Monday, February 26, 2007

Work Meetings, Weekend Fun, and India

The title says it all, but none of them are connected.

I have been appointed to be on the Pandemic Flu Team at work. Here are blurbs from emails I have received regarding this team:
  • -Gloria and Arlene are chairing a campus Flu Pandemic Planning Group to review the government’s action plan and to determine how we can best respond in the event that this health issue becomes a threat in the U.S.-
  • -I am attaching the document. Only the first 16 (out of 38!) pages really need to be looked over. Just look for things that would apply to academics. For example, if the school closes due to a pandemic and the school is closed anywhere from 4 wks to 12 wks what will be the policy or guideline for alternative procedures for completing course work.-
  • -What will be the procedure for students who are in isolation or quarantine to obtain class notes.-
  • -What will be the policy or guidelines to address academic concerns of students absent from classes due to illness or quarantine.-
  • -This document outlines a plan for responding to threats posed by respiratory diseases that have he potential for becoming epidemic or pandemic.-

Do they really think that if there is a pandemic (note: not epidemic, but pandemic!) of flu with people dying that anyone is really going to care about school if there are quarantines going around?? Do you think during the time of the black plague people were concerned about such trivial things??

This weekend my husband and I went to town with $100 in gift cards to the Bass Pro Shop. So you are thinking oh wow, whoopdy doo, what can you get there that is worthwhile? They have loads of things: clothes (not just hunting or fishing!) shoes, camping equipment, and even a restaurant! We ended up staying there for THREE hours! We shopped and both bought a pair of pants. We then ate some great fish (mahi mahi and salmon). Then we shopped for just a little bit more and my husband bought a pair of shorts. Granted that used all $100, but it was fun. Our next adventure will be at Cabela's. It is like the Bass Pro Shop, but it has even MORE stuff. I am so excited and have been looking online for what I might want to get.
I have made new Christian online friends from India. They are a very sweet couple with some extremely cute kids. He is a preacher there in India. I am learning about their culture and they are learning about mine. He was telling me about a wedding that he went to and some of the customs. It does tell you a lot about the culture and how different and more innocent it is from America. Here is bit about it:
"The wedding went so well and after the wedding a very delicious Lunch Wedding Feast was served to all that came to the wedding. There was Chicken Biryani, Chicken Curry Fish Fry, Fruit Salad, Ice Cream, some vegetarian curries, and sweets. Oh we ate so much! My wife and I never had such wonderful food. While we were having the feast many people came to me and told me " Brother, you did a great job today and you preached good words from the Bible". Most from audience are HINDUS! All enjoyed the wedding sermon. Tonight is the wedding couples first night. We call their first night "SOBHANAM".
I want to tell you our wedding culture, that is why I am daring to tell you these things. The groom's parents invite many important people to the new couple's first night. They will arrange a first night feast to all invited people and this feast will be more nicer than the wedding feast.
Please do not misunderstand me, I am telling you our wedding culture. The new couple will be sent to a room tonight after the feast and that room is called first night room. This room will be decorated with flowers good perfumes. The bed will be decorated with many many wonderful smelling roses and if they are rich they will put AC in that room too. Some fruits, so many sweets, some other cookies and two cool drinks are put in the first night room.
The new couple will be sent to this room to spend their first night. So we call all these things SOBHANAM in our Telugu langauge. I hope your new couples are sent to a honeymoon after their wedding. I want to know how your newly married couple will spend their early days of their marriage.
All these things should be going on in the bride's house now. Actually our people won't talk about all these things. They feel shyness to share these things. But, I am sharing with you how our culture is, especially in weddings. Of course I also feel shy but, I wanted to let you know. This that is why I told you. Please do not misunderstand me. Do you know why I am asking you not to misunderstand me? Our people won't talk about these things publicly they feel shyness."
If he could only watch one hour of American television he would know that he did not in any way offend me! :)
I think I lied...the title did say it all, but they are connected in one way....they all involve me! :)

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Things I Learn at Work

We got a most interesting call today at work at the University.  A most interesting call.  The secretary answered the phone and was saying that once a person has graduated they could not change name information in their records.  This is a  common practice among universities.  Apparently this person did not like that answer and asked to speak to someone higher up, so the secretary transfered the person into the boss's office.  Before putting the call through she muted the phone and gave a breif overview of what the caller wanted. I sit right across from the secretary so I hear everything she says and our boss is just inside one door.  We can all hear each other very easily.

The caller wanted the name on record to be changed from Jessica to David.  We all paused and then the call got put through.  We listened to boss say that records could not be changed once a person has graduated unless we have a court order to do so.  My boss fishing around for more information asked if both names could be put on there just so we have a way of keeping track of who is who.  He/she (we all think she was going as a he now) said that no one could know especially since he was a teacher.  So I think we will be getting a court order and a transcript request soon and in that order!

Of course being human we couldn't just let this pass without some discussion and a look at the records to see what this person looked like.  She was here almost 10 years ago, so we had to dig to find this information.  She was definately tom-boyish, but we just couldn't see how she could pass as a man.  So that lead to talk about having to take hormones to be more manly and my boss said, "He will have to take hormores the rest of his life to take care of  his...(pause)...whims."   I almost choked on my soup when she said that.  The student worker proclaimed she was too young for this conversation and the secretary just sat there agreeing with our boss.  This then lead to the discussion of what if he changed his mind (assuming he had had some sort of operation), what would he do then.   It just brought up so many questions without any answers.  Even down to, would he or even could he get his birth certificate changed to state he was a boy??

