Wednesday, December 17, 2008


I have a near and dear friend--we'll call her Mandy for the sake of her privacy--who is up in arms about a comment a "feminist" made to her yesterday.....she was called a "traitor."

Mandy is a single mom of three children.  She's not a single mom by most standards, in that she's a single mom via the death of her spouse in an automobile accident.  But three small children (her oldest is 9) means a lot of food on the table, and her job in real estate wasn't paying the bills.

Last summer, Mandy landed a job as an "adult" entertainer. She's not a stripper, she's at home every night with her children, and she doesn't even drink, much less use any illegal substance.  Mandy is a porn starlet for "indie" films and direct-to-video productions.  Oh, she also brings home nearly a half a million dollars a year. 

Mandy has always been one to defend her choices, and though she's quiet about what she does to those who may not know her well (those hailing from the Deep South understand why...), she is open and honest about what she does, usually telling people that she's an actress and leaving it at that (which in itself is true--she's had a few minor roles in commercials and such.)

So it completely caught her off guard to be called a "traitor."  Mandy is a woman who put herself through college and a master's program in business, so this is no "last resort" bunny we're talking about.  Mandy is a smart woman, a woman who has made business decisions for herself that have made a home for her and her children and will provide for them long into the future.  She still drives the same Passat she drove before she started making more money, she and her children live in a sensible home, and her children attend public schools.  Is she a traitor to the "feminist movement" by providing for her and her family rather than trying to find another man to pay the bills? Is she a traitor for quickly making more than many of us make in a lifetime?  Is she a traitor because she was able to secure a job where SHE makes nearly twice as much as her male counterpart, in a society where women are still trying to break even with men?

I'm damn proud of her and what she's accomplished, regardless of whether or not the films that she makes are off the beaten track.  She was able to do what so many women in America haven't gotten around to doing, and that's providing for her family without the assistance of the government  or someone else's tax dollars.

Friday, October 10, 2008

National Domestic Violence Month

Everyone knows that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  A lesser publicized fact remains that October is also Domestic Violence Awareness month. 

Domestic violence against women is the number one cause of injuries to women--more than car crashes, muggings and rapes combined.  But when you look at the above list, one thing doesn't belong.  In car crashes, muggings and rapes, the other party is (generally speaking) unknown, not a person that a woman comes into contact with on a normal basis.

Domestic violence, though...domestic violence is only within the confines of a dating or married relationship--someone that the woman knows, that the woman trusts, and generally, that the woman loves. Domestic violence and abuse occurs in the context of what is supposed to be a private relationship, and that privacy, that belief that what happens behind closed doors should stay there, only perpetuates the cycle of violence.

It's time that women (and men) break that cycle.  It's time to refuse to allow to see our mothers, sisters, daughters, aunts, and best friends become trapped in an abusive relationship.  It's time to refuse to let violence that happens behind closed doors stay behind closed doors.  It's time.

I wish, for every woman that has been and for every woman that ever will be, a Laura Leighty.  I wish that everyone has a friend that refuses to give up on you and refuses to let the cycle continue, that believes in you and your potential to heal and recover and learn and have a chance to find real, true, honest love. 

Anyone can become a victim--abuse knows no age, race, religious, sexual orientation, gender, socioeconomic background...abuse knows no boundaries.  It's so vitally important to be aware.  Know your friends, and listen to what she says.  If you suspect abuse, let her know you're concerned.  Sometimes, just a clear voice of reason is enough to end an potentially dangerous situation.  Most often though, the situation gets worse before it gets better.  Never turn your back on a friend in trouble, and know the warning signs.  Not knowing is a death sentence. 

It's time to blow the doors open on the privacy that surrounds abuse.  It's time to break the cycle and break the silence.  Those that have a voice need to speak up for the so many women that don't or can't. 

