Thursday, December 28, 2006

Look at me now!

I overheard my boss today saying that she wasn't encouraged by the upcoming first round of interviews to find my replacement because "We haven't gotten a resume for Wonder Woman yet." Yay for me!


P.S. Does anybody know where I parked my invisible jet? I can't seem to find it...

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Hi-freaking-larious

I had to share this website with you all because, when I stumbled across it last week, I darn near wet my pants looking at it. It's called the Museum of Kitschy Stitches and it features of vintage outfits, etc, that you can knit for yourself. Unfortunately, I don't think they publish the instructions, just the hilariously funny photos from the books, such as this one. And no, it isn't a head-shot for a failed tryout from Nacho Libre.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

My excuses...(and a Merry Christmas, too)

It has been a few days since I last wrote and I have a very good reason.

Wedendsday 12/20: trip to the hospital for a routine fluoroscopy. Routine or not, it still kind of sucked and ate up most of the day. I missed the office Christmas pot-luck too. Bah...

Thursday 12/21: Oral surgery. Thanks to the fantastic sedatives prescribed by the surgeon, I don’t remember any of this entire day except determining with Owen that Sam should see the doctor again because of some troubling, possible ear infection behavior. I was to learn that I was, indeed, correct and that Sam currently has bilateral ear infections. This brings the total ear infections since September to 6 (and don’t forget the Strep, Bronchitis and Pink Eye) and we now have to take Sam to see an ENT. Word on the street is that he may be a candidate for ear tubes. While I hate this for him, I would rather that than the constant ear infections we now struggle with.

Friday 12/22: To the U.P. for Christmas. There is no internet at the cabin and we were extremely busy hanging curling ribbon and Christmas bulbs from my mom’s eggbeater collection which hangs from the rafters. Also had to decorate all the antlers with garland.

Saturday 12/23: Christmas #1 with my family. Much hustle and bustle beginning way to early and going way too late. Thanks to everybody for all the fantastic gifts! They included a set of stainless silverware (they all match now!) and a new Kone (I think that’s how you spell it) that allows me to say to Sam: “No, sweetie, you can’t go into the kitchen until I Kone up the cereal you daddy spilled this morning.” Face it, you’re jealous. I asked for a dust buster because I thought I would be more likely to vacuum if I didn’t have to haul out the big one every time. I also got all the good period dramas so, if you feel like a little Jane Austin love-fest, come to my house!

Sunday 12/24: Christmas #2 with Owen’s family. Again, more thanks for more fantastic loot! Included: a family-sized George Foreman Grill and a VCR/DVD burner. This is too cool as we have been using a pencil-box sized DVD player I got free from Quill and have been afraid would die any minute. Also, now I can watch DVDs in bed, which I have not been able to do for almost 3 years. It’s the best when you’re sick, which I seem to be all the time.

Monday 12/25: Christmas morning brings with it a pile of goodies from Santa to Sam. Sam was actually very excited and played with all his new toys as long as could be expected when he hadn’t napped in 3 days. Had Cajun food for lunch and then Chinese for dinner. Now that’s something! All in all it was a low key day that we were all very ready for.

Tuesday (today): Went to the doctor to have strange rash examined that had appeared on Saturday. After looking for lesions in my mouth to make sure I don’t have Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (OMG – disgusting!), he determined that it is an Amoxicillin allergic rash and I now have one more thing to add to my list of drug allergies, almost all of which were discovered this year. The list also includes: morphine, codeine and whatever the hell they put in my drip after my surgery that kept my blood pressure so low that I passed out when I got out of bed. I am thinking I better find out the name of that one.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Comments?

After posting this comment to Owen's blog this evening, I decided to post it here as well because, actually, I had been thinking about writing this entry all day. However, our accounting software decided to go bat-shit and I didn't have time. I was an hour late leaving work and then, I forgot about it until I read Owen's blog.

As I pointed out to Owen at [his company] party, the perfect example of the difference between his party and mine were that, while his party featured a large ice sculpture of the company logo that undoubtedly cost several hundred dollars, at our party, we didn't even have ICE...no kidding. We drank semi-warm pop.

Also, they were very proud that the company of 60+ employyes had sponsored two, count them TWO local foster children for Christmas. I was nonplussed. We've had retired copules sponsor entire families with 3 or 4 children at our office, buying them not only necessities like socks, underwear and food, but luxuries, like toys, books, games and a new 30" TV.

It just goes to show you that, while there are indeed instances of ostentatious and grossly self-indulgent overspending, there are also people who are so generous it will make you cry at how beautiful human kindness can be.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

tidbits

Scariest recent nightmare: being attacked by Hannibal Lechter and, in self defense, beating him with a rickety aluminum rolling pin. (Recently, I have been taking Ambien for insomnia. That stuff causes some WIERD dreams.) Tied for second place: the accountant at my office marrying Sam's godfather in a swimming pool and then flying off in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang for a honeymoon.

Best movie I've seen recently: The Holiday. If you have ovaries. GO SEE IT. Though I had never been much of a fan, Jude Law is beautiful and Jack Black is surprisingly not irritating. Eli Wallach makes a surprising and charming subplot and Kate Winslet is her usual fantastic self. On the downside, Cameron Diaz displays the acting ability of an awkward high school cheerleader. Her performance not withstanding, the movie was great and I loved it. Will definitely have to add it to my collection.

Movie quote of the day: "You have to be the leading lady in your own life..." Kate Winslet as Iris in The Holiday

Worst doctor experience in recent history: Yesterday. It resulted in no fewer than 7 needle punctures in my abdomen, a fainting spell and an appointment to go to the radiology department of the hospital later this week. Ugh. Though considerably discouraged at the moment, I am actually in good health.

Best Christmas pastime: Wrapping presents. I love it. So if you want help with yours, just give me a call and I would be happy to come help. The downside is no ribbon this year. All gifts must be transported to the U.P. and ribbons/bows will get squished. So, there will be no ribbons or bows as they are also superfluous and there will not be much time to add them once we have arrived in God's Country and I am not much for the adhesive bows. Come to think of it, I think I will throw in some curling ribbon anyway. I just can't let go...

Childhood illness(es) of the week: Pinkeye and bronchitis. That's right...both of them. That brings Sam's tally for the last 4 months to: 3 ear infections, strep throat, bronchitis and pinkeye. My tally is up to: Acute sinusitis (resulting in a doctor's note to stay home from work for 2 days), an upper respiratory infection, 2 ear infections and noteworthy complications following a semi-major surgery that resulted in an extra day at the hospital. I'm not sure who's winning. It's one of those "even when you win you lose" scenarios.

Bright spot: Sam sat on Santa's lap on Sunday. He fell asleep as we waited in line and woke up in Santa's lap, staring at him. As I expected, he was not at all afraid. Merely gave him the once-over and then went back to sleep. I didn't expect he would have that trauma other kids have because he is so outgoing and isn't afraid of anybody. Plus, Grampy looks a lot like Santa and he loves Grampy. My only surprise is that he didn't pull on Santa's beard.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Massacre at Bethlehem

A Godzilla-baby has decimated the manger scene in the peaceful town of Bethlehem. However, if you look closely you can see that the Baby Jesus has survived the attack and is being lovingly tended by a sheep as the camel and donkey look on protectively.

Massacres occurring daily throughout the Christmas season. Tickets will be sold at the door on a first come, first serve basis.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

An incredibly sad truth...

We received a call at my office today from a woman who was looking for some help. Her story broke my heart, and has put a lump in my throat that I cannot easily swallow away.

She is living in a motel room with her three children, girls, ages 1, 2 and 3. During the day, they go with her to the daycare where she works. She also works at a restaurant in the evenings. I have no idea who keeps the children then. She called us because the children have no coats, and it is 13 degrees out today. She has run out of diapers. For dinner, her children eat cold ravioli from a can and, sometimes, the leftovers she brings home from the restaurant at night. Sometimes she also buys them ramen noodles, though I don’t know how they cook them. The children are under-sized and malnourished.

The family cannot be “adopted” for Christmas because they have no home, and not even a car, to hold any gifts. They cannot receive any fresh fruits, veggies or meats from the food pantry because they have no place to keep them. Even if she had the money, she could not rent out an apartment because she can’t move further than walking distance from her two jobs.

The next time you think you have it hard, please remember this woman, and remember how lucky you really are. It’s the holiday season and, if you are in any position to share any of what you have with others, I strongly urge you to. This woman’s story is not as unique as we would wish it was, and her family’s struggles will continue long after we put away our Christmas trees for the year.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The beginning of the longest day ever...

