Thursday, July 31, 2008

Productive Days of Thundering

Yet another 2am night.

I swear, I'm going to croak.

I've corrected so many term papers, it's making my eyes dry out. I use the term "corrected" oh so loosely because really--I'm skimming for the certain required properties and that's about it. I feel like a horrible excuse for a teacher, but hey! I've got 5 classes!! I am proofreading the English papers to death--but the Ethics papers are just going to have to deal with the neglect!

My day consists in working out, planning finals, correcting finals, correcting research, eating lunch, and staying up grading more papers. I also squeeze in a couple of phone calls here and there--(Yo Lesley, Crystal and Corey!) and I do the dishes, and take out the garbage because apparently no one else is here often enough to warrant such housework. "I'm never here, so none of the dishes are mine!" That would be my favorite phrase. Seriously people. (I realize other people have at some point in time taken the garbage out--and some miraculous soul actually took the recycling out tonight!!--I am not ungrateful.) But I am on a rant. So I shall rant.

I feel horrible though. A friend called this morning and asked for me to be with her movers while she went to work. She called at 7:30am. I went to bed at 3:30am last night. I was barely coherent, but I knew that with all I had to get done--watching movers for 2 hours wasn't going to happen. I felt so guilty saying no as I snuggled under the covers.

It's 2:09am. I am going to do myself a favor and get to bed early tonight!!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Funny blog

This blog is a crack up. Read it and weep.

I just got home from the gym. I haven't been since Thursday and I've been eating horribly over the past few days. I've also felt myself become toxic. I think exercise truly helps me to stave off depression.

I had three very different experiences with three very different men this weekend. Nothing romantic is between any of these guys--and just in case, I'll use fake names.

Friday night--Hans said he'd meet me at this karoake bar to sing and celebrate my roommie's birthday. He came and left before I got there after class. I was kind of bummed. I thought I had made a new friend. I drove home seriously pissed off at his inconsiderate actions. I ended class early and booked it to the bar because I didn't want him to be among my friends for too long without knowing anyone else. I got there 10 minutes after he left.

Saturday night--I went to dinner with an old friend George. George is a serial dater and he just broke up with the girl of his dreams. I enjoy his company, but he has no interest in me and I wasn't in the mood to prolong the evening. I went home early and headed to Batman by myself.

Sunday night--Ishmael texted and we went to ice cream. I know. It was Sunday. But I work 4 nights a week. We had a nice conversation. He's very talkative. But so am I. I kept waiting for him to say, "Let's call it a night" since he was practically falling asleep as he was talking. But he pressed on and finally we parted ways at about 11pm. It was nice and relaxing. No expectations.

Hans is a former nerd in his 30s. He drives a nice car, but he's still got a lot to learn about social graces. At a certain age, these little social faux pas become less cute and more unforgivable.

George needs to admit that he is very good at dating and horrible at relationships and that he should stop dating, and just hunker down in a relationship. He's in his late 20's and a law student. He's got time. He'll be fine.

Ishmael is a good friend. He's in his 30s and pretty darn self-aware. He's pretty upfront about his feelings which makes for uncomplicated friendship.

These were not dates. But ever since my mom told me about making that list, I've tried to be more open about hanging out with the brawnier sex.

But really, until the guy kisses me or flat out tells me that he wants me--it's just hangin' with friends.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Ethics Final Papers

Tonight was the last night of my Ethics class. Everyone presented their final research paper entitled "My Version of How to Choose Right from Wrong". I have students from all over the world. The different versions of these papers are incredibly interesting to listen to.

Here's a sample of some of the presentations we heard in class tonight:

Chris, Virginia: "I hate to oversimply it, but if everyone just followed the rule of 'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you' that would solve most of our problems."

Cristi, Dominican Republic: "Life is full of contradictions, and because I'm human, I definitely continue to make many mistakes. That does not make me a bad person, on the other hand, this adds more heart to my life, since I am learning from the first mistake, and when something happens again, I know which is the right decision to make."

Charles, Cameroon: "Our upbringing was based on the philosophy of advocating for what was right and standing firm on what was wrong. I lay credit to Nelson Mandela for being a major source of inspiration in my life, both for the philosophy of non-violence, and for facing adversity with dignity."

Othman, Morocco: "Most of us, when faced with a choice between right and wrong, will choose to do the right thing, unless we lack the moral courage to choose right over wrong."

