Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Deaf-Blindness Difficulties

First there was the knitting loom mess. A sighted friend with Extreme patience trying to teach me how to use the thing, translating from watching to tactile instruction and there is No room for Four hands.

Then there was yesterday, an unexpected doorbell ring.I opened the door a crack and asked "Who is it" a male, with a very thick Ozarks accent who ran his words together said Something like, "Are you th one ordered all these (indistinguishable word)" I said no.

Then realized I Had ordered a number of "Snuggies" at a Spring discount for a drop in center for kids which closed at midnight. Some of those kids are homeless and it's still dropping into the 20's and 30's at night. Was that man who didn't identify himself at all trying to deliver These?

I found the Braille paper with the company name and had to call them, on amplified phone with hearing aids, to find out. They aren't supposed to arive for a week yet. Whew! Hope the dude Did have the wrong address for Whatever it was, I could Not understand him and he Was in a hurry.

Then there was this morning. Went to feed birds. If Rose Bug had been found dead at bottom of cage I'd have been sad, but not surprised. Instead when I went to add clean water to tray I touched the bloody leg of a Rose Bug somehow caught just above water container in cage bars. Her body was upside down in the water. Put a sandwich bag over my hand, lifted out her body. Scrubbed tray with Dawn, antibacterial dish soap before refilling it. I heard Rose Bug cheaping yesterday, was she caught then? If I had known, could I have Saved her? I will never know. How long did she have to suffer like that Before dying. Most birds leave their bodies Very quickly after perceiving a threat, at least the little ones do. I hope she did and wasn't cheeping for healp yesterday. We had a canary who was getting his toenails clipped once. Ann accidentally drew one tiny drop of blood, Not Life threatening, as she had the blood clotting sollution at hand and imediately applied it. But the canary thought he was dying and so did.

And, stepped bare foot into a cat hairball barf Before getting an E-mail saying state lagislature is working on a bill cutting medical help for disabled, including mentally ill and blind.

I have a friend who told me I was lucky not to have all of the expenses of a car. I thought about this. She's right, Only because I don't GO Anywhere! No movies, no eating out unless I help pay gas, $13 per hour to run errands for which I need to be present (farmer's market) as few trips to Dr. as I can manage, no trips to concerts, doll shopping, I get these stupid adds for Toys'r-Us But you have to GO to the store Just to see what's There! They Aren't Online sales, usually. No grocery runs on a whim because I just Feel like I want something, and no scoping out dolls Even at Wally World. If I did all of the things this friend does in a car, take vacatioons, go fishing, drive to work daily, go out to eat and shop, and used a Cab, No, I am Not lucky that I don't have my own car. Cab fares go up with gas prices. And I cannot understand drivers who run words together and do not speak Distinctly!
Sometimes I wish I dould Do Away with the struggle to understand speech and just hand someone a portable keyboard so I could read what they want to say in Braille, Or that I could learn ASL! Then I might have more people to Talk to!

So that's my rant. I don't need people telling me they are sorry it's so hard, I just need to say that it IS, sometimes.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Birds, Books, Martyrs, and Knitting Looms

No human and no bird lives forever. I've noticed that over the last few days the birds haven't been eating much clean seed. Tonight I did the dreaded task and ran my hand over the cage floor, looking for downed, dead birds. One of them just trundled slowly away from my hand. A healthy bird would have shrieked and zoomed up onto a perch. Not wanting to cause the bird more fear than I had already, I withdrew my hand. I think the bird was Rose Bug, a "Rosy Rump Waxbill" being eaten alive by Zebra finches at the pet store when we got her in 2007. They sold her to us at a ridiculously low price, on the condition that if she died we Wouldn't bring her back and ask for our money to be returned.

I am not wise enough to know how birds think or feel. But before our female canary, Fuzhead died, she lost her sight. She only could track Ann's hand in a very narrow range, right in front of her face. When she got lost in the cage she would call and OJ, our male canary would answer her and guide her with his voice back to a perch.

Today a friend told me that Rose Bug and OJ were both grubbing around slowly on the cage floor for seeds. I don't know if both are sick or if OJ might be keeping Rose Bug company.

I have read a truly wonderful book. It is "Islam and World Peace" I cannot read the author's name and don't want to make a Mess of it as I would by trying to spell it with my limited hearing. The Cherokee healer who helped me survive two rounds of cancer surgeries and chemotherapy worked for the military and met many Sufi Muslims he admired and learned from while in Europe. His conversations with me got me interested in Sufi Islam. This book is an explanation of Sufi Islam and it was so full of love, kindness, and often forgotten reasonableness, such as "clean up your own faults instead of judging those of others" that I intend to keep it and reread it from time to time.

Tonight I listened via the public radio station out of Springfield, Mo. to an production of "State Under Siege" about Mississippi during the Civil Rights movement, specifically the mid-1950's to the mid-1960's. And I thought that the people I would consider Gihadis, Martyrs were those like Medgar Evers, who knew he would probably be killed but still nonviolently stood up for equal rights for African Americans. I remember seeing those news reports growing up and hearing comments I won't repeat from my grandparents. I remember discussing Civil Rights with my father when he came to visit me at blind school. He was for civil rights, and afraid that African Americans would be put ahead of people like himself, relatively poor white, underpayed working people. We didn't agree. I had the good fortune to live with African American girls as room mates, and to see how they were treated badly by some school employees because they Were African Americans.

