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A New Day Dawns in America Today

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

Everybody’s making their posts of one kind of another, so I figured I’d share mine as well. I don’t have much to say – I’m just so, so happy. And so, so hopeful.

Sean and I spent election night downtown at the Hilton, where the Democratic party gathered to watch the election. We didn’t even find out about it until 8, and headed over there at 9. Man, what a great decision! The atmosphere was electric, the people were smiling; everyone had on Obama shirts and stickers. The media were everywhere. It was so, so neat to be surrounded by Democrats in Texas!! When Virginia was announced and the huge screen (one of three) flashed up Obama as the President-Elect, I cannot even put into words how amazing it was. The cheers were deafening, a million American flags went up, everybody was hugging everyone else, tears were streaming. Truly, one of the most emotional and impressive experiences of my life.

It is a strange feeling to me to feel such hope for America. For most of my adult life it’s been Bush Bush Bush (actually, for most of my life, given that we got that story twice via father and son), and it’s been a long time of kind of waiting for the next stupid thing to happen. How much more debt can we rack up, how many more countries can we invade, how many more civil liberties can we tie up in misnomer acts like the “Patriot Act”.

I’m going to revel in the victory for a minute and reply to a few common sentiments I’ve seen expressed:

- “I hope everyone can be civil and imagine what it would be like if their candidate had lost.”
I don’t have to imagine, thanks very much. The last 8 years? Yea, not so hot for me. I remember it clearly. It’s not like Democrats have been ruling elite for 20 years and we’re still rubbing in Republican faces.

- “I’m moving to Canada!”
Now, I’ve said this myself, so the sentiment itself is fair enough at a time when you’re down about the country. But I’m a little confused. It makes sense for you to move to Canada because it’s totally more conservative than America…. no… wait.. that doesn’t sound right. In short – it makes sense for me to want to move to Canada, but not Republicans.

- “I’m watching history repeat itself, unfortunately.”
Uh, how? What recent Democratic candidate put America into such ruin? Somehow I think more tax cuts for the rich and more wars would be much more… repetitive, no?

- “Obama can pry my guns from my cold, dead hands!”
Right. No one is taking away your precious guns. Don’t worry. If you’re seriously afraid of this, you’re delusional.

- “I wasn’t using my civil liberties anyway.”
Because the last 8 years have been such a great example of how to protect civil liberties… oh, except for when it’s inconvenient for the government.

- “Have fun losing all your money to taxes!”
To everyone making more than $600,000 a year: I am really sorry your taxes are going to go up. I really hope it doesn’t put you out on the street. I know you must be worried about feeding your family and paying your bills.
Seriously, though. If you’re making that much money, you can afford to provide for the services we all enjoy, and especially for those much less fortunate than you. In short, you should give back to the country that helped you get so successful.
To everyone else: Have fun with your tax cuts or no change in taxes!

Well, I hope that answered some misconceptions about Obama. Also, he is not a terrorist, not a closet Muslim, and is an American citizen. Also, I am not either!

Emma/Svara ’12!

Also, in case you were wondering what main issues I’d be moaning about if McCain had won, it would be his apparent nonchalant attitude towards spending 100 years in Iraq, his dismissal of women’s “health,” trying to turn Roe v Wade back to states (which is totally stupid, for reasons I’ll discuss later), and his great idea of giving the biggest tax cuts to those that need them most…. those making more than $2.8 million. Problem is, he’s actually voiced all of those out loud, making it hard to believe it’s just fear and rumors.

Anyway, enough of the moaning. Change is coming now. The world has exhaled in thankfulness, and American can continue on down a hopefully much more peaceful, fiscally responsible, socially just, healthy, and environmentally friendly road.


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Cats and God

Thursday, February 14th, 2008

I found this article online weeks ago, when I was looking for a home for Leo, the orange tabby stray I took in. It’s a story about a minister who takes in a stray cat (Katie), and I really, really like one of the points it makes. Perhaps it won’t make so much sense to ‘dog people,’ because dogs are in general more obedient/trainable, but for cat people, or even people who know cats, it makes perfect sense. I know it’s long, but I promise it’s worth reading:

“Katie never seeks self-improvement. She never petitions us to help her become a better cat. It probably never enters her cat-mind that she needs improvement.

And that is not because she is a perfectly obedient cat. She does not always do our will. She gives us our dawn-licking even though we command her to stop. She often refuses to come when called. She sometimes jumps on the dinner table even though we have clearly instructed her not to. She disobeys our commandments and ignores our will.