For more information, visit The National Domestic Violence Hotline

For locally-minded folks, Penelope House is a wonderful resource for women in need.  Penelope House Crisis Hotline is 251-342-8994

Friday, August 22, 2008


This morning, I learned that a college classmate and friend—a young, vibrant, 27-year-old SHC Badger, class of 2004—passed away from breast cancer.  She had been battling the disease for nearly 2 years, but by the time she and her doctors realized that she had breast cancer, it was so far advanced that the odds were stacked against her.  Khrysten Encalarde lost her battle with breast cancer because too many people believe that screening and detection doesn't need to happen until a woman is 40, the age when the majority of women begin having mammograms.  For that matter, many insurance policies won't cover a mammogram until a woman is 40 years old.  But evidence shows that young women are at as much risk as their older counterparts, and in fact, may be at more of a risk because of the lack of detection techniques.
Despite the prevailing opinion that young women don't get breast cancer, the reality is that they can and they do. In fact, one in every 229 women between the ages of 30 and 39 will be diagnosed with breast cancer within the next 10 years. Following are some additional startling facts about breast cancer in young women:
  • Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in young women ages 15-54.
  • More than 11,100 women under age 40 will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year, and more than 1,100 will die.
  • There are more than 250,000 women living in the United States today who were age 40 or under when they were diagnosed with breast cancer.
  • Young women's cancers are generally more aggressive and result in lower survival rates.
  • The five-year survival rate for young women with breast cancer is 82 percent, which is lower than their post-menopausal counterparts.
Young women CAN and DO get breast cancer. While breast cancer in young women accounts for a small percentage of all breast cancer cases, the impact of this disease is widespread: There are more than 250,000 women 40 and under in the U.S. living with breast cancer, and over 11,100 young women will be diagnosed in the next year. But, despite the fact that breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in women ages 15 to 54:
  • Many young women and their doctors are unaware that they are at risk for breast cancer.
  • There is no effective breast cancer screening tool for women 40 and under.
  • Young women are often diagnosed at a later stage than their older counterparts.
  • There is very little research or educational material focused on issues unique to this younger population, such as fertility, pregnancy, genetic predisposition, the impact of hormonal status on the effectiveness of treatment, psycho-social and long-term survivorship issues, and higher mortality rates for young women, particularly for African-Americans and Latinas.
  • Young women diagnosed with breast cancer often feel isolated and have little contact with peers who can relate to what they are experiencing.
  • As the incidence of young women with breast cancer is much lower than in older women, young women are underrepresented in many research studies.
I write to you because it is vitally important that women know their bodies and know their risk factors.  Make it a point to do a self-exam every month.  It is important that you choose the same time each month, as your breast tissue changes throughout the month.   If you're not already in the habit, make it a point to start this month.  The best defense you have is early detection.
Breast Self-Exam

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Three Years

So much can change in three years.

August 14, 2005 was, without question, the worst day of my life. 

One year later, the scars were still brutally open, the wounds not even close to being healed.

Two years later, I had closure.  I took him to court with my best friend by my side, and found peace in justice.

Three years later, I have a boyfriend who remembered before I did, and has gone out of his way to show (and not just tell) me that that loves me and is thinking about me. I have let someone fully into my heart, and I am thankful every day that I did. 

So very much has changed since then.  I am lucky to be alive, lucky to have wonderful family and friends, and lucky to be very much in love with someone who is very much in love with me. I have a fantastic job, a beautiful niece, a grown-up baby brother,  a home of my own, a halfway-retarded dog, and a cup running over with love and happiness.

Thank you.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

somethin fishy in Beijing

While there is an obvious bias because I would have loved for our American gymnasts to come home with gold after last night's competition, I now have to wonder if the Chinese women really are too young to compete in the Olympic competition.

First, there were the fireworks during the opening ceremony, which have now been revealed to have been digitially altered by the host country.

The there was the case of the little girl lip-syncing because her voice wasn't good enough, and the girl whose voice WAS good enough wasn't "cute enough."

And now the age contraversy.  I'm sorry, but only one of the girls on the Chinese team even remotely looked old enough to be 16.  I wouldn't be surprised at all to learn that the rumors are true and that the Chinese girls are truly 14, as websites that have now been blocked by Chinese authorities claim they are.  In past competitions, Jiang Yuyuan and He Kexin have been listed as 14 years old, born in 1994.  Suddenly, their passports, both issued this year, state that they were born in 1992, which would, in fact, make them legal to compete this year.

