18 November 2010

What what, in my what?

Yesterday I went to return the rental car I have been in for two and a half weeks.  I had kind of estimated a cost of the car over the course of the time I have had it in my possession, but I was not at all prepared for what the actual total cost was.

The lady had the nerve to tell me that I owed Enterprise $897 and some change.

As soon as she said that I wanted to start yelling out the words to Samwell's hit song, though he is more positive about this sort of experience.  I felt violated - and not in a good way.

I split up the money on the credit and debit cards and then walked over to the dealership.

It felt really nice to purchase a car that I have liked since it came out.

It also felt nice that my monthly payments on the car will be over four times less than I paid for 2 1/2 weeks of a rental.

I am a Mini owner.  This is my actual car in the picture.

Included with the owner's manual is an invitation to join the USA Mini Owners club as well as a catalog of a ton of merchandise, including dog food/water bowls designed from Mini.

Not sure if I will go that far with it, but I will enjoy my car.

12 November 2010

What is up yours? Seriously!

I work along side some pretty gross people.  They are people who, in the lunch room, will leave pieces way larger than small crumbs on the floor or on the table when they eat.  People who eat chilli, spill a small bit as they move their spoon past the bowl, and then leave that mess on the table.  When I go back into the room later to use the restroom, the mess is there, solidified.  These are people, who (based on the dirt and under-nail grime) often do not seem as though they have washed their hands since their last hunting weekend when they dug their hands into their recent catch.

Speaking of the restroom, it is in the same room as the lunch room.  There are two faculty restrooms, one is designated as the women's, the other for the men.  Usually, if one is occupied, a person will use whichever one is available.

These are the same restrooms that consist of possibly the worst invention ever in life.

Today, I went sat in the room before school to eat a tasty breakfast from the local donut shop - nothing like bacon, eggs, and cheese on a fresh bagel in the morning.  As I sat there, I was amazed at how clean the room is in the mornings after the custodial staff has cleaned the room.

I have been trying to up my water intake this week since my skin was feeling kind of dry.  So, I had to use the bathroom this morning before my normal lunchroom break.  I went into the bathroom and noticed that there was a strong smell of funk. As though I had gone in right after someone had really blown the place up.  As I quickly squatted to get my pee on, I was quoting the guy from Friday - don't go in there for about 30-40 minutes.

Just now (at the end of the day) I went in to tinkle again.

I stilled smelled what was now beyond funk.

The smell was so bad that I had to look closer at the toilet and figure out what the hell it was.

On the sides of the toilet were brown streaks.  Below the toilet were two fairly large, brown droplets nestled at just the point where they must have dropped as they dripped down the side of the toilet.


Some nasty-ass-mo-fo truly BLEW UP the toilet.

How do you shit and the stuff gets on the outside of toilet?  And it had to have been early in the morning, so what did you eat last night or this morning to make such a gigantic explosion force its way out of your bowels?  What has gotten into you?  Do you have some sort of parasite?  Do you have an even bigger aversion to dairy than I do?  Do you have giant monster in you that released itself through your nether-regions?

Help me understand.

I have seen a toilet get clogged, but these toilets are the industrial kind that would probably suck your bowels right out of your ass hole if you sat too far into the toilet.

How did a person clog the toilet so much that the shit literally overflowed and lept out of the bowl and splayed onto the floor?


Help me understand.

10 November 2010

08 November 2010

Awesomely disturbing comment of the week

A man I work with said his pregnant wife asked him what he looked forward to about their soon-to-be-born child.  Man said he replied that the thing he loves most about his previous child (2-year old with his ex-wife) is that that daughter gets to go home - he doesn't have to be with her all the time and can send her back to her mother at anytime.

Not exactly sure he should be telling his pregnant, hormonal wife that.

And also sure that they should have discussed this before the new wife was 2 weeks away from delivering.

But at least the mother isn't doing things like put the baby in the washing machine like this mother... that I know of.

04 November 2010

Thankfully, things have changed

When I was a kid back in the 80s, each Sunday I would have to get dressed up for church.  Inevitably, this would include the super-thick stockings.  I think they must have taken a ball of yarn and tried to see if the stockings could be as thick as the ball originally was.  Although the color options were pretty great, these things were super itchy, super uncomfortably, and left me not ever wanting to wear stockings or panty hose ever again.

