Thursday, October 30, 2008

Note to self

The 2008 Emmy Award-winning animated television series “WordGirl” offers a special Election Day episode Tuesday, Nov. 4 (5:30pm for us) on PBS stations across the country.

The Season 2 premiere finds Becky and Tobey both running for student council president. Then, the Butcher enrolls in an adult-education class to brush up on the word skills he needs to be a top-notch criminal.

*Must DVR for Sam.*

He did not say that

For the record...the alleged quote...
"A strong government hand is needed to assure that wealth is distributed more equitably."

What was printed in the Wall Street Journal...
"Globalization and technology and automation all weaken the position of workers," he said, and a strong government hand is needed to assure that wealth is distributed more equitably.

Please note where the quotation marks are...and what the context is before you forward me this stupid email/misrepresentation/lie one more time.

Thank you.

A hypothetical

So let's assume the following fact scenario...

You own a house, a barn/garage, a hay barn, and smaller barn on 4.2 acres of property outside of the nearest village/city. It's about a mile away from the new high school in one direction. It's less than a mile away from a landfill in another direction. Landfill attorneys have approached your boss about your "conflict of interest" and, in no uncertain terms, threatened your job. You recently put a lot of work into renovating the house, but still have a lot of finish work to complete on the inside. Your home is "overvalued" as the current economic crisis has defined that term. You love your home but realize it is time to get the hell out of Dodge. The home selling market is for shit. The home buying market is fabulous. You can not afford two mortgages at the same time.

What do you do? Any creative suggestions out there?

I swear, life was easier when mom and dad figured out all this grown-up stuff for me.

Eliot has a little sister

If any of you follow Eliot's blog...about the baby boy who lived with Trisomy 18 from July 20, 2006 to October 27, 2006...you will be happy to know that little sister, Hazel, has arrived safe and sound. Congratulations to the entire family!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The political scream machine

I LIKE to discuss politics. I like the free-flow of ideas and the exchange of information. I ENJOY tossing ideas around and coming at a problem from more than one angle so that it hopefully develops some sort of reasonable response/approach. I like to think I'm always right (got that from my dad)...but I recognize that I'm probably wrong more often than not. I don't see getting my panties in a bunch over anything any politician has to say (except maybe the idiot who voted to put the landfill in my backyard). And I really don't see getting myself all worked up because my friends and/or family and/or complete strangers don't agree with me. They're ALLOWED to not agree with me...that's the great thing about it.

But here's the thing...if you really don't want to discuss politics with me then DON'T discuss politics. Nothing irritates me more than the person who states their political position and then says, "But I don't want to talk about it." No...what you want to do is a political hit and run. You want to stick your fingers in your ears and sing "la la la la" loud enough that you can't hear anything other than the sound of your own voice. It's juvenile and it makes me want to smack you upside the head.

This past weekend when I was canvassing for the Obama campaign, I met a couple of folks who said, "Thank you for stopping by...I have already made my decision...and I do not care to talk about it." That was it. They didn't say what their decision was or offer up anything to give me a clue. And it was NICE! So much more so than the driveby nasty comments I hear about Barack Obama these days. People love to take their shots and then run away. Nobody wants to HEAR the other side. As a lawyer and a generally fair-minded person, that really upsets my internal truth-and-justice meter.



***this post is not directed at any individual in particular and only expresses my generalized election season discontent***

Monday, October 27, 2008

So wise

Me: OK...you are under strict orders not to grow anymore and outgrow your new winter coat.

Sam: Mommy...you know that's not how life works, right?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Super Saturday

Today I did it all. I'm not ashamed or embarrassed to make such a bold statement...because it's true.

I started off the day meeting some fascinating people and canvassing neighborhoods for the Obama campaign. I had the chance to talk with one woman...72 years old...who is voting for Obama because she has, in her words, "had enough." As I chatted with her in this chilly October morning, I felt as though something clicked into place for me.

All this time, I have wondered who lives behind the darkened windows of the houses I pass every day. And there she was...a widow of three months who visited her friend in West Virginia last week and was horrified to find prejudice and hatred still lurk in some people's hearts. There she was...wearing her robe over her sweatsuit and watching the Food Network with her cat. There she was...with her own life story and her own hope for something better.

