:: eye of the storm ::

About Me

A 27-year-old PA student who wants to visit all seven continents, write a book, work at a pediatric clinic in Africa, and basically meet as many of the world's challenges as possible.

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current mood:
current mood

Life List

(already accomplished)

Become a PA

Visit all 7 continents

Take a SwimTrek trip

Bike through Western Europe

Raft the Grand Canyon

Improve my Spanish proficiency

Go on safari in Africa

Trace my roots at Ellis Island

Vacation in Hawaii

Work on a hospital ship in a Third World country

Celebrate New Year's in Times Square

Visit all 50 states (29 to go: AK, AZ, AR, CA, CO, HI, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, MI, MN, MO, MT, NE, NV, NM, ND, OK, OR, RI, SD, TX, UT, VT, WA, WV, WI, WY)

See the ruins at Pompeii

Swim in Capri's Blue Grotto

Tour Mt. Vesuvius

Throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain

Tour the Colosseum

Visit the D-Day beaches

See the Mona Lisa

Visit the palace at Versailles

See the Acropolis and Parthenon

See the Egyptian pyramids

Hike the Inca Trail

Walk El Camino Santiago

Take an Alaskan cruise

View the Taj Mahal at sunrise

Hike Table Mountain in South Africa

Climb through the Amazon canopy

Walk at least part of the Great Wall of China

Get laser hair removal

Learn to surf, ski, and snowboard

Learn to drive a stick-shift

Learn to play the piano

Go on a tropical cruise

Ride horseback on the beach

Ride in a hot air balloon

Get tickets to the Olympics

Go to adult Space Camp

Witness a shuttle launch from up close

Build a full-sized snowman

Sew a quilt out of my old race T-shirts

Update and continue my Life Scrapbook

Become the oldest person to ever do the River Run

Live to be a happy, healthy 100 years old - at least!

(unlikely dreams)

dinsdag 30 november 2004

Those of you who know me will laugh at this.

I was in Publix this afternoon, putting my milk and Lean Pockets and orange sherbet on the conveyor belt, when a guy about my age walked up behind me in line. And I do mean walked up. I am not exaggerating in any way when I say this - I had to lean my head back to get a look at his face. He was that tall. First, I just looked because his head was practically scraping the ceiling. Then I looked again, some little bell in my head going, "Hmm, he's pretty cute, too!"

Just then, his friend - of normal height, with piercing blue eyes - walked up behind him. And he was even hotter! I was literally having a hard time keeping my eyes away from the pair of them. I am generally quite a tomboy - I usually just see a guy and think, "Okay, a member of the male species." Very rarely do I look at a guy and immediately think, "Ooh, hottie!" the way so many of my friends do - and now it had happened twice in less than ten seconds. What was going on here?

Just then, Tall Guy opened his mouth to talk to Blue Eyes... and he spoke... in Dutch!!!

I had to turn the other way so they wouldn't see me cracking up.

I mean, really - for crying out loud!

maandag 29 november 2004

I posted this some time ago - while I was still in the Netherlands - and I saw yesterday that my sister has made a similar list. Anyway, so I dug mine out, and here it is - largely the same, but with a few changes.