This week, I bought two pair of black tights/panty hose.  I really like how they look on other people and figure that after all these years, someone had to have come up with a better cloth make-up that would not cause the itching and irritation of the 80s brands.  I also hate wearing pants every day in the winter and tights are an easy option to still be able to wear dresses and skirts without freezing to death in the StL cold.

The tights are awesome! I rocked them two days this week so far.  Once with a dress and some pumps and today with a skirt and some boots.

I am a convert.  I want more colors.

I guess I just have to buy the quality ones instead of the cheap Walgreens brands.

03 November 2010

02 November 2010

A little tea before my ballot

This morning I got up early to go vote.

Unfortunately I didn't get ready fast enough to make it before heading of to teacher meetings at school.  I got off the highway to go to the polling place, but had to turn right back on once I looked at the time.  I didn't want to chance that the lines at the polls would be long and I would be late.

When I got to school, the first person I encountered was this staunch Republican with an "I voted" sticker on his sweater.

Then I sat down at the table to discuss some issues with the people in my department and noticed a large, bright red coffee container with Republican National Convention on the front.  At one point, one of the other super-Republicans (who regularly makes jokes about the super-Tea Partier shirt he wishes he could wear daily as an undershirt) grabbed the mug and rubbed it like a genie in a lamp and said something about how he hopes things will work out in the election today.

I was so disgusted.  I still can't totally put my hand around how an educator can support some of the initiatives the party supports.

After the meetings, I drove right to the polls.

I am not very optimistic about what the elections will mean for St. Louis, and for the nation, but I voted.

Hopefully, I can at least cancel out one of the other people's votes.

01 November 2010

The end of an era

For over a year, I my car has been burning oil.  At first I was putting two bottles of oil in every two weeks. Since the school year started, I have been putting oil in it every three days or so.  I could tell by just listening to it when it was bone-dry.  I felt special.

I felt a real connection to that car.  We've been through a lot together since spring 2000.

Friday morning I was on the way to work and when I got the stop light about 200m from the school building, the light turned red.  My car started to shake like my dad's old diesel Benz.  It was still pitch black as it was about 6:45 in the morning, but I assumed that the cars around me must have thought I was bumping to some really good music.

I carefully drove the car the rest of the way to the lot.

After school, the car started shaking as soon as I turned the ignition.

I turned it off and called the boyfriend to see what he thought of it.  Of course, his reaction was that my car had been broke for a long time.

It has never been like this, though.

I drove to the local 7-11.  When I got there, I checked the oil level, poured some more oil in and started it back up.  Now, the gas pedal had no effect on the car's movement.

Somehow, I got the car to move to the Midas that has become my go to place - about 15 minutes away on the roads (no way I was going to get on the highway).  The guys there know me by name and car.  They don't even charge me for some services since I have been there so much.  At one point there was something wrong with the car that they couldn't figure out.  They sent me to the dealer, but they had no idea.  Mike and Jamie (Midas guys) told me to tell them what the dealers discovered with their higher-tech tools.  But they continued to research and figured out what even Toyota's tools couldn't discover.

When I got to Midas, Mike looked at the car.  Called me in to the garage about 15 minutes after he started and gave me the news.

There were two options... either a new engine (could run 2500-4500 USD) or a new car.

So, it is official.

The Rolly-san is dead.

I have to find a new (or new for me) car.

27 April 2010

Used sanitary napkins - come on!

I have seen some pretty disgusting acts people do.  I am a teacher and work around young people.

I guess, though, that I have been ignorant of the fact that there are so many nasty adults in the world.

That is why I am so intrigued by the shows Hoarders and Buried Alive.  It is really something to think that people can keep so much stuff and that some of them can live in such filth.

I thought I had really seen it all when I saw a lady on one of the shows that had animal feces all over the house and a white toilet that was almost as black as my ebony hair.

That was...


I read this:
Do you often encounter the far extreme of hoarding, like where people actually keep everything?