Normally, I wouldn't have paid any attention to the controversy, as anyone watching the competition last night knows that the Chinese outperformed our American team.  But in light of the other deceptions that the host country has already pulled, it makes the age of the gymnasts stand out that much more.  If the girls truly are underage, it therefore makes them ineligible for competition AND it makes the Chinese guilty of cheating by doctoring documents to allow these girls to compete. 

Just by looking at the Chinese team in comparison to EVERY other team in competition, the girls look like babies.  One girls even has front teeth missing.  I know that appearances can be decieving, but not one of them even slightly resembles a teenaged girl.  They look like the children a teenaged girl would be babysitting.

Do I know something for certain?  No.  But the fact remains that FIG, the Federation Internationale de Gymnastique, which is the governing body for international gymnastics, has ignored published proof that the girls are too young to compete in senior-level competition.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Grammar gets under my skin

I was listening to Katy Perr'y "I Kissed a Girl" for the eleventy billionth time, when the line, right smack dab in the middle of the song, blares out, "Us girls, we are so magical..."
Us girls?  Really?  The song lost a little of its sparkle for me.  No, seriously.  The bad grammar bothered me that much.

Fine, I'll admit it. I am a grammar snob. I love long walks on the beach, caramel appletinis and proper punctuation. My text messages frequently hit the character max thanks to appropriately inserted commas and apostrophes. After all, using a cell phone is no reason to leave a subordinate clause hanging.
My studies as an English major have only exacerbated my affliction, and it has become impossible for me not to hear the glaring lyrical errors embedded in even the catchiest tune. Now, I appreciate the fact that every note and lyric must be crafted exclusively to fit a given song. I also realize that my best friend's older brother would never have blasted "If you are having girl problems, I feel badly for you, son. I have 99 problems, but a woman is not one of them" out of his convertible in 2000. However, there is a fine line between poetic license and sloppiness; it is the difference between Something Corporate's "If U C Jordan," which delivers an artistic (if crass) message, and the Pussycat Dolls' alphabetical disaster, "Stickwitu." 
I could always picture my eighth grade English teacher shuddering at 702's single "Where My Girls At," which hit the airwaves around the same time. She (who made us memorize every preposition! "In, on, into, over, under, to, at, by, for…") would have demanded that the pesky little "at" get off the end of the phrase and convert to its rightful "are" in the process. Rival-band TLC didn't do much better. "I don't want no scrubs" is essentially an invitation to bring 'em on, thanks to a double-negative. 
Gwen Stefani delivered a serious blow to the subjunctive when she feminized "Fiddler on the Roof's" once A+ song and sang, "If I was a rich girl" (No doubt she took her lead from "What If God Was One of Us"). Oh, Gwen, you was wrong. 
I've been waiting for someone to fall into the apostrophe trap, and R. Kelly is my man. "Playa's only" … the playa's only what? 
While I'm sure that middle-school girls everywhere got wind of Kelis' proclaimed possession of the best milkshake, have they figured out that they can't like, use "like" as a substitute for like, "said"? 
The Backstreet Boys question subject/verb agreement in "All I Have to Give" when they implore, "Does his gifts come from the heart?" and "Does his friends get all your time?" I don't know. Does they? 
Fergie abandons noun/pronoun agreement altogether as one child magically multiplies: "And I'm gonna miss you like a child misses their blanket," but she's gotta get a move on to inserting an extra "e" in "T, to the A, to the S-T-E-Y/Girl you tastey." Now spell check can correct that for all eternity, but at least Gwen taught everyone how to spell "bananas." 
My favorite grammar gaff might be when the normally grammar-conscious Justin Timberlake uses the line, "When you cheated, girl/My heart bleeded, girl" in "What Goes Around.../...Comes Around." Needed? Defeated? So many other fish in the sea, JT. 
Yet the rhyme scheme trophy goes to R. Kelly for his hip hopera, Trapped in the Closet: "Then he opens the dresser (dresser)/He looks at the closet (closet)/I pull out my Beretta (Beretta)/He walks up to the closet (closet)/He comes up to the closet (closet)/Now he's at the closet (closet)/Now he's opening the closet..." Why bother to rhyme the word when you can just repeat the original? Had R. Kelly employed this simple technique throughout, we'd have been spared the Bridgets and midgets. 
In "Make it Rain," R. Kelly spotlights with, "See I order one bottle/Then I f*ck with one model/Then I order more bottles/Now I got more models." I'll give Kells a break here and let his use of "got" slide since he's done such a good job keeping track of his plurality of models/bottles and has followed such a sensible turn of logic. 
In the end, I understand that what is being said is much more important than how it is delivered. And the fact is, even the most poorly written lyrics still read better than a good portion of chem. majors' papers. I understand the Grammar War is an uphill battle; yet even underneath layers of music, my ear will always recoil from the piercing battle cry, "We don't need no education!"

