Monday, August 13, 2018

The beginning of the end

My baby starts high school soccer practice tomorrow. High school. Even though school doesn't start for 4 more weeks, as far as I'm concerned, as of tomorrow, he's officially a high school student. My baby. A high school student. They're not kidding when they say kids grow up fast.  In the blink of an eye. Wasn't he begging me to play just yesterday? Beating me at Monopoly even though he couldn't read yet? Holding my hand when we were walking together? Wanting to be pushed on a swing?  Laughing uncontrollably as I blew raspberries on his chubby baby belly?

Who is this young man living in my house, answering to my baby boy's name? Holed up in the basement for hours playing video games with his friends. Only surfacing to use the bathroom or to grab something to eat or drink. Why do I have Sunrise, Sunset from Fiddler on the Roof in my head?!

Tomorrow is the beginning of the end. In four years, I'll be left dazed and confused as to how my baby can be going off to college. An adult. Able to make his own decisions without checking with us, getting our approval or our signatures on the line that says Parent Signature.

Where did the time go?

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

My thoughts while watching Outlander Episode 304: "Of Lost Things"

  1. Watch yer head, Wee Roger! 
  2. Does anyone else think the actress playing Geneva resembles Caitriona a bit?
  3. and -- BFFs ♡
  4. Lord Ellesmere is so gross! Poor Geneva. (That's right. I feel sorry for her.)
  5. How the hell can women ride side saddle? I'm getting scoliosis just watching it.
  6. I hate seeing Jamie with his head down looking subservient. is meaner than I remember reading him to be.
  7. This reminds me a wee bit too much of the wedding episode scene.
  8. Thank you, writers, for portraying the scene with Geneva as I believe Diana intended it.
  9. Right now, the timeline bothers me. Jamie's about 35 and Claire's about 50. Seems out of line and icky.
  10. Actually, Roger seems too old for Brianna, too, but that's not the timeline. , Rog.
  11. Isobel Dunsany is so nice. I wish we saw more of her.
  12. Too bad Master Raymond wasn't around for Geneva. Best 18th century physician (besides Claire, of course).
  13. They did an excellent job with the Ellesmere shooting scene.
  14. Let Jamie hold the , Isobel!
  15. The display of so many emotions within mere moments on 's face is remarkable.
  16. I thought Willie was supposed to have red hair. So, ya know, he'd look like his sire.
  17. "This is 1968. I've been fighting sexism since 1743, goddammit!" ~ Claire Beauchamp Randall Fraser Randall Fraser
  18. Ye shouldna call yer bastard a bastard, ya bastard!
  19. Why isn't LJG's hair lighter?!?! Distracting.
  20. I'm really liking David Berry. (Except his dark hair.) Good face actor. Now, get some sun, man.
  21. The scene!!! ♡ ♡
  22. "Dinna fash, lad. I'll remember you." :'(
  23. I'm so happy that Willie gets raised by Isobel and LJG. Good people. Caring people. They'll love him well.

In summary: : Joe said and Willie said . All is right in the world (of Outlander).  

Monday, July 24, 2017


I have a job interview tomorrow in a different division of the organization I work for. My current supervisor is on the interview panel despite having no involvement with the position or the group it's in. I've tried everything imaginable to have him removed to no avail. I feel trapped and targeted.  The whole reason I'm interested in this job is to get away from my supervisor and the evil witch he works for. But there's no escape, unless I want to give up my career and trash my retirement by starting over somewhere else. 22 years down the tubes because a corrupt, evil CEO put others just like him at the top of my division and they in turn did the same at the next level down.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Secretary of Education Nominee Betsy DeVos & American Public Education

Let me start by saying I'm not a democrat and I'm not a teacher.  So I'm not opposed to DeVos just because she's Trump's choice and therefore I must oppose her because the Democrat Handbook says so and I'm not opposed to her because I'm worried about my job.  I am, however, a parent.  I'm a parent with a child in 7th grade in a public school.  I'm also the product of 18 years of public education: 1st-12th grade in public schools, undergrad at a state university, and grad school at another state university.  I believe in public education.

Betsy DeVos's record does not at all show that she believes in public education.  She is a cheerleader for charter schools.  She's all about vouchers and charter schools -- two things I vehemently oppose because they take money away from public schools.  And although she and Mr. Trump both say they are against Common Core, her past doesn't demonstrate that.

I want a Secretary of Education who will abolish Common Core, abolish PARCC, abolish NCLB/RTTT, abolish charter schools, and abolish vouchers.  And then, I want that Secretary to abolish the US Dept of Education and return control to states and local school districts.  If the DOE is to remain and stick its nose into states' business, it should only be to help the states that perform below average.  Leave the states, like mine, that have always done well alone.

