Sunday, April 30, 2006

Something New


According to the old adage, "April showers bring May flowers." If one works hard and cultivates and sows during the winter and early spring, one will see beautiful results in this upcoming month. Of course, the operative word in that sentence is, "If." As I reflect on my past four months, I am a little embarrassed to say that I have not sown enough good things over the last little while to merit reaping a "bloom" just yet. This lack of productivity has been sobering and has brought about a new desire within me for change and improvement in terms of my physical, spiritual, and mental conditions. I am excited to begin the month of May, during which I will be introducing a few "new" things into my life. Here are some of them:

1) I am going to hit the gym 4-5 times a week again, doing both cardio and weight-training (for the past few months, I've only averaged 1-2x/week, and the focus has been weights only).

2) I am giving up deep fried foods. Yep, that means no more indulging in french fries, dry ribs, or Timbits during my "break days."

3) I am experimenting with baking and cooking a little more extensively durin
g my weeks off school, and breaking in my Better Homes & Gardens Dieter's Cookbook.

The menu for this week will therefore include: Asian Flank Steak & Orange Glazed Baby Carrots, Pork Tenderloin with Melon Salsa & Spinach Feta Bake, Squirt of Orange Pork Chops & Scalloped Potatoes, Maple Hoisin Glazed Halibut & Green Bean Casserole, and Sesame Chicken & Cider Peas and Apples. I already baked my first whole-wheat loaf of banana bread this morning, and it turned out pretty tasty =) I'll probably whip up a batch of whole-wheat chocolate chip oatmeal cookies before the week is done, too.

4) I am getting back into the swing of regular devotions (again, something that has become rather neglected during my quest for that elusive 4.0). My books of choice will be the Bible and Praying the Names of God, and I will also finish listening to the DaVinci Code sermons from Coast Hills Church.

5) I am going to do more recreational reading, and will finally get around to reading Frey's very fictional A Million Little Pieces, as well as Memoirs of a Geisha (I know, it's shocking that I have not read this yet), The Five People You Meet in Heaven, and some other best-selling novels that I've neglected to notice thus far.

May seems like a good month for change, and I'm definitely feeling that second wind of momentum to initiate and follow through on making better lifestyle choices.

So, what about you? Have you sown enough wonderful things in your life in the past
four months to look forward to reaping some benefits? What changes might May bring for you?

PS - Thank God for sunshine to wake me up in the mornings! And my brand new Nine West Rapido sneakers. And warming temperat
ures outside and air-conditioning inside. And the freedom to make changes whenever we want!

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Lucky Number Slevin


On our "date night," I originally chose to see Eight Below (the G-rated based-on-a-true-story movie about two guys and eight dogs in the Antarctic), but when I realized that Lucky Number Slevin was out, I changed my mind.

I'm sure glad I did.

This movie *rocked.* I thought V for Vendetta was amazing, but I think this one was even better!

The movie is basically about a guy
who, because he's in the wrong place at the wrong time, gets caught in the conflict between two mob bosses, and has to figure a way out of his predicament. The story was incredibly well-written, and the way that the different elements of the story came together and was resolved in the end was fascinating. The plotline definitely kept Hubbs and I chatting about it on the drive home, but I won't divulge any more so as to prevent spoiling the experience for you! The movie also contained some great one-liners as well as a lot of witty, intelligent dialogue, and the humorous moments of the film actually made us laugh. I really enjoyed the way that it was filmed, as well; there were a lot of artistic camera angles that made some scenes seem clipped, but that completely added to the feel of the story rather than detracting from it.

Bottom line: Go see this movie, especially if you enjoy Tarantino-esque movies! I promise you won't be wasting your hard-earned dollars, and we are already making plans to see it again. Incidentally, Hubbs also listed this movie in his Top 10, although I am starting to think that there are more than 10 movies on his list already! ;)

PS - Do be warned; there are some violent scenes in this movie and it is definitely for adults only!

Injustice and the Female Rapist


I was immensely disturbed by an Oprah show that I saw this past week. The topic of the day was on the increasing number of female teachers who have recently been apprehended for sexually molesting their pubescent (and sometimes pre-pubescent) students. The Smoking Gun lists profiles for several of these cases that are being prosecuted in the U.S. right now, and CNews has also documented some of the most recent cases. Anyway, Oprah interviewed several of these criminals, none of whom expressed any convincing remorse (as far as I'm concerned) for their despicable actions. One woman, who is currently serving her sentence, claimed that her student was flirting with her and had asked her to "be his first," to which she alleges she initially responded with, "No, you're not ready yet."


