Monthly Archives: April 2008

the final numbers

I was rejected by seven schools this spring. There were several kindly written responses, like, “We regret that we are unable…” kinds of phrases. I also liked the ones that came late (or after the April 15th deadline), stating that they’d hoped, up until the very last minute, that they would have been able to find a spot for me.
The hands down worst rejection came from Syracuse, which misspelled my name in two different ways and effed up my address. Yeah, can you believe it?
On a more positive note, I was accepted at six schools. My final decision is to go back to Washington, although it still doesn’t feel very final yet. It was a difficult decision. In fact, I never did reach a point where I felt great about it, there only came a point where I had to make a decision. I think part of my hesitation comes from the fact that going back to school is going to be hard. I’m looking forward to it, but I also know how stressful it can be. I also worry that I’ll end up in a program with lots of underlying hostility, one that pits students against each other. Unfortunately, it is impossible to know this about a school, without first having actual insider insights. This time around, I feel like I might be better able to recognize the bs and stay away from it. Hopefully.
I thrive with encouragement and positive reinforcement. Faculty will get much better work out of me using this tactic. The other tactic, which was used with reckless abandon at WWU, did not work for me. 

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10. Dr. Pepper and Diet Pepsi. together. in a reusable plastic cup.

9. tanning beds

8. apathy toward work and school (the amount of time I spend grading papers)

7. starting my vegetable garden indoors at the south facing window, only to have them grow spindly and die when I transfer them to my 2′ 5′ garden plot. (grateful for the plot.) doing this every year anyways.

6. fear about my health turning into serious mental disorder.

5. most intimate relationship (with Boyfriend).

4. increasing fantasies about weddings and babies.

3. growing long, long, glorious red hair

2. sheep, pasture, fencing, clover, lambs, shearing, docking, rams

1. bad food habits, caffeine addiction, heart pain, arm numbness, selfishness, agoraphobia, dirty kitchen floor, the smell of my apartment, the accumulation on my carpet, the grime on my surfaces, the film in the shower, candle smoke blackening the walls, turning npr on and off and on and off and on, the amount of time I spend on the internet, the state of my bedsheets, hair balls, making accidental noises, working hard to control my state of mind, it working, yoga, ability to self sooth, dreams about babies, dreams about weddings, (mine both), sheep, sheep, sheep, sheep, sheep sheep sheep sheep, power struggles with men, telling stories, drinking a coke and telling a story, hearing one, opening up, remembering a detail, and. so. forth.

FLDS trial musings or the modern day internment

First off, I’ll start by saying that I sometimes enjoy a good cult. Extreme religions fascinate me. I am interested in and sympathetic to nontraditional lifestyles and the people who are brave enough to live them despite various forms of persecution. Living in Utah, I am closely connected to the news surrounding polygamous communities, and there is an ongoing discussion here about that lifestyle as it relates to LDS members and residents of Utah in general. Some people here seem to be particularly anti-polygamy since it is breaking the law, seen as weird, or even perverted. Others seem sympathetic to the cause. In my case, my great, great grandparents were polygamists and my family tells sweet, nostalgic stories about those brave and charismatic people. I’ve heard stories of heartbreak as the families were broken up in a government sanctioned diaspora of those LDS people. So, because of my own family history, and because of my propensities toward nontraditional living, I am sympathetic to these people in Texas who have had their compound (softer word would be “homes”) raided.

The husbands and wives have been separated, and four hundred and sixteen children have been taken from their parents. They are shipped off in Baptist buses, which is so reminiscent of the treatment of the Native Americans, as their children were taken into “good,” accepted religious homes to be taught “real” religion so that they might be saved from their native, “uncivilized” religion and “savage” ways. The treatment of the FLDS is a shameful, modern day version of religious persecution and witch hunting. (Sorry Pete Wentz, but questions about Ashley’s pregnancy are not a witch hunt.)

Presumably, these children will be put in foster homes, where the rate of abuse is staggering. Not only will these children deal with that abuse, but they will undoubtedly experience extreme culture shock as they see television, music, video games, and are exposed to other foster children and all their bad habits and behavior. I know that there are great foster parents out there. I’m grateful that they exist. But, I’ve also met scarily stupid foster parents, who were able to kick their meth habits for a whole six months before being granted foster children.

