Sunday, December 23, 2007

EIght Things About Me

I was tagged by the fabulous Molly Malone to do this memo about writing eight things about myself that perhaps my friends do not know. So here goes....

1. My favorite food is anything that I don't have to cook. It's official I don't like cooking, but I enjoy eating, so guess that means I should marry a man who likes to cook or has his own chief, no?

2. I have never found the old television show I Love Lucy funny, I do not even watch it....does that make me unpatriotic?

3. I worry that I will be a bad parent, if God graces me with any children, that my kids will be completely messed up.

4. I wish that God would drop a magic eight ball during one of my prayers and tell me exactly what I should do with my life : )

5. I am constantly humbled by the kindness and generosity of my friends. A recent blog post by a good longtime childhood friend Jelly Kean had me in tears. She described how she gave this homeless kid $20, the story wasn't written to toot her own horn but to make a point about her life in NYC. However the humanity in her act was like that of a guardian angel to this gentleman, somebody's son who had lost their way. Truly I think God has blessed me with an incredible family and amazing friends!

6. I think there is something seriously wrong with you if you won't vote for Mitt Romney just because he is Mormon. I saw a news story about him on the campaign trail where this older gentleman wouldn't shake Romney's hand because Romney was Mormon, good lord - what is that about?! Don't vote for him because he's a Republican, because you disagree with his policies, because you think he will not lead the country in the right direction, but not because of his religion - that is just ignorant.

7. The one thing I love about living in Richmond, Virginia during the school year is that when you ask for ice tea, it is pre-sweetened! Southern waiters/waitresses look at you funny if you even ask that question, as if internally saying, "duh its sweetened," even at the Southern fast-food places! People in the North - what is this idea of non-sweetened ice tea? Yuck!

8. Am I total geek but I can spend hours at the local Barnes & Noble and be completely happy. I just finished reading A Long Way Gone, by Ishmael Beah. It is the tale of a boy solider in Sierra Leone. A very sad and moving story that I think all high school seniors should read, to understand that even our worst neighborhoods in America can't compare to the savagery of a life lived in a war-torn country. To read what this boy went through (seeing his family killed, to be brainwashed to kill, to constantly be chased by the demon of death) is to weep that humans can do this to each other and yet at the end of the book there is a glimmer of hope that maybe just maybe there is some salvation for the human race. We are not all bad.

There - that is my eight things, some serious, some not so much. Part of the game was to tag five people, which is always hard for me. I shall tag Adorable Tony, JoeinVegas, Kate, Merci and Mommantor, but all are welcome and encouraged to play! Love from Virginia Gal

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Eid Murbarak

Eid Mubarak!!!

Tomorrow (Wednesday) marks the second big holiday in the Islamic calendar - Eid al-Adha. The holiday is done to commemorate the willingness of Ibrahim (Abraham pbuh) to sacrifice his son to God. Eid al-Adha is often marked by people sacrificing animals in the name of Allah (by doing this it is said we Muslims are reminded that life is sacred). The meat from this sacrifice is than divided, as proscribed by the Qu'ran (Islamic holy book) - most is given to the poor and hungry while the rest is cooked for the family who shares with friends. The day is also important because it marks the end of the Hajj, the Islamic pilgrimage (one of the five pillars of Islam). The importance of this holiday is in the remberance of sacrifice, to submit completely to God, staying on the straight path as He proscribed to us. It is this strength and purity that God wants from us, as He desired of Ibrahim (pbuh).

For this Eid I pray for health, happiness and prosperity to all of my family and friends, may good intentions be rewarded, may kindness be returned, may joy be spread and may the blessings of God be with you always. Eid Mubarak!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Airplane Etiquette

Update - Finished my exams - woohoo!! Thanks for everyone's kind comments and encouragement about my team grade dilemma. No one will fess up who gave me the bad grade but I made it quite clear to the entire team that I was angry, so at least this person knows I did not agree with their assessment. As the professor wrote me, 'some of us like to have open discussions when a problem arises, some people are better at hiding behind.' Ie was nice to know he confirmed that this person was a coward and I shouldn't worry about it, cause in the end I got an "A."

Now onto happier favorite actor, Nathan Fillion recently posted on his myspace page about airline rules. As long-time readers of my blog know, I use to give tips on air travel. Reading over Mr. Fillion's post about airline etiquette got me thinking...this summer I traveled on a plane extensively, at least once a week, recruiting for non-descript airlines. While I could probably add to his list, its more fun to comment on his tips.