I don't know and really don't want to know.

I Need to be Deported!

I read in the news that they are going to change the naturalization test so that it is not just memorize and regurgitate. So I went to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services website to see just what exactly gets asked. This is when I came to the conclusion that I am either a.) stupid or b.) need to be deported. Since I know I am not stupid that only leaves option b.

Farewell to you all, I don't know where I am going. Since I don't know my own country there is no way I can know a different one. But I think if enough Americans had to take this test to stay in America, then there would be a mass exodus and we could all just start a new America and leave the old one to the immigrates who can answer the questions!

Monday, February 12, 2007

The Evils of Alcohol

A minister was giving his closing remarks on a sermon about the evils of alcohol and how it is best to abstain.

With great emphasis he said, "If I had all the beer in the world, I'd take it and pour it into the river."

With even greater emphasis he said, "And if I had all the wine in the world, I'd take it and pour it into the river."

And then finally, shaking his fist in the air, he said, "And if I had all the whiskey in the world, I'd take it and pour it into the river."

Sermon complete, he sat down.

The song leader stood very cautiously and announced with a smile, nearly laughing, "For our closing song, let us sing Hymn #365,

"Shall We Gather at the River."

My grandmother loves this one and is constantly saying, ever since she heard it, how we need to all go to the river! (She has been a preacher's wife for over 60 years.)

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Deep Thoughts

I planted some bird seed. A bird came up. Now I don't know what to feed it.

I had amnesia once -- or twice.

Protons have mass? I didn't even know they were Catholic.

All I ask is a chance to prove that money can't make me happy.

I'd give my right arm to be ambidextrous.

If the world was a logical place, men would ride horses sidesaddle.

What is a "free" gift? Aren't all gifts free?

They told me I was gullible..... and I believed them.

Teach a child to be polite and courteous in the home and, when he grows up, he'll never be able to edge his car onto a freeway.

Two can live as cheaply as one, for half as long.

Experience is the thing you have left when everything else is gone.

What if there were no hypothetical questions?

One nice thing about egotists: They don't talk about other people.

When the only tool you own is a hammer, every problem begins to look like a nail.

A flashlight is a case for holding dead batteries.

What was the greatest thing before sliced bread?

My weight is perfect for my height -- which varies.

How can there be self-help "groups"?

Where do forest rangers go to "get away from it all"?

The speed of time is one-second per second.

Is it possible to be totally partial?

Is Marx's tomb a communist plot?

If swimming is so good for your figure, how do you explain whales?

Show me a man with both feet firmly on the ground, and I'll show you a man who can't get his pants off.

It's not an optical illusion. It just looks like one.

Is it my imagination, or do buffalo wings taste like chicken?

Monday, February 5, 2007

The Donkey Lady of Far West Texas

Obituary of Judy Ann Magers from the Van Horn Advocate Online

You may not recognize that name, but you will remember her by the name "The Donkey Lady". That was not meant to be a negative or ugly name. That is just how we referred to her. Very few even knew her real name. Many wished they knew more about her or desired to try to visit with her but that was not what she wanted. She obviously lived - and died, as she wanted - in a lifestyle which we could not imagine. Traveling with her donkey as her only companion and sleeping beside the road or under an underpass. Rumors had it that she was an educated person, perhaps a teacher at one time. She was probably the best known - yet least known - person in West Texas

The "Donkey Lady," Judy Ann Magers, an icon in West Texas, died last Friday, January 26, 2007, in Sierra Blanca. She was 65 years old and is survived by Sue Johnson of South Dakota. She made her home, along with her donkey, on the sides of roads and in underpasses that dot the highways from Presidio, Alpine, Marfa, Valentine, Van Horn and Sierra Blanca. One might see her in local restaurants drinking a cup of coffee, but most of the time, she kept to herself. And, unfortunately, she died alone. She will be buried in Terlingua at a later date. To help with burial expenses, send donations to Memorial Fund, c/o St. Agnes Church, P.O. Box 295 Terlingua, TX 79852. Judy Magers is perhaps the most famous "unknown" person that has ever lived in this part of the state.

Of course many, after hearing about her death, wondered about her donkey. I called Becky Walker, Hudspeth County Judge, about this because I had heard that she had taken the donkey. She had, and said that he is doing better but still 'cries' for his owner. Not as much as at first. Evidently he showed almost a human-like emotion of mourning for her at first. Becky said he was quite poorly but was eating better now and that he seems more comfortable with the cows than the horses. She also said that many had wanted to take him and care for him. One thing about this lady that many in our country could take a lesson from is that she did not expect, nor would even accept, any handouts. In fact Becky told me that she would leave water out for Judy and her donkey and there would always be some money there in payment. If Becky didn't take the money, Judy would not take the water next time she came. She was definitely a strong-willed and self-sustaining person. She left behind a little money and her final wishes. However, it isn't enough to give a proper burial so a fund has been established for that purpose.