sometimes birthdays come in pairs. you’re likely to reading this on tuesday, the birthday of my lovely mother, joy louise yoder eversole. isn’t she cute? just as my dad taught me a lot, mom did, too. mom read out loud to us, and created little family traditions like making doughnuts when the first snow came. she taught me to stick to my convictions, and to not care about what the world thinks. mom has a knack for attracting people who need someone to talk to and find her to be a good listener. i’d like to think that i share that trait. she did her best to teach me to be responsible – to keep my room clean and to peel potatoes and to grow a garden. (i’m still working on those things.) when my parents came to visit us at our new house this spring, mom spent most of her time pulling weeds and simply doing things that need to be done. she taught me to serve others without complaining. she taught me to take walks for pleasure. she taught me to look for bargains and shop at thrift stores whenever possible. she makes the best broccoli salad ever, and she committed a huge portion of her life to putting the needs of our family before her own. i love you, mom!
112537234167029397 August 29, 2005
the great thing about getting married on september 4 is that we’ll always have a three-day weekend to celebrate our anniversary. tonight, the wonderful husband pricelined a fabulous hotel for a weekend in toronto.
“what are you doing this weekend?”
“oh, we’re just leaving the country for a few days.”
happy first anniversary to us! i’ll save the reflections on being married for a year for later.
when did priceline become a verb?
in honor of our anniversary week, take note of how cute daniel and i were when we first met each other (upper right of the page). super-blaze will return soon.
thugs making rugs
this morning i drive an hour and a half to see one of my kids – an 18-year-old boy in residential drug rehab. he’s essentially and orphan – his mom, stepdad, brother and stepbrother have all died, and he doesn’t really have a relationship with his biological father. he has a history of felony charges, mostly related to burglaries that seemed like a good idea when he was high. he’s from “the bottoms,” which is sort of a violent, appalachian ghetto at its worst, and his family has had a lot of violence. (his older brother threatened my life at one point.) but this kid is one of the gentlest, most responsible kids i know. the staff at his treatment facility never have any concerns, and he’s a role model for the other kids.
anyway, i was talking to him about his schedule this morning, and he mentioned that every afternoon he does “clean and sobers.” clean and sobers are activities to practice having fun without using drugs. i asked him what he does, and he says, “watch movies, play board games, crochet…” as it turns out, my boy is a crochet maniac. he’s made fluffy yarn pillows for his sisters, and showed me the most beautiful afghan that he’s working on. the kid is a crafting genius! (i crochet, but i really only have the patience for hats and scarves.) his counselor told me that all of the boys are doing it, and they call it “thugs making rugs.”
that was, most definitely, the highlight of my day.
PC185549 August 28, 2005
by the time most of you read this, it will be monday, and my father’s 51st birthday. happy birthday, dad! dad has never hesitated to spend lazy weekend mornings with us, as the photographic evidence shows. some of my favorite times with him as i was growing up were our hardee’s dates on saturday mornings – i would get cinnamon rasin biscuits, and we would both read the chicago tribune. i think i got my love of reading from him, and he first introduced me to public radio, among other things. when my brother and i had an 8:30 bedtime, we could usually get him to let us stay up the extra half hour to finish watching the a-team or macgyver. dad has always unconditionally supported matthew (my brother) and i, giving us room to make our own decisions and letting us know that he is always there when we’re in a pinch. dad is also one of the most giving people i know, both of his time and money, to things that he believes are important. dad taught me to love God with my mind and my actions more than my words. i know he thinks i border on being a communist at times, and he wanted me to become an optometrist instead of a social worker, but as long as we avoid in-depth political debates, it’s all good.
i love you, dad! happy birthday!
112516518655904556 August 27, 2005
happy saturday, dear ones!
i’m sitting with my second and a half cup of coffee, listening to this american life, and just feeling happy in general that i have no huge responsibilities today, and can take the time to think about whatever crosses my mind…
… like the chronicles of narnia. when i was a child, my parents encouraged me to read, my mom read out loud to us, my dad always had a book in hand at night. i was one of those kids who always said “just let me finish this chapeter,” before washing the dishes or going outside or whatever else i should have been doing. but we were never really encouraged to read the fantastical, allegorical stories that everyone else read – narnia, a wrinkle in time, etc. i still prefer realistic fiction and creative nonfiction, but harry potter has inspired me to catch up on the stories that i left behind. i just finished “the lion, the witch and the wardrobe” for the first time, and am working on “the silver chair”. what can i say? i’m falling in love with aslan.
