Friday, February 29, 2008

Have Fun Friday

Wanna do something fun? Does a bear use Charmin hanging from a tree branch in the woods? Of course you do! Mrs. Flinger has a post called Flashback Friday which was inspired by some other cool bloggers and I thought it looked like so much fun so I had to join in and post a link to it here. (well actually, back a few words where the text changes color, you know.)

The game is you share a post about a song from way back when (whenever is way back when for you) that changed your life somehow. Then share the links on your blog with us and we'll share yours. Like OMG! It will be so bitchin'!

Not quite sure how to define "life changing," so we'll leave that up to you. For me, child birth as a life changing event somehow trumps the time when I said I was "going to the Library" when in fact I actually um, well, you know... but here's the kicker, the soundtrack was "Kingdom Come" the 1988 album. (it was a knock-off Led Zeppelin band - but of course Zep rules!) I think I'm going to be ill just thinking about that experience. (and how bad of a band they were)

I posted a month ago on a related topic about Dire Straits' Money for Nothing. If you decide to read that post, watch out for the profanity. And the sex. Nah, just profanity, I was just trying to get you to click there. Wait, oh yeah, there's a little bit of sex in that one, I almost forgot!

So, have some fun with this. Leave me some comments and links to your posts so we can all share and sigh a collective sigh about a time when Michael Jackson was still an attractive and relatively sane black man, George Michael was a hot straight man and I wanted to be "havin' his baby," and Whitney Houston was sober and made me believe in the children and that she was serious about it.

Could this be kind of like passing notes around in 5th grade? (except without the getting in trouble part? suh-weet!)

Oh, and if I still have your attention, what was the name of that origami-looking finger game thing with the numbers and colors? I can't even think of what it's called to google it, but if someone has instructions for making one, I would so love to see it.

If you too used to sing "I'm Your Penis" instead of "I'm Your Venus" drop me a comment.

If you remember when it was cool to wear hot pink and aqua together, send me some comment love.

If I can get at least 10 comments on this post, I'll go dig out my high school year book and scan a picture of me with big hair and post it.

Like you care, but I thought I'd try it anyhow. I don't know why I think that is such a reward, but I have been meaning to do it anyhow just for fun.

Comment motivation is a good thing because I've lost count how many times I've had to put this laptop down and go prevent my child from harming himself or something in the house. You think it should be easy to type a couple of words and click the publish button, but nooooo. Not at my house where constant interruption is king.

You know you're either really, really old or a Mother when you look forward to nap time and bed time all the time.

Have fun!

Put your link in the comments and I'll try to list the participants as I read em'.
Mrs. Flinger
Sweetney
Her Bad Mother
Oh The Joys
Mamalogues
Girl’s Gone Child
Whoorl
Mom-101

Izzymom

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Tell-Tale Heart

Look what I discovered in the recent batch of potatoes we bought the other week! It's a heart-shaped potato! Have you ever seen one this shape before?


What do you think this means? Is it some strange sign?



thump thump, thump thump, thump thump

spooky huh?

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Does This Blog Make My Butt Look Fat?

Whine and Cheese Go Together
Maaann (insert whine) is it Sunday already? Today kind of evaporated for me. I didn't even remember to weigh in this morning. For some reason it just didn't feel like a Sunday for me. Yep, that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it! I'm not even going to grace this entry with a Sunday Weigh-In header or pic link. Just the thought of a scale pisses me off right now. Does that mean that this blog topic is counter-productive? I have been extremely unmotivated lately. I haven't been sticking to my dance-around-the-house-like-a-crazy-person routine. I've just felt too blah and achy lately.

He Ain't Heavy, He's My Husband
Part of the other problem has been Hubby's herniated disk flared up on him. I think it might be a result of the pressure he's under to take these damn 12 credit courses for NCLB. It's been putting a strain on our whole little family but we're doing the best we can to be supportive because that's what marriage and family is all about. So, I've had 2 boys to take care of. Not that Hubby can't take care of himself, but he's usually a real team player when it comes to keeping the house from total chaos to the point where I can't handle it, but with him being down and out this past week, the house kept throwing up on itself and I felt like it would never look livable again. Today we kicked some butt getting the kitchen cleaned, floors vacuumed and laundry put away. Yay for us! Such an accomplishment. Hubby is slowly getting back to being more functional but it's slow going and frustrating for everyone — especially him. He still can't drive so I'll have to take him to work and pick him up, but maybe it will get my ass out of the house. I wish I had more patience for him and it makes me even more frustrated that I don't because he has endless patience. I wish I could take care of him the way he's taken care of me.

The thing that really gets me down is that it all just shouldn't be so much of a challenge to keep the house in order or to want to care for my ailing husband more than I do. I just feel so tapped out lately. I should be able to do this all on my own without asking for help.

I should be able to vacuum wearing a plastic pearl necklace and high heels from Payless™ at the very least!

It just seems like it's a never ending vicious cycle and sometimes I just feel like I'd rather hide from the housecleaning and veg out on the computer every chance I get. Which is basically what I did last week. I just said to hell with the house, but after a while, I got sick of washing dirty dishes one at a time on an as needed basis. It also didn't help that the kitchen sink drain was clogged for 2 days and we couldn't run the dishwasher either. I was soooo tempted to use paper plates but I'm married to a science teacher, remember? That would not have been a very environmentally- nor economically-friendly decision now would it?

600 Pound Gorilla in Stirrups
I've been very anxious and angry lately. I went in for my yearly "lady checkup" need I say more. Well, that just made things worse. I was seen by a nurse practitioner whom I hadn't been seen by before. The one I really like was booked on the day I scheduled the appointment, but at the time I didn't care because you know, once you've had a baby, lady parts are lady parts and so many people (nurses, doctors, janitors, drummers — oh wait, that was back in high school) have seen them I don't care much anymore who does my annual exam.

Gimme a 3-foot long Q-tip and a banana clip and I'll do it myself, I don't care.