When I got to work this morning at 8 a.m. (the time we officially open) I had no fewer than 6 voice mails waiting for me. Sometimes my boss likes to come in at 6 and start leaving me messages. You think I'm joking. And, yes, she really does start every single message like this. Here are a few:

"Hey Sarah, it's (my boss). Hey Sarah, I'm noticing the sign isn't in from outside yet and now the snow is here. I thought I asked you to bring it in. Now it's going to be a pain for you, I guess, huh?"

"Hey, Sarah, it's
(my boss). Hey Sarah, I'm looking at this report and it says the hay bales were delivered last weekend. Will you go out and check and make sure they actually got delivered?" (Me: looking at them out the window as I listen to the message.)

"Hey, Sarah, it's
(my boss). Hey Sarah, I put a letter in your box, will you please proofread it?" The unspoken part of the message: "So we can officially ignore all your grammar, punctuation and organization suggestions."

This is the best:

"
Hey, Sarah, it's (my boss). Hey Sarah, I'm looking at and there is a bunch of information added to the bottom that doesn't really make sense to me. Why did you put it here? I just don't get it. And it doesn't look like it's updated, either."

My verbal response:

"Hi. Yeah...I put that stuff there because you asked me to last year. And no, it isn't updated because I only print that report once a year. I don't print a new one every month because then I would have to go in and write in all the information for the previous months again. The updates won't show up until next year when I print the new one."

My physical response: Poking my eyes out with pencils.

Remind me why I was so sad to leave again?

Thursday, November 30, 2006

The end is nigh...

Yesterday, I quit my job. I didn’t have a fit and start to scream and throw things (as I dreamed I did over the weekend). I gave my boss a dignified letter explaining that I would be leaving in the end of January to do my student teaching. And, to my amazement, my feelings after making this disclosure were completely unexpected. Of course, I expected to feel better, having finally gotten it over and done with. And to some extent, I did. But what surprised me, overwhelmingly, was the feeling of complete and utter depression and the desire to just go home and lie in bed and cry.

This made absolutely no sense to me. As some of my more long-term readers may remember, I frequently hate this job. I don’t always hate it. Some days I feel so good about what little I am able to do. And some days I am inspired by the selflessness and generosity that working here allows me to see in other people. But more often than that, sadly, I am riddled with hatred for the mundanely stupid things I must do (like change light bulbs and empty the recycling), for my micro-managing paperwork-Nazi of a boss and her/our raging Hun of a supervisor, for the way it makes me see the world and how people sometimes treat each other, for the ridiculous circus that fund-raising and donations are. I have told myself for months that I just had to hang on a little while longer and that I would soon be done with this frustrating place.

And now that the end is in sight, I just want to cry. Why?? It just doesn’t make sense. I’ve hated this job and despaired that I’d never survive until student teaching with my sanity intact. The more I think about it, the more I wonder if it’s because in losing my job (or, more accurately, quitting) I am losing a little bit of how I see myself. For 2 ½ years, the person I see myself as and who I think others see me as, has been tied into this notion that I am working in a position of support for the frontlines of social change. Sure, I hated a lot of it, but change is hard, right? I am learning things and seeing things firsthand that most people will never see or learn. I guess in some ways it made me feel special to be there to lend comfort and support to survivors (if only over the phone) or to help haul donations in and out. It has given me a sense of contributing to making the world better, if only for one or two people on occasion.

And I suppose, to some extent I was fooling myself. I spent the majority of most days arguing with contractors, getting the vacuum fixed again, fighting with our house account holders at local grocery stores over the 19 cents sales tax we were inadvertently charged, getting yelled at by the secretary, trying to outsmart computers and think ahead of our computer users and/or politely explaining to angry donors why it isn’t financially responsible for a nonprofit to drive an hour away to pick up a donated mattress set (and lose money in the process) that is, in all likelihood, hollowed out and covered with pee stains and, for which, I should instead be expressing unparalleled gratitude and promising to personally come clean the donor’s entire bathroom with a toothbrush. I do know one thing, though. In our state’s current economy, I am terrified of the prospect of quitting a decent-paying job without having another one lined up. It’s going to be hard enough for us to be living on one income for 14 weeks but it will be even worse if it takes me another month or two to find another job, especially one that pays this well.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

I swear we do actually feed him...

Sam is on the move! He isn’t exactly upwardly mobile (he’s still too young to walk) but he is definitely horizontally mobile. He doesn’t crawl, exactly. He does what I like to call the “wounded army crawl” meaning that he pulls himself forward with one arm while dragging the other limply along and kicking a lot with his feet. Though he started out rather slow, he has now picked up the pace and can cross a small to medium-sized room in under a minute. He gets into everything. This has lead to me surreptitiously filling a small basket with his toys and putting it in the middle if the floor while hoping aloud in a voice the neighbors must hear, “Gee, I hope nobody gets into this basket of very expensive, special items. They are extremely fragile and irreplaceable and only grownups should touch them!”

Apparently, this has also lead to a couple of new preferences. The first is that he is utterly in love with feet. According to the ladies at daycare, he will drop anything (except maybe a tuna sandwich, see below) and hit the pavement if anybody, anywhere in the room looses a shoe. He’ll cross the room in a flash and have it in his mouth before anybody knows what’s going on. He seems to have an unnatural affinity for chewing on shoes, which makes me wonder if we accidentally swapped him out, at some point, with a puppy.

His other new habit has lead him to become what they call a “scavenger” in daycare. He has taken to hanging out under the lunch table while the bigger kids eat bigger kid food. He lies in wait like a hyena on the prowl, watching for somebody to drop a tasty little tidbit, which he instantly snatches up in his insistent little fists and attempts to…um…gum to death. (His first two teeth are coming in now and so he’s not exactly chewing yet.) In any case, yesterday I heard that they had to pry a bit of tuna sandwich that he “rescued” out of his grubby little fists. This is undoubtedly a quality he has gotten from his father because I, personally, would rather chew on shoes than eat a tuna sandwich.

To prove that we DO actually feed him, the following is a list of Sam’s Thanksgiving Day food firsts: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, candied apple, pickled beet, pumpkin pie and cherry pie. He will also hold a green bean in his hand and chew on it, though he doesn’t ever swallow any of it.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

I didn't just fall off the liberal potato wagon, you know...

Today I took a moment out of my lunch break to do a little Christmas surfing. My mom had mentioned that she was thinking about getting Sam a Cabbage Patch newborn for Christmas. Because I am a liberal-wacko, I am okay with this. Actually, I loved the idea. I have no qualms whatsoever about letting my little boy play with dolls. In fact, I like the idea of raising him to be loving and nurturing.

But here’s the hitch: no matter where either of us looked, all we could find was girl dolls and we were hoping to find him a little boy doll to play with. So I thought to myself that I would go straight to the source to see where I could find him a little boy doll: the Cabbage Patch Kids website. And what I found there was very disturbing in a pod-people-sci-fi kind of way. There are no boy newborns, only boy older kids! Where do the older boys come from, if not hatched in the cabbage patch like the rest of them? Oh the possibilities!

And it’s no wonder this country has issues with accurate sex education classes! This is way confusing! Girls are born as babies and grow, and boys just mysteriously appear. (Warning: sarcasm my be closer than it appears.) Perhaps this is a cleverly designed ploy of the ever-powerful male hegemony to reinforce the notion that pee does, in fact, just mysteriously appear on the toilet seat, dirty clothes do just appear on the floor and dishes do just appear in the sink. I know, I know! Boys come from the Mess Fairy, same as those other things, right?

On a more serious note, though, I am very disappointed. I had really attached myself to the idea of him having one. I suppose we could get him a different boy doll, but let’s face it, there’s just something different, something superior about Cabbage Patch Kids. Other dolls never quite measure up. Maybe he can just have a girl doll. I truly don’t know why gender is such a big issue. I guess it shouldn’t be.

Also, this reminds me of a little boy Owen used to work with at the preschool. I can’t remember his name, but he was very into cleaning and ironing in the housekeeping corner. All the other kids would be gathering for circle time and this little boy would be dust-bustering the rug or something. One day he tried to iron the wrinkles out of Mr. Owen’s forehead. While Mr. Owen didn’t mind, I daresay he has a ways to go before his ironing skills are on par with Martha.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Factoid of the day

Courtesy of Writer's Almanac...

It was on this day in 1968 that NBC executives made one of the worst broadcasting decisions in the history of network television, interrupting their coverage of a football game between the Oakland Raiders and the New York Jets in order to show the scheduled movie, Heidi, about an orphaned girl who goes to live with her grandfather in the Swiss Alps.

