Friday, March 30, 2007

Kidney [NOT] for Sale

Kidney's [not] For Sale
Current mood: confused

Mark and I were talking about this the other day, and then low and behold I hear an ad on the radio.

Did you know you could get paid up to $6,000 per cycle for donating your eggs. That is a LOT of money. However, isn't it interesting that you can earn money for selling your eggs (or you could even go so far [if you are so inclined] {which I am not} to say your babies) but that it is illegal for you to sell your organs. Cash encouragement to give someone their own little bundle of joy=Good. Cash encouragement to prolong someones life with an organ=Bad! Now I know a team of people probably looked at this problem and decided that allowing people to buy organs would open up a can of worms, there for we must take the big rubber stamp and say ILLEGAL! I am sure there were concerns about decreasing actual donors or the fact that the rich kids would get all the good organs. But I still think it is silly to say "Hey sell all the eggs/Sperm you want, we shall pay you LOADS" but on the other hand say "if we catch you collecting any monetary thank-yous or risking your life and your health there will be legal punishment.

Just something I was pondering on and thought I would share. ;)

Selling Organ Article:

Curous at how much you could get paid for donating your eggs?

Monday, March 26, 2007

On the street where you use to live. . .

This past Friday, I was home for a QUICK retail therapy trip and visited the old neighborhood. It was strange driving through Hampton. Although it has changed, there is still that familiar feeling driving through the streets. There were new buildings, new stores, and even new streets but really nothing much has changed. It is still the same suburban town trying to bust open at the seams, trying for that big city feel but falling short. I have to say I kinda liked it more years ago before they tried filling in all the empty space with stupid chains and fancy buildings.

But that is not the point of this blog.

As I drove into my old neighborhood I passed many familiar sights, . . the 7-11 where Beans (Sara) and I digested enough big bites to clog our arteries for life . . I still remember when they added the "new" (now old section) to that shopping center. We were soooo excited at the opening of the "Yogurt Stop", where you could get a pack of 5 Now&Laters for 5 cents, or the laundry mat that I use to go play arcade games at. I still remember feeling so cool that I was allowed to ride my bike up there all by myself. Oh the simple pleasures of youth. As I turned into "The Mill", as so many of my old friends called it, I was struck by the thought something was missing. I drove past my old elementary school and looked at the new all plastic playground that I helped build in high school, after many months of taking petitions around the neighborhood. But it was not the old rickety metal playground, now gone, that I enjoyed on hot summer days that was giving me this odd feeling. As I drove through the neighborhood I looked up at the sky line and thought, maybe there are less trees. I do not remember seeing this much sky before, maybe there are less power lines, I have heard they were going to all underground power lines.

But I just could not put my finger on what was missing.

When I pulled up to the Pollard's house, it felt kind of funny. I parked my mother's truck in almost the same spot where I use to park my car when I lived next door. Our old house did not appear to be that different, the garden was not as well kept and beautiful as my mother had left it. . . but not everyone is perfect.

The Pollards house is the same to me. I think I will always have the smell of their house in my memory, it always smelled like food to me, bread smells, baking smells. And Paisley still followed Sara to answer the door, although she is older now and does not have the same unwelcoming attitude she use to when greeting people at the door.

In the backyard I climbed up the Pollard's fence to peer into my old back yard, much like Matt and Sara use to when they were peaking their heads over to talk to us. The yard was horrid, the things my parents had left behind because they did not have the energy to dispose of them were still there, along with about 10 air conditioning units, masses of toys and trash. My mother would of never allowed the yard to look that way.

As Sara and I drove out of the neighborhood we talked about these feelings, about how we have all these memories of the neighborhood and yet it has somehow changed. Sara talked about jogging by all the houses I dragged her to as a kid and all the places we had adventures. I forgot how much time we actually spent together as children. She was such a bad apple but I loved her anyways. Some things never change.

Then as we were talking, we put our finger on what had changed. It was not so much the neighborhood that had changed but us. Even though the "Mill" was our home for many years, it no longer felt like home. . it no longer is home. We have grown up and home is a feeling associated with a different place. The funny thing is . . . I guess I thought it would always feel like home. That all the time spent there, that all the adventures, the memories would always lock in that home feeling. Funny how growing up changes things.

As we left the neighborhood, I thought about all those days and nights sitting on the Pollard's front step talking to Sara and realized not everything has changed. Almost 20 years later and I am still rambling on to her and we are still sharing our stories. Funny how life is.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Saint Patrick's day. . .the true Paddy. . .

Today we raise a glass of warm green beer to a fine fellow, the Irishman who didn't rid the land of snakes, didn't compare the Trinity to the shamrock, and wasn't even Irish. St. Patrick, who died 1,507, 1,539, or 1,540 years ago today—depending on which unreliable source you want to believe—has been adorned with centuries of Irish blarney. Innumerable folk tales recount how he faced down kings, negotiated with God, tricked and slaughtered Ireland's reptiles.

The facts about St. Patrick are few. Most derive from the two documents he probably wrote, the autobiographical Confession and the indignant Letter to a slave-taking marauder named Coroticus. Patrick was born in Britain, probably in Wales, around 385 A.D. His father was a Roman official. When Patrick was 16, seafaring raiders captured him, carried him to Ireland, and sold him into slavery. The Christian Patrick spent six lonely years herding sheep and, according to him, praying 100 times a day. In a dream, God told him to escape. He returned home, where he had another vision in which the Irish people begged him to return and minister to them: "We ask thee, boy, come and walk among us once more," he recalls in the Confession. He studied for the priesthood in France, then made his way back to Ireland.



