Sunday, January 27, 2008

Presidential Election thoughts

Back in sixth grade my teacher had us do a report on a presidential candidate. The one that I remember getting was Bill Clinton. For that report I went to one of their offices based out of a Clayton building. I cam away from that office with information on him, Hillary and their daughter Chelsea (who, coincidentally had a birthday only a day or two before my own). Because of this paper I became more interested in the elections, watching at least one of the debates on the TV with my mom and dad and talking about the candidates and asking questions when I didn't know what they were talking about. Because of that project, I found myself quite comfortable voting in my first presidential election in 2000.

Despite that I never got involved with the primaries. When I signed up to be a voted I decided I would be among that broad "independent" group mainly because I didn't know where I fit within the party designations. I guess I was and I seem to be still largely Democratic because I never voted for a Republican up until I moved to Cape Girardeau where they were almost always the only viable option.

In 2004 I watched the Democratic National Convention and happened to flip on at the time that Barack Obama spoke his iconic keynote address "The Audacity of Hope." Something about him made me stop and listen. I had never heard anything like that in living memory. I had heard speeches from John F. Kennedy and Senator Obama's speech evoked the feelings that some have said of President Kennedy. I was awed by his speech and said, "I would seriously consider voting for him if he went for president." I guess the talking heads were saying the same thing.

A few years later I had been asked to be a backup delegate for The United Church of Christ's General Synod. That is my denomination's major meeting where we talk about projects that the UCC is doing in addition to give the national center a direction. This is not the best explanation of what went on there but that's not important to this long story on politics. The 2007 General Synod was a huge event as it also celebrated our 50th year as the United church of Christ. About that same time John Thomas, the UCC president asked Senator Obama to speak at our keynote address about his feelings on how faith informs his politics. When I heard about that I had prayed that I would be able to go as a delegate. Sure enough, less than a month to go before Synod I get the call to be a delegate. His speech spoke to my feelings about the divisiveness within the Unites States government and "reaching across the aisles" to work with those with different viewpoints on things in a common narrative. That is something that I love about the UCC and something that seemed to strike a cord in me that I had never heard form a presidential candidate. Ever.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Thoughts on the Market and Business students

I have been going to college on and off for a long time and am a senior that has another year plus to go for a business major. Last semester was a really bad one for me because I had a plan in my mind that I would start a retail business that was meant to fill in a niche. I was seeing the overall market on the verge of a major slip (possible and looks more like real recession). Now as for me and my fellow students I have to hope that this is not a long term problem. I know personally I had to be placed on medication for depression for the first time and finally got around to getting medication for Attention Deficit Disorder (something I've had since a child but never been placed on medication). I suspect I will be seeing a ton of students going for business either dropping out or slipping off to another major. We'll have to see.

I have not asked my fellow students on this issue but I get the feeling that now "might" be the time to buy in certain types of stocks. What some consider true essentials. Stuff like Procter and Gamble (with their toilet paper and toothpaste portfolio) or similar companies. If you can handle a little more downturn and are planning for the long haul it won't matter quite as much.

*not the best editted post but if you have a comment go ahead and respond.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Resolutions for 2008

1. Get a 3.0 semester GPA for both the spring and fall semesters.
2. Learn to tune and play my guitar (preferably messing around/practicing) once a week
3. Practice flute once a week
4. Go caving once a month
5. Read 50 books in a year (finished book one on 1/4/08).

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Am I a feminist?

After posting my link to my opinions on fairytales and my personal analysis of the Disney version on indiebride I had a few responses to me that got me asking myself that question. I never considered myself one. To me the average feminist was extremely politically active, extremely aggressive, man-hating women.

In order for you to understand where I stand I suppose I need to go a bit into my family history.

My mother grew up with a single mother. Her parents divorced when she was only six years old. She and her mom hopped from house to house calling totally unrelated people her "aunt" so that she and her mom could stay with them. Apparently it was really hard for her going through school the product of a divorced family in the 1960s to 70s. I don't know much about this time and there are almost no photographs of my mother earlier than middle school because of an eviction but it thoroughly informed my mother's decisions for us kids later in life.