Last week I thought I would add to my ability to make doll clothing by learning to knit on a knitting loom. About twenty years ago, when I cold still hear well enough to work with and teach newly blind clients, I was taught to knit (with needles) by a blind fellow teacher, and I taught myself to crochet, with the aid of a Braille instruction book. But at that time the only reason I did it was so women losing their vision couldn't tell me they had to give it up since they couldn't see. I figured if I could learn it totally blind then I Should be able to encourage Them. But I had a lot to do and once I lost that job I stopped doing both knitting and crocheting. I still have a decent sample of decent knitting that I did back then, but can't remember how. So I bought a knitting loom. I struggled with it Friday, with the help of a friend who took video instructions from You-tube and relayed them into speech and demonstrations. I tried all weekend, looking up differing online instructions, hours and hours! And again today. Then I sent the set back, glad that I had kept the receipt. Not everyone is meant to do everything!

When you are struggling as hard as you can to hear instructions to do a new task, you are working in too small an area for four hands, (the instructor's and mine) and you cannot see what the instructor is doing, it is Extremely depressing and Frustrating! That was part of Ben's problem in school. I don't know what has happened to that family, they have vanished from the listserv and it is hard not to fear the worst. Their son made the Honor Role, but . . .

I still have the Braille instruction book from which I learned to crochet and my old hook. It is wood and I love the smooth worn feel of it. So I should be able to relearn That skill anyway.

I wonder if has documentaries concerning Native Americans too. It wasn't until 1956 that Native people in Arizona, (the year I was born) were declared U.S. citizens and the Homa or Houma Native children of Louisiana weren't allowed into white public schools until 1965. I wonder if they went to black schools or were educated at home or what. Might check it out.

I Love books. When I was working my extra money went into putting print books into Braille. There is a National Braille Association which did this (and still does) for less than cost. I had the Crochet book put into Braille, after a blind friend recommended it to me. Got a couple of instructional Cherokee language books put into Braille, "The Adventures of Tom Bombadil" by J. R. R. Tolkein, "A Gathering of Spirit: Writing and Art by Native American Women" edited by Beth Brant, a basketry handbook, "The Way of Herbs" by Michael Tierra, at ten cents per Braille page, with Braille running about three pagges to each print page, that's where My money went.

After reading "Roots" I wanted to know where those African countries were. Our maps at blind school had countries which no longer exist, like Dahomey and Zimbabwe was called Rhodesia. So Bless the Princeton Braillists, due to their excelent and hard work and low prices I treated myself to maps of Africa in raised markings. They do a Wonderful job!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Doll ID. Question

I have a doll who is built like a Maxie, only she's not blonde. Are all Maxie dolls blonde? This one has straight red hair and brown eyes. Her clothing may not be oiginal. It is a vest and short skirt, pink with black spots, if I remember correctly. I knew she was either Kenner or Hasbro, from her face and body shape. A friend "read" her for me. Above her bum are the words, "1997 Hasbro China H 15". Does anyone know who she could be?

I read long ago when looking at Jem and the Missfits about a doll whose name sounded something in "computer speak" like, "She-rock" is tthat a Maxie type doll? Oops, I lied, Two doll ID.s, I guess.

Thanks for any help you can offer and good night.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Scrambled Egg Life

They seem to have moved the edit box which I type in, in the old, not updated, Blogger. The New Updated version won't work with my speech output, Screen Reader. Typing is what I do here. Writing is either done with a lot of focus or in Braille. I have certainly done some writing here, but very little tonight.

I am coveting some of a certain doll collector's dolls for sale. Hum, coveting with my eyes? No. With my fingers? No. Guess I just have a Greedy Mind, but not too bad a one. I Will live without them just fine if the ones I'm interested in are already spoken for or sold.

Advocacy. Last week we, on the deaf-blind listserv, were All attempting to help a family get a better education for their deaf-blind child who IS on the Honor Role, but was being considered a possible "juvenile delinquent" because he lacks an ASL interpreter for most of the school day. He has no friends, social life, person who can speak his language, and for some Odd Reason he likes to skip school! He's depressed and tired. Having to concentrate Extremely hard just to understand what is happening all around you, plus a fear factor of Not knowing, that is Very exhausting!

I try to pick my battles in advocacy. The alternative is walking around bitching and snarling all of the time. But sometimes . . . What can you do?

