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Passing of time [10 Feb 2010|02:53pm]
Just realized that today marks a year since Zack died. If he were here, I imagine he'd probably be out hiking in the snow or doing some other outdoor shenanigans and getting folks energized for I Love Mountains Day.

Just a reminder that I need to DO MORE. More everything.
1 runaway leprechaun| Where's my pot of gold?

I will probably never use it, but [07 Feb 2010|03:11pm]
I just signed up for Twitter. Kinda hate myself for it. I'll likely never use it, but if you're interested, my username is betharoomagoo.

May God have mercy on my too-much-internet-using soul.
Where's my pot of gold?

Working on it [16 Dec 2009|03:26pm]
Don't want to jinx it or speak too soon, but I'm feeling good about where I am right now.

Still a lot of work I need to do in many areas of my life, but I'm feeling alright about...a lot of things. Trying to let go of things (i.e. my family and their decisions) out of my control, which is easier said than done, but I feel like I'm getting there, or trying to.

much love.
1 runaway leprechaun| Where's my pot of gold?

Grown-up? Pssssssssh. [24 Jun 2009|03:19pm]
I have not done any real reflective writing in about a month on here or in my 'real' journal. That's ridiculous, really, considering what's gone on this past month.

-I graduated from Berea College with a B.A. in English Literature. First to do that in my family. Pretty significant. And so was leaving Berea. I miss it--the people, the town. I need to make more of an effort to get involved and be active.

-I moved into my first apartment with two good friends from Louisville--Liz and Osee. We've been furnishing slowly. Sloooooooooowly. It's nice though. I'm only a mile from my mom's house, which wasn't intentional, but it has its nice parts.

-I'm working at Six Flags for a little while before I begin my AmeriCorps VISTA position, which I almost didn't have because of funding, but the job crisis was averted. *whew*

-I turned 22. Had a grand night with some of my favorite people and got some cute and thoughtful gifts.

A lot more has been swirling in my head, but I'm at a coffeeshop (no internet at the apartment, :/), and have to be at work soon. SO, I hope all who read this are well.
2 runaway leprechauns| Where's my pot of gold?

real quick [31 Mar 2009|01:56pm]
I'm home for a few days, but just a few. And rather than go out having fun everyday, I really need to finish my damn project. (Yes, that one, that should've been done months ago. FAIL).

So, to my dearest Louisvillians, if I don't see you this week, it's not because I don't want to, it's because I fail at being productive.

In other news, how many people can say they were invited to a cabin to drink whiskey with one of their favorite authors? I can! Good night.

If Berea hadn't just issued a hiring moratorium on all positions, faculty and staff, I would've had a guaranteed job as a VISTA at the Appalachian Center open to me. Chad said it's a shame because he would've hired me in a minute. (BAH!)

And I'm off.

3 runaway leprechauns| Where's my pot of gold?

Two months and counting until... [17 Mar 2009|12:33am]
[ mood | busy, but alright ]

I didn't get the job. I was told that I really impressed everyone in the interview and that I'm great, but they needed someone who could start right away. Lisa was very sweet about the whole thing. "I encourage you to continue working to be an organizer...I really look forward to the day when we are colleagues." So, being in college is actually hindering my career right now. Hah! Found out on Friday and already had my cry then, so now I have to figure out what to do after May 24th. I shouldn't have let myself become convinced I would get it, but I did, and it was kinda hard not to when everyone I talked to about it seemed convinced of the same. (Chad's jaw practically hit the floor when I told him). While I was upset, I'm not bitter. If getting someone on board RIGHT NOW is what's best for the organization, then I should support that, but, it is still a bummer.

So, I now have to hunt for jobs. I might try to do a VISTA position for the summer in Louisville or apply for a 1-year Sierra Club position or try to get a job wherever I can. I don't have any real idea where I'll be in a few months, which is weird. That's a first. As of right now, going home and living in my old shared room with Beverly is most likely. But, BUT, maybe I'll find some awesome nonprofit job opening and I could try to BE AN ADULT. Well, we'll see. One funny thing is that I had joked about Six Flags being the back-up of all back-ups, and I read the other day that they may declare bankruptcy soon. SHIT.

Life, as of late:
-long phone calls
-knowing more than a professor and not doing the work
-bs bs bs
-"Shut up, George."
-hitting snooze too many times
-odd weather patterns
-library books
-thoughts of the future
-wanting to write, but not

Have a lot I need to accomplish before Spring Break in a couple weeks. EEK! I would make another bulleted list, but it would just sadden me. Looking forward to this weekend though. Alex is visiting for a couple days, and I'm sure that'll be fun, and relaxing, I hope.

I hope all the lovely people reading this are doing well.

Fog is alright, but
not for Monday mornings in
March. Bring on sunshine.

Four years of college:
I can analyze writing,
but I can't grow food.

Considering the
times, which is more valuable?
You can't eat grammar.

