Tuesday, March 31, 2009

This week I learned...

  1. Bad days can happen anywhere.
  2. I have most definitely broken the bad habit of biting my nails.
  3. I love the new "Mott's Apple Juice" commercial. (Or at least the song in the commercial.)
  4. Keeping Luke is a fantastic self-awareness exercise (and, yes, I am aware of how self-centered that sounds).
  5. Great runs make for great days.
  6. I love sweet cornbread.
  7. I am craving sushi like a pregnant woman (NO. I AM NOT PREGNANT).
  8. African artwork is quite lovely.
  9. I love Landon Pigg.
  10. President Bartlett for President in 2012. Seriously.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Ten Thousand Times Ten Thousand

**For the record (and just to make sure that I have told more people than my brother, Jess), I want this song sung at my funeral (RUF style).

1. Ten thousand times ten thousand
In sparkling raiment bright,
The armies of the ransomed saints throng
Up the steep of light:
’Tis finished, all is finished,
Their fight with death and sin;
Fling open wide the golden gates,
And let the victors in.

2. What rush of alleluias
Fills all the earth and sky!
What ringing of a thousand harps
Bespeaks the triumph nigh!
O day, for which creation
And all its tribes were made;
O joy, for all its former woes
A thousandfold repaid!

3. O then what raptured greetings
On Canaan’s happy shore;
What knitting severed friendship
Up where partings are no more!
Then eyes with joy shall sparkle,
That brimmed with tears of late;
Orphans no longer fatherless,
Nor widows desolate.

4. Bring near Thy great salvation,
Thou Lamb for sinners slain;
Fill up the roll of Thine elect,
Then take Thy power, and reign;
Appear, Desire of nations,
Thine exiles long for home;
Shoe in the heaven Thy promised sign;
Thou Prince and Savior, come.

©1997 Christopher Miner Music.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Press Conferences, Health Care, and all 60 states of America.

It was only 65 days ago that I wrote a post about the Inauguration of the first African-American President of our great nation, Barack Obama. In this post, I suggested keeping various criticisms suppressed until later, allowing for the enjoyment of the historical nature of the day. And in the past 65 days, I have done a fairly good job of watching and waiting, more than willing and really quite eager to be able to sing the praises of our newest Commander in Chief. However, after 65 days -and yes, I realize that it has only been 65 days- I have some criticisms.

While I am more than willing to admit that President Obama was handed an economical mess, I am failing to see much improvement, if any, now or in the near future. With our financial debt reaching the trillions and no end in sight to the spending, my faith is waning. And, in light of last night's press conference, I don't see my confidence returning at extreme rates of speed.

In the first question posed last night by Jennifer Loven of the Associated Press, Obama was asked about government regulation of big, complex financial structures and why he thought the American people would "sign on
for another new sweeping authority for the government to take over companies..." given the failure experienced thus far with banks refusing to release spending reports and AIG's bonuses. To this Obama responds that these issues happened because there was no authority to begin with and to keep in mind that AIG is an insurance firm and not a bank, because if it was, it would have been privatized by this point. Comforting, I'm sure. When Loven then asked why should the public trust the government to handle that authority well, Obama skirted around the question by saying that the FDIC handles these situations well, and given the right tools, so could the government. Sorry, what? The comparison seems faulty.

I have a difficult time wrapping my mind around more government authority and the President's round-about reasoning is not helping convince me that it is a good idea. By placing what Obama calls "common sense" regulations on these institutions, the government is then controlling the people that you have chosen to place in control of your money. No matter how you slice it, it is government control over yet another aspect of your life and how is that a good idea?

