Out Messing about in Boats…Simply Messing


I will be out enjoying a 750 mile 37 day canoe trip along the Northern Forest Canoe Trail starting July 18th. No blog posts here during that time but plenty of posts here at our Flora Burn Blog. Here you can follow our progress and post messages and even find out how to send us mail via general post. You can also follow us on Twitter @floraburn.

Happy Summer and see you in September!


Giving Birth in Chains: The Shackling of Incarcerated Women During Labor and Delivery

CostofprisonMany states in the US still allow for incarcerated women to be shackled while giving birth. Can you imagine? This gross mistreatment of women needs to be challenged with the goal of not making the Prison System stronger but strengthening our communities resolve to get these mothers out of prison and into the care they need. Most people don’t think too often about prisons and how truly barbaric, racist and destructive to communities they are. One place to start engaging in prison issues is to get your state to ban shackling during child birth. Here in Massachusetts there is a three year campaign to end shackling. Here is a great article to get you thinking.

By Anna Clark
Created Jul 6 2009 – 7:00am

As birthing choices are increasingly prominent in the public conversation, pregnant women are more and more empowered to decide what sort of care is right for their bodies and their child.

Not so for pregnant women who are incarcerated.  Not only are their decisions about care restricted, but many incarcerated pregnant women are physically restricted while giving birth: during labor and delivery, they are shackled.

Read Onward!

Sound the Alarm! HIV is Not in Recession

*clean needles work**housing saves lives**fight global aids**

Every 9 1/2 minutes, someone in the US is infected with HIV.
45 more are infected around the world.
This is unacceptable, and we can prevent it.

Last month, President Obama presented his budget to Congress. While there were many areas that showed a real, positive change from the previous administration, there are a handful of areas where the budget did not go far enough. We need to tell Congress to fix it.

The US economy may be in recession, but HIV is not.

•    We need an end to the ban on syringe exchange funding (the ban is in the budget!)
•    We want full funding for AIDS housing programs
•    We want the US to pay its fair share to fight global AIDS

Congress needs to hear from us NOW.  Without a clear outcry from the people they are accountable to – all of us – representatives challenged by a tough political environment will not necessarily do the right thing.

Call the leaders of the House and Senate today and tell them HIV is not in recession.

If you are from any of the following states, it is especially important that you call today, because your Senator sits on the powerful Appropriations Committee, which decides all funding for US government programs:
California [www.sound-the-alarm.org/california.html], Hawaii [www.sound-the-alarm.org/hawaii.html], Illinois [www.sound-the-alarm.org/illinois.html], Iowa [www.sound-the-alarm.org/iowa.html], Maine [www.sound-the-alarm.org/maine.html], Maryland [www.sound-the-alarm.org/maryland.html], New Jersey [www.sound-the-alarm.org/new_jersey.html], Ohio [www.sound-the-alarm.org/ohio.html], Pennsylvania [www.sound-the-alarm.org/pennsylvania.html], Rhode Island [www.sound-the-alarm.org/rhode_island.html], Vermont [www.sound-the-alarm.org/Vermont.html], Washington [www.sound-the-alarm.org/washington.html], or Wisconsin [www.sound-the-alarm.org/wisconsin.html]

From everywhere else in the country, click here [www.sound-the-alarm.org/call.html] or read below for detailed call-in instructions.

Please call Senate Majority Leader Reid and Speaker Pelosi.
As the leaders of both chambers of Congress, they can have a significant impact on the outcome of the budget, and are accountable to the entire nation.

Speaker Pelosi: 202-225-0100

Majority Leader Reid: 202-224-3542

When you call, say:

“My name is _____________ and I’m calling to request that Speaker Pelosi [Majority Leader Reid] work with the Appropriations Committee to improve President Obama’s budget and secure sufficient funding for AIDS programs in the US and around the world. One person is infected with HIV every 9 and a half minutes in the US, and 45 more are infected around the world. It’s time to act, and we need Speaker Pelosi’s [Majority Leader Reid’s] support for an end to the federal ban on funding syringe exchange, $2.7 billion for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria, at least a $1 billion increase in funding for PEPFAR, and $360 million for AIDS housing programs. HIV is not in recession, and these programs need Speaker Pelosi’s [Majority Leader Reid’s] support.”

President Obama committed to fully funding evidence-based interventions, like AIDS housing and needle exchange. And he committed to increasing funding for the US Global AIDS Plan, known as PEPFAR, by at least $1 billion per year, plus support for multilateral programs like the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria.