OH YEA. You should totally call your representative and ask them to support the Clean Water Protection Act! Clean water is a right, not a privilege! If passed, HR 1310 would reverse some of the shady doings by the Bush administration. So, GET ON IT. http://ilovemountains.org/call_your_rep/

much love to you. maybe.

5 runaway leprechauns| Where's my pot of gold?

I should be reading some plays by Aeschylus, tearing up Kafka, writing a reflection... [08 Mar 2009|11:26pm]
[ mood | sleepy/excited ]

Instead, I'm preparing for a job interview with my dream employer. For weeks, when I thought about the position, I felt optimistic, but I was also sure to bring myself down to earth. "You're just now graduating college. Just because you're very involved with KFTC doesn't mean they'll hand you a job. This was posted all over the place. Someone from Nevada could swoop in and get this. blah blah blah." One of my friends here in Berea actually applied for the same job, and I was surprised and anxious when she told me she had not been contacted for an interview. She's the only person I know personally who applied, and, in several ways, she is more qualified for the position than I am. But, right now, I'm feeling good about this. On Friday, I did a mock interview at the Learning Center and had a meeting with Chad about the interview, both of which were pretty helpful. I should've seen Chad's advice coming: "Show passion! This is your dream job, isn't it? Let them know that." So, I will. I will go into that library in Lexington and sit before that panel and I will rock the hell out of that interview. Well, I hope I do, at least.

And in other news...
-I think I've been here long enough. Can't they just give me my degree now? PLEASE.
-Far too much going on this coming week. Not looking forward to it one bit.
-But, I do look forward to spring and sunshine and green overpowering brown and gray.
-Spent the weekend with The Ladies--Liz, Jamie, and Gaelyn. We hadn't seen each other since the fall, and this was the first time in quite awhile where it was just the four of us. It was nice.
-I got a haircut. About 6-7 inches are now gone. First time I've cut my hair since high school without donating it, meaning I actually had to pay for it. hah.
-Despite life's many current stresses, I have some pretty awesome people in my life, I have all my senses in fair working order, and I don't live in a place where bombings and lack of food are daily worries, so, I think I'm doing alright, and I'll venture to say that so are you.

3 runaway leprechauns| Where's my pot of gold?

The world was a different place a week ago. [16 Feb 2009|08:59pm]
It was an undiagnosed heart condition. That's what was printed in The San Francisco Chronicle a few days ago.

Zack's memorial service was Friday. The best way I've found to describe it to people was that it was the most beautiful and most devastating experience I've been a part of. Lisa and Carissa, KFTC staffers in Berea came. Professors. Staff. Community members. Students. Several of the KSEC [Kentucky Student Environmental Coalition] kids came, including the WKU crew--Emily, Nick, Meredith, and Kristin. The service was so perfect for Zack. Poems, music, stories. I felt the whole range of emotions that day. Both his parents got up at different moments and spoke. I am in awe of their strength. His mom told us that he belonged in Kentucky, that whenever he was back home in Oakland, he seemed to long for the quietness and nature of Kentucky. She said he became a man here and that he was ours. I had been crying and laughing at different moments, but when his dad got on stage wearing Zack's green ribbon from the Wilson Creek hearing, I lost it again.

After the memorial service, there was a smaller gathering at the Ecovillage Commons House. There was a tree planting ceremony. Zack had been working with a SENS professor on starting a small orchard, so a fuji apple tree was the first planted, in his memory. His parents shoveled the dirt into the hole. The immense sadness was broken by the Humans vs. Zombies crew giving a Nerf gun salute. It was so funny and so perfect; I think we all needed that. We then had food and talked. His family spent time talking to everyone, asking to hear stories about Zack. Eventually, some people got out their instruments and got a jam session going while some people danced. There was still a sadness in the air, but it really became a celebration of life, and I imagine that's what he would have wanted.

I spent Saturday morning with Becky and the WKU crowd who had stayed the night at Lisa's. After awhile, we had lunch with Megan in her hobbit hole apartment before heading to campus. They went to the memorial hike; I went to The Vagina Monologues rehearsal, which I came to regret later when Becky told me it wasn't just a hike, but that they had spread some his ashes and shared stories and prayers. I don't know what made me think I couldn't miss rehearsal--four other people were absent--but I guess I had felt my first sense of peace after Friday; the hike, I know, would have been hard. Hindsight. Stupid hindsight. No point in beating myself up about it now.

I keep thinking I'll see him on the sidewalk or at the Appalachian Center. I imagine it'll be like that for awhile.


I Love Mountains Day is tomorrow! AHHHH!! Because of my inability to say no / I really care about this, I am emceeing the march with Randy Wilson. I'll have a megaphone (or mic?) down at the river, telling people what to do and leading chants as we march to the Capitol. AH. AHHHHH. And, earlier today, I agreed to speak during a just-today-scheduled meeting with Finance Secretary Jonathan Miller. I still don't know exactly what I'm supposed to say. AHHH. AHHH. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. I spent most of the day, aside from class, tabling in the College Post Office and figuring out the travel logistics for students. We should be good to go. It should be a good day.