100 Things About Me

1. I am an Aquarius, and my birthday is the anniversary of the date that Hitler came to power
2. I don’t smoke, never have, and never plan to start
3. I had a bone deformity in my heel when I was 13 that is usually only seen in middle-aged women
4. My major is linguistics, and I especially love studying the syntactical makeup of languages
5. I am a lifeguard and a very good swimmer
6. But my biggest fear in the world is drowning (or dying in any way in which I can’t breathe)
7. Headgear, braces, rubber bands, and retainers gave me the beautiful smile I have today
8. If given the choice, I will always choose to SMS or e-mail rather than call
9. I love everything written by Jean Auel and Dan Brown
10. I have worked with children for ten years, including four years in the newborn nursery at a hospital
11. I spontaneously learned to read when I was three, without anyone teaching me
12. And now I read really fast
13. When I have children one day, I really want twins
14. My thumbs are very oddly-shaped and look rather like toes
15. I have one sister, three years younger than I, but we do not look one bit alike
16. I lived my entire childhood (0-18 years) in the same house in Jacksonville, Florida
17. I am usually the first one to finish tests of any kind
18. I lived in the Netherlands for a year, in Utrecht, in a building that was once a nursing home
19. And so now, of all the languages I could have learned, I speak Dutch
19. I am chronically the last one to see movies
20. I love to re-read young adult novels
21. Especially ones about, as my mother calls it, ‘death and dying’
22. I don't care for fruit, except for strawberries and orange juice
23. I am a very good bag packer and am often asked to pack suitcases, etc. for others
24. I am a National Merit Scholar and thus have a full college scholarship
25. Yet I sometimes have shockingly little common sense
26. I love making lists and would die without my agenda
27. I have my ears pierced twice, and I always wear earrings
28. Old Navy is my absolute favorite clothing store
29. I attended the same summer camp for eight years, as both camper and counselor
30. I am constantly amazed at how talented my friends are
31. I spend way too much time in front of the computer
32. I love backpacks, purses, suitcases, and anything with lots of zippers and pockets
33. I cannot believe that I am getting older
34. I have a gray metallic Volkswagen New Beetle
35. I love roller coasters
36. I finally enjoy my mom's company ;)
37. I took horseback riding lessons for seven years
38. I am afraid that I won’t be able to raise my kids, when I finally have some, as well as my parents raised me
39. No one has ever given me flowers
40. I still love getting letters via snail mail
41. Every serious boyfriend I have ever had has been Dutch
42. I admit that I saw Titanic five times in the theater
43. We had a Pembroke Welsh Corgi puppy for three years when I was 14
44. It really annoys me when computers do not perform at lightning speed
45. I love photography
46. I take a multivitamin every day
47. Baseball is the one sport that I absolutely cannot play
48. But I am otherwise very coordinated and athletic
49. My favorite musical artist is Marco Borsato
50. I cannot stand clutter and am constantly trying to have as few possessions as possible
51. Shania Twain invited me onstage on 3 dec 1999
52. I really hate the smell of cigarette smoke
53. I am a fan of the Dutch soap opera Goede Tijden Slechte Tijden
54. I cannot roll my tongue
55. I am terrified of bees and wasps
56. When I feel like investing in quality, I love products from The North Face
57. I need lots of hugs
58. I want a profession involving languages, medicine, traveling, and children, but so far I have not found one.
59. My all-time favorite TV show is ER
60. I am an atheist
61. I think French fries with mayonnaise are delicious
62. I have big feet for my height (5'4.5" and size 10)
63. I had LASIK surgery on 11 nov 2004 to correct my -4.50 and -7.50 eyes; I now see perfectly without contacts
64. I almost never wear makeup, except for lip balm, but I love perfume
65. I love soft, form-fitting clothes
66. I have a very poor sense of smell
67. I have never been ‘totally wasted drunk’
68. I am completely spoiled by the Florida sunshine
69. I use Rosemary Mint shampoo
70. I kept a diary faithfully from age six through thirteen.
71. I try to eat healthy, but I still have a weakness for Ben & Jerry's ice cream
72. My hazel eyes look brown, but in the light, you can see that they’re really quite green
73. I really like the movie Armageddon
74. I sometimes feel awkward in social situations
75. When it comes to school, I can be a real perfectionist
76. I adore just having ‘silly’ moments with people, when you laugh and laugh without even knowing why
77. I love seafood, especially shrimp
78. I am not as terrified of death as most people seem to be
79. I always wear TYR competition swimsuits
80. I'd like to go to Africa
81. I did the IB (International Baccalaureate) program at the high school ranked #1 in America
82. I absolutely love macaroni and cheese
83. I value openness and directness above almost all else
84. I have 15 cousins, give or take a few
85. When there's nothing on TV, I will happily watch the Disney Channel
86. I am sick of people discriminating against each other
87. I would kill to go into space one day
88. Writing has always been a way for me to sort out what I’m really feeling
89. I hate anything grape-flavored
90. 6 is my lucky number because I won a spelling bee with it when I was ten
91. I have extremely short hair, which, strangely, old ladies always love
92. I can do some pretty cool dives from a diving board
93. My iPod is constantly plugged into my ears when I walk around campus
94. I hate nightgowns but love pajamas
95. I am a night owl, yet not a big fan of going out and partying
96. I did not learn to do the butterfly stroke correctly until my third year of college, yet it is now my favorite of the four
97. Most of my friends are Dutch and live in the Netherlands
98. I am not judgmental about most things
99. But the thing that I hate most in the world is when people treat me like I’m helpless and naïve
100. I love candlelight