Call today! Then forward this email to your friends and ask them to call.  For more information on each of the issues, click here [www.sound-the-alarm.org]

Once you’ve called, send us an email at soundthealarm.july7@gmail.com and let us know how it went.

PS- While we are focused on the 2010 budget, another important battle is happening in Washington around health care reform. Advocates are working hard to make sure that any final reform bill expands health care for low-income people with HIV/AIDS. Go to www.taepusa.org for more information and action alerts.

The Beach! The Beach!

Me and Tiny baby Oz

Me and Tiny baby Oz

My oh my! The weather has certainly taken a turn for the better here in Massachusetts. Its finally beginning to feel like summer. So much in fact that we decided to take a trip to the Beach in Hull, MA today.

Sun, surf and sand were the staples of the day. As well as some junk food, which often accompanies a day at the beach. We swam in the cool ocean water and mucked about in the sand. Baby Oz loved the waves so much that he would crawl right out towards the surf as it came in. Hi shrieks of delight were a highlight of the day.

Who knew a day at the beach could make a person so tired. But here I find myself falling asleep at my computer. I guess I’ll call it a night. I hope everyone else out there had a splendid summer day.

The Top of the Hill Fare Weather Amalgamated Choir

People from far and wide came out to see the inaugural performance of the Top of the Hill Fare Weather Amalgamated Choir. What a splendid evening it was!

You can now listen to the first song of the performance, a nice little diddy called “Multiple Relationships”


Real Independence is Owning a Canoe

IMG_3451Before we even bought our canoe we were already talking about being able to go out on the Charles River on the 4th of July to watch fire works. Well we have the canoe and go out on the Charles we did. What a grand time it was!

The fireworks in Boston start around 10:30 after a long day of performances by stars and the Boston Pops. Mahsa, Paul and I set out in the Flora burn around 8:45pm. Well stocked with snacks and tasty soda’s and juices. We parked not far from Magazine beach and using our trusty new bike cart wheeled the flora burn to the launch. It was simply marvelous to see so many other canoes on the water. I was jumping around with joy yapping on and on about how great it was to see so many canoes. It was also a good remind to not take canoeing so seriously all the time. After all the boat house will rent a canoe to just about anyone and set them lose on the Charles River at night to watch fire works.

We set off and worked our way down river to the Mass. Ave. bridge, the other side of which sat the barge where they set the fire works off. We paddled about for a while before getting a little restless. With it being so crowded with other canoes, kayaks and big speed boats we couldn’t really go very far so we kind of just went in circles, which gets old. Slowly but surely 10:30 rolled around and BOOOOOM! the fireworks began. It was brilliant! We must have had the best seat in the city. Best of all was how the sound of the explosions traveled. You would hear a boom and then it would travel towards you and off of buildings and down narrow streets backing it a surround sound experience. Even after the fireworks ended you could still hear the booms working their way across the city.

We turned around to head back to the beach which was fine in itself but accompanied by dozens of speeding motor boats it was not fine. For the most part they were going much to fast. The waves got a bit dicey but over all were manageable. It was just an unfortunately stressful end to a lovely evening. But not enough to ruin the fun of the adventure.

Here are the pictures!

Let’s Go Spinners Let’s Go!

My mouth says yes but my tummy says no!

My mouth says yes but my tummy says no!

My gut is still recovering from a night out at the minor league ball game in Lowell. Oh damn the person who invented the soft pretzel with nacho cheese dipping sauce. Woe be the invention of the hot dog! Ugh. On Friday, a whole gaggle of pals went out to take in an evening game of the AAA Lowell Spinners vs. the Staten Island Yankees. I love me some minor league ball! The park is a charming little place and for this Friday night game it was packed. Sitting in right field is not so bad when you’re in a little park and it felt like we were in the thick of it.

IMG_5459One of the best things about minor league ball games is the energy. The ball playing, while good enough and always fun, is not major league. To keep people excited and loud there is an endless parade of gimmicks: a Frisbee catching dog, kids games, the silly racket race, t-shirt tosses and of course the funky chicken dance.  The crowd loved it all and even when it began to drizzle a little most people stuck it out.At the 7th inning stretch we all stood IMG_5465up and sang “take me out to the ball game” just as loud as we could. That was probably the most fun.

spinnerThe game moved quickly and a whole heap of junk food later the Spinners had won, we’d seen some fantastic in-field play and we were heading home.  We’re already planning our next trip!

Here are the pictures!