Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Crisis Avoided

So, I was panicking about a dress for the military ball...I was so stressed that I was considering (seriously) making a dress...

REnae saved me. After sitting at Jo Annes for an hour and a half and getting frazzled, she suggested I try one of her dresses on and offered to do some alterations if needed.

No alterations need and it is adorable!


Monday, November 24, 2008

Amanda and I

Amanda and I are going to start a blog together. It is going to be super inappropriate and I imagine super hilarious. We are thinking of names for it right now, so stay tuned!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

What if I Dont Like Women?

This is what I used to say. The truth is, now I love women. As you can surely imagine, there was a time when I was not particularly fond of them. Not only did I not like women, I resented being one. Therefore, I was not surprised by the concert of anti-sentiment from my fellow sisters. I have heard one form or another of this sentiment by women of all ages and walks of life.

Here are some things I often hear:

"I get along with men so much better than women."
"I think I am more masculine than feminine."
"Men say what they mean and mean what they say. Women are just confusing."
"Female relationships take too much energy."
"Women are petty gossips who talk behind your back."
"women are so emotional."
"They are so passive aggressive."

I am fairly certain that either publically or privately, I too have expressed all of these sentiments and frustrations. When I really think about this dynamic, it is a bit frightening. Let's dress it up a bit differently. I cannot even imagine a group of men affirming another brother as he openly declares his disdain for the male populace.

Why are the majority of women in agreement with their general disgust and frustration with females? We usually like individual women, but wrestle with the concept of women as a whole.

I think this epidemic of anti-female sentiment needs some explanation. Why don't women like women? What could possibly cause a large portion of the female population to reject their own gender? Unfortunately, many of us have not been taught an appreciation for who we are as women. Is is surprising that we would distance ourselves from the role if we have never had an understanding of what it is to be a woman?

For years, I have heard many different and mixed messages about women. I am not exactly sure what it means to be one, but I think I am happy to be one. So, I have to sit down to pee...I can handle that... At least I don't have to worry about my sexual daydream becomeing apparent visually.....

You Fight Like A Girl!

Hey, you fight like a girl! Of course, this phrase is usually meant as an insult. Whether it is spoken guy to guy, boy to girl, or woman to man, it is not meant as a compliment. No, it is hurled in response to a weak punch, a scratch, or even a cheap shot.

I think we should fight like girls. So, why would I be encouraging anyone to fight like a girl? First, what is meant for an insult (valid or not)to men or boys shouldnt necessarily be heard as one by women. Of course, girls are going to fight like girls, but for some reason, most of us would rather be told that we fight like men.

Before I continue, I dont want you to think that I am a girly girl advocating whipping people with pink frilly ribbons. I am not. I just think we need to ask why it is an insult to fight like a girl. What would fighting like a girl look like if it were done right?

Just my thought of the day....

Friday, November 21, 2008

Spectacular Spectrums

I can't see rainbows, but I think most people would agree with William Wordsworth: "My heart leaps up when I behold, a rainbow in the sky." I hear that it isn't difficult to be dazzled by this evanescant visual phenomenon, which the Old Testament describes as a sign of God's covenant with Noah after the flood. The fascination fo this offspring of sunlight and raindrops never dims: the hipsters of British rock group Radiohead titled their 2007 album In Rainbows.

I wish I had seen a rainbow, but since I havent, I have to write about what I have heard of them. I have heard that the rainbow has the power to thrill. Let's skip the poetry and move to the prosiac: What is it, exactly, that you are beholding when your heart makes that familiar leap? Rainbows are only the most common form of a number of fascinating visual phenomena that adorn the planet, some so fragile that they simply cannot be photographed.

Rainbows are formed by the interplay between water and light. When white sunlight moves through a water droplet, it is refracted, or bent, and splits into the seven visible colors that compose it: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet (Roy G. Biv). Why? Because each of those colors operate on its own distinct wavelength. In this case, raindrops are acting like the prisms through which Isaac Newton passed light and seperated it in his pioneering work on the science of optics.

