Thursday, March 23, 2006

I sat in the library today with a table full of girls that rambled on and on about there trip to Cancun, Mexico. As I was trying to study for my midterm, I could not really focus for a good 20 minutes while this table of girls sat there, held there arms up to each others, and had a full on debate as to who’s arm color was in fact the darkest. I sat there and rolled my eyes as I was forced to listen to this conversation. I laughed once more as they decided they were so tan because of the lighting in the library. I thought hmm…note to self, you look tan in the library. I guess I will sit in the library with confidence now because we have now discovered that the lighting in the library makes people look tanner. I kind of laughed internally as I thought about this. So while the girls talked about their tans, I soon slipped off into the Spring Break mode.

Weeks before Spring Break, students all over the world; have countdowns until they are out of here. The gyms are packed with students as they run, and lift in order to get their bodies in top notch shape for the best week of their life. Girls are talking about going shopping in order to get that perfect bathing suit that they are going to sport on the beach in just a matter of weeks. Guys on the other hand are not so much concerned about what they are going to wear; they just want to look good in whatever they are wearing. On the flipside, weeks before spring break we go to class only to get assigned countless hours of work that separate us from spring break. The libraries are packed with students getting their work down so that they can have a good time over Spring Break. While others wait until the last couple of days before break, pull all niters in order to get papers, and studying done.

So as we all crack down on our studies, attempting to get by we are all working towards the same goal. To get through school, in order to have a much needed break. We either reside on the sandy beaches of Mexico, or well just in the comfort of our own home. We all have somewhere that we can not wait for Spring Break to finally roll around. In less then 24 hours we are all going to be in the way to that special we will be able to kick back, relax, and let loose for a little bit.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Review for: Alec Depcrynski
By: Elizabeth Brittain

I thought that overall you did a good job describing your story. I liked the first two paragraphs it really set up the narrative to be about an island, and then established that you were in fact talking about soccer. It was around the third paragraph that I really started to feel like you made the audience aware of the knowledge you had on the sport because you established authority with soccer. It also made me feel like soccer was a way in which your family connected; it tugs at the reader’s heartstrings. I was following your story, and believing what you were saying. Then around the 6th paragraph you showed a flaw, that “you were spoiled.” It also established your position as a writer in the sense that you are putting yourself out there. You admitted that you had the connections within soccer, with your dad becoming the general manager of the Richmond Kickers, and now is the President of the club. It once again shows that you really enjoy the sport, and illustrates how much soccer is a part of your life. At the same time, I liked that you threw out the amount of money that soccer costs. I think it shows that you were lucky to have parents that were able to pay for all of the costs being in a soccer program like that. It makes a valid point, which shows in order to play it you must be able to have parents who can pay for the large amounts of money. I liked that you admitted that you took it for granted; to me it shows character because you were willing to spell it out.

I feel like your “message” of the narrative was to illustrate that soccer, as a sport is what can bring people together. I gathered that when you described the island, and then tied it into a family vacation. It was there that soccer came into play because it came up in conversation. You came into contact with the right people, and then you connected with them because of a love for soccer. What really became the part of the vacation that you loved the most was when you came face to face with soccer, and how things were played there.

I think that you describe your story well. You allow the reader to connect with you as a writer. Through the story, and the basis of your writing; I think that you create a picture of the island, and how soccer plays into your family vacation. I think that another point you make is the fact that Americans portray soccer as a game you need money to play (equipment, and fields) but it was after you went to the island that you see that it is more or less the passion that the Ecuadorians have; it is that passion that brings them together. They do not have the fancy uniforms, the top of the line cleats, or even speak the same language. Despite their differences, soccer brings them together because when they step out onto the field they all just want to play. I suggest talking more about the experience you had on the field in more detail. Maybe more details about the realization that they did not have to have all of the money, they all shared the passion for the same sport, and that was all they needed.

I think that your narrative is a personal narrative because it talks about how soccer came about in your life. You followed in your brothers footsteps, and dad eventually became President of the Club in Richmond. You also use your experience with your family vacation, which is defiantly a personal experience.

In terms of time, you tell your narrative in chronological order after your introduction. You start out talking about soccer in your childhood, and progressed through college. You use dates to show the change in time, which is a clear indication to the reader.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The rest of the narrative:

My dad moved out, and my mom assured us that we were going to get through this together. My mom, after being a stay at home mom, now had to find a job; after all she now had two children to provide for. She started working for Marriott Corporation in the Guest Relations Department, making a descent amount of money, but had demanding hours. During the course of the week, my mom sometimes worked almost 80 hours. I was the one who took on the role of a mom, while my mom was working to provide for my sister and me. I was fourteen years old, pretending to be a mother for my sister, and keep everything all together at the same time. I thought of myself as a mom because I did it all.

Being the mother figure while mom was working, I made sure that my sister had dinner, did her homework, and tucked her into bed. I started off with the famous mac-n-cheese and hotdogs, and over the years I then started to obtain some more substantial cooking skills. One of our favorite dinners consisted of baked BBQ chicken, yellow rice and green beans; it became one of the regulars I cooked up in the kitchen. I was the one who made dinner for both Amy and me, cleaned up while she usually did her homework, and then read her a bedtime story, kissed her on the check, and tucked her into bed. I remember nights where I would crawl into bed so that my sister would finally go to sleep because she was so worried that mommy was not going to come home. I would rub Amy’s back, and reassure her that mommy was on the way. Finally, she got too tired to fight sleep anymore, and she quit asking and fell asleep. I would tip toe out of her room, and finally had a little bit of time for myself. By then it was usually nine ‘o clock 9, and I still had a kitchen to clean up, and homework to do. It was always late when I would finally crawl into bed, often with the cordless phone tucked under my arm hopelessly waiting for the call from mom that she was indeed on the way home. I would usually get up and start a pot of coffee, and wait for mom to walk in the door. It was always late when mom finally came home from work. She would peek into my room, and always come in and kiss me goodnight. I usually got up and talked to my mom, it was late at night that we actually had some quality time together.

