Musing

Lately I’ve been having trouble reading the news.  First, all of the coverage for Hurricane Irene was ridiculous.  We actually saw people calling it the “storm of the century” – apparently those same people have forgotten that Ike and Katrina both happened in this century.  But the worst was the people.  One of the engineers Kris works with was complaining about the horrors of the storm as it hit New Jersey – because he wasn’t able to charge his cell phone without going out and turning on his car.  When Kris called him on his asinine complaint, the guy told him that there was no way he could understand the devastation caused by Irene.  After holding back the urge to curse at this guy, Kris calmly explained that, in fact, he understood more than the engineer, because we lost everything in Katrina, and still haven’t found some friends that evacuated to Texas.  The guy shut up pretty promptly after that.  I blame the media for most of the hysteria though.  My parents are in the Boston area, and didn’t get hit too badly.  They lost power for a bit, and Mom’s office was still without power when I talked to them yesterday – but from what they said, Hurricane Bob was MUCH worse (my perception of Bob is skewed, because all I remember is that we had to cancel my birthday party that year and reschedule it because Bob hit on my birthday).

So, in an attempt to avoid all of the Hurricane coverage and hysteria, I switched over to the Justice tab on CNN – because I like to see what’s going on in the Courts and whatnot.  Well, the first story I see is about a man who got mad at his girlfriend, so he hit and then threw their son over the bow of the tour boat they were on.  Thankfully the boy wasn’t run over, and was rescued promptly, but really?!  WTH dude?  So I scrolled past that epic father of the year candidate and see a story which makes me even stabbier – police in North Carolina find a newborn (few-days old) infant in the bathroom trash in a grocery store.  Since the little girl was a few days old, someone clearly BROUGHT HER TO THE STORE AND THREW HER OUT.  Dear Lord in Heaven, really?  I know that NC has a safe haven law (every state in the country does) and I just can’t fathom what the person (and I use that term VERY lightly) was thinking when they left that poor baby there.

Many of you know that I have a hard time dealing with things that happen to children, especially babies.  What I want to know is this – with all of the options in this country for those who don’t want children – abortion, adoption, contraception, why in the hell do these people have children in their care.  If you don’t want to care for a child properly, don’t be in charge of one!  This seems to be a growing problem (or maybe it’s just that there’s been a rash of genetic donors doing harm to their children lately) and I just don’t understand why.  We have the technology to prevent unwanted pregnancies.  We have the infrastructure in place to deal with unwanted pregnancies that do happen.  So why?????

I just don’t understand.

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Giving

So I was recently considering my crafting status, and realized that though I have attempted knitting briefly in the past, I never really got into it.

In talking to Kris, I then decided that in my quest for the perfect winter hat, and my obsession with sweaters, it’s probably a good thing to give it another shot now that I have both time and (theoretically) patience.  So I started scouting the internet for knitting sites, in need of patterns and tips.  I stumbled across a site which has plucked at my heart-strings and my sappy nature – www.headhuggers.org  Basically, the woman who started the site is a knitter who is planning on making hats for people undergoing medical treatments and in need of hats.  And just in case I fail miserably at knitting (it could happen) she has a bunch of patterns whose owners have offered to allow her to distribute them for the charity, and they include sewn hats – so I have a backup plan!

After reading the rest of her site, I found links to two more sites which de-Grinched me even further.  Sue (the site’s owner) also runs a charity knitting/crocheting/etc for newborn babies in need.  Most of you who know me at all, know that babies are my big weakness.  A baby in need is my Kryptonite.  So I jumped over to this site – www.miracleshappen.us and decided that I needed to stop clicking so that I could stop melting.

Going back to the Head Huggers site, I then scrolled to the very bottom – where I saw a link to another melt-your-heart site – http://www.cleaningforareason.org/ which provides 4 free housecleaning sessions (1 per month for 4 months) to women undergoing chemo nationwide.

As I sat here looking at my computer and turning to goo, I decided that I HAVE to start knitting now.  Because my gooey caramel center demands it of me.  I will learn to knit, and then donate the CRAP out of my projects.

This is my new plan.  Who wants to join me?

Also, I really want a cute winter hat that fits.

Napping

Or not.  Dru has always been a good sleeper – slept 4 hours the first night in the hospital even.  Up until this past week.  He skipped his nap on Sunday, Monday he talked through it, yesterday he did the same thing, and today was a repeat.  Now, each day he spent his nap time in his crib, just like previous nap times, but he simply didn’t sleep.  At first I thought it could have been an ear infection – except that he’s sleeping fine at night (going down at 7/7:30 PM and getting up at 8:30/9 AM).  So his nighttime sleep hasn’t changed, but he’s skipping naps – and it’s showing in his behavior in the afternoon.  He’s cranky and over-tired from about 4pm to bedtime, which makes my afternoons tough.  I was beginning to think it was his teeth, so before nap time today, I gave him some Orajel – no joy.