He spent his last 30 years there, baptizing pagans, ordaining priests, and founding churches and monasteries. His persuasive powers must have been astounding: Ireland fully converted to Christianity within 200 years and was the only country in Europe to Christianize peacefully. Patrick's Christian conversion ended slavery, human sacrifice, and most intertribal warfare in Ireland. (He did not banish the snakes: Ireland never had any. Scholars now consider snakes a metaphor for the serpent of paganism. Nor did he invent the Shamrock Trinity. That was an 18th-century fabrication.)

According to Thomas Cahill, author of How the Irish Saved Civilization, Paddy's influence extended far beyond his adopted land. Cahill's book, which could just as well be titled How St. Patrick Saved Civilization, contends that Patrick's conversion of Ireland allowed Western learning to survive the Dark Ages. Ireland pacified and churchified as the rest of Europe crumbled. Patrick's monasteries copied and preserved classical texts. Later, Irish monks returned this knowledge to Europe by establishing monasteries in England, Germany, France, Switzerland, and Italy.

The Irish have celebrated their patron saint with a quiet religious holiday for centuries, perhaps more than 1,000 years. It took the United States to turn St. Patrick's Day into a boozy spectacle. Irish immigrants first celebrated it in Boston in 1737 and first paraded in New York in 1762. By the late 19th century, the St. Patrick's Day parade had become a way for Irish-Americans to flaunt their numerical and political might. It retains this role today.

The scarcity of facts about St. Patrick's life has made him a dress-up doll: Anyone can create his own St. Patrick. Ireland's Catholics and Protestants, who have long feuded over him, each have built a St. Patrick in their own image. Catholics cherish Paddy as the father of Catholic Ireland. They say that Patrick was consecrated as a bishop and that the pope himself sent him to convert the heathen Irish. (Evidence is sketchy about both the bishop and pope claims.) One of the most popular Irish Catholic stories holds that Patrick bargained with God and got the Big Fella to promise that Ireland would remain Catholic and free.

Ireland's Protestant minority, by contrast, denies that Patrick was a bishop or that he was sent by Rome. They depict him as anti-Roman Catholic and credit him with inventing a distinctly Celtic church, with its own homegrown symbols and practices. He is an Irish hero, not a Catholic one.

Outside Ireland, too, Patrick has been freely reinterpreted. Evangelical Protestants claim him as one of their own. After all, he read his Bible, and his faith came to him in visions. Biblical inspiration and personal revelation are Protestant hallmarks. Utah newspapers emphasize that Patrick was a missionary sent overseas to convert the ungodly, an image that resonates in Mormon country. New Age Christians revere Patrick as a virtual patron saint. Patrick co-opted Druid symbols in order to undermine the rival religion, fusing nature and magic with Christian practice. The Irish placed a sun at the center of their cross. "St. Patrick's Breastplate," Patrick's famous prayer (which he certainly did not write) invokes the power of the sun, moon, rocks, and wind, as well as God. (This is what is called "Erin go hoo-ha.")

Patrick has even been enlisted in the gay rights cause. For a decade, gay and lesbian Irish-Americans have sought permission to march in New York's St. Patrick's Day Parade, and for a decade they have lost in court. Cahill, among others, has allied Patrick with gays and lesbians. Cahill's Patrick is a muscular progressive. He was a proto-feminist who valued women in an age when the church ignored them. He always sided with the downtrodden and the excluded, whether they were slaves or the pagan Irish. If Patrick were around today, Cahill says, he would join the gay marchers.

Now television has invented yet another Patrick. Last night, Fox Family Channel aired its made-for-TV movie St. Patrick. Fox's Patrick is mostly drawn from the historical record, but the producers added one new storyline. The English parent church demands that Patrick collect its church taxes in Ireland. Patrick rebels and risks excommunication by the British bishop. The fearless colonist leads a tax revolt against the villainous English. We Americans, like everyone else, think St. Patrick is one of us.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Trip to Dover

Yesterday Mark and I took a trip to Dover to visit his mother. I love mini-road trips. They can always be fun. Especially when you make wrong turns (something about a map being transposed incorrectly), stop at the outlet mall (except with no dinero) and the scenery has a light blanket of snow.

When we got to Mark's mother's house we spent the first few hours talking, which is always nice. Mark got to ask her for advice on things that he has been pondering and we had a good talk. Then we got to rummage a little bit through her book store. i borrowed a book on CD to listen to on my daily commute (the radio stations suck) and Mark shifted through the law books. We then went to Dover Downs for dinner. I was surprised to see that the poor horses even race in the snow and sleet. The drivers and the horses were coated in a gray snow. It looked quite miserable to me.

Afterwards, I took the $1 bill out of my pocket that I remembered to bring for the slot machines and set out to win some $$money$$. Much to my dismay, I returned after 10 minutes with a pout because none of the machines take ones (not even the penny machines). Boo on them. But I got to watch Mark play and WIN on one of the penny machines. Like the smart man that he is after making a $5 profit, he cashed out and walked away. WooWhoo ;). Mark's mother loaned me $5 to play the penny machine before going off to play one herself. After 10 minutes I lost every penny and she had won $22. :( Yea for her. . . boo for me.

The woman playing next to me inserted a $100 bill into the penny slots. Seemed a little extreme to me. However, during one of the bonus rounds she won $212 and then in another $76 . . . but by the time we left she was back down to the $100 she came in with. I guess if you have money you should burn it. (umm not really).

We were all exhausted so back at the house we collected our things and hit the road. The drive home was a little unnerving for me. Luckily I trust Mark as a driver because the roads were frozen solid and there was a thick fog in our path. It was a little scary but we got to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge safely.

Somehow in our tiredness, we got off 50 going South and 15 minutes later we realized after passing the same road twice that we were now going North. We have no idea how this happened. We were guessing alien abduction.

It was a fun day off. :) I look forward to my weekend off! :)