In high school I had a lot more on my plate then most of my friends. At times I almost felt like my sister, was my child. Not only was I a high school student, an athlete; I also had a duty to my family. My mom did was she had to do in order to provide for both Amy and me. So I took it upon myself to step up and help with my little sister for my mom. In doing so, I was forced to give up some things that most teenagers experience, and take for granted. At the same time, I really benefited a lot from my parent’s divorce. I am a stronger individual because of it. Looking back I think that it was hard for me to deal with all of the changes that were taking place in my home, at the same time my family, my mom, sister, and me also became a close unit. It was my parent’s divorce that brought our family as close as they are today. It was during a time of struggle that our family all stuck together, and got through it as one. My mom is one of the strongest people I know, and I really look up to her in many ways. It was how she handled herself through all of this that I really admire. She was my support during my parent’s divorce, and I was hers.

Talking it over with my mom, she says that the reason my parents had so many arguments was based solely on the fact that my parents were raised very differently. My mom grew up in a very close home, with both nurturing and loving parents. On my mom’s side of the family, she lost her father to cancer when she was only two years old. Her mother was left with three children to take care of. After a year of struggling to make ends meet, she actually remarried again. It was the death of my mother’s father that really pulled her family together. My mom dealt with a lot of struggles in her childhood, losing her father, and then getting through the hardships her family faced which I feel made my mom a stronger person.

My dad was unfortunate, raised by a mom and dad who offered more of a materialistic relationship. My grandfather fought a never ending battle with his health, when my dad was younger his father was constantly being rushed back and forth from the hospital and doctors office. He suffered from a lot of severe problems with his brain. My grandmother tried to overcompensate for the fact that her husband was not around, so she constantly bought toys and sporting items for my dad. In her eyes, I guess she thought that this was the answer to the problem. Which leds me to believe that is why my dad always tried to buy our love; he did all that he knew, and he was materialistically raised. And my mom was the one to wipe our tears, and offer support when we needed it. My parents just did not see eye to eye on much because of the way their parents raised them. Dealing with my parent’s divorce was not easy, but looking at the overall picture it was better for our family. Looking back on my childhood, I can not remember a day when my parents just got along. There was never anything they could agree on. A lot of the arguments were based on Amy and me, and how they wanted to raise us.

Monday, March 20, 2006

the first couple paragraphs of my narrative essay:

I pulled the covers over my head, hoping to muffle out the voices of my parents screaming at each other. This was an occurrence that usually began as soon as my dad walked through the front door. It is 2 a.m.; once again I was awoken by my parents, and their high pitched voices as they struggled to find a happy median. Whether it was money, discipline, the simple fact that my dad was never around, there was always a huge debate between my parents growing up. My dad was not around much when I was a child; he was always working in order to provide for our family, as he liked to say. My mom was a stay at home mom that woke up my younger sister, Amy, and me. Mom packed our lunch’s everyday, and was always waiting at the bus stop for us with a smile. Life in our household was not always a fun place to be, we had our fair share of struggles.

My mom was the parent that really impacted me growing up because she was around the most. My dad worked at a tavern in the historic area, Colonial Williamsburg. He was always working both the lunch, and dinner shifts. My dad often came home well after both Amy and I had gone to bed. Growing up my dad missed out on a lot of my childhood, he often tried to make up for it by turning to a more materialistic relationship. Dad was the one who would take us to the circus, movies, and buy us toys. My mom was the one who was there when Amy and I skinned our knees, or gave us a hug when we had a bad day. The relationships I had with my parents were completely and totally different from each other.

On November 20, 2000, things had finally hit rock bottom for my family. I sat there beside my little sister, anxiously waiting for what my parents called us into the living room. Amy and I thought we were going to Disney World because our parents had thrown the idea out. Little did we know that we were in for some life changing news? We sat on the couch with high hopes, only to find out that our parents were getting a divorce. I was 14 at the time, and I knew what exactly that meant. My little sister, 9 years old, had no idea what a divorce was. Amy piped up and said we aren’t going to Disney World? Of course, I grabbed Amy and told her to be quiet. She had no idea what was going on. But, I knew; I knew it was going to be a long road ahead.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

In Chapter 5 Williams talks about two things, Cohesion and Coherence. In order to make your writing cohesive, the writer must make each individual sentence clear. Using sentences that allow the reader to have a clear understanding of the sentence, with information giving them a general knowledge of the subject you are talking about. In doing so the reader must not be able to anticipate the message you as a writer are trying to get across. The reason for this is because the reader wants to start out with something they fully understand, and then read on about something they are not as familiar with. Coherence is what the entire piece looks like, Williams compares the work to the way that a building made out of Legos look (79). He suggests keeping the topics of your sentences short, and saying consistent with the way they are formed. Surprisingly, I found out that it is smarter to not change topics as much. Using the same words, do not some across as being monotonous, which I thought otherwise. Williams suggests that the reader will not notice the fact that you use the same words because they will be interested in the material you are writing about. Williams also makes note that when writing avoid connecting the paper using words, thus, therefore and however. The bottom line is, “Your readers don’t need them when your sentences are cohesive and the passage they constitute is coherent” (85).

With all that was going on at home, I did not want to leave my family and come back to school. But, Dance Marathon was such an important thing to me my mom really wanted me to come and do what I looked forward to every year. My mom reassured me that she would call me if anything happened to my grandma. I went to the hospital and saw my grandma before I came back to school, and I felt better knowing that she was actually doing better then she was on Friday. So I came back Saturday morning and was excited to be participating in Dance Marathon for the 2nd year.

Dance Marathon is a school wide event that most students participate in. It is a great fundraiser that RMC is involved in. I have been involved in Dance Marathon for 2 years now. I have been a member of the Morale Committee which is responsible for making up the entire dance that the dancers do. During Dance Marathon, the dancers dance for 12 hours, during the course of 12 hours we raise money that is donated to the Children’s Miracle Network. Dance Marathon helps children who are born, and develop disabilities. The money that we raise goes to the children, in order to better their lives.