Anyway, so I discuss my various questions with the nurse, blah blah blah and we get to the part where I discuss with her my feelings of anxiety and my problems with insomnia. I kind of expected to hear, oh, it's all a normal part of adjusting to life as a stay at home mom and being a new mother, you're fine, do this, do that, maybe go back on the Zoloft at half the dosage.

(I don't know why, but the voice I hear in my head when I write quotes about someone saying something is many times Edie McClurg. Does that happen to anyone else or is it just me?)

I guess that was asking too much. Long story short, I walked out of there feeling pretty crappy about myself. It turns out I'm not only fat, I'm also crazy too. It was recommended to me that I "seek counseling" and that my problems are "beyond normal separation anxiety" and this is "something else and you need to see someone about it."

Oh, and she didn't call me "fat" — of course a nurse wouldn't use that term. No, she said — in reference to me discussing some other issues — "well, when you're heavy, sometimes..."

Heavy. There's a new word. I've been overweight and big-boned, but never, never heavy. That stung. And then, just to lay the icing on the rich and creamy chocolate frosted cake I would so love to shove my fat face into right now, I asked about staying on prenatal vitamins and if there were any disadvantages to doing so because my husband and I would like to start trying for another baby in October. First, she said, as she was checking my breasts for anything unusual, "no, the prenatal vitamins are good, stay on them, there's no danger in staying on them" and then in her next breath she raised her eyebrows at me and in a condescending voice said "but I really don't think you're ready to have another baby, not after what you just told me, it doesn't sound like you're ready."

My heart sank. It's bad enough I beat myself up about whether or not I'm ready for another baby - after the horrible and horrifying experiences I had with my first pregnancy and delivery, I really do not need any help in adding to that self doubt and fear.

But, there it was, the bonus of this particular office visit. As if the generous amounts of lube and scraping of my cervix weren't enough. It seemed like the gift that just kept on giving. I felt like the the dejected loser walking away from a game of Wheel of Fortune Teller where that announcer guy tells you about the prizes you get to take with you for playing.

Drink more Ovaltine? WTF?
So, I think you get the point. I feel shitty and I'm sorry this blog post is so depressing. I'm sure I'll find some way to bounce back. I usually do. I am considering going to see a counselor, but I'm not sure what good it will do. I've been in therapy before when I was a teen. I know which way the revolving door swings. (That there was in the voice of Eeyore, just so you know.)

I dread making an appointment because due to our lovely health care system, I can't just look in the phone book for Quacks-r-Us pick up the phone and make an appointment. First I have to pick a primary care provider which I haven't done in the 4 years I've lived here because I procrastinated (shocking, I know) and when I was pregnant, my OBGYN was my PCP. Next, I have to make an appointment as a new patient and probably get a physical. And, just who is going to watch my kid while this happens? Then, that doc will have to write me a referral to a psychiatrist or "therapist" and then I'll have to make an appointment to talk to that person. Probably repeatedly where I'll have to talk about my mother. And what a friggin joy THAT will be. Then I'll need regression therapy. Again, I ask, who will watch my kid while this takes place? Oh and how much is it going to cost in co-pays and prescriptions each month?

Where is that damn whine I asked for? Maybe I should drink some and watch Dr. Phil. Better yet, maybe I should click on the phishing links the spammers send me about free medication! Yeah! That's it!

Send me some Viagra. I would so much rather have priapism than this right now.

Well, hopefully my next post will be something more interesting. I'll try posting next about my adventures in converting an AOL Contact List into an Apple Address Book! That will be fun!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

de Composition

Science Teachers are in Demand.
You Could Have Fooled Me.

My husband is a Science Teacher. He teaches high school physics as well as integrated science. He loves what he does, has a passion for doing it and I really admire him for it. I just wish he could do his job and be free to focus on being his best so he could be happy along with it. Being his best is what makes him happy and when he's happy he can be his best. Is that too much to ask?

Unfortunately, life in our home is becoming more and more like the latest lab project: simulation of a landfill decomposition.

I hear a lot of crap about public schools lately and it aggravates me. I am not against home schooling or private schools either. I feel that parents should do what they feel is right for THEIR children. Period. If you want to home school your child, do it. If you want to send your child to private school, do it. Find a way to make it work. Work WITH your children whatever you decide, that is the most important part. So long as your child can become a productive part of society, you're contributing to a greater good. The parents really are in charge when it comes to the education of their children. I wonder how many parents know that. They have the right to say no and ask for more and to make change. (Both the verb and the noun.)

I know that's easy for me to say, my kid isn't even 2 yet, but I have worked inside of the public school system. I've been a student. I've been an instructor. I've been support staff. I've attended public school. My siblings have attended private school. I've attended vocational school. I've attended university. I've served on a curriculum board. I'm married to it no matter which way I turn. I consider myself to be an educated parent and I will use that one day when the time comes for my son to go to school. The plan is to stay involved.

The bottom line is that everyone tries to do their very best when it comes to providing a quality education. You have to know that people who serve in the field of education, any type — public, private, home school — they don't do it for the money! They do it for the passion of educating – to say the least. When I say they though, I am referring to the people in the trenches. The people who are not looking at the numbers and the money and the test scores and the reputation. Those people do it for different reasons and I have a hard time believing it's for the passion and the cause. They do not serve, they manage. Mange to get by is sometimes how it seems. For starters, their pay checks are a lot larger. Their perks and benefits are more bountiful. But they stand a lot to lose if they don't mind their Ps and Qs. Many of them walk away sooner than later and the mess accumulates.

Are you still with me on the landfill analogy?

I'm getting sick and tired of the blame being thrown at the teachers and the support staff. When are people going to look at the administrators and higher-ups a little more closely and hold THEM accountable for the decisions made? It's not just the TEACHERS who have to jump through hoops set ablaze with fire each and every time. We all know how this affects the students, the main cause for the concern, but not many stop to consider the families of the teachers that poor management decisions affect.

