I am so mad I can barely see straight

My night all started when Cesar asked me if we could go out tonight. We saw a movie called Syriana... save your money if you have the option. Anyways, after the movie the opportunity to make out presented itself, and again I declined. It's always easier to go back to Minnesota not having made out with a guy here. After that we started talking, and talked for a really long time.

I can't remember all of the things we talked about. The biggest thing was that Cesar needs to be documented, the easiest way to do that is to marry a citizen. But Cesar would never marry me so he can get documented. But he needs to get documented...

Then he tells me that it's hard for him to see me because we live so far away from each other, which is true. The more I start talking to him, the more I miss him. The closer I get to seeing him again, the more I miss him. But, it's too hard so we shouldn't see each other at all.

I said, we need to continue this conversation but not tonight. Partly because I could feel my heart tearing open, partly becuase it was late and I have my Dad's car and I didn't want the parents to be worried. At this point, I'm not sure if I'm heart broken or mad as hell or a bit of both.

The thing about marriage and citizenship: I would never marry Cesar so he could be documented. I would marry Cesar because I love him. I don't really care if documentation is a part of that package or not. Cesar wont come to Minnesota, partly because his family is here and partly because traveling is really dangerous for him. Would I move back to Cincinnati? I don't know, but if Cesar and I actually were in a relationship that's a decision we get to make together. Tonight he basically said that I was up in Minnesota and it wouldn't work out. I don't know if that's true. He doesn't get to decide that, he get's to ask, and then we get to make the decision together.

I am seriously so mad and angry and upset... I'm glad I'm in Cincinnati and there's really good ice cream here. That's really the only thing keeping me going at this point.


Don't know what I was going to say

I was at a sexual harrasment training this morning for work. I had this great idea of what to write about, but I totally cona't remmeber.

I thought I'd just write a few lines in the hopes of remembering, but nothing is coming to me.

I'm going to write about all of the good things that happened today, and see if I can block out all of the bad. The team at the museum went up on the floor today, and they did really well. We made kaleidoscopes and "vocal chord" cups. Some of the new, and some of the old, did a really good job and totally impressed me. I was most impressed with people who I thought would be really quiet and shy, and they were totally what they needed to be.

Ok, then I downloaded some songs from singing fish which is a fantastic website. I am ok with the fact that I got a new kids on the block song. You know you used to listen to them too.


All of these things that I think about...

My dad is in town this weekend. He's actually asleep right now and going home tomorrow. We didn't really get much time togehter but we had a really nice meal tonight. I had ceviche which is my favorite food ever in life. It was really spicy though. I guess the next time I'll see my parents i sat thanksgiving.

I'm thinking about getting a PDA. There are all of these wild deals on Ebay. They look too good to be true. Anyone know if they erally are? Theyare some PDAs where the opening bid is like one penny or so. These are supposedly new, never opened items that should be selling for $300 or so. I'll give it a few days. I'm assuming the price will go up.

I'd like to have a PDA that can do wirelss, also so that I can have a calendar wherever I am. My life gets so screwed up when I just have my calendar on my computer at home.

Right now I'm watching the three musketeers. My DVD player is functioning for the moment. At some point I really should get it cleaned...


Somewhere in my future or past

I was reading tonight about child development, especially infants and toddlers. There was this section on SIDS that I just couldn't even read. It felt like I was retraumatizing myself, and the parts on children with developmental disabilities, physical disabilities, etc. was totally painful as well. I just couldn't read the SIDS one, it was too awful to think about having a baby and then having it die so little for no reason. Ugh.

Nothing has happened to me in this life that would bring about such a strong response, so I am wondering if in a past life, something awful happened and I was a part of it, possible the Mom or Dad that lost a kid all of a sudden.

Anyone else believe in this past life stuff, or am I all alone out here?


What my birthday means

Here's what my birthday means. Also, I got a bloody nose on the bus today. A real true bloody nose. It's not even winter yet. What is going on here?

Your Birthdate: June 21

Being born on the 21st day of the month (3 energy) is likely to add a good bit of vitality to your life.
The energy of 3 allows you bounce back rapidly from setbacks, physical or mental.
There is a restlessness in your nature, but you seem to be able to portray an easygoing, "couldn't care less" attitude.

You have a natural ability to express yourself in public, and you always make a very good impression.
Good with words, you excel in writing, speaking, and possibly singing.
You are energetic and always a good conversationalist.

You have a keen imagination, but you tend to scatter your energies and become involved with too may superficial matters.
Your mind is practical and rational despite this tendency to jump about.
You are affectionate and loving, but very sensitive.
You are subject to rapid ups and downs.


My life in a car

I drove to and from my internship this morning, and it was one of the better things I've done in a while. As I was in my car driving, I rmemebered how my life had had been before I started school. I remember thinking this was how my life was back when I was a normal person. I'm begining to understand why my mother was always making comments about not being a normal person during the school year. Imagine being a professor, that would be even worse because not having a normal life would be normal. It's all very wild.

So after that, I rode my bike to the 38th st station and bused from there to school. I'm actually feeling better that I have a decent way to get home tonight that doesn't rely on the buses running exactly perfectly on time.


One of the funniest things I've ever written

I was writing a paper tonight when I wrote what I think is one of the funniest things I've ever written. I'm going to post it, and we'll see if I think it's funny in a week, or if y'all think it's funny right now.

More broadly, there is a view in southern Ohio, particularly in Cincinnati, that anything that is educated, articulate and wearing shoes comes from Ohio. Anything that is backwards and chews tobacco with the two teeth it has left is from Kentucky.


Restorative Justice

I am on a restorative justice panel. Once a month or so, we meet with a person who has plead guilty to a crime, usually soliciting a prostitute. The person is able to make a contract with the panel about what he/she will do to repair the harm to the community. If they complete the terms of their contract, their record will be cleared.

The members of the panel are volunteers, mostly from the community. It's a very interesting panel. Most of the people on it are very cool, very chill people. They're really not looking to jam anyone up, or hurt anyone. They're not there to be vindictive or seek retribution. I am there because I see the value of the program and I like being involved in it. I like being involved because I see the value of the program.

A new volunteer showed up last night and sat on the same panel as me. What I got out of that experience was that it reaffirmed for me that I am not here to punish people. I am here to help people repair the community and then say, "you have done your part, the harm is repaid and you are welcome in my community any time". It also helped me clearly articulate that the goal of the panel is not to be retributive or punish people. I as a community member don't get anything out of making someone do more work just because I can. I as a community member see the value of having someone participate in my community by volunteering. I also learned that people of different cultures can have a bit of an identity thing happening, where they this one identity that's based on their cultural history and beliefs, and another identity based on what's happening in the environment where they live now. And I see now they both can be very real for a person, and it's helpful to see when that is going on, because both are happening and both experiences are true even though one is the total opposite of the other. This new person helped me see that.

