Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Scared silly

Last night was a rough one. I'm house sitting for my uncle who lives in the middle of nowhere in a gigantic house which is scary enough. I've made it through 4 nights safe and sound, but I wasn't sure I'd make it last night.

My first mistake was watching Untraceable. I didn't know much about it, but the concept seemed interesting and I love movies with Diane Lane. I really wish someone would have told me that it is another Saw movie, just incorrectly titled. It could have been a semi-good film if it weren't so graphic. Plus it was agonizing to watch my boyfriend, Colin Hanks, die in a tank of sulfuric acid.

My second mistake was leaving the dog in the garage where he is supposed to sleep. It would have been much smarter to keep the 140 lb beast in the bedroom with me to scare away creepers.

Then, it was windy. I'm not talking about a little breeze that made an eerie sound in the trees. I'm talking WINDY. There were 91 mph gusts recorded on the front range and I'm pretty sure the gusts were even stronger along Isabelle Rd. At about 1 am, there was a huge crashing sound outside and I nearly wet my pants. It sounded like someone was breaking in, but I wasn't foolish enough to go check it out because that's how people get killed. Haven't you seen horror movies? I got the nerve to jump up and lock the bedroom door, but quickly jumped back into bed and pulled the covers over my head, Home Alone style. I think I finally drifted off at about 4 am, but was frequently woken up by scary noises.

All was well this morning as the sun was out and the wind died down. I went out to survey the damage (with the dog by my side just in case there were creepers still around) and discovered the source of the loud crash. The bbq grill as well as the outdoor fireplace had both blown over plus all the patio chairs were scattered. I'm still not convinced that it was the wind.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Fun ways to burn calories

I typically don't make New Year's resolutions because I am terrible at following through with them. This year is different. With all the heart drama going on, my doctor recommended that I lose a few pounds before they do more tests which means I kinda really have to do it. I'm treating this like an assignment, same as taking the GRE or turning in monthly reports at work. Let's hope for victory.

I'm keeping a food diary and writing down EVERYTHING I eat as well as all exercise. While looking up calories for food, I stumbled upon a helpful activity calculator:

Calories burned with Walking To and From An Outhouse: 170 calories/hour
(Too bad I no longer live in the PDA camp where I didn't have plumbing hookups in my trailer)

Bird watching: 170 calories/hour
(Boring)

Slimnastics (Jazzercise): 408 calories/hour
(I thought that was an 80's thing)

Sitting in a whirlpool: 68 calories/hour
(Now that's my kind of workout)

Butchering Animals: 400 calories/hour
(Too bad I didn't pursue that career as a butcher)

Sitting in Church: 102 calories/hour
(I should have gone to church today)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Happy Holidays

From the Weaver Fam-Damn-ily...



...who know how to bring out the fun in dysfunctional!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Then comes marriage

I have to admit that I'm a skeptic when it comes to marriage. I've witnessed so many awful, failed marriages that it is hard for me to get excited about the prospect. The following are some random thoughts I have about the matter:

Statistically, white women see a 4% wage decrease when they get married...that percentage increases when they have kids. This makes sense because typically married couples view the man's career as more important (thus they will relocate for his job if necessary, and the woman usually puts her career on hold to have babies).

The average age for a woman's first marriage in the U.S. is 25. It seems to me that it would make more sense for that number to be higher, since our life expectancy is increasing exponentially. In 1900 the average life expectancy was 50, so if you didn't like your spouse too much, you were only stuck with them for about 30 years or so. Unlike today when the commitment is more like 60-70 years.

I remember the good ol' days in college when "a ring by spring" was the common goal. Living in Colorado Springs, I had several friends who were army wives or engaged to servicemen or were looking for serviceman to marry. I never understood why these girls were in such a rush to get married. I cannot even imagine what it would be like to attend BYU.

There is a decreasing amount of stigma tied to women who choose to stay single. More women are choosing a life of independence and "freedom" than ever before. It is empowering to know that you no longer have to rely on a man to survive in the world.

I have a mentor who is a retired teacher and has never married. I've asked her a few times about this, and she told me that it was her decision not to marry. She's too independent of a person to be tied down in a relationship. She said that there have been times when she has been lonely or jealous of those with spouses, but then she reminds herself that she would be miserable as a wife. I find her fascinating.

Married people tend to be physically healthier than single people. I guess it helps when you have someone to take care of you and hold you accountable for you actions.

Along the same trend, married people are less likely to get into trouble with substance abuse.

Married people tend to have more sex than non-married people. They also have more satisfying sex than non-married folks.

India's marriage arrangement system (the true system, not the stereotyped inaccurate version that most of us hear about) works pretty well. It's all about involving the family in the decision and making a match that is logical. Our Western version of marriage is often based on "love" as the primary reason to make the commitment. I've heard from many critics that this is the reason our divorce rate is so high. If people starting making the marriage decision with their heads more and less with their hearts, marriage would be more successful.

I've heard that 1 out every 8 married couples in the U.S. met on the internet. Not sure if that's true or not, but it is interesting to think about.

My favorite quote related to all this marriage stuff:

"In reality, feminists believe that men have the capacity for compassion, loyalty, decency and respect- which is why we demand no less in their behavior toward the women in their lives. Ironically, when it comes to their roles within the family, feminists have much greater faith in men's potential as attentive husbands, dedicated fathers, and loving partners than do many conservative women." ~ Jennifer Pozner

There are a lot of good things about marriage and a lot of bad things. When I think about whether or not I want to get married someday, I look to the ultimate example of married people in my life: Momsie and Popsicle. My parents have the most amazing marriage of anyone I know. It isn't perfect in any respect, but it is beautiful. There is compromise and grace. There is adoration and service. I only hope that I can come close to imitating their approach at marriage if I ever tie the knot someday.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Dream a little DREAM

www.charge.org is a fascinating site to cruise around and see what is important to the citizens of our nation and what action they want Obama's administration to take action on. I think it's amusing that passing marijuana currently has the most votes. The second most popular idea is to appoint a Secretary of Peace. I like the sound of that. But the idea that is currently in 3rd place and the one that I'm most drawn to (and voted for) is the movement to pass the DREAM act. Check it out here: DREAM.

Several of the kids we work with at I Have a Dream (who we call Dreamers- part of the reason I love the name of this act) are undocumented. I won't give the percent for fear of getting them in trouble, but just know it is significant. I feel so bad for these kids because they have very few options once they leave our program and graduate from high school. A lot of them begin to realize their destiny as Freshman and Sophomores and give up trying to succeed because they don't see the point. The saddest part is that these kids are amazing! They are so bright and have so much potential, but are facing a dead end with their education just because our government is so narrow minded. I sincerely hope that the DREAM act passes the next time around so that these kids can prove to the rest of us what they are capable of.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Exciting times

A note from a colleague in the Boulder County non-profit arena:


I find on this dark, snowy day some very incredible bright spots for the nonprofit sector. I attended the Colorado Nonprofit Association's "A to Z Nonprofit Survival Guide for Uncertain Times" where keynote speaker Michael Seltzer with the Foundation Center shared his observation that President-elect Obama and his wife Michelle, have more nonprofit experience than any other First Couple and that this will certainly influence the new administration. More evidence of this comes across from the Obama Transition Office website, www.change.org. Check out the section where we can share our stories and concerns and hope which will help to identify and create momentum around the best ideas for how the Obama administration and 111th Congress can turn the broad call for "change" across the country into specific policies.

The Obama Administration will also ask every American of all ages and abilities to serve. Of special interest to us as volunteer leaders is their goal that all middle school and high school students engage in 50 hours of community service a year, and develop a plan for all college students who engage in 100 hours of community service to receive a fully-refundable tax credit of $4,000 for their education. Obama and Biden will encourage retiring Americans to serve by improving programs available for individuals over age 55, while at the same time promoting youth programs such as Youth Build and Head Start. Check out America Serves and add your comments about service. It is indeed an exciting time to be in the nonprofit sector and working with volunteers!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Too bad Mel Gibson couldn't get Jack Black to play Jesus in his movie

My friend Jessie sent me this gem of a video:

See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die


I have tried to avoid turning this blog into a soapbox, but I think this topic falls under the "nuts, sluts and pervs" that I promised to talk about when I started this thing. So, I'll go ahead and discuss. I'm not trying to change your viewpoint or convince you that I'm completely right about the matter. I have no idea if I'm right or wrong in my beliefs, but the following is a compilation of my thoughts thus far in life.

The whole controversy surrounding homosexuality in our nation is very dear to my heart. Part of that is due to the fact that I have a few close friends and family members who are homosexual and it hurts my heart that I have certain rights that they don't. Through my interactions with them, I have come to the conclusion that being homosexual is not a choice, it is genetic (Read the book As Nature Made Him for some pretty convincing evidence on that). Plus I find it very hard to believe that someone would willingly choose such a stigmatized lifestyle.

I'm a bit baffled by the fact that the church is so ardently opposed to ordaining gays and supporting their lifestyles. Let's say, hypothetically of course, that being homosexual is a sin. How is that any different than the fact that I am a sinner? I'm no where near perfect and yet the church is willing to ordain me for ministry. I don't understand why we've decided there is a hierarchy for sin and that homosexuality is unacceptable whereas lying and envying is just a minor offense. If we're going to reference/live by a few passages in the Old Testament and a few passages from the New Testament then I think we need to go back to owning slaves and practicing polygamy, both of which were common practice in the old days and accepted by "God's people".