Being at Dance Marathon, gave me hope. Hearing, and seeing the stories of the children and how their lives have benefited from the money we raised made me feel like things will workout for my grandma. I looked at these children, and saw the struggles they have been through and tried to look at the situation with my grandma in the same light. After my grandma’s stroke, she had lost feeling in the entire right side of her body. Some of the children their were born with defects in their face, and body. It was seeing those children that I thought to myself my grandma is lucky. She was born without any deformities, and now she is faced with some. If these children can do it, I know my grandma will too. As stupid as it sounds, being their and dancing for 12 hours really put my mind at ease. It was in those hours, I was there with my friends making a difference. Not to say that my grandma was not in the back of my mind the entire day, but I was able to put my focus somewhere else for some time. After Dance Marathon was over, I jumped back into my car and went home so that I could be close to my grandma.

Finally posting my blogs, been home all weekend because my grandma had a stroke...

Friday sure consisted of an emotional rollercoaster. I had been in the library until about 11 at night, and called my mom just to say hi. Well I did not epect to hear that my mom had spent the past couple of hours trying to get in touch with my grandparents. She had been calling every 10 minutes, and already drove over to their house 5 times to find their door unlocked, dog inside, and their car gone from the front of the house. Of course, my mom panicked and by the time I called her she was waiting for a return phone call from the hospital. She hurried me off the phone because she did not want to miss the hospital’s call, leaving me with no clue what to expect. I walked into my room with a blank stare across my face; my roommate joked and said it looked like your dog just died. Of course, she had no idea what was happening. I told her what was going on as I sat anxiously waiting for the phone call from my mom. Finally, my phone started to ring, my mom said that my grandma was in the hospital, and my stomach dropped. The tears started rolling down my face, as the news got worse. She was in the ER because she had a stroke, and we were waiting for more details. I tried to kill time, watching a movie with a bunch of the girls. Nothing really was helping, I have been lucky in the fact that I have never loss a loved one really close to me. I could not bare the thought of not being there for my grandma. Attempting to control the endless amount of tears pouring down my cheeks, I called my mom and told her I was coming home. At 1 am, I packed my car up and headed home. I got home to hear some descent news from mom that she was out of the ER and was going to be staying overnight. My alarm went off at 6 am, Friday morning and we all headed to the hospital. I walked into my grandmother’s hospital room to find her lying in the hospital bed hooked up to every tube imaginable. Mom hugged me, and told me everything was going to be alright. Something inside of me told me otherwise, I knew it was going to be a long road ahead.

Friday seemed to be one of the longest days of my life. I was in and out of the hospital all day. My family sat patiently for the arrival of the test results, and the readings from the doctor. My mom, sister, grandfather, 2 aunts, 3 cousins, 2 uncles, and 2 step-cousins where all there to offer support. I knew that my grandmother was loved by all. Friday we found out that my grandma had a stroke, come to find out it was not her first. So my grandma had a stroke before, and we never knew that? I thought that is odd. So the doctor did a couple of other tests, and said that it was a possibility that she might also have lung cancer. On top of the fact, that she had a blockage in the veins in her neck. The doctor said she would have surgery to fix that problem, which was the hardest part because she had such high blood pressure. Thursday when she was brought to the hospital, her blood pressure was like 240/180 I think, something like that. Which I was told we should be thankful to have her alive with that. Wow, the sound of that scared me. The doctors soon put her on medicine to make sure that her blood pressure stayed under control. The test results finally came in about the possibility of having lung cancer, they were negative. Our family gained a since of relief when the news was given, they said she just had a minor infection, but at least it was not cancer. After a long day at the hospital, it was finally time for us to say goodbye. Of course I did not want to but I knew that she was in good hands, being monitored all of the time. I walked over to my grandma with tears in my eyes and told her I loved her.

Thursday, March 16, 2006


My whole life has changed. The day my parents announced their divorce. I knew things would never be the same. I was 14 when my parents decided to get a divorce. My little sister, Amy was 9 years old and had no idea what exactly was going on. My entire life as I knew it was turned upside down. Being 14 years old, I was not really sure how to deal with it all. I was going into my freshman year in high school, as if that was not already an adjustment in itself. I spent my summer running, and getting into shape for the field hockey season. The sport was the only thing that kept me sane during the first couple of months. The first couple of months were some of the hardest times in my life. Being a teenager, did not make it easy. My mom had been a stay at home mom, always around, and a huge part of our lives. When my dad moved out, she was forced to go back to work. My mom found a descent paying job, which allowed her to make enough money to support 2 children. The job paid well, just demanded a lot of hours from my mom, almost 80 hours a week to be exact. I was the one who took on the role of a mom, while my mom was working to put food on the table. I was 14 years old, pretending to be a mother for my sister, and keep everything all together at the same time. I thought of myself as a mom because I did it all.

I was the one who made sure that my sister had dinner, started off with the famous mac-n-cheese and hotdogs, and started to obtain some cooking skills. I was then into baking chicken, making rice and green beans, it became one of the regulars I cooked up in the kitchen. I was the one who made dinner for both me and my sister, cleaned up while she usually did her homework, and then read her a bedtime story, kissed her on the check, and tucked her into bed. I remember nights where I would crawl into bed so that my sister would finally go to sleep because she was so worried that mommy was not going to come home. I would rub Amy’s back, and reassure her that mommy was on the way. Finally, after fighting with my sister, she quit asking and fell asleep. I would tip toe out of her room, and finally had a little bit of time for me. By then it was usually 9, or 9:30. Still had a kitchen to clean up, and my homework to be done.

At some point, I finally crawled into bed. Often with the cordless phone tucked under my arm hopelessly waiting for the call from mom that she was indeed on the way home. I would usually get up and start a pot of coffee, and wait for mommy to get in the door. It was usually at the wee hours of the night, mom finally came strolling in. I would breathe, and sleep well knowing that mom was safely at home. Mom and I usually stayed up late talking, because it was not too much longer until we all had to get up again, and do the routine all over again.

