Thursday, April 16, 2009
I cannot agree with the Democratic Party's position on most issues, like taxes, education policy, gun control, fiscal policy, government entitlement programs, universal healthcare... it's a long list.
But apparently to be a Republican you have to check your education and common sense at the door, and accept that global warming is natural and that homosexuality is not, and that we should go to war to free people in the Middle East from being forced to live according to the Koran while imposing the Bible on everyone in America.
Who ever thought that Ronald Reagan would become the poster child for political moderation? And why can't I be a Republican without being an ignorant, narrow-minded, reactionary hatemonger?
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
As I am a frustrated witness to such events on a daily basis, I think it will prove a fertile ground.
For instance: When I am shopping in a drugstore and am an unwilling audience to to EVERY DETAIL of a fellow shopper's in-depth cell phone conversation about the child custody dispute in which she and her soon-to-be-ex-husband are currently embroiled, complete with mutual restraining orders and allegations of theft and battery. NO MA'AM.
When the nose-ringed sacker at HEB, having plumped a five-pound bag of potatoes on top of a bag of Sun Chips, abandons the last two-thirds of my grocery order in order to read and reply to a text massage. NO MA'AM.
And my current favorite: When a single woman with no job, no income, and six children under the age of eight, currently living with her mother and receiving government assistance, has herself implanted with EIGHT EMBRYOS, keeps them all, and delivers octuplets who will immediately cost the State of California about $3 million in medical bills and who will likely be living on government assistance for their entire childhoods.
All together now: NO. MA'AM.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Today I volunteered in two different capacities - first as a lunch lady and then for Eureka Science. I've been doing the lunch lady bit since school started: I roam the cafeteria during lunchtime with my little construction apron full of ketchup packets, napkins, sporks, straws, etc. and help the kids as they're eating lunch. My two main tasks are passing out and opening ketchup packets. I also grant permission for bathroom trips and occasionally settle fights or soothe hurt feelings. It's fun - I enjoy the kids and have gotten to know many of them, both the funny charming ones and the whiny tattlers. Today's' menu was chicken fingers and fries and carrot sticks, so it was all about ketchup and ranch. And I only had to clean up one chocolate milk spill.
This was only my second time doing Eureka science. It's conducting experiments for/with the students to explain science and make it interesting. Before Christmas I got guilted into doing the Kindergarten one - "If you don't volunteer we won't be able to have it at all, we're so short-handed..." and once the program coordinator heard me explaining condensation to kindergartners in a simple, understandable way she snapped me up like a fat trout. That's what I get for being clever, right?
Today's Eureka for the first-graders was Surface Tension - how water beads up and holds together. My role was to help them drop water onto a penny to see it bead up and not slide off, then put soap on the penny and show that it disrupts the surface tensions and the water won't grab. Sorry to bite the hand that feeds me but it was not very well planned or executed. The concept was too abstract and not interesting, and eye droppers and first-graders are not a great combination anyway - one of them shot soap right into my eye. We didn't have enough time for them to do it themselves so they had to watch me do it while I told them not to touch things. Not very fun or interesting for any of us, I'm afraid.
I wonder why it's so much easier to be patient and kind to other people's children? I visited with one little kindergarten boy today at lunch who was really having a tough time. I saw him clenching up his fingers and asked him if they were hurt and he explained that he was making a fist because he was really angry. I sat down and asked him why and he explained a few grievances - small but real - and I just listened and agreed that it really stinks when you have to do what you don't want to and when people don't listen to you. He looked at me like no one had ever said that to him before. It really made me think - we are always dragging our kids around and telling them what to do and basically not giving them any say in their own lives, and not listening to what they say. How incredibly frustrating for them, and how shortsighted I have been in not realizing that before. Children are people and their feelings are as real, as intense, and as valid as anyone else's, and they have a right to them. At least twice a day I tell my kids they're wrong to be angry or they just have to deal with it, or I cut them off while they tell me something that's on their minds. If I got that from someone else I would be unbelievably pissed at being treated with such patronizing disrespect. I'm really going to try to quit blowing off or trying to logic away my kids' emotions and to let them order their own worlds a little more, and to respect their feelings and opinions. If I can do it for the little blond boy at table five then I can sure do it for my own children.
Monday, December 29, 2008
For anyone interested, here are all my resolutions so far:
1. I will get on a normal sleep schedule. I have a bad habit of staying up far too late - it is not at all unusual for me to be awake at 2 am, even on weeknights. I'm not doing anything important - piddling on the computer, plucking my eyebrows, reading, folding laundry, watching TV - but somehow I always manage to still be doing it at 1:00, then I have to get ready for the next day and get ready for bed. I also have the very bad habit of getting hungry around 11:30 and eating several hundred calories' worth of complete junk - Coke, chips, chocolate, Cheez-its, you get the picture. I average five hours of sleep a night during the week. For some folks this is enough, but my body really needs seven and eight is better. My thoughtful husband lets me sleep late on weekends to make up - often until lunchtime - but I know this is not beneficial in the long run, as it messes up my internal clock even more and causes me to miss out on weekend activities and church. Also, my husband then expects me to take over kids in the afternoons so he can nap, which is perfectly reasonable, but again prevents many activities and/or excursions. So I am determined to get my sorry ass into bed by 11:30 and turn out the light before midnight, every night, without the late-night calorie dump. That will help immensely with the other resolutions as well as improving my overall well-being and making me less grumpy and less fat, I hope.