I know that in the past there have been folks who thought that I was a lesbian. There is a certain church in rural Louisiana that probably thinks I'm in a relationship with a certain redhead. I'm sure there are people today who think I'm a lesbian. All the ingredients are there: I drive a Subaru, I've been single for a while, I'm a feminist. I'm not offended when people think this. In a way I'm sort of flattered because some of the most amazing people I know are gay.

It will be interesting to see what happens in the aftermath of the proposition 8 fiasco. Perhaps the Mormon church will dwindle. Perhaps other mainline churches *cough PC(USA) cough* will finally realize that homosexuality should not be stigmatized anymore. Perhaps I'll be able to see homosexual partners legally wed within my lifetime. I'm filled with hope.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

So Funny

I cannot stop laughing about this SNL skit:



Bill Hader is a genius. Keith Morrison is a creeper.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Where does the time go?

How is it almost December already? Ahh! I admit I've been neglecting this blog for a few weeks because life has just been too crazy.

Update on the heart. I'm doing good. The tests all came back good and they want to do one more follow up test to make sure. They've narrowed it down to SVT and atriatic fibrillation. Google them if you care to. The Doc said to ramp up my exercise regime in order to build up endurance and strengthen the ticker. So, I'm training for a 10K- possibly Boulder Bolder, but probably the Longmont Sunrise Stampede since it's a bit kinder on my budget and I like the organizations it raises money for.

In the past few weeks I have:

Fought a losing battle with a disgusting cold. I'm pretty sure it's now a sinus infection so I may have to go back to the doc for some antibiotics.

Studied my brains out for the GRE. I really hate standardized tests and I hate this one more than all others because of how it is set up. The GRE is now taken on the computer and they have it set up so you must answer a question before moving on to the next one, and you can't go back to check your answers. Ridiculous! The only way I do even slightly well on tests is by skipping tough questions and going back to them. I'm not optimistic about it, but the schools I'm looking at don't really require the GRE so much as they like to see that you've taken it. I'm hoping that means they'll be forgiving when I don't do so hot. Test day is Tuesday morning, happy hour will take place Tuesday afternoon.

Worked oober long hours at IHAD. It feels strange to write "work" because it doesn't really feel like work. It feels like an honor that I get to take part of. The only part I don't enjoy at the moment is the fact that somehow I've taken on the responsibility of supervising another AmeriCorps member. Don't know how I feel about that.

Had a lovely Thanksgiving meal with about 30 people at our house. Love how dysfunctional we all are, yet we all love each other.

Spent Black Friday afternoon ringing the Salvation Army bell outside of WalMart. So entertaining.

Went to a fancy birthday bash at the Colorado History Museum. The party was a dud, but the people watching was entertaining. Imagine a room full of "Sex and the City" cast wannabes who don't realize they are in a cow town called Denver. So amusing.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

I just want to be ok, be ok, be ok

The crazy medical test sagas continue, although there isn't anything exciting to report. I still haven't heard back the results of the holter monitor test and while I haven't heard official results from the echo cardiogram, the tech who did the test didn't see anything to be concerned about. I've decided this all means that I have a heart condition that has no cure/treatment which means I'll just have to live with it. My doctor said I can do a few things to alleviate the palpitations as they come on, the least embarrassing of which would be to dunk my face in icy cold water. Like I said, that's the least embarrassing option so I won't even go into the other suggestions she had. I doubt I'll be trying any of these things at the gym.

I had been delaying this whole situation for a while now- at least a year or so. One of the problems is that I'm not the type to go to the doctor if I'm not feeling well. I usually just shrug it off and let time heal me. This is fine until I get that attitude towards other people...like the time my brother busted open his lip and I told him to just put a bandaid on it. Turns out he needed 9 stitches. The other issue was health insurance. Not having health insurance for about 10 months was, well, scary. I have a friend who is 28 and broke his leg which needed a boatload of surgeries. He didn't have health insurance and had to file for bankruptcy. I wish our country didn't have such a phobia towards socialized health care.

Now that I'm on AmeriCorps health care, I could finally take the risk of going to the doctor. I still needed a bit of motivation for going, so I made a deal with myself that I couldn't buy the new Ingrid Michaelson Album until I got this all taken care of. I was going to wait until I got all of the test results back, but I decided I needed something to calm my nerves while I wait. Ingrid's rendition of "Over the Rainbow" is quirky and beautiful and everything I would expect from her. Plus the song "Be OK" is appropriate for my circumstances.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Mid-day laugh break

Just a quick note since my laugh, I mean lunch break is almost over:

I was cruising around the web to catch up on all the good stuff out there, when I stumbled upon this awesome article. The article itself is pretty good, but the title and picture are hilarious. Seriously just laughed until I cried.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Bum Heart

***Blog post disclaimer: Please don't freak out when reading this post. I'm perfectly fine and the doctors just want to take preventative measures.***

I've always known that I have a heart murmur which hasn't been a big deal. Lately I've been super fatigued and have been getting chest pains on and off. So, I've been getting all sorts of neato tests done to see what's going on. On Monday I had a chest x-ray taken. This was to see if I have tumors, heartworm (by the way, I just learned that humans can get heartworm. Eww, right?), mold in my lungs or other funky stuff. Results for that were negative, thank goodness. It would be embarrassing to have heartworm.

Today I've been put on a Holter monitor which is basically a 24 hour EKG test to look at my heart rhythms. I've got 7 electrodes hooked up to my chest to monitor my heartbeat which gets stored on this computer thing for analysis. It is really weird. I've been wearing my down vest all day to cover up the electrodes because I was getting too many questions about what was going on. Plus, with a bunch of colorful wires coming out of my shirt, leading to a little black box, I don't want anyone to think I'm a suicide bomber. Let's hope I don't raise any concern when I go to the elementary school for our program this afternoon.

On Monday I'll get an echocardiogram which is an ultrasound of the heart. Not too sure what that does exactly, but I guess it will be good to make sure my heart isn't pregnant.

I'll keep you posted on all this medical stuff. I'm an eternal optimist, so I really don't think anything is wrong, especially knowing that murmurs run in the family and haven't caused problems until later in life.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Photographic update

I've had a few comments about how I haven't posted lately...proof that life has gotten a bit crazy. I feel a doozy of an emotional post coming up, but for tonight I'll recap life in pictures.



We had an AmeriCorps retreat up in Estes Park a few weeks ago. I enjoyed about 67% of the conference, and ditched the other 33% to go on a hike. I got a lot more out of sitting on a mountaintop than I would have sitting in a classroom learning how to live on a stipend. Been there, done that.



We took some of our Dreamers to the Nature and Science museum in Denver. It was such a great trip because it was the first time I got to interact with them outside of the classroom setting. It was fascinating to see how their personalities were revealed.



On Saturday we took all of our Iris Dreamers to Six Flags for their Fright Fest. We had so much fun and got scared frequently by the creepy actors they pay to walk around the park. Our attempt to go through the haunted house was a semi-failure. We started out with 22 kids interested in going through, and only wound up with 8 who actually made it the whole way. Just so you know, the Six Flags haunted house is not so much for kids under the age of 12. We had several kids crying because they were so terrified. It was a good learning lesson.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Office quirks

Just when I thought it wasn't possible to love my job anymore, things got all switched up and I'm loving it more than I could have imagined. Rather than spend 9-5 in the office, I get to help out with the new class of Dreamers in Boulder from 3-5 with the after school program. Now I get the chance to connect with the kids on a pretty intense level. I'm always amazed by things they say and do. Plus, I get to play Groundies every day. Booyah.

After about a month of working here at "I Have a Dream", I'm finally starting to understand all the quirks of the office as well as personalities of my co-workers.

Being a non-profit, a lot of our computer equipment and other office supplies often stop working abruptly. I've learned to just let that happen and deal with it patiently.

Our Central Office is pretty small with only 5 full time employees and 4 Americorps members, each with their own office. While I prefer to get up and go talk to people in their offices when I have a question, I've learned that others prefer to call the person on the phone (regardless of their proximity to the other person's office) and others prefer to just yell at the person so the whole office can hear. That one always makes me laugh.

I'm pretty sure someone stole my stapler my second day in the office. I still haven't said anything, in case I'm hallucinating and I never had a stapler to begin with. Plus I don't want to become the office Milton.

I'm super psyched for office pranks and am already coming up with some good ideas.

My new pet peeve is when people walk by my office and talk at me through my window. There is a door on the right hand side and then a floor to ceiling window on the lefthand side, so basically there isn't much of a wall there because it's all see-through. Rather than stand at my door and talk to me, some co-workers prefer to stand at the window and talk to me, even though there is glass in between us. Not only can I not hear them very clearly, there is a glare from the windows behind me that shine on the window by the door which means I usually can't see them very well either. It doesn't annoy me enough that I need to say anything, so I'll just live with it for now.

I have a very clear view from my desk of the office candy dish. This can be challenging sometimes because the candy is constantly calling my name, begging me to take a piece. It's also very funny because I get to watch all the other people in the office who walk by a take a piece. Some people go there specifically for the candy, others pretend like they're on some other important mission, and happen to walk by the dish. I know what they're really after though.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

First comes love

I'm taking a mental health day today. After working with PDA on the Gulf Coast, I've learned that it is best to take a break before you actually get burnt out. I'm not so much burnt out with work, because I love what I do, but I've been asked to change jobs a bit and need some space to think about it. More on that later.

