Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage . . . They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.
~Psalm 84:5

Saturday, August 27, 2005

You are Psalms

Which book of the Bible are you?

via Becca

Random thoughts on Odessa

When I lived in Waco, I ran into a LOT of people who were shocked to hear that I really liked Waco. Then I told them I was from Odessa. And then they understood.

Just as a disclaimer to this post... I read an article about people who took their blog too far, didn't remain confidential enough, and ended up messing up their lives because they were venting stuff on their journal online. (They'd get fired after calling their boss horrible names online.) Which in a way could get me in trouble, but hopefully I've kept everything as general as possible... :"> At any rate, I do tend to vent about life out here in Hicksville USA quite a bit, but I assure you it is for my emotional well-being. :"> And hopefully as a friendly warning to you and for your entertainment as well.

So I wanted to write a little bit to balance the ventings. Over the years, I have grown to severely dislike Odessa, yes. But it isn't a 100% horrible place. There are some very nice people and unique sites and programs. But if you were to ever visit this town, I feel it only fair to give a heads-up.

I'm noticing that just about every city/town has its hangups. For example, one of Waco's problems is religious hypocrisy. Some Baylor students sleep in on Sunday mornings and then dress up when they go to lunch, to make everyone think they've gone to church. (I don't think I've actually met anyone who's done this, but I have heard stories. And they seem to match other situations I encountered in that town as well. :">)

I'm convinced that Odessa isn't really a town. It's a club. And nobody will teach me the secret handshake. There seems to be an invisible, unspoken set of rules and standards that most Odessans don't have a problem adhering to. But if you don't adhere them, and if you don't cross your T's and dot your I's in just the exactly correct manner, THEIR way, you'll get jumped on. Publicly criticized. Then you'll get looked at funny and talked about behind your back.

Personally, I think this is an issue that's developed over time as a coping mechanism for living out in the middle of nowhere. Your world has become the city limits, and any new-fandangled thing needs to pass inspection if it's going to be accepted.

I remember absorbing this mentality when I was in high school, although I didn't know what I was doing at the time. It was fun to gossip about people. Speculating about people you'd heard of but didn't really know became like a sport for me.

But now that I'm the outsider, it ain't so fun.

There are some very nice people in this town -- folks who'd give you the shirts off their backs if you needed them. The absolute coolest, sweetest people you'll ever meet anywhere. Then on the opposite end of the spectrum... there are some excessively horrible people in this town -- folks who'd grow claws and spew slime at you, if they could. The absolute ickiest, most connivingly manipulative bunch of folks you'd never imagine meeting in your worst nightmares.

What boggles my mind is that it seems to be the nice people who allow the horrible people to remain horrible. I believe Joyce Meyer would call this codependence -- when you make your problems other people's responsibility.

I've been fortunate to meet some great people while I've been here, though. Like one of my high school teachers. She taught me that the opposite of love isn't hate -- to love or to hate are to feel or believe passionately about someone or something, whether positive or negative. The opposite of love is indifference -- when you just don't care at all. (Now I think maybe, in a sense, she was referring to what Jesus was talking about in Revelation 3, about wishing the church were either hot or cold -- not lukewarm.)

So perhaps in this sense, I have a love-hate relationship with Odessa...? Hmmm. Perhaps only time will tell. :)

Monday, August 22, 2005

Hello Blog

I miss you.
Hopefully some day soon I will be able to write a proper post.
I'm starting to feel less and less tired after work. But I am excited about going to bed in five minutes and (((here's something I NEVER thought I would say))) getting to sleep in 'til 5:30am tomorrow. Woo hoo!!!
Oh, what a sad, sad life I live these days . . .

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

No more Sesame Street?

When I read the Odessa paper this morning, it finally became clear to me that this town might actually close its PBS station, for real. If this were to happen, from what I understand, it would be the only town in the country to do so. (I'm told that if that were to happen, they would probably just pipe in the PBS station from Dallas like they did before.)

There is a nonprofit organization that may come to its rescue, so Barney may not die in Odessa after all. (OK, I'm NOT a Barney fan, honest. :"> It's the educational value of the otherwise quirky TV organization that would leave a serious blank if removed from the airwaves. I think it would in ANY town.)

Check out this article that explains a little bit about the situation. If you like, I can keep you posted.

I find it disturbing that Sesame Street could slip through our fingers, yet we seem to be doing all we can to secure a local Hooters...

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Duct tape, cont'd

Now I think I've seen everything. I didn't realize duct tape could make a fashion statement: Duct Tape Fashions

Friday, August 12, 2005

Duct tape

I've been reading a little about the space shuttle Discovery, and am very glad the astronauts made it home safely. But some of those technical problems they were having... I'm no rocket scientist, but in my opinion, the space program in general either needs some serious repair or needs to just throw in the towel altogether.

In one interview, while they were trying to repair the shuttle before liftoff, one of the NASA officials said it was sort of like an old, beat-up car. Like it was needing repairs all the time, maybe as if they needed to trade it in for a new model. If I recall, the astronaut who ended up doing repair work in orbit actually took some duct tape along, just in case.

I know people (especially in the editorial cartoons -- now, those were funny :D) stereotypically joke around about duct tape being the universal fixit tool, but COME ON. Is this not a multi-million (if not -billion) dollar vehicle they're riding in? Aren't the astronauts' lives on the line? Remember the Challenger, the Columbia??

