Sunday, April 30, 2006

Shame on me!

Good lord, get the second comment, aka diatribe, regarding the post below. 20 hail Mary's for me.

Regardless of me saying I was Mexican-American or not, my points still stand. And, claiming I was Mexican-American did what it was supposed to do, make the xenophobes feel bad about attacking a group of people on a public board. Sure I could have chimed in as myself, but would those people have felt bad about their comments, unlikely. Would I do it again, ya I would. Why, because doing so brought about the reaction I intended it to.

Have you ever been around someone who says something inflammatory about an ethnicity, or race, and there's one person in the group who is exactly the sort of person being flamed? What happens when that person speaks up and says, "Hey, I'm...(insert ethnicity or race) and I don't appreciate your comments." ?

Now take that same situation but this time a person just like the person making the comments says something like, "Hey, dude, that's not cool." Which reaction is likely to have an impact? Ya, that's what I thought.

Two more things dear lurker, if you're going to invest so much time thinking about me and my sins, at least sign you name--otherwise, you're a coward. And if you don't have the balls to sign your name, you have no right to say "Shame on you for saying you're something that you're not" cause, well.. you, you can't even say who you are.

P.S. Don't you dare tell me what my intentions were, you don't know me. " You were trying to stir up trouble, much to your protestation to the contrary. If you weren't, you would not have lied out of the gate."

Friday, April 28, 2006

Interactions with the other side

Update:Since I posted the below post, there has been an eruption of sorts. When I first posted to the "Day without a Mexican" thread there were about 15 posts, it's now at 60 and that's all it will be because the Babycenter locked the thread because two very vocal sets up people started to chime-in, really more like gong-in--it got ugly. Since it's been locked, I've been receiving emails from women thanking me for my words. Ahh, a days job of rebel rousing, for a good cause, is done. :)

ow that I’ve joined the legions of soon-to-be-mother-hood I've discovered the amazingly informative and sometimes scary web culture of parenting and pregnancy. The majority of my time is spent on BabyCenter’s August birth board, which consists of a bunch of women all due to deliver in August, posting and answering each other's questions.

Sometimes the topics can cause serious knock-down-drag-out online fights. I’ve learned that the topics of breast feeding and circumcision are the most controversial and I stay away from them. I’m not one to balk a controversy, but those topics, to me, are boring--I’m pretty set on doing both and don’t really care to debate the topics.

One posted topic that has me really riled, and it’s not even a topic on the August board, rather it’s from the April board is this:

“Is anyone else concerned about "a day without a Mexican?"

Some of the comments have been very xenophobic and full of hate. I felt compelled to respond and doing so caused quite a stir. I fibbed and said I was Mexican-American because I thought presenting an 'e-face' of the 'enemy' would make some of these people think twice about their tone. I’m so glad I did. I think my comments brought forward a women who might have otherwise been scared to declare that her husband is an illegal immigrant ( Poster8)!

Me I'm lurking from another board and just wanted to say that as a Mexican-American I am sort of offended by not only the title of this thread but some of the comments. Here's my beef:
1. It's not a day without a Mexican, it's a day without a Latino/a--many of whom come from many other countries in Latin American, not just Mexico.
2. As a nation we are very lucky that illegal immigrants and migrant workers do the jobs they do. Without them you'd be paying very high rates from the nice fruits and vegetables you eat, pay more to have your lawn fixed up, house cleaned, baby watched, etc. Case in point: In Washington state, the government actually sends buses down to the border to pick up Mexicans willing to be seasonal workers during apple season. You know those nice apples from Washington state we all love? Well you can thank an 'illegal' migrant worker for them, and the US government for keeping our produce costs down by ulitlizing their labor.
3. The US has a border maintenance problem but that's our problem and our fault and I don't really think we can blame people who are hungry and need to support their families for seeking out a better life. I think that as expectant mothers we probably understand this dilemma . Wouldn't you risk being 'illegal' if it meant you could feed your family? I know I would.
4. My final point: Isn't the fact that some people are worried about how this day of protest will impact them a clear example of just how important the Latino community is to our economy and daily life?
I'm not trying to stir up trouble but I just wanted to present a different view point.
Thanks for listening, Cristina

Poster1: My induction is scheduled for May 1st, and I know that a lot of the local restaraunts are closing down because there will be no one to work. I'm worried that there will be riots or something because of how hot this topic is in my town. I'm also worried about the hospital staff not showing up. Obviously the doctors and nurses will be there, but I don't know how many of the other positions may be taking the day off to protest. It's not just the illegals, there are many legal people who agree with them that are protesting too.