After canvassing, I headed out to watch my six-year-old son play his last soccer game of this year. He's still no better than he was last year and he is still far too hard on himself for his lack of skill. But I couldn't be prouder of him for making a choice to participate and sticking it out until the end of the season.

After soccer my parents came to our house for lunch. Myles was full of smiles and contagious laughter that filled the house until it almost made me cry with happiness.

This evening was the daycare Halloween party. Kids in costume. Apple cider and any kind of sugary treat imaginable. Hay rides. A bonfire. Lovely, lovely, lovely.

And while there, I couldn't help but look around at all those little tiny faces...and wonder who they would be in another 70 years...what stories they would tell to the person who knocks on their door on a chilly October morning. I have hope for all of them...even more so after today...because I know I'm not the only one.

And as I reflect on this day, I can say that I did it all. I influenced a Presidential campaign. I spent time in the company of my amazingly loving family. I ate more Halloween treats than should be legal. Today was very very good.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Frugal Friday

Shopping has been a bit light here lately because I was sick. But this week I'm back in the saddle and looking for a good deal.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Punched in the gut

Alex & Sam
The Art of Giving

After all this time, seeing those two names together just makes my heart ache.

Another moral/parenting dilemma

I [insert name] promise to do my best
To do my duty to God and my country
To help other people
And to obey the law of the pack


"You will put God first and do what you know God wants you to do."

I don't want to lie. I don't ever want my son to lie. But can I honestly expect him to do what he KNOWS God wants him to do? He's six! It's a complicated question that I wrestle with at age 36! I don't want him to miss out on the scout experience. But it seems somehow dishonest to promise something like this.

(And don't ever google this particular issue...the hostility and venom out there over Boy Scouts will scare the crap out of you.)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Big stupid meanie head

That's my son's opinion of the person who stole our Obama/Biden yard sign...and I tend to agree.

The fairy tale we SHOULD have been told

(Click picture to make bigger.)

Monday, October 20, 2008

bwa ha ha haaaa!



I post this in the hopes that people will see that there is still HUMOR to be had during this election period. Quite honestly, I find it very difficult to maintain my own sense of humor. You see, it is my job to advise my county's Board of Elections...to help them interpret directives and advisories issued by the Secretary of State...our top elections official. One of the most valuable tools I use to stay on top of the most current information (Ohio has had several lawsuits and other legal developments recently) is the Secretary of State's website.

Today...I find this message...October 20, 2008 - Columbus, Ohio – Due to security concerns experienced by the Secretary of State’s website, full functionality of the website has been suspended to protect the integrity of state records and data. Full functionality will be restored when we are assured that all data has been protected and restored to acceptable levels of security. If you have questions please contact Secretary of State’s office at 1-877-767-6446.

Great. So thanks to some idiot, my job just got immeasurably harder.

And last week, someone mailed a package with a mysterious white powder in/on it to the Secretary of State. Scrawled on the outside..."Death to Obama supporters." It turned out to be nothing, and we all got a good chuckle that the brain trust who sent it mailed it to the wrong building. But HONESTLY, it really ticks me off! I mean...REALLY?!?!? The people involved are just like me. They go to work every day trying to support their families and doing whatever they can to insure the integrity of the elections process in this state. They work for the people...even the stupid ones. I hope these creeps, whoever they are, crawl back under whatever rock they came from.

Find a sense of humor people. If I can laugh while up to my eyeballs in election legal questions and insanity, then there is NO reason you shouldn't be able to find a light moment or two.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Please vote for something important

My friend, Carla, runs Mini Mutts Rescue in Madison, Ohio. She does an AMAZING job and has really created an amazing operation that helps save many many furry lives. If you've got a minute, could you click through and cast a vote for her? I would appreciate it.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Democrats are "soft"

I've heard it said time and time again that Democrats are "soft" when it comes to election tactics. And yes, this Presidential campaign has illustrated distinct differences in campaign styles. McCain/Palin and company have given the Obama/Biden campaign PLENTY of opportunity to knock them down a peg or two. And time and time again, they have taken the high road. It has been frustrating for me because I generally want my guy to win...at all cost. But Michelle Obama gave a speech at the Women's Leadership Forum in Chicago, that gives me a valuable reminder...and makes me feel the pride that comes from NOT selling your soul in order to win an election.

