Thursday, December 30, 2004

In ten days I'll be running my 2nd half-marathon--13.2 (I believe) miles. It's a long run and so far I think I'm kinda ready. My longest run so far has been 8 miles, which is substantially lower than what it should be, but if I'm at least up to 10 before the day of the race, I should be fine. Anyway, it's strange because for the first time EVER I am seriously lacking in the motivation department when it comes to exercising. I don't know why, but for some reason I got really really lazy over the fall semester--maybe it was all the running around I was doing during the day, I don't know, but hopefully I can get it back on track. On top of that, I need to to lose the weight I've actually gained over the semester. I've maintained my weight well through college because of regular exercise and this semester has been so bad that I've actually gained. Yikes. What's more frightening is how easy it was to do!
Anyone else lacking motivation? Maybe we could start a club and inspire one another? Or like iron sharpens iron....?

Friday, December 17, 2004

Hey all!
I know I sent out a forwarded message to some of you that read my blog, but I thought I'd post this also. One of our cartoonists at my university's newspaper just won an award for his cartooning through MTVU. Most of his stuff is really funny--Farside-ish. So if you like that kinda stuff-you should check out his site.


Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Wow, it's been a little while since I wrote a lengthy entry on here. I really missed doing this. It seems like the only writing I've been doing lately has been for school papers or journalism assignments. Don't get me wrong, I love the journalism assignments and the papers aren't too bad either, but after a while I feel like I just need to purge my thoughts, you know? It's not the same thing to talk to someone about it. So many thoughts and feelings; it's time for a late-night session. (Well, it's not that late--10:40 pm)
On Friday I'll be heading back down to Tucson to see one of my very best friends graduate from UA. She's not "technically" graduated yet because she'll take another class next semester to finish her degree and she'll be running track, but NCAA finals will be in California when she's supposed to graduate (same time I'll be getting married, so she won't be there, unfortunately). I'm really looking forward to going down there and visiting her--I miss her sooo much! On top of that, I have missed Tucson a lot and though I've been preocuppied with school and such, it's still been on my mind. Granted, my friend Lynn isn't down there anymore (she was the other intern) and now she's back at Drake University in Iowa. We still keep in touch, but my mind flashes back to nights on the town, chats in the newsroom, laying out on rafts in the pool for hours, talking non-stop for a while and then just dazing at the sky for the rest. Man, it truly was a spectacular summer. I miss the bread/sandwich place (Beyond Bread), home of the very best sandwiches on the planet. I miss the coffee shop that's a few miles away from the office, just south of downtown, where they'd make you whatever kind of coffee you wanted and if you didn't like it, they'd make you another one; free of charge. If you were short on cash, they'd give you the drink or whatever and keep a running tab; pay it when you return, they'd say. So great.
I just love everything about that experience, aside from the fact that I couldn't bring my church and friends down there with me. It was my own individual life; make up my own schedule, do what I wanted to do, go to bed when I wanted, get home when I wanted--answer to no one. Not half bad. But I have to say that it still wasn't home, which I've realized since is not actually a place. It's a feeling.
I no longer live in Gilbert, the place where I grew up, yet everytime I go back and smell the dairies nearby (yah, sounds gross, I know) or run in the park where my numerous cross country meets were held, it still feels like home.
While I was in Tucson, and I still remember this distinctly, I felt like, well, not completely there. I remember being at the bar with my friends on the last night and though I was sad about leaving, I missed home. More specifically, Obadiah.
Okay, so I'm cheesy, but I'm serious. I felt alone in a crowd and though my happiness is not contingent on his presence, it certainly feels more like home when he's there. I could move anywhere, at any time; as long as he's there with me, I'll be happy.

I'm sure you've had enough of that, so, long story short, I'm still excited about revisiting my "old" "haunts."

Other side of the wall 12/15/04

Every night at eleven, she bathes them
On the other side of the wall
Yells bouncing off of the ceiling and into my room.
I remember the time I heard her screaming
At two in the morning
In the same place she bathes them.
I was afraid
For her
and the kids.
I scribbled in my notebook
Cradling the cordless in my hand and
Pressed the on button
The sounds stopped
And resumed again the next night
All over again I heard her screaming.
Again I scribbled.

I haven't heard her scream since
Though the kids continue banging around
On the other side of the wall.

It was the latter part of May. Towels, clothes and hangers were strewn about my room and it was dark outside. I could hardly contain my excitement.
She picked up and I practically squealed into the phone like a giddy 12-year-old girl who received her first phone call from the boy she liked. He had proposed.
She was excited, asked me to recount every minute detail from beginning to end, so I did.
A flower brought in one, by one. Words, notes, kneeling...yes! Big hug, shaky legs.
How was her family doing? I asked.
Her father had finally found a great job, one he liked much better than his previous and afforded him enough money and time to fix up the backyard of their new house. He was constructing a waterfall and was excited about it, she told me.
Mom wasn't so happy about moving in the first place, but she was getting used to it. She'd found a job in a dental office like her old job, my friend said.
Finally, things were stabilizing.
It was the beginning of June when I got the e-mail: call immediately.
Though early on a Sunday morning, I grabbed the phone.
What was wrong? Was she okay? What had happened that she'd write such a short note?
Bravely, through exhausted words, she told me.
Her dad had died suddenly the morning after we spoke in the latter part of May. Literally twelve hours after our conversation.
I wanted to fly to her rescue; hug her and cry with her, for her.
Unfathomable. My superman-dad had almost met the same fate just about three years earlier, but had survived.
It wasn't his time.
Now I sat in stunned, shocked, shaken silence. What could I say, do?
I called my mom and for the first time since finding out, tears spilled out as the words followed suit.
I left that day with mixed feelings.
Feelings that still haven't ceased.
How do I comfort? What do I say?
I pray for them; my friend and her mother.
It's been 7 months full of firsts; first Father's Day without him. First Thanksgiving without him.
Now it will be the first Christmas.
Such a joyous time for so many, yet I can't help but think of people in situations such as those my friend is experiencing, will experience.
Soldiers won't return home from battle. Loved ones will yet again grieve another year without someone special who perished in 9/11. In Iraq. In Afghanistan. In the Pentagon. On the streets and in the home.
At this time of year, when my mind becomes bogged down by gift receipts, credit card bills and numerous holiday responsibilities, it's also a time to reflect on the freedoms I have, the time that I, as well as my loved ones have, and what I can do to love someone else.
I love my friend and her mother very much. There's nothing else in the world that I'd like more than to help them get through the season, but I know there's really not too much I can do except pray for their comfort and continue to be open to my friend to talk to. I wonder how many others are coping with this sense of helplessness and just the feeling of uselessness.

jr prayer 12/15/04

It's quiet Lord, outside
the darkness has settled over the
sun. And now I'm here thinking,
praying for someone.
I know she knew you at some time,
Even sought your direction and was
so close. Now she's struggling,
needing medication and doctor visits
just to get through the day.
You're there to heal the sick, the broken
and the bruised. You're there to comfort the hurting,
ease the pain of the abused.
Lord, come now, with your arms open-stretched
To hold each one that grieves, openly
Empty on this night, this day.
Remind them you would never give them
more than they can bear. That you desire
to bring them through their loss,
bring them through the nightmare.
I know You are here
and You are there.

(As I believe God said--'it is finished')

Thursday, December 02, 2004

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Man, I have a headache. Stress and finals; crazy days. Oh my.
So that's me right now. More importantly, please pray for Obadiah. He's got a terrible TERRIBLE cold right now. He's had a massively sore throat, has felt sick to his stomach and just weak. He always goes to work, no matter how sick he feels, but this illness was bad enough. Anyway, he'll probably still be feeling rotten through the weekend, but keep him in your prayers. As for me, pray that my health continues to be good because I have three more class days, and several finals and papers. Almost there!
Anyhoo, more later.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

So not all of my "to dos" have been finished yet, but many have. I turned in my Pulliam Journalism Fellowship papers and am psyched about that. Just a tad late, but the deadline was extended. I'm also very excited because yesterday I found out that I won a prize in a Hearst Journalism contest. Basically, journalism students from all over the nation submit entries into categories like "in depths," "breaking news," and "features." Mine was my Asperger's Syndrome story from last fall and it won 9th place out of 105 entries. I get a $500 scholarship from them and a $500 grant goes to my journalism school also. Pretty cool. But the coolest part is I found out that getting a Hearst award is the college equivalent of what a Pultizer is to a professional journalist. So it carries weight.
I called my journalism mentor soon after I found out and she said she wanted to e-mail the guy who hired me at the Republic and tell him the good news. So she did and he said he'd put the info in my file. According to my mentor, the Hearst is almost a better ticket into a job than even the Pulliam Fellowship. We'll see what happens, but that was pretty cool...
T-minus 24 hours until I dig into yummy turkey and mashed potatoes. How exciting is that? Okay, not so exciting, but it'll be good food. I'll be spending my first Thanksgiving away from my family and instead with Obadiah's. It should be pretty interesting.
We have a busy BUSY weekend ahead of us. So here's my "to do" list...

1. 9 a.m- 10K race (Turkey Trot)--that's about 6 miles for the non-runner...
2. 1 p.m.- Thanksgiving begins in the West Valley with Obadiah's family

1. Morning-Time to figure out exactly where we're going to register for our wedding
2. Buy bridal shower gift for friend Annie
3. Noon- meet photographer for rescheduled photo session
4. 2 p.m.-scrapbook with Mom

1. Paint the hallway in the house
2. 3-5 p.m.-Bridal Shower for friend
3. 8 p.m.-Deadline for SPM article


Fun fun. But life will begin to wind down here soon, thankfully. Love y'all and Happy Thanksgiving! Say a prayer for our troops and thank our Lord for all the great things He's given us!

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Ahh, the "to do" list-Sounds like fun (hah!). Everybody else is doing it, so I guess I will too...