I still to this day, wonder what it really was that got me through my high school years. I can not really put my fingers on it, but I know that there must have been something buried really far inside of me that got me through it all. No I was not as strong as most of my friends made me out to be. Everyone at school, including my 5 closest friends really thought I had at all. What they do not know is there were many nights I would lay sprawled across my bedroom floor and cry my eyes out. I would lay there listening to the sounds of the “Goo Goo Dolls” CD over and over again. I would become lost in the lyrics, and still have a hard time listening to the CD. It hurts to go back, listening to the songs, remembering how I felt. It all comes back to me with the sounds of “Iris,” and “Black Balloon.” Lost in the music, I would be snapped back to reality when my 9 year old sister would come into my room, and say “what’s wrong?” “Don’t be sad, you said mommy was coming back.” It was at that point that I was once again snapped back into the reality. And that something buried inside of me spoke, telling me to suck it up and be strong for my little sis.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

I really like reading the article, “High Anxiety.” I started reading and just totally fell into the story. The first couple of sentences made me as the reader hooked to the details that Shannon’s life was before she made the decision to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. The first sentences really sucks you into the piece. As a reader you are able to really imagine what it would be like as she describes: “My hair is slimy with 10 days’ worth of grease, my armpits reek, my calves are throbbing and bruised, my right toe is numb, and I’ve already thrown up 13 time, hyperventilated, and cried twice today.” I defiantly can’t say that I have been there but the details really allow the reader to try and relate to the way that Shannon felt. The medical terms that Shannon used really made me feel like Shannon really was not physically healthy, and was not doing much with her life after college. Then she had a turning point in her life when decided to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro.

Anotehr point the article made was by letting the readers know that Shannon was being serious about climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. Shannon sold her car, air conditioner, and her recording equipment, this lets the audience know that she really is serious about taking this obstacle on. I liked that she used a comparison to Dr. Seuss book; it brings the story back home because most readers have read a Dr. Seuss book in their childhood. I really liked the personal essay because it really brought me into it, I wanted to read it through and gain an understanding of her story. In my mind while reading the article I was rooting for her all the way, and even though she did not get to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro I still really think that as a reader we are able to take more from her experience then the fact that she did not get to the top of the mountain. The bottom line, Shannon took a risk, and was willing to do what it took to make it happen. It really takes a strong willed individual to even attempt to take on an obstacle that Shannon did.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

A single parent family consists of a home in which the child or children live with one parent. The child or children depend on that parent for their economic and emotional support. Not all of the income is based on the one parent the child actually lives with. The child could receive child support that is a fixed amount of money the parents have agreed the child will receive each month. Between the money that the parent of the child or children, and child support are the basis of the families’ income. Of course, not all households actually receive child support, for the simple fact that not everyone follows the rules of life. On top of the financial support, the single parent is the chief parent. The single parent supports the family economically, emotionally, and socially. Of these discipline is in included. A lot of responsibility is placed on the single parent because they are the foundation that holds the family together.
The structure that the single parent provides is what keeps the entire family together. If the single parent is not able to meet the needs of their child or children, the entire household could fall to pieces. Growing up in a single parent family is not easy, and I say that with experience because I am the product of a single parent mother. My mom is what kept our family together; she was our rock when we needed it the most. Hearing the word divorce being applied to your own household can come as a shock, to others a dream come true. No the path of a single parent family is not the easiest, but in cases like mine it was only for the best. With that, the daily struggles my family went through beat being waken up at 3am to the sound of my two parents screaming at each other. Divorce was the answer to the problem my family had, and that is all there is to it.

After alot of back and forth...here is the first couple of paragraphs.

It is three in the morning, imagine being woken up to the sound of your parents constant yelling and screaming at each other. Well that was how things were in the Brittain household. I grew up with both of my parents until I was a freshman in high school. Then on December 20, 2000 my parents announced their divorce; it was a major turning point in the life that I had never prepared myself for. Life in a single parent household is an adjustment in itself, but it sure beats being woken up by your parent’s arguments in the wee hours of the night.

Being a child from a single parent family, puts some automatic strains on home life. The child raised by just one adult, either the mother or father. In the article, “Social Problems Correlate More Closely With Poverty Than Family Background,” Stephanie Coontz argues, “What are the psychological effects of divorce? Obviously, kids raised by two involved, cooperating parents have a big advantage. But involved, cooperating parents are not always what kids get. It is often a bad marriage, rather than subsequent divorce, that accounts for children’s problems” (37). When a child comes from a single parent family they do miss out on a dual parenting role, but if the parents are not able to provide a positive image of a healthy marriage then why should the parents stay together. A single parent family allows the child to develop in a healthy environment without exposure to a negative home life. Would you rather grow up in a single parent family, facing some struggles, or grow up in a house hold with both parents who are struggling to get along? Single parent families provide a more stable home life, instead of showing children parents that are unhappy all of the time.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Here is my paper reflection...

A source that I really found very important was the article that Dr. London found for me in one of his text books. The article was called, “Social Problems Correlate More Closely With Poverty Than Family Background,” it really gave a different perspective on my controversy. It was one of the few sources that illustrated the point that single parent families are not such a bad thing. I really liked the example that illustrated the fact that parents are supposed to be able to provide a healthy environment for their children. In the article, there was a section that really illustrated this point: “A man who is discontented with his wife, for example, often treats his daughter with contempt, threatening the girls’ self-confidence and academic achievement. An unhappy married woman may have trouble dealing with a teenage son’s behavior that reminds her of her spouse” (37). I think that this really helped strengthen my argument because it really shows how much a family can impact a child.

Divorce can be a positive or a negative thing for a child, it all depends on how the child reacts to the news. Single Mothers and Their Children, by Garfinkel and McLanahan was also another great source that I used in my paper because it gave a lot of statistics that helped illustrate the number of single parent families. Through numbers I thought that my argument would become more vivid to the audience.

