Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Vegetable Garden

In my environmental studies class, we had a guest lecturer come. He talked about population increase and how our current style of life (with the insane amount of consumption) is unsustainable and we're heading into a crisis. Did you know that the average piece of food on your plate traveled 15,000 miles to get there? That shocked me. The U.S. has virtually no natural resources because we've depleted them. We are a nation of business, and our business is making money off of other countries' resources and temporary surpluses. The stuff that is grown in the U.S. is pesticide, herbicide, and feces-laden, farmed by big companies who hire immigrant workers at less than minimum wage in atrocious conditions. You can avoid this social injustice by buying 'organic' and 'locally grown' product, and though it may be higher in quality, it's too expensive for anyone save the affluent to reasonably live on.

I'm afraid that for the next few years, I'll be supporting this corrupt system because I'm too poor to do anything different. My dream is eventually to start my own garden. My own BIG garden. I want to move to Oregon, live in a nice cottage-ish house, and have a huge yard where I can grow vegetables and raise my tortoise (and eventually, family), teach chemistry and english, write, and cook to my heart's delight. Large gardens yield lots of food, and perhaps since teachers earn so little, I could earn some extra money on the side by selling surplus vegetables at a farmer's market. Now obviously because of the climate, I won't be able to grow all of these, but here are some ideas:

butternut squash
spaghetti squash
grape tomatoes
brussel sprouts
sweet peas
sugar snap peas
sweet potatoes
garden mushrooms
water chestnuts
bell peppers
chili peppers

dill weed
lemon balm

Monday, January 26, 2009

Shakespeare was indeed a funny man...

I never thought while reading "Romeo and Juliet" that I would burst into laughter. Tragedy? Very much so. Then why was I so thoroughly amused? First off, Shakespeare's puns and incredible wit make me smile. But most importantly? The dirty jokes. It's so CLEAN at first glance (we read it in 9th grade and the 'questionable content' must've all gone over our heads) and then you read it again... and... well... I won't spoil the surprise or delight as a new meaning dawns on you and you blush in embarrassment or laugh hysterically. I personally laugh hysterically. ;) My teacher's speech is very poetic, being an English teacher and poet. He has a beautiful way with words, and hearing him talk about this raunchy, bawdy humour was very entertaining. We looked at the scene right after they had physically expressed and acted on their desire for the first time (i.e. had sex if you'll excuse my crudeness), and he said that they were "in the afterglow of love". When I teach English, I wonder if I'll use Romeo and Juliet...

Friday, January 23, 2009

Bubbles in the Gutter

As I waited in the rain for the bus today, I noticed how there were bubbles floating down the gutter stream. I think they came from the rain. There was also a chunk of ice that hindered but did not completely block the flow of the water. I was fascinated by watching the bubbles and seeing how far they got before they'd pop. One of them even went through a little crack in the ice and made it without popping! The ice gradually melted and allowed more bubbles to make it through, which, as strange as it sounds, made me happy inside. Bubbly, if you will. ;)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

"Life is pain highness, and anyone who tells you otherwise must be selling something." -The Princess Bride

Sometimes I honestly wonder if life would be better approached with apathy. To have no emotion. To simply not care. It definitely would be easier. Is it possible for someone to 'turn off' their feelings? I most certainly can't.

It brings me to the question... if I could, would I really want to? In answering that, I have to be honest with myself. At times, yes. I'm generally a very content, happy person with an optimistic disposition and sincere passion for life.

I tend to forget that the joys of living are balanced with deep hurt, awful pain, and bitter disappointment. So what's the purpose of this life? Some say 'to be happy', and I think that's a part of it, but there must be more. How come there's so much pain? Why is it sometimes so unbearable that you want to crawl in a corner and cease to exist? There must be a purpose to loss.

In dealing with this, I've discovered some ideas, certainly not original, but rather with a new meaning applicable and relate-able to me.

-To gain compassion and understanding for others. Reading a book or hearing about something is not the same as experiencing it first-hand. We are strange beings, both introverted and dependent on each other at the same time. We have focus on the individual as well as on the community. The richest and happiest part of my life comes from the relationships I have with those I love. We need each other.

-To find inner strength and gain confidence in ourselves both as we are and as we have the potential to become.

-To learn to trust the Lord.

