Sunday, January 31, 2010

Old Fashion Family Values and Dirty Hippies Stop Mountain Blasts in West Virginia . . . For A Little Bit

Good Morning!

I thought I'd start the day with a little prayer, please join me:


Our Breesus, who art in 'Nawlins, hollowed be thy name.
Thy Superbowl has come, it will be won, in Miami as it was in the Dome.
Give us this SuperBowl Sunday, our weekly win and give us touchdown passes;
But do not let others pass against us.
Lead us not into frustration, but deliver us the Super Bowl.
For thine is the MVP, the best of the NFC, and the glory of the Fleur De Lis,
Now and forever...Amen

The Pledge of Allegiance

I pledge allegiance to the Saints,
And to the Great City of New Orleans;
And to the Super Bowl,
For which we will win;
One city below sea level, under God,
With Mardi Gras and alcohol for all!!
Who Dat!!

Amen ya'll!

Coal River Valley is an area in West Virginia that has been all over the news recently, even noted in President Obama's 'stop your fucking whining and pissing all over your own success and constituents so we can solve some of these fucking problems that are causing our entire nation to suffer so greatly you stupid bitches' speech to the Republicans on Friday. Many community members, environmentalists, and children's health advocates across the country are trying to stop mountaintop removal in this area.

It started as a fight to preserve the health and sustainability of the area led by concerned and brave community members, but has turned into a fight of dirty antiquated energy and corporate power vs a healthier and more promising future for all of us. I'm in the process of writing a longer post on Coal River Mountain, but I wanted to share with you one thing that happened lately.

A bunch of dirty hippies climbed up some trees and stopped the blasting of Coal River Mountain . . at least for a few days. Warning: It is very possible that you will be quite offended by these hippies on a personal level, but ending mountaintop removal benefits each one us and we should be thankful that these kids are putting themselves on the line to move us that much closer to the end of this disgusting and out of date practice.

There was this great article in the Washington Post the other day about EPA's current struggle of not pissing off the coal companies too badly and protecting the people and environment in the area. Some good lines in the articles are:

"Environmentalists are unhappy because they fear federal officials are losing their nerve to take on the powerful coal industry. The coal industry is unhappy because it thinks the administration is on the brink of giving in to the green crowd."

"People have chained themselves to mine equipment and shouted one another down. One scooted past state troopers to slap an environmentalist. The EPA finds itself in the middle of the most bitter in-your-face environmental fight in America today, facing an early test of its resolve and political skills. The agency appears certain to bear much of the weight of carrying out Obama's historic environmental agenda. "

"The latest sign of that fear came last Thursday, in an auditorium at the University of Charleston. A debate between a coal-company chief executive and environmentalist Robert F. Kennedy Jr., which attracted more than 1,000 people split between the two sides, had security reminiscent of a presidential visit or a prison rodeo.

Eight police officers were in the room, and two more with metal detectors guarded the door outside. No purses allowed. No backpacks. No weapons. Just to talk. "

"Mountaintop mining, also called "mountaintop removal," is an exclusively Appalachian practice, dating to the 1970s but having gained momentum in the past 20 years. To get at coal seams that are too thin or too close to the surface to reach by tunneling, miners use explosives and huge machinery to remove the peak above the coal."

A couple months ago, I talked to you about Marsh Fork Elementary School. It is located just a few hundred feet from a coal ash silo and if this large silo were to burst all 150 children and staff would have under 30 seconds to run to safety. The local board of education decided that after the many year fight from parents and environmentalists and children's health advocates that it would finally ask for money to build a new school. Massey Energy, the coal company that owns the silo, even said that it might help the community find a new, safer spot. And even a very conservative Senator, who always sides with the coal companies pleaded with Massey Energy to stop putting children in harms way.

As the Washington Post article says, West Virginia has become the frontline battleground for a new American way of life. One that believes we must have clean and safe energy to prosper while also holding high the safety and health of our fellow country men, women and children. The area is seeing violence and intimidation against those standing up for the ending of mountaintop removal, eerily similar to the deep south during the battle to end segregation. Unfortunately, it is a fight that it seems we must have in order to move forward in solving climate change and securing our own economy.

All the activists are in jail and are in need of support. Please help if you can.