Poster2: I'm all for a lifetime without illegals personally. We're flooded with them here in Michigan too.

Poster3: Ticks me off we pay for illegals healthcare bills (im in Texas, so I know ALL about illegals), but honest hard working people who are here b/c our govt allowed them to be, cannot even get help. They need to fix this dam* border problem or just close it off for good. I'm so tired of all the drama and complaints from people who will possibly lose their jobs to illegals who will work for less money....

Poster4: I know... I didn't want to get into my opinions on this because I get so worked up, but I totally agree with you guys. It just makes me mad that this is something I have to worry about on the day I have my baby. I feel so overprotective of her on top of feeling angry that these people think they have the right to protest. Not something I really want to be dealing with.

Poster5: If illegal mexicans (and other nationalities) were not here to pick our apples I am quit sure that our own citizens would be willing to do it. What the heck do you think we did BEFORE we got flooded by illegal immigrants? Just starve? Did we let the apples and cherries rot off the vine? Poster 6: I would GLADLY pay extra to have those apples picked by legal citizens. (and I mow my own lawn and take care of my own kids thank you.) Then we wouldn't have to pay for all of the government programs that dish out to illegals. It would all equal up in the end. Oh and I wouldn't have to hear the option to press one for English, two for Spanish everytime I make a phone call to a company. I only wish that while the illegals are protesting that the government would step in with busses and take every last one out of my country.

ME: Wow such vehement dislike of migrant workers. How many of us on this board are Native Americans? I'm guessing not very many which means most of us have ancestors who were immigrants. Regarding seasonal crops and willingness to pay more for them. THat's all well and good but part of the reason this labor pool is used is because our products are exported to Asia the global market is very competitive. I think you'd be surprised to know that the reason the government uses illegal immigrants to pick apples and other crops is because it's necessary to keep the farmers in business. Our economy depends on exporting many of these products to Asia and the competition between the US products and other nations products is fierce. The US can offer the best rates for these exports because the migrant labor is so inexpensive. Our economy would seriously suffer if we were no longer able to export our products because of the high prices needed to pay American nationals who would surley demand higher wages--migrant workers do not earn minimum wage, they earn less and it would be illegal to American nationals the rate illegal immigrants recieve.

Poster 6: Like I said in an earlier post, I'm a legal immigrant from Canada and to legally come here on my visa I paid over $1000 US and then on top of that, once I got here I had to pay another $500Us or so for paper work. Recently I had my green card re-newed and it cost me another $200. When I hear of people being here illegally and not paying these fees it makes me upset. Also, I pay taxes as well. Do they? I had to get a workers SSN to get my drivers license. That's about $200 so I can drive legally. Can you see why it would upset people who go about it the right way. Oh, and not all apples are picked by migrant workers.

ME I completely understand the money issue and I agree it is a huge financial burden for not only our nation but for the people who come here legally. I am not disputing that it needs to be fixed and that it is unfair. All I'm asking for is a bit of compassion and empathy for these people who are very poor and an acknowledgement that our nation can not survive without immigrant labor. I'm sure there are other people who pick apples and other produce, but I've never seen them and can imagine it's a very small percentage of the population, which is why the government condones the use of illegal workers for harvesting. I've spent time on major farms and I have yet to see an American national picking. This is grueling work and I can't imagine only the most desperate of people would do it. Many of these crops are harvested 24/7 using flood lights at night to pick. Cristina