This week, we don't yet know what is happening with our friends on the listserv. But I got an E-mail saying Medicaid cuts are up for blind people and the amendment has already been passed on the State House floor. Ok, I'm counted because I am blind and largely Deaf. So do I lose hearing aids if I need stronger ones and/or these break? Do I lose my artificial eyes and have to wear patches when these no longer fit in a few years? Do I lose my thyroid med. which is Directly related to my hearing loss? Or do I lose the anti-anxiety minimal dose med. or the low dose anti-depressant which helps me sleep, now that I cannot hear at night, and am still scared of living alone, though less scared than I was? Or worse than Some of these choices, do I lose the help of my friend and healthcare aide who reads the mail, helps me pay bills, reads documents to people I Cannot hear on the phone or when the info. needed is Only in print, spray spots clothing so I don't have to look like a slob, matches sewing thread to clothing so I can mend and sew and much more? This was a battle I felt dragged into. I was given a list of about fifteen legislators to write. I don't have Time to do this and live a life! So far I've written six and sent each of them one of two letters I have written. And at the end of the day I wonder does it Really make any difference. But sometimes it does. I hate it when in a "divide and conquer" strategy the legislature favors or picks on one group of people with disabilities more or less than another! But that's the way it is.

I need to get the flake out of this house and make some New friends!

I've been contacting Fair Trade organizations, asking what kind of verification they want to prove that I am gathering inventory for a business, as my county in Mo. doesn't issue a "wholesale license." So have been very busy. Tomorrow I go to investigate Digital Cameras, That ought to be a gas! Right up my alley. I can't Wait to freak the salesman. Ugh!

So I blew some money, still saving $8 and bought three audio books from, in the hope that one will grab my interest enough to help me calm down and get some serious sewing and beading done. If I Do get a digital camera, (actually it is When) I will have to learn how to use Speech on the computer to insert them into this blog, Interesting.

Enough and More than enough already! Later. th

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Progress is Just Moving On

I still have days when I feel like I don't Want to go on alone, but somehow having survived a year without Ann has given me the feeling that maybe I Can. A year, has it really been so long? Doesn't feel like it could be.

Yesterday I sent some things to Ann's family, small momentos, which I Couldn't have let go of, even a month ago. And last night I had this craving to find and touch the Fair Trade, special basket in which her ashes were stored until the dogwoods blomed and I could take them to the Mark Twain National Forest to be scattered. It isn't logical, but somehow touching that basket, finding that, yes, it Was still protected from sunlight and in perfect condition seemed like a momentary connecting with Ann. Yes, I did tell myself that all the basket ever held were her Ashes, not Ann. But that's not Quite true. It also held those things I chose to be cremated with her. There were bits of her favorite foods wich she had become unable to eat due to diabetes and Celiac Disease, something from her altar, and also from mine. There was incense, state quarters from her collection, coffee beans, something to delight all of the earthly senses. Things I knew she would like. So for a short while, that basket held a symbol of the love we felt for one another, and which I felt for Ann.

I am Glad one round of difficult holidays is Gone! I don't know if I will ever put up a Christmas tree again, doesn't seem worth it for just myself. But another year can bring a lot of changes. Anyway the Christmas lights will be on at night until they burn out and when I think of Ann I can light the candle I chose to light in her memory and which our Buddhist group made our dedication over in the first meeting after the anniversary of Ann's death.

I haven't been able to listen to the blues show out of the public radio station in Springfield since Ann died, until tonight. I would try for a few minutes, get restless and bored, then turn it off.

Always before Ann and I listened to it together and turned down the radio to talk during songs which bored us both. Tonight I sewed and listened, then decided to write this blog during an extremely Long boring piece. But Ann might have liked it, and if she had been here I'd have left it on.

Having read "Roots" by Alex Haley made it a different experience, too. The grief of a man praying for his baby to return might have been the grief of Bell and Kunt Kinte (all right, I Listened to the book, did Not read name spelling in Braille, I Am sorry if I got it wrong.) Anyway, it might have been their grief when their daughter was sold away from them for helping a slave try to escape. It might have been the grief of Matilda when her husband, Chicken George was told no free black people were allowed to live in North Carolina and as he was free and his wife was a slave, he Must leave. It might have been the grief of Ireen's mother for her Native husband who was killed with his village by the slave catchers who recaptured her. That grief which comes out in lost or destroyed relationships is an ancient one which comes out in the blues. As I listened tonight, I thought not only of Ann and me, but of Kunta's parents and brothers, and all of those thousands of people captured, sold away from one another and in so many other ways separated by force. I came to love Kunta and Bell during that book, and they and their family will be a part of my understanding from now on. It's the way a truly unforgetable book works for me. Of course, the oral interpretation of Avery Brooks made each one of those people come alive!

So now I will either go back to listening to blues and sewing, or crash. I'll check the music first.

Maybe what people call "progress" after someone you love dies is simply the ability to keep moving on. You doll collectors and online friends have helped me to continue moving on and I thank each person who has read or checked out this blog from time to time. May you each be safe, warm, and well! Good night.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

African American Dolls

Are Carrie, Darla, Betty, and Rashida, from Phily Collector blog all African American dolls? Anyone willing to take a crack at describing any of them for me? Are they Olmec or what toy company? I love th Ellisse face, didn't that doll used to have the name Naomi? Had one heck of a time finding description of Ellisse online, because of the spelling of her name. Computer kept calling her Ellis. Now I know to make it Spell doll Names.


