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Showing posts from October, 2006

Apparently Not

I feel like our country was founded on the separation of church and state. In so many ways, the founders did basically everything in their power to keep the government from influencing religion and vice versa. With all of the noise against school vouchers (state sponsored religion because funding goes to parochial schools), the pledge of allegiance (since we reference God), and city hall having to place out decorations for about 70 December holidays, you would think people would have the separation of church and state in their little pea brains.

Apparently not.

Tonight in class I watched a PBS segment on how some churches in Ohio were possibly being investigated by the IRS for breaking their non-profit status by supporting a political candidate (which is, by the way, illegal). And all I could think (even though I was supposed to be thinking about the theories involved in mobilizing voters) was about how sad it was. How terribly, terribly sad it was.

I couldn't believe that the me…

Sleep On It

Can I just tell you how stupid I feel? After all this ridiculous angst and acting out and not focusing, all I needed was to get some freaking sleep. Now, after an actual full night of rest I feel as normal as ever.

Verdict: Don't make phone calls until you have sufficiently rested. In other words, sleep on it.

Summary of events: A marvelous weekend, starting Thursday with the carving party, picked up on Friday by the ghost tour with Kira and Meryl and then board games. Saturday, also considerably marvelous with good conversations, football, friends, and arguably the best time I've ever had while watching West Wing. Sunday rounded out the fun with finding my own detour, not-scary movies, and realizing that I am blessed with an amazing roommate who honestly took care of me through an exhaustion driven spell of ridiculousness.

And like a child, my exhaustion prevented me from falling asleep. But I finally conked off, woke up, babysat my landlord's daughter and took her on …

Speaking through Quotes

I'm writing a press release on a speech Sandra Day O'Connor gave a few weeks back. About 80% of her speech was quoting others to make her point. In that spirit, the Quote of the Day spoke to me...

"Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get." ~ Dale Carnegie

Based on recent circumstances, I hope I can be happy with what I get even if it isn't what I want.

And in response to a comment made by a friend at the pumpkin carving party:

Although the hopes are dashed I feel that what I got instead will be better in the end.

Malcolm Forbes said, "Failure is success if we learn from it."

I'm learning all the time. And even if I fail a thousand times, as Edison once said, "I'll have discovered a thousand ways that don't work." I haven't failed a thousand times yet (though it sometimes feels that way). I am blessed to have failed many, many times. And if Forbes is correct, than I am successful many times over.

On …

Day of Rest

All the bracketted stuff is from the original entry. The other stuff is new or more complete ...
[Abbreviated daytime entry to be filled in after my nap.]

It is Sunday, the day of rest. Luckily I have Daylight Saving Time to aid me in this endeavor.

Friday night I went on a ghost tour of Lafayette Park in front of the White House. The stories were much more history than spooky, and our tour guide didn't seem to even believe her own stories. Since it was raining, I got quite wet and cold. But it was still a bunch of fun. I met two really nice undergrads from AU who I hung out with the majority of the evening. They were kind enough to take this picture of me in front of the White House.

Speaking of the mansion, our tour guide inadvertently caused a security concern that got the flood lights turned on and sent a guard from across Pennsylvania Avenue over. Apparently, if you are standing on the ledge and our umbrella briefly crosses the plane of the top of the fence some serious a…

Carving & Chat

En francais desous...

Tonight was wonderful. We had a carving party at the apartment after class. (Class was good too - which it often is since I am such a tremedously large nerd.) At first I was a little nervous about people not showing up, but in the end four pumpkins were carved and Patrick, Christine, Caroline, and Dave came by ... which just made it good.







After the carving was done, my landlords lent us candles and we ordered pizza while our newly carved jack o' lanterns were glowing by the fireplace.


We had a really good chat and I really felt comfortable with ... well everything. It was nice to have a real conversation about issues and not have to back down or have the other person back away. It was such a relief in a way too, to know that I am finally making friends here. That or lots of people enjoy slicing up gourds. Maybe a little bit of both?


I'm going to toast the seeds tomorrow and bring them in to class next week for anyone who so desires. Yum yum. Tonight …

Scriptovisual

Scriptovisual is an interesting word I learned while doing all that homework I've been talking about. It basically means a document you can read and look at the pictures at the same time. Using that as a prompt, the following is a photo rendition of all the things I haven't taken a ton of time to talk to you about. Here are the captions and pictures:

High school homecoming and hanging out with Jen: The best part of the trip, aside from Jen of course, was seeing this brick placed in the sidewalk in the courtyard where I used to eat lunch.

