28 June 2007

Playdough Discovery

Originally posted 6/14/07

A little while ago, I made some homemade playdough for the children. I colored it with turmeric (great dye for yellow/gold color) so that it wouldn't look completely blah. The children enjoy playing with the playdough using rolling pins, cookie cutters, cookie sheets (which I later discovered when I preheated the oven for dinner), butter knives, you get the idea. All this cutting to the playdough ends up chopping it up into crumbs, and a lot gets lost to the floor.

Fast forward to yesterday. I have been letting Eirik go naked because it is nice and warm, and we have been doing a pretty decent job of getting him to the bathroom when he needs to go. I do better at night than during the day and we do inevitable miss some during the day. Eirik also likes to store up his bowels for a couple of days at a time, so it is not at all unusual for him to wait 3 days or more before moving them. So yesterday I was sitting here checking email and I turned around to see what he was doing because he was being rather quiet. I looked just in time to see him stuff some poop in his mouth. Horrified, I jumped up and scooped him up, only to discover that it was not poop at all. It was playdough that had fallen on the floor and gotten a wee bit of water spilt on it to give it that perfect breast-fed poop consistency. The turmeric matched the color perfectly. He did not appreciate my stuffing my fingers in his mouth to scoop it all out, though.

Living life

Originally posted 5/24/07

I haven 't posted in a while, in case anyone had noticed. I went from posting 2-3 times a week to maybe once a month. What happened? I got a life. We have had a lot of beautiful weather so I have been spending more time outside with the kids. I also made a real life friend just up the road and have been spending time with her and her kids. I am trying to kick my internet addiction, so I took up a project. I decided that I could do better things than spend 6-8 hours a day on my computer. My house now looks a lot better (though it is still far from perfect), and I have been making a rug. Today Rowan is sick, so we are inside, and I thought I would post a picture of my rug and my two youngest kiddos. So as of today, here they are.

And now my little helpers...

I am making the rug out of some old worn out sheets, which I thought was a pretty clever use for them. It is plaited. I have never seen a braided rug like this, but I really like it. I already made one out of washcloths to use as a mat for beside the tub. I decided that 150-200 washcloths in the house was too many and we needed a bath mat. That came out pretty cool. This rug is going to be much bigger and go in the living room. I really like that this one is completely interwoven. It isn't one long braid that is then sewn up into a rug. That will make it more durable, I think. I also love that I will be able to just throw it in the washer and dryer when it gets dirty.

So that is what I have been up to lately. I will write again when I am stuck inside for some reason. :)

Mother's Day Story

Originally posted 5/13/07

Here is a very cute story that came into my inbox this morning.

This is a GREAT children's' story!

So, we had this great 10 year old cat named Jack who just recently died. Jack was a great cat and the kids would carry him around and sit on him and nothing ever bothered him. He used to hang out and nap all day long on this mat in our bathroom.
Well we have 3 kids and at the time of this story they were 4 years old, 3 years old and 1 year old. The middle one is Eli. Eli really loves chapstick. LOVES it. He kept asking to use my chapstick and then losing it. So finally one day I showed him where in the bathroom I keep my chapstick and how he could use it whenever he wanted to but he needed to put it right back in the drawer when he was done.

Last year on Mother's Day, we were having the typical rush around and try to get ready for Church with everyone crying and carrying on. My two boys are fighting over the toy in the cereal box. I am trying to nurse my little one at the same time I am putting on my make-up. Everything is a mess and everyone has long forgotten that this is a wonderful day to honor me and the amazing job that is motherhood. We finally have the older one and the baby loaded in the car and I am looking for Eli. I have searched everywhere and I finally went round the corner to go into the bathroom. And there was Eli. He was applying my chapstick very carefully to Jack's . . . rear end. Eli looked right into my eyes and said "chapped." Now if you have a cat, you know that he is right--their little butts do look pretty chapped. And, frankly, Jack didn't seem to mind. And the only question to really ask at that point was whether it was the FIRST time Eli had done that to the cat's behind or the hundredth.

And THAT is my favorite Mother's Day moment ever because it reminds us< that no matter how hard we try to civilize these glorious little creatures, there will always be that day when you realize they've been using your chapstick on the cat's butt.

Perfect Day

Originally posted 5/8/07

I have just had the perfect start to a perfect day. I made a new friend just up the road a few days back, and she invited us to breakfast this morning. So this morning I got up, played with the baby for a minute or two before kissing my husband goodbye as he left for work, then took a quick shower. I put on a load of laundry then the kids and I got dressed and left to go visiting. The kids skipped and galloped on the sidewalks, then walked along the stone walls and retainer walls lining the sidewalk as though they were balance beams. I wore the baby in his sling and held Rowan's hand so she didin't fall.

At one point I was struck with the beauty of the day. It reminded me of the (old?) TV ad for Claritin - the one where they peel a film off the picture and all the colors are brighter and more vibrant. The sky was a deep royal blue with not a single cloud in sight, the grass was lush, my children's blonde hair truly glowed in the sunlight. The forsythia were the brightest yellow, and exactly matched the few specks of dandelion yellow in the lawns. Rhododendrons bloomed their pinky purple color and birds were singing to each other in their joy for the day.

I wonder if this is what Buddhists refer to when they speak of "being in the moment." I was just overcome with joy and beauty and exuberance. If the kids had asked for a huge box of candy, I might even have said yes.

Now I am off to put the baby down for his nap since he fell asleep here on my lap. It is time to make lunch for the kids, which we will eat outside, and then more play outside. All is right with the world. What a perfect day!

My first sale

Originally posted 5/3/07

I just posted this as a bulletin, but then I thought I should have made it a blog entry. So if you read the bulletin, you've already read this.

For those who don't know, I own a business making and selling baby slings. My brand is called Natural Caresses, and I have been struggling to really get started for nearly a year now. But last month I got my business cards, and then I printed up some flyers and brochures at Staples, and I have started putting them in appropriate places around town.

So yesterday I was wearing Eirik in the sling at the playground (he's 6 months old already!) and another mother came up to me and started asking me about it. I gave her my card (which I now alway have on hand), and told her to give me a call if she was interested in one. This morning she called and said she would like to buy one. I nearly dropped the phone to jump with glee! I arranged to meet her at the playground again, packed up all my slings (my very meager supply), packed a picnic lunch for the little'uns, and we went to the playground. I apologized for my lack of variety (I haven't had money to build an inventory and only had four slings - 2 of each style), and offered to loan her one while I made one special for her, but she fell in love with one I had on hand and tried it on. Her 1-month-old baby took to it nicely, and she bought it on the spot. I gave her a discount since all of the slings I have have been used for demo purposes, so none are brand new.

