Saturday, December 31, 2011
I wonder if it carries over to irritate their wives?
Odysseus started blogging, early this year (welcome to the blog world, babe)--he does mostly commentary on politics, occupidiots, and posts a lot more videos than I do. I'll leave him to do his own "year in review" post, if he wants to.
I'm still blogging (trying to get back into at least one post every day), still teaching, and still writing fiction (in fact, I've managed to nearly finish an anthology of short fiction this Christmas break). I've managed to drop the pregnancy weight I gained with the pixie, and am now working on what I couldn't lose after I had the imp, thanks to a then-undiagnosed under-active thyroid. It's been treated, and breastfeeding a rapidly growing baby is melting the weight off of me. I've lost 35 pounds, and am still losing.
The imp has learned all of his letters, and can tell you what letter you show him (as long as it's capitalized). He can count to four, and still adores his baby sister (even though he's always pushing her away from his toys). He's started drinking chocolate milk, and can put away a full gallon inside of three days. He's finally topped the 30 pound mark--barely, and recently. Best of all, he's started really talking--independent two, three, or four word phrases; answering questions; asking for things he wants, and saying "please"; parroting new phrases, and working them into his rapidly ballooning databanks of words, word combinations, and ideas--though the frustration of being unable to communicate is still there, to a degree, it's being rapidly replaced by the frustration of being able to communicate his wants, and being told no.
The pixie was born a year ago, so she's changed the most. She was sitting up by herself by May (as in, sitting herself up, not staying sitting when somebody sat her up), crawling by July, cruising by August, and taking independent steps by October. She started running right around her first birthday. She consistently refused a bottle, refused to eat baby food, but now eats whatever we do, has been saying a few words (mama, daddy/papa, a version of her brother's name, baba [meaning breast, since she's breastfed], and kitty), and is beginning to add to her vocabulary. She recently repeated it when I said "shut the door" when it was naptime. She's gone from six pounds at birth to 21 pounds (briefly, just after Labor Day, before she started walking) and is quickly running her baby chub off (and stretching it out vertically).
I've managed bupkis on the whole self-improvement thing--I haven't managed to keep the house clean, I haven't managed to improve my teaching or my classes for my students, I haven't managed to not yell at the kids as much, haven't made it to church as often as Odysseus would like, haven't kept in contact with many of my friends or family (outside of the grandparents)...basically, I've totally failed at everything I promised myself I'd do.
But I'm trying. I keep trying. I don't throw my hands up, say "I can't do it, life just knocked me down, and I'm not going to keep getting back up" and give up. So, that means I'm managing one of my main life's ambitions: I'm not turning into my mother.
As for this coming year, I'm going to try to...
... get the back room (currently junk storage) cleaned up to the point it can be a play room for the imp while the pixie is sleeping (cement floors--he can jump to his heart's content without it reverberating through the whole house).
...teach the imp to read--he's on his way there, so I just need to help him a bit.
...be more patient with the kids.
...finish my short story anthology and get it sent to a publisher. Then forget about it until I hear back one way or the other.
...finish the novel I've got a third of the way done.
...keep writing one post per day, on average.
...attempt to get caught up on the housework. And then keep up a bit better.
I hope everyone who reads this did better on keeping their resolutions than I did last year, and has a great year in 2012.
(And please, Dear God, don't let Obama stay in the White House without a supermajority of real conservatives in congress roadblocking him and his progressive agenda at every turn. And please don't let the GOP replace Obama with Romney or the amphibian.)
Friday, December 30, 2011
I've had it for a day, now, and I can think of a couple of downsides to it: first of all, I can't figure out how to get the Baen free stuff from the website onto the reader--"zipping" has to do with what you do with your pants before leaving the bathroom, and "unzipping" is what got Clinton in trouble.
Second, I have a horribly fast reading speed--real reading, with comprehension and retention, not this skimming stuff they teach in speed reading classes on campus. It took me five hours to read Dune, and two days to read The Hobbit and all three volumes of The Lord of the Rings. I read most of the Harry Potter books in four hours or less. It takes me less than ten seconds to read the text on the screen (about three screens to a paperback page worth of text). Seriously. I'm telling it to flip to the next screen before it's done realizing it's on the screen I've just finished reading.
I do think it's worth the trouble, and definitely a brilliant idea--this little thing can hide in a legal pad (and then in my lap) to keep me from being bored spitless in the next academic meeting.
That said, I am so glad the holiday season is, for the most part over. Now, we just need to recover from it, and the colds that we each had going into it. I have a house to clean, kids (and spouse) to care for, and this utter exhaustion that Christmas caused can FTFO. With cheez. I don't have the time to deal with it, or the luxury to indulge it.
As always, the floor is yours. If you need to get something off your chest to go into the weekend with less tension, have at it.
Thursday, December 29, 2011
Would it bother you to know that the federal Centers for Disease Control had been shown your daughter’s health records to see how she responded to an STD/teen-pregnancy-prevention program? How about if the federal Department of Education and Department of Labor scrutinized your son’s academic performance to see if he should be “encouraged” to leave high school early to learn a trade? Would you think the government was intruding on your territory as a parent?
