Tuesday, July 29, 2008

What is the Correct Decision?

Last year, just after I started this blog, I posted on the issues with my step son. He has spent the last year living in the local area with his mother, so we are now able to see him regularly. This has been better for us, obviously, because we didn't get to see him very often when he was away at school. However, he does not seem to be doing a lot better, as far as school goes.

I mentioned in this post last fall, that his mother wanted to spend $1300 a month in tutoring. And, of course, for DSD to pay half. She is probably still angry that we chose not to help her pay. She did not use that tutor so the bill was cheaper anyway, but he was tutored for the entire school year.

In Florida, we have the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT). This is supposed to prove that No Child Left Behind is working. All it does is take time away from actual teaching to focus on the test. If a child does not pass the FCAT, he does not pass that grade. The FCAT is given in 4th (writing portion), 5th, 8th and 10th grades. And the LittleMan passed. (Ok, there are two stories here. Four weeks ago, his mother said he had passed everything except the math portion. Now she is saying that he passed everyting. It is possible that he has retaken the math portion in the last 4 weeks and passed. It is also possible she is a liar).

He did not, however, pass the 8th grade. He didn't do the work; he didn't pass the in class tests; he was suspended, twice.

So now we (that means they) have a choice. Allow him to repeat the 8th grade at the local middle school. Or pay to put him in a private Christian school, where he will be allowed advancement into the 9th grade and high school.

DSD explained all this to me last night and I gave him my opinion. I will explain my opinion in a future post, but I am curious about the opinions of those of you who live inside my computer. If you need more information to form an opinion, please let me know and I will be happy to supply it.*

*FYI: the cost of the private school is negligible. DSD can either pay for 1/2 of 4 years of private school or another 9 months of child support. There is maybe $500 price difference in the two.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Stop this Madness (aka Dubya!)

Dubya and his entire sicko administration is at it again, trying to ensure that women end up barefoot, pregnant and stuck in the kitchen. I don't know whether to laugh or cry at the outrageous attempt to take a woman's rights, this time. No, they aren't working on outlawing abortion at the moment, they are trying to equate BIRTH CONTROL with ABORTION.

That's right. The pill? Same as an abortion. The IUD? Same as an abortion.

These rules pose a serious threat to providers and uninsured and low-income Americans seeking care. They could prevent providers of federally-funded family planning services, like Medicaid and Title X, from guaranteeing their patients access to the full range of comprehensive family planning services. They'll also build significant barriers to counseling, education, contraception and preventive health services for those who need it most: low-income and uninsured women and men.

So says Hillary, so says me.

You can read the entire post at Huffington Post, or just sign the petition. Or you can let them dictate what's done with YOUR body, or that of your wife or daughter.

Stop this madness.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Flashbacks of Opal

Tropical Storm Dolly has moved across the Yucatan Peninsula and is starting to get her groove on in the Gulf of Mexico. As you can see from the projected path, it looks like poor Texas is on the hook again. Maybe she won't strengthen much (or at all) and they won't have a rough time of it.

She is supposed to hit hurricane strength, but at 18mph, she doesn't have a lot of time before she makes landfall again, according to the National Hurricane Center.

But looking at her track, I am reminded of another storm, 13 years ago. According to the National Hurricane Center, she came across the Atlantic, but I don't remember that. I remember waking up one morning and finding a system in the Gulf. I can't find a picture of it, but originally, she was forecasted to move due south. She didn't.

This was the path as it was forecast next and she stayed pretty true to this prediction.
You can read about and see what she did to NW FL here.

It was a very scary time, evacuating, alone, with a 6 year old (thank goodness he was a boy, it meant we only had to get out of the vehicle if I had to go!). I came home to no damage, except the meat in my freezer since the power had been out for days. But I was lucky and I know that.

So, I am keeping my eye on Dolly, and my fingers crossed that she fizzles in the Gulf and never makes landfall at all.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Perfect for # 200!

This, if you couldn't figure it out from the title, is my 200th post. Wow! I honestly didn't expect to be around this long. Pretty cool.

And thanks to Shel, I have the best story in the world to blog on.

A measure seeking to commemorate President Bush's years in office by slapping his name on a San Francisco sewage plant has qualified for the November ballot.
The measure certified Thursday would rename the Oceanside Water Pollution Control Plant the George W. Bush Sewage Plant.
Supporters say the idea is to commemorate the mess they claim Bush has left behind by actions such as the war in Iraq.

