Books, History, Food, Politics, and Life

Books, History, Food, Politics, and Life
Things through a different light...

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Wow

I firmly believe in accepting people for who they are, even if I disagree with them... unless its to some level of extreme that makes their views wrong for anyone, like hating another person.

This disturbs me...

This person was probably insane and so I agree with my husband when he says, this doesn't make  a statement in some sense... but I know quite a lot of people who just now hate all Muslims because of 9/11 which I find horrible.  Not every Muslim is a terrorist, just like not every Christian is an oppressor... because at one point, they did a lot of that in some official capacity...but we cannot label a people based off of the actions of some... and we should NEVER hate an entire group we most likely have no understanding of.

I won't even go into the Hindu thing, this woman obviously has no clue what she is talking about....

Years ago, during my first attempt at college... yes this is my second (a much more successful effort this go around) I took a class on World Religions and cultures.  To me, that was one of the most beneficial classes I have ever had the opportunity to take.  The class introduced me to different cultures, religions and not on just a surface level... we read the texts, we learned traditions of each culture we studied and then performed some cultural ritual or activity like weaving, tea ceremonies, zen gardens, text interpretation.... these things opened our minds and eyes to understand the cultures better and realize that while it may not be my way, its another person's way and there is beauty in each distinct culture.

I think we as a society have a growing distrust and disgust for anything different...
We want to tell people how to live
how to act
how to do everything according to our own perfectly right model...
and that is causing a disconnect....

Just because you look at someone else's way of life and accept it, doesn't mean you diminish your own.  There is room on this planet for everyone's cultures and beliefs.  

I wish we all realized this... I really do.  That article hurts my heart.

(as you can see things are getting back to normal around the Wilson house, I am reading news again lol)

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Update

So as it is obvious, things have been quite hectic as of late.  I am sure it could have been worse though, we have a pretty calm and happy baby.  To be completely fair, we have the most amazing support system of family members and friends (especially grandparents) who have been there for us completely.... making the experience a pretty joyous one.

I am glad 2012 is coming to a close...
With the election, all these nasty political debates that reduce grown men into screaming children (who behave worse than my baby on a changing table) who cannot even attempt to compromise for the betterment of the population... I just want to see some cohesive cooperation from people paid to govern our country.  I want to shake them and say, stop being stupid and do what you are supposed to do...which is act in the best interest of your country.  SO in 2013 I am hoping to see some adults in Washington, I saw Obama pretty much wants the same thing lol...

My semester ended with a 4.0 at SHSU.  I am proud of that, it was hard and I busted my butt.  I am feeling more and more confident in calling myself a Historian.


Friday, December 28, 2012

Happy Christmas... a bit late

Aiden Brann Wilson  Born: 12/20/2012  11:27 AM

So we have been a bit busy over this Christmas holiday.  Adam and I welcomed our son Aiden to the world on December 20th and its been amazing!
We are a bit tired, but it is worth it.  Things may be a bit sparse for a few weeks while we adjust.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

When is it OK to be serious?

Over the last year or so, when a mass shooting spree makes its way to the 24 hour media cycle, the first thing you hear is... "Now is not the time to talk about gun control..."
They said it when Gabby Giffords and others were shot, they said it after Aurora, after Virginia Tech, after this latest mall spree and now after 27 people are dead...20 of them under the age of 8 years old. I don't think any of those kids care when is the right time to talk about gun violence in this country... I don't think their parents care that this will spark a 2nd Amendment argument... I think the only thing they care about right now is trying to piece together a life that is shattered.  It is hard to move on from a child's death.  I am 37 weeks pregnant, and every day... EVERY DAY (no I don't talk about it, I don't spew on about it) but every single day I think about the child I lost.  She died in the womb and I never got to look into her eyes or watch her grow, but I held her in my arms and I felt that gut wrenching heartbreak of loss that I have never forgotten and I find it repugnant that 20 families now have to go through that feeling...it never goes away.

So when I see someone immediately defend how every person who is responsible and law abiding deserves a gun, you will have to pardon my annoyance.  That sort of illogical refusal to talk about real problems IS a problem.  Yes, I have read the 2nd Amendment... I am a historian, I have studied the constitution quite a bit and while I do read the "right to bear arms," I also read "well regulated" and I do not see how one must be exclusive from the other.

A responsible and law abiding adult should have no problem dealing with waiting periods, ammo restrictions, or gun education... they should WANT IT...because they are responsible.

A waiting period does not infringe on your right to get a gun, it just means let there be some necessary checks to ensure the wrong people are NOT getting guns.  If someone is a felon, if someone has a history of mental illness...do they need a semi-automatic weapon and high capacity ammo clips... no.  If you think waiting periods, background checks, and logical limitations will infringe on your rights... I am sorry, I would rather 20 little kids get to see an adulthood than you pitch a fit because you had trouble buying your AR-15 to do what??? Hunt?  Protect your home?? From what?? paratroopers??
Military grade weapons and a handgun/shot gun to keep in your house (IN A GUN SAFE) are two very different things....

It is time for adults to be adults and have adult conversation about being responsible and look at why we have SUCH a gun problem in OUR country.  In 2009, we had over 10k gun homicides in the United States, most countries don't even top 100 so please explain to me how having more guns has helped????  One of the MOST absurd things I heard over the last few days involved arming teachers... yes...this sounds BRILLIANT.
Can we get real?


Just because I can own a semi-automatic weapon doesn't mean I should... it doesn't mean anyone should...
gun regulation, ammo regulation, better checks, gun education, proper access to mental health, these are all things that can contribute to lower gun deaths...
Its a fact that there were LESS shootings like the one in Connecticut when the assault weapons ban was in place (legislature let it lapse in 2004) and it is a fact that people who go try to get a gun and meet with waiting periods often get discouraged and turn away (unfortunately the Ct shooter's mom was a gun enthusiast and he took her weapons after not  getting a gun of his own due to a waiting period).  Regulation is not infringing on one's right to own a gun, it just makes gun ownership more responsible...and I don't see why a single person on this earth would not WANT that...

