Daydreamer Award: My dream animal…..

Thank you to “S” over at Doorknobs That Lock for nominating this blog for the Daydreamer Award! I’ve enjoyed her blog for years!  We have TONS in common: two mom family who became a family with a school aged child, teenaged son, son is a Boy Scout, and a love for blogging.  :-)  I really love her photos too, she is really able to capture the essence of her subjects in her photos.  They truly are beautiful!! Please check her out!!

The rules for the Daydreamer Award are as follows:

1. Thank the person who gave you the award.

2. Complete the challenge they set you.

3. Select a blog or blogs that you want to give the award to. (The amount of blogs you select is unlimited!)

4. Tell them about it and set them a challenge.

(Please include the rules in your post)

So my challenge from S is: Describe your dream pet(s) — what animals would you share your life with if you could?

This is a great question because I already have more animals than I should…lol  In fact, someone once told me that a person qualifies as a “cat lady” when the number of cats you have exceeds the number of people in your household.  When we had 4 kids living at home the ratio was perfect since we had 3 cats.  Then i saw this adorable tabby at the ASPCA, and he just practically threw himself at me……how could I refuse those big green eyes?????  So now we have 4 cats.  We would have still been okay, but then (as they do) the kids started growing up and moving out.  The oldest two moved out, but technically we are still okay because we have 4 people who live here with 4 cats……that means we are still one person/cat ratio away from being “cat ladies”.  The bad news is one of the kids graduates in a couple of months. Luckily he will not be moving out right away….as he is planning on living at home for a couple of years and going to Community College. Also we have one very old cat….

But those really aren’t my dream animals….. If I could have an animal that I could really build a relationship with, it would be a horse.  Not just any old horse, but the horses I had the privilege of seeing while I was visiting my friend Gail in South Dakota.  She is a Cheyenne Indian and is married to Alex Richard who is the great grandson of Chief Red Cloud, the famous Lakota Chief who treated with the US Government in the 1800s.  Gail and Alex have some beautiful land, and their neighbors in Lonesome Valley are members of the White Plume tiospaye (family).  These family members have horses and buffalo, and many other majestic creatures on their land.  The horses that Percy White Plume has on his land are beautiful, domestic and strong!

They were majestic creatures with just the right mix of domestic and wild.  Domestic enough to be sweet and safe, but wild enough to be true to their Great Plains spirits.  Here are some pictures of them:

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The horse that caught my eye was the Paint (brown and white) horse in the third picture.  He is the leader of this group and he is magnificent.  This group of horses walked right up to my car, and put their heads in the window, as if they were looking for a treat.

So although I do love my cats and my dog, my dream pet would be one of these horses.  But I guess they wouldn’t really technically be a “pet”, but instead a companion because I would never want to break their free spirit…..

I would like to nominate Robyn over at Breastfeeding in Combat Boots for the Daydreamer award and my challenge to her is: to tell us about her Dream gig.  She is an author and motivational speaker so I would like to know where is the dream place for her to talk about breastfeeding and why?

I took my 15 year old son to see the Vagina Monologues

I know I have mentioned it before, but for those of you who are new, I am a college student at Old Dominion University.  Yes, I am almost 50.  Yes, I am working on my undergraduate degree.  What can I say, like a fine wine, I have gotten better with age….

Anyway, I started going to ODU in the spring of 2013.  I had a wonderful Professor for my Intro to Women’s Studies, and she offered extra credit points to us if we attended the Vagina Monologues being put on by some of the women at ODU.  Never one to turn down easy points (really it only cost 20.00 for two tickets, a large portion of which went to the local YWCA to fight violence against women). I talked Karol into joining me and away we went.

We really liked the production. We laughed, we cried, and even yelled!  It was eye opening, and I was especially impressed to see the quite reserved love of my life sit and enjoy it.  To be honest I had as much fun watching her reactions as I did the production itself!

I did not realize that it was an annual event at ODU until this year.  I started hearing some of my classmates and a professor (the same one that introduced me to Women’s Studies, Robin Ormiston), talking about this year’s production of the Vagina Monologues to be held Valentine’s Day weekend.  Of course I wanted to go, but Karol was traveling to visit her family in Minnesota that weekend, and I didn’t want to go alone. I started thinking about who I could invite (and would be willing to go).

I have talked about my youngest son, aka The Genius, and his feministing ways.  That boy is a feminist if ever I met one.  He is all about equity and he is incredibly intentional about his actions, particularly when it comes to race and class.  I have been teaching him since he was quite small that because he is a white male he is the most privileged type of person in this country and that he needs to use his privilege to help others achieve the same status.  Until we no longer have white privilege in this country he should use it for the benefit of people who don’t have it. This lesson has definitely struck home with him, and he is an incredible human being! I see great things in his future!

Anyway, I asked him if he would like to go to the Vagina Monologues with me and without hesitation he said , “Yes!” He then asked if his bff could come along with us.  I said sure, but please make sure her parents knew where she was going….(I did not want to get in trouble for taking a minor to Vagina Monologues without parental permission). The young lady received permission and off we went to the 2015 ODU production of The Vagina Monologues.

