Monday, May 31, 2010

"Oh, I see," said the blind man,


who picked up his hammer and saw.

Hardy, har, har!

No hammer and saw for us today, but plenty of caulk, screwdrivers, and figure-it-out-edness. Et, voila! Look at our new sink, picked up this morning at ye olde hardware store for only $44. Phew!

Next up... signs I think I may be anal-retentive.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Slight problem...

So.

My dear husband and I spent hours and hours this weekend in the bathroom, scraping paint, filling holes, sanding, repainting, and even installing a new light fixture. That was all we were really going to do for quite awhile, since that's about all the money and know-how we have for a bathroom project at the moment.

Just as we were finishing up for the night........

The sink fell off the wall. Oh, bully.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

I'll Never Return

I've been reading a biography of an Afghan woman called Zoya's Story. It's really good. I got started on my Afghanistan kick when I decided to show my students The Kite Runner (also really good - both the book and the film) as part of our human rights lesson.

Zoya is a young woman who flees Afghanistan in 1992 (just 4 years before the Taliban take over) and begins working with an organization called Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) to document and distribute information about the human rights abuses occurring there.

From RAWA's website, we learn about Zoya:
As a child in Kabul, she accompanied her brave mother as she spread the word of RAWA throughout the city. That Zoya should carry on her mother's work is a tribute to her faith in the future of her country. When Zoya was approached by two foreign journalists who encouraged her to share her story in a book, Zoya asked, "What is special about my story?"
Sadly, Zoya's story is not special in Afghanistan, save her commitment to continue fighting for women's rights. Many, many, many girls and women suffered lives of equal horror to Zoya. Many more suffered far worse.

My point in this post... Zoya shares part of a poem written by Meena, the founder of RAWA. Meena was assassinated in 1987, but her work continues through the brave women who risk their lives on a daily basis for love of their home, Afghanistan.

I love Meena's poem, and I just wanted to share it in its entirety here, both in English and its original Persian. Although I can't relate to "rivulets of my brother's blood" or "henna-handed brides with mourning clothes," there is much about this poem that speaks to me. "I'm the woman who has awoken... No longer regard me as weak and incapable... I've found my path and will never return."
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I'LL NEVER RETURN
I'm the woman who has awoken
I've arisen and become a tempest through the ashes of my burnt children
I've arisen from the rivulets of my brother's blood
My nation's wrath has empowered me
My ruined and burnt villages fill me with hatred against the enemy,
I'm the woman who has awoken,
I've found my path and will never return.
I've opened closed doors of ignorance
I've said farewell to all golden bracelets
Oh compatriot, I'm not what I was
I'm the woman who has awoken
I've found my path and will never return.
I've seen barefoot, wandering and homeless children
I've seen henna-handed brides with mourning clothes
I've seen giant walls of the prisons swallow freedom in their ravenous stomach
I've been reborn amidst epics of resistance and courage
I've learned the song of freedom in the last breaths, in the waves of blood and in victory
Oh compatriot, Oh brother, no longer regard me as weak and incapable
With all my strength I'm with you on the path of my land's liberation.
My voice has mingled with thousands of arisen women
My fists are clenched with the fists of thousands of compatriots
Along with you I've stepped up to the path of my nation,
To break all these sufferings, all these fetters of slavery,
Oh compatriot, Oh brother, I'm not what I was
I'm the woman who has awoken
I've found my path and will never return.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Blog Share: Guest Post

Blog Share time! Today's share is being hosted by the delightful Bright Yellow World. As I've indicated before, Blog Share is an event in which participants from all over the world submit a guest post to be hosted anonymously on another participant's blog. It's imperative that bloggers don't share the identities of these posters, as we all wish to remain anonymous.

The following post is not my own. Mine is out there in blogdom somewhere. In my previous post, you'll find the links to all of the other bloggers participating in today's Blog Share. Go visit some of them and see what others have to say! Oh, and don't forget to make a comment or two!
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Me? Catholic... I think.

Religion has always been an iffy subject for me. More so because it's
not straight forward, cut clear, than anything else. I grew up in, not
only a Catholic family, but a Catholic country, in which people are
expected to go through the sacraments one by one, no questions asked.
Change of religion? Unheard of! Doubt the faith? Please! And yet, I
rebelled.

Maybe it's because my mom has always been a bit of a liberal and a
spoiler to the core, that she let me get away with not taking first
Communion when I said I wasn't sure I believed what "they" preached,
at age 9. My grandmother was appalled, but my mom was on my side. My
dad has never payed much attention to religion, so he didn't mind
either way. Years went by and while all my friends took their
communions, their confirmations, confessions and started getting
married in church, I was left to the way side saying"'I'm not sure I
believe. I'll abstain until I'm sure."