I cried a few times after that shooting, I cried because it was too horrible to understand why this could happen... and then I got angry.  We should get angry so we can talk about things that should be talked about... fine, dont ban guns... but lets be adults about it.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Catching Up

School is almost finished.  This excites me a ton, lol.  My last book that I have to read for the semester is on the Slave market in Louisiana and it is turning out to be a pretty interesting text.  It proves to be so alien to me to realize how a people looked at another people as chattel and treated them with such disregard and cruelty...not even 200 years ago in THIS country.  
Living in the South provides an interesting perspective on the subject and perhaps its why I get so agitated with anyone who still divides by race...and they exist, I know them.  I have spoken to them... I've looked at them with shock when they say things that are so anachronistic its not even believable...


I hope it is getting better, the last few years makes me question whether it really is getting better even though people say "let it go," "leave it in the past..."  but when a friend if mine writes a paper about a lynching in the 20s and gets a state award and people write hateful letters to the paper about her being a trouble maker, you feel like someone during Jim Crow fighting for equality.

Here is a link to the book I am reading.


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Thoughts

2009 / Rain Forest / Puerto Rico 

It is a little after 7 AM at the Wilson abode, I am the only one up and the sun is starting to lighten the sky, I have a paper due today so I am hurrying to finish the book and get some words down to turn it, it will not be my best work... but under the circumstances, I will accept it.

Things have changed over the last year.  While looking through some computer files on my laptop to transfer to my PC I ran across some photos I took of our Christmas tree, our dogs, etc right before the holidays last year.  I had a tightly cropped short haircut, friends were different, lives were different... and I am glad things have changed.

I had a moment this week where I literally felt like I saw clearly for the first time about some things in my life, perhaps its the fact that we are having a child in a few weeks, perhaps its maturity or the tempo of life, but I realized that some of the things I agonized over, the people I agonized over... were not worth it, for one reason or another.  We all have our paths, what we want to do/be, what we want out of life and I realized over the past year I want a happy life with my family and my few honest and good friends... 

So things will continue to change, and I realize that I like that change, I am not afraid of it, I think change is a good thing, its healthy and natural and the past is just that... things that happened before that have no real bearing or importance on the here and now.  

Over the next year I plan on raising my son with my amazing husband, I plan on getting closer to finishing Graduate School and moving on towards working on a PhD, I plan on getting things in order, preparing for the future, and hopefully going somewhere that my little family will thrive. These are all obtainable and good goals, they require work, adaptation, and a willingness to bend and change and I think I am up for that.... I think that holding on to shadowed remnants of a projected past that never really existed is a bad thing and I will not and would not do it.   
I would like to travel again, explore other worlds and other societies, I find that so invigorating and hopefully we can instill that sense into our son and he can experience the world, be open to different things and ideas and learn from them all...

I hope to be less pessimistic and negative and worrisome, which means letting go of some of the things that cause me stress, which I have been working on doing.  I will continue that over the next year.

In all honesty, this may all change, we never know what the world might present to us, but I am going to work towards these things with a positive attitude.  

Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Pity of War

I am in the midst of reading Ferguson's "The Pity of War," which has an interesting argument and approach in regards to who to blame...if there were one actual group....
I begin to stray away from that concept the more I read about the Great War because each player contributed quite a bit to raising suspicion, causing aggression, and just generally getting that side of the world into one of the worst (for lack of a better phrase here) cluster fucks ever...
Ok, well maybe not Belgium, they were pretty blameless....
Anyway, the book is odd, I do not think I agree with his premise and I do not know if I like the text...

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Just Confused!

I saw this article this morning.  Now, I already knew about it and the fact that the treaty got shot down was utterly confusing to me because I went and read the parameters of the treaty and nothing seems out of sorts...


Now for whatever reason, even after Bob Dole, who helped get the BILL WE HAVE INTO LAW THAT PRETTY MUCH SAYS THE SAME THING, visited the floor and implored the passage of the treaty (which initially was Republican backed and then those who backed it voted NO)... they shot it down.

This is not productive government, this is not what people vote these guys into position for (and perhaps they need to be educated on the fact that they did not get elected to get a nice salary and good health care and sit around and fuss all day and that perhaps they have a purpose).  

I am angry about this.

"Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) argued the treaty would infringe on U.S. sovereignty, an argument echoed by other opponents." 

“This unelected bureaucratic body would pass recommendations that would be forced upon the United States if we were a signatory,” he said.

 -from The Hill website
(now I read this treaty and I have no freaking clue where on earth this guy gets his presumption.... its kind of loony and I wonder if HE read the treaty)

I have a hard time understanding how our elected officials cannot act in the better interest of the people that elected them... being contrary and refusing to work with each other, refusing to sign treaties because they don't want to get in trouble in a primary a year away... just annoys the mess out of me when people get hurt or suffer in the process.

I know this is age old, but it does not mean I cannot be livid about it.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Light!

I turned in another paper this morning... 5 more to go, not near as daunting as 9.  Today my goal is to at least get half way through "The Long Weekend" which is a social history of England during the interwar period between 1918 and 1939, I imagine the book will be very good, one of the authors, Robert Graves, I have read before and loved his personal chronicle of WWI.

Im going out for coffee today with a few friends, which will be nice... I rarely get out and I rarely get to talk to people so having some friends who take the time out to pick me up and give me a break is pretty awesome... I really appreciate it.  You start to view people differently as you grow, as your life changes, and I am pretty confident that the changes I have made and are continually making are for the best.


Still awaiting the arrival of Aiden, a few more weeks to go...just a few more.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Too Much Hype?