There was one minute left in the game and the Jets were leading by 32 to 29, when NBC went to a commercial. No televised football game had ever gone longer than three hours before, and executives weren't sure what to do. Timex had paid a lot of money to advertise during Heidi, and network executives figured the Jets would win the game anyway, so after the commercial break, the movie began.

Football fans were enraged. So many people called to complain that the NBC telephone switchboard in New York City blew 26 fuses. People were right to complain. What they missed was the Raiders coming back to score two touchdowns in the final minute, winning the game 43 to 32.

It was that game, and the storm of protest by fans, that forced TV executives to realize how passionate the audience for football really was. Two years later, networks began showing football on Monday nights as well. And because of that game, the NFL now has a contract with the networks that all football games will be shown until their completion.

A safe assumption...

Let's just assume, from here on out (or, at least until Sam is in school) that this writer is writing/babbling after at least one night of less than 4 hours of sleep (and probably more than one, if recent trends hold). The cause of this sleeplessness might be, but is not limited to: a baby that has awakened crying at least hourly, stress-derived insomnia and/or compulsive reality TV-watching as a way of inspiring a sense of smug superiority that suffices as escapism. Let's just try to keep that in mind as a context in which these little "pearls of wisdom" (as Mrs. Meddler would have said in 10th grade Honor's Literary Allusions) are written.

Not that I'm making excuses because a.) I don't have to (I am the blog OWNER, after all) and b.) I do actually mean what I say. I just sometimes wish I'd said so with better grammar, better spelling and, on rare occasion, more gentility.

And...on a sad note, it occurs to me that this blog has not been the same, and has really declined in terms of comedic value, since the unfortunate departure of my beloved Velma (again, the cat, not the "Good-woman") and Roxie, the 3-legged, not-so-lucky-after-all cat who cost us $600 is amputation fees only to run off 3 months later. I miss them too much. As it turns out, for a non-animal lover (and, in fact, a dog hater), I am such a cat person. Life just isn't the same without them.


Thursday, November 16, 2006

Oh man...there she goes again...

Dear Anonymous person who still won’t take credit for his ideas:

I’d like to begin by thanking you for coming back to continue our discussion. It’s so nice to have a readership! However, I’m afraid I’m going to have to take issue with some of the things you mention in your most recent comment. I answer them this time because I feel so strongly about them. However, I think this will have to be the end of our dialogue because I also feel that in a publication, which is how I like to view this little blog of mine, you can beat something TO DEATH. And I think the rest of the readership gets tired of it. So I will answer you now and then this will be the end. (P.S. Text shown in purple is exact quote, copied and pasted from the comment. I refuse to take ownership of somebody else’s misspellings when I generate enough of my own.)

You say: “You may assert that certain groups of people have been oppressed throughout history, and maybe still are today; either institutionally, culturally, or on an individual basis, and I wouldn't attempt to dispute that. I do it myself. You do it. All sane human beings do it. It is an imperative of survival to make discriminatory judgement about another person's or group of persons' intentions when engaged in social transaction. If you don't you are soon extinct.”

I take issue with several things here. My first problem is that the fact that you refer to me making an “assertion” as though it were unsubstantiated fact or rumor. It is not. It is absolutely and 100% objectively true and, if you don’t agree with that notion, than I can’t hope to have an intelligent conversation with you because you are obviously incredibly deluded or you have just landed from another planet and have yet to read a U.S. history book (make that a truthful, unbiased U.S. history book). Secondly, one of the great things that separates us from the animals (besides opposable thumbs) is our ability to employ metacognition, our ability to think about how we think. Though many out there still act like it, we are not animals. We are, supposedly, highly advanced and well developed beings capable of employing rationalization to conquer the gut-reactions of base animal instinct. (This is demonstrable in that we have a criminal justice system that prohibits us from literally acting like animals to each other.) We are not in peril of extinction – far from it. And, again, if I am to suffer arguments of the impending extinction of the white, Christian masses, I must abandon any attempts at logical discourse. Long story short: We’re not animals, we’re supposed to know better.

You Say: “Life is unfair. It's a shame. What we can in an enlightened society is respect all people as individuals and judge them on their merits.”

First, I will not listen to another privileged, white male whine about the injustices of society. It’s like listening to a glutton whine about starvation. It’s bullshit. It’s easy, from your perspective, to say “Life is unfair, get over it.” Walk a mile in another person’s shoes for a week or two, brother, and then you can sing the blues with the best of ‘em. ( I suggest you do a little research on Standpoint Theory.) And secondly, if (and it’s a BIG IF) people in society WERE judged on their merits, then affirmative action programs wouldn’t be necessary. But it’s not, and you know it’s not. I know you know this because you just explained to me how it’s okay to be prejudiced. That, in fact, it is a matter of survival. Again…bullshit. If people were judged on their merits as individuals, then we wouldn’t have to make assumptions based on some perceived group membership.

You say: “The flaw is that you can not confer rights on a group, only on an individual.”

This baffles me, as a woman, since my right to vote is guaranteed under the 19th amendment which grants women, as a group, the right to vote. As much as I would love to have my name personally amended to the constitution, I don’t see it happening. And, besides, what about our basic rights as members of the human race? Laws NEVER name specific people or individuals. They ONLY apply to groups of people.

You say: “You offer many examples of discrimination and institutional oppression, yet there's no emperical data to back it up. Saying women are below he poverty line is just statistical hokum.”

If you don’t know of the vast libraries of information and resources that empirically back up my exact statements, then I’m guessing you DID, in fact, just land here in a space ship. Try looking at the U.S. Census Data, for one. According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research in Washington D.C., though only one fifth of all families are headed by a single mother, they make up nearly half of all families in poverty. A family headed by a single mother has an 86% higher chance of experiencing poverty. In 2002, almost 30% of female-headed families were living in poverty. Or, if you really want statistics, I can give you some that hit close to home. In the last fiscal year, the agency I work for sheltered 68 women and 74 children who survived domestic abuse. In addition, they handled 773 domestic abuse crisis calls and 70 sexual assault crisis calls, served 573 domestic abuse clients not receiving shelter and 221 sexual assault clients who did not receive shelter. So yeah, I do know what I’m talking about and can back it up with statistics. I could go on all day. I could write a book citing all kinds of empirical data sources to support every single point I mentioned. It IS NOT “statistical hokum.” That, sir, is a cheap-ass, “liar, liar, pants on fire,” bullshit cop-out. And, besides, it’s just not true. (P.S. Cheers to your wife. I wish more women AND MEN could afford to stay home with their children. You’ll hear no feminist rhetoric from me that puts her down. Raising a child is the hardest job a person can do. She’s a hero, plain and simple.)

You say: “There's no shortage of studies showing how allowing applicants into universities they're less qualified for only increases the chances they're going to fail; wasting the time and money that would have been succesfully invested at a lesser school.”

If all public schools received the benefit of equal funding, there is no doubt in my mind that there would be a better showing, in general, by ALL college students. A recent study shows that the reasons for lower graduation rates among minority students are "many and varied," including "personal or family financial problems." (i.e. not just because they’re dumber or less appreciative). Apparently, black and Hispanic students' "comparative lack of financial resources" and the striking differences in financial assets between whites and blacks, could be at fault. And let me just clarify one thing: one cannot confer rights on groups, but one CAN summarily disparage them as intrinsically “less qualified” solely on the basis of race? Ouch. What happened to looking at individuals? Fact: people ARE NOT getting an “equal shot” if they’re not starting from the same place. In addition, it IS NOT the student’s fault when he/she is not “qualified” for higher education. It is a failure of our public education and the failure of legislators who are okay with the fact that some schools have the best of everything (i.e. swimming pools, state-of-the-art technology, bathroom doors) while others are sitting desks that are falling apart and using textbooks that are 10 years old. For you to blame the student is just plain wrong. Unless you’re going to assert that some “groups” are just inherently less qualified. At that point you become racist and/or sexist AND wrong.

You say: “I would be so unbelievably resentful that I'm viewed as intrinsically less qualified to the degree that the government has deemed it necessary to give me special treatment.”

BELIEVE ME….those who benefit from affirmative action programs ALREADY resent our society for the endless crap they put up with in the course of trying to hack it through daily life. (Again, I refer you to an exploration of Standpoint Theory.) When it comes to getting a “break” from the government (or other affirmative action program), most people are happy for the break from the struggle. (And don’t even try to tell me how “bad” you have it. If you have a computer and time to comment on blogs, then you have no idea what “bad” is.) Affirmative action programs don’t confer low expectations on people. They acknowledge the lack of opportunity with which these people have been presented and attempt to level the playing field in light of it. And, furthermore, for you to even presume to think for these people is, to use your own words, “arrogant” and “condescending.”