Given that it's my opinion that the government is stepping all over parental territory every day: schools that take teenagers to Planned Parenthood for abortions without parental notification, much less consent; children taken from decent homes because they complained that their parents swatted their hands or rears or grounded them, while children that live in abusive homes keep their heads down and are left with their vicitmizers; schools watching your child's weight and trying to take over who gets to decide what your child eats--yeah, the government is majorly overstepping its boundaries on the local, state, and now federal level.
Under regulations the Obama Department of Education released this month, these scenarios could become reality. The department has taken a giant step toward creating a de facto national student database that will track students by their personal information from preschool through career. Although current federal law prohibits this, the department decided to ignore Congress and, in effect, rewrite the law.
And this surprises people...why? Every government is, at heart, a tyranny. Tyrannies work best if there is nowhere they cannot look into an individual's life, especially their personal life. And where best to start but in their childhood? Get 'em used to it young, and they won't notice the way their privacy is slowly stripped away (except in cases of murdering their unborn babies), and their rights infringed upon.
Assuming they understand what their rights are, given how crappy civic education is on nearly every level.
The administration wants this data to include much more than name, address and test scores. According to the National Data Collection Model, the government should collect information on health-care history, family income and family voting status. In its view, public schools offer a golden opportunity to mine reams of data from a captive audience. (emphasis mine)
Okay, here's the nub: the federal government assumes that you will use public schools to educate your child. Currently. So, if you care about this (and you should), one way to neatly sidestep the whole issue is to sacrifice some of your lifestyle to put your kids in private school. The government is right to assume that individuals in public school are, in a sense, a captive audience: they have total authority over public education. It's one of the only reasons I have issues with Ronald Regan and his policies.
Right now, they only feel safe invading your privacy through your kids' public school records. Right now, it's still legal to choose whether to put your kids in public school, private school, or take them out of school systems altogether and teach them yourself.
I have two little ones, the oldest of which is three years from public school age (born after the cutoff date), if I were planning on sending them in the first place. Thing is, I am an educator. I know what the quality of public school education isn't--I see the end results, and the average readiness for college is falling, year by year. There are a few individuals who've been to private school their whole lives (we have two good K-12 ones here--one is Catholic, the other costs more per year than the university does), and a few who have been home schooled who are better students than the private school kids. Guess which route I'm planning to take with my kids?
Right now, the federal government assumes that your kids are their property, and assume that you are a captive audience through their education. The federal government doesn't realize that their captive audience isn't as captive as they'd like to think.
Unfortunately, their "captive audience" isn't likely to shrink, as most parents are either uninformed, or just don't care.
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
I also want to know how the stupid parents could ask someone who lived in a trailer park populated by registered sex offenders to babysit little girls in his home.
A parent's first responsibility is to ensure their kids' safety. The parents failed their daughter badly.
I have had the flu while taking care of my kids. It doesn't matter that I'm sick--I get up and do my job anyway. Armed. Because if I'm sick, I'll be a little slower making it to a tool to ensure my children's safety in the event of my door being kicked down. If I was down sick too hard, Odysseus would pick up with whatever I couldn't do, even if he did work nights.
Our kids come first. They eat before we do, they get new clothes before we do, their medicine (if any) is bought first. We don't stop taking care of them just because we're sick, or tired. We don't hand them off to "trusted family friends." It is our joy and responsibility to care for them before we care for us. They come first.
No way would we permit them to go anywhere near a registered sex offender (or one that's even a little creepy around kids)--much less fifteen of them--without both armed guards (their parents) present, and at 100%.
(story linked via Odysseus)
As everyone who reads my blog knows, I have a small son (three years, going through the terrible twos a year late) and daughter (just turned a year earlier this month). They're great kids for their age, but their attention is firmly planted on what they want, getting what they want, and doing what they want, all when they want it.
Last week, I had just sat down with an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie, and the pixie walked up to where I was sitting, and gave me the big, pitiful eyes, smacking her little lips. So, of course, I broke off a pixie-sized bite, and put it in her mouth. Unfortunately, I put my cookie (which I'd eaten maybe two bites of) within her reach, and she yanked it out of my hand and took off at her full running speed.
Cute as that is, that's a behavior I'll have to work to curb. She also tries it with her brother's toys. Granted, he does the same, but I've been working on his behavior a lot longer than I have hers, and he tries to wait until we're not paying attention to take toys from her.
So, rule 1 that we're trying to enforce is: Don't take things from other people.
It's pretty obvious that not everyone is teaching their kids the same thing. There are videos all over the internet of purse snatchings, robberies, and all manner of animals taking things from others.
The imp has taken to shoving the pixie, recently--sometimes, he pushes her away from a toy they both want (that neither has picked up yet), sometimes, she's just in his way. Occasionally, he'll slap her for picking up something he wants, either a Cheerio or a toy or a book. Sometimes, there doesn't even seem to be a reason: he'll run up to her as she's standing in the middle of the room and just push her over. That behavior gets Mom or Dad showing him what it's like, and then gets him sent to his room.
