Monday, August 29, 2005

Things I Forgot Over the Summer

My office is cold.
Campus Pipeline (Internet access) experiences technical difficulties at the worst possible times.
To obtain extra printer paper means a walk to the next building.
Girls like to talk on their cell phones while they're in the bathroom.
Some students are completely clueless.

I'm having a good day despite the drizzly weather, which is causing me to have a bad hair day. But I have not been to my first class yet, so things could change.

Tomorrow will be a yucky day because of the tropical storm which will be here by then. Our campus has terrible drainage problems, so there will be standing water everywhere. Oh, joy!

UPDATE:
Things changed. As I was in the office next door helping with a computer problem, my officemate left for class and shut the door behind her, locking it, with my keys on my desk instead of in my pocket. I had to go to class without any materials, but because I'm so charming and brilliant, my students hardly knew the difference.
;-)

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Me on Myself

If you were to meet me out in public somewhere, you would never know that I am the persona behind Tangled Weblog. I tend to have a big (but polite, I hope) mouth on my blog (and on the blogs where I leave comments), but in the “real world” I am nothing of the sort. (Well, I’m polite, but not a big mouth.)(I do use a lot of parenthetical comments in verbal conversation as well, but probably not as many as I use here.) I do not go about proclaiming my opinions unless I’m with very close friends and family.

I am not good around large groups of people or even small groups of people I don’t know. If I were to be invited to a function where I wouldn’t know anyone, and Husband couldn’t go, I wouldn’t go. A friend of Husband’s invited us over for a July 4th cookout. There must have been a hundred people there, and I knew no one save a couple of ladies that I had briefly met several years ago. I felt weird and was glad when we left.

I’ll bet that people who meet me for the first time think that I’m stuck up, but really, I just have a hard time knowing what to say to people that I don’t know. It’s really difficult to establish common ground. I don’t want to talk about myself—that would be rude. But if I ask questions about the person, he or she might think I’m being nosy. I know I’m not the only one who feels this way, but it seems like it sometimes. I will say that as I have gotten older, I have become a little more outgoing and will talk to strangers, but that’s usually in the line at Wal-Mart when I know I’ll never see that person again.

That’s why this blogging experience has been very interesting. When I began this blog, I had no idea what I’d talk about. I had been reading a few blogs and had left a couple of anonymous comments, and one day without giving it a lot of thought, I just started a blog. And I offered some opinions. To my great surprise, people began reading it and leaving nice comments, and they kept coming back, and I consider them to be my friends. What’s been really cool is that I met up with some Nashville bloggers by pure chance, and we share some similar views on things. I’ve met some cool people from other places as well, and I’ve learned a lot, too. (Have y’all created mental images of your blogging friends that haven’t posted their photo in their profile?)

If we were to meet standing in line at the Wal-Mart, we might speak (complaining about the fact that there are 40 checkouts, but only 6 of them are open), but that would probably be it. We might never become friends if we had met out in the real world.

I’m just going to sort of trail off here now without really summing up my thoughts, because, mainly, I’m still thinking about it all (and because I have to go finish painting the kitchen).

Monday, August 22, 2005

Land of Contradiction

As I have grown up and become more aware of “how things work” here in the U.S., I have noticed some interesting contradictions. Across the world, people look to us as the model of how a country and a people should be. They see a country with a government that allows its citizens to enjoy abundant freedoms while also enjoying the pursuit of happiness. The U.S. is the “land of opportunity,” the place where if people combine a little ambition with some elbow grease, they can enjoy a life of economic freedom, good health, and a full stomach. Besides that, if a person is really on his toes, he can get an education followed by a great job, and he can begin amassing wealth to pass on to his children. He can enjoy the “good life” with a fine house, nice cars, and multitudes of comforts and conveniences.

Those of us who have lived here all our lives are in an especially good situation. We have the natural right to obtain all these benefits. It’s our birthright just for having the good fortune to have ancestors who came here before us. In fact, it is more than a birthright; it is a duty. We have a responsibility to get a good education and earn a good living to provide for our children and keep them and ourselves from becoming burdens to the rest of society.