Yes, we do. In fact, in one of the first groups we ran there was a woman who saved used sanitary napkins and her argument was that she was going to dry them out and use them again. We also had another person who saved everything - parts of her body, everything that came into her house. She had used band aids stuck on the bathroom wall. The first time I was there she worked on at least trying to take them off the bathroom wall and it was just excruciating for her. She was crying and just in horrible pain pulling these band aids off the wall and putting them into a box. The hair that was collected in the bathtub was equally difficult for her to get rid of.
(Emphasis mine)

From an article on titled "Hoarding: How Collecting Stuff Can Destroy Your Life".

I know some people are not overly clean.  But, I thought grown-folks were at least half-way decent.

I understand that there is some sort of disfunction going on in these peoples' minds, but this is ridiculous - and just plain disgusting.

Yesterday after reading this, I cleaned the bathroom, washed the dishes, emptied the refrigerator, shredded some papers, and gathered together at least 8 items of clothing and 3 accessories that I have not used in the past few months to give away today.

14 April 2010

Help me understand the logic

This is what I'm working with:

  • A teacher told students to double space their paper. One student turned in a paper that was single-spaced, but typed with a word, then two spaces, then a word, then two spaces.  I teach high school.  Really makes me wonder who the kid was.  Is it a student who has never done an assignment before?  Was the kid sitting as s/he typed just pissed off at the teacher thinking of how stupid and pointless it was to have to focus on hitting the space bar twice between each word?
  • One of my athletes had to miss the last weekend track meet because her sister was coming in town.  The school is in St. Louis County.  Her sister goes to Webster University - also in StL.  She said her sister doesn't live at home and it was going to be a big deal for her when she came over.  I'm sure she spent every minute that she would have been competing catching up with her sister that clearly does not want to keep in contact if it is that big a deal for her to come home from within a 20-mile radius from her parents' home.
  • I saw an old, really good friend at a recent track meet in Festus, MO.  As we stood catching up, an athlete came and proceeded to tell me that as he was running his race, he felt his lower leg break in half.  This while he is just finished jogging up the hill to me and is standing on both of his legs with no looks of intense pain, and no bone marrow dripping from where his leg snapped in half.
  • One of the students in my school got picked to be Made by MTV.  Pretty cool, especially since she is an excellent student.  When the MTV lady came by today to do some interviews with students, of course the most annoying person in my classes was there and he wanted to pretend he is her boyfriend.  Because, I'm sure, with all the taping the show will do of her before May, they will not get actual footage of her talking with her real boyfriend.  Is it horrible of me to hope that the footage of him gets cut from the show?  (If her episode makes the cut)
  • A guy who stays on the same street as me has been parked on one side of the street for a long time.  One of those really big older American cars with custom paint and some expensive rims.  No door handle on the outside -- that would mess up the smooth exterior look.  He moved the car to the other side of the street.  I guess he was keeping it on the one side of the street so that everyone wouldn't see that he had rims only on one side of the car.  The other side just had regular hub caps.  Hopefully he will save up some money and get the other pair of rims.
There is so much more, but thinking about it all at one time makes my head hurt and makes me want to scream or something.  Perhaps another day I will share more of my youngsters' antics

07 April 2010

Guns, hold-ups, and family

I love my family.  I know I don't tell them that enough, and I sometimes don't talk with them extensively for long periods of time, but I truly love each person in my family -- immediate, cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, in-laws, all of them.

I know I sometimes try to play hard, not be emotional, but I am actually quite sensitive to what happens to them.

I have wanted to write about this event since it first happened, but emotions got the best (or worst) of me.  I didn't know how to word it all, still don't really.  I have gone from shock, to anger, to sorrow, to wishing I could be there to hug them all, to anger, to disappointment that these things happen, to sorrow, to anger, and now finally a semblance of semi-peace.

All I know is that I am happy that it turned out ok.

I will let Kid Sis #2 share what happened with her in her own words:

As many of you know, I spent the last week of March in Nigeria. The trip went well, with the exception of one 2-hour period. Prior to our trip, so many of our friends and family expressed concern about the risks of kidnapping, as kidnapping has become the M.O. of too many Nigerians lately. I flippantly dismissed those concerns; I’ve been going to Nigeria all my life, and have never felt unsafe. On Palm Sunday, I was in my aunt’s home in Port Harcourt with my mother in law and my son. My husband had just left to go to Lagos. We had just finished breakfast, when two men cam into the dining area with our very frightened looking cook. One had a long knife, and the other held a small gun. The men asked me where my husband was, and who else was in the house. They then shuttled us into a bedroom, and proceeded to tear up wrappers and bedsheets to use to tie my Mumsie’s and the cook’s hands, feet, and mouths. Chinedu and I were not tied up. Next were the gateman and his two friends; they were brought into the room, pushed and kicked to the ground and tied up.