That's the entire article, but it tickled me. I am considering starting a compost heap and I shall christen it the George W. Bush Shitpile.

Hope your weekend is going well.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Freddie and Fannie Manage What Al Qaeda Could Not

What is that? Scare the holy crap out of me.

Sure, 9/11 was horrific and scary, I will never deny that. It has to be the most traumatic moment in my life and the lives of many, but for those of us who just watched it on TV, who lived thousands of miles away from New York and D.C., who didn't know anyone who was lost, it didn't cause us (or at least me) to start looking over our shoulders. I have read of many people in New York City who still cringe today when a plane flies over. That makes sense; those poor people lived through it; I just watched it on the television.

And after it happened and was over, this administration (or maybe it was the media) didn't help to actually make me concerned that we were living in a war zone. I live in NW Florida, who would attack here? Much scarier for those in big cities, I am certain. But the news reports on how and wear to buy gas masks and masking tape (cause I am going to turn off the AC and put plastic over everything when it is 95 outside) plus those stupid terror alerts that NEVER made sense. It all seemed to make a mockery of the horror that this nation had experienced. It still does with all the BS TSA puts us through when we try to fly.

But now! Gasoline is over $4.00/gallon, people are losing their jobs in enormous numbers (I don't care what the unemployment rate is. They only count those receiving benefits, people), there are people who are having to choose between gas to heat their homes and paying their mortgage, on paper I have lost $13,000 in the equity on my home in the last few months, not to mention the actual money I have lost in my 401k. And Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are floundering.

I know the government will bail them out (at what cost to the rest of us?), but the fact that they NEED bailing out is making me sick to my stomach. I am only 41, so obviously, I don't remember the Great Depression, but I remember pictures of the runs on the banks. I remember my history. And I am amazed that there are so many who still deny the presence of a recession, when it seems to me that we are in the middle of one. The question I have is not, how long till the recession ends? But, when does it officially become a Depression? (I don't think we covered that in my Econ classes).

Then to top it off, fellow blogger Fallenmonk, has two posts that really knocked the wind out of my sails. This one from yesterday:

Can your family survive two weeks or a month without having access to a grocery store? Do you have enough of the basics like rice, beans, flour, corn meal, dry milk, cooking oil, charcoal, salt and whatever else you might need in the cupboard right now? Do you have a Victory Garden? If not you are at risk. This is deadly serious. You need to really consider your preparedness. Even if you buy some stuff now that you can't use before it spoils you can always donate it to a food bank and write it off.

And this one from today:

For what it is worth, and forgive me please for being frank, not being prepared to protect yourself and your family in case of natural catastrophe, nuclear war, or societal collapse is just plain stupid. I'm not saying you have to go overboard and be prepared to survive for six months with no outside contact but just make a reasonable effort to be prepared for a month or 6 weeks of limited access to food and or lack of utilities. It's just prudent.

Now, maybe reading this on top of just re-reading Stephen King's The Stand*over the weekend has contributed to my general over the top reaction to Fallenmonk's beliefs. And it is Hurricane Season here on the World's Most Beautiful Beaches, so we have canned food, bottled water, candles, flashlights and batteries, at least enough for a week, at all times. But a month? I have a 19 year old living in my house. Do you know how much he eats?

This is scary stuff and while my bff, P, thinks I am becoming a little bit of a doomsdayer** I will be picking up extra dry beans, corn meal, peanut butter, canned chicken and tuna, dried milk and crackers at the grocery store this weekend. And I ENSURE that DSD gets that blasted tank filled for the grill.

And maybe I will hold off on that flat panel TV I wanted for football season. That is a lot of money to spend right now.

*I re-read The Stand once a year or once every other year. I love that book. And, since it is about the end of the world, it scares me every single time.

**Not a doomsdayer if any of it comes to pass. And why not be prepared?

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Peace and Quiet

It is lovely in my house at the moment. DSD and his LittleMan are somewhere north of here in the woods for the day. They are doing manly things: cutting down trees, scratching and having burping contests. Ok, that is a guess, but they always come home dirty and smelly and exhausted. It is good for them.

BabyBoy is at work.