And even if you're not going, you could call the KY House Message Line at 1-800-372-7181 and ask your legislator to support HB 104 - the Stream Saver Bill. It takes just a minute. Do it.


I was originally scheduled to take five classes this semester and decided that, no, it's my last semester, I have enough on my plate, let's make this as easy as possible. So, I'm only taking THREE classes. This is the lightest load I've ever had here! AH! Granted, the classes I'm taking may very well leave me in a pool of mush by May, it's still exciting. I still have to finish 410. dammitdammitdammit. Life just gets in the way of being a student.


This coming weekend should will be sweeeeeeeeeeet. Alex is coming into town for the weekend and I'm doing The Vagina Monologues on Saturday. It's my light at the end of the tunnel of this crazy crazy week.


I love most of you. (I can't say ALL; I don't know who all reads this). But, more than likely, you matter to me. Thanks for existing.
6 runaway leprechauns| Where's my pot of gold?

Hours after hearing the news, I still don't know what to say. [11 Feb 2009|04:53am]
[ mood | blank ]

Tuesday was nothing worth writing about, really. My last first day of classes at Berea was exciting and stressful and tiring--not much different than other times.

Becky and I sat down around 10:30 in the suite lobby to enjoy some cereal before doing homework when Liz comes out of her room on the phone. "Do you need me to come get you?...I'm so sorry." And back in her room she goes. Becky, Priya, and I all exchange concerned glances and guess aloud about what's wrong. Spoon down, I wait for Liz to come back out. And she does, a minute or so later.

"I hate to be the one to tell you all this, but Zack Sieben died."

That sentence has been there for five minutes now, and I'm unsure how to describe the shock and sadness that short statement brought. Your heart races a little, your body feels numb and tense. I sat there with my hand over my mouth for a little while before getting the questions out. "How? When did it happen?" The cause of death is still unknown, but he was found dead in his bed at the SENS House sometime tonight after 8 or 9. He went to bed with his shoes on, apparently. Active, healthy 19 year-olds don't just die in their sleep. Friends found him. The SENS House is a focal point for a few circles of friends. They were probably getting dinner ready and wondering where he was when a few girls I know found him.

Zack and I weren't close, but he was a friend to me and such a wonderful guy. Most of our hanging out came from sharing an interest in mining and environmental issues. We first met, I believe, last spring when we both went to West Virginia on a MTR witness tour. Since then, he's become very active in KFTC and was an officer for BFA. We worked on planning events, tabling, petitions, organizing--it was great, and he was great. So many people express an interest in an issue and then never give it another thought, but Zack really dove in and was passionate about making change. He was stoked about going to Powershift and about I Love Mountains Day, organizing tabling and working on getting rides for others to attend. We just emailed back-and-forth a few days ago.

Becky and I cried, a lot. It came in waves, and now I feel dried out for awhile. Becky, Liz, Priya, and I sat around and talked about Zack, then went for a walk on Alumni Field. I didn't know Zack terribly well, but goddammit, he was such a great guy. When someone dies, no matter the age, people seem to paint them as a perfect person, even if they were the biggest asshole you knew in life. But Zack really was amazing, and everyone who knew him liked him. Berea is such a small campus that there is no one who doesn't know him or doesn't know someone hurt by his death. An email was sent out around 11 saying that a student was found deceased in their bed, but no name was given. Later saw some of the statuses popping up on facebook. One that struck me was Wes's: "whether we know each other or not, we are all Bereans, and we have lost one of our own today." Very simple, and very Berea, I think.

We just hung out before we had to leave because of the ice a couple weeks ago. A small group of us pow-wowed at the Appalachian Center playing Apples to Apples when the town lost power. He was there the first time I swam in a lake. We hiked the pinnacles at night, putting MTR signs up on the trail. I was so, so excited to see him become active in KFTC. He went to the annual meeting in the fall and then came to chapter meetings and helped any way he could at events.

He was quirky and sweet and smart and outgoing and a really great guy. He was active in so many different ways. He really put most of us to shame.

Feeling what I've felt tonight, I can't begin to imagine what my friends who were close to him are going through. It's so fuckin' awful. I just don't know what to say about it.

I am supposed to go with Teri to Boyle County High School and talk to kids about MTR and the Stream Saver Bill, but seeing as we're supposed to leave at 6:45 and it's now 4:30, I don't see that happening. I was reasoning with myself earlier that I should go because that would be something Zack would appreciate, but I would feel awful about not being here.

I Love Mountains Day is Tuesday. Zack was pumped about going to Frankfort; it was going to be his first trip there (he's from California). He had just attended a lobbying training a few weeks ago so he could learn more about lobbying and about the bills KFTC is supporting. Next Tuesday, I plan on standing proud in that march to the capitol and screaming twice as loud for the voice that should've been there.

Zack does the log toss
Doing the Log Toss last October before we set up for Mountain Day.

