Friday, June 15, 2007

Family Reunion

We went to our first annual Duncan Family Reunion last weekend. It was so much fun. I was so excited to be with all of those people again even though it felt like we all met for the first time, our bond is already there in a lot of ways. The house was empty yet it felt full of memories for those around me. I only have a few, but I could see it in the eyes of my grandparents, great aunts and uncles as they walked around the house. Here is a little movie about our weekend.

P.S. if you snoop around this blog you will find some other posts for my English class from this past semester. Some of it is made up, some of it is partial truth, just don't take it all for face value. Each post was an assignment, except this one.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Edelweeiss, Edelweeiss

Yesterday we went to Oxford it was really neat. We got to go to the cafeteria where Harry Potter was filmed. We went through the Oxford story ride, which told the story of how Oxford University was formed and all of the famous people who went there. We ate at the pub where CS Lewish and JRR Tolkien used to meet to talk about their writings. We walked all around the town and it was a lot of fun.

Then we took the train back to London and Kacy and I tried to go to the Albert and Victoria Museum , which would have been really cool if it didn't close 20 minutes after we got there. The gift shop was especially cool. But they kicked us out. Then we walked around Knightsbridge and wandered into shops. I bought some tea that is REALLY good.

That night Kacy and I went to eat at Hard Rock Cafe with Alida and Samantha. It was a lot of fun. Kacy and I split chicken fajitas and then we all split a brownie sundae. Yum! Then we went to Picadilly Circus to see all of the pretty lights. Kacy and I ended up buying some prints that were really cheap. Mine are of Westminister Abbey, Picadilly Circus, and Trafalgar Square.

We got up early because we had to catch our flight to Switzerland. We rode the tube to the airport and then we found out we actually got there too early so we waited around for awhile. Our plane left at 1:30 London time. I sat next to a lady from New Zealand and her daughter. They were in London because the woman's father was knighted by the queen for his work in the health industry. They were on their way to Zurich, and then Geneva to hear her father speak the the World Health Organization. I thought that was so cool.

When we flew into Zurich it was beautiful. The owner of the school met us with a bus and took all of our luggage for us. That was so nice of him. Angela Hollington, the school director, also met us to led us to the train and make sure we made it to Lucerne alright. We got on the train and traveled for about an hour to Lucerne. From what I have seen of Lucrene so far, it is absolutely gorgeous. We are staying in Hotel Flemis. My roommates are Kacy and Alyssa. I still don't have my internet working, but I'm using Alyssa's computer.

I have to go to bed now. Pray that my internet works tomorrow so I can put up the pictures. I'll try to write more also.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Web 2.0

This is a really cool video about technology today.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Green: the new maroon

Dear editor of the Battalion,

I am writing to you because I think the campus should be more environmentally friendly. With such a big campus and students who are always willing to make a difference, I don’t think this would be difficult if the facilities were provided. The environment is very important and the resources we waste are irreplaceable. We can prevent damage to the environment through preventative actions such as recycling. I think this is a very important issue that Texas A&M should stand up for. I think some people categorize the environment as an issue that the Democratic party is partial to. But saving our earth for the future and our children should be a bipartisan issue. The amount of “stuff” we waste is ridiculous.

When I lived on campus last year, the only recycling bins I saw were for paper, but they were in little closets that were hard to find. The Battalion prints a sea of newspapers five days a week, and many of them just end up in the trash along with everything else. If there were more recycling bins on campus, the school could make a dent in the landfills that are filling up around our state. You could also do your part by using at least partially recycled paper for your newspapers and promoting recycling in your newspaper. Then I think more students would put their paper in a recycling bin. The red Coca-Cola cups offered by Food Services could also be recycled in these bins. These cups are countless and many people don’t consider that they are recyclable. Students today drink a lot of water from water bottles made of plastic. They are convenient and easy to store. The problem is they are so wasteful. When I leave the football games, I am almost sick when I see the number of bottles piled up around the trash cans. People have to drink water during the games because it is so hot, but why can’t we keep them from harming the environment while we’re at it? Furthermore, recently many plastic bottles were shredded down to threads and made into synthetic fleece pullover sweaters. Then they were sent to third world countries where children cannot afford coats. That is a very worthy reason to collect the bottles.

Food is another item that is easily recycled. How much of the food made in A&M cafeterias is thrown away? I’m sure there are mounds of it that is dumped in the trash at the end of the day. This food could be given to homeless or battered women’s shelters where desperate people would benefit from it instead of the feral cats who patrol the dumpsters every night. There are a few universities in the northeast who have implemented programs such as this. They have been very successful in lowering the hunger rate in their area. I think Aggies should be more aware of this and if they were, I’m sure many of them would be willing to help.

Students should also be aware of the things they can donate when they move out of a house or dorm in College Station. There are numerous organizations that will take furniture, clothes, appliances, and other salvageable items instead of putting them on the curb on bulk trash day. Furthermore, there is a store in Bryan called Restore, where students can by used hardware, paint, appliances, building materials, and furniture. All of the money from these purchases goes to support Habitat for Humanity, who runs Restore.

I think A&M is very behind the times as far as the environment goes. We might say it is important, but we are not following up on our word. Recycling bins should not be scarce on our campus. Students who live on campus should be able to recycle items easily, whether they are walking by the MSC or the Commons. A&M should support the recycling of glass, plastic, and aluminum in at least one central spot on campus. They should donate their leftover food and household items to those who need it. We can do service projects all day long, but I think the true reflection of service is to live it on a daily basis. Recycling is one way to do that, and everyone can participate in it.

