Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Lessons from my Family

I'm sitting at the dining room table and to my left are three giant boxes and one trashbag filled with clothes. My dad emailed me about a week ago from Afghanistan saying that it is cold and he's tired of seeing people walking around in tshirts and can we send some warm clothes? Well, today my little sister, Allie, and her boyfriend, Dan, went shopping at one of the second hand stores in town and bought an incredible amount of "warm clothes" to send. They didn't try to buy anything too fashionable since "the fashions over there are probably different from here." Now we're in the process of boxing everything up and shipping over to Afghanistan.

This type of thing is pretty normal for my family. They tend to do stuff like this and think nothing of it at all. It's completely normal for them to see a need and try to do something about it. I never realized how fortunate I was to grow up in a family like this until the past couple of years. This shaped me greatly and is probably one of the reasons why I'm going into social work now.

I told Allie today that she should probably also go into social work. She recently changed her major from mechanical engineering to "undecided business." She responded that she doesn't want to go into social work, but that she could run a non-profit with her business degree. And then hire me. While I'm pretty sure that I will not be working for my sister anytime soon, I think that it would be great if she did go into the non-profit sector. We had a good discussion about that.

Once my little brother, Kyler, got a new bike for Christmas. He was about seven I want to say. Well, shortly after he received the new bike, he gave away his old one. When my parents inquired about what happened to the old bike, he responded by saying that his friend down the street didn't have one so he gave it to him because he didn't need two bikes. Why is it that often times the youngest "get it" while we don't? He had no need for two bikes, so he gave one away. Sure, he could have sold that old one for a few dollars and then bought something for himself, which he, at seven, was full aware of, but he chose not to do that.

My family inspires me (not to sound too cheesy, but they do.)

Saturday, December 24, 2005

It's a Bird, It's a Plane

It's Super Golda!

Today I went running outside, in 28 degree weather. To combat the cold, I wore "winter running clothes" as seen below. My stepmom wouldn't let me out the door without taking a picture of me first as "Super Golda!"

Now, I know what you are thinking - "what are Super Golda's powers?" Good question. They are as follows:
1) The ability to wear an ungodly amount of spandex while looking super sexy.
2) The ability to run down an icy dirt road without falling - not even once!
3) The ability to ward off the neighbors dogs with her invisible force field.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Saying goodbye to an old friend

Yesterday morning my family celebrated Christmas since no one will be around on actual Christmas Day.

One of the best presents I got was new pajama pants. I was in desperate need of a new pair. My old pair I bought freshman year of college for $5 at Old Navy. They are green plaid and I love them. So comfortable. They have been faithful to me for the past three years. I've worn them on camping trips, they went with me to Kenya, I even wore them to one or two 8am finals when I was too tired to actually get dressed. I think I even wore them to a 3:30pm final once or twice also.

Sadly, however, a couple of months ago they got a hole in the butt. Not as in a rip-type-hole, but a worn out-type hole. I tried to patch it with a piece of an old pair of jeans, but that only worked for a couple of weeks. The hole got bigger and the patch did not really stay in so I had to wear a pair of boxers under my pajama pants so that I would not be inappropriate.

Yesterday when I opened up my new pajama pants I got really excited. They're green and teal plaid and really warm. My little sister told me this meant it was time to retire the old pants. I dont know if i can do this. I'm not ready. But she's right, it's time to say goodbye to the old pants and embrace the new.

I hope that they treat me as well as my old pants did and that we have many happy years together.

Monday, December 19, 2005

My Year in Review

So this is my year in review. I took the first sentence from the first entry of each month. This is how it played out:

January:
So this is my life - I wake up at around 1-2pm and then sit around for the rest of the day waiting until rarty time.

February:
You know what's NOT cool? The fact that today is SOME people's second day of classes but for others, it's the beginning of their fourth week and they have a greek test today.

March:
I'm a horrible person, but it was only semi my fault.

April:
I registered for classes this week.

May:
It just struck me as I'm sitting here writing a paper how non-collegelike Bay College actually is.

June:
I played tennis with a friend from the Africa trip and his roommate today.

July:
When I'm bored, I bathe. I'm going to be so freakin' clean this summer it's unreal.

August:
Apparently my "August allergies" are in fact universal.

September:
I'm so freakin' tired.

October:
We ate waffles at work tonight!!

November:
I'm taking History of Traditional China this semester, completely against my will might I add (that's a long story though).

December:
Today I spent the hours between 8am-11:30am handing shirts to people and trying to convince them to wear them.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Trade, Bono, and Coffee

I turned on my computer today to find many things happening in the world. First, I was pleased to see that Time magazine announced it's "Persons of the Year" and they are no other than Bill and Melinda Gates and Bono! I have to say, that I am happy that Time decided to recognize the good work that these three have done this year in terms of humanitarian work. The Gateses have donated so much money to global health and Bono is the voice of so much concerning AIDS, debt relief, and poverty.

Also, the WTO voted to end farm subsidies by the year 2013 . While this was not the 2010 deadline that many people and countries were hoping for, it's something I suppose. I have to admit, I didn't know a whole lot about free v. fair trade until these past couple of months. I knew that fair trade is what people talk about and push for, but I wasn't exactly sure what all went into it. Luckily, I had the chance many times this past semester to learn about fair trade and what it means. I just ran across this article, written by an Aussie, that puts it into words better than I can.

This past Wednesday at our Amnesty International meeting we talked about corporate responsibility and what it means. We met at a local Starbucks and met with the manager about what his store, and Starbucks as a whole, is doing regarding these issues. He brought up several good points about the whole fair trade stuff. For instance, the term "fair trade" is becoming somewhat of a marketing ploy for companies. They know that people will buy their product if they stamp it with "fair trade." Are they now providing fair trade products because they believe its the correct thing to do, or because they know that they can make money from it? Also, many products are fair trade, or partly fair trade, but because of the rules behind calling something "fair trade" it might not always say it on it. It was really interesting to hear Matt talk about it all from a business standpoint.

He also talked a lot about the importance of relationships that business people need to have with the people they are buying from, such as the farmers. They need to know where their coffee beans are coming from and have a relationship with the people who are growing the products they are buying.

We got to taste some of the fair trade coffee and even though I'm not the biggest coffee fan, it was pretty good. I had two mini cups and I was jittery. I have such a low tolerance for caffiene it's sad.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

The Game of Life

Last night, because of a lack of anything better to do since we live in the middle of nowhere, Eric and I played Life (and Sorry! Lots and lots of Sorry!). I don't think I've really played Life since middle school, when Jeanie and I would play it all the time. That was also before she started going by "Jean." In the game, I was a female and chose to wear pink. My car was British so I drove it from the right side. Eric was male and chose to wear blue. His car was not British. My husband sat in the backseat of the car so that people wouldn't think that he was driving from the left side, because I was driving my British car. Eric had two sons, one who wore pink and one who wore blue. They sat safely in the back of the car. I had no kids.

