Since my life is more than shoes...

I thought I'd share it with you

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Being Thankful

My (former) next door neighbor's son was in Iraq for a while, and we just received word that he is home safe for the next week (maybe 2). He is in the Marines, and will hopefully be sent to Japan for 6 months instead of Iraq. We are all very thankful that he is home safe. He is my age and we walked or rode the bus to school together from Kindergarden all the way through 10th grade (after which we all got our licenses and drove to school). It just amazes me that someone my age (and he's not the only one of my high school friends who is in the military, whether in Iraq or somewhere else) is out there fighting. I remember being in my 12th grade history class and thinking about the 18 year olds in WWI and WW2 - wow. Now I am 23 and I still can't fathom people my own age being in war. I feel so young. I'm thankful that it isn't me out there, and I'm thankful that my friend Kyle came home, at least for a little while. Please remember the other friends and loved ones in harm's way, as they might not be so lucky.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004


Frankly, I'm mildly surprised by my husband's anti-union tendancies, since one of his grandfathers worked for Ford. I don't know much about Ford, but you'd think that UAW would run in his blood. Anyway, I personally spent my formative years with my dad working in a blue collar job and my mom as a teacher. Now my dad works for a Land Surveyor, and as the only employee, I don't think the union is on his mind. Frankly, I don't know whether my dad was even a member of the union when he worked for "the shops" as we called them (Machine Tool Shops - if you're really interested, you'll ask me - actually, I'll probably tell you all about my town's glorious past in another post). Anyway, for a while both of my parents were teachers, and my mom was even *gasp* asked to be a union rep for her school. This does not mean that she went around and told everyone they were bad for not being in the union. Everyone has a choice. I just want to say this - no matter what Andy says, about not wanting to hear personal stories (he's already heard this one anyway), my mom's job was saved by the union. I know that Andy thinks that the union exists solely to protect crummy teachers, and I'd say that some crummy teachers still have jobs who shouldn't, because of the union. However, I actually had my mother as a teacher, and she wasn't half bad :)

Maybe in Vikki's case the union isn't very appealing - she is working in a rich school district with plenty of money to throw around, and probably the majority of the people in the town are well educated and appreciate education. The town I grew up in was primarily blue collar, and many people thought that teachers didn't work hard enough (like they did) to earn their salaries. (By the way, in 1980 when my parents both returned to town after college, my dad (the factory worker) made 2x as much as my mom, the starting teacher.) At that time, just picking up and moving wasn't really an option, and it wasn't "the time the union saved my mom" Today, it's a different story, with rich school districts drafting teachers left and right. But what about the teachers who are willing to stay in the bad districts to help the kids that no one else wants to deal with? There's a good reason for the union to protect teachers like that - without the union my mom wouldn't have good health benefits, family sick days, etc. The union doesn't just help people keep their jobs, it helps people keep their benefits. Just because you are a member of the union doesn't mean that you have to vote for "their candidate" for governor. Politics aside, there is a reason for unions. If there is ever a time when the teacher shortage becomes a teacher overflow, those teachers will be glad the union is still around and they don't have to form one all over again.

Ever think about this? Teachers are supposed to be professionals - they have college degrees and even master's degrees. Why aren't they supported as professionals? Then maybe they wouldn't need a union. You might complain about the fees your doctor charges, but you still pay it because he/she went to school for a long time. Well, if you add it all up, my mom has probably spent more time in school than a doctor, since teachers have to take all kinds of classes to maintain their license. She's not asking to be paid like a doctor - she's just asking that people stop acting like the wage she earns (which is less than my husband's first year engineering salary) be recognized as a wage she deserves.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Working Girl

So I had to work on Saturday. It's not my favorite part of my new job, but it does allow me to get a lot of homework done, since we really just have to be a warm body at the desk. Normally, I wouldn't be there alone, but everyone else had a field trip, and the other girl couldn't work because it was Yom Kippur (major Jewish holiday). It was just me, the goats, and the alarm system. Ok, so I have been shown how to disarm the main building many times, but I've only actually been shown how to disarm the one for the house. Apparently I did something wrong, because at 9:30, a security guard came by on his golf cart to find out why the house alarm had gone off. I said that I thought I turned it off properly at 8:40 (after feeding the goats - why, by the way, did it take them an hour to come and make sure that everything was ok?). Anyway, I still don't understand what I did wrong, since I did the same thing that I did for the main building alarm. I'll have to ask when I go back on Wednesday. Other than that, the goats and I had a relatively uneventful and beautiful day at Oak View. Did I mention the 30 screaming Tiger Cubs (1st grade boy scouts)? Well, they came with 30 calm parents (one for each cub), and everything actually went just fine. They really had a good time, which was great, because I was the only one there, so we couldn't do a program for them.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

