Tuesday, December 28, 2004

The Llama Song

Ok, so my little sister turned me onto a website with some truly random songs, videos, etc. Maybe I'm getting old, because I had never visited albinoblacksheep.com , but this song about Llamas is just too funny.

More thoughts

This is actually a response to a comment on my “No More Christmas Carols” entry, but thought it deserved some space here.

“oh, and be careful what you wish for or your kids will learn that much of the history and customs of Christianity are just borrowed or co-opted from other cultures and religions.”

Not really sure what I did to warrant this comment, but to be completely honest, I’m a little hurt. Why? Well …

I’d like to think that I truly do try to examine issues from all sides (even the ones I don’t like). I do wish that my children will have a chance to examine my faith and what has been done for/by/in the name of it … all of it. There is not denying that the Christmas holiday is largely a conglomeration of customs, rituals and habits from other cultures. In fact, most historians believe Christ was probably born in March or April in the year 4 AD, not December 25, 0. The wise men didn’t arrive for at least two years after he was born. Further, the first several centuries of Christians conscripted many of the rituals of pagan or other faiths in the rituals of worship. Many of the trappings of the Catholic faith, in particular, are relics of other first and second century faiths.

The real question is, does this make any of my faith and the way I practice it less valid? Should I indeed fear that my children learn about the history and customs of the Christian church? I’ll be the first one to admit that for many people, Christmas is not about Christ. I just don’t think that all the trappings of the faith should be forcibly removed from the celebration of the holiday. Whether or not people currently celebrate the birth of Christ as part of their celebration, historically the two are intertwined. Not only do we lose some of the most beautiful, moving music and ritual by banning all Christian-themed carols, we also lose the freedom to celebrate as we choose by forcing the holiday to be a secular one.

So, I really am aware of what I’m wishing for. I resent the implication that I only want the free exchance of ideas and knowledge if it supports my own belief structure. I’m not offended by people who celebrate a non-Christian Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanza or any other variation of the winter holiday. I have no problem going to holiday concerts and watching kids sing about those various celebrations. As a matter of fact, that’s one of the coolest things about this nation. I just feel like it’s just as bad to force a secular holiday as to force any particular religious one.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Stupid Coddled Athletes

Chad Pennington of the New York Jets told reporters yesterday that it was a “privilege” for them to be reporting on him and his fellow athletes. Please … without reporters these precious athletes would be no more than glorified high school heros. I don’t think he understands just how quickly the tide of public sentiment can turn. Just look at hockey: something like 60% of people polled recently didn’t even know that hockey was not being played this winter.

Crank in the Basement

Jason’s blog about democracy and blogging reminds me of my favorite illustration from teaching. Yes, the internet opens up the political process to many who may not have been able to fully participate before. It also opens up what I like to call Crank in the Basement. While many bloggers will fact-check and print mistakes when they are pointed out, many also will not. Young people, who are often using the internet as their only source of new information may very well be taken in by the Crank in the Basement, who uses the internet as his own personal bully pulpit for conspiracy theories, propaganda or whatever Cranks in the Basement want to write about.

Patriot Act Under Review

In 2005 parts of the Patriot Act will be up for renewal. Among them is a provision that allows the government to detain foreign citizens without due process for consorting, even unknowingly, with terrorists. Also up for renewal is the provision that allows the government to look into your library check out habits, bank accounts and other personal records to see if you’ve been up to no good.

I’ve heard the argument that if you’re not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to hide … but that’s just not a good excuse. I have a fundamental problem with snooping without cause, because many actions or habits could be construed as suspicious. I also have a deep-seated problem with allowing people to rot in jail until the time the government sees fit to release them.