There is more to rainbows than meets the eye; the light spectrum usually forms a round rainbow in the sky, but our view is limited by the horizon, so it appears as a semi-circle. From an aiplace, it is possible to see Mr. Biv as a complete circle.

Rainbows are elusive phenomena, but if you have seen a moonbow, congratulations. This much less common optical phenomenon occurs when moonlight passes through raindrops or water vapor and forms a circular spectrum. Moonbows are generally only seen on clear nights when the moon is full. Certain waterfalls, like Africa's Victoria Falls and Lower Yosemite Falls in Cali, are noted for the frequency in which moonbows appear.

Sundogs are another of nature's fascinating optical phenomena. Scientists call them parhelions; they most often form when the sun is low in a sky filled with ice crystals within cirrus clouds. The effect varies: sometimes two false suns appear of either side of the star, at other times a full halo is visible, sometimes the visual effect more resembles a stained smudge of light with a tail than it does a falso sun. In all cases, your eye's are playing tricks on you; nature is.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Tutoring Blog

So, those of you who I tutor, or I guess are just obsessed with everything I do online (Allanna and Amanda) can check out my tutoring blog that I have set up to help you all. Go check it out and give me feedback.....


Altitude with Attitude

Water is one of nature's shape shifters, familiar in both its liquid and solid forms. Yet it's easy to forget that the clouds over our heads also are carriers of water, in this case in its vapor form. Clouds are one of nature's everyday wonders, hiding in plain sight until they are touched with the sun's reflected glory at sunrise and sunset or pile up to form a lightning generating, anvil headed cumulonous thundercloud or simply release their moisture in the form of rain or snow.

Clouds come in two different varieties: stratus (form a horizontal plane in the sky) and cumulus (the puffy, cotton candy ones). Everyone is familiar with the types of clouds that are generated in different levels of the atmosphere: wispy, high flying cirrus clouds that reach into the troposhere, the towering mid-level clouds, identified by the prefix alto-, and the low clouds. When clouds come in for a landing with the ground, we call them fog. Each of the categories are subdivided into other categories that are primarily of interest to nephologists (meteorologists who focus on the study of clouds).

Since clouds are creatures of the wind, they can assume some interesting shapes.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Nature's Fireworks

The Greeks called lightning the "thunderbolt" and depicted it as a jagged line of energy hurled by Zues to dazzle and intimidate human beings. There was some truth embedded in the myth; though lightening is one ofnature'smost thrilling and brilliant phenomenon, for centuries it was deeply feared as a fire starter in lands where most buildings were constructed of highly combustable wood. The problem plagued mankind until the 18th century, when Ben Franklin;s lightning rod tamed the terror from the sky.

For those interested in lightning, there is plenty of room for a new Frankin; scientists still do not fully understand its complex mechanisms. We know, for example, that most lightening begins when clouds acquire electric charge, or become ionized, with the upper portion usually being positive and the bottom negative. We still do not understand in full the forces that drive the charging of the air. One one point, however, there is no doubt: this ionized air is highly conductive adn provides a pathway for lightning to flow to earth.

A strike occurs when an ionized column of air connects two areas with opposite charges, which are always attracted to each other. As the ionized air extends its force outward in the form of negatively charged "stepped leaders," the earth responds to this strong electrical field by sending "positive streamers" upward. When a stepped leader meets a positive streamer, a current flows between cloud and earth in the form of plasma, dischargingenergy ina familiar one-two punch: Flash!...BOOM! The thunderbolt's exchange of energy produces high heat - that is the lightning flash. The explosion also creates a shockwave that we hear as a sonic boom - that is the thunder. The delay between the two is science that anyone can understand: everyday proof that light travels far faster than sound.


Lightning bolts are hotter than the sun's surface

Lightning strikes the earth about 100 times every second

Lightning kills about 100 people in the US every year (only slightly fewer than how many die in flash floods

I always want to spell it lightening rather than lightning

Lightning strikes are more common in warm, humid areas - the equator tends to get the most electrical storms

The most lightning prone region on earth is the Democratic Republic of Congo

In the US, central Florida recieves the most...afternoon thunderstorms occur almost daily

Forecast: Grit Showers

The Arabic words for wind and phenomenon emerge from the term haboob, which scientists use to describe the enormous sand and dust storms that are a regular feature of life in desert climes. Although haboobs form primarily in a broad swath of arid land stretching from N. Africa to Iraq, they are known to occur in other places including the SW USA.