:( it ate my post

I just wrote a really long post and it's all gone :( Now you'll never know all about the kids who visited Oak View yesterday and how much better my new job is :(

I had something to say

but of course now that I am sitting in front of the computer it has slipped away... anyway, I'm really liking my new job. It's so fun to work with people about my own age and who are interested in many of the same things that I am. *Gasp* I'm even friends with girls (it's actually hard not to be, since the park manager and one other student are the only men, but that's not the point). Even if it's not my dream job (my dream job would be to be the boss), it's great experience, and you get to hear all the funny things that kids think. We have an old fashioned curling iron (the kind you stick in a fire to heat up) and the boys thought that it was a nut cracker. Not so much, but quite hillarious - they even tried to demonstrate using a piece of wood chip as a "walnut" It's all part of learning to figure things out for yourself.

oh and now I remember what I had to say - it's about school uniforms. Wow, first of all those kids (they were from a private school) all looked like little soldiers as they were marched ("on the right is always right") into the Farm History Center. Then, just for kicks, I looked up the requirements... The girls aren't even allowed to wear pants or shorts on field trips!!! They're allowed to wear them at school though, which I think is just crazy (well, they're not allowed to wear pants, but "walking shorts and cullottes" are ok) - why not the other way around? The most rediculous thing in the world is to see a bunch of girls running around on a field trip at a farm wearing a skirt! (What happens when they have to sit down on the grass to listen to us? Well, they have to kneel, which I think is bad for your knees, and completely unfair)

Also, how much does this cost? It's just not fair - I don't care whether or not the dad drove up in a Porsche - no one should have to pay that much for their kids' clothes. A dress code, all right - at least then you could buy your khakis at Target, but uniforms? That's just too much... I know that many people, particularly Christians completely disagree with me on this, but come on people. Plus, why do all these dress codes not let girls wear pants? I think this is also crazy - I don't understand this at all - what century are we living in now? Maybe in NC it's not so bad, but in VT when it's cold, that is just inappropriate. My cousin told me once how all the girls just huddle together on the playground during recess because they were too cold in their dresses. Crazy!

So it turns out that I did have something to say - rrr - uniforms make me angry. Of course Andy will point to my own rebellious short skirt phase in high school as evidence that uniforms and dress codes are a good thing. Well, maybe to a point, but they don't take into consideration different body types. My poor cousin is too tall to find skirts in regular stores that are below the knee (unless they're to her ankles) so her mom has to make them for her. Ok so don't allow mini skirts (ie you bend over and others can see your underwear), but there should be a little leeway here. And how many of the people who are now advocating these long skirts wore minis in the 60s and 70s? I know I never wore any as short as they did on the Brady Bunch, and that was family TV. Then there's me - I can't find shirts that are long enough for me to save my life, unless they're size XL, which everyone knows I'm not. If you don't believe me, I dare you to find a shirt that fits me width-wide but doesn't go over my belly button when I raise my hand - $14 jcrew t-shirts and $10 KMart t-shirts is all I've found so far...

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

I'm tired

not so much physically, but mentally. I'm tired of people at my job yelling at me for things that I cannot help and that are not my fault. Why can't people just be nice for a change? Why not recognize that being nice might actually make me want to help you out, when yelling at me just makes me want to get you off the phone as soon as possible? I think that we should all try to be nice every once in a while, whether it's to that salesperson who seems to have lost the last of whatever item you had reserved, or whether it's to the customer service rep on the other end of the line who is not to blame for the fact that the computer is saying you should be charged $7,000 for your phone bill. Remember that it could be your mom or your dad or your best friend that you are talking to, and treat them nicely. Then maybe people wouldn't hate their jobs so much.

On a positive note, I don't have to deal with any of that at my new job :) Yay I'm almost out of here!

Monday, September 20, 2004


After more than 1 year of marriage, I can say that it is a great thing. I recommend it - as long as it's the right person. I don't have any regrets - except for not including the registry cards in the inviatation no matter what Miss Manners said. We got some great stuff, but I had to ask for a blender for Christmas! :) Anyway, I wanted to share a few hints with anyone thinking about getting married, or recently married.

Even if you maid of honor passes out at the wedding and has to leave on a stretcher, the important part is the fact that you are married. Don't let wedding plans consume you.

It's ok to disagree on some things (Andy and I are a clear example of political disagreements being ok) as long as you agree on the big things: God, money, and where you buy your clothes (sure, a trip to Banana Republic is ok, as long as you have money to pay for what you buy - otherwise, stick to Target, which, by the way, has excellent jeans) I guess those last 2 are kind of related, but I think you can tell a lot by a person based on whether or not they "have" to buy $90 jeans from JCrew or whether they buy them because they're the only brand that fits (as any girl will tell you, this might be harder than it seems)

Learn to cook. Whether you both know a little or a lot, it's great to cook meals together (even if I sometimes just boil water or something). By the way, I do know how to cook, but Andy's just better at it :) You'll also save a lot of money by cooking that pasta yourself instead of paying $7.95 at Olive Garden.

