Tuesday, January 31, 2006

And the lonely voice of youth cries "What is truth?"

Tonight's State of the Union party went very well. I'd say that there were 60-70 people there easy. And it was the best time i've ever had watching Bush speak. I won't go into my opinions on what he said right now, but the discussion group we had afterwards was great.

About 25-30 of us stayed after to talk about the speech and respond to what Bush said. It was a group of professors, pastors, peace activists from Crawford, college students, and other random people from the community. An electic group to say the least. We quoted everyone from Socrates to Jesus to Machiavelli to Buddha. And many more. People had some interesting, to say the least, ideas about the role of government and what we should do. But my favorite part was when one of the professors at Baylor, Dr. Froberg, talked about his views on war.

Dr. Froberg is a professor in the classics department at Baylor. He is also the College Bowl advisor. He's about 55-60 maybe and is probably the smartest, most proper person I have ever met. He's a bow tie wearing, opera listening, greek and latin speaking man. Tonight he started talking about war and about how he has never seen a war that has impressed him any. He does not believe in war. In fact, during Vietnam he was very vocal in his protesting of it. He literally went door to door to talk to people. He was thrown off porches, yelled at, and worse. Dr. Froberg. This is the man who once was ragging on Bob Dylan's music during a quiz bowl practice. The man who is so polite and never seems to want to step on any toes.

People just keep on surprising me.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

So confused

I don't know who I am. I've been having this mini-crisis since about the end of September. I was better for a while, but then it all came back today. I don't know what I'm supposed to do, who I'm supposed to be, or anything at all. What if I don't want to do actual social work? Then what? What should I do with my life? Where should I go? I just don't know.

And then there's the whole church issue. I have no idea what's going on there. Maybe I need to go somewhere else. I don't know. I'm so confused. I don't know what I should do.

Tonight as I was biking back from the library this girl yelled at me "Julia! Hey! Julia! Julia!" I might not know who I am, but I'm reasonably sure I'm not Julia.

I was freaking out to my roommates a little bit ago about all of this and one told me to "do what I want to do." I responded "but if I don't know who 'I am' how do I know what I want to do?"

And my favorite jeans in the whole world ripped today. So now I'm having an identity crisis and I have no favorite pants. I'm an identityless-favorite pantsless person.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

More Politics

This is the State of the Union Party I'm going to on Tuesday and the reason why my social work class couldn't have our Fajitas and Margaritas party that night:

BU, Sojourners to watch Bush speech


Tribune-Herald staff reports

Saturday, January 28, 2006

President Bush's State of the Union address Tuesday will provide the opportunity for the faith community of greater Waco to assess “the State of Our Values.”

The Center for Family and Community Ministries in Baylor University's School of Social Work will partner with Sojourners – a Washington, D.C.-based organization led by progressive evangelical leader Jim Wallis – to view and discuss Bush's address.

Church and community leaders concerned with governmental policies affecting the poor will meet at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday at The Gospel Cafe of CrossTies Ecumenical Church, 825 S. 10th St.

“This effort offers local Christians the opportunity to follow the biblical call to social justice and peacemaking,” said Jon Singletary, assistant professor of social work and director of the Center for Family and Community Ministries.

“Several proposed federal budget cuts would deeply impact programs that provide assistance to those in our society who often have the most need and the least power, such as children and the elderly,” he said.

The House of Representatives' vote on the 2006 federal budget is expected to occur Wednesday. The proposed budget includes the Budget Conference Bill, which presents significant cuts that would impact such programs as Medicaid, child support, child care, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, foster care and student loans.

“The State of Our Values” event was organized by Sojourners to focus on ways the needs of poor people are addressed in the president's speech and the role Christians can play, Wallis said.

For more information, contact the café at 753-5916 or Singletary at 498-6323.
*****************************
I got my mail from back home this week and in it was a very nice letter for Rep. Stupak. I called him over break about the proposed budget cuts (and I made Allie call him too) and he actually sent me a letter back. Here's part of it:

"The Republican leadership claims to justify these cuts as a way to pay for Katrina hurricane relief, for the war in Iraq, or to pay down the deficit, but this is just not true. The Republicans are cutting programs that help America's most vulnerable citizens by $50 billion just so that they can spend $106 billion in tax cuts for America's most wealthy...Under this tax cut bill, if your family earns $50,000 per year, you will realize a $80 tax cut; if your family earns $100,000 per year, you will realize a $250 tax cut; if your family earns $400,000 per year, you will realize a $1,500 tax cut; and if your family earns $1 million per year, you will realize a $50,000 tax cut. The Republicans do not have their priorities straight when it comes to helping out hard working Americans..."

