Thursday, January 31, 2008

Driving home from work...

Today's outrageous NPR comment:

A woman called in to the show and said she really likes Barack Obama. In fact, he's her number one choice. But she's not sure if she's going to vote for him because she's afraid that if he is elected he will be assassinated. Apparently, there is momentum behind this idea; there are people who want Obama to be President but are afraid they would be to blame for his assassination if they vote him into the White House.


This is almost as crazy as the woman who came into the restaurant I serve in last Fall and told me that if Clinton is elected President, Obama will be VP (which I don't think would happen), and then he will plot her assassination so he can become President and force all Americans to become Muslim.

Double Wow.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Only because you asked...

My sister-in-law, Amy, tagged me, and since I never usually respond to these I thought I would for once. I came up with this list today while I was substituting.

6 Non-Important things/habits/quirks about myself:

1. I love history, especially American history, and love teaching it in a way students want to learn it, and can realize how much it really does affect them. (Most people think of history as boring, date memorization and/or irrelevant to today.) The corollary to this is that I'm a nerd.

2. One of the things I'd like to do before I die is write a best-selling novel. I've had this idea for as long as I can remember. Maybe a semi-autobiographical novel-type. Or a historical novel. I go back and forth between the two.

3. I aspire to be a morning person. Morning People seem so...motivated. Unfortunately, I am a night owl who enjoys sleeping in. On the plus side, I married a night owl who enjoys sleeping in with me.

4. I'm a sucker for romantic comedies, and movies, books, and TV shows that make me cry. I weep like a baby when I watch "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" and "The Notebook" and "Armageddon," to name a few. A lot of books make me ball my eyes out as well.

5. I believe a good cry is good for the soul. Every once in a while I have to have a good cry. I never really know when it's coming, and then it just sweeps in like a tornado with no warning. (This Good Cry is not to be confused with The PMS Cry, which is totally different and comes like clockwork.) Luckily, Michael has known this about me for a long time, and knows exactly what to do when the tears come: just hug me and let me cry it out. He usually says something like, "you haven't had a good cry in a while, have you?" as I try to explain why I'm crying, though I'm unsure myself.

6. Certain issues get me fired up (see previous post), including, but not limited to the following: the inadequacies of our government to meet the needs of many people, especially in areas of education, poverty, and lack of medical care. And lately, I've been really bothered by the pretense that our country is diverse and "equal," when there is no doubt of the inequalities in our country, specifically in the area of racial segregation. We are doing a disservice to our young people to teach them that our country offers equal opportunities for minorities and the poor, that desegregation is a thing of the past, when it is a pure fact that segregation is not a thing of the past. The percentage of segregated schools in our nation rivals (is within a few percentage points of) the number at the time of Brown v. Board of Education in the mid-1950s and the height of the civil rights movement. We are not making much progress, and we should not let students grow up thinking we are. There is no such thing as equal access to education in this country. Not when I live two blocks from a brand new, multi-million dollar middle school building, and schools within an hour from here have outdated textbooks, underpaid and inexperienced teachers, buildings with little or no heat or air conditioning, and the list could go on and on. Not to mention that many of these poorer schools are 100% non-white, and many of the best schools are almost 100% white.

Ok, I went on a little tangent on the last one, but there you have it.

So now I have to tag 3 others:


What decade, or century, or millenium is this anyway?

As I was driving home from work a few minutes ago, I was listening to NPR, as I always do. The topic of conversation was the Presidential election, and callers were giving their opinions about the candidates.

I am shaking with anger. I know that this country is full of ignorant people, but I like to have more hope in people.

A listener from Georgia (or somewhere else in the South, maybe Florida?) called in and said he is a Democrat who is voting for Hilary Clinton. He went on to say that if Clinton doesn't become the Democratic candidate he will vote for McCain for a few reasons, saying Obama seems to be all talk and no substance. Fine. His second reason (and according to him the opinion of all his friends) is race. He said that despite what anyone can say, race will be a determining factor for the next President-elect. The NPR host clarified by saying to the caller, "So, you are saying that our country is not ready for an African-American President?" And the caller, being directly questioned, admitted, "yes."

My hands literally started shaking. I was so upset, that people really think that a man like Barack Obama can't become President simply because of his the color of his skin, and that this man from somewhere down South was willing to admit on national radio that he won't vote for a man because of his race.