Please take this into consideration and promote this topic in your newspaper.


Rachel D.

Monday, April 9, 2007

A Whirl of Oblivion

Context: My roommate, Holly, and her boyfriend, Zach, invited my boyfriend, Blake, and me to go to Lake Somerville on Saturday to hang out and have a picnic. She also told me that she wants to take pictures.

We drove out to the lake in my car as we jammed to my boyfriend's brother's (mama's step daddy's cousin twice removed) latest album. There was a huge rain cloud in the direction we were headed. Everyone prayed it would go away, but for different reasons. We got to the lake and the sky cleared up, just like magic. We ate our picnic lunch then we started taking pictures.

Action: We're all walking up the hill that overlooks the lake. Blake and I are going to have our pictures taken first. I'm walking in front of him and Holly and Zach bring up the rear.

(Blake moves the box in his back pocket.)
(Blake and I get in position to take the picture.)

H: Let me know when you guys are ready.
I, to Blake, laughing: I think you have something in your teeth.
B (smiling, makes a beaver face): Where?
I, pointing to his tooth: Right there to the side of your front tooth.
(Blake gets the food out of his teeth.)
(Holly starts taking pictures, unbeknownst to us)
(Zach just stands there looking on to the scene)
I, to B in a motherly tone: Okay, promise me you won't make a face in this picture. I want to actually have some decent pictures of us.
B: Okay, okay, I'll try.
(Holly starts taking pictures.)

B: Hey, why don't you sit down on that rock right there and I'll squat down next to you. I think we'll get a better view of the lake behind us.
I, in an agreeable tone: Okay. That's a good idea.
(I sit down on the rock, unassumingly.)
(B squats down as he gives a thumbs up to Holly to let her know its about to happen.)
(B shifts around to one knee.)
B(to me): Rachel, will you marry me?
I, innocently: Yeah, you know whenever that time comes....
B(goes for his back pocket and pulls out the box, laughing): No, will you marry me?
I, shocked: OH MY GOSH! Yes!
(B opens box with gorgeous ring inside.)
(I take the box from B, but don't put ring on my finger. I hold the open box in my hand as I hug and kiss B.)
(Holly continues to take pictures and Zach just laughs.)
(I start to cry and B laughs.)

I had no idea I would be getting engaged that day as we drove out to the lake so I guess that puts me in the part of the "stupid and oblivious girl." We've been dating forever (4+ years), but I didn't think he would propose until after Spring Break. I was praying we would have a beautiful and fun day at the lake. They were all praying it would be the perfect surprise on a beautiful day.


Sunday, April 1, 2007

Close to Invicible

Yahoo! Avatars

I sat down with Rachel Phillips, wife of successful orthopedic surgeon Dr. Blake Phillips, over a cup of hot chai tea, her all time favorite drink, at Starbucks last week. She looked like any other thirty-year-old Dallasite in a white tunic, jeans cut in a capri style and Haviana flip flops. Currently, she is taking a break from her eight year teaching career to raise her nine month old daughter, Carly Rose and three year old son, Bryston Lee. She says she misses teaching and interacting with her brilliant students, but also loves being home with Carly and Bryston and the extra time she gets to spend with Blake. Although her career is on hold, the humanitarian and mission work she and Blake participate in is just taking off. They run a clinic and tutoring center in downtown Dallas for underprivileged children and families. Rachel says God has given her a heart to serve people, and next to being with her family, the center is her favorite place to be. "Our mission is to show people to Christ through a holistic approach," she says about the clinic. The center also encourages students to go to college and helps them with the resources they need to get there.

Rachel is also a world traveler. She and Blake are planning to go to Botswana, Africa next December and Rhodes, Greece the following summer. "I just love to experience many different cultures, learn their histories, and of course, try their food." Art and creativity are never far from her mind either. Rachel has already started a scrapbook for Carly and Bryston. When her children are sleeping she paints pottery in the studio behind her house. She also keeps in touch with many of her friends from high school and college throwing parties for every holiday, and writing letters on a weekly basis. One of her favorite ways to relax is to cuddle up on the couch with her husband to watch the seasonal Aggie sports games; basketball is her favorite. "I don't know how relaxing it is for him because he gets so into the games, but I enjoy just watching."

Although I wasn't invited to her home, I was curious to see where she lived. Last week, before my interview with her, I spotted Rachel leaving the grocery store so I decided to follow her home. I knew she wouldn't mind. As I casually drove passed her house, I noticed it was a modest two story on about two acres with beautiful gardens surrounding all sides. When I asked her if she likes to garden, she looked at me with childish curiosity, as if to say, "how did you know?" She smiled and answered that gardening was a hobby her grandmother taught her to love when she was a child. They would go into the garden and smell all of the different herbs she planted. Rachel took a horticulture class at Texas A&M and found that she also had a green thumb. She takes 30 minutes every day to tend to her gardens, which helps her to feel in touch with nature, an admirable trait to say the least. She said the only problem she has right now is that her puppies and rabbits keep getting into her flower beds. Although most people might be perturbed by this, Rachel finds it quite amusing and laughs to herself. "I absolutely love animals. I am so lucky because my husband doesn't mind that sometimes our house feels like a zoo. We have ducks, pigs, rabbits, dogs, and guinea pigs right now."

It might seem like Rachel would have a hard time keeping everything together, but she is extremely organized. When asked how she does it all, she says, "through prayer, patience, love and laughter."