Friday, March 24, 2006

male company will be a pleasant relief in this hothouse of female emotions

I totally fucking adore a good love story. Last night I caught a fav on cable: The Man from Snowy River. It's a not quite oldie, but a goodie. Released in 1982, it's the typical 'boy becomes man while girl becomes woman and nothing will keep them apart even though her father tries' story. But the story is solid, the filming excellent, and the location -- Victoria, Australia -- about as beautiful as it gets.

Perhaps one of the things that draws me to the movie is the gorgeous guy sitting a horse and snapping that long whip. Swinging it in the air 'round his head, you can hear it sing, then he brings it right down low with a loud pop. There's even a scene on the mountain when he is rescuing her, and he drops the handle of his whip down to her, wraps the tight end around his hands, and the scene cuts just as he is pulling her up to safety.

Trivia from imbd:

"The Man From Snowy River" was a poem written by A.B. "Banjo" Patterson, and published in The Bulletin, 26 April 1890. The man from snowy river is immortalized to this day on the Australian $10 note.



Tuesday, March 21, 2006

kudos to rugrat, or I'm one proud mami

Last Friday. Rugrat and two friends, K. and A. are headed to a village a couple of train stops away, to hang with friends. They are supposed to take the 12:15 train home. I get a call about midnight.

Mami, can I take the 1:15 train instead?
Well...K is drunk and passed out, and we can't wake her up. Can I let her sleep an hour, then get her up?
What if you still can't wake her up in an hour? I want you on that train {it's the last train of the night}.
Oh, we'll get her up, if we have to get the guys to carry her.

The conversation continues. It seems that she considered trying to lie to me about what was going on, but in conversation over the phone with her boyfriend (official now), he told her to tell me the truth (yeah, he likes me, lol). Apparently, a lot of her stories over the past year or so have been to protect her friend K, who has a serious drinking problem. I told her I was glad of the truth, cause when she lies, even if it's to help a friend, it makes me trust her less. And that in the long run, she's really not helping that friend at all (which she figured out on her own, my girl did!).

So, I make her stay in touch by phone and let me know when they are on the train, and I'll pick them up at the station. She actually stays in touch this time -- nothing to lie about or avoid, now. Telling the truth is so much less stressful. I pick them up, and rugrat and her friend A. are stone-cold sober. K., however, is a different matter entirely. She is so fucking shitfaced I can see it on her little face. She's a tiny girl, and the booze goes right to her. According to rugrat, she was so bad coming out of the apartment where they were partying, she was literally crawling down the stairs.

So, they all hop into the car, rugrat in front, friends in back. About 30 seconds into the ride, I hear that familiar choking sound coming from the back seat. But the old reflexes are still there, as I hit the brakes and yell open the damned door NOW! She gets the door opened, but damned if she wasn't hanging so far out of the car that she would've fallen out if she hadn't been seatbelted in. We managed to avoid the worst, and wound up with a couple of droplets on the carpet mat. So needless to say, although she lived in our apartment complex, she went home first. And you can bloody well bet that I had her over the next afternoon, hangover and all, to scrub up those droplets. It was all over her, though, so I don't know how her parents could've missed it when they woke up in the morning. Kinda hard to miss the smell in these tiny apartments. But then, her parents have so many problems, they might not even notice this one.

After dropping off K., rugrat and A. and I had a little conversation on the way to take A. home. Yeah, K. has a very rough family history, mom in and out of rehab and losing custody on and off, dad leaving them home alone as preschoolers while he went to work, etc. And we talked about kids who had rough lives who abuse drugs and alcohol, and how it's easy to feel sorry for them, but they have to make, and be responsible for, their own choices. They can't blame others. I even used myself as an example -- I was an angry teen, and drank heavily. But it was my choice, and I can't blame anyone else for my choices. A good lesson, and they were engaged in the discussion, and had a lot of insight to share.

Rugrat has apparently reached her limit of patience with this friend. She said she stopped enabling (my word) K. by no longer covering for her, and she was very hard on her that night, along the lines of get up, we're going now, and if you don't get up, we're leaving you, your dad can come and deal with you, etc.