Burning Ring of Fire

[To the Administrators and People in the Decision Making Position:] When you ask a teacher to jump through a hoop, you are also asking his/her class and students jump too. When you ask a teacher to jump through a hoop, you are also asking his/her family jump too. Do you consider the full range of consequences for all involved when you create these rules and mandates? In whose best interest is it really? Where are the measurable goals?

I find myself questioning this often. Like this landfill decomposition experiment, I wonder if we will watch some pieces break down into nothing while some just remain the same.

I'm Proud to be Married to a Teacher, but...
Since my husband is a Science Teacher in the state of AZ, the wonderful law known as 'No Child Gets Ahead' mandates that he has to take 12 credits of Life Sciences so he can teach 'integrated' science to 9th graders and be considered 'Highly Qualified.' This is the state of Arizona's interpretation of the law I might add. Never mind the fact that he is able to complete and satisfy the worksheet known as 'HOUSSE' handed down by the state. Never mind the fact that he has already passed a test they recommended he take (and pay for out of pocket) (with flying colors) that was supposed to have proven his 'Highly Qualified' status — and later was decided it did not. Never mind the fact that his transcripts list above and beyond what is needed in credits for a bachelors degree to be able to teach college preparatory physics to high school students. And, this mind you, is just for one of the bachelors degrees he holds – with honors, I might add. Never mind that he was hired first and foremost as a Physics Teacher and is now required to teach outside of his area of concentration.

Multiple Choice
  • Is this his fault? No.
  • Does he want to keep his job? Yes.
  • Is this a threat? We wonder.
  • Why is it so hard to find and keep good teachers, let alone Science Teachers? See above.
Even though he is good enough on paper and in black and white, pen and ink and number two pencil, it is not good enough for someone and I've lost track of who exactly. The school's CYA file, I believe.

Ok, so I'm not trying to brag about my husband's accomplishments, but I am proud of him and will shout if from the mountain tops. Someone has to. If I don't, who will?

I might also add that they don't even care to specify the courses he has to take. All they want are for the credits to appear on his official transcript. They don't care so long as he gets a C average and the courses are within the area of Life Sciences. Plus, he has to complete it within a set amount of time on top of teaching his normal course load full time. He's now grading homework on top of doing homework.

We're all for professional development to make sure all teachers are at the top of their game, but this is not helping anyone. It's satisfying some draconian mandate and that's all.

Where is the Return on Investment?
So why am I the one whining about this? I'm just the wife, right? Wrong. I'm the other half of this business venture. It's our bank account that the money has to come from to pay for the 12 credit courses he has to take. Yes, it comes out of OUR pockets, not the school or the state who requires it. That means a larger strain on the one income we are surviving on. Can it be reabsorbed by the umbrella of 'professional development?' Sure. Over time. But who knows what additional expenses will be required. We have no way of knowing for sure if this will be an ROI. There is no measurement in place in order to be able to answer that conclusively. What other occupations require you to spend money to better yourself and then turn around and tell you it's still not good enough?

If I didn't know better, I'd say that the teaching profession appears to be one of the biggest codependent relationships that is continuously exploited at everyone's cost and for no one's perceived benefit.

I also whine because this additional strain in work load not only means less father-son time, but it also means reduced wages for me. That can't be good. Since he's been taking these courses, currently 2 at a time, he isn't as available to help care for our son so I can leave the house more often and go make some money. That makes me a little cranky. I like a break once in a while and I like to make money while I'm on my break. Day care is so expensive that it just doesn't make sense for me to work full time especially for the peanut shells I was making when I did full time in the education services field. One of us doing it full time is bad enough!

On top of the assignments he brings home to grade, he now has his own assignments and labs. So, I chip in where I can getting supplies ready, counting beans, digging dirt, building a simulated landfill in a soda bottle. I can't wait till we get to grow some Sea Monkeys! Yeah, like we don't have better things to do.

All I can say, is just like a landfill, it's beginning to stink. We'll have to find some way to work through this together and find some better solutions to deal with the crap that keeps piling up on us. I know we will (be cliché) and rise above it. We will strive to be a part of the solution and not the problem. It will not be easy, but we can not let it bury and dissolve our passions.

I have hope that we can make change — the one that is the verb. Although, the noun would be really, really nice too!

Pass Me the Sunday with Sprinkles

Sunday Weigh-In Day
Not much to report. I've been a slacker. Haven't been too motivated with much of anything lately. I think it's hormonal. That's what I feel like blaming it on for now. Zits are annoying. Why couldn't I have gotten this out of the way in my teens like everyone else? I was such a nerd then (and now) anyhow so it's not like I would have missed out on anything additionally. I pissed God off at some point and now the zit on the side of my nostril is a reminder. Hubby jokes at me to put Windex on it. One of these days I just might get desperate and try that. Lovely. I've now blogged about zits. What is the world coming to? Current weight is 194 lbs. Measuring tape is still cringing in a corner somewhere. Another half pound crept back on. I think it hitched a ride in with the damn Cheesecake kisses that still taunt me inside the refrigerator door.

Hubby read blog. Hubby too afraid to hide chocolate from Wifey now. Hubby wise man.

The laundry, the unvacuumed floor, the dishes, they can all kiss my ass. PMS - pissed mommy snaps!
What's your vote for what PMS really stands for?

Friday, February 15, 2008

Laugh Till You Cry a Little

Have you ever seen something so funny that it made you laugh uncontrollably? Like, laugh so hard you couldn't breathe? We're talking seizure-esque here. Ever laughed so hard that tears streamed down your face? (probably from the lack of air in your lungs) I just have to share this blog post from someone else that has been making me laugh for over a week now. I even get a glimpse of it when I go to the page to link to it and I choke on my own spit. Ok, so before you click this, try to have an open mind and don't think me so sick and twisted for finding it so damn funny.

[edit]
I submitted this to

If you wanna see some other funny stuff, check out this blog.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Can't Get Enough of This:

I just love watching this video! Haven't seen it for a while and someone blogged it and now I have to too! Enjoy!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Valentines Day Marketing is Evil

Sunday Weigh-In Day
I love my husband. He is such a sweet guy, but he is not helping when it comes to losing weight. How do I tell him to stop bringing things into the house that throw me off my game? Do I blog about it and hope he reads it? Hmmm. Maybe.