Today I've cracked away at my to-do list and have been quite successful in gettin' it done. On that list, I included blogging because I haven't really had time to do it lately.

The topic most on my mind currently is love/dating.

My brother got married this summer, and perhaps that has something to do with why this concept is consuming my mind. In the past I've never given the topic much notice because I thought I was doing just fine without it. Now I'm at a point in my life when I am finally content with who I am. I'm starting to better define my faith and am not completely turned off by religion anymore. I have a great job that I love. I'm back in Colorado with my mountains. I've burned off the winter blubber that I gained during my post-PDA depression. I'm still living at home, but it isn't too bad of a situation, especially since I've been house sitting for other people a lot. Maybe I'm feeling so "whole" in all other aspects of life that I'm finally seeing that hole in my heart where intimacy could be.

Here's a bit about my dating history (and the word "bit" is appropriate since there isn't much history to talk about). I dated a guy in high school for about 3 months. Then I realized that I didn't really have feelings for him and broke it off in order to be fair to him. After breaking up we still went to prom which was like a total kick ass time (please note sarcasm there). Since then, one guy asked me out in college, but I turned him down because I was going through my "I hate all men crazy feminist phase" of my life. This phase was due to a whole lot of woman's studies courses and a messed up frame of mind left over from our church's youth director who put some pretty kooky ideas in my head.

I have been in love with a guy before. I just never told him. After all, "Nothing takes the taste out of peanut butter quite like unrequited love" as Charlie Brown once said. So true my blockhead friend.

I take full responsibility for my lack of relationships. In high school I had these crazy notions about courtship and usually didn't even consider dating an option. In college I was so messed up with hyper-feminist ideas as well as a severe self confidence problem, there was no way I'd have a healthy relationship. In Mississippi I told myself not to be on the look out for a guy since I was still nursing some old wounds and needed to take time to figure out who I was before bringing another person into the picture.

So I guess that brings us up to date. I look around and see people in love with each other and I think "Huh, that would be nice". But then I readjust my eyes and look around. Perhaps it is due to the crowd I'm surrounding myself with, but I'm not really seeing any potential guys. I know my heart has been tainted by some of the jerks that my friends have dated. When I look at them, it makes me wonder if there are any non-douche bags out there. And then I catch wind of things like an article Bryce wrote about recently. And the frustration increases.

The other day I met a guy who was kind and genuine and attractive, but I missed my opportunity to give him my phone number. That happens when you have no courage. So now I'm hoping to run into him again, but who knows when that will be.

Tonight will be another Friday night of hanging out with my parents or perhaps taking my dog for a long walk. I could make tonight's theme song "Your New Twin Sized Bed" by Death Cab For Cutie, or I could go with "Single" by Natasha Bedingfield. I guess it all depends on perspective.

Those Alaskans are so darn clever

I pinched myself today to make sure that I'm not dreaming. I've finally come to terms with the fact that it is possible that Sarah Palin could be vice-president of the USA, one step away from the presidency. This is so frightening to me, I may just pick up and move to Cuba if McCain/Palin are elected. Oy vey.

Rather than go into all things that I find shameful about this woman, I'll send you to another blog which talks about the biggest rally Alaska has ever had. 1500 people may not sound like a lot, but it's a pretty strong statement if you ask me.

Check it out.

My personal favorite: "Palin = G.W. Bush with Lipstick".

Thursday, September 11, 2008

When it rains, it pours

So much has happened in the past few weeks. I'll try to type out a coherent post, but it may be a little rough around the edges after having sat at a computer for 8.5 hours today. Hopefully my cyber-fatigue won't get in the way too much.

Gustav hit the Gulf Coast. I'm grateful that it wasn't nearly as bad as it could have been, but I'm still sad for those who were hit. Cuba, Haiti and so many other islands have seen the worst of it. Pearlington saw quite a bit of water, causing flooding in 100 homes plus the Turtle Landing (the only place in the world I would ever sing karaoke). Houma was hit by the eye which caused a great deal of damage to many homes, including Kevin Henry who is a friend as well as employee of PDA. I can't even imagine what it is like to lose your home twice in three years.

I started my job as Volunteer Coordinator with "I Have a Dream" Foundation of Boulder County. I'm in love with this job. The past few months of depression and questioning and waiting have all been worth it because now I'm in a place where I feel complete. My co-workers are amazing and it seems like everyone is passionate about what we do. I don't think I've ever worked for an organization where I actually feel energized by the work that we do, instead of drained and burnt out.

I bought a car. I didn't really mean to quite yet, it just sort of happened. A big part of my job will be hauling kids to tutoring sessions and field trips and such. I didn't really like the idea of breaking down with kids in the car and I'm sure their parents wouldn't appreciate that either. So, I went into the bank on a Friday to get pre-approved for a loan, just to get the process started. When I got home, I cruised around Craigslist to see what I should expect to pay for a car, when I found my car. I had the same gut feeling about this car that I had about going to UCCS and going to Mississippi and working for "I Have a Dream". It just felt right for some reason. So I called the guy up to set up a test drive and my dad and I went up to Ft. Collins the next day to take a look. I thought it was a typo when it said it only had 57,000 miles on it, because nobody sells their Subaru with only 57,000 miles on it. I was psyched when I found out it was true! The guy, a recent CSU grad, is moving to Bangkok for an internship and has to sell the car to pay for the trip. The car is in great shape mechanically, but it has some cosmetic issues like a lovely key scratch all along the driver's side, evidently put there by the owner's frat brother. I may even be able to sell Subie to a woman who teaches with my mom. Apparently she is obsessed with Subarus and likes to buy old ones to fix up. And here I thought I'd have to pay someone to take her off my hands:)

I'm babysitting a 16 year old. Maybe babysitting is the right word, more like housesitting with the added bonus of hanging out with a 16 year old. My best friend Jessie's parents are out of town this week and didn't want to leave their younger daughter home alone. So far things are good. She's a really great kid and there haven't been any issues so far. I'm just trying to give her some space so she doesn't think I'm hovering.

I think I covered all the bases. My eyes are starting to bug out, so I'll sign off for now.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Gustav

I don't have the words to express my current emotion, instead I'll refer you to these blogs:
pearlington.blogspot.com

janeels.blogspot.com

kingdomemily.blogspot.com

I'm grateful that everyone I know and love have chosen to evacuate.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Identity thief

I would love to have gone to Obama's acceptance speech last Thursday at Mile High Stadium, but I was like the millions of other folks who watched it on TV at home.

So I thought it was weird when I began getting emails from people asking me how I enjoyed the experience. Then my parents were getting comments from co-workers and friends about how I attended the rally which made them really jealous. To all of this I had to respond with a "WTF?". I thought this was a practical joke like the one Erin sent me with my name as the next presidential candidate. Funny.

It wasn't until someone pointed out that my name was mentioned in a Times-Call article about the DNC events on Thursday that things started to make sense. Not only does this chick share my awesome name, she was also a band geek just like I was in high school. Too weird.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

I Have a Dream

45 years ago today, MLK Jr delivered his "I have a dream" speech before the thousands of marchers on the mall in Washington D.C. It was a big deal back then, and is still a big deal today. I can't think of any other speech that has stirred my heart in the quite the way that this speech does.

Today, there is an organization called the I Have a Dream Foundation which has sites all over the states, as wells as New Zealand. I had heard about this organization a few years ago and I remember being inspired by what they do. You can read about their history on their website. I love that they take a group of third graders and promise them college money if they graduate high school. I love that they stick with these kids all the way through their first year of college and ensure that they receive the support and encouragement they might not otherwise receive. I love that there are so many success stories from this program and that some alumni come back and do some pretty terrific things.

I've been wanting to get involved with this organization any way I could, and at this point in life it comes in the form of AmeriCorps service. I'll be joining 13 other young adults in an eleven month adventure. My official role is as volunteer coordinator, which means I get to recruit and train tutors who will go into our 5 sites across Boulder County and work with the students.

When I tell people that I'm joining AmeriCorps, their first question is always "Where will you be stationed?". When I tell them Boulder County, they always look disappointed and sometimes a bit dumbfounded. Disappointed because it would be much more excited to say that I'm going to some exotic corner of our country to serve (perhaps they're confusing it with the PeaceCorps?). Dumbfounded because they don't see the need in Boulder County. Ignorance is bliss, I suppose.

My dream for this coming year is that I can be a small piece of the solution for eradicating poverty, boosting education and giving an opportunity to these Dreamers who don't enjoy the same privileges that I've had my whole life.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

That takes ovaries

The DNC is in Denver (just in case you've been living in a cave and haven't heard that it is going on). Denver has been preparing for this for months and it is really exciting to see it all play out this week. I can sense the energy and excitement from 45 miles away.

I still have goosebumps after watching Hilary Clinton's speech tonight. I have to admit that I would have loved to see her take the White House this time around, but had a feeling from the start she wouldn't win it. She was the candidate who had my interests as a priority (health care, education, etc.), not to mention the fact that she is a woman (although I would never vote for a candidate just because they are female). But my reasons for not supporting her this go around had more to do with my country's interests than my own. Sometimes you have to look beyond your own dreams and go with the path that is best for all. I seriously doubt that she would have won against McCain because so many Americans just plain hate her. I couldn't take the risk of seeing the Republicans maintain power for another four years, which is why I've been supporting Obama. I think he'll do a fine job of leading our nation and I have great hopes for our future.