We've been working on curbing this behavior, too. Rule 2: Don't hit or push people just because.
Apparently, not many parents bother to teach their kids these rules, either. Anyone heard of the "Knock Out" game? Basically, a pack of wild children/teenagers pick out someone who don't look like they'll fight back, choose one of their number to be the aggressor, then attack the chosen victim. They literally beat the snot out of them until they're down and unconscious or badly hurt.
The story linked blames lack of brain development, and how kids can't foresee the consequences of their actions: in other words, it's really nobody's fault.
Kids are vicious, selfish little beasts, by nature. A child has to be taught empathy (putting themselves in someone else's shoes), and the rules of civilization. The best teachers are the parents. Currently, most parents are giving birth, then dropping their kids in daycares, Head Start/preschool--basically doing everything but teaching their kids themselves. I would be willing to bet that not one of the animals in the stories/videos I linked have even one parent invested in raising them, not one regularly attends a church that actively teaches right from wrong, and not one has anyone who cares enough about them to set boundaries.
Unfortunately for the rest of us, that means nobody is raising these kids. I foresee an epidemic of violent, stupid sociopaths that lack any idea of what it means to be human.
Saturday, December 24, 2011
4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) 5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. 6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12 And this [shall be] a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
Just a short reminder of the reason behind the season. Merry Christmas, and may God bless you all.
Friday, December 23, 2011
That said, people who get offended by the mere mention of Christmas can f-off. I do not appreciate political correctness trying to marginalize those of us who are Christian at any time, much less during our highest holy days of Christmas and Easter. They bend over so far backwards for Muslims on their holidays that they wind up with their heads firmly inserted into someplace dark, humid, and fragrant, but choose to be "offended" by any mention of Christmas or Christ that they hyperventilate over a simple wish for a happy holiday season. They work so hard to force Christ out of the season that they've harassed cashiers into saying "Happy Holidays," and taken all references to Christmas out of Christmas plays (now called "Solstice concerts" for small children), Christmas Break (now called "Winter Break"), and even Christmas trees ("Holiday trees--the one at the White House features Obama, this year).
I'm so tired of all the political correctness that I've started going out of my way to offend those individuals. I wish people a "Merry Christmas," loudly, and with a smile that carries the glee of feeling like I've pissed somebody off.
And that, especially in this time of year, isn't right.
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Welcome, Shepherd. Put your feet up and let me pour you a drink. I got bourbon, scotch, coffee, tea, or cocoa--your pick.
The headline doesn't include the information that Obama's uncle is in the US illegally, nor that he'd been arrested for DUI in August.
And, if you click on the headline, you get this: "In an interview with Boston radio host Howie Carr on Wednesday, Romney said 'yes' when asked if Onyango Obama should be deported." Nope, the writers just make it sound like Mitt Romney (who I really detest as a closet Marxist and a hypocrite) is just a petty s.o.b. who would deport someone just because he's related to someone in the political opposition.
Basically, a man (apparently drunk) shot at a mouse in the kitchen with his 9mm handgun (type undisclosed by the story). Bullet went through the wall, and hit a housemate in the chest while he was in the bathroom. As the police were investigating the shooting, they found the third housemate's girlfriend hiding in the basement.
The guy with the questionable judgement and unreasoning fear of mice was 27, the one in the bathroom that got shot was 28, and the third guy was 34. The third guy's girlfriend was 13.
Yep, the 13 year old girl had been having a "relationship" with the 34 yo man for several months, sneaking out so her daddy didn't find out about it.
Needless to say, Johnny Perv got arrested and charged.
Thank God for drunk idiots with guns and a fear of mice (even if the other housemate would disagree).
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Needless to say, I've got a headache, can't breathe, and don't feel like eating.
Supper, however, was really good. I made biscuits and sausage gravy. The biscuits turned out better than the Pillsbury biscuits in a can, and the sausage turned out stick-to-your-ribs thick.
The biscuit recipe is in the recipes tab above (or just click on this link), and we usually use the Morrison's Country Gravy mix, but my mom's recipe for gravy is below:
1/2 bulk sausage
1/4 c oil
1/4 c flour
2 c milk
1. Brown the sausage.
2. Add the oil and the flour, stir constantly to make a paste.
3. Slowly add the milk, stirring constantly.
4. Bring back to boil, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.
5. Remove from heat. Should thicken as it stands.
Again, this isn't how I generally make gravy--I can never manage to get it quite right. The Morrison's mix works really well, and is really easy to make.
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
I want, very badly, to go shooting. I want to load up a ton of ammo, my two favorite rifles, and that lovely little .22 Winchester that someone so defiled (filed the front sight off, but put a 3/4 inch by three inch long rail for a scope that I had to put a holographic red dot sight on) and go play. I've done my work, now it's Christmas break, and time to play. Right? Right.