Sweetie, I love you. But could you stop buying soda and candy for the next couple of months? If it's here in the house, I'm weak and I'll eat it. — Thanks, Love Wifey.

How about, if I lose 20 lbs., then you can spoil me and lavish me with chocolate. That would be cool.

I still think you're Super Hubby and you rock!

So here's the thing. Valentines Day marketing is pure evil. Why? Because men like my husband are drawn to the damn candy stands like moths to a flame because they know we can't turn down chocolate and it will make us happy. They know that if they come home with chocolate, they done good right? Um, yeah, maybe if their wife is Jessica Simpson. (don't they wish) (ok, I speak for myself.)

We can't complain because then they'll never buy us chocolate again, right? Plus we get that heavy breathing of "well, for Pete's sake woman, what WILL make you happy!??"

Then you end up like me, sitting here eating Hersheys Chocolate Kisses filled with cheesecake. Not just ANY old cheesecake either. We're talkin' New York Cheesecake. Yeah, my Hubby knows how to pick a good chocolate, huh. I'm a spoiled brat.



It's heavenly. Take my word for it. Don't buy any. They are sin wrapped in chocolate. Did I mention they are also filled with New York Cheesecake? Did I mention they are Limited Edition?

So now that I've made this dramatic introduction, on with the stats.

This morning (er, afternoon by the time I remembered to get on the scale.) I weighed 193.5 lbs. I gained 2 lbs. back. Big shocker there. I've been slacking off the last few days on the work out routine too but I have been busier and getting out of the house more, so that's a plus. So, I will just have to work harder this week. Much harder so I can reward myself with a cheesecake kiss.

Hubby, please hide the bag! Help!

That Reminds Me...

A friend of mine is getting ready to have a baby. She told me (emailed me) that she is terrified and excited all at the same time. Yep, that's about right. She also asked me what my labor and delivery was like. Simple question, not so simple answer. So, I started writing her back. I'm debating yet about what exactly I want to tell her. Should I try to keep it short and simple or should I continue the long letter I'm composing which chronicles all of the details?

I don't yet have a whole lot of experience being on the other side of the fence talking to pregnant women about what to expect. It's still kinda fresh for me yet. I'm still not 100 percent over being completely traumatized by the event. I can at least talk about it fondly and without breaking into a puddle of tears, but there are details I still find so horrifying that I'm not sure it would be a good thing to disclose to someone about to embark on the journey of labor and delivery.

What do I say to her? Does she really want to know the truth? Should I give her all the gory details about what it's like to have a Cesarean section? If I tell the truth, women will stop having sex and having babies and the human race will end right?

I guess I just have to trust that people will take certain bits of information and roll with it. I was pretty careful about the things I read before I gave birth. I love to google and research till my eyes bleed but I also read somewhere that you can give yourself a coronary if you're not careful. I learned that lesson when I first found out I was pregnant. I scared myself reading some things when I was looking up a certain pain I was experiencing and from then on I was really careful about which sources I used and what information I chose to read.

While in the midst of composing my letter, I was listening to some relaxing music. A steel guitar was playing and I was instantly taken back to that time of "the waiting" just before giving birth. At that time I remember I was soooooo ready to have the baby and not be pregnant anymore. My fingers and toes felt like sausages. It felt like I was wearing my baby. He was so large and taking up so much of my body that I felt like he was strapped onto me. I just wanted to hold him and meet him so badly. I was so tired and worn out from the massive nerve compression in my leg. Gestational Diabetes made me have to pee every 20 minutes and that was mighty annoying. Needless to say, I did not have an easy pregnancy.

Anyhow, for about a week straight, we sort of camped out in the living room with me laying on the couch ready to pop and watched the Firefly series while we waited for Godot. Yes, the WHOLE series. Every episode on DVD. I'm personally not really into sci-fi, but Hubby loves it. You would have to have seen it to know, but there was this theme music that would play and it had a steel guitar in it. I got sucked into watching it and almost looked forward to watching the plot develop. There was something soothing about the theme music and it got to be something that relaxed me while trying to nap. So now, every single time I hear a steel guitar, I think of Firefly which makes me think of waiting to give birth.

I wonder how it is for other women.
Do you have some memory trigger that makes you think about your pregnancy?
(leave me a comment)


There are certain moisturizing lotions that the smell reminds Hubby and I of the late nights of agony when he would have to massage my leg and back to keep the excruciating pain from making me lose my mind. I remember the pain in my leg being so bad that I wanted to saw it off with a dull nail file in the middle of the night. I still have some of moisturizing lotion left, but I now hesitate to use it because when I have, it reminds me of that uncomfortable time. It's not all bad memories, but mostly it was not a really great time. Hubby smells it and says "ah, smells like pregnancy" and he isn't saying that with a fondness in his tone of voice. So, I guess I'll save it for the next pregnancy if there is one and hope and pray it's different the next time around.

Everyone tells me that each pregnancy and each birthing experience is different. I have to believe in that or else we wouldn't keep the human race going. I have to believe that the next time won't be as bad as the first. I have to have faith that there is a reason the human mind blocks out these memories and represses all of the bad stuff for you. I still remember a lot, but I know I remember it very differently. I think Hubby remembers things more clearly but it's just something we don't discuss much. I know it is still too traumatic for him at times. I don't know that men have that "invasion of the memory snatchers" program that runs on their brains when it comes to childbirth. I feel bad for them in a way.

Sometimes I am tempted to blog about my labor and delivery experience. I just might some day so I have some permanent journal of it just for myself. Maybe when I'm done with my letter to my mother-to-be friend, I'll some how incorporate it into a post. Maybe it will be the therapy I need to resolve some issues I still harbor about the experience.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Political Pop Corn

Politics. It's all the buzz. It's all the rage. It's like pop corn. It's slick with butter and pieces are flying in different directions yet some are sticking together in a clump. Who's brand will be the fluffiest? All the cool kids are blogging about it. Well, I have something to say. WTF! is what I have to say. I'll be straight up. I have nothing to hide. It used to be that discussing who you vote for was like discussing your salary. It's just not something you did.