As Chinedu and I were not tied up, my fear was that they were planning on taking him or both us of away, to be held for ransom. As I mentioned earlier, kidnapping has become too popular in Nigeria, and the American firstborn son would likely be capable of providing a large ransom. While the others were in the bedroom on the floor, the men took me to my own bedroom, and began ransacking our bags, looking for money, jewelry, and any other thing of value. One of the men fondled me, and told me that when he was finished with me, my husband would be too ashamed to ever touch me again. I am usually pretty even keeled, but have never been so frightened in my life. My body was literally shaking. Chinedu, who I held the whole time, was also frightened. He held onto me tight for the entire period, not moving, and did not say a single word or cry. Any one who knows my son knows that this is not his usual state. 
While they were removing our valuables from the room, a car came up to the gate. My heart sank, as I knew it was my uncle, with his wife and three children, who had come to take me to church. They were brought into the house, and tied up as well after the armed robbers took their phones, money, and gold jewelry. As they restarted the search for valuables in the house, another visitor, a small boy, came. He was soon followed by his mother and sister. At this point, the robbers were obviously flustered. They did not see my husband or the owner of the house (both were out of town), yet visitors were steadily coming. At this time there were 15 of us being held hostage. They kept asking why visitors were coming, and how many more we were expecting. A third man was outside of the house, and with each new arrival would call anxiously, wanting to know what to do. They were also frustrated by the locked master bedroom door, which they were unable to break open. As the hostages began to desperately beg for the ties to be loosened, the men yelled threats; namely that they would beat them and take Chinedu away and leave him on the side of the street in Aba if they were not quiet. With the threat to Chinedu’s life, every time a hostage made a sound, my heart ached at the possibility that they would harm him.

During the ordeal, I kept repeating one of the memory verses from my Wednesday night bible study: “Cast all your anxieties on Him, because he cares for you.” (1Peter 5:7). Praying this verse helped me stay calm. My mother in law was also continually praying. At one point, the ties on her hands became so tight that she could not stand the pain. After praying, she felt a peace, the ties on her hands loosened, as well as the tie around her mouth. My uncle had told the robbers at one point that he was suffocating, and needed the tie around his mouth loosened. They did not loosen his ties, but he also said that after he prayed, he felt a peace come over him. The tie around his mouth and nose came down so he could breathe better.

One of the robbers was playing the “nice guy” to the other’s “bad guy.” He did not tie up my sick cousin despite the older man’s orders, and he claims that he told the older man (who had touched me) not to rape me. He also said that I was left untied so that I could untie the others when they left. Despite these overtures, this was still an individual who was kicking women and children, and brandishing a knife. Finally, the men left with two bags of our belongings. Initially we were not sure they were gone, and were afraid to start untying in case they returned. After the house was silent for some time, I started untying the group. And while I finally broke down in tears at the stress of the ordeal after everyone was untied, I was struck by the immediate response of the others: praising God. My aunt even took the cloth that had been used to tie as a testimony to give to others, and has been showing them to people wherever she goes.

As I wiped my tears away, I began to grasp God’s mercy. We could have been kidnapped, raped, and the men could have made good on their threats to shoot us. My husband could have been present, and injured or killed if the men were not satisfied with the money he showed them. My uncle, the owner of the home could have been in the house. The men had mentioned him by name, and admitted that they would have seriously dealt with him if he had been there. And my greatest fear of all, that they would harm my son, was not fulfilled.