Monday, February 13, 2012


I think what I miss the most are ordinary conversations with Ann. Conversations which could be about something or nothing much. Let's see, if I could talk to you, Ann, I would say I miss you. Then I'd probably make some comment about a part of me getting scared, since your death, of snow. Today and into tomorrow we have Sneet! Hate that stuff! Don't mind a couple of inches of snow, especially that crunchy stuff which gives me some auditory feedback when I walk on it. You always loved snow, in whatever form, loved to watch it fall, loved to watch it turn all the world clean and new. You loved thin frosts where the green of evergreens could still be seen under the frosty blaze. And you loved reflections.

Well today while taking dog out I remembered being told by a friend that cornstarch was used in the movies to simulate snow. The friend and I poured out a bunch in a bowl and sure enough, by pushing it with your hands you Can make pretty much the same crunchy sound I hear when walking outside.

Today Wasn't a blizzard like when you died. It wasn't that super heavy two feet of stuff and howling wind, I would have been Terrified of That! Very little wind today, in fact and I'd guess between 2 and three inches.

But snow Is often a pain to get through. The heavy stuff Doesn't crunch and give sound feedback. It just covers what blind people call "landmarks" which can be a sidewalk, a curb cut or step, a hole in the yard, or metal grate on the sidewalk. And the sloppy stuff Muffles sound. Side streets are rarely plowed here. The whole town shuts down, or tries to if we get more than 8 to 10 inches at once. We don't get snow at the regular times of the year like we used to. And it seems like we get more ice and Sneet, like today's snow topped with "freezing drizzle". Yuck!

Then I would tell you that Christy's poem has brought out some amazing people on the deaf-blind listserv. It has not only brought out wise hads, but other writers, too. I am thoroughly positively impressed! But since you aren't here, I can't "post" examples.

I would tell you that your only living sister had serious surgery on her ankle and foot. I talked to her yesterday and she has been thinking of you. It was so sad to hear the loneliness in her voice, I keep offering to listen, in confidence, if she wants to talk about the death of her husband, just a few months before you died. I can't imagine what it must feel like to be the youngest child of three and be the only one left alive. I wish I could explain you to her and hopefully help bring even a tiny bit of healing to your estrangement in life.

And I would tell you, if you haven't seen them that the jogging partner you introduced me to gave me a multi-colored string of Christmas lights, which you loved, and I draped them in the front window around a sign saying "in Memory of Ann" and your last name. Tonight they must be twinkling out onto the snow, just the way you loved to see them. We had no snow for Christmas, but tonight the lights, though fewer than you'd like, would look just right!

And I'd show you the sewing I did today. I still have a couple of inches to go to finish this stage of the project. But I got a lot of sewing on differing projects done this weekend, and if you were willing, I'd ask you to check them out. I'm Improving, though the tendonitis in my hand hurts a lot more.

You just can't call up a friend on the phone for no particular reason to share all of the disconnected stuff like this, or at least I can't. Seems like everyone I know likes to talk in compartments and those compartments are where we meet. No problem there, but it's Very different than talking with someone who can go Beyond one or two compartments. I don't like to hang on the phone, just cut to the chase of why I called. But when you and I talked we exchanged a lot of info. I wasn't always successful, but I worked to go beyond compartments when listening to you, too.

It's hard sometimes not to escape the lonliness by overeating, eating foods I know aren't good for me. I even had a period of too much drinking around Christmas, That holiday Really Sucked without you in it, as did New Year, when we sometimes did a kind of year's review and were amazed at all that had happened, all we had survived! I Didn't do one of those this New Year, it was too damned depressing. Just wished you could share a drink with me so it would be a Fun occasion, not More Fun than feeling so Lonely. But I got the drink back under control, I stopped.
Just sort of woke up mentally one day and realized I hadn't really Been here for a while. Came back.

In Mo. they don't Have a Wholesale business license for a small, tiny, business. Or maybe it's just this county. So I Cannot give my Wholesale license number to anyone and buy "fair trade" goods wholesale. Instead, I have to have a website the wholesaler can visit, and a Retail business number they can check. This means I have to make up All of my own inventory, can't help by stocking "fair trade" wholesale items so I could get my site up sooner. A pain in the butt, as I want to sell "fair trade" goods anyway.

Wish there was a way to take lessons from your sister, who had a business doing all of the sewing for weddings for years. She is a PRO! But I don't know how we'd get along if we lived too close together, I don't know her that well.

I guess that's it for now. Can't imagine anyone will be interested in my ramblings, as you would have, but I feel some better just getting them out of my system. At least I do until I think of someone reading them and saying "boring or "who cares?" Critical self-talk again. Well I care and that is the basic reason this blog was started in the first place.

Wonde what people in P
A. and the other states think of the Keystone oil Pipeline which the Senate is trying to pass, (with oil companies leaning on Senators) without environmental impact studies? If they got to vote, would it be Yes, for the jobs, o No, because of oil spills which happen, sooner or later.

Well good night. I am thankful to be Warm, fed, have clean water to drink, a fun book to read and sewing to do!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Poem by Christy L. Reid

I have received written permission from the mother of the deaf-blind child discussed recently in this blog to post Her poem about herself and her son. This is NOT my Writing below, it is the Copyrighted work of Christy L. Reid.