I just don’t know what to do for him.  He’s tired and miserable in the afternoon, thus making me miserable, and the pediatrician said it’s probably just him deciding he doesn’t want to nap.

 

So, to all the other moms out there – HELP?!  Any suggestions on getting him to nap?  I’m going to continue putting him down like normal, but he clearly needs the sleep…

Voting

Well, as most of us have noticed, campaign season has already started…yay…

I despise campaign season, and campaign commercials.  Mostly because people only focus on what they see in the commercials, and don’t do research for themselves.

So here is my request to all of you this election:  Educate yourself.  If you’re interested in a candidate, search for them, look up their views on issues that are important to you, and compare it to voting records, etc.

Then, take it to the next step and EXERCISE YOUR RIGHT TO VOTE.

I don’t care who you vote for.  Seriously, I don’t.  Vote for your pet fish (he’s probably a better candidate than some…) or whomever, but VOTE.

On a related note, I’ve become intrigued by the new site http://www.americanselect.org  It purports to be a way to get people more direct input into candidates on their ballots.  So far 1.7 million registered voters have signed up.  As of today, when I signed up out of curiosity, it had 64 topic questions to help you narrow down your “colors”.  I’m not sure how it plans on getting things done, but I plan on waiting and seeing what happens.

Stabbing

is what I would like to do to these “administrators”.

http://www.news-leader.com/article/20110817/NEWS12/108170372/1002/SPORTS/

Administrators of a school in Missouri are now on my “should be dragged into the streets and shot with darts until they bleed out” list.  Want to know why?  Of course you do – you’re reading my blog.

So yes, these “paragons of virtue” and “protectors of youth” decided in the 2008-2009 school year to ignore the complaint of a mentally challenged girl who claimed to be sexually harassed and raped by another student.  They bullied her into recanting, then EXPELLED her for making the claims in the first place.  But only after they made her write him an apology and hand deliver it (of course).

When the poor thing returned to school the next year (09-10), the harassment began again.  And then she was raped AGAIN.  She didn’t report this to the school (why would she, after her previous experience) and thankfully told her mother.  When she was checked out by the Child Advocacy Center – who found evidence of rape trauma and semen – the school still didn’t so anything.  Even though she was RAPED IN THE LIBRARY OF THE SCHOOL.

So, the boy was charged and plead guilty (it was his semen).

Now the girl and her mother are suing the school district.  They are alleging a whole host of things, including the fact that the school, as mandated reporters, didn’t report the initial rape accusation.  And then punished her by making it.  And apparently all while knowing that the girl’s challenge included a conflict-averse personality with an inability to deny others.  So, being the lovely caring people that they are, the school district has responded that the suit is invalid because the girl failed to protect herself (NICE ASSHOLES, because as we all know, rape victims are asking for it /end sarcasm) and failed to exhaust administrative remedies.

What I want to know is what remedies they wanted her to exhaust?  They bullied her into recanting a statement, then kicked her out of school.  It doesn’t exactly sound like they were going to be willing to hear her accuse them of wrongdoing.

I seem to be forming many posses lately.  Maybe I need to start a company…

Jamming

HamJam #9!

This is my 8th HamJam, and I think my parents’ 6th or 7th.  It was also the first year we had rain.  Despite that, we had a HUGE turnout, including a surprise guest of Kellie (she ostensibly wasn’t going to be there, and took a long train ride to make it).

As always the food was awesome, We had our three tents for colds, hots and desserts, and the rain just let everyone get nice and cozy under their chosen tent or overhang.

Dru loved it – he was really too young to have much fun last year, so this year was his first HamJam that he was able to participate in.  We got some great pictures of everyone, so here they come!

This one is the day before HamJam:

Dru enjoying the water/sand table that Mams had "jump" into her cart

 

Dru and Papa Dann

 

Dru playing with the water/sand table in his HamJam "finery"

The younger members inside during a bout of rain

Dru and his "tar" that Bryce donated

Dru and Grams with Lego Papa

People chatting and socializing during a dry spell

Overall, I think we had a great time!

And to add a little extra, we hit up the fair before we left, and Dru got to see the goats!

Dru and his friend the goat

Educating…I think

So my original plan for tonight was to write about HamJam #9.  But my darling husband alerted me to an article which was just BEGGING to be responded to.

http://www.cracked.com/article_19339_the-6-dumbest-things-schools-are-doing-in-name-safety.html

Cracked.com compiled a list of 6 stupid things that different school districts are doing “for the kids” which are both wasteful and stupid.  I’ll go through them in the same order that Cracked did.