Life, the game, is very unrealistic in many ways. First of all, I was a teacher, but making $80,000 whereas Eric was an accountant, but earning $40,000. Halfway through the game I had a midlife crisis and became a police officer and made $100,000. Now I'm pretty sure most teachers and police do not make that much money, but I could be wrong.

Other parts of the game were realistic, however. Like the rules. We didn't have the rules sheet so we made it up as we went. That's what I do in real life. In fact, my motto this past semester was "fake it till you make it" because that's what you have to do sometimes. Life doesn't necessarily give you the rules all the time so you have to figure it out as you go along. But, this can lead to problems. Luckily Eric and I didn't argue about the rules, or lack of rules. But if I was playing with other people, big problems could have come about. Just like in real life.

Luck also played a role in the game, just as it does in real life. Your fate depended on the spin of the wheel and where you landed on the board. You didn't have control of everything that happened to you. You never knew when your house would burn down or someone would get sick or when you'd go on an African Safari or win some sort of prize. Maybe you have luck, maybe you don't. Maybe life will be easy, maybe it won't. Who knows?

I won the game, and along the way won the Nobel Peace Prize, the Pulitzer, and built a better mousetrap. None of which will happen in real life.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Home Sweet Home

I've been home all of about an hour now. It's cold and snowy - I'm not a fan. Plus, my cell phone doesn't work here. Ahh, da U.P.

I might have overreacted about Christmas. While I AM going to be alone on Christmas Eve and Christmas day, we DO have a (fake) Christmas tree! I'm not a fan of the fake tree, but I'm glad we have something at least. Even if it doesn't smell like Christmas. It's not decorated yet. I suppose that's something my sister and I will have to do once she gets back from school. Maybe Christmas won't be so bad afterall. Maybe. Now if only we had some Christmas cookies....

In other news, I am training for a half marathon. Yes, you read correctly. Me. Running. Far. My friend Claire talked me into it. She ran one on her birthday last weekend and is running in a full marathon on my birthday and she convinced me to run in the shorter race. So I'm supposed to start training on Monday. Physically training that is. I'm already "mentally" preparing. Ha. I even have a running schedule. I hope the high school is open so I can run there, otherwise I'll need a back up because I don't think I can run outside here. It's so freaking cold. And snowy.

On the way back from the airport my stepmom tried to take me to wal-mart to get groceries. I insisted we go elsewhere and got the chance to "educate" (okay, I ranted) my stepmom and "little" brother about the evils of the store. They were polite and listened to me. They even seemed somewhat interested.

My little brother saw Walk the Line and is now obsessed with Johnny Cash. He has the complete cd set and is listening to it full blast. I'm so putting it all on my ipod.

Being home is going to be interesting, needless to say.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Tea drinkers unite!!

Good news! Researchers have conducted a study and it looks like drinking tea may reduce your (if you're female...) risk of getting ovarian cancer!

I was never a tea drinker until this past year. I didn't know what I was missing all my life. Up north, we aren't big on ice tea. I don't think I ever even had it until I came to Baylor. I KNOW that I had never had sweet tea. I had some freshman year, liked it, but I didn't go out of my way to drink it.

This summer I was introduced to hot tea. We drank it 3-4 times a day in Kenya. Good stuff. The first time I attempted drinking hot tea, I had to get help. We were at our campsite while on safari and I was waiting for the rest of my team to come down for breakfast. I approached the tea setup with apprehension and the lady behind me had to help me. I was completely clueless. She showed me how to seep my teabag and add milk and sugar. I quickly fell in love with the Kenyan tea and our outings that we took almost daily to drink and talk.


I bought a box of 100 teabags to bring back with me to the States. I forgot about them for a while and they sat in my room until one day I had some friends over and we decided to have a "tea party." I broke out the Kenyan tea and refound a lost love. This was during my "week of poppy seeds" so my friends decided that I should drink my tea with poppy seeds.

This is not something I recommend. Poppy seeds + Tea = bad. Who would have thought??

This summer, once I was back in Waco, I found out about the teas they have at Commongrounds. Since I was still new to this whole tea thing, I didn't know which ones I liked, so I got a different flavor each time I went pretty much all summer. And I found out about how to ice the tea to make it cold. Because seriously, you can't drink hot tea in the middle of a Waco summer day. However, when I went home for a couple of weeks in August I tried to order tea at our local coffeeshop, but I wanted it iced. Twice when I did this the baristas had NO IDEA how to ice the tea! I had to tell them. Ahh, yankees. Nevertheless I taught them how and I was able to drink my tea.

All that to say that I'm so glad that my drink of choice is possibly helping me to fight ovarian cancer. This is very good news.

Friday, December 09, 2005

More on Walmart

Ever since I watched that Wal-Mart movie, I think I've annoyed pretty much everyone with my rants on the corporation. The first couple of hours of our car trip up to Kansas for Thanksgiving consisted of me telling my grandparents, mom, and stepfather all about how evil it is. At about the second hour mark we passed a Wal-Mart and my grandma says "oh look! There's a Wal-Mart! We should stop!" Luckily, we didn't. I then decided that maybe I should stop talking so I took out my ipod and cranked up some Springsteen.

Today, my friend Seth forwarded this article to me - Wal-Mart Critics: Where Would Jesus Shop? Which then reminded me of an op-ed in our local paper earlier this week. Unfortunately, it is not on the Waco Trib's website, but it basically said, "yes, Wal-Mart does a lot of bad things, but so does everywhere else! It's okay that they suck because everyone else does too!" Now, how is that logical in any sense? It reminds me of what my parents would say -"if everyone else jumped off the Mackinaw Bridge, would you?" Just because other companies do not offer adequate benefits or pay decent salaries does not make it okay that Wal-Mart doesn't either! They have the resources to do so, but they are choosing not too.

From the Wal-Mart article I was led to this page - Wake-up Walmart. A whole website about how bad Wal-Mart is! So much reading to do! I suspect that the rest of my day will not be spent studying for my history of traditional china final, like I should be doing, but reading about the evils of Wal-Mart. Why oh why did I find this site today when I have a 9am final tomorrow?? Or I guess, why do I find ways to procrastinate so easily??

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Bah Humbag

I'm not in the Christmas spirit this year. Usually, I love Christams. I love decorating, I love buying presents, I love the smell of Chrismtas trees, I love Christmas cookies. Not this year. Maybe it's because I know what awaits this Christmas season at home, or actually doesn't await. It looks like my dad isn't going to be able to come home from Afghanistan for Christmas, like he was planning, and both of my older sisters and their families aren't coming to Michigan either. And on top of that my little brother is going to Kansas to see his grandparents and my little sister has to work on Christmas Eve. Bah humbag. So since there is going to be limited family around for Christmas, we're not doing a full-out celebration of any sort. I doubt if we'll even have a tree. So this puts me in a bad mood concerning Christmas all around. I'm not looking forward to buying presents because I won't see everyone when they open them, I'm not looking forward to cookies because my dad isn't home to bake them, and I'm not looking forward to Christmas trees because we most likely won't have one.

