"Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. " -Helen Keller

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

You like me...and meet the winners

You like me, you really like me...A shout out of thanks to the most awesome PunkRockMom for the fun and fabulous award she gave me...I haven't done a lot of awards lately because they make me feel so self conscious but this award totally ROCKS. The whole chupacabra connection is just too damned funny because chupacabras are a running joke/obsession with my boys. I found ThePunkRockMom through the last ICLW and I fell in love with her header. It says (with slight editing)
This site is for all punky and rock and roll women, whether or not you: *Drive a minivan but wish it was a 69' Mustang *Listen to kidzbop but wish it was KISS *Wear Crocs even though you wish they were Converse (or some funky Christian Louboutin pumps :) *Wear your hair in a pony tail but wish is was all pomp'd up ...Or you still do these things and rock out like a true punk rock woman! All are welcome!
I thought that was a totally cool sentiment because it seemed to capture my life. Soooooo, according to the rules of this award, I have to thank the amazing person who gave it to me, tell y'all 7 things I haven't told you before, and pass it on. I think the hardest thing is going to be telling y'all 7 new tidbits about me.
  1. I love musicals. My parents had the soundtrack to Jesus Christ, Superstar and Hair and I can sing along to half the songs on them. I adore Guys and Dolls, Music Man, and Grease.
  2. I have a shameful number if UFOs (unfinished objects in crafter's language). I am too scared to list them because then I'd have an actual number I had to face down. My oldest UFO is almost 18 yrs old.
  3. When I was in high school, I bought a Playgirl, brought it to school, and passed it around class.
  4. I actually bought a Playboy once to read an article...no, really! They did a fabulous interview with Stephen Hawking years and years ago and I had to read it.
  5. I HATED my hair when I was little. I had a whole year in school where it earned the lovely descriptive name "Bird's Nest".
  6. I got into a huge (from my perspective) fight with my parents when I was 12 because I had found a gorgeous rainbow bikini I wanted and they wouldn't let me buy it. I stomped out of the house in a huge huff.
  7. I had a stop sign I liberated from a corner hanging on my door in college.
The PunkRockMom said she gave this award to bloggers who kept her "obsessed with their hilariousness, amazing posts and random exploits." I want to pass this on to
  • Kym from I'm A Smart One...I love you my thug sister!
  • Calliope from Creating Motherhood...you are amazing, inspiring, and so much more.
  • Jen of EPBOT and Cake Wrecks fame...Cake Wrecks always makes me laugh but I truly adore EPBOT. It celebrates the wonderful world of geeky adults and has introduced me to the wonders of steam punk decor, jewelry, and more.
  • Anissa of #FreeAnissa and lots of other places...I found Anissa when she had her stroke and I had to find out who this woman was. She had so many people I love and respect in a tizzy and I figured she must be pretty damned special to have that affect on them. She is a kick ass, take no prisoners, funny woman and I'm so glad I got to meet her.
  • Aunt Becky of Mommy Wants Vodka...Becky is AMAZING. She's funny as hell, totally kicks ass, and, when she writes about her Amelia, Princess of Bells, the power and beauty of her writing makes you weep.
The winner of the the uPrinting Poster Giveaway is Tanyetta of Days Like These! You should get an email from uPrinting shortly.

And, the winners of my Power of 10 giveaways are SandyG(adult giveaway winner) and Jen from In One Ear(kids giveaway). If y'all email me with your mailing address, I'll ship the packages out ASAP.

Thanks to everyone who entered the giveaways. There will be more later this month.

Monday, August 30, 2010

*Sniff*Sniff* my baby is growing up.

Gabe is going to pre-school 3 times a week this year. Today, we went in and met his classmates and teachers. The economy is even affecting pre-school registration. So far, they only have 5 kids in the MWF 4 year old class. It is going to give his teachers a chance to do all kinds of things with them this year. As long as the numbers stay low, the teachers are even talking about cooking with the kids. Gabe is going to have a great year.

I can't believe he only has one more year left until kindergarten.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Point to Ponder

Today at church, one of our pastors was talking about how people would react if they heard Jesus was coming over for a meal. She said that her mom would start panicking about getting a chance to vacuum while she would be hoping Jesus didn't mind eating Ramen because she couldn't cook. Marty turned and looked at me, wide eyed, and said "Can you just imagine if Jesus ate a meal with us?" It was all I could do to not start giggling. Meals in our house are never calm and quiet. Invariably, there is gross talk and jokes. The whole idea of Jesus sitting down in the midst of that chaos to eat amused me greatly.