If there is one thing I have learned over the course of this very hectic and time consuming semester... it boils down to an understanding that men, regardless of how much we demonize or idolize them, are just men.  History often lends itself to make icons out of men and then deconstruct those men when we miraculously find out that because they were mere human beings, they had flaws.
A man can do great things and still make mistakes, and yet we tend to either go one way or the other... cast a blind eye or just brutalize someone for their actions without the context of understanding their decisions/lives.

Now, not all men who are made out to be bad guys need saving... there are some pretty nasty characters out there that regardless of the fact that they might have accomplished a good thing every now and again were hateful or disgustingly violent human beings... I'm looking at you Stalin, Mao, and Hitler....

But... what about those great men who did great things, but also made mistakes?  In the United States, we like to place the spotlight on some 19th century gentlemen who came together to create a pretty unique country.  We either make them out to be these almost godlike icons of democratic perfection or continuously point out their obvious flaws to discredit them.  We can't be in the middle in America, we have to be polarized... it must be in our nature.
After reading some pretty in depth texts on the founders, delving into the personal lives of men like Jefferson, Adams, and Washington, and realizing that while YES they did great amazing things, they also did not so great and not so amazing things.... I did not see the point in demonizing or idolizing them.  We need more honesty in our history.  We need to look at the accomplishments while acknowledging the humanity of these people who shaped our culture.  When we gloss over either way, we do a disservice to ourselves and those men.  Washington was a great man, but he was also overly self conscious, hesitant, paranoid, and a slave owner.  Jefferson had these innovative ideas and he truly was a creative and talented soul, but he was also petty, conflicted, and the ever present politician who would turn on a friend immediately if they dared to disagree with his views.  Adams was a lawyer, a fair man, but he also was pessimistic, held a grudge, and a bit haughty...not really trusting the people on almost any level....
Does that discredit their accomplishments, no... it just means they were three dimensional and not flat cardboard cutouts of men we read about in high school text books that  make us think they were all boring and loathe history.

Now, back to my article on Washington and his slaves...

Sunday, December 2, 2012

A link to other things...

Writing

Crazy Hectic

This week has been a blur of reading and paper writing that I am sure my fellow graduate students understand in a way no one else does...
end of term frenzy.  Ive written three papers in about five days and I just have 6 assignments to go!!!
Today, I am up before 6 AM to read about Quakers, yes!

I would not be as behind if I had not stayed in the hospital twice, but things are as they are and I am actually caught up date wise, though in one class I would like to have another week, which I think my professor is giving me.

18 days before Aiden, I am excited, nervous, ready....  I am in that, the house is not clean enough mode, which drives Adam insane, poor poor man.


Why is it that people who do not like something tend to get really snippy on a day when everyone else who likes something talks about it??
I know this is an internet thing, essentially a facebook thing....but honestly.
So you do not like sports.... some people do, making some snark filled anger button post about how you do not fit into the sports fan category does not somehow make you better or above sports....hey guess what??? people of all kinds like sports, people of all kinds don't and either way...it does not matter.

I don't like situation comedies, you dont see me posting about it in some anger filled snippet....
OK my anger moment over, just had to vent, I think I loathe facebook to an extent... 


So complete girl moment and totally off any sort of relevant or important topic, had a girl in the grocery store tell her mom she liked the way I dressed yesterday (Adam overheard it), made my day...ok lol...done with that.

Have a good rest of the weekend.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

WWI in a Different Context

Usually when I study the Great War it involves military decisions, diplomatic relations, and battles.  While I do enjoy that, I like to delve into the cultural side of the conflict as well.  When we look at art, literature, society, and how those elements deal with war, we see truly what the war does to a civilization.  The Great War monumentally changed Europe... in a big way.  Reading personal accounts like that of Vera Britain in her Testament of Youth and even Ernst Junger's Storm of Steel (which is in essence a personal account of a soldier), you see the war in a different light and then to add to that...look at the influence the war has on culture and you begin to understand that a war does not just hit the soldiers, but the population...perhaps in a different way, but in a profound and important one.


Today I am reading:

British Culture and the First World War by George Robb.  I hope to finish it by this afternoon, it is not very long.

If you are interested in the text:  BUY IT HERE  

I am hoping the rain will stop soon, making the day rather dreary...not in a completely bad way, but in a sleep inducing way.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

I am not a huge fan of dramatized children's tales of the first Thanksgiving.  Years of education and especially studying the Puritans in Massachusetts... have taught me that Thanksgiving, the cute version we learned in school...really does not exist, but that shouldn't take away from the holiday.
I like Thanksgiving, I like sitting around a table, eating, and chilling out for a day with my family and thinking about how lucky we are to live in an environment where we have enough to eat, clean water, and a roof over our heads... that is enough to me.
So even with all my historical knowledge and a bit of cynicism about the real original relationship between the first settlers and the Native Americans, I can say... in 2012, its not about that.

I have a lot to be thankful for to be fair, a healthy baby on the way, good family, progressing in school, a wonderful husband... these are amazing things that I cherish every day, so this is not one of my politically charged anger rant days...this is a happy day.

I woke up this morning at around 6:30, ate my breakfast, pulled out my school books, and made myself a latte and thought...this will be a good day, and it will be.  I have less than a month before we get to welcome Aiden into the world, and I couldn't be more excited...apprehensive, YES, but still excited.

His room is almost finished...its filled with clothes, baby accessories, toys, anything a little baby would want...and all we want is him to get here...on the prescribed date please son lol, I have 6 papers to do before then.  ;)


Today I am also thankful to be a woman in 2012 and not a woman in 1660.  I'm reading Good Wives, Nasty Wenches & Anxious Patriarchs: Gender, Race, and Power in Colonial Virginia it is, needless to say, a very interesting book and gives you a perspective of how far women have come since the early colonial period.  Though, I will give some of these "nasty wenches" some credit, they found ways to circumvent the patriarchal nature of society and wield their own power pretty well...be it through gossip or land ownership and even through religion.  The book can get a bit lost in the narrative at times, but still worth a read.