1. Read "Antigona furiosa" (Spanish play)
2. Read critiques of Antigona furiosa (in Spanish)
3. Write Spanish paper on Antigona furiosa-due tomorrow (dang the on-line library for not having the info I needed in time!)
4. Call Cindi and organize time to have her and Ashley try on bridesmaid dresses
5. Read Chicano Studies book
6. Do Chicano Studies assignment for tomorrow
7. Study for Spanish test (which is tomorrow as well, of course)
8. Talk to cops for tips in upcoming article
9. Call the caterer and check on the table covers
10. Call Hannah (obie's sister) and see if I need to take over flower pot project
11. Find more sources for NAFTA article (due Monday)
12. Start Chicano Studies paper (due Tuesday)
13. Take Trevor to RE class
14. Go running
15. Copy articles for Pulliam Journalism Fellowship application
16. Find a picture of myself for same application and copy it
17. Get 3rd recommendation to send in with application
18. Send all materials
19. Check into what I'm going to do to make money over the break
20. Pay the rest of my Mexico trip money
21. Finalize guest list (find out who's planning on coming)
22. Order invitations
23. Make informal announcements for others?
24. Shop for engagement photo session clothes (Thursday)
25. Pick up wedding dress (Sunday)
26. Figure out wedding hair (more practice...)
27. Talk with Republic and figure out Spring internship info.
28. (Misc. things that are bound to come up unexpectedly...)

Monday, November 08, 2004

Oh how I love this weather!!! It's funny because yesterday I was at church and it was all cloudy outside and I could feel myself growing more hyper by the moment. I don't know if it had to do with the homemade frappaccino I was drinking or the fact that it was rainy, but I lean toward the weather factor, personally. It's great!
This morning I was reading in Habukkuk and I was also thinking about a conversation my dad and I had last week. The book talks about Mr. Hab and his vision and talking with God about using evil nation, Babylon to punish Judah (I think that's right) and how terrible the city is; conquering other nations for wealth and on and on. It's a little freaky to think that the U.S. could go down just the same... What would life be like not being on top.
Alrighty, I gotta get going. Lots to do--I have a big interview today for my cover story, a few other phone calls to make for my other stories and other fun homework things to do.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Thursday, November 4th--Two days after Election Day

My media law professor wore black today. Not just a black shirt or shoes--EVERYTHING. His silk tie, which was normally a pallet of colors, was pure black.
He was in mourning. The Daily Show fan had talked ambiguously and sometimes outright about "Dubya" all semester. He said he'd be rejoicing on Thursday if the "righ man" was elected. Today, he was in mourning.
He showed us the Daily Mirror's cover. The London tabloid's face read "how can 59 [million] people be so dumb?" with a picture of our president waving. Clearly, my professor was in agreement. As were many of my fellow-students and my Chicano Studies professor. The girl in my Chicano Studies class, the one who asked us all to register to vote, still had Kerry-Edwards political buttons all over her knapsack.
My media law professor said he doesn't have enough black to wear for four years. The lawyer I worked with on Election Day said she'd move to Canada. The girl in my Ultimate Frisbee class said she couldn't even respect or accept the reelection of President Bush.
Through all of his, all I could think of was "get over it." It's true, I would have been disappointed if Kerry had been elected, however, I would have said "okay; the people have spoken."
I just hope that this hatred against our President subsides and that people will grow up a little and make a difference in the areas they feel are important. Move on and accept it.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Hey Kids!
Hope you're planning on voting or already did. Depending on when you're reading this, it's close to or is Election Day! I'll be working the polls from 5:30 a.m. until 10 a.m. so wish me luck! It'll be very interesting to see and I'll be pretty groggy. Think I'll stop by Starbucks for a Mocha Frappaccino Light--mmmm....
Hasta! Keep the election in your prayers!

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

So I'm back in the groove of things again. Only took about four days. I had to take a Spanish exam today and I have to still check out how I did on my Media Law test--I'm sure it's horrible. Quite possibly that was the worst test I've taken, and not because it was hard or anything, it was because I was completely unprepared after being swallowed whole by the Presidential Debate monster and other journalistic deadlines. So a test suffered and we'll see how miserably very soon I'm sure. But the Spanish exam faired much better and my essay, which I thought would be a C, turned out to be a B+. Go figure...
And so goes school. I just preregistered for my last semester and here's how the schedule should go: Advanced Spanish Grammar and a class on Alfred Hitchcock films on Monday nights, Rock climbing and Precision Journalism on Tuesdays and Thursdays and just Advanced Spanish Grammar on Wednesday evenings. I'm counting on getting a paid internship so I can fill the other three credits and hopefully get a foot in the door for a job after college. I'll be interviewing for that later on in the month.
Other fun things: today I signed up to help out at the polls on Tuesday the 2nd from 5:30 in the morning until 10 a.m. Part of me is wondering what possessed me to do it, but then the other half knows the motivation--Extra credit; 30 points of it in my Chicano Studies class to be precise. Hey, I'm not going to complain and yes, I know I'm perfectionist geek. It's my only class where the "+" grade is being used. So basically if I can get an A+ in that class, it will seriously help another class--like Media Law! I'm gonna go for it, I mean, what do I have to lose? Anyway it'll be a good experience and something to tell the kids about some day. "Not only did the President of the U.S. speak at my college when I was a senior, but I also helped out at a polling site on the day of the election" I imagine myself telling my kids. I hope I get to tell them it was the year President George W. Bush was reelected...
So that's my story for the day. I'm off for more homework and maybe a little time with my fiance--only 6 months and 19 days left!!!!

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Last day in Mexico...

My eyes memorized the streets, the smells, the sounds. "Jesthers," a pasteleria in downtown Monterrey, was buzzing with customers. The store window displayed an endless array of round, white wedding cakes, topped by faux flowers or princess-like girls in colored dresses.
The smell of fresh donuts invades my nostrils the second I step foot through the door. Rows and rows of Mexican pasteries fill a stand in the middle of the shop.
Horacio Montemayor works the counter taking pesos from his customers who fade out the door with bags of empenadas. They're the few that still regularly come. The rest have moved on to American-owned businesses like WalMart, which stock their shelves with Sara Lee ready-made cakes and pies. It's cheaper there and, in some cases, more convenient.
Montemayor's shop boasts "The best quality and the best prices" on small, color-printed business cards. The small bakery is even on the Web.
With profit slowly declining as customers dwindle, Montemayor worries about his childrens' educational futures. How will he pay for college for the 17-year-old and what about the others who are approaching teen-hood?
I thank him for his time and slip out the door, past the old man selling cigarettes and gum, which are haphazardly perched on milk crates. A bus meanders by, leaving a plume of dark brown smoke in its wake. The familiar neon-green taxis whiz by, dodging through traffic.
I stick my arm out with my index finger pointed, the signal most use to hail a taxi. A bright green Volkswagon bug pulls beside the curb and I lean against the window and say "Por favor, al hotel Holiday Inn Express Tecnologico en Avenida Garza del Sur---cuanto cuesta?"
"Treinta pesos" he answers, and I open the door.
Hot air flows through the car from the open windows as the bug turns the corner to leave the downtown area. I think of Montemayor and "American progress" in the world abroad. He's not sure what the future holds, I recall him telling me. Right now he's focused on the things WalMart can't give its customers, like personal attention and relationship. It's the universal conflict in business: big brother corporations putting small entrepreneurs out of business; and, in Mexico's case, sometimes taking local tradition and culture with it.
I don't know what to think, but I see both sides of the equation. Maybe it's the journalist in me.
"Derecho," I tell the driver as he asks me where to go as we reach the intersection near the freeway. My American hotel is straight ahead.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

La noche en el Barrio Antiguo

The cathedral stretches skyward in the midnight darkness, and a blue neon cross atop the steeple of the centuries-old church guides us down the street to the discotecas. American music and 20-somethings stream from inside the stone edificios. Hot dog vendors greet civilians, gesturing toward the stacks of bright red meat, covered in cheese and bacon. Some of the students in our group catch a whiff of the Mexican specialty and open their wallets and retrieve their pesos. One of my companeros warns them: you shouldn´t eat those, you´ll get sick. He´s been to Ecuador for two years and Costa Rica for a few months, he should know.
The uneven sidewalks remind me of summertime nights in Nogales, near la frontera. I´m watching my group and watching my steps all at the same time, caught up in the life of the city´s center. My words are few, while my thoughts are many. Oh how I love this.
Native tongue whizzes by my ears. I catch a few of the words. Just enough to taste the conversation. But I fall back into my own bubble as we make our way down the street, dodging other groups or random vendors.
Nueva Luna. No charge for the girls, but 80 pesos for the guys. A better rate than the other place that was charging 150 pesos for each person. According to one of the local college guys, it´s a preppy place--similar to Scottsdale, we assume.
The stage already has a band playing a mix of Spanish-language music. A small group of revelers sway to the salsa beat and I can´t help but sway mine a bit as we make our way upstairs to a large table. In no time, la cerveza is flowing and a bowl-like glass full of strawberry margarita is placed in front of me. It´ll be the only drink for me.
We´re dancing and drinking, simultaneously. Other patrons watch us and I wonder if they´re laughing at our gringo moves or just staring because we´re different. Either way, we ignore it and laugh and dance for hours.
Another band comes on. They cover Maroon 5 and Black Eyed Peas and most of us (the girls) make our way down stairs to dance. A smile was plastered to my face the rest of the night. Dancing, Spanish-language music, friends and margaritas--what a great night. The only thing that would´ve topped it off would have been my fiance dancing with me--but then again, I don´t think he would´ve danced with me anyway. He´s not a fan. And Spanish-language music is not all that great to him either...
A huge bill, few companeros que estaban borrachado later, and we´re leaving the club to go to another. We end up in a gay club. A man offers the girls beers and tequila, but we decline. Don´t know where it came from or what was in it. We leave about 20 minutes after we get there.
Our night ends in a plaza full of smaller clubs. The plaza, que se llama Zocolo, is packed with college-agers and near closing time. The music only reignites my energy and I dance to "Hey ya," and "It´s my perogative"--more American music.
We´re on our way home in the bright green taxi, which zips in and out of traffic, through "suggested" street lanes. We pass the Applebees, the McDonalds, the Chilis and finally arrive at our hotel, the Holiday Inn Express de Tecnologico. Americanization at its finest.
Monterrey: a new Mexico in my eyes, but not one that feels so far from home, unfortunately. My heart still longs for la frontera...