When asked by NBC's Chuck Todd about the lack of sacrifices asked of the American People, given the financial crisis that we find ourselves in, Obama responded that the American people sacrifice enough; parents cutting back so kids can go to college, folks cutting out a whole day's work so that others won't be laid off, etc. And in this regard, I totally agree. The American people are sacrificing. However, I think it is important for their Commander in Chief to set an example of responsible spending and cutting back, both in national affairs and more "low-key" affairs. I am referring to the numerous parties and cocktail hours held by the White House. In a recession like ours, how is it appropriate for the President to have a continuous string of parties? Someone suggested that it was because it was the only way for both sides to actually get together and talk. So what do we need with congressional and senate meetings? Obviously, they are of no use since we bribe our country's leaders to actually talk to one another with free alcohol and eats. This same person suggested that there is so much anger on both sides of the aisle that this is the only way to get them to put aside their differences. Well, if this is the case, when did we start letting fraternities and sororities run the country? Seriously, these grown men and women, who all want to continue living in the greatest nation on this earth-preferably as senators and congressmen/women- can't seem to come together and work on this crisis without being bribed by cocktails and a live band? Surely there is a better answer. Certainly our high-ranking political figures are more mature than that. If not, maybe we should reconsider their positions in upcoming elections.

CBS's Chip Reid jumped in after Todd, quoting comments made by the President during his town hall meetings in California last week where he said "I didn't run for president to pass on our problems to the next generation." Reid then questioned Obama's budget that will increase the national debt by a reported $7 trillion over the next ten years (The Congressional Budget's Office says $9.3 trillion) and it has been said that with health care, education, and environmental spending, this will be the most irresponsible budget in American history. Obama's one word answer was: Yes. Upon further prompting from Reid, Obama stated that he was handed a $1.3 trillion deficit (I should have known that it was all Bush's fault, which obviously excuses the $7.3 trillion that we will incur because of Obama's budget) and that since no one else had a better plan, his would have to do. Oh, and he is cutting out wasteful spending on Medicare and adding the necessary funds for wooden arrows for children, pig odor control, new cars for the federal government, and according to an article in the WallStreet Journal, $7 billion will go towards modernizing federal buildings. When asked why the deficit would be cut in half over the next four to five years and then continue to go up after that, all the while making long term structural cuts and our debt still rising in the out years, the President responded saying, "Well, look, it is going to take a whole host of adjustments, and we couldn't reflect all of those adjustments in this budget." Really? Is that the response that the American people want to hear right now? Our President and his advisers are putting together a plan that they haven't fully reflected upon? I feel better now.

More questions ensued and the round- about answers continued. CNN's Ed Henry stated that while President Obama continued to criticize and blame the Bush administration, his own plan would double that debt. When asked if he was concerned about an even bigger fiscal disaster should the spending continue, Obama said, "Yes, of course!" Silly Ed. Don't you know that health care is the answer to all of our nation's problems? Socialize America's health care and we won't be in debt anymore. Right? Of course, the other option is to "stand pat" and do nothing and not invest in our health care at all. Wasn't aware that there was an issue with health care other than the government wanting to control something else.

Henry also asked why it took so long for Obama to come out with his outrage and admonition towards AIG. The President said that it was because he likes to know what he is talking about before he speaks. Which leads us to a lighter note.

Everyone misspeaks. It's a natural, human thing to do. While George W. Bush was constantly mocked for his, sometimes outlandish, remarks and mis-usage of words, let us note that Barack Obama is not without some thoughtless moments of his own.

On March 17th, 2009-St. Patrick's Day-President Obama appeared, along side Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen and proceeded to read the wrong speech, one meant for the Prime Minister, and thank himself for the party that was being given...by him. Then, this past week, during the first ever late night T.V. appearance made by a President, Obama proceeded to remark that his bowling average was on par with the "Special Olympics." Ouch. Really?

Obama's blunders do not stop there. From THE bomb that fell on Pearl Harbor to his uncle being among the first American troops that freed Auschwitz concentration camp, as well as honoring dead troops that he SAW while making a speech on Memorial Day, Obama's bloopers are numerous over the past months. His mixed up dates and events and disorientation on the campaign trail make for several laughs. Oh, and I guess my education was lacking since I had no idea that America consisted of 60 states.

Overall, impressed is not the word I would use when President Obama's first couple of months in office come to mind. However, I am committed to continuing my following of our new leader and staying open to what comes out of the White House, hopeful for the American people and our President.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

He's Just Not That Into You.

