Category Archives: Current Issues

Happy Bartolomé Day!

I didn’t write this but it’s better than what I could write so I’m just reposting. Here’s a link to the original on The Oatmeal.

Just to reiterate I didn’t write this or make it in any way. I just uploaded the pictures, which is super impressive, I know. You should seriously check out The Oatmeal though. He writes great comics, especially about cats. 🙂

All that Glitters May Not Be Your Friend

This may surprise Marilyn, but diamonds are not a girl’s best friend and all that glitters is not gold, or green for that matter. Okay, I’ll stop, enough cliches for today.

 
Mining for minerals needed for jewelry is not an environmental practice. In fact, mining for these natural elements consumes huge amounts of energy, releases pollutants and greenhouse gases into the air, allows toxic chemicals to seep into groundwater, damages land, speeds up erosion and generates and unbelievable amount of waste. Metal mining was the number one toxic polluter in the United States in 2008 (as of 2010), responsible for more that 25 percent of all reported toxic releases.

In addition to the environmental hazards, mining is also associated with socially devastating practices. Diamonds fund violence against citizens, especially in African countries such as Angola and Sierra Leone. The United Nations defines conflict diamonds as, “diamonds that originate from areas controlled by forces or factions opposed to legitimate and internationally recognized governments, and are used to fund military action opposition to those governments, or in contravention of the decisions of the Security Council.”

http://www.jewellerynetasia.com/en/Blog/345/Conflict_Diamonds_are_only_1__You_Believe_this_.html

    Gold-mining is one of the dirtiest practices in the world. Gold mining conditions are dangerous for workers, it is responsible for three percent of work deaths globally. Additionally, the average gold mine uses enough water to provide the basic water needs for a population equivalent to that of a large U.S. city for a year. The open pits are required to be enormous (the largest is the Bingham Canyon mine in Utah is visible from outer space) destroying beautiful landscapes, wildlife habitat and important ecosystems.

    Are you outraged? You probably should be, otherwise you must not like animals…

    No Dirty Gold is a campaign that is working toward stopping dirty mining practices around the world and to prevent the sale of gold that has been mined in an unsustainable way. 

    But don’t fret, you can still get your bling on and all that. Here’s the part in the blog post where I inform you of where you can buy earth-conscious jewelry:

    • The best option is always to buy used. Find jewelry at antique, consignment and thrift stores or your grandma’s jewelry box.
    • Green Karat – synthetic gems and recycled metals.
    • Brilliant Earth – recycled metals and conflict-free diamonds for engagement and wedding bands.
    • Leber Jeweler – Earthwise line of conflict-free gems and reclaimed metals.
    • Tiffany – conflict-free diamonds and responsible metal mining, oh and those little blue boxes are made from Forest Stewardship Council certified paper.

    Buying Food: The naked truth about organic and local

    Food. It is essential to life and some (ie. me) may say to happiness. But there are a few things you should be thinking about if you want to live sustainably.

    Organic

    Producers earn the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) “organic” label by using no chemical pesticides, growth-enhancing chemicals, or genetic modification on their crops. The USDA “organic” label is assigned to livestock farmers who avoid steroids, hormones and antibiotics; use organically grown feed and treat livestock humanely. It is also common for organic farmers to use renewable resources, conserve water and maintain or improve soil quality.

    Unfortunately, organic food is often (always) more expensive than conventional food. There are, of course, reasons for this: employers may pay workers lower wages in conventional farming operations, chemicals increase crop yield, organic foods are often produced on a smaller scale etc. But if you are unable to switch completely to organic start small buy purchasing organics that are comparable in price to the conventional counterpart. I’ve said it before, but it’s important to remember, you can vote with your money and stores take notice of what you buy.

    Therefore, if you buy organic food you have the potential to:

    • lessen cruelty to animals
    • avoid consuming health-threatening chemicals
    • prevent damaging pesticides from entering the environment
    • help maintain soil fertility for future generations
    • shift the market toward more affordable organic products

    Alternatively, organic foods are not:

    • more flavorful
    • higher in nutrient
    • cures for the common cold
    • the fountain of youth
    • preferred diets of unicorns

    So get off your high horse (insert Umbridge-ian *hem hem*, unicorn).

    On the other hand, organic foods are not always better (side note: I always knew it was time to pay attention in school when a word was emphasized with bold, italic AND underline *hint, hint*). Threw you a curve ball there didn’t I? For the most part, as I’ve described, organic foods are better for the environment. However, if the food has to travel very far to reach it’s destination, we measure this in food miles. In some cases, conventionally grown food that was grown locally can be less detrimental to the environment than organically grown food that has traveled a great distance. Which brings us to the topic of eating locally.

    Local

    Support your local community and economy by shopping at smaller, locally owned markets and farmer’s markets. It’s a little more expensive: big companies can charge less because they sell such a vast quantity, so small grocers have a hard time competing. Local harvest is a website, which helps you locate food co-ops, farmer’s markets, CSA or local farms in your area.

    If you cannot afford to spend more for less, there are sections or products within the large multinational companies labeled locally grown (here in Colorado it say, “Colorado grown” or “Colorado raised”).

    Food Cooperatives (Co-ops) are non-profit business owned by their members. Anyone can shop there, but by becoming a member you receive discounts on purchases and decision making abilities for the future of the business. Find your local food cooperative through Co-op Directory Service.

    Farmer’s Markets are locally run, seasonal, open-air markets that showcase local growers. Farmer’s markets build community through the one-on-one interaction and education of the producer and the consumer. You can find local farmer’s markets through the USDA Marketing Service.

    Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a subscription to fresh fruits and vegetables. On the same day every week you stop by a shop to pick up your box of fresh produce. You can choose the box size based on budget and cooking habits and you dollars go straight the the family farm — no middleman. The Robyn Van En Center for CSA Resources can direct you to the CSA nearest to you.

    You can also grow some, most or all of your own food at your home depending on your space. My mom mentioned in the comments below (Thanks mom!) that Grow Lawns, Not Food is a great resource for people wishing to pursue this option. For the urban agriculturalist (or anyone really, I’m not exclusive), check out my small-space gardening posts: Hanging Gutter Part 1 (my adventure in Home Depot), Hanging Gutter Part 2 (when I actually put the thing together), and Small Space Gardening on a Budget (where I show you my apartment balcony garden).

    And now the moment of truth… Where does your preferred supermarket land on the Better World Shopper rating scale?

    Ranked based on five factors: Human Rights, The Environment, Animal Protection, Community Involvement and Social
    [A Companiesare social and environmental leaders][B Companiestend to be mainstream companies taking social/environmental responsibility seriously][C Companieshave either mixed social and environmental records or insufficient data to rank them][D Companiesengage in practices that have significant negative impact on people and the planet][F Companieshave the worst social and environmental records]

    The Pros and Cons of Wind Power (repost)

    I wrote this piece during my internship at the Society for Range Management for the SRM Outreach Blog. It’s about the positive and negative aspects of wind power based on an article I read. I thought it would be appropriate for Monday since I usually write about some environmental topic or other on Mondays… Anyway enjoy! 🙂

    CQ Researcher is a periodical that covers some of the most debated social and political topics of today. I recently read a CQ Researcher article titled, “Wind Power: Is Wind Energy Good for the Environment?” written by David Hosansky, which I found to be especially informative.  

    Photo by Maggie Haseman,
     National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, CO

    In his article Hosansky outlines the history of how humans have harnessed the power of wind. Between 5,500 B.C.E. and 1,400 A.C.E., wind power was first employed in Southeast Asia to sail boats, and in windmills to pump water and grind grain. In the 18th and early 19th century and during the Industrial Revolution, steam began to replace wind, a well established energy source throughout Europe, as a power source. By the late 19th century, however wind reclaimed its early importance when scientists began developing windmills to bring electricity to rural areas, especially in Scotland, the United States, and Denmark. In the 1900s to 1980s most of the U.S. was reliant on nuclear energy and fossil fuels for electricity, farmers however used small windmills for irrigation pump operation. Between 1990 and present day, interest in alternative energy has increased due to rising oil prices, among other factors. Today, Hosansky cites China as the wind power world leader with a wind-energy capacity of 42 gigawatts, followed closely by the U.S. at 40 gigawatts.

    A wind turbine works by capturing energy when the wind blows past the blade, there is a “lift” effect causing the blades to turn. As the blades turn, a shaft that is connected to the generator spins, creating electricity.

    Wind Turbine Diagram and Parts

    Blades: Every turbine usually has either two or three blades.
    Rotor: The blades and the hub together are called the rotor.
    Pitch: Blades are turned, or pitched, out of the wind to control the rotor speed.
    Brake: A disc brake, which can stop the rotor in emergencies.
    Low-speed shaft: The rotor turns the low-speed shaft at about 30 to 60 rotations per minute.
    Gear box: Gears connect the low-speed shaft to the high-speed shaft and increase speeds from about 30 to 60 rotations per minute (rpm) to 1,000 to 1,800, rpm, the speed required by most generators to produce electricity.
    Generator: Produces 60-cycle AC electricity.
    Controller: The controller starts up the machine at wind speeds of about 8 to 16 miles per hour (mph) and shuts off the machine at about 55 mph.
    Anemometer: Measures the wind speed and transmits wind speed data to the controller.
    Wind vane: Measures wind direction and communicates with the yaw drive to orient the turbine properly with respect to the wind.
    Nacelle: Contains the gear box, low- and high-speed shafts, generator, controller, and brake.
    High-speed shaft: Drives the generator.
    Yaw drive: Keeps the rotor on upwind turbines facing into the wind as the wind direction changes.
    Yaw motor: Powers the yaw drive.
    Tower: Towers are made from tubular steel, concrete, or steel lattice.
    Caption Source:  Department of Energy
    Photo Source: Turbine Zone

    
    Some of the issues I found interesting in Hosansky’s paper include the problem of wind intermittency, the financial constraints involved with wind power, the effect wind energy can have by displacing some emissions and pollutants, concerns about wildlife protection, and the land requirements for a wind farm.