But there are some among us who, in fact, do become burdens. These are the lazy, shiftless people who refuse to earn their own living. It is their own fault that they are poor and can’t pay their bills. When they do work, they don’t spend their earnings wisely. Because of their lack of ambition, their children don’t have enough to eat and have no hope of ever going to college and bettering themselves. These people force the rest of us to have to sacrifice our hard-earned money to fund welfare programs that only enable them to sit back and collect a paycheck for doing nothing.

This is the scenario that a lot of people believe. In fact, it makes us feel better to believe that when people are suffering in poverty it is their own fault for not doing as much as they could to better themselves. If we believe that they are responsible for their own plight, it justifies our not caring. The fact of the matter is that many people who are needy became so through no fault of their own. According to one study, approximately 2 million Americans are affected by bankruptcy every year because they are overwhelmed with medical bills, and most of those filing for bankruptcy are middle class college graduates who own their own homes*. One catastrophic illness has the potential to take a family from a comfortable middle class existence to a state of having to depend on others for food and housing.

Some will argue that many people who file bankruptcy have gotten themselves into such a situation because of overspending. That may very well be true. Many Americans own several credit cards and have charged all of them to their limits. Various sources report that the average family owes somewhere between six and twelve thousand dollars in credit card charges. Obviously, individuals need to be more prudent about their spending and begin saving more money. However, we live in a society that tells us that we need to spend in order to remain happy. Advertisers play on our emotions and convince us that we need the latest, newest improved model of everything. Credit card companies send new offers in the mail every week, making it easy to transfer balances and raise credit limits. This is still no excuse for consumers’ overspending.

However, it is a fact that our economy is based on consumer spending. When Americans decide to save money and overall spending decreases, the economy begins to falter. It is our duty to keep the economy thriving so as not to threaten our way of life. We were told as much by the President right after 9/11.

The United States is a country of contradictions. We project the image that we are a prosperous nation (and we are) that offers abundant opportunity (and we do). However, there are those who work at backbreaking labor every day and still live paycheck to paycheck hoping that the car doesn’t break down or the refrigerator keeps running, knowing that one small emergency will keep them from paying their bills or buying food. And there are college graduates working in white collar jobs who live in the same manner.

Our country has made it shameful to be in a state of need. I suspect this is so that those who “have” can feel better about having plenty when his neighbors are doing without. Those of us who are the “haves” need to pay careful attention and show a lot more concern for those “lazy” people because one day, it might be us in that situation.

*“Medical Bills Leading Cause of Bankruptcy, Harvard Study Finds.” Consumer Affairs.Com. 5 Feb. 2005. http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2005/bankruptcy_study.html.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

My Newest Cousin


I know how much y'all love to see pictures of babies, so here's a pic of my newest cousin, Annabelle Blue Cook, born yesterday.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Waffles, Anyone?

Kevin presents some very interesting quotes from Republicans concerning the previous President's war effort in Bosnia. Definitely worth a read.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Israel's Troubles

I have been watching the happenings in Gaza with the Jewish people being forced out of their homes because of the government's decision to pull out of the area, and I have no idea what to make of it.

I know of God's promise to Abraham back in the ancient times to give this land to him and his descendents if they remained faithful to God. In fact, the borders of the "promised land" are much wider than what Israel has claimed for the last 50 years. Looking at the story of the history of Israel in the OT, it seems that they never received all of the promised land because of their unfaithfulness to God.

I've always heard that God doesn't retract his promises, so I'm guessing that the covenant God made with Abraham still holds true.

What do y'all think about this, or have you given it any thought? Does it matter to those of us who don't live there?

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Wisdom from M.A.S.H.

Colonel Potter: "If they can invent better ways to kill each other, why can't they come up with a way to end this stupid war?"

Something's Fishy!


Last night when I went to bed, three fish were living in my aquarium. This morning when I woke up, there were at least a dozen new fish in there. One of my Mollies had babies last night!