I wonder what I'll think when I re-read this post, if I'll remember what else was happening. When I re-read my journal from Malawi, there's what I was saying which was fairly optimistic and what was going on in my head at the time which was not optimistic at all. I remember both when I look at those journals, but others who don't know the situation wouldn't get that from the journals at all. I'm wondering if I'll have the same experience with this post. Not that there's something I'm not telling you...


How Panic Attacks Make Everything OK

I haven't blogged in a really long time, since school started or before I would guess. School is keeping me amazingly busy, and what it's not doing for my schedule, work and the internhsip are.

I have this one class that's a seminar basically where we talk about everything that's going on in our field placements. The class is Wednesday (today is Friday so I already had it this week), and last Monday I had a crazy panic attack while I was trying to fall asleep. I really was not looking forward to going to this class because it's a "talk about your feelings" kind of class which is just not for me. I was also feeling uncomfortable because people in this class have a tendency to share way too much, and when it's my turn I don't want to be expected to share the same amount of information.

Monday night, I was thinking about this, and getting more and more freaked out the more I thought about it until I totally tensed up and started crying and knew that there was no hope of sleep even though it was midnight and I had to be somewhere at 7am the next day. I went out on the couch and turned a movie on and let the sound put me too sleep. At some point in the middle of the night I did successfully manage to crawl into bed and get some sleep.

The next day I was so worn out from having had that panic attack that at the very least, I wasn't worried about that stupid class so I could function the whole day. Wednesday, I was still pretty worn out, just totally drained from this panic attack so that I wasn't worried about the class.

My field instructor really wanted me to talk to the professor before hand and tell her how I was feeling, but I didn't want to. The FI wanted me to say that this seminar doesn't fit my learning style and group processing is not my thing. I didn't really want to say anything to the professor because it's not a "learning style" issue, it's an "I have OCD and anxiety" issue that I'm not ready to discuss with anyone here.

I didn't say anything to the professor bur I also didn't raise my hand to talk, and the thing I noticed is that she doesn't call on people, she really lets us talk on our own which I appreciate because most of the time I don't want to say anything so I don't have to. For now, I will not be disclosing my anxiety problems to the professor, which gets to be my choice, despite the advice from my FI which I appreciate.

It's going to be an interesting conversation on Tuesday when I tell my FI that I didn't talk to the professor. She's going to give me a really hard time about it. I really do appreciate her input and acknowledge that she's got some experience in this, but this also gets to be my decision about what I share with people, who I share it with, and how that information is shared.

The other thing that will never come up after today is ADD/ADHD and that whole diagnosis. The professors around here seem to make a lot of jokes about that. I don't want them to know I have ADD because of those jokes, and because I think they might feel uncomfortable having made those jokes once they know my whole situation. (At least they really should feel uncomfortable having made those jokes because some of them were very unkind and made me feel pretty uncomfortable).


My life is seven years

The last game we played today was too imgaine my life in seven years. I think I did the worst on this one, or it was the most metaphoric.

I was sitting at home with a baby just hanging out. It was my baby, and I realized it was Deb's home where I was two or three days ago. I liked the baby and I actually liked my husband. I don't know why I'm always surprised in dreams when I like my husband, and always encouraged by it too I guess.

I kept going with it, couldn't tell whether I had one kid or two, I think just one. But I liked my husband and Amanda and Kelly were still around. Amanda was much better with the little baby than Kelly, that's more a memory I had than something that I saw in the dream, but Kelly is the person whose temper I would want around a child.

Anyways, I'm never sure in these things if the kids I see are realy kids or if they are a metaphor for something. The bummer is that the husband who I liked could have been a metaphor too. And the house, I liked the house, all the stuff in it was new, I thought, this is a good place to be.

The last thing we had to do was ask the future self a question, like how they got there. I couldn't really tell myself how I got to this place where I had a little baby and all of these people I liked being around, even though I asked. The future me just sort of sat there speechless. I thought, "oh yea, this is for real". I'm sure that was just what I wanted to see my life as.


Why Alicia Keeps Showing Up

One of the other games we played togay was the psychic game, where somebody asks one quesiton, something they want to know the answer to, and then a second question. The answer to the first question is in the second question.

So for the second question, I had to picture myself in a place, then a person was coming and that person handing me soemthing who was the person and what did they hand me. Obviously, I was in a cave with bats. I had my headlight on my head but not my helmet, which means I was bat netting but not caving. Anyways, I tend to let bats fly around my head, no problem. Then someone was coming towards me, who is it? Alicia, it's always Alicia in these things. She showed me something that was on a piece of paper, I think it was something Jackie had written for us, really good news because we were both excited about it.

Anyways, I had to a game like this once before and I was in a scary place, and it asks me who I see, and it was Alicia then too.

If I ever have to do these games, I will in a cave or with a bat and Alicia will be coming to help me. I'm always in a cave and Alicia is always coming to get me.

I think a horse helped me out one time

I went to this thing today about Edgar Cayce and the Akashik Record. The Akashik record is basically a record of everything that's ever happened, from how the universe was created to what I did in my previous life. It's pretty wild.

Anyways, one of the excercises is to think of a past life and figure out who was in the life and what was going on. I pictured myself in the mountains out west, maybe the black hills by a stream. I was this young Indian with my hair in two braids, which is probably why I don't wear my hair in braids ever, and there was this horse there with me. I liked to ride him bear back. I was looking at my reflection in the water, I was really happy about something. I had just come from somewhere, and I was really happy about something that had happened there, and really happy the horse was there with me. That horse was a friend of mine I think.

Then we were supposed to think of that life as a child and who was there with me, and I was in a teepee sitting on someone's lap. Probably my gramma or grandpa I don't know. I didn't really know anyone who was there, but I didn't really think about it either.

The thing I remember about that life too was that I was sort of seperate from everyone else, sort of withdrawn which is exactly how I am now. I have a few friends but even they don't get to be super super close to me. I never really minded being a little outside the group, doing things a little differently, and I really liked that horse.

Every time I see horses now, even on TV, I think they're being overworked or we ask too much out of horses. Dr. Quinn is a favorite TV show of mine, and I think about how in that time they made horses run many many miles a day because we can't and I always feel bad for the horses like they're being overworked. I think I still feel grateful to that horse, I liked him.


Why I'm a Bad Child

I don't really want to write about this right now, but I know it'll make me feel better.

My parents and I have been on vacation with three friends of theirs. I was the youngest person on the trip by a generation or two. Anyways, my parents and I just got back to Minneapolis. My Mom and I were going to pick out a movie and my Dad asked me to get him a six pack on the way. I said ok at the time, but I realized I didn't want to get him a six pack at all.

I talked to Mom about it and asked if I could just not get him anything. The compromise was to get him non-alcoholic beer. I knew not getting him the beer was the right thing to do, but I was sort of dreading telling him when I got home, which went almost as badly as I expected.