Renee Claire

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Nelsom Mandela and Flame Retardants (not that one relates to the other though)

“While I was walking in the city one day, I noticed a white woman in the gutter gnawing on some fish bones. She was poor and apparently homeless, but she was young and not unattractive. I knew of course that there were poor whites, whites who were every bit as poor as Africans, but one rarely saw them. I was used to seeing black beggards on the street, and it startled me to see a white one. While I normally did not give to African beggars, I felt the urge to give this woman money. In that moment I realized the tricks that apartheid plays on one, for the everyday travails that afflict Africans are accepted as a matter of course, while my heart immediately went out to this bedraggled white woman. In South Africa, to be poor and black was normal, to be poor and white was a tragedy.” Page 260.

"Our communal cell became a kind of convention for far flung freedom fighters. Many of us had been living under severe restrictions, making it illegal for us to meet and talk. Now, our enemy had gathered us all together under one roof for what became the largest and longest unbanned meeting of the Congress Alliance in years. Younger leaders met older leaders they had only read about. Men from Natal mingled with leaders from the Transvaal. We reveled in the opportunity to exchange ideas and experiences for two weeks while we awaited trial.

Each day, we put together a program of activities. Patrick Molaoa and Peter Nthite, both prominent Youth Leaguers, organized physical training. Talks on a variety of subjects were scheduled, and we heard Professor Matthews discourse on both the history of the ANC and the American Negro, Debi Singh lectured on the histroy of SAIC, Arthur Letele discussed the African medicine man, while Reverend James Calata spoke on African music - and sang in his beautiful tenor voice. Every day, Vuyisile Mini, who years later was hanged by the government for political crimes, led the group in singing freedom songs . . . We sang at the top of our lungs, and it kept our spirits high." page 277


It may only be Wednesday but there have been two pretty powerful studies released on the health impacts on women from flame retardants. (I know you know all about them, because you read my posts religiously and everything I say sinks in and changes your life) . . (for the better!)

The first study was released on Monday and shows that women under 35 have higher concentrations of flame retardants in their breast milk. "A study of breast milk samples from more than 300 women in North Carolina finds flame retardants contaminate the milk from almost three-quarters of the woman in the study. Women older than 35 had the lowest levels of PBDEs in their milk. The highest levels were measured in breast milk from women aged 25 to 29, followed by women younger than 25 years old."

A group called MOMS, Make Our Milk Safe and co-founded by Mary Brune, the wife of the new Sierra Club Executive Director Mike Brune, have been advocating for the elimination of toxic chemicals because of just this and educating women on what a woman's body burden means to their unborn and nursing children. Here is a pretty good article published in Scientific America yesterday about this.

It is really important that women know the health benefits of breast feeding out weigh the potential hazards of passing along toxic chemicals through your breast milk. There is a really great educator and activist Sandra Steingraber once toured the country discussing the impacts of toxic chemicals on our body while breast feeding her daughter, as a way to show how important breast feeding is to our children's development. Pretty powerful.

The second report to be published this week is about the link between fertility and flame retardants. "Epidemiologists from the University of California at Berkeley studied 223 pregnant women in California’s Salinas Valley, an agricultural community with predominantly low-income, Mexican immigrants. More than 97 percent of the women had PBDEs in their blood, and those with high levels were half as likely to conceive in any given month as the women with low levels."

I often read about the dangers of toxic chemicals present in products that I own or want to own and their impacts on my body (yes, I want tons of babies myself one day) it's often overwhelming to think that these chemicals already exist in my body and nobody knows what the long term impacts are to me or to my future babies. Actually it is increasingly making me angry at my government that doesn't seem to care enough to act quickly and the corporations I give me small pennies to that just keep producing products and chemicals that will one day harm my children.

One thing that I can do though is make it known that brominated flame retardants are unnecessary and toxic to my family and the families of those that make and break down the products that contain them. So . . . the next time you buy something that contains brominated flame retardants such as a laptop or cell phone, ask questions and don't take 'i'm not sure' as an answer.

(1) Does this product contain brominated flame retardants?
(2) Do you have a plan to safely handle the end of life of this product?

If the answers wouldn't satisfy me, then tell them why you won't be buying their products anymore. Companies listen to their customers and will begin to act when we put enough pressure on them.


Monday, January 25, 2010

A Little About My Life in Amsterdam

I’ve lived in Amsterdam for a little over four months now. It has indeed been a great experience so far. I’ve danced until 6am many times, charged tall European boys in games of football and purchased two Dutch bikes. The first one was stolen within days, the cause of which I have yet to admit to anyone. You people won’t be the first.