#6 – Forcing Students to Wear Electronic Tracking Devices

Instead of the standard Student ID with picture, name, and school info, two district in Houston, TX issued all students cards with RFID tracking tags in them (at a cost to the district of $150k).  Theoretically this will help with tracking attendance (since state funding is tied to attendance).  Here’s the big problem.  It’s a CARD.  You can hand them to a different student, or, (assuming that the school isn’t going to be constantly monitoring EVERY card and its location) just leave it in their locker.  Also, even if the student DOES bring the card with them when they skip class, the range on the cards only extends 100 yards beyond campus.  And since I’ve never heard of someone playing hookie within sight of the school, it doesn’t exactly seem effective for finding people who are, in fact, playing hookie.

There’s also a ton of privacy concerns tied in – hacking, tracking constantly, etc.  And apparently, in case this wasn’t invasive enough, a school in San Antonio has taken it one step further!  They’re putting ankle bracelets on kids who have truancy issues.  Yep, that’s right, ankle bracelets…

#5 – Banning ALL Photography

In order to prevent child pornography (I guess in response to idiots distributing naked pics over text, etc), a school in England has banned ALL photography on school grounds or school events.  This includes spectators at sporting events, field trips, school plays, etc.  Because the danger of one idiot snapping a naked pic of her boobs and sending it to her love interest totally justifies Mr. and Mrs. Jones not being able to get a picture of little Suzie as the lead in the school play.  Especially since most of these naked pics are NOT being taken at school or school events.

Here’s a novel idea – let’s have the parents actually impress upon their children the importance of NOT SENDING NUDIE PICS!

#4 – Absolutely NO Touching

In Fairfax, VA a middle school has overreacted to the issues of inappropriate touching by banning ALL touching.  That’s right.  Apparently they have decided that kids can’t figure out the difference between punching someone and high-fiving them.  I mean, I know that I’ve lamented the state of youth, and yada yada, but seriously?  Little Johnny doesn’t know that punching someone is NOT okay?  Again, this is just lazy.  How about we teach our children (and again, this shouldn’t fall on the teachers, it falls to the parents) what is and isn’t appropriate?  Stop being your kids’ friend and be a freaking parent!

And after noticing that Fairfax had this going, a middle school in CT has adopted the same policy (apparently after one kid got kicked in the groin).  Seriously?  I’m pretty sure every kid on the planet knows that kicking in the groin is wrong.  So the kid who did such a thing probably wouldn’t follow the rules of no touching.

#3 – Banning All Outside Food

So we all know that more and more allergies are appearing across the country.  Some experts say it’s because we’re introducing allergens too early, some say we’re introducing them too late, some say we’re oversanitizing.  Whatever the reason, more and more kids have severe allergies to foods.  One Chicago school has decided to ruin lunch for everyone by banning kids from bringing food from home – unless it’s a strict dietary issue.  So for every kid with a healthy immune system or a non-diet restrictive religion, they are all now required to buy lunch at school.  And yes, they are actually requiring any hungry child to spend money at the school.  I find myself doubting that this is even a theoretically moral issue – I feel like it’s probably financially motivated, because in this economy, I’m sure people weren’t buying school lunches when they could bring their own.  So the school increased their lunch revenue.  Apparently, however, students (and their parents) are rebelling against this and kids are actually skipping lunch altogether – which I’m sure is just SOOOOOO healthy.

#2 – Wearing Prison Jumpsuits for Dress Code Violations

Yep, you read that right.  When your high school kid violates a dress code stipulation in Gonzales, TX, they have to wear a navy blue jumpsuit.  What makes it more ridiculous is that dress code violations include cargo pants, baggy pants and t-shirts.  Yep, pretty much every normal teenager will be forced into a jumpsuit.  At least they didn’t choose orange though – gotta give them credit for that.

The real kicker though?  Many of the students are intentionally violating the dress code so they can wear the jumpsuit!  Yep, this sounds effective…

#1 – Bad Behavior = Fines

Oh yes, your kindergartner will now be coming home not only with macaroni art and marker stains, but with tickets and fines for bad behavior.  And these are tickets from the police, not from the school – so you get to take your kid to juvenile court (by taking off of work), pay the ticket, and court costs, all because your 6-year-old was giggling with his friends and caused a disturbance.  And no, I’m not exaggerating, many of the tickets are being given to elementary school kids, so there’s no way to make them pay their own ticket, like you can do with your high-schooler who can get a job.

So this is really punishing the parents for behavior that they have no direct control over.  Because I don’t know about you, but when I was a teenager, I cussed at school.  And it wasn’t because my parents were bad, it’s because I was a teenager, and that what teenagers do.

This is legislating morality – and seeing as that worked so well with Prohibition, I’m sure this kind of policy will prove to be successful (/end sarcasm)

Oh, and don’t forget that this places more of a burden on our already overtaxed courts and police departments.

Yep, all of these policies seem destined to be highly “effective”.  Seriously, has everyone lost their minds?

Here is my overarching solution to all of the issues – PERSONAL AND PARENTAL RESPONSIBILITY.

TADA!  You’re welcome for solving these problems with a minimum of cost.