Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Who Am I?

Thanks Mixter!! It is right on!

You are Amelia EarhartAdventurous and boundary breaking. You believe that you can do anything, and do not hesitate to take risks to achieve a big goal. You like to problem solve, when a problem comes up.Take this quiz at QuizGalaxy.com
You are Amelia Earhart

Adventurous and boundary breaking. You believe that you can do anything, and do not hesitate to take risks to achieve a big goal. You like to problem solve, when a problem comes up.

Take this quiz at QuizGalaxy.com

Monday, February 26, 2007

Tragedies of War

Newsweek and MSNBC both have very serious and intense articles about what is lacking in care for those returning from Iraq. The story of Jonathan Schulze had me already crying into my coffee this morning. Now, I know that there are many, many, many returning soldiers and many more sad stories, but this just happens to be one of the many that were chosen for this article. It in no way means that I am indifferent to any of them. As a matter of fact my friend Jane, whose son Brett is over there, has told me recently about how intense and angry his calls home have been of late. His best friend was killed while they were on the same mission. I am sure that he will require some type of mental counseling upon his return, but will it be readily available? There are many questions.

A military task force put together a panel that has put forth a 67 page report that, among other things, states that the military mental health sysytem is overwhelmed and understaffed. Do you think that they have had enough time, duration of this war, to work on preparing themselves for this outcome? They site a 40% vacancy rate for active duty psychologists and a weak transition for those leaving active duty.

There has always been a stigma attached to the act of getting mental help, but it seems to be even more so for military personel who are always expected to tough it out and suck it up. They might be more inclined to try and go it on their own, and as in the case of Jonathan Schulze medicate with alcohol. Although his story ends very sadly there might still be hope for the many more returning vets if help is placed in the correct areas.

The study found that more than 3 out of 10 met the criteria for a "mental disoredre" but far less than half even sought help. Partly due to the stigma attached, but also due to the lack of availability. The task force was chaired by an active duty military psychologist who said,".... that realitively few high quality mental health programs exist in the military right now." That is sad indeed. Especially for the families and friends of those returning. Hopefully they will not have to endure the sad ending that the family of Jonathan Schulze did.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Starbucks, Mitt Romney & Star Obsessions

It is almost an oxymoron to have Mitt Romney & Starbucks in the same sentence, let alone the title of this post! But since he is among the gagle of contenders for President it is all fair game and open to discussion.
Romney is going to be facing many issues that go along with his Mormonism. As one of many articles has pointed out recently, many people have problems with his faith, or however they perceive his religious affiliation. The majority of conservative Christians & Evangelicals find them to be a cult. Aside from reading this I know first hand. When I was attending a modern and evangelical type church, in my town, when they saw that I was a recovering Mormon they thought that I had been a member of a cult. I assured them that it wasn't quite that bad and that I wasn't even a very good one in that I drank copious quantities of coffee and had already damned my self in their eyes anyway.
My biggest problem with Mitt is not that faith in particular but, like Bush, he believes that the President must lead with a strong faith and I do not like that. he said, " I'm convinced the nation does need... to have people of different faiths but we need to have a person of faith lead the country." You mean, like we do now? That makes me very uncomfortable. I prefere to have my President one that goes to some church, but does not use his religion as a guide while in office and does not talk to God or use Him/Her as a cabinet member! More as an appearance issue. They attend on all the respectable holidays etc., but do not use it as departmental policy. When you are a Mormon it IS your entire life. There is nothing outside of the church.
They say that he is trying to court the extrememly conservative Republicans that have lost faith, no pun, in McCain and Guiliani. Well, I happen to think that Guiliani has very healthy ideas about abortion gay rights etc. He is the more well-rounded choice for them, in my opinion.
Then we move on to the coffee mega giant. Seems that they are receiving much press these days for their over-diversification and making their service speedier. But then, in another article, they are talking about entering in to a marketing plan with Pepsi to have machines where you can get hot coffee from vending machines in hallways! Even before I worked there it was always the atmosphere that I was attracted to along with the product. I love to sit and sip my latte while I read the current papers or their current book all the time listening to the tunes of the moment. They do usually play good music there. I have bought several of the CD's that they sell. They often introduce new groups as well. That is where I learned about Antigone Rising.
Fame, money and trying to hold on to it, and the men that try to get at it. These can be some of the factors that help lead these Stars into the dark abyss that makes them the fodder for news shows, talk shows and tabloid journalists. Dateline had an intersting perspective about why people continue to watch the circus that is the life of these young girls.
Well, now the fun begins. The ice storm has gone through and if I want to get to the coffee shop today I am going to have to be careful not to fall on my ass. otherwise I'll be giving first aid to myself!! We had the good sense to cover the car with tarps, since the garage is too full to park in, and we don't have to chisel it out of an ice sculpture. When I went out to put out the bird seed I felt like I was an attraction in Disney on Ice. Although I do not think, given the way I looked, I would have passed for any Disney Princess this AM.
So, it is off to the showers and latte nirvana. Heres wishing you all a "grande" day!!