zondag 28 november 2004

I forgot to mention how excited I am... only 19 days left! Here they are...

30 - work @ ACA
1 - pay 2 months' rent
2 - 8.30 Personal Fitness Profile, LIN 3460 HW due, work @ ACA
3 - LIN 3201 quiz
5 - Jags vs. Steelers 20.30
6 - swimming skills test
7 - LIN 3460 exam, work @ ACA
8 - Last day of classes! 3 separate projects due
9 - work @ ACA, drive home to J-ville
10 - 11.30 dentist, 14.00 eye doctor
12 - Jags vs. Bears, 13.00
13 - 10.00 swimming exam
14 - work @ ACA
15 - 7.30 TSL exam, sell textbooks
16 - 7.30 anthropology exam, work @ ACA
17 - 10.00 astronomy exam, 19.55 FLY TO NL!!!

Well, it's been a good weekend. I worked for four hours at ACA on Wednesday, then drove home in a rainstorm in the pitch-dark. The next day, both grandmothers and my grandfather came over, plus Aunt K and Uncle J, and they all sat around looking at old baby pictures, oohing and aahing over Mom's little backyard fountain, and grilling Catie and me about our boyfriends. Aunt K, Uncle J, and Grandma D left to go and eat at another aunt's house (we have a big family - my dad has four sisters and they all have kids) and my parents, grandparents, sister and I sat down to eat.

Turkey, stuffing, macaroni and cheese, salad, pumpkin pie, ice cream - it was a feast. :) My grandfather even made Grandma's special macaroni, as he informed me, "all by [him]self!", sparking conflicting feelings in all of us - we were impressed that he had done it (and it was really good, too!), but were a little sad at the same time that my grandmother, suffering from an as-yet-unnamed form of dementia, could no longer make it. I've loved her macaroni since before I can remember - it's made with real cheddar cheese and has spices and sometimes breading over the top - but it looks like it might become "Granddaddy's macaroni" now - he even took a little leap of faith and made it with half-and-half instead of milk, which turned out to be delicious.

Anyhow, the great mystery of why all the guys in the house fall asleep after Thanksgiving dinner has long been uncovered - the sleep-inducing hormone tryptophan, which is found in turkey. However, I was the only one who actually engaged in this stereotype, so I (apparently) had to do it well enough for everyone... I fell asleep for five hours after our meal! Four-thirty to nine-thirty... first on the couch, and then, when I dragged myself to my room, facedown on the bed. Making me the butt of every turkey joke for the next few days...

Anyhow, on Friday I went into work at Runways, the company I'm going to start driving for as soon as I turn 21. They run shuttles between Jacksonville and Gainesville. In the meantime, they have me coming into the office every once in a while to answer phones and such (which happens to be where I am right now). So on Friday I got trained in stuff like how to use the computer reservation program. Saturday, yesterday, was long and boring - the only break in the monotony was a trip to Costco to try to get me this bag. (It's only $40 at Costco.) Unfortunately, they were sold out, so I'll have to try again next week.

And today, I'm sitting in the Runways office all by myself... supposedly answering phones, but since it's a Sunday, no one has called yet. Maybe nobody will. Anyway, so I'm sitting here with my radio (which I begged off the manager of the hotel this office is attached to) listening to the Jaguars pregame show, sitting in front of an ultra-fast computer sending e-mails and posting to my website, all with a Wendy's within smelling distance... and getting paid, too. Gotta love it. I'm here till 21.00, though, and by then I'll probably be climbing the walls.