Friday, August 27, 2010


Welcome to Photo Friday sponsored by the brilliant and beautiful Calliope of Creating Motherhood. This week we took the opportunity to focus on something we see every single day and rarely pay attention...words. When I was out taking pictures for another photo challenge I am participating in, I saw words I wanted to photograph on the statue I was taking pictures of.
If you are able, save for them a place inside of you and save one backward glance when you are leaving for the places they can no longer go

Be not ashamed to say you love them though you may or may not have always
Take what they have left and what they have taught you with their dying and keep it with your own
The words mean so very much and they are displayed so beautifully.

Now, head on over to Calli's y'all and check out everyone's photos this week...and, break out those cameras and participate next week.
BTW, don't forget to enter the giveaways I have running. Click here and here to enter.

Pillow Talk

This conversation really happened. I couldn't make this shit up...

Vic: Hmmmm, I wonder what we should make for dinner this weekend?
Me: Dunno
Vic: I know...chicken strips and cherry sauce
Me (sounding extremely skeptical): Why?
Vic: Then I could (breaking into song) give my love a chicken without a bone, give my love a cherry without a stone
Me (in between laughing my ass off): You are so WRONG!

*Disclaimer...No painkillers were consumed prior to this conversation. It must be blamed solely on my husband's warped brain.
**Bonus points awarded for the person who can identify the source for these somewhat mangled lyrics

uPrinting Poster Giveaway

The fabulous folks at uPrinting.com, home of fabulous online printing services, are sponsoring yet another giveaway for you my fabulous readers. uPrinting is THE place to go when you want a quality product but need cheap poster printing.
Giveaway Prize: 18x24 Poster Print
Shipping: Free UPS Ground Shipping
Eligibility: Limited to US Residents,18 yrs old or older.

Entering this giveway is simple but remember that EACH CHANCE REQUIRES A SEPARATE RESPONSE. What do you have to do to enter...
  1. REQUIRED: tell me what you think you would get on your poster
  2. Follow my blog via Google Friends Connect
  3. Follow me on Twitter and tell me your twitter name
  4. Follow uPrinting on Twitter and tell me your twitter name
  5. Follow Giveaway Blogs on Twitter and tell me your twitter name
  6. Tweet or facebook this giveaway and provide me the link to your tweet(can use this entry once a day) . Tweet example: Win a 18x24 Poster Print from @dragondream , @uPrinting , & @Giveaway_blogs http://bit.ly/9xYYOC Entries close on 8/30 #giveaway
This giveaway is open until 8/30 and the winner will be announced the morning of 8/31. Spread the word and enter.

Disclosure: I will receive the same prize as the winner from UPrinting as compensation for hosting this giveaway. No additional compensation will be received.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Picture time, picture time

The Punk Rock Mom is hosting a weekly photo challenge during each of the next 5 weeks. The weekly theme will correspond with the weekly assignments she receives in the photography class she is taking. This week, we had multiple options to pick from...
  1. A Statue From the ground up
  2. A Reflection From above
  3. A Circle, Triangle, Square shapes from the ground up
  4. A Tree Branch from the ground up
  5. A Shadow From above
  6. A Person From Close up, far away, from left, from right and in their environment
  7. A street scene, all angles
  8. Surprise Me! From Your Unique Point of View
and,we could take pics in any or all of these categories. Since I take an absolutely RIDICULOUS number of digital pics, I jumped at this chance to show off my madd photo skillz. I have included a full length picture of the statue just so you can get an idea what you are looking at. All pics except the very first one are clickable and you know you want to see the bigger image.

1. statue from the ground up

2. reflection from above

2a. reflection from above
(although I guess it qualifies for shadow from above too)

5. shadow from above

5a. shadow from above

8. my own perspective

Head on over and check out all the other awesome entries.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Power of 10

I'm over 1000 posts and over 100 followers so I thought it would be a great time to have a giveaway. But, why stop with one giveaway when I could host two giveaways? Can you think of a reason to stop at one? Me neither. I have a bunch of extra swag from BlogHer and I thought I'd pass it on to y'all. So, it's official. I'm having two Power of 10 giveaways. One giveaway is definitely an adult giveaway (and ummmm, the vlog shows the goodies so you probably don't want to watch it at work) and one is for kids...

All you have to do to enter is comment. That's right, this is going to be simple and straight forward. One comment = one entry. Just be sure to mention which giveaway you would prefer to receive. If you would take either one, mention that too.

