Archive for October, 2008

Photo by sm4rtus

Talk may be action, but it’s cheap action. I talk a lot about how important life is: the life we lead, the life of others, the life of animals… and so on.

But, do my kids listen? Do they beleive me about how important all life is?

First of all, since moving to California the idea of conservation has steamrolled for us. It’s huge. While it was always important and we recycled (or tried) and tried to conserve water, our kids never reflected that. Until now. If I leave the water running while washing dishes, or brushing my teeth or filling the tub my kids, expecially the boy (three and a half) will tell me, “Dad! You’re wasting water!” I am rather proud of this. They actually ‘get it’. They may not fully understand the importance of conservation, but they get it.

My daughter (six) while at the beach in Venice was VERY concerned with all the trash she saw. Even prompting me to help her clean the beach. I explained that if we stopped and cleaned the beach, we wouldn’t be able to play, and we’d have to live there for weeks to clean it all. This only made her very sad. She explained that it wasn’t fair and it wasn’t nice for people to throw trash there. It was gross for others and it was dangerous to the animals. She also pointed out that it was dumb, since there were MANY trash ans all over the beach. I agreed and nodded at nearby beach goers who could hear her. I was so proud.

One last thing I would like to mention. One evening while on our family walk, we were looking at snails and other little creatures as we always do. My son, poor thing, didn’t see a tiny snail in front of him. But, there were so many snails he wanted to count and see the bigger ones ahead. With a step, a crunch sound was heard. He looked up at me, and it was clear he knew what had happened. He quickly moved his foot to see the snail underneath. Immediately he and the girl burst into tears. I mean, loud, screaming, crying tears. I asked to be sure, and they both said they were sad that it had died. We explained that it happens, it was an accident and the snail most likely didn’t feel any pain. They still cried but began to calm down. Eventually they stopped crying and enjoyed the walk and more snails and creatures. They both were much moer careful in their walking. Again, I was very proud. I think we must be doing something right for them to hold all life, and our surroundings with such high regard. I am so proud of my kids for having such a love for our world. And, I can’t help but feel proud of my wife and myself for helping teach them this important view.


Read Full Post »

Photo by Mr Geoff

I was coerced into going to a PTA meeting last night. I have not gone to one since last September, and I had a very bad experience back then. This was when we lived in Michigan. I attended the first PTA meeting of the school year, and my first meeting ever, as my oldest was just in Kindergarten at the time. At the meeting what I found was a bunch of complainers. No one was nice. No one welcomed us. The speakers were complaining about not having enough money, the parents were complaining about too many fundraisers, and everyone complaining about the weather. The only ones who were not complaining were my family and the screaming children that were allowed to run rampant through the meeting. I was aggitated, and I never went back.

Cut to Tuesday. The Girl brings home a note stating that her class was to sing at the PTA meeting, which was scheduled for Wednesday. Nothing like giving last minute notice. Oh yeah, and they are supposed to wear red. The Girl doesn’t own anything red, so I had to go buy her a new shirt. Thank goodness for the clearance rack.

So, on Wednesday, I grudgingly took her to the meeting, and sat with her friend’s mom. The meeting was boring, which was better than what I experienced in Michigan. There was food and coffee, which made me happy. The kids sang two songs, which were in memory of a teacher who recently passed away, so that was touching. People were actually nice. The kids that were there, were actually well behaved. It was…….weird…….

So, all in all, I’m glad I went to the meeting. I don’t know that I’ll ever go to another one, but I don’t regret having to go to this one. Plus, the apple turnovers were pretty tasty.

Read Full Post »

Blog Action Day: Poverty

Photo by foreignobsessed

Today is a Blog Action day, and the topic is poverty. Fitting, in this time of economic crisis, I suppose. Because I have worked in the field of social work for the past 9 years, I feel this is something that I can speak to. Here are just some of the things I’ve encountered at work over the years:

-A young boy, age 8, diagnosed with Schizophrenia. So sick with this disease that his parents could not care for him, and so he was left to the children’s residential unit (i.e., orphanage). Had his parents been better off, they would have had insurance, and could’ve bought his medicine, and he would have had a chance at normalcy.

-A teenage mother with the most beautiful little girl you’d ever want to see. She was turned in to social services because she couldn’t pay her heat bill, and they were both freezing. When she saw how nice the foster home was, this mother gave up rights to her little girl so that she could have the best in life.

-A man, age 35 or so, with a mental illness. So poor that he was using one of his two t-shirts as toilet paper.

-Hundreds of people per year who came into my vocational rehabilitation program desperate to work. People who have mental illness, developmental disabilities, or just down on their luck. Many of them never found employment (due to the stigma surrounding their disability or because of criminal history or poor work history, or just because the economy is down), and disappeared.

