Friday, July 31, 2009


CA Governor Eliminates State Funding to Domestic Violence Programs

Lives of Domestic Violence Victims and their Children Endangered


NOTE - this action alert is for CALIFORNIA RESIDENTS ONLY!

Not from CA? Click here to join our mailing list so you can stay informed

July 28, 2009—Governor Schwarzenegger line item vetoed the Department of Public Health’s Domestic Violence Program, which provides $20.4 million for 94 domestic violence shelters and centers.

Domestic violence shelters are often the only thing standing between victims and grave physical danger, and California’s communities cannot sustain their loss.

Services provided by these agencies include emergency shelter, transitional housing, legal advocacy, assistance with restraining orders, counseling and other vital support services.

“We are appalled to see the Governor eliminate funding to vital programs that save lives,” said Tara Shabazz, Executive Director of The California Partnership to End Domestic Violence (CPEDV). “State funding to domestic violence programs has been proven to save lives, and also millions of dollars in health care, law enforcement and other social costs. It is fiscally irresponsible to propose such cuts; the Governor is balancing the budget on the backs of our state’s most vulnerable citizens.”

“If the Governor’s budget cuts are allowed to stand, victims will not have a place to turn for help and lives will inevitably be lost.”

ACT NOW!! Click here to urge California lawmakers to REINSTATE FUNDING for these life-saving programs.


painting of man in a chair supporting a globe


- Irina Ratushinskaya, USSR
(trans. David McDuff)

Above my half of the world
The comets spread their tails.
In my half of the century
Half the world looks me in the eye.
In my hemisphere he wind's blowing,
There are feasts of plague without end.
But a searchlight shines in our faces,
And effaces the touch of death.
And our madness retreats from us,
And our sadnesses pass through us,
And we stand in the midst of our fates,
Setting our shoulders against the plague.
We shall hold it back with our selves,
We shall stride through the nightmare.
It will not go further than us - don't be afraid
On the other side of the globe!

Aint' I A Woman! A Book of Woman's poetry
From Around the World
, Edited by Illona Linthwaite

Thursday, July 30, 2009

birds flying in red and gold sunset
- Daisy Yamora, Nicaragua
(trans. James Black, Bernardo
Garcia-Pandavenes, & Cliff Ross)

One day the fields will be forever green
and the earth will be black, sweet and moist.
Our children will grow tall on her
and the children of our children.

And they will be as free as the trees
and the birds of the wilderness.

Each morning they will wake in the joy of having life
and will know that the earth was reconqured for them.
One day . . .

Today we plough the parched fields
but each furrow is soaked with blood.

Aint' I A Woman! A Book of Woman's poetry
From Around the World
, Edited by Illona Linthwaite

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


I found a website with some amazing pictures, but I can not post any, so I've given you a link. I urge you to go look. It's called FREAKING NEWS, and these are apparently the results of a Photoshop contest. Please, enjoy.


graduate in cap and gown turned away from McDonalds for having a masters degree instead of Phd.What makes you think I'm depressed?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Does any one else hear Woody Guthrie songs playing in the background?

My goal was to have a job as a teacher by the end of this month. You may remember that I went back to school and turned my many years as a reading and literacy tutor into a brand spankin' new Education Specialist Credential. This was supposedly a solid career choice. As always, my timing is impeccable.

At this point I'd be happy for a job interview before the end of the month.

Does anybody know what an:
  • AA in English
  • BA in English education, (with student teaching exp.)
  • Education Specialist teaching credential, and
  • Many years of experience tutoring: literacy, reading, and English (a little math as well)
can be used for besides teaching?


abstract green ribbons flow down from sky
- Wendy Poussard, Australia

Rugged up for winter snow
you have put your bodies
where your hearts are . . .
against the gates and
under the wheels of war.
Today the missiles came
to Greenham Common.
We saw it in the papers
and wept for you.
You are our elder sisters,
making the time kindly
to send us greeting as
you beat against the storm.
Like you we sit
on the doorstep of the world's end
and will not look away.
The people long to know
something is indestructible.
It may be only you.