So, everyone have a great day.  Spend time with your family... DONT GO SHOPPING...eat something good and bad for you at the same time and be thankful for something.
(see I didn't even go on my how capitalism is pushing people into a frenzy over stupid sales rant that I want to go on...)

:)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Been a Bit Crazy...

The last few days have been an ordeal.  Saturday, Adam and I went and ran some errands and by the evening... I was in the hospital.  Thankfully, Baby Aiden and Myself are just fine...the wonderful staff at the hospital was able to curb issues and ensure the baby would not come until he was supposed to and after a very long night, tests, medication, and a few sketchy moments...everything is OK.  Needless to say, I am a bit exhausted and attempting to NOT be nervous about the last few weeks of my pregnancy.

I am attempting to hurry through two books on the Whiskey Rebellion for a paper I am slightly behind on...wish me luck.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Free Time

I enjoy writing.  Whether it be writing a paper, as I am doing currently (well procrastinating about doing as I write this blog entry) or just writing for fun which I do when I have spare time... it is the perfect way for me to get out what lingers about in my head.  I contribute this partly to the fact that I worry about everything incessantly and basically I just need a place to dump the worry every now and again so it does not boil over.
I have had quite a lot to worry about as of late...
Now I have everyone from friends to family telling me oh just do not worry about things so much....
If it were that easy... yea.
I wish I had more time to write.  No, I don't want to be a writer... I truly believe that just because someone likes to write down their thoughts or spill the contents of their imagination out onto a page every now and again does not make someone a writer.  There is an element of talent, creativity, and drive a person must possess in order to make something like that a career... a passion I just do not possess.  That being said, I used to write quite a bit, when I had time...when my brain was not filled with thousands of little annoyances that compile and turn me into a worry wart at the drop of a hat lol.

Today I am writing about the First World War.  Specifically, reviewing a book that detailed the players decisions to go to war in 1914.  It is always insightful to read about something you know a bit on, from a different angle.  I have a different viewpoint on Germany for instance...who still did get the raw deal at the Treaty of Versailles, but in all fairness...had planned on a war tactic in order to dominate Europe and defeat Russia and France far before anyone got killed in Sarajevo.  I look at Austria-Hungary, who by the end of the war had really no way to pay back for any costs that should have been laid at its feet... truly also held plans to retaliate against Serbia long before it had any reason to...  Then there is the Ottoman Empire, so cloak and dagger and controlled literally by four men who honestly over the decision for war....could not get along and basically went back and forth over whose side they would enter the war on and when for almost a year.

It was an interesting book...it is an interesting subject.  So that is how I expel my need to write at the moment, getting my thoughts out in a constructive manner.

If you like WWI, I recommend "Decisions for War, 1914" edited by Keith Wilson.  It was written in 1995 and it has some interesting perspectives on when and why some major power players entered the war.  

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Racism is Not Dead

I wish I could say, after the re-election of our first African American president that racism was a thing of the past.  I do believe that it is some haunting remnant of a time past that lingers in the hearts of people who will not let go of their hateful sentiments, but that does not mean that it is gone.  Like a cruel spectre of some of our country's darkest days, racism hovers above us in the form of acidic rhetoric that plagues our society.  For me, I have a hard time sympathizing with someone who looks down on another person just because they look different.  I had the opportunity to attend school with, work with, and socialize with people of all colors and creeds from the time I was a small child and thus, possess the ability to not focus on someone's skin color.  I know people who still do and while I can be pretty tolerant to various opinions about a plethora of things, I refuse to be accomodating or accepting when it comes to racism.  It is a disgusting and sickening trait and I do not understand how... in this day and age, any conscious adult would behave in such a horrific manner and even worse, attempt to pass that on to their children or grandchildren.  It terrifies me when I hear grown adults voice racist beliefs and when I do...I cringe and usually, I say something.  Let me be clear, it is the vilest and most ignorant of concepts and I have absolutely no tolerance for it.

I live in the South.  I live in a place where ignorant people run in droves to anonymous local message boards to use the N word as creatively as possible, use little sambo as their avatars and still akin a person of color to a monkey.  I live in a place where people still believe that a person of color ranks below them socially because of their color and actively believes in suppressing those people.  Now, many of my Southern friends and family will say....nooo...that was in the past, leave it there... but it is not.  All one need to do is go read my local paper at any point of the day and its blaring in the comments.  They blame the re-election of Obama on "thugs" who want everything for free...they call them criminals and talk about lynching them...in 2012.  When people tell me things have gotten better here, I say the laws have gotten better...but there is still two generations vehemently holding on to a  dark and cynical world view that rests all the blame of the world on a race and clings to some old world concept of white power and supremacy.  There is a real reason I want to leave the South... I want to get away from this because I think it is going to take another 2o to 30 years for that sort of mess to really become fringe thought and be dismissed and I just do not feel like waiting that long.  I love my country and I love my home...but I cannot respect the willful act of ignorance and hate.  

New prejudices are brewing, I know that.  People now hate homosexuals or people of different faiths or people with different political beliefs and people from different classes...and none of this is new...but it is disappointing.

Monday, November 12, 2012

A thought

I despise anti-intellectualism.... just the notion to dismiss a fact or knowledge because it interferes with your world view is silly.  Knowledge and education will sometimes...with reason...change a person's perspective.  We are not experts on everything simply because we have an opinion on everything.  Time, study, and understanding does change things and it does make some people experts and some not.  I don't understand why there is such a struggle with that.  I've never told a computer expert he was wrong based off of my lack of experience in comparison to his wide knowledge of it...same with a doctor, scientist...and a host of other fields I know little to nothing about...how hard is it??  I don't know but it vexes me.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Thank Goodness its over!

