Life as a VISTA

My year of giving back to the community where I went to college.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

One month!

I am moving one month from today! I'm excited and sad at the same time. This year has been full of experiences that I know I can use in the future. There is still a lot left to do but I feel good about getting it all done.

This weekend I've spent time going through clothes to donate, working on job applications and writing my essays for my Peace Corps application. It's been a fairly productive weekend - I've even had time to soak up the sun while reading Newsweek - it doesn't getting better than that! The rest of the day I plan on devoting to completing a job application due at the end of the month and my cross-cultural experience essay.

For those of you who do not know my love of Pirates of the Caribbean, I would encourage you to see both one and two. I'm excited for number three on Memorial Day next year, and I heard on the radio this week that there are talks of possibly a fourth. Now, I love Pirates, but let's take this one at a time! It can be cheap to build pirate ships every year. Also, let's not beat a dead horse if there isn't actually something to go on!

Right now I'm listening to the song Hide Away by Rock Kills Kid. Good stuff, listen to it.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

101 HOT!

Today, the hottest day of the year so far, was a day to be spent inside. More importantly, it was a day to see Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest a second time. If you haven't seen it, I beg, GO! It's a whole lot of fun and it requires seeing it more than one time. Why? Because there are so many little things that are very important that you can't get the first time around. Besides, I think it gets better every time you see it. My dad was lucky enough to not only see the movie, but to see the newly updated Pirates of the Caribbean ride. I'm jealous! Let's just say he's very impressed with the magic that Disney works!

Other than that, I'm slowly starting to pack up my apartment and get ready to move back to Oregon. So, if you know anyone that is in need of furniture or a tv or a vacuum, for that matter, let me know!

Now it's a matter of finding a job in Prineville. I hold out hope that someone just might hire me (crossing my fingers!). My mom is on the lookout for me and already has a lead for me at the local bookstore for a part time job - one of my dream jobs!

In conclusion, all I can say is, it's hot out, so hot I could fry eggs on the sidewalk. One degree short of a record! That means a lot of staying inside and figuring out what is next!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Radio Silence

I've decided I'm very bad at this. I'm constantly forgetting about this blog. So much for keeping track of my year. Since the last time I posted a blog I have: taken the GRE, been to Minneapolis twice, been sunburnt, worked a lot of hours, looked for jobs, and started a new role for the last two months of my VISTA position. There has been more, but that's it for highlights.

Currently I am working with our summer camps with Allison and learning a lot along the way. Such as: kids make me really tired, now I know why I was never a camp counselor. Or, feeding twenty kids in 30 minutes is next near to impossible without tears or messes. I also didn't know I was capable of going to bed by 9 or 9:30 every night of the week and still feel like I hadn't slept at all by 4pm the next day.

Ah yes, summer in Fargo. The weather was really nice in May so I managed to start summer early. I've already had my first picnic of the season. The wind nearly blew me away. On Thursday I'm headed to visit Brendan and I can't wait. We are planning on doing a whole lot of nothing - except hanging out on the lake. The following weekend I'm headed to a bridal shower before I get a weekend off (well, I'm cat-sitting) and then down to Minneapolis for a wedding. In the next ten weeks before I move, I'm hoping to go camping and catch a concert or two. Whatever it is, I plan on seeing a lot of friends here before I head out to the land where I came from: the West Coast. Can't wait.

Listening to: Taking the Long Way by The Dixie Chicks. If you hadn't heard the CD, take my word that it is awesome - and just go buy it! I haven't been cooking that much because I like more no fuss meals during the summer, but I have made both Baba Ghanooj and Hummus recently. Delicious!

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Blue Eyes, Brown Eyes

For those of you who have done any sort of anti-racism training, chances are you have come across Jane Elliott. She is the woman who came up with an experiment to show an all-white classroom in Iowa what racism was all about. It is really interesting stuff, and I would recommend seeing "Eye of the Storm" which was taped in 1970, three years after she originally started the experiment. What she learned is that you can turn nice, equal children into hateful, critical children based on their eye color. One day the blue-eyed children were the "superior race" and the brown-eyed children were discriminated against. Some of things that the brown-eyed children couldn't do were drink out of the drinking fountain, have recess, etc. After one day of that, the situation was flipped and the brown-eyed children were "superior." The same thing happened. Elliott noticed that the kids that were told that they could do no wrong because they were better than the other eye color outperformed the other kids hands down. When the situation was flipped, the same thing happened. It's amazing that the experiment could flip attitudes so quickly. She wanted to show kids what racism was, and it all started the day after Martin Luther King Jr. died.

Really, it is very interesting. It's a simple way to get the point across to young children. Of course, every year there were parents that would not allow their children in her classroom because they did not approve of her or her teachings. But, you can be certain that the kids in her class did learn something.

Last Tuesday night I had the opportunity to hear her speak. I knew the basics of what she had done so I was interested in hearing what she had learned and what all she had to say. What I got was NOT that. What I got was a woman who was so angry at so many things that it was hard to follow sometimes. She was funny and she made some valid points, but her hostility was so intense that her point was usually lost. After she had pissed off a vast majority of the audience (let's call it a mass exodus) she got to talking about the stuff that I came to listen to. It was nicer when she wasn't talking at us, it was more powerful when she was asking questions of two very different students from NDSU. I'd say that the people who made it through the first hour were able to gain something from this segment of her presentation. The students answers were very illuminating.

I'd recommend her for those who can go in with an open mind and hold onto your seat until she gets through her hostility.