Greenham Common Women's Peace Camp (1981 - 2000)

I had never head of the Greenham protest until I read this poem. Wasn't it in Greece, where the women boycotted (sex) for the end of the Pelopennesian war?

This one goes out to all our sisters who are on the front lines, risking far more than disapproval.
It seems that when we women aren't distracted by our myriad differences, we can be quite formidable.

  • A dynamic state in which combined action is favored over the sum of individual component actions.
  • Behavior of whole systems unpredicted by the behavior of their parts taken separately.

Aint' I A Woman! A Book of Woman's poetry From Around the World, Edited by Illona Linthwaite

Monday, July 27, 2009


This one reminds me of the scene in Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, where the firemen go into the woman's house to destroy her books and she chooses to die rather than give them up. She couldn't stop the firemen's overt actions, but by claiming her agency, she subverted their power over her and ultimately planted seeds of discord and doubt. (Boy, do I sound like an English teacher!) My husband always says that she is me. I'd like to think that I was that brave, but ...

c g flames


- Katherine Gallagher
(for Anna Akhmatova)

A woman sits in a corner of sun
tracing a poem. Slowly
she is woven into it like the day
as smells of burning
carry her outside.

There, soldiers and jailers
are blocking the street,

books are being burnt—
thousands of words collapsing
in on each other. Suddenly
she sees her own fate,
her fellow-poet is taken
leaving her only silence.

She goes back to continue the poem:
it will go on for twenty years

islanded in her head
and Russia will remember her
as a lover
waiting for the ice-walls to break,
for her hermit’s cry
to be carried like fire
from hand to hand.

Aint' I A Woman! A Book of Woman's poetry From Around the World, Edited by Illona Linthwaite


Unemployed stuff to do list. 1. make list 2. cross off number one

Sunday, July 26, 2009


- Teresita Fernandez, Cuba

In an old worn out basin
I planted violets for you
blue and white petunias in broken pot
and down by the river
with an empty seashell

I found you a firefly.
In a broken bottle

I kept a seashell for you
and coiled over that rusty fence

the coral snake flowered
just for you.
Cockroach wing

carried to the anthill:
that's how I want them to take me
to the cemetery when I die.
Garbage dump, garbage dump
where nobody wants to look
but if the moon comes out
your tin cans will shine.
If you put a bit of love
into ugly things
you'll see that your sadness
will begin to change color.

Aint' I A Woman! A Book of Woman's poetry From Around the World, Edited by Illona Linthwaite


dog had blog but went back to pointless barking


I realize that my actual audience is minuscule, and that is fine. I want you to know I appreciate each and every one of you. But I confess, occasionally I wonder why I continue. The only reason I ever come up with, is that I really enjoy it. And, like my poetry, even if no one else ever reads what I write, that's enough.

I'd like to share with you intrepid few, a little something I found on The Daily Dish, from blog scholar Scott Rosenberg:
(The emphasis is my own)

"A blog lets you define yourself, whereas on a social network you are more likely to be defined by others. [...] A blog lets you raise your voice without asking anyone's permission, and no one is in a position to tell you to shut up. It is, as the journalism scholar Jay Rosen puts it, "a little First Amendment machine," an engine of free speech operating powerfully at a fulcrum-point between individual autonomy and the pressures of the group. Blogging uniquely straddles the acts of writing and reading; it can be private and public, solitary and gregarious, in ratios that each practitioner sets for himself. It is hardly the only way to project yourself onto the Web, and today it is no longer the easiest way. But it remains the most interesting way. Nothing else so richly combines the invitation to speak your mind with the opportunity to mix it up with other minds."
Shakespeare thinking to blog or not to blogWhen I open my blog page, I feel at home. It is a comfortable place where I can share some of the things inside of me. I make full disclosure here no more than I would in a classroom or on the job. That's only common sense.

My thought here is that I am using reading and writing skills, as well as research skills and critical thinking. I am also building technical skills.

