Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Follicular-ly Challenged

I found out the hard way that my eyelash curler was broken . . . when it sheared off several of my eyelashes down to the root. (Oh Revlon, you will PAY!) My husband and friends claim they couldn’t tell if I didn’t point it out, but that hasn’t stopped me from feeling like that guy who got really drunk at the frat party and had one of his eyebrows shaved off after he passed out. >>
Except that guy can at least blame someone else for how ridiculous he looks. To compliment this new look, I’m also sporting the most vicious cowlick you’ve ever seen on the back of my head (more like a permanent part, actually), made more obvious by my new short haircut. After having seen that god-awful TV miniseries Tin Man (based on The Wizard of Oz), I can’t help but think of Alan Cumming’s character Glitch’s “haircut” (yes, that's a zipper).

Rebuilding Together

Rebuilding Together is a national nonprofit whose mission is to preserve affordable housing by bringing volunteers and communities together to rehabilitate the homes of low-income homeowners. I have a big soft spot in my heart for this organization because Matt and I became involved with them very early on in our relationship, back when we were living in Pasadena. It meant a lot to me to be able to help out the family whose house we were working on, but it also provided a window into Matt’s character, giving me one of the first clues that he was “a keeper.”

The Ventura affiliate of RT will be working on a project in Simi Valley on Saturday, May 3rd. Matt and I will have his sister visiting from out of town that weekend, so it’s not likely I’ll be able to participate in that project as I’d hoped, but I thought I’d pass on the information in case anyone else local would be interested in getting involved. The person to contact for details is:

509 Daily Drive
Camarillo, CA 93010
Office: 805.492.1054
Fax: 805.230.2825

ALSO, if you don’t live in the Ventura County, California area but are still interested in doing something like this, check out RT’s website to search for an affiliate chapter in your area (they have over 200 affiliate offices nationwide).

Each RT branch works in conjunction with local sponsors to gain funding for supplies, but they have also established some high-profile national partnerships as well. For instance, they recently joined up with HGTV to work on their “Change the World” campaign, which you can read more about at HGTV’s website.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


This month marks the 5th anniversary of the war and genocide in Darfur, Sudan. WKPCC (FM 89.3) will be running related stories all day.

Steven Spielberg, someone clearly sensitive to the issue of genocide (see Schindler’s List), is one of many who have decided to boycott the 2008 Summer Olympics in Bejing (he was to be the artistic director) because China is a leading partner/customer of the Sudanese oil industry. China’s partnership fuels the genocide financially - in essence, condoning it - and the Chinese government has done nothing to speak out against or intervene in the atrocities. Those outraged by China’s complicity are labeling the 2008 Summer Olympics - “The Genocide Olympics.” You can learn more about this at

I knew about the crisis in Darfur through my activities in Amnesty International (see what they have to say about Darfur), but I became more informed and felt more personally connected when I read an amazing book by David Eggers called What is the What a couple of months back that tells the story of one of the Lost Boys of Sudan - Valentino Achak Deng. It’s at once sobering and outrage-inspiring, yet heartwarming and funny - a book that changes you. (Thanks again to JP Gutuierrez for letting me borrow his copy.)

If you'd like to read more books related to human rights issues (both non-fiction and fiction), check out the blog for Amnesty International Chapter 22 Rights Readers book club group I used to participate in when I lived in Pasadena. It provides a list of books they've read and are planning to read; additional information about the authors, related actions, and events; and updates about the issues discussed in the books.

Here are Eggers and Deng talking about Darfur:

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Freedom Writers

“Each month, members of Amnesty International USA’s Freedom Writers Network take action on three selected human rights cases. Action by you can help bring about a prisoner’s release, secure vital information, launch an investigation, or even save a life. . . . [W]e’ve provided a sample letter for each case.

You can print the sample letters as they are, or you can use them as guides for composing your own correspondence. Please mail each of your letters to the address at the top of the sample letter, and send a copy of each letter to the embassy (or other) address at the bottom. For the greatest impact, letters should be polite in tone and mailed within the month.”

This is an EASY way to help fight human rights injustices around the world on a regular basis. We all have time for something like this.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

VOTE!!! (a non-partisan plea)

If you live in one of the 24 states holding a primary election today, get out there and vote!