    Photo by Charles Haseman,
    Along I-80 near Des Moines, Iowa

     Living in Colorado, a relatively windy state, I don’t notice a lack of wind but this article reminded me that not every place in the U.S. or the world receives gusts as powerful as those throughout the Great Plains and the west coast. The article discusses that wind power seems to be a perfect fit for the U.S., according to Hosansky, If wind turbines had the ability to operate at 100% of their capacity, wind power has the potential to supply 16 times the electricity needs of the United States; however wind turbines only generate 25-40% of their capacity due to wind intermittency. Another challenge is that the locations with the most persistent wind tend to be in sparsely populated areas away from major population centers and not necessarily when the demand for energy peaks.  As a result, a large network of transmission lines is necessary to deliver the wind energy to the consumers, which could be costly.

    I find the financial controversy outlined by Hosansky particularly fascinating. In order to reach the current U.S. goal of generating 20% of energy by wind power, the estimated cost is $200 billion, likely to be burdened onto ratepayers. This money would be used for turbines, improved transmission line capability and other infrastructure. Wind farms can also lower property value by up to 40%. On the other hand, turbines can result in local governments receiving “higher real estate tax revenue” and landowners leasing their land to build towers for $3,000 to $5,000 a year. The renewable energy standard President Obama presented will protect consumers from unstable fuel prices, save money, boost the economy and create green jobs. In addition the price of wind power is less than other renewable-energy sources.

    Photo by Charles Haseman,
    Along I-80 near Des Moines, Iowa

    To me, Hosansky’s summary of the effect of carbon dioxide and other pollutants, which are often noted as the culprits for climate change, and the way wind power impacts them is enlightening. “The extraction, transport and combustion of… fossil fuels can affect water and air quality, wildlife habitats and the global climate.” Additionally green energy does not necessarily include all renewable energies; cycling fossil fuel plants up and down in response to the intermittent wind is expensive and “can emit excessive pollution” and reduce the “effectiveness of environmental-control equipment.” In order to reduce emissions it would be more efficient to directly address that problem. Conversely, wind energy is a key energy source to reducing air pollution and carbon dioxide and other emissions from coal and natural gas. Besides hydropower, wind energy generates the most amount of electricity compared to every other renewable energy sources, and it is considered safer than nuclear energy. A combination of diverse mixed fuel sources such as wind, solar and a back-up system of newer and more efficient gas-fired plants that can be quickly ramped up or down can reduce emissions significantly because fossil fuel plants won’t be running as often.

    Photo by Charles Haseman,
    Along I-80 near Des Moines, Iowa

    Possibly the most popular argument against wind power that I have heard is about the detrimental effects it can have on wildlife, particularly birds and bats; Hosansky explains this captivating argument. Thousands of birds, including rare raptors such as golden eagles and burrowing owls have been killed by the blades of wind mills, and others have been electrocuted by wind-farm power lines. Additionally, in one year 2,000 bats may have been killed by a single wind farm. However, others suggest that wind farms can be placed far from migratory paths and “major populations of birds and bats” where such effects are less likely. Experts say that many reports of wildlife death were made prior to technological advances; modern wind mills are taller and kill far fewer animals. One report stated that turbines are low on the list of reasons why birds and bats die; pesticides, attacks by domestic and feral cats and collisions with windows kill much greater number of birds.

    Photo by Maggie Haseman,
     National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, CO

    Another interesting argument discussed by Hosansky concerns land requirements. “Wind farms require far more land… than traditional forms of electricity generation”; estimates say “45 times more than nuclear power and several times more than coal and natural gas plants”. Furthermore, the location of wind farms can damage sensitive ecosystems and destroy beautiful landscapes. Alternatively, ”the turbines take up relatively little space and [the] land around” them can still be utilized for other purposes such as farming, ranching and recreation, thus taking up less space than fossil fuel plants overall. Additionally, improvements in technology continue to allow for larger turbines, meaning fewer are necessary to generate the same amount of electricity. Moreover, between smog and a windmill, one person stated they’d take the windmill.

    This article was eye-opening to me and really gave some insight into benefits of and current issues with wind power. I now believe I have formed an educated opinion around wind energy and based on the issues discussed above I personally support wind power. It seems that the issues with it can be solved and, in my opinion, the issues, when they are compared to the benefits, are minor. I enjoyed reading the story-like writing and the political perspective on wind energy. If you would like to read this article too, here is the citation:


    Hosansky, D. (2011, April 1). Wind Power: Is wind power good for the environment?. CQ Researcher, 21, 289-312.

    President Obama Addresses Colorado Students About 2012 Election

    President Obama came to visit Colorado State University on August 28th. He was here in 2008 and I just barely missed him. He was a senator running for president back then. I was a scared freshman, and the Oval was outside of the comfortable bubble I had created for myself (dorm room, classes, Lory Student Center, and Corbett dining hall).

    This time around I was determined to see him. My President Obama adventures began around 10:30 am on August 27th. That’s when I just happened to walk by a girl handing out tickets on my way to carry out a completely different mission (Print flyers for the first meeting for the CSU Range Club). She was just setting up so I didn’t even have to wait in line to get this shiny blue ticket.

    Behind the scenes photos:

    Obama’s Helicopter
    Via @EllyCollins

    Security
    Via @SarahJaneKyle

    Secret Service
    Via @SarahJaneKyle

    Behind these curtains you can find metal detectors and a weaving maze on metal barricades to organize the line of people.

    The next stages of this adventure to see President Obama’s speech did not quite go according to plan. First off, I should have realized that the people I passed at 10:00am (some people camped out all night) were clever, instead of scoffing at their time-wasting ways.

    Secondly, I should have brought my ticket to school with me this morning instead of leaving it in my lunch box (yes, I am such a logical thinker). My poor boyfriend, Reid, was napping (he works nights now), and I woke him up to bring my ticket between classes.

    Third, I should have brought sunscreen and a hat and a parasol and a sunshade and a fan and about 8 gallons of water! It was approximately 5,000 degrees and standing in line in direct sunlight in that kind of heat is probably what death feels like (if you died in the desert of heat stroke and dehydration), especially if your not even sure if it will all pay off.

    Fourth, I should have left my backpack with Reid when he brought the ticket instead of lugging it with me to the back of the loooooooong line (My estimates say it was at least a mile long).

    Map courtesy of Google Maps

    • Blue box indicates location of speakers
    • Red box indicates security
    • Black line indicates direction of line (Where it ends on East dr. is not necessarily the end, this is just where I lost track of it.)
    • Yellow star indicates where I got into the line
    • Orange star indicates where I left it

    *Please Note: Colors have no correlation to party.

    After 30 minutes of waiting in line (I moved probably 20 feet in that time, at least I made it to some shade), I was told that IF I made it to the front they would probably send me to a separate line to check my bag before sending me BACK to the back of the line.

    I had nowhere to take my backpack AND my phone was dead. The extremely nice woman in front of me in line told me she would save my place in line if I wanted to run home to drop it off. She gave me her phone number and told me to call when I returned in order to find her. She joked that she would be hard to find, about 10 feet away from our current position in the 45 minutes it would take for me to return.

    There was a squirrel in this tree. I thought I got it in the picture but it must be a vampire. (squiracula)

    So I left my place…

    …chugged a bottle of the free H2Obama (witty)…

    … snapped this photo of the Elvis selling Obama buttons. I also saw a man selling Baronco shirts (Barack + Broncos = Baronco?)… and rode my bike home.

    I was so hot when I got home that I felt defeated and like I never wanted to return to that horrible line. I resigned my self to homework for the night.

    My sister, Erica then told me that she had green priority tickets, which gave me a second wind (with priority tickets you don’t have to wait as long in line). I called my friend that was saving my spot in line to tell her that I wouldn’t be returning and thanked her for her kindness. We decided to meet up at Wild Boar Coffee, a coffee shop across the street from campus.

    Images inside the Quad:

    Via Nick Lyon of the Rocky Mountain Collegian

    A few highlights from the opening speeches:

    John Hickenlooper, Governor for Colorado, states, “Barack Obama has your back. Do we have his back?” He then goes on to say “President Obama has more emotional depth than anyone I have ever known, and we are lucky to have him as our president.”

    Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior, asks, “ Who will be the champion for the middle class? Obama, or the other guy who stands for the top 2%.” He also informs us, “It’s Barack Obama that helped you get into higher education.”

    CSU Sophomore Haley Damm-Hamblin introduces the president. Her speech represented her background as a young woman going to university and why this election is important to her.

    Finally, Obama takes the stage, and he got me just a jazzed as he always does when I hear him speak. One of his major points throughout the speech was the importance of voting. He encourages us to vote saying, “Your vote will decide where we go from here,” and “You choose the path to get to the future.”

    When he says that in the next few weeks his opponent will share his agenda, the crowd boos, to which he says, “Don’t boo. Vote. That’s the best response. Vote, and get some of your friends to vote.” He mentions an online voter registry, GottaVote.com, which he emphasizes the spelling and apologizes to English professors 😉 . He then says, “Young people came out in record numbers four years ago.” and “Understand your power. If you’re going to get cynical, wait till you’re older.” (hahahaha)

    A great moment was when Obama listed all the things WE accomplished in the last four years and a guy yells, “You helped!” to which Obama replies, “I helped a little bit” Hahaha Classic.

    He puts the power in our hands, “If we win Colorado, we will win this election. If we win Fort Collins, we will win Colorado.” and “America is counting on you and I’m counting on you.”  Pressure’s on! President Obama is counting on ME!

    Via Nick Lyon of the Rocky Mountain Collegian

    Another key point in President Obama’s speech was the power of education. He tells us that Mitt Romeny calls us the lost generation but we are not because Obama believes in us: “I believe in you. I believe in the American people. I’ve seen the passion of this generation.”

