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Published on November 29 2006

Yeah. Positive strokes are a good thing at this time in my life, lol.
Course Title: Academic & Career Planning Course Number: RQ295 Session: Fall 2006 Session B Course Grade: A Credit Hours: 3 Current GPA: 4.0000 Grade Posted Date: 11/29/2006
Next up: (Yeah, I have to take it AGAIN)
Course Title: International Relations I Course Number: SS131 Session: Fall 2006 Session D

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Published on November 2 2006

 

...Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play ...no wait, wrong song.

November 2nd, 1976. Election Day. The day I left the comforting arms of my home country for my second adventure abroad. At roughly 6 pm the day Jimmy Carter was elected President, I with my family, took off from  Washington, DC to fly to London, England to begin what was for me the best two years of my life.

Well....so far, anyway.

 Impressions of the trip.... I remember getting to Dulles with an enormous pile of luggage. It was going to be a few weeks before furniture and large trunks arrived from the states, so we had to have enough clothing, etc. to last for awhile. And since I was going to be headed up to my new school almost immediately, I had basically everything I owned crammed into a couple of large suitcases. I kid you not, I didn't know where they were going to put all this stuff on the plane. I felt like a gypsy perched on top of this mountain of baggage. The phrase that kept going through my mind as I surveyed the mountain was "You're gonna need a bigger plane".

My parents took off for ticket counters and disappeared, leaving me with one of my younger brothers to keep an eye on the pile of suitcases. I remember looking up at that enormous swooping roof, back at the suitcases, and wondering just exactly what I was supposed to do if anyone did try to make off with all of our earthly possessions. I decided I'd send Scott after them. ;-)

That flight lasted.... forever. My mother kept telling me to try to sleep, knowing that jet lag was gonna get us; but I was far too excited to sleep. OH my god, we're going to go live in a foreign country!! Nobody gets to do this in the real world, and here I am!!! Even the turbulence immediately after our meals were served could not dampen my excitement, although I thought it was very nice of the pilot to note "Ladies and Gentlemen, we'll be experiencing a little turbulence tonight" AFTER most of my dinner found it's way into my lap. I also very much enjoyed the selection of music on the little headphones the attendant handed me. Barry Manilow was the highlight-- I will never, for the rest of my days, be able to listen to the song "Mandy" again without wanting to be ill.

Heathrow...my first view of England. Hey, it's the middle of the night, why is it daylight???  They were right...it does rain a lot here, doesn't it?

Tired, bleary-eyed, stiff from being trapped for hours in those cramped seats. Head still ringing from Barry Manilow and hoping I didn't look too bad with the stains from my overturned dinner still on my jeans.  

Going through customs, I was quietly excited about getting my very first visa stamp on my very own passport. He headed into the main part of the airport to baggage and the taxi stand (I was still wondering if there was a taxi big enough for luggage mountain). As we rode down the escalator, I spotted a parrot at the bottom of the steps.

A parrot?? Whatthehell???


What I had spotted was a six-foot-tall young man in a shiny leather jacket covered in pins and heeled boots. Tattoos. Eye makeup. LOTS of eye makeup, most of it running down his cheeks as if his mascara had run in the rain. And the most enormous orange-with-purple-streaks Mohawk hairdo I'd ever seen, an easy 7" tall, towering over the shaved sides of his head. The Punk look hadn't arrived in the US yet, so this was quite the sight for my first hour in England. I was in love with England already.

We're not in Kansas anymore, Dorothy. :-D

 

We got our bags and found our way to the taxi stand with the help of a half-dozen porters. Somehow, we  managed to pack people and bags into one large cab, although I think they had to jump up and down on the "boot" (boot? I love this place!!  ) to get it to close. The cabbie, after finding out this was our very first trip to London, offered to take up past some of the sights on our way to the hotel. At least, I think that's what he said. Me and my slight Maryland southern drawl had just come up against "Cockney".

So, we saw a few sights. I was exhausted and would have done anything for a soft bed at that point, but knowing that I was going to be "going to school in London" made me look around at what was to be my city. My impression was... gray. November in London is GRAY.

And it was so exciting. I was glued to the window, looking at my new home. I couldn't WAIT to go explore, to see all the things I'd been reading about for the last six months since our move was first a possibility. I. could. not. wait.

We finally got to our hotel. I didn't care if they gave me a mattress in a hallway at this point, but we checked into a building that looked nothing like the Holiday Inns of the US. This hotel was in a building that probably dated back a couple of hundred years, and it was gorgeous. Staggering into our rooms, I headed straight for the loo (Loo? I love this place!!) and switched on the light. And switched it again. Still dark. Suddenly it dawned on me that the bathroom was black. BLACK.