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

The day before the debate: on campus at ASU

Adorned in "Kerry Edwards" stickers, holding small, blown up balloons of a long-nosed "Bushnoccio," Kerry supporters rally around a CNN stage, hollering at the top of their lungs. "Crossfire" is being filmed.
Across campus, the Student Service Building's lawn is peppered with small white crosses, depicting the lost lives of American soldiers in the Iraq war. Stuffed animals are sporadically placed among the white sea. In contrast, a long piece of bunched cloth lines the sidewalk. It's filled with glass beads and a sign nearby says "each bead represents the life of an Iraqi civilian lost in the war."
While ASU might have been dubbed "active" several months ago by a magazine that encourages protest and activism, the scene today is far from the norm. Has the fervor been ignited solely because we're now in the limelight of national television cameras? Or is it just the excitement of having the two biggest names in the nation coming to our campus?
A sorority girl in my Spanish class wears the Kerry sticker on her left breast. Is she aware of the candidate's stances or is she just following what the rest of her girl friends are doing?
I've seen anger in the impassioned eyes of each group's followers. I've heard obscenities hurled. I've been smacked over the head with political ideologies of my media professors. Fox News: bad. John Stewart: good.
I'm a minority, it seems, on this campus. I have no plumage of "W" posters nor do I leave my opinions in the ears of others. They ask who I'll vote for and I'm truthful. The man who I feel I can most trust, and on this campus, the political underdog, so it seems. They shake their heads and smirk. Man, she doesn't have a clue, they must think to themselves.
Streets will be closed tomorrow. I pray that I'll be able to park in the structure I paid so much money for so that in the evening, I can ask our university's president "was it worth it? Did the debate change your mind?"
"Who are you going to vote for in the upcoming election?"
I'm sure he'll try to avoid the question. Maybe comment that both candidates did exceptionally well, that the university did a fabulous job of pulling this off and it will once again show the world that ASU is an institution that's not all about making the top ten list of the biggest party schools in the nation. No, if anything he will turn to me and say "this is one of the greatest universities in the nation and now they'll all know it."
But things aren't always as they seem, Mr. Crow. Ask the girl in my Spanish class to compare the immigration policies of the two candidates. Ask the avid Kerry supporter with his oversized sign what his candidate of choice's plan for Iraq is or how Kerry will really take care of taxes or the deficit. Ask them. Do they know? Or is it all a fascade with a bandwagon appeal backed by a stick on a slippery slope.
Sure we look good, Mr. Crow. We've had two years to prepare for this day.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Well, I have a few minutes on here and feel like slacking a bit, so here we go. An update on my life, which has been a bit chaotic so basically, nothing out of the ordinary for me!
I found out I only have 6 more credit hours left to complete my degree. So I have two mandatory classes to take next semester (which are both my choice, by the way) and then I have to figure out what to take with the other 6 credit hours. I'll probably fill them up with PE classes and maybe a Chicano Studies class again. Everything's been so interesting in that class. Anyhoo, it'll be good for me next semester not only because it'll be a bit more relaxed, but I'll also have more time to focus on wedding stuff, which is going really well by the way. Our only issue now is that we have to go back over our invitation list and narrow it down to 160 people. Do you have any idea how hard that is? 160 people--geez. I think we'll be doing that this weekend, so it's sure to be a bit stressful. But once that torture is overwith, then we'll be able to keep moving. But thus far, wedding dress and veil are ordered, caterer and menu is set, flowers are in the works, photographer is set, DJ is set, cake is set, reception site and wedding site set. Now it's all about the details, which is my personal favorite.
School's going well, as I stated before somewhat. This semester I have the lightest schedule, however it's packed with reporting for my depth reporting class and my job with the school magazine. I'm really enjoying the magazine and I'm now debating and trying to figure out a game plan for who I'm going to intern with and try to get on board with after I graduate. It's a tough decision because I love writing, but I'm trying to narrow it down to specifically what kind of writing I want to do. I may get stuck at the daily for a while, but we'll see. I don't think I want to pursue straight up magazine stuff because typically there's not a lot of investigating that goes on with that. I dunno--we'll see where God leads me! :)
I should probably get going, but keep the faith, all and I miss y'all.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Hello all!
I'm recovering from a cold right now, isn't that fun? Everyone's getting sick. In fact, I haven't seen Obadiah since Sunday for that very reason and there's no telling if I'll even see him tonight. Poor thing, his birthday (the big 24) is tomorrow and he'll be sick for it. No fun. Anyway, my immune system's probably dragging, so I'm almost positive if I spent time with him, I'd probably catch the miserable cold he's got. So this week hasn't been the most fun because, well, you know, I like seeing him during the week and 5 minute conversations every day just doesn't seem to cut it sometimes. But I'm surviving; we're surviving...
Last night I had an interesting experience. I've made a new friend and her name is Chelsea. She works with me at the school magazine and she specializes in the underground music scene. Anyway, she knows practically all the bands that come through Phoenix and last night she called me up to see if I wanted to go with her to see a band she'd just written about. I was like "okay, sure. Something to do other than homework(which I've been holed up in my house doing every night before going to bed early to kick this sickness..)" So I met up with her and we went to the Marquee Theatre in Tempe.
Well, we walk up and we get our free tickets and our backstage pass and we have to stick the sticker on. However, on the black sticker is a picture of President Bush with a giant red "X" through his face. That's when I realize that I'm about to enter the Rock Against Bush Tour concert. Yikes. Talk about feeling like a minority! But hey, it's stupid to just shun anyone who doesn't believe the same things I do, so I shrugged it off and went inside with her.
It wasn't too political until the headliner Anti-Flag came on and started spewing obscenities about the president. Hmm...what was that song they wrote called...? Oh yah, "die for your government" and another was "F*** police brutality," etc. Then of course you got the whole "he lied to us about WMD," and I think one of the lyrics to a song about him was "turncoat, liar..." you get the drift.
Just looking out over the crowd of kids flashing the "bird" at the sound of our president's name and the anger and hostility in their voices and eyes, man, it was crazy.
So I kept my little conservative mouth shut and just soaked it in. No use picking a fight with a punk rocker in tight pants and a mohawk...
That was my "exciting" night last night. I'm sure you're all jealous. Nonetheless, it was an experience albeit slightly unnerving.
Well, better get going and take care of some of my chores for the day.
Hasta, gente!

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

A mi me disgusta mi computadora!!!
Estoy frustrada con tecnología.
Siempre, cuando lo necesito trabajar,
No lo trabaja.
En este momento, mi cabeza,
Cuando lo necesito trabajar,
No lo trabaja :)
Tengo "senioritis,"
Soy una floja
Quiero reportar sobre muchas cosas,
Quiero leer algunos libros
Pero no quiero tomar mis examenes
Y no quiero levantar muy temprano por mis clases.
Quiero aprender sin el trabajo.
Quisiera viajar cerca del mundo,
Vea los lugares de los ancianos
Y grita "mira! El mundo fantastico!"
Pero no.
Estoy aquí con mi computadora.
Necesito escribir un ensayo sobre un cuento.
Tengo que entregarlo mañana.
No quiero hacerlo.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Estoy viviendo la vida loca.
Escriba! Escriba! Escriba!
La vida normal.
Lea! Lea! Lea!
Que día, dice la cabeza.
Un día que está llenado con responsibilidades
Necesito ir aquí, ahí
Como siempre, no estoy terminado.
Otra cosa necesito hacer aquí, ahí.

Anduve al aéropuerto con mi mama,
Me dijo "te amo," sus maletas circa de sus pies.
Te amo, mi mama.
Ella es la más importante; también mi familia; mi novio...

Mañana será otro día
Y me encontraré las otras responsibilidades
Con energía, con mi Dios
Mi espiritu estará bien y también mi salud.
Mañana será otro día.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

So really right now I should be writing my story for State Press Magazine, but I'm jumping on here briefly to send a link out to all y'all who are interested in reading the story I worked so hard on---it's about prostitution and Apache Blvd. The area most effected is next to campus--a 2-mile span. Anyhoo, hope you get a chance to read it because I worked hard on it.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Just a little note for y'all..
Getting really busy with school and newspaper stuff, so forgive me if you don't read anything new for the next week. Don't forget about me though! I'm sure I'll have a million things to write on here after my article is finally published and my trip to Monterrey, Mexico nears. Until then, mis amigos, gracias por su tiempo...
Hasta luego.


It was Friday night and I stood by, waiting as they questioned the man. The night was warm, the sky was black. I had been silently praying off and on throughout the previous evening and throughout my day. She hadn't left my mind. I had never felt a burden like that before.
I took in my surroundings. The beat up cars parked several yards away. The grass, parched by the glare of the Arizona sun. A can of tuna resting on a concrete ledge, partially eaten, covered in ants. No wonder the strays were fat, I thought.
The apartments were mostly dark and quiet and a few residents ambled about. I don't remember their faces.
But I do remember her.
At first, I thought I was imagining things. I blinked a few times and peered at her. It'd be strange if it didn't end up being her, I thought to myself.
But it was.
Heather? I asked.
She looked at me, studying my face, trying to recognize.
It's me. Jen. From the other night? I said.
I was in disbelief.
Oh hi! she said, her thin arms wrapping around me as we embraced.
I couldn't believe it. Here she was, miles away from where we had first met only 24 hours earlier.
That's so funny. I came here on a whim to see my friend, she said.
I told her I was a writer at ASU. Just working on a story.
She had gone to school for a little while before everything started falling apart, she said. She wanted to be a photojournalist, maybe do something in the music scene.
I didn't press her for details. Lord, if it's meant to be, I know you'll make something happen. But I won't stop praying.
She smiled after she got my number. I didn't get hers. She doesn't have a permanent phone number. She stays in motels.

