as a quick note on my life, my break has continued to be very good - i'm quite happy with my life, i wish i were further along in thesis writing, but i'm happily liking what i am doing, even the frustration of getting a flat tire and getting that fixed. some days have little bumps, but it's been good.
as an update to the last post, the senate rejected an amendment (on a 51-49 vote) to get the alaska national wildlife refuge drilling out of the budget. so it's still there. now it's necessary to rely on republican bickering to keep the budget from passing and keep drilling out of anwr. this makes me mad. and it makes me sad.
so on a slightly different note, two memories from my early life have been on my mind recently. one is getting done with swim team at the high school pool, having it be cold outside, my parents picking me up, and wearing my red stocking hat except for the days when i wanted my hair to freeze. i really liked swim team - i would always do the swimming activity that i was told to, and i would get done early and look up at the coach in askance, waiting patiently for new instructions on what to do next. i swam on swim team for a bunch of years and never wore goggles - my eyes usually were red and irritated from the chlorine, but i loved it - i loved and still do love being in the water - i'm nowhere close to being in as good of shape as i was then, but i still have really great memories of swim team.
the other memory from around that same time is going to morning piano lessons before school on fridays. my piano teacher lived half a mile or so from my elementary school, but it seemed like a long distance. at any rate, except for a few times when i walked, i usually waited for my mom to pick me up and take me to school after my lesson. i remember the strong feelings of insecurity every day after those piano lessons when my mom would be a little bit later than i wanted her to be, and i would think that something bad happened to her. i wouldn't want to walk to school because then i wouldn't know she was all right. so i just stood outside and waited for her to pick me up, breathing a sigh of relief when that happened.
one thing that both of those memories have in common is that i really didn't like being late to things when i was little (i was quite a type a personality when i was little - actually for most of my life until most of the way through senior year of high school). whether it was church and sunday school, swimming practice or basketball, or anything else, i really hated being late for things - i always wanted to early and waiting when doors opened. i've kind of gotten over that, but i still don't like to be late for things - i'd rather be early than right on time or fashionably late.
this quote is from The Princess Bride, my top movie (and a great book) I know of right now, along with Amelie and Garden State:
Westley: Death cannot stop true love. All it can do is delay it a while.
this quote is great - sometimes i struggle trying to decide whether to think of love in this perfect/true/romaticized way or some other way. i grew up liking happy fairy tales, and i transitioned into long fantasy novels that told similar stories - they didn't need to be realistic because as long as they have characters with personalities, they interact, and i could learn a lot about people and real life from reading fantasy - that's the thing that a lot of people miss when they think about fantasy - i never really cared whether there was magic/dragons/swords/etc; instead, i liked getting to know about life situations, and the authors were never constrained by making something seem realistic - they didn't worry about whether they had places down and historical accuracy - they just made up those parts (though settings usually resembled western europe), and they focused on the story and the characters and the interactions - that's why i liked fantasy books.
my favorites were always david eddings, robert jordan, and george rr martin (recent one), along with tolkien, rosenberg, feist, and a few others - i never read very many that weren't that great - i just found out which were the good ones from my older brother and read them a bunch of times. i now really like harry potter - i think jk rowling is a great writer and doing fantastic things to introduce people to a really accessible fantasy series - the books started simple and have grown in complexity (and length) immensely - she started out write 200 page books, and the most recent ones are closer to 800+ - now her books are in the length realm of jordan/martin, each of which are writing many thousand page series.
i really like stories - i have to temper that sometimes. my favorite story for the democratic presidential nominees was without a doubt edwards - and i think that is really important when running for president, especially since no one will have experience doing what they are trying to do. but john edwards' story was great - much better than kerry's (though he won the nomination on his military story, which got discredited - makes me wonder how edwards' story would have gotten discredited). some people are really into the looks of a candidate; others are into how well (or commonly) the candidate speaks; others think policy decisions and voting records are most important. i'm not entirely sure how i reconcile those aspects when deciding - as with most of my decisions, i use the veto first where big problems in any of those areas eliminates the candidate.