(It was great to see many of my friends there too ... I have pictures of a bunch of your bricks for you if you are interested (J.B., J.H., D.M., TJ, basically everyone from CF Select ...)

I went to the pumpkin patch with grad friends and Dana and had my first caramel apple ever!


Interesting quotes of the day:

"Is there a goat at the top of that staircase?" -Rachel

"My eyes filled with tears, I must've had ten beers ..." - …

Record

I think it is some sort of record that I haven't blogged in so long. Unfortunately I am too tired to be of any descriptive use. Issac Asimov once said, "I am not a speed reader. I am a speed understander." Sadly, my lack of speed reading led to an extrordinarily long weekend. So I don't forget, and as a teaser ...

High school homecoming
Hanging out with Jen
Driving through northern Virginia
Pumpkin patch with grad friends
First caramel apple ever
Homework out the wazoo
Pirates with G and Tom
Marco visiting
Church
More homework
School vouchers
Chinatown with Marco and Jeff
Wandering around the city
"Borrowing" a hotel restroom
Getting lost behind Union Station
I'm beginning to despise 'home' because it is followed by 'work'
Long talks
Touring AU
Dupont Circle
Krispy Kreme
Pizza
Stupid annotated bibliography
Goodbyes
Finished project!
GLC Meeting
Classes and homework
Catching up with Dana and all my TiVo-ed shows
*Sigh*
Catching up with you.

Love always, ~Heather

Project Party

Tonight we had our first official party in the apartment. It was in honor of the season 3 finale of Project Runway. Dana had a bunch of friends over and three people from American came too. It was quite exciting.

Details:
11 people comfortably squished into camp chairs and on sofas watching (and commenting) on the show.Lots of snacks and wine, courtesy of our fabulous guests.Way too much leftover chocolate chip banana cake.Alot of glasses to wash. Alot. Thank goodness we had champagne flutes to make up for our distinct lack of wine glasses.Thank you to everyone who came. For those who couldn't make it (ah, studying) or just weren't too interested in the fashion thing, perhaps you'll hear from us about a Halloween night get-together ....

Good luck on the midterm tomorrow friends. I don't think we'll need it, but just in case. A little studying before sleep. A bunch of studying before class. Love always, ~Heather

P.S. - I want to comment that I thought the fina…

Poetry

I wanted to write a poem about the incredibly long (and super productive) day I had. I wrote two and they were both pretty awful. I'm going to stick to it though, maybe I'll come up with something later. Poetry seems to be a moody thing for me. Anyway, I don't want to disappoint you after all that build-up, so here is a poem I wrote a really long time ago ...

Where does the sidewalk end?

What would you say if someone asked you where the sidewalk ended?

A grown-up would say:
"Down the road
around the bend
across the lane
and through the field
to right in front of
the great white church
that's where the sidewalk ends."

But if you asked me, a child of course,
my reply would be
quite simple and short:
"The sidewalk ends where I can't draw
with chalk anymore."

Ow

I have recently discovered that my right shoulder (i.e. serving arm) is not functioning. It doesn't like hitting or serving. In fact, it hurt so badly, I couldn't play with it except to pass and set. Now, under advice from Caroline (who is exceptionally qualified), I am using alot of ice in a bag to make it feel different. I wouldn't jump to better right yet, since now I keep having mini-spasms in my arm and the whole thing feels tight and crampy (whereas before it only hurt to hit things). Here's hoping this is actually progress.

The thing is, it was the first time I have gone and done something and not felt guilty I wasn't studying. What a marvelous feeling (even if my shoulder aches).

I won't go on and on, life today was simple. Wake up. Study. Eat something. Study. Entertain myself with part of a stupid movie while eating something. Study. Wash dishes, cook and eat dinner. Volleyball. Printing out more articles to study. AmWord (school feature…

If My Life Were a Movie

If ... my life were a movie, it would be called Studying.

I had a fairly studious Sunday, digging into my annotated bibliography (professor says I am on the right track!), reading for Writing, and outlining 100 pages of a book for a study group on Tuesday.

Dana and I went to church this morning and then came home for a bit. We went down to the Mall this afternoon to study. The weather was wonderful. We had to move the blanket like four times to stay in the sunlight, because I wasn't smart enough to move us completely to the other side the first time (as the sun went down the shadows made us pretty cold). We stopped by Bill's place so she could feed his chinchilla and then we came home. It was fun and productive. And we didn't get lost or make a wrong turn.

