Friday, April 30, 2010

The Cat Whisperer

During break in my English class, my new-age, humanist friend, Monica, told me an interesting story.
Monica has a friend, who, allegedly communicates with animals. While on one of her global travels, this friend paused at a Buddhist temple for a time of rest and reflection. A cat passed by, and the friend proceeded to make conversation with it (telepathically, of course):
"How are you today?"
"Quite well, thank you" replied the cat.
"Have you caught any mice today?"
"Oh dear, no. I'm a vegetarian."
"A vegetarian? But you're a cat!"
"It is against the laws of Buddha to eat meat. I am a vegetarian because I live in this Buddhist temple. We don't eat mice here."
"Oh, excuse me! Your abstinence is commendable. You are an inspiration to me!"
The cat bowed deeply and silently strode off among the grand stone pillars, never to be seen again.

I listened in fascinated incredulity at Monica's story. She was wide-eyed and passionate, obviously excited at the admirable conviction of this most-holy cat.

It was so hard not to giggle.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Better Angels of Our Nature - Susan Ashton

He fell to his knees and he cried out for mercy
Heart-felt confessionals to an angry mob
But vengeance was theirs as they bellowed for justice
"Death to the man who has sinned against God."

I joined in the chant feeling so high and mighty
Pointing the finger from up on my throne
'Till I looked in his tears and I caught my reflection
And I knew that I could not cast the first stone.

Let the gavel fall slowly tho' truth's been revealed
Sequester the jury for a moment to feel
And in the courts of compassion I hope we can appeal
To the better angels of our nature, to the better angels of our nature.

I walked along on my soft streets of plenty
She walked the alleys of anguish and need
While clutching my greed I was struck by a vision
But for the grace of God, that could be me.

And we gather in chambers of lofty ideals
Still debating the giving when handed the bill
But in the congress of kindness, I hope that we can yield
To the better angels of our nature, to the better angels of our nature.

Angels of mercy, angels of light
Angels of darkness, angels of might
Angels with voices that whisper so clear
Who do I lean to, who do I hear?

We are building our world with a fevered emotion
While trying to keep it from coming apart
But as we reach for the dream can we still reach within us
We won't have the hope if we don't have the heart.

'Cause we're tossed in the gale of a moral decline
As we drink from the grail of society's wine
But at humanity's table I hope we choose to dine
With the better angels of our nature.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Silver Lining

It's raining again in Sacramento.
Yesterday boasted gloriously warm weather in the low 70s and a cheerful breeze which tickled the hundreds of newly budded leaves. Today, however, the wind decided to turn icy and the happy rays of sunlight were replaced with a curtain of drizzling rain. I think Weather forgot to take her bipolar meds.

Even now, the rain continues to fall and the wind makes the plucky little chime outside my window sing. I sit inside, pouding out the homework, and prepping for next years MUN!! I'm incredibly excited about next year, and there's a possibility I'll actually be the club president. Now wouldn't *that* be dandy?

Our theme has already been decided: Urbanization, Migration & Forced Displacement. We'll be debating and addressing issues such as the trafficking of women & children, sustainable development, and the protection of migrant worker's rights. It's going to be fascinating and at present, we need to decided on strategic countries to represent. The best candidates so far are looking like France and Brazil, so I've been researching them in order to ascertain which committees they're part of. So far so good...they both look promising.

The sky is cloudy, but oh, the horizon looks bright.

Monday, April 26, 2010


I just wrote a 5-page paper in an hour and a half. And it's pretty darn good, if I do say so myself.

Happy with self much??


Saturday, April 24, 2010


In the quiet of my thoughts, I am frustrated.
It's a strange, inner turmoil that seldom voices itself or allows itself to be seen. Quiet, hidden, simmering; a dull frustration simmers. Most of the time, nearly always, it's pushed deep down and forgotten; discarded for want of better, happier, more beautiful things. But not tonight. Tonight I'm frustrated.

I'm frustrated with the loss of an election. I'm frustrated with a professor bent on minimizing my best efforts. I'm frustrated at a job which overworks and underpays. I'm frustrated about the fact that I need a job. I'm frustrated with tense and painful relationships. I'm frustrated with feeling I've wasted a semester. I'm frustrated with appathetic friends. I'm frustrated with my dad. I'm frustrated with feeling stuck. I'm just frustrated.

"I have come to believe that all my past failures and frustration were actually laying the foundation for the understanding that have created the new level of living I now enjoy." -Anthony Robbins

Tonight, my heart is restless - but tomorrow my soul will rest. I certainly don't have the answers, and though I have a hard time giving myself grace, I realize there's not much else I can do. I am a student. A very broke student. At a community college. Wading through General Ed. Wishing I was at a real college. Wishing I could do exciting, challenging things. Wishing I had a handbook, a guidbook, to my least for the next year or two. Wishing I knew what God's plan was. Wishing...
But no.
I am here. I am where I am. And I can't see, and don't know, what's ahead. I can only breathe. I can breathe, and I can pray, and I can trudge on towards that goal and someday, somehow, I'll get there. Maybe. I hope. I'm pretty sure.