Seen this film? I have. Twice. Why you ask? Was it really that good? No, it wasn't that good. However, it was interesting. The entire movie feeds you this "Girls-have-been-lied-to-since-the-beginning-of-time-there-are-rarely-exceptions-only-rules" and then it ends with a happy ending for the "good" people and the "bad" people getting what they deserve.

So what's the point? I mean, nice attempt to show real life and not a load of crap, Hollywood, but once again you failed. Yes, it's true that women are fed the lie that goes something like "Boys-are-mean-to-you-because-they-like-you." And the movie did a good job of showing that that is simply not true. However, the end of the movie shows ridiculous pursuit that rarely happens and, of course, the guy gets the girl that he was mean to and the crazy girl gets the perfect guy and the guy that doesn't believe in marriage decides to get married because he has a change of heart and then Jennifer Aniston gets what she wants (and who doesn't want ole' Jenny to get what she wants after everything she has been through?). But in what world does any of that happen? We all know that Jennifer Aniston got jipped and that will probably never be fixed. The good news is, the guy that lied got kicked out and the home-wrecker girl was, seemingly, punished as well. Whoo-Hoo. Go Hollywood. That alone was the film's redemption. Every woman in the theater felt better after that. Not.

Again, interesting film, but fairly depressing for most women because, once more, there was that promise of a fairy tale that few realize in their own reality.

**Author's note**I realize that the above review may sound bitter, however, there is no personal bitterness felt. I merely call 'em like I see 'em. ~tg

This week I learned...

  1. Playing "mom" comes as naturally as breathing for me.
  2. I sleep better on the couch, whether I need comfort or not.
  3. I can wear a size four again.
  4. I REALLY love that "The West Wing" comes on twice a day.
  5. When one door closes, another one will open. Even if it takes almost a month for that to happen.
  6. The University of Texas is going to take until forever and eternity to accept or deny my application.
  7. I do know what I want...just not the specifics of it all.
  8. As much as I love words, sometimes they are better left unused.
  9. Early mornings are still something I enjoy.
  10. Perks are subjective.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Want vs. Need


I have no idea anymore.


  1. Confidence
  2. Faith

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Back to the Basics

While watching "West Wing" the other morning, a commercial caught my attention. It was the newest Allstate Insurance advertisement.

I really love this ad and the truth in it. As we face an economic crisis that is the worst our generation has seen, the basics- as Allstate put it- are becoming exceedingly important to our society. I find this to be true for myself. Learning to do without and make do with what I have, putting off something new and savoring what is already in my possession, treasuring consistency and what I know will always be, these are the lessons that are very real in our world right now.

Christmas seems like a good example to share. The Garcia family as a whole enjoys tradition. If we do something one time then we "have always done it this way" or we have to forever do it that way until the day we die. Well, this past Christmas we bought our tree from a different tree farm and the kids about had a cow. The reasoning behind going somewhere else was that the trees were cheaper, but the kids were not having it. It only got worse when Mom mentioned not putting up ALL of our Christmas decorations, making less work for her when the holiday was over. Mary Lou fell apart. The change with the tree was enough, not carrying on the traditions that didn't cost anything financially was too much for her. I could understand her thought process. Why change what doesn't cost anything? With the world around us changing and purses tightening, it seems only natural to hold close that which is dear.

With our floundering economy things such as Sunday afternoons with the family, giggling with sisters, Ultimate Frisbee in the park, long runs, family dinners, good books, and other timeless activities are beautiful and basic. And I for one appreciate the opportunity to experience and enjoy the basics.

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have; for he has said, "I will never fail you nor forsake you." -Hebrews 13:5

This week I learned...