Only, I have a three year old son and a one year old daughter who's just gotten over a virus. Both need constant supervision, and care, and for Mommy to get in the floor and play with them and read to them. I have a house to continue to catch up on cleaning. I have Christmas baskets to assemble, cookies and meals to cook. I may be done with what I get paid to do, but I still have responsibilities that I have to keep up with. I'm an adult, and that's what adults do.
I want to go out and get about a dozen more books that I've had on my mental list for a while, and one of those CZ 527s I had an opportunity to handle before my son learned to walk. I want to remodel my kitchen, my hall bathroom, and my back room. I want to take the (sagging, splintering, and generally unsafe and ugly) deck off of the back of the house and replace it with a nice patio, and maybe an arbor to train flowers up over for shade for a bench. I want about four or five new bookcases, all solid wood, not cheap knock-together crap from Walmart.
Only, right now, we're treading water. Currently, mine is the main monthly income, and it's just enough to get by on, and that only with help from our savings account. We've cut expenses nearly as far as we can, and I can't think of anything much else we can cut. We can't afford to buy more books, or guns, or do anything but basic repairs and maintenance to the house. So, we pinch pennies, spend as little as possible, and that on things we need, while making plans for what we want when we can afford it, after we've gotten our retirement accounts and kids' college funds fully funded. I'm an adult. That's what adults do.
Sadly, Odysseus and I are two adults in a nation of children. I have, maybe, two other friends that I'd classify as "adults"--they take care of needs, first, then wants with any money they have left, and don't overspend much or often. They take care of their responsibilities and their kids before they take care of themselves. The saddest part of this is that I have about a dozen people I'd call a friend, in real life, and only two that I classify as adults. Not a good proportion, but an accurate representation of the level of maturity this country's citizens tend to have.
No, it's not "fair" that we can't do what we want, when we want, or buy everything we want when we want it. Then again, "fair" is a concept for playgrounds and classrooms, not one that applies in the adult world.
Every attempt to make it apply where it doesn't has either started with or ended in tyranny.
Oh, and make cookies. We're almost out, my recipe makes a good four dozen, and a half dozen or so would be a good addition to the goodie baskets.
The imp, who's a big fan of Thomas and Friends, is getting this from us, and this* from his granny (he calls her genny--sounding like the name of this bird). The pixie is a huge baby doll fan, so we got her a little purple pajama doll--the body of the doll is the pajamas, with a rubber baby doll head.
Yes, I'm looking forward to the excitement that I know the kids will have in getting their gifts, but I'm also looking forward to the busy part of the season being over. I cannot express how grateful I am that the shopping part of the season is over. Now, I just can't wait for the rest of our town to revert to what passes for sanity.
Grocery shopping at this time of year sucks.
*cute story attached--the imp was playing with another engine, squeezed his eyes shut, and wished real hard for it to turn into the one he's getting for Christmas. He wasn't real bummed when it didn't, but he asks for that particular engine every so often.
Monday, December 19, 2011
I will be going into the kitchen as soon as he comes back and can watch the pixie for a few moments and putting a chicken into the crock pot, and turning it on low for the day. 'Round supper time, I'll put some frozen veggies in the microwave, and maybe a sweet potato or two, and some biscuits* in the oven. When those are done, the chicken will be, too.
Total prep time (if you don't include the way the chicken has been marinating in spices overnight) will be about 5 minutes, with maybe 15 minutes of cook time (again, not counting the chicken).
Best of all, tomorrow night will be the leftover chicken turned into a chicken enchilada casserole*. One of those chickens makes three casseroles, so we'll have one to eat, and two to freeze.
*Recipes for easy simple biscuits and Chicken Enchilada Casserole are in the My Recipes tab above the posts.
Saturday, December 17, 2011
What I don't understand is this: exactly what does Twitter display about being college material? How can tweeting demonstrate any abilities that would be an asset to a college student? The essays that were required for scholarships from everything like an MBA program to the KFC and Amazon cash prize scholarships displayed an ability to write (even if it was formulaic and "unoriginal," as the MBA program in the article claimed), and an ability to do unpleasant things to get a chance at a reward.
The MBA program hopes that using technology might bring life back into an application process that got "boring." Hate to tell you, sweetie, but "boring" is part of life, and to try to teach kids otherwise is what helped to create the Occupy movement.
Oh, wait: most of my colleagues are spoiled brat Occupy types that got lucky enough for their degree in women's studies, African-American post-Colonial literature studies, and Harry Potter studies (I only wish I was kidding on that last one), to actually help them find a job instead of proving them worthless to employers.
If programs want to incorporate media into their application process, they need to look at full-length blogs, or the sum total of someone's Twitter account if they must use Twitter as a yardstick to award a scholarship.
Because, seriously, one of the main sources of whining about the papers I assign isn't "I don't know what to write about" but "Does it have to be that long?" And, with the exception of the research paper (6-8 pages), the papers I assign are usually a minimum of 3 pages. The whining about length of the weekly blogging assignment--three 300 word posts (Comp I) or two 500 word posts (102) per week--is far worse, especially from kids that have gotten used to Myspace, Facebook, and texting. Using a single, 140 character message as a basis to award a scholarship is just going to exacerbate that problem.
