25 September 2008

Required Reading: Walking With the Wind

Sometime last year, my Uncle told me he had a book I would love. My Uncle understands me pretty well, so this piqued my interest. I asked him what it was about, and he said it was written by a guy named John Lewis, and it was about the Civil Rights movement. I told him I would check it out sometime...then he said that my cousin, his son, said he felt like he wanted to be a better person after reading this book. My cousin is a pretty good guy, so I figured this must be some kinda book.

They were right.

The first 2/3s should be required reading in every American history class. It is a first-hand account of the Civil Rights movement, focusing especially on how much of the success was a result of grass-roots efforts. It also went into the politics behind the movement -- which, yes, there were lots of politics at play.

I feel like we didn't learn much about the movement in my classes. Maybe a little about Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Jr. This book opened my eyes in a way no other book ever has. And it gave me a new way to look at people with whom I disagree, whose ignorance astounds me.
We are entering a huge time in our history, where we have the opportunity to make progress or move backwards. There is an eerie similarity to the Civil Rights movement and what's going on now. When zealots on either side of the coin obscure the issues, and use false reasoning to progress their cause. As we move to a place where more and more rights could be taken away, it is important we look back at this very recent history (John Lewis, the co-author and one of the leaders of the Civil Rights movement, is still serving in the Senate). All of this just happened about 40 some odd years ago.

Now's our chance to move forward. I just hope the best choices are made, and that in 40 some odd years, we look back at the "big" issues now with disbelief.

23 September 2008

Oh, the Horror

Most people who know me know I don't embarrass easily. I can probably count on one hand the times I have been embarrassed:
  1. Sitting in Sister Joan's office, and having to recount what the boys in my class were up to in front of my parents and Monsignor Lucid. This was true shame at its worst...and I hadn't even done anything wrong. To this day, it still makes me a little red in the face.
  2. The day my dad started talking to the bum outside of my brother's graduation because he knew the bum and the bum's girlfriend. And there were people I knew standing in line in front of us...
  3. When I first brought Luca to the vet because he had a little infection in his private area... I was in the waiting room with a bunch of good looking guys and their big dogs, and the nurse shouted at me, asking what was wrong with my little dog...and I had to decide to use proper terminology rather than "his wee-wee is infected."
  4. Today, going into the doctor's office and having to tell her my leg -- which was swollen to about twice the normal size -- was a result of playing kickball. Yes, kickball, and yes, I am an adult (or so they tell me).
While she kept her cool when I was in the office, I bet she had a good chuckle when I left. I mean... adult, swollen leg, kickball...I tried to soften it by saying I had played soccer when the original injury had occurred, and she kept referring to soccer, so I think she, too, was trying to avoid the whole kickball issue. It was nice of her, I thought!

21 September 2008

Adios, Semana Loca

This week was a bit of a strange one for me...I won't go into too many details, but suffice to say there was a lot of random stuff that happened, none of it related, as well as the craziness in the markets which made us all run at top speed all week at work.

Last night we had a lot of fun, starting with end-of-season party for the sports club I work on (or, as I was told, where I am a very important person), and then going on after that to other bars and general fun. I would have been happy had it ended there...

But it didn't.

No, the week ended with me completely jacking up my leg, and me being a big crabby baby over it. Granted, whatever I did is not good, and I am going to have to reevaluate things in the morning to see if I need to get into the doctor, but still. It didn't help that I got approximately 4 hours of sleep last night, and was not feeling 100% this morning... so that didn't help the mood. But then, my first jog of the kickball game told me something wasn't right. The first kick gave me another hint, and as I started to run, the leg completely tightened up and I was done for. I stopped, my team yelling at me to run, and just laid down. What a wimp, I know, but I don't think I have ever been in that kind of pain from an injury; the serious, I-think-I-may-throw-up-and-just-want-to-cry-and-hope-no-one-notices-everyone-leave-me-alone for-a-minute-kind of pain.

Yuck. Let's just say, I will not be sad to let this week go!

20 September 2008

Duerme en Paz, Gata Gata

On Wednesday night, my parents had to put my cat to sleep. She was old -- about 18 -- and clearly getting slower each time I saw her. The last time, she had lost a lot of weight and I remarked to my mom, "wow, she doesn't have much time left." Earlier in the week, my mom mentioned that Gata hadn't been eating, so there was fair warning. Still, I didn't expect it to affect me the way it did.

We were never a cat family. I wanted one badly, but my brother had bad allergies (and I ended up having them, too) and my parents said no. Still, about 16 years ago, this furry friend started showing up in our backyard, and my dad fed it. Her owners put up signs about a lost cat, but when we called, they said they didn't want her, just to know if she was alive. She had been ours ever since. Her official name was "Handsome Stranger," apparently a line from an old movie.

For a while she split time between our house and the one behind us, where I am pretty sure she partook in whatever drugs the son was doing. She was about as mellow as they come, and this really showed when playing with her best friend, our dog Bocci. We would yell, "Gata Gata," and Bocci would go after her, putting her head in his mouth, pushing her around. Then, when she was tired of it, she would just swipe at Bocci's face, and he would run away and pout. She would let the kids pull her tail, chase her around...and she would then come back and cuddle with her.

She has been mad at me for the past 1.5 years, ever since I brought the little poochie into the house. She had been my cat, and now I had disrupted that. But she would still try to commandeer my lap whenever Luca gave her the chance, because, in the end, she was still mine.
I am rambling a lot, I know, but her death really signaled the end of something for me. She was around for 16 years of my life...before I went to college, and when I came home. She was the last thing that my parents, brother and I really shared; now any pet that my parents may get will be theirs. It just feels weird.

RIP Handsome Stranger.

17 September 2008

The Sky is Falling!

If there has ever been a time in my life where I could imagine Chicken
Little running around, worried, that time is now. The market has been
insane, debt is all around us, and these elections are ridiculous.

In a time of such instability, I would really like to see our
candidates stop focusing on stupid sh*t like lipstick and really tell
me more about their policies. I want them to tell me how their
leadership will protect my 401k and my savings (and my job!). How they
will help the world market, which is also suffering (mi media naranja
in Sweden just said her interest rate is in flux because of the US

I am terrified of what is going to happen in the US over the next few
months (don't get me started on the next 4 years). I wish the media
would start focusing on what's real, and what it means to those of us
across America should either of these dudes get elected.

11 September 2008

A Day to Remember...And a Time to Move Forward

We'll never forget, they say. But the saying also goes, "those who do not remember the past are doomed to repeat it," or something like that.

So let's truly learn from the past and move forward with the knowledge that it is time for a change in America.

10 September 2008

Travel Bug

I know it has only been, what, 3 months or so since my last trip...but I have the bug, and I have it bad.

The last time I remember having such a strong urge to travel was in 2005, when, after watching Under the Tuscan Sun, I just decided to book a trip to Argentina. Last year, I had a similar, but not so as great an urge, and, right around now (12 Sept, in fact), I was heading off to Italy.

These days, it seems, everything reminds me of Spain. I went to the SFMoMA the other day, and saw the Frida Kahlo exhibit. It totally brought back memories of the Picasso Museum in Barcelona. Walking around the other day in Golden Gate Park, going to various touristy spots like the Japanese Tea Gardens reminded me of wandering through Sevilla. The hot weather helped with that, too.

I am not quite sure what to do. Perhaps a holiday trip somewhere...Costa Rica or something.
I haven't really been traveling for work, save one overnight trip to Boston, so I think that adds to the urge. While I am not the best flyer, nor do I like airports much or the logistics of getting places, I do love being there, experiencing the smells, sights, and people.