You say: “How will we ever get past this nonsense until we live up to the ideals laid down by the framers that ‘all men are created equal.’?”

You will find the answer in your own quote. The framers of the constitution DID NOT include those same rights for women or people of color. At that time, in fact, people of color were not considered to be part of the human race at all, and the words you quote were not meant to apply to them. You have heard of the famous Three-Fifths Compromise, perhaps? That each slave counted as 3/5 of a “real” person? The rights set down in the constitution applied only to white men. And THAT is the source of the problems today. Those men were given privileges that women and people of color were denied. Those privileges have become so institutionalized since that time that some people fail to recognize their continued existence at all, though they are very much alive and well in our society. (Note: this writer wonders how smart it is to live up to the ideals of persons with poor grammar. But, I digress…)

You say: “I resent, however, that the support of the MCRI and proposal 2 somehow makes me a racist.”

It doesn’t necessarily make you a racist…it could actually make you sexist too. If you really weren’t either racist or sexist, then you would want women and people of color to have the same chances for success as those poor, privileged white man. If things truly were equal, then our Congress would be 51% female and would have a racial make up with proportions matching those of our population as a whole. Argue with those statistics.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Coprophobia

“Coprophobia: An abnormal and persistent fear of feces (bowel waste). Sufferers of coprophobia experience anxiety even though they realize their fear is irrational.”

There is a rogue poop on the loose in our house. I guess that’s what happens when you have kids. I took Sam’s diaper off this morning to change him and, in addition to the daily 10 gallons of water that saturate his little size 2 diapers, there were three little bitty pebble poops, perfectly round and hard and about the size of raisins. For a second I wasn’t even sure if they were poops, and so I bent down to get a good look at them and, sure enough.

And then in a twist that perfectly exemplifies the kind of mental illness that comes with having a baby, I called Owen in to show them to him. They were so unusual! But when he got there and I held up the diaper, it was empty.

Oh shit, I thought. Where’s the shit? It had rolled off and onto the changing table. But (gasp!) there were only two! One of them got away and I couldn’t find it. Of course, in that general area there were about a million places it could have gone and so, I suppose it will turn up.

But, for now, everywhere I go, I am on the lookout for the rogue poop. I checked the cuffs of my pants and the bottoms of my shoes…under the furniture and everything. It is in hiding, waiting until Sam is playing on the floor while I put his clothes away and then it will make a sneak attack. I will either find him eating it or wearing it. And I’m already saving up my loose change for the therapy session that’s going to require.

I am also now paranoid about finding poop all over the place, such as in our waiting room at work. I saw three different phantom turds there today, all of which turned out to be some organic compound dragged in by the feet of our clients…except for one, which was a piece of orange string. That would have made an ESPECIALLY BAD turd.

Monday, November 13, 2006

As promised...

a picture of our little crustacean.
We thought he might be too small to be a lobster...maybe a prawn or a crawdad.


What 's cuter...

than an infant with a penguin on his head?

on the move

It's always a good time for Johnny-jump-up!

Sam sets a daycare precedent

I used to secretly laugh at parents who talked about their children’s unusual and inflexible eating habits. I would think to myself, “what a chump…I guess we know who the boss is in THAT family….blah blah blah…” That was until I became one of those chumps. I have a child who will not eat anything green. And the kicker is, he doesn’t even know what green IS yet. But, I guarantee you, just you TRY to get him to eat green. It won’t happen. He literally sucks his bottom lip into his mouth and locks his jaw so tight that you couldn’t break through with a jackhammer. (He also does this when one tries to give him medicine, which is pretty much every day now that he has had two separate ear infections and strep throat within the last 6 weeks. Then I am forced to plug his nose until he opens his mouth to breathe and stick the eyedropper in.)

So I can’t say that I blame them at daycare when they allowed my angel-baby to set a new daycare precedent. He is officially the first baby to eat his solid food (i.e. baby food) while sleeping. How, you ask? Apparently he fell asleep sitting up at the little lunch table but he kept moving his mouth in the eating motions and so they just kept spooning his food in. Apparently he ate everything, even the peas. So I am thinking I’m going to have to get a pocket watch so that I can hypnotize him to sleep every night so that I can feed him his veggies. What else can I do?

The kid is TOTALLY IN CHARGE OF OUR HOUSE.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Dear Anonymous Commenter II...

I have received yet another anonymous comment (OMG!! Grow some 'nads already...) Here are the contents of said comment:

"I believe you were misinformed on Proposal 5. It did NOT guarantee SCHOOL funding in line with inflation. It guaranteed teacher salary and pension in line with inflation. And if we guarantee it, where is the money coming from? If you read Devos or Granholm's platform they both promised to allow for more of the intended school funds to get to the classrooms. Right now only 56% gets to the classroom, the lowest in the nation. Proposal 5 would have NOT promised the money would go to the classroom. If the money would be spent where it is supposed to be spent there would be no need for a proposal 5."

So, Anonymous Commenter II, in response to your comment, I present, for you, the EXACT wording that appeared on the Michigan ballot (appearing in bold type). Please note that it was approved by the Board of State Canvassers on August 25, 2006. Please also note my emphasis, in a stunning violet color.

PROPOSAL 06-5

A LEGISLATIVE INITIATIVE TO ESTABLISH MANDATORY SCHOOL FUNDING LEVELS

The proposed law would:

Increase current funding by approximately $565 million and require State to provide annual funding increases equal to the rate of inflation for public schools, intermediate school districts, community colleges, and higher education (includes state universities and financial aid/grant programs).

Require State to fund any deficiencies from General Fund.

Base funding for school districts with a declining enrollment on three-year student enrollment average.

Reduce and cap retirement fund contribution paid by public schools, community colleges and state universities; shift remaining portion to state.

Reduce funding gap between school districts receiving basic per-pupil foundation allowance and those receiving maximum foundation allowance.

As you can plainly see, not only does it NOT mention mandatory raises for teachers, but it LIMITS contributions individual districts must make to retirement. Further, it also helps lessen the gap between the “have” districts and the “have not” districts. This is important to us Northerners because of the unbelievable funding disparagement between the downstate schools and schools up here. And you're right, it doesn't address the percentage of funding that makes it to the classroom, but that is hardly a reason to vote it down. I do think, however, that it might be a very good reason to draft a second law covering just that issue.

From what seemingly disreputable source did you get your information? I daresay you were misinformed. As a courtesy, I have highlighted the inaccurate statements in your comment in red. After all, it is MY blog...

Dear Anonymous Commenter...

Yesterday’s post received a comment from an anonymous reader (What is it with these people with such strong beliefs and yet who are unwilling to take credit for them? It baffles me…) who took issue with my comments about Proposal 2, dishonestly entitled the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative. I would like to thank that anonymous reader for taking the time to comment and also for doing so in a civil, respectful manner. I think all politics would be so much easier if people could actually just talk issues instead of resorting to personal slander, so my hat’s off to you, Anonymous Commenter, for sticking to the issue at hand.

A portion of the comment reads “Every opponent that has spoken out about this proposal has failed to answer one simple question. Can you answer it? What is wrong with equal protection under the law?” (For the entire comment, click on the “comments” link at the bottom of yesterday’s post.) I will do my best to answer it, though I offer no guarantee that you will agree with my answer. But then, I guess if it were so cut-and-dry, there wouldn’t any debate bout it, would there?

Affirmative Action programs are important because they give people or groups of people a fair playing field. In my opinion, this IS “equal protection under the law.” Because my degree, my career, and the area I know best is Women’s Studies/Women’s Issues, I will address this matter from that vantage point. However, the same truths ring true for many of the minority peoples in this country as well, including, but not limited to, African American and Hispanic American cultures.

Programs that give so-called “preferential treatment” to women are put in place to help make up for the fact that, since this country was founded, women’s rights have been severely limited in comparison with their male counterparts. As you may know, despite the best efforts of Abigail Adams in persuading her husband to “remember the ladies” in the framing of the constitution, in the early days of our country, women were not allowed to vote, own property, seek higher education, speak publicly or enjoy many of the other freedoms enjoyed by males. In addition, until late in the last century, physical violence perpetrated on a woman by a man within the confines of a marriage was not only permitted, but was recommended. As a result, women in this country have spent dozens of decades “behind” in the rat-race to success.