A couple of random things:

Hilary wore an orange pantsuit tonight. I wonder if that color choice has anything to do with Amnesty's project with the Guantanamo cell. Maybe it was just a coincidence.

Bill Clinton seriously looked like he just smoked a Denver Doobie. He is a funny man.

Michelle Obama is one classy lady. I'm so disgusted with the way the media has painted her as an edgy bitch. She isn't some softy who has fake smile plastered all over her, which I respect. I can imagine this whole situation has been very difficult for her and I feel bad that she's had to put her career as a lawyer on hold to support her husband's campaign.

I may owe Professor Warner 5 bucks because he was right when he said there will be a black man in the White House before there will be a woman.

McCain better be shaking in his orthopedic shoes.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Here we go again

I used to be a girl with a plan. I was definitely a five-year plan person up until I went to Mississippi, and then something happened and I got off that track. Now I look ahead by a year and have hopes and dreams for where I'll be, but try not to be too disappointed if I don't end up there.

One year ago, I never would have imagined I'd be starting up another year long volunteer gig. My hope was to get a job or be back in school, certainly not living at home with the folks still. But here I am, about to begin my year with Americorps. Tonight I'm going to a bbq with a few of the other volunteers for a meet and greet before our orientation next week. I hope they're fun people. I'm trying really hard to not set up expectations before I go, but keep hoping there will be a red head from the East Coast, a skinny kid from Chicago, a quiet yet hilarious girl from Oregon, a sweet and compassionate girl from Northern Cali...and so many others. But they won't be there. I'm going to meet 10 new people who seem to share a common vision as I do for the world. I'm optimistic about the program. The organization, I Have a Dream Foundation, is amazing and the whole reason I decided to join up with this venture. I'm just nervous about doing a "program" again. So far things are good, because they already emailed us the entire calendar of what we'll be doing and where we'll be until December. Now that's a refreshing change. But if we're put in a room for an entire day to write a covenant together, I'm going to walk out and quit.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Go for the Gold!

Here is what my work life has looked like for the past two weeks:

6:30-8:45 am - go to work at the church...clean some stuff

8:45 am - rush across town to the next job

9:00-10:45 am - babysit cutest 6 month old to ever exist

10:45 am - rush back across town to next job

11:00 am - 5:00 pm work at the library...shelve some books


I've been worried that one of these days I'll get my jobs confused and do the wrong task at the wrong job. Examples of this might include answering the church phone with this greeting: "Longmont Public Library, how may I direct your call?" or by trying to change a patron's diaper at the library. So far I've kept them straight, but I still have a week to go of this madness.

In other news, I've finally discovered my gold medal winning Olympic talent: speed bleeding. I donated blood this morning for the city's blood drive and was amazed when I beat my old record of 3 minutes, 45 seconds. Today I bled a pint in an astounding 3 minutes, 10 seconds. The phlebotomists were all impressed. I think this may be the only talent I have. Now I just have to convince the IOC that it is an Olympic worthy sport.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Let's file this one under "Semi-Dumb Ideas"

My car just had her 215,000 mile birthday today. How did she celebrate? By losing a windshield wiper. Ok, she didn't really lose the windshield wiper, but it fell off (probably due to an error in my installation of the wiper) while I was driving down a pretty busy street, during a pretty heavy rainstorm today. It was a bit scary, but we hung in there for a few blocks until we could pull over and put it back on.

Here is my Semi-Dumb Idea: I've decided to drive Subie until she dies. I realize this isn't exactly smart since she could potentially give up on life while driving somewhere remote (cue the dueling banjos from Deliverance). I'm not putting anymore money into her (except for oil changes and gas). At this point, when adding up the money that I paid for the car and all of the money I've put towards maintenance, it still doesn't add up to the Blue Book value, so I don't feel like she has been a money pit. I know a lot of Subaru owners who drive theirs until 300,000 miles, but those people also have large disposable incomes to throw at their cars in order to keep them alive. I don't. I'm at a point of financial stability where I don't have any debt (except for my chunk of the national debt which is at about $31,000 per person right now), and my bank account is no longer in the triple digits. So that's exciting.

I don't have a clue how much longer she's going to last. Last week the check engine light came on, and just when I was about to call the mechanic to make an appointment, the light went off and has remained off. Maybe she was just begging for attention since I've barely driven her this summer. The clutch makes a pretty nasty squeaking noise sometimes, but other than that, she's in decent shape. I don't plan on reselling her because I seriously doubt she's worth much, especially after this happened in January:



I'll probably just donate her to a worthy cause like NPR or Big Brothers, Big Sisters. Unless it would be more of a burden than a blessing for them to receive. In that case I'll donate her to another organization such as Focus on the Family.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

People make me chuckle

I was working at the library information desk today, when a patron came up to ask about our a/v items. Here is how our conversation went:

Him: Where can I find movies and stuff?
Me: Adult videos are upstairs...
Him: You guys got porn here?
Me: Um, no.
Him: Bummer.

Friday, August 8, 2008

The Heterosexual Questionnaire

While we were in California last week, we spent a fair amount of time in West Hollywood where Ashley's uncle and his partner own a restaurant. If you've never been to that part of town, I highly recommend it. The people watching was terrific.

It was quite interesting to see the dynamics of our group play out in terms of attitudes towards homosexuality. There were those of us who were clearly accepting of it and supportive. There were others who were neutral and then there were others who clearly against it (they were obviously uncomfortable with the scene). During one conversation at the dinner table, I was reminded of a list of questions that one of my professors at UCCS always had posted on her door. I wished I'd had it handy at the time of the conversation, as it would have been useful. Here are a few questions from the list. The purpose of it is to twist around questions that heterosexuals frequently ask of homosexuals. Quite interesting.



1. What do you think caused your heterosexuality?

2. When and how did you decide you were a heterosexual?

3. Is it possible that your heterosexuality is just a phase you may grow out of?

4. Is it possible that your heterosexuality stems from a neurotic fear of others of the same sex?

5. Do your parents know you are straight? Do your friends and/or roommates know? How did they react?

6. If you have never slept with a person of the same sex, is it possible that all you need is a good Gay lover?

7. Why do you insist on flaunting your heterosexuality? Can't you just be who you are and keep it quiet?

8. Why do heterosexuals place so much emphasis on sex?

9. Why do other heterosexuals feel compelled to seduce others into their lifestyle?

10. A disproportionate majority of child molesters are heterosexual Do you consider it safe to expose children to heterosexual teachers?

11. With all the social support marriage receives, the divorce rate is spiraling. Why are there so few stable relationships among heterosexuals?

12. Statistics show that lesbians have the lowest incidence of sexually transmitted diseases. Is it really safe for a woman to maintain a heterosexual lifestyle and run the risk of disease and pregnancy?

13. How can you become a whole person if you limit yourself to compulsive, exclusive heterosexuality?

14. There seem to be very few happy heterosexuals. Techniques have been developed that might enable you to change if you really want to. Have you considered trying aversion therapy?

15. Would you want your child to be heterosexual, knowing the problems that s/he would face?

Monday, August 4, 2008

Giddy Up

The Boulder County Fair is going on this week. Wanna know how I know? Every time I travel via foot or bike, I get unwanted attention by some out-of-town hicks. I'll be riding my bike to work and get whistled at by some dudes in cowboy hats who are cruising Main St. I'll be walking my dog and guys outside the liquor store will yell "hey baby, want a drink?". What is it about the fair that makes these idiots act like, well, idiots? Is it the bull riding? The demolition derby? Or is the simple fact that guys, when together in groups of two or more, seem to be boosted by testosterone which causes them to behave so disgustingly toward anything with breasts?

Saturday, August 2, 2008

The wedding recap

I'm back and recovering from an amazing time in California for the wedding. The ceremony was incredible and we had a lot of fun. I feel like all we did for three days was eat, drink and be merry! I've posted the pictures on Facebook, so be sure to check 'em out.

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2029783&l=bb23c&id=73000399

Here are the top ten things I learned while on the trip:

1. If I ever get married, I'm eloping. Even small weddings are A LOT of work.

2. I'm not planning on traveling with my parents and grandpa ever again. It was a rough combination (especially the morning after the ceremony when my grandpa decided to knock on our hotel door and hang out in room at 7am, even though brunch wasn't until 10).

3. West Hollywood is one of the funnest places ever!

4. My dad evidently doesn't approve of my tattoos (as was stated during his toast to the couple, mind you he had several drinks before that speech).

5. Wedding coordinators are the bravest people on earth.

6. Fancy hairdos look amazing in the salon and then not so much once they get blown around in the wind on the beach.

7. You are not allowed to take photos of your wedding party at the Ritz unless your wedding takes place at the Ritz. They get very angry when you do this.

8. The people at the Ritz don't get mad if you call down to the desk and request scissors be brought up to your room. In fact they will deliver them within 2 minutes!

9. After all the fancy food we ate, in the end In-N-Out was my favorite meal of the trip.

10. Some women abuse the samples of Chanel No 5 on display in Macy's. This was discovered while I was having my makeup done and several women come by for a spritz or two (or twenty like one lady who hosed herself down with it).

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Inked

I've been wanting to blog about tattoos for a while now, but I haven't found the proper inspiration until lately.

