Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Jess asked me to answer these questions for a You-Know-What Monologues related project.

1. who is someone male or female that has had a vast impact on your life?

My grandmother is one person who has really helped to shape who I am. She was born in Seattle and was sent with her siblings to live in Japan when her father lost a lot of money in Depression. She lived there through World War II, and afterwards she worked and studied there. She went to get an office job without knowing how to format on a typewriter, but she tried anyway and the person interviewing her gave her a job. While she worked there, so got to eat in the company cafeteria and she stuffed her purse full of food every day to give to her sisters. She also got into what, at the time, was the only college math program for women in Japan. Since coming back to America she has been a strong working woman, mother, and grandmother, who is the matriarch of our family; she constantly reminds us to be proud of who we are and to do our best. She also constantly reminds us that we shouldn't marry someone who isn't good enough for us, and that we deserve the best.

2. What job, if any that you have had has had the most impact on your life?

Over the years, working at a summer camp has totally shaped the way I see the world. When kids come to camp for a week, they are able to say and do things that they might not be comfortable doing in their normal lives with people they see every day. Seeing the joy on their faces as they experience the natural world reminds me that I have that kind of joy when I slow down enough to look around me. I am also moved by the amount of kids who live in insanely difficult and painful circumstances. Camp becomes a vacation from problems that they shouldn't have to face at their age, and it is such an honor to be able to create that space for healing and renewal.

3. if you could tell your 40 year old self one piece of advice, what would it be?

I wish my 40 year old self would give me some advice! I guess I would tell myself that if I haven't learned to trust myself at 40, then I need to quit whatever I'm doing and work on that. Oh, and I'd remind myself to affirm and nurture the awesome single women who are in their 20's and 30's.

4. what do you love most about being female?

I love whenever I am dissatisfied with my body I remember that wide hips are a good thing for a woman to have. Men don't have the childbirth excuse.

5. chocolate or vanilla?

Warm chocolate paired with vanilla ice cream. But if I have to pick one, obviously its chocolate.

Friday, January 25, 2008

An Internet Shopping Adventure

A couple months ago I spotted this vest on Patagonia, and decided that I really liked it. It was $88 though and I just can't stomach spending that much on a sweater, even one "made from a sumptuous blend of fine-gauge, 95% non-chlorine-washed merino wool and silky 5% TencelĀ® that feels deliciously soft next to the skin." Then, I looked at the suggested "Ideal Uses":

* Travel
* Stargazing
* Cabin time
* Bookstore loitering

....Wait, I love all those things!

Well, today I went to see if it was on sale yet, and got really excited because they had added the new spring stuff -- but the sweaters were gone without so much as a clearance sale. But, thinking quickly I remembered that I had sent a link to some of my friends, so I went on my facebook inbox and found the link which included the name of the vest (Marjorie Scoop Neck Vest), and Googled it. And I found it for $29.99! Yay!


Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Burg

I had a brief visit in College-land this week... Jackie and I drove out to Frostburg to see Jess's apartment yesterday and spent the night. This was my first trip to the 'Burg. Jess lives in Edgewood Commons, which is owned by the same company as South Campus Commons in College Park (where I lived for 2 years); consequently the whole place looked eerily familiar. We got to see Danny, and meet their friend Mark. Jess made pot roast which was excellent, and we called everyone Jess could think of looking for a corkscrew. We found a corkscrew, Bee came over, and we spent the rest of the night hanging out around the table.

Most of my drinking is done with my parents or my aunts, so it was a nice change to be drinking with people my own age (and chuckling that those too young to drink)! Of course by midnight Jackie was ready to crash (having flown back from LA the night before), so the boys went home and the party wound down.

Jackie called the love seat, which left me with two small armchairs or the floor. So I laid the cushions from the two chairs on the floor and slept on those. I used to be able to sleep anywhere... floor... chair... field... etc. Last night I slept fitfully and when I woke up at 8:30 my head hurt and my back hurt and basically my whole body hurt. I am soooo not in college anymore.

The drive back was interesting. Motivated by the scenery and our newfound love (LOVE!) for the GPS device, Jackie and I were going to go to Harper's Ferry on the way back (I've never been), but then I-70 was shut down for awhile and the detour took us over and hour. While sitting in the car we took lots of pictures and imagined all the ways we could possible contrive to meet the guy in the car behind us (we named him Matt), but then he pulled off the detour road. That actually inspired us to make our own detour (we weren't following him), and skipped the rest of the traffic. We realized it would be dark by the time we got to Harper's Ferry, so we ended up just driving over the line into WV for the heck of it, and then going to dinner at Pizza Hut. Good times.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

If you need directions, I'll be your guide...