Some of the arguments made against this FLDS community are absolutely absurd: “Children at a polygamist sect under investigation for child abuse are taught that disobeying orders leads to eternal damnation, said a child psychiatrist at a hearing Friday” (cnn.com). Most religions teach this same kind of obedience. The consequence of sin is “eternal damnation” also known to some as “hell.” Why then, are the FLDS punished for this teaching while other religions are not? The arguments against the FLDS also maintain that their children are being brainwashed and indoctrinated, which will make them more open to plural marriage and marriage at a young age. This is considered abuse? Again, I can easily argue that most children grow up in families all over the world who instill a belief system that encourages certain behavior in the future: that the daughters will become teachers or nurses, finish college, and marry a nice man; that the sons will become doctors or lawyers and marry a nice young woman; that they will remain strong in their ideologies in regards to political parties (Republican, Democrat, Independent, etc.); that they’ll remain committed to their family’s religious persuasions (Catholics, Muslims, Atheist, etc.). Not only do the FLDS engage in this kind of indoctrination, but all families practice it. Further desecrating their lives, the FLDS temple, their most sacred place on earth, was taken by force, a disempowering and humiliating action indeed. Authorities took all personal documents: Bibles, journals, records.

The FLDS church used to have a minimum age requirement of 22. In my opinion, that is fairly conservative. Later, the age was lowered to 18, which raised concern for some FLDS parents. However, most agree that 18 year-olds are legally capable of deciding on whether or not and whom they want to marry. Reports now circulate that young teenage girls are getting married within the community and beyond that, various forms of abuse are occurring. To me, this kind of abuse and corruption within the community sounds serious. There needs to be a crack down on a culture that is delving into something that I clearly see as illegal. I’m not talking about polygamy. I’m not talking about practicing an unusual religion. I am talking about abuse, namely the practice of marrying young teenage girls.

There must be a way to conduct this investigation without separating the young children from their parents, but if they must separate the children, then it should last as briefly as possible, a few days, a week. Gather as much information as possible and then return the children to their families. Otherwise, this internment will turn into a very ugly part of US history.

The key is to prosecute the criminals and enforce the legal age of marriage. But, at the same time they must protect the rights of the innocent families, the rights of the people who are choosing to live their lives in unconventional ways. Leave out the religious persecution.

Raise your hand if you’re disappointed with this season of The Hills.
…yeah, that’s what I thought…
After watching the season premier in March, I was so excited. It was so good: Paris, fashion, lovers, friendships, drama. But, they’ve gotten progressively worse since then. I watched three episodes today, but they just seemed so stupid. I’ve been a big fan since my first taste watching Laguna Beach on the elliptical machines at the WWU gym.
Now what am I supposed to do for entertainment?
Who am I kidding? I’m sure I’ll keep watching.

I’ve been reading the blogs of professors from potential schools. This one guy seems so pretentious and grumpy. How can he do serious work with social class when he is such a snob? Can he really “see” clearly? He is supposed to be very good at what he does. He is supposed to be “up and coming.” If he is the best new work in such areas, I think we’re in for some trouble.
I want to find a program that is peaceful and supportive, but such a place seems like a myth. As my friend Jesse said,
 “The politics [of higher ed] are fierce because the stakes are so low.”

I love coffee from a can. I love greasy diner coffee. I love greasy diners. Sometimes country music makes me happy. (And I’m talking contemporary country, not just the now-cool retro stuff.) I love the working class. I am blindly loyal to them. I love driving through tiny towns and reading their zealous church signs.
The more you climb up the rungs of the social ladder, the more I will hold you at arms length. This is my flaw, I’m certain.

no chickens realization

Probably I can’t have chickens anyways. In thinking about my options for grad school, I keep hoping I’ll end up somewhere where I can have a few chickens. I mean, I’ll be in my thirties when I am done with this program and in my thirties I always imagined myself having chickens. But then I realized that probably, I can’t have chickens anyways. I mean, as long as I am *single* I will be traveling to my parents’ house for all major holidays, breaks and even some long weekends. If, per chance, I made a friend as good as syllepsis, I know she would go and throw corn through the wire mesh every day while I was gone. I would need to make a friend as good as her. And, what are the chances of that happening? Also, it is not unusual for people to be frightened of chickens, so, there’s another obstacle.
My realization is, then, that chickens should no longer be a factor in my grad school decision making process.
I have less than two weeks to decide. I still haven’t heard back from three (3!) schools. I need MORE INFORMATION before I can say for sure where I’m going.

I have been having wedding dreams lately. I have never been one to fantasize about my wedding. I have a hard time imagining myself in that kind of relationship at all. But the other night I had a lovely, lovely dream where I was marrying a student who was in the military.
Last night I had a dream that I was marrying Isaiah. My family was there. It was evening, a warm candle-lit room, pink and white roses, ridiculously poofy wedding dress. We sat around waiting for him to show up. When he finally got there (in the dream he was someone else by the way), we went into a bedroom, and I told him I did want to go through with it. Then it occurred to me that this might be cause for him to break up with me, which made me very sad. I went into the other room and calmly, eloquently (yes, it was a dream) made the announcement. Everyone drank champagne anyway.
We’re spending my birthday weekend in Vegas, but I’m going to try not to get married 🙂