Inspiration number one comes from the good ol' Times-Call, Longmont's fine newspaper. Last week their headline story was about a fund raiser put on for the Shriners hospitals. It was basically a tattoo beauty pageant where local folks proudly put their ink on display. Despite the fact that this was all for a really good cause, there were those crazy conservatives who responded in the TC-Line with comments about how shameful it was for the Shriners to accept money from people with tattoos. I had to laugh.

The second source of inspiration came from the Mile High Music Festival this weekend where about 50% of attendees sported tattoos. There were a few times during the day when I thought I was at a Matthew McConaughey convention because many of the men seemed to have lost their shirts. One guy in particular was a sight to see: he had no shirt, a Jesus fish necklace, was smoking weed and had a unicorn tattoo on his back. My dad and I figured he wasn't sober when he got the tattoo. Or maybe he lost a bet.

As a sociologist I'm fascinated by tattoos and society's attitude toward them. It's so funny to hear the disapproval of Longmonter's versus the acceptance of the crowd at the music festival.

With that said, I'll go ahead and explain my tattoos. During my senior year of high school I read a book about cultures around the world and was intrigued by some articles about tattoos. I decided that I wanted a tattoo. I didn't get one immediately for two reasons: I was only 17 and there's no way my parents would have consented to the ink, plus I wanted to get a tattoo that was a meaningful rite of passage. At the time I had no good ideas. I didn't want to rush into the decision since it would permanent. It wasn't until three years later that I felt ready to get one. I decided on Pablo Picasso's Dove of Peace sketch. I can't explain what it is about this image that impacts me so greatly, but all I can say is that it calms my soul every time I look at it. I have a poster of the sketch which I hung in my dorm room and looked at frequently to center myself amidst the chaos that was college.

My best friend Kristin was ready to get her second one so we set up an appointment and got inked. We chose an artist in Denver who is a friend of her family and is very talented. I was pretty nervous about the situation but my nerves were calmed by the tattoo artist as he talked about his hatred for James Dobson (somewhere in there he mentioned that he wanted to chop off Dobson's head and poop down his neck. Kristin and I found this hilarious).



I chose to get the dove tattooed on the back of my calf for a few reasons. First, I figured it was a pretty fatty part of my body which would hurt less than other parts. Second, I wanted it in a spot which could be easily covered for situations when tattoos might not be appreciated (such as job interviews), but easily displayed when so desired. Years later I'm very glad that I chose that spot because it allows for the good ol' element of surprise. I love it when I meet people and become acquainted with them before they see my tattoos. Because they don't see them right away, they don't immediately stamp me with a stereotype and judge my character before getting to know me. My favorite example of this is a co-worker of mine who didn't realize I had tattoos until after several months of working together at the library. She's a mother with grown kids and leans a bit on the conservative side. Once she saw my tattoo, she said "I didn't know you have a tattoo! I thought only sailors and inmates got those". I'm not sure whether or not this changed her perception of me, but at least she got the chance to get to know me first.

I got my second tattoo 13 months after my first. I waited considerably less time to get this one, but I had known for years that I wanted it. I decided to get the word "Selah" on my wrist. This is a word that has a very deep meaning to me, which I'll explain in another post very soon (my typing endurance is wearing out tonight). While my first tattoo was the result of planning way in advance, I decided to get this tattoo about three days before I got it. I woke up one morning and did my usual centering prayer to start the day when I had the crazy realization that I had finally shaken off the anger and bitterness I had towards the situation at my church involving our former youth pastor. This was huge since I had been carrying it around for four years. I had assumed that it would come with much talking and reflection with others who had experienced the same heartache, but actually it came about through reflection in solitude. I was 1500 miles away from the mess, surrounded by people who had no idea what the situation was and somehow I managed to be at peace with it all. I had to mark this breakthrough and decided to get another tattoo.

My co-manager, Graham, had gotten a tattoo a few weeks before from a local artist and he gave me the name of the shop. I didn't even make an appointment, instead I just drove up to Picayune, plopped down the money and got permanently inked. I thought it would be appropriate to go alone because it was significant that this revelation came about through solitude. This time, the artist didn't spout out his opinion about some religious figure, in fact I think the only time he talked was when he asked me which freckle I wanted to match the color to. Other than that, there was a girl getting a fingerstache and a guy getting a gigantic eagle on his back.



I frequently get asked if I plan to get more tattoos. I don't know the answer. I've got an idea for what I'd like to get next, but I only plan on getting inked when I have moments of revelation in my life. I'm not the type to just go out and get a tattoo because I think it looks cool (remember the guy with the unicorn on his back?). And I certainly don't plan on getting full sleeves or anything like that.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Weekend in Pictures

I managed to document my weekend with the camera. Here are the results:


The grand finale for the weekend was when I got pulled over on the way home from the music festival for having a headlight out. The hilarious part about this is that I was bragging to Kristin and Matt not even 24 hours earlier that I had never been pulled over even though I should have for speeding many times. I've had a busted headlight for almost a year now which would be pretty simple to fix, but I thought I would test the system to see if I'd ever get pulled over (which I realize is stupid and somewhat dangerous, but I don't drive at night much anyway). I guess I jinxed myself the night before:) I didn't take a picture because I didn't want to give the officer another reason to be suspicious of me besides the fact that I smelled like pot thanks to the festival.

So there you have it, a fabulous weekend.

UPDATE: Click on the thought bubble at the bottom left corner of the slide show to view the captions I wrote for each pic. Things will make more sense that way:)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Office (library style)

A friend/co-worker and I have been coming up with a cast of characters from our library who bare striking resemblances to characters on NBC's The Office. I highly recommend that you try this, especially if you are a fan of the show.

Here is what we've come up with so far. I'll leave out their real names in order to protect their identities. There aren't too many people who exactly match the personalities of the TV characters, so I'll explain our choices.

Micheal Scott- We've given this role to a female shelver, not so much because of her awesomeness at being a supervisor, but mainly because she does little to no work on a daily basis. I'm not really sure how she passes the time, but I rarely see her shelving any books. I think she mostly browses the stacks to find books she wants to read.

Dwight Schrute- This great honor goes to a member of the Technical Services crew (our computer folks). She is quite possibly the most serious person I've ever met. We've never seen her smile or laugh.

Kelly Kapoor- Played by another female shelver. She is similar to Kelly in the sense that she has hit on just about every male employee at the library and sometimes patrons as well.

Creed Bratton- Played by a male shelver who only works 4 hours a week. Pretty much the only thing they have in common is their appearances. They could be twins.

Kevin Malone- We've cast one of the male shelvers for this role because their mannerisms are frighteningly identical.

Pam Beesly- Played by one of the female librarians. She's very attractive and is often the victim of inappropriate comments from patrons.

Meredith Palmer- Played by one of the female shelvers who is here for the summer between college semesters. She often shows up to work hungover.

Andy Bernard- Played by one of the female shelvers who was likely a teacher's pet all the way through school. She often has random outbursts of anger over very minuscule issues.

Angela Martin- This is the only character that is an exact match. Angela is played by a female shelver/circulation staffer/children's librarian. She is the most uptight person I've ever met and always monitors how much food/beverage we take during staff meetings. Some of you may know her as "__ The Butthole"

Darryl Philbin- Played by a member of the custodian staff. Pretty much because she doesn't take shit from anyone.

We're still working on the list because the rest of the characters are too challenging to match up. We're discussing Jim Halpert, Stanley Hudson, Jan Levenson, Toby Flenderson, Ryan Howard, Phillis Lapin and Oscar Martinez. I'll let you know if we come up with good matches.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Slacker Blogger

I know I've slacking on this blog, but it isn't really my fault since our internet has been out. Yesterday I called AT&T and spent 53 minutes on hold only to discover that I'm an idiot once I talked to the nice woman in India. Turns out I just had to push a button on the modem and all was well again.

I have so much I want to blog about, but don't have time right now to go into depth, so I'll just cover the highlights of what I've been up to the past few weeks.

We had a garage sale to get rid of all our worthless crap and managed to get rid of it all. It helps when you price EVERYTHING at 25 cents.

4th of July was kind of really boring. I went to the golf course to watch fireworks with my folks. It was the first fireworks show I've seen while sober since I turned 21 which was really unfortunate since amateurs ran the show and did a pretty poor job.

I had a near death experience involving some tables. The church has a closet that stores a boatload of tables in it and it was organized rather poorly after an event last week. While I really appreciate the folks wanting to put everything away and save me some work, they didn't put the tables back in properly which means the doors wouldn't shut. So I got the awesome task of taking all the tables out and putting them back in in a decently and orderly fashion (such is the Presbyterian way). In the process I tried to balance one table up while rolling another in next to it which was a stupid idea. Somehow I got pinned in between the two and saw my life flash before my eyes. I thought about calling for help, but instead used my superhuman strength to save myself. You can figure out how the story ends since you're reading this post days after the event.

I've been helping out with the summer reading program at the library and get to listen to kids tell about the books they've been reading. I love this part of my job.

Our bridesmaid dresses arrived which caused a bit of an emotional breakdown until I remembered what I wrote in my last post. I shook it off and remembered that bridesmaids are supposed to look hideous. It's in some law book somewhere.

I read a book called You Don't Have to be Wrong for me to be Right by Brad Hirschfield. Amazing. Pretty much changed my life. More to come on that later.