More years went by. High school, college, jobs and then graduate
school came and went. When I moved to NYC, one of the most eclectic
places I know and where not only is anything possible, it's
encouraged, I started revisiting my beliefs. I started going back to
church, listening to my heart and following my gut. Being at church
for me felt good, it still does. Not because of what the priest was
saying, half the time I didn't agree and still don't, but because of
the spiritual aura I find and connect to while in a chapel, church or
cathedral. And since the Catholic ones are the ones familiar to me,
the ones in which I know what to do and what is appropriate, that's
where I went.

I think I went more to church and mass the 3 years I lived in NYC than
ever before in my life. When I went back home I started attending mass
in the chapel at the university I worked for. And then found a great
priest about 30 mins away and a friend who also liked him, so we went
to his masses on Sunday together. I couldn't take Communion, since the
only sacrament I had gone through was baptism, but I liked the sermon
and felt at piece in church. It was a way to center myself and start
the week afresh.

Some time went by and I decide I would make peace with Catholicism and
enrolled in a course to prepare myself for 3 sacraments: communion,
confession and confirmation. I was 30 when I did this and it felt
right, good. I belonged. Since then I had no problem being Catholic
and saying I was Catholic. In fact in my country it wouldn't come up,
it's a given everyone is Catholic, even if you don't practice it,
which is the case for the vast majority.

Spring forward a couple years and I moved to NYC again. This time to
get my doctorate and with it all beliefs and values got revised again.
This time it felt intense, more serious. It wasn't just me and for my
sake anymore. It seemed that as an educated adult I needed to define
myself, know where I stood and be able to say with conviction "I am
this versus that" and mean it. And this is where things got tricky
again.

You see, if you ask me I'll say I'm Catholic and you will probably put
me in the box of whatever definition of a Catholic you have. But I am
a different kind of Catholic, at least by American standards. I don't
go to church every Sunday, I barely go these days. I pray practicing
my style and only when I remember. I believe God is energy and is
inside everyone of us, not some white beard omnipotent man ready to
strike us down whenever we sin. I believe there is a dark side to
everyone, but don't believe in the Devil. I have my doubts about hell,
but for sure understand heaven as the place our souls go to once we
pass away. I believe in reincarnation and past lives. I read tarot
cards and communicate with the spirit world. I "talk" to my guides and
angels on a regular basis. If given the chance I would choose life,
but I believe every woman has the right to choose and if abortion is
her choice, that should be ok with everyone, so I am pro choice. I
believe homosexuality is part of what some people are, they were born
that way and should be accepted as we should accept everyone else. And
contraception? Yes, please!

I am ashamed of some of the terrible things the Catholic church has
done to man kind throughout history in the name of God, and do not
understand how a religion based on sacrifice and votes of poverty, has
it's headquarters in a city made of gold. I think if priests were
allowed to marry things would make more sense, as well as include
women in the clergy. And don't even get me started on child abusing
priests.

So you see, I probably wouldn't fit into most people's definitions of
a person of the Catholic faith. And yet, I find it terribly taxing to
even think of changing religions at this point of the game, or to
begin searching high and low for some definition that better suits my
eclectic beliefs. There probably isn't one, because I truly feel like
I have taken from different religions what suits me, what makes sense
to me and rings true, and gone ahead and believed that. Yet, if you
ask me about my religious background I say I am Catholic and I do wear
a cross, I hold dear, around my neck at all times.

There you have it, this is me. Catholic by name and custom, but
probably not by definition, at least not the one we would find in a
dictionary. Does it bug me? Sometimes. Will I do somehting about it
besides explain it a little bit? Probably not. I'm ok being "my type"
of Catholic, I hope you are ok with that too.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Summer Seminar

I just found out earlier this week that I was accepted into a summer seminar called We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution, hosted at James Madison's Montpelier. It runs from July 6-9, it's completely free (including lodging and meals), and I'll get a class set of textbooks in addition to a number of other cool items to enhance my curriculum.

Yay! I'm excited.

Now, my dilemma is that I don't have a laptop. Eric and I both just have iMacs, which really aren't too portable. So. I want to buy something small and useful to bring with me. Plus, then I'll have a portable device for other events/activities (like when I'm presenting at the VCSS Annual Conference in October - yay, again! I just found out today that my proposal was accepted).

I'm trying to decide between a netbook and an iPad. I can get a netbook for under $300 and an iPad starts at $499. But, I'm a Mac girl, I much prefer their OS and software programs, and the iPad would work better with my desktop. Although, I'd definitely need to use it to type, and the netbook has a real, albeit small, keyboard. However, I've read reviews that say the iPad's keyboard is really easy to use. And the netbook would have a camera and microphone, while the current generation of the iPad does not.

What do I do?

The netbook would be cheaper, but is that $200 savings worth it in the long run? I. DO. NOT. KNOW.

Luckily, I have until July to decide.
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Monday, May 17, 2010

guh-ross

On our afternoon walk today, Ramona and I saw a rabbit running across someone's front lawn. I was so proud of her for not even attempting to go after it!