Even in “modern” times, the barriers to education, self-improvement and even to successful careers in business and politics that have been systematically and institutionally imposed on women HAVE NOT provided them with “equal protection under the law.” Women remain the majority of persons living below the poverty line in this country. They are largely blocked from participation in higher-level politics, high-level positions of business and even from executive positions in the entertainment industry. Women also are more likely to suffer spousal abuse, sexual assault and murder at the hands of an intimate partner and, in the vast majority of these crimes, the perpetrators, who are almost always male, are never brought to justice.

Tell me, Anonymous Commenter, where has OUR equal protection been all these years? Where was it when the courts decided that there is no such thing as rape within a marriage? And where was it last week, when the Maryland Appeals court overturned a rape case, stating that a woman cannot withdraw her consent for sex after penetration has occurred? Where was it when women fought to gain entrance to male-only educational institutions? Where is it when the woman who is raped is convinced by the police and the prosecutor NOT to press charges? Where was it when our little girls were taught that their value lies in their beauty and compassion and not in their voracious little minds that start out every bit as hungry as little boys’ minds? Where is it when women are paid an average of 75 cents on the dollar to their male counterparts? Where is it when a middle aged woman dies of a heart-attack because studies about heart disease are only conducted on men and the ER staff don’t recognize the difference in symptoms in women, dismissing her as emotionally upset or pre-menstrual. Where is it when the female junior high student is encouraged to take child development courses rather than high-level math and science? Where is it when our little girls are sexualized to become victims while our little boys are militarized to become perpetrators? Where was in when women were intimidated away from filing sexual harassment claims and then fired in retribution? And why, Anonymous Commenter, is there no Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution guaranteeing under the law that women and men are equal?

So here is my final answer to you, Anonymous Commenter: Affirmative Action Programs are put in place to EQUALIZE the opportunities for woman to participate in “non-traditional” careers. They are designed to encourage girls from any income bracket and from any background to explore ANY career they choose, not just those traditionally considered “female” (and, coincidentally, low-paying). They are designed to help young women pay for and gain entrance to male-dominated educational institutions. They are designed to allow women THE SAME OPPORTUNITIES AS MEN. When women have finally broken through the limitations heaped on them by centuries of biased laws, unfair social practices and gender-based discrimination and when they HAVE “equal protection under the law,” then, and only then, will I be okay with the end of Affirmative Action Programs.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Oh (mostly) Happy Day!

Governor Jennifer Granholm (a.k.a. “My Best Friend, Jenny”) has been reelected, maintaining not only a democratic leadership of this state, but also allowing Michigan to keep it’s B rating on the Political Participation index of women reflected in the “Status of Women in Michigan” report written by the Nokomis foundation and in Institute for Women’s Policy Research of Washington D.C. Not only does Gov. Granholm maintain a democratic sense of how the state should be run, but she maintains a powerful voice for women in the state of Michigan.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California has been nominated to become the first female speaker of the house. For those of you who haven’t watched your School House Rock recently, that means that she is third in line for the presidency should (heaven forbid) anything unfortunate happen to the president and the vice president (such as, say, another hunting accident).

Donald Rumsfeld has resigned. The PEOPLE have spoken…and the PEOPLE have decided that they have been lied-to in the most heinous way regarding the conflict in Iraq (FYI: it is not a war. It only becomes a war when the congress issues a Declaration of War, something that has not happened, by the way, since WWII.). Now if we can only get Cheney to stop pocketing money (via Haliburton) for the recovery effort, and get the services to the people of Iraq as we were supposed to have been. After all, they have poorer infrastructure now (worse roads, fewer hours of electricity, less usable water) than they did when we invaded with our weapons of mass distortion. (I guess we should have listened to the UN inspectors after all…)

The Dems have taken control of the House and (last I heard) possibly the senate. THANK GOD. Now, maybe, we can start fixing the problems with things like education and social programs.

Voters in Michigan are, apparently, schizophrenic. It’s the only thing I can figure to explain why we would elect almost all Dems to both the state and federal governing bodies and then screw up SO ROYALLY with our proposals. Proposal 2??? It could mean that I might just kiss my job goodbye. (That’s right, folks, it could result in a loss of funding for women’s agencies like mine.) And Proposal 5? How could we NOT choose to maintain school funding with inflation? Either we are a state of whacked-out and uninformed democratic voters OR the moderates and the more liberal of the Republicans are so phenomenally pissed out the situation in Iraq that they really, REALLY wanted to send a message. In any case, I do have to admit that I hang my head in a little bit of shame for living in a state that sees no benefit in helping women and people of color rise above the institutionalized hindrances to their success. It may be a Democratic club, but it’s still an old boy’s club after all. And one last thing: the only reason Proposal 2 even made the ballot was because of voter fraud. The entire campaign was a monumentally dishonest sham. And I quote: “he Michigan Civil Rights Commission, the governmental body charged with investigating civil rights violations in the state of Michigan, recently concluded an investigation of MCRI in which they found that MCRI had committed widespread and systematic racially-targeted fraud in their petition campaign to secure ballot access.” Courtesy of Wikipedia.

Now if we could just DO something about the ridiculous gay marriage ban...

Friday, November 03, 2006

Fascinating...

Most mornings, on the way to work, I listen to NPR. And I'd like to think that, most mornings, I miss the segment called "StarDate" because it airs at 8:06 and I am at work by 8. However, this morning I was running a little late and I heard it. This morning's show was about the light-year and it was so interesting that I thought I would share part of it with you:

There's an easy way to visualize the light-year. If you shrank the galaxy so that the distance from the Sun to Earth were just one inch, then a light-year would be almost exactly one mile.

But the nearest star system to the Sun -- Alpha Centauri -- is more than four light-years away. To picture that distance, imagine a giant map on which Earth is one inch from the Sun. The most remote planet in the solar system, Neptune, would be about 30 inches away. But Alpha Centauri would be more than four miles away -- a reminder of the vast gulf that separates us from even our closest stellar neighbors.

If you want to read/listen to the whole thing, go to http://stardate.org/

Thursday, November 02, 2006

I got tagged...

Four jobs I’ve had:
Store manager – Blockbuster Video
Americorps worker – MSUE/Farwell Elementary
Sales Department Assistant – Nissui Corporation
Procedure Writer – BNFL, Inc./Big Rock Power Plant

Four movies I can watch over and over:
Sense and Sensibility
Pride and Prejudice (The BBC Mini-series. NOT the Kiera Knightly disaster)
My Fair Lady
Love Actually

Four places I’ve lived:
Traverse City
Miami
Mount Pleasant
Lansing

Four TV shows I love to watch:
Project Runway (Tim Gunn for President! – “Make it work, people, make it work.”)
C.S.I.
The Soup
America’s Next Top Model (and I am SO ashamed to admit it!)

Four places I’ve been on vacation:
The Outer Banks
Prague, Czech Republic
Krakow, Poland
Tourist Europe (i.e. London, Paris, Venice, etc.)

Four of my favorite dishes:
Grandma Alice’s chicken and dumplings
Chicken and Amish noodles (it isn’t very soupy)
My mom’s pot roast
Thick-crust pizza

Four sites I visit daily (well, maybe not daily, but often):
www.npr.org
www.feministing.com
www.google.com
www.imdb.com

Four places I’d rather be right now:
Home
Chicago
Ikea (Owen says I’m obsessed)
Prague (I am dying to see in winter and, um, it’s snowy here today)

Well....look who it is!

I figured that, since I am going on 2 months now without so much as a peep, I maybe ought to try to write something to salvage what possible readership I have left. I can say with all honesty, though, that the big reason I haven’t written much is because I have been very busy both at home and at work.

At work we had out biggest fund raiser of the year. This is not as labor-intense for me as it used to be, but it does create a lot of hubbub. I have been behind at work for months and am now just finally getting caught up.

Our home life has been remarkably more exciting. Here are some of the bigger events that have happened since last I wrote:

We moved. Owen and Sam and I are now in our apartment. Though, as testament to how hectic things have been, there are still boxes all over the place.

I turned 28. Not a lot of work to be done there, but I thought it worth mentioning.

I had surgery…followed by some minor complications and a longer-than-expected stay at the hospital. No big drama there, though. They were as “routine” as complications can get. What wasn’t routine was the sinus infection I was diagnosed with less than a week later. How miserable.

We took Sam to the ER for the first time. He was experiencing massive vomiting and diarrhea and, by 2 a.m., we gave up and took him in. They gave him a suppository to stop the vomiting and within a day or so he was fine again.

We took Sam to the ER for the second time. Two days after we took him for the first time. It turns out, he had his first ear infection. He got a shot of antibiotic and, within 4 days, the doctor couldn’t even tell which ear had been infected.