    He goes on to say that he and First Lady, Michelle paid off their student loans about 8 years ago. He says, “We know what its like.” He emphasizes his commitment to higher education saying that we shouldn’t be making it harder for students to pay off loans than it already is. My question for you: Should we keep college affordable or borrow money from our parents (as Romney suggests)?

    Via Nick Lyon of the Rocky Mountain Collegian

    A third point emphasized in his speech was ObamaCare, Obama explains that “We passed this law because I care.” ObamaCare has provided 7,000,000 young people with healthcare, given woman access to health care such as birth control, mammograms and pap smears, and has made medicine more accessible to the elderly. “Some of us can’t afford the healthcare we need sometimes, no matter how well we plan.”

    A particularly funny moment in my opinion was the reference to the “Romney-Doesn’t-Care plan,” the health care system we will be left with should Romney be elected.

    Via Nick Lyon of the Rocky Mountain Collegian

    President Obama also discusses the economy and jobs. Obama says that tax cuts should not be given to those who have already succeeded (if success is measured monetarily) saying, “Tax cuts should be given to the middle-class, small business and students not to those who have already made it.” He wants to “build the economy from the inside out.” “It’s about the middle class and students.” (Hey that’s me!)

    Obama tells us that his opponent believes, “Renewable sources of energy are imaginary,” Obama asks, “Do we want to be forever dependent on foreign oil or do we want to pursue renewable, clean energy sources?” and that “Renewable energy is the future.”

    Obama explains, “Here’s the bottom line, Colorado. If the other side has their way … it wont create jobs.” and “I want to make sure taxes are not raised a single dime on first $250k of income.”

    A few other great points from Obama include, “Help every American have a chance to better themselves.” “We don’t need to refight the battles of the past, we are moving forward, we don’t go backward!” Obama is not going to leave any Americans out in the cold, that’s what we’re fighting for.

    He questions why people who love each other can’t get married. His response, “The history of our country is not about how many people we can exclude.” and “Ignoring inequality doesn’t make it go away.”

    Obama on veterans: “We’re going to have to serve them just as well as they’ve served us.”

    He includes some inspirational ideas such as: “You gotta get on board. Its time for change!” (which was responded to by the crowd with a resounding, “Yes we can!”) One of his themes was that he hasn’t finished what’s he’s started, “We’ve got more work to do!” (To which the crowd began chanting, “Four more years!”). And he tells us, “We are greater together than we are on our own.”

    He exited to a little Bruce Springsteen, “We take care of our own.”

    (My dumb ole video of the motorcade from Wild Boar Coffee after the speech. Sorry I didn’t follow the limo. I was looking at it but my hands didn’t cooperate.)

    “Will this be an America where no matter where no matter what you look like, no matter where you come from, no matter who you love, no matter what your last name is, you can pursue happiness?”

    As a young person, I feel that Obama understands me. As a student, I believe that Obama appreciate me. As a Natural Resources student specifically, I recognize that Obama values me. As a woman, I know that Obama supports me. I am grateful that I can look back on today as a piece of history that I participated in, and I hope one day this piece of history will be considered the day everything changed.

    *UPDATE: Today is a new day and the Rocky Mountain Collegian (CSU’s student newspaper) has some interesting articles and things to say about Obama’s visit, that I would like to address.

    This article compares Obama’s 2012 campaign with FDR’s campaign in which he has re-elected for four terms due to the creation of the New Deal. These government programs forced Americans to rely on the government for their basic needs. I disagree with this comparison. While Obama did mention that he wants to finish the work he’s started, the programs he has introduced are not forced on every American, they give chances to every American. The choice to take these opportunities is left up to the individual.

    An article by Caleb Hendrich with the title, “Don’t Boo Get Out and Vote,” discusses why Obama is focused on getting more votes. Apparently, historically the greater the turn-out of voters the more likely the Democratic party has been to have a victory in both the executive and legislative branches. An interesting point.

    While the editorial rejoices in the 13,000 people showing up to support the democratic process, their view is that the fate of the nation does not ride on one day in history or the results of the election in November. They want to encourage people to monitor the government in order to ensure that what is promised also is put into effect.

    At the time of Obama’s speech there was a smallish (comparatively) gathering of Mitt Romney supporters who met at the corner of University and Meridian Avenues. A report in the collegian quotes one of their number in response to the idea of repealing ObamaCare, ” The idea that the government can force you to buy something scares me.” My response to you sir: “Where do you think roads and highways, public schools, wildlife protection, national monuments, public transportation, public libraries, open space protection, wetland protection, etc. etc. come from? Your tax dollars, that’s where. You’ve been forced to “buy” things your whole life. Even if you don’t use these things every day or they will not benefit you directly, you have to pay for them. ObamaCare simply creates an opportunity for some people in the same way all the other public service we know and love do.

    (***Update 09/05/12: Although I loved my time at WordPress, I found it was my time to move on. I am now at Blogger; I believe it to be a better fit for me personally. If you subscribe, or want to subscribe, to this blog, please be sure to subscribe to the new one. Here’s the link.)

    Did you catch President Obama’s speech? What do you like, or dislike, about Obama’s campaign? Romney’s? Are you registered to vote? (Register here)

    President Obama Addresses Colorado Students About 2012 Election

    Maggie's Mind Mumbles//: President Obama Addresses Colorado Students

    President Obama came to visit Colorado State University on August 28th. He was here in 2008 and I just barely missed him. He was a senator running for president back then. I was a scared freshman, and the Oval was outside of the comfortable bubble I had created for myself (dorm room, classes, Lory Student Center, and Corbett dining hall).


    This time around I was determined to see him. My President Obama adventures began around 10:30 am on August 27th. That’s when I just happened to walk by a girl handing out tickets on my way to carry out a completely different mission (Print flyers for the first meeting for the CSU Range Club). She was just setting up so I didn’t even have to wait in line to get this shiny blue ticket.

    Behind the scenes photos:

     
    Obama’s Helicopter via @EllyCollins


     
    Security via @SarahJaneKyle


     
    Secret Service via @SarahJaneKyle


    Behind these curtains you can find metal detectors and a weaving maze on metal barricades to organize the line of people.


    The next stages of this adventure to see President Obama’s speech did not quite go according to plan. First off, I should have realized that the people I passed at 10:00am (some people camped out all night) were clever, instead of scoffing at their time-wasting ways.


    Secondly, I should have brought my ticket to school with me this morning instead of leaving it in my lunch box (yes, I am such a logical thinker). My poor boyfriend, Reid, was napping (he works nights now), and I woke him up to bring my ticket between classes.

    Third, I should have brought sunscreen and a hat and a parasol and a sunshade and a fan and about 8 gallons of water! It was approximately 5,000 degrees and standing in line in direct sunlight in that kind of heat is probably what death feels like (if you died in the desert of heat stroke and dehydration), especially if your not even sure if it will all pay off.

    Fourth, I should have left my backpack with Reid when he brought the ticket instead of lugging it with me to the back of the loooooooong line (My estimates say it was at least a mile long).

     

    Map courtesy of Google Maps

    • Blue box indicates location of speakers
    • Red box indicates security
    • Black line indicates direction of line (Where it ends on East dr. is not necessarily the end, this is just where I lost track of it.)
    • Yellow star indicates where I got into the line
    • Orange star indicates where I left it

    *Please Note: Colors have no correlation to party.

    After 30 minutes of waiting in line (I moved probably 20 feet in that time, at least I made it to some shade), I was told that IF I made it to the front they would probably send me to a separate line to check my bag before sending me BACK to the back of the line.

    I had nowhere to take my backpack AND my phone was dead. The extremely nice woman in front of me in line told me she would save my place in line if I wanted to run home to drop it off. She gave me her phone number and told me to call when I returned in order to find her. She joked that she would be hard to find, about 10 feet away from our current position in the 45 minutes it would take for me to return.


     
    There was a squirrel in this tree. I thought I got it in the picture but it must be a vampire. (squiracula)


    So I left my place…


    …chugged a bottle of the free H2Obama (witty)…


    … snapped this photo of the Elvis selling Obama buttons. I also saw a man selling Baronco shirts (Barack + Broncos = Baronco?)… and rode my bike home.

    I was so hot when I got home that I felt defeated and like I never wanted to return to that horrible line. I resigned my self to homework for the night.

    My sister, Erica then told me that she had green priority tickets, which gave me a second wind (with priority tickets you don’t have to wait as long in line). I called my friend that was saving my spot in line to tell her that I wouldn’t be returning and thanked her for her kindness. We decided to meet up at Wild Boar Coffee, a coffee shop across the street from campus.


    Images inside the Quad:

     


     


     
    Via Nick Lyon of the Rocky Mountain Collegian


     


     


    A few highlights from the speeches:

     


    John Hickenlooper, Governor for Colorado, states, “Barack Obama has your back. Do we have his back?” He then goes on to say “President Obama has more emotional depth than anyone I have ever known, and we are lucky to have him as our president.”

     


    Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior, asks, “ Who will be the champion for the middle class? Obama, or the other guy who stands for the top 2%.” He also informs us, “It’s Barack Obama that helped you get into higher education.”

    CSU Sophomore Haley Damm-Hamblin introduces the president. Her speech represented her background as a young woman going to university and why this election is important to her.

     


    Finally, Obama takes the stage, and he got me just a jazzed as he always does when I hear him speak. One of his major points throughout the speech was the importance of voting. He encourages us to vote saying, “Your vote will decide where we go from here,” and “You choose the path to get to the future.”

    When he says that in the next few weeks his opponent will share his agenda, the crowd boos, to which he says, “Don’t boo. Vote. That’s the best response. Vote, and get some of your friends to vote.” He mentions an online voter registry, GottaVote.com, which he emphasizes the spelling and apologizes to English professors 😉 . He then says, “Young people came out in record numbers four years ago.” and “Understand your power. If you’re going to get cynical, wait till you’re older.” (hahahaha)

    A great moment was when Obama listed all the things WE accomplished in the last four years and a guy yells, “You helped!” to which Obama replies, “I helped a little bit” Hahaha Classic.