She even has a Pharisaic streak in her. She over-obeys one of our commandments. She obeys so well our dictum, “Thou shalt urinate and defecate only in the cat-box” that, if she is outside and needs to relieve herself, she scratches at the screen-door to come indoors to use her facilities!

She is not, by religious standards, a righteous cat. Yet, despite her breaking of our rules, we love her.

No, more than that: because she breaks our rules we love her. Her very disobedience is a part of the perfection of her felinity. She is perfectly cat-like and being cat-like includes indifference to our desires. We find her independence delightful (most of the time).

Might not God feel the same way about me? I have been told that the Lord accepts me the way I am. Might there not be more than mere acceptance? What if God enjoys me the way I am? Maybe the Holy One takes a certain wry pleasure in my indifference to the divine will, a certain amusement in my attempts to get away with something….”

(Read the whole article here.)

It’s true. I don’t love Svara because she does everything I say, or because she never jumps on the counter (she does) or never throws up on the floor (she does) or never sneaks into an ‘off limits’ room (she does). I love her because she’s her. She does her own thing – she might be ‘mine’ but I certainly don’t control her. And I have no desire to control her. In her independence I find pleasure. Is it so hard to believe that God feels the same way about us? Perhaps we don’t always follow the rules, perhaps we don’t always do the right thing. I didn’t get my cat just so I could indefinitely keep her off tables, stop her throwing up on the carpet, and barricade my off-limits rooms. And I really doubt God created us just to follow his rules.

For those of you who don’t know, I’m not a religious person. I created my own religion, with one member (me) (you can find details of it in previous blog-posts). I’ve always had a very peaceful, abstract idea of God and life, and it works really well for me. However, I do feel the need to talk about it from time to time just because it bugs me how vengeful, angry, controlling, selfish, and petty everyone else’s God seems to be. My God is to me as I am to Svara: no matter how many times I throw up on his carpet, there will always be a place for me in his heart and his arms.

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Leos and Svaras and Books, Oh My!

Friday, January 18th, 2008

Well, I thought I should post and assure everyone I made it back from UK-land alive. I also wanted to apologise for not being very available this week to the people who’ve tried to get in touch or who have commented I’m not as in touch as usual.

First, let me say I will be making a couple posts about my time in the UK, specifically, my adventures getting there and a new years post, mostly to go along with the fabulous pictures and videos I’ve uploaded to Facebook (if you’ve not seen them, please go visit!).

The reason I’ve not be around so much is simply: school. Yea, we’re only a week in, but for some reason even I don’t fully understand, I’m really feeling driven this semester. This first became evident when I returned from the UK and spent an ungodly amount of time completely cleaning out my room and bathroom – this included finally unpacking from Ecuador (*ashamed face*). Now my room is not only spic-and-span, but also a haven of order and prettiness (I manged to finally hang some pictures and put up some lamps that glow wonderfully in the evenings).

So, five days in, and I’m ahead in all my classes. Well, except programming, because the teacher is kind of nuts and I’m not even sure what we’re doing right now. And he hasn’t given any clue on what we’ll be reading or what we should be doing. But, programming is my ‘just for funsies’ class anyway, and really is the least of my worries, since its a ‘nothing’ class, and doesn’t count towards my degree.

I guess for many out there being ahead in classes is probably no biggie, but for one thing, this mostly means I’ve read ahead, and for me, reading textbooks is my biggest procrastination – I hate it! Last semester I didn’t read any of my genetics book – too long-winded, too boring. Probably suffered for that though : (. So this week, I’ve read 2 chapters of microbiology, 4 chapters of prenatal/infant/child nutrition, and read five chapters of neuroscience – which, trust me here, is no easy task. Neuroscience is going to be my hard class this semester. Also, I’ve gone ahead and started some physics HW, though we’re actually behind schedule and haven’t finished the chapter yet.

So most of my spare time, even in the mornings before class, is being spent reading – either in the new bookstore, in that hidden little corner with the stuffed chairs that catches the morning and afternoon sun, in Einstein’s at lunch, or at home on the couch. When I’m not reading and highlighting, I’m usually trying to keep peace between Svara and the cat I found (whom I’ve temporarily christened Leo). They hate each other, so I keep Leo in the office for most of the day, but he’s lonely and isolated, and hates it, so then I have to put Svara in my room, and let him roam (and make sure he doesn’t destroy anything – he’s the clumsiest cat I’ve ever seen (he’s a teenager)), and then do the daily ‘acclimation’ where I let them interact, much to Svara’s deep dissatisfaction. Any time when Leo isn’t in the office, I pretty much have to be following him around, to break up fights and pick up objects, and if I do sit down, he promptly climbs all over me, making it impossible to do much.