There are plenty of voices warning us to keep our kids away from the internet with its snares and pitfalls. But I think teaching them of its wonders and potential is a better way. For educators, it is a wonderful, barely tapped tool to both capture and expand the imaginations of our students. We can use it to teach the aforementioned skills, along with responsibility and making good choices.

Saturday, July 25, 2009


Heddy Lamar as Delilah with Sampson
- Carole E. Gregory, USA

Dear Sampson,
I put your hair
in a jar
by the pear tree
near the well.
I've been thinkin'
over what I done
and still don't think
God gave you
all that strength
for you to kill
my people.

Love - Delilah

Aint' I A Woman! A Book of Woman's poetry From Around the World, Edited by Illona Linthwaite

Friday, July 24, 2009

Childhood ...

path through the woods


- Elaine Feinstein, UK

Your old hat hurts me, and those black

fat raisins you liked to press into
my palm from your soft heavy hand:
I see you staggering back up the path
with sacks of potatoes from some local farm,
fresh eggs, flowers. Every day I grieve

for your great heart broken and you gone.
You loved to watch the trees. This year
you did not see their Spring.
The sky was freezing over the fen
as on that somewhere secretly appointed day
you beached: cold, white-faced, shivering.

What happened, old bull, my loyal
hoarse-voiced warrior? The hammer
blow that stopped you in your track
and brought you to a hospital monitor
could not destroy your courage
to the end you were
uncowed and unconcerned with pleasing anyone.

I think of you now as once again safely
at my mother's side, the earth as
chosen as a bed, and feel most sorrow for
all that was gentle in
my childhood buried there
already forfeit, now forever lost.

Aint' I A Woman! A Book of Woman's poetry From Around the World, Edited by Illona Linthwaite

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Swine Flue Guidelines ala Snowball

toddler kissing pig snout
Since everyone is concerned about the Swine Flu pandemic sweeping the country, I thought I'd post a site where you can get some information: Bete de Jour. As a hermit, feel that I'm somewhat safe. But you can never be too cautious.

I nicked their picture, as it is exactly the one in my head when I think of Swine Flu.

I confess, I got the link from a site I frequent quite often, called Baroque in Hackney.

Miss Piggy booking photo

IN OTHER NEWS: "Miss Piggy Detained at U.S./Mexico Border"

UPDATE: "Miss Piggy rushed to hospital with flu-like symptoms"

Miss Piggy in red carpet pose

SADLY: "Miss Piggy Dies of Swine Flu"

A true talent, and beauty -
she will be missed by all.

SOME OTHER INFORMATIVE LINKS: The Influenza Pandemic of 1918, CDC US totals,

Monday, July 20, 2009


cat under covers doesn't want to get out of bed
From one of my FAVORITE websites, It can make me laugh when there is absolutely nothing to laugh about. There are tabs for cat lovers, dog lovers, and lots of other stuff. I highly recommend it - especially during IEP season. Stress can kill, and laughter is said to have healing properties. So, have at it.


messy Garage with refrigerator and full of crapI thought it was time I did some housekeeping.

bucket of cleaning suppliescleaning lady with apron, mop, broom, and vacuumI went through all my links to make sure they were still working properly.

A few were not, and some sites had closed.

Those links are now gone.

So if you are missing something, that may be why.

If ever you hit on any of my links that are broken, please, tell me so that I can deal with them.

keyboard in KlingonI will be on the look out for more to share with you: AT, poetry, quotes, literature, SPED current events, ...

If you have suggestions for topics and ideas that will fit in with my 'theme,' by all means, share them.

lit lightbulbI can't make any promises other than that I will do my best.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


This poem is also in Aint' I A Woman! A Book of Woman's poetry From Around the World, Edited by Illona Linthwaite. In fact, this is the poem by Sojurner Truth, that gave it its name. I'm not using the book's version, however. This one has a bit of narration from the poem's origin as a speech that adds to its power.

Aint' I A Woman!

Several ministers attended the second day of the Woman's Rights Convention, and were not shy in voicing their opinion of man's superiority over women. One claimed "superior intellect", one spoke of the "manhood of Christ," and still another referred to the "sin of our first mother." Suddenly, Sojourner Truth rose from her seat in the corner of the church.