No amount of lighting was going to brighten this room. My family, tired to the point of tipsyness, roared with laughter over this room. I just knew showering was going to be an experience in groping for the soap.

Finally....a bed. The end of the longest but most wonderful day. Tired as I was, it took awhile to finally sleep. I was in a new world.

I was in ENGLAND.

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Published on October 31 2006

Hot Air » Blog Archive » Audio: John Kerry on America’s lazy, uneducated military; Update: Video added What a horse's ass. Maybe a better way to succeed is to just marry a reallyreally rich woman? That would be so much easier than school, wouldn't it? There's a reason that I freeze when I get in front of a camera--examples like this guy. Better to look like a deer in the headlights than to insert my foot that far down my throat.

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Published on October 27 2006

Putin: Don't back North Korea into corner - CNN.com
SEOUL, South Korea (Reuters) -- North Korea should not be backed into a corner over its nuclear test if the global community wants to resolve the crisis over the North's atomic ambitions, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday. Putin, referring to six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear program, said one of the reasons Pyongyang had resorted to conducting the test was that "not all participants in negotiations were able to find the correct tone..." "You must never push one of the participants in talks into a corner and place it in a situation from which it can find no way out other than boosting tension," he said answering questions on live television. The U.N. Security Council voted on October 14 to impose financial and arms sanctions on North Korea after it staged the nuclear test, but just what those sanctions meant and how they would be implemented was still a matter of debate. North Korea warned its neighbor against imposing sanctions. "South Korea, forced by the United States, has already halted inter-Korea humanitarian projects and is moving to stop cooperation in other areas. The South is even revealing an intention to join U.S.-led military operations aimed at blockade against us. "South Korea's participation in the U.S. racket to put pressure upon the North...is a serious provocation leading to a crisis of war on the Korean peninsula," a spokesman for the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland was quoted by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) as saying. "If South Korea joins the U.S. ploy to pressure us, we will consider it as a declaration of a showdown and take corresponding actions," the spokesman added. North Korea blamed the United States for creating the crisis. "... the world has been pushed into the vortex of nuclear arms race by the nuclear strong-arm policy of the U.S. based on double standards," said the Communist Party newspaper, the Rodong Sinmun. "Its grave policy of nuclear threat is the main factor that pushed the DPRK to access to nukes," KCNA said, using the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. The United States, which as one of the five recognized nuclear states maintains a massive nuclear arsenal, has promised that it has no nuclear weapons on the Korean peninsula and has also said it has no intention of attacking North Korea. China voted in favor of the sanctions but both Beijing and Seoul fear that if they squeeze the impoverished North too tightly it could ruin ties and risk the North's collapse, sending waves of refugees into China and threatening regional turmoil.
Another good article at CFR. Reading some of the news reports brought to mind the questions on this subject that I had to answer for IR class last year. In fact, I was working on the questions at the same time I was partying down at the last reunion. (Hotel wireless is so cool! Yes, I am a hick, as a matter of fact!) So I dug around in my notebook to find my answers--seems like things haven't changed all that much in a year. The problem hasn't changed. I still am so intrigued-- and impressed-- watching these kinds of negotiations and considering all of the myriad factors involved. I always end up with more questions than answers studying these ideas. Since it looks as if I'll be taking basically the same course over again beginning in December, I'm hoping maybe I'll understand a little more about it this time around. To me, it looks more like China has been put in a corner, rather than NK. What does China do next?? because, as much as NK rants and raves about the US, the power they *really* need to worry about it China. And I think that is why the US doesn't seem to have done much--at least not as much as some factions in this country think we should do--about the DPRK. In some strange way, we realise that NK is more China's baby than ours. Section 5 questions
    If you were the head of state for South Korea, what particular aspects of North Korea's weapons technology would you find most troublesome? If you were among the top officials of the U.S. government, what particular aspects of North Korea's weapons technology would you find most troublesome? Explain the difference in perspective. If you were among the top officials in China, would you apply negative pressure on North Korea, or implicitly support their policies? Why?
"North Korea (DPRK) is a country whose major element of power is its military. With the demise of one of its major supporters, the Soviet Union, North Korea has remained barely a third World Country economically, headed by a dangerously unstable dictator. Important resources and monies continue to be funneled to the military under the doctrine of “military first”, at the expense of the economy. North Korea seems very much to be a state based only on its military and preparation for war. North Korea’s military doctrine appears to have one purpose: be able to conduct an offensive into the Republic of Korea, with the eventual goal being the re-unification of the Korean peninsula under the North Korean regime. One concern would be the continual buildup of NK troops in the area of the Demilitarized Zone. According to the web page: Korean People's Army - Introduction: "Seventy percent of their active force, including approximately 700,000 troops, over 8,000 artillery systems, and 2,000 tanks, is postured within 90 miles of the Demilitarized Zone." Obviously, as a South Korean leader, I would find the constant presence of this large force massed at my northern border, within close striking range, very troubling. The DPRK’s focus on the power of its national culture as a People’s Army building an offensive force to reunify the peninsula does not lend itself to the idea that this presence is a purely defensive force, as is claimed by the DPRK. Most countries, South Korea included, would find the nuclear capability the most troubling aspect of the North Korean weapons program. In late 2002, North Korea restarted its nuclear facilities, and removed monitoring equipment put in place per previous agreements. According to the same Webpage referenced above, 2005 Defense Intelligence Agency analysts were reported to believe that North Korea may already have produced as many as 12 to 15 nuclear weapons. North Korea is unlikely to ever be a player on the worlds’ stage without the threat of its nuclear capability, and it seems to be quite prepared to use this fact to its advantage. This nuclear program, in combination with a missile program which has already proved the capability to fire missiles as far away as Japan, indicates North Korea is using the only power it has left. These capabilities enable North Korea to bargain, rather than to beg, for its economic survival. However, as long as North Korea continues to push its isolationist policies with regards to its economy, and as long as its regime’s methods of economic expansion is encouraging “donations” from the outside world, its nuclear threat may be limited. As to the third question, China’s approach to the Korean problem will be very important. China is the only support remaining to North Korea, even though there is limited trade with other countries. On the other hand, China is also moving away from the extreme Communist hard-line approach in its economic policies, something which the leadership in Pyongyang is unwilling to do. China is becoming globalized very rapidly in its economy. China, with its more open economic policy, as well as its huge natural resource of its population, will become a world superpower in time. North Korea, a client state and a rogue nation with nuclear capabilities threatening the region, is a problem China must have a role in solving if it wants to continue its march towards globalization. China will prevent the complete collapse of North Korea, based on its long association as a fellow Communist regime; but it must also find a way to use its considerable negotiating power to prevent North Korea from undermining the stability of the entire region with its nuclear threats and coercion."