I am soooo excited! I have only ever sold two others, and really, my hubby sold them, not me. I am going to take this money and go buy more fabric to make more. I can get fabric enough for 2 more slings with the money I made on that sale, and will continue this process until I have about 30 slings on hand. That's only 15 sales I have to make to do that. Then I will open a website to sell them, too.

I attribute the ease of this success to the Secret. It took me a year to get out of my inertia with this business idea. Three weeks after watching The Secret I got my business cards (and they came two weeks earlier than the website said they would), a week after that I got my flyers and brochures printed up, and one week later I made my first sale. Yes, I worked hard to get here, but if I hadn't watched the Secret, I don't think I could have broken my inertia.

So by the end of this month, I expect to make 5 sales. I will report back then. Go me!


Originally posted 4/8/07

My husband's brother-in-law passed away 6 days ago, and yesterday we went to the celebration of his life. This was the first time in 3 years that we had seen anyone in my husband's family. Longer for some. My husband has been unhappy that his siblings always seemed to expect us to do all the traveling for visits, and frankly, so have I. Only once has anyone in his family come to our house to visit, and that was for Moira's first birthday party back in 2000. My husband and his brother have been polite to each other, but no more for several years, and I have lamented this. Religion stepped in and reared its ugly head and there were heated discussions between my husband his his brother's wife, who is a Catholic convert. But yesterday, we got to see all of his family. No one recognized one sister who has lost 271 pounds and is getting herself put back together health wise. This was a wonderful thing (though embarrassing since we felt like we should have recognized her, after all, she is family). we had a chance to reconnect with all the sisters (except one who has nothing to do with any of the family) and it was great to see how much the kids have grown. One of our nieces is almost 15, no longer the little girl she was when we last saw at age 12. She is now a young woman. His sister is now grandmother to a 6-year-old boy who played most of the time with our almost-8-year-old daughter. But I think the best part was seeing my husband's brother and his family again. Their youngest daughter is 5 months younger than my oldest, and I last saw her when she was probably 5 or 6. She is now 10. They didn't even know about my youngest two children. There was no hostility (that I felt) like there has been in the past, and we learned that they just moved much closer to us. That will make travelling for visits nuch easier, and maybe we can start again to become more family. Ironically, we discovered that we both patron the same dairy farm, and they bought their house in one of the towns we have been looking for property to buy. Although the reason for the reunion was unfortunate, I am very happy with having reconnected with family again.

Throwing her to the wolves

Originally posted 4/3/07

Moira and I have reached a compromise. She believes that public school is so great, so awesome, and homeschooling sucks. After all, she has *no one* to play with, and her sisters are "annoying." Public school is all about coloring and workbooks, and playing in the playground. So I agreed to enroll her in public school for two weeks. Then I take her out again. I had hoped to be able to do it like a class audit, but the teachers and principal aren't really agreeing with me. They only want her there for a couple of hours, but that is not long enough to give her a good idea of the public school culture. So I am enrolling her in the other elementary school here. We have a choice of two schools to pick from here - both are about 1/4 mile from us.

I am so scared. Part of me is scared that she will be miserable since she obviously forgets the misery she had in kindergarten. Part of me is scared that she will love it and hate me when I take her out again. But I am afraid of school violence (the local high school has a full time police officer there), I disapprove of their teaching methods, and I remember how ostracized I was in public school. I feel as strongly about public school as I do about nuclear radiation. How much is safe? None! But I hope that two weeks will not cause any irreparable harm, and should hopefully give her enough time to understand the public school culture, which I think is what she craves. She seems to think that simply joining a class will instantly give her friends, that she won't have to work at making friends. But she has a hard time making friends because she is mean to other kids. She is very bossy and other kids don't like that about her. I fear she will come home miserable after just a couple of days. It is ironic that to make her a happy, well-adjusted adult, she will be an unhappy child because she thinks I am stifling her. I want to make her long-term happy, not short-term happy, and I am afraid I won't succeed.

I remember when I was homeschooled, I begged my parents to let me go to school. Just like Moira does to me. Why? I had no friends. But I had no friends because we moved all the time and lived in the middle of nowhere. Moira has lots of kids around here to play with if she treats them nicely. She also goes to Brownies on a regular basis, and church every week, so she does have access to other kids, as I did with 4-H and church when I was young. When I did go to public school, I was tormented by the other kids and completely miserable. In four years and three high schools, there is only one person that I still keep in touch with regularly. One out of 1300. I am now glad that my parents homeschooled me because I learned how to learn. School doesn't teach how to learn, it teaches how to obey. Children don't remember jack that they learn in class. I remember very little from the academic part of school. Which is interesting since I am such an overachiever and graduated 5th in my class of roughly 100.

School isn't about learning the three R's anymore. It is about learning to survive in a cruel world. I was hoping to shelter her from that cruel world until she is psychologically old enough to roll with the punches instead of taking everything deeply personally. Enrolling her in public school feels like I am throwing her to the wolves. I told her that I will not force her to do her homework, but if she doesn't do it, she will get in trouble with her teacher. I will not strain our relationship for anything as stupid and pointless as homework. I'm probably the only parent who wants her child to fail at school.

Prayer, spells and The Secret

Originally posted 3/27/07

What do these three things have in common? I have often said that pagan spellcasting is exactly the same as prayer, just with different terminology. Prayer is asking God to do something for you (yes, I know, Christians also praise God in their prayers and thank him, but that is not the kind of prayer I am referring to right now). The Christian (or Muslim, or whoever is doing the praying) has a need which they put in the hands of God. (This is my understanding of prayer from growing up in a very fundamental Christian family.) Spellcasting is having a need, and putting it forth to the Universe. Both involve some minor ritual. Christians bow their head, fold their hands, close their eyes, kneel, and speak their need. Pagans' rituals vary dramatically, but usually involve casting a circle, lighting a candle or five (Catholics often light candles, too), and speak their need. I have always been amused by Christians' arduous attempts to segregate themselves from pagans, and yet, the customs of each are so similar. I am not trying to put down Christians, in fact my best friend is Christian. I am simply trying to point out a theme here.

Okay, so what about The Secret? I just got my copy of The Secret the other day, and realized that the barebones of spellcasting and prayer. The goals of The Secret, prayer and spellcasting are all the same: to effect change in our lives by asking the energy of the Universe for assistance. Visualization plays a major role in both The Secret and in spellcasting. I imagine that it is a major part of prayer as well, though my childhood church did not emphasize its importance.

I abandoned prayer when I had a major spiritual crisis and left Christianity in search of something that felt more right for me. But spellcasting seemed too artificial to me as I read it in the innumerable books of magic I read. Scott Cunningham's Earth Power set was the style that felt most comfortable for me. It is very simple, very unassuming, very humble. It is also probably the closest spellcasting style I have seen to The Secret.