Priscilla, Cameroon: "I started on my path many years ago when I was a young girl, living in my village in Africa. Everyday, we had to get up early, fetch water to bathe, and then head to school. If you were not early enough to fetch water on time, you ended up late for school and got punished for that. So at a tender age, I learned that for every problem, there were solutions and if you took the wrong decision on a problem, you stood to face the consequences, whether good or bad. . . As we grew up, the older people in the village kept a close eye on us. When the younger boys tried to climb trees that were too tall, they were told to come down from the branches. One day a bold and daring boy waited until there were no adults around, and while his friends watched, he climbed one of the taller trees we had been forbidden to climb. Soon, they heard a crack and the branch on which he was standing broke off the tree. He fell and ended up with a broken leg. From that day, no one dared to question the wisdom of the adults."
Frankly, I could quote this entire paper. It's filled with all sorts of interesting anecdotes!

Andrew, Mennonite: "I have come to respect ideals in other religions, like the Navajo ideal of balance between the natural, the human, and the supernatural. I can take that to mean for me that I should find a balance between my physical life and the spiritual. For example, if my physical body needs healing and I must rest my body, that would be a perfect time for also strengthening my faith in God. To reflect more on Him, pray more, and become a better person from it all."

Rosa, Puerto Rico: "I think that we, as God's pinnacle creation, have been made with an innate sense of right and wrong. I also believe that we, as God's creation made in his image, have been given the choice between whether to choose to acknowledge and act upon what has been instilled in us by our creator as right."

Anne, Nigeria: "Respect demands that we do not take away the conditions of moral agency or autonomy from other people."

Rosaline, Cameroon: "Where I come from, genital mutilation of young girls is acceptable. On the day of the event, elderly women who believe and have gone through genital mutilation will prepare while the men provide drinks. After the process, they all sit and celebrate that their daughter's virginity is preserved and it is only the husband who will enjoy the wife. Contrary, some western countries term it as morally wrong."

Emma, Cameroon: "What is said to be right in one country or region may be wrong in another. Moreover, what was right say fifty years ago, may be wrong today. In the same vein, different families, like cultures, have different standards for what is right or wrong. Therefore, choosing between right and wrong depends largely on the society or region in which one resides. This means that immigrants to a new country should quickly find out what laws exist in their new country so that they would be able to choose between right from wrong."

Before sharing their papers, we shared food from everyone's different countries. We even decided to pray before eating the meal, since we'd discussed religion enough in class!

It was a wonderfully positive night.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

My little sister

This is my little sister Bethany. She is 15 years old. The girl she's holding is my cousin Amye Keira. Bethany is the daughter of my dad and his second wife, Ruthanne. We've never been very close, because I'm horrible. But I've been thinking about her lately.
This is Bethany posing for her myspace page with some blond chick. She has huge eyes. Much like me. It's a little strange having a little sister.

Apparently, she dyed her hair. I think it looks great!

She's struggling right now. We are so opposite. She's struggling with all sorts of problems that I don't want to get into on a blog, but it's difficult to not see our obvious physical similarities. I need to do something to help her out. I wanna fly her out here.

I think I will.

Or better yet, Dad will!!

Black and White

Last night, I had my English class write a persuasive essay on their favorite color. I told them to convince me that their color was the best color in the world, and they could totally lie if they wanted to. For example: Yellow is the best color in the world because it's God's favorite color.

Or: Blue is better than orange because blue doesn't cheat on their taxes like orange did back in 2004.

It was a fun day.

What was interesting to me: 3 people wrote about their love for White. And 1 guy wrote about black.

Charles is from Cameroon. He is incredibly black. And he looks good in white. White is his favorite color. He says that "White is the superior color". I was slightly uncomfortable in my aryan skin as I heard him describe the purity and superiority of white.

Until . . .

Igor from Russia presented his favorite color. Black. This kid is blond, and very white. He detailed the drama, the mystery and the depth of Black.

I wanted to point up the irony that the whitest guy loved black and that the blackest man loved white--but frankly, I don't know that anyone in my class really cares about the differences in their skin colors. They're all here, in a new country, working hard to make a life for themselves. And some of them prefer black, while others prefer white.

I prefer blue.

Chincoteague with Bridget

We left Tuesday morning and drove 3 hours to Chincoteague Island off the Eastern Shore of Maryland and Virginia.

We spent the day sleeping on the sands, Bridget in her pink string bikini, and me in my blue one-piece. There's something about being with someone who is confident about their body that makes you just wannna strut your stuff along the sand. Somehow, by travelling with her I suddenly had a much better body than I do! (Please don't ever show me a picture of me next to her, it will ruin the wonderful picture I have in my mind.)