  1. The norm, while usually expected-therefore making it the norm-is not always the path that is right for me...and I am ok with that.
  2. Travel invigorates me.
  3. Rainy Sundays are lovely when you are sick and want to hole up.
  4. Sleep is useful and also healthy. I should get more of it.
  5. I get jealous when I see other runners running and I haven't been able to do so as well.
  6. God is extremely faithful to me.
  7. I still hate dreaming.
  8. Goolosh is still a yummy dinner (and a comfort food).
  9. Good friends are hard to find and therefore, once found, should be treasured.
  10. My addiction to Diet Coke is ridiculous.
On green note, Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

"I Lexington-Ohio-Vermont-Edward You"

Tonight's dinner was spent with two old roommates. We hadn't all been together in quite some time and so there was a lot to catch up on. We discussed everything from family to friends, work to play, and old boyfriends to new boyfriends. Of course, with three twenty-something girls, boys were on the top of the list and we all had something to share. Beth's was by far the sweetest and one comment in particular was too good to pass up.

Beth and her new beau are pretty committed, but Beth was nervous when he began to express the urge to say the ever ominous "L-word." So, in his sweet, accommodating way, he replied, "Fine. I Lexington-Ohio-Vermont-Edward you." Emily and I were all giggles when Beth announced this to us, but it got me thinking on a subject I have addressed before and think about often.

What exactly is so very ominous about the "L-word" to human beings? Even those not in blossoming, new relationships seem to have a hard time saying "I love you," whether it be to family or friends. As humans, it is quite natural to want to be loved and to want to love others, yet when it comes to verbally expressing it, we seem to falter.

For instance, my sister, Sarah Ann, rarely says "I love you." In fact, we can be talking on the phone and when we are about to hang up I will say "Ok, love you! Bye!" and Sarah Ann's response, without fail, is "Ok. Bye." This used to drive me up the wall because I wanted to hear her say " I love you too!" However, now I just laugh because, of course, I know she loves me without hearing her say it, but also because Sarah Ann goes out of her way to show me that she loves me without actually saying it. Phone calls to check in, helping me with math, inviting me to play frisbee with her, all of these things say "I love you," Sarah Ann style. My dad is the exact same way. When my mom says "I love you" at the end of a phone conversation, he inevitably says "Uh-huh. Bye." It drives my mother crazy. He is just already on to the next thought or preparing for his next action when he hangs up.

I, on the other hand, say the phrase without meaning to at the end of phone conversations and have to backtrack when I say it to the helpless victim on the other end of the line who was just telling me the movie times, telling me that their child will be attending an event at the Springer, or telling me that, no, their daughter isn't home, but they will have her call me when gets in. Oh yes, I have told friends parents, employers, other people's boyfriends, and the operator giving me the movie times, that I love them. And I am sure that I do love them, but I didn't mean to say it out loud and makes for an embarrassing situation. And yet, this brings up an interesting thought. Why did I not mean to tell them? And why am I embarrassed for saying it?

As a Christian, I am called to love my neighbor. I assume this to mean all men, not just the people in my apartment complex. And yes, I am sure that this means in my actions toward these people and how I treat them, but does it not encompass verbal love as well? In the same way, take the religion out of it, and is not the theme of our world peace and love? Do we not all desire for there to be peace and mutual harmony amongst those we live with? All you need is love, right?

With these thoughts and ideas in mind, what then is so ominous, scary, intimidating, and taboo about saying "I love you" to those around us? Why is it so hard to form those three little words? I for one, know that I say it often to most everyone I know. Am I too liberal with the phrase? I don't say it without meaning it. I truly mean it every time I say it. Maybe I have a fear of missing the chance to say it and therefore over use it. Or perhaps I simply have a genuine need/want/desire to express my love for those in my life on a regular basis.

My sister, Caroline, uses the phrase more sparsely than I, though more frequently than Sarah Ann. In the past, she has expressed to me her hesitancy to say "I love you" because of her fear of being rejected. That fear is not lost on me. I can name several instances when I have used the phrase and heard nothing in return or, worse, "Thank you." Ouch. Talk about rejection. I would rather get "Ok, bye." However, I think that my desire to express my love trumps my fear of not getting a response, or rather a desired response, in return.

Still, am I too liberal with the term? Does Sarah Ann not use it enough or does it mean more when she says it because of her irregular use? Who knows? To each his own, I suppose. Either way, love expressed, verbally or not, is love and I'll take it in any form. Who doesn't need love?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


My newest joy in life is keeping five little girls a couple of days a week. These five sisters all have curly hair, they are all extremely bright, and they all have feisty little personalities. But each of them have unique qualities that endear them to myself and today I want to talk about Emma.