Thanks for coming on the wild and wonderful journey with me. I hope we have a long future together.

So I'm a little bored

and, I promised if I got bored I would post the second half of The Fabulous Fifty meme. Here it is in all its glory...

The Fabulous Fifty Meme, Part 2

26. What do you normally smell like? clean but, if I chose to wear perfume, it is Obsession
27. Do you like Carrie Underwood? I sure do.
28. Been to “The Vegas”? Nope, but I'd like to go.
29. How far away do you live from your parents? It takes about an hour and 10 minutes to drive to my parents' house. I'm guessing it is around 60 miles.
30. Are you happy with your job? Yes
31. Where do you work and what do you do there? I'm a stay at home mom and, honestly, I love it. I don't always like everything about it. The teaching/homeschooling is not my all time favorite but it works. I also love designing arts and crafts which I sort of do.
32. What did you get in the mail today? A flyer about homecoming at my alma mater and a package from Mabel's Labels (they are wickedly cool because they are dishwasher and microwave safe)
33. How do you like your steak cooked? medium rare
34. Britney Spears…is she back? don't know, don't care
35. What do you usually order at Taco Bell? Nachos Bell Grande
36. Have you ever sat all the way through Gone With the Wind? Absolutely
37. Have you ever been to Mt Rushmore? Sadly, no
38. Is it just me, or was The Marine (w/John Cena) a really horrible movie? Don't know because I didn't see it
39. Are surveys/memes like the cocaine of the internet? There is probably a LOT of validity in this statement
40. Where is your favorite place (that you have actually been to)? I think my all time favorite location had to be Hanauma Bay in Hawaii. The water is so amazingly blue and the tropical fish are so plentiful you could reach out and touch then. It is such an amazing place to snorkel.
41. What is your favorite candle scent? cinnamon
42. Do you believe places can really be haunted? yes
43. Do you smoke cigarettes? nope, tried them once ages ago and did NOT like them. Also, it would be stupid as hell for me to smoke with my asthma.
44. Have you ever been to NYC or LA? Yes, I've been to NYC twice and loved it.
45. How many states have you been to where all you saw was the airport? none...I've at least driven through part of every state I've been in.
46. Do you think 50 questions is enough? Depends on my mood
47. Are you currently planning a trip? sort of
48. Is Ryan Seacrest gay? Should anyone care? STOOPID QUESTION...who cares
49. Do you take anti-depressants? Sleeping pills? Not currently. I was one anti-depressants oncs during our infertility battle.
50. What do you think about space travel? I wish I could go.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Historical Fiction a la Kristin

"You're traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind; a journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. That's the signpost up ahead - your next stop, the Twilight Zone!"

Last night, I had the weirdest dream. It was truly screwed up. I don't remember all the details but I do remember that their were a lot of people from the rescue squad *we use to volunteer with. Two of the rescue squad members I clearly remember being there were **Marsha and a lady named Kim. Now, here's where it gets really weird. The other individual I clearly remember being there is Ted Kennedy of THE KENNEDYs. In my dream, Ted Kennedy was married to a rescue squad member who was killed in a drunk driving accident a la Chappaquiddick. Later in the dream, it became apparent that Teddy boy had caused the accident like what happened with Chappaquiddick. Flash forward to a scene in a church...Teddy boy and his friends and cronies were on one side of the church and the rescue squad people were on the other for the funeral of the rescue squad member who was Kennedy's dead wife.

Shortly after that scene, Gabe came in and woke me up. I have no idea what would have happened or who else might have shown up. Anyone have any clue what in the hell this means?

*Vic and I both use to volunteer with the Orange County Rescue Squad here in NC. That is how we met.
**Marsha is Vic's ex-wife. They were split up before I met him and get along better as exes than they did when they were married. I use to run paramedic calls with her.

Monday, August 23, 2010

I pulled an Aunt Becky

You know how everybody's favorite internet Aunt, the glorious Aunt Becky, talks about her grace...her unique ability to trip and fall in ridiculous situations. Well, last night I pulled of a move that would have made Aunt Becky proud.

I spent a good chunk of Sunday taking care of chores that male pattern blindness had prevented anyone else in my family from taking care of...things like scrubbing the kitchen floor, washing down the cabinets, vacuuming up the dog hair, ya know things that are nigh to invisible. It goes without saying that I needed a shower by that evening.