This whole vacation has sort of been rocky between my Dad and I. I really don't like to watch him drink, so while I made the decision for the right reasons, it just looks like an extension of us not getting along so well right now. It's like being back in highschool. I just don't want to be around him and apparently I only like my Mother. It's all very strange.

Ok, that's all I can stand for now. I hate typing when my fingernails are this long, it just feels wrong.


Just hanging out

I am just hanging out at work at this point. It's only kind of silly. Yesterday my big project was making an excel sheet that can calculate a person's SSI payment if they return to work. I also learned to lock documents and unlock cells that can be changed.

Today, I did a crossword, playfour, and a cryptogram. I also went to a training where I learned that everything I had ever done was wrong for a certain program at work. It's really a funding stream that I'm not going to name. It's not so much finding out that I was doing everything wrong as the manner it was presented in, and the ridiculousness of not being taught correctly in the begining.

We have a person at work who's sole job is professional education. A most unfortunate side effect of this position is that it's made this person think she knows more than the rest of us. I feel very condescended to when I'm around her. That was ok in the begining when I really didn't know that much, but now it's hard not to feel insulted by it.

The positive side effect of this is that no one wants to deal with our professional ed person, so we use our co-workers as professional resources to a much greater degree, we get to know each other better, and have a much greater respect for people's skills and abilities.

The other thing that's happened at work is another co-worker of mine talks to me a lot. That in itself is not a bad thing. I think I just like to talk about different things than her. She's much more of a "J" than I am. I mean I'm mostly a J but I have my P moments when I'm hanging out with people I know having a good time or relaxing.

J and P are personality measures from the meyers-briggs type indicator, which if you've never taken, you should. If you have taken it, I'm an INFJ most of the time and an INTJ the rest.


It still feels like getting kicked in the stomach

I got a letter from a girl who lived in Malawi with me. She left after a few months. She was telling me about all our firends there and what they're doing. It still feels like getting kicked in the stomach every time I think about not being there. It still feels like a loss that's fresh in my mind.

The thing about Malawi was I never knew people as open and accepting as lived there. I only went once to the community I was supposed to live in but I never doubted that I'd fit in there. I never once worried about that.

I spent a lot of time worrying about the Minibuses, which are really a 1984 toyota minivan with balding tires packed with twenty people and live stock. I was always worried that one was going to flip and I was going to loose a limb and have to deal with that the rest of my life. I also worried about rampaging elephants and lions maiming not. I really didn't worry about dying, I worried about winding up with these horrible disfigurements as a reminder of this choice to go to Africa against my better judgement and my parents and my friends.

It was interesting in her email to me that she said it made her crazy as well. I'm thinking there's more to that malaria mediciation than meets the eye. I have OCD (although not officially diagnosed), and so I have bad anxiety sometimes. Usually I have anxiety about things I can control, like did I lock the door, did I fill out that form correctly, etc. This was the weirdest anxiety because it was about things I should be anxious about, minibuses do crash, and an elephant was shot in my village because it got loose, but it wasn't anything I could control.

It was the worst anxiety I'd ever felt in my life, and I didn't know how to control it. It was awful. Eventually the only thing left for me to do was leave, which relieved some anxiety. Since then, and it's been over a year, I've learned a lot about what's going on with me and OCD and how to deal with it. But I still think about the things and the people I lost, and what I would have if I stayed there.

I was talking to someone the other day who told me that she was sorry I had such a short time in Africa, and I told her without really thinking about it that I had exactly the right time in Africa. Interesting. I'd go back in a heartbeat if there were different malaria drugs that didn't make me nuts.


Boy shot in eye...

I was on My Yahoo! page. I have it set up to get local news for Minneapolis where I live and Cincinnati, where I grew up. One of the headlines from the Cincinnati news was "Boy Shot in Eye with BB Gun". The story was not that great, but just read the headline again, "Boy Shot in Eye with BB Gun". It's such an unfortunate headline. I'll never be able to take the story seriously because my mind just goes straight to Ralphie and A Christmas Story.


restoratvie justice council

I'm on a restoratvie justice council. I'm not sure I've talked about it before. What happens is a person comes in, and depending on what they have been charged with, they have a certain number of points they have to meet.

The first thing that happens is that the person has to take responsiblity for their actions. That's usually the intersting part. That's what's hardest for most people. But it gets into issues about what is the responsiblity of the members of the panel. Because we can really wind up making some judgements or imposing our values in a way that's innapropriate.

It's interesting because I don't always know what my job is. Although I made a suggestion in the middle of the panel and people later thanked me for my input. Just a learning process about when my input is appropriate.

There's was one point tonight when I could have made a point and sort of nailed the guy to the wall but I didn't. Should I have? Maybe. It certainly would have taken the conversation in a different direction. I'm not always sure of what I'm doing in there. My Mom taught me that when I'm not sure what to do, I should always think about doing what is the highest good. Is the highest good getting someone to totally accept responsiblity for their actions or does it really matter? Is the highest good really that they can be a part of the community still?

So that's my day.
Also, I got a couch. Exciting to be laying on the couch, typing on my blog, and watching a movie. Also, I'm lawyig on my couch. :)


I'm having issues

I'm having issues with my "borrowed" internet connection.

There are some wireless networks around me that are not secured so I have been enjoying them. However, the sketchyness of the wireless network accessability tonight has made me know that I soon will need to call and get road runner for myself, sad though it may be.

Otherwise, today was good. I worked a lot and then had dinner and played Rummy 500 with Amanda. Here, I'd like to say hi to a girl called Heidi who was in the peace corps with me and taught me said game. I wooped Amanda's rear end, so thanks for teaching me.

At this point, I'm having pangs of wishing I had stayed in Africa, but writing about going crazy in Africa and why I left is for another night.


I Tried Job Coaching

I was supposed to job coach today. The person I was supposed to coach couldn't do her job, the person she was supposed to take care of wasn't home. So that was my latest brush with job coaching. I think tommorow is the day the hammer may actually drop though.

I transfered another person I was working with so I'm starting to loose my clients. It's only a little bit sad. I'm also getting excited to get done.

After work I came home and sat by the pool. Then I went to this informal owners meeting in the condo. That was pretty interesting if only because it sucked so bad. There are people who I've noticed are really good advocates for their position, and people who work well in groups. I am a colaborater. I think that we shoudl do whatever is best for the group. I accept that may not always mean I get the best deal. But, I am part of the group and whatever is best for the group is ultimately best for me as well.

I'm learning that people like that are hard to recognize in this assocation. I haven't found anyone else like that really. I don't know if it's cause they're not here or they're not active or they're hard to recognize. I wish another one would show up though.

The other thing about that meeting is that it felt a little bit "behind the back" of the board which is not ok with me. It seems like if people have concerns about the board then they need to bring them up to the board members. It's hard to do because the board can get defensive and things can go not so well.

So, if you're a collaborator and looking to buy a condo in Minneapolis, let me know. I need another collaborator to get my back in some of these things.