I realized last night that I unknowingly put The Secret to work for the birth of my son. I wanted a particular midwife to be my attendant. It never even crossed my mind that anyone else might attend. I knew who I wanted, and that was that. There are several OB's and midwives on staff at my local hospital, so the chances of getting this one woman were not in my favor. But I told everyone who would deliver him, and I knew it in my heart that she would be there. Well, I went into labor two hours before the start of her 24-hour shift. 24 hours later, he was born on her shift. Amazing! (No, I did not have a 24-hour labor. After we checked into the hospital, the baby decided he wasn't ready after all and went back to sleep for the next 20 hours. When he decide he was ready, he only took 2.5 hours.)

So now I am putting The Secret to work for me. My family is going to look at a house that costs 20 years of my husband's current gross income, and I expect in a year to write in here that we are moving into our own home. If you know me and my circumstances, you know what a feat that will be. But we will keep thinking positive, stay upbeat, and dream in the present tense.

Pocket Taser Stun Gun

Originally posted 3/23/07

(reposted with permission)

Pocket Taser Stun Gun, a great gift for the wife. This was submitted by a guy who purchased his lovely wife a "pocket Taser" for their anniversary.)

Last weekend I saw something at Larry's Pistol & Pawn Shop that sparked my interest. The occasion was our 22nd anniversary and I was looking for a little something extra for my wife Toni. What I came across was a 100,000-volt, pocket/purse-sized taser. The effects of the taser were suppose to be short lived, with no long-term adverse affect on your assailant, allowing her adequate time to retreat to safety.... *


Long story short, I bought the device and brought it home. I loaded two triple-a batteries in the darn thing and pushed the button. Nothing! I was disappointed. I learned, however, that if I pushed the button AND pressed it against a metal surface at the same time; I'd get the blue arch of electricity darting back and forth between the prongs. Awesome!!! Unfortunately, I have yet to explain to Toni what that burn spot is on the face of her microwave.

Okay, so I was home alone with this new toy, thinking to myself that it couldn't be all that bad with only two triple-a batteries,. right?!!!

There I sat in my recliner, my cat Gracie looking on intently (trusting little soul) while I was reading the directions and thinking that I really needed to try this thing out on a flesh & blood moving target. I must admit I thought about zapping Gracie (for a fraction of a second) and thought better of it. She is such a sweet cat. But, if I was going to give this thing to my wife to protect herself against a mugger, I did want some assurance that it would work as advertised. Am I wrong?

So, there I sat in a pair of shorts and a tank top with my reading glasses perched delicately on the bridge of my nose, directions in one hand, taser in another. The directions said that a one-second burst would shock and disorient your assailant; a two-second burst was supposed to cause muscle spasms and a major loss of bodily control; a three-second burst would purportedly make your assailant flop on the ground like a fish out of water. Any burst longer than three seconds would be wasting the batteries.

All the while I'm looking at this little device measuring about 5" long, less than 3/4 inch in circumference; pretty cute really and loaded with two itsy, bitsy triple-a batteries) thinking to myself, "no possible way!"

What happened next is almost beyond description, but I'll do my best.....

I'm sitting there alone, Gracie looking on with her head cocked to one side as to say, "don't do it master," reasoning that a one-second burst from such a tiny little ole thing couldn't hurt all that bad.. I decided to give myself a one-second burst just for the heck of it. I touched the prongs to my naked thigh, pushed the button, and HOLY MOTHER, WEAPONS OF MASS +!@$$!%!@* DESTRUCTION

I'm pretty sure Jessie Ventura ran in through the side door, picked me up in the recliner, then body slammed us both on the carpet, over and over and over again. I vaguely recall waking up on my side in the fetal position, with tears in my eyes, body soaking wet, both nipples on fire, testicles nowhere to be found, with my left arm tucked under my body in the oddest position, and tingling in my legs. The cat was standing over me making meowing sounds I had never heard before, licking my face, undoubtedly thinking to herself, "do it again, do it again!"

Note: If you ever feel compelled to "mug" yourself with a taser, one note of caution: there is no such thing as a one-second burst when you zap yourself. You will not let go of that thing until it is dislodged from your hand by a violent thrashing about on the floor. A three second burst would be considered conservative.

SON-OF-A-.. that hurt like hell!!! A minute or so later (I can't be sure, as time was a relative thing at that point), collected my wits (what little I had left), sat up and surveyed the landscape. My bent reading glasses were on the mantel of the fireplace. How did they up get there??? My triceps, right thigh and both nipples were still twitching. My face felt like it had been shot up with Novocain, and my bottom lip weighed 88 lbs. I'm still looking for my testicles. I'm offering a significant reward for their safe return.

Still in shock

Proud to be a New Englander

Originally posted 3/22/07

This came in my inbox last night. I just had to share it.

> Forget Rednecks ...here is what Jeff Foxworthy has to say about New

> > Englanders...
> >
> > If you can drive 65 mph through 2 feet of snow during a raging
> > blizzard without flinching, you live in
New England.
> >
> > If you've worn shorts and a parka at the same time, you live in New
> >
> >
> > If you consider it a sport to gather your food by drilling through 36
> > inches of ice and sitting there all day hoping it will swim by, you
> > might live in
New England.
> >
> > If you're proud that your region makes the national news 96 nights
> > each year because
Mt. Washington is the coldest spot in the nation,
> > and
Boston gets more snow than any other major city in the US, you
> > live in
New England.
> >
> > If your local Dairy Queen is closed from September through May, you
> > live in
New England.
> >
> > If you instinctively walk like a penguin for six months out of the
> > year, you live in
New England.
> >
> > If someone in a Home Depot store offers you assistance, and they
> > don't work there, you live in
New England.
> >
> > If you've had a lengthy telephone conversation with someone who
> > dialed a wrong number, you live in
New England.
> >
> > And, you know you are a New Englander when "Vacation" means going
=""> > anywhere south of
New York City for the weekend.
> >
> > You measure distance in hours.
> >
> > You know several people who have hit a deer more than once.
> >
> > You have switched from "heat" to "A/C" in the same day and back again.
> >
> > You install security lights on your house and garage, but leave both
> > unlocked.
> >
> > You carry jumpers in your car and your girlfriend/wife knows how to
> > use them.
> >
> > You design your kid's Halloween costume to fit over a snowsuit.
> >
> > The speed limit on the highway is 55mph -- you're going 80 and
> > everybody is passing you!
> >
> > Driving is better in the winter because the potholes are filled with
> > snow.
> >
> > You know all 4 seasons: almost winter, winter, still winter, and road
> > construction.
> >
> > Your 4th of July picnic was moved indoors due to frost.
> >
> > You have more miles on your snow blower than your car.
> >
> > You find 10 degrees "a little chilly."
> >
> > You actually understand these jokes, and forward them to all your New
> >
England friends!