There are still 25 days left until election day. And a lot can happen in 25 days. And, look, we are facing a tough opponent who is running a tough campaign. So we have to stay focused on what we're fighting for. And that's a better country for our families...and it's a better future for our children...that's the fight.

There are serious issues at stake here. And they demand a serious conversation. So even as the pressure builds and election day grows closer, we can't forget that we're all in this together. Democrats, Republicans, Independents, all of us. We're all facing the same future...and we will rise and fall together...just like we always have in this country. So, see, we can't afford to turn on each other now.

Like us, we know that our opponents have strong views. And we respect those views. We respect their right to argue for their ideas with vigor and with passion. But we can disagree without becoming disagreeable. We can challenge one anothers' positions without challenging each others patriotism. We can have a great debate about how to lead this country without suggesting that anyone doesn't love this country.

You see, we ALL love this country. That's why we're doing this. We want to help keep America strong...and fair...and free. A place where everyone has the opportunity to pursue their dreams. And haven't we had enough of politics that divide us? Don't we owe it to each other to be better than that? So, let's live by example for a change. Let's keep fighting for what we believe in without ever resorting to tearing each other down.

Report card time

No grades for the first six weeks of first grade (yeah, I thought so too).

Samuel is keeping with the class nicely. He can decode short vowel words. He can also read short three words sentences fluently. Please make flashcards to practice at home. There is a word list included in this report card. I also encourage students to practice reading every night. Samuel can print neatly. He can also count to at least 26. I hope that Samuel works hard and has a wonderful school year.

Satisfactory Effort
Social Studies
Science
Physical Education
Art
Music

Needs some improvement

Listens to and follows directions
Works independently
Controls talking
Practices self control

I have suspected for a while that Sam is bored in class. When I ask him what they do all day, he says, "Stupid homework" (meaning worksheets). I just asked him what they do when/if they finish their worksheets early and he said they are allowed to sit at their desks and read a book...or get up and go play quietly with blocks or legos or puzzles. Now tell me (please) your opinions of this. Is it just me who finds this a bit...off?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

If it ain't one thing...

I've either got strep throat or mono.

Yeah. I know.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Frugal Friday

Walgreens:
2 Shout liquid spray
2 Walgreens brand children's ibuprofen liquid
1 40-count Tampax
2 Lindt chocolate bars
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$9.09 out of pocket
$20.01 saved

CVS #1

Mylanta Max
Bic Soleil
Sudafed 48 tablets
Always infinity 18-count
Tylenol Cold Head Congestion 24-count
Tylenol Cold Head Congestion Day/Night combo 24-count
---------------------------
$16.13 out of pocket
$27.86 saved

CVS #2
2 6-packs Similac 8oz ready to feed
5 32oz Similac ready to feed
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$25.45 out of pocket
$28.98 saved

Grocery store:
$84.38 out of pocket (including dog food)
$36.45 saved

I am so glad there was a good deal on cold/sinus medications. *sniffle* *sniffle* *sniffle*

Ohio Scholarships

If you know of any Ohio high school seniors who are going to college and looking for financial assistance, please pass on this information...

Ohio Township Association 2009 Scholarship Application

Three $1,500 scholarships available in two categories of Academic Achievement and Local Government Achievement. The deadline for applications is January 28th.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Welcome to the world Baby Holdyn!

Congratulations to Birdie's Mama and Daddy on the safe arrival of baby Holdyn on October 3, 2008...weighing 6lbs 14oz and measuring 20 1/2 inches long. He is beautiful and my heart is so full of happiness for the entire family.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

I'll pencil it in at 2am

There are so many things I want to do that don't get done. I intend to work on things and somehow time just slips by and I haven't done a thing. Where does it all go? My list grows by the minute...things I need to do...things I should do...things I want to do...

I have good intentions. Really. But I find myself overwhelmed by the sheer length of my to-do list. It's strange how I feel like I should force myself to participate more fully in my own life. But I'm just so daggone tired, so anything but the simplest of activities just seems like a colossal effort.

Know what I did yesterday? While at Sam's soccer practice, I read a book...for fun! No election law. No contracts to review. No competitive bid specifications to draft. It was decadent and I loved every second of it (I didn't even fall asleep). I need to do more of that...but it loses some of its appeal when I have to find time to schedule it. It's a catch-22.

