He's doing good, the house looks great and I can't wait until Christmas. Nick and I ate at Bella Luna, which is one of the restaurants we've been missing. Yum! I'm hungry just thinking about their menu. And then Sunday we headed back to Iowa - only to run into a good school friend of ours who was ALSO heading back to Iowa (thought a different city) and we stopped at Matfield Green and just chatted a bit. Quite fun! Oh, and Angie - thanks again for the squirrel! Today I spent the day running errands, doing laundry, and I actually got a good jog in also. It's nice to be home, no matter how much I miss my family. I guess that's pretty much it.

Friday, October 20, 2006


I was thinking for the past couple of days about my group of friends from high school. Occasionally, we've talked about the so-called "popular crowd," who I think we all agreed were really only popular in their heads - really they were the party clique, the snobby clique, what have you. I think if any one in our group was popular it was Nathan B. Felix. He was truly universally liked. So kudos to you, Fe, cause you deserved it. But I was wondering a bit today why it is I am so much closer to certain friends from High School than others. Doubtless, some of it has to do with personality, sense of humor, shared characteristics, etc. But I have noticed that while I was close to a lot of these friends - at least I considered us close - in High School, I have become closer to some and have moved farther away from others. Do any of you find yourselves wondering what differences between your friends came between you? In response to an email I sent yesterday to a friend whom I considered myself to be close to in high school I have been thinking of these things even more. I had attempted to try to open up a discussion and re-forge some closeness. It didn't happen, perhaps because it can't happen anymore, or because I or that other person has changed too much to allow us to open up discussion and become close again. I know why I pulled away, but I do not know if I did anything to this person to make them pull away. In any case, I was disappointed that my attempt failed and that it was mistaken for something else. This is my fault, perhaps, because of what I wrote - how I wrote it, more precisely. Anyway, I would like some thoughts on this subject. Which friends are you still close to? Why? What changed? How have you changed? How have they changed?
On another note. I have been thinking as well that I have really focused a lot on abortion and religion.This is in response as well, to an old friend. But I would really like to get your input on some topics about me that all of you may be interested in hearing.

One and all, religions have their original prophets, their sacred books, their traditions of ages gone. One and all require us to accept without question what other people long dead have said or written; to obey without question the commands of those behind us.... No matter what the belief, if it had modestly said, "This is our best thought, go on, think farther!" then we could have smoothly outgrown our early errors and long since have developed a religion such as would have kept pace with an advancing world. But we were made to believe and not allowed to think. We were told to obey, rather than to experiment and investigate.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Research and News

Not that any amount of research will actually get someone hell-bent on forcing women to complete their pregnancies to stop saying there is a connection. But I thought I'd post it anyway. And for those of you who are pro-life but actually keep an open mind, a non-judgemental attitude, and reasons for being against abortion OTHER than religious zeal, as well as some compassion, like Sara, that rather short statement above is not for you.

Back to Story - Help
Abortion does not increase breast cancer risk Mon Oct 16, 7:27 PM ET

Abortion does not affect the risk of breast cancer, according to study findings published in the International Journal of Cancer.

"It is well established that pregnancies that end in a full-term birth ultimately confer a protective effect on breast cancer risk," Dr. Gillian K. Reeves, of the University of Oxford, UK, and colleagues write. "The effect of incomplete pregnancies on the risk of breast cancer has been less clear."

The researchers therefore examined the role of abortion on breast cancer risk among 267,361 women enrolled in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition between 1992 and 2000. The data came from 20 centers across nine countries.

The women were followed for an average of 6.6 years. A total of 4805 women were diagnosed with breast cancer during follow-up. The researchers included all pregnancies that ended prior to 20 weeks or the stage of viability - spontaneous abortions (also referred to as miscarriage) and therapeutic or induced abortions.

"Overall, almost two thirds of women reported never having had any type of abortion, while about one third reported having had at least one type of abortion," Reeves and colleagues report.

Approximately 20 percent reported having a spontaneous abortion compared with about 16 percent who reported having an induced abortion. Only 3.8 percent of women reported having both types of abortion.

Having one spontaneous abortion did not affect the risk of breast cancer and having two or more spontaneous abortions only slightly increased the risk. No evidence of a relationship between one or more induced abortions and breast cancer was found.

"Overall, the findings provide further unbiased evidence of the lack of an adverse effect of induced abortion on breast cancer risk," the team concludes.

SOURCE: International Journal of Cancer, October 1, 2006.