The winter is much colder than I’m use to but the city covered in snow stands out as one of the most beautiful I’ve seen. Krakow, Budapest, Sophia, Washington DC has nothing on Amsterdam in the early morning snow covered dead of winter. Though my coat is not warm enough and a short cycle through the city keeps me shaking for hours.

I often wander my neighborhood crossing the most beautifully designed bridges overlooking small charming houseboats I could never dream. There are almost no stand-alone homes. Most apartment buildings reach no taller than four or five stories painted dark espresso, wheat, or cream with large brightly colored shutters often in the most shocking of reds. These are the only pops of bright color anywhere in the city, which includes women’s clothing and bags. Most shades seen around are of oatmeal, grass, grey, turnip, and dark denim. The shutters, bicycles, bridges, and curves of the canals are the most charming fixtures of this town, all of which could go unnoticed if you aren’t watchful and humble.

When I start to realize I’m taking all the sights for granted, I wander through undiscovered straats and grachts, take a deep breath and see it all for the first time once more.

I ‘celebrated’ Thanksgiving at a fellow ex-pats apartment just off Museumplein with a room full of other American’s and their significant others. We youtubed the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, Charlie Brown’s Thanksgiving and the college football game that played that Thursday the week before. Aussies and Brits asked if we really had to eat another plateful before dessert. “Yes!” was exclaimed rather loudly. But we weren’t fooled when after dessert the after-dessert candy and chocolate was passed around and both the Aussies and Brits continued to indulge, just like us Americans.

The following week I traveled to Cologne, Germany to drink Gluwein and wander the Christmas Market, Christmas MarketS I should say. We traveled to the six markets by a small train and tried out a Gluwein stand at each. The markets were overrun by the Brits, which I’ve learned travel the most during the festive season for small gifts. The gifts were small and not spectacular. Crocheted animals, goofy winter hats and homemade candles.

Not too long after Germany, I visited Brugge, Belgium with three co-workers. A tiny charming town that the residents call the true city of love in Europe. Move over Paris, this is where one really goes to fall and be in love, as the taxi driver informed us when we arrived. There was one large square and one small square, Gluwein excellent in both, but only in the large square will one find a skating rink with festive-goers skating to disco and strobe lights. We spent two days eating mussels and frites, getting glared out for being too loud (well . . . only me), and drinking great Belgium beer in cozy pubs out of city center.

Though I find myself a little lost in the choices I have before me at the moment, this time is another great adventure that I’ve been lucky enough to have in my life. I was a bit stuck in Washington and, for me, there is nothing worse than that claustrophobic restless feeling when you’ve overstayed your welcome. There is much too much in the world to explore and too many un-enjoyed adventures to feel stuck anywhere.

Next week I’m off to Paris, but will need to sneak into a not so quiet place to watch the Saint’s first Superbowl! Who dat nation marches to Miami!

One of the bigger lessons learned over the past four months is the depth of my commitment to the elimination of toxic chemicals from our bodies and planet and educating in fun, meaningful, and empowering ways. I count myself quite lucky to be one of the participants in this adventure as well. And quite lucky to have met all those talented and dedicated activists that give me advice, opportunities, and history lessons.

Thanks for continuing to read this little this thing I have going and for sharing it around, especially to those who never thought of themselves as environmental and social justice activists before.

Renee Claire

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Educate Yoself

“A freedom fighter learns the hard way that it is the oppressor who defines the nature of the struggle, and the pressed is often left no recourse but to use methods that mirror those of the oppressor. At a certain point, one can only fight fire with fire.

Education is the great engine of personal development. It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that the son of mineworker can become the head of the mine, that a child of farmworkers can become the president of a great nation. It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another.” A Long Walk to Freedom Pg 229

I just found this most amazing webpage that shows how in utero development and then overlaps the impacts of dioxin, phthalates, and bisphenol A. It's incredible. You can click on different periods of development and read about a study that was completed that explains what is happening and how chemicals are impacting the development at that stage. holy crap!

Check it out.

And watch this kind of absurd video from Women's Voices for the Earth on why disinfectants are not something you want to be spraying around your house. A lot of people (maybe even you?) think that it is important to spray down everything in your home with a good old fashion disinfectant, but if something is meant to kill living things, why wouldn't it also harm your body? They recently released a report that you can read, but there are also shorter fact sheets on the same page.


p.s. A good friend of mine just blamed his not doing well at football last night on it being wintertime. See . . . it's bad right now over here. We are all suffering from lack of sunshine and being cold. (yea me, I just successfully filtered a very inappropriate comment!)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Day 4. Still Hate Winter. I'm Hungry. Gumbo.