Since this happened, we have had such an outpouring of love and prayers from family and friends. Everyone is apologetic that we had to have the experience. While it was obviously unpleasant and traumatic, every single time I reflect on what happened, I am overcome by gratefulness that no one was seriously harmed. We have some bruises and emotional scars among us, but none of the other physical threats were carried out. And while initially was upset that my cousins had come to the house and experienced this episode, most have said it was a good thing that they were there, as the steady stream of visitors made the men leave as quickly as possible. Every time I am sad about the loss of material things (cash, digital camera, portable DVD player, my two absolute favorite pairs of shoes, my engagement ring, beautiful jewelry my mother in law gave me, my favorite wrapper, all of the phones of those present, all of the gold jewelry from the women . . . ), I simply look at my son. My beautiful son, whom they did not lay a single finger on. Whom they could have kidnapped, but did not touch; they were not even close enough to him to see that he was wearing a gold chain that his grandmother had just given him.

God is real. And he was watching over us that day. Many of my friends do not believe in God, and do not like public proclamations of His glory. But I am compelled to tell this story not so people feel sorry for us, but to praise His name. Thank you to all of you who have been praying both before and after the robbery. We appreciate your love and support. The remainder of the trip went amazingly well, and yes, I will go back to Nigeria in the future.

My uncle for a time could not breath as he was laying on the ground.  He already has some breathing problems, and laying on his stomach gagged was not helping.  But he is ok.  My uncle who lives in the house is ok.  I has other living places in some other cities and I hope that he will be all right where ever he is.

Thinking of, and visualizing it all still brings up emotions that are really jolting.

15 February 2010

Three -- an old school poem

An old poem I wrote freshman year in college.  I was cleaning out some old stuff and ran across some old 3 1/2" disks.  Unfortunately I erased some of the ones that may have had more poems on them before really looking at what their contents were -- including a poem I won money for senior year in high school.

I'm not sure what I was writing about, but it is still a decent poem.


In that place i could see
seven stars in the sky
    i had designed
    my own prison
    then something happened
         the walls disolved
         and the sky collapsed

I’ve never known anything so great
as that feeling
            the kind so bad
            you wouldn’t wish
            your worst enemy
    once you feel it      though
       it’s different
            you wish it to anyone
            anyone -- your worst enemy
            even your best friend
    and you mean it
    crazy thing is
            you always knew this
                    you meant it

The walls are gone now
and taking another look up
i realize that really
         one’s a satallite
         two are planes
         and another a paint splash
                on the window
                from when i redecorated

In this place
             i    can    see

08 February 2010

I will be a rock star parent

Despite some occasional fears about my ability to be a good parent, as each day passes and I see/read what other people do with their children, I realize that I will be a rock-star parent when given the chance.

A US soldier is charged with assault after waterboarding his child.  For not reciting the ABCs.

Waterboarding.  A four-year old.

For not saying her letters.

A teacher today told me that she heard of a parent who took her young children to a self-service car wash and sprayed the kids with the water for a punishment. As though she is a cop from the 1950s and 1960s.


I will be grand at parenting.

I understand that kids can be frustrating at times.  I have seen them in public, I have baby sat them, I teach over 100 of them each semester every school year.

I know I will be at better than these and other people.  Including the pastor who pulled a gun on his kid due to the kids lack of attendance at church.  Or the parent who executed his naked son over an argument.

14 January 2010

Haiti needs help - be careful how you give it

My thoughts keep getting back to the people in Haiti for many reasons.  One is the damage that has occurred due to the earthquake this week.  Another reason is because I have long been questioning what has been going on with regard to aid in that nation.  As the news keeps announcing, they are the poorest nation in the western hemisphere. 

They are also a large recipient of aid from various nations and organizations throughout the world.  From 1990-2003 they received over $4 billion in aid.

I am by no means saying that they don't need help, but I am saying we really need to be thinking about and addressing what is going on in that nation and with the people trying to help them.

If you want to give them aid at this time, please read on and really look into what you are doing and who you are doing it through.  You can use charitynavigator.org and guidestar to check on the status and spending of organizations you wish to donate to or that you wish to know more about.

A lot of the aid they receive comes from Non-governmental organizations (NGOs).  These sort of organizations have a history of aid, but also are so large that at times they are not really giving as much money as people think to the "charities" they are supposed to be supporting. 

They are organizations who use their money to basically promote their liberal ideology.