Times change.

I voted for Obama in the primary here in AZ. There I said it. And no, I'm also not a trader to my gender. I'd like to share with you a comment I recently put on Mrs. Flinger's blog just because it really sums up how I feel about politics right now.
"..Politics to me are like a Far Side cartoon: “blah blah Ginger. blah blah blah blah Ginger.” I try so hard to pay attention and learn what I can and then get confused some more. The answers all depend on who you ask too. In the end, I just follow all the other lemmings, go fill in the little oval for the person who convinces me they will do the best job based on who has the best speech writers. And hair dresser. Then I grab the handles of the hand basket and hang on. I wish I weren’t so cynical, but cheese-n-rice, it’s only February! A lot could happen from now till then.

I think RuPaul should run for pres and that would fix everything. Terrorists would take one look at that and say “oh HELL no” and leave us the frig alone so we can concentrate on getting better Botox injections for all Americans. God helps those who help themselves, right?..."
My point is that I'm growing very tired of all the nitpicking about skin color and gender and whether or not it matters. What matters to me are the same things that matter to most people and the bottom line is who is the best person for the job. I'm not confident that any politician will do what they say they are going to do once they do get into office and in the end, it's not the President who has the final say anyhow. It's all a game of political football and I didn't even watch the Super Bowl this year. Not even for the commercials. That should tell you how much I care for football. (Except when in reference to the below comment.)

What is really pissing me off right now is the candidates' stances on education. Specifically No Child Left Behind — or how teachers around here, like my husband, refer to it more commonly as No Child Gets Ahead. I just don't have a lot of faith in their uses of the word 'reform.' Why can't they just commit to getting rid of the damn thing?

No Child Left Behind: The Football Version
Author Unknown*

1. All teams must make the state playoffs, and all will win the championship. If a team does not win the championship, they will be on probation until they are the champions, and coaches will be held accountable.

2. All kids will be expected to have the same football skills at the same time and in the same conditions. No exceptions will be made for interest in football, a desire to perform athletically, or genetic abilities or disabilities. ALL KIDS WILL PLAY FOOTBALL AT A PROFICIENT LEVEL

3. Talented players will be asked to work out on their own without instruction. This is because the coaches will be using all their instructional time with the athletes who aren't interested in football, have limited athletic ability, or whose parents don't like football.

4. Games will be played year round, but statistics will only be kept in the 4th, 8th, and 11th games.

5. This will create a New Age of sports where every school is expected to have the same level of talent and all teams will reach the same minimal goals.
If no child gets ahead, then no child will be left behind.
No one seems to know the source of this written work, but if you know differently, please let me know so I can cite it properly. This has been emailed to me several times now and I've seen it on the web in other blogs, so couldn't hurt to post it in mine as well.*

At the very least I can say Obama has a more consistent and more attractively laid out plan (at least on his website) of how he will tackle NCLB. Sure, he doesn't say he'll get rid of it, but he does spell out how he plans to revise it which, for the time being, at least, looks good in RGB.

Billary on the other hand, when I visit here website, I feel my intelligence is a little insulted when I go to check it out. Why? Do they think I won't notice subtle design changes and implementations? Editing? I'm not stupid.

A couple of weeks ago, I checked out her website along side of Obama's and compared where they said, or — excuse me — their web designers said, they stand on education issues. After comparing the sites, Obama's was easier to comprehend whereas Clinton's looked like it wasn't as well thought out while it dismissed the topic of NCLB as just a mistake the Bush Administration made and she was going to reform it, blah blah blah - White House-speak. I could have sworn the text looks different today than it did just a week ago. Maybe I'm wrong, but I thought there was more to it than what is there now.

When you go to her site now, it simply says she will "...End the unfunded mandate known as No Child Left Behind." That's it? That's your plan? I just don't trust that for some reason. It just feels like to me she's stretching her positions to make it so it's what people want to hear. All politicians do this, but some just seem more sincere than others. I'm not a Republican so I wouldn't vote for McCain or Huckabee, but at least they seem sincere.

There is also some interesting controversy floating around out there that has to do with her actual position on education "reauthorization." I don't like that word "reauthorization," do you? It's one thing to say you'll get rid of something. It's one thing to say you think something is broken and list how you plan to fix it. It's something else — I don't know what — to say you will "reauthorize" something.

It's gobbledygook to me.

Do take a read on the links directed from this blog post so you can see what I saw.

"Improve teacher training." To me, that still translates into "let's keep blaming the teachers for everything and call it lack of training." Nice.

Just as a side note, I wonder if her website designers have read what was said in the New York Times about Obama being a Mac and Clinton a PC. I don't take it that seriously, but I do find it amusing and tend to agree with Obama's site being more Mac-esque and more appealing to me personally. I also think his communication resonates with a younger crowd.

I hate to be so critical of Hillary, but I just don't like being led by fear and finger wagging. I just don't find her all that inspiring. I wish I did, but I just don't. She reminds me of former female bosses I've had who use their authority to belittle you. That's just how I feel. I realize some women feel they need to be a little bitchy to rise to the top. It shouldn't be this way, but it is in some respects.

Gender and race are really not important to me when it comes to the right person for the job, but how someone represents themselves is and that means all of their mainstream media and communications as well. Sincerity has a lot to do with it also.

Many others have been judged for far more on much less, but these are complicated times in which we live and so to the gallows they will go.

Like popcorn, fluffy is as fluffy does.

