Viking Pride

Let Knowledge Serve the City

Let Knowledge Serve the City

I’ve learned that one needs to be flexible in order to get the most out of life. In parenting, in the military, in a relationship. And I know it is a skill that I will be relying on from now until I finish earning my degrees.

I guess it applies here, too. I had not intended to make my site public again until I had a nice stockpile of articles set by so that I could have a new post each day, all set up in advance. However, I got some great news today and I want to share.

I got word that I have been accepted to Portland State University! I’m ecstatic!

It was a bit of a gamble, withdrawing from Oregon State before I had my acceptance, but it was oh so necessary. I still do not regret that decision. I only wish I had withdrawn earlier and saved myself some money. Hindsight is kind of a bitch, sometimes.

But, I did make lots of progress towards my end goal for running this site, and will continue to work on it.I’m just not yet set up for the automated posts that I wanted to have ready.

However, as I will now begin the process of attending PSU, I know I will want to talk and post about it, so the site is back open. I hope you enjoy the changes I’ve made thus far, and if you have any suggestions, feel free to leave a comment.

New, proud, PSU Viking.




Categories: academics, adult student, Anthropology, education | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Distractions, distractions everywhere!

So, as you may know, if you’ve read a bit of my blog the last couple of weeks, I am attempting to participate in National Novel Writing Month, or, NaNoWriMo for those of us who are “in the know”.Β  πŸ˜‰ Well, I am on my Monday, the first day for my darling husband going back to work for the day. As such, I decided to motivate myself. I went for a walk, intending to eat a nice brunch and write before grocery shopping and coming home. Well, life doesn’t always work out the way we intend it to.

The sushi place I wanted to eat was not open for another 35 minutes, and I’m way to impatient and busy to wait around for that long. So, I nixed brunch and went shopping. Two packages of chicken, some carrots, celery, a small bottle of soda and a small bottle of water later, and I was on my way. I am intending to make delicious chicken soup for dinner, and was happily marching along, nearly home, when my morning took a turn that thrilled me.

One of the establishments in our neighborhood is an old-fashioned country store-workshop type of building. I believe it used to be a general store. Perhaps I’ll learn a wee bit more of its history after today.

The proprietors of this establishment have a couple of small, cute dogs. One is a pug. She is friendly and willful and the elder gentleman that I talked to today simply cannot seem to get her to listen and being hindered by limited mobility doesn’t help him much. By this I mean that he walks with a cane and cannot chase the energetic little pug as she scampers off, eager to investigate whatever strikes her fancy. Today, that was me.

As I grew up on a cattle ranch, I have experience with dogs simply running up to sniff me. The fact that I have a natural affinity for dogs helps matters in that I can usually get the animal to listen to me, even if it won’t listen to its owner. It’s nuts, because my own dog ignores me until he’s pissed me off; then he cowers like Pain and Panic from Disney’s Hercules.

No matter. Today, this little pug wouldn’t listen and I walked her back home, even stepping just inside the doorway so that she would enter her owner’s home. He was grateful, so he gave me a copy of a map of Historical Orenco. I was, of course, delighted. I love seeing what the world looked like in the past. I mentioned how perfect this little photocopied gift was for me, since I am studying to be a cultural anthropologist. Upon hearing that, the gentleman stopped me from leaving as I had intended, saying, “Hold on, I have something else for you.” He disappeared into his shop again, returning with a roll of paper that made my week.

The outer layer is a newsprint from 1879!

You may not be excited about that, but I am! πŸ™‚ I have long had a forbidden love-affair with old (1920s and prior) printed work. I had the opportunity once to explore a couple of abandoned farmhouses that each had a few dozen books in them from 1950 and before. I was in heaven and wished I knew how to protect them and had the time to read them and study them. Unfortunately, I never did.

Now, I have as much time as I need to study these prints. I can’t wait to see what glimpses into the past they provide and when I’m done reading them, I’m intending to frame them. They are, currently, my most prized academic possession. I just hope I can set them aside until the end of NaNoWriMo. That’s going to be the challenge, right there. How to stay focused on my crazy goal with the siren call of historical print media singing to me. . . Ah, it’s a good thing I am strong!