One other piece of news - I got a new bathing suit. It's a TYR - what else? - and reversible - solid royal blue on one side and a sort of diamond-ish pattern in shades of blue and black on the other side. It's different than the ones I've had before - it has skinny shoulder straps, and is also - brace yourselves - a size smaller than my last one. Hail the conquering hero... :)

OK, here comes the Jaguars game... gotta go...

zaterdag 20 november 2004

Enjoying my lazy Saturday... just wanted to mention that I just spent some of it giving my Friends and Me pages a much-needed update, and also that I have a new guestbook - Liselotte finally convinced me - so, sign away!

P.S. Renate is a slave driver... but I had a great workout last night! Even did some butterfly...

vrijdag 19 november 2004

Ahh, Friday. The fact that I have to go to work anyway to fill in for someone is tempered by the fact that I get a check (however small it may be since I missed last Thursday). Looking forward to more interesting comments from my boss. She actually paid me a compliment yesterday. "You look nice today," she said, then immediately blew it by adding, "Jennif - uh, J - Jessica." Still pondering the implications of that one - is she trying to get back into my good graces (unlikely), is she trying to imply that I don't look as nice on other days (hmm), or did she just genuinely think I looked nice (in my Target pants and H&M top)? Hah.

This, by the way, is my 300th post. That ought to merit something, don't you think?

Our LIN 3201 teacher was absent today, so the TA came to class, passed out the quizzes, asked me if I would collect them at the end... and then left the room to go back to her office on the other side of campus to set up a computer program. What amazed me is that everyone behaved exactly as they would have if the TA had stayed - not one single person tried to take advantage of the situation to discuss the answers. Am I a bad person because I would have joined in if someone else had taken the lead? Oh well, it was easy anyway - a first for that class. I think I actually got them all right.

28 days - four weeks exactly - until my trip. And only 19 days until the semester is over! I can't wait, even though I know spring is going to be even more brutal (19 credits, and a FIRST-PERIOD class two days a week... that means a 6:00 wake-up call). My other source of glee comes from realizing today in the middle of anthropology that the over $200 I shelled out for three textbooks in August (because none of them were available used) means I'll get about $100 back during exam week. Spiffy!

R, my Olympic-swimming roommate, has asked me repeatedly to come and swim with her group - she coaches a night swimming group here at UF. I always had something to do - or just plain forgot - and never went. But last night, she came home and said, "Know what I found out today? That E is your teacher!" Turns out my other linguistics teacher, the Dutch one, who teaches the Structure class (the one I like), swims with that group! Funny. Anyway, she invited me again to come join them ("I wouldn't even charge you, you can just swim!") and so I'm going tonight. Might as well take advantage of the 'available resources', right? :) Wish me luck!

And... yesterday marked the end of Week I, so I no longer have to put drops in my eyes every hour! Actually, no longer at all, except that I usually need to use the 'tears' when I first wake up in the morning. I didn't mind the drops so much, but I can't wait until I can stop taping those shields to my eyes. I walked around all day yesterday with a red stripe on my left cheekbone where I ripped off the tape. I tried to tape in a different place last night, more 'under' my eye, and now I've just got a red spot in a different place. Weird how it's only on the left side. Maybe when I go in on Monday, they'll tell me I can use my soft sleep mask instead of the high-tech stuff. :) Anyway, my eyes are still doing fine except that the right one is still kinda blurry - but I called them and they said that's normal, especially since they had to do so much work on that one (I was a -7.50). Oh well, even if it turns out to be NOT normal, 'enhancements', should they prove necessary, are included in the price we paid.

No other news except, in keeping with the theme of 'taking advantage of free resources', that I went by the Lifestyle Appraisal Center this morning to make an appointment for a Personal Fitness Profile. Basically, everything gets measured. The Health & Human Performance students use you to get practice, which is why it's free. So after December 2nd, I'll know my:

blood pressure (usually very low...)
resting heart weight (no clue)
height (5'4.5", to the best of my knowledge)
weight (hah)
girth measurements (those are NOT coming online! :))
skin fold analysis for body fat percentage (probably not that either!)
cardiovascular endurance (should be decent)
flexibility (should also be decent)
muscular strength & muscular endurance (again, decent)

Anyway, we shall see. The information is supposed to help you in designing an exercise program, and although I already get plenty of exercise, it just sounded kinda cool, so I thought I'd give it a try.