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Published on October 24 2006

One of the requirements for class this week was to take a "job aptitude" test. Considering I've been in more or less one career for a veryveryvery long time, I thought it might be interesting to see what I *should* be doing with my life!! I clipped a lot out of the approximately 15-PAGE report. (It took me longer to read the report than it did to actually take the test--and I'm a speedreader!)
Overall, your responses to the statements in the assessment instrument reveal you to be a Goal Oriented Thinker - A Team Strategist. Your overall ratings reveal you to be a self directed person, and this is a very important characteristic of a high achiever. You like to accomplish things on your own. You are more likely to be an independent, rather than a team oriented achiever. You prefer work settings that enable you to be a self empowered leader rather than a person who needs to be led or closely managed by others. You are generally a highly motivated person who does not need to be "pushed" by others. You are likely to set demanding standards of accomplishment for yourself. As a strategist, you have exceptional gifts for others on your work team as a result of your high technical competence.
Flattery will get you everywhere! Self-directed!! Self Empowered!! Highly Motivated!! Exceptional Gifts!! Technically Competent!! Who are they talking about!!
You tend to have a higher need to take charge of situations than most others. This is an essential characteristic of leadership, but is often found among those who tend to like to influence others and seek positions in management. This is clearly an asset that you bring to the organization-the ability to focus on what needs to be done so that it will be done right. High scores in this area would likely make you a born trouble-shooter, being able to work through crises with relative ease when compared to others. Some may see you as a risk taker, too, but this may not be how you see yourself.
Shooting trouble is my *favorite* activity, so they got that part right! :D
Your interests in working with data are higher than most others. This is a potential strength that you might want to leverage for yourself, as you are probably more likely to master subjects that rely on data analysis than most others. On every work team there is a need for someone who works well with data, budgets, financial statements, administrative records and the like.
They obviously haven't seen the state of my checkbook. Or my desk. But this last part was the part that truly hurt, considering I RUN AN UMPTY-HUNDRED MILLION DOLLAR MACHINE FOR A LIVING!
Please do not even think about a career working with mechanical things! You do not like this part of work and, even worse, you probably make things worse rather than better when you try. Every now and then there comes along a person who has a knack for trying to fix things and in doing so, makes things worse, rather than better. Look in the mirror and you might see who we are talking about. A tip: Stick with what you like to do. Do not even 'think' about trying to fix those gadgets that are not working.
Ouch. >:P

