Blarg!

30 04 2008

My internet recently has been especially spastic, so my online time has been relegated to necessaries (email, the blog my college friends share, wedding stuff), but I’ve been missing blogging, so now that it seems to be stable for the moment, I thought I’d write something. Sooo…

Southside has been hopping, and finding time to get everything done in my life is a chore. Part of the problem is that I’ve never learned the art of only committing to things I can feasibly be a part of. So, I try and give a little time here (the Obama office), a little there (spending time with my family/friends), and never have enough time (or maybe more appropriately, energy) to go around. I find that extremely frustrating. I want to be able to do it all. Some people seem to have discovered the art, a particular flute playing friend in Seattle for example. But it’s not in the cards for me yet.

I did get to play with some of my new Pampered Chef toys the other day. I made mini-pecan tarts that I actually didn’t see I was supposed to put butter in the filling, but they were amazing anyway. And little lemon flavored spritz cookies that are cool shapes because of the new cookie press I got. I’m not sure it was worth getting, but it makes me happy any. And my garden is starting to take shape. I hope none of my plants were seriously injured because I left them out Monday night (not last night when it got down to freezing thank goodness). So far they seem to be fine. I’m starting to fear that the patio is going to feel too crowded with everything I’m planting. Oh, well, I can always downsize later if I need to. So far I have basil, lavender, cornflowers, rosemary, pansies, violets, and hyacinth. I planted some morning glories and want to plant some poppies, forget-me-nots, and bachelor buttons (which I actually think are the same thing as cornflower?? but might turn out to be a different color than the ones I started inside)

My wedding to do list is a mile long with little stupid things to get done. My other to do list is shorter, but more important.

ok, off to bed.

OH! quick rant. Since when can an apartment complex’s office close 4 hours early on rent day??? I’m going to be seriously pissed if they charge me the $75 late fee when I take my check in at the crack of dawn 8:00 tomorrow morning.

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Updates and soapboxes

11 12 2007

Darn, I didn’t realize till just now that the last post didn’t really work very well. Eh.

Sooo… Liz has croup, so it’s just Ray and I for the next few days. Poor girl was miserable yesterday and Ray just wouldn’t leave her alone. He tends to be attracted to whatever she’s playing with, and the concept of “stealing” isn’t even on the radar yet. There was also a distinct lack of sleeping on Liz’s part, so I had a long day of keeping her happy despite a constant runny nose, overly tiredness, and general not feeling goodness.

Becca and I decorated for Christmas last week, although the apartment still needs something to make it feel more right. Stockings on the fireplace for one, and lights around the window. And presents under the tree. Oh, and a real tree instead of our current fake one would do wonders, but that’s just my own bias.

Last weekend the girls and I took Erini to Maggiano’s to celebrate her new jobs. Yum. Maggiano’s has this cool family dining option where you chose 2 appetizers, 2 salads, 2 pasta dishes, 2 main dishes, and 2 desserts and then you get all you can eat and share everything around. You need at least 4 people, but that’s not a problem for us, and if you count the whole other meal you get out of the leftovers it’s a pretty reasonable $25 a person. We also shared around a bottle of St. Michelle’s Eroica Riesling which was simply amazing. Then we went and saw The Golden Compass. Nicole Kidman is amazing. I’ve loved her since seeing Far and Away as a kid. There were a few other disappointing things about the film, but that’s mainly because I just read the books a few months ago. It’s definitely worth seeing. The books are even more worth reading. But speaking of The Golden Compass, I’m going to get on the proverbial soap box for a second and complain about a couple news articles I read the other night about the movie.

I found both these on Yahoo news.

In an article about how much Compass made in it’s first weekend, associated press movie writer David Germain writes :

“The Golden Compass” follows the adventures of an orphan girl hurled into a parallel world of witches, strange flying machines and talking polar bears.”

This makes it seem as if Lyra is from a different world from the one with this witches, polar bears, etc. Not true. She is born, raised, and stays in the same universe for the whole movie.

In an ABC news article about the controversy surrounding Compass, Emily Friedman writes:

“As Lyra gets closer to her goal of reaching the Magisterium — located in the alternate universe of Bolvanger —…”

Blovanger is not in an alternate universe. Again, no one leaves the universe the movie is set in at any point in the movie. I know these seem like small details, but isn’t the news supposed to get things right? This is not about opinion or perspective. It’s simple facts. If you’re going to write a news article, at least know what you’re talking about. Did they watch the movie? I think it would be confusing to have read those article and then gone to see the movie if I had never read the books. It just bothered me.