I suppose I need to get over this. There are so many people who have it much worse than I do. At least I do have family, even if they are scattered all over the world. I should really stop pitying myself. I'm so freaking self-absorbed it's ridiculous. Maybe I should focus on the real meaning of Christmas - Jesus' birth. That's what it's about, not the trees, not the cookies, none of that. But the birth of our savior who came for all of us. That's what it is all about.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

I may have found my calling

Today I spent the hours between 8am-11:30am handing shirts to people and trying to convince them to wear them. I hate to brag, but I'm ridiculously good at getting Baylor students to wear bright orange t-shirts that say "HIV +" on them in big black letters. Seriously. We were trying to get about 20% of the student body, or 2000 students to wear these, representing Zimbabwe which was a 20% HIV/AIDS infection rate. Well, we didn't get 2000 people to sign up/pick up their shirts so today we had an incredible amount left so some of us walked around throwing them at people and trying to get them to wear them. It actually was fun. We were supposed to get money from the people if we could, to cover the cost of 2000 shirts, but I was not good at that. That is not part of my calling. I was just really good at getting the people to take a free bright orange AIDS shirt and then wear it for the rest of the day.

For the first hour and a half, Jon and I walked around and approached just about every person we saw. I felt kinda creepy at first, but I quickly got over that. Before I knew it, I was a shirt-giving-away machine. You should have seen me in the computer lab in the garden level. I went in with an armload of shirts and came out with none. Even Jon was impressed.

The next hour and a half was spent sitting with all the shirts right outside the School of Social Work and going outside between classes and trying to get everyone walking past to take a shirt. I was amazed at how people responded. Most were more than willing to take one and put it on and listen to my speel, but others would walk away. It reminded me of the people at the U2 concert when we were volunteering for the ONE Campaign. It was all I could do to refrain from muttering "bastards" under my breath at the rude people. But overall, most people were enthused about the shirts and put one on.

The last half hour we went to the SUB and hit people up in the cafeteria. We got a very positive response from that, mostly, I think, because everyone had seen tons of people walking around in them already and wanted to get in on the action. Seriously, there were so many people with the shirts on! It rocked. And now I'm at the library and have already seen about 15 people wearing them.

While the shirt project went well and we actually got so many people to wear them and raise awareness for HIV/AIDS on the global level, I'm just waiting now for everyone to donate their shirts to Goodwill/the Salvation Army/wherever else. That should be interesting when all of a sudden there are hundreds and hundreds of these bright orange HIV + shirts. Interesting indeed.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Why I love small town newspapers

This was taken from my town's newspaper, the Daily Press. Actually, It's techinically the town next to mine and I'm pretty sure it's the only newspaper for the entire county. Here's the preface to an actual letter to the editor that ran Friday:

(Editor's Note: In the past there has been some confusion when publishing letters to the editor from Dan Young, because there is more than one person named Dan Young who lives in Delta County. Not only do two of them have the same name, but also live on the same street. For the sake of identification, the follow letter is from the Dan Young who lives on South 22nd Street but does not own and operate a downtown business.)

The letter goes on to bash republicans and so forth. I just love that intro to it. And I love living in a town small enough where they can put in this disclaimer before the letter and people then know which Dan Young wrote the letter. Ahh, da U.P., I miss you.

Thanksgiving and other thoughts from the past week

Another holiday has come and gone. It was great to see the family. We all went to my sister's in Kansas again this year. And while her boys/my nephews are wonderful, they make me glad I don't have children. I don't think I could handle kids right now. I know I couldn't. Nevertheless, the trip was fun and well worth the long car ride.

Highlights of the trip:
1. Seeing the fourth Harry Potter movie with four generations of my family
2. Not having a TV most of the time - we were forced to find other ways to entertain ourselves/talk to each other
3. Buying pants and shoes with my little sister
4. Terrifying the two 19-20ish year old boys from my sister's church who were helping my sister's family move into their new house by a) being female and b) talking to them. Who new I was so scary?? All I did was offer them some food and ask them their names!
5. Playing charades with the fam after our Thanksgiving meal. (Even if my three year old nephew did the exact same thing but once he was a bird, a couple times a rocket, and once an airplane.)
6. Packing my sister's house/helping them move. Ha, not really a highlight, but we did it.
7. Riding in the minivan for 10 hours, one way, with my grandparents and parents. Once again, not really a highlight, but it went much smoother than expected.
8. Ranting about Wal-mart the entire trip
9. Being able to read for pleasure and not for school
10. My little sister forgetting her pillow and now it's mine!

Around the Thanksgiving table, we played this "game" if you will. We went through the alphabet and said stuff that we were thankful for, starting with each letter. It quickly turned into a free for all where everyone was shouting out different things. My favorites included:

Bicycles
Fair Trade
Food
Grandparents
Kansas
Knowledge
Lemurs
Living Wages
Music
Quilts
Quietness
Snowboards
Springsteen, Bruce
U2
Xrays
Xray technicians
Yellow
Zoos

Bet you can't figure out which ones of those were mine...

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Bringing joy to the world through a lemon poppyseed muffin

I participated in a very scientific experience this past week - I ate an incredible amount of poppyseeds in order to see if I'd really fail a urine analysis. It all started last Tuesday when I was talking about these great salads I really like at my social work internship. The salad has poppyseed dressing on it and we started debating whether or not poppyseeds really do make you fail a drug test. It's one of those things no one really knows for sure, but everyone wonders. I decided to take matters into my own hands and conduct an experiment.

For the past week I've incorporated poppyseeds into just about every meal. I ate salads with poppyseed dressing, made lemon poppyseed muffins, ate poppyseed rolls, and even bought a little container of poppyseeds and sprinkled them on everything I ate. Everything from toast to quesadillas to even my tea! Actually, I didn't put them in my tea, I can thank my friends for that. Also, I don't even like poppyseeds, they taste bad, but I had to forge on for science.

Today I did the UA at my internship. I'm at a drug treatment facility so I have easy access to them and the workers there wanted to know the results too. I'm happy to say that I came up negative. For both opiates and cocaine. The monitor who administrated the UA kept saying that she thought it would mess up the cocaine test but I kept insisting it would for opiates so we did both. Actually, I'm not going to lie, I'm disappointed. I have never had a UA before and I thought it would have been hilarious if I failed my first one. I think the monitor thought I was so weird for doing this, plus I kept going off about how it was my first time. But then again she was more than eager to help me with the whole process.

So now you know, you can eat all the poppyseeds you want and you won't fail your drug test. That's just a myth and I busted it.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

I detest Walmart

I've disliked wal-mart for a while now and have made a point not to shop there, whenever possible, for about the past year. I knew that it it was horrible, but I didn't know ALL of the terrible things it does. I just knew that it pays its associates crap, doesn't make it a practice to promote women, and is outsourcing a lot of the jobs. These were good enough reasons for me to believe that it was the devil and that I should no longer make purchases there and support it.