Now, off to write and have a long-delayed meal. Good thing it’s only lunch time, huh?


Categories: Anthropology, creative writing, education, hobbies, humanities, NaNoWriMo, reading, writing | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Another precious life lost. . .

Yes, today is the first day of NaNoWriMo. No, I am not posting my requisite words for the day- that’s for tomorrow. No, this rant will not be the last I say about the topic. Nor should it be.

As the title says, the world has suffered the loss of another precious life.

What makes this loss different, you may ask? More specifically, why am I choosing to address the loss of this life over any other life that was lost today?

I am ranting about the situation because the life that was lost was that of a 16 year old girl. As the mother of a 16 year old, I’m trying desperately to get him to open up and share his burdens, to get him to seek help, to guide him as best I can during these last two years before he graduates high school and leaves my home. I cannot imagine any circumstance wherein I would take his life.

The parents of this poor, unnamed-in-the-media girl felt it was justified and necessary to poor acid on her until she expired from her wounds.

The saddest and most enraging thing to me is that there are thousands of other girls and women out there, literally around the world, who have endured the same fate. Perhaps not by the same methods and tools- some use knives, some use rocks, some use plastic bags, some use guns- but the end result is always the same: the death of a woman or girl who displeased someone in power in her life.

Even if all she did was exist.

I remember as a child hearing about the rules in China, where parents could only have one child. Then I learned that the prevailing culture at the time favored boys over girls. This resulted, I was told, in millions of girls being abandoned or killed (the truth is much more complicated;


A quick Google search shows that this issue has been reported for years. The articles make it clear that organizations that fight for human rights around the world are aware of this reprehensible behavior. Yet, of course, it still continues. Humans have long justified their cruelty to those most innocent and helpless among them- legends of exposing one’s offspring to the elements for a night or day are not unheard of in Western cultures, too. I just find it to be horrid.

I have a deep reverence and interest in cultures from the Levant and its surrounding areas.

I intend to volunteer with groups that help immigrants, specifically from Pakistan from what I hear, get settled here in the U. S.

I do not know what I would do if confronted with such a situation in my own personal life.

I am guiltily thankful that it is highly doubtful that I would ever be confided in about such a topic.

Categories: Anthropology, education | Leave a comment

Education, not fabrication, please. . .

O.K., fair warning: this is a rant and likely to be a long one. However, it is one that I think may find some chord of resonance in whomever reads it. So, thanks for reading. . .

Something’s been bothering me lately.

Specifically, a video I recently watched, that can be found at this link:

And, if you’d rather see an official trailer:

My first problem is this: how can we expect our children, our future contributors to society, to be competitive in a globally connected marketplace when they must undergo the reversal of 12 years of brainwashing before they can be productive members of a modern society? Let me tell you, undoing one’s brainwashing is difficult, even when you did it to yourself.

My second problem is this: I have children, the oldest of which just turned 16. How is he supposed to respect his peers and not wonder when the crazy is going to slip out when he knows that most of his peers have their actions governed by a mythical, mystical sky-Daddy?

My third problem is this: we need more hard science graduates. We need to keep students engaged and excited about the actual reality of life around us and building the infrastructure we need, learning the math we need them to master. How can they be expected to do this at a collegiate level if the scholastic learning in their formative years was based on a curriculum that was modified in such ways as substituting one genre of music for another, or telling impressionable children that dinosaurs were on the Ark (not that the Ark should be being discussed at public school in the first place, but I digress. . ..)? They will be reeling from the betrayal, from the complete and utter dishonesty that was perpetuated by everyΒ  (or nearly every) trusted adult in their lives up to that point.

Believe me, I’ve been there. Sometimes, I still am.

Here is a delightful, if long, article that details the biggest problems with attrition in hard science fields: Now, having read that, and watched the two clips above, do you begin to see what I see?
Since my associate’s degree is in Early Education, I suppose it comes as no surprise that my last link in this chain of future hopelessness if things continue as they are currently progressing should be an article detailing the problems with keeping children in younger grades interested in science, too. Too long has science labored under the titles of “uncool”, and “for geeks only”, and other disparaging titles. this article has some great ideas. I hope that future- read, near future- educators can employ some of them to help our children grow and maintain a fascination for science.