I forgot to post yesterday!

16 11 2007

My apologies for making a promise and not following through.

Alrighty, so where to begin.  The past few days of work have been especially light.  Ray (poor babe) has been sick with a fever and his mom has been staying home with him.  So Liz and I have been taking it easy together.  It’s amazing how smoother the days go with one child.  They always eat, sleep and play better when it’s only them.  Although I think they both have more fun when they’re together.  Unfortunately it’s just been too cold to go to the park.  This is especially sad because I can let Liz have more freedom when it’s just her.  When I have both kids in the park it’s quite nerve wracking.  I miss Ray, but I’ll be sad to go back to two kids.  It’s been a nice break.

Wedding plans are underway.  This weekend my roommates (3 of my 4 bridesmaids) and I are going bridesmaid dress shopping.  Exciting!  I can’t wait to see them in all the pretty dresses.  I also want to pick out a veil style.

Let me take a moment to go on a veil tangent.  I never thought I would wear a veil.  It seemed a slightly antiquated tradition, and somewhat over the top for my simplistic tastes.  Not that I thought they looked bad on other brides, or think they shouldn’t be worn.  No, with most traditions that originated in patriarchal, malecentric ways I feel that they have lost their original meaning enough that I’m not put off by them.  It was more a style choice.  But then I went dress shopping (a couple years ago the first time I was engaged) and although it was super fun to try on the dresses by themselves, it wasn’t until a couple dresses in when the attendant fetched a veil and secured it on my head that I was overwhelmed with the fact that I was getting married.  I felt like a bride.  I realize that this is because of the stereotype, but it doesn’t really matter all that much why, the veil makes me feel excited and giddy and melty.  So I changed my mind.

I get to see my brother and his wife next week!  I haven’t seen them since last Christmas, so that is very exciting indeed.





This makes me so angry!

10 05 2007

Unfortunately I haven’t found the opportunity to be involved in the Deaf community or use my ASL skills much since leaving college, but I do try and at least stay informed as to what’s going on, and I’m still looking for connections up here in the city (I could be trying harder 😦

I became very passionate about the Deaf community and the issues and opportunities it faces at Goshen. I had a professor who was amazing and highly connected and encouraged us to be as well. One of my favorite classes at Goshen was Deaf Culture.

So it makes me very sad and angry when I hear stories like this one from Communication Access Now.

To Whom It May Concern:

I hope that you can/will assist us in stopping the mistreatment of deaf people by various local law enforcement officers/agencies. It has been brought to our attention that many deaf citizens experience similar challenges with officers We need your assistance in conveying to the law enforcement and to the deaf community that they do have civil rights and should speak out about such encounters. If you’re interested, we would like to discuss these and others issues with you in detail. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.

We are requesting a full investigation of the law enforcement agencies/officers involved in the following situation. This client remains devastated and believes that a number of her Constitutional and Civil rights have been violated.
· Failure to provide effective communication
· Sexual abuse/harassment
· Unlawful imprisonment
· Misuse of authority
· Cruel and unusual punishment
· Failure to assist during an Emergency

A 19 year old Hispanic deaf woman who was assaulted by her brother who was drunk. She uses sign language to communicate and does not speak. She tried to summons help by calling 911. As indicated by the police report, she was crying when she dialed 911, then hung up the phone.

Shortly after, PD arrived. Her brother told officers that “she is crazy. ” He told officers that she tried to stab him with a knife. The client was still crying her bedroom. When the officer came into her room, she tried to communicate what happened to her. Meanwhile, the brother was yelling that “she is crazy”, and said she tried to stab him. She began motioning to the officer to get her an interpreter so she could explain. The officers did not try to communicate with her, they believed her brother (who is on probation and previously ID by the police as a member of several gangs). The officers cuffed her hands behind her back. She was charged with assault with a deadly weapon. She said she became more frantic and tried more vigorously to communicate, but could not because her hands were behind her back.

She was taken to the police station. Once there, she said she kept trying to indicate to them she needed an interpreter but no one would communicate with her. She said she was stripped naked in the presence of 3 male officers and one female officer. While the female officer straddled her body and retrained her hands. The older male officer performed a cavity search. The client said that he put on a glove and inserted his fingers into her vagina. She became very upset.

