I consider myself an ultra-diligent parent. I trust, but verify. I remain hyper-vigilant so my daughters can enjoy their childhoods. It is my job as their mother to maintain a secure and safe environment for them at all times, even when I cannot be present.To that end, when the time came for me to find daycare/childcare/preschool for my children, I selected a facility that I had actually worked at once. This place had a wonderful reputation and was safely tucked under the blanket of "family" and "community" considered a tenet of my alma mater. I followed up, however. I am a familiar face and I made sure that I had a solid relationship with everyone on staff, not just those directly involved with my children. After having M1 there starting when she was 3, I was sufficiently comfortable to the point that M2 attending was a no-brainer. Even though this will now cost me $299/week through the end of summer when M1 is too old for the school anymore, I continued to see it as our best option.Changes have been occurring at the Center that I have not been impressed with at all. I'm not necessarily resistant to change, however, if something is working, I see very little reason to overhaul it. Rather than become a roadblock, I have remained informed and active in the process; always questioning and offering suggestions.One change that has never been positive was the selection of the current director. She carries about her an air of superiority although her level of performance would suggest she adopt one of humility. A laundry list of petty, imbecilic and condescending events have happened since this person was put in to the office and most of them resulted from her inability to act professionally and responsibly. I won't list those today because they simply pale in comparison to what I learned today--a full two weeks after the incident itself.This incident spurred me to immediately leave my desk, stalk through that Center, collect my children and leave IMMEDIATELY. I spoke to no one because I had very little doubt that I would end up in jail if I were to try. Instead, I am gathering information and I will not rest until I have that woman's job or the Center's license--the School of Education's Dean can select which is more dear to him.Lest you should think I'm overreacting, let me share with you the bottom line of a message I received today regarding something that I was oblivious to until earlier today:Two weeks ago, a parent in M1's class dropped her daughter at the Center when the girls' class was outside playing. She passed one of our girls' teachers on the way in and the teacher was on her way to the front desk to find out the identity of an adult male on our fenced in, inaccessible playground of whom she was not familiar.To make a long story short, this man--who was known at that time only by his first name--had been permitted to enter our Children's Center sans the state mandated background check, including fingerprinting, and interact with our children. Not only did he attend their playtime outside, he was in M1's room prior to nap and engaged in the naptime ritual, which includes for some children, having their back patted/rubbed by a teacher.This man had been given this permission by the director.On the day this occurred, she was not at work because her father-in-law had died.NO ONE knew this man, what business he had on the mini-campus, or what his intentions were. Supposedly, he (at over 30 years of age) had an interest in education and was trying to get a gauge of what age group he'd like to work with...?The ONLY person who knew his last name was the conveniently absent director. It was known in the office, however, that this man was NOT properly vetted so "he was not to be left alone with the children". WHAT?!The mother who witnessed this debacle couldn't attend the parent's monthly meeting being held that evening. I didn't either because M1 had gymnastics.The witnessing mother provided the gut-wrenching details to one of the parent organization's officers. This issue was addressed with great passion and rebuffed by the administration in attendance.Granted, the door code has been changed, a schedule is posted on each classroom door, and staff now wear tags to denote their status.But, the fact remains, this woman put our children in harm's way and when confronted, she was worried about how badly it hurt the man's feelings.Her unemployment is now my mission. Can you blame me?
Caught a blurb on the news today that iPod is making an upgrade to their standard iPods that will mean all new units will have photo capability.The result?! LOTS of the "old" iPods hitting the clearance bin, I hope! Especially given that the iPod shuffle (only $99) is dropping in price as well.I'll be watching e-bay because chances are, the iPod prices will start dropping and I want to be there to catch my green one!
