About Me

Monday, April 27, 2009

Argh! Common sense, anyone?

It is sad when people die. Really, I'm not saying that we shouldn't care, but stop obsessing over every stinkin' illness with a fancy name.

People seem to forget that Mexico has 109 MILLION people and 108,999,000 of those are NOT sick, 108,999,900 have managed to stay alive. The US has 306 MILLION people, 305,999,960 of whom have managed to barely escape this deadly, frightening, terrifying pandemic and 306,000,000 million who have been able to hang on to their lives.

You know what kills 100,000 - 200,000 people every year? The regular ol' flu. Know what kills millions of people every year? Mosquitos. 630,000 people die from falls every year for heaven's sake.

Also, you know what crazy, nearly impossible to perform tricks we are being forced to subject ourselves to in order to avoid this terrifying menace? We are instructed to wash our hands, not sneeze or cough on other people, and stay home from work or school if we're sick. I mean, how the heck are we supposed to do ALL of those things?? We're not magicians!

So stop trying to scare us! Stop sensationlizing diseases! Just because you have 24 hours to fill on your news stations doesn't mean you have to make up stories!

Here are a few facts:

The 1968 Hong Kong flu pandemic killed 33,800 people. While no pandemics have surfaced since 1968, other pandemic "threats" have occurred in the 20th century, including the 1976 "killer flu" (later named "swine flu") threat in the United States which killed one person and led to a mass vaccinations, which killed approximately 25 people by giving them Guillain-Barré syndrome.

The most recent pandemic threats occurred in 1997 and 1999. Hundreds of people became infected with the avian flu virus, or bird flu, which killed six people. This virus was different as it moved from chickens to people, rather than moving through pigs first. Around 1.5 million poultry were slaughtered in Hong Kong to contain the threat.

This newest threat has hit Mexico: 86 deaths had been deemed "likely linked" to a deadly new strain of the flu virus by health authorities there. Viral testing has confirmed 20 cases, said Dr. Jose A. Cordova Villalobos, Mexico's health secretary, and Mexican authorities are investigating at least 1,000 cases of illness.

CDC overreaction (but in their defense, that's their job): CDC-swineflu

And now for the ridiculous reporting:

Mexico swine flu deaths spur global epidemic fears

Sunday, April 19, 2009

My tattoos

Most people are surprised to find out that I have a tattoo. They are blown away by the fact that I have four! I like that my personality and interests are varied, it makes me able to relate to a lot of different groups which, incidentally, makes me well-suited to my job. I also enjoy breaking stereotypes. So, what are the tats?

On each ankle I have a kidlet's name. These were my first ones. I had wanted a tattoo for years and my (now ex-) husband would never let me get one. Basically, he thought/thinks they are trashy stemming from the fact that his ex-girlfriend left him for a tattoo artist (and frankly, was a bit trashy). Finally, when Paige was six weeks old (2001) he relented when I said I wanted the kids' names. So off I went, becoming the first person to nurse while Frank tattooed. :-) They are actually the same size and intensity, I'm just a lousy photographer.

The next one has a long, somewhat more personal story than I need to put here, but the final product (2004) is a reminder that even when things seem to be going poorly, I always make it through. God obviously designed me to be resilient and I need to be reminded to give thanks sometimes. The Roman numerals for 2003 signify a pretty bad year when looked at from the outside; my car was broken into, my house burned down, my grandma got really sick, I was hospitalized, etc. You name it, I think it happened but every one of those things had some sort of silver lining and I not only made it through, but I am a better person for it. The ocean motif signifies where I belong and where I will be when Paige graduates high school.

