Royal Blue

Thoughts of a writer, wife, mother, PhD, sister, crafty chick, program coordinator, homeowner, culture vulture, bibliophile, and blogger.
Friday, January 24, 2003
It's About Time

Going out with my friend Jill tonight to see "The Hours" and get a bite to eat. I rarely have a night out with a girlfriend anymore, so it's a rare treat.

Aside from my sister-in-law, who is a wonderful friend, and some chicks I work with whom I adore, I don't have any close girlfriends in town. They all live out of town, but some not too far.

Now that I think about it, my friend Bernadette (whom I call "B") lives only an hour away and she came into town last Saturday for a day of shopping at second-hand stores for us and our kids (we both have toddlers and babies-on-the-way so we have a lot of stuff in common to share) and we had lunch and caught up, etc. It was great!

Ed never complains when I go off by myself to spend time with my friends and I encourage him to do the same, but he's such a workaholic sometimes that he needs to be reminded to go have fun. Plus, we don't really have as much social time as we used to, so we haven't made a whole lot of new friends since we moved here 1.5 years ago.

But that's ok. We're lucky to have the friends and family nearby that we do have. I just wish I had a close girlfriend who was also the mom of young kids and lived on my street. Wouldn't that be awesome?

But these days I'm trying to focus on all the fabulous stuff I do have in my life instead of what I don't have. It's amazing what that will do for your attitude.

Today, when Ed had to take Molly to the doctor to see if she's got yet another ear infection (verdict: not quite, but maybe one on the way), he only had to drive like 3 minutes from our house and then another 3 minutes to drop her off at daycare. How great is that? We live so close to a lot of convenient places in our medium-sized city, including the cute little library branch near our house where we went last night after I picked Molly up from daycare. I'm proud to say she *loves* the library!

So, I'm going to be thankful for all the small but wonderful things in my life.

Thursday, January 23, 2003
Something I Hate

I hate, hate, HATE doing things at the last minute (getting ready for a trip/job interview/dinner party, etc).
But somehow it happens in my life and I have to deal with it. Arggh!

I'm a fairly organized person (everything's relative, i know, but on the scale of scarily organized to life of chaos, I'm organized but not so organized as to intimidate anyone (don't look inside my purse, for instance).

Anyway, today our printer wouldn't work and so Ed was left without a list of references 40 minutes before his summer job interview. He called me and I quickly typed them up during my lunch hour and he zipped by on his way and picked 'em up.

Lesson to be learned: let's get all this ready the night before at the *very latest*!! Arggh! It's not worth the stress.

Second lesson: figure out what's wrong with our new printer. Soon!

Third lesson: try to be patient when your spouse is freaking you out with his disorganized state; work to understand/improve, not to blame. Sigh.

Class dismissed. Geez, I hope he gets the job.

Wednesday, January 22, 2003
Creative Freelancing

Last night I went to my training for my "mystery shopping" gig with a local gourmet food store/deli that is nationally known. Their food is incredible!

So, my "job" is to shop at their bakery and food store and deli at least twice a month (using gift certificates supplied by them) and report back about their customer service. Geez! What a gig! I get to do this for six months and enjoy all their delicious foods and share with family and coworkers!

I'm tellin' ya--this mystery shopping is great. I did some mysterty shopping in November and December with another local company and had a great time (although it takes them 6 weeks to pay me and reimburse, but still...).
If I had more time, I'd try to turn this into a little cash cow. Right now, I've got my full-time job plus this little job plus a few other small freelancing gigs on the's good, though. It's all stuff I like to do.

I told them that I tend to be such a critical shopper when it comes to customer service, why not get paid to voice my opinions? Yes, why not?

Tuesday, January 21, 2003
So far it is a happy new year

My mood seems to be rising as the temperature is dropping this week.

It's amazingly cold this week, even for Michigan in January. Unfortunately, Molly's aversions to sweaters is now moving from just hating cardigans to hating pullovers, too. When the temperature doesn't rise above 17 degrees on a given day, I'm pretty much going to insist that she wear another layer in addition to an undershirt and long-sleeved shirt. I mean, I'm a mom, right? That's one of our jobs.

Things seem to be going pretty well for us. The pregnancy is moving along smoothly. I had my monthly check-up yesterday and all is well (my weight gain is another story--ugh! my doctor reassured me that he has no medical concerns about my weight gain, but it's my concern about trying to lose 20 extra pounds after the birth just like last time, Thank God for Weight Watchers).

To be fair, since my last checkup there was Christmas and my birthday--an abundance of unusually good and fattening food. But still! So now after dinner I am eating a bowl of cereal when I'm hungry more often than frozen yogurt. Oh, and there was that incredibly delicious large box of Jujyfruits I ate in about 15 minutes on Sunday afternoon. Yummy!

Other things that are going well: Molly is sitting on the potty more often and brushing her teeth more often with our help of course; she is starting to put sentences together ("I see moon!" is a favorite when we are outside or in the car); Ed is happy to be working again as a teacher; our new laptop is making life easier for all of us; we have enough money in savings that money isn't a nagging worry; we have spent lots of great times with family and friends in the past month; we are all healthy!