Friday night a group of us had a screening for Walmart: The High Cost of Low Prices at a friend's house. It is made by moveon.org, I believe, and is a documentary highlighting all the reasons why walmart is, in fact, the devil. It was horrible. Not the movie itself, but all the things walmart does. How they make it a practice to move into a town and shut family owned business down. If I had emotions and working tear ducts, I probably would have cried when they were showing these businesses that families had worked in for 40+ years shut down after walmart came to town. To see all that hard work demolished in a few short months.

Then there is the fact that walmart doesn't pay its employees enough and they can't afford the health insurance for their families and what is walmart's response? Well, there are government funded programs to help you with that! WTF?? WALMART is TELLING its employees that should they not only get medicaid for their children, but also foodstamps because they qualify for them!! People who are working fulltime for them! That's completely ridiculous. AND all this while the Waltons are worth billions and billions of dollars! Completely ridiculous.

What I liked about the movie was that they had a number of managers from walmart telling their side of the story. These people were in the higher up parts of the corporations and saw some pretty horrible stuff going on and talked about it. They were told to never pay overtime and were taught how to go into the computer system and move hours to the next week in order to not have to pay the associates overtime. They also never made it a practice to promote women. If they saw two associates talking and then move away from each other quickly when they came up that was grounds to believe they were trying to unionize, which is NOT something walmart likes/allows. It was incredible how much money walmart will spend trying to keep the workers from forming a union, yet they will not pay them higher wages.

Oh, and then there was the whole issue of security in the parking lots. The security cameras in the parking lots aren't necessarily for security reasons, but so that the managers can see if the workers are meeting in the parking lots, trying to unionize. They had this big long list of places around the country where attacks have happened in a walmart parking lot and Houghton, MI was on it!! Houghton!! I think it said it was a knife assault. It happened sometime this year. Eric, do you know anything about this??

The movie ended on a good note, at least. They showed these towns coming together in order to keep walmart from coming into their city. And a lot of them were successful. It was touching.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Bruce Springsteen, how do you do it?

I get up in the evening,

and I ain’t got nothing to say (those who know me know that i usually have something to say)

I come home in the morning,

I go to bed feeling the same way

I ain’t nothing but tired, (I just want to sleep, all the time)

man I’m just tired and bored with myself (I need something exciting. Some change. Something)

Hey there baby, I could use just a little help

You can’t start a fire, (I love starting fires, real and metaphorical)

you can’t start a fire without a spark

This gun’s for hire

even if we’re just dancing in the dark (I can't dance, but i don't think that should stop me from trying)

Message keeps getting clearer,

radio’s on and I’m moving round the place

I check myself out in the mirror

I wanna change my clothes my hair my face

Man I ain’t getting nowhere just sitting in a dump like this

There’s something happening somewhere (yes, but where? And what?)

baby I just know that there is

You can’t start a fire...

You sit around getting older

there’s a joke here somewhere and it’s on me

I’ll shake this world off my shoulders

come baby this laughs on me (it generally is)

Stay on the streets of this town (I was told yesterday that i shouldn't stay in Waco, that I should leave. Where I will go, who knows??)

and they’ll be carving you up alright

They say you got to stay hungry (I've been hungry all day, I wish i had some food in my carrel)

hey baby I’m just about starving tonight (okay, so i'm not THAT hungry. I'm such a spoiled American. *hangs head in shame*)

I’m dying for some action (I could use a little bit of excitement around here. any ideas??)

I’m sick of sitting ’round here trying to writeThis book (AMEN! I'm sick of sitting here trying to write this thesis!)

I need a love reaction (I wouldn't be oppossed to that).

come on now baby give me just one look

You can’t start a fire.. (This weekend while I'm camping i'll get to start a fire)

Sunday, November 13, 2005

More books to sit on my shelf

The library had its annual booksale this weekend. It put Gladstone's to shame, that's for sure. So many books. I was a little overwhelmed walking through the aisles, knowing that I could never get around to looking at them all. And I kept thinking about the time Cecilia, Erin, and I went to Gladstone's and then tried to start a bookclub. Ahh, good times.

I ended up carrying around so many books - two paper bags worth - that a worker person came up to me and offered to put them in the "holding" area with my name on them. I think I have a book problem. Keep in mind that I currently have about 10 books sitting on my shelf in my apartment that I do not have time to read. So why did I buy 9 more yesterday?? Because I have a problem. I blame it on my mom, she's a librarian. And every time I go see her she has more new books for me to read. I usually end up clearing off my shelf about once a year and returning all the books I stole from her that year. It's amazing how fast they accumulate.

I'm very excited about the books I bought yesterday. I got a John Irving book, because I know how much you love him, Cecilia. I figured maybe I should try something of his. I also got a casserole cookbook because I looove casseroles. And a book about this woman who goes to work for a senator in DC but then ends up joining the Americorps VISTA program. I couldn't pass that up. I got a few others and the book I'm most excited about - a sociology textbook from 1936. It looks so interesting. It has chapters about how to bring about social change, poverty in America, racial issues, and a lot of other stuff. And it's all from a Great Depression era perspective! And it was only $2! I'm so excited about it, but none of my friends are. They kept looking at me like I was crazy when I was showing it to them. Nevertheless, I'm pumped to read it. Eventually...

Monday, November 07, 2005

My life keeps on getting weirder

I spent about 9.5 hours today with a reporter from the Wall Street Journal. True story. From about noon until 9:30pm. It was an interesting day to say the least. The reporter was here to talk to people about issues of poverty, in particular trade, and how we, as people of faith, are responding.

We started with lunch at the World Hunger Relief Farm, right outside of Waco. We ate with the workers, volunteers, interns, and all the other people who somehow ended up there. The farm is great, everyone is so laid back and welcoming. I did my service learning for one of my social work classes there and loved it. We talked about hunger issues and how they relate to trade and economic policy and all that over lunch. After the farm, we went back to the School of Social Work and had a discussion time with some of the undergrad and graduate students about what we're doing and why we're doing it, as Christians and social work majors at a Baptist university. We then met with the Dean of the school and a guy from the administration and talked more about the role of the School of Social Work and all that. We talked about the Jubiliee Initiative that a group of us are working on with the Dean. Then we had to take off to our Baylor Students for Social Justice meeting, which the reporter eventually came to. Over some tea we talked about the 1 John 3 Campaign, the stuff we've done with the ONE Campaign, the U2 concert, and some stuff we're planning for later on in the semester. Next was dinner over at Anali's. We had Guatemalen food and ice cream for dessert. We talked more about the 1 John 3 campaign, Baylor students, and much, much more. Finally, at about 9:30pm, I rode with the reporter over to the Hilton so that he could check in and I could put in my two weeks at Damon's. Anali followed so that I could have a ride home. The reporter was not so good with directions. Pretty much someone had to ride with him everywhere we went so he wouldn't get lost.