Our plan was to go camping on the beach, but as we drove into town to find a place to camp, we passed a lovely motel and had a wonderful idea!

After checking into our room--setting up camp if you will--we went a local restaurant and ordered a porterhouse steak and all you can eat Maryland Blue Crab!

Then we came back to the motel and revelled in cable television!

It was a perfect vacation.

I either, slept, ate, or floated in the waves for 24 hours. Not to mention the great company!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Procrastinating on Monday

I must follow up.

Stupid boy came over last night instead of going to bed.

So now I have a new friend! We had a good time last night. I really appreciated the dynamic in the room. It was a small group, and everyone was relaxed and enjoying being around good friends. I am really sick of huge parties with people I barely know. Last night I was with close friends, and we introduced the new guy into the group dynamic and he did very well! Sam and Christina sat and spoke Latvian to each other--and that was incredibly interesting to listen to, and new guy popped in with Russian every once in a while. Spencer sat next to me poking me and dumping water on my arm to get my attention--I swear the man is a 3 year old--and Clarissa lounged on the floor, comfortable knowing that she didn't have to put on a show. And I just enjoyed everyone.

Spencer likes the new guy. And I like him too. He's nice to hang out with. He gave me some really really good advice. Most women advise me to lay low and not call the guy and not let him know I'm interested. I asked him, "Do you think he's interested in me?" and his response was--
"What does it matter? It isn't about him--it's about you! If you're interested in him, than keep him around. If you're not--than don't. It isn't about him."

It seems so strangely simply. But true. He advised me to make my actions reflect my feelings. Don't act beyond my real feelings. So, I'm interested. He's nice. But really, if he started dating a roommate, I'd think that was great! I have no personal feelings attached to the guy. He's great to hang out with though. And he drove me around Saturday night in his spider convertible. And that was great fun!

So, I'm not wondering whether he likes me or whether anything is going to happen with this guy--I'm simply going to call him if I feel like it and live in such a way that I have a good time--and stop worrying about what a guy's thinking. Thank you Spencer for teaching me to think more like a man! I love you!

Tomorrow--I'm going camping with my friend Bridget on Chincoteague Island!! or Asiteague. Not sure yet which island we're going to go to. But we're going camping!! On a beach!! I am going to get the best sunburn in the world!! I'm going to spend the entire 2 days wearing my bathing suit and eating smores!

I'm supposed to be leaving for class in 15 minutes. It's 4:45pm and I'm in my underwear.

Don't judge me.

Thanks for reading friends! Have a lovely day!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

stupid boys

I went to a Luau last night. I ran into a guy that I've run into a lot over the past year. I'm not really interested in him, but he doesn't bore me. He suggested that we compete to see who could make out with someone at the dance that night.

stupid boy.

I grabbed a friend and told him about the competition and informed him that he was going to help me win.

And he did.

And I did.

After winning the bet, he invited me to go and play games at another friend's house. I would have preferred to stay and dance, but I thought about how I complain about not being asked out--and decided that I should accept his invitation.

He's not a bad guy, he's really great actually. It's just that I don't think he's very interested in me, and I'm afraid I've made him think I care more than I do. I would love to get to know him better, but that's not the same as being interested. I invited him over to hang out tonight, and he needs to go to bed early tonight.

Stupid boy.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

upon my mother's recommendation

A few days ago my mom and I were talking on the phone. Here's the conversation:

Mom: I hope you don't mind if I . . .
Me: What is it?
Mom: I think that you should make a list of all the qualities that you want in a companion.
Me: So this isn't about losing weight?
Mom: No. It's important to make a list of qualities that you want in a man, and then the man you want will come along!
Me: Well, all right.
(In my head): Is that all? Well, gee golly! How did I miss that nifty trick!
Me: Well, gee, the traffic is pretty bad, so I'm gonna hang up now.

I don't tell her what's in my head because her regular response to such negativity is that she has been married 2x, while I have been married 0x. I don't question her infinite wisdom. So, here's the list:

1. Makes me laugh
2. Makes me think (yes it is all about me!! Read the name of the blog!)
3. Seeks to make the world a better place (read: Liberal)
4. Encourages my relationship with God.
5. Takes care of himself. (this might be interpreted as "good looking"--but I would never blatantly profess my shallow side--so I'll just say--"I hope he doesn't stink.")
6. Ambitious and passionate about his life.
7. Makes enough money to be content. (I'm not gonna anyone's sugar mama!)
8. Is kind and sensitive to the needs of those around him. (translation: notices when the dishes need to be done and when the garbage stinks.)
9. is striving. (aren't we all? Anyone who doesn't feel like they need to keep working is deluded.)
10. Curious. (because they're interesting! And what have I said about being bored??)
11. He has a quality about him that inspires others. a kind of quiet leadership.
This last one is almost intangible--but I'm attracted to powerful men. It's not a popularity thing, it's just that some men have a quality that makes everyone in the room come closer. I want this.
12. He loves the Lord, himself, and his family. This one seems like a given, but my mother has made me superstitious--so I shall state the obvious.

