Saturday, October 10, 2009

You can do it, put your back into it

An Independent’s View

I have to say that I was a bit shocked when they awarded the Nobel Peace Prize to Obama. He tends to fall far too left for me to ever give him my full support, but I do think he is a good man. A good man with lofty promises. That, too me, is not what the Nobel Peace Prize stands for.

We are too great of a nation and too big of a world to measure someone on their promises. Just eleven days after Obama was inaugurated, the nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize were closed. Just eleven days. Then, and even now, most of what we have is his intentions. He promises to end the war in Iraq; however, if you live close to Ft. Benning, Ga, you know more troops are sent there every three months. He promises to shut down Guantanamo Bay, but continues to reassign more people. He promises to give the nation healthcare, but politics and hidden agendas have tied him up in Congress.

None of the above mentioned should be accomplished already in terms of a President who has been in office for such a short time. But for a Nobel Peace winner, I think at least one should have happened before an award was even discussed on his behalf.

Roosevelt was honored with the award for brokering an agreement between Russia and Japan. Woodrow Wilson took the award for his role in ending WWI and creating the League of Nations. Obama won the award for promising the world a better America.

Lofty promises lead to disappointment. Lofty promises carrying this much clout---lead to disaster.

Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both. -Benjamin Franklin

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Well we are all golden here

This might come as a shock to those reading this---but I am quite dramatic. So, when I was hovering over the toilet at 3am as the water in my house simultaneously stopped dripping out of the faucet three days ago, let's just say, the next day I made sure everyone knew what kind of disastrous condition I was in.

Also another very astute observation--I think I'm a badass. (Sorry for the language, Mom, but it was the only word that was appropriate). This, in itself, landed me in the mess I was in at 3 am. It all started last Saturday, when a volunteer asked me to go hiking in the Vermont Nature Trails with her. These are trails maintained by the Ministry of Forestry within St. Vincent's rainforest. While we were hiking, dismissing the previous water safety training administered to us two weeks ago, I decided to fill my water bottle with river water coming down the mountain. Did anyone else in my group think this was a good idea? No. But my underlying desire to prove that rules (and common water safety knowledge) do not apply to me took over and I filled my big jug of water up...twice.

It only took 17 hours for whatever was in that water to make it through my system. And little did I know it would stay there for the next three days. The pains were so bad, it caused me to leave a beer unfinished and a political rally mid-scream. This was getting serious.

Finally, I had made it home without any embarrassing mishaps. I dove into my bed, thinking the worst was over.

Three o'clock in the morning rolls around and my jaw starts to quiver. Saliva collects in the mouth and I know exactly what is about to happen. Those two beers and macaroni salad were coming back to haunt me. I bury my head in the toilet for the next twenty minutes (sorry for the graphics, Mom). As I reach up to flush the toilet, I realize the bathroom is missing something. The familiar drip from the faucet was replaced with an eerie silence. I pushed hard on the handle. Nothing. I turned the knob on the shower. Nothing. I run out to the kitchen to try the sink. Nothing. In normal stateside circumstances, I would have called my father, screaming at what a horrible circumstance I had gotten myself into and begging him to do whatever was in his power to circumvent it (ie my infamous tire fiasco of 2008). No such reaction would do this time.

In a very non Neely-esque way, I turned off the light in the bathroom and went to sleep. The water would surely be back on by morning.

If I had to predict what hell would be like, it would involve being sick with a water borne illness in a foreign country with no running water. Waking up to sweat-soaked sheets, chewing your advil because there's nothing to swallow it with, 3-day old sweat gluing your clothes to your skin, eating bread with dirty fingernails, waking up at 2 am and running out to the yard to use the restroom, waking up your neighbors because you're throwing up in the lawn so loudly, giving a presentation that determines whether you are sworn in as a volunteer or not with nappy, greasy hair, and of course, the over-dramatic email to home explaining how you're probably dying. Yes, this is definitely my hell.

But, I survived. I'm at the end of day three, fully bathed, drinking cold water and swating misquitoes away from my computer screen. I'd say things were back to normal. But, a cockroach just landed in my drink, so I'm going to go take care of that. This time I won't drink the water.

And did you get what you wanted from this life, even so? I did. And what did you want? To call myself beloved, to feel myself beloved on the earth. " — Raymond Carver