He was also extremely interesting. He's lived overseas for the past 20-25 years, including in South Africa during and after apartheid. We asked him about his most memorable interviews and he was talking about a refugee he interviewed in Eastern Europe and then as an afterthought says "oh, and I had the chance to interview Nelson Mandela before I left South Africa. That was pretty memorable." WHAT?!?! Yeah, I'd think that would be pretty memorable. And here we all are, just some students at Baylor, and he's interviewing US? We felt so inadequate after that.

The article should come out sometime before the WTO meeting in December. It should be interesting to see what he included and what was left out. I mean, he only spent 9.5 hours with us!! And we covered everything from the living wage, to Baptist politics, to fair trade, to Bono and Chris Martin and everything in between.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

The job is (soon to be) no more

I basically put in my two weeks at Damon's tonight. I have to go and bring it in writing on Monday, but my boss knows that I'm quitting. It's his fault. He started it. He gathered us all up tonight and told us that his last day will be the 19th. I have never seen everybody there look so depressed and upset at the same time. He's great, we don't want to see him go. A lot of us are still working there just because he IS so great. I know that's pretty much the reason for me. I was going to quit once school started, but I stayed because of him and some others there.

I was also planning on quitting at the end of this semester. I'm going to be too busy next semester to work, but I thought it would be best if i finish up this one. I'm only working 2-3 days a week and that's still too much some weeks. My boss is so great with my schedule though. No way would any new manager be as flexible with me, especially when I come up with excuses for not working like "I'm going to New York for the weekend," or "I have to work at this U2 concert" or "I promise, I have a meeting with the president of Baylor," or the latest one "this guy from the Wall Street Journal wants to interview me and some of my friends." Those are all true by the way. Anyways, I'm going to need Thanksgiving off since I'm going to my sister's in Kansas and I need a weekend off in a couple weeks because I'm going camping and since I don't know what this new manager will be like, I don't know if he/she will let me take off. I talked it over with my boss and he told me that it would probably be best to just put my two weeks in now, but to make sure people know that I was going to be quitting anyways, that I'm not just because he is.

So that's it, pretty soon I'll be back to being unemployed. But, on the bright side, I'll have more time for homework/procrastinating.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Lessons from my history class

I'm taking History of Traditional China this semester, completely against my will might I add (that's a long story though). Usually I dread going to class because I have no interest whatsoever in Traditional China. Nothing aganist Chinese history, it's just not something that I enjoy at 9am. I'm not a history major, or an international studies major for that matter, for a reason.

Yesterday's class was crawling along as usual and I was trying my best not to look at the clock every 90 seconds. The prof was lecturing about the Song Dynasty and he gets to the "Four Classes" of the dynasty. They were:
1. Literati (those who studied Confucian classics and took exams to become scholar officials).
2. Peasants
3. Craftsmen/Artisans
4. Merchants

This was very interesting because the merchants, or the business people were at the bottom of the class system beneath everyone else. About 80% of the people were peasants and they were near the top because agriculture was so important to their society. They were valued highly. Merchants, on the other hand, were looked down upon because they were only concerned with making money.

I can't help but wonder what our society would look like if this was true. In a sense, people who are overly concerned with making money are somewhat looked down upon by some people, but I don't think it's to the extent that it was in the Song Dynasty in China. We may think that people who are farmers or who work with the poor or others are wonderful and we may respect them, but the wealthy still have the majority of the power. The business people in this country are by no means at the bottom of the class system.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Hi, have you signed the ONE declaration yet?

I got the pictures from Laura, so as promised, here's what happened at the U2 concert on Saturday. This is the four of us from Baylor who went, Laura, me, Anali, and Claire. We were so freakin excited to be there. You can't really tell, but the stage is RIGHT behind us.
Our job at the concert was to hang out at our designated location and try to get people to sign the ONE declaration. We were to stop them by asking, "hi, have you signed the ONE declaration yet?" I must have said that sentence at least 500 times. No joke. Typically, there were four different reponses I would get. 1) people saying yes, they have signed. I'm pretty sure some of them were lying to me, but whatever. 2) People who would say "no thanks" and walk right on past. I didn't blame them, that's probably how I would respond if someone came up to me with a clipboard. I'd think they wanted my money or something. 3) those who signed either right away or after I told them what it was about. and 4) those who would ask what it was for and I'd say something along the lines of "it's a campaign to fight global AIDS and extreme poverty" and they'd say no thanks and walk off. To these people I'd mutter "bastards!" under my breath. But not so anyone could hear me.

A couple time I accidently said "it's a campaign to fight global poverty and extreme AIDS, wait, no, extreme poverty and global AIDS!"

I was definitely profiling in regards to whom I was asking to sign. I'd go after groups of younger guys, guys who were overweight/not the most attractive, and when a middle aged couple would come I'd ask the woman. I had at least four couples stop and the man was not interested at all but the woman would stop and listen and then end up signing on herself and her husband. I realized however, that I shouldn't stereotype people. Quite a few times I'd ask people who I did not think would give me the time of day, but then they'd get really excited sign on, and then start asking about what else they could do.

Before the concert started, there was a stretch of time at the end when no one would sign. People kept walking off and I was doing a lot of the"bastards!" muttering. But then a group of guys came up to me, told me that they had already signed, but to "keep up the good work!" That made me feel so much better. See, some people DO care!

After the concert we went back to our posts to get more people to sign. This time it was easier because when explaining what the ONE campaign is about I could say things like "you know, it's what Bono was talking about there near the end!" And I'd get responses such as "Well, if Bono wants me to sign, I'll sign!" Yeah you will.

The actual concert was incredible. I don't think adjectives even exist that would adequately describe it. We got wrist bands that let us into the inner elipse, as in, we were about five feet from the band. And it was such a power trip to walk down to the inner elipse, past everyone else. We just showed the security guards our wrists, and we were in. So great. We got so many envious looks. And as we were walking to the inner elipse, the band was making their way to the stage and Bono definitely flashed us a peace sign! Well, it may not have been to US necessarily, but I like to think it was. It very well could have been.

Pictures from the concert, compliments of Laura

Adam, the bass player, who was pretty much right in front of us the entire time



Bono walking about five feet from where we were

The stage

The downfall to the concert is that I'm pretty sure nothing is ever going to be able to top this. At least no concert. I've been trying to come up with a concert that could possibly be even better, but nothing has come to mind. I mean, seriously, we were FIVE FEET from Bono!! Does it get any better??

Update

Here's an article about the pastor who died yesterday. I still can't believe it happened. I don't think anyone can.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

(Title goes here)

I can't concentrate.

I can't concentrate.

I have way too many thoughts running through my head.

I am still processing the concert from last night. More details about that once I get the pictures from Laura. It was incredible - beyond incredible. Songs are stuck in my head. And then I try to analyze the lyrics. I can't concentrate.

