Friday, October 28, 2005

I'm Back!

I'm finally settled into my new home. The move was normal, meaning stressful beyond belief, but since I didn't kill anyone, I'd say it was successful.

It started with too much junk, and no one with a truck. My daughter and boyfriend kept saying, throw it out! I DID throw out a large amount of stuff, but I refuse to discard perfectly good items just because I can't use them right now!

I did throw away a chair that I had since 1984. It was old, and one arm was broken. The cushions were shot and it sat on the back porch and was a bit weathered. But it was my favorite chair! It was from the house I grew up in, and it had leaf arms, that you could put up or down, like a drop leaf table. As a child, I pretended it was an airplane.

For the past 10 years, it has waited for me to refinish it. I looked at it and decided it was time to part with the past. I feel that was enough of a sacrifice, and refused to discard anything else.

My new place has a basement, so I have room for everything.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Too creepy

I hope this is a hoax. Real dolls sex dolls.

I asked my boyfriend and he said it was creepy beyond belief.

I found this on feministing.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Health Care Insurance

It amazes me that in our country of excess, how can we not have health care for everyone?
Mother Jones' Mojo Blog:

Over the weekend, Kevin Drum had a fantastic post about why we need universal health care. Just to add to everything he said, it's utterly bizarre and twisted that a person in this country can receive government health insurance after losing all their life savings in a hurricane, but if a person who loses their job—through no fault of their own—and can't pay for chemo injections, well, tough luck. It's bizarre that Medicaid will cover those under the poverty line but not, quite frequently, those at twice the poverty threshold, or just over the cutoff, or often certain parents below the threshold.
My own personal experience with health care have shown that we are in desparate need of Universal Health care. I know people will say "Big Government...blah blah blah", but I don't know how poor people survive.

When my late husband was diagnosed with a brain tumor, we were actually lucky. He had benefits, and thanks to his union, when he retired on disability, the insurance company had to sell us insurance, same benefits. Of course it was $500 a month, but without the union contract, I'm not sure we could have insured him at any price. His chemo cost $1300 an injection. The anti nausea medicine was $25 a pill.

Even though he was disabled, and elligible for Social Security benefits, he couldn't get medicare/medicade for 6 months after he qualified for disability. That would be 1 month after his prognosis said he should have been dead.

We were also able to cash in his life insurace policy from work, so we had money to live on.

What do people do if they don't have a job that provides insurance? For years, I was self employed and had terrible, terribly expensive, benefits.

Luckily, I work for a large public school district. My benefits are excellent. But the insurance company seems to think that I should only have 5 to 10 migraines a month, because that is all the meds they will give me. I asked my pharmasist how much a month's supply would cost. $550! That's a week takehome pay for me.

One of my dreams is to leave work and write for a living. I don't think I could afford it with my health.

What do people who don't have insurance do?

Moving, Moving, Moving!

I haven't blogged recently, because I'm too busy moving.

Saturday is the big day, the mover comes and takes all of my belongings to the new house.

But blogging isn't my major concern. I haven't been writing. First it was the stress of finding a new home in 3o days (I made sure my new lease said 60 days notification for non-renewal.) Then, well I packed up all my research material and I don't remember which box it is in. And all the boxes went to the new place, so without that, it's tough to work on my novel.

I just received a very nice rejection from the Scribe agency. Once again, they are not interested in what I've written. At least they let me know within 30 days. One publisher waited 6 months to tell me they weren't interested in my book.

So I have 4 children's picture books making the rounds of publishers, several short stories, and an unfinished novel. And I haven't written in 3 weeks. 75% of my stuff is in the new house, but I'm still here at the old one. This morning, I realized I had no pants to wear to work, and had to do "emergency laundry" before work.

Good news is that I still have 8 vacation days left, so I'm taking 2 to move. I really thought I just had 1, but my boss said 8, and who am I to argue? As long as he keeps making mistakes in my favor, I'm happy.

This was a nice break, but back to packing!

Sunday, October 09, 2005

UNICEF Kills Smurfs

I got this from TV Squad. It seems that UNICEF is showing this in Belgium to raise money for their campaign to rehabilitate former child soliders in Burudi.

The short film pulls no punches. It opens with the Smurfs dancing, hand-in-hand, around a campfire and singing the Smurf song. Bluebirds flutter past and rabbits gambol around their familiar village of mushroom- shaped houses until, without warning, bombs begin to rain from the sky.