2. I will improve my diet. I don't really eat too much food, but I eat way too much junk. I very rarely prepare a meal for myself - lean meat, vegetable, whole grain. My meals tend more toward Sun Chips and Snickers bars - things I can grab out of the pantry and eat right away with no effort and no dishes to wash. I've justified this to myself for years by saying that my overall calorie consumption is not excessive - it's not like I eat a big square meal and then add all this stuff. But I'm forced to confront the fact that I usually feel like crap, I'm ten pounds overweight, and vitamins - even the mega-green kind - are not a substitute for a healthy, balanced diet. So it's time to quite buying and eating packaged junk and start preparing meals - especially at lunchtime. I'm thinking the Healthy Choice and Lean Cuisine meals plus some fresh fruits and veggies are the best plan - I know I won't actually cook anything but I can pop a tray in the microwave . I also need to prepare a healthy dinner for my husband and me instead of getting takeout four nights a week, and I need to have a bowl of cereal instead of a candy bar when I get the hungries.
3. I will take my children to church. This one hit me like a ton of bricks a couple of weeks ago when I realized my four-year-old daughter did not know the words to "Away in a Manger". Since I left home to go to college I have not regularly attended church. I believe in God, our loving Father and omnipotent Creator. I believe in Jesus the Savior, the living Son of God who became a man, died to redeem our sins, and reigns in Heaven, and I have taught these things to my children. We've never attended church with any regularity, though, and since we moved to Katy two years ago we've visited several churches but haven't really found one we liked. Being brutally honest, much of the problem is that church happens on Sunday mornings, a time that I like to spend sleeping and my husband likes to spend tackling his to-do list. Also, the husband and I have divergent views of an ideal church - I like a choir, an organ, and a liturgy, and he likes a casual-dress rock concert. We've attended both kinds here in Katy but not really liked any of them. At any rate - it's time to quit making excuses and get my children some kind of religious instruction on a regular basis, so I'm going to pick a church and attend at least twice a month.
4. I will quit being late all the time. Habitual lateness is a terrible habit that has plagued me since childhood. I end up being barely on time or late almost everywhere I go. Despite careful plans and good intentions, I end up rushing and still not making it on time. I've figured out my problem (besides oversleeping because I stayed up too late): I always plan to be on time, and therefore any delay or snag pushes me into lateness. You'd think by now I'd have figured out that delays and snags are part of life, especially with kids. So here's my plan: I'm going to follow my husband's example and plan on being early. If I build in an extra ten or fifteen minutes I can actually arrive on time. I also will abandon the delusion that I can go from wet hair and no makeup to ready in twenty minutes.
5. I will blog! I'm not giving myself a schedule, but I am going to quit requiring cleverness or weighty subject matter before I'll post anything. Because that did not work out so well.
I'm hoping that making these resolutions a matter of public record will make their implementation more likely and more permanent. So here's hoping 2009 is a better year for everyone than 2008 and that I do better in it.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
- Biden has slogged it out in the Senate for 30 years and come to terms with the fact he'll never be President, so he's running for VP with a man he really doesn't like or respect very much.
- Sarah Palin can somehow be clever and charming yet completely incoherent. She just throws out all the words she can think of and hopes they stick.
- Main theme: Biden - "The Bush administration has been a train wreck and you're no different."
- Main theme: Palin - "I don't know anything about that, let's talk about energy".
- They both bashed the Bush administration, oil companies, and Wall Street.
- They both blamed mortgage lenders for the subprime mortgage crisis. Yeah, we hold guns to people's heads - because we're greedy and corrupt- to get them to buy houses, then we pay mobsters to package mortgage securities. Then we orchestrate a crash in home prices. The Illuminati are in on it too.
- Neither of them actually answered any of the questions posed by the moderator.
- Palin got off some real zingers, which went over well. Had Biden shot back he'd have been a sexist jerk. I could tell he was biting his tongue a lot of the time because he knew he'd look bad if he got at all aggressive or patronizing.
- Biden is smart but not likable, Palin is likable but not smart.
- Major props to whoever prepared their crib notes - they had misleading vote counts and meaningless statistics coming out the wazoo.
- Good job keeping it civil and professional but not smarmy.
- Why is it than in a political debate - about the differences between candidates - most of the talking was about how they believe in and support all the same things?
- They both seemed okay with sending troops to Darfur, a colossally stupid idea. Yes, the situation is desperately sad but there is no external solution. Those people won't stop fighting just because we ask them to. Kinda like Iraq.
- Sarah Palin pronounces nuclear "noo-cue-lur". See, it's not a Texan thing.
- They both love Israel, education, their middle-class backgrounds, and clean coal.
- They both could use a little Botox and/or Restylane. Biden's tie was badly knotted and Palin's skirt was too tight.
- They both oppose gay marriage but support protection of the rights of same-sex couples. Come again?
Sarah Palin tried to establish herself as an able executive because she was mayor of Wasilla. It came off badly - like claiming to be an expert entrepeneur because you had a lemonade stand in third grade. Biden was pretty dry and wooden - I think he's very capable and smart but just has no charisma. He only really came alive when he was bashing Dick Cheney.
My biggest surprise was when Biden teared up talking about his son. For those who don't know, he lost his wife and little girl in a car wreck in which one of his sons was very badly injured right after his first election to the Senate, almost 30 years ago. He was talking about not knowing whether or not your child would make it- in the most literal sense, for him. This guy has a reputation as a hard-nosed brawler and it was very uncharacteristic but actually nice to see - he's not made of iron.
Both of these candidates are good foils for their Presidential candidates - Biden's institutional gravitas to Obama's rock-star charisma, Palin's likability and folksiness to McCain's bad-tempered detachment.
It was a good debate in that it gave us a chance to get to know these candidates and learn about their ticket's stance on some issues. I don't think they changed anybody's mind though.
One last thing - how much better would this debate have been if it had been Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton? That would have been the best debate in the history of politics. Two pushy women who despise one another slogging it out, pulling no punches. Hillary would have wiped the floor with sweet, pretty Sarah but still come out the loser. But man it would have been fun to watch.