Friday, December 16, 2011
May the authors of those bills wake up with the fleas of all the camels in the world nesting in their genitalia. May their homes be infested with bedbugs, body lice, crabs, and roaches. May every exterminator refuse to help them and make it clear that the vermin will not leave because of the shitpiles that attracted them. May their pets be frigid and their spouses incontinent.
May their lives become so miserable that they each and every one suck-start a shotgun.
Go to the link, then chime in in the comments.
Oh, and lastly, for Ricki: CCFOAD.
Thursday, December 15, 2011
This afternoon, I got an email from a student begging for an incomplete instead of the F she so richly earned.
Back in early August, I met with her in person to help her get her blog set up. She was kind of intermittent in her blogging, and in early September, contacted me to tell me that her mother was ill. That was the last I heard from her, and she never turned in a lick of work.
So, now that semester's over, she's emailing me begging me for an incomplete (like I have the time or desire to grade her entire semester's worth of work she didn't do) because her mother died, her brother died, she has her kids and her brother's kids, and she's on some kind of government scholarship to pay for her classes, but loses the money if she fails even one class, she can't keep going to college if she loses the money and it's worse now with so many more kids to care for, oh please help.
I'm a sucker for a sob story. If a student is having trouble early in the semester, tell me, and I'll go out of my way to help them. If a student has crap happen just before a due date, and tell me before the due date, I'll usually offer an extension. I'll keep offering extensions as long as communication happens. (I had a married couple stay in contact dealing with an in-law's death, and then a daughter's messy divorce with the daughter and grandkids moving in with them. They were a few weeks late with a lot of it. They caught up and earned Bs--and if they hadn't been in contact with me, I would have failed them without blinking.)
I don't have a lot of sympathy for this girl. She's one of the stereotypical cheerleader types: pretty, popular, has gotten a lot of special consideration for it, and expects that consideration. That's demonstrated by contacting the teacher almost a week after the last day of classes, begging for an incomplete instead of the F she earned.
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
In any case, he woke me at ten 'til six this morning to go feed the pixie, and I found myself wide awake. No way could I get back to sleep. So here I am.
On the one hand, I'm kind of wistful--it's going to be a long day, because my mom is bringing one of my aunts to help me with getting caught up on housework that I fell behind on during the semester, and some I never got caught up on from being pregnant and exhausted and miserably sick. But I will admit that being the only one (besides the cat) up is...surprisingly peaceful.
I've got some last minute grading to look at--one of my students begged me to take enough late work to at least manage a D. She wrote 18 blog posts, at 300 words/post, all between 9:45 and 3:15. I'm a little stunned at that, given that she hasn't worked so hard all semester. She basically wrote the equivalent of four papers in five and a half hours. So, since I'm feeling generous, I'll give her the D.
The other thing this lets me do is work on writing. I've got an anthology of short stories about two-thirds of the way done, with one of the stories about half done and up in Word; a novel about the same; and two more novel ideas and two more short story anthologies in the works. I've got five and a half weeks free (well, free except for the bustle around Christmas), so I'm going to see if I can't get at least the short story anthology done. If I finish the novel, well--that's just gravy.
The pixie has actually been napping, for the past several days. Two hours at a stretch. Yeah, sometimes she'll wake up, but she's got a new friend that seems to be just magic at getting her to go back to sleep. Heck, "Dog-dog" seems to be able to get her to go to sleep, after a little bit of fussing that gets shorter every day. Seems like the pixie gets distracted from standing screaming and jumping at the rail by the toy, sits down to play with it, lays down to play with it, then blinks one time too many. I hate, hate, hate noisy toys, but that one seems to just be magic.
The imp has a new "toy," too. I think he's going to learn to read early--he's able to name all of the letters of the alphabet, in or out of order. Any case, he's obsessed with coming up to Odysseus's knees or my elbow while one of us is working on the computer, then he'll name the computer (Odysseus's computer's name seems to be "Green" for the light around the power button), then start pointing to keys on the keyboard and telling us the letters. (He also knows "delete" and can say that pretty clearly. Thank God he doesn't push the buttons he names.) So, since he really likes the alphabet, I took an old keyboard from a computer that died long ago, cut the wire off, and gave it to the imp to play with. It has quickly become a favorite.
I think we'll have to start teaching him to use a computer, soon. There's at least one cute game on Odysseus's desktop that's designed for kids his age. Before you know it, he'll be blogging, too.
