Sunday, September 24, 2006

tornado in chicago ?

the aftermath of the storm half a block from my parents house

Friday night during the tail end of rush hour traffic- what appeared as a small tornado came close to striking in Chicago. During my commute: a mere 5 minutes from my house, I noticed the clouds becoming more angry - they were dark, fast moving, and close to the ground. The sky became pitch black in a mere instant and it started pouring rain so hard you couldn't see across the street. Something felt terribly wrong about this storm & when tree branches started swaying back and forth, I started to panic. When I pulled up to the front of my house with a quickness, the grammar school half a block away was blaring it's sirens - warning all within earshot range to seek shelter. As soon as I got into my house, my windows starting shaking ever so softly and rain just poured down from the heavens. My dog just kept barking and running back and forth. When I turned on the TV, the news stated there was a tornado warning for the city and advised everyone to stay indoors for the next 45 minutes.

Thankfully, my house and my neighborhood did not incur any damage. However, my parent's neighborhood, a mere 3 miles from my house, didn't fare as well. I got worried that night because my parent's phone line was down. So, when the storm cleared I made haste to go check on them. As I drove to their house, I noticed the small streets within a miles radius from their house were closed due to trees which have fallen in the storm. When I pulled onto my parents block, I noticed right away that the lights for the block had failed - it was pitch black and there were huge tree branches scatterred about. Thankfully, both my parents, their cars, and their house were ok. Though, they went without light and a phone for almost 3 hours.

We were lucky because a few houses in the area had sustained damage to their windows, frame, and/or roof. There were cars which prematurely met their demise - crushed because they were parked under trees which fell victim to the storm. A mere block from their house, a street which was once lined with trees, now has close to none to enjoy. I tried to chronicle the damage with my camera the next morning, but City workers were already clearing out the streets and surveying the damage. Still, what I captured should give you an idea of the devastation the Jefferson Park neighborhood in Chicago endured due to the storm. See the pictures HERE

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

just checking in

Both school and work have been keeping me busy for the last week and I must admit that I am still transitioning into the idea of actually having homework to do again after so many years. And there is a lot of homework to be had!! Every week I am responsible for reading upwards of 120 pages for one class. In addition, the class calls for a lot of writing as well, consisting of multiple research papers, study questions, and biographies of sociologists. One good thing remains to be seen: I will not have to endure one test (I almost gasped when my professor said it). Though I have a feeling that the sheer amount of writing and reading required of me will more than make up for that fact. The class itself is wonderful: to actually discuss things that matter in the world like education, sexism, racism, war, government, and family really is refreshing to say the least.

On a personal note: after so much turmoil in my life the last few months, lo and behold, everything in life seems to be falling into place smoothly right now. I still have remained successful at not smoking (though I have indulged in a cigarette once or twice in the last few weeks I must admit). BBUUTTT, I have refrained from buying a pack and perform my deep breathing techniques religiously each day (I still sing in the car too for those who are wondering). Soon I will actually be onto Step 2 of my patch system (yey for me!). By my calculations, so far I have saved a whopping $120 over the course of 4 weeks by not smoking. I think that calls for a celebration of some shopping!

Peace and love...

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

mistaken identity

How can this be ?
The one whose
other half completes me
the one who
I hold nothing back for

How is it that this man
is so oblivious to everything I stand for?
How is that my love
So strong, so pure
In no case is it demure
Goes by undetected?

My love...
just to see you smile
my heart leaps bounds
around my soul
knowing I have found
the true meaning of happiness
wrapped in your kiss

Yet still...
How can this be?
Can't you see me
Arms open
Heart aflame
Waiting for you?!

Your minds eye plays tricks
Sabotaging our love
Evaporating words spoken so truly
Turning them to dust

How can this be?
A case of mistaken identity
You think you see through me
But mistake me for someone else
Perhaps from your past
Or perhaps for yourself
And in the process...
You’re crucifying our love
Which stands tall through it all
But baby, it's battered

Now, how can you think your thoughts do not matter ?
Saying this like its everyday conversation
That's what hurts me the most
Shattering my hopes
of this divine love which I found in you

So to you I implore
how do you think we can just ignore
these feelings and still push forth?
Just tell me...
How can we achieve true happiness
When these thoughts of doubt are splattered
On our souls?
Forming a cloud around each kiss
Denying ourselves true happiness?

