Tuesday, November 29, 2005
I did not realize, until yesterday, what
my job is. I have only been able to see the endless files that occupy any empty space, even chairs are not safe from incoming files. I have only been able to see the decorating tragedy known as our wallpaper. I think at one point it aspired to be Jackson Pollock esk- now it's just unfortunate and in the shadowLESS fluorescence- it's just offensive. The insulting wallpaper is not the reason why we don't take victims to the office, we don't take them to the office because it is situated behind the courts. My office is behind a courtroom- and that means that defendants are escorted in and out. That means I am constantly in the very center of judicial action- ALL DAY.
I love it.
The day was supposed to start with the last of training- but that was rescheduled until Thursday. So I meet with my supervisor and in the afternoon I watched trial. Let me begin that it is NOTHING like Law and Order- in fact, L&O doesn't do it justice (ha ha, that's a pun!). I knew a little about jury selection before because we discussed it in training advocates for the rape-crisis hotline. What I did not know was that for a misdemeanor there are 6 jurors instead of 12. The judge did the initial 'education' for everyone and then the attorney's each addressed the prospective jurors. There was one freakshow that refused to swear (or affirm) at the swearing in- becuase he is a "Christian" and "does not follow the law of the land- but the bible." Ok dude- sit down, crazy does get you out of jury duty.
6 are picked 10 minute recess- trial begins.
This is a domestic violence case (duh!) and in Dallas County there are 2 courts soley devoted to hearing DV cases- if that seems like a lot, that's because it is and they stay busy.
The trial begins and the only testimony heard was that of the victim. She was examined, cross-examined, and then re-examined by the state. It is then 5:15 and we're going to end for the day.
When I got to work today, I checked in with the DA's. When the defendant found that his 7 year old daughter was willing to testify- he changed his plea to guilty. Trial over- sentencing is next.
Some background. . . . we (advocates, those that really care about social change and justice) do not necessarily want jail time. Jail does not reform it simply confines. So, probation is often times a better option because not only is it usually around 2 years but it is coupled with BIPP (batterer intervention prevention program). Ultimately this defendant got 270 days (he'll only serve 33 because of credited time already served AND Dallas is so crowded there is 3 to 1 credit for time- you only serve 1 day for every 3 days sentenced) and a $100 fine.
So- what did he do that merits a month in jail and a fine? He choked his spouse hard enough to break blood vessels in her eyes. Slammed her the right side of her head into the front door. Threw her to the ground. Stomped and kicked her. Pulled her hair- some of it out. Left a welp- visible only a few hours after incident- on her face. All this in front of a 13 month old and a 7 year old.
Here's what I think the next movement in Family Violence prosecution ought to be. . . Child abuse charges brought against him as well. Emotional abuse for being exposed to excessive violence. I want to see that if you are going to hit someone- that we recognize the over-reaching effects of violence and get serious about making a stand to ending the cycle. Stopping the cycle of violence my very well begin by scaring batterers into to keeping their fists to them selves.
It's just a thought---
So far- I love this job
Sunday, November 27, 2005
I thought. . . , UNTIL. . .
I thought Marilyn Manson was scary until Big'n'Rich!
I thought Dave Matthews was awesome until John Mayer.
I thought Garfield was funny until Get Fuzzy.
I thought having a pager was cool until the cell phone came along.
I thought pink was this years orange until I found it's green
I though my skin was dry until the intern came in the office all peelin' and shit.
I thought I was having a rough day until I picked up the phone.
I thought I knew you until I read what you wrote.
I thought I had on matching socks until, in the unforgiving fluorescent light, I was wrong--- many shades wrong!
I thought cats were agile, stealthy- if you will, until one fell off the stairs. (Don't worry- no damage)
I thought I had a plan until I gave it up for something that I can't explain.
I thought Sarah McLachlin was 'it' until, Zero7.
I thought you were listening until I had to repeat myself- AGAIN.
I thought the first dress was cute until you tried on the second one- yeah, that's haaaute!
I thought I should strive for independence until I discovered inter-dependence.
I thought I liked to drive until it became expected- now I love it.
I thought I was driving the speed limit (that is so untrue I can't complete it)!
I thought the war was a bad decision- I still do. . . .. ...
I thought infomercial were cool until QVC-- yeah, you too can nap like nobody's business with that on!
I thought that just because something got easier meant that it wouldn't be difficult- until. . . well- it just doesn't work that way. And that's..... ok!
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
7 things I plan to do before I die:
- Run for office.
- Learn another language.
- Be the change I seek to see in the world.
- Be financially stable enough to donate an entire paycheck.
- Forgive myself for all the things I think I 'should' have done or said or been or had or. . .
- Plant something in yard that is mine- a yard that is ours.
7 things I can do:
- Laugh- I can laugh at myself, at you, at anything we think is funny when others don't.
- Think critically- and I don't mean critical as in, uh- what were you thinking when you put that on. I mean- I get it!
- Love- unabashedly.
- Take the stairs.
- Accessorize- from pumps to pictures, from furniture to footwear.
- Type- 47 wpm with 97% accuracy.