They sure don't have their priorities straight.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

I need more stuff

As I continue to dislike Wal-mart intensely, I stumbled across these two video things making fun of it. They made me laugh so I thought that maybe others might enjoy them as well.

This one is from jibjab and doesn't come right out and say it's about Wal-Mart, but it must be. I don't think that it will link directly too it, but it's entitled "Big Box Mart."

This one is directly about Wal-Mart. And Garth Brooks. Country music and Wal-Mart, does it get any better than that?

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

I thought I was getting chocolate, but instead, it was Mormons

Last night I got home from the library, was sitting at my desk, and noticed a DHL business card next to my computer. Next to the guy's name was a woman's name and a home phone number, a cell number, and a work number. I thought this was strange, but figured I must have gotten a package and I wasn't home to get it so they left the card. My roommates must have found the card and left it at my desk for me. Maybe the package was chocolate! I love chocolate! Although, I did find it strange that there were so many phone numbers written on it. They must REALLY want me to get this package!

My roommates came home a little while later so I asked them about it. Turns out that I did not get a package, but a Mormon couple came by to see me and left the card for me to call them. They adopt college students or something and are their "college parents." Hmm, seeing how I've been here for 3.5 years already and am about to graduate this doesn't make much sense. Also, seeing how I don't go to their church it makes less sense. But if they want to cook me dinner or take me out to eat, I'm up for it. I like food. Especially chocolate.

Reader poll - should I call them or not?

Monday, January 23, 2006

On my Quasi-vegetarianism

Over Christmas break I decided to become a quasi-vegetarian. It was something I was kicking around for a while and finally just decided to do it. My reasons for giving up (most) meat has evolved in the past month. It went like this:

1. First, I did it for health reasons. Meat really isn't that good for you when you think about it. There are much better sources of protein out there. I decided I wanted to be healthier.

2. I needed a challenge. Sometimes (all the time), I get bored. I need something to keep me on my toes. Giving up (most) meat would do this for me. It would make my dull life more exciting and challenging.

3. Finally, where I'm at now. I've been doing much research into slaughterhouses and the meat industry as a whole. It's really quite sickening. After reading what goes on in those places, I have no desire to eat meat. I don't want to be part of that corruption. Nor do I want to eat meat from cows that were sick or dead when they entered the slaughterhouse. Nor do I want to eat meat that has been contaminated with other things that are not meant for human consumption. My stepmom's family all work in the meat industry in Kansas and she confirms that all this stuff I read about actually happens.

I say I'm a quasi-vegetarian because I still eat fish. Fish is actually pretty good for you. Plus, there aren't really fish slaughterhouses out there. Also, I would eat meat if I know where it comes from and that it's not from some horrible slaughterhouse and it hasn't been mistreated and pumped full of steriods and hormones. Like our chickens at home. I'd totally eat one of those because I know how they were raised and treated. And I would know that I'm eating meat that isn't all pumped full of chemicals and steriods and hasn't been contaminated with feces and other stuff not meant for my eating.

Friday, January 20, 2006

No press is bad press

Background: We (Baylor Students for Social Justice - 1 John 3 Campaign) had a prayer vigil about poverty on Wednesday. It was after the 11am chapel outside of Waco Hall and we had a decent turnout. But the big thing is that we've received a lot of media attention. The Lariat ran this article on Wednesday and a Waco Trib photographer and writer came out to the event and ended up running a story in Thursday's paper. Also, the PR department from Baylor was there , interviewing us for some story they're putting together. Today, one of the members of our group is going to be on the local CBS lunchtime edition news show talking about the campaign and what's going on.

While all of this is great, we did receive some negative press. A friend of mine called me yesterday to tell me that he heard a radio talk show guy talking about what we're doing. Apparently he talked about us for a good thirty minutes and called us 1) flaming liberals, 2) spoiled Baylor kids, and 3) what would our parents say if they knew what we were up to?

Are. You. Serious??

I'll tackle these in the opposite order.

3. All of my parents DO in fact know what i'm up to and all are quite proud of me, thank you.
2. Spoiled Baylor kids?? What?? NO ONE in our group is a "spoiled Baylor kid." We're students who happen to be trying to do something about the injustices we see on our own campus. We're trying to make it so that the staff gets the respect they deserve. We're fighting for something we believe in. How does that make us "spoiled Baylor kids??" We're actually stepping OUT of the Baylor bubble!!
1. Flaming liberal - hmm, okay. I guess i'll take that one.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Give 'em hell, Allie

I talked to my little sister, who is a first year at Michigan Tech, today. They had their first intermural broomball game of the season. She knocked two girls down, threw up on the side of the rink (but not in her helmet), and scored the winning goal in overtime.