They help those who they feel are less off than themselves.  It is the same as people in this nation who basically give money to charities.  They give money, they give water, they give food, they give used or new clothes -- all helping them to feel better about themselves.  If they give a little to help the lesser of those, then it does not really hurt for them to live in their fancy homes.  It is ok for them to eat at fancy places.  It is acceptable for them to by clothes, cars, and other items in excess.  

They provide aid, but are not really addressing the problem.  Most of these organizations are not doing anything to really solve the problems.  They are not helping the people to gain jobs.  They may help some one learn to farm (which is great), but they are not helping them to be able to transport their food to various parts of their nation so that they can help sustain more people.  

The typical solutions are not sustainable. 

Aid agencies and foreign governments often do not fully involve the local leaders in making decisions about what will truly help the nation succeed.

And with Haiti, although there were 28 countries gathered together spring 2009 for the International Donor's Conference who agreed to provide the island nation with $353 million to help reduce poverty, there is really not much to show for all the aid that has been given to them over all these years.

I believe it ties back to the start of the nation.  It is a proud history for them as the enslaved people of Haiti were able to overthrow their oppressors back in 1791.  They were named a republic officially in 1804.  They had been ruled by the French and the French were not easily going to give up a colony of theirs full of people they could force to work and build the imperial status of France.  They demanded for Haiti to pay the French government 150 million gold francs (which in today's dollars would be about $20 billion).  The Haitians spent over 100 years trying to pay this off since they felt it would help them become stable since they would gain acknowledgment and acceptance from the major powers if they completed paying the money out.

That is a lot of debt.  They still have a lot of debt to this day. The debt was at around $1.4 billion in the early part of 2009.  Last year, the US canceled $1.2 billion of the debt.  But that is after they have been working to repay that debt for so long. 

Think of what they could have been doing with the money they have had to be paying back to various nations.  Think of what they could have done to help their nation if they were not busy using (probably aid money) funds to repay nations.

Some nations, including Haiti have a history of some corruption.  

That is not an excuse for them, and it is not a reason to stop trying to help them out of their situation.  

It is a reason to have donors hold the government accountable to the money that is given to them.  

How do you keep giving nations money and the people see nothing from it.  

Like I said earlier, in just a 13 year period, the island of Haiti received over $4 billion.  Think how the people's lives could have been improved if that money had just been distributed to the people.  The nation is one that has not enough food produced on their land to sustain the people.  According to USAID 54% of Haitians live on just over 50 cents a day, unemployment is between 70-80% and over 40% of the people there do not have access to drinkable water.

Providing the people with health services is great, but we need to help them so that they can help themselves.  They need to be taught skills that will help them in the future to be able to build their infrastructure and develop jobs and have an education.  Most of the people there do not have higher than a primary education and only about 52% of the adults over 15 are fully literate.  According to the Council on Hemispheric Affairs, about 30% of Haiti's GDP comes from Haitians living and working abroad sending money back home to their relations.

They need more than just food and water and vaccines.

And they need it from more than the numerous nations that are supposedly helping Haiti.  Seriously.  Look at this massive list of NGOs that are said to be aiding Haiti in some way.  Look how many organizations there are, but what do they have to show for their "aid".

The Council on Hemispheric Affairs says that "[P]art of the problem begins with the widespread notion that over half of international aid goes toward NGO 'overhead' costs."

So be careful when you donate to some of these organizations.  They are basically taking your money and paying themselves with most of it rather than distributing it to the people they are saying they are helping. 

Makes sense with regard to Haiti's situation.  Look at that NGO list again.  If all of them are supposed to be giving money or some other sort of aid to Haiti, how is Haiti broke and still in dire conditions?

Also from the Council on Hemispheric Affairs site:
Roger Annis, of the Toronto Haiti Action Committee (THAC) professed that during a 2007 visit to the island, his entourage was repeatedly appealed to by locals to publically disseminate news of the failure of aid programs in order to bring about significant solutions to development issues. “I saw no evidence of Canadian aid programs reaching that desperately poor population,” alleged Annis. The underlying reason that aid is often ineffective is that it is simply not reaching the people on the ground. In addition to holding aid agencies accountable for their commitments, incorporating local communities into the decision of how best to use aid is an approach that could readily improve the effectiveness of the distributed funds.
The work being done is not really getting to the people.  The aid agencies are somehow getting donations, saying they are going to help, but really not doing much.