Mom's whirlwind visit

Mom left today around 5pm. We had quite a week.

The first day or so was rough, but after that, I decided to have a good time.

We went up to the outlets at Albertville and bought a table and chairs and a couch. The couch gets delivered next Wednesday, no one knows about the table and chairs. I got two nonstick pans at the correlle store. (I love correll dishes.) She got a bra. We also went to Ikea, which is really an experience and I recommend to anyone going anywhere near Minneapolis and the Mall of America.

After that, we went into sightseeing mode. I was done with shopping. We took a bus over to the St. Paul campus of the University of Minnesota and walked around. Then we rode over to East Campus and had lunch. Then we took a bus to a train to the Mall of America and went to the aquarium there, Underwater Adventures. Then at night we ate at El Norteno where I wont be going back for a long time. We had a pretty bad time service wise but a nice time visiting with each other. Two of my friends came for that meal as well.

Today we hung out. I gave Joyce the keys to the old place and got the last of my mail. I haven't got any mail at the new place though which is starting to worry/annoy me.

After Mom left, I read a book, did laundry, and sat by the pool and read a book. I also got a call from a friend who's mother was just diagnosed with skin cancer. They don't know how bad it's going to be yet, but I think she's pretty worried.

I'm also reading a book called Good in Bed which, well, two of my friends loved it. I am still on the fence. There are things that I like about it and things that I'm not too wild about at all, and I haven't decided how I feel about it. Usually I like books where there's no chance at all that those things could actually happen in real life, or at least in this lifetime, so this book is a stretch for me. I'm doing my best.


Mom's Here

There was a lot of drama getting my Mom here. Her first flight was cancelled and then it got all screwed up when she was going to get here or not. But she's here.

I always have a rough time with my parents. This was part of my thing in Africa too. It's part of the OCD thing I think. I have these thoughts like if I don't tell my parents how much I love them, if they don't know how much I love them, then something bad is going to happen. It's hard to explain, it's more of a desperate feeling than it sounds. So when I have a rough day, and get sick of being with my parents, it's scary because of these other unwanted thoughts about how I have to show them I love them all of the time.

I'm not doing this feeling justice, because I really can be calm when saying goodbye to my parents. I can do ok with being apart from them, when I'm calm. When I getscared and anxious and the OCD kicks in, it's awful because I think I have to show them how much I love them all of the time or something bad will happen.

So that's the kind of night I'm having. It's late and I have to take a shower, and then be up by 7am.


Why I Love Bananas

I was once in this group of people and one of the ice breakers was saying what your favorite food is. My favorite food, for the moment, is bananas. One of the other people in the group asked what the story was with my liking bananas. I just like them, but I think I should come up with a better story than that.

I lived in Africa once, in a tiny country called Malawi. There were bananas all over the place. The only food I really recognized from Minnesota. There was also guava and passion fruit and papaya and things like that. Those are harder to come by in Minnesota though. The other things I recognized, which are also now my favorite foods were potatoes and sweet potatoes, greens, and tomatoes which I will never like though I still check from time to time.

I'd walk home every day from the house we used as a classroom. The kids would always come running up to meet me and carry my books. I always let them. Heidi never did. I don't know why, but it was always one of those things I felt ok about, like I wasn't violating any child labor laws.

I don't know what made me think of that. I've finally been able to shop and have normal food in the house again, including bananas so maybe that is it. One day I will have to add in about the gots (mbuzi) and the cows (gnombe) and the chickens (nkuhku) running around the banana tree. And also the ants and the clay and the mud stove (chitofu cha dhoti).

sitting at the pool and other fun things

Today is the fourth of July, as my blog obviously says.

I have the day off both jobs which is exciting. Something like that hasn't happened since March when I flew home a day late and didn't have to go to either job. That was a lucky thing because I was so frazzled after getting all of my financial aid forms together in Cincinnati to have them ready to take to the U as soon as I got off the airplane.

I spent part of the day sitting at the pool and reading a book Kelly recommended called Good in Bed which is well written. I'm not that into it. I'm more reading it for Kelly and Amanda who both loved it. It's really funny, and well written as I said, but I don't like reading books about anything that could actually happen in my lifetime I guess. I'm sure that's why Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings are my favorite books.

Right now I'm sitting on my patio enjoying the outdoors in good old Minneapolis. I have a nice courtyard to look at. I'm not sure how much longer I'll have it though. I guess they're re-doing in starting Tuesday or Wednesday.

I think my computer is freaking out now so I will go.
Have fun!


All moved and the work never ends

I thought that there would be a time when I felt moved in. A shining moment when all of my things were put away and everything was clean, and I would feel good about it. That moment hasn't come yet and I'm starting to think it never will. I am, on the other hand, starting to appreciate how the work never ends. And I live in a one bedroom condo. There's not even a yard to take care of. Thank god or I'd never do anything else.

I cleaned out two more cabinents in my kitchen and the last drawer of things that were left. Whoever had this place last didn't clean it before they moved. I've found lots and lots of other people's things here. The greatest hits list includes old cooked pasta, oatmeal, a really nice set of wrenches, gross soap covered in hair, toenails, and the razo blade that I cut myself on one Saturday night a while ago. The razor blade was really the worst. It was in the bottom of one of the drawers in the bathroom. I found it when I was wiping out the bottom of the drawer and jammed my thumb into it.

That acutally resulted in another funny story involving a friend of mine and a weird phone message.

At this point, I'm avioiding dishes. I'm at that weird point where I don't have enough dishes to ever really fill up the dishwasher... Ok, I'm out on the patio typing right now and THE LOUDEST firework I ahve ever heard just went off. All I heard was the noise, I didn't see the thing, but wow! was it loud.


People are strange

I had the wierdest experience at work the other day. It wasn't really weird, but it threw into sharp relief the difference in how I interpret information and how other people view the same information.

I was talking to a co-worker about something, and she mentioned that our COO said something about the case, basically that we shouldn't offer job coaching which is the current plan. When I heard that I thought we should talk to her about her concerns because it might point out other issues that we hadn't thought of yet. The co-worker, on the other hand, felt really attacked and scared. She couldn't say anything because it's the COO and basically we're so low we can't even see her on the ladder. She also felt like her autonomy to help her clients how she saw fit was being threatened.

It's so totally all in how you take things isn't it? That was no big deal for me, but for someone else it's like the end of the world.


Feeling Crazy

I'm feeling crazy. Not the good, wild kind of crazy where I could wind up with a new guy or anything. I'm feeling the anxious crazieness of someone who is worrying but really shouldn't be.

I just moved into a house this week. I was cleaning last night and discovered an unused razor blade that had been left by the previous occupant. I discovered it when it sliced through my thumb. It was a deep cut and bled more than I would have liked. I ran from the bathroom to get a wet paper towel and wrapped my hand in it. Then I sat down on the ground, held my hand above my head, applied pressure to the cut, and kick my feet up over the side of the bathtub. There was a lot of blood and I was taking no chances. I had to make sure every part of my body possible was above my heart.

