since.then

While I currently seem to have all the time in the world to read and catch up on what really matters–I’m not.  For the year-and-a-half I went without a television, I’ve been making up for in the last five months.

I plan on doing more than just posting stories eventually, as I’m sure the more I get back to my voice the more I’ll want to actually write–the act of which seems like a foreign concept to me now.

My last post was a top.10.reads from January 2010, so before I dive in to posting again, an update is appropriate.

January.2010-April.2010: I worked nearly 60 hours a week organizing union health care workers in public hospitals and non-profit clinics.  My boss did not seem to trust my experience or natural sense of how to organize, so it was a tough couple of months.  Living in Santa Cruz, my distractions were still the gym, yoga, and pilates.  I dated a guy who owned a wholesale meat business [like Omaha steaks] and would let him distract me from work as often as possible.  Coincidentally, I also started eating meat but not because of my meatman.  I needed to do something to shock my diet as it seems my body was stagnant no matter how much I exercised.  I looked for other jobs and was close to one with my “alma-mater” Greenpeace.  I went to Texas once for my birthday and LA three times.

May.2010-July.2010: Needing a change of scenery and a shorter commute, I moved to an apartment in Palo Alto.  My commute went from 38 miles/1 hour to 12 miles/20 minutes.  Not only was the trip to work a relief, but the work itself as my boss was moved to another project in Oakland and we were granted a director who was truly interested in helping and developing our organizing.  I began working on my only day off at a pilates/ballet studio hoping to meet some girlfriends, as I still had yet to make any friends.  My brother came to visit for a week to help me move apartments and my mom a few weeks later to help set it up.  As my friend Erica was traveling for our dance company all summer, I wasn’t able to go to LA until fall.

In late July, I fell in love.  On a whim, I went to the Humane Soceity looking for a little female dog, so ugly only a mother could love.  I found the exact opposite.  Big, outdoor, male, beautiful, the dalamation sat behind the gate looking up with his big blue eyes and crying.  My search was over before I had even realized what I was doing.  Because I wanted something reminicent of Texas, and being a big football fan, I named him Romo.  If ever I thought I had been in love before, I was wrong, because I’ve never loved anything as much as I love him.

August.2010-October.2010: While work had gotten better, I was restless.  I had learned the whole job.  Before in college when I got restless, I would take an internship in another state for a semester, now I didn’t really have that outlet.  When my mom told me that my dad had been diagnosed with prostate cancer that had spread, I really had to question what I was doing.  Here I was thousands of miles away from my family and friends, working and doing an okay job at affecting change, but was this it?  Was it worth it to me? It wasn’t.  I wanted to get closer to the people I loved, into a job that used my every skill, and living day to day for what really matters–not just a routine.  I again got close to taking a job in LA [a day’s drive from my parents and close to one of my best friends] but without locking anything in, and with my lease ending the beginning of November I decided to move to Denver.  I could be there for my parents, figure things out, apply to the great graduate programs in Colorado and get back to what I knew I loved and would make me happy, bringing the Romo with me of coarse.  So away we went.

November.2010-March.2011: We drove out the same way we came in, up through Lake Tahoe, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming and on down to Denver.  I felt a lot of regret moving back, like I had failed at being independent.  It was difficult for my parents too when I got here, they were use to being alone.  I had thought I could start school in January at the University of Denver, but that got complicated, so I choose to go to the University of Colorado instead, which won’t start until August, if then.  By Christmas, I was restless again but this time it was mixed in with a big dose of “what in the hell did you do?” at least when I was working I doing what  a 24 yr old should be, instead of what I had been doing lately.

I didn’t know how to appreciate time spent “not doing.”  I had been use to wearing myself out for organizations, classes, work, that I didn’t know what to do when I wasn’t.  After several people said it to me, I finally heard them: appreciate this time now.  It is a luxury to be able to relax, focus on myself, and not have to hold a job I dislike.  I felt guilty for the luxury, but now I’ve had to stop beating myself up about it.  There is a reason I left, there is a reason I’m here in Denver.  It is a blessing to grow close to my parents in this time and to be there for them as they went through a difficult situation.  Romo is so happy to have two dogs to play with and a huge backyard.  I am healthier today than I have ever been in my whole life [and skinnier too, I fit into all my prom dresses better today than back then…yes, I put them on this week].  I’ve found physical strength I never new I had, and this will foster my mental strength for when I’m finally ready for the next chapter–job, school, whatever I have the patience for.