Ya know, I've taken showers for years. Never had an issue with it. But somehow, last night, I fought the shower and the shower won. I was holding my hair up to rinse the soap off my back and was turning around. I don't know what the hell happened but I must have stepped on a slick spot in the shower. I felt my foot start sliding and I knew there was no way in hell I could stop it. My bare white ass when flying and I can guarantee it wasn't a pretty sight. I think the only thing I didn't hit on the way down was my head but, God knows that might have been better because I've frequently been accused of being hard headed enough to break things with it.

I know I'm going to feel it later today. I'm sitting here on my nice cushy chair and my left ass cheek hurts. Wonder where else I will feel it? Damn, I sure can see how old people get hurt during fall.

Kristin, thy name is klutz.

PS...love you Aunt Becky.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Lighter Side

The lighter side of preparing a wrongful death case or how to make your mother-in-law gasp and laugh...

Like I told y'all, I spent Thursday afternoon helping my mother-in-law prepare the papers for her wrongful death complaint against the local hospital my FIL was in. After we ran a few errands and got some yummy lunch, we wet back to her house to work on the letter. Now, what y'all have to understand is that English is not my MIL's first language. My husband and his family are Puerto Ricans and obviously spoke Spanish first. My MIL is a very intelligent lady but, when she writes, she occasionally has problems with certain grammar rules, syntax, and verbs. So, it's not like I had to do tons to the letter. I just polished it. We started going over it and, of course, started talking about the whole time in the hospital and a lot of other things about my FIL. She started telling me how it took her almost 4 days to write the letter...not because the language issues were hard but because the emotions would overwhelm her. As she was saying this, I could hear her voice start to crack and I could tell she needed to take a moment. I told her "Mom, you need a break. You need to laugh. Let me show you something." And, I showed her (warning, warning...pictures are NSFW...Not Safe For Work...but will cause you to laugh your ass off) this and this. She gasped, totally cracked up, and we made it through the rest of the afternoon without losing it.

Was it wrong to show my MIL pictures like that? Or was it more odd that I knew they would make her laugh.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Happy, Happy Joy, Joy it's ICLW time!

It's time for bloggy fun...wooohoooo. I really do love ICLW and I hope I do a lot better this month than I did last month. If you are reading this and asking "what the hell is ICLW?", click here to find out. Go ahead...read it and come on back for the fun.

I was looking for a fun way to start out this week and, once again, I found it at Sunday Stealing. This is the first half of a 50 question meme. If I get bored later this week, I might do the second half...or, maybe not.

The Fabulous 50 Meme, Part 1

1. Introduce yourself... I'm Kristin, as y'all know. I'm an artist, a wife, a mom, a friend, a sister, and much more. I am faithful friend and will happily kick someone's ass if they hurt someone I love. I'm a geek and a nerd and have a very whacked out sense of humor.
2. If it’s Wednesday at noon, where are you usually? During the school year, I will be picking Gabe up from preschool every Wednesday at noon.
3. What kind of laundry detergent do you use? Ummm, usually Sun Detergent
4. What brand of shampoo is in your shower right now? Tresemme shampoo and conditioner for dry hair
5. Did you ever get into a bar and drink before you were 21? Yup
6. What countries have you been to? Taiwan, Germany, Sweden, Italy, Venezuela, Dutch (Netherland) Antilles, Switzerland
7. Do you watch MTV anymore? Nope
8. What do you think about Oprah? She is a brilliant business woman and I admire what she's done with her life.
9. What color are your bed sheets? cream with stripes
10. You need a new pair of jeans: what store do you go to first? Avenue
11. Did you ever watch The O.C.? Never have
12. What kind of car do you drive? 2000 Plymouth Grand Voyager
13. Honestly, is that car insured? Absolutely
14. Do you like sushi? Love it!
15. Have you ever been to Tiffany & Co. or Saks 5th Ave? nope
a little
17. Do you like roller coasters? Yes, yes, yes...my current fave is the Nighthawk at Carowinds. Sadly, it is currently closed for repairs.
18. What magazine(s) do you buy regularly or subscribe to? I regularly buy or subscribe to Just Cross Stitch and many quilting, crocheting, and knitting mags.
19. Do you remember the WB show “Popular”? Vaguely, I never watched it.
20. When you go out do you prefer to go to a dance club or to a bar? Dance club! My hubby and I use to love to dance before he blew out his knee
21. What do you think about gay marriage? I absolutely 100% think it should be legalized.
22. Who do you think Obama will run again and, if he does, will he be re-elected? I do think he will run again and I believe he will be re-elected. A sitting president has to truly fuck up badly to not get re-elected. Despite my many disagreements with his policy decisions, I do not believe Obama has screwed up that badly.
23. Are you registered to vote? Absolutely!
24. Do you own an iPod? No, I have a Philips mp3 player.
25. Is your bathroom filled with beauty stuff? Not filled but I do have a fair number of beauty supplies.