-To recognize the goodness in others.

-To learn that we are the authors of our own destiny; agency is key.

-To be able to appreciate life to its fullest extent; the joy of finding love, the sadness of losing it, the triumph of accomplishing something great, the bitterness of rejection and defeat, the peace that comes from loving, the despair that others can't or won't feel it, the hope that compassion and love will conquer misery and hate.

I recognize that perhaps I'm romanticizing this. I'm sure some would scoff at me, and I can understand the skepticism. We all must find our own paths. This is mine.

Friday, January 16, 2009

New Semester

Spring semester 2009 is bringing many changes to my somewhat complicated but quite enjoyable life. Due to various circumstances, I found it in my best interest to take a semester off from chemistry (while still graduating on time) and explore some of my other interests, meanwhile knocking some gened's out of the way! Nothing like killing three birds with one stone, and though the birds are, or rather were, somewhat feeble and sickly, they are now dead nonetheless.

triathlon training
critical introduction to literary forms
environmental studies
multicultural education
genchem lab

WAHOO! I'm ALSO picking up voice again. I let it slide last semester and I'm excited to get back to it.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Accomplishments and Events of 2008

2008 is certainly a year to remember- good, bad, and ugly!

-I passed Physics For Scientists and Engineers.
-I finished my last semester as communications officer in my sorority.
-I took Musical Theater Singing and got in touch with my sensual side singing "It's a Dangerous Game" and "Hey Big Spender."
-I hosted my second voice concert... featuring... ME!
-I floated in a tube down a river for 4.5 miles, swam with the fish, and almost died via moose (actually they were quite calm, just munching on underwater plant life... but moose are scary and I imagined my horrible death, so that counts, right?)
-I participated in a street festival.
-I admitted to my old crush/friend how I felt about him and told him to do something about it or stop flirting with me. We dated for six months, were engaged all except the ring, then broke up because of a dream he had, and haven't spoken since.
-As a direct result of this, my faith in my religion and myself grew, I recognized that I'm incredibly blessed with an amazing family and wonderful friends, and in the process, became a stronger, more compassionate person.
-As another result of that experience, I learned how to swear up a storm.
-As yet ANOTHER result, I became close friends with an awesome girl from pchem and am becoming a part of her equally awesome group of friends.
-I NOT ONLY PASSED PCHEM1, I GOT A GOOD GRADE IN IT TOO! (physical chemistry: quantum mechanics and spectroscopy... intimidating, no?)
-I decided on my course of education and future career, and only have 3.5 years to go until I'm done with my bachelors and masters!
-I got hit on multiple times by old men with foreign accents in grocery stores.
-I hosted a fondue party!

Can You Top This?

I attended a huge (emphasis on enormous) party for New Year's. It was great! I saw, talked to, and hung out with a bunch of friends (including some I'd met through someone who shall not be named... no no silly, not Lord Voldemort!) I even danced, and although it resembled a squirrel having a heart attack while marching to Ode to Joy more than actual dancing, it amused me. But the experience to top the night was my encounter with a giant blow-up slide.

I took off my shoes and stood in line with my friend. When it was our turn, we bolted up the kushy blowy bouncy slide! There were even little foam blow up 'stairs' like rungs on ladders AND two ropes on either side in assisting us to get up. So I was like 3/4 of the way up, and I felt my pants start to slide down. I therefore let go of one of the ropes with one hand and resecured their non-mooning position. In that process however, I lost my balance and started slipping. SOCKS! Clinging on with one hand, I attempted to pull myself up. My socks however, had an entirely different plan. Keep in mind, friends at the bottom (and even strangers) were shouting "You can do it! Just use the stairs!" and other such incredibly annoying phrases that were somehow supposed to be inspirational. So I took off one of my socks and tried again. I conveniently forgot that I had been dancing ten minutes earlier, and my feet were sweaty. My bare feet were even MORE slippery than socks. So I started to slide down, then another girl had the same problem. She however had a friend who waited for her and helped her up. After several failed attempts while watching three little kids get to the top with no effort, I gave up and slid down. I don't know if my face was more red from embarrassment or laughing! I went to my friends who were all thoroughly amused and still laughing at my excursion to the top of a blow-up slide. I'VE DONE THOSE BEFORE WITH NO TROUBLE! Seriously.

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