One source that I ended up cutting out of my final paper was actually all of the sources I found off Wikipedia. After both Dr. Malesh and my peer reviewers looked at my paper, they all suggested looking elsewhere for my sources. So I took their advice and found another source, or just refrained from using the information from Wikepeida. I did not know that it was just a encyclopedia that people could add whatever they think to. It was during this assignment that I was informed that Wikipedia is actually not a reliable source to use, so I now know that I will not go to Wikipedia Encyclopedia for information in the future.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

In lesson 4, Williams talks about the importance of characters. In order to find differences in characters, one must skim their work and locate all of the subjects. After that is done then make the changes needed to obtain characters with their subjects and actions. As writers we need to make sure the readers are able to grasp an understanding of our thoughts by using clear characters with subjects. When writing, avoid using a lot of nominalizations within main characters and subjects. I was interested in the section that talked about using active and passive voices in writing. Interestingly enough, Williams said “We call a sentence passive if it feels flat, regardless of whether its verb is actually in the passive voice” (58). Williams made a point to say that as readers we gain a sense of whether the sentence is in the active and passive, but “we have to distinguish the literal meaning of active and passive from their figurative meanings before we can understand why we respond to those two sentences as we do” (59). Use passive voice when the action is clear, or gives the readers an indication of the subject. Another point Williams makes known is to stay away from using long compound phrases. The last thought that Williams left us with, “write to others as you would have others write to you” (70).

Friday, March 10, 2006

the rest...thus far

In the U.S. Bureau of the Census of 1983, more than one of every five children lived in such a [single parent] family. Today single parent families are becoming more common in the United States. The book, Single Mothers and Their Children, state that “half of all American children born today will spend part of their childhood in a family headed by a mother who is divorced, separated, unwed or widowed.” Children born in the United States have a 50% change that they will be raised by a divorced, separated, unwed or widowed mother. This sets the tone for the way families in America are headed.Outsiders, those not from a single parent family, feel like divorce is the end of the world. For most things in life though, if you have not been apart of the situation, you do not have any idea as to how it really feels. The same goes for those that have not been raised in a single parent family. Divorce is not the end of the world, it is perceived as being a major adjustment on all sides. That it is. One can never prepare for the changes divorce, and growing up in a single parent bring to the table. It is just a change that one must go with, and learn as they go. Single parent families get attached a stereotype. Most often the child or children have emotions to deal with from the divorce, so they are seen as beating kids up on the playground, and dropping out of school.Extra stress is placed on families who are headed by single parents. First and foremost, is the struggle with income. “Families headed by single women with children are the poorest of all major demographic groups regardless of how poverty is measured” (Single Mothers and Their Children). Single parent mothers are expected to support their family based upon their income alone. Women are not paid as much as men, which ultimately creates a struggle for single parent mothers. On top of the fact that women rely on childcare facilities, making forth a lot of women’s income goes towards making sure that their children are receiving childcare (Garfinkel and McLanahan 23). Making ends meet is the main struggle that single parent families deal with everyday.In the article, “The Effects of Divorce on America,” Fagan and Rector strongly feel that children of “divorce will have lasting effects that spill over into every aspect of their life. For example, “children living with divorced parents are victims of abuse and neglect, they exhibit more health, behavioral, and emotional problems, are involved more frequently in crime and drug abuse, and have high suicide rates.” The children of divorced parents experience a reduced ability to learn. In comparison to two-parent families, single parent families do poorly in reading, spelling, and math. They tend to exhibit higher dropout rates, and smaller numbers of completion of college (Fagan and Rector). Another statistic states that “children in single parent homes are also more likely to have their own marriages end in separation or divorce, and are at a higher risk for unmarried parenthood” (Patricia Tanner Nelson). Children living in single parent families are at a higher risk to exhibit these characteristics. According to Understanding Differences Between Divorced and Intact Families, “It is certainty true that differences in outcomes between children of divorce and those raised in intact families are modest and the effects of divorce may becoming weaker (Amato & Keith, 1991a, 1991b). It is also true that there is great variability in outcomes among children of divorce and that the majority of these children show no lasting negative effects (Emery, 1988).” The statement above makes an interesting take on the negative aspects that are attached to single parent families.In contrast to the negative, there are some positive perceptions to single parent families. At Cornell University, a Cornell researcher did a study released on Mother’s Day in 2004. The results “found that being a single parent does not appear to have a negative effect on the behavior or educational performance of a mother’s 12- and 13-year old children. What mattered most in this study, Cornell researcher Henry Ricciuti says, is a mother's education and ability level and, to a lesser extent, family income and quality of the home environment. He found consistent links between these maternal attributes and a child's school performance and behavior, whether the family was white, black or Hispanic” (Cornell News). In terms of the study itself, “Ricciuti’s sample included almost 1,500 12 and 13-year-old children from white, black and Hispanic families in the National Longitudinal Survey of Labor Market Experience of Youth. Single motherhood was defined as the mother having no partner or spouse living at home at the time of the survey. The average mother's age at birth of her child was 20 to 21” (Cornell News). The single parent mother needs to understand the importance they have on their children. The emphasis in this study is placed on the mother herself. The sample used 1,500 children, ages 12 and 13, from 3 different racial communities and found that education, family income and the environment in the home are all key factors that influence the outcome of Ricciuti’s study.An interesting take on single parent families came from Peggy Drexler’s, “Raising Boys Without Men.” She suggests, “Children would be better raised by lesbian couples or single mothers, rather than having any father in their life. She writes that without a father, children will be emotionally stronger, have a wider range of interests and friendships, and are more at ease during conflicts” (Wikipedia Encyclopedia). Women are able to give children the love, and guidance that they need because women are programmed more to do so then men.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Thoughts on a book I read...