Seriously, this is getting old. Day 4 of a nasty cold, staying inside, and not sleeping through the night. Actually, its Day 8 of not sleeping through the night. Jet lag plus nasty cold = I hate winter and I'm hungry and have no snacks.

Since, I'm barely capable of making complete thoughts at this hour, I've decided to make this a Gumbo edition.

I want these outfits.

The Green Science Policy Institute is holding conference on how to ensure fire safety without endangering fire fighters and everyone else to toxic flame retardants.

The dilemma of the toxicity of BPA and breastfeeding.

I want to see this movie.

ok. goodbye.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Eat. Drink. Sleep. I hate winter.

It's official. It's the middle of winter and all I'm capable is eating (a lot), drinking (a huge alot) and sleeping (maybe even more than I drink). Bah. Humbug. When does that sunshine come back to Northern Europe? I'm heading out of town soon. First, Paris, then Spain. All anyone can talk about right now is how wonderful it is in the summer. That the entire mood of the city changes, from gloomy to in-love-in-a-high-school-musical-like-feeling, where the 'parks' are covered with people drinking wine and eating cheese sandwiches and playing a game of football.

Summertime . . . . I miss you!

Have you read about how the FDA just said that BPA is not as 'safe' as all those industry studies suggest but they are having trouble making any larger sweeping statements because it was deemed 'safe' in 1936 as a food additive? Wait . . . maybe I drank too much wine and ate too many cheese sandwiches today, but I'm confused.

BPA is turning out to be one of those us against them chemical fights. Industry says we(us) are overreacting about its health impacts by siting its own funded studies . . . oh and that it makes a shit ton of money from adding it to everything from baby bottles to canned food lining. They send 'spokespeople' to city hall meetings and are creating social networking and discounting industry association fees to small businesses to widen its lobbying base in order to create confusion for people that don't have the time or patience to follow the story. Scientists have gotten fired from governmental agencies and professors are being targeted, all stuff that the environmental health movement has seen before.

Here are a couple stories to get you up to speed:

Risk on the Shelves from BPA (SF Chronicle Editorial, not article)

FDA Shifts Stance on FDA, some 'concerns' for children's health

Consortium Rejects FDA Claim of BPA's Safety

Ok, back to the couch and another nap and maybe some more cheese . . .

Renee Claire

Thursday, January 14, 2010

I'm Back. And Sleepy

Hello You,

I'm back in Amsterdam where it is freezing and I've nearly broken my legs 100 times in just the past two days from slipping on the icey snow. No cycling for me this week.

I was just searching through my blog posts trying to find one about Kiddie Kollege. I know I've written about it but I'm too sleepy to keep looking and as I have recently noticed I have never tagged any of my posts. Hmmmmmm. Maybe I'll start now. why haven't any of you told me this? I depend on you to make sure I'm not forgetting these things.

Kiddie Kollege was a day care that was built inside an old thermometer factory. Oh yes, inside! Similar to an elementary school that opened August 2008 outside Austin,Texas inside an old chemical facility, which so outraged parents that they started a state-wide coalition to introduce and pass safe school siting policy at a state level. It didn't pass but the coalition was really effective and the bill will be re-introduced this coming session.

I feel particular kind of solidarity with this group because as they were learning how to build this coalition I was learning how to put together a national coalition to get local, state and national safe school siting policies passed around the country. It was a great learning experience and though hasn't stayed together very well since I departed, did help pressure EPA to produce federal guidelines (public comment period is coming up) that are much more comprehensive than they would have been without so many dedicated activists at the table (our biggest ask of the agency). All work that I miss very very very much right now.

Damn it. I just got yelled at by one of the facilities guy to stop banging my feet on the ground. My bad! Lyle Lovett made me do it. This is the same guy that had a dream about me last night that I was a red head and pregnant but I lived in a really big house. Hmmm . . . I'm not sure how feel about the dude who kicks the shit out of me in our weekly football game dreaming that I'm having babies.