This morning a pastor at a local church was baptizing someone when a microphone fell into the baptisimal font. He was electrocuted and went into a coma. I heard that he died, but I don't really have any confirmation on that. The guy who was being baptized is fine, from what I've heard. What a freak accident. I mean, he was baptizing someone! I can't stop thinking about this. And I can't imagine being at the church when it happened. Many students from my school go to this church. I have a lot of friends who go there. I just....I just don't know...anything...

I should stop trying to do homework and go home.

I can't concentrate.

Friday, October 28, 2005

My Siblings

I got a package in the mail today from my sister Betsy and it made me think about how lucky I am to have such wonderful siblings. My sisters and brother are great. I have two older sisters, a younger sister, and a younger brother. Yes, that puts me smack dab in the middle of five kids. Explains a lot, I know.

Melissa lives in Kansas, is married, and has two adorable boys. Shane and Logan. If my scanner was working, I'd scan in the new pictures of them I just got in the mail today from Betsy, but it's not so here is a picture of them from last Halloween. That's Shane as Harry Potter and Logan as Blue.


Melissa sends me cakes in the mail. And not just any type of cake, but red velvet cakes, my favorite! She sends them for my birthday and for finals. She also talks to me online when she's not busy at work and plays scrabble with me.

Betsy is married to Trent and they are in the process of moving from Detroit to Oregon but Trent is in New Orleans for his work and Betsy is in Kansas with Melissa and her family. Betsy is super competitive. We all are, but I think she and I are the worst. When she found out that Melissa was sending me cakes she got very upset. It went something like this "I can't believe Melissa is sending you cakes! How am I supposed to compete with that?? I can't believe she's doing that! Now i'm the bad sister who isn't sending cakes! I can't catch up now! It's too late! Just wait until Allie goes to school, she'll get LOTS of great care packages from me and i'll be her favorite! I can't believe she's sending you cakes!" She does send me stuff still, but she's given up on competing with Melissa because she doesn't believe she can top her. In today's package I got little snickers bars, cookies, candy corn, peeps pumpkins (i LOVE peeps!), a mini pumpkin, pictures of our nephews, and a card. Greeting cards are one of Betsy's passions. She sends me them all the time, for every occassion and for no occassion at all. Her cards are great.

Allie is a freshman at Michigan Tech this year and she's loving it. I needed to send her my graphing calculator in August because I don't need it anymore and she's studying engineering and she does. I waitied until she was at school to send it and made it into a care package. I included cookies, pixie sticks, wax bottles, and i don't remember what else. I timed it so she got it before classes even started. Which made it her first care package! Betsy found out and got mad at me. "I can't believe you sent allie a care package already! I had one ALL READY to go! Now mine won't be as good because it won't be her first!! " Did i mention that we are all extremely competitive? But see, our competitiveness is a good thing, it fuels care packages. Anyways, back to Allie. She calls me a lot to see how I'm doing and tell me what's going on up at her school. She's always in a good mood and is somehow able to time her calls right when I need a pick me up. I'm not sure how she does it. And I love the voice messages she leaves. They're always so cheerful.

Kyler - the only boy. Poor kid, he has four older sisters. He's a freshman in high school but I always think he's still 11. He's not. He's a good sport, seeing how we tortured him since he was the only boy and the youngest. He takes me fourwheeling when I'm home, sometimes twice a day. And he makes sure I don't die while we're on the trails. Last time we went he brought me to this area he found where wild blueberries were growing and we stopped at ate a bunch. He also talks to me online late at night when he should be sleeping but he's not.

Here's a picture of me with my siblings from last winter. Melissa isn't in it since they weren't able to come up last year for Christmas. For some reason, we all thought it would be a good idea to go fourwheeling in the snow. It was actually really fun, but incredibly cold!


So those are my siblings.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Golda and Claire go to the city Part III:Eating our way through New York

Some people go to New York for the shows, some for the museums, but for me and Claire, we go for the food. A good part of our days were usually spent walking around in search for a restaurant to eat at.

by the numbers:
5 - places we ate at on Saturday
3 - times we ate pizza
3 - people we ate with from Waco (not counting us)
2 - country-type places we ate at (Little Italy and Chinatown)
1 - time we accidently almost left without paying
1 - restaurant we ate at that is featured on a TV show (the restaurant from Seinfeld)
1 - new food I found that I don't like (anchovies)

We also made many new friends at all the restaurants we went to. While eating at our fifth stop of the day on Saturday, a Ben and Jerry's somewhere downtown where we had an insane amount of ice cream/cookies/chocolate, we met these two guys. We assumed that they were a grandfather and his 25ish year old grandson. They sat at our table because there wasn't really anywhere else for them to sit. Both of them seemed tired of the other's company by this point in the night and they sat in silence and ate their ice cream. They eventually made small talk with us about the city. They had walked around the perimeter of Central Park that day, and neither one seemed too enthused about that. I imagine that they walked around it in silence, just like they were eating their ice cream. As if they were forced to spend time together, but didn't know what to say to each other. They finished their ice cream rather quickly, said goodbye, and went on their silent way back to wherever they were headed.

Earlier that same night, we made friends with the serving staff at this little cafe nearby. We were sitting up at the counter so all the servers would come by and some would talk to us. I paid using my credit card and our server brought it back and started talking to me about my name. He tried to tell me that in his country, they use the name "Golda" as an endearing term. As in, he refers to his wife and his daughter as "my Golda." I asked him where he is from and he said Mexico. Hmm. I'm thinking he might be lying to me, seeing how I live in Texas and I feel like if this was true, I'd have heard about it by now. Then another server came by and told us that he refers to his wife as "osa" - female bear. He then went on to tell us all about marriage and how difficult it is. He was an interesting guy to say the least.

Overall, the food in New York (and Philadelphia) was wonderful. I must say, I'm a fan of their pizza. Although I think I like Chicago's better. It's a tough call.

--------------------------------------
Two days until U2!!!! Who's excited??

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Golda and Claire go to the City Part II: The Schools

Friday morning we woke up ridiculously early because we had at 11am meeting with the admissions lady at UPenn. We were going to take the train over to Philadelphia, but then found out about the Chinatown bus which was much cheaper. For $20, it picks you up in Chinatown in NYC and drops you off in Chinatown in Philly and as long as you keep your ticket stub, it will bring you back too. Somehow we found the bus, which was amazing seeing how we had no idea where to pick it up at, Chinatown isn't exactly small, and made it to Philadelphia by 10am. We then had to hail a cab because it was really cold and rainy to take us to UPenn. We knew that the social work building was near Wharton so we got dropped off there and wandered around the massive building before asking for directions. Once at the actual social work building we were still early so we sat and waited and met a very nice guy who is in the non-profit leadership/non-governmental leadership graduate program. He told us all about the school and the lack of guys and how to get free beer. We finally met with the admissions lady and she was very helpful as well. She told us all about the program and gave us lots of free stuff. I was pretty impressed with the program and the campus, at least from what i saw. When Claire and I were walking through campus after our meeting we saw these guys "rocking for the homeless." They were in recliners, in the rain, "rocking." And they were going to be doing it for 48 straight hours. They were raising money for the homeless in Philadelphia and they were shouting at everyone walking by to donate money. Yes, GUYS were doing this! At Baylor, it seems as it is mostly girls who do this sort of thing. We thought that boys being involved in doing something like this rocked, pun intended. The admissions lady had told us that the student body was pretty active in politics and activism type things. This was one of the most appealing parts of the school to me since the Baylor student body is pretty apathetic about everything.