That is more than we can say for the guy who delivered our chicken wings tonight. Dana had a craving, so we ordered in. Unfortunately our driver was about as slack as they come. I gave him as explicit of instructio…

Studious Saturday

Saturday night for a studious girl in DC.

Chicken Helper Cheesy Enchilada. Sort of good.Two binders and a book with a highlighter and blue pen on the couch.A #2 yellow pencil stuck through a dishelved bun.The prospects of watching All the President's Men.A 3x5 card To-Do list with 16 items on it, none of which are crossed off, though many are in progress.
Saturday afternoon wasn't too much different, but at least I got to sit outside in the park and read. Woodacres Park had girls soccer matches going on, lots of sunny, grassy patches, and a wonderful old tree to lean up against.

I sometimes wonder if talking about something makes it more true. It certainly makes it more present. Dilligently going back to work now with a little hope and hopefully enough energy to get through a few of the list items before bed. Anyone want to find a nice outdoor place to study with me tomorrow? Love always, ~Heather

Substitute Soccer Mom

As I sit here now with my hair in a towel, I can hear the two children screaming upstairs. Usually this would annoy me. It is significantly less irritating though knowing that I don't have to respond today.

[Photo: Le petit Martin apres le voyage en Luxembourg, fevrier 2006. Martin, on the way home from Luxembourg last February.]

Yesterday I took care of my landlord's children. It was kind of like last week's comic stip, Baby Blues, where the dad comes home and says "at least you don't have to commute." I ran around all day! First it was FunFit, a gymboree type activity at the community center. Except I've never been there, and I got lost. Not really lost so much as I thought I went too far and really I was one street away. So we missed the little-little class and went to a slightly older one, where Maya was not exactly comprehending. Because we went to the later class, we missed Shabot Sing! at Eli's school. Eli was there, Maya and I missed…

MastersCoaster

I want to tell you about all the things that have been going on but I can't. I'm too excited. The easiest way to express myself is through metaphor. Tonight I will explain to you the dynamics of the MastersCoaster.

The roller coaster of graduate school is pretty hard to ride. There is the getting in line, finding out you are qualified to ride and then strapping yourself in. You've walked past a million signs warning you of the risks, and yet you kept going. Multiple times in this process you thought to yourself, "Is this really a good idea?"

The ride starts, cranking you up this slope that seems like it may not have a top. But you were accepted and you've paid all this money so you can't really get off now. About 20 feet from the top, when the drop-off seems too horrendous for you to bear, your stomach drops out - but not in the good way. You want to get off. Usually, so does the kid behind you who keeps threatening to hurl.

But you don't. Bec…

No Adventure

Long story short: no adventures today.

I bet you're getting tired of reading about what is either a lament of my woeful life as a student or the happy tales of someone enjoying being a student. There are so few adventures here on this adventure blog.

I started blogging over a year ago, and I think the adventure status has decreased since I returned to the states. I am going to get out more. I have to. Today the farthest trip I took was walking to the mailbox. Oh, and I drove to the grocery store.

This leads me to flashback to some of the more exciting things that happened awhile ago that I never told you about. I went to the National Book Festival on the Mall. It was pretty cool to listen to interviews and speeches by authors while browsing displays and tents. The funniest guy was the author of Marley and Me - a tale of a man and his outrageously misbehaving dog.

The coolest thing out there was definitely the Magic School Bus. The real one. OKay, I know it isn't real, but…

Never Give Up

"Never give in and never give up."
Hubert H. Humphrey

Last night I sat down at my computer and I ranted - truly ranted - an entire blog. I was so angry. I don't know who I was angry or upset with, maybe myself. But after that I was setting my alarm so I could go to bed. The radio came on, as it often does when I slide the bar over. The song said, "Don't give up." All I had done was write about ... awfulness, and the song said "don't give up."

Then today's quote of the day. I believed it last night, but I believe it more now. Those messages came direct to me, exactly when I needed them. You don't have to believe me, and most of you probably won't, but God was looking out for me just then. He wanted me to know that it was okay. And then it was. I don't tihnk it would be fair to not share the good word when I had a chance. I'm not the evangelical kind really, but I thought you should know.

The truth is, there have been…

Football Wrap-up

The Gamecocks beat Kentucky in a rather messy win. Best play of the game:
The quarterback, handing it off to the running back, who pitched it to the wide receiver who threw it into the end zone to the quarterback for a touchdown. Gotta love it.