The last couple of months on a social level have been problematic.  With such a polarized mix of friends and family, I have to literally filter my facebook feed just to say anything political which I have always found annoying.  No, I am not antagonistic and mean about my opinions, I am actually pretty moderate in my temperment (while passionate about how I feel) and I do not usually deliver what anyone would dare call a negative message.  I know I am a hippie in a sense... I want freedom, I want love, I want everyone to just live together in harmony and accept each other for who they are....
I will not change that, it is not a silly idea and here is why.

Our country was unique centuries ago when men came together and attempted to create a society where people had the freedom to be who they were without another person infringing on that...and to be fair, even those guys had a VERY hard time adapting to it.  They had a specific ideal on who that population included and who it did not.  

Now it is 2012 and we as a nation still struggle with the concept of individual freedom and what that really means.  To me...this is what it means.

One of my friends can be a Christian, one of my friends can be a Muslim, one an Atheist, one a Pagan...one who keeps what he thinks to himself... and you know what...they ALL have the same freedoms.  
Women and Men choose what they do with their lives without someone who disagrees with them even on the most fundamental of levels intruding on that ability to be who they are....
Gay, Straight, Lesbian, or Bi... does not matter at all because those affiliations do not change a citizen's rights....
Regardless of where you come from.... Chelsea or Staten Island, a poor neighborhood or a gated community... you SHOULD have the SAME opportunity without guilt of being successful or having a hard time....

I may be called a dreamer... but I think people CAN work together if they remember that in the end, no matter how hard it is...we have to ALLOW for other people to have DIFFERENT principles and ideas and beliefs and we have to UNDERSTAND that the true amazing part of our nation comes from the fact that we have to have the ulitmate level of freedom, leaving people's lives to themselves on those very hard issues.... no matter how hard it is...to sustain America.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Vote

I will not go on some rant as to why I believe anyone should vote for Obama as opposed to Mitt Romney...
If you know me or have read this blog at all you understand my political leanings and why I believe the way I do.  I am passionate about what I believe, but at this point I think 99.9% of Americans have made up their mind and will vote according to their conscious.  I do not hold a grudge against people who vote for Romney, even though I will admit I do not understand it... with things like health care and the protection of the poor... I cannot see how any humane person would vote for Romney...but I am also pretty bias at this point with a lot at stake in a situation like this because I am a student (he vows to cut grants), I have a disease (he has talked about vetoing the Health Care laws), and I am a woman (he supports men who cannot get their heads around the fact that regardless of what comes after... RAPE IS RAPE).
Ok maybe I ranted a little, I apologize.


Anyway, no matter what you do today... please go vote.  We cannot actively have a say in our democracy if we do not take an active part in its progression.  I say this especially to women and minorities... people who have had to fight and struggle for the right to have their vote counted.  I studied the women's suffrage movement and I also live in the South and studied Jim Crow and the devastation inflicted on those who during that time stood up and fought against authority to obtain equal rights for all citizens and I truly believe it is a disservice to NOT be heard after so many people struggled for it.
Even of you vote for Romney (though I pray you do not), at least go out there and vote.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Religion, Faith, Charity, and Love

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
-The US Constitution

Religion is a touchy subject.  It encompasses the innerworkings of someone's heart, their emotions and answers to many unanswerable questions.  Religion motivates, for good, for bad...it is one of the most driving forces in humanity and we cannot dismiss its power and its necessity.  
Religion is personal, but at the same time communal and people who feel strongly want to share that feeling in a positive manner (most of the time) so others can feel as full or as useful as they do....

I do not dislike religion.  I respect it...but I respect all religions not just my own personal beliefs.  When we sardonically dismiss another faith we do a disservice to ourselves and the other person.  I understand the difficulty to respect another faith, especially one that seems counter to one's own... but when we dismiss someone else's emotional and spiritual well being, we begin to corner ourselves in a superiority that is unfounded.  

In every single faith I've studied on an academic level (which kind of removes you from the faith and has you look at it without bias...0r it should), there are good things and bad things in all of them.  Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Eastern Philosophy, Paganism, Deism, and even Atheism to an extent all say amazingly beautiful things and all at the same time can be violent and harsh.  We cannot point out one religion's flaws without acknowledging another's.  

After the disruptions of the 16th and 17th centuries...after the violence and the killing in the name of God... men began to at least acknowledge that pressing faith on populations did not always work (not all men sadly, but some).  With the creation of a new nation in the United States these men (who all had different views on faith) came together to create a nation where a citizen could believe what they wanted...even if that meant believing nothing.  They wrote laws, wrote in their journals, gave speeches... that emphasized that kind of freedom that was new and innovative and true.  I admire that tenacity and courage... today more than I ever have before.  

I think we forget sometimes that freedom of speech and religion means for everyone in the United States...even if that speech is in disagreement with your own.  I believe one thing, you may believe another... but I have no right under our laws to press my belief on you.  If am against working on Sundays...then I dont work on Sundays...I don't tell you that you cannot.  If I believe in contrast...the Sabbath is on Saturday...then I celebrate the Sabbath on Saturday... I don't force that you.  And if I believe that a woman has a right to choose... thats not me telling you that you have to believe that, but you cant tell me that I don't have that right based off of what you believe.  THAT IS HARD.  IT is hard because we think we are right, and we have our faith backing us... and to have another person not believe that... means they are wrong.  So to fix that, in this country... we each have our own conscious to be our guide.  

I believe that God doesnt care if a man and another man love each other.  I think in the end LOVE is the goal.  Love is one of the most mystical and amazing things in all of creation... and love can be hard too...  How do you love someone who stands for everything you disagree with?  But thats the goal.  NO one ever said following a faith is easy... no one ever said it should just feel seemless...its a struggle. 

I get really angry when people hate...its a major struggle for me.  One, I get mad when I see intolerance of any kind... women being oppressed for their gender, people denied rights because of their sexual orientation, color, creed... even faith.  There are different faiths suppressed all over the world...people still being killed for who they believe in...Jews, Muslims, Christians...and others.  I don't want to go backwards.  I would rather see more respect and tolerance, acceptance that there are other ways out there and to understand that just because I think my way is right...doesn't mean there isn't room for another.  