- Sleep- ANYWHERE, at anytime!
7 things I cannot do:
- Close the gendered pay gap.
- Leave the house without making the bed.
- Work in a job that doesn't have personal significance.
- Eat meat.
- Whistle- I'm bitter about that.
- Doors- take 'em down!
- Laugh without snorting.
7 things that attract me to another person:
- Fantastic sense of humor.
- A smile- good teeth.
- Kindness- a kind that comes from a seemingly spiritual peace.
- Good taste in music.
- Commitment to a cause, the cause really, my cause.
- Good conversation, it under-rated and uncommon.
7 things I say most often:
- "Dubya Tee Eff?"
- "... and I don't mean maybe!"
- "This ain't my first rodeo."
- "What's not to love?!?"
- "I'm not judging--- I'm finger pointing!"
- "Does that seem right to you?"
7 people I want to do this:
- Kenneth (done)
- Greg (I don't see you participating in enough of these on myspace....)
Thursday, November 17, 2005
Last weekend was a great experience of like- mindedness. Saturday was the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance Conference. It was an awesome collaboration of committed activists that are really taking feminist values to a global level of consciousness (Although I struggle with wanting to fix so many wrongs at home. . .). On our way in, Court and I are welcomed by the friendly group of protestors, again- I can only thank them. Were it not for the protestors there are just so many times I would have wasted time looking for where I was going, but they direct me there every time- awesome!
Then the final plenary speaker was Sarah Weddington
. I'd seen her almost 2 years ago. I find her to be incredibly warm and charming all the while commanding a respect that speaks volumes without saying a word. She is a pinnacle of intelligent candor that I admire and want to model. She is progressive and passionate. She can tell the best stories.
She's on a plane going to or from a speaking engagement. She, of course, has on a pin that has a coat hanger with the circle and red line on it. The flight attendant continues to look at. Finally, the flight attendant asks her, "Excuse me, what do you have against coat hangers?!?" I think this is such a good story because it illustrates that we have come so far from the struggle that many young women don't know or understand the symbolism. It also means that this is something that we have gotten so far from that it is easily taken for granted.
So today was my first day at the DA's office. It was a bit overwhelming but expectedly so- I'll blog it later. So yesterday I met up with Kenneth, I hope I don't fail to tell you Kenneth, just how much I enjoy our time. We grab lunch and some coffee and it never fails to lead to mental masturbation. A diatribe of democratic proportions. Yeah goodtimes. But the moral of the story is: we talked about abortion- no need to worry, Kenneth's not going to have one!
Here's what I think, we think, and what we decided no one knows. Abortion is not about life or death. It sounds crazy, I know- but it's about gendered consequences in a gendered world. It means that when we debate life without the consequences- we loose sight of the fact that that is an argument that just can't be made in a society that does not have gender equity. It's like going to a poker tournament to play Pictionary--- it just doesn't work that way folks.
Sunday, November 13, 2005
I first heard of your commentary
on Friday and really wanted to process how I felt about it before saying:
I know this may seem harsh, not the least of which would be unlady-like but should the time come when I find myself living in Dover, PA your god (that's right- little 'g') will have forsaken me anyway. Unfortunate as that may be- your rationale of the entire city having 'voted' God out of their city seems an inappropriate interpretation. I find this amazingly petty of your god. You and your god may find a better use of time with some of the following suggestions:
*George Stephanopalous caught me up on the 17 newly released dead due to the war in Iraq. Comforting the families of those lost, half of which were my age or younger, would be an excellent allocation of time.
*There are some hateful big potholes on Haskell and Live Oak is an acne scarred adolescent as well. For many, like myself, taking care of my car becomes expensive due to wear and tear.
*Along Gaston, there is that homeless guy that wears the t-shirt that says, "rehab is for quitters," I think he could use a good meal and a coat- it may eventually get cold.
*I can always use help with the litter box. I mean really- it's a shitty job.
*There was a call the other day for a survivor that was sexually assaulted in her home with a shotgun to her head. Home, sex, strangers, guns, night, unfamiliar sounds. . . Well the list goes on of things that unsettle her- she could use comfort. She could use sleep, peace, time, and many other things that many say only you could provide.
*According to the National Enquirer, one of the wolf boys is tragically sick.
I know I'm posting this on Sunday and you and Jesus are busy with requests. I'm patient. Take your time.
So, I hope you consider my list as a start, a jumping off point, if you will.
I appreciate your time in considering needs outside of the perceived crisis in Dover.
Friday, November 11, 2005
So, it was a bittersweet day when I was officially offered the position at the DA's office because as excited as I am to be doing the work, it is so hard to think about leaving where I am. There are so many times I want to give up and find a job that I'm not emotionally married to- it pays better and makes the days easier to let go of when it's just a 'rough day' and not 'the cause' going one further- 'my cause.' I can't begin to count the times I've said- I'm married to the cause, not the agency but the further I get from being there (the closer I get to leaving)- I realize this marriage may be co-dependent. I wonder how long we can be together before one of us buckles under the need for more at the same time- damn near exploding from the pressure of not being enough. I'm uncertain I'll figure out this relationship anytime soon but know that I feel like I've found the place where the work so desperately needs to be done and I can do it (fist in the air).