Zack at Wilson Creek
Showing support for the Wilson Creek community at the LUMP hearing in December.

Zack and Nat
Zack, pondering which card to choose in Apples to Apples, with Nat, during the ice storm.

5 runaway leprechauns| Where's my pot of gold?

Non-cryptic actual update [02 Feb 2009|03:43pm]
It's only February 2nd, but a lot has happened already in 2009. Below, in no particular order, are some items worth noting.

-Took a class for January term called Berea's Call to Appalaction, in which I learned a fair amount about the inner workings of Admissions at Berea. Two weeks ago, I spent four days with another student and an Admissions Counselor in northeastern Kentucky and southeastern Ohio talking with high schoolers about Berea. The more I learn about Berea, the more I appreciate my being there, but this class, and the trip especially, has made me think more about whether or not Berea is really fulfilling its mission. It's a great, great place, but I think we could do better.

-My seven-year old cousin Noah died a few weeks ago. He had been battling cancer since he was about two. I felt very weird about his death because I had only met him once, and here was the rest of my family, devastated, who had been close to him and deeply loved him. I came home for the funeral and have trouble thinking of sadder events I've experienced. Fewer things make you appreciate life more than seeing a little boy in a casket, surrounded by all his favorite toys--Pokemon cards and power rangers. I've lived three of Noah's lifetimes already, and I feel a newfound sense of grace in each day, even the shitty ones.

-I'm now seeing someone, and some of you know him: Alex Vance. Life's just funny sometimes in how it surprises you and takes you down unexpected paths and in how it can bring you sorrow and joy, endings and beginnings, at the same time. Still a pretty new relationship. Quite awesome so far. There is the pesky me going to Berea and he going to U of L bit, but we see each other when we can and talk an awful lot, so stuff is good. Very good.

-Once I read them over again, I'm sending in my resume and letter of interest to KFTC as I'm applying for a two-year Campaign Organizer position. I had originally planned on applying for the Floyd County Community Organizer position, but I'm not ready for that commitment and that big of a change. The position I'm applying for is for an organizer to spearhead a campaign to stop EKPC from building a new coal-fired power plant in Clark County, and that would entail a bunch, including organizing rural electric co-op customers and being very knowledgeable on energy efficiency. I'm already familiar with the campaign and I would live in Berea if I got the job. I'm trying not to get my hopes up too high, but I feel like I have a good shot. I really can't imagine working for any other organization and caring as deeply as I do for the work KFTC does.

-Winter Stom '09 hit Berea Monday night with ice on EVERYTHING. We lost power around noon on Tuesday, but it really wasn't so bad. I was at work at the Appalachian Center when we lost power. Becky and I got Apples to Apples from my room, went back, and played with a few students, Rodney and his ladyfriend, and Chad's kids, who had been stuck at the Center all day. Later that night, I spent time talking to people in the dark lobby who I hadn't spent much time with before. Met that same group in the morning to get some of the last grub Food Service could cook using generators. After games with them and a fire alarm, we learned that the college was closing and kicking us out. We have a good-sized international population, along with folks who are from the other side of the country, so there was a real coming-together and community spirit with people working to find places for friends to stay. (Those who didn't go somewhere were cooped up in the Alumni Building with a generator). Stayed with Becky and a group from Berea at her house in Somerset Wednesday night and had a grand old time. The next morning it was me, Ken, Ken's roomie Connor (from Colorado), and my friend Tara who needed to catch a flight out of Louisville on Saturday. My house was without power, so Alex, who was also without power, swung by and the three of us hung out at Julie's, next to the wood stove, before returning to our cold abodes. My house is already a bit drafty, but it was damn unbearable without heat. Alex came by on Friday with a puzzle, and toe and hand warmers, and we all bundled up in my kitchen before heading out to my cousin's in Fairdale where there was power. Had dinner down the street at my aunt's that night. Kind of funny how Tara, who I'm not close to, has now met more of my family than anyone else I know. She was a good sport and she said many thanks when we parted at the airport Saturday morning.

-My family got power back yesterday. After spending the weekend away, it was nice to come home to a HEATED house. But I'm now WAY behind on emails and schoolwork and--AH! Ugh. I still have to finish 410. EPIC FAIL. Really, it's ridiculous. It's gonna suck. I have only myself to blame on it not being done. I lazed around over Christmas break and then had more on my plate in January than I anticipated. But, I'll turn something in within the next two weeks and that will be that.

I hope everyone is warm and happy, and if you're not, I hope you are soon. :)
11 runaway leprechauns| Where's my pot of gold?

Oh, life, you funny thing, you. [26 Jan 2009|02:39am]

2009, you're already something else.
4 runaway leprechauns| Where's my pot of gold?

A Muppet Christmas Carol owns [26 Dec 2008|01:40pm]
So, it's the day after Christmas, which, for people who celebrate Christmas, usually means it's a day of
-recovering from too much food / too much drink
-shopping / returning gifts you don't want
-general melancholy / watching one of many TV show marathons
-seeing more family members.
This year, this day feels like any other day, just like yesterday and the day before did, as well. The past few years, that anxious excited feeling has been delayed until Christmas Eve evening. This year, it didn't come at all. I did fun Christmas-y things throughout the month, hell, I even went caroling around Berea, but the day itself was just normal, you know, except for the whole opening gifts, going to church, and eating at the dinner table deal.

Morning gift-giving went pretty fast. Smallest load I've ever received, which is fine since I don't need more stuff:
-fleece blanket (mom)
-Wall-E DVD (mom)
-$20 (mom)
-journal (Beverly)
-ring and necklace (Stacy)

After that, we went to Christmas morning mass, and I think it was my last. I feel like I'm lying when I go to church, well, because I am, I guess. I want to believe in something, and, in some way, I do (I want to believe there's a heaven, and you can't do that without believing in some sort of God), but Jesus as Lord and Savior doesn't cut it for me. While the priest was giving his sermon--a very LOUSY sermon, too--I was thinking about what to fix for lunch and watching The Dark Knight at home. Not very appropriate. Oh well.

Turns out the coal ash spill in Tennessee is three times larger than originally estimated: Instead of 1.7 million cubic yards, it's 5.4 million cubic yards. Ain't that lovely? http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/27/us/27sludge.html?hp
There have been more than 30 emails sent on the No Coal listserv since Christmas Eve, and I'm just not up for reading every little item about what this spill means and what the TVA should do yadda yadda. I'm taking a holiday from the listserv--a pretty neat thing actually as it's nationwide and has some really cool smart folks on it--at least for a few days.

Hope everyone is healthy and happy.
2 runaway leprechauns| Where's my pot of gold?

So much for a white Christmas. [24 Dec 2008|10:34am]
-Seeing many friends at trivia last night
-Team Bacon winning a tie-breaker to earn third place
-Laughing at my sister's puppy and my cat fight-playing
-Lounging (but too much of it, so it also fits in the other category).

-Late Sunday evening, a retention wall for a TVA coal-steam power plant broke, releasing more than 500 million gallons of coal ash and water over about 400 acres. That's 500 MILLION gallons of toxic sludge seeping into the ground, knocking over foundations, killing wildlife, and polluting water sources for many cities. We've all heard of the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska. Well, that was only 11 million gallons of crude oil. This mess in Tennessee could take YEARS to clean up.
Here are some links:
Where's my pot of gold?

About damn time [19 Dec 2008|11:06am]
Raise your hand if you, at the age of 21, took the road test this morning and got your driver's license.

*raises hand*

I PASSED!! WOOOO!! I hadn't driven in months, so I was a bit anxious. And driving in a fuckin' monsoon on 264 didn't help much, but I passed and now have a license. Woo-hoo! That doesn't mean too much now though for me getting places since I don't have a car. Guess that's the next thing to work on before graduating. Wherever I end up after graduation, I want to walk and use public transport as much as possible, but I think access to a car would still be in order.

Also, I just checked my grades.
Mandolin B+ (would've been better if I didn't skip a few times. Learned late in the semester that it's better t show up and look like a fool than not come at all).
Medieval Literature B+ (Beth said she loved my paper [the one that was three hours late, woot] and that I would've had a better grade if I didn't have a few absences, shucks!)
Sustainability A (duh. I know my shit.)
Senior Sem: Genocide I (I'm taking an Incomplete, but I was still surprised to see it. hah.)
So this gives me a 3.56 cumulative GPA. I'm not sure if that translates into anything swanky come May, but I'll guess we'll have to wait and see.

I had a sort of epiphany yesterday regarding health, but I don't feel like diving into that right now. Mom and I need to go grocery shopping and I think we're going to go see Milk.

I hope all my wonderful friends are well and that we all get off our tooshies and hang out soon.
3 runaway leprechauns| Where's my pot of gold?

Hibbity jibbity [16 Dec 2008|12:46pm]
I should go get in some driving time before my road test (AHHH! WHAT IF I FAIL?! AS A 21 YEAR-OLD?! AHH!), but I'd rather not go out on these roads.

My mind and my heart ball of emotion have not been in synch lately. I've cried a few times in just the past week, but not from anything going on in my life. 1) I cried while reading the story about a man whose family was killed in California when a plane crashed into his house. 2) I bawled at the end of It's A Wonderful Life Saturday night. 3) I cried a little bit at the end of Prancer last night. (That used to be my favorite Christmas movie, so maybe that has something to do with it). And then, early Sunday morning, I had an awful dream and screamed in my sleep, waking up my mom and Beverly. That's never happened before. Maybe I just had some bad cheese.

There is so much, SO MUCH, stuff in our house. I don't know how we've amassed so much stuff, but I just want to get rid of most of it and give it to Goodwill. I went down to the basement earlier to get some empty boxes so I could pack away some stuff I don't want, and there's an ungodly amount of crap down where. Broken appliances. Old books no one ever read. Buckets of paint. Tools. Just--it's a lot. Most of my stuff I want to get rid of is stuff that never had a purpose to begin with. Two of those being my porcelain doll and beanie babies collections. I never wanted to start collecting these. I remember when I was little, my aunt gave me a porcelain doll for my birthday one year, and then she did that for several more years. Same with the beanie babies. My family wants to have a yard sale sometime next year, but I'd rather just make a few trips to the DAV and Goodwill and get rid of the junk.

I have a lot I need to work on--practicing mandolin, remembering how to drive like a sane person, transcribing interviews, researching for 410, memorizing my monologue, reading all those blasted emails from the No Coal listserv--but instead, I'll probably just put stuff in boxes and listen to music. After a little bit of lunch.

6 runaway leprechauns| Where's my pot of gold?

Recent happenings [10 Dec 2008|09:16pm]
Let's see here. What has gone on in my life lately worth sharing.

-KFTC was featured in an article in YES! Magazine, along with two of my photos. They're not the best photos I've ever taken, but I'm not complaining; having anything of yours printed in a nationwide magazine is pretty sweet. You can check out the online version here: http://www.yesmagazine.org/article.asp?id=3038

-Last Monday, three carloads from Berea traveled the couple hours to Floyd County to support the community in Wilson Creek at a Lands Unsuitable for Mining Petition hearing, where they had a chance to speak out against Miller Brothers Coal doing mountaintop removal mining there. I'm glad we went because we helped even out the number of those in support of the petition and those on the side of the mining company. I had never been to a hearing like that before, so it was a good learning experience. Bill Caylor, the president of the Kentucky Coal Association, was there (BOO!!!), and he had some pretty dumb things to say. There were a good number more people who spoke for our side, including Jack Spadaro (!!), than on the side of the mining company. We won't hear a decision until February, so here's to hoping the right thing happens.

-Thanks to wisdom teeth removal, I wasn't able to eat 'real' food for a week. Ick. Still can't open my mouth as wide as before, so no sandwiches for me anytime soon.

-I auditioned for The Vagina Monologues last week on a day where I felt like crap, but I went ahead and gave it what I could. I found out a few days ago that I was cast for the monologue I used in my audition, "The Vagina Workshop." Should be fun! You can read it here: http://www.sacerdoti.com/jonathan/vaginas/thevaginaworksho.html.

-The Appalachian Culture class I TA for met yesterday for their final, and we just watched everyone's final digital stories and gave feedback. Everyone was really sweet and expressed interest in hanging out beyond this semester. (I still have to arrange a promised Apples to Apples night...). I look forward to seeing where those kiddos end up. I'll definitely keep tabs on them after I graduate.

-A couple weeks ago, two of my classmates and I taught a few lessons on Sustainability to two 8th grade classes. What a trip! The 'bad' class was wonderful, while the 'honors' class just looked at us like a bunch of zombies when we asked them to actually think! It was really interesting, and stressful--I kinda wish we could've spent more time with them.

-I'm almost done with the semester. Two finals down (I spent 20 minutes on my SENS exam today. Amazing how easy it is when you actually study, hah) and a paper to go. The 10-12 page research paper is for Medieval Literature. Still no clue what to research and write about. Only a few days till due, should get on that.

-Actually, I won't be done with everything at the end of this week. I am taking an Incomplete in my 410 class. I chose too ambitious a project and fell off the wagon this semester, and because the project will be a part of an anthology and I'm using interviews I conducted, I didn't want to turn in some crap, which is what would've had to happen. So, instead, I'm going to have to work on this over the break and over Short Term so I can turn it in at the beginning of Spring Term. I'm not thrilled about this, but I'm actually very happy with this considering the alternative was failing.

Think that's it, the big stuff at least.

In other news...
I was thinking about having a little holiday shindig/KFTC house party over the break, but I'm not sure when to do it or if folks would come. Thoughts?

I hope you're all well. Much love.
7 runaway leprechauns| Where's my pot of gold?

This year, I'm thankful that I woke up from the anesthesia. [27 Nov 2008|06:13pm]
I had all four wisdom teeth removed yesterday morning and am now swollen to the point where I look like John McCain. Not cool. I was a bit nervous (terrified, actually) about being put under for the surgery. Hearing "potentially fatal" multiple times from the stupid video about the procedure I had to watch after sitting for two hours was a bit...unnerving. But everything went well. I don't remember getting sleepy. I don't remember getting up. I made it through--wahoo!

My stomach didn't do too well though. Yesterday, I only ate one small yogurt, one small pudding, and a little bit of applesauce. This morning, my dear old mom made scrambled eggs for me. An hour or so later, the eggs were all over the kitchen floor. Vomiting burns like a bitch; I always forget that.

Around 1, my family went to Fairdale Fire Station #2 to celebrate with my dad's side of the family, who we've always celebrated with. I managed to eat, very very slowly, mashed potatoes, green beans, sweet potatoes, 1 roll, apple sauce, and 1 slice of chocolate cheesecake. (Turkey has never looked more appealing than when I couldn't eat it). I met my aunt Lisa's fiance Chuck and his two kids for the first time. Exchanged a few friendly words with my cousin Amanda (we even hugged when I left--that's an accomplishment for us). Lisa invited an African member of their church named Paul to come join us. No one could tell me where he was from in Africa, so when he came, and after Lisa told him I has been to Africa, we talked for a little bit. Turns out he's form West Africa--Togo--and I told him a little bit about Burkina. My little sister's friend Kenny and his mom Teresa came later. Kenny and Teresa have become part of our family really, so it was nice to have them there with the Bissmeyer folk. Kenny has been battling cancer off and on for years, and a few weeks ago, he had his left leg amputated. It's amazing how well he's handled the obstacles put before him. I wound up spending a long time talking to Mother Teresa about Berea. I sounded like an Admissions Officer, telling her all about the school and how it might be a good fit for Kenny. She and my mom talked about making a trip there in the spring with Kenny and Beverly to check out the school. It turned out to be a nice day.

Kenny, Teresa, and Beverly's friend Brittany are all in th kitchen now with my mom. Beverly and Brittany are working on baking a chocolate chip and pecan pie. Listening to them yak and laugh, this feels like what a Thanksgiving evening is supposed to be, only I'd like my own friends over to add to the mix. Still though, I like the family I have in this room.
3 runaway leprechauns| Where's my pot of gold?

Check it. [23 Nov 2008|01:32pm]
Recent happenings
-Two-day KFTC Steering Committee meeting.
-Going 48 hours without sleep to work on my 410 presentation. I still have a ton to do for the project, and I really don't see me getting it done on time. I'm looking into taking an Incomplete--YIKES!
-Beginning to teach two classes of 8th graders about sustainability with two classmates. I'm amazed by how much I've learned about teaching after just two days.
-BFA film showing and tabling.
-One of my students withdrew from Berea. We talked for two hours a couple days before he did it, and his reasoning has my mind boggled. I know I did more than what some people would do for him, but when part of your job description is "help freshmen transition to college," it's still a bit of a blow when one drops out.
-We just had the Kentucky premiere of a four-part documentary series on Appalachia that will air on PBS in April. Thursday's convocation focused on the film, and I introduced the filmmakers. Walking onto the stage in Phelps-Stokes and having all these folks you know clap and cheer for you is a nice boost.
-Saw Twilight at a midnight opening. I haven't read the books; I just went with a group of friends. The line at the Richmond Theatre was much longer than the line for Harry Potter there last summer. My, oh my.
-Went to Convington Friday night to see Ingrid Michaelson. She was GREAT!! And funny to boot.

I'm getting all four wisdom teeth out on Wednesday. My dentist said they're just below the surface, one is already poking out, so it shouldn't hurt too bad, I hope.

Wilson Creek residents in Floyd County are fighting to keep their land from being devastated by Mountaintop Removal mining. They have filed a Lands Unsuitable for Mining petition that, if granted, would mean no mining company could mine there. Please take just a minute to add your name to a letter supporting the Wilson Creek community. There will be a permit hearing on December 1st and the more support they have, the better! Go here: http://www.kftc.org/our-work/canary-project/campaigns/wilson-creek/take-action

Hope you're all well!
1 runaway leprechaun| Where's my pot of gold?

We're getting there [10 Nov 2008|08:51am]
[ mood | calm, tired ]

I just registered for my last semester at Berea. I might say that feels weird, but considering I had to get up at 7 a.m., I just feel tired.

Short Term 2009
APS 203 Berea's Call to "Appalaction" MTWRF 9:30-12:00 -- Chad is co-teaching this with Joe Bagnoli, one of the big guys with Admissions and Academic Services. We'll learn about Appalachia and about Berea's commitment to recruit kids from Central Appalachia, and then we'll spend a week traveling with Admissions Ambassadors, talking to high schoolers about college.

Spring Term 2009
APS 210 Health in Appalachia TR 10-11:50 a.m. -- My Appalachian Studies minor will be completed with Chad's class, but I've heard this is an easy class, and it is an interesting topic.
ENG 350 Classical & Biblical Texts MWF 2-2:50 p.m. -- Ugh. Stupid English Literature degree! Sears is teaching this, meaning that this class has the potential to kick my ass even harder.
ENG 485 Seminar in Literature TR 1-2:20 p.m. -- English capstone. How exciting. A new guy is teaching this. I've heard mixed reviews, but I'll guess I'll have to wait till February to judge for myself.
PSJ 110 Conflict Transformation MW 4-5:50 p.m. -- I've wanted to take a class in the Peace and Social Justice department for awhile, and I finally get to my last semester. If I could go back, I probably would've majored in this with some Political Science emphasis. Oh, hindsight.
MUS 130H African-Latin Percussion Ensemble W 8-9:50 p.m. -- FUCK YEA! Every time I've seen them perform, I've thought, "Man! That would be so awesome to do," so now I'm doing it. And I can make use of the drum I bought in Burkina. Yipee!
Mandolin lessons -- You can't sign up for lessons until the start of Spring semester, but I think I'll continue with these, as long as Al is still willing to put up with me.

I went home this past weekend to do some work on my 410 project. (A General Studies capstone is ridiculous!) I saw Brittney fuckin' Warren for the first time in years when she and Amy picked me up Friday night, after I spent hours working for the Appalachian Heritage reading with Jeff Biggers (a very cool guy, check him out). Saturday involved time with mom, who didn't know I was coming home, which was nice, and then going with Brittney and Amy to visit Dawn, to whom we delivered bat and coffin cookies. Sunday is when I got down to business, heading off to Resurrection Episcopal Church to interview a few Sudanese about the conflict in Darfur. It was really great talking to them, and I feel a little better about my project. Transcribing will be a bitch, but I think it'll be worth it. I'm hoping to see them again before the semester's end.

I hope life is swell for all.

3 runaway leprechauns| Where's my pot of gold?

“Be the change you want to see in the world,” Mahatma Gandhi [05 Nov 2008|09:25pm]
[ mood | calm ]

I can't explain the high I've been on today. It's an excited calm. Even with all that is going on and all that is bringing stress and anxiety to my life, today, today I feel at peace.

Yesterday was the first presidential election I could vote in. I walked down to the Folk Center at 9 in the morning. The parking lot was packed, and cars were constantly coming and going. The line for my precinct was pretty short, but I would have gladly stood there for hours. One of my students came in to vote soon after me, which warmed my heart even more. Walking around campus and seeing every other person with their "I Voted" sticker felt SO good. I know that not all of those were votes for Obama, which was okay; to see SO many people care at all and participate felt great.

Later in the afternoon, I sat with my freshmen, waiting for Chad to come to class. One of my students, a girl from Lee County, said that she wants to vote and thinks she wants to vote for Obama, but doesn't like that he supports abortion. I then went into reasons why he is pro-choice and talked about how abortion is not an important issue now, that it's the war, the economy, healthcare, energy, education. And I told her to go to kentuckyelection.org before voting, so she could learn more about where the candidates stand. Another one of my students, a hardcore McCain supporter, started to rip on Obama, and we had a short back-and-forth before class started. That evening, I ran into my first student and she said, "I voted Beth, all because of you." And without any prompting, she told me she voted for Obama. I would've loved for her to have learned more before election day, but she did her part and participated in this election, and she can look back on this later and be able to tell her future children that she voted in the biggest election of our time. I love that.

I didn't want to watch the early coverage, but I couldn't help it. I had an exam to study for, a paper to write (still haven't), a song to learn, but none of that mattered. Some of my friends in the suite and I got together to watch the results. I was so nervous and excited and hopeful and terrified and cynical all at once. What a way to spend a day! We watched the Stewart/Colbert special, and when they announced around 11 that Barack Obama was the President Elect, we changed the channel to Fox News and saw the same thing. I jumped up and down, but then got nervous again. We've seen early projections before, and I couldn't bear the thought of getting excited and have it taken away. But shortly after, the ticker said "McCain calls Obama to congratulate him." That's when the tears started. I hugged my friends, one of them a girl from Zambia who has been more invested in this election than most American citizens (and I think that says a lot about what this means for our relationships with other countries and how we're viewed). But it wasn't until watching and listening to Obama that it began to feel real. I now know what it is to cry tears of joy. We have a long way to go, but we've come so far in this election. The amount of involvement, the enthusiasm has been amazing. I LOVE that we have elected the first black President, but this transcends race. This transcends partisanship. But it doesn't transcend us; it is us, and that's what makes it beautiful.

Instead of working on a paper, I'm catching up on the election posts on KFTC's blog, kftc.org/blog. Working my way from the bottom up, I just read a post on Tayna Fogle and teared up a little. Tayna is a wonderful woman, a grandmother, an activist, and a former felon. This was the first Presidential election she was able to vote in since she received her voting rights back. She said, "My heart was beating fast and I got a little teary-eyed. I cast my ballot for all of the races and I realized that I just voted in the most historic election of my life." People all across the state worked to get out the vote and help people get to the polls. At the top of the site now is a post from Carl Matthews. Carl is working on his Master's and is one of KFTC's Jefferson County Electoral Organizers this year. He's also a former felon. He just got his voting rights back at the beginning of August, and yesterday was his first time voting. 'Yes, for the first time in my entire life I felt empowered. I voted to make better lives for myself and others. "I have never voted anywhere in these United States. Today was my day. And what a great start to a new life!" These are the stories that get me going, that make me think that we really are in a moment, a moment to do good for this state, this country, for each other.

We are in a moment. It's our moment. Last night, Obama said, "This victory alone is not the change we seek; it is only the chance for us to make that change." So, let's get to it. Together.

2 runaway leprechauns| Where's my pot of gold?

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