Thank you mother. I love you too.

Friday, July 18, 2008

In America

I've been showing In America in my English classes this week.

I have been working on editing a giant thesis all day and I can't find the right words to describe how much this movie means to me.

It's about an Irish family who come to America and to rediscover the magic they lost when they're young son dies. I watched this with my father and wept.

If you just want to laugh and cry and become overwhelmed with the beauty of this world, watch this movie.

I believe I have never been quite so cliche in all my life--but it's been a long day!!

Just watch the stinking movie and I'll write something more intelligent later. The movie speaks for itself.

Monday, July 14, 2008

From Antonio Fava

I've been reading The Comic Mask in the Commedia Dell'Arte by Antonio Fava. Here's a direct quote:

"[Theatre] instantly organizes itself in means, ways, and genres, all of which are aimed at catharsis, at purification, at overcoming anguish. Serious, tragic, dramatic theater offers thoughtful, moving, and intimate relief. Magic theater reassures without openly explaining why but effectively spreads the sensation of having escaped from something terrible. Epic-heroic theater allows us to participate in unforgettable triumphs. Mystical theater saves us through spiritual elevation or the superiority of thought. But above all, comic theater discharges anguish with an efficacy and rapidity unknown to the other genres.
It's curious, this condition of superiority of the inferiority of the comic. The aim is high: complete catharsis, purification, relief from anguish, but the means of attaining this catharsis are low. In fact, they are the very meanest. That's the natural state of the comic character. "

More later:

"Comedy literally shatters fear, releasing collective joy expressed in raucous, liberating, communal laughter. The comic actor neither arouses emotions nor raises questions. Rather, by exposing them to destruction, he resolves them. The laughing spectator is relieved. He is saved."

"The sacredness of laughter renders the laugher immortal. He who laughs is immortal. Certainly, it is only a brief immortality, lasting the duration of the the laugh itself, but with certainty that the laugh, and with it, immortality, will be repeated. To the long and tormented catharsis of tragedy, comedy opposes an irresistible, brief, intense series of catharses, loudly expressed by the whole assembly."

This is why I love theater.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Perfect Day--Part 4

Today was Alexandria's 2??th Birthday! I got off at the King Street Metro and began walking towards the Water. I made it about 6 blocks and stopped to look into an Ethiopian Gift Shop where I bought some new gold earrings. Then I walked another 8 blocks and on my way, I ran into a horse in a truck.
After walking 14 blocks, I decided that I would stop and rest my feet at a movie. Good times. Raisinettes! Wahoo! I really liked this movie.

After the movie, my friend Zach called. I served my mission in East Texas. Abby was in high school when I served in her town. Zach and Abby went to college together. We all met up for dinner! It was a great reunion.

This is just another picture of the Masonic Temple I took on my way home.

I didn't make any plans before this day began. I was open to whatever came my way, and I'm really pleased with how things panned out. I had plenty of solitary time. I spent time on the metro reading scriptures and people watching. I walked all over the place. And I was able to enjoy the company of old friends and new friends. I enjoyed wonderful food and great shopping. I kept thinking about how happy I was in London. I realized today that I've come full circle. Back in London, I took classes and spent the rest of the time touring, people watching, and writing in my journal.

Today, I realized that I am now teaching classes, and I spend the rest of my time touring, people watching, and writing in my journal. Now, I did spend my fair share of time making out with random strangers in London, but you can get away with that kind of frivolity when you're 19. I'm 30. I can hardly go around making out with total strangers now!

Then again . . . you only live once!

Perfect Day--Part 3--Riding the Metro

While traveling through the fair city, certain biological demands have to be dealt with. I decided that the best place to use the bathroom--was at the airport!! Besides, there's something exotic about walking into an airport without luggage. Who needs luggage? I'll just buy a whole new wardrobe when I get to Paris!

I cannot describe my joy at seeing this beautiful sight. Ah, the public restroom.

Here I am at King Street Metro. I'm standing in front of the Masonic Temple.