I know, I know...if only we all had such problems...

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

More politics I don't understand

How is it going to work, this proposed "renegotiating home mortgages based upon lowered home values?" Can anyone explain this in simplistic terms my brain can handle?

Here's how I understand it right now as it might be applied to me...

The bank takes a loss on my over-valued mortgage. My home value is lowered and I renegotiate my mortgage based on this lowered value. I the meantime, my county loses property tax revenue. My office can no longer afford to pay me because we no longer have that property tax revenue and I lose my job and can't paid my renegotiated mortgage. So the bank takes a loss on the first mortgage, a loss on the second mortgage when I declare bankruptcy, and the credit crisis gets BETTER because of this?
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And really...if nuclear power is so safe, I propose the politicians live in a house near a nuclear power plant or near the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository. I mean, it's SAFE, right? Yes, I'm particularly sensitive to this issue at this given moment. But I think we ALL should be sensitive to it. We are unnecessarily creating problems that will be passed on to future generations.
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Social Security is easy to fix? Why haven't you fixed it then?
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McCain called Obama, "that one." Real nice.
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Monday, October 06, 2008

I do not understand

HOW, in light of the news this past week, HOW do you argue for more reliance on markets for health care?

Unless I'm missing something, a $5000 tax credit isn't going to cover a $12,000 insurance plan. I'm pretty sure deregulation hasn't helped my cable television bill or my retirement investments...so this concept scares me.

Don't Pennsylvania and California have pretty good public plans that covers children? So it is possible, right? Help me understand. Educate me. Anyone?

Thank you Secret Pal!

My Secret Pal has been revealed! Normally, this event would not yield much fanfare, but I clicked over to Kim's blog and was met with the 2008 Knitter's Hunk - Hugh Jackman. Seriously! Knitting and GORGEOUS MEN! Even before I knew who she was, I knew I liked this lady. And it has nothing to do with the fact that she sent me LOADS of really awesome stuff! Did you KNOW they make chocolate Skittles? I did not. I can't wait to break them open and (over)indulge!



Seriously, Kim, you outdid yourself this round of SP and I can't thank you enough. It was so much fun finding little treasures in my mailbox during the past few months. My mom and I already have plans to do the sock monkey baby set from the Happy Hooker book for my brother's baby. I'll post pics of my progress on Ravelry (and here, if I remember). Thanks again! (I have never seen that shape crochet hook, but I will definitely review them as soon as I get to use them...they feel good initially...we'll see if it lasts)

Miscellaneous thoughts - Monday edition

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Sam - strep throat
Myles - ear infection
Mommy - needs more wine
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Nonprofit rule #1 : Never turn away a volunteer. Put them to work.
Nonprofit rule #2 : If you call a potential volunteer and ask them to attend a "special event," at least know what the special event is and be able to answer questions about it.
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A campfire, some lawn chairs, and a starry sky make for a lovely family evening.
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I am really disappointed with Sam's soccer experience this year. His coach was taking phone calls on his cell phone at halftime, if that tells you anything about his coaching. My mom even noted that the other team's coach was really out there giving pointers and coaching while ours just stood there. Sam needs encouragement to do new things...he does not have an overly adventurous spirit. This coach is doing nothing to get him excited about the game.
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Sam never crawled. He went straight from laying around like a worm to "cruising the furniture" while standing up. So this new experience of a mobile 10-month-old is kind of frightening. I spend a good bit of time following him around catching him before he gets into trouble. I can't turn my back on him for more than ten seconds or he is gone.
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Remember the mice? Yesterday we found where they had been hiding prior to their living room adventures. My craft closet. Thankfully, my expensive yarn was not touched and it appears, after careful sifting, that they only stayed OUTSIDE of my storage containers (a big thank you to my friend Dana for showing me the way of Rubbermaid tubs). Let me tell you, nothing strikes fear into the heart of a stitcher more than the sight of mouse poop outside the box holding her $60 worth of pure alpaca yarn.
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A drive to Democrat headquarters the other night led to an amazingly insightful conversation with my six-year-old son. I hope he always remains so thoughtful and well-reasoned.
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This cracks me up.
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There doesn't seem to be time for anything these days. Between soccer and cub scouts and work (and work-related crap) and illness...I barely seem to have time to breathe. My house is in shambles. When the baby crawls on the floor, he comes up looking like an orphan child covered in dirt and dog hair. And there's nothing I can do about it at the moment because the canister on the very expensive vacuum cleaner has come apart and we can't figure out how to get it back together. Anyone with a Dyson...how in the h*** do you get the lid to the canister back on?!?! Thanks.
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Sarah Palin wants to talk about the associates of the presidential candidates. OK...Let's talk.