In other notes...I'm taking the GRE next weekend. Should be a good time - or at least I will have it out of the way and I won't have to worry about it. Then there isn't really much of anything hanging over my head.

For some good recipes...I'd recommend a healthier version of spanikopita. I just picked up some cresent rolls from the store, defrosted spinach, drained cottage cheese, added mozzarella, lemon juice and garlic, put it into the rolls (I doubled up and left them as triangles) and voila (!) an excellent dinner. It makes a lot too, so maybe invite some friends. I also made beer bread. It was pretty delicious and very easy!

Happy Easter and I hope next week is filled with sunshine!

Friday, March 10, 2006

The miracle of vinegar

So, tonight I learned about the wonders of vinegar. Who knew? Well, my mom but she's a mom and she is suppose to know this kind of stuff. For all sorts of anything regarding vinegar, direct your mouse to: It's cheap, it's environmentally friendly, and it smells clean. Doesn't get better than that.

I've learned a lot tonight. I went to Walmart, even though I have a strong distate for it (and I remember why every time I set foot in there), and learned that they card people buying rated R movies. This kid in front of me, who was with his family, was not allowed to buy the movie. I asked my checker why that was and she told me it was because Walmart is "a family values place and we take the age of people very seriously." Trust me, I was holding it all in and I wanted to shake her. I held myself back, because she reminded the people in front of me that there are in fact, security cameras in place. Humrph.

I also learned a little bit of something about IRAs. Between 2002 and 2004 you could only put $3000 per year into your IRA, now that number has gone up and starting in 2009 the amount you can contribute will go up $500/year to account for inflation. All I know is, I better be working for the next 45 years to have any money when I retire.

This weekend I am making New England Boiled Dinner. Yum. If you don't know what that is, look it up. It's March and it is the perfect time for it! I'm also going to be doing a little baking this weekend, in the form of bread. I figure if it's snowing, I don't want to go outside, therefore inside activities are in order.

Fact of the day: No only children have ever been President. Hmm...

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Thank you Cable Guy

So, my internet has been down in the dumps for weeks. Horrible signal, and if I could get one at all I would only be able to see my inbox, but not reply to anything in there. I finally called because I was really mad about it, and there seemed to be nothing wrong but Cable one decided to send someone out because of my bad, bad connection.

Of course, when I say send someone out, I mean that they tell me that it will be sometime between 1-5pm. Could that be any more vague?! I told them I refused to wait the whole afternoon and to call me 15 minutes before they were going to be there. Well, of course I missed the call because my phone was on vibrate and I didn't hear/feel it, and by the time I actually looked at my phone 15 minutes had passed since they called. ARGH! I quickly called them back to tell them I was on my way and I totally missed the call, could they please wait?! Apparently many people just don't show up or call back and they were pleased with me, so the guy said he could wait. YES!

I come barreling in and hold my head in shame in front of the very attractive cable guy. I apologized and thanked me for waiting for me and I promised I wasn't like this all the time. Why I felt the need to tell him that I'm not sure...anyway, the internet is now fixed!

For those of you wondering what I will be doing with my life next year, I have some news. Due to the president CUTTING the AmeriCorps program that I wanted to do next year (*NCCC), I have no CLUE what I will be doing. And in case anyone is wondering what that program did, besides serving their country on a stipend 110% above the poverty line, those were the people that traveled to places to help with disaster relief, major building blitzes, etc. If you are still confused, those are the people you say on the morning shows helping with disaster relief after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Now, why would someone go and cut a program that is willing to do the work for next to nothing and instead pay contractors millions to clean up? Yeah, I'm not sure, other than stupidity. So, thank you President Bush for cutting a program that you need to clean up after your mess.

So, it's back to the drawing board for what I will be doing come August. The only for sure thing is that I will no longer be living in Fargo and that won't be soon enough.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Feeling like a grown-up

Today I did what I've been putting off for awhile - started studying for the GREs and updated my resume. I figure these are important things to do in my quest to figure out what I'm going to do come end of August.

I know for sure that I'm not going back to school this fall, except for maybe a course in stats. But, I need to get the GREs out of the way before I proceed. That way I can be ready to enter grad school at some point in the future (Fall 2007). I was talking to Sara Vo today and she is studying as well, and she inspired me to get my act in gear!

As far as the resume goes, I thought I should update it with my VISTA experience. That means going to the career center at Concordia for some advice. After that, it should be ready to hand out at the non-profit career fair in Minneapolis. I'm looking forward to the fair, if nothing else to attend the sessions. One of the sessions is about international non-profit work - one of the biggest things that I'm interested in. There are also some very interesting organizations that will be attending.

The future is a very scary place, but also a very exciting one. I'm tossing around numerous options for after I'm done with VISTA in Fargo, and all of them involve being away from North Dakota. Nice state, but a little closeminded for this kid. Minneapolis might be a possibility, but I figure I have a lot of living left to do before committing myself to one area. Honestly, I would be thrilled to head back to Oregon, work a whatever job (hopefully at a chain so I could continue to work there once I start school, whereever that might be) and hang out with family, friends, and my animals!

Busy week ahead at the office, but hopefully things should calm down. I'm always thinking that, but it never seems to happen.

Listening to: Para Vivir by The Latin Pimps. Cooking: Borscht. Baking: Chex Mix.

Thought of the moment: "At the end of our life our questions are simple: Did I live fully? Did I love well?" Jack Kornfield

Go out and make a difference this week. Good luck!