Then, we drop A. off at her house. Another sad case, her parents died when she was young, and she's been raised ever since by her rather cantankerous grandfather. I have a habit of waiting till kids actually get into the house when I drop them off, before I'll drive away. Keeps the kids honest (no sneaking out on my time), and I know they got home safely. Well, A.'s curfew was 1 AM, but since her granddad turns off his phone at night, she couldn't call him to tell him what happened. He also locked the door, and she doesn't have a key. Can you imagine, a kid not having a key to their own house? He's never given her one. And when she knocked, he actually hid from her and wouldn't open the door. What the hell did the guy expect her to do, sleep on the front porch all fucking night? It was about 10 fucking degrees outside. I just didn't get it. So, I motioned A. back to the car, and brought her home with us to spend the night.

And as we're driving home, I look over at rugrat sitting next to me, and whisper 'do you know how lucky you are to have me for a mom? 'Yeah, I know mami, I love you,' she said with a smile.

Apparently, her friend K. is now angry with her, for 'letting' her drink and not stopping her, and for being 'mean' to her when she was drunk. I thought that might bother rugrat in the light of day, but it seems she truly is fed up with K. Now, I know rugrat's not a saint, she has certainly been experimenting with pot (they call it 'weed' now), and has had a drink or two. But she seems to be making good choices and isn't going overboard or losing control with the pot or booze. The experimenting I can handle, experimenting is actually healthy. As long as it doesn't get out of control as with her friend K. And hell, how much could she have been doing all this time, while she was playing babysitter to keep her friend out of trouble.

What an amazing kid I have, you know?!

(I found this older photo of her at about age 3, in one of her traditional mexican costumes. Just thought I'd share it, in my proud mami moment.)

Thursday, March 16, 2006

womenomics 101, or getting the shaft

An excerpt from an article by Joshua Holland:

"But for all they do to boost the economy, women continue to get the shaft across the American workplace. It's not just the wage gap -- which remains at around 20 percent four decades after equal wages were made the law of the land (According to the AFL-CIO, the average 25 year-old woman will lose almost a half million dollars over her working life). And it's not just the "glass ceiling" (white men make up les than a third of the workforce, but hold almost 95 percent of top corporate positions, women make up 46 percent of the workforce, but hold less than five percent). The real problem facing working women in the U.S. is that we have the most inflexible workplaces in the developed world."


Wednesday, March 15, 2006

they don't want us to know, or it's all political

My dissertation is a secondary data analysis using a Census Bureau dataset. The dataset in question, the Survey of Income and Program Participants (SIPP) was created in the mid-1980's as a way to measure, nationally, income and use of social welfare programs. The SIPP is a series of longitudinal studies that allows researchers to look at how people's income affects use of social programs, and how policy changes to those programs affects the program users, over time. The dataset oversamples for those in poverty to ensure a useful sample for research.

So, much to my surprise -- or perhaps not really much to my surprise -- a message went out recently on the SIPP listserv stating that the current panel would end early, and the dataset would not be continued. That due to federal budget cuts for FY '07, it was decided to eliminate the SIPP completely, rather than reduce all of the Census Bureau's datasets equally. Perhaps some will see this as a budgetary issue, but it is far more than that.

The current ruling regime in this country doesn't want this particular dataset to continue. Why? Because it's the only national one that tracks the effects of social welfare policy changes on the poor in the U.S. By eliminating this national dataset completely, researchers can't, on a national scale, demonstrate the plight of the poor and the need for existing programs. The current regime doesn't want the world to know how cutbacks affect the poor, nor how badly the programs in question are needed. Therefore, discontinue funding for the only thing that keeps the data in front of our faces -- the national dataset. Then the ruling regime can do what the fuck they want, and no one can tell them how bad what they're doing is -- at least not with data to support their suppositions.

This letter to the President says a bit more.

It just never freakin' ends, does it?

photo from the SIPP home page

Friday, March 10, 2006


It's late, almost 11.
Dishes done
floors cleaned, vaccuumed
all the rugrat's odds and ends picked up and in her room
litter box freshly scrubbed
laundry almost done

beautiful sun today
spring breeze
windows opened wide
the smell of fresh, clean air
mingles with the scent
of candles, incense, and fragrant sprays
throughout the little place we call home

soon I'll slip into a bubble bath
scented with a hint of vanilla
a beer to sip as I soak
pampered with a manicure
facial masque
perhaps a complete shave
but perhaps saving that till tomorrow
so there will be no hint of stubblies
when the domly one visits
nothing but the smoothness of
freshly shaved skin
then soothed with moisturizer
also with a hint of vanilla

i'll slide into freshly laundered satin sheets
lay my head down on the satin pillowcase
still with the faint smell of fabric softener
and sleep