Tuesday, October 31, 2006

I may live to regret this

I am a fan of a lovely blog, Very Zen. Blog mistress Amanda issued a challenge last week, and I have picked up the gauntlet. I hear tell prizes are involved -- I'll let you know if I win (how can I not?). As long as Mandy W doesn't enter, I should be golden. And, yes, I did this one take. Can't perfect genius.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Michael Sandy

Shared by one of my co-workers:

On October 08, 2006, just 2 days before his 29th B-day, in Brooklyn, NY a black gay man by the name Michael Sandy was lured to a remote location and brutally beaten by 4 white straight young men. While trying to escape from his attackers he ran into oncoming traffic and was hit. He then lay in a coma on life support at a local hospital. After several days, Michael's family decided to take him off of life support. This man was brutally attacked and robbed of his life. I was very troubled when I first found out that this had happened and was also very shocked. It’s been almost 2 weeks since the attack and our so-called leaders in the "Gay Rights Movement" have not stepped up to take a stand on this horrendous attack. If you recall, when Mathew Shepherd was murdered the Human Rights Campaign and the National Gay and Lesbian Taskforce were just two of the many organizations that responded. Where are they now?

As an African American I am not surprised by the lack of coverage Michael's death received. I find it appalling that our so-called leaders did not speak out and take a stand on this issue. We have the black community that has chosen to look the other way because he was gay, and then we have the gay community that looked the other way because he was black. I strongly believe that if Michael Sandy was white or heterosexual his story would have gotten much more media attention and recognition. Thankfully, three black gay organizations have stepped up to the plate. The New York State Black Gay Network, Gay Men of African Descent and the National Black Justice Coalition have all come fourth to rally against this issue.

As Martin Luther King Jr. once said "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” I feel that part of being a culturally competent organization means being a leader and speaking out when injustices like this happen. I'm fortunate to be able to work for an organization that strives to be more culturally competent and proactive in its work.

So for this week's Friday email I'd like for us to acknowledge the tragic loss of a human being. And let this be a reminder of how far we have "not" come and how much more work needs to be done.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


In Jane magazine, of all places, I read last night about a movement called freeganism (combo of free+vegan). According to freegan.info, freegans are "people who employ alternative strategies for living based on limited participation in the conventional economy and minimal consumption of resources." Simply put, they try to purchase as little as possible and what they do purchase is second hand or recycled. What interests me most about this movement is that freegans have realized the interconnectedness of the global capitalist economy and that boycotting one corporation or industry was not going to change things. Instead, they have boycotted the entire system and are living as simply and freely as possible, which includes their food, clothing, transportation and housing.

I just find this so fascinating, I had to share. I have been toying with the idea for a while about lessening my consumerism -- of course, I've just been thinking about it but not actually practicing. Reading about how freegans have integrated their philosophy into almost area of their lives inspires me to try a little too -- baby steps.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


I got the word today that my job would prefer to have an in-house grant writer, rather than a long distance one (i.e., me). I had expected this response, but I still was hopeful. I'm sad. I really love the place that I work (and if you've ever read dooce, you'll know why I'm not naming it). The work that they do is amazing and innovative and thoughtful. And I love the people I work with -- such an eclectic, open, fun bunch of folk. I will truly miss them. This is the best place I have ever worked.

What I will not miss is the work itself. I feel a bit like a hamster running on its wheel -- working and working, never really getting anywhere. Yes, I'm successful at getting funding, but the need is never ending. I've worked as a grant writer the past four years and am getting a bit burned out. So, this could be a blessing, a way to bow out gracefully. My boss wants to keep things open ended in case we change our minds. She's right, we've never lived in a small town so far from a metropolitan center, but I like to think it would take more than a couple months to determine whether or not we liked it there. Shit, we lived in Chicago for two years and we knew we didn't like it before we ever moved there. I was polite to her, and she doesn't really know me, but give us a little credit -- we've thought about this.