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Words to live by

Thanks, Oprah.  Words to live by. Several of my friends could take heart in this right now. 

If a man wants you, nothing can keep him away. If he doesn't want you, nothing can make him stay.

Stop making excuses for a man and his behavior.

If you have ANY doubt in your mind about a man's character, leave him alone.

Allow your intuition (or spirit) to save you from heartache.

Stop trying to change yourself for a relationship that's not meant to be. .

Never live your life for a man before you find what makes you truly happy.

If a relationship ends because the man was not treating you as you deserve then heck no you can't "be friends." A friend wouldn't mistreat a friend.

Have faith in God/Goddess/Great Spirit/The Universe regarding your relationship, but don't let faith make you stupid. God/Goddess/Great Spirit/The Universe does things decent and in order.

Don't settle.

Don't stay because you think "it will get better." You'll be mad at yourself a year later for staying when things are not better.

The only person you can control in a relationship is you.

There's only one 'reason' a man dumps you; he doesn't want you.

Always put yourself and your happiness first.

Maintain boundaries in how a guy treats you. If something bothers you, speak up.

Like from the show Sex and the City, if he doesn't call, he just isn't that interested.

Know when to cut the cord, don't be strung along

Don't fall for the "I'm confused role". Remove yourself from the situation to let him figure things out (but don't wait for him, move on).

If you want to have a clue as to how he will treat you, watch how he treats the WOMEN in his family (not just mom).

Do not make him into a quasi-god. He is a man, nothing more nothing less.

Actions speak louder than words.

Never let a man define who you are.

If he cheated with you, he'll cheat on you.

Just because he says he loves you, doesn't mean that he won't hurt you and it doesn't mean that you are meant to be with him.

Know that you deserve to be the number one person in the life of the 1 person in your life.

Love is a verb.

Learn to give up your lifelong task of trying to make someone unavailable-available, someone ungiving-giving, and someone unloving-loving.
A man will only treat you the way you ALLOW him to treat you.

If you don't love can't love anyone else.

You cannot mend someone else's broken heart

You need time to heal between relationships...there is nothing cute about with your issues before pursuing a new relationship.

You should never look for someone to COMPLETE you...a relationship consists of two WHOLE individuals...look for someone complimentary...not supplementary..

NEVER give more in a relationship than you are getting out of it.

When actions and words conflict, believe the actions. Respond to the actions.

Don't fall for the "I'm not the loving type"...when a man loves you there is nothing in this world (within reason) that he wouldn't do for you.

Make him miss you sometimes...when a man always know where you are, and you're always readily available to him he takes it for granted..

When it's time to let go; let go.

Don't fully commit to a man who doesn't give you everything that you need. Keep him in your radar but get to know others.

Never believe a man that tells you he want to be with you, while he's with someone else, - if he wanted to be with you, he would make it happen more sooner than later.

Don't be a man's door mat , make him open the door for you, because a real man would do this on his own.

There is someone out there worthy to be in your life, let out the trash so he can come in.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Karma's a bitch

What goes around, comes around.

I’ve always said it, and I’ve always half-heartedly believed it. 


100% believe it.


I got a phone call this morning. 

Most everyone knows that I was a victim of domestic violence years ago.  Thankfully and blessedly, I was (and am) surrounded by people who pulled me out of the cycle that so many women (and children) find themselves trapped in, and several years later, I am completely in love with a man who loves me, cherishes me and treats me the way I deserve to be treated.  But I digress.