I've decided to start making more soups and stews to help expand my dinner repertoire and because it's the middle of winter! I made a delicious and easy white chicken chili when the in-laws came over on Sunday and they raved about it. If you want the recipe, email me!

I'm enjoying the simple pleasures of winter.

Monday, January 20, 2003
Good news and bad news on MLK Day

On this MLK Day, U.S. troops are being deployed for a possible war with Iraq. Gee, I guess we didn't really learn anything from MLK, Jr. , did we, if this is how we live? But then again, the peaceful anti-war protests are a proud legacy of the work of MLK, Jr., among others. So, I guess it's good news and bad news.

Last week I was furious (and still am) at President Bush for totally misunderstanding and misrepresenting the affirmative action policies at University of MIchigan. I've included some facts below that help clear up the rhetoric that is spinning around about quotas (ha!) and "special treatment" (double ha!). Yes, it would be nice if we lived in a color-blind society like MLK Jr. dreamed about but we don't. I feel lucky to work at a University that proudly stands by its commitment to a fair and just approach to promoting diversity in every way among its student body and faculty and staff.

Here are the facts, in case you are interested:

> ---Every application is reviewed individually, and admissions counselors
> look at the whole person in that review. The University considers each
> student's academic strength, personal achievement, and life experiences,
> among many other factors.
> ---Academic qualifications---including grades, test scores, and strength
> of curriculum---are by far the overwhelming criteria in making
> admissions decisions.
> ---There are no separate tracks or set-asides. There are no numerically
> specified or minimum targets. Every applicant competes against the
> entire class.
> ---Race is only one of the many factors considered in the admissions
> process. Every year some white students are admitted with lower test
> scores and lower GPAs than some minority students who are
> rejected---reflecting the consideration of many other factors in this
> individualized review.
> ---More than 25,000 applications are received each year for about 5,000
> spaces in the University of Michigan's freshman class, and more than
> 5,000 applications are received each year for about 350 spaces in the
> U-M Law School. The University chooses from among these highly
> qualified applicants those students who will make the greatest
> contribution to the class as a whole.
> ---In the undergraduate admissions system, a 150-point Selection Index
> is used as a tool to help counselors consistently assess the large pool
> of applicants each year. Fully 110 points are awarded for academic
> factors. While students who are underrepresented minorities can earn 20
> points in this system, the same 20 points can be earned by those who are
> socioeconomically disadvantaged or who attend a high school that serves
> a predominately minority population, regardless of the student's race
> (however, the 20 points can only be awarded once). Geographic diversity
> is important, and students from Michigan's largely white Upper Peninsula
> earn 16 points. Men applying to Nursing and women applying to
> Engineering also receive special consideration.
> ---Undergraduate admissions counselors review each file individually,
> but the Selection Index helps them evaluate the thousands of
> applications that are submitted. Counselors often bring individual
> applications before a review committee for further discussion and
> consideration. Taken as a whole, the Selection Index works very well in
> choosing a student body that is academically excellent and diverse in
> many ways.
> ---The University does seek to enroll a "critical mass" of students from
> underrepresented minority groups in order to achieve the educational
> benefits of diversity. More than token numbers of minority students are
> needed in order to ensure that students will have significant
> opportunities to interact with one another. It is from these
> interactions that the educational benefits result. A critical mass of
> students of a particular race allows all students to see differences
> within racial groups, and commonalities across racial lines. Critical
> mass is an educational concept---not a fixed number or target.
> ---The concept of a critical mass is consistent with the Supreme Court's
> guidance in the 1978 Bakke decision. As Justice Powell noted in that
> case, "some attention must be paid to the numbers" to achieve the
> educational benefits of diversity. By having the educational goal of
> "critical mass" in mind, our programs also satisfy the legal requirement
> that a program be "narrowly tailored" to meet the compelling interest in
> a diverse student body.
> ---The numbers of enrolled students from underrepresented minority
> groups vary from year to year. For example, over the past decade, the
> number of enrolled students in the Law School from underrepresented
> minority groups ranged from 12.5 to 20.1%. During that same time period
> the percentage of U-M law students from California ranged from 11 to
> 15%, but no one would argue there is a quota for Californians. The
> number of enrolled students whose last name begins with the letter "S"
> ranged from 9.7 to 13.8%. These groupings occur because of
> characteristics of the applicant pool, not because there is any
> specific, predetermined numerical target.
> ---As a baseline, the University accepts only students who are
> academically qualified to do the work. Indeed, the alternatives
> suggested by the Bush administration (such as the percentage plans in
> California and Texas) operate more like set-asides for highly segregated
> school districts, and fail to guarantee that all admitted students are
> qualified to do the work.
> ---Michigan's current policies have been upheld as being consistent with
> Bakke. In the Law School case, for example, the Sixth Circuit
> explicitly rejected the plaintiffs' contention that its system was the
> "functional equivalent of a quota." The Sixth Circuit found the Law
> School's admissions program is "virtually indistinguishable" from the
> Harvard Plan, which Justice Powell held out in the Bakke decision as an
> appropriate model. Similarly, the District Court judge in the
> undergraduate case concluded that the current admissions program "meets
> the requirements set forth by Justice Powell in Bakke and is therefore
> constitutional."


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