Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Out With the Old and In With The New

Revised Diagnostic Essay

Good Lord, I’m thirty-one and my mother still tries to tell me what to do or not do. “Do you hear me, Terri?” “Yes ma, I hear you.” I don’t know why she wants us to go on this trip again. I still haven’t forgotten the last tie we went. My babies’ daddy drove me crazy. I glad that joker is out of here. Anyway I’m not going there today. The good Lord blessed me with someone ten times better, and I’m trying to learn to not look back. “Okay ma, I’ll ask everyone if that date works for them.” “What girl? I didn’t tell you to ask them, I told you to tell them and they better make it happen,” she said. “Okay, okay, I’ll tell them tonight. I have to go, bye ma.”

“Come on, get up. It’s time to go. We want to be on the road by 5am.” I told them to go to bed early last night so they won’t be so tired, but did anyone listen, no. They were so excited they didn’t fall to sleep until two hours ago. The truck is packed and all we have to do is load it with the last minute details and get everyone in. I’m surprised because I really didn’t want to go, but I think I’m excited about going now. “I want everyone in the truck now. We still have to pick up your aunt and cousins.” They know the rule is whenever we go on a trip I like to be on the road by 5am. I like to try and avoid as much city traffic as possible. I invited a new friend of mine to go with us this year. He didn’t know he would be driving the entire trip and when I told him he said he didn’t mind. Thank God because my sister and I hate to drive. Matter of fact the last time we went to Tennessee for the family trip we could barely drive the 9 hours back and that was with both of us driving. If my so called babies’ daddy hadn’t left us in a bind things would not have turned out so bad. Anyway I’m not going there today. As they say “out with the old in with the new.”

Finally everyone is in the car and we are on our way. It’s funny how you say road trip and everyone can drop everything and make a way to go. We love packing up the entire family and traveling to visit my mother’s side of the family. They are the only relatives we have that live in another state so this has always been our chance to get out of Virginia for a while and get to the country. My parents have been taking this trip before I was even born. The first memories I have of going on this trip is getting car sick on our way there one year and we had to keep stopping. That’s when my parents learned about car sickness. I also remember that same year while over one of my aunts’ house, I fell off her porch and had to get stitches in my chin. By the end of that week my mom was ready to go home! We still had so much fun though. No matter how many times we take this trip we always find more and more things to do. Now that my sister and I are adults we can venture out with our children and go different places in Tennessee. I only wish my two brothers were able to go, maybe one year. We didn’t do a lot of site seeing when we were younger. We mostly stayed at my aunt’s house or visited relatives around town. We still had a fun, but I can feel it in my bones this time; we are going to have a great time.

“Blow the horn, she needs to come on. I told her to be ready.” My sister wanted to leave later but we’re not driving so we leave when the driver says leave. She needs to come on. This will be the first time her girls are old enough to enjoy everything with my children and not have to stay with their mother the entire trip. Here she comes. “Finally woman; didn’t I tell you he was going to be on time, so be ready?” “Yeah but I thought everyone would be tired from staying up so late,” she said. “No you’ve know him for a year he is always on time, anyway let’s go, Baby we’re ready.” He is such a sweetie. He hasn’t complained once, he has his own money to pay his own way and I don’t have to tell him everything to do. I can relax with everyone else.

They are having a ball. They brought all their CDs and games. We also packed food so we can eat along the way, so we don’t have to stop too often. We sang and laughed and had so much fun. Everyone started getting hungry around 7 am so we passed the food around and once everyone had eaten they started getting quite. When I noticed they had all fallen asleep, I talked to my friend for a while to keep him company and then I dosed off myself. When we woke we were stopping for a bathroom break and to stretch our legs. After a few minutes we were back in the truck and on the road. We laughed and told them stories of when we used to take this trip when we were little children and the Indian reservations we would stop at and the restaurants we would eat at. We didn’t eat out often though, my mom and dad packed food just like we do. We arrived at our destination and my mom, dad, and grandfather were all sitting on the porch enjoying the view of the mountains in front of them. After speaking to everyone we unloaded the truck and settled in. Since everyone was tired we just cooked on the grill and talked with my grandfather for the evening. It was so quite and lovely.