Monday, August 15, 2005

I drove one of these this weekend:


Husband is installing a walking track at the local Lions Club; I smoothed it out with the roller. (It actually wasn't this particular roller; I forgot to take a picture of the one I drove before he took it back to the rental place.)

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Web of Protection

My mom emailed me this little story. I thought it was pretty neat.

GOD AND THE SPIDER

During World War II, a US marine was separated from his unit on a Pacific
island. The fighting had been intense, and in the smoke and the crossfire
he had lost touch with his comrades.

Alone in the jungle, he could he hear enemy soldiers coming in his
direction. Scrambling for cover, he found his way up a high ridge to
several small caves in the rock. Quickly he crawled inside one of the
caves. Although safe for the moment, he realized that once the enemy
soldiers looking for him swept up the ridge, they would quickly search
all the caves and he would be killed.

As he waited, he prayed, "Lord, if it be your will, please protect me.
Whatever your will though, I love you and trust you. Amen."

After praying, he lay quietly listening to the enemy begin to draw close.
He thought, "Well, I guess the Lord isn't going to help me out of this
one." Then he saw a spider begin to build a web over the front of his
cave.

As he watched, listening to the enemy searching for him all the while,
the spider layered strand after strand of web across the opening of the
cave.

"Hah, he thought. "What I need is a brick wall and what the Lord has sent
me is a spider web. God does have a sense of humor."

As the enemy drew closer he watched from the darkness of his hideout and
could see them searching one cave after another. As they came to his, he
g ot ready to make his last stand. To his amazement, however, after
glancing in the direction of his cave, they moved on. Suddenly, he
realized that with the spider web over the entrance, his cave looked as
if no one had entered for quite a while. "Lord, forgive me," prayed the
young man. "I had forgotten that in you a spider's web is stronger than a
brick wall."

We all face times of great trouble. When we do, it is so easy to forget
the victories that God would work in our lives, sometimes in the most
surprising ways. As the great leader, Nehemiah, reminded the people of
Israel when they faced the task of rebuilding Jerusalem, "In God we will
have success!" [Nehemiah 2:20]

And remember: Whatever is happening in your life, in God, a mere spider's
web becomes a brick wall of protection.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Gone to the Dogs




As I was sitting on the bed this morning reading the blogs, Pete, one of my Jack Russells, was lying next to me snoozing peacefully. When I reached over and rubbed his head, he responded by rolling over onto his back and showing me his belly, wanting me to rub it instead. After a minute or so, I stopped, but he wasn’t ready to quit. When he wants a petting, he nudges his head up underneath my hand, or he paws at my arm (which really hurts, by the way, when his toenails rake across my skin) until I give in and pet him. He won’t let me stop until he’s ready—he could go on forever (kind of like the way I would let Husband scratch my back until it bled if he would). If I want to stop petting him, I have to actually get up and move, or I have to be firm with him and hurt his feelings. It doesn’t take much to hurt his feelings, either. One firm word will do it.

A funny thing about him is that if he does something he shouldn’t have done, he’ll punish himself. For instance, if he has an accident in the house and knows that I have found it, he’ll hunker down and slink off to the bedroom. He tries to hide under the bed, but he can only get himself halfway there. It’s funny to see him with his little backside sticking out.

As I am writing this, Emily, my Cocker Spaniel, is sitting next to the bed looking at me intently and whining periodically. She’s letting me know that it’s time to eat (she would eat all day long if I let her—she used to be overweight—we changed her diet so that she’d lose five pound, which is a lot for a little dog). When I acknowledged her presence, Pete became jealous and started pawing at my hand again, making it nearly impossible to type.

Trixie, Pete’s sister (although they look nothing alike as far as physical shape) is off doing her own thing. She’s probably under the bed or in the living room under the couch. She likes to be by herself when we’re in the house, but she comes out when there’s some action, and she loves to watch Animal Planet on TV. I actually have to change the channel to get her to calm down (she even barks at the horses when Husband watches Gunsmoke). It’s sort of funny though, when Pete catches Trixie barking at the TV, he goes and makes her stop. It’s as if he doesn’t want her to have any fun.