Off to work now...

zondag 14 november 2004

Well, I survived!

And it wasn't even all that bad. I was mildly worried about the metal spider-like thing used to hold my eye open, but that part was actually no sweat. They gave me some sort of mild Valium, too, so I felt very calm and relaxed. The worst part was the very first thing they did, when they fitted plastic cuplike things over each eye in turn and made me stare at the tip of the doctor's finger while a lot of pressure built up - it felt like someone was pressing on my eyeballs - until my vision literally went black. Then I had to go lie on another table, and they gave me more anesthetic drops, taped my eyelashes back, fitted the metal spider (which I actually barely felt) to hold my eye open, and got to work, one eye at a time. I had to stare at a blinking red light while the laser was working; the actual laser only took about a minute to work. Then they placed a non-prescription contact lens on my eye to act like a Band-Aid for the corneal flap they'd cut, very gently removed the metal spider, took off the tape (ow!) and taped my whole eye shut while they worked on the second one. My eyes were then taped shut for an hour, and when they took the tape off, I could already read the EXIT sign across the room. It was by no means GOOD vision at that point, but compared to what I was before, it was amazing.

The one thing that surprised me, though, was the smell. There was actually a smell while the laser was working, and it was one that I immediately recognized because of Gabby. For those who don't know, Gabby was our Pembroke Welsh Corgi that we had for three years until she died of a congenital heart defect. After her nail clipper proved itself not very effective, Dad and I used to tag-team her to shorten her nails - I'd lie her down on her back between my legs and pet her and talk to her while he'd use the sander attachment on his power drill to file the nails down. It must have looked pretty funny to any outsiders, but it worked. But anyway, the smell of her nail dust being filed off was the same smell that was present while the laser was working. ("Burning flesh," Mom said later, with a grimace.) It didn't bother me - it was actually kind of a nice smell, since it reminded me of Gabby - but it was just something I'd never considered, that I might smell the cells being burned off.

Anyway, I have to put rewetting drops in every hour and antibiotic and anti-inflammatory drops every four hours, plus sleep with (uncomfortable) eye shields - all of which is a bit annoying, but my eyes are doing great. I went back to the doctor the day after the surgery so he could check me out, and he said my corneal flaps were "an A+" - perfectly aligned - and that my vision was already 20/25! (It was something like 20/800 before.) It was and still is slightly better in the left eye than the right, since the right was so bad - a -7.50 - but I'm by no means done healing yet. It's good enough that I can drive, but it'll take 1-2 weeks before I'm a hundred percent. Sometimes I see perfectly, sometimes (like right now) things are a bit blurred. But in the end, I should actually have better than 20/20 vision; they purposely overcorrect their young patients because our eyes can still change a little.

Anyhow, it's just unbelievable. I am so glad I got the opportunity to do this. Those of you who are lucky enough to have 20/20 vision: don't ever take it for granted. I was driving yesterday and got a huge grin on my face, just because I was driving, doing it all on my own, no contacts or glasses or correction. And when I woke up this morning, I could see my room. That might not sound like such a big deal, but it is to me. I'm 20 years old and I've had glasses for almost two-thirds of my life - I don't remember what it's like to be able to wake up in the morning and see without fumbling for glasses, or run out the door to breakfast at camp without having to fiddle with contact lenses first, or go to a water park and be able to keep my eyes open without fear of losing a lens, or get up in the middle of the night and be able to go to the bathroom by sight rather than simply by memory. For the past two days, I've had that. And the only word for it is AMAZING.

dinsdag 9 november 2004

My left speaker, of the set I inherited after Charlotte left, does not work, possibly due to someone's brilliant method of twisting and crushing the cords to let them make their exit out of the speaker stands, rather than simply threading them through the holes in the backs, as was clearly the idea. So with stereo songs, where different 'parts' of the music come through each speaker, I only hear half the vocals. Odd.

I left my goggles at the pool on Monday. They were nice ones, too. Bah.