I don’t disagree with the entire Act, but certainly parts of it need to be critically reviewed now that we’re not emotionally overcharged by the 9/11 tragedy.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Adopt A Family

My company adopts about 20 families each Christmas. There is a hosted dinner and each family gets big bags of gifts from "Santa" to take home for Christmas day. Ryan and I volunteered at the dinner last night and it was a truly amazing and humbling experience. The family that we hosted all night had two little girls, 7 and 2, who were the most well mannered, sweetest kids. The family was obviously trying so hard and still not quite making it. I just wish there was more we could have done.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Life in a cubicle farm:

At times hilarious, at times deeply, deeply disturbing. For the most part, I would have to say that my demotion to a cublicle has been a good thing. I enjoy the social atmosphere of our little office now that we have no walls. Since it is just the 4 people in the training room, we can play music, yell to each other and hold impromtu conversations. Of course there are the obvious downsides to life in a cubicle, like trying to hear your phone conversation over someone elses and a complete lack of privacy for the occasional personal phone call. All of that is understandable, and in my view, the positives far outweigh the negatives.

... except for your exceptionally weird cubicle neighbor. Yes, this is the man who says "Ahhhh" after each sip of water, listens only to show tunes and Frank Sinatra, and makes the kind of organic smacking noise that our beloved Maggie made when her mouth was dry. This is the man who objects to Diana Krall because she just can't sing the old music like Frank, sings loudly and off key to Christmas music, baby talks to his wife and revels in the fact that he "has always been a loner." Yes he drives me crazy.

Today I realized however, that in addition to driving me crazy he injects my day with little moments of shared silent laughter with the rest of my office mates. I have to admit, he's beginning to grow on me. While he may never be a man I choose to have an adult beverage with, it's his very quirkiness that endears him. I have to admit that I'm beginning to enjoy my strange cubible neighbor ... well at least most of the time.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

No more Christmas carols

Several school districts in New Jersey have decided that Christmas carols can no longer be sung at holiday concerts. No Christmas Carols, Hanukah Songs, Kwanza songs ... but especcially no Christmas Carols. Instead, just songs about Santa and Snowmen and that special "Holiday" feeling. Why? They don't want to offend anyone. Um ... yeah. Winter breaks are because of relgious holidays. I understand not singing songs about only Christmas or only Hanukah but seriously, people need to get over themselves and stop being so freaking over sensitive. Is it going to change my life? No, not really. Does it kind of piss me off? Yep.

Holidays are hard

This whole Christmas thing is hard. Between keeping a Christmas tree drinking and trying to shop in the few awake hours we have after work I've decided that I need a vacation. Oh wait, I guess we just did that. I've had a really good time buying toys for all the little people on Ryan's side of the family (kids, not leprecauns). Insight: when Ryan and I have children I will have to monitor the time he spends playing with the kids' toys. Quote of the week ... Jenn: "You know you'll have to let the kids play with their toys." Ryan: "Not if we buy two of everything!" Yeesh.

The cold that won't go away

Is finally finally getting better. I don't remember being sick with a stupid cold for two stupid weeks when I was younger. Is it really possible that at 25 I'm already less cold-resistant? Well, at least no more hacking cough to keep me (and Ryan) awake every night.

Friday, December 03, 2004

... and I'm back

Yeah ... sorry for the long time, no write. I got out of the habit because of Hawaii and Thanksgiving. I promise to do better!

On Hawaii: Gorgeous, beautiful, wish you were there. In all seriousness, it was the most fun. We rented a 4 wheel drive vehicle that provided us too much stupid fun. The weather was beautiful, the landscape more so and the escape from reality the best. I kept trying to convince Ryan that we needed to move there. No luck, so we're back in New Jersey. Sigh.

On Thanksgiving: I miss having family around. We had a really nice Thanksgiving by committee (thanks to those who helped the clueless). Favorite quote of the weekend? "Oooh, there's a Dunkin Donuts. Can we stop?"

On Illini Basketball: Watching the ass whomping the Illini gave Wake Forest was sweet sweet relief after a season of heart wrenching football. Weber can stay.

On being sick: Ew. I'm tired of having a cold (which is another reason I haven't gotten around to writing). Ryan is also tired of my having a cold.

On life in general: Still good. Can't believe that we're coming up on our 1 year anniversary. If this is the toughest year of our marriage, we're doing just fine!!!

"Oooh, there's a Dunkin Donuts, can we stop?"

Thursday, November 11, 2004

A Hawaiian Forecast

The forecast for our week in Hawaii:

86 Degrees and Partly Cloudy

Yep, for the whole week.

