Question Everything.

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Safe and Sound

You know what, I made it home. In one piece (barely)

Unfortunately, my last day in New York City was marred by a particularly bad case of food poisoning (maybe?). I'm blaming the pizza, shady, shady pizza. I am eternally thankful for the amazing women who were there for me, when I was vomiting all over the place. I am also very thankful for Jami Forshee, she helped me not die in the airport on Sunday morning. :)

A little bit about being at Bluestockings in NYC though, it was amazing. It is still a career goal of mine to open a book store like that one, though maybe I would sell used books instead of new ones. The thing that is so crazy about Bluestockings is that all the people who run the store volunteer their time and do not get paid for it. Even the owners, of which there are four, have to have other jobs because they aren't able to make enough profit. All the money goes towards paying rent, buying books, buying things for the cafe, and keeping up the store. It makes me kind of sad that these amazing people don't get what they deserve for all their hard work. As much as the atmosphere rocked, I don't know if I would be able to do that. I work two jobs right now and it is very stressful, but imagining owning a store AND having another job just to live. It's crazy, the things people do. I saw so many Barnes and Nobles/Borders bookstores, if they were not around, I wonder if this little bookstore would be able to make a profit?
So, the least I can do is advertise a little bit for them. Here is their website again: www.bluestockings.com
If you are ever in the East Village of New York City, I really suggest you visit here. The people are great, the coffee is good, and most importantly the book selection is AMAZING.

I feel like so many things went on during this past week in New York that my thoughts are very jumbled. The week seemed so long, but at the same time very short. All of a sudden it was Friday, then Saturday, and finally Sunday. Unfortunately, my feelings towards New York are marred because the last memory of it I have is being really sick. Bad. It was amazing though. I can write more about people and places as I think of them. Later.

Since being home, things are back to semi-normal. I found out one of my beloved cats, Nugget, has allergies. Apparently when cats get allergies they lick their bellies and Nug has licked almost all the fur off her belly. My poor baby, I now understand why she is such a bitch sometimes. I have to give her Children's Benadryl, we'll see how that goes.

Tomorrow is my 21st birthday, I'm hanging out with my Nana. She's my favorite.

Amen.


Friday, June 11, 2010

Bluestockings

Today, I am doing a day-long internship at Bluestockings. A feminist bookstore, fair trade cafe, and activist center. I am so freaking excited. This is what I want to do with my life, the rest of my life. I can't wait to blarg about how great it will be!

Hostel life is pretty crazy, there are so many different people here. Quite a few Americans, mostly obnoxious bros and church groups. There are some cool Australians here, also New Zelanders and Canadians. Right now, next to me, there are three guys, one is from China, one Germany, and one Colombia. It is really cool, they are having a really intense conversation and they just met this morning, probably about 20 minutes ago. That's kind of what hostel life is like, a ton of strangers pushed together in a small space, people talk. You know. I really like it, I have to remember to take some photos of it before I leave.

It is very difficult for me to update my flickr regularly because it takes so much time to load all the photos and I have literally hundreds. I will try to do more tonight, and definitely will when I get home. I also want to update about Job and Media Day, Reproductive Justice Day, and Art Day. But, alas, off to the East Village I go!

Here is the Bluestockings website, if you were interested in checking it ouuuuut!
www.bluestockings.com

Also, we went to Williamsburg in Brooklyn yesterday and as one of my fellow campers describes it: "You can't swing a dead cat here without hitting a hipster." So very true.

Amen.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

"It's like we're on America's Next Top Model: Feminist Edition"

Amazing, I don't know what else to say besides I am in love.

With this.

Whole thing. I have so much to say, but very little time. I will try my very hardest to update tonight. Today we are going to meet the Guerilla Girls, uh, amazing. It's Feminism in Art day!

A HUGE shout out to Kate Noftsinger @ Ms. Magazine for featuring me in the Ms. Blog this week. I am very thankful and grateful for the amazing feminists in my life back home! :)

Last thing; check out Suzy's blog. I met her last night at our Soapbox Happy Hour, she is sweet.
http://seesuzysketch.blogspot.com/
Her comix are SO great.

