from my recent Xblog post:
“I was at lunch with a friend last week and she asked me what I’d been writing lately, and did I have any recent publications? Rather sheepishly, I told her that I’d been investing most of my creative energy into writing for blogs. And I haven’t had much left over time for writing stories, poetry, or academic articles.”
–eating a salad w/fresh lettuce from my neighbor’s garden. gifted over the fence between us, with an accompanying smile because we don’t speak the same language
–CatGirl’s super-orgnanized studiousness, including color-coded notecards for each subject
–GameBoy’s cello audition going well, and his placement at FIRST CHAIR in the school orchestra after 2 weeks of concerted practicing
–knowing that I am surrounded by friends who care deeply about the fate of my immortal soul
–taking the car into the shop and exiting with a bill of less than $50
–a trim of my bangs, so I can see the world again
–wearing my brown oxford shoes. because it’s fall now
–the leftover cornbread that I am about to eat, drizzled with fresh honey from Logan
The second in my series of letters to companies that I patronize, asking them about their labor and environmental practices:
Dear Lands’ End:
I’ve been a customer of your products for many years. The quality of your products are unrivaled in the clothing industry, which I greatly appreciate!
However, I am curious about the places where your clothes are manufactured. For example, I recently bought a polo shirt that was made in Malaysia. What efforts do you make to ensure that the workers you use are paid a fair wage? Also, what efforts do you make to ensure that the fibers used in your clothing are farmed in an environmentally-responsible manner? These issues are important to me, and may affect my future clothing purchases.
Dear Ms. R—:
Thank you for sharing your concerns with us about the welfare of the employees who manufacture our products. We require all our suppliers, foreign and domestic, to follow our Standards of Business Conduct. It is posted on our Web site. You can find this by clicking on the “About Us” link on the bottom of our homepage and then clicking on the “Our Business Standards” link.
Compliance with these standards is a condition for becoming and remaining a Lands’ End business partner. In addition, we use the services of an independent agency to monitor our suppliers.
Lands’ End is also committed to being a good steward of the environment. We take special care in selecting partners who share our concern for the environment and adhere to their local and national laws regarding the protection and preservation of the environment.
Once again, thank you for sharing your concerns and for giving us the opportunity to respond.
I like how explicitly Lands’ End states their company’s policies in their Business Standards. Though I’m still not satisfied about their environmental choices–following local and national laws isn’t proactive enough to satisfy me. However, I will probably continue to patronize Lands’ End because it seems environmentally responsible that a pair of their pants will last my kids 5 times as long as a pair from Target.
If you would like to send a similar letter to Lands’ End, you can contact their customer service reps here: firstname.lastname@example.org
Last night I lost a friend to complications from breast cancer. She was a loyal friend, a Mormon historian, and an avid gardener. She and I met in an LDS writer’s group a few years ago. We shared a lot, including some deep thoughts about living with a disability and cancer. She wrote me about two weeks ago to tell me that she was ready to die now, a big change from her feelings when she was first diagnosed with terminal cancer.
I won’t get to attend her funeral. I know none of her family members. These roses are for her.
A neighbor just rang the bell. When I answered it I saw a huge bundle of rosemary in his arms. He explained that he he had more clippings than he could use, and thought I would enjoy some.
Rosemary, the herb of love and remembrance, is steeped in thousands of years of myth and tradition, known to have been used for magic, healing, and seasoning since the beginnings of recorded history.
The herb was originally carried to funerals simply as a protector against infection. It soon became customary, however, for mourners to drop sprigs of it onto the coffin as a promise that they would not forget the deceased.
pray, love, remember.”
Ok, so I’ve long contemplated doing something like this to my prosthetic leg. However, I’m not much of a flames and skulls gal. I haven’t come up with any other icons that seemed worth inscribing on my leg. I once read of a girl amputee who wore brightly-colored iridescent stockings on hers, as a way of thumbing her nose at the blandly tan look.
For awhile I wore my leg without ‘skin’–all of my computerized innards showing. This look wasn’t entirely comfortable for me, though. Not only were there many stares, but it was painful to cross my legs and the metal bits wore out my clothes on odd places (not to mention the fact that pants simply don’t hang right on a pylon leg).
Hmmm…it’s like the difficulty of picking a tattoo–how can one choose an image that represents onself, and be assured that this wouldn’t change over time? Even if I were to pick something pretty universal–a peace sign or such–I’m not sure that I’d want to advertise my beliefs/values this way. [Note: the one exception to this is that I’ve started ‘stickering’ my crutches–putting stickers on them from all the places that they’ve traveled with me. They’re sporting Chinese Airlines and Roanoke Island stickers these days]
So if you were me, would you ‘pimp your gimp’? If so, how?