I am out of printer paper. This, too, merits a Bah.

Shifting topic... you know... I've had quite a bit of heartache and uncertainty over the past two years, but I'm only just now realizing something. A relationship is not just good conversation, physicality, compatible lifestyles, and 'that extra spark'. I've had all of those things before, but we were missing one important thing - arguing. Don't get me wrong; I truly hate arguing with people I care about, yet I'm starting to understand that that can be as powerful a tool as any other for learning about each other. Many people say they can 'agree to disagree', but then they really don't - the subject continues to come up in conversation and to prey on both parties' minds. This is true in friend-friend relationships as well as romantic ones. But when you can argue - totally NOT see eye to eye - and then step back quietly for a few minutes, see the other side, accept the fact that you have found yet another thing about this person that you cannot change, and move on, without the fear of repercussions in the relationship - only then have you found that missing ingredient.

(Extra points if the argument is about money.) :)

That was my philosophizing for the evening, probably the result of the pint of Ben & Jerry's I ate while watching Gilmore Girls. Yes, a whole pint. K, my freshman year roommate, trained me well. I watch what I eat and exercise a lot, and it's usually not that difficult. But every once in a while, I get that gnawing hunger to really gorge on something sweet - not just have a little, but have a LOT. Whether that's a result of being so careful all the time, or just a part of my personality, I don't know. But I know that after I eat the pint of ice cream or box of cookies or whatever it is, the urge is satisfied for a good month or so. And since it's that infrequent, I have decided to enjoy those moments rather than feeling guilty about them. So tonight's pint of Chubby Hubby (peanut butter, pretzels, and fudge in vanilla malt ice cream) was the November indulgence.

I have been going kind of exercise-crazy lately, though. I swam Monday and Wednesday as usual, then Friday for a make-up, then ran the stadium on Saturday (in UF-speak, 'ran the stadium' = ran up and down all the stairs in the lower level), then ran around the campus just because I didn't feel like I was 'done', then rode my bike to Target the next day, then swam in class yesterday, with so much pain in my calves from those stairs that I could literally barely kick. I didn't do anything today, and my legs feel much better, but I've got to swim again tomorrow morning (borrowed Renate's goggles - it rocks to have a former Olympic swimmer as a roommate!) and then I'm planning to go running when I get home, because I'm having Lasik on Thursday and won't be able to exercise for a few days. I've also been looking into joining a couple of sports clubs here at UF - Ultimate Frisbee, for sure, and also maybe roller hockey and possibly lacrosse if that girl ever e-mails me back. Never played it before, but it just looks like so much fun. Sadly, they didn't have any basketball.

And, just to make this stream-of-consciousness entry complete: there is the cutest new baby at work. It's a little girl, M, and she's six weeks old with red hair and blue eyes. I spend a lot of time around little kids, but this one is a keeper - the kind of baby you pick up just for the heck of it, because she's so little and cuddly. She fell asleep in my arms today... first baby to do that since hospital volunteering. I didn't want to put her down. :)

Countdown to Lasik: 33 hours!

donderdag 4 november 2004

So my boss, S, is, as I've mentioned before, a crotchety, paranoid old biddy who is convinced the business can't run unless she's sitting behind her desk (she calls N, the office manager, at least twice every day after she leaves). She has a lot of enemies - I don't know anyone who truly gets along with her, not even N. Everyone has their little backlog of stories - my personal favorite was how S refused to let my co-worker C come in a bit late so she could get her front door lock repaired the day after her house was broken into) - except me. I hadn't butted heads with her yet... until today.

I was already in a foul mood because of the election results, and when I got to work, I discovered that C had a huge Velcro contraption on her knee - she'd fallen down the stairs at a neighbor's house and broken a small bone. We went about our normal routine, changing, feeding, and playing with the babies. However, four o'clock or so is the worst time to be in the infant room - for some reason, they all have meltdowns around that time. One of the older (very spoiled) babies was screaming because she wanted to be held, one of the very small ones had just woken up and needed a diaper change, and still another tiny one had woken up from the crying of the first two and had begun to fuss. C stepped out for a second to ask another teacher a question, and while I did my level best to quiet all three babies down, S came in. With no preamble whatsoever, she said, "Jess, you know C can't get around too well, so I want to make sure you know you may have to do more than you normally do."

