I come by my sense of humor naturally. Mom sent me this today. I do miss having coffee, real valiumless coffee, with her.
Monday, January 26, 2009
My friend's roommate got one of these little guys recently so naturally I had to inspect. Best part: I GOT TO HOLD IT! This is not it above, but looks sort of... not really... like it. It's the same thing... only all grey. It's name is Cricket and I just loved holding it. It's so little and fits in the palm of my hand. You know how some people act around REALLY cute babies. Yeah I don't do that. I do that over tiny hamsters and other critters. I've been going a bit crazier than usual over animals lately. I think I like them better than most people. I've also been ridiculously cuddly lately and birdface will not cuddle. Seriously, I've been trying extra hard lately. He's having none of it. He doesn't have too much of what I want most out of cuddling... body heat. I'm so glad it's suppose to be warmer this week. It's Florida for Pete's sake!
Sunday, January 25, 2009
So while reading the news online today (I had to cancel my Sunday subscription to the NYTimes. I couldn't afford it anymore and felt silly since you can read it online. Unfortunately it's not the same, but times are lean), I was reading an article about Bolivians backing a new constitution and thought about how much I love how the indigenous women wear these awesome bowler hats. I really love the style and dress as well. Very bright colors and vivid textures. While there is something almost comical about it, I admire and find it very beautiful.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Today I awoke to a the crisp cool, who am I kidding... COLD, January morning. It felt like Christmas when I was a kid. You know, full of excitement and anticipation of the mysteries that lie in the other room. Full of promise and hope. Not like later when come to find out Grandma got you the same odd ugly socks/slippers this year (which I am currently wearing two of, they may be hideous but they are warm) or Dad pulls the head off your new favorite Barbie and he smashes her head back on to stop the tears (I didn't have brothers, but I had my dad). For that first moment you forget about the ugly socks or headless/neckless Barbie and reveal in the magic that is Christmas morning at age 8. This morning felt just like that because today we get a shiny new president. Not yet corrupted or hardened by the shitty nation he is taking over. Still full of promise, hope, and change. Which are also incidentally the very words that got me hooked on the Obama drug. Honestly I had to contain myself from jumping on my roommate and waking her up to enjoy the magic with me at 7:00 this morning.
Obama might not ever live up to all the hype, I mean there's SO MUCH HYPE, but for right now, I can put that all aside and enjoy the fact that Bush is gone (and will be the first president not to have secret service for life.... oh sweet revenge.) and with any luck will start eating pretzels again.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
My beloved bike was stolen today. From the stairwell of my apartment building where I'd been safely parking it for over a year. While I've accepted this is something felt by every cyclists at one time or another I'm very sad. I loved my little blue bike. I also loved that we were the same manufacture year. But, alas it was just an object and things could be much worse. Unfortunately I don't have the money right now to get a new bike, so I'll be borrowing Karebear's spare for the time being until I can acquire a more permanent fix.
I just hope who ever gets my bike next loves it the way I did. I hope they ring its bell on a regular basis at their neighbors and the average passer-by on lovely Sunday afternoons. I hope they take it out on the Hawthrone trail and ride it fast. Fly down the hill by the hospital without applying the brakes. Avoid pot holes and mud puddles. Take it out to coffee to hang out with the slightly cooler bikes. Participate in Critical Mass...
Yet as nostalgic as I'm feeling, I wasn't the first owner. It only seems fitting that I'm not the last.
Friday, January 16, 2009
Today was pretty awesome. I finished my readings for class early and got to read some of the recommended readings I had printed out and brought with me. I started with selections from Fred Pearce's When the River Runs Dry, and found it highly interesting, readable, and informative. I feel like I've read another piece by him before on a similar, but broader, topic. Perhaps it was simply on a similar topic of water scarcity and crises. I remember reading something back in 2006 that one of my Biology Professors sent out to the class... I wonder if I still have it somewhere back in the states? Regardless I'd like to read the rest of his book when I return and can get my hot little hands on it.* I'd like to learn about the other places (aside from India/Pakistan) where water is changing economics and causing ecological changes and/or destruction. Wait... perhaps that's everywhere... I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm interested in watersheds, ecosystems relations to watersheds, etc. I'd love to get into that.
Aside from reading and sleeping because today was the hottest day we've had yet, I got to go into Derha Dun for the first time today. I felt much more comfortable in this setting than I had the entire time in Delhi. Maybe I'm simply more comfortable with myself in this setting now and more confident about navigating it. Or maybe Derha Dun wasn't nearly as intimidating as Delhi. It makes me wonder how I'll feel when we get back to Delhi after 5 weeks on the farm.
Goddess G got her nose pierced today. Its so cool! She's got some guts though. I'd be paranoid about sanitation. It looks great... and I'm secretly keeping an eye on it to make sure it doesn't get infected and its overall healing developments.
While in town today, Kite and I joined up with Pavlos and the Doe and ended up talking about our life satisfaction at the current moment. Turns out Pavlos is unhappy. I felt slightly responsible. Not because I have ever done anything rude, cruel, or whatnot to him, but for my peer's behavior that has hurt his feelings. We're trying to be so sensitive to this culture (India) that some people are being insensitive to others (European). People have been making fun of his accent and word choice without considering that he's fluent in three languages, English not being the first. Hence occasionally he stumbles or misspeaks. I'm glad he said something, because I feel like Kite, the Doe, and I can exert some peer pressure and keep others in check.