Friday, February 23, 2007


I usually drive around with a small notebook on my dash so when I hear a tune, on the station that I listen to, I can write it down and then either I or the son will burn me a new CD. I listen to a local alternative station so I don't often get the names of bands while driving so it takes me awhile. Finally have a new playlist and it goes something like this:
Miss Murder - AFI
Seize the Day - Avenged Sevenfold
Land of Confusion- a great old Genisis song re-done wonderfully & a bit better by Disturbed
Rooftops - The Lost Profits
Welcome to the Black Parade - My Chemical Romance
I Write Sins Not Tragedies & Diff. Between Martyrdom & Suicide - Panic at the Disco
Make Damn Sure - Taking Back Sunday
Pain - Three Days Grace
Boys of Summer - an old Don Henley tune re-done MUCH BETTER by the Ataris

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Book Buzz, Britney & 2008 Election Headache

Here it is, only Feb. 2007, and I am already tired of the election! Mostly, I am already sick & tired of the ugliness and mudslinging. This has all the markings of a very ugly mess. I am tired of all the nasty articles and name calling, all the dirt digging and the Hollywood brouhaha. I know that it is politics as usual in this day and age, but I guess I am getting tired of it. I am tired of hearing about a "woman" president or a "black" president. People, there are much more important issues!!! Hello!! This whole new thing about David Geffen and the Clintons and Obama is just putting me over the edge and a few blogs I have read said that this stuff is doing nothing more than tipping things in favor of John Edwards.
I used to really enjoy election years. I used to read several papers and the internet devouring as much as I could about the candidates and issues, but if this is going to keep up I may just back off and just skirt the issue.
She's in, she's out, she's back in again. Now they are talking to some former nannies of this messed up pop princess. Seems like she was looking for friendship as well as child care. How sad. I think that her life may have become so full of "yes" people and those who were looking for something that she had to go out and shop or hire someone to be a friend. She is messed up. How unfortunate that she has two small children in this world. Did she think she had found Mr. Right and that having two kids together would cement their forever after? Hopefully the girl can get the help she needs.
The other book that I am reading now, " A Long Way Gone , memoirs of a Boy Soldier" by Ishmael Beah has been receiving a good deal of press and rightly so. It is being sold at the coffee mega giant and we had read a short release. It was not a very large book and so I picked it up. It has been riveting!! The young man that wrote the book has been on The Daily Show and even Jon Stewart said," I've rarely read a book that makes my head hurt, but this really does." On Thursady March 1st I am going to a coffee mega giant, near the Cleveland area, where the young man will be doing a signing and Q & A session for the book. If I were still teaching it would be one that I would have my high school kids read. Talk about a person who had to deal with and overcome the worst of life situations. An excellnt and a fast read if any of you are interested. A strange clash of words to be reading the Dalai Lama at the same time.
Also, in final news, I did get offered an EMS job in that city where I interviewed. I am going to get my physical and drug screen on March 2nd and then will see what hours etc. they have available. Lucky for me they are looking for days and that will mean that I do not have to have a whacked out sleep situation on some kind of midnights. I plan to try and hold on to the coffee job because I like the "perks" and there is one in the town where I will be working and I'll be able to drop in and continue to get the great discount!!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Thinking About Lent, Denial & Proving Something