So, are there any other random questions you want to ask me? Feel free and if I get enough fun ones, I'll put up a question and answer post later this week. Also, if you join in the fun and decide to do this meme, please let me know.


PS...check back later this week for a double giveaway

Friday, August 20, 2010

It was a mistake.

Thursday was hard. I spent the afternoon helping my MIL put together her wrongful death complaint against the hospital my FIL died in. We edited the letter she wrote and then went through the copious pages of medical records. I was wrong when I guessed in my previous post about the cause of death but the mistake that killed him is so obvious and it is documented right there in the records. I hope they will settle out of court as it is a clear cut case of a mistake made. My MIL's family doc looked at this records and said "Ruth, they killed him." Have you ever heard a doc say that about a medical case?

I came home totally drained and wasn't much better today. I can only imagine how she must feel.

BlogHer10 Photo Post - Last Day In New York

Even though BlogHer10 had officially ended on Saturday the 7th, I had one more day. On Sunday morning, we had one last *A.L.I. get together. There were so many wonderful women there. I hesitate to try and name them all because I don't want to leave someone out and upset them. Here are a few of the pics from that get together...

the lovely Dora and her daughter Sunshine
sporting her Baby Blogger t

the fabulous Calliope and her son W
sporting his Baby of the Internets t

Mel's back, Tessa's (I think) back,
and the amazing Lori

Reed with his mom Lori

Dora's Sunshine with Aunt Becky and her mommy Dora

me, Aunt Becky, and Dora with Sunshine

Dora's Sunshine with The Daver
After our A.L.I. get together wrapped up, Dora, Sunshine, and I took off for a little bit of sight seeing. We ate at a nice little hamburger place (loved the onion rings) that I can't remember the name of (what's it called Dora?). and then headed over to wander through FAO Schwartz. When Miss Sunshine started getting tired, Dora headed home for the evening and I hung out until it was time for me to catch a cab to the bus station. Here's teh rest of the day...

one of my favorite New York building pics

the doorman at FAO Schwartz

Dora wearing a Harry Potter wizard's hat at FAO Schwartz
sadly, I didn't notice until now that the straw
appears to be going up her nose

me wearing the Sorting Hat...
which house do you think it put me in?

sailors in New York

on the way to the bus

saying good bye to the city

*Adoption, Loss, and Infertility

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Aug. 19th ~ Day of Hope

Day of Hope: "A day to give, a day to remember, a day to speak out. All children are miracles." Take a moment to go over and read about this day and what it means. Today, I am posting in memory of my little Eva and the other 7 babies I lost. I remember and celebrate Adam Michael Seip and Bridgitt Kelly. I remember and celebrate the lives so many of you have conceived but never got to hold. Please add a thought or a name in the comments.

EdenFantasys Review: Pearl Lotus by Cal Exotics NSFW

I'm a lucky, lucky girl because I get to review another goody for the wonderful folks at Eden Fantasys. Yes, I have another chance to try out a brand new adult toy and all I had to do in return was review it and give my honest opinion to you my loyal readers. The only compensation I received for this review with the gift of the toy I'm reviewing.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Tomorrow, I get to use two skills together that I haven't had to use together in a long time...my medical knowledge and my writing and editing ability. Tomorrow, those skills mean I have to revisit a day almost 2 years past. Tomorrow, I am helping my mother-in-law gather the final information she needs and proof reading what she wrote so she can file an official complaint regarding my father-in-law's death.

See, he didn't have to die. He had surgery for cancer and they got it all. It was such a clean removal that he wasn't even going to need chemo or radiation. He had been given a clean bill of health and the doc expected him to live for years. But, two things happened that shouldn't have happened. For two days, when he was stuck in a hospital bed, they forgot to put his *compression stockings on and, less than an hour before he died, his nurse insisted on giving him a shot of insulin despite his blood sugar being below 90 and despite the fact that both of them questioned it. When he died, he died so quickly. If I had to bet on it, I would almost guarantee he threw a clot...probably a pulmonary embolism. When that happens, the person is usually lost immediately. Because my MIL didn't have an autopsy done, we can't say without a doubt what caused him to die so suddenly and that very likely means this complaint won't go anywhere. But, in my heart of hearts and in my medically oriented brain, I know it shouldn't have happened. Sigifredo Cruz-Vega should still be here today.