Guess John Kerry missed the memo, so let me review for his benefit: You're out of touch. You are inconsequential. You don't get it. You lied. You flipped. You flopped. Game. Set. Match.The New York Times has afforded column space to Kerry today and if you must, you can read the entire pile for yourself. I, however, have taken the liberty of doing it for you and would be happy to save you the trouble, if you'd like. It's about the speech the President should give tonight. Here are some highlights and my analysis..."...The reality is that the Bush administration's choices have made Iraq into what it wasn't before the war - a breeding ground for jihadists. Today there are 16,000 to 20,000 jihadists and the number is growing."Aside from the laughable nature of this man talking about "reality", let me point out that Iraq is nowhere near what it was before the war. People have voted. They are talking about the constitution. They are fighting for their liberties. They are doing business, making art, and not living in fear of Saddam Hussein and his ilk. The 16-20,000 jihadists are desperate to prove they are still viable threats. We're there to demonstrate otherwise."...The president must also announce immediately that the United States will not have a permanent military presence in Iraq. Erasing suspicions that the occupation is indefinite is critical to eroding support for the insurgency. "Um...John? Yeah. Hi. I don't know if you have water in your ears from parasailing or if you've left in the ear plugs that you wear while you're at home with Tuh-RAY-zuh (& believe me, buddy, no one blames you there!) but there has never been a statement, spoken or silent, that would suggest otherwise. "Indefinite occupation"...how asinine. Did we require President Clinton to tell us we wouldn't be in the Balkans forever? Newsflash: Billy Boy said until the job was done and, my family can testify, the work is still being done by our men & women in uniform."...He should also say that the United States will insist that the Iraqis establish a truly inclusive political process and meet the deadlines for finishing the Constitution and holding elections in December."Um, John? The Iraqis are working on this and because they are striving to be inclusive, it's taking a little time. FYI: Working in groups takes more time than doing things individually. This according to our basic communication texts at my job and evidenced by the sheer log jam of important legislation constantly tabled at your job.
"...He also needs to put the training of Iraqi troops on a true six-month wartime footing and ensure that the Iraqi government has the budget needed to deploy them." Geez, John...I hate to knock down yet another point, but the Iraqis are participating in fighting the war. This sort of takes away from their PT and classroom time given all the raids and checkpoints they are responsible for conducting. Here would be a great time for you to mention the inspiring resolve of those who join the Iraqi forces. Even in light of the violence carried out against them, they still sign up and go to work each day. But, that would sort of make it sound like you knew what was truly going on and why break tradition, hmm?
"...The administration must immediately draw up a detailed plan with clear milestones and deadlines for the transfer of military and police responsibilities to Iraqis after the December elections. The plan should be shared with Congress." Oh, I get it now. You're jealous because you aren't being included? Simply because things happen outside your view doesn't mean they aren't happening--let's take for instance the war crimes you accused your "brothers" of committing in Vietnam. Even if you admitted later that you didn't actually see these (because had you done that, you'd have violated your code by not reporting it), that didn't stop you from harping on it for years and years. Let the military experts handle the military things and you worry about your job which isn't strategy or tactical matters.
And in closing... "...The next months are critical to Iraq's future and our security. If Mr. Bush fails to take these steps, we will stumble along, our troops at greater risk, casualties rising, costs rising, the patience of the American people wearing thin, and the specter of quagmire staring us in the face. Our troops deserve better: they deserve leadership equal to their sacrifice." I only included this because he used the word "quagmire". Come, come, John...quit sitting so close to Teddy and copying his work! You're right about one thing: our troops DO deserve the leadership equal to their sacrifice and thanks to the voters in this country, military families included, they HAVE IT.