I was and still am completely dumbfounded by the experience. It further affirms in my mind that there is no such thing as a coincidence. No way. In this situation, how could there be?

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Heather--j.g 9/2/04

What have I to offer
To the person who has none?
What is it I can do
To glorify the Almighty's Son?
I complain I have no money
While I spend it on a meal,
And I cry out for companionship
When all I have to do is kneel.

But she, who sits on the curb
Has no one, or so it seems,
She asks for spare change
In a desperation that demeans.

What brought her to this spot this night
Near the convenience store door,
Crumpled in a small ball
Not knowing what life is for?
Did she have a family?
A mom or a dad?
What brought her to this station
Sitting all alone and sad?

The words are halting
What am I to do?
Christ, what have I to say,
To bring this girl to you?

I didn't expect her to be open
Or for her even to agree,
But there she clutched my hand
And I wished she could be free.
The piercings, the tattoos,
I'd been around them for a while,
I used to judge those who had them
Maybe give them a run-of-the-mill smile.

Her blue eyes lined with black,
Looked back at me with surprise
Her tall skinny frame sat close,
As she bent her head and closed her eyes.

You gave me peace,
The words quite elementary,
And as I drove away,
Things I could've said came to me.

A warrior of prayer I am not,
At times I utter the same old thing,
And in that time when I was called,
I waited for the words that you would bring.

Lord, give me more like that
Let me give it all to them,
Lord, I have so much, I just can't stand it,
I don't even want to pretend!
I get caught up in my own world
Holding onto my own wealth,
And I dare not venture out into the night,
For my own safety and my health.

But Lord, you're my protector,
It's all in your guiding hands,
If this is not where you want me
Send me off to distant lands!
If it is here that you want me to stay
Provide me with more like her,
And I will do what you want
Even if a simple prayer is all I have to offer.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

I'm still dealing with hardcore feelings that I would liken to homesickness. You know the feeling. You're away from home, maybe it was when you went to church camp when you were little or the time you were separated from your fiance for three weeks while he wandered around Ireland (oops, another personal experience...). Anyway, you know the feeling. Pit of your stomach, meloncholic, I-just-want-to-be-back-in-my-comfort-zone sort of feeling. It makes absolutely no, I mean NONE, no sense to me why I feel this way about Mexico and I'm sure you all are sooo sick of hearing about it from me by now, but I feel like I need to vent.
In my Chicano studies class today we had to read a very interesting article. One of the founders of The Association for Hispanic Journalists (I believe that's the name), wrote an article in which he addressed the fact that he calls himself "Hispanic" though his parents are both clearly white. Very controversial. He worked in Mexico, he marched for Mexican-American movements, and for this he calls himself "Hispanic." Interesting, huh?
We had a very VERY interesting debate in class and about 99% of the class felt that was wrong. It was like someone saying they could make themself Italian just by going and living in the country. There's so much more to the debate, but wow, it makes you think.
I definitely wouldn't ever call myself "Hispanic" just for loving the culture, the country and the language, though the language often times confounds me. (However, grasping a language was never thought to be an easy thing to accomplish nor meant to be, especially considering God separated us with the language barrier.) But for me it's all the more satisfying to be able to break that barrier and communicate with even more people and learn more about people who have led completely different lives, hold many different values and celebrate, interact and mourn differently than me. It's a celebration of diversity and taking lessons from others and learning that your way is not always the "right way" and that maybe, just maybe, there isn't a "right way" to do things.
My soul still hungers for my Mexico/border time. To wind through the roads, talk with the people and take in the atmosphere. Gosh.
I keep wondering when the desire will go away or at least dissipate, but it hasn't. Something's hooked me and I can't logically figure it out. I'm sure I've written this a million times, so here goes a million and one; I have no freakin' clue why I love the Mexican culture so much. Why? And who chose this? I certainly couldn't have forseen this happening, especially if you had talked to me in the fall of 2001, shortly after high school graduation, starting my first semester of my required foreign language; Spanish. I had thought to myself "well, clearly French wasn't all that beneficial to me because I never use it, but Spanish, yah, I'll use Spanish. I'll get my 4 classes done and know a sufficient enough amount of the language to get by." Little did I know that a mission trip in the fall to Hermosillo would change all that...
I saw the people. I spoke with them, my broken tongue and sheepish smiles amid nervous, embarrassed laughs. It was hard. And I craved more. I wanted to tell them about God, about the happiness I had, about what had changed me for the better. But I realized that I would not only need to overcome language barriers, but cultural ones as well. When will the cravings be satisfied? I'm not sure.
I'm studying Spanish literature right now in my SPA 325 class, however, what I should be studying is mi Santa Biblia so I can learn the Word.
Most importantly, in regards to my first trip to Hermosillo, I learned to love someone I couldn't even understand. I realized my inability to help and anything I was able to communicate had to come from God. It taught me dependence, though even now I strive for more knowledge so I can depend on myself. But as with many things I'm learning, it will never be perfect. I have to trust.
So who knows what comes from my love, the special afinity I have for Mexico, especially the border, but I'm willing to go where God wants me.
I thought I left my heart in Hermosillo, but now I realize that it's just in Mexico. I just need to figure out how I'm going to get it back or if I even can...

Monday, August 30, 2004

Nogales: Mi amor---j.g. 8/30/04

It washes over me,
The nostalgia, the memories,
The dividers, the flood lights,
The smell of the air, drenched in los perros calientes.
The lines of cars, wading into the gaps,
The begger and her small child, the trash bags.
The ribby dogs digging through half-eaten remnants on the ground,
The men sleeping in the parks, under trees, on benches.
Filth, poverty, hunger and pain
Sitting on a balcony, eating, enjoying the rain.
A city full of life and death
Drugs and dreams.
The other side of the world
On the other side of the fence.
I long to venture back
Breathe in the taste of the air,
The sounds of the streets
The sights of the city
And the eyes of the dreamers.
Nogales, la frontera
Estas en mis suenos
En mi corazon
Y por siempre en mi vida.
Te amo, mi amor, Nogales,
Nunca voy a olvidarte
Siempre estas en mis suenos
Siempre estas en mis pensamientos.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Child's Song--jg 8/26/04
I can feel you creeping back in,
The walls tumbling down along with the sin.
I turned my face and walked away,
Feeling burdened, unable to pray.
I knew you were there standing right beside me,
Waiting for me to return from the blindness to again see.

This little light of mine
I'm gonna let it shine...

The child's song echoes again in my brain
Oh to be back in that place, in that time again!
My biggest problem back then was sharing,
Sitting in Sunday school just learning about caring.
Believing the teacher when she said Jesus loved me
That he died on the cross to set me free.
Free from what? me, the child, asks
Free from all the household tasks?
I'm sure my teacher only smiled and told me "from sin"
But how could my small mind understand or even begin?

This little light of mine
I'm gonna let it shine...

So easy to believe that there's more out there than what He gave me,
Wondering what I'm missing out on, unable to see.
As He again enters, I rejoice with each new victory,
I cry to him with happiness as I relearn his story.

This little light of mine
I'm gonna let it shine...

There is hope.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Mourning Shadow--jg 8/25/04

My eyes were blurred,
But I met with you,
Curled up in your arms
And asked you what to do.
I find myself
In the shadow of your wings,
And I sit at your feet to listen
As time's pendulum swings.
I wish I could stay here forever,
Where time seems to stand still
And revel in the moment of that day
When you relate to me your will.
Search my heart
Define my soul
Tell me what I need to do
To kneel and be made whole.

I've searched for empty answers
From logic that couldn't fill
And I continue reaching for the things
That are so clearly outside of your will.
My ever-wandering heart is calm
As I look to you and sigh,
No matter how far I wander
It is to you I will confide.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

So guess what my only class tomorrow is...take a guess, just one guess...
No, not Spanish...math? Ha! Yeah right!
ULTIMATE FRISBEE!!!!! WHHHHHHHHHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHOOOOOO! I'm more than excited to take this class. Every Wednesday and Friday at 9:40 I will be running around with a frisbee playing one of the greatest sports known to man. However, I have met a handful of people who had never heard of ultimate before. I feel sorry for them. They're missing out.
Anyway, so my big goal is to learn how to throw the Frisbee over-hand so that it, like, twists sideways in mid-air and goes where I want it. That would be boss! I hope they can teach me that because I need to figure a strategy out to overcome the "shortness" factor. What I mean by that is, ultimate seems to attract really tall, big guys and I'm not so tall (5'4), so it's really hard to get around them, you know? I'd love to get better and then go beat the pants of the Grace Community players--oops. Did I say that out loud? Nah, I'm just kidding. Those guys are great and honestly, they only doubted me until they saw that I could run, catch and throw. Then they were cool and I was the secret weapon. Kind of.
Classes went well today although I was very close to embarrassing myself. It's a really short story to tell orally, however I've already written it in an e-mail and realized that it takes a lot more to write it out and, though I am fearless when it comes to writing long blogs (as most of you "regulars" know--I think I have a few "regulars" out there...), I would rather not write it out because frankly, it's not all that great. Suffice to say I was very close to catching foot-in-mouth syndrome in front of a class of about 150. No problem though. I'm confident in myself.
My classes will be busy this semester with lots of reading and I have to balance this whole Mexico trip class and State Press Magazine stuff, but all in all I think it'll work out. I suppose we'll see how it goes later on in the semester.
Alrighty kids. That does it for me. I'm starting to get a little sleepy--maybe I'm finally starting to fall back into my "normal" sleep schedule of 10 p.m to 6 a.m. Well, it's 11, but it's close enough, right?
Hasta, gente. Quiero regresar a Mexico para hablar con la gente y pasar el tiempo cerca de la frontera!!!!!!!!!! :*(