this is a multiple digression model of writing (statistics people might catch that clever phrase - i hope so - i thought it fitting). maybe i can get some advice on how i'm supposed to understand westley's quote with a few little blips from astrology personality trait lists and celtic birthday trees. my birthday is may 24 - here are the traits listed on astrology websites:
Adaptable and versatile
Communicative and witty
Intellectual and eloquent
Youthful and lively
Nervous and tense
Superficial and inconsistent
Cunning and inquisitive
does that sound like me? i'm adaptable/versatile - i like to communicate - i try to be witty, but i can't compete with some people on that. i try not to be intellectual, and i'm not so sure i'm eloquent. i'm youthful (though i was too mature early in my life). i can be nervous/anxious. hmm - superficial/inconsistent - granted those are negatives so i might not want to admit them - i try not to be, and i think i could uncover more relevant criticisms of my personality. cunning/inquisitive - yeah, probably (and i mistyped cunning as conning while writing it - not sure that's a good slip to make). and here's what celtic birthday trees say about me:
Honesty - Of unusual beauty, does not want to impress, well-developed sense of justice, vivacious, interested, a born diplomat, but irritable and sensitive in company, often due to a lack of self-confidence, acts sometimes superior, feels not understood, loves only once, has difficulties in finding a partner.
hmm, honesty is good (i learned early on in life that i could lie pretty well when i wanted to so then i worked hard not to - i still do - i try to be honest - lately i've been trying to find the right medium/tempering of honesty so i can feel fine not saying everything). unusual beauty? you'll have to decide. does not want to impress? again, i don't know what that would entail. i like justice, liveliness; i'm interested in things - i can be a diplomat when i want to be. sensitive/irritable - hmm, possibly - i do sometimes lack self-confidence. i may act superior, even though i try not to - that's definitely a personality problem. feeling understood - certainly don't understand myself. loves only once and has difficulties finding a partner - whoa - what does that mean - it doesn't sound good, does it - especially since. . . . .
so do i agree with westley? probably. nothing can stop true love, just delay it a while. i find the astrology personality stuff not that helpful because they allow for dualisms - people either have one or the other - they either represent the trait or they don't - well, that's not very helpful (however real/true it is). combine this with my capacity to be patient when something i want asks it of me, and you get the point.
a quick memory from my college times: i took a liking to math, especially the professors in college and the opportunities they created for me. i majored in math, my advisor was a math professor (and one of the most amazing ladies i've yet met), i took more courses than i was able to get credit for (15 when 14 is the maximum in one major someone can get credit for, so i removed computer science from my list of math courses, and it worked out).
i did two independent studies (one in 'pure' math - abstract algebra and brauer fixed point sets; the other in 'applied' math - population modeling of black-footed ferret and prairie dog population dynamics based on predator-prey models). i did two january abroads (one in pure math in budapest, hungary; the other in applied math at the biosphere2 center near tucson, arizona). i took the insanely difficult putnam test a few times, competed in math competitions among schools, and wrote book reviews for the weekly math departmental newsletter. and i was a leader in the student chapter of the maa for saint olaf (assistant treasurer as a sophomore, president as a junior, and past-president as a senior). we planned events, ranging from pi day activities (watching the movie pi or donald duck in mathemagic land) to making math t-shirts. it was probably the club/organization i was most involved in, except for maybe soccer or environmental coalition/greens sophomore year when i was fighting against a road through our campuses natural lands.
but memories, quotes, personalities, and math lead me (quite naturally, wouldn't you say) to a song.
this song was introduced to me a few nights ago, and i think it's really good - it doesn't directly translate into my life in a literal sense i guess, but one thing it does highlight is the different ways people react to each other - how people can choose 'different strategies' (pardon this way of framing) in dealing with differences. i wonder if someone could figure out when ani difranco's parents were born based on their astrological personalities (or we could identify their myers-briggs - i'm an idealist recently - i was intp my first year of college, but i don't think that was me as much as someone who was annoyed by a roommate and reacting because of that - at that point in my life, i was as extreme of an introvert as possible - strange because i'm the least introverted person in my family - in actuality, i think i'm probably pretty even between extraverted and introverted - i can and do either rather well when i feel like it).
angry anymore by ani difranco
growing up it was just me and my mom
against the world
and all my sympathies were with her
when i was a little girl
but now i've seen both my parents
play out the hands they were dealt
and as each year goes by
i know more about how my father must have felt
i just want you to understand
that i know what all the fighting was for
and i just want you to understand
that i'm not angry anymore
i'm not angry anymore
she taught me how to wage a cold war
with quiet charm
but i just want to walk
through my life unarmed
to accept and just get by
like my father learned to do
but without all the acceptance and getting by
that got my father through
night falls like people into love
we generate our own light
for the lack of light from above
every time we fight
a cold wind blows our way
but we learn like the trees
how to bend
how to sway and say
i, i think i understand
what all this fighting is for
and baby, i just want you to understand
that i'm not angry anymore
no, i'm not angry anymore