You knew it wouldn't be long and I'd be in the market for another soldier. No! I'm not considering trading mine in on a newer model...although this whole dog situation did cause me paws, er, I mean pause. Gag. Sorry for that bad pun.Anyway, doing some reading, stumbled onto Soldier's Angels and applied for another adoptee. I had heard of this group several times, including the bike ride that wounded soldiers are doing to suupport the Wounded Warrior Project this summer. I have always adopted my guys through Operation AC and been happy with the results. Two just isn't enough for me right now...I need more men (or perhaps a woman?) in my life.I'm anxiously awaiting my approval and my soldier's information. I'm mailing a big box to JDG in Iraq later this week. My other guy, DR, is coming home for R&R very soon and won't be in need of a care package for a couple more weeks...probably should send it now anyhow and it would probably make it there about the time he does. Sigh.If you haven't adopted a soldier yet, it isn't too late. Remember, it isn't about care packages--although those are nice & if you asked around, you could probably find 2 or 3 people to go in with you on some goodies--but about contact. A 37-cent postage stamp could raise the morale of an American hero and YOU are the one whose words could make him/her smile.What are you waiting for? DO IT.
I need help, I guess. Since my husband came home from deployment and our lives are returning to normal, it is becoming painfully obvious to me that our dogs are staying. My dog, Oscar, would be staying no matter what given that he is over 12 years old and he has put up with ALOT from me--two husbands, two kids, two moves and another dog. The other dog, though...well, I had hopes that I might be able to relocate her on a farm with a lady who loves goldens and had to put hers down earlier this year.No dice.Husband is having flashbacks of his doberman from childhood, I suppose, who met an early demise beneath the wheel of some farm equipment. And, no matter WHAT this dog does, it apparently isn't worthy of eviction.Granted, there are things that technically she has no control over...the awful smell of her food, the copious amounts of hair that she loses EVERYWHERE, and her sheer size.However, if I could advise her to change a few things, here would be her "to do" list:1) Stop eating dog poop in the yard. It is truly a disgusting habit. It does nothing for your already heinous breath and NO ONE likes it.2) Use the brain God gave you so that when you officially turn 3 next month, I can return the dog crate I borrowed from a colleague THREE YEARS AGO to be used until you were officially housebroken. Crates aren't forever, unless you can't behave. If I can't leave you alone in the house for five minutes without you destroying something, you cannot go uncrated.3) Chew on appropriate things. These include the multitude of balls, bones and other DOG oriented toys that I have wasted money on for years. Avoid chewing on things that are NOT dog oriented. These include, but are not limited to: wooden furniture, crayons, markers, clothing of any kind, shoes of any kind, the carpet, the couch, children's toys (hint: if they are in the toybox, they don't belong to you; if they are in the child's bed, they do not belong to you; and if they are on the child's desk, they do not belong to you), magazines and books and anything else that ISN'T yours.4) Get a life. You're a dog. You need to act like one. When it is a beautiful day and you are outside in our huge backyard, chase some squirrels. Dig a hole. Roll in the grass. Do NOT eat a pile of crap and then come sulk at the backdoor begging to be let in. You need the stink blown off you, trust me, so get out there and PLAY. Oh! And, when people try to play with you, DO IT. Chase the ball, run with the kids and have fun. Pouting is for babies.5) When you notice that I am being nice to you and actually might even be liking you, DON'T BLOW IT. Your failure to recognize my olive branches over the past three years is highly disappointing. Your indignant responses to them (namely destruction of human property) are not kind and unappreciated.I'm not saying that following my five-pronged plan would lead to my devotion to this dog, but it might lead to less hatred over the filthy state of my carpets that I have regularly cleaned and vacuumed and the horrible state of my furniture which I am constantly tape rolling. What I wouldn't give to invite someone to my home without having to chase them around with a tape roller and hyperventilating over whether or not they will find a dog hair in their food once they walk around the house with their plate. It's horrible. I just want a clean house and clean children. Honestly. I work hard for that. Is that too much to ask?Apparently so. I have to get on board the dog train apparently. Anyone have any advice?
