One of the wonderful perks of my work is going to professional conferences with extraordinary keynote speakers. I've heard Madeleine Albright, Andrei Codrescu, Richard Riley, many others.
Tonight as I listened to even more horror and devastation from the Gulf Coast, I was vividly reminded of a wonderful speech I heard at a NAFSA conference by a woman (dang, I can't remember her name!) who had worked for the UN High Council on Refugees. She said that the one thing that stood out for her from every single refugee situation she had been involved with (and there were many, many) was this:
No one ever thinks it will happen to them.
Being a refugee is something that happens to other people. People in Africa or Bosnia. Not in America. Right? Wrong.
God, have mercy on our foolish pride. God, help us to have mercy on one another. The pitiful, the desperate, the angry, the looters, the reporters, the Red Cross.
We just got back from Parent/Teacher Night at Bran's school. First we went to hear a very uninspiring talk about credits, SAT's, etc. Then we got to go meet the teachers. There were only about 60 parents in the Junior class meeting. But when the speaker asked how many of them had kids in AP classes, almost everyone raised their hand! (We did not.)
I saw a lady with a high school daughter and then twin babies (not more than 6 months old) in a twin stroller. Oh my golly! I can't imagine it.
We heard good reports from the teachers. I was especially excited to meet the Health Professions teacher (he will be going on rotations in hospitals, pharmacies, etc.) and the English teacher, a moderately well-known slam poet. Brandon came home from his first English class and said, "Wow! He is so cool! He didn't even say hello, he just recited a poem for us that started, 'I love words!' That's going to be a great class!" I e-mailed the teacher and said, "In my 8 years with this child, I have not been able to ignite the spark that you did. Thank you!"
Then we came home. He is required to have study time with us each night, due to his poor performance last year. I've told him that once he gives us a good-grade six weeks, it can stop (he maintains that it is NOT needed! he studies all the time! he already studied for this!) So, right, prove it! Anyway, he brought me his Physics workbook so I could quiz him for tomorrow's test. Guess what, he got at least half of them wrong. Of course, he says he doesn't need those items for the test. How convenient! :)
I told him that I'm so proud of the growth I have seen in him and I can't wait until he shows us that he can handle this on his own. And boy is it true! :) I've got other things to do besides run a study hall.
I've been transfixed by hurricane news. My Lord, the horrors.
I grew up in Houston so I remember well the worry and nerves of tracking the storm, watching the news, etc. But in all the years I lived there, the only storm I remember that caused serious damage was Alicia in 1983.
I was 18 then, so while it was scary, it was also exciting in that way that only comes to those who own nothing and are responsible for no one else. Now, I have a different perspective on it. I look at photos of homes with water up past the windows, and realize that even the homes with "just" one inch or one foot of water in them are in some ways ruined. What do these people do?
It reminds me that my former priest told me once (I think he was quoting CS Lewis) that I'd better never love anyone or anything more than I loved Jesus, because Jesus was the only person that was never, ever going to go away from me.
I don't like that teaching. It's a hard one. I love all my PEOPLES AND THINGS and I have a lot of them. I especially love and treasure my books and family heirlooms because they remind me of people who are not here any more.
I also love my comforts: my funny old house that is good to sit, sleep, eat, and cook in (even if the bathroom ceiling DID fall down this morning!). Folks whose homes have been hurricane-d may not be able to be at home, or be comfortable there, for a long time.
Here's a funny thing that I learned from this storm: I was telling my husband Sunday night (while we were obsessively watching TV in the middle of the night as the storm pounded toward land) that I had a friend who lived in its path, and she was evacuating, and I was concerned about her.
He said, "Who?"
I said, "St. Casserole."
"She's one of my blog friends. I don't know her real name."
"How can she be your friend if you don't know her name!? Where does she live?"
"I don't know that either."
"WHAT!? Who are these online people that you don't know anything about, but that you call friends?!?"
You are my friends of the heart. Thank you for sharing with me. Blessings on you all.
Interesting that I already have a post with this title. Can't remember what I wrote (I ought to go back & see!)
I'm doing a lot of night eating lately -- not getting up in the middle of the night (usually) but between dinner & bed. It's very compulsive eating. I thought I was over that,
HA HA HA!
Like the alcoholic, or the crack addict, right? Yep.
I haven't been to an OA meeting since before Ken and I were married. So probably 7 years. In that time I've gained and lost small amounts of weight and it's been pretty normal. This does NOT feel normal....not so much the amount of weight gained, but just the way I'm eating. It has nothing to do with "hungry." If you don't have this problem, you will think I am insane. Ken does.
I'm going to have to work the program again. I guess I should be grateful that I have a program to go to, huh!?
I am always sad to have a semester start if I am not taking classes. *I* want to buy books! *I* want to buy notebooks! (I want *someone else* to pay for them though!) Ah, well. I tried starting my PhD a few years ago and found that nobody was getting my best...including me. So I quit it for a while.
I had a delicious lunch today at C'est La Vie, a new Lebanese restaurant in Denton. I went with my colleague Emile, who is originally from Palestine, and he pronounced it very tasty and authentic. Y'all should go check it out!
Yesterday was the first day of the new Sunday school year, etc. And we missed it. Ken had been sick since Wednesday with what we thought was aspiration pneumonia (which he's had before). We ended up in the emergency room on Sunday morning.
It was actually an amazingly fast trip - in and out in 2 hrs. 10 minutes. I don't think it felt all that fast to him....! he was having a lot of trouble breathing. Turns out he has acute bronchitis (he said, "they should call it "An UGLY bronchitis"...HAR HAR) and not pneumonia. Thank God!
Time for hiatal hernia repair!
He was lying in the emergency room, waiting to be seen, and I was clutching my holding cross and doing a version of the Jesus prayer: "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, give my breath to Ken." I don't know whether it helped him any, but it certainly helped me calm down. And later he got an Albuterol inhaler, and that was certainly a help.
After that, airport pickups for several hours. What a day.