Unsure as to what she meant - more than I normally do? - I stammered something like, "Yeah, of course..." then asked a bit sharply, "What is the problem?" (I think I meant to say 'Is there a problem?', but with one baby screaming in each ear and another in my arms, I got a bit muddled. What exactly was she saying here?

"Well, I just see you sitting a lot, so I want to make sure you're doing your part."

So many comebacks were flashing through my head that I couldn't choose one. First, does she think I'm unfeeling? Sitting on my butt while my friend C limped around with her knee brace? Of course not! And second, sitting on my butt, period? Excuse me? I only sit down when there is nothing to be done at that moment - which, let's face it, sometimes there isn't. Yes, babies are a lot of work, and nine babies are definitely a lot of work, but when the three tiny ones are sleeping and two are at the table drinking their milk and the others are on the floor playing with toys, I don't see any reason why I can't sit down while I watch them instead of standing in the middle of the room or whatever it is she apparently wants me to do. That's just ridiculous.

Anyhow, she left the room, but N came in later on after S had left. She's young, not much older than me, and is the polar opposite of S - she gets along with everyone. She said, "S was like, 'Make sure you're watching Jess on that camera!' and I was just like, 'Whatever, S, whatever.'" She knew perfectly well it was ridiculous, and she and I talked for a while about it ("She told you to watch me?!" "She's been watching you!"), and then S called back later (like I said, she always calls after she leaves, to make sure everything is all right) and she asked, "Is Jess okay?" N said yes and S asked, "She hasn't acted like she's upset about something?" N said no. "Well, because when I went in there earlier, we had a few... choice words."


I told N that if she ever hears anything like that again from S, she should tell her to come to ME about it rather than talk behind my back. But N can't really do anything without admitting that she's told me what S is doing behind my back, so I guess I'm just going to have to go in there prepared tomorrow when I get my check... because I deeply resent the implication that I don't do my job. You can tell me a lot of things, but don't ever tell me I'm irresponsible, because that's one thing I know I am not. It's probably better for me to say something to her first, rather than wait for the other shoe to drop, as the saying goes. I mean, what's the worst-case scenario? We end up fighting and she fires me? Fine, no problem - I've already got that other job lined up which will earn me more money anyway. What do I have to lose?

The only bright spot was talking to the mother of my favorite baby about the election. She thinks exactly like I do and had her own experiences to share. Wonder if she ever uses babysitters?

woensdag 3 november 2004

Today at school, as I walked to class, a UF teacher I'd never met - a spindly black woman with an African accent and a colorful turban - came up and gave me a big hug. She pointed to the two Kerry buttons I wore on my shirt and said. "Good for you. Good for you! You keep the faith. Stand tall; don't give up."

Five minutes later, sitting in class, one of my classmates announced that Kerry had conceded the election less than ten minutes previously.

A friend and campaign buddy of mine found my eyes immediately as she walked into the room. All she did was shake her head. The girl behind me was dressed in all black. "I'm mourning for our country," she said grimly. Still another girl wore a T-shirt with big black letters: "THIS BLOWS."

All the Democrats had the feeling that this wasn't going to go our way, but I think we expected a fight to the bitter end, as we saw in 2000. Such a simple, quiet finish was not what any of us had expected or wanted.

This morning, I was angry. This afternoon, I'm just sad. I have spent the past year living abroad and experiencing firsthand the contempt that the rest of the world has for Americans. I heard from countless people that the entire world was hoping with us yesterday, hoping that we could make a fresh start.

The entire world, it seems, except for our own country.

When I came back home this summer, I had much of the same contempt and cynicism towards Americans as my European counterparts. Mindless sheep being controlled by fear. I was ashamed to be one of them, ashamed to live among them. But then the election race began. Suddenly, I was talking with hundreds of articulate, intelligent people who recognized the dangers of 'four more years' and knew that it was time for a change. As the campaign strengthened - as I watched the debates and saw Michael Moore speak - I began to have hope again. I began to feel that I could once again be proud of my homeland, that we were finally going to make our move and win back the respect of the rest of the world, that America had finally woken up. These past two weeks or so, I wouldn't have wanted to live anywhere else.