Call Off the Adoption

Ok, so I'm no longer putting my kid up for adoption. The laptop booted up and has been – knock wood – working fine since this morning. It survived having diluted apple juice spilled across part of the keyboard and speaker and I'm happily typing from my responsive keyboard once again. Leaving it in tent position all night with the battery removed was good joo joo evidently. The return key feels slightly sticky, but I'll live. I have yet to test out the optical drive, but I have faith that it will be alright. I have a feeling that when the internal temp rises as I do higher processor grinding tasks, the keys might get a little stickier. It's just a theory and only time and lots of banging the keys will tell. Maybe it will turn into crunchy granola after a while.

Last night I used Hubby's G4 to look up the servicing manual for a MacBook Pro. I also looked at lots of pictures of the machine taken apart. There is no way in hell I'm ever going to attempt taking this thing apart. Unless I win the lottery that I never play, then maybe. Browsing through all of the photos of the assembly parts made me appreciate this little machine even more as well as the steep price tag. It also makes me a little more paranoid and on even more of a mission to toddler-proof it more. I think I'm going to buy one of those keyboard condoms for it sometime soon.

I wonder if they make them ribbed for my pleasure?

Thursday, February 7, 2008

It's a Dark Day for TheMacMommy

Well, the days has come. They day I knew would probably come and even tried so hard to guard against. I am writing this post on my good 'ol noisy G4 that I have since bestowed upon Hubby. Why? The MacBook Pro is drying out upside down, laying on my pillow. Yes, Lucian decided that the laptop was thirsty and so he gave it a drink of some diluted apple juice.

Sigh.

I watch as the clock ticks by till the time when I can boot the laptop back up and hope and pray I hear that musical chime of the startup. It happened at 1:00 pm this afternoon, so it will be around that time tomorrow afternoon before I attempt to put the battery back in it and press the power button.

I will now truly live up to my moniker of The MacMommy because I feel like I am literally "Mommying" my MBP, letting it lay on my pillow while it weeps diluted apple juice tears, letting it rest and hoping it gets better and recovers. I go in every now and then and touch it and look at it and speak softly to it and kiss it. Ok, just kidding about the kissing part.

It is painful to type on my old keyboard on the G4 right now because I am really noticing the speed gap in processing power from this G4 to the MBP. The letters seems to lag behind the cursor as I type. Bleh. I don't know how Hubby puts up with this, but I suppose it's better than the blueberry iMac he did have which is now the brain of Lucian's tangerine iMac in his room. Sorry boys, Mamma's got the need for speed!

What pisses me off is I KNEW this would happen eventually and there isn't much of a way to prevent it save being extremely careful...yeah, yeah, yeah, don't keep liquids near the damn thing...oh just bite me! I have a toddler for crying out loud. I don't know what padded cell those people live in but come to my house and design a machine that is toddler proofed and you'll get my seal of approval. Sony or whoever makes one of those what do they call it, a tough book or something like that. Well, if it ran OS X and was as powerful as a Mac, I would buy one but hey, the Mac Book Pro is everything I need to be happy and make some ROI. If only it weren't so damn perty and more durable.

Well, we will find out just how durable this thing is after tomorrow. We'll see if it survives yet another toddler attack we can add to the list. Prior attacks include: a 30 lb. toddler standing on it, Lucian wiping his boogers on it, being dropped onto carpet, yanking on the screen, banging on the keys, scratches, slamming the screen shut while smiling and running away saying Bye Bye, wiping banana sludge on it, yanking the power cord out of it repeatedly (thank God for Mag-safe) and sliding it under the sofa to hide it only for someone to sit on the sofa and drill a part of the sofa frame into the lid. Yeah, that produced a nice looking ding on the lid.

All I can say is that the thing looks loved, let me tell ya. Maybe I'll take some pictures of it some time.

Oh yeah, about that. Lucian also broke the digital camera yesterday. He is on a roll. Luckily, after much sweating and teeth grinding and complaining to Hubby about it, finally I stuck my fingernail in the edge of the shutter and tried seeing if perhaps a grain of dirt got in it and thankfully something came loose and the shutter finally closed and now the camera works again.

Well, Hubby and Dr. Destructor are now hangin with me in the computer lounge a.k.a the home office and it's just a matter of time before he finds something else to feed or play with or otherwise break in which case he will be put up for adoption.

Anyone want a really cute 30 lb. toddler? He comes with computer hacking skills. Leave a comment if you want me to drop him off.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Wednesday's Walk



Contributions to Kid-kind
Last Wednesday, I took Lucian to the U of A to participate in a Tweety Language Development Lab study. Lucian participated in the 19 and 20 months study. There is also a Baby Pictures link.

He did really well in the study. I love participating in their studies because I think it's so important that they do the work they do to further the education and understanding of issues like autism, learning disabilities, and speech development. It's just one small way I feel like we can contribute to society and it brings me peace knowing we might be helping in some small way.

Primal Defense Mechanism
After our time at the lab, since we were so close, we headed over to a near-by playground. I happen to spot it near 4th Avenue (where we were headed anyhow) and saw some brightly colored and modern-looking playground stuff. Plus there looked to be a mother and daughter playing at the swings, so I thought maybe I might feel safer with another parent around.

So, I unloaded him and got him in the stroller along with the diaper bag and we headed for the area where the other kid and Mom were hanging out. Once I got there, I couldn't really tell if it was the girl's Mom or her babysitter, but it didn't matter, it was company.

I have to say that this quickly turned into an unpleasant experience. Long story short, the lady and her kid were done playing and decided to leave. Then there were too many homeless people hanging around and some icky lookin guy decided he was going to walk his dog near my stroller and diaper bag. I got all panic-stricken and had to rush over to the stroller and get the diaper bag out for fear he would somehow run off with it right there in broad day light. The guy probably got offended, but truthfully, I don't give a shit. In the midst of going over to the diaper bag, which was about 10 feet away, I had to leave Lucian unattended to for 30 seconds in which time he took a spill on the climbing thing he was on and then I felt horrible about it. I have decided that am just way too paranoid to be at a playground by myself.