More things to love:
Arkansas beat Auburn
Florida beat LSU
Tennessee beat Georgia (AMAZING game. Highest scoring in TN/GA history)

Can't help but fall in love with that SEC action. I bummed around feeling ill today. Managed to do citation cards for seven articles and read/skimmed a good number too. Read 2 chapters in Truth to Tell and am going to wrap-up a little bit of Anatomy of Buzz before bed. I am also going to try and watch Proof, which I borrowed from my landlords (very cool people). It is already 11:30 though, so I better get on that. Lots of homework tomorrow. I'm ready for that - and a little sunshine. Love always, ~Heather

Comfort Day

I had a weird day. The school jacked me around and I barely got any homework done (possibly none, really). But it was terrific. My aunt helped make the anxious feeling go away a little. I am making plans to visit Philadelphia. I went to temple for the first time ever. I got along really well with my landlords. I watched Thank you for Smoking with some people from my program and then sat around and talked for a few hours.

Tomorrow I am going to do something. I don't know what, but something. Probably a slew of homework - because you always should get it done before Sunday when possible. And I am going to try and visit at least one cool place from my guide book.

I think I just needed a day off. Today was a good day. And Katie made some great carrot muffins.

Love always, ~Heather

Ungrown-up

Once upon a time there was a little girl. She didn't really live in childhood bliss long, but it wasn't anyone's fault. All by herself she turned into an overly mature "person," everybody said so. She never really fit in to any crowd. "Don't worry," the grown-ups told her. "When you get older, people won't treat you like this. They'll be mature too and you'll see, you'll fit in just fine."

Well, just like how they told you you HAD to learn to write in cursive because they required it in middle school (and they didn't), they told her a lie. They promised that people would grow up. They would change and mature. They promised.

And life has a funny way of turning out. People don't change that much. They change, sure. But those adults forgot to figure in that the little girl might grow up too. Maybe she didn't, and the people around her just aren't finished becoming adults yet. Maybe she just isn'…

Calling all (Non) Catholics

For my research class I have to put together a survey. I chose the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops as my client and their "problem" was trying to determine:
What factors contribute to activity among Catholics.What factors contribute to inactivity among Catholics .What changes could be employed to increase activity among inactive Catholics.I need to come up with 25-30 questions that will really cover the bases and provide the most information for my client. The proposed plan had focus groups discussing the issue - but time is limited and the assignment is a questionnaire.

Because I have only one mind, I am limited in perspective. Lots of experiences and lots of minds make for better survey questions (and better surey results!). Any suggestions you might have on what types of questions I should include, specific content areas, or even your responses to the above statements will help to improve my survey.

I thank you in advance for helping me out. And if you aren…

Eureka!

The light bulb above my head lit up in the car tonight. I finally figured it out.

All semester I have been trying to figure out why I didn't understand this project in Theory class and what is going on. I had another conversation with my professor after class tonight and that is what clarified it.

My idea of what the project encompases was correct. It is enough work to be a dissertation. But he doesn't expect me to be able to do it. Not just me, any of us. He doesn't think we are capable, nor should we be capable of this large literature review. Bullshoot.

The last time someone told me this (in the US) it was Dr. Sederberg. He said I couldn't do my thesis. It was too much to write, direct, produce, teach a university class ... but we did it. It wasn't the best thing ever, but we did it. In France, they said something similar. They expected so little of me it blew them away when I was working at 50% capacity.

I know it is going to be a long shot - a real lon…

Venting

Sometimes you just need to open the window and let in fresh air. And sometimes you just have to let it out.

I got a B- on a paper. Considering that the program basically asks you to leave if you get a C, this is the equivalent of almost failing. Super.

Same paper, I was chastized, I kid you not, for including helpful graphics. But no problem, I can leave them in when I rewrite it. (Rewrite does not improve the grade.)

I got a 1 of 2 on my brief. I didn't define the concept the way I was supposed to - even though I appropriately identified and explained an applicable situation - I didn't write a specific definition. But no fears (slight sarcasm), I can rewrite it.

I worked on something that has now left me with three choices. Two make me a bad person and the third could stress me out emotionally. Choice A is between doing something moral and doing nothing. Choice B is using my talents for the destruction of another person's reputation. Choice C is trying again, along…

Hiatus

Consider my exhaustion driven blogging hiatus an opportunity to catch up on all the posts you can't read because I write too much for your busy schedule. I think my busy schedule is catching up with me. Surely there will be more later. Love ya,
~Heather B_________, E.S.N

Challenge: The person, besides Erin, who can correctly guess the meaning of the acronym gets real live snail mail (snail not included).