Monday, December 12, 2011
A good example happens every morning. I fix his breakfast (sausage links) and leave it where he can reach it, but the pixie can't. He screams and shakes his head that he won't eat, then turns around and asks for milk. I don't grant this, because I've learned that he fills up on the milk, and won't eat. So he doesn't get milk until after he eats. He knows this, but does the same thing every morning: screaming, stomping temper tantrum on sight of sausage; I turn off the television, say "fine, go to your room and close the door until you're done screaming"; he goes, calms down, and comes back out, and asks for milk. I tell him "sausage, first, then milk," so he tries for orange juice. "Sausage first." Screaming temper tantrum, exile to calm down, then back, and asks for milk, orange juice, and then water. I give him a little drink--enough to quench thirst--then wait. He asks for milk again, and I point at the sausage. He throws a screaming tantrum, tells me "NO!" gets a spanking, and gets sent to his room. When he's let out, the cycle continues.
Breakfast sometimes takes half an hour, sometimes takes until lunch. Sometimes he'll settle down in time to watch Sesame Street, sometimes he won't. And it doesn't matter if it's sausage (though that's the most likely to be eaten), Cream o' Wheat, yogurt, or what have you: he insists on his way or throws a tantrum.
I am at the end of my rope, and don't know what I'm doing wrong.
Sunday, December 11, 2011
Frankly, that's totally out of our budget. Especially since my whole family tends to be clutter bugs.
Don't get me wrong--I understand why. Most of my family are on a fixed income, the rest on near-minimum wage. And they own property they really can't afford to pay taxes on or take care of, can't budget (or stick to one, when they try to set one), and can't plan ahead well enough to be able to predict "unexpected" expenses, like oil changes. They almost have to keep everything--they're not able to predict what they'll need to fix something that breaks, so they wind up throwing away exactly the part they'd need.
With examples like that, I don't know how I wound up even as functional as I am.
So. I'm on a very tight budget, this year, and want to do treat baskets for my family (Mom & sister are planned for--three other households to take care of). Best I can do is buy everything separately and assemble them myself.
I'm starting with a partial ten-pound bag of naval oranges--we got it to make cranberry relish before Thanksgiving*, so I don't figure that into the cost of the basket. And a pomegranate apiece for each of two households (again, kind of got a box of four partially for me, so it isn't figured into the cost). Found a six pound box of really good pretzels (six 1 lb bags in the box) that I got to go with sandwiches at home, and plan to use that as filler. I also thought that I might assemble a few little bags of pre-mixed spice packets for whole roast chicken rub that I use, and maybe some homemade hot cocoa mix.
Now, into the things that I'm going to have to buy. I can get a 10 pound bag of apples for under $5, so a bag of those will go into the baskets I'm going to be assembling. My relatives love avocados and guacamole, so I can get a bag of those to split between the households. I suppose a gift basket can't be complete without cheese, so one relative will get some jack with habanero, another will get the jack with pesto, another will get garlic and herb--out of a cheese wheel with four types in individually wrapped quarters.
Last, I'll likely look through the produce section at our local Wal-Mart to find some little things to finish out the baskets to individualize them. I don't have any idea what I'll look for, or find, yet.
And yes, I do already have the baskets for them. You wouldn't believe how much of that crap my family already has, and how much they're sure I'll love (I don't). Or how quickly they forget where the baskets came from, so re-gifting in my family isn't a problem--I swear, they can hide their own Easter eggs (or buy their own Christmas presents, and it'll still be a surprise).
So, no, I don't have my Christmas shopping done, yet. I probably should wait for at least a little while longer, too, to make sure the fruit is as fresh as possible.
Great. I'll have to shop with the crazy people that wait until the last minute.
Oh, by the way, here's the recipe I referenced earlier. It's one of my favorite treats.
1 lb cranberries, sorted & washed
1 orange, with peel, quartered
1 c sugar
Combine in blender or food processor. Run appliance until this is the consistency of pickle relish (or finer). Add sugar, if needed. This is really good on club crackers, or biscuits.
Saturday, December 10, 2011
Another thing I'd like to learn how to do (and have the equipment for when I can find the time to set it up) is sewing my own (and my kids') clothes. I plan to use the other end of the reloading bench for this.
I do wish the kids were big enough that they didn't need constant supervision, but I love that they're so small. I love cuddling with them, and reading to them. I really love it when they both climb into my lap, but I'm starting to not be able to hold them both like that. The boy is three and a half feet tall, and just around 30 pounds, and the bitty girl isn't so bitty anymore: she's about two and a half feet tall, and about 21 or 22 pounds. I am under 5' tall, so that's just not a lot of lap.
Do you know how hard it is to write, or knit, when you've got a small child (or two) hanging off of your elbow chanting "up! up!"? Makes me want to scream, sometimes (not at them, just in frustration).
I really hate the V-Tech noisy toys. The laptop, teaching top, and the turtle are incredibly obnoxious. I really hate that they were gifts from family. They're limited to the bathroom during potty training time, or the imp's bedroom.
I really hate that my rule of "Give my kids a noisy toy, and I'll give you a kitten/puppy/obnoxiously loud pet toy" hurts feelings. GET OVER YOURSELF. If it's not staying at your house, I'm the one that has to deal with it.
Grade blogs and post grades, and I'm done with classes until the third week of January.
Next direct deposit paycheck is just before Christmas. The one after that is the last working day of February--after six weeks of work. Four pay periods in five months sucks.