Marie Lazarre was very strong character in the book. The first couple of sentences in her story talked about how determined she was to become a Saint. “Because I don’t have much Indian blood. And they never thought they’d have a girl from this reservation as a saint they’d have to kneel to. But they’d have me” (43). At first I felt that she was doing this because her skin wasn’t dark enough, and she wanted to prove to her people she would succeed in making something of herself. She admits that she was a “mail-order Catholic soul” and she just wanted to get into town so that is why she went to church (44). Marie had to have been interested in it more then that because she had the desire to walk up the hill to Sacred Heart Convent. She becomes acquainted with Sister Leopolda, who she really starts to look up to. Marie and Sister Leopolda shared this connection within each other, nothing like the others at Sacred Heart Convent. Marie had the “Dark One” coming after her, it was always trying to talk to her about things, like the Indians. At this point, I realized it was the fact that she was being tested to see if she really was committed to being a Saint. Throughout the story, she is tested a few more times just to make sure she really would be able to handle the choice she made. I had a hard time trying to decide why she exactly came to the Sacred Heart Convent, but it clicked when the turning point of the story happens, as she comes to terms with her past. She says she could have married someone on the reservation, but she wanted to establish a connection with Leopolda (48). Marie has to battle back and forth with her tests with Satan. I saw this and realized it can still be represented with people today. We all have things we want to achieve, in Marie’s case she wanted to become a Saint. Everyday we are pulled in different directions, having to distinguish what is right and wrong. Marie obviously had to undergo situations where pain was being induced upon here, but the point is we have to find the strength to get through them. Marie was being tested in how she would deal with boiling water being poured in her ear, definitely not an everyday problem we have to overcome but still can relate to it. After a lot of praying, Marie was able to prove herself in her commitment with becoming a Saint. As if that wasn’t enough to go through, Sister Leopolda decides to stick a fork in her hand. She was knocked out, and then woke up to being worshipped. Immediately, I saw this as a representation of the death of Jesus being nailed to the cross. Marie was then being acknowledged for having a great passion. The sisters did not know that Leopolda had been responsible for the fork incident; Leopolda took responsibility for witnessing a miracle. Marie felt happy when she realized that the marks were now marks made by Christ (59). I thought the story was a little bit odd in the types of pain that Marie had to deal with, but the overall meaning of the story was interesting to me. Marie had proven herself to being a character that was willing to do what it took to achieve her desire to become a Saint. I had a lot of respect for Marie because she wasn’t scared of the tests she had to undergo. The bottom line is when people have a passion to fulfill their desires and interests, they will become on step further towards achieving them. Marie is an example of how a character is willing to work to achieve her goal. And in the end she received a lot of support from both Sister Leopolda and the others at Sacred Heart Convent.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Here is skit that I worked on for my Religion class on Judaism:

Announcer says: Good Morning Jerusalem! Welcome to the Today’s Show. Here our host…Seth Cohen.

(Seth Cohen sits down beside the Jewish women and starts to talk about Judaism).

Seth Cohen: What is anti-Semitism?
Jewish Women: According to Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, “hostility towards Jews as a “religious or racial minority group often accompanied by social, economic and political discrimination, compared to racism.”

Seth Cohen: Where did anti-Semitism start?
Jewish Women: Nearly 2000 years ago by the Romans in Israel because they moved around the globe and tried to keep their unique beliefs and culture. Yet, Jews were considered a minority.

Seth Cohen: How did anti-Semitism begin?
Jewish Women: Some countries welcomed Jews, where others, mostly Christians isolated the Jews.

Seth Cohen: Why were Jews isolated from Christians?
Jewish Women: Jews did not have the same Christian beliefs. Jesus is the Son of God, Christians considered this refusal to be expecting of Jesus.

Seth Cohen: What was the confusion between the church and the Jews?
Jewish Women: For a long time churches taught that Jews were responsible for Jesus’ death. Historians today say Jesus was executed by Roman government because Jesus was perceived as being a threat to government officials.

Seth Cohen: On top of religious conflicts what other problems did Jews have?
Jewish Women: Economic ones, Jews had restrictions placed on Jews, not allowing Jews to hold jobs or own land. Jews became the scapegoat for people. For example, Jews were blamed for the “Black Death.”

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Who am I?
Who are you?

Things change.
People change.

I used to know you,
And I surely loved you.

But things change,
And so have you.

Way back when I used to think I had it all.
I always counted on you.
I ran to you when my world as turned upside down.
I somehow found comfort in you.
I was safe from the world in our loving embrace.
What once was is no longer existent.
It is now lost to the hands of time.

I am d i f f e r e n t now.
Things change.
What once gave me comfort is now gone.
You used to walk into the room,
And I would melt inside.
It was something in your gorgeous blue eyes,
And beautiful smile.
Just being you,
Made the worst of my days go away
With a simple smile,
Or the touch of your hand.

So many memories,
And remember when’s.
Things change.
People change.
I passed you on the parkway,
the other day.

Things surely have changed,
And so have you.

Monday, March 06, 2006


I feel like your paper had a little too much history, maybe think about condensing some history in the beginning. My first impression of your essay is that it is very meaty, a very historical perspective. I think that the huge chunk of the essay is talking about the history of soccer. I think that is important to describe the history, but maybe work on cutting some of it down.

You stated in the first paragraph soccer is your life. That you have read interviews, research projects, books…looked at financial, social and cultural reasons as to why soccer is not prospering in the United States. Well then tell me about what you have found, I just do not see it in the paper.

I liked that you talked about soccer being around forever, and describing that people found a ball, and kicked it into some sort of goal. That gave me the impression that yes soccer has been around awhile, and it has progressed into the sport it is today.

I know that this is a rough draft, I just picked up on the basis of your arguments as really only the financial struggle, and the fan support. I got out of it being that financial struggle was occurring because the organization was at a loss to find people that supported the game. The negative view of the sport was being placed upon it because it was being stereotyped. Soccer was looked down upon in the world, to the point that parents did not want their children playing in America. I had a hard time understanding the whole take on financial struggle within Africa and South America.