We wanted to get an early start the next morning and get our week started. Everyone was up and dressed and we visited historic sites, buildings, and learned the states history. We also learned about the culture of the Native Americans. We went to Dollywood theme park, go cart racing and we went site seeing on the highest mountain in the area. We took the children to a location we always visited so we could let them taste real spring water. It was absolutely amazing. We had a fourth of July cook out with all of our relatives and enjoyed eating talking and getting to know each other again. While I was talking to one of my aunts I thought about the last time we were here and this was such a difference. We didn’t enjoy ourselves because my children’s father and I argued when I found out that he didn’t have any money and he didn’t tell me he could only stay on Saturday and asked me to see if could we borrow the money for a bus ticket so get could leave on Sunday get back to work on Monday. That entire week the children and I couldn’t do anything because we only had enough money to get back home. It’s amazing how different things can be with someone else. My new friend didn’t leave a doubt in my mind that he would make sure we had a great time. This trip turned out to be the best one we have ever taken and I appreciate it to this day. At that point I realized I am looking forward to many more trips with him and my family.

The last night everyone was dragging because they didn’t want to leave. They packed in silence and reminisced about the week and how much fun they had and they even said they couldn’t wait until the next time we go on a family trip. The ride back was just as solemn at first and some slept but after a while we started laughing and talking about the events of the week and the places we’ve visited. I realized at that moment my favorite part of the trip was the ride there and back and when the old had been removed and something new has been introduced, I looked up to the heavens and thank God.

1st Diagnostic Essay Family Vacation

My family has been on some memorable vacations but the one that sticks out in my mind is the trip we took to Tennessee to see my grandfather, great aunts, aunt, and cousins. My mom decided she wanted all her children and grandchildren to drive to Tennessee with her and my dad. It was my favorite trip because we have never been all together on a family trip. We decided we would leave early Saturday morning to miss any traffic as well as to get an early start. My mom and dad rode together; we knew it was so they could have some time alone, but we didn’t say anything. The rest of the family rode together and I asked a new friend that I had been seeing for a year, if he wanted to come along. He said he love to come. Little did he know he would end up doing all the driving the entire trip. It was nice though, because every time we got in the car he volunteered to drive without me asking. As someone who hates to drive, it gave me the opportunity to relax and enjoy the ride. He turned out to be a keeper.

The night before leaving we went shopping, cooked food to take with us, and packed luggage and coolers. We loaded everything in the truck with anticipation of the trip the following morning. At 4 am I woke everyone up and we packed the last of our traveling gear. Once everyone was in the truck and ready, we were off but we had to stop and pick up my sister and her daughters. It was about 5:30 am when were finally getting on the interstate. Everyone was so anxious and excited. We were sleepy at first, but once we realized we we’re really on our way we started waking up and talking. We packed CDs and games, items we hoped would help keep everyone from getting bored. Once everyone started getting hungry we ate the breakfast that we packed. We were passing food, plates, forks, cups, drinks, and napkins around until everyone was fed. Since I was sitting up front, in the passengers’ seat, I was responsible for making sure the driving ate also. Everyone ate, talked and laughed. Then we all sung along to a Michael Jackson CD. We had so much fun singing and laughing and it was nice because the children didn’t realize that the parents knew the songs and loved them as much as they did. After a few hours everyone stated getting quiet and looking out the window. We stopped a few times for bathroom breaks and to stretch our legs. After 15 minutes, our driver had us back on the road. Everyone was quiet and talking softly amongst themselves and then slowly, everyone not driving, started falling asleep. When I woke up I realized we were close to our destination and I woke everyone up. We finally arrived and at that point we were ready to get out of the truck. My grandfather was sitting on the porch with my mom and dad, just relaxing and enjoying the view of the mountains. After greeting everyone we unpacked the car and got settled in. We cooked on the grill and just rested for the evening after the long drive.