Several red papertowels later, the bleeding stopped. I didn't have alcohol or neosporin so I washed out the cut with antibacterial soap and then put on a bandaid and a lot of medical tape.

Today, I stapled one of my fingers. I was only prepared for the amount of blood I saw today because of the razor incident last night . Although, this time I was at work and the papertowels were a lot farther away. When I came back to the room I was setting up I saw a trail of blood down the hallway.

Tongiht I was telling my Dad what happened and he asked if I was going to get a tetanus shot. I had one last year. I'm getting conflicting information. I used to hear every time you get a bad cut, get a shot, but I also see only get the booster every 5 to 10 years so I don't develop an alergy to the vaccine. What the fuck?

Sorry, but now I'm going to worry that I'll be one of the 100 people who will develop tetanus in the US this year, while worrying that if I do go get a tetanus shot it'll be more than I can afford, and I'm totally annoyed that I don't have health insurance.

I'm worrying a lot about this. I'm worrying more than is normal. I'm aware of it, but it's not helping. Nothing helps. I feel like I am going nuts. I'm just anxious. Although, writing is sort of making this better. Writing is such a wonderful thing, it's therapy without the bills, available any time, and almost always helps.


Loving my blog and my clean kitchen

I cleaned my kitchen today, disinfected it really. It took me forever. First, I had to take the shelves out of all the cabinents, then I had to bleach the cabinents, the shelves, and the drawers. Once that dried, I contact papered the shelves and drawers. I didn't get to the bottom cabinents because I ran out of contact paper. Next, I cleaned the counter tops and the closet. Last, the floor.

Then, I got to the really fun part. I put dishes away, and put my food away. I'm so excited to have my kitchen put away. I'm so excited to have it clean. I also ran the dishwasher. The sink backs up when it runs. It regurgitates what just went down the drain and since the last thing down the drain was the bleach water I used to clean the cabinents, that was pretty foul.

So, I just had texas toast for dinner. I'm thinking about cherries next but I wanted to check in, and possibly sleep.


What it feels like to write

I decided I should write again after talking to a friend of mine on the phone. She said that she has her own blog now, and that she likes to write. I decided after the trauma of moving, that I'd try anything.

In the Peace Corps, one of the doctors (who was a hottie by the way), said that journaling is really healthy and it's almost exclusively an American thing. People in most other countries don't do that. I thought that was pretty cool. Of course it would be an American thing really. Wanting to capture every moment of your life because it may be important, and other people will care about it. No one else is that arrogant.

Thinking of how foreigners view Americans... Remember the line in Finding Nemo about the diver taking Nemo for his tank. 'Stupid humans, thinking they own the ocean' or something. And then the other fish says "yeah, but it was an American". I saw Finding Nemo in the theater and I absolutely loved this line. It made me laugh out loud but I think it sailed over many people's heads.

My longer absence and why moving sucks...

I have been away forever. I have missed you.

Yesterday, I moved into a condo in Minneapolis. It was stressful. It's still being stressful actually. I still have to move an office chair, an arm chair, a foot stool (ottoman for those of you who didn't grow up in Cincinnati), a bicycle and my bed. Mostly I'm dreading my bed since I haven't worked out how to move it.

Moving is stressful. I got into the condo with a carload of cleaning supplies. It's a good thing I did because no one has lived here in about four months and it's foul and disgusting in here. Mostly the cabinents and closets need attention because the wood has turned white there's so much dust on it. I only just got started cleaning when Kelly called me to pick her up from the bus stop. When I got to Kelly, Amanda called me and asked if we could have dinner first. At this point, I was really starting to freak out, as all big moves make me do. But luckily, Amanda and Kelly kind of took charge of the evening. It was a relief because I was about to have a nervous breakdown.

Why would I have a nervous breakdown? This is the question my mother asks me. Seriously... Well, it's just the way I am for one. Secondly, I think moving and things are too much on my senses at once. It's a lot of dirt which I have issues with, a lot of grime, there's a different smell to this place than where I lived before, different noises, different parking... Everything. So, it's just information overload and it's all I can do not to freak out.

The different parking line made me realize I have to go move my car... I'll write more later.


This is yet another picture from out in the middle of Africa. The village we are in is called Chikanda. The city it's nearest to is called Dedza which is about 15k away. It's a short bicycle ride in the dry season, a near impossible ride in the wet season. Dedza is a city in the southern part of Malawi, right where Zambia and Mozambique border on Malawi. In fact you can see Mozambique in this picutre. (The people who obviously aren't Malawian are other Peace Corps volunteers.) Posted by Hello

This is an old picture from the apple orchard last fall. That's a friend of mine. She thinks that she looks like a koala in that coat, but really people, it's Minnesota and at some point we sacrifice fashion for warmth. Posted by Hello

I just have to get this out...

Ok, so I have a roommate at home. My roommate has been seeing this guy for a week, and now he's staying over like every night.

Laying aside any and all moral judgements that could be made, I don't want extra people staying here because it's another person to compete with when I want into the bathroom. This seriously annoys me.

It's not *as bad* on the weekends, although yesterday they woke me up much earlier than I would have liked, because it was the one day I could sleep in the whole week.

I can tell this is going to be a fun coversation to have with the roommate. Grr....


Playing on the computer

Not much to report here lately.

I've been playing on the computer a lot lately. I recently downloaded Firefox and fell in love with it almost instantly. I thought I'd give peace a chance and try other free browsers and see if I liked them better. I tried Opera tonight but uninstalled it rather quickly off my computer.

I really liked the skin that Opera has, but I didn't like the interface and the graphics. Go Firefox.

I also tried to download the blogger google toolbar for firefox but that didn't work so well, or at least it didn't have all of the buttons predicted. I'm kind of bummed about that and don't really know how to fix it. Although the one button that I wanted is on there, the highlight button.

If you've never used it, you can search something in google, click on a web page it gives you, and then click the highlight button. It will highlight your search terms each time they appear on the page so when you're looking for something random and obscure, it's easier to find on a text-heavy page.

Not much else to report here.


My long absence

I have been long absent from the blog. Sorry about that. I didn't get any emails, so I'm sure no one was too sad with me away.

I've been super busy at work, which is not fun for me or my clients because I can't help them as much when I have 50 other people calling me.

I'm still waiting to hear about grad school. It'd be nice if I knew what was going on this year.

I have had so much to say lately and now it's just all gone... Nothing... I'm totally empty.

I'll have to stop here for now and write more as I think of it.


I have been in rare form lately

I think coming back from vacation has been rough on me because I have been a bit grumpy lately.

Really, I came home from FLORIDA and landed in a snow storm in MINNESOTA. Who can blame me?


Drinking with the Aunties, a sequel to Talking While Drunk

This happened last Wednesday actually, but it's such a good story that I'm going to tell as much of it as I can from memory.