Tomorrow...I'm not sure I want it to come...but it will and I will because I owe it to him.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

BlogHer10 Photo Post - Day 3

This is gonna be a long post y'all. I have a bunch of pics and I don't really want to split it into two groups so YOU MUST SUFFER....bwahahahahahahaha! BTW, all the pics are clickable and the larger pic opens in it's own window.

me with the Jimmy Dean sun...
the Rachel Ray show was here later in the day

Rys, Chef Jill Houk, me...
she is an incredibly cool lady

Rys, Ronald McDonald, me
This next picture isn't the best one in the bunch but it is one of the most important pictures I took. Like I said before (I think cause I'm too lazy to go check), the sessions and meeting people were the most important part of BlogHer10 for me. And, this session was the key moment of the whole conference for me. All the lovely people you see in the picture below have gone through some sort of immense tragedy in their life and, in some cases, the whole story actually played out online. These people are some of the most courageous people I've had the pleasure of meeting. They got up there and talked about some incredibly painful things and talked about how the community we've built helped get them through it. They confirmed one thing I have felt for a long time. You people out there, those of you I've laughed with and cried with and celebrated with and loved with, you aren't my friends who live in the computer. You are plain and simply MY FRIENDS...no qualifiers needed, no other explanations given. I don't care if we've met a bunch of times or we've only talked online. The internet has changed the way we meet and make friends and, I for one am thankful.

Cecily Kellogg, Loralee Choate, Kim Trimble and Anissa and Peter Mayhew
the panel from the Grief, Loss, Tragedy,
and Community on the Internet

These next pictures are from the parties that went on that final night...

me at the Eden Fantasys party...
click on the pic if you want to see our arts and crafts project

The arts and crafts projects Rys and I made
at the Eden Fantasys party

me and Rys with Snape

Rys, Vader, me

the Sparklecorn Cake from Charm City Cakes

lots of people I don't know dancing at Sparklecorn

me, Tonya,and Rys lounging on a bed near the dance floor
at CheeseburgHer...don't you love our hats

the lovely Amy and Rhonda from Southern Fried Snark

you know it's time to call it a night when the Dark Lord
is bandaged and stretched out on a bed at CheeseburgHer

Tune in tomorrow for my final picture post from BlogHer.

My Protest

*A heads up that this post contains words and slurs that are objectionable because I am talking about how they should be stricken from use.

I posted yesterday about an abuse of language and a mistreatment of people that is going on during the Toronto mayoral campaign. I was so upset by the story of what was going on that I was moved to email all those involved. Here's the letter...
For shame gentlemen!

I know in this modern era that political campaigns often devolve into mud slinging battles but HOW DARE YOU center your campaign around a word that is so hurtful to so many. What word and behavior am I talking about? I'm talking about Mr. Ford using the word retarded to refer to someone being so shortsighted as to not see the obvious. I am talking about Mr. Smitherman's total lack of judgment in plastering Mr. Ford's quote across website with electronic postcards. And, I am talking about the feeding frenzy that the media seems to be indulging in, pictures and all, without regard to the minority that word hurts. For so many years, people with mental disabilities have been devalued, disregarded, and ignored. We make adjustments (but not as many as we should) to structures and rules so people with physical disabilities can be active members of society. We strike words like spic and wetback and nigger (yes, the dreaded n-word) from our language because they are derogatory and hurtful to minorities who are valued members of society. But, we can't stop using the word retarded as an insult? What does that say to society about the value of these people?

I'm not black. I'm not physically handicapped. I'm not a repressed minority of any type. I'm not even a resident of Toronto or Canada. Despite this, I am standing up for the rights of the mentally handicapped. I'm demanding that you, Mr. Ford, stop using this term as an insult. You are asking the people of Toronto to trust you to run their city. Show your intelligence by using words that appropriately describe a situation, not words that demoralize a part of your constituency that you should be protecting. And, Mr. Smitherman, stop using this as a campaign tactic right now. Sure, it makes Mr. Ford out to be less of a decent person but, in doing so, you are hurting the very people you are pretending to be offended for. And, media members, stop giving this juvenile slugfest more of a life than it should have. If you must report on this insanity, at least have the decency to refer to it as the r word and DO NOT show any more of those electronic postcards. When this term is bandied about to insult others, you are perpetuating the repression of the mentally handicapped and you are continuing to devalue their voice. I speak up for these people because it is simply the right thing to do. I hope, if I am ever in a similar situation, someone might do the same for me.