Sojurner Truth
"For God's sake, Mrs.Gage, don't let her speak!" half a dozen women whispered loudly, fearing that their cause would be mixed up with Abolition.
Sojourner walked to the podium and slowly took off her sunbonnet. Her six-foot frame towered over the audience. She began to speak in her deep, resonant voice:

"Well, children, where there is so much racket, there must be something out of kilter, I think between the Negroes of the South and the women of the North - all talking about rights - the white men will be in a fix pretty soon. But what's all this talking about?"

Sojourner pointed to one of the ministers. "That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere
. Nobody helps me any best place. And ain't I a woman?"

Sojourner raised herself to her full height. "Look at me! Look at my arm." She bared her right arm and flexed her powerful muscles. "I have plowed, I have planted and I have gathered into barns. And no man could head me. And ain't I a woman?"

"I could work as much, and eat as much as man - when I could get it - and bear the lash as well! And ain't I a woman? I have borne 13 children and seen most of them sold into slavery, and when I cried out with a mother's grief, none but Jesus heard me. And ain't I a woman?"

The women in the audience began to cheer wildly.

She pointed to another minister. "He talks about this thing in the head. What's that t
hey call it?"

"Intellect," whispered a woman nearby.

"That's it, honey. What's intellect got to do with women's rights or black folks' rights? If my cup won't hold but a pint and yours holds a quart, wouldn't you be mean not to let me have my little half-measure full?"

"That little man in black there! He says women can't have as much rights as men. ‘Cause Christ wasn't a woman." She stood with outstretched arms and eyes of fire. "Where did your Christ come from?"

"Where did your Christ come from?", she thundered again. "From God and a Woman! Man had nothing to do with him!"
abolitionist logo, female slave in chains, quote Am I not a sister too
The entire church now roared with deafening applause.

"If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back and get it right-side up again. And now that they are asking to do it the men better let them."


Saturday, July 18, 2009

Ahhhh ...

With temperatures in the triple digits all week, I thought you might appreciate this!

snow covered trees and porch


As I was wandering, I ran across Margaret Atwood's website, O.W. TOAD, and found myself captured by a couple of quotes she has posted. I am not sure what exactly caught me or what they have in common, but I offer them for your consideration.

Interviewer: To what do you attribute your success?
Joan Sutherland: Bloody hard work, Duckie!

Charming villains have always had a decided social advantage over well-meaning people who chew with their mouths open.
— Miss Manners

I adore quotes. I have a stack of 3X5 cards collected through the years, as well as a dedicated file on my computer for current collections. I also have a few quote sites bookmarked, because you never know when they'll come in handy.

In case you're interested: Brainy Quote, The Quotations Page, Quoteland, The Quote Garden

I personally believe we developed language
because of our deep inner need
to complain.

~Jane Wagner

Does it have to be this way?

black and white picture of tree over headstones
Poem Untitled
- Sumangala's mother
(trans. from Pali by Willis Barnstone)

A free woman. At last free!
Free from slavery in the kitchen
where I walked back and forth stained
and squalid among cooking pots.
My brutal husband ranked me lower
than the shade he sat in.
Purged of anger and the body's hunger,
I live in meditation
in my own shade from a broad tree.
I am at ease.

Aint' I A Woman! A Book of Woman's poetry From Around the World, Edited by Illona Linthwaite.
Hey. Sorry for my absence this past week; but when you're a job hunting, newly minted teacher, the window of opportunity is narrow. I was told by a very pleasant woman whom I called for information, that there are as many as a hundred applicants for many positions. I confessed that I really would not like to have her job, and she just sighed.

So as you might guess, after seven years of school work with a 3.9 GPA, and many years of tutoring reading and English - I feel a bit lost. A killer resume and lots of job apps have not even netted me an interview.

Maybe I can wear my degrees and credential, printed on a t-shirt when I work at Walmart.

Any suggestions for fighting the depression that sets in when you finally succeed and accomplish your greatest goals, only to have the world desert you?
Depressed man out of work, called no work by Blanche Grambs

I found a great site with some wonderful depression era artwork. It's called the Depression Art Gallery and this picture is from that site.