Friday, December 9, 2011
Al Gore, and all of the brainless fart muffins that bloviate about how the earth is going to burn up and drown from rising sea levels AT THE SAME TIME!!! can fuck right the fuck off. May each and every one of the global warming consensus be assplowed by the First Wookie riding a bio-diesel four-wheeler, using her brainless husband as a strap on. With rancid habanero nacho cheez product dip as a lubricant.
I can tell them that no, global warming is not caused by humans, it is a natural cycle , of which we are on the cooler half of. Ask anybody who has joints that hurt when the weather gets cold, and then ask them if they'd prefer some more of that global warming magic.
Addendum: feel free to take over the comments and rant about your week. Don't worry about your language--nobody will mind (or blame you) if you cuss.
Thursday, December 8, 2011
I don't much like diamonds, either. Don't wear much jewelry--don't like it, and have toddlers that are clumsy enough to hurt me with it if I am dumb enough to wear it around them.
Those two things make me really hate when this one particular site--an online jewelry store specializing in diamonds, called Ice--pops up over my news feed.
1 small onion (or 1/3 c dried minced or chopped onion, reconstituted)
1 tsp minced garlic (or 2 garlic cloves)
1 can tomato paste*
1 can diced tomatoes
mushrooms (dehydrated or fresh--canned ones are slimy)
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1 sm. can sliced black olives (optional)
1 tsp Italian seasoning blend
1/4 tsp cumin
1. In a small saucepan, heat olive oil to the point that when you drop the onion in, it sizzles, then cook the onions until they're nearly clear, stirring constantly. 2. Add garlic to pan, shaking to spread out evenly, turn burner down to medium heat, cook for a couple minutes while you open cans. 3. Add tomato paste and diced tomatoes, mix well. 4. Add mushrooms, peppers, and seasoning, and turn the burner down to medium low.
On another burner, take a medium-large pot, fill with water, bring to a boil and cook your pasta. (You can do this at the same time as you're making your sauce--or you can start the pasta first) When your pasta is done, drain it, and put it back in the pot. Then, take your sauce and mix into pasta.
I like this because it takes about fifteen minutes to cook, and is good on a variety of pastas, and it's just as easy to brown a bit of hamburger meat or Italian sausage in with the onions for a meat sauce. My kids (both of them) like it over the dry tortellini or mini raviolis you can get at Wal-Mart. Look for the bag that says it has 4-6 servings.
*Open both ends of the tomato paste can, discard one of the ends, then use the other to push the paste out of the can. Tomato paste is thick enough that if you don't do this, you'll have to dirty another utensil getting it scraped out of the can.
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
I doubt that's what Dear Leader meant when he told JPMorgan to do more to help people avoid foreclosures.
Hey, Obamorons--you cannot tell a mortgage lender to make any size loan to anyone that asks AND expect the foreclosure rate to stay low. That doesn't work in the real world. It doesn't even work in the rock candy mountain with cotton candy cloud dream world that most academics inhabit (though they'd never admit it).
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
However, he goes into another element of how human beings get turned into animals: “[Public schools] suck because the administrators suck, most of the teachers suck and almost all of the parents who rely on the public school system to raise their children suck.”* He only touches on it briefly, and then goes on into the incident that brought him to write about this realization.
He’s right: parents, in general, suck. I think a good part of it is that since both parents in most families work, they don’t want to put up with the difficult task of disciplining their children for bad behavior. They want to come home to a household without the stress of responsibility.
And being a parent is a huge responsibility. As parents, we are supposed to encourage our children’s curiosity, to help them learn about the world. It’s our job to teach them how to separate wants and needs, and how to delay gratification of their wants so that they can make sure needs are seen to first. It’s our task to teach them the rules of civilization and society, and to help them find their place in it. Our duty to teach them responsibility and reliability. And our blessing to watch them grow into adults that can take care of themselves, and someday carry the cycle on and raise their own families.
Unfortunately, many are falling down on those responsibilities. Parents are no longer raising their children to be civilized beings. It’s sheer laziness on their part, and it’s failing their children, but there it is.
I am a proud mother to two wonderful children: a three year old son, and a newly-turned one year old daughter. Both of them are very well behaved for their age—we’re always complimented on that, and to see the proof, all we have to do is go out in public and watch other parents with their children.
Almost without exception, what we see proves that, as a nation we’re fucked: no one is raising their children to be anything but self-indulgent animals.
And that, my friends, is what is permitting the government to step in. The overgrown children that form the progressive movement still need a minder, and assume that everyone needs the same overseers that they do.
Humans don’t need a minder controlling their actions. Animals do. And H. sapiens is well on his way to becoming just another animal.
*emphasis is mine
Monday, December 5, 2011
Sunday, December 4, 2011
I've never seen her fail to cheer someone up.
She's so very sweet tempered--she rarely fusses unless there's something wrong. She's always happy and smiling, especially when she's wearing pretty clothes and shoes.
She is such a girl...she's happiest wearing dresses, and her favorite toys are baby dolls. A close second are stuffed animals.
