Wednesday, April 16, 2014

You don't belong here

Like many people, I have been watching the pre-Boson Marathon coverage for the past couple days.  I have also been cough-Cough-COUGHING which I alternate with bouts of lying around moaning & while it would be an exaggeration to say I have been watching a lot of tv, the box has certainly been on.  That's right, I'm sick.  So sick, I missed the Friends of the Library book sale, the open house at the native rose nursery & C******'s birthday.  No books, no plants, & no cake. 

While in my weakened state, I began to notice a common thread through some of the people-stories that have been airing lately.  So without further ado, here it is, my list of recently-brought-to-my-attention illegal aliens...undocumented non-citizens....whatever you want to call them. 

Lets start small, with one of my favorites.  Pamela Anderson.  Oh sure, she is legal now, but when she first came here she wasn't.  She was spotted by a person who spots potential Playboy Playmates (that cannot be the real job title, I hope) & invited her to the US for a photo shoot but didn't go to the trouble of securing a work visa.  Anderson was stopped at the border, searched -seriously, searched- & the letter asking her to come work in the US (yes, what she does...did, is working) & was turned away.  In the end, of course, the paperwork was filed, Anderson did come here & take that job away from some other hard working American & the rest is history.  Except for the part about her being illegal, because while she tried to be an illegal alien, she got caught at the border.  Really.

The entertainment industry also gives us Charlize Theron who was doing OKay here illegally, until she started to get noticed professionally & then got booted & had to work her way back through channels. 

Who could forget Arnold Schwarzenegger used to be illegal?  Pretty much everyone as it happens.   Schwarzenegger came here on a strict no-employment-type visa.  & then found a job, collected a salary & never paid taxes on any of it, not even when he came clean to run for governor.

One of the more infamous illegals was Angel Reséndiz, better known as the Railroad Killer.  We left Houston in August 1998; he arrived in December of that same year.  Also, we lived near a railroad track, so I am delighted to have missed him.  On the other hand we had then, & still have, what I consider to be an excellent crime deterrent:  big, barky dogs.

& last but not least, the man who probably should have been at the top of the list Carlos Arredondo, legal name Alexander Arredondo.  Arredondo did not become a legal citizen of this country until after one of his sons had been killed in combat, through a provision allowing parents of service members killed in combat to apply for citizenship.  At that point, he had been in this country for more than 20 years.  Since becoming a legal citizen, Arredondo has been very active protesting policies he does not agree with, including the war that killed the son that allowed him to become a citizen.  Last year around this time, he was doing just that when a bomb went off at the Boston Marathon & Arredondo became one third of one of the most iconic photographs of that day; he is the one in the cowboy hat.

Living in Florida, I might be more up close & personal with former aliens than most Americans (I married a former legal alien 20 years ago, long before I ever imagined I would live here & long after he was naturalized).  For starters, there are two important people in my wider-life that would not be in it if it were not for the Mariel boatlift.  One came over then & one was born here a year+ later, that's right an anchor baby.  So maybe we are more used to aliens.  On the other hand, V** has been living with her boyfriend for a good long while.  Every so often she is asked why they haven't gotten married, doesn't he want citizenship?  He is Puerto Rican.  Puerto Ricans have been officially recognized citizens of the US since 1917, longer than Hawaiians, longer than Alaskans.  Yes, yes white Alaskans were recognized as citizens in 1867, but Native Americans were not until...I couldn't find the date actually but it must have happened by now, right? 

Yesterday was one of our most well-known American citizen days:  Tax Day.  It was also the first day of Passover. In off-man-made-calendar news, there was a full moon & a lunar eclipse.  Today is just plain old April 16th.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

52 Photos Project: Petals

It has been almost a year since I decided to join the 52 Photos Project & the second photo I posted was of a dandelion.  I decided that this time around, second from the last, for Petals, for symmetry, I would revisit the dandelion:

Monday, April 7, 2014

A funny lesson was learned on the way to the NCAA championship

Saturday night there was a basketball game.  & I actually of it.  Part of the reason it was on is the university next door was one of the contenders.  Another reason it was on was the underdog was our alma mater.  Let me be clear, neither one of us cared all that much about the results.  I also refuse to accept that many people care in any long term way. 

My evidence?  I have been wearing this badge on this lanyard for several years in plain view & the number of people who have remarked on it amounts to exactly two.  & they were married to each other.  & that was more than two years ago.  Since then, nothing.

Let's roll this back to a few months ago.  I posted what I thought about the education a person thinks s/he is paying for & the education s/he actually gets (& in many cases needs).  I don't care if you don't want to read it, the gist was that the lessons you get on the side are just as useful as the ones you had to sit faced forward for. 

Which catches us up to last Monday.  On that day a handful of individuals petitioned their professor for extensions, make-up exam/quizzes etc. because they were going to spend the end of the week...& the week-end...over 1k miles away.  Their team was heavily favored  & the plan was to extend this to include the final game tonight.  The argument was that this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience to be there when their team took the title & that a university education is a complete experience & being there for landmark events is part of that experience. 

As it happens, this particular professor believes that this is absolutely true.  & that part of growing up is learning to make choices & that all choices have consequences.  Sometimes you choose to skip the basketball game & study for the test & do well,  sometimes you still do lousy, sometimes you skip the test, take the zero & have a story about how you watched your team go on in victory.  All of these are choices & all of them have consequences. 

So the students went to the game & that is fine.  They took zeros on the quiz in question, but as the lowest grade gets dropped, a good student had no reason to consider that a problem.  The ones that had iffy grades (if there were any, I don't actually know) sacrificed the lowest grade drop, but it was theirs to sacrifice.  Those who decided to go made their choice:  the most important thing was to be there when their team won & went on to the final game.

The underdog won. 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

52 Photos Project: A Day In My Life

I am almost at the end of my year of following along with 52 Photos Project, only two more to go after this one.  I think.  This week it is a day in my life which is not particularly anything really, except I wanted to take all the pictures in an actual day & I am not in the habit of bringing my camera with me. 

Struggle number one:  remember to bring my camera when I walk out the door.  The assignment went up sometime Sunday, it was Thursday before I got my act together.  Maybe this is because Thursdays are more predictable than most as it is my usual on campus day.  But plenty of things happen before that.

The short version is I forgot my camera.  This seemed like an excellent opportunity to learn to use the camera on my phone.  I did take a few pictures of my workspace (nothing thrilling-almost the same as the pictures I took a few weeks ago, except would you believe another floor-to-ceiling cabinet has been added to that center row?), so there is no point in posting my less than spectacular new photos.

But I did manage to take a couple pictures of the work I am doing now (specifically matching old index cards wit wood specimens in drawers that are mostly in order...or were when they were last accessed which was mostly in the mid-80s. 

When I left the herbarium I felt like crap.  This is typical of herbarium days.  Between the chemicals to deter the bugs & the frigid temperature to preserve the specimens, I know I look ridiculous walking to the car.  It takes about that long to warm up & breathe clearly even in the tropics. 

But it turns out there was another reason I felt like crap.  By the time I got home, I could not stop shaking.  At 7:30, I had to go back to campus to pick up A.  I brought Sadie with me & we sat on the hill & watched to door to the loading dock until he came out & said her name.  She went nuts. 

I have been in bed (except when I have been "unwell") since Thursday night & got out jus in time to watch a college basketball game.  Which was an accident, really, that just happens to be when I got up.

So this is all I have to document my day.  It was, aside from being sick, a normal Thursday.