Ha ha hahahahahahahahahaha.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Feeling good about 25

As most of you know, I will be turning 25 tomorrow. I'm more excited to be getting a break on car insurance and renting a car than depressed about being a quarter of a century old. Even if I was feeling bad though, today would have picked me up.

I went swimming after work. Since the pool is not the main attration of our gym, I tend to see the same few people often. One of the people I see from time to time is a kid I would estimate to be 16 or 17 years old. As I finished my swim and started streching, he came over to my lane and asked "So, what team do you swim for?"
I said, "Oh, I don't swim competitively."
"Oh, you should!" he said.
Trying to be polite, I asked, "What team do you swim for?"
He answered "The local high school team."
"Oh," I said, "I've been out of high school for a couple years."
Not to be deterred he said "Well, you could always swim for your college then."
I said, "Yeah, I'm a few years out of college." The look on his face was priceless.

New swimsuit: $60
Monthly gym membership: $50
Having someone think you're in high school the day before your 25th birthday: Priceless

Monday, November 08, 2004


Father-Daughter Talk
A young woman was about to finish her first year of college. Like so many others her age she considered herself to be a very liberal Democrat and was for distribution of all wealth. She felt deeply ashamed that her father was a rather staunch Republican which she expressed openly. One day she was challenging her father on his beliefs and his opposition to higher taxes on the rich & the addition of more government welfare programs. Based on the lectures that she had participated in and the occasional chat with a professor she felt that for years her father had obviously harbored an evil, even selfish desire to keep what he thought should be his. The self professed objectivity proclaimed by her professors had to be the truth and she indicated so to her father.

He stopped her and asked her point blank, how she was doing in school. She answered rather haughtily that she had a 4.0 GPA, and let him know that it was tough to maintain. That she studied all the time, never had time to go out and party like other people she knew. She didn't even have time for a boyfriend and didn't really have many college friends because of spending all her time studying. That she was taking a more difficult curriculum.

Her father listened and then asked, "How is your good friend Mary doing?" She replied, "Mary is barely getting by." She continued, "She barely has a 2.0 GPA," adding, "and all she takes are easy classes and she never studies." “But Mary is so very popular on campus, college for her is a blast, she goes to all the parties all the time and very often doesn't even show up for classes because she is too hung over."

Her father then asked his daughter, "Why don't you go to the Dean's office and ask him to deduct a 1.0 off your 4.0 GPA and give it to your friend who only has a 2.0." He continued, "That way you will both have a 3.0 GPA and certainly that would be a fair and equal distribution of GPA."

The daughter visibly shocked by her father's suggestion angrily fired back, "That wouldn't be fair! I worked really hard for mine, I did without and Mary has done little or nothing, she played while I worked real hard!"

The father slowly smiled, winked and said,

"Welcome to the Republican Party."

Thanks Dad! Too bad our current Pres doesn't understand Fiscal Responsibility.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Alarmists, all

I'm getting really tired of the alarmist fever sweeping through people recently. Whether it's the lack of flu vaccine (never got one, rarely sick), gay marriage/civil unions (why can't we just let people live their lives?) or the re-election of Dubya (yep ... he's a cowboy, but how much damage can he really do?), people are whipped into a frenzy unlike any I've seen. Do people have nothing better to do with their lives or do they just thrive on the drama of it all? I wish everyone could calm down, take a deep breath, and try to talk to the "other side" (whatever lines are drawn) with civility and respect. If I never hear another shrill argument it'll be too soon.

Is it really that big of a deal?

I know a lot of democrats who are incredibly upset by the fact that Dubya was re-elected last week. I don't understand the hatred of this man. I especially don't understand the extreme reactions, like this guy, who killed himself at Ground Zero today, apparently upset that Bush was re-elected. Is it worth that?

Off to bed ...

Because we have church in the morning. Last week we finally visited a church that we're interested in attending again. It's a non-denominational church about 10 minutes away. We felt immediately at home and were greeted by no fewer than a dozen people. Another big plus, the Pastor's from Illinois. He went to ISU. He and his wife moved from the midwest three years ago and invited us to talk about the "culture shock" of moving to the east coast. I'm looking forward to that conversation. Goodnight all.

