Wacky Wednesday

I’ve already broken one resolution by not reading a book a week this year, but…I had a my NYCbestie visiting, which meant a lot of conversations, shopping, eating, driving, and giggling.  All of which left me too exhausted to read.  However, I will not be giving up and will be reading a book a week, to the best of my ability, barring any visiting friends/family, illnesses, emergencies, vacations, and/or any other excuse I can use to justify it.  My goal is 30 new books read this year.  That’s not too hard to obtain, right?   I’ve been invited to join a book club and hopefully this will help me reach my goal.  (One of them being discussing good books with crazy intelligent people).  Anyhoo, I will be posting my first review of my first book read this year (which was fantastic) soonish.


Happy Birthday, Betty White

The last of the Golden Girls, one of my most favorite shows of all time, today you turn 90 years old.  Your spunk, vibrancy, love of life, and humor makes me look forward to living until “old age.”

I heart you, Betty!

Women of the Civil Rights Movement

Ella Baker.

Fannie Lou Hamer.

Septima Poinsette Clark.

Coretta Scott King.

Ruby Bridges.

Diane Nash.

Do you know these names?  They are a few of the integral women of the American Civil Rights Movements.

When I was a sophomore in college, in one of my English classes the major project for the quarter was to write a research paper on any subject of our choosing.  We had to submit three topics to our professor, defend our top subject, and then she decided what we should write about.

I only had one subject:  The women of the Civil Rights movement.

My argument:  We frequently hear about the men of the Civil Rights Movement, like Martin Luther King, Jr., Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, Marcus Garvey, etc.  But so often the only female name you hear from the Civil Rights movement is Rosa Parks.  And yes, she was an integral part of the Civil Rights Movement, especially being the catalyst for a lot of change in Birmingham, Alabama, but who are these other women?  I want to know the women.

My subject was immediately approved by my teacher.  She asked me why I was so interested in the Civil Rights Movement.  I guess all she saw of me was a 19 year old little white Mormon girl from Utah.  Why should I care about the Civil Rights movement, right?  Ahem.  I explained that my mother lived in Washington, D.C from 1960 to 1973.  She lived the Civil Rights Movement.  She would often tell us stories about driving home to Silver Spring, MD from her job at the USDA in D.C. and both sides of the beltway would be burning.  She hated the 60s because it was so scary.  That’s why I’m interested.  This is my history, and my heritage, and it doesn’t matter where you’re from in America or your race or ethnicity, we ALL should be interested in the civil rights of our fellow human beings.

(I was pretty assertive as a 19 year old, for those of you who are wondering if I was always like this…)

So who are the women I listed above?  I was delighted to find out so much about these names I had never heard of before.  This paper began to mean so much more to me than just a research project I had to do for an English class.  I can’t find my paper now.  It was written in 1997.  But I remember their names.

Ella Baker

Ella began working for the NAACP in 1938 and her work with the Civil Rights movement spanned 5 decades.  She worked with the prominent leaders of the movement, like Martin Luther King, Jr. and Thurgood Marshall.  She was involved in Montgomery Bus Boycott, was a staffer for the Crusade for Citizenship (a voter registration camp), worked for student de-segregation with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, and helped organize the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party.  She died in 1986, but was honored with a US Postage Stamp in 2009.  One of Ms. Baker’s most famous quotes:  “Remember, we are not fighting for the freedom of the Negro alone, but for the freedom of the human spirit, a larger freedom that encompasses all mankind.”

Fannie Lou Hamer

Fannie’s activism started in the 50s organizing the Mississippi Freedom Summer and became the Vice-Chair of the Mississippi Democratic Freedom Party.  Fannie was deeply religious and soft-spoken and often used Bible verses in her speeches.  She ran for Congress in 1964 and 1965.  She worked at a grassroots level as well, and helped start Head Start, the Freedom Farm Cooperative, and worked with Martin Luther King, Jr. on the Poor People’s Campaign.  Fannie died of breast cancer in 1977.  Ms. Hamer’s most famous quote is: “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.

Septima Poinsette Clark

Septima was born in 1898 and was an educator as well as a civil rights activist.  Her father was born a slave and after the Civil War he worked as a caterer. Her mother refused to let Septima become a domestic for a white family.  Instead, Septima graduated from high school and became an educator without a college education at that time.  In 1919, Septima taught at Avery Normal Institute, in Charleston, S.C., a private academy in for black children.  It was here Septima started her work with the NAACP.  She then went on to earn her Bachelors and Masters degrees and worked with noted Civil Rights Activist, W.E.B. Du Bois.  Septima is most known for starting Citizenship Schools which taught black adults in the Deep South how to read.  Septima worked with many health organizations.  In 1979, President Carter award Septima with a Living Legacy Award.  Septima died in 1987.  Her most famous quote:  “I have a great belief in the fact that whenever there is chaos, it creates wonderful thinking.  I consider chaos a gift.”