Tiny Smurfs scatter and run in vain from the whistling bombs, before being felled by blast waves and fiery explosions. The final scene shows a scorched and tattered Baby Smurf sobbing inconsolably, surrounded by prone Smurfs.

The final frame bears the message: "Don't let war affect the lives of children."

It is intended as the keystone of a fund-raising drive by Unicef's Belgian arm, to raise £70,000 for the rehabilitation of former child soldiers in Burundi.

While the idea of a child solider horrifies me, I believe that this would not meet their needs if shown in the US. I can imagine (imagine, hell, I personally know a few) parents who would cheer at the idea of the Smurf Village being bombed.

It wasn't too many years ago that the Smurf song haunted my nightmares.

What 2000 looks like

Thanks to Lee Goldberg for linking to this video.

Turn your speakers up and watch.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

I don't care if it rains of freezes....

As long as I have my Plastic Jesus,
Riding on the dashboard of my car!

I don't believe they still sell these things! Thanks to Feministe for reminding me of my youth. Every one had one of these, or the little magnets with the Virgin Mary in their car. One of my Uncles had Our Lady of the Highway clipped to his visor.

Another funny (or offensive) site is Jesus of the week. People send in unusual images of Jesus. Check it out, unless you are afraid of going to hell.

Abortion, Parental Notification and Dear Abby

Bitch PhD has a very interesting post. It seems that in a recent Dear Abby column, the advice columnist came out against parental notification for abortions.

DEAR ABBY: From time to time, you tell young women who think they might be pregnant and are afraid to tell their parents, to do so. I usually do not write letters like this, but I need to express my personal experience. I am a minister. Several years ago, I worked for Planned Parenthood and we had a young girl -- around 13 years of age -- test positive for pregnancy. We urged her to tell her parents, but she kept refusing, insisting, "Dad will kill me!"

Of course, we knew better, and finally convinced her that the best thing was to tell her parents, have the baby, and get on with her life.

Her father beat her so badly that she was in the hospital for more than a month. She lost the baby because of the beating and ended up in foster care.

I will never again tell a young person that her parents will not go crazy, and I don't think you should do that either. Thanks, Abby. I enjoy your column. -- REGRETFUL IN FLORIDA

DEAR REGRETFUL: Thank you for the warning. Even though we wish all teenagers could disclose to their parents, as your letter illustrates, it is a sad reality that some of them cannot. And we, who care about young people, have to first be concerned with their safety. Although most young girls do involve their families, there will always be some who are unable to do so.

For that reason, I do not believe that parental notification should be mandated by law. And because sex education is no longer taught in as many states as it had been before, I strongly urge parents to begin talking to their children early about the facts of life and their personal value systems, in order to create a safe and comfortable environment should a crisis occur.
As the parent of a 14 year old girl, parental notification worries me. My daughter can come to me with anything, but I don't know if she believes that. She is very open with me about the important issues, but sometimes she fears disappointing me. And I did inherit an Irish temper. But, damn, it's my kid and I would want to be informed! But something happened that reminded me that parental notification is not a good policy.

I received an interesting phone call from the mother of my daughter's best friend. It seems my little darling decided she should explain what oral sex is to her friend (another 14 year old) who had no clue. The best friend went to her mother for clarification. The mother freaked and called me hysterically.

When I got to the crux of it all, my daughter had only repeated what I had told her. I have been brutally honest with my kid about sex. I don't trust the schools, with their watered down sex ed classes, to really explain it. I believe more kids experiment about sex because they don't know about it. I don't know if this is true, but I know my kid. And an informed decision is always better.

It seems her friend's mother believes in the "If we pretend it doesn't exist, it won't happen in our home" theory of child rearing. My answer is that if a parent doesn't teach his/her daughter about sex, then the daughter's first boyfriend will. And which is preferable? She didn't answer, but she has been very cold to me since then. Oh well, no great loss.

Which brings me back to parental notification. If I found out my daughter was sexually active, I would take her to the GYN and get her on birth control and make sure she knew how to use condoms correctly. Because I know I can't control a teenager. She will do what she wants when I'm not around. I believe teenage sex is a mistake, but at least she would only be making one mistake, not two more (teenage pregnancy and STDs). If she was pregnant, I'd make sure she got the best medical care (either abortion or prenatal--her choice).

But I think her best friend's mother wouldn't do that. I don't think they would hurt her physically, but her parents live in a fantasyland. And it is for teens in those homes that parental notification is wrong.

