Sunday, September 28, 2008

Purr Baby
The contents of this website are mine personally as usual do not have anything to do with the US government, the Peace Corps, or Romania, and therefore do not reflect any official position thereof.

I've been thinking for weeks what should my next blog post be about? How hard I'm working on this gingerbread castle project? My other "secret projects" none of you know about? How surreal my life sometimes is? The pictures I saw of Hurricane Ivan and how it made me feel? More about the problems in my country? What I'm thinking for the future - after Peace Corps? The Supernatural Marathon weekend I just had with two Peace Corps friends that involved Chinese food, delivery pizza, potato chips, coca-cola and the Winchester brothers Seasons 1 & 2?

As I debated in my mind I recalled I wanted to post on September 18th - the day we celebrate Bella's Birthday. The one year anniversary of the day Bella came to me. We celebrated with a whole packet of Whiskas Supreme Sardine cat food, and I toasted her with hot coffee. To one year together and many more.

I would post a picture of how big my baby's gotten, but for the time being my camera is being repaired in Bucharest and I don't have it here, so you'll just have to me due with this kind of cute old picture.
In the meantime Bella and I have been at odds lately. Last week I hosted a family of couch-surfers , a mom, a dad, and their 8month old baby boy for three nights. Bella seemed to be both interested and afraid of Baby and seemed to have fun playing with the other members of the family. Her personal space and patterns of sleeping were invaded I thought minimally, and even though everyone of the visitors warmly appreciated Bella I still tried to give her as near the same amount of attention I would normally.

However, when visitors left on Friday evening Bella, I guess decided to tell me exactly what she though about me inviting overnight guests into her apartment: She took a dump on my bed.
This is an unusual turn of events for Bella. I punished her with a time out in the kitchen and much later made sure she had some "mommy time" to know I wasn't still mad at her and hadn't abandoned her.

Then my weekend-guests arrived and the Supernatural Marathon did commence and once again, the guests appreciated and enjoyed playing with Bella and aside from two more people sleeping in the apartment than usual, I thought Bella's daily interactions changed very little. ALthough I did notice her scratching herself much more frequently when our first guests were here. I announced that Bella needed a bath. That her itching was worrying to me although she couldn't have gotten fleas because she's never outside. A joke was made that the couple with the baby brought fleas to my cat. I commented that that would be some trick because I think you'd have to go through a lot of specific actions or troubles to bring fleas inside to someone you knew would have a cat.

Well the itching increased and Sunday morning after my fellow Supernatural fans departed Bella got her bath. I was concernedly drying her and in fact picking newly discovered parasites of some kind off her skin when I smelled it...She rewarded me for my weekend guests in the same way she appreciated the couch surfers!

I don't know what's going on here, but my cat has fleas and has taken to crapping on my bed. This is worrisome behavior for a cat that is coming to the USA with me someday and is going to have to learn how to cope when "mommy" gets a job and is hopefully out of the house from 8-5 regularly.

In the meantime, she's had her flea bath and I can go pick up some emergency medication against fleas on her body hopefully tomorrow. The only explaination of how I think she could have gotten them is that flea eggs survive in my apartment - and necessity has forced me to be somewhat OK with that. I tried to wash one of the cushions Bella's been so fond of sleeping on lately but whether or not the washer actually washes things with water is touch and go - so when I pulled the washers contents out dry earlier I said "let that be a worry for another day."

Since my tools for cleaning the carpets is a broom and I beat and washed these rugs already this year, there's not much that's going to be done there, and since I have actually zero disposable income - i.e. income not already budgeted for something else, it's going to be a hard sight to see how we swing this flea medication. In the meantime I'm sleeping in my dish-soap cleaned bed because it takes two-days for the sheets to dry on the line if the machine uses water so usually I only wash them when I'm going away for a while. Besides Bella has done so much sleeping on me or with me that there's no way I could claim avoiding exposure for flea eggs and a massive laundry overall would just be too little too late.

The best I can do I figure is bathe her again if she continues to scratch, find a way to pay for the medication that will kill all hatching fleas on her for a number of months, and pray I don't get fleas myself .... until I do, I guess I have to be Ok with that.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Something productive with my anger...
The contents of this website are mine personally as usual do not have anything to do with the US government, the Peace Corps, or Romania, and therefore do not reflect any official position thereof.

I have just been told by the Republican Party that my country doesn’t value me; doesn’t want me anymore; thinks people like me suck.

Imagine finding that out after dedicating three years of your life to volunteering in her name.