How else are we going to help our planet, progress our species, and possibly colonize our near space neighbors, such as the moon or Mars?

‘Cause I’ll tell you what, my family and I have already discussed it and as soon as they open colonization of one or the other, we’re off this rock. I will be one of the first anthropologists in space, baby!


Categories: education, humanities, science, writing | Tags: , , , | 8 Comments

A Long Due Update

I have a passion for the Mars Curiosity Rover. I have been denying that passion, for fear that anyone who stumbled across this blog may find it boring to read about a robot, remotely piloted, on Mars, while it’s drivers are still on Earth.

I know!

How could I be so silly?!


This is my latest favorite photo from Curiosity.

Whether the item in question turns out to be from Curiosity itself, and thus likely made of plastic, the scientists are thinking, or if it turns out to be something phenomenal from Mars itself, I simply do not care. It is amazing to me that we can have presence, and control of a machine ,so far from Home.

I think the image should be shared. I think people should see that we can “lay eyes” upon the surface of a world far, far, (farther than most people can actually conceptualize) far away.

The item just to the left of center screen is what Curiosity is currently investigating.

Categories: education, hobbies, NASA, science | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Internet Is No Place For Learning,

no FREE education

. . . according to Minnesota, anyway.

As someone who has, until this very term, earned all of her college degrees and pursuant education online, I find that very notion upsetting. As someone who values the fact that MIT and Harvard, I believe it was, are teaming up to bring education- via the internet in many ways- to 1 million people who previously didn’t have it, I find it incredibly irritating and annoying.

But when I find out that it is simply because any higher education institution who offers Minnesota residence an education in the state- whether online or not- has to register and pay, annually, to the Minnesota Office of Higher Education, it pisses me off. 😑

Don’t believe me?

Here’s the link:

UPDATE: the decision has been reversed. See this lovely blog post, which is where I first read it

Categories: academics, adult student, education | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Bounty versus Scarcity. . .

. . . in this case, I am not referring to money, but food. Basic, necessary, life-sustaining food.

Today, on my favorite website to pass the time at, I saw a photo slide show, one of which is the inspiration for this post. It seems that someone traveling with an group of sumo wrestlers managed to take pictures while on an “honored guest” tour of North Korea (just typing that sent tiny little wanna-be shivers heading for my skin). He was able to either post the photos while in the country, or to post them after, but either way, there were 13 images of North Korea as they want their most treasured visitors to see it.

This is an image from inside a grocery store. Notice how, at most, things are stacked only about three deep? This helps visually “bulk up” the appearance of the wares on the shelves, in my experience. And most people don’t look past the first few items of a group, anyway. At first, nothing struck me as really odd about this picture. I mean sure, there are obvious differences between this display and one in an average urban grocery store here in the U.S. The individual packages are not crammed in, two or three high, until the shelf cannot possibly hold any more, with a nearly identical shelf of goods above it.

No. These goods are quite obviously separate and distinct components of a meal. The top holds curry mix, which is basically a chunky, spicy gravy, for those of you who don’t know. It can be read or green, vegetarian or not, but I recognize the packaging and believe it is boxes of golden curry, a dish I’ve yet to actually try.

The next shelf is home to 1 kilogram bags of what is likely rice or milled grain.

The bottom appears to be bags of dried meat or dried vegetables. I cannot see a weight, nor read the language, but these are fairly educated guesses based on close examination of the photo.

So, we have one barely (according to urban Western standards) stocked display case with curry mix, rice or grain, and veggies or meat.

In a grocery store.

Whose shelves in the back ground are just shy of empty.

And this is their version of bragging.

I just spent lunch in the cafe at Whole Foods.

See much disparity here, ’cause I sure do.

I cannot wait until global social mores can be agreed upon and general human dignity and empathy rules the day instead of greed, power struggles, and corruption. I shudder to think of how many innocents struggle the world over because of heinous decisions made by those who have no business making decisions in the first place. I firmly believe that education is a key tool for the betterment of humanity, but as I have no idea what is taught in North Korea, I have no idea if even that will help. I would love for the people to call upon the humanity of their leaders, but that doesn’t seem to possible. Are they truly inept and cruel, or are they just holding on to a sinking ship? I just don’t know. But I do know I feel a wee bit guilty for all the food I currently have in my house and I do not like that feeling. 😦

Categories: education, humanities | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Another Discovery Via Science

I know, I’m flooding my site today.