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Hope my "monster poem" didn't scare anyone--it tends to scare me from time to time, but as of right now, the monster has left the building. Keep me in your prayers that God would strengthen my walk with Him and that I would be able to get back on track with my own spiritual growth. It's the only way to fight the monsters off or at least keep them at bay...
It's been a decent weekend, but as usual, it felt very short and this week doesn't look like it's going to be a bowl of cherries either. (Did that make sense?)...I'm still tarrying on with the wedding plans--I think we've now figured out what we want for the cake, but the most important part, at least to Obadiah ;), is how it's going to taste, so I suppose we'll be trying out cake flavors or debating for the next several weeks...
We also met with a DJ today, and unfortunately, he's not going to be ours, but the company's good and supposedly his second-in-command is excellent as well, so we'll see. At least that's been squared away and it's a great deal.
Still waiting on the photographer and the caterer; the two biggest things aside from figuring out guest numbers. And we're doing our premarital counseling, though right now it consists of going through studies together. I'm really enjoying the studies except for when the book says things like "romance tends to die after the first six months, though some say it's more like after two or three years and then you'll see the REAL person." yikes! Who's safe to marry if THAT's true???
How will you ever know what you're getting yourself into, so to speak? Seriously, am I the only one who finds that little sentence just slightly disturbing? I mean, I feel like I'm making a great decision here and then all of a sudden WHAM! "By the way (said in an ever-so-sugary-sweet-tone), the person you've agreed to marry? Well, he's not going to exist three years from now."
Dude, why aren't there more books for engaged couples out there, by the way? Does someone just not realize how friggin' hard it is to be engaged and in that limbo stage? It's like in college group the other night. All the singles can stick around to watch the movies and all you marrieds just go home and have sex...WELL WHAT THE HECK, WHAT ABOUT US??!!
Anyway, my theory about the lack of encouraging and guiding books for engaged couples, is that those who are experiencing the engaged-couple-planning-a-wedding-syndrome are too dang busy planning a wedding to even THINK about writing a book, much less READING a book. Which brings me to our next wonderful topic: School.
Yes, boys and girls, tomorrow is my first day of my Senior year in college. Wait. That means this is my last first-day-of-school...ever. Unless I go back, which I highly doubt. Wow. Last first day of school ever....
So I'll be cracking the books open this week and also preparing for the Mexico trip class, taking Media Law, Chicano Studies, Hispanic Literature (in Spanish, of course), and Ultimate Frisbee (the best class in my schedule, if you ask me). Plus, as I've said before, I'll be writing for the magazine section of the paper at school. Whoohoo.
Enough of my rantings and ravings. You get the gist. My life is busy. I'm planning a wedding. I'm going through emotional turmoil yatta, yatta, yatta. Blah blah blah. I'm really not trying to complain because I really do love my life. I hope that comes across here and that it's not just about my frustrations or difficulties. But then again, you've entered my thoughts, my heart and my own reflections so it's not always going to be sun-shiny and rose-colored, is it?
Better get going and start cleaning a room that hasn't been touched since I got back last Sunday (que terrible!). Tomorrow's class doesn't start until 4:40--oh woe is me! :)
Hasta gente!

Friday, August 20, 2004

In the Absence of Perfection--j.g 8/20/04
Three months without it,
The monster has returned.
Scratching at the very foundations I've built,
The ones I couldn't seem to control.
The hateful words long etched into my brain,
The rippling words of defeat.
You're not good enough,
Take the next step and your life is over.
Swirling attacks from nowhere creep up beside my bed
As I sleep,
The monster returns.
Where did its foothold come from?
Where did it get its invitation?
How do I close the door
To the meloncholic sadness that inevitably follows?
Not good enough
Never will be.
The fight never ends, nor will it ever.
My heart will continue grasping for his words
And His Word.
But when will the monster be gone forever?
And take the rolling agony away.

The unattainable perfection I long for
Sits neatly beside the door.
Too heavy to pick up, serenly out of reach.
Grappling with this idea of imperfection.
Siempre to be flawed.
And me

Thursday, August 19, 2004

So I see there are no takers on the investment opportunity I noted yesterday in my blog...bummer. I really wanted that house. After more thought, I realized we can't put it here in Arizona, no, we'd have to put it somewhere exotic and the rainforest. lol, there ya go, I'm a quick one I tell ya. Maybe like Costa Rica or something--that place is rainy right? Or England? My vote's for Costa Rica, personally...
My fun toy of the month, maybe even the year is my new cellphone. My mom got an upgrade after renewing the contract so now I'll have a smaller, more professional-looking flip phone. I think my favorite feature (aside from personalizing each person's ring) is the speakerphone. I already cracked up over it because I didn't realize it was on. The Verizon lady and I were trying to activate my phone so we had to call it and do all this junk. We ended up hearing all of the elevator music over speakerphone--k, so this is more difficult to explain than I thought it'd be. It was funny, but I guess you'd have to be there.
My dad leaves for England tomorrow--maybe that's where I'm getting my England-glass-house thing from...anyway, he'll be gone for quite a while which kinda stinks because we haven't been able to get back onto our daddy-daughter-dinner night for a while now. We sort of made it a tradition to get together at Souper Salad every Thursday evening for dinner to catch up on the happenings of life and transition our relationship a bit. I'd say it's worked, however since last semester between my schedule and his traveling and me being gone this past summer, the dinners have been postponed. But it's cool. I know we'll get back on track again...
So I'll take him to the airport tomorrow...4 o'clock, 4 o'clock. I have to remember. I'm just terrible about remembering things sometimes.
Tomorrow night is college group night, which should be fun. It took a little adjusting the week before when I was there because the dynamics are just so different from what I'd gotten used to in Tucson. I cherish peace and quiet now. In fact, I think I've voluntarily turned on the television maybe twice since I've been back, which has been about 5 days now. That isn't too shabby. I just hope that it remains that way because over the break I realized how much it can take over your life. All of a sudden I only had the "regular" channels--i.e. no cable. That meant no MTV, no TLC and no NBC. Well, okay, so NBC was still there, but I was trying to be clever with the call numbers. Anyway, after a while I noticed that I didn't miss it that much and then when it came to sitting down and watching TV for a little while, I got bored with it and grabbed a book instead. Great huh? I say, let's ban television for good. Movies every once-in-a-while, but otherwise, nada. Who needs it huh? I can waste my time blogging instead, which, I have to tell you, like Ben, I really missed it. I couldn't really blog for a week and I was going stir crazy. Now that I'm back, I'll be trying to write as frequently as possible. But between jobs, school and wedding planning, I don't know how often that will be this semester.
Congratulations to my friends Robert and Angela on being pregnant! So awesome! I'm so incredibly excited for them and just awed and stunned. I was really shocked when they told me because it felt like it was from out in left field. Wow. Amazing. I think it's also finally hit me like a ton of bricks: That could be me in a year or two or less. Please God, don't make it in less than two years!!!! I get this feeling of slight panic by the thought because I just don't feel ready, like i have so much more growing to do both spiritually, mentally and experientially (is that a word?). What I mean by my last word, if that is a word, is that I feel like there's so much more of life I want to experience before a kid enters the picture. Don' t get me wrong, I am soooo looking forward to having kids--but someday. I'm talking maybe when I'm 25. That might be nice. Gosh, Lord, help me with these thoughts. Why do I fear those things? Take my life, give me peace, for I know you have plans for me, plans to prosper me and care for me. You desire to give me strength and wisdom. Lord, I want to be your servant and I want to do it when you want it. If that means I have a kid on my hip, around my ankle and hanging on my arm, so be it. I just want to be where you want me and doing what you want me to be doing. I know that will be the perfect place; maybe not the easy or fun one, but the place where you want me. Show me what you want of me, guide me along that path. I'm yours. Take me where you want me.
Nighty night. Hasta.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Just got back from youth group and it was great tonight. I ran into an old friend I went to high school, church and all of the church conventions and camps with. It's such a crazy thing to me, how small this world really is. You never know who you'll run into. In fact, I ran into my first boyfriend the other day who told me he had run into my sister a few months ago and she had told him that I'd gotten engaged. So the first thing out of his mouth was "congratulations! I heard you got engaged!" It's funny to think back on those juvenile memories, you know? The awkwardness and the whole cheesy junior high thing of just holding hands to designate that you're "going out." I can't help but smile a little over that whole escapade. He was one of three boyfriends I've had in my entire life and really, the other one didn't count. And the last one counted the most ;)
Anyway, I affectionately refer to myself as "tangent Jen" from time to time and I'm sure it's very apparent why I call myself that, especially on this blog.
Tonight, as I drove home from the church, I couldn't help but have that feeling in my gut that I should just keep driving on a night like tonight. The sky is so dark and clear and yet there was a steady rain. I know a lot of people say you shouldn't be out driving when it's rainy or whatever, but for me, I feel like that's what I should be doing. Drive somewhere and just park and stare. Keep good ol' Norah Jones on and just cruise for a while. Feel like time is standing still, that the night will never end and responsibility will never again come knocking on your door. Reckless abandon, just keep driving until the gage reads "E" or the gaslight comes on. On a night such as this, I wish I owned a room that was just basically a box made of glass. I'd love to build one of those way out in the middle of nowhere...maybe put a lightning rod on top or whatever you have to do to keep from being struck...and just sit in there on a couch, wrapped up tightly in a comfy blanket looking around as the raindrops cascade down the sides and patter onto the roof. I've looked for a similar place in Mesa, but I don't think one even remotely close to that idea actually exists. How very disappointing. Someday I'll build a glass house in the middle of nowhere---a nowhere that's completely absent of any rocks or heavy, throwable objects that may ruin my perfect rainy place. My heart longs for that place of solitude in this moment. I can't see the rain from where I am--just the wall and a computer screen, a bookcase in my periphery.
Oh Norah, take me to my glass house! Keep the sunshine away for a few days and let me just lie there and stare at the sky and the rain and the tiny beads of water sticking to the sides of my house.
Anyone want to invest in a glass house in the middle of nowhere? We could partner up on it...I'd be willing to share my perfect rainy place as long as everyone stayed perfectly quiet. It'd be my perfectly quiet writing rainy place. I wonder if I could get wireless internet expensive do you think that'd be? I bet I could find investors...
I'm going to retreat to my not-so-perfect rainy place, otherwise known as my single-window bedroom. I love it, but now it just doesn't measure up to my perfectly quiet writing rainy place in the middle of nowhere. But I'll survive and I'll keep dreaming and thinking about it.
A mi me encanta la lluvia y mi lugar de lluvia. En el futuro, tendre mi lugar de lluvia. Hasta.