I was down in Florida with the aunties and we were hanging out at the club's pool, the big one. It looks really nice. We ate around 10am, left the house and walked to the pool around 11am, and didn't start drinking until 4pm or so. By the way, all I ate was an English muffin.

I went over to the bar with one of my aunts and we ordered four long island iced teas (for the aunts) and a margarita for me. After waiting forever, the drinks were finally done and we went back to the pool to imbibe.

The aunts took one sip of their drinks and thought they were going to die, or possibly be too drunk to walk home. And then it came out that we didn't leave the guy a tip, because my aunt thought he took too long. So another couple of aunts went back to the bar and told the guy she came back "because we realized me cheap ass sister forgot to leave you a tip" and also could they have a couple more cups and some coke to mellow out the iced teas. Little did the aunt know that I was the one who paid and I am too young to be any of their sisters.

By this time I had finished drinking the margarita. I have a tendency to drink margaritas too fast, which is a habit I hope to correct one day. The report was that the bartender was out of the big cups you need to make the drinks so he put the same amount of liquor into a smaller cup with less coke, so it was basically five shots of alcohol and a sip of coke that he had given them.

So they all started pouring out the alcohol and adding more coke, and giving me the left overs of what they poured out. I was already happy from the first drink, so this was just ridiculous. One of the aunts had two drinks and said her teeth were numb. (Lightweight.)

The really fun part came when we had to walk home from the pool. I could almost sort of walk in a straight line. Then a friend from Minnesota called me. One of my aunts was asking if I could walk and talk on the phone at the same time. I almost sort of could.

The second I got in the door I called her. It was lucky that this particular friend called, because she has been known to play drink and dial with me, so I really felt that she owed me. Also she was about to go to Guatemala and I'm watering her plants for her now. So she gave me the advice of put bread in your stomach.

Because I was embarrassed that I was drunk with the aunties I wanted to sober up as soon as possible. So I went and found pretzels. I went out to the pool which all the aunties were in to eat the pretzels. They all kept swimming up to me with their mouths open so I could *hand feed* them pretzels. I was really starting to sober up but I thought at the time I was just getting more drunk.


Palm Trees are the best trees ever

I'm in Florida. It's supposed to snow in Minnesota.
I love palm trees. That's all I'm sayin...


A Very Personal Decision

A friend was telling me about a housing program in New York City, possibly called Pathways. I'm not sure. Anyways, the program targets homeless adults who have a mental illness and usually some sort of CD issue as well.

The program provides housing and services to these individuals but does not have any requirements for individuals to stay in housing. The program doesn't even require tenants to stop using alcohol or drugs.

I know it sounds crazy, but seriously. It's like the most successful and also one of the most cost efficient programs there is. It sounds great to me for two reasons.

First, choosing to stop using alcohol or drugs is a very personal decision. No one else, not a housing program or church or even family, can use a stick and carrot that makes someone want to stop. When to stop is a unique decision and only the person can make it. This program seems to embrace the "everyone has their own timing, everyone has their own answers" philosophy which I think is very valuable.

Second, the program also seems to be based on the idea that there is value in helping people. There's value in helping people who can't participate in society in regular ways like holding a job or being sober through the day. The value of helping someone isn't what they can achieve with the help. The value of helping someone with an MI/CD issue isn't seeing them sober and in recovery. The value of helping someone who is unemployed isn't seeing them get a job. The value of helping someone, anyone, is helping them.

It's a tough thing to get your head around. The value of doing the job isn't the results, it is the job. (Possibly this is easier for process people to grasp, but again, maybe I'm just really different.) Once you can get your head around that philosophy, everything is much more successful because it changes your definition of success and achievement.

Revisiting the "Why Be Less?" Idea

I have been thinking the past few days about how strange my life really is. I can usually tell that my life is strange in other people's reaction to the choices I've made.

Really, I have made a few unorthodox choices, and it's usually because I value a different reward that most people do. I'm in AmeriCorps right now, so I obviously don't value money all that much. The second year of AmeriCorps is changing that view right now. But still, most people have a strange reaction to working 40 hours per week for sub minimum wage.

I am trying to think of the other things I've done that get a strange reaction. Studying bats, but that's for a whole different reason I think.

Anyways, the more I talk about my experiences the clearer it becomes that most people have different values than me. I usually try to do what makes me smarter, what makes me feel better. I rarely opt for things that give me more money, make me look better, or make me popular. It's funny how ok I am with being different really.

Anyways, I was looking at Marianne Williamsons Quote of the Day blog, and she had a couple of nice quotes up, one for today and one for yesterday about that very idea. Not being less to fit in, being what you are supposed to be and not being scared to not fit in.


Your Bad Attitude is Killing Me

I was listening to someone I work with today complain that she made less money than some of her other colleagues. Then I asked her if she could take some appointments for me one week in February when I will be out of the office. She opened up her planner and the week was completely empty. Then she told me to go ahead and cancel the appointments because she didn't want to take the meetings.

This coworker is the only other person there is who could have done these meetings. It's fine that she doesn't want to do them, because in her words, she might have other appointments by then. These are my appointments and my responsibility.

Then we were talking about a follow up support group and she was saying that no one was going to do anything, all we were going to hear was excuses and she didn't want to put the effort forth. "They will say this this and this, and nothing will happen. I've done this before." She doesn't want to put in the effort if the participants aren't going to put the same effort in.

And it was then that I realized, it's not her fault, she just has a horrible attitude. She's also a very outcome oriented person. I am totally not. I am almost 100% a process person. It's unusual in my field, any field really to be so process oriented. It's ok though because I wind up with a much better attitude. There's value in what I do. There's value in my putting effort into someone even if they don't return the effort. There's value in my putting effort into someone even if they don't ever achieve the outcome we were aiming for.

I work with this girl more than anyone else and it's been very interesting because we're almost total opposites. She's an extrovert and I am totally not. She's a feeler, I'm a thinker. She's very polychronic and a multitasker. I am the anal rententive one thing at a time type girl. She can feel attacked easily and doesn't often ask for help. I tend to have this self esteem that sings "I'm rubber, you're glue" all day and things don't bother me so much. She's very loose in how she finishes things and doesn't ever like to solidify details. I need to have all the details checked off so that I know I'm done. And she is an outcomes person while I am a process person.

There's value in the process and the whole process needs to happen. There's value in me taking part in the process even if the outcome is not my own. Another person's apathy toward the process or the goals doesn't devalue my own effort. My effort has value just existing.

So, I've been frustrated because I'm having trouble convincing others of that. How do you convince someone that there efforts were worthwhile when they help get someone a job and that person quits three weeks later? Their efforts were worthwhile. How do you show them that? The problem is that there's nothing there to touch, you just have to believe that what your doing is worthwhile. It's a very strange thing.