Amen.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

P.S.

Here is the link to my Flickr, I will try to post photos on it from my travels as often as possible. So far I have about half the photos on it from Sunday night.
www.flickr.com/paperbackbook

Busy bee

I wish I had more time to write about this. It is go, go, go always and then at the end of the night, I just crash. This is by far the most amazing experience I have ever had, I feel so lucky to be a part of all of this. I am going to try my best to convey my emotions about this whole situation. So...I'm starting now...

Monday: Started out at Central Park for a brunch with Jennifer and Amy. We oriented ourselves with everyone and had to tell what our "Click" moment was. In other words, we had to say what was the experience that first led us to define ourselves as feminists. A lot of the women talked about how they have always felt like feminists but didn't have the words until college or after. Everyone has some pretty amazing stories, one girl's mother was the first female beer truck driver in her state. Another girl lived in Europe for a majority of her childhood. I tried to think of my "Click" moment, I'm still having one I think, I am unable to define exactly when I said to myself "Feminism is my thing". If you're interested in reading about other Feminist's click moments you can read "Click", it is by a lot of different authors. So google it.
After Central Park, we split up into small groups and traveled to two agencies that dealt with the sex trade. I went to the NOVO Foundation in Manhattan, we met with Pam Shiffman and Punja (she didn't say her last name). Pam is a very accomplished and interesting woman; she helped start the Parliament in South Africa after the Apartheid. She also worked with the UN and Equality Now. The goal of NOVO is not to outlaw prostitution, but to decriminalize it. If you're interested in their work; here is the website: www.novofoundation.org
After that; we went to Babeland in SoHo. Babeland is a pro-woman, sex positive sex toy store. I have nothing of interest to say about it, if you know me, you know my position on sex and sexuality. We'll leave it at that. Website: www.babeland.com
We all went to the International Women's Health Coalition in the afternoon. That was pretty good, and interesting to compare the view points of two different organizations that work with sex trade workers. IWHC was more liberal in their views, their motto is to secure every woman's right to a just and healthy life. They do a lot of work around the world with agencies that work with workers in the sex industry. They empower, advocate, mobilize, and inform. We met with Audacia Ray, her life has been so full and different than anything I could imagine. This woman graduated from Columbia University and entered the sex industry as an independent sex worker. Basically, she was able to choose her clients, name her price, and have freedom. She is also an award winning pornographer. If you are interested in reading more about International Women's Health Coalition: www.iwhc.org
That night for dinner, we had Chinese take-out in the hostel basement with Shelby Knox. Shelby, besides being incredibly awesome, started a movement in her small town in Texas to get comprehensive sexual education taught in the schools. Before, they would have a local pastor come in to the schools to teach the students about mostly being abstinent. There was a movie made about her while she was organizing in her town, it is called The Education of Shelby Knox you can find it on hulu.com for free, if you are interested.

Brief side note: I am starting to figure out the subway system, this makes me happy.

Tuesday: Another busy, busy day. Started out at National Advocates for Pregnant Women, we met with the whole office but the "leader" was Lynn Paltrow. She went through her whole life and work, another amazing woman with a history of general awesomeness. They try to bring justice to women who are being forced to have "emergency" C-sections, forced to go to hospitals to give birth, or have their children taken away because of past histories with drugs or alcohol. We also met with a woman who ran for office in Missouri because she did not like the way things were being run. She was inspiring as shit. I might run for a state office someday, watch out Ohio. Here is the NAFPW website: www.advocatesforpregnantwomen.org
After; went to the Thirdwave Foundation. Really liked it. They do grant writing for organizations who are working towards reproductive justice/rights for women. That really interested me, grant writing, i'd like to learn more about it because right now my knowledge is about 50%. Website: www.thirdwavefoundation.org (also on the Thirdwave website there is a video, it is a small documentary about the different agencies that are affected by Thirdwave's grants. It is definitely worth checking out)
Last for yesterday, my favorite agency, the Spence-Chapin Adoption Agency. So great. Pro-choice adoption agency. I need to devote another entry to how much I loved this agency, so another time. Here is their website: www.spence-chapin.org
I have missed so many other things, including meeting some new friends from Canada, New Zealand, and Australia, inviting a Lady-Gaga look-a-like waitress to our Feminist party at The Gallery Bar tonight, and getting lost in Soho with some fun people. I promise to write more, I hope this is enough for now. Today is "Media and Job Training Day"; learning about graduate schools and feminist jobs in the media. We are going to the Ms. Foundation, BUST Magazine, and meeting with The Feminist Press. Plus Soapbox Happy Hour tonight, I've invited a lot of strangers. That's just kind of the way New York City is.