…a few days ago, ed fladung asked why i didn’t go surfing in sayulita when we were in puerto vallarta. alice and megan went after i left (they were there a couple of days longer than me). i want to surf, but i’m not sure i trust my ability to swim enough.
…i promised more details on my first night of school. i’m taking two classes – theories and techniques of counseling, and heuman development. theories is first, with dr. hall. he’s my advisor, and i think he may end up becoming one of my professional heros. his class was really motivating, and i just kept thinking about how glad i was to be there, and how this is really what i want to do with my life. quote of the class:
“the client is the expert of their story. we are the experts of facilitating dialogue about the story.”
i can dig that.
my second class is slightly less inspiring so far, but the professor is very sincere, and seems to be trying hard to get us to interact and discuss things. it’s interesting to me that we have a lot more assignments in a 2 hour credit class than dr. hall’s 3 hours, but that’s ok. the highlight of class was watching “everyone rides the carousel,” an animated 70s movie about eric erikson’s eight stages of life. a little hippie-drippy, but it gets the point across…
it’s raining again, and i’m hungry.
112505525292927371 August 26, 2005
i think i’m going to love grad school.
details later – now i have to drive to cincinnati to pick up a kid.
summer August 24, 2005
summer vacation is over…
i love summer. i love my little brother even more.
tomorrow is my first day of school. every year at this time, i find myself wishing that i was going back to school with everyone else, and now i am. unless i quit my job, it will likely take me three years to be finished. that seemed like a long time until tonight, when i realized that, when i’m finished, daniel will be the same age i was when we met. that makes the time seem shorter, but it also makes me feel old.
as for school, though, i’m getting really excited just starting to read and do my homework. (yes, i have homework already, thanks to an overacheiving professor who emailed his syllabus to us on monday.) i’m starting with two classes – therories and techniques of counseling, and human development across the lifespan. my thursdays will be long – work all day and then class from 4:30 until 9:15pm. i’m just hoping that my classmates are interesting, and really care about our classes.
speaking of interesting people, daniel and i have met our new best friends in old towne east. actually, they’re our only friends so far in old towne east, unless you count our next-door neighbor, dale. we met ron and cara at the neighborhood ice cream social, and seem to have a lot in common – charming, talkative, sometimes obnoxiously funny guy with a sweet, smart, beautiful girl. they own a new little neighborhood bar, and ron designs and prints t-shirts. (which just happens to be one of daniel’s newest interests.) we love them! but don’t fear, old friends – we have enough love to go around.
i’m closing three cases at work this week. my supervisor loves me. she loves me so much that she might be giving me four more new cases. apparently, my teammate johannah and i may both end up being at 24 cases. i do believe that boosts my monthly high caseload bonus from $200 to $300. it also means that johannah and i very well may have the highest caseloads at the agency. it’s interesting how it works in my field – the better caseworker you are, the more cases you get because “you can handle it,” resulting in the best, most experienced workers getting burned out. (i’ve heard that you have to be a little crazy to do this job.)
in other news, palmer went back to the hospital last night. if you’re a pray-er, please do so for him, amy, micah, and our community. everyone is so tired.
sweet dreams, dear ones.
112467354479069853 August 21, 2005
not all is beautiful in paradise…
Underage Sex Workers in Mexico
Mexico has no laws defining or sanctioning child prostitution as criminal activity.
An estimated 5,000 children are currently involved in prostitution, pornography and sex-tourism in Mexico. Nearly 100 children and teenagers a month fall into the hands of the child prostitution networks which are mafias or organized crime syndicates.
More than 2,000 girls and young women have been sold to Japanese brothels. Traffickers belong to criminal syndicates operating along the US border and associated with Japanese “yakuza” gangs.