I recently acquired one of those GPS navigation devices. We bought one for my grandparents last year, but they haven't used it, so they gave it to me. I get lost.... more or less constantly.

The downside of my Magellan Whatever-Its-Called is that I'm still getting used to driving and looking at it. With reading directions off a piece of paper, I have to remember the street name, whereas so far with the GPS I keep forgetting to look at the street name, so then when it starts counting down to my next turn I'm afraid I'll miss it or take the wrong one, so then I look at the street name on the screen and then miss the turn. Or a couple times I took the wrong turn because I didn't trust the countdown.

On the upside, I take wrong turns all the time anyway, but the GPS thing just gives me new directions and it usually doesn't make me feel stupid. I also like the fact that it tells me how long it will be until I get there.

By far the best part, however, is the fact that I can search for any local businesses nearby. This means that on a road trip, I can find the nearest Starbucks any time I want, without having to wait for the Starbucks symbol on an exit sign.

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Sunday, January 13, 2008


I am so tired. This weekend was really long, but it was actually really great. Saturday morning was a discernment group, where I am meeting with others who are experiencing a feeling of being called to something. It was our first meeting and it was actually really helpful listening to other peoples' stories of how they have experienced God. Then, in the afternoon, we had our first leadership meeting of the new year, with our new administrative structure in place. It was a really good meeting, and I met with some of the members of our young peoples' ministry committee, where we mostly listened to the two youth about their vision for the ministry.

Today was also long, but good. I preached on singleness at all three services. It was really cool to have Jess, Loretta, Jackie, and my Uncle Tom all come to see me. I thought the message went pretty well, and a lot of people thanked me for speaking out in affirmation of single people (we are not incomplete!) I got to meet Jackie's sister Michelle, and Michelle's boyfriend at lunch. Then I went to Walmart to get playdough and went to set up youth group. We had two youth group meetings, which went pretty well and then went home. This was one of those weekends where I really felt good about the relationships I've formed in ministry. I love it when I can just sit and talk to kids, especially when they are willing to talk back.

One of the points I made in my sermon was this: when would I find time to have a boyfriend???

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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Gloria Steinem Agrees with Me

Like Hillary or not, here are some questions:

Why is Hillary the only woman running?

Is she really the only woman in the last decade with the drive and ability to get this far in the presidential candidacy process?

Gloria Steinem shared some thoughts on Hillary in an Op-Ed piece for the New York Times.

So often you hear Americans getting up on their social high-horses and talking about freedom and such, but as far as gender (and even race in some cases) goes, we are behind the times. Here's a depressing time-line for your... enjoyment:

1558 Elizabeth I becomes Queen of England and never marries (!)
1893 New Zealand is the first independent country to grant voting rights to women
1917 Jeannette Rankin elected to US Congress
1920 19th Amendment grants suffrage to woman in US
1956 Golda Meir becomes Prime Minister of Israel
1966 Indira Gandhi becomes Prime Minister of India
1970 Margaret Thatcher becomes Prime Minister of the UK
2007 Nancy Pelosi becomes the first female Speaker of the House

* info on the timeline is from Wikipedia, so feel free to fact check.

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Weather, Politics, Writers' Strike

It was in the 60's today, which is crazy. I took a walk in a t-shirt and then I came in and watched CNN while doing yoga and decided that with balmy weather in Maryland and a string of Midwestern tornadoes in January, maybe I should host a movie night featuring The Day After Tomorrow. The Earth is mad and fighting back, people.

New Hampshire's primary is over, and I'm pretty happy with the results. It is nice to see mixed results from the first two states; I don't like seeing major candidates knocked out early on. With Clinton, Obama, and Edwards still in a fairly close race, and new life for McCain and Romney, we are still in a race where candidates will have to keep answering questions and giving better answers. Isn't democracy exciting???

And then there's the writer's strike. As someone who loves shows like Lost, Gilmore Girls, Desperate Housewives, and Pushing Daisies (all involving clever writers), it amazes me that big companies have a problem giving residuals to people who helped create a product (or that companies don't always pay a living wage or provide benefits). Business is about making money, but does capitalism have to dictate ethics? Are we really ok with large corporations having so much control over the fates of working people?