I think of haboobs as dry monsoons that pelt the ground with particulate matter rather than rain. They generally form when the low-pressure conditions that creat thunderstorms collapse. As cold air from high altitudes rushes into the former area of low pressure, it first thrusts towards the ground, then is deflected outward. The resulting wind may pick up as much as several hundred tons of loose desert debris. The unforgettable result (I have seen it) is a giant brown or black wall of violently churning grime.

In this pic, a haboob bearing sand and dust form the Sahara Desert rolls into Khartoum, the capital of Sudan. The people of the Middle East are so familiar with such storms that they give them specific names. The season's first storm, which usually arrives at the end of May, is called al-Haffar, or the Driller, because it scrapes huge holes in desert sand dunes. The next, in early June, is called Barih Thorayya, because it arrives with the dawn star, Thorayya. The last storm is called al-Dabaran, the Follower; it is infamous for carrying a particularly penetrating layer of microcopic dust that finds its way into seemingly every crevice and corner in its path.

The Breath of the Gods

“The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north,” the Old Testament’s Book of Ecclesiates reports. “It whirtleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits.” This forecast is still accurate, but what exactly, uh, driveth the wind, one of nature’s most essential, if unseen, forces? The circulation of air is powered by the same source from which all earthly energy comes, either directly or indirectly: the sun.

As the sun’s warming rays fall upon the earth, the air doesn’t toast evenly; the equator receives more direct, concentrated rays than do the poles, so temperature around the equatorial belt are higher. This mass of warmer air responds by expanding and floating upward. Since the expanding air is thinner than the surrounding atmosphere, as it rises, there’s less of it near the ground, causing a local drop in air pressure. Because nature abhors a vacuum, nearby masses of cooler, denser air (which is necessarily under higher pressure) rush in to fill the empty spaces.

This movement of the air is the wind. Its direction is determined by the relative positions of the high and low pressure zones, and its speed is a function of the difference in pressures. Although the temperature gap between the equator and the poles is one of the primary drivers of our planet’s wind, there are others: land and water absorb and hold the sun’s heat at different rates, as do various kinds of terra firma. All of these asymmetries lead to local differences in air temperature, which are registered in the behavior of the wind.

The wind helps shape life on the earth and even shapes the planet itself: moving air ferries particles of soil (and seeds) great distances (sometimes even across oceans or continents), carries both the water (vapor) that gives life and the microbes that sometimes take it away, causes clouds (and most other weather related phenomenon) to form and actually sculpts the ground, eroding solid rock over thousands of years. So familiar is the wind that local gust have been christened with there own names, from A to Z: the Abroholos is a summer squall off the coast of Brazil, while Zephyr is the ancient greek name for the West Wind.

Winds can even speed up or slow down the planet’s rotation. El Nino storms and other strong winds that blow counter to the planet’s spin can exert enough frictional drag on its surface to produce a small but measurable decrease in its speed of rotation, thus lengthening each day ever so slightly. Winters with strong westerly winds in the northern hemisphere (which puff in tandem with the earth’s spin) produce a minute increase in the world’s twirl, thus shortening each day by a few thousandths of a second.

The whirling globe, in turn, can drive the winds: the Coriolis force created by the earth’s spin makes prevailing winds blow from west to east in the northern hemisphere and from east to west in the southern. It also causes hurricanes to spin counterclockwise above the equator and clockwise below.

Much of our knowledge of wind is recent. Jet streams, the ribbons of high-altitude wind that gust around the globe at speeds of up to 250 mph, were first observed by amateur meteorologist Clement Ley in the 1880s and were not actually encountered until the 1930s, when pioneering aviator Wiley Post took a small plane up about 40000 ft and found himself clipping at twice the speed his engine could produce. These streams play a key role in shaping our planet’s climate. The more we learn about this potent but invisible force, the more the ancient Greeks seem to have had the right description for it: wind, they claimed, is the breath of the Gods.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Mormons: People are conservative, yet the dogma is fiscally liberal?