    He puts the power in our hands, “If we win Colorado, we will win this election. If we win Fort Collins, we will win Colorado.” and “America is counting on you and I’m counting on you.”  Pressure’s on! President Obama is counting on ME!

    Via Nick Lyon of the Rocky Mountain Collegian


    Another key point in President Obama’s speech was the power of education. He tells us that Mitt Romeny calls us the lost generation but we are not because Obama believes in us: “I believe in you. I believe in the American people. I’ve seen the passion of this generation.”

    He goes on to say that he and First Lady, Michelle paid off their student loans about 8 years ago. He says, “We know what its like.” He emphasizes his commitment to higher education saying that we shouldn’t be making it harder for students to pay off loans than it already is. My question for you: Should we keep college affordable or borrow money from our parents (as Romney suggests)?

    Via Nick Lyon of the Rocky Mountain Collegian


    A third point emphasized in his speech was ObamaCare, Obama explains that “We passed this law because I care.” ObamaCare has provided 7,000,000 young people with healthcare, given woman access to health care such as birth control, mammograms and pap smears, and has made medicine more accessible to the elderly. “Some of us can’t afford the healthcare we need sometimes, no matter how well we plan.”

    A particularly funny moment in my opinion was the reference to the “Romney-Doesn’t-Care plan,” the health care system we will be left with should Romney be elected.

    Via Nick Lyon of the Rocky Mountain Collegian


    President Obama also discusses the economy and jobs. Obama says that tax cuts should not be given to those who have already succeeded (if success is measured monetarily) saying, “Tax cuts should be given to the middle-class, small business and students not to those who have already made it.” He wants to “build the economy from the inside out.” “It’s about the middle class and students.” (Hey that’s me!)

    Obama tells us that his opponent believes, “Renewable sources of energy are imaginary,” Obama asks, “Do we want to be forever dependent on foreign oil or do we want to pursue renewable, clean energy sources?” and that “Renewable energy is the future.”

    Obama explains, “Here’s the bottom line, Colorado. If the other side has their way … it wont create jobs.” and “I want to make sure taxes are not raised a single dime on first $250k of income.”

     


    A few other great points from Obama include, “Help every American have a chance to better themselves.” “We don’t need to refight the battles of the past, we are moving forward, we don’t go backward!” Obama is not going to leave any Americans out in the cold, that’s what we’re fighting for.

    He questions why people who love each other can’t get married. His response, “The history of our country is not about how many people we can exclude.” and “Ignoring inequality doesn’t make it go away.”

    Obama on veterans: “We’re going to have to serve them just as well as they’ve served us.”

    He includes some inspirational ideas such as: “You gotta get on board. Its time for change!” (which was responded to by the crowd with a resounding, “Yes we can!”) One of his themes was that he hasn’t finished what’s he’s started, “We’ve got more work to do!” (To which the crowd began chanting, “Four more years!”). And he tells us, “We are greater together than we are on our own.”


    He exited to a little Bruce Springsteen, “We take care of our own.”

     



    (My dumb ole video of the motorcade from Wild Boar Coffee after the speech. Sorry I didn’t follow the limo. I was looking at it but my hands didn’t cooperate.)

    “Will this be an America where no matter where no matter what you look like, no matter where you come from, no matter who you love, no matter what your last name is, you can pursue happiness?”


    As a young person, I feel that Obama understands me. As a student, I believe that Obama appreciate me. As a Natural Resources student specifically, I recognize that Obama values me. As a woman, I know that Obama supports me. I am grateful that I can look back on today as a piece of history that I participated in, and I hope one day this piece of history will be considered the day everything changed.

    *UPDATE: Today is a new day and the Rocky Mountain Collegian (CSU’s student newspaper) has some interesting articles and things to say about Obama’s visit, that I would like to address.

    This article compares Obama’s 2012 campaign with FDR’s campaign in which he has re-elected for four terms due to the creation of the New Deal. These government programs forced Americans to rely on the government for their basic needs. I disagree with this comparison. While Obama did mention that he wants to finish the work he’s started, the programs he has introduced are not forced on every American, they give chances to every American. The choice to take these opportunities is left up to the individual.

    An article by Caleb Hendrich with the title, “Don’t Boo Get Out and Vote,” discusses why Obama is focused on getting more votes. Apparently, historically the greater the turn-out of voters the more likely the Democratic party has been to have a victory in both the executive and legislative branches. An interesting point.

    While the editorial rejoices in the 13,000 people showing up to support the democratic process, their view is that the fate of the nation does not ride on one day in history or the results of the election in November. They want to encourage people to monitor the government in order to ensure that what is promised also is put into effect.

    At the time of Obama’s speech there was a smallish (comparatively) gathering of Mitt Romney supporters who met at the corner of University and Meridian Avenues. A report in the collegian quotes one of their number in response to the idea of repealing ObamaCare, ” The idea that the government can force you to buy something scares me.” My response to you sir: “Where do you think roads and highways, public schools, wildlife protection, national monuments, public transportation, public libraries, open space protection, wetland protection, etc. etc. come from? Your tax dollars, that’s where. You’ve been forced to “buy” things your whole life. Even if you don’t use these things every day or they will not benefit you directly, you have to pay for them. ObamaCare simply creates an opportunity for some people in the same way all the other public service we know and love do.

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    Did you catch President Obama’s speech? What do you like, or dislike, about Obama’s campaign? Romney’s? Are you registered to vote? (Register here)

    Eating Real Food

    It was June, it was HOT and I needed something with the word ice in it desperately to cool me down. I pulled into the local grocery store, headed for the frozen food section, relished in the cold air, and searched for that special treat. It came down to three things for me: price, flavor and whether or not my boyfriend would want to eat it too (he has a Who-sized sweet-tooth gene). I grabbed a 12-pack of Weight-Watchers dark-chocolate-dipped raspberry ice cream bars. They sounded heavenly, they were the cheapest for the number of bars and I thought Reid would at least not cringe at the thought of eating one or two.

    I will not lie; I got to the car and dug in. The chocolate bar was steaming with sublimation in the hot car and I enjoyed the heck out of every bite of it. When I returned home I put them in the freezer and left it at that. When Reid came home he was having a fit about having to watch TV commercials that day at work. We don’t have cable so we have forgotten about commercials (and I’m pretty sure they’ve gotten dumber since the last time they were forced on me, but that’s a story for another day). He described one commercial he had seen to me through gritted teeth. It was a commercial for some kind of metabolism booster that allows you to eat whatever you want regardless of calories or nutrition. You shake this substance on hamburgers or ice cream and it makes you look like the skinny girls in the commercial, dancing around in their bikinis.

    Then he saw Weight Watchers ice cream bars in the freezer. “I bet these aren’t even ice cream, they’re probably completely synthetic,” says he. When we looked at the label, he wasn’t ALL wrong.

    That’s when we, here at the Miller/Haseman Estate (HA!) decided that while something may be edible it might not be digestible. He learned in microbiology and passed his knowledge on to me that there are many “food” items we ingest every day that our bodies look at and say “dafuq?” then stores in fatty tissue if it ever has need of the foreign substance. Our culture in America tends to guide us toward the quick fix, the fast, and the easy, which leaves the wholesome and nutritious forgotten in the dusty cobwebs of our minds. Our society has become dependent on processed foods. They are an illusion of nutrition that lists claims such as, low-carb, no added sugar, high-protein, high-fiber, vitamin fortified etc. But when you take a look at the label you see words like “Polydextrose,” “Azodicarbonamide,” and “Natamycin.”

    Now, this has turned into a project that I have taken on: making EVERYTHING from scratch (almost). When we go to the grocery store we pick up items, look at them and I say, “I could make that.” And then… get this… I actually DO make it.

    I will admit that it definitely helps that I have an open schedule (especially this summer) in which to lull away the day. It has been nice to have something to fill my time that will benefit my creativity, deductive reasoning skills and my body all in one shot. (Side note: What’s that saying? Kill two birds with one stone. My mom always found this barbaric and changed it to feed two birds with one seed. End side note).

    Regardless of your schedule I believe it is possible to cut out most of this junk from our diets.

    Why cut out processed foods:

    1. Like I said before, processed foods are an illusion of nutrition.
    2. Healthier body, mind and soul… and a foundation for continued health in later life.
    3. Michael Pollan says it best when he explains food should be the product of nature, not the product of industry.
    4. Variety: 90% of processed food is estimated to be a derivative of corn or soy (Food, Inc.)
    5. Plain and simple, common sense: I’d like to know (and have the ability to pronounce) what I’m putting in to fuel my body, wouldn’t you?

    (***Update 09/05/12: Although I loved my time at WordPress, I found it was my time to move on. I am now at Blogger; I believe it to be a better fit for me personally. If you subscribe, or want to subscribe, to this blog, please be sure to subscribe to the new one. Here’s the link.)

    I would love to hear from you. What do you do to cut back on processed foods?

    Eating Real Food

    It was June, it was HOT and I needed something with the word ice in it desperately to cool me down. I pulled into the local grocery store, headed for the frozen food section, relished in the cold air, and searched for that special treat. It came down to three things for me: price, flavor and whether or not my boyfriend would want to eat it too (he has a Who-sized sweet-tooth gene). I grabbed a 12-pack of Weight-Watchers dark-chocolate-dipped raspberry ice cream bars. They sounded heavenly, they were the cheapest for the number of bars and I thought Reid would at least not cringe at the thought of eating one or two.