These feelings can no longer be denied
Open your eyes
See past your fears
Know in your heart
I will be by your side for many years

I love you in soo many ways
Words cannot convey
These feelings
So deep
I get beside myself just thinking about you

You are my air
You are my life
For our love I will forever fight
My life just wouldn't seem right

Maybe one day you will see
Just how much our love means to me
Til that day
I will pray
that you will look my way
And see LOVE.

Monday, September 11, 2006

september 11th remembered

I tell people all the time that I'm a symphony of contradictions because often times I feel two completely opposite feelings simultaneously- feelings that constantly draw me in different directions. Remembering 9/11 is one of those times for me. At one end of the spectrum, 9/11 seems soo far away/distant from me - like it happened a long long time ago (after much has happened in the world since then.) It's almost like a faraway nightmare to me. Yet on the other end of the spectrum, I can remember the day's details like it happened yesterday. I remember what I did on that day, who I was with, even what I was wearing..almost down to the hour. What were you doing on that fateful day? Please share with me your story if you can...

My personal recollection of 9/11:
"I remember I was still in college @ that time and didn't have the burden of working that morning. When the first plane attacked, I was actually still in bed - then I got a phone call from my boyfriend ( boyfriend at the time). I will never forget the horror in his voice: it woke me up with a quickness. I turned on the TV just in time to see the second tower get hit and I was was like time froze and I was still dreaming. That day I was also scheduled to go to traffic court-just hours after the attacks..and I will never forget it. In court they had a moment of silence for all the victims and as we mourned, I felt like crying like a baby. TV's and radio's were on everywhere I went. For days on end afterward - every news channel across the country, and undoubtedly across the world, were replaying the horrific moments over and over again. I can honeslty say that it is the only time I actually looked towards President Bush for guidance in his two terms in office. "

Another contradiction in my mind is while I feel saddened by the destruction and killing that went on that tragic day- I also feel like we have caused the same, if even not worse destruction and killing in the countries we have sworn to help combat this terrorist activity (iraq, afganistan, etc). One of my closest friends pointed out that in the states we always mention 9/11 with horror, but in many parts of the world, 9/11 happens 24/7 - the horror is non-stop.

Ya know: sometimes I think this world is way too fucked up to be salvaged. At times I must confess that I am scared to procreate, lest my children grow up in situations and horrors which would make 9/11 look like a vacation. It's beyond sad, and while the world at large should be thinking of ways to make it better for the future, it seems all people are concerned with are more bombs, more wars, and evermounting hate.

So I end this post by suggesting a simple solution(yet somewhat complicated in it's execution I admit)...a world-wide peace day: I shall dub it "worldwide peace day". Just imagine it: FOR ONE DAY...everyone across the globe throwing down their weapons and fists, and instead of fighting and killing, people will enjoy the comfort of family and/or friends. I truly think (or hope) that maybe if humans get a taste for what we have to live for, we can get past all this hatred for one another and truly appreciate life for what it is- a precious gift. I know this whole thought makes me the queen of wishful thinking, but oh well. A girl can dream...

This is one hippy militant signing off with a peace sign. And as I do so, I say a little prayer to all those who have suffered a loss directly or indirectly due to 9/11...

Friday, September 08, 2006

hit the road, jack...

man, just look at all the money I'm saving!

Ok, ok, I didn't want to spill the beans just yet (lest I jinx it), but after almost 3 weeks of keeping it inside, I feel confident enough to come out with it...(AHEM).

Here it goes: I am officially a non-smoker (or a recovering smoker to be more exact). It's been a little over 2.5 weeks since I brought a pack, and while it is hard AS ALL HELL, somehow I am surviving. As some of you may know, I have tried quitting smoking about a dozen times in the last few years, and each time I failed miserably at it. But somehow, this time feels different - more finalized and purposeful. For starters: when I have a craving, it doesn't seem like the end of the world - I just take some deep breaths, sometimes swear a few times to myself, and just keep moving.