Ok, so first of all...sorry...I was very neglectful last week, but I had nothing to say...

I know that Mormons are not all republican or conservative..but the majority is. Enough that I dont feel bad lumping all Mormons as ultra-conservs...

I can understand why they might be socially conservative (even though I am far from), but fiscally? It doesnt even make sense.

The United Order was kind of a mock Zion and it was a socialistic community that the Mormons claim they had to end because they werent advanced enough for it. The Mormons have an incredible church welfare system and theoretically believe that we chould help everyone and that money is not important...

My question is this then...why do they always complain about paying taxes and social programs? They pay tithing to support the church...shouldnt they support the government and therefore their neighbors?

Just a question

Monday, November 10, 2008

Unrealistic legislative goals....good or bad?

Critics of American environmental legislation charge that the Clean Air and Clean Water acts are classic examples of symbolic politics, in which politicians set goals that are clearly unattainable in order to placate the public. What do you think are the costs and benefits of adopting unrealistically ambitious legislative goals?

I will answer this in regards to environmental legislation and specifically target the Clean Air and Clean Water acts, but I am interested in your opinion in other political arenas/agendas as well...

Talk to me...

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Candied Ginger

Is is Sunday, which means dinner with Dave and John. I thought I was responsible for the entree but found out that Dorothy is going to make lasagna. Thanks Dorothy! I get to make dessert. Most of my friends know that I love baking (I was a baker years ago) but dont do it often because I am already pudgy enough.

So I thought I would make up a fun dessert. I had thought about making maple bundt cake, but something new sounded fun. I am going to make Pumpkin bread pudding with candied ginger. I have kind of outlined how I think I will make it. If I make any change, I will let you know in another post. I might add pecans, but I havent decided. I love nuts, but so many have allergies. I always get nervous that someone I dont know will show up and not be able to partake. I will also let you know if it turns out!

- For the Bread Pudding -
1 Loaf Rich Egg Bread I will probably use Challah), cut into 1 inch cubes
1 Can Pure Pumpkin Puree (15 ounces)
3 Large Eggs, lightly beaten
2 Cups Whole Milk
1/2 Cup Crystallized (Candied) Ginger, chopped into small pieces
1 Cup Dark Brown Sugar, packed
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Nutmeg
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
Pinch of Salt

- For the Hot Buttered Sauce -
1 Stick (4 ounces) Unsalted Butter
1 Cup Heavy Cream
1 Cup Dark Brown Sugar, packed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

For the Bread Pudding:
In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, brown sugar, eggs, milk, salt and spices. Add the bread cubes and mix together. Fold in the candied ginger.
Pour ingredients into a deep baking dish. Let stand for 10 minutes to let the bread soak.
Place pan on a cookie sheet and place in oven. Bake until a toothpick or knife inserted into the center comes out clean, approximately 50 minutes. Good bread pudding is moist, so don't overcook.
For the Hot Buttered Sauce:
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Whisk in the brown sugar and heavy cream. Let the mixture just come to a boil.
To Serve:
Cut the bread pudding into slices and place onto dessert plates. Drizzle the hot butteredsauce over the top. If you like, you can add whipped cream and extra candied ginger.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Those pics made me think and hurl...

ok, so I know that I shouldnt be so hard on myself, but those pics I posted of myself really depressed me. I would prefer to be in denial on my weight, but a pic tells a thousand words or in this case a thousand pounds....

It is so funny; if a friend wrote this, I would yell at her and tell her to love herself. Alas, I can admit and accept that I am a hypocrite!

I have registered on self.com for the health challenge. They have four different challenges and though at first I was going to focus on the weight loss one, I decided on the one that focuses on being able to run 3 miles with ease. I need to get in shape for the guard since I am getting off medical profile and I passed my body fat percentage (barely, but it was a pass), so I thought the running would be better. I will lose weight with it as well as a bonus anyhoo....