How do I do it?

Originally posted 3/15/07

Wow, I am finally starting to see how much myspace is geared to the young unmarried crowd. There is no category for parenting or even family to pick from, so I had to choose Life.

I think it is funny when someone sees how many children I have and asks me how I do it. I would like them to see my house first thing in the morning when I am trying to cook breakfast and see that I don't "do it". Part of my daily morning to routine is to acquire a headache from listening to 3 children all crying or screaming at once. The baby cries because I won't hold him while I am cooking. I burn myself often enough that I won't risk trying to cook one-handed while holding my precious baby in the other arm. So he lays on the floor and cries while his sisters make goofy faces to try to cheer him up. Then Rowan starts crying because Lauren took the paper she wanted to color on. I ask Lauren who had the paper first and she bursts out crying when I haven't even scolded her for taking something away from her sister yet. She just knows it's coming and tries to beat me to the punch. Then Moira makes some annoyed face and Lauren takes it personally and starts bawling harder. Then Rowan starts crying again because Moira won't instantly hand over the crayon she is using when Rowan wants it. I tell Rowan she needs to wait until Moira is done with it and she flops on the floor in tears. Then Moira asks if she can play outside in the pouring rain and I say no because it is raining. Moira drops her shoulders and juts her head with her eyes bulging out and incredulously demands, "What?!" as if I had just announced that I would soon begin chopping off people's fingers. Only 10 minutes have passed for all this. Then I smell the pancakes burning and the girls staunchly declare that they won't eat those pancakes. Meanwhile, Eirik is still crying because I am not holding him.

So to all of you who want to know, "How do you do it?" I would like to say, I don't. The children that you see when I am out and about are not the same children that I live with.

I hate daylight savings

Originally posted 3/14/07

Did you know that we are on daylight savings time longer than we are on standard time? Why is this? Some folks will tell you it is to help the farmers by giving them more time to get the chores done. That is bull. Farmers live by natural time, not the artificial time of a clock. Farmers actually get more annoyed than others I know about daylight savings. Some will tell you it is for energy conservation. This is partly true. Putting the high point of the sun (noon) in the middle of the work day (1pm is halfway from 9 to 5) does maximize our daylight working hours.

I think this is stupid and egotistical. It is stupid because the wise man would simply adjust his artificial-time-based working hours to 8 to 4 to maximize daylight hours during the official workday. It is egotistical because rather than adjusting ourselves to reflect nature, we try to make it appear that we have altered nature to suit ourselves. Instead of changing the workday to 8-4, we have simply renamed 8 am as 9 am and 4 pm as 5 pm. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, instead of calling it a duck, we dress it up in wool and call it a sheep.

So if it is a matter of semantics, why am I so bothered by it? Because we are forced by society to follow the stupid artificial time of clocks instead of the natural time of the sun. I understand the need for standardized time and time zones, but let's base it on the actual time please. Change America's working hours to 8-4, teach people to get up a little earlier out of desire rather than being tricked into it, and leave our poor clocks alone.

And why the hell do we try to save daylight in the summer when daylight is so abundant? Why don't we try to save daylight in the winter when light is more scarce? Pretty soon we will be on daylight savings time all year again, then they will introduce daylight double savings, to put our clocks into a 2 hour difference with the sun. Just you watch.

Taking charge and fear

Originally posted 3/10/07

I have never been organized. I pulled off an illusion at it for a little while, but if I was truly organized, I wouldn't be where I am now. I have had a rough couple of days now and have thought that I am completely useless, good for nothing but as a feedbag for my baby, and generally feeling like a failure at life. I have been on the verge of tears for two days, my house is a disaster, my children are whiny, and my husband is displeased with me. And why shouldn't he be? I have done nothing in the upkeep of the house except to wash laundry (only because I have to have diapers for the baby), cook meals (to shut the kids up), and wash the dishes (so I can cook more meals to shut the kids up). Last night, we hardly spoke to each other and we were only 5 feet apart. Just before going to bed, he said he missed me. I asked what he meant, and he said that he missed spending time with me. The baby has been incredibly clingy this past week and cries almost every time I set him down. Sometimes, I can't even go to the bathroom. I discovered that he seems to only want to sleep either in my arms or in our bed upstairs. The sheepskin on the floor next to me downstairs is no longer good enough. So the baby has been very demanding of my time lately, and I have no idea when the last time is that my husband and I went anywhere by ourselves.

The good news is that in this week of self-deprecating hell, I have figured out a few things. One is that decluttering one's house is not something that only needs to be done once and is done. It has to be done regularly. I did a massive declutter about a year and a half ago and felt good about our home. I was able to stay on top of things and it was decent. But two moves and another child later, the house is more than I can handle. I finally realized I have to declutter again.

At this same time, we are participating in a mandatory program to get our money together (it's a condition of our lease for public housing). I tried for years to create a budget for us, but it seemed like every time I faced our finances, I made them worse. I decided to quit trying to fix them and just go on in blissful ignorance of our financial state. Which partially explains why we are in public housing. So now I have to look at our money again. Terry says the difference this time is that we have someone to help us do it right. The first step was to track our spending for a few months to see what our spending habits are. I had tried this in the past, but only for one month at a time. During those months I found myself changing my spending habits since I knew I would be recording everything I bought. This, of course, did not provide an accurate picture of my spending habits. When you have to track for 3 months, though, your real spending habits resurface and you can get an accurate picture. So I went back to see what December looked like. We spent more in December than we earned. Since we don't have credit cards, I figured that we must have just spent some of a balance forward from November. But January looked the same. I don't know how we spent more than we earned for two months straight for a total of over $200. February we did better (of course, that's when we got our tax refund, too), but only by $75. We will see how March goes and then we turn it all in to our program coordinater. I really want to buy a house in before my children start moving out on their own, so I have less than 8 years to do it. I *have* to get my butt in gear to do it.

One of my husband's complaints is that I don't get stuff done during the day while he's at work? Why not? Because I forget. My brain is a seive. I read once that children under the age of three have an ethereal connection to their mothers. I'm sure that all children do, but those under three cause a drain on the mother's memory capabilities. I have had a child (or two) under the age of three for almost 11 straight years now. My husband's answer: Write it down. This makes sense. If I write it down, I will be reminded. But I wouldn't write things down. And if I did (like when he would put pen and paper in my hand to do so, or he would write ot down for me), I would deliberately avoid the paper. I hated my to-do list. I loathed it. You want an easy way to make me cry? Show me my to-do list. Even if I made it up myself in an effort to get things done, I cried about it. Only once in my 30 years of life on this Earth have I ever completed an entire to-do list. Sometimes I would deliberately not do something on my list so that it wouldn't be done. There's logic for you. My husband laughs at me logic somtimes. I love logic puzzles, and am quite capable of very clear rational, logical thought. I would do quite well as an accountant (for someone else, not me). But other times, I completely refuse to acknowledge logic. No matter how obvious something is, I will refuse to admit it. For no reason whatsoever.