Thanks.

And today in history

Saturday, November 3, 2012

hmmm

Freedom of religion means for everyone and should be equally given to EVERY INDIVIDUAL in this country...regardless of if you agree with that religion or not.  It also means freedom from religion, one person's faith should not be imposed on another person for any reason what so ever.

Grad School?!??!

I think this happens to every Grad Student at one time or another...that moment where you realize you have no life, going out to even get dinner or have a moment to yourself makes you feel guilty, or getting up at all hours of the morning becomes old hat (just to finish the project due in a day)... you stop and go... why the hell am I doing this???
I do it, constantly...  Why?  Because this is not easy.  I lament the fact that when I get invites to go hang out with my friends ( I do not get many but there are these rare moments where people like my company), 99.9% of the time I have to pass...  I hate that my weekends are bombarded with hurried efforts of finishing a book by Saturday because I have a paper due Sunday (Just think how excellent my papers would be if I had days to do them), and its upsetting that my husband and I get rushed moments to spend together.  Granted, I am taking an overly full load and will change that next semester... but the weight is still there and after talking to other grad students that are friends, I know they feel the same... its hard.

Now... that being said.  It is worth it and I chose this path.  For some insane reason, I want to be an academic.  I want to teach college, I want to research, I want to write really boring scholarly history books that only other historians who have chosen the path to insanity will read and its not just a slight want... it is a passion.  I have never been so driven to do anything in my entire life as I am to become a professor (let me rephrase, beyond having a little family that my husband and I are forming right now).  At first when I went back to school it was to get a degree to get out of Retail (an environment I have worked in for seventeen years now...a rough environment)  due to the stresses of the job and the fact that Rheumatiod Arthritis and retail do not exactly mix well.   Quickly though (and I blame a few professors who pushed me to be a perfectionist and love the field), my goals changed and set themselves.  Since then, since 2007, I have worked diligently towards my goal and now...half way though Grad School, I remind myself constantly why it is I do what I do.  

Grad School, higher education beyond a four year degree is not for everyone, and its not meant to be.  To be honest, I think the standards we set on education and the way in which we conduct education on the college level does not really mesh well with the professional world.  There are a lot of jobs now that require degrees (does not matter what the degree is in) just to get someone in the door and I do not believe that is always necessary.  I also do not think that it is a mark of lesser intelligence for someone to have not gone to college...just like grad school, its not for everyone and its not important for everyone.  There are tons of erroneous and what I like to call BS degrees out there that take up time, money, and available funds just to get someone through the system...have them owe tens of thousands of dollars, just so they can get a job equal to what I get paid now in my retail job.  I do not think that is worth it or fair to the person.  In addition, there are some fields that need specific levels of training and should...just train in that field... I think we as a country have begun to look down at these technical yet vital jobs... you may dog a plumber for what he does...but I tell you this, that plumber does an important job and makes a ton more money than I ever will!  I also know people who are BRILLIANT, but just do not mesh with school...school is tedious, its time consuming, its not always what you need and it can really bring you down when you are working your ass off to do something that in the end will not benefit you at all.  I think people should get the school they need to do what they want that makes them happy... if that means high school, technical schools, a certificate, an undergraduate degree, a masters or PhD...then so be it!  Right now school seems to be TOO for profit and not enough about educating a person to enable them to do what they want.  /end rant.

So today... I am finishing up "American Lion" so I can write a paper on it tomorrow and start another book so I can write a paper on it by Wednesday... its stressy and hard, but its worth it for me.  BUT... if you know a Grad Student, hell if you know any student at all...give them some slack, do not ever dismiss the amount of work they have to do because it is not easy.

Friday, November 2, 2012

11/2/12

I am tired of people telling me not to stress like its that easy.  It is a lot harder than just saying OK.  I am a bit stressed today because I went to a nutrition class and was told I wasn't eating enough, so I come home...eat what I thought was healthy and had the right number of carbs and my sugars were the highest ive recorded.

I want ONE day without something going wrong.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Dia De Los Muertos

                                             Happy Dia De Los Muertos

The Symbolic Sugar Skull
This is one of my favorite holidays!  I love the different cultural celebrations around the world and Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is gaining popularity in the United States as the latin and hispanic populations grow.  


The celebrations are loving and beautiful tributes to the dead

I have  a few Dia De Los Muertos statues in my house and I used to have a sugar skull (a cat cracked it last year).  I am sporting my Day of the Dead tshirt today!


I would love to see a celebration one day. 


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween 2012

                                        Halloween 2012

I had a good time tonight handing out Candy to all the trick or treaters, I hope that I can take Aiden somewhere next year in a cute costume!

This is my fancied up photo for the year.

I hope everyone else had a safe and Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!!!

I LOVE Halloween and I'm pretty stoked to be at home tonight to give out candy.  I have a rocking witch hat and an improv costume (since my normal clothes are not fitting quite the way they used to LOL) and our porch is decorated and ready for trick or treaters!!!


May you eat tons of good candy since I cannot!
I am not bummed that I cannot eat candy, I am just excited that I get to enjoy the evening, it is going to be fantastic.  

So whats going on with me?  
I am still reading the Andrew Jackson book, I am starting to like it, so strange that he is such a complicated figure...he did horrible horrible things, but often seemed so sincere and tender with his family.  I have a paper to write on the book and I will be sure to add that in.

As I am still attempting to stay away from Political stuff, I would much rather use this blog (well for the 5 or 6 people who read it) to ask, beg, plead... with you guys to donate to the American Red Cross!  You can give as little as ten dollars and help so many people out whose lives have been devastated by Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath.  People lost homes, family members and basic items that the Red Cross provides, I urge you to just take a moment out of your day and give to those who need it!