That's my sister. You go girl.



Whoever thinks that Waseloviches aren't competitive has never faced one of us on the court, rink, field, water, track, trail, or in life.

Beware.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

The economics of chicken

Today at church a man kissed my head. I was not okay with that.

It has recently been announced that Waco is getting a chicken processing plant and a hatchery. Between the two facilities, 1300 people will be employed and millions of dollars will be brought into the area. Also, production employees, after a year of work, will be making $10.10/hour, which is a really good wage for these parts. (Much better than what Baylor pays, but I won't go into that right now.)

This all sounds great. But is it really?

First of all, I'm currently reading a book about slaughterhouses entitled Slaughterhouse: The Shocking Story of Greed, Neglect, and Inhumane Treatment inside the U.S. Meat Industry (Thanks Cecilia!). The book is about just that, how horrible slaughterhouses really are. Now I'm not an animal rights person by any means. Heck, I don't even really care about animals at all. I don't get the big deal. But what strikes me from this book is how dirty and gross slaughterhouses really are. They are filthy and the meat can be contaminated in so many ways. It's actually quite sick. I don't think I want to eat meat that has been in vats of water that also have feces in it. Call me crazy, but that just doesn't sound very appetizing.

The workers at the slaughterhouses in the book are treated very poorly. Their jobs are extremely dangerous and many of them have been severly injured while on the job. Many of the people interviewed for the book have quit for fear of their lives. They had too many close calls and just couldn't work there anymore.

I'm not saying that the chicken places that are coming to Waco will be like those in the book I'm reading. The company that's coming could be very humane to the animals and treat their workers with the respect they deserve. Their facilities could very well be extremely clean so that they don't cross contiminate their meat. I don't know. We'll have to see. But what I do know is that they said that they will be exporting most of their dark meat. Since Americans generally prefer the white meat, they have to do something with the dark meat so they'll probably be dumping it on developing countries. Which means that people in those countries will not be able to sell their poultry as easily since there is an abundance of cheap chicken from the United States.

All this to say that I do not know if its good or bad that Waco is getting chicken plants. Maybe it's both.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Fourteen to go

One week into the new semester and I've learned:

1. Social work classes are much better than psychology classes.
2. Waco is the center of the drug trafficking in Texas.
3. 13 hours in one day is too much time to spend at the internship. It will make you cranky.
4. Professors who bring candy to class have an edge over profs who do not.
5. Athletes do not have to pay for books.
6. It pays to bond with profs over being from the north on the first day of class.
7. I do not like working with groups for my internship and if you try to make me when I'm cranky I'll yell at you.
8. I still do not like business students or the business school or having a class in the business school and having to be there three days a week.
9. I am not competent to do marriage counseling.
10. I can eat five donuts in one day and not get sick.

Can I get my diploma now?

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

San Fransisco

It's official, Claire, Laura, and I are going to San Fransisco in February for a conference that the United Students Against Sweatshops is putting on. They do more than just unite students against sweatshops, they also have a campus living wage campaign and that is why we're going. I've never been to California before so I'm pretty excited. Actually, I've never been west of west Texas/Kansas.

I wasn't sure if I'd get to go because yesterday we got our syllabus in my econ class and sure enough we have our first exam that Friday that I'll be gone. And the prof is pretty strict about making up exams. Luckily, we bonded over being from the north so today when I emailed him he said that we could work something out.

One of the best parts about the conference is that we're not having to pay for most of it. The conference people are paying to fly 2 out of 3 of us out there and we're splitting the third ticket. And to the best of my knowledge, we don't have to pay for lodging or food while we're there either. Score!

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Procrastination

Today, instead of unpacking, I thought I'd find a home for Mr. Giraffe.

I thought that he might like to live next to a camel and a bobbing Michael Chang head.


He didn't fit in there.

Next, I tried the living room. I put him next to the chess set I got in Africa, thinking it would make him feel more at home. But I don't think the roommates would like him there.


Ah ha! My desk! In front of the Greek alphabet blocks. But as you can see, my desk is a wee bit messy and I'll probably end up knocking him off with my elbows a lot. I tend to accidently hit things/people with them a lot.


So now he's living on my bookshelf next to the pictures of my little brother and sister.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Back in Waco

One of the things I like best about going home to Michigan is that there are actually stars. There are none to speak of in Waco. It's pathetic. When I'm home, I love to look at the stars in awe. They've always amazed me for some unexplained reason.

On the way home today, I just knew something would go wrong. I just knew it. I did that thing again where I did not sleep the night before I was to leave. I always think that this is a good idea, but it never is. I arrived in Dallas at 9:46, went over to the grandparents' new house for lunch, and left for Waco at about 3pm. All was fine until I was just outside of West, Texas, which is about 15-20 miles outside of Waco. My front left tire blew out. I was so close to home. Or, my Texas "home" that is.