Peoples' reactions to the move has been interesting, swinging from very supportive (thank you, Ms. H) to the excited to the skeptical to the insulting. Normally, peoples' doubts would really make me second guess myself but this time not. When making this decision, J and I realized there was no "right" decision -- either choice was a good option. Yeah, with this choice there is a lot of unknown. Maybe I'll hate living in Walla Walla. Maybe I'll miss living in a large metropolitan area. Maybe I'll miss my PDX friends too much. Maybe I'll never find a job as good as the one I have. Maybe, maybe, maybe. But, I'm excited -- it feels like a challenge and I like a challenge. I'm excited to find out what life is like in a small town, one that is not near another city, one that is pretty darn independent and community oriented. And excitement can take you a long way, if you let it, especially past the initial dread and dislike.

Okay, I'm rambling. And I'm frustrated. And I'm tired. And I'm sad. It's time for a treat, I think.

A little gift from the universe

On the bus this morning, a gentleman was getting ready to disembark, and we were having a little chit chat. He then asked what I was off to save the world. I replied that actually, I help people with HIV and AIDS. He said that he could tell I was doing something to save the world as I was radiating love. He said this in a very non-cheesy or slurred (i.e. drunk) manner. It made me smile and feel good about the work that I do, that I am indeed spreading the love, letting people with HIV/AIDS or people at-risk know that they are not alone and that others care for them and want them to remain healthy. I don't believe in God in a mainstream religion sense, but I do believe the universe sends you little gifts and if you're open, you'll receive them.

Another little gift I received -- Sunday night, J and I were sleeping on our futon in the living room because we had been recovering the hardwoods in our upstairs and the smell was overpowering. The kitties love to play with their mice once the lights go off, and they are very vocal while playing. Rachel was engaging her mouse, when we asked her to be please be quiet (we try to be very polite to our cats). She picked up her mouse, went down to the basement and commenced playing there (we could hear her through the vents). We never trained her to do that. It was so sweet and considerate and kind of out of character. When Paul started playing with his mouse, we asked him to also go to the basement, but he ignored us. Oh well.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Movin' on up to the East side

We're moving! To Walla Walla, Wa! Where, you ask? Why? When? Read on...

(see the lower right hand yellow area)

So, in late August, J was laid off. He'd already been looking for a new job and had already applied for a banking position in Joseph, Oregon. The bank called but said they had a position open in Walla Walla instead. We went out last week, he interviewed, we toured the area. This week they offered him the job and we accepted. We'd been thinking about leaving Portland for a while. I'll never argue that Portland isn't a great city. But, it's a city. And I grew up here. I've been wanting to try the smaller town thing for a while. The last year has been a good one. We're really going to miss the friends we have here. But it's time for us to be moving on. J's job starts at the end of October. I'm not sure how soon I'll move over -- we need to sell the house, etc.

There you have it -- the abridged version. While this post lacks the enthusiasm I had hoped for it, we are both very excited about this move. We really like Walla Walla. I'm in a bit of a shock, esp. since this all happened yesterday. I don't even know where to begin starting this move. So, mentally, emotionally, I'm just resting right now, processing.

And saying Walla Walla Washington really fast. It's fun.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Not for the faint of heart

I took this picture this morning while attempting to train my new assistant, Paul (the cat). This is not for the squeamish. But I find it hilarious, hence, the reason for this post. J thinks I'm just plain gross.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Things might be looking up

In regards to the frowning in my sleep situation. Last night, I caught myself smiling in my sleep (after having puked up most of the wine I had ingested). A smile alone would have been kudos, but, as I hate puking, I'm thinking the smile might mean something more profound.

And, thanks to mimi smartypants (see link to the right), I found a lovely site called Abstinence Outlet (www.abstinenceoutlet.com). Of course, it is a Christian site. My favorite item:

Thankfully, J is not a huge fan of roses.