The next morning when we woke up, our week began. We visited our relatives; we visited historic buildings, and sites. We learned about the history of Tennessee and the cultural of the Native Americans. We went to Dollywood theme park, go cart racing and we took a drive up one of the mountains. At the top of the mountain we stopped and looked at the river that flows down the mountain. The water was so clean and cold we had to have a drink; it was amazing. We had a fourth of July cook out and all our relatives were out in the back yard eating, talking, and really enjoying each other. We were supposed to go horseback riding but we were never able to finalize our plans. One day, close to the end of the week, we were sitting on the porch and two women on horseback walked right up the street beside my grandfather’s house. My daughter was so happy because she loves horses. They allowed us to pet and feed the horses. It was the best part of the trip for my daughter. My grandfather told the children when we first arrived that if they get up early in the morning they will see all kinds of animals that come out of the woods and walk right thorough his yard. On the morning before we were preparing to leave they were up early and were able to see the animals he was referring to. They came in his yard and ate the scraps my grandfather threw in the yard at night. Everyone was sad our last night there, I don’t think anyone wanted the week to end but we packed our suitcases and loaded the truck. The last night my grandfather cooked lobster tails, baked potatoes, and vegetables. Everyone regrettably went to bed and at 4:30am we were up and on the road home. The ride back was solemn at first and some people slept but after a while we started reminiscing about the things we saw and the places we visited. Even the trip back was filled with excitement and laughter. I realized the best part of the trip for me was the ride there and the ride back.

I can say even now, five years later, we have taken other trips, but we still remember and talk about the trip to Tennessee the most. We keep saying we’re going to do it again, but everyone is older, busier and we just haven’t found the time yet, but one day.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Writing, writing and yes more writing

English 111, what can I say about it? If the first day was any indication of what to expect from the next sixteen weeks, I should have jumped ship immediately. Let me just say I sat beside and started talking to a gentleman that I thought was just a regular student, yes he turned out to be the professor. But guess what, not the professor I signed up for. Everyone in the class had this professor’s name on their schedule except for me! Yes I spent the next 30-45 minutes running back and forth trying to find out what happened and where my class went. I was in the correct room but someone forgot to tell me they changed my professor. Anyway from there it was a wild ride. It was a funny class with so many different age groups and therefore, views on life and which lead to many debates, lots of information, and plenty of writing. My hand hurts just writing this.

I realized some things about my writing habits during this course also; things that I had to except and made writing a little easier for me. I learned I can’t write if I don’t feel like it. One paper we had to write, I couldn’t put one single word on paper no matter how hard I tried. I finally had to go to bed and stop thinking about this paper. Low and behold at 4:30 in the morning I woke up with all these thoughts on my topic and by 7 am I had more than enough information, it just had to be organized into a master piece of writing.

Another little quirk of mine is that for long essays I have to write in my bedroom, lying across my bed with all four light sources on and in total silence. I can’t have music or the television playing in the back ground. If there are any distractions my mind can’t focus and it takes longer to get the assignment completed. I’ve also learned to revise, revise, and revise again, even if you think it’s perfect and the best writing you have ever created. There is always something that can be corrected or rewritten. I submitted one paper and my mind told me to reread it one more time and I didn’t and guess what I spelled population incorrectly and no even spell check didn’t catch it, but I know my professor did.

Finally I learned I like to ask questions when I write. Things that make you think, and wonder where you stand on that particular subject. By learning these about myself this semester I feel they helped me get through this course.

There were quite a few reading material and examples to read and examine and I can say one man’s treasure is another man’s unfinished or useless trash. It’s up to your personal style and preference because some writing won’t move you but it will move someone else. Everyone is so different and everyone has a different opinion on reading material but you have to be careful not to offend your classmates. I enjoyed the time in this class and I know the key is to start all work early. It’s hard to write papers when they’re due one right on top of the other. I didn’t feel I was effectively learning the type of paper we were trying to write because it just seemed they were all due at the end of the semester. I know I’ll take everything I’ve learned in this class and build on it in papers to come.

It Wont Happen..Yeah Right!

A little over forty years ago a black man told America, he had a dream. He had a dream that one day blacks and whites would live together peacefully and that all men are created equally. It was the famous speech of Martin Luther King Jr. that started a nationwide movement for not only African Americans but all people. Yes, we know the speech “I Have A Dream”, was given a long time ago and yes people assumed things were better and that we're living together peacefully, but are we, really?

