Tuesday, January 31, 2006

A Day in the Life of Conservative Politics

You forgot Poland!: Might as well hand over your uterus now

Scalito's confirmation and the State of the Union combined in one conservative propoganda-filled day. I'd stop paying attention but I'm afraid of what civil liberties they'd take away while I wasn't looking.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Hotel Katrina

I still get so many calls at work from people who are living in hotel rooms, anxiously watching the calendar inch closer to the February 7th deadline for them to start paying for themselves. I'm torn between frustration and empathy. "Why haven't you found a new job yet?" I want to ask them. It's been five months. We need to start moving forward here. At the same time, I know my own grandparents are still living in my parents' garage while they rebuild their home. And the paradox of FEMA trailers is that you have to have a place to put one. Most people who rented their homes or lived in apartments don't qualify as of yet--they're still working on getting more large parks set up-- which puts a strain on the poor population. This whole situation just reflects on such a painful scale the ongoing issue of poverty in America and in New Orleans. It can't all be blamed on either the people or the government--it's a combination of both. A lack of resources and support combined with a crippling culture of poverty just keep driving the same families further and further down. And in New Orleans, as in most cities, impoverished is pretty much synonymous with black, which leads to the whole issue of the chocolate city. As divisive and offensive as Nagin's comments were, they rang with truth. Black culture is a huge part of New Orleans, and that sector of the population is in serious danger of never being able to return.

The biggest aspect of my work is crisis counseling. The experts say that mental health issues--mostly depression and anxiety brought on by stress and loss--peak within the first year after a major disaster and then taper off, with a small percentage needing ongoing professional help. The problem here is that for such a large number of people, the crisis isn't over yet. The process of healing hasn't even begun, because they're still concerned with where their food is coming from, where they'll be sleeping next month, where they will end up. What these people need is help in making plans, because the same behavior patterns that kept them in poverty are keeping them from picking up the pieces of Katrina, and the resources at their disposal just aren't enough to guide them back to a stable life.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Slightly Less Okay

When you try your best but you don't succeed
When you get what you want but not what you need
When you feel so tired but you can't sleep
Stuck in reverse

And the tears come streaming down your face
When you lose something you can't replace
When you love someone but it goes to waste
Could it be worse?


It still stings me from time to time. I lost something I'd worked really hard at. I just miss having someone loving me.

Drunken Post

I wasn't gonna go out tonight. I was all settled into my sweatpants, hanging out with Harold. I politely declined several invitations, not really knowing why. Then I received a phone call informing me that they were picking me up in half an hour and I better be ready. Most of the night was spent evading Noelle's attempts to steal my cigarettes and using my elbows as defense mechanisms to ward off unwelcome dance partners, but I had fun (as much fun as can be had in Tigerland...the land of drunken freshmen and frat boys). I'm glad I went out, and I'm glad I have friends persistent enough to coax me out of my self-enforced isolation. I've been alone far too much lately.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Too Much Chocolate Today

I learned today:

-Elvis had two really stupid songs that degraded Muslims.

-Albert Brooks has trouble making even Americans laugh. And we laugh at everything.

-I don't enjoy the breadsticks at Olive Garden. They taste too much like pretzels, one of the few foods I dislike.

-Capitalism. I don't even want to talk about it.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

I'm on a Chocolate Team with a Tennis Problem

At a training for work last night, we arranged our chairs in a circle and for some reason took turns introducing ourselves (even though we all know each other), and then listing our favorite sport.

When it gets to Ms. Betty, she says, "My name is Betty, and my favorite sport is chocolate."

That woman is my hero.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Lonliness Gave Me Cancer

I think that I've been self-medicating with cigarettes and alcohol (neither of which I've ever considered myself a habitual, or even frequent, user of) over the past month or so. I've been trying to figure out what, exactly, it is that I'm trying to medicate here. I guess I'm just not really suited to spending as much time alone as I have been lately.

For three years I spent time nearly every day with someone whom I cared very deeply about. It's been almost three months now since we broke up, and I think I'm starting to get my fill of quality time with myself. I have a ton of friends, and as huge as LSU is I still know people in all of my classes this semester. I talk to the Captain of Industry every night. I love my job and the people I work with. But I still just spend such a large part of each day in my apartment alone with the rabbit. My roommate started a hardcore Internal Auditing program this semester, so even when she's home (which is rare, since this program is a huge time commitment) she's in her room studying or is so completely exhausted that enlisting her to entertain me is more than a little selfish. As much as I adore Harold the Bunny, he's not exactly great for stimulating conversation. (Although I did read of a woman once who could communicate telepathically with her rabbit, perhaps I should look into that).

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Just Roll With It

My cell phone bill this month is almost four hundred dollars. So much for paying off my credit card.