Trixie has a really terrible habit. Sometimes when she comes back after exploring around our five acres, she will stink to high heaven after having rolled around in the most foul, putrid, disgusting smelling mess that she can find. When she does this, I have to stop what I am doing and immediately give her a bath because there’s no way she can be in the house like that. It’s all I can do sometimes not to throw up when this happens.

Trixie and Pete need a lot of supervision when they are outside. They will run off after anything that moves, ignoring any danger that may be lurking. Emily is more sensible. I can trust her to look after herself and can let her out without supervision.

As much trouble as they can get into, Husband and I love those little dogs. It’s funny how humans can be so ga-ga over a completely different species. They don’t act, think, or talk like us, but they bring us such enjoyment. We’d do anything for them.

I am convinced that our dogs love Husband and me. They may not understand love as humans define it, but in their own way, they love us, and I think they like to try to please us. We’re like gods to them. They trust us to take care of them, rub their bellies when they want it, give them food when they need it—although sometimes they act as if they are half starved, like we’re going to forget to feed them; they can be very demanding at times.

Dogs and humans are a lot alike. We humans have personalities that are quite different from each other; we have our idiosyncrasies—we even have some disgusting habits. And God looks down on us and takes great pleasure in us. He sees the things we do and loves us anyway—even when we’ve been rolling around in filth. We love him the best that we can; we don’t know that our definition of love is so very different from his, but we try. And we don’t even have to get it right—he’ll rub our bellies anyway if we’ll just roll over and let him.


Being Yourself?

Dr. Mike had a really good post yesterday about being naked before God, family, and friends.

(No, not nekkid--get out of the gutter!)

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Advice From Armchair Physicians

I could use your advice. Several months ago as I was walking across the parking lot, my foot turned out from under me causing me to fall. The top of my foot from the front of my ankle across to the top of the middle of my foot (if you can picture that) has stayed somewhat sore. Day before yesterday I accidently stepped in a hole in the yard with the same foot, which turned out from under me, causing me to fall again. (I was pretty pitiful; you should have seen me sitting in my front yard whimpering with no one there to give me any sympathy!)

Now my foot is very sore, but it's the same amount of sore just resting as it is walking on it. I don't limp on it much, except when I first get up in the morning or after I have been sitting for a few minutes. It really isn't hindering me from doing anything--it's just sore.

Do you think this is a problem I need to visit a podiatrist about, or do I just have a sore tendon?

Edit: 8:06.
Also, is it just me getting older, or does anyone else find that web pages that have black backgrounds with light type are blurry?

Thursday, August 04, 2005

March to Justice?

How can a man be charged with the murder of his wife and abuse of a corpse when no corpse has ever been found, and no evidence of foul play had been discovered?

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Very Puzzling

Here's a passage I find quite baffling:
“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to have all of you, to sift you like wheat. 32 But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen and build up your brothers.”
33 Peter said, “Lord, I am ready to go to prison with you, and even to die with you.”
34 But Jesus said, “Peter, let me tell you something. The rooster will not crow tomorrow morning until you have denied three times that you even know me.”
35 Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you out to preach the Good News and you did not have money, a traveler’s bag, or extra clothing, did you lack anything?”

“No,” they replied.
36 “But now,” he said, “take your money and a traveler’s bag. And if you don’t have a sword, sell your clothes and buy one! 37 For the time has come for this prophecy about me to be fulfilled: ‘He was counted among those who were rebels.’ Yes, everything written about me by the prophets will come true.”
38 “Lord,” they replied, “we have two swords among us.”

“That’s enough,” he said.


Holy Bible : New Living Translation. 1997, c1996 (electronic ed.) (Lk 22:31). Wheaton: Tyndale House.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Savings and Loans

Remember the $10 I saved by dropping the text and picture messaging from my cell phone plan? I got a letter last week saying that the state's matching 401k contribution for state employees is being increased from $20 to $30. What a cool "coincidence"!

In other money news, I just returned from the bank where I made the final payment on the Kenworth. Debt reduction just shifted into high gear!