Oh...and found this tidbit on a blog I read...

An Investment Banking “Factoid"
• Up until 2003, all investment banks were limited to 12 to 1 leverage
• In 2004, the SEC gave 5 investment banks the ability to lever up to as much as 40 to 1
• The 5 investment banks were:
• Bear Stearns (acquired by JP Morgan Chase)
• Lehman Brothers (Bankrupt)
• Merrill Lynch (acquired by Bank of America)
• Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs (converted to a bank holding companies)
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Friday, October 03, 2008

Frugal Friday

CVS

2 8-packs of Bounty Paper Towels
Cover Girl Clean Foundation
Cover Girl Clean Pressed Powder
2 Revlon Lip Gloss
Bag Hershey's Cacao Reserve Dark Chocolate Truffles
-----------------------
$12.81 out of pocket
$35.02 saved


RITE AID

2 Bags Hershey's Bliss Dark Chocolate
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On sale for 2/$5 for $0 out of pocket


GIANT EAGLE (grocery)

6lbs ground beef
4 Old El Paso Flour Tortillas
4 Old El Paso Hard Taco Dinner Kits
1 Old El Paso Hard & Soft Taco Dinner Kit
4 Bags Giant Eagle Shredded Cheddar
2 Bags Giant Eagle Shredded Mozzarella
24-pack Caffeine Free Diet Pepsi (cube)
1 Oral-B toothbrush
2 4-packs Dannon Activia Yogurt
1 Gogurt
2 D-Con Mousetraps
1 Ziploc quart size freezer bags
1 can Kool Aid singles
-----------------------
$77.13 out of pocket
$15.64 saved + $3 off my next order

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Vote NO on Issue 19

Today's mail has buoyed my spirits regarding our house/landfill situation. I can't re-print it here because it is two pages, front and back, with color photos of what the dump actually looks like. I would say that the most effective bit is the large font question, "Do You Want 75 Years and 400 Acres of This in Your Community?" underneath two very nasty photos of a mountain of trash. I HOPE people think about this question before they vote.

But more than that, I hope that they understand that allowing this to go forward means our zoning authority is for sale. Those who toss the most money around can get whatever they want and those of us without any money will be forced to submit to their wishes. Nobody will be safe.

Political oops

No American mayor resides in a city closer to Russia than Andrew Milligrock, and he says being two miles from Russia doesn’t give him any foreign policy expertise.
Link

Atheism

Someone told me I would go to hell if I didn't stop being angry with God...if I didn't stop questioning Him. I deleted that email immediately with a deep breath and shaking hands. I wish now that I had saved it...printed it...framed it. For it was in that one instant that I realized I wasn't angry with God anymore...I didn't doubt God anymore.

I heard a door slam shut and in that instant I realized that I simply don't believe.

And that is where I found my peace.

No longer begging after a God who can never fulfill my needs has made me see life in a way that I never have before (it's funny how the threats of eternal damnation lose their power when you don't believe in them anymore).

I firmly believe and state it here for the record that this is it. This is all there is. And we better not waste one single second of it.

How do I know this? What was there before I was born? Nothing. At least nothing that I am conscious of. I can get all scientific and talk of potential and kinetic energy...but I know, as sure as I'm sitting here, that my existence lives on after I die on this earth...not in some lavish storage facility in heaven.

I was with my dead sons in this life for a short time and that is all I'm going to get. There is no more time. Whatever it was that made them a part of this existence is no longer. That makes me immeasurably sad. But it is a fact of life...of existence. That we all, at some point, simply cease to be. Just as we, at some point, began.

Before I was born there was nothing (at least, nothing that I remember). I anticipate that my death will be the same. There will be nothing more. And I am freed by that thought because it means that I have THIS moment to savor...THIS life to live.