Much fun on the horizon

Coming soon to our lives ... lots of fun! Ryan and I have some crazy times for the next couple of months. We leave for Hawaii in less than 7 days (6 days, 7 hours)!! We planned out all the stuff we want to do there, although we're leaving the specifics until we get there. The plan is to spend at least every other day being Hawaiian Beach Bums.

3 days after our return, we're hosting Dad, Laurel and Becky for Thanksgiving. It should be interesting, considering I've never even thought about making a Turkey before. Luckily for me, they have all these fun roasting bags that make it pretty idiot-proof. Really looking forward to some good, midwestern-style fellowship.

And then ... and then ... we're into Christmas Holiday Season! Gasp. Can you believe it's been almost a year that we've been married? Married! I have a husband!! Well, it's a good thing he's cute.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Better luck next time

I really hope that we'll have more moderate candidates in 2008. This country is just not made up of party extremists, and that's what we had this election year. I would love to see a Liebermann/McCain race next time. What a race that would be! I would feel so much better about my choices.

My election day experience

As most of you know, I was one of the rare undecideds until I walked into the voting booth on Tuesday. As I sat there staring at the ancient contraptions on which I was supposed to vote, I pondered.

"I wonder what I should have for dinner tonight?"

Kidding. In all honesty, this vote came down to what I knew and didn't know. What I didn't know is what I would be getting with Kerry. This man showed a remarkable ability to reinvent himself for the audience he addressed. While a neat trick, this was not the person I want running our country. I don't really want Bush running it either, but at least I know what I'm getting with him (even if I don't like it all the time). Kerry was just a wild card for me. And so ... I held my nose (thanks Dad) and switched the lever for Bush/Cheney.

Bush re-elected

While I don't think that I could be happy with the results of this election, regardless of what they were, I am glad that there was not a long, drawn out court battle ala Florida 2000. Kerry showed real concern for the country by conceding the election gracefully. It should be an interesting next 4 years.

A little annoyed

I have been trying to post to this for a coupla days now, and the site has been pretty continuously down. Grrr. So that's why no posts during the very crazy election days.

Monday, November 01, 2004

One day to election

So get out and vote tomorrow!

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Halloween fun

Went to the "Haunted Compound" on Ryan's base last night. It was creepy, if not outright scary. I was mostly annoyed by the 12 year old harpies screaming their way through the whole thing. Ahh, fun times.

Bin Laden is back ...

And aside from taking credit for 9/11 he doesn't really say too much new. So which way does this play politically?

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

I am woman, hear me ...

Went to a Women's Conference today. Aside from the shameless sales pitch at the beginning, it was a fun day. My boss asked me to follow a certain track to get ideas for the Women's Group we're starting at Pathmark. My track was all about wellness and health. Nothing earth-shattering, but gave me some good ideas about how to not turn into a complete marshmellow with my fancy new desk job.

Tomorrow ... back to the stores. I can't believe how quickly the last 9 months have gone. Whoa.

One week out and still undecided

So here I am, one week away from what could arguably be one of the most important elections in my life and I still don't want to vote for either candidate. Why? Mostly because while I know what they say they would do, I don't have confidence in either candidate that they will actually do what they say they will. Is this a policial malady in general that I've missed because of my lack of attention or is it unique to this race? Either way, I'm scared that I'll walk into the voting booth next Tuesday and play eenie meenie miney moe. Uk.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

50 Dead Iraqi Solders

Truly one of the sadest things I've heard in a while. Here is proof that the insurgents don't just hate us, they hate everything and every one that threatens their power. 50 unarmed Iraqi solders were killed, execution style. What is going on in this world?

Tim & Jenn's Wedding

Went to Tim & Jenn's wedding yesterday. We had a nice time. I've heard a lot about how the weddings on the East Coast are a lot different than MidWest weddings. I didn't really notice that it was all that different, aside from the completely open bar. We did get to see an interesting custom where the man who catches the gartner has to slide it up the leg of the woman who caught the bouquet with his teeth. Fun in any case, but even better when the guy who caught the garter was 16. Good times!