That being said... while I will not write about it, I have noticed that President Obama is picking back up his lead according to Nate Silver.  I really enjoy his blog and I like the fact that he combines tons of different types of polls and meshes them together to give you a more comprehensive look at the voting population at least according to the polls.  I wanted to  vote early but it is kind of a pain out here in Warner Robins, GA and we cannot mail in our ballots unless we have some sort of medical excuse etc....

My husband really wants the new Assassin's Creed Game.  I am slightly intrigued due to the fact that it takes place during the American Revolution and part of me can pretend that I am Daniel Day Lewis' character in the film depiction of Last of the Mohicans (just want to Imagine Daniel Day Lewis in that film actually since the film doesnt take place during the revolution).  I have not had as much time to play games as of late due to baby and school... I still play a slight bit of World of Warcraft, but this game interests me.


Finally, to slightly self promote myself and with the fact that I am not working, in Grad School, and about to have a baby... I put up a donation button (shameless I know), but if you would like to donate to the help Shonda afford Grad School fund, please by all means, do so!  

See you later!

Monday, October 29, 2012

A Lot Going On

Today I am reading American Lion by Jon Meacham, a look at the Andrew Jackson presidency.  As a historian who already has a bias towards Jackson, I am attempting to drop that and read this objectively with an open mind...that being said, it is difficult not to recall throughout (even during touching passages about his relationship with his wife Rachel) the devastation Jackson caused to native American tribes and the horrific Trail of Tears.  



Here is a link to the text if you are interested.

Today is ever so quiet in comparison to last week and weekend.  On top of learning how to manage gestational diabetes and changing my diet (along with checking my blood sugar four times a day), Sunday morning I had a pretty awful scare which landed me in the Emergency Room for four hours.  The baby is fine (yay), but I may have a kidney stone which would explain a lot to be honest, since I have had some nagging pain over the past few weeks.  All still manageable so I am not going to complain, it just made the weekend itself a bit of a struggle and left me in a mood and a bit exhausted yesterday.  I am truly glad that I did decide to stop working when I did, I think that was the safest avenue to pursue because of how my health has been over the past two weeks.  TO my benefit, I am married to an amazing person who has really taken on the responsibility of helping make all of these struggles easier.  Adam has cooked dinner every night since I found out I had the diabetes and he makes healthy and good meals that just make everything a little bit easier.  I love him for it.  

This is baked Salmon, baked sweet potatoes and stir-fry veggies/ A meal by Adam

Adam has also done a blackened catfish that was amazing with beans and a ginger veggie side and tonight he is doing something with chicken, it makes this diet a lot easier to handle and its working because my blood sugar has remained low.  (and thanks to these great meals, I can have my home made brownies without much guilt)

As you can tell, I've steered clear from the Election for a bit, for a few reasons:

1. It is so overdone everywhere... emails, facebook posts, twitter... these sites are overwhelmed with discussion about the election and to be honest, it is no secret about where I stand and who I shall vote for.  Do I still believe Mitt Romney is bad for the country?  Yes, and I have posted various reasons as to why I believe that so I do not feel the need to continue to harp on it for the next two weeks.  That being said... GO OBAMA!

2.   There are more important things going on... Hurricane Sandy is sure to cause a great deal of damage and chaos for people who are living on the upper east coast of this country.  I am very worried about how many people it will effect and hope that all stay safe throughout the ordeal.    If you have a few extra dollars, please consider donating to the Red Cross during this time, people will need help and the Red Cross does amazing work!

3. I've been too busy to rant about politics as much as I have been ranting about them at home.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

LoL

Sometimes I find I just need a good laugh and today I got one after a kind of rough morning where I discovered that strangely enough Waffles and syrup do not mesh with me right now.... I laid back down, rested, did some cleaning, and then lit a new candle that Adam and I purchased at Bath & Body Works.  It was a pear scent and well, it must really be convincing because my Boxer Lizzie thought it was some sort of wonderful dessert and attempted to lick it.  She is fine, just moped around the house because I fussed at her....but it was my laugh for the day.

I have a visit from a very important person in a few minutes, so I am going to go to starbucks and have a nice and relaxing day!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Break From Politics

I love politics, I like discussing them, I like reading up on issues...etc... but these last few weeks of the Presidential election have soured me completely and I was so "out" of politics last night that instead of watching the debate, I read a book and played on my ipad.  While I understand the necessity of keeping the election going with high momentum so the news channels will have something to incessantly analyze for the next few weeks...I am sure there are other things going on in the world that we should notice like...

The fact that another shooting happened in Wisconsin where 4 people ended up dead because a Man who should not have been able to get a gun, bought one from a "private seller" and thus bypassed all of our gun laws.  This man killed his wife, who recently had a restraining order placed against him and told the court that she feared for her life....

OR...If you want something a bit more uplifting (I know I can be a downer at times)

It is FALL and it is lovely outside and leaves are turning, the air is cooler, smart fall decorations are popping up on doorsteps with pumpkins and skeletons and a variety of beautiful Mums. (I am loving my mums right now).
See this is lovely!
Now I am not advocating everyone take a break from politics on Election Day, by all means...regardless of whether or not you share my opinion, please go Vote...its something that we should all do and I will not disregard the importance of the act...even if you live in a state like I do where most of the people will vote opposite of you, your vote does count...so do not stay home, VOTE!

I just got a bit tired of watching two men who I decided between well...from the beginning.  Two very different visions for the country, one on the other side of the planet than my own... and while I liked watching the other debates...by the time this one got started I was like... "Oh man I cannot watch another one of these."

So... read about real news, go outside and enjoy the fall...and have a good day!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Nope, Don't Like It!!

Adam calls me Mr. Horse when I just straight up dislike something immediately.  