This post was first posted in Feb. of 2007. It caused quite a discussion! The TV, this morning, has been chock full of those beginning to discuss what they are giving up for Lent, so I am re-printing rather than come up with a whole new post. After reading this one I still feel the same in 2011 as I did in 2007.

This is always an interesting time of year, or at least it was when I was teaching. It just also happens to be a topic similar, but in noway the same, to what the Drew talks about over at his blog today as well. This whole season of Lent and sacrifice and proving that you can give somethging up.
I worked with a fella that taught Social Studies and he claimed to be a Catholic, although I guess, as the Drew points out, many Christian religions have this activity at this time of year. He would make it a big point to tell us how he was giving up beer for Lent. This from a guy who was also not very faithful to his wife. In the bigger picture how can the beer get you in to Heaven? I hope it is not that convoluted!! He never attended any church, except at the time of his wedding, but made it out to be a very special time in his life, this whole Lent process, as if the rest of us were infidels.
I have heard others recently talk about chocolate and other food items as their sacrifice. Is it just me or is this somewhat shallow? Isn't the sacrifice meant to be something a tad more relevant and isn't the person supposed to be more repentant? Isn't this behavior something you should follow all year long and not just at the time that leads up to Easter? I was even told, yesterday, that elderly or older people do not have to give up anything for Lent according to one ladies church. If this is so does that mean that once you hit a certain age that you get an automatic pass in to Heaven? What is that age? Does it come with the AARP or Golden Buckeye card?
Also, why does it have to be such a public display? Why does one have to go around and make themselves seem to be so grand and sacrificing because they ARE giving something up? I believe that even the Bible says that when you do your good works that you are not supposed to be bragging. I know many people with good hearts that do good works, but they do them all year long. They scarifice all year long. Are they any less special because they may not ascribe to the whole lenten ideal?
I have been having a personal question and much debate recently with Christianity especially since many others also have the same ideals. I just began reading " The Way to a Meaningful Life" by the Dalai Lama and he speaks about the same guiding principles. I have been to several web sites that say that one should learn of all the worlds religions and take bits and pieces of them all as opposed to ascribing to one particulare faith.
My mom made a big deal about having to go to work early so that she could go get her "ashes" today. I asked her why? She said just because that is what you do. There was no real reason or philosophy, just because it is the outward sign to everyone else that you believe in something. Does it have to be an outward sign or symbol? Can't you believe in something and have it be internal and go about your life and good works without needing the approval or accolades of others? Isn't that the more "Godlike" way? Can't we just do our good works or random acts of kindness without worrying about the thanks we will/or should get? Why does it have to be in the public forum? Can't we just simply be good people and not worry about certain readings and writings etc.?
Why do we have to deny ourselves to prove anything?

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Welcome Wagon

It has been some time since I have linked any new material and today is the day! Two new and diverse links have been added for your reading pleasure....or not. I guess it depends on your slant or maybe lack of slant.

The first is, Mother Jones News, for those of you that like to get smart , fearless journalism. It is a site for you! They have a large magazine and many, many news topics to choose from. It will be a good place to go during the election as well.

The second is an excellent little blog titled "Dooce". I fell upon it as a link at another blog that I like to read Indigo Luna, and liked it immediately! The author and I have some things in common, and as she calls it, we are both "recovering Mormons". Yes, I was once a fully covered and non- coffee drinking member of that organization/church. Hard to believe when you consider the coffee mega giant that I work for and top that with my political slant and you have a lethal combo!