Courtney and I play this fun game of "ok, tell me three things. . . " It tends to follow bad dates, dissolving relationships, rough days at the office, or any other event that may have ended unfavorably. It's, "ok, tell me three good things that happened" or , "tell me three things that you wouldn't have otherwise gotten to experience." (Everyone needs a friend, a safe friend, that they can process shit with- this is a gift you will ultimately give yourself. Otherwise- getta shrink!)
So here, in all the joy, pain, love, dissatisfaction, truly bittersweet are my three things that I am taking away from TTP.
I am, good, bad, or indifferent- one hell of an advocate. It's about empowerment, not me. It's about resources, not pity. It's about the best decision at the time, nothing else.
I am taking an understanding of what humanity does it its fellow mate that will never cease to color me shocked. All the while- I ain't made atcha- got nothin' but love fuh ya!
I am taking some post-it notes and all the binders that have my training presentations in them. I've already taken 8 stamps. I know, settle down!
Headed north on 75 there is, just before 635, a Grandy's and it's big ugly green sign. There is also a billboard situated close behind- it's a KSKY 660 AM billboard and the entire right side of the board says, "LIBERALS HATE IT!" When you are driving north and you glance up, it looks like: GRANDY'S, LIBERALS HATE IT. It makes me laugh everytime, I'm going to miss my morning insult. I, just like Kenneth
, may never venture north of NW Hwy again.
There are only 2 days left for me as the Volunteer Coordinator.
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
So today brought a fun-filled day of meetings and other. . . (and even I stop listening after that!). I stopped by my alma mater to see one of the neatest professors. . . EVER! I truly appreciated Dr. B, even when I was crying over her page long paper prompts that forced you to produce a 15 page paper overnight. We were discussing the future academic goals of M.I.A. Here's the short story....
Professors aren't doers, they're thinkers. In order to be an academic, you spend your time researching and publishing- not. . . NOT teaching! Who knew!?!? I'm thinking- I'd like to see myself mellow out, become activist-light, teach at a small university, and wear a lot of linen or those perpetually wrinkled broomstick skirts.
Then, I'm uploading pictures and I come across this one and, as par for the course- I'm amazingly distracted by (insert anything here). Look closely at the party-girl jacket. . . I've got my 'sexual assault hurts everyone' pin on. Evidently, and again- no one told me- I don't leave the activism at home. I was thinking I could work on that but really, I think I just need to find a way to make it pay better! But aren't those paying attention rewarded so well with looking so cute, I couldn't leave 'em out.
In other news, Dallas voted YES for a homeless shelter and YES to keeping marriage between a man and a woman (but really the wording screws everybody- it's so super-cute!).
Sunday, November 06, 2005
Friday was the Deathcab for Cutie
concert. What a great show -- what great music -- what a great experience! We elbowed (well, I elbowed and drug Emilie close behind while she tried to explain my movement on 'drunkenness'. . . YEAH- drunk off the good music!) our way to the front for the encore! It was so hot in the theater and the only ones bothered were the fairweather fourteen year olds that found DC4C on the OC anyway--- it was a plethora of popped collars and pony tails taking pictures with their phones and texting during songs from previous releases. I loved the band, I loved the music, I loved the way Ben cam out and seemed to truly appreciate the audience. It was just an awesome experience! I have found that even if my voice can't keep up- I'm singing slash yelling all the words anyway.
Saturday was Habitat for Humanity. It was hot because well, global warming is camping out in Texas with a cool 89 degree November- but we still had a good time. There is some standing to be done, but once you get committed to a project you really get something done. Who knew putting up siding could be so fun. It was really a good feeling (and no, I'm not talking about the oppressive nature of a tool belt) to watch so many people doing work for the betterment of others. There were at least 10 different houses being built in a small neighborhood--- all at different stages and all with different groups working on them. It was really amazing to see the Junior League of Dallas working with Dallas Baptist working with Dallas County Young Democrats working with construction workers all working to provide homes for those that need them. It was really great work. It was great even when I got yelled at when someone thought I handed the nailgun to someone on a ladder (until I pointed out that it has a built-in safety that you have to have the end pressured to the surface before you can squeeze the trigger). It was at this point that I found out the source for this nailgun nervousness was from a movie... A MOVIE, I mean really! So evidently we are entitled to yell at anyone with a nailgun because it was in Lethal Weapon or something?!?
Saturday night was entertaining. There was a housewarming party and dancing 'til 3:30 but one of the best parts of the weekend was Sunday. . . . .
I slept uber-late, got up in the early afternoon and decided that feat-tacos sounded so-o good.
I'm downstairs, on the couch- and out of the corner of my eye I see the black flash take off across the living room. Clearly moved by something- he runs, full speed into the glass window. This scared the shit outa me and I'm getting up to see what the deal is-and he appears dazed. He hit the window so hard he actually broke blinds. Ah, it was highlarious!
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loud women, and rightfully so. You're probably
an activist of some sort. And yes, you're
right, not all Riot Grrls are lesbians. Just
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