Also, my daughter knows that if she ever has a problem that she doesn't want to discuss with me, she has two other adults that will help her, and keep it confidential. I've explained to both of these women (my sister and a friend who is like a sister) that if she ever calls them, and asks that they not tell me, that's OK with me.

I still worry about her, but I feel I've armed her with knowledge, and given her a safety net. I don't know what else a parent can do.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Political Cartoons--Excellent Site

I found this political cartoons from a link on Feministing
I particularly like this one, being a Pennsylvanian, Senator Santorum is a personal embarrassment.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Time to Get Moving

It's official. I picked up the keys to the townhouse that I'll be renting.

Now comes the bad part--packing. There is something sad about putting all of your belongings into boxes. I still don't have a mover, way too much stuff to pack, and I only have 2 vacation days left.

But I'm excited. I'm excited that I won't have to deal with my idiot landlord.

I'm excited that my new place has nice carpets.

I'm excited that I can have a family room.

And I'm going to quit smoking. Those of you who know me are probably saying, "Yeah, right!" But I have to quit. It is the only way I can afford the rent increase.

I'm sure it will be better for my health and my daughter's health, not to mention the cat and dog. But I am going to miss smoking.

Some blogs of interest:

Here is a link to Pandagon, good article about the hype during hurricaine Katrina.

MoJo has a scary article about how Christians try to "help" gays change.

A Writer's Life, one of my favorite blogs, blogger Lee Goldberg has a new book that just came out.

And please send best wishes to Twisty, who just was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


I can not understand the thoughts of some of our citizens. I found this on Feministing.

Middle School sex ed books.

The problem? One quote:

Some parents say new teaching manuals used at middle schools in Sioux Falls are too graphic and include information that's inappropriate for that age group.

And what is that information?

"There's some drawings of the whole entire frontal of the male," said Karla Wornson, who is home schooling her middle school daughter but has sons who attend public high school. "My 12-year-old daughter would probably crawl under the desk."

This woman has high school age sons and thinks her daughter has never seen a penis?

Very Disturbing

I don't know why this disturbs me. But it does. Muppets using urinals?

Now, imagine your a guy who needed to use the rest room. You come out of the stall, and there are Elmo and Cookie Monster (quite large versions) in the men's room. It sounds like a nightmare to me!

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Bill Bennett, Racist

I wanted to post about Bill Bennett's comments. But I could not say anything more elegant than was posted on The Republic of T :

As an African American father of an African American son, it makes me bone weary to consider how prevalent the attitudes above still are, and that they’re so close to the surface that they slip through in unguarded moments like the Bennett moment.

It’s not a far leap to understanding that many Americans — even if they would never dream of saying so in public — silently agree with Bennett’s basic sentiment. Why? Because it was surprisingly easy for even some well-known liberal bloggers to come to Bennett’s defense. That makes it all to clear just how deep thinking like Bennett’s goes.

Damn. That exactly what I wanted to say (except for the part about being African American, a father, and having a son).

I know that I occasionally over react to racism. I accept that. I'm a white, middle class woman, who has a Black (ok 1/2 black) daughter. I never saw the racism that exists in this country. Of course, I heard the news reports of horrible things done to blacks, but I believed they were the exception. Something that happened somewhere else.

My daughter changed all that. The first time I heard that she was called the N word, I was homicidal. How dare anyone use that for my child! Luckily, being a liberal who doesn't like guns, there were none available to me. If there were, there would be one less racist in the world. That was how angry I was. Ok, I honestly wouldn't know what end of a gun to use, but you get the idea.

I used to be able to blow off people who I thought were stupid. Now I feel I must confront them. It's the "mother-bear" in me.

Now, while I acknowledge that I am hypersensitive to racists remarks, Mr. Bennett's comments are beyond belief. He did backtrack on the abortion thing. But he did not on the idea that blacks = crime. How can we let someone on the public airwaves speak like this? It just reinforces the racist ideas.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

What about the cat

Cassie, the guest blogger

I can’t believe Julia put that she will discussing the dog, but not the cat (me! The most important one in the house!) Unless the word “discussing” means saying bad things. Then it’s OK.

Not that I don’t like the dog. She knows that I’m the Most Important One. And it’s fun to play with her tail!

Today, she and John brought in a lot of boxes. I like playing in boxes! Julia truly enjoys when I play Surprise Cat. I go in the box, and when she walks by—SURPRISE—I jump out and grab her with my claws. She loves that so much I keep playing after I get bored.

But I think the boxes are here for moving. Julia keeps saying we are getting a new house! I just hope she remembers my litter box