Anyway, the show made a point of noting that these women often did not get the same sentences that their male counterparts would have gotten for the same crime. If a 34 year-old male teacher was caught having intercourse with his 12 year-old student, he would have received a lengthy jail sentence and been convincted of statuatory rape, aggravated sexual assault on a minor, plus a multitude of other charges. He would be labelled as a pedophile and registered in the national registry for sexual offenders. He would be shamed by society, and probably victimized in prison after being placed with the general population of inmates (sexual predators against children are considered the "lowest" of the low in the prison hiera
rchy). When he finally got parole, he would be banned from pretty much every public place where children might be, and would likely be court-ordered to continue to attend therapy sessions for the rest of his life. His own children would most likely be taken away. His face would be on flyers posted throughout the city, and an advisory warning in both the newspapers and TV news would be issued prior to, and immediately following his release.

However, this is apparently not the case with many female offenders. The women on Oprah's show went to jail for a very short time, relatively speaking; in general, most female offenders either do not go to jail (if they are deemed to be mentally unfit or their victims are too traumatized to testify against them), or are given suspended sentences or short jail terms. None of Oprah's "guests" were charged with rape; the official convictions were for varying levels of sexual misconduct with minors, even though most of these women had committed rape on these children. All of the featured women had conditions placed on them upon their release from custody, but they were allowed to keep their own children and have more children, and did not have to hand them over to Social Services. Many of these women also did not receive the same public shame as men typically would; some people have even argued that it is a "rite of passage" for young boys to have sex with an older female, and that this is a boy's fantasy come true. Upon release, these women were allowed to relatively anonymously rejoin society; there weren't the flyers or the media attention.

I am irked about this issue for many many reasons. One of the biggest problems I have is that it is completely unjust. A crime is a crime, no matter what gender the perpetrator happens to be. The punishment should be given consistently across the board, and if we as a society believe that it is unacceptable and despisable for an adult in a position of authority to take advantage of their power and use it to sexually harm a person under the age of 18, then this belief should apply equally to both women and men who are committing these crimes. Gender should not even be considered a factor in the sentences and the convictions. For an equal crime of equal devastation to the victims, why aren't women getting the same punishment as the men? I think that both genders deserve equally severe consequences for their criminal actions.

Anyway, that's a piece of my mind on that. What do you think about this whole deal? Grrr!

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Need More Time!


We (meaning *I*) am a very social creature. If I had it my way, I would attend every soiree, every brunch, and every social engagement to which I am invited. It's just my nature, and also partly my fear that I will miss out on some very important fun if I do not go.

My Hubbs is trying to cure me of this problem. You see, yesterday we found ourselves almost quadruple-booked for the day, which for normal people might be manageable, but for us, is not. We both needed some "work time" to get our own tasks done, but alas, found almost none as we busily rushed from one commitment to another.

We started off the morning with me doing some cleaning and Hubbs at the gym. Next thing you know, we were rushing to meet his work friend for dim sum. After that, we had a housewarming to attend. Following that, we rushed home to clean in preparation for our own poker night, and then the guests began to trickle in. Our fourth commitment, a BBQ with friends from our couples' group, was one we initially planned to attend but had to back out of due to, well, a lack of time.

*sigh* Why can't there be more hours in a day? I feel limited by the 24 hour clock, and could really use a 30-hour day. I have marking to do, lesson plans to complete, and worksheets to create. I have family and loved ones to catch up with, friends who have been neglected that I need to hang out with, and a God who deserves more of my attention and time. I have a home to clean, meals to prepare, grocery to shop for, and clothes to iron.

I don't know how others do it. I'm starting to feel like the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland, and am constantly being, "late, late, for a very important date!"

Maybe my Hubbs is right and I need to learn to say No. It's not my favourite word when it comes to social engagements, but perhaps I am stretching myself thin and need to limit myself to just one or two social events each week. All I know is that right now, I am so tired, so very very tired.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Time to Celebrate!


Remember my woeful little blog post about my B+ grade completely shattering my self-confidence? Well, it seems that either there was a miscalculation or a recalculation of my grade, because when the finalized marks were posted today, the B+ miraculously turned into an A-!!!

This means that my GPA for the term is 3.85 and my year GPA is 3.89!!! That is much better than the grade I thought I had, and this also affirms my belief that I am an A student after all! =) And yes, I *do* realize that it is quite stupid that I should rely on such a superficial, external, subjective measure for validation; it's just that this grade not only confirms that I made a wise decision in returning to school, but it also provides me with a greater chance of scoring a nice juicy scholarship (one that I could really use....for travelling... ;) ).

Anyway, let's celebrate! I'm available after April 28th!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Mercy Me!


I don't recall EVER doing so much paperwork just to teach two classes, but, a mere two days into my practicum, I am already *swamped*!

If I manage to blog during the next four weeks, you can guarantee it will be short!