I bet you can't guess the name of this picture.

No Work, by Blanche Grambs (1935), and seems to say it all.

Are you sensing a theme in this post?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Happy Monday to all

marble statue of Aphrodite

- Sappho, Greece (6 BC)
(trans. Josephine Balmer)

Lucky bridegroom,
the marriage you have prayed for has come to pass
and the bride you dreamed of is yours . . .

Beautiful bride,
to look at you gives joy; your eyes are like honey,
love flows over your gentle face . . .

has honoured you above all others

Aint' I A Woman! A Book of Woman's poetry From Around the World, Edited by Illona Linthwaite

Saturday, July 11, 2009


ripples in water
I have learned not to worry about love;
but to honor its coming
with all my heart.
To examine all the dark mysteries
of the blood
with headless heed and
to know the rush of feelings
swift and flowing
as water.
The source seems to be
some inexhaustible
within our twin and triple
the new face I turn up
to you
no one else on earth
has ever

- Alice Walker, USA

Aint' I A Woman! A Book of Woman's poetry From Around the World, Edited by Illona Linthwaite

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


smiling woman with thumb up

I should have known this wasn't going off as planned. I had intended to stick faithfully to Aint' I A Woman!, but that is just not happening. It is all in the spirit, though, because my tangents are also poems written by women.

I enjoy a daily side trip to a blog called Baroqueinhackney. It's written by, Katy Evans Bush, a poet in England. (Her professional website is here.) Today she mentioned the gem below, and when I read it I thought I dated that too. My daughter thinks she dated him as well. I think he gets around!

What a wonderful thing it would be if our sisters, our daughters, our mothers, and our students could have that simple self-regard.

To be honest, there were several poems with this name, and she gave no author. But this was the first one I read and I was captivated.

Narrow Escape

- Ruth Walters

He said he liked a clever woman 

not too fat and not too slim. 

She must be fair and have big bosoms, 

never swear or ‘back chat’ him. 

He said she’d have to mind her manners, 

always dress to please and then, 

told her she should never nag him, 

for he couldn’t stand the pain. 

She listened closely as he spoke 

of all his dreams and all his fads 

and then she let him natter on 

while she sat quiet on her hands. 

And when he finally had finished 

and she found her self esteem 

she told him not to call or phone her 

for she didn’t much like him.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


I'm sorry. I just had to break with my plan for today. rice cakes
While reading Broadsheet, I came across a poem by Rebecca Traister I just
HAD to share with you. I'm sure
a lot of us echo her sentiment -

I do not eat rice cakes and salad
I do not eat things bland and pallid
I will not eat yogurt parfait
Life's not about how much I weigh
I don't like crap in place of lunch
When what I crave are taste and crunch (but not rice cakes)
I'll have good pizza, I'll have some sushi
I'll eat a cheeseburger with John Belushi
I'm a chick, there's no doubt of it
But take your Diet Coke and shove it

three pizzasRebecca Traister

Monday, July 6, 2009

This one calls me back, again & again

blue and white bubbles on black background
Nurunnessa Choudhury, Bangladesh
(Trans. by Nurunnessa Choudhury
& Paul Joseph Thompson)

In the clear world
I blew a cage of glass
and hid myself inside.
Like a homely child
I played with words -
special thoughts,
which I would
make, then break,
no -not now - not yet.
The fire of spring
scorched my heart and body.
I achieved awareness
of life's bass and treble notes:
I trapped wonder
and asked:
What is it?
no -not now - not yet.
Then, in darkness,
stormswept, you came.
Next day
I took apart the cage,
smashed the glass
and gave it to the sky:
This was your gift.
I picked up
my faithless heart,
and met the world
with direct gaze.

Oh! Those shameless manners!

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday. We Watched the fireworks with the Boston Pops. It reminded me of watching them while standing next to Niagara Falls, as the beautiful explosions seemed to come from the music itself. A pleasant memory from a long time ago. We switched channels then, and caught Grover and the gang singing. A second fireworks show, and the grandkids were mesmerized.