But what about the poor inner city districts or the rural poor with abysmal outcomes?  These children and these school don't fail because the kids aren't bright or the teachers are underpaid or whatever else has been addressed before.  These children don't do well in school because they're hungry.  They can't get a good night's sleep because their bed is a ratty old couch and their bedroom is the family room, if they're lucky.  They don't get help with their homework because mom's too busy working 2-3 jobs or taking care of the younger siblings or is passed out from drugs or alcohol and dad, well dad's nowhere to be found.  These kids fail because of extreme poverty that the average American doesn't even know exists.  If the government wants to help these kids succeed, they have to throw out all the rules and the plans and the things that work in middle-class and upper-class school systems.  They have to help these kids LIVE in order to help them LEARN.

To start with, extend the school day.  Extend it to say, 6:00 pm.  Make it an opt-out thing (as opposed to opt-in) where the kids will stay at school until the buses send them home at 6:00 unless the parents sign them out of the program.  Feed them a healthy, nutritious, delicious dinner.  These are the kids who are on free and reduced lunches.  They are thankfully now receiving free/reduced breakfast too but what about after school?  Some of these kids don't eat again until the next morning.  How can they do homework if they're hungry and can't concentrate?

What else can be done with this extra 3-4 hours of school?

  • Teach them how to cook.  Simple, healthy meals.  Girls and boys, not just the girls.
  • Buy a bunch of washers and dryers and have the kids bring their dirty laundry to school and teach them how to do laundry and give them a place to do it.  Some kids skip school simply because they have nothing clean to wear and they're embarrassed.
  • Teach them how to grocery shop wisely in the stores available to them.  If the family has no car, the corner convenience store may be the best they can do routinely.  Teach them what's bad for them and why and what's good.  How to read nutrition and ingredient labels.  Feed them foods they've never had before so they'll know what they taste like before they buy.
  • Teach them how to stretch the few dollars they have in the store.  Teach them about unit prices.  They probably learn it in math class, but not that this bottle of ketchup's unit price is per pound and the one next to it is per quart and therefore not comparable.
  • Start a school garden and have all the kids take turns working in it.  It's a proven fact that if kids grow food, they'll eat it.  They know what it is and they are proud that they grew it.
  • Teach them about money, budgeting, credit cards (yes, you have to pay for what you buy on them!), balancing a checkbook (no, just because you still have checks doesn't necessarily mean you still have money in your account!), online banking, etc.
  • Offer tutoring and homework time.
  • Have organized sports and other physical activities.  Not gym class and not recess but somewhere in between.
  • Teach them about nature and music and art and all the things schools used to teach before standardized testing took over the school day.
  • Offer them medical and dental care that most of us take for granted: annual checkups and biannual dental cleanings.
You get the idea.  Think outside the box.  Give them a few hours a day that's not school but not their crappy home life. They'll be clean, well-fed, get their homework done, get tired playing so they'll sleep better at night, and they'll be learning things they really and truly need to know instead of just going to school to learn all those things that make kids ask, "Am I ever going to use this in real life?" 
Links to check out:
  • Ron Finley: The Gangsta Gardener:
  • Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick?
  • Gardening as Cultural Renewal - the Gila Crossing School Program:
  • Living in Disadvantaged Neighborhoods is Bad for Your Health:
  • There's No Such Thing as Small Stuff: Being Poor in Louisville:
  • Food Fight: 

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Please stop

Dear liberals and other Trump haters:

Please stop.  Just stop for a moment and check various news sources, as well as federal laws and the US Constitution, before you go shooting off your mouths and protesting EVERYTHING.  

The "Muslim ban" isn't a Muslim ban.  It's a temporary travel ban on people from seven particular countries that were decided upon by President OBAMA.  There are dozens of other Muslim-majority countries that are totally unaffected by this executive order.

A few tidbits of history:

2016 - In February, Pres. Obama'Department of Homeland Security implementation of the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015 added Libya, Somalia, and Yemen as three countries of concern, limiting Visa Waiver Program travel for certain individuals who have traveled to these countries.

2016 - In January, Pres. Obama'Department of Homeland Security began implementing changes under the Act and designated Iran, Iraq, Sudan, and Syria as countries subject to restrictions for Visa Waiver Program travel for certain individuals.

2015In December, Pres. Obamsigned the “Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act” into law, which restricted access to the Visa Waiver Program.

2011 - Pres. Obama banned Iraqi refugees for six months in 2011 due to concerns that the program was being used by terrorists to infiltrate the United States.

2002 - These same 7 countries were mentioned in a report from Pres. G.W. Bush's Department of Defense with plans to destabilize those countries

1980 - Pres. Carter invalidated the Visas of Iranians during the Iran Hostage Crisis.

1952 - 8 US Code 1182 was written; passed by a Democrat-controlled Congress, House and Senate; and signed by a Democrat president.  It contains this passage: 
(f)Suspension of entry or imposition of restrictions by President

Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.

1932 - President Roosevelt and the State Department essentially shut down immigration during the Great Depression.  (And I would argue that although our economy isn't in that dire of a situation, it's not great and that alone could/should be reason to halt or slow immigration.)