So today I was looking at a website I just found, called The New Homemaker. On it are lots of resources for homemakers, including cleaning tips, cooking hints and recipes, household management systems, and money management. I decided the other day that my whole life is out of control because I had given it up. I was content to be a leaf blowing on the breeze because it was too scary to take charge of my life and give it direction. Much easier (so I thought) to let life happen and deal with things as they came up. But it's not. If I want to achieve anything in this life, I have to take the reins. I have to become proactive. My best friend is far more proactive than I, and I always admired that in her, but thought that I couldn't do it. Anyway, I was reading that website and saw an article that talked about organizing resolutions (from the new year). It said, "Write it down. I have a fear of lists, that they will define me as a failure rather than just be a reminder. I resolve to overcome this fear." That really hit home for me. Now I understand my loathing of to-do lists. I never looked at a list and saw what I had done. I only saw what I had not done. I harshly criticized myself for failing, I used them to show myself how useless I was. I have a lot of negative self-talk to overcome. It is amazing how much I beat myself up. If I said to someone else all the things I say to myself, no one would come within a mile of me for being so abusive.

Now I just have to figure out why I speak so badly to myself. But at least now I have the courage to grab the reins of life, I have a direction in which to head. I need to find a local support system, and I need to face life one day at a time. If I have to write "clean cat poop off the floor for three days in a row because I didn't do it the first time, that will have to be okay. I have to remeber Thomas Edison's philosophy - that I haven't failed x number of times, I have found x number of ways that didn't work. I am x number of attempts closer to achieving my goals. I need to stop hiding from life on the computer and start living it.

Today's to-do list:
Finish the laundry
Do some decluttering
Sweep the floor
Open the Earthdawn book and start prepping the adventure I will be running in just one week
Finish making the pemmican I started
Tell my husband I love him
Tell each and every child I love them
Tell myself I love me (if I say it enough, I might start to believe it)


Originally posted 3/6/07

I love chili! I really, really love chili! I have fallen in love with chili, which is remarkable since I detest beans for being too squishy. That, and I am a huge wimp when it comes to spicy food. But I love the chili that I devised from a recipe from my husband's family. Here it is:

Judy's 0 Alarm Chili

Brown and drain 2# of burger (I always fudge this amount, it is often closer to 3#). Dump it in a really big kettle. (My dutch oven boiled over, but it fits with plenty of room in my 8-qt stockpot.) Sauté ½ large sweet onion and add it to the/ pot. Add the following to the pot:
minced garlic, probably ¼ cup
28 oz can diced tomatoes
29 oz can tomato sauce
40.5 oz can beans (I use kidney, but I bet that any kind would work)
1 Tbsp salt
2-3 twists of a peppermill
2 bay leaves
1 tsp chili powder (which can then be set on the table for those who want to liven up their own bowl)
4 oz can chiles
1 tsp oregano
¼ tsp cumin
½ tsp allspice
Simmer this for a minimum of 1 hour, preferably at least 4 or 5 hours. Serve with whole grain brown rice that has been simmered for an hour or more in chicken broth and butter. Voilá! Taste the love! If there is any left over, it tastes even better reheated on the stovetop the next day.

Boyfriend Season

Originally posted 3/3/07

You may have noticed that I changed the About Me part of my profile to rant about not being invited to Myspace Singles. I have often felt that online dating was getting a bit out of hand, but now I know it has. One of the ads that I often see here on myspace after I post a bulletin or some such has a picture of a handsome young man, with what I would call "bedroom eyes". It says "Boyfriend Season is right around the corner..." and I never bothered to read past that.

What is Boyfriend season? Does that mean that all we parents get to go to the Fish and Game Department for tags for boyfriends? As a mother of 4 girls, I am dreading when they get old enough for boyfriends. I will gladly sit at the door with a hunting rifle and try to take them out as they dash for the door to try to date my daughters. How many tags do I get? Is it based on how many daughters I have? How beautiful (and thus desired by potential boyfriends) they are? Do I technically have to wait until they ask my daughters out? Or are those free? Do I only need tags for the ones that my girls say yes to? Oh please tell me where I can sign up for Boyfriend Season!

Now some dumbass daycare thinks breastmilk is a biohazard

Originally posted 2/26/07

City Kids DayCare Chain Charges Mom MORE Money to Watch Breastfed Infant

Friday, February 23, 2007

Now if this one won't get your feathers ruffled, I don't know what will. It's about ten times more important that we spread the word on this than it was to spread the word about the Pork incident ladies, so please help me out.

Here's the deal...

There's a mother named Robin Neorr here in the Columbus area. After her daughter was born late last year and she went back to work, she enrolled her daughter in one of the City Kids Daycare in downtown Columbus.

Robin was told that she would need to pay an extra $50 per WEEK because her 3 month old daughter is breastfed. You read that right, an extra $50 a week to feed that little girl the best food available for her.


Well, Robin was given several reasons.

She was told that her milk was a hazardous body fluid that had to be kept separate from all other food. As such, the day care center kept the prepared bottles of breast milk in a separate refrigerator in the director's office. (They even labeled it with a "bio-hazard" sticker, apparently confusing breast milk with, I don't know...uranium?) They also claimed that they would have to purchase a separate warming pot for heating up the breast milk. In other words, they had to go through SOOO much extra trouble that they would have to charge her an extra fee.

What was their reasoning for needing all this extra fuss over breastmilk? Well, Robin was never really able to find out the answer to that question.

The Centers for Disease Control does NOT consider breast milk to be a fluid that requires "special precautions." The Ohio Department of Health also does not consider breast milk to require any special handling. In fact, when I searched the Ohio Administrative Code, I stumbled across Chapter 12, which covers the Rules for Licensed Child Care Centers. I found it VERY interesting to read the section on "Infant formula and food."

Here are a few snippets from it...

Center policies and practices shall support parent preferences in infant feeding, including breast feeding and introduction of solid foods as long as developmentally appropriate and not detrimental to the health of the child.

Infants shall be served food in conformity with dated written instructions from the parent or guardian or physician. The instructions shall include amounts of food, type of food, and feeding times and be updated as needed based upon the child's needs and parent's instructions.

Now, it gets more interesting if you keep digging. Here's what it says about the requirements for day care centers as they handle bottles of breast milk.