She was then moved to the County Jail, again she tried to convey to them that she needed an interpreter, but no one addressed her communication needs. police Officers reported to jail staff that she (the client) is crazy. She says her clothes were taken from her. She remained naked in a jail cell where there was no bed and she had to sleep on the floor. three days later, she was moved from the isolation cell and placed into another cell with a bed.

When I met with this client on Thurs. April 12, 2007, she was very depressed. She said on Wed. the 11th, a psychiatrist came to talk to her with an interpreter. She says has been asking jail staff for an interpreter, but no one will call one. One trustee has minimal “finger-spelling” skill and is very difficult to understand. When I asked her what she spends most of her time doing in jail, she says she tries to think of different ways to kill herself. She appeared to be very depressed. She indicates that she is very hurt and angry. She said she called 911 so they could come to help her, but instead, she was arrested and put in jail.

She says that its been one week since her arrest and detention and she still has not been provided effective communication, nor has she ever been given an explanation as to why she was arrested and does not know when she will get out. As she explained her situation to me, she showed me the bruises on her arm from where she had carpet burns as a result of her brother throwing her on the floor. I asked if she had shown the bruises to the officers when they responded to the 911 call. She said they would not listen to her, therefore, she did not have an opportunity to show them the bruises. She asked me how long she had to stay in jail. I told her I would find answers for her.

Shortly after I left the Jail, I called the social worker for people with disabilities, at the jail. I asked if I had understood the deaf client correctly: “was she naked and placed in isolation from Thursday to Sunday?” She said yes I had understood correctly. When I asked why, she said it is because “she has psychiatric issues.” I asked how was that determined, she said the police told her. When I asked if she had spoken with the client, she said no she had not—the deaf clients’ detention is on what police reported about the client. The social worker quickly added, “last time she was here, we kept her in isolation for 5 days.” I asked her why, she said because the client refused to talk with her. I asked if she (the social worker) knew sign language, she said no. I asked if she tried to communicate with the client using a sign language interpreter. She said they didn’t need an interpreter because —at that time there was an inmate who knew some sign language and they used her….and the client still refused to communicate. She added that they now have a staff person who signs.

That same afternoon, I met with the District Attorney (who requested my assistance in seeking resources for this client). I asked how long the client would be in jail. She said she had no idea, but the client had been appointed an attorney. I informed her that no one from the police department or the County Jail had ever spoken to the deaf woman about why she called 911, nor has she ever been provided effective communication. After discussing these issues with the District attorney, I suggested the charges be dismissed based on my 3 hour conversation with the client. She agreed. Again, I asked when she would be released. She said not until she had a place to go. I asked if all women were detained in jail until they had a place to live. She said no. I reminded her that she could not be detained in jail because she will not be returning home and happens to be deaf. The next morning the charges were dismissed and the client was dismissed from jail.

Detra Stewart
Advocate for the Deaf/Hard of Hearing
CommAccessNow2@yahoo.com
VP – 713-807-1176

Brian Determan
Deaf Advocate for the Deaf/Hard of Hearing
CommAccessNow@yahoo.com
VP -713-807-1176

 

When will we learn to respect one another regardless of our differences? When will understanding one another become important?





High school and me

11 04 2007

First I want to direct you all to a blog I recently started reading. Alex writes intelligently about issues he is obviously passionate about, and his take on the issue of legal rights for homosexuals made me very happy. While I don’t agree with the theological side of what he said, I can totally get behind separating the ideas of legal union from religious marriage. The Church needs to deal with the issue of homosexual marriage, but what’s the government got to do with it? Alex says it much more eloquently.

Second, I want to say how grateful I am to see a fellow Western grad (Alex was a class below me) finding his own voice and religious/social/political views and not just swallowing the lines we were given. I’m sure many alumni go on to do this, but I also wonder how many don’t. Looking back, I can see how some where, probably due to outside influences, already learning this skill, but I for one certainly was not. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me backtrack.

I went to a conservative Mennonite high school in Oregon. I boarded,so in many ways that school was my entire life. I have many fond memories from my four years there, and I do not regret having been sent by my parents who were living in Washington state at the time in a town with a pathetic excuse for a school system. I received a good education, made some wonderful friend, had the opportunity to be highly involved with quite a few activities, and was sheltered from many of the negative choices that so many other high schoolers are presented with.