Tip One: Enjoy your journey - I could not agree more. This is an adventure, something you don't do everyday, treat it like that and you'll find the trip much more pleasant.
Tip Two: Get up early. Be awake and relaxed with lots of time - ok I don't really do this but I'm a seasoned traveler, I'd like to think I know the system. But if you are not an airline employee, I concur with Nathan Fillion, be relaxed with lots of time, yelling at the Customer Service Agent when you are 15 minutes late to a flight will not get you a seat, I can promise you that!
Tip Three: Be Clean - this goes without saying, no?
Tip Four: Dress Well - a fellow airline friend of mine once reminisced about how people use to dress up when traveling and now you find people who look like they just rolled out of bed. Some of the stuff I've seen on my travels, indecent! I always try to dress better than usual, here's my thinking... at the airport you never know who you'll meet. This summer alone I saw John Kerry three times, John Ashcroft, Vanessa Carleton and Hilary Clinton!
Tip Five: Be Organized - good lord I couldn't agree with Nathan Fillion more! I can't tell you how annoying it is to be behind someone who doesn't have their act together, especially when you are ready. I just want to go up and push them aside. This includes keeping the tickets and your id out during the security line (don't get me started on the stupidity of people as they wait for security).
Tip Six: pack a bag that can fit in the overhead bin.
Tip Seven: keep to your seat, don't take over the seat or space next to you.
Tip Eight: Avoid Grossness - being a sniffler, I do bring my own tissues but sorry if I wig you out, I promise I don't have ebola.
Tip Nine: Be smart about getting up out of your seat - hear hear, the seat in front of you is not there for you to pull down on as you get up and I don't like my hair being pulled when you do that either. If you can't get up without leaning heavily on the chair in front of you - ask for the bulkhead seat (which has no seat in front).
Tip Ten: Deal with the fact that kids on a plane will cry - here I disagree with Nathan (gasp shock), he says afford mothers on planes every courtesy. Certainly they should be treated with kindness, like every other human being but I was not put on the plane to entertain your child or deal with your kid kicking the back of my chair on a seven hour flight! If your kid is crying up a storm and you're doing nothing about it, I WILL give you a sigh or dirty look...the kid is in pain from their ears popping, if you're such a good parent, you would know of a wonderful little thing called Benadryl. Just a little in milk and the child will fall asleep and not experience that pain.
Tip Eleven: Thank your captain and crew - this is nice sentiment and I'm sure they would love to hear it. I had a scale of how I would thank them. If they were good and friendly and the flight was smooth they get an exburant thank you from Virginia Gal. If the crew was surly or kind of rude, they get a cursory, "thanks" or nothing at all.

To see Nathan Fillion's blog and his full-length comments on these tips - check it out here:

Monday, December 10, 2007

Finals Week and Frustration

This is finals week - won't be a long post, I'm busying stressing out (LOL).

However I did want to vent for just a second. In one of my classes, we had this massive group project and part of that project was doing peer reviews on our team members. For the first two portions of the project I got all 4's (A's) on my peer reviews, yet on this last one, someone gave me a 3 (B). I am livid!! I worked my a%& off - I wrote the bulk of our business plan, I made slides, I did the presentation. I cannot believe someone had the audicity in my group to say that I did B work! I asked one of my teammates, who is a good friend of mine, what he thought and he was shocked! He is very honest and would have told me if he thought I didn't pull my weight.

I think I have a feeling who might have given me this poorer grade, someone who was themselves getting poor reviews. I can't believe they would be so petty as to grade others down to either make themselves feel better or out of some sense of revenge (which is crap since I gave everyone in our group a 4!).

Now I'm working on figuring out who in my group gave me this grade and speaking with them - hey if you had the balls to give me a lower grade when you and I both know I did a great majority of the work, than have the balls to tell me why you did it to my face!

(and yes I made an "A" for the class - but its the principle, this person benefited from my work and than decided to cut me, that doesn't play with Virginia Gal!!).

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Burger King Boycott

As regular readers of my blog are aware, I am trying very hard to pratice conscious consumerism, where I will not go to stores and establishments that have policies and practices that I disagree with. For me this means places that donate heavily to the Republican party or to fundamentalistic Christian organizations. This also means I try not to go stores with poor human rights actions. Last week I was sent this story by two different reputable sources and after reading the pieces, I was outraged!

This from Oxfam America:
McDonald's and other fast-food chains, including Taco Bell and Pizza Hut, have committed to increasing wages and enforcing better working conditions for farmworkers who pick tomatoes. But Burger King—the second-largest hamburger chain in the world—has so far refused to work with farmworkers to improve wages for those who pick their tomatoes.

This from the NY Times: Here's a snippet of the piece: In 2005, Florida tomato pickers gained their first significant pay raise since the late 1970s when Taco Bell ended a consumer boycott by agreeing to pay an extra penny per pound for its tomatoes, with the extra cent going directly to the farm workers. Last April, McDonald’s agreed to a similar arrangement, increasing the wages of its tomato pickers to about 77 cents per bucket. But Burger King, whose headquarters are in Florida, has adamantly refused to pay the extra penny — and its refusal has encouraged tomato growers to cancel the deals already struck with Taco Bell and McDonald’s.

I simply cannot understand Burger King's policy - why are they doing this? It makes no sense. If you are like me, upset over this than please write the corporation and let them know. Here is the address:
Burger King Corporation
5505 Blue Lagoon Drive
Miami, Florida 33126

I've already sent them my letter as well as written two letters to the editor. I will no longer be going to Burger King until they stop this practice, these migrant workers do not lead the glamrous life, I don't begrudge them a penny. If its such a big deal to the Burger, than increase the price of a Whopper, I don't have any problems paying an extra penny if it means some guy who works 12 hour days for something like $1o a day, in the hot grueling sun gets a raise.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Missing Monday

Missing Monday
Ahmed A. Ibrahim
Age: 18
DOB: 05/09/1989
Height: 6'Weight: 127lbs

Has a thin mustache, Last seen wearing red t-shirtand black jeans
Missing From: Fairfax, VaMissing Since: 10/19/2007

Details: Ahmed was last seen at the Woodburn Psychiatric Center attempting to get assistance with Obessive Compulsive Disorder. Ahmed is believed to be in Fairfax or another psychiatric facility in the Northern Virginia area. Ahmed is currently a student at George Mason University.

Just another sad case of someone with mental health issues disappearing. I can't even begin to imagine the anguish a family experiences in these situations. I pray they find this man and all who suffer and go missing because of mental disorders.