This is Mr. Horse btw
I had the RHOgam test today for pregnant women who have O negative blood, so they give you a shot if the test is positive so you wont have any problems if your child has positive blood.  Usually getting blood drawn is no big deal, I have to do it all the time but... lol today, the RHOgam blood draw was a not fun experience.  The people at the hospital were REALLY nice, the actual process and that needle did NOT like me.  So, I Mr. Horseed it completely.  lol.

I have a bit of a heavy school workload this week, partly because I slacked a bit last week (my fault).... but I am reading a book today called Salem Possessed: The Social Origins of Witchcraft and I am liking it.  ALOT.
So... no Mr. Horse where that is concerned.
Here is a link to the book
The book goes beyond the trial transcripts and delves into Salem Village, the atmosphere and things going on in the area at the same time, using records from chuches, taxes, court cases...etc.  I believe what that does is present a well rounded picture of what happened in 1692 that led to the deaths of 19 innocent people...  I am liking the book immensely so at least my assignments are fun this week.

3rd debate is tonight, I am about to Mr. Horse it too... I am not undecided (hell I don't think anyone is at this point) and I know Obama's stance on foreign policy and well, Romney's will change depending on who he wants to attract on what day... lol.   I will probably be in bed by then anyway lol...I woke up at 3 am and could not get back to sleep.  I swear I have overactive brain, I think of ALL KINDS of crazy things and I cannot get back to sleep...school, work, the baby's room, hanging up clothes, cleaning the house, you name it... at 3 AM, my mind is on it.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

I'm Pretty Lucky

Like everyone on this planet, there are times when my first world problems overwhelm and I bemoan all the annoyances in life (lol I apologize for all the whining I do on here).  Yesterday, I had my baby shower...yes the infamous female tradition of celebrating baby with snack foods, corny decorations, and usually cheesy games (I fought off the games thing, I can't deal with shower games...lol).  I had SUCH an amazing experience.  
First... since the shower was in October, we had a little fun and had a witch hat contest....

Here are a few of the participants!
I loved it and we had my 3 year old niece and her friend judge, which was hilarious. I also received so many wonderful gifts that it filled my car... I was like wow, just wow.  Such wonderful friends and family.  I need to complain less (of course this will probably fade after I watch the next Presidential debate tomorrow night lol).  I had family come from Florida, friends come from hours away...and we all just spent time together and enjoyed ourselves and it made my day that much brighter...they will never know how much I appreciated it.

Spent today with my husband and had a nice day... now to get into next week and back to the grind... papers, doctor appointments, and reading!!!

But Its nice every now and again to stop and just go.... Things are pretty OK!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Restless Day

Anxiety can creep up on you like a spider.  While I should be relaxing because I am finally on leave from work and have more time to deal with my studies... outside annoyances have crept in and caused me a great deal of stress and concern.  It is hard to express it to people who do not understand or who are not plagued with high anxiety like I am.  I am a worrier anyway and when there are actual things to worry about, the slightest problem can send me into a fit of fear and stress.

First - Stresses with work. I will leave it at that.

Second - A failed hour glucose test, in the grand scheme of things the failure is not a huge deal, many women fail the first test and come out fine the second and my actual levels were not too high over the pass/fail number.  But with the past and my own stresses, I freaked out and had a miniature meltdown which set me back with school work and kind of left me blah the rest of the day.  While I feel a little better now, I spent most of last night awake...just stuck in my own brain and thinking about stuff that I really should not be focusing on at this point... but it is hard not to and while I woke up a great deal more positive, it lends to another sluggish day where I have a lot to do in a short amount of time.  

So my brain is a bit befuddled and tired today... I am hoping tomorrow is better.  


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Busy Morning

After a not fun Dr. appointment and a few other obligations I had to take care of, the morning was busy and kind of bleh, now I am settling down to read for class and attempt to relax (who would have thought not working was so  much work).

I am not a big fan of pregnancy pics, but there are a few... two from a harry potter party at work on my last day and one from a trip adam and I took to the fair.

Adam, the awesome husband that he is, taking a picture of me buying horrible food.
Diana and I at the Harry Potter party at work, she is dressed much cooler than I
Katie and I on my last day of work (notice my awesome Ravenclaw scarf)






Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Thoughts

I don't see the point in surrounding yourself with people who only tell you what you want to hear and sort of throwing off those who don't.
It is an observation I've had for a while, experienced and well... get tired of.  Maybe some people get miffed by my honesty, who knows...
Perhaps I am just a bit annoyed by some behaviors of people I know recently.

When you have to focus on you and not devote your every waking moment to others, it kind of sticks out who stays around and who doesn't.

My life changed, focuses changed, and my time available changed, and the reaction of some to that has been quite astonishing and upsetting, while those who understand are awesome people and I truly appreciate them more.  What is funny is that some of my best friends have as little time as I do, and they find the time to talk, be encouraging, joke and just be there, even when they live hours away... while others... obviously have other things to do.

I have homework today, as I do every day lol...grad school... and I am going to push this annoyance to the side. A friend is picking me up later for some time out, I appreciate it very much. 

On a more positive note...

Both dogs have taken over the couch and are snoring as they do every day...the life of dogs lol.  The babies room will probably be complete this weekend!!!  I will of course be "in deep study" on the other side of the house because I HAVE to finish a paper (lol) while Adam puts together the furniture.  
This is what they do in the mornings while I study.
So this morning, before my friend arrives for our quick lunch and get Shonda out of the house campaign, I will keep reading Parlor Politics: In Which the Ladies of Washington Help Build a City and a Government.  The book is already interesting in the fact that it sheds light on some of the odd behaviors of the men in Washington and the lack and availability of social mobility for women.  While they lived in closed worlds, sequestered from public life...they had considerable power and used the private life to sway politics. In addition, I am quite shocked at some of our founder's opinions of women (yes I know...it was a long time ago, but we often idolize these guys so much that when someone like Jefferson feel like women were the reason the French revolution got out of hand and often seemed completely untrusting of them as a sex, is odd).  

I had to get a few concerns off my chest, but today is going to be a good day.