Hello, I am Cristina, and I have taken the name Lady Catherina in honor of Catherine from Wuthering Heights, one of my favorite classic novels. I'm a creative writer/journalist, with interests ranging from swimming and hiking to nature photography to following world events and scientific discoveries. Favorite movies include Star Wars, Chocolat, and the Lord of the Rings series, and favorite books include Amy Tan's novels, Italo Calvino's literary metafiction, and various collections of poetry. I also deeply love babies and small children, and am the kind of person to rush up to them in stores and play with them. I dream of traveling the world and finally took part in Burning Man last year (Projection Point observatory tower). Would like a career where I can bring greater public awareness to the work of many qualified scientists to further their research, along with working on behalf of causes important to me: battered women, affordable housing, curing cancer, and forgiving the international Third World debt.
Inviting everyone to join me online in this journal - starting around 6 or 7 pm PST New Year's Eve I throw a virtual party online where people post songs, jokes, descriptions of lovely foods they've brought, clothes they're wearing, describe how the house looks, etc. We have a very good YouTube link playlist every year :)
I started the tradition one year right after graduating college when all my friends lived in other parts of the country/world and we couldn't spend New Year's together.
Sounds corny, but we get over 200 comments and dozens of people every time and people share delicious recipes, tell stories, solve problems together, etc - all over virtual champagne!
You may all look back in my journal archives to last New Year's and check out last year's party to get an idea if you like :)
Lady Catherina endorses the charity work of the International Rescue Committee, helping shelter, employ, educate, and integrate refugees into societies worldwide. http://www.theirc.org Here in the USA (and probably elsewhere) they are happy to have volunteer mentors meet with immigrant families and help to show them around and assist them with transitioning into American society. People on all sides of the immigration issue would probably be glad to see the people become better adapted and more able to start businesses and contribute to society.
The IRC also provides humanitarian aid to Darfuri refugees and poor people/domestic violence survivors in the Ivory Coast. Check out the community based women's empowerment project in the "16 Days Against Gender Violence" blog.
Also - I endorse Mercy Corps' humanitarian relief projects as they provide empowerment and self-determination through income-generating activities and education as well as food, vitamins, shelter, medicine, etc. http://www.mercycorps.org
Other notable organizations include the SAGE project (Standing Against Global Exploitation) which provides counseling, social service referrals, practical help, support groups, and harm reduction services to San Francisco residents involved in the sex industry. (http://www.sagesf.org) And Free Battered Women, working to provide support, pen pals, and legal assistance to incarcerated survivors of domestic violence whose crimes were directly related to the battering (self-defense, writing bad checks to survive, etc.) http://www.freebatteredwomen.org
Also, Trees, Water, People - http://www.treeswaterpeople.org - providing renewable solar power and more efficient stoves to Native reservations and hiring people in South and Central America to participate in reforestation projects and learn farming techniques and become more employable in the process.
And Chemo Angels - providing pen pals and emotional support and regular gifts and encouragement to those undergoing chemotherapy for any form of cancer: http://www.chemoangels.net
PROJECT DOWNLOAD UPDATE EVERYONE: MegaUpload changed their mind and will pay Erin the reward she earned, and a very wonderful angel has helped her with the cash for at least her first surgery or two. However, I'd still encourage you to check out projectdownload and offer Erin support and help her brainstorm. She's an Avon rep and would love for you to buy from her if you already purchase Avon, for one.
Everyone, please keep clicking here to support Erin's lifesaving brain surgery! She's a 29-year old woman in the USA living with two disabling, painful brain malformations (Chiari and cerebral lesions) and needs to raise money for surgery that's not covered by Medicaid. The MegaUpload site will give her a cash prize if she reaches 5 million downloads. She does not want to accept charity or burden people, so this is her way of raising the cash.
She's a sweet person with a great sense of humor who loves creative writing and sci fi - and she had a seizure recently and lost a whole year of memory. She urgently needs the surgery so now would be a great time to click: http://www.projecterin.com/help.html
NOTICE: ladycatherina now works full time as an admin in the family electrical testing business. So there's not as much time as before to read everyone's journal. So if I seem to be ignoring you, I am very sorry and mean nothing personal. I still very much care about everyone and if you would like to talk to me and I haven't commented in your journal in awhile, I may simply not have gotten a chance to check my friends page. So everyone feel free to reach me using the posted email address or by commenting in my journal (off topic is perfectly OK) and I will see it and get back to you. I just unfortunately can't read my friends page every day anymore (well, I would like to, but my boss has other ideas) so it's easier if I can just check my email (I have comments notification for the starbaby address). I would very much LOVE to stay in contact with EVERYONE but it's faster and easier if I can just check in one place.
"The dream never dies, just the dreamer, The dream never dies, if it's strong, The song never dies, just the singer, Come on everybody, sing along." --The Cooper Bros.
