because this plea deserves an entire post of its own
Continuing the political theme, I remind you Missouri residents to vote Aug. 3 (note the change in date) against the constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage*.

*A Tribune letter to the editor, written by one of my sources for my Cross Cultural Journalism final project, a former Methodist minister and the founder of the church's Open Door Ministry for gays, lesbians and their family and friends.
more difficulties
The leaky cauldron, of sorts must be overloaded with all you loyal readers. The site seems to be inaccessible to me for a few minutes. I know it's because the server is swamped with all you readers. Hope this post goes up.

i'm a big girl now
I turned down my first real job offer last week. I'm positive it was the right decision. The next possible job offer, though, I'm not so confident in my inclination to turn down. My gut says "it's not the right fit", my intellect says "it's health insurance and a foot in the door." I think I could be someplace better in a few months, but I also shouldn't be idle for very much longer. To my friends who have been out there for a year, how long does the first year of your job really seem to last?

also, because I'm lazy and don't feel like calling the university
I appeal again to you, my predecessors and my peers. How long is it supposed to take for our diplomas to arrive?

out to do my civic duty
I am enthralled by this year's election. In the past few days, I have devoured the recent Newsweeks, been glued to PBS's coverage of the convention (and not just to catch glimpses of Chris Heinz) and have actually read The Mercury's and the Topeka Capital Journal's political sections. This is new. I used to despise politics. But I think that in this post-Florida 2000 election, I have a greater appreciation of my own vote, and I've been able to form my own opinions on the direction I believe this country should head. I firmly believe that Bush should not be re-elected, but I also believe that I shouldn't just vote against Bush, that I should vote for the candidate whom I believe is better. So I'm doing my research. I want to make sure that, come November, if I vote Kerry, it's not just because he isn't Bush.

Also, this is Ally's first election and I feel a sense of duty to make sure that she's an informed voter, too. The other day during lunch, Kerry came on the t.v. screen and Ally said, "Who's that?" My jaw dropped. "John Kerry," I told her. "Who's he?" She asked again. And my jaw dropped even further. So, she needs a political mentor, and I've decided that it will be me. Hope is on the way.

Now that I say that, I have a confession to make. I type this the evening after I declined to vote in advance in the state primary, as my mother did today. But my argument in defense is that I do not know the candidates and am not familiar with the issues right now. Maybe tomorrow, after all the work of the move is done (the moving van pulled away this afternoon with all our belongings) and we've finished cleaning the house, I'll have time to do my research and vote. But just as sincerely as I believe that it is every person's duty to vote, I also sincerely believe that you should not vote if you are not informed. Ignorance may be bliss, but bliss can get the state into trouble when the Board of Education is debating whether or not to include evolution in the curriculum.


signs that life in PHX will be good
+ An abundance of See's candy stores
+ Unique restaurants outnumber chain restaurants
+ Three words: Chandler Fashion Mall
+ I say it again: we have a pool
+ It's a 20-minute drive from our house to the airport. In rush hour traffic. Compare that to 2h20m from Manhattan to KCI.
+ I don't sweat in Arizona. I'm drenched by the time I walk from my car to the front door in the Midwest.

sign that PHX needs me
- There seems to be only one Democratic candidate yard sign in all of the East Valley. No exaggeration. I saw one the whole week.

top pick-up line for the phoenix metro area
"May I cut your hair?" In my first two days in the Valley, I had two 20-something guys approach me at different times and tell me they were hair stylists and they would love to cut my hair. Either I really need a new style or Phoenix really is a different culture.

The movers came to pack yesterday. They're loading the van this afternoon. We spend all day Thursday cleaning. Friday we sign the house away and drive off into the sunset.

technical difficulties
According to the browser, I apparently have errors in my template. For the past three months I have tried (half-heartedly) to fix them. I'll give a cookie to whoever figures out what's up. Also, due to our computers being in boxes now, I've been using the neighbor's Internet connection. Is it just her computer, or is all the regular text smaller than the astericked (sp?) side-notes?

your reading assignment for the week:*
Democracy in the Balance. by Bill Moyers.

*Because I wish I were as cool as Fiscus.