Today's been a busy one. Researching on the computer, getting little errands taken care of and writing an article have kept me on my toes, not to mention gearing up for other articles and classes I have to prepare for. Man, I want to go back to my layed back life in Tucson! Help me!
Tonight I'll go to youth group for the first time since May 20something when Obadiah proposed. I've been so caught up in school and articles and whatever else that I haven't been able to make it for a while. I really hope that changes this year, but I suppose only time will tell...
One thing I didn't mention last night because I thought it was minor, was that I kinda, well, biffed it while hiking yesterday. I mean, it was graceful, from what my dad said, and to me, it felt very slow-mo. The tread on my running shoes are toast from running on concrete and all that jazz, so stepping on a semi-slippery/smooth rock did not help me much. I fell onto a rock and thank goodness, I didn't keep sliding otherwise, who knows? Maybe I'd have a cactus stuck to me or something. Anyway, my graceful fall did not feel so graceful to my backside--I don't know what I did, but it sure feels like I fractured the very tip of my tailbone. I can't plop into my car the same way and I get a nice big twinge of pain if I cough or sneeze. Who knew?
So hopefully that feels better soon, but what do you do for something like that? I think it'd look pretty strange if I was sitting on an ice pack....okay, I'm not taking this discussion any further than that. Forgive me!
I better go get ready for youth night. Hasta!

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

So I went hiking with my parents tonight. It was a lot of fun--beautiful night to do it. We went to South Mountain and hiked in a few different areas. I think my favorite part of it (aside from running some of it) was seeing the sky change a million different colors as the sun set. I love how one minute a fluffy cloud near the horizon will look pale and grey and the next a brilliant orange or red with the sky offsetting it with a majestic purple or deep blue. Gorgeous. I love God's creation!
Anyway, we went to dinner after hiking and then I talked wedding stuff with my mom. The whole planning this is quite a struggle just because it feels as if there are always a million things to be done or looked into, you know? It's like, great, we figured out the church, but now we have to figure out how to decorate it, when the ceremony will be, how the ceremony will be, how long it's going to take...shoot, let's just go elope!
And I would, but I love my family and my friends and I want to share that day with them. Not just a reception, but that moment of saying "I do." The culmination of over two years of seeing a friendship and then a relationship blossom. It's a beautiful and special and meaningful thing to me at least.
Like I said, we talked wedding stuff a little bit and then I came in here feeling slightly "harried." So I've been online researching things, looking up e-mails and figuring out just how much I can spend on favors and how much of this wedding will come out of my pockets gradually so we can have those we want at the wedding, at the wedding. No where in this process have I gone to take a I can smell myself. Hey, guys do it all the time, so don't tell me that me sitting here reaking is anything worse than a guy doing it...
So just a few more moments of "reaking..."
My stories are rolling a little bit and I can't wait to set off on my fun-filled journeys for my cover stories. I'm stoked about both because they're definitely "edgy" for me, but they're things I think will be news and will be very interesting. Both are sort of underground activities that some may be aware of...but I can't get into either. Suffice to say that at least one of them involves Mexico directly and indirectly. I love that...
I'm starting with the dot, dot, dotting again, forgive me. I'm sure it's slightly obnoxious.
So if you see anything wedding related around or happen to think of me and my wedding, send up a prayer to the big guy for me cuz things are a little crazy. That Little White Wedding Chapel sounds better by the minute, but I know I'd regret it to an extent.
Time to hit the showers. Tomorrow is another day of reporting and hopefully writing. I'd like to get at least one of my stories done tomorrow and then completely focus on the other one and get it done by deadline Saturday. Very strange to have deadlines on Saturdays... (again, the dots...shoot.)

I'm going through withdrawals.
Visions of Altar and Nogales filled my dreams last night. I saw them again. I was back at the bus station. Their backpacks were slung over one shoulder, Coca Colas from a nearby vending machine perched in their hands. Waiting, again, to leave.
The truck bouncing down the dirt road on a night filled with stars and darkness. Vans speeding down the stretch on their way to a place of no return for some. I felt the heat, the stickiness of that night. I saw the rows of backpacks, toiletries for their survival.
I'm coming down from a sleep hangover of sorts from sleeping too much...dreaming too much. My body seems to crave the sleep deprivation that came from those adrenaline-filled nights. Maybe it'll go away in a few days or a few weeks. Maybe the grip of the border is just tight from the newness of the separation. The addiction is tightly wound by a sense of longing today.
The questions resurface. I thought I'd clearly answered them over a month ago when the adventure had first begun. How could anyone love the crowded streets, the mangy dogs, the cracked pavement and dirty towns? Filth in the gutters, in the "massage parlors," the strip clubs and transvestite hang outs.
I saw the towering police chief and his chronies. I heard the music from the discotecas floating into the streets; Usher crooning "yeeahh," Nelly, "it's gettin' hot in here." Nogales, porque te amo?
I'll go back to school in less than a week, but I'll miss the schooling I had this summer on the border where the subject was less about books and more about life. A tale of survival and corruption.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Today was fabulous. I love the new staff I'm going to be working with so far. But then again, those are only first impressions ;) . Anyhoo, we were brainstorming ideas and yes, many were along the college lines--stuff that'll appeal to the college-aged and my hope is that if we can draw people in, then if we do things that are more political or serious, then we may get their attention and they may just read those articles. We'll see.
I'm looking forward to just stretching my creativity and myself. I have a few good ideas, but my favorites are the quirky ones and I can't wait to find more of those throughout the semester.
Back to school shopping. It's not the kind of shopping I'm most fond of.
I had to peruse the college bookstore today to get my books for class. I ended up with a $200 tab. And that was just books. I still had to get school supplies and all that jazz. I finally bought a business card holder--had no idea they existed until I saw Michael the border reporter carrying one. Thanks Michael. So I'm set there...
Still trying to figure out what's going on with the nannying thing. So very confused, but we'll see...
Well, I'd like to talk about all of my fun ideas and the more investigative, serious ones, but that's not a good idea. I do trust you all, you know, but you never know what eyes will see these things...
I don't know why I keep dot, dot, dotting....shoot, there I go again! I guess I'm just doing stream of consciousness and don't have a lot of "deep thoughts" today.
All right, I'm resisting the urge to dot, dot, dot, so before I do it again, I'm putting an end to this blog. I hope to continue blogging as often as possible throughout the semester, so forgive me if I end up slacking.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

I'm back home for good now, y'all! Crazy huh? The summer flew by and was awesome. I'm definitely going to miss Tucson, but I'm very happy to be back home and getting back into the groove here.
Yesterday the other intern (Lynn), the border reporter (Michael) and I, hit Hermosillo, Altar and Magdalene, Mexico. It was a day of lots of driving, but it was so great to get back to Hermosillo and also check out Altar. Altar is known for being THE staging town for smuggling. Kiosks full of backpacks, tables full of deoderants, soaps, shirts, pants, kids underwear, hairbrushes line the roads. The shops say "Every clothing accessory" on signs worn by years in the arid desert.
We followed a road back a little way that led to Sassabe. (I think I may have misspelled that...) That's the specific area where coyotes and their followers try to cross, but it was about 60 miles from the point where we started, so we just took a quick look and went back. The mini trip to Altar was about 2 hours out of the way, but worth it. You can't just read about these places and not see them. At least that's how I feel about it.
My summer traveling the border, exploring another world there but also in Tucson, was in a word, great. It was freeing and I felt like I was able to learn many things and also dash some stereotypes. It was a growing experience and it's going to take a while, like I said, to completely readjust to life up here, especially with school starting up in a week. A week. Yikes. Nah, I'm actually looking forward to doing and learning new things. I'm most excited about snooping around for more story ideas. We'll be discussing those this week at our "State Press Camp" at school. The only bad thing right now is I can't remember where it is we're meeting...I somehow misplaced that information...
Good ol' Norah Jones. She's so good for tuning out a much-too-loud television. That honestly is one thing I haven't missed one ounce. Television. Especially blaring television. Bleh. Waste of time if you ask me. I need to be reading, running around and reporting. That sounds good. What do you accomplish watching TV? I'm not criticizing anyone who does, heck, I'll probably end up watching more of it as I grow more accustomed to my new old world here, but seriously, if there's a more unproductive thing out there, let me know. Write me a little note...okay, so I've just thought of a few things: watching paint dry...watching the grass grow...staring at the wall...No, they're not nearly as "entertaining," but you get about the same amount of stuff done; nothing. But sometimes it's just background noise or whatever...okay, no more tangents...
Back to Tucson and Mexico.
I didn't have fancy computer equipment to cart around with me yesterday and, stupid me, I forgot the two things I practically had sown to my hands all summer; a pen and notebook. I had the "writer itch" and was going nuts in the car because I needed to write and had nothing to write with or on. There's nothing worse for me than to not have something to write on when I get "inspired." Most of the time the inspiration is just me getting stuck in my head, being semi-contemplative. Anyway, fortunately, Michael had a notebook and pen so I spent a little time in the truck bent over a notebook, trying to write as steadily as possible and at the same time straining to see what I was writing in the middle of dusk on our way to Altar. Anyhoo, here's my old-fashioned blog; started with paper and a pen--go figure. I think someone used to call that a journal entry or something...