If breast milk is provided by the parent or guardian, it shall be labeled with the child's name and the date of receipt and immediately refrigerated or frozen. Refrigerated breast milk shall not be stored for more than twenty-four hours. Breast milk shall be kept frozen no more than two weeks.


If formula or breast milk is to be warmed, bottles shall be placed in a container of hot (not boiling) water or be placed in a commercial bottle warmer. The container of water shall be emptied and cleaned each day. The bottle shall be shaken well, and the milk temperature tested before feeding. Frozen breast milk shall be thawed under cold running water or in the refrigerator.


The unused portion of formula, breast milk or food remaining in a container from which the infant has been directly fed, shall not be reheated or served again.

Now, that doesn't really seem so tough does it? Take a gander at what's required for the handling of formula...

Bottles prepared at center: when infant formula is prepared by the center, it shall be prepared in conformity with written instructions from the parent or guardian, or physician. All powdered or concentrated formula shall be prepared according to the manufacturers' instructions unless written instructions from a physician or an advance practice nurse certified to prescribe medication are on file at the center.


The center shall clean and disinfect all counter surfaces and equipment needed to prepare the formula. All equipment shall be washed in a dishwasher or scrubbed with hot water containing soap, and be thoroughly rinsed. Equipment not washed in a dishwasher shall be boiled for five minutes or more just prior to filling bottles. Handwashing facilities shall not be used for formula or food preparation or for rinsing or washing dishes and bottles. Handwashing facilities shall not be used for formula or food preparation, or for washing dishes and bottles or rinsing for reuse.


Open containers of ready to feed and concentrated formula shall be covered, dated and refrigerated. Prepared formula and food shall be discarded if not used within twenty-four hours.


Any formula or food to be stored at the center for any period of time, whether prepared by the parent or guardian or the center, shall be labeled with the child's name and date of preparation and shall be used only for the intended child.


Until used, all formula or food shall be refrigerated immediately after preparation or upon arrival if prepared by the parent or guardian. Formula or food that is commercially prepared may not be required to be refrigerated until after opening. Formula and food shall be stored no longer than twenty-four hours.

Now tell me...which one do YOU think requires more work?


Here's where it gets even more interesting. One of the posters on the AP Village discussion forum called City Kids to ask about enrolling their own child. According to her post, here's what she was told:

"Well, I have to see, I think there is a new policy about breastmilk. We might charge extra or maybe we aren't taking them any more. It's nothing with me or the director but the owner has a problem with breastmilk."

When asked by the caller if they were serious she stated that "all day care centers are going to this policy soon."

Yeah, can you even believe it?

Now Ohio does have legislation giving moms legal protection when they breastfeed in public but it currently has no laws on the books in regards to the use of breast milk in day care centers. In fact, only the state of Louisiana has a law (House Bill 233) making it illegal for day care centers to discriminate against breastfed children.

Robin understandably wanted to avoid negative press while her daughter was still being cared for at the center. However, her daughter's last day was Tuesday and Robin is now on a crusade to not only spread the word about this day care center that has chosen to discriminate against breastfed children but also to push for new Ohio legislation that would keep this same situation from happening to other breastfeeding moms.

So, what do we need you to do?

First, help spread the word. It took all of two days for the National Pork Board to change their course when faced with the onslaught of phone calls and emails from the Lactivist community. If we can mobilize to protect one web site then we sure as heck can mobilize to show day care centers that we will not stand for this type of discrimination against breastfed babies. So please, blog the article, post it in your favorite discussion forums, get the word out.

Second, make your voice heard with the parties involved. Patricia Elam has owned and operated the downtown Columbus and Hilliard City Kids centers since 1989. If you'd like to contact her to let her know what you think of her center's policies, you can email City Kids at citykidsdaycar@aol.com or you can call either of their centers at (614) 464-1411, or (614)777-4320.

If you are a Central Ohio mom and would be on board for a potential nurse-in at City Kids Daycare, please drop me an email so that I can start building a contact list. If you are a mom anywhere in Ohio, please give serious thought to contacting your local representatives and your state senators about the need to push through legislation that would protect breastfed children.

If you are a lawyer or know one that might be interested in taking on a civil suit against City Kids Day Care, get in touch with me and I'll get you in touch with Robin. If you are a reporter that would like to cover the story, drop me a note and I will DEFINITELY get you in touch with Robin.

We can not let day care centers dictate what we feed our children.

How stupid am I?

Originally posted 2/22/07

Those of you who actually read my bulletins may have noticed that I enjoy filling out silly surveys and quizzes. Well just now I was checking my page here and I saw that one of the sponsors was a quiz labeled "Are you Stupid?" So of course I had to go see just how stupid someone could be. First I had to input my first name and an email address so they could send me the results. That was acceptable. But being the paranoid person I am, I used my internet alias and my spam account. I'm not that stupid. :) Then I had to enable javascript. OK, many sites use java to run correctly. I answered 20 questions which were fun, such as, "Do you think President Bush will be re-elected in this upcoming race?", and "Should thespians be allowed to adopt?" I finished the questions and the site then required last name. mailing address, phone number and DOB. I filled all of the m except for DOB with bogus information. I lived at 123 Anystreet and calling my number would get you directory assistance. It then asked me which special offers I wanted. I clicked no to all of them, and it was quite an extensive list. It said I had to pick at least one, so I chose one that said "Candy - Hershey's or Reese's?" because I am not diabetic (which offered several options), I have no roofing projects I need done, and I am not interested in a career in criminal law (that's Jenny's thing). Then it asked me to choose where I wanted my $50 gift card to be spent, and that is when I decided I'm not that stupid. So to answer their original question of "Are You Stupid?", my answer is, "Only a little, for clicking on your link to begin with!"

Shock Value

Originally posted 2/21/07

A friend of mine recently sent me an email with graphic pictures of animals being abused. I do believe my friend had the best of intentions when forwarding. The bottom of the email basically said that if the reader cares anything about animals, they will forward it on to everyone they know, and if they don't forward it, they don't care about animals. This bothered me. First of all, spreading horrific pictures across the internet isn't going to change what is happening to these animals. The only thing that can change that is writing to your lawmakers, writing to the companies that perpetrate some atrocities, refusing to buy products made by those companies, and joining animal rights groups that take action. Spreading pictures is pointless.

Perhaps the original author of the email intended to get people angry enough to do the things I mentioned above. I think he went about it the wrong way. Rather than sending the pictures themselves, it would have been more appropriate to post a link or twenty to activist websites. Instead, my children were looking at my screen when I clicked on the email and they got a glimpse of the pictures before I could minimize it. My 7yo daughter is extremely sensitive to such things. For a while she truly believed that she was half dog. Fortunately, she wasn't the child who was with me when I opened it. But she could have been. She would have had nightmares for a long time.