If you go to her bio she has some very funny things to say about that topic. Once you are "out" there are many things you can write about in a very humorous way. I never attended BYU, couldn't afford it, and I am thankful for that! Also I did not have a family that belonged to the church, so I did not have anyone pushing me to attend that university.

This is one reason why I know so much about Mormons and their business and why I raise an eyebrow at Mitt Romney and his presidential bid. Not that religion should play any role, but with Mormons it runs their entire life. It IS their life. Everything flows around the church and doctrine and tells you how to live your life.

Anyway, as for this new blog, check her out, she is funny. I know I laughed. She is personal and does not seem to be too political. I like to keep up the variety in my reading and like to toss it out there for you folks as well. Besides, I like her title , "Valedictorian of Bottom Feeders".

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Snow Night Wine & Fun

No, we're not playing Twister, but since we are stuck at home tonight, yes Drew, due to the blizzard!! I came across this meme, although long what else is there to do tonight, at one of my other blogs Indigo Luna. Since I am having some wine and hours to kill before bedtime I thought I would give it a go. My answers are going to be in this bluish color. Since my color is not functioning correctly I can only assume that it is blue. After making it through I realized that I have done a few things and as I was going through I also relived many of the memories and ....it was fun too!!!

1. Bought everyone in the bar a drink2. Swam with dolphins3. Climbed a mountain4. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive5. Been inside the Great Pyramid6. Held a tarantula7. Taken a candlelit bath with someone8. Said “I love you” and meant it9. Hugged a tree10. Bungee jumped11. Visited Paris12. Watched a lightning storm at sea13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise14. Seen the Northern Lights15.Gone to a huge sports game
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables18. Touched an iceberg19. Slept under the stars20. Changed a baby’s diaper21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon22. Watched a meteor shower23. Gotten drunk on champagne24. Given more than you can afford to charity25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment27. Had a food fight28. Bet on a winning horse29. Asked out a stranger30. Had a snowball fight31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can32. Held a lamb33. Seen a total eclipse34. Ridden a roller coaster (only under duress and with my eyes closed - the wooden rollercoaster at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk)35. Hit a home run36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking37. Adopted an accent for an entire day38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment39. Had two hard drives for your computer40. Visited all 50 states41. Taken care of someone who was shit faced42. Had an amazing friend - one of them recommended this meme43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country44. Watched wild whales45. Stolen a sign46. Backpacked in Europe47. Taken a road-trip48. Gone rock climbing49. Midnight walk on the beach50. Gone sky diving51. Visited Ireland 52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger’s table and had a meal with them54. Visited Japan55. Milked a cow56. Alphabetized your CDs57. Pretended to be a superhero58. Sung karaoke59. Lounged around in bed all day 60. Posed nude in front of strangers61. Gone scuba diving62. Kissed in the rain63. Played in the mud64. Played in the rain65. Gone to a drive-in theater66. Visited the Great Wall of China67. Started a business68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken69. Toured ancient sites70. Taken a martial arts class71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight72. Gotten married73. Been in a movie74. Crashed a party76. Gone without food for 5 days77. Made cookies from scratch78. Won first prize in a costume contest79. Ridden a gondola in Venice80. Gotten a tattoo81. Rafted the Snake River82. Been on television news programs as an expert83. Got flowers for no reason84. Performed on stage85. Been to Las Vegas86. Recorded music87. Eaten shark88. Eaten fugu (pufferfish)89. Had a one-night stand90. Gone to Thailand91. Bought a house92. Been in a combat zone93. Buried one/both of your parents94. Been on a cruise ship95. Spoken more than one language fluently - every day at work96. Performed in Rocky Horror Picture Show97. Raised children - in progress98. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn’t stop when you knew someone was looking103. Had plastic surgery104. Survived an accident that you shouldn’t have survived105. Wrote articles for a large publication106. Lost over 100 pounds107. Held someone while they were having a flashback108. Piloted an airplane109. Petted a stingray110. Broken someone’s heart111. Ridden a bike112. Won money on a T.V. game show113. Broken a bone - tailbone114. Gone on an African photo safari115. Had a body part of yours below the neck pierced
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild118. Ridden a horse119. Had surgery120. Had a snake as a pet121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours - when I had mono123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states124. Visited all 7 continents125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days126. Eaten kangaroo meat127. Eaten sushi128. Had your picture in the newspaper129. Changed someone’s mind about something you care deeply about130. Gone back to school131. Parasailed132. Petted a cockroach133. Eaten fried green tomatoes134. Read The Iliad and The Odyssey135. Selected one important author who you missed in school, and read136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating 137. Skipped all your school reunions - 20th is coming up138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language139. Been elected to public office140. Written your own computer language141. Thought to yourself that you’re living your dream142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care143. Built your own PC from parts144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn’t know you145. Had a booth at a street fair146. Dyed your hair - last night as a matter of fact147. Been a DJ148. Shaved your head149. Caused a car accident150. Saved someone’s life - you never knew