The only problem is that the link is down...hopefully self will get their links back up soon.

I think that I will use self to help me from getting bored. My big problem is that I get really bored really quickly. If I do different stuff everyday, then I shouldnt be bored right? I am just working on routine and getting into shape not a certain body area, so I think for now this plan will be fine. When (when not if) I am into the routine, I will call my mom for help with a more effective routine for my goals. Right now it is hard to see past the blubber let alone make goals....

Today, I am going to start easy...by raking up leaves....it burns 250 calories and hour...not bad considering I really need to do it anyway. If it stops raining, I think I am also going to go on a 2 mile jog.

My lovely ladies...join self.com with me...I need friends to help...desperately

Fun pics of me and the pets!

So, I decided to post a couple pics of me...you all know that I am not really a pic person, but happy birthday....

Here is a pic of me smiling (I have had requests for a smile). I have no makeup on and am exhausted, but I am smiling...so be happy! I didnt even digitally alter it!

Here is the opposite...TONS O' Makeup...This is me on halloween. I think I need to grow my own mullet....it is totally me! I totally disregarded the poll in which you all thought I should go as a cop because, well, the wig called to me and I was weak...I had to have it!

You know those crazy pet people? I happen to be one of those. I absolutely adore my pets. They are my family. They have been giving me lots of loves lately, so I wanted to give them huggies back.

Okay, so Edd is kind of a high strung dog, but come on people he is a miniature pinscher. And he is such a love bug once he gets over wanting to eat you!

He and Sasquatch have become quite the pair. Edd is teaching her awful habits (they are partners in crime in garbage looting, although they act like it was the other one that was responsible).

She is upside down, I know...I was too lazy to fix that....

I thought I should include a pic of Miss Henri (Henrietta) too, but she is hiding..I will put one up of her later. She is such a petite young gal!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A Positive Turn....and value thoughts

So last night, my bishop told me to stay positive because my job search was going to get better...and he told me it would be immediately. Being my sarcastic self....I was like yeah right....yeah right...

Well, it did within an hour present more possibilities that were validated this morning. I dont know if I will get the job, but it looks promising and it brought me hope. That's a good thing right?

Totally unrelated, but I encourage any of you who dont know about Alternatives to Violence on the Palouse to check them out and see if you can help them with anything. They are a great organization that needs to be recognized as a savior within our community.

The blog Margaret and Helen really made me think this morning. I am going to go ahead and copy her whole post here, but I encourage you to read her blog. She is 82 and fabulous!

"Hello Margaret. I tried calling you last night but you didn’t answer. I swear every time a squirrel goes looking for a nut up there in Maine you lose your phone service.
I just don’t understand how your Howard can listen to that Rush Limbaugh each day. I tuned into him yesterday and couldn’t believe it. I mean, I know he is a Republican mouthpiece, I just didn’t realize we were dealing with Hoof and Mouth Disease.

Ask Howard to follow the logic of his argument today if you can. He said Republicans lost because they didn’t stick to their core values. They tried to be nice and tell people that they aren’t racists, bigots and homophobes. Once the Republicans got soft and started trying to be compassionate they began to lose. That is the problem with Republicans right now according to Rush. As proof he pontificated that conservative initiatives passed on the ballots.