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Monday, January 07, 2008

Soda is Good for You

In case my last blog was too long or serious for you, I have just stumbled on some startling new arguments for why you should drink soda. As many of you know, I love Coke. I've been told that it makes you fat, that it sucks the calcium out of your bones, and that it is corrosive enough to clean out a pig's feed trough, but I don't care.

I was glancing over the Relevant.com Editorial blog, and found this tasty piece of journalism. Enjoy.

Big Girls in Leadership Don't Cry

What woman who is in a leadership role hasn't come close to tears when she desperately needs to keep her cool? I know I have choked up while preaching, while attempting to discipline someone, while arguing with someone, etc. Most women know and understand that tears are seen as weak. Emotion is often seen as a liability in a leader. "She's too emotional." "Women are always crying." "What if she gets PMS and starts a war?" (All arguments I've heard men make against women in leadership).

Today I just saw a video of Hillary Clinton, choking up when answering a question on how she stays upbeat on the trail. Although I understand why so many people dislike and distrust Hillary, I feel for her. Any woman in leadership knows that it is very difficult to get ahead in a man's world. And it is still a man's world. I was in fourth grade when the Clintons entered the White House, so I grew up watching Hillary Clinton. I heard the jokes and criticisms about her hair and her wardrobe and her influence on her husband. It was funny and entertaining, but it showed me how uncomfortable our country still is with people who step outside of traditional gender roles. The First Lady is in charge of things like the Easter Egg Hunt, not health care (notice that people are so amused by the idea of the "First Gentleman" running such events).

We may have come a long way, but women are still faced with a difficult dilemma: if you are nice people will like you but won't take you seriously; if you are tough, people might take you seriously but they won't like you. This is obviously an over-simplification, but how many warm and fuzzy women do we see in government offices (think Condoleezza Rice or Nancy Pelosi)? Hillary Clinton has spent her adult life trying to live out the promises that people have made to my generation since kindergarten: You can be president if you want; You can raises kids and have a job; You can do anything you set your mind to; You can be a wife and pursue your dreams. Would things be the same if she hadn't put her husband's presidency first? Would she still be in this position? Maybe she's only getting this attention because she was First Lady, but then that's depressing if it that's what it takes to be a female presidential candidate.

I am by no means saying that she is a victim. People are also uncomfortable at what we perceive as lack of sincerity. Politically she isn't far left enough for some Democrats. Republicans just plain hate her. But my suggestion is that she is a product of a society that makes it very difficult to be a woman and a leader, and of a political culture that is dependent on grooming and opinion polls. It is disconcerting to see someone who seems to be saying whatever it takes to get ahead politically. Still, I wonder what it would look like to have a president who had the abilities and the savvy to work within the current system and stay alive politically -- despite being a woman.

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Thursday, January 03, 2008

the election season finally begins (!)

Politics is my sport. Honestly, I'm only the tiniest bit interested that the Redskins made the playoffs, but I love elections! The evoke a mixture of optimism and cynicism that I enjoy.

So after like 2 years of pregame coverage, we finally have results! Granted, this is like preseason, but its something more substantial than polls.

So I'm like in love with Barak Obama. Wait, that didn't sound intelligent at all. His message and vision resonate with me (is that better?) Of course, I've been going through an internal struggle over who I want to support. I first noticed Barak a few years ago (thanks to my dyed-in-the-wool Democrat Grama), and he has been involved in the movement to address the conflict in Darfur.

Then again, I have admired Hillary Clinton for years (there, I said it - go ahead and judge me!), but I she doesn't really inspire me. I think she would be a good president and she's not terribly far from me on most issues, but I'm not sure she would bring the kind of change I'm hoping for.

And then there's Edwards, whom I voted for last time. I really like him, I do. But again, I really want a leader who will unite people and inspire change and I'm just not sure he's the one.

I have a feeling I won't be devastated by the outcome from the primary season on the Democratic side. It does come as a surprise to me, however, that Edwards and Obama both beat out Clinton. That must be a bitter pill for her.

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Wednesday, January 02, 2008

I'm Coming Out

... as an Obama supporter. I'm planning to blog more on the elections later, but for now, I'll let him speak for himself.

I'm sick of being told that I can either be a Christian OR a Democrat, for God OR for gay people, for war OR for the troops. At this point I feel like Obama is the person who best represents what I want for our country.

I'm also interested in finding out which candidates other people like. But, I want to hear reasons, not arguments and attacks. Who are you looking at?

PS Register to vote! Click on the Rock the Vote Link!

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