Just when I thought we'd started the downhill slide in to oblivion, Governor George Pataki rides to the rescue to illustrate that all might not be lost. Granted, it didn't outweigh all the horrendous happenings of yesterday, but it did provide a moment of levity in an otherwise bleak day in American history.Pataki bristled at Hillary Clinton's suggestion that he "repudiate" the comments made by Karl Rove at a recent conservative event in which Rove said (among other things): "Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 in the attacks and prepared for war. Liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers. In the wake of 9/11, conservatives believed it was time to unleash the might and power of the United States military against the Taliban."No problems for me there given that MoveOn.org, an extremely liberal organization, started a petition on September 12, 2001, urging restraint and moderation in response to the previous days attacks. On the other hand, thousands, if not millions of people, from either side of the aisle called for a response like this world has never even imagined.Karl Rove singled out liberals and yet, some Democrats have selected this as their hill to die on...hmmm...shoe fitting too tightly there, Hillary? What about you Harry Reid? And, let's not forget John Kerry, who is sporting a nice, summery pair of flip-flops for his shoes that FIT.And, as so often happens, a correlation was drawn between the slanderous and erroneous comments made by Senator Dick Durbin regarding our military and how those working at Gitmo have created conditions no better than those in Hitler's Germany, the Soviet's gulags or Pol Pot's Cambodia. The problem here, boys and girls, is that you can't equate Rove's comments to Durbin's because one deals with facts (Rove's) and the other in error (Durbin). And, as Rove so rightly pointed out, Durbin's comments are now being played on Al-Jazeera to bolster the insurgency's resolve and weaken that of the Iraqis, and incidentally, the morale of our troops.Then, from nowhere, Senator Hillary Clinton calls on Governor George Pataki to "repudiate" the comments Karl Rove made and additionally called for Karl Rove's resignation...uh, okay. Patacki responded with the venom rarely seen from him or any other "let's rise above them" Republicans by saying (culled from NewsMax.com):"I think it's a little hypocritical for Sen. Clinton to call on me to repudiate a political figure's comment, when she never asked Sen. Durbin to repudiate his comments. She never responded when asked to respond [about Durbin]. She never responded to Howard Dean's insult to every single Republican, saying that they never earned an honest day's living. She never responded to Sen. Reid's unfair criticism of the president - he called the president a loser and a liar. He's never apologized - she never requested that. She never called for an apology or clarification when Moveon.org called for moderation and restraint in response to the terrorist attacks. So, when she does that, I'll be glad to listen to her call for me to ask someone to apologize."
OUCH! Stings a little doesn't it? But, oftentimes, the truth will reach right out and bitch slap you, you know?
Not that I encourage her to watch her p's and q's because the real Hillary is so much more fun to watch, but shouldn't she get back to trying to convince the world she's moved toward the middle? Singling herself out as a "liberal" and siding with those in the Senate who are so wrapped up in their hatred of George W. Bush's administration that they want to lose the war on terror regardless of the casualties isn't that bright.
Remember--when people show you who they truly are, you should believe them. That's all I'm saying.
I love this quote because it's so cynical. Unfortunately for us, it seems like it's becoming more of a reality every day. Today is just another example in a long parade of days that makes you wonder what this world is coming to...My plan: to enjoy a much deserved morning outside the office by going to the library, checking out some books and going to Panera for a nice, quiet, solo lunch. My reality: ending up eating outside with my book because of the sheer volume of oblivious and ridiculous people inside the restaurant.The service at Panera was fast enough. And, as I walked to the soda dispenser holding my food, my wallet and my drink cup, I saw two older ladies chatting away as they slowly filled their cups and a trio of unaccompanied children behind them. The women lollygagged along, talking when they should have been moving on...the line continues to grow.The trio of children approach the soda dispenser and two of the three quickly fill their cups and move toward the lids. The third girl, at least seven if not eight years old, stands there debating which soda to take...when she can't decide she sits her cup under each of the nozzles, punching the dispenser button for .025 seconds as she goes. FINALLY, a woman approaches the kids & I realize it is the mother and I'm thanking God because my hand holding my food tray is going numb and I'm having trouble balancing the wallet on my book. But, alas, this is a mother of the "my child is precocious, not annoying, rude, oblivious or just plain STUPID" camp and she does nothing to hurry her child along except to say, "Choose just one, honey." Um, okay. I would have snatched that cup, filled it with WATER and given her the