Poster 8: My husband, who just fathered my beautiful baby boy, is here illegally. He came from Mexico. Before he came, he earned a degree in Industrial Engineering. He tried to get a visa, and they gave him a 2 week one as a visitor. He couldn’t get anything other kind because his family isn't rich. Yes, that's how it works in Mexico. So, he came here illegally and of course can't use his education. Instead he works a manual labor job to support us. And he makes about 3x more than he would in Mexico using his degree. We have been trying to get his visa through me, his natural born American citizen, for over 2 years now. We aren't even anywhere close to getting it. Even when we do get our appt, he can get a 10 year bar to the country. So, that effects me, too. My son and I (both "Americans") will have to leave the country, too, to be with Dad. Why does this process have to be so complicated? My husband pays his taxes every year, and is a good person to be here. (don't forget that illegal immigrants still have taxes, social security and Medicare taken out of their checks and they 'll most likely never be able to use the social security). also, as far as the jobs no one wants... look at who is cleaning up New Orleans? the majority of them is not the residents that were living there. All of those ppl are still living in apts and hotels that FEMA is paying for, using food stamps and all the other services provided free by the government. And I'm sure that most of the same ppl are not working! Yet, the ppl cleaning up the area, risking their health, are the illegals! but they're taking the jobs that other ppl want?! the the mayor of New Orleans still has the nerve to say he wants to make sure that the city returns to being "chocolate"! And he didn't get any heat for saying it! Why, because he was only talking about the Mexicans! If a white or black were to say that comment about someone else, there would be he*l to pay. as for May 1, it's the equivalent of labor day in Mexico. that's why that day was chosen. it' the day to let the gov't know what a person would like changed, etc. According to what I've heard on the news, if a person wants to protest, they are suppose to ask for the day off, not just skip work! one pp said it was a cheap way to get out of work. I have to disagree since they won't be getting paid and are going to be out protesting!Remember this all started when congress was trying to pass laws, one including that it could be a felony to have an illegal alien your presence. This protest, in my opinion, is just to get the message across that the illegal aliens are not just ppl that don't matter and that value less than us (as I can see that some ppl on this board think). They are all individuals that came here with a dream. Each and every one had a reason to come here, to make life better. And they do make a difference here in the US and our daily lifes. My husband for example came here to be able to send money to his parents. His dad had a stroke and he still sends money to buy medication.Please don't let some high school students protest, who don't evne know what they're protesting, taint the true message that is trying to be sent by the ppl who are trying to protest the right way and the right message.
Tami, proud mommy to my Mexican-American baby, Noah
Poster 9: I am not going to get into the arguments about the topic, but if anyone is interested in what the day is all about, there is a movie called A Day Without a Mexican that came out in 2004 that might shed some light on the topic. Also, ALL Latinos/as will be participating in the marches - not only "illigals." please remember you don't know who is on the other side of the computer, so no matter which side of the issue you are on, please be nice! (Also, don't forget this board is not just used by Americans, so we are representing America here. There are a lot of ppl here from other countries, too!).

Monday, April 24, 2006

The Finest Brasserie in Boston

Living on a graduate student's stipend does not mean gourmet is out of the question.

This is the way we do fancy tower food in our house. We call this Refuse Ratatouille, or Plat de Poubelle in it's traditional form. Just a few orange peels, some mashed tomatoes, grape vines and egg shells and you can have yourself a picnic as pleasant as this picture, table cloth not included.

Bon Appetit!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

My hump, my lumpy bumpy hump!

Thanks for the very appropriate song, Black Eyed Peas, the song for which this entry is titled after.

If ever you were vain, narcissistic or just loved to photograph yourself, then pregnancy will really suit you. See... it's like this---My body... my god, is this my body?

It's just really amazingly strange to have a person inside you and one who is serious about making you know when he's awake and ready to jump around.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

High Fashion Photo Shoot

I'm happy to say I've been selected as the new spokes model for the sexy new "Quality" stove you see to the left of each frame. Because there's nothing sexier than a pregnant lady cooking.

A Very Special Place

I'd like to share some of the things that make my 'day job' so very special. After all, it is the world's most prestigious research institute, so super duper special-ness is a given. But please read this list anyway because my 'list of specials' points out very specific specialities, some that might even impress you.

Out my large office window is a courtyard with a lovely tree with birds mating in it. I can also see the people in the offices bordering the courtyard, including the gent who rocks himself back and forth in his chair like a metronome. He only stops to take a bite or drink of something. I've been here since 8:30 this morning and it's now 1:00, he hasn't stopped.

The simplest technology is apparently beyond the brains here. For instance indoor plumbing (flushing) is just a waste of time.

Personal space is not really personal. Slamming into pregnant ladies as you race up the stairs, or standing so close to the person in front of you so that you blow dry her hair with your mouth air is okay.