Returning to Hermosillo --j.g 8/14/04

Peace. We're driving down a highway moving away from Hermosillo. The place where my heart be forever. I remembered Patty today as we were driving in. Her 6-year-old face washed over my mind's eye over and over, like a never-ending ripple in a massive lake. A stone face. A bright pink jacket with white trim. She was hesitant of me at first, but somewhere between conversations hampered by a language barrier and the large, fluffy marshmellows she and the rest of the kids would stuff into their mouthes, she grew fond of me and me of her.
She and her other girl friends at the orphanage crowded around me wherever I walked. Even for photos.
They all smiled; she did not.
The night is blanketing the sky now, the reds and oranges fading into the horizon. Marizco and Lynn are chit-chatting about road construction and coworkers. Michael's face is serious as he stares at the road--intent, focused. It's better to make him, anyone, smile.
But Patty didn't smile and it didn't get any better when she found out I was leaving. Por favor, ¿Vas a regresar muy próximo?
Tears. Pleas that I return, that I stay.
I told her I'd try to come back. Back to the orphanage. Back to Hermosillo.
Our day was filled with a little bit of coffee and a little bit of a mango-flavored margarita, tortillas and grilled meat, shopping on broken, crowded streets. It's a place "only a mother could love," so why am I so smitten? I have no blood ties, no reason. All I know is I'm hooked. Desperately in love with an unattainable goal.
The trees raced by as I watched the white lines on the black asphalt jog steadily behind our green truck. I could see the Big Dipper low in the sky. The city was long gone.
I had betrayed her. Hadn't even looked for her. Two-and-a half years past the date when I first met her...She had remembered me one year after the meeting. She asked my friends who were able to go where I was. She remembered me. I remembered her, but that's all.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Waiting for my article to be edited. Man, heavy one today. I'll let you know about it later.
I can't believe tomorrow is my last day here. Time has flown by. I'm really excited though because Lynn, the other intern, will be coming back to the plant tomorrow. She's been at the other office for the last week and a half. We've been hanging out though. Last night I made manicotti for dinner and she made homemade carrot cake. It was soooooo good. I have leftovers--whoohoo!
I'm still deciding if I'm going to come home Saturday or Sunday. I was thinking Sunday, but now I'm not sure of how Saturday's going to work out. I guess we'll see what happens (I say that a lot, don't I?)...
Sorry for such a brief, but gotta get going.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

No computer at home really messes with the time available to blog. Forgive me, kids as I have not had the chance to get on here and write briefly.
So I'll be returning to reality as of Sunday. How fun is that? Friday night we'll be going out with the crew from work for a night on the town--let me know if anyone wants to join us. It will be a lovely night of dancing and maybe a little bit of bar-hopping...did I say that? Hey, it's okay to go and do that if you're not getting trashed. Like I said before, it's interesting the stereotypes I placed on those who partook of the "sins" of bar-hopping and/or clubbing. Anyway, if it makes you stumble, don't go, however, I don't find it all that bad for myself and I'm not dragging anyone along with me who doesn't want to go.
Sunday was pretty crazy. I really felt a call on my heart while we were watching the video of the kids and teens in Ireland. I so want to be there and direct and help, but I also know in this time i need to grow to be able to better do that someday. I wish I could just move there now though and start the work. I was praying about the possibility of doing that; being a full-time missionary in a foreign country and all on Sunday and the last few days and was reading my Bible in good 'ol Matthew on Monday morning when I ran across Jesus telling the disciples "the harvest is great but the workers are few." Send me! Let me be a worker! I can't imagine a greater thing than that and then who knows? Maybe I could write a book about ministry in Ireland and the perpetuating myths about the community. Who knows? I'd really like to go over there at least someday. Honestly though, I'm just interested in the world and meeting people and helping people, so wherever I end up, that's where I'll be. Sounds kinda silly to say it that way, but seriously, God, just take my life and take me where you want me! You've got the best planned for me so I just want the best there is. Tough? Yes. The dark side was wandering in the other day reminding me about having kids and them not growing up around their grandparents if we were to move to another country--what about their schooling? How would they adjust? Having kids would really affect how much time you could devote to the ministry, in fact, it'd hinder it because you'd have a kid on a hip the whole time...But those things don't bother me much because I know God will give Obadiah and I kids someday at the appropriate time. Maybe our "kids" will be the kids we work with for a while, who knows? All I know is kids after two years of marriage seems kinda quick to me now, especially when I think about all of the adjusting and changes we'll be going through...again though, that's in God's hands.
It was fun hanging out with everyone on the river Saturday, in case anyone missed that. The tops of my legs below the knee burned a little, but aside from that, I'm good as gold. Good tan, finally. Office life is not particularly conducive to deep brown tans and tan lines, you know?
Anyhoo, I should get back to doing what I should. Just thought I'd drop a short note to let y'all know I'm surviving, having fun, missing everyone and coming home on Sunday.
Toodles from Tucson! (only 3 more days...)

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Post number 80...

Coffee and nicotine. I never thought they'd become so routine to so many. I walk out of the newsroom; cigarette in one hand, coffee in another as they walk to the designated area. Fifteen minute break means grabbing the smokes or grabbing a cup of joe. Driving means a swig of caffeine and a few puffs.
The room is dark, filled with college-aged hipsters playing pool over cigarettes, workers yelling out "small, light whip!" over blaring rock music. What are they saying? The bass drowns out the deep screams of the lead singer.
Light from a lowly hung, tiny lamp brightens the green and purple table, empty coffee cup nearby. There's a guy in the corner who casually sips his joe and watches the table from beneath his baseball cap. Now a cigar.
Darkness floods the other side of the window, plastic tables and chairs crowded on the small sidewalk outside of the cafe. A large safe door is behind the pool players, one of them has a dark mop of hair draped to the side of his long forehead. I wonder if this is the life...
"You and me baby ain't nothin' but mammals.." the song I hate more than anything is playing loudly over the speaker system now. A winding staircase is to my right and it leads upstairs to who knows what. There are neon lights up there, a few tables and chairs.
Is this a 'safehouse?' Yes and no.
I still haven't gotten my share of coffee. Then again, I had some earlier in the day. Another little habit I picked up at the paper. Caffeine...hopefully nicotine is not soon to follow, but I've seen the ill effects so it's highly unlikely.
Smoke drifts across the room. How did I get so used to this smell, this feeling around my lungs? Maybe it's all of the reporters I've been hanging out with...and the college-agers...and the bars...but there haven't been that many; bars that is. It's an interesting phenomenon. You think all that goes on at "those sorts of places" is just drunken debauchery, but it's not true. It's all about socializing, though some do choose to get hammered.
The beat is melodic and has an 80s feel to it now. My eyes burn. Maybe I'll go get a cup of joe...

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Another day to blog. What to blog. Well, it was your typical day. Got up. Went to work (skipped the whole getting dressed part, didn't I...). Worked until 6. Ate dinner. Started to clean my room. Spied my computer. Checked out the other blogs. I have to say, the only thing I hate about blogs is that they are not eternal. They're just put out there into cyber space and my kids won't get this. Not unless I print all of them out. To an extent, your written words could be lost forever. However, if I did this in a physical diary, that'd be there forever...unless a terrible fire swept through the house, annihilating everything. Worst case scenario though.
So I guess I'm coming home this weekend. Part of me doesn't think I should because I only have this weekend and next until I'm back home--actually, not even next weekend, although I'm debating on which day to come back. I know that the group from work wants to take us out on the town for a last hoorah as a sort of going away thing, but that may be a Friday night. That'd be fun though.
It's really weird to think I'll be leaving this place to go home. Home. Hmm...this kinda feels like home to an extent. I've settled and like it here. I miss my family and my friends, but I also like my little taste of freedom. I feel almost completely on a different planet. Anyway, I'm yammering about stupid things tonight.
No border this weekend. Michael has a family emergency. Please pray for him and his family as his mother just found out some not-so-great news.
I thought this semester was going to be easy, but I was wrong. It's going to be insane. I need to start brainstorming more story ideas, especially on Monterrey, Mexico. I'm really looking forward to that project and exploring another part of Mexico as well. It should be cool. Oh, for all you who don't know, the depth reporting class I was selected to be in will be putting together a media package that represents the Cronkite Journalism school at ASU so we're working with Monterrey Tec journalism students to produce articles, photos, and video of Arizona and Mexico and their ties through Monterrey. I'm not sure why they chose Monterrey for immigration issues--it seems awefully far-removed--but we'll see.
Vision's getting blurry so i better go to bed.
Toodles from Tucson

Monday, August 02, 2004

Only You Could Know --j.g 8/2/04

Searching for the answers,
Grappling with defeat
The world seems so blurred,
How history does repeat.
Turning upside down and over
Again I look up at you and sigh
Things just seem so crazy
Without an answer to the why.

You saved me
But how?
If you love me
Why allow?

The pain it stirs so deeply
The poison slowly draws
I'm aching in my being
For you to slough off all the flaws.
My imperfect, dying being
Sits wrapped up in this shell
Tiredly crying out from the depths
To heal me and make me well.
Please take my hand and lead me
Beyond these briars, beyond the black
For I know the need is there
Though at times I've turned my back.
So easy to run and hide
Continue on as life takes its toll
Before long it seems I need no comfort
Nothing seems to make me whole.
I reach for empty meaning
Desire overtaking my heart
And I know that in this uncertainty
I've already done my part.
But I cry out to you again
From the core of my being
Please take this life and transform me
Give my life some meaning.
Praise quickly leaves me,
Her graces seem to fade
And pride only leaves me lonely
After all the compliments have been paid.
Selfish I have come
And helpless I will go
For time is not what I hold
It's something only you could know.