Kristin Cruz
******** St.
Cary, NC *****
Sadly, only one of the three people (Mr. Ford) this letter was addressed to has bothered to respond respond. And, while Mr. Ford did take the time to respond, he doesn't seem to get the fact that it is his misuse of the language that precipitated this debacle and says "Please don't let my political opponents convince you that this means I have anything but respect and empathy for people with disabilities." Furthermore, he doesn't bother to say he will stop using the word retarded as an insult and only says "If you were offended by my comments, I apologize." In my opinion it is a half-assed response to a situation that deserves so much more.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Perfect Moment Monday: a blast from the past

Lori over at Weebles Wobblog says that "Perfect Moment Monday is more about noticing a perfect moment than about creating one. Perfect moments can be momentous or ordinary or somewhere in between."

I recently got to travel through the wayback machine and, thanks to facebook, reconnected with a bunch of people I went to elementary school an junior high with. And, as fun as seeing all the pics of me from elementary school was, the pics were not the perfect moment. The perfect moment was a message I got as a result of reconnecting with these classmates. The message was...
Hey Kristin,
I was really happy to see you on FB and humbled when you sent me a friend request.
I was such a little jerk to you and have thought about that often.
I have raised two daughters and realized (been Taught) how things said by another child can be taken hard.
You look GREAT and so happy.
I deeply apologize for being THAT jerk on the bus. I hope you can forgive me one day.
I think it takes a lot of guts and a lot of insight to come forward so many years later and recognize your childhood behavior for what it was. This guy has grown into a fine man and I'm proud to count him as a friend. Getting this message just made my day.

Go check out the other perfect moments at this week's Perfect Moment Monday on Weebles Wobblog.
By the way, please take a moment to read my previous post. It covers something that is really important.

Outrage OutLoud

Dave Hingsburger of Rolling Around In My Head has a very important post up. I am going to quote the whole thing here but, if you feel moved to either repost or take action as he asks, I am going to ask that you GO LET HIM KNOW.

Warning: This post will be using a quote that includes the 'r' word. It is done only for the purposes of information and without the intent of promulgating the use of the word.

Toronto is less safe for people with intellectual disabilities now that people with disabilities are being defamed as part of the mayoralty campaign. I was innocently watching the news when a poster filled the screen. The poster had a picture of candidate Rob Ford beside a word bubble which said: You’d have to be retarded if you can’t see frickin’ water in front of you. I was brought up short. My heart started to pound and my teeth clenched. The 'R' word has a profound and negative impact on me emotionally.

I've always hated that word, or rather, the use of that word in hateful ways for the purpose of devaluing others. It's a word that is an attack on who people with intellectual disabilities are as individuals and an attack on the minority constituency to which they belong. It's a word that is outrageously harmful and it is used, no matter what people say, with full knowledge and intent. That the word hurts others has also been clearly stated by people with intellectual disabilities themselves, by their families and by the organizations that provide them support. This is not news.

At Vita Community Living Services, we were issued a challenge by our self advocate group. We were asked what we were going to do to make the community safer, to make the community a place where they could go without fear of hearing the 'r' word tossed about. We responded by creating a campaign wherein we distributed the words hit cards to all our members and all our staff, eventually we distributed them to self advocate groups and organizations around the world. We wanted to actively engage those who used the word. Further we developed a version of the card for Gay Pride where we marched for the first time. Our goal was both to confront those who use the word as well as to begin to build unity with other groups who have experienced negative taunts out of the mouths of bigots.

Then comes the campaign for the mayor's seat and because we live in modern times the discussion and debate has become nasty. The George Smitherman camp has decided to use words out of the mouth of candidate Rob Ford to bring him down. As such they created a website with electronic postcards that contain various quotes from the public record said by Rob Ford on various issues. One of the quotes uses the word 'retarded' in reference to signage. This campaign was everywhere. I saw it in the newspapers, I saw it on television, I easily found it on the web. I actually sent the electronic postcard to Manuela, Vita's Executive Director, both so she could see it as well as to find out how easy it is to simply forward this kind of hateful stuff onwards - it's easy.

I was angered.

At Rob Ford for using the word in this manner.

At George Smitherman for choosing this quote to highlight and as a result making the 'r' word so visible, so public, so accessible.

I was angered.

By the media for not bringing a disability perspective to the story. I can't imagine the media, had another word been used to disparage another minority, not interviewing or speaking to spokespeople wounded or damaged by that word.