"but it's a dry heat"
CHANDLER, Ariz. -- Just posting from the Chandler Public Library because I can. More to come upon my return to Manhattan in a couple of days. Peace up.


yo mama
I had my mom take “The Culture War quiz” in this month’s Esquire. She scored 54 points, placing her in the category described thus: “You live in an ashram in Berkeley, own five “legalize pot” T-shirts, and drove your electric car to vote for Nader.” That’s about half-right. She did grow up in Berkeley and she thinks it would be “real cool” to own an electric car; but she teaches (taught?) middle school health and adorns her classroom walls with “This is your brain on drugs”-type posters and thinks Nader is a bit of a joke. I don’t think the quiz expected the same person give the following answers to questions:

Q: How do you feel about the pope saying that Sunday is for God, not sports?
A: He’s right. (-5 points)

Q: Bob Woodward’s book Plan of Action showed that…
A: Bush is a deluded, warmongering Jesus freak. (+5 points)

hello my friend
Ran into an old flame* today. There he was, ready to take my order of a single mocha at Radina’s coffee shop. Woah, that was weird. Totally out of place, since Manhattan was not the locale of our meeting. It’s time for me to get out of Kansas.

*That phrase makes me think of 36-year-old women trying to relive their twenties. I use it in jest.

gone again
Leaving for Phoenix Friday. Be back in a week.


lucky you; another post
New links to picture albums have been posted to your right:
Last night's party for my parents
The aforementioned family reunion pictures
Clinton's visit to Lawrence (these pictures are really dark, sorry)
Random assortment (think of it as a grab bag of photos)

partying with the brookses
Last night the Brooks backyard was jumpin'. More than 125 people came for the Congratulations on the New Job/Good Luck on the Move/Happy 25th Wedding Anniversary/Christmas in July Party that Ally and I threw for our parents. When we started telling people a few weeks ago that we'd be moving, almost always, the first response was, "So I guess that's the end of the Christmas Eve parties." You see, for nearly 20 years, we have hosted one hell of a party on Christmas Eve. We've joked that if we ever decided to celebrate the holiday at one of the grandparents' homes, we'd have to leave a key to the house under the doormat so the party could rage on despite our absence. People we don't see all year will suddenly turn up Christmas Eve, sometimes even if we hadn't specifially sent an invitation. It's just tradition.

So, Ally and I decided to give Manhattan one more Christmas Eve at our place. It was great fun and we had a good turn out. Almost the entire Landscape Architecture Dept. was there, and it seemed like half of the town's middle school teachers were too. Our former youth director even drove three hours from Chanute (leaving behind Fred Phelps and his protestors to picket the gay-friendly church where she is now senior pastor) and back home just for a two-hour party. It's really neat to see how much our parents have meant to people here, whether it be at the University, the middle schools, the two churches we've attended or just the community in general. And 25 years of marriage - woo-hoo!

What'll Manhattan do without us? We might have to leave behind a guest list and the grasshopper torte recipe for the Brocks (the new residents of 3336 Newbury); there might be a few people turning up at their doorstep Dec. 24.
in the family
I never have been one to complain about family reunions. That's because my family is just too cool. There's no pinching of the cheeks or wet, smudgy lipstick kisses. There's mini golf, frisbee, hiking, a volleyball tournament (which the Brooks branch always wins, this year, thanks to my crushing serves), a hilarious talent show, more intense card games than you could imagine and late nights catching up on the previous four years. Sure there are issues, every family has issues. But when it comes down to it, we're all friends just as much as we are family. There were 80+ people at the 7th quadrennial Amend Family reunion - my dad's mom and her brothers and all of their families: four generations! Just check out the pictures and see how fun we are.

around the world
It's killing me. Everyone seems to be traveling the globe, or just finished traveling, or just about to say "bon voyage" and head out into the world. My parents just returned from New Zealand; Retka has landed in Manchester (and has a new look to her blog to suit her new British adventures); my cousin Devin just returned from a 6-month trek around Europe; I'm house-sitting for the Kennedy family as my friend Erin and her family visit her sister in Australia; my friend Jennifer just returned from studying in Italy; and my friend Sarah leaves in a week to study in London. Devin and I stayed up until 1 in the morning the first night of the family reunion, sharing our Europe pictures and talking about the feeling you get when entering a foreign city for the first time, the people you meet along the way and the adventures that stick with you forever. I miss that. That night, having heard Devin's stories and relived my own experience and while thinking about Megan on her flight at that moment, I got a little teary eyed. I'm a bit jealous; jealous of Megan's future adventures and of Devin's fresh memories. It's been more than a year since I tucked my passport into my bag and set out to lose myself in a new culture.

Maybe that's why I'm so excited about the move to Arizona. Phoenix is a new climate, a new culture (I might have to teach myself some Spanish, the second language there; "Vino rojo, por favor"), a new city full of people I don't know yet. Phoenix is potential: potential adventure, potential jobs. I may not need my passport, but it'll be a trip and I need that now.

So, here's to travel; to adventure in new places and new times; to a family that embraces each other and explorations around the world. And here's the to savings account I am going to set up exclusively for treks around the globe.


you probably haven't heard this line often
I had a blast at our family reunion; the weekend wasn't long enough. More to come later when I can sit down at the computer for longer...