So, as I sit in my furnished apartment, with electricity, running water, and everything I need, I pray for those who don’t have what I have. I hope you will too. And as the weather begins to turn cold in some parts of the country, and fires rage in other parts of the country, I urge you to reach out to someone who has less than you. And if you are in the position to give a person a job regardless of their background, I promise you, that is the best gift you can do for a person. You know the old saying, “Give a man a fish, and he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he’ll never go hungry.” Don’t let your fellow man go hungry.

Read Full Post »

photo by superlocal

Let’s see……

Earthquakes? Check.

Black Widow? Check.

Fire? Check.

All that’s left is Rattlesnakes, I think.

Today, we are right between two major fires. I couldn’t even go into work today because one of the fires is about 6 blocks away from my office. We can see the smoke from our apartment complex, and when I was out and about earlier, I could smell it. It gives me a headache, but thankfully, we have not been evacuated or anything. I feel bad for those who have been, it must be so scary for them.

On another related note, the exterminator just left! Yay!

Read Full Post »

Yes.  This spider is 'playing dead' on my kitchen floor inside a clear glass cup... odd behavior?  Me thinks it so.

Mood lighting:
My reflection stares back at me in the now nearly opaque sliding glass door overlooking one of many carports and in the distance the slightly distinguishable silhouette of the mountains. Our movies are done. Our trip onto entertainment island at an end. I set out on the perilous late night dog walk to avoid another unfortunate wake up call of Shawna screaming, “The dog P!$$&) in the bed!” As I approach that inevitable area where carpet meets linoleum I see something. In my peripheral vision, just above and beyond clear sight I see a motion of blackness.

Quick stepping:

Realizing I was not asleep so this moving blackness could not possibly be the shadows I dream of in nightmares, I gather in a better look. It was a spider. Nay… not just a spider, THEspider.  That spider from stories.  From news stories long forgotten or urban legends still maintaining a feeble existence on some college campuses, since being relocated from real universities but not yet desperate enough for community colleges.  Yes, THE SPIDER.  The big one.  The BLACK WIDOW.  I’ll be honest.  I harbor a bit of arachnophobia.  I have managed to suppress it to a point through my sheer zoological curiosity.  I am a virtual cat in that area.  But, I was immediately aware that this particular spider demanded too much respect for my feeble attempts at calmness.  I may have slightly freaked, although mostly on the inside to save face in front of Shawna.  As we thought it through and decided it may be a large black widow, I decided the Internet can shed light on the subject.  Did we have to move?  Does she now own our home through some strange black widow common law of real estate?  Did you get the cat reference from above yet?  I hope you did.  We found that most exterminators ask that it not be squished, but rather kept safely for the exterminator to address.  I put it in a glass cup and then transferred both spider and cup into a large ziplock bag.  I would have used a small one, and just the spider, but let’s face it, we don’t need PETA knocking on our door in the morning, am I right?  A small clear house with a view, protected from would be predators with the miracle of plastic, I can’t imagine upsetting even the most avid animal lover.

Aftermath and research and development:

Now, in our research we found that these spiders are said to be either and inch, or 2cm… Europeans… odd lot.  But, I am here to tell you, she doesn’t live by the standards of others.  She marches to the beat of her own eight-legged drummer boy.  Her abdomen is easily as big around as a standard-sized marble.  Front to back, at least and inch, and two sets of back legs an inch long each.  I don’t exaggerate these measurements, I have no need to.  I am inquisitive.  I examined and scrutinized her.  When I moved the glass, she played dead.  You read me.  (re-read that in the past tense of to read… there.  That’s better.)  You read correctly.  She flipped on her back both revealing her hourglass frame, and trying to lure me into her web of destruction.  When I moved the glass away, she miraculously regained consciousness and was VERY alert.  I have looked into it and it turns out, so far at least, I have found nothing on this behavior in black widow spiders… what IS she?

Sentence fragments are cool.  That wasn’t one:

Well, there you have it.  This “spider” issue has now become more “real” to me than even the earthquake we narrowly avoided sever dizziness from on the 29th of July in southern California.  After that, I had a talk with the kids, and we collectively made our plans of action, etc.  After Ms. Widow however, I took my German spelunking flashlight and searched in every crevice in our kitchen and bedroom.  I almost went through the kids room as well, but settled for shutting windows to avoid the obvious reunion that was hastily planned in our neighborhood.  I then stripped our bed and re-made it searching for the… well, the other super spiders laying in wait to ambush us for the disappearance of what may be the largest black widow on the planet.  I swear when I caught her, she looked straight at me, flipped that hourglass and pointed in my face followed by the motion of slitting a throat.  I doubt she could get out, but I have hired a body guard.  At any rate, I continued searching:  beneath dressers, end tables, the bed, inside various boxes and in general all around the house.  nearly 2 full hours after the ordeal we drifted off to slightly interrupted sleep. 