The US-Mexican border is one of the main centers for child sex tourism. Thousands of Americans cross into Mexico daily looking for cheap sex with underage prostitutes. Mexican authorities, who admit that about 18,000 minors were used to produce child pornography, have taken little action.
Organized Mexican cartels smuggle girls as young as 14 into the US. The Cadena network has smuggled many young Mexican girls to south Florida. Despite the arrest of a number of key players by US authorities, the head of the Cadena hydra remains at large. US investigators have also apprehended several employees of the California-based Chamblee Agency for trafficking laborers into the US, some of whom were forced into prostitution and debt-bondage.
The most degrading and often dangerous work of women and children can be found in prostitution. Tens of thousands of Mexican women and girls (as well as men and boys) work as prostitutes in all of the major cities of the country. A recent study by the Mexico City government Youth Commission headed by Angeles Correa found that Mexico City had 50,000 prostitutes of whom 2,500 were minors. Elena Azaola of the Center of Higher Research and Studies in Social Anthropology (CIESAS) found that there were 5,000 child prostitutes in all of Mexico (90 percent female). But Rosa Marta Cortina de Brown of the Female Association of Tourist Enterprise Executive estimates that 250,000 children between 10 and 16 have been the victims of “sexual tourism” in cities like Guadalajara, Cancun, Acapulco, Puerto Vallarta and Tijuana. Recently there have also been reports on child prostitution in Veracruz, Queretaro, and Ciudad Juarez. Girls in prostitution face constant problems of possible pregnancy, immature childbirth, violence, alcohol and drug addiction, sexual transmitted diseases including HIV-AIDS.
112448398342988857 August 19, 2005
i started out by trying to write a day-by-day narrative of puerto vallarta. that gets difficult to write, though, and would most likely be boring for you, my dear readers. instead, i’ll just give a few bullet points:
1. the biggest differences between PV and other tropical places i’ve been is that the streets are clean, and there are no herds of stray dogs roaming the streets. also, the tourism board must be doing a pretty good job of hiding the poverty. i’m sure there are shacks and beggars somewhere, but we couldn’t find them.
2. the one thing i had been warned about was aggressive time share salesmen. neftali got us, though. he convinced megan, alice and i to check out the “grand mayan palace” for a free breakfast and a half-price snorkeling/horseback riding tour. he was probably the only person in the whole town who could get the three of us to sign up (he wasn’t very aggressive, and made the tour sound pretty cool.), but while we were working it out, megan and i looked up to see his sidekick sticking one of alice’s dreads in his mouth. i think he had a little too much tequila.
3. the time share presentation itself was, um, interesting. the 90 minutes turned into 3 hours, but at least the breakfast was good. the resort was beautiful as resorts go, but i have a little bit of moral problem with the hotel tearing out everything and replacing it every 5 years. anyway, our salesman was trevor, an american who is a few years older than me. he came to PV on vacation with his mother when he was nine, and they had dinner at a seafood restaurant. his mom ended up marrying the owner, and it became the vacation that never ended. anyway, he did tell us about a good place to go salsa dancing.
4. snorkeling is awesome. horseback rides up a mountain are anticlimatic. boat rides to get to the mountain are a lot of fun, especially when arturo keeps bringing more coronitas.
5. watching sunsets on the beach make me feel like i’m in a movie. of course, it was rainy season, so we didn’t get to see the sunset every night. but rainy season is much better than indian monsoons – it rains about the same time every evening, and was bright and beautiful the next morning. some nights we went out in the rain, and one or two nights we succumed to the “law and order” marathons on tnt.
6. there were probably more mexican tourists than americans in PV right now. it’s always a good sign to me when nationals have the same destination i do.
7. alice and megan got their first tatoos from a guy named pinky. not to fear, though – you can always trust a tatoo artist who shows you the autoclaved needles in their packages and keeps pictures of his kids on the wall.
8. i really, really want to become at least literate in the language of salsa and merengue. daniel did promise me dance lessons when we got married…
9. ultimately, PV is a place i would love to go back to. usually, tourists spots don’t hold my attention that long, but i did find myself scheming ways to bring daniel back and live on the beach for the rest of our lives…