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Bird's Blog

Poetry, musings, observations, commentary, rants, confessions...and who knows what else!

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Location: San Francisco Bay Area

Teacher, writer, poet, grandmother, lover, wine-drinker, chocolate eater, beach comber, hiker, traveler, Giants fan, San Franciscan. All work on this blog is copyrighted material.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Men in Dark Robes

I lost yesterday. My daughter lost yesterday.

Men in dark robes told us that our autonomy, our dignity, our well-being is irrelevant. Our primary concern is to be a vessel, no matter the cost.

Men in dark robes made a decision. They decided that the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology doesn’t know what it’s talking about. Science and best medical practices are irrelevant.

Those men in dark robes decided that if in the third trimester of pregnancy, a woman discovers that her much wanted child has severe or fatal anomalies and bearing that child to full term puts her health at risk, possibly jeopardizes her chances of experiencing a healthy pregnancy in the future – that doesn’t matter. She cannot, in consultation with her doctor, her god, her own conscience, choose to save herself, safeguard her health.

The Supreme Court’s ruling doesn’t techinically prevent a woman from getting an abortion in her third trimester. But it does prevent her from getting the safest, possible abortion.

This decision isn’t about the fetus, isn’t about a culture of life, isn’t about protecting women. This decision is about controlling and punishing women.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

How to Spend My Tax Dollars

Dear President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Speaker Pelosi, Senators Boxer and Feinstein, and Congressman Lantos:

This morning, I received the final e-draft of my 2006 tax return from my CPA.

And so I have pulled out my checkbook to write one last check for 2006 taxes. It’s a small amount, all things considered. I don’t mind paying just a bit more before midnight tonight – as it simply means that I had more of my money throughout the year than the U.S. Government.

No, I don’t resent the amount of taxes I pay.

But I do resent what my government sees fit to do with my taxes.

My government spends far too much money on this war in Iraq. Although I am opposed to this war, the President and the Congress saw fit to authorize it and so I am bound to fund it. I am bound also, by the whim and will of my government, to subsidize corporations and wealthy individuals, while at the same time funding social programs (some of which I support, some of which I don't) that are intended to benefit many in our society who are least able to care for themselves, as well as many who simply need a bit of help.

I realize of course that I cannot pick and choose – I cannot say: “I will pay for this, but not that.” Nonetheless, as I have the freedom to express my opinion (regardless of my ability to make my opinion count for anything), I respectfully request you take my specific tax contribution for the year 2006 and apply it to any of the following:

* The purchase and distribution of the appropriate equipment and clothing to our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.
* Cutting-edge and high quality healthcare for soldiers wounded both physically and mentally by wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (including the requisite long-term care many of them will need).
* Reformation of our voting system.
* Government grants for private energy conservation and renewable energy sources research.
* K-12 education (and not the ridiculous NCLB bullshit, if you please).
* Maintenance of our National Parks.
* Universal healthcare.
* Low-interest, post-secondary educational loans and grants to those groups under-represented in college.
* Outreach programs to reach the aforementioned under-represented groups.
* Comprehensive sex education which includes thorough and accurate information on various birth control measures, including Plan B and abortion.

I trust this missive finds you all in good health and hard at work this morning as you grapple with the numerous problems with which our country is faced today.

May God (if she exists and sees fit to do so) bless you and bless the United States of America.



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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Spring Break

I find myself infinitely bored today. Not that I don’t have much to do (note to self: grade 26 papers; study up on double negatives; finalize lesson plans for three classes for the last 5 weeks of the semester; purchase on-clearance sugar and egg-white candy shaped as ducks and chickens, place in microwave with toothpick swords, set on high for 5 minutes and watch the battle; sketch out 6-week summer course; create a plan for rearranging the furniture and post on marker board where it will remain un-noticed and un-followed for at least 6 months before taking it down; locate Monty Python’s Argument Sketch and work into inductive opener for lesson on argumentation; revise & submit syllabi for summer and fall courses; submit summer and fall book orders – ooops – read several books first within the next 24 hrs; re-assess finances and revise budget; finish taxes and write check to the IRS while imagining that my tax dollars are allocated to the National Park System instead of keeping the grossly wealthy wealthy; pretend to research trip to Paris and London; renew commitment to healthy living by planning to walk 4 miles and drink 8 glasses of water each day of the spring break and then work on psyching up to implement the plan; confirm doctor appointment and then neglect to show up; read poetry submissions for campus competition and refrain from writing cryptic and soul-crushing commentary on the submissions; cancel cable TV and sign up for Netflix; call payroll about this month’s paycheck that is half the norm; contact all bill-collectors and forewarn them that this month they will receive less than half the norm; purchase ingredients for Mojitos, make many Mojitos and get drunk), but I am not in the mood to do much of anything at all.

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Friday, April 06, 2007


I don't really quite agree with the vulgarity of the sentiment, and I don't use such language at the ballpark, but I can't help but post this picture of a young punk of a Giants fan.

Giants lost tonight (2-1), but after all, there's always tomorrow - and Sunday! I'll be there - Sunday is my first game of the season. Yeah - it's baseball time again - wippee!


Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Dear John: Thanks for all that awesome sex!

John Billings died the other day. Not many know who he was, but I do. And I truly appreciate him.

Because of John Billings, eggs of mine that I did not care a whit about remained unfertilized. And one egg that I did care about – well it developed into my lovely daughter.

Billings promoted a natural method of birth control that some critics claimed was akin to the rhythm method and barely effective. But a version of Billing’s technique sure worked for me.

Using Billing’s method, a woman observes and charts the changes in her vaginal mucus. That mucus goes through rather noticeable shifts throughout a menstrual cycle.

I used a method called Sympto-Thermal, which along with tracking the changes in mucus also requires you to record your basal temperature every day. Yup – a woman’s temperature when at rest fluctuates throughout her cycle.

For about four years, I kept a daily chart of my observations – tracking the changes in my basal temperature, my mucus, and other physical changes. I became quite adept at analyzing the information and identifying when I was ovulating, when I was about to, and when the coast was clear – those times (brief and fleeting) during which I could make love without the use of birth control and have no fear of getting pregnant when I didn’t want to. And that gave me a certain amount of power. I could decide to abstain from sex, use birth control, or have sex without protection at no risk. I was not a big fan of the pill, IUDs, diaphrams, condoms, or contraceptive jellies and creams, etc. And I liked my sex au natural. But that comes with certain risks I wasn’t always willing to take.

Or, as I did with my daughter, I could also look at the chart and say to my husband, “If we make love today, we’ll probably make a baby. Wanna?”

We did. And my beautiful daughter was conceived.

Observing and charting the changes you go through during a cycle is time-consuming – and you have to be dedicated. But I gained a far more intimate knowledge of my body than I had before, a true understanding of how my cycles functioned – and the ability to decide when, and if, to use birth control.

So thank you John Billings. I’ve had a lot of really awesome sex because of you!

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