The election of 2008 introduced and elected its first African American President and yes history was made, but history came mixed reactions. What I noticed and watched over the course of this election was the reaction of the people I’ve known for years. People I thought were color blind, and open to, every man having equal rights. The right to be anything they wanted to be, but hold on, evidently there’s a condition someone forgot to mention; equal as long as you're not seeking to run this country, as chief executive.

On November 5, 2008 Senator Barack Obama was elected the first African American President of the United States and people cheered and believe it or not, others cried. I’m sure some cried because their Republican party lost but really, how many cried because of the color of this man’s skin. During this election I was astonished at people and their open conversations about hanging this man, wishing death on his family and not voting for him because of his race. I realized those people have not come as far as we had wished or thought they had; they are a disgrace to this nation, but thank goodness they are not a representation of this nation in its entirety and they did not become the main focus in this event.

I realized something more important as I watched my sons that night in November. I saw the look on their face that signified that they finally realized a black man can be anything he wanted to be, there wasn’t one position being held out of his reach and the reach of all minorites. Even if that included being the leader of a country that some people care more about keeping you under their feet rather than lifting you up and encouraging you to help make this country a place to once again have pride to be an American.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Tired of Being Used

Movements moving on!


Drills, Drills, Drills is an article about the Republican candidate for Vice President, Governor Sara Palin. In the article the author expressed their opinion on Governor Palin and why she is not the best candidate for vice president along with the implications and consequences women would face if this type of tactics by men are allowed to continue. Women must learn to say no when they are aware that they're being used.

The feminist movement thrust women from the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant right into equal rights, fair treatment and the dream that they could be anything they wanted to be. People, especially women like Sarah Palin who were born in the 60's but unable to comprehend the era of this great movement must not be allowed to drag women backwards. Her views and believes are, in my opinion digressive. Men have used women to obtain their objectives for many years and for Governor Palin to play along with the tactics of Senator John McCain and the Republican Party, stating she was ready and able to run this county if anything should happen to McCain, was ridiculous. Her BS in communication journalism and her very limited knowledge of the law or foreign policy would hardly suffice when dealing with the complicated and complex issues we’re facing in this great nation.

Governor Palin allowed men to use her for their personal goal and whether that was to capture the votes of women or to play the “we’re a minority card too”, doesn’t matter, she should have rejected the nomination and thus not allowing herself to be a pawn in this male dominated game. This presidential election proved there are women who think we still live in the stone ages with Wilma Flintstone and Betty Rubbles. Sara, take another look we’ve burned our bras and moved to a new century; evidently without you!

Period…and the Answer Is?

The article “Safe Haven or Last Resort?” talked about a situation where a brief and vague legislation that provided parents protection from prosecution for abandoning their child at a designated hospital. The problem with the safe haven law in Nebraska was it didn’t have an age limit like other states that adopted the same law. The resulting problem was parents dropping off teenagers up to the age of 17.

To most people this probably seems insensitive and cruel but my first thought is there had to be extenuating circumstances that forced these parents into such drastic decisions. These are children who have been with these parents for years, what was transpiring in their household all these years? Has something changed lately and the parents can’t take care of them any longer? Are the children a danger to themselves and society? In more cases than we want to admit parents have been asking for help and that help is yet to come. The law was passed to provide mothers an alternative to throwing their babies in the dumpster or murdering them because they didn’t want them or couldn’t take care of them, but this situation in this state it has shined a light on evidently another problem in this country. There seems to be a large hole that we must fill so all children and families can feel safe. People will judge them and say they were wrong but it had to be hard for these parents and just as hard for the children, but the question remains was this their last resort? By dropping these children off was someone else’s life saved?

Most states have the law that created safe haven locations for children and most of them have an age limit but this state does not. It has provided a beacon of light on a situation that was evidently in the dark because even parents from other states drove to Nebraska to drop their children off. The parents have problems or problem teens and they need help, period…and the answer is?