Well, GameBoy attended his first school dance on Friday (it was a pretty casual affair–just two hours of fun and music after school let out). Though he told me that the boys don’t really dance, they play ping-pong and foosball in the multi-purpose room to pass the time, when I picked him up from the dance he told me he had really danced. Just a few songs. With a group of friends. Of course I couldn’t help but thinking of my little dancing boy, the one who could really get a groove on–usually wearing only winnie-the-pooh underpants, his tap shoes, and a cowboy hat–well I imagine that his dancing was a bit more subdued at this event, but it still pleases me to know that my son is growing up and having such novel experiences.
When he was getting out of the car when we got home, he told me his legs were really sore:
“Because I didn’t sit down the whole time, Mom…I was socializing.”
I thought of my own years at such dances: the awkwardness, the many return trips to the punch & cookies table, ridiculous party decorations to make the school gym look ‘festive,’ the thrill of heading out to the dance floor and the accompanying fear that I would make a fool of myself as I danced, and desperately ensuring that I was surrounded by friends–the constant vigilance to make sure I was never alone and looking like a wallflower. And, yes, the familiar ache in my legs afterwards. From so many hours on my feet.
After he got home from the dance he let us know that he had an 8 pm appointment to play World of Warcraft with a buddy.
I think my baby boy is growing up and getting a social life.
1. getting decent disability insurance
2. rum allergies
3. sexual harassment from that fancy new bosun
4. irritable bowel syndrome
5. finding one-legged pants that won’t make your hips look too broad
[can I just add, speaking from personal experience, how difficult #5 can be]
If you are sitting at the kitchen table with the windows open, realizing that the Santa Ana winds have just started blowing, and knowing what this means (as in, that’s why you haven’t been able to breathe through your nose for the past 2 days, and that’s why, when you were making copies of the syllabus for class tomorrow that you started dry-coughing so hard you couldn’t finish your conversation with the other people waiting in line for the copy machine), and you are eating a chile & cheese tamale for lunch, wondering why when you’ve finally found the perfect tank top with built-in underwire size-D bra, that it insists in slipping up around your midsection when you layer it under cotton shirts and then your pants, which are really just too slightly low-cut for anyone with a genetic propensity to a paunchy belly, well they are showing a bit too much skin and underwear lines because of the scrunchiness of said tank top, well if that is you, then can I tell you that the perfect music for you to be listening to just at this moment is Poe’s “5 1/2 Minute Hallway.” Just in case you needed to know that.
FYI for my regular blogreaders: CatGirl and GameBoy are the new aliases of the pilgrimkids formerly known as E & C. :)
Not much else to say except that THE GRADES ARE IN (thus, summer teaching responsibilities are officially over). Meaning, that I now have 1.2 days of summer left to enjoy before school starts again. woohoo.
I want to make sure that the companies that I trust are doing their best to support environmental farming and fair labor practices. To this end, I am writing letters to these companies when I find their products/practices questionable. Here’s the first entry from my letter writing campaign…
Dear Trader Joe’s:
I often buy your frozen edamame (soybeans). I noticed recently that they are a product of China. Why do you buy soybeans from China? How do you ensure that these soybeans are grown in an environmentally responsible manner? How do you ensure that the workers who pick and process the soybeans are paid a fair wage?
Dear Ms. R—:
We understand your concerns with some of our products coming from China. Whenever possible, Trader Joe’s will try to source our produce from growers in the United States. However, often times domestic produce farmers cannot supply us in the amounts that we need and at the prices we are looking for. That is when we will source out products from China and other countries.
All the produce that Trader Joe’s sells from China is grown in accordance with all current USDA regulations. Moreover, the vendors that we deal with are U.S. companies who have farms located in China; they have complete control and regulation of the standards of these farms and follow Good Agricultural Practices. Please be assured that all Trader Joe’s produce is of the highest quality and meets all USDA regulatory standards for food safety.
I like this response, but I will follow up with a letter to address the labor issue. My respondent sidestepped this issue entirely in her reply. Also, I’m not sure that USDA standards are high enough for my satisfaction.
FYI, if you want to mail a similar query to Trader Joe’s, their address is:
P.O. Box 5049
Monrovia, CA 91017-7149
Blowin’ in the Wind
Photo by John
A photo from last week’s Huntington Beach Procession of Light. To commemorate the initiation of Ghandi’s passive resistance movement and to memorialize 9/11, a local group of religious leaders and lay people marched down HB Pier with these banners and with a peace lamp. A lovely way to spend a Sunday evening.
Note the blue headscarf of the Muslim woman carrying the reddish banner, the flowing white robes of the Methodist pastor and the yamulke of the Jewish rabbi on the right.