    I will not lie; I got to the car and dug in. The chocolate bar was steaming with sublimation in the hot car and I enjoyed the heck out of every bite of it. When I returned home I put them in the freezer and left it at that. When Reid came home he was having a fit about having to watch TV commercials that day at work. We don’t have cable so we have forgotten about commercials (and I’m pretty sure they’ve gotten dumber since the last time they were forced on me, but that’s a story for another day). He described one commercial he had seen to me through gritted teeth. It was a commercial for some kind of metabolism booster that allows you to eat whatever you want regardless of calories or nutrition. You shake this substance on hamburgers or ice cream and it makes you look like the skinny girls in the commercial, dancing around in their bikinis.


    Then he saw Weight Watchers ice cream bars in the freezer. “I bet these aren’t even ice cream, they’re probably completely synthetic,” says he. When we looked at the label, he wasn’t ALL wrong.


    That’s when we, here at the Miller/Haseman Estate (HA!) decided that while something may be edible it might not be digestible. He learned in microbiology and passed his knowledge on to me that there are many “food” items we ingest every day that our bodies look at and say “dafuq?” then stores in fatty tissue if it ever has need of the foreign substance. Our culture in America tends to guide us toward the quick fix, the fast, and the easy, which leaves the wholesome and nutritious forgotten in the dusty cobwebs of our minds. Our society has become dependent on processed foods. They are an illusion of nutrition that lists claims such as, low-carb, no added sugar, high-protein, high-fiber, vitamin fortified etc. But when you take a look at the label you see words like “Polydextrose,” “Azodicarbonamide,” and “Natamycin.”


     


    Now, this has turned into a project that I have taken on: making EVERYTHING from scratch (almost). When we go to the grocery store we pick up items, look at them and I say, “I could make that.” And then… get this… I actually DO make it.

    I will admit that it definitely helps that I have an open schedule (especially this summer) in which to lull away the day. It has been nice to have something to fill my time that will benefit my creativity, deductive reasoning skills and my body all in one shot. (Side note: What’s that saying? Kill two birds with one stone. My mom always found this barbaric and changed it to feed two birds with one seed. End side note).

    Regardless of your schedule I believe it is possible to cut out most of this junk from our diets.

    Why cut out processed foods:

    1. Like I said before, processed foods are an illusion of nutrition.
    2. Healthier body, mind and soul… and a foundation for continued health in later life.
    3. Michael Pollan says it best when he explains food should be the product of nature, not the product of industry.
    4. Variety: 90% of processed food is estimated to be a derivative of corn or soy (Food, Inc.)
    5. Plain and simple, common sense: I’d like to know (and have the ability to pronounce) what I’m putting in to fuel my body, wouldn’t you?


    I would love to hear from you. What do you do to cut back on processed foods?

    15 Things I Learned From Harry Potter

    The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling has been a big part of my life ever since I read the first books in third grade. I have devoured the series more times than I can count, soaked in the movies (which I love however disappointed I was in most of them), and researched every drop of information I can sponge up. You can imagine that something that I can still honestly say I adore, more than 13 years later must have given something to my soul. Harry, Ron and Hermione are my family, Dumbledore, Ginny, Luna, Neville, Snape, McGonagall, Hagrid, Dobby, Fang, Sirius, Lupin, Fred, George, Seamus, Dean, Lavender, Parvati, Molly, Arthur, Bill, Charlie, Percy, Fleur, Victor, Lee, Cedric, Tonks, Mad-Eye, Angelina, Katie, Alicia, etc. etc. etc. They’re all are my friends. They will live in my heart. After all this time. Always.

    So the list begins…

    1. Don’t Fear the Reaper

    Death is a theme, particularly emphasized in the Harry Potter books. Harry, who was orphaned as a baby, has led a life that has been considerably influenced by Death. Gradually as Harry grows and evolves into a man his journey takes him to a place where death is not something to be feared. After all, a fear of death is what led to the Hogwarts ghosts, something Harry realizes when Sirius Black dies.

    King's Cross chapter art, Harry Potter, Deathly Hallows 
    Source: Book Chapter Art

    In the great words of Albus Dumbledore, two quotes:
    “To the well organized mind, death is but the next great adventure.”
    “Do not pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living, and, above all, those who live without love.”


    2. Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover

    Severus Snape, the Potions Master at Hogwarts is the best example of this; he is presented as the sneering, bullying villain with a vendetta against Harry. When his motivations are revealed in the Deathly Hallows we learn that his actions were born out of love rather than hate (or mostly love).

    Dumbledore: “After all this time?” (Referring to his love for Lily Evans, later Lily Potter)
    “Always.” said Snape.


    3. Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

    After six books of bickering, pining, sulking and pretending to be indifferent toward each other, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger finally share a passionate kiss in the Deathly Hallows.

    ron and hermione, harry potter, fan art, deathly hallows 

    There was a clatter as the basilisk fangs cascaded out of Hermione’s arms. Running at Ron, she flung them around his neck and kissed him full on the mouth. Ron threw away the fangs and broomstick he was holding and responded with such enthusiasm that he lifted Hermione off her feet.
    “Is this the moment?” Harry asked weakly, and when nothing happened except that Ron and Hermione gripped each other still more firmly and swayed on the spot, he raised his voice. “OI! There’s a war going on here!”
    Ron and Hermione broke apart, their arms still around each other.
    “I know, mate,” said Ron… “so it’s now or never, isn’t it?”


    4. Sometimes You Can’t Make it On Your Own

    Harry, throughout the series, continually feels (sometimes aggravatingly) that he must face his destiny alone, only to have his friends prove invaluable. In the Sorceror’s Stone, Ron and Hermione use their respective abilities of chess-playing and logic to help Harry through to the stone. And how can we forget Ron and Hermione’s defiance about helping Harry collect and destroy Horcruxes?

    chapter art, harry potter, ran weasley, hermione granger, 12 grimwauld place 
    Source: Book Chapter Art

    “We’ll be there, Harry,” said Ron…
    “No—“ said Harry quickly…he was undertaking this dangerous journey alone.
    “You said to us once before,” said Hermione quietly, “that there was a time to turn back if we wanted to. We’ve had time, haven’t we?”
    “We’re with you whatever happens,” said Ron.


    5. Decisions, Decisions

    Harry and Tom Riddle, both extraordinarily proficient wizards, led different lives not based on their skills but rather on the various choices they made along the way. Harry makes the choice to become a Gryffindor (rather than a Slytherin) when he puts on the sorting hat because he trusts his new friendship with Ron. Tom uses the Slytherin house, his irresistible charm, and his desire for power, which led him down a dark path.

    The Sorting Hat, chapter art, harry potter, slytherin, gryfindor, hufflepuff, ravenclaw 
    Source: Book Chapter Art

    Harry gripped the edges of the stool and thought, Not Slytherin, not Slytherin.
    “Not Slytherin, eh?” said the small voice. “Are you sure? You could be great, you know, it’s all here in your head, and Slytherin will help you on the way to greatness, no doubt about that— no? Well if you’re sure—better be GRYFFINDOR!”
    Also a quote from Dumbledore: “It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”


    6. The Power of Love

    His inability either to love or to fathom its power is what prevents Voldemort from killing Harry from the beginning. Harry’s father, James, died in a fight while his mother, Lily, died protecting baby Harry.

    baby harry, harry potter, lily, love, fan art 

    Yet another quote from our favorite wizard, Dumbledore: “If there is one thing Voldemort cannot understand, it is love. He didn’t realize that love as powerful as your mother’s for you leaves its own mark.”


    7. The Easy Way Out

    Choices are an integral part of any good story. In Harry Potter we find that the more difficult choice are inevitably the right choice, which must be made. Voldemort’s rise to power is the result of those facing him choosing the easy option (to live under his rule, rather than fight or perish). Cornelius Fudge’s refusal to admit the return of Voldemort was easier than preparing for the first stages of war.

    harry potter, mugglenet, the only one he ever feared, dumbledore, voldemort, tom riddle ministry of magic 

    Another wise Dumbledore quote “We must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy.”


    8. Hell Hath No Fury, Like a Woman Scorned

    This is made perfectly evident by the reaction Hermione has to Lavender Brown and Ron’s (short-lived) romance.

    yellow canaries, ron weasley, hermione granger, lavender brown, harry potter, fan art 

    The door behind them burst open. To Harry’s horror, Ron came in, laughing, pulling Lavender by the hand…
    “Oops!” said Lavender, and she backed out of the room, giggling…
    Hermione slid off the desk. The little flock of golden birds continued to twitter in circles around her head…
    “You shouldn’t leave Lavender waiting outside,” she said quietly…
    She walked very slowly and erectly toward the door. Harry glanced at Ron who looked relieved that nothing worse had happened.
    “Oppugno!” came a shriek from the doorway.
    Harry spun around to see Hermione pointing her wand at Ron, her expression wild: The little flock of bird speeding like a hail of fat golden bullets toward Ron, who yelped and covered his face with his hands, but the birds attacked, pecking and clawing at every bit of flesh they could reach.


    9. Heart’s Desire

    The Mirror of Erised shows those who look upon it the “deepest and most desperate desires of one’s heart. It is presented as a device with a destructive, almost maddening influence on the beholder. While when Harry’s sees his parents at first it is a comfort to him, he begins to become obsessed with the mirror, until Dumbledore is forced to step in.

    mirror of erised, heart's desire, harry potter, lily and james, mugglenet 

    One more quote from Dumbledore, that sage old wizard: “It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live, remember, that.”


    10. Money Can’t Buy Me Love

    The Weasley family has hardly two knuts to rub together, and yet Rowling presents them as the happiest and most loving of all her characters. The Malfoys on the other hand are rolling in galleons, and yet they spend much of the saga wracked with guilt, worry and anxiety.

    “…my name is Malfoy, Draco Malfoy.”
    Ron gave a slight cough, which might have been hiding a snigger. Draco Malfoy looked at him.
    “Think my name’s funny, do you? No need to ask who you are. My father told me all the Weasleys have red hair, freckles, and more children than they can afford.”