I don't get it. We spend millions of dollars on the space program, but lately SO many things have gone wrong. I am tired of hearing about astronauts dying -- it is a totally unnecessary tragedy. And I am very glad that the Discovery astronauts' lives were preserved this time.

Granted, it sounds like NASA has accomplished a ton in the past. Taking mankind's first steps on the moon will probably be one of its coolest achievements. And I enjoy learning about outer space (just ask my family -- I had an old solar system poster hanging in my room for the LONGEST time when I was a kid :">). But where do we draw the line? When is enough enough? When do we stop trying to go where no man has gone before?

In my opinion, I think the space program should either get all its ducks in a row and actually IMPROVE all the rinky-dinky technology that transports our astronauts' fragile lives every time they go into orbit --

Or, and this is personally what I would prefer -- just scrap the space program altogether and let the scientists use their brains (and not to mention taxpayers' dollars) to figure out more pressing problems. Like national security. Or the border patrol. Or "world peace," or any of the other zillion pressing issues. I think technology could be put to very good use in other areas.

Just, please... don't go back into space with duct tape again. How utterly embarrassing...

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Smartalecky question

I've been told that at my parents' church, they usually don't ask women to pray in public, or at least during the services. During my visits there, I have found this to be true. So my question is... they wouldn't have a problem with women helping out in the kitchen or nursery, would they?

(It sort of reminds me of the time my dad invited Jehovah's Witnesses in our house, and then when he asked me to pray for everybody, they freaked out.)

I truly hope this is not a case of male chauvinism in the church.

This town just gets weirder and weirder. LOL!! Mercy, Lord!!!

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Whirlwind Week

Here's a recap:

Thursday, 28 July: Went to the charter school that offered me a job two months ago to turn in final paper work. I was stalling in case something better (and closer to home) came along. Received copy of contract and went home to read it over. But I had to decide soon b/c work/in service started Monday (1 August).

Friday, 29 July: Dad called at 9:00 A.M. to tell me he called his friend down in McAllen who owns a car dealership and there was a car available for us if we wanted to go down and pick it up. A 2004 Hyundai Accent w/ 14,000 mi; only $1000 down and $300/mo. Even better, no interest! Problem was, we didn't really have $1000. (My caddy is still kicking, but has major air con probs. Driving around H-town in 96+ degree weather w/o air con is no fun!)

Saturday, 30 July: 2:00 P.M. - Drove to McAllen to pick up car! Still didn't quite have all the money, so we went trusting God to provide. I read Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince most of the way down (my friend had just lent it to me the night before).
7:15 P.M. - Meet Dad's friend and the car. Gave it a test drive and really liked it; of course the price tag made it even more appealing.
9:30 P.M. - Left McAllen to venture home
11:45 P.M. - Accidentally drove through border patrol stop. Oops. The cop was really nice, though. He didn't even put his siren on when he came after me! Thankfully we stopped just past the "check-point charlie," as my dad likes to call it, to switch cars and drivers, so the cop didn't have far to go.

Sunday, 31 July: 4:20 A.M. - Finally arrived home and promptly fell asleep. Read more Harry Potter after I woke up. Also spent time cleaning room and closet. While organizing closet, I realized the floor against the wall was slightly damp. Then I moved my plastic incased duvet and found some nice mold forming on the back corner of the wall. The floor board was even warped. Apparently, a pipe burst (my closet shares a wall with my bathroom). Don't know how that happened; the house is only 4 yrs old. Good thing we don't own it. But it's still not fixed.

Monday, 1 August: Went to school for beginning of in-service and signed contract. Was told the preschool teachers wouldn't have to return until Wednesday. Stayed up till 3:30 A.M. to finish Harry Potter. It's not like I had to wake up early for work!

Tuesday, 2 August: Was called at 9:00 A.M and asked why I hadn't shown up for work at 8. Uhh . . . cause they told me I didn't have to! So I threw some clothes on and ran out the door. The reason I had to rush to leave was b/c the school is AN HOUR away. So I was basically 2 hours late for work. Nice. Fortunately, everyone is super laid back and we were just working on setting up our rooms. Unfortunately, since I was so late it was slim pickings for rooms and decor. But I did the best I could. After lunch I was informed that the next day was Open House, so we needed to be prepared to show our rooms to parents. Great. Stayed 'til 6 but still got caught up in traffic going home. Got home at 8:30 P.M. Oi!

Wednesday, 3 August: Rushed to finish room in the morning. The parents went to our mother school at 10 A.M. and were then bused to our school around 12. At 12:45 our supervisor told us there was another in-service in the evening for those parents who couldn't make it that morning. So we were given an extended lunch and then asked to come back at 5. As you can tell, this school likes to keep us on our toes. But I survived the day and got home at 8:45.

So that brings us to today. I got to go shopping w/ some of my co-workers. We had fun and found some great deals! The school campus I'm working at is strictly comprised of PK 3 year-olds, so there are only 8 classes. We still need 2 teachers, but the rest of us all get along great. And we're all Christians, so that's amazing and a HUGE blessing! We're just hoping we all get to stay at our location (they can move us until Aug 20; that and other issues will have to be a separate venting post).

So can you see why this has been a whirlwind of a week?

For those who have trouble interpreting the signs:

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