Hi Folks,
I write stories and some poetry. I thought you might enjoy this poem I wrote about
ben a year ago. Here it is below my name.
Lonely Journey
copyright 2011, By Christy L. Reid
His small, strong hands
Are holding mine,
bond by love and understanding,
We’re two of a kind.
Together, we travel a dark lonely road,
Each of us looking for our place,
But his road is longer,
He has more to learn and face.
He is still a child,
I struggle to meet his needs,
He looks up to me for guidance,
I am his lead.
The cats are his playmates,
Books are his friends,
It’s heart-wrenching,
To seldom see him grin.
Other kids are not patient,
To learn to talk with him,
The best way he understands,
Is a language spoken with the hands.
He is bright and creative,
He does very well in school,
But he lacks a social life,
Which is an important tool.
And because I’m the only other
Deaf-blind person around,
He tends to tease
And tries to trip me to the ground.
Things get frustrating,
Often out of hand,
He can’t hear me, I can’t see him,
We often crash heads.
To get his attention, I walk around the house,
Banging metal bowl against metal spoon,
The racket
Making a great boom.
This life is too crazy,
We desperately need a change,
We have hopes and dreams to pursue,
Let us travel the right lane.
I love him dearly,
I hold his small hands in mine,
Never giving up,
We gotta hold onto the line.

Friday, February 10, 2012


I've been doing some heavy reading lately. Finished "Roots" a beyond amazing book which should be required in history class. Also, "Tears of the Desert" by Dr. Halima Bashir of Darfur. I wanted to know about how local people understood what was and had happened to them. She gives a beautiful and loving portrait of her homeland and family, which makes the contrast with what happened to them and her struggle to gain asylum in Britain all the more horrific.

But I learned a lot.

Also, wrote long letter describing effects of deaf-blindness on a child without full time interpreter services, etc. All of us on the deaf-blind listserv are coming up with letters of explanation and support, as well as resources and info. to help this family.

It is supposed to be very cold and windy this weekend, with possible snow in the area by Monday. So I think I will hole up inside, pray that there is enough shelter for people who are homeless here, and go back to reading another Harry Potter book. I have enough sewing to keep me busy, but the dog will get bored, Not interested in taking long walks with him.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Anger is said to be a "Negative emotion". If one is continually angry it does have toxic effects on the body. But anger on a temporary basis can be an energizing force. The problem happens when so many things in the Real World are so Frustrating!

Just today, there are two things. First, there is the info. below about Wal-Mart not marking GMO foods from Monsanto. I have had cancer Twice and Don't want to Eat this stuff!

Then there is the situation of a deaf-blind kid in a rural Mo. school. The child is very bright and wants to learn wood working as a hoby. Yes, it Is possible. But at School there is only Part time sign language interpretation , and Part time Braille instruction. What this means is that the child Misses a lot of information, is ignored by other students who cannot "talk" with him, is lonely, frustrated, and depressed. It takes a Great effort of concentration to understand a world you can neither see nor hear! So the child has missed a lot of school. Sometimes I feel like I need a Nap Just from the Effort of trying to keep Up with what's happening, and at other times I don't Bother.

The child and his whole family have been summoned to court to Prove that he is Not a "Juvenile Delinquent"! The school system has provided this child with part time literacy learning, and Partial information about what is happening in class so they Won't have to pay for him to attend a school Outside the district which Has the staff to teach him Braille And to interpret his world for him so he can: keep up with his teachers instructions, find out what is being said by others around him, get info. written on the blackboard, And communicate with others of his age! The whole family is scared of what the court could do to their son but the court has been petitioned to find an interpreter for one of the child's parents who is deaf-blind and has successfully raised two sighted, hearing kids, and does fine with a deaf-blind son at home. So they may not have to go to ccourt on Valentine's Day, when the parents Could be celebrating their love for one another and their kids.

Does anyone know of deaf or deaf-blind people who can speak to issues of how hard and tiring it is to get info. about your environment, loneliness, social isolation, etc.? If so, please ask them to send letters to me and I Will faithfully forward them to this family on the deaf-blind listserv to which I belong. We've already contacted the deaf-blind group on Facebook and those of us on the listserv will be writing letters. Thanks for letting me vent upset and frustration!

Please read the info. below, especially if you or anyone you know buys food at Wal-Mart. Thank you.