The phone call.  The guy who had put me in the hospital several years ago was now in the hospital with a concussion, a broken ribs, a fractured skull, collapsed lung, and a long, long list of other injuries.  He was on life support until this morning when he was able to breathe on his own.  His sister was the one who called me, and she let me know that he was in really bad shape--unrecognizable even to his family.

How did he end up like that? 

He had stolen his sister’s car (who has an 8 month old baby girl to care for) and gone to Prichard to...well.  You know why a white boy from Daphne would be in Prichard.  Apparently, he said the wrong thing to the wrong somebody, and that wrong somebody let him have it.  And have it.  And have it.  And that wrong somebody left him for dead on the side of the road.

I don’t mean to be a callous as I may sound.  I empathize for his family, and I wouldn’t wish for anyone to have to see their child beaten this badly.  But from my perspective, it’s karma’s way of coming back around.  Someday, somehow, the pain that you inflict on others will come back threefold and catch you completely unaware and off guard. 

Karma’s a bitch, ain’t it?

Friday, February 22, 2008


I'm in a completely random mood. 

1.  "Swobe" is a word.  Google it. As in, "That is the fugliest swobe I have ever seen."  (sweater + robe = swobe.)  And yes, I own one...or 3.

2.  I am so farking tired of cold weather.  Bring me sunshine...please.  I am tired, tired, tired of south Alabama's excuse for winter. 

3.  I am currently obsessed with powerade's new pink lemonde flavor. 

4.  I don't want to go to Enterprise this weekend.  Funerals give me the heebies.

5.  Last night, CSI was on not one, not two, not three, but FOUR different channels at the same time.  Two were Miami, two were LV.  Seriously. 

6.  I am completely addicted to the First 48 on A&E.  And I can't wait for the start of the new DEA show.  I'm a dork.

7.  I want Makayla to have every opportunity in the world to be happy and successful.  I wish my sister would realize what a gift she's been given with Squirrel.

8.  St. Patty-cake-day is almost here :-)  Yes, there will be green feathers in abundance.  And green beer.  Lots of it, since it coincides with two things:
1.  Arts and Crafts weekend
2. Saturday :-)
Did you know the Catholic church had St. Pat's moved this year from Monday back to Saturday?

9.  I don't think I'm going to be up to running a 10K in Memphis.  But I'll be cheering like a good girlfriend from the sidelines with a Blue Moon in my hand.

Monday, February 4, 2008


Even though I was battling the sinus monster from hell and felt like poo by the end of carnival season, I think this year may go down in my book as one of my top 5 Mardi Gras years ever.

I didn't parade as much as I usually do, mostly due to the fact that Mardi Gras season kicked off a mere 2 weeks after the beginning of 2008.  Who wants to catch moon pies and beads when you're just coming down off of the holiday rush??

But I caught up and paraded my little heart out with the jam-packed weekend preceding Fat Tuesday.

And JW.  Bless his heart--I told him a month or so ago about a "costume party" ball that we go to every year.  He jumped in with both feet and only asked one thing...."Can I paint my face green??"  He hammed it up as the Wicked Witch of the West for our fantastically awesome rendition of the the cast of Oz.  And lo and behold, he walked away as "Queen of Mari Masquers."  He'll never live it down :-)

And Joe's one of my favorite days of the entire year.  It's like an all day tailgating party that people ride by and throw stuff at you. 

I'm just rambling, because I hate to see another Mardi Gras season go by, but lordy, I had a great time. 

Time to pack up the beads, masks, and costumes til next year...

Friday, February 1, 2008

Dauphin Island Four

Last night, my neighborhood held a candlelight vigil for the four children that were thrown from the top of the Dauphin Island Bridge in Bayou La Batre.  It was sincerely creepy, as my neighbor's very young daughter started crying amid the silence and was calling for her daddy.  Being that the reason for the vigil in the first place was because a father murdered his four children, the fact that she was the only voice in the weirded me out.

Not five minutes later, we were watching the news, trying to catch the weather report for today.  The weather report--i had the change the channel once i caught wind of what dear old John Edd was saying--was not your typical marine forecase.  No, it was a marine forecast centered on the directions the bodies of the children were being carried by the tides.  Complete with pinpoint locations of where the 3 bodies had already been found and the search area of where the 4th should have drifted.  (Let me add here that the "4th body" is that of a two year old little girl.) I had the change the channel.