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give not let your hearts be troubled, and do not be afraid." -John 14:27

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Model United Nations '10

United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime
LX Session

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

To Robert

I'll admit, as I walked up to the podium my heart was racing.
I listened as the Student Life Coordinator introduced me to the audience and I took a deep breath. "Let me present our last speaker, and final candidate for the position of Student Trustee for the Los Rios Community College District...Risa Farrell."
I placed my outline on the podium, paused, and looked out over the cafeteria full of noisy, talking students. Students eating, students laughing, students strumming guitars and playing card games. Students studying, students memorizing, students comparing notes. I have always been one of those students, but today, for a few, short, beautiful moments...I got to speak to all of them. My eyes glided over the many, many faces, but one, smiling and encouraging, sat beaming up at me.


What a surprise to see him! A friend from photography class last semester, I recognized him immediately when he peered into the Student Life office where I was preparing my speech. I jumped up to say hi, and rather surprised to see him again, asked if he worked there. No, he laughed, he'd come to hear me speak. I couldn't believe it! Completely surprised and feeling rather honored, I asked how he'd known I was speaking today. "I'm a fan of yours," he said, "I read your blog."

All the nervousness that had been building, all the anxiety about speaking to a bunch of noisy peers, all the worries about being asked hard questions and not having the answers...all those butterflies of apprehension disappeared. My friend was here! Last semester, we had talked about photographic techniques, experimented with various creative styles, laughed about silly panoramic class projects, and bounced ideas off each other for our final projects. And though I thought I'd never see him again, here he was! Come to hear me speak and encourage me on! I wanted to hug him.

I'll admit, as I walked up to the podium my heart was racing.
But I looked over at Robert and met his gleaming eyes and a smile which seemed to shout, "You can do it! Go get 'em!" And I spoke. I really spoke. I got rather passionate, and had a really, *really* fun time up there. All the while, out of the corner of my eye, I could see Robert nodding, smiling and encouraging; bolstering me when I fished for a word or paused to reorganize my thoughts.

When I was finished, I had to take care of some administrative business, and by the time I finally made it out into the cafeteria, he was gone. Darn. So now, I don't know if you're reading this, and I don't know when I'll see you again, but you were an incredible support and I can't tell you how appreciative I am that you came to hear me. You totally made my day.

And so, if you are reading this...

...thank you.

Monday, April 12, 2010


Today: Opened shop at 5am. Got off work at 11 and flew home to finish an essay. College at 3, turned in said essay and other essay due next week. Home now to write campaign speech for tomorrow.

Tomorrow: Class at 8:45. Student Trustee campaign speech to ARC students at 12:00. MUN final meeting and logistical preparation at 12:30. Speech class at 1:00. Off to meet with attorney at 3:30. Gym at 5:30. Come home to write paper.

Wednesday: Open shop at 5am. Student Trustee campaign speech to FLC students at 12:00. Class at 3:00. Turn in paper. Take next week's exam (since I'll be missing Monday's class session due to MUN competition).

Thursday: Class at 8:45. Student Trustee campaign speech at CRC students at 12:00. Class at 1:00. In-class speech at 2:00. Home to research and write two policy resolutions.

Friday: AMSA interview at 10:00. Meet and leave for San Francisco at 10:30. Drive to San Francisco and spend the next four days in fierce competition at the Model United Nations Convention 2010.

I love this crazy life. Will I explode? Quite possibly. But do I love it? Most definitely.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


Mi mama...

...I know of no other person who can bring tears of gratitude to my eyes.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Work Out

After a long day at school, I escaped to the gym for an hour of painful bliss.
It's odd. Since when is burning pain a welcomed feeling? But being there, Journey and Boston blasting, lifting weights (I added more tonight...felt so proud of myself) and doing an extra set of push-ups, was a perfect wind-down.

My muscles screamed and burned. My arms shook and turned to jelly. I did so many crunches I couldn't breathe. OWWW!! And all the while, Boston taunted me; "more than a feeling...". Yeah,'s definitely more than a feeling...can we say death?

Yet, it feels so good.
Sometimes you have to grit your teeth and work through the pain. Even when it's really, really intense. You grab that bar, you add those weights, you push it up, you shake and tremble, and you grow strong. Your muscles tear, they scream, they cry. But then they grow and change and strengthen. It's painful, but empowering. Healthy.

I think it's a good life lesson.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Sweetly Broken

At the cross You,
Beckon me.
Draw me gently,
To my knees, and I am
Lost for words,
So lost in love.
I'm sweetly broken,
Wholly surrender.