The newest addition (2008) is incredibly, um, unique. LOL It's a giraffe and treehouse. Sometimes in life I start to get bogged down and fantasize about a perfect, easy life of leisure where I just lounge about and maybe live in a beautiful, serene treehouse where wood nymphs bring me things and unicorns take me places and maybe I have a pet giraffe... Then I remember that in order to truly appreciate the easy times I need to work for them. If everything was handed to me then what would I have to look forward to but more of the same. This perfect life would become mundane, not having any troubles would become boring. And remember, life is exactly that ridiculous, don't take it so seriously! The giraffe is also an inside joke with a very good friend. It has come to be a reminder that there is at least one person who thinks I'm fantastic and worth all the trouble it takes to be my friend and that I shouldn't settle for someone who I can't be myself around. I came across this unattributed quote that sums up lot of what this tat is supposed to remind me of: "Until you decide you are worthy of more, you will be content with less."

So that's the breakdown of my body art. I love all of them and will probably get more (they are so addictive!) someday. I like that they signify important periods of my life and all have real meaning, I didn't just get them because everyone else has one. I mean, not that a dolphin or butterfly wouldn't be pretty, it's just not my style to fit in. The placement also follows that same thought, the two big ones are on my legs where I can see easily them and the names are on my ankles where it's not a lot of effort to see them. I don't want to have to contort my body or use a system of mirrors to see them, they are for me, not the person sitting behind me!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Warning: Hippy Video

Great (although a bit long for our news bite society) video and website about where our "stuff" comes from and where it goes.

The Story of Stuff

The part that got me was about how it's impossible to pay $4.99 for something (in this case, a radio) and think that you possibly paid enough to have supported all the work along the way.

At one point I was much, much better about being a responsible care taker of our earth and its gifts. I am starting again.


Just because my community doesn't embrace recycling doesn't mean that I can't go the extra few miles to get my stuff to the recycling center. And just because shopping makes me feel good doesn't mean that it's worth it in the long run. And just because I like eating out doesn't mean that we should do it all the stinkin' time.

I got lazy because I am better than the average American about being wasteful but, for heaven's sake, the average American sucks at it! I can do A LOT better!

Thought for the day

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Friday, April 17, 2009

Friends, etc.

There is something about me that makes people want to talk to me, to tell me things that they don't tell most people. Seriously, for no apparent reason, people tell me their secrets and inner thoughts. I'm honored that they feel comfortable enough with me to do it. I suspect it is that I just ooze mom-ness. Babies are drawn to me, too. I always say that they can smell the mom on me. :-)


  • A girl who was several years younger than me in highschool and the baby sister of someone in my class told me when I ran into her at Target one day that she was gay and had a girlfriend/wife and all about their life and how happy they were but not to mention it to anyone else because she hadn't told any family yet.
  • I have known about at least a half-dozen breakups before they happened because the person ran it by me first.
  • Many bar guests have told me things about their relationships and jobs that I have been told to keep to myself.
  • I have known about several pregnancies (of acquaintances and strangers), most of them unexpected, before anyone else.

I love being that person. I love that people can trust me with their secrets and know that I will offer good advice and not judge them harshly if they change their mind. I love that people sense that I can offer balanced, thoughtful, wise advice. It makes me feel like the job I'm doing on this little planet of ours is important even if I have no "respected" credentials. I am, though confused by it sometimes and I don't know how or why people know that about me before they really know much else about me. This was brought to mind tonight when I ran to the gas station for beer after work and had an incredibly long conversation with the attendant about DWIs and breathalyzers and how she got a DWI after a funeral and on and on and on.

I am not great (actually really bad) about maintaining long-term friendships. There are several people who have come into my life whom I would like to count as really good friends. I just let them fade away for no other reason than laziness. I'm afraid that it is because I am very good at cultivating many short-term intense friendships that I don't value highly enough the ones on which I should be focusing.

If I want to go out tonight, there are many people in my phone whom I could call and they would love to hang out. They don't call me and I don't call them, but I could if I wanted to. I don't. Maybe I should every once in a while and make an effort to be a good friend. It is so easy to just be alone, though or just to have one good friend at a time.