We went to Temple later in the day, although we did not have an appointment. We were unable to schedule one so we just dropped in and happened to catch the admissions guy. He was very helpful and honest about their program and gave us a mini tour of the campus. Overall, I was not too impressed by it, at least not compared to UPenn. I did like that they seemed to be more focused on the students though. The way the guy was talking it appeared that the students get to make a lot of the decisions their education and I liked that.

Saturday morning we attended an information session at Columbia. There were about 20-25 prospective students there for it and it was great. They have a brand new social work building and it is amazing - 10 stories high, computer labs, breakout rooms, A LIBRARY, a multipurpose room, and so much more. I have never seen anything like it before that is solely for social work. It puts our little school in the parking garage to shame! Although we did just get a bike rack... Anyways, the information session was great and it answered a lot of my questions about the school. It was strange though because Claire and I were the youngest in the room and the only advance standing candidates so while everyone was older than us, we knew the most about social work. We were the only ones who got why it was funny that there were breakout rooms and role playing rooms.

Right before we went on the tour of the school, we ran into our friend Mary Beth! She just started her first year of grad school there and was in the student lounge area. We didn't know that she'd be there that day studying so it was a total surprise to see her. We talked for a few minutes before we had to get back to our tour, but we were able to meet her the next day for breakfast and pick her brain about Columbia.

I'v decided that I really like UPenn and Columbia, but not so much Temple. But I can't decide which I like better between the two. Good thing I have a while to decide. Plus, I have to see where I can actually get in. Minor detail.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Golda and Claire go to the city Part I: Hostility towards the Hostel

I've decided to divide our trip into several different posts otherwise there would either be one insanely long post about it or a shorter one, and I'd be leaving out so many things. As you can imagine, the two of us in New York/Philly was quite an adventure, especially our living quarters for the weekend.

We get to our Hostel, the Malibu Hotel, at about midnight on Thursday. It took us a while to get there from the airport, but we finally made it. We saw the little sign out front between all these restaurants and shops and climbed the stairs to the second story of this little run down building. The guy at the front desk was nice, but not friendly. He told us we'd have to pay in cash, which we did not have but there was an atm nearby. The security guard said that we could drop our stuff off first, then run and get the money. He led us up some dark, narrow stairs, to the fifth floor, down a dark, narrow hallway, which got more narrow as we went down, to our room. We dropped our stuff off, went back downstairs and outside to the atm across the street. Keep in mind it's midnight, we're in New York City, and we have no idea what's going on. And on top of that the hostel is kind of shady. We get some cash and start freaking out. Or actually, Claire freaks out some. She has a "heightened awareness" for dangerous situations since she's interning at the family abuse center in our town this year. She is in contact with people who have been raped/beat/had horrible things happen to them on a regular basis. So she freaks out, is convinced that we're going to die, and tries to call a friend of ours in the city to beg her to let us stay at her place. We can't stay there because she already has a visitor and her apartment is tiny and she has a somewhat mean/crazy roommate who says no. Finally we suck it up and go back to the Malibu.

Once back inside, it's much better. We see other hostel stayers and they all look like nice people. Not like people who will kill us during the night. We get back to our room, which we have to ourselves that night, and eat/drink the food and drinks that Anali gave us before we left. I had a "dirty Anali" aka, ginger ale and cranberry juice and Claire ate a lot of chocolate to calm down. Even though we calmed down some, Claire made us sleep with the lights on that first night.

The second we get back to the hostel at about midnight and there is someone sleeping in the bunk right next to mine. We try to be quiet and get ready for bed as quitely as possibly without turning on the lights. I'm getting my stuff out of the locker and I look to my right and see this man's eye glaring at me. Turns out there wasn't ONE person in there, but TWO. One on the top bunk and one on the bottom. I freaked out a little because I didn't realize there was someone in that bed and he didn't look very happy. I got my stuff and made a quick exit for the bathroom, which is where Claire was. That bathroom was also very shady. There were two little bathrooms for the entire floor and there was always a wait. The one bathroom that we usually ended up using had a piece of the door missing and the window was gone. There was also no outlets in them. Anyways, we got ready for bed, went back to the room, and fell asleep. Sometime around 6:30-7am another person came in, crawled into bed and went to sleep. The weird part about having roommates is that we never actually saw them. We were asleep when they were awake and awake when they were asleep. I never actually saw the person sleeping in the bed next to mine and he was there for two nights. And I'm kind of guessing that he is a he since I never really saw him.

The third night, and our last, as we're climbing the steps Claire exclaims "I love this hostel!" and she was serious. My, how her feelings changed in 48 short hours. The hostel was really cool in all actuality. We were pretty much the only Americans at the place. By that third night it was full of people from all over the world - no one was speaking English. It was great. We get to our room at about midnight again and there are three people asleep, and one of them is in Claire's bed. So she had to sleep that night in the bed above mine, which was already slept in by someone. During the night another person comes in so our room is to its capacity. And yet again, we never really see these people. So odd.

The next morning we're packing up to leave and as Claire takes out her bag full of the food from Anali she notices its all chewed up. Yes, some sort of rodent was in our room and ate through the bag. Ahh, gotta love the hostel. We freaked out a little, threw the bag away, continued packing as quietly as possible, checked out at the "front desk" checked our luggage with the security guard and went out for our final day in the city. Came back later in the afternoon to get our stuff and say one final goodbye to our living quarters. We'll miss you Malibu Hotel, you'll always be dear to us as you were our first hostel experience.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

"You can't start a fire without a spark"


It's official, Bruce Springsteen Greatest Hits is the soundtrack of the first chapter of my thesis. I listened to it in its entirety at least three times yesterday while working. I can't help it, once I get on these music kicks, it's all over. Last Christmas break it was Maroon 5, over the summer it was Cat Stevens, and now it's Bruce Springsteen.

I'm sure that for the rest of my life, every time I heard "Dancing in the Dark" or "Glory Days," I will think of sitting in my study carrel in the library frantically typing about the living wage. Just like everytime I hear "Ride Wit Me" I'm taken back to American History class junior year and whenever the bells play "For the Beauty of the Earth" during my internship I remember sitting at the piano in the garage when I was eight, practicing that song over and over.