8 days after he was pronounced “cured,” we took Sam in for his 6-month well baby visit and vaccines. He’d been running a mild fever, which we attributed to teething since he seemed fine otherwise. But it turns out that he has another ear infection. And, my sinus infection has returned. So great…history repeats itself in the most unpleasant ways.

We took Sam visiting for his first Halloween. It was too cold to take him trick-or-treating and he can’t eat candy anyway, so we just visited a few friends. Our little lobster was a big hit! (pictures to come soon)

And that’s about all. We still have a lot on our plates, but I will try to be better about positing more now that things seemed to have settled down a little bit. We’ll see how long that lasts.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

4 mini-blogs

5,000 Staples

Recently, at work, I passed a significant milestone. Not long after I started at the center, I had to procure a new box of staples from “the cabinet.” Well, at long last, I have used up the entire box and had to get a new one. I know what you’re thinking…staples? But I used a whole box! (And let me say, for the record, that I do not staple endlessly all day. In fact, I probably don’t staple as much as many other people who work there.) I have never used a whole box of staples before…have never been anyplace long enough to get through one. And for the record, I passed my two-year anniversary in June.

Amnesty

I find it interesting to note that, not only are we unwilling to grant amnesty to illegal aliens/undocumented workers/unnaturalized citizens, but we have also declared that there will be no such privilege granted to the poor ex-planet of Pluto either. (Does that mean it doesn’t get a capitol P anymore either? Oh! Let’s call it the planet formerly known as Pluto.) Apparently, Pluto had to be demoted because there were two other non-planets discovered and the choices were either to a.) promote those two new planets to official Planet status, or, b.) to deny planethood to all of them. It seems that allowing p/Pluto to maintain planet status because it was already “here” before all these shenanigans was not an option. There will be no planetary amnesty, it seems. Pluto is now officially a dwarf planet. (Is that P.C.? Should it maybe be little planet?)

Fact

It is impossible to sleep with fingers up your nose, especially when they’re somebody else’s fingers. Sam has had a cold since Thursday of last week and has slept in bed with us from the time he wakes up crying because he can't breathe until the morning because he gets so fussy. Last night, as I held him preciously close to me as only a mother can, he rewarded me by sticking one finger up each of my nostrils. He started at his new daycare on Tuesday and came home sick with his first cold ever two days later. I guess that’s life. He also has a new best friend, Andrew, who was born a week after him. The staff put them in the exer-saucers together where they babble and slobber in perfect boyish harmony. Mostly Andrew jumps up and down (he doesn’t talk much) and Sam stands there waving his arms and hollering at him (a quintessential example of genetics at work). Since he has been sick for 6 days now, we took Sam to the doctor today and were rewarded with both the knowledge that he does, in fact, have a cold and a bill for $20. We are obviously still learning.

Malady

I have a strange illness at the moment. On Sunday night, I had through sleeping because me feet were itchy, but I figured it was dry skin. By Monday morning I was mainlining Benedryl and scratching my back by scraping along the doorjamb like a bear scratches his back on a tree. I tried to make it through the day by counteracting the effects of the Benenryl with a secondary drip of Diet Coke but I eventually decided to see the doctor because it appeared that I was having a serious allergic reaction. . Not so. After two hours, a consult with a med student who was younger than I am and a visit with the seasoned veteran, it was determined that I have caught a bizarre virus that will have to run it’s course on its own. So now I have to go scratch...with scissors.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Thought for the day...

It is statistically impossible for all of us to be above average. Some of you are bound to be bringing up the rear...
.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Monday, August 28, 2006

Storm Watch

As we approach the 1-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina I have heard on the radio this morning that the keys are being evacuated because a storm is heading toward Southern Florida. As always when a storm heads in that direction, my friends and loved ones in that area are in the forefront of my mind. I hope they are okay and weather the storm safely.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Just one more reason not to read Forbes...

Unquestioningly proving that they’re firmly entrenched in the old boys’ club, Forbes Magazine has recently published an article that takes a swipe at the progress women have made in their efforts to be self-sufficient, professional members of the labor force. This is NOT a dig on women who don’t work. In my book, the women’s movement and feminism give us the right to choose what we do, be it stay home or go to work. As long as it’s OUR CHOUICE, I don’t have any beefs. In fact, I have tremendous respect for women who stay home full time and I wish I could be one of them. Anyway, the article, entitled “Don’t Marry Career Women,” lists 9 reasons why working women are to be avoided. They are as follows:

You are less likely to get married to her. According to the article, “… (1) success in the labor market makes it harder for women to make a marital match, (2) women with relatively high wages and earnings search less intensively for a match, or (3) successful women have higher standards for an acceptable match than women who work less and earn less.” That’s right…don’t even date them because they’re not interested and you don’t meet their standards anyway. Way to beat them to the punch.

If you do marry, you’re more likely to get divorced. “Women's work hours consistently increase divorce, whereas increases in men's work hours often have no statistical effect.” Of course, this can’t be a social problem to be addressed, can it? How about the fact that the average woman who works full time still performs more hours of work around the house than an unemployed man? This is a fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics. It can’t be that these women get sick and tired of doing more than their fair share, can it?

She is more likely to cheat on you. “The work environment provides a host of potential partners, and individuals frequently find themselves spending a great deal of time with these individuals.” Translation: don’t let them out of the house….working women are sex-starved from working long hours with no nookie and are actively looking for the next best thing. What about the men in this scenario? This is GOOD news for them…they no longer have to pay expensive bar bills to find people to cheat with.

You are much less likely to have kids. “Most women want kids,” but career women don’t seem to have time. And what good is a woman without a child? How will we continue to grow the ranks of The Party, otherwise? Unless, of course, she is screwing around on you with a coworker(see one paragraph up) in which case, she will have kids but YOU won’t.

If you do have kids, you wife is more likely to be unhappy. This is confusing, since we have just learned that most women want kids. But apparently, “wealthier couples with children suffer a drop in marital satisfaction three times as great as their less affluent peers.” Still….it must be the kids. Can’t be all the “keeping up with the Joneses” materialism that modern families face, can it?

Your house will be dirtier. “If your wife has a job earning more than $15 an hour, she will do 1.9 hours less housework a week.” Here’s my solution: GET OFF YOUR ASS AND HELP OUT. Don’t just decide that it’s not work getting married. Who would do all your whousework then? A maid? Or move back in with your mommy so she can fold your whitie tighties just right and cut your PB & J into little triangles with the crusts cut off.

You’ll be unhappy if she makes more than you. “Married men's well-being is significantly lower when married women's proportional contributions to the total family income are increased.” That’s right…if she doesn’t need you for your money then she won’t want you for anything else. After all, she’s already having sex with her co-workers.

She will be unhappy if she makes more than you. “American wives, even wives who hold more feminist views about working women and the division of household tasks, are typically happier when their husband earns 68% or more of the household income.” My take: this is probably because all the whiners from the scenario above won’t shut up with their paranoia and complexes about not being the big man around the house. Of course we’re happier when they’re happier. Duh.

You are more likely to fall ill. “Having a wife who works more than 40 hours a week has substantial, statistically significant, negative effects on changes in her husband's health over that time span.” Must be the lack of cleaning…imagine all the bacteria and fungi that build up year after year. They are probably more statistically likely to get the plague. Or HIV and genital warts from their cheating wives. The article also says, “wives working longer hours not do not have adequate time to monitor their husband's health and healthy behavior, to manage their husband's emotional well-being or buffer his workplace stress. “ Because that’s our job…to monitor his health…buffer his stress. As far as I’m concerned, this is just another form of Darwinism. If they’re so frail as to need somebody to monitor their health, then we should probably just eliminate them from the herd. And if they won’t go to the doctor on their own, that’s their problem. Oh…and if we are to buffer their stress…who will buffer ours?

And the article manages to drive in one more stunning slam against working women: “To be clear, we're not talking about a high-school dropout minding a cash register. For our purposes, a ‘career girl’ has a university-level (or higher) education, works more than 35 hours a week outside the home and makes more than $30,000 a year.” The rest of them, apparently, don’t have careers. The woman who works over 60 hours per week at two minimum-wage jobs to make sure her kids are fed and babies have diapers…they don’t count. Apparently that’s not a career. I guess maybe it’s just survival. That’s undignified that they don’t even merit consideration. Who would want to marry them anyway?

What a crock of shit.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Happy Birthday, Aunt Rachel!
(Actually, her birthday is tomorrow)

(Clearly, he likes the sign. So much, in fact, that he would like to eat it.)