    11. Fear Can Be Conquered

    During Remus Lupin’s time as Defence Against The Dark Arts teacher, he explains that the reason Harry suffers so much in the presence of the Dementors is because of his fear of fear. In time, Harry masters his fear, and the art of the Patronus charm, using focus and determination (and a memory he isn’t even sure is real).

    dementor, remus lupin, harry potter, boggart 

    “I assumed that if the Boggart faced you, it would assume the shape of Lord Voldemort.”
    Harry stared…
    “Clearly, I was wrong,” said Lupin, still frowning at Harry. “But I didn’t think it a good idea for Lord Voldemort to materialise in the staff room. I imagined that people would panic.”
    “I did think of Voldemort first,” said Harry honestly. “But then I – I remembered those Dementors.”
    “I see,” said Lupin thoughtfully. “Well, well… I’m impressed.” He smiled slightly at the look of surprise on Harry’s face. “That suggests that what you fear most of all is – fear. Very wise, Harry.”


    12. Protect the Nest

    Even with her evil reputation, Bellatrix Lestrange makes a critical error when she threatens to kill Ginny Weasley. Molly Weasley might have seen one child die at the battle of Hogwarts, but when threatened again she proves that she won’t let ANYONE repeat that trick.

    molly weasley, harry potter, bellatrix lestrange fan art 

    “NOT MY DAUGHTER, YOU BITCH!”…”OUT OF MY WAY!” Shouted Mrs. Weasley… “No!!” Mrs. Weasley cried as a few students ran forward, trying to come to her aid. “Get back! Get back! She is mine!”
    “What will happen to your children when I’ve killed you?” taunted Bellatrix… capering as Molly’s curses danced around her. “When Mummy’s gone the same way as Freddie?”
    “You — will — never — touch — our — children — again!” screamed Mrs. Weasley…
    Molly’s curse soared beneath Bellatrix’s outstretched arm and hit her squarely in the chest, directly over her heart… and then she toppled…


    13. Diversity is Might

    Where Voldemort might tell you “Magic is Might,” I say “Diversity is Might.” Throughout the saga, Harry finds himself befriending society’s outcasts, again and again. There’s Rubeus Hagrid the half-giant, Dobby a house-elf, Firenze a centaur, and “Loony” Luna Lovegood who lives by her own rules. Even Griphook, a goblin who might not be considered a friend, helps Harry because of his reputation for loving all beings. These are the characters who often dig Harry and his friends out of the tightest situations.

    chapter art, harry potter, dobby, s.p.e.w., house elf, hermione granger 
    Source: Book Chapter Art

    “You dirty little monkey!” bawled Bellatrix. “How dare you take a witch’s wand, how dare you defy your masters?”
    “Dobby has no master!” squealed the elf. “Dobby is a free elf, and Dobby has come to save Harry Potter and his friends!”


    14. Treat All With Kindness

    Along the same lines as number thirteen, Harry treated every being he met with the same kindness no matter their social standing, when they deserved it. (Dolores Umbridge, and Draco Malfoy are notable exceptions, also, Voldemort, of course). Kreacher, the Black family house elf, helps Harry because Harry was kind to him, Sirius’s mistreatment of Kreacher led ultimately to his death.

    harry potter, chapter art, kreacher, sirius black, 12 grimwauld place 
    Source: Book Chapter Art

    “I warned Sirius when we adopted twelve Grimmauld Place as our headquarters that Kreacher must be treated with kindness and respect. I also told him that Kreacher could be dangerous to us. I do not think that Sirius took me very seriously, or that he ever saw Kreacher as a being with feelings as acute as a human’s.” (One last Dumbledore quote)


    15. When You Believe

    Self-confidence is presented as a key component in magical prophecy. We watch Neville Longbottom’s journey from the very first book, in which he is a hopeless wizard due to low self-esteem brought on from his grandmother. As he grows older and begins to be self-assured he matures into one of the most important figures in the story.

    neville longbottom, gryfindor, house points 
    Couldn’t resist using this photo 😉

    Voldemort: “You show spirit and bravery, and you come of noble stock. You will make a very valuable Death Eater. We need your kind, Neville Longbottom.”
    “I’ll join you when hell freezes over,” said Neville. “Dumbledore’s Army!” he shouted, and there was an answering cheer from the crowd…


    Adapted from 50 Things We Learned From Harry Potter by Total Film

    My favorite Harry Potter sites:

    How has Harry Potter changed your life? What themes that I didn’t share are important to you?

    15 Things I Learned From Harry Potter

    The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling has been a big part of my life ever since I read the first books in third grade. I have devoured the series more times than I can count, soaked in the movies (which I love however disappointed I was in most of them), and researched every drop of information I can sponge up. You can imagine that something that I can still honestly say I adore, more than 13 years later must have given something to my soul. Harry, Ron and Hermione are my family, Dumbledore, Ginny, Luna, Neville, Snape, McGonagall, Hagrid, Dobby, Fang, Sirius, Lupin, Fred, George, Seamus, Dean, Lavender, Parvati, Molly, Arthur, Bill, Charlie, Percy, Fleur, Victor, Lee, Cedric, Tonks, Mad-Eye, Angelina, Katie, Alicia, etc. etc. etc. They’re all are my friends. They will live in my heart. After all this time. Always.

    So the list begins…

    1. Don’t Fear the Reaper

    Death is a theme, particularly emphasized in the Harry Potter books. Harry, who was orphaned as a baby, has led a life that has been considerably influenced by Death. Gradually as Harry grows and evolves into a man his journey takes him to a place where death is not something to be feared. After all, a fear of death is what led to the Hogwarts ghosts, something Harry realizes when Sirius Black dies.

    Source: Book Chapter Art

    In the great words of Albus Dumbledore, two quotes:
    “To the well organized mind, death is but the next great adventure.”
    “Do not pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living, and, above all, those who live without love.”

    2. Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover

    Severus Snape, the Potions Master at Hogwarts is the best example of this; he is presented as the sneering, bullying villain with a vendetta against Harry. When his motivations are revealed in the Deathly Hallows we learn that his actions were born out of love rather than hate (or mostly love).

    Dumbledore: “After all this time?” (Referring to his love for Lily Evans, later Lily Potter)
    “Always.” said Snape.

    3. Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

    After six books of bickering, pining, sulking and pretending to be indifferent toward each other, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger finally share a passionate kiss in the Deathly Hallows.

    There was a clatter as the basilisk fangs cascaded out of Hermione’s arms. Running at Ron, she flung them around his neck and kissed him full on the mouth. Ron threw away the fangs and broomstick he was holding and responded with such enthusiasm that he lifted Hermione off her feet.
    “Is this the moment?” Harry asked weakly, and when nothing happened except that Ron and Hermione gripped each other still more firmly and swayed on the spot, he raised his voice. “OI! There’s a war going on here!”
    Ron and Hermione broke apart, their arms still around each other.
    “I know, mate,” said Ron… “so it’s now or never, isn’t it?”

    4. Sometimes You Can’t Make it On Your Own

    Harry, throughout the series, continually feels (sometimes aggravatingly) that he must face his destiny alone, only to have his friends prove invaluable. In the Sorceror’s Stone, Ron and Hermione use their respective abilities of chess-playing and logic to help Harry through to the stone. And how can we forget Ron and Hermione’s defiance about helping Harry collect and destroy Horcruxes?

    Source: Book Chapter Art

    “We’ll be there, Harry,” said Ron…
    “No—“ said Harry quickly…he was undertaking this dangerous journey alone.
    “You said to us once before,” said Hermione quietly, “that there was a time to turn back if we wanted to. We’ve had time, haven’t we?”
    “We’re with you whatever happens,” said Ron.

    5. Decisions, Decisions

    Harry and Tom Riddle, both extraordinarily proficient wizards, led different lives not based on their skills but rather on the various choices they made along the way. Harry makes the choice to become a Gryffindor (rather than a Slytherin) when he puts on the sorting hat because he trusts his new friendship with Ron. Tom uses the Slytherin house, his irresistible charm, and his desire for power, which led him down a dark path.

    Source: Book Chapter Art

    Harry gripped the edges of the stool and thought, Not Slytherin, not Slytherin.
    “Not Slytherin, eh?” said the small voice. “Are you sure? You could be great, you know, it’s all here in your head, and Slytherin will help you on the way to greatness, no doubt about that— no? Well if you’re sure—better be GRYFFINDOR!”
    Also a quote from Dumbledore: “It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”

    6. The Power of Love

    His inability either to love or to fathom its power is what prevents Voldemort from killing Harry from the beginning. Harry’s father, James, died in a fight while his mother, Lily, died protecting baby Harry.

    Yet another quote from our favorite wizard, Dumbledore: “If there is one thing Voldemort cannot understand, it is love. He didn’t realize that love as powerful as your mother’s for you leaves its own mark.”

    7. The Easy Way Out

    Choices are an integral part of any good story. In Harry Potter we find that the more difficult choice are inevitably the right choice, which must be made. Voldemort’s rise to power is the result of those facing him choosing the easy option (to live under his rule, rather than fight or perish). Cornelius Fudge’s refusal to admit the return of Voldemort was easier than preparing for the first stages of war.

    Another wise Dumbledore quote “We must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy.”

    8. Hell Hath No Fury, Like a Woman Scorned

    This is made perfectly evident by the reaction Hermione has to Lavender Brown and Ron’s (short-lived) romance.

    The door behind them burst open. To Harry’s horror, Ron came in, laughing, pulling Lavender by the hand…
    “Oops!” said Lavender, and she backed out of the room, giggling…
    Hermione slid off the desk. The little flock of golden birds continued to twitter in circles around her head…
    “You shouldn’t leave Lavender waiting outside,” she said quietly…
    She walked very slowly and erectly toward the door. Harry glanced at Ron who looked relieved that nothing worse had happened.
    “Oppugno!” came a shriek from the doorway.
    Harry spun around to see Hermione pointing her wand at Ron, her expression wild: The little flock of bird speeding like a hail of fat golden bullets toward Ron, who yelped and covered his face with his hands, but the birds attacked, pecking and clawing at every bit of flesh they could reach.