Therefore I refuse to forward the message on to others. While I have no problems with the basic message itself, I do have problems with its presentation. I am all for animal rights. I am not an activist for them (I am an activist for children's health), but just because I don't succumb to the shock value of those pictures does not make me heartless. I would ask everyone to think carefully before forwarding emails like the one I received. Perhaps the message is a good one, but is the presentation equally good?


Originally posted 1/31/07

Whatever happened to respect? When I was a kid, children called their elders Mr. and Mrs. So-and-so. They were polite and said please and thank you and "may I?" I was mortified this past Sunday at church when my 7-year-old daughter called an elderly man by his first name, something I would never deign to do. When I whispered to her, "How about 'Mr. Robinson?'" she just shrugged. I have noticed that this is quite common with today's children. I was taking a walk one day and a small girl was playing jump rope in her front yard. She asked me what my name was as I walked by and I said, "Mrs. Anderson." I was in my early 20's. She then asked me, "Are you a teacher?" I replied that I was not. She asked why then I was a Mrs. I explained that it was because I was married. She could not grasp that concept.

I think part of the problem is our fear of aging. When we are shown respect and called by our title and surname, we feel old. We think of those people we addressed the same way when we were young and think of how old we thought they were at the time. So to feel like we are still young, we don't want to be called that way. Parents are no longer called Mr. and Mrs. Smith by their children's friends, they are Tom and Sue. Or even Dad and Mom. I think that one comes from children's innate aversion to calling adults so casually, and their discomfort with calling them so formally. So they choose intimate names instead and often afford the friend's parents more respect than their own parents.

The same change has occurred in the workplace. The boss is no longer Mr. Lucier, he is Rick, or even Ricky. I cringe when I hear grown people called by diminutive nicknames. How much more disrespectful can one get? Not only does it fail to acknowledge that the person has reached adulthood, it also fails to acknowledge that they have even reached puberty. I suppose I can understand a person's reluctance to call a supervisor by their surname if the supervisor is younger than they, but people in positions of authority deserve respect no matter their age.

So here I was, mortified at my daughter calling a 70+ year old man by his given name, and wondering how it happened. I thought and I thought. How did my daughter come to be so disrespectful? It is because our society shuns respect, which is ironic considering how much we seem to demand it. It is very frustrating to introduce your child to someone and say, "Moira, this is Mrs. Johnson," just to have the new neighbor say, "Please, call me Sally." It is also extremely difficult when people don't introduce themselves with last names. I don't know the last names of most of my neighbors. When my daughter tells me she met a new neighbor, I have no way of knowing whether that person is a child, teenager, or adult. I really have no support in today's world in teaching my child respect, and everyone we meet seems to unconsciously try to sabotage all my efforts to teach it. It is very frustrating. Is it okay to say, "Please, Ma'am, I am trying to teach my child to respect adults. I am not trying to make you uncomfortable?"

Dental work

Originally posted 10/11/06

Okay, so my daughter had her teeth cleaned a month or so ago and the dentist said she has one tiny cavity. He said it isn't her fault; the bristles of her toothbrush are too big to fit in the groove of her molar. His suggestion was, of course, to get sealants and a filling for that one tooth. I said I would think about the sealants, as I wanted to know exactly what is in them before I put them in her mouth. (Yet another flare-up of my TFYS.) I asked what he would use to fill the tooth and he said amalgam. I said no. There will be no mercury going in her mouth.

"Oh, it's safe," was his reply.
"That's what they said about thimerasol, too," I retorted.
"What's that?" The man had no idea.
"The mercury that is in vaccines."
"Well, amalgam has been around longer than vaccines."
"That doesn't mean it is safe. What else can we use?"
"Resin. It's made from pretty much the same stuff as the sealants."
"How long do sealants last? Do they wear off or are they life-long?"
"Usually they are life-long."
"Then I want to research it on my own before I commit to anything." He gave me an eyeroll. Nothing worse than a parent who doesn't do as they are told, apparently.

So I came home and researched more about dental sealants, and discovered that the material they are made from contains a substance called bisphenol-A (BPA), an endocrine disrupter. (www.holisticdental.org/dentalsealants/DentalSealantToxicity.pdf ) My husband and I decided we would forgo the sealants and invest in a sonic toothbrush instead so we won't have to worry about how deep her grooves are. We still had to figure out what to do about the cavity. We don't want to leave it unfilled, because that can lead to problems of its own. We don't want to fill it with a heavy metal that is a known neuro-toxin, and we don't want to fill it with an endocrine disrupter that has been linked to infertility, and probably other things as well. So we decided to try silver. I called the dentist's office, and they said yes, they do silver fillings. I scheduled an appointment and told them we would skip the sealants and go with a silver filling.

So today we went to get her tooth filled. When I signed her in, the receptionist asked me to look over the paperwork to make sure it was right. It said I wanted amalgam. I said it was not right, I most definitely did not want amalgam because it has mercury in it.

"I wanted a silver filling, not amalgam."
"Silver is amalgam."
"No, amalgam is mercury. I want the metal silver, not the color."
"Silver is used in the amalgam."
"Then it isn't what I want. I will not put mercury in my child's mouth."
"What about the white resin then? It doesn't have mercury in it."
"No, I don't want that because it contains endocrine disruptors."
"Let me go speak to the dentist about it." A few minutes later she came back. "He says that all of our fillings are amalgam or white resin."
"Then I am sorry I wasted our time. Thank you very much." And I collected my children and walked home.

So now I am trying to find a dentist who will use something that does not contain mercury or BPA. I am discovering that this is no easy task. I searched holistic dentistry in NH and there was nothing. I tried Vermont (we are only ½ hour away from the border) and the only hit I got was in Colchester, which looks to be just north of Burlington - about 3-4 hours drive. So then I looked at Massachusetts (very close there, also), and got two hits - one in Groton and one in Brookline. I am going to guess that Groton is about 1.5-2 hours away, and Brookline is further. Then I tried another page and got something that looked promising in Concord (1-1.5 hours away). I called and asked if they can do mercury- and BPA-free fillings. She assured me they could. So I asked if they take Healthy Kids Gold (our state's version of Medicaid for children) and she said they don't see children. The youngest they see is young adult; they do mostly cosmetic dentistry. Of course. It couldn't possibly be that easy. So I asked if she knew of anyone and she gave me a phone number of someone who might.