I think Ford and Smitherman and even the Toronto media believe that we are a passive minority that might be offended but that will be silent. I think that all of us who have justifiable outrage at Ford's use of the word and Smitherman's promulgation of the word will simply shake our heads and go quietly away.

No more silence.

I immediately wrote both Ford and Smitherman. I demanded that Ford apologize for his use of the word and that he 'take the pledge' not to use the word again in that manner. I demanded that Smitherman take that electronic postcard off the site, apologize for choosing that quote and 'take the pledge'. I, of course, have heard nothing back from either side.

Here's where you come into the picture. I have a large daily readership. Many of you are faithful commenters. I would like you to take just five minutes from your day and contact both Ford and Smitherman and if you have time also a note to City Television which has a popular news programme here in Toronto. I'd also ask that you leave a comment here in the comment section to let me know that you've done this. It's a lot to ask. But we have to start using the muscle of our numbers and the motivation of our anger to make our voices heard. Don't worry if you are from outside of Toronto or outside of Canada, the international movement against the 'r word' needs to been seen, felt and most importantly heard. I have this wonderful image of those of you who live in parts of the world that are reading this just after publishing at midnight here in Toronto immediately writing letters, I imagine the Ford and Smitherman people openning their emails in the morning to discover international outrage. I imagine and I hope.

For those of you who have a personal blog, disability themed or not, who are looking for something to blog about, please join in and maybe we can blogswarm this topic. It's inappropriate for public figures to speak disparagingly of any member of the disability community. If you do blog about this, put the link in the comments so we can all visit and get a sense of the length and breadth of our community.

Here's how you get in touch:

Rob Ford who used the word:

Campaign Address
245 Dixon Road
Toronto, Ontario
M9P 3T4

Phone: 416.628.8576

E-mail: rob@robfordformayor.ca

The George Smitherman Campaign who is distributing the quote containing the word:

70 The Esplanade, Suite 201
Toronto, ON
M5E 1R2

T. 416.342.9674

E. info@georgesmitherman.ca

To a media outlet in Toronto:


The world needs to be made safe for all - and we are finally realizing that we are part of 'all'.

Thanks 'y'all' for reading, for writing, for protesting, for expressing outrage.

Outrage OutLoud!
I know many of you may wonder why the issue of disabled people's rights is so important to me. Well, there are a lot of reasons. First of all, my brother-in-law has muscular dystrophy. When I think of rights like accessibility, I think of him. And, I have many friends and relatives that are considered a part of a minority. I would be raging if there was a political campaign that used a derogatory slang term for a minority so publicly. Why should I be any more accepting of a campaign that uses a name, a word, that is hurtful to a mentally disabled minority? If this issue affects you in any way, please consider contacting this narrow minded politicians and letting them know how wrong they are...and, once you've done that, let Dave know too.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

BlogHer10 Photo Post - Day 2 lunch onward

Here's the second half of the shitload of pictures I took on Day 2 of BlogHer...

After lunch with the lovely ALI ladies, I managed to meet up with one character I had missed earlier, the Pillsbury Doughboy.

me with the Pillsbury Doughboy
And, being completely addicted to pictures, I couldn't resist taking a few pictures out my hotel window. Looking out my window on the 20th floor, I caught site of something on the roof of a nearby building that intrigued me. The first picture is without zoom and the second is zoomed in on my little point and shoot camera...

the circle part is in the picture below

roof top gardens
Look at those two roof top gardens. Aren't they gorgeous? I can only guess how much something like that costs in New York. I took these pics when I stopped over in my room on the way upstairs to meet the lovely and talented and very funny, Cecily Kellogg.

me with Cecily of Uppercase Woman

I wish I had pictures of the sessions for you but, the pictures I took just don't convey the impact and power and humor of the sessions I went to. So, the next pics I have are during the Voices of the Year Gala on Friday. There was an extensive gallery (maybe I should say galleries) of the artwork inspired by the Voices of the Year nominees and there was a ton of activities...fabulous balloons, places we could create artwork with others, a photographer taking amazing pics with a vintage polaroid camera.

Rys and the balloons

Rys adding to the artwork

wonder if there is a story behind this...
and, boy do I hope the owner found this gorgeous shoe

part of a long row of pedal cab drivers dressed
up like Mario...outside of the hotel

they wore their Tutus for Tanner all day

Rys and me at the Gala
Thank you for indulging me and taking a peak at my pics. I honestly planned on finishing this up by today but I have two more days of pics to share.