I pulled over and within about five minutes two cars stopped to help me. The tire stores in West were all closed since it was a Saturday and I didn't want to have to get my car towed. Seth, one of the people who stopped to help, jacked up my car and took off the old tire. We couldn't get the spare off the back of my car because we needed some key that I did not have. So we decided that it would be best if I brought in the old tire to a tire store in Waco, get a new tire, and then come back out to my car later and put it on. Or actually, get someone to come out with me and put it on for me since I can't do that. I rode into Waco with Seth, who was headed that way anyways. Yes, I rode in a truck with a guy I did not know. But he seemed nice enough, I had my cell phone, and you can't be the daughter of a Green Beret without picking up a few things, so I wasn't too worried. He turned out to be really nice and he and his wife are actually friends with some people who work at the place I do my internship at and he was supposed to be meeting them all for dinner but called to say he was going to be late. I'm so glad that he wasn't some crazy psycho person who tried to kill me.

After many more ordeals, I finally get my tire and at about 8:30pm I head out to put it on with four of my friends. Why it took all of us, I'm not sure, but it did. Four of us watched and shown lights as Fernando actually put it on my car. And as I stood there with all of them, I realized that you could see the stars out there almost as well as you can in da U.P. And I also realized that I was with some of my true friends. Friends who would put off whatever they were doing to help me lug around this tire and fix my car.

Here's to friends and stars.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Packing

It's that time of year again - when I pack to go back to school and realize that I have entirely too much stuff. I was so proud of myself when I packed to come home too because I didn't bring that much. Well, apparently I acquired quite a bit in the 3 weeks I've been home. Too much. Now I have the task of trying to get it all to fit into my new luggage.

Why must I have so much stuff??

Today when I was running at the high school for the last time, I realized that tomorrow I'll be running in Waco. I'm not sure if that's supposed to make me happy or sad. I guess feeling both is acceptable. Why chose one over the other?

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Bursting my bubble

Yesterday, as I was driving through the fog, I remembered a lesson I learned in the first grade. I had just moved from Missouri to Kansas and we were learning about clouds. Or at least we were talking about clouds for some reason. My teacher, Mrs. Fry, was making us guess what clouds feel like. We were all shouting out typical six year old answers - soft! fluffy! like cottonballs! None of which were correct. Finally she told us it's a three letter word. Our little minds were stumped so she told us that clouds feel "wet." "WTF!?!" I thought, "Clouds are f'ing WET!?!?" Except I was six so I didn't really think those exact words. But I was floored. Why did she have to tell us that? WHY??

Then, senior year of high school, Mr. Klintworth ruined bubbles for me forever. He explained why they have little rainbows in them. And it's not because they are magical. Now why did he have to go explain away bubbles?? I wasn't nearly as upset about the bubbles as I was about the clouds, but I didn't feel that my life was any better after knowing about why bubbles have colors in them.

Why must everything be explained? Can't some things just be.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Another Year Gone, Another One to Come

Last night was perfectly good and perfectly bad at the same time. But nothing is perfect.

Rang in another new year with the comrades, as we have done since tenth grade. We started out at Cecilia's house making dinner, as is tradition, but this year we went out since we're all now 21 and celebrated at the Sandbar with a lot of people from our high school. It was so weird to see all these people I have not seen since we graduated. And even weirder that some of them remembered me and I sadly had forgotten their names. I felt kind of bad. But I gave and received a lot of cheek kisses so it was all good.

Nevertheless, 2005 was overall a good year, I'd have to say. Some highlights and lowlights of the year:

Went to Kenya once, New Orleans once, D.C. twice, NYC once, and Philadelphia once.

Made a lot of great new friends (but kept the old).

My dad and stepmom got divorced.

My mom got married.

Spent my first (and hopefully only) summer in Waco.

Discovered some of my passions - ending world hunger, living wage issues, AIDS awareness, despising Wal-Mart, calling my representative, pants, avocados, newspapers, crossword puzzles, tea, and orange juice.

Bought entirely too many cds and books.

Discovered my love for Bruce Springsteen.

Turned 21 and had my first drink.

Worked at Damon's.

Saw U2 for free from the inner elipse.

Did not play enough tennis.

Things to come in 2006:

Graduate with my BSW in May.

Possibly move to DC.

Go to San Fransisco and Spain.

Get a job.

Start applying to grad schools.

Attend Davra's wedding.

Try to implement a living wage at Baylor.

Run a half marathon.

Be happy with my life.