He's home safely! I'm so happy and so relieved. :sigh: No more worries...
Today has been a good day (so far), but it isn't over yet. I have cop shop duty tonight from 2-11pm and it's now just about 7 pm. I had an interview early this morning at 7:30 so I had to leave Phoenix at about 6:15. That wasn't the most fun, but I survived it and after the interview, I hit the hay for a couple of hours. That made me feel a lot better.
My UA grading story finally ran today and though it was stuck on the metro cover, it's gotten a lot of attention from other media outlets. I heard it mentioned on 3 different evening newscasts tonight, so I was sort of mad at them, but at the same time very flattered. It took quite a bit of time to finish and I'm so glad that it turned out the way it did. If you want to read it, here's the link:

Aside from that, just chilling down here in Tucson. Looking forward to hopefully going to Altar/Hermosillo with the other intern and the border reporter this Friday. Because I'm working so much today and worked a little overtime last week, I may actually have Friday completely off which would be rather nice. We'll see what happens with that.
Only two more weeks here, I can't believe it. I'll be moving out of the apartment and into Chelsea's house for my final week here because the lease is up on the apartment after this week. It's a little weird and crazy, but it'll be fine. Hopefully I'll get to see Chelsea and hang out with her a little, but I don't know how busy her schedule is. Anyway, I'm very torn right now between wanting to be back home to move on with things, but on the other hand I just love what I'm doing now and have really settled into everything. I've finally built some relationships with coworkers and have gotten quite attached and fond of this place. I don't care what everyone says about Tucson, it's not that bad.
So that's what's up with me. I'm so glad everyone had a great time in Ireland and I hope that everyone grew spiritually as well. It sounds like it was a beautiful place and I'm hearing rumors that a few people are considering moving there...? Lol, I guess we'll see what happens in the future and where God leads us, right?
Love y'all and so glad you're home. Missed my community, my family. That's the hardest part about being down here. I lost my support system!!! :*(
Toodles from Tucson

Saturday, July 31, 2004

My "border mentor/buddy" Michael Marizco's story finally made it into the paper today. His story was beautifully written and just heartbreaking. It's what I want to do, but more than that, I want to help. As a reporter we can't. We're just there to observe and get it out to the people to read and hopefully, spurn some sort of changes. Anyway, here's the article's link. READ IT.

Friday, July 30, 2004

Grass and sidewalks

I took the pampered pooch for a walk. Oppulent, winding streets paved the way for our mini journey outside of the gated complex. Sprawling sidewalks, the only cracks being the horizontal ones showing their individual placements. No gaping chunks taken out. No cobblestone detailing. All even and flowing, like the fountain bursting skyward near the wrought-iron gates.
We walked near the stone-lined fountain and bounded down the steps, avoiding the grassy area, still wet from the sprinklers. I hadn't seen long plots of unnatural grass in over two weeks. The last grassy area I remember seeing was in front of the mortuary near the cop shop downtown. The grass was a facade of cheerfulness, green and lush, manicured and perfect.
The dog paused.
I opened the gate.
It's a little tricky because it leans forward on its hinges as if to suggest you can just push through it.
You have to pull it.
We walk through and across more grass.
Wet grass.
The dog steps off of the curb and onto the pavement. He never liked getting his paws wet, even as a puppy. I remember him looking back at me after I told him to go potty in the backyard which was in the midst of a flurry of misting sprinklers. The morning drink. He wouldn't even go near it and if you tried to shove him in that direction, he avoided you. I swear, if he had a tail (he's a cockapoo) it would've been tucked between his legs.
Not much has changed with him since he was a puppy. Still head-strong and wanting to pull away. But he always comes back, always looks back at me.
As we strolled through the gate and down the sidewalk bordering the main street, the smell of Prescott flooded my nostrils. Pine Phoenix.
It took me back.
We still walked.
I remember the night so clearly. The stars covering an infinite expanse of sky. The moon glowing brightly overhead. The grass slightly damp. Me worrying that my jeans would be stained when I got up from the grass.
Wet grass.
We weren't supposed to be on the grass as much as we had been. But we played football and bocce ball anyway. This night, we just layed on our backs, gazing into oblivion. I don't remember what we talked about that night or where everyone else was, but I remember it was the 4th of July. It was the first time I hadn't watched the fireworks on television. We never went out to see the fireworks. Too many drunks on the road. Too many people. Just too much. So we watched it on television.
That night there were no fireworks. Only the scent of wet grass, pine needles and an enormous sky. My arm bent behind my head, I remember silence. I remember the giddiness, the awkwardness, the tenderness. We had only known each other for a short time. But I was falling for him. It was just he and I that night.
The dog kept walking.
His nose was pressed near the ground, every so often bumping into a small twig, yanking his head up startled. Lost in the grey shadows of the night and dimlit sidewalk.
I sorted through my thoughts like my laundry. The darks, one pile. The lights and pure whites, another. And in the end, I didn't have enough to make a substantial load from each so I bound them together. I'd separate them later when they were fresh again.
Normally I had felt nervous walking at night. Thoughts of being grabbed from behind or from the bushes nearby. The dog wouldn't make any difference. He'd just think we were playing and run around in circles chasing his non-existent tail.
But tonight was different.
I was alone and had a strange sense of security. My God has always been with me. Always. I shouldn't fear for this reason and yet, still a sense of frailty. Tonight I walked down a sidewalk without cracks, without gaping holes or broken cobblestone. With even-layed cement, without unnaturally slanted curbs. I walked in the tidy grass and I turned to go back to the gated place.
My heart half there yet halfway gone, torn between oppulence and poverty. Between the beggers and the begged. Between the unloved and the overly-loved. Between the manicured grass and the crab grass, the cracked sidewalks and smooth surfaces. Between the dirt and the flowers, the pine trees and the saguaros, the barred windows and well-lit porches. Between darks and lights, shabby and chic, trendy and ordinary.
As we headed back, the dog picked up his pace. He was in such a hurry, I couldn't help but yank him back a little.
Slow down.
Take in the night.
The peace.
The safety.
But I know the hurry, the flurry, the busyness and bustle. The sense of responsibility and irrationality, impetuousness and caution.
I can't get the dog to find a balance so I pull him closer to my side, wrapping the leash once, twice, three times, four times, five times around my palm, a coil binding my fist.
He slowed a bit and this time, he was forced to walk in the wet grass next to me.
And for once, he didn't seem to mind.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Well, I sort of met the girls yesterday at the Repatriation center where they put kids who've been caught and the parents aren't around. The dad came and picked them up later in the evening, so for a few hours we were just hanging out with the rest of the kids and talking and playing basketball. I think a lot of them were very surprised to see a girl dressed in nice black slacks and blouse playing basketball like a boy in a backyard. Lol, it was fun and they were all so cute. It just sucks that they are in that kind of situation.
One boy we talked to was 16 and his parents were in New Jersey. He has to figure out how to get back over there. I didn't catch how that whole thing happened, but man, that sucks. But yesterday was all about loving on the kids and just playing with them. I know it was more for Michael because he'd been waiting all day long for answers, for the father to get there and interview him. In the end, the dad didn't want to talk. Marizco said I didn't understand after I said I felt sorry for him, that he had to wait around all day long. Maybe I didn't, but I still have a lot of things I need to experience in life and disappointments in journalism is just one of many things to come I'm sure.
While he typed up his story on a computer in an Internet cafe, I sat down to write (after buying a strawberry paleta--mm mmm). Here's what I came up with...

Foreign, familiar J.G. 7/28/04

Abandoned, lost and afraid,
What they wouldn't give, what they wouldn't trade.
A foreign home in a familiar land,
Longing for the touch, the warmth of a hand.
To be lifted up and secure again,
Justice can't be done solely by the pen.
World shaken to the core,
Comfort insufficient as the tears begin to pour.
Alone in a foreign, familiar place,
Those who lost, those whom the water chased.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

As promised, here's a link to the story I couldn't talk about yesterday..

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Only five more days until he gets back! I don't think he even has a clue that I'm going to be waiting there for him when he gets off of the van at church. It's so strange not hearing from him or seeing him in so long. It's almost as if he's turned into a figment of my imagination, as if it was some wonderful, far off dream. I can't really believe that he's coming back. I guess somewhere in my mind I convinced myself that there was a possibility that he wouldn't--me and my worrying! Que terrible!
  No night on the border tonight. Big story happened today, but I'm not at liberty to talk about it until it comes out tomorrow. I wish I could have gone. It sounds like an amazing story--difficult, but amazing. Sorry to tease you all. I'll try to remember to put it on my page. It'll be written by the border reporter I've been working with. I'm looking forward to seeing it myself.
  What else has been going on? Well, exciting news. My article that I've been working on for the last week could make the front of the paper on Thursday! I'm not going to get my hopes up because there are tons of important things that they want to put on the cover, so who knows. I think it's a a great story and I came up with it by myself and figured out all of the details myself. We'll go through and edit it tomorrow and I suppose I'll find out if my editor likes it or not.
  I'm really growing fond of Tucson and being so close to the border. I suppose most would say it's ugly and dirty and lower class looking, but I like it. I like the old architecture--the 90-year-old casitas with original wood flooring and hidden basements. I like the history the city's trying to preserve in the downtown area. But I really believe I could live pretty much anywhere.
  On our way to do a follow up interview the other day with a man whose backyard is the border, we (Marizco and I) stopped in Bisbee briefly to check it out since I'd never been there. The town is really cool. Its museum is really cool too because it had all kinds of journalism stuff in it like old newspapers and typewriters and radio equipment from back in the day. It's great seeing history, you know?
  I'm hoping to get together with the other border reporter one of these days. Marizco raves about him being a "fantastic" journalist. He's won numerous awards for his coverage. He goes on vacation soon so hopefully we can figure something out.
  Well, I'm tiring of sitting at the computer. We'll see what happens next...
  Toodles from Tucson