None of the pictures we took yesterday turned out very good--we're getting used to a new camera. Sorry about that. Here are a couple of her dressed up for Thanksgiving.
Can you tell she's teething?
Anticipating the flash, here.
She puts up a fight every time we take one of her dresses off her to get her into jammies, or get her into something that she can make a mess with for meals. Anytime we go to put pretty clothes on her, she coos and holds still or helps us dress her.
She and her brother are still absolute best friends. Yes, they're starting to fight a bit over toys, but they hate being separated when they're being disciplined for fighting.
I can't believe she's been in our lives for a year--it seems simultaneously nowhere near as long, and seems like she's always been here. I cannot imagine life without her, or her brother.
Saturday, December 3, 2011
She had her birthday party with my family last weekend, will be getting made much over today by Grandma and Grandpa, and will be getting presents from us tomorrow. I don't really see the point in hosting a huge party for little ones that aren't even in school yet--strikes me as just another one of those "keeping up with (or outdoing) the Jones" things that I have no interest in. Yes, my friends are fond of her, but I think a party that the kids would enjoy would bore the spit out of anyone who isn't a parent. And since both of mine are under five, a party they'd enjoy would bore the spit out of our friends' kids.
The next thing creeping up is the end of the semester. Last day of classes is next Friday. The next week is finals week, but I don't give final exams. I plan to get all of my grading done, grades figured, and get them posted before the middle of finals week so that my Christmas Break can start early.
I've got about three weeks of backlogged blog grading* to do, but I'm done grading first drafts of last papers. I'll be grading revisions as they come in next week.
It's funny, but as much as I love my job, I always look forward to when semesters are over--moreso now that I teach online and don't ever really make the close connections with my students. Don't get me wrong: I love being home with the kids, and I love not having to put up with my colleagues' opinions that just because they have a doctorate in American Literature (women's writing only, and only pre-Revolutionary War--and yes, I do have a colleague with that narrow a specialization), they're an expert in modern politics, economics, and foreign policy. But I do miss my classroom, and I miss interacting with my students face-to-face.
After next Friday, I'll have about five or six weeks off. I really need the break, too.
Another thing creeping up is Christmas. Frankly, I dread this the worst. I haven't got shopping done, can't get some of it done until closer to the date (my family is terrible about hoarding clutter, so I'm giving them fruit baskets that I assemble for them), and don't have any idea what to get everyone else.
Most of all, I'm dreading going to my family's for Christmas dinner--I have three aunts, none of which have kids, and two of whom cannot simply enjoy a peaceful family get together without bickering and quarreling about stupid little stuff. And if I get upset with them about anything, they don't keep it between us, they take it out on my mother (a woman who doesn't have a spine to speak of).
I am, however, looking forward to the kids' reactions on Christmas morning. The imp's and pixie's reactions to decorated and lighted Christmas trees at the grandparents' homes (or at Wal-Mart, or Sam's Club) is cute enough, but I think they're both old enough this year to really enjoy the unwrapping of presents.
*For those who've just started reading my blog, one of my semester-long projects that I've had my students doing since I started teaching online has been that my students have to create and keep up a blog. My Comp I students have to summarize and respond to news stories, and my Comp II students have to write persuasive pieces with three supporting links. Both classes have to read and respond to two classmates' posts per week, as well. It's improved writing fluency and made them more self-conscious about grammar/editing errors than they are for the papers that they turn in to me.
Friday, December 2, 2011
Listen, honey. YOU are the only one responsible for the situation you're in. YOU opened your legs, without the benefit of being married (not that any man worth spit would have you), or the use of a DAMN CONDOM! Fuck right the fucking fuck off, with a--no, never mind that. I don't want to even suggest anything remotely to do with sex to this...individual.
May this filthy, welfare crack whore twatwaffle wake one morning to find that her funds have been cut off, and her children taken, and find herself in some sort of transportation on the way to the veterinarian to get spayed.
ADDENDUM: If any of you guys have anything frustrating you heading into the weekend, feel free to vent in the comments here. Use whatever kind of language you want. I won't mind, and you'll feel better.
Thursday, December 1, 2011
Needless to say, I didn't (still don't) feel safe airing my opinions with any but very close friends who were as busy as I was, and on very different schedules.
So, I got the bright idea to start a blog. Then realized, as I was setting it up, that anyone would be able to find it by Google-searching my name, and spazzed out a bit until I figured out how to keep my name off of it. A few days after that, I came up with my pen name.
No, I won't explain the name. Run an internet search with the engine of your choice on the first name--the last name comes from the author of Brave New World.
I write my opinions and reactions to the world around me as the muse takes me, and as I have the time. I've never had a particular audience in mind. I never expected to gain an audience outside of my husband (who now has a blog of his own) or a few friends who visit the blog once in a while.
That I now have a fairly regular audience of followers is humbling.
So, thank you, all of you. Anyone who hits my follower button in the future will get a public thank you--maybe not immediately, if I have grading to do, but you will be acknowledged.