Coretta Scott King

Coretta was the widow of Martin Luther King, Jr. and helped lead the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s.  Coretta was part of the Montgomery Bus Boycott and helped pass the Voting Rights Act in 1964.  Her most prominent role in the movement was after her husband was murdered as she continued his work and his legacy as the new leader of the movement.  As a new leader of the movement she founded the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change and broadened her focus to include women’s issues, LGBT rights, economic issues, world peace, racism, poverty, and war.  Coretta was a published author and educator.  In the 1980s Coretta worked to end apartheid in South Africa.  Ms. King died in 2006 and was eulogized by former President Jimmy Carter.  My most favorite Coretta Scott King quote:  “Freedom and justice cannot be parceled out in pieces to suit political convenience.  I don’t believe you can stand for freedom for one group of people and deny it to others.”

Ruby Bridges

Ruby was born in 1954 in New Orleans.  In 1960, Ruby’s parents answered the call from the NAACP and volunteered to have Ruby integrated in the New Orleans school system.  She is known as the first African American child at an all-white elementary school in the South.  Ruby walked to school every day despite protests from parents, citizens, and backlash the landed her father jobless and her share-cropper grandparents turned off their land.  Can you imagine how brave Ruby must have been?  Can you imagine that courage of that 6 year old girl?  I can’t think of Ms. Bridges without tears coming to my eyes.  Ruby currently lives in New Orleans and there have been many books written about her and movies created about her life.  My favorite Ruby Bridges quote:  “I now know that experience comes to us for a purpose, and if we follow the guidance of the spirit within us, we will probably find that the purpose is a good one.”

(edited to add…)

Diane Nash

Diane was born in Chicago and attended Howard University.  She was a part of the most successful act of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement – The Freedom Rides.  As a college student, Diane was successful in desegregating lunch counters in Nashville, TN.  Her activism did not stop there.  When the Freedom Riders decided to cut their rides short (because of outrageous violence and deaths), Diane, and other Nashville college students, promptly decided they would finish the trip.  Her courageous act caught national attention.  Robert F. Kennedy, himself, begged her to stop (fearing more violence and deaths).  Her response was to say everyone who was going on the Freedom Rides had signed their last Will and Testament the night before.  Diane was also integral in the Selma Campaign (a non-violent Army to combat church bombings), the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and has been the subject of two books and numerous documentaries.  Diane continues to advocate for the civil rights, the rights of the poor and impoverished, and for the rights of children.  My most favorite quote of Ms. Nash’s is:  “Every time I participated in segregation, like going into a ‘colored’s only’ bathroom, I felt like I was agreeing that I was inferior.  And I’m not inferior.”

To find out more about these remarkable women, click the links on their names above, or check out this article.

Bad Movie Review – Batman and Robin

Batman and Robin

This movie should have been called Batman and guano.  It truly pains me to say anything bad about the acting of George Clooney or Chris O’Donnell.  I had very prominent crushes on both of them at different times of my life.  (George during his Sisters run and Chris during his Fried Green Tomatoes days).  So how can two very good actors get together and make a movie that is filled to the brim of ultimate guano?  It’s because they let Arnold Schwarzenegger in on the gig.  Arrrrnold was able to take some time out of making babies with nannies to make a laughing stock out of the entire Batman movie franchise.  (Thank you Christopher Nolan for reviving this series in a new way so that I could actually look the caped crusader in the eye again).  George should have stayed on the set of ER taking the pulse of grateful women every where and Chris should have stuck to making period pieces and sappy love stories with Drew Barrymore, ‘cause I’m pretty sure this was the movie that rang the death knell on his acting career.  At least until LL Cool J came along.  
But I digress.  Really people, you expect me to believe that Schwarzenegger is a scientist of any kind?  It was hard enough buying him as a Kindergarten cop.  He was more convincing as a pregnant man than as a scientist.  And after watching Uma Thurman’s performance as Poison Ivy, I had nightmares for months about being eaten by a giant Venus Fly Trap plant. I’m not delving too much into the plot of this movie because there wasn’t one.  It’s typical Gotham, bad guys are doing bad things, and Batman hops into his Batmobile to stop them.  Robin joins him because every super hero needs a homoerotic side kick.  Even Batgirl Alicia Silverstone joins them, but I’m pretty sure she did more pouting and acting all rebellious than actually fighting any of the bad guys.   My Dad took my brother and me to this movie in the theaters in 1997 and when we got home, he grounded us both.  This movie represents 125 minutes of my life I can never get back.  
You should all be ashamed of yourselves

God Bless Ogden

I don’t know if you’ve heard about what happened in my little Northern Utah city last week.  You can read about it here.