*Pearce's book was required reading for Freshman entering the University of Florida in Fall of 2008 and was part of a program connected to the water talk I participated in at the Harn in September 2008
Thursday, January 15, 2009
So... many may remember last May when Bernie Bear decided to fuck with CLAS, CALS, and pretty much everything he deemed "unworthy" to save money due to budget crises. Well, below is an indicator that things will continue on the downward spiral and get nastier.
I'm not going to interpret or jump to any conclusions, but read carefully my friends this is an indicator that things will be getting very ugly. Perhaps if we had better heating/cooling/lighting systems instead of running all those in the middle of the night, this wouldn't be an issue... but what do I know. I'm just a number.
To: Faculty, staff and students
From: President Bernie Machen
Re: UF's Budget
With the Legislature wrapping up its special session this week, I want to bring you up to date on our current budget situation and outline how we plan to proceed in developing the budget for the next year.
As part of its mid-year budget plan to close a $2.3 billion shortfall, the Legislature made permanent the 4 percent hold-back from last July. We have already set aside these funds, so no more cuts for the current fiscal year will be required. In taking this action, the Legislature agreed to our request not to be cut beyond the 4 percent due to the difficulties of reducing budgets in the middle of an academic year. Next year, however, is problematic.
Over the last two years, the state's budget has been reduced $7 billion and estimates are that next year's budget will be at least $3.4 billion less than this year. That is a huge deficit going forward and all sectors of the state will be affected. The anticipated size of the overall reduction is much discussed; we are preparing for an amount in the $72 million to $75 million range. Therefore, I am asking all units (academic and administrative) to prepare budget reduction proposals in the amount of 10 percent of their current budget. This process will involve faculty, staff and students but is led by the administrators who are responsible for fiscal matters. Provost Joe Glover and others are also developing a set of possible reductions that cut across units.
We expect to have a list of possible reductions by mid-to-late March and have open discussion for 30 to 45 days so everyone has the opportunity for input. The legislative session ends on May 1, after which we will know the exact amount of our reduction. At that time, final recommendations will be made to the Board of Trustees.
We will keep you informed with periodic updates over the next four months as we move through the budget-cutting process. The information will be posted on a new Web site dedicated to the budget that will be up and running in coming weeks. A link for the Web site will be available on UF's home page.
Thank you for your support during this difficult time. We are a strong institution and will weather the difficult economic times ahead.
Friday, January 9, 2009
Growing up, my mom and I had a very wonderful ritual of going to art fairs and festivals together. We've been doing it for over 12 years now and while we don't get to do it as often since I live away from her, it is one of my fondest memories and often the reason for my migration home. My dad was allowed to come occasionally, when we thought we'd need him for funds or to carry things. After a while though, he was dismissed and relieved of his duties, and it became my special time with Mom. Almost every weekend in winter and early spring, we'd go to one together and see all that was to be seen. We both have a profound love for art and handmade items. An admiration for the craft and those gifted enough to be their makers. When things were good we'd bring something home. A painting, sculpture, or pair of earrings.
For the holidays this year Mom was very thoughtful (and Dad too; apparently he "helped") and got me something I had been drooling over for years. Every time we came across this artist I'd linger and run my fingers over all the books, smell their covers, and coo at the beautiful handmade pages they contained. While I received many nice things for the holidays, this is one of my favorite gifts. Upon opening it, I experienced it with all my senses then proceeded to identify the plants trapped in the pages.
As I sit now looking at this clean slate of a journal, I can't help but think of Mom and all the wonderful Saturday afternoons we spent together walking the streets of the greater Tampa area. Engrossed in the visual delights, yet simply enjoying the other's company and shared passion for art and craft. I stroke its cover and know that I am loved. I'm almost hesitant to write in it because then it might contain something less pure and beautiful as Mom's love. Perhaps it is a place reserved solely for happy thoughts and treasures.
Thursday, January 8, 2009
So I never finished posting my journal entries from India, which I still have every intention of doing. However, I can't really do it now so it'll have to wait a bit longer. I sliced off the pads of two fingers on my left hand and have 8 stitches. While they're healing up quite nicely, I'm slow at typing. Until I again fully functional, enjoy some pictures:
We're officially half way through our program here. It's interesting that so much has happened and I feel like we just got rolling. I don't know how valuable my reflections are since I feel like I'm on sensory overload most of the time.
Bidyut was telling us, in our informal group meeting, about the organization he works with: Niroga Institution. The program brings the philosophies of the four yogas and instruction on practice to marginalized groups in society. It sounds amazing and has seen quite a bit of success. I'd like to look into it more when I return to Gainesville.
Overall I'm happy to know that there is an opportunity for continuation of the things we're learning here through this organization... and maybe there are other like it...
Monday, January 5, 2009
Break my butt... that wasn't much of a break, and to be honest, I don't feel revitalized or refreshed. Alas, class will start again tomorrow and it's looking like I might be having another one of those terms. On a brighter side of things, I've been doing some research on interesting NGOs and NPOs that I might try to work for in 8-9months. Here's one that I found that could utilize my interests and knowledge in international water issues:
WaterPartners International is a U.S.-based nonprofit organization committed to providing safe drinking water and sanitation to people in developing countries. Working in partnership with donors and local communities, we have helped thousands of people develop accessible, sustainable, community-level water supplies. WaterPartners not only offers traditional, grant-funded programs, but is also harnessing the power of micro-finance to address the world water crisis.