Appreciate each other. It's easy to take someone for granted when they're always there - the same way we often get with our moms. But remembering that someone could be gone in an instant and thanking them for what they do will help keep you in perspective.

Go to marriage counseling. If it seems like you're not really learning all that many new things, that's probably a good thing - it means you've probably already discussed a lot of the big things already. Plus, you might get to hear some great married people stories from the pastor. Pastor Bruce definitely knew what he was talking about.

I know, those seem like basic things, but they're good to keep in mind. Maybe you think 1 year of marriage doesn't qualify me to say things like that, well, maybe it doesn't, but it's mostly things I learned from other people anyway.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

On a positive note...

I started my new job yesterday. It's great to be working with people with the same interests (history museums) and getting to know some more people my own age. Also, it only taks me 15 minutes to get to work! It will take even less once they finish the road construction. That's less time than it takes me to get to NC State, since the traffic is horrible. So I have a suggestion for you - if you can, work where no one else seems to work. Everyone here always comes toward West Raleigh, where we live, on their way to RTP. That means that as I travel east, I'm going in the opposite direction of 90% of the cars on the road. Yesterday, about 5 other cars and I just zoomed on down the road while everyone else sat waiting. I'm not really sure what the holdup is every morning, but it's always in the same place. Fortunately, when Andy has to get on the interstate he's a little bit beyond the worst traffic. He doesn't have to be on the highway for long, so he does all right. But I'm the only one who gets to cruise on down the road at 65 MPH during rush hour. Now that's what I call wonderful.

I'm tired of hurricanes

Everyone keeps talking about all these hurricanes. Fortunately we've been lucky so far and haven't been hit directly, but we still get all the rain. I haven't seen the sun in quite a long time. This kind of weather makes me want to go home to VT. We didn't have any severe weather there. An occasional strong thunderstorm at home doesn't compare to what we can get here. No matter what Andy says about it being cold, at least we know what to do when it snows, and we almost never get the same devastating ice storms that they seem to get on a yearly basis down here. rrrr

Monday, September 13, 2004


So, about 2 weeks ago, my sunroof stopped working. Then, last week, I noticed that the rear windows weren't going down. Oh my - I know my car is old, but I had the switches cleaned and checked after my infamous Sprite incident (after telling Andy not to knock over the Sprite I had set on the center console, I proceeded to knock it over myself, thereby making the windows go up and down all by themselves for 2 days - I drove to work one day while holding my hand on the button to keep them from going down - keep in mind that this was winter). Anyway, after the cleaning those switches were working better than ever - well almost - the front windows used to automatically go down if you pushed the button all the way. And then it all stopped. Over the weekend, I had a brainstorm - maybe it was a blown fuse. We popped open the fuse box, and low and behold, the fuse for the windows & the sunroof are the same! We put in a new fuse, and all was well. Of course, I was really hoping that a fuse was to blame for my rear defrost not working - it wasn't. Although it did start working again this morning, so maybe it had worked its way loose.

So, before you take your car in because something little and dumb isn't working, check your fuse box - they don't last forever, and you might save yourself the $10 labor that they might charge you to do something it takes 30 seconds to fix.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Brooke has a point

Ok, so I'll admit that sometimes I forget to read everyone's blog. I get distracted by something and never finish going through the blogs. That's why it's Thursday and I just got around to reading Brooke's blog. No offense, ok? Anyway, she does have a point about Engineers (or CS or whatever mathy/sciency majors) and their inability to give speeches. Just stop by those engineering senior project demonstrations and you'll see what I mean. But then again, I wonder, why does it matter? Engineers are building computers, roads, bridges, and if they're not the best at giving a presentation, is that ok? Well, it depends on what "not the best" means. If it means they freeze up and can only mutter "road road road" when they stand in front of someone, then I guess that's a problem. But if they need to have notecards to read from when they give a presentation, isn't that ok, as long as they get the information across? Let's just say I did a lot more work as a history major in one semester than a certain roommate of mine did in 4 years as a Comm major, and no one's going to argue it's because she was better at Comm than I was at History. Unfortunately it seems that Comm majors at least have a better chance of getting a job than a history major. At least in their major field... oh well. If, after spending another 2 years in school I still can't get a job, I think I'll just sit on the couch with my cat and watch TLC. Maybe I'll learn something for my new career as a TV host (oh - I should have been a Comm major for that).