Why I Love Firefox

I go to the Cool Site of the Day most days. A couple days ago they had the sixteen best freeware programs listed on the cool site. One of them is a web browser called Firefox. They were hyping it up as this web browser that's supposed to be a lot better than internet explorer.

Well, I was bored at work today and thought I'd give it a shot. I am so happy that I did. The biggest problem I have with my computers at work is that they are old and take forever to load programs. The coolest thing about firefox is that you can have different web pages on tabs in one window so I don't have to open internet explorer fifty times to get something done.

I also downloaded some other programs. Spybot is one I've had before, Ad-aware from lavasoft is one I've read a lot about but you have to make sure you don't get a bum copy that actually is adware. I also installed this free virus scanner called AVG which is supposed to be really good.

On the downside of fire fox, some web pages can't be viewed correctly on it. Kelly's blog is one of them. Also, when editing in yahoo mail, you can only use the text editor and not the spiffy enhanced text editor with colors and sizes and things. Still I am much happier with firefox. It opens web pages much faster and has some other cool little options.


This is from a trip to the orchard which we took a long time ago. I just think it's a nice picture. Posted by Hello


Free Association

I keep seeing this on Kelly's blog, so I thought I'd give it a try. It's a free assocation game.

When I see... I think.....
Material World Gold
Satin sheets Moody Blues
Blizzard Minnesota
Real estate Land
Dress up Shoes
Wesley Crusher
Robber Dressed in black
Saliva Band
Slave Black
Shift Car

Running for Political Office

I was just thinking, in my car driving some where today... Yes, I work hard... Anyways, I was thinking that at some point in my life, I imagine when I'm old and looking for one final career move, that I would like to run for public office.

I was just thinking that this blog could come back at that point to bite me in the ass, because I basically say whatever I want on here. And I have said some pretty inflammatory things. (See, "killing is not ok, even when the government tells you to.")

I think that when my generation and especially the one after me starts running for public office we're going to start to see some of these blog scandals of things people wrote when they were 23 and too stupid to know any better.


Rough Drafts

It's been really fun lately to go back and look at some of my old blogs. I feel like everything here I write is a rough draft. As I read what I've written, I find myself editing things in my head, crossing things out, moving things around in each paragraph to make it sound better.

I've been able to write down my thoughts and see them in a way I didn't expect. I'm thinking about starting up a second blog, which would be revised writings from the a4bats blog, which is seeming to be a train of conscience's blog for now. Everything thing I think just gets put down into words, consequences be damned.

Really, no one knows who I am anyways, which is the good part of all this. More on if I do start a second blog, or a third. Everything I write here is like my internal thoughts about God and spirituality, I've also been thinking of having a blog that reads more like a journal of what I did today. More train of consciousness thoughts...

Talking While Drunk

I went out with my friend Kelly tonight after work. Kelly had a mudslide and I had two margarittas. The thing about margarittas are that I drink them faster than is probably advisable, so I get more intoxicated than I really should from only two, but whatever.

Kelly and I got to talking about religion. It's a common topic we wind up talking up. We were brought up in totally different backgrounds. Me, almost no church at all, and Kelly still goes to church every Sunday and works in youth ministry. So we were talking about God, and religion, and gay people and sex before marriage, and all kinds of things that I don't bother to bring up with her while I'm sober.

The thing about Kelly and I is that I realize she believes things that I don't. I'm ok with that really. She realizes I believe things she doesn't, and she's ok with it too. She also said something tonight that really made me think. Kelly said that because she has some conservative ideas, people don't tell her things because they expect her to be judgmental. Which I guess I can see. I don't talk about friends of mine who are gay or lesbians around her. But she's really not judgmental, which she pointed out and I can totally see.

So thanks for pointing out the obvious. Sometimes you need alcohol to loosen your tongues because some important things get said. The biggest thing with Kelly and I is that we trust each other when we're talking and respect each others view points so we really learn something when we're intoxicated. So thank you to my friends tequila and the mud slide.


The Plight of the Sick

I have been sick for the past couple of days. It's been quite unpleasant really.

On Monday, when I started getting sick, I thought it was just my reproductive system trying to kill me as it does once a month. Normally I get really bad cramps and really bad migraines, but Monday I felt really really bad.

Tuesday I had about eight appointments that I didn't want to cancel. I was all dressed and heading out the door when I realized that was a bad idea. I didn't have a thermometer at that time to tell me how high my fever was, but later that day medicine brought it down to 100 which is still really high for me. Normally I'm about 97 degrees. So, into bed I went. I only came out of bed to go buy medicine and stop by Blockbuster for movies.

Wednesday, that's today, I called in sick again. I had fewer appointments but felt worse about canceling them because I wasn't sure how technically sick I was. I think I did legitimately still have a fever most of the day. I took me temperature a couple of times and it was above 99, which again, still pretty high for me.

Today I wasn't feeling as bad though, so I called the U of M School of Social Work and talked to their field placement lady who was very nice. I also got back on the compute which I hadn't done Monday or Tuesday, perhaps a record for me.

I had time to read Marianne Williamson's blog, which I always do. I tend to like what she has to say. We seem to be of similar minds. This week, in honor of Martin Luther King day, she had a quote from him. It was about how religion does have an obligation to push for social change. It's interesting that I have no problem when Dr. King invokes religion in the civil rights movement, and I have no problem when Gandhi did it in India. I guess I only have a problem with people who I disagree with invoking religion.

I think the difference is, Dr. King, and Gandhi and scores of others have used religion as an argument to treat people better. It upsets me when I see people use religion as an excuse to treat people worse. Religion is not an excuse to ostracize gays and lesbians, it's not an excuse to enslave women, and it's not an excuse to bomb abortion clinics.

One of the biggest things I remember from traveling around the world was the number of men in the market places of some countries. Women had to stay home all day. Sometimes they even had to cover their faces and stay home all day. There was no freedom of movement. No freedom to go out and buy bread. That's wild.

The bombing abortion clinics, that just goes right along with the death penalty. Killing people doesn't help, it doesn't heal the pain, it doesn't restore the victim. Killing people is an expression of hatred and anger. Sometimes, it's scarier to forgive. It's scarier to let ourselves be that weak, and feel that much pain. It's a much more permanent thing, and feels much better in the long run. Once someone has been put to death, say in the electric chair, they're dead. The victim is still gone. The family is still in pain. Forgiving someone must be the scariest thing anyone has ever done. It's no wonder why so few people actually get around to it. It's hard to see the value in an process with so much pain and sadness. But value there is.

And now we come to my favorite, why God hates gay people, or not. What an awful thing. It's the only form of discrimination that is still legalized in this country. Probably not the only form, but I think it will be the next to go. After that will probably be the stigma around released convicts, but that's a whole other thing. It's interesting that while some states are pushing to recognize some for of gay union, other states are pushing equally hard to outlaw it with amendments. Knee jerk reaction, I think.

It must be hard to be so close minded, not to see the value in having a diverse population in your state. There's value in making sure everyone is welcome, there's value in making sure everyone is equal and there's value in loving everyone.