What I don’t appreciate was the close-mindedness that the school embodied. I do not think Western is a bad school, only I hope that it can develop a different environment. One that encourages students to find answers for themselves. One that provides all the information and then equips its students to find their place among the choices. I feel that we were told what to think and believe. That we were presented with alot of one sided worldviews. We were preached at instead of guided. We had a few teachers who encouraged the idea of “courtship” and waiting to have your first kiss on your wedding day. We had a mock election when Bush was running for the first time, and he won by a landslide. There were very little discussions about the complexity of many moral issues. Were they so afraid that we couldn’t make good decisions for ourselves that they had to spoon feed us the answers? Homosexuality? Wrong. Abortion? Wrong. Per-marital sex (or anything for that matter)? Wrong.

Now this environment was due in part to the students as well as the faculty, and there were those among the faculty who I can see now tried to present alternatives, but they had to be discrete about it or jeopardize their positions. Stick to the script or your not welcome here. Our bible teacher was one such person. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I have come to appreciate him as a teach more and more. I remember discussing women leadership in the church during New Testament, and how he set Paul’s writing in a cultural context and the idea that it belonged in that context and not necessarily all contexts as a possible interpretation. I remember him stepping on some toes with that one. This same teacher’s job was recently in jeopardy when he gave his yearly “Swearing” lecture where he demonstrates the difference between using socially unacceptable words or “dirty language” and swearing an oath or using the Lord’s name in vain. He prefaces this lecture with the invitation for anyone who would rather not hear “swearing” to go to the library yet he still was required by the school to write a letter of apology because of parental complaints.

Another story I heard that boiled my blood also happened after I graduated. A graduate of Western (and Goshen) is now a successful opera singer living in Germany. She also happens to be a lesbian. She visited the school one year and graced our humble school with her presence. The next year after the music teach had invited her to come again, he was told to uninvited her. She was not welcome on campus. She was not coming to talk about her live style. She was coming to sing and to interact with the choir. When asked if she could at least come and spend time with the choir, the answer was no. She’s an alumna for goodness sake! She’s not allowed to visit her own high school? Is this what we call the acceptance of Christ? Is this following his example of welcoming the lepers, the whores, and the tax collectors? Not that I see it that way, but even if they don’t agree with her lifestyle, isn’t that still being hypocritical?

Needless to say, I’m still figuring out how I feel about my alma mater. There’s still some bitterness that I need to work through. It was hard getting to college and realizing that I was behind many of my classmates when it came to being able to make my own moral discussions. I had a long road ahead of me breaking down walls that had been built in me. I have not abandoned all that I was taught at Western. (I still don’t agree that abortion is a morally sound choice, but I also realize that social issues involved make it an issue that cannot be solved by making it illegal; there is so much more that needs to happen before that can be a feasible option. First let us eradicate poverty, discrimination based on race and gender, the subjugation of women, rape, etc. Then let’s talk about the ways to get rid of the other causes of abortion.*) But I found that I had so many beliefs that I didn’t really understand. I’ve also dealt with quite a bit of guilt about rejecting some of those beliefs. Mostly I just hope that the school can grow and learn how to help their students develop strong moral convictions based on open discussion and a clear knowledge of all the different facets of the topic at hand. Maybe these changes are already taking place, and I just haven’t heard about them. Mine is also just one story, and there may be graduates of Western who experienced something very different. But that is my story, and my beef. Kudos to anyone who actually made it to the end of this post.

* A rant within a rant.  How do I ever stay on point?





The tragically tragic, tragic comedy

26 03 2007

This weekend I went home to see the Goshen spring mainstage, “The Seagull” by Anton Chekhov.  The play was well put together.  The staging, acting, set, and costumes all very well done. But I hated it.  I could blame this on the playwright.  Nothing happens on stage, the play is almost literally all talk.  None of the characters really seem to grow.  I didn’t really care about any of them. There is no happy ending, or lesson to learn.  The whole thing is thoroughly depressing.  The play ends when one of the main characters (my boyfriend) kills himself.  I admit that I probably wouldn’t like this play as much as other types of theater regardless, but I blame my poor theater experience entirely on the audience.