About 5 seconds later, I saw a MOUSE running in the middle of the street. Yuck. Shivers.
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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Blog share, blog share, blog share!

From Bright Yellow World:


Blog share!

It seems like every conversation I have with another blogger this week centers around the theme of anonymity… and how much we all kind of miss having it. Not daily, mind you, but for the things that we really really really really want to say, that have been building up for weeks or months, and that we cannot publish on our own pages.
And so, with permission of the glorious, lovely, beautiful, noble -R-, I am coordinating a blog share day.
For those of you who are unfamiliar, I’ve participated in several of -R-’s blog shares. Basically, you are invited to write your anonymous post, which you will then email to me at brightyellowworld at gmail dot com. I will delete any and all identifying information from your post, and will then send it along to another blogger. On Monday, May 24, everyone will post the entry that was sent to them anonymously. I’ll create a list of all the participating blogs, which you can share on your blog.
The rules are simple, and I’m just going to quote -R- here:
1) You have to publish whatever post I send you on the selected date, and 2) you can’t publicly acknowledge which post you wrote. Even if your post is bland or funny, it’s not fair to everyone else if you admit which post is yours. However, do keep in mind that someone may still be able to figure out what post you wrote.
Now, -R- is an amazing organizer, and manages to keep track of folks who sign up in comments, who email her, who facebook her, etc. I am not that good, people. Therefore, please sign up no later than Saturday, May 15, by clicking this link and filling out the Google form.
Yes, we’re using Google forms, because I like them. I am a nerd.
I’ll need to receive your anonypost by Thursday, May 20. And feel free to pass this along to anyone who might want to participate.
Once again, the pertinent information:
1. Sign up by filling out the form before this Saturday, May 15, at midnight Pacific time.
2. Email your anonymous post to me (brightyellowworld at gmail dot com) by Thursday, May 20.
3. I will send the posts out to their publishers on Saturday, May 22.
4. Posts must be published on Monday, May 24.
Finally… -R- might kill me for this, but I’m taking a risk here. There’s a lot going on in her life right now, so won’t you take a moment and leave a comment, telling her something nice/funny/silly/sweet? I’d really love it if you would do that for her! We love you, -R-!!!


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Ch-ch-ch-checking in

Hello.

Guess what? Since January 1 (my heaviest ever...), I've lost... drumroll....

15 pounds!!

Only 5.5 left until my goal weight! Wahoo! It's so AWESOME to feel skinny in my now-too-big clothes. I need to go shopping, soon, BUT... for now, I like the feeling that my clothes are too big for me :)

Don't be a hater. Holla!

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Can I show you something fun?

There's our racer girl!

video

Last weekend, Eric and I took Ramona to a fenced-in baseball field and let her loose. She immediately took off around the diamond. It was pretty incredible to watch.

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Sunday, May 02, 2010

Oh, right

Also, I forgot to mention that I got a part-time job teaching an online college class on Comparative Religion. I have to go through a certification training first, but I imagine I'll begin teaching sometime this summer. Cool!
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Saturday, May 01, 2010

Goodness

I haven't felt like I really have anything to say lately, but I suppose I do. Last Saturday I ran a 5k for my school. My goal was to finish under 32 minutes... I finished in 32:41. I'll take it.

I registered for my next two races, a 5k in July and a 10k (!!) in September.

The IRS has totally effed us regarding our tax return. We're getting it eventually, but we were expecting to have it by the end of February. We filed the second week of Feb. and went to submit it electronically. Turns out, they made a rule this year that if you're claiming the first time homebuyer's credit (which we are), you have to file by paper. Ugh. So, we hopped on over to the post office and mailed it off with delivery confirmation. They received it on Feb. 13. It's supposed to take 6-8 weeks to receive your return for a paper filing.

I kept checking the website and finally it said we'd be getting our money by April 20. Phew. Well, on April 13 (just OVER 8 weeks after they received our return), we got a letter saying they were missing two items from our return. WHICH, I did send in with the return. We called, asked if we could fax it, they said no, you have to mail it. AND THEN, it's supposed to take 6-8 weeks from the time they receive that to get us our money. AWESOME.

Oh, and by the way, the letter they sent us said "this delay could have been avoided if you had filed your return electronically." W.T.F. We tried!!! YOU wouldn't let us!!

So, hopefully we'll see our money by the end of June.

That's kind of messed with our budget plans just a wee bit.

I've been going strong with my running/eating plan. I downloaded this free app for my iPod Touch called "Lose It." I have my starting weight and my goal plugged in, and the program gives me my calorie target for the day. I track my food and exercise and then get weekly email updates. I'm now exactly 11 pounds down from my heaviest. only 9 more to go!!!!! The program is really motivating for me and is working great!

Also, I got my free Wii DVD from Netflix to watch instantly on my TV. Whoops, I watched all 5 seasons of Weeds in the last 2 1/2 weeks. But, wow, I really loved that show! Hooray for Netflix Instants!!
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