Thursday, October 21, 2004

The electoral college is a joke

Just read another article about how there is a real possibility that we could have a tied vote in the electoral college this year. This is just one more reason that the electoral college system needs to go away.

* Minority voters (political, not racial) in states that are heavily one sided are ignored.
* Small states are ignored (And I know all the arguments about how it would be worse if we got ride of the college, I just don't buy it. At least if candidates were elected by popular vote voters in Wyoming could come into play because then ....
* Each vote would count. Seriously though. In a race that is likely to be one of the tightest in our Nation's history, a few thousand votes could make a difference.
* It's just dumb that a person can be elected President but not win the popular vote. Dumb Dumb Dumb. While I realize that I'm not making a great argument here, how can we say we live in a democracy (or even a republic) when we can have a President who didn't win the highest number of votes. It is an outrage to my sense of justice that this is the system by which we elect our highest leaders. Dumb!

In conclusion: The Electoral College Blows.

'I don't think Laura Bush ever had a real job.'

What!?! Once again, Teresa Heinz Kerry has opened mouth only to insert foot. Because being an heiress is such a challenge? Just another reason that no one cares.

Oy my aching back!

Day number two: Grocery Manager Dave and I spent the essentially running around the store, building displays and unpacking endless, very heavy boxes. Needless to say I think I'll be a little sore tomorrow. I've gotten soft from 9 hours a day in my office chair. It's probably good for me, but I wish my feet would quit throbbing. At least tomorrow I am spending time with someone who doesn't lift heavy boxes for a living.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

I underestimated their sneakiness

Must admit that it's really hard to stay up on my work when I spend 3 days a week in the stores. My boss and I realized today that we won't see each other again until November. Time's fun when you're flying!

Who cares?

Anyone else tired of hearing about how offended the Cheneys were about John Kerry talking about their daughter. Why is this an issue with all of the back-stabbing and political mongering this year? I'm done with the presidential race this year ...

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Go Illinois, Go Illi - noooooo!

Today was a disappointing football day. After leading Michigan for a quarter, Illinois once again choked under pressure and lost 30 - 19. Sad ...

We also saw Navy get a beating by Notre Dame today at the Meadowlands. On the up side, I saw my cousin, Andy there (pictures to follow). It took me about an hour of tailgating before I realized that he might be there. Sure enough! Since he is in the drum and bugle core and one of the tallest humans on the planet, he was pretty easy to pick out of the crowd. He seems like he's enjoying his first year at Annapolis, although he looked a little peaked. All in all a good day and fun to watch all the uniformed men stand throughout the entire game. Yeah football!

Friday, October 15, 2004

Just back from the Big Apple

I unfondly recalled my college days this week. Three full days of training and 6 hours of homework later, I am officially empathied-out. "I understand that working with a difficult person can be frustrating." I'm a trainer, not a therapist. In all seriousness, I learned some valuable information and had a great time. Ghislaine (my supervisor) read through my feedback and told me that I get to keep my job for another week. We get to pay our rent again this month, alright!

New York was great. Ryan came up with me Monday night and we saw Newsicals. If you're ever in the City, I highly recommend this show. It spoofed every current event, from John Kerry ("blah blah, Vietnam") to George Bush ("Uh, what's going on?") and the benefits of modern medicine ("Ridilin, Thintrim & Prozac"). We laughed for two solid hours and left feeling good that at least someone else sees the ridiculousness of the world today.

Glad to be home, nonetheless. I have to admit that paying $19 for a BLT is not my idea of a good time.

My good friend Jason

Has a great blog himself. I'm quite amused on an almost-daily basis. If you would also like a daily dose of an unabashed liberal attemping to take a fair look at things, please take a look:



... And so begins my adventure in blogging.

This site is the brainchild of my fabulous husband (hi Ryan) who has been telling me consistently over the last several months that I should share my thoughts. Personally, I think it's just his really nice way of saying "Please please stop talking". So, this site will be whatever I happen to be thinking about (fixating on) in any given day. Given the likelihood that anyone will actually be reading it, I'll think of it as a public diary. Hehe.

And we're off ...
Designed by Lena