gripper to remove her from the scene, apologizing profusely to the now SEVEN people waiting in line.I counted to 10 to try and ward off the words forming in the back of my throat...no dice. 10 slow, painful moments and we were only 1/3 of the way through this awful scenario. Finally, I couldn't take it and I said, "For the love of GOD, would you just MOVE ON?!" If my hands hadn't been full of overpriced soup and salad and a borrowed book, I'd have had no choice but to move that child and her oblivious mother out of the way by force and tell them that if they were so oblivious to the world going on around them, they certainly wouldn't notice a nice shove toward the trash can.Oh? And the resolution? The mother chastized the child after she FINALLY took my advice, but only to say that what the child had done was "disgusting and wasteful" and not a word about her inconveniencing all the people behind her on their lunch hours...all of whom I let go before me so they wouldn't be late back to work.Add this to these news stories and I'm sure you'll agree...we're ALL in handbaskets:*The Supreme Court ruled today that the 5th amendment's "public use" clause actually means something as simple as "increased tax revenue". In short, the government now has permission to seize your residential or business property against your will and hand it over to another private citizen or developer who wants it. Private property as we knew it no longer exists and because this will only affect a few citizens in any given community at a time, I doubt a huge backlash will occur, unfortunately. It seemed real estate used to be an attractive investment, but not anymore. Yet another blast to the individuality and sovreignty of America's people at the hands of none other than the Supreme Court. A 5-4 decision and the little guy gets screwed once again.*A handful of Democrats are comparing past statements of Karl Rove's to those of Senator Dick Durbin who, by the way, issued a non-apology earlier this week. He didn't say what he said was dead wrong...so he stands behind his statement that compared our service men and women to Nazis. He said if what he said offended us, he's sorry we were offended. In my real life, when people issue similar non-apologies I usually end up calling them on it, then calling them a not so nice name and refusing to speak to them until they grow up and truly apologize. How would it go for you if your best friend said, "I'm sorry you got mad I slept with your husband." Not, "I'm the lowest form of human being on the earth for doing what I did...I'm so sorry...I was wrong..." Not that this has ever happened in my real life--I don't have any female friends of my own who live around here and my husband isn't ready to die just yet--but you can see how this wouldn't wash.*Senator Ted Kennedy took a break from his usual liquid lunch to lord over a briefing from top military officials and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld today. He hauled out the "quagmire" description and also asked Rumsfeld when he would resign...the proper answer? YOU FIRST, FATTY. But, Donald is more refined than I. I think Rumsfeld should start carrying a splashing sound effect with him and use it as a response to ANYTHING Kennedy asks about in the future.That's all I can stand to chronicle today lest I become too despondent. Fasten those handbasket belts! It's going to be a bumpy ride!
If you haven't visited Take Back the Memorial or read the opinion piece written by Debra Burlingame regarding the bastardization of the proposed memorial on Ground Zero, now is the time. Ms. Burlingame's brother was a pilot aboard the flight that crashed in to the Pentagon on 9/11 who is justifiably angry about the proposed plans for the "World Trade Center Memorial Cultural Complex" which would sit close to Ground Zero and in her piece, she shines a light on who is backing it and what it will entail.If you would like the 9/11 memorial in NYC to honor those from that day rather than focusing on things through the lens of "America deserved it", sign the petition on the Take Back the Memorial website. And, if you'd like, share these links with those you know would be interested and even those who might not initially be, but who should be.As a side note, Ms. Burlingame appeared yesterday on Fox and Friends, the morning news program on Fox News Channel. President of the International Freedom Center (IFC), Richard Tofel, appeared at the same time and two were expected to have a lively debate on this very emotional matter.After the segment, the show went to commercial. Ms. Burlingame was considerably upset over the situation, given the verbal sparring with Toful that had taken place in the green room prior to the broadcast. According to eye witness accounts, Toful approached Ms. Burlingame, soundly patted her on the shoulder, got right in her ear and whispered either "Nice try" or "Good try." (I will double check & confirm later) At this point, Ms. Burlingame started to cry and one of the show's co-hosts followed Toful off the set and informed him that he'd been completely inappropriate, even saying that Toful had no right to touch her, but in doing so, he was entirely too rough about it. The exchange almost ended in fists being thrown.It's the haughty, the American people are too stupid to understand this attitude that makes me sick on this one.So, judge for yourself and then I encourage you to take action.