The reason that soccer is still around today, is solely based upon the support that the sport receives from its fan base. And the fact that soccer is called the “World’ Sport” because it has been a diplomatic leader, explain more what you mean by this. I think that is a good argument in the paper, if you developed the theory in more depth.

I think that at the end of the paper you talked about different aspects that you were going to talk about, but I did not really see a clear anaylasis of that in the paper. Financial problems, foreign culture, and media are all important issues that are at hand with soccer, or atleast that is what I think you are trying to get across to the audience.

I am just going to put this out there because well I am not a professional soccer player or anything. I played it for a couple of months, so the history and stuff is new to me. I think that you have a lot of knowledge of the sport, and the way that it is perceived I just do not think that all of the controversies are really summarized in the paper thus far. So keep in mind for the final paper, that there are people who have no idea as to how soccer is portrayed in both America and all over the world. I can say that I am not exactly sure if I do either. I think that this part of the essay should be more clearly stated, so that people who are uneducated about the sport and the global light will have a better understanding as to why exactly you feel that soccer is not prospering in the United States.

For the final paper, I suggest on making the paper flow more, using words that will help open up your paragraphs. I will say that I liked the opening paragraph because it made you feel like you were at a soccer game, it made you feel like you were on the field actually playing the game. Then I liked how to made the transition that this is important to you. Then I would work on making more of a body in the paper that will give the audience as to the reasons you feel soccer is not happening in the United States like it does all over the world.

Good Luck!

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Style summary - Chapter 3

In Chapter 3 Williams talks about specific rules of clarity. Williams focuses on subject and verb, using two specific levels. The first level is dealing with a fixed sentence structure: subject, verb and then everything else after. The next level did not have a fixed structure, but is based on the characters and their actions.

Williams points out those readers are able to pick up on unclear writing, except when we are revising our own work. The reason in doing so is because as writers we write what is in our head, but it does not always become clear on paper what we are getting across to the audience. We read our own works, and know what we mean because it is based upon our views. So we need to revise our works so that our readers will pick up on exactly what we are portraying. Williams makes it a point to illustrate why we are unable to write clearly, “We all tend to write badly when we’re unsure about what we want to say” (43). The last note that Williams leaves us with is the fact that we need to write clearly, “but not in Dick-and-Jane sentences” (48). This really showed the point Williams was trying to get across to the readers because we want to be able to express ourselves freely, yet still sound remotely educated.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Today I worked on my resume for my Orientation Leader Application...

· Background encompasses extensive experience in the following key positions of responsibility: Volunteer; Sales Associate; Shift Manager; Orientation Leader

· Proven experience in: operations; training; supervision; merchandising/display; customer relations; shipping and receiving; scheduling; opening/closing procedures; monitoring store and employee productivity; leadership role; peer development

· Excellent communication skills: able to develop a positive relationship with individuals of all ages and backgrounds.

· Demonstrated abilities in: communication; training; customer service; guidance; multi-tasking; time management


Bruton High School – Williamsburg, Virginia
Course of Study: Advanced Diploma

Randolph-Macon College – Ashland, Virginia
Course of Study: English Major, Journalism and Women’s Studies Minor

Key Club – Bruton High School (2000-2002)
Yearbook Club – Bruton High School (2001-2003)
Big Brothers/Big Sisters – Ashland, VA (2003-2004)
Dance Marathon – Randolph-Macon College (2003-present)
Dance Marathon Morale Committee (2004-present)
Phi Mu Sorority – Randolph-Macon College (2005-present)


Randolph-Macon College Bookstore Sept 2003 – Present
Ashland, Virginia

Work Study Program. Duties include customer service, stocking, inventory, money handling.

Ben and Jerry’s Scoop Shop June 2004 – Present
Williamsburg, Virginia

Shift Manager
Key holder, assisted in daily operations, customer service, opening and closing of store. Other areas of responsibility include hiring, training, managing employees, inventory and money control.

Parlett’s Gift Boutique June 2002 – August 2003
Williamsburg, Virginia

Sales Associate
Customer service, cashier, inventory and displays.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Here is some of my Orientation Leader Application I have been working on...

Explain your understanding of the role of an Orientation Leader. Why do you feel you are qualified for this position?
An Orientation Leader is a student that is chosen to be a representation of Randolph-Macon to the incoming freshman class. As an Orientation Leader, you become one of the first faces the incoming class comes in contact with on campus. With that, an Orientation Leader is perceived as being a role model, and an advisor. Freshman walk onto campus not exactly knowing what to expect. Orientation Leaders help get the freshman settled into their dorm rooms, and from that point on Orientation Leaders guide them through the orientation process. The incoming class obtains a better understanding of what “life is like as a Yellow jacket” through the orientation process. An Orientation Leader guides the incoming freshman through the entire week of the orientation process. Orientation Leaders have responsibilities to make sure everyone in their group is comfortable around each other, which often leads to the icebreaker games. Orientation Leaders are walking advertisements of the college, we are here to advise the incoming freshman class how to get involved with activities on campus. Orientation Leaders even have to crack down, and make sure that the incoming freshman knows what is expected of them, by this making sure they have a clear understanding of the regulations the college abides by. More than anything Orientation Leaders are there to help the incoming freshman class feel at home before they start the transition into their freshman year of college. I feel qualified for the position of an Orientation Leader because I enjoy taking an active part with the incoming freshman class. I feel qualified for this position because I was an Orientation Leader last year. I think that I have an understanding as to what exactly needs to be done, and the best way to go about that is to find the balance between a role model, and being a friend when needed.

What qualities do you possess that would be valuable if you were an Orientation Leader?