And then today, it all got blown to hell.

I can't be proud of this country now. I'm not sure if I will be able to ever again. I'm so disappointed in our citizens that I can barely speak. Everyone who voted for Bush has made the same mistake he himself makes every day - being unable to separate personal values from what is best for the entire country. Republicans ranked 'moral values' as the number one quality for a president - higher than terrorism - while we are at war! This is going to go down in the history books as America's biggest mistake. Not only did we let him weasel away with victory once, but we just handed it to him a second time. What are we doing to our children?

There are pharmacists out there who will now be able to continue refusing to fill women's birth control prescriptions, just because they don't feel like it. There are millions of frozen stem cell samples in fertility clinics that will continue to go to waste while the rest of the world makes breakthroughs - and money - every day. There are soldiers in Iraq who are long overdue to come home and have received nothing certain in the way of news. And within the next four years, I am certain that we will see, if not an overturn of Roe v. Wade, at least a threat of one.

There are numerous women out there who have had abortions in the past, yet now insist that the procedure should be banned. Still others protest stem cell research - but what will they do in twenty years when they themselves need a heart transplant? "No, I'm sorry, I choose to die rather than use the technology that will save my life?" As if. If people were personally affected by these issues, they would be singing a different tune. As it is, these Christians who turned out in such high numbers for Bush are in many cases proving themselves hypocrites.

"THIS BLOWS", indeed. And I'm not the only one who thinks so. I thought I was unique in telling people that I was going to leave the country if Bush won, but it turns out that several of my classmates have been thinking along the same lines - more than one person has been checking into graduate schools in Canada. And when I whispered the unthinkable to a swimming classmate this morning, "You know, it's getting to the point where there needs to be another terrorist attack, to wake people up! That's the only way they'll realize that nothing has changed and that nothing is going to change under this man!", expecting at least a mildly shocked look, she simply looked me in the eyes and said in the same hushed voice, "I totally agree."

So this afternoon, I'm mourning for the death of my country. Our feminist ancestors are spinning in their graves.

It was quiet on campus today. The W supporters walked with a little extra spring in their step, still with their buttons and stickers, while the Kerry supporters quietly removed all paraphernalia and avoided the subject, aside from talking heatedly into cell phones while walking to class.

Not me, though. I wore two of my Kerry buttons for probably the last time ever. As I walked home today, I could tell the Democrats - they looked me in the eye with the sad, resigned smile that's becoming so familiar to me. The Republicans generally had another look, one of derision. I looked right back. Not smiling, not frowning, just looking... and lifting my chin a bit higher each time.


These are excerpts from comments made largely by international bloggers (typos corrected):

"The notion that the majority of Americans are f**king stupid has been confirmed by the apparent way the voting has gone. How could people possibly vote for a man/administration that has gone so so wrong in so many areas? ... Sad day in history."

"Bush is a disgusting simple-minded liar who should be indicted and tried for war crimes. Half our born-again goofball electorate thinks Jesus or God or another imaginary friend helps this pissant cheerleader from Andover with his decisions. This is disgusting."

"This country is very, very hard to understand... Please, somebody out there give me some hope, make me believe that the world's greatest superpower has more to offer ... "4 more years"? Every time I heard that, my heart hurt ... 11 states banning gay marriage, no future in stem cell research and a possible (very possible) draft ... Home of the free?? Are you kidding me?"

"There is something terribly wrong with your country. Why would you vote for four more years of hell?? I will never understand it... but I do know that four years back, people respected America and even sympathized with 9/11. Almost every country has faced some disaster... but they don’t respond by killing in return... Not only does the world not sympathize or respect you anymore, they just laugh at how bullheaded and foolish the majority of your population is."

"Bush played the game of fear, he scared the crap out of everybody, even states that will never be under attack. A quick message to all the white soccer moms who voted for Bush because of terrorism: good luck when your kids get drafted!"

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