Tuesday, September 30, 2008

On being 72 and in charge

I am taking a french class. I love it. This is my second french class here in the Pac NW and I've been happily dusting off my skillz.

My current instructor is a 72 year-old guy. He's smart, witty and quite spry. But, sometimes in class, he goes off on a tangent. Last night we spent 40 minutes listening to him tell a story about the days when he used to teach out [nearby University that thinks too highly of itself]. The story had a great surprise ending. And although he was talking about something that happened "one time in French class", it had nothing to do with Chapitre Deux and even less to do with en parlent francais. It was just a 40 minute digression. This would have been perfectly acceptable at afternoon tea, not so much for my tuition-paid class.

But, he is 72 and these things are bound to happen. Maybe this is what happened to McCain when he mentioned that the average South Korean is three inches taller than the average North Korean. Sure, the discussion was on Korea, but on nuclear complicity, not the correlation between height and ethnicity.

Is this what we have to look forward to with a 72 year-old president? Are these early signs of dementia?

Whenever Monsieur T goes off track, he says "Don't worry about this story, I am old and crazy, I am allowed to ramble." I have a feeling that might not work so well in a meeting with Ahmadinejad. Well, I guess we don't really have to worry about that, because McCain would NEVER have a meeting with the likes of Ahmadinejad. Ever.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Friday's Debates

I enjoyed Friday's debates. I feel like I understand both candidates foreign policy conditions a little bit better. I am disappointed that McCain cannot separate the war in Iraq from the war in Afghanistan, at least in terms of why we went to both places to begin with. Seems he drank the Bush kool-aid on that one.

One question, though: Is it just me, or did it appear that every word out of Obama's mouth completely infuriated McCain? What happened to his composure?

Friday, September 26, 2008

Now the fun starts!

I have been on an election moratorium because the entry of Sarah Palin into the race kind of put me in sensory overload. I had to distance myself from the whole thing. Well, the first presidential debate starts tonight and I am officially back in the game.

I'm going to try my best to watch these things with my impartial eye because that has been an incredibly rewarding experience thus far. I look forward to the upcoming conversations that ensue and I promise not to turn this into a political blog.

My request to you: Please, watch the debates (or read about them the next day in the paper/newsfeed/blog of your choice). Then vote.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008



Imagine that from the day you are born, your parents, friends and loved ones tell you that you are a vegetable. You come from a long line of proud vegetables. They even name you Vegetina to reflect your wonderful vegetable heritage. They buy you vegetable toys and books about different kinds of vegetables. There are beautiful portraits of your vegetable family members and famous vegetables all over your house.

At school age, you arrive for the first day of class and your teacher, who is a fruit, tells everyone that vegetables are bad. She just states it as a fact, nothing personal against you. You learn to read and discover that some influential people have even written books that explain how and why vegetables are bad. Newspapers and magazines write whole articles describing how bad vegetables are. You are bombarded by messages of the bad nature of vegetables on TV and on the radio. For the rest of your adolescent life, you hear about vegetables being bad.

What do you do? Do you eventually start to believe the message about bad vegetables, despite the wonderful things about vegetables that your elders have told you? Vegetables are bad – everyone says so! I am a vegetable. Therefore, I am bad. What impact does that attitude have on the decisions you make about your own life and the way you act, live, dress, carry yourself? What impact does that attitude have on the way you speak about and to yourself and other vegetables like you?

Do you alter your physical appearance to look more like fruit and distance yourself from your vegetable heritage in an effort to be more readily accepted by fruits? If you do that, who do others value you? Do they realize that you are simply a vegetable in fruit clothing? What does this do to your own self-worth?

Or, do you ignore the negative message and devote yourself to projecting the positive vegetable image that your elders have instilled in you?

Now imagine that 5 years later, the government makes the following executive decree: For many years, vegetables have been viewed as bad. We have recently decided that although vegetables are bad, we all need a certain amount of vegetable to function as a country.

Now what? Does society immediately begin to embrace vegetables? Do people now allow a minimum amount of vegetable employees to work in their companies? Do vegetables deserve an apology for the previous years of prejudice? Now that vegetables are slightly acceptable, does anyone consider them not bad?