Apparently this RNC was all about touting the values of people from small towns. I am from a small town: population 10,000, so you would think I would score there. But apparently, as I have been told before, I don’t have any values. The last Republican National Convention 9/11fest was in New York City, because that’s small town America for you. However this year, only “real” people from small towns in America count. But not me.

I’ve volunteered for 1 year in Americorps, for three months on the Gulf Coast and so far a year and a half in the Peace Corps, and this experience has taught me that I want to go back to school. I want to be a Community Organizer and work in underprivileged areas in the U.S., to start my own nonprofit and help the poor help themselves but Republicans tell me this is a joke and waste of time.

Also, I can’t be a patriotic person because I have always believed that loving your country is trying to improve it. I shouldn’t have been trying my damnedest to “ask not what my country can do for me…,” instead I should have been going along with the status quo and never let anyone say anything negative about my homeland.

I worked for minimum wage out of college – less than 20 hours a week which was considered full time by the company I worked for – but I found a way to use my money to send care packages to anonymous soldiers I didn’t even know because I may hate the war but I support the troops. This doesn’t make me patriotic, though. Hell, I’ve practically committed treason by showing dislike for the war my country is engaged in and expressing that opinion to the very soldiers I support.

And because I think my country could do things better than the way it is doing them now, I am anti-American.

I didn’t just attend church, but enjoyed going to church in my community in Minnesota before I left the country. I miss being involved in Bible study, volunteering for summer Sunday school and serving pancakes at Churches United for the Homeless. But I believe that Faith is belief in things for which we have no evidence and if a new thought can shake your faith it probably wasn’t very strong to begin with – so my textbooks don’t need disclaimers, and therefore I’m anti-God.

In fact, I’m so anti-God, I’m willing to listen to what other people believe and not tell them their wrong. I think that even though I have faith in one thing, we should uphold the constitution and not tell everyone they have to believe the same thing as me! That makes me even more anti-faith and anti-American. Because after all why even have faith if not to push it down the throats of others? And being a Christian first and foremost gives you the right to believe you’re better than other people.

I believe that abortion is a very personal, private, individual, moral decision, but – like John McCain believed in 2000 – I believe that if Roe vs. Wade were repealed thousands of young American women would be in danger of death and injury due to illegal and underground abortions. This makes me anti-family, because in a Culture of Life, we don’t value the lives of women who’ve had sex – especially if unmarried or unable to afford a doctor. The wealthy will have a greater chance of affording procedures that won’t leave them butchered or prone to die of infection, but those who were struggling day to day without the prospect of raising a child? Well, they’ll have to take their chances. Should have thought of that before you had sex with limited access to birth control (I’m looking at you South Dakota.)

Because believe that a Culture of Life includes looking out for working and single mothers, working families and people who can’t afford health care; because I thought I remembered Jesus teaching something about “caring for the least of these;” because I remember learning somewhere either in my small town or at my small college that among Christians the people are what make up the church and the people love and care and sacrifice for each other; I’m probably a Socialist and therefore a danger to America.

I hate PG-13 movies because by definition PG-13 movies aren’t allowed to show blood as consequence of gunplay and most PG-13 movies are produced so middle school kids have something to do on dates, but I think there are many good, decent, well-made Rated R films that can teach us about the human condition, so therefore I’m pro-Hollywood, and to be pro-Hollywood is to be pro-gay so add that to list. (Majorly looking forward to the movie Milk, though need it be stated?)

I also don’t believe in traditional marriage and don’t want to get married. In my “traditional family” and in my small town I saw many traditional marriages end in divorce and I really don’t care much for the institution. But that’s because I’m anti-marriage, anti-family and anti-“traditional values” even though I don’t know what you mean by that. If this post hasn’t shown you enough already, every time someone says “traditional,” “American,” “family,” or “our shared” values I stop listening because rarely are they talking about me, my values or my family.

I don’t count because if I don’t believe the same thing as someone else I don’t have values. In fact, I’m beyond that: by valuing diversity, acceptance, pluralism, education, and peace, I am anti-Values. I’m a feminist, vegetarian who supports gun control and wants to be a foster parent someday. I’m one step away from being the Anti-Christ.

Is it any wonder I feel alienated from my country?

Any wonder why I can’t automatically parrot-chirp Yes, when asked if I’m proud to be an American?

I’m not proud of being called names, I can tell you that.

The Republicans have made it quite clear that Patriotic America has no use for people like me.

But I will not surrender my country so easily. All though it is hard, I have to forge ahead and make a place for myself there – no matter how demoralized I am and tired I am of being told that I have no values.

I know that I have worthwhile values. I know that I am a worthwhile American. And no one is going to take my country from me like this. If they think the U.S. will be better off when the people like me all leave – they can make me. Just as soon as I get back.