It's been a long time since a news story has upset me this way.  Four children, all under the age of 5, one not even seeing his first birthday, thrown from a 95ft high bridge into freezing January water in a location known for both heavy marine traffic and marine life.  Even on the off chance that one or all of the children had survived the fall, the alligators that fill the water around that area wouldn't have left much behind. 

What kind of sick bastard is Lam Luong? What kind of sick bastard throws all of his children off a bridge because he and his wife got into an argument?  What kind of sick bastard tells authorities that "he wants to be famous like the Virgina Tech shooter"?  What kind of sick bastard takes away the life of four beautiful, innocent children...for what? 

I hope that , for once, the justice system gets things right with this sick and twisted man.  I hope that all of the pain and suffering of the four children, their mother, their family and friends is inflicted on this pathetic excuse for a human being.  May he feel  what they feel a thousand-fold. May the fiery depths of hell be deemed to pleasant a condition for you.

God bless the search crews, the rescue teams, the duck hunters who found the first body, the many residents of Bayou La Batre, Dauphin Island, Mobile County and the Gulf Coast for helping out in whatever capacity you've been able.  Peace and healing to the family--especially the mother--of  the Dauphin Island Four.  And most importantly, hope and love to the four innocents who lost their lives at the hands of someone that they should have been able to count on the most.

Sunday, January 20, 2008


Once you've been tagged, you have to write a blog with 10 weird, random things, habits, or goals about yourself.  At the end, chose 10 people to be tagged , listing their names and why you chose them.  Don't forget to leave them  a comment (Tag!  You're it!) and a note to read your blog.  You can't tag the person who tagged you, but let them know when you've posted so they can check out your answers.

MMMMMMMkay...Rach tagged me, so here goes.

1.  I'm very particular about alarm clocks...actually, digital clocks in general.  I hate anything but red displays.  Green and blue and that weird icky greenish/yellowish color irritate me.

2.  My feet are two completely different sizes.  I wear an 8 on my left foot and a 7 on my right.  I have been known to go to Wal-Mart or Target and buy shoes for the basic reason that I can switch out shoes have a (mis)matched pair.

3. I have social anxiety disorder.  It's like pulling teeth to get me out of my house sometimes.  But once I'm whereever I was fighting to go, I'm fine.  ANd I usually have a great time.  Along those same lines, crowds of people (i.e. Jordan Hare Stadium at halftime trying to get to the women's bathroom, Mardi Gras crowds in general, Bayfest, etc.) give me the heebie jeebies.

4.  I scored a perfect score in both reading comprehension and grammar on my ACT :-).  But I scored a 17 in math.

5.  I love boy names for little girls, like Ryan, Michael, and Alden (and Charlie!).  I DON'T like girls names for boys...Ashley and Courtney are not names for boys.

6.  I love fried bologna on a homemade oatmeal raisin cookie :-)

7.  I am a bathroom and automobile rock STAR.  I rival the best of the best with my singing and dancing shenanigans jamming along with the radio.  Hairbrushes make excellent microphones, as do curling irons, to-go cups from fast food places, and Sunkist bottles.

8.  Hot dogs are the most vile creation ever.  Just the smell of a hot dog makes me gag.  ESPECIALLY the ones that are bright, bright freakishly red.  They should not be regarded as a food product. However, sausage dogs are a whole 'nother story....'specially when they have sauteed peppers and onions.

9.  I envy people who've "got it all together" sometimes.  I live in a perpetual state of chaos.  Soccer moms with their color-coded calendars are like aliens to me.

10.  I actually LIKE fruitcake. 

And tag:

1.  Geoff...because your answers are always witty and interesting.
2. Stephanie--because we always steal stuff like this from each other.
3.  Christen--because I can!
4.  Kelly--because what good is family if we can't annoy each other?
5.  Chris--because you won't do it...
6. Courntey--because you will...
7.  Mark--because your last blog BLOCKED me...
8.  Adrian--because it's interesting...
9.  Lindz--because I need another E-Sho girl doing this...
10.  Laura--because I'm spreading the love...

11.  Melissa.  To alleviate the hell that is boredom :-)