    9. Heart’s Desire

    The Mirror of Erised shows those who look upon it the “deepest and most desperate desires of one’s heart. It is presented as a device with a destructive, almost maddening influence on the beholder. While when Harry’s sees his parents at first it is a comfort to him, he begins to become obsessed with the mirror, until Dumbledore is forced to step in.

    One more quote from Dumbledore, that sage old wizard: “It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live, remember, that.”

    10. Money Can’t Buy Me Love

    The Weasley family has hardly two knuts to rub together, and yet Rowling presents them as the happiest and most loving of all her characters. The Malfoys on the other hand are rolling in galleons, and yet they spend much of the saga wracked with guilt, worry and anxiety.

    “…my name is Malfoy, Draco Malfoy.”
    Ron gave a slight cough, which might have been hiding a snigger. Draco Malfoy looked at him.
    “Think my name’s funny, do you? No need to ask who you are. My father told me all the Weasleys have red hair, freckles, and more children than they can afford.”

    11. Fear Can Be Conquered

    During Remus Lupin’s time as Defence Against The Dark Arts teacher, he explains that the reason Harry suffers so much in the presence of the Dementors is because of his fear of fear. In time, Harry masters his fear, and the art of the Patronus charm, using focus and determination (and a memory he isn’t even sure is real).

    “I assumed that if the Boggart faced you, it would assume the shape of Lord Voldemort.”
    Harry stared…
    “Clearly, I was wrong,” said Lupin, still frowning at Harry. “But I didn’t think it a good idea for Lord Voldemort to materialise in the staff room. I imagined that people would panic.”
    “I did think of Voldemort first,” said Harry honestly. “But then I – I remembered those Dementors.”
    “I see,” said Lupin thoughtfully. “Well, well… I’m impressed.” He smiled slightly at the look of surprise on Harry’s face. “That suggests that what you fear most of all is – fear. Very wise, Harry.”

    12. Protect the Nest

    Even with her evil reputation, Bellatrix Lestrange makes a critical error when she threatens to kill Ginny Weasley. Molly Weasley might have seen one child die at the battle of Hogwarts, but when threatened again she proves that she won’t let ANYONE repeat that trick.

    “NOT MY DAUGHTER, YOU BITCH!”…”OUT OF MY WAY!” Shouted Mrs. Weasley… “No!!” Mrs. Weasley cried as a few students ran forward, trying to come to her aid. “Get back! Get back! She is mine!”
    “What will happen to your children when I’ve killed you?” taunted Bellatrix… capering as Molly’s curses danced around her. “When Mummy’s gone the same way as Freddie?”
    “You — will — never — touch — our — children — again!” screamed Mrs. Weasley…
    Molly’s curse soared beneath Bellatrix’s outstretched arm and hit her squarely in the chest, directly over her heart… and then she toppled…

    13. Diversity is Might

    Where Voldemort might tell you “Magic is Might,” I say “Diversity is Might.” Throughout the saga, Harry finds himself befriending society’s outcasts, again and again. There’s Rubeus Hagrid the half-giant, Dobby a house-elf, Firenze a centaur, and “Loony” Luna Lovegood who lives by her own rules. Even Griphook, a goblin who might not be considered a friend, helps Harry because of his reputation for loving all beings. These are the characters who often dig Harry and his friends out of the tightest situations.

    Source: Book Chapter Art

    “You dirty little monkey!” bawled Bellatrix. “How dare you take a witch’s wand, how dare you defy your masters?”
    “Dobby has no master!” squealed the elf. “Dobby is a free elf, and Dobby has come to save Harry Potter and his friends!”

    14. Treat All With Kindness

    Along the same lines as number thirteen, Harry treated every being he met with the same kindness no matter their social standing, when they deserved it. (Dolores Umbridge, and Draco Malfoy are notable exceptions, also, Voldemort, of course). Kreacher, the Black family house elf, helps Harry because Harry was kind to him, Sirius’s mistreatment of Kreacher led ultimately to his death.

    Source: Book Chapter Art

    “I warned Sirius when we adopted twelve Grimmauld Place as our headquarters that Kreacher must be treated with kindness and respect. I also told him that Kreacher could be dangerous to us. I do not think that Sirius took me very seriously, or that he ever saw Kreacher as a being with feelings as acute as a human’s.” (One last Dumbledore quote)

    15. When You Believe

    Self-confidence is presented as a key component in magical prophecy. We watch Neville Longbottom’s journey from the very first book, in which he is a hopeless wizard due to low self-esteem brought on from his grandmother. As he grows older and begins to be self-assured he matures into one of the most important figures in the story.

    Couldn’t resist using this photo 😉
    Source: http://leverredelamode.tumblr.com/

    Voldemort: “You show spirit and bravery, and you come of noble stock. You will make a very valuable Death Eater. We need your kind, Neville Longbottom.”
    “I’ll join you when hell freezes over,” said Neville. “Dumbledore’s Army!” he shouted, and there was an answering cheer from the crowd…

    Adapted from 50 Things We Learned From Harry Potter by Total Film

    My favorite Harry Potter sites:

    (***Update 09/05/12: Although I loved my time at WordPress, I found it was my time to move on. I am now at Blogger; I believe it to be a better fit for me personally. If you subscribe, or want to subscribe, to this blog, please be sure to subscribe to the new one. Here’s the link.)

    How has Harry Potter changed your life? What themes that I didn’t share are important to you?

    My Take on the Kony 2012 Campaign

    Maggie's Mind Mumbles//: My Take on the Kony 2012 Campaign

    We live in the age of the internet and, for better or for worse, Social Media is King.  Facebook, Twitter, Blogging, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Myspace, Tumblr, YouTube.  There are hundreds of sites that are designed to keep us connected, allow us to share ideas,  and make the world feel smaller.  With the invention of smart phones, the drunken bar argument about when an event occurred in history, or who wrote a certain song, or how to pronounce a word is a thing of the past.  My generation have grown up with the equipment and the know-how to look up anything we want to know at any time, without much effort.  Some organizations are using this to their benefit.



    This video, according to the caption on YouTube, ”aims to make Joseph Kony famous, not to celebrate him, but to raise support for his arrest and set a precedent for international justice.”  (I believe they really want to make him infamous but that’s just my opinion about word choice)

    To summarize the video, Joseph Kony is an evil Ugandan warlord who kidnaps children and uses them as soldiers and sex slaves for his militia the LRA.  Jason Russell has been working through the organization, in which he is an original founder, Invisible Children, for a decade to bring an end to Kony’s reign.  They want to catch him this year and they need everyone to know about him.  What they don’t tell you is that according to this article, both the Ugandan army and Sudan People’s Liberation Army, that Invisible Children is working with to find Kony, are just as corrupt.

    Invisible Children Inc. has good intentions and I can respect that.  They have their heart in the right place but I’m not so sure about their head.  This article explains why the author doesn’t support the Kony 2012 campaign.

    When I began writing this blog, on Tuesday after I first saw the YouTube video. I was inspired.  I was sucked in by good marketing and the need to feel involved.  As I started doing more research on the topic to find the facts behind the video, I realized that I am very confused.

    My optimistic, do-gooder side says, “We can do it!  Let’s bring justice!” and my logical questioning side says, “Who are they kidding?  They’re backing the lesser of two evils.”  I want to believe in this campaign but I’m not so sure I want to support Invisible Children.  I want to live in a world where the people have the power to band together and precipitate change but I know it’s more complicated and there are many hoops to jump through.

    It’s taken me three days of editing and thinking and discussing and writing to finally come to the conclusion that nothing is ever black and white.  I think the biggest lessons I’ve learn through my research are that just because something is trending doesn’t mean it’s factual, that knowledge is power and to never take something at face value.

    Further Reading:

    Help me make up my mind: What do you think about the Kony 2012 Campaign?  What is an issue you believe in?

    ***UPDATE: I know I’m about four months late on this update. Like many other people, I jumped on the bandwagon of this cause and forgot about it after the fad was over. In my blog revamp I saw this post and decided to check up on the campaign’s progress. In April 2012 this video was released:




    Any thoughts?

    My Take on the Kony 2012 Campaign

    We live in the age of the internet and, for better or for worse, Social Media is King.  Facebook, Twitter, Blogging, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Myspace, Tumblr, YouTube.  There are hundreds of sites that are designed to keep us connected, allow us to share ideas,  and make the world feel smaller.  With the invention of smart phones, the drunken bar argument about when an event occurred in history, or who wrote a certain song, or how to pronounce a word is a thing of the past.  My generation have grown up with the equipment and the know-how to look up anything we want to know at any time, without much effort.  Some organizations are using this to their benefit.

    This video, according to the caption on YouTube, ”aims to make Joseph Kony famous, not to celebrate him, but to raise support for his arrest and set a precedent for international justice.”  (I believe they really want to make him infamous but that’s just my opinion about word choice)

    To summarize the video, Joseph Kony is an evil Ugandan warlord who kidnaps children and uses them as soldiers and sex slaves for his militia the LRA.  Jason Russell has been working through the organization, in which he is an original founder, Invisible Children, for a decade to bring an end to Kony’s reign.  They want to catch him this year and they need everyone to know about him.  What they don’t tell you is that according to this article, both the Ugandan army and Sudan People’s Liberation Army, that Invisible Children is working with to find Kony, are just as corrupt.

    Invisible Children Inc. has good intentions and I can respect that.  They have their heart in the right place but I’m not so sure about their head.  This article explains why the author doesn’t support the Kony 2012 campaign.

    When I began writing this blog, on Tuesday after I first saw the YouTube video. I was inspired.  I was sucked in by good marketing and the need to feel involved.  As I started doing more research on the topic to find the facts behind the video, I realized that I am very confused.