I captured a bat today. He was sleeping on the stairs going up to the 2nd floor of our church and while I felt bad having to disturb him, I thought it was better to let him go outside. So I stragically took a shoe box and trapped him underneath. Then I slid the lid underneath and slowly walked outside. I peeped inside just to look at him and was immediately awed by his cuteness. He had a slight resemblance to Don Johnson so I named him after the hot 80's icon. For those of you not from Longmont, you probably don't know about the hysterics that arise anytime a resident here finds a bat indoors. They are immediately frightened out of their wits and call animal control because obviously all bats are rabid and extremely dangerous. Let this be a lesson to you that not all bats are harmful, and some can even be cute, like little Don.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Real Beauty

This is going to be a doozy of a post, I can tell already. First, sit back and enjoy this Dove film that was made for their Real Beauty campaign.



Spending time with high school kiddos lately has reminded me how big of an issue body image is for most (though not all) girls in our society. I took part in a great conversation with some girls while we were in Mexico which got my heart all riled up. We are bombarded with images of how we're supposed to look and given standards that are almost impossible to reach. It seems to me that a lot of this stems from the media- T.V., movies, magazines, billboards etc. But this is an epidemic so widespread, that even if a girl is isolated from these images, there is still the influence from other women in their lives. Mothers, sisters, aunts, teachers and other women all contribute to the disease of negative body image. I know I'm guilty of suspending this problem.

It all started when I was born. 9lbs 10oz. Nope, that's not a typo. I was a huge baby. I don't think I'll ever be able to repay my mom for the pain she had to endure when carrying me for nine months and then going through the agony of labor.

I've always been chubby. I kinda hoped that the baby fat would just disappear with time, but twenty three years later I've still got it. This weight problem has always been a source of pain for me as I don't fit our society's standards of what is considered beautiful. In elementary school we played the usual game of boys chasing girls on the playground, except that the boys never wanted to chase me. In middle school there was even more running as we were expected to run a mile in gym class. I wasn't much of a runner so I usually walked about 90% of the mile. This resulted in much heckling from "The Crew" which was Longs Peak Middle School's clique of mean girls. Oh by the way, they also had a cute nickname for me: Manhands. Thanks to my larger than the average female hands, The Crew were given a good source for ridiculing me and making me hate life in general. When carting books at the library I can usually grab 5-6 novels at a time (which probably means nothing to you, but in the world of library shelvers, most women grab 3 at a time). Maybe it is a good thing that my hands are so big because they complement my larger than average head. Yes, I have a large head too.

By the time I hit high school my self esteem hit rock bottom and I gave up caring about myself. This lasted into the college years until I took a class that changed my life. It was Soc 360: Intro to Social Psychology. Kate Lane was the instructor teaching it, so of course it was going to be good. We spent the entire semester examining the human body from the toes all the way up to the head. Yes, we even talked about those unmentionable parts. Each week we focused on a different part of the body and discussed how our society has established norms for that particular body part. This class was both educational and entertaining all at once. One of the most powerful activities we did in class was when each student was given a 3X5 card to write down which part of their body they are most ashamed of and wished could be more "normal". The exercise was anonymous and optional, but as it turned out every single student participated and so did the professor.

I was blown away by some of the responses that were turned in. Some were legitimate, but others seemed ridiculous. People who I thought looked perfect and fit our societies "ideal" were self conscious about something. I'm sad that it took me that long to realize that no one is perfect, therefore it is ridiculous to set such high expectations on ourselves and on others. I walked away from the final class that semester letting out a huge sigh of relief.

Of course I still have body image issues, but they aren't nearly as intense as they were a few years ago. For example, I'm not exactly thrilled to be a bridesmaid next month when I'll get to stand next to a bride and her two sisters, all of whom are Twiggy thin. But then I have to stop and remind myself why I'm doing it: I love my brother and am excited to be part of this amazing celebration.

And for the first time in my life I've taken control of my health and am being more mindful of what I'm putting in my body. No longer am I succumbing to emotional eating and hiding behind baggy clothes in an attempt to not be noticed. I'm watching what I eat and exercising more in hopes of getting my BMI to a healthy level. Plus, I'm really happy.

Adele is the new British singer on the scene who is making waves with her music and her image. I read an article about her in a magazine this week that made me respond with a "rock on girl!" (which made for a Bridget Jones moment since I said it out loud while on the treadmill at the Y). Here is her response when asked about being full-figured: "I'm overweight, but I don't care. The British press makes sly remarks [about my weight] sometimes. Blogs mainly. But I don't care what some 12-year-old boy thinks in his bedroom". I hope this sassy girl sticks around for a while!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Creepy

I guess I should explain more fully why this blog has become limited access. Besides the fact that a lot of people were reading who I didn't really think should be reading it, there was also a potential stalker issue which I'm trying to avoid.

It all started back in March as I was working at the library's information desk. We had just received new name badges which include our first and last names on them. Several staff members were uncomfortable with their full names being in plain view, but I didn't really think much of it. Then one day a slightly strange man came up to the desk to ask about our computers with internet use so I told him about our policies and directed him to the computer lab. He thanked me and went on his merry way. About an hour later he was evidently done with the computer and stopped by my desk again. I don't remember what he said exactly but it was something to this effect: "Becca in the Bayou eh? Must have been real hot in Mississippi. I'll see you around, bayou girl".

I can only assume that he Googled my name and stumbled upon my blogs because I had never seen him before. I would have been slightly less creeped out if he were a 20 something guy with a nice smile, but this guy was definitely older than my dad and had a funky smell to him. The incident was harmless enough that no serious action needed to be taken, however, our "security guard" suggested that I either take the blog off line or make it private in order to prevent him from going any further with his stalking.

Since then I've switched back to our old name badge with just my first name on it and have only seen the creep-o a few times at the library. Thankfully he has left me alone.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Netflix reviews

I've been keeping the good folks at Netflix busy this summer with all my movie viewing. Here are the good, the bad and the ridiculously ugly:

Good

Transamerica- Felicity Huffman is brilliant and I kept forgetting that she's a woman in real life.

Soldiers in the Army of God- documentary about pro-lifers with crazy facial hair. I highly recommend.

Into the Wild- This might be one of those rare times when the movie is better than the book.

Friends of God: A Road Trip with Alexandra Pelosi- Fascinating look at evangelical Christians in America. My favorite moment in the movie was when Ted Haggard and a few of his church members claimed that their wives climax every night. Too bad his little scandalous affair became public a few days after this film aired on HBO.

4 Little Girls- Another brilliant piece from Spike Lee. It takes a look at the 16th St Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham in 1963 that killed four girls and shook up the civil rights movement. I dare you to try and not cry while watching it.


Bad

August Rush- So corny. And yet I did shed a tear toward the end.

Terms of Endearment- What is the deal with Debra Winger's laugh? I was so annoyed with it that I feel I didn't give the film my full attention.


Ridiculously ugly

Because I Said So
- Mandy Moore should not be allowed to act. Ever. It was painful to watch. Oh, and the part where she explains to Diane Keaton what an orgasm feels like was horrendously awkward.



I hope you found this educational and useful for your future movie viewing.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Dr. Pendergraff

I love to read obituaries. While I find it unfortunate that we wait until a person dies to say lovely things about each other, I also find obits to be so fascinating. They're like bite sized memoirs wrapping up a lifetime of memories and experiences in one tiny little column.

A co-worker sent the following obituary to me. Dr. Pendergraff was the husband of my favorite children's librarian who retired a few years ago. I really wish I could have met him.

This is a pretty long obit, so don't feel obligated to read the whole thing. I recommend the paragraph that I've put in bold. It's my favorite.

Dr. Isaac Beverly Pendergraff
1947 - 2008


Dr. Isaac "Ike" Beverly Pendergraff, Jr. died at his home in Louisville, Colorado on Sunday, June 8th.

He was born on April 15, 1947 in Brenham, Texas to proud parents, Annie Lois Brown Pendergraff and Isaac Beverly Pendergraff, Sr. He was an honor student at Pickard High School in Brenham. During his Pickard school days, he participated in the first CSUDS Program at Colorado State University. Following completion of the eleventh grade and meeting other conditions, he was admitted to Paine College in Augusta, Georgia on an academic scholarship. He completed his first year as an early admissions student and was awarded a Pickard High School diploma as well.

In his junior year, he transferred from Paine College to Colorado State University. He graduated in 1968 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology-Anthropology. He earned a master's degree in the same field the following year through Colorado State University's first Martin Luther King Fellowship. He was also commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United Sates Army through Colorado State University's ROTC program.

Later he received a Master of Arts Degree and a Doctor of Ministry degree in ministry and social ethics from the University of Chicago. Concurrently, he was certified to do clinical pastoral work by the University of Chicago Hospitals and Clinics. The title of his doctoral dissertation was, "The Military Chaplain as Clarifier, Mediator, and Soldier's Advocate: The Case of Conscientious Objection within the Military." His dissertation was published in the Military Chaplain's Review. Following graduation, he was ordained as a minister by the American Baptist Churches, USA.

On September 22, 1974, in Oak Park, Illinois, he married Sandra Elizabeth Diggs, whom he met in graduate school at the University of Chicago. His daughter, Erika Jewel Pendergraff, was born almost ten years later, on June 13, 1984, in Boulder, Colorado.