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Published on October 1 2006

Well, the last one for a couple of years, anyway. Shawn's diploma finally came in the mail last week, so we thought we'd both show off just a little bit. Yes, that's right--I actually had my diploma in my hot little hands before she got hers!! Nyah, nyah, nyah.....
diplomas (Small).JPGgrads (Medium).JPG

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Published on September 10 2006

I want...no, that's not true... I NEED to go back again. Just once. I want to see it again.
Stars & Stripes London Central school to be shut down at end of academic year By Ben Murray, Stars and Stripes European edition, Wednesday, September 6, 2006 Just eight days after the London Central Elementary School/High School opened its doors for classes, Department of Defense Dependents Schools-Europe officials announced Tuesday it will close for good at the end of the school year. Citing declining enrollment numbers, military officials signed paperwork Tuesday to authorize the closure of the newly merged K-through-12 school at the end of the 2006-2007 academic year, said Linda Curtis, DODDS-Europe deputy director. The decision came just five days after a memo was sent out, warning parents that changes at the school were likely and advising them to register with the Non-DOD Schools Program, which can enable students to receive up to about $40,000 annually to attend local private schools. The memo also laid out options for British and home-schooling options and announced the school has hired a new “transition specialist” to help parents decide where to send their kids next fall. The school plans to hold a community meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday to discuss the upcoming changes, London Central principal Theresa Barba said. The meeting is scheduled to take place at the high school music building. Student numbers at U.S. schools in the London area have been in decline for years due to the drawdown of Navy forces in the United Kingdom. In the spring, officials closed the West Ruislip Elementary School, merging it with the high school at RAF Daws Hill. Then, over the summer officials announced London Central High School would close the residential portion of the school. London Central is an irregular DODDS facility because it functions partly like a boarding school, with on-campus dorms intended for use by U.S.-sponsored students whose parents live in an area where there are no local DODDS high schools. This year, enrollment at the combined London Central Elementary School/High School fell to about 275 students, with about 55 staff members, Barba said. About 160 of those students are enrolled in grades 9-12, and about 80 of those live in the on-campus dorms, she said.

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Published on September 5 2006

This is a great story about a young man in South Carolina, a freshman in college, living off a college scholarship--and raising his younger brother at the same time. What an example he is! CNN.com - Clemson's McElrathbey raises young brother - Sep 5, 2006
CLEMSON, South Carolina (AP) -- The alarm sounds at 6:15 a.m. and Clemson freshman Ray Ray McElrathbey starts a routine like few others in college football. Along with classes, film work, defensive back meetings and football practice, McElrathbey sees that his 11-year-old brother, Fahmarr, is dressed and fed, finishes his homework and makes it to middle school on time. McElrathbey, 19, has temporary custody of his brother because of his mother's continuing drug problems and his father's gambling addiction. The two brothers have shared experiences in foster homes and now share an apartment by the campus. They live solely off McElrathbey's scholarship while Clemson's athletic department tries to get a waiver from the NCAA that might let them accept donations without jeopardizing McElrathbey's football eligibility.

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Published on August 18 2006

Working on my "resume" for my "how-tp-do-an-online-class" class at APUS. It's required that all students take this as their first class towards a degree. I'm trying to worm my way out of it, having done the UW classes over the last year. To get out of it, a student is required to turn in an essay on "why I don't need to take this class"...and a RESUME. This is going to be the most BORING resume ever written. Should I include my stint as a salad girl in a restaurant? I learned a lot about lettuce on that job, after all. How about my very first job, washing dishes in the school cafeteria during lunch when I was in 7th grade? Or my fame as 'sconsin's first female paperboy at age 13? (Who knew I'd be breaking down barriers so young? 8-| ) I definitely need to include my job as a carhop at a drive-in fast food joint in wintertime to show my determination to succeed--you know what tips are like when you deliver trays of food to people who have their defrosters/ heaters running full blast to keep their windows from freezing over at 20 below zero? Not good, lol. Hope they don't giggle too hard at a resume of 26 years as a factory babe.

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Published on August 16 2006

Congratulations Graduate!
We are proud to award you your Associate of Arts and Science Degree from The University of Wisconsin Colleges!
- - - - - Degrees Awarded - - - - -
Degree : Associate of Arts & Science Degree(Ethnic Studies) Confer Date : 2006-08-31 Requested By : Engle,Laurie Crofoot I will mail your diploma to you as soon as I receive it from the printer. That usually takes 3 to 4 weeks. If you have moved since you filled out your application for degree candidacy, please send me your current address. Graduates will be posted on our website by the end of the week.
:-D

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