Monday, July 31, 2006

The story of squash

Once upon a time, there was a little boy who had a hard time making poopies. After his mama and daddy decided that suppositories were absolutely no fun, they decided to feed him squash instead. As it turned out, squash was his first big-people food ever. At first he thought he might like it.

But then after he got a taste, he changed his mind! Squash is yucky!


Then, the little boy decided he would rather eat his bib. Besides, if he had his mouth stuffed full of bib, how could his mommy get any suash in?


But his mama, she was pretty smart and she got the squah in anyways. It was still yucky.


After a few bites, though, the little boy came around. He decided squash wasn't so bad!

Friday, July 28, 2006

I'm just saying...

On the reasonably good chance that the News-Review chooses not to print the letter to the editor I wrote them this morning, I am going to post it here too. I will be heard, damn it!

Dear Editor,

I am writing to express my absolute disgust at what I saw while driving to work in Petoskey this morning. A group of anti-abortion activists was lining both sides of US-31; young people stood on either side of the road holding up massive signs depicting the bloodied corpses of dead babies. Believe me, for those of you who were fortunate enough not to see this atrocity, it looked far worse than it sounds.

Abortion politics aside, I must express my horror and condemnation at these protestors’ tactics. I ask you, would it be acceptable for people who protest the death penalty to hold similar signs depicting the burnt and mangled corpses of those who have been executed in the electric chair? I think not.

No matter what side of the debate you favor, I am hard pressed to understand any logical argument why children who happen to be passing on the street should have to see these horrific, scary images. Such images in a film would get it an “R” rating, and yet for some reason it is okay for them to be shown on the street.

Indeed, these individuals have a right to free speech guaranteed under the First Amendment, a fact that I would not change even under these circumstances. However, with that right comes the responsibility to respect others, an obligation that these protestors seem to have missed.

There are far better ways to make a point. Seeing those signs this morning did absolutely nothing to change my stance on abortion. It simply made me disgusted by those individuals who were there this morning to voice their opposition to it. I cannot imagine listening to the opinions of such obviously demented individuals.

Sincerely,
Me

Clearly I am in the mood to be righteously indignant today. I am personally offended at the drop of a hat. Among the other things that have truly pissed me off is a document entitled “Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons” written by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, an office of the Roman curia (the governing bureaucracy of the Catholic Church). This 2003 document puts forth the official church standpoint on gay marriage, including the following points:
- homosexual activity is intrinsically unnatural and immoral
- Marriage was instituted by God between sexually complementary persons who are able to procreate (ha! Notice it doesn’t say HOW MANY! Hehehehehe)
- Gay marriage would undermine the traditional concept of marriage, thereby causing great damage to society
- It is the duty of Catholic politicians to openly oppose and combat gay marriage.

Luckily this document was presented within the Catholic Church edition of the Opposing Viewpoints book series. I highly recommend this series. It provides both sides of a wide variety of issues under certain topics. Thankfully, I was saved from spontaneously combusting in a rage of fury, by the counterpoint, written by Matthew Fox (as far as I know, this is not the same Matthew Fox from Lost and Party of Five and is, thus, credible). Fox’s points are as follows:
- The church has a history of being somewhat behind the curve when it comes to dealing with the disconnect between faith teachings and scientific fact. Just Galileo, who was just recently (in 1992) pardon by the church a mere 359 years after he was condemned by daring to suggest that the sun, and not the earth, was the center of the solar system.
- Homosexuality IS natural. Approximately 10% of any human population is homosexual and there are at least 64 known animal species with homosexual populations including (gasp!) dolphins. (Had the religious right known this all those years ago, perhaps we could have been spared the antics of Flipper…)
- “A church that wants to teach love ought to be encouraging monogamous and established relationships of love instead of forcing gay people into self-hated and sometimes into practices of promiscuity that separate love from sexual expression.”
- Gays do, indeed, serve the common good. For example, a gay artist named Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti (you may know him simply as Michelangelo) painted a pretty awesome ceiling in a chapel in Rome. Perhaps you have heard of the Sistine Chapel? It only took him 4 years to finish. Not bad, eh? Other famous gays who contributed to the greater good? Socrates, Plato, Virgil, Leonardo DaVinci, Sir Francis Bacon, Shakespeare, Caravaggio, Lord Byron, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Henry James, Arthur Rimbaud, Oscar Wilde, Marcel Proust, Willa Cather, Gertrude Stein, Virginia Woolf, Ma Rainey, Cole Porter, Margaret Mead, Marlene Dietrich, Langston Hughes, Greta Garbo, Tennessee Williams, Leonard Bernstein, Michel Foucault, Allen Ginsberg, Andy Warhol and Audre Lorde among countless others.

Now...nobody better cut me off on the way home...

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Death, birds, Ativan and nail polish...

Well…I have to tell you that I am not the same person I used to be. There is something new and different about me. I have changed. On Monday I had oral surgery to remove a tooth that was damaged by a quack-ass dentist in Lansing over 5 years ago. Long story short: he messed up, my tooth got infected and it had to be pulled. Now I am a hick northerner because I have a gap where there should be a tooth and there isn’t. My dentist says the area has to completely heal before they can move on to phase two: an implant. Ha! I’m getting an implant…not a silicone death-bag, though. A tooth.

Anyway, that’s not really what makes me different. I mean, sure, I feel like white trash what with one of my teeth missing and all (at least it’s in the back where you can’t see it!) but there’s more to my story. I now have dead-person tissue residing in my body. That’s right – I had to have a bone graft of cadaver bone. Crazy, eh? I’m thinking that from now on I can blame the dead person’s tissue for wanting to eat all the junk food. It’s a great alibi. “It isn’t my fault…the cadaver part of my mouth really WANTED an ice cream cone. I can’t control it. It’s like that pseudo-horror movie Idol Hands…at least I think…I’ve never actually seen that movie.” I suppose I am just another person out there, living proof of how important it is to donate your organs…where would I be without my dead person’s bone in my jaw, I ask you? I don’t bet many people think of that when they decide to donate their organs. And do you know how much it cost? Over $600! I bet the dead person didn’t see a dime of that money. What a cash cow!

In other death-related news, last Thursday I drove down to TC so Sam and I could go to the Junior Royale Parade at the Cherry Festival. On the way down I hit two birds at one time with my car. Apparently they were too busy doing that whole mating/flirting in mid-air kind of wild and crazy flying when their ecstasy was suddenly interrupted by the grill of my car. Luckily, it didn’t leave a mark. I think that might be a quintessential example of Darwinism at work. Stupid birds who get hit by a car while making sweet love obviously should not pass on their genes to future generations.

This reminds me of one winter several years ago when I was finishing my degree. I was driving home one weekend when some big blackish brownish flying something went WHAM right into the front of my car. I didn’t think much of it…debris or maybe a bird or something. Then I got home to find a massive hole in the grill of the car. Massive as in about 10” across. I showed Owen who wasn’t happy but, hey, this is Northern Michigan…it happens. A couple of days later, when he was looking at it, he noticed that the dead thing was still in there! (It was winter…couldn’t smell rotting flesh what with it being fricking freezing.) He pulled it out and can you guess what it was? An owl…who kills an owl in a hit-and-run? I mean, really…

Back to the topic of my tooth…I would like to recommend that everybody who is going in for an extraction should ask for 4 mg of Ativan ahead of time. Let me just say that I do not remember much of Monday at all. In fact, yesterday I noticed that my thumb nail was painted and I had no recollection of painting it. Apparently, Owen wasn’t watching me very closely and I painted it at the drug store while waiting for my prescription to be filled. I guess I told him that it was okay, and that they wouldn’t mind. I’m a little bummed, though, because as it turns out, I like the color a lot and I have no idea where/how to find it again.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

F.Y.I For You

So...this is what I do at work. Since I started here two years ago, many of you have asked me, "Sarah, what is it that you do at work all day?" Well, here is your answer. It's not the WHOLE list of EVERYTHING...but it's mostly everything.

Daily bank deposit
Bill and petty cash reconciliations
Write and distribute two newsletters
Supply inventory/orders
Coordinate the attorney rotation (for legal advice)
Arrange for pickup of donated furniture
Perform light maintenance (such as repairing vacuum cleaner, replacing light bulbs, etc.)
Schedule maintenance/repairs of facilities and equipment
Update building inspection list and acquire documentation of inspections of all offices/properties
OSHA record-keeping (updating posters, MSDS books, etc)
Troubleshoot/repair technology for all offices
Train staff in use of technology
Make technology-related recommendations
Coordinate long-term technology projects (such as file management, database creation, etc.)
Take photos for the archives
Create press-releases, classified ads and display ads
Design of posters, flyers, handouts, etc.
Track Specific Assistance
Pay bills (occasionally)
Process credit card charges
Make hotel reservations and request applicable payments for workshops, conferences, etc.
Assist in maintaining procedural manuals and job description updates
Maintain organization of storage spaces such as supply cupboards, closets, basement and shed.
Attend meetings for and assist in coordinating/planning fund-raising event planning (Side Door, WWT, WC/WD, etc.)
Arrange for work-release volunteers
Anything else nobody is sure whose responsibility something is and for which nobody volunteers on their own

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Another bad case of the rants...