My dad was not my mom's first husband. I remember finding some papers from when mom had been attending one of the local community colleges back in the 1970s and it had a different name from my what I knew to be her maiden name. I asked her about it and found out that she had had dropped out of college (at that time going for an education degree) to support her fiance who was going to college at the time. I asker her what broke them up and it actually had to do with wanting children. She did but he didn't. She also said that it had been (in her mind) the best choice.

I remember talking with my dad about when he and mom made the decision to have kids. By that time my mother had passed away from a long up and down struggle with breast cancer so I could not ask her about it personally. Dad had said that they had wanted to have kids but they weren't exactly sure they had wanted them so soon (I was born exactly nine months after they got married).

A few years after my brother was born mom made the decision to quit here job working at Sears in favor of both going back to college and staying home with us. Now make no mistake, there were plenty of women who "gave her flack" over that decision from the room moms at school. They reacted in a manner which I sometimes view as feminist. That is: "why would she stay home when she could earn money for herself?" She always felt a little defensive about it but held true to her decision and I don't think she regretted it too much (although reading one of her journals recently there had been moments).

I grew up under her view point, which she never described to be feminist. I never saw her reading feminist papers or anything. My mom and dad never divorced even though plenty of kids' parents around me that I knew were divorced or getting divorced. I saw the standard view of marriage working (the "stay at home mom and working dad with three kids and a pet") so I never imagined a huge amount of difference between the old view of society (almost) and a working model of it.

Make no mistake, my mom did seriously consider using her degree but every time she was going to do so she found herself in a quandry. They wouldn't hire her because she hadn't been working in the meantime. It was a catch-22. That to me is the worst thing. It's not like she wasn't organizing and creating in the meantime, it's just not stuff that a person would put on a resume. A portfolio perhaps, but not a resume or cover letter.

When I graduated from high school there was no idea that I wouldn't go to college. I hadn't always been that way. I had wanted to be a dancer up until I was fifteen (when I had reality come crashing in). Looking back I made the right choice but it doesn't mean that I don't wish I had gone the dancer's route. I am just glad that as a 120 pound adult I won't be considered "fat."

I believe when wrote that post I misused a few words. I think I should have said, "I don't consider myself a feminist" rather than "I'm not necessarily a feminist." I suppose everything I've written is the view of a feminist here but I've never thought of it as such. I have always thought of it as the view of a strong, intelligent woman. Nothing else.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Review of "Becky: the Loves and life of Becky Thatcher

If you remember reading a while back I signed up for a website which allows me too put up a list of books that I own. In addition to the online library they have a program where you can sign up to get free books as long as you write up a review on it. I decided to give it a try and early last week I received my first book to review. It was called "Becky: the loves and life of Becky Thatcher" by Lenore Hart. Here is my thoughts on it. It comes out on the mass market January 8, 2008.

Occasionally there are romances which seem to transcend time. In most stories I’ve read they are always fated to marry. This is the first the echoes the lost and unattainable romance of young love. Becky has in some ways moved on from her wild (for a young girl in the 1800s) activities with Tom, Huck and the Freebooters. Married to Tom’s cousin and with children of her own she tries to be a decent wife but some things of her past always come back, like a bad habit.

The Civil War is taking its toll on the Missourians. With her husband off at war and her father thought of as a Confederate spy (even though he had been one of the first to free his own slaves before the War) she calls on Huck Finn to help her. The first half of the book flips back and forth between the present day Civil War and her past marrying Sid despite her continued love and attraction to Tom.

Becky, Sid, and young Gage find themselves making their way onto Nevada where Sid purchases a claim which hits silver. After things happen a while, Becky and her children travel to San Francisco where she sets herself up in a nice home and raises her children. But when a telegram comes bearing news of her past, what will she do?

This story sets up a feeling of “if you love someone, let them free. If they come back then it’s meant to be.” Back and forth Tom and Becky have a point-counterpoint which is shown in their past history and reaches a sad resolution at the end. I had a hard time setting this story down to study up for finals so I hope you consider picking up this sweet tale of a true love.