These are the things I have had time to contemplate during my two sick days.


The idea of letting go

I've been toying a lot lately with the idea of letting go, and the idea of finding god, and getting to know that part of me. It's a very strange concept. I wasn't really raised in a church or a particular faith, but my Mom taught me that God is in everyone. My Dad taught me that everyone is perfect, most people just don't know it yet.

I've been thinking about meditating, and starting to do that. I even downloaded a couple of guided meditations. It's a step, a little piece of the process I guess.

I've also been reading more about what people think of the war in Iraq, and all of that. It's such a horrible thing, but it's so hard to convince anyone who doesn't already believe that it's horrible. It's killing people. It's not about freeing people, it's just changing what dictator they are under. It's not about democracy if guns and tanks are rolling down the strets on election day. And yet, it's not about sticking it to President Bush either to make him say he was wrong or that he screwed up. That's another thing we have to let go of or nothing will ever get done.

Letting go, forgiving everything, is such an important process. It's in a lot of religions, asking forgiveness from people before asking forgiveness from God. Which is harder really? Letting go of the things that have been done to us in the past, letting go of the pain we have experienced. It's all an illusion anyway.

When my Dad meditates, he starts by blessing himself, and Mom and me, and everyone he sees every day, and everyone he sees once in a while, and everyone he has ever seen, and so the circle grows. The last blessing is for all the sentient beings alive. As the circle grows, at some point, people like George W Bush, and Saddam Hussein, and Osama Bin Laden are included. What an idea. Everyone is perfect, most of them just haven't been able to see that yet. They just haven't been able to let go so far.


I'm only slightly loosing my mind...

I am only slightly loosing my mind because I am the only one in the house who is able to take the trash out. I'm used to that. It's been that way for quite some time.

But now people seem to be developing a new deficiency in putting away clean dishes. I did dishes, and like a lot of dishes, Monday night. Tonight is Wednesday, and there they were waiting for me to put them away.

Seriously? That only slightly drives me up a wall.


It's not selfless if

I was watching the season premier of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy tonight. I shouldn't have watched it because I knew it was going to annoy me. Anyways, I was watching it. The guy tonight was a soldier who was going to be shipped out to Iraq. One of the Queer guys was saying how soldier guy was going to Iraq to protect people and how selfless that was.

It's not a selfless act going to Iraq, it's an act of war. It's not a selfless act defending anyone with guns. Guns kill people, people kill people. Anything that leads to violence is not selfless, it's just ill-advised.

The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral,begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Though violence you may murder the liar,but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you murder the hater,but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate....Returning violence for violence multiples violence,adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. -- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

I know that Saddam Hussein tried to kill the first President Bush, so it wasn't a shock that President W. Bush went after him, but what did that accomplish. Instead of ending tyranny and violence, it's only increased. This is who lives in the Middle East, where all of the oil basically in the world is. This is who we have to deal with, whether we like it or not, and trying to blow them off the face of the planet obviously isn't working.

It's not because these people are Muslim and we're Christian. It's not because they're fundamentalists or extremists or terrorists. It's because they can't let go, and neither can we, and not letting go of our past injuries and injustices is killing everyone.


Stream Of Consciousness

I work at Underwater Adventures, which is the aquarium in the Mall of America. Among other things we have a touch pool where kids (and adults) can touch horse-shoe crabs, sharks, and sting rays. The area around the touch pool is very loud, we have music and a couple of videos playing, and it's near the escalators which let sound in from the Mall above. We all wear head sets when we're at the touch pool so visitors can hear us explaining things, and also can hear us yelling at them when they grab the sting rays tails. Think of the head set microphone that Brittney Spears or Garth Brooks wear.

I was thinking today that it's good that those microphones don't amplify what I'm thinking as well, because I was having some pretty random thoughts on that mic. Most of it is from looking at visitors and that reminds me of something else, and then I'm off to the races. I was looking at one woman who was pregnant, and then of course I remembered the horror stories of labor from girls that I'd worked with. Mostly the pooping on the table before the kid is born. Kind of makes you miss squatting in the field. Oh, squatting in the field, that's what they probably still do in Africa. They're funny in Malawi though, women don't admit they're pregnant there. And then when they do have a child, they tell the kids that they bought it at the store.

See. This is how my mind works. And now I'm thinking about all the other things I did in Mpalale. There was Vivian's sister who totally denied being pregnant even though she was about to burst. What a conservative society.

I actually really miss Mpalale. I keep thinking that I'll do the Peace Corps again. It's like I just need a second try at the whole thing, and I'll be able to get ahold of my feelings and not go so crazy. Nothing really like going crazy in Malawi where if AIDS and Malaria don't kill you, the traffic or the wild animals could.


Why Be Less?

Today has been an interesting day. It's brought to light a very important question: why would anyone be less than they could be? What's the point in being mediocre?

I find that I have different values that guide me in my work, and one of those values is to work as hard as I can. My clients need me to work as hard as I can. I don't understand how anyone could do less. Why is, "I could've looked at this, but I did enough" acceptable? I don't get how people live with not doing everything they could have done.

I know I sound like an ad for the armed forces, go be all you can be. (Seriously, don't kill people, it's not ok even if the government tells you to. You know better, and "the government said it's ok" is not an excuse, you still know better.)

One of my very favorite quotes in the world explains things quite well. Doing less doesn't help anyone, it's not why we were put here. Doing less certainly isn't the path that led anyone into social services. As Marianne Williamson said once, in a sentiment so popular Nelson Mandela quoted it in his innaguration,

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.


Eight million hours later...

I have typed tonight, and typed and typed. I don't remember school being this hard. This is only a 1500 word essay too. I think I am out of practice.

First, I wrote a whole thing about society, social welfare, communities role helping others, and a current topic that tied all of that together. For the one person who is still awake after just the thought of that, I wrote about supported employment programs.

Then, I wrote a cover letter for a job I want. Then, I retyped my resume, since I forgot to email it to myself from Cincinnati.

I capped the evening off by reading everything I'd written to correct mistakes, and mistakes there were. I'm so tired though, I'm not really sure if I've made it better or just moved the mistakes around.

We shall see, but tomorrow, tonight I am too tired.


Papers are fun (on opposite day)

I'm in the middle of my application to the University of Minnesota Master of Social Work Program. I have to do a formal writing sample about a current topic in social welfare and society's role in caring for individuals.

It's not a paper that writes itself. I'm not entirely convinced it's a paper that can be written at all. I'm stopping for the night, out of sheer frustration at the fact that I've only written 700 of the 1,500 words I was asked to write.

I'm also boycotting shoveling for the night. We got about an inch of snow, covered with ice pellets so who knows what the roads will look like tomorrow when I go to work. I'll find out though, because I have to get up and shovel the walks. It's the price I pay for being able to park my car in the garage so I'm ok with it.