I think that it says good things about me that I can help aquaintances and strangers with advice without being friends. It reminds me that God is, in fact, looking out for me; I am important.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Educating is fun, but should be work!

I had a wake-up moment today. How I educate today might impact how parents in the future are allowed to educate their kids. I spend too much time just having fun with the kidlets and too little time being the teacher.

On my homeschool group email list there has been some discussion about logging hours. I have to admit that I am really lacking in several areas surrounding this issue.

The first is that I suck at documenting. No way around it, I just plain don't keep written records as diligently I should.

The second is that I am a pushover and pretty darn lazy (wait, that's two, isn't it?) when it comes to school.

The third is that I have a tendency to start great projects and then let them fizzle out (wait, that's laziness, maybe it goes with the second point).

I wasn't paying very close of attention to the discussion until a mom whom I respect a great deal, Stephanie Herrick, posted a reminder for us all. I want to share a quote from her eloquent and thought-provoking email. "To the degree we fail to police ourselves, we open the door to be policed by others. "

Just because we, personally, are not at great risk of being accused of educational neglect should not mean that I can be lax about holding our family to the highest level of accountability. Everyone I communicate with about what our homeschool looks like will forge an opinion about what ALL homeschools are like. Do I want the image they get from me to be the image they pass on to others? The law in Missouri is fantastic and allows for a great variation in teaching styles and emphases and keeping it that way is of paramount importance.

So, just because Levi can race through his handwriting lesson doesn't mean that I should let him do it every day. And next time Paige wants to count her paper craft making as art I should remind her that a hobby doesn't get to count everyday, somethings are for fun, not school.

So, is my homeschool above reproach? I need to make sure I like the answer to that question.

Friday, April 10, 2009

To Do List

Tomorrow (Saturday) is a big day. Here is the list: (updated at 3:00) (updated at 5:30) (updated Sunday)

  1. Wake up (sometimes a big deal to get around to). (check)
  2. Put washed stones in oven to make cool crayon covered polished paperweights. (check)
  3. Go pick up kidlets. (check)
  4. Feed kidlets (and me). (check)
  5. Use crayons to color warm stones. (check)
  6. Bake chicken for lunch and to make soup for dinner. (check)
  7. Feed kidlets (and me). (check)
  8. Boil eggs. (check)
  9. Shower all of us. (check)
  10. Color eggs using rubber cement to make swirly designs. (rubber cement drying as we speak)
  11. Set up incubator for incubation and embryology lab Monday (chick hatching). (check)
  12. Clean bathrooms. (check)
  13. Sweep and mop. (swept living room and school room) (check)
  14. Wash hundreds of water bottles and refill (perhaps minor hyperbole). (check)
  15. Vacuum dog hair from, well, everywhere, but especially couch where friend will be sleeping. (check)
  16. Laundry. (half way done) (3/4 done) (close enough)
  17. Dust. (check)
  18. Play with rats (pets, not free roaming). (check)
  19. Play stuffed animals with Paige (good mommy, but, honestly a bit tortuous, duty). (watched Wii and played Rescue Heroes instead)
  20. Groceries -raisins for hot cross buns, carrots and celery for soup, beer (I deserve it, darn it). (forgot I needed soy milk, dang.)
  21. Rent movie. (decided against it)
  22. Polish stone paper weights. (check)
  23. Entertain friend spending the night (probably Fluxx card game and movie). (check)
  24. Feed kidlets (and me and friend). (check)
  25. Make hot cross bun dough to bake Easter morning before work (yes, I "get" to work on Easter, yea). (forgot I needed soy milk, we'll make them tonight for tomorrow morning, Jesus won't mind a little Easter Monday celebrating, I'm sure)
  26. Relax, I have a night off work! (check, check, check)
Overall, Saturday was a fantastic day! It's amazing how much better my day is and how much more productive I am when I don't have to be worrying about getting to work and when I get the kids all day and night.