LibraryThing Early Reviewers

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Fairy Tale Discussions Pt. 1

For almost two years I've been on a forum called "indiebride." I started glancing at it when John and I began considering setting a date to get married. One of the topics has to do with the icon of princesses (specifically the marketing of the "Disney Princesses") and how it affects feminism. Now I'm not necessarily a feminist but I've been raised in the post-feminist world. At the same time I had a mother who after working for a while made the decision to stay home with us until my youngest sibling was six years old when she decided to go back to college to get her degree. Again, not necessarily feminist but most certainly a strong, intelligent women archetype in my mother. In addition my sister and I were little bookaholics. We would regularly check out books from the kids side of the library which either had the tales of the Greecian myths or the early fairy tales. I don't know how much it affects me today as a 25 year old married college student.

While I liked the stories of most of the Disney princesses, none really gelled with me until Cinderella. She was the first somewhat feisty "princess" to click with me as an average girl. I had to clean my room. I had to listen to my parents even if I didn't want to. There were times that I wished I had a fairy godmother to help me out of the house for a bit.

The first Disney animation that I remember watching in the movie theater was "the Little Mermaid." Again the idea of escape gelled with a little girl and the idea of a crush on a man was only just coming into my head (albeit in the traditional "Fairy tale" sense).

In seventh grade I retreated into my shell and books when I felt like I was an outsider within my small school. I became even more a bookaholic, even letting my grades slip in favor of reading (even if the books were educational). During that time I found myself identifying with Belle. I borrowed a cassette tape of the Disney soundtrack from library and would dance to it all the time. At that time I had been about two years into toe dancing and began creating my own choreography to what I used to call "The Town Scene" (on the cassette tape it was called "Belle"). I identified with the well-read girl in a town of unintelligent people. My school was really small so the conversations in the small town always seemed to be the same sort that I saw and felt around me. The strength and intelligence that I saw in Belle was something that I wanted to emulate in everyday life.

In 2000 my high school marching band went to Disney World I made the decision that I would begin collecting Belle, but only Belle in Blue. For some reason it was the only outfit that I felt fully emulated her in her intelligence and silent strength. I found that there were few things with her in Blue and found it a little odd. They had begun the process of celebrating the ten year anniversary of the premiere of "Beauty and the Beast" and yet just about all I could find of Belle was Belle in the gold dress. Too me it just didn't fit with the part that I loved about her in the first place; the passion, the strength and the intelligence. The Belle in gold was the meek, quiet Belle to me. When I tell people what I collect I always have to explain why I choose Belle in Blue over the gold. If they give me Belle in gold I accept graciously but will never buy it unless it shows her with that outfit either reading a book or in the library. In that instance the Belle in Gold becomes and intelligent woman, not a simpering princess of yore which many of the Disney princesses are played to be today.

More recently Disney has released a new movie which in some ways shows both and old and new Disney princess. I have yet to see it but from what I can tell the movie itself is a commentary on their own princesses. I plan to go see it and hope you will as well....if only to give me someone to talk to about it.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Accident on Northbound 55 close to Cape Girardeau

As John and I were driving home from Eric and Sarah's wedding going Southbound. I had been napping since around Arnold but John woke me up and pointed out a vehicle on the southbound side going the same direction as we were. We were keeping pace with him going 80 MPH. In one instance there was a spot where an accident nearly occurred with him slipping between the two vehicles. Eventually fate came back and the vehicle slammed head on into another vehicle with the third sustaining some damage but as far as we could tell no major injuries.

John and I ran out to the white vehicle in the grass median and were trying to find out of the driver was verbal and responsive. Initially there was no response from the female driver but eventually she was at least verbal. I don't know how responsive I would have considered her to be. We then noticed the second car involved in the head on accident and jogged over to it on the other side of the Northbound highway. Jogging over to it and eventually getting the driver's attention. The guy had a vehicle with New Jersey license plates. After the guy came to he was not showing any signs of pain and was in fact quite coherent.

After standing around for about a half an hour while watching the firemen cut out the battery of the New Jersey vehicle, cut the door off (as it had been stuck and we couldn't get it open) and take the driver and place him and the female in the white car on backboards and off in the ambulances. Eventually the count sheriff on site got our contact information (and that of an eighteen wheel driver who saw and had called it in to the sheriff's office) and our statements. After checking to see if the sheriff got all of the info that the state trooper needed we were let go for the time being. I suspect that we might well be called up assuming the guy survives this. It was right at midnight when we got home. Don't know if it will make the local new considering but if it does be sure to check here for a link.