The millions of Americans who buy food at Wal-Mart could soon be eating Monsanto
GMO corn -- unmarked, unlabeled, and untested on humans -- with toxins built right
into the plant's DNA.
Sign our urgent petition to Wal-Mart's CEO demanding that Wal-Mart refuse to sell Monsanto's new toxic GMO corn -- and make sure all your friends know about it too.
Monsanto has released their first direct-to-consumer product, a genetically-modified
(GM) sweet corn containing Bt toxin,
designed to protect the plant by rupturing the stomach of any insect that feeds
on it. Monsanto claims the toxin will break down before the corn makes it to your
dinner table, but
rats fed with the GM corn showed organ failure, and the toxin has been detected in
the bodies of pregnant women.
Want to avoid this toxic product? Too bad –
it will arrive on shelves unlabeled
and untested on humans, starting with this year's corn crop.
Consumers are fighting back.
Thanks to consumer pressure, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and General Mills have all
agreed to not use Monsanto’s GM sweet corn in any of their products. But
Wal-Mart, the nation’s largest organic retailer, is holding out.
Tell Wal-Mart to make a stand for consumer safety and turn down Monsanto’s GMO corn.
Biotech companies have spent hundreds of millions of dollars in the past decade preventing
the labelling of their products
, and now Monsanto has decided to take advantage of that loophole to produce its
first-ever consumer product which will crop up, unlabeled, in your local supermarket
With more genetically-modified corn on the market and in the fields, the likelihood
of cross-pollination is increased, making it even more difficult for consumers to
find organic products. If Wal-Mart listens to our collective voice and shuts out
Monsanto corn like Whole Foods and General Mills already have done, farmers will
be much less likely to plant the toxic crop.
Shut down Monsanto’s GMO corn today -- sign the petition and make sure all your friends know what they could be buying at Wal-Mart.
Thanks for helping keep our food safe,
Claiborne, Taren, Kaytee and the rest of us
SumOfUs is a world-wide movement of people like you, working together to hold corporations
accountable for their actions and forge a new, sustainable path for our global economy.
You can follow us on
, and like us on

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Keeping Languages Alive

I've been reading "Roots" by Alex Haley, I haven't read his name in Braille, and the book reader doesn't spell it. So I am sorry if I have spelled it wrong. If you can bear it, I recommend getting this book on audio, read by Avery Brooks. He is an Amazing oral interpreter! He sings the songs, creates different voices for characters, and is a delight to listen to, whether acting the part of Captain Sisco on "Deep Space Nine" or interpreting this book beyond words.

I was fortunate in having an African American adult friend when I was in high school who got me interested in "black history" and writers. So most of the details in this book, the hells of slavery and bigotry aren't new to me.

What strikes me is how language is saved, down the generations. Each language has its' own worldview inherent in what might be called the "inside meaning" of the words. It informs the native speaker or careful student about how speakers of the language view their world and the world of others.

I will be interested to learn if the bits of language and culture preserved by the people followed in "Roots" helps the author trace back his ancestry to the original homeland of the Gambia.

Examples of what I mean: In Cherokee the original word for Christmas can be roughly translated as, "When they shoot off firecrackers." This lets us know that this was a Christmas tradition in the Southeastern U.S. or in Oklahoma, where the Southeastern tribes who couldn't hide were force marched.

I once heard a discussion among Native American women who were lesbians about the attitudes of their tribes toward them and homosexuality in general. Of course attitudes varied. But what Each woman refered to in explaining tribal attitudes was her Native language. I remember one woman saying she asked her brother how to say lesbian in their language. It translated out in English to, "a special kind of woman." When she asked her brother how a gay man would be referred to it was "a special kind of man." Of course, not all Native nations were this accepting and the introduction of Christianity has had a strong negative influence on those people who were formerly more accepting.

After listening to "Roots" for several hours I decided to check my E-mail and found the message below. I was so angry, between the horrors the characters and real people in "Roots" were going through and the deprivation of a Native American child's Right to speak her Own language, I went Roaring around the house for a while, couldn't sleep.

So, here it is.

- What's love got to do with it? Not much, especially if you say the words "I love
you" in the Menominee language in front of a certain Wisconsin teacher.
Seventh grader Miranda Washinawatok, Menominee, found this out.
Miranda speaks two languages: Menominee and English. She also plays on her basketball
team. However, two Thursdays ago she was suspended for one basketball game because
she spoke Menominee to a fellow classmate during class.
Miranda attends Sacred Heart Catholic Academy in Shawano, Wisconsin. The school body
is over 60 percent American Indian. The school is approximately six miles from the
south border of the Menominee Indian Tribe Reservation.
"On January 19 I was told by Miranda she was being benched from playing that night.
I found out at 4:20 and we were back at school at 6:30 pm so I could get to the bottom
of why she could not play,"
said Tanaes Washinawatok, Miranda's mother.
"Miranda kept saying she was only told by her assistant coach she was being benched
because two teachers said she had a bad attitude. I wanted to know what she did to
make them say she had a bad attitude."
At the school, the teachers and coaching staff seemed to want to cast blame on each
other, according to Miranda's mother.
"I wanted to talk to the principal, but he was not there before the game started,"
stated Tanaes Washinawatok. Being a persistent concerned parent, Washinawatok was
back at the school by 7:30 the next morning to speak to the principal.
The principal told Washinawatok that the assistant coach told him she was told by
two teachers to bench Miranda for attitude problems.
The alleged 'attitude problem' turned out to be that Miranda said the Menominee word
“posoh” that means “hello” and said “Ketapanen”
in Menominee that means "I love you."
Miranda and a fellow classmate were talking to each other when Miranda told her how
to say "Hello" and "I love you" in Menominee.
"The teacher went back to where the two were sitting and literally slammed her hand
down on the desk and said, "How do I know you are not saying something bad?"
The story did not end there. In the next session, another teacher told Miranda she
did not appreciate her getting the other teacher upset because "she is like a daughter
to me."
By the time, Miranda was picked up by her mother she was upset for being suspended.
"Miranda knows quite a bit of the Menominee language. We speak it. My mother, Karen
Washinawatok, is the director of the Language and Culture Commission of the Menominee
Tribe. She has a degree in linguistics from the University of Arizona's College of
Education-AILDI American Indian Language Development Institute. She is a former tribal
chair and is strong into our culture,"
states Tanaes Washinawatok.
Washinawatok has had a total of three meetings with school officials and was promised
Miranda would receive a public apology, as would the Menominee Tribe, and the apologies
would be publically placed.
"On Wednesday, a letter was sent to parents and guardians. A real generic letter
of apology, that really did not go into specifics as to why there was this apology,"
Washinawatok told the Native News Network Thursday evening.
"I still don't think it was enough,"
Sacred Heart Catholic Academy is operated by the Diocese of Green Bay, which ironically
has an option on its answering machine for Spanish, but not Menominee. A call put
in late Thursday afternoon by the Native News Network was not returned by press time.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Forgot to Ask about "Prettie" Dolls