DREAMS NEVER DIE.
ladycatherina supports the WGA writers' strike and encourages readers of this blog to support the writers, who depend on residual income from DVD's, movies, Internet releases, etc to sustain them between movie or TV gigs. I've personally met some guild members who were definitely not snooty, wealthy, successful, or famous - they traveled the country in a trailer performing at poetry slams to raise money between gigs. Writing is hard work! I encourage people here to pledge one night a week where you'll read or engage in some form of creative writing yourself instead of watching TV as long as the strike continues. I hardly watch TV anymore since I'm so busy so that isn't too hard for me - but Monday night is my Winter Sunrises writing night so I've signed myself up for Monday. http://www.thepetitionsite.com/18/support-the-wga-writers---pledge-to-write-or-read-one-night-a-week-instead-of-watching-tv-till-the
ladycatherina honors the spirit behind the writings of American literary fiction author J.T. LeRoy, and still believes in the transcendent truths shown through the novels, about the triumph of the human spirit over impossible circumstances through imagination and creativity. Although veiled behind a pen-name, the stories inspired many friends and abuse survivors whom I know, and the author lives on for us, right up there with Emperor Norton and Holden Caulfield. People got inspired to heal, to recover, to write and see beauty in their experiences, and that doesn't have to mean nothing now simply because the author is a different age and gender than we thought.
I find more truth in J.T.'s gentle fiction than in the news reports surrounding the private lives of silly movie stars, supposed military successes while ignored millions still live in fear of terrorism in Darfur and Uganda and Burma, and the supposed economic boom while many of my generation struggle to find work and live a decent life. I wish Ms. Albert well and hope she continues writing. Link to a letter I wrote to JT "after the fact" http://ladycatherina.livejournal.com/272281.html Dreams never die.
Article in Lemon Magazine - "Yes, Virginia, There Is a J.T. LeRoy." http://www.jtleroy.com/lemon.html If you want to understand why I still believe - watch Miracle on 34th Street, the modern version especially :) Please read this. If you like J.T. LeRoy, or actually especially if you don't - please read this beautiful article: The Importance of being J.T. LeRoy, argument a la Oscar Wilde for artistic and societal freedom: http://www.jtleroyblog.net/?p=32 Brilliant, everything I wish I had thought to say when the scandal broke! Dreams never die :) Hooray for our new Saint First Class!
ladycatherina stands with the peaceful monks protesting nonviolently for democracy in Burma. I missed http://www2.free-burma.org/index.php unfortunately but would DEFINITELY have joined and posted a banner if I'd noticed it in time. Read more about the situation in Burma on the Amnesty International web site, or check out any recent Myanmar or Burma news story on CNN or Yahoo News. People are imprisoned, tortured, murdered and harassed merely for speaking out against governmental policies, or for requesting freedom of speech. http://web.amnesty.org/pages/mmr-270907-action-eng
ladycatherina supports an arms embargo on Burma, which would only weaken the government and not the nonviolent protesters. Also diplomatic measures such as U.N. Security Council actions and resolutions, and freezing the assets of all Burmese junta members abroad. ladycatherina encourages everyone (children AND adults) to visit Oakland's Chabot Space and Science Center, 10000 Skyline Boulevard, up in the hills near Joaquin Miller Park. We have a new exhibit on astronaut training and adapting to outer space, complete with a real Sokol space capsule and several spacesuits. Also some of the United States' largest refracting and a new reflecting telescope, used by scientists from the Lick Observatory to locate exoplanets on our closed days. Free scope viewings after dark every Friday and Saturday night, hosted by professional astronomers. We're also recycling, composting, and 'going green' in as many ways as we can while researching life on this planet through tools devised through space science.
Chabot hosts free enrichment lectures from eminent scientists around the Bay Area for any and all volunteers - I recently heard a woman speak on the history of the Bay's changing climate. I encourage you to visit the museum anytime and/or to contact Megan Gray at 510-336-7414 if you are interested in volunteering.
ladycatherina opposes waterboarding and all other forms of torture for prisoners in Guantanamo Bay and other places where they are held in the war on terror. Yes, I am also outraged by the actions of those responsible for September 11th, etc - but we do not serve our cause by sinking to their level and treating people inhumanely or holding them prisoner without access to lawyers or a fair trial or reasonable cause. Physical torture is wrong, ineffective because prisoners will say anything to avoid it, and puts our own troops and contractors in danger of receiving similar treatment at the hands of captors. We have to win hearts and minds and inspire democratic change - and that can only be accomplished by taking the moral high road, standing for the rule of law and against torture! Or no one in foreign countries will see any reason to join us as opposed to Al-Quaeda, etc.