I called this next office and certainly they have fillings that don't have mercury. I asked about BPA and she didn't know what it was. I told her and she said she didn't know if it did or not.
"If it is the same material used for sealants, then it does."
"I don't know if it is or not. Would you hold so I can ask?"
"Of course."
"The dentist said it is not the same material."
"Does this material have BPA in it?"
"We don't know."
"Well someone must."
"I don't know who would."
"Well, can you call the manufacturer? Whoever makes it would know if there is BPA in it or not."
"I will have the dentist get back to you on that."
"Thank you."

Ahhhh! Trying to find an acceptable cavity filler is like pulling teeth, to use an appropriate expression. So now I sit and wait and expect to hear that it does have BPA and then I will have to find some other alternative. Why can't they just use silver without the mercury?! Now do I really want to go to a dentist that seems so ignorant of the material he works with?

I believe

Originally posted 9/24/06

I went to a new church today for the second week, and decided to make an appointment to sit down and talk religion with the Reverend. I got home and realized that if I am going to discuss religion with a minister, then I should first attempt to put down in writing what I actually believe. So I did just that when I got home after I took a rest. Here is what I came up with. What is particularly remarkable about this is that I actually knew when I was done writing it. I didn't end it because I couldn't think of anything else to say, I ended it because it was complete. I have never written like that before. The other thing is that it is remarkably well organized. I never felt like I should go back and reorganize it into something more coherent. That is also amazing since I am a stream-of-consciousness writer, rather than having any organization. So here goes...

I believe there are immortal divine spirits. I believe they exist primarily on a different level of reality from us. I believe every living thing has a soul or spirit that is connected to the divine spirits. I believe the relationship can most easily be comprehended by us as that of parent and child. I believe that life on Earth is all related to one deity, whose "home" and domain is the planet Earth. I believe each deity has a distinct home/domain.

I believe that our bodies are holy, and when used and treated in accordance with its holy and perfect design, we will maintain perfect health, our birthright. I believe that the world is holy and sacred, and when used and treated as such, will support and nurture us indefinitely, as the physical manifestation of the Goddess' love for us. I believe that we are hear to serve the Earth and the Goddess, not for them to serve us.

I believe in eternal life, but not in eternal damnation. I believe in reincarnation, and that we live each life to learn new lessons. I believe that if we do not learn our lesson for this life, we will return to learn the lesson in another life.

I believe that the gods are more powerful than we, but even they have limits to their power. I have not yet concluded whether or not they are subject to a universal/multiversal deity. I believe that the more we live in accordance with the natural laws, the stronger our relationship with the Goddess will be, and the more we each will benefit from it. I believe that every action we take, every word we say, has an effect on this relationship.

My mental affliction

Originally posted 9/13/06

I was just taking a quiz that contained something along the lines of, "I tell everyone about my mental illness. Agree or disagree?" I said I disagree, as I don't have any mental illnesses. Which reminded me that I had said I would post about my TFYS disease. So here it is.

What is TFYS disease, and how do you know if you have it or not? There are no diagnostics you can run for it, no tests to pass or fail, and no doctor can diagnose it. Some may confuse it with OCD. Symptoms and signs include mild paranoia, obsession, cramps, and isolation. I will address these individually.

Paranoia - this usually manifests as a belief that our government and society may not have our best interests at heart. They may be protecting their own financial interests, or their power over the people, or simply trying to save face by not admitting to being mistaken. The usual foci of the paranoia are the CDC, the FDA, the USDA, the pharmaceutical industry, the Department of Education, the agricultural industry, to name a few.

Obsession - this usually manifests as a desire to find all extant information on a subject before making any decision. Those suffering from this disease can often be seen at the library with stacks of books all on the same subject, or on the internet with heaps of bookmarks on the same subject. These books and bookmarks are often for the less commonly held beliefs and opinions of said subject. They also collect magazines such as Mother Earth News, or Farm and Field.

Cramps - Victims of TFYS often find themselves with cramps, particularly in their hands. This usually stems from signing many waivers or writing out explicit instructions regarding themselves or their children. The more children a sufferer has, the more likely they are to suffer from cramps.

Isolation - Those who suffer from this disease often have very few friends. Their symptoms frighten many people who then tend to stay away from them. They also tend to actively seek isolation, desiring to live in rural areas, often with small farms or homesteads. Their children often do not attend public school, and adults often shy away from things like flu clinics.

These are the most obvious signs and symptoms of Think For YourSelf disease. It is an affliction that can only be self-diagnosed. It is growing in frequency in the United States as well as the rest of the world, and there is no known cure, save perhaps for a head injury that results in a personality change.

Poverty and child rearing

I was filling out some paperwork today and it got me to thinking about poverty. What exactly is the definition of poverty? I looked it up at the U.S. Census site, and sure enough, my family falls into the category of poverty. Is that something I am ashamed of? No. Shame implies a level of self-blame. I don't blame myself or my husband for our rearing our children in poverty. I blame our culture.

Our culture, despite all we claim, does not encourage people to follow their dreams, unless it is pre-approved by society at large. I am living my dream right now, and it has put us in the category of poverty. I stay home and rear our children myself instead of handing them over to some daycare worker or public school system to rear for me while I work. I did work for a few years while trying to rear small children. It greatly boosted our reportable income and lifted us up out of poverty, but the cost to our family was too great. Three years ago now my husband and I had a discussion about my continuing to work. I was 4 months pregnant and working as a temp, and I was miserable. We were paying my brother's girlfriend to watch our 2 children (then), but as a temp, my work was erratic. My last paycheck was for $45 after taxes and deductions, while the daycare expense was $60. So my husband actually had to pay $15 for my going to work for two days. Where is the sense in that? We decided that I would stay home and he would be the sole income for our family. It sounds awful, but really, our standard of living has not gone down too noticeably. I would, in fact, say it has gone up, because now we are eligible for housing assistance, so we can live in a place that is non-toxic and large enough for us. My children all suffered for two years from lead poisoning in our old house because the landlady wouldn't do anything about the problem. We lost maybe $100 per week of actual usable money from when I was working steadily full time, but our expenses went down at the same time. But now we are considered impoverished and there is such a stigma attached to poverty that suddenly people look at you with pity and contempt.

"You should go get a job." I hear that often, and I respond with, "I have a job. I am rearing some beautiful children that will grow up to be healthy, responsible adults." But child-raising has become looked down upon as something that is a bother rather than a joy. "That's not a job, that's being lazy." Tell you what, you stay home for a week and be solely responsible for the care of four small children and see how lazy you can be.

So I guess I am writing to whine about how our culture, which professes to be the land where dreams can come true, has made it so difficult for a married mother to pursue her dream of rearing her children, which a mere few decades ago was the expected job of married mothers.


I have been keeping a blog at myspace, and decided to copy it over to here. I am justing posting them all as new posts, I haven't really written them all today. Hmm... I will have to wait until my blog is reachable again.