Well, that was a little rambly, but let's face it, it's 7:30am, and I'm at work, and I worked until 8pm last night... I can't be as coherant as one might like.

But notice how I steered clear of politics and didn't make any comments about a certain President's intelligence... :)

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

I'm glad we don't live in Florida

Andy reminded me yesterday that one of the options we considered before we moved to NC was Florida. His dad used to work there, so we had some connections for a possible job. All I can say is, NC is about as close to FL as I ever want to get, thank you very much. I'm pretty sure that after we would have evacuated the 2nd time for Frances I would have said, "Ok, now we've left the state, so we never have to come back." And now there's Ivan. How many hurricanes can one flat little state handle? I just hope it doesn't come here, because hurricanes scare the crap out of me. That's what I like about the North. In my lifetime, I think we've only had 2 or 3 hurricanes hit the New England coast and do any real damage. At least that's what I remember. Of course, then there's snow. But at least we know what to do when the snow comes, instead of telling everyone to just stay inside until it melts. 2" of snow is not newsworthy, ok?

I've been trying to decide whether or not the high humidity and outrageously high summer temps in June, July & August are worth the nice winter weather. These hurricanes are making me wish for Pennsylvania. At least we have a/c.

Friday, September 03, 2004


I've always wondered about carsickness. Why do people get it? Well, I was reading about preventing carsickness in little kids on MSN (since I tend to be a little on the carsick side). Apparently, if you read a book while riding, or do something else to focus on something that isn't moving while you're moving, your brain doesn't know what it should tell your body. Are you moving, or aren't you moving? I guess this confusion then makes you feel sick. Here's my question: does that mean that my brain is less developed than say, my mom's, because she can read in the car and I can't? Maybe it's just developed differently, since I know a heck of a lot more about computers than she does :) Anyway, if you're prone to carsickness, you're supposed to keep the windows open and focus on a point on the horizon. That way your brain can tell that you are moving. I hope this helps you enjoy your labor day weekend travels carsick free :)

Jimmy knows what he's talking about

nice post, Jimmy. I agree. I just like to post all the political stuff because it's fun for me to talk about and read about :)

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Strong Words

Anyone who has studied the Alien & Sedition Acts passed by John Adams knows that sometimes a president can go too far. Personally, I think that the Patriot Act went too far, but at least it's still America and we shouldn't be accused of being un-American for questioning what our government does. We should be more American for questioning things, because that's what democracy is all about. However, it's starting to seem like that's happening at the Republican Convention. Granted, I have not actually watched the convention, and the following article that I quote from is written by someone who does not plan to vote for Bush. (So it's probably a little biased - but what isn't?) But what this quote does do is say what I've been thinking for a long time: I get the feeling that the President thinks that anyone who dares to question his policies is un-American. I've lived in Europe - I know what un-American looks like, and it's not me. I'm proud to say that I am an American and proud that I can say whatever I want about the President without being thrown in jail. So let's watch what we say here, people, and remember that 4 years ago Bush was critizing the President so he could be elected. Why wasn't that un-American?

Anyway, here's what William Saletan has to say:
In a democracy, the commander in chief works for you. You hire him when you elect him. You watch him do the job. If he makes good decisions and serves your interests, you rehire him. If he doesn't, you fire him by voting for his opponent in the next election.

Not every country works this way. In some countries, the commander in chief builds a propaganda apparatus that equates him with the military and the nation. If you object that he's making bad decisions and disserving the national interest, you're accused of weakening the nation, undermining its security, sabotaging the commander in chief, and serving a foreign power—the very charges Miller leveled tonight against Bush's critics.

Are you prepared to become one of those countries?

When patriotism is impugned, the facts go out the window. You're not allowed to point out that Bush shifted the rationale for the Iraq war further and further from U.S. national security—from complicity in 9/11 to weapons of mass destruction to building democracy to relieving Iraqis of their dictator—without explaining why American troops and taxpayers should bear the burden. You're not allowed to point out that the longer a liberator stays, the more he looks like an occupier. You're not allowed to propose that the enormous postwar expenses Bush failed to budget for be covered by repealing his tax cuts for the wealthy instead of further indebting every American child.

If you dare to say these things, you're accused—as Kerry now stands accused by Cheney and Miller—of defaming America and refusing "to support American troops in combat." You're contrasted to a president who "is unashamed of his belief that God is not indifferent to America." You're derided, in Cheney's words, for trying to show al-Qaida "our softer side." Your Silver Star, Bronze Star, and three Purple Hearts are no match for the vice president's five draft deferments.

By the way, no matter what you think about Kerry's medals, the government awarded them to him. So now that I've hypocritically used them, let's move on and stop talking about what both candidates were doing 30 years ago. How about what's been done for the last 4 years?