So – that’s why I’m not around much! I’m also already sleep-deprived, which bodes really well for the rest of the semester…

But, overall, I’m doing good. I feel good about school, and I’m hoping to find a home for the cat (IF YOU KNOW ANYONE WHO COULD TAKE IN AN ADORABLE ORANGE CAT LET ME KNOW!!!!).

Well, I feel this post is quite an adequate length, and though I’d love to write more, I’ll stop here, for the sake of your aching scroll bars and short attention spans : )

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You Might Be A Classical Music Nerd If…

Monday, October 8th, 2007

Well, I’m in an exceptionally good mood right now, as I’ve just finished listening to my new CD – Strictly Sousa – a collection of Sousa marches performed by the Dallas Wind Symphony. I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for marches and marching bands, despite being a self-declared hard-core orchestra geek. I always try to catch the WRR 101.1 March of the Day, which plays at the odd time of 7:35 every morning. (But, with my new CD, I need no longer depend on it to get my blood going in the morning!) It might be ‘Liberty Bell’, ‘Washington Post’, and ‘Stars and Stripes Forever’* every morning now : P. (And yes, I know those are the most generically enjoyed ones, but come on, they’re greatness. And anyway, I’m more experienced in string and full orchestras.)

So as for the title: You might be a classical music nerd if….
You collect your mail one night and are overjoyed because it contains
- A new CD of Sousa marches
- Sheet music from your orchestra director, asking you to look it over, come to any practice possible, and play in the next concert because he’s dangerously low on strings
- Your season ticket to the Ft Worth Symphony Orchestra’s Pops Concert Series

So that’s my excitement in life at the moment. Is there nothing classical music can’t do? Well, maybe classical music and programming combined. That might, in fact, be the recipe for life happiness.

All of you will be overjoyed, I know, to hear that Svara is safely back with me as of 7am this morning. My plane ended up getting in late last night, and I had to leave her another night, poor kitty. She seems very relieved to be back at home.

* I just realised I have no idea how to format music titles in writing. Italics? Quotes? If you know, let me know.

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Worried About Kitty

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2007

I had to drop Svara off this morning at the vet’s, and I’m feeling horrible about it. I’ve never had to leave her alone without anyone she knew before – usually my mom or a friend can take care of her if I’m off somewhere. But now she’ll have to spend 5 days all alone. And not only will she be alone, but she’s due for vaccines before she can be boarded, so she has to get those today. And she has a reaction to them. So today, even though she’ll be in the best place, under observation and with people who can help keep her safe is she gets sick like last time, she’ll be alone, and feeling like crap, and wondering where I am, and why I’m not there to make her feel better. And then, 4 more days of wondering why she’s been abandoned without a friend in sight.

Poor Kitty. I know it’s the only option, but I still feel horrible, leaving her all alone in a strange place.

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Cat Kitty Cat

Wednesday, April 11th, 2007

I’ve been meaning to post this picture for a while. It’s wonderful and true. For some reason it makes me think of Tripp, but it is true for any kitty-lover.

I think it may have come from, but I got it off some geeky facebook group, so I don’t know for sure.

Here’s another kitty picture:

In other news, I paid my $34 of taxes yesterday. Took me all day to figure out a measly $34…

In other news, whatever.

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Guide Cat Urine Birds Mating Choking Third-Degree Burn

Friday, March 23rd, 2007

This post is going to focus on some animal stuff less animal stuff than before, then move forward to two things that happened to me that I find interesting and you probably don’t. The title of this post pretty much explains what’s going to happen and in what order.

First and foremost, Svara has been very sick. It’s ok, she’s getting better now, but she got a hell of a urinary tract infection, and was really miserable all Monday, straining to pee tiny drops of bloody urine. And she couldn’t really control her bladder either, so a few things got peed on (but I know it’s not her fault), but then I had to keep her in the kitchen bathroom because the floor’s not carpet. Poor girl, all sick, finding herself locked in a bathroom, and having to spend a morning at the vet’s!
Anyway, she’s doing much better now, though she hates the pills she’s on with a passion.

Secondly, so many birds! I saw some beautiful bluebirds the other day, shimmering like sapphires. I’ve seen mourning doves gathering nesting material, mockingbirds flitting around, and birds I don’t know. Today there seemed to be a prevalence of blackbirds doing their funny courtship dances for the brownish females. Always fun to watch.

Thirdly, Never mind.

Two things that happened to me:
First, I joked with a girl who was eating about how if she chocked nobody present could help her because we’re not doctors yet. Eventually she laughed so hard she started severely choking. O.o Talk about self-fulfilling.