Kiddie Kollege. This day care center was open between 2004 and 2006. Since its closing, there has been a number of investigations and lawsuits to figure out who is actually responsible for the fact that 100 babies and children suffered mercury inhalation. Is it the original owner of the property? Is it the person who opened the day care? Is it the Department of Environmental Protection who knew this property was contaminated? Is it someone else entirely?

The day care was shut down after someone from the New Jersey's Department of Environmental Protection discovered the day care in the contaminated building. The owner of the day care said that he misread the environmental report. The state department released a timeline in 2006 that showed a series of miscommunications about the property and contamination. It first started when the original owner went bankrupt and was forced to close the business. According to law, a company, even one in bankruptcy, is responsible for cleaning up a contaminated site. So when the clean up didn't happen, the state should have put a lien on the building and put up signs to make sure the contamination wouldn't go unnoticed. Obviously this didn't happen.

I want to stress how often this the case. One of the most fundamental pieces of any safe school siting policy must be meaningful community involvement. The state doesn't always know what former businesses were sited on property but a lot of times the family that has lived on the same street for the past 30 years will. People must be invited to participate so that a high school doesn't end up being built on a former undocumented landfill, as is the case many times over in more rural areas. Meaningful community participation is laughed at more often than not in the siting of schools and this is one of the biggest mistakes any school board can make.

Interestingly, Lisa Jackson, the current EPA Administrator, was New Jersey's commissioner of environmental protection at the time Kiddie Kollege was closed. She has made children's health a priority in her reign at the federal level. I've seen a stark change of will in the agency in the past year in promoting safe school siting and releasing information on areas where changes need to be made and children are being exposed to toxic chemicals. In fact, in March of 2009, EPA announced that it will be testing 63 schools in 22 states because of high air contamination in those areas. Here is a national map of where these schools are located.

All the school testing has come back and communities are looking into the results. One thing that should be noted about this project is that industry did know ahead of time when the testing was being completed. I heard from a community leader in Ohio who overheard a manager at a nearby plant say that they were going to shut down emissions that day. Doesn't this man know children who attend that school? Business is business, right? Even if we only have sick communities at the end of the day.

The most important element in understanding air testing like this is not how much of what toxin is captured, though that is extremely important, we must take into account that children are a vulnerable population and the timing of the dose is also extremely important. Industry often discusses that the level of exposure of whathaveyou chemical is 'safe'. What they mean is, when a particular chemical is released, it only matters how much of it is released in order to know if it is of concern. What matters even more than how much is when. Children consume more per pound than adults and have habits of exploring the area around them in a much more tactile manner which exposes them to a greater quantity of toxins than adults. You can damage a child's body for life with just a small amount of exposure and since toxicity is based on an adult male, not a small child, we don't even know what that exposure rate is likely to be.

Today, the Kiddie Kollege building was torn down and the parents of the children and former Kiddie Kollege staff are currently waiting for the next step in their lawsuit against the owner of the building, DEP and Franklin Township for medical monitoring of their children.

Renee Claire

Monday, January 4, 2010

Wakey Wakey Eggs and Bakey

Good Morning!

I'm off to get some ful and really rich coffee at Keren on U st with some friends before I head out tomorrow for my next city on this Winter Tour, but I wanted to share this great oped with you from Helena Independent Record first.

Ciao, my loves!
Renee Claire

Will the real health advocates please stand up?

By ALEXANDRA GORMAN SCRANTON Posted: Sunday, January 3, 2010 12:00 am

A couple of weeks ago in Helena, a table was set up in the Capitol by a group called the Coalition for Chemical Safety. The coalition said they were troubled with the current federal toxic chemical law, and were recruiting new concerned citizens. All pretty normal, except that just last month this coalition was discovered to be a front group for the chemical industry.

The chemical industry, including the American Chemistry Council, the Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates and the Soap and Detergent Association, has been fighting controls of chemicals for years. Even as the industry has created and produced more and more chemicals over the years, with very little safety requirements, they have fought creating tighter standards to protect the health of consumers and families.

As a result, the national law we currently have, the Toxic Substances Control Act, hasn’t been updated since 1976. All chemicals formulated prior to 1976 have been grandfathered into use without proper safety testing. Of the 80,000 chemicals currently used and produced in the U.S., only 200 have been required to be tested.

Currently, newborn babies are born with over 300 toxic chemicals in their bodies. In 2007, a study analyzing the hair samples of 34 Montanans discovered mercury contamination present in all subjects. An analysis of breast milk samples among 40 Northwest mothers found flame retardants (or PBDEs) in all of them, with the highest levels coming from a woman in Montana. We are swimming in chemicals with almost no limits on the products we use every day. As the mother of a 1-year-old daughter I find this particularly alarming.