Monday, February 12, 2007

...And in Other News.....

One would have to have been a monk in a monastary to have missed the recent news tsunami about Anna Nicole Smith and her death. I listened, in passing, the first day and moved on with my life. There are much more important things going on in the world, but can you tell?

There was a great little piece at CBS about why people care to continue with the speculation. Nancy Giles says that, "Maybe it's time to stop rubbernecking the human train wrecks, and pay more attention to people who actually contribute something positive to our lives." So true!

You know what she is talking about because you have been there on the roadways as traffice slows to a crawl and you finally get up there and see what everyone was rubbernecking to see. The general public has a bloodlust mentality when it comes to tabloid type people and their activities. How else can you account for the lasting appeal of the Star and National Enquirer magazines?

The 39 year old, named Vickie Lynn Hogan, at birth had all the qualities of a co-dependent addictive personality from the time she married her senior citizen hubby up till the minute she died. One of her last interviews, played over & over, showed signs of being high on something. It is very sad that her son died and that she left a newborn baby behind. Often after a trainwreck it is the survivors that have to figure out a way to carry on with their lives. This little baby girl has no idea.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Much Misc.

Last night I went to the calling hours for Matt "Doc" Conte. The 22 year old Navy serviceman that was a former student of mine. He had become a very well respected medic and had served in Afghanistan and most recently Iraq.

Needless to say, it was very emotionally draining. A fellow teacher and I went together. She brought 2 pieces of Matts art work with her, that he had left at our school ,and we presented them to his parents. We could barely speak. They were very appreciative and talked about how our school had turned his life around. Nice to hear and too bad that funding is cut and I was laid off and we are being shut down, but I digress.

The thing that cut me to the core was seeing the flag drapped coffin of this 22 year old young man and full military honor guard and the tattered stuffed animal that had belonged to him as a child sitting beside him. A sad reminder of a young and tragic loss and the children that he will never have to inherit that stuffed animal.

Tomorrow, Saturday, will be the long procession to the church where the final services will take place. I think I will join others that will be lining the streets for the procession. It is going to take me a long time to loose this feeling. More Marines have died this week and I am worried about my girlfriends son. She has not heard from him recently and he is right where all that action is taking place right now.

On a different note, I had an outstanding job interview yesterday and I will wait for them to the background check and may hear in 2 - 3 weeks if I have the job. One cool thing is that they teach you to drive the ambulance. Fun stuff!! Everyone has to take turns in the teams. Awesome. Lights & sirens and a big vehicle. Can't wait.

There is tons of paperwork though. I am starting a new file for myself and man how I hate paperwork. I did not realize how much would be involved. Phone calls and papers and yadda, yadda, yadda. Then do it all over again when it is time to renew in 2 years!!