I used this example in a cultural climate seminar I gave today. We were discussing why certain groups of students never believe they can achieve anything and have to spend so much energy and time overcoming internalized stereotypes that they barely have time left to study and succeed. Whether the issue is race, socio-economics, foreign accents, gender, ability, or whatever - it doesn't matter. I think the vegetable reference was vague enough for you to put whatever private prejudices you hold in the blank and see it from a new perspective. I received a lot of compliments afterwards from people who said they finally "got it"! Whew. One group down, the rest of the world to go.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Contender for Husband of the Year

I woke up yesterday morning to 2 tickets to the Seahawks/49ers game on my pillow.

Sure, they lost. But at least I was there to see it - live and in person.

Can your husband top that?

One of the best things about going home

Is that your grandma will "throw a little something together" for you to eat if you give her advanced notice.

My grandma and I are working on a geneology project that unintentionally gets put on the backburner everytime I go home. I always have too many other things to do and no time to stop and sift through papers and records.

Well, this time, I made it a priority. I went straight from the airport to grandma's house where there was a lovely supper of the following waiting for me:
fried chicken
mashed potatoes and gravy
and my very own personal butterroll


This picture is for those of you who haven't been to grandma's lately. (And kudos to me for not overloading my plate!)

Friday, September 12, 2008

88% of 8th graders in DC can't read

and 92% of them can't do math.

Please tell me what good a voucher system is going to do in that district. Please!

Words can't express how pissed I am about that stat.

People, I beg of you to vote and vote wisely. Our future depends on it.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Pics from Home. Finally

Every Labor Day, my Uncle Roy has a big bbq at his house. It always turns into a big family reunion. I'm usually not at home that weekend, so I almost always miss out. Well, I was at home this time! Here are my favorite pictures.

Little Miss Sunshine (Jewel's littlest)
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My grandma (love, love, LOVE her hair since she stopped dying and straightening it) and her sister.
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Me and my 2 favorite little people
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Friday, September 5, 2008

I don't know any Alaskans :(

Okay, I've really been enjoying both the Democratic and the Republican National Conventions (clearly for different reasons). This is such an exciting election and I don't want to miss a thing! It has been particularly enriching for me to watch the RNC with an open mind - go figure. I have just been listening to the speeches and taking in as much as I can without my libero-conservative democratic filters on. It has been very gratifying to test my own ideologies against those of modern Republicans.

I make it a point to not force my political beliefs on others, other than to encourage everyone to vote - regardless of who they're voting for. But, I must mention that McCain's choice for VP is quite an offense to me (and women in general, I believe). Why he would choose Sarah Palin over Kay Bailey Hutchinson (now that's a woman I respect and admire) is lost to me. I could spend an hour discussing the many ways I am conflicted by Palin, but I will not subject you to that.

I almost missed my connecting flight back to Seattle to listen to her speech in the airport bar. I was really looking forward to learning more about Gov. Palin. I live in the closest state to her and had never heard of the lady. I was curious to hear about her remedy for the economy. And what is so clever about her ideologies that causes McCain to call her "a breath of fresh air"? What does it mean to be from Alaska (other than eating moose burgers)? Clearly she's pro-life, but what does she think about abstinence education? The mortgage crisis? Overseas outsourcing of jobs? The impending Boeing strike (after all isn't the Repulican party all about the "working man")?

Sadly, she didn't mention any of those things. She reduced herself to snipes and snarks and trying to live up to her high school (and how long ago was that? Grow up!) nickname of "Sarah Barracuda".

With McCain being as fuzzy as always on the issues, I was hoping to hear where the GOP stands on stuff. Unfortunately, I got the most information from all the people that are not applying for jobs in the Oval Office.

A very saavy person (or a person with too much time on their hands) at the Seattle P-I (the big paper here) counted the words in her speech on Wednesday night. Here's the breakdown:

I, me, my = 53
McCain = 16
Opponent = 9
Housing = 0
Environment = 0
Deficit = 0
White House = 2 (the only time she referred to house or housing)
Economy = 1
Jobs = 2
Iraq = 3 (once when referencing her son's deployment)

PS - Why does she consider Obama her opponent? Wouldn't Biden be her opponent? Does any VP candidate really have a personal opponent, since they're kind of just along for the ride? Enlighten me, someone, please!

*sob sob sob*

I think I may have to give up on yoga for now and just join a gym. How boring.

In other news, I've spent most of the time since my great birthday at home (I mean home-home, OKC) holding hands with my mom, being daddy's little girl and every little Doakes' favorite big cousin. I have some great pictures to share. I'll put them up somewhere as soon as I remember to upload them.


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