She still sits, alive, outside our door in the hall for neighbors to peer at in curiosity.  Until Monday… until Monday… until… Mon… day.

Read Full Post »

Wouldn’t you know it? I put it in writing that I want to start doing pilates more often, and then I immediately have a week where I hardly exercised at all! Let me just say that I was ill and I somehow managed to hurt my back, so I only feel a little bit guilty…Anyway, here’s what my week looked like:

Sunday – We all went hiking for about an hour and a half or so. It was great fun, the kids loved it, and surprisingly, I really enjoyed myself too, despite the fact that I’m not your typical “outdoorsy” kind of girl.

Monday – Nothin’

Tuesday – Walked The Girl to school

Wednesday- This is the day I got simultaneously sick and hurt, so nothin’.

Thursday – Still sick and hurt

Friday – I did manage to do my 7 minute abs workout. It’s really great if you are pressed for time, so I thought I’d share it with you. Enjoy!

Read Full Post »

Another week of reading blogs…and there were some great ones this week!  First off, I want to thank Chelsey at only help my unbelief and brown eyed basics for giving me some great suggestions on new blogs for me to read. I’ve spent much of the week reading those that she suggested, and a few of the articles I loved this week are from those blogs. Oh, and one is from Chelsey’s! 🙂 So, thanks Chelsey!

Random Articles

Chelsey wrote about my typical day of exercise. I’m so glad I’m not the only one who feels this way!

Over at Dooce, she wrote a beautiful story of giving. While I was not influenced by anyone in particular, I very much agree with her philosophy. We are not here to judge people, only to help others.

Being from Michigan, this picture brought back some great memories. I will admit to missing the fall colors, but I don’t miss what comes after fall…SNOW!

Parenting Articles

Frugal Dad talks about stay at home parents. We are lucky that both of our schedules work together to allow us to both be with the kids, even if we can’t be with each other as much as we’d like.

At ElizabethEsther, she discusses an incident in the schoolyard that really irks me. I believe that kids need to be taught to stick up for themselves. This story really breaks my heart.

And finally, a GREAT tip for those of you in the toothfairy stage. I am no longer fearing The Girl’s first loose tooth!

Read Full Post »

Photo by Scott Kinmartin

Yep, you guessed it. We encountered our first ever, real live, giant freaking Black Widow spider! I am not happy. I will not be sleeping for the next few days, until we can get Terminex out here or something. I’m freaking out, man, FREAKING OUT!

Read Full Post »

photo by fringehog

Brian took The Girl to the orthopedic doctor this morning. She’s fine. Her elbow is not fractured. Whew! We just have to do some exercises with her to help her strengthen it. And the really good news is that it’s still impossible for her to lick her own elbow.

On a different note, I’ve been thinking lately about the health of my kids, and myself. I realized that we eat a lot of crap. I mean, The Girl eats bologna for lunch almost every day! I give them fruit snacks, hot dogs, mac-n-cheese out of the box, anything quick and easy. Is that so bad? I get to thinking about this stuff every now and then, and I start feeling guilty. I mean, on that show Jon and Kate Plus 8, they eat all organic foods! And they have 8 kids! And I wonder why I don’t do that. And then I remember…it’s because I hate to cook. And, I grew up on koolaid, pepsi, and fluffernutter sandwiches, and I turned out ok. My kids are healthy, they usually will choose grapes over junk food, neither of them like pop (that’s Michigan for soda), and they have never been big candy eaters . In fact, I just threw out a bunch of Easter candy that we all forgot about! So, do I wish we ate healthier? Of course I do. Am I going to feel guilty for giving my kids mac-n-cheese? Nope.

Read Full Post »

Well, Brian took The Girl back to the doctor today to see why her elbow is still bothering her.  This doctor (our regular doctor) seems to think that it might have been fractured!  So, tomorrow Brian has to take her to an orthopedic speciallist.  Awesome.  I’m so ticked off about it right now…I mean, how could the first doctor not have known that it was fractured???  Now this poor little 6 year old has to be banned from recess for the next 2 or 3 weeks, and I am so worried that her elbow will now be messed up for life.  I feel so bad!

Other than that, it’s been a long boring day.  I had a training at work today, and I have to sit through the other half tomorrow.  The highlight of my day was that I got free breakfast and free lunch.  🙂  My motto, when it comes to work related meetings is:  “If you feed them, they will come.”  Works every time!  🙂

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »