That's My Opinion…

I have strong opinions about a lot of things so be forewarned. If you want to comment about what I write here, I invite you to jump to the Discussion Forum and leave a message.

October 9, 2003

Several months ago, I participated in a writing workshop with my friend Louise. As one of the exercises, we were ask to choose a slip of paper and chart how the thing on the paper effected us in each decade of our lives. I drew water.

At first I was perplexed. How had water effected me in my life? Then the instructor suggested that it might just be how the word we had drawn might symbolize something more in our life. Then I began to think.

At age, 4 I crossed the Pacific Ocean with my mother to join my father in Soul Korea. It was a memorable crossing since the troop ship on which we sailed has rudder problems and our trip was several days longer than expected.

At age 14, I crossed the Atlantic Ocean to join my father in Germany. As a teenager, it was an exciting trip with activities and friends to make. Three years later, we crossed again in winter. This time I spent days on the high deck watching the waves. The north Atlantic is rough in December but I loved it.

At age 24, I joined the Navy but was never able to go to sea. I spent a summer in Newport R. I. in Officer Candidate school. The sea was always on our mind. I met my anamcara there but he went on to marry another as did I and we will never know what might have been.

At age 34, I learned the power of water, flash flooding and flooded roads in the Central Texas hills. I know now the meaning of the expressing, "Lord willing and the creeks don't rise."

At age 44, I learned the meaning of drought. Our well went dry and we had to begin pumping water out of the creek. Water is precious.

At age 54, I rediscovered my love of swimming. Now I swim two or three days a week in a covered, indoor pool. It is the reward I give myself for spending an hour and a half working out. My health is better and I remember how much water has meant in my life.

October 8, 2003

Well, I did say it would not be daily but I didn't expect to get this busy. The store is coming along well thanks to the tremendous work my husband John is doing. He has learned to program in php, redone files, redesigned pages, and generally done work that would have cost us thousands of dollars. Now we are at the place where Val and I have to get to work. We have to photograph each item, write a description of it, and then get it posted. I have over 80 necklaces made that need to be photographed. Val has dozens of items as well.  I have been spending quite a bit of time on eBay lately buying beads. It is far too easy to spend money on-line! eBay can become addictive and I suspect it has for some. Like the women who spend a fortune on the Shopping Channel.

The world still suffers. Our troops are still dying daily in a war we never should have begun but now can't get out of without heavy losses to the people of Iraqi. The Israelis attached Syria and we didn't get too upset. Where are all the troop going to come from if we attack them too? Ben Laden is still on the loose. Saddam is sitting in a tent somewhere plotting his come back and "W" won't read the papers because he has people who tell him what he needs to know. Scary world.

September 15, 2003

My husband is watching Platoon on the History Channel tonight. I could not watch it. It is too real, too true, and too gruesome. Too many of my friends and acquaintances died or were permanently damaged by that horrible mess we got ourselves into. It is too much like the present situation. I have a friend who still hurts from the welcome he got when he came home from Vietnam. Yet, he supports our current president to the hilt. How can we be so blind? If we do not want to repeat our history, we have to know our history. We got into the middle of a civil war in a southeastern Asian country because we feared they would become a Communist country. We could not get out because their were no government officials we believed could take over the country and hold it as a democracy. We are now fighting in a country that we have no business being in, for the simple reason the former president of that country tried to kill the president's father. It doesn't hurt that they have a huge petroleum reserve. North Korea is more of a menace to world peace but they don't have any oil. So we support our troops and cry with their bereaved families and wonder if we will years from now be watching movies about the war that make us ask, "How could we have thought that was a good idea?".

September 12, 2003

The other night the President gave a short speech about the problems we are facing in Iraq. He says we need billions more dollars to rebuild that country now that we have bombed it into submission. He says that if we don't, it will be come "flypaper for terrorists"and cost us much more. When he got us into this, he said it would be quick, then the Iraqi people could take over and run the show. But then the criminals Saddam turned loose, some suggest deliberately, sacked the capital. The infrastructure was in bad shape because of our bombing ten years ago and the embargo we put on them. So far, there have been no weapons of mass destruction, no connections to the terrorists who destroyed the World Trade Center, only dying soldiers, dying civilians, and floods of Islamic militant from other countries vowing to drive the "Crusader Americans" out of a Muslim country.  I wonder if anyone ever read the child George W. Bush about Brer' Rabbit and the tar baby? Nay, doubt it. That was too low class for a blue blood like Bush.

September 11, 2003

September 11, 2001

I cannot weep.
For if I start
I do not know that I can stop.

Oh God, the horror.

The unbelievable horror of it all.

A confused call from my daughter,
A plane has hit the Empire State building.
I fumble with the remote
Trying to find CNN.

And the live shot of the second plane.

Not the Empire State but the World Trade Center.

The fire, the falling debris,
No, I know now, not just debris

People amid the glass.

Some were blown out by the crash, but some jumped.

A psychiatrist said

It was an act of control.

They knew they would die so they choose the manner of it.

The numbers numb us.

Were it an earthquake in China

We would say a silent prayer

And go on.

But we watched

The buildings fall,

As it happened,

As thousands died.

I dare not cry. I could not stop.

ŠPKGibson 2001  

 

September 10, 2003

I was thinking about the conversation had with a friend about being cynical about businesses paying their bills. I finally thought through and found the term I was searching for, malicious. I don't think the large corporations have a malicious, stated policy of not paying people until they gripe and complain. I attribute it more to inefficiency and stupidity. Like that quote I used to use, "Never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by stupidity."
I don't think there are nearly as many conspiracies out there as there are inept humans who work very hard cover up their own inadequacies. "More to be pitied than censured." I always try to cut the screw ups some slack mainly because I'd like them to cut me some when I make a mistake.

August 31, 2003

The end of August already! I am reminded of that old Frank Sinatra song with the line "and the days dwindle down to a precious few…" and think of my own mortality. I will be 60 this year. So many things I always wanted to do that I know I will never be able to do. Some because of age, some because of financial constraints, and some because there is just too little time.

This month's National Geographic has an interesting chart on population growth, especially in Western Europe and North America. Most of the countries of Europe and Eurasia are experiencing sever drops in population. Their citizens are aging and few children are being born to replace them. In Africa and South East Asia, disease is taking its toll but most of the drop in Western Europe has been ascribed to wide spread acceptance of contraception and abortion. In fact, Russia is considering a law to limit abortions. Abortion was the primary means of contraception in the USSR.

The Vatican has decried the wide spread of contraception and pointed to the figures as support for its stand against all practices that interfere with conception. I think they would do better to investigate why women are turning to contraception and away from motherhood. Could it be the social climate that denigrate women? In the US, I think it stems from the basic assumption that your personal value is based on how much money you make and wives and mother's didn't get a paycheck.

The woman's movement fought for equal pay for equal work and I support that. The more radical supported the notion that women should have the same sexual freedom that men did, that is, sex without responsibility. Our society embraced it and contraception made it happen. I don't support that.

Until our society values the role of the mother in raising children or even values the child as essential to the survival of society, women will avoid motherhood and men will refuse to accept responsibility for their sexual behavior.

August 29, 2003

Yesterday, I spent a very enjoyable day with a good friend. We planned a web-based store for her and now I must create the art for the front page and build the pages.  It is going to be a type of consignment shop where we can sell our craft project and make a little cash for ourselves and some of our friends. She has gotten the domain and I'll do the coding and technical support. We'll see how it goes. She already has a store on eBay.

Speaking of eBay, I discovered how to use it yesterday. That may have been a mistake. It is far too easy to spend money there! I bought a bunch of beads for my necklaces and it was much too fast but I did get some beads for less than I'd pay around here. 

Monday, as I was driving to have lunch with my friend Louise, I thought of two topics to write about here in my blog. I should have written them down right then.  I have forgotten what they were! Such is life.

August 23, 2003

The speaker at Merle's funeral, her son Steve, commented that his mother was now in Heaven and interceding for her family at the throne of God. How do people who do not believe in an after life survive a funeral? I grieved when my father died and when my mother followed him only a few weeks later but I know I will be reunited with them after my own death. In some ways, I look forward to death. To be able to understand what I cannot understand now. To see again my parents, friends, ancestors who have gone before. One woman who was revived after dying in an auto accident described Heaven as a place of learning. She saw people gathered in groups talking and watching what really happened in history. She was a bit disappointed when God told her it was not her time and she was being revived. One of our past parish priests said he thought Heaven would be different for each of us as would Hell. He wanted Heaven to have parties with lots of piano music, laughter, and enjoyable company.  Andre Norton in one of her books describes Hell as a gray, barren place where there is only a low dull light, it is not really warm but not really cold—a bland, quiet place of eternal boredom.  I think that would be Hell for me—eternally knowing that I blew my chance in life. My life was so lacking in love and service to other human beings that I would spend all eternity in deep regret.  C. S. Lewis in The Great Divorce describes Hell as a vast city of rundown, shabby buildings where people go about holding endless meetings and arguing with each other. It was like a vast urban slum that just kept growing as more people arrived. I highly recommend that book if you want an interesting take on salvation from a conservative Christian perspective.

August 20, 2003

Today would have been my mother's 82 birthday. She died in 1997.  I am reminded of this because we went to the funeral of my husband's aunt yesterday. Edna Merle Gibson Bell Carson died August 15, 2003. She was was 87 years old. We had visited her in July at her apartment in an assisted living center. She was sharp and discussed family history with us. She was a feisty, intelligent lady whom I wish I had gotten to know better. There was a family dispute and alienation so my husband was reluctant to contact her. How sad when families fight! The Gibson's are a small family.  My husband has one sister. His father had two brothers and his sister Merle. While each of the brothers married, his younger brother had no children and his older brother's only son was killed in a car wreck. Of the three sons in their grandfather's family, only one married and had children. Beyond that, I have not found records.  Merle was the last of her generation in our family. We will all miss her.

August 15, 2003

I have a t-shirt with the slogan "The truly educated never graduate." It really emphasizes my philosophy. Over the years, I have accumulated quite a few lecture series from The Teaching Company. The one I am listening to right now is very relevant to the blackout some of the country is experiencing. It is called Energy and Climate: Science for Citizens in the Age of Global Warming by Dr. Richard Wolfson. He talks about how electricity is generated and the problems with both fossil fuels and nuclear options. I find it very interesting in light of what happened yesterday. The US uses the most energy per capita of any nation on earth. A customer service representative commented to me the other day about the heat in Texas. The only reason so many people can live and work in Texas now is air conditioning. My computer would come to a smoking halt if I didn't have the energy hog in my wall pumping out the 78° air and I really ought to keep it lower but I hate having to wear a sweater in my office in August. Time Magazine had an article a few weeks ago about the shameful shamble of our national energy policy. The only consistency over more than five administrations is the oil companies get richer and we become more dependent on imported oil. All the program to research renewable sources have been cut so badly they are nonexistent. All programs to promote conservation have received the same fate. I guess it will take a huge failure like what happened yesterday to get more action on upgrading our systems and promoting conservation of energy.  Dr. Wolfson's lectures are worth hearing. Check them out with the link above.

August 13, 2003

The site is moved and the logins consolidated to make it easier to manage. Now we just need to decide what to put up on the pages. The web is an interesting phenomenon. Yesterday, I could not connect for a couple of hours and today, some connections are running slow. It might be that worm problem but it pointed out to me how dependent we have become on the Web. My first thing in the morning, sometimes before I even eat breakfast, is to log on and check my email. Lately, the messages are few and far between. My email from this site is monitored and spamming URLs are blocked. That has been wonderful. In July, I taught at SWT and got dozens of emails each day from my students. I guess I am in withdrawal.

Our news today is bleak. The mess in Iraqi is still festering. Jobs are scarce in the US. The Texas redistricting is going to get nasty but then, what's new? It gets that way every time they do it. Later, the lawyers, many of whom belong to firms with a legislator, get rich off the law suits over the redistricting. They should turn it over to the courts to begin with and save the lawyer's fees.

Today, I am enjoying the fledglings coming to the bird feeder outside my window. There are cardinals with scruffy gray and red feathers, little adolescent painted buntings with their colors emerging from their baby gray feathers, and young wrens just beginning to turn red-breasted. Every once in a while one of them tries to land on the window. The tiny chickadees can manage it but the cardinals miss completely. The young cardinals fuss and chase each other as if there were a shortage of see in the big feeder. Silly birds!

 

August 10, 2003

Blogs are supposed to be updated every day but I don't think this one will. Today I am struggling with moving a friends web site from one hosting service to another. It is frustrating because I have to remember what the usernames and passwords for each place are. I can't use my own and they request changes that I neglect to write down. You would think that with a paper and pencil on my desk in front of me, it would be an easy thing to do. HA.

August 5, 2003

Today I experienced the thwarting of a goal. I have wanted to teach in a college or university for sometime. I teach part time at Austin Community College and at Southwest Texas State University (soon to be Texas State University-San Marcos). Both are satisfying but I want to teach more. To teach college classes, you must have a minimum of 18 graduate hours in the area where you want to teach. I was not really aware of this when I started my master's program in 1999. I foolishly thought all you needed was a master's degree and you could teach. Everyone with whom I discussed this seemed to think I knew how the system worked. HA! As I approached the final semester of my degree, I found out I could not teach anything with the program I had. The maximum allowed in one area for the degree program was 15 hours. I took an extra class to raise my count in Career and Technical Education to 18. Thus I am now adjunct faculty in the Occupational Education Department at SWT (TSUSM). But, that means I only teach one session each summer when none of the full time faculty want to teach the short session.

I decided that the best thing to do was to go back to graduate school and up the count in one field, English, to 18 hours. Today, I found out that to teach college English, one has to have a Master's degree in English. I have not yet decided what I will do. It is disappointing but understandable. It takes a lot of work to get a degree and those who are currently teaching have worked many years to get there. I am a newcomer, a want-a-be. I will consider getting a second Master's degree but at 60 years old, that may not be a good plan. Perhaps I would be better served just concentrating on teaching the computer applications I teach now. I'll keep you all posted.

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