I am really becoming sick and tired of people and their dogs. I readily admit that I am personally not a fan of the canine. But I am actually becoming more and more of a dog-hater. They smell. They poop everywhere. They chew things up. They jump on you. They run around with stupid expressions on their faces. They get into things. They slobber. Sometimes they snarl and bite. They are almost always obnoxious. (Exceptions: Cletus, Sage, Chief)

In truth, however, saying one is a dog-hater is akin to saying one is a child-hater. And let’s be honest…we don’t hate kids but, rather, in those cases we hate the way they’re been parented. After all, it’s not the kid’s fault. And I suppose it’s not the dog’s fault either. So let me rephrase. I merely dislike dogs; I am beginning to hate dog-owners.

But the fact remains: this morning I heard a segment on NPR about doggie daycares. They featured a doggie daycare outside Washington D.C. that charges $30 per day to doggysit. (Note: I currently pay $25 per day for our Sam-sitter.) According to the woman being interviewed, “We just don’t have time to take care of a dog.” You see, she is busy studying for the Bar Exam and her husband is a software salesman who travels a lot. I would like to posit that if these people are so busy, perhaps they ought not to own a dog.

I would like to further suggest that they donate the $7,500 they would spend on their freaking dog-sitter this year to a cause that would do some good like…um…I don’t know…FEED STARVING CHILDREN? Perhaps…HELP PREVENT THE GLOBAL SPREAD OF AIDS?
I don't know...just some suggestions. What do I know?

These dogs have more to eat and more to play with than an astonishing number of our nation’s CHILDREN. Working parents all over the country struggle to find quality PERSON care on a daily basis. They struggle with cost, often leaving young children home alone or with siblings who are also too young to care for them. And yet here is an entire subculture of dog-worshipers who spend more on their dogs in a day than I spend on formula in a week….more than I spend on diapers in a MONTH (thanks to Sam’s Club)… in just one day…to pay for an entirely self-sufficient ANIMAL to PLAY. These animals play with and chew on children’s toys…purchased just for them, while so many HUMAN CHILDREN go without. Their human “parents” watch them via webcam to make sure they’re doing okay. (If they have time to watch them on the webcam, then why, exactly, are the doggies at daycare anyway?) How nice would it be if more daycares that actually cared for human children had such features?

Incidentally…the doggie daycare featured in the segment cares for about 50 dogs per day. Do the math…that’s 30 dogs x $50…
$1,500 per day
$10,500 per week
$546,000 per year
And this is just at one doggie daycare…

What an utterly stupid, shameless and self-indulgent way to spend so much money. I am completely disgusted. Where the hell are our priorities?

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday, Helen Keller!
“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.”

Friday, June 23, 2006

The Michigan "Civil Rights" Initiative: a total crock of sh*t...

Are you informed about the upcoming November 2006 Ballot Issue on the “Michigan Civil Rights Initiative?”

“Civil Rights” sounds positive right? Ha! Guess again! Passing this amendment could have a dramatic effect on programs designed to help women, girls and people of color in the State of Michigan, limiting many of the social programs that help us fend off discrimination!

Michigan’s current Civil Rights Act was signed in 1964 and was designed to equally give opportunities and prevent discrimination on the basis of gender, race, religion, national origin and age.

Voting “yes” in November would eliminate outreach programs to interest middle and high school girls in math and science fields.

Voting “yes” in November would eliminate fair housing and lending programs that makes sure that women and minorities are treated fairly when they apply for loans.

Voting “yes” would prohibit financial aid and student loan programs aimed at women and minorities.

A similar “Civil Rights Initiative” was passed in California in 1996 and can be linked to the hiring of fewer women faculty and faculty of color at public universities; a drop in the percentage of women working in skilled trades; decreases in government contracts awarded to women and minorities; and fewer women and students of color enrolling and graduating in technical fields.

With the passing of the amendment in California, the amendment was used as the basis to challenge funding for domestic violence programs and other state-supported services specifically designed to address women’s needs, including breast cancer screening.

Vote NO on November 7th!

Furthering my personal agenda...


An article in Monday's office newsletter:

Writing tip of the week: Passive Voice

Simply put, using passive voice usually means leaving out the “doer” of the sentence. Examples:
Ÿ It would be greatly appreciated (Who is doing the great appreciating?)
Ÿ Money was donated (Who did the donating?)
Ÿ The road was crossed (Who crossed it? Was it the chicken?)

Using passive voice weakens the connection between the “doer” and what s/he did. This can be a good, yet slimy, maneuver if you are a politician who does not want to be linked with an unsavory event. For example: “Laws were passed limiting a woman’s access to emergency contraception.” Who passed these laws? Who do we hold responsible?

But, this is also an unwise choice of wording when the “doer” wants to be credited with the action. Example: “167 people were served.” Who served them? Who did this wonderful thing? Stand up and take credit for what you did!

By carefully choosing when and where we use passive voice, we can make our writing both more effective and more flattering!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The big mysteries in life...

Thought for the day:

Why is it that pants sizes and underwear sizes aren’t the same? How can it be that I wear one size in pants and then a size that is more than 10 sizes smaller in underwear? (Flashback: “Actually those ARE my underwear; my butt just looks really big in these pants.”). Similarly, why is it that I wear a 7 ½ shoe but that women’s socks only come in size 9-11? How many women in this country wear a shoe that is a 9, 10 or 11? Why don’t they rename them to something like 6-9? Why must ALL the forces of the world, including clothing manufacturers, conspire to make things just that much more difficult…to give us just one more piece of crap we have to remember?

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Being Poor

A version of the following "essay" (I have no idea what it should be called) appears in the May/June issue of WORLD ARK magazine. The entire essay is available on the website of the author, John Scalzi, at www.scalzi.com.

Being Poor
by John Scalzi
Being poor is knowing exactly how much everything costs.

Being poor is having to keep buying $800 cars because they're what you can afford, and then having the cars break down on you, because there's not an $800 car in America that's worth a damn.

Being poor is hoping the toothache goes away.

Being poor is knowing your kid goes to friends' houses but never has friends over to yours.

Being poor is going to the restroom before you get in the school lunch line so your friends will be ahead of you and won't hear you say "I get free lunch" when you get to the cashier.

Being poor is a heater in only one room of the house.

Being poor is hoping your kids don't have a growth spurt.

Being poor is stealing meat from the store, frying it up before your mom gets home and then telling her she doesn't have make dinner tonight because you're not hungry anyway.

Being poor is Goodwill underwear.

Being poor is thinking $8 an hour is a really good deal.

Being poor is finding the letter your mom wrote to your dad, begging him for the child support.

Being poor is believing a GED actually makes a goddamned difference.

Being poor is not taking the job because you can't find someone you trust to watch your kids.

Being poor is the police busting into the apartment right next to yours.

Being poor is not talking to that girl because she'll probably just laugh at your clothes.

Being poor is hoping you'll be invited for dinner.

Being poor is a sidewalk with lots of brown glass on it.

Being poor is needing that 35-cent raise.

Being poor is your kid's teacher assuming you don't have any books in your home.

Being poor is $6 short on the utility bill and no way to close the gap.

Being poor is crying when you drop the mac and cheese on the floor.

Being poor is knowing you work as hard as anyone, anywhere.

Being poor is people surprised to discover you're not actually stupid.

Being poor is people surprised to discover you're not actually lazy.

Being poor is never buying anything someone else hasn't bought first.

Being poor is having to live with choices you didn't know you made when you were 14 years old.

Being poor is getting tired of people wanting you to be grateful.

Being poor is knowing you're being judged.

Being poor is a box of crayons and a $1 coloring book from a community center Santa.

Being poor is deciding that it's all right to base a relationship on shelter.

Being poor is hoping the register lady will spot you the dime.

Being poor is a cough that doesn't go away.

Being poor is four years of night classes for an Associates of Art degree.

Being poor is people who have never been poor wondering why you choose to be so.

Being poor is knowing how hard it is to stop being poor.

Being poor is seeing how few options you have.

Being poor is people wondering why you didn't leave.