    My optimistic, do-gooder side says, “We can do it!  Let’s bring justice!” and my logical questioning side says, “Who are they kidding?  They’re backing the lesser of two evils.”  I want to believe in this campaign but I’m not so sure I want to support Invisible Children.  I want to live in a world where the people have the power to band together and precipitate change but I know it’s more complicated and there are many hoops to jump through.

    It’s taken me three days of editing and thinking and discussing and writing to finally come to the conclusion that nothing is ever black and white.  I think the biggest lessons I’ve learn through my research are that just because something is trending doesn’t mean it’s factual, that knowledge is power and to never take something at face value.

    Further Reading:

    (***Update 09/05/12: Although I loved my time at WordPress, I found it was my time to move on. I am now at Blogger; I believe it to be a better fit for me personally. If you subscribe, or want to subscribe, to this blog, please be sure to subscribe to the new one. Here’s the link.)

    Help me make up my mind: What do you think about the Kony 2012 Campaign?  What is an issue you believe in?

    International Women’s Day

    Short post today… I’m making hummus and granola bars (more on that later)

    Google Logo for the day



    If you’ve opened Google today you’ve seen this image and possibly wondered what it was all about.  Well, it’s International Women’s Day!  What does that even mean?  Visit this website.

    Now for an article: “Subject for Debate: Are Women People?

    How are you celebrating women (even the not people ones) today?

    International Women’s Day

    Short post today… I’m making hummus and granola bars (more on that later)

    Google Logo for the day

    If you’ve opened Google today you’ve seen this image and possibly wondered what it was all about.  Well, it’s International Women’s Day!  What does that even mean?  Visit this website.

    Now for an article: “Subject for Debate: Are Women People?

    (***Update 09/05/12: Although I loved my time at WordPress, I found it was my time to move on. I am now at Blogger; I believe it to be a better fit for me personally. If you subscribe, or want to subscribe, to this blog, please be sure to subscribe to the new one. Here’s the link.)

    How are you celebrating women (even the not people ones) today?

    Mermaid v. Whale

    The other day I was on Facebook having a conversation with one of my friends.  Full-blown conversations online have always bothered me for some reason.  Continually commenting on some status back and forth until one of you finally decides to just stop saying things.  It seems silly to formally end it by saying something like “Well I have to go now,” because it’s a comment.  Anyway that’s beside the point.

    My point is that while I didn’t enjoy the media for having the conversation I did enjoy the topic (and I hope to continue the discussion when I see my friend next).  We were discussing, of all things, weight.  As in size: fat or thin, big or small, whale or mermaid etc.  The conversation was started from a post I shared from a friend on Facebook.  This post to be exact:

    Image

    “A while back, at the entrance of a gym, there was a picture of a very thin and beautiful woman. The caption was “This summer, do you want to be a mermaid or a whale?”

    The story goes, a woman (of clothing size unknown) answered the following way: 

    “Dear people, whales are always surrounded by friends (dolphins, seals, curious humans), they are sexually active and raise their children with great tenderness.

    They entertain like crazy with dolphins and eat lots of prawns. They swim all day and travel to fantastic places like Patagonia, the Barents Sea or the coral reefs of Polynesia.

    They sing incredibly well and sometimes even are on CDs. They are impressive and dearly loved animals, which everyone defend and admires.

    Mermaids do not exist.

    But if they existed, they would line up to see a psychologist because of a problem of split personality: woman or fish?

    They would have no sex life and could not bear children.  Yes, they would be lovely, but lonely and sad.  And, who wants a girl that smells like fish by his side?

    Without a doubt, I’d rather be a whale.

    At a time when the media tells us that only thin is beautiful, I prefer to eat ice cream with my kids, to have dinner with my husband, to eat and drink and have fun with my friends.

    We women, we gain weight because we accumulate so much wisdom and knowledge that there isn’t enough space in our heads, and it spreads all over our bodies.  We are not fat, we are greatly cultivated.

    Every time I see my curves in the mirror, I tell myself: “How amazing am I ?! “

    (The girl on the picture is French model Tara Lynn)”

    My friend commented that first, humans should be neither whales nor mermaids but humans and second, that he doesn’t like “polarized arguments on either side glorifying either ideal to the extent of unhealthy life habits.”  Both of which are good points.  In responding to him (in the Facebook conversation way that I so enjoy) I started talking about the reasons I shared this particular post: “I prefer to eat ice cream with my kids, to have dinner with my husband, to eat and drink and have fun with my friends.”  I also realized that I have a lot to say about being healthy and my whole life is very focused on size.

    The people who surround me spend a lot of time talking about what not to eat and how to stay thin.  The TV shows I watch show “perfect” women.  The magazines I read talk about how best to cut calories and the best workout plan for a flat stomach.  I know I’m guilty of thinking my thighs are too big but I’m also guilty of thinking I’m smokin’ hot within the same day.  And I know I’m not alone.

    And all of this, and the realization that all my writing from the past are basically blog posts, led me to decide that I wanted to start a blog.  I want to write about all the things that go into living a healthy life (as far as I know).  I want to share recipes that are healthful, yoga routines that help to balance and a general lifestyle that refreshes.  I want to share the things that happen in my brain and in return I want to discover what others will share with me.

    So to begin I’ll introduce myself.  My name is Maggie Haseman.  I am 21 years old.  I currently study restoration ecology in rangeland ecosystems at Colorado State University in Fort Collins Colorado.  My interests include, healthful cooking, practicing yoga, nurturing and collecting plants, playing board and card games, learning as much as I can, teaching others about what I know, reading and getting lost in stories, writing about what I think, laughing a lot, singing to my favorite songs, dancing like a crazy person, listening to music and to what others have to say, talking about things that do matter and things that don’t matter, tasting delicious food, entertaining friends and family, making and viewing art.  I could go on; But I won’t.

     

    (***Update 09/05/12: Although I loved my time at WordPress, I found it was my time to move on. I am now at Blogger; I believe it to be a better fit for me personally. If you subscribe, or want to subscribe, to this blog, please be sure to subscribe to the new one. Here’s the link.)

    This is me.  I would love to hear from you; who are you?  What do you think about the mermaid vs. whale discussion?  How do you live happily and healthfully?

    Mermaid v. Whale

    The other day I was on Facebook having a conversation with one of my friends.  Full-blown conversations online have always bothered me for some reason.  Continually commenting on some status back and forth until one of you finally decides to just stop saying things.  It seems silly to formally end it by saying something like “Well I have to go now,” because it’s a comment.  Anyway that’s beside the point.

    My point is that while I didn’t enjoy the media for having the conversation I did enjoy the topic (and I hope to continue the discussion when I see my friend next).  We were discussing, of all things, weight.  As in size: fat or thin, big or small, whale or mermaid etc.  The conversation was started from a post I shared from a friend on Facebook.  This post to be exact:


    Image
    “A while back, at the entrance of a gym, there was a picture of a very thin and beautiful woman. The caption was “This summer, do you want to be a mermaid or a whale?”

    The story goes, a woman (of clothing size unknown) answered the following way: 


    “Dear people, whales are always surrounded by friends (dolphins, seals, curious humans), they are sexually active and raise their children with great tenderness.


    They entertain like crazy with dolphins and eat lots of prawns. They swim all day and travel to fantastic places like Patagonia, the Barents Sea or the coral reefs of Polynesia.


    They sing incredibly well and sometimes even are on CDs. They are impressive and dearly loved animals, which everyone defend and admires.


    Mermaids do not exist.

    But if they existed, they would line up to see a psychologist because of a problem of split personality: woman or fish?

    They would have no sex life and could not bear children.  Yes, they would be lovely, but lonely and sad.  And, who wants a girl that smells like fish by his side?

    Without a doubt, I’d rather be a whale.

    At a time when the media tells us that only thin is beautiful, I prefer to eat ice cream with my kids, to have dinner with my husband, to eat and drink and have fun with my friends.

    We women, we gain weight because we accumulate so much wisdom and knowledge that there isn’t enough space in our heads, and it spreads all over our bodies.  We are not fat, we are greatly cultivated.

    Every time I see my curves in the mirror, I tell myself: “How amazing am I ?! “

    (The girl on the picture is French model Tara Lynn)”

    My friend commented that first, humans should be neither whales nor mermaids but humans and second, that he doesn’t like “polarized arguments on either side glorifying either ideal to the extent of unhealthy life habits.”  Both of which are good points.  In responding to him (in the Facebook conversation way that I so enjoy) I started talking about the reasons I shared this particular post: “I prefer to eat ice cream with my kids, to have dinner with my husband, to eat and drink and have fun with my friends.”  I also realized that I have a lot to say about being healthy and my whole life is very focused on size.

    The people who surround me spend a lot of time talking about what not to eat and how to stay thin.  The TV shows I watch show “perfect” women.  The magazines I read talk about how best to cut calories and the best workout plan for a flat stomach.  I know I’m guilty of thinking my thighs are too big but I’m also guilty of thinking I’m smokin’ hot within the same day.  And I know I’m not alone.

    And all of this, and the realization that all my writing from the past are basically blog posts, led me to decide that I wanted to start a blog.  I want to write about all the things that go into living a healthy life (as far as I know).  I want to share recipes that are healthful, yoga routines that help to balance and a general lifestyle that refreshes.  I want to share the things that happen in my brain and in return I want to discover what others will share with me.

    So to begin I’ll introduce myself.  My name is Maggie Haseman.  I am 21 years old.  I currently study restoration ecology in rangeland ecosystems at Colorado State University in Fort Collins Colorado.  My interests include, healthful cooking, practicing yoga, nurturing and collecting plants, playing board and card games, learning as much as I can, teaching others about what I know, reading and getting lost in stories, writing about what I think, laughing a lot, singing to my favorite songs, dancing like a crazy person, listening to music and to what others have to say, talking about things that do matter and things that don’t matter, tasting delicious food, entertaining friends and family, making and viewing art.  I could go on; But I won’t.

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    This is me.  I would love to hear from you; who are you?  What do you think about the mermaid vs. whale discussion?  How do you live happily and healthfully?