He was certified as an army Chaplain at Fort Hamilton, New York. He spent three years in the army largely at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Georgia. He attained rank of Captain and received the Army Commendation medal and certificate; the highest award granted by the army in peace time.

After his tour of duty ended, he did two years of post doctoral work at the University of Denver. He earned a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Denver in 1979 and qualified later for ACSW certification.

He worked for two years as a school social worker in the Saint Vrain Valley School District. He worked for one year at a mental health center in Englewood, CO. He went on to work for 20 years as a school social worker in the Jefferson County School District. He was a professional and compassionate person whom colleagues as well as students could trust with their deepest feelings. Before his retirement in May of 2003, he received the Social Worker of the Year Award from the Jefferson County School District.

He had respect for individuals regardless of their station in life. People often found themselves spilling out their hearts to him. He was a strong advocate for the underdog. Fairness and honesty were important to him. He was a deeply spiritual person. Having studied the piano as a child, he remained a gifted pianist. Although he tended to be serious, his broad smile warmed the hearts of family and friends.

He is survived by his wife, Sandra Diggs Pendergraff, Louisville, CO; his daughter, Erika Jewel Pendergraff, Westminster, CO; his mother, Lois Wright, Boulder, CO; his sister, Veronica Pendergraff-Woods, Corpus Christi, TX; an uncle, Dr. Thomas Browne, Los Angeles, CA; and many adoring aunts, first cousins, second cousins and devoted friends.

He was preceded in death by his father, Isaac B. Pendergraff, Sr.; his maternal grandparents, Eldee M. Brown, Sr. and Fannie Brown; and his paternal grandparents, Rev. Mack Lee Pendergraff, Sr. and Sarah Pendergraff.

Visitation: Sunday, June 15, 5:00-7:00 p.m., Crist Mortuary, Boulder Colorado. Funeral Service: June 16, 11:30 a.m., Crist Mortuary, Boulder, Colorado. Officiating Clergy: Rev. Jodi Bushdiecker. Interment: Monday, June 16, 2:00 p.m., Fort Logan, Denver, Colorado. Crist Mortuary is in charge of Arrangements.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Livin' at home

As a kid I was often shown how fortunate I was to have the parents that I have. All it took was a play date at my bestest good friends house to see an example of bad parents. Her mom acted like a teenager and often wanted to be “just one of the girls” with us. I always thought she was cool to hang out with, but at the end of the day I was glad to go home to my mom who acted like a grownup. Her dad was even more unbearable to be around because of the verbal abuse he constantly dished out to his wife. When my friend and I were in fourth grade, things got really ugly which resulted in a painful divorce. This really affected my friend and she was never the same afterwards. Our friendship eventually drifted apart as we went to different schools for fifth grade and middle school. We attended the same high school and we’d say hi in the hallways between classes, but she was headed on a very different path than I was and we never hung out in the same social circles.

If there is anything good in me, it’s all thanks to my parents who influenced me more than anyone else. I adore them and envy them all at once. They have a marriage that is so cute and ridiculously full of love, sometimes it makes me want to vomit. They managed to beat the odds in their families and have stayed hopelessly devoted for 26 years now. My mom’s parents divorced when she was young and her two brothers don’t exactly have great love stories. My dad’s parents managed to stay married for 53 years before they both passed away, although they stopped sleeping in the same bedroom back in 1960 (my dad is the youngest child and was born in ’59). Of the five siblings, my dad is the only one who has successfully remained married (three siblings have four divorces among them and the other one has never married).

This past ski season I rode up the lift with girl who was about my age. We got to chatting and discovered that we had a lot in common. One of the major differences though, was that she was really ashamed of the fact that she had moved back in with her parents after college. That certainly isn’t the case with me. I actually like living with my folks and have come to regard them as friends. If you know my parents, I’m sure you understand this. If you haven’t met my parents, you’re missing out.

Sure, there are times when I think, “Hmm, I should grow up someday and get a job and a boyfriend and pay rent and stuff like that”. But who decided that those are the key ingredients to a happy and fulfilling life? One of the most intriguing topics we discussed in my college anthropology class was the idea of matri/patrilocality and western civilization’s rejection of that ideal. In many societies around the world, it is considered normal for families to remain close-knit after the children come of age. I think it can be a beautiful thing if all the variables allow for a positive experience. As long as the economy is in it's current state, I'll likely be living at home just like several of my other friends in the same boat. Plus my parents have TiVo and a well stocked fridge, so why would I want to leave?

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Adventures in housesitting

For the next three weeks I'll be sharing a bed with three guys and a girl. No, it isn't as kinky as it sounds. I'm housesitting for some family friends who have two dogs and two cats, all of whom seem to think it is ok to sleep in the guest bed with me. I've tried to close the door and keep them out, but that only makes them upset and they claw at the door until I open it up. I guess I'll just have to deal.

In other news, there's a creeper in the basement. There are a few construction projects going on at the house which means there are various members of the crew in and out of the house all day. One fella works particularly odd hours as he's here working on the basement bathroom in the evenings only, usually until midnight. At first I was really nervous about being in the house alone with this weirdo, but I noticed he has a boatload of Christian bumper stickers on his car, so I guess he's ok. He pretty much keeps to himself unless he needs to use the bathroom upstairs. Last night I was completely engrossed in an episode of Sex and the City and didn't even notice him come up the stairs. He scared the poo out of me by making a comment about the show and then he made is way down the hall. I'm thinking about tying a bell around his neck so I'll know where he is all the time!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Awkward flirtation

Driving down 9th Ave on the way to the Y as Keith Urban comes on KYGO. Must turn the volume up. Little bit more, just a bit more. There we go. With the windows down there is no way the cars and pedestrians on the street can ignore his dreamy voice belting out those clever lyrics.

All is well in the world until I hit a red light. Not to worry, I'd hate to arrive at my destination before this song is over. I pull up to the line next to a Mitsubishi Eclipse convertible. Nice car. I wonder if he wants to race. I'm pretty sure my Subie wagon would kick his ass.

The Eclipse pulls up even with my car. Maybe he does want to race. Oh jeez. Ok, I'll just look over real quick to assess the situation. Who knows, maybe I know him and he's just saying "hi". Alright, just a quick, stealth glance. Nope I don't know him.

Mr. Eclipse is kinda cute. He is definitely smiling at me and, wait, did he just do "the nod"? He totally did. I wish I didn't blush so easily. I look away and try to avoid looking at him again. Ok. I can't help it. I look over again and he's got his elbow propped on the door. No wedding band. Doesn't necessarily mean anything. I know a lot of married guys who don't always wear their ring.

Ok, try to ignore him. Looky there, my car has 213,086 miles on it. I wonder how many more she'll go. I can see him in my peripheral vision. He's still looking over. How long is this light? I wonder if the treadmills will be crowded tonight. He's still looking over. I'm so not good at flirting.

Finally the light turns green and I take off, leaving him at the line. I knew Subie could kick his ass.

Monday, June 16, 2008

I guess my PC(USA) diet starts in September

As of today I am working as the part time custodian for our church. I know some of you will be disappointed with this choice, but I'd like to thank you for voting and giving me ideas for jobs (some better than others:) I'm a bit shocked that milk delivery driver came out on top, but I guess it is better than the other options!

This was certainly the easiest job I've ever applied for, although come to think of it, I didn't even apply for it. I had briefly spoked to the full time custodian's daughter about the need for someone to fill in this summer and before I knew it I was told to come in for training a few days later. I have to say that's the first time I've been accepted for a job before I even decided if I wanted to apply or not. I think it will be a decent situation, especially knowing that it is part time and I will be done in August. I had planned on disconnecting from the church for a while in order to get my heart straightened out again and explore other options, but that will just have to wait until the end of summer.

Aaron had warned me that there would be many an awkward conversation while doing this job, and I got my first taste of that this morning. While I was cleaning some bathrooms, a church member came over to chat and wound up telling me all about her post traumatic stress disorder and how it is affecting her son's grades. All the while I'm holding a toilet bowl brush. It was awesome.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Mexico

Just got back from Mexico yesterday and am still trying to catch my breath as well as catch up with all that I've been disconnected from. I'll keep this one brief so I can save the good stuff for conversations to come. Here are the bullet points of the trip:

Highs

Long van rides full of quality conversations with the students- it's amazing how much better you can get to know each other when you're crammed into a small space!

Seeing old friends in Agua Prieta- it has been seven years since I've been there and it was great to see the pastor and his family plus all the church members.

Venturing to Hermosillo- I always love seeing new places.

VBS- I enjoyed making a fool out of myself as the kids tried to speak to me in Spanish and I would respond with silly faces. Despite that, the kids had a great time and I think they learned a lot.

The beach- Despite most of our group frying in the sun, it was a beautiful day of relaxation.

The food- delicious.


Lows

Spiritual dissonance- I realize that I've got more soul searching to do than I realized which will probably result in a break from the church for a while.

TMI ALERT: if "girl issues" freak you out, quit reading this post- I was disappointed by Aunt Flo's insistence on coming along to Mexico. I was hoping she'd delay her visit by a week, but she was punctual as usual. She made the beach day particularly aggravating and forced me to wear my cranky pants for a majority of the week. On the plus side, she provided the hilarious experience of buying tampons in a Mexican convenience store where they only sell size Jumbo.