When do the "Prettie Dolls" come out? Since they all have the same face mold, I will just get one.

Also, What faces does Rebelde Lupita have, besides the Teresa face?

Dolls and More Dolls

I am looking forward Very much to the new Mixis face mold! Hope they Do release it!

Today I got some dolls on sale at Toys'r-us. They are called something like "Black Label Basic" and the are Barbie girls and guys, Kens?

Pros, their faces are different and they have different colors of hair, a Black-haired guy? Confusion, I thought "Black Label" was whiskey.

Cons? I didn't realize their legs wouldn't bend until they were purchased and home. They remind me in shape most of the "Model of the Moment" dolls. They have larger hands, wider thighs, and the same kind of feet as the "Model of the Moment" series. I have two of those, The African American, did they call her Nikki too? and one with the revolting title "Pretty Young THING" who could be Latina. I find the Whole name annoying, but "THING" ESPECIALLY so.

I dressed one of the African American Model of the Moment dolls in the "Dancing Fire" outfit and she makes one Gorgeous Fire Goddess! The other looks interesting in Bohemian Barbie's bright outfit. She is so much thinner than Bohemian Barbie that this outfit, although Very expressive, looks like it Could be a Bright version of hijab, if she had a head covering. I tied the cape of the outfit around her neck, covering her shoulders and upper arms, so it doesn't quite fit the description. But it Is interesting how one doll can wear an outfit to show her body off and another with differing proportions can wear it as an expressive mor Covering outfit.

Back to the "Black Label" dolls. Their arms are permanently bent at an angle which best suits putting their hands on hips. I have no problem with Attitude, but no wonder their thin, must be Really hard to eat with arms like that.

They Are tough, the guys have big muscles in their arms and, of course, abs. How could anybody called "black label" go Anywhere without at Least a six-pack?

What do others think of these dolls? I like th faces, but they are hard to buy using only model numbers. And as someone who likes sewing, they will be a pain to sew for and dress, due to their bent limbs and lack of articulation. Not sure if I made a mistake, grabbing Something on sale or not. Comments?

Thursday, February 2, 2012


Yesterday it was one year after Ann died. It doesn't seem like a year yet, but it was. The first Confusing thing wqas the Weather! Where was the vicious wind and all that blowing snow? It was 62 degrees F. and Sunny. Great day, just disorienting.

I went with the friend who came over the night Ann died to Ann's and my favorite restaurant, since Starbucks stopped selling any food besides deserts. Ann was diabetic, so we had to stop going there.

As we ate I missed Ann terribly. She used to call me a "curryphyl", and she was and is right, but I kept wishing my food would become flavorless, so She could taste it once again. But it was delicious. We talked some about Ann and the fun the two of us had together.

Then I bought two "tube feeders" (tube shaped) one for raw peanuts and one for seed, and my friend had a tall shepherd's crook hook to hang the one with seeds in it on. We hung the peanuts on an empty metal close line pole. I wanted to honor Ann's memory by generosity, because it was right and she was a very generous and giving person. So I will keep feeding birds. I gave small gifts to two friends, including the friend who ate lunch with me and took me bird feeder shopping. I have two more gifts to go. They will be given out this week.

Then we came back home, my rent house is home now, and hung the flapit (bird) feeders. I had previously bought a feeder for suit balls, but in Yesterday's weather they would have just melted into a big grease puddle. Will keep them in their package until it gets really cold and birds need the fat to keep warm.

The lady I spent the day with then pinned and taped a new seam for me to sew and left.

I was quiet last night, just thinking and sitting on the couch we used to share, talking to Ann.