Have you even watched birds while they peck at crumbs on the ground? You know how they twitch and jerk their heads around because their eyes are on the sides of their heads and they are constantly fending off predators or looking for food? You know how if you try to go up to a bird, they freak out and fly away? Well, that's how I felt at the play ground. I was all twitchy and I kept turning my head this way and that because I thought someone was coming near us. I was making myself dizzy with how much I was looking around constantly on the defense of my child. I swear, it's like this primal defense mechanism kicks in. I truly consider myself to be a very kind and caring and compassionate person. I don't like violence and I really don't stand for it, but I swear, something just comes over me now that I've never experienced before. I get this feeling that if ever I were in some kind of confrontation with someone, like a crazy person at a playground, and they were after my kid, I would seriously do some damage to a person in defense of my child if I felt they were trying to harm him. I just think there is something about motherhood, you get these chemicals in your body you didn't have there before and your child becomes so precious to you that you feel like an angry cougar ready to pounce. I don't like this feeling but yet, somehow, it just seems normal in the grand scheme of things kind of like watching the National Geographic or something like that.

I just HATE this feeling of helplessness when it comes to taking my kid to the park to play. Public parks and playgrounds should be safe places for moms and kids, but they just aren't. They are havens for weirdos. I hate being there alone and no matter how nice and clean the park looks, there are always questionable people hanging around and it makes me so nervous. I just won't go anymore unless Hubby is with me or a group of other mothers and kids. I need to find me one of those play date group things. I am so inexperienced when it comes to hanging with other mothers and little kids. I've done it a few times and I always feel like a goof. I only have a couple of other mommy friends that I've hung with comfortably, but they all work FT. I need to find some SAHM friends to hang out with. I so could have called this one Mom that has offered to meet me, but did I have her phone number with me at the time, nope. (Sorry Stacy) I'd like to think I'm more organized than that but I guess I'm not. I did plug her number in my cell phone finally, so maybe this week I will give her a call. I have no idea why I have such a problem doing this. Normally, I am so outgoing and can make a friend in the grocery store. I don't get me sometimes. There is always some excuse for not getting out and then when the mood strikes me, it rains. (Hint: it doesn't rain a lot in Tucson) When I finally DO get out, then it dawns on me that I could have planned a play date! Duh!

Head Out to the Hippie District
So, after the whole playground mental disaster, we made like a baby and headed out, got back in the car and drove to Fourth Avenue. I like to call Fourth Avenue The Hippie District. If you've even been there, you would know why. I wish I had some pics to share of it because it's a very interesting looking place. Lots of interestingly decorated building and murals on the sides. It is not uncommon to see lots of creative fashion sense, piercings of all kinds, tattoos and college kids roaming around. Probably because you can buy it all in the little shoppes that sell their wares on the strip. There are a couple of bars, tattoo and piercing parlors and retro clothing shoppes. Sometimes there are 'live' musicians playing on the sidewalk. Just about every store you pass smells like they are covering up the smell of pot with the smell of incense. There are several head shops on the strip. Don't ask me how I know that, just take my word for it. I'm not THAT liberal (anymore) but I like to window shop, ok. If you hear a bong percolating in the background, it's certainly not mine, but there is a hookah lounge that looks interesting. There is even a place to buy hydroponic herbs. Yeah, and Dave's not home either, wink wink. Herbs, riiiiiiight.....next to the oregano.....wow, this spaghetti is reeeeely good, what's in this stuff?

Herbs. Just lots of herbs.

I really like Fourth Avenue because it's the kind of place where I can walk and let my hair down – all the way down, since it's now past my waist. I normally keep it up in a pony tail because I can't think when it's down, but strolling around The Hippie District, it feels good to let it down and hang out in the sunshine. It's the kind of place where you could walk around in shorts without having clean shaven legs and no one would bat a fake pink eyelash at you. I keep my hairy legs covered though, thankyouverymuch. Even I don't want to look at that in the reflection of some glass door. Bleh.

I really enjoy taking Lucian for a walk in the stroller up and down Fourth Avenue because the sidewalks are nice and even for the most part and just about every cross section has the scalloped curbs so I can easily navigate the stroller up and down. It is a very bike- and people-friendly place for walking. Lots of stuff to see and smell. (Incense, lots of incense...I think.) The people-watching aspect is always very interesting as well. So, we had a good time. Well, actually Lucian napped most of the time laying down in his stroller, so I had a good time walking and getting some much needed exercise and sunshine. It was a good place and opportunity to clear my mind and feel so much more relaxed than the trauma I had experienced at the park. (Perhaps smelling all that incense had something to do with it.)

I guess I need to find some big hippie park where they have a big hookah in the middle of the merry go round and maybe I wouldn't be so tense and other people would feel safe with this old cougar. Grrrrr!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Tuesdays with Melissa

Last Tuesday evening, I began teaching my weekly adult technology class at the local high school. It's a course called "OS X Tips and Tricks." I am very pleased to report that I have 11, count em' – eleven students enrolled in my course. I am thrilled about it! Four of the students are 'repeat offenders' - ha ha ha - who took my course last Spring as well. The first night I opened with a meet and greet and Q and A session. Worked out well to just address questions and get to know the people since we couldn't log into the computers anyhow. Thankfully, they fixed it for tonight's class. It always makes me nervous dealing with the school's computer lab and no available tech support. I'm glad I finally have a laptop so I can at least have something to show for if I get hosed by the lab's ability to function.

It is extremely difficult to conduct a class for the public in a school environment. There are so many blocks and speed bumps with which to contend. I'm not really complaining, because I used to be a Site Tech and I know what it's like and how hard it is to make everyone happy. I prided myself on making my site a technology fortress, but that was cause for protecting the little students from the harms of technology.

Of course, I also ran a tight ship just as well as to keep the kids from intentionally and "accidentally" screwing things up beyond repair. I hope I remember to tell the story some day about the kid who will go down in Site Tech History as the "what I call my ass" kid. Makes me giggle just thinking about it. I have to find some way to post about it without disclosing anything too personal just in case his mother or someone in-the-know ever reads this blog. Ah, memories. I still have his apology letter, among others. I saved apology letters I've received from kids just in case they become famous one day so I can ebay them for millions. Hey! It could happen!