I have maybe read 10 books since I moved to California, what I use to read in three weeks.  Reading some of my old daily websites, I felt embarrassed, like someone would know I hadn’t logged on in a while.  Today, all that stops and I get back to building my mind and my voice.

 

What I can look forward to posting:

  • top.10.reads:: the classic daily post.
  • top.10.bunnybites:: health posts for the week.
  • my writing:: …eventually.
  • pictures that can change your mood.
  • general updates.
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01.18:top.10.reads

Between Despair and Hope: MLK, Obama and War | CommonDreams.org. Medea Benjamin

‘Easier to Build Monuments than to Make a Better World’: Detroit, MLK Day, and the US Social Forum | CommonDreams.org.

Israel and Egypt continue to Squeeze the Lifeblood out of the People of Gaza | CommonDreams.org.  Ann Wright

We’ve ignored King on war – Spokesman.com – Jan. 17, 2010.

The Death of MLK Jr.: RFK Said It Best | Mother Jones.

The Santa Clausification of Martin Luther King, Jr. | TPMCafe.

Dr. King, Forgotten Radical | The American Prospect.

Naomi Klein on how corporate branding has taken over America | Books | The Guardian.

Haiti: Give Money, Not Stuff | Mother Jones.

Haiti: A Photographer’s Plea – The Picture Show Blog : NPR.

Labor’s Last Stand? — In These Times.

Kay Steiger: It’s Not So Easy. [her header pic for this blog is awesome.]

Remember last week when Hillary Clinton stood in front of the world and defended access to reproductive health care as a “basic right”?

“If we believe that human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights, then we cannot accept the ongoing marginalization of half the world’s population,” Secretary Clinton said one week ago today. “We cannot accept it morally, politically, socially, or economically.”

12.21:top.10.reads

50 Simple Ways to Get Off | Derrick Jensen | Orion Magazine.

Chris Hedges: Nader’s Utopia: The World According to Ralph – Chris Hedges’ Columns – Truthdig.

E.J. Dionne: Progressives: Don’t Scream, Organize – Truthdig.

Senate Speech Heralds New Social Movement | CommonDreams.org.

t r u t h o u t | Bringing the World Out of Denial.

t r u t h o u t | Palin the Pundit.

Can Obama Sign A Climate Treaty Without Congress? | Mother Jones.

America’s Secret ICE Castles. The Nation

The Gaza I Know. The Nation

Unbelievable Holiday Tales – Mindy Kaling Writes Her Own Script for a Perfect Family – NYTimes.com. This is me.  Liz sent this Sunday.

Lady Gaga Barbie Dolls | The Frisky.

12.16:top.10.reads

Chris Hedges: Gravel’s Lament: Fighting Another Dumb War – Chris Hedges’ Columns – Truthdig.  I want to be Chris Hedges when I grow up.

‘Just War’ Is Just Words | CommonDreams.org.  Ralph Nader

The Land Mines Obama Won’t Touch | CommonDreams.org.  Bill Moyers

Now WE Must Earn Obama’s Nobel | CommonDreams.org.  Harvey Wasserman

[so far the top.10.reads has a lot of heavy hitting men…]

and speaking of heavy hitters:  Kucinich, Hedges, Nader Rally at the White House – Truthdig.

Now bring on the women:

t r u t h o u t | Naomi Klein | Memo to Danes: Even You Cannot Control This Summit.

Chloe Angyal: New Media Embraces Old Media’s Male-Centricity.

Why James Chartrand Wears Women’s Underpants | Copyblogger.

Does the US Owe a Climate Debt? | Mother Jones.

Female Depression – ELLE Investigates Why Women are Unhappy in Life.

t r u t h o u t | Argentina: Solar Villages Light Up the Andes.

letters.towards.hope.#2

15 December 2009

Dear President Obama,

I expect our correspondence to be once a month considering our hectic schedules, with extra leniency around the holiday season.