Secondly, I got a third-degree burn on the end of my finger. It’s all white and waxy, and doesn’t hurt at all. I was taking a melting point in lab when I accidentally touched the (unshielded) hot metal. It was about 330°C. It hurt intensely for about a quarter of a second, and it has not hurt sense. For those of you less medically inclined, this is because all the skin and some of the underlying tissue is fried, as are the nerves. For the curious, it sizzled when my finger hit the metal. Bacon anyone? For the concerned, I’m keeping an eye on it. Yes, it’s kind of serious, but as long as it doesn’t get infected and seems to be healing without problem there’s no need for me to get it looked at. Trust me, I’m (not) a doctor (yet). (See above.)

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My Cat is Cooler than Your Cat Because She Likes Jon Stewart

Friday, November 10th, 2006

I haven’t been watching much of Jon Stewart lately, but for some reason tonight I put it on. Svara sat down in front of the TV and watched with rapt attention for almost all of the show. Last time she paid so much attention to the TV was when I was watching Homeward Bound.

I learned this about my cat. She likes especially:
- Jon Stewart being the only person on screen
- Pictures of outer space
- Gyroscopes

She does not like:
- Rumsfeld
- Dustin Hoffman (she stopped watching when the interview with him came on)

She’s been trained well. But I don’t think it was by me…

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A Rant and My Kitty

Tuesday, October 3rd, 2006

What really irks me? People who sit in the front row of class, giggling and making fun of the teacher. You don’t like the class? Fine. You don’t like the teacher, think she’s stupid, whatever? Fine. You’re entitled to your halfway-through-first-semester-freshman views. But for God’s sake, just SHUT UP while you’re in class. If you can’t manage that, at least go sit in the back of the room and giggle. Not in front of me, and everyone else, so that you can distract us most optimally with your hand-gestures and whispers. Your snide remarks are not funny, and they’re also baseless. Trust me on that one. You have no experience at all with college and are going to have a big surprise in the next few years, meaning you’re in no position to pass judgement. (This shown by the fact that you feel quizzes over a list of terms she hands us are “completely unreasonable!”. She practically gave us the quiz beforehand, you morons!)
Also, if you feel the need to use your computer to take notes, that’s fine by me. However, if you’re going to play solitaire, tetris, and chat on AIM, again, please take it to the back of the room. And DO NOT then moan about how the class is so hard! If you’re not even making a token effort to pay attention, of course it’s hard!

I’m really happy with having Svara around. Somehow it seems she’s become personable since I moved here. She’s waiting at the top of the stairs every day when I come home, and sleeps outside my bedroom at the door, greeting me with a chirrip every morning. Even after I bathed her, she showed me no ill feelings. She follows me around the house in an inquisitive way, watching everything I do.

She’s developed a soft-spot for AJ, though. When he comes home, she’ll sit at his feet and stare up at his computer, and she’ll readily come when he calls. It’s strange because he rarely pets her or gives her much attention. I think it’s a classic example of how the child clings more closely to the abusive parent in hopes of making them love them ; P . She’s almost 2 years old now, but she’s still very playful and curious. She wants to be involved in everything and know just what’s going on, which is different, since cats are often so aloof. When AJ and I curl up to watch a movie, she’s not happy until she’s tucked between me and the couch, or laying across my feet, feeling included and dozing happily.

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Events Events

Tuesday, April 11th, 2006

Well, events, events. Lots of things, won’t go into details. Sumation ends up being that Lauren found a nice apartment for herself, so she is happily living there now, and I rattle around my 3-bedroom condo alone. Sad, yes, but you know, seperating insane people is looked upon as a good thing in most countries. So we’ll look at it as a benefit! The whole thing was an adventure, which can be best summed up in this short snippet from a conversation:

Loweaugen: i’m going to learn to cook now
Loweaugen: it should be interesting
Loweaugen: to say the lease
Loweaugen: t
Loweaugen: ahhh! ive got leases on the brain!

(As a disclaimer to myself, I’m actually not a bad cook. Though my experience in cooking is limited, I’ve never screwed anything I have cooked up that badly. Well, really at all. Comes from all those ochem and bio labs I suppose. Can’t make mistakes in those. And yes, I do treat cooking like a lab, and I’m that anal rententive about measurements, but you know what? I like it.)

Anyway, since I rattle too much in my condo, I’m bringing Svara down next Monday, and as celebration, I have decreed that you all get Friday off for this wonderful occasion! If your institution does not allow you to take Friday off for the Celebration of Svara, then they are considered rebellious factions, and will be smote once my rise to World Dictator (or European Dictator) is complete.

Remind me because I have a story to tell you all about my sisters Alice and Heather, and how much they rock.

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