I swear I've eaten more real food in the past three days than I normally would in three weeks. The Captain of Industry came to visit me this weekend and he doesn't do Jack in the Box. It's a brave new world.

I've come to the conclusion over the last year or so that no one and no thing can make me happy. Happiness is a personal choice. And in the past relationships of mine have suffered because I relied too heavily on my significant other to bring me happiness. I've learned that my happiness is no one else's responsibility but my own. My duty is to find reasons for joy in the people and circumstances I have in my life. I've spent the last few months reveling in the discovery of this power I have over my temperament. I've often struggled with bouts of depression that I couldn't seem to find a way out of; I coped with it by hiding my unhappiness from everyone except those closest to me and denying to myself that anything was wrong. I don't want to do that anymore. I have a responsibility to myself and the people I care about to be more mature than that. I have several goals for the upcoming year; one of them is to live my life in a manner in which I am grateful each and every day for all of the wonderful things in my life, and to share my happiness with those around me. My second goal is to shower every day and not pass out drunk with my makeup still on.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Universit├Ąt

Back to class we go. I'm already counting the days till Mardi Gras.

And of course on the first day of class it's cold and raining. I definitely wore short sleeves yesterday, and today I'm shivering in my sweatshirt.

On a brighter note, I've been dreading setting up my field observations for this semester, mostly because I think it's stupid. They've been changing certification requirements so that prospective secondary level teachers major in their subject area (good) and take less education classes (bad). To compensate, we're required to spend a total of 180 hours over three semesters "observing" in local public schools, and turning in a minimum of 1 page of notes for each hour we're there (ridiculous). We get a total of 3 hours of course credit for all that. So today I bit the bullet and started looking up schools to contact about observing. I found out that within ten minutes of my house there's an alternative middle school geared towards serving over-age youth. According to greatschools.net, most of the students are minority and low-income, which are the kind of students I would like to teach. I called and got put through to the principal, who was great. We worked out a schedule for me to come observe throughout the semester and he put me with a teacher who is nationally certified. AWESOME. I'm hoping to learn a lot from the experience. I'm a total nerd about professional development, so I'm very excited.

I had coffee with my ex the other day, and he said he thinks I go out more than he does now. Jesus. This is the guy I rarely saw come home before 4 am. Perhaps I should reconsider my plans to celebrate back to school at Mellow tonight.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

So I wore my Malcolm X t-shirt today in support of the cause of justice that today is supposed to be all about. I always experience a strange mix of amusement and discomfort when placed under the scrutiny of public opinion while wearing that shirt. Coming to terms with plurality is an ongoing process for me, and I still sometimes feel self-conscious...concerned that people will see my white skin and blue eyes and wonder what I could possibly understand about issues of inequality. But they can go to hell, I'm wearing my fucking t-shirt.

I also locked my keys in my car today. I was at the pet store getting buying food for the oh-so-spectacular Harold the Bunny, and somehow left my keys in the ignition with the car running. Not one of my brighter moves. And the bastards at Pop-A-Lock charge a fortune just to stick a little rod down my window. Oh the effrontery.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Fools Rush In

So I've got a new boyfriend. That was fast. Good thing, too, because my ex is now dating someone he was TOTALLY spending an inappropriate amount of time with before we even broke up, but whatev, we're trying to be friends.

So the new boyfriend....not one of my more logical moves, because he actually lives about 400 miles away. Sounds stupid, I know. But actually, he's my best friend's older brother, and I've totally had a crush on him since I was like twelve years old, so in a way this is the realization of some pre-pubescent fantasy. But actually it's more than that. We went out a couple times while we were both home for Christmas (perhaps out is an overstatement since everything in our hurricane-ravaged hometown still closes at dusk. More like we sat in his parents' living room like two teenagers) and by the time we returned to our respective real lives we had really hit it off, and ended up making arrangements to see each other again the next weekend, and it sort of took off from there. The thing is that I am closer to his sister than I am to anyone else. She knows me so well, it's scary. And she has always said that I reminded her of him. And there are so many things that I LOVE about her that I see in him. So I'm excited about the possibilities here, because so far he's pretty much perfect. It just sucks that he lives so far away. Even just to see each other every weekend would be a huge effort.

In other news, MLK day is tomorrow, and I don't have anything planned. except for a volunteer shift on the crisis hotline, but I had really wanted to do something more significant to commemorate the occassion, besides sit around the house and make up alcoholic beverages named for civil rights activists, then show up to my Phone shift drunk. Classes start on Tuesday, and I can tell I'm now a true upperclassmen (or maybe just a slacker, or burnt out on school, or both) because I haven't even thought about getting books or any supplies yet. Back when I was a freshman I totally had my bag packed, textbooks and all, like a week before classes started. C'est la vie. Back to knitting my new beau a man-scarf...