Today I was lobbying a staff member of one of the County Supervisors to grant extra money towards one of their Health Services contracts.  This measure would not only save jobs, but would continue the perinatal therapy services that the clinic provides to the low-income community.  I generally like to get straight to the point when it comes to lobbying, in part because I don’t like to dance around the heart of the issue and frankly, I’m not big on hearing myself speak.  While laying out “the ask” the staff member interrupted me and proceeded to first introduce himself, with a full 1000 bio, complete with professional references, and then scolded me for not using the title “Supervisor” when speaking of one of the elected officials.  “Now, I know that you are new at this, and I’m not sure where you are from, but don’t you think that they have earned that title and deserve at least that much respect?”  Because I was feeling nice, I merely said, “On one point you are correct, I’m not from here.  I just moved from Texas, I’m a foreigner to these Californian ways.”  And I left it at that and let him fill up the rest of our meeting with his boastin’-n-name-droppin’.

I believe all people deserve respect, but what he had asked that I show for the Supervisors was not that kind of respect–but rather an acknowledgment of their political position, an acknowledgment of the air they breathe being more important than mine and certainly more important than the workers I represent and the clients they serve.  Do I think they have earned that title?  Well, Mr. Supervisor Staff Member, define earned?  If you mean bought and paid for, then of course.  Politicians buy their way into the position, they earn it by making tough decisions, by saving jobs and providing care for the people who elected them and when they can acknowledge the real needs of their community and can meet them.  Then they can deserve at least that much respect.  They earn their position when they are no longer just a politician, but a leader.

Mr. President, I read about a protester’s sign in Copenhagen that read “Politicians Talk.  Leaders Act.”  I thought it was very appropriate and hope that “act” for you means pushing and signing a binding resolution at the summit that will trickle down into our domestic policy.  You, sir, are a politician, and as any card-carrying Republican will remind us, you did pay quite a lot to have your title.  But have you earned it?  While there is much to say about hope and faith that one day your inspiring words will turn into action, at the end of the day–and presidential term–what will we have to hold onto?

More to come soon.  I’ve read many essay’s on hope lately that I’ll include with this letter.  I’ve highlighted the areas I think you’ll find especially pertinent to our current national dilemmas.

Si Se Puede,

Amanda

11.20:top.10.reads

Truthdig – Reports – Who Are You and What Have You Done With the Community Organizer We Elected President?.

Comparing the Health Plans – Interactive Graphic – NYTimes.com.

Advice on Afghanistan | CommonDreams.org. By: Ralph Nader

The New (Green) Arms Race | CommonDreams.org.

Truthdig – Reports – Hungering for a True Thanksgiving. By: Amy Goodman

Truthdig – Reports – Lipstick on a Rogue.

An Inconvenient Solution. The Nation Bill McKibben

Regreening Africa. The Nation

t r u t h o u t | “So Let Us Begin Again”.

t r u t h o u t | Protests Don’t Stop UC Regents’ 32 Percent Fee Hike. So…qualifying for in-state tuition really won’t help out that much.

 

11.17:top.10.reads

t r u t h o u t | Zombie Politics and Other Late Modern Monstrosities in the Age of Disposability. This guy’s new book is going to change my world.

Monsters of disaster are special kinds of divine warning. They are harbingers of things we do not want to face, of catastrophes, and we fear they will bring such events upon us by coming to us.

Do We Need Websites For Women? – Women’s blogs – Jezebel.

Because of these possibilities, women’s blogs aren’t just blogs for women. They’re blogs about issues that affect women — issues as various as reproductive rights, healthcare reform, world affairs, and yes, Battlestar Galactica — for anyone who happens to read about them. Many of these readers are women, but many of them are men, and some of them — both male and female — are bound to be people who haven’t thought much about feminism or women’s issues per se before. Women’s blogs can sometimes be echo chambers, but they can also reach a wide and diverse audience, some of whose minds will surely be opened by the experience.

Going Rogue: It’s All About The Insults – Going rogue review – Jezebel.

Feministing.com “The Washington Times Wes Pruden’s racist-ass remarks about the president’s lack of “blood impulse” only further proves we live in what is very far from a post-racial America.”

Asshat Interview of the Day, with Director James Cameron – Feministing.

Among Late-Night Writers, Few Women in the Room – NYTimes.com.

Truthdig – Reports – The Demilitarization of the White House.

Truthdig – Ear to the Ground – Toxic Fallujah. [*pictures/videos will make you cry…so send to everyone who is pro-life and supports the occupations in Iraq/Afghanistan].

t r u t h o u t | Girldrive: Talking to 200-Plus Women About the F Word.

But Are Ballet Slippers & Blake Incarcerated Included? – Amy winehouse barbie – Jezebel.