Off until Tuesday. Plan to do some reading, check out the political scene and watch some of the first 5 years of Saturday Night Live from Netflix.

What about you?

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Looks Like We Made It

Yesterday afternoon it became official..... I am an EMT for the state of Ohio!!! I passed. They no longer give actual scores, it is either pass or fail. In another week I will be mailed my patch. Tomorrow I have a job interview and things are moving along quite nicely. I also found an ambulance company that is hiring and they have a good reputation. I know of several guys that work for them as well as diff cities as EMT's. So, I may work for Hudson, and AMR and keep the coffee mega giant as just a few days a week so I can hang on to all those "grande" coffee shop "perks". I am still amazed that somehow I contain the knowledge to either save your life and/or deliver a baby. It boggles the mind.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Rural America & Girls Gone Wild

The report from the University of New Hampshire's Carsey Institute does not come as any surprise to me. The study titled," U.S. Rural Soldiers Account for a Disproportionately High Share of casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan". You can read the study, as a PDF file, by clicking the link at the end of the article over at CBS news.

It doesn't tell you anything that you did not already surmise. That youth in the more rural parts of the U.S. find no other options than joining the military. Having taught in a county that has many rural school districts I was able to see first hand the number of kids that would not even make it to a trade school and saw the military as their only way out. They would often contact our school to see if the recruiters could come in and talk to our kids. They knew where the demographics were. Not that the military is a bad thing, but they seem to seek out those with lesser means and it is obvious and this study backs that up.

Yesterday as I was having a day off cup of coffee, at the coffee mega giant, I opened a local paper and saw a face I recognized on the front page. A former student was just killed in Iraq. Matt Conte a 22 year old kid from Streetsboro, Ohio. He was a Navy medic asigned to a Marine unit. It is very sad. A very handsome young man that had great art abilities. A fellow teacher and I plan to attend the calling hours as soon as they are announced.

Now, it is getting closer and more personal.

Newsweek coined an excellent word,"prosti-tot", to describe the VERY young girls that like to follow the antics of Paris, Britney & Lindsey. If I were the parent of a 7 year old girl, I know that it would be hard, but I would not even allow any of them to be idolized!! I used to waitress with 20 something girls that thought that Paris was soooo cool and wanted to be her!! I could see that from my gay hairdresser, but what are they thinking!!?? Where did it ever become the norm for Paris to be a role model? I know she doesn't want to be or never said that she was, but why do they think she is so cool? Is it that they hate underwear?

Just saw the local on the 8's from the Weather Channel and it is 0 here and the windchill is -12. I just put out the birdseed for the birds and squirrels. As cold as it has been they have been here in droves to feast. If we did not have this party tonight it would be a good night to stay in and watch movies.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Good Dog

This is another reason why I love dogs!! This German Sheppard saved this ladies life. I am thrilled to hear that so many people are wanting to adopt him and that he may become a lifesaving animal.

Good boy!!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Here Goes..........

Tomorrow is the big day!! At noon I will begin the 2 hours and 15 minutes that will determine if I am going to be certified to be an EMT. One of the guys from my class, who already took the tes, said that it only took him one hour. I plan to read slowly and carefully and take my good old time.

I am not, nor have I been, nervous. I have been studying some evey day. Doing the flashcards that I have made every chapter. Going through old worksheets etc. I really feel as if nothing more can come in and I know what I know and that's it. I am ready.

I will know in about 2 days, via e-mail, if I passed and then in several days I will receive the scores via snail mail and be able to see how I scored in each test area. I hope it goes well as I don't want it to overshadow my superbowl/weekend plans.

The son & my mom and I are going to a big shindig. My girlfriend and her boyfriend are putting on a rather large party. Live music downstairs, 60 inch TV and food upstairs. Open bar. Diverse age group and much fun to be had. I even took Monday off so I could recouperate. I really am not that in to the game, but the food and fun. I actually like the commercials more!!