My weapons of choice: the patch, my ellipitical machine, things to busy up my mouth (gum, candy, pens, whatever), and surprisingly While most people crave their smokes the most after eating or perhaps in the morning, I find that I have the hardest time coping in the car. During the commute I have to endure to and from work (one hour each way), I could easily go through 2 or 3 cigarettes each way...smoking in traffic jams helped calm me in ways I cannot even begin to explain. This is where I find myself the weakest. So much in fact, I am scared to even trust myself (just yet) to walk into a gas station to see all the cigarettes beckoning to me from behind the counter. I HAVE TO handle all my gas transactions from the pump. Anyway, back to the whole music thing. I find comfort in just blaring my music REALLY LOUD and singing at the top of my lungs. Being that I can't sing worth a lick, I am sure I have made more than one passerby in a car stuck beside me in traffic close their windows. It truly is a sight to be seen (and heard) I'm sure. Oh, well. The world will have to cope with my singing for a while longer until I can drive without the support system.

But i have to say that this withdrawal thing's a royal pain. Sometimes I'm moody, bitchy, angry, or sad...sometimes I just want to plain and simple: pull my own hair out. But, deep inside I know like anything else, it will pass. And, it does relatively quickly. In addition, the last week or so I have noticed a lot of things I like about not smoking hair and clothes smell better, I don't feel so tired all the damn time, and most importantly, my boyfriend can actually enjoy kissing me now!

I'm not naive though. It's still not over yet. My mom, after being clean for over 20 years told me she still craves a smoke every once in a while. But, I have a lot of support from friends. And now, because of this post, family members (who I never even smoked in front of EVER) will know about it too...and I hope to God, that when they read this that they support me too and not give me lip about what I've been doing to my body for the last few years.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

6 days and counting...

Even though we still have 2 more weeks until the official first day of Autumn (and the official countdown to my birthday) begins, in my mind, Fall in Chicago is already here. The trees are starting to show their first signs of color change, the weather has been chilly and brisk (especially in the mornings and evenings). Lastly, the sure fire sign of all signs: all the kids are back in school. I see kids of all ages on my commute to work, dressed in their new clothes and equipped with freshly sharpened pencils and untouched notebooks, drudging their way to the bus stop or walking with parents/and or friends to school. Ahh....the joy of being young...where all you have to worry about is turning in your homework on time.

Well that time (of doing homework) is almost upon me once 6 days and counting I will be on my way to my Masters Degree- taking my first Graduate Level class: Advanced Intro to Sociology ( a prerequisite because I have no real background in Sociology). I am both excited and nervous - butterflies continue to play around in my belly - reminding me that it's been over 5 years since I've taken a test or written notes or even studied.

Yesterday, that feeling was compounded when I got an email from my professor. It was a simple email really...he just introduced himself, informed us where we would be meeting, and assigned some homework. Not only do I have to read 4 chapters before I even step into class, I have to find an article which deals with a pressing & current sociological debate. Being that the first day of class is a day after the 9/11 anniversary, I have a hunch that a majority of articles will be about war and the pressing issue of possible terrorist attacks.

Being the oddball that I undoubtedly am, I picked out a 2 part article from the Chicago Tribune which goes into detail about Illegal immigrant workers and the health care system. Unlike a lot of the articles you read nowadays,this article actually goes the opposite way into detailing the heavy price illegal immigrants pay for taking on such shitty and dangerous positions. It is a very interesting article and I highly suggest you read it and let me know what your thoughts are on the topic.

Til later...Peace and love.

file under: weird shit (literally)

is it me, or does tom cruise have WAY too much time on his hands?

Ok, ok, I have to get this off my chest. Just reading about what Tom Cruise did in honor of his baby's first poop, I must say that he has hit a new level of weird in my book. Matter of fact, he's way past weirdo status...he's now officially fucken nuts...up there with Michael Jackson. And that, my friends, is no small feat!

Link to article with poop picture (its in the slideshow section)