Amen.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Central Park West

Almost one day down, in the books.

Fiasco happened yesterday trying to check in the the hostel at 3pm. The whole group's reservations were under the name "Amy Richards" (!!!!!), as it turns out we couldn't actually check in to get to our rooms until Amy Richards showed up. That was a problem because Amy Richards had no intentions of showing up to our hostel. For some reason, I became the woman in charge. What. what?!! After a few phone calls and a couple angry hostel employees we got it sorted out. It was still a mess though.

My hostel room is very, very tiny with two bunk beds stuffed into it. and a very flimsy locker.
I have three other roommates; Amy, Teri, and Katie. All from Virginia. Katie from James Madison University and Amy/Teri from Old Dominion University. They're pretty cool. It was fun to go around and try to find all the women in our group, they are all here, I'm pretty sure.
Best thing about our room, it has air conditioning.

I got to explore a lot of Greenwich Village yesterday, the NYU campus also. I tried to ride the subway for the first time, I was thoroughly confused. There are different lines that go to different places, so many colors, I got coughed on by an Italian guy. Seriously, he just like coughed all over my hand. I ended up getting off at 86th street, my hostel is on 106th street and across Central Park. So, I walked it. Central Park is huge, and amazing, and beautiful. More about it later.

Last night, went out with a few ladies to an Ethiopian Restaurant a few blocks away. Hello new favorite food. It was so amazing, so different, so many new things are happening! It's good.

I'm opening a Flickr account so I can post photos on it, so internetland can see them. I'll post the link.

Today is Human Trafficking and Sex Work day. This should be interesting.

Amen.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

I made it

I am in New York City.
wow, culture shock. For REAL. There is so much, everything, I feel very alone and very surrounded at the same time. There is a lot to do here, obviously.
I'm just going to start at the beginning, my flight left at 8:30 this morning and I sat next to a girl who didn't talk to me. I read my book, I enjoyed it, the flight was super bumpy because we flew through those tornadoes and everything.

OH YEAH, it was like driving through post apocalyptic Michigan when going to the airport this morning, the entire city of Dundee was dark and mangled. Tornadoes. It is supposed to rain here today sometime (please hold off until I get back to the hostel!).

Jennifer Baumgardner (One of the Camp organizers) picked me up from the airport this morning, and we drove through Harlem and to the Upper West Side to the hostel. We are staying at, Jazz on the Park, it is pretty sweet. We forgot that check-in time is not until 3pm and I was there about 11am, so I opted to explore the city a little bit. First, I had to put my bag into this tiny, tiny room with lots, and lots of other baggage in it. I seriously hope that my crap doesn't get stole.

Jennifer and I drove around Manhattan a bit, she showed me some things and almost got into a few accidents. NYC is a definite culture shock, people drive super aggressively, but they are really nice. Jennifer lives in Greenwich Village, so she drove me there and dropped me off at THE STRAND BOOKSTORE, then went to do other feministy-type things. That store is amazing, I was in heaven, it was lovely. I managed to get out of there and only bought one book! Yes! After that, I walked around a bit, to see what I could see. There are so many absolutely beautiful buildings to look at and go into.

So, right now I am in a bookstore called EastWest, its kind of like a spiritual, mind, body, love, organic kind of thing in The Village (btw, a ton of hipsters, everywhere). I have to get back to the hostel at 3:00, so I can check in. Jennifer put me in charge of getting people to their rooms and stuff, because I was the first to arrive. Oh, responsibility.

I am going to ride the subway back, wish me luck!

Amen.