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

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.