Thursday, June 21, 2007

ESA Avancez!

Comme biodome en Arizone, c'est un examen d'endurance psychologique. Je ne sais pas si les russes et europeans sont plus avancez que les americains mais je suis content quand meme!

L'aventure a mars. Un voyage extrordinaire. Je ne peux pas attends. Tant pis, on n'avait pas quelquechose comme ca chez moi!

Un loft comme sur Mars - Sciences - AOL Actualité

For my non-French readers ... the European Space Agency is recruiting members to simulate a mission to Mars by spending 105 days in a mock-up facility in Moscow. I sort of wish I could do that!

One day, after all my other jobs and adventures, I think doing something like this would be awesome.

Also, the more important thing to remember here is that the Russians and Europeans are looking at the effects of extended time in confined spaces - preliminary mission steps. Could this action be the type of challenge that ignites another space race and pushes America into a frontier outside of Earth's gravitational field?

Think about it. Love always, ~Heather

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

6 classes, 8 days

Summer School Countdown: 6 classes, 4 papers, 1 presentation, 8 days, and (hopefully) 2 A's.

This weekend I went home to NC to visit my family for Father's Day. The number one thing about being at home is family. Number two is, of course, food. I managed to finish about 90% of my homework too, which is probably a record for a vacation weekend.

I still have alot of work this week - tons of research, etc. to prepare for the four papers I have due in the next eight days (4, 3, 25, and 15 pages). Plus, I really need to catch up on some work work I have been putting off.

Tonight in class, Peter Eisner of the Washington Post came to talk to us about his book, The Italian Letter. I recently wrote ten pages analyzing it and was excited to have the chance to ask him some questions about the text. My primary question was why he left the motive out of his discussion (the subject of the book is the Bush administration's abuse of power in manipulating the intelligence community and taking advatage of the American public in making a case for war with Iraq). After class he thanked me for my questions and signed my book. I don't think I've ever had someone sign a textbook for me (or any other book for that matter). Pretty exciting.

When I got home, my landlord needed some boxes out of the storage closet in our apartment. I took them out and realized there was a whole bunch of extra room in that storage closet all along - it goes completely under the stairs! I am probably moving out in a month and I just found out something new about my apartment! Craziness!

Enough procrastination. I'm going to bed so I can get up early enough to get some work done before my 11 a.m. appointment. Then, I am going to work clear through the afternoon to finish one of those papers and hopefully manage at least an hours worth of work for my boss. Class then a couple more hours of work should have me ready to go bed again. I love school, and I am going to be really sad to not have it anymore, but I am not going to miss this summer school schedule.

Love always, ~Heather

Monday, June 11, 2007

Nee Encore

Throughout the weekend I was at a friend's wedding celebrations (pre and post). She is Pakistani and Muslim. It was the most interesting weekend of services ever. Z looked so beautiful in her hand-beaded outfit - shiny gold and silver, henna on her hands and feet ... it was so awesome. The coolest part was how she was glowing. I've never seen this before in all the weddings I've been to: on Friday she was Z, the girl I love to catch dinner and a movie with, today she was Z still, but there was this whole new happiness about her. I've never seen her so happy. It was a wonderful thing.

After she gets back from her honeymoon, I'll ask her permission to put a picture of her in her sahri (is that the right spelling?) up here so you can see what a glorious golden princess she looks like! I'll also try to find out who the prophet was her new mother in-law quoted saying: "you are born now together into this new life" (or something similar to that).

I came home and watched L'Auberge Espagnole, one of my favorite French films. I think it is the experience I thought I was going to have when I first moved to France. I liked the one I got, and was never sad to not be sharing my home with five or six other crazy students. Anyway, being my insomniac self, I still couldn't sleep (hence the late post now) and so after doing a bit of schoolwork, I surfed my favorite Sunday website, PostSecret. The most powerful secret of the week to me, was this one (the picture is a link to the PostSecret page if you want to check out the others).

To be honest, I'm not sure what all the stacked up chairs are about.

Love always, ~Heather

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Au milieu, les secrets se cachent

We may have finally figured out what exactly needs to be done to fix my shoulder. That was the best sentence I could think of to start this post, even though it has nothing to do with what I am thinking about. I just finished watching The Man Without a Face. Somehow it makes me want to internalize. (Yes, LB, this is like the time I watched Nell, except I am not leaving my chair this time!)

Today was certainly interesting. This morning I met with my boss, who is difficult to communicate with - to say the least. The first thing that happened was that he brought something up in conversation he thought I needed to read, and without having read it, I spouted back the ideas from the article. It was about space and NASA, so I was at an advantage, but it threw him off-guard. Even though he knows that it is one of my areas of expertise, he seemed shocked that I was capable of not only providing him information he had just recently read, but then analyzing it - all without seeing his source.

It was empowering to know that I actually was able to put on a challenge. After all this schooling, call me whatever you wish, but I am still so often unsure that I can handle it, that I really know what I am talking about. But I did today. And last Saturday, when someone asked me about global warming, I knew how to explain it to them too. I looked around, gauged my audience, and gave the information I knew would not only be palateable, but understandable. I know I probably seem pretty snobby about my education, but I am usually as insecure as the next person.

Also today, I was inadvertently challenged to do something I have never done before: less than my actual capabilities for the full redemption of awards. Basically, I was offered an opportunity to do 1/2 the work for all of the benefits. Today was also probably the first time I ever considered just doing the bare minimum, knowing it would suffice.

I don't ever want to be that kind of person. Ever.

Here in the middle ...

To my friend stuck in the office. I hope you make it out and become a teacher. I think you will be exceptionally good at it. The next time we see each other, I expect you to have been at the front of a classroom for longer than I was.

To my volleyball pal. I hope he really is the man of your dreams and your new teaching assignment is exactly what you wanted. I lost your email address and you will probably never read this, but I wanted you to know that I miss you all the same.

And to my friend from USC - we haven't talked for I can't remember how long. But, a long time ago I did something that probably scared the be-jesus out of you. I can still see the expression on your face as we sat and talked outside afterwards. I just wanted to say I was sorry. I couldn't have known better then, but I do now. If it makes you feel any better (though you probably could care less about this, and I'm just obsessing over a plenty-year-old mistake), I won't ever do that again.

There is this turn I make, almost every single day. I get to the corner and as my right blinker clicks, I look left and wonder if that road will ever be the same again ... if it will lead the same place, carry the same cars, pave the same path. I look left and then I turn right, and know that the left will never be the same again. And, I can't decide how I feel about that.

One of my best friends senior year of college was this fabulous RA from the 7th floor. She was the sweetest thing, seriously. And she introduced me to this website called PostSecret. It is a place where people write secrets on postcards and mail them for an ever-changing blog. As a fan of this art, I have sometimes pondered what secrets I could write and then mail them in.

But I don't have a ton of secrets, and the ones I have would only be interesting to a few people anyway. Sending anonymous secrets, though entertaining and thought provoking, is not for me. I like to keep my secrets to myself (and to those who really know me).

As usual, I must go. I have a ten page foreign policy analysis to write and I need to clean up the apartment before we have company tomorrow. Plus, I am on this new trend where I am trying eating healthy things and sleeping at moderately reasonable hours. We'll see how that goes.

Love always, ~Heather