And I am just enjoying the sound of nothing.

Well, except the dishwasher at the moment.

I have cleaned the kitchen, worked on the laundry, finished a Nora Roberts book and thoroughly enjoyed the fact that the TV is not on.

What I have not done is managed to get anymore work done on my research paper.

I should get to work on it.

Or maybe I will balance the check book! Frankly that sounds more fun.

Hope your weekend has all the peace or all the excitement that you could hope for!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Stupid Stuff

I recently read this story, that I found via this blog, about an Ohio teacher who was fired because (are you ready for this?) he branded his students with a cross. The teacher and school board are being sued (good!). Now I don't care how you feel about the separation of church and state (and I am ALL for it), branding a student is absolutely 100% unacceptable.

Today I see this story

"Some residents consider him a courageous fighter for religious freedom."

What? What? What?

Am I the only one who is a little concerned about the insanity in that? Why does fighting for religious freedom mean harming others? Is that what Jesus, Allah or Buddha would do?

I have a quick message for anyone who believes in an after-life of any kind. Your Supreme Being does.not.like.it.when.you.hurt.people.to.prove.your.love. Only crazy people think harming children is A-ok.


On a different note is this lovely tidbit of newsiness... do you think that is a word?

An AP-Yahoo News poll found that pet owners favor McCain over Obama 42 percent to 37 percent, with dog owners particularly in McCain's corner.

Who do you think they put in this poll? People who were the product of a sick form of brotherly - sisterly love?

I do not, at present, have an animal living in my house. That is the subject for many (loud!) discussions between DSD and myself. Eventually I will win, but I would like for him to be on board (at least a little) before I bring a new family member home. I am trying to be patient.

I know many people who have pets who would not pee on McCain if he were on fire. I know people without pets who are too stupid to vote for anyone else.

Where do they get this? And how do they call it news?

Medical Update

I saw the actual Gyn this morning. If you have missed any of the saga of my 'lady parts,' you can read up on them here, here, and a brief bit here. I really liked him a lot and he was very patient with the three pages of questions I had typed to ask him.

I am not a candidate for a hysterectomy. It is not warranted in my case, so that makes me very happy. Apparently most of my symptioms are fairly common for a woman my age, but that does not mean that nothing can or will be done. It is not necessarily a health issue. I could struggle along as I have been doing for years, but there is no point in it with medical science as advanced as it is.

So, I will be having the endometrial ablation. This should make my quality of life better and couldn't we all do with a little improvement?

The (minor) surgery will take place the morning of 28 Aug. It is an out-patient surgery and Dr. R said I will only be out for about 15 minutes and I could leave about an hour after that. I will take Friday off, although it is more because I want to than because I have to. Then I will enjoy some football on Saturday (kick off is coming!) and the Labor Day weekend & be back to work on Tuesday.

And then, hopefully, I can go back to being one of those stupidly healthy people who only go to the doctor once a year for a checkup! :-)

Sunday, July 6, 2008

What Was I Thinking?

Ok, I know what I was thinking when I signed up for this class. I was thinking it was going to be an extraordinary amount of information in a very short time and that I was going to spend a lot of time studying in the month of July. I did not know about the 10 page paper requirement and, for some reason, I thought the lectures would be delivered in a clear, consice, coherant manner allowing me to take notes to use to study later. What a concept.

Sadly, the instructor is not very good. He reads from old lectures and then just throws random definitions at us that don't seem to fit anywhere in the lecture. He is from somewhere in the NE and he talks FAST. I get about every fourth word and I am a pretty good note taker. So I have a recorder that I am using to tape the class. This means that I get to live through the lectures twice and that takes away time from actually studying the notes. Add that to the 10 page paper requirement (I have just over 2 pages so far) and I am spending a lot of time in front of the computer, but not doing anything fun. :-(

I did manage to get away on the 4th and go with BabyBoy to see "Hancock." This has been a tradition for us since the divorce that we watch a movie on the 4th of July, because normally there is no one else there. The place was packed this year. I actually enjoyed "Hancock" because it is funny. I give it an A+ for hilarity and a C- for storyline (although that is probably a little generous).

I hope everyone in BlogLand had a wonderful, fun, happy & SAFE Independence Day.

A toast to this country of ours and to hoping that things are better next year.