I am a very outgoing person, and love to meet new people. My outgoing personality allows me to stand up in front of a group of people, and take control of a situation with no problem at all. I really value the fact that people look up to me, which is what I think is expected from an Orientation Leader. I am a person who takes life seriously, but will be the first to laugh out loud when need be. I think that this is an important quality because it shows that I am balanced, I value rules but at the same time think that being laidback is great too. Orientation Leaders need to be flexible because they are in charge of a group of people all filled with different personalities. In order to get through to people, I think that Orientation Leaders need to be able to communicate with different types of people. My best quality is the ability to communicate well to others, and do what it takes in order to get the job done.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

"Last Letters Home"

The title says it all, the final thoughts before the soliders were shipped to Iraq. This book was an entire book dedicated to the letters of our soldiers in Iraq. This was a first hand account of what is truly happening on the frontlines of Iraq. Our soldiers are in Iraq dealing with all of everyday problems war brings upon them. Being a solider is not what we call a “nine to five job.” They are constantly waking up fighting for our country, and in a sense fighting for their own lives. “Last Letters Home,” made a point to say, “they [the letters] are not quiet personal journals, but neither are they formal reports from the field. If they perchance contribute to the first draft of history, they are always more raw, more intimate, more candid and more introspective than ‘history.’ They are not simple letters home, but of course they are letters home. They are war letters” (page 10). The war letters are not the type of history that you would find in our history books, but to me this is more of a history that we as readers can relate to. When you sit down and read about how these amazing soldiers are willing to pick up and leave to fight for our country, it really blows you away. It really puts things into perspective when you read their stories because you start to realize that the soldiers in Iraq are just as much human as we are. These soldiers are fathers, mothers, sons and daughters; all with close family and friends that were forever changed the day they left for Iraq. The unfortunate thing is the fact that their lives are never going to be the same because their precious loved ones are never coming back. This book makes me proud to be an American, but at the same time upsets me knowing that so many soldiers have lost their lives in the war of Iraq. Our soldiers were willing to take on the honor of fighting for out country. After reading this book, I understood how important the letters from home were, they were the closest thing the soldiers had to home out on the battlefront.
An interesting point that I picked up on was the fact that all the war letters are the same. Whether these soldiers are fighting in Vietnam or Iraq they all have something in common, they are soldiers at war. They are all experiencing a lot of the same things, just in a different time period. I think after reading this book I had a better understand about how the soldiers are feeling while in war. I felt more aware of the situation in Iraq after reading this. I felt a little disappointed within myself because it took reading this book to really understand just how bad it is there.
I thought that this book was useful because what better way to understand what is happening in Iraq then to hear it from our own soldiers. Through the letters, we as readers are able to get a first hand experience as to what the soldiers are seeing. As a reader, I felt that was really able to understand how things are in Iraq. I felt connected to the soldiers because of the way the book was step up. The families gave us a description of the soldiers, and then through the pictures and letters I felt as a loss for our soldier that lost his or her life. At the same time, I read the book with the thought in my head that these soldiers have gone over to Iraq fighting in order to better my life. I really got a lot more out of reading the “Last Letters Home” because I was able to relate to our soldiers in Iraq through their letters in ways that I had not necessarily thought about the war in Iraq before.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Still a work in progress...

A single parent family consists of a home in which the child or children live with one parent. The child or children depend on that parent for their economic and emotional support. Not all of the income is based on the one parent the child actually lives with. The child could receive child support that is a fixed amount of money the parents have agreed the child will receive each month. Between the money that the parent of the child or children, and child support are the basis of the families’ income. Of course, not all households actually receive child support, for the simple fact that not everyone follows the rules of life. On top of the financial support, the single parent is the chief parent. The single parent supports the family economically, emotionally, and socially. Of these discipline is in included. A lot of responsibility is placed on the single parent because they are the foundation that holds the family together.

The structure that the single parent provides is what keeps the entire family together. If the single parent is not able to meet the needs of their child or children, the entire household could fall to pieces. Growing up in a single parent family is not easy, and I say that with experience because I am the product of a single parent mother. My mom is what kept our family together; she was our rock when we needed it the most. Hearing the word divorce being applied to your own household can come as a shock, to others a dream come true. No the path of a single parent family is not the easiest, but in cases like mine it was only for the best. With that, the daily struggles my family went through beat being waken up at 3am to the sound of my two parents screaming at each other. Divorce was the answer to the problem my family had, and that is all there is to it.

The single parent communities consist of a lot of different make-ups. Each single parent family has different races, economic backgrounds, and views about marriage. Whether the single parent family is white or black, wealthy or living in poverty; when it comes down to it they are going to experience the same type of changes. Dealing with the loss of a parent, mother or father.

In the United States, most children choose to live with their mother instead of the father. The ratio of “single mothers outnumber single fathers nine to one” (Wikipedia Encyclopedia). According to Cornell News, “Single Motherhood was defined as the mother having no partner or spouse living at home at the time of the survey.” Women in America suffer with the amount of income they themselves bring in. Men make higher amounts of money in the workforce. Despite the financial struggle that women have solely because they hold lower paying jobs, women tend to nurture their children well (Wikipedia Encyclopedia). In comparison with men, women just have that gift that they are able to nurture their children, and provide a safe and loving environment in the comfort of their own home (Wikipedia Encyclopedia). Mothers, regardless of whether or not they are single, parents provide a positive influence on their children.

Scientists and people are becoming more aware of the ways the American family has changed drastically during the past 30 years. The change has declined between children living with their natural parents, with an increase in single-parent and stepparent families (Simons 3). Increasing divorce rates started in the 1960’s and did not really level until the mid-1980’s (Simons 3). In Simon’s, Understanding Differences Between Divorced and Intact Families, “Researchers during the 1970’s and early 1980’s viewed high divorce rates and a rapid rise in the number of single parent families as an indicator of society’s movement toward a more equitable, open atmosphere.” With social changes on the rise, social scientists viewed unhappy couples in the sense that they had to stay together. Women had reached a point where they wanted to steer away from oppressed relationships. They had hopes in finding lives that would be more satisfying for their personal needs in a relationship. Divorce allowed adults to put an end to relationships that were not fulfilling their expectations of marriage. Ultimately, divorce benefited the atmosphere in which the couple’s children were growing up in. Parents had options for their happiness with marriage, and providing an environment without stressful parental conflicts. Divorce in itself is a change for the parents and children, but in actuality it influences the entire family.