I started burning a candle in Ann's memory on the evening of Jan. 31st, the last evening we ate together and talked. While I'm at home, it will keep burning, unless I am ready to sleep. I took that candle into my altar and drummed and chanted, prayed for a while. But the candle has a scent I think Ann would enjoy. My altar shares a room with the three birds still living and healthy now. So since chemicals released by burning can kill small birds, who, with the exception of paraketes, have no sense of smell, I couldn't stay long.

I was in shock last year at this time, so kept thinking o what would have been happening last year at the same time of night. Knew it was time for Ann to eat or she'd have a blood sugar crash, went in to wake her, she is gone. Slogged through snow in knee boots searching, called 911, etc.

It is not rational, but I kept hoping I'd hear from Ann in a dream or something. Couldn't sleep last night though, wound up. Crashed about 2:00 A.M. and my bedshaker alarm didn't work this morning, so skipped breakfast and coffee to be ready to run errands with a lady I pay to take me places. This is first thing I have done since getting home.

On Jan. 31, I put a string of multi-colored Christmas lights in front window draped around a sign saying, "In memory of Ann Mote." Have left the lights on day and night.

Tonight at our Sangha (gathering of Buddhists) meeting instead of lighting incense for the dedication of our time together, I will ask that the candle which has burned in memory of Ann be used instead. Since everyone in the group knew her, I think they will be happy to do this and we will speak our dedication over the candle.

Tomorrow I will probably stop burning the candle and may take down the lights, or at least stop running them during the day when they can barely be seen. I don't want to stop burning the candle, it will sort of feel like saying good-bye again, painful.

I did some other things on the 31st, set up my "shrine room" a place to go and be quiet, to go in times of trouble and confusion. My cedar chest is smaller than Ann's. So I moved hers From what has become a "shrine room" into my bedroom where it stores curtains and blankets.

The birds will just have to get used to soft drumming and chanting in there. But I won't subject them to loud bells or singing bowls. I think sometime when I finish clearing it up in there and our Sangha group happens to be small, our group might like to meditate in there. It will be a beautiful room.

It was the beginning of some kind of end to the life Ann and I lived together and the beginning of a different life for me. Who knows what it will hold?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Breast Cancer Funding Cut!

Tell Komen for the Cure, "Don't bow to anti-choice pressure. Reestablish breast health
funding for Planned Parenthood affiliates."
Sign Now!
Dear MoveOn member,
Susan G. Komen for the Cure just cut all its funding to Planned Parenthood for breast
health screenings,
bowing to anti-choice pressure and making breast health care suddenly inaccessible
to many women.
Planned Parenthood health centers are often the main source of health care for women
in underserved communities, and they provide 830,000 breast exams every year.
170,000 of these were funded through Komen, along with 6,400 mammogram referrals.
Without Komen's funding, many of these women could be unable to get the screenings
and early detection of breast cancer that save lives.
It's incredibly disappointing for an organization founded to protect women's health
to play politics with real women's lives.
Tell Susan G. Komen for the Cure, "Don't bow to anti-choice pressure. Reestablish breast health funding for Planned Parenthood affiliates."
Komen has raised tons of money and awareness about breast cancer from people who
care about women's health. They need to know that they've gone too far by joining
the right-wing war on Planned Parenthood—which, let's be honest, is really a war
on women. That's why we're partnering with the new organization UltraViolet to get
Komen to reverse this decision.
Komen says this isn't about choice, but it recently changed its funding guidelines
to exclude any organization under investigation by Congress, knowing that a baseless
investigation into Planned Parenthood had been opened by Republican Representative
Cliff Stearns at the request of anti-choice groups.
And Komen has strong links to the anti-choice movement. Its new vice president of
public policy, Karen Handel, ran for governor of Georgia in 2010 on an aggressively
anti-choice platform, part of which was a pledge to defund Planned Parenthood.
Komen needs to hear that we won't stand for this kind of political posturing when
real lives are at stake.
Tell them to reestablish funding for Planned Parenthood now.
Thanks for all you do.
–Elena, Steven, Adam Q., Laura, and the rest of the team
1. "Amid abortion debate, Komen cancer charity halting grants to Planned Parenthood,"
The Washington Post
, January 31, 2012
2. "Protect Women's Health, Protect Planned Parenthood," Planned Parenthood Federation
of America, April 12, 2011
3."Komen breast cancer charity severs ties with Planned Parenthood,"
The Los Angeles Times, February 1, 2012
4. "Planned Parenthood Investigation Is An Abuse Of Government Resources, Democrats
Charge," Huffington Post, November 27, 2011
5. "Komen Cuts Planned Parenthood Grants Months After Arrival Of New VP, Who Is Abortion
Foe," Huffington Post, January 31, 2012
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This makes me Mad! What the Hell do breast cancer exams and referrals for screening have to do with Abortion? Ok, so this Former funder thinks all abortions are wrong. But Why cut funding for breast cancer information, exams, and referrals? Planned Parenthood works on a Sliding Scale. As a cancer survivor who lost both my father (obviosly Not to breast cancer) And a close female friend to cancer, this Pisses me off!

What do we have here, a "Let Stephanie die with Steve," moment? At least those who choose can squak about This.

Will Blogger let these ""bad words" through if they aren't in the "labels?"