Unfortunately, the audience was small that evening due to a competing Lavender Jazz concert.  A small audience always tends to lack in response, but the bigger problem was that they just didn’t get it.  They tried too hard to care about the characters.  They didn’t see that the character’s lives were so tragic that is was funny.  That when a grown man sulks and whines to his diva mother it is pitifully humorous.  I wanted to laugh and snort and enjoy the irony, but no one else was laughing, or if they were they, like me, were doing it silently.  I don’t think many theater goers understand to what extent they are part of the production.  The audience is probably the element that most effects how a show will play out night to night.  This probably isn’t the case so much in large professional productions, but in small theaters, the audience as a whole gives energy to the cast and affects how each individual audience member receives and responds to the play.  At least that’s my experience.  The audience as a unit is a living, breathing element of the play just as the set and actors themselves are.  You can almost tangibly feel the mood of the audience, and that feeds your own perceptions of what’s occurring on stage.  I wasn’t allowed to laugh at the characters, but was swept into trying to care about them along with the rest of the audience.  So I hated it, because I found I couldn’t truly care and still wanted to laugh and that made me feel heartless.  No one likes to feel heartless.

So, I want to see it again, with a better audience this time.

wikipedia has some good stuff to say about Chekhov’s writing and why it’s hard to like.  check it out.

It was also the first time that I had seen Mike in a full length production or in a significant role.  I was very impressed!  I’m dating an actor (happy sigh).





Relaxing weekend… ok, I was a little bored sometimes, but I kind of liked it.

15 01 2007

Music: Pno. Con. No. 1: Allegro non troppe e molto maestoso, allegro con spirito from An Evening With Tchaikovsky

A mutual friend of our apartment came up to visit this weekend unexpectedly. It was wonderful to have her around and catch up. Friday night we had fondue and watched part of “Eat, Drink, Man, Woman” a foreign film set in Taiwan. The sound of the language coupled with some familiar scenes and an occasional word I understood made me miss China. China was an amazing experience for me. Amazing in how hard it was, but how simple it was as well. Having less control over your life can sometimes be a refreshing break. And there was just so much to learn! I feel like I’ve scratched the surface of Chinese culture, but what I did experience I found fascinating and exciting. There were so many things about China that were so different then my world here in the States. I kind of miss that. Every day was a learning experience. It was hard to be bored in China. I think that’s what attracts me to living overseas the most. That and the innate desire of an MK to recapture the joy and freedom of her youthful overseas experiences. I know that it won’t be the same, and I’ll be disappointed when it isn’t, but I still want to go. The question remains
when: probably when I’m in my 30s, but who knows
where: I’m thinking Jamaica, and there’s always central and southern Africa, but I think I could enjoy going back to China, or maybe India, or even Europe. The only places that don’t attract me at all are central and south America, Russia, and the rest of Eastern Europe.
what will I do: teach, childcare… I know some missionaries hire people to come take care of their kids.

Saturday I was going to go to the DMV and get stuff done for my car/ get an IL driver’s license, but since we can’t find my SS card, I was going to go to the SS office and get a new one instead and then go next week. Problem. The SS office is only open M-F, 9-4. How can I possibly go in when I work M-F 7:30-5:30? And I can’t send in my stuff because I have to have an official copy of my ids and I don’t have time to get those either. So unless someone else can go in for me, I’m screwed. So that was frustrating, but on a brighter and more relaxed note…

I got the massage that my employers gave me for Christmas. There’s a nice spa downtown Evanston that both Liz’s mom and Rose’s mom go to, and they got me an gift certificate for an hour massage. The spa is small, but they have a really nice atmosphere, and showers with soap, shampoo and conditioner so you can shower off afterward as well as cucumber water and tea in the waiting room. And the massage was great. My masseuse was nice and down to earth. I didn’t feel intimidated by her like I thought I might going to such a nice place. Saturday night we went to Walker Brothers for supper and then saw “Children of Men” Interesting movie. Didn’t love it, didn’t hate it. It’s worth seeing. Very dark though. And very politically charged. They took a risk and placed it in the very near future. I consider it a little too near. If they had added even just 5 years, then I would have accepted it more readily, but it’s hard to accept that all women are going to me infertile in 2 years. And then I finally got to talk to Mike! He’d been at ACTF, so we hadn’t talked all week. It was fantastic to hear his voice again, and to hear how excited he was about the upcoming mainstage and then his senior recital next year. This summer is going to be hard with him in Guatemala. Sigh.

Then yesterday I got to talk to my friend Abby from Oregon who I haven’t spoken to for a long time. It was so nice to connect with her again, and it sounds like she and her boyfriend might be getting pretty serious which is also exciting. A little weird though because they started dating a month after Mike and I. It’s different though when you’re both out of school and unattached. I’m excited for her.