I can’t help it; there are too many amazing scientific discoveries! I’m always missing opportunities to blog about them and share my excitement, so this time I decided to go ahead and do it even though I’d already posted under this heading today.

This discovery isn’t just cool, it’s also potentially medically beneficial on a wide scale both population-wise and disease-wise.

So, here’s the short version.

Vaccines traditionally work by eliciting a “very strong T-cell reaction”. Unfortunately some of the most often spread (in my mind= contagious) diseases are in areas that are not accessible to these wonder cells, I mean, T-cells. Such as our naughty bits. You, know, the fun parts that lead us into so much pleasure, pain, and potential trouble. Yup, I’m referring to common sexually transmitted diseases.

So, scientists wondered what would happen if they elicited a strong response, then applied the antibody-rich serum (still uncertain how they obtain that) directly to the genital tissue. Turns out that by using this method, a two-pronged, non-traditional approach, scientists were able to give mice long-term protection against diseases such as “herpes simplex virus” and “HIV-1”.

Don’t believe me?

Check it out for yourself:Β

(It wasn’t the poor machine’s fault. It was my faulty biological brain; I’d forgotten a step.)

Categories: academics, education, hobbies, science | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments


Sometimes, even those of us who long to be strictly rational (emulating Spock? Nah. . .) can see circumstances and the random chance of things as “signs”. I speak, of course, of myself. I have been waiting, in limbo, for months for a purchase to go through. Today was the deadline for walking away.

Lo and behold, the coveted approval came through!

Of course, we are still “waiting on a seller’s signature” but, “it is approved!”

When you’ve been waiting and agonizing over six months, and are still waiting, and the conclusion of this sale means a drastic improvement for your family, you are understandably torn when said approval arrives with caveats.

I had been firm on the understanding that I could not endure another semester of the anxiety and stress that underwent for Spring term. Having hoped/prayed/believed that the sale would be decided before Fall term, I enrolled in my classes. When then sale was still pending, at the same state as prior, when week 3 of Fall term hit, I knew I had to make a change.

This, of course, is not the only reason I am switching institutions, but it is an even tie in importance.

Waiting to move into a home that provides security, serenity, and “dream home” status to you takes its toll.

When you are highly competitive and driven to succeed in school (and older by a damn sight than the vast majority of your “peers”) the stress of this prolonged state of anxiety can prove detrimental.

When I was tasked with doing a second (in my career) ethnography, I realized I did not have the connections to make this assignment feasible for me. I also realized that I could not complete this term successfully while waiting to buy a house. This took its toll as well.

So, I took steps.

I decided to explore the option of transferring to a local university, where I would be required to attend at least some classes in person. (When you want to pursue at least one Ph.D, personal professional/academic connections are important- and are, in my experience, impossible to achieve via online mediums only)

I’ve loved my time at OSU. I am grateful and thankful that they accepted me as a distance education student; it was a moment of personal validation that I have long needed, without realizing it.

Now, however, I also realize that I need, crave, and cannot live without human connection. Verily, my entire career is centered around it (a sign of an attachment disorder, perhaps?) and yet I had been denying it to myself. For very valid reasons, true, but denying nonetheless (I love that word and don’t care who hates it or why!).

Now is my time.


Be prepared for a change of site.

I am trying to figure out how to combine all my blogs (8+ on two different sites) into one website.


Categories: adult student, education, personal development | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

It’s Official!

Have officially taken the next step in changing my education (and in my view, life) path. I have officially dis-enrolled from OSU. I have to fax a paper to financial aid, which I’ll do this afternoon, and the status won’t officially be processed until tomorrow, but it will be retroactively effective to today’s date. Now to send one last email to a lovely instructor, then off to write, research, explore, grow, heal, and whatever else strikes my fancy for the next few weeks. Oh, how I look forward to the future now!


Categories: adult student, education, personal development | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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