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Monday, October 16, 2006

The Future Home of James T. Kirk

Yesterday, Nick and I headed to Kalona, Iowa because we'd heard that it's a big quilting town and I have been a little obsessed lately with finding a quilt similar, if not exactly like!, the one that my mom gave me years ago. Somehow, when she died and all the stuff was organized (which guiltily and sadly I didn't help with; some of that was because of major pain but I still should have helped!)it disappeared and I haven't figured out where it went. Maybe one of my aunts has it or something, so at least it's still in the family. Anyway, I digress. We drove through the town of Riverside and there it was. A sign proclaiming that it was the Future Home of James T. Kirk. I was so excited because even though I really don't like the original episodes of Star Trek or James T. Kirk, it was still a small string of connection to my Trekkie roots. For those of you who didn't know me in 7th-12th grade, and okay, beyond! I am a trekkie! I watched Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Voyager, and I well, I still have stories, etc. that I am involved with...it was a whole thing with me. So I was excited to see the future right here in Iowa - even if I didn't like the Star Trek captain in question, and wished that it were a sign in a small little wine-producing village in France and proclaiming instead, "Future Home of Captain Jean-Luc Picard"- It was exciting.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

I just finished reading a memoir by Julia Scheeres: Jesus Land. It was yet another reason I'm glad that I look at organized religion - especially Christianity - with a rather cynical eye. Her life was so sad; so incredibly unfair. I will not say that it was all caused by Christianity itself - that's just wrong. But most of her unhappiness and misery was caused by good "Christians," trying to "save her soul" and indoctrinate her on their views, despite her own. And, of course, being hypocritical and bigoted and mean about it. All of course, supported by the Bible. Supported at least, by their interpretation - because that's all the book can become in life is interpretation. Which is why I don't understand why people would choose to live "as the Bible says." Please. Sometimes I wonder if rational thought is even possible at that point. It certainly seems to be suspended whenever people start talking about god, or the Bible, or Jesus. They're as high on that as drugs - and it leads to some nasty behavior. Which is of course, sanctioned by the Bible. I just don't understand. Of course, the aftermath of reading a memoir like this is to heighten and intensify by utter bewilderment and cynicism and sheer gratitude that I'm NOT like them, that I may very well fall into the trap of labeling all people who claim to be Christian as mean, bigoted, horrible, hypocritical people. I know some Christians that are...and some (though they seem to be more of the secular Christians) are the best people around. Of course, the best people I've met, sadly for those of you who are that high on god type of Christian, aren't Christian at all. Food for thought isn't it? I guess adhering to the idea that just adhering to one book for one way of life is maybe, not the best policy to live a good life and be kind to others, etc. Just food for thought..mine anyway.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Just me

Sadly, I had to work; but I wanted to go to several - there were something like 10 held here or near hear (Iowa City/Coralville) and if I'd had the space I would have been a hostess too. But I applaud those who were able to attend and/or hold one. Good Luck South Dakota!

Activists Across the Nation Hold Potluck Fundraisers to Fight South Dakota Abortion Ban

Planned Parenthood Supporters Join Together to Combat Attacks on Women’s Health and Safety

Washington, DC — This weekend (Sept. 29–Oct.1) pro-choice activists across the United States, as well as in Kenya and Tunisia, will hold potluck fundraisers to fight South Dakota’s abortion ban. The potlucks, organized by Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), have touched a chord with people across the nation. To date, people determined to protect women’s health and safety have organized more than 300 potluck events in 38 states — from Belfast, ME, to Davenport, IA, to Arcata, CA. Potluck themes range from turkey fries to luaus, with events being held in churches and synagogues, backyards, parks, homes and sororities. Similar fundraisers are also being held to oppose anti-choice initiatives in California and Oregon.
“There has been a groundswell of support across the nation in reaction to this draconian measure, which would set women’s health back 33 years to the pre-Roe era,” said Stephenie Foster, PPFA vice president for public policy. “There could be no greater indication of how close we are to losing rights that many of us have come to take for granted than the ban passed in South Dakota.”

A statewide referendum to be held on November 7 will determine whether or not the law goes into effect. The ban — a blatant challenge to Roe v. Wade — would strip women in South Dakota of their constitutional right to determine if and when to bear children. It affects virtually all women seeking an abortion, with the sole exception of cases in which the woman will die if forced to continue the pregnancy.

To find out more about Potlucks for South Dakota, go to StandUpSD.com.

Planned Parenthood Federation of America is the nation's leading sexual and reproductive health care advocate and provider. We believe that everyone has the right to choose when or whether to have a child, and that every child should be wanted and loved. Planned Parenthood affiliates operate more than 860 health centers nationwide, providing medical services and sexuality education for millions of women, men, and teenagers each year. We also work with allies worldwide to ensure that all women and men have the right and the means to meet their sexual and reproductive health care needs.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Prejudice and Bigotry

I just took a survey about prejudice and bigotry and it got me thinking: what areas in the United States and around the world need work? What is the most prevalent prejudice or bigotry? For example, I was torn between the idea that hetero-sexism and sexism in general, are the areas of prejudice that are still the most prevalent. But most people, in the results area of the survey, answered that it was racism. And I know that racism is still very prevalent, but I tend to think of it as a more regional thing, rather than a world-wide, nation-wide thing. So, I want your thoughts, your discussions, your vague ideas. What prejudice is most prevalent? Why? In what ways are you prejudiced, or bigoted, or just have cynical ideas? For example, I tend to be very cynical and look down on relions and people who are extremely devout in religions - any religion, but especially Catholicism. That is based on personal experience, and I try every day to fight it, but I very often fail - though happily, I sometimes succeed. My cynicism and skepticism is based on experience though, not a pre-judgment. So does it count as a prejudice against that religion? I try to keep an open mind about it, but I tend to find it alien? Anyway, just an example using me as a whipping-girl. Please, feel free to add.