So let me see if I understand. If Republicans would just admit that they are racists, bigots and homophobes and stop trying to be nice, they would win more elections. And the conservative movement which stands for less government was somehow validated because California, Florida, Arizona and Arkansas just forced government even farther into people’s bedrooms? And yet all of the conservative pro-life measures (the bread and butter issue for most of that group) failed to pass. So basically the conservative movement has been reduced to Anita Bryant’s diary. My, my but how they love their aging beauty queens… and we all know that beauty queens are the brightest bulbs on the chandelier.
Wow. I guess all the drugs Limbaugh takes have finally eaten away most of the gray matter that was stored in that fat head of his.
Oh and then there was that other guy - can’t remember his name - who actually went on and on about how steep the hill was for McCain and it was amazing how well he did. Steep hill? The other guy was a black man named Barack Hussein Obama. But McCain had the steep hill. I am at a loss on that one. You know, they can’t win with grace and they can’t lose with grace. Remind me again what we like about Howard? Oh that’s right. He cooks. At least there’s that. And he tolerates me so I guess he can’t be all bad.
Harold must have heard me screaming bullshit and asshole at the radio because he surprised me with two tickets to see Dame Edna at our favorite theater in Austin for this Saturday. He said I needed a little break and remembered that you and Howard loved Dame Edna when you saw her in New York a few years ago. Isn’t that the show you told us about? I hope so.
I hope you will plan a visit soon. We really do need to visit and laugh about all this blog stuff."

I recently had a conversation with a dear, dear friend of mine who happens to be very, very conservative. He stated that the government shouldnt get involved in healthcare, because it isnt their business and that it takes away free agency when government controls everything. I am not sure how providing healthcare takes away free agency, but I was more interested in the concept in its entirety. He is also pro-life. Laws against abortion directly take away free agency. That is a tangible example of wanting more government control over a person's personal affairs. He agreed with my argument, but did not change his stance on abortion.

He didnt change his stance because as much as we want to believe that we make stances on abortion and other passionate subjects (like the environment) on logical argument and discussion, we don't. They are value based beliefs. That is why a person is never able to change the mind of another in these situations. We never argue about what is really influencing the individual...what they think is right....

The whole global warming thing cracks me up. Everyone starts throwing science into the situation from both sides. Science has enormous cultural authority in our society. Instead of focusing on whether or not the earth was created for our use (or destruction) or whether we are a part of the earth and are responsible for its destruction, we discuss science and economics..

Funny really. What is really funny is when conservatives say they are against gay marriage because of the economic implications it could cause. Give me a break. Just admit that you think it is wrong to be gay. We all know that is what you are thinking anyway.

I also thought Helen was right on when she talked about McCain and Obama. Sure McCain had some difficulties after the Bush Administration, but does that compare being called a terrorist and pushing past oppression against people of color that has dominated our culture for how many years?

I think not.

Sorry McCain, but I don't feel sorry for your disadvantaged 2 minutes. Try a lifetime of discrimination and struggle and I might start feeling for you.

I hope someone reads this, although I doubt anyone will.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Born Leader

Hemingway was born to write, Tiger Woods to hit a golf ball, and Barack Obama to be a leader. This I truely believe.

I wasnt going to write about anything election related, but I couldnt help myself! This is so exciting! We have not had a real leader in the white house in a long time and now he is here. GO OBAMA!!!

On a more negative note, McCain irked me in his concession speech. All was fine until he applauded Palin for her graceful way of handling the rough and tumble of the presidential campaign. Are you kidding me? Would anyone say anything about this if she were male? Of course not, because if you are running for VP you should know that you are going to be torn apart by the media. You should know that it wont be a cake walk. It made me feel as if it was implied that running for office is more difficult for the female sensibility. Phewie!!!

But back to the positive...GO OBAMA! I look forward to seeing what you can do to bring our great nation back to what it could be.

Monday, November 3, 2008

We live in such a wonderful world...

I have had a very trying time in my life lately and I realized that I had lost the optimism I am known for. What am I without my SH*T eating grin? Don't worry everyone, I am getting help and I think I will be back...SOON!

This weekend I had my drill weekend with the National Guard. On Saturday, I helped with the annual turkey drive for the state food bank. We didnt make as much as last year, but with the current economy, I wasn't surprised. While we didnt make as much, though, I thought the individuals donating were actually more charitable than last year. Let me explain:

Last year people opened their wallets and gave you a ten or twenty, but their wallets had a lot more cash left in it. This year people gave considerably less, but it was often everything they had in their wallets. Isnt that wonderful. They are hurting too, but they are still giving all they can.

And it is needed...badly. The economy has caused a huge need from the food bank for our communities familys and decreased the number of donations.... If you are able, plz help your local food programs. If you can't donate money...donate time.