I'm down to the editing portion for this chapter. Which is good, seeing how it's due tomorrow by 5pm. I also have to type up the bibliography, but that shouldn't take too long. I'm doing an analysis of successful living wage campaigns at colleges and universities and am looking at Baylor's and what's happening here. But this first chapter is just on the living wage in general and is really boring. I'm excited to actually get into the college stuff. I'm convinced that that part will be much more fun as far as the researching and writing goes. At least, that's what I've been telling myself as I've been making my way through this first chapter. I have to motivate myself somehow.

Speaking of motivation - the light at the end of the tunnel - Thursday, after this whole thesis nonsense is over, at least until the second chapter is due in December, I'm going to NYC and Philadelphia!

Saturday, October 15, 2005

"I looooove Damon's"

"Yes, but Damon's HATES you!" - a coworker to me after I was sarcastically expressing my love for our workplace.

I've been working at Damon's for about four months now, and it's been alright for the most part. But now football season has started. Gone are the boring slow days when we'd stand around and talk. Now we're running our butts off trying to keep everyone happy. Why oh why are football games so long? People stay in the restaurant FOREVER! I'm on a break right now. I went in at noon, worked till about 6:30 and my boss will be calling me between 8-9 for me to come back in for the post game rush. Have I mentioned that I love Damon's?

Yesterday at work I was discussing the 1 John 3 Campaign with one of the hosts. She also goes to Baylor so we had a good talk. She's always come off on more of the conservative side when it comes down to things like what we're doing with the campaign, but she really thinks that this is something that needs to be done at our school. That took me by surprise and I answered a bunch of questions she had about it. Then I showed her the book I had just bought, and happened to still be in my backpack.





I went to Barnes and Noble yesterday with the intention of buying:


and



Instead, i walked out with the first book,, Mountains Beyond Mountains, and



Oh the irony of spending $50 on books about the poor. This is where all my tips are going - books and cds. And I'm not sure why I bought all these, knowing full well that I will not have the time to read them until Christmas break most likely.

Anyways, I showed the book to my friend and she got very excited and started reading the back - once again, very unexpected. I guess this is a lesson for me. I shouldn't make up my minds about people prematurely.

I had a very opposite interaction with another worker last night. He's a server also, about 40, and very, very conservative and set in his way. He likes to debate politics with me every once in a while. He overheard me telling someone else about my trip to Austin and started going off about the budget and why there are cuts being made to Medicaid and Food Stamps and why it's alright. And why it's okay to give back $70 billion dollars in tax cuts to the wealthiest in the country because "after all, they pay about 70% of the taxes anyways." When he starts going off like that it's hard for me to keep my cool. Usually I get snappy back and make a smart remark.

Later on that night one of the bussers asked me about my ONE bracelet and the same server was in the room when i was telling him about it and made a comment along the lines of "why should we have to help people around the world?" AHHH!! He frustrates me so much sometimes. A bit later he stops me and tells me that because of the way economics work, there has to be rich people and poor people, there just has to be. I told him that maybe so, but there doesn't need to be the great inequality that there is. And then I may have started ranting (me, rant?? what??) about how since the late 1960's inequality has grown and how that sucks, blah blah blah. He got mad at me, yelled, and I took off to put up the dishes I was holding.

Fast forward to today. He comes into work and asks me how i'm doing and I say, "I've been better, but I've been worse so overall I'm alright I guess. How are you?" He replies "well, let's see, there's a republican president in office and both the house and senate are controlled by the republicans so I'm good!" As I continued walking through the drink station I said "yes, but debt is up and the president's rankings are down!" And once again I made myself scarce.

Have I mentioned that I loooove Damon's?

Friday, October 14, 2005

Austin or bust

Yesterday, Laura, Claire, Mallory, Jon, and I piled into Mallory's car and made the trip down to Austin to lobby Kay Baily Hutchinson. We decided to go on this trip last week after a conference call with Jim Wallis of Call to Renewal and Sojourners. In a nutshell, the senate is supposed to be voting on the budget reconciliation within the next couple of weeks and they are proposing budget cuts to programs such as Medicaid and Food Stamps. They're saying that since we're fighting two wars and are rebuilding the gulf after the hurricane, there isn't enough money to go around and cuts must be made. However, they are also proposing to give tax cuts to the wealthy - totally about $70 billion. But the cuts they're trying to make to Medicaid and food stamps total $35 billion. That doesn't add up or make any sense.

Before we actually got to the Senator's office we met up with Seth at a barbecue restaurant and ate lunch with him. He's the ONE Campaign Fellow for our region and works in Austin. We got to talk with him about what he's been up to and tell him more about the 1 John 3 Campaign we're working on here at Baylor. We also pestered him yet again about getting us into the U2 concerts here in Texas since he gets to work at them. I wish I had his job.

After lunch we walked over to the federal building and met up with Lew. He's the Bread for the World guy for our region and we met him last year at a letter writing workshop he did here in Waco. Plus he and Seth were both at the conference in DC that we all went to last summer. Ahh, good times on capital hill. Anyways, we met up with Lew, the "grandfather" of the group as someone said later. He brought us a camera and said that he checked and that we could use it. He also asked us what we were going to say in our meeting and gave us a few pointers before he left us on our own.

We actually met with an aide, not Kay Bailey. He was a talker and kept getting off topic, but I think Jon did a good job of "holding him to focus." I think the meeting went fairly well, considering we're talking to republicans who are most likely set in their ways about the budget already. But we were able to get our points across and say why we thought that Medicaid and Food Stamps shouldn't be cut. Because seriously, why make these cuts but then turn around and give people who are already filthy rich more money back? That is ridiculous.

After the meeting with the aide, he showed us around the office, which used to be LBJ's place when he was president and would come back to Texas. It was still decorated the same so everything was avocado green and basically really ugly. We left the office, walked back to the car, said good bye to Seth, and made the trip back up to good ole Waco, which according to the aide is a "growing metropolis." Yeah, riiiight. Keep on thinking that, buddy.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Welcome

Well, I decided that it was time to start up one of these. I guess I just got tired of being over there at Xanga. Not really sure why though.

Today I was ranting to Claire about a letter to the editor in the Lariat. I've been ranting a lot lately - about stuff pertaining to the 1 John 3 Campaign, about the School of Social Work, about economics majors, etc. It has consumed my past two days basically. Anyways, I'm ranting to Claire and apologize for ranting and she says something along the lines of "yeah, you've been ranting a lot lately. And just think, tonight you'll be raving!" We're having a School of Social Work "rave" tonight. Basically it's a mixer so that everyone can meet each other because no one knows anyone except those in their classes. But since we called it a "rave" it's cool and people will come. We're having bowls of white mints out, aka ecstasy. And two of the profs are drawing tattoos on people with sharpies and we're having a cupcake walk because what's a rave without a cupcake walk?? It's going to rock. So back to the story, Claire says that tonight I'll be raving and I say "you're right! Hey! From Ranter to Raver: One Girl's Story! That should be the title of my autobiography!" Now I have to do something worth while of writing an autobiography about. And I need to stop ranting and start raving. I think I have the first part down.

More to come about our trip to Austin today...