Here I am riding home. The family sitting on my right seemed a little curious at the crazy girl taking pictures of herself.
Here's some pictures from the inside of the McPherson Square Metro.
It's almost pretty. I spent 90 minutes riding in the morning and 90 minutes riding home everyday for about 6 months. Truly, I both love and hate this scene. There's something serenely beautiful about a place where total strangers gather, but sometimes the smell of burning oil is just too much.

Perfect Day--Part 2

Here are more pictures of DC. I'm really falling in love with this city.

A Perfect Day--part 1

My Day started with a morning jog. That's right. I said, morning jog.

After this miraculous exercising occurred, I took the metro in to DC to have lunch at the Ebbit's Grill. This beautiful building, is the building where the Ebbit's Grill is located. It's really fancy. I enjoyed the company, but one of the guys we were with likes to play devil's advocate. I just wanted to turn to him and say, "Isn't it difficult to stand up for your own views if you're constantly holding up a critical mirror to other views?" For the most part he was enjoyable though.
After lunch, I walked across the street to get a better look at the Dept of Treasury and the tourists that abounded!

As I made my way down Pennsylvania Avenue, I noticed a small group of protesters assembling in front of the White House. The White House was kind of unimpressive. It was White and a House. But the people in front of the White House each seemed to have the most interesting stories. I wasn't really interested in the politics they were preaching. What interested me was their willingness to fight for what they believed. I loved their willingness, their NEED to walk out in the heat in front of the White House, holding handwritten posters, and proudly exercising their right to fight for their ideals.

The goal among the protesters was to be noticed. This woman dressed as Condoleeza Rice might offend, but you've got to give kudos to someone who is willing to wear a giant head on a hot, humid day. Again, I was impressed with the vigilance.

And of course, the tourists. Everyone was gathered to take pictures and rest.

This poor protester looks exhausted. I hate to say it, but the protests seemed sadly pathetic. No one really noticed that they were there. No one took them seriously, and there wasn't anything really radical about their being there. But they were there. And that's perhaps their greatest statement. I'm here. I may not have any money, but I have opinions and I'm free to express them whether you want to listen or not. Sometimes I wonder why I'm not as vigilant to share my own beliefs.
Another picture of tourists mingling around protesters.

And here's the White House. It's White. And it's a House. Though, it's hard to imagine people living there. Can you imagine never being able to go into your own front yard?

Melissa Branin

Tonight I went to a house party to hear a friend play some music. She is wonderful.

Her name is Melissa Branin. Check her out at myspace.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Medicine for my soul

Go here and download this talk if you have any interest in the arts and you're a somewhat spiritual person.
Barta Heiner
Her talk is called "Counterfeits: A Mess of Pottage"

Here's the link:

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Navy Memorial

"Damn the torpedoes--full speed ahead!"

Today I went to the Navy Memorial.

This is a statue of a guy in the Navy. He looks like he'd be a nice man to be on a boat with.

The Navy Memorial has a lot of water. I think it might be symbolic of the sea.

Look! More water!! It's awfully pretty!

This girl is trying to touch the water. She looked nice. So I decided to go over and talk to her.

She asked me how to make a wish in a fountain. She thought you had to touch the water. I pulled out two pennies, and the two of us made a wish. I had to explain to her that you couldn't talk about your wish with anyone. She took a while to make her wish, but then threw her penny in the fountain. Her dad was deaf. I really enjoyed meeting the two of them.
She's kinda cute. To say the least.

self promotion

Here I am at 30. Giving a little attitude, if you will . . .

And here I am 20 years ago. . .

Monday, July 7, 2008


My friend Bridget and I decided to go to see some great art in DC.
This is the outside of the Hirschorn museum. I have to say, it's not my favorite museum. I've had some enjoyable moments there, but nothing really stood out to me at this visit.
This is the fountain outside the Hirschorn.
I took a picture of the Masonic Temple in Alexandria from the Metro. I put it through a chrome finish. And this is it!
I can't remember the artist. But I was struck by the painting of such a young girl writing in a 16th century Dutch painting. I like the story that it tells. and that it seems to value the girl's ability to write.
I love Degas. Nuff said.
this is a Georges Seurat piece. His work seems to capture the vibrancy of the most placid moments.


So, here's the dealio--it's too violent. It's vulgar and it swears--a lot.
Don't see it.

But it flipped my world and pulled me out of a huge funk.

James Macavoy says to Angelina Jolie's character: "Do you ever just want to be normal?"
Jolie: "No."

I don't really know how to describe the affect this movie had on me. The movie is about taking control and harnessing your power. And I needed that.

Done and done.