Top that with the different leaders of Haiti that have dug into the coffers and helped themselves to various funds leaving most of their people suffering.

Peter Mott of Interconnect Newsletter said of some of the aid missions that
With 9,000 soldiers from 42 countries, led by Brazil, the UN Mission to Stabilize Haiti (MINUSTAH) has spent $2 billion fielding armed patrols throughout Haitian poor neighborhoods to repress and intimidate the people, arbitrarily killing civilians, and sometimes sexually assaulting young girls and women.  In the meantime, the economic conditions worsen and the basic needs of the population remain unmet.
 There has to be a better way.

I hope that as you reach out to help the Haitians in their time of need, that you really think about who you are giving money to -- research the organization to find out what they actually do with their money.

Check out the video on Guernicamag.com about aid giving and its impact.

Here is some Haitian history from the Haitian Blogger and you can see recent updates on from the Haitian Blogger.

Another great link with information on the US involvement in Haiti is the Haitisolidarity.net - including information on Aristide.

Thanks for reading my rant.


Here is a link to some information on what Wyclef Jean has done with his donations in the past.  Just what I talked about here. Not sure if this is some sort of action to attack him and get people to not give to his organization or what.  I just hope that money gets to the people and the people that can help the people.

11 January 2010

I will look like a crack head by days' end

Today I did the unthinkable, the unforgivable, the inconceivable.

Last week I worked Monday with no students, and then had students only Tuesday and Wednesday.  It was a nice way to ease back into this teaching thing after winter vacation.

But it has thrown off my routine in many ways.  I am sleeping way later than I need to be for someone who wakes around 5:30.  I became adjusted to eating breakfast around 9 or ten, which means that I am not really that hungry at 6, so I don't eat a lot and then am starving by 9:30.  I am used to taking naps around 2, so when school gets close to being out, I am not sure if I will be fully capable of driving home adequately.

The worst thing of all, though is what happened this morning for which I will suffer the rest of the day.

I am a lover of hydration and a lover of moist, supple, hydrated, soft lips.

Unfortunately, I left home with no type of lip balm/Chap-Aid/lip gloss/Carmex/petroleum jelly/C.O. Bigelow lip shine.  I took out the spares over break to put in the bags I was carrying around.  For some reason I don't even have the spare I usually keep in the coat pocket.

Even when my lips are not dry, I apply product at least every two hours just to make sure that there is no possibility of crackage.  There is nothing worse than seeing people with dry, ashy looking lips.  Well, there is one thing -- having those lips yourself.

I am fearing for my sanity at this point.

I applied some generic vaseline-type product this morning before I left the house, but that was at 6:15.  It is now 10 and I am not sure if I can make it.

My lips are already feeling the pressure of not being moistened.  I am trying to up my water intake, but that seems to make them drier as the water touches these fine lips and evaporates.  I am tempted to lick them and purse them together to maybe force some moisture into them somehow.  I am hoping that at least when I have lunch, the extra grease from the taco-like lunch I prepared from home will be temporarily soothing.

I am not one to share lip products as I never know who has some sort of mouth ailment that they may spread to me through their product.

I don't have a prep hour today so can't even make a quick run to the convenience store nearby.

I may have to succumb and use that old method I saw on Oprah once about using the grease from the back of your ears or the side of your nostril to moisten your lips.  Though, upon checking, there is not much there since I am pretty adamant about scrubbing those areas clean and my skin has not been as oily as it gets in the summer time.

I really fear the cracks and tears, the pain, and the inevitable crack-head looking lips that could ensue with no relief to my lips.

By lunch time I am sure that I will not be able to smile or say words that require a lot of lip stretching.

I hope I can make it.

And I hope that as I drive home looking kind of tired, I don't get pulled over by a cop who mistakes me for a burnt-out-ashy-lipped-unsmiling crack head.

It was suggested that I apply lotion to my chaps.

Unfortunately I don't have that either.  I am hoping that I don't have to use the bathroom today and that I don't touch any students and don't touch anything that they have sneezed on and don't touch the railings as I walk down the stairs.

I am also hoping that I don't completely look like I have been punching flower by the end of the day.