Why is the chemical industry using their lobbying manpower and big dollars to fight policies that would limit chemicals in schools and children’s products, and simultaneously donning the mask of public health protectors?

The answer is pretty simple. The new EPA administrator, Lisa Jackson, has stated that overhauling our federal chemical policy is a priority. Smart policy would ensure chemicals are safe before they enter the marketplace and eliminate the most dangerous chemicals from commerce. The chemical industry has been benefiting from minimal regulation of chemicals, essentially a “wild West” standard. But, there are new marshals in town, in the form of moms, doctors, nurses, scientists, businesses and public health advocates from Montana and all over the country, working together for reform.

Requiring data that proves a chemical’s safety before it is used in everyday products such as water bottles, food packaging, plywood and personal care products gives Americans protection similar to what we require for drug safety.

Of course Congress has to work with the chemical industry when creating these new standards. Seeing as they’re spending $10 million on a campaign to defend plastics, they probably won’t have trouble getting the attention of our legislators. But industry interests shouldn’t be guiding this discussion — public health and safety should. The chemical industry has called the shots on chemical safety and use in the past, but we’re less healthy and safe as a result. As we learned from Libby, we get into dangerous territory when health concerns are ignored in favor of industry profits.

Congress will be introducing a bill that will overhaul TSCA early next year — Sen. Max Baucus will be key in making sure that law is passed. By updating our law, we have the opportunity to remove chemicals that we know are dangerous from our products and reduce the level of chemical exposure among our most vulnerable populations — young children, pregnant women and workers. And, by requiring a better level of safety, we’ll increase consumer confidence, which we all know we need right now. Most importantly, by phasing out chemicals that are already considered so unsafe that they’re banned in other countries, we should eventually see a decrease in our nation’s disease burden — of asthma, childhood cancers, reproductive and hormonal problems and birth defects.

We’re ready to start building a healthier, safer future for our families — but an industry front group confusing the public by pretending to be something it’s not doesn’t help the cause. For those who are really interested in joining the cause to protect consumers through smarter, common sense overhaul of our nation’s chemical laws, go to and join the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families coalition.

Alexandra Gorman Scranton is director of science and research, Women’s Voices for the Earth, a Montana-based organization that engages women to advocate for the right to live in a healthy environment.

Posted in Opinion, News on Sunday, January 3, 2010 12:00 am Updated: 10:31 pm.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Team Twenty-Ten

I spent New Years with several friends I hadn't seen in a while, eating dinner and having drinks and almost getting into a bar fight with 3 disgusting men that got angry when one of us didn't want to dance with him or the rest of his friends that surrounded us at Saint Ex. We talked about what we were happy about seeing in the new year. I said being 30. There are only 26 days until that happens.

A couple of the women I was hanging out with were 5 years younger than me, the rest of us were all about 30. I'm excited about turning 30 because I'm ready to be done with all those stupid things I did over the past ten years. 21-25 were awesome! I had a lot of fun and explored many cities and met amazing people and changed many times over. 25-28 is where I made the worst mistakes. You see them coming and go for it anyway. Thinking that maybe, just maybe, the bad thing that you think could happen, won't happen . . . then it does.

I refuse to make new year's resolutions for several reasons, one being that I have little sense of commitment to most things, especially something that might be good for me, so why even bother. But I do have things I want to accomplish in the next year. Though I kind of feel that the new year began in October for me, when I made so many changes. Here are a couple things I would like to accomplish over the next 363 days.

(1) Write more, creatively and otherwise
(2) Read a shit ton more
(3) Curse a little tiny bit less . . . sometimes
(4) Study another language
(5) Fill many more sketch books with drawings and photos and scribbles of nonsense
(6) Take more care of the details
(7) Be more patient with people (at least be more aware of my facial expressions when people annoy me)
(8) And because I am a red blooded American woman, replace body issues with "yeah, that's right I got cuuuuuurves, bitches!"

Renee Claire

Ps. "After years of seeing a dramatic rise in children coming to hospitals with severe allergies and asthma, researchers believe the environment of expectant mothers may be to blame for health problems. They just aren't exactly sure how."

Pps. Favorite photo of 2009 . . . because I live in a city where you can take this photo while walking home from brunch