I guess that's about all. I've learned in the past that the lessons from these Doulos trips usually continue to penetrate my heart for months and even years afterwards, so I don't have too much reflection to talk about just yet.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Just Say No

I'm pretty sure the guy that lives across the street from us is dealing drugs. He doesn't seem to have a job (except for driving a tow truck every once in a while) and there are a boatload of people coming and going throughout the day. I realize that I'm acting like that annoying neighbor from Bewitched who should mind her own business, but you won't be laughing when the Longmont police give me a medal for helping them bust drug dealers.

Of the possible options, I'm really hoping it is marijuana since that would be the lesser of three evils. Cocaine has the potential for being humorous (click here for the story about ordering a burrito and a Coke) but also has the potential for being pretty harmful (try Googling Amy Winehouse). Knowing Longmont, chances are he is running a meth lab. Let's hope for no explosions.

I'll keep you posted as this story develops.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

For my fellow 'Lost' addicts



Season finale tomorrow night. Gah!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

It is time to cast your vote

I've decided to search for a second job. I'll only be working 25 hours at the library this summer which means I'm going to have too much free time and not enough money to live on next year as I go back to life on a stipend.

I'm really hoping for a job that I don't care much about and thus won't feel bad when I leave it at the end of the summer. I'm also hoping for a job that is local and that I can ride my bike or walk to. While I sat bored at the library's info desk tonight, I decided to crack open the classified ads and check out my options. I'll put up a poll so ya'll can vote and help me decided. I've listed the pros and cons that I've come up with, so please take them into consideration.

Option 1: Weight room attendant at the rec center.

Pro: Opportunity to check out guys working out
Con: Likely to involve dealing with a lot of sweat. The smell factor is an issue.

Option 2: Milk delivery driver.

Pro: Hours won't interfere with my established schedule at the library.
Con: Requires a drug test before being hired which could be a problem*.

Option 3: Housecleaner

Pro: Good chance I'll be able to practice Spanish with co-workers.
Con: Will probably involve using cleaners with toxic chemicals which aren't so good for my bod or the environment.

Option 4: Burrito Deliverer

Pro: Free burritos
Con: Job involves driving which defeats my plan of using my car as little as possible this summer.

Option 5: Cocktail waitress

Pro: Good tips
Con: Would probably have to wear a mini-skirt type outfit revealing my thunder thighs which would much rather remain hidden.

Option 6: Liquor store cashier

Pro: Booze discount
Con: I can't come up with any. That's probably not a good thing.


So there you have it. Vote early and vote often.


*Seriously? If you don't know that's a joke you probably don't know me at all and thus should not be reading this blog.

Friday, May 23, 2008

She's Baaaaack

After a bit of a break from blogging, I've decided to return to it. The reason? Last night as I crawled into bed I realized that for the first time in a long time I'm content with life. The past few months have been full of some crazy emotional ups and downs as I try to adjust to life after Mississippi, struggle alongside some friends who are struggling and trying to figure out what the heck I'm doing with my life. Now that I'm in a place of stability, I have been reflecting a lot and really want an outlet for all these thoughts. Thus the return of the blog.

There are going to be a few changes. First, readers have to be invited to read this jumble of words and thoughts. No more public access after having an encounter with a a scary dude at the library where I work. I'll talk about that later. So if you have a link to my blog on your blog, you can probably just delete it so that folks won't try to go to my blog and then be sorely disappointed when they can't because they aren't in the "Cool Kids Who Know Becca Club". Second, I'm hoping this blog will be a bit more honest than it was in the past. With a limited number of people reading this thing, I hope to not censor my thoughts by only talking about the safe topics. I know that a lot of people in our church and community read my "Becca in the Bayou" blog, which was fine because the point was to update all the peeps who supported me with money and prayers while in Mississippi. I love all of those people, I just don't really want them to read my blog anymore. I'm thinking particularly about the teenagers in our youth group that I help out with. I realize that maybe I shouldn't be so guarded, but I really don't want to have to explain to parents why their kids are suddenly changing their views and opinions about religion and politics and the world in general. Plus, my interactions with them have been fascinating and will probably be the topic of a few posts, so I wouldn't want to write about them and embarrass them. I think I will primarily limit readership to those of you have blogs of your own. Sort of an "I'll show you mine if you show me yours" kind of philosophy.

With all that said, here is a sneak peek at some of the topics that have been on my heart lately and I'll be writing about in the coming weeks:

Spring Break trip to Gulfport
substitute teaching
crazy stalker at the library
tattoos
life at home with the parents
forgiveness
my friend Jessie
the YMCA
books
my laughable attempt at learning Spanish
upcoming trip to Mexico
muh Dawg
more forgiveness
church politics
my frustrations with KBCO
sex
my rediscovery of Pat Benatar
going Under the Overpass and Into the Wild
Brian's wedding
plans for the future

Hopefully that teaser will help you stay tuned.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

On a break

When I first started this blogging thing, the main purpose was to keep friends and family up to date on what I was doing in Mississippi. It was a good thing.

When that adventure ended, I decided to start a new blog since this really amazing online community had sprung up. I've been able to keep in touch with friends who are still on the Gulf Coast and with those who have moved on to new adventures. Plus I've been able to state some things that are on my heart and mind which don't usually surface since I'm not the most talkative person. That has been a good thing.

But this blogging goodness has resulted in some not so good stuff. Lately I've been receiving a few comments on both the Bayou blog and this Selah blog which have been a bit disturbing. I suppose I could limit who can comment by changing the setting so that they require my approval. But even if I do that, these anonymous people can still read what I'm writing and I don't know how I feel about that. Perhaps they're just messing with my head in the same way that some dirty pervs had been on Facebook when they would request to be my friend and send me really crude messages. Later I realized that they were quoting the movie Superbad which has a lot of dirty lines involving the character named Becca.

These blog comments aren't dirty though. They're just disturbing enough to make me want to stop blogging which is what I'm going to do. For now. I'm definitely going to continue reading all the blogs of you cool kids all across the nation because I love to hear what's going on in your life. As for me, I'm going to try and be better about picking up the phone. Email is still good too.

*This blog will still be public for about a week and then I'll restrict access. It was fun while it lasted.

Friday, March 7, 2008

NSCD

For the past nine weeks I've been volunteering with the National Sports Center for the Disabled up at Winter Park. This program has been one of my greatest sources of joy since arriving back in Colorado. Each Thursday I wake up before the sun and drive two hours up to the mountains wondering what sort of challenge I'll be faced with that day.

For the first few weeks we worked with autistic children who all had varying degrees of the disorder. Some kids were very low functioning, nonverbal and pretty much not at all interested in skiing. Most of that group played in the snow and tried on the ski gear, but never got on the slopes. The other half of the group were high functioning kids, some of whom were verbal. I happened to be matched with an eleven year old boy who never seemed to stop talking, but he was a dear heart and was very enthusiastic about skiing. Most people with autism love their routines and don't like to change it up, so my student skied the exact same run for five weeks in a row. While it became a bit monotonous for me, he absolutely loved it. We gradually accomplished the goals we set at the beginning of the season: to overcome his fear of the chairlift, to work on turning and to pick up the pace and ski just a little bit faster than he started out.

For the rest of the weeks, I've been matched with different students with different issues. On week six I worked with a woman who has MS and is very fortunate to be alive. Thanks to some experimental drug treatments, she has gone from being paralyzed and bedridden to walking and now skiing. She has some balance issues and a huge fear of falling, so we skied very slow that day. It took us about two hours to make it down the run, with one volunteer behind her with tethers attached to her skies and me in front of her skiing backwards to assure her that we wouldn't let her fall. It was a huge accomplishment for her.

On week seven there was some bad weather and rough road conditions preventing half of the students from making it up from Denver, which meant I had a free day of skiing. I felt guilty that I was enjoying the slopes while a bunch of the other volunteers were working with students, but that guilt wore off around noon when the snow began to fall and the slopes were covered in powder.

Week eight was by far the most challenging day of teaching as I was placed with 4 deaf students, all of whom wanted to snowboard. While I've been snowboarding for the past seven years, I haven't taken any clinics to help me know how to teach another person how to snowboard. Then there is the fact that the students were all deaf creating a huge obstacle. We made it through the morning with a little frustration and whole lot of laughter (mostly them laughing at me and my terrible sign language skills), but we all had fun which is the most important thing.

The hearing impaired group left for home at lunchtime and I was assigned to help out another group of snowboarders, this time a group of teenage boys. They all live in a house in Denver which is part of a substance abuse program and "last chance" before being sent to juvenile hall. These boys have some crazy stories. One of them stole a car from a drug dealer, was pursued by police in a high speed chase all the way from Denver to Colorado Springs and ended the chase by rolling the car. By the way, he was only fourteen at the time. All the other boys have committed various offenses, primarily having to do with drugs or stealing. Most of them grew up huffing various substances to get high which has resulted in some developmental disorders. But despite all this, they are really great kids. They just haven't been given the chance to prove themselves. When we're on the slopes they lose their identity of juvenile delinquent, and they become kids on snowboards.

Yesterday was week nine and I was again assigned to work with the teenage boys from the group home. We got them off the bunny hill and managed to help them down a blue run. I can only guess how great this made them feel since none of them are very good at showing emotion. I'm hoping it was the highlight of their week because it certainly was mine.

Next week is the tenth and final week of the program which is bittersweet. I'm going to miss it very much, although it will be nice not having to devote fifty percent of my income to gas money!