(I guess I shouldn't be so surprised. See #6 on my next post.)

Yet another reason I want to teach social studies. Too many people in our country are so ignorant it is almost inconceivable.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Other Blog

Michael and I have been slowly keeping two lists of observations from living here in Pennsylvania:

-Perceptions of Oregon
-Differences between Pennsylvania and Oregon

I posted this list on our other blog. Check it out.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Thoughts in Church

I wrote on my last blog that I was worried about people asking me "are you trying again yet?" Four (maybe more?) people have asked me that in the last few days. And a few others have asked me when we plan to have kids.

At church we usually sit in the back, which is where parents with young infants also tend to sit. So, each week at church Michael and I usually find ourselves watching little babies all service. OK, maybe it's more me than him, but I always point the babies out to Michael because they are always so adorable. Even as I sit here at the coffee shop there is a smiley, pudgy little baby sitting across from me. I see babies everywhere I go! Or, maybe my baby-radar is more acute?

I think I've mentioned this before, but I can't remember a single time I've been to church in the last few months and not cried, or teared up at least. I can't quite explain it, but I've realized I'm not communicating with God as much lately as I could/should be.

In some ways I think I'm afraid to be honest about being disappointed with God. This is a big deal. The devotional book I was reading after the miscarriage talked about this and challenged me in this area. It asked me to confront my true emotions regarding God's role (which is what?) in this, and asked me if I was upset with God. The point in the book was that it's OK to be upset with God, as that's an emotion of grief, as long as I begin to work through it. Is it OK to be upset with God? What does that really mean? In another section she actually presents the idea that we may feel the need to forgive God. Not that this means God did something that needs forgiving, but maybe in our hearts we have an emotion that needs to go through the process of releasing and "forgiving." Again, I'm not sure how I feel about this, but I'm curious if anyone has an opinion or insight about this.

Back to church. When I'm at church my heart finds this place where it's raw and sensitive and honest, and without even realizing it I find myself just aching a little. And wanting to understand God's timing in a way that I can't right now. And wondering about the future. And exchanging smiles with the baby in the seat in front of me.

Saturday, January 05, 2008


I've had random things on my mind over the last few days:

-Our Christmas/New Year Letter is finished! And more importantly, has been printed and mailed out. This is a big accomplishment since last year's letter was written but never sent.

-Money. Gotta' have it, especially when cost of living is so much higher here than back in Oregon. Gotta' work to get it, which is best when you like your job(s) (more on that in a moment). Today we received an unexpected last paycheck from Michael's job that he quit last spring at the high school in Salem. God continues to provide for us in times of need.

-Work. I'm reading a book about teaching right now, and it makes me miss real teaching. Not that student teaching is exactly "real teaching," but it's the closest I've gotten to teaching so far. But I do wish for my own classroom, to really have a chance to make an impact and do something meaningful. Substituting is hardly meaningful or rewarding, except for the very few students that I'm starting to have repeatedly, and know by name.

-Working out. I joined a gym and have dedicated myself to staying in shape. Plus, I figure Michael will be busy with schoolwork, so it will give me something to do. We still don't have a TV, so I get my TV fix while I work out. Working out has the added benefit of causing me to eat better and take better care of myself.

-Second semester. Michael starts school again on the 14th, which means another busy semester is about to begin. We are trying to enjoy as much time as we can together (between both our current work schedules) before the craziness of school begins again.

-Summer/Fall. I'm anxious about the future, as always. We're both excited to figure out where we will be heading this Fall. Because it's a new calendar year I seem to be reflecting more on what this year will bring. We're not sure when we will head to Oregon again, and we know Michael has school for the entire year.

-And the topic on my mind the most: Will this be the year we have a baby/get pregnant again? We hope so. But, we feel that we must wait until we have a better idea of our overseas plans before we can plan for that. So for now, we are waiting. The advantage of not telling anyone we were trying the first time meant no one had a clue and therefore no one could ever ask us, "so, are you pregnant yet?" I am afraid that people are starting to wonder, "are they going to start trying again?" It's been more than three months since the miscarriage. Overall, I'm doing well, but I have days when I find myself teary-eyed for no explained reason, except really, I know why. In some ways that's frustrating, to realize that I may find myself sad at unexpected moments for the rest of my life. On the other hand, I am glad to know that something that has felt so much a part of who I am now will remain.