Today Officer Francom is being laid to rest, and literally tens of thousands are aligning along Ogden’s city streets as we speak to honor him.

Unfortunately those Westboro Baptist “church” hate mongers are there protesting at his funeral.  It’s disgusting and I am confident in saying that Jesus is ashamed of them.

The very first post I ever wrote on this blog almost 4 years ago on January 25, 2008 was about these Westboro people when they were planning on protesting at Heath Ledger’s funeral.  I don’t know, it seemed kind of appropriate to revisit that post today.

As a personal note, I am proud to be an Ogdenite.  I was born and raised here, and Ogden gets a bad rap because of our rough and rowdy past, but I love my city.  I’m proud to be a part of a community that when a tragedy of this magnitude happens, we pull together to be there for the families this affects.

If you would like to donate to Agent Francom’s family or any of the other officers who were wounded by this horrible act, please go to any Bank of Utah where accounts have been set up for all 6 of them.

God Bless Ogden.  God Bless the OPD.  God Bless the Francom family.  God Bless all of those who were touched by this tragedy.

How I was almost brought down by Salt Dough

The day I brought the hubs home from the hospital was a difficult day.  It was made easier by sweet friends and neighbors bringing me food and a wonderful MiL who was willing to watch the pre-schooler until I could get the hubs home and settled.

The hubs was in a lot of pain and didn’t have a lot of mobility.  He’s 9 inches taller than me and outweighs me by at least 80 lbs.  And yet I had to help him out of bed, onto his crutches, and into the bathroom.  Thankfully he was on powerful pain meds and he slept through most of those first couple of days home.

My stress and anxiety level was high.  I felt like I was juggling a million balls, and if someone even knocked me slightly or threw a wrench into the juggling mix, I would drop all those balls.  I had things running smoothly.  Both lunch and dinner had been brought.  The kids were home from school and playing nicely and quietly.  There were 10 loads of laundry waiting to be folded, but I ignored them hoping they would go away until I could mentally deal with them.  I was calm, cool, and collected, but teetering on the edge of a meltdown.  That’s what happens when the most important person in your life almost dies the day before.

Then my daughter threw a wrench.

“Mom, I have to make salt dough for school tomorrow,” she said.

I said, “Okay, where’s the note from your teacher?  Where’s the instructions on how to make it?  I don’t just know intuitively how to make salt dough.”

“She didn’t give me a note or instructions.  She told me today that if I didn’t bring it by tomorrow she would give me a 0 on this project,” she said and then she broke down into tears.

The anxiety was high in the house and I had already had one meltdown that morning on the kids when they wouldn’t stop fighting.  I hate the constant fighting.

And just a little background on this teacher (she’s not my daughter’s very capable and wonderful homeroom teacher…in her grade they do rotations with all the teachers).  She has threatened my daughter before.  Because of her ADHD, she does not do well with threats.  She’s needs structure and discipline, but most importantly she needs compassion.  She freaks out easily.

At this point I was really pissed that this teacher would require something without even giving me or my daughter any instruction on how to do it.  I was pissed she had threatened her again.  I was pissed that this was being asked of me on a day that I just couldn’t handle it.  I was pissed that this teacher made my daughter cry.  Again.

So, I took my frustrations to the Facebooks.  And I let loose.  I was so pissed at this teacher I wrote her an angry missive.  Thankfully I have really great friends and they immediately offered sympathy and salt dough recipes.  Some even offered to make extra for what they were making with their kids and send some to school for my daughter

And then I had an idea.  Why do I have to do everything?  My daughter is a tween-ager and very capable of measuring out some salt, water, and flour and stirring them together.  So I made her do it herself.  And she had fun.  I taught her how to turn on the oven.  I was a little surprised because my dad taught me how to cook at an early age and by the time I was her age I had a whole repertoire of homemade breakfasts I would make (i.e. pancakes, waffles, crepes, french toast…all from scratch).  By the time I was her age, I knew how to work an oven (although our oven is digital and mine was not growing up).

So yes, I was almost brought to my knees by salt dough.  After it was said and done, and I had calmed down, I ripped up the mean note to the teacher and took my Facebook rant down.

My daughter and I learned valuable lessons that night.  One, she learned how to use measuring cups, follow a recipe, and use an oven.  I learned that problems, no matter how tiny, in the right context will break you, and you can’t let them.