It's just a totally different ball game when it comes to working with adults and in the public sector. There is no amount of 'splaining I could do to make anyone comprehend the challenges of this task, but I simply just have to work with what I have and do what I feel I do best, which is to be creative.

I sort of warned them of these conflicts when it comes to using a school lab and they seemed to understand so that makes me relax a little more. We discussed some of the burning questions they had about learning to use and understand the Mac better and they all turned in a written set of topics that they would like to explore. I am super excited that 2 of them are PC switchers. This will be fun.

I told myself that I wasn't going to put a lot of effort into creating detailed lesson plans, but I lied. I was up till 5:30 the other morning working on them – again. I just can't help myself. I just enjoy it too much. It makes me feel so alive sharing knowledge with others. I love showing people how to do something and watch the light bulb go off. It just brings me joy. I guess it also helps me understand why my husband does what he does day in and day out. I still can't relate to dealing with teenagers, but give me little kids and older people and I love to work with them.

I have so many ideas bouncing around in my head when it comes to the lesson plans I'm developing for this class. One of my biggest fears is that there will be something I will forget to show them and I'll regret it. But, I have faith in myself that I'll cover the things I want to cover. That's why I'm working so hard on putting together an outline to keep me focused and serve as a check list. I'm having a good time developing it even if it means losing a little sleep (which I'm not getting anyhow) or leaving the laundry go another day.

Tonight's class started out disorganized despite my efforts to be most organized. I even made myself a check list before I left the house. I did get to check off most the the things, so that was cool. The biggest problem tonight was dealing with the lab equipment. It took for-eh-ver to get the damn printer to play nicely. It kept jamming on me and running out of paper. I was trying to print out and hand out to them my outline I worked so hard on so they would have something to reference. I knew they were going to ask a question about something I had already spelled out on the outline and with only an hour and a half, it's just not enough time to cram everything in so that's why I supplement with other information they can review.

Hopefully, now that they each have a copy of the course outline in progress, it will help so they have a better idea of what to expect. Once the document is a little more refined, maybe I'll post it for download on my website for others to review. BTW, the pic in the beginning is a link, or should be, to what looks like a decent Mac basics blog. I haven't had time to check the whole thing out yet, but from what I've seen so far, looks pretty cool.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Is It Sunday Already?

Distraction 101
Well, I just got done spending some time reading some of my favorite blogs and then some others and then some others. I swear, this can not be good for people with ADHD. I'm beginning to wonder if I have it. I can not focus on one single thing at a time it seems. I'm wondering just how far I'll get into writing this post before I get interrupted and go do something else. Right now I'm resisting the urge to put in some cool text link to something else, but that would just make the problem worse for anyone who has the same problem as me who reads blogs. [edit: urge too strong, must do some linky linky]

I wish I could be a cool and hip blogger like some of these other sites I see out there on the Wor-eld Wiiiiide Web. Again, resisting the urge to plug other sites. Stay focused....read MY blog dammit! Comment on MY blog for once. Jeesh! How do people get so many comments? I don't have any prizies to give out, no give-aways, no crack here, sorry. But if you do happen to read me and would like to leave a comment, it would really put a smile on my face.

Sometimes I wonder if I'll keep this blogging thing up. Sometimes it reminds me of when I was a kid in school and how I wasn't popular and didn't wear the right clothes. One of these days maybe I will take a look at the code for my blog layout again, but right now it's a struggle to even go to the bathroom by myself let alone get a shower in until Hubby comes home. There is this little person, Dr. Destructo, following me everywhere who is now fascinated with the toilette and what goes on in the bathroom. It was cute but now it's kind of annoying. I feel a little helpless about the whole potty training thing we're about to embark on since I don't have the right equipment and all.

If I get the time to tweak my blog then maybe I'd rather tweeze my eyebrows instead? I need to cut a swath on my forehead soon. We'll see. In the meantime, I have to remind myself that this is something I do for me. I have to wonder how many bloggers blog for themselves and how many do it sheerly because they want the notoriety. (I can tell you I do it just to type words that I don't really know how to spell so I can use the cool two-finger tap on my trackpad that brings up the spell check list and tells you how that word is supposed to be spelled. Thanks! Now I know how to spell notoriety!) I guess there are many reasons and the beauty of it all is that they are all right no matter how you slice it, code it, source it, link it, feed it, etc.

Sunday Weigh-In Day
Ok, ok, time to get down to the business of this post. Today is Sunday Weigh-In Day. [Well actually, it's now TUESDAY and I'm trying to get caught up from all the blogging I started to do on Sunday. I did! I really did start this post on Sunday!]

I am happy to report that my digital scale is responding nicely to the new 9v battery I put into it and it now reports that I weigh 191.5 lbs. So that means, since my 1st post on this topic I have lost 3.5 lbs! Wahoo! I'll take it.

I could get up off my fat ass right now and go get my measuring tape and measure myself, but I've decided that I should stick to staying focused on finishing this post and not distracting myself right now. Besides, I don't think that 3.5 lbs is going to make much of a difference in measurements. When I get up to 5 lbs. lost then I think maybe we'll take a look and see.

Whew, ok. Well, that feels good to report that this week. I was really worried that I wouldn't have lost any weight since I got struck with a flu bug or cold last week. I was in no mood to exercise and then right after I started to feel better, it was 'that' time of the, well you know. Oops, I'm sorry, TMI? Too bad, my blog, my rules!

But, I must say, despite feeling crampy and lethargic, I did manage to get a good walk in on Wednesday to replace my normal dance-around-my-living-room-like-a-crazy-person-every-other-day-regimen. In fact, since (last) Tuesday, we've had a really really great week so far. (The weekend and Monday I was laying low and feelin lowly while covered in kleenex – the lotion kind that keep your nose from getting raw. Thanks to Super Hubby for getting them for me and taking such good care of me!

Well, I have more to post about, really I do! But, I'm going to end here for this one and break it up a bit and hopefully get the rest out in the next day or two.

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