It will be interesting, in my opinion, to hear the story the recently recovered 11-year-old Boy Scout from Utah has to share about his ordeal. So far, the bits and pieces that have trickled out have not created a very good picture of what happened.Reports have stated that the boy climbed upward and hiked 5 miles during his nearly four days of being lost. A radio talk show host today said that Boy Scouts are trained to go downhill and follow the flow of water. I would contend that if this kid were out with a group he should have stayed still because they knew where he had been and I'm certain that is probably the first place they looked for him. I'd say the chance of finding someone where you left them, if they stay put is 100% and a helluva lot faster than 3.75 days.Other reports state that the boy saw people on horseback who were combing the woods looking for him. He didn't approach any of these people because he didn't know if they were "scary pepole" and they were "strangers". I would bet these people hollered his name once in awhile, but even if they didn't, doesn't it make sense to take your chances with a group of people on horseback than wandering around on your own with no food and water? At 33, it certainly does, but I'm going to bet at 11 it would have made sense to me too.If you know your 11-year-old well enough to know he "has a bad sense of direction", he is "shy and wouldn't approach strangers" and he "might be curious about the water" as it rages by the banks...why in God's name are you allowing that kid to go CAMPING?! What the?!And, if you haven't taught your eleven-year-old the difference between times when it's okay to approach a stranger--you're alone in the wilderness without food or water and you're probably going to DIE--and when it's not--some man at the park asks you if you want some candy or if you can help him find his dog or asks you what time it is--then SHAME ON YOU.Warning your children against the dangers of the world is one thing. Neglecting to teach them what to do in a completely plausible situation is plain stupidity. I have never told my daughters what to do if they became lost in the woods because we are never in the woods. However, I always brief my oldest on the possibilities and tell her what she should do...i.e. we're in Target--stay in the cart so you don't get lost, however, if you would ever get lost here, the guys and gals in tan pants and red tops can take you to the service desk to call for me.And, I imagine if I had an eleven-year-old boy who I know has next to no common sense, I wouldn't send him trotting out in to the woods without making sure he knew chapter and verse what he should do in an emergency like being alone in the wilderness without food or water and facing death.Am I too cynical? Am I just a meanie? Probably, but I can't shake the sense that this kid had NO business being out there in the first place.
Tonight, NBC's Katie Couric will lob softball questions to so-called "Runaway Bride" Jennifer Wilbanks and her hapless fiance, John Mason. I won't be watching. I had enough wall-to-wall, All Jennifer All the Time coverage when they thought she'd been snatched while jogging and had met some horrible fate.The idea of the TV movie, book and subsequent interviews makes me wonder why in the world people don't get hobbies? I mean, if I wanted to sit around and listen to a mentally ill person talk about their issues while accompanied by their enabling partner who is equall mentally ill, I'd hop in the car and head to my hometown. A little time with some relatives and I have my crazy fix for the day...and no, Mom, I'm NOT talking about anyone in OUR family.Other than utter immaturity and selfishness, Jennifer Wilbanks has no reason for running. I still can't put a name to what it is her fiance must be afflicted with that he feels this need to be "with" her. His traditional Southern gentleman persona is in sharp contrast to her persona which is not that of a traditional Southern lady. If these two do end up married, the ink on the marriage certificate will barely be dry before John Mason's family finally convinces him to use his brain and sue her for half of her millions she'll be making.After all, if she hadn't had him to run out on, she never would have had her 15 minutes...tick-tock.