Vote NO on Justice Mukasey's confirmation until he clearly opposes torture tactics which are already against the law. - Justice Mukasey: You are confirmed now but we are watching you and hope to see you firmly disavow torture tactics.
ladycatherina also honors the memory of Grandpa Fred Emmert, former Navy radar operator, brilliant pilot and engineer, and devoted husband of 60 years to my grandmother. Fred passed away Oct 20th, 2006 and left a legacy of fidelity, patience, love, and humor. When I watch the Laurence Olivier version of Wuthering Heights, I think of you - and can imagine a day with two sets of footprints in the snow in a heavenly Minnesota farmfield.
ladycatherina supports the forgiveness of the IMF/World Bank debts of heavily indebted poor countries, especially where dictators incurred the debts. This makes more money available for health and education and enables lowering of taxes and economic development. A fishing pole, more so than just a fish. http://www.jubileeusa.org Read up on the JUBILEE act and consider contacting your Senators and Representatives.
ladycatherina promotes environmental conservation - turn extra lights off, print double-sided at work, use recycled paper, etc. Also the Forest Ethics campaign for companies to print catalogs on recycled paper: http://www.forestethics.org/
ladycatherina loves Classical music, especially Debussy, Chopin, Brahms, and Robert Schumann. Schumann was a true Romantic, devoted to pursuing the artistic ideal even through mental and physical illness, and created sublime pieces on the joy of love and spring and childhood. Ladycatherina would like to see the return of Romanticism...dreams never, ever, ever die. She also loves the writing of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Cervantes' Don Quixote, the Bronte sisters, Shakespeare, Goethe, and French romantic Gerard de Nerval, especially Aurelia: Life and the Dream.
ladycatherina petitions the city of Davis for the return of the Cafe Romas, or another cheap student/artist/displaced person hangout. Brilliant literature and performance art and academic and social justice advances were born at Roma, late at night under the influence of bagel salads and cappucinos and steaming cider. Also, for the return of the Science and Technology section of the California Aggie. UC Davis is a research institution with many fine scientists whose work deserves a mention, and science can represent creativity and the best of the human spirit. I'm a huge admirer of Jodie Foster's character in Carl Sagan's Contact. Dreams never die.
Song, by Joni Mitchell and ladycatherina:
Dedicated to everyone and everything we loved and lost back in Davis.
They'll pave Cafe Roma And put up a parking lot
Near some overpriced apartments And a used car lot Don't it always seem to go That you don't know what you've got Till it's gone They lost Cafe Roma And put up a vacant lot
They'll take all the cows Put em in a cow museum And they'll charge the people A dollar and a half just to see em Don't it always seem to go That you don't know what you've got Till it's gone They paved the Cafe Roma And put up a parking lot
Hey Aggie Aggie Even with all your dumb scandals now Give me more ads if you must But leave me the Science and Tech Please! Dont it always seem to go That you don't know what you've got Till it's gone They paved Cafe Roma And put up a parking lot
Late last night I heard the screen door slam And a big blue cop car Took everyone at the Pirate Ship Don't it always seem to go That you don't know what you've got Till it's gone They paved the Cantina And put up a parking lot
-- Goodbye Davis :( Rest in peace my beloved city, you will be in my dreams until I return, and Dreams Never Die. I encourage you to purchase your coffee online here: http://www.mirembekawomera.com/ Cheap, great-tasting fair-trade brew from Christian, Muslim, and Jewish farmers in Uganda. Invests back into the community through education, health care, and reasonable worker salaries. Cheaper than buying pre-made coffee!
Phooey on the pop psychology of codependency! Don't pathologize altruism, especially within churches. Jesus never said, "Love your Neighbor, except when it feels too constrictive, or when you can come up with some New Agey excuse not to, or when it might lead to a long-term relationship with another person!" Love is the new sin, self-absorption and apathy the new virtues. Orwell would be proud.
Families and communities work when they work together, and the American culture is really missing out on something special by becoming so isolated. We're destroying the social safety net that provided people with friends, help with major normal life transitions, resources in emergencies, etc and then wondering why so many people get suicidal, suffer, fall through the cracks, require professional fancy expensive therapy, etc. I have unfortunately met many supposedly mentally ill, depressed, suicidal, abused people through LJ - and it would have done absolute wonders for most of them to simply have had someone to talk with, or neighbors to do the things neighbors and friends did in the past. Remember the nostalgic days of pulling oneself up by one's own bootstraps? That happened all right, but through community barnraising parties, church quilting bees, extended family living in one's home and not off at retirement facilities because the economy's been ruined to the point where no one can afford to stay home and look after family members. Humans are social beings, regardless of what Ayn Rand, the Social Darwinists and their neo-kindred the Codependency fanatics, have to say, and we need each other.
Imagine Melody Beattie and Ayn Rand out to coffee together ;) They'd definitely go Dutch and split the bill, then refuse to leave a tip since our economy shouldn't operate on a gift basis and we shouldn't enable people to stay in low wage work ;) Lol...