Ice cream spells a WHOPEE good time! Apparently a really great way to get people together is to have an ice cream social. I'm sorry did I miss something? Is this 1950? Isn't ice cream socializing a bit, uhm... juvenile and outdated? What’s next--sock hops?

5. If you want to make a fashion statement, your choices are pretty limited.
a. Wear high heels with anything you have on, even sweats.
b. Go barefoot for that special 'I might be a nerd but I'm a radical nerd' look.
c. Wear flip-flops all-day, everyday, even in blizzards.
d. Grow your facial hair like Rasputin.
e. If you want people to know you're sexually liberated wear the widely available T-shirt from the Coop which instructs you to 'Love your beaver.'

* Note: Talking to yourself while wearing any of the above fashions will not make you appear to be any smarter than you are or more of a fashionista--self-talk is the norm.

If you see a pregnant lady, be afraid, very afraid. In fact, avert your eyes, her gaze will melt you.

Did I mention I have 83 days left of work, including weekends?

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Thanks Terry Tate, Subway Linebacker!

You, a man riding the subway at rush hour, have a seat.
A pregnant gal gets on but there are no seats left so she stands and braces herself as the train lurches through the bowels of the city.
You, like many of your fellow subway riders, pasty and dorky in your Lands End coats and toting cheap brief cases, are hard pressed to offer her your seat. I mean come on, it's like 5:00 and you worked hard to get that seat. You just avert your eyes and pretend you don't notice.
Then, a very large, very tough looking black man smiles at the pregnant lady, noticing her bump.
He also kindly points out the seat behind her that's free but as she turns, someone grabs it.
The man looks down at you and all the other lame excuses for men.
He waits.
Nothing happens.
Then something does happen. This man channels the powers of Terry Tate Office Linebacker.
He, in a very stern yet quiet voice ( a voice implying pain cake was ready to be served) says "Which of you gentlemen is going to give this pregnant lady your seat?"
You all look up to see this man glower at you. You act surprised and taken off-guard because you can see the pain cake candles in his eyes.
You get up, pregnant gal sits down, and Terry Tate gets off at the next stop.

Thanks Terry Tate Subway Linebacker!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Humpty Dumpty Versus Chyna

I volunteered at the MSPCA animal shelter last Sunday. Good times walking dogs and holding cats. Such good times in fact that the staff there decided I'd be a good candidate for walking the dogs that are off limits to volunteers because they either have behavior issues or haven't been evaluated by a dog whisperer. Of course I agreed, gleefully in fact.

"How about you take the Siberian Husky or the Pit-bull?"
"Sure thing" says me.

Chyna, the pit-bull ( I should have figured out sooner why this dog is called Chyna), was a force to be reckoned with. The cute whimpering behind the cage, it was just an act.

We leash up and away, I mean AWAY AT HIGH SPEEDS we go. Mind you, I'm sort of front heavy and a little tippy in a humpty dumpty sort of way. This made restraining, or attempting to restrain, Chyna a challenge at best.

I decide there is no way I was going to be able to walk this dog so I took her into the dog run, where there were lots of toys and room to gallop about. About this time, a volunteer walked by with two pit bulls from the 'safe-to-be-walked-by-volunteers' category--this is when things got a little, uhm... exciting.

Chyna, like a wrestler trying to psyche out her opponent, started to race back and forth while throwing herself against the fence--she added some growling for effect. The other two dogs were unfazed and the volunteer was a mindless foolio. I had to yell at her and tell her to get her dogs out of sight.

Chyna then proceeded to add mauling a deflated soccer ball and jumping all over me for the extra special tough finale.

A more 'seasoned' volunteer walked by, one who had also been recruited to walk the 'staff-only dogs', and let me know that it was really nice that I was walking Chyna because she was going to be put to sleep because she can't be adopted because she's so out of control.

After our fun time in the dog run, Chyna was nice enough to pull me up a flight of stairs on our way in--I needed that help, so thanks Chyna. In her cage she went and off I went to ask the 'staff' what the deal was with this dog.

"Ya, she's pretty dangerous. She's actually getting worse."

Hmm. Things I would have liked to know ahead of time.

On the other hand, I got to walk some very lovely pooches. There was Zeus the rotund German Shepard, and Ella the retired Greyhound from a Florida dog track.