I continue, now, with another poem from Aint' I A Woman!. This is a powerful collection, echoing the experiences of being a girl/woman, world wide. (But you don't have to be a woman to appreciate it.) I hope you continue to enjoy it.

(Had to laugh at the dates here, along side the sentiment.)


Anna Maria Lenngren, Sweden
Painting of three women in long flowing dresses of eighteenth century

'When I was young,' said Aunt to me,
'Women then, about the year,
Seventeen-thirty, Betty dear,
Dressed in decent linsey woolsey!
No painted faces would one find,
Nor flimsy gowns on womenfolk.
The fairer sex possessed a mind
Of sturdy fabric, like a cloak.
Now all is different in our lives -
Other fabrics, Other mores!
Taffetas, indecent stories
Of young girls as well as wives!
The path of lust they boldly walk;
Shameless manners, daring ways,
Make-up, muslins, daring talk
Go hand-in hand with modern days.'

Forgive me for highlighting the date given in the poem (1730), but does it not seem that some complaints are ageless?

Friday, July 3, 2009

Have a Wonderful 4th and Many Happy Returns

I always loved Fireworks, from as far back as I can remember. What I loved best, though, was not the breathtaking light show, but the all encompassing basso-profundo. Sadly, I can only share a part of that experience with you in my first ever slide show.

On this day, let us remember our history and look to a better future.

On June 25th, I posted a holographic (hand written) copy of the Declaration of Independence and highlighted a bit of text. I also included some links. It's not a long document, but it is a powerful one. And I suggest having a read.


A woman's hands clasped together


- Nancy Morejon, Cuba
(translated by Kathleen Weaver)

My mother had no patio garden
but rocky islands
floating in delicate corals
under the sun.
Her eyes mirrored no clear-edged branch
but countless garrottes.
What days, those days when she ran barefoot
over the whitewash of orphanages,
and didn't laugh
or even see the horizon.
She had no ivory-inlaid bedroom,
no drawing-room with wicker chairs,
and none of that hushed tropical stained-glass.
My mother had the handkerchief and the song
to cradle my body's deepest faith,
and hold her head high,
banished queen -
She gave us her hands, like precious stones,
before the cold remains of the enemy.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


I have several anthologies of poetry written by women. They span centuries and cultures and geography. I love to listen to the differing voices and gaze inward at the myriad pictures they paint.

I am especially drawn to these books when I hear phrases like, "Women are ..." , "Women like .. " or "All women ...". You can fill in those blanks with any number of inanities, that seek to reduce half the world's population into tiny little boxes. In these books, however, no two voices are the same. Each is whole and unto itself, as are we all. (In the interest of full disclosure, I myself, am a woman.)

I decided to embark on a bit of a world tour, on the distaff side that is. So, for a while I will be posting poems from women all over the world.

The anthology I am using is Aint' I A Woman! A Book of Woman's poetry From Around the World, Edited by Illona Linthwaite.

My first offering is from Mahsati, twelfth century, Iran. It was translated from Farsi by Deirdre Lashgari.


Better to live as a rogue and a bum,
a lover all treat as a joke,
to hang out with a crowd of comfortable drunks,
than crouch in a hypocrite's cloak.

Unless you can dance through a common bar,
with a vagabond's step, you're not going to make it.
This is the road of the restless who gamble
their lives; risk yours, or your not going to make it.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


magnifying glass with handle
If you haven't noticed the new widget at the top of the side bar, please take the time to look. It is not elegant, but it is soooooooo cool. AND I DID IT! Well, not by myself.

This widget allows you to change the text size on my blog to suit your needs.

I have been trying to do this since I started the blog, and it has been frustrating. I finally ran across the code on a site called Technology and Code, then had to figure out how to use it. Since I know nothing about programming, what should have been simple, was a major challenge.

I hope my little victory is of assistance to you.

If there are any other changes that would make my site more accessible to you, please let me know in the comments. As a computer illiterate, I can make no promises; but I will endeavor to make accessibility an integral part of my blog balance.