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I have to admit I was a bit nervous because having seen it before I had a small inkling of what these kids were going to be exposed to.  Of course as we walked in the first thing we were asked as we gave our tickets was if we wanted to purchase Vagina lollipops. (chocolate lollipops shaped like a vagina).  The kids said yes, so I bought all three of us a vagina lollipop after I made them promise NOT to eat them at school…..(can you imagine the phone call I would get if that happened)  “Um. Ms. Rood, this is the Principal calling….ummm, there was an incident with your son and a food item today….. ummm”

I have to admit the first time the word “cum” was used, the mom in me did get a bit squinky, and I glanced over at the kids, and they had not even looked away from the stage……whew, okay that was fine, and then I relaxed.  After that I was able to remove my “mom” persona and just enjoy the fact that I was introducing two teenagers to a world of feminism and the idea that we can celebrate a body part that is often seen only as “dirty” or “smelly” or sexual.

Think about it, the slang names for a penis are strong or weapon like: rod, sword, stick, love muscle, one eyed monster, cock, etc etc. However, the words for vagina have a different feel: twat, cunt, hole, cave, gash….not the same genre of words at all.

But in the 2015 Vagina Monologues these amazing women were on stage CELEBRATING the Vagina!  Celebrating wearing a short skirt.  Talking about uncomfortable things like rape and abuse. Talking about wonderful things like empowerment and love.  Talking about Vaginas!

When it was over, I introduced the kids to some of the women actors who I knew, and congratulated the women on an outstanding performance.  When Robin asked the kids what they thought of the show, they both said an emphatic ” I LOVED IT!”

I know these kids are meant for great things!

Just so you can experience some of what we experienced I will leave you with a video of a monologue from Vagina Monologues.  If you ave some interest and time, check out videos of “The Moaner” and “My Angry Vagina”.  Both are great! In fact, it is all great. Go see a show if you ever have a chance!!

One of my favorite monologues: My Short Skirt

( I wish I had access to the one done this year at ODU, but after viewing many of these, I liked this one the best!)

A petition to reinstate the African American Cultural Center at Old Dominion University

So another student in my Women’s Studies classes who I also consider a friend has decided to take up a cause to reinstate the African American Cultural Center at Old Dominion University where we go to school.

Morgan is working with a group called Generation Forward, whose mission statement says : “Generation Forward is part of the nationwide movement to re-assert the value of Black lives, to create real, lasting change in the community.

Morgan

Morgan

So Generation Forward has begun a grassroots campaign to have a Black Student Union reinstated on Old Dominion University Campus.  There used to be a safe space for the African American students to meet on campus, but it was closed in 2008 due to expansion of residential housing.  There are other safe spaces available for other marginalized groups to meet, such as the Women’s Center, GLBT Housing, a space for Chinese students, Filipino students among others.  However, there is no space set aside for black students. Here is the executive summary:

Black Student Union at Old Dominion University Executive Summary

In 2008, the Hugo A. Owens African American Cultural Center was closed, due to residential area expansion, after serving the campus community for seventeen years. A haven to all who had the opportunity to experience it, the center was a prized jewel to the campus community. In its absence, the university has significantly decreased institutional funding toward Black programming and cultural awareness. There is no longer a central safe space for Black students to commune while accommodations for other marginalized groups have been made (i.e. the Women’s Center, the Safe Space Committee, Lavender House — a living arrangement for LGBT students, the Confucius Institute to promote understanding between US citizens and Chinese culture, and the Filipino American Center). Currently, the Black community makes up 46% of on campus students and 22% of the student body as a whole. With such a large amount, making our university the most diverse in the state, it is also time to make it the most inclusive in the state and reinstate the African American Cultural Center as a Black Student Union. Black students bring in an excess of $3,000,000 in student activities fees each year, but are invested in at a rate close to $6 per student, per year, in cultural programming from student organizations alone. From alumni and faculty who remember Owens House, to the students who’ve never gotten a chance to experience such a space, it is important that we make this opportunity available for prospective students in the future.

So what does a Black Student Union at Old Dominion look like? Ideally, this building will house one large event space, multiple meeting spaces, organizational offices for Black student organizations, and an administrative office for a director and two assistant directors devoted to academic success, institutional equity, community outreach, and cultural awareness and programming. While this space will function as safe space for Black students and anyone else interested in enhancing their cultural awareness, we also have a unique opportunity to bridge the gap between Old Dominion and the campus community. The Union’s interior is only a starting point, where historical images pertaining to Blacks in Hampton Roads will be showcased. From there, mentoring programs, college student to youth and professional to college student, will be established with the community at large.

The Union will serve as a space that promotes and maximizes academic excellence, community outreach, recruitment and retention of Black students, and supportive programming centered around Black culture and the African Diaspora. It will also provide a wide range of support and resources that include opportunities for leadership development, mentoring services, graduate school workshops, career services, informal counseling and advisement, networking opportunities, internships, and more. While all of these services are valuable, the most important goal of the Union is to foster critical concern for, and understanding of, Black and African Diasporic history, arts, politics, and culture.

The Union serves as a vehicle to promote cultural and racial understanding, build community, and foster appreciation for Black culture. It is imperative that this facility return to Old Dominion University so that we can all call ourselves members of not only the most diverse campus in Virginia, but also, the most inclusive.

I think the mission of her group has merit, and a Black Student Union on campus is needed.  Please take a moment to sign her petition. 

All cultures are valid, all cultures are important.  We need to ensure that we are not attending to some cultures needs and not others, particularly when the culture in question is almost 1/2 of the student body.  Please support Morgan, Generation Forward, and all of the black students at ODU, and sign the petition!

Thank you all!!!