I may have to borrow one of the students' over scented fruity/flowery lotions.

08 January 2010

Snow and windows

It has been nice being off these two days.  When it started snowing I was working the score table for the school's basketball game.  Got to see an old friend who coaches for the opposing team.  Nice.

The drive home and driving since has been ok, but there is one thing that really annoys me about people who drive in/when it snows/has snowed.

I understand that it is annoying to have to clean off the car if you do not have the luxury of a garage/car port/covered parking.  But, for real, it is not that difficult.

It bothers me when people don't wipe down the top of their cars or the trunk.  The spewing of dust is one thing, but when the stuff starts to freeze, it turns to ice.  I have had several occasions where I had ice crusts come soaring toward my car and had to swerve (almost causing an accident) to make sure the chunk did not break through my window.  I have had one occasion where I couldn't swerve and it did hit the glass causing a huge crack in the window.

Please, take the extra three minutes to dust off the whole car.  It's not like shoveling snow -- you will not have a heart attack by reaching up a little bit.  If you have an SUV, get a broom or stand on the entryway into the car.

Thanks, and I apologize for becoming that complaining old woman.

01 January 2010

My only look back... I'm moving forward

Happy New Year to all and I hope it is infinitely better than 2009!

1. What did you do in 2009 that you’d never done before?
Spoke my mind more and put my foot down more with various people

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I didn't make any last year, but I have some for this year.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

4. Did anyone close to you die?

5. What places did you visit?
Little towns in MO, and Houston, TX -- didn't travel enough.

6. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?

More money

7. What dates from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
January 20 -- Inauguration Day.  Pretty memorable for various reasons - one being that I voted for someone and they actually won for the first time in my voting career

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Can't really think of anything (that may be one goal for this year) -- I did post each day in November which was a big thing for me

9. What was your biggest failure?
Not communicating enough with friends and family

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Got my first sinus infection.  Regular
back issues

11. What was the best thing you bought?
New pair of really cute boots. More practically, a 
basement draining system.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Anyone who was selfless

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Politicians of various local and national levels; former coaching colleague

14. Where did most of your money go?
Food, bills, gas

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Seeing and being around friends and family.

16. What song will always remind you of 2009?

Knock You Down -- Keri Hilson; not a favorite, but I do love "now I'm mad real mad Joe Jackson"

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder?
b) thinner or fatter?
a little bigger - though not much
c) richer or poorer?
a little more money - but not enough to make a big difference yet

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Hanging out with friends and communicating better

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Wasting time on needless
social networking agents

0. How did you spend Christmas?
With family and friends

21. Did you fall in love in 2009?
Only more with my man

22. What was your favorite TV program?
Lost, Curb Your Enthusiasm, 1000 Ways to Die, Project Runway (though not nearly as good as in the past)

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
I don't hate... I appreciate (even the people I don't like teach me and help me grow)

24. What was the best book you read?

Didn't really get to read any new books, though I did get through Easier Said Than Done written by an old friend and The Slide
written by a high school classmate

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Finding out Sade and Corinne Bailey Rae were coming out with new CDs

26. What did you want and get?

A blender

27. What did you want and not get?
A lottery win

28. What was your favorite film of this year?

Nine Queens (Nueve Reinas)

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
Hung out with friends and family.  Stopped adding when I turned 21.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Way more money and way more time and good times with friends

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009?
More put together, though still needing improvement

32. What kept you sane?

My man, my chiropractor, not reading the news regularly

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Don't care that much about any of them - if I have to choose one, then
Amy Goodman

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
Inauguration, gay marriage, health care, war, Blackwater, climate issues, economic crisis, coup in Honduras, Nigerian trying to bomb plane

35. Who did you miss?
Various friends I haven't seen in a while; family overseas I haven't seen in forever

36. Who was the best new person you met?

Didn't meet to many new people (shame) but I am liking my new assistant coach

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009.

I need to be more communicative and try to foresee the consequences (good or bad) of my actions; I need to figure out what I really want in life.  I was at a conference and heard an acronym that I am digging -- PUSH -- persist until something happens

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

Just get back up when it knocks you down. (See #16)

I borrowed this idea from Chase After the Wind blog.