Emma is eight years old and in the fourth grade. She is my little "chatty-kathy." She is sweet-tempered, confident, competitive, and smart. She plays the piano, takes gymnastics, and rides horses. She likes to play with her dolls and wants to be a fashion designer, but is just as comfortable playing outside and rolling around on the ground with the pups or her little sister, Maggie.

One of the traits that I have noticed in Emma that I have learned to love and want to imitate, is her quickness to admit she is wrong or to preemptively say "...but, I could be wrong." Or, "...well, I think I'm right, but you could be right." Her willingness to listen, express her opinion, and still be able to accept what you say and the possibility that she may be wrong in her statements, opinions, and ideas is something that I have certainly learned a lesson from and is a lesson that I think we could all stand a little review on.

There were several times today when I overheard her in conversations with her sisters or was personally told "...oh, wait! I'm wrong! You're right." Her sweet temper in saying that statement, the arguments that were avoided by her honesty, and the example that she is setting not only for her sisters, but for everyone around her is something that I love and appreciate. I hope I learn more from Emma as I continue to spend time with her and become more willing to just say "I was wrong. You were right."

This week I learned...

  1. Little girls are a sure-fire way to get a much needed laugh.
  2. Katie Garcia is mature beyond the normal scope.
  3. Sometimes that daily run takes a little mental motivation.
  4. Friendship is measured by quality, not quantity.
  5. Art is relative.
  6. Carmike is wrong in thinking that "Stimulus Tuesday" makes up for jacking up the prices on discount movie tickets.
  7. I'm getting sick.
  8. Cutting back is easier said than done.
  9. Lucy's bed is much more comfortable than mine.
  10. Stillness is a virtue that I should learn.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

On Reading

When I was a little girl, reading was something I simply ate up. In one ordinary afternoon at home I jumped fences and burnt my skirt with Jo March, rode the sea with Moby Dick, camped in the Mississippi river with Tom and Huck, walked country roads with Lizzy Bennett and her sisters, fell in love, fell out of love, fell down rabbit holes with Alice, sat with Patrick Henry as he delivered his famous "Give me liberty or give me death" speech, was a pick-pocket about the streets of London with Oliver Twist, and became "glad" with Pollyanna.

And then my adventures ended. Or, at least those adventures ended. I went off to college and reading for pleasure became a thing of the past. Although, I will admit that some of my school reads have been quite pleasurable. However, instead of reading-and I think this was a rebellious act on my part-I watched TV, played on the Internet, day-dreamed, or mis-used my time in other ways. Let the record show that I was also studying for class, doing homework, and working. However, my free time was squandered on mindless activities.

All that changed last week. I was perusing a bookstore with friend of mine and happened upon a book called "Rebecca", a 1938 novel by Dame Daphne du Maurier. I saw the film version-directed by Alfred Hitchcock- when I was about ten or so with my grandmother. Not long after, I noticed an original copy of the book on my Texas grandmother's bookshelf. Finding it last week on a local shelf, I was more than thrilled. Sunday night, I started the journey to Manderley and followed my narrator as the new bride of Max de Winter. In three short days, I was finished with the novel, barely being able to put the book down.

It seems that I have rediscovered the joy-and art-of reading. My newest find is "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn." Yet another story that I have lost myself in.

Thank you, Hooked-on-phonics.

This week I learned...

I am a day late, but better late than never, right?

  1. It's not always bad when the romance dies away.
  2. Some of the best days I have ever experienced have snow involved.
  3. Reading is a great escape.
  4. Half classes are things of beauty.
  5. I am a writer.
  6. His grace is sufficient for me. His power works best in weakness.
  7. Family-blood related or not-is